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

Part 2 out of 11

or might exert its just powers too hastily or oppressively, yet it is
a power which ought to be most cautiously exerted, and perhaps never
except in a case eminently involving the public interest or one in which
the oath of the President, acting under his convictions, both mental
and moral, imperiously requires its exercise. In such a case he has no
alternative. He must either exert the negative power intrusted to him
by the Constitution chiefly for its own preservation, protection, and
defense or commit an act of gross moral turpitude. Mere regard to the
will of a majority must not in a constitutional republic like ours
control this sacred and solemn duty of a sworn officer. The Constitution
itself I regard and cherish as the embodied and written will of the
whole people of the United States. It is their fixed and fundamental
law, which they unanimously prescribe to the public functionaries, their
mere trustees and servants. This _their_ will and the law which _they_
have given us as the rule of our action have no guard, no guaranty of
preservation, protection, and defense, but the oaths which it prescribes
to the public officers, the sanctity with which they shall religiously
observe those oaths, and the patriotism with which the people shall
shield it by their own sovereign will, which has made the Constitution
supreme. It must be exerted against the will of a mere representative
majority or not at all. It is alone in pursuance of that will that any
measure can reach the President, and to say that because a majority
in Congress have passed a bill he should therefore sanction it is
to abrogate the power altogether and to render its insertion in the
Constitution a work of absolute supererogation. The duty is to guard the
fundamental will of the people themselves from (in this case; I admit,
unintentional) change or infraction by a majority in Congress; and in
that light alone do I regard the constitutional duty which I now most
reluctantly discharge. Is this bill now presented for my approval or
disapproval such a bill as I have already declared could not receive my
sanction? Is it such a bill as calls for the exercise of the negative
power under the Constitution? Does it violate the Constitution by
creating a national bank to operate _per se_ over the Union? Its title,
in the first place, describes its general character. It is "an act to
provide for the better collection, safe-keeping, and disbursement of the
_public_ revenue by means of a _corporation_ to be styled the _Fiscal
Corporation_ of the _United States_." In style, then, it is plainly
national in its character. Its powers, functions, and duties are those
which pertain to the _collecting, keeping_, and _disbursing_ the
_public_ revenue. The means by which these are to be exerted is a
_corporation_ to be styled the _Fiscal_ Corporation of the United
States. It is a corporation created by the Congress of the United
States, in its character of a national legislature for the whole
Union, to perform the _fiscal_ purposes, meet the _fiscal_ wants and
exigencies, supply the _fiscal_ uses, and exert the _fiscal_ agencies
of the Treasury of the United States. Such is its own description of
itself. Do its provisions contradict its title? They do not. It is true
that by its first section it provides that it shall be established in
the District of Columbia; but the amount of its capital, the manner
in which its stock is to be subscribed for and held, the persons and
bodies, corporate and politic, by whom its stock may be held, the
appointment of its directors and their powers and duties, its
fundamental articles, especially that to establish agencies in any part
of the Union, the corporate powers and business of such agencies, the
prohibition of Congress to establish any other corporation with similar
powers for twenty years, with express reservation in the same clause
to modify or create any bank for the District of Columbia, so that the
aggregate capital shall not exceed five millions, without enumerating
other features which are equally distinctive and characteristic, clearly
show that it can not be regarded as other than a bank of the United
States, with powers seemingly more limited than have heretofore been
granted to such an institution. It operates _per se_ over the Union by
virtue of the unaided and, in my view, assumed authority of Congress
as a national legislature, as distinguishable from a bank created by
Congress for the District of Columbia as the local legislature of the
District. Every United States bank heretofore created has had power to
deal in bills of exchange as well as local discounts. Both were trading
privileges conferred, and both were exercised by virtue of the aforesaid
power of Congress over the whole Union. The question of power remains
unchanged without reference to the extent of privilege granted. If this
proposed corporation is to be regarded as a local bank of the District
of Columbia, invested by Congress with general powers to operate over
the Union, it is obnoxious to still stronger objections. It assumes that
Congress may invest a local institution with general or national powers.
With the same propriety that it may do this in regard to a bank of the
District of Columbia it may as to a State bank. Yet who can indulge the
idea that this Government can rightfully, by making a State bank its
fiscal agent, invest it with the absolute and unqualified powers
conferred by this bill? When I come to look at the details of the bill,
they do not recommend it strongly to my adoption. A brief notice of some
of its provisions will suffice.

First. It may justify substantially a system of discounts of the most
objectionable character. It is to deal in bills of exchange drawn in one
State and payable in another without any restraint. The bill of exchange
may have an unlimited time to run, and its renewability is nowhere
guarded against. It may, in fact, assume the most objectionable form of
accommodation paper. It is not required to rest on any actual, real, or
substantial exchange basis. A drawer in one place becomes the accepter
in another, and so in turn the accepter may become the drawer upon a
mutual understanding. It may at the same time indulge in mere local
discounts under the name of bills of exchange. A bill drawn at
Philadelphia on Camden, N.J., at New York on a border town in New
Jersey, at Cincinnati on Newport, in Kentucky, not to multiply other
examples, might, for anything in this bill to restrain it, become a mere
matter of local accommodation. Cities thus relatively situated would
possess advantages over cities otherwise situated of so decided a
character as most justly to excite dissatisfaction.

Second. There is no limit prescribed to the premium in the purchase
of bills of exchange, thereby correcting none of the evils under which
the community now labors, and operating most injuriously upon the
agricultural States, in which the irregularities in the rates of
exchange are most severely felt. Nor are these the only consequences.
A resumption of specie payments by the banks of those States would be
liable to indefinite postponement; for as the operation of the agencies
of the interior would chiefly consist in selling bills of exchange, and
the purchases could only be made in specie or the notes of banks paying
specie, the State banks would either have to continue with their doors
closed or exist at the mercy of this national monopoly of brokerage.
Nor can it be passed over without remark that whilst the District of
Columbia is made the seat of the principal bank, its citizens are
excluded from all participation in any benefit it might afford by
a positive prohibition on the bank from all discounting within the

These are some of the objections which prominently exist against the
details of the bill. Others might be urged of much force, but it would
be unprofitable to dwell upon them. Suffice it to add that this charter
is designed to continue for twenty years without a competitor; that the
defects to which I have alluded, being founded on the fundamental law of
the corporation, are irrevocable, and that if the objections be well
founded it would be overhazardous to pass the bill into a law.

In conclusion I take leave most respectfully to say that I have felt the
most anxious solicitude to meet the wishes of Congress in the adoption
of a fiscal agent which, avoiding all constitutional objections, should
harmonize conflicting opinions. Actuated by this feeling, I have been
ready to yield much in a spirit of conciliation to the opinions of
others; and it is with great pain that I now feel compelled to differ
from Congress a second time in the same session. At the commencement of
this session, inclined from choice to defer to the legislative will, I
submitted to Congress the propriety of adopting a fiscal agent which,
without violating the Constitution, would separate the public money from
the Executive control and perform the operations of the Treasury without
being burdensome to the people or inconvenient or expensive to the
Government. It is deeply to be regretted that this department of the
Government can not upon constitutional and other grounds concur with the
legislative department in this last measure proposed to attain these
desirable objects. Owing to the brief space between the period of the
death of my lamented predecessor and my own installation into office,
I was, in fact, not left time to prepare and submit a definitive
recommendation of my own in my regular message, and since my mind has
been wholly occupied in a most anxious attempt to conform my action
to the legislative will. In this communication I am confined by the
Constitution to my objections simply to this bill, but the period of the
regular session will soon arrive, when it will be my duty, under another
clause of the Constitution, "to give to Congress information of the
state of the Union and recommend to their consideration such measures
as" I "shall judge necessary and expedient." And I most respectfully
submit, in a spirit of harmony, whether the present differences of
opinion should be pressed further at this time, and whether the
peculiarity of my situation does not entitle me to a postponement of
this subject to a more auspicious period for deliberation. The two
Houses of Congress have distinguished themselves at this extraordinary
session by the performance of an immense mass of labor at a season very
unfavorable both to health and action, and have passed many laws which
I trust will prove highly beneficial to the interests of the country
and fully answer its just expectations. It has been my good fortune
and pleasure to concur with them in all measures except this. And why
should our difference on this alone be pushed to extremes? It is my
anxious desire that it should not be. I too have been burdened with
extraordinary labors of late, and I sincerely desire time for deep
and deliberate reflection on this the greatest difficulty of my
Administration. May we not now pause until a more favorable time, when,
with the most anxious hope that the Executive and Congress may cordially
unite, some measure of finance may be deliberately adopted promotive of
the good of our common country?

I will take this occasion to declare that the conclusions to which
I have brought myself are those of a settled conviction, founded, in
my opinion, on a just view of the Constitution; that in arriving at it
I have been actuated by no other motive or desire than to uphold the
institutions of the country as they have come down to us from the hands
of our godlike ancestors, and that I shall esteem my efforts to sustain
them, even though I perish, more honorable than to win the applause of
men by a sacrifice of my duty and my conscience.



[From Statutes at Large (Little, Brown & Co.), Vol. XI, p. 786.]



