State of the Union Address

James Buchanan

December 19, 1859

Fellow—Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

Our deep and heartfelt gratitude is due to that Almighty Power which has
bestowed upon us such varied and numerous blessings throughout the past
year. The general health of the country has been excellent, our harvests
have been unusually plentiful, and prosperity smiles throughout the land.
Indeed, notwithstanding our demerits, we have much reason to believe from
the past events in our history that we have enjoyed the special protection
of Divine Providence ever since our origin as a nation. We have been
exposed to many threatening and alarming difficulties in our progress, but
on each successive occasion the impending cloud has been dissipated at the
moment it appeared ready to burst upon our head, and the danger to our
institutions has passed away. May we ever be under the divine guidance and
protection. Whilst it is the duty of the President “from time to time to
give to Congress information of the state of the Union,” I shall not refer
in detail to the recent sad and bloody occurrences at Harpers Ferry. Still,
it is proper to observe that these events, however bad and cruel in
themselves, derive their chief importance from the apprehension that they
are but symptoms of an incurable disease in the public mind, which may
break out in still more dangerous outrages and terminate at last in an open
war by the North to abolish slavery in the South. Whilst for myself I
entertain no such apprehension, they ought to afford a solemn warning to us
all to beware of the approach of danger. Our Union is a stake of such
inestimable value as to demand our constant and watchful vigilance for its
preservation. In this view, let me implore my countrymen, North and South,
to cultivate the ancient feelings of mutual forbearance and good will
toward each other and strive to allay the demon spirit of sectional hatred
and strife now alive in the land. This advice proceeds from the heart of an
old public functionary whose service commenced in the last generation,
among the wise and conservative statesmen of that day, now nearly all
passed away, and whose first and dearest earthly wish is to leave his
country tranquil, prosperous, united, and powerful.

We ought to reflect that in this age, and especially in this country, there
is an incessant flux and reflux of public opinion. Questions which in their
day assumed a most threatening aspect have now nearly gone from the memory
of men. They are “volcanoes burnt out, and on the lava and ashes and
squalid scoria of old eruptions grow the peaceful olive, the cheering vine,
and the sustaining corn.” Such, in my opinion, will prove to be the fate of
the present sectional excitement should those who wisely seek to apply the
remedy continue always to confine their efforts within the pale of the
Constitution. If this course be pursued, the existing agitation on the
subject of domestic slavery, like everything human, will have its day and
give place to other and less threatening controversies. Public opinion in
this country is all—powerful, and when it reaches a dangerous excess upon
any question the good sense of the people will furnish the corrective and
bring it back within safe limits. Still, to hasten this auspicious result
at the present crisis we ought to remember that every rational creature
must be presumed to intend the natural consequences of his own teachings.
Those who announce abstract doctrines subversive of the Constitution and
the Union must not be surprised should their heated partisans advance one
step further and attempt by violence to carry these doctrines into
practical effect. In this view of the subject, it ought never to be
forgotten that however great may have been the political advantages
resulting from the Union to every portion of our common country, these
would all prove to be as nothing should the time ever arrive when they can
not be enjoyed without serious danger to the personal safety of the people
of fifteen members of the Confederacy. If the peace of the domestic
fireside throughout these States should ever be invaded, if the mothers of
families within this extensive region should not be able to retire to rest
at night without suffering dreadful apprehensions of what may be their own
fate and that of their children before the morning, it would be vain to
recount to such a people the political benefits which result to them from
the Union. Self—preservation is the first instinct of nature, and therefore
any state of society in which the sword is all the time suspended over the
heads of the people must at last become intolerable. But I indulge in no
such gloomy forebodings. On the contrary, I firmly believe that the events
at Harpers Ferry, by causing the people to pause and reflect upon the
possible peril to their cherished institutions, will be the means under
Providence of allaying the existing excitement and preventing further
outbreaks of a similar character. They will resolve that the Constitution
and the Union shall not be endangered by rash counsels, knowing that should
“the silver cord be loosed or the golden bowl be broken at the fountain”
human power could never reunite the scattered and hostile fragments.

I cordially congratulate you upon the final settlement by the Supreme Court
of the United States of the question of slavery in the Territories, which
had presented an aspect so truly formidable at the commencement of my
Administration. The right has been established of every citizen to take his
property of any kind, including slaves, into the common Territories
belonging equally to all the States of the Confederacy, and to have it
protected there under the Federal Constitution. Neither Congress nor a
Territorial legislature nor any human power has any authority to annul or
impair this vested right. The supreme judicial tribunal of the country,
which is a coordinate branch of the Government, has sanctioned and affirmed
these principles of constitutional law, so manifestly just in themselves
and so well calculated to promote peace and harmony among the States. It is
a striking proof of the sense of justice which is inherent in our people
that the property in slaves has never been disturbed, to my knowledge, in
any of the Territories. Even throughout the late troubles in Kansas there
has not been any attempt, as I am credibly informed, to interfere in a
single instance with the right of the master. Had any such attempt been
made, the judiciary would doubtless have afforded an adequate remedy.
Should they fail to do this hereafter, it will then be time enough to
strengthen their hands by further legislation. Had it been decided that
either Congress or the Territorial legislature possess the power to annul
or impair the right to property in slaves, the evil would be intolerable.
In the latter event there would be a struggle for a majority of the members
of the legislature at each successive election, and the sacred rights of
property held under the Federal Constitution would depend for the time
being on the result. The agitation would thus be rendered incessant whilst
the Territorial condition remained, and its baneful influence would keep
alive a dangerous excitement among the people of the several States.

Thus has the status of a Territory during the intermediate period from its
first settlement until it shall become a State been irrevocably fixed by
the final decision of the Supreme Court. Fortunate has this been for the
prosperity of the Territories, as well as the tranquillity of the States.
Now emigrants from the North and the South, the East and the West, will
meet in the Territories on a common platform, having brought with them that
species of property best adapted, in their own opinion, to promote their
welfare. From natural causes the slavery question will in each case soon
virtually settle itself, and before the Territory is prepared for admission
as a State into the Union this decision, one way or the other, will have
been a foregone conclusion. Meanwhile the settlement of the new Territory
will proceed without serious interruption, and its progress and prosperity
will not be endangered or retarded by violent political struggles.

