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Title: State of the Union Addresses

Author: Millard Fillmore

Release date: February 1, 2004 [eBook #5021]
Most recently updated: November 27, 2014

Language: English

Credits: Produced by James Linden. HTML version by Al Haines.


State of the Union Addresses of Millard Fillmore

The addresses are separated by three asterisks: ***

Dates of addresses by Millard Fillmore in this eBook:

December 2, 1850
December 2, 1851
December 6, 1852


State of the Union Address
Millard Fillmore
December 2, 1850

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

Being suddenly called in the midst of the last session of Congress by a painful dispensation of Divine Providence to the responsible station which I now hold, I contented myself with such communications to the Legislature as the exigency of the moment seemed to require. The country was shrouded in mourning for the loss of its venerable Chief Magistrate and all hearts were penetrated with grief. Neither the time nor the occasion appeared to require or to justify on my part any general expression of political opinions or any announcement of the principles which would govern me in the discharge of the duties to the performance of which I had been so unexpectedly called. I trust, therefore, that it may not be deemed inappropriate if I avail myself of this opportunity of the reassembling of Congress to make known my sentiments in a general manner in regard to the policy which ought to be pursued by the Government both in its intercourse with foreign nations and its management and administration of internal affairs.

Nations, like individuals in a state of nature, are equal and independent, possessing certain rights and owing certain duties to each other, arising from their necessary and unavoidable relations; which rights and duties there is no common human authority to protect and enforce. Still, they are rights and duties, binding in morals, in conscience, and in honor, although there is no tribunal to which an injured party can appeal but the disinterested judgment of mankind, and ultimately the arbitrament of the sword.

Among the acknowledged rights of nations is that which each possesses of establishing that form of government which it may deem most conducive to the happiness and prosperity of its own citizens, of changing that form as circumstances may require, and of managing its internal affairs according to its own will. The people of the United States claim this right for themselves, and they readily concede it to others. Hence it becomes an imperative duty not to interfere in the government or internal policy of other nations; and although we may sympathize with the unfortunate or the oppressed everywhere in their struggles for freedom, our principles forbid us from taking any part in such foreign contests. We make no wars to promote or to prevent successions to thrones, to maintain any theory of a balance of power, or to suppress the actual government which any country chooses to establish for itself. We instigate no revolutions, nor suffer any hostile military expeditions to be fitted out in the United States to invade the territory or provinces of a friendly nation. The great law of morality ought to have a national as well as a personal and individual application. We should act toward other nations as we wish them to act toward us, and justice and conscience should form the rule of conduct between governments, instead of mere power, self interest, or the desire of aggrandizement. To maintain a strict neutrality in foreign wars, to cultivate friendly relations, to reciprocate every noble and generous act, and to perform punctually and scrupulously every treaty obligation--these are the duties which we owe to other states, and by the performance of which we best entitle ourselves to like treatment from them; or, if that, in any case, be refused, we can enforce our own rights with justice and a clear conscience.

In our domestic policy the Constitution will be my guide, and in questions of doubt I shall look for its interpretation to the judicial decisions of that tribunal which was established to expound it and to the usage of the Government, sanctioned by the acquiescence of the country. I regard all its provisions as equally binding. In all its parts it is the will of the people expressed in the most solemn form, and the constituted authorities are but agents to carry that will into effect. Every power which it has granted is to be exercised for the public good; but no pretense of utility, no honest conviction, even, of what might be expedient, can justify the assumption of any power not granted. The powers conferred upon the Government and their distribution to the several departments are as clearly expressed in that sacred instrument as the imperfection of human language will allow, and I deem it my first duty not to question its wisdom, add to its provisions, evade its requirements, or nullify its commands.

Upon you, fellow-citizens, as the representatives of the States and the people, is wisely devolved the legislative power. I shall comply with my duty in laying before you from time to time any information calculated to enable you to discharge your high and responsible trust for the benefit of our common constituents.

My opinions will be frankly expressed upon the leading subjects of legislation; and if--which I do not anticipate--any act should pass the two Houses of Congress which should appear to me unconstitutional, or an encroachment on the just powers of other departments, or with provisions hastily adopted and likely to produce consequences injurious and unforeseen, I should not shrink from the duty of returning it to you, with my reasons, for your further consideration. Beyond the due performance of these constitutional obligations, both my respect for the Legislature and my sense of propriety will restrain me from any attempt to control or influence your proceedings. With you is the power, the honor, and the responsibility of the legislation of the country.

The Government of the United States is a limited Government. It is confined to the exercise of powers expressly granted and such others as may be necessary for carrying those powers into effect; and it is at all times an especial duty to guard against any infringement on the just rights of the States. Over the objects and subjects intrusted to Congress its legislative authority is supreme. But here that authority ceases, and every citizen who truly loves the Constitution and desires the continuance of its existence and its blessings will resolutely and firmly resist any interference in those domestic affairs which the Constitution has dearly and unequivocally left to the exclusive authority of the States. And every such citizen will also deprecate useless irritation among the several members of the Union and all reproach and crimination tending to alienate one portion of the country from another. The beauty of our system of government consists, and its safety and durability must consist, in avoiding mutual collisions and encroachments and in the regular separate action of all, while each is revolving in its own distinct orbit.

The Constitution has made it the duty of the President to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. In a government like ours, in which all laws are passed by a majority of the representatives of the people, and these representatives are chosen for such short periods that any injurious or obnoxious law can very soon be repealed, it would appear unlikely that any great numbers should be found ready to resist the execution of the laws. But it must be borne in mind that the country is extensive; that there may be local interests or prejudices rendering a law odious in one part which is not so in another, and that the thoughtless and inconsiderate, misled by their passions or their imaginations, may be induced madly to resist such laws as they disapprove. Such persons should recollect that without law there can be no real practical liberty; that when law is trampled under foot tyranny rules, whether it appears in the form of a military despotism or of popular violence. The law is the only sure protection of the weak and the only efficient restraint upon the strong. When impartially and faithfully administered, none is beneath its protection and none above its control. You, gentlemen, and the country may be assured that to the utmost of my ability and to the extent of the power vested in me I shall at all times and in all places take care that the laws be faithfully executed. In the discharge of this duty, solemnly imposed upon me by the Constitution and by my oath of office, I shall shrink from no responsibility, and shall endeavor to meet events as they may arise with firmness, as well as with prudence and discretion.

The appointing power is one of the most delicate with which the Executive is invested. I regard it as a sacred trust, to be exercised with the sole view of advancing the prosperity and happiness of the people. It shall be my effort to elevate the standard of official employment by selecting for places of importance individuals fitted for the posts to which they are assigned by their known integrity, talents, and virtues. In so extensive a country, with so great a population, and where few persons appointed to office can be known to the appointing power, mistakes will sometimes unavoidably happen and unfortunate appointments be made notwithstanding the greatest care. In such cases the power of removal may be properly exercised; and neglect of duty or malfeasance in office will be no more tolerated in individuals appointed by myself than in those appointed by others. I am happy in being able to say that no unfavorable change in our foreign relations has taken place since the message at the opening of the last session of Congress. We are at peace with all nations and we enjoy in an eminent degree the blessings of that peace in a prosperous and growing commerce and in all the forms of amicable national intercourse. The unexampled growth of the country, the present amount of its population, and its ample means of self-protection assure for it the respect of all nations, while it is trusted that its character for justice and a regard to the rights of other States will cause that respect to be readily and cheerfully paid.

A convention was negotiated between the United States and Great Britain in April last for facilitating and protecting the construction of a ship canal between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and for other purposes. The instrument has since been ratified by the contracting parties, the exchange of ratifications has been effected, and proclamation thereof has been duly made.

In addition to the stipulations contained in this convention, two other objects remain to be accomplished between the contracting powers: First. The designation and establishment of a free port at each end of the canal.

Second. An agreement fixing the distance from the shore within which belligerent maritime operations shall not be carried on. On these points there is little doubt that the two Governments will come to an understanding.

The company of citizens of the United States who have acquired from the State of Nicaragua the privilege of constructing a ship canal between the two oceans through the territory of that State have made progress in their preliminary arrangements. The treaty between the United States and Great Britain of the 19th of April last, above referred to, being now in operation, it is to be hoped that the guaranties which it offers will be sufficient to secure the completion of the work with all practicable expedition. It is obvious that this result would be indefinitely postponed if any other than peaceful measures for the purpose of harmonizing conflicting claims to territory in that quarter should be adopted. It will consequently be my endeavor to cause any further negotiations on the part of this Government which may be requisite for this purpose to be so conducted as to bring them to a speedy and successful close.

Some unavoidable delay has occurred, arising from distance and the difficulty of intercourse between this Government and that of Nicaragua, but as intelligence has just been received of the appointment of an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of that Government to reside at Washington, whose arrival may soon be expected, it is hoped that no further impediments will be experienced in the prompt transaction of business between the two Governments.

Citizens of the United States have undertaken the connection of the two oceans by means of a railroad across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, under grants of the Mexican Government to a citizen of that Republic. It is understood that a thorough survey of the course of the communication is in preparation, and there is every reason to expect that it will be prosecuted with characteristic energy, especially when that Government shall have consented to such stipulations with the Government of the United States as may be necessary to impart a feeling of security to those who may embark their property in the enterprise. Negotiations are pending for the accomplishment of that object, and a hope is confidently entertained that when the Government of Mexico shall become duly sensible of the advantages which that country can not fail to derive from the work, and learn that the Government of the United States desires that the right of sovereignty of Mexico in the Isthmus shall remain unimpaired, the stipulations referred to will be agreed to with alacrity.

By the last advices from Mexico it would appear, however, that that Government entertains strong objections to some of the stipulations which the parties concerned in the project of the railroad deem necessary for their protection and security. Further consideration, it is to be hoped, or some modification of terms, may yet reconcile the differences existing between the two Governments in this respect.

Fresh instructions have recently been given to the minister of the United States in Mexico, who is prosecuting the subject with promptitude and ability.

Although the negotiations with Portugal for the payment of claims of citizens of the United States against that Government have not yet resulted in a formal treaty, yet a proposition, made by the Government of Portugal for the final adjustment and payment of those claims, has recently been accepted on the part of the United States. It gives me pleasure to say that Mr. Clay, to whom the negotiation on the part of the United States had been intrusted, discharged the duties of his appointment with ability and discretion, acting always within the instructions of his Government.

It is expected that a regular convention will be immediately negotiated for carrying the agreement between the two Governments into effect. The commissioner appointed under the act of Congress for carrying into effect the convention with Brazil of the 27th of January, 1849, has entered upon the performance of the duties imposed upon him by that act. It is hoped that those duties may be completed within the time which it prescribes. The documents, however, which the Imperial Government, by the third article of the convention, stipulates to furnish to the Government of the United States have not yet been received. As it is presumed that those documents will be essential for the correct disposition of the claims, it may become necessary for Congress to extend the period limited for the duration of the commission. The sum stipulated by the fourth article of the convention to be paid to this Government has been received.

The collection in the ports of the United States of discriminating duties upon the vessels of Chili and their cargoes has been suspended, pursuant to the provisions of the act of Congress of the 24th of May, 1828. It is to be hoped that this measure will impart a fresh impulse to the commerce between the two countries, which of late, and especially since our acquisition of California, has, to the mutual advantage of the parties, been much augmented.

Peruvian guano has become so desirable an article to the agricultural interest of the United States that it is the duty of the Government to employ all the means properly in its power for the purpose of causing that article to be imported into the country at a reasonable price. Nothing will be omitted on my part toward accomplishing this desirable end. I am persuaded that in removing any restraints on this traffic the Peruvian Government will promote its own best interests, while it will afford a proof of a friendly disposition toward this country, which will be duly appreciated.

The treaty between the United States and His Majesty the King of the Hawaiian Islands, which has recently been made public, will, it is believed, have a beneficial effect upon the relations between the two countries.

The relations between those parts of the island of St. Domingo which were formerly colonies of Spain and France, respectively, are still in an unsettled condition. The proximity of that island to the United States and the delicate questions involved in the existing controversy there render it desirable that it should be permanently and speedily adjusted. The interests of humanity and of general commerce also demand this; and as intimations of the same sentiment have been received from other governments, it is hoped that some plan may soon be devised to effect the object in a manner likely to give general satisfaction. The Government of the United States will not fail, by the exercise of all proper friendly offices, to do all in its power to put an end to the destructive war which has raged between the different parts of the island and to secure to them both the benefits of peace and commerce.

I refer you to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury for a detailed statement of the finances.

The total receipts into the Treasury for the year ending 30th of June last were $47,421,748.90. The total expenditures during the same period were $43,002,168.90. The public debt has been reduced since the last annual report from the Treasury Department $495,276.79.

By the nineteenth section of the act of 28th January, 1847, the proceeds of the sales of the public lands were pledged for the interest and principal of the public debt. The great amount of those lands subsequently granted by Congress for military bounties will, it is believed, very nearly supply the public demand for several years to come, and but little reliance can, therefore, be placed on that hitherto fruitful source of revenue. Aside from the permanent annual expenditures, which have necessarily largely increased, a portion of the public debt, amounting to $8,075,986.59, must be provided for within the next two fiscal years. It is most desirable that these accruing demands should be met without resorting to new loans.

All experience has demonstrated the wisdom and policy of raising a large portion of revenue for the support of Government from duties on goods imported. The power to lay these duties is unquestionable, and its chief object, of course, is to replenish the Treasury. But if in doing this an incidental advantage may be gained by encouraging the industry of our own citizens, it is our duty to avail ourselves of that advantage.

A duty laid upon an article which can not be produced in this country, such as tea or coffee, adds to the cost of the article, and is chiefly or wholly paid by the consumer. But a duty laid upon an article which may be produced here stimulates the skill and industry of our own country to produce the same article, which is brought into the market in competition with the foreign article, and the importer is thus compelled to reduce his price to that at which the domestic article can be sold, thereby throwing a part of the duty upon the producer of the foreign article. The continuance of this process creates the skill and invites the capital which finally enable us to produce the article much cheaper than it could have been procured from abroad, thereby benefiting both the producer and the consumer at home. The consequence of this is that the artisan and the agriculturist are brought together, each affords a ready market for the produce of the other, the whole country becomes prosperous, and the ability to produce every necessary of life renders us independent in war as well as in peace.

A high tariff can never be permanent. It will cause dissatisfaction, and will be changed. It excludes competition, and thereby invites the investment of capital in manufactures to such excess that when changed it brings distress, bankruptcy, and ruin upon all who have been misled by its faithless protection. What the manufacturer wants is uniformity and permanency, that he may feel a confidence that he is not to be ruined by sudden exchanges. But to make a tariff uniform and permanent it is not only necessary that the laws should not be altered, but that the duty should not fluctuate. To effect this all duties should be specific wherever the nature of the article is such as to admit of it. Ad valorem duties fluctuate with the price and offer strong temptations to fraud and perjury. Specific duties, on the contrary, are equal and uniform in all ports and at all times, and offer a strong inducement to the importer to bring the best article, as he pays no more duty upon that than upon one of inferior quality. I therefore strongly recommend a modification of the present tariff, which has prostrated some of our most important and necessary manufactures, and that specific duties be imposed sufficient to raise the requisite revenue, making such discriminations in favor of the industrial pursuits of our own country as to encourage home production without excluding foreign competition. It is also important that an unfortunate provision in the present tariff, which imposes a much higher duty upon the raw material that enters into our manufactures than upon the manufactured article, should be remedied.

The papers accompanying the report of the Secretary of the Treasury will disclose frauds attempted upon the revenue, in variety and amount so great as to justify the conclusion that it is impossible under any system of ad valorem duties levied upon the foreign cost or value of the article to secure an honest observance and an effectual administration of the laws. The fraudulent devices to evade the law which have been detected by the vigilance of the appraisers leave no room to doubt that similar impositions not discovered, to a large amount, have been successfully practiced since the enactment of the law now in force. This state of things has already had a prejudicial influence upon those engaged in foreign commerce. It has a tendency to drive the honest trader from the business of importing and to throw that important branch of employment into the hands of unscrupulous and dishonest men, who are alike regardless of law and the obligations of an oath. By these means the plain intentions of Congress, as expressed in the law, are daily defeated. Every motive of policy and duty, therefore, impels me to ask the earnest attention of Congress to this subject. If Congress should deem it unwise to attempt any important changes in the system of levying duties at this session, it will become indispensable to the protection of the revenue that such remedies as in the judgment of Congress may mitigate the evils complained of should be at once applied.

