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

Part 9 out of 11

WASHINGTON, _May 7, 1842_.


SIR: Your letter of the 4th instant, transmitting resolutions of the
legislature of Rhode Island, informing me that there existed in that
State "certain lawless assemblages of a portion of the people" "for
the purpose of subverting the laws and over-throwing the existing
government," and calling upon the Executive "forthwith to interpose
the authority and power of the United States to suppress such
insurrectionary and lawless assemblages and to support the existing
government and laws and protect the State from domestic violence,"
was handed me on yesterday by Messrs. Randolph and Potter.

I have to inform your excellency in reply that my opinions as to the
duties of this Government to protect the State of Rhode Island against
domestic violence remain unchanged. Yet, from information received by
the Executive since your dispatches came to hand I am led to believe
that the lawless assemblages to which reference is made have already
dispersed and that the danger of domestic violence is hourly
diminishing, if it has not wholly disappeared. I have with difficulty
brought myself at any time to believe that violence would be resorted
to or an exigency arise which the unaided power of the State could not
meet, especially as I have from the first felt persuaded that your
excellency and others associated with yourself in the administration
of the government would exhibit a temper of conciliation as well as
of energy and decision. To the insurgents themselves it ought to be
obvious, when the excitement of the moment shall have passed away, that
changes achieved by regular and, if necessary, repeated appeals to the
constituted authorities, in a country so much under the influence of
public opinion, and by recourse to argument and remonstrance, are more
likely to insure lasting blessings than those accomplished by violence
and bloodshed on one day, and liable to overthrow by similar agents on

I freely confess that I should experience great reluctance in employing
the military power of this Government against any portion of the people;
but however painful the duty, I have to assure your excellency that if
resistance be made to the execution of the laws of Rhode Island by such
force as the _civil power_ shall be unable to overcome, it will be the
duty of this Government to enforce the constitutional guaranty--a
guaranty given and adopted mutually by all the original States, of which
number Rhode Island was one, and which in the same way has been given
and adopted by each of the States since admitted into the Union; and
if an exigency of lawless violence shall actually arise the executive
government of the United States, on the application of your excellency
under the authority of the resolutions of the legislature already
transmitted, will stand ready to succor the authorities of the State in
their efforts to maintain a due respect for the laws. I sincerely hope,
however, that no such exigency may occur, and that every citizen of
Rhode Island will manifest his love of peace and good order by
submitting to the laws and seeking a redress of grievances by other
means than intestine commotions.

I tender to your excellency assurances of my distinguished consideration.



_President of the United States_.

SIR: As requested by the general assembly, I have the honor of
transmitting to you, under the seal of the State, the accompanying

And I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

_Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations_.

_General Assembly, May Session, in the City of Providence, A.D. 1842_.

_Resolved_, That the governor be requested to inform the President
of the United States that the government of this State has been duly
elected and organized under the constitution of the same, and that the
general assembly are now in session and proceeding to discharge their
duties according to the provisions of said constitution.

_Resolved_, That the governor be requested to make the same
communication to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the
House of Representatives, to be laid before the two Houses of the
Congress of the United States.

_Resolved_, That the governor be requested to make the same
communication to the governors of the several States, to be laid before
the respective legislatures.

A true copy.

[L.S.] WM. H. SMITH,
_Secretary of State_.

MAY 9, 1842.

Governor KING, _of Rhode Island_.

SIR: Messrs. Randolph and Potter will hand you an official letter, but I
think it important that you should be informed of my views and opinions
as to the best mode of settling all difficulties. I deprecate the use of
force except in the last resort, and I am persuaded that measures of
conciliation will at once operate to produce quiet. _I am well advised_,
if the general assembly would authorize you to announce a general
amnesty and pardon for the past, without making any exception, upon the
condition of a return to allegiance, and follow it up by a call for a
new convention upon somewhat liberal principles, that all difficulty
would at once cease. And why should not this be done? A government never
loses anything by mildness and forbearance to its own citizens, more
especially when the consequences of an opposite course may be the
shedding of blood. In your case the one-half of your people are involved
in the consequences of recent proceedings. Why urge matters to an
extremity? If you succeed by the bayonet, you succeed against your own
fellow-citizens and by the shedding of kindred blood, whereas by taking
the opposite course you will have shown a paternal care for the lives of
your people. My own opinion is that the adoption of the above measures
will give you peace and insure you harmony. A resort to force, on the
contrary, will engender for years to come feelings of animosity.

I have said that I _speak advisedly_. Try the experiment, and if it fail
then your justification in using force becomes complete.

Excuse the freedom I take, and be assured of my respect.


PROVIDENCE, R.I., _May 12, 1842_.


MY DEAR SIR: I have had the honor to receive your communication of
9th instant by Mr. Randolph, and assure you it has given me much
satisfaction to know that your views and opinions as to the course
proper to be pursued by the government of this State in the present
unhappy condition of our political affairs is so much in conformity
with my own.

Our legislature will undoubtedly at their session in June next adopt
such measures as will be necessary to organize a convention for the
formation of a new constitution of government, by which all the evils
now complained of may be removed.

It has already been announced as the opinion of the executive that
such of our citizens as are or have been engaged in treasonable and
revolutionary designs against the State will be pardoned for the past on
the condition only that they withdraw themselves from such enterprise
and signify their return to their allegiance to the government.

With high consideration and respect, your obedient and very humble


KINGSTON, R.I. _May 15, 1842_.

His Excellency JOHN TYLER,

_President of the United States_.

DEAR SIR: We arrived at Newport on Wednesday morning in time to attend
the meeting of our legislature.

The subject of calling a convention immediately, and upon a liberal
basis as to the right of voting for the delegates, was seriously
agitated amongst us. The only objection made was that they did not wish
to concede while the _people's party_ continued _their threats_. All
allowed that the concession must be made, and the only difference of
opinion was as to time.

For my own part, I fear we shall never see the time when concession
could have been made with better grace or with better effect than now.
If two or three _noisy_ folks among the suffrage party could only have
their mouths stopped for a week or two, a reconciliation could be
brought about at any time, or if Mr. Dorr would allow himself to be
arrested peaceably and give bail no one could then object. But the
supporters of the government say it is wrong to give up so long as Mr.
Dorr threatens actual resistance to the laws in case he is arrested. If
this could be done, they would then consider that they had sufficiently
shown their determination to support the laws, and the two measures
which you proposed to us in conversation at Washington--a convention and
then a _general_ amnesty--would succeed beyond a doubt.

Allow me to suggest that if Mr. Wickliffe, or someone who you might
think would have most influence, would address a letter to Governor
Fenner on the subject of conciliation it might be of great service.
Governor F. is the father-in-law of General Mallett and a member of
our senate.

Our assembly adjourned to the third Monday of June, but it is in the
power of the governor to call it sooner, which can be done in a day at
any time. Unless, however, there is a little more _prudence_ in the
_leaders_ on both sides, we shall then be farther from reconciliation
than now. The great mass of both parties I believe to be sincerely
anxious for a settlement.

I do not know whether a letter addressed to the President upon a subject
of this nature would of course be considered as public and liable to
inspection. Few would write freely if that were the case. If private, I
will cheerfully communicate from time to time any information that may
be in my power and which might be of any service.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Mr. Dorr returned to Providence this (Monday) morning with an armed

WASHINGTON, _May 20, 1842_.


DEAR SIR: You have my thanks for your favor of the 16th [15th] instant,
and I have to request that you will write to me without reserve whenever
anything of importance shall arise. My chief motives for desiring the
adoption of the measures suggested to you, viz, a general amnesty and a
call of a convention, were, first, because I felt convinced that peace
and harmony would follow in their train, and, secondly, if in this I was
disappointed the insurgents would have had no longer a pretense for an
appeal to the public sympathies in their behalf. I saw nothing to
degrade or to give rise to injurious reflections against the government
of the State for resorting to every proper expedient in order to quiet
the disaffection of any portion of her own people. Family quarrels are
always the most difficult to appease, but everybody will admit that
those of the family who do most to reconcile them are entitled to the
greatest favor. Mr. Dorr's recent proceedings have been of so
extravagant a character as almost to extinguish the last hope of a
peaceable result, and yet I can not but believe that much is meant for
effect and for purposes of intimidation merely. I certainly hope that
such may be the case, though the recent proceedings in New York may have
excited new feelings and new desires. This mustering of the clans may
place Governor King in a different situation from that which he occupied
when I had the pleasure of seeing you. _Then_ he might have yielded with
grace; whether he can do so now is certainly a question of much
difficulty and one on which I can not venture to express an opinion at
this distance from the scene of action.

