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Title: A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents - Volume 5, part 4: James Buchanan
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


James Buchanan

March 4, 1857, to March 4, 1861



James Buchanan


James Buchanan was born near Mercersburg, Pa., April 23, 1791. His
father, James Buchanan, a Scotch-Irish farmer, came from the county of
Donegal, Ireland, in 1783. His mother was Elizabeth Speer. The future
President was educated at a school in Mercersburg and at Dickinson
College, Pennsylvania, where he was graduated in 1809. Began to practice
law in Lancaster in 1812. His first public address was made at the age
of 23 on the occasion of a popular meeting in Lancaster after the
capture of Washington by the British in 1814. Although a Federalist and
with his party opposed to the war, he urged the enlistment of volunteers
for the defense of Baltimore, and was among the first to enroll his
name. In October, 1814, was elected to the legislature of Pennsylvania
for Lancaster County, and again elected in 1815. At the close of his
term in the legislature retired to the practice of the law, gaining
early distinction. In 1820 was elected to Congress to represent a
district composed of Lancaster, York, and Dauphin counties, and took
his seat in December, 1821. He was called a Federalist, but the party
distinctions of that time were not clearly defined, and Mr. Buchanan's
political principles as a national statesman were yet to be formed.
His first speech in Congress was made in January, 1822, sustaining the
Administration of President Monroe, and of John C. Calhoun, Secretary
of War, in particular, with reference to a military establishment.
President Monroe's veto, in May, 1822, of a bill imposing tolls for
the support of the Cumberland road, for which Mr. Buchanan had voted,
produced a strong effect upon his constitutional views, and he began to
perceive the dividing line between the Federal and the State powers. He
remained in the House of Representatives ten years--during Mr. Monroe's
second term, through the Administration of John Quincy Adams, and during
the first two years of Jackson's Administration. In December, 1829,
became chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House. During Mr.
Adams's term the friends of the Administration began to take the name
of National Republicans, while the opposing party assumed the name of
Democrats. Mr. Buchanan was one of the leaders of the opposition in
the House of Representatives. Was always a strong supporter and warm
personal friend of General Jackson. In March 1831, at the close of the
Twenty-first Congress, it was Mr. Buchanan's wish to retire from public
life, but at the request of President Jackson he accepted the mission
to Russia; negotiated a commercial treaty with that country. August 8,
1833, left St. Petersburg, spent a short time in Paris and London, and
reached home in November. In 1834 was appointed one of the commissioners
on the part of Pennsylvania to arrange with commissioners from New
Jersey concerning the use of the waters of the Delaware River. December
6, 1834, was elected to the United States Senate to fill a vacancy, and
was reelected in January, 1837. Was conspicuous in the Senate as a
supporter of Jackson's financial policy throughout his Administration
and that of his successor, Mr. Van Buren, of the same party. In 1839
declined the office of Attorney-General, tendered by President Van
Buren. In 1843 was elected to the Senate for a third term, and in 1844
his name was brought forward as the Democratic candidate of Pennsylvania
for the Presidential nomination, but before the national convention met
he withdrew his name. At the beginning of the Administration of James
K. Polk became Secretary of State, and as such had a number of important
questions to deal with, including the settlement of the boundary between
Oregon Territory and the British possessions and the annexation of
Texas, which resulted in the Mexican War. On the accession of Mr. Taylor
to the Presidency Mr. Buchanan retired for a time from official life.
Was an unsuccessful candidate for the Presidential nomination before
the Democratic national convention June 1, 1852. In April, 1853, was
appointed minister to England by President Pierce; was recalled at his
own request in 1855. June 3, 1856, was nominated for President of the
United States by the Democratic national convention at Cincinnati, Ohio,
and on November 4, 1856, was elected, receiving 174 electoral votes to
114 for John C. Fremont and 8 for Millard Fillmore. Was inaugurated
March 4, 1857. In 1860 refused the use of his name for renomination.
At the conclusion of his term returned to his home at Wheatland, near
Lancaster, Pa. Died June 1, 1868, and was buried at Wheatland.



INAUGURAL ADDRESS.

FELLOW-CITIZENS: I appear before you this day to take the solemn oath
"that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United
States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend
the Constitution of the United States."

In entering upon this great office I must humbly invoke the God of our
fathers for wisdom and firmness to execute its high and responsible
duties in such a manner as to restore harmony and ancient friendship
among the people of the several States and to preserve our free
institutions throughout many generations. Convinced that I owe my
election to the inherent love for the Constitution and the Union which
still animates the hearts of the American people, let me earnestly ask
their powerful support in sustaining all just measures calculated to
perpetuate these, the richest political blessings which Heaven has ever
bestowed upon any nation. Having determined not to become a candidate
for reelection, I shall have no motive to influence my conduct in
administering the Government except the desire ably and faithfully to
serve my country and to live in the grateful memory of my countrymen.

We have recently passed through a Presidential contest in which the
passions of our fellow-citizens were excited to the highest degree by
questions of deep and vital importance; but when the people proclaimed
their will the tempest at once subsided and all was calm.

The voice of the majority, speaking in the manner prescribed by the
Constitution, was heard, and instant submission followed. Our own
country could alone have exhibited so grand and striking a spectacle
of the capacity of man for self-government.

What a happy conception, then, was it for Congress to apply this simple
rule, that the will of the majority shall govern, to the settlement of
the question of domestic slavery in the Territories! Congress is neither
"to legislate slavery into any Territory or State nor to exclude it
therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and
regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to
the Constitution of the United States."

As a natural consequence, Congress has also prescribed that when the
Territory of Kansas shall be admitted as a State it "shall be received
into the Union with or without slavery, as their constitution may
prescribe at the time of their admission."

A difference of opinion has arisen in regard to the point of time when
the people of a Territory shall decide this question for themselves.

This is, happily, a matter of but little practical importance. Besides,
it is a judicial question, which legitimately belongs to the Supreme
Court of the United States, before whom it is now pending, and will, it
is understood, be speedily and finally settled. To their decision, in
common with all good citizens, I shall cheerfully submit, whatever this
may be, though it has ever been my individual opinion that under the
Nebraska-Kansas act the appropriate period will be when the number of
actual residents in the Territory shall justify the formation of a
constitution with a view to its admission as a State into the Union.
But be this as it may, it is the imperative and indispensable duty
of the Government of the United States to secure to every resident
inhabitant the free and independent expression of his opinion by his
vote. This sacred right of each individual must be preserved. That
being accomplished, nothing can be fairer than to leave the people of a
Territory free from all foreign interference to decide their own destiny
for themselves, subject only to the Constitution of the United States.

The whole Territorial question being thus settled upon the principle
of popular sovereignty--a principle as ancient as free government
itself--everything of a practical nature has been decided. No other
question remains for adjustment, because all agree that under the
Constitution slavery in the States is beyond the reach of any human
power except that of the respective States themselves wherein it exists.
May we not, then, hope that the long agitation on this subject is
approaching its end, and that the geographical parties to which it has
given birth, so much dreaded by the Father of his Country, will speedily
become extinct? Most happy will it be for the country when the public
mind shall be diverted from this question to others of more pressing and
practical importance. Throughout the whole progress of this agitation,
which has scarcely known any intermission for more than twenty years,
whilst it has been productive of no positive good to any human being it
has been the prolific source of great evils to the master, to the slave,
and to the whole country. It has alienated and estranged the people of
the sister States from each other, and has even seriously endangered the
very existence of the Union. Nor has the danger yet entirely ceased.
Under our system there is a remedy for all mere political evils in
the sound sense and sober judgment of the people. Time is a great
corrective. Political subjects which but a few years ago excited and
exasperated the public mind have passed away and are now nearly
forgotten. But this question of domestic slavery is of far graver
importance than any mere political question, because should the
agitation continue it may eventually endanger the personal safety of a
large portion of our countrymen where the institution exists. In that
event no form of government, however admirable in itself and however
productive of material benefits, can compensate for the loss of peace
and domestic security around the family altar. Let every Union-loving
man, therefore, exert his best influence to suppress this agitation,
which since the recent legislation of Congress is without any legitimate
object.

It is an evil omen of the times that men have undertaken to calculate
the mere material value of the Union. Reasoned estimates have been
presented of the pecuniary profits and local advantages which would
result to different States and sections from its dissolution and of the
comparative injuries which such an event would inflict on other States
and sections. Even descending to this low and narrow view of the mighty
question, all such calculations are at fault. The bare reference to a
single consideration will be conclusive on this point. We at present
enjoy a free trade throughout our extensive and expanding country such
as the world has never witnessed. This trade is conducted on railroads
and canals, on noble rivers and arms of the sea, which bind together
the North and the South, the East and the West, of our Confederacy.
Annihilate this trade, arrest its free progress by the geographical
lines of jealous and hostile States, and you destroy the prosperity and
onward march of the whole and every part and involve all in one common
ruin. But such considerations, important as they are in themselves, sink
into insignificance when we reflect on the terrific evils which would
result from disunion to every portion of the Confederacy--to the North
not more than to the South, to the East not more than to the West. These
I shall not attempt to portray, because I feel an humble confidence that
the kind Providence which inspired our fathers with wisdom to frame the
most perfect form of government and union ever devised by man will not
suffer it to perish until it shall have been peacefully instrumental by
its example in the extension of civil and religious liberty throughout
the world.

Next in importance to the maintenance of the Constitution and the Union
is the duty of preserving the Government free from the taint or even the
suspicion of corruption. Public virtue is the vital spirit of republics,
and history proves that when this has decayed and the love of money has
usurped its place, although the forms of free government may remain for
a season, the substance has departed forever.

Our present financial condition is without a parallel in history.
No nation has ever before been embarrassed from too large a surplus
in its treasury. This almost necessarily gives birth to extravagant
legislation. It produces wild schemes of expenditure and begets a race
of speculators and jobbers, whose ingenuity is exerted in contriving and
promoting expedients to obtain public money. The purity of official
agents, whether rightfully or wrongfully, is suspected, and the
character of the government suffers in the estimation of the people.
This is in itself a very great evil.

The natural mode of relief from this embarrassment is to appropriate the
surplus in the Treasury to great national objects for which a clear
warrant can be found in the Constitution. Among these I might mention
the extinguishment of the public debt, a reasonable increase of the
Navy, which is at present inadequate to the protection of our vast
tonnage afloat, now greater than that of any other nation, as well as
to the defense of our extended seacoast.

It is beyond all question the true principle that no more revenue ought
to be collected from the people than the amount necessary to defray
the expenses of a wise, economical, and efficient administration of
the Government. To reach this point it was necessary to resort to a
modification of the tariff, and this has, I trust, been accomplished in
such a manner as to do as little injury as may have been practicable to
our domestic manufactures, especially those necessary for the defense
of the country. Any discrimination against a particular branch for the
purpose of benefiting favored corporations, individuals, or interests
would have been unjust to the rest of the community and inconsistent
with that spirit of fairness and equality which ought to govern in the
adjustment of a revenue tariff.

But the squandering of the public money sinks into comparative
insignificance as a temptation to corruption when compared with the
squandering of the public lands.

No nation in the tide of time has ever been blessed with so rich and
noble an inheritance as we enjoy in the public lands. In administering
this important trust, whilst it may be wise to grant portions of them
for the improvement of the remainder, yet we should never forget that it
is our cardinal policy to reserve these lands, as much as may be, for
actual settlers, and this at moderate prices. We shall thus not only
best promote the prosperity of the new States and Territories, by
furnishing them a hardy and independent race of honest and industrious
citizens, but shall secure homes for our children and our children's
children, as well as for those exiles from foreign shores who may seek
in this country to improve their condition and to enjoy the blessings of
civil and religious liberty. Such emigrants have done much to promote
the growth and prosperity of the country. They have proved faithful both
in peace and in war. After becoming citizens they are entitled, under
the Constitution and laws, to be placed on a perfect equality with
native-born citizens, and in this character they should ever be kindly
recognized.

The Federal Constitution is a grant from the States to Congress of
certain specific powers, and the question whether this grant should be
liberally or strictly construed has more or less divided political
parties from the beginning. Without entering into the argument, I desire
to state at the commencement of my Administration that long experience
and observation have convinced me that a strict construction of the
powers of the Government is the only true, as well as the only safe,
theory of the Constitution. Whenever in our past history doubtful powers
have been exercised by Congress, these have never failed to produce
injurious and unhappy consequences. Many such instances might be adduced
if this were the proper occasion. Neither is it necessary for the public
service to strain the language of the Constitution, because all the
great and useful powers required for a successful administration of
the Government, both in peace and in war, have been granted, either
in express terms or by the plainest implication.

Whilst deeply convinced of these truths, I yet consider it clear that
under the war-making power Congress may appropriate money toward the
construction of a military road when this is absolutely necessary for
the defense of any State or Territory of the Union against foreign
invasion. Under the Constitution Congress has power "to declare war,"
"to raise and support armies," "to provide and maintain a navy," and to
call forth the militia to "repel invasions." Thus endowed, in an ample
manner, with the war-making power, the corresponding duty is required
that "the United States shall protect each of them [the States] against
invasion." Now, how is it possible to afford this protection to
California and our Pacific possessions except by means of a military
road through the Territories of the United States, over which men and
munitions of war may be speedily transported from the Atlantic States to
meet and to repel the invader? In the event of a war with a naval power
much stronger than our own we should then have no other available
access to the Pacific Coast, because such a power would instantly close
the route across the isthmus of Central America. It is impossible to
conceive that whilst the Constitution has expressly required Congress
to defend all the States it should yet deny to them, by any fair
construction, the only possible means by which one of these States can
be defended. Besides, the Government, ever since its origin, has been in
the constant practice of constructing military roads. It might also be
wise to consider whether the love for the Union which now animates our
fellow-citizens on the Pacific Coast may not be impaired by our neglect
or refusal to provide for them, in their remote and isolated condition,
the only means by which the power of the States on this side of the
Rocky Mountains can reach them in sufficient time to "protect" them
"against invasion." I forbear for the present from expressing an opinion
as to the wisest and most economical mode in which the Government can
lend its aid in accomplishing this great and necessary work. I believe
that many of the difficulties in the way, which now appear formidable,
will in a great degree vanish as soon as the nearest and best route
shall have been satisfactorily ascertained.

It may be proper that on this occasion I should make some brief remarks
in regard to our rights and duties as a member of the great family of
nations. In our intercourse with them there are some plain principles,
approved by our own experience, from which we should never depart. We
ought to cultivate peace, commerce, and friendship with all nations,
and this not merely as the best means of promoting our own material
interests, but in a spirit of Christian benevolence toward our
fellow-men, wherever their lot may be cast. Our diplomacy should be
direct and frank, neither seeking to obtain more nor accepting less than
is our due. We ought to cherish a sacred regard for the independence of
all nations, and never attempt to interfere in the domestic concerns
of any unless this shall be imperatively required by the great law of
self-preservation. To avoid entangling alliances has been a maxim of our
policy ever since the days of Washington, and its wisdom no one will
attempt to dispute. In short, we ought to do justice in a kindly spirit
to all nations and require justice from them in return.

It is our glory that whilst other nations have extended their dominions
by the sword we have never acquired any territory except by fair
purchase or, as in the case of Texas, by the voluntary determination of
a brave, kindred, and independent people to blend their destinies with
our own. Even our acquisitions from Mexico form no exception. Unwilling
to take advantage of the fortune of war against a sister republic, we
purchased these possessions under the treaty of peace for a sum which
was considered at the time a fair equivalent. Our past history forbids
that we shall in the future acquire territory unless this be sanctioned
by the laws of justice and honor. Acting on this principle, no nation
will have a right to interfere or to complain if in the progress of
events we shall still further extend our possessions. Hitherto in all
our acquisitions the people, under the protection of the American flag,
have enjoyed civil and religious liberty, as well as equal and just
laws, and have been contented, prosperous, and happy. Their trade with
the rest of the world has rapidly increased, and thus every commercial
nation has shared largely in their successful progress.

I shall now proceed to take the oath prescribed by the Constitution,
whilst humbly invoking the blessing of Divine Providence on this great
people.

MARCH 4, 1857.



FIRST ANNUAL MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON, _December 8, 1857_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

In obedience to the command of the Constitution, it has now become my
duty "to give to Congress information of the state of the Union and
recommend to their consideration such measures" as I judge to be
"necessary and expedient."

But first and above all, our thanks are due to Almighty God for the
numerous benefits which He has bestowed upon this people, and our united
prayers ought to ascend to Him that He would continue to bless our great
Republic in time to come as He has blessed it in time past. Since the
adjournment of the last Congress our constituents have enjoyed an
unusual degree of health. The earth has yielded her fruits abundantly
and has bountifully rewarded the toil of the husbandman. Our great
staples have commanded high prices, and up till within a brief period
our manufacturing, mineral, and mechanical occupations have largely
partaken of the general prosperity. We have possessed all the elements
of material wealth in rich abundance, and yet, notwithstanding all these
advantages, our country in its monetary interests is at the present
moment in a deplorable condition. In the midst of unsurpassed plenty in
all the productions of agriculture and in all the elements of national
wealth, we find our manufactures suspended, our public works retarded,
our private enterprises of different kinds abandoned, and thousands
of useful laborers thrown out of employment and reduced to want. The
revenue of the Government, which is chiefly derived from duties on
imports from abroad, has been greatly reduced, whilst the appropriations
made by Congress at its last session for the current fiscal year are
very large in amount.

Under these circumstances a loan may be required before the close of
your present session; but this, although deeply to be regretted, would
prove to be only a slight misfortune when compared with the suffering
and distress prevailing among the people. With this the Government can
not fail deeply to sympathize, though it may be without the power to
extend relief.

It is our duty to inquire what has produced such unfortunate results and
whether their recurrence can be prevented. In all former revulsions the
blame might have been fairly attributed to a variety of cooperating
causes, but not so upon the present occasion. It is apparent that our
existing misfortunes have proceeded solely from our extravagant and
vicious system of paper currency and bank credits, exciting the people
to wild speculations and gambling in stocks. These revulsions must
continue to recur at successive intervals so long as the amount of the
paper currency and bank loans and discounts of the country shall be left
to the discretion of 1,400 irresponsible banking institutions, which
from the very law of their nature will consult the interest of their
stockholders rather than the public welfare.

The framers of the Constitution, when they gave to Congress the power
"to coin money and to regulate the value thereof" and prohibited the
States from coining money, emitting bills of credit, or making anything
but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts, supposed they had
protected the people against the evils of an excessive and irredeemable
paper currency. They are not responsible for the existing anomaly that
a Government endowed with the sovereign attribute of coining money and
regulating the value thereof should have no power to prevent others
from driving this coin out of the country and filling up the channels
of circulation with paper which does not represent gold and silver.

It is one of the highest and most responsible duties of Government to
insure to the people a sound circulating medium, the amount of which
ought to be adapted with the utmost possible wisdom and skill to the
wants of internal trade and foreign exchanges. If this be either greatly
above or greatly below the proper standard, the marketable value of
every man's property is increased or diminished in the same proportion,
and injustice to individuals as well as incalculable evils to the
community are the consequence.

Unfortunately, under the construction of the Federal Constitution
which has now prevailed too long to be changed this important and
delicate duty has been dissevered from the coining power and virtually
transferred to more than 1,400 State banks acting independently of each
other and regulating their paper issues almost exclusively by a regard
to the present interest of their stockholders. Exercising the sovereign
power of providing a paper currency instead of coin for the country,
the first duty which these banks owe to the public is to keep in
their vaults a sufficient amount of gold and silver to insure the
convertibility of their notes into coin at all times and under all
circumstances. No bank ought ever to be chartered without such
restrictions on its business as to secure this result. All other
restrictions are comparatively vain. This is the only true touchstone,
the only efficient regulator of a paper currency--the only one which
can guard the public against overissues and bank suspensions. As a
collateral and eventual security, it is doubtless wise, and in all cases
ought to be required, that banks shall hold an amount of United States
or State securities equal to their notes in circulation and pledged for
their redemption. This, however, furnishes no adequate security against
overissues. On the contrary, it may be perverted to inflate the
currency. Indeed, it is possible by this means to convert all the debts
of the United States and State Governments into bank notes, without
reference to the specie required to redeem them. However valuable these
securities may be in themselves, they can not be converted into gold
and silver at the moment of pressure, as our experience teaches, in
sufficient time to prevent bank suspensions and the depreciation of
bank notes. In England, which is to a considerable extent a paper-money
country, though vastly behind our own in this respect, it was deemed
advisable, anterior to the act of Parliament of 1844, which wisely
separated the issue of notes from the banking department, for the Bank
of England always to keep on hand gold and silver equal to one-third of
its combined circulation and deposits. If this proportion was no more
than sufficient to secure the convertibility of its notes with the whole
of Great Britain and to some extent the continent of Europe as a field
for its circulation, rendering it almost impossible that a sudden and
immediate run to a dangerous amount should be made upon it, the same
proportion would certainly be insufficient under our banking system.
Each of our 1,400 banks has but a limited circumference for its
circulation, and in the course of a very few days the depositors and
note holders might demand from such a bank a sufficient amount in specie
to compel it to suspend, even although it had coin in its vaults equal
to one-third of its immediate liabilities. And yet I am not aware, with
the exception of the banks of Louisiana, that any State bank throughout
the Union has been required by its charter to keep this or any other
proportion of gold and silver compared with the amount of its combined
circulation and deposits. What has been the consequence? In a recent
report made by the Treasury Department on the condition of the banks
throughout the different States, according to returns dated nearest to
January, 1857, the aggregate amount of actual specie in their vaults is
$58,349,838, of their circulation $214,778,822, and of their deposits
$230,351,352. Thus it appears that these banks in the aggregate have
considerably less than one dollar in seven of gold and silver compared
with their circulation and deposits. It was palpable, therefore, that
the very first pressure must drive them to suspension and deprive the
people of a convertible currency, with all its disastrous consequences.
It is truly wonderful that they should have so long continued to
preserve their credit when a demand for the payment of one-seventh of
their immediate liabilities would have driven them into insolvency. And
this is the condition of the banks, notwithstanding that four hundred
millions of gold from California have flowed in upon us within the last
eight years, and the tide still continues to flow. Indeed, such has been
the extravagance of bank credits that the banks now hold a considerably
less amount of specie, either in proportion to their capital or to their
circulation and deposits combined, than they did before the discovery of
gold in California. Whilst in the year 1848 their specie in proportion
to their capital was more than equal to one dollar for four and a half,
in 1857 it does not amount to one dollar for every six dollars and
thirty-three cents of their capital. In the year 1848 the specie was
equal within a very small fraction to one dollar in five of their
circulation and deposits; in 1857 it is not equal to one dollar in
seven and a half of their circulation and deposits.

From this statement it is easy to account for our financial history for
the last forty years. It has been a history of extravagant expansions
in the business of the country, followed by ruinous contractions. At
successive intervals the best and most enterprising men have been
tempted to their ruin by excessive bank loans of mere paper credit,
exciting them to extravagant importations of foreign goods, wild
speculations, and ruinous and demoralizing stock gambling. When the
crisis arrives, as arrive it must, the banks can extend no relief to the
people. In a vain struggle to redeem their liabilities in specie they
are compelled to contract their loans and their issues, and at last,
in the hour of distress, when their assistance is most needed, they and
their debtors together sink into insolvency.

It is this paper system of extravagant expansion, raising the nominal
price of every article far beyond its real value when compared with
the cost of similar articles in countries whose circulation is wisely
regulated, which has prevented us from competing in our own markets with
foreign manufacturers, has produced extravagant importations, and has
counteracted the effect of the large incidental protection afforded
to our domestic manufactures by the present revenue tariff. But for
this the branches of our manufactures composed of raw materials,
the production of our own country--such as cotton, iron, and woolen
fabrics--would not only have acquired almost exclusive possession of
the home market, but would have created for themselves a foreign market
throughout the world.

Deplorable, however, as may be our present financial condition, we
may yet indulge in bright hopes for the future. No other nation has
ever existed which could have endured such violent expansions and
contractions of paper credits without lasting injury; yet the buoyancy
of youth, the energies of our population, and the spirit which never
quails before difficulties will enable us soon to recover from our
present financial embarrassments, and may even occasion us speedily
to forget the lesson which they have taught.

In the meantime it is the duty of the Government, by all proper means
within its power, to aid in alleviating the sufferings of the people
occasioned by the suspension of the banks and to provide against a
recurrence of the same calamity. Unfortunately, in either aspect of the
case it can do but little. Thanks to the independent treasury, the
Government has not suspended payment, as it was compelled to do by
the failure of the banks in 1837. It will continue to discharge its
liabilities to the people in gold and silver. Its disbursements in coin
will pass into circulation and materially assist in restoring a sound
currency. From its high credit, should we be compelled to make a
temporary loan, it can be effected on advantageous terms. This, however,
shall if possible be avoided, but if not, then the amount shall be
limited to the lowest practicable sum.

I have therefore determined that whilst no useful Government works
already in progress shall be suspended, new works not already commenced
will be postponed if this can be done without injury to the country.
Those necessary for its defense shall proceed as though there had been
no crisis in our monetary affairs.

But the Federal Government can not do much to provide against a
recurrence of existing evils. Even if insurmountable constitutional
objections did not exist against the creation of a national bank, this
would furnish no adequate preventive security. The history of the last
Bank of the United States abundantly proves the truth of this assertion.
Such a bank could not, if it would, regulate the issues and credits of
1,400 State banks in such a manner as to prevent the ruinous expansions
and contractions in our currency which afflicted the country throughout
the existence of the late bank, or secure us against future suspensions.
In 1825 an effort was made by the Bank of England to curtail the issues
of the country banks under the most favorable circumstances. The paper
currency had been expanded to a ruinous extent, and the bank put forth
all its power to contract it in order to reduce prices and restore the
equilibrium of the foreign exchanges. It accordingly commenced a system
of curtailment of its loans and issues, in the vain hope that the joint
stock and private banks of the Kingdom would be compelled to follow its
example. It found, however, that as it contracted they expanded, and at
the end of the process, to employ the language of a very high official
authority, "whatever reduction of the paper circulation was effected by
the Bank of England (in 1825) was more than made up by the issues of the
country banks."

But a bank of the United States would not, if it could, restrain the
issues and loans of the State banks, because its duty as a regulator
of the currency must often be in direct conflict with the immediate
interest of its stockholders. If we expect one agent to restrain or
control another, their interests must, at least in some degree, be
antagonistic. But the directors of a bank of the United States would
feel the same interest and the same inclination with the directors of
the State banks to expand the currency, to accommodate their favorites
and friends with loans, and to declare large dividends. Such has been
our experience in regard to the last bank.

After all, we must mainly rely upon the patriotism and wisdom of the
States for the prevention and redress of the evil. If they will afford
us a real specie basis for our paper circulation by increasing the
denomination of bank notes, first to twenty and afterwards to fifty
dollars; if they will require that the banks shall at all times keep on
hand at least one dollar of gold and silver for every three dollars
of their circulation and deposits, and if they will provide by a
self-executing enactment, which nothing can arrest, that the moment they
suspend they shall go into liquidation, I believe that such provisions,
with a weekly publication by each bank of a statement of its condition,
would go far to secure us against future suspensions of specie payments.

Congress, in my opinion, possess the power to pass a uniform bankrupt
law applicable to all banking institutions throughout the United
States, and I strongly recommend its exercise. This would make it the
irreversible organic law of each bank's existence that a suspension
of specie payments shall produce its civil death. The instinct of
self-preservation would then compel it to perform its duties in such
a manner as to escape the penalty and preserve its life.

The existence of banks and the circulation of bank paper are so
identified with the habits of our people that they can not at this day
be suddenly abolished without much immediate injury to the country.
If we could confine them to their appropriate sphere and prevent them
from administering to the spirit of wild and reckless speculation by
extravagant loans and issues, they might be continued with advantage
to the public.

But this I say, after long and much reflection: If experience shall
prove it to be impossible to enjoy the facilities which well-regulated
banks might afford without at the same time suffering the calamities
which the excesses of the banks have hitherto inflicted upon the
country, it would then be far the lesser evil to deprive them altogether
of the power to issue a paper currency and confine them to the functions
of banks of deposit and discount.

Our relations with foreign governments are upon the whole in a
satisfactory condition.

The diplomatic difficulties which existed between the Government of the
United States and that of Great Britain at the adjournment of the last
Congress have been happily terminated by the appointment of a British
minister to this country, who has been cordially received.

Whilst it is greatly to the interest, as I am convinced it is the
sincere desire, of the Governments and people of the two countries to
be on terms of intimate friendship with each other, it has been our
misfortune almost always to have had some irritating, if not dangerous,
outstanding question with Great Britain.

Since the origin of the Government we have been employed in negotiating
treaties with that power, and afterwards in discussing their true intent
and meaning. In this respect the convention of April 19, 1850, commonly
called the Clayton and Bulwer treaty, has been the most unfortunate
of all, because the two Governments place directly opposite and
contradictory constructions upon its first and most important article.
Whilst in the United States we believed that this treaty would place
both powers upon an exact equality by the stipulation that neither will
ever "occupy, or fortify, or colonize, or assume, or exercise any
dominion" over any part of Central America, it is contended by the
British Government that the true construction of this language has left
them in the rightful possession of all that portion of Central America
which was in their occupancy at the date of the treaty; in fact, that
the treaty is a virtual recognition on the part of the United States of
the right of Great Britain, either as owner or protector, to the whole
extensive coast of Central America, sweeping round from the Rio Hondo to
the port and harbor of San Juan de Nicaragua, together with the adjacent
Bay Islands, except the comparatively small portion of this between the
Sarstoon and Cape Honduras. According to their construction, the treaty
does no more than simply prohibit them from extending their possessions
in Central America beyond the present limits. It is not too much to
assert that if in the United States the treaty had been considered
susceptible of such a construction it never would have been negotiated
under the authority of the President, nor would it have received the
approbation of the Senate. The universal conviction in the United States
was that when our Government consented to violate its traditional and
time-honored policy and to stipulate with a foreign government never to
occupy or acquire territory in the Central American portion of our own
continent, the consideration for this sacrifice was that Great Britain
should, in this respect at least, be placed in the same position with
ourselves. Whilst we have no right to doubt the sincerity of the British
Government in their construction of the treaty, it is at the same time
my deliberate conviction that this construction is in opposition both
to its letter and its spirit.

Under the late Administration negotiations were instituted between
the two Governments for the purpose, if possible, of removing these
difficulties, and a treaty having this laudable object in view was
signed at London on the 17th October, 1856, and was submitted by the
President to the Senate on the following 10th of December. Whether
this treaty, either in its original or amended form, would have
accomplished the object intended without giving birth to new and
embarrassing complications between the two Governments, may perhaps
be well questioned. Certain it is, however, it was rendered much less
objectionable by the different amendments made to it by the Senate. The
treaty as amended was ratified by me on the 12th March, 1857, and was
transmitted to London for ratification by the British Government. That
Government expressed its willingness to concur in all the amendments
made by the Senate with the single exception of the clause relating to
Ruatan and the other islands in the Bay of Honduras. The article in the
original treaty as submitted to the Senate, after reciting that these
islands and their inhabitants "having been, by a convention bearing date
the 27th day of August, 1856, between Her Britannic Majesty and the
Republic of Honduras, constituted and declared a free territory under
the sovereignty of the said Republic of Honduras," stipulated that
"the two contracting parties do hereby mutually engage to recognize
and respect in all future time the independence and rights of the said
free territory as a part of the Republic of Honduras."

Upon an examination of this convention between Great Britain and
Honduras of the 27th August, 1856, it was found that whilst declaring
the Bay Islands to be "a free territory under the sovereignty of the
Republic of Honduras" it deprived that Republic of rights without which
its sovereignty over them could scarcely be said to exist. It divided
them from the remainder of Honduras and gave to their inhabitants a
separate government of their own, with legislative, executive, and
judicial officers elected by themselves. It deprived the Government of
Honduras of the taxing power in every form and exempted the people of
the islands from the performance of military duty except for their
own exclusive defense. It also prohibited that Republic from erecting
fortifications upon them for their protection, thus leaving them open
to invasion from any quarter; and, finally, it provided "that slavery
shall not at any time hereafter be permitted to exist therein."

Had Honduras ratified this convention, she would have ratified the
establishment of a state substantially independent within her own
limits, and a state at all times subject to British influence and
control. Moreover, had the United States ratified the treaty with Great
Britain in its original form, we should have been bound "to recognize
and respect in all future time" these stipulations to the prejudice of
Honduras. Being in direct opposition to the spirit and meaning of the
Clayton and Bulwer treaty as understood in the United States, the Senate
rejected the entire clause, and substituted in its stead a simple
recognition of the sovereign right of Honduras to these islands in
the following language:

  The two contracting parties do hereby mutually engage to recognize and
  respect the islands of Ruatan, Bonaco, Utila, Barbaretta, Helena, and
  Morat, situate in the Bay of Honduras and off the coast of the Republic
  of Honduras, as under the sovereignty and as part of the said Republic
  of Honduras.


Great Britain rejected this amendment, assigning as the only reason that
the ratifications of the convention of the 27th August, 1856, between
her and Honduras had not been "exchanged, owing to the hesitation of
that Government." Had this been done, it is stated that "Her Majesty's
Government would have had little difficulty in agreeing to the
modification proposed by the Senate, which then would have had in effect
the same signification as the original wording." Whether this would have
been the effect, whether the mere circumstance of the exchange of the
ratifications of the British convention with Honduras prior in point
of time to the ratification of our treaty with Great Britain would "in
effect" have had "the same signification as the original wording," and
thus have nullified the amendment of the Senate, may well be doubted.
It is, perhaps, fortunate that the question has never arisen.

The British Government, immediately after rejecting the treaty as
amended, proposed to enter into a new treaty with the United States,
similar in all respects to the treaty which they had just refused to
ratify, if the United States would consent to add to the Senate's clear
and unqualified recognition of the sovereignty of Honduras over the Bay
Islands the following conditional stipulation:

  Whenever and so soon as the Republic of Honduras shall have concluded
  and ratified a treaty with Great Britain by which Great Britain shall
  have ceded and the Republic of Honduras shall have accepted the said
  islands, subject to the provisions and conditions contained in such
  treaty.

This proposition was, of course, rejected. After the Senate had refused
to recognize the British convention with Honduras of the 27th August,
1856, with full knowledge of its contents, it was impossible for me,
necessarily ignorant of "the provisions and conditions" which might be
contained in a future convention between the same parties, to sanction
them in advance.

The fact is that when two nations like Great Britain and the United
States, mutually desirous, as they are, and I trust ever may be,
of maintaining the most friendly relations with each other, have
unfortunately concluded a treaty which they understand in senses
directly opposite, the wisest course is to abrogate such a treaty by
mutual consent and to commence anew. Had this been done promptly,
all difficulties in Central America would most probably ere this have
been adjusted to the satisfaction of both parties. The time spent in
discussing the meaning of the Clayton and Bulwer treaty would have been
devoted to this praiseworthy purpose, and the task would have been the
more easily accomplished because the interest of the two countries in
Central America is identical, being confined to securing safe transits
over all the routes across the Isthmus.

Whilst entertaining these sentiments, I shall, nevertheless, not refuse
to contribute to any reasonable adjustment of the Central American
questions which is not practically inconsistent with the American
interpretation of the treaty. Overtures for this purpose have been
recently made by the British Government in a friendly spirit, which I
cordially reciprocate, but whether this renewed effort will result in
success I am not yet prepared to express an opinion. A brief period will
determine.

With France our ancient relations of friendship still continue to exist.
The French Government have in several recent instances, which need not
be enumerated, evinced a spirit of good will and kindness toward our
country, which I heartily reciprocate. It is, notwithstanding, much to
be regretted that two nations whose productions are of such a character
as to invite the most extensive exchanges and freest commercial
intercourse should continue to enforce ancient and obsolete restrictions
of trade against each other. Our commercial treaty with France is in
this respect an exception from our treaties with all other commercial
nations. It jealously levies discriminating duties both on tonnage and
on articles the growth, produce, or manufacture of the one country when
arriving in vessels belonging to the other.

More than forty years ago, on the 3d March, 1815, Congress passed an act
offering to all nations to admit their vessels laden with their national
productions into the ports of the United States upon the same terms
with our own vessels provided they would reciprocate to us similar
advantages. This act confined the reciprocity to the productions of
the respective foreign nations who might enter into the proposed
arrangement with the United States. The act of May 24, 1828, removed
this restriction and offered a similar reciprocity to all such vessels
without reference to the origin of their cargoes. Upon these principles
our commercial treaties and arrangements have been founded, except with
France, and let us hope that this exception may not long exist.

Our relations with Russia remain, as they have ever been, on the most
friendly footing. The present Emperor, as well as his predecessors, have
never failed when the occasion offered to manifest their good will to
our country, and their friendship has always been highly appreciated by
the Government and people of the United States.

With all other European Governments, except that of Spain, our relations
are as peaceful as we could desire. I regret to say that no progress
whatever has been made since the adjournment of Congress toward the
settlement of any of the numerous claims of our citizens against the
Spanish Government. Besides, the outrage committed on our flag by the
Spanish war frigate _Ferrolana_ on the high seas off the coast of
Cuba in March, 1855, by firing into the American mail steamer _El
Dorado_ and detaining and searching her, remains unacknowledged and
unredressed. The general tone and temper of the Spanish Government
toward that of the United States are much to be regretted. Our present
envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Madrid has asked to
be recalled, and it is my purpose to send out a new minister to Spain
with special instructions on all questions pending between the two
Governments, and with a determination to have them speedily and amicably
adjusted if this be possible. In the meantime, whenever our minister
urges the just claims of our citizens on the notice of the Spanish
Government he is met with the objection that Congress has never made the
appropriation recommended by President Polk in his annual message of
December, 1847, "to be paid to the Spanish Government for the purpose of
distribution among the claimants in the _Amistad_ case." A similar
recommendation was made by my immediate predecessor in his message of
December, 1853, and entirely concurring with both in the opinion that
this indemnity is justly due under the treaty with Spain of the 27th
of October, 1795, I earnestly recommend such an appropriation to the
favorable consideration of Congress.

A treaty of friendship and commerce was concluded at Constantinople
on the 13th December, 1856, between the United States and Persia, the
ratifications of which were exchanged at Constantinople on the 13th
June, 1857, and the treaty was proclaimed by the President on the 18th
August, 1857. This treaty, it is believed, will prove beneficial to
American commerce. The Shah has manifested an earnest disposition to
cultivate friendly relations with our country, and has expressed a
strong wish that we should be represented at Teheran by a minister
plenipotentiary; and I recommend that an appropriation be made for
this purpose.

Recent occurrences in China have been unfavorable to a revision of the
treaty with that Empire of the 3d July, 1844, with a view to the
security and extension of our commerce. The twenty-fourth article of
this treaty stipulated for a revision of it in case experience should
prove this to be requisite, "in which case the two Governments will, at
the expiration of twelve years from the date of said convention, treat,
amicably concerning the same by means of suitable persons appointed to
conduct such negotiations." These twelve years expired on the 3d July,
1856, but long before that period it was ascertained that important
changes in the treaty were necessary, and several fruitless attempts
were made by the commissioner of the United States to effect these
changes. Another effort was about to be made for the same purpose by our
commissioner in conjunction with the ministers of England and France,
but this was suspended by the occurrence of hostilities in the Canton
River between Great Britain and the Chinese Empire. These hostilities
have necessarily interrupted the trade of all nations with Canton, which
is now in a state of blockade, and have occasioned a serious loss of
life and property. Meanwhile the insurrection within the Empire against
the existing imperial dynasty still continues, and it is difficult to
anticipate what will be the result.

Under these circumstances I have deemed it advisable to appoint a
distinguished citizen of Pennsylvania envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary to proceed to China and to avail himself of any
opportunities which may offer to effect changes in the existing treaty
favorable to American commerce. He left the United States for the place
of his destination in July last in the war steamer _Minnesota_. Special
ministers to China have also been appointed by the Governments of Great
Britain and France.

Whilst our minister has been instructed to occupy a neutral position
in reference to the existing hostilities at Canton, he will cordially
cooperate with the British and French ministers in all peaceful measures
to secure by treaty stipulations those just concessions to commerce
which the nations of the world have a right to expect and which China
can not long be permitted to withhold. From assurances received I
entertain no doubt that the three ministers will act in harmonious
concert to obtain similar commercial treaties for each of the powers
they represent.

We can not fail to feel a deep interest in all that concerns the welfare
of the independent Republics on our own continent, as well as of the
Empire of Brazil.

Our difficulties with New Granada, which a short time since bore so
threatening an aspect, are, it is to be hoped, in a fair train of
settlement in a manner just and honorable to both parties.

The isthmus of Central America, including that of Panama, is the great
highway between the Atlantic and Pacific over which a large portion of
the commerce of the world is destined to pass. The United States are
more deeply interested than any other nation in preserving the freedom
and security of all the communications across this isthmus. It is our
duty, therefore, to take care that they shall not be interrupted either
by invasions from our own country or by wars between the independent
States of Central America. Under our treaty with New Granada of the 12th
December, 1846, we are bound to guarantee the neutrality of the Isthmus
of Panama, through which the Panama Railroad passes, "as well as the
rights of sovereignty and property which New Granada has and possesses
over the said territory." This obligation is founded upon equivalents
granted by the treaty to the Government and people of the United States.

Under these circumstances I recommend to Congress the passage of an act
authorizing the President, in case of necessity, to employ the land and
naval forces of the United States to carry into effect this guaranty of
neutrality and protection. I also recommend similar legislation for the
security of any other route across the Isthmus in which we may acquire
an interest by treaty.

With the independent Republics on this continent it is both our duty and
our interest to cultivate the most friendly relations. We can never feel
indifferent to their fate, and must always rejoice in their prosperity.
Unfortunately both for them and for us, our example and advice have lost
much of their influence in consequence of the lawless expeditions which
have been fitted out against some of them within the limits of our
country. Nothing is better calculated to retard our steady material
progress or impair our character as a nation than the toleration of
such enterprises in violation of the law of nations.

It is one of the first and highest duties of any independent state
in its relations with the members of the great family of nations to
restrain its people from acts of hostile aggression against their
citizens or subjects. The most eminent writers on public law do not
hesitate to denounce such hostile acts as robbery and murder.

Weak and feeble states like those of Central America may not feel
themselves able to assert and vindicate their rights. The case would be
far different if expeditions were set on foot within our own territories
to make private war against a powerful nation. If such expeditions
were fitted out from abroad against any portion of our own country,
to burn down our cities, murder and plunder our people, and usurp our
Government, we should call any power on earth to the strictest account
for not preventing such enormities.

Ever since the Administration of General Washington acts of Congress
have been enforced to punish severely the crime of setting on foot a
military expedition within the limits of the United States to proceed
from thence against a nation or state with whom we are at peace. The
present neutrality act of April 20, 1818, is but little more than
a collection of preexisting laws. Under this act the President is
empowered to employ the land and naval forces and the militia "for
the purpose of preventing the carrying on of any such expedition or
enterprise from the territories and jurisdiction of the United States,"
and the collectors of customs are authorized and required to detain any
vessel in port when there is reason to believe she is about to take part
in such lawless enterprises.

When it was first rendered probable that an attempt would be made to get
up another unlawful expedition against Nicaragua, the Secretary of State
issued instructions to the marshals and district attorneys, which were
directed by the Secretaries of War and the Navy to the appropriate army
and navy officers, requiring them to be vigilant and to use their best
exertions in carrying into effect the provisions of the act of 1818.
Notwithstanding these precautions, the expedition has escaped from our
shores. Such enterprises can do no possible good to the country, but
have already inflicted much injury both on its interests and its
character. They have prevented peaceful emigration from the United
States to the States of Central America, which could not fail to prove
highly beneficial to all the parties concerned. In a pecuniary point of
view alone our citizens have sustained heavy losses from the seizure and
closing of the transit route by the San Juan between the two oceans.

The leader of the recent expedition was arrested at New Orleans, but
was discharged on giving bail for his appearance in the insufficient
sum of $2,000.

I commend the whole subject to the serious attention of Congress,
believing that our duty and our interest, as well as our national
character, require that we should adopt such measures as will be
effectual in restraining our citizens from committing such outrages.

I regret to inform you that the President of Paraguay has refused to
ratify the treaty between the United States and that State as amended by
the Senate, the signature of which was mentioned in the message of my
predecessor to Congress at the opening of its session in December, 1853.
The reasons assigned for this refusal will appear in the correspondence
herewith submitted.

It being desirable to ascertain the fitness of the river La Plata and
its tributaries for navigation by steam, the United States steamer
_Water Witch_ was sent thither for that purpose in 1853. This enterprise
was successfully carried on until February, 1855, when, whilst in the
peaceful prosecution of her voyage up the Parana River, the steamer
was fired upon by a Paraguayan fort. The fire was returned, but as
the _Water Witch_ was of small force and not designed for offensive
operations, she retired from the conflict. The pretext upon which the
attack was made was a decree of the President of Paraguay of October,
1854, prohibiting foreign vessels of war from navigating the rivers of
that State. As Paraguay, however, was the owner of but one bank of the
river of that name, the other belonging to Corientes, a State of the
Argentine Confederation, the right of its Government to expect that such
a decree would be obeyed can not be acknowledged. But the _Water Witch_
was not, properly speaking, a vessel of war. She was a small steamer
engaged in a scientific enterprise intended for the advantage of
commercial states generally. Under these circumstances I am constrained
to consider the attack upon her as unjustifiable and as calling for
satisfaction from the Paraguayan Government.

Citizens of the United States also who were established in business in
Paraguay have had their property seized and taken from them, and have
otherwise been treated by the authorities in an insulting and arbitrary
manner, which requires redress.

A demand for these purposes will be made in a firm but conciliatory
spirit. This will the more probably be granted if the Executive shall
have authority to use other means in the event of a refusal. This is
accordingly recommended.

It is unnecessary to state in detail the alarming condition of the
Territory of Kansas at the time of my inauguration. The opposing parties
then stood in hostile array against each other, and any accident might
have relighted the flames of civil war. Besides, at this critical moment
Kansas was left without a governor by the resignation of Governor Geary.

On the 19th of February previous the Territorial legislature had passed
a law providing for the election of delegates on the third Monday of
June to a convention to meet on the first Monday of September for the
purpose of framing a constitution preparatory to admission into the
Union. This law was in the main fair and just, and it is to be regretted
that all the qualified electors had not registered themselves and voted
under its provisions.

At the time of the election for delegates an extensive organization
existed in the Territory whose avowed object it was, if need be, to put
down the lawful government by force and to establish a government of
their own under the so-called Topeka constitution. The persons attached
to this revolutionary organization abstained from taking any part in the
election.

The act of the Territorial legislature had omitted to provide for
submitting to the people the constitution which might be framed by the
convention, and in the excited state of public feeling throughout Kansas
an apprehension extensively prevailed that a design existed to force
upon them a constitution in relation to slavery against their will.
In this emergency it became my duty, as it was my unquestionable
right, having in view the union of all good citizens in support of the
Territorial laws, to express an opinion on the true construction of the
provisions concerning slavery contained in the organic act of Congress
of the 30th May, 1854. Congress declared it to be "the true intent and
meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into any Territory or
State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof
perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their
own way." Under it Kansas, "when admitted as a State," was to "be
received into the Union with or without slavery, as their constitution
may prescribe at the time of their admission."

Did Congress mean by this language that the delegates elected to frame
a constitution should have authority finally to decide the question of
slavery, or did they intend by leaving it to the people that the people
of Kansas themselves should decide this question by a direct vote? On
this subject I confess I had never entertained a serious doubt, and
therefore in my instructions to Governor Walker of the 28th March last
I merely said that when "a constitution shall be submitted to the people
of the Territory they must be protected in the exercise of their right
of voting for or against that instrument, and the fair expression of the
popular will must not be interrupted by fraud or violence."

In expressing this opinion it was far from my intention to interfere
with the decision of the people of Kansas, either for or against
slavery. From this I have always carefully abstained. Intrusted with the
duty of taking "care that the laws be faithfully executed," my only
desire was that the people of Kansas should furnish to Congress the
evidence required by the organic act, whether for or against slavery,
and in this manner smooth their passage into the Union. In emerging from
the condition of Territorial dependence into that of a sovereign State
it was their duty, in my opinion, to make known their will by the votes
of the majority on the direct question whether this important domestic
institution should or should not continue to exist. Indeed, this was
the only possible mode in which their will could be authentically
ascertained.

The election of delegates to a convention must necessarily take place in
separate districts. From this cause it may readily happen, as has often
been the case, that a majority of the people of a State or Territory are
on one side of a question, whilst a majority of the representatives from
the several districts into which it is divided may be upon the other
side. This arises from the fact that in some districts delegates may
be elected by small majorities, whilst in others those of different
sentiments may receive majorities sufficiently great not only to
overcome the votes given for the former, but to leave a large majority
of the whole people in direct opposition to a majority of the delegates.
Besides, our history proves that influences may be brought to bear on
the representative sufficiently powerful to induce him to disregard the
will of his constituents. The truth is that no other authentic and
satisfactory mode exists of ascertaining the will of a majority of the
people of any State or Territory on an important and exciting question
like that of slavery in Kansas except by leaving it to a direct vote.
How wise, then, was it for Congress to pass over all subordinate and
intermediate agencies and proceed directly to the source of all
legitimate power under our institutions!

How vain would any other principle prove in practice! This may be
illustrated by the case of Kansas. Should she be admitted into the Union
with a constitution either maintaining or abolishing slavery against
the sentiment of the people, this could have no other effect than to
continue and to exasperate the existing agitation during the brief
period required to make the constitution conform to the irresistible
will of the majority.

The friends and supporters of the Nebraska and Kansas act, when
struggling on a recent occasion to sustain its wise provisions before
the great tribunal of the American people, never differed about its true
meaning on this subject. Everywhere throughout the Union they publicly
pledged their faith and their honor that they would cheerfully submit
the question of slavery to the decision of the _bona fide_ people of
Kansas, without any restriction or qualification whatever. All were
cordially united upon the great doctrine of popular sovereignty, which
is the vital principle of our free institutions. Had it then been
insinuated from any quarter that it would be a sufficient compliance
with the requisitions of the organic law for the members of a convention
thereafter to be elected to withhold the question of slavery from
the people and to substitute their own will for that of a legally
ascertained majority of all their constituents, this would have been
instantly rejected. Everywhere they remained true to the resolution
adopted on a celebrated occasion recognizing "the right of the people of
all the Territories, including Kansas and Nebraska, acting through the
legally and fairly expressed will of a majority of actual residents,
and whenever the number of their inhabitants justifies it, to form a
constitution with or without slavery and be admitted into the Union upon
terms of perfect equality with the other States."

The convention to frame a constitution for Kansas met on the first
Monday of September last. They were called together by virtue of an
act of the Territorial legislature, whose lawful existence had been
recognized by Congress in different forms and by different enactments.
A large proportion of the citizens of Kansas did not think proper to
register their names and to vote at the election for delegates; but an
opportunity to do this having been fairly afforded, their refusal to
avail themselves of their right could in no manner affect the legality
of the convention.

This convention proceeded to frame a constitution for Kansas, and
finally adjourned on the 7th day of November. But little difficulty
occurred in the convention except on the subject of slavery. The truth
is that the general provisions of our recent State constitutions are
so similar and, I may add, so excellent that the difference between
them is not essential. Under the earlier practice of the Government no
constitution framed by the convention of a Territory preparatory to its
admission into the Union as a State had been submitted to the people.
I trust, however, the example set by the last Congress, requiring that
the constitution of Minnesota "should be subject to the approval and
ratification of the people of the proposed State," may be followed on
future occasions. I took it for granted that the convention of Kansas
would act in accordance with this example, founded, as it is, on correct
principles, and hence my instructions to Governor Walker in favor of
submitting the constitution to the people were expressed in general and
unqualified terms.

In the Kansas-Nebraska act, however, this requirement, as applicable to
the whole constitution, had not been inserted, and the convention were
not bound by its terms to submit any other portion of the instrument to
an election except that which relates to the "domestic institution"
of slavery. This will be rendered clear by a simple reference to its
language. It was "not to legislate slavery into any Territory or State,
nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly
free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way."
According to the plain construction of the sentence, the words "domestic
institutions" have a direct, as they have an appropriate, reference to
slavery. "Domestic institutions" are limited to the family The relation
between master and slave and a few others are "domestic institutions,"
and are entirely distinct from institutions of a political character.
Besides, there was no question then before Congress, nor, indeed, has
there since been any serious question before the people of Kansas or
the country, except that which relates to the "domestic institution"
of slavery.

The convention, after an angry and excited debate, finally determined,
by a majority of only two, to submit the question of slavery to the
people, though at the last forty-three of the fifty delegates present
affixed their signatures to the constitution.

A large majority of the convention were in favor of establishing slavery
in Kansas. They accordingly inserted an article in the constitution for
this purpose similar in form to those which had been adopted by other
Territorial conventions. In the schedule, however, providing for the
transition from a Territorial to a State government the question has
been fairly and explicitly referred to the people whether they will have
a constitution "with or without slavery." It declares that before the
constitution adopted by the convention "shall be sent to Congress for
admission into the Union as a State" an election shall be held to decide
this question, at which all the white male inhabitants of the Territory
above the age of 21 are entitled to vote. They are to vote by ballot,
and "the ballots cast at said election shall be indorsed 'constitution
with slavery' and 'constitution with no slavery.'" If there be a
majority in favor of the "constitution with slavery," then it is to
be transmitted to Congress by the president of the convention in its
original form; if, on the contrary, there shall be a majority in favor
of the "constitution with no slavery," "then the article providing for
slavery shall be stricken from the constitution by the president of this
convention;" and it is expressly declared that "no slavery shall exist
in the State of Kansas, except that the right of property in slaves now
in the Territory shall in no manner be interfered with;" and in that
event it is made his duty to have the constitution thus ratified
transmitted to the Congress of the United States for the admission of
the State into the Union.

At this election every citizen will have an opportunity of expressing
his opinion by his vote "whether Kansas shall be received into the
Union with or without slavery," and thus this exciting question may be
peacefully settled in the very mode required by the organic law. The
election will be held under legitimate authority, and if any portion of
the inhabitants shall refuse to vote, a fair opportunity to do so having
been presented, this will be their own voluntary act and they alone will
be responsible for the consequences.

Whether Kansas shall be a free or a slave State must eventually, under
some authority, be decided by an election; and the question can never
be more clearly or distinctly presented to the people than it is at the
present moment. Should this opportunity be rejected she may be involved
for years in domestic discord, and possibly in civil war, before she can
again make up the issue now so fortunately tendered and again reach the
point she has already attained.

Kansas has for some years occupied too much of the public attention.
It is high time this should be directed to far more important objects.
When once admitted into the Union, whether with or without slavery, the
excitement beyond her own limits will speedily pass away, and she will
then for the first time be left, as she ought to have been long since,
to manage her own affairs in her own way. If her constitution on the
subject of slavery or on any other subject be displeasing to a majority
of the people, no human power can prevent them from changing it within
a brief period. Under these circumstances it may well be questioned
whether the peace and quiet of the whole country are not of greater
importance than the mere temporary triumph of either of the political
parties in Kansas.

Should the constitution without slavery be adopted by the votes of the
majority, the rights of property in slaves now in the Territory are
reserved. The number of these is very small, but if it were greater the
provision would be equally just and reasonable. The slaves were brought
into the Territory under the Constitution of the United States and are
now the property of their masters. This point has at length been finally
decided by the highest judicial tribunal of the country, and this upon
the plain principle that when a confederacy of sovereign States acquire
a new territory at their joint expense both equality and justice demand
that the citizens of one and all of them shall have the right to take
into it whatsoever is recognized as property by the common Constitution.
To have summarily confiscated the property in slaves already in the
Territory would have been an act of gross injustice and contrary to the
practice of the older States of the Union which have abolished slavery.

A Territorial government was established for Utah by act of Congress
approved the 9th September, 1850, and the Constitution and laws of the
United States were thereby extended over it "so far as the same or any
provisions thereof may be applicable." This act provided for the
appointment by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate, of a governor (who was to be _ex officio_ superintendent of
Indian affairs), a secretary, three judges of the supreme court, a
marshal, and a district attorney. Subsequent acts provided for the
appointment of the officers necessary to extend our land and our Indian
system over the Territory. Brigham Young was appointed the first
governor on the 20th September, 1850, and has held the office ever
since. Whilst Governor Young has been both governor and superintendent
of Indian affairs throughout this period, he has been at the same time
the head of the church called the Latter-day Saints, and professes to
govern its members and dispose of their property by direct inspiration
and authority from the Almighty. His power has been, therefore, absolute
over both church and state.

The people of Utah almost exclusively belong to this church, and
believing with a fanatical spirit that he is governor of the Territory
by divine appointment, they obey his commands as if these were direct
revelations from Heaven. If, therefore, he chooses that his government
shall come into collision with the Government of the United States, the
members of the Mormon Church will yield implicit obedience to his will.
Unfortunately, existing facts leave but little doubt that such is his
determination. Without entering upon a minute history of occurrences,
it is sufficient to say that all the officers of the United States,
judicial and executive, with the single exception of two Indian agents,
have found it necessary for their own personal safety to withdraw from
the Territory, and there no longer remains any government in Utah but
the despotism of Brigham Young. This being the condition of affairs in
the Territory, I could not mistake the path of duty. As Chief Executive
Magistrate I was bound to restore the supremacy of the Constitution and
laws within its limits. In order to effect this purpose, I appointed a
new governor and other Federal officers for Utah and sent with them a
military force for their protection and to aid as a _posse comitatus_
in case of need in the execution of the laws.

With the religious opinions of the Mormons, as long as they remained
mere opinions, however deplorable in themselves and revolting to the
moral and religious sentiments of all Christendom, I had no right to
interfere. Actions alone, when in violation of the Constitution and
laws of the United States, become the legitimate subjects for the
jurisdiction of the civil magistrate. My instructions to Governor
Cumming have therefore been framed in strict accordance with these
principles. At their date a hope was indulged that no necessity might
exist for employing the military in restoring and maintaining the
authority of the law, but this hope has now vanished. Governor Young has
by proclamation declared his determination to maintain his power by
force, and has already committed acts of hostility against the United
States. Unless he should retrace his steps the Territory of Utah will be
in a state of open rebellion. He has committed these acts of hostility
notwithstanding Major Van Vliet, an officer of the Army, sent to Utah
by the Commanding General to purchase provisions for the troops, had
given him the strongest assurances of the peaceful intentions of the
Government, and that the troops would only be employed as a _posse
comitatus_ when called on by the civil authority to aid in the execution
of the laws.

There is reason to believe that Governor Young has long contemplated
this result. He knows that the continuance of his despotic power depends
upon the exclusion of all settlers from the Territory except those who
will acknowledge his divine mission and implicitly obey his will,
and that an enlightened public opinion there would soon prostrate
institutions at war with the laws both of God and man. He has therefore
for several years, in order to maintain his independence, been
industriously employed in collecting and fabricating arms and munitions
of war and in disciplining the Mormons for military service. As
superintendent of Indian affairs he has had an opportunity of tampering
with the Indian tribes and exciting their hostile feelings against the
United States. This, according to our information, he has accomplished
in regard to some of these tribes, while others have remained true to
their allegiance and have communicated his intrigues to our Indian
agents. He has laid in a store of provisions for three years, which
in case of necessity, as he informed Major Van Vliet, he will conceal,
"and then take to the mountains and bid defiance to all the powers of
the Government."

A great part of all this may be idle boasting, but yet no wise
government will lightly estimate the efforts which may be inspired by
such frenzied fanaticism as exists among the Mormons in Utah. This is
the first rebellion which has existed in our Territories, and humanity
itself requires that we should put it down in such a manner that it
shall be the last. To trifle with it would be to encourage it and to
render it formidable. We ought to go there with such an imposing force
as to convince these deluded people that resistance would be vain,
and thus spare the effusion of blood. We can in this manner best
convince them that we are their friends, not their enemies. In order to
accomplish this object it will be necessary, according to the estimate
of the War Department, to raise four additional regiments; and this I
earnestly recommend to Congress. At the present moment of depression in
the revenues of the country I am sorry to be obliged to recommend such a
measure; but I feel confident of the support of Congress, cost what it
may, in suppressing the insurrection and in restoring and maintaining
the sovereignty of the Constitution and laws over the Territory of Utah.

I recommend to Congress the establishment of a Territorial government
over Arizona, incorporating with it such portions of New Mexico as they
may deem expedient. I need scarcely adduce arguments in support of this
recommendation. We are bound to protect the lives and the property of
our citizens inhabiting Arizona, and these are now without any efficient
protection. Their present number is already considerable, and is rapidly
increasing, notwithstanding the disadvantages under which they labor.
Besides, the proposed Territory is believed to be rich in mineral and
agricultural resources, especially in silver and copper. The mails of
the United States to California are now carried over it throughout its
whole extent, and this route is known to be the nearest and believed to
be the best to the Pacific.

Long experience has deeply convinced me that a strict construction of
the powers granted to Congress is the only true, as well as the only
safe, theory of the Constitution. Whilst this principle shall guide my
public conduct, I consider it clear that under the war-making power
Congress may appropriate money for the construction of a military road
through the Territories of the United States when this is absolutely
necessary for the defense of any of the States against foreign invasion.
The Constitution has conferred upon Congress power "to declare war," "to
raise and support armies," "to provide and maintain a navy," and to call
forth the militia to "repel invasions." These high sovereign powers
necessarily involve important and responsible public duties, and among
them there is none so sacred and so imperative as that of preserving
our soil from the invasion of a foreign enemy. The Constitution has
therefore left nothing on this point to construction, but expressly
requires that "the United States shall protect each of them [the States]
against invasion." Now if a military road over our own Territories be
indispensably necessary to enable us to meet and repel the invader, it
follows as a necessary consequence not only that we possess the power,
but it is our imperative duty to construct such a road. It would be an
absurdity to invest a government with the unlimited power to make and
conduct war and at the same time deny to it the only means of reaching
and defeating the enemy at the frontier. Without such a road it is quite
evident we can not "protect" California and our Pacific possessions
"against invasion." We can not by any other means transport men and
munitions of war from the Atlantic States in sufficient time successfully
to defend these remote and distant portions of the Republic.

Experience has proved that the routes across the isthmus of Central
America are at best but a very uncertain and unreliable mode of
communication. But even if this were not the case, they would at once
be closed against us in the event of war with a naval power so much
stronger than our own as to enable it to blockade the ports at either
end of these routes. After all, therefore, we can only rely upon a
military road through our own Territories; and ever since the origin
of the Government Congress has been in the practice of appropriating
money from the public Treasury for the construction of such roads.