As before stated, specific duties would, in my opinion, afford the most perfect remedy for this evil; but if you should not concur in this view, then, as a partial remedy, I beg leave respectfully to recommend that instead of taking the invoice of the article abroad as a means of determining its value here, the correctness of which invoice it is in many cases impossible to verify, the law be so changed as to require a home valuation or appraisal, to be regulated in such manner as to give, as far as practicable, uniformity in the several ports.

There being no mint in California, I am informed that the laborers in the mines are compelled to dispose of their gold dust at a large discount. This appears to me to be a heavy and unjust tax upon the labor of those employed in extracting this precious metal, and I doubt not you will be disposed at the earliest period possible to relieve them from it by the establishment of a mint. In the meantime, as an assayer's office is established there, I would respectfully submit for your consideration the propriety of authorizing gold bullion which has been assayed and stamped to be received in payment of Government dues. I can not conceive that the Treasury would suffer any loss by such a provision, which will at once raise bullion to its par value, and thereby save (if I am rightly informed) many millions of dollars to the laborers which are now paid in brokerage to convert this precious metal into available funds. This discount upon their hard earnings is a heavy tax, and every effort should be made by the Government to relieve them from so great a burden.

More than three-fourths of our population are engaged in the cultivation of the soil. The commercial, manufacturing, and navigating interests are all to a great extent dependent on the agricultural. It is therefore the most important interest of the nation, and has a just claim to the fostering care and protection of the Government so far as they can be extended consistently with the provisions of the Constitution. As this can not be done by the ordinary modes of legislation, I respectfully recommend the establishment of an agricultural bureau, to be charged with the duty of giving to this leading branch of American industry the encouragement which it so well deserves. In view of the immense mineral resources of our country, provision should also be made for the employment of a competent mineralogist and chemist, who should be required, under the direction of the head of the bureau, to collect specimens of the various minerals of our country and to ascertain by careful analysis their respective elements and properties and their adaptation to useful purposes. He should also be required to examine and report upon the qualities of different soils and the manures best calculated to improve their productiveness. By publishing the results of such experiments, with suitable explanations, and by the collection and distribution of rare seeds and plants, with instructions as to the best system of cultivation, much may be done to promote this great national interest.

In compliance with the act of Congress passed on the 23d of May, 1850, providing, among other things, for taking the Seventh Census, a superintendent was appointed and all other measures adopted which were deemed necessary to insure the prompt and faithful performance of that duty. The appropriation already made will, it is believed, be sufficient to defray the whole expense of the work, but further legislation may be necessary in regard to the compensation of some of the marshals of the Territories. It will also be proper to make provision by law at an early day for the publication of such abstracts of the returns as the public interests may require.

The unprecedented growth of our territories on the Pacific in wealth and population and the consequent increase of their social and commercial relations with the Atlantic States seem to render it the duty of the Government to use all its constitutional power to improve the means of intercourse with them. The importance of opening "a line of communication, the best and most expeditious of which the nature of the country will admit," between the Valley of the Mississippi and the Pacific was brought to your notice by my predecessor in his annual message; and as the reasons which he presented in favor of the measure still exist in full force, I beg leave to call your attention to them and to repeat the recommendations then made by him.

The uncertainty which exists in regard to the validity of land titles in California is a subject which demands your early consideration. Large bodies of land in that State are claimed under grants said to have been made by authority of the Spanish and Mexican Governments. Many of these have not been perfected, others have been revoked, and some are believed to be fraudulent. But until they shall have been judicially investigated they will continue to retard the settlement and improvement of the country. I therefore respectfully recommend that provision be made by law for the appointment of commissioners to examine all such claims with a view to their final adjustment.

I also beg leave to call your attention to the propriety of extending at an early day our system of land laws, with such modifications as may be necessary, over the State of California and the Territories of Utah and New Mexico. The mineral lands of California will, of course, form an exception to any general system which may be adopted. Various methods of disposing of them have been suggested. I was at first inclined to favor the system of leasing, as it seemed to promise the largest revenue to the Government and to afford the best security against monopolies; but further reflection and our experience in leasing the lead mines and selling lands upon credit have brought my mind to the conclusion that there would be great difficulty in collecting the rents, and that the relation of debtor and creditor between the citizens and the Government would be attended with many mischievous consequences. I therefore recommend that instead of retaining the mineral lands under the permanent control of the Government they be divided into small parcels and sold, under such restrictions as to quantity and time as will insure the best price and guard most effectually against combinations of capitalists to obtain monopolies.

The annexation of Texas and the acquisition of California and New Mexico have given increased importance to our Indian relations. The various tribes brought under our jurisdiction by these enlargements of our boundaries are estimated to embrace a population of 124,000. Texas and New Mexico are surrounded by powerful tribes of Indians, who are a source of constant terror and annoyance to the inhabitants. Separating into small predatory bands, and always mounted, they overrun the country, devastating farms, destroying crops, driving off whole herds of cattle, and occasionally murdering the inhabitants or carrying them into captivity. The great roads leading into the country are infested with them, whereby traveling is rendered extremely dangerous and immigration is almost entirely arrested. The Mexican frontier, which by the eleventh article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo we are bound to protect against the Indians within our border, is exposed to these incursions equally with our own. The military force stationed in that country, although forming a large proportion of the Army, is represented as entirely inadequate to our own protection and the fulfillment of our treaty stipulations with Mexico. The principal deficiency is in cavalry, and I recommend that Congress should, at as early a period as practicable, provide for the raising of one or more regiments of mounted men.

For further suggestions on this subject and others connected with our domestic interests and the defense of our frontier, I refer you to the reports of the Secretary of the Interior and of the Secretary of War.

I commend also to your favorable consideration the suggestion contained in the last-mentioned report and in the letter of the General in Chief relative to the establishment of an asylum for the relief of disabled and destitute soldiers. This subject appeals so strongly to your sympathies that it would be superfluous in me to say anything more than barely to express my cordial approbation of the proposed object.

The Navy continues to give protection to our commerce and other national interests in the different quarters of the globe, and, with the exception of a single steamer on the Northern lakes, the vessels in commission are distributed in six different squadrons.

The report of the head of that Department will exhibit the services of these squadrons and of the several vessels employed in each during the past year. It is a source of gratification that, while they have been constantly prepared for any hostile emergency, they have everywhere met with the respect and courtesy due as well to the dignity as to the peaceful dispositions and just purposes of the nation.

The two brigantines accepted by the Government from a generous citizen of New York and placed under the command of an officer of the Navy to proceed to the Arctic Seas in quest of the British commander Sir John Franklin and his companions, in compliance with the act of Congress approved in May last, had when last heard from penetrated into a high northern latitude; but the success of this noble and humane enterprise is yet uncertain.

I invite your attention to the view of our present naval establishment and resources presented in the report of the Secretary of the Navy, and the suggestions therein made for its improvement, together with the naval policy recommended for the security of our Pacific Coast and the protection and extension of our commerce with eastern Asia. Our facilities for a larger participation in the trade of the East, by means of our recent settlements on the shores of the Pacific, are too obvious to be overlooked or disregarded.

The questions in relation to rank in the Army and Navy and relative rank between officers of the two branches of the service, presented to the Executive by certain resolutions of the House of Representatives at the last session of Congress, have been submitted to a board of officers in each branch of the service, and their report may be expected at an early day.

I also earnestly recommend the enactment of a law authorizing officers of the Army and Navy to be retired from the service when incompetent for its vigorous and active duties, taking care to make suitable provision for those who have faithfully served their country and awarding distinctions by retaining in appropriate commands those who have been particularly conspicuous for gallantry and good conduct. While the obligation of the country to maintain and honor those who, to the exclusion of other pursuits, have devoted themselves to its arduous service is acknowledged, this obligation should not be permitted to interfere with the efficiency of the service itself.

I am gratified in being able to state that the estimates of expenditure for the Navy in the ensuing year are less by more than $1,000,000 than those of the present, excepting the appropriation which may become necessary for the construction of a dock on the coast of the Pacific, propositions for which are now being considered and on which a special report may be expected early in your present session.

There is an evident justness in the suggestion of the same report that appropriations for the naval service proper should be separated from those for fixed and permanent objects, such as building docks and navy yards and the fixtures attached, and from the extraordinary objects under the care of the Department which, however important, are not essentially naval.

A revision of the code for the government of the Navy seems to require the immediate consideration of Congress. Its system of crimes and punishments had undergone no change for half a century until the last session, though its defects have been often and ably pointed out; and the abolition of a particular species of corporal punishment, which then took place, without providing any substitute, has left the service in a state of defectiveness which calls for prompt correction. I therefore recommend that the whole subject be revised without delay and such a system established for the enforcement of discipline as shall be at once humane and effectual.

The accompanying report of the Postmaster-General presents a satisfactory view of the operations and condition of that Department. At the close of the last fiscal year the length of the inland mail routes in the United States (not embracing the service in Oregon and California) was 178,672 miles, the annual transportation thereon 46,541,423 miles, and the annual cost of such transportation $2,724,426. The increase of the annual transportation over that of the preceding year was 3,997,354 miles and the increase in cost was $342,440. The number of post-offices in the United States on the 1st day of July last was 18,417, being an increase of 1,670 during the preceding year.

The gross revenues of the Department for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1850, amounted to $5,552,971.48, including the annual appropriation of $200,000 for the franked matter of the Departments and excluding the foreign postages collected for and payable to the British Government.

The expenditures for the same period were $5,212,953.43, leaving a balance of revenue over expenditures of $340,018.05.

I am happy to find that the fiscal condition of the Department is such as to justify the Postmaster-General in recommending the reduction of our inland letter postage to 3 cents the single letter when prepaid and 5 cents when not prepaid. He also recommends that the prepaid rate shall be reduced to 2 cents whenever the revenues of the Department, after the reduction, shall exceed its expenditures by more than 5 per cent for two consecutive years; that the postage upon California and other letters sent by our ocean steamers shall be much reduced, and that the rates of postage on newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, and other printed matter shall be modified and some reduction thereon made.

It can not be doubted that the proposed reductions will for the present diminish the revenues of the Department. It is believed that the deficiency, after the surplus already accumulated shall be exhausted, may be almost wholly met either by abolishing the existing privileges of sending free matter through the mails or by paying out of the Treasury to the Post-Office Department a sum equivalent to the postage of which it is deprived by such privileges. The last is supposed to be the preferable mode, and will, if not entirely, so nearly supply that deficiency as to make any further appropriation that may be found necessary so inconsiderable as to form no obstacle to the proposed reductions.

I entertain no doubt of the authority of Congress to make appropriations for leading objects in that class of public works comprising what are usually called works of internal improvement. This authority I suppose to be derived chiefly from the power of regulating commerce with foreign nations and among the States and the power of laying and collecting imposts. Where commerce is to be carried on and imposts collected there must be ports and harbors as well as wharves and custom-houses. If ships laden with valuable cargoes approach the shore or sail along the coast, light-houses are necessary at suitable points for the protection of life and property. Other facilities and securities for commerce and navigation are hardly less important; and those clauses of the Constitution, therefore, to which I have referred have received from the origin of the Government a liberal and beneficial construction. Not only have light-houses, buoys, and beacons been established and floating lights maintained, but harbors have been cleared and improved, piers constructed, and even breakwaters for the safety of shipping and sea walls to protect harbors from being filled up and rendered useless by the action of the ocean, have been erected at very great expense. And this construction of the Constitution appears the more reasonable from the consideration that if these works, of such evident importance and utility, are not to be accomplished by Congress they can not be accomplished at all. By the adoption of the Constitution the several States voluntarily parted with the power of collecting duties of imposts in their own ports, and it is not to be expected that they should raise money by internal taxation, direct or indirect, for the benefit of that commerce the revenues derived from which do not, either in whole or in part, go into their own treasuries. Nor do I perceive any difference between the power of Congress to make appropriations for objects of this kind on the ocean and the power to make appropriations for similar objects on lakes and rivers, wherever they are large enough to bear on their waters an extensive traffic. The magnificent Mississippi and its tributaries and the vast lakes of the North and Northwest appear to me to fall within the exercise of the power as justly and as clearly as the ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. It is a mistake to regard expenditures judiciously made for these objects as expenditures for local purposes. The position or sight of the work is necessarily local, but its utility is general. A ship canal around the Falls of St. Mary of less than a mile in length, though local in its construction, would yet be national in its purpose and its benefits, as it would remove the only obstruction to a navigation of more than 1,000 miles, affecting several States, as well as our commercial relations with Canada. So, too, the breakwater at the mouth of the Delaware is erected, not for the exclusive benefit of the States bordering on the bay and river of that name, but for that of the whole coastwise navigation of the United States and, to a considerable extent, also of foreign commerce. If a ship be lost on the bar at the entrance of a Southern port for want of sufficient depth of water, it is very likely to be a Northern ship; and if a steamboat be sunk in any part of the Mississippi on account of its channel not having been properly cleared of obstructions, it may be a boat belonging to either of eight or ten States. I may add, as somewhat remarkable, that among all the thirty-one States there is none that is not to a greater or less extent bounded on the ocean, or the Gulf of Mexico, or one of the Great Lakes, or some navigable river.

In fulfilling our constitutional duties, fellow-citizens, on this subject, as in carrying into effect all other powers conferred by the Constitution, we should consider ourselves as deliberating and acting for one and the same country, and bear constantly in mind that our regard and our duty are due not to a particular part only, but to the whole.

I therefore recommend that appropriations be made for completing such works as have been already begun and for commencing such others as may seem to the wisdom of Congress to be of public and general importance.

The difficulties and delays incident to the settlement of private claims by Congress amount in many cases to a denial of justice. There is reason to apprehend that many unfortunate creditors of the Government have thereby been unavoidably ruined. Congress has so much business of a public character that it is impossible it should give much attention to mere private claims, and their accumulation is now so great that many claimants must despair of ever being able to obtain a hearing. It may well be doubted whether Congress, from the nature of its organization, is properly constituted to decide upon such cases. It is impossible that each member should examine the merits of every claim on which he is compelled to vote, and it is preposterous to ask a judge to decide a case which he has never heard. Such decisions may, and frequently must, do injustice either to the claimant or the Government, and I perceive no better remedy for this growing evil than the establishment of some tribunal to adjudicate upon such claims. I beg leave, therefore, most respectfully to recommend that provision be made by law for the appointment of a commission to settle all private claims against the United States; and as an ex parte hearing must in all contested cases be very unsatisfactory, I also recommend the appointment of a solicitor, whose duty it shall be to represent the Government before such commission and protect it against all illegal, fraudulent, or unjust claims which may be presented for their adjudication. This District, which has neither voice nor vote in your deliberations, looks to you for protection and aid, and I commend all its wants to your favorable consideration, with a full confidence that you will meet them not only with justice, but with liberality. It should be borne in mind that in this city, laid out by Washington and consecrated by his name, is located the Capitol of our nation, the emblem of our Union and the symbol of our greatness. Here also are situated all the public buildings necessary for the use of the Government, and all these are exempt from taxation. It should be the pride of Americans to render this place attractive to the people of the whole Republic and convenient and safe for the transaction of the public business and the preservation of the public records. The Government should therefore bear a liberal proportion of the burdens of all necessary and useful improvements. And as nothing could contribute more to the health, comfort, and safety of the city and the security of the public buildings and records than an abundant supply of pure water, I respectfully recommend that you make such provisions for obtaining the same as in your wisdom you may deem proper.

The act, passed at your last session, making certain propositions to Texas for settling the disputed boundary between that State and the Territory of New Mexico was, immediately on its passage, transmitted by express to the governor of Texas, to be laid by him before the general assembly for its agreement thereto. Its receipt was duly acknowledged, but no official information has yet been received of the action of the general assembly thereon. It may, however, be very soon expected, as, by the terms of the propositions submitted they were to have been acted upon on or before the first day of the present month.

It was hardly to have been expected that the series of measures passed at your last session with the view of healing the sectional differences which had sprung from the slavery and territorial questions should at once have realized their beneficent purpose. All mutual concession in the nature of a compromise must necessarily be unwelcome to men of extreme opinions. And though without such concessions our Constitution could not have been formed, and can not be permanently sustained, yet we have seen them made the subject of bitter controversy in both sections of the Republic. It required many months of discussion and deliberation to secure the concurrence of a majority of Congress in their favor. It would be strange if they had been received with immediate approbation by people and States prejudiced and heated by the exciting controversies of their representatives. I believe those measures to have been required by the circumstances and condition of the country. I believe they were necessary to allay asperities and animosities that were rapidly alienating one section of the country from another and destroying those fraternal sentiments which are the strongest supports of the Constitution. They were adopted in the spirit of conciliation and for the purpose of conciliation. I believe that a great majority of our fellow citizens sympathize in that spirit and that purpose, and in the main approve and are prepared in all respects to sustain these enactments. I can not doubt that the American people, bound together by kindred blood and common traditions, still cherish a paramount regard for the Union of their fathers, and that they are ready to rebuke any attempt to violate its integrity, to disturb the compromises on which it is based, or to resist the laws which have been enacted under its authority.