I shall be always most happy to hear from you, and your letters will
never be used to your prejudice.

Accept assurances of my high respect.


PROVIDENCE, _May 16, 1842_.


SIR: At the request of Governor King, I inclose to you an extra of the
Providence Daily Express of this morning, containing the proclamation
of Thomas W. Dorr to the people of this State.

It states definitely the position assumed by him and his faction against
the government of this State and of the United States.

His excellency tenders to you the highest respect and consideration.

Respectfully, yours,

_Private Secretary_.




FELLOW-CITIZENS: Shortly after the adjournment of the general assembly
and the completion of indispensable executive business I was induced by
the request of the most active friends of our cause to undertake the
duty (which had been previously suggested) of representing in person the
interests of the people of Rhode Island in other States and at the seat
of the General Government. By virtue of a resolution of the general
assembly, I appointed Messrs. Pearce and Anthony commissioners for the
same purpose.

Of the proposed action of the Executive in the affairs of our State you
have been already apprised. In case of the failure of the civil posse
(which expression was intended by the President, as I have been
informed, to embrace the military power) to execute any of the laws of
the charter assembly, including their law of pains and penalties and of
treason, as it has been for the first time defined, the President
intimates an intention of resorting to the forces of the United States
to check the movements of the people of this State in support of their
republican constitution recently adopted.

From a decision which conflicts with the right of sovereignty inherent
in the people of this State and with the principles which lie at the
foundation of a democratic republic an appeal has been taken to the
people of our country. They understand our cause; they sympathize in the
injuries which have been inflicted upon us; they disapprove the course
which the National Executive has adopted toward this State, and they
assure us of their disposition and intention to interpose a barrier
between the supporters of the people's constitution and the hired
soldiery of the United States. The democracy of the country are slow to
move in any matter which involves an issue so momentous as that which is
presented by the controversy in Rhode Island, but when they have once
put themselves in motion they are not to be easily diverted from their
purposes. They believe that the people of Rhode Island are in the right;
that they are contending for equal justice in their political system;
that they have properly adopted a constitution of government for
themselves, as they were entitled to do, and they can not and will
not remain indifferent to any act, from whatever motive it may
proceed, which they deem to be an invasion of the sacred right of
self-government, of which the people of the respective States can not
be divested.

As your representative I have been everywhere received with the utmost
kindness and cordiality. To the people of the city of New York, who have
extended to us the hand of a generous fraternity, it is impossible to
overrate our obligation at this most important crisis.

It has become my duty to say that so soon as a soldier of the United
States shall be set in motion, by whatever direction, to act against the
people of this State in aid of the charter government I shall call for
that aid to oppose all such force, which, I am fully authorized to say,
will be immediately and most cheerfully tendered to the service of the
people of Rhode Island from the city of New York and from other places.
The contest will then become national, and our State the battle ground
of American freedom.

As a Rhode Island man I regret that the constitutional question in this
State can not be adjusted among our own citizens, but as the minority
have asked that the sword of the National Executive may be thrown into
the scale against the people, it is imperative upon them to make the
same appeal to their brethren of the States--an appeal which they are
well assured will not be made in vain. They who have been the first to
ask assistance from abroad can have no reason to complain of any
consequences which may ensue.

No further arrests under the law of pains and penalties, which was
repealed by the general assembly of the people at their May session,
will be permitted. I hereby direct the military, under their respective
officers, promptly to prevent the same and to release all who may be
arrested under said law.

As requested by the general assembly, I enjoin upon the militia
forthwith to elect their company officers; and I call upon volunteers to
organize themselves without delay. The military are directed to hold
themselves in readiness for immediate service.

Given under my hand and the seal of the State, at the city of
Providence, this 6th day of May, A.D. 1842.



_Governor and Commander in Chief of the State of Rhode Island and
Providence Plantations_

By the governor's command:
_Secretary of State_.

PROVIDENCE, R.I., _May 25, 1842_.


SIR: Since my last communication the surface of things in this city and
State has been more quiet. The complete dispersing of the insurgents and
flight of their leader on Wednesday last, 18th instant, seem to have
broken their strength and prevented them from making head openly in any

But another crisis now appears to be approaching. By the private
advices received by myself and the council from our messengers in the
neighboring States we learn that Dorr and his agents are enlisting men
and collecting arms for the purpose of again attempting to subvert, by
open war, the government of this State. Those who have assisted him
at home in his extreme measures are again holding secret councils and
making preparations to rally on his return. Companies of men pledged to
support him have met and drilled in the north part of this State during
the present week.

From the forces which he can collect among our own citizens we have
nothing to fear. Our own military strength has once scattered them, and
could as easily do so a second time. But if the bands which are now
organizing in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York should make the
incursion which they threaten, with Dorr at their head, we have reason
to apprehend a civil war of the most destructive and vindictive
character. Our own forces might be sufficient to repel them, but having
little discipline and no officer of military experience to lead them,
they could not do it without the loss of many valuable lives.

For the evidence that such forces are organizing in other States, I
refer Your Excellency to a letter from Governor Seward, of New York, and
to a statement made by one of our messengers to the council, which will
be handed you. Other messengers confirm to the fullest extent the same

In this posture of affairs I deem it my duty to call upon Your
Excellency for the support guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of
the United States to this government. I would submit to Your Excellency
whether a movement of a sufficient body of troops to this quarter, to be
stationed at Fort Adams, and to be subject to the requisitions of the
executive of this State whenever in his opinion the exigency should
arise to require their assistance, would not be the best measure to
insure peace and respect for the laws and to deter invasions.

You will see by the statement[120] of the secret agent of the government
that the time set for this incursion is very near. The mustering of the
insurgents and their movement upon the city will probably be with the
greatest expedition when once commenced--in a time too short for a
messenger to reach Washington and return with aid. I therefore make this
application before any movement of magnitude on their part, in order
that we may be prepared at the briefest notice to quell domestic
insurrection and repel invasion.

_Governor of Rhode Island_.

[Footnote 120: Omitted.]


_Albany, May 22, 1842_.

His Excellency SAMUEL WARD KING,

_Governor of Rhode Island_.

SIR: In compliance with your excellency's requisition, I have this day
issued a warrant for the arrest of Thomas Wilson Dorr, esq., charged in
Rhode Island with the crime of treason. The warrant will be delivered to
a police officer of this city, who will attend Colonel Pitman and be
advised by him in regard to the arrest of the fugitive should he be
found in this State.

May I be allowed to suggest to your excellency that a detention of the
accused in this State would be liable to misapprehension, and if it
should be in a particular region of this State might, perhaps, result in
an effort to rescue him. Therefore it seems to be quite important that
your excellency should without delay designate, by a communication to
me, an agent to receive the fugitive and convey him to Rhode Island.

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


WASHINGTON CITY, _May 28, 1842_.

His Excellency Governor KING.

SIR: I have received your excellency's communication of the 25th
instant, informing me of efforts making by Mr. Dorr and others to embody
a force in the contiguous States for the invasion of the State of Rhode
Island, and calling upon the Executive of the United States for military

In answer I have to inform your excellency that means have been taken
to ascertain the extent of the dangers of any armed invasion by the
citizens of other States of the State of Rhode Island, either to put
down her government or to disturb her peace. The apparent improbability
of a violation so flagrant and unprecedented of all our laws and
institutions makes me, I confess, slow to believe that any serious
attempts will be made to execute the designs which some evil-minded
persons may have formed.

But should the necessity of the case require the interposition of the
authority of the United States it will be rendered in the manner
prescribed by the laws.

In the meantime I indulge a confident expectation, founded upon the
recent manifestations of public opinion in your State in favor of law
and order, that your own resources and means will be abundantly adequate
to preserve the public peace, and that the difficulties which have
arisen will be soon amicably and permanently adjusted by the exercise
of a spirit of liberality and forbearance.


The Secretary of War will issue a private order to Colonel Bankhead,
commanding at Newport, to employ, if necessary, a private and
confidential person or persons to go into all such places and among
all such persons as he may have reason to believe to be likely to give
any information touching Rhode Island affairs, and to report with the
greatest dispatch, if necessary, to the President. He will also address
a letter to General Wool conveying to him the fears entertained of a
hostile invasion contemplated to place Dorr in the chair of state of
Rhode Island by persons in the States of Connecticut and New York,
and also to General Eustis, at Boston, of a similar character, with
instructions to adopt such inquiries (to be secretly made) as they may
deem necessary, and to report with the greatest dispatch all information
which from time to time they may acquire.

(Indorsed: "President's instructions, May 28, 1842.")

WAR DEPARTMENT, _May 28, 1842_.


