« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
country for some time past has been urged as a prominent cause of the delay. The subject would be again brought before Congress, with a view to more decisive measures.
The letters of credence to the Chargé d'Affaires from the United States to Rome had not been delivered while the papal territory was in a state of revolution. A counter-revolution has since taken place, and the American Chargé waits to see a permanent government established before he proposes a diplomatic intercourse with it.
Congress are referred to the correspondence between the State Department and the Mexican envoy on the subject of the protocol to the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The commissioners appointed to run the boundary line between the United States and Mexico, had entered on that duty soon after the time prescribed by the treaty, and had made some progress in the work. It will require a further appropri
In the adjustment of the claims of American citizens on Mexico, he recommends the employment of counsel to protect the interests of the United States, who have assumed to pay those claims.
The civil war in Venezuela has at length been brought to a close. During its progress the rights of American citizens have been frequently violated. The restoration of order will enable the Venezuelan government to redress these wrongs, as well as others of longer standing.
The rapid settlement of Oregon and California give new importance to our relations with the foreign countries lying on the Pacific, between whom and our settlements on the Pacific the future commercial intercourse will be very considerable. It is, therefore, desirable to cherish our friendly relations with those countries. The same liberal course is recommended towards all other American States. may often kindly mediate in their behalf, without entangling ourselves in foreign wars, or unnecessary controversies. Whenever the faith of our treaties with any of them shall require our interference, we must necessarily interpose."
A convention has been negotiated with Brazil for the satisfaction of American claims on that government.
The laws for the suppression of the slave trade, it is suggested, require amendment. That odious traffic is still carried on in vessels built in the United States, which, purchased by foreigners abroad, are able to prosecute their voyages to the coast of Africa by means of the temporary sea-letter they obtain from the American consul abroad. Congress is invited to adopt a course which, preventing such abuses of the national flag, should leave the benefits meant to be extended to navigation and commerce unimpaired.
As there is no prospect of a reunion of the five States of Central America, separate treaties have been negotiated with several of them. One has been made with the State of Nicaragua, by which both vernments pledge themselves to protect a company who have con
tracted with Nicaragua to connect by a canal, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. All other nations are invited to make similar stipulations. They will all enjoy the right of transit on paying the same rate of toll. The territory through which the canal shall pass, should be exempt from all foreign power or control.
The routes across the Isthmus at Tehuantepec and Panama also deserve consideration. The negotiator of the treaty of peace with Mexico was instructed to offer a large sum for the right of way at Tehuantepec, but the offer was not accepted by Mexico, probably in consequence of a previous contract for the same object. The offer would not be renewed, because such a communication should be the common right of all nations, in which case a reasonable toll to those who constructed the work would be sufficient to induce individual enterprise to undertake and complete it. The benefits which would accrue to Mexico from the canal would sufficiently remunerate her.
The railroad about to be constructed at Panama will be protected under the late treaty between the United States and New Grenada. He adds, that we should encourage every practicable route across the Isthmus.
The destiny of the Sandwich islands, as the President well observes, is on many accounts interesting to us. We could not be indifferent to their passing under the dominion of a foreign power, and it is hoped that no nation will deprive them of their independence. Though he does not mention the late outrage of a French frigate on their independence, with the seeming sanction of the French consul-general, he plainly meant to allude to it.
Passing then to the domestic concerns of the country, he states the receipts into the treasury for the year ending June 30, to be $48,830,097.50 in money, and in funded treasury notes, $10,833,000, making an aggregate of $59,663,097.50. The expenditures in the same time were $46,798,667.82, and in treasury notes funded, $10,833,000— making an aggregate of $57,631,667.82.
According to the accounts and estimates of the treasury department, there will be deficits, occasioned by the Mexican war and treaty, in 1850 and 1851, amounting together to $16,375,214.39. He recommends Congress to give authority to borrow the sum required to cover the whole deficit, which, he remarks, is exceeded by the extraordinary expenses of the Mexican war and the purchase of California.
He recommends a revision of the present tariff, and that it should be so modified as to increase the revenue. He does not doubt the right or duty of Congress to encourage domestic industry, and he looks "to the adoption of a system which may place home labour, at last, on a sure and permanent footing," and by due encouragement to manufactures, "give a new and increased stimulus to agriculture." For the furtherance of these objects he earnestly recommends a system of specific duties.
The question of continuing the sub-treasury system is submitted to the wisdom of Congress, with a suggestion that, if it is continued, further modifications of it appear to be indispensable.
He recommends the establishment of an agricultural bureau, to be connected with the department of the interior; no direct and having as yet been given by the general government to this "leading branch of domestic industry."
Having stated that the people of California had probably by this time formed a constitution and state government, and would soon apply for admission into the Union, he recommends their application to the favourable consideration of Congress. The people of New Mexico are likely to make a similar application. He suggests to Congress that by awaiting the action of those communities, "causes of uneasiness may be avoided." He deprecates the introduction of topics of a local character, and repeats the solemn warning of "the most illustrious of his predecessors," against furnishing "any ground for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations."
A collector had been appointed for San Francisco, under the act of Congress of last session. Before his arrival, duties had been collected under the military authority previously established. Congress is recommended to confirm these collections, and to appropriate the money for the improvement of the rivers and harbors of the territory.
Measures had been taken for the coast survey of Oregon, and for ascertaining the proper sites for light-houses in that territory and in California, now so urgently required.