The series of measures to which I have alluded are regarded by me as a settlement in principle and substance--a final settlement of the dangerous and exciting subjects which they embraced. Most of these subjects, indeed, are beyond your reach, as the legislation which disposed of them was in its character final and irrevocable. It may be presumed from the opposition which they all encountered that none of those measures was free from imperfections, but in their mutual dependence and connection they formed a system of compromise the most conciliatory and best for the entire country that could be obtained from conflicting sectional interests and opinions.

For this reason I recommend your adherence to the adjustment established by those measures until time and experience shall demonstrate the necessity of further legislation to guard against evasion or abuse.

By that adjustment we have been rescued from the wide and boundless agitation that surrounded us, and have a firm, distinct, and legal ground to rest upon. And the occasion, I trust, will justify me in exhorting my countrymen to rally upon and maintain that ground as the best, if not the only, means of restoring peace and quiet to the country and maintaining inviolate the integrity of the Union.

And now, fellow-citizens, I can not bring this communication to a close without invoking you to join me in humble and devout thanks to the Great Ruler of Nations for the multiplied blessings which He has graciously bestowed upon us. His hand, so often visible in our preservation, has stayed the pestilence, saved us from foreign wars and domestic disturbances, and scattered plenty throughout the land.

Our liberties, religions and civil, have been maintained, the fountains of knowledge have all been kept open, and means of happiness widely spread and generally enjoyed greater than have fallen to the lot of any other nation. And while deeply penetrated with gratitude for the past, let us hope that His all-wise providence will so guide our counsels as that they shall result in giving satisfaction to our constituents, securing the peace of the country, and adding new strength to the united Government under which we live.


State of the Union Address
Millard Fillmore
December 2, 1851

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

I congratulate you and our common constituency upon the favorable auspices under which you meet for your first session. Our country is at peace with all the world. The agitation which for a time threatened to disturb the fraternal relations which make us one people is fast subsiding, and a year of general prosperity and health has crowned the nation with unusual blessings. None can look back to the dangers which are passed or forward to the bright prospect before us without feeling a thrill of gratification, at the same time that he must be impressed with a grateful sense of our profound obligations to a beneficent Providence, whose paternal care is so manifest in the happiness of this highly favored land.

Since the close of the last Congress certain Cubans and other foreigners resident in the United States, who were more or less concerned in the previous invasion of Cuba, instead of being discouraged by its failure have again abused the hospitality of this country by making it the scene of the equipment of another military expedition against that possession of Her Catholic Majesty, in which they were countenanced, aided, and joined by citizens of the United States. On receiving intelligence that such designs were entertained, I lost no time in issuing such instructions to the proper officers of the United States as seemed to be called for by the occasion. By the proclamation a copy of which is herewith submitted I also warned those who might be in danger of being inveigled into this scheme of its unlawful character and of the penalties which they would incur. For some time there was reason to hope that these measures had sufficed to prevent any such attempt. This hope, however, proved to be delusive. Very early in the morning of the 3d of August a steamer called the Pampero departed from New Orleans for Cuba, having on board upward of 400 armed men with evident intentions to make war upon the authorities of the island. This expedition was set on foot in palpable violation of the laws of the United States. Its leader was a Spaniard, and several of the chief officers and some others engaged in it were foreigners. The persons composing it, however, were mostly citizens of the United States.

Before the expedition set out, and probably before it was organized, a slight insurrectionary movement, which appears to have been soon suppressed, had taken place in the eastern quarter of Cuba. The importance of this movement was, unfortunately, so much exaggerated in the accounts of it published in this country that these adventurers seem to have been led to believe that the Creole population of the island not only desired to throw off the authority of the mother country, but had resolved upon that step and had begun a well-concerted enterprise for effecting it. The persons engaged in the expedition were generally young and ill informed. The steamer in which they embarked left New Orleans stealthily and without a clearance. After touching at Key West, she proceeded to the coast of Cuba, and on the night between the 11th and 12th of August landed the persons on board at Playtas, within about 20 leagues of Havana.

The main body of them proceeded to and took possession of an inland village 6 leagues distant, leaving others to follow in charge of the baggage as soon as the means of transportation could be obtained. The latter, having taken up their line of march to connect themselves with the main body, and having proceeded about 4 leagues into the country, were attacked on the morning of the 13th by a body of Spanish troops, and a bloody conflict ensued, after which they retreated to the place of disembarkation, where about 50 of them obtained boats and reembarked therein. They were, however, intercepted among the keys near the shore by a Spanish steamer cruising on the coast, captured and carried to Havana, and after being examined before a military court were sentenced to be publicly executed, and the sentence was carried into effect on the 16th of August.

On receiving information of what had occurred Commodore Foxhall A. Parker was instructed to proceed in the steam frigate Saranac to Havana and inquire into the charges against the persons executed, the circumstances under which they were taken, and whatsoever referred to their trial and sentence. Copies of the instructions from the Department of State to him and of his letters to that Department are herewith submitted.

According to the record of the examination, the prisoners all admitted the offenses charged against them, of being hostile invaders of the island. At the time of their trial and execution the main body of the invaders was still in the field making war upon the Spanish authorities and Spanish subjects. After the lapse of some days, being overcome by the Spanish troops, they dispersed on the 24th of August. Lopez, their leader, was captured some days after, and executed on the 1st of September. Many of his remaining followers were killed or died of hunger and fatigue, and the rest were made prisoners. Of these none appear to have been tried or executed. Several of them were pardoned upon application of their friends and others, and the rest, about 160 in number, were sent to Spain. Of the final disposition made of these we have no official information.

Such is the melancholy result of this illegal and ill-fated expedition. Thus thoughtless young men have been induced by false and fraudulent representations to violate the law of their country through rash and unfounded expectations of assisting to accomplish political revolutions in other states, and have lost their lives in the undertaking. Too severe a judgment can hardly be passed by the indignant sense of the community upon those who, being better informed themselves, have yet led away the ardor of youth and an ill-directed love of political liberty. The correspondence between this Government and that of Spain relating to this transaction is herewith communicated.

Although these offenders against the laws have forfeited the protection of their country, yet the Government may, so far as consistent with its obligations to other countries and its fixed purpose to maintain and enforce the laws, entertain sympathy for their unoffending families and friends, as well as a feeling of compassion for themselves. Accordingly, no proper effort has been spared and none will be spared to procure the release of such citizens of the United States engaged in this unlawful enterprise as are now in confinement in Spain; but it is to be hoped that such interposition with the Government of that country may not be considered as affording any ground of expectation that the Government of the United States will hereafter feel itself under any obligation of duty to intercede for the liberation or pardon of such persons as are flagrant offenders against the law of nations and the laws of the United States. These laws must be executed. If we desire to maintain our respectability among the nations of the earth, it behooves us to enforce steadily and sternly the neutrality acts passed by Congress and to follow as far as may be the violation of those acts with condign punishment.

But what gives a peculiar criminality to this invasion of Cuba is that, under the lead of Spanish subjects and with the aid of citizens of the United States, it had its origin with many in motives of cupidity. Money was advanced by individuals, probably in considerable amounts, to purchase Cuban bonds, as they have been called, issued by Lopez, sold, doubtless, at a very large discount, and for the payment of which the public lands and public property of Cuba, of whatever kind, and the fiscal resources of the people and government of that island, from whatever source to be derived, were pledged, as well as the good faith of the government expected to be established. All these means of payment, it is evident, were only to be obtained by a process of bloodshed, war, and revolution. None will deny that those who set on foot military expeditions against foreign states by means like these are far more culpable than the ignorant and the necessitous whom they induce to go forth as the ostensible parties in the proceeding. These originators of the invasion of Cuba seem to have determined with coolness and system upon an undertaking which should disgrace their country, violate its laws, and put to hazard the lives of ill-informed and deluded men. You will consider whether further legislation be necessary to prevent the perpetration of such offenses in future.

No individuals have a right to hazard the peace of the country or to violate its laws upon vague notions of altering or reforming governments in other states. This principle is not only reasonable in itself and in accordance with public law, but is ingrafted into the codes of other nations as well as our own. But while such are the sentiments of this Government, it may be added that every independent nation must be presumed to be able to defend its possessions against unauthorized individuals banded together to attack them. The Government of the United States at all times since its establishment has abstained and has sought to restrain the citizens of the country from entering into controversies between other powers, and to observe all the duties of neutrality. At an early period of the Government, in the Administration of Washington, several laws were passed for this purpose. The main provisions of these laws were reenacted by the act of April, 1818, by which, amongst other things, it was declared that--

If any person shall, within the territory or jurisdiction of the United States, begin, or set on foot, or provide or prepare the means for, any military expedition or enterprise to be carried on from thence against the territory or dominions of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people, with whom the United States are at peace, every person so offending shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and shall be fined not exceeding $3,000 and imprisoned not more than three years.

And this law has been executed and enforced to the full extent of the power of the Government from that day to this.

In proclaiming and adhering to the doctrine of neutrality and nonintervention, the United States have not followed the lead of other civilized nations; they have taken the lead themselves and have been followed by others. This was admitted by one of the most eminent of modern British statesmen, who said in Parliament, while a minister of the Crown, "that if he wished for a guide in a system of neutrality he should take that laid down by America in the days of Washington and the secretaryship of Jefferson;" and we see, in fact, that the act of Congress of 1818 was followed the succeeding year by an act of the Parliament of England substantially the same in its general provisions. Up to that time there had been no similar law in England, except certain highly penal statutes passed in the reign of George II, prohibiting English subjects from enlisting in foreign service, the avowed object of which statutes was that foreign armies, raised for the purpose of restoring the house of Stuart to the throne, should not be strengthened by recruits from England herself.

All must see that difficulties may arise in carrying the laws referred to into execution in a country now having 3,000 or 4,000 miles of seacoast, with an infinite number of ports and harbors and small inlets, from some of which unlawful expeditious may suddenly set forth, without the knowledge of Government, against the possessions of foreign states.

"Friendly relations with all, but entangling alliances with none," has long been a maxim with us. Our true mission is not to propagate our opinions or impose upon other countries our form of government by artifice or force, but to teach by example and show by our success, moderation, and justice the blessings of self-government and the advantages of free institutions. Let every people choose for itself and make and alter its political institutions to suit its own condition and convenience. But while we avow and maintain this neutral policy ourselves, we are anxious to see the same forbearance on the part of other nations whose forms of government are different from our own. The deep interest which we feel in the spread of liberal principles and the establishment of free governments and the sympathy with which we witness every struggle against oppression forbid that we should be indifferent to a case in which the strong arm of a foreign power is invoked to stifle public sentiment and repress the spirit of freedom in any country.

The Governments of Great Britain and France have issued orders to their naval commanders on the West India station to prevent, by force if necessary, the landing of adventurers from any nation on the island of Cuba with hostile intent. The copy of a memorandum of a conversation on this subject between the charge d'affaires of Her Britannic Majesty and the Acting Secretary of State and of a subsequent note of the former to the Department of State are herewith submitted, together with a copy of a note of the Acting Secretary of State to the minister of the French Republic and of the reply of the latter on the same subject. These papers will acquaint you with the grounds of this interposition of two leading commercial powers of Europe, and with the apprehensions, which this Government could not fail to entertain, that such interposition, if carried into effect, might lead to abuses in derogation of the maritime rights of the United States. The maritime rights of the United States are founded on a firm, secure, and well-defined basis; they stand upon the ground of national independence and public law, and will be maintained in all their full and just extent. The principle which this Government has heretofore solemnly announced it still adheres to, and will maintain under all circumstances and at all hazards. That principle is that in every regularly documented merchant vessel the crew who navigate it and those on board of it will find their protection in the flag which is over them. No American ship can be allowed to be visited or searched for the purpose of ascertaining the character of individuals on board, nor can there be allowed any watch by the vessels of any foreign nation over American vessels on the coast of the United States or the seas adjacent thereto. It will be seen by the last communication from the British charge d'affaires to the Department of State that he is authorized to assure the Secretary of State that every care will be taken that in executing the preventive measures against the expeditions which the United States Government itself has denounced as not being entitled to the protection of any government no interference shall take place with the lawful commerce of any nation.

In addition to the correspondence on this subject herewith submitted, official information has been received at the Department of State of assurances by the French Government that in the orders given to the French naval forces they were expressly instructed, in any operations they might engage in, to respect the flag of the United States wherever it might appear, and to commit no act of hostility upon any vessel or armament under its protection.

Ministers and consuls of foreign nations are the means and agents of communication between us and those nations, and it is of the utmost importance that while residing in the country they should feel a perfect security so long as they faithfully discharge their respective duties and are guilty of no violation of our laws. This is the admitted law of nations and no country has a deeper interest in maintaining it than the United States. Our commerce spreads over every sea and visits every clime, and our ministers and consuls are appointed to protect the interests of that commerce as well as to guard the peace of the country and maintain the honor of its flag. But how can they discharge these duties unless they be themselves protected? And if protected it must be by the laws of the country in which they reside. And what is due to our own public functionaries residing in foreign nations is exactly the measure of what is due to the functionaries of other governments residing here. As in war the bearers of flags of truce are sacred, or else wars would be interminable, so in peace ambassadors, public ministers, and consuls, charged with friendly national intercourse, are objects of especial respect and protection, each according to the rights belonging to his rank and station. In view of these important principles, it is with deep mortification and regret I announce to you that during the excitement growing out of the executions at Havana the office of Her Catholic Majesty's consul at New Orleans was assailed by a mob, his property destroyed, the Spanish flag found in the office carried off and torn in pieces, and he himself induced to flee for his personal safety, which he supposed to be in danger. On receiving intelligence of these events I forthwith directed the attorney of the United States residing at New Orleans to inquire into the facts and the extent of the pecuniary loss sustained by the consul, with the intention of laying them before you, that you might make provision for such indemnity to him as a just regard for the honor of the nation and the respect which is due to a friendly power might, in your judgment, seem to require. The correspondence upon this subject between the Secretary of State and Her Catholic Majesty's minister plenipotentiary is herewith transmitted.

The occurrence at New Orleans has led me to give my attention to the state of our laws in regard to foreign ambassadors, ministers, and consuls. I think the legislation of the country is deficient in not providing sufficiently either for the protection or the punishment of consuls. I therefore recommend the subject to the consideration of Congress.

Your attention is again invited to the question of reciprocal trade between the United States and Canada and other British possessions near our frontier. Overtures for a convention upon this subject have been received from Her Britannic Majesty's minister plenipotentiary, but it seems to be in many respects preferable that the matter should be regulated by reciprocal legislation. Documents are laid before you showing the terms which the British Government is willing to offer and the measures which it may adopt if some arrangement upon this subject shall not be made.

From the accompanying copy of a note from the British legation at Washington and the reply of the Department of State thereto it will appear that Her Britannic Majesty's Government is desirous that a part of the boundary line between Oregon and the British possessions should be authoritatively marked out, and that an intention was expressed to apply to Congress for an appropriation to defray the expense thereof on the part of the United States. Your attention to this subject is accordingly invited and a proper appropriation recommended. A convention for the adjustment of claims of citizens of the United States against Portugal has been concluded and the ratifications have been exchanged. The first installment of the amount to be paid by Portugal fell due on the 30th of September last and has been paid. The President of the French Republic, according to the provisions of the convention, has been selected as arbiter in the case of the General Armstrong, and has signified that he accepts the trust and the high satisfaction he feels in acting as the common friend of two nations with which France is united by sentiments of sincere and lasting amity.