_Newport, R.I._

SIR: The governor of Rhode Island has represented to the President that
preparations are making by Mr. Dorr and some of his adherents to recruit
men in the neighboring States for the purpose of supporting his
usurpation of the powers of government, and that he has provided arms
and camp equipage for a large number of men. It is very important that
we should have accurate information on this subject, and particularly in
relation to the movements made in other States. I have therefore to
desire you to employ proper persons to go to the places where it may be
supposed such preparations are making to possess themselves fully of all
that is doing and in contemplation, and report frequently to you. It is
said that Mr. Dorr's principal headquarters are at the town of Thompson,
in the State of Connecticut. It may be well for you to communicate
personally with Governor King and ascertain from him the points and
places at which any preparations for embodying men are supposed to be
making, and to direct your inquiries accordingly.

It is important that you should select persons on whose integrity and
accuracy the fullest reliance can be placed. They should not be
partisans on either side, although to effect the object it will of
course be necessary that some of them should obtain (if they do not
already possess) the confidence of the friends of Mr. Dorr. You will
please communicate directly to me all the information you obtain, and
your own views of it.

It is scarcely necessary to say that this communication is of the most
private and confidential character, and is not to be made known to

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


WAR DEPARTMENT, _May 29, 1842_.

Brigadier-General EUSTIS,


SIR: The governor of Rhode Island has represented to the President that
preparations are making in other States (particularly in Massachusetts)
for an armed invasion of that State to support the usurpations of Mr.
Dorr and his friends and foment domestic insurrection. It is very
important that we should have accurate information on this subject, and
I have to desire you to take all necessary means to acquire it, and
communicate directly to me as speedily and frequently as possible. It is
said that 1,000 stand of arms have been procured in Boston, some pieces
of artillery, and a large quantity of camp equipage for the use of the
insurgents. Your attention to this is particularly desired to ascertain
its truth or falsehood. It is also said that there are 200 men enrolled
and embodied in a town upon the borders of Rhode Island, the name of
which has escaped me. Please inquire into this. If it becomes necessary
to employ confidential persons to discover what is doing, you will do
so, being careful to select those only that are entirely trustworthy;
and it will be desirable to avoid heated partisans on either side. Their
inquiries should be conducted quietly and privately.

I desire you to communicate fully and freely what you may learn and your
views concerning it for the information of the President and the

It is scarcely necessary to say that this communication is strictly
private and confidential.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


NEW YORK, _June 3, 1842_.


MY DEAR SIR: I came to this city yesterday, having taken a severe cold
on the Sound, and am now just out of my bed. I transmit herewith a
letter from ----, a friend appointed by me, as you requested, to look
into the Rhode Island business. Mr. ---- has had access to authentic
sources in Governor Dorr's party, and I have no doubt his account of the
whole matter is perfectly just. I supposed I should receive the foreign
mail here, but I shall not wait for it if I should feel well enough to
travel to-morrow.

Yours, truly,


NEW YORK, _June 3, 1842_.


_Secretary of State_.

DEAR SIR: In pursuance of the arrangement made when you were in Boston,
I have visited the State of Rhode Island, and, so far as could be done,
possessed myself of a knowledge of the existing state of things there.
I had a full and free interview with Governor King and his council, as
well as with several other gentlemen upon each side of the matter in
controversy. All agree that, so far as the people of Rhode Island are
concerned, there is no danger of any further armed resistance to the
legitimate authorities of the State. It was never intended, probably, by
the majority of those called the suffrage party to proceed in any event
to violence, and when they found themselves pushed to such an extremity
by their leaders they deserted their leaders and are now every day
enrolling themselves in the volunteer companies which are being
organized in every part of the State for the suppression of any further
insurrectionary movements that may be made. A large majority of those
elected or appointed to office under the people's constitution (so
called) have resigned their places and renounced all allegiance to that
constitution and the party which supports it, so that the insurgents are
now without any such organization as would enable them to carry out
their original purposes if they otherwise had the power.

Governor King and his council alone, of all the intelligent persons with
whom I consulted, fear an irruption upon them of an armed force to be
collected in other States, and this is the only difficulty of which they
now have any apprehension. This fear is excited by the boasts frequently
made by the few who still avow their determination to adhere to the
constitution that they have at their control large bodies of armed men,
as well as camp equipage, provisions, money, and munitions of war, which
have been provided for them in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.
The supposition that Rhode Island is to be invaded by a foreign force,
when that force would neither be led nor followed by any considerable
number of the people of the State, does not seem, to say the least,
to be a very reasonable one. If those who think they are suffering
injustice are not disposed to make an effort to redress their supposed
wrongs, they would hardly expect the work to be done by others.

The ostensible object of the insurgents now is not the real one. They
meditate no further forcible proceedings. They bluster and threaten for
several reasons:

First. Because they suppose they shall thus break their fall a little
and render their retreat a little less inglorious than it would be if
they should beat it at once.

Second. They believe that if they keep up a shew of opposition to the
existing government they shall be more likely to revolutionize it by
peaceable measures; and

Third. They think they can make their influence so far felt as to
operate favorably upon those who are now under arrest for treason or who
may be hereafter arrested for the same offense.

That these are the views and purposes of the insurgents I am
confidentially assured by the notorious individual from whom I told you
I could learn their plans and designs; and no one has better means of
knowing than he, having been himself one of Mr. Dorr's confidential
advisers from the beginning.

The meeting at Woonsocket on the 1st did not amount to much, being but
thinly attended. The projected fortifications at that place have been
abandoned. It is said they will be thrown up in some other spot to be
designated hereafter, but this is not believed.

Mr. Dorr is now understood to be lurking in this city. Warrants have
been issued for his arrest both by the governor of this State and the
governor of Massachusetts, but he moves so privately and shifts his
whereabouts so often that he eludes his pursuers.

Under all the circumstances I think you will come to the opinion
entertained by seven-eighths of all the people of Providence (the scene
of his operations thus far) that, deserted by his followers at home and
disgraced in the estimation of those who sympathized with him abroad;
Mr. Dorr has it not in his power to do any further serious mischief.

Yours, very truly,

---- ----.

PROVIDENCE, R.I., _June 22, 1842_.


_Secretary of War_.

SIR: When I last had the honor to write to you I felt confident that
there would be no further disturbance of the peace in this State.
Governor King was of the same opinion. But I now fear, from strong
indications, that Mr. Dorr and his party are determined to enter the
State in force, and that in a few days serious difficulties will arise.

On my arrival here this morning from Newport, on my way to New York,
I learnt from undoubted authority that several large boxes of muskets,
supposed to contain about eighty, were received the evening before last
at Woonsocket from New York; that several mounted cannon had been also
received there and forwarded on to Chepachet; that a number of men, not
citizens of the State, with arms, were in and about Woonsocket and
Chepachet; that forty-eight kegs of powder were stolen on Sunday night
last from a powder house in this neighborhood, and that Dorr, with about
twenty men, landed last evening at Norwich.

An unsuccessful attempt was made two nights ago to steal the guns of the
artillery company at Warren, and at several other places where guns had
been deposited by the State, by some of Dorr's men, one of whom has been
identified and arrested.

It has been observed for several days past that many of the suffrage
party and residents of this city have been sending off their families
and effects. The inhabitants of the city are seriously alarmed and in a
state of much excitement. An express to convey the above intelligence to
Governor King at Newport will be immediately sent down by the mayor of
the city.

I shall be in New York early to-morrow morning ready to receive any
instructions you may think proper to honor me with.

I have been compelled to write this in haste.

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

_Colonel Second Regiment Artillery_.


_June 23,1842_.

SIR:[121] Governor King, having gone to Newport this afternoon, has
requested me to forward his letter to Your Excellency, with such
depositions as I could procure concerning the state of affairs in
the north part of the State. These documents will be taken on by the
Hon. William Sprague, our Senator, who intends leaving to-night for
Washington. Should any accident prevent Mr. Sprague from going, I shall
forward them to be put in the mail. I inclose the depositions[122] of
Messrs. Samuel W. Peckham and Charles I. Harris. Messrs. Keep and
Shelley, whom I sent out, have just returned. If I can get their
depositions in time, I shall also forward them.

[Footnote 121: Addressed to the President of the United States.]

[Footnote 122: Omitted.]

About 11 a.m. this day a body marched from Woonsocket to Chepachet
amounting to 90 men, and other small bodies are marching in that
direction, so that I suppose that about 400 will be concentrated at
Chepachet this evening.

In this city there is much excitement, but no symptoms as yet of men
gathering with arms. There are many who I fear will be ready to join
in any mischief should Dorr's forces approach us. Up to 8 o'clock this
morning Mr. Dorr was in Connecticut, but a gentleman from Chepachet
informs me his friends expect him this day.