The difficulties and the expense of constructing a military railroad to
connect our Atlantic and Pacific States have been greatly exaggerated.
The distance on the Arizona route, near the thirty-second parallel of
north latitude, between the western boundary of Texas, on the Rio
Grande, and the eastern boundary of California, on the Colorado, from
the best explorations now within our knowledge, does not exceed 470
miles, and the face of the country is in the main favorable. For obvious
reasons the Government ought not to undertake the work itself by means
of its own agents. This ought to be committed to other agencies, which
Congress might assist, either by grants of land or money, or by both,
upon such terms and conditions as they may deem most beneficial for the
country. Provision might thus be made not only for the safe, rapid, and
economical transportation of troops and munitions of war, but also of
the public mails. The commercial interests of the whole country, both
East and West, would be greatly promoted by such a road, and, above all,
it would be a powerful additional bond of union. And although advantages
of this kind, whether postal, commercial, or political, can not confer
constitutional power, yet they may furnish auxiliary arguments in favor
of expediting a work which, in my judgment, is clearly embraced within
the war-making power.

For these reasons I commend to the friendly consideration of Congress
the subject of the Pacific Railroad, without finally committing myself
to any particular route.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury will furnish a detailed
statement of the condition of the public finances and of the respective
branches of the public service devolved upon that Department of the
Government. By this report it appears that the amount of revenue
received from all sources into the Treasury during the fiscal year
ending the 30th June, 1857, was $68,631,513.67, which amount, with
the balance of $19,901,325.45 remaining in the Treasury at the
commencement of the year, made an aggregate for the service of the
year of $88,532,839.12.

The public expenditures for the fiscal year ending 30th June, 1857,
amounted to $70,822,724.85, of which $5,943,896.91 were applied to the
redemption of the public debt, including interest and premium, leaving
in the Treasury at the commencement of the present fiscal year, on the
1st July, 1857, $17,710,114.27.

The receipts into the Treasury for the first quarter of the present fiscal
year, commencing 1st July, 1857, were $20,929,819.81, and the estimated
receipts of the remaining three quarters to the 30th June, 1858,
are $36,750,000, making, with the balance before stated, an aggregate of
$75,389,934.08 for the service of the present fiscal year.

The actual expenditures during the first quarter of the present fiscal
year were $23,714,528.37, of which $3,895,232.39 were applied to the
redemption of the public debt, including interest and premium. The
probable expenditures of the remaining three quarters to 30th June,
1858, are $51,248,530.04, including interest on the public debt, making
an aggregate of $74,963,058.41, leaving an estimated balance in the
Treasury at the close of the present fiscal year of $426,875.67.

The amount of the public debt at the commencement of the present
fiscal year was $29,060,386.90.

The amount redeemed since the 1st of July was $3,895,232.39, leaving
a balance unredeemed at this time of $25,165,154.51.

The amount of estimated expenditures for the remaining three quarters
of the present fiscal year will in all probability be increased from
the causes set forth in the report of the Secretary. His suggestion,
therefore, that authority should be given to supply any temporary
deficiency by the issue of a limited amount of Treasury notes is
approved, and I accordingly recommend the passage of such a law.

As stated in the report of the Secretary, the tariff of March 3,
1857, has been in operation for so short a period of time and under
circumstances so unfavorable to a just development of its results as
a revenue measure that I should regard it as inexpedient, at least for
the present, to undertake its revision.

I transmit herewith the reports made to me by the Secretaries of War and
of the Navy, of the Interior, and of the Postmaster-General. They all
contain valuable and important information and suggestions, which I
commend to the favorable consideration of Congress.

I have already recommended the raising of four additional regiments, and
the report of the Secretary of War presents strong reasons proving this
increase of the Army under existing circumstances to be indispensable.

I would call the special attention of Congress to the recommendation of
the Secretary of the Navy in favor of the construction of ten small war
steamers of light draft. For some years the Government has been obliged
on many occasions to hire such steamers from individuals to supply its
pressing wants. At the present moment we have no armed vessel in the
Navy which can penetrate the rivers of China. We have but few which can
enter any of the harbors south of Norfolk, although many millions of
foreign and domestic commerce annually pass in and out of these harbors.
Some of our most valuable interests and most vulnerable points are thus
left exposed. This class of vessels of light draft, great speed, and
heavy guns would be formidable in coast defense. The cost of their
construction will not be great and they will require but a comparatively
small expenditure to keep them in commission. In time of peace they will
prove as effective as much larger vessels and more useful, One of them
should be at every station where we maintain a squadron, and three or
four should be constantly employed on our Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
Economy, utility, and efficiency combine to recommend them as almost
indispensable. Ten of these small vessels would be of incalculable
advantage to the naval service, and the whole cost of their construction
would not exceed $2,300,000, or $230,000 each.

The report of the Secretary of the Interior is worthy of grave
consideration. It treats of the numerous important and diversified
branches of domestic administration intrusted to him by law. Among
these the most prominent are the public lands and our relations with
the Indians.

Our system for the disposal of the public lands, originating with the
fathers of the Republic, has been improved as experience pointed the
way, and gradually adapted to the growth and settlement of our Western
States and Territories. It has worked well in practice. Already thirteen
States and seven Territories have been carved out of these lands, and
still more than a thousand millions of acres remain unsold. What a
boundless prospect this presents to our country of future prosperity
and power!

We have heretofore disposed of 363,862,464 acres of the public land.

Whilst the public lands, as a source of revenue, are of great
importance, their importance is far greater as furnishing homes for
a hardy and independent race of honest and industrious citizens who
desire to subdue and cultivate the soil. They ought to be administered
mainly with a view of promoting this wise and benevolent policy. In
appropriating them for any other purpose we ought to use even greater
economy than if they had been converted into money and the proceeds
were already in the public Treasury. To squander away this richest and
noblest inheritance which any people have ever enjoyed upon objects of
doubtful constitutionality or expediency would be to violate one of the
most important trusts ever committed to any people. Whilst I do not deny
to Congress the power, when acting _bona fide_ as a proprietor, to give
away portions of them for the purpose of increasing the value of the
remainder, yet, considering the great temptation to abuse this power,
we can not be too cautious in its exercise.

Actual settlers under existing laws are protected against other
purchasers at the public sales in their right of preemption to the
extent of a quarter section, or 160 acres, of land. The remainder may
then be disposed of at public or entered at private sale in unlimited
quantities.

Speculation has of late years prevailed to a great extent in the public
lands. The consequence has been that large portions of them have become
the property of individuals and companies, and thus the price is greatly
enhanced to those who desire to purchase for actual settlement. In order
to limit the area of speculation as much as possible, the extinction of
the Indian title and the extension of the public surveys ought only to
keep pace with the tide of emigration.

If Congress should hereafter grant alternate sections to States
or companies, as they have done heretofore, I recommend that the
intermediate sections retained by the Government should be subject
to preemption by actual settlers.

It ought ever to be our cardinal policy to reserve the public lands as
much as may be for actual settlers, and this at moderate prices. We
shall thus not only best promote the prosperity of the new States and
Territories and the power of the Union, but shall secure homes for our
posterity for many generations.

The extension of our limits has brought within our jurisdiction many
additional and populous tribes of Indians, a large proportion of which
are wild, untractable, and difficult to control. Predatory and warlike
in their disposition and habits, it is impossible altogether to restrain
them from committing aggressions on each other, as well as upon our
frontier citizens and those emigrating to our distant States and
Territories. Hence expensive military expeditions are frequently
necessary to overawe and chastise the more lawless and hostile.

The present system of making them valuable presents to influence them to
remain at peace has proved ineffectual. It is believed to be the better
policy to colonize them in suitable localities where they can receive
the rudiments of education and be gradually induced to adopt habits of
industry. So far as the experiment has been tried it has worked well
in practice, and it will doubtless prove to be less expensive than the
present system.

The whole number of Indians within our territorial limits is believed
to be, from the best data in the Interior Department, about 325,000.

The tribes of Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Creeks settled in the
Territory set apart for them west of Arkansas are rapidly advancing in
education and in all the arts of civilization and self-government, and
we may indulge the agreeable anticipation that at no very distant day
they will be incorporated into the Union as one of the sovereign States.
It will be seen from the report of the Postmaster-General that the
Post-Office Department still continues to depend on the Treasury, as
it has been compelled to do for several years past, for an important
portion of the means of sustaining and extending its operations. Their
rapid growth and expansion are shown by a decennial statement of the
number of post-offices and the length of post-roads, commencing with the
year 1827. In that year there were 7,000 post-offices; in 1837, 11,177;
in 1847, 15,146, and in 1857 they number 26,586. In this year 1,725
post-offices have been established and 704 discontinued, leaving a
net increase of 1,021. The postmasters of 368 offices are appointed
by the President.

The length of post-roads in 1827 was 105,336 miles; in 1837, 141,242
miles; in 1847, 153,818 miles, and in the year 1857 there are 242,601
miles of post-road, including 22,530 miles of railroad on which the mails
are transported.

The expenditures of the Department for the fiscal year ending on the
30th June, 1857, as adjusted by the Auditor, amounted to $11,507,670.
To defray these expenditures there was to the credit of the Department
on the 1st July, 1856, the sum of $789,599; the gross revenue of the
year, including the annual allowances for the transportation of free
mail matter, produced $8,053,951, and the remainder was supplied by
the appropriation from the Treasury of $2,250,000 granted by the act of
Congress approved August 18, 1856, and by the appropriation of $666,883
made by the act of March 3, 1857, leaving $252,763 to be carried to the
credit of the Department in the accounts of the current year. I commend
to your consideration the report of the Department in relation to the
establishment of the overland mail route from the Mississippi River to
San Francisco, Cal. The route was selected with my full concurrence, as
the one, in my judgment, best calculated to attain the important objects
contemplated by Congress.

The late disastrous monetary revulsion may have one good effect should
it cause both the Government and the people to return to the practice of
a wise and judicious economy both in public and private expenditures.

An overflowing Treasury has led to habits of prodigality and
extravagance in our legislation. It has induced Congress to make large
appropriations to objects for which they never would have provided had
it been necessary to raise the amount of revenue required to meet them
by increased taxation or by loans. We are now compelled to pause in our
career and to scrutinize our expenditures with the utmost vigilance;
and in performing this duty I pledge my cooperation to the extent of
my constitutional competency.

It ought to be observed at the same time that true public economy does
not consist in withholding the means necessary to accomplish important
national objects intrusted to us by the Constitution, and especially
such as may be necessary for the common defense. In the present crisis
of the country it is our duty to confine our appropriations to objects
of this character, unless in cases where justice to individuals may
demand a different course. In all cases care ought to be taken that the
money granted by Congress shall be faithfully and economically applied.

Under the Federal Constitution "every bill which shall have passed the
House of Representatives and the Senate shall, before it become a law."
be approved and signed by the President; and if not approved, "he shall
return it with his objections to that House in which it shall have
originated." In order to perform this high and responsible duty,
sufficient time must be allowed the President to read and examine
every bill presented to him for approval. Unless this be afforded,
the Constitution becomes a dead letter in this particular, and, even
worse, it becomes a means of deception. Our constituents, seeing the
President's approval and signature attached to each act of Congress,
are induced to believe that he has actually performed his duty, when
in truth nothing is in many cases more unfounded.

From the practice of Congress such an examination of each bill as the
Constitution requires has been rendered impossible. The most important
business of each session is generally crowded into its last hours, and
the alternative presented to the President is either to violate the
constitutional duty which he owes to the people and approve bills which
for want of time it is impossible he should have examined, or by his
refusal to do this subject the country and individuals to great loss
and inconvenience. Besides, a practice has grown up of late years to
legislate in appropriation bills at the last hours of the session on new
and important subjects. This practice constrains the President either
to suffer measures to become laws which he does not approve or to
incur the risk of stopping the wheels of the Government by vetoing
an appropriation bill. Formerly such bills were confined to specific
appropriations for carrying into effect existing laws and the
well-established policy of the country, and little time was then
required by the President for their examination.

For my own part, I have deliberately determined that I shall approve no
bills which I have not examined, and it will be a case of extreme and
most urgent necessity which shall ever induce me to depart from this
rule. I therefore respectfully but earnestly recommend that the two
Houses would allow the President at least two days previous to the
adjournment of each session within which no new bill shall be presented
to him for approval. Under the existing joint rule one day is allowed,
but this rule has been hitherto so constantly suspended in practice
that important bills continue to be presented to him up till the very
last moments of the session. In a large majority of cases no great
public inconvenience can arise from the want of time to examine their
provisions, because the Constitution has declared that if a bill be
presented to the President within the last ten days of the session he
is not required to return it, either with an approval or with a veto,
"in which case it shall not be a law." It may then lie over and be taken
up and passed at the next session. Great inconvenience would only be
experienced in regard to appropriation bills, but, fortunately, under
the late excellent law allowing a salary instead of a per diem to
members of Congress the expense and inconvenience of a called session
will be greatly reduced.

I can not conclude without commending to your favorable consideration
the interest of the people of this District. Without a representative on
the floor of Congress, they have for this very reason peculiar claims
upon our just regard. To this I know, from my long acquaintance with
them, they are eminently entitled.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



SPECIAL MESSAGES.


WASHINGTON, _December 8, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Herewith I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention between the United States and His Majesty
the King of Denmark for the discontinuance of the Sound dues, signed in
this city on the 11th day of April last.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1857_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:


I transmit a copy of a letter of the 30th of May last from the
commissioner of the United States in China, and of the decree and
regulation which accompanied it, for such revision thereof as Congress
may deem expedient, pursuant to the sixth section of the act approved
the 11th of August, 1848.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 17, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention for the mutual delivery of criminals
fugitives from justice in certain cases, and for other purposes,
concluded at The Hague on the 21st day of August last, between the
United States and His Majesty the King of the Netherlands. The
instrument in this form embodies the Senate's amendments of the 16th of
February last to the convention between the same parties of the 29th of
May, 1856, and is in fact a mere copy of that instrument as amended by
the Senate. Pursuant to the usual course in such cases, the Senate's
amendments were not included in the text of the United States exchange
copy of the convention, but appeared in the act of ratification only.
As the Dutch Government objected to this, it is now proposed to
substitute the new convention herewith submitted.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 22, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to resolutions of the Senate of the 16th and 18th instant,
requesting correspondence and documents relative to the Territory of
Kansas, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the papers
by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 23, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a communication, dated on the 22d
instant, with the accompanying papers, received from the Department of
State, in compliance with a resolution adopted by the Senate on the
17th instant, requesting the President, if compatible with the public
interest, to communicate to that body copies of any correspondence which
may have taken place between the Department of State and the British and
French ministers on the subject of claims for losses alleged to have
been sustained by subjects of Great Britain and France at the
bombardment of Greytown.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 29, 1857_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Herewith I transmit a report of the Secretary of State, with
accompanying documents,[1] in compliance with the resolution of the
Senate of the 18th instant.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 1: Correspondence with the minister of Bremen relative to
claims for losses alleged to have been sustained by subjects of the
Hanse towns at the bombardment of Greytown.]



WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1858_.

_To the Senate_:

I transmit herewith, for the constitutional action of the Senate, a
treaty recently concluded with the Pawnee Indians, with accompanying
papers.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 6, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 28th of February
last, requesting a communication of all the correspondence of John
W. Geary, late governor of the Territory of Kansas, not heretofore
communicated to Congress, I transmit a report from the Secretary of
State and the documents by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 6, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 18th of last month,
requesting certain information relative to the Territory of Kansas, I
transmit a report of the Secretary of State and the documents by which
it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 6, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I nominate Alexander W. Reynolds, late of the Quartermaster's Department
of the Army, to be assistant quartermaster with the rank of captain, to
date from August 5, 1847, and to take place on the Army Register next
below Captain S. Van Vliet, agreeably to the recommendation of the
Secretary of War.

JAMES BUCHANAN



WAR DEPARTMENT, _January 6, 1858_.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

SIR: Under date of October 9, 1855, Captain A.W. Reynolds, assistant
quartermaster, was dismissed from the public service in virtue of the
third section of the act approved January 31, 1823.

Shortly afterwards suit was brought in the United States district court
for the eastern district of Pennsylvania for the purpose of recovering
the amounts alleged to be due the United States from Captain Reynolds,
and which were stated at $126,307.20. At the suggestion of the United
States district attorney, and with the consent of the Secretary of the
Treasury, the matter was referred for a full and careful reexamination
to three gentlemen, of whom one is understood to have been an
experienced clerk of the Treasury Department of the United States.
The verdict of the referees, fully concurred in by the United States
district attorney, subsequently confirmed by a jury, and according to
which judgment was rendered by the court, is that the United States are,
on the contrary, indebted to Captain Reynolds in the sum of $130.63.

In addition to this high judicial award in Captain Reynolds's favor,
numerous petitions have been received--from the district attorney, from
the referees who examined the case, from his brother officers of the
Army--all testifying to their assured belief in his perfect integrity,
no less than in his high character as a gentleman and a soldier, and
earnestly requesting of the President of the United States that he would
be pleased to reinstate him in the position which he formerly held in
the Quartermaster's Department of the Army.

Among the last description of petitions are many of the highest
officers, in rank as well as reputation, who served with Captain
Reynolds in New Mexico, the theater of his difficulties, and they
respectfully urge their conviction that were the President "cognizant,"
as many of them declare themselves to be, of the circumstances "under
which Captain Reynolds was made responsible for public property over
which he had no control," that he could feel no hesitation about
restoring him to the service.

In view of all which facts I have the honor to submit his case for your
consideration, and respectfully recommend that he be nominated for
restoration to his original rank and place in the Army.

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

JOHN B. FLOYD,

_Secretary of War_.



WASHINGTON, _January 7, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, in answer to
the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 4th instant,
requesting to be informed if any complaint had been made against our
Government by the Government of Nicaragua on account of the recent
arrest of William Walker and his followers by Captain Paulding within
the territory of that Republic.

JAMES BUCHANAN



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 7, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of the
Navy, with the accompanying documents, containing the information called
for by the resolution of the Senate of the 4th instant, requesting me
"to communicate to the Senate the correspondence, instructions, and
orders to the United States naval forces on the coast of Central America
connected with the arrest of William Walker and his associates," etc.

In submitting to the Senate the papers for which they have called I deem
it proper to make a few observations.

In capturing General Walker and his command after they had landed on
the soil of Nicaragua Commodore Paulding has, in my opinion, committed
a grave error. It is quite evident, however, from the communications
herewith transmitted that this was done from pure and patriotic motives
and in the sincere conviction that he was promoting the interest and
vindicating the honor of his country. In regard to Nicaragua, she has
sustained no injury by the act of Commodore Paulding. This has inured to
her benefit and relieved her from a dreaded invasion. She alone would
have any right to complain of the violation of her territory, and it is
quite certain she will never exercise this right. It unquestionably does
not lie in the mouth of her invaders to complain in her name that she
has been rescued by Commodore Paulding from their assaults. The error of
this gallant officer consists in exceeding his instructions and landing
his sailors and marines in Nicaragua, whether with or without her
consent, for the purpose of making war upon any military force whatever
which he might find in the country, no matter from whence they came.
This power certainly did not belong to him. Obedience to law and
conformity to instructions are the best and safest guides for all
officers, civil and military, and when they transcend these limits and
act upon their own personal responsibility evil consequences almost
inevitably follow.

Under these circumstances, when Marshal Rynders presented himself at the
State Department on the 29th ultimo with General Walker in custody, the
Secretary informed him "that the executive department of the Government
did not recognize General Walker as a prisoner, that it had no
directions to give concerning him, and that it is only through the
action of the judiciary that he could be lawfully held in custody to
answer any charges that might be brought against him."

In thus far disapproving the conduct of Commodore Paulding no inference
must be drawn that I am less determined than I have ever been to execute
the neutrality laws of the United States. This is my imperative
duty, and I shall continue to perform it by all the means which the
Constitution and the laws have placed in my power. My opinion of the
value and importance of these laws corresponds entirely with that
expressed by Mr. Monroe in his message to Congress of December 7, 1819.
That wise, prudent, and patriotic statesman says:

  It is of the highest importance to our national character and
  indispensable to the morality of our citizens that all violations of
  our neutrality should be prevented. No door should be left open for the
  evasion of our laws, no opportunity afforded to any who may be disposed
  to take advantage of it to compromit the interest or the honor of the
  nation.


The crime of setting on foot or providing the means for a military
expedition within the United States to make war against a foreign state
with which we are at peace is one of an aggravated and dangerous
character, and early engaged the attention of Congress. Whether
the executive government possesses any, or what, power under the
Constitution, independently of Congress, to prevent or punish this
and similar offenses against the law of nations was a subject which
engaged the attention of our most eminent statesmen in the time of the
Administration of General Washington and on the occasion of the French
Revolution. The act of Congress of the 5th of June, 1794, fortunately
removed all the difficulties on this question which had theretofore
existed. The fifth and seventh sections of this act, which relate to the
present question, are the same in substance with the sixth and eighth
sections of the act of April 20, 1818, and have now been in force for
a period more than sixty years.

The military expedition rendered criminal by the act must have its
origin, must "begin" or be "set on foot," in the United States; but the
great object of the law was to save foreign states with whom we were at
peace from the ravages of these lawless expeditions proceeding from our
shores. The seventh section alone, therefore, which simply defines the
crime and its punishment, would have been inadequate to accomplish this
purpose and enforce our international duties. In order to render the
law effectual it was necessary to prevent "the carrying on" of such
expeditions to their consummation after they had succeeded in leaving
our shores. This has been done effectually and in clear and explicit
language by the authority given to the President under the eighth
section of the act to employ the land and naval forces of the United
States "for the purpose of preventing the carrying on of any such
expedition or enterprise from the territories or jurisdiction of the
United States against the territories or dominions of any foreign prince
or state or of any colony, district, or people with whom the United
States are at peace."

For these reasons, had Commodore Paulding intercepted the steamer
_Fashion_, with General Walker and his command on board, at any period
before they entered the port of San Juan de Nicaragua and conducted them
back to Mobile, this would have prevented them from "carrying on" the
expedition and have been not only a justifiable but a praiseworthy act.

The crime well deserves the punishment inflicted upon it by our laws. It
violates the principles of Christianity, morality, and humanity, held
sacred by all civilized nations and by none more than by the people of
the United States. Disguise it as we may, such a military expedition is
an invitation to reckless and lawless men to enlist under the banner of
any adventurer to rob, plunder, and murder the unoffending citizens of
neighboring states, who have never done them harm. It is a usurpation
of the war-making power, which belongs alone to Congress; and the
Government itself, at least in the estimation of the world, becomes
an accomplice in the commission of this crime unless it adopts all
the means necessary to prevent and to punish it.

It would be far better and more in accordance with the bold and manly
character of our countrymen for the Government itself to get up
such expeditions than to allow them to proceed under the command of
irresponsible adventurers. We could then at least exercise some control
over our own agents and prevent them from burning down cities and
committing other acts of enormity of which we have read.

The avowed principle which lies at the foundation of the law of nations
is contained in the divine command that "all things whatsoever ye would
that men should do to you do ye even so to them." Tried by this unerring
rule, we should be severely condemned if we shall not use our best
exertions to arrest such expeditions against our feeble sister Republic
of Nicaragua. One thing is very certain, that a people never existed
who would call any other nation to a stricter account than we should
ourselves for tolerating lawless expeditions from their shores to make
war upon any portion of our territories. By tolerating such expeditions
we shall soon lose the high character which we have enjoyed ever since
the days of Washington for the faithful performance of our international
obligations and duties, and inspire distrust against us among the
members of the great family of civilized nations.

But if motives of duty were not sufficient to restrain us from engaging
in such lawless enterprises, our evident interest ought to dictate this
policy. These expeditions are the most effectual mode of retarding
American progress, although to promote this is the avowed object of the
leaders and contributors in such undertakings.

It is beyond question the destiny of our race to spread themselves over
the continent of North America, and this at no distant day should events
be permitted to take their natural course. The tide of emigrants will
flow to the south, and nothing can eventually arrest its progress. If
permitted to go there peacefully, Central America will soon contain an
American population which will confer blessings and benefits as well
upon the natives as their respective Governments. Liberty under the
restraint of law will preserve domestic peace, whilst the different
transit routes across the Isthmus, in which we are so deeply interested,
will have assured protection.

Nothing has retarded this happy condition of affairs so much as the
unlawful expeditions which have been fitted out in the United States to
make war upon the Central American States. Had one-half the number of
American citizens who have miserably perished in the first disastrous
expedition of General Walker settled in Nicaragua as peaceful emigrants,
the object which we all desire would ere this have been in a great
degree accomplished. These expeditions have caused the people of the
Central American States to regard us with dread and suspicion. It is our
true policy to remove this apprehension and to convince them that we
intend to do them good, and not evil. We desire, as the leading power on
this continent, to open and, if need be, to protect every transit route
across the Isthmus, not only for our own benefit, but that of the world,
and thus open a free access to Central America, and through it to our
Pacific possessions. This policy was commenced under favorable auspices
when the expedition under the command of General Walker escaped from our
territories and proceeded to Punta Arenas. Should another expedition
of a similar character again evade the vigilance of our officers and
proceed to Nicaragua, this would be fatal, at least for a season, to the
peaceful settlement of these countries and to the policy of American
progress. The truth is that no Administration can successfully conduct
the foreign affairs of the country in Central America or anywhere else
if it is to be interfered with at every step by lawless military
expeditions "set on foot" in the United States.

JAMES BUCHANAN



WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1858_.

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

I have received from Samuel Medary, governor of the Territory of
Minnesota, a copy of the constitution of Minnesota, "together with an
abstract of the votes polled for and against said constitution" at the
election held in that Territory on the second Tuesday of October last,
certified by the governor in due form, which I now lay before Congress
in the manner prescribed by that instrument.

Having received but a single copy of the constitution, I transmit this
to the Senate.

JAMES BUCHANAN



WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives the reports of
the Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, of the Navy, and of the
Attorney-General, with the accompanying documents, containing the
information called for by the resolution of the House of the 4th
instant, concerning "the late seizure of General William Walker and
his followers in Nicaragua," etc.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention between the United States and the Republic of
Peru, signed on the 4th July last at Lima by the plenipotentiaries of
the contracting parties, with regard to the interpretation to be given
to article 12 of the treaty of the 26th July, 1851.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

JANUARY 12, 1858.



WASHINGTON, _January 14, 1858_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress a copy of a convention between the United States
and His Majesty the King of Denmark, for the discontinuance of the Sound
dues, the ratifications of which were exchanged in this city on the
12th instant, and recommend that an appropriation be made to enable the
Executive seasonably to carry into effect the stipulations in regard to
the sums payable to His Danish Majesty's Government.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 27, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 7th instant,
requesting information on the subject of contracts made in Europe for
inland-passage tickets for intending emigrants to the United States,
I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by
which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 28, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of the Interior, under date of the 27th instant, with the
accompanying papers, in compliance with a resolution adopted by the
House on the 18th instant, requesting the President to communicate to
that body "whether the census of the Territory of Minnesota has been
taken in accordance with the provisions of the fourth section of the
act of Congress providing for the admission of Minnesota as a State,
approved February 26, 1857, and if said census has been taken and
returned to him or any Department of the Government to communicate the
same to this House, and if the said census has not been so taken and
returned to state the reasons, if any exist to his knowledge, why it
has not been done."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 2, 1858_.

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

I have received from J. Calhoun, esq., president of the late
constitutional convention of Kansas, a copy, duly certified by himself,
of the constitution framed by that body, with the expression of a hope
that I would submit the same to the consideration of Congress "with the
view of the admission of Kansas into the Union as an independent State."
In compliance with this request, I herewith transmit to Congress, for
their action, the constitution of Kansas, with the ordinance respecting
the public lands, as well as the letter of Mr. Calhoun, dated at
Lecompton on the 14th ultimo, by which they were accompanied. Having
received but a single copy of the constitution and ordinance, I send
this to the Senate.

A great delusion seems to pervade the public mind in relation to the
condition of parties in Kansas. This arises from the difficulty of
inducing the American people to realize the fact that any portion of
them should be in a state of rebellion against the government under
which they live. When we speak of the affairs of Kansas, we are apt to
refer merely to the existence of two violent political parties in that
Territory, divided on the question of slavery, just as we speak of such
parties in the States. This presents no adequate idea of the true state
of the case. The dividing line there is not between two political
parties, both acknowledging the lawful existence of the government,
but between those who are loyal to this government and those who have
endeavored to destroy its existence by force and by usurpation--between
those who sustain and those who have done all in their power to
overthrow the Territorial government established by Congress. This
government they would long since have subverted had it not been
protected from their assaults by the troops of the United States. Such
has been the condition of affairs since my inauguration. Ever since
that period a large portion of the people of Kansas have been in a state
of rebellion against the government, with a military leader at their
head of a most turbulent and dangerous character. They have never
acknowledged, but have constantly renounced and defied, the government
to which they owe allegiance, and have been all the time in a state
of resistance against its authority. They have all the time been
endeavoring to subvert it and to establish a revolutionary government,
under the so-called Topeka constitution, in its stead. Even at this very
moment the Topeka legislature are in session. Whoever has read the
correspondence of Governor Walker with the State Department, recently
communicated to the Senate, will be convinced that this picture is not
overdrawn. He always protested against the withdrawal of any portion of
the military force of the United States from the Territory, deeming
its presence absolutely necessary for the preservation of the regular
government and the execution of the laws. In his very first dispatch
to the Secretary of State, dated June 2, 1857, he says:

  The most alarming movement, however, proceeds from the assembling on
  the 9th June of the so-called Topeka legislature, with a view to the
  enactment of an entire code of laws. Of course it will be my endeavor
  to prevent such a result, as it would lead to inevitable and disastrous
  collision, and, in fact, renew the civil war in Kansas.


This was with difficulty prevented by the efforts of Governor Walker;
but soon thereafter, on the 14th of July, we find him requesting General
Harney to furnish him a regiment of dragoons to proceed to the city
of Lawrence; and this for the reason that he had received authentic
intelligence, verified by his own actual observation, that a dangerous
rebellion had occurred, "involving an open defiance of the laws and
the establishment of an insurgent government in that city."

In the governor's dispatch of July 15 he informs the Secretary of
State that--

  This movement at Lawrence was the beginning of a plan, originating
  in that city, to organize insurrection throughout the Territory,
  and especially in all towns, cities, or counties where the Republican
  party have a majority. Lawrence is the hotbed of all the abolition
  movements in this Territory. It is the town established by the
  abolition societies of the East, and whilst there are respectable
  people there, it is filled by a considerable number of mercenaries who
  are paid by abolition societies to perpetuate and diffuse agitation
  throughout Kansas and prevent a peaceful settlement of this question.
  Having failed in inducing their own so-called Topeka State legislature
  to organize this insurrection, Lawrence has commenced it herself, and
  if not arrested the rebellion will extend throughout the Territory.


And again:

  In order to send this communication immediately by mail, I must close
  by assuring you that the spirit of rebellion pervades the great mass
  of the Republican party of this Territory, instigated, as I entertain
  no doubt they are, by Eastern societies, having in view results most
  disastrous to the government and to the Union; and that the continued
  presence of General Harney here is indispensable, as originally
  stipulated by me, with a large body of dragoons and several batteries.


On the 20th July, 1857, General Lane, under the authority of the Topeka
convention, undertook, as Governor Walker informs us--

  to organize the whole so-called Free-State party into volunteers and
  to take the names of all who refuse enrollment. The professed object
  is to protect the polls, at the election in August, of the new
  insurgent Topeka State legislature.

       *       *       *       *       *

  The object of taking the names of all who refuse enrollment is to
  terrify the Free-State conservatives into submission. This is proved
  by recent atrocities committed on such men by Topekaites. The speedy
  location of large bodies of regular troops here, with two batteries,
  is necessary. The Lawrence insurgents await the development of this
  new revolutionary military organization....


In the governor's dispatch of July 27 he says that "General Lane and his
staff everywhere deny the authority of the Territorial laws and counsel
a total disregard of these enactments."

Without making further quotations of a similar character from other
dispatches of Governor Walker, it appears by a reference to Mr.
Stanton's communication to General Cass of the 9th of December last that
the "important step of calling the legislature together was taken after
I [he] had become satisfied that the election ordered by the convention
on the 21st instant could not be conducted without collision and
bloodshed." So intense was the disloyal feeling among the enemies of the
government established by Congress that an election which afforded them
an opportunity, if in the majority, of making Kansas a free State,
according to their own professed desire, could not be conducted without
collision and bloodshed.

The truth is that up till the present moment the enemies of the
existing government still adhere to their Topeka revolutionary
constitution and government. The very first paragraph of the message
of Governor Robinson, dated on the 7th of December, to the Topeka
legislature now assembled at Lawrence contains an open defiance of
the Constitution and laws of the United States. The governor says:

  The convention which framed the constitution at Topeka originated
  with the people of Kansas Territory. They have adopted and ratified
  the same twice by a direct vote, and also indirectly through two
  elections of State officers and members of the State legislature.
  Yet it has pleased the Administration to regard the whole proceeding
  revolutionary.


This Topeka government, adhered to with such treasonable pertinacity, is
a government in direct opposition to the existing government prescribed
and recognized by Congress. It is a usurpation of the same character as
it would be for a portion of the people of any State of the Union to
undertake to establish a separate government within its limits for
the purpose of redressing any grievance, real or imaginary, of which
they might complain against the legitimate State government. Such a
principle, if carried into execution, would destroy all lawful authority
and produce universal anarchy.

From this statement of facts the reason becomes palpable why the enemies
of the government authorized by Congress have refused to vote for
delegates to the Kansas constitutional convention, and also afterwards
on the question of slavery, submitted by it to the people. It is because
they have ever refused to sanction or recognize any other constitution
than that framed at Topeka.

Had the whole Lecompton constitution been submitted to the people the
adherents of this organization would doubtless have voted against it,
because if successful they would thus have removed an obstacle out of
the way of their own revolutionary constitution. They would have done
this, not upon a consideration of the merits of the whole or any part of
the Lecompton constitution, but simply because they have ever resisted
the authority of the government authorized by Congress, from which it
emanated.

Such being the unfortunate condition of affairs in the Territory, what
was the right as well as the duty of the law-abiding people? Were they
silently and patiently to submit to the Topeka usurpation, or adopt the
necessary measures to establish a constitution under the authority of
the organic law of Congress?

That this law recognized the right of the people of the Territory,
without any enabling act from Congress, to form a State constitution
is too clear for argument. For Congress "to leave the people of the
Territory perfectly free," in framing their constitution, "to form and
regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to
the Constitution of the United States," and then to say that they shall
not be permitted to proceed and frame a constitution in their own way
without an express authority from Congress, appears to be almost a
contradiction in terms. It would be much more plausible to contend
that Congress had no power to pass such an enabling act than to argue
that the people of a Territory might be kept out of the Union for an
indefinite period, and until it might please Congress to permit them
to exercise the right of self-government. This would be to adopt not
"their own way," but the way which Congress might prescribe.

It is impossible that any people could have proceeded with more
regularity in the formation of a constitution than the people of Kansas
have done. It was necessary, first, to ascertain whether it was the
desire of the people to be relieved from their Territorial dependence
and establish a State government. For this purpose the Territorial
legislature in 1855 passed a law "for taking the sense of the people
of this Territory upon the expediency of calling a convention to form
a State constitution," at the general election to be held in October,
1856. The "sense of the people" was accordingly taken and they decided
in favor of a convention. It is true that at this election the enemies
of the Territorial government did not vote, because they were then
engaged at Topeka, without the slightest pretext of lawful authority,
in framing a constitution of their own for the purpose of subverting
the Territorial government.

In pursuance of this decision of the people in favor of a convention,
the Territorial legislature, on the 27th day of February, 1857, passed
an act for the election of delegates on the third Monday of June, 1857,
to frame a State constitution. This law is as fair in its provisions as
any that ever passed a legislative body for a similar purpose. The right
of suffrage at this election is clearly and justly defined. "Every _bona
fide_ inhabitant of the Territory of Kansas," on the third Monday of
June, the day of the election, who was a citizen of the United States
above the age of 21, and had resided therein for three months previous
to that date, was entitled to vote. In order to avoid all interference
from neighboring States or Territories with the freedom and fairness of
the election, provision was made for the registry of the qualified
voters, and in pursuance thereof 9,251 voters were registered. Governor
Walker did his whole duty in urging all the qualified citizens of Kansas
to vote at this election. In his inaugural address, on the 27th May
last, he informed them that--


  Under our practice the preliminary act of framing a State constitution
  is uniformly performed through the instrumentality of a convention of
  delegates chosen by the people themselves. That convention is now about
  to be elected by you under the call of the Territorial legislature,
  created and still recognized by the authority of Congress and clothed
  by it, in the comprehensive language of the organic law, with full
  power to make such an enactment. The Territorial legislature, then,
  in assembling this convention, were fully sustained by the act of
  Congress, and the authority of the convention is distinctly recognized
  in my instructions from the President of the United States.


The governor also clearly and distinctly warns them what would be the
consequences if they should not participate in the election.

  The people of Kansas, then [he says], are invited by the highest
  authority known to the Constitution to participate freely and fairly
  in the election of delegates to frame a constitution and State
  government. The law has performed its entire appropriate function
  when it extends to the people the right of suffrage, but it can not
  compel the performance of that duty. Throughout our whole Union,
  however, and wherever free government prevails those who abstain from
  the exercise of the right of suffrage authorize those who do vote to
  act for them in that contingency; and the absentees are as much bound
  under the law and Constitution, where there is no fraud or violence,
  by the act of the majority of those who do vote as if all had
  participated in the election. Otherwise, as voting must be voluntary,
  self-government would be impracticable and monarchy or despotism would
  remain as the only alternative.


It may also be observed that at this period any hope, if such had
existed, that the Topeka constitution would ever be recognized by
Congress must have been abandoned. Congress had adjourned on the 3d
March previous, having recognized the legal existence of the Territorial
legislature in a variety of forms, which I need not enumerate. Indeed,
the Delegate elected to the House of Representatives under a Territorial
law had been admitted to his seat and had just completed his term of
service on the day previous to my inauguration.

This was the propitious moment for settling all difficulties in Kansas.
This was the time for abandoning the revolutionary Topeka organization
and for the enemies of the existing government to conform to the laws
and to unite with its friends in framing a State constitution; but this
they refused to do, and the consequences of their refusal to submit to
lawful authority and vote at the election of delegates may yet prove
to be of a most deplorable character. Would that the respect for the
laws of the land which so eminently distinguished the men of the past
generation could be revived. It is a disregard and violation of law
which have for years kept the Territory of Kansas in a state of almost
open rebellion against its government. It is the same spirit which has
produced actual rebellion in Utah. Our only safety consists in obedience
and conformity to law. Should a general spirit against its enforcement
prevail, this will prove fatal to us as a nation. We acknowledge no
master but the law, and should we cut loose from its restraints and
everyone do what seemeth good in his own eyes our case will indeed be
hopeless.

The enemies of the Territorial government determined still to resist
the authority of Congress. They refused to vote for delegates to the
convention, not because, from circumstances which I need not detail,
there was an omission to register the comparatively few voters who were
inhabitants of certain counties of Kansas in the early spring of 1857,
but because they had predetermined at all hazards to adhere to their
revolutionary organization and defeat the establishment of any other
constitution than that which they had framed at Topeka. The election was
therefore suffered to pass by default. But of this result the qualified
electors who refused to vote can never justly complain.

From this review it is manifest that the Lecompton convention, according
to every principle of constitutional law, was legally constituted and
was invested with power to frame a constitution.

The sacred principle of popular sovereignty has been invoked in favor
of the enemies of law and order in Kansas. But in what manner is
popular sovereignty to be exercised in this country if not through
the instrumentality of established law? In certain small republics
of ancient times the people did assemble in primary meetings, passed
laws, and directed public affairs. In our country this is manifestly
impossible. Popular sovereignty can be exercised here only through the
ballot box; and if the people will refuse to exercise it in this manner,
as they have done in Kansas at the election of delegates, it is not for
them to complain that their rights have been violated.

The Kansas convention, thus lawfully constituted, proceeded to frame a
constitution, and, having completed their work, finally adjourned on the
7th day of November last. They did not think proper to submit the whole
of this constitution to a popular vote, but they did submit the question
whether Kansas should be a free or a slave State to the people. This was
the question which had convulsed the Union and shaken it to its very
center. This was the question which had lighted up the flames of civil
war in Kansas and had produced dangerous sectional parties throughout
the Confederacy. It was of a character so paramount in respect to the
condition of Kansas as to rivet the anxious attention of the people of
the whole country upon it, and it alone. No person thought of any other
question. For my own part, when I instructed Governor Walker in general
terms in favor of submitting the constitution to the people, I had no
object in view except the all-absorbing question of slavery. In what
manner the people of Kansas might regulate their other concerns was not
a subject which attracted any attention. In fact, the general provisions
of our recent State constitutions, after an experience of eight years,
are so similar and so excellent that it would be difficult to go far
wrong at the present day in framing a new constitution.

I then believed and still believe that under the organic act the Kansas
convention were bound to submit this all-important question of slavery
to the people. It was never, however, my opinion that, independently
of this act, they would have been bound to submit any portion of the
constitution to a popular vote in order to give it validity. Had I
entertained such an opinion, this would have been in opposition to
many precedents in our history, commencing in the very best age of
the Republic. It would have been in opposition to the principle which
pervades our institutions, and which is every day carried out into
practice, that the people have the right to delegate to representatives
chosen by themselves their sovereign power to frame constitutions, enact
laws, and perform many other important acts without requiring that these
should be subjected to their subsequent approbation. It would be a most
inconvenient limitation of their own power, imposed by the people upon
themselves, to exclude them from exercising their sovereignty in any
lawful manner they think proper. It is true that the people of Kansas
might, if they had pleased, have required the convention to submit the
constitution to a popular vote; but this they have not done. The only
remedy, therefore, in this case is that which exists in all other
similar cases. If the delegates who framed the Kansas constitution have
in any manner violated the will of their constituents, the people always
possess the power to change their constitution or their laws according
to their own pleasure.

The question of slavery was submitted to an election of the people of
Kansas on the 21st December last, in obedience to the mandate of the
constitution. Here again a fair opportunity was presented to the
adherents of the Topeka constitution, if they were the majority, to
decide this exciting question "in their own way" and thus restore peace
to the distracted Territory; but they again refused to exercise their
right of popular sovereignty, and again suffered the election to pass
by default.

I heartily rejoice that a wiser and better spirit prevailed among a
large majority of these people on the first Monday of January, and that
they did on that day vote under the Lecompton constitution for a
governor and other State officers, a Member of Congress, and for members
of the legislature. This election was warmly contested by the parties,
and a larger vote was polled than at any previous election in the
Territory. We may now reasonably hope that the revolutionary Topeka
organization will be speedily and finally abandoned, and this will go
far toward the final settlement of the unhappy differences in Kansas.
If frauds have been committed at this election, either by one or both
parties, the legislature and the people of Kansas, under their
constitution, will know how to redress themselves and punish these
detestable but too common crimes without any outside interference.

The people of Kansas have, then, "in their own way" and in strict
accordance with the organic act, framed a constitution and State
government, have submitted the all-important question of slavery to the
people, and have elected a governor, a Member to represent them in
Congress, members of the State legislature, and other State officers.
They now ask admission into the Union under this constitution, which is
republican in its form. It is for Congress to decide whether they will
admit or reject the State which has thus been created. For my own
part, I am decidedly in favor of its admission, and thus terminating
the Kansas question. This will carry out the great principle of
nonintervention recognized and sanctioned by the organic act, which
declares in express language in favor of "nonintervention by Congress
with slavery in the States or Territories," leaving "the people thereof
perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their
own way, subject only to the Constitution of the United States." In this
manner, by localizing the question of slavery and confining it to the
people whom it immediately concerned, every patriot anxiously expected
that this question would be banished from the halls of Congress, where
it has always exerted a baneful influence throughout the whole country.

It is proper that I should briefly refer to the election held under
an act of the Territorial legislature on the first Monday of January
last on the Lecompton constitution. This election was held after the
Territory had been prepared for admission into the Union as a sovereign
State, and when no authority existed in the Territorial legislature
which could possibly destroy its existence or change its character.
The election, which was peaceably conducted under my instructions,
involved a strange inconsistency. A large majority of the persons who
voted against the Lecompton constitution were at the very same time and
place recognizing its valid existence in the most solemn and authentic
manner by voting under its provisions. I have yet received no official
information of the result of this election.

As a question of expediency, after the right has been maintained, it may
be wise to reflect upon the benefits to Kansas and to the whole country
which would result from its immediate admission into the Union, as well
as the disasters which may follow its rejection. Domestic peace will
be the happy consequence of its admission, and that fine Territory,
which has hitherto been torn by dissensions, will rapidly increase
in population and wealth and speedily realize the blessings and the
comforts which follow in the train of agricultural and mechanical
industry. The people will then be sovereign and can regulate their own
affairs in their own way. If a majority of them desire to abolish
domestic slavery within the State, there is no other possible mode by
which this can be effected so speedily as by prompt admission. The will
of the majority is supreme and irresistible when expressed in an orderly
and lawful manner. They can make and unmake constitutions at pleasure.
It would be absurd to say that they can impose fetters upon their own
power which they can not afterwards remove. If they could do this, they
might tie their own hands for a hundred as well as for ten years. These
are fundamental principles of American freedom, and are recognized,
I believe, in some form or other by every State constitution; and if
Congress, in the act of admission, should think proper to recognize
them I can perceive no objection to such a course. This has been done
emphatically in the constitution of Kansas. It declares in the bill
of rights that "all political power is inherent in the people and all
free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for
their benefit, and therefore they have at all times an inalienable and
indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish their form of government
in such manner as they may think proper." The great State of New York is
at this moment governed under a constitution framed and established in
direct opposition to the mode prescribed by the previous constitution.
If, therefore, the provision changing the Kansas constitution after the
year 1864 could by possibility be construed into a prohibition to make
such a change previous to that period, this prohibition would be wholly
unavailing. The legislature already elected may at its very first
session submit the question to a vote of the people whether they will
or will not have a convention to amend their constitution and adopt
all necessary means for giving effect to the popular will.

It has been solemnly adjudged by the highest judicial tribunal known to
our laws that slavery exists in Kansas by virtue of the Constitution of
the United States. Kansas is therefore at this moment as much a slave
State as Georgia or South Carolina. Without this the equality of the
sovereign States composing the Union would be violated and the use and
enjoyment of a territory acquired by the common treasure of all the
States would be closed against the people and the property of nearly
half the members of the Confederacy. Slavery can therefore never be
prohibited in Kansas except by means of a constitutional provision, and
in no other manner can this be obtained so promptly, if a majority of
the people desire it, as by admitting it into the Union under its
present constitution.

On the other hand, should Congress reject the constitution under the
idea of affording the disaffected in Kansas a third opportunity of
prohibiting slavery in the State, which they might have done twice
before if in the majority, no man can foretell the consequences.

If Congress, for the sake of those men who refused to vote for delegates
to the convention when they might have excluded slavery from the
constitution, and who afterwards refused to vote on the 21st December
last, when they might, as they claim, have stricken slavery from the
constitution, should now reject the State because slavery remains in the
constitution, it is manifest that the agitation upon this dangerous
subject will be renewed in a more alarming form than it has ever yet
assumed.

Every patriot in the country had indulged the hope that the Kansas and
Nebraska act would put a final end to the slavery agitation, at least in
Congress, which had for more than twenty years convulsed the country
and endangered the Union. This act involved great and fundamental
principles, and if fairly carried into effect will settle the question.
Should the agitation be again revived, should the people of the sister
States be again estranged from each other with more than their former
bitterness, this will arise from a cause, so far as the interests of
Kansas are concerned, more trifling and insignificant than has ever
stirred the elements of a great people into commotion. To the people of
Kansas the only practical difference between admission or rejection
depends simply upon the fact whether they can themselves more speedily
change the present constitution if it does not accord with the will of
the majority, or frame a second constitution to be submitted to Congress
hereafter. Even if this were a question of mere expediency, and not of
right, the small difference of time one way or the other is of not the
least importance when contrasted with the evils which must necessarily
result to the whole country from a revival of the slavery agitation.

In considering this question it should never be forgotten that in
proportion to its insignificance, let the decision be what it may so far
as it may affect the few thousand inhabitants of Kansas who have from
the beginning resisted the constitution and the laws, for this very
reason the rejection of the constitution will be so much the more keenly
felt by the people of fourteen of the States of this Union, where
slavery is recognized under the Constitution of the United States.

Again, the speedy admission of Kansas into the Union would restore peace
and quiet to the whole country. Already the affairs of this Territory
have engrossed an undue proportion of public attention. They have sadly
affected the friendly relations of the people of the States with each
other and alarmed the fears of patriots for the safety of the Union.
Kansas once admitted into the Union, the excitement becomes localized
and will soon die away for want of outside aliment. Then every
difficulty will be settled at the ballot box.

Besides--and this is no trifling consideration--I shall then be enabled
to withdraw the troops of the United States from Kansas and employ them
on branches of service where they are much needed. They have been kept
there, on the earnest importunity of Governor Walker, to maintain the
existence of the Territorial government and secure the execution of
the laws. He considered that at least 2,000 regular troops, under the
command of General Harney, were necessary for this purpose. Acting
upon his reliable information, I have been obliged in some degree to
interfere with the expedition to Utah in order to keep down rebellion in
Kansas. This has involved a very heavy expense to the Government. Kansas
once admitted, it is believed there will no longer be any occasion there
for troops of the United States.

I have thus performed my duty on this important question, under a deep
sense of responsibility to God and my country. My public life will
terminate within a brief period, and I have no other object of earthly
ambition than to leave my country in a peaceful and prosperous condition
and to live in the affections and respect of my countrymen. The dark
and ominous clouds which now appear to be impending over the Union
I conscientiously believe may be dissipated with honor to every portion
of it by the admission of Kansas during the present session of Congress,
whereas if she should be rejected I greatly fear these clouds will
become darker and more ominous than any which have ever yet threatened
the Constitution and the Union.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention for the purpose of further regulating the
intercourse of American citizens within the Empire of Japan, signed at
Simoda on the 17th day of June last by Townsend Harris, consul-general
of the United States, and by the governors of Simoda, empowered for that
purpose by their respective Governments.

FEBRUARY 10, 1858.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 11, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, an additional article to the extradition convention
between the United States and France of the 9th of November, 1843, and
the additional article thereto of the 24th February, 1845, signed in
this city yesterday by the Secretary of State and the minister of His
Imperial Majesty the Emperor of the French.

JAMES BUCHANAN



WASHINGTON, _February 12, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with the
accompanying documents, in reply to the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 18th ultimo, requesting to be furnished with
official information and correspondence in relation to the execution
of Colonel Crabb and his associates within or near the limits of the
Republic of Mexico.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _February 26, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives the reports
of the Secretaries of State, of War, of the Interior, and of the
Attorney-General, containing the information called for by a resolution
of the House of the 27th ultimo, requesting "the President, if not
incompatible with the public interest, to communicate to the House
of Representatives the information which gave rise to the military
expeditions ordered to Utah Territory, the instructions to the army
officers in connection with the same, and all correspondence which
has taken place with said army officers, with Brigham Young and his
followers, or with others throwing light upon the question as to how
far said Brigham Young and his followers are in a state of rebellion
or resistance to the Government of the United States."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 2, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of the
Navy, dated on the 24th instant [ultimo], furnishing the information
called for by a resolution of the Senate adopted on the 16th instant
[ultimo], requesting me "to inform the Senate in executive session
on what evidence the nominees for the Marine Corps are stated to be
taken from the States as designated in his message communicating the
nominations of January 13."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _March 4, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives communications from
the Secretary of War and Secretary of the Interior, in answer to the
resolution adopted by the House on the 5th ultimo, requesting the
President to furnish certain information in relation to the number of
troops, whether regulars, volunteers, drafted men, or militia, who were
engaged in the service of the United States in the last war with Great
Britain, etc.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 9, 1858_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Attorney-General, with accompanying
papers, dated March 1, 1858, detailing proceedings under the act
approved March 3, 1855, entitled "An act to improve the laws of the
District of Columbia and to codify the same."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 23, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
26th of January, requesting the President to communicate to the House
"so much of the correspondence between the late Secretary of War and
Major-General John E. Wool, late commander of the Pacific Department,
relative to the affairs of such department, as has not heretofore been
published under a call of this House," I herewith transmit all the
correspondence called for so far as is afforded by the files of the
War Department.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 7, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I submit to the Senate, for its consideration and constitutional action,
a treaty made with the Tonawanda Indians, of New York, on the 5th of
November, 1857, with the accompanying papers from the Department of the
Interior.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 9, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a memorial addressed to
myself by a committee appointed by the citizens of that portion of
the Territory of Utah which is situated west of the Goose Creek range
of mountains, commonly known as "Carsons Valley," in favor of the
establishment of a Territorial government over them, and containing
the request that I should communicate it to Congress. I have received
but one copy of this memorial, which I transmit to the House upon the
suggestion of James M. Crane, esq., the Delegate elect of the people
of the proposed new Territory, for the reason, as he alleges, that
the subject is now under consideration before the Committee on the
Territories of that body.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 20, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers,[2] in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 5th instant.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 2: Instructions to William B. Reed, United States commissioner
to China.]



WASHINGTON, _April 21, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit the reports of the Secretary of State and the Secretary
of the Navy, with accompanying papers,[3] in answer to the resolution
of the Senate of the 19th of January last.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 3: Relating to the African slave trade and to movements of
the French Government to establish a colony in the possessions of that
Government from the coast of Africa.]



WASHINGTON, _April 28, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, in answer to the
resolution of the Senate of the 24th ultimo, requesting information
relative to the seizure in the Valley of Sitana, in Peru, by authorities
of Chile of a sum of money belonging to citizens of the United States.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May 1, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 24th ultimo, I
herewith transmit a report of the Secretary of State, with accompanying
documents.[4]

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 4: Relating to outrages committed against the family of Walter
Dickson, an American citizen residing at Jaffa, Palestine.]



WASHINGTON, _May, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the constitutional action of the Senate, a
treaty negotiated with the Ponca tribe of Indians on the 12th of March,
1858, with the accompanying documents from the Department of the
Interior.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May 3, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolutions of the House of Representatives of
the 19th January, 1857, and 3d February, 1858, I herewith transmit the
report of the Secretary of the Interior, with accompanying documents.[5]

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 5: Relating to Indian affairs in Oregon and Washington
Territories and to the official conduct of Anson Dart, superintendent
of Indian affairs in Oregon Territory.]



WASHINGTON, _May 6, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
3d of February, 1858, I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of
War, with all papers and correspondence[6] so far as the same is
afforded by the files of the Department.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 6: Relating to Indian affairs in Oregon and Washington
Territories and to the official conduct of Anson Dart, superintendent
of Indian affairs in Oregon Territory.]



WASHINGTON CITY, _May 13, 1858_.

Hon. James L. Orr,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: I herewith transmit, to be laid before the House of
Representatives, the letter of the Secretary of the Interior, dated the
12th instant, covering the report, maps, etc., of the geological survey
of Oregon and Washington Territories, which has been made by John Evans,
esq., United States geologist, under appropriations made by Congress for
that purpose.

Respectfully,

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May 13, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the constitutional action of the Senate, a
treaty negotiated on the 19th of April, 1858, with the Yancton tribe of
Sioux or Dacotah Indians, with accompanying papers from the Department
of the Interior.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report, dated 13th instant, with the
accompanying papers, received from the Secretary of State in answer to
the resolution of the Senate of the 5th instant, requesting information
in regard to measures which may have been adopted for the protection of
American commerce in the ports of Mexico.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _May 18, 1858_.

Hon. J.C. Breckinridge,

_Vice-President of the United States_.

SIR: In reply to the resolutions of the Senate of the United States of
the 20th February and 14th March, 1857, I herewith transmit, to be laid
before that body, copies of all correspondence, vouchers, and other
papers having reference to the accounts of Edward F. Beale, esq., late
superintendent of Indian affairs in California, which are of file or
record in the Departments of the Treasury and Interior.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May 19, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 14th instant,
requesting information concerning the recent search or seizure of
American vessels by foreign armed cruisers in the Gulf of Mexico,
I transmit reports from the Secretaries of State and of the Navy.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May 27, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, in compliance with the resolution of the Senate of
the 19th of May, a communication from the Secretary of the Navy with
copies of the correspondence, etc.,[7] as afforded by the files of the
Department.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 7: Relating to the arrest of William Walker and associates
within the territory of Nicaragua by the naval forces under Commodore
Paulding.]



WASHINGTON, _May 29, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
papers, in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 22d instant,
requesting information in regard to the seizure of the American vessel
_Panchita_ on the coast of Africa.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May 31, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 17th
instant, requesting information relative to attacks upon United States
vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and on the coast of Cuba, I transmit a
report from the Secretary of State, with the papers by which it was
accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _June 1, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretaries of State and Navy,
with the accompanying papers, in compliance with the resolution of
the Senate of the 11th of March, 1858, requesting the President "to
communicate to the Senate any information in possession of any of the
Executive Departments in relation to alleged discoveries of guano in
the year 1855 and the measures taken to ascertain the correctness of
the same, and also any report made to the Navy Department in relation
to the discovery of guano in Jarvis and Bakers islands, with the
charts, soundings, and sailing directions for those islands."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _June 4, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, together
with the documents by which it is accompanied, as embracing all the
information which it is practicable or expedient to communicate in
reply to the resolution of the Senate of the 31st ultimo, on the
subject of guano.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _June 10, 1858_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a copy of a dispatch from Governor Cumming to the Secretary
of State, dated at Great Salt Lake City on the 2d of May and received
at the Department of State on yesterday. From this there is reason to
believe that our difficulties with the Territory of Utah have terminated
and the reign of the Constitution and the laws has been restored.
I congratulate you on this auspicious event.

I lose no time in communicating this information and in expressing the
opinion that there will now be no occasion to make any appropriation for
the purpose of calling into service the two regiments of volunteers
authorized by the act of Congress approved on the 7th of April last for
the purpose of quelling disturbances in the Territory of Utah, for the
protection of supply and emigrant trains, and the suppression of Indian
hostilities on the frontier.

I am the more gratified at this satisfactory intelligence from Utah
because it will afford some relief to the Treasury at a time demanding
from us the strictest economy, and when the question which now arises
upon every new appropriation is whether it be of a character so
important and urgent as to brook no delay and to justify and require
a loan and most probably a tax upon the people to raise the money
necessary for its payment.

In regard to the regiment of volunteers authorized by the same act of
Congress to be called into service for the defense of the frontiers of
Texas against Indian hostilities, I desire to leave this question to
Congress, observing at the same time that in my opinion the State can be
defended for the present by the regular troops which have not yet been
withdrawn from its limits.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _June 11, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 19th ultimo, respecting
the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, I transmit herewith a report from the
Secretary of State, with the documents by which it is accompanied,
together with the copy of a letter from the Postmaster-General of the
21st ultimo to the Department of State.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _June 11, 1858_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of War, with the
accompanying papers,[8] in obedience to the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 2d of June, 1858.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 8: Copies of contracts for deepening the channels of the
Southwest Pass and Pass à l'Outre, at the mouth of the Mississippi
River, etc.]



WASHINGTON CITY, _June 12, 1858_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I feel it to be an indispensable duty to call your attention to the
condition of the Treasury. On the 19th day of May last the Secretary of
the Treasury submitted a report to Congress "on the present condition of
the finances of the Government." In this report he states that after a
call upon the heads of Departments he had received official information
that the sum of $37,000,000 would probably be required during the first
two quarters of the next fiscal year, from the 1st of July until the
1st of January. "This sum," the Secretary says, "does not include such
amounts as may be appropriated by Congress over and above the estimates
submitted to them by the Departments, and I have no data on which to
estimate for such expenditures. Upon this point Congress is better able
to form a correct opinion than I am."

The Secretary then estimates that the receipts into the Treasury from
all sources between the 1st of July and the 1st of January would amount
to $25,000,000, leaving a deficit of $15,000,000, inclusive of the sum
of about $3,000,000, the least amount required to be in the Treasury
at all times to secure its successful operation. For this amount he
recommends a loan. This loan, it will be observed, was required, after a
close calculation, to meet the estimates from the different Departments,
and not such appropriations as might be made by Congress over and above
these estimates.

There was embraced in this sum of $15,000,000 estimates to the amount of
about $1,750,000 for the three volunteer regiments authorized by the act
of Congress approved April 7, 1858, for two of which, if not for the
third, no appropriation will now be required. To this extent a portion
of the loan of $15,000,000 may be applied to pay the appropriations
made by Congress beyond the estimates from the different Departments,
referred to in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury.

To what extent a probable deficiency may exist in the Treasury between
the 1st July and the 1st January next can not be ascertained until the
appropriation bills, as well as the private bills containing
appropriations, shall have finally passed.

Adversity teaches useful lessons to nations as well as individuals. The
habit of extravagant expenditures, fostered by a large surplus in the
Treasury, must now be corrected or the country will be involved in
serious financial difficulties.

Under any form of government extravagance in expenditure must be the
natural consequence when those who authorize the expenditure feel no
responsibility in providing the means of payment. Such had been for a
number of years our condition previously to the late monetary revulsion
in the country. Fortunately, at least for the cause of public economy,
the case is now reversed, and to the extent of the appropriations,
whatever these may be, ingrafted on the different appropriation bills,
as well as those made by private bills, over and above the estimates of
the different Departments, it will be necessary for Congress to provide
the means of payment before their adjournment. Without this the Treasury
will be exhausted before the 1st of January and the public credit will
be seriously impaired. This disgrace must not fall upon the country.

It is impossible for me, however, now to ascertain this amount, nor does
there at present seem to be the least probability that this can be done
and the necessary means provided by Congress to meet any deficiency
which may exist in the Treasury before Monday next at 12 o'clock, the
hour fixed for adjournment, it being now Saturday morning at half-past
11 o'clock. To accomplish this object the appropriation bills, as they
shall have finally passed Congress, must be before me, and time must
be allowed to ascertain the amount of the moneys appropriated and to
enable Congress to provide the necessary means. At this writing it is
understood that several of these bills are yet before the committee
of conference and the amendments to some of them have not even been
printed.

Foreseeing that such a state of things might exist at the close of
the session, I stated in the annual message to Congress of December
last that--

  From the practice of Congress such an examination of each bill as the
  Constitution requires has been rendered impossible. The most important
  business of each session is generally crowded into its last hours, and
  the alternative presented to the President is either to violate the
  constitutional duty which he owes to the people and approve bills
  which for want of time it is impossible he should have examined, or
  by his refusal to do this subject the country and individuals to great
  loss and inconvenience.