Indian agencies have been transferred from Upper Missouri and Council Bluffs to Santa Fe and Salt Lake; and sub-agents have been appointed for the Gila, the Sacramento, and the San Joaquin rivers. Farther legal provisions are required for the extension of our system of Indian intercourse over the new territory.
The establishment of a branch mint in California is recommended. So is the organization of commissions to decide upon the validity of land titles in California and New Mexico. Provision should also be made for the establishment of offices of surveyor-general in New Mexico, California, and Oregon, and for the conveying and bringing into market the public lands in those territories. They should be disposed of on liberal terms, which should be especially favourable to the early emigrants. He recommends a geological and mineralogical exploration of the principal mineral deposits in California, in connexion with the linear surveys; and that the mineral lands be divided into small lots, to be sold or leased, so that a permanent property may be acquired in them.
The great mineral wealth of California, and the convenience of its ports and harbours, as well as those of Oregon, for commerce, will soon create large and prosperous communities on our Pacific coast. It is, therefore, important that a line of communication should be opened
within the territory of the United States from the navigable waters of the Atlantic to the Pacific. Public opinion, as indicated by "large and respectable conventions" recently held at Memphis, in Tennessee, and St. Louis, in Missouri, points to a railroad as best meeting the wants and wishes of the country. The great importance of such a communication, as well as its enormous cost, recommend, as a preliminary measure, a careful survey of the proposed routes. Early appropriations to continue the river and harbour improvements already begun, are suggested.
The large accessions to our territory, as well as our obligations under the Mexican treaty, make an addition to our military force expedient. He commends to the notice of Congress the views of the secretary of war on the inconvenience of the rank heretofore given to brevet and staff commissions, and on the expediency of providing for retiring disabled officers, as well as an asylum for the superannuated or infirm of the rank and file. The present naval force is as large as is admissible. The re-organization of the navy, according to the suggestions of the secretary of that department, is recommended, as well as his plan for the establishment of a "retired list" for disqualified officers, and for the employment of war steamers.
The efforts to extend post-office and mail accommodations to Oregon and California, according to the act of Congress of last session, have hitherto proved ineffectual, from the high price of rents and labour in California. Further legal provision is necessary on the subject.
A further reduction of postage on letters is recommended. The late postal treaty with Great Britain is noticed, as is also the performance of the duties of the census board appointed by the act of Congress of March last. The interests of the city of Washington are especially recommended to Congress, to whose care they are assigned by the constitution.
In conclusion, he refers to the qualified negative which the constitution confers on the President, and which he says he shall consider it his duty never to exercise except "in the extreme cases contemplated by the fathers of the republic." He dwells on the value of the Union, upon the preservation of which depends "our own happiness, and that of countless generations to come;" and however assailed or threatened, he says he should use all the powers confided to him to maintain it in its integrity.
Many of the preceding views were more fully exhibited and enforced by the reports of the several departments. It appeared by that of the secretary of the treasury that the probable receipts into the treasury for the year preceding the 1st of July, 1850, together with the balance in the treasury July 1, 1849, would be $37,823,464.23, and the expenditures in the same time would be $43,651,585.94, leaving a deficit 1st July, 1850, of $5,828,121.66; and that the amount received, for the year ending July 1, 1851, (including the balance in the trea
sury,) would be $34,450,000, and the expenditures in the same time would be $44,997,092.73, leaving a further deficit of $10,547,092.73, making the whole deficit upward of 16 millions, to raise which a loan is recommended. The whole amount of the public debt he states to be $64,704,693.71.
The secretary discusses at some length the mooted question whether Congress has the power under the constitution of regulating commerce and levying imposts for the purpose of encouraging domestic industry, and he concludes that they have the power, and that it is wise and politic to exercise it. He notices in detail the several circumstances of the country which are favourable or unfavourable to the productions of industry, and to counteract the latter, he thinks that duties should be laid on imports sufficiently high to afford substantial and sufficient encouragement to our domestic industry, provide for the necessary increase and due security of the revenue, and ensure the permanence and stability of the system.
The modifications proposed by him to the existing tariff are, 1st, An increase of duties on articles similar to our own staples, as on cottons, hempen goods, sugar, salt, coal, woollens, iron, and hemp. 2. A return to specific duties, which he thinks are more easily assessed, more favourable to commerce, more equal, and less exposed to frauds. 3. On those articles on which ad valorem duties are retained, they should be estimated according to the market value in the principal markets of our own country at the time of arrival. 4. He objects to laying lower duties upon non-enumerated than on enumerated articles, as inviting to attempts at disguise, and favouring controversy and litigation; to different rates of duty on manufactures of the same materials; and lastly, to higher duties on the raw material than on the articles manufactured of it. For reasons given at length, the secretary thinks that the warehousing system has not been beneficially felt in the general business of the country, and that its practical operation is "a return to the system of credit upon duties, under a new name and form.”
Several inconveniences of the sub-treasury are pointed out, to alleviate which some modifications of the law are suggested. A revision of the laws regulating the coasting trade is recommended, so that it may be relieved from some necessary embarrassments and delays, and subjected to modifications suited to its altered character of late
years. In July last, the number of light-houses was two hundred and eightyeight, and of floating lights thirty-two. Of these, sixty-one are on the northern lakes and the river St. Lawrence.
Details are given relative to the structure of custom houses, and marine hospitals, in the different States.
The report of the newly created "Home Department," or the "Department of the Interior"-for it is designated both ways in the act of Congress-was, from being the first of its kind, regarded with peculiar interest. On its first topic, the public buildings, various sug