Whereas it has come to the knowledge of the Government of the United
States that sundry secret lodges, clubs, or associations exist on the
northern frontier; that the members of these lodges are bound together
by secret oaths; that they have collected firearms and other military
materials and secreted them in sundry places; and that it is their
purpose to violate the laws of their country by making military and
lawless incursions, when opportunity shall offer, into the territories
of a power with which the United States are at peace; and

Whereas it is known that traveling agitators, from both sides of the
line, visit these lodges and harangue the members in secret meeting,
stimulating them to illegal acts; and

Whereas the same persons are known to levy contributions on the ignorant
and credulous for their own benefit, thus supporting and enriching
themselves by the basest means; and

Whereas the unlawful intentions of the members of these lodges have
already been manifested in an attempt to destroy the lives and property
of the inhabitants of Chippewa, in Canada, and the public property of
the British Government there being:

Now, therefore, I, John Tyler, President of the United States, do issue
this my proclamation, admonishing all such evil-minded persons of the
condign punishment which is certain to overtake them; assuring them that
the laws of the United States will be rigorously executed against their
illegal acts, and that if in any lawless incursion into Canada they fall
into the hands of the British authorities they will not be reclaimed as
American citizens nor any interference made by this Government in their
behalf. And I exhort all well-meaning but deluded persons who may have
joined these lodges immediately to abandon them and to have nothing more
to do with their secret meetings or unlawful oaths, as they would avoid
serious consequences to themselves. And I expect the intelligent and
well-disposed members of the community to frown on all these unlawful
combinations and illegal proceedings, and to assist the Government in
maintaining the peace of the country against the mischievous
consequences of the acts of these violators of the law.

Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, the 25th day of
September, A.D. 1841, and of the Independence of the United States the



By the President:
_Secretary of State_.





_Washington, July 5, 1841_.

Brevet Major-General Winfield Scott having been appointed by the
President, by and with the consent and advice of the Senate, the
Major-general of the Army of the United States, he is directed to assume
the command and enter upon his duties accordingly.

By command of the President of the United States:



WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1841_.

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

In coming together, fellow-citizens, to enter again upon the discharge
of the duties with which the people have charged us severally, we find
great occasion to rejoice in the general prosperity of the country.
We are in the enjoyment of all the blessings of civil and religious
liberty, with unexampled means of education, knowledge, and improvement.
Through the year which is now drawing to a close peace has been in our
borders and plenty in our habitations, and although disease has visited
some few portions of the land with distress and mortality, yet in
general the health of the people has been preserved, and we are all
called upon by the highest obligations of duty to renew our thanks and
our devotion to our Heavenly Parent, who has continued to vouchsafe to
us the eminent blessings which surround us and who has so signally
crowned the year with His goodness. If we find ourselves increasing
beyond example in numbers, in strength, in wealth, in knowledge, in
everything which promotes human and social happiness, let us ever
remember our dependence for all these on the protection and merciful
dispensations of Divine Providence.

Since your last adjournment Alexander McLeod, a British subject who was
indicted for the murder of an American citizen, and whose case has been
the subject of a correspondence heretofore communicated to you, has been
acquitted by the verdict of an impartial and intelligent jury, and has
under the judgment of the court been regularly discharged.

Great Britain having made known to this Government that the expedition
which was fitted out from Canada for the destruction of the steamboat
_Caroline_ in the winter of 1837, and which resulted in the destruction
of said boat and in the death of an American citizen, was undertaken
by orders emanating from the authorities of the British Government in
Canada, and demanding the discharge of McLeod upon the ground that
if engaged in that expedition he did but fulfill the orders of his
Government, has thus been answered in the only way in which she could be
answered by a government the powers of which are distributed among its
several departments by the fundamental law. Happily for the people of
Great Britain, as well as those of the United States, the only mode by
which an individual arraigned for a criminal offense before the courts
of either can obtain his discharge is by the independent action of the
judiciary and by proceedings equally familiar to the courts of both

If in Great Britain a power exists in the Crown to cause to be entered a
_nolle prosequi_, which is not the case with the Executive power of the
United States upon a prosecution pending in a State court, yet _there_
no more than _here_ can the chief executive power rescue a prisoner from
custody without an order of the proper tribunal directing his discharge.
The precise stage of the proceedings at which such order may be made is
a matter of municipal regulation exclusively, and not to be complained
of by any other government. In cases of this kind a government becomes
politically responsible only when its tribunals of last resort are shown
to have rendered unjust and injurious judgments in matters not doubtful.
To the establishment and elucidation of this principle no nation has
lent its authority more efficiently than Great Britain. Alexander
McLeod, having his option either to prosecute a writ of error from the
decision of the supreme court of New York, which had been rendered upon
his application for a discharge, to the Supreme Court of the United
States, or to submit his case to the decision of a jury, preferred the
latter, deeming it the readiest mode of obtaining his liberation; and
the result has fully sustained the wisdom of his choice. The manner in
which the issue submitted was tried will satisfy the English Government
that the principles of justice will never fail to govern the enlightened
decision of an American tribunal. I can not fail, however, to suggest to
Congress the propriety, and in some degree the necessity, of making such
provisions by law, so far as they may constitutionally do so, for the
removal at their commencement and at the option of the party of all
such cases as may hereafter arise, and which may involve the faithful
observance and execution of our international obligations, from the
State to the Federal judiciary. This Government, by our institutions, is
charged with the maintenance of peace and the preservation of amicable
relations with the nations of the earth, and ought to possess without
question all the reasonable and proper means of maintaining the one and
preserving the other. While just confidence is felt in the judiciary of
the States, yet this Government ought to be competent in itself for the
fulfillment of the high duties which have been devolved upon it under
the organic law by the States themselves.

In the month of September a party of armed men from Upper Canada invaded
the territory of the United States and forcibly seized upon the person
of one Grogan, and under circumstances of great harshness hurriedly
carried him beyond the limits of the United States and delivered him up
to the authorities of Upper Canada. His immediate discharge was ordered
by those authorities upon the facts of the case being brought to their
knowledge--a course of procedure which was to have been expected from
a nation with whom we are at peace, and which was not more due to the
rights of the United States than to its own regard for justice. The
correspondence which passed between the Department of State and the
British envoy, Mr. Fox, and with the governor of Vermont, as soon as the
facts had been made known to this department, are herewith communicated.

I regret that it is not in my power to make known to you an equally
satisfactory conclusion in the case of the _Caroline_ steamer, with the
circumstances connected with the destruction of which, in December,
1837, by an armed force fitted out in the Province of Upper Canada, you
are already made acquainted. No such atonement as was due for the public
wrong done to the United States by this invasion of her territory, so
wholly irreconcilable with her rights as an independent power, has yet
been made. In the view taken by this Government the inquiry whether
the vessel was in the employment of those who were prosecuting an
unauthorized war against that Province or was engaged by the owner in
the business of transporting passengers to and from Navy Island in hopes
of private gain, which was most probably the case, in no degree alters
the real question at issue between the two Governments. This Government
can never concede to any foreign government the power, except in a case
of the most urgent and extreme necessity, of invading its territory,
either to arrest the persons or destroy the property of those who may
have violated the municipal laws of such foreign government or have
disregarded their obligations arising under the law of nations. The
territory of the United States must be regarded as sacredly secure
against all such invasions until they shall voluntarily acknowledge
their inability to acquit themselves of their duties to others. And in
announcing this sentiment I do but affirm a principle which no nation on
earth would be more ready to vindicate at all hazards than the people
and Government of Great Britain. If upon a full investigation of all the
facts it shall appear that the owner of the _Caroline_ was governed by
a hostile intent or had made common cause with those who were in the
occupancy of Navy Island, then so far as he is concerned there can be no
claim to indemnity for the destruction of his boat which this Government
would feel itself bound to prosecute, since he would have acted not only
in derogation of the rights of Great Britain, but in clear violation of
the laws of the United States; but that is a question which, however
settled, in no manner involves the higher consideration of the violation
of territorial sovereignty and jurisdiction. To recognize it as an
admissible practice that each Government in its turn, upon any sudden
and unauthorized outbreak which, on a frontier the extent of which
renders it impossible for either to have an efficient force on every
mile of it, and which outbreak, therefore, neither may be able to
suppress in a day, may take vengeance into its own hands, and without
even a remonstrance, and in the absence of any pressing or overruling
necessity may invade the territory of the other, would inevitably lead
to results equally to be deplored by both. When border collisions come
to receive the sanction or to be made on the authority of either
Government general war must be the inevitable result. While it is the
ardent desire of the United States to cultivate the relations of peace
with all nations and to fulfill all the duties of good neighborhood
toward those who possess territories adjoining their own, that very
desire would lead them to deny the right of any foreign power to invade
their boundary with an armed force. The correspondence between the two
Governments on this subject will at a future day of your session be
submitted to your consideration; and in the meantime I can not but
indulge the hope that the British Government will see the propriety of
renouncing as a rule of future action the precedent which has been set
in the affair at Schlosser.