       *       *       *       *       *

  For my own part, I have deliberately determined that I shall approve
  no bills which I have not examined, and it will be a case of extreme
  and most urgent necessity which shall ever induce me to depart from
  this rule.


The present condition of the Treasury absolutely requires that I should
adhere to this resolution on the present occasion, for the reasons which
I have heretofore presented.

In former times it was believed to be the true character of an
appropriation bill simply to carry into effect existing laws and the
established policy of the country. A practice has, however, grown up of
late years to ingraft on such bills at the last hours of the session
large appropriations for new and important objects not provided for by
preexisting laws and when no time is left to the Executive for their
examination and investigation. No alternative is thus left to the
President but either to approve measures without examination or by
vetoing an appropriation bill seriously to embarrass the operations
of the Government. This practice could never have prevailed without a
surplus in the Treasury sufficiently large to cover an indefinite amount
of appropriations. Necessity now compels us to arrest it, at least so
far as to afford time to ascertain the amount appropriated and to
provide the means of its payment.

For all these reasons I recommend to Congress to postpone the day of
adjournment for a brief period. I promise that not an hour shall be lost
in ascertaining the amount of appropriations made by them for which it
will be necessary to provide. I know it will be inconvenient for the
members to attend a called session, and this above all things I desire
to avoid.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



PROCLAMATIONS.


[From Statutes at Large (Little, Brown & Co.), Vol. XI, p. 794.]

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.


Whereas by an act of Congress approved March 3, 1855, entitled "An act
to improve the laws of the District of Columbia and to codify the same,"
the President of the United States was directed to appoint a time and
place for taking the sense of the citizens of the District of Columbia
for or against the adoption of the code prepared in pursuance of said
act, and, further, to provide and proclaim the mode and rules of
conducting such election:

Now, therefore, be it known that I do hereby appoint Monday, the 15th
day of February, 1858, as the day for taking the sense of the citizens
of the District of Columbia as aforesaid.

The polls will be opened at 9 o'clock a.m. and closed at 5 o'clock p.m.
Every free white male citizen of the United States above the age of 21
years who shall have resided in the District of Columbia for one year
next preceding the said 15th day of February, 1858, shall be allowed to
vote at said election.

The voting shall be by ballot. Those in favor of the adoption of the
revised code will vote a ballot with the words "for the revised code"
written or printed upon the same, and those opposed to the adoption of
the said code will vote a ballot with the words "against the revised
code" written or printed upon the same.

The places where the said election shall be held and the judges who
shall conduct and preside over the same will be as follows:

For the First Ward, in the city of Washington, at Samuel Drury's office,
on Pennsylvania avenue. Judges: Southey S. Parker, Terence Drury, and
Alexander H. Mechlin.

For the Second Ward, on Twelfth street, one door above Pennsylvania
avenue. Judges: Charles L. Coltman, Charles J. Canfield, and Edward
C. Dyer.

For the Third Ward, near the corner of Ninth street, between F and G,
west of the Patent Office. Judges: Valentine Harbaugh, Joseph Bryan,
and Harvey Cruttenden.

For the Fourth Ward, at the west end of City Hall. Judges: William
A. Kennedy, John T. Clements, and Francis Mohun.

For the Fifth Ward, at the Columbia engine house. Judges: Henry
C. Purdy, Thomas Hutchinson, and James A. Brown.

For the Sixth Ward, at the Anacostia engine house. Judges: John D.
Brandt, George A. Bohrer, and George R. Ruff.

For the Seventh Ward, at Island Hall. Judges: Samuel Pumphrey, James
Espey, and John L. Smith.

For Georgetown, at the mayor's office. Judges: Edward Chapman, John L.
Kidwell, and William H. Edes.

For that portion of the county of Washington which lies west of Rock
Creek, at Conrad's Tavern, in Tenallytown. Judges: Joshua Peirce,
Charles R. Belt, and William D.C. Murdock.

For that portion of said county which lies between Rock Creek and the
Eastern Branch of the Potomac, at Seventh street tollgate. Judges:
Thomas Blagden, Dr. Henry Haw, and Abner Shoemaker.

And for that portion of said county which lies east of the Eastern
Branch of the Potomac, at Goodhope Tavern. Judges: Selby B. Scaggs,
Fenwick Young, and Dr. Wellford Manning.

The judges presiding at the respective places of holding the elections
shall be sworn to perform their duties faithfully; and immediately after
the close of the polls they shall count up the votes and certify what
number were given "for the revised code" and what number "against
the revised code," which certificates shall be transmitted within
twenty-four hours to the Attorney-General of the United States, who
will report the same to me.

Given under my hand this 24th day of December, A.D. 1857, and of
Independence the eighty-second.

[SEAL.]

JAMES BUCHANAN.



BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.


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

Whereas satisfactory evidence has lately been received from the
Government of His Holiness the Pope, through an official communication
addressed by Cardinal Antonelli, his secretary of state, to the minister
resident of the United States at Rome, under date of the 7th day of
December, 1857, that no discriminating duties of tonnage or impost are
imposed or levied in the ports of the Pontifical States upon vessels
wholly belonging to citizens of the United States, or upon the produce,
manufactures, or merchandise imported in the same from the United States
or from any foreign country:

Now, therefore, I, James Buchanan, President of the United States of
America, do hereby declare and proclaim that the foreign discriminating
duties of tonnage and impost within the United States are and shall be
suspended and discontinued so far as respects the vessels of the
subjects of His Holiness the Pope and the produce, manufactures, or
merchandise imported into the United States in the same from the
Pontifical States or from any other foreign country, the said suspension
to take effect from the 7th day of December, 1857, above mentioned, and
to continue so long as the reciprocal exemption of vessels belonging to
citizens of the United States and their cargoes, as aforesaid, shall be
continued, and no longer.

[SEAL.]

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the 25th day of
February, A.D. 1858, and of the Independence of the United States
the eighty-second.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

By the President:
  LEWIS CASS,
    _Secretary of State_.



BY JAMES BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.


Whereas the Territory of Utah was settled by certain emigrants from
the States and from foreign countries who have for several years past
manifested a spirit of insubordination to the Constitution and laws
of the United States. The great mass of those settlers, acting under
the influence of leaders to whom they seem to have surrendered their
judgment, refuse to be controlled by any other authority. They have been
often advised to obedience, and these friendly counsels have been
answered with defiance. The officers of the Federal Government have been
driven from the Territory for no offense but an effort to do their
sworn duty; others have been prevented from going there by threats of
assassination; judges have been violently interrupted in the performance
of their functions, and the records of the courts have been seized and
destroyed or concealed. Many other acts of unlawful violence have been
perpetrated, and the right to repeat them has been openly claimed by the
leading inhabitants, with at least the silent acquiescence of nearly all
the others. Their hostility to the lawful government of the country has
at length become so violent that no officer bearing a commission from
the Chief Magistrate of the Union can enter the Territory or remain
there with safety, and all those officers recently appointed have been
unable to go to Salt Lake or anywhere else in Utah beyond the immediate
power of the Army. Indeed, such is believed to be the condition to which
a strange system of terrorism has brought the inhabitants of that region
that no one among them could express an opinion favorable to this
Government, or even propose to obey its laws, without exposing his life
and property to peril.

After carefully considering this state of affairs and maturely weighing
the obligation I was under to see the laws faithfully executed, it
seemed to me right and proper that I should make such use of the
military force at my disposal as might be necessary to protect the
Federal officers in going into the Territory of Utah and in performing
their duties after arriving there. I accordingly ordered a detachment
of the Army to march for the city of Salt Lake, or within reach of that
place, and to act in case of need as a posse for the enforcement of the
laws. But in the meantime the hatred of that misguided people for the
just and legal authority of the Government had become so intense that
they resolved to measure their military strength with that of the Union.
They have organized an armed force far from contemptible in point of
numbers and trained it, if not with skill, at least with great assiduity
and perseverance. While the troops of the United States were on their
march a train of baggage wagons, which happened to be unprotected,
was attacked and destroyed by a portion of the Mormon forces and the
provisions and stores with which the train was laden were wantonly
burnt. In short, their present attitude is one of decided and unreserved
enmity to the United States and to all their loyal citizens. Their
determination to oppose the authority of the Government by military
force has not only been expressed in words, but manifested in overt acts
of the most unequivocal character.

Fellow-citizens of Utah, this is rebellion against the Government to
which you owe allegiance; it is levying war against the United States,
and involves you in the guilt of treason. Persistence in it will bring
you to condign punishment, to ruin, and to shame; for it is mere madness
to suppose that with your limited resources you can successfully resist
the force of this great and powerful nation.

If you have calculated upon the forbearance of the United States, if you
have permitted yourselves to suppose that this Government will fail to
put forth its strength and bring you to submission, you have fallen
into a grave mistake. You have settled upon territory which lies,
geographically, in the heart of the Union. The land you live upon was
purchased by the United States and paid for out of their Treasury; the
proprietary right and title to it is in them, and not in you. Utah is
bounded on every side by States and Territories whose people are true to
the Union. It is absurd to believe that they will or can permit you to
erect in their very midst a government of your own, not only independent
of the authority which they all acknowledge, but hostile to them and
their interests.

Do not deceive yourselves nor try to mislead others by propagating the
idea that this is a crusade against your religion. The Constitution and
laws of this country can take no notice of your creed, whether it be
true or false. That is a question between your God and yourselves, in
which I disclaim all right to interfere. If you obey the laws, keep the
peace, and respect the just rights of others, you will be perfectly
secure, and may live on in your present faith or change it for another
at your pleasure. Every intelligent man among you knows very well that
this Government has never, directly or indirectly, sought to molest you
in your worship, to control you in your ecclesiastical affairs, or even
to influence you in your religious opinions.

This rebellion is not merely a violation of your legal duty; it is
without just cause, without reason, without excuse. You never made a
complaint that was not listened to with patience; you never exhibited a
real grievance that was not redressed as promptly as it could be. The
laws and regulations enacted for your government by Congress have been
equal and just, and their enforcement was manifestly necessary for your
own welfare and happiness. You have never asked their repeal. They are
similar in every material respect to the laws which have been passed for
the other Territories of the Union, and which everywhere else (with one
partial exception) have been cheerfully obeyed. No people ever lived
who were freer from unnecessary legal restraints than you. Human wisdom
never devised a political system which bestowed more blessings or
imposed lighter burdens than the Government of the United States in
its operation upon the Territories.

But being anxious to save the effusion of blood and to avoid the
indiscriminate punishment of a whole people for crimes of which it is
not probable that all are equally guilty, I offer now a free and full
pardon to all who will submit themselves to the just authority of the
Federal Government. If you refuse to accept it, let the consequences
fall upon your own heads. But I conjure you to pause deliberately and
reflect well before you reject this tender of peace and good will.

Now, therefore, I, James Buchanan, President of the United States, have
thought proper to issue this my proclamation, enjoining upon all public
officers in the Territory of Utah to be diligent and faithful, to the
full extent of their power, in the execution of the laws; commanding all
citizens of the United States in said Territory to aid and assist the
officers in the performance of their duties; offering to the inhabitants
of Utah who shall submit to the laws a free pardon for the seditions and
treasons heretofore by them committed; warning those who shall persist,
after notice of this proclamation, in the present rebellion against the
United States that they must expect no further lenity, but look to be
rigorously dealt with according to their deserts; and declaring that
the military forces now in Utah and hereafter to be sent there will not
be withdrawn until the inhabitants of that Territory shall manifest a
proper sense of the duty which they owe to this Government.

[SEAL.]

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of
the United States to be affixed to these presents.

Done at the city of Washington the 6th day of April, 1858, and of the
Independence of the United States the eighty-second.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

By the President:
  LEWIS CASS,
    _Secretary of State_.



BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.


Whereas an extraordinary occasion has occurred rendering it necessary
and proper that the Senate of the United States shall be convened to
receive and act upon such communications as have been or may be made
to it on the part of the Executive:

Now, therefore, I, James Buchanan, President of the United States, do
issue this my proclamation, declaring that an extraordinary occasion
requires the Senate of the United States to convene for the transaction
of business at the Capitol, in the city of Washington, on the 15th day
of this month, at 12 o'clock at noon of that day, of which all who shall
at that time be entitled to act as members of that body are hereby
required to take notice.

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Washington,
this 14th day of June, A.D. 1858, and of the Independence of the United
States the eighty-second.

[SEAL.]

JAMES BUCHANAN.

By the President:
  LEWIS CASS,
    _Secretary of State_.



BY JAMES BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas information has reached me from sources which I can not
disregard that certain persons, in violation of the neutrality laws of
the United States, are making a third attempt to set on foot a military
expedition within their territory against Nicaragua, a foreign State
with which they are at peace. In order to raise money for equipping
and maintaining this expedition, persons connected therewith, as I
have reason to believe, have issued and sold bonds and other contracts
pledging the public lands of Nicaragua and the transit route through
its territory as a security for their redemption and fulfillment.

The hostile design of this expedition is rendered manifest by the fact
that these bonds and contracts can be of no possible value to their
holders unless the present Government of Nicaragua shall be overthrown
by force. Besides, the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary
of that Government in the United States has issued a notice, in
pursuance of his instructions, dated on the 27th instant, forbidding
the citizens or subjects of any nation, except passengers intending to
proceed through Nicaragua over the transit route from ocean to ocean,
to enter its territory without a regular passport, signed by the proper
minister or consul-general of the Republic resident in the country from
whence they shall have departed. Such persons, with this exception,
"will be stopped and compelled to return by the same conveyance that
took them to the country." From these circumstances the inference is
irresistible that persons engaged in this expedition will leave the
United States with hostile purposes against Nicaragua. They can not,
under the guise which they have assumed that they are peaceful
emigrants, conceal their real intentions, and especially when they
know in advance that their landing will be resisted and can only be
accomplished by an overpowering force. This expedient was successfully
resorted to previous to the last expedition, and the vessel in which
those composing it were conveyed to Nicaragua obtained a clearance
from the collector of the port of Mobile. Although, after a careful
examination, no arms or munitions of war were discovered on board, yet
when they arrived in Nicaragua they were found to be armed and equipped
and immediately commenced hostilities.

The leaders of former illegal expeditions of the same character have
openly expressed their intention to renew hostilities against Nicaragua.
One of them, who has already been twice expelled from Nicaragua, has
invited through the public newspapers American citizens to emigrate to
that Republic, and has designated Mobile as the place of rendezvous and
departure and San Juan del Norte as the port to which they are bound.
This person, who has renounced his allegiance to the United States and
claims to be President of Nicaragua, has given notice to the collector
of the port of Mobile that two or three hundred of these emigrants will
be prepared to embark from that port about the middle of November.

For these and other good reasons, and for the purpose of saving American
citizens who may have been honestly deluded into the belief that they
are about to proceed to Nicaragua as peaceful emigrants, if any such
there be, from the disastrous consequences to which they will be
exposed, I, James Buchanan, President of the United States, have thought
it fit to issue this my proclamation, enjoining upon all officers of
the Government, civil and military, in their respective spheres, to be
vigilant, active, and faithful in suppressing these illegal enterprises
and in carrying out their standing instructions to that effect;
exhorting all good citizens, by their respect for the laws and their
regard for the peace and welfare of the country, to aid the efforts of
the public authorities in the discharge of their duties.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal
of the United States to be affixed to these presents.

[SEAL.]

Done at the city of Washington the 30th day of October, 1858, and of
the Independence of the United States the eighty-third.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

By the President:
  LEWIS CASS,
    _Secretary of State_.



SECOND ANNUAL MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON CITY, _December 6, 1858_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

When we compare the condition of the country at the present day with
what it was one year ago at the meeting of Congress, we have much reason
for gratitude to that Almighty Providence which has never failed to
interpose for our relief at the most critical periods of our history.
One year ago the sectional strife between the North and the South on the
dangerous subject of slavery had again become so intense as to threaten
the peace and perpetuity of the Confederacy. The application for the
admission of Kansas as a State into the Union fostered this unhappy
agitation and brought the whole subject once more before Congress. It
was the desire of every patriot that such measures of legislation might
be adopted as would remove the excitement from the States and confine
it to the Territory where it legitimately belonged. Much has been done,
I am happy to say, toward the accomplishment of this object during the
last session of Congress.

The Supreme Court of the United States had previously decided that all
American citizens have an equal right to take into the Territories
whatever is held as property under the laws of any of the States,
and to hold such property there under the guardianship of the Federal
Constitution so long as the Territorial condition shall remain.

This is now a well-established position, and the proceedings of the last
session were alone wanting to give it practical effect. The principle
has been recognized in some form or other by an almost unanimous vote of
both Houses of Congress that a Territory has a right to come into the
Union either as a free or a slave State, according to the will of a
majority of its people. The just equality of all the States has thus
been vindicated and a fruitful source of dangerous dissension among them
has been removed.

Whilst such has been the beneficial tendency of your legislative
proceedings outside of Kansas, their influence has nowhere been so happy
as within that Territory itself. Left to manage and control its own
affairs in its own way, without the pressure of external influence, the
revolutionary Topeka organization and all resistance to the Territorial
government established by Congress have been finally abandoned. As a
natural consequence that fine Territory now appears to be tranquil and
prosperous and is attracting increasing thousands of immigrants to make
it their happy home.

The past unfortunate experience of Kansas has enforced the lesson, so
often already taught, that resistance to lawful authority under our
form of government can not fail in the end to prove disastrous to its
authors. Had the people of the Territory yielded obedience to the laws
enacted by their legislature, it would at the present moment have
contained a large additional population of industrious and enterprising
citizens, who have been deterred from entering its borders by the
existence of civil strife and organized rebellion.

It was the resistance to rightful authority and the persevering attempts
to establish a revolutionary government under the Topeka constitution
which caused the people of Kansas to commit the grave error of refusing
to vote for delegates to the convention to frame a constitution under
a law not denied to be fair and just in its provisions. This refusal
to vote been the prolific source of all the evils which have followed.
In their hostility to the Territorial government they disregarded
the principle, absolutely essential to the working of our form of
government, that a majority of those who vote, not the majority who
may remain at home, from whatever cause, must decide the result of an
election. For this reason, seeking to take advantage of their own error,
they denied the authority of the convention thus elected to frame a
constitution.

The convention, notwithstanding, proceeded to adopt a constitution
unexceptionable in its general features, and providing for the
submission of the slavery question to a vote of the people, which, in my
opinion, they were bound to do under the Kansas and Nebraska act. This
was the all-important question which had alone convulsed the Territory;
and yet the opponents of the lawful government, persisting in their
first error, refrained from exercising their right to vote, and
preferred that slavery should continue rather than surrender their
revolutionary Topeka organization.

A wiser and better spirit seemed to prevail before the first Monday
of January last, when an election was held under the constitution.
A majority of the people then voted for a governor and other State
officers, for a Member of Congress and members of the State legislature.
This election was warmly contested by the two political parties in
Kansas, and a greater vote was polled than at any previous election.
A large majority of the members of the legislature elect belonged to
that party which had previously refused to vote. The antislavery party
were thus placed in the ascendant, and the political power of the State
was in their own hands. Had Congress admitted Kansas into the Union
under the Lecompton constitution, the legislature might at its very
first session have submitted the question to a vote of the people
whether they would or would not have a convention to amend their
constitution, either on the slavery or any other question, and have
adopted all necessary means for giving speedy effect to the will of
the majority. Thus the Kansas question would have been immediately
and finally settled.

Under these circumstances I submitted to Congress the constitution thus
framed, with all the officers already elected necessary to put the State
government into operation, accompanied by a strong recommendation in
favor of the admission of Kansas as a State. In the course of my long
public life I have never performed any official act which in the
retrospect has afforded me more heartfelt satisfaction. Its admission
could have inflicted no possible injury on any human being, whilst it
would within a brief period have restored peace to Kansas and harmony to
the Union. In that event the slavery question would ere this have been
finally settled according to the legally expressed will of a majority of
the voters, and popular sovereignty would thus have been vindicated in
a constitutional manner.

With my deep convictions of duty I could have pursued no other course.
It is true that as an individual I had expressed an opinion, both before
and during the session of the convention, in favor of submitting the
remaining clauses of the constitution, as well as that concerning
slavery, to the people. But, acting in an official character, neither
myself nor any human authority had the power to rejudge the proceedings
of the convention and declare the constitution which it had framed to be
a nullity. To have done this would have been a violation of the Kansas
and Nebraska act, which left the people of the Territory "perfectly
free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way,
subject only to the Constitution of the United States." It would
equally have violated the great principle of popular sovereignty, at
the foundation of our institutions, to deprive the people of the power,
if they thought proper to exercise it, of confiding to delegates elected
by themselves the trust of framing a constitution without requiring them
to subject their constituents to the trouble, expense, and delay of a
second election. It would have been in opposition to many precedents in
our history, commencing in the very best age of the Republic, of the
admission of Territories as States into the Union without a previous
vote of the people approving their constitution.

It is to be lamented that a question so insignificant when viewed in its
practical effects on the people of Kansas, whether decided one way or
the other, should have kindled such a flame of excitement throughout
the country. This reflection may prove to be a lesson of wisdom and of
warning for our future guidance. Practically considered, the question is
simply whether the people of that Territory should first come into the
Union and then change any provision in their constitution not agreeable
to themselves, or accomplish the very same object by remaining out of
the Union and framing another constitution in accordance with their
will. In either case the result would be precisely the same. The only
difference, in point of fact, is that the object would have been much
sooner attained and the pacification of Kansas more speedily effected
had it been admitted as a State during the last session of Congress.

My recommendation, however, for the immediate admission of Kansas failed
to meet the approbation of Congress. They deemed it wiser to adopt a
different measure for the settlement of the question. For my own part, I
should have been willing to yield my assent to almost any constitutional
measure to accomplish this object. I therefore cordially acquiesced in
what has been called the English compromise and approved the "act for
the admission of the State of Kansas into the Union" upon the terms
therein prescribed.

Under the ordinance which accompanied the Lecompton constitution the
people of Kansas had claimed double the quantity of public lands for the
support of common schools which had ever been previously granted to any
State upon entering the Union, and also the alternate sections of land
for 12 miles on each side of two railroads proposed to be constructed
from the northern to the southern boundary and from the eastern to
the western boundary of the State. Congress, deeming these claims
unreasonable, provided by the act of May 4, 1858, to which I have just
referred, for the admission of the State on an equal footing with the
original States, but "upon the fundamental condition precedent" that
a majority of the people thereof, at an election to be held for that
purpose, should, in place of the very large grants of public lands
which they had demanded under the ordinance, accept such grants as had
been made to Minnesota and other new States. Under this act, should
a majority reject the proposition offered them, "it shall be deemed
and held that the people of Kansas do not desire admission into the
Union with said constitution under the conditions set forth in said
proposition," In that event the act authorizes the people of the
Territory to elect delegates to form a constitution and State government
for themselves "whenever, and not before, it is ascertained by a census,
duly and legally taken, that the population of said Territory equals or
exceeds the ratio of representation required for a member of the House
of Representatives of the Congress of the United States." The delegates
thus assembled "shall first determine by a vote whether it is the wish
of the people of the proposed State to be admitted into the Union at
that time, and, if so, shall proceed to form a constitution and take
all necessary steps for the establishment of a State government in
conformity with the Federal Constitution." After this constitution shall
have been formed, Congress, carrying out the principles of popular
sovereignty and nonintervention, have left "the mode and manner of its
approval or ratification by the people of the proposed State" to be
"prescribed by law," and they "shall then be admitted into the Union as
a State under such constitution, thus fairly and legally made, with or
without slavery, as said constitution may prescribe."

An election was held throughout Kansas, in pursuance of the provisions
of this act, on the 2d day of August last, and it resulted in the
rejection by a large majority of the proposition submitted to the people
by Congress. This being the case, they are now authorized to form
another constitution, preparatory to admission into the Union, but not
until their number, as ascertained by a census, shall equal or exceed
the ratio required to elect a member to the House of Representatives.

It is not probable, in the present state of the case, that a third
constitution can be lawfully framed and presented to Congress by Kansas
before its population shall have reached the designated number. Nor is
it to be presumed that after their sad experience in resisting the
Territorial laws they will attempt to adopt a constitution in express
violation of the provisions of an act of Congress. During the session
of 1856 much of the time of Congress was occupied on the question of
admitting Kansas under the Topeka constitution. Again, nearly the whole
of the last session was devoted to the question of its admission under
the Lecompton constitution. Surely it is not unreasonable to require the
people of Kansas to wait before making a third attempt until the number
of their inhabitants shall amount to 93,420. During this brief period
the harmony of the States as well as the great business interests of the
country demand that the people of the Union shall not for a third time
be convulsed by another agitation on the Kansas question. By waiting for
a short time and acting in obedience to law Kansas will glide into the
Union without the slightest impediment.

This excellent provision, which Congress have applied to Kansas, ought
to be extended and rendered applicable to all Territories which may
hereafter seek admission into the Union.

Whilst Congress possess the undoubted power of admitting a new State
into the Union, however small may be the number of its inhabitants,
yet this power ought not, in my opinion, to be exercised before the
population shall amount to the ratio required by the act for the
admission of Kansas. Had this been previously the rule, the country
would have escaped all the evils and misfortunes to which it has been
exposed by the Kansas question.

Of course it would be unjust to give this rule a retrospective
application, and exclude a State which, acting upon the past practice
of the Government, has already formed its constitution, elected its
legislature and other officers, and is now prepared to enter the Union.

The rule ought to be adopted, whether we consider its bearing on the
people of the Territories or upon the people of the existing States.
Many of the serious dissensions which have prevailed in Congress and
throughout the country would have been avoided had this rule been
established at an earlier period of the Government.

Immediately upon the formation of a new Territory people from different
States and from foreign countries rush into it for the laudable purpose
of improving their condition. Their first duty to themselves is to open
and cultivate farms, to construct roads, to establish schools, to erect
places of religious worship, and to devote their energies generally
to reclaim the wilderness and to lay the foundations of a flourishing
and prosperous commonwealth. If in this incipient condition, with a
population of a few thousand, they should prematurely enter the Union,
they are oppressed by the burden of State taxation, and the means
necessary for the improvement of the Territory and the advancement of
their own interests are thus diverted to very different purposes.

The Federal Government has ever been a liberal parent to the Territories
and a generous contributor to the useful enterprises of the early
settlers. It has paid the expenses of their governments and legislative
assemblies out of the common Treasury, and thus relieved them from a
heavy charge. Under these circumstances nothing can be better calculated
to retard their material progress than to divert them from their useful
employments by prematurely exciting angry political contests among
themselves for the benefit of aspiring leaders. It is surely no hardship
for embryo governors, Senators, and Members of Congress to wait until
the number of inhabitants shall equal those of a single Congressional
district. They surely ought not to be permitted to rush into the Union
with a population less than one-half of several of the large counties
in the interior of some of the States. This was the condition of Kansas
when it made application to be admitted under the Topeka constitution.
Besides, it requires some time to render the mass of a population
collected in a new Territory at all homogeneous and to unite them on
anything like a fixed policy. Establish the rule, and all will look
forward to it and govern themselves accordingly.

But justice to the people of the several States requires that this
rule should be established by Congress. Each State is entitled to two
Senators and at least one Representative in Congress. Should the people
of the States fail to elect a Vice-President, the power devolves upon
the Senate to select this officer from the two highest candidates on the
list. In case of the death of the President, the Vice-President thus
elected by the Senate becomes President of the United States. On all
questions of legislation the Senators from the smallest States of the
Union have an equal vote with those from the largest. The same may be
said in regard to the ratification of treaties and of Executive
appointments. All this has worked admirably in practice, whilst it
conforms in principle with the character of a Government instituted
by sovereign States. I presume no American citizen would desire the
slightest change in the arrangement. Still, is it not unjust and unequal
to the existing States to invest some 40,000 or 50,000 people collected
in a Territory with the attributes of sovereignty and place them on an
equal footing with Virginia and New York in the Senate of the United
States?

For these reasons I earnestly recommend the passage of a general act
which shall provide that, upon the application of a Territorial
legislature declaring their belief that the Territory contains a number
of inhabitants which, if in a State, would entitle them to elect a
Member of Congress, it shall be the duty of the President to cause a
census of the inhabitants to be taken, and if found sufficient then by
the terms of this act to authorize them to proceed "in their own way"
to frame a State constitution preparatory to admission into the Union.
I also recommend that an appropriation may be made to enable the
President to take a census of the people of Kansas.

The present condition of the Territory of Utah, when contrasted with
what it was one year ago, is a subject for congratulation. It was then
in a state of open rebellion, and, cost what it might, the character of
the Government required that this rebellion should be suppressed and the
Mormons compelled to yield obedience to the Constitution and the laws.
In order to accomplish this object, as I informed you in my last annual
message, I appointed a new governor instead of Brigham Young, and other
Federal officers to take the place of those who, consulting their
personal safety, had found it necessary to withdraw from the Territory.

To protect these civil officers, and to aid them, as a _posse
comitatus_, in the execution of the laws in case of need, I ordered
a detachment of the Army to accompany them to Utah. The necessity for
adopting these measures is now demonstrated.

On the 15th of September, 1857, Governor Young issued his proclamation,
in the style of an independent sovereign, announcing his purpose to
resist by force of arms the entry of the United States troops into
our own Territory of Utah. By this he required all the forces in the
Territory to "hold themselves in readiness to march at a moment's notice
to repel any and all such invasion," and established martial law from
its date throughout the Territory. These proved to be no idle threats.
Forts Bridger and Supply were vacated and burnt down by the Mormons
to deprive our troops of a shelter after their long and fatiguing
march. Orders were issued by Daniel H. Wells, styling himself
"Lieutenant-General, Nauvoo Legion," to stampede the animals of the
United States troops on their march, to set fire to their trains, to
burn the grass and the whole country before them and on their flanks,
to keep them from sleeping by night surprises, and to blockade the
road by felling trees and destroying the fords of rivers, etc.

These orders were promptly and effectually obeyed. On the 4th of
October, 1857, the Mormons captured and burned, on Green River, three
of our supply trains, consisting of seventy-five wagons loaded with
provisions and tents for the army, and carried away several hundred
animals. This diminished the supply of provisions so materially that
General Johnston was obliged to reduce the ration, and even with this
precaution there was only sufficient left to subsist the troops until
the 1st of June.

Our little army behaved admirably in their encampment at Fort Bridger
under these trying privations. In the midst of the mountains, in a
dreary, unsettled, and inhospitable region, more than a thousand miles
from home, they passed the severe and inclement winter without a murmur.
They looked forward with confidence for relief from their country in due
season, and in this they were not disappointed.

The Secretary of War employed all his energies to forward them the
necessary supplies and to muster and send such a military force to Utah
as would render resistance on the part of the Mormons hopeless, and thus
terminate the war without the effusion of blood. In his efforts he
was efficiently sustained by Congress. They granted appropriations
sufficient to cover the deficiency thus necessarily created, and also
provided for raising two regiments of volunteers "for the purpose of
quelling disturbances in the Territory of Utah, for the protection of
supply and emigrant trains, and the suppression of Indian hostilities
on the frontiers." Happily, there was no occasion to call these
regiments into service. If there had been, I should have felt serious
embarrassment in selecting them, so great was the number of our brave
and patriotic citizens anxious to serve their country in this distant
and apparently dangerous expedition. Thus it has ever been, and thus
may it ever be.

The wisdom and economy of sending sufficient reenforcements to Utah are
established, not only by the event, but in the opinion of those who
from their position and opportunities are the most capable of forming
a correct judgment. General Johnston, the commander of the forces, in
addressing the Secretary of War from Fort Bridger under date of October
18, 1857, expresses the opinion that "unless a large force is sent here,
from the nature of the country a protracted war on their [the Mormons's]
part is inevitable." This he considered necessary to terminate the war
"speedily and more economically than if attempted by insufficient
means."

In the meantime it was my anxious desire that the Mormons should yield
obedience to the Constitution and the laws without rendering it
necessary to resort to military force. To aid in accomplishing
this object, I deemed it advisable in April last to dispatch two
distinguished citizens of the United States, Messrs. Powell and
McCulloch, to Utah. They bore with them a proclamation addressed by
myself to the inhabitants of Utah, dated on the 6th day of that month,
warning them of their true condition and how hopeless it was on their
part to persist in rebellion against the United States, and offering
all those who should submit to the laws a full pardon for their past
seditions and treasons. At the same time I assured those who should
persist in rebellion against the United States that they must expect no
further lenity, but look to be rigorously dealt with according to their
deserts. The instructions to these agents, as well as a copy of the
proclamation and their reports, are herewith submitted. It will be seen
by their report of the 3d of July last that they have fully confirmed
the opinion expressed by General Johnston in the previous October as to
the necessity of sending reenforcements to Utah. In this they state that
they "are firmly impressed with the belief that the presence of the
Army here and the large additional force that had been ordered to this
Territory were the chief inducements that caused the Mormons to abandon
the idea of resisting the authority of the United States. A less
decisive policy would probably have resulted in a long, bloody, and
expensive war."

These gentlemen conducted themselves to my entire satisfaction and
rendered useful services in executing the humane intentions of the
Government.

It also affords me great satisfaction to state that Governor Cumming has
performed his duty in an able and conciliatory manner and with the
happiest effect. I can not in this connection refrain from mentioning
the valuable services of Colonel Thomas L. Kane, who, from motives
of pure benevolence and without any official character or pecuniary
compensation, visited Utah during the last inclement winter for the
purpose of contributing to the pacification of the Territory.

I am happy to inform you that the governor and other civil officers of
Utah are now performing their appropriate functions without resistance.
The authority of the Constitution and the laws has been fully restored
and peace prevails throughout the Territory.

A portion of the troops sent to Utah are now encamped in Cedar Valley,
44 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, and the remainder have been
ordered to Oregon to suppress Indian hostilities.

The march of the army to Salt Lake City through the Indian Territory has
had a powerful effect in restraining the hostile feelings against the
United States which existed among the Indians in that region and in
securing emigrants to the far West against their depredations. This
will also be the means of establishing military posts and promoting
settlements along the route.

I recommend that the benefits of our land laws and preemption system be
extended to the people of Utah by the establishment of a land office in
that Territory.

I have occasion also to congratulate you on the result of our
negotiations with China.

You were informed by my last annual message that our minister had been
instructed to occupy a neutral position in the hostilities conducted
by Great Britain and France against Canton. He was, however, at the
same time directed to cooperate cordially with the British and French
ministers in all peaceful measures to secure by treaty those just
concessions to foreign commerce which the nations of the world had a
right to demand. It was impossible for me to proceed further than this
on my own authority without usurping the war-making power, which under
the Constitution belongs exclusively to Congress.

Besides, after a careful examination of the nature and extent of
our grievances, I did not believe they were of such a pressing and
aggravated character as would have justified Congress in declaring war
against the Chinese Empire without first making another earnest attempt
to adjust them by peaceful negotiation. I was the more inclined to this
opinion because of the severe chastisement which had then but recently
been inflicted upon the Chinese by our squadron in the capture and
destruction of the Barrier forts to avenge an alleged insult to our
flag.

The event has proved the wisdom of our neutrality. Our minister has
executed his instructions with eminent skill and ability. In conjunction
with the Russian plenipotentiary, he has peacefully, but effectually,
cooperated with the English and French plenipotentiaries, and each of
the four powers has concluded a separate treaty with China of a highly
satisfactory character. The treaty concluded by our own plenipotentiary
will immediately be submitted to the Senate.

I am happy to announce that through the energetic yet conciliatory
efforts of our consul-general in Japan a new treaty has been concluded
with that Empire, which may be expected materially to augment our trade
and intercourse in that quarter and remove from our countrymen the
disabilities which have heretofore been imposed upon the exercise of
their religion. The treaty shall be submitted to the Senate for approval
without delay.

It is my earnest desire that every misunderstanding with the Government
of Great Britain should be amicably and speedily adjusted. It has been
the misfortune of both countries, almost ever since the period of the
Revolution, to have been annoyed by a succession of irritating and
dangerous questions, threatening their friendly relations. This has
partially prevented the full development of those feelings of mutual
friendship between the people of the two countries so natural in
themselves and so conducive to their common interest. Any serious
interruption of the commerce between the United States and Great Britain
would be equally injurious to both. In fact, no two nations have ever
existed on the face of the earth which could do each other so much good
or so much harm.

Entertaining these sentiments, I am gratified to inform you that the
long-pending controversy between the two Governments in relation to the
question of visitation and search has been amicably adjusted. The claim
on the part of Great Britain forcibly to visit American vessels on the
high seas in time of peace could not be sustained under the law of
nations, and it had been overruled by her own most eminent jurists.
This question was recently brought to an issue by the repeated acts of
British cruisers in boarding and searching our merchant vessels in the
Gulf of Mexico and the adjacent seas. These acts were the more injurious
and annoying, as these waters are traversed by a large portion of
the commerce and navigation of the United States and their free and
unrestricted use is essential to the security of the coastwise trade
between the different States of the Union. Such vexatious interruptions
could not fail to excite the feelings of the country and to require
the interposition of the Government. Remonstrances were addressed
to the British Government against these violations of our rights of
sovereignty, and a naval force was at the same time ordered to the Cuban
waters with directions "to protect all vessels of the United States
on the high seas from search or detention by the vessels of war of
any other nation." These measures received the unqualified and even
enthusiastic approbation of the American people. Most fortunately,
however, no collision took place, and the British Government promptly
avowed its recognition of the principles of international law upon this
subject as laid down by the Government of the United States in the note
of the Secretary of State to the British minister at Washington of April
10, 1858, which secure the vessels of the United States upon the high
seas from visitation or search in time of peace under any circumstances
whatever. The claim has been abandoned in a manner reflecting honor
on the British Government and evincing a just regard for the law of
nations, and can not fail to strengthen the amicable relations between
the two countries.

The British Government at the same time proposed to the United States
that some mode should be adopted, by mutual arrangement between the two
countries, of a character which may be found effective without being
offensive, for verifying the nationality of vessels suspected on good
grounds of carrying false colors. They have also invited the United
States to take the initiative and propose measures for this purpose.
Whilst declining to assume so grave a responsibility, the Secretary of
State has informed the British Government that we are ready to receive
any proposals which they may feel disposed to offer having this object
in view, and to consider them in an amicable spirit. A strong opinion
is, however, expressed that the occasional abuse of the flag of
any nation is an evil far less to be deprecated than would be the
establishment of any regulations which might be incompatible with the
freedom of the seas. This Government has yet received no communication
specifying the manner in which the British Government would propose to
carry out their suggestion, and I am inclined to believe that no plan
which can be devised will be free from grave embarrassments. Still,
I shall form no decided opinion on the subject until I shall have
carefully and in the best spirit examined any proposals which they
may think proper to make.

I am truly sorry I can not also inform you that the complications
between Great Britain and the United States arising out of the Clayton
and Bulwer treaty of April, 1850, have been finally adjusted.

At the commencement of your last session I had reason to hope that,
emancipating themselves from further unavailing discussions, the two
Governments would proceed to settle the Central American questions in
a practical manner, alike honorable and satisfactory to both; and this
hope I have not yet abandoned. In my last annual message I stated that
overtures had been made by the British Government for this purpose in
a friendly spirit, which I cordially reciprocated. Their proposal was
to withdraw these questions from direct negotiation between the two
Governments, but to accomplish the same object by a negotiation between
the British Government and each of the Central American Republics whose
territorial interests are immediately involved. The settlement was to be
made in accordance with the general tenor of the interpretation placed
upon the Clayton and Bulwer treaty by the United States, with certain
modifications. As negotiations are still pending upon this basis, it
would not be proper for me now to communicate their present condition.
A final settlement of these questions is greatly to be desired, as this
would wipe out the last remaining subject of dispute between the two
countries.

Our relations with the great Empires of France and Russia, as well as
with all other Governments on the continent of Europe, except that of
Spain, continue to be of the most friendly character.

With Spain our relations remain in an unsatisfactory condition. In my
message of December last I informed you that our envoy extraordinary
and minister plenipotentiary to Madrid had asked for his recall, and it
was my purpose to send out a new minister to that Court with special
instructions on all questions pending between the two Governments, and
with a determination to have them speedily and amicably adjusted if that
were possible. This purpose has been hitherto defeated by causes which
I need not enumerate.

The mission to Spain has been intrusted to a distinguished citizen of
Kentucky, who will proceed to Madrid without delay and make another and
a final attempt to obtain justice from that Government.

Spanish officials under the direct control of the Captain-General of
Cuba have insulted our national flag and in repeated instances have
from time to time inflicted injuries on the persons and property of our
citizens. These have given birth to numerous claims against the Spanish
Government, the merits of which have been ably discussed for a series
of years by our successive diplomatic representatives. Notwithstanding
this, we have not arrived at a practical result in any single instance,
unless we may except the case of the _Black Warrior_, under the late
Administration, and that presented an outrage of such a character as
would have justified an immediate resort to war. All our attempts
to obtain redress have been baffled and defeated. The frequent and
oft-recurring changes in the Spanish ministry have been employed as
reasons for delay. We have been compelled to wait again and again until
the new minister shall have had time to investigate the justice of our
demands.

Even what have been denominated "the Cuban claims," in which more
than 100 of our citizens are directly interested, have furnished no
exception. These claims were for the refunding of duties unjustly
exacted from American vessels at different custom-houses in Cuba so
long ago as the year 1844. The principles upon which they rest are so
manifestly equitable and just that, after a period of nearly ten years,
in 1854 they were recognized by the Spanish Government. Proceedings were
afterwards instituted to ascertain their amount, and this was finally
fixed, according to their own statement (with which we were satisfied),
at the sum of $128,635.54. Just at the moment, after a delay of fourteen
years, when we had reason to expect that this sum would be repaid with
interest, we have received a proposal offering to refund one-third of
that amount ($42,878.41), but without interest, if we would accept this
in full satisfaction. The offer is also accompanied by a declaration
that this indemnification is not founded on any reason of strict
justice, but is made as a special favor.

One alleged cause for procrastination in the examination and adjustment
of our claims arises from an obstacle which it is the duty of the
Spanish Government to remove. Whilst the Captain-General of Cuba is
invested with general despotic authority in the government of that
island, the power is withheld from him to examine and redress wrongs
committed by officials under his control on citizens of the United
States. Instead of making our complaints directly to him at Havana, we
are obliged to present them through our minister at Madrid. These are
then referred back to the Captain-General for information, and much
time is thus consumed in preliminary investigations and correspondence
between Madrid and Cuba before the Spanish Government will consent
to proceed to negotiation. Many of the difficulties between the two
Governments would be obviated and a long train of negotiation avoided
if the Captain-General were invested with authority to settle questions
of easy solution on the spot, where all the facts are fresh and
could be promptly and satisfactorily ascertained. We have hitherto in
vain urged upon the Spanish Government to confer this power upon the
Captain-General, and our minister to Spain will again be instructed to
urge this subject on their notice. In this respect we occupy a different
position from the powers of Europe. Cuba is almost within sight of our
shores; our commerce with it is far greater than that of any other
nation, including Spain itself, and our citizens are in habits of daily
and extended personal intercourse with every part of the island. It is
therefore a great grievance that when any difficulty occurs, no matter
how unimportant, which might be readily settled at the moment, we should
be obliged to resort to Madrid, especially when the very first step to
be taken there is to refer it back to Cuba.

The truth is that Cuba, in its existing colonial condition, is a
constant source of injury and annoyance to the American people. It is
the only spot in the civilized world where the African slave trade is
tolerated, and we are bound by treaty with Great Britain to maintain a
naval force on the coast of Africa, at much expense both of life and
treasure, solely for the purpose of arresting slavers bound to that
island. The late serious difficulties between the United States and
Great Britain respecting the right of search, now so happily terminated,
could never have arisen if Cuba had not afforded a market for slaves.
As long as this market shall remain open there can be no hope for the
civilization of benighted Africa. Whilst the demand for slaves continues
in Cuba wars will be waged among the petty and barbarous chiefs in
Africa for the purpose of seizing subjects to supply this trade. In such
a condition of affairs it is impossible that the light of civilization
and religion can ever penetrate these dark abodes.

It has been made known to the world by my predecessors that the United
States have on several occasions endeavored to acquire Cuba from Spain
by honorable negotiation. If this were accomplished, the last relic of
the African slave trade would instantly disappear. We would not, if we
could, acquire Cuba in any other manner. This is due to our national
character. All the territory which we have acquired since the origin of
the Government has been by fair purchase from France, Spain, and Mexico
or by the free and voluntary act of the independent State of Texas in
blending her destinies with our own. This course we shall ever pursue,
unless circumstances should occur which we do not now anticipate,
rendering a departure from it clearly justifiable under the imperative
and overruling law of self-preservation.

The island of Cuba, from its geographical position, commands the
mouth of the Mississippi and the immense and annually increasing
trade, foreign and coastwise, from the valley of that noble river,
now embracing half the sovereign States of the Union. With that island
under the dominion of a distant foreign power this trade, of vital
importance to these States, is exposed to the danger of being destroyed
in time of war, and it has hitherto been subjected to perpetual injury
and annoyance in time of peace. Our relations with Spain, which ought
to be of the most friendly character, must always be placed in jeopardy
whilst the existing colonial government over the island shall remain in
its present condition.

Whilst the possession of the island would be of vast importance to the
United States, its value to Spain is comparatively unimportant. Such
was the relative situation of the parties when the great Napoleon
transferred Louisiana to the United States. Jealous as he ever was of
the national honor and interests of France, no person throughout the
world has imputed blame to him for accepting a pecuniary equivalent
for this cession.

The publicity which has been given to our former negotiations upon this
subject and the large appropriation which may be required to effect the
purpose render it expedient before making another attempt to renew the
negotiation that I should lay the whole subject before Congress. This
is especially necessary, as it may become indispensable to success that
I should be intrusted with the means of making an advance to the Spanish
Government immediately after the signing of the treaty, without awaiting
the ratification of it by the Senate. I am encouraged to make this
suggestion by the example of Mr. Jefferson previous to the purchase of
Louisiana from France and by that of Mr. Polk in view of the acquisition
of territory from Mexico. I refer the whole subject to Congress and
commend it to their careful consideration.

I repeat the recommendation made in my message of December last in favor
of an appropriation "to be paid to the Spanish Government for the
purpose of distribution among the claimants in the _Amistad_ case."
President Polk first made a similar recommendation in December, 1847,
and it was repeated by my immediate predecessor in December, 1853. I
entertain no doubt that indemnity is fairly due to these claimants under
our treaty with Spain of October 27, 1795; and whilst demanding justice
we ought to do justice. An appropriation promptly made for this purpose
could not fail to exert a favorable influence on our negotiations with
Spain.

Our position in relation to the independent States south of us on this
continent, and especially those within the limits of North America, is
of a peculiar character. The northern boundary of Mexico is coincident
with our own southern boundary from ocean to ocean, and we must
necessarily feel a deep interest in all that concerns the well-being and
the fate of so near a neighbor. We have always cherished the kindest
wishes for the success of that Republic, and have indulged the hope that
it might at last, after all its trials, enjoy peace and prosperity
under a free and stable government. We have never hitherto interfered,
directly or indirectly, with its internal affairs, and it is a duty
which we owe to ourselves to protect the integrity of its territory
against the hostile interference of any other power. Our geographical
position, our direct interest in all that concerns Mexico, and our
well-settled policy in regard to the North American continent render
this an indispensable duty.

Mexico has been in a state of constant revolution almost ever since it
achieved its independence. One military leader after another has usurped
the Government in rapid succession, and the various constitutions from
time to time adopted have been set at naught almost as soon as they
were proclaimed. The successive Governments have afforded no adequate
protection, either to Mexican citizens or foreign residents, against
lawless violence. Heretofore a seizure of the capital by a military
chieftain has been generally followed by at least the nominal submission
of the country to his rule for a brief period, but not so at the present
crisis of Mexican affairs. A civil war has been raging for some time
throughout the Republic between the central Government at the City of
Mexico, which has endeavored to subvert the constitution last framed
by military power, and those who maintain the authority of that
constitution. The antagonist parties each hold possession of different
States of the Republic, and the fortunes of the war are constantly
changing. Meanwhile the most reprehensible means have been employed by
both parties to extort money from foreigners, as well as natives, to
carry on this ruinous contest. The truth is that this fine country,
blessed with a productive soil and a benign climate, has been reduced
by civil dissension to a condition of almost hopeless anarchy and
imbecility. It would be vain for this Government to attempt to enforce
payment in money of the claims of American citizens, now amounting to
more than $10,000,000, against Mexico, because she is destitute of all
pecuniary means to satisfy these demands.

Our late minister was furnished with ample powers and instructions for
the adjustment of all pending questions with the central Government of
Mexico, and he performed his duty with zeal and ability. The claims of
our citizens, some of them arising out of the violation of an express
provision of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and others from gross
injuries to persons as well as property, have remained unredressed
and even unnoticed. Remonstrances against these grievances have been
addressed without effect to that Government. Meantime in various
parts of the Republic instances have been numerous of the murder,
imprisonment, and plunder of our citizens by different parties claiming
and exercising a local jurisdiction; but the central Government,
although repeatedly urged thereto, have made no effort either to
punish the authors of these outrages or to prevent their recurrence.
No American citizen can now visit Mexico on lawful business without
imminent danger to his person and property. There is no adequate
protection to either, and in this respect our treaty with that Republic
is almost a dead letter.

This state of affairs was brought to a crisis in May last by the
promulgation of a decree levying a contribution _pro rata_ upon all the
capital in the Republic between certain specified amounts, whether held
by Mexicans or foreigners. Mr. Forsyth, regarding this decree in the
light of a "forced loan," formally protested against its application
to his countrymen and advised them not to pay the contribution, but to
suffer it to be forcibly exacted. Acting upon this advice, an American
citizen refused to pay the contribution, and his property was seized by
armed men to satisfy the amount. Not content with this, the Government
proceeded still further and issued a decree banishing him from the
country. Our minister immediately notified them that if this decree
should be carried into execution he would feel it to be his duty
to adopt "the most decided measures that belong to the powers and
obligations of the representative office." Notwithstanding this warning,
the banishment was enforced, and Mr. Forsyth promptly announced to the
Government the suspension of the political relations of his legation
with them until the pleasure of his own Government should be
ascertained.

This Government did not regard the contribution imposed by the decree
of the 15th May last to be in strictness a "forced loan," and as such
prohibited by the tenth article of the treaty of 1826 between Great
Britain and Mexico, to the benefits of which American citizens are
entitled by treaty; yet the imposition of the contribution upon
foreigners was considered an unjust and oppressive measure. Besides,
internal factions in other parts of the Republic were at the same
time levying similar exactions upon the property of our citizens and
interrupting their commerce. There had been an entire failure on the
part of our minister to secure redress for the wrongs which our citizens
had endured, notwithstanding his persevering efforts. And from the
temper manifested by the Mexican Government he had repeatedly assured
us that no favorable change could be expected until the United States
should "give striking evidence of their will and power to protect their
citizens," and that "severe chastening is the only earthly remedy
for our grievances." From this statement of facts it would have been
worse than idle to direct Mr. Forsyth to retrace his steps and resume
diplomatic relations with that Government, and it was therefore deemed
proper to sanction his withdrawal of the legation from the City
of Mexico.

Abundant cause now undoubtedly exists for a resort to hostilities
against the Government still holding possession of the capital. Should
they succeed in subduing the constitutional forces, all reasonable hope
will then have expired of a peaceful settlement of our difficulties.

On the other hand, should the constitutional party prevail and their
authority be established over the Republic, there is reason to hope that
they will be animated by a less unfriendly spirit and may grant that
redress to American citizens which justice requires so far as they
may possess the means. But for this expectation I should at once have
recommended to Congress to grant the necessary power to the President
to take possession of a sufficient portion of the remote and unsettled
territory of Mexico, to be held in pledge until our injuries shall be
redressed and our just demands be satisfied. We have already exhausted
every milder means of obtaining justice. In such a case this remedy of
reprisals is recognized by the law of nations, not only as just in
itself, but as a means of preventing actual war.

But there is another view of our relations with Mexico, arising from the
unhappy condition of affairs along our southwestern frontier, which
demands immediate action. In that remote region, where there are but few
white inhabitants, large bands of hostile and predatory Indians roam
promiscuously over the Mexican States of Chihuahua and Sonora and our
adjoining Territories. The local governments of these States are
perfectly helpless and are kept in a state of constant alarm by the
Indians. They have not the power, if they possessed the will, even
to restrain lawless Mexicans from passing the border and committing
depredations on our remote settlers. A state of anarchy and violence
prevails throughout that distant frontier. The laws are a dead letter
and life and property wholly insecure. For this reason the settlement of
Arizona is arrested, whilst it is of great importance that a chain of
inhabitants should extend all along its southern border sufficient for
their own protection and that of the United States mail passing to and
from California. Well-founded apprehensions are now entertained that
the Indians and wandering Mexicans, equally lawless, may break up the
important stage and postal communication recently established between
our Atlantic and Pacific possessions. This passes very near to the
Mexican boundary throughout the whole length of Arizona. I can imagine
no possible remedy for these evils and no mode of restoring law and
order on that remote and unsettled frontier but for the Government of
the United States to assume a temporary protectorate over the northern
portions of Chihuahua and Sonora and to establish military posts within
the same; and this I earnestly recommend to Congress. This protection
may be withdrawn as soon as local governments shall be established in
these Mexican States capable of performing their duties to the United
States, restraining the lawless, and preserving peace along the border.

I do not doubt that this measure will be viewed in a friendly spirit by
the governments and people of Chihuahua and Sonora, as it will prove
equally effectual for the protection of their citizens on that remote
and lawless frontier as for citizens of the United States.

And in this connection permit me to recall your attention to the
condition of Arizona. The population of that Territory, numbering, as is
alleged, more than 10,000 souls, are practically without a government,
without laws, and without any regular administration of justice. Murder
and other crimes are committed with impunity. This state of things calls
loudly for redress, and I therefore repeat my recommendation for the
establishment of a Territorial government over Arizona.

The political condition of the narrow isthmus of Central America,
through which transit routes pass between the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans, presents a subject of deep interest to all commercial nations.
It is over these transits that a large proportion of the trade and
travel between the European and Asiatic continents is destined to pass.
To the United States these routes are of incalculable importance as a
means of communication between their Atlantic and Pacific possessions.
The latter now extend throughout seventeen degrees of latitude on the
Pacific coast, embracing the important State of California and the
flourishing Territories of Oregon and Washington. All commercial nations
therefore have a deep and direct interest that these communications
shall be rendered secure from interruption. If an arm of the sea
connecting the two oceans penetrated through Nicaragua and Costa Rica,
it could not be pretended that these States would have the right to
arrest or retard its navigation to the injury of other nations. The
transit by land over this narrow isthmus occupies nearly the same
position. It is a highway in which they themselves have little interest
when compared with the vast interests of the rest of the world. Whilst
their rights of sovereignty ought to be respected, it is the duty of
other nations to require that this important passage shall not be
interrupted by the civil wars and revolutionary outbreaks which have
so frequently occurred in that region. The stake is too important to
be left at the mercy of rival companies claiming to hold conflicting
contracts with Nicaragua. The commerce of other nations is not to
stand still and await the adjustment of such petty controversies. The
Government of the United States expect no more than this, and they will
not be satisfied with less. They would not, if they could, derive any
advantage from the Nicaragua transit not common to the rest of the
world. Its neutrality and protection for the common use of all nations
is their only object. They have no objection that Nicaragua shall demand
and receive a fair compensation from the companies and individuals who
may traverse the route, but they insist that it shall never hereafter
be closed by an arbitrary decree of that Government. If disputes arise
between it and those with whom they may have entered into contracts,
these must be adjusted by some fair tribunal provided for the purpose,
and the route must not be closed pending the controversy. This is our
whole policy, and it can not fail to be acceptable to other nations.

All these difficulties might be avoided if, consistently with the good
faith of Nicaragua, the use of this transit could be thrown open to
general competition, providing at the same time for the payment of a
reasonable rate to the Nicaraguan Government on passengers and freight.

In August, 1852, the Accessory Transit Company made its first
inter-oceanic trip over the Nicaraguan route, and continued in
successful operation, with great advantage to the public, until the 18th
February, 1856, when it was closed and the grant to this company as well
as its charter were summarily and arbitrarily revoked by the Government
of President Rivas. Previous to this date, however, in 1854, serious
disputes concerning the settlement of their accounts had arisen between
the company and the Government, threatening the interruption of the
route at any moment. These the United States in vain endeavored to
compose. It would be useless to narrate the various proceedings which
took place between the parties up till the time when the transit was
discontinued. Suffice it to say that since February, 1856, it has
remained closed, greatly to the prejudice of citizens of the United
States. Since that time the competition has ceased between the rival
routes of Panama and Nicaragua, and in consequence thereof an unjust and
unreasonable amount has been exacted from our citizens for their passage
to and from California. A treaty was signed on the 16th day of November,
1857, by the Secretary of State and minister of Nicaragua, under the
stipulations of which the use and protection of the transit route would
have been secured, not only to the United States, but equally to all
other nations. How and on what pretext this treaty has failed to receive
the ratification of the Nicaraguan Government will appear by the papers
herewith communicated from the State Department. The principal objection
seems to have been to the provision authorizing the United States to
employ force to keep the route open in case Nicaragua should fail
to perform her duty in this respect. From the feebleness of that
Republic, its frequent changes of government, and its constant internal
dissensions, this had become a most important stipulation, and one
essentially necessary, not only for the security of the route, but for
the safety of American citizens passing and repassing to and from our
Pacific possessions. Were such a stipulation embraced in a treaty
between the United States and Nicaragua, the knowledge of this fact
would of itself most probably prevent hostile parties from committing
aggressions on the route, and render our actual interference for its
protection unnecessary.

The executive government of this country in its intercourse with foreign
nations is limited to the employment of diplomacy alone. When this fails
it can proceed no further. It can not legitimately resort to force
without the direct authority of Congress, except in resisting and
repelling hostile attacks. It would have no authority to enter the
territories of Nicaragua even to prevent the destruction of the transit
and protect the lives and property of our own citizens on their passage.
It is true that on a sudden emergency of this character the President
would direct any armed force in the vicinity to march to their relief,
but in doing this he would act upon his own responsibility.

Under these circumstances I earnestly recommend to Congress the passage
of an act authorizing the President, under such restrictions as they may
deem proper, to employ the land and naval forces of the United States
in preventing the transit from being obstructed or closed by lawless
violence, and in protecting the lives and property of American citizens
traveling thereupon, requiring at the same time that these forces shall
be withdrawn the moment the danger shall have passed away. Without such
a provision our citizens will be constantly exposed to interruption in
their progress and to lawless violence.

A similar necessity exists for the passage of such an act for the
protection of the Panama and Tehuantepec routes.

In reference to the Panama route, the United States, by their existing
treaty with New Granada, expressly guarantee the neutrality of the
Isthmus, "with the view that the free transit from the one to the other
sea may not be interrupted or embarrassed in any future time while this
treaty exists."

In regard to the Tehuantepec route, which has been recently opened
under the most favorable auspices, our treaty with Mexico of the 30th
December, 1853, secures to the citizens of the United States a right
of transit over it for their persons and merchandise and stipulates
that neither Government shall "interpose any obstacle" thereto. It
also concedes to the United States the "right to transport across the
Isthmus, in closed bags, the mails of the United States not intended for
distribution along the line of the communication; also the effects of
the United States Government and its citizens which may be intended for
transit and not for distribution on the Isthmus, free of custom-house
or other charges by the Mexican Government."

These treaty stipulations with New Granada and Mexico, in addition to
the considerations applicable to the Nicaragua route, seem to require
legislation for the purpose of carrying them into effect.

The injuries which have been inflicted upon our citizens in Costa Rica
and Nicaragua during the last two or three years have received the
prompt attention of this Government. Some of these injuries were of the
most aggravated character. The transaction at Virgin Bay in April, 1856,
when a company of unarmed Americans, who were in no way connected with
any belligerent conduct or party, were fired upon by the troops of
Costa Rica and numbers of them killed and wounded, was brought to the
knowledge of Congress by my predecessor soon after its occurrence, and
was also presented to the Government of Costa Rica for that immediate
investigation and redress which the nature of the case demanded. A
similar course was pursued with reference to other outrages in these
countries, some of which were hardly less aggravated in their character
than the transaction at Virgin Bay. At the time, however, when our
present minister to Nicaragua was appointed, in December, 1857, no
redress had been obtained for any of these wrongs and no reply even had
been received to the demands which had been made by this Government upon
that of Costa Rica more than a year before. Our minister was instructed,
therefore, to lose no time in expressing to those Governments the deep
regret with which the President had witnessed this inattention to the
just claims of the United States and in demanding their prompt and
satisfactory adjustment. Unless this demand shall be complied with at an
early day it will only remain for this Government to adopt such other
measures as may be necessary in order to obtain for itself that justice
which it has in vain attempted to secure by peaceful means from the
Governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. While it has shown, and will
continue to show, the most sincere regard for the rights and honor of
these Republics, it can not permit this regard to be met by an utter
neglect on their part of what is due to the Government and citizens of
the United States.

Against New Granada we have long-standing causes of complaint, arising
out of the unsatisfied claims of our citizens upon that Republic, and
to these have been more recently added the outrages committed upon our
citizens at Panama in April, 1856. A treaty for the adjustment of these
difficulties was concluded by the Secretary of State and the minister
of New Granada in September, 1857, which contained just and acceptable
provisions for that purpose. This treaty was transmitted to Bogota
and was ratified by the Government of New Granada, but with certain
amendments. It was not, however, returned to this city until after
the close of the last session of the Senate. It will be immediately
transmitted to that body for their advice and consent, and should this
be obtained it will remove all our existing causes of complaint against
New Granada on the subject of claims.

Questions have arisen between the two Governments as to the right of New
Granada to levy a tonnage duty upon the vessels of the United States in
its ports of the Isthmus and to levy a passenger tax upon our citizens
arriving in that country, whether with a design to remain there or to
pass from ocean to ocean by the transit route; and also a tax upon the
mail of the United States transported over the Panama Railroad. The
Government of New Granada has been informed that the United States would
consider the collection of either of these taxes as an act in violation
of the treaty between the two countries, and as such would be resisted
by the United States. At the same time, we are prepared to discuss these
questions in a spirit of amity and justice and with a sincere desire to
adjust them in a satisfactory manner. A negotiation for that purpose has
already been commenced. No effort has recently been made to collect
these taxes nor is any anticipated under present circumstances.