When in the progress of events the inhabitants of any Territory shall have
reached the number required to form a State, they will then proceed in a
regular manner and in the exercise of the rights of popular sovereignty to
form a constitution preparatory to admission into the Union. After this has
been done, to employ the language of the Kansas and Nebraska act, they
“shall be received into the Union with or without slavery, as their
constitution may prescribe at the time of their admission.” This sound
principle has happily been recognized in some form or other by an almost
unanimous vote of both Houses of the last Congress.

All lawful means at my command have been employed, and shall continue to be
employed, to execute the laws against the African slave trade. After a most
careful and rigorous examination of our coasts and a thorough investigation
of the subject, we have not been able to discover that any slaves have been
imported into the United States except the cargo by the Wanderer, numbering
between three and four hundred. Those engaged in this unlawful enterprise
have been rigorously prosecuted, but not with as much success as their
crimes have deserved. A number of them are still under prosecution.

Our history proves that the fathers of the Republic, in advance of all
other nations, condemned the African slave trade. It was, notwithstanding,
deemed expedient by the framers of the Constitution to deprive Congress of
the power to prohibit “the migration or importation of such persons as any
of the States now existing shall think proper to admit” “prior to the year
1808.” It will be seen that this restriction on the power of Congress was
confined to such States only as might think proper to admit the importation
of slaves. It did not extend to other States or to the trade carried on
abroad. Accordingly, we find that so early as the 22d March, 1794, Congress
passed an act imposing severe penalties and punishments upon citizens and
residents of the United States who should engage in this trade between
foreign nations. The provisions of this act were extended and enforced by
the act of 10th May, 1800.

Again, the States themselves had a clear right to waive the constitutional
privilege intended for their benefit, and to prohibit by their own laws
this trade at any time they thought proper previous to 1808. Several of
them exercised this right before that period, and among them some
containing the greatest number of slaves. This gave to Congress the
immediate power to act in regard to all such States, because they
themselves had removed the constitutional barrier. Congress accordingly
passed an act on 28th February, 1803, “to prevent the importation of
certain persons into certain States where by the laws thereof their
admission is prohibited.” In this manner the importation of African slaves
into the United States was to a great extent prohibited some years in
advance of 1808.

As the year 1808 approached Congress determined not to suffer this trade to
exist even for a single day after they had the power to abolish it. On the
2d of March, 1807, they passed an act, to take effect “from and after the
1st day of January, 1808,” prohibiting the importation of African slaves
into the United States. This was followed by subsequent acts of a similar
character, to which I need not specially refer. Such were the principles
and such the practice of our ancestors more than fifty years ago in regard
to the African slave trade. It did not occur to the revered patriots who
had been delegates to the Convention, and afterwards became members of
Congress, that in passing these laws they had violated the Constitution
which they had framed with so much care and deliberation. They supposed
that to prohibit Congress in express terms from exercising a specified
power before an appointed day necessarily involved the right to exercise
this power after that day had arrived.

If this were not the case, the framers of the Constitution had expended
much labor in vain. Had they imagined that Congress would possess no power
to prohibit the trade either before or after 1808, they would not have
taken so much care to protect the States against the exercise of this power
before that period. Nay, more, they would not have attached such vast
importance to this provision as to have excluded it from the possibility of
future repeal or amendment, to which other portions of the Constitution
were exposed. It would, then, have been wholly unnecessary to ingraft on
the fifth article of the Constitution, prescribing the mode of its own
future amendment, the proviso “that no amendment which may be made prior to
the year 1808 shall in any manner affect” the provision in the Constitution
securing to the States the right to admit the importation of African slaves
previous to that period. According to the adverse construction, the clause
itself, on which so much care and discussion had been employed by the
members of the Convention, was an absolute nullity from the beginning, and
all that has since been done under it a mere usurpation.

It was well and wise to confer this power on Congress, because had it been
left to the States its efficient exercise would have been impossible. In
that event any one State could have effectually continued the trade, not
only for itself, but for all the other slave States, though never so much
against their will. And why? Because African slaves, when once brought
within the limits of any one State in accordance with its laws, can not
practically be excluded from any State where slavery exists. And even if
all the States had separately passed laws prohibiting the importation of
slaves, these laws would have failed of effect for want of a naval force to
capture the slavers and to guard the coast. Such a force no State can
employ in time of peace without the consent of Congress.

These acts of Congress, it is believed, have, with very rare and
insignificant exceptions, accomplished their purpose. For a period of more
than half a century there has been no perceptible addition to the number of
our domestic slaves. During this period their advancement in civilization
has far surpassed that of any other portion of the African race. The light
and the blessings of Christianity have been extended to them, and both
their moral and physical condition has been greatly improved.

Reopen the trade and it would be difficult to determine whether the effect
would be more deleterious on the interests of the master or on those of the
native—born slave. Of the evils to the master, the one most to be dreaded
would be the introduction of wild, heathen, and ignorant barbarians among
the sober, orderly, and quiet slaves whose ancestors have been on the soil
for several generations. This might tend to barbarize, demoralize, and
exasperate the whole mass and produce most deplorable consequences.

The effect upon the existing slave would, if possible, be still more
deplorable. At present he is treated with kindness and humanity. He is well
fed, well clothed, and not overworked. His condition is incomparably better
than that of the coolies which modern nations of high civilization have
employed as a substitute for African slaves. Both the philanthropy and the
self—interest of the master have combined to produce this humane result.
But let this trade be reopened and what will be the effect? The same to a
considerable extent as on a neighboring island, the only spot now on earth
where the African slave trade is openly tolerated, and this in defiance of
solemn treaties with a power abundantly able at any moment to enforce their
execution. There the master, intent upon present gain, extorts from the
slave as much labor as his physical powers are capable of enduring, knowing
that when death comes to his relief his place can be supplied at a price
reduced to the lowest point by the competition of rival African slave
traders. Should this ever be the case in our country, which I do not deem
possible, the present useful character of the domestic institution, wherein
those too old and too young to work are provided for with care and humanity
and those capable of labor are not overtasked, would undergo an unfortunate
change. The feeling of reciprocal dependence and attachment which now
exists between master and slave would be converted into mutual distrust and
hostility.