I herewith submit the correspondence which has recently taken place
between the American minister at the Court of St. James, Mr. Stevenson,
and the minister of foreign affairs of that Government on the right
claimed by that Government to visit and detain vessels sailing under
the American flag and engaged in prosecuting lawful commerce in the
African seas. Our commercial interests in that region have experienced
considerable increase and have become an object of much importance, and
it is the duty of this Government to protect them against all improper
and vexatious interruption. However desirous the United States may
be for the suppression of the slave trade, they can not consent to
interpolations into the maritime code at the mere will and pleasure of
other governments. We deny the right of any such interpolation to any
one or all the nations of the earth without our consent. We claim to
have a voice in all amendments or alterations of that code, and when we
are given to understand, as in this instance, by a foreign government
that its treaties with other nations can not be executed without the
establishment and enforcement of new principles of maritime police, to
be applied without our consent, we must employ a language neither of
equivocal import or susceptible of misconstruction. American citizens
prosecuting a lawful commerce in the African seas under the flag of
their country are not responsible for the abuse or unlawful use of that
flag by others; nor can they rightfully on account of any such alleged
abuses be interrupted, molested, or detained while on the ocean, and if
thus molested and detained while pursuing honest voyages in the usual
way and violating no law themselves they are unquestionably entitled to
indemnity. This Government has manifested its repugnance to the slave
trade in a manner which can not be misunderstood. By its fundamental law
it prescribed limits in point of time to its continuance, and against
its own citizens who might so far forget the rights of humanity as to
engage in that wicked traffic it has long since by its municipal laws
denounced the most condign punishment. Many of the States composing this
Union had made appeals to the civilized world for its suppression long
before the moral sense of other nations had become shocked by the
iniquities of the traffic. Whether this Government should now enter into
treaties containing mutual stipulations upon this subject is a question
for its mature deliberation. Certain it is that if the right to detain
American ships on the high seas can be justified on the plea of a
necessity for such detention arising out of the existence of treaties
between other nations, the same plea may be extended and enlarged by the
new stipulations of new treaties to which the United States may not be a
party. This Government will not cease to urge upon that of Great Britain
full and ample remuneration for all losses, whether arising from
detention or otherwise, to which American citizens have heretofore been
or may hereafter be subjected by the exercise of rights which this
Government can not recognize as legitimate and proper. Nor will I
indulge a doubt but that the sense of justice of Great Britain will
constrain her to make retribution for any wrong or loss which any
American citizen engaged in the prosecution of lawful commerce may have
experienced at the hands of her cruisers or other public authorities.
This Government, at the same time, will relax no effort to prevent its
citizens, if there be any so disposed, from prosecuting a traffic so
revolting to the feelings of humanity. It seeks to do no more than to
protect the fair and honest trader from molestation and injury; but
while the enterprising mariner engaged in the pursuit of an honorable
trade is entitled to its protection, it will visit with condign
punishment others of an opposite character.

I invite your attention to existing laws for the suppression of the
African slave trade, and recommend all such alterations as may give
to them greater force and efficacy. That the American flag is grossly
abused by the abandoned and profligate of other nations is but too
probable. Congress has not long since had this subject under its
consideration, and its importance well justifies renewed and anxious

I also communicate herewith the copy of a correspondence between Mr.
Stevenson and Lord Palmerston upon the subject, so interesting to
several of the Southern States, of the rice duties, which resulted
honorably to the justice of Great Britain and advantageously to the
United States.

At the opening of the last annual session the President informed
Congress of the progress which had then been made in negotiating a
convention between this Government and that of England with a view
to the final settlement of the question of the boundary between the
territorial limits of the two countries. I regret to say that little
further advancement of the object has been accomplished since last year,
but this is owing to circumstances no way indicative of any abatement of
the desire of both parties to hasten the negotiation to its conclusion
and to settle the question in dispute as early as possible. In the
course of the session it is my hope to be able to announce some further
degree of progress toward the accomplishment of this highly desirable

The commission appointed by this Government for the exploration and
survey of the line of boundary separating the States of Maine and New
Hampshire from the conterminous British Provinces is, it is believed,
about to close its field labors and is expected soon to report the
results of its examinations to the Department of State. The report,
when received, will be laid before Congress.

The failure on the part of Spain to pay with punctuality the interest
due under the convention of 1834 for the settlement of claims between
the two countries has made it the duty of the Executive to call the
particular attention of that Government to the subject. A disposition
has been manifested by it, which is believed to be entirely sincere,
to fulfill its obligations in this respect so soon as its internal
condition and the state of its finances will permit. An arrangement is
in progress from the result of which it is trusted that those of our
citizens who have claims under the convention will at no distant day
receive the stipulated payments.

A treaty of commerce and navigation with Belgium was concluded and
signed at Washington on the 29th of March, 1840, and was duly sanctioned
by the Senate of the United States. The treaty was ratified by His
Belgian Majesty, but did not receive the approbation of the Belgian
Chambers within the time limited by its terms, and has therefore become

This occurrence assumes the graver aspect from the consideration that in
1833 a treaty negotiated between the two Governments and ratified on the
part of the United States failed to be ratified on the part of Belgium.
The representative of that Government at Washington informs the
Department of State that he has been instructed to give explanations of
the causes which occasioned delay in the approval of the late treaty by
the legislature, and to express the regret of the King at the

The joint commission under the convention with Texas to ascertain the
true boundary between the two countries has concluded its labors, but
the final report of the commissioner of the United States has not been
received. It is understood, however, that the meridian line as traced
by the commission lies somewhat farther east than the position hitherto
generally assigned to it, and consequently includes in Texas some part
of the territory which had been considered as belonging to the States
of Louisiana and Arkansas.

The United States can not but take a deep interest in whatever relates
to this young but growing Republic. Settled principally by emigrants
from the United States, we have the happiness to know that the great
principles of civil liberty are there destined to flourish under wise
institutions and wholesome laws, and that through its example another
evidence is to be afforded of the capacity of popular institutions to
advance the prosperity, happiness, and permanent glory of the human
race. The great truth that government was made for the people and not
the people for government has already been established in the practice
and by the example of these United States, and we can do no other than
contemplate its further exemplification by a sister republic with the
deepest interest.

Our relations with the independent States of this hemisphere, formerly
under the dominion of Spain, have not undergone any material change
within the past year. The incessant sanguinary conflicts in or between
those countries are to be greatly deplored as necessarily tending to
disable them from performing their duty as members of the community
of nations and rising to the destiny which the position and natural
resources of many of them might lead them justly to anticipate, as
constantly giving occasion also, directly or indirectly, for complaints
on the part of our citizens who resort thither for purposes of
commercial intercourse, and as retarding reparation for wrongs already
committed, some of which are by no means of recent date.

The failure of the Congress of Ecuador to hold a session at the time
appointed for that purpose, in January last, will probably render
abortive a treaty of commerce with that Republic, which was signed at
Quito on the 13th of June, 1839, and had been duly ratified on our
part, but which required the approbation of that body prior to its
ratification by the Ecuadorian Executive.

A convention which has been concluded with the Republic of Peru,
providing for the settlement of certain claims of citizens of the United
States upon the Government of that Republic, will be duly submitted to
the Senate.

The claims of our citizens against the Brazilian Government originating
from captures and other causes are still unsatisfied. The United States
have, however, so uniformly shown a disposition to cultivate relations
of amity with that Empire that it is hoped the unequivocal tokens of the
same spirit toward us which an adjustment of the affairs referred to
would afford will be given without further avoidable delay.

The war with the Indian tribes on the peninsula of Florida has during
the last summer and fall been prosecuted with untiring activity and
zeal. A summer campaign was resolved upon as the best mode of bringing
it to a close. Our brave officers and men who have been engaged in that
service have suffered toils and privations and exhibited an energy which
in any other war would have won for them unfading laurels. In despite
of the sickness incident to the climate, they have penetrated the
fastnesses of the Indians, broken up their encampments, and harassed
them unceasingly. Numbers have been captured, and still greater numbers
have surrendered and have been transported to join their brethren on the
lands elsewhere allotted to them by the Government, and a strong hope is
entertained that under the conduct of the gallant officer at the head of
the troops in Florida that troublesome and expensive war is destined to
a speedy termination. With all the other Indian tribes we are enjoying
the blessings of peace. Our duty as well as our best interests prompts
us to observe in all our intercourse with them fidelity in fulfilling
our engagements, the practice of strict justice, as well as the constant
exercise of acts of benevolence and kindness. These are the great
instruments of civilization, and through the use of them alone can the
untutored child of the forest be induced to listen to its teachings.

The Secretary of State, on whom the acts of Congress have devolved the
duty of directing the proceedings for the taking of the sixth census or
enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States, will report to the
two Houses the progress of that work. The enumeration of persons has
been completed, and exhibits a grand total of 17,069,453, making an
increase over the census of 1830 of 4,202,646 inhabitants, and showing
a gain in a ratio exceeding 32-1/2 per cent for the last ten years.

From the report of the Secretary of the Treasury you will be informed of
the condition of the finances. The balance in the Treasury on the 1st of
January last, as stated in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury
submitted to Congress at the extra session, was $987,345.03. The
receipts into the Treasury during the first three quarters of this year
from all sources amount to $23,467,072.52; the estimated receipts for
the fourth quarter amount to $6,943,095.25, amounting to $30,410,167.77,
and making with the balance in the Treasury on the 1st of January last
$31,397,512.80. The expenditures for the first three quarters of this
year amount to $24,734,346.97. The expenditures for the fourth quarter
as estimated will amount to $7,290,723.73, thus making a total of
$32,025,070.70, and leaving a deficit to be provided for on the 1st of
January next of about $627,557.90.

Of the loan of $12,000,000 which was authorized by Congress at its late
session only $5,432,726.88 have been negotiated. The shortness of time
which it had to run has presented no inconsiderable impediment in the
way of its being taken by capitalists at home, while the same cause
would have operated with much greater force in the foreign market. For
that reason the foreign market has not been resorted to; and it is now
submitted whether it would not be advisable to amend the law by making
what remains undisposed of payable at a more distant day.