With the Empire of Brazil our relations are of the most friendly
character. The productions of the two countries, and especially those
of an agricultural nature, are such as to invite extensive mutual
exchanges. A large quantity of American flour is consumed in Brazil,
whilst more than treble the amount in value of Brazilian coffee is
consumed in the United States. Whilst this is the case, a heavy duty has
been levied until very recently upon the importation of American flour
into Brazil. I am gratified, however, to be able to inform you that in
September last this has been reduced from $1.32 to about 49 cents per
barrel, and the duties on other articles of our production have been
diminished in nearly the same proportion.

I regret to state that the Government of Brazil still continues to levy
an export duty of about 11 per cent on coffee, notwithstanding this
article is admitted free from duty in the United States. This is a heavy
charge upon the consumers of coffee in our country, as we purchase
half of the entire surplus crop of that article raised in Brazil. Our
minister, under instructions, will reiterate his efforts to have this
export duty removed, and it is hoped that the enlightened Government
of the Emperor will adopt this wise, just, and equal policy. In that
event, there is good reason to believe that the commerce between the
two countries will greatly increase, much to the advantage of both.

The claims of our citizens against the Government of Brazil are not in
the aggregate of very large amount; but some of these rest upon plain
principles of justice and their settlement ought not to be longer
delayed. A renewed and earnest, and I trust a successful, effort will
be made by our minister to procure their final adjustment.

On the 2d of June last Congress passed a joint resolution authorizing
the President "to adopt such measures and use such force as in his
judgment may be necessary and advisable" "for the purpose of adjusting
the differences between the United States and the Republic of Paraguay
in connection with the attack on the United States steamer _Water Witch_
and with other measures referred to" in his annual message, and on the
12th of July following they made an appropriation to defray the expenses
and compensation of a commissioner to that Republic should the President
deem it proper to make such an appointment.

In compliance with these enactments, I have appointed a commissioner,
who has proceeded to Paraguay with full powers and instructions to
settle these differences in an amicable and peaceful manner if this be
practicable. His experience and discretion justify the hope that he may
prove successful in convincing the Paraguayan Government that it is due
both to honor and justice that they should voluntarily and promptly make
atonement for the wrongs which they have committed against the United
States and indemnify our injured citizens whom they have forcibly
despoiled of their property.

Should our commissioner prove unsuccessful after a sincere and earnest
effort to accomplish the object of his mission, then no alternative will
remain but the employment of force to obtain "just satisfaction" from
Paraguay. In view of this contingency, the Secretary of the Navy, under
my direction, has fitted out and dispatched a naval force to rendezvous
near Buenos Ayres, which, it is believed, will prove sufficient for the
occasion. It is my earnest desire, however, that it may not be found
necessary to resort to this last alternative.

When Congress met in December last the business of the country had
just been crushed by one of those periodical revulsions which are the
inevitable consequence of our unsound and extravagant system of bank
credits and inflated currency. With all the elements of national wealth
in abundance, our manufactures were suspended, our useful public and
private enterprises were arrested, and thousands of laborers were
deprived of employment and reduced to want. Universal distress prevailed
among the commercial, manufacturing, and mechanical classes. This
revulsion was felt the more severely in the United States because
similar causes had produced the like deplorable effects throughout the
commercial nations of Europe. All were experiencing sad reverses at the
same moment. Our manufacturers everywhere suffered severely, not because
of the recent reduction in the tariff of duties on imports, but because
there was no demand at any price for their productions. The people were
obliged to restrict themselves in their purchases to articles of prime
necessity. In the general prostration of business the iron manufacturers
in different States probably suffered more than any other class, and
much destitution was the inevitable consequence among the great number
of workmen who had been employed in this useful branch of industry.
There could be no supply where there was no demand. To present an
example, there could be no demand for railroad iron after our
magnificent system of railroads, extending its benefits to every
portion of the Union, had been brought to a dead pause. The same
consequences have resulted from similar causes to many other branches
of useful manufactures. It is self-evident that where there is no
ability to purchase manufactured articles these can not be sold, and
consequently must cease to be produced.

No government, and especially a government of such limited powers as
that of the United States, could have prevented the late revulsion. The
whole commercial world seemed for years to have been rushing to this
catastrophe. The same ruinous consequences would have followed in the
United States whether the duties upon foreign imports had remained as
they were under the tariff of 1846 or had been raised to a much higher
standard. The tariff of 1857 had no agency in the result. The general
causes existing throughout the world could not have been controlled by
the legislation of any particular country.

The periodical revulsions which have existed in our past history must
continue to return at intervals so long as our present unbounded system
of bank credits shall prevail. They will, however, probably be the less
severe in future, because it is not to be expected, at least for many
years to come, that the commercial nations of Europe, with whose
interests our own are so materially involved, will expose themselves to
similar calamities. But this subject was treated so much at large in
my last annual message that I shall not now pursue it further. Still,
I respectfully renew the recommendation in favor of the passage of a
uniform bankrupt law applicable to banking institutions. This is all the
direct power over the subject which I believe the Federal Government
possesses. Such a law would mitigate, though it might not prevent,
the evil. The instinct of self-preservation might produce a wholesome
restraint upon their banking business if they knew in advance that
a suspension of specie payments would inevitably produce their civil
death.

But the effects of the revulsion are now slowly but surely passing away.
The energy and enterprise of our citizens, with our unbounded resources,
will within the period of another year restore a state of wholesome
industry and trade. Capital has again accumulated in our large cities.
The rate of interest is there very low. Confidence is gradually
reviving, and so soon as it is discovered that this capital can be
profitably employed in commercial and manufacturing enterprises and in
the construction of railroads and other works of public and private
improvement prosperity will again smile throughout the land. It is
vain, however, to disguise the fact from ourselves that a speculative
inflation of our currency without a corresponding inflation in other
countries whose manufactures come into competition with our own must
ever produce disastrous results to our domestic manufactures. No tariff
short of absolute prohibition can prevent these evil consequences.

In connection with this subject it is proper to refer to our financial
condition. The same causes which have produced pecuniary distress
throughout the country have so reduced the amount of imports from
foreign countries that the revenue has proved inadequate to meet
the necessary expenses of the Government. To supply the deficiency,
Congress, by the act of December 23, 1857, authorized the issue of
$20,000,000 of Treasury notes; and this proving inadequate, they
authorized, by the act of June 14, 1858, a loan of $20,000,000,
"to be applied to the payment of appropriations made by law."

No statesman would advise that we should go on increasing the national
debt to meet the ordinary expenses of the Government. This would be
a most ruinous policy. In case of war our credit must be our chief
resource, at least for the first year, and this would be greatly
impaired by having contracted a large debt in time of peace. It is our
true policy to increase our revenue so as to equal our expenditures.
It would be ruinous to continue to borrow. Besides, it may be proper to
observe that the incidental protection thus afforded by a revenue tariff
would at the present moment to some extent increase the confidence of
the manufacturing interests and give a fresh impulse to our reviving
business. To this surely no person will object.

In regard to the mode of assessing and collecting duties under a
strictly revenue tariff, I have long entertained and often expressed
the opinion that sound policy requires this should be done by specific
duties in cases to which these can be properly applied. They are well
adapted to commodities which are usually sold by weight or by measure,
and which from their nature are of equal or of nearly equal value. Such,
for example, are the articles of iron of different classes, raw sugar,
and foreign wines and spirits.

In my deliberate judgment specific duties are the best, if not the only,
means of securing the revenue against false and fraudulent invoices,
and such has been the practice adopted for this purpose by other
commercial nations. Besides, specific duties would afford to the
American manufacturer the incidental advantages to which he is fairly
entitled under a revenue tariff. The present system is a sliding scale
to his disadvantage. Under it, when prices are high and business
prosperous, the duties rise in amount when he least requires their
aid. On the contrary, when prices fall and he is struggling against
adversity, the duties are diminished in the same proportion, greatly
to his injury.

Neither would there be danger that a higher rate of duty than that
intended by Congress could be levied in the form of specific duties. It
would be easy to ascertain the average value of any imported article for
a series of years, and, instead of subjecting it to an _ad valorem_ duty
at a certain rate _per centum_, to substitute in its place an equivalent
specific duty.

By such an arrangement the consumer would not be injured. It is true
he might have to pay a little more duty on a given article in one year,
but, if so, he would pay a little less in another, and in a series of
years these would counterbalance each other and amount to the same
thing so far as his interest is concerned. This inconvenience would be
trifling when contrasted with the additional security thus afforded
against frauds upon the revenue, in which every consumer is directly
interested.

I have thrown out these suggestions as the fruit of my own observation,
to which Congress, in their better judgment, will give such weight as
they may justly deserve.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury will explain in detail the
operations of that Department of the Government. The receipts into the
Treasury from all sources during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1858,
including the Treasury notes authorized by the act of December 23, 1857,
were $70,273,869.59, which amount, with the balance of $17,710,114.27
remaining in the Treasury at the commencement of the year, made an
aggregate for the service of the year of $87,983,983.86.

The public expenditures during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1858,
amounted to $81,585,667.76, of which $9,684,537.99 were applied to the
payment of the public debt and the redemption of Treasury notes with the
interest thereon, leaving in the Treasury on July 1, 1858, being the
commencement of the present fiscal year, $6,398,316.10.

The receipts into the Treasury during the first quarter of the present
fiscal year, commencing the 1st of July, 1858, including one-half of the
loan of $20,000,000, with the premium upon it, authorized by the act
of June 14, 1858, were $25,230,879.46, and the estimated receipts for
the remaining three quarters to the 30th of June, 1859, from ordinary
sources are $38,500,000, making, with the balance before stated, an
aggregate of $70,129,195.56.

The expenditures during the first quarter of the present fiscal
year were $21,708,198.51, of which $1,010,142.37 were applied to the
payment of the public debt and the redemption of Treasury notes and the
interest thereon. The estimated expenditures during the remaining three
quarters to June 30, 1859, are $52,357,698.48, making an aggregate of
$74,065,896.99, being an excess of expenditure beyond the estimated
receipts into the Treasury from ordinary sources during the fiscal year
to the 30th of June, 1859, of $3,936,701.43. Extraordinary means are
placed by law within the command of the Secretary of the Treasury, by
the reissue of Treasury notes redeemed and by negotiating the balance
of the loan authorized by the act of June 14, 1858, to the extent
of $11,000,000, which, if realized during the present fiscal year,
will leave a balance in the Treasury on the 1st day of July, 1859,
of $7,063,298.57.

The estimated receipts during the next fiscal year, ending June 30,
1860, are $62,000,000, which, with the above-estimated balance of
$7,063,298.57 make an aggregate for the service of the next fiscal year
of $69,063,298.57. The estimated expenditures during the next fiscal
year, ending June 30, 1860, are $73,139,147.46, which leaves a deficit
of estimated means, compared with the estimated expenditures, for that
year, commencing on July 1, 1859, of $4,075,848.89.

In addition to this sum the Postmaster-General will require from the
Treasury for the service of the Post-Office Department $3,838,728, as
explained in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, which will
increase the estimated deficit on June 30, 1860, to $7,914,576.89.
To provide for the payment of this estimated deficiency, which will
be increased by such appropriations as may be made by Congress not
estimated for in the report of the Treasury Department, as well as to
provide for the gradual redemption from year to year of the outstanding
Treasury notes, the Secretary of the Treasury recommends such a revision
of the present tariff as will raise the required amount. After what
I have already said I need scarcely add that I concur in the opinion
expressed in his report--that the public debt should not be increased
by an additional loan--and would therefore strongly urge upon Congress
the duty of making at their present session the necessary provision
for meeting these liabilities.

The public debt on July 1, 1858, the commencement of the present fiscal
year, was $25,155,977.66.

During the first quarter of the present year the sum of $10,000,000 has
been negotiated of the loan authorized by the act of June 14, 1858,
making the present outstanding public debt, exclusive of Treasury notes,
$35,155,977.66. There was on the 1st of July, 1858, of Treasury notes
issued by authority of the act of December 23, 1857, unredeemed, the sum
of $19,754,800, making the amount of actual indebtedness at that date
$54,910,777.66. To this will be added $10,000,000 during the present
fiscal year, this being the remaining half of the loan of $20,000,000
not yet negotiated.

The rapid increase of the public debt and the necessity which exists
for a modification of the tariff to meet even the ordinary expenses of
the Government ought to admonish us all, in our respective spheres of
duty, to the practice of rigid economy. The objects of expenditure
should be limited in number, as far as this may be practicable, and the
appropriations necessary to carry them into effect ought to be disbursed
under the strictest accountability. Enlightened economy does not
consist in the refusal to appropriate money for constitutional purposes
essential to the defense, progress, and prosperity of the Republic, but
in taking care that none of this money shall be wasted by mismanagement
in its application to the objects designated by law.

Comparisons between the annual expenditure at the present time and what
it was ten or twenty years ago are altogether fallacious. The rapid
increase of our country in extent and population renders a corresponding
increase of expenditure to some extent unavoidable. This is constantly
creating new objects of expenditure and augmenting the amount required
for the old. The true questions, then, are, Have these objects been
unnecessarily multiplied, or has the amount expended upon any or all
of them been larger than comports with due economy? In accordance with
these principles, the heads of the different Executive Departments of
the Government have been instructed to reduce their estimates for the
next fiscal year to the lowest standard consistent with the efficiency
of the service, and this duty they have performed in a spirit of
just economy. The estimates of the Treasury, War, Navy, and Interior
Departments have each been in some degree reduced, and unless a sudden
and unforeseen emergency should arise it is not anticipated that a
deficiency will exist in either within the present or the next fiscal
year. The Post-Office Department is placed in a peculiar position,
different from the other Departments, and to this I shall hereafter
refer.

I invite Congress to institute a rigid scrutiny to ascertain whether the
expenses in all the Departments can not be still further reduced, and
I promise them all the aid in my power in pursuing the investigation.

I transmit herewith the reports made to me by the Secretaries of War,
of the Navy, of the Interior, and of the Postmaster-General. They each
contain valuable information and important recommendations, to which
I invite the attention of Congress.

In my last annual message I took occasion to recommend the immediate
construction of ten small steamers of light draft, for the purpose
of increasing the efficiency of the Navy. Congress responded to the
recommendation by authorizing the construction of eight of them. The
progress which has been made in executing this authority is stated
in the report of the Secretary of the Navy. I concur with him in the
opinion that a greater number of this class of vessels is necessary for
the purpose of protecting in a more efficient manner the persons and
property of American citizens on the high seas and in foreign countries,
as well as in guarding more effectually our own coasts. I accordingly
recommend the passage of an act for this purpose.

The suggestions contained in the report of the Secretary of the
Interior, especially those in regard to the disposition of the public
domain, the pension and bounty-land system, the policy toward the
Indians, and the amendment of our patent laws, are worthy of the serious
consideration of Congress.

The Post-Office Department occupies a position very different from
that of the other Departments. For many years it was the policy of the
Government to render this a self-sustaining Department; and if this can
not now be accomplished, in the present condition of the country, we
ought to make as near an approach to it as may be practicable.

The Postmaster-General is placed in a most embarrassing position by the
existing laws. He is obliged to carry these into effect. He has no other
alternative. He finds, however, that this can not be done without heavy
demands upon the Treasury over and above what is received for postage,
and these have been progressively increasing from year to year until
they amounted for the last fiscal year, ending on the 30th of June,
1858, to more than $4,500,000, whilst it is estimated that for the
present fiscal year they will amount to $6,290,000. These sums are
exclusive of the annual appropriation of $700,000 for "compensation for
the mail service performed for the two Houses of Congress and the other
Departments and officers of the Government in the transmission of free
matter."

The cause of these large deficits is mainly attributable to the
increased expense of transporting the mails. In 1852 the sum paid for
this service was but a fraction above four millions and a quarter. Since
that year it has annually increased, until in 1858 it has reached more
than eight millions and a quarter, and for the service of 1859 it is
estimated that it will amount to more than $10,000,000.

The receipts of the Post-Office Department can be made to approach or to
equal its expenditure only by means of the legislation of Congress. In
applying any remedy care should be taken that the people shall not be
deprived of the advantages which they are fairly entitled to enjoy from
the Post-Office Department. The principal remedies recommended to the
consideration of Congress by the Postmaster-General are to restore the
former rate of postage upon single letters to 5 cents; to substitute
for the franking privilege the delivery to those now entitled to enjoy
it of post-office stamps for their correspondence, and to direct the
Department in making contracts for the transportation of the mail to
confine itself to the payment of the sum necessary for this single
purpose, without requiring it to be transported in post coaches or
carriages of any particular description. Under the present system the
expense to the Government is greatly increased by requiring that the
mail shall be carried in such vehicles as will accommodate passengers.
This will be done, without pay from the Department, over all roads
where the travel will remunerate the contractors.

These recommendations deserve the grave consideration of Congress.

I would again call your attention to the construction of a Pacific
railroad. Time and reflection have but served to confirm me in the truth
and justice of the observations which I made on this subject in my last
annual message, to which I beg leave respectfully to refer.

It is freely admitted that it would be inexpedient for this Government
to exercise the power of constructing the Pacific railroad by its own
immediate agents. Such a policy would increase the patronage of the
Executive to a dangerous extent, and introduce a system of jobbing and
corruption which no vigilance on the part of Federal officials could
either prevent or detect. This can only be done by the keen eye and
active and careful supervision of individual and private interest. The
construction of this road ought therefore to be committed to companies
incorporated by the States or other agencies whose pecuniary interests
would be directly involved. Congress might then assist them in the
work by grants of land or of money, or both, under such conditions and
restrictions as would secure the transportation of troops and munitions
of war free from any charge and that of the United States mail at a fair
and reasonable price.

The progress of events since the commencement of your last session has
shown how soon difficulties disappear before a firm and determined
resolution. At that time such a road was deemed by wise and patriotic
men to be a visionary project. The great distance to be overcome and the
intervening mountains and deserts in the way were obstacles which, in
the opinion of many, could not be surmounted. Now, after the lapse of
but a single year, these obstacles, it has been discovered, are far
less formidable than they were supposed to be, and mail stages with
passengers now pass and repass regularly twice in each week, by a common
wagon road, between San Francisco and St. Louis and Memphis in less than
twenty-five days. The service has been as regularly performed as it was
in former years between New York and this city.

Whilst disclaiming all authority to appropriate money for the
construction of this road, except that derived from the war-making power
of the Constitution, there are important collateral considerations
urging us to undertake the work as speedily as possible.

The first and most momentous of these is that such a road would be a
powerful bond of union between the States east and west of the Rocky
Mountains. This is so self-evident as to require no illustration.

But again, in a commercial point of view, I consider this the great
question of the day. With the eastern front of our Republic stretching
along the Atlantic and its western front along the Pacific, if all the
parts should be united by a safe, easy, and rapid intercommunication we
must necessarily command a very large proportion of the trade both of
Europe and Asia. Our recent treaties with China and Japan will open
these rich and populous Empires to our commerce; and the history of the
world proves that the nation which has gained possession of the trade
with eastern Asia has always become wealthy and powerful. The peculiar
geographical position of California and our Pacific possessions invites
American capital and enterprise into this fruitful field. To reap the
rich harvest, however, it is an indispensable prerequisite that we shall
first have a railroad to convey and circulate its products throughout
every portion of the Union. Besides, such a railroad through our
temperate latitude, which would not be impeded by the frosts and snows
of winter nor by the tropical heats of summer, would attract to itself
much of the travel and the trade of all nations passing between Europe
and Asia.

On the 21st of August last Lieutenant J.N. Maffit, of the United States
brig _Dolphin_, captured the slaver _Echo_ (formerly the _Putnam_, of
New Orleans) near Kay Verde, on the coast of Cuba, with more than 300
African negroes on board. The prize, under the command of Lieutenant
Bradford, of the United States Navy, arrived at Charleston on the 27th
August, when the negroes, 306 in number, were delivered into the custody
of the United States marshal for the district of South Carolina. They
were first placed in Castle Pinckney, and afterwards in Fort Sumter, for
safe-keeping, and were detained there until the 19th September, when the
survivors, 271 in number, were delivered on board the United States
steamer _Niagara_ to be transported to the coast of Africa under the
charge of the agent of the United States, pursuant to the provisions of
the act of the 3d March, 1819, "in addition to the acts prohibiting the
slave trade." Under the second section of this act the President is
"authorized to make such regulations and arrangements as he may deem
expedient for the safe-keeping, support, and removal beyond the limits
of the United States of all such negroes, mulattoes, or persons of
color" captured by vessels of the United States as may be delivered to
the marshal of the district into which they are brought, "and to appoint
a proper person or persons residing upon the coast of Africa as agent or
agents for receiving the negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color
delivered from on board vessels seized in the prosecution of the slave
trade by commanders of United States armed vessels."

A doubt immediately arose as to the true construction of this act. It is
quite clear from its terms that the President was authorized to provide
"for the safe-keeping, support, and removal" of these negroes up till
the time of their delivery to the agent on the coast of Africa, but no
express provision was made for their protection and support after they
had reached the place of their destination. Still, an agent was to be
appointed to receive them in Africa, and it could not have been supposed
that Congress intended he should desert them at the moment they were
received and turn them loose on that inhospitable coast to perish for
want of food or to become again the victims of the slave trade. Had this
been the intention of Congress, the employment of an agent to receive
them, who is required to reside on the coast, was unnecessary, and they
might have been landed by our vessels anywhere in Africa and left
exposed to the sufferings and the fate which would certainly await them.

Mr. Monroe, in his special message of December 17, 1819, at the first
session after the act was passed, announced to Congress what in his
opinion was its true construction. He believed it to be his duty under
it to follow these unfortunates into Africa and make provision for
them there until they should be able to provide for themselves. In
communicating this interpretation of the act to Congress he stated that
some doubt had been entertained as to its true intent and meaning, and
he submitted the question to them so that they might, "should it be
deemed advisable, amend the same before further proceedings are had
under it." Nothing was done by Congress to explain the act, and Mr.
Monroe proceeded to carry it into execution according to his own
interpretation. This, then, became the practical construction. When
the Africans from on board the _Echo_ were delivered to the marshal at
Charleston, it became my duty to consider what disposition ought to be
made of them under the law. For many reasons it was expedient to remove
them from that locality as speedily as possible. Although the conduct of
the authorities and citizens of Charleston in giving countenance to the
execution of the law was just what might have been expected from their
high character, yet a prolonged continuance of 300 Africans in the
immediate vicinity of that city could not have failed to become a source
of inconvenience and anxiety to its inhabitants. Where to send them was
the question. There was no portion of the coast of Africa to which they
could be removed with any regard to humanity except to Liberia. Under
these circumstances an agreement was entered into with the Colonization
Society on the 7th of September last, a copy of which is herewith
transmitted, under which the society engaged, for the consideration of
$45,000, to receive these Africans in Liberia from the agent of the
United States and furnish them during the period of one year thereafter
with comfortable shelter, clothing, provisions, and medical attendance,
causing the children to receive schooling, and all, whether children or
adults, to be instructed in the arts of civilized life suitable to their
condition. This aggregate of $45,000 was based upon an allowance of $150
for each individual; and as there has been considerable mortality among
them and may be more before they reach Africa, the society have agreed,
in an equitable spirit, to make such a deduction from the amount as
under the circumstances may appear just and reasonable. This can not
be fixed until we shall ascertain the actual number which may become
a charge to the society.

It was also distinctly agreed that under no circumstances shall this
Government be called upon for any additional expenses.

The agents of the society manifested a laudable desire to conform to the
wishes of the Government throughout the transaction. They assured me
that after a careful calculation they would be required to expend the
sum of $150 on each individual in complying with the agreement, and they
would have nothing left to remunerate them for their care, trouble, and
responsibility. At all events, I could make no better arrangement, and
there was no other alternative. During the period when the Government
itself, through its own agents, undertook the task of providing for
captured negroes in Africa the cost per head was very much greater.

There having been no outstanding appropriation applicable to this
purpose, I could not advance any money on the agreement. I therefore
recommend that an appropriation may be made of the amount necessary
to carry it into effect.

Other captures of a similar character may, and probably will, be made
by our naval forces, and I earnestly recommend that Congress may amend
the second section of the act of March 3, 1819, so as to free its
construction from the ambiguity which has so long existed and render
the duty of the President plain in executing its provisions.

I recommend to your favorable regard the local interests of the District
of Columbia. As the residence of Congress and the Executive Departments
of the Government, we can not fail to feel a deep concern in its
welfare. This is heightened by the high character and the peaceful
and orderly conduct of its resident inhabitants.

I can not conclude without performing the agreeable duty of expressing
my gratification that Congress so kindly responded to the recommendation
of my last annual message by affording me sufficient time before the
close of their late session for the examination of all the bills
presented to me for approval. This change in the practice of Congress
has proved to be a wholesome reform. It exerted a beneficial influence
on the transaction of legislative business and elicited the general
approbation of the country. It enabled Congress to adjourn with that
dignity and deliberation so becoming to the representatives of this
great Republic, without having crowded into general appropriation bills
provisions foreign to their nature and of doubtful constitutionality
and expediency. Let me warmly and strongly commend this precedent
established by themselves as a guide to their proceedings during the
present session.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



SPECIAL MESSAGES.


WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty of amity and commerce between the United States
and Japan, concluded at the city of Yeddo on the 29th of July last.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty between the United States and China, signed at
Tien-tsin by the plenipotentiaries of the parties on the 18th day of
June last.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



EXECUTIVE MANSION, _December 10, 1858_.

The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.

SIR: In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of June 12, 1858,
I herewith communicate a report from the Secretary of the Interior,
showing "the amount of money paid for pensions in each of the States
and Territories since the commencement of the present Government."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 10, 1858_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress a copy of the treaty between the United States
and the Kingdom of Siam, concluded on the 29th of May, 1856, and
proclaimed on the 16th of August last, and call the attention of that
body to the necessity of an act for carrying into effect the provisions
of Article II of the said treaty, conferring certain judicial powers
upon the consul of the United States who may be appointed to reside at
Bangkok. I would also suggest that the extension to the Kingdom of Siam
of the provisions of the act approved August 11, 1848, entitled "An
act to carry into effect certain provisions in the treaties between
the United States and China and the Ottoman Porte, giving certain
judicial powers to ministers and consuls of the United States in those
countries," might obviate the necessity of any other legislation upon
the subject.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



EXECUTIVE OFFICE,

_Washington, December 15, 1858_.

Hon. JAMES L. ORR,

_Speaker of the House of Representatives_.

SIR: In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 13th instant, requesting the President of the United States, if not
inconsistent with the public interest, "to communicate all information
in his possession, or which may shortly come into his possession,
respecting the reported recent acts of visitation by officers of the
British navy of American vessels in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico,"
I transmit the accompanying reports from the Secretaries of State and
the Navy. The report from the Secretary of State is not in strictness
embraced by the terms of the resolution, but I deem it advisable to
communicate to the House the information therein contained.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying
documents, in answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 7th of
January last, calling for all the official dispatches and correspondence
of the Hon. Robert M. McLane and of the Hon. Peter Parker, late
commissioners of the United States in China, with the Department of
State.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 20, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

The Senate will learn from the thirty-five naval nominations herewith
submitted the result of my investigations under the resolutions of
Congress of March 10 and May 11, 1858. In compliance with these
resolutions, I have carefully examined the records of the courts of
inquiry in fifty-eight cases, and have arrived at the conclusion that
twenty-three of the officers ought to remain in the positions where
they have been fixed by the courts of inquiry.

The records are very voluminous and the labor of examination, in which
I have been materially assisted by the Secretary of the Navy, the
Attorney-General, and the Commissioner of Patents, has consumed much
time.

Under the act of January 17, 1857, the courts of inquiry were directed
to investigate "the physical, mental, professional, and moral fitness"
of each officer who applied to them for relief. These investigations it
was my duty to review. They have been very extensive and searching, as
the Senate will perceive from an examination of the records, embracing
in many instances almost the entire professional life of the individual
from his first entrance into the service.

In the performance of my duty I found the greatest difficulty in
deciding what should be considered as "moral fitness" for the Navy.
Physical, mental, and professional fitness may be decided with a
considerable degree of accuracy by a naval court of inquiry, but the
question of moral fitness is of a very different character. There has
been but one perfect standard of morality on earth, and how far a
departure from His precepts and example must proceed in order to
disqualify an officer for the naval service is a question on which a
great difference of honest opinion must always exist. On this question
I have differed in several instances from the courts of inquiry.

There is one nomination which I regret that I have not the power to
present to the Senate, and this is in the case of Commodore Stewart.
His name stood on the Register at the head of the list of captains in
the Navy until it was removed from this well-earned position by the
retiring board and placed on the list of retired officers. The deeply
wounded feelings of this veteran officer, who had contributed so much
to the efficiency and glory of the Navy from its infancy, prevented him
from applying for restoration to his rank and submitting to a court of
inquiry composed of his junior officers the question of his "physical,
mental, professional, and moral fitness" for the naval service. I would
ere this have recommended to Congress the passage of a joint resolution
to restore him to his former rank had I not believed this would more
appropriately emanate from the legislative branch of Government.

I transmit herewith to the Senate the original records in the
fifty-eight cases to which I have referred. After they shall have been
examined by the Senate I would respectfully request that they might be
returned to the Navy Department.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 22, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention between the United States and Belgium for
regulating the commerce and navigation between the two countries,
signed in this city on the 17th of July last.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 23, 1858_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit for the consideration of the Senate a convention with New
Granada, signed on the 10th day of September, 1857, and a translation of
the decree of the President of that Republic ratifying and confirming
the same with certain modifications and explanations.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 27, 1858_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a copy of a letter of the 8th of April last from the minister
of the United States in China, and of the decree and regulation which
accompanied it, for such revision thereof as Congress may deem
expedient, pursuant to the sixth section of the act approved 11th
August, 1848.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January_ 4, _1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives the report of the
Secretary of the Treasury, with the accompanying documents, containing
the information called for by the resolution of the House of the 23d
December, 1858, concerning the correspondence in reference to the
clearance of vessels at the port of Mobile.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the constitutional action of the Senate, the
articles of agreement and convention made and concluded on the 19th day
of June last with the Mendawakanton and Wahpakoota bands of the Dakota
or Sioux Indians.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the constitutional action of the Senate, the
articles of agreement and convention made and concluded on the 19th day
of June last (1858) with the Sisseeton and Wahpaton bands of the Dakota
or Sioux Indians, with accompanying papers from the Department of the
Interior.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 5, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate, for its consideration with a view
to ratification, a convention between the United States and the Republic
of Chili, signed by the plenipotentiaries of the parties on the 10th
day of November last, providing for the reference to an arbiter of
the questions which have long been in controversy between the two
Governments relative to a sum of money, the proceeds of the cargo of
the brig _Macedonia_, alleged to have belonged to citizens of the
United States, which was seized in the Valley of Sitana, in Peru,
by orders of an officer in the service of the Republic of Chili.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 6, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of the Navy, with accompanying papers, in compliance with
a resolution adopted December 23, 1858, requesting the President of
the United States "to communicate to the House, if not deemed by him
incompatible with the public interest, the instructions which have been
given to our naval commanders in the Gulf of Mexico."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 7, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit reports from the Secretary of the Treasury and
Postmaster-General, with the accompanying papers, in compliance with
the resolution of the House adopted December 23, 1858, requesting the
President of the United States to report "what action, if any, has been
taken under the sixth section of the Post-Office appropriation act approved
August 18, 1856, for the adjustment of the damages due Carmick
& Ramsey, and if the said section of said law yet remains unexecuted
that the President report the reasons therefor."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 11, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In reply to the resolution of the Senate passed on the 16th ultimo,
requesting me to communicate, if in my opinion not incompatible with
the public interest, any information in my possession in relation to
the landing of the bark _Wanderer_ on the coast of Georgia with a
cargo of slaves, I herewith communicate the report made to me by the
Attorney-General, to whom the resolution was referred. From that report
it will appear that the offense referred to in the resolution has been
committed and that effective measures have been taken to see the laws
faithfully executed. I concur with the Attorney-General in the opinion
that it would be incompatible with the public interest at this time to
communicate the correspondence with the officers of the Government at
Savannah or the instructions which they have received. In the meantime
every practicable effort has been made, and will be continued, to
discover all the guilty parties and to bring them to justice.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 13, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit a report from the Comptroller, with a copy of the
letter of Messrs. Johnson and Williams, in relation to the decision upon
the Carmick & Ramsey claim.

This should have accompanied the papers which have already been
transmitted to the House, but was omitted by mistake.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 15, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, in answer to
the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 10th instant,
requesting a communication of the correspondence between this Government
and France and England respecting the acquisition of Cuba by the United
States.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 19, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 14th of June
last, requesting a list of claims of citizens of the United States on
foreign governments, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State,
with the documents which accompanied it.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 21, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have this day transmitted to the Senate a digest of the statistics of
manufactures, according to the returns of the Seventh Census, prepared
under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior in accordance
with a provision contained in the first section of an act of Congress
approved June 12, 1858, entitled "An act making appropriations for
sundry civil expenses of the Government for the year ending the 30th of
June, 1859." The magnitude of the work has prevented the preparation of
another copy.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 21, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, in answer
to the resolution of the Senate of the 18th instant, requesting the
President, if not incompatible with the public interest, "to communicate
to the Senate any and all correspondence between the Government of the
United States and the Government of Her Catholic Majesty relating to any
proposition for the purchase of the island of Cuba, which correspondence
has not been furnished to either House of Congress." From this it
appears that no such correspondence has taken place which has not
already been communicated to Congress. In my late annual message I
stated in reference to the purchase of Cuba that "the publicity which
has been given to our former negotiations on this subject and the large
appropriation which may be required to effect the purpose render it
expedient before making another attempt to renew the negotiation that
I should lay the whole subject before Congress." I still entertain the
same opinion, deeming it highly important, if not indispensable to the
success of any negotiation which I might institute for this purpose,
that the measure should receive the previous sanction of Congress.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 21, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a digest of the statistics of
manufactures according to the returns of the Seventh Census, prepared
under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior in accordance with
a provision in the first section of an act of Congress approved June 12,
1858, entitled "An act making appropriations for sundry civil expenses
of the Government for the year ending the 30th of June, 1859."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 26, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit another report from the Secretary of State, in answer to
the resolution of the Senate of the 14th of June last, requesting
information on the subject of claims of citizens of the United States
against foreign governments.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 26, 1859_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress a report, dated the 25th instant, with the
accompanying papers, received from the Secretary of State, in compliance
with the requirement of the eighteenth section of the act entitled
"An act to regulate the diplomatic and consular systems of the United
States," approved August 18, 1856.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 29, 1859_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a report from the Secretary of War, with the accompanying
documents, recommending the repayment to Governor Douglas, of Vancouvers
Island, of the sum of $7,000, advanced by him to Governor Stevens, of
Washington Territory, which was applied to the purchase of ammunition
and subsistence stores for the forces of the United States in time of
need and at a critical period of the late Indian war in that Territory.

As this advance was made by Governor Douglas out of his own private
means and from friendly motives toward the United States, I recommend
that an appropriation may be made for its immediate payment, with
interest.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 29, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 25th instant, I
transmit a copy of the report of the special agent of the United States
recently sent to Vancouvers Island and British Columbia.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 5, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In reply to the resolution of the Senate of the 4th ultimo, I transmit a
report from the Secretary of State, together with the papers[9] therein
referred to.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 9: Correspondence with the United States minister to Peru and
others relative to the guano trade.]



WASHINGTON CITY, _February 8, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Navy, in
compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives adopted
on the 24th of January, requesting the President of the United States
to communicate to the House "the aggregate expenditure, of whatsoever
nature, including all salaries, whether special or by virtue of official
position in the Army or Navy or otherwise, on account of the preparation
and publication of the work known as Wilkes's Exploring Expedition;"
also, what number of copies of the said work have been ordered, how they
have been distributed, what number of persons are now employed thereon,
how long they have been employed, respectively, and the amount of the
appropriation now remaining undrawn.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 12, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with
accompanying papers, in answer to the resolution of the House of
Representatives of the 14th of June last, requesting the communication
of all information and correspondence which may have been received in
regard to any consular officer engaged in business in violation of law.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _February 15, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Attorney-General, in reply to
the resolution of the House of Representatives adopted on the 22d
ultimo, requesting the President of the United States to "report what
information has been received by him, if any, in regard to the recent
importation of Africans into the State of Georgia or any other State
of this Union, and what steps have been taken to bring to trial and
punishment the persons engaged in this inhuman violation of the laws
of the United States and to prevent similar violations hereafter."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 18, 1859_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

The brief period which remains of your present session and the great
urgency and importance of legislative action before its termination for
the protection of American citizens and their property whilst in transit
across the Isthmus routes between our Atlantic and Pacific possessions
render it my duty again to recall this subject to your notice. I have
heretofore presented it in my annual messages, both in December, 1857
and 1858, to which I beg leave to refer. In the latter I state that--

  The executive government of this country in its intercourse with
  foreign nations is limited to the employment of diplomacy alone. When
  this fails it can proceed no further. It can not legitimately resort
  to force without the direct authority of Congress, except in resisting
  and repelling hostile attacks. It would have no authority to enter the
  territories of Nicaragua even to prevent the destruction of the transit
  and protect the lives and property of our own citizens on their
  passage. It is true that on a sudden emergency of this character the
  President would direct any armed force in the vicinity to march
  to their relief, but in doing this he would act upon his own
  responsibility.

  Under these circumstances I earnestly recommend to Congress the
  passage of an act authorizing the President, under such restrictions
  as they may deem proper, to employ the land and naval forces of the
  United States in preventing the transit from being obstructed or
  closed by lawless violence and in protecting the lives and property of
  American citizens traveling thereupon, requiring at the same time that
  these forces shall be withdrawn the moment the danger shall have passed
  away. Without such a provision our citizens will be constantly exposed
  to interruption in their progress and to lawless violence.

  A similar necessity exists for the passage of such an act for the
  protection of the Panama and Tehuantepee routes.


Another subject, equally important, commanded the attention of the
Senate at the last session of Congress.

The Republics south of the United States on this continent have,
unfortunately, been frequently in a state of revolution and civil
war ever since they achieved their independence. As one or the other
party has prevailed and obtained possession of the ports open to foreign
commerce, they have seized and confiscated American vessels and their
cargoes in an arbitrary and lawless manner and exacted money from
American citizens by forced loans and other violent proceedings to
enable them to carry on hostilities. The executive governments of Great
Britain, France, and other countries, possessing the war-making power,
can promptly employ the necessary means to enforce immediate redress for
similar outrages upon their subjects. Not so the executive government
of the United States.

If the President orders a vessel of war to any of these ports to demand
prompt redress for outrages committed, the offending parties are
well aware that in case of refusal the commander can do no more than
remonstrate. He can resort to no hostile act. The question must then be
referred to diplomacy, and in many cases adequate redress can never be
obtained. Thus American citizens are deprived of the same protection
under the flag of their country which the subjects of other nations
enjoy. The remedy for this state of things can only be supplied by
Congress, since the Constitution has confided to that body alone the
power to make war. Without the authority of Congress the Executive can
not lawfully direct any force, however near it may be to the scene of
difficulty, to enter the territory of Mexico, Nicaragua, or New Granada
for the purpose of defending the persons and property of American
citizens, even though they may be violently assailed whilst passing in
peaceful transit over the Tehuantepec, Nicaragua, or Panama routes. He
can not, without transcending his constitutional power, direct a gun to
be fired into a port or land a seaman or marine to protect the lives
of our countrymen on shore or to obtain redress for a recent outrage
on their property. The banditti which infest our neighboring Republic
of Mexico, always claiming to belong to one or other of the hostile
parties, might make a sudden descent on Vera Cruz or on the Tehuantepec
route, and he would have no power to employ the force on shipboard in
the vicinity for their relief, either to prevent the plunder of our
merchants or the destruction of the transit.

In reference to countries where the local authorities are strong
enough to enforce the laws, the difficulty here indicated can seldom
happen; but where this is not the case and the local authorities do not
possess the physical power, even if they possess the will, to protect
our citizens within their limits recent experience has shown that
the American Executive should itself be authorized to render this
protection. Such a grant of authority, thus limited in its extent,
could in no just sense be regarded as a transfer of the war-making
power to the Executive, but only as an appropriate exercise of that
power by the body to whom it exclusively belongs. The riot at Panama
in 1856, in which a great number of our citizens lost their lives,
furnishes a pointed illustration of the necessity which may arise for
the exertion of this authority.

I therefore earnestly recommend to Congress, on whom the responsibility
exclusively rests, to pass a law before their adjournment conferring on
the President the power to protect the lives and property of American
citizens in the cases which I have indicated, under such restrictions
and conditions as they may deem advisable. The knowledge that such a
law exists would of itself go far to prevent the outrages which it is
intended to redress and to render the employment of force unnecessary.

Without this the President may be placed in a painful position before
the meeting of the next Congress. In the present disturbed condition of
Mexico and one or more of the other Republics south of us, no person can
foresee what occurrences may take place before that period. In case
of emergency, our citizens, seeing that they do not enjoy the same
protection with subjects of European Governments, will have just cause
to complain. On the other hand, should the Executive interpose, and
especially should the result prove disastrous and valuable lives be
lost, he might subject himself to severe censure for having assumed a
power not confided to him by the Constitution. It is to guard against
this contingency that I now appeal to Congress.

Having thus recommended to Congress a measure which I deem necessary and
expedient for the interest and honor of the country, I leave the whole
subject to their wisdom and discretion.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 18, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, two conventions between the United States and China,
one providing for the adjustment of claims of citizens of the United
States on the Government of that Empire, the other for the regulation
of trade, both signed at Shanghai on the 8th of November last. A copy
of the dispatches of Mr. Reed to the Department of State on the subject
is also herewith transmitted.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _February 25, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Navy, with the
accompanying documents, in obedience to the resolution of the House of
Representatives adopted on the 28th of January, requesting the President
of the United States "to communicate to this House a copy of all
instructions given to the commanders of our African squadron since the
ratification of the treaty of 1842, called the Washington treaty, with
a copy or statement of whatever regulations were entered into by the
commanders of the two squadrons for more fully accomplishing the object
of the eighth article of said treaty," etc.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 23d instant, requesting
a copy of certain letters of Horatio J. Perry, late secretary to the
legation of the United States at Madrid, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State, with the documents which accompanied it.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _March 1, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of War, with
accompanying paper, in obedience to the resolution of the Senate
adopted 23d February, requesting the President of the United States
"to communicate to the Senate a copy of the opinion of Judge Brewer
in the Great Falls land condemnation case, involving a claim for
damages to be paid by the United States."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 2, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, in executive session, the report of the
Secretary of State, with the accompanying documents, in reply to the
resolution of the Senate adopted in open session on the 11th January
last, relating to outrages committed on citizens of the United States
on the Isthmus of Panama.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
25th ultimo, I transmit a copy of the report of the special agent of the
United States recently sent to Vancouvers Island and British Columbia.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

MARCH 3, 1859.



WASHINGTON, _March 3, 1859_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

An imperative sense of duty compels me to make an appeal to Congress
to preserve the credit of the country. This is the last day of the
present Congress, and no provision has yet been made for the payment
of appropriations and to meet the outstanding Treasury notes issued
under the authority of law. From the information which has already
been communicated to Congress by the Secretary of the Treasury it is
manifest that the ordinary receipts into the Treasury, even under the
most favorable circumstances, will scarcely meet the ordinary expenses
of the Government during the remainder of the present fiscal year,
ending on the 30th of June. At that time nearly eighteen millions of
Treasury notes will have become due, and many of those not yet due are
daily paid for duties at the different ports, and there will be no
means in the Treasury to meet them. Thus the country, which is full of
resources, will be dishonored before the world, and the American people,
who are a debt-paying people, will be disgraced by the omission on our
part to do our duty. It is impossible to avoid this catastrophe unless
we make provision this very day to meet the lawful demands on the public
Treasury. If this were the first instead of the last session of a
Congress, the case would be different. You might then be convened by
proclamation for to-morrow morning. But there are now thirteen States of
the Union, entitled to seventy-eight Representatives, in which none have
been elected. It will therefore be impracticable for a large majority
of these States to elect their Members before the Treasury shall be
compelled to stop payment.

Under these circumstances I earnestly recommend to Congress to make
provision within the few remaining hours of the session for the
preservation of the public credit. The urgency of the case not only
justifies but demands that, if necessary, this shall be done by a
separate bill. We ought to incur no risk when the good faith of the
country is at stake.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



VETO MESSAGES.[10]

[Footnote 10: The first is a pocket veto.]


WASHINGTON, _January 7, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

On the last day of the last session of Congress, as appears by the
Journal of the House of Representatives, "a joint resolution in regard
to the carrying the United States mails from Saint Josephs, Missouri,
to Placerville, California," was presented to me for my approval. This
resolution authorized and directed the Postmaster-General "to order an
increase of speed upon said route, requiring the mails to be carried
through in thirty days, instead of thirty-eight days, according to the
existing contract: _Provided_, The same can be done upon a _pro rata_
increase of compensation to the contractors."

I did not approve this joint resolution: First, because it was presented
to me at so late a period that I had not the time necessary on the
day of the adjournment of the last session for an investigation of
the subject. Besides, no injury could result to the public, as the
Postmaster-General already possessed the discretionary power under
existing laws to increase the speed upon this as well as all other
mail routes.

Second. Because the Postmaster-General, at the moment in the Capitol,
informed me that the contractors themselves had offered to increase the
speed on this route to thirty instead of thirty-eight days at a less
cost than that authorized by the joint resolution. Upon subsequent
examination it has been ascertained at the Post-Office Department that
their bid, which is still depending, proposes to perform this service
for a sum less by $49,000 than that authorized by the resolution.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _February 24, 1859_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I return with my objections to the House of Representatives, in which
it originated, the bill entitled "An act donating public lands to the
several States and Territories which may provide colleges for the
benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts," presented to me on the
18th instant.

This bill makes a donation to the several States of 20,000 acres of
the public lands for each Senator and Representative in the present
Congress, and also an additional donation of 20,000 acres for each
additional Representative to which any State may be entitled under
the census of 1860.

According to a report from the Interior Department, based upon the
present number of Senators and Representatives, the lands given to the
States amount to 6,060,000 acres, and their value, at the minimum
Government price of $1.25 per acre, to $7,575,000.

The object of this gift, as stated by the bill, is "the endowment,
support, and maintenance of at least one college [in each State] where
the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific or
classical studies, to teach such branches of learning as are related to
agriculture and the mechanic arts, as the legislatures of the States may
respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical
education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and
professions in life."

As there does not appear from the bill to be any beneficiaries in
existence to which this endowment can be applied, each State is required
"to provide, within five years at least, not less than one college, or
the grant to said State shall cease." In that event the "said State
shall be bound to pay the United States the amount received of any lands
previously sold, and that the title to purchasers under the State shall
be valid."

The grant in land itself is confined to such States as have public lands
within their limits worth $1.25 per acre in the opinion of the governor.
For the remaining States the Secretary of the Interior is directed to
issue "land scrip to the amount of their distributive shares in acres
under the provisions of this act, said scrip to be sold by said States,
and the proceeds thereof applied to the uses and purposes prescribed in
this act, and for no other use or purpose whatsoever." The lands are
granted and the scrip is to be issued "in sections or subdivisions of
sections of not less than one-quarter of a section."

According to an estimate from the Interior Department, the number of
acres which will probably be accepted by States having public lands
within their own limits will not exceed 580,000 acres (and it may be
much less), leaving a balance of 5,480,000 acres to be provided for by
scrip. These grants of land and land scrip to each of the thirty-three
States are made upon certain conditions, the principal of which is that
if the fund shall be lost or diminished on account of unfortunate
investments or otherwise the deficiency shall be replaced and made good
by the respective States.

I shall now proceed to state my objections to this bill. I deem it to be
both inexpedient and unconstitutional.

1. This bill has been passed at a period when we can with great
difficulty raise sufficient revenue to sustain the expenses of the
Government. Should it become a law the Treasury will be deprived of the
whole, or nearly the whole, of our income from the sale of public lands,
which for the next fiscal year has been estimated at $5,000,000.

A bare statement of the case will make this evident. The minimum price
at which we dispose of our lands is $1.25 per acre. At the present
moment, however, the price has been reduced to those who purchase the
bounty-land warrants of the old soldiers to 85 cents per acre, and of
these warrants there are still outstanding and unlocated, as appears by
a report (February 12, 1859) from the General Land Office, the amount
of 11,990,391 acres. This has already greatly reduced the current sales
by the Government and diminished the revenue from this source. If in
addition thirty-three States shall enter the market with their land
scrip, the price must be greatly reduced below even 85 cents per acre,
as much to the prejudice of the old soldiers who have not already parted
with their land warrants as to Government. It is easy to perceive that
with this glut of the market Government can sell little or no lands at
$1.25 per acre, when the price of bounty-land warrants and scrip shall
be reduced to half this sum. This source of revenue will be almost
entirely dried up. Under the bill the States may sell their land scrip
at any price it may bring. There is no limitation whatever in this
respect. Indeed, they must sell for what the scrip will bring, for
without this fund they can not proceed to establish their colleges
within the five years to which they are limited. It is manifest,
therefore, that to the extent to which this bill will prevent the sale
of public lands at $1.25 per acre, to that amount it will have precisely
the same effect upon the Treasury as if we should impose a tax to create
a loan to endow these State colleges.

Surely the present is the most unpropitious moment which could have been
selected for the passage of this bill.

2. Waiving for the present the question of constitutional power,
what effect will this bill have on the relations established between
the Federal and State Governments? The Constitution is a grant to
Congress of a few enumerated but most important powers, relating chiefly
to war, peace, foreign and domestic commerce, negotiation, and other
subjects which can be best or alone exercised beneficially by the common
Government. All other powers are reserved to the States and to the
people. For the efficient and harmonious working of both, it is
necessary that their several spheres of action should be kept distinct
from each other. This alone can prevent conflict and mutual injury.
Should the time ever arrive when the State governments shall look to the
Federal Treasury for the means of supporting themselves and maintaining
their systems of education and internal policy, the character of both
Governments will be greatly deteriorated. The representatives of the
States and of the people, feeling a more immediate interest in obtaining
money to lighten the burdens of their constituents than for the
promotion of the more distant objects intrusted to the Federal
Government, will naturally incline to obtain means from the Federal
Government for State purposes. If a question shall arise between an
appropriation of land or money to carry into effect the objects of the
Federal Government and those of the States, their feelings will be
enlisted in favor of the latter. This is human nature; and hence the
necessity of keeping the two Governments entirely distinct. The
preponderance of this home feeling has been manifested by the passage of
the present bill. The establishment of these colleges has prevailed over
the pressing wants of the common Treasury. No nation ever had such an
inheritance as we possess in the public lands. These ought to be managed
with the utmost care, but at the same time with a liberal spirit toward
actual settlers.

In the first year of a war with a powerful naval nation the revenue from
customs must in a great degree cease. A resort to loans will then become
necessary, and these can always be obtained, as our fathers obtained
them, on advantageous terms by pledging the public lands as security.
In this view of the subject it would be wiser to grant money to the
States for domestic purposes than to squander away the public lands
and transfer them in large bodies into the hands of speculators.

A successful struggle on the part of the State governments with the
General Government for the public lands would deprive the latter of
the means of performing its high duties, especially at critical and
dangerous periods. Besides, it would operate with equal detriment to the
best interests of the States. It would remove the most wholesome of all
restraints on legislative bodies--that of being obliged to raise money
by taxation from their constituents--and would lead to extravagance, if
not to corruption. What is obtained easily and without responsibility
will be lavishly expended.

3. This bill, should it become a law, will operate greatly to the injury
of the new States. The progress of settlements and the increase of an
industrious population owning an interest in the soil they cultivate
are the causes which will build them up into great and flourishing
commonwealths. Nothing could be more prejudicial to their interests than
for wealthy individuals to acquire large tracts of the public land and
hold them for speculative purposes. The low price to which this land
scrip will probably be reduced will tempt speculators to buy it in large
amounts and locate it on the best lands belonging to the Government. The
eventual consequence must be that the men who desire to cultivate the
soil will be compelled to purchase these very lands at rates much higher
than the price at which they could be obtained from the Government.

4. It is extremely doubtful, to say the least, whether this bill
would contribute to the advancement of agriculture and the mechanic
arts--objects the dignity and value of which can not be too highly
appreciated.

The Federal Government, which makes the donation, has confessedly no
constitutional power to follow it into the States and enforce the
application of the fund to the intended objects. As donors we shall
possess no control over our own gift after it shall have passed from
our hands. It is true that the State legislatures are required to
stipulate that they will faithfully execute the trust in the manner
prescribed by the bill. But should they fail to do this, what would be
the consequence? The Federal Government has no power, and ought to have
no power, to compel the execution of the trust. It would be in as
helpless a condition as if, even in this, the time of great need, we
were to demand any portion of the many millions of surplus revenue
deposited with the States for safekeeping under the act of 1836.

5. This bill will injuriously interfere with existing colleges in the
different States, in many of which agriculture is taught as a science
and in all of which it ought to be so taught. These institutions of
learning have grown up with the growth of the country, under the
fostering care of the States and the munificence of individuals, to meet
the advancing demands for education. They have proved great blessings to
the people. Many, indeed most, of them are poor and sustain themselves
with difficulty. What the effect will be on these institutions of
creating an indefinite number of rival colleges sustained by the
endowment of the Federal Government it is not difficult to determine.

Under this bill it is provided that scientific and classical studies
shall not be excluded from them. Indeed, it would be almost impossible
to sustain them without such a provision, for no father would incur the
expense of sending a son to one of these institutions for the sole
purpose of making him a scientific farmer or mechanic. The bill itself
negatives this idea, and declares that their object is "to promote the
liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several
pursuits and professions of life." This certainly ought to be the
case. In this view of the subject it would be far better, if such an
appropriation of land must be made to institutions of learning in
the several States, to apply it directly to the establishment of
professorships of agriculture and the mechanic arts in existing
colleges, without the intervention of the State legislatures. It would
be difficult to foresee how these legislatures will manage this fund.
Each Representative in Congress for whose district the proportion of
20,000 acres has been granted will probably insist that the proceeds
shall be expended within its limits. There will undoubtedly be a
struggle between different localities in each State concerning the
division of the gift, which may end in disappointing the hopes of the
true friends of agriculture. For this state of things we are without
remedy. Not so in regard to State colleges. We might grant land to these
corporations to establish agricultural and mechanical professorships,
and should they fail to comply with the conditions on which they
accepted the grant we might enforce specific performance of these
before the ordinary courts of justice.

6. But does Congress possess the power under the Constitution to make a
donation of public lands to the different States of the Union to provide
colleges for the purpose of educating their own people?

I presume the general proposition is undeniable that Congress does not
possess the power to appropriate money in the Treasury, raised by taxes
on the people of the United States, for the purpose of educating the
people of the respective States. It will not be pretended that any such
power is to be found among the specific powers granted to Congress nor
that "it is necessary and proper for carrying into execution" any one of
these powers. Should Congress exercise such a power, this would be to
break down the barriers which have been so carefully constructed in the
Constitution to separate Federal from State authority. We should then
not only "lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises" for
Federal purposes, but for every State purpose which Congress might deem
expedient or useful. This would be an actual consolidation of the
Federal and State Governments so far as the great taxing and money power
is concerned, and constitute a sort of partnership between the two in
the Treasury of the United States, equally ruinous to both.

But it is contended that the public lands are placed upon a different
footing from money raised by taxation and that the proceeds arising from
their sale are not subject to the limitations of the Constitution, but
may be appropriated or given away by Congress, at its own discretion,
to States, corporations, or individuals for any purpose they may deem
expedient.

The advocates of this bill attempt to sustain their position upon the
language of the second clause of the third section of the fourth article
of the Constitution, which declares that "the Congress shall have power
to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting
the territory or other property belonging to the United States." They
contend that by a fair interpretation of the words "dispose of" in this
clause Congress possesses the power to make this gift of public lands
to the States for purposes of education.

It would require clear and strong evidence to induce the belief that the
framers of the Constitution, after having limited the powers of Congress
to certain precise and specific objects, intended by employing the words
"dispose of" to give that body unlimited power over the vast public
domain. It would be a strange anomaly, indeed, to have created two
funds--the one by taxation, confined to the execution of the enumerated
powers delegated to Congress, and the other from the public lands,
applicable to all subjects, foreign and domestic, which Congress might
designate; that this fund should be "disposed of," not to pay the debts
of the United States, nor "to raise and support armies," nor "to provide
and maintain a navy," nor to accomplish any one of the other great
objects enumerated in the Constitution, but be diverted from them to
pay the debts of the States, to educate their people, and to carry into
effect any other measure of their domestic policy. This would be to
confer upon Congress a vast and irresponsible authority, utterly at war
with the well-known jealousy of Federal power which prevailed at the
formation of the Constitution. The natural intendment would be that as
the Constitution confined Congress to well-defined specific powers, the
funds placed at their command, whether in land or money, should be
appropriated to the performance of the duties corresponding with these
powers. If not, a Government has been created with all its other powers
carefully limited, but without any limitation in respect to the public
lands.

But I can not so read the words "dispose of" as to make them embrace
the idea of "giving away." The true meaning of words is always to be
ascertained by the subject to which they are applied and the known
general intent of the lawgiver. Congress is a trustee under the
Constitution for the people of the United States to "dispose of" their
public lands, and I think I may venture to assert with confidence that
no case can be found in which a trustee in the position of Congress has
been authorized to "_dispose of_" property by its owner where it has
been held that these words authorized such trustee to give away the fund
intrusted to his care. No trustee, when called upon to account for the
disposition of the property placed under his management before any
judicial tribunal, would venture to present such a plea in his defense.
The true meaning of these words is clearly stated by Chief Justice Taney
in delivering the opinion of the court (19 Howard, p. 436). He says in
reference to this clause of the Constitution:

It begins its enumeration of powers by that of disposing; in other
words, making sale of the lands or raising money from them, which, as we
have already said, was the main object of the cession (from the States),
and which is the first thing provided for in the article.

It is unnecessary to refer to the history of the times to establish the
known fact that this statement of the Chief Justice is perfectly well
founded. That it never was intended by the framers of the Constitution
that these lands should be given away by Congress is manifest from the
concluding portion of the same clause. By it Congress has power not only
"to dispose of" the territory, but of the "other property of the United
States." In the language of the Chief Justice (p. 437):

And the same power of making needful rules respecting the territory is
in precisely the same language applied to the other property of the
United States, associating the power over the territory in this respect
with the power over movable or personal property; that is, the ships,
arms, or munitions of war which then belonged in common to the State
sovereignties.

The question is still clearer in regard to the public lands in the
States and Territories within the Louisiana and Florida purchases.
These lands were paid for out of the public Treasury from money raised
by taxation. Now if Congress had no power to appropriate the money with
which these lands were purchased, is it not clear that the power over
the lands is equally limited? The mere conversion of this money into
land could not confer upon Congress new power over the disposition of
land which they had not possessed over money. If it could, then a
trustee, by changing the character of the fund intrusted to his care for
special objects from money into land, might give the land away or devote
it to any purpose he thought proper, however foreign from the trust.
The inference is irresistible that this land partakes of the very same
character with the money paid for it, and can be devoted to no objects
different from those to which the money could have been devoted. If this
were not the case, then by the purchase of a new territory from a
foreign government out of the public Treasury Congress could enlarge
their own powers and appropriate the proceeds of the sales of the land
thus purchased, at their own discretion, to other and far different
objects from what they could have applied the purchase money which had
been raised by taxation.

It has been asserted truly that Congress in numerous instances have
granted lands for the purposes of education. These grants have been
chiefly, if not exclusively, made to the new States as they successively
entered the Union, and consisted at the first of one section and
afterwards of two sections of the public land in each township for
the use of schools, as well as of additional sections for a State
university. Such grants are not, in my opinion, a violation of the
Constitution. The United States is a great landed proprietor, and from
the very nature of this relation it is both the right and the duty of
Congress as their trustee to manage these lands as any other prudent
proprietor would manage them for his own best advantage. Now no
consideration could be presented of a stronger character to induce the
American people to brave the difficulties and hardships of frontier life
and to settle upon these lands and to purchase them at a fair price
than to give to them and to their children an assurance of the means of
education. If any prudent individual had held these lands, he could not
have adopted a wiser course to bring them into market and enhance their
value than to give a portion of them for purposes of education. As a
mere speculation he would pursue this course. No person will contend
that donations of land to all the States of the Union for the erection
of colleges within the limits of each can be embraced by this principle.
It can not be pretended that an agricultural college in New York or
Virginia would aid the settlement or facilitate the sale of public lands
in Minnesota or California. This can not possibly be embraced within the
authority which a prudent proprietor of land would exercise over his own
possessions. I purposely avoid any attempt to define what portions of
land may be granted, and for what purposes, to improve the value and
promote the settlement and sale of the remainder without violating the
Constitution. In this case I adopt the rule that "sufficient unto the
day is the evil thereof."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



PROCLAMATION.


BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas an extraordinary occasion has occurred rendering it necessary
and proper that the Senate of the United States shall be convened to
receive and act upon such communications as have been or may be made
to it on the part of the Executive:

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

[SEAL.]

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Washington,
this 26th day of February, A.D. 1859, and of the Independence of the
United States the eighty-third.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

By the President:
  LEWIS CASS,
    _Secretary of State_.



SPECIAL MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON, _March 9, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

It has become my sad duty to announce to the Senate the death of Aaron
V. Brown, late Postmaster-General, at his residence in this city on
yesterday morning at twenty minutes past 9 o'clock.

The death of this distinguished public officer, especially at the
present moment, when his eminent services are so much needed, is a great
loss to his country. He was able, honest, and indefatigable in the
discharge of his high and responsible duties, whilst his benevolent
heart and his kind deportment endeared him to all who approached him.

Submitting, as I do, with humble resignation to the will of Divine
Providence in this calamitous dispensation, I shall ever cherish his
memory with affectionate regard.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



EXECUTIVE ORDERS.


[From the Evening Star, March 10, 1859.]

GENERAL ORDER.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

_Washington, March 8, 1859_.

Under instructions from the President of the United States, the
Secretary of War with unfeigned sorrow announces to the Army the decease
of the Hon. A.V. Brown, Postmaster-General, which occurred in this city
at an early hour this morning.

An enlightened statesman and a distinguished and able member of the
General Government has thus been stricken down at his post. The nation
will mourn the afflicting dispensation which has left so great a void in
its councils. A worthy and estimable citizen has been removed from the
circle of his numerous friends. Society will mingle its grief with the
patriotic regrets which the loss of a statesman will not fail to call
forth.