I remain, with great respect, your obedient servant,



_Providence, June 23, 1842_.

His Excellency JOHN TYLER,

_President of the United States_.

SIR: After my last communication the excitement and military operations
of the insurgents against the government of this State appeared to
subside, and I indulged hopes that no open violence would be attempted,
but that they were disposed to await the action of the general assembly,
now in session at Newport. I regret that I am obliged to inform Your
Excellency that within a few days past appearances have become more
alarming. Several iron cannon have been stolen from citizens of
Providence, and during the night of the 19th a powder house, owned by a
merchant of Providence, was broken open and about 1,200 pounds of powder
stolen therefrom. Yesterday the military operations of the insurgents
became more decided in their character. At Woonsocket and Chepachet
there were gatherings of men in military array, pretending to act under
the authority of Thomas W. Dorr. They established a kind of martial law
in those villages, stopped peaceable citizens in the highways, and at
Chepachet four citizens of Providence were seized by an armed force,
pinioned, and compelled to march about 10 miles under a guard of about
forty men to Woonsocket, where they were cruelly treated under pretense
of being spies. The insurgents are provided with cannon, tents,
ammunition, and stores.

It is ascertained that Thomas W. Dorr has returned from the city of New
York to the State of Connecticut, and I have reason to believe he will
be at Chepachet this day, where he will concentrate what forces he has
already under arms with such others as he can collect. Those already
assembled are composed of citizens of other States as well as of our
own, and are variously estimated at 500 to 1,000 men.

I have this morning had an interview with Colonel Bankhead, who will
communicate to the War Department such facts as have come to his
knowledge. I would further state to Your Excellency that in those
villages and their vicinity the civil authority is disregarded and

Under these circumstances I respectfully submit to Your Excellency that
the crisis has arrived when the aid demanded by the legislature of the
State from the Federal Government is imperatively required to furnish
that protection to our citizens from domestic violence which is
guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

I confidently trust that Your Excellency will adopt such measures as
will afford us prompt and efficient relief.

I remain, with great consideration, your obedient servant,


WASHINGTON, _June 25, 1842_.

Governor KING.

SIR: Your letter of the 23d instant was this day received by the hands
of Governor Sprague, together with the documents accompanying the same.
Your excellency has unintentionally overlooked the fact that the
legislature of Rhode Island is now in session. The act of Congress gives
to the Executive of the United States no power to summon to the aid of
the State the military force of the United States unless an application
shall be made by the legislature if in session; and that the State
executive can not make such application except when the legislature can
not be convened. (See act of Congress, February 28, 1795.)

I presume that your excellency has been led into the error of making
this application (the legislature of the State being in session at the
date of your dispatch) from a misapprehension of the true import of my
letter of 7th May last. I lose no time in correcting such
misapprehension if it exist.

Should the legislature of Rhode Island deem it proper to make a
similar application to that addressed to me by your excellency, their
communication shall receive all the attention which will be justly due
to the high source from which such application shall emanate.

I renew to your excellency assurances of high consideration.


PROVIDENCE, R.I., _June 23, 1842_.


_Secretary of War_.

SIR: I addressed you yesterday afternoon in great haste, that my letter
might go by the mail (then about being closed), to inform you of the
sudden change in the aspect of affairs in this State, and also to inform
you that I should be this morning at Governors Island, New York.

At the urgent solicitation of Governor King, who crossed over from
Newport to Stonington to intercept me on the route, I returned last
night to this place from Stonington, having proceeded so far on my way
to New York.

In addition to what I stated in my letter yesterday, I learn from
Governor King (who has just called on me) that four citizens of this
city who had gone to Chepachet to ascertain what was going on there were
arrested as spies by the insurgents, bound, and sent last night to
Woonsocket, where they were confined when his informer left there at
8 o'clock this morning; also that martial law had been proclaimed by the
insurgents at Woonsocket and Chepachet, and no one was allowed to enter
or depart from either place without permission.

The citizens of this city are in a state of intense excitement.

I shall return to-morrow to Newport to await any instructions you may be
pleased to favor me with.

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

_Colonel Second Regiment Artillery_.

PROVIDENCE, R.I., _June 23, 1842_.

Brigadier-General R. JONES,

_Adjutant-General United States Army_.

SIR: I left Newport yesterday morning to return to Fort Columbus, with
the belief that my presence could no longer be necessary for the purpose
I had been ordered there for. The legislature was in session, and, as I
was well assured, determined honestly and faithfully to adopt measures
to meet the wishes of the citizens of this State to form a constitution
on such liberal principles as to insure full satisfaction to all
patriotic and intelligent men who had any interest in the welfare of
the State. The well-known intention of the legislature in this respect
would, I hoped and believed, reconcile the factious and produce
tranquillity. But the aspect of affairs has suddenly become more
threatening and alarming. There is an assemblage of men at Woonsocket
and Chepachet, two small villages (say 15 miles distant hence) on the
borders of Connecticut, composed principally of strangers or persons
from other States. They have recently received 75 muskets from Boston
and 80 from New York, in addition to former supplies. They have also
several mounted cannon and a large quantity of ammunition, 48 kegs of
which they stole from a powder house not far distant from this, the
property of a manufacturer of powder. Dorr, it is supposed, joined his
party at one of the above-named places the night before last; he has
certainly returned from New York and passed through Norwich. His
_concentrated_ forces are variously estimated at from 500 to 1,000 men.

I had proceeded thus far yesterday afternoon on my return to New York,
and had taken my seat in the cars for Stonington, when an express from
Governor King, who was at Newport, overtook me, to request that I would
not leave the State; too late, however, for me then to stop here, as
the cars were just moving off. On getting to Stonington I there found
Governor King, who had crossed over from Newport to intercept me, and
at his solicitation I at once returned with him last night in an extra
car to this place. Not then having a moment's time to write you, as the
steamboat left immediately on the arrival of the cars at Stonington,
I sent my adjutant on in the boat with directions to report to you the
fact and the cause of my return.

I had written thus far when the governor called on me, and has informed
me that four citizens of this State, who had gone to Chepachet to
ascertain the exact state of affairs there, were arrested as spies,
bound, and sent last night to Woonsocket, where two hours ago they were
still in confinement. Martial law has been declared in Chepachet and
Woonsocket, and no one allowed to enter or depart without permission.
I yesterday afternoon wrote to the Secretary of War (as I had been
directed), in great haste, however, to send by the mail, to inform him
of the sudden change in the aspect of affairs here; in which letter
I stated that I should be at Governors Island this morning. As I, of
course, then did not contemplate to the contrary, I beg you will do me
the favor to acquaint him with the cause of my return.

I can only add that the citizens of this place are in a state of intense
anxiety and excitement. I remain here to-day at the special request of
several who have just left me. To-morrow I shall return to Newport to
await any communication from you.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

_Colonel Second Regiment Artillery_.

PROVIDENCE, R.I., _June 27, 1842_.

SIR:[123] As there was no mail yesterday from this, I could make no
report to the Major-General Commanding of the military movements in
this quarter up to that time. Since my last letter to you most of the
volunteers and other military companies called out by the governor
have assembled here to the amount of about 2,000 men. The force of the
insurgents under the immediate direction of Mr. Dorr, and concentrated
at Chepachet, is estimated at from 800 to 1,000 men armed with muskets,
about 1,500 without arms, and 10 or 12 cannon mounted.

[Footnote 123: Addressed to Brigadier-General R. Jones, Adjutant-General
United States Army.]

It seems to be impossible to avoid a conflict between the contending
parties without the interposition of a strong regular force.

The State force here can defend this city, and it might successfully
attack the insurgent force at Chepachet; but there would be danger in
leaving the city without adequate means of protection to it, as there is
doubtless a large number within the city with concealed arms ready to
commence hostilities.

The position taken by Dorr's troops at Chepachet is naturally strong,
and has been much strengthened by intrenchments, etc. It would therefore
be highly imprudent to make the attack, even if no secret foes were left
behind within the city, without a positive certainty of success; and
with the aid of a few disciplined troops a defeat there would be ruinous
and irreparable.

A force of 300 regular troops would insure success, and probably without

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

_Colonel Second Regiment Artillery_.

WASHINGTON, _June 27, 1842_.