Should it be necessary, in any view that Congress may take of the
subject, to revise the existing tariff of duties, I beg leave to say
that in the performance of that most delicate operation moderate
counsels would seem to be the wisest. The Government under which it is
our happiness to live owes its existence to the spirit of compromise
which prevailed among its framers; jarring and discordant opinions could
only have been reconciled by that noble spirit of patriotism which
prompted conciliation and resulted in harmony. In the same spirit the
compromise bill, as it is commonly called, was adopted at the session of
1833. While the people of no portion of the Union will ever hesitate to
pay all necessary taxes for the support of Government, yet an innate
repugnance exists to the imposition of burthens not really necessary for
that object. In imposing duties, however, for the purposes of revenue
a right to discriminate as to the articles on which the duty shall be
laid, as well as the amount, necessarily and most properly exists;
otherwise the Government would be placed in the condition of having to
levy the same duties upon all articles, the productive as well as the
unproductive. The slightest duty upon some might have the effect of
causing their importation to cease, whereas others, entering extensively
into the consumption of the country, might bear the heaviest without any
sensible diminution in the amount imported. So also the Government may
be justified in so discriminating by reference to other considerations
of domestic policy connected with our manufactures. So long as the
duties shall be laid with distinct reference to the wants of the
Treasury no well-founded objection can exist against them. It might
be esteemed desirable that no such augmentation of the taxes should
take place as would have the effect of annulling the land-proceeds
distribution act of the last session, which act is declared to be
inoperative the moment the duties are increased beyond 20 per cent, the
maximum rate established by the compromise act. Some of the provisions
of the compromise act, which will go into effect on the 30th day of June
next, may, however, be found exceedingly inconvenient in practice under
any regulations that Congress may adopt. I refer more particularly to
that relating to the home valuation. A difference in value of the same
articles to some extent will necessarily exist at different ports, but
that is altogether insignificant when compared with the conflicts in
valuation which are likely to arise from the differences of opinion
among the numerous appraisers of merchandise. In many instances the
estimates of value must be conjectural, and thus as many different rates
of value may be established as there are appraisers. These differences
in valuation may also be increased by the inclination which, without
the slightest imputation on their honesty, may arise on the part of the
appraisers in favor of their respective ports of entry. I recommend this
whole subject to the consideration of Congress with a single additional
remark. Certainty and permanency in any system of governmental policy
are in all respects eminently desirable, but more particularly is this
true in all that affects trade and commerce, the operations of which
depend much more on the certainty of their returns and calculations
which embrace distant periods of time than on high bounties or duties,
which are liable to constant fluctuations.

At your late session I invited your attention to the condition of
the currency and exchanges and urged the necessity of adopting such
measures as were consistent with the constitutional competency of the
Government in order to correct the unsoundness of the one and, as far as
practicable, the inequalities of the other. No country can be in the
enjoyment of its full measure of prosperity without the presence of
a medium of exchange approximating to uniformity of value. What is
necessary as between the different nations of the earth is also
important as between the inhabitants of different parts of the same
country. With the first the precious metals constitute the chief medium
of circulation, and such also would be the case as to the last but for
inventions comparatively modern, which have furnished in place of gold
and silver a paper circulation. I do not propose to enter into a
comparative analysis of the merits of the two systems. Such belonged
more properly to the period of the introduction of the paper system. The
speculative philosopher might find inducements to prosecute the inquiry,
but his researches could only lead him to conclude that the paper system
had probably better never have been introduced and that society might
have been much happier without it. The practical statesman has a very
different task to perform. He has to look at things as they are, to take
them as he finds them, to supply deficiencies and to prune excesses as
far as in him lies. The task of furnishing a corrective for derangements
of the paper medium with us is almost inexpressibly great. The power
exerted by the States to charter banking corporations, and which, having
been carried to a great excess, has filled the country with, in most of
the States, an irredeemable paper medium, is an evil which in some way
or other requires a corrective. The rates at which bills of exchange
are negotiated between different parts of the country furnish an index
of the value of the local substitute for gold and silver, which is in
many parts so far depreciated as not to be received except at a large
discount in payment of debts or in the purchase of produce. It could
earnestly be desired that every bank not possessing the means of
resumption should follow the example of the late United States Bank of
Pennsylvania and go into liquidation rather than by refusing to do so
to continue embarrassments in the way of solvent institutions, thereby
augmenting the difficulties incident to the present condition of things.
Whether this Government, with due regard to the rights of the States,
has any power to constrain the banks either to resume specie payments
or to force them into liquidation, is an inquiry which will not fail
to claim your consideration. In view of the great advantages which are
allowed the corporators, not among the least of which is the authority
contained in most of their charters to make loans to three times the
amount of their capital, thereby often deriving three times as much
interest on the same amount of money as any individual is permitted by
law to receive, no sufficient apology can be urged for a long-continued
suspension of specie payments. Such suspension is productive of the
greatest detriment to the public by expelling from circulation the
precious metals and seriously hazarding the success of any effort that
this Government can make to increase commercial facilities and to
advance the public interests.

This is the more to be regretted and the indispensable necessity for
a sound currency becomes the more manifest when we reflect on the vast
amount of the internal commerce of the country. Of this we have no
statistics nor just data for forming adequate opinions. But there can
be no doubt but that the amount of transportation coastwise by sea, and
the transportation inland by railroads and canals, and by steamboats
and other modes of conveyance over the surface of our vast rivers and
immense lakes, and the value of property carried and interchanged by
these means form a general aggregate to which the foreign commerce of
the country, large as it is, makes but a distant approach.

In the absence of any controlling power over this subject, which, by
forcing a general resumption of specie payments, would at once have the
effect of restoring a sound medium of exchange and would leave to the
country but little to desire, what measure of relief falling within the
limits of our constitutional competency does it become this Government
to adopt? It was my painful duty at your last session, under the weight
of most solemn obligations, to differ with Congress on the measures
which it proposed for my approval, and which it doubtless regarded as
corrective of existing evils. Subsequent reflection and events since
occurring have only served to confirm me in the opinions then
entertained and frankly expressed. I must be permitted to add that no
scheme of governmental policy unaided by individual exertions can be
available for ameliorating the present condition of things. Commercial
modes of exchange and a good currency are but the necessary means of
commerce and intercourse, not the direct productive sources of wealth.
Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the
savings of frugality, and nothing can be more ill judged than to look
to facilities in borrowing or to a redundant circulation for the power
of discharging pecuniary obligations. The country is full of resources
and the people full of energy, and the great and permanent remedy
for present embarrassments must be sought in industry, economy, the
observance of good faith, and the favorable influence of time. In
pursuance of a pledge given to you in my last message to Congress, which
pledge I urge as an apology for adventuring to present you the details
of any plan, the Secretary of the Treasury will be ready to submit to
you, should you require it, a plan of finance which, while it throws
around the public treasure reasonable guards for its protection and
rests on powers acknowledged in practice to exist from the origin of
the Government, will at the same time furnish to the country a sound
paper medium and afford all reasonable facilities for regulating the
exchanges. When submitted, you will perceive in it a plan amendatory of
the existing laws in relation to the Treasury Department, subordinate in
all respects to the will of Congress directly and the will of the people
indirectly, self-sustaining should it be found in practice to realize
its promises in theory, and repealable at the pleasure of Congress. It
proposes by effectual restraints and by invoking the true spirit of our
institutions to separate the purse from the sword, or, more properly to
speak, denies any other control to the President over the agents who may
be selected to carry it into execution but what may be indispensably
necessary to secure the fidelity of such agents, and by wise regulations
keeps plainly apart from each other private and public funds. It
contemplates the establishment of a board of control at the seat of
government, with agencies at prominent commercial points or wherever
else Congress shall direct, for the safe-keeping and disbursement of the
public moneys, and a substitution at the option of the public creditor
of Treasury notes in lieu of gold and silver. It proposes to limit the
issues to an amount not to exceed $15,000,000 without the express
sanction of the legislative power. It also authorizes the receipt of
individual deposits of gold and silver to a limited amount, and the
granting certificates of deposit divided into such sums as may be called
for by the depositors. It proceeds a step further and authorizes the
purchase and sale of domestic bills and drafts resting on a real and
substantial basis, payable at sight or having but a short time to run,
and drawn on places not less than 100 miles apart, which authority,
except in so far as may be necessary for Government purposes
exclusively, is only to be exerted upon the express condition that its
exercise shall not be prohibited by the State in which the agency is
situated. In order to cover the expenses incident to the plan, it will
be authorized to receive moderate premiums for certificates issued on
deposits and on bills bought and sold, and thus, as far as its dealings
extend, to furnish facilities to commercial intercourse at the lowest
possible rates and to subduct from the earnings of industry the least
possible sum. It uses the State banks at a distance from the agencies
as auxiliaries without imparting any power to trade in its name.
It is subjected to such guards and restraints as have appeared to be
necessary. It is the creature of law and exists only at the pleasure of
the Legislature. It is made to rest on an actual specie basis in order
to redeem the notes at the places of issue, produces no dangerous
redundancy of circulation, affords no temptation to speculation, is
attended by no inflation of prices, is equable in its operation, makes
the Treasury notes (which it may use along with the certificates of
deposit and the notes of specie-paying banks) convertible at the place
where collected, receivable in payment of Government dues, and without
violating any principle of the Constitution affords the Government and
the people such facilities as are called for by the wants of both. Such,
it has appeared to me, are its recommendations, and in view of them it
will be submitted, whenever you may require it, to your consideration.

I am not able to perceive that any fair and candid objection can be
urged against the plan, the principal outlines of which I have thus
presented. I can not doubt but that the notes which it proposes to
furnish at the voluntary option of the public creditor, issued in lieu
of the revenue and its certificates of deposit, will be maintained
at an equality with gold and silver everywhere. They are redeemable in
gold and silver on demand at the places of issue. They are receivable
everywhere in payment of Government dues. The Treasury notes are limited
to an amount of one-fourth less than the estimated annual receipts of
the Treasury, and in addition they rest upon the faith of the Government
for their redemption. If all these assurances are not sufficient to make
them available, then the idea, as it seems to me, of furnishing a sound
paper medium of exchange may be entirely abandoned.