The Turkish Government has expressed its thanks for the kind reception given to the Sultan's agent, Amin Bey, on the occasion of his recent visit to the United States. On the 28th of February last a dispatch was addressed by the Secretary of State to Mr. Marsh, the American minister at Constantinople, instructing him to ask of the Turkish Government permission for the Hungarians then imprisoned within the dominions of the Sublime Porte to remove to this country. On the 3d of March last both Houses of Congress passed a resolution requesting the President to authorize the employment of a public vessel to convey to this country Louis Kossuth and his associates in captivity. The instruction above referred to was complied with, and the Turkish Government having released Governor Kossuth and his companions from prison, on the 10th of September last they embarked on board of the United States steam frigate Mississippi, which was selected to carry into effect the resolution of Congress. Governor Kossuth left the Mississippi at Gibraltar for the purpose of making a visit to England, and may shortly be expected in New York. By communications to the Department of State he has expressed his grateful acknowledgments for the interposition of this Government in behalf of himself and his associates. This country has been justly regarded as a safe asylum for those whom political events have exiled from their own homes in Europe. and it is recommended to Congress to consider in what manner Governor Kossuth and his companions, brought hither by its authority, shall be received and treated.

It is earnestly to be hoped that the differences which have for some time past been pending between the Government of the French Republic and that of the Sandwich Islands may be peaceably and durably adjusted so as to secure the independence of those islands. Long before the events which have of late imparted so much importance to the possessions of the United States on the Pacific we acknowledged the independence of the Hawaiian Government. This Government was first in taking that step, and several of the leading powers of Europe immediately followed. We were influenced in this measure by the existing and prospective importance of the islands as a place of refuge and refreshment for our vessels engaged in the whale fishery, and by the consideration that they lie in the course of the great trade which must at no distant day be carried on between the western coast of North America and eastern Asia.

We were also influenced by a desire that those islands should not pass under the control of any other great maritime state, but should remain in an independent condition, and so be accessible and useful to the commerce of all nations. I need not say that the importance of these considerations has been greatly enhanced by the sudden and vast development which the interests of the United States have attained in California and Oregon, and the policy heretofore adopted in regard to those islands will be steadily pursued.

It is gratifying, not only to those who consider the commercial interests of nations, but also to all who favor the progress of knowledge and the diffusion of religion, to see a community emerge from a savage state and attain such a degree of civilization in those distant seas. It is much to be deplored that the internal tranquillity of the Mexican Republic should again be seriously disturbed, for since the peace between that Republic and the United States it had enjoyed such comparative repose that the most favorable anticipations for the future might with a degree of confidence have been indulged. These, however, have been thwarted by the recent outbreak in the State of Tamaulipas, on the right bank of the Rio Bravo. Having received information that persons from the United States had taken part in the insurrection, and apprehending that their example might be followed by others, I caused orders to be issued for the purpose of preventing any hostile expeditions against Mexico from being set on foot in violation of the laws of the United States. I likewise issued a proclamation upon the subject, a copy of which is herewith laid before you. This appeared to be rendered imperative by the obligations of treaties and the general duties of good neighborhood.

In my last annual message I informed Congress that citizens of the United States had undertaken the connection of the two oceans by means of a railroad across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, under a grant of the Mexican Government to a citizen of that Republic, and that this enterprise would probably be prosecuted with energy whenever Mexico should consent to such stipulations with the Government of the United States as should impart a feeling of security to those who should invest their property in the enterprise. A convention between the two Governments for the accomplishment of that end has been ratified by this Government, and only awaits the decision of the Congress and the Executive of that Republic.

Some unexpected difficulties and delays have arisen in the ratification of that convention by Mexico, but it is to be presumed that her decision will be governed by just and enlightened views, as well of the general importance of the object as of her own interests and obligations.

In negotiating upon this important subject this Government has had in view one, and only one, object. That object has been, and is, the construction or attainment of a passage from ocean to ocean, the shortest and the best for travelers and merchandise, and equally open to all the world. It has sought to obtain no territorial acquisition, nor any advantages peculiar to itself; and it would see with the greatest regret that Mexico should oppose any obstacle to the accomplishment of an enterprise which promises so much convenience to the whole commercial world and such eminent advantages to Mexico herself. Impressed with these sentiments and these convictions, the Government will continue to exert all proper efforts to bring about the necessary arrangement with the Republic of Mexico for the speedy completion of the work. For some months past the Republic of Nicaragua has been the theater of one of those civil convulsions from which the cause of free institutions and the general prosperity and social progress of the States of Central America have so often and so severely suffered. Until quiet shall have been restored and a government apparently stable shall have been organized, no advance can prudently be made in disposing of the questions pending between the two countries.

I am happy to announce that an interoceanic communication from the mouth of the St. John to the Pacific has been so far accomplished as that passengers have actually traversed it and merchandise has been transported over it, and when the canal shall have been completed according to the original plan the means of communication will be further improved. It is understood that a considerable part of the railroad across the Isthmus of Panama has been completed, and that the mail and passengers will in future be conveyed thereon. Whichever of the several routes between the two oceans may ultimately prove most eligible for travelers to and from the different States on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico and our coast on the Pacific, there is little reason to doubt that all of them will be useful to the public, and will liberally reward that individual enterprise by which alone they have been or are expected to be carried into effect. Peace has been concluded between the contending parties in the island of St. Domingo, and, it is hoped, upon a durable basis. Such is the extent of our commercial relations with that island that the United States can not fail to feel a strong interest in its tranquillity. The office of commissioner to China remains unfilled. Several persons have been appointed, and the place has been offered to others, all of whom have declined its acceptance on the ground of the inadequacy of the compensation. The annual allowance by law is $6,000, and there is no provision for any outfit. I earnestly recommend the consideration of this subject to Congress. Our commerce with China is highly important, and is becoming more and more so in consequence of the increasing intercourse between our ports on the Pacific Coast and eastern Asia. China is understood to be a country in which living is very expensive, and I know of no reason why the American commissioner sent thither should not be placed, in regard to compensation, on an equal footing with ministers who represent this country at the Courts of Europe.

By reference to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury it will be seen that the aggregate receipts for the last fiscal year amounted to $52,312,979.87, which, with the balance in the Treasury on the 1st July, 1850, gave as the available means for the year the sum of $58,917,524.36.

The total expenditures for the same period were $48,005,878.68. The total imports for the year ending June 30, 1851, were $215,725,995, of which there were in specie $4,967,901. The exports for the same period were $217,517,130, of which there were of domestic products $178,546,555; foreign goods reexported, $9,738,695; specie, $29,231,880.

Since the 1st of December last the payments in cash on account of the public debt, exclusive of interest, have amounted to $7,501,456.56, which, however, includes the sum of $3,242,400, paid under the twelfth article of the treaty with Mexico, and the further sum of $2,591,213.45, being the amount of awards to American citizens under the late treaty with Mexico, for which the issue of stock was authorized, but which was paid in cash from the Treasury.

The public debt on the 20th ultimo, exclusive of the stock authorized to be issued to Texas by the act of 9th September, 1850, was $62,560,395.26.

The receipts for the next fiscal year are estimated at $51,800,000, which, with the probable unappropriated balance in the Treasury on the 30th June next, will give as the probable available means for that year the sum of $63,258,743.09.

It has been deemed proper, in view of the large expenditures consequent upon the acquisition of territory from Mexico, that the estimates for the next fiscal year should be laid before Congress in such manner as to distinguish the expenditures so required from the otherwise ordinary demands upon the Treasury.

The total expenditures for the next fiscal year are estimated at $42,892,299.19, of which there is required for the ordinary purposes of the Government, other than those consequent upon the acquisition of our new territories, and deducting the payments on account of the public debt, the sum of $33,343,198.08, and for the purposes connected, directly or indirectly, with those territories and in the fulfillment of the obligations of the Government contracted in consequence of their acquisition the sum of $9,549,101.11.

If the views of the Secretary of the Treasury in reference to the expenditures required for these territories shall be met by corresponding action on the part of Congress, and appropriations made in accordance therewith, there will be an estimated unappropriated balance in the Treasury on the 30th June, 1853, of $20,366,443.90 wherewith to meet that portion of the public debt due on the 1st of July following, amounting to $6,237,931.35, as well as any appropriations which may be made beyond the estimates.

In thus referring to the estimated expenditures on account of our newly acquired territories, I may express the hope that Congress will concur with me in the desire that a liberal course of policy may be pursued toward them, and that every obligation, express or implied, entered into in consequence of their acquisition shall be fulfilled by the most liberal appropriations for that purpose.

The values of our domestic exports for the last fiscal year, as compared with those of the previous year, exhibit an increase of $43,646,322. At first view this condition of our trade with foreign nations would seem to present the most flattering hopes of its future prosperity. An examination of the details of our exports, however, will show that the increased value of our exports for the last fiscal year is to be found in the high price of cotton which prevailed during the first half of that year, which price has since declined about one-half.

The value of our exports of breadstuffs and provisions, which it was supposed the incentive of a low tariff and large importations from abroad would have greatly augmented, has fallen from $68,701,921 in 1847 to $26,051,373 in 1850 and to $21,948,653 in 1851, with a strong probability, amounting almost to a certainty, of a still further reduction in the current year.

The aggregate values of rice exported during the last fiscal year, as compared with the previous year, also exhibit a decrease, amounting to $460,917, which, with a decline in the values of the exports of tobacco for the same period, make an aggregate decrease in these two articles of $1,156,751.

The policy which dictated a low rate of duties on foreign merchandise, it was thought by those who promoted and established it, would tend to benefit the farming population of this country by increasing the demand and raising the price of agricultural products in foreign markets.

The foregoing facts, however, seem to show incontestably that no such result has followed the adoption of this policy. On the contrary, notwithstanding the repeal of the restrictive corn laws in England, the foreign demand for the products of the American farmer has steadily declined, since the short crops and consequent famine in a portion of Europe have been happily replaced by full crops and comparative abundance of food.

It will be seen by recurring to the commercial statistics for the past year that the value of our domestic exports has been increased in the single item of raw cotton by $40,000,000 over the value of that export for the year preceding. This is not due to any increased general demand for that article, but to the short crop of the preceding year, which created an increased demand and an augmented price for the crop of last year. Should the cotton crop now going forward to market be only equal in quantity to that of the year preceding and be sold at the present prices, then there would be a falling off in the value of our exports for the present fiscal year of at least $40,000,000 compared with the amount exported for the year ending 30th June, 1851.

The production of gold in California for the past year seems to promise a large supply of that metal from that quarter for some time to come. This large annual increase of the currency of the world must be attended with its usual results. These have been already partially disclosed in the enhancement of prices and a rising spirit of speculation and adventure, tending to overtrading, as well at home as abroad. Unless some salutary check shall be given to these tendencies it is to be feared that importations of foreign goods beyond a healthy demand in this country will lead to a sudden drain of the precious metals from us, bringing with it, as it has done in former times, the most disastrous consequences to the business and capital of the American people.

The exports of specie to liquidate our foreign debt during the past fiscal year have been $24,963,979 over the amount of specie imported. The exports of specie during the first quarter of the present fiscal year have been $14,651,827. Should specie continue to be exported at this rate for the remaining three quarters of this year, it will drain from our metallic currency during the year ending 30th June, 1852, the enormous amount of $58,607,308.

In the present prosperous condition of the national finances it will become the duty of Congress to consider the best mode of paying off the public debt. If the present and anticipated surplus in the Treasury should not be absorbed by appropriations of an extraordinary character, this surplus should be employed in such way and under such restrictions as Congress may enact in extinguishing the outstanding debt of the nation.

By reference to the act of Congress approved 9th September, 1850, it will be seen that, in consideration of certain concessions by the State of Texas, it is provided that--

The United States shall pay to the State of Texas the sum of $10,000,000 in a stock bearing 5 per cent interest and redeemable at the end of fourteen years, the interest payable half-yearly at the Treasury of the United States.

In the same section of the law it is further provided--

That no more than five millions of said stock shall be issued until the creditors of the State holding bonds and other certificates of stock of Texas, for which duties on imports were specially pledged, shall first file at the Treasury of the United States releases of all claims against the United States for or on account of said bonds or certificates, in such form as shall be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury and approved by the President of the United States.

The form of release thus provided for has been prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury and approved. It has been published in all the leading newspapers in the commercial cities of the United States, and all persons holding claims of the kind specified in the foregoing proviso were required to file their releases (in the form thus prescribed) in the Treasury of the United States on or before the 1st day of October, 1851. Although this publication has been continued from the 25th day of March, 1851, yet up to the 1st of October last comparatively few releases had been filed by the creditors of Texas.

The authorities of the State of Texas, at the request of the Secretary of the Treasury, have furnished a schedule of the public debt of that State created prior to her admission into the Union, with a copy of the laws under which each class was contracted. I have, from the documents furnished by the State of Texas, determined the classes of claims which in my judgment fall within the provisions of the act of Congress of the 9th of September, 1850.

On being officially informed of the acceptance by Texas of the propositions contained in the act referred to I caused the stock to be prepared, and the five millions which are to be issued unconditionally, bearing an interest of 5 per cent from the 1st day of January, 1851, have been for some time ready to be delivered to the State of Texas. The authorities of Texas up to the present time have not authorized anyone to receive this stock, and it remains in the Treasury Department subject to the order of Texas. The releases required by law to be deposited in the Treasury not having been filed there, the remaining five millions have not been issued. This last amount of the stock will be withheld from Texas until the conditions upon which it is to be delivered shall be complied with by the creditors of that State, unless Congress shall otherwise direct by a modification of the law.

In my last annual message, to which I respectfully refer, I stated briefly the reasons which induced me to recommend a modification of the present tariff by converting the ad valorem into a specific duty wherever the article imported was of such a character as to permit it, and that such a discrimination should be made in favor of the industrial pursuits of our own country as to encourage home production without excluding foreign competition.

The numerous frauds which continue to be practiced upon the revenue by false invoices and undervaluations constitute an unanswerable reason for adopting specific instead of ad valorem duties in all cases where the nature of the commodity does not forbid it. A striking illustration of these frauds will be exhibited in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, showing the custom-house valuation of articles imported under a former law, subject to specific duties, when there was no inducement to undervaluation, and the custom-house valuations of the same articles under the present system of ad valorem duties, so greatly reduced as to leave no doubt of the existence of the most flagrant abuses under the existing laws. This practical evasion of the present law, combined with the languishing condition of some of the great interests of the country, caused by over importations and consequent depressed prices, and with the failure in obtaining a foreign market for our increasing surplus of breadstuffs and provisions, has induced me again to recommend a modification of the existing tariff. The report of the Secretary of the Interior, which accompanies this communication, will present a condensed statement of the operations of that important Department of the Government.

It will be seen that the cash sales of the public lands exceed those of the preceding year, and that there is reason to anticipate a still further increase, notwithstanding the large donations which have been made to many of the States and the liberal grants to individuals as a reward for military services. This fact furnishes very gratifying evidence of the growing wealth and prosperity of our country.

Suitable measures have been adopted for commencing the survey of the public lands in California and Oregon. Surveying parties have been organized and some progress has been made in establishing the principal base and meridian lines. But further legislation and additional appropriations will be necessary before the proper subdivisions can be made and the general land system extended over those remote parts of our territory.

On the 3d of March last an act was passed providing for the appointment of three commissioners to settle private land claims in California. Three persons were immediately appointed, all of whom, however, declined accepting the office in consequence of the inadequacy of the compensation. Others were promptly selected, who for the same reason also declined, and it was not until late in the season that the services of suitable persons could be secured. A majority of the commissioners convened in this city on the 10th of September last, when detailed instructions were given to them in regard to their duties. Their first meeting for the transaction of business will be held in San Francisco on the 8th day of the present month.

I have thought it proper to refer to these facts, not only to explain the causes of the delay in filling the commission, but to call your attention to the propriety of increasing the compensation of the commissioners. The office is one of great labor and responsibility, and the compensation should be such as to command men of a high order of talents and the most unquestionable integrity.

The proper disposal of the mineral lands of California is a subject surrounded by great difficulties. In my last annual message I recommended the survey and sale of them in small parcels under such restrictions as would effectually guard against monopoly and speculation; but upon further information, and in deference to the opinions of persons familiar with the subject, I am inclined to change that recommendation and to advise that they be permitted to remain as at present, a common field, open to the enterprise and industry of all our citizens, until further experience shall have developed the best policy to be ultimately adopted in regard to them. It is safer to suffer the inconveniences that now exist for a short period than by premature legislation to fasten on the country a system founded in error, which may place the whole subject beyond the future control of Congress.

The agricultural lands should, however, be surveyed and brought into market with as little delay as possible, that the titles may become settled and the inhabitants stimulated to make permanent improvements and enter on the ordinary pursuits of life. To effect these objects it is desirable that the necessary provision be made by law for the establishment of land offices in California and Oregon and for the efficient prosecution of the surveys at an early day.

Some difficulties have occurred in organizing the Territorial governments of New Mexico and Utah, and when more accurate information shall be obtained of the causes a further communication will be made on that subject.