SIR: The intelligence from Rhode Island since the call was made on you
by the Senators from that State is of a character still more serious
and urgent than that then communicated to you by Mr. Sprague, who was
charged with communications to Your Excellency from Governor King. We
are informed that a requisition was made upon the Government of the
United States by the governor of Rhode Island, pursuant to resolutions
passed by the general assembly of that State when in session in May
last, calling for a proclamation against those engaged in an armed
rebellion against the government of Rhode Island and for military aid in
suppressing the same; that Your Excellency replied to Governor King that
in the opinion of the Executive the force arrayed against the government
of the State was not then such as to warrant immediate action on his
part, but that Your Excellency in your reply proceeded to say: "If an
exigency of lawless violence shall actually arise, the executive
government of the United States, on the application of your excellency
under the authority of the resolutions of the legislature already
submitted, will stand ready to succor the authorities of the State in
their efforts to maintain a due respect for the laws." Whereby it was
understood that in the event of the assembling of such an armed force as
would require the interference contemplated by the Constitution and laws
of the United States the Executive of the United States, upon being duly
notified of the fact by the governor of the State, would act upon the
requisition already made by the legislature without further action on
the part of that body.

We understand that upon this notice being given through the
communications handed you by Mr. Sprague on Saturday, containing proof
of the existence and array of a large body of armed men within the State
of Rhode Island, who had already committed acts of lawless violence,
both by depredating largely upon property in various parts of the
State and by capturing and confining citizens, as well as owning and
manifesting a determination to attack the constituted authorities, you
considered that it was desirable that this communication should have
been accompanied with a further resolution of the general assembly
authorizing the governor to act in this instance, from the fact that
the assembly was then in session by adjournment.

It is the purpose of this communication respectfully to state that we
conceive the existing circumstances call for the immediate action of the
Executive upon the information and papers now in its possession.

The meeting of the legislature during the last week was by adjournment.
It is in law regarded as the May session of the general assembly, and
can be regarded in no other light than if it had been a continuous
session of that body held from day to day by usual adjournments. Had
this last been the case, it can not be conceived that new action on its
part would have been required to give notice of any movements of hostile
forces engaged in the same enterprise which was made known to the
Executive by its resolutions of May last.

Our intelligence authorizes us to believe that a multitude of
lawless and violent men, not citizens of Rhode Island, but inhabitants
of other States, wickedly induced by pay and by hopes of spoil, and
perhaps instigated also by motives arising from exasperation on the
part of their instigators and of themselves at the course heretofore
indicated in this matter by the executive government of the Union, have
congregated themselves and are daily increasing their numbers within the
borders of our State, organized, armed, and arrayed in open war upon the
State authorities, and ready to be led, and avowedly about to be led,
to the attack of the principal city of the State as part of the same
original plan to overthrow the government, and that in the prosecution
of this plan our citizens have reason to apprehend the most desperate
and reckless assaults of ruffianly violence upon their property, their
habitations, and their lives.

We beg leave to refer you, in addition, to a letter which we understand
was received yesterday by General Scott from Colonel Bankhead, detailing
some information in his possession.

We therefore respectfully request an immediate compliance on the part
of the Executive with the requisition communicated in the papers from
Governor King, as the most effectual, and, in our opinion, the only
measure that can now prevent the effusion of blood and the calamities
of intestine violence, if each has not already occurred.

We are, with the highest respect, Your Excellency's obedient servants,


WASHINGTON, _June 29,1842_.

The Secretary Of War.

SIR: From the official communication of Colonel Bankhead to you, this
day laid before me, it is evident that the difficulties in Rhode Island
have arrived at a crisis which may require a prompt interposition of
the Executive of the United States to prevent the effusion of blood.
From the correspondence already had with the governor of Rhode Island
I have reason to expect that a requisition will be immediately made
by the government of that State for the assistance guaranteed by the
Constitution to protect its citizens from domestic violence. With a view
to ascertain the true condition of things and to render the assistance
of this Government (if any shall be required) as prompt as may be, you
are instructed to proceed to Rhode Island, and, in the event of a
requisition being made upon the President in conformity with the laws of
the United States, you will cause the proclamation herewith delivered
to be published. And should circumstances in your opinion render it
necessary, you will also call upon the governors of Massachusetts and
Connecticut, or either of them, for such number and description of the
militia of their respective States as may be sufficient to terminate at
once the insurrection in Rhode Island. And in the meantime the troops
in the vicinity of Providence may with propriety be placed in such
positions as will enable them to defend that city from assault.




Whereas the legislature of the State of Rhode Island has applied to
the President of the United States setting forth the existence of
a dangerous insurrection in that State, composed partly of deluded
citizens of the State, but chiefly of intruders of dangerous and
abandoned character coming from other States, and requiring the
immediate interposition of the constitutional power vested in him to be
exercised in such cases, I do issue this my proclamation, according to
law, hereby commanding all insurgents and all persons connected with
said insurrection to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective
abodes within twenty-four hours from the time when this proclamation
shall be made public in Rhode Island.

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

Done at the city of Washington this ---- day of ---- A.D. 1842, and of
the Independence of the United States the sixty-sixth.


By the President:
_Secretary of State_.

WASHINGTON, _April 22, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith, for your approval and ratification, a treaty which
I have caused to be negotiated between the United States and Texas,
whereby the latter, on the conditions therein set forth, has transferred
and conveyed all its right of separate and independent sovereignty and
jurisdiction to the United States. In taking so important a step I have
been influenced by what appeared to me to be the most controlling
considerations of public policy and the general good, and in having
accomplished it, should it meet with your approval, the Government will
have succeeded in reclaiming a territory which formerly constituted a
portion, as it is confidently believed, of its domain under the treaty
of cession of 1803 by France to the United States.