If a fear be indulged that the Government may be tempted to run into
excess in its issues at any future day, it seems to me that no such
apprehension can reasonably be entertained until all confidence in the
representatives of the States and of the people, as well as of the
people themselves, shall be lost. The weightiest considerations of
policy require that the restraints now proposed to be thrown around the
measure should not for light causes be removed. To argue against any
proposed plan its liability to possible abuse is to reject every
expedient, since everything dependent on human action is liable
to abuse. Fifteen millions of Treasury notes may be issued as the
_maximum_, but a discretionary power is to be given to the board of
control under that sum, and every consideration will unite in leading
them to feel their way with caution. For the first eight years of the
existence of the late Bank of the United States its circulation barely
exceeded $4,000,000, and for five of its most prosperous years it was
about equal to $16,000,000; furthermore, the authority given to receive
private deposits to a limited amount and to issue certificates in such
sums as may be called for by the depositors may so far fill up the
channels of circulation as greatly to diminish the necessity of any
considerable issue of Treasury notes. A restraint upon the amount of
private deposits has seemed to be indispensably necessary from an
apprehension, thought to be well founded, that in any emergency of trade
confidence might be so far shaken in the banks as to induce a withdrawal
from them of private deposits with a view to insure their unquestionable
safety when deposited with the Government, which might prove eminently
disastrous to the State banks. Is it objected that it is proposed to
authorize the agencies to deal in bills of exchange? It is answered that
such dealings are to be carried on at the lowest possible premium, are
made to rest on an unquestionably sound basis, are designed to reimburse
merely the expenses which would otherwise devolve upon the Treasury, and
are in strict subordination to the decision of the Supreme Court in the
case of the Bank of Augusta against Earle, and other reported cases, and
thereby avoids all conflict with State jurisdiction, which I hold to be
indispensably requisite. It leaves the banking privileges of the States
without interference, looks to the Treasury and the Union, and while
furnishing every facility to the first is careful of the interests of
the last. But above all, it is created by law, is amendable by law, and
is repealable by law, and, wedded as I am to no theory, but looking
solely to the advancement of the public good, I shall be among the very
first to urge its repeal if it be found not to subserve the purposes and
objects for which it may be created. Nor will the plan be submitted in
any overweening confidence in the sufficiency of my own judgment, but
with much greater reliance on the wisdom and patriotism of Congress.
I can not abandon this subject without urging upon you in the most
emphatic manner, whatever may be your action on the suggestions which
I have felt it to be my duty to submit, to relieve the Chief Executive
Magistrate, by any and all constitutional means, from a controlling
power over the public Treasury. If in the plan proposed, should you deem
it worthy of your consideration, that separation is not as complete as
you may desire, you will doubtless amend it in that particular. For
myself, I disclaim all desire to have any control over the public moneys
other than what is indispensably necessary to execute the laws which you
may pass.

Nor can I fail to advert in this connection to the debts which many of
the States of the Union have contracted abroad and under which they
continue to labor. That indebtedness amounts to a sum not less than
$200,000,000, and which has been retributed to them for the most part
in works of internal improvement which are destined to prove of vast
importance in ultimately advancing their prosperity and wealth. For the
debts thus contracted the States are alone responsible. I can do no more
than express the belief that each State will feel itself bound by every
consideration of honor as well as of interest to meet its engagements
with punctuality. The failure, however, of any one State to do so should
in no degree affect the credit of the rest, and the foreign capitalist
will have no just cause to experience alarm as to all other State stocks
because any one or more of the States may neglect to provide with
punctuality the means of redeeming their engagements. Even such States,
should there be any, considering the great rapidity with which their
resources are developing themselves, will not fail to have the means
at no very distant day to redeem their obligations to the uttermost
farthing; nor will I doubt but that, in view of that honorable conduct
which has evermore governed the States and the people of the Union, they
will each and all resort to every legitimate expedient before they will
forego a faithful compliance with their obligations.

From the report of the Secretary of War and other reports accompanying
it you will be informed of the progress which has been made in the
fortifications designed for the protection of our principal cities,
roadsteads, and inland frontier during the present year, together with
their true state and condition. They will be prosecuted to completion
with all the expedition which the means placed by Congress at the
disposal of the Executive will allow.

I recommend particularly to your consideration that portion of the
Secretary's report which proposes the establishment of a chain of
military posts from Council Bluffs to some point on the Pacific Ocean
within our limits. The benefit thereby destined to accrue to our
citizens engaged in the fur trade over that wilderness region, added
to the importance of cultivating friendly relations with savage tribes
inhabiting it, and at the same time of giving protection to our frontier
settlements and of establishing the means of safe intercourse between
the American settlements at the mouth of the Columbia River and those on
this side of the Rocky Mountains, would seem to suggest the importance
of carrying into effect the recommendations upon this head with as
little delay as may be practicable.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy will place you in possession
of the present condition of that important arm of the national defense.
Every effort will be made to add to its efficiency, and I can not too
strongly urge upon you liberal appropriations to that branch of the
public service. Inducements of the weightiest character exist for the
adoption of this course of policy. Our extended and otherwise exposed
maritime frontier calls for protection, to the furnishing of which an
efficient naval force is indispensable. We look to no foreign conquests,
nor do we propose to enter into competition with any other nation for
supremacy on the ocean; but it is due not only to the honor but to the
security of the people of the United States that no nation should be
permitted to invade our waters at pleasure and subject our towns and
villages to conflagration or pillage. Economy in all branches of the
public service is due from all the public agents to the people, but
parsimony alone would suggest the withholding of the necessary means for
the protection of our domestic firesides from invasion and our national
honor from disgrace. I would most earnestly recommend to Congress to
abstain from all appropriations for objects not absolutely necessary;
but I take upon myself, without a moment of hesitancy, all the
responsibility of recommending the increase and prompt equipment of
that gallant Navy which has lighted up every sea with its victories
and spread an imperishable glory over the country.

The report of the Postmaster-General will claim your particular
attention, not only because of the valuable suggestions which it
contains, but because of the great importance which at all times
attaches to that interesting branch of the public service. The increased
expense of transporting the mail along the principal routes necessarily
claims the public attention, and has awakened a corresponding solicitude
on the part of the Government. The transmission of the mail must keep
pace with those facilities of intercommunication which are every day
becoming greater through the building of railroads and the application
of steam power, but it can not be disguised that in order to do so the
Post-Office Department is subjected to heavy exactions. The lines of
communication between distant parts of the Union are to a great extent
occupied by railroads, which, in the nature of things, possess a
complete monopoly, and the Department is therefore liable to heavy and
unreasonable charges. This evil is destined to great increase in future,
and some timely measure may become necessary to guard against it.

I feel it my duty to bring under your consideration a practice which has
grown up in the administration of the Government, and which, I am deeply
convinced, ought to be corrected. I allude to the exercise of the power
which usage rather than reason has vested in the Presidents of removing
incumbents from office in order to substitute others more in favor with
the dominant party. My own conduct in this respect has been governed by
a conscientious purpose to exercise the removing power only in cases of
unfaithfulness or inability, or in those in which its exercise appeared
necessary in order to discountenance and suppress that spirit of active
partisanship on the part of holders of office which not only withdraws
them from the steady and impartial discharge of their official duties,
but exerts an undue and injurious influence over elections and degrades
the character of the Government itself, inasmuch as it exhibits the
Chief Magistrate as being a party through his agents in the secret plots
or open workings of political parties.

In respect to the exercise of this power nothing should be left to
discretion which may safely be regulated by law, and it is of high
importance to restrain as far as possible the stimulus of personal
interests in public elections. Considering the great increase which has
been made in public offices in the last quarter of a century and the
probability of further increase, we incur the hazard of witnessing
violent political contests, directed too often to the single object of
retaining office by those who are in or obtaining it by those who are
out. Under the influence of these convictions I shall cordially concur
in any constitutional measure for regulating and, by regulating,
restraining the power of removal.

I suggest for your consideration the propriety of making without further
delay some specific application of the funds derived under the will of
Mr. Smithson, of England, for the diffusion of knowledge, and which have
heretofore been vested in public stocks until such time as Congress
should think proper to give them a specific direction. Nor will you, I
feel confident, permit any abatement of the principal of the legacy to
be made should it turn out that the stocks in which the investments have
been made have undergone a depreciation.

In conclusion I commend to your care the interests of this District, for
which you are the exclusive legislators. Considering that this city is
the residence of the Government and for a large part of the year of
Congress, and considering also the great cost of the public buildings
and the propriety of affording them at all times careful protection, it
seems not unreasonable that Congress should contribute toward the
expense of an efficient police.



WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of War, in compliance
with a resolution of the Senate of the 3d of March last, calling for a
comparative statement of the condition of the public defenses, of all
the preparations and means of defense, and of the actual and authorized
strength of the Army on the 1st of January, 1829, and the 1st of
January, 1841.


WASHINGTON, _December 7, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the War Department, in compliance with
so much of the resolution of the Senate of March 3, 1841, respecting the
military and naval defenses of the country, as relates to the defenses
under the superintendence of that Department.


WASHINGTON, _December 8, 1841_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 4th
of September last, requesting information touching the relations between
the United States and the Republic of Texas, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of State, to whom the resolution was referred.


WASHINGTON, _December 8, 1841_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of the Treasury,
exhibiting certain transfers of appropriations which have been made in
that Department in pursuance of the power vested in the President of the
United States by the act of Congress of the 3d of March, 1809, entitled
"An act further to amend the several acts for the establishment and
regulation of the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments."


WASHINGTON, _December 29, 1841_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report[15] from the Secretary of
State, in answer to their resolution of the 27th instant.


[Footnote 15: Stating that no proposition has been made by either the
United States or Great Britain relative to the mutual right of search.]

WASHINGTON, _January 4, 1842_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith communicate a report and statement from the Secretary of
State, in answer to a resolution of the House of the 19th of June, 1841,
requesting the aggregate amount of each description of persons within
the several districts of the United States by counties and principal


WASHINGTON, _January 10, 1842_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention between the United States and the Republic
of Peru, signed at Lima on the 17th of March last, providing for the
adjustment and satisfaction of certain claims of citizens of the United
States against the Government of that Republic.

For the purpose of acquainting the Senate with the nature and amount of
those demands and with the course of the negotiation, I also communicate
a copy of such parts of the correspondence of the agents of the two
Governments as relate thereto.