In my last annual communication to Congress I recommended the establishment of an agricultural bureau, and I take this occasion again to invoke your favorable consideration of the subject.

Agriculture may justly be regarded as the great interest of our people. Four-fifths of our active population are employed in the cultivation of the soil, and the rapid expansion of our settlements over new territory is daily adding to the number of those engaged in that vocation. Justice and sound policy, therefore, alike require that the Government should use all the means authorized by the Constitution to promote the interests and welfare of that important class of our fellow-citizens. And yet it is a singular fact that whilst the manufacturing and commercial interests have engaged the attention of Congress during a large portion of every session and our statutes abound in provisions for their protection and encouragement, little has yet been done directly for the advancement of agriculture. It is time that this reproach to our legislation should be removed, and I sincerely hope that the present Congress will not close their labors without adopting efficient means to supply the omissions of those who have preceded them.

An agricultural bureau, charged with the duty of collecting and disseminating correct information as to the best modes of cultivation and of the most effectual means of preserving and restoring the fertility of the soil and of procuring and distributing seeds and plants and other vegetable productions, with instructions in regard to the soil, climate, and treatment best adapted to their growth, could not fail to be, in the language of Washington in his last annual message to Congress, a "very cheap instrument of immense national benefit."

Regarding the act of Congress approved 28th September, 1850, granting bounty lands to persons who had been engaged in the military service of the country, as a great measure of national justice and munificence, an anxious desire has been felt by the officers intrusted with its immediate execution to give prompt effect to its provisions. All the means within their control were therefore brought into requisition to expedite the adjudication of claims, and I am gratified to be able to state that near 100,000 applications have been considered and about 70,000 warrants issued within the short space of nine months. If adequate provision be made by law to carry into effect the recommendations of the Department, it is confidently expected that before the close of the next fiscal year all who are entitled to the benefits of the act will have received their warrants.

The Secretary of the Interior has suggested in his report various amendments of the laws relating to pensions and bounty lands for the purpose of more effectually guarding against abuses and frauds on the Government, to all of which I invite your particular attention. The large accessions to our Indian population consequent upon the acquisition of New Mexico and California and the extension of our settlements into Utah and Oregon have given increased interest and importance to our relations with the aboriginal race. No material change has taken place within the last year in the condition and prospects of the Indian tribes who reside in the Northwestern Territory and west of the Mississippi River. We are at peace with all of them, and it will be a source of pleasure to you to learn that they are gradually advancing in civilization and the pursuits of social life.

Along the Mexican frontier and in California and Oregon there have been occasional manifestations of unfriendly feeling and some depredations committed. I am satisfied, however, that they resulted more from the destitute and starving condition of the Indians than from any settled hostility toward the whites. As the settlements of our citizens progress toward them, the game, upon which they mainly rely for subsistence, is driven off or destroyed, and the only alternative left to them is starvation or plunder. It becomes us to consider, in view of this condition of things, whether justice and humanity, as well as an enlightened economy, do not require that instead of seeking to punish them for offenses which are the result of our own policy toward them we should not provide for their immediate wants and encourage them to engage in agriculture and to rely on their labor instead of the chase for the means of support.

Various important treaties have been negotiated with different tribes during the year, by which their title to large and valuable tracts of country has been extinguished, all of which will at the proper time be submitted to the Senate for ratification.

The joint commission under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has been actively engaged in running and marking the boundary line between the United States and Mexico. It was stated in the last annual report of the Secretary of the Interior that the initial point on the Pacific and the point of junction of the Gila with the Colorado River had been determined and the intervening line, about 150 miles in length, run and marked by temporary monuments. Since that time a monument of marble has been erected at the initial point, and permanent landmarks of iron have been placed at suitable distances along the line.

The initial point on the Rio Grande has also been fixed by the commissioners, at latitude 32 degrees 22', and at the date of the last communication the survey of the line had been made thence westward about 150 miles to the neighborhood of the copper mines. The commission on our part was at first organized on a scale which experience proved to be unwieldy and attended with unnecessary expense. Orders have therefore been issued for the reduction of the number of persons employed within the smallest limits consistent with the safety of those engaged in the service and the prompt and efficient execution of their important duties.

Returns have been received from all the officers engaged in taking the census in the States and Territories except California. The superintendent employed to make the enumeration in that State has not yet made his full report, from causes, as he alleges, beyond his control. This failure is much to be regretted, as it has prevented the Secretary of the Interior from making the decennial apportionment of Representatives among the States, as required by the act approved May 23, 1850. It is hoped, however, that the returns will soon be received, and no time will then be lost in making the necessary apportionment and in transmitting the certificates required by law.

The Superintendent of the Seventh Census is diligently employed, under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, in classifying and arranging in tabular form all the statistical information derived from the returns of the marshals, and it is believed that when the work shall be completed it will exhibit a more perfect view of the population, wealth, occupations, and social condition of a great country than has ever been presented to the world. The value of such a work as the basis of enlightened legislation can hardly be overestimated, and I earnestly hope that Congress will lose no time in making the appropriations necessary to complete the classifications and to publish the results in a style worthy of the subject and of our national character.

The want of a uniform fee bill, prescribing the compensation to be allowed district attorneys, clerks, marshals, and commissioners in civil and criminal cases, is the cause of much vexation, injustice, and complaint. I would recommend a thorough revision of the laws on the whole subject and the adoption of a tariff of fees which, as far as practicable, should be uniform, and prescribe a specific compensation for every service which the officer may be required to perform. This subject will be fully presented in the report of the Secretary of the Interior. In my last annual message I gave briefly my reasons for believing that you possessed the constitutional power to improve the harbors of our Great Lakes and seacoast and the navigation of our principal rivers, and recommended that appropriations should be made for completing such works as had already been commenced and for commencing such others as might seem to the wisdom of Congress to be of public and general importance. Without repeating the reasons then urged, I deem it my duty again to call your attention to this important subject. The works on many of the harbors were left in an unfinished state, and consequently exposed to the action of the elements, which is fast destroying them. Great numbers of lives and vast amounts of property are annually lost for want of safe and convenient harbors on the Lakes. None but those who have been exposed to that dangerous navigation can fully appreciate the importance of this subject. The whole Northwest appeals to you for relief, and I trust their appeal will receive due consideration at your hands.

The same is in a measure true in regard to some of the harbors and inlets on the seacoast.

The unobstructed navigation of our large rivers is of equal importance. Our settlements are now extending to the sources of the great rivers which empty into and form a part of the Mississippi, and the value of the public lands in those regions would be greatly enhanced by freeing the navigation of those waters from obstructions. In view, therefore, of this great interest, I deem it my duty again to urge upon Congress to make such appropriations for these improvements as they may deem necessary.

The surveys of the Delta of the Mississippi, with a view to the prevention of the overflows that have proved so disastrous to that region of country, have been nearly completed, and the reports thereof are now in course of preparation and will shortly be laid before you.

The protection of our southwestern frontier and of the adjacent Mexican States against the Indian tribes within our border has claimed my earnest and constant attention. Congress having failed at the last session to adopt my recommendation that an additional regiment of mounted men specially adapted to that service should be raised, all that remained to be done was to make the best use of the means at my disposal. Accordingly, all the troops adapted to that service that could properly be spared from other quarters have been concentrated on that frontier and officers of high reputation selected to command them. A new arrangement of the military posts has also been made, whereby the troops are brought nearer to the Mexican frontier and to the tribes they are intended to overawe.

Sufficient time has not yet elapsed to realize all the benefits that are expected to result from these arrangements, but I have every reason to hope that they will effectually check their marauding expeditions. The nature of the country, which furnishes little for the support of an army and abounds in places of refuge and concealment, is remarkably well adapted to this predatory warfare, and we can scarcely hope that any military force, combined with the greatest vigilance, can entirely suppress it.

By the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo we are bound to protect the territory of Mexico against the incursions of the savage tribes within our border "with equal diligence and energy" as if the same were made within our territory or against our citizens. I have endeavored to comply as far as possible with this provision of the treaty. Orders have been given to the officers commanding on that frontier to consider the Mexican territory and its inhabitants as equally with our own entitled to their protection, and to make all their plans and arrangements with a view to the attainment of this object. Instructions have also been given to the Indian commissioners and agents among these tribes in all treaties to make the clauses designed for the protection of our own citizens apply also to those of Mexico. I have no reason to doubt that these instructions have been fully carried into effect; nevertheless, it is probable that in spite of all our efforts some of the neighboring States of Mexico may have suffered, as our own have, from depredations by the Indians.

To the difficulties of defending our own territory, as above mentioned, are superadded, in defending that of Mexico, those that arise from its remoteness, from the fact that we have no right to station our troops within her limits and that there is no efficient military force on the Mexican side to cooperate with our own.

So long as this shall continue to be the case the number and activity of our troops will rather increase than diminish the evil, as the Indians will naturally turn toward that country where they encounter the least resistance. Yet these troops are necessary to subdue them and to compel them to make and observe treaties. Until this shall have been done neither country will enjoy any security from their attacks.

The Indians in California, who had previously appeared of a peaceable character and disposed to cultivate the friendship of the whites, have recently committed several acts of hostility. As a large portion of the reenforcements sent to the Mexican frontier were drawn from the Pacific, the military force now stationed there is considered entirely inadequate to its defense. It can not be increased, however, without an increase of the Army, and I again recommend that measure as indispensable to the protection of the frontier.

I invite your attention to the suggestions on this subject and on others connected with his Department in the report of the Secretary of War. The appropriations for the support of the Army during the current fiscal year ending 30th June next were reduced far below the estimate submitted by the Department. The consequence of this reduction is a considerable deficiency, to which I invite your early attention. The expenditures of that Department for the year ending 30th June last were $9,060,268.58, The estimates for the year commencing 1st July next and ending June 30, 1853, are $7,898,775.83, showing a reductions of $1,161,492.75, The board of commissioners to whom the management of the affairs of the military asylum created by the act of 3d March last was intrusted have selected a site for the establishment of an asylum in the vicinity of this city, which has been approved by me subject to the production of a satisfactory title.

The report of the Secretary of the Navy will exhibit the condition of the public service under the supervision of that Department. Our naval force afloat during the present year has been actively and usefully employed in giving protection to our widely extended and increasing commerce and interests in the various quarters of the globe, and our flag has everywhere afforded the security and received the respect inspired by the justice and liberality of our intercourse and the dignity and power of the nation.

The expedition commanded by Lieutenant De Haven, dispatched in search of the British commander Sir John Franklin and his companions in the Arctic Seas, returned to New York in the month of October, after having undergone great peril and suffering from an unknown and dangerous navigation and the rigors of a northern climate, without any satisfactory information of the objects of their search, but with new contributions to science and navigation from the unfrequented polar regions. The officers and men of the expedition having been all volunteers for this service and having so conducted it as to meet the entire approbation of the Government, it is suggested, as an act of grace and generosity, that the same allowance of extra pay and emoluments be extended to them that were made to the officers and men of like rating in the late exploring expedition to the South Seas.

I earnestly recommend to your attention the necessity of reorganizing the naval establishment, apportioning and fixing the number of officers in each grade, providing some mode of promotion to the higher grades of the Navy having reference to merit and capacity rather than seniority or date of entry into the service, and for retiring from the effective list upon reduced pay those who may be incompetent to the performance of active duty. As a measure of economy, as well as of efficiency, in this arm of the service, the provision last mentioned is eminently worthy of your consideration.

The determination of the questions of relative rank between the sea officers and civil officers of the Navy, and between officers of the Army and Navy, in the various grades of each, will also merit your attention. The failure to provide any substitute when corporal punishment was abolished for offenses in the Navy has occasioned the convening of numerous courts-martial upon the arrival of vessels in port, and is believed to have had an injurious effect upon the discipline and efficiency of the service. To moderate punishment from one grade to another is among the humane reforms of the age, but to abolish one of severity, which applied so generally to offenses on shipboard, and provide nothing in its stead is to suppose a progress of improvement in every individual among seamen which is not assumed by the Legislature in respect to any other class of men. It is hoped that Congress, in the ample opportunity afforded by the present session, will thoroughly investigate this important subject, and establish such modes of determining guilt and such gradations of punishment as are consistent with humanity and the personal rights of individuals, and at the same time shall insure the most energetic and efficient performance of duty and the suppression of crime in our ships of war.

The stone dock in the navy-yard at New York, which was ten years in process of construction, has been so far finished as to be surrendered up to the authorities of the yard. The dry dock at Philadelphia is reported as completed, and is expected soon to be tested and delivered over to the agents of the Government. That at Portsmouth, N. H., is also nearly ready for delivery; and a contract has been concluded, agreeably to the act of Congress at its last session, for a floating sectional dock on the Bay of San Francisco. I invite your attention to the recommendation of the Department touching the establishment of a navy-yard in conjunction with this dock on the Pacific. Such a station is highly necessary to the convenience and effectiveness of our fleet in that ocean, which must be expected to increase with the growth of commerce and the rapid extension of our whale fisheries over its waters.

The Naval Academy at Annapolis, under a revised and improved system of regulations, now affords opportunities of education and instruction to the pupils quite equal, it is believed, for professional improvement, to those enjoyed by the cadets in the Military Academy. A large class of acting midshipmen was received at the commencement of the last academic term, and a practice ship has been attached to the institution to afford the amplest means for regular instruction in seamanship, as well as for cruises during the vacations of three or four months in each year.

The advantages of science in nautical affairs have rarely been more strikingly illustrated than in the fact, stated in the report of the Navy Department, that by means of the wind and current charts projected and prepared by Lieutenant Maury, the Superintendent of the Naval Observatory, the passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific ports of our country has been shortened by about forty days.

The estimates for the support of the Navy and Marine Corps the ensuing fiscal year will be found to be $5,856,472.19, the estimates for the current year being $5,900,621.

The estimates for special objects under the control of this Department amount to $2,684,220.89, against $2,210,980 for the present year, the increase being occasioned by the additional mail service on the Pacific Coast and the construction of the dock in California, authorized at the last session of Congress, and some slight additions under the head of improvements and repairs in navy-yards, buildings, and machinery. I deem it of much importance to a just economy and a correct understanding of naval expenditures that there should be an entire separation of the appropriations for the support of the naval service proper from those for permanent improvements at navy-yards and stations and from ocean steam mail service and other special objects assigned to the supervision of this Department.

The report of the Postmaster-General, herewith communicated, presents an interesting view of the progress, operations, and condition of his Department.

At the close of the last fiscal year the length of mail routes within the United States was 196,290 miles, the annual transportation thereon 53,272,252 miles, and the annual cost of such transportation $3,421,754.

The length of the foreign mail routes is estimated at 18,349 miles and the annual transportation thereon at 615,206 miles. The annual cost of this service is $1,472,187, of which $448,937 are paid by the Post-Office Department and $1,023,250 are paid through the Navy Department.

The annual transportation within the United States, excluding the service in California and Oregon, which is now for the first time reported and embraced in the tabular statements of the Department, exceeds that of the preceding year 6,162,855 miles, at an increased cost of $547,110.

The whole number of post-offices in the United States on the 30th day of June last was 19,796. There were 1,698 post-offices established and 256 discontinued during the year.

The gross revenues of the Department for the fiscal year, including the appropriations for the franked matter of Congress, of the Departments, and officers of Government, and excluding the foreign postages collected for and payable to the British post-office, amounted to $6,727,866.78.

The expenditures for the same period, excluding $20,599.49, paid under an award of the Auditor, in pursuance of a resolution of the last Congress, for mail service on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in 1832 and 1833, and the amount paid to the British post-office for foreign postages collected for and payable to that office, amounted to $6,024,566.79, leaving a balance of revenue over the proper expenditures of the year of $703,299.99.

The receipts for postages during the year, excluding the foreign postages collected for and payable to the British post-office, amounted to $6,345,747.21, being an increase of $997,610.79, or 18.65 per cent, over the like receipts for the preceding year.

The reduction of postage under the act of March last did not take effect until the commencement of the present fiscal year. The accounts for the first quarter under the operation of the reduced rates will not be settled before January next, and no reliable estimate of the receipts for the present year can yet be made. It is believed, however, that they will fall far short of those of the last year. The surplus of the revenues now on hand is, however, so large that no further appropriation from the Treasury in aid of the revenues of the Department is required for the current fiscal year, but an additional appropriation for the year ending June 30, 1853, will probably be found necessary when the receipts of the first two quarters of the fiscal year are fully ascertained.