While the President, with the surviving members of the Cabinet, the
legislative and judicial departments of the Government, will unite in
every testimonial the sad occasion demands, it is fitting a similar
respect should be shown to the memory of the distinguished deceased
by the national arms of defense. Accordingly, half-hour guns will be
fired from sunrise to sunset at every garrisoned military post the
day succeeding the receipt of this order, the national flag will be
displayed at half-staff during the same time, and officers of the Army
will wear for three months the proper badge of military mourning.

The War Department and its bureaus will be closed until the day
succeeding the funeral obsequies.

JOHN B FLOYD,

_Secretary of War_.



[From the Daily National Intelligencer, March 10, 1859.]

GENERAL ORDER.

NAVY DEPARTMENT, _March 9, 1859_.

The Secretary of the Navy, by the direction of the President, announces
to the Navy and to the Marine Corps the lamented death of the Hon. Aaron
V. Brown, Postmaster-General of the United States. He died at his
residence in the city of Washington on the 8th of the present month.

As a mark of respect to his high character, his eminent position, and
great public services, it is directed that on the day after the receipt
of this order by the different navy-yards and stations and vessels of
war of the United States in commission the flags be hoisted at half-mast
from sunrise to sunset and that seventeen minute guns be fired at noon.

Officers of the Navy and Marine Corps will wear crape on the left arm
for thirty days.

The Navy Department will be draped in mourning and will be closed until
after the funeral.

ISAAC TOUCEY,

_Secretary of the Navy_.



THIRD ANNUAL MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON CITY, _December 19, 1859_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Our deep and heartfelt gratitude is due to that Almighty Power which
has bestowed upon us such varied and numerous blessings throughout
the past year. The general health of the country has been excellent,
our harvests have been unusually plentiful, and prosperity smiles
throughout the land. Indeed, notwithstanding our demerits, we have much
reason to believe from the past events in our history that we have
enjoyed the special protection of Divine Providence ever since our
origin as a nation. We have been exposed to many threatening and
alarming difficulties in our progress, but on each successive occasion
the impending cloud has been dissipated at the moment it appeared ready
to burst upon our head, and the danger to our institutions has passed
away. May we ever be under the divine guidance and protection.

Whilst it is the duty of the President "from time to time to give to
Congress information of the state of the Union," I shall not refer in
detail to the recent sad and bloody occurrences at Harpers Ferry. Still,
it is proper to observe that these events, however bad and cruel in
themselves, derive their chief importance from the apprehension that
they are but symptoms of an incurable disease in the public mind, which
may break out in still more dangerous outrages and terminate at last in
an open war by the North to abolish slavery in the South.

Whilst for myself I entertain no such apprehension, they ought to
afford a solemn warning to us all to beware of the approach of danger.
Our Union is a stake of such inestimable value as to demand our constant
and watchful vigilance for its preservation. In this view, let me
implore my countrymen, North and South, to cultivate the ancient
feelings of mutual forbearance and good will toward each other and
strive to allay the demon spirit of sectional hatred and strife now
alive in the land. This advice proceeds from the heart of an old public
functionary whose service commenced in the last generation, among the
wise and conservative statesmen of that day, now nearly all passed away,
and whose first and dearest earthly wish is to leave his country
tranquil, prosperous, united, and powerful.

We ought to reflect that in this age, and especially in this country,
there is an incessant flux and reflux of public opinion. Questions which
in their day assumed a most threatening aspect have now nearly gone from
the memory of men. They are "volcanoes burnt out, and on the lava and
ashes and squalid scoria of old eruptions grow the peaceful olive, the
cheering vine, and the sustaining corn." Such, in my opinion, will prove
to be the fate of the present sectional excitement should those who
wisely seek to apply the remedy continue always to confine their efforts
within the pale of the Constitution. If this course be pursued, the
existing agitation on the subject of domestic slavery, like everything
human, will have its day and give place to other and less threatening
controversies. Public opinion in this country is all-powerful, and when
it reaches a dangerous excess upon any question the good sense of the
people will furnish the corrective and bring it back within safe limits.
Still, to hasten this auspicious result at the present crisis we ought
to remember that every rational creature must be presumed to intend the
natural consequences of his own teachings. Those who announce abstract
doctrines subversive of the Constitution and the Union must not be
surprised should their heated partisans advance one step further and
attempt by violence to carry these doctrines into practical effect. In
this view of the subject, it ought never to be forgotten that however
great may have been the political advantages resulting from the Union
to every portion of our common country, these would all prove to be as
nothing should the time ever arrive when they can not be enjoyed without
serious danger to the personal safety of the people of fifteen members
of the Confederacy. If the peace of the domestic fireside throughout
these States should ever be invaded, if the mothers of families within
this extensive region should not be able to retire to rest at night
without suffering dreadful apprehensions of what may be their own fate
and that of their children before the morning, it would be vain to
recount to such a people the political benefits which result to them
from the Union. Self-preservation is the first instinct of nature, and
therefore any state of society in which the sword is all the time
suspended over the heads of the people must at last become intolerable.
But I indulge in no such gloomy forebodings. On the contrary, I firmly
believe that the events at Harpers Ferry, by causing the people to pause
and reflect upon the possible peril to their cherished institutions,
will be the means under Providence of allaying the existing excitement
and preventing further outbreaks of a similar character. They will
resolve that the Constitution and the Union shall not be endangered by
rash counsels, knowing that should "the silver cord be loosed or the
golden bowl be broken ... at the fountain" human power could never
reunite the scattered and hostile fragments.

I cordially congratulate you upon the final settlement by the
Supreme Court of the United States of the question of slavery in the
Territories, which had presented an aspect so truly formidable at the
commencement of my Administration. The right has been established of
every citizen to take his property of any kind, including slaves,
into the common Territories belonging equally to all the States of
the Confederacy, and to have it protected there under the Federal
Constitution. Neither Congress nor a Territorial legislature nor any
human power has any authority to annul or impair this vested right.
The supreme judicial tribunal of the country, which is a coordinate
branch of the Government, has sanctioned and affirmed these principles
of constitutional law, so manifestly just in themselves and so well
calculated to promote peace and harmony among the States. It is a
striking proof of the sense of justice which is inherent in our people
that the property in slaves has never been disturbed, to my knowledge,
in any of the Territories. Even throughout the late troubles in Kansas
there has not been any attempt, as I am credibly informed, to interfere
in a single instance with the right of the master. Had any such attempt
been made, the judiciary would doubtless have afforded an adequate
remedy. Should they fail to do this hereafter, it will then be time
enough to strengthen their hands by further legislation. Had it been
decided that either Congress or the Territorial legislature possess the
power to annul or impair the right to property in slaves, the evil would
be intolerable. In the latter event there would be a struggle for a
majority of the members of the legislature at each successive election,
and the sacred rights of property held under the Federal Constitution
would depend for the time being on the result. The agitation would thus
be rendered incessant whilst the Territorial condition remained, and its
baneful influence would keep alive a dangerous excitement among the
people of the several States.

Thus has the status of a Territory during the intermediate period from
its first settlement until it shall become a State been irrevocably
fixed by the final decision of the Supreme Court. Fortunate has this
been for the prosperity of the Territories, as well as the tranquillity
of the States. Now emigrants from the North and the South, the East and
the West, will meet in the Territories on a common platform, having
brought with them that species of property best adapted, in their own
opinion, to promote their welfare. From natural causes the slavery
question will in each case soon virtually settle itself, and before
the Territory is prepared for admission as a State into the Union this
decision, one way or the other, will have been a foregone conclusion.
Meanwhile the settlement of the new Territory will proceed without
serious interruption, and its progress and prosperity will not be
endangered or retarded by violent political struggles.

When in the progress of events the inhabitants of any Territory shall
have reached the number required to form a State, they will then proceed
in a regular manner and in the exercise of the rights of popular
sovereignty to form a constitution preparatory to admission into the
Union. After this has been done, to employ the language of the Kansas
and Nebraska act, they "shall be received into the Union with or without
slavery, as their constitution may prescribe at the time of their
admission." This sound principle has happily been recognized in some
form or other by an almost unanimous vote of both Houses of the last
Congress.

All lawful means at my command have been employed, and shall continue to
be employed, to execute the laws against the African slave trade. After
a most careful and rigorous examination of our coasts and a thorough
investigation of the subject, we have not been able to discover that any
slaves have been imported into the United States except the cargo by the
_Wanderer_, numbering between three and four hundred. Those engaged in
this unlawful enterprise have been rigorously prosecuted, but not with
as much success as their crimes have deserved. A number of them are
still under prosecution.

Our history proves that the fathers of the Republic, in advance
of all other nations, condemned the African slave trade. It was,
notwithstanding, deemed expedient by the framers of the Constitution to
deprive Congress of the power to prohibit "the migration or importation
of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to
admit" "prior to the year 1808." It will be seen that this restriction
on the power of Congress was confined to such States only as might think
proper to admit the importation of slaves. It did not extend to other
States or to the trade carried on abroad. Accordingly, we find that so
early as the 22d March, 1794, Congress passed an act imposing severe
penalties and punishments upon citizens and residents of the United
States who should engage in this trade between foreign nations. The
provisions of this act were extended and enforced by the act of 10th
May, 1800.

Again, the States themselves had a clear right to waive the
constitutional privilege intended for their benefit, and to prohibit
by their own laws this trade at any time they thought proper previous
to 1808. Several of them exercised this right before that period, and
among them some containing the greatest number of slaves. This gave
to Congress the immediate power to act in regard to all such States,
because they themselves had removed the constitutional barrier. Congress
accordingly passed an act on 28th February, 1803, "to prevent the
importation of certain persons into certain States where by the laws
thereof their admission is prohibited." In this manner the importation
of African slaves into the United States was to a great extent
prohibited some years in advance of 1808.

As the year 1808 approached Congress determined not to suffer this trade
to exist even for a single day after they had the power to abolish it.
On the 2d of March, 1807, they passed an act, to take effect "from and
after the 1st day of January, 1808," prohibiting the importation of
African slaves into the United States. This was followed by subsequent
acts of a similar character, to which I need not specially refer. Such
were the principles and such the practice of our ancestors more than
fifty years ago in regard to the African slave trade. It did not occur
to the revered patriots who had been delegates to the Convention, and
afterwards became members of Congress, that in passing these laws they
had violated the Constitution which they had framed with so much care
and deliberation. They supposed that to prohibit Congress in express
terms from exercising a specified power before an appointed day
necessarily involved the right to exercise this power after that day
had arrived.

If this were not the case, the framers of the Constitution had expended
much labor in vain. Had they imagined that Congress would possess no
power to prohibit the trade either before or after 1808, they would not
have taken so much care to protect the States against the exercise of
this power before that period. Nay, more, they would not have attached
such vast importance to this provision as to have excluded it from the
possibility of future repeal or amendment, to which other portions
of the Constitution were exposed. It would, then, have been wholly
unnecessary to ingraft on the fifth article of the Constitution,
prescribing the mode of its own future amendment, the proviso "that no
amendment which may be made prior to the year 1808 shall in any manner
affect" the provision in the Constitution securing to the States the
right to admit the importation of African slaves previous to that
period. According to the adverse construction, the clause itself, on
which so much care and discussion had been employed by the members of
the Convention, was an absolute nullity from the beginning, and all
that has since been done under it a mere usurpation.

It was well and wise to confer this power on Congress, because had
it been left to the States its efficient exercise would have been
impossible. In that event any one State could have effectually continued
the trade, not only for itself, but for all the other slave States,
though never so much against their will. And why? Because African
slaves, when once brought within the limits of any one State in
accordance with its laws, can not practically be excluded from any State
where slavery exists. And even if all the States had separately passed
laws prohibiting the importation of slaves, these laws would have failed
of effect for want of a naval force to capture the slavers and to guard
the coast. Such a force no State can employ in time of peace without the
consent of Congress.

These acts of Congress, it is believed, have, with very rare and
insignificant exceptions, accomplished their purpose. For a period of
more than half a century there has been no perceptible addition to the
number of our domestic slaves. During this period their advancement in
civilization has far surpassed that of any other portion of the African
race. The light and the blessings of Christianity have been extended
to them, and both their moral and physical condition has been greatly
improved.

Reopen the trade and it would be difficult to determine whether the
effect would be more deleterious on the interests of the master or on
those of the native-born slave. Of the evils to the master, the one most
to be dreaded would be the introduction of wild, heathen, and ignorant
barbarians among the sober, orderly, and quiet slaves whose ancestors
have been on the soil for several generations. This might tend to
barbarize, demoralize, and exasperate the whole mass and produce most
deplorable consequences.

The effect upon the existing slave would, if possible, be still more
deplorable. At present he is treated with kindness and humanity.
He is well fed, well clothed, and not overworked. His condition is
incomparably better than that of the coolies which modern nations of
high civilization have employed as a substitute for African slaves. Both
the philanthropy and the self-interest of the master have combined to
produce this humane result. But let this trade be reopened and what will
be the effect? The same to a considerable extent as on a neighboring
island, the only spot now on earth where the African slave trade is
openly tolerated, and this in defiance of solemn treaties with a power
abundantly able at any moment to enforce their execution. There the
master, intent upon present gain, extorts from the slave as much labor
as his physical powers are capable of enduring, knowing that when death
comes to his relief his place can be supplied at a price reduced to the
lowest point by the competition of rival African slave traders. Should
this ever be the case in our country, which I do not deem possible, the
present useful character of the domestic institution, wherein those too
old and too young to work are provided for with care and humanity and
those capable of labor are not overtasked, would undergo an unfortunate
change. The feeling of reciprocal dependence and attachment which now
exists between master and slave would be converted into mutual distrust
and hostility.

But we are obliged as a Christian and moral nation to consider what
would be the effect upon unhappy Africa itself if we should reopen the
slave trade. This would give the trade an impulse and extension which
it has never had, even in its palmiest days. The numerous victims
required to supply it would convert the whole slave coast into a perfect
pandemonium, for which this country would be held responsible in the
eyes both of God and man. Its petty tribes would then be constantly
engaged in predatory wars against each other for the purpose of seizing
slaves to supply the American market. All hopes of African civilization
would thus be ended.

On the other hand, when a market for African slaves shall no longer be
furnished in Cuba, and thus all the world be closed against this trade,
we may then indulge a reasonable hope for the gradual improvement of
Africa. The chief motive of war among the tribes will cease whenever
there is no longer any demand for slaves. The resources of that fertile
but miserable country might then be developed by the hand of industry
and afford subjects for legitimate foreign and domestic commerce. In
this manner Christianity and civilization may gradually penetrate the
existing gloom.

The wisdom of the course pursued by this Government toward China has
been vindicated by the event. Whilst we sustained a neutral position in
the war waged by Great Britain and France against the Chinese Empire,
our late minister, in obedience to his instructions, judiciously
cooperated with the ministers of these powers in all peaceful measures
to secure by treaty the just concessions demanded by the interests of
foreign commerce. The result is that satisfactory treaties have been
concluded with China by the respective ministers of the United States,
Great Britain, France, and Russia. Our "treaty, or general convention,
of peace, amity, and commerce" with that Empire was concluded at
Tien-tsin on the 18th June, 1858, and was ratified by the President,
by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, on the 21st December
following. On the 15th December, 1858, John E. Ward, a distinguished
citizen of Georgia, was duly commissioned as envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary to China.

He left the United States for the place of his destination on the 5th of
February, 1859, bearing with him the ratified copy of this treaty, and
arrived at Shanghai on the 28th May. From thence he proceeded to Peking
on the 16th June, but did not arrive in that city until the 27th July.
According to the terms of the treaty, the ratifications were to be
exchanged on or before the 18th June, 1859. This was rendered impossible
by reasons and events beyond his control, not necessary to detail; but
still it is due to the Chinese authorities at Shanghai to state that
they always assured him no advantage should be taken of the delay, and
this pledge has been faithfully redeemed.

On the arrival of Mr. Ward at Peking he requested an audience of the
Emperor to present his letter of credence. This he did not obtain, in
consequence of his very proper refusal to submit to the humiliating
ceremonies required by the etiquette of this strange people in
approaching their sovereign. Nevertheless, the interviews on this
question were conducted in the most friendly spirit and with all due
regard to his personal feelings and the honor of his country. When a
presentation to His Majesty was found to be impossible, the letter
of credence from the President was received with peculiar honors by
Kweiliang, "the Emperor's prime minister and the second man in the
Empire to the Emperor himself." The ratifications of the treaty were
afterwards, on the 16th of August, exchanged in proper form at
Pei-tsang. As the exchange did not take place until after the day
prescribed by the treaty, it is deemed proper before its publication
again to submit it to the Senate. It is but simple justice to the
Chinese authorities to observe that throughout the whole transaction
they appear to have acted in good faith and in a friendly spirit toward
the United States. It is true this has been done after their own
peculiar fashion; but we ought to regard with a lenient eye the ancient
customs of an empire dating back for thousands of years, so far as this
may be consistent with our own national honor. The conduct of our
minister on the occasion has received my entire approbation.

In order to carry out the spirit of this treaty and to give it full
effect it became necessary to conclude two supplemental conventions, the
one for the adjustment and satisfaction of the claims of our citizens
and the other to fix the tariff on imports and exports and to regulate
the transit duties and trade of our merchants with China. This duty was
satisfactorily performed by our late minister. These conventions bear
date at Shanghai on the 8th November, 1858. Having been considered in
the light of binding agreements subsidiary to the principal treaty, and
to be carried into execution without delay, they do not provide for any
formal ratification or exchange of ratifications by the contracting
parties. This was not deemed necessary by the Chinese, who are already
proceeding in good faith to satisfy the claims of our citizens and, it
is hoped, to carry out the other provisions of the conventions. Still,
I thought it was proper to submit them to the Senate, by which they were
ratified on the 3d of March, 1859. The ratified copies, however, did not
reach Shanghai until after the departure of our minister to Peking, and
these conventions could not, therefore, be exchanged at the same time
with the principal treaty. No doubt is entertained that they will be
ratified and exchanged by the Chinese Government should this be thought
advisable; but under the circumstances presented I shall consider them
binding engagements from their date on both parties, and cause them to
be published as such for the information and guidance of our merchants
trading with the Chinese Empire.

It affords me much satisfaction to inform you that all our difficulties
with the Republic of Paraguay have been satisfactorily adjusted. It
happily did not become necessary to employ the force for this purpose
which Congress had placed at my command under the joint resolution of
2d June, 1858. On the contrary, the President of that Republic, in a
friendly spirit, acceded promptly to the just and reasonable demands
of the Government of the United States. Our commissioner arrived at
Assumption, the capital of the Republic, on the 25th of January, 1859,
and left it on the 17th of February, having in three weeks ably and
successfully accomplished all the objects of his mission. The treaties
which he has concluded will be immediately submitted to the Senate.

In the view that the employment of other than peaceful means might
become necessary to obtain "just satisfaction" from Paraguay, a strong
naval force was concentrated in the waters of the La Plata to await
contingencies whilst our commissioner ascended the rivers to Assumption.
The Navy Department is entitled to great credit for the promptness,
efficiency, and economy with which this expedition was fitted out and
conducted. It consisted of 19 armed vessels, great and small, carrying
200 guns and 2,500 men, all under the command of the veteran and gallant
Shubrick. The entire expenses of the expedition have been defrayed out
of the ordinary appropriations for the naval service, except the sum of
$289,000, applied to the purchase of seven of the steamers constituting
a part of it, under the authority of the naval appropriation act of the
3d March last. It is believed that these steamers are worth more than
their cost, and they are all now usefully and actively employed in the
naval service.

The appearance of so large a force, fitted out in such a prompt manner,
in the far-distant waters of the La Plata, and the admirable conduct of
the officers and men employed in it, have had a happy effect in favor of
our country throughout all that remote portion of the world.

Our relations with the great Empires of France and Russia, as well as
with all other governments on the continent of Europe, unless we may
except that of Spain, happily continue to be of the most friendly
character. In my last annual message I presented a statement of the
unsatisfactory condition of our relations with Spain, and I regret
to say that this has not materially improved.

Without special reference to other claims, even the "Cuban claims," the
payment of which has been ably urged by our ministers, and in which
more than a hundred of our citizens are directly interested, remain
unsatisfied, notwithstanding both their justice and their amount
($128,635.54) had been recognized and ascertained by the Spanish
Government itself.

I again recommend that an appropriation be made "to be paid to
the Spanish Government for the purpose of distribution among the
claimants in the _Amistad_ case." In common with two of my predecessors,
I entertain no doubt that this is required by our treaty with Spain of
the 27th October, 1795. The failure to discharge this obligation has
been employed by the cabinet of Madrid as a reason against the
settlement of our claims.

I need not repeat the arguments which I urged in my last annual message
in favor of the acquisition of Cuba by fair purchase. My opinions on
that measure remain unchanged. I therefore again invite the serious
attention of Congress to this important subject. Without a recognition
of this policy on their part it will be almost impossible to institute
negotiations with any reasonable prospect of success.

Until a recent period there was good reason to believe that I should be
able to announce to you on the present occasion that our difficulties
with Great Britain arising out of the Clayton and Bulwer treaty had been
finally adjusted in a manner alike honorable and satisfactory to both
parties. From causes, however, which the British Government had not
anticipated, they have not yet completed treaty arrangements with the
Republics of Honduras and Nicaragua, in pursuance of the understanding
between the two Governments. It is, nevertheless, confidently expected
that this good work will ere long be accomplished.

Whilst indulging the hope that no other subject remained which could
disturb the good understanding between the two countries, the question
arising out of the adverse claims of the parties to the island of San
Juan, under the Oregon treaty of the 15th June, 1846, suddenly assumed
a threatening prominence. In order to prevent unfortunate collisions
on that remote frontier, the late Secretary of State, on the 17th July,
1855, addressed a note to Mr. Crampton, then British minister at
Washington, communicating to him a copy of the instructions which
he (Mr. Marcy) had given on the 14th July to Governor Stevens, of
Washington Territory, having a special reference to an "apprehended
conflict between our citizens and the British subjects on the island
of San Juan." To prevent this the governor was instructed "that the
officers of the Territory should abstain from all acts on the disputed
grounds which are calculated to provoke any conflicts, so far as it can
be done without implying the concession to the authorities of Great
Britain of an exclusive right over the premises. The title ought to be
settled before either party should attempt to exclude the other by force
or exercise complete and exclusive sovereign rights within the fairly
disputed limits."

In acknowledging the receipt on the next day of Mr. Marcy's note the
British minister expressed his entire concurrence "in the propriety
of the course recommended to the governor of Washington Territory
by your [Mr. Marcy's] instructions to that officer," and stating
that he had "lost no time in transmitting a copy of that document
to the Governor-General of British North America" and had "earnestly
recommended to His Excellency to take such measures as to him may appear
best calculated to secure on the part of the British local authorities
and the inhabitants of the neighborhood of the line in question the
exercise of the same spirit of forbearance which is inculcated by you
[Mr. Marcy] on the authorities and citizens of the United States."

Thus matters remained upon the faith of this arrangement until the 9th
July last, when General Harney paid a visit to the island. He found upon
it twenty-five American residents with their families, and also an
establishment of the Hudsons Bay Company for the purpose of raising
sheep. A short time before his arrival one of these residents had shot
an animal belonging to the company whilst trespassing upon his premises,
for which, however, he offered to pay twice its value, but that was
refused. Soon after "the chief factor of the company at Victoria, Mr.
Dalles, son-in-law of Governor Douglas, came to the island in the
British sloop of war _Satellite_ and threatened to take this American
[Mr. Cutler] by force to Victoria to answer for the trespass he had
committed. The American seized his rifle and told Mr. Dalles if any
such attempt was made he would kill him upon the spot. The affair
then ended."

Under these circumstances the American settlers presented a petition to
the General "through the United States inspector of customs, Mr. Hubbs,
to place a force upon the island to protect them from the Indians, as
well as the oppressive interference of the authorities of the Hudsons
Bay Company at Victoria with their rights as American citizens." The
General immediately responded to this petition, and ordered Captain
George E. Pickett, Ninth Infantry, "to establish his company on
Bellevue, or San Juan Island, on some suitable position near the harbor
at the southeastern extremity." This order was promptly obeyed and a
military post was established at the place designated. The force was
afterwards increased, so that by the last return the whole number of
troops then on the island amounted in the aggregate to 691 men.

Whilst I do not deem it proper on the present occasion to go further
into the subject and discuss the weight which ought to be attached to
the statements of the British colonial authorities contesting the
accuracy of the information on which the gallant General acted, it was
due to him that I should thus present his own reasons for issuing the
order to Captain Pickett. From these it is quite clear his object was
to prevent the British authorities on Vancouvers Island from exercising
jurisdiction over American residents on the island of San Juan, as
well as to protect them against the incursions of the Indians. Much
excitement prevailed for some time throughout that region, and serious
danger of collision between the parties was apprehended. The British
had a large naval force in the vicinity, and it is but an act of simple
justice to the admiral on that station to state that he wisely and
discreetly forbore to commit any hostile act, but determined to refer
the whole affair to his Government and await their instructions.

This aspect of the matter, in my opinion, demanded serious attention.
It would have been a great calamity for both nations had they been
precipitated into acts of hostility, not on the question of title to
the island, but merely concerning what should be its condition during
the intervening period whilst the two Governments might be employed
in settling the question to which of them it belongs. For this reason
Lieutenant-General Scott was dispatched, on the 17th of September last,
to Washington Territory to take immediate command of the United States
forces on the Pacific Coast, should he deem this necessary. The main
object of his mission was to carry out the spirit of the precautionary
arrangement between the late Secretary of State and the British
minister, and thus to preserve the peace and prevent collision between
the British and American authorities pending the negotiations between
the two Governments. Entertaining no doubt of the validity of our title,
I need scarcely add that in any event American citizens were to be
placed on a footing at least as favorable as that of British subjects,
it being understood that Captain Pickett's company should remain on the
island. It is proper to observe that, considering the distance from the
scene of action and in ignorance of what might have transpired on the
spot before the General's arrival, it was necessary to leave much to
his discretion; and I am happy to state the event has proven that
this discretion could not have been intrusted to more competent
hands. General Scott has recently returned from his mission, having
successfully accomplished its objects, and there is no longer any good
reason to apprehend a collision between the forces of the two countries
during the pendency of the existing negotiations.

I regret to inform you that there has been no improvement in the affairs
of Mexico since my last annual message, and I am again obliged to ask
the earnest attention of Congress to the unhappy condition of that
Republic.

The constituent Congress of Mexico, which adjourned on the 17th
February, 1857, adopted a constitution and provided for a popular
election. This took place in the following July (1857), and General
Comonfort was chosen President almost without opposition. At the same
election a new Congress was chosen, whose first session commenced on the
16th of September (1857). By the constitution of 1857 the Presidential
term was to begin on the 1st of December (1857) and continue for four
years. On that day General Comonfort appeared before the assembled
Congress in the City of Mexico, took the oath to support the new
constitution, and was duly inaugurated as President. Within a month
afterwards he had been driven from the capital and a military rebellion
had assigned the supreme power of the Republic to General Zuloaga. The
constitution provided that in the absence of the President his office
should devolve upon the chief justice of the supreme court; and General
Comonfort having left the country, this functionary, General Juarez,
proceeded to form at Guanajuato a constitutional Government. Before this
was officially known, however, at the capital the Government of Zuloaga
had been recognized by the entire diplomatic corps, including the
minister of the United States, as the _de facto_ Government of Mexico.
The constitutional President, nevertheless, maintained his position with
firmness, and was soon established, with his cabinet, at Vera Cruz.
Meanwhile the Government of Zuloaga was earnestly resisted in many parts
of the Republic, and even in the capital, a portion of the army having
pronounced against it, its functions were declared terminated, and an
assembly of citizens was invited for the choice of a new President. This
assembly elected General Miramon, but that officer repudiated the plan
under which he was chosen, and Zuloaga was thus restored to his previous
position. He assumed it, however, only to withdraw from it; and Miramon,
having become by his appointment "President substitute," continues with
that title at the head of the insurgent party.

In my last annual message I communicated to Congress the circumstances
under which the late minister of the United States suspended his
official relations with the central Government and withdrew from the
country. It was impossible to maintain friendly intercourse with a
government like that at the capital, under whose usurped authority
wrongs were constantly committed, but never redressed. Had this been an
established government, with its power extending by the consent of the
people over the whole of Mexico, a resort to hostilities against it
would have been quite justifiable, and, indeed, necessary. But the
country was a prey to civil war, and it was hoped that the success of
the constitutional President might lead to a condition of things less
injurious to the United States. This success became so probable that in
January last I employed a reliable agent to visit Mexico and report to
me the actual condition and prospects of the contending parties. In
consequence of his report and from information which reached me from
other sources favorable to the prospects of the constitutional cause,
I felt justified in appointing a new minister to Mexico, who might
embrace the earliest suitable opportunity of restoring our diplomatic
relations with that Republic. For this purpose a distinguished citizen
of Maryland was selected, who proceeded on his mission on the 8th of
March last, with discretionary authority to recognize the Government of
President Juarez if on his arrival in Mexico he should find it entitled
to such recognition according to the established practice of the United
States.

On the 7th of April following Mr. McLane presented his credentials to
President Juarez, having no hesitation "in pronouncing the Government
of Juarez to be the only existing government of the Republic." He was
cordially received by the authorities at Vera Cruz, and they have ever
since manifested the most friendly disposition toward the United States.

Unhappily, however, the constitutional Government has not been able to
establish its power over the whole Republic.

It is supported by a large majority of the people and the States,
but there are important parts of the country where it can enforce
no obedience.

General Miramon maintains himself at the capital, and in some of the
distant Provinces there are military governors who pay little respect
to the decrees of either Government. In the meantime the excesses which
always attend upon civil war, especially in Mexico, are constantly
recurring. Outrages of the worst description are committed both upon
persons and property. There is scarcely any form of injury which has
not been suffered by our citizens in Mexico during the last few years.
We have been nominally at peace with that Republic, but "so far as the
interests of our commerce, or of our citizens who have visited the
country as merchants, shipmasters, or in other capacities, are
concerned, we might as well have been at war." Life has been insecure,
property unprotected, and trade impossible except at a risk of loss
which prudent men can not be expected to incur. Important contracts,
involving large expenditures, entered into by the central Government,
have been set at defiance by the local governments. Peaceful American
residents, occupying their rightful possessions, have been suddenly
expelled the country, in defiance of treaties and by the mere force of
arbitrary power. Even the course of justice has not been safe from
control, and a recent decree of Miramon permits the intervention of
Government in all suits where either party is a foreigner. Vessels of
the United States have been seized without law, and a consular officer
who protested against such seizure has been fined and imprisoned for
disrespect to the authorities. Military contributions have been levied
in violation of every principle of right, and the American who resisted
the lawless demand has had his property forcibly taken away and has been
himself banished. From a conflict of authority in different parts of
the country tariff duties which have been paid in one place have been
exacted over again in another place. Large numbers of our citizens have
been arrested and imprisoned without any form of examination or any
opportunity for a hearing, and even when released have only obtained
their liberty after much suffering and injury, and without any hope of
redress. The wholesale massacre of Crabbe and his associates without
trial in Sonora, as well as the seizure and murder of four sick
Americans who had taken shelter in the house of an American upon the
soil of the United States, was communicated to Congress at its last
session. Murders of a still more atrocious character have been
committed in the very heart of Mexico, under the authority of Miramon's
Government, during the present year. Some of these were only worthy
of a barbarous age, and if they had not been clearly proven would have
seemed impossible in a country which claims to be civilized. Of this
description was the brutal massacre in April last, by order of General
Marquez, of three American physicians who were seized in the hospital at
Tacubaya while attending upon the sick and the dying of both parties,
and without trial, as without crime, were hurried away to speedy
execution. Little less shocking was the recent fate of Ormond Chase,
who was shot in Tepic on the 7th of August by order of the same Mexican
general, not only without a trial, but without any conjecture by his
friends of the cause of his arrest. He is represented as a young man of
good character and intelligence, who had made numerous friends in Tepic
by the courage and humanity which he had displayed on several trying
occasions; and his death was as unexpected as it was shocking to the
whole community. Other outrages might be enumerated, but these are
sufficient to illustrate the wretched state of the country and the
unprotected condition of the persons and property of our citizens
in Mexico.

In all these cases our ministers have been constant and faithful in
their demands for redress, but both they and this Government, which they
have successively represented, have been wholly powerless to make their
demands effective. Their testimony in this respect and in reference to
the only remedy which in their judgments would meet the exigency has
been both uniform and emphatic. "Nothing but a manifestation of the
power of the Government of the United States," wrote our late minister
in 1856, "and of its purpose to punish these wrongs will avail. I assure
you that the universal belief here is that there is nothing to be
apprehended from the Government of the United States, and that local
Mexican officials can commit these outrages upon American citizens with
absolute impunity." "I hope the President," wrote our present minister
in August last, "will feel authorized to ask from Congress the power to
enter Mexico with the military forces of the United States at the call
of the constitutional authorities, in order to protect the citizens
and the treaty rights of the United States. Unless such a power is
conferred upon him, neither the one nor the other will be respected in
the existing state of anarchy and disorder, and the outrages already
perpetrated will never be chastised; and, as I assured you in my No. 23,
all these evils must increase until every vestige of order and
government disappears from the country." I have been reluctantly led
to the same opinion, and in justice to my countrymen who have suffered
wrongs from Mexico and who may still suffer them I feel bound to
announce this conclusion to Congress.

The case presented, however, is not merely a case of individual claims,
although our just claims against Mexico have reached a very large
amount; nor is it merely the case of protection to the lives and
property of the few Americans who may still remain in Mexico, although
the life and property of every American citizen ought to be sacredly
protected in every quarter of the world; but it is a question which
relates to the future as well as to the present and the past, and which
involves, indirectly at least, the whole subject of our duty to Mexico
as a neighboring State. The exercise of the power of the United States
in that country to redress the wrongs and protect the rights of our own
citizens is none the less to be desired because efficient and necessary
aid may thus be rendered at the same time to restore peace and order to
Mexico itself. In the accomplishment of this result the people of the
United States must necessarily feel a deep and earnest interest. Mexico
ought to be a rich and prosperous and powerful Republic. She possesses
an extensive territory, a fertile soil, and an incalculable store of
mineral wealth. She occupies an important position between the Gulf and
the ocean for transit routes and for commerce. Is it possible that such
a country as this can be given up to anarchy and ruin without an effort
from any quarter for its rescue and its safety? Will the commercial
nations of the world, which have so many interests connected with
it, remain wholly indifferent to such a result? Can the United States
especially, which ought to share most largely in its commercial
intercourse, allow their immediate neighbor thus to destroy itself and
injure them? Yet without support from some quarter it is impossible to
perceive how Mexico can resume her position among nations and enter upon
a career which promises any good results. The aid which she requires,
and which the interests of all commercial countries require that she
should have, it belongs to this Government to render, not only by
virtue of our neighborhood to Mexico, along whose territory we have a
continuous frontier of nearly a thousand miles, but by virtue also of
our established policy, which is inconsistent with the intervention
of any European power in the domestic concerns of that Republic.

The wrongs which we have suffered from Mexico are before the world and
must deeply impress every American citizen. A government which is either
unable or unwilling to redress such wrongs is derelict to its highest
duties. The difficulty consists in selecting and enforcing the remedy.
We may in vain apply to the constitutional Government at Vera Cruz,
although it is well disposed to do us justice, for adequate redress.
Whilst its authority is acknowledged in all the important ports and
throughout the seacoasts of the Republic, its power does not extend to
the City of Mexico and the States in its vicinity, where nearly all
the recent outrages have been committed on American citizens. We must
penetrate into the interior before we can reach the offenders, and this
can only be done by passing through the territory in the occupation of
the constitutional Government. The most acceptable and least difficult
mode of accomplishing the object will be to act in concert with that
Government. Their consent and their aid might, I believe, be obtained;
but if not, our obligation to protect our own citizens in their just
rights secured by treaty would not be the less imperative. For these
reasons I recommend to Congress to pass a law authorizing the President,
under such conditions as they may deem expedient, to employ a sufficient
military force to enter Mexico for the purpose of obtaining indemnity
for the past and security for the future. I purposely refrain from any
suggestion as to whether this force shall consist of regular troops or
volunteers, or both. This question may be most appropriately left to the
decision of Congress. I would merely observe that should volunteers be
selected such a force could be easily raised in this country among those
who sympathize with the sufferings of our unfortunate fellow-citizens
in Mexico and with the unhappy condition of that Republic. Such an
accession to the forces of the constitutional Government would enable
it soon to reach the City of Mexico and extend its power over the whole
Republic. In that event there is no reason to doubt that the just claims
of our citizens would be satisfied and adequate redress obtained for the
injuries inflicted upon them. The constitutional Government have ever
evinced a strong desire to do justice, and this might be secured in
advance by a preliminary treaty.

It may be said that these measures will, at least indirectly, be
inconsistent with our wise and settled policy not to interfere in the
domestic concerns of foreign nations. But does not the present case
fairly constitute an exception? An adjoining Republic is in a state
of anarchy and confusion from which she has proved wholly unable to
extricate herself. She is entirely destitute of the power to maintain
peace upon her borders or to prevent the incursions of banditti into our
territory. In her fate and in her fortune, in her power to establish and
maintain a settled government, we have a far deeper interest, socially,
commercially, and politically, than any other nation. She is now a wreck
upon the ocean, drifting about as she is impelled by different factions.
As a good neighbor, shall we not extend to her a helping hand to save
her? If we do not, it would not be surprising should some other nation
undertake the task, and thus force us to interfere at last, under
circumstances of increased difficulty, for the maintenance of our
established policy.

I repeat the recommendation contained in my last annual message that
authority may be given to the President to establish one or more
temporary military posts across the Mexican line in Sonora and
Chihuahua, where these may be necessary to protect the lives and
property of American and Mexican citizens against the incursions and
depredations of the Indians, as well as of lawless rovers, on that
remote region. The establishment of one such post at a point called
Arispe, in Sonora, in a country now almost depopulated by the hostile
inroads of the Indians from our side of the line, would, it is believed,
have prevented much injury and many cruelties during the past season.
A state of lawlessness and violence prevails on that distant frontier.
Life and property are there wholly insecure. The population of Arizona,
now numbering more than 10,000 souls, are practically destitute of
government, of laws, or of any regular administration of justice.
Murder, rapine, and other crimes are committed with impunity. I
therefore again call the attention of Congress to the necessity for
establishing a Territorial government over Arizona.

The treaty with Nicaragua of the 16th of February, 1857, to which I
referred in my last annual message, failed to receive the ratification
of the Government of that Republic, for reasons which I need not
enumerate. A similar treaty has been since concluded between the
parties, bearing date on the 16th March, 1859, which has already been
ratified by the Nicaraguan Congress. This will be immediately submitted
to the Senate for their ratification. Its provisions can not, I think,
fail to be acceptable to the people of both countries.

Our claims against the Governments of Costa Rica and Nicaragua remain
unredressed, though they are pressed in an earnest manner and not
without hope of success.

I deem it to be my duty once more earnestly to recommend to Congress
the passage of a law authorizing the President to employ the naval
force at his command for the purpose of protecting the lives and
property of American citizens passing in transit across the Panama,
Nicaragua, and Tehuantepec routes against sudden and lawless outbreaks
and depredations. I shall not repeat the arguments employed in former
messages in support of this measure. Suffice it to say that the lives of
many of our people and the security of vast amounts of treasure passing
and repassing over one or more of these routes between the Atlantic and
Pacific may be deeply involved in the action of Congress on this
subject.

I would also again recommend to Congress that authority be given to
the President to employ the naval force to protect American merchant
vessels, their crews and cargoes, against violent and lawless seizure
and confiscation in the ports of Mexico and the Spanish American States
when these countries may be in a disturbed and revolutionary condition.
The mere knowledge that such an authority had been conferred, as I have
already stated, would of itself in a great degree prevent the evil.
Neither would this require any additional appropriation for the naval
service.

The chief objection urged against the grant of this authority is that
Congress by conferring it would violate the Constitution; that it
would be a transfer of the war-making, or, strictly speaking, the
war-declaring, power to the Executive. If this were well founded, it
would, of course, be conclusive. A very brief examination, however,
will place this objection at rest.

Congress possess the sole and exclusive power under the Constitution "to
declare war." They alone can "raise and support armies" and "provide
and maintain a navy." But after Congress shall have declared war and
provided the force necessary to carry it on the President, as Commander
in Chief of the Army and Navy, can alone employ this force in making war
against the enemy. This is the plain language, and history proves that
it was the well-known intention of the framers, of the Constitution.

It will not be denied that the general "power to declare war" is without
limitation and embraces within itself not only what writers on the law
of nations term a public or perfect war, but also an imperfect war,
and, in short, every species of hostility, however confined or limited.
Without the authority of Congress the President can not fire a hostile
gun in any case except to repel the attacks of an enemy. It will not be
doubted that under this power Congress could, if they thought proper,
authorize the President to employ the force at his command to seize a
vessel belonging to an American citizen which had been illegally and
unjustly captured in a foreign port and restore it to its owner. But can
Congress only act after the fact, after the mischief has been done? Have
they no power to confer upon the President the authority in advance to
furnish instant redress should such a case afterwards occur? Must they
wait until the mischief has been done, and can they apply the remedy
only when it is too late? To confer this authority to meet future
cases under circumstances strictly specified is as clearly within the
war-declaring power as such an authority conferred upon the President by
act of Congress after the deed had been done. In the progress of a great
nation many exigencies must arise imperatively requiring that Congress
should authorize the President to act promptly on certain conditions
which may or may not afterwards arise. Our history has already presented
a number of such cases. I shall refer only to the latest.

Under the resolution of June 2, 1858, "for the adjustment of
difficulties with the Republic of Paraguay," the President is
"authorized to adopt such measures and use such force as in his
judgment may be necessary and advisable in the event of a refusal of
just satisfaction by the Government of Paraguay." "Just satisfaction"
for what? For "the attack on the United States steamer _Water Witch_"
and "other matters referred to in the annual message of the President."
Here the power is expressly granted upon the condition that the
Government of Paraguay shall refuse to render this "just satisfaction."
In this and other similar cases Congress have conferred upon the
President power in advance to employ the Army and Navy upon the
happening of contingent future events; and this most certainly is
embraced within the power to declare war.

Now, if this conditional and contingent power could be constitutionally
conferred upon the President in the case of Paraguay, why may it not be
conferred for the purpose of protecting the lives and property of
American citizens in the event that they may be violently and unlawfully
attacked in passing over the transit routes to and from California or
assailed by the seizure of their vessels in a foreign port? To deny this
power is to render the Navy in a great degree useless for the protection
of the lives and property of American citizens in countries where
neither protection nor redress can be otherwise obtained.

The Thirty-fifth Congress terminated on the 3d of March, 1859, without
having passed the "act making appropriations for the service of the
Post-Office Department during the fiscal year ending the 30th of June,
1860." This act also contained an appropriation "to supply deficiencies
in the revenue of the Post-Office Department for the year ending 30th
June, 1859." I believe this is the first instance since the origin of
the Federal Government, now more than seventy years ago, when any
Congress went out of existence without having passed all the general
appropriation bills necessary to carry on the Government until the
regular period for the meeting of a new Congress. This event imposed on
the Executive a grave responsibility. It presented a choice of evils.

Had this omission of duty occurred at the first session of the last
Congress, the remedy would have been plain. I might then have instantly
recalled them to complete their work, and this without expense to the
Government. But on the 4th of March last there were fifteen of the
thirty-three States which had not elected any Representatives to the
present Congress. Had Congress been called together immediately, these
States would have been virtually disfranchised. If an intermediate
period had been selected, several of the States would have been
compelled to hold extra sessions of their legislatures, at great
inconvenience and expense, to provide for elections at an earlier day
than that previously fixed by law. In the regular course ten of these
States would not elect until after the beginning of August, and five
of these ten not until October and November.

On the other hand, when I came to examine carefully the condition of the
Post-Office Department, I did not meet as many or as great difficulties
as I had apprehended. Had the bill which failed been confined to
appropriations for the fiscal year ending on the 30th June next, there
would have been no reason of pressing importance for the call of an
extra session. Nothing would become due on contracts (those with
railroad companies only excepted) for carrying the mail for the first
quarter of the present fiscal year, commencing on the 1st of July, until
the 1st of December--less than one week before the meeting of the
present Congress. The reason is that the mail contractors for this and
the current year did not complete their first quarter's service until
the 30th September last, and by the terms of their contracts sixty
days more are allowed for the settlement of their accounts before the
Department could be called upon for payment.

The great difficulty and the great hardship consisted in the failure
to provide for the payment of the deficiency in the fiscal year ending
the 30th June, 1859. The Department had entered into contracts, in
obedience to existing laws, for the service of that fiscal year, and
the contractors were fairly entitled to their compensation as it became
due. The deficiency as stated in the bill amounted to $3,838,728, but
after a careful settlement of all these accounts it has been ascertained
that it amounts to $4,296,009. With the scanty means at his command the
Postmaster-General has managed to pay that portion of this deficiency
which occurred in the first two quarters of the past fiscal year, ending
on the 31st December last. In the meantime the contractors themselves,
under these trying circumstances, have behaved in a manner worthy
of all commendation. They had one resource in the midst of their
embarrassments. After the amount due to each of them had been
ascertained and finally settled according to law, this became a specific
debt of record against the United States, which enabled them to borrow
money on this unquestionable security. Still, they were obliged to
pay interest in consequence of the default of Congress, and on every
principle of justice ought to receive interest from the Government.
This interest should commence from the date when a warrant would have
issued for the payment of the principal had an appropriation been made
for this purpose. Calculated up to the 1st December, it will not exceed
$96,660--a sum not to be taken into account when contrasted with the
great difficulties and embarrassments of a public and private character,
both to the people and the States, which would have resulted from
convening and holding a special session of Congress.

For these reasons I recommend the passage of a bill at as early a day
as may be practicable to provide for the payment of the amount, with
interest, due to these last-mentioned contractors, as well as to make
the necessary appropriations for the service of the Post-Office
Department for the current fiscal year.

The failure to pass the Post-Office bill necessarily gives birth
to serious reflections. Congress, by refusing to pass the general
appropriation bills necessary to carry on the Government, may not only
arrest its action, but might even destroy its existence. The Army, the
Navy, the judiciary, in short, every department of the Government,
can no longer perform their functions if Congress refuse the money
necessary for their support. If this failure should teach the country
the necessity of electing a full Congress in sufficient time to enable
the President to convene them in any emergency, even immediately after
the old Congress has expired, it will have been productive of great
good. In a time of sudden and alarming danger, foreign or domestic,
which all nations must expect to encounter in their progress, the very
salvation of our institutions may be staked upon the assembling of
Congress without delay. If under such circumstances the President should
find himself in the condition in which he was placed at the close of the
last Congress, with nearly half the States of the Union destitute of
representatives, the consequences might be disastrous. I therefore
recommend to Congress to carry into effect the provisions of the
Constitution on this subject, and to pass a law appointing some day
previous to the 4th March in each year of odd number for the election
of Representatives throughout all the States. They have already
appointed a day for the election of electors for President and
Vice-President, and this measure has been approved by the country.

I would again express a most decided opinion in favor of the
construction of a Pacific railroad, for the reasons stated in my two
last annual messages. When I reflect upon what would be the defenseless
condition of our States and Territories west of the Rocky Mountains in
case of a war with a naval power sufficiently strong to interrupt all
intercourse with them by the routes across the Isthmus, I am still more
convinced than ever of the vast importance of this railroad. I have
never doubted the constitutional competency of Congress to provide for
its construction, but this exclusively under the war-making power.
Besides, the Constitution expressly requires as an imperative duty that
"the United States shall protect each of them [the States] against
invasion." I am at a loss to conceive how this protection can be
afforded to California and Oregon against such a naval power by any
other means. I repeat the opinion contained in my last annual message
that it would be inexpedient for the Government to undertake this great
work by agents of its own appointment and under its direct and exclusive
control. This would increase the patronage of the Executive to a
dangerous extent and would foster a system of jobbing and corruption
which no vigilance on the part of Federal officials could prevent.
The construction of this road ought, therefore, to be intrusted to
incorporated companies or other agencies who would exercise that
active and vigilant supervision over it which can be inspired alone by
a sense of corporate and individual interest. I venture to assert that
the additional cost of transporting troops, munitions of war, and
necessary supplies for the Army across the vast intervening plains to
our possessions on the Pacific Coast would be greater in such a war
than the whole amount required to construct the road. And yet this
resort would after all be inadequate for their defense and protection.

We have yet scarcely recovered from the habits of extravagant
expenditure produced by our overflowing Treasury during several years
prior to the commencement of my Administration. The financial reverses
which we have since experienced ought to teach us all to scrutinize
our expenditures with the greatest vigilance and to reduce them to the
lowest possible point. The Executive Departments of the Government
have devoted themselves to the accomplishment of this object with
considerable success, as will appear from their different reports and
estimates. To these I invite the scrutiny of Congress, for the purpose
of reducing them still lower, if this be practicable consistent with
the great public interests of the country. In aid of the policy of
retrenchment, I pledge myself to examine closely the bills appropriating
lands or money, so that if any of these should inadvertently pass both
Houses, as must sometimes be the case, I may afford them an opportunity
for reconsideration. At the same time, we ought never to forget that
true public economy consists not in withholding the means necessary
to accomplish important national objects confided to us by the
Constitution, but in taking care that the money appropriated for these
purposes shall be faithfully and frugally expended.

It will appear from the report of the Secretary of the Treasury that it
is extremely doubtful, to say the least, whether we shall be able to
pass through the present and the next fiscal year without providing
additional revenue. This can only be accomplished by strictly confining
the appropriations within the estimates of the different Departments,
without making an allowance for any additional expenditures which
Congress may think proper, in their discretion, to authorize, and
without providing for the redemption of any portion of the $20,000,000
of Treasury notes which have been already issued. In the event of a
deficiency, which I consider probable, this ought never to be supplied
by a resort to additional loans. It would be a ruinous practice in the
days of peace and prosperity to go on increasing the national debt to
meet the ordinary expenses of the Government. This policy would cripple
our resources and impair our credit in case the existence of war should
render it necessary to borrow money. Should such a deficiency occur as
I apprehend, I would recommend that the necessary revenue be raised by
an increase of our present duties on imports. I need not repeat the
opinions expressed in my last annual message as to the best mode and
manner of accomplishing this object, and shall now merely observe that
these have since undergone no change.

The report of the Secretary of the Treasury will explain in detail the
operations of that Department of the Government.

The receipts into the Treasury from all sources during the fiscal year
ending June 30, 1859, including the loan authorized by the act of June
14, 1858, and the issues of Treasury notes authorized by existing laws,
were $81,692,471.01, which sum, with the balance of $6,398,316.10
remaining in the Treasury at the commencement of that fiscal year, made
an aggregate for the service of the year of $88,090,787.11.

The public expenditures during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1859,
amounted to $83,751,511.57. Of this sum $17,405,285.44 were applied to
the payment of interest on the public debt and the redemption of the
issues of Treasury notes. The expenditures for all other branches of the
public service during that fiscal year were therefore $66,346,226.13.

The balance remaining in the Treasury on the 1st July, 1859, being the
commencement of the present fiscal year, was $4,339,275.54.

The receipts into the Treasury during the first quarter of the present
fiscal year, commencing July 1, 1859, were $20,618,865.85. Of this
amount $3,821,300 was received on account of the loan and the issue of
Treasury notes, the amount of $16,797,565.85 having been received during
the quarter from the ordinary sources of public revenue. The estimated
receipts for the remaining three quarters of the present fiscal year,
to June 30, 1860, are $50,426,400. Of this amount it is estimated that
$5,756,400 will be received for Treasury notes which may be reissued
under the fifth section of the act of 3d March last, and $1,170,000 on
account of the loan authorized by the act of June 14, 1858, making
$6,926,400 from these extraordinary sources, and $43,500,000 from the
ordinary sources of the public revenue, making an aggregate, with the
balance in the Treasury on the 1st July, 1859, of $75,384,541.89 for
the estimated means of the present fiscal year, ending June 30, 1860.

The expenditures during the first quarter of the present fiscal year
were $20,007,174.76. Four million six hundred and sixty-four thousand
three hundred and sixty-six dollars and seventy-six cents of this sum
were applied to the payment of interest on the public debt and the
redemption of the issues of Treasury notes, and the remainder, being
$15,342,808, were applied to ordinary expenditures during the quarter.
The estimated expenditures during the remaining three quarters, to June
30, 1860, are $40,995,558.23, of which sum $2,886,621.34 are estimated
for the interest on the public debt. The ascertained and estimated
expenditures for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1860, on account of
the public debt are accordingly $7,550,988.10, and for the ordinary
expenditures of the Government $53,451,744.89, making an aggregate of
$61,-002,732.99, leaving an estimated balance in the Treasury on June
30, 1860, of $14,381,808.40.

The estimated receipts during the next fiscal year, ending June 30,
1861, are $66,225,000, which, with the balance estimated, as before
stated, as remaining in the Treasury on the 30th June, 1860, will make
an aggregate for the service of the next fiscal year of $80,606,808.40.

The estimated expenditures during the next fiscal year, ending 30th
June, 1861, are $66,714,928.79. Of this amount $3,386,621.34 will be
required to pay the interest on the public debt, leaving the sum of
$63,328,307.45 for the estimated ordinary expenditures during the fiscal
year ending 30th June, 1861. Upon these estimates a balance will be left
in the Treasury on the 30th June, 1861, of $13,891,879.61.

But this balance, as well as that estimated to remain in the Treasury on
the 1st July, 1860, will be reduced by such appropriations as shall be
made by law to carry into effect certain Indian treaties during the
present fiscal year, asked for by the Secretary of the Interior, to the
amount of $539,350; and upon the estimates of the Postmaster-General for
the service of his Department the last fiscal year, ending 30th June,
1859, amounting to $4,296,009, together with the further estimate of
that officer for the service of the present fiscal year, ending 30th
June, 1860, being $5,526,324, making an aggregate of $10,361,683.

Should these appropriations be made as requested by the proper
Departments, the balance in the Treasury on the 30th June, 1861,
will not, it is estimated, exceed $3,530,196.61.

I transmit herewith the reports of the Secretaries of War, of the Navy,
of the Interior, and of the Postmaster-General. They each contain
valuable information and important recommendations well worthy of the
serious consideration of Congress.

It will appear from the report of the Secretary of War that the Army
expenditures have been materially reduced by a system of rigid economy,
which in his opinion offers every guaranty that the reduction will be
permanent. The estimates of the Department for the next have been
reduced nearly $2,000,000 below the estimates for the present fiscal
year and $500,000 below the amount granted for this year at the last
session of Congress.

The expenditures of the Post-Office Department during the past fiscal
year, ending on the 30th June, 1859, exclusive of payments for mail
service specially provided for by Congress out of the general Treasury,
amounted to $14,964,493.33 and its receipts to $7,968,484.07, showing a
deficiency to be supplied from the Treasury of $6,996,009.26, against
$5,235,677.15 for the year ending 30th June, 1858. The increased cost of
transportation, growing out of the expansion of the service required by
Congress, explains this rapid augmentation of the expenditures. It is
gratifying, however, to observe an increase of receipts for the year
ending on the 30th of June, 1859, equal to $481,691.21 compared with
those in the year ending on the 30th June, 1858.

It is estimated that the deficiency for the current fiscal year
will be $5,988,424.04, but that for the year ending 30th June, 1861,
it will not exceed $1,342,473.90 should Congress adopt the measures of
reform proposed and urged by the Postmaster-General. Since the month
of March retrenchments have been made in the expenditures amounting to
$1,826,471 annually, which, however, did not take effect until after
the commencement of the present fiscal year. The period seems to have
arrived for determining the question whether this Department shall
become a permanent and ever-increasing charge upon the Treasury, or
shall be permitted to resume the self-sustaining policy which had
so long controlled its administration. The course of legislation
recommended by the Postmaster-General for the relief of the Department
from its present embarrassments and for restoring it to its original
independence is deserving of your early and earnest consideration.

In conclusion I would again commend to the just liberality of Congress
the local interests of the District of Columbia. Surely the city bearing
the name of Washington, and destined, I trust, for ages to be the
capital of our united, free, and prosperous Confederacy, has strong
claims on our favorable regard.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



SPECIAL MESSAGES.


WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State and the
papers referred to therein, in answer to the resolution of the Senate of
the 21st of December last, in relation to the suspension of diplomatic
relations with Mexico by the United States legation in that country.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 16, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Having ratified the treaty between the United States and the Empire of
China, pursuant to the advice and consent of the Senate as expressed
in their resolution of the 15th of December last, I lost no time in
forwarding my ratification thither, in the hope that it might reach that
country in season to be exchanged for the ratification of the Emperor
within the time limited for that purpose. Unforeseen circumstances,
however, retarded the exchange until the 16th of August last. I
consequently submit the instrument anew to the Senate, in order that
they may declare their assent to the postponement of the exchange of
the ratifications in such way as they may deem most expedient.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 19, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, with a view to ratification, a treaty of
friendship, commerce, and navigation concluded at Asuncion on the 4th of
February last between the plenipotentiaries of the United States and
Paraguay.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 19, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for consideration with a view to ratification,
a treaty of friendship and commerce between the United States and
Nicaragua, signed by their respective plenipotentiaries at Managua on
the 16th March last, together with papers explanatory of the same, of
which a list is herewith furnished.

I invite attention especially to the last document accompanying the
treaty, being a translation of a note of 26th September ultimo from Mr.
Molina, chargé d'affaires _ad interim_ of Nicaragua, to the Secretary of
State, together with the translation of the ratification of the treaty
by the Nicaraguan Government, thereto annexed.

The amendment stipulated in the second article of the decree of
ratification by Nicaragua is in conformity with the views of this
Government, to which the omitted clause was obnoxious, as will be seen
by reference to the note of the Secretary of State to Mr. Trisarri of
26th May, 1859, a copy of which is among the documents referred to.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 19, 1859_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, with a view to ratification, the special
convention concluded at Asuncion on the 4th of February last between the
plenipotentiaries of the United States and Paraguay, providing for the
settlement of the claims of the United States and Paraguay Navigation
Company.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 4, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for consideration with a view to ratification,
a "treaty of transits and commerce between the United States of America
and the Mexican Republic," and also a "convention to enforce treaty
stipulations" between the same parties, both of which were signed by the
plenipotentiaries of the respective Governments at Vera Cruz on the 14th
December ultimo.

I also transmit a copy of a dispatch of the minister of the United
States accredited to the Mexican Government to the Secretary of State,
relative to these instruments.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for your constitutional action thereon, articles of
agreement and convention made and concluded on the 5th day of October,
1859, with the Kansas, and recommend that the same be ratified.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for your constitutional action thereon, articles of
agreement and convention made and concluded on the 1st day of October,
1859, with the Sacs and Foxes of the Mississippi, and recommend that the
same be ratified.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for your constitutional action thereon, articles of
agreement and convention made and concluded on the 15th day of April,
1859, with the Winnebagoes, and recommend that the same be ratified.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 12, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate in executive session of
the 10th instant, I transmit herewith the report of the Secretary of
State and the papers accompanying it, relating to the treaties lately
negotiated by Mr. McLane and to the condition of the existing Government
of Mexico.

It will be observed from the report that these papers are originals, and
that it is indispensable they should be restored to the files of the
Department when the subject to which they relate shall have been
disposed of.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 20, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for your constitutional action, articles of
agreement and convention made and concluded on the 16th day of July,
1859, with the Chippewas of Swan Creek and Black River and the Christian
Indians, and recommend that the same be ratified.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 23, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 12th instant,
requesting information respecting an alleged outrage upon an American
family at Perugia, in the Pontifical States, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of State and the documents by which it is accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 25, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 11th June, 1858,
requesting the President of the United States, if in his judgment
compatible with the public interests, to communicate to that body "such
information as the Executive Departments may afford of the contracts,
agreements, and arrangements which have been made and of proposals which
have been received for heating and ventilating the Capitol extension,
the Post-Office, and other public buildings in course of construction
under the management of Captain Meigs, and of the action of the
Secretary of War and Captain Meigs thereon," I transmit herewith all
the papers called for by the resolution.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 30, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with accompanying
papers, in answer to the resolution of the 9th instant, requesting the
President "to communicate to the Senate the official correspondence of
Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott in reference to the island of San
Juan, and of Brigadier-General William S. Harney, in command of the
Department of Oregon."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1860_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a copy of a letter of the 22d of April last from the chargé
d'affaires _ad interim_ of the United States in China, and of the
regulations for consular courts which accompanied it, for such revision
thereof as Congress may deem expedient, pursuant to the sixth section of
the act approved the 11th of August, 1848.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit for the approval of the Senate an informal convention with
the Republic of Venezuela for the adjustment of claims of citizens of
the United States on the Government of that Republic growing out of
their forcible expulsion by Venezuelan authorities from the guano island
of Aves, in the Caribbean Sea. Usually it is not deemed necessary to
consult the Senate in regard to similar instruments relating to private
claims of small amount when the aggrieved parties are satisfied with
their terms. In this instance, however, although the convention was
negotiated under the authority of the Venezuelan Executive and has
been approved by the National Convention of that Republic, there is
some reason to apprehend that, owing to the frequent changes in that
Government, the payments for which it provides may be refused or delayed
upon the pretext that the instrument has not received the constitutional
sanction of this Government. It is understood that if the payments
adverted to shall be made as stipulated the convention will be
acceptable to the claimants.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty of peace, friendship, commerce, and navigation
between the United States and the Republic of Bolivia, signed by their
respective plenipotentiaries at La Paz on the 13th of May, 1858.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 20, 1860_.

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

Eight memorials numerously signed by our fellow-citizens, "residents for
the most part within the territorial limits of Kansas and Nebraska at
and near the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains," have been presented
to me, containing the request that I would submit the condition of
the memorialists to the two Houses of Congress in a special message.
Accordingly, I transmit four of these memorials to the Senate and four
to the House of Representatives.

These memorialists invoke the interposition of Congress and of the
Executive "for the early extinguishment of the Indian title, a
consequent survey and sale of the public land, and the establishment of
an assay office in the immediate and daily reach of the citizens of that
region." They also urge "the erection of a new Territory from contiguous
portions of New Mexico, Utah, Kansas, and Nebraska," with the boundaries
set forth in their memorial. They further state, if this request should
not be granted, "that (inasmuch as during this year a census is to be
taken) an enabling act be passed with provision upon condition that if
on the 1st day of July, 1860, 30,000 resident inhabitants be found
within the limits of the mineral region, then a Territorial government
is constituted by Executive proclamation; or if on the 1st day of
September, 1860, 150,000 shall be returned, then a State organization
to occur."