But we are obliged as a Christian and moral nation to consider what would
be the effect upon unhappy Africa itself if we should reopen the slave
trade. This would give the trade an impulse and extension which it has
never had, even in its palmiest days. The numerous victims required to
supply it would convert the whole slave coast into a perfect pandemonium,
for which this country would be held responsible in the eyes both of God
and man. Its petty tribes would then be constantly engaged in predatory
wars against each other for the purpose of seizing slaves to supply the
American market. All hopes of African civilization would thus be ended.

On the other hand, when a market for African slaves shall no longer be
furnished in Cuba, and thus all the world be closed against this trade, we
may then indulge a reasonable hope for the gradual improvement of Africa.
The chief motive of war among the tribes will cease whenever there is no
longer any demand for slaves. The resources of that fertile but miserable
country might then be developed by the hand of industry and afford subjects
for legitimate foreign and domestic commerce. In this manner Christianity
and civilization may gradually penetrate the existing gloom.

The wisdom of the course pursued by this Government toward China has been
vindicated by the event. Whilst we sustained a neutral position in the war
waged by Great Britain and France against the Chinese Empire, our late
minister, in obedience to his instructions, judiciously cooperated with the
ministers of these powers in all peaceful measures to secure by treaty the
just concessions demanded by the interests of foreign commerce. The result
is that satisfactory treaties have been concluded with China by the
respective ministers of the United States, Great Britain, France, and
Russia. Our “treaty, or general convention, of peace, amity, and commerce”
with that Empire was concluded at Tien—tsin on the 18th June, 1858, and was
ratified by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the
Senate, on the 21st December following. On the 15th December, 1858, John E.
Ward, a distinguished citizen of Georgia, was duly commissioned as envoy
extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to China.

He left the United States for the place of his destination on the 5th of
February, 1859, bearing with him the ratified copy of this treaty, and
arrived at Shanghai on the 28th May. From thence he proceeded to Peking on
the 16th June, but did not arrive in that city until the 27th July.
According to the terms of the treaty, the ratifications were to be
exchanged on or before the 18th June, 1859. This was rendered impossible by
reasons and events beyond his control, not necessary to detail; but still
it is due to the Chinese authorities at Shanghai to state that they always
assured him no advantage should be taken of the delay, and this pledge has
been faithfully redeemed.

On the arrival of Mr. Ward at Peking he requested an audience of the
Emperor to present his letter of credence. This he did not obtain, in
consequence of his very proper refusal to submit to the humiliating
ceremonies required by the etiquette of this strange people in approaching
their sovereign. Nevertheless, the interviews on this question were
conducted in the most friendly spirit and with all due regard to his
personal feelings and the honor of his country. When a presentation to His
Majesty was found to be impossible, the letter of credence from the
President was received with peculiar honors by Kweiliang, “the Emperor’s
prime minister and the second man in the Empire to the Emperor himself.”
The ratifications of the treaty were afterwards, on the 16th of August,
exchanged in proper form at Peit—sang. As the exchange did not take place
until after the day prescribed by the treaty, it is deemed proper before
its publication again to submit it to the Senate. It is but simple justice
to the Chinese authorities to observe that throughout the whole transaction
they appear to have acted in good faith and in a friendly spirit toward the
United States. It is true this has been done after their own peculiar
fashion; but we ought to regard with a lenient eye the ancient customs of
an empire dating back for thousands of years, so far as this may be
consistent with our own national honor. The conduct of our minister on the
occasion has received my entire approbation.

In order to carry out the spirit of this treaty and to give it full effect
it became necessary to conclude two supplemental conventions, the one for
the adjustment and satisfaction of the claims of our citizens and the other
to fix the tariff on imports and exports and to regulate the transit duties
and trade of our merchants with China. This duty was satisfactorily
performed by our late minister. These conventions bear date at Shanghai on
the 8th November, 1858. Having been considered in the light of binding
agreements subsidiary to the principal treaty, and to be carried into
execution without delay, they do not provide for any formal ratification or
exchange of ratifications by the contracting parties. This was not deemed
necessary by the Chinese, who are already proceeding in good faith to
satisfy the claims of our citizens and, it is hoped, to carry out the other
provisions of the conventions. Still, I thought it was proper to submit
them to the Senate by which they were ratified on the 3d of March, 1859.
The ratified copies, however, did not reach Shanghai until after the
departure of our minister to Peking, and these conventions could not,
therefore, be exchanged at the same time with the principal treaty. No
doubt is entertained that they will be ratified and exchanged by the
Chinese Government should this be thought advisable; but under the
circumstances presented I shall consider them binding engagements from
their date on both parties, and cause them to be published as such for the
information and guidance of our merchants trading with the Chinese Empire.

It affords me much satisfaction to inform you that all our difficulties
with the Republic of Paraguay have been satisfactorily adjusted. It happily
did not become necessary to employ the force for this purpose which
Congress had placed at my command under the joint resolution of 2d June,
1858. On the contrary, the President of that Republic, in a friendly
spirit, acceded promptly to the just and reasonable demands of the
Government of the United States. Our commissioner arrived at Assumption,
the capital of the Republic, on the 25th of January, 1859, and left it on
the 17th of February, having in three weeks ably and successfully
accomplished all the objects of his mission. The treaties which he has
concluded will be immediately submitted to the Senate.

In the view that the employment of other than peaceful means might become
necessary to obtain “just satisfaction” from Paraguay, a strong naval force
was concentrated in the waters of the La Plata to await contingencies
whilst our commissioner ascended the rivers to Assumption. The Navy
Department is entitled to great credit for the promptness, efficiency, and
economy with which this expedition was fitted out and conducted. It
consisted of 19 armed vessels, great and small, carrying 200 guns and 2,500
men, all under the command of the veteran and gallant Shubrick. The entire
expenses of the expedition have been defrayed out of the ordinary
appropriations for the naval service, except the sum of $289,000, applied
to the purchase of seven of the steamers constituting a part of it, under
the authority of the naval appropriation act of the 3d March last. It is
believed that these steamers are worth more than their cost, and they are
all now usefully and actively employed in the naval service.