In his last annual report the Postmaster-General recommended a reduction of postage to rates which he deemed as low as could be prudently adopted unless Congress was prepared to appropriate from the Treasury for the support of the Department a sum more than equivalent to the mail services performed by it for the Government. The recommendations of the Postmaster-General in respect to letter postage, except on letters from and to California and Oregon, were substantially adopted by the last Congress. He now recommends adherence to the present letter rates and advises against a further reduction until justified by the revenue of the Department.

He also recommends that the rates of postage on printed matter be so revised as to render them more simple and more uniform in their operation upon all classes of printed matter. I submit the recommendations of the report to your favorable consideration.

The public statutes of the United States have now been accumulating for more than sixty years, and, interspersed with private acts, are scattered through numerous volumes, and, from the cost of the whole, have become almost inaccessible to the great mass of the community. They also exhibit much of the incongruity and imperfection of hasty legislation. As it seems to be generally conceded that there is no "common law" of the United States to supply the defects of their legislation, it is most important that that legislation should be as perfect as possible, defining every power intended to be conferred, every crime intended to be made punishable, and prescribing the punishment to be inflicted. In addition to some particular cases spoken of more at length, the whole criminal code is now lamentably defective. Some offenses are imperfectly described and others are entirely omitted, so that flagrant crimes may be committed with impunity. The scale of punishment is not in all cases graduated according to the degree and nature of the offense, and is often rendered more unequal by the different modes of imprisonment or penitentiary confinement in the different States.

Many laws of a permanent character have been introduced into appropriation bills, and it is often difficult to determine whether the particular clause expires with the temporary act of which it is a part or continues in force. It has also frequently happened that enactments and provisions of law have been introduced into bills with the title or general subject of which they have little or no connection or relation. In this mode of legislation so many enactments have been heaped upon each other, and often with but little consideration, that in many instances it is difficult to search out and determine what is the law.

The Government of the United States is emphatically a government of written laws. The statutes should therefore, as far as practicable, not only be made accessible to all, but be expressed in language so plain and simple as to be understood by all and arranged in such method as to give perspicuity to every subject. Many of the States have revised their public acts with great and manifest benefit, and I recommend that provision be made by law for the appointment of a commission to revise the public statutes of the United States, arranging them in order, supplying deficiencies, correcting incongruities, simplifying their language, and reporting them to Congress for its action.

An act of Congress approved 30th September, 1850, contained a provision for the extension of the Capitol according to such plan as might be approved by the President, and appropriated $100,000 to be expended under his direction by such architect as he should appoint to execute the same. On examining the various plans which had been submitted by different architects in pursuance of an advertisement by a committee of the Senate no one was found to be entirely satisfactory, and it was therefore deemed advisable to combine and adopt the advantages of several.

The great object to be accomplished was to make such an addition as would afford ample and convenient halls for the deliberations of the two Houses of Congress, with sufficient accommodations for spectators and suitable apartments for the committees and officers of the two branches of the Legislature. It was also desirable not to mar the harmony and beauty of the present structure, which, as a specimen of architecture, is so universally admired. Keeping these objects in view, I concluded to make the addition by wings, detached from the present building, yet connected with it by corridors. This mode of enlargement will leave the present Capitol uninjured and afford great advantages for ventilation and the admission of light, and will enable the work to progress without interrupting the deliberations of Congress. To carry this plan into effect I have appointed an experienced and competent architect. The corner stone was laid on the 4th day of July last with suitable ceremonies, since which time the work has advanced with commendable rapidity, and the foundations of both wings are now nearly complete.

I again commend to your favorable regard the interests of the District of Columbia, and deem it only necessary to remind you that although its inhabitants have no voice in the choice of Representatives in Congress, they are not the less entitled to a just and liberal consideration in your legislation. My opinions on this subject were more fully expressed in my last annual communication.

Other subjects were brought to the attention of Congress in my last annual message, to which I would respectfully refer. But there was one of more than ordinary interest, to which I again invite your special attention. I allude to the recommendation for the appointment of a commission to settle private claims against the United States. Justice to individuals, as well as to the Government, imperatively demands that some more convenient and expeditious mode than an appeal to Congress should be adopted.

It is deeply to be regretted that in several instances officers of the Government, in attempting to execute the law for the return of fugitives from labor, have been openly resisted and their efforts frustrated and defeated by lawless and violent mobs; that in one case such resistance resulted in the death of an estimable citizen, and in others serious injury ensued to those officers and to individuals who were using their endeavors to sustain the laws. Prosecutions have been instituted against the alleged offenders so far as they could be identified, and are still pending. I have regarded it as my duty in these cases to give all aid legally in my power to the enforcement of the laws, and I shall continue to do so wherever and whenever their execution may be resisted.

The act of Congress for the return of fugitives from labor is one required and demanded by the express words of the Constitution. The Constitution declares that--No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due. This constitutional provision is equally obligatory upon the legislative, the executive, and judicial departments of the Government, and upon every citizen of the United States.

Congress, however, must from necessity first act upon the subject by prescribing the proceedings necessary to ascertain that the person is a fugitive and the means to be used for his restoration to the claimant. This was done by an act passed during the first term of President Washington, which was amended by that enacted by the last Congress, and it now remains for the executive and judicial departments to take care that these laws be faithfully executed. This injunction of the Constitution is as peremptory and as binding as any other; it stands exactly on the same foundation as that clause which provides for the return of fugitives from justice, or that which declares that no bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed, or that which provides for an equality of taxation according to the census, or the clause declaring that all duties shall be uniform throughout the United States, or the important provision that the trial of all crimes shall be by jury. These several articles and clauses of the Constitution, all resting on the same authority, must stand or fall together. Some objections have been urged against the details of the act for the return of fugitives from labor, but it is worthy of remark that the main opposition is aimed against the Constitution itself, and proceeds from persons and classes of persons many of whom declare their wish to see that Constitution overturned. They avow their hostility to any law which shall give full and practical effect to this requirement of the Constitution. Fortunately, the number of these persons is comparatively small, and is believed to be daily diminishing; but the issue which they present is one which involves the supremacy and even the existence of the Constitution.

Cases have heretofore arisen in which individuals have denied the binding authority of acts of Congress, and even States have proposed to nullify such acts upon the ground that the Constitution was the supreme law of the land, and that those acts of Congress were repugnant to that instrument; but nullification is now aimed not so much against particular laws as being inconsistent with the Constitution as against the Constitution itself, and it is not to be disguised that a spirit exists, and has been actively at work, to rend asunder this Union, which is our cherished inheritance from our Revolutionary fathers.

In my last annual message I stated that I considered the series of measures which had been adopted at the previous session in reference to the agitation growing out of the Territorial and slavery questions as a final settlement in principle and substance of the dangerous and exciting subjects which they embraced, and I recommended adherence to the adjustment established by those measures until time and experience should demonstrate the necessity of further legislation to guard against evasion or abuse. I was not induced to make this recommendation because I thought those measures perfect, for no human legislation can be perfect. Wide differences and jarring opinions can only be reconciled by yielding something on all sides, and this result had been reached after an angry conflict of many months, in which one part of the country was arrayed against another, and violent convulsion seemed to be imminent. Looking at the interests of the whole country, I felt it to be my duty to seize upon this compromise as the best that could be obtained amid conflicting interests and to insist upon it as a final settlement, to be adhered to by all who value the peace and welfare of the country. A year has now elapsed since that recommendation was made. To that recommendation I still adhere, and I congratulate you and the country upon the general acquiescence in these measures of peace which has been exhibited in all parts of the Republic. And not only is there this general acquiescence in these measures, but the spirit of conciliation which has been manifested in regard to them in all parts of the country has removed doubts and uncertainties in the minds of thousands of good men concerning the durability of our popular institutions and given renewed assurance that our liberty and our Union may subsist together for the benefit of this and all succeeding generations.


State of the Union Address
Millard Fillmore
December 6, 1852

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

The brief space which has elapsed since the close of your last session has been marked by no extraordinary political event. The quadrennial election of Chief Magistrate has passed off with less than the usual excitement. However individuals and parties may have been disappointed in the result, it is, nevertheless, a subject of national congratulation that the choice has been effected by the independent suffrages of a free people, undisturbed by those influences which in other countries have too often affected the purity of popular elections.

Our grateful thanks are due to an all-merciful Providence, not only for staying the pestilence which in different forms has desolated some of our cities, but for crowning the labors of the husbandman with an abundant harvest and the nation generally with the blessings of peace and prosperity.

Within a few weeks the public mind has been deeply affected by the death of Daniel Webster, filling at his decease the office of Secretary of State. His associates in the executive government have sincerely sympathized with his family and the public generally on this mournful occasion. His commanding talents, his great political and professional eminence, his well-tried patriotism, and his long and faithful services in the most important public trusts have caused his death to be lamented throughout the country and have earned for him a lasting place in our history. In the course of the last summer considerable anxiety was caused for a short time by an official intimation from the Government of Great Britain that orders had been given for the protection of the fisheries upon the coasts of the British provinces in North America against the alleged encroachments of the fishing vessels of the United States and France. The shortness of this notice and the season of the year seemed to make it a matter of urgent importance. It was at first apprehended that an increased naval force had been ordered to the fishing grounds to carry into effect the British interpretation of those provisions in the convention of 1818 in reference to the true intent of which the two Governments differ. It was soon discovered that such was not the design of Great Britain, and satisfactory explanations of the real objects of the measure have been given both here and in London.

The unadjusted difference, however, between the two Governments as to the interpretation of the first article of the convention of 1818 is still a matter of importance. American fishing vessels, within nine or ten years, have been excluded from waters to which they had free access for twenty-five years after the negotiation of the treaty. In 1845 this exclusion was relaxed so far as concerns the Bay of Fundy, but the just and liberal intention of the home Government, in compliance with what we think the true construction of the convention, to open all the other outer bays to our fishermen was abandoned in consequence of the opposition of the colonies. Notwithstanding this, the United States have, since the Bay of Fundy was reopened to our fishermen in 1845, pursued the most liberal course toward the colonial fishing interests. By the revenue law of 1846 the duties on colonial fish entering our ports were very greatly reduced, and by the warehousing act it is allowed to be entered in bond without payment of duty. In this way colonial fish has acquired the monopoly of the export trade in our market and is entering to some extent into the home consumption. These facts were among those which increased the sensibility of our fishing interest at the movement in question. These circumstances and the incidents above alluded to have led me to think the moment favorable for a reconsideration of the entire subject of the fisheries on the coasts of the British Provinces, with a view to place them upon a more liberal footing of reciprocal privilege. A willingness to meet us in some arrangement of this kind is understood to exist on the part of Great Britain, with a desire on her part to include in one comprehensive settlement as well this subject as the commercial intercourse between the United States and the British Provinces. I have thought that, whatever arrangements may be made on these two subjects, it is expedient that they should be embraced in separate conventions. The illness and death of the late Secretary of State prevented the commencement of the contemplated negotiation. Pains have been taken to collect the information required for the details of such an arrangement. The subject is attended with considerable difficulty. If it is found practicable to come to an agreement mutually acceptable to the two parties, conventions may be concluded in the course of the present winter. The control of Congress over all the provisions of such an arrangement affecting the revenue will of course be reserved.

The affairs of Cuba formed a prominent topic in my last annual message. They remain in an uneasy condition, and a feeling of alarm and irritation on the part of the Cuban authorities appears to exist. This feeling has interfered with the regular commercial intercourse between the United States and the island and led to some acts of which we have a fight to complain. But the Captain-General of Cuba is clothed with no power to treat with foreign governments, nor is he in any degree under the control of the Spanish minister at Washington. Any communication which he may hold with an agent of a foreign power is informal and matter of courtesy. Anxious to put an end to the existing inconveniences (which seemed to rest on a misconception), I directed the newly appointed minister to Mexico to visit Havana on his way to Vera Cruz. He was respectfully received by the Captain-General, who conferred with him freely on the recent occurrences, but no permanent arrangement was effected.

In the meantime the refusal of the Captain-Generalto allow passengers and the mail to be landed in certain cases, for a reason which does not furnish, in the opinion of this Government, even a good presumptive ground for such prohibition, has been made the subject of a serious remonstrance at Madrid, and I have no reason to doubt that due respect will be paid by the Government of Her Catholic Majesty to the representations which our minister has been instructed to make on the subject.

It is but justice to the Captain-General to add that his conduct toward the steamers employed to carry the mails of the United States to Havana has, with the exceptions above alluded to, been marked with kindness and liberality, and indicates no general purpose of interfering with the commercial correspondence and intercourse between the island and this country.

Early in the present year official notes were received from the ministers of France and England inviting the Government of the United States to become a party with Great Britain and France to a tripartite convention, in virtue of which the three powers should severally and collectively disclaim now and for the future all intention to obtain possession of the island of Cuba, and should bind themselves to discountenance all attempts to that effect on the part of any power or individual whatever. This invitation has been respectfully declined, for reasons which it would occupy too much space in this communication to state in detail, but which led me to think that the proposed measure would be of doubtful constitutionality, impolitic, and unavailing. I have, however, in common with several of my predecessors, directed the ministers of France and England to be assured that the United States entertain no designs against Cuba, but that, on the contrary, I should regard its incorporation into the Union at the present time as fraught with serious peril.

Were this island comparatively destitute of inhabitants or occupied by a kindred race, I should regard it, if voluntarily ceded by Spain, as a most desirable acquisition. But under existing circumstances I should look upon its incorporation into our Union as a very hazardous measure. It would bring into the Confederacy a population of a different national stock, speaking a different language, and not likely to harmonize with the other members. It would probably affect in a prejudicial manner the industrial interests of the South, and it might revive those conflicts of opinion between the different sections of the country which lately shook the Union to its center, and which have been so happily compromised.

The rejection by the Mexican Congress of the convention which had been concluded between that Republic and the United States for the protection of a transit way across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and of the interests of those citizens of the United States who had become proprietors of the rights which Mexico had conferred on one of her own citizens in regard to that transit has thrown a serious obstacle in the way of the attainment of a very desirable national object. I am still willing to hope that the differences on the subject which exist, or may hereafter arise, between the Governments will be amicably adjusted. This subject, however, has already engaged the attention of the Senate of the United States, and requires no further comment in this communication.

The settlement of the question respecting the port of San Juan de Nicaragua and of the controversy between the Republics of Costa Rica and Nicaragua in regard to their boundaries was considered indispensable to the commencement of the ship canal between the two oceans, which was the subject of the convention between the United States and Great Britain of the 19th of April, 1850. Accordingly, a proposition for the same purposes, addressed to the two Governments in that quarter and to the Mosquito Indians, was agreed to in April last by the Secretary of State and the minister of Her Britannic Majesty. Besides the wish to aid in reconciling the differences of the two Republics, I engaged in the negotiation from a desire to place the great work of a ship canal between the two oceans under one jurisdiction and to establish the important port of San Juan de Nicaragua under the government of a civilized power. The proposition in question was assented to by Costs Rica and the Mosquito Indians. It has not proved equally acceptable to Nicaragua, but it is to be hoped that the further negotiations on the subject which are in train will be carried on in that spirit of conciliation and compromise which ought always to prevail on such occasions, and that they will lead to a satisfactory result.

I have the satisfaction to inform you that the executive government of Venezuela has acknowledged some claims of citizens of the United States which have for many years past been urged by our charge d'affaires at Caracas. It is hoped that the same sense of justice will actuate the Congress of that Republic in providing the means for their payment.

The recent revolution in Buenos Ayres and the Confederated States having opened the prospect of an improved state of things in that quarter, the Governments of Great Britain and France determined to negotiate with the chief of the new confederacy for the free access of their commerce to the extensive countries watered by the tributaries of the La Plata; and they gave a friendly notice of this purpose to the United States, that we might, if we thought proper, pursue the same course. In compliance with this invitation, our minister at Rio Janeiro and our charge d'affaires at Buenos Ayres have been fully authorized to conclude treaties with the newly organized confederation or the States composing it. The delays which have taken place in the formation of the new government have as yet prevented the execution of those instructions, but there is every reason to hope that these vast countries will be eventually opened to our commerce.

A treaty of commerce has been concluded between the United States and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, which will be laid before the Senate. Should this convention go into operation, it will open to the commercial enterprise of our citizens a country of great extent and unsurpassed in natural resources, but from which foreign nations have hitherto been almost wholly excluded.

The correspondence of the late Secretary of State with the Peruvian charge d'affaires relative to the Lobos Islands was communicated to Congress toward the close of the last session. Since that time, on further investigation of the subject, the doubts which had been entertained of the title of Peru to those islands have been removed, and I have deemed it just that the temporary wrong which had been unintentionally done her from want of information should be repaired by an unreserved acknowledgment of her sovereignty.