In transmitting these memorials to Congress I recommend that such
provision may be made for the protection and prosperity of our
fellow-citizens at and near the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains as
their distance and the exigencies of their condition may require for
their government.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 25, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
16th instant, requesting a copy of a letter of the Emperor of France
upon the subject of commerce and free trade, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution was referred.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 29, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of yesterday, requesting
information with regard to the present condition of the work of marking
the boundary pursuant to the first article of the treaty between the
United States and Great Britain of the 15th of June, 1846, I transmit
a report from the Secretary of State and the papers by which it was
accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 1, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, in compliance with the resolution of the Senate
of the 1st of February, 1860, a report from the Secretary of War,
communicating the information desired relative to the payments,
agreements, arrangements, etc., in connection with the heating and
ventilating of the Capitol and Post-Office extensions.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 5, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 23d of February,
1860, I transmit to that body a communication[11] of the Secretary of
War, furnishing all the information requested in said resolution.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 11: Relating to disturbances on the Rio Grande between
citizens and military authorities of Mexico and Texas.]



WASHINGTON, _March 8, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, together with
the papers accompanying it, in answer to the resolution of the Senate in
executive session of the 28th ultimo, calling for the instructions to
our minister or ministers in Mexico which resulted in the negotiation of
the treaty with that country now before the Senate.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 12, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 6th ultimo, requesting
copies of the instructions to and dispatches from the late and from the
present minister of the United States in China down to the period of the
exchange of ratifications of the treaty of Tien-tsin, and also a copy of
the instructions from the Department of State of February, 1857, to Mr.
Parker, former commissioner in China, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State and the papers by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 15, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Referring to my communication of the 5th instant to the Senate,
in answer to its resolution of the 23d February, calling for any
"communication which may have been received from the governor of Texas,
and the documents accompanying it, concerning alleged hostilities now
existing on the Rio Grande," I have the honor herewith to submit for
the consideration of that body the following papers:

Dispatch from the Secretary of War to the governor of Texas, dated 28th
February, 1860.

Dispatch from the governor of Texas to the Secretary of War, dated 8th
March, 1860.

Dispatch from Acting Secretary of War to the governor of Texas, dated
14th March, 1860.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 15, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution[12] of the Senate in executive session
on the 12th instant, I transmit a report from the Secretary of
State, with the accompanying copies of Mr. Churchwell's correspondence.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

[Footnote 12: Calling for the report of the agent sent to Mexico to
ascertain the condition of that country.]



WASHINGTON, _March 16, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Acting Secretary of War, with its
accompanying papers, communicating the information called for by the
resolution of the Senate of the 9th instant, respecting the marble
columns for the Capitol extension.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 16, 1860_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit a copy of the convention between the United States and
the Republic of Paraguay, concluded on the 4th February, 1859, and
proclaimed on the 12th instant, and invite the attention of Congress
to the expediency of such legislation as may be deemed necessary to
carry into effect the stipulations of the convention relative to the
organization of the commission provided for therein.

The commissioner on the part of Paraguay is now in this city, and is
prepared to enter upon the duties devolved upon the joint commission.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 21, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the request of the Senate contained in their
resolution of yesterday, the 20th instant, I return to them the
resolution of the 16th instant, "that the Senate do not advise and
consent to the ratification of the treaty of friendship and commerce
between the United States and Nicaragua, signed at Managua on the 16th
day of March, 1859." I also return the treaty itself, presuming that
the Senate so intended.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 22, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention concluded on the 21st instant between the
United States and His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway for the
mutual surrender of fugitive criminals.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 29, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 21st of March,
1860, requesting the President of the United States "to inform the
Senate, if in his opinion it be not incompatible with the public
interest, if any instructions have been given to any of the officers of
the Navy of the United States by which, in any event, the naval force of
the United States or any part thereof were to take part in the civil war
now existing in Mexico, and if the recent capture of two war steamers of
Mexico by the naval force of the United States was done in pursuance
of orders issued by this Government, and also by what authority those
steamers have been taken in possession by the naval force of the United
States and the men on board made prisoners," I transmit the inclosed
report, with accompanying papers, from the Secretary of the Navy.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 29, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with its
accompaniments, communicating the information called for by the
resolution of the House of Representatives of the 1st instant,
concerning the difficulties on the southwestern frontier.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 30, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the 26th instant, requesting information
touching the imprisonment of an American citizen in the island of Cuba,
I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by
which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 2, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 28th of February
last, relative to the uniform or costume of persons in the diplomatic or
consular service, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and
the papers by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _April 3, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report of the Attorney-General, in
answer to a resolution of the Senate of the 21st of March, "that the
President be respectfully requested to communicate to the Senate the
correspondence between the judges of Utah and the Attorney-General or
the President with reference to the legal proceedings and condition of
affairs in the Territory of Utah."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 5, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
ratification, a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation between
the United States and the Republic of Honduras, signed by the
plenipotentiaries of the parties in this city on the 28th day of last
month.

The fourteenth article of this treaty is an exact copy of the
supplemental article of the "treaty of friendship, commerce, and
navigation between Great Britain and the Republic of Honduras," dated
26th day of August, 1856, with the necessary changes in names and dates.
Under this article the Government and people of the United States will
enjoy in the fullest and most satisfactory manner the use of the
"Honduras Interoceanic Railway," in consideration of which the United
States recognizes the rights of sovereignty and property of Honduras
over the line of the road and guarantees its neutrality, and, when "the
road shall have been completed, equally engages, in conjunction with
Honduras, to protect the same from interruption, seizure, or unjust
confiscation, from whatever quarter the attempt may proceed."

This treaty is in accordance with the policy inaugurated by the
Government of the United States, and in an especial manner by the
Senate, in the year 1846, and several treaties have been concluded to
carry it into effect. It is simple, and may be embraced in a few words.
On the one side a grant of free and uninterrupted transit for the
Government and people of the United States over the transit routes
across the Isthmus, and on the other a guaranty of the neutrality and
protection of these routes, not only for the benefit of the Republics
through which they pass, but, in the language of our treaty with New
Granada, in order to secure to themselves the tranquil and constant
enjoyment of these inter-oceanic communications.

The first in the series of these treaties is that with New Granada
of the 12th December, 1846. This treaty was concluded before our
acquisition of California and when our interests on the Pacific Coast
were of far less magnitude than at the present day. For years before
this period, however, the routes across the Isthmus had attracted the
serious attention of this Government.

This treaty, after granting us the right of transit across the Isthmus
of Panama in the most ample terms, binds this Government to guarantee
to New Granada "the perfect neutrality of the before-mentioned Isthmus,
with the view that the free transit from the one to the other sea may
not be interrupted or embarrassed in any future time while this treaty
exists."

In one respect it goes further than any of its successors, because it
not only guarantees the neutrality of the route itself, but "the rights
of sovereignty and property" of New Granada over the entire Province of
Panama. It is worthy of remark that when it was sent to the Senate it
was accompanied by a message of President Polk, dated February 10, 1847,
in which the attention of that body was especially called to these
important stipulations of the thirty-fifth article, and in which it was
stated, moreover, that our chargé d'affaires who negotiated the treaty
"acted in this particular upon his own responsibility and without
instructions." Under these circumstances the treaty was approved by the
Senate and the transit policy to which I have referred was deliberately
adopted. A copy of the executive document (confidential), Twenty-ninth
Congress, second session, containing this message of President Polk and
the papers which accompanied it is hereto annexed.

The next in order of time of these treaties of transit and guaranty is
that of the 19th April, 1850, with Great Britain, commonly called the
Clayton and Bulwer treaty. This treaty, in affirmance of the policy of
the New Granada treaty, established a general principle which has ever
since, I believe, guided the proceedings of both Governments. The eighth
article of that treaty contains the following stipulations:

The Government of the United States having not only desired in entering
into this convention to accomplish a particular object, but also to
establish a general principle, they hereby agree to extend their
protection by treaty stipulations to any other practicable
communications, whether by canal or railway, across the isthmus which
connects North and South America, and especially to the interoceanic
communications, should the same prove to be practicable, whether by
canal or railway, which are now proposed to be established by the way of
Tehuantepec or Panama.

And that the said--

  Canals or railways shall also be open on like terms to the citizens and
  subjects of every other state which is willing to grant thereto such
  protection as the United States and Great Britain propose to afford.


The United States, in a short time after the Clayton and Bulwer treaty
was concluded, carried this stipulation in regard to the Tehuantepec
route into effect by their treaty with Mexico of the 30th December,
1853. The eighth article of this treaty, after granting to us the
transit privileges therein mentioned, stipulates that "the Mexican
Government having agreed to protect with its whole power the
prosecution, preservation, and security of the work, the United States
may extend its protection as it shall judge wise, to use it when it may
feel sanctioned and warranted by the public or international law."

This is a sweeping grant of power to the United States, which no nation
ought to have conceded, but which, it is believed, has been confined
within safe limits by our treaty with Mexico now before the Senate.
Such was believed to be the established policy of the Government at
the commencement of this Administration, viz, the grant of transits in
our favor and the guaranty of our protection as an equivalent. This
guaranty can never be dangerous under our form of government, because
it can never be carried into execution without the express authority
of Congress. Still, standing on the face of treaties, as it does, it
deters all evil-disposed parties from interfering with these routes.

Under such circumstances the attention of the Executive was early turned
to the Nicaragua route as in many respects the most important and
valuable to the citizens of our country. In concluding a treaty to
secure our rights of transit over this route I experienced many
difficulties, which I need not now enumerate, because they are detailed
in different messages to Congress. Finally a treaty was negotiated
exactly in accordance with the established policy of the Government and
the views of the Executive, and clear from the embarrassments which
might arise under the phraseology of previous treaties. The fourteenth
article of the treaty contains a full, clear, and specific grant of
the right of transit to the United States and their citizens, and is
believed to be perfectly unexceptionable. The fifteenth article, instead
of leaving one equivalent duty of protection, general and unlimited, as
in our treaty with New Granada and in the Clayton and Bulwer treaty, or
instead of that general right assured to the Government in the Mexican
treaty of extending its protection as it shall itself judge wise, when
it may feel sanctioned and warranted by the public or international law,
confines the interference conceded within just and specific limits.

Under the sixteenth article of this treaty the Government of the United
States has no right to interpose for the protection of the Nicaragua
route except with the consent or at the request of the Government
of Nicaragua, or of the minister thereof at Washington, or of the
competent, legally appointed local authorities, civil or military; and
when in the opinion of the Government of Nicaragua the necessity ceases
such force shall be immediately withdrawn. Nothing can be more carefully
guarded than this provision. No force can be employed unless upon the
request of the Government of Nicaragua, and it must be immediately
withdrawn whenever in the opinion of that Government the necessity
ceases.

When Congress shall come to adopt the measures necessary to carry this
provision of the treaty into effect they can guard it from any abuses
which may possibly arise.

The general policy contained in these articles, although inaugurated by
the United States, has been fully adopted by the Governments of Great
Britain and France. The plenipotentiaries of both these Governments have
recently negotiated treaties with Nicaragua, which are but transcripts
of the treaty between the United States and Nicaragua now before the
Senate. The treaty with France has been ratified, it is understood, by
both the French and Nicaraguan Governments, and is now in operation.
That with Great Britain has been delayed by other negotiations in
Nicaragua, but it is believed that these are now concluded and that the
ratifications of the British treaty will soon, therefore, be exchanged.

It is presumed that no objection will be made to "the exceptional case"
of the sixteenth article, which is only intended to provide for the
landing of sailors or marines from our vessels which may happen to be
within reach of the point of difficulty, in order to protect the lives
and property of citizens of the United States from unforeseen and
imminent danger.

The same considerations may be suggested with respect to the fifth
article of the treaty with Mexico, which is also pending before the
Senate. This article is an exact copy of the sixteenth article, just
referred to, of the treaty with Nicaragua.

The treaty with Honduras, which is now submitted to the Senate, follows
on this subject the language of the British treaty with that Republic,
and is not, therefore, identical in its terms with the Nicaraguan and
Mexican treaties. The same policy, however, has been adopted in all of
them, and it will not fail, I am persuaded, to receive from the Senate
all that consideration which it so eminently deserves. The importance to
the United States of securing free and safe transit routes across the
American Isthmus can not well be overestimated. These routes are of
great interest, of course, to all commercial nations, but they are
especially so to us from our geographical and political position as
an American State and because they furnish a necessary communication
between our Atlantic and Pacific States and Territories.

The Government of the United States can never permit these routes to be
permanently interrupted, nor can it safely allow them to pass under the
control of other rival nations. While it seeks no exclusive privileges
upon them for itself, it can never consent to be made tributary to their
use to any European power. It is worthy of consideration, however,
whether to some extent it would not necessarily become so if after Great
Britain and France have adopted our policy and made treaties with the
Isthmian Governments in pursuance of it we should ourselves reconsider
it and refuse to pursue it in the treaties of the United States. I might
add that the opening of these transit routes can not fail to extend the
trade and commerce of the United States with the countries through which
they pass; to afford an outlet and a market for our manufactures within
their territories; to encourage American citizens to develop their vast
stores of mining and mineral wealth for our benefit, and to introduce
among them a wholesome American influence calculated to prevent
revolutions and to render their governments stable.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 10, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I communicate herewith a report from the Secretary of State, in reply
to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 6th instant,
respecting the expulsion of American citizens from Mexico and the
confiscation of their property by General Miramon.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 10, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
23d of December, 1858, requesting information in regard to the duties on
tobacco in foreign countries, I transmit a report from the Secretary of
State and the documents by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, D.C., _April 11, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
March 26, 1860, requesting me "to transmit to the House all information
in the possession of the officer in charge of the Coast Survey showing
the practicability of making Harlem River navigable for commercial
purposes, and the expenses thereof," I herewith transmit a report from
the Secretary of the Treasury containing the desired information.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 11, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 2d February,
1859, requesting information in regard to the compulsory enlistment
of citizens of the United States in the army of Prussia, I transmit
a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by which it
was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 12, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 23d of February
last, requesting information in regard to the occupation by American
citizens of the island of Navassa, in the West Indies, I transmit a
report from the Secretary of State and the documents by which it was
accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 12, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with its
accompaniments, communicating the information called for by the
resolution of the House of Representatives of the 20th ultimo,
respecting Indian hostilities in New Mexico.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 16, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 4th instant,
requesting information not heretofore called for relating to the claim
of any foreign governments to the military services of naturalized
American citizens, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and
the documents by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, D.C., _April 17, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for the information of the Senate, the Paris
Moniteur of the 4th February last, the official journal of the French
Government, containing an imperial decree promulgating a treaty of
friendship, commerce, and navigation, concluded on the 11th April, 1859,
between France and the Republic of Nicaragua. It will be found in all
respects similar to the treaty between the United States and Nicaragua
now pending in the Senate.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 20, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of the Navy, to whom was
referred the resolution of the House of Representatives of April 10,
1860, requesting the President to communicate to the House, in addition
to the information asked in the resolution adopted in reference to the
African slave trade, "the number of officers and men in the service of
the United States belonging to the African Squadron who have died in
that service since the date of the Ashburton treaty up to the present
time."

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 20, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives "that the
President be requested to communicate to the House, if not incompatible
with the public service, all such information as he may possess in
relation to the existence" of the Territory of Minnesota, he has to
state that he possesses no information upon the subject except what has
been derived from the acts of Congress and the proceedings of the House
itself. Since the date of the act of the 11th of May, 1858, admitting
a portion of the Territory of Minnesota as a State into the Union, no
act has been performed by the Executive either affirming or denying the
existence of such Territory. The question in regard to that portion of
the Territory without the limits of the existing State remains for the
decision of Congress, and is in the same condition it was when the State
was admitted into the Union.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 22, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I return to the Senate the original convention between the United States
and the Republic of New Granada, signed on the 10th September, 1857, and
ratified by me as amended by the Senate on the 12th March, 1859.

The amendments of the Senate were immediately transmitted to New Granada
for acceptance, but they arrived at Bogota three days after the
adjournment of the Congress of that Republic, notwithstanding the
session had been protracted for twenty days solely with a view to the
consideration of the convention after it should have received the
sanction of this Government.

At the earliest moment after the assembling of the New Granadian
Congress, on the 1st of February last, the convention as amended and
ratified was laid before that body, and on the 25th of the same month
it was approved with the amendments. Inasmuch, however, as the period
had expired within which by the third amendment of the Senate the
ratifications should have been exchanged, the Congress of New Granada
provided that "the convention should be ratified and the ratification
should be exchanged at whatever time the Governments of the two
Republics may deem convenient for the purpose, and therefore the period
has been extended which the Senate of the United States had fixed."

The expediency of authorizing the exchange of ratifications at such time
as may be convenient to the two Governments is consequently submitted to
the consideration of the Senate.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 23, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 18th instant,
requesting a copy of the instructions from the Department of State to
Mr. McLane when appointed minister to China, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of State, with the instructions which accompanied it.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 24, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolutions of the House of Representatives of
the 2d March, 1859, and of the 26th ultimo, requesting information
relative to discriminations in Switzerland against citizens of the
United States of the Hebrew persuasion, I transmit a report of the
Secretary of State, with the documents by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 25, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 22d ultimo, calling
for information concerning the expulsion from Prussia of Eugene Dullye,
a naturalized citizen of the United States, I transmit a report from the
Secretary of State, dated the 24th instant.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 27, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of
March 26, 1860, requesting "copies of all official correspondence
between the civil and military officers stationed in Utah Territory with
the heads or bureaus of their respective Departments, or between any of
said officers, illustrating or tending to show the condition of affairs
in said Territory since the 1st day of October, 1857, and which may not
have been heretofore officially published," I transmit reports from the
Secretaries of State and War and the documents by which they were
accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 30, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 2d of February,
1859, requesting information in regard to the compulsory service of
citizens of the United States in the army of Prussia, I transmit an
additional report from the Secretary of State and the document by which
it is accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



EXECUTIVE MANSION, _May 1, 1860_.

_To the Senate_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate adopted March 19, 1860,
calling for the correspondence, etc., in relation to the Mountain Meadow
and other massacres in Utah Territory, I have the honor to transmit the
report, with the accompanying documents, of the Secretary of the
Interior, who was instructed to collect the information.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May 3, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention between the United States and Spain for
the settlement of claims, signed at Madrid on the 5th of March last.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May 19, 1860_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

On the 26th day of April last Lieutenant Craven, of the United States
steamer _Mohawk_, captured the slaver _Wildfire_ on the coast of Cuba,
with 507 African negroes on board. The prize was brought into Key West
on the 31st April and the negroes were delivered into the custody of
Fernando J. Moreno, marshal of the southern district of Florida.

The question which now demands immediate decision is, What disposition
shall be made of these Africans? In the annual message to Congress of
December 6, 1858, I expressed my opinion in regard to the construction
of the act of the 3d March, 1819, "in addition to the acts prohibiting
the slave trade," so far as the same is applicable to the present case.
From this I make the following extract:

  Under the second section of this act the President is "authorized to
  make such regulations and arrangements as he may deem expedient for the
  safe-keeping, support, and removal beyond the limits of the United
  States of all such negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color" captured by
  vessels of the United States as may be delivered to the marshal of the
  district into which they are brought, "and to appoint a proper person
  or persons residing upon the coast of Africa as agent or agents for
  receiving the negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color delivered from on
  board vessels seized in the prosecution of the slave trade by commanders
  of United States armed vessels."

  A doubt immediately arose as to the true construction of this act. It is
  quite clear from its terms that the President was authorized to provide
  "for the safe-keeping, support, and removal" of these negroes up till
  the time of their delivery to the agent on the coast of Africa, but no
  express provision was made for their protection and support after they
  had reached the place of their destination. Still, an agent was to be
  appointed to receive them in Africa, and it could not have been supposed
  that Congress intended he should desert them at the moment they were
  received and turn them loose on that inhospitable coast to perish for
  want of food or to become again the victims of the slave trade. Had this
  been the intention of Congress, the employment of an agent to receive
  them, who is required to reside on the coast, was unnecessary, and they
  might have been landed by our vessels anywhere in Africa and left
  exposed to the sufferings and the fate which would certainly await them.

  Mr. Monroe, in his special message of December 17, 1819, at the first
  session after the act was passed, announced to Congress what in his
  opinion was its true construction. He believed it to be his duty under
  it to follow these unfortunates into Africa and make provision for
  them there until they should be able to provide for themselves. In
  communicating this interpretation of the act to Congress he stated that
  some doubt had been entertained as to its true intent and meaning, and
  he submitted the question to them so that they might, "should it be
  deemed advisable, amend the same before further proceedings are had
  under it." Nothing was done by Congress to explain the act, and Mr.
  Monroe proceeded to carry it into execution according to his own
  interpretation. This, then, became the practical construction.


Adopting this construction of President Monroe, I entered into an
agreement with the Colonization Society, dated 7th September, 1858, to
receive the Africans which had been captured on the slaver _Echo_ from
the agent of the United States in Liberia, to furnish them during the
period of one year thereafter with comfortable shelter, clothing, and
provisions, and to cause them to be instructed in the arts of civilized
life suitable to their condition, at the rate of $150 for each
individual. It was believed that within that period they would be
prepared to become citizens of Liberia and to take care of themselves.

As Congress was not then in session and as there was no outstanding
appropriation applicable to this purpose, the society were obliged to
depend for payment on the future action of that body. I recommended
this appropriation, and $75,000 were granted by the act of 3d March,
1859 (the consular and diplomatic bill), "to enable the President of the
United States to carry into effect the act of Congress of 3d March, 1819,
and any subsequent acts now in force for the suppression of the slave
trade." Of this appropriation there remains unexpended the sum of
$24,350.90, after deducting from it an advance made by the Secretary
of the Interior out of the judiciary fund of $11,348.10.

I regret to say that under the mode adopted in regard to the Africans
captured on board the _Echo_ the expense will be large, but this seems
to a great extent to be inevitable without a violation of the laws of
humanity. The expenditure upon this scale for those captured on board
the _Wildfire_ will not be less than $100,000, and may considerably exceed
that sum. Still, it ought to be observed that during the period when the
Government itself, through its own agents, undertook the task of providing
for captured negroes in Africa the cost per head was much greater
than that which I agreed to pay the Colonization Society.

But it will not be sufficient for Congress to limit the amount appropriated
to the case of the _Wildfire_. It is probable, judging from the
increased activity of the slave trade and the vigilance of our cruisers,
that several similar captures may be made before the end of the year.
An appropriation ought therefore to be granted large enough to cover
such contingencies.

The period has arrived when it is indispensable to provide some specific
legislation for the guidance of the Executive on this subject. With this
view I would suggest that Congress might authorize the President to
enter into a general agreement with the Colonization Society binding
them to receive on the coast of Africa, from an agent there, all the
captured Africans which may be delivered to him, and to maintain them
for a limited period, upon such terms and conditions as may combine
humanity toward these unfortunates with a just economy. This would
obviate the necessity of making a new bargain with every new capture
and would prevent delay and avoid expense in the disposition of the
captured. The law might then provide that in all cases where this may be
practicable the captor should carry the negroes directly to Africa and
deliver them to the American agent there, afterwards bringing the
captured vessel to the United States for adjudication.

The capturing officer, in case he should bring his prize directly to the
United States, ought to be required to land the negroes in some one or
more ports, to be designated by Congress, where the prevailing health
throughout the year is good. At these ports cheap but permanent
accommodations might be provided for the negroes until they could be
sent away, without incurring the expense of erecting such accommodations
at every port where the capturing officer may think proper to enter. On
the present occasion these negroes have been brought to Key West, and,
according to the estimate presented by the marshal of the southern
district of Florida to the Secretary of the Interior, the cost of
providing temporary quarters for them will be $2,500 and the aggregate
expenses for the single month of May will amount to $12,000. But this is
far from being the worst evil. Within a few weeks the yellow fever will
most probably prevail at Key West, and hence the marshal urges their
removal from their present quarters at an early day, which must be done,
in any event, as soon as practicable. For these reasons I earnestly
commend this subject to the immediate attention of Congress. I transmit
herewith a copy of the letter and estimate of Fernando J. Moreno,
marshal of the southern district of Florida, to the Secretary of the
Interior, dated 10th May, 1860, together with a copy of the letter of
the Secretary of the Interior to myself, dated 16th May.

It is truly lamentable that Great Britain and the United States should
be obliged to expend such a vast amount of blood and treasure for the
suppression of the African slave trade, and this when the only portions
of the civilized world where it is tolerated and encouraged are the
Spanish islands of Cuba and Porto Rico.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May 22, 1860_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith the copy of a letter, dated yesterday, from the
Secretary of the Interior, communicating the copy of a letter addressed
to him on the 13th instant by Fernando J. Moreno, marshal of the
southern district of Florida. From this it appears that Lieutenant
Stanly, of the United States steamer _Wyandotte_, captured the bark
_William_, with about 550 African negroes on board, on the south side of
Cuba, near the Isle of Pines, and brought her into Key West on the 12th
instant. These negroes have doubtless been delivered to the marshal, and
with those captured on board the _Wildfire_ will make the number in his
custody about 1,000. More may be daily expected at Key West, which, both
on account of a deficiency of water and provisions and its exposure to
yellow fever, is one of the worst spots for an African negro depot which
could be found on the coast of the United States.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May 22, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution passed on the 26th of March last, calling
for a detailed statement of the expenditures from the "appropriations
made during the first session of the Thirty-fourth Congress and the
first and second sessions of the Thirty-fifth Congress for legal
assistance and other necessary expenditures in the disposal of private
land claims in California and for the service of special counsel and
other extraordinary expenses of such land claims, amounting in all to
$114,000," I have the honor to transmit to the House of Representatives
a report of the Attorney-General, which, with the accompanying
documents, contains the information required.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _May 26, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
21st instant, requesting any information recently received respecting
the Chinese cooly trade which has not been heretofore communicated to
Congress, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State, with the
documents which accompanied it.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _June 14, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I submit, for the consideration of the Senate, articles of agreement and
convention with the Delaware Indians, concluded May 13, 1860. I concur
in the recommendation of the Secretary of the Interior that the treaty
should be ratified, with the amendments suggested by the Commissioner
of Indian Affairs.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



JUNE 23, 1860

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_.

GENTLEMEN: I feel it my duty to communicate to you that it has been
found impracticable to conclude a contract for the transportation of the
mails between our Atlantic and Pacific ports on the terms authorized by
the fourth section of an act entitled "An act making appropriations for
the service of the Post-Office Department during the fiscal year ending
30th June, 1861," approved 15th June, 1860. The Postmaster-General has
offered the California mails to the several companies and shipowners
engaged in the trade with the Pacific via the Isthmus, but they have all
declined carrying them for the postages. They demand a higher rate of
compensation, and unless power is given to the Postmaster-General to
accede to this demand I am well satisfied that these mails can not
be forwarded. It should not be forgotten that, in consequence of the
diversion of a large part of the letter mail to the overland route,
the postages derived from the California service have been greatly
reduced and afford a wholly inadequate remuneration for the ocean
transportation. The weight of these mails, averaging from 12 to 15 tons
semimonthly, renders it, in view of the climate and character of the
road, manifestly impossible to forward them overland without involving
an expenditure which no wise administration of the Government would
impose upon the Treasury. I therefore earnestly recommend that the act
referred to be so modified as to empower the Postmaster-General to
provide for carrying the California mails at a rate of compensation
which may be deemed reasonable and just.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _June 25, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have approved and signed the bill entitled "An act making
appropriation for sundry civil expenses of the Government for the year
ending the 30th of June, 1861."

In notifying the House of my approval of this bill I deem it proper,
under the peculiar circumstances of the case, to make a few explanatory
observations, so that my course may not hereafter be misunderstood.

Amid a great variety of important appropriations, this bill contains an
appropriation "for the completion of the Washington Aqueduct, $500,000,
to be expended according to the plans and estimates of Captain Meigs
and under his superintendence: _Provided_, That the office of engineer
of the Potomac Waterworks is hereby abolished and its duties shall
hereafter be discharged by the chief engineer of the Washington
Aqueduct." To this appropriation, for a wise and beneficial object,
I have not the least objection. It is true I had reason to believe when
the last appropriation was made of $800,000 on the 12th of June, 1858,
"_for the completion of the Washington Aqueduct_" this would have been
sufficient for the purpose. It is now discovered, however, that it will
require half a million more "_for the completion of the Washington
Aqueduct_" and this ought to be granted.

The Captain Meigs to whom the bill refers is Montgomery C. Meigs, a
captain in the Corps of Engineers of the Army of the United States, who
has superintended this work from its commencement under the authority
of the late and present Secretary of War.

Had this appropriation been made in the usual form, no difficulty could
have arisen upon it. This bill, however, annexes a declaration to the
appropriation that the money is to be expended under the superintendence
of Captain Meigs.

The first aspect in which this clause presented itself to my mind was
that it interfered with the right of the President to be "Commander in
Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States." If this had really
been the case, there would have been an end to the question. Upon
further examination I deemed it impossible that Congress could have
intended to interfere with the clear right of the President to command
the Army and to order its officers to any duty he might deem most
expedient for the public interest. If they could withdraw an officer
from the command of the President and select him for the performance
of an executive duty, they might upon the same principle annex to an
appropriation to carry on a war a condition requiring it not to be used
for the defense of the country unless a particular person of its own
selection should command the Army. It was impossible that Congress could
have had such an intention, and therefore, according to my construction
of the clause in question, it merely designated Captain Meigs as its
preference for the work, without intending to deprive the President of
the power to order him to any other army duty for the performance of
which he might consider him better adapted. Still, whilst this clause
may not be, and I believe is not, a violation of the Constitution,
yet how destructive it would be to all proper subordination and how
demoralizing its effect upon the morale of the Army if it should become
a precedent for future legislation! Officers might then be found,
instead of performing their appropriate duties, besieging the halls of
Congress for the purpose of obtaining special favors and choice places
by legislative enactment. Under these circumstances I have deemed it
but fair to inform Congress that whilst I do not consider the bill
unconstitutional, this is only because, in my opinion, Congress did not
intend by the language which they have employed to interfere with my
absolute authority to order Captain Meigs to any other service I might
deem expedient. My perfect right still remains, notwithstanding the
clause, to send him away from Washington to any part of the Union to
superintend the erection of a fortification or on any other appropriate
duty.

It has been alleged, I think without sufficient cause, that this
clause is unconstitutional because it has created a new office and has
appointed Captain Meigs to perform its duties. If it had done this, it
would have been a clear question, because Congress have no right to
appoint to any office, this being specially conferred upon the President
and Senate. It is evident that Congress intended nothing more by this
clause than to express a decided opinion that Captain Meigs should be
continued in the employment to which he had been previously assigned
by competent authority.

It is not improbable that another question of grave importance may arise
out of this clause. Is the appropriation conditional and will it fall
provided I do not deem it proper that it shall be expended under the
superintendence of Captain Meigs? This is a question which shall receive
serious consideration, because upon its decision may depend whether
the completion of the waterworks shall be arrested for another season.
It is not probable that Congress could have intended that this great
and important work should depend upon the various casualties and
vicissitudes incident to the natural or official life of a single
officer of the Army. This would be to make the work subordinate to the
man, and not the man to the work, and to reverse our great axiomatic
rule of "principles, not men." I desire to express no opinion upon the
subject. Should the question ever arise, it shall have my serious
consideration.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



VETO MESSAGES.[13]

[Footnote 13: The messages of February 1 and February 6, 1860, are
pocket vetoes.]


WASHINGTON CITY, _February 1, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

On the last day of the last Congress a bill, which had passed both
Houses, entitled "An act making an appropriation for deepening the
channel over the St. Clair flats, in the State of Michigan," was
presented to me for approval.

It is scarcely necessary to observe that during the closing hours of a
session it is impossible for the President on the instant to examine
into the merits or demerits of an important bill, involving, as this
does, grave questions both of expediency and of constitutional power,
with that care and deliberation demanded by his public duty as well as
by the best interests of the country. For this reason the Constitution
has in all cases allowed him ten days for deliberation, because if a
bill be presented to him within the last ten days of the session he is
not required to return it, either with an approval or a veto, but may
retain it, "in which case it shall not be a law." Whilst an occasion can
rarely occur when so long a period as ten days would be required to
enable the President to decide whether he should approve or veto a
bill, yet to deny him even two days on important questions before the
adjournment of each session for this purpose, as recommended by a former
annual message, would not only be unjust to him, but a violation of the
spirit of the Constitution. To require him to approve a bill when it is
impossible he could examine into its merits would be to deprive him of
the exercise of his constitutional discretion and convert him into
a mere register of the decrees of Congress. I therefore deem it a
sufficient reason for having retained the bill in question that it
was not presented to me until the last day of the session.

Since the termination of the last Congress I have made a thorough
examination of the questions involved in the bill to deepen the channel
over the St. Clair flats, and now proceed to express the opinions which I
have formed upon the subject; and

1. Even if this had been a mere question of expediency, it was, to say
the least, extremely doubtful whether the bill ought to have been
approved, because the object which Congress intended to accomplish
by the appropriation which it contains of $55,000 had been already
substantially accomplished. I do not mean to allege that the work had
been completed in the best manner, but it was sufficient for all
practical purposes.

The St. Clair flats are formed by the St. Clair River, which empties
into the lake of that name by several mouths, and which forms a bar or
shoal on which in its natural state there is not more than 6 or 7 feet
of water. This shoal is interposed between the mouth of the river and
the deep water of the lake, a distance of 6,000 feet, and in its natural
condition was a serious obstruction to navigation. The obvious remedy
for this was to deepen a channel through these flats by dredging, so
as to enable vessels which could navigate the lake and the river to
pass through this intermediate channel. This object had been already
accomplished by previous appropriations, but without my knowledge, when
the bill was presented to me. Captain Whipple, of the Topographical
Engineers, to whom the expenditure of the last appropriation of $45,000
for this purpose in 1856 was intrusted, in his annual report of the 1st
October, 1858, stated that the dredging was discontinued on the 26th
August, 1858, when a channel had been cut averaging 275 feet wide, with
a depth varying from 12 to 15-1/2 feet. He says:

So long as the lake retains its present height we may assume that the
depth in the channel will be at least 13-1/2 feet.

With this result, highly creditable to Captain Whipple, he observes
that if he has been correctly informed "all the lake navigators are
gratified." Besides, afterwards, and during the autumn of 1858, the
Canadian Government expended $20,000 in deepening and widening the inner
end of the channel excavated by the United States. No complaint had been
made previous to the passage of the bill of obstructions to the commerce
and navigation across the St. Clair flats. What, then, was the object of
the appropriation proposed by the bill?

It appears that the surface of the water in Lake St. Clair has been
gradually rising, until in 1858 it had attained an elevation of 4 feet
above what had been its level in 1841. It is inferred, whether correctly
or not it is not for me to say, that the surface of the water may
gradually sink to the level of 1841, and in that event the water, which
was, when the bill passed, 13-1/2 feet deep in the channel, might sink
to 9-1/2 feet, and thus obstruct the passage.

To provide for this contingency, Captain Whipple suggested "the
propriety of placing the subject before Congress, with an estimate for
excavating a cut through the center of the new channel 150 feet in width
and 4-1/2 feet deep, so as to obtain from the river to the lake a depth
of 18 feet during seasons of extreme high water and 12 feet at periods
of extreme low water." It was not alleged that any present necessity
existed for this narrower cut in the bottom of the present channel,
but it is inferred that for the reason stated it may hereafter become
necessary. Captain Whipple's estimate amounted to $50,000, but Congress
by the bill have granted $55,000. Now, if no other objection existed
against this measure, it would not seem necessary that the appropriation
should have been made for the purpose indicated. The channel was
sufficiently deep for all practical purposes; but from natural causes
constantly operating in the lake, which I need not explain, this channel
is peculiarly liable to fill up. What is really required is that it
should at intervals be dredged out, so as to preserve its present depth;
and surely the comparatively trifling expense necessary for this purpose
ought not to be borne by the United States. After an improvement has
been once constructed by appropriations from the Treasury it is not too
much to expect that it should be kept in repair by that portion of the
commercial and navigating interests which enjoys its peculiar benefits.

The last report made by Captain Whipple, dated on the 13th September
last, has been submitted to Congress by the Secretary of War, and to
this I would refer for information, which is, upon the whole, favorable,
in relation to the present condition of the channel through the St.
Clair flats.

2. But the far more important question is, Does Congress possess the
power under the Constitution to deepen the channels of rivers and to
create and improve harbors for purposes of commerce?

The question of the constitutional power of Congress to construct
internal improvements within the States has been so frequently and
so elaborately discussed that it would seem useless on this occasion
to repeat or to refute at length arguments which have been so often
advanced. For my own opinions on this subject I might refer to President
Polk's carefully considered message of the 15th December, 1847,
addressed to the House of Representatives whilst I was a member of
his Cabinet.

The power to pass the bill in question, if it exist at all, must be
derived from the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations and
among the several States and with the Indian tribes."

The power "to regulate:" Does this ever embrace the power to create or
to construct? To say that it does is to confound the meaning of words
of well-known signification. The word "regulate" has several shades of
meaning, according to its application to different subjects, but never
does it approach the signification of creative power. The regulating
power necessarily presupposes the existence of something to be
regulated. As applied to commerce, it signifies, according to the
lexicographers, "to subject to rules or restrictions, as to regulate
trade," etc. The Constitution itself is its own best expounder of the
meaning of words employed by its framers. Thus, Congress have the power
"to coin money." This is the creative power. Then immediately follows
the power "to regulate the value thereof "--that is, of the coined money
thus brought into existence. The words "regulate," "regulation," and
"regulations" occur several times in the Constitution, but always with
this subordinate meaning. Thus, after the creative power "to raise and
support armies" and "to provide and maintain a navy" had been conferred
upon Congress, then follows the power "to make rules for the government
and regulation of the land and naval forces" thus called into being. So
the Constitution, acting upon the self-evident fact that "commerce with
foreign nations and among the several States and with the Indian tribes"
already existed, conferred upon Congress the power "to regulate" this
commerce. Thus, according to Chief Justice Marshall, the power to
regulate commerce "is the power to prescribe the rule by which commerce
is to be governed." And Mr. Madison, in his veto message of the 3d
March, 1817, declares that--

  "The power to regulate commerce among the several States" can not
  include a power to construct roads and canals and to improve the
  navigation of water courses, in order to facilitate, promote, and
  secure such commerce, without a latitude of construction departing
  from the ordinary import of the terms, strengthened by the known
  inconveniences which doubtless led to the grant of this remedial
  power to Congress.


We know from the history of the Constitution what these inconveniences
were. Different States admitted foreign imports at different rates of
duty. Those which had prescribed a higher rate of duty for the purpose
of increasing their revenue were defeated in this object by the
legislation of neighboring States admitting the same foreign articles
at lower rates. Hence jealousies and dangerous rivalries had sprung up
between the different States. It was chiefly in the desire to provide
a remedy for these evils that the Federal Convention originated. The
Constitution, for this purpose, conferred upon Congress the power to
regulate commerce in such a manner that duties should be uniform in all
the States composing the Confederacy, and, moreover, expressly provided
that "no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or
revenue to the ports of one State over those of another." If the
construction of a harbor or deepening the channel of a river be a
regulation of commerce, as the advocates of this power contend, this
would give the ports of the State within which these improvements were
made a preference over the ports of other States, and thus be a
violation of the Constitution.

It is not too much to assert that no human being in existence when the
Constitution was framed entertained the idea or the apprehension that
by conferring upon Congress the power to regulate commerce its framers
intended to embrace the power of constructing roads and canals and of
creating and improving harbors and deepening the channels of rivers
throughout our extensive Confederacy. Indeed, one important branch of
this very power had been denied to Congress in express terms by the
Convention. A proposition was made in the Convention to confer on
Congress the power "to provide for the cutting of canals when deemed
necessary." This was rejected by the strong majority of eight States to
three. Among the reasons given for this rejection was that "the expense
in such cases will fall on the United States and the benefits accrue
to the places where the canals may be cut."

To say that the simple power of regulating commerce embraces within
itself that of constructing harbors, of deepening the channels of
rivers--in short, of creating a system of internal improvements for the
purpose of facilitating the operations of commerce--would be to adopt
a latitude of construction under which all political power might be
usurped by the Federal Government. Such a construction would be in
conflict with the well-known jealousy against Federal power which
actuated the framers of the Constitution. It is certain that the power
in question is not enumerated among the express grants to Congress
contained in the instrument. In construing the Constitution we must then
next inquire, Is its exercise "necessary and proper"?--not whether it
may be convenient or useful "for carrying into execution" the power
to regulate commerce among the States. But the jealous patriots of
that day were not content even with this strict rule of construction.
Apprehending that a dangerous latitude of interpretation might be
applied in future times to the enumerated grants of power, they procured
an amendment to be made to the original instrument, which declares that
"the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor
prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively
or to the people."

The distinctive spirit and character which pervades the Constitution is
that the powers of the General Government are confined chiefly to our
intercourse with foreign nations, to questions of peace and war, and to
subjects of common interest to all the States, carefully leaving the
internal and domestic concerns of each individual State to be controlled
by its own people and legislature. Without specifically enumerating
these powers, it must be admitted that this well-marked distinction runs
through the whole instrument. In nothing does the wisdom of its framers
appear more conspicuously than in the care with which they sought to
avoid the danger to our institutions which must necessarily result from
the interference of the Federal Government with the local concerns
of the States. The jarring and collision which would occur from the
exercise by two separate governments of jurisdiction over the same
subjects could not fail to produce disastrous consequences. Besides,
the corrupting and seducing money influence exerted by the General
Government in carrying into effect a system of internal improvements
might be perverted to increase and consolidate its own power to the
detriment of the rights of the States.

If the power existed in Congress to pass the present bill, then taxes
must be imposed and money borrowed to an unlimited extent to carry such
a system into execution. Equality among the States is equity. This
equality is the very essence of the Constitution. No preference can
justly be given to one of the sovereign States over another. According
to the best estimate, our immense coast on the Atlantic, the Gulf of
Mexico, the Pacific, and the Ivakes embraces more than 9,500 miles,
and, measuring by its indentations and to the head of tide water on
the rivers, the distance is believed to be more than 33,000 miles.
This everywhere throughout its vast extent contains numerous rivers
and harbors, all of which may become the objects of Congressional
appropriation. You can not deny to one State what you have granted to
another. Such injustice would produce strife, jealousy, and alarming
dissensions among them. Even within the same State improvements may be
made in one river or harbor which would essentially injure the commerce
and industry of another river or harbor. The truth is that most of these
improvements are in a great degree local in their character and for
the especial benefit of corporations or individuals in their vicinity,
though they may have an odor of nationality on the principle that
whatever benefits any part indirectly benefits the whole.

From our past history we may have a small foretaste of the cost of
reviving the system of internal improvements.

For more than thirty years after the adoption of the Federal
Constitution the power to appropriate money for the construction of
internal improvements was neither claimed nor exercised by Congress.
After its commencement, in 1820 and 1821, by very small and modest
appropriations for surveys, it advanced with such rapid strides that
within the brief period of ten years, according to President Polk, "the
sum asked for from the Treasury for various projects amounted to more
than $200,000,000." The vetoes of General Jackson and several of his
successors have impeded the progress of the system and limited its
extent, but have not altogether destroyed it. The time has now arrived
for a final decision of the question. If the power exists, a general
system should be adopted which would make some approach to justice
among all the States, if this be possible.

What a vast field would the exercise of this power open for jobbing and
corruption! Members of Congress, from an honest desire to promote the
interest of their constituents, would struggle for improvements within
their own districts, and the body itself must necessarily be converted
into an arena where each would endeavor to obtain from the Treasury as
much money as possible for his own locality. The temptation would prove
irresistible. A system of "_logrolling_" (I know no word so expressive)
would be inaugurated, under which the Treasury would be exhausted and
the Federal Government be deprived of the means necessary to execute
those great powers clearly confided to it by the Constitution for the
purpose of promoting the interests and vindicating the honor of the
country.

Whilst the power over internal improvements, it is believed, was
"reserved to the States respectively," the framers of the Constitution
were not unmindful that it might be proper for the State legislatures to
possess the power to impose tonnage duties for the improvement of rivers
and harbors within their limits. The self-interest of the different
localities would prevent this from being done to such an extent as to
injure their trade. The Constitution, therefore, which had in a previous
clause provided that all duties should be uniform throughout the United
States, subsequently modified the general rule so far as to declare
that "no State shall without the consent of Congress levy any duty of
tonnage." The inference is therefore irresistible that with the consent
of Congress such a duty may be imposed by the States. Thus those
directly interested in the improvement may lay a tonnage duty for its
construction without imposing a tax for this purpose upon all the people
of the United States.

To this provision several of the States resorted until the period when
they began to look to the Federal Treasury instead of depending upon
their own exertions. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania,
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, with
the consent of Congress, imposed small tonnage duties on vessels at
different periods for clearing and deepening the channels of rivers
and improving harbors where such vessels entered. The last of these
legislative acts believed to exist is that of Virginia, passed on the
22d February, 1826, levying a tonnage duty on vessels for "improving
the navigation of James River from Warwick to Rocketts Landing." The
latest act of Congress on this subject was passed on the 24th of
February, 1843, giving its consent to the law of the legislature of
Maryland laying a tonnage duty on vessels for the improvement of the
harbor of Baltimore, and continuing it in force until 1st June, 1850.

Thus a clear constitutional mode exists by which the legislature of
Michigan may, in its discretion, raise money to preserve the channel
of the St. Clair River at its present depth or to render it deeper.
A very insignificant tonnage duty on American vessels using this channel
would be sufficient for the purpose; and as the St. Clair River is
the boundary line between the United States and the Province of Upper
Canada, the provincial British authorities would doubtless be willing
to impose a similar tonnage duty on British vessels to aid in the
accomplishment of this object. Indeed, the legislature of that Province
have already evinced their interest on this subject by having but
recently expended $20,000 on the improvement of the St. Clair flats.
Even if the Constitution of the United States had conferred upon
Congress the power of deepening the channel of the St. Clair River,
it would be unjust to impose upon the people of the United States the
entire burden, which ought to be borne jointly by the two parties having
an equal interest in the work. Whenever the State of Michigan shall
cease to depend on the Treasury of the United States, I doubt not that
she, in conjunction with Upper Canada, will provide the necessary means
for keeping this work in repair in the least expensive and most
effective manner and without being burdensome to any interest.

It has been contended in favor of the existence of the power to
construct internal improvements that Congress have from the beginning
made appropriations for light-houses, and that upon the same principle
of construction they possess the power of improving harbors and
deepening the channels of rivers. As an original question the authority
to erect light-houses under the commercial power might be considered
doubtful; but even were it more doubtful than it is I should regard
it as settled after an uninterrupted exercise of the power for
seventy years. Such a long and uniform practical construction of
the Constitution is entitled to the highest respect, and has finally
determined the question.

Among the first acts which passed Congress after the Federal

Government went into effect was that of August 7, 1789, providing "for
the establishment and support of light-houses, beacons, buoys, and
public piers." Under this act the expenses for the maintenance of
all such erections then in existence were to be paid by the Federal
Government and provision was made for the cession of jurisdiction over
them by the respective States to the United States. In every case since
before a light-house could be built a previous cession of jurisdiction
has been required. This practice doubtless originated from that clause
of the Constitution authorizing Congress "to exercise exclusive
legislation ... over all places purchased by the consent of the
legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of
forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other _needful buildings_."
Among these "_needful buildings_" light-houses must in fact have been
included.

The bare statement of these facts is sufficient to prove that no analogy
exists between the power to erect a light-house as a "needful building"
and that to deepen the channel of a river.

In what I have said I do not mean to intimate a doubt of the power of
Congress to construct such internal improvements as may be essentially
necessary for defense and protection against the invasion of a foreign
enemy. The power to declare war and, the obligation to protect each
State against invasion clearly cover such cases. It will scarcely be
claimed, however, that the improvement of the St. Clair River is within
this category. This river is the boundary line between the United States
and the British Province of Upper Canada. Any improvement of its
navigation, therefore, which we could make for purposes of war would
equally inure to the benefit of Great Britain, the only enemy which
could possibly confront us in that quarter. War would be a sad calamity
for both nations, but should it ever, unhappily, exist, the battles will
not be fought on the St. Clair River or on the lakes with which it
communicates.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 6, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

On the last day of the last session of Congress a resolution, which
had passed both Houses, "in relation to removal of obstructions to
navigation in the mouth of the Mississippi River" was presented to me
for approval. I have retained this resolution because it was presented
to me at a period when it was impossible to give the subject that
examination to which it appeared to be entitled. I need not repeat the
views on this point presented in the introductory portion of my message
to the Senate of the 2d [1st] instant.

In addition I would merely observe that although at different periods
sums, amounting in the aggregate to $690,000, have been appropriated by
Congress for the purpose of removing the bar and obstructions at the
mouth of the Mississippi, yet it is now acknowledged that this money
has been expended with but little, if any, practical benefit to its
navigation.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _April 17, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I return with my objections to the Senate, for their reconsideration,
the bill entitled "An act for the relief of Arthur Edwards and his
associates," presented to me on the 10th instant.

This bill directs the Postmaster-General "to audit and settle the
accounts of Arthur Edwards and his associates for transporting the
United States through mail on their steamers during the years 1849 and
1853 and intervening years" between Cleveland and Detroit, between
Sandusky and Detroit, and between Toledo and Detroit, and "to allow
and pay them not less than $28.60 for each and every passage of said
steamers between said places during the aforementioned time when the
mails were on board."

I have caused a statement to be made at the Post-Office Department of
the least sum which can be paid to Mr. Edwards and his associates under
the bill should it become a law, and from this it appears the amount
will be $80,405.23.

Mr. Edwards and his associates, in 1854, a short time after the alleged
services had been rendered, presented a claim to the Postmaster-General
for $25,180 as compensation for these services. This claim consisted of
nine items, setting forth specifically all the services embraced by the
present bill. It is fair to presume that the parties best knew the value
of their own services and that they would not by an underestimate do
themselves injustice. The whole claim of $25,180 was rejected by the
Postmaster-General for reasons which it is no part of my present purpose
to discuss.

The claimants next presented a petition to the Court of Claims in June,
1855, "for a reasonable compensation" for these services, and "pray the
judgment of your honorable court for the actual value of the service
rendered by them and received by the United States, which amounts to the
sum of $50,000." Thus the estimate which they placed upon their services
had nearly doubled between 1854 and 1855--had risen from $25,180 to
$50,000. On the ------, after a full hearing, the court decided against
the claim, and delivered an opinion in support of this decision which
can not, I think, be contested on legal principles. But they state in
the conclusion of the opinion that "for any compensation for their
services beyond what they have received they must depend upon the
discretion of Congress."

This decision of the Court of Claims was reported to Congress on the
1st of April, 1858, and from it the present bill has originated. The
amount granted by it is more by upward of $55,000 than the parties
themselves demanded from the Postmaster-General in 1854, and is more by
upward of $30,000 than they demanded when before the Court of Claims.
The enormous difference in their favor between their own original
demand and the amount granted by the present bill constitutes my chief
objection to it. In presenting this objection I do not propose to enter
into the question whether the claimants are entitled in equity to any
compensation for their services beyond that which it is alleged they
have already received, or, if so, what would be "a reasonable and fair
compensation." My sole purpose is to afford Congress an opportunity
of reconsidering this case on account of its peculiar circumstances.
I transmit to the Senate the reports of Horatio King, Acting
Postmaster-General, and of A.N. Zevely, Third Assistant
Postmaster-General, both dated on the 14th of April, 1860, on the
subject of this claim.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _June 22, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I return with my objections to the Senate, in which it originated, the
bill entitled "An act to secure homesteads to actual settlers on the
public domain, and for other purposes," presented to me on the 20th
instant.

This bill gives to every citizen of the United States "who is the head
of a family," and to every person of foreign birth residing in the
country who has declared his intention to become a citizen, though he
may not be the head of a family, the privilege of appropriating to
himself 160 acres of Government land, of settling and residing upon it
for five years; and should his residence continue until the end of this
period, he shall then receive a patent on the payment of 25 cents per
acre, or one-fifth of the present Government price. During this period
the land is protected from all the debts of the settler.

This bill also contains a cession to the States of all the public lands
within their respective limits "which have been subject to sale at
private entry, and which remain unsold after the lapse of thirty years."
This provision embraces a present donation to the States of 12,229,731
acres, and will from time to time transfer to them large bodies of such
lands which from peculiar circumstances may not be absorbed by private
purchase and settlement.

To the actual settler this bill does not make an absolute donation,
but the price is so small that it can scarcely be called a sale. It is
nominally 25 cents per acre, but considering this is not to be paid
until the end of five years, it is in fact reduced to about 18 cents per
acre, or one-seventh of the present minimum price of the public lands.
In regard to the States, it is an absolute and unqualified gift.

1. This state of the facts raises the question whether Congress, under
the Constitution, has the power to give away the public lands either to
States or individuals. On this question I expressed a decided opinion
in my message to the House of Representatives of the 24th February,
1859, returning the agricultural-college bill. This opinion remains
unchanged. The argument then used applies as a constitutional objection
with greater force to the present bill. _There_ it had the plea of
consideration, growing out of a specific beneficial purpose; _here_
it is an absolute gratuity to the States, without the pretext of
consideration. I am compelled for want of time in these the last
hours of the session to quote largely from this message.

I presume the general proposition will be admitted that Congress does
not possess the power to make donations of money already in the
Treasury, raised by taxes on the people, either to States or
individuals.

But it is contended that the public lands are placed upon a different
footing from money raised by taxation and that the proceeds arising from
their sale are not subject to the limitations of the Constitution, but
may be appropriated or given away by Congress, at its own discretion,
to States, corporations, or individuals for any purpose they may deem
expedient.

The advocates of this bill attempt to sustain their position upon the
language of the second clause of the third section of the fourth article
of the Constitution, which declares that "the Congress shall have power
to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting
the territory or other property belonging to the United States." They
contend that by a fair interpretation of the words "dispose of" in this
clause Congress possesses the power to make this gift of public lands to
the States for purposes of education.

It would require clear and strong evidence to induce the belief that the
framers of the Constitution, after having limited the powers of Congress
to certain precise and specific objects, intended by employing the words
"dispose of" to give that body unlimited power over the vast public
domain. It would be a strange anomaly indeed to have created two
funds--the one by taxation, confined to the execution of the enumerated
powers delegated to Congress, and the other from the public lands,
applicable to all subjects, foreign and domestic, which Congress might
designate; that this fund should be "disposed of," not to pay the debts
of the United States, nor "to raise and support armies," nor "to provide
and maintain a navy," nor to accomplish any one of the other great
objects enumerated in the Constitution, but be diverted from them to
pay the debts of the States, to educate their people, and to carry into
effect any other measure of their domestic policy. This would be to
confer upon Congress a vast and irresponsible authority utterly at war
with the well-known jealousy of Federal power which prevailed at the
formation of the Constitution. The natural intendment would be that
as the Constitution confined Congress to well-defined specific powers,
the funds placed at their command, whether in land or money, should be
appropriated to the performance of the duties corresponding with these
powers. If not, a Government has been created with all its other powers
carefully limited, but without any limitation in respect to the public
lands.

But I can not so read the words "dispose of" as to make them embrace
the idea of "giving away." The true meaning of words is always to be
ascertained by the subject to which they are applied and the known
general intent of the lawgiver. Congress is a trustee under the
Constitution for the people of the United States to "dispose of" their
public lands, and I think I may venture to assert with confidence that
no case can be found in which a trustee in the position of Congress has
been authorized to "_dispose of_" property by its owner where it has
been held that these words authorized such trustee to give away the
fund intrusted to his care. No trustee, when called upon to account for
the disposition of the property placed under his management before any
judicial tribunal, would venture to present such a plea in his defense.
The true meaning of these words is clearly stated by Chief Justice Taney
in delivering the opinion of the court (19 Howard, p. 436). He says in
reference to this clause of the Constitution: "It begins its enumeration
of powers by that of disposing; in other words, making sale of the lands
or raising money from them, which, as we have already said, was the main
object of the cession (from the States), and which is the first thing
provided for in the article." It is unnecessary to refer to the history
of the times to establish the known fact that this statement of the
Chief Justice is perfectly well founded. That it never was intended by
the framers of the Constitution that these lands should be given away
by Congress is manifest from the concluding portion of the same clause.
By it Congress has power not only "to dispose of" the territory, but of
the "other property of the United States." In the language of the Chief
Justice (p. 437): "And the same power of making needful rules respecting
the territory is in precisely the same language applied to the other
property of the United States, associating the power over the territory
in this respect with the power over movable or personal property; that
is, the ships, arms, or munitions of war, which then belonged in common
to the State sovereignties."

The question is still clearer in regard to the public lands in the
States and Territories within the Louisiana and Florida purchases. These
lands were paid for out of the public Treasury from money raised by
taxation. Now if Congress had no power to appropriate the money with
which these lands were purchased, is it not clear that the power over
the lands is equally limited? The mere conversion of this money into
land could not confer upon Congress new power over the disposition
of land which they had not possessed over money. If it could, then a
trustee, by changing the character of the fund intrusted to his care for
special objects from money into land, might give the land away or devote
it to any purpose he thought proper, however foreign from the trust.
The inference is irresistible that this land partakes of the very same
character with the money paid for it, and can be devoted to no objects
different from those to which the money could have been devoted. If
this were not the case, then by the purchase of a new territory from a
foreign government out of the public Treasury Congress could enlarge
their own powers and appropriate the proceeds of the sales of the land
thus purchased, at their own discretion, to other and far different
objects from what they could have applied the purchase money which had
been raised by taxation.

2. It will prove unequal and unjust in its operation among the actual
settlers themselves.

The first settlers of a new country are a most meritorious class. They
brave the dangers of savage warfare, suffer the privations of a frontier
life, and with the hand of toil bring the wilderness into cultivation.
The "old settlers," as they are everywhere called, are public
benefactors. This class have all paid for their lands the Government
price, or $1.25 per acre. They have constructed roads, established
schools, and laid the foundation of prosperous commonwealths. Is it
just, is it equal, that after they have accomplished all this by their
labor new settlers should come in among them and receive their farms at
the price of 25 or 18 cents per acre? Surely the old settlers, as a
class, are entitled to at least equal benefits with the new. If you give
the new settlers their land for a comparatively nominal price, upon
every principle of equality and justice you will be obliged to refund
out of the common Treasury the difference which the old have paid above
the new settlers for their land.

3. This bill will do great injustice to the old soldiers who have
received land warrants for their services in fighting the battles of
their country. It will greatly reduce the market value of these
warrants. Already their value has sunk for 160-acre warrants to 67 cents
per acre under an apprehension that such a measure as this might become
a law. What price would they command when any head of a family may take
possession of a quarter section of land and not pay for it until the end
of five years, and then at the rate of only 25 cents per acre? The
magnitude of the interest to be affected will appear in the fact that
there are outstanding unsatisfied land warrants reaching back to the
last war with Great Britain, and even Revolutionary times, amounting
in round numbers to seven and a half millions of acres.

4. This bill will prove unequal and unjust in its operation, because
from its nature it is confined to one class of our people. It is a boon
exclusively conferred upon the cultivators of the soil. Whilst it is
cheerfully admitted that these are the most numerous and useful class
of our fellow-citizens and eminently deserve all the advantages which
our laws have already extended to them, yet there should be no new
legislation which would operate to the injury or embarrassment of the
large body of respectable artisans and laborers. The mechanic who
emigrates to the West and pursues his calling must labor long before
he can purchase a quarter section of land, whilst the tiller of the
soil who accompanies him obtains a farm at once by the bounty of the
Government. The numerous body of mechanics in our large cities can not,
even by emigrating to the West, take advantage of the provisions of this
bill without entering upon a new occupation for which their habits of
life have rendered them unfit.

5. This bill is unjust to the old States of the Union in many respects;
and amongst these States, so far as the public lands are concerned, we
may enumerate every State east of the Mississippi with the exception of
Wisconsin and a portion of Minnesota.

It is a common belief within their limits that the older States of the
Confederacy do not derive their proportionate benefit from the public
lands. This is not a just opinion. It is doubtful whether they could be
rendered more beneficial to these States under any other system than
that which at present exists. Their proceeds go into the common Treasury
to accomplish the objects of the Government, and in this manner all
the States are benefited in just proportion. But to give this common
inheritance away would deprive the old States of their just proportion
of this revenue without holding out any the least corresponding
advantage. Whilst it is our common glory that the new States have become
so prosperous and populous, there is no good reason why the old States
should offer premiums to their own citizens to emigrate from them to the
West. That land of promise presents in itself sufficient allurements to
our young and enterprising citizens without any adventitious aid. The
offer of free farms would probably have a powerful effect in encouraging
emigration, especially from States like Illinois, Tennessee, and
Kentucky, to the west of the Mississippi, and could not fail to reduce
the price of property within their limits. An individual in States thus
situated would not pay its fair value for land when by crossing the
Mississippi he could go upon the public lands and obtain a farm almost
without money and without price.

6. This bill will open one vast field for speculation. Men will not pay
$1.25 for lands when they can purchase them for one-fifth of that price.
Large numbers of actual settlers will be carried out by capitalists upon
agreements to give them half of the land for the improvement of the
other half. This can not be avoided. Secret agreements of this kind will
be numerous. In the entry of graduated lands the experience of the Land
Office justifies this objection.

7. We ought ever to maintain the most perfect equality between native
and naturalized citizens. They are equal, and ought always to remain
equal, before the laws. Our laws welcome foreigners to our shores, and
their rights will ever be respected. Whilst these are the sentiments on
which I have acted through life, it is not, in my opinion, expedient to
proclaim to all the nations of the earth that whoever shall arrive in
this country from a foreign shore and declare his intention to become a
citizen shall receive a farm of 160 acres at a cost of 25 or 20 cents
per acre if he will only reside on it and cultivate it. The invitation
extends to all, and if this bill becomes a law we may have numerous
actual settlers from China and other Eastern nations enjoying its
benefits on the great Pacific Slope. The bill makes a distinction in
favor of such persons over native and naturalized citizens. When applied
to such citizens, it is confined to such as are the heads of families,
but when applicable to persons of foreign birth recently arrived on our
shores there is no such restriction. Such persons need not be the heads
of families provided they have filed a declaration of intention to
become citizens. Perhaps this distinction was an inadvertence, but
it is, nevertheless, a part of the bill.

8. The bill creates an unjust distinction between persons claiming the
benefit of the preemption laws. Whilst it reduces the price of the land
to existing preemptors to 62-1/2 cents per acre and gives them a credit
on this sum for two years from the present date, no matter how long they
may have hitherto enjoyed the land, future preemptors will be compelled
to pay double this price per acre. There is no reason or justice in this
discrimination.