The appearance of so large a force, fitted out in such a prompt manner, in
the far—distant waters of the La Plata, and the admirable conduct of the
officers and men employed in it, have had a happy effect in favor of our
country throughout all that remote portion of the world. Our relations with
the great Empires of France and Russia, as well as with all other
governments on the continent of Europe, unless we may except that of Spain,
happily continue to be of the most friendly character. In my last annual
message I presented a statement of the unsatisfactory condition of our
relations with Spain, and I regret to say that this has not materially
improved.

Without special reference to other claims, even the “Cuban claims,” the
payment of which has been ably urged by our ministers, and in which more
than a hundred of our citizens are directly interested, remain unsatisfied,
notwithstanding both their justice and their amount ($128,635.54) had been
recognized and ascertained by the Spanish Government itself.

I again recommend that an appropriation be made “to be paid to the Spanish
Government for the purpose of distribution among the claimants in the
Amistad case.” In common with two of my predecessors, I entertain no doubt
that this is required by our treaty with Spain of the 27th October, 1795.
The failure to discharge this obligation has been employed by the cabinet
of Madrid as a reason against the settlement of our claims.

I need not repeat the arguments which I urged in my last annual message in
favor of the acquisition of Cuba by fair purchase. My opinions on that
measure remain unchanged. I therefore again invite the serious attention of
Congress to this important subject. Without a recognition of this policy on
their part it will be almost impossible to institute negotiations with any
reasonable prospect of success. Until a recent period there was good reason
to believe that I should be able to announce to you on the present occasion
that our difficulties with Great Britain arising out of the Clayton and
Bulwer treaty had been finally adjusted in a manner alike honorable and
satisfactory to both parties. From causes, however, which the British
Government had not anticipated, they have not yet completed treaty
arrangements with the Republics of Honduras and Nicaragua, in pursuance of
the understanding between the two Governments. It is, nevertheless,
confidently expected that this good work will ere long be accomplished.

Whilst indulging the hope that no other subject remained which could
disturb the good understanding between the two countries, the question
arising out of the adverse claims of the parties to the island of San Juan,
under the Oregon treaty of the 15th June, 1846, suddenly assumed a
threatening prominence. In order to prevent unfortunate collisions on that
remote frontier, the late Secretary of State, on the 17th July, 1855,
addressed a note to Mr. Crampton, then British minister at Washington,
communicating to him a copy of the instructions which he (Mr. Marcy) had
given on the 14th July to Governor Stevens, of Washington Territory, having
a special reference to an “apprehended conflict between our citizens and
the British subjects on the island of San Juan.” To prevent this the
governor was instructed “that the officers of the Territory should abstain
from all acts on the disputed grounds which are calculated to provoke any
conflicts, so far as it can be done without implying the concession to the
authorities of Great Britain of an exclusive right over the premises. The
title ought to be settled before either party should attempt to exclude the
other by force or exercise complete and exclusive sovereign rights within
the fairly disputed limits.” In acknowledging the receipt on the next day
of Mr. Marcy’s note the British minister expressed his entire concurrence
“in the propriety of the course recommended to the governor of Washington
Territory by your [Mr. Marcy’s] instructions to that officer,” and stating
that he had “lost no time in transmitting a copy of that document to the
Governor—General of British North America” and had “earnestly recommended
to His Excellency to take such measures as to him may appear best
calculated to secure on the part of the British local authorities and the
inhabitants of the neighborhood of the line in question the exercise of the
same spirit of forbearance which is inculcated by you [Mr. Marcy] on the
authorities and citizens of the United States.”

Thus matters remained upon the faith of this arrangement until the 9th July
last, when General Harney paid a visit to the island. He found upon it
twenty—five American residents with their families, and also an
establishment of the Hudsons Bay Company for the purpose of raising sheep.
A short time before his arrival one of these residents had shot an animal
belonging to the company whilst trespassing upon his premises, for which,
however, he offered to pay twice its value, but that was refused. Soon
after “the chief factor of the company at Victoria, Mr. Dalles, son—in—law
of Governor Douglas, came to the island in the British sloop of war
Satellite and threatened to take this American [Mr. Cutler] by force to
Victoria to answer for the trespass he had committed. The American seized
his rifle and told Mr. Dalles if any such attempt was made he would kill
him upon the spot. The affair then ended.”

Under these circumstances the American settlers presented a petition to the
General “through the United States inspector of customs, Mr. Hubbs, to
place a force upon the island to protect them from the Indians as well as
the oppressive interference of the authorities of the Hudsons Bay Company
at Victoria with their rights as American citizens.” The General
immediately responded to this petition, and ordered Captain George E.
Pickett, Ninth Infantry, “to establish his company on Bellevue, or San Juan
Island, on some suitable position near the harbor at the southeastern
extremity.” This order was promptly obeyed and a military post was
established at the place designated. The force was afterwards increased, so
that by the last return the whole number of troops then on the island
amounted in the aggregate to 691 men.

Whilst I do not deem it proper on the present occasion to go further into
the subject and discuss the weight which ought to be attached to the
statements of the British colonial authorities contesting the accuracy of
the information on which the gallant General acted, it was due to him that
I should thus present his own reasons for issuing the order to Captain
Pickett. From these it is quite clear his object was to prevent the British
authorities on Vancouvers Island from exercising jurisdiction over American
residents on the island of San Juan, as well as to protect them against the
incursions of the Indians. Much excitement prevailed for some time
throughout that region, and serious danger of collision between the parties
was apprehended. The British had a large naval force in the vicinity, and
it is but an act of simple justice to the admiral on that station to state
that he wisely and discreetly forbore to commit any hostile act, but
determined to refer the whole affair to his Government and await their
instructions.