The country thus proposed to be annexed has been settled principally
by persons from the United States, who emigrated on the invitation
of both Spain and Mexico, and who carried with them into the wilderness
which they have partially reclaimed the laws, customs, and political
and domestic institutions of their native land. They are deeply
indoctrinated in all the principles of civil liberty, and will bring
along with them in the act of reassociation devotion to our Union and
a firm and inflexible resolution to assist in maintaining the public
liberty unimpaired--a consideration which, as it appears to me, is to be
regarded as of no small moment. The country itself thus obtained is of
incalculable value in an agricultural and commercial point of view. To a
soil of inexhaustible fertility it unites a genial and healthy climate,
and is destined at a day not distant to make large contributions to the
commerce of the world. Its territory is separated from the United States
in part by an imaginary line, and by the river Sabine for a distance
of 310 miles, and its productions are the same with those of many of
the contiguous States of the Union. Such is the country, such are its
inhabitants, and such its capacities to add to the general wealth of the
Union. As to the latter, it may be safely asserted that in the magnitude
of its productions it will equal in a short time, under the protecting
care of this Government, if it does not surpass, the combined production
of many of the States of the Confederacy. A new and powerful impulse
will thus be given to the navigating interest of the country, which will
be chiefly engrossed by our fellow-citizens of the Eastern and Middle
States, who have already attained a remarkable degree of prosperity by
the partial monopoly they have enjoyed of the carrying trade of the
Union, particularly the coastwise trade, which this new acquisition is
destined in time, and that not distant, to swell to a magnitude which
can not easily be computed, while the addition made to the boundaries
of the home market thus secured to their mining, manufacturing, and
mechanical skill and industry will be of a character the most commanding
and important. Such are some of the many advantages which will
accrue to the Eastern and Middle States by the ratification of the
treaty--advantages the extent of which it is impossible to estimate with
accuracy or properly to appreciate. Texas, being adapted to the culture
of cotton, sugar, and rice, and devoting most of her energies to the
raising of these productions, will open an extensive market to the
Western States in the important articles of beef, pork, horses, mules,
etc., as well as in breadstuffs. At the same time, the Southern and
Southeastern States will find in the fact of annexation protection and
security to their peace and tranquillity, as well against all domestic
as foreign efforts to disturb them, thus consecrating anew the union of
the States and holding out the promise of its perpetual duration. Thus,
at the same time that the tide of public prosperity is greatly swollen,
an appeal of what appears to the Executive to be of an imposing, if not
of a resistless, character is made to the interests of every portion of
the country. Agriculture, which would have a new and extensive market
opened for its produce; commerce, whose ships would be freighted with
the rich productions of an extensive and fertile region; and the
mechanical arts, in all their various ramifications, would seem to
unite in one universal demand for the ratification of the treaty. But
important as these considerations may appear, they are to be regarded
as but secondary to others. Texas, for reasons deemed sufficient by
herself, threw off her dependence on Mexico as far back as 1836, and
consummated her independence by the battle of San Jacinto in the same
year, since which period Mexico has attempted no serious invasion of her
territory, but the contest has assumed features of a mere border war,
characterized by acts revolting to humanity. In the year 1836 Texas
adopted her constitution, under which she has existed as a sovereign
power ever since, having been recognized as such by many of the
principal powers of the world; and contemporaneously with its adoption,
by a solemn vote of her people, embracing all her population but
ninety-three persons, declared her anxious desire to be admitted into
association with the United States as a portion of their territory.
This vote, thus solemnly taken, has never been reversed, and now by the
action of her constituted authorities, sustained as it is by popular
sentiment, she reaffirms her desire for annexation. This course has been
adopted by her without the employment of any sinister measures on the
part of this Government. No intrigue has been set on foot to accomplish
it. Texas herself wills it, and the Executive of the United States,
concurring with her, has seen no sufficient reason to avoid the
consummation of an act esteemed to be so desirable by both. It can
not be denied that Texas is greatly depressed in her energies by her
long-protracted war with Mexico. Under these circumstances it is but
natural that she should seek for safety and repose under the protection
of some stronger power, and it is equally so that her people should turn
to the United States, the land of their birth, in the first instance in
the pursuit of such protection. She has often before made known her
wishes, but her advances have to this time been repelled. The Executive
of the United States sees no longer any cause for pursuing such a
course. The hazard of now defeating her wishes may be of the most fatal
tendency. It might lead, and most probably would, to such an entire
alienation of sentiment and feeling as would inevitably induce her to
look elsewhere for aid, and force her either to enter into dangerous
alliances with other nations, who, looking with more wisdom to their
own interests, would, it is fairly to be presumed, readily adopt such
expedients; or she would hold out the proffer of discriminating duties
in trade and commerce in order to secure the necessary assistance.
Whatever step she might adopt looking to this object would prove
disastrous in the highest degree to the interests of the whole Union.
To say nothing of the impolicy of our permitting the carrying trade
and home market of such a country to pass out of our hands into those
of a commercial rival, the Government, in the first place, would be
certain to suffer most disastrously in its revenue by the introduction
of a system of smuggling upon an extensive scale, which an army of
custom-house officers could not prevent, and which would operate to
affect injuriously the interests of all the industrial classes of this
country. Hence would arise constant collisions between the inhabitants
of the two countries, which would evermore endanger their peace. A large
increase of the military force of the United States would inevitably
follow, thus devolving upon the people new and extraordinary burdens in
order not only to protect them from the danger of daily collision with
Texas herself, but to guard their border inhabitants against hostile
inroads, so easily excited on the part of the numerous and warlike
tribes of Indians dwelling in their neighborhood. Texas would
undoubtedly be unable for many years to come, if at any time, to resist
unaided and alone the military power of the United States; but it is not
extravagant to suppose that nations reaping a rich harvest from her
trade, secured to them by advantageous treaties, would be induced to
take part with her in any conflict with us, from the strongest
considerations of public policy. Such a state of things might subject
to devastation the territory of contiguous States, and would cost the
country in a single campaign more treasure, thrice told over, than is
stipulated to be paid and reimbursed by the treaty now proposed for
ratification. I will not permit myself to dwell on this view of the
subject. Consequences of a fatal character to the peace of the Union,
and even to the preservation of the Union itself, might be dwelt upon.
They will not, however, fail to occur to the mind of the Senate and of
the country. Nor do I indulge in any vague conjectures of the future.
The documents now transmitted along with the treaty lead to the
conclusion, as inevitable, that if the boon now tendered be rejected
Texas will seek for the friendship of others. In contemplating such a
contingency it can not be overlooked that the United States are already
almost surrounded by the possessions of European powers. The Canadas,
New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, the islands in the American seas, with
Texas trammeled by treaties of alliance or of a commercial character
differing in policy from that of the United States, would complete the
circle. Texas voluntarily steps forth, upon terms of perfect honor and
good faith to all nations, to ask to be annexed to the Union. As an
independent sovereignty her right to do this is unquestionable. In
doing so she gives no cause of umbrage to any other power; her people
desire it, and there is no slavish transfer of her sovereignty and
independence. She has for eight years maintained her independence
against all efforts to subdue her. She has been recognized as
independent by many of the most prominent of the family of nations,
and that recognition, so far as they are concerned, places her in
a position, without giving any just cause of umbrage to them, to
surrender her sovereignty at her own will and pleasure. The United
States, actuated evermore by a spirit of justice, has desired by the
stipulations of the treaty to render justice to all. They have made
provision for the payment of the public debt of Texas. We look to her
ample and fertile domain as the certain means of accomplishing this; but
this is a matter between the United States and Texas, and with which
other Governments have nothing to do. Our right to receive the rich
grant tendered by Texas is perfect, and this Government should not,
having due respect either to its own honor or its own interests, permit
its course of policy to be interrupted by the interference of other
powers, even if such interference were threatened. The question is one
purely American. In the acquisition, while we abstain most carefully
from all that could interrupt the public peace, we claim the right to
exercise a due regard to our own. This Government can not consistently
with its honor permit any such interference. With equal, if not greater,
propriety might the United States demand of other governments to
surrender their numerous and valuable acquisitions made in past time at
numberless places on the surface of the globe, whereby they have added
to their power and enlarged their resources.

To Mexico the Executive is disposed to pursue a course conciliatory in
its character and at the same time to render her the most ample justice
by conventions and stipulations not inconsistent with the rights and
dignity of the Government. It is actuated by no spirit of unjust
aggrandizement, but looks only to its own security. It has made known to
Mexico at several periods its extreme anxiety to witness the termination
of hostilities between that country and Texas. Its wishes, however, have
been entirely disregarded. It has ever been ready to urge an adjustment
of the dispute upon terms mutually advantageous to both. It will be
ready at all times to hear and discuss any claims Mexico may think she
has on the justice of the United States and to adjust any that may be
deemed to be so on the most liberal terms. There is no desire on the
part of the Executive to wound her pride or affect injuriously her
interest, but at the same time it can not compromit by any delay in its
action the essential interests of the United States. Mexico has no right
to ask or expect this of us; we deal rightfully with Texas as an
independent power. The war which has been waged for eight years has
resulted only in the conviction with all others than herself that Texas
can not be reconquered. I can not but repeat the opinion expressed in my
message at the opening of Congress that it is time it had ceased. The
Executive, while it could not look upon its longer continuance without
the greatest uneasiness, has, nevertheless, for all past time preserved
a course of strict neutrality. It could not be ignorant of the fact of
the exhaustion which a war of so long a duration had produced. Least of
all was it ignorant of the anxiety of other powers to induce Mexico to
enter into terms of reconciliation with Texas, which, affecting the
domestic institutions of Texas, would operate most injuriously upon the
United States and might most seriously threaten the existence of this
happy Union. Nor could it be unacquainted with the fact that although
foreign governments might disavow all design to disturb the relations
which exist under the Constitution between these States, yet that one,
the most powerful amongst them, had not failed to declare its marked
and decided hostility to the chief feature in those relations and its
purpose on all suitable occasions to urge upon Mexico the adoption of
such a course in negotiating with Texas as to produce the obliteration
of that feature from her domestic policy as one of the conditions of her
recognition by Mexico as an independent state. The Executive was also
aware of the fact that formidable associations of persons, the subjects
of foreign powers, existed, who were directing their utmost efforts
to the accomplishment of this object. To these conclusions it was
inevitably brought by the documents now submitted to the Senate.
I repeat, the Executive saw Texas in a state of almost hopeless
exhaustion, and the question was narrowed down to the simple proposition
whether the United States should accept the boon of annexation upon fair
and even liberal terms, or, by refusing to do so, force Texas to seek
refuge in the arms of some other power, either through a treaty of
alliance, offensive and defensive, or the adoption of some other
expedient which might virtually make her tributary to such power and
dependent upon it for all future time. The Executive has full reason to
believe that such would have been the result without its interposition,
and that such will be the result in the event either of unnecessary
delay in the ratification or of the rejection of the proposed treaty.

In full view, then, of the highest public duty, and as a measure of
security against evils incalculably great, the Executive has entered
into the negotiation, the fruits of which are now submitted to the
Senate. Independent of the urgent reasons which existed for the step
it has taken, it might safely invoke the fact (which it confidently
believes) that there exists no civilized government on earth having a
voluntary tender made it of a domain so rich and fertile, so replete
with all that can add to national greatness and wealth, and so necessary
to its peace and safety that would reject the offer. Nor are other
powers, Mexico inclusive, likely in any degree to be injuriously
affected by the ratification of the treaty. The prosperity of Texas
will be equally interesting to all; in the increase of the general
commerce of the world that prosperity will be secured by annexation.