9. The effect of this bill on the public revenue must be apparent to
all. Should it become a law, the reduction of the price of land to
actual settlers to 25 cents per acre, with a credit of five years, and
the reduction of its price to existing preemptors to 62-1/2 cents per
acre, with a credit of two years, will so diminish the sale of other
public lands as to render the expectation of future revenue from that
source, beyond the expenses of survey and management, illusory. The
Secretary of the Interior estimated the revenue from the public lands
for the next fiscal year at $4,000,000, on the presumption that the
present land system would remain unchanged. Should this bill become
a law, he does not believe that $1,000,000 will be derived from this
source.

10. This bill lays the ax at the root of our present admirable land
system. The public land is an inheritance of vast value to us and to
our descendants. It is a resource to which we can resort in the hour of
difficulty and danger. It has been managed heretofore with the greatest
wisdom under existing laws. In this management the rights of actual
settlers have been conciliated with the interests of the Government. The
price to all has been reduced from $2 per acre to $1.25 for fresh lands,
and the claims of actual settlers have been secured by our preemption
laws. Any man can now acquire a title in fee simple to a homestead of
80 acres, at the minimum price of $1.25 per acre, for $100. Should the
present system remain, we shall derive a revenue from the public lands
of $10,000,000 per annum, when the bounty-land warrants are satisfied,
without oppression to any human being. In time of war, when all other
sources of revenue are seriously impaired, this will remain intact.
It may become the best security for public loans hereafter, in times
of difficulty and danger, as it has been heretofore. Why should we
impair or destroy the system at the present moment? What necessity
exists for it?

The people of the United States have advanced with steady but rapid
strides to their present condition of power and prosperity. They have
been guided in their progress by the fixed principle of protecting the
equal rights of all, whether they be rich or poor. No agrarian sentiment
has ever prevailed among them. The honest poor man, by frugality and
industry, can in any part of our country acquire a competence for
himself and his family, and in doing this he feels that he eats the
bread of independence. He desires no charity, either from the Government
or from his neighbors. This bill, which proposes to give him land at an
almost nominal price out of the property of the Government, will go far
to demoralize the people and repress this noble spirit of independence.
It may introduce among us those pernicious social theories which have
proved so disastrous in other countries.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



PROTESTS.


WASHINGTON, _March 28, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

After a delay which has afforded me ample time for reflection, and after
much and careful deliberation, I find myself constrained by an imperious
sense of duty, as a coordinate branch of the Federal Government, to
protest against the first two clauses of the first resolution adopted
by the House of Representatives on the 5th instant, and published in the
Congressional Globe on the succeeding day. These clauses are in the
following words:

  _Resolved_, That a committee of five members be appointed by the Speaker
  for the purpose, first, of investigating whether the President of the
  United States or any other officer of the Government has, by money,
  patronage, or other improper means, sought to influence the action of
  Congress or any committee thereof for or against the passage of any law
  appertaining to the rights of any State or Territory; and, second, also
  to inquire into and investigate whether any officer or officers of the
  Government have, by combination or otherwise, prevented or defeated, or
  attempted to prevent or defeat, the execution of any law or laws now
  upon the statute book, and whether the President has failed or refused
  to compel the execution of any law thereof.


I confine myself exclusively to these two branches of the resolution,
because the portions of it which follow relate to alleged abuses in
post-offices, navy-yards, public buildings, and other public works
of the United States. In such cases inquiries are highly proper in
themselves and belong equally to the Senate and the House, as incident
to their legislative duties and being necessary to enable them to
discover and to provide the appropriate legislative remedies for any
abuses which may be ascertained. Although the terms of the latter
portion of the resolution are extremely vague and general, yet my sole
purpose in adverting to them at present is to mark the broad line of
distinction between the accusatory and the remedial clauses of this
resolution. The House of Representatives possess no power under the
Constitution over the first or accusatory portion of the resolution
except as an impeaching body, whilst over the last, in common with the
Senate, their authority as a legislative body is fully and cheerfully
admitted.

It is solely in reference to the first or impeaching power that I
propose to make a few observations. Except in this single case, the
Constitution has invested the House of Representatives with no power,
no jurisdiction, no supremacy whatever over the President. In all other
respects he is quite as independent of them as they are of him. As a
coordinate branch of the Government he is their equal. Indeed, he is the
only direct representative on earth of the people of all and each of the
sovereign States. To them, and to them alone, is he responsible whilst
acting within the sphere of his constitutional duty, and not in any
manner to the House of Representatives. The people have thought proper
to invest him with the most honorable, responsible, and dignified office
in the world, and the individual, however unworthy, now holding this
exalted position, will take care, so far as in him lies, that their
rights and prerogatives shall never be violated in his person, but
shall pass to his successors unimpaired by the adoption of a dangerous
precedent. He will defend them to the last extremity against any
unconstitutional attempt, come from what quarter it may, to abridge
the constitutional rights of the Executive and render him subservient
to any human power except themselves.

The people have not confined the President to the exercise of executive
duties. They have also conferred upon him a large measure of legislative
discretion. No bill can become a law without his approval, as
representing the people of the United States, unless it shall pass after
his veto by a majority of two-thirds of both Houses. In his legislative
capacity he might, in common with the Senate and the House, institute an
inquiry to ascertain any facts which ought to influence his judgment in
approving or vetoing any bill.

This participation in the performance of legislative duties between the
coordinate branches of the Government ought to inspire the conduct of
all of them in their relations toward each other with mutual forbearance
and respect. At least each has a right to demand justice from the other.
The cause of complaint is that the constitutional rights and immunities
of the Executive have been violated in the person of the President.

The trial of an impeachment of the President before the Senate
on charges preferred and prosecuted against him by the House of
Representatives would be an imposing spectacle for the world. In
the result not only his removal from the Presidential office would be
involved, but, what is of infinitely greater importance to himself, his
character, both in the eyes of the present and of future generations,
might possibly be tarnished. The disgrace cast upon him would in some
degree be reflected upon the character of the American people, who
elected him. Hence the precautions adopted by the Constitution to
secure a fair trial. On such a trial it declares that "the Chief
Justice shall preside." This was doubtless because the framers of
the Constitution believed it to be possible that the Vice-President
might be biased by the fact that "in case of the removal of the
President from office ... the same shall devolve on the Vice-President."

The preliminary proceedings in the House in the case of charges which
may involve impeachment have been well and wisely settled by long
practice upon principles of equal justice both to the accused and to
the people. The precedent established in the case of Judge Peck, of
Missouri, in 1831, after a careful review of all former precedents,
will, I venture to predict, stand the test of time.

In that case Luke Edward Lawless, the accuser, presented a petition to
the House, in which he set forth minutely and specifically his causes of
complaint. He prayed "that the conduct and proceedings in this behalf of
said Judge Peck may be inquired into by your honorable body, and such
decision made thereon as to your wisdom and justice shall seem proper."
This petition was referred to the Judiciary Committee; such has ever
been deemed the appropriate committee to make similar investigations.
It is a standing committee, supposed to be appointed without reference
to any special case, and at all times is presumed to be composed of
the most eminent lawyers in the House from different portions of the
Union, whose acquaintance with judicial proceedings and whose habits of
investigation qualify them peculiarly for the task. No tribunal, from
their position and character, could in the nature of things be more
impartial. In the case of Judge Peck the witnesses were selected by the
committee itself, with a view to ascertain the truth of the charge.
They were cross-examined by him, and everything was conducted in such
a manner as to afford him no reasonable cause of complaint. In view of
this precedent, and, what is of far greater importance, in view of the
Constitution and the principles of eternal justice, in what manner
has the President of the United States been treated by the House of
Representatives? Mr. John Covode, a Representative from Pennsylvania, is
the accuser of the President. Instead of following the wise precedents
of former times, and especially that in the case of Judge Peck, and
referring the accusation to the Committee on the Judiciary, the House
have made my accuser one of my judges.

To make the accuser the judge is a violation of the principles of
universal justice, and is condemned by the practice of all civilized
nations. Every freeman must revolt at such a spectacle. I am to
appear before Mr. Covode, either personally or by a substitute, to
cross-examine the witnesses which he may produce before himself to
sustain his own accusations against me; and perhaps even this poor
boon may be denied to the President.

And what is the nature of the investigation which his resolution
proposes to institute? It is as vague and general as the English
language affords words in which to make it. The committee is to inquire,
not into any specific charge or charges, but whether the President has,
by "money, patronage, or other improper means, sought to influence,"
not the action of any individual member or members of Congress, but
"the action" of the entire body "of Congress" itself "or any committee
thereof." The President might have had some glimmering of the nature of
the offense to be investigated had his accuser pointed to the act or
acts of Congress which he sought to pass or to defeat by the employment
of "money, patronage, or other improper means." But the accusation
is bounded by no such limits. It extends to the whole circle of
legislation--to interference "for or against the passage of any law
appertaining to the rights of any State or Territory." And what law does
not appertain to the rights of some State or Territory? And what law or
laws has the President failed to execute? These might easily have been
pointed out had any such existed.

Had Mr. Lawless asked an inquiry to be made by the House whether Judge
Peck, in general terms, had not violated his judicial duties, without
the specification of any particular act, I do not believe there would
have been a single vote in that body in favor of the inquiry.

Since the time of the star-chamber and of general warrants there has
been no such proceeding in England.

The House of Representatives, the high impeaching power of the country,
without consenting to hear a word of explanation, have indorsed this
accusation against the President and made it their own act. They even
refused to permit a Member to inquire of the President's accuser what
were the specific charges against him. Thus, in this preliminary
accusation of "high crimes and misdemeanors" against a coordinate branch
of the Government, under the impeaching power, the House refused to hear
a single suggestion, even in regard to the correct mode of proceeding,
but without a moment's delay passed the accusatory resolutions under
the pressure of the previous question.

In the institution of a prosecution for any offense against the most
humble citizen--and I claim for myself no greater rights than he
enjoys--the constitutions of the United States and of the several States
require that he shall be informed in the very beginning of the nature
and cause of the accusation against him, in order to enable him to
prepare for his defense. There are other principles which I might
enumerate, not less sacred, presenting an impenetrable shield to protect
every citizen falsely charged with a criminal offense. These have been
violated in the prosecution instituted by the House of Representatives
against the executive branch of the Government. Shall the President
alone be deprived of the protection of these great principles which
prevail in every land where a ray of liberty penetrates the gloom of
despotism? Shall the Executive alone be deprived of rights which all
his fellow-citizens enjoy? The whole proceeding against him justifies
the fears of those wise and great men who, before the Constitution was
adopted by the States, apprehended that the tendency of the Government
was to the aggrandizement of the legislative at the expense of the
executive and judicial departments.

I again declare emphatically that I make this protest for no reason
personal to myself, and I do it with perfect respect for the House of
Representatives, in which I had the honor of serving as a member for
five successive terms. I have lived long in this goodly land, and have
enjoyed all the offices and honors which my country could bestow. Amid
all the political storms through which I have passed, the present is the
first attempt which has ever been made, to my knowledge, to assail my
personal or official integrity; and this as the time is approaching
when I shall voluntarily retire from the service of my country. I feel
proudly conscious that there is no public act of my life which will not
bear the strictest scrutiny. I defy all investigation. Nothing but the
basest perjury can sully my good name. I do not fear even this, because
I cherish an humble confidence that the gracious Being who has hitherto
defended and protected me against the shafts of falsehood and malice
will not desert me now when I have become "old and gray headed." I can
declare before God and my country that no human being (with an exception
scarcely worthy of notice) has at any period of my life dared to
approach me with a corrupt or dishonorable proposition, and until recent
developments it had never entered into my imagination that any person,
even in the storm of exasperated political excitement, would charge me
in the most remote degree with having made such a proposition to any
human being. I may now, however, exclaim in the language of complaint
employed by my first and greatest predecessor, that I have been abused
"in such exaggerated and indecent terms as could scarcely be applied
to a Nero, to a notorious defaulter, or even to a common pickpocket."

I do therefore, for the reasons stated and in the name of the people of
the several States, solemnly protest against these proceedings of the
House of Representatives, because they are in violation of the rights of
the coordinate executive branch of the Government and subversive of its
constitutional independence; because they are calculated to foster a
band of interested parasites and informers, ever ready, for their own
advantage, to swear before _ex parte_ committees to pretended private
conversations between the President and themselves, incapable from their
nature of being disproved, thus furnishing material for harassing him,
degrading him in the eyes of the country, and eventually, should he be a
weak or a timid man, rendering him subservient to improper influences in
order to avoid such persecutions and annoyances; because they tend to
destroy that harmonious action for the common good which ought to be
maintained, and which I sincerely desire to cherish, between coordinate
branches of the Government; and, finally, because, if unresisted, they
would establish a precedent dangerous and embarrassing to all my
successors, to whatever political party they might be attached.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _June 22, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In my message to the House of Representatives of the 28th March last I
solemnly protested against the creation of a committee, at the head of
which was placed my accuser, for the purpose of investigating whether
the President had, "by money, patronage, or other improper means, sought
to influence the action of Congress or any committee thereof for or
against the passage of any law appertaining to the rights of any State
or Territory," I protested against this because it was destitute of any
specification; because it referred to no particular act to enable the
President to prepare for his defense; because it deprived him of the
constitutional guards which, in common with every citizen of the United
States, he possesses for his protection, and because it assailed his
constitutional independence as a coordinate branch of the Government.

There is an enlightened justice, as well as a beautiful symmetry, in
every part of the Constitution. This is conspicuously manifested in
regard to impeachments. The House of Representatives possesses "the
sole power of impeachment," the Senate "the sole power to try all
impeachments;" and the impeachable offenses are "treason, bribery, or
other high crimes or misdemeanors." The practice of the House from the
earliest times had been in accordance with its own dignity, the rights
of the accused, and the demands of justice. At the commencement of each
judicial investigation which might lead to an impeachment specific
charges were always preferred; the accused had an opportunity of
cross-examining the witnesses, and he was placed in full possession of
the precise nature of the offense which he had to meet. An impartial and
elevated standing committee was charged with this investigation, upon
which no member inspired with the ancient sense of honor and justice
would have served had he ever expressed an opinion against the accused.
Until the present occasion it was never deemed proper to transform the
accuser into the judge and to confer upon him the selection of his own
committee.

The charges made against me in vague and general terms were of such
a false and atrocious character that I did not entertain a moment's
apprehension for the result. They were abhorrent to every principle
instilled into me from my youth and every practice of my life, and I
did not believe it possible that the man existed who would so basely
perjure himself as to swear to the truth of any such accusations. In
this conviction I am informed I have not been mistaken.

In my former protest, therefore, I truly and emphatically declared
that it was made for no reason personal to myself, but because the
proceedings of the House were in violation of the rights of the
coordinate executive branch of the Government, subversive of its
constitutional independence, and if unresisted would establish
a precedent dangerous and embarrassing to all my successors.
Notwithstanding all this, if the committee had not transcended
the authority conferred upon it by the resolution of the House of
Representatives, broad and general as this was, I should have remained
silent upon the subject. What I now charge is that they have acted as
though they possessed unlimited power, and, without any warrant whatever
in the resolution under which they were appointed, have pursued a course
not merely at war with the constitutional rights of the Executive, but
tending to degrade the Presidential office itself to such a degree as to
render it unworthy of the acceptance of any man of honor or principle.

The resolution of the House, so far as it is accusatory of the
President, is confined to an inquiry whether he had used corrupt or
improper means to influence the action of Congress or any of its
committees on legislative measures pending before them--nothing more,
nothing less. I have not learned through the newspapers or in any other
mode that the committee have touched the other accusatory branch of the
resolution, charging the President with a violation of duty in failing
to execute some law or laws. This branch of the resolution is therefore
out of the question. By what authority, then, have the committee
undertaken to investigate the course of the President in regard to the
convention which framed the Lecompton constitution? By what authority
have they undertaken to pry into our foreign relations for the purpose
of assailing him on account of the instructions given by the Secretary
of State to our minister in Mexico relative to the Tehuantepec route?
By what authority have they inquired into the causes of removal from
office, and this from the parties themselves removed, with a view to
prejudice his character, notwithstanding this power of removal belongs
exclusively to the President under the Constitution, was so decided by
the First Congress in the year 1789, and has accordingly ever since been
exercised? There is in the resolution no pretext of authority for the
committee to investigate the question of the printing of the post-office
blanks; nor is it to be supposed that the House, if asked, would have
granted such an authority, because this question had been previously
committed to two other committees--one in the Senate and the other in
the House. Notwithstanding this absolute want of power, the committee
rushed into this investigation in advance of all other subjects.

The committee proceeded for months, from March 22, 1860, to examine _ex
parte_ and without any notice to myself into every subject which could
possibly affect my character. Interested and vindictive witnesses were
summoned and examined before them; and the first and only information of
their testimony which, in almost every instance, I received was obtained
from the publication of such portions of it as could injuriously affect
myself in the New York journals. It mattered not that these statements
were, so far as I have learned, disproved by the most respectable
witnesses who happened to be on the spot. The telegraph was silent
respecting these contradictions. It was a secret committee in regard
to the testimony in my defense, but it was public in regard to all the
testimony which could by possibility reflect on my character. The poison
was left to produce its effect upon the public mind, whilst the antidote
was carefully withheld.

In their examinations the committee violated the most sacred and
honorable confidences existing among men. Private correspondence,
which a truly honorable man would never even entertain a distant thought
of divulging, was dragged to light. Different persons in official and
confidential relations with myself, and with whom it was supposed I
might have held conversations the revelation of which would do me
injury, were examined. Even members of the Senate and members of my own
Cabinet, both my constitutional advisers, were called upon to testify,
for the purpose of discovering something, if possible, to my discredit.

The distribution of the patronage of the Government is by far the most
disagreeable duty of the President. Applicants are so numerous and their
applications are pressed with such eagerness by their friends, both in
and out of Congress, that the selection of one for any desirable office
gives offense to many. Disappointed applicants, removed officers, and
those who for any cause, real or imaginary, had become hostile to the
Administration presented themselves or were invited by a summons to
appear before the committee. These are the most dangerous witnesses.
Even with the best intentions they are so influenced by prejudice and
disappointment that they almost inevitably discolor truth. They swear to
their own version of private conversations with the President without
the possibility of contradiction. His lips are sealed, and he is left
at their mercy. He can not, as a coordinate branch of the Government,
appear before a committee of investigation to contradict the oaths of
such witnesses. Every coward knows that he can employ insulting language
against the President with impunity, and every false or prejudiced
witness can attempt to swear away his character before such a committee
without the fear of contradiction.

Thus for months, whilst doing my best at one end of the Avenue to
perform my high and responsible duties to the country, has there been a
committee of the House of Representatives in session at the other end of
the Avenue spreading a drag net, without the shadow of authority from
the House, over the whole Union, to catch any disappointed man willing
to malign my character; and all this in secret conclave. The lion's
mouth at Venice, into which secret denunciations were dropped, is an
apt illustration of the Covode committee. The star-chamber, tyrannical
and odious as it was, never proceeded in such a manner. For centuries
there has been nothing like it in any civilized country, except the
revolutionary tribunal of France in the days of Robespierre. Now I
undertake to state and to prove that should the proceedings of the
committee be sanctioned by the House and become a precedent for future
times the balance of the Constitution will be entirely upset, and there
will no longer remain the three coordinate and independent branches of
the Government--legislative, executive, and judicial. The worst fears of
the patriots and statesmen who framed the Constitution in regard to the
usurpations of the legislative on the executive and judicial branches
will then be realized. In the language of Mr. Madison, speaking on this
very subject in the forty-eighth number of the Federalist:

  In a representative republic, where the executive magistracy is
  carefully limited, both in the extent and duration of its power, and
  where the legislative power is exercised by an assembly which is
  inspired, by a supposed influence over the people, with an intrepid
  confidence in its own strength, which is sufficiently numerous to feel
  all the passions which actuate a multitude, yet not so numerous as to
  be incapable of pursuing the objects of its passions by means which
  reason prescribes, it is against the enterprising ambition of this
  department that the people ought to indulge all their jealousy and
  exhaust all their precautions.


And in the expressive and pointed language of Mr. Jefferson, when
speaking of the tendency of the legislative branch of Government to
usurp the rights of the weaker branches:

  The concentrating these in the same hands is precisely the definition
  of despotic government. It will be no alleviation that these powers
  will be exercised by a plurality of hands, and not by a single one.
  One hundred and seventy-three despots would surely be as oppressive
  as one. Let those who doubt it turn their eyes on the Republic of
  Venice. As little will it avail us that they are chosen by ourselves.
  An elective despotism was not the government we fought for, but one
  which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the
  powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several
  bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits
  without being effectually checked and controlled by the others.


Should the proceedings of the Covode committee become a precedent, both
the letter and spirit of the Constitution will be violated. One of the
three massive columns on which the whole superstructure rests will be
broken down. Instead of the Executive being a coordinate it will become
a subordinate branch of the Government. The Presidential office will
be dragged into the dust. The House of Representatives will then have
rendered the Executive almost necessarily subservient to its wishes,
instead of being independent. How is it possible that two powers in the
State can be coordinate and independent of each other if the one claims
and exercises the power to reprove and to censure all the official acts
and all the private conversations of the other, and this upon _ex parte_
testimony before a secret inquisitorial committee in short, to assume a
general censorship over the other? The idea is as absurd in public as
it would be in private life. Should the President attempt to assert and
maintain his own independence, future Covode committees may dragoon him
into submission by collecting the hosts of disappointed office hunters,
removed officers, and those who desire to live upon the public Treasury,
which must follow in the wake of every Administration, and they in
secret conclave will swear away his reputation. Under such circumstances
he must be a very bold man should he not surrender at discretion and
consent to exercise his authority according to the will of those
invested with this terrific power. The sovereign people of the several
States have elected him to the highest and most honorable office in
the world. He is their only direct representative in the Government.
By their Constitution they have made him Commander in Chief of their
Army and Navy. He represents them in their intercourse with foreign
nations. Clothed with their dignity and authority, he occupies a proud
position before all nations, civilized and savage. With the consent of
the Senate, he appoints all the important officers of the Government.
He exercises the veto power, and to that extent controls the legislation
of Congress. For the performance of these high duties he is responsible
to the people of the several States, and not in any degree to the House
of Representatives.

Shall he surrender these high powers, conferred upon him as the
representative of the American people for their benefit, to the House
to be exercised under their overshadowing influence and control? Shall
he alone of all the citizens of the United States be denied a fair
trial? Shall he alone not be "informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation" against him? Shall he alone not "be confronted with the
witnesses" against him? Shall the House of Representatives, usurping the
powers of the Senate, proceed to try the President through the agency of
a secret committee of the body, where it is impossible he can make any
defense, and then, without affording him an opportunity of being heard,
pronounce a judgment of censure against him? The very same rule might
be applied for the very same reason to every judge of every court of
the United States. From what part of the Constitution is this terrible
secret inquisitorial power derived? No such express power exists.
From which of the enumerated powers can it be inferred? It is true the
House can not pronounce the formal judgment against him of "removal
from office," but they can by their judgment of censure asperse his
reputation, and thus to the extent of their influence render the office
contemptible. An example is at hand of the reckless manner in which this
power of censure can be employed in high party times. The House on a
recent occasion have attempted to degrade the President by adopting the
resolution of Mr. John Sherman declaring that he, in conjunction with
the Secretary of the Navy, "by receiving and considering the party
relations of bidders for contracts and the effect of awarding contracts
upon pending elections, have set an example dangerous to the public
safety and deserving the reproof of this House."

It will scarcely be credited that the sole pretext for this vote of
censure was the simple fact that in disposing of the numerous letters
of every imaginable character which I daily receive I had in the usual
course of business referred a letter from Colonel Patterson, of
Philadelphia, in relation to a contract, to the attention of the
Secretary of the Navy, the head of the appropriate Department, without
expressing or intimating any opinion whatever on the subject; and to
make the matter if possible still plainer, the Secretary had informed
the committee that "_the President did not in any manner interfere in
this case, nor has he in any other case of contract since I have been
in the Department_." The absence of all proof to sustain this attempt
to degrade the President, whilst it manifests the venom of the shaft
aimed at him, has destroyed the vigor of the bow.

To return after this digression: Should the House, by the institution
of Covode committees, votes of censure, and other devices to harass the
President, reduce him to subservience to their will and render him their
creature, then the well-balanced Government which our fathers framed
will be annihilated. This conflict has already been commenced in earnest
by the House against the Executive. A bad precedent rarely, if ever,
dies. It will, I fear, be pursued in the time of my successors, no
matter what may be their political character. Should secret committees
be appointed with unlimited authority to range over all the words and
actions, and, if possible, the very thoughts, of the President with a
view to discover something in his past life prejudicial to his character
from parasites and informers, this would be an ordeal which scarcely any
mere man since the fall could endure. It would be to subject him to a
reign of terror from which the stoutest and purest heart might shrink.
I have passed triumphantly through this ordeal. My vindication is
complete. The committee have reported no resolution looking to an
impeachment against me; no resolution of censure; not even a resolution
pointing out any abuses in any of the Executive Departments of the
Government to be corrected by legislation. This is the highest
commendation which could be bestowed on the heads of these Departments.
The sovereign people of the States will, however, I trust, save my
successors, whoever they may be, from any such ordeal. They are frank,
bold, and honest. They detest delators and informers. I therefore, in
the name and as the representative of this great people, and standing
upon the ramparts of the Constitution which they "have ordained and
established," do solemnly protest against these unprecedented and
unconstitutional proceedings.

There was still another committee raised by the House on the 6th
March last, on motion of Mr. Hoard, to which I had not the slightest
objection. The resolution creating it was confined to specific charges,
which I have ever since been ready and willing to meet. I have at
all times invited and defied fair investigation upon constitutional
principles. I have received no notice that this committee have ever
proceeded to the investigation.

Why should the House of Representatives desire to encroach on the other
departments of the Government? Their rightful powers are ample for every
legitimate purpose. They are the impeaching body. In their legislative
capacity it is their most wise and wholesome prerogative to institute
rigid examinations into the manner in which all departments of the
Government are conducted, with a view to reform abuses, to promote
economy, and to improve every branch of administration. Should they
find reason to believe in the course of their examinations that any
grave offense had been committed by the President or any officer of
the Government rendering it proper, in their judgment, to resort to
impeachment, their course would be plain. They would then transfer the
question from their legislative to their accusatory jurisdiction, and
take care that in all the preliminary judicial proceedings preparatory
to the vote of articles of impeachment the accused should enjoy the
benefit of cross-examining the witnesses and all the other safeguards
with which the Constitution surrounds every American citizen.

If in a legislative investigation it should appear that the public
interest required the removal of any officer of the Government, no
President has ever existed who, after giving him a fair hearing, would
hesitate to apply the remedy.

This I take to be the ancient and well-established practice. An
adherence to it will best promote the harmony and the dignity of the
intercourse between the coordinate branches of the Government and render
us all more respectable both in the eyes of our own countrymen and of
foreign nations.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



PROCLAMATION.


BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.


Whereas an extraordinary occasion has occurred rendering it necessary
and proper that the Senate of the United States shall be convened to
receive and act upon such communications as have been or may be made
to it on the part of the Executive:

Now, therefore, I, James Buchanan, President of the United States, do
issue this my proclamation, declaring that an extraordinary occasion
requires the Senate of the United States to convene for the transaction
of business at the Capitol, in the city of Washington, on the 26th day
of June instant, at 12 o'clock at noon of that day, of which all who
shall then be entitled to act as members of that body are hereby
required to take notice.

[SEAL.]

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Washington,
this 25th day of June, A. D. 1860, and of the Independence of the United
States the eighty-fourth.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

By the President:
  LEWIS CASS,
    _Secretary of State_.



FOURTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON CITY, _December 3, 1860_.

_Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives_:

Throughout the year since our last meeting the country has been
eminently prosperous in all its material interests. The general health
has been excellent, our harvests have been abundant, and plenty smiles
throughout the land. Our commerce and manufactures have been prosecuted
with energy and industry, and have yielded fair and ample returns. In
short, no nation in the tide of time has ever presented a spectacle of
greater material prosperity than we have done until within a very recent
period.

Why is it, then, that discontent now so extensively prevails, and the
Union of the States, which is the source of all these blessings, is
threatened with destruction?

The long-continued and intemperate interference of the Northern people
with the question of slavery in the Southern States has at length
produced its natural effects. The different sections of the Union are
now arrayed against each other, and the time has arrived, so much
dreaded by the Father of his Country, when hostile geographical parties
have been formed.

I have long foreseen and often forewarned my countrymen of the now
impending danger. This does not proceed solely from the claim on the
part of Congress or the Territorial legislatures to exclude slavery from
the Territories, nor from the efforts of different States to defeat the
execution of the fugitive-slave law. All or any of these evils might
have been endured by the South without danger to the Union (as others
have been) in the hope that time and reflection might apply the remedy.
The immediate peril arises not so much from these causes as from the
fact that the incessant and violent agitation of the slavery question
throughout the North for the last quarter of a century has at length
produced its malign influence on the slaves and inspired them with vague
notions of freedom. Hence a sense of security no longer exists around
the family altar. This feeling of peace at home has given place to
apprehensions of servile insurrections. Many a matron throughout the
South retires at night in dread of what may befall herself and children
before the morning. Should this apprehension of domestic danger, whether
real or imaginary, extend and intensify itself until it shall pervade
the masses of the Southern people, then disunion will become inevitable.
Self-preservation is the first law of nature, and has been implanted in
the heart of man by his Creator for the wisest purpose; and no political
union, however fraught with blessings and benefits in all other
respects, can long continue if the necessary consequence be to render
the homes and the firesides of nearly half the parties to it habitually
and hopelessly insecure. Sooner or later the bonds of such a union must
be severed. It is my conviction that this fatal period has not yet
arrived, and my prayer to God is that He would preserve the Constitution
and the Union throughout all generations.

But let us take warning in time and remove the cause of danger. It can
not be denied that for five and twenty years the agitation at the North
against slavery has been incessant. In 1835 pictorial handbills and
inflammatory appeals were circulated extensively throughout the South of
a character to excite the passions of the slaves, and, in the language
of General Jackson, "to stimulate them to insurrection and produce all
the horrors of a servile war." This agitation has ever since been
continued by the public press, by the proceedings of State and county
conventions and by abolition sermons and lectures. The time of Congress
has been occupied in violent speeches on this never-ending subject, and
appeals, in pamphlet and other forms, indorsed by distinguished names,
have been sent forth from this central point and spread broadcast over
the Union.

How easy would it be for the American people to settle the slavery
question forever and to restore peace and harmony to this distracted
country! They, and they alone, can do it. All that is necessary to
accomplish the object, and all for which the slave States have ever
contended, is to be let alone and permitted to manage their domestic
institutions in their own way. As sovereign States, they, and they
alone, are responsible before God and the world for the slavery existing
among them. For this the people of the North are not more responsible
and have no more right to interfere than with similar institutions in
Russia or in Brazil.

Upon their good sense and patriotic forbearance I confess I still
greatly rely. Without their aid it is beyond the power of any President,
no matter what may be his own political proclivities, to restore peace
and harmony among the States. Wisely limited and restrained as is his
power under our Constitution and laws, he alone can accomplish but
little for good or for evil on such a momentous question.

And this brings me to observe that the election of any one of our
fellow-citizens to the office of President does not of itself afford
just cause for dissolving the Union. This is more especially true if
his election has been effected by a mere plurality, and not a majority
of the people, and has resulted from transient and temporary causes,
which may probably never again occur. In order to justify a resort to
revolutionary resistance, the Federal Government must be guilty of "a
deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise" of powers not granted by
the Constitution. The late Presidential election, however, has been held
in strict conformity with its express provisions. How, then, can the
result justify a revolution to destroy this very Constitution? Reason,
justice, a regard for the Constitution, all require that we shall wait
for some overt and dangerous act on the part of the President elect
before resorting to such a remedy. It is said, however, that the
antecedents of the President elect have been sufficient to justify the
fears of the South that he will attempt to invade their constitutional
rights. But are such apprehensions of contingent danger in the future
sufficient to justify the immediate destruction of the noblest system of
government ever devised by mortals? From the very nature of his office
and its high responsibilities he must necessarily be conservative. The
stern duty of administering the vast and complicated concerns of this
Government affords in itself a guaranty that he will not attempt any
violation of a clear constitutional right.

After all, he is no more than the chief executive officer of the
Government. His province is not to make but to execute the laws.
And it is a remarkable fact in our history that, notwithstanding
the repeated efforts of the antislavery party, no single act has ever
passed Congress, unless we may possibly except the Missouri compromise,
impairing in the slightest degree the rights of the South to their
property in slaves; and it may also be observed, judging from present
indications, that no probability exists of the passage of such an act by
a majority of both Houses, either in the present or the next Congress.
Surely under these circumstances we ought to be restrained from present
action by the precept of Him who spake as man never spoke, that
"sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof," The day of evil may never
come unless we shall rashly bring it upon ourselves.

It is alleged as one cause for immediate secession that the Southern
States are denied equal rights with the other States in the common
Territories. But by what authority are these denied? Not by Congress,
which has never passed, and I believe never will pass, any act to
exclude slavery from these Territories; and certainly not by the Supreme
Court, which has solemnly decided that slaves are property, and, like
all other property, their owners have a right to take them into the
common Territories and hold them there under the protection of the
Constitution.

So far then, as Congress is concerned, the objection is not to anything
they have already done, but to what they may do hereafter. It will
surely be admitted that this apprehension of future danger is no good
reason for an immediate dissolution of the Union. It is true that the
Territorial legislature of Kansas, on the 23d February, 1860, passed in
great haste an act over the veto of the governor declaring that slavery
"is and shall be forever prohibited in this Territory." Such an act,
however, plainly violating the rights of property secured by the
Constitution, will surely be declared void by the judiciary whenever
it shall be presented in a legal form.

Only three days after my inauguration the Supreme Court of the United
States solemnly adjudged that this power did not exist in a Territorial
legislature. Yet such has been the factious temper of the times that the
correctness of this decision has been extensively impugned before the
people, and the question has given rise to angry political conflicts
throughout the country. Those who have appealed from this judgment of
our highest constitutional tribunal to popular assemblies would, if they
could, invest a Territorial legislature with power to annul the sacred
rights of property. This power Congress is expressly forbidden by the
Federal Constitution to exercise. Every State legislature in the Union
is forbidden by its own constitution to exercise it. It can not be
exercised in any State except by the people in their highest sovereign
capacity, when framing or amending their State constitution. In like
manner it can only be exercised by the people of a Territory represented
in a convention of delegates for the purpose of framing a constitution
preparatory to admission as a State into the Union. Then, and not until
then, are they invested with power to decide the question whether
slavery shall or shall not exist within their limits. This is an act of
sovereign authority, and not of subordinate Territorial legislation.
Were it otherwise, then indeed would the equality of the States in the
Territories be destroyed, and the rights of property in slaves would
depend not upon the guaranties of the Constitution, but upon the
shifting majorities of an irresponsible Territorial legislature. Such
a doctrine, from its intrinsic unsoundness, can not long influence any
considerable portion of our people, much less can it afford a good
reason for a dissolution of the Union.

The most palpable violations of constitutional duty which have yet been
committed consist in the acts of different State legislatures to defeat
the execution of the fugitive-slave law. It ought to be remembered,
however, that for these acts neither Congress nor any President can
justly be held responsible. Having been passed in violation of the
Federal Constitution, they are therefore null and void. All the courts,
both State and national, before whom the question has arisen have from
the beginning declared the fugitive-slave law to be constitutional. The
single exception is that of a State court in Wisconsin, and this has not
only been reversed by the proper appellate tribunal, but has met with
such universal reprobation that there can be no danger from it as a
precedent. The validity of this law has been established over and over
again by the Supreme Court of the United States with perfect unanimity.
It is founded upon an express provision of the Constitution, requiring
that fugitive slaves who escape from service in one State to another
shall be "delivered up" to their masters. Without this provision it is a
well-known historical fact that the Constitution itself could never have
been adopted by the Convention. In one form or other, under the acts of
1793 and 1850, both being substantially the same, the fugitive-slave
law has been the law of the land from the days of Washington until the
present moment. Here, then, a clear case is presented in which it will
be the duty of the next President, as it has been my own, to act with
vigor in executing this supreme law against the conflicting enactments
of State legislatures. Should he fail in the performance of this high
duty, he will then have manifested a disregard of the Constitution and
laws, to the great injury of the people of nearly one-half of the States
of the Union. But are we to presume in advance that he will thus violate
his duty? This would be at war with every principle of justice and of
Christian charity. Let us wait for the overt act. The fugitive-slave
law has been carried into execution in every contested case since the
commencement of the present Administration, though often, it is to
be regretted, with great loss and inconvenience to the master and
with considerable expense to the Government. Let us trust that the
State legislatures will repeal their unconstitutional and obnoxious
enactments. Unless this shall be done without unnecessary delay, it
is impossible for any human power to save the Union.

The Southern States, standing on the basis of the Constitution, have a
right to demand this act of justice from the States of the North. Should
it be refused, then the Constitution, to which all the States are
parties, will have been willfully violated by one portion of them in
a provision essential to the domestic security and happiness of the
remainder. In that event the injured States, after having first used all
peaceful and constitutional means to obtain redress, would be justified
in revolutionary resistance to the Government of the Union.

I have purposely confined my remarks to revolutionary resistance,
because it has been claimed within the last few years that any State,
whenever this shall be its sovereign will and pleasure, may secede from
the Union in accordance with the Constitution and without any violation
of the constitutional rights of the other members of the Confederacy;
that as each became parties to the Union by the vote of its own people
assembled in convention, so any one of them may retire from the Union
in a similar manner by the vote of such a convention.

In order to justify secession as a constitutional remedy, it must
be on the principle that the Federal Government is a mere voluntary
association of States, to be dissolved at pleasure by any one of the
contracting parties. If this be so, the Confederacy is a rope of sand,
to be penetrated and dissolved by the first adverse wave of public
opinion in any of the States. In this manner our thirty-three States
may, resolve themselves into as many petty, jarring, and hostile
republics, each one retiring from the Union without responsibility
whenever any sudden excitement might impel them to such a course.
By this process a Union might be entirely broken into fragments in
a few weeks which cost our forefathers many years of toil, privation,
and blood to establish.

Such a principle is wholly inconsistent with the history as well as the
character of the Federal Constitution. After it was framed with the
greatest deliberation and care it was submitted to conventions of the
people of the several States for ratification. Its provisions were
discussed at length in these bodies, composed of the first men of the
country. Its opponents contended that it conferred powers upon the
Federal Government dangerous to the rights of the States, whilst its
advocates maintained that under a fair construction of the instrument
there was no foundation for such apprehensions. In that mighty struggle
between the first intellects of this or any other country it never
occurred to any individual, either among its opponents or advocates,
to assert or even to intimate that their efforts were all vain labor,
because the moment that any State felt herself aggrieved she might
secede from the Union. What a crushing argument would this have proved
against those who dreaded that the rights of the States would be
endangered by the Constitution! The truth is that it was not until many
years after the origin of the Federal Government that such a proposition
was first advanced. It was then met and refuted by the conclusive
arguments of General Jackson, who in his message of the 16th of January,
1833, transmitting the nullifying ordinance of South Carolina to
Congress, employs the following language:

  The right of the people of a single State to absolve themselves at will
  and without the consent of the other States from their most solemn
  obligations, and hazard the liberties and happiness of the millions
  composing this Union, can not be acknowledged. Such authority is
  believed to be utterly repugnant both to the principles upon which
  the General Government is constituted and to the objects which it is
  expressly formed to attain.


It is not pretended that any clause in the Constitution gives
countenance to such a theory. It is altogether founded upon inference;
not from any language contained in the instrument itself, but from the
sovereign character of the several States by which it was ratified.
But is it beyond the power of a State, like an individual, to yield a
portion of its sovereign rights to secure the remainder? In the language
of Mr. Madison, who has been called the father of the Constitution--

  It was formed by the States; that is, by the people in each of
  the States acting in their highest sovereign capacity, and formed,
  consequently, by the same authority which formed the State
  constitutions. ... Nor is the Government of the United States,
  created by the Constitution, less a government, in the strict sense
  of the term, within the sphere of its powers than the governments
  created by the constitutions of the States are within their several
  spheres. It is, like them, organized into legislative, executive,
  and judiciary departments. It operates, like them, directly on
  persons and things, and, like them, it has at command a physical
  force for executing the powers committed to it.


It was intended to be perpetual, and not to be annulled at the pleasure
of any one of the contracting parties. The old Articles of Confederation
were entitled "Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union between the
States," and by the thirteenth article it is expressly declared that
"the articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by
every State, and the Union shall be perpetual." The preamble to the
Constitution of the United States, having express reference to the
Articles of Confederation, recites that it was established "in order
to form a more perfect union." And yet it is contended that this "more
perfect union" does not include the essential attribute of perpetuity.

But that the Union was designed to be perpetual appears conclusively
from the nature and extent of the powers conferred by the Constitution
on the Federal Government. These powers embrace the very highest
attributes of national sovereignty. They place both the sword and the
purse under its control. Congress has power to make war and to make
peace, to raise and support armies and navies, and to conclude treaties
with foreign governments. It is invested with the power to coin money
and to regulate the value thereof, and to regulate commerce with foreign
nations and among the several States. It is not necessary to enumerate
the other high powers which have been conferred upon the Federal
Government. In order to carry the enumerated powers into effect,
Congress possesses the exclusive right to lay and collect duties on
imports, and, in common with the States, to lay and collect all other
taxes.

But the Constitution has not only conferred these high powers upon
Congress, but it has adopted effectual means to restrain the States
from interfering with their exercise. For that purpose it has in
strong prohibitory language expressly declared that--

  No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation;
  grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of
  credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment
  of debts; pass any bill of attainder, _ex post facto_ law, or law
  impairing the obligation of contracts.


Moreover--

  No State shall without the consent of the Congress lay any imposts
  or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely
  necessary for executing its inspection laws.


And if they exceed this amount the excess shall belong to the United
States. And--

  No State shall without the consent of Congress lay any duty of
  tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into
  any agreement or compact with another State or with a foreign power,
  or engage in war, unless actually invaded or in such imminent danger
  as will not admit of delay.


In order still further to secure the uninterrupted exercise of these
high powers against State interposition, it is provided: that--

  This Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be
  made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made or which shall be
  made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme
  law of the land, and the judges in every State shall be bound
  thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the
  contrary notwithstanding.


The solemn sanction of religion has been superadded to the obligations
of official duty, and all Senators and Representatives of the United
States, all members of State legislatures, and all executive and
judicial officers, "both of the United States and of the several States,
shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution."

In order to carry into effect these powers, the Constitution has
established a perfect Government in all its forms--legislative,
executive, and judicial; and this Government to the extent of its powers
acts directly upon the individual citizens of every State, and executes
its own decrees by the agency of its own officers. In this respect it
differs entirely from the Government under the old Confederation, which
was confined to making requisitions on the States in their sovereign
character. This left it in the discretion of each whether to obey or
to refuse, and they often declined to comply with such requisitions.
It thus became necessary for the purpose of removing this barrier and
"in order to form a more perfect union" to establish a Government which
could act directly upon the people and execute its own laws without the
intermediate agency of the States. This has been accomplished by the
Constitution of the United States. In short, the Government created by
the Constitution, and deriving its authority from the sovereign people
of each of the several States, has precisely the same right to exercise
its power over the people of all these States in the enumerated cases
that each one of them possesses over subjects not delegated to the
United States, but "reserved to the States respectively or to the
people."

To the extent of the delegated powers the Constitution of the United
States is as much a part of the constitution of each State and is as
binding upon its people as though it had been textually inserted
therein.

This Government, therefore, is a great and powerful Government, invested
with all the attributes of sovereignty over the special subjects to
which its authority extends. Its framers never intended to implant
in its bosom the seeds of its own destruction, nor were they at its
creation guilty of the absurdity of providing for its own dissolution.
It was not intended by its framers to be the baseless fabric of a
vision, which at the touch of the enchanter would vanish into thin air,
but a substantial and mighty fabric, capable of resisting the slow decay
of time and of defying the storms of ages. Indeed, well may the jealous
patriots of that day have indulged fears that a Government of such high
powers might violate the reserved rights of the States, and wisely did
they adopt the rule of a strict construction of these powers to prevent
the danger. But they did not fear, nor had they any reason to imagine,
that the Constitution would ever be so interpreted as to enable any
State by her own act, and without the consent of her sister States,
to discharge her people from all or any of their federal obligations.

It may be asked, then, Are the people of the States without redress
against the tyranny and oppression of the Federal Government? By no
means. The right of resistance on the part of the governed against
the oppression of their governments can not be denied. It exists
independently of all constitutions, and has been exercised at all
periods of the world's history. Under it old governments have been
destroyed and new ones have taken their place. It is embodied in strong
and express language in our own Declaration of Independence. But the
distinction must ever be observed that this is revolution against an
established government, and not a voluntary secession from it by virtue
of an inherent constitutional right. In short, let us look the danger
fairly in the face. Secession is neither more nor less than revolution.
It may or it may not be a justifiable revolution, but still it is
revolution.

What, in the meantime, is the responsibility and true position of the
Executive? He is bound by solemn oath, before God and the country,
"to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and from this
obligation he can not be absolved by any human power. But what if
the performance of this duty, in whole or in part, has been rendered
impracticable by events over which he could have exercised no control?
Such at the present moment is the case throughout the State of South
Carolina so far as the laws of the United States to secure the
administration of justice by means of the Federal judiciary are
concerned. All the Federal officers within its limits through whose
agency alone these laws can be carried into execution have already
resigned. We no longer have a district judge, a district attorney,
or a marshal in South Carolina. In fact, the whole machinery of the
Federal Government necessary for the distribution of remedial justice
among the people has been demolished, and it would be difficult, if not
impossible, to replace it.

The only acts of Congress on the statute book bearing upon this subject
are those of February 28, 1795, and March 3, 1807. These authorize the
President, after he shall have ascertained that the marshal, with his
_posse comitatus_, is unable to execute civil or criminal process in
any particular case, to call forth the militia and employ the Army
and Navy to aid him in performing this service, having first by
proclamation commanded the insurgents "to disperse and retire peaceably
to their respective abodes within a limited time." This duty can not by
possibility be performed in a State where no judicial authority exists
to issue process, and where there is no marshal to execute it, and
where, even if there were such an officer, the entire population would
constitute one solid combination to resist him.

The bare enumeration of these provisions proves how inadequate they are
without further legislation to overcome a united opposition in a single
State, not to speak of other States who may place themselves in a
similar attitude. Congress alone has power to decide whether the present
laws can or can not be amended so as to carry out more effectually the
objects of the Constitution.

The same insuperable obstacles do not lie in the way of executing the
laws for the collection of the customs. The revenue still continues to
be collected as heretofore at the custom-house in Charleston, and should
the collector unfortunately resign a successor may be appointed to
perform this duty.

Then, in regard to the property of the United States in South Carolina.
This has been purchased for a fair equivalent, "by the consent of the
legislature of the State," "for the erection of forts, magazines,
arsenals," etc., and over these the authority "to exercise exclusive
legislation" has been expressly granted by the Constitution to Congress.
It is not believed that any attempt will be made to expel the United
States from this property by force; but if in this I should prove to be
mistaken, the officer in command of the forts has received orders to act
strictly on the defensive. In such a contingency the responsibility for
consequences would rightfully rest upon the heads of the assailants.

Apart from the execution of the laws, so far as this may be practicable,
the Executive has no authority to decide what shall be the relations
between the Federal Government and South Carolina. He has been invested
with no such discretion. He possesses no power to change the relations
heretofore existing between them, much less to acknowledge the
independence of that State. This would be to invest a mere executive
officer with the power of recognizing the dissolution of the confederacy
among our thirty-three sovereign States. It bears no resemblance to the
recognition of a foreign _de facto_ government, involving no such
responsibility. Any attempt to do this would, on his part, be a naked
act of usurpation. It is therefore my duty to submit to Congress the
whole question in all its bearings. The course of events is so rapidly
hastening forward that the emergency may soon arise when you may be
called upon to decide the momentous question whether you possess the
power by force of arms to compel a State to remain in the Union.
I should feel myself recreant to my duty were I not to express an
opinion on this important subject.

The question fairly stated is, Has the Constitution delegated to
Congress the power to coerce a State into submission which is attempting
to withdraw or has actually withdrawn from the Confederacy? If answered
in the affirmative, it must be on the principle that the power has been
conferred upon Congress to declare and to make war against a State.
After much serious reflection I have arrived at the conclusion that no
such power has been delegated to Congress or to any other department
of the Federal Government. It is manifest upon an inspection of the
Constitution that this is not among the specific and enumerated powers
granted to Congress, and it is equally apparent that its exercise is
not "necessary and proper for carrying into execution" any one of these
powers. So far from this power having been delegated to Congress, it was
expressly refused by the Convention which framed the Constitution. It
appears from the proceedings of that body that on the 31st May, 1787,
the clause "_authorizing an exertion of the force of the whole against
a delinquent State_" came up for consideration. Mr. Madison opposed it
in a brief but powerful speech, from which I shall extract but a single
sentence. He observed:

  The use of force against a State would look more like a declaration
  of war than an infliction of punishment, and would probably be
  considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous
  compacts by which it might be bound.


Upon his motion the clause was unanimously postponed, and was never,
I believe, again presented. Soon afterwards, on the 8th June, 1787,
when incidentally adverting to the subject, he said: "Any government
for the United States formed on the supposed practicability of using
force against the unconstitutional proceedings of the States would
prove as visionary and fallacious as the government of Congress,"
evidently meaning the then existing Congress of the old Confederation.

Without descending to particulars, it may be safely asserted that the
power to make war against a State is at variance with the whole spirit
and intent of the Constitution. Suppose such a war should result in the
conquest of a State; how are we to govern it afterwards? Shall we hold
it as a province and govern it by despotic power? In the nature of
things, we could not by physical force control the will of the people
and compel them to elect Senators and Representatives to Congress and
to perform all the other duties depending upon their own volition and
required from the free citizens of a free State as a constituent member
of the Confederacy.

But if we possessed this power, would it be wise to exercise it under
existing circumstances? The object would doubtless be to preserve the
Union. War would not only present the most effectual means of destroying
it, but would vanish all hope of its peaceable reconstruction. Besides,
in the fraternal conflict a vast amount of blood and treasure would be
expended, rendering future reconciliation between the States impossible.
In the meantime, who can foretell what would be the sufferings and
privations of the people during its existence?

The fact is that our Union rests upon public opinion, and can never be
cemented by the blood of its citizens shed in civil war. If it can not
live in the affections of the people, it must one day perish. Congress
possesses many means of preserving it by conciliation, but the sword was
not placed in their hand to preserve it by force.

But may I be permitted solemnly to invoke my countrymen to pause and
deliberate before they determine to destroy this the grandest temple
which has ever been dedicated to human freedom since the world began?
It has been consecrated by the blood of our fathers, by the glories of
the past, and by the hopes of the future. The Union has already made us
the most prosperous, and ere long will, if preserved, render us the most
powerful, nation on the face of the earth. In every foreign region of
the globe the title of American citizen is held in the highest respect,
and when pronounced in a foreign land it causes the hearts of our
countrymen to swell with honest pride. Surely when we reach the brink
of the yawning abyss we shall recoil with horror from the last fatal
plunge.

By such a dread catastrophe the hopes of the friends of freedom
throughout the world would be destroyed, and a long night of leaden
despotism would enshroud the nations. Our example for more than eighty
years would not only be lost, but it would be quoted as a conclusive
proof that man is unfit for self-government.

It is not every wrong--nay, it is not every grievous wrong--which
can justify a resort to such a fearful alternative. This ought to be
the last desperate remedy of a despairing people, after every other
constitutional means of conciliation had been exhausted. We should
reflect that under this free Government there is an incessant ebb and
flow in public opinion. The slavery question, like everything human,
will have its day. I firmly believe that it has reached and passed the
culminating point. But if in the midst of the existing excitement the
Union shall perish, the evil may then become irreparable.

Congress can contribute much to avert it by proposing and recommending
to the legislatures of the several States the remedy for existing evils
which the Constitution has itself provided for its own preservation.
This has been tried at different critical periods of our history, and
always with eminent success. It is to be found in the fifth article,
providing for its own amendment. Under this article amendments have
been proposed by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress, and have been
"ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States,"
and have consequently become parts of the Constitution. To this process
the country is indebted for the clause prohibiting Congress from passing
any law respecting an establishment of religion or abridging the freedom
of speech or of the press or of the right of petition. To this we
are also indebted for the bill of rights which secures the people
against any abuse of power by the Federal Government. Such were the
apprehensions justly entertained by the friends of State rights at
that period as to have rendered it extremely doubtful whether the
Constitution could have long survived without those amendments.

Again the Constitution was amended by the same process, after the
election of President Jefferson by the House of Representatives, in
February, 1803. This amendment was rendered necessary to prevent a
recurrence of the dangers which had seriously threatened the existence
of the Government during the pendency of that election. The article
for its own amendment was intended to secure the amicable adjustment
of conflicting constitutional questions like the present which might
arise between the governments of the States and that of the United
States. This appears from contemporaneous history. In this connection
I shall merely call attention to a few sentences in Mr. Madison's
justly celebrated report, in 1799, to the legislature of Virginia.
In this he ably and conclusively defended the resolutions of the
preceding legislature against the strictures of several other State
legislatures. These were mainly founded upon the protest of the Virginia
legislature against the "alien and sedition acts," as "palpable and
alarming infractions of the Constitution." In pointing out the peaceful
and constitutional remedies--and he referred to none other--to which the
States were authorized to resort on such occasions, he concludes by
saying that--

  The legislatures of the States might have made a direct representation
  to Congress with a view to obtain a rescinding of the two offensive
  acts, or they might have represented to their respective Senators
  in Congress their wish that two-thirds thereof would propose an
  explanatory amendment to the Constitution; or two-thirds of themselves,
  if such had been their option, might by an application to Congress
  have obtained a convention for the same object.


This is the very course which I earnestly recommend in order to
obtain an "explanatory amendment" of the Constitution on the subject of
slavery. This might originate with Congress or the State legislatures,
as may be deemed most advisable to attain the object. The explanatory
amendment might be confined to the final settlement of the true
construction of the Constitution on three special points:

1. An express recognition of the right of property in slaves in the
States where it now exists or may hereafter exist.

2. The duty of protecting this right in all the common Territories
throughout their Territorial existence, and until they shall be
admitted as States into the Union, with or without slavery, as their
constitutions may prescribe.

3. A like recognition of the right of the master to have his slave who
has escaped from one State to another restored and "delivered up" to
him, and of the validity of the fugitive-slave law enacted for this
purpose, together with a declaration that all State laws impairing
or defeating this right are violations of the Constitution, and are
consequently null and void. It may be objected that this construction of
the Constitution has already been settled by the Supreme Court of the
United States, and what more ought to be required? The answer is that a
very large proportion of the people of the United States still contest
the correctness of this decision, and never will cease from agitation
and admit its binding force until clearly established by the people of
the several States in their sovereign character. Such an explanatory
amendment would, it is believed, forever terminate the existing
dissensions, and restore peace and harmony among the States.

It ought not to be doubted that such an appeal to the arbitrament
established by the Constitution itself would be received with favor by
all the States of the Confederacy. In any event, it ought to be tried
in a spirit of conciliation before any of these States shall separate
themselves from the Union.

When I entered upon the duties of the Presidential office, the aspect
neither of our foreign nor domestic affairs was at all satisfactory.
We were involved in dangerous complications with several nations,
and two of our Territories were in a state of revolution against the
Government. A restoration of the African slave trade had numerous and
powerful advocates. Unlawful military expeditions were countenanced by
many of our citizens, and were suffered, in defiance of the efforts of
the Government, to escape from our shores for the purpose of making war
upon the unoffending people of neighboring republics with whom we were
at peace. In addition to these and other difficulties, we experienced
a revulsion in monetary affairs soon after my advent to power of
unexampled severity and of ruinous consequences to all the great
interests of the country. When we take a retrospect of what was then
our condition and contrast this with its material prosperity at the
time of the late Presidential election, we have abundant reason to
return our grateful thanks to that merciful Providence which has never
forsaken us as a nation in all our past trials.

Our relations with Great Britain are of the most friendly character.
Since the commencement of my Administration the two dangerous questions
arising from the Clayton and Bulwer treaty and from the right of search
claimed by the British Government have been amicably and honorably
adjusted.

The discordant constructions of the Clayton and Bulwer treaty between
the two Governments, which at different periods of the discussion bore
a threatening aspect, have resulted in a final settlement entirely
satisfactory to this Government. In my last annual message I informed
Congress that the British Government had not then "completed treaty
arrangements with the Republics of Honduras and Nicaragua in pursuance
of the understanding between the two Governments. It is, nevertheless,
confidently expected that this good work will ere long be accomplished."
This confident expectation has since been fulfilled. Her Britannic
Majesty concluded a treaty with Honduras on the 28th November, 1859,
and with Nicaragua on the 28th August, 1860, relinquishing the Mosquito
protectorate. Besides, by the former the Bay Islands are recognized
as a part of the Republic of Honduras. It may be observed that the
stipulations of these treaties conform in every important particular
to the amendments adopted by the Senate of the United States to the
treaty concluded at London on the 17th October, 1856, between the two
Governments. It will be recollected that this treaty was rejected by the
British Government because of its objection to the just and important
amendment of the Senate to the article relating to Ruatan and the other
islands in the Bay of Honduras.

It must be a source of sincere satisfaction to all classes of our
fellow-citizens, and especially to those engaged in foreign commerce,
that the claim on the part of Great Britain forcibly to visit and search
American merchant vessels on the high seas in time of peace has been
abandoned. This was by far the most dangerous question to the peace of
the two countries which has existed since the War of 1812. Whilst it
remained open they might at any moment have been precipitated into a
war. This was rendered manifest by the exasperated state of public
feeling throughout our entire country produced by the forcible search of
American merchant vessels by British cruisers on the coast of Cuba in
the spring of 1858. The American people hailed with general acclaim the
orders of the Secretary of the Navy to our naval force in the Gulf of
Mexico "to protect all vessels of the United States on the high seas
from search or detention by the vessels of war of any other nation."
These orders might have produced an immediate collision between the
naval forces of the two countries. This was most fortunately prevented
by an appeal to the justice of Great Britain and to the law of nations
as expounded by her own most eminent jurists.

The only question of any importance which still remains open is the
disputed title between the two Governments to the island of San Juan,
in the vicinity of Washington Territory. As this question is still
under negotiation, it is not deemed advisable at the present moment
to make any other allusion to the subject.

The recent visit of the Prince of Wales, in a private character, to the
people of this country has proved to be a most auspicious event. In its
consequences it can not fail to increase the kindred and kindly feelings
which I trust may ever actuate the Government and people of both
countries in their political and social intercourse with each other.

With France, our ancient and powerful ally, our relations continue
to be of the most friendly character. A decision has recently been
made by a French judicial tribunal, with the approbation of the Imperial
Government, which can not fail to foster the sentiments of mutual
regard that have so long existed between the two countries. Under the
French law no person can serve in the armies of France unless he be
a French citizen. The law of France recognizing the natural right of
expatriation, it follows as a necessary consequence that a Frenchman by
the fact of having become a citizen of the United States has changed his
allegiance and has lost his native character. He can not therefore be
compelled to serve in the French armies in case he should return to his
native country. These principles were announced in 1852 by the French
minister of war and in two late cases have been confirmed by the French
judiciary. In these, two natives of France have been discharged from
the French army because they had become American citizens. To employ
the language of our present minister to France, who has rendered good
service on this occasion, "I do not think our French naturalized
fellow-citizens will hereafter experience much annoyance on this
subject,"

I venture to predict that the time is not far distant when the other
continental powers will adopt the same wise and just policy which has
done so much honor to the enlightened Government of the Emperor. In any
event, our Government is bound to protect the rights of our naturalized
citizens everywhere to the same extent as though they had drawn their
first breath in this country. We can recognize no distinction between
our native and naturalized citizens.

Between the great Empire of Russia and the United States the mutual
friendship and regard which has so long existed still continues to
prevail, and if possible to increase. Indeed, our relations with that
Empire are all that we could desire. Our relations with Spain are now
of a more complicated, though less dangerous, character than they have
been for many years. Our citizens have long held and continue to hold
numerous claims against the Spanish Government. These had been ably
urged for a series of years by our successive diplomatic representatives
at Madrid, but without obtaining redress. The Spanish Government finally
agreed to institute a joint commission for the adjustment of these
claims, and on the 5th day of March, 1860, concluded a convention for
this purpose with our present minister at Madrid.

Under this convention what have been denominated the "Cuban claims,"
amounting to $128,635.54, in which more than 100 of our fellow-citizens
are interested, were recognized, and the Spanish Government agreed to
pay $100,000 of this amount "within three months following the exchange
of ratifications." The payment of the remaining $28,635.54 was to await
the decision of the commissioners for or against the _Amistad_ claim;
but in any event the balance was to be paid to the claimants either by
Spain or the United States. These terms, I have every reason to know,
are highly satisfactory to the holders of the Cuban claims. Indeed, they
have made a formal offer authorizing the State Department to settle
these claims and to deduct the amount of the _Amistad_ claim from the
sums which they are entitled to receive from Spain. This offer, of
course, can not be accepted. All other claims of citizens of the United
States against Spain, or the subjects of the Queen of Spain against the
United States, including the _Amistad_ claim, were by this convention
referred to a board of commissioners in the usual form. Neither the
validity of the _Amistad_ claim nor of any other claim against either
party, with the single exception of the Cuban claims, was recognized
by the convention. Indeed, the Spanish Government did not insist
that the validity of the _Amistad_ claim should be thus recognized,
notwithstanding its payment had been recommended to Congress by two
of my predecessors, as well as by myself, and an appropriation for
that purpose had passed the Senate of the United States.

They were content that it should be submitted to the board for
examination and decision like the other claims. Both Governments were
bound respectively to pay the amounts awarded to the several claimants
"at such times and places as may be fixed by and according to the tenor
of said awards."

I transmitted this convention to the Senate for their constitutional
action on the 3d of May, 1860, and on the 27th of the succeeding June
they determined that they would "not advise and consent" to its
ratification.

These proceedings place our relations with Spain in an awkward and
embarrassing position. It is more than probable that the final
adjustment of these claims will devolve upon my successor.

I reiterate the recommendation contained in my annual message of
December, 1858, and repeated in that of December, 1859, in favor of the
acquisition of Cuba from Spain by fair purchase. I firmly believe that
such an acquisition would contribute essentially to the well-being
and prosperity of both countries in all future time, as well as prove
the certain means of immediately abolishing the African slave trade
throughout the world. I would not repeat this recommendation upon the
present occasion if I believed that the transfer of Cuba to the United
States upon conditions highly favorable to Spain could justly tarnish
the national honor of the proud and ancient Spanish monarchy. Surely no
person ever attributed to the first Napoleon a disregard of the national
honor of France for transferring Louisiana to the United States for
a fair equivalent, both in money and commercial advantages.