WASHINGTON, _January 17, 1842_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State, relative
to the proceedings and final decision of the commissioners under the
convention with the Republic of Texas upon the subject of the boundary
between the United States and that Republic.


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

WASHINGTON, _January 18, 1842_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives, in answer to the resolution
of the 14th instant, a report[16] from the Secretary of State and the
papers by which it was accompanied.


[Footnote 16: Relating to American citizens captured near Santa Fe,
Mexico, by the Mexican army.]

WASHINGTON, _January 19, 1842_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate herewith a report[17] from the Secretary of
State, with accompanying papers, in answer to their resolution of the
11th instant.


[Footnote 17: Transmitting correspondence relative to the action of the
authorities of Nassau, New Providence, in the imprisonment of slaves
charged with mutiny and murder, the refusal to surrender them to the
United States consul for trial in the United States, and the liberation
of slaves, all of said slaves being a part of the cargo of the United
States brig _Creole_.]

JANUARY 27, 1842.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report[18] of the Secretary of War, in answer to
the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th August, 1841.


[Footnote 18: Relating to the origin of the Seminole war, slaves
captured during said war by United States troops, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _February 5, 1842_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate copies of a report and letter from the
commissioners appointed by the President for the exploration and survey
of the boundary line between the States of Maine and New Hampshire and
the conterminous British Provinces, showing the progress made in that
work during the past season, and submitting an estimate, to which I
invite the attention of Congress, of the funds that will be requisite
for completing the surveys yet to be made on the boundary, and the
office work consequent thereon, and for completing the maps of surveys
already made.


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

NEW YORK, _January 4, 1842_.


_Secretary of State_:

The undersigned, commissioners appointed by the President of the United
States for the purpose of exploring and surveying the boundary line
between the States of Maine and New Hampshire and the British Provinces
in North America, respectfully report--

That in pursuance of the duties of their appointment they have in the
course of the late season performed the following surveys and

1. The meridian line of the monument at the source of the St. Croix has,
under the direction of J.D. Graham, been carefully and accurately traced
from the station in the vicinity of Houlton where the labors of the year
1840 terminated to a point 4 miles north of the St. John River in the
vicinity of the Grand Falls, being a distance of 81 miles from the
monument. The timber has been removed along this line to a width
necessary for its accurate prolongation and for the requisite
astronomical observations at various points upon it, and a correct
profile, or vertical section, has also been obtained by means of the
spirit level the whole of the distance above mentioned.

Besides the astronomical observations necessary to obtain and continue
the due north direction upon this line, numerous magnetic observations
have also been made at a number of points upon it, in order to show the
physical causes which must operate to produce serious discrepancies
between a meridian line properly traced and such a one as has actually
separated the jurisdiction of the two Governments since the attempt in
the years 1817 and 1818 to define and mark this portion of the boundary
under the provisions of the treaty of Ghent, although no portion of that
line was ever ratified or made binding upon the parties to the treaty.

Upon this portion of the survey there have been chained, including
measured offsets to the old line and to other important points, 85

Four hundred and fifty-two transit observations of heavenly bodies have
been made, aided by three excellent chronometers, for the determination
of the true meridian direction, most of which also served for the
computation of the correct time.

For the determination of the longitude of this meridian west of the
Royal Observatory of Greenwich and the latitudes of four important
points upon it there were made eighty-five complete sets of astronomical
observations, including altitudes of the sun and stars and the meridian
transits of the moon and moon-culminating stars.

The number of barometric observations made upon the line and in its
vicinity is 5,767; besides which there were made at Calais, for
comparison with the level of mean tide on the St. Croix, 1,336 similar

There have been determined in altitude above or below the level of the
monument, by means of the spirit level, 1,716 points, and the altitudes
of 1,816 other points have been similarly observed in order to verify
the altitude of the monument above the level of mean tide at Calais.

For the determination of the magnetic variation at a number of points on
the meridian line, more than 200 observations have been made upon four
different needles, and for the determination of the magnetic dip at four
principal stations on the same meridian 300 observations have been made
upon two different needles.

Under the directions of the same commissioner the line claimed by Great
Britain from Mars Hill and that recently chosen by Messrs. Mudge and
Featherstonhaugh have been surveyed westward from the meridian line to
the highlands near the head waters of the Aroostook, and the necessary
data obtained for the construction of a correct map of that portion of

Upon this survey, without reckoning the distances traveled for
approaching many important points of observation, there have been
actually measured with the chain and coursed with proper instruments 267
miles, including the Aroostook River from its mouth to the point where
it receives the Lapawmpeag Stream, a profile of the country from the
head waters of the Moluncus to the St. John at Fish River, and such
other important lines as were necessary for obtaining the correct
topography of the country, and the altitudes of many points upon the
line claimed by Great Britain as the boundary, in the vicinity of the
Aroostook, have been obtained.

Ten principal points have been determined in latitude and longitude by
means of 115 sets of astronomical observations, aided by three good
chronometers, and seventeen other points have been determined by
triangulation with a portable theodolite. Two hundred and five points
have been determined in altitude by means of 1,319 barometric
observations, and seventeen by means of the theodolite and spirit level.
One hundred and ninety-two observations have been made for determining
the variation of the magnetic needle at three important points.

The field duties above mentioned are considered to furnish sufficient
data for a correct map of the line reported upon by the late British
commissioners, Colonel Mudge and Mr. Featherstonhaugh, between the
St. John River and the head of the Aroostook, besides some lateral
explorations of considerable extent that will have an important bearing
upon this branch of the subject. The work accomplished is full as much
as could have been properly done in a single season, marked, as the
last was, by an unusual drought of long continuance, which rendered
it impossible to ascend, even with light canoes, some of the smaller
streams, especially those forming the northwesternmost sources of the
Aroostook. These might be profitably explored another season.

2. The division under the direction of A. Talcott has, besides verifying
a part of the line of 1840 and tracing the course of Indian Stream (a
branch of the Connecticut) to its source, explored and surveyed the line
of highlands which extends from the Kennebec road to the Temiscouata
portage, and so much of the line claimed by Great Britain as extends
from the Kennebec road to the eastward as far as the head of the
Aroostook River.

In the course of this survey, without counting the lines of approach
or ground traveled over more than once, 703 miles have been passed over
and such notes taken as will form the basis of a map. Of these 703
miles, 335 are upon the lines respectively claimed as boundaries by
the Governments of the United States and Great Britain. In the course
of these surveys, in order to the geographical determination of the
position of the line, the latitudes of 54 points have been determined
by means of 114 sets of altitudes of heavenly bodies, and the sets of
subsidiary observations for time and for the determination of longitude
by chronometers amount to 245. The number of points at which
observations have been made by barometers for the purpose of determining
their altitudes is 930, of which 669 are upon the boundaries
respectively claimed by the two countries. The number of separate sets
of barometric readings made at these points amounts to 1,981, while
those made at the fixed stations, with which the former are to be
compared, amount to 1,671.

3. The division under the direction of J. Renwick has explored or
surveyed the line of highlands from the southeastern extremity of Lake
Matapediac to the vicinity of the river Du Loup, where the line of
survey has been connected with that of A. Talcott. In this survey a gap
is yet left of a few miles on the western side of the valley of the
Rimouski near its source.

In the course of the operations of this division 586 miles have been
passed over and such notes taken as will form the basis of a map. Of
these 586 miles, 275 have been actually measured, 209 are upon the
boundary claimed by the United States, and about 30 upon the line
pointed out by the proclamation of the King of Great Britain of the 7th
of October, 1763, as the southern boundary of the Province of Quebec,
making in all 239 miles of the height of land.

In the course of these surveys, in order to the geographical
determination of the position of the line, the latitudes of 47 points
have been determined by means of 85 sets of altitudes of heavenly
bodies, and the sets of subsidiary observations for time and for the
determination of longitude by chronometers amount to 130. The number
of points at which observations have been made by barometers for the
purpose of determining their altitudes is 407, of which 267 are upon the
boundary claimed by the United States. The number of separate sets of
barometric readings made at these points amounts to 1,153, while those
made at the fixed stations amount to 837.

The division of Major Graham not having returned from the field
until within a few days, neither the reduction of the astronomical
observations nor any of the office work preparatory to a general map
has yet been commenced by his division.

The office work of the divisions of A. Talcott and J. Renwick has been
steadily carried on since the return of those commissioners from the
field in the month of October, and great progress has been made in the
calculations and plotting preparatory to the construction of maps, and
necessary as materials for a general report.

In this state of the work of the several divisions the undersigned find
themselves under the necessity of communicating to the State Department
that the further progress of their operations is about to be arrested by
the exhaustion of the appropriation, and of stating that unless speedy
provision be made for the supply of the necessary funds the report of
their operations can not be made up in time to be laid before Congress
at its present session.

The position of the finances of the commission may be seen by the
following statement:

Of the appropriation of $75,000 there have been drawn--

By J. Renwick $21,000
By A. Talcott 24,200
By J.D. Graham 25,000
Total drawn 70,200

Leaving in the Treasury of the United States $4,800.

By a careful estimate it is found that to finish the office work of the
several divisions there will be required over and above any balances in
the hands of the several commissioners--

For the division of J. Renwick $3,000
For the division of A. Talcott 5,800
For the division of J.D. Graham, including some
arrearages due for instruments and to assistant
engineers attached to this division 6,500

Making in all $15,300, and leaving to be provided
for the completion of the work of the late season $10,500.