I have the satisfaction to inform you that the course pursued by Peru has been creditable to the liberality of her Government. Before it was known by her that her title would be acknowledged at Washington, her minister of foreign affairs had authorized our charge d'affaires at Lima to announce to the American vessels which had gone to the Lobos for guano that the Peruvian Government was willing to freight them on its own account. This intention has been carried into effect by the Peruvian minister here by an arrangement which is believed to be advantageous to the parties in interest.

Our settlements on the shores of the Pacific have already given a great extension, and in some respects a new direction, to our commerce in that ocean. A direct and rapidly increasing intercourse has sprung up with eastern Asia. The waters of the Northern Pacific, even into the Arctic Sea, have of late years been frequented by our whalemen. The application of steam to the general purposes of navigation is becoming daily more common, and makes it desirable to obtain fuel and other necessary supplies at convenient points on the route between Asia and our Pacific shores. Our unfortunate countrymen who from time to time suffer shipwreck on the coasts of the eastern seas are entitled to protection. Besides these specific objects, the general prosperity of our States on the Pacific requires that an attempt should be made to open the opposite regions of Asia to a mutually beneficial intercourse. It is obvious that this attempt could be made by no power to so great advantage as by the United States, whose constitutional system excludes every idea of distant colonial dependencies. I have accordingly been led to order an appropriate naval force to Japan, under the command of a discreet and intelligent officer of the highest rank known to our service. He is instructed to endeavor to obtain from the Government of that country some relaxation of the inhospitable and antisocial system which it has pursued for about two centuries. He has been directed particularly to remonstrate in the strongest language against the cruel treatment to which our shipwrecked mariners have often been subjected and to insist that they shall be treated with humanity. He is instructed, however, at the same time, to give that Government the amplest assurances that the objects of the United States are such, and such only, as I have indicated, and that the expedition is friendly and peaceful. Notwithstanding the jealousy with which the Governments of eastern Asia regard all overtures from foreigners, I am not without hopes of a beneficial result of the expedition. Should it be crowned with success, the advantages will not be confined to the United States, but, as in the case of China, will be equally enjoyed by all the other maritime powers. I have much satisfaction in stating that in all the steps preparatory to this expedition the Government of the United States has been materially aided by the good offices of the King of the Netherlands, the only European power having any commercial relations with Japan.

In passing from this survey of our foreign relations, I invite the attention of Congress to the condition of that Department of the Government to which this branch of the public business is intrusted. Our intercourse with foreign powers has of late years greatly increased, both in consequence of our own growth and the introduction of many new states into the family of nations. In this way the Department of State has become overburdened. It has by the recent establishment of the Department of the Interior been relieved of some portion of the domestic business. If the residue of the business of that kind--such as the distribution of Congressional documents, the keeping, publishing, and distribution of the laws of the United States, the execution of the copyright law, the subject of reprieves and pardons, and some other subjects relating to interior administration--should be transferred from the Department of State, it would unquestionably be for the benefit of the public service. I would also suggest that the building appropriated to the State Department is not fireproof; that there is reason to think there are defects in its construction, and that the archives of the Government in charge of the Department, with the precious collections of the manuscript papers of Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and Monroe, are exposed to destruction by fire. A similar remark may be made of the buildings appropriated to the War and Navy Departments.

The condition of the Treasury is exhibited in the annual report from that Department.

The cash receipts into the Treasury for the fiscal year ending the 30th June last, exclusive of trust funds, were $49,728,386.89, and the expenditures for the same period, likewise exclusive of trust funds, were $46,007,896.20, of which $9,455,815.83 was on account of the principal and interest of the public debt, including the last installment of the indemnity to Mexico under the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, leaving a balance of $14,632,136.37 in the Treasury on the 1st day of July last. Since this latter period further purchases of the principal of the public debt have been made to the extent of $2,456,547.49, and the surplus in the Treasury will continue to be applied to that object whenever the stock can be procured within the limits as to price authorized by law.

The value of foreign merchandise imported during the last fiscal year was $207,240,101, and the value of domestic productions exported was $149,861,911, besides $17,204,026 of foreign merchandise exported, making the aggregate of the entire exports $167,065,937. Exclusive of the above, there was exported $42,507,285 in specie, and imported from foreign ports $5,262,643.

In my first annual message to Congress I called your attention to what seemed to me some defects in the present tariff, and recommended such modifications as in my judgment were best adapted to remedy its evils and promote the prosperity of the country. Nothing has since occurred to change my views on this important question.

Without repeating the arguments contained in my former message in favor of discriminating protective duties, I deem it my duty to call your attention to one or two other considerations affecting this subject. The first is the effect of large importations of foreign goods upon our currency. Most of the gold of California, as fast as it is coined, finds its way directly to Europe in payment for goods purchased. In the second place, as our manufacturing establishments are broken down by competition with foreigners, the capital invested in them is lost, thousands of honest and industrious citizens are thrown out of employment, and the farmer, to that extent, is deprived of a home market for the sale of his surplus produce. In the third place, the destruction of our manufactures leaves the foreigner without competition in our market, and he consequently raises the price of the article sent here for sale, as is now seen in the increased cost of iron imported from England. The prosperity and wealth of every nation must depend upon its productive industry. The farmer is stimulated to exertion by finding a ready market for his surplus products, and benefited by being able to exchange them without loss of time or expense of transportation for the manufactures which his comfort or convenience requires. This is always done to the best advantage where a portion of the community in which he lives is engaged in other pursuits. But most manufactures require an amount of capital and a practical skill which can not be commanded unless they be protected for a time from ruinous competition from abroad. Hence the necessity of laying those duties upon imported goods which the Constitution authorizes for revenue in such a manner as to protect and encourage the labor of our own citizens. Duties, however, should not be fixed at a rate so high as to exclude the foreign article, but should be so graduated as to enable the domestic manufacturer fairly to compete with the foreigner in our own markets, and by this competition to reduce the price of the manufactured article to the consumer to the lowest rate at which it can be produced. This policy would place the mechanic by the side of the farmer, create a mutual interchange of their respective commodities, and thus stimulate the industry of the whole country and render us independent of foreign nations for the supplies required by the habits or necessities of the people.

Another question, wholly independent of protection, presents itself, and that is, whether the duties levied should be upon the value of the article at the place of shipment, or, where it is practicable, a specific duty, graduated according to quantity, as ascertained by weight or measure. All our duties are at present ad valorem. A certain percentage is levied on the price of the goods at the port of shipment in a foreign country. Most commercial nations have found it indispensable, for the purpose of preventing fraud and perjury, to make the duties specific whenever the article is of such a uniform value in weight or measure as to justify such a duty. Legislation should never encourage dishonesty or crime. It is impossible that the revenue officers at the port where the goods are entered and the duties paid should know with certainty what they cost in the foreign country. Yet the law requires that they should levy the duty according to such cost. They are therefore compelled to resort to very unsatisfactory evidence to ascertain what that cost was. They take the invoice of the importer, attested by his oath, as the best evidence of which the nature of the case admits. But everyone must see that the invoice may be fabricated and the oath by which it is supported false, by reason of which the dishonest importer pays a part only of the duties which are paid by the honest one, and thus indirectly receives from the Treasury of the United States a reward for his fraud and perjury. The reports of the Secretary of the Treasury heretofore made on this subject show conclusively that these frauds have been practiced to a great extent. The tendency is to destroy that high moral character for which our merchants have long been distinguished, to defraud the Government of its revenue, to break down the honest importer by a dishonest competition, and, finally, to transfer the business of importation to foreign and irresponsible agents, to the great detriment of our own citizens. I therefore again most earnestly recommend the adoption of specific duties wherever it is practicable, or a home valuation, to prevent these frauds.

I would also again call your attention to the fact that the present tariff in some cases imposes a higher duty upon the raw material imported than upon the article manufactured from it, the consequence of which is that the duty operates to the encouragement of the foreigner and the discouragement of our own citizens.

For full and detailed information in regard to the general condition of our Indian affairs, I respectfully refer you to the report of the Secretary of the Interior and the accompanying documents.

The Senate not having thought proper to ratify the treaties which have been negotiated with the tribes of Indians in California and Oregon, our relations with them have been left in a very unsatisfactory condition.

In other parts of our territory particular districts of country have been set apart for the exclusive occupation of the Indians, and their right to the lands within those limits has been acknowledged and respected. But in California and Oregon there has been no recognition by the Government of the exclusive right of the Indians to any part of the country. They are therefore mere tenants at sufferance, and liable to be driven from place to place at the pleasure of the whites.

The treaties which have been rejected proposed to remedy this evil by allotting to the different tribes districts of country suitable to their habits of life and sufficient for their support. This provision, more than any other, it is believed, led to their rejection; and as no substitute for it has been adopted by Congress, it has not been deemed advisable to attempt to enter into new treaties of a permanent character, although no effort has been spared by temporary arrangements to preserve friendly relations with them.

If it be the desire of Congress to remove them from the country altogether, or to assign to them particular districts more remote from the settlements of the whites, it will be proper to set apart by law the territory which they are to occupy and to provide the means necessary for removing them to it. Justice alike to our own citizens and to the Indians requires the prompt action of Congress on this subject. The amendments proposed by the Senate to the treaties which were negotiated with the Sioux Indians of Minnesota have been submitted to the tribes who were parties to them, and have received their assent. A large tract of valuable territory has thus been opened for settlement and cultivation, and all danger of collision with these powerful and warlike bands has been happily removed.

The removal of the remnant of the tribe of Seminole Indians from Florida has long been a cherished object of the Government, and it is one to which my attention has been steadily directed. Admonished by past experience of the difficulty and cost of the attempt to remove them by military force, resort has been had to conciliatory measures. By the invitation of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, several of the principal chiefs recently visited Washington, and whilst here acknowledged in writing the obligation of their tribe to remove with the least possible delay. Late advices from the special agent of the Government represent that they adhere to their promise, and that a council of their people has been called to make their preliminary arrangements. A general emigration may therefore be confidently expected at an early day.

The report from the General Land Office shows increased activity in its operations. The survey of the northern boundary of Iowa has been completed with unexampled dispatch. Within the last year 9,522,953 acres of public land have been surveyed and 8,032,463 acres brought into market.

Acres In the last fiscal year there were sold 1,553,071 Located with bounty-land warrants 3,201,314 Located with other certificates 115,682 Making a total of 4,870,067

In addition there were--Reported under swamp-land grants 5,219,188 For internal improvements, railroads, etc 3,025,920 Making an aggregate of 13,115,175 Being an increase of the amount sold and located under land warrants of 569,220 acres over the previous year. The whole amount thus sold, located under land warrants, reported under swamp-land grants, and selected for internal improvements exceeds that of the previous year by 3,342,372 acres; and the sales would without doubt have been much larger but for the extensive reservations for railroads in Missouri, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Acres For the quarter ending 30th September, 1852, there were sold 243,255 Located with bounty-land warrants 1,387,116 Located with other certificates 15,649 Reported under swamp-land grants 2,485,233 Making an aggregate for the quarter of 4,131,253

Much the larger portion of the labor of arranging and classifying the returns of the last census has been finished, and it will now devolve upon Congress to make the necessary provision for the publication of the results in such form as shall be deemed best. The apportionment of representation on the basis of the new census has been made by the Secretary of the Interior in conformity with the provisions of law relating to that subject, and the recent elections have been made in accordance with it.

I commend to your favorable regard the suggestion contained in the report of the Secretary of the Interior that provision be made by law for the publication and distribution, periodically, of an analytical digest of all the patents which have been or may hereafter be granted for useful inventions and discoveries, with such descriptions and illustrations as may be necessary to present an intelligible view of their nature and operation. The cost of such publication could easily be defrayed out of the patent fund, and I am persuaded that it could be applied to no object more acceptable to inventors and beneficial to the public at large.

An appropriation of $100,000 having been made at the last session for the purchase of a suitable site and for the erection, furnishing, and fitting up of an asylum for the insane of the District of Columbia and of the Army and Navy of the United States, the proper measures have been adopted to carry this beneficent purpose into effect.

By the latest advices from the Mexican boundary commission it appears that the survey of the river Gila from its continence with the Colorado to its supposed intersection with the western line of New Mexico has been completed. The survey of the Rio Grande has also been finished from the point agreed on by the commissioners as "the point where it strikes the southern boundary of New Mexico" to a point 135 miles below Eagle Pass, which is about two-thirds of the distance along the course of the river to its mouth.

The appropriation which was made at the last session of Congress for the continuation of the survey is subject to the following proviso: Provided, That no part of this appropriation shall be used or expended until it shall be made satisfactorily to appear to the President of the United States that the southern boundary of New Mexico is not established by the commissioner and surveyor of the United States farther north of the town called "Paso" than the same is laid down in Disturnell's map, which is added to the treaty.

My attention was drawn to this subject by a report from the Department of the Interior, which reviewed all the facts of the case and submitted for my decision the question whether under existing circumstances any part of the appropriation could be lawfully used or expended for the further prosecution of the work. After a careful consideration of the subject I came to the conclusion that it could not, and so informed the head of that Department. Orders were immediately issued by him to the commissioner and surveyor to make no further requisitions on the Department, as they could not be paid, and to discontinue all operations on the southern line of New Mexico. But as the Department had no exact information as to the amount of provisions and money which remained unexpended in the hands of the commissioner and surveyor, it was left discretionary with them to continue the survey down the Rio Grande as far as the means at their disposal would enable them or at once to disband the commission. A special messenger has since arrived from the officer in charge of the survey on the river with information that the funds subject to his control were exhausted and that the officers and others employed in the service were destitute alike of the means of prosecuting the work and of returning to their homes.

The object of the proviso was doubtless to arrest the survey of the southern and western lines of New Mexico, in regard to which different opinions have been expressed; for it is hardly to be supposed that there could be any objection to that part of the line which extends along the channel of the Rio Grande. But the terms of the law are so broad as to forbid the use of any part of the money for the prosecution of the work, or even for the payment to the officers and agents of the arrearages of pay which are justly due to them.

I earnestly invite your prompt attention to this subject, and recommend a modification of the terms of the proviso, so as to enable the Department to use as much of the appropriation as will be necessary to discharge the existing obligations of the Government and to complete the survey of the Rio Grande to its mouth.

It will also be proper to make further provision by law for the fulfillment of our treaty with Mexico for running and marking the residue of the boundary line between the two countries.

Permit me to invite your particular attention to the interests of the District of Columbia, which are confided by the Constitution to your peculiar care.

Among the measures which seem to me of the greatest importance to its prosperity are the introduction of a copious supply of water into the city of Washington and the construction of suitable bridges across the Potomac to replace those which were destroyed by high water in the early part of the present year.

At the last session of Congress an appropriation was made to defray the cost of the surveys necessary for determining the best means of affording an unfailing supply of good and wholesome water. Some progress has been made in the survey, and as soon as it is completed the result will be laid before you.

Further appropriations will also be necessary for grading and paving the streets and avenues and inclosing and embellishing the public grounds within the city of Washington.

I commend all these objects, together with the charitable institutions of the District, to your favorable regard. Every effort has been made to protect our frontier and that of the adjoining Mexican States from the incursions of the Indian tribes. Of about 11,000 men of which the Army is composed, nearly 8,000 are employed in the defense of the newly acquired territory (including Texas) and of emigrants proceeding thereto. I am gratified to say that these efforts have been unusually successful. With the exception of some partial outbreaks in California and Oregon and occasional depredations on a portion of the Rio Grande, owing, it is believed, to the disturbed state of that border region, the inroads of the Indians have been effectually restrained.

Experience has shown, however, that whenever the two races are brought into contact collisions will inevitably occur. To prevent these collisions the United States have generally set apart portions of their territory for the exclusive occupation of the Indian tribes. A difficulty occurs, however, in the application of this policy to Texas. By the terms of the compact by which that State was admitted into the Union she retained the ownership of all the vacant lands within her limits. The government of that State, it is understood, has assigned no portion of her territory to the Indians, but as fast as her settlements advance lays it off into counties and proceeds to survey and sell it. This policy manifestly tends not only to alarm and irritate the Indians, but to compel them to resort to plunder for subsistence. It also deprives this Government of that influence and control over them without which no durable peace can ever exist between them and the whites. I trust, therefore, that a due regard for her own interests, apart from considerations of humanity and justice, will induce that State to assign a small portion of her vast domain for the provisional occupancy of the small remnants of tribes within her borders, subject, of course, to her ownership and eventual jurisdiction. If she should fail to do this, the fulfillment of our treaty stipulations with Mexico and our duty to the Indians themselves will, it is feared, become a subject of serious embarrassment to the Government. It is hoped, however, that a timely and just provision by Texas may avert this evil.