With the Emperor of Austria and the remaining continental powers of
Europe, including that of the Sultan, our relations continue to be of
the most friendly character.

The friendly and peaceful policy pursued by the Government of the United
States toward the Empire of China has produced the most satisfactory
results. The treaty of Tien-tsin of the 18th June, 1858, has been
faithfully observed by the Chinese authorities. The convention of the
8th November, 1858, supplementary to this treaty, for the adjustment
and satisfaction of the claims of our citizens on China referred to in
my last annual message, has been already carried into effect so far as
this was practicable. Under this convention the sum of 500,000 taels,
equal to about $700,000, was stipulated to be paid in satisfaction of
the claims of American citizens out of the one-fifth of the receipts
for tonnage, import, and export duties on American vessels at the ports
of Canton, Shanghai, and Fuchau, and it was "agreed that this amount
shall be in full liquidation of all claims of American citizens at the
various ports to this date." Debentures for this amount, to wit, 300,000
taels for Canton, 100,000 for Shanghai, and 100,000 for Fuchau, were
delivered, according to the terms of the convention, by the respective
Chinese collectors of the customs of these ports to the agent selected
by our minister to receive the same. Since that time the claims of our
citizens have been adjusted by the board of commissioners appointed for
that purpose under the act of March 3, 1859, and their awards, which
proved satisfactory to the claimants, have been approved by our
minister. In the aggregate they amount to the sum of $498,694.78. The
claimants have already received a large proportion of the sums awarded
to them out of the fund provided, and it is confidently expected that
the remainder will ere long be entirely paid. After the awards shall
have been satisfied there will remain a surplus of more than $200,000
at the disposition of Congress. As this will, in equity, belong to the
Chinese Government, would not justice require its appropriation to some
benevolent object in which the Chinese may be specially interested?

Our minister to China, in obedience to his instructions, has remained
perfectly neutral in the war between Great Britain and France and the
Chinese Empire, although, in conjunction with the Russian minister, he
was ever ready and willing, had the opportunity offered, to employ his
good offices in restoring peace between the parties. It is but an act of
simple justice, both to our present minister and his predecessor, to
state that they have proved fully equal to the delicate, trying, and
responsible positions in which they have on different occasions been
placed.

The ratifications of the treaty with Japan concluded at Yeddo on the
29th July, 1858, were exchanged at Washington on the 22d May last, and
the treaty itself was proclaimed on the succeeding day. There is good
reason to expect that under its protection and influence our trade and
intercourse with that distant and interesting people will rapidly
increase.

The ratifications of the treaty were exchanged with unusual
solemnity. For this purpose the Tycoon had accredited three of his
most distinguished subjects as envoys extraordinary and ministers
plenipotentiary, who were received and treated with marked distinction
and kindness, both by the Government and people of the United States.
There is every reason to believe that they have returned to their native
land entirely satisfied with their visit and inspired by the most
friendly feelings for our country. Let us ardently hope, in the language
of the treaty itself, that "there shall henceforward be perpetual peace
and friendship between the United States of America and His Majesty the
Tycoon of Japan and his successors."

With the wise, conservative, and liberal Government of the Empire of
Brazil our relations continue to be of the most amicable character.

The exchange of the ratifications of the convention with the Republic
of New Granada signed at Washington on the 10th of September, 1857, has
been long delayed from accidental causes for which neither party is
censurable. These ratifications were duly exchanged in this city on the
5th of November last. Thus has a controversy been amicably terminated
which had become so serious at the period of my inauguration as to
require me, on the 17th of April, 1857, to direct our minister to demand
his passports and return to the United States.

Under this convention the Government of New Granada has specially
acknowledged itself to be responsible to our citizens "for damages
which were caused by the riot at Panama on the 15th April, 1856." These
claims, together with other claims of our citizens which had been long
urged in vain, are referred for adjustment to a board of commissioners.
I submit a copy of the convention to Congress, and recommend the
legislation necessary to carry it into effect.

Persevering efforts have been made for the adjustment of the claims
of American citizens against the Government of Costa Rica, and I am
happy to inform you that these have finally prevailed. A convention was
signed at the city of San Jose on the 2d July last, between the minister
resident of the United States in Costa Rica and the plenipotentiaries of
that Republic, referring these claims to a board of commissioners and
providing for the payment of their awards. This convention will be
submitted immediately to the Senate for their constitutional action.

The claims of our citizens upon the Republic of Nicaragua have not yet
been provided for by treaty, although diligent efforts for this purpose
have been made by our minister resident to that Republic. These are
still continued, with a fair prospect of success.

Our relations with Mexico remain in a most unsatisfactory condition.
In my last two annual messages I discussed extensively the subject of
these relations, and do not now propose to repeat at length the facts
and arguments then presented. They proved conclusively that our citizens
residing in Mexico and our merchants trading thereto had suffered a
series of wrongs and outrages such as we have never patiently borne from
any other nation. For these our successive ministers, invoking the faith
of treaties, had in the name of their country persistently demanded
redress and indemnification, but without the slightest effect. Indeed,
so confident had the Mexican authorities become of our patient endurance
that they universally believed they might commit these outrages upon
American citizens with absolute impunity. Thus wrote our minister in
1856, and expressed the opinion that "nothing but a manifestation of
the power of the Government and of its purpose to punish these wrongs
will avail."

Afterwards, in 1857, came the adoption of a new constitution for Mexico,
the election of a President and Congress under its provisions, and the
inauguration of the President. Within one short month, however, this
President was expelled from the capital by a rebellion in the army, and
the supreme power of the Republic was assigned to General Zuloaga. This
usurper was in his turn soon compelled to retire and give place to
General Miramon.

Under the constitution which had thus been adopted Señor Juarez, as
chief justice of the supreme court, became the lawful President of the
Republic, and it was for the maintenance of the constitution and his
authority derived from it that the civil war commenced and still
continues to be prosecuted.

Throughout the year 1858 the constitutional party grew stronger and
stronger. In the previous history of Mexico a successful military
revolution at the capital had almost universally been the signal for
submission throughout the Republic. Not so on the present occasion.
A majority of the citizens persistently sustained the constitutional
Government. When this was recognized, in April, 1859, by the Government
of the United States, its authority extended over a large majority of
the Mexican States and people, including Vera Cruz and all the other
important seaports of the Republic. From that period our commerce with
Mexico began to revive, and the constitutional Government has afforded
it all the protection in its power.

Meanwhile the Government of Miramon still held sway at the capital and
over the surrounding country, and continued its outrages against the
few American citizens who still had the courage to remain within its
power. To cap the climax, after the battle of Tacubaya, in April, 1859,
General Marquez ordered three citizens of the United States, two of them
physicians, to be seized in the hospital at that place, taken out and
shot, without crime and without trial. This was done, notwithstanding
our unfortunate countrymen were at the moment engaged in the holy cause
of affording relief to the soldiers of both parties who had been wounded
in the battle, without making any distinction between them.

The time had arrived, in my opinion, when this Government was bound
to exert its power to avenge and redress the wrongs of our citizens
and to afford them protection in Mexico. The interposing obstacle was
that the portion of the country under the sway of Miramon could not be
reached without passing over territory under the jurisdiction of the
constitutional Government. Under these circumstances I deemed it my duty
to recommend to Congress in my last annual message the employment of
a sufficient military force to penetrate into the interior, where the
Government of Miramon was to be found, with or, if need be, without the
consent of the Juarez Government, though it was not doubted that this
consent could be obtained. Never have I had a clearer conviction on
any subject than of the justice as well as wisdom of such a policy.
No other alternative was left except the entire abandonment of our
fellow-citizens who had gone to Mexico under the faith of treaties
to the systematic injustice, cruelty, and oppression of Miramon's
Government. Besides, it is almost certain that the simple authority
to employ this force would of itself have accomplished all our objects
without striking a single blow. The constitutional Government would then
ere this have been established at the City of Mexico, and would have
been ready and willing to the extent of its ability to do us justice.

In addition--and I deem this a most important consideration--European
Governments would have been deprived of all pretext to interfere in the
territorial and domestic concerns of Mexico. We should thus have been
relieved from the obligation of resisting, even by force should this
become necessary, any attempt by these Governments to deprive our
neighboring Republic of portions of her territory--a duty from which
we could not shrink without abandoning the traditional and established
policy of the American people. I am happy to observe that, firmly
relying upon the justice and good faith of these Governments, there
is no present danger that such a contingency will happen.

Having discovered that my recommendations would not be sustained by
Congress, the next alternative was to accomplish in some degree,
if possible, the same objects by treaty stipulations with the
constitutional Government. Such treaties were accordingly concluded
by our late able and excellent minister to Mexico, and on the 4th of
January last were submitted to the Senate for ratification. As these
have not yet received the final action of that body, it would be
improper for me to present a detailed statement of their provisions.
Still, I may be permitted to express the opinion in advance that they
are calculated to promote the agricultural, manufacturing, and
commercial interests of the country and to secure our just influence
with an adjoining Republic as to whose fortunes and fate we can never
feel indifferent, whilst at the same time they provide for the payment
of a considerable amount toward the satisfaction of the claims of our
injured fellow-citizens.

At the period of my inauguration I was confronted in Kansas by a
revolutionary government existing under what is called the "Topeka
constitution." Its avowed object was to subdue the Territorial
government by force and to inaugurate what was called the "Topeka
government" in its stead. To accomplish this object an extensive
military organization was formed, and its command intrusted to the most
violent revolutionary leaders. Under these circumstances it became my
imperative duty to exert the whole constitutional power of the Executive
to prevent the flames of civil war from again raging in Kansas, which in
the excited state of the public mind, both North and South, might have
extended into the neighboring States. The hostile parties in Kansas had
been inflamed against each other by emissaries both from the North and
the South to a degree of malignity without parallel in our history.
To prevent actual collision and to assist the civil magistrates in
enforcing the laws, a strong detachment of the Army was stationed in
the Territory, ready to aid the marshal and his deputies when lawfully
called upon as a _posse comilatus_ in the execution of civil and
criminal process. Still, the troubles in Kansas could not have been
permanently settled without an election by the people.

The ballot box is the surest arbiter of disputes among freemen. Under
this conviction every proper effort was employed to induce the hostile
parties to vote at the election of delegates to frame a State
constitution, and afterwards at the election to decide whether Kansas
should be a slave or free State.

The insurgent party refused to vote at either, lest this might be
considered a recognition on their part of the Territorial government
established by Congress. A better spirit, however, seemed soon after
to prevail, and the two parties met face to face at the third election,
held on the first Monday of January, 1858, for members of the
legislature and State officers under the Lecompton constitution. The
result was the triumph of the antislavery party at the polls. This
decision of the ballot box proved clearly that this party were in the
majority, and removed the danger of civil war. From that time we have
heard little or nothing of the Topeka government, and all serious danger
of revolutionary troubles in Kansas was then at an end.

The Lecompton constitution, which had been thus recognized at this State
election by the votes of both political parties in Kansas, was
transmitted to me with the request that I should present it to Congress.
This I could not have refused to do without violating my clearest and
strongest convictions of duty. The constitution and all the proceedings
which preceded and followed its formation were fair and regular on their
face. I then believed, and experience has proved, that the interests of
the people of Kansas would have been best consulted by its admission
as a State into the Union, especially as the majority within a brief
period could have amended the constitution according to their will and
pleasure. If fraud existed in all or any of these proceedings, it was
not for the President but for Congress to investigate and determine the
question of fraud and what ought to be its consequences. If at the first
two elections the majority refused to vote, it can not be pretended
that this refusal to exercise the elective franchise could invalidate
an election fairly held under lawful authority, even if they had not
subsequently voted at the third election. It is true that the whole
constitution had not been submitted to the people, as I always desired;
but the precedents are numerous of the admission of States into the
Union without such submission. It would not comport with my present
purpose to review the proceedings of Congress upon the Lecompton
constitution. It is sufficient to observe that their final action has
removed the last vestige of serious revolutionary troubles. The
desperate band recently assembled under a notorious outlaw in the
southern portion of the Territory to resist the execution of the laws
and to plunder peaceful citizens will, I doubt not, be speedily subdued
and brought to justice.

Had I treated the Lecompton constitution as a nullity and refused
to transmit it to Congress, it is not difficult to imagine, whilst
recalling the position of the country at that moment, what would have
been the disastrous consequences, both in and out of the Territory,
from such a dereliction of duty on the part of the Executive.

Peace has also been restored within the Territory of Utah, which at the
commencement of my Administration was in a state of open rebellion. This
was the more dangerous, as the people, animated by a fanatical spirit
and intrenched within their distant mountain fastnesses, might have made
a long and formidable resistance. Cost what it might, it was necessary
to bring them into subjection to the Constitution and the laws. Sound
policy, therefore, as well as humanity, required that this object should
if possible be accomplished without the effusion of blood. This could
only be effected by sending a military force into the Territory
sufficiently strong to convince the people that resistance would be
hopeless, and at the same time to offer them a pardon for past offenses
on condition of immediate submission to the Government. This policy was
pursued with eminent success, and the only cause for regret is the heavy
expenditure required to march a large detachment of the Army to that
remote region and to furnish it subsistence.

Utah is now comparatively peaceful and quiet, and the military force has
been withdrawn, except that portion of it necessary to keep the Indians
in check and to protect the emigrant trains on their way to our Pacific
possessions.

In my first annual message I promised to employ my best exertions in
cooperation with Congress to reduce the expenditures of the Government
within the limits of a wise and judicious economy. An overflowing
Treasury had produced habits of prodigality and extravagance which could
only be gradually corrected. The work required both time and patience.
I applied myself diligently to this task from the beginning and was
aided by the able and energetic efforts of the heads of the different
Executive Departments. The result of our labors in this good cause did
not appear in the sum total of our expenditures for the first two years,
mainly in consequence of the extraordinary expenditure necessarily
incurred in the Utah expedition and the very large amount of the
contingent expenses of Congress during this period. These greatly
exceeded the pay and mileage of the members. For the year ending June
30, 1858, whilst the pay and mileage amounted to $1,490,214, the
contingent expenses rose to $2,093,309.79; and for the year ending
June 30, 1859, whilst the pay and mileage amounted to $859,093.66, the
contingent expenses amounted to $1,431,565.78. I am happy, however,
to be able to inform you that during the last fiscal year, ending
June 30, 1860, the total expenditures of the Government in all its
branches--legislative, executive, and judicial--exclusive of the public
debt, were reduced to the sum of $55,402,465.46. This conclusively
appears from the books of the Treasury. In the year ending June 30,
1858, the total expenditure, exclusive of the public debt, amounted
to $71,901,129.77, and that for the year ending June 30, 1859, to
$66,346,226.13. Whilst the books of the Treasury show an actual
expenditure of $59,848,474.72 for the year ending June 30, 1860,
including $1,040,667.71 for the contingent expenses of Congress, there
must be deducted from this amount the sum of $4,296,009.26, with the
interest upon it of $150,000, appropriated by the act of February 15,
1860, "for the purpose of supplying the deficiency in the revenues and
defraying the expenses of the Post-Office Department for the year ending
June 30, 1859." This sum, therefore, justly chargeable to the year 1859,
must be deducted from the sum of $59,848,474.72 in order to ascertain
the expenditure for the year ending June 30, 1860, which leaves a
balance for the expenditures of that year of $55,402,465.46. The
interest on the public debt, including Treasury notes, for the same
fiscal year, ending June 30, 1860, amounted to $3,177,314.62, which,
added to the above sum of $55,402,465.46, makes the aggregate
of $58,579,780.08.

It ought in justice to be observed that several of the estimates from
the Departments for the year ending June 30, 1860, were reduced by
Congress below what was and still is deemed compatible with the public
interest. Allowing a liberal margin of $2,500,000 for this reduction and
for other causes, it may be safely asserted that the sum of $61,000,000,
or, at the most, $62,000,000, is amply sufficient to administer the
Government and to pay the interest on the public debt, unless contingent
events should hereafter render extraordinary expenditures necessary.

This result has been attained in a considerable degree by the care
exercised by the appropriate Departments in entering into public
contracts. I have myself never interfered with the award of any such
contract, except in a single case, with the Colonization Society,
deeming it advisable to cast the whole responsibility in each case on
the proper head of the Department, with the general instruction that
these contracts should always be given to the lowest and best bidder.
It has ever been my opinion that public contracts are not a legitimate
source of patronage to be conferred upon personal or political
favorites, but that in all such cases a public officer is bound to
act for the Government as a prudent individual would act for himself.

It is with great satisfaction I communicate the fact that since the date
of my last annual message not a single slave has been imported into
the United States in violation of the laws prohibiting the African
slave trade. This statement is founded upon a thorough examination and
investigation of the subject. Indeed, the spirit which prevailed some
time since among a portion of our fellow-citizens in favor of this
trade seems to have entirely subsided.

I also congratulate you upon the public sentiment which now exists
against the crime of setting on foot military expeditions within the
limits of the United States to proceed from thence and make war upon
the people of unoffending States with whom we are at peace. In this
respect a happy change has been effected since the commencement of my
Administration. It surely ought to be the prayer of every Christian
and patriot that such expeditions may never again receive countenance
in our country or depart from our shores.

It would be a useless repetition to do more than refer with earnest
commendation to my former recommendations in favor of the Pacific
railroad; of the grant of power to the President to employ the naval
force in the vicinity for the protection of the lives and property
of our fellow-citizens passing in transit over the different Central
American routes against sudden and lawless outbreaks and depredations,
and also to protect American merchant vessels, their crews and cargoes,
against violent and unlawful seizure and confiscation in the ports of
Mexico and the South American Republics when these may be in a disturbed
and revolutionary condition. It is my settled conviction that without
such a power we do not afford that protection to those engaged in the
commerce of the country which they have a right to demand.

I again recommend to Congress the passage of a law, in pursuance of
the provisions of the Constitution, appointing a day certain previous
to the 4th March in each year of an odd number for the election of
Representatives throughout all the States. A similar power has already
been exercised, with general approbation, in the appointment of the
same day throughout the Union for holding the election of electors for
President and Vice-President of the United States. My attention was
earnestly directed to this subject from the fact that the Thirty-fifth
Congress terminated on the 3d March, 1859, without making the necessary
appropriation for the service of the Post-Office Department. I was then
forced to consider the best remedy for this omission, and an immediate
call of the present Congress was the natural resort. Upon inquiry,
however, I ascertained that fifteen out of the thirty-three States
composing the Confederacy were without Representatives, and that
consequently these fifteen States would be disfranchised by such a call.
These fifteen States will be in the same condition on the 4th March
next. Ten of them can not elect Representatives, according to existing
State laws, until different periods, extending from the beginning
of August next until the months of October and November. In my last
message I gave warning that in a time of sudden and alarming danger
the salvation of our institutions might depend upon the power of the
President immediately to assemble a full Congress to meet the emergency.

It is now quite evident that the financial necessities of the Government
will require a modification of the tariff during your present session
for the purpose of increasing the revenue. In this aspect, I desire to
reiterate the recommendation contained in my last two annual messages
in favor of imposing specific instead of _ad valorem_ duties on all
imported articles to which these can be properly applied. From long
observation and experience I am convinced that specific duties
are necessary, both to protect the revenue and to secure to our
manufacturing interests that amount of incidental encouragement
which unavoidably results from a revenue tariff.

As an abstract proposition it may be admitted that _ad valorem_ duties
would in theory be the most just and equal. But if the experience of
this and of all other commercial nations has demonstrated that such
duties can not be assessed and collected without great frauds upon the
revenue, then it is the part of wisdom to resort to specific duties.
Indeed, from the very nature of an _ad valorem_ duty this must be the
result. Under it the inevitable consequence is that foreign goods will
be entered at less than their true value. The Treasury will therefore
lose the duty on the difference between their real and fictitious value,
and to this extent we are defrauded.

The temptations which _ad valorem_ duties present to a dishonest
importer are irresistible. His object is to pass his goods through the
custom-house at the very lowest valuation necessary to save them from
confiscation. In this he too often succeeds in spite of the vigilance,
of the revenue officers. Hence the resort to false invoices, one for the
purchaser and another for the custom-house, and to other expedients to
defraud the Government. The honest importer produces his invoice to the
collector, stating the actual price, at which he purchased the articles
abroad. Not so the dishonest importer and the agent of the foreign
manufacturer. And here it may be observed that a very large proportion
of the manufactures imported from abroad are consigned for sale to
commission merchants, who are mere agents employed by the manufacturers.
In such cases no actual sale has been made to fix their value. The
foreign manufacturer, if he be dishonest, prepares an invoice of the
goods, not at their actual value, but at the very lowest rate necessary
to escape detection. In this manner the dishonest importer and the
foreign manufacturer enjoy a decided advantage over the honest merchant.
They are thus enabled to undersell the fair trader and drive him from
the market. In fact the operation of this system has already driven from
the pursuits of honorable commerce many of that class of regular and
conscientious merchants whose character throughout the world is the
pride of our country.

The remedy for these evils, is to be found in specific duties, so
far as this may be practicable. They dispense with any inquiry at the
custom-house into the actual cost or value of the article, and it pays
the precise amount of duty previously fixed by law. They present no
temptations to the appraisers of foreign goods, who receive but small
salaries, and might by undervaluation in a few cases render themselves
independent.

Besides, specific duties best conform to the requisition in the
Constitution that "no preference shall be given by any regulation of
commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those of another."
Under our _ad valorem_ system such preferences are to some extent
inevitable, and complaints have often been made that the spirit of this
provision has been violated by a lower appraisement of the same articles
at one port than at another.

An impression strangely enough prevails to some extent that specific
duties are necessarily protective duties. Nothing can be more
fallacious. Great Britain glories in free trade, and yet her whole
revenue from imports is at the present moment collected under a system
of specific duties. It is a striking fact in this connection that in the
commercial treaty of January 23, 1860, between France and England one
of the articles provides that the _ad valorem_ duties which it imposes
shall be converted into specific duties within six months from its date,
and these are to be ascertained by making an average of the prices for
six months previous to that time. The reverse of the propositions would
be nearer to the truth, because a much larger amount of revenue would be
collected by merely converting the _ad valorem_ duties of a tariff into
equivalent specific duties. To this extent the revenue would be
increased, and in the same proportion the specific duty might be
diminished.

Specific duties would secure to the American manufacturer the incidental
protection to which he is fairly entitled under a revenue tariff, and to
this surely no person would object. The framers of the existing tariff
have gone further, and in a liberal spirit have discriminated in favor
of large and useful branches of our manufactures, not by raising the
rate of duty upon the importation of similar articles from abroad, but,
what is the same in effect, by admitting articles free of duty which
enter into the composition of their fabrics.

Under the present system it has been often truly remarked that this
incidental protection decreases when the manufacturer needs it most and
increases when he needs it least, and constitutes a sliding scale which
always operates against him. The revenues of the country are subject to
similar fluctuations. Instead of approaching a steady standard, as would
be the case under a system of specific duties, they sink and rise with
the sinking and rising prices of articles in foreign countries. It would
not be difficult for Congress to arrange a system of specific duties
which would afford additional stability both to our revenue and our
manufactures and without injury or injustice to any interest of the
country. This might be accomplished by ascertaining the average value of
any given article for a series of years at the place of exportation and
by simply converting the rate of _ad valorem_ duty upon it which might
be deemed necessary for revenue purposes into the form of a specific
duty. Such an arrangement could not injure the consumer. If he should
pay a greater amount of duty one year, this would be counterbalanced by
a lesser amount the next, and in the end the aggregate would be the
same.

I desire to call your immediate attention to the present condition
of the Treasury, so ably and clearly presented by the Secretary in
his report to Congress, and to recommend that measures be promptly
adopted to enable it to discharge its pressing obligations. The other
recommendations of the report are well worthy of your favorable
consideration.

I herewith transmit to Congress the reports of the Secretaries of War,
of the Navy, of the Interior, and of the Postmaster-General. The
recommendations and suggestions which they contain are highly valuable
and deserve your careful attention.

The report of the Postmaster-General details the circumstances under
which Cornelius Vanderbilt, on my request, agreed in the month of July
last to carry the ocean mails between our Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
Had he not thus acted this important intercommunication must have been
suspended, at least for a season. The Postmaster-General had no power
to make him any other compensation than the postages on the mail matter
which he might carry. It was known at the time that these postages would
fall far short of an adequate compensation, as well as of the sum which
the same service had previously cost the Government. Mr. Vanderbilt, in
a commendable spirit, was willing to rely upon the justice of Congress
to make up the deficiency, and I therefore recommend that an
appropriation may be granted for this purpose.

I should do great injustice to the Attorney-General were I to omit
the mention of his distinguished services in the measures adopted and
prosecuted by him for the defense of the Government against numerous and
unfounded claims to land in California purporting to have been made by
the Mexican Government previous to the treaty of cession. The successful
opposition to these claims has saved the United States public property
worth many millions of dollars and to individuals holding title under
them to at least an equal amount.

It has been represented to me from sources which I deem reliable that
the inhabitants in several portions of Kansas have been reduced nearly
to a state of starvation on account of the almost total failure of their
crops, whilst the harvests in every other portion of the country have
been abundant. The prospect before them for the approaching winter is
well calculated to enlist the sympathies of every heart. The destitution
appears to be so general that it can not be relieved by private
contributions, and they are in such indigent circumstances as to be
unable to purchase the necessaries of life for themselves. I refer the
subject to Congress, If any constitutional measure for their relief can
be devised, I would recommend its adoption.

I cordially commend to your favorable regard the interests of the people
of this District. They are eminently entitled to your consideration,
especially since, unlike the people of the States, they can appeal to
no government except that of the Union.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



SPECIAL MESSAGES.


WASHINGTON, _December 5, 1860_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit, for the consideration of the Senate with a view to
ratification, a convention for the adjustment of claims of citizens of
the United States against the Government of the Republic of Costa Rica,
signed by the plenipotentiaries of the contracting parties at San Jose
on the 2d day of July last.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _December 5, 1860_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th
of April last, requesting information concerning the African slave
trade, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents
by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 2, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, and for the
surrender of fugitive criminals, between the United States and the
Republic of Venezuela, signed at Caracas on the 27th of August last.

A similar treaty was concluded on the 10th July, 1856, was submitted
to the Senate, and was by a resolution of that body approved, with an
amendment, on the 10th March, 1857. Before this amendment could be laid
before the Government of Venezuela for acceptance a new minister of the
United States was accredited to that Government. Meantime the attention
of this Government had been drawn to the disadvantage which would result
to our citizens residing in Venezuela if the second article of the
treaty of 1856 were permitted to go into effect, the "pecuniary
equivalent" for exemption from military duty being an arbitrary and
generally an excessive sum. In view of this fact it was deemed
preferable to instruct our new minister to negotiate a new treaty which
should omit the objectionable second article and also the few words of
the twenty-eighth article which had been stricken out by the Senate.

With these changes, and with the addition of the last clause to the
twenty-seventh article, the treaty is the same as that already approved
by the Senate.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 8, 1861_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

At the opening of your present session I called your attention to the
dangers which threatened the existence of the Union. I expressed my
opinion freely concerning the original causes of those dangers, and
recommended such measures as I believed would have the effect of
tranquilizing the country and saving it from the peril in which it had
been needlessly and most unfortunately involved. Those opinions and
recommendations I do not propose now to repeat. My own convictions upon
the whole subject remain unchanged.

The fact that a great calamity was impending over the nation was even at
that time acknowledged by every intelligent citizen. It had already made
itself felt throughout the length and breadth of the land. The necessary
consequences of the alarm thus produced were most deplorable. The
imports fell off with a rapidity never known before, except in time
of war, in the history of our foreign commerce; the Treasury was
unexpectedly left without the means which it had reasonably counted upon
to meet the public engagements; trade was paralyzed; manufactures were
stopped; the best public securities suddenly sunk in the market; every
species of property depreciated more or less, and thousands of poor men
who depended upon their daily labor for their daily bread were turned
out of employment.

I deeply regret that I am not able to give you any information upon the
state of the Union which is more satisfactory than what I was then
obliged to communicate. On the contrary, matters are still worse at
present than they then were. When Congress met, a strong hope pervaded
the whole public mind that some amicable adjustment of the subject would
speedily be made by the representatives of the States and of the people
which might restore peace between the conflicting sections of the
country. That hope has been diminished by every hour of delay, and as
the prospect of a bloodless settlement fades away the public distress
becomes more and more aggravated. As evidence of this it is only
necessary to say that the Treasury notes authorized by the act of 17th
of December last were advertised according to the law and that no
responsible bidder offered to take any considerable sum at par at a
lower rate of interest than 12 per cent. From these facts it appears
that in a government organized like ours domestic strife, or even a
well-grounded fear of civil hostilities, is more destructive to our
public and private interests than the most formidable foreign war.

In my annual message I expressed the conviction, which I have long
deliberately held, and which recent reflection has only tended to deepen
and confirm, that no State has a right by its own act to secede from the
Union or throw off its federal obligations at pleasure. I also declared
my opinion to be that even if that right existed and should be exercised
by any State of the Confederacy the executive department of this
Government had no authority under the Constitution to recognize its
validity by acknowledging the independence of such State. This left me
no alternative, as the chief executive officer under the Constitution of
the United States, but to collect the public revenues and to protect the
public property so far as this might be practicable under existing laws.
This is still my purpose. My province is to execute and not to make the
laws. It belongs to Congress exclusively to repeal, to modify, or to
enlarge their provisions to meet exigencies as they may occur. I possess
no dispensing power.

I certainly had no right to make aggressive war upon any State, and
I am perfectly satisfied that the Constitution has wisely withheld that
power even from Congress. But the right and the duty to use military
force defensively against those who resist the Federal officers in the
execution of their legal functions and against those who assail the
property of the Federal Government is clear and undeniable.

But the dangerous and hostile attitude of the States toward each other
has already far transcended and cast in the shade the ordinary executive
duties already provided for by law, and has assumed such vast and
alarming proportions as to place the subject entirely above and beyond
Executive control. The fact can not be disguised that we are in the
midst of a great revolution. In all its various bearings, therefore,
I commend the question to Congress as the only human tribunal under
Providence possessing the power to meet the existing emergency. To
them exclusively belongs the power to declare war or to authorize
the employment of military force in all cases contemplated by the
Constitution, and they alone possess the power to remove grievances
which might lead to war and to secure peace and union to this distracted
country. On them, and on them alone, rests the responsibility.

The Union is a sacred trust left by our Revolutionary fathers to their
descendants, and never did any other people inherit so rich a legacy.
It has rendered us prosperous in peace and triumphant in war. The
national flag has floated in glory over every sea. Under its shadow
American citizens have found protection and respect in all lands beneath
the sun. If we descend to considerations of purely material interest,
when in the history of all time has a confederacy been bound together
by such strong ties of mutual interest? Each portion of it is dependent
on all and all upon each portion for prosperity and domestic security.
Free trade throughout the whole supplies the wants of one portion from
the productions of another and scatters wealth everywhere. The great
planting and farming States require the aid of the commercial and
navigating States to send their productions to domestic and foreign
markets and to furnish the naval power to render their transportation
secure against all hostile attacks.

Should the Union perish in the midst of the present excitement, we have
already had a sad foretaste of the universal suffering which would
result from its destruction. The calamity would be severe in every
portion of the Union and would be quite as great, to say the least, in
the Southern as in the Northern States. The greatest aggravation of the
evil, and that which would place us in the most unfavorable light both
before the world and posterity, is, as I am firmly convinced, that the
secession movement has been chiefly based upon a misapprehension at the
South of the sentiments of the majority in several of the Northern
States. Let the question be transferred from political assemblies to
the ballot box, and the people themselves would speedily redress the
serious grievances which the South have suffered. But, in Heaven's name,
let the trial be made before we plunge into armed conflict upon the
mere assumption that there is no other alternative. Time is a great
conservative power. Let us pause at this momentous point and afford the
people, both North and South, an opportunity for reflection. Would that
South Carolina had been convinced of this truth before her precipitate
action! I therefore appeal through you to the people of the country to
declare in their might that the Union must and shall be preserved by
all constitutional means. I most earnestly recommend that you devote
yourselves exclusively to the question how this can be accomplished
in peace. All other questions, when compared to this, sink into
insignificance. The present is no time for palliations. Action, prompt
action, is required. A delay in Congress to prescribe or to recommend
a distinct and practical proposition for conciliation may drive us to
a point from which it will be almost impossible to recede.

A common ground on which conciliation and harmony can be produced is
surely not unattainable. The proposition to compromise by letting the
North have exclusive control of the territory above a certain line
and to give Southern institutions protection below that line ought to
receive universal approbation. In itself, indeed, it may not be entirely
satisfactory, but when the alternative is between a reasonable
concession on both sides and a destruction of the Union it is an
imputation upon the patriotism of Congress to assert that its members
will hesitate for a moment.

Even now the danger is upon us. In several of the States which have not
yet seceded the forts, arsenals, and magazines of the United States have
been seized. This is by far the most serious step which has been taken
since the commencement of the troubles. This public property has long
been left without garrisons and troops for its protection, because no
person doubted its security under the flag of the country in any State
of the Union. Besides, our small Army has scarcely been sufficient to
guard our remote frontiers against Indian incursions. The seizure of
this property, from all appearances, has been purely aggressive, and not
in resistance to any attempt to coerce a State or States to remain in
the Union.

At the beginning of these unhappy troubles I determined that no act of
mine should increase the excitement in either section of the country. If
the political conflict were to end in a civil war, it was my determined
purpose not to commence it nor even to furnish an excuse for it by any
act of this Government. My opinion remains unchanged that justice as
well as sound policy requires us still to seek a peaceful solution of
the questions at issue between the North and the South. Entertaining
this conviction, I refrained even from sending reenforcements to Major
Anderson, who commanded the forts in Charleston Harbor, until an
absolute necessity for doing so should make itself apparent, lest it
might unjustly be regarded as a menace of military coercion, and thus
furnish, if not a provocation, at least a pretext for an outbreak on the
part of South Carolina. No necessity for these reenforcements seemed to
exist. I was assured by distinguished and upright gentlemen of South
Carolina that no attack upon Major Anderson was intended, but that, on
the contrary, it was the desire of the State authorities as much as it
was my own to avoid the fatal consequences which must eventually follow
a military collision.

And here I deem it proper to submit for your information copies of
a communication, dated December 28, 1860, addressed to me by R.W.
Barnwell, J.H. Adams, and James L. Orr, "commissioners" from South
Carolina, with the accompanying documents, and copies of my answer
thereto, dated December 31.

In further explanation of Major Anderson's removal from Fort Moultrie
to Fort Sumter, it is proper to state that after my answer to the South
Carolina "commissioners" the War Department received a letter from that
gallant officer, dated on the 27th of December, 1860, the day after this
movement, from which the following is an extract:

I will add as my opinion that many things convinced me that the
authorities of the State designed to proceed to a hostile act.

Evidently referring to the orders, dated December 11, of the late
Secretary of War.

Under this impression I could not hesitate that it was my solemn duty to
move my command from a fort which we could not probably have held longer
than forty-eight or sixty hours to this one, where my power of
resistance is increased to a very great degree.

It will be recollected that the concluding part of these orders was in
the following terms:

The smallness of your force will not permit you, perhaps, to occupy
more than one of the three forts, but an attack on or attempt to
take possession of either one of them will be regarded as an act of
hostility, and you may then put your command into either of them which
you may deem most proper to increase its power of resistance. You are
also authorized to take similar defensive steps whenever you have
tangible evidence of a design to proceed to a hostile act.

It is said that serious apprehensions are to some extent entertained (in
which I do not share) that the peace of this District may be disturbed
before the 4th of March next. In any event, it will be my duty to
preserve it, and this duty shall be performed.

In conclusion it may be permitted to me to remark that I have often
warned my countrymen of the dangers which now surround us. This may be
the last time I shall refer to the subject officially. I feel that my
duty has been faithfully, though it may be imperfectly, performed, and,
whatever the result may be, I shall carry to my grave the consciousness
that I at least meant well for my country.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 15, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate passed on the 10th
instant, requesting me to inform that body, if not incompatible with the
public interest, "whether John B. Floyd, whose appointment as Secretary
of War was confirmed by the Senate on the 6th of March, 1857, still
continues to hold said office, and, if not, when and how said office
became vacant; and, further, to inform the Senate how and by whom the
duties of said office are now discharged, and, if an appointment of an
acting or provisional Secretary of War has been made, how, when, and by
what authority it was so made, and why the fact of said appointment has
not been communicated to the Senate," I have to inform the Senate that
John B. Floyd, the late Secretary of the War Department, resigned that
office on the 29th day of December last, and that on the 1st day of
January instant Joseph Holt was authorized by me to perform the duties
of the said office until a successor should be appointed or the vacancy
filled. Under this authority the duties of the War Department have been
performed by Mr. Holt from the day last mentioned to the present time.

The power to carry on the business of the Government by means of a
provisional appointment when a vacancy occurs is expressly given by the
act of February 13, 1795, which enacts--

  That in case of vacancy in the office of Secretary of State,
  Secretary of the Treasury, or of the Secretary of the Department
  of War, or of any officer of either of the said Departments whose
  appointment is not in the head thereof, whereby they can not perform
  the duties of their respective offices, it shall be lawful for the
  President of the United States, in case he shall think it necessary,
  to authorize any person or persons, at his discretion, to perform the
  duties of the said respective offices until a successor be appointed
  or such vacancy be filled: _Provided_, That no one vacancy shall be
  supplied in manner aforesaid for a longer period than six months.


It is manifest that if the power which this law gives had been withheld
the public interest would frequently suffer very serious detriment.
Vacancies may occur at any time in the most important offices which can
not be immediately and permanently filled in a manner satisfactory to
the appointing power. It was wise to make a provision which would enable
the President to avoid a total suspension of business in the interval,
and equally wise so to limit the Executive discretion as to prevent any
serious abuse of it. This is what the framers of the act of 1795 did,
and neither the policy nor the constitutional validity of their law has
been questioned for sixty-five years.

The practice of making such appointments, whether in a vacation or
during the session of Congress, has been constantly followed during
every Administration from the earliest period of the Government, and its
perfect lawfulness has never to my knowledge been questioned or denied.
Without going back further than the year 1829, and without taking into
the calculation any but the chief officers of the several Departments,
it will be found that provisional appointments to fill vacancies were
made to the number of 179 from the commencement of General Jackson's
Administration to the close of General Pierce's. This number would
probably be greatly increased if all the cases which occurred in the
subordinate offices and bureaus were added to the count. Some of them
were made while the Senate was in session; some which were made in
vacation were continued in force long after the Senate assembled.
Sometimes the temporary officer was the commissioned head of another
Department, sometimes a subordinate in the same Department. Sometimes
the affairs of the Navy Department have been directed _ad interim_ by a
commodore and those of the War Department by a general. In most, if not
all, of the cases which occurred previous to 1852 it is believed that
the compensation provided by law for the officer regularly commissioned
was paid to the person who discharged the duties _ad interim_. To give
the Senate a more detailed and satisfactory view of the subject, I send
the accompanying tabular statement, certified by the Secretary of State,
in which the instances are all set forth in which provisional as well as
permanent appointments were made to the highest executive offices from
1829 nearly to the present time, with their respective dates.

It must be allowed that these precedents, so numerous and so long
continued, are entitled to great respect, since we can scarcely suppose
that the wise and eminent men by whom they were made could have been
mistaken on a point which was brought to their attention so often. Still
less can it be supposed that any of them willfully violated the law or
the Constitution.

The lawfulness of the practice rests upon the exigencies of the public
service, which require that the movements of the Government shall not be
arrested by an accidental vacancy in one of the Departments; upon an act
of Congress expressly and plainly giving and regulating the power, and
upon long and uninterrupted usage of the Executive, which has never been
challenged as illegal by Congress.

This answers the inquiry of the Senate so far as it is necessary to show
"how and by whom the duties of said office are now discharged." Nor is
it necessary to explain further than I have done "how, when, and by what
authority" the provisional appointment has been made; but the resolution
makes the additional inquiry "_why_ the fact of said appointment has not
been communicated to the Senate,"

I take it for granted that the Senate did not mean to call for the
reasons upon which I acted in performing an Executive duty nor to demand
an account of the motives which governed me in an act which the law and
the Constitution left to my own discretion. It is sufficient, therefore,
for that part of the resolution to say that a provisional or temporary
appointment like that in question is not required by law to be
communicated to the Senate, and that there is no instance on record
where such communication ever has been made.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 22, 1861_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives a communication from
the Secretary of the Navy, with accompanying reports, of the persons who
were sent to the Isthmus of Chiriqui to make the examinations required
by the fifth section of the act making appropriations for the naval
service, approved June 22, 1860.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 24, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 19th instant,
requesting a copy of correspondence between the Department of State and
ministers of foreign powers at Washington in regard to foreign vessels
in Charleston, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the
documents by which it was accompanied.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _January 28, 1861_.

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

I deem it my duty to submit to Congress a series of resolutions adopted
by the legislature of Virginia on the 19th instant, having in view a
peaceful settlement of the exciting questions which now threaten the
Union. They were delivered to me on Thursday, the 24th instant, by
ex-President Tyler, who has left his dignified and honored retirement in
the hope that he may render service to his country in this its hour of
peril. These resolutions, it will be perceived, extend an invitation
"to all such States, whether slaveholding or nonslaveholding, as are
willing to unite with Virginia in an earnest effort to adjust the
present unhappy controversies in the spirit in which the Constitution
was originally formed, and consistently with its principles, so as to
afford to the people of the slaveholding States adequate guaranties
for the securities of their rights, to appoint commissioners to meet,
on the 4th day of February next, in the city of Washington, similar
commissioners appointed by Virginia, to consider and, if practicable,
agree upon some suitable adjustment."

I confess I hail this movement on the part of Virginia with great
satisfaction. From the past history of this ancient and renowned
Commonwealth we have the fullest assurance that what she has undertaken
she will accomplish if it can be done by able, enlightened, and
persevering efforts. It is highly gratifying to know that other
patriotic States have appointed and are appointing commissioners to meet
those of Virginia in council. When assembled, they will constitute a
body entitled in an eminent degree to the confidence of the country.

The general assembly of Virginia have also resolved--

  That ex-President John Tyler is hereby appointed, by the concurrent
  vote of each branch of the general assembly, a commissioner to the
  President of the United States, and Judge John Robertson is hereby
  appointed, by a like vote, a commissioner to the State of South
  Carolina and the other States that have seceded or shall secede, with
  instructions respectfully to request the President of the United States
  and the authorities of such States to agree to abstain, pending the
  proceedings contemplated by the action of this general assembly, from
  any and all acts calculated to produce a collision of arms between the
  States and the Government of the United States.


However strong may be my desire to enter into such an agreement, I am
convinced that I do not possess the power. Congress, and Congress alone,
under the war-making power, can exercise the discretion of agreeing to
abstain "from any and all acts calculated to produce a collision of
arms" between this and any other government. It would therefore be a
usurpation for the Executive to attempt to restrain their hands by an
agreement in regard to matters over which he has no constitutional
control. If he were thus to act, they might pass laws which he should be
bound to obey, though in conflict with his agreement.

Under existing circumstances, my present actual power is confined within
narrow limits. It is my duty at all times to defend and protect the
public property within the seceding States so far as this may be
practicable, and especially to employ all constitutional means to
protect the property of the United States and to preserve the public
peace at this the seat of the Federal Government. If the seceding States
abstain "from any and all acts calculated to produce a collision of
arms," then the danger so much to be deprecated will no longer exist.
Defense, and not aggression, has been the policy of the Administration
from the beginning.

But whilst I can enter into no engagement such as that proposed, I
cordially commend to Congress, with much confidence that it will meet
their approbation, to abstain from passing any law calculated to produce
a collision of arms pending the proceedings contemplated by the action
of the general assembly of Virginia. I am one of those who will never
despair of the Republic. I yet cherish the belief that the American
people will perpetuate the Union of the States on some terms just and
honorable for all sections of the country. I trust that the mediation of
Virginia may be the destined means, under Providence, of accomplishing
this inestimable benefit. Glorious as are the memories of her past
history, such an achievement, both in relation to her own fame and the
welfare of the whole country, would surpass them all.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _January 30, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I have received the resolution of the Senate of the 24th instant,
requesting the return to that body of the convention between the United
States and the Republic of Venezuela on the subject of the Aves Island.
That instrument is consequently herewith returned. It was approved by
the Senate on the 24th June last with the following amendment:

Article III: Strike out this article, in the following words:

  In consideration of the above agreement and indemnification, the
  Government of the United States and the individuals in whose behalf they
  have been made agree to desist from all further reclamation respecting
  the island of Aves, abandoning to the Republic of Venezuela whatever
  rights might pertain to them.


The amendment does not seem necessary to secure any right either of the
United States or of any American citizen claiming under them. Neither
the Government nor the citizens in whose behalf the convention has been
concluded have any further claims upon the island of Aves. Nor is it
known or believed that there are any claims against the Government of
Venezuela having any connection with that island other than those
provided for in this convention. I therefore recommend the
reconsideration of the subject.

No steps have yet been taken toward making known to the Venezuelan
Government the conditional approval of the convention by the Senate.
This might have been necessary if the instrument had stipulated for a
ratification in the usual form and it had been ratified accordingly.
Inasmuch, however, as the convention contains no such stipulation, and
as some of the installments had been paid according to its terms, it has
been deemed preferable to suspend further proceedings in regard to it,
especially as it was not deemed improbable that the Senate might request
it to be returned. This anticipation has been realized.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 5, 1861_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I have received from the governor of Kentucky certain resolutions
adopted by the general assembly of that Commonwealth, containing an
application to Congress for the call of a convention for proposing
amendments to the Constitution of the United States, with a request that
I should immediately place the same before that body. It affords me
great satisfaction to perform this duty, and I feel quite confident that
Congress will bestow upon these resolutions the careful consideration to
which they are eminently entitled on account of the distinguished and
patriotic source from which they proceed, as well as the great
importance of the subject which they involve.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 8, 1861_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives_:

I deemed it a duty to transmit to Congress with my message of the 8th of
January the correspondence which occurred in December last between the
"commissioners" of South Carolina and myself.

Since that period, on the 14th of January, Colonel Isaac W. Hayne, the
attorney-general of South Carolina, called and informed me that he was
the bearer of a letter from Governor Pickens to myself which he would
deliver the next day. He was, however, induced by the interposition of
Hon. Jefferson Davis and nine other Senators from the seceded and
seceding States not to deliver it on the day appointed, nor was it
communicated to me until the 31st of January, with his letter of that
date. Their letter to him urging this delay bears date January 15, and
was the commencement of a correspondence, the whole of which in my
possession I now submit to Congress. A reference to each letter of the
series in proper order accompanies this message.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON CITY, _February 12, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith submit to the Senate, for their advice, the proceedings and
award of the commissioners under the convention between the United
States of America and the Republic of Paraguay, proclaimed by the
President on the 12th of March, 1860. It is decided by the award of
these commissioners that "the United States and Paraguay Navigation
Company have not proved or established any right to damages upon their
said claim against the Government of the Republic of Paraguay, and that
upon the proofs aforesaid the said Government is not responsible to the
said company in any damages or pecuniary compensation whatever in all
the premises."

The question arises, Had the commissioners authority under the
convention to make such an award, or were they not confined to the
assessment of damages which the company had sustained from the
Government of Paraguay?

Our relations with that Republic had for years been of a most
unsatisfactory character. They had been investigated by the preceding
and by the present Administration. The latter came to the conclusion
that both the interest and honor of the country required that our rights
against that Government for their attack on the _Water Witch_ and for
the injuries they had inflicted on this company should, if necessary, be
enforced. Accordingly, the President in his annual message of December,
1857, called the attention of Congress to the subject in the following
language:

A demand for these purposes will be made in a firm but conciliatory
spirit. This will the more probably be granted if the Executive shall
have authority to use other means in the event of a refusal. This is
accordingly recommended.

After due deliberation, Congress, on the 2d of June, 1858, authorized
the President "to adopt such measures and use such force as in his
judgment may be necessary and advisable" in the premises. A commissioner
was accordingly appointed and a force fitted out and dispatched to
Paraguay for the purpose, if necessary, of enforcing atonement for these
wrongs.

The expedition appeared in the waters of the La Plata and our
commissioner succeeded in concluding a treaty and convention embracing
both branches of our demand. The convention of indemnity was signed on
the 4th of February, 1859. The preamble of this convention refers to the
interruption for a time of the good understanding and harmony between
the two nations which has rendered that distant armament necessary.
By the first article the Government of Paraguay "binds itself for the
responsibility in favor of the United States and Paraguay Navigation
Company which may result from the decree of commissioners" to be
appointed in the manner provided by article 2. This was in accordance
with the instructions to our commissioner, who was told that an
indispensable preliminary to the negotiation would, "of course, be an
acknowledgment on the part of the Paraguayan Government of its liability
to the company." The first paragraph of this second article clearly
specifies the object of the convention. This was not to ascertain
whether the claim was just, to enforce which we had sent a fleet to
Paraguay, but to constitute a commission to "determine," not the
existence, but "the amount, of said reclamations." The final paragraph
provides that "the two commissioners named in the said manner shall meet
in the city of Washington to investigate, adjust, and _determine the
amount_ of the claims of the above-mentioned company upon sufficient
proofs of the charges and defenses of the contending parties." By the
fifth article the Government of Paraguay "binds itself to pay to the
Government of the United States of America, in the city of Assumption,
Paraguay, thirty days after presentation to the Government of the
Republic, the draft which that of the United States of America shall
issue for the amount for which the two commissioners concurring, or
by the umpire, shall declare it responsible to the said company."

The act of Congress of May 16, 1860, employs the same language that
is used in the convention, "to investigate, adjust, and determine the
amount" of the claims against Paraguay. Congress, not doubting that an
award would be made in favor of the company for some certain amount
of damages, in the sixth section of the act referred to provides that
the money paid out of the Treasury for the expenses of the commission
"shall be retained by the United States out of the money" (not any
money) "that may, pursuant to the terms of said convention, be received
from Paraguay."

After all this had been done, after we had fitted out a warlike
expedition in part to obtain satisfaction for this very claim, after
these solemn acts had been performed by the two Republics, the
commissioners have felt themselves competent to decide that they could
go behind the action of the legislative and executive branches of this
Government and determine that there was no justice in the original
claim. A commissioner of Paraguay might have been a proper person to
act merely in assessing the amount of damages when an arbiter had been
provided to decide between him and the commissioner on the part of the
United States, but to have authorized him to decide upon the original
justice of the claim against his own Government would have been a
novelty. The American commissioner is as pure and honest a man as
I have ever known, but I think he took a wrong view of his powers
under the convention.

The principle of the liability of Paraguay having been established by
the highest political acts of the United States and that Republic in
their sovereign capacity, the commissioners, who would seem to have
misapprehended their powers, have investigated and undertaken to decide
whether the Government of the United States was right or wrong in
the authority which they gave to make war if necessary to secure the
indemnity. Governments may be, and doubtless often have been, wrong
in going to war to enforce claims; but after this has been done, and
the inquiry which led to the reclamations has been acknowledged by the
Government that inflicted it, it does not appear to me to be competent
for commissioners authorized to ascertain the indemnity for the injury
to go behind their authority and decide upon the original merits of the
claim for which the war was made. If a commissioner were appointed under
a convention to ascertain the damage sustained by an American citizen in
consequence of the capture of a vessel admitted by the foreign
government to be illegal, and he should go behind the convention and
decide that the original capture was a lawful prize, it would certainly
be regarded as an extraordinary assumption of authority.

The present appears to me to be a case of this character, and for these
reasons I have deemed it advisable to submit the whole subject for the
consideration of the Senate.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

The treaty concluded between Great Britain and the United States on
the 15th of June, 1846, provided in its first article that the line of
boundary between the territories of Her Britannic Majesty and those of
the United States from the point on the forty-ninth parallel of north
latitude up to which it had already been ascertained should be continued
westward along the said parallel "to the middle of the channel which
separates the continent from Vancouvers Island, and thence southerly
through the middle of said channel and of Fucas Straits to the Pacific
Ocean." When the commissioners appointed by the two Governments to
mark the boundary line came to that point of it which is required to
run southerly through the channel which divides the continent from
Vancouvers Island, they differed entirely in their opinions, not only
concerning the true point of deflection from the forty-ninth parallel,
but also as to the channel intended to be designated in the treaty.
After a long-continued and very able discussion of the subject, which
produced no result, they reported their disagreement to their respective
Governments. Since that time the two Governments, through their
ministers here and at London, have had a voluminous correspondence
on the point in controversy, each sustaining the view of its own
commissioner and neither yielding in any degree to the claims of the
other. In the meantime the unsettled condition of this affair has
produced some serious local disturbances, and on one occasion at least
has threatened to destroy the harmonious relations existing between
Great Britain and the United States. The island of San Juan will fall
to the United States if our construction of the treaty be right, while
if the British interpretation be adopted it will be on their side of
the line. That island is an important possession to this country, and
valuable for agricultural as well as military purposes. I am convinced
that it is ours by the treaty fairly and impartially construed. But
argument has been exhausted on both sides without increasing the
probability of final adjustment. On the contrary, each party seems now
to be more convinced than at first of the justice of its own demands.
There is but one mode left of settling the dispute, and that is by
submitting it to the arbitration of some friendly and impartial power.
Unless this be done, the two countries are exposed to the constant
danger of a collision which may end in war.

It is under these circumstances that the British Government, through its
minister here, has proposed the reference of the matter in controversy
to the King of Sweden and Norway, the King of the Netherlands, or to the
Republic of the Swiss Confederation. Before accepting this proposition
I have thought it right to take the advice of the Senate.

The precise questions which I submit are these: Will the Senate approve
a treaty referring to either of the sovereign powers above named the
dispute now existing between the Governments of the United States and
Great Britain concerning the boundary line between Vancouvers Island and
the American continent? In case the referee shall find himself unable to
decide where the line is by the description of it in the treaty of 15th
June, 1846, shall he be authorized to establish a line according to the
treaty as nearly as possible? Which of the three powers named by Great
Britain as an arbiter shall be chosen by the United States?

All important papers bearing on the questions are herewith communicated
in the originals. Their return to the Department of State is requested
when the Senate shall have disposed of the subject.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 23, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolutions of the Senate of the 17th and 18th
February, 1858, requesting information upon the subject of the Aves
Island, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the
documents which accompanied it.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 23, 1861_.

Hon. JOHN C. BRECKINRIDGE,

_President of the Senate_.

SIR: Herewith I inclose, for constitutional action of the Senate thereon
should it approve the same, supplemental articles of agreement made and
concluded with the authorities of the Delaware Indians on the 21st July
last, with a view to the abrogation of the sixth article of the treaty
of May 30, 1860.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 23, 1861_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives adopted on the
11th instant, respecting the seizure of the mint at New Orleans, with
a large amount of money therein, by the authorities of the State of
Louisiana, the refusal of the branch mint to pay drafts of the United
States, etc., I have to state that all the information within my
possession or power on these subjects was communicated to the House by
the Secretary of the Treasury on the 21st instant, and was prepared
under the resolution above referred to and a resolution of the same
date addressed to himself.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 25th instant,
requesting information relative to the extradition of one Anderson, a
man of color, charged with the commission of murder in the State of
Missouri, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the
documents by which it was accompanied. The dispatch of Mr. Dallas being
in the original, its return to the Department of State is requested.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 1, 1861_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to their resolution of the 11th instant [ultimo], "that the
President of the United States furnish to the House, if not incompatible
with the public service, the reasons that have induced him to assemble
so large a number of troops in this city, and why they are kept here;
and whether he has any information of a conspiracy upon the part of any
portion of the citizens of this country to seize upon the capital and
prevent the inauguration of the President elect," the President submits
that the number of troops assembled in this city is not large, as the
resolution presupposes, its total amount being 653 men exclusive of
the marines, who are, of course, at the navy-yard as their appropriate
station. These troops were ordered here to act as a _posse comitatus_,
in strict subordination to the civil authority, for the purpose of
preserving peace and order in the city of Washington should this be
necessary before or at the period of the inauguration of the President
elect.

Since the date of the resolution Hon. Mr. Howard, from the select
committee, has made a report to the House on this subject. It was
thoroughly investigated by the committee, and although they have
expressed the opinion that the evidence before them does not prove the
existence of a secret organization here or elsewhere hostile to the
Government that has for its object, upon its own responsibility, an
attack upon the capital or any of the public property here, or an
interruption of any of the functions of the Government, yet the House
laid upon the table by a very large majority a resolution expressing the
opinion "that the regular troops now in this city ought to be forthwith
removed therefrom." This of itself was a sufficient reason for not
withdrawing the troops.

But what was the duty of the President at the time the troops
were ordered to this city? Ought he to have waited before this
precautionary measure was adopted until he could obtain proof that
a secret organization existed to seize the capital? In the language
of the select committee, this was "in a time of high excitement
consequent upon revolutionary events transpiring all around us, the very
air filled with rumors and individuals indulging in the most extravagant
expressions of fears and threats." Under these and other circumstances,
which I need not detail, but which appear in the testimony before the
select committee, I was convinced that I ought to act. The safety of the
immense amount of public property in this city and that of the archives
of the Government, in which all the States, and especially the new
States in which the public lands are situated, have a deep interest; the
peace and order of the city itself and the security of the inauguration
of the President elect, were objects of such vast importance to the
whole country that I could not hesitate to adopt precautionary defensive
measures. At the present moment, when all is quiet, it is difficult to
realize the state of alarm which prevailed when the troops were first
ordered to this city. This almost instantly subsided after the arrival
of the first company, and a feeling of comparative peace and security
has since existed both in Washington and throughout the country. Had
I refused to adopt this precautionary measure, and evil consequences,
which many good men at the time apprehended, had followed, I should
never have forgiven myself.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



WASHINGTON, _March 2, 1861_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I deem it proper to invite the attention of the Senate to the fact that
with this day expires the limitation of time for the exchange of the
ratifications of the treaty with Costa Rica of 2d July, 1860.

The minister of that Republic is disappointed in not having received
the copy intended for exchange, and the period will lapse without the
possibility of carrying out the provisions of the convention in this
respect.

I submit, therefore, the expediency of the passage of a resolution
authorizing the exchange of ratifications at such time as may be
convenient, the limitations of the ninth article to the contrary
notwithstanding.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



VETO MESSAGE.


WASHINGTON CITY, _January 25, 1861_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I return with my objections to the House, in which it originated, the
bill entitled "An act for the relief of Hockaday & Leggit," presented to
me on the 15th instant.

This bill appropriates $59,576 "to Hockaday & Leggit, in full payment
for damages sustained by them in reduction of pay for carrying the mails
on route No. 8911; and that said amount be paid to William Leggit for
and on account of Hockaday & Leggit, and for their benefit."

A bill containing the same language, with the single exception that the
sum appropriated therein was $40,000 instead of $59,576, passed both
Houses of Congress at their last session; but it was presented to me
at so late a period of the session that I could not examine its merits
before the time fixed for the adjournment, and it therefore, under
the Constitution, failed to become a law. The increase of the sum
appropriated in the present bill over that in the bill of the last
session, being within a fraction of $20,000, has induced me to examine
the question with some attention, and I find that the bill involves an
important principle, which if established by Congress may take large
sums out of the Treasury.

It appears that on the 1st day of April, 1858, John M. Hockaday entered
into a contract with the Postmaster-General for transporting the mail
on route No. 8911, from St. Joseph, Mo., by Fort Kearney, Nebraska
Territory, and Fort Leavenworth, to Salt Lake City, for the sum of
$190,000 per annum for a weekly service. The service was to commence on
the 1st day of May, 1858, and to terminate on the 30th November, 1860.
By this contract the Postmaster-General reserved to himself the right
"to reduce the service to semimonthly whenever the necessities of the
public and the condition of affairs in the Territory of Utah may not
require it more frequently." And again:

  That the Postmaster-General may discontinue or curtail the service, in
  whole or in part, in order to place on the route a greater degree of
  service, or whenever the public interests require such discontinuance
  for any other cause, he allowing one month's extra pay on the amount of
  service dispensed with.


On the 11th April, 1859, the Postmaster-General curtailed the service,
which he had a clear right to do under the contract, to semimonthly,
with an annual deduction of $65,000, leaving the compensation $125,000
for twenty-four trips per year instead of $190,000 for fifty-two trips.
This curtailment was not to take effect till the 1st of July, 1859.

At the time the contract was made it was expected that the army in
Utah might be engaged in active operations, and hence the necessity of
frequent communications between the War Department and that Territory.
The reservation of the power to curtail the service to semimonthly trips
itself proves that the parties had in view the contingency of such
curtailment "whenever the necessities of the public and the condition of
affairs in the Territory of Utah may not require it more frequently."

Before the Postmaster-General ordered this curtailment he had an
interview with the Secretary of War upon the subject, in the course of
which the Secretary agreed that a weekly mail to St. Joseph and Salt
Lake City was no longer needed for the purposes of the Government--this,
evidently, because the trouble in Utah had ended.

Mr. Hockaday faithfully complied with his contract, and the full
compensation was paid, at the rate of $190,000 per annum, up to the
1st July, 1859, and "one month's extra pay on the amount of service
dispensed with," according to the contract.

Previous to that date, as has been already stated, on the 14th of
April, 1859, the Postmaster-General curtailed the service to twice per
month, and on the 11th May, 1859, Messrs. Hockaday & Co. assigned the
contract to Jones, Russell & Co. for a bonus of $50,000. Their property
connected with the route was to be appraised, which was effected, and
they received on this account about $94,000, making the whole amount
about $144,000.

There is no doubt that the contractors have sustained considerable loss
in the whole transaction. The amount I shall not pretend to decide,
whether $40,000 or $59,576, or any other sum.

It will be for Congress to consider whether the precedent established
by this bill will not in effect annul all restrictions contained in the
mail contracts enabling the Postmaster-General to reduce or curtail the
postal service according to the public exigencies as they may arise.
I have no other solicitude upon the subject. I am informed that there
are many cases in the Post-Office Department depending upon the same
principle.

JAMES BUCHANAN.



PROCLAMATION.


BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A PROCLAMATION.


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

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

[SEAL.]

Given under my hand and the seal of the United States, at Washington,
the 11th day of February, A.D. 1861, and of the Independence of the
United States the eighty-fifth.

JAMES BUCHANAN.

By the President:
  J.S. BLACK,
    _Secretary of State_.





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