This aspect of the matter, in my opinion, demanded serious attention. It
would have been a great calamity for both nations had they been
precipitated into acts of hostility, not on the question of title to the
island, but merely concerning what should be its condition during the
intervening period whilst the two Governments might be employed in settling
the question to which of them it belongs. For this reason
Lieutenant—General Scott was dispatched, on the 17th of September last, to
Washington Territory to take immediate command of the United States forces
on the Pacific Coast, should he deem this necessary. The main object of his
mission was to carry out the spirit of the precautionary arrangement
between the late Secretary of State and the British minister, and thus to
preserve the peace and prevent collision between the British and American
authorities pending the negotiations between the two Governments.
Entertaining no doubt of the validity of our title, I need scarcely add
that in any event American citizens were to be placed on a footing at least
as favorable as that of British subjects, it being understood that Captain
Pickett’s company should remain on the island. It is proper to observe
that, considering the distance from the scene of action and in ignorance of
what might have transpired on the spot before the General’s arrival, it was
necessary to leave much to his discretion; and I am happy to state the
event has proven that this discretion could not have been intrusted to more
competent hands. General Scott has recently returned from his mission,
having successfully accomplished its objects, and there is no longer any
good reason to apprehend a collision between the forces of the two
countries during the pendency of the existing negotiations. I regret to
inform you that there has been no improvement in the affairs of Mexico
since my last annual message, and I am again obliged to ask the earnest
attention of Congress to the unhappy condition of that Republic.

The constituent Congress of Mexico, which adjourned on the 17th February,
1857, adopted a constitution and provided for a popular election. This took
place in the following July (1857), and General Comonfort was chosen
President almost without opposition. At the same election a new Congress
was chosen, whose first session commenced on the 16th of September (1857).
By the constitution of 1857 the Presidential term was to begin on the 1st
of December (1857) and continue for four years. On that day General
Comonfort appeared before the assembled Congress in the City of Mexico,
took the oath to support the new constitution, and was duly inaugurated as
President. Within a month afterwards he had been driven from the capital
and a military rebellion had assigned the supreme power of the Republic to
General Zuloaga. The constitution provided that in the absence of the
President his office should devolve upon the chief justice of the supreme
court; and General Comonfort having left the country, this functionary,
General Juarez, proceeded to form at Guanajuato a constitutional
Government. Before this was officially known, however, at the capital the
Government of Zuloaga had been recognized by the entire diplomatic corps,
including the minister of the United States, as the de facto Government of
Mexico. The constitutional President, nevertheless, maintained his position
with firmness, and was soon established, with his cabinet, at Vera Cruz.
Meanwhile the Government of Zuloaga was earnestly resisted in many parts of
the Republic, and even in the capital, a portion of the army having
pronounced against it, its functions were declared terminated, and an
assembly of citizens was invited for the choice of a new President. This
assembly elected General Miramort, but that officer repudiated the plan
under which he was chosen, and Zuloaga was thus restored to his previous
position. He assumed it, however, only to withdraw from it; and Miramon,
having become by his appointment “President substitute,” continues with
that title at the head of the insurgent party.

In my last annual message I communicated to Congress the circumstances
under which the late minister of the United States suspended his official
relations with the central Government and withdrew from the country. It was
impossible to maintain friendly intercourse with a government like that at
the capital, under whose usurped authority wrongs were constantly
committed, but never redressed. Had this been an established government,
with its power extending by the consent of the people over the whole of
Mexico, a resort to hostilities against it would have been quite
justifiable, and, indeed, necessary. But the country was a prey to civil
war, and it was hoped that the success of the constitutional President
might lead to a condition of things less injurious to the United States.
This success became so probable that in January last I employed a reliable
agent to visit Mexico and report to me the actual condition and prospects
of the contending parties. In consequence of his report and from
information which reached me from other sources favorable to the prospects
of the constitutional cause, I felt justified in appointing a new minister
to Mexico, who might embrace the earliest suitable opportunity of restoring
our diplomatic relations with that Republic. For this purpose a
distinguished citizen of Maryland was selected, who proceeded on his
mission on the 8th of March last, with discretionary authority to recognize
the Government of President Juarez if on his arrival in Mexico he should
find it entitled to such recognition according to the established practice
of the United States.

On the 7th of April following Mr. McLane presented his credentials to
President Juarez, having no hesitation “in pronouncing the Government of
Juarez to be the only existing government of the Republic.” He was
cordially received by the authorities at Vera Cruz, and they have ever
since manifested the most friendly disposition toward the United States.

Unhappily, however, the constitutional Government has not been able to
establish its power over the whole Republic. It is supported by a large
majority of the people and the States, but there are important parts of the
country where it can enforce no obedience.

General Miramon maintains himself at the capital, and in some of the
distant Provinces there are military governors who pay little respect to
the decrees of either Government. In the meantime the excesses which always
attend upon civil war, especially in Mexico, are constantly recurring.
Outrages of the worst description are committed both upon persons and
property. There is scarcely any form of injury which has not been suffered
by our citizens in Mexico during the last few years. We have been nominally
at peace with that Republic, but “so far as the interests of our commerce,
or of our citizens who have visited the country as merchants, shipmasters,
or in other capacities, are concerned, we might as well have been at war.”
Life has been insecure, property unprotected, and trade impossible except
at a risk of loss which prudent men can not be expected to incur. Important
contracts, involving large expenditures, entered into by the central
Government, have been set at defiance by the local governments. Peaceful
American residents, occupying their rightful possessions, have been
suddenly expelled the country, in defiance of treaties and by the mere
force of arbitrary power. Even the course of justice has not been safe from
control, and a recent decree of Miramort permits the intervention of
Government in all suits where either party is a foreigner. Vessels of the
United States have been seized without law, and a consular officer who
protested against such seizure has been fined and imprisoned for disrespect
to the authorities. Military contributions have been levied in violation of
every principle of right, and the American who resisted the lawless demand
has had his property forcibly taken away and has been himself banished.
From a conflict of authority in different parts of the country tariff
duties which have been paid in one place have been exacted over again in
another place. Large numbers of our citizens have been arrested and
imprisoned without any form of examination or any opportunity for a
hearing, and even when released have only obtained their liberty after much
suffering and injury, and without any hope of redress. The wholesale
massacre of Crabbe and his associates without trial in Sonora, as well as
the seizure and murder of four sick Americans who had taken shelter in the
house of an American upon the soil of the United States, was communicated
to Congress at its last session. Murders of a still more atrocious
character have been committed in the very heart of Mexico, under the
authority of Miramon’s Government, during the present year. Some of these
were only worthy of a barbarous age, and if they had not been dearly proven
would have seemed impossible in a country which claims to be civilized. Of
this description was the brutal massacre in April last, by order of General
Marquez, of three American physicians who were seized in the hospital at
Tacubaya while attending upon the sick and the dying of both parties, and
without trial, as without crime, were hurried away to speedy execution.
Little less shocking was the recent fate of Ormond Chase, who was shot in
Tepic on the 7th of August by order of the same Mexican general, not only
without a trial, but without any conjecture by his friends of the cause of
his arrest. He is represented as a young man of good character and
intelligence, who had made numerous friends in Tepic by the courage and
humanity which he had displayed on several trying occasions; and his death
was as unexpected as it was shocking to the whole community. Other outrages
might be enumerated, but these are sufficient to illustrate the wretched
state of the country and the unprotected condition of the persons and
property of our citizens in Mexico.