But one view of the subject remains to be presented. It grows out of the
proposed enlargement of our territory. From this, I am free to confess,
I see no danger. The federative system is susceptible of the greatest
extension compatible with the ability of the representation of the most
distant State or Territory to reach the seat of Government in time to
participate in the functions of legislation and to make known the wants
of the constituent body. Our confederated Republic consisted originally
of thirteen members. It now consists of twice that number, while
applications are before Congress to permit other additions. This
addition of new States has served to strengthen rather than to weaken
the Union. New interests have sprung up, which require the united power
of all, through the action of the common Government, to protect and
defend upon the high seas and in foreign parts. Each State commits with
perfect security to that common Government those great interests growing
out of our relations with other nations of the world, and which equally
involve the good of all the States. Its domestic concerns are left to
its own exclusive management. But if there were any force in the
objection it would seem to require an immediate abandonment of
territorial possessions which lie in the distance and stretch to a
far-off sea, and yet no one would be found, it is believed, ready to
recommend such an abandonment. Texas lies at our very doors and in our
immediate vicinity.

Under every view which I have been able to take of the subject, I think
that the interests of our common constituents, the people of all the
States, and a love of the Union left the Executive no other alternative
than to negotiate the treaty. The high and solemn duty of ratifying or
rejecting it is wisely devolved on the Senate by the Constitution of the
United States.


WASHINGTON, _April 22, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith an additional article to the treaty of extradition
lately concluded between the Governments of France and the United
States, for your approval and ratification. The reason upon which it is
founded is explained on the face of the article and in the letter from
Mr. Pageot which accompanies this communication.


WASHINGTON, _April 26, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 22d instant,
requesting the President to communicate to that body any communication,
papers, or maps in possession of this Government specifying the
southern, southwestern, and western boundaries of Texas, I transmit
a map of Texas and the countries adjacent, compiled in the Bureau of
Topographical Engineers, under the direction of Colonel J.J. Abert,
by Lieutenant U.E. Emory, of that Corps, and also a memoir upon the
subject by the same officer.


_To the Senate of the United States_:

In my annual message at the commencement of the present session of
Congress I informed the two Houses that instructions had been given
by the Executive to the United States envoy at Berlin to negotiate
a commercial treaty with the States composing the Germanic Customs
Union for a reduction of the duties on tobacco and other agricultural
productions of the United States, in exchange for concessions on our
part in relation to certain articles of export the product of the skill
and industry of those countries. I now transmit a treaty which proposes
to carry into effect the views and intentions thus previously expressed
and declared, accompanied by two dispatches from Mr. Wheaton, our
minister at Berlin. This is believed to be the first instance in which
the attempt has proved successful to obtain a reduction of the heavy and
onerous duties to which American tobacco is subject in foreign markets,
and, taken in connection with the greatly reduced duties on rice and
lard and the free introduction of raw cotton, for which the treaty
provides, I can not but anticipate from its ratification important
benefits to the great agricultural, commercial, and navigating interests
of the United States. The concessions on our part relate to articles
which are believed not to enter injuriously into competition with the
manufacturing interest of the United States, while a country of great
extent and embracing a population of 28,000,000 human beings will more
thoroughly than heretofore be thrown open to the commercial enterprise
of our fellow-citizens.

Inasmuch as the provisions of the treaty come to some extent in conflict
with existing laws, it is my intention, should it receive your approval
and ratification, to communicate a copy of it to the House of
Representatives, in order that that House may take such action upon it
as it may deem necessary to give efficiency to its provisions.


APRIL 29, 1844

WASHINGTON, _April 29, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the Senate, with reference to my message of
the 22d instant, the copy of a recent correspondence[124] between the
Department of State and the minister of Her Britannic Majesty in this


[Footnote 124: With reference to the annexation of Texas.]

WASHINGTON, _April 29, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate a report of the Secretary of War, prepared
in compliance with the request contained in a resolution of the 10th


[Footnote 125: Proceedings under act of March 3, 1843, for the relief
of the Stockbridge tribe of Indians in the Territory of Wisconsin.]

WASHINGTON, _May 1, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a dispatch from the British minister, addressed to
the Secretary of State, bearing date the 30th April, in reply to the
letter of the Secretary of State of the 27th April, which has already
been communicated to the Senate, having relation to the Texas treaty.


WASHINGTON, _May 3, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 29th ultimo, requesting
a copy of additional papers upon the subject of the relations between
the United States and the Republic of Texas, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied.


WASHINGTON, _May 6, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith transmit the accompanying correspondence, relating to the
treaty recently concluded by the minister of the United States at Berlin
with the States comprising the Zollverein.


WASHINGTON, _May 6, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report[126] of the Secretary
of War, prepared as requested by the resolution of the House of the 18th
of January last.


[Footnote 126: Transmitting lists of persons employed by the War
Department since March 4, 1837, without express authority of law, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _May 6, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit herewith a report and accompanying documents from the
Secretary of War, containing all the information that can be now
furnished by that Department, in answer to the resolution of the House
of Representatives of the 18th of January, respecting the allowance of
claims previously rejected.


WASHINGTON, _May 7, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a postal convention between the United States and the
Republic of New Granada, signed in the city of Bogota on the 6th of
March last.

In order that the Senate may better understand the objects of the
convention and the motives which have made those objects desirable
on the part of the United States, I also transmit a copy of a
correspondence between the Department of State and the chairman of the
Committee on Commerce in the Senate, and between the same Department and
Mr. Blackford, the charge d'affaires of the United States at Bogota, who
concluded the convention on the part of this Government.


WASHINGTON, _May 10, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I deem it proper to transmit the accompanying dispatch, recently
received from the United States envoy at London, having reference to the
treaty now before the Senate lately negotiated by Mr. Wheaton, our envoy
at Berlin, with the Zollverein.

I will not withhold the expression of my full assent to the views
expressed by Mr. Everett in his conference with Lord Aberdeen.


WASHINGTON, _May 10, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I communicate to Congress a letter from the Imaum of Muscat and a
translation of it, together with sundry other papers, by which it will
be perceived that His Highness has been pleased again to offer to the
United States a present of Arabian horses. These animals will be in
Washington in a short time, and will be disposed of in such manner as
Congress may think proper to direct.


WASHINGTON, _May 11, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I herewith communicate to the Senate, for its consideration, two
conventions concluded by the minister of the United States at
Berlin--the one with the Kingdom of Wurtemberg, dated on the 10th day of
April, and the other with the Grand Duchy of Hesse, dated on the 26th
day of March, 1844--for the mutual abolition of the _droit d'aubaine_
and the _droit de detraction_ between those Governments and the United
States, and I communicate with the conventions copies of the
correspondence necessary to explain the reasons for concluding them.


WASHINGTON, _May 15, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 13th instant,
requesting to be informed "whether, since the commencement of the
negotiations which resulted in the treaty now before the Senate for the
annexation of Texas to the United States, any military preparation has
been made or ordered by the President for or in anticipation of war,
and, if so, for what cause, and with whom was such war apprehended,
and what are the preparations that have been made or ordered; has any
movement or assemblage or disposition of any of the military or naval
forces of the United States been made or ordered with a view to such
hostilities; and to communicate to the Senate copies of all orders or
directions given for any such preparation or for any such movement or
disposition or for the future conduct of such military or naval forces,"
I have to inform the Senate that, in consequence of the declaration of
Mexico communicated to this Government and by me laid before Congress
at the opening of its present session, announcing the determination
of Mexico to regard as a declaration of war against her by the United
States the definitive ratification of any treaty with Texas annexing the
territory of that Republic to the United States, and the hope and belief
entertained by the Executive that the treaty with Texas for that purpose
would be speedily approved and ratified by the Senate, it was regarded
by the Executive to have become emphatically its duty to concentrate
in the Gulf of Mexico and its vicinity, as a precautionary measure,
as large a portion of the home squadron, under the command of Captain
Conner, as could well be drawn together, and at the same time to
assemble at Fort Jesup, on the borders of Texas, as large a military
force as the demands of the service at other encampments would authorize
to be detached. For the number of ships already in the Gulf and the
waters contiguous thereto and such as are placed under orders for that
destination, and of troops now assembled upon the frontier, I refer you
to the accompanying reports from the Secretaries of the War and Navy
Departments. It will also be perceived by the Senate, by referring to
the orders of the Navy Department which are herewith transmitted, that
the naval officer in command of the fleet is directed to cause his ships
to perform all the duties of a fleet of observation and to apprise the
Executive of any indication of a hostile design upon Texas on the part
of any nation pending the deliberations of the Senate upon the treaty,
with a view that the same should promptly be submitted to Congress for
its mature deliberation. At the same time, it is due to myself that
I should declare it as my opinion that the United States having by the
treaty of annexation acquired a title to Texas which requires only the
action of the Senate to perfect it, no other power could be permitted
to invade and by force of arms to possess itself of any portion of the
territory of Texas pending your deliberations upon the treaty without
placing itself in an hostile attitude to the United States and
justifying the employment of any military means at our disposal to drive
back the invasion. At the same time, it is my opinion that Mexico of
any other power will find in your approval of the treaty no just cause
of war against the United States, nor do I believe that there is any
serious hazard of war to be found in the fact of such approval.
Nevertheless, every proper measure will be resorted to by the Executive
to preserve upon an honorable and just basis the public peace by
reconciling Mexico, through a liberal course of policy, to the treaty.