The undersigned can not refrain from stating that the necessity of
applying for further funds was unexpected by each of them individually,
as it is painful to them collectively. There are, however, reasons that
in their opinion are incontrovertible which have led to an expenditure
thus exceeding their estimate submitted to the Secretary of State the
11th of January, 1841:

1. The estimate for the expenses of the division under the direction of
Major Graham amounted to $22,500. This referred only, however, to the
continuation of the survey of the meridian line; and as the country had
been represented by the most authentic maps as generally rising from the
monument to the north, it was inferred that the timber to be cut away
in opening this line through a dense forest would be of the description
generally found upon elevated and dry lands, and the labor supposed to
be requisite was estimated accordingly. So far, however, from this being
the case, 26 miles out of the 32 between the base of Parks Ridge, near
Houlton, and the river Des Chutes (6 miles north of the latitude of Mars
Hill) have actually been found to be below the level of the monument and
intersected by swamps covered with a thick growth of cedar and other
timber common to such land, extremely difficult to cut away. More than
double the labor estimated had therefore to be performed in
accomplishing this and all similar portions of the work, and a
corresponding increase of expense was unavoidable.

In addition to this increased labor upon the meridian line, the division
of Major Graham has executed the surveys between that line and the head
waters of the Aroostook, already given in detail, the expenses for which
were not estimated or included in the sum above mentioned.

The cost of this survey, including the instruments that were required
for it, has amounted to $5,500, and while this sum should be added to
the original estimate for this division, the expenses of the divisions
of the other two commissioners have not in any manner been thereby
diminished, for the actual quantity of work performed by them has
exceeded what was supposed from the best maps extant to be necessary
upon the whole of the lines claimed by the two Governments,
respectively, exclusive of the meridian line, as will hereafter be

There was another cause which tended in a great degree to augment the
expenses of this division in proportion to the progress of the work,
which it was not within the power of human agency to control, and which
we should not omit to mention here.

The severe drought which prevailed throughout this region of country
during the month of August and the greater part of September caused the
fires which are annually set to the fallen timber upon newly cleared
lands to spread far and wide into the growing forest, and so rapid was
its progress and so serious its ravages as to compel the inhabitants
in many cases to fly for the preservation of life. Some check was
experienced in the duties along the meridian line from the flames that
actually embraced it, but a far more serious one from the dense smoke
which filled the atmosphere almost incessantly for six weeks, and so
obstructed the view as to render it impossible to fix the stations in
advance with the requisite precision.

While the party charged with the astronomical operations was thus
deprived of the opportunity of making scarcely any progress for six
weeks, the expense of maintaining it could not in any way be diminished,
because there was a daily hope that such a change in the weather might
occur as would have removed this difficulty.

In order to make amends as far as practicable for so much time
unavoidably lost, this division continued to prosecute its field duties
north of the forty-seventh degree of latitude until several weeks after
the severities of winter had commenced, with no other protection than
their tents, the commissioner in charge of it believing that the
expectations of the Government and of the country generally would but be
fulfilled by the investigations in relation to this important line being
pushed to the utmost attainable point. But for this it would have been
impossible to have reached the St. John River the late season.

There remains to be surveyed along this meridian line, in order to reach
the northwest angle of Nova Scotia as claimed by the United States,
about 64 miles, to accomplish which will require another season of
active field duty.

2. In the estimate for the work of the divisions of A. Talcott and J.
Renwick it was assumed that the length of the boundary remaining on the
line claimed by the United States was 320 miles, and upon the lines
claimed by Great Britain 170 miles.

Of the latter, about one-half was undertaken by Major Graham's
division,[19] leaving for the estimated distance to be surveyed by the
divisions of A. Talcott and J. Renwick 450 miles.

[Footnote 19: It has already been stated that in the survey of the
portion of this line allotted to Major Graham there were actually
measured upon it, with the chain, 276 miles, and this did not constitute
more than one-half the labor and expense incident to all the duties
enumerated and performed by his division on his portion, so much did the
work required upon this portion of it exceed what was estimated for the
whole of it.]

It will appear by the statement hereinbefore given that the joint
surveys of these two divisions upon the lines of highlands have actually
amounted to 574 miles. Upon the principle of their estimate, the
probable cost of this would have amounted to $49,746.37, and with the
addition for instruments and for the additional cost of the more remote
parts of the line to $57,079.70.

The actual cost, including the foregoing estimate for the completion of
the work, is $54,000.

It will appear, therefore, that when the increased extent of the work
performed over that made the basis of the estimate is considered, the
cost of performing it, so far from having exceeded the estimate, has
fallen short of it by $3,000.

The reason of the discrepancy between the real extent of the line, as
actually measured, and that which formed the basis of the calculation is
that the latter was made by reference to the best existing maps, which
were considered to be entitled to a certain degree of credit. Upon the
close examination which the operations of the late season have afforded,
these maps have been ascertained to be exceedingly erroneous. Well-known
streams have been found to extend in either direction many miles beyond
the points at which their sources have been laid down on the maps, and
great rivers and lakes have, as it were, been discovered, of which no
delineation had ever been given by geographers. The extent of these
errors in remote and difficultly accessible points may be inferred from
what has been found to occur in the part of the region which is most
accessible, best known, and most frequently traversed.

On the Temiscouata portage, a road traveled weekly by the mail of Her
Britannic Majesty, continually passed by the officers of her various
services, which had been carefully surveyed by civil engineers
preparatory to its reconstruction, and which has been traveled by the
surveyors of both countries under the joint commission, it had hitherto
been believed, and it was so represented on all maps, both English and
American, that the line dividing the waters crossed the road three
times. The surveys of the late season show that the boundary claimed by
the United States crosses this road five times, and it became necessary
to explore the culminating points of the valleys of four streams,
instead of two, as had been anticipated. Instances of the same sort, but
which do not admit of verbal description, have occurred on every part of
the lines of highlands.

The two commissioners whose operations are under consideration no doubt
had it in their power to have suspended their operations and returned so
soon as the portion of the appropriation placed at their disposal was so
far exhausted as to leave no more than would be needed to complete their
office work; but they feel satisfied that they would not have been
justified in so doing so long as any portion of the line remained
unsurveyed or the weather would permit a party to keep the field. Thus,
although in the original plan for the partition of the work it was
estimated that their lines would probably be connected in the parallel
of the river Ouelle, about 30 miles south of Temiscouata portage, when
it was found that, from unforeseen delays in the transportation of the
party of J. Renwick by sea to their work, and on the river St. Lawrence
from one station to another, it became doubtful whether he could pass
the Temiscouata portage before the woods became impassable, his
colleague continued his parties in the field until the junction was
effected. In this way, while the expenses of the division of J. Renwick
have not been materially diminished, those of the division of A. Talcott
have been largely increased; but a portion of the general work has been
accomplished which might otherwise have been left incomplete.

The undersigned, in conclusion, beg leave respectfully to urge the
importance of a speedy appropriation to enable them to make up their
report. A delay of any continuance will be productive of evil, either by
enhancing the cost of office work or by rendering it difficult in
consequence of the dispersion of the engineers and surveyors by whom the
field notes have been taken. Upon the completion only of such a report
will it be possible to render apparent how much of the whole task has
been accomplished and how much remains to be performed; and the
Department will then have it in its power to decide whether the part
that has not been completed is of such importance to the question at
issue as to require further operations upon it.

All which is respectfully submitted.


WASHINGTON, _January 25, 1842_.


_Secretary of State_.

SIR: The undersigned, commissioners appointed by the President of the
United States for the purpose of surveying and exploring the boundary
line between the States of Maine and New Hampshire and the British
Provinces, beg leave, in compliance with your directions, to submit an
estimate for the operations of the commission for the ensuing year.

So much of your directions as regards the state of the survey and the
amount required to complete the office work preparatory to a report has
already been laid before you in their report of the 4th January, 1842,
prepared in anticipation of your orders. By reference thereto it will
appear that the delineation of the meridian of the source of St. Croix
has not, in spite of every effort on the part of the commissioner to
whom it was assigned, been pursued farther than 81 miles from the
monument. Sixty-four miles, therefore, of the said meridian line remain
to be surveyed before this part of their task is completed. The other
two commissioners, while they would not have hesitated to join in a
final report in case the state of the survey of the meridian line would
have permitted it, are aware that the hasty manner in which their work
was performed, in anticipation of completing the object of their
appointment during the past year, leaves room for a more accurate
examination of some parts of the lines they have surveyed. Some
portions, also, of the lines intrusted to them, respectively, were not
reached; and, in addition, a part of the survey which was contemplated
in their original instructions from your predecessor was not included in
their estimates for the past year, in consequence of its having only a
collateral relation to the main object.

Thus the surveys respectively undertaken by Messrs. Talcott and Graham
of the lines claimed on the part of Great Britain and by Messrs. Mudge
and Featherstonhaugh, although brought near to each other, have not been
united, and a part of the highlands claimed by the United States near
the source of the Rimouski was not reached by the parties of Professor

The height of a part of the line explored by Captain Talcott in 1840,
lying at the source of Arnolds River, was not determined for the want of
a barometer.

Two or three miles in length of the line of highlands near the source of
the river Du Loup require to be reexamined.

The longitudes of Lake Megantic, Lake Etchemin, the source of the
Metjarmette, upon the line of Captain Talcott, and of some one point
on the line of Professor Renwick ought to be ascertained with greater
precision than the time that could be allowed during the last season
would permit.

The instructions of Mr. Forsyth contemplated an exploration of the
highlands described in the proclamation of 1763 as beginning on the
north shore of the Bay of Chaleurs. The existence of a continuous
elevated region from the tide of that bay to the termination of the
exploring meridian line has been ascertained in a manner satisfactory to
the commission, but the heights have not been measured on that part of
it which lies nearest to the Bay of Chaleurs.