In all these cases our ministers have been constant and faithful in their
demands for redress, but both they and this Government, which they have
successively represented, have been wholly powerless to make their demands
effective. Their testimony in this respect and in reference to the only
remedy which in their judgments would meet the exigency has been both
uniform and emphatic. “Nothing but a manifestation of the power of the
Government of the United States,” wrote our late minister in 1856, “and of
its purpose to punish these wrongs will avail. I assure you that the
universal belief here is that there is nothing to be apprehended from the
Government of the United States, and that local Mexican officials can
commit these outrages upon American citizens with absolute impunity.” “I
hope the President,” wrote our present minister in August last, “will feel
authorized to ask from Congress the power to enter Mexico with the military
forces of the United States at the call of the constitutional authorities,
in order to protect the citizens and the treaty rights of the United
States. Unless such a power is conferred upon him, neither the one nor the
other will be respected in the existing state of anarchy and disorder, and
the outrages already perpetrated will never be chastised; and, as I assured
you in my No. 23, all these evils must increase until every vestige of
order and government disappears from the country.” I have been reluctantly
led to the same opinion, and in justice to my countrymen who have suffered
wrongs from Mexico and who may still suffer them I feel bound to announce
this conclusion to Congress.

The case presented, however, is not merely a case of individual claims,
although our just claims against Mexico have reached a very large amount;
nor is it merely the case of protection to the lives and property of the
few Americans who may still remain in Mexico, although the life and
property of every American citizen ought to be sacredly protected in every
quarter of the world; but it is a question which relates to the future as
well as to the present and the past, and which involves, indirectly at
least, the whole subject of our duty to Mexico as a neighboring State. The
exercise of the power of the United States in that country to redress the
wrongs and protect the rights of our own citizens is none the less to be
desired because efficient and necessary aid may thus be rendered at the
same time to restore peace and order to Mexico itself. In the
accomplishment of this result the people of the United States must
necessarily feel a deep and earnest interest. Mexico ought to be a rich and
prosperous and powerful Republic. She possesses an extensive territory, a
fertile soil, and an incalculable store of mineral wealth. She occupies an
important position between the Gulf and the ocean for transit routes and
for commerce. Is it possible that such a country as this can be given up to
anarchy and ruin without an effort from any quarter for its rescue and its
safety? Will the commercial nations of the world, which have so many
interests connected with it, remain wholly indifferent to such a result?
Can the United States especially, which ought to share most largely in its
commercial intercourse, allow their immediate neighbor thus to destroy
itself and injure them? Yet without support from some quarter it is
impossible to perceive how Mexico can resume her position among nations and
enter upon a career which promises any good results. The aid which she
requires, and which the interests of all commercial countries require that
she should have, it belongs to this Government to render, not only by
virtue of our neighborhood to Mexico, along whose territory we have a
continuous frontier of nearly a thousand miles, but by virtue also of our
established policy, which is inconsistent with the intervention of any
European power in the domestic concerns of that Republic.

The wrongs which we have suffered from Mexico are before the world and must
deeply impress every American citizen. A government which is either unable
or unwilling to redress such wrongs is derelict to its highest duties. The
difficulty consists in selecting and enforcing the remedy. We may in vain
apply to the constitutional Government at Vera Cruz, although it is well
disposed to do us justice, for adequate redress. Whilst its authority is
acknowledged in all the important ports and throughout the seacoasts of the
Republic, its power does not extend to the City of Mexico and the States in
its vicinity, where nearly all the recent outrages have been committed on
American citizens. We must penetrate into the interior before we can reach
the offenders, and this can only be done by passing through the territory
in the occupation of the constitutional Government. The most acceptable and
least difficult mode of accomplishing the object will be to act in concert
with that Government. Their consent and their aid might, I believe, be
obtained; but if not, our obligation to protect our own citizens in their
just rights secured by treaty would not be the less imperative. For these
reasons I recommend to Congress to pass a law authorizing the President
under such conditions as they may deem expedient, to employ a sufficient
military force to enter Mexico for the purpose of obtaining indemnity for
the past and security for the future. I purposely refrain from any
suggestion as to whether this force shall consist of regular troops or
volunteers, or both. This question may be most appropriately left to the
decision of Congress. I would merely observe that should volunteers be
selected such a force could be easily raised in this country among those
who sympathize with the sufferings of our unfortunate fellow—citizens in
Mexico and with the unhappy condition of that Republic. Such an accession
to the forces of the constitutional Government would enable it soon to
reach the City of Mexico and extend its power over the whole Republic. In
that event there is no reason to doubt that the just claims of our citizens
would be satisfied and adequate redress obtained for the injuries inflicted
upon them. The constitutional Government have ever evinced a strong desire
to do justice, and this might be secured in advance by a preliminary
treaty.

