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´╗┐Title: State of the Union Addresses
Author: Buchanan, James
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "State of the Union Addresses" ***

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State of the Union Addresses of James Buchanan



The addresses are separated by three asterisks: ***

Dates of addresses by James Buchanan in this eBook:

  December 8, 1857
  December 6, 1858
  December 19, 1859
  December 3, 1860



***

State of the Union Address
James Buchanan
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 overissue. 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 Moral, 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 rounded, 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 rounded 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 front 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, rounded, 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 requited 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.

***

State of the Union Address
James Buchanan
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 has 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 dissentions
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 interoceanic 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 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 all 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 pointed 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.

***

State of the Union Address
James Buchanan
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 Peit-sang. 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 Miramort, 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 Miramort 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 dearly 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 rounded, 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 he 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.

***

State of the Union Address
James Buchanan
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 laud. 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 fight 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 rounded 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 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 rounded 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
beatings. 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 rounded 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 offending 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 Senor 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 comitatus 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 hand 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 rounded 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.





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