Under these circumstances the undersigned are of opinion that as no
delay in the presentation of a final report will arise from further
explorations of the parts of the territory thus pointed out and the more
accurate examination of the uncertain matters, it would add to the
confidence which may be placed in their results that a party be employed
under the direction of each of the above-named commissioners upon the
said work. For this object it is estimated--

1. That $25,000 in all, say $12,500 to be expended under the direction
of each of the two above-named commissioners, will suffice. A less sum
than this will not keep two parties in the field during the working
season; a larger sum could not advantageously be expended on this part
of the work.

2. In estimating the amount necessary for completing the delineation of
the meridian of the source of the river St. Croix, it will be borne in
mind that numerous astronomical observations must be made in aid of the
operations with the transit instrument, in order constantly to preserve
the true north direction, a condition of the utmost consequence, not
alone as affecting the extent of territory that will be embraced by
it, but more particularly because the character and position of the
highlands alluded to in the treaty of 1783 would be exhibited in a very
different light as encountered by a line running _due north_, as is
required by the treaty, and by one varying even in a slight degree from
that direction. This principle has already been exhibited in a striking
manner by the trace of the meridian line as far as it has now
progressed, for instead of encountering highlands in the latitude of
Mars Hill having a claim to be considered those described in the treaty
as the intended boundary between the two countries, the line as recently
traced actually passes that latitude at an elevation of less than
10 feet above the level of the monument, and the greatest elevation
encountered by this line in passing over any spur connected with Mars
Hill is 63 feet above the level of the monument. In advance of this spur
the line becomes again depressed below the level of the monument at
several points before it reaches the Aroostook.

These, however, are only a few of the many facts that might be adduced
from the surveys already made to show how important it is to the
question at issue that every necessary means to avail of the aids
of science should be adopted in order to preserve scrupulously the
direction specified in the treaty while tracing this line. It must also
be remembered that in the further prosecution of this duty a wilderness
has to be traversed, totally uninhabited and totally without roads. The
only means of progressing through it and of transporting the necessary
provisions and the instruments indispensable to accuracy will be by
means of canoes, for supplying two or three depots at points where Grand
River and the waters of the Restigouche intersect the line, leaving the
whole transportation along the meridian to be performed by packmen, or
men carrying burdens on their backs. That the usual avenue to give an
unimpeded view along the line must be opened through a dense forest,
which in the neighborhood of all streams crossing it will still be
found to consist of that swampy growth described in the report from the
undersigned of the 4th of January instant as requiring so much labor to
cut through it.

With all these circumstances in view, the following estimate for the
completion of the survey of the meridian line and for some further
surveys between that line and the source of the Aroostook is submitted;
and it is intended to embrace the expense of completing both the field
and the office wort that will require to be done in order to a final
accomplishment of the duties:

_Estimate for the meridian line_.

1. Pay of 4 assistant engineers from May 1, 1842,
to March 31, 1843, being 304 days, at $4 per day each $4,864.00

2. Pay of 3 other assistant engineers from May 1, 1842,
to December 31, 1842, being 275 days, at $3 per day each 2,475.00

3. Hire of 30 men as axmen, and for preparing, constructing,
and erecting stations and signals in advance, from June 1
to November 30, 1842, being 183 days, at $1 each per day 5,490.00

4. Hire of 30 other men as instrument carriers, chain
bearers, canoe men, and packmen for 183 days, as
above, at $1 per day each 5,490.00

5. Hire of 1 carpenter and 2 cooks 183 days, as above,
at $1.25 per day each 686.25

6. Subsistence of 1 commissioner, 7 assistant engineers,
1 carpenter, 2 cooks, and 60 men, as above, being in all
71 persons, while in the field, 183 days at 50 cents per
day each, including transportation of provisions to
Grand Falls of St. John, or first depot 5,496.50

7. Purchase of barometers and repairs of instruments
heretofore used 800.00

8. Salary of commissioner 3,000.00

9. Contingencies, including Stationery, office rent,
and fuel, and transportation of engineers and
commissioner to and from the field 1,500.00

Total required for the meridian line 30,801.75

That is to say, $30,801.75, making the whole amount for the work yet
to be performed in the field on all parts of the boundary and for the
office work that will be consequent from the said field work $55,801.75

All which is respectfully submitted.



1. Amount of estimate for completing the surveys yet
required to be made on the boundary, as above stated $55,801.75

2. Amount of estimate rendered with report of January 4,
1842, for completing maps of surveys already made, etc. 10,500.00

Aggregate amount required 66,301.75

WASHINGTON, _February 9, 1842_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 7th of
February, 1842, in the following words--

_Resolved_, That the President of the United States inform this House
under what authority the commission, consisting of George Poindexter
and others, for the investigation of the concerns of the New York
custom-house was raised; what were the purposes and objects of said
commission; how many persons have in any way been connected with it, and
the compensation received or to be received by each; and the aggregate
amount of every description of said commission, and out of what fund the
said expenditures have been or are to be paid--

I have to state that the authority for instituting the commission
mentioned in said resolution is the authority vested in the President of
the United States to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed,
and to give to Congress from time to time information on the state of
the Union, and to recommend to their consideration such measures as he
shall judge necessary and expedient."

The expediency, if not the necessity, of inquiries into the transactions
of our custom-houses, especially in cases where abuses and malpractices
are alleged, must be obvious to Congress, and that investigations of
this kind were expected to be made appears from the provision in the
twenty-first section of the act of 1799, "which enjoins collectors
of the customs to submit their books, papers, and accounts to the
inspection of such persons as shall be appointed for that purpose."

The purposes and objects of the commission will be explained by the
commission itself, a copy of which, together with information on the
other subjects mentioned in the resolution, will at the proper time be
laid before Congress.


WASHINGTON, _February 11, 1842_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the request of the governor of the Territory of Iowa,
I have the honor to submit the accompanying memorials[20] and joint
resolutions[20] of the council and house of representatives of that
Territory to your consideration.


[Footnote 20: Asking an appropriation to defray the expenses growing out
of the dispute between the United States, within the Territory of Iowa,
and the State of Missouri relative to the southern boundary line, an
appropriation to defray the expenses of a convention for the formation
of a State constitution, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _February 14, 1842_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
3d instant, I transmit herewith a report[21] from the Secretary of State,
with copies of the papers requested by the resolution.


[Footnote 21: Relating to letters written in March, 1841, by Andrew
Stevenson, United States minister at the Court of Great Britain,
to Isaac Hull, commander of the United States squadron in the
Mediterranean, which caused a part of that squadron to return to the
United States.]

WASHINGTON, _February 16, 1842_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a communication addressed to me by the Secretary of
War, in relation to certain contracts entered into by a board of medical
officers appointed for that purpose for the purchase of sites on the
western waters for the erection of marine hospitals; and concurring
fully in his views of the subject, I recommend that either an
appropriation of $44,721 be made for the purpose of satisfying the
claims of the individuals with whom the contracts were made or that the
Department of War be authorized to reconvey to them their lands and
annul the contracts.


WASHINGTON, _February 18, 1842_.

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

I have the honor to invite the attention of Congress to the accompanying
letter, addressed to me by the Secretary of State. You will doubtless
perceive the importance of furnishing a uniform rule for the guidance
of the public officers in the matter referred to in the Secretary's


[Footnote 22: Relating to the mode of paying salaries, etc., of
ministers and other diplomatic agents of the United States at the
several Courts of Europe.]

WASHINGTON, _February 19, 1842_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 8th instant, I have the honor to submit the accompanying
communication[23] from the Secretary of State and the correspondence
on the subject referred to by the resolution of the House.


[Footnote 23: Relating to the colonial history of New York.]

WASHINGTON, _February 21, 1842_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate herewith a report from the Secretary of State,
with an accompanying paper,[24] in answer to their resolution of the
18th instant.


[Footnote 24: Extract of a letter from the Department of State to the
United States minister at London relative to the case of the brig

WASHINGTON, _February 26, 1842_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

The resolution of the House of Representatives of the 21st instant,
requesting the President of the United States to communicate to that
body, "if not incompatible with the public interest, the state of the
negotiation between the United States and the Government of Great
Britain in relation to the northeastern boundary of the State of Maine,
and also all correspondence on that subject between the two Governments
not hitherto communicated," has been transmitted to me. Desirous always
to lay before Congress and the public everything affecting the state of
the country to the fullest extent consistent with propriety and
prudence, I have to inform the House of Representatives that in my
judgment no communication could be made by me at this time on the
subject of its resolution without detriment or danger to the public


WASHINGTON, _February 28, 1842_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I have the honor to submit copies of the correspondence[25] and other
documents called for by the resolution of the House of Representatives
of the 2d February.

I am not informed of the existence of any official opinion of the late
Judge Johnson on the unconstitutionality of the act or acts of the State
of South Carolina upon the subject referred to in the resolution.


[Footnote 25: Relating to an act of the legislature of South Carolina
providing for the imprisonment of free negroes found on board vessels
entering any of the ports of that State, complaints of the British
Government relative to the operation of said act, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _March 8, 1842_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I feel it to be my duty to invite your attention to the accompanying
communication from the Secretary of the Treasury, in relation to the
probable demands which will be made upon the Treasury for the present
quarter. It will be seen that, without arresting the requisitions which
will be made by the War and Navy Departments for the months of March,
April, and May, there will be an unprovided-for deficit of upward of
three millions.

I can not bring myself, however, to believe that it will enter into the
view of any department of the Government to arrest works of defense now
in progress of completion or vessels under construction or preparation
for sea. Having due regard to the unsettled condition of our foreign
relations and the exposed situation of our inland and maritime frontier,
I should feel myself wanting in my duty to the country if I could
hesitate in urging upon Congress all necessary appropriations for
placing it in an attitude of strength and security. Such recommendation,
however, has heretofore been made in full reliance as well on Congress
as on the well-known patriotism of the people, their high sense of
national honor, and their determination to defend our soil from the
possibility, however remote, of a hostile invasion.


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