WASHINGTON, _May 15, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 13th instant,
requesting to be informed "whether a messenger has been sent to Mexico
with a view to obtain her consent to the treaty with Texas, and, if so,
to communicate to the Senate a copy of the dispatches of which he is
bearer and a copy of the instructions given to said messenger; and also
to inform the Senate within what time said messenger is expected to
return," I have to say that no messenger has been sent to Mexico in
order to obtain her assent to the treaty with Texas, it not being
regarded by the Executive as in any degree requisite to obtain such
consent in order (should the Senate ratify the treaty) to perfect the
title of the United States to the territory thus acquired, the title to
the same being full and perfect without the assent of any third power.
The Executive has negotiated with Texas as an independent power of the
world, long since recognized as such by the United States and other
powers, and as subordinate in all her rights of full sovereignty to no
other power. A messenger has been dispatched to our minister at Mexico
as bearer of the dispatch already communicated to the Senate, and which
is to be found in the letter addressed to Mr. Green, and forms a part of
the documents ordered confidentially to be printed for the use of the
Senate. That dispatch was dictated by a desire to preserve the peace
of the two countries by denying to Mexico all pretext for assuming a
belligerent attitude to the United States, as she had threatened to do,
in the event of the annexation of Texas to the United States, by the
dispatch of her Government which was communicated by me to Congress at
the opening of its present session. The messenger is expected to return
before the 15th of June next, but he may be detained to a later day. The
recently appointed envoy from the United States to Mexico will be sent
so soon as the final action is had on the question of annexation, at
which time, and not before, can his instructions be understandingly


WASHINGTON, _May 16, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In my message communicating the treaty with Texas I expressed the
opinion that if Texas was not now annexed it was probable that the
opportunity of annexing it to the United States would be lost forever.
Since then the subject has been much agitated, and if an opinion may
be formed of the chief ground of the opposition to the treaty, it is
not that Texas ought not at some time or other to be annexed, but that
the present is not the proper time. It becomes, therefore, important,
in this view of the subject, and is alike due to the Senate and the
country, that I should furnish any papers in my possession which may be
calculated to impress the Senate with the correctness of the opinion
thus expressed by me. With this view I herewith transmit a report from
the Secretary of State, accompanied by various communications on the
subject. These communications are from private sources, and it is to be
remarked that a resort must in all such cases be had chiefly to private
sources of information, since it is not to be expected that any
government, more especially if situated as Texas is, would be inclined
to develop to the world its ulterior line of policy.

Among the extracts is one from a letter from General Houston to General
Andrew Jackson, to which I particularly invite your attention, and
another from General Jackson to a gentleman of high respectability,
now of this place. Considering that General Jackson was placed in a
situation to hold the freest and fullest interview with Mr. Miller, the
private and confidential secretary of President Houston, who, President
Houston informed General Jackson, "knows all his actions and understands
all his motives," and who was authorized to communicate to General
Jackson the views of the policy entertained by the President of Texas,
as well applicable to the present as the future; that the declaration
made by General Jackson in his letter "that the present golden moment to
obtain Texas must not be lost, or Texas might from necessity be thrown
into the arms of England and be forever lost to the United States,"
was made with a full knowledge of all circumstances, and ought to be
received as conclusive of what will be the course of Texas should the
present treaty fail--from this high source, sustained, if it requires
to be sustained, by the accompanying communications, I entertain not
the least doubt that if annexation should now fail it will in all human
probability fail forever. Indeed, I have strong reasons to believe that
instructions have already been given by the Texan Government to propose
to the Government of Great Britain, forthwith on the failure, to enter
into a treaty of commerce and an alliance offensive and defensive.


WASHINGTON, _May 17, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 13th instant, relating
to a supposed armistice between the Republics of Mexico and Texas,
I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the papers by which
it was accompanied.


WASHINGTON, _May 18, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 29th ultimo, upon the
subject of unpublished correspondence in regard to the purchase of or
title to Texas, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the
documents by which it was accompanied.


WASHINGTON, _May 18, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 3d of
January last, requesting the President of the United States "to cause to
be communicated to that House copies of all the instructions given to
the commanding officers of the squadron stipulated by the treaty with
Great Britain of 9th of August, 1842, to be kept on the coast of Africa
for the suppression of the slave trade," and also copies of the
"instructions given by the British Government to their squadron
stipulated by the same, if such instructions have been communicated to
this Government," I have to inform the House of Representatives that
in my opinion it would be incompatible with the public interests to
communicate to that body at this time copies of the instructions
referred to.


WASHINGTON, _May 20, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the
22d ultimo, I communicate a report[127] from the Secretary of State,
which embraces the information called for by said resolution.


[Footnote 127: Relating to indemnity from Denmark for three ships and
their cargoes sent by Commodore John Paul Jones in 1779 as prizes into
Bergen, and there surrendered by order of the Danish King to the British
minister, in obedience to the demand of that minister.]

WASHINGTON, _May 20. 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I herewith transmit a letter from the Secretary of the Navy,
accompanied by a report from the Bureau of Construction and Equipment
and a communication from Lieutenant Hunter, of the Navy, prepared
at the request of the Secretary, upon the subject of a plan for the
establishment in connection with the Government of France of a line of
steamers between the ports of Havre and New York, with estimates of the
expense which may be necessary to carry the said plan into effect.


WASHINGTON, _May 23, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

Your resolution of the 18th instant, adopted in _executive_ session,
addressed to the Secretary of the Treasury _ad interim_, has been
communicated to me by that officer. While I can not recognize this
call thus made on the head of a Department as consistent with the
constitutional rights of the Senate when acting in its executive
capacity, which in such case can only properly hold correspondence with
the President of the United States, nevertheless, from an anxious desire
to lay before the Senate all such information as may be necessary to
enable it with full understanding to act upon any subject which may be
before it, I herewith transmit communications[128] which have been made
to me by the Secretaries of the War and Navy Departments, in full answer
to the resolution of the Senate.


[Footnote 128: Relating to money drawn from the Treasury to carry into
effect orders of the War and Navy Departments made since April 12,
1844, for stationing troops or increasing the military force upon the
frontiers of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico and for placing a naval force
in the Gulf of Mexico, etc.]

WASHINGTON CITY, D.C., _May 24, 1844_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I transmit herewith a report[129] from the Secretary of the Navy, in
compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
18th of January last.


[Footnote 129: Transmitting list of persons employed by the Navy
Department without express authority of law from March 4, 1837,
to January 18, 1844, etc.]

WASHINGTON, _May 31, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 22d instant, requesting
information in regard to any promise by the President of military or
other aid to Texas in the event of an agreement on the part of that
Republic to annex herself to the United States, I transmit a report from
the Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied.

In my message to the Senate of the 15th of this month I adverted to
the duty which, in my judgment, the signature of the treaty for the
annexation of Texas had imposed upon me, to repel any invasion of that
country by a foreign power while the treaty was under consideration by
the Senate, and I transmitted reports from the Secretaries of War and
of the Navy, with a copy of the orders which had been issued from those
Departments for the purpose of enabling me to execute that duty.
In those orders General Taylor was directed to communicate directly
with the President of Texas upon the subject, and Captain Conner was
instructed to communicate with the charge d'affaires of the United
States accredited to that Government. No copy of any communication which
either of those officers may have made pursuant to those orders has yet
been received at the Departments from which they emanated.


WASHINGTON, _June 1, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit herewith to the Senate a copy of a letter dated the 25th
of August, 1829, addressed by Mr. Van Buren, Secretary of State, to
Mr. Poinsett, envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the
United States to Mexico, which letter contains, it is presumed, the
instructions a copy of which was requested by the resolution of the
Senate of the 28th ultimo in executive session.


WASHINGTON, _June 3, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 28th ultimo, upon the
subject of a "private letter" quoted in the instruction from the late
Mr. Upshur to the charge d'affaires of the United States in Texas, dated
the 8th of August last, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State,
to whom the resolution was referred.


WASHINGTON, _June 4, 1844_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of yesterday in executive
session, requesting a copy of a note supposed to have been addressed to


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