No appropriations for fortifications were made at the two last sessions of Congress. The cause of this omission is probably to be found in a growing belief that the system of fortifications adopted in 1816, and heretofore acted on, requires revision.

The subject certainly deserves full and careful investigation, but it should not be delayed longer than can be avoided. In the meantime there are certain works which have been commenced, some of them nearly completed, designed to protect our principal seaports from Boston to New Orleans and a few other important points. In regard to the necessity for these works, it is believed that little difference of opinion exists among military men. I therefore recommend that the appropriations necessary to prosecute them be made.

I invite your attention to the remarks on this subject and on others connected with his Department contained in the accompanying report of the Secretary of War.

Measures have been taken to carry into effect the law of the last session making provision for the improvement of certain rivers and harbors, and it is believed that the arrangements made for that purpose will combine efficiency with economy. Owing chiefly to the advanced season when the act was passed, little has yet been done in regard to many of the works beyond making the necessary preparations. With respect to a few of the improvements, the sums already appropriated will suffice to complete them; but most of them will require additional appropriations. I trust that these appropriations will be made, and that this wise and beneficent policy, so auspiciously resumed, will be continued. Great care should be taken, however, to commence no work which is not of sufficient importance to the commerce of the country to be viewed as national in its character. But works which have been commenced should not be discontinued until completed, as otherwise the sums expended will in most cases be lost.

The report from the Navy Department will inform you of the prosperous condition of the branch of the public service committed to its charge. It presents to your consideration many topics and suggestions of which I ask your approval. It exhibits an unusual degree of activity in the operations of the Department during the past year. The preparations for the Japan expedition, to which I have already alluded; the arrangements made for the exploration and survey of the China Seas, the Northern Pacific, and Behrings Straits; the incipient measures taken toward a reconnoissance of the continent of Africa eastward of Liberia; the preparation for an early examination of the tributaries of the river La Plata, which a recent decree of the provisional chief of the Argentine Confederation has opened to navigation--all these enterprises and the means by which they are proposed to be accomplished have commanded my full approbation, and I have no doubt will be productive of most useful results.

Two officers of the Navy were heretofore instructed to explore the whole extent of the Amazon River from the confines of Peru to its mouth. The return of one of them has placed in the possession of the Government an interesting and valuable account of the character and resources of a country abounding in the materials of commerce, and which if opened to the industry of the world will prove an inexhaustible fund of wealth. The report of this exploration will be communicated to you as soon as it is completed.

Among other subjects offered to your notice by the Secretary of the Navy, I select for special commendation, in view of its connection with the interests of the Navy, the plan submitted by him for the establishment of a permanent corps of seamen and the suggestions he has presented for the reorganization of the Naval Academy.

In reference to the first of these, I take occasion to say that I think it will greatly improve the efficiency of the service, and that I regard it as still more entitled to favor for the salutary influence it must exert upon the naval discipline, now greatly disturbed by the increasing spirit of insubordination resulting from our present system. The plan proposed for the organization of the seamen furnishes a judicious substitute for the law of September, 1850, abolishing corporal punishment, and satisfactorily sustains the policy of that act under conditions well adapted to maintain the authority of command and the order and security of our ships. It is believed that any change which proposes permanently to dispense with this mode of punishment should be preceded by a system of enlistment which shall supply the Navy with seamen of the most meritorious class, whose good deportment and pride of character may preclude all occasion for a resort to penalties of a harsh or degrading nature. The safety of a ship and her crew is often dependent upon immediate obedience to a command, and the authority to enforce it must be equally ready. The arrest of a refractory seaman in such moments not only deprives the ship of indispensable aid, but imposes a necessity for double service on others, whose fidelity to their duties may be relied upon in such an emergency. The exposure to this increased and arduous labor since the passage of the act of 1850 has already had, to a most observable and injurious extent, the effect of preventing the enlistment of the best seamen in the Navy. The plan now suggested is designed to promote a condition of service in which this objection will no longer exist. The details of this plan may be established in great part, if not altogether, by the Executive under the authority of existing laws, but I have thought it proper, in accordance with the suggestion of the Secretary of the Navy, to submit it to your approval.

The establishment of a corps of apprentices for the Navy, or boys to be enlisted until they become of age, and to be employed under such regulations as the Navy Department may devise, as proposed in the report, I cordially approve and commend to your consideration; and I also concur in the suggestion that this system for the early training of seamen may be most usefully ingrafted upon the service of our merchant marine. The other proposition of the report to which I have referred--the reorganization of the Naval Academy--I recommend to your attention as a project worthy of your encouragement and support. The valuable services already rendered by this institution entitle it to the continuance of your fostering care.

Your attention is respectfully called to the report of the Postmaster General for the detailed operation of his Department during the last fiscal year, from which it will be seen that the receipts from postages for that time were less by $1,431,696 than for the preceding fiscal year, being a decrease of about 23 per cent.

This diminution is attributable to the reduction in the rates of postage made by the act of March 3, 1851, which reduction took effect at the commencement of the last fiscal year.

Although in its operation during the last year the act referred to has not fulfilled the predictions of its friends by increasing the correspondence of the country in proportion to the reduction of postage, I should, nevertheless, question the policy of returning to higher rates. Experience warrants the expectation that as the community becomes accustomed to cheap postage correspondence will increase. It is believed that from this cause and from the rapid growth of the country in population and business the receipts of the Department must ultimately exceed its expenses, and that the country may safely rely upon the continuance of the present cheap rate of postage.

In former messages I have, among other things, respectfully recommended to the consideration of Congress the propriety and necessity of further legislation for the protection and punishment of foreign consuls residing in the United States; to revive, with certain modifications, the act of 10th March, 1838, to restrain unlawful military expeditions against the inhabitants of conterminous states or territories; for the preservation and protection from mutilation or theft of the papers, records, and archives of the nation; for authorizing the surplus revenue to be applied to the payment of the public debt in advance of the time when it will become due; for the establishment of land offices for the sale of the public lands in California and the Territory of Oregon; for the construction of a road from the Mississippi Valley to the Pacific Ocean; for the establishment of a bureau of agriculture for the promotion of that interest, perhaps the most important in the country; for the prevention of frauds upon the Government in applications for pensions and bounty lands; for the establishment of a uniform fee bill, prescribing a specific compensation for every service required of clerks, district attorneys, and marshals; for authorizing an additional regiment of mounted men for the defense of our frontiers against the Indians and for fulfilling our treaty stipulations with Mexico to defend her citizens against the Indians "with equal diligence and energy as our own;" for determining the relative rank between the naval and civil officers in our public ships and between the officers of the Army and Navy in the various grades of each; for reorganizing the naval establishment by fixing the number of officers in each grade, and providing for a retired list upon reduced pay of those unfit for active duty; for prescribing and regulating punishments in the Navy; for the appointment of a commission to revise the public statutes of the United States by arranging them in order, supplying deficiencies, correcting incongruities, simplifying their language, and reporting them to Congress for its final action; and for the establishment of a commission to adjudicate and settle private claims against the United States. I am not aware, however, that any of these subjects have been finally acted upon by Congress. Without repeating the reasons for legislation on these subjects which have been assigned in former messages, I respectfully recommend them again to your favorable consideration.

I think it due to the several Executive Departments of this Government to bear testimony to the efficiency and integrity with which they are conducted. With all the careful superintendence which it is possible for the heads of those Departments to exercise, still the due administration and guardianship of the public money must very much depend on the vigilance, intelligence, and fidelity of the subordinate officers and clerks, and especially on those intrusted with the settlement and adjustment of claims and accounts. I am gratified to believe that they have generally performed their duties faithfully and well. They are appointed to guard the approaches to the public Treasury, and they occupy positions that expose them to all the temptations and seductions which the cupidity of peculators and fraudulent claimants can prompt them to employ. It will be but a wise precaution to protect the Government against that source of mischief and corruption, as far as it can be done, by the enactment of all proper legal penalties. The laws in this respect are supposed to be defective, and I therefore deem it my duty to call your attention to the subject and to recommend that provision be made by law for the punishment not only of those who shall accept bribes, but also of those who shall either promise, give, or offer to give to any of those officers or clerks a bribe or reward touching or relating to any matter of their official action or duty.

It has been the uniform policy of this Government, from its foundation to the present day, to abstain from all interference in the domestic affairs of other nations. The consequence has been that while the nations of Europe have been engaged in desolating wars our country has pursued its peaceful course to unexampled prosperity and happiness. The wars in which we have been compelled to engage in defense of the rights and honor of the country have been, fortunately, of short duration. During the terrific contest of nation against nation which succeeded the French Revolution we were enabled by the wisdom and firmness of President Washington to maintain our neutrality. While other nations were drawn into this wide-sweeping whirlpool, we sat quiet and unmoved upon our own shores. While the flower of their numerous armies was wasted by disease or perished by hundreds of thousands upon the battlefield, the youth of this favored land were permitted to enjoy the blessings of peace beneath the paternal roof. While the States of Europe incurred enormous debts, under the burden of which their subjects still groan, and which must absorb no small part of the product of the honest industry of those countries for generations to come, the United States have once been enabled to exhibit the proud spectacle of a nation free from public debt, and if permitted to pursue our prosperous way for a few years longer in peace we may do the same again.

But it is now said by some that this policy must be changed. Europe is no longer separated from us by a voyage of months, but steam navigation has brought her within a few days' sail of our shores. We see more of her movements and take a deeper interest in her controversies. Although no one proposes that we should join the fraternity of potentates who have for ages lavished the blood and treasure of their subjects in maintaining "the balance of power," yet it is said that we ought to interfere between contending sovereigns and their subjects for the purpose of overthrowing the monarchies of Europe and establishing in their place republican institutions. It is alleged that we have heretofore pursued a different course from a sense of our weakness, but that now our conscious strength dictates a change of policy, and that it is consequently our duty to mingle in these contests and aid those who are struggling for liberty.

This is a most seductive but dangerous appeal to the generous sympathies of freemen. Enjoying, as we do, the blessings of a free Government, there is no man who has an American heart that would not rejoice to see these blessings extended to all other nations. We can not witness the struggle between the oppressed and his oppressor anywhere without the deepest sympathy for the former and the most anxious desire for his triumph. Nevertheless, is it prudent or is it wise to involve ourselves in these foreign wars? Is it indeed true that we have heretofore refrained from doing so merely from the degrading motive of a conscious weakness? For the honor of the patriots who have gone before us, I can not admit it. Men of the Revolution, who drew the sword against the oppressions of the mother country and pledged to Heaven "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor" to maintain their freedom, could never have been actuated by so unworthy a motive. They knew no weakness or fear where right or duty pointed the way, and it is a libel upon their fair fame for us, while we enjoy the blessings for which they so nobly fought and bled, to insinuate it. The truth is that the course which they pursued was dictated by a stern sense of international justice, by a statesmanlike prudence and a far-seeing wisdom, looking not merely to the present necessities but to the permanent safety and interest of the country. They knew that the world is governed less by sympathy than by reason and force; that it was not possible for this nation to become a "propagandist" of free principles without arraying against it the combined powers of Europe, and that the result was more likely to be the overthrow of republican liberty here than its establishment there. History has been written in vain for those who can doubt this. France had no sooner established a republican form of government than she manifested a desire to force its blessings on all the world. Her own historian informs us that, hearing of some petty acts of tyranny in a neighboring principality, "the National Convention declared that she would afford succor and fraternity to all nations who wished to recover their liberty, and she gave it in charge to the executive power to give orders to the generals of the French armies to aid all citizens who might have been or should be oppressed in the cause of liberty." Here was the false step which led to her subsequent misfortunes. She soon found herself involved in war with all the rest of Europe. In less than ten years her Government was changed from a republic to an empire, and finally, after shedding rivers of blood, foreign powers restored her exiled dynasty and exhausted Europe sought peace and repose in the unquestioned ascendency of monarchical principles. Let us learn wisdom from her example. Let us remember that revolutions do not always establish freedom. Our own free institutions were not the offspring of our Revolution. They existed before. They were planted in the free charters of self-government under which the English colonies grew up, and our Revolution only freed us from the dominion of a foreign power whose government was at variance with those institutions. But European nations have had no such training for self-government, and every effort to establish it by bloody revolutions has been, and must without that preparation continue to be, a failure. Liberty unregulated by law degenerates into anarchy, which soon becomes the most horrid of all despotisms. Our policy is wisely to govern ourselves, and thereby to set such an example of national justice, prosperity, and true glory as shall teach to all nations the blessings of self-government and the unparalleled enterprise and success of a free people.

We live in an age of progress, and ours is emphatically a country of progress. Within the last half century the number of States in this Union has nearly doubled, the population has almost quadrupled, and our boundaries have been extended from the Mississippi to the Pacific. Our territory is checkered over with railroads and furrowed with canals. The inventive talent of our country is excited to the highest pitch, and the numerous applications for patents for valuable improvements distinguish this age and this people from all others. The genius of one American has enabled our commerce to move against wind and tide and that of another has annihilated distance in the transmission of intelligence. The whole country is full of enterprise. Our common schools are diffusing intelligence among the people and our industry is fast accumulating the comforts and luxuries of life. This is in part owing to our peculiar position, to our fertile soil and comparatively sparse population; but much of it is also owing to the popular institutions under which we live, to the freedom which every man feels to engage in any useful pursuit according to his taste or inclination, and to the entire confidence that his person and property will be protected by the laws. But whatever may be the cause of this unparalleled growth in population, intelligence, and wealth, one tiring is clear--that the Government must keep pace with the progress of the people. It must participate in their spirit of enterprise, and while it exacts obedience to the laws and restrains all unauthorized invasions of the rights of neighboring states, it should foster and protect home industry and lend its powerful strength to the improvement of such means of intercommunication as are necessary to promote our internal commerce and strengthen the ties which bind us together as a people.

It is not strange, however much it may be regretted, that such an exuberance of enterprise should cause some individuals to mistake change for progress and the invasion of the rights of others for national prowess and glory. The former are constantly agitating for some change in the organic law, or urging new and untried theories of human rights. The latter are ever ready to engage in any wild crusade against a neighboring people, regardless of the justice of the enterprise and without looking at the fatal consequences to ourselves and to the cause of popular government. Such expeditions, however, are often stimulated by mercenary individuals, who expect to share the plunder or profit of the enterprise without exposing themselves to danger, and are led on by some irresponsible foreigner, who abuses the hospitality of our own Government by seducing the young and ignorant to join in his scheme of personal ambition or revenge under the false and delusive pretense of extending the area of freedom. These reprehensible aggressions but retard the true progress of our nation and tarnish its fair fame. They should therefore receive the indignant frowns of every good citizen who sincerely loves his country and takes a pride in its prosperity and honor. Our Constitution, though not perfect, is doubtless the best that ever was formed. Therefore let every proposition to change it be well weighed and, if found beneficial, cautiously adopted. Every patriot will rejoice to see its authority so exerted as to advance the prosperity and honor of the nation, whilst he will watch with jealousy any attempt to mutilate this charter of our liberties or pervert its powers to acts of aggression or injustice. Thus shall conservatism and progress blend their harmonious action in preserving the form and spirit of the Constitution and at the same time carry forward the great improvements of the country with a rapidity and energy which freemen only can display.

In closing this my last annual communication, permit me, fellow-citizens, to congratulate you on the prosperous condition of our beloved country. Abroad its relations with all foreign powers are friendly, its rights are respected, and its high place in the family of nations cheerfully recognized. At home we enjoy an amount of happiness, public and private, which has probably never fallen to the lot of any other people. Besides affording to our own citizens a degree of prosperity of which on so large a scale I know of no other instance, our country is annually affording a refuge and a home to multitudes, altogether without example, from the Old World.

We owe these blessings, under Heaven, to the happy Constitution and Government which were bequeathed to us by our fathers, and which it is our sacred duty to transmit in all their integrity to our children. We must all consider it a great distinction and privilege to have been chosen by the people to bear a part in the administration of such a Government. Called by an unexpected dispensation to its highest trust at a season of embarrassment and alarm, I entered upon its arduous duties with extreme diffidence. I claim only to have discharged them to the best of an humble ability, with a single eye to the public good, and it is with devout gratitude in retiring from office that I leave the country in a state of peace and prosperity.