It may be said that these measures will, at least indirectly, be
inconsistent with our wise and settled policy not to interfere in the
domestic concerns of foreign nations. But does not the present case fairly
constitute an exception? An adjoining Republic is in a state of anarchy and
confusion from which she has proved wholly unable to extricate herself. She
is entirely destitute of the power to maintain peace upon her borders or to
prevent the incursions of banditti into our territory. In her fate and in
her fortune, in her power to establish and maintain a settled government,
we have a far deeper interest, socially, commercially, and politically,
than any other nation. She is now a wreck upon the ocean, drifting about as
she is impelled by different factions. As a good neighbor, shall we not
extend to her a helping hand to save her? If we do not, it would not be
surprising should some other nation undertake the task, and thus force us
to interfere at last, under circumstances of increased difficulty, for the
maintenance of our established policy.

I repeat the recommendation contained in my last annual message that
authority may be given to the President to establish one or more temporary
military posts across the Mexican line in Sonora and Chihuahua, where these
may be necessary to protect the lives and property of American and Mexican
citizens against the incursions and depredations of the Indians, as well as
of lawless rovers, on that remote region. The establishment of one such
post at a point called Arispe, in Sonora, in a country now almost
depopulated by the hostile inroads of the Indians from our side of the
line, would, it is believed, have prevented much injury and many cruelties
during the past season. A state of lawlessness and violence prevails on
that distant frontier. Life and property are there wholly insecure. The
population of Arizona, now numbering more than 10,000 souls, are
practically destitute of government, of laws, or of any regular
administration of justice. Murder, rapine, and other crimes are committed
with impunity. I therefore again call the attention of Congress to the
necessity for establishing a Territorial government over Arizona.

The treaty with Nicaragua of the 16th of February, 1857, to which I
referred in my last annual message, failed to receive the ratification of
the Government of that Republic, for reasons which I need not enumerate. A
similar treaty has been since concluded between the parties, bearing date
on the 16th March, 1859, which has already been ratified by the Nicaraguan
Congress. This will be immediately submitted to the Senate for their
ratification. Its provisions can not, I think, fail to be acceptable to the
people of both countries.

Our claims against the Governments of Costa Rica and Nicaragua remain
unredressed, though they are pressed in an earnest manner and not without
hope of success.

I deem it to be my duty once more earnestly to recommend to Congress the
passage of a law authorizing the President to employ the naval force at his
command for the purpose of protecting the lives and property of American
citizens passing in transit across the Panama, Nicaragua, and Tehuantepec
routes against sudden and lawless outbreaks and depredations. I shall not
repeat the arguments employed in former messages in support of this
measure. Suffice it to say that the lives of many of our people and the
security of vast amounts of treasure passing and repassing over one or more
of these routes between the Atlantic and Pacific may be deeply involved in
the action of Congress on this subject.

I would also again recommend to Congress that authority be given to the
President to employ the naval force to protect American merchant vessels,
their crews and cargoes, against violent and lawless seizure and
confiscation in the ports of Mexico and the Spanish American States when
these countries may be in a disturbed and revolutionary condition. The mere
knowledge that such an authority had been conferred, as I have already
stated, would of itself in a great degree prevent the evil. Neither would
this require any additional appropriation for the naval service.

The chief objection urged against the grant of this authority is that
Congress by conferring it would violate the Constitution; that it would be
a transfer of the war—making, or, strictly speaking, the war—declaring,
power to the Executive. If this were well rounded, it would, of course, be
conclusive. A very brief examination, however, will place this objection at
rest.

Congress possess the sole and exclusive power under the Constitution “to
declare war.” They alone can “raise and support armies” and “provide and
maintain a navy.” But after Congress shall have declared war and provided
the force necessary to carry it on the President, as Commander in Chief of
the Army and Navy, can alone employ this force in making war against the
enemy. This is the plain language, and history proves that it was the
well—known intention of the framers, of the Constitution.

It will not be denied that the general “power to declare war” is without
limitation and embraces within itself not only what writers on the law of
nations term a public or perfect war, but also an imperfect war, and, in
short, every species of hostility, however confined or limited. Without the
authority of Congress the President can not fire a hostile gun in any case
except to repel the attacks of an enemy. It will not be doubted that under
this power Congress could, if they thought proper, authorize the President
to employ the force at his command to seize a vessel belonging to an
American citizen which had been illegally and unjustly captured in a
foreign port and restore it to its owner. But can Congress only act after
the fact, after the mischief has been done? Have they no power to confer
upon the President the authority in advance to furnish instant redress
should such a case afterwards occur? Must they wait until the mischief has
been done, and can they apply the remedy only when it is too late? To
confer this authority to meet future cases under circumstances strictly
specified is as clearly within the war—declaring power as such an authority
conferred upon the President by act of Congress after the deed had been
done. In the progress of a great nation many exigencies must arise
imperatively requiring that Congress should authorize the President to act
promptly on certain conditions which may or may not afterwards arise. Our
history has already presented a number of such cases. I shall refer only to
the latest. Under the resolution of June 2, 1858, “for the adjustment of
difficulties with the Republic of Paraguay,” the President is “authorized
to adopt such measures and use such force as in his judgment may be
necessary and advisable in the event of a refusal of just satisfaction by
the Government of Paraguay.” “Just satisfaction” for what? For “the attack
on the United States steamer Water Witch” and “other matters referred to in
the annual message of the President.” Here the power is expressly granted
upon the condition that the Government of Paraguay shall refuse to render
this “just satisfaction.” In this and other similar cases Congress have
conferred upon the President power in advance to employ the Army and Navy
upon the happening of contingent future events; and this most certainly is
embraced within the power to declare war.

Now, if this conditional and contingent power could be constitutionally
conferred upon the President in the case of Paraguay, why may it not be
conferred for the purpose of protecting the lives and property of American
citizens in the event that they may be violently and unlawfully attacked in
passing over the transit routes to and from California or assailed by the
seizure of their vessels in a foreign port? To deny this power is to render
the Navy in a great degree useless for the protection of the lives and
property of American citizens in countries where neither protection nor
redress can be otherwise obtained.

The Thirty—fifth Congress terminated on the 3d of March, 1859, without
having passed the “act making appropriations for the service of the
Post—Office Department during the fiscal year ending the 30th of June,
1860,” This act also contained an appropriation “to supply deficiencies in
the revenue of the Post—Office Department for the year ending 30th June,
1859.” I believe this is the first instance since the origin of the Federal
Government, now more than seventy years ago, when any Congress went out of
existence without having passed all the general appropriation bills
necessary to carry on the Government until the regular period for the
meeting of a new Congress. This event imposed on the Executive a grave
responsibility. It presented a choice of evils.

