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trol 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 tie 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 clearly 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and these representatives are chosen for such short periods, that any injurious or obnoxious law can very soon be repealed, it would appear unlikely that any great numbers should be found ready to resist the execution of the laws.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 coun :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 powe. 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 own 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 'ast, for facilitating and protect
ing the construction of a slip canal between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and for other purposes. This 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 conven. tion, 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 Pritain, of the 19th of April last, above referred Lo, being now in operation, it is to be hoped that the guarantees 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 barmonizing 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 tho con
nection of the two oceans by means of a railroad across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, under grants of the Mexican gov. ernment 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 cannot 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 isth. mus 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 bim 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 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 towards 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 towards 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