ページの画像
PDF
ePub

alleged abuses, be interrupted, molested or detained while on the ocean; and if thus molested or detained, while pur. suing honest voyages, in the usual way, and violating no law themselves, they are unquestionably entitled to indemnity. This governnient has manifested its repugnance to the slave trade, in a manner which cannot be misun lerstood; by its fundamental law, its prescribed limits in point of time to its continuance; and against its own citizens, who might so far forget the rights of humanity as to engage in that wicked traffic, it has long since, by its municipal laws, denounced the most condign punishment. Many of the states composing this Union, had made appeals to the civilized world for its suppression long before the moral sense of other nations had become shocked by the iniquities of the traffic. Whether this government should now enter into treaties containing mutual stipulations upon this subject, is a question for its mature deliberation. Certain it is that if the right to detain American ships on the high seas can be justified on the plea of a necessity for such detention, arising out of the existence of treaties between other nations, the same plea may be extended and enlarged by the new stipulations of new treaties, to which the United States may not be a party. This government will not cease to urge upon that of Great Britain full and ample remuneration for all losses, whether arising from detention or otherwise, to which American citizens have heretofore been, or may hereafter be subjected, by the exercise of rights which this government cannot recognize as legitimate and propo er. Nor will I indulge a doubt but that the sense of justice of Great Britain will constrain her to make retribution for any wrong, or loss, which any American citizen, engaged in the prosecution of lawful commerce, may have experienced at the hand of her cruisers, or other public authorities. This government, at the same time, will relax no effort to prevent its citizens, if there be any so disposed, from prosecuting a traffic so revolting to the feelings of humanity. It seeks to do no inore than to protect the fair and honest trader, from molestation and injury; but while the enterprising mariner, engaged in the pursui of an honorable trade, is entitled to its pro• ection, it will visit with condign punishment others of an opposite character.

I invite your attention to existing laws for the suppression of the African slave trade, and recommend all such alterations as may give to them greater force and efficacy. That the American flag is grossly abused by the aban. loned and profligate of other nations, is but too probable.

Congress has, not long since, had this subject under its consideration, and its importance well justifies renewed and anxious attention.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The United States cannot but take a deep interest in whatever relates to this young, but growing republic. Settled principally by emigrants from the United States, we have the happiness to know that the great principles of civil liberty are there destined to flourish, under wise in vcüiions and vholesome laws; and that, through its exainple, another evidence is so he afforded o! the capal

rence.

city of popular institutions to advance the prosperity, happiness, and permanent glory of the human race. The great truth, that government was made for the people, and not the people for government, has already been established in the prac ice and by the example of these United States ; and we can do no other than contemplate its farther exemplification by a sister republic with the deepest interest.

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

The failure of the Congress of Ecuador to hold a ses sion, at the time appointed for that purpose, in January last, will probably render abortive a treaty of commerce with that republic, which was signed at Quito on the 13th of June, 1939, and has been duly ratified on our part, but which required the approbation of that body, prior to its ratification by the Ecuadorian executive.

A convention which has been concluded with the republic of Peru, providing for the settlement of certain claims of citizens of the United States upon the govern. ment of that republic, will be duly submitted to the Senate. The claims of our citizens against the Brazilian government, originating from captures, and other causes are still unsatisfied. The United States have, however, so uniformly sho vn a disposition to cultivate relations of amity with that empire, that it is hoped the unequivocal tokens of the same spirit towards us, which an adjustment of the affairs referred to would afford, will be given witho't further avoidablo delay

The war with the Indian tribes on the peninsula of Florida has, during the last summer and fall, been prosecuted with untiring activity and zeal. A summer campaign was resolved upon, as the best mode of bringing it io a close. Our brave officers and men who have been engaged in that service, have suffered toils and privations, and exhibited an energy, which, in any other war, would have won for them unfading laurels. In despite of the sickness incident to the climate, they have penetrated the fastnesses of the Indians, broken up

their encampments, and harassed them unceasingly. Numbers have been captured, and still greater numbers have surrendered, and have been transported to join their brethren on the lands elsewhere allotted to them by the government-and a strong hope is entertained that, under the conduct of the gallant officer at the head of the troops in Florida, that troublesome and expensive war is destined to a speedy termination. With all the other Indian tribes we are enjoying the blessings of peace. Our duty, as well as our best interests, prompt us to observe, in all our intercourse with them, fidelity in fulfilling our engagements, the practice of strict justice, as well as the constant exercise of acts of benevolence and kindness. These are the great instruments of civilization, and through the use of them alone can the untutored child of the forest be induced to listen to its teachings.

The Secretary of State, oo whom the acts of Congress have devolved the duty of directing the proceedings for the taking of the sixth census, or enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States, will report to the two houses the progress of that work. The enumeration of persons has been completed, and exhibits a grand total of 17,069,453; making an increase over the census of 1930, of 4,292,646 inhabitants, and showing a gain in a ratio exceeding 32} per cent. for the last ten years.

From the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, you will be informed of the condition of the finances. The balance in the treasury on the 1st of January last, as stated in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, submitted to Congress at the extra session, was $987,345 03. The receipts into the treas rry, during the first

« 前へ次へ »