Had this omission of duty occurred at the first session of the last
Congress, the remedy would have been plain. I might then have instantly
recalled them to complete their work, and this without expense to the
Government. But on the 4th of March last there were fifteen of the
thirty—three States which had not elected any Representatives to the
present Congress. Had Congress been called together immediately, these
States would have been virtually disfranchised. If an intermediate period
had been selected, several of the States would have been compelled to hold
extra sessions of their legislatures, at great inconvenience and expense,
to provide for elections at an earlier day than that previously fixed by
law. In the regular course ten of these States would not elect until after
the beginning of August, and five of these ten not until October and
November.

On the other hand, when I came to examine carefully the condition of the
Post—Office Department, I did not meet as many or as great difficulties as
I had apprehended. Had the bill which failed been confined to
appropriations for the fiscal year ending on the 30th June next, there
would have been no reason of pressing importance for the call of an extra
session. Nothing would become due on contracts (those with railroad
companies only excepted) for carrying the mail for the first quarter of the
present fiscal year, commencing on the 1st of July, until the 1st of
December——less than one week before the meeting of the present Congress.
The reason is that the mail contractors for this and the current year did
not complete their first quarter’s service until the 30th September last,
and by the terms of their contracts sixty days more are allowed for the
settlement of their accounts before the Department could be called upon for
payment.

The great difficulty and the great hardship consisted in the failure to
provide for the payment of the deficiency in the fiscal year ending the
30th June, 1859. The Department had entered into contracts, in obedience to
existing laws, for the service of that fiscal year, and the contractors
were fairly entitled to their compensation as it became due. The deficiency
as stated in the bill amounted to $3,838,728, but after a careful
settlement of all these accounts it has been ascertained that it amounts to
$4,296,009. With the scanty means at his command the Postmaster—General has
managed to pay that portion of this deficiency which occurred in the first
two quarters of the past fiscal year, ending on the 31st December last. In
the meantime the contractors themselves, under these trying circumstances,
have behaved in a manner worthy of all commendation. They had one resource
in the midst of their embarrassments. After the amount due to each of them
had been ascertained and finally settled according to law, this became a
specific debt of record against the United States, which enabled them to
borrow money on this unquestionable security. Still, they were obliged to
pay interest in consequence of the default of Congress, and on every
principle of justice ought to receive interest from the Government. This
interest should commence from the date when a warrant would have issued for
the payment of the principal had an appropriation been made for this
purpose. Calculated up to the 1st December, it will not exceed $96,660——a
sum not to be taken into account when contrasted with the great
difficulties and embarrassments of a public and private character, both to
the people and the States, which would have resulted from convening and
holding a special session of Congress. For these reasons I recommend the
passage of a bill at as early a day as may be practicable to provide for
the payment of the amount, with interest, due to these last—mentioned
contractors, as well as to make the necessary appropriations for the
service of the Post—Office Department for the current fiscal year.

The failure to pass the Post—Office bill necessarily gives birth to serious
reflections. Congress, by refusing to pass the general appropriation bills
necessary to carry on the Government, may not only arrest its action, but
might even destroy its existence. The Army, the Navy, the judiciary, in
short, every department of the Government, can no longer perform their
functions if Congress refuse the money necessary for their support. If this
failure should teach the country the necessity of electing a full Congress
in sufficient time to enable the President to convene them in any
emergency, even immediately after the old Congress has expired, it will
have been productive of great good. In a time of sudden and alarming
danger, foreign or domestic, which all nations must expect to encounter in
their progress, the very salvation of our institutions may be staked upon
the assembling of Congress without delay. If under such circumstances the
President should find himself in the condition in which he was placed at
the close of the last Congress, with nearly half the States of the Union
destitute of representatives, the consequences might he disastrous. I
therefore recommend to Congress to carry into effect the provisions of the
Constitution on this subject, and to pass a law appointing some day
previous to the 4th March in each year of odd number for the election of
Representatives throughout all the States. They have already appointed a
day for the election of electors for President and Vice—President, and this
measure has been approved by the country.

I would again express a most decided opinion in favor of the construction
of a Pacific railroad, for the reasons stated in my two last annual
messages. When I reflect upon what would be the defenseless condition of
our States and Territories west of the Rocky Mountains in case of a war
with a naval power sufficiently strong to interrupt all intercourse with
them by the routes across the Isthmus, I am still more convinced than ever
of the vast importance of this railroad. I have never doubted the
constitutional competency of Congress to provide for its construction, but
this exclusively under the war—making power. Besides, the Constitution
expressly requires as an imperative duty that “the United States shall
protect each of them [the States] against invasion.” I am at a loss to
conceive how this protection can be afforded to California and Oregon
against such a naval power by any other means. I repeat the opinion
contained in my last annual message that it would be inexpedient for the
Government to undertake this great work by agents of its own appointment
and under its direct and exclusive control. This would increase the
patronage of the Executive to a dangerous extent and would foster a system
of jobbing and corruption which no vigilance on the part of Federal
officials could prevent. The construction of this road ought, therefore, to
be intrusted to incorporated companies or other agencies who would exercise
that active and vigilant supervision over it which can be inspired alone by
a sense of corporate and individual interest. I venture to assert that the
additional cost of transporting troops, munitions of war, and necessary
supplies for the Army across the vast intervening plains to our possessions
on the Pacific Coast would be greater in such a war than the whole amount
required to construct the road. And yet this resort would after all be
inadequate for their defense and protection.

We have yet scarcely recovered from the habits of extravagant expenditure
produced by our overflowing Treasury during several years prior to the
commencement of my Administration. The financial reverses which we have
since experienced ought to teach us all to scrutinize our expenditures with
the greatest vigilance and to reduce them to the lowest possible point. The
Executive Departments of the Government have devoted themselves to the
accomplishment of this object with considerable success, as will appear
from their different reports and estimates. To these I invite the scrutiny
of Congress, for the purpose of reducing them still lower, if this be
practicable consistent with the great public interests of the country. In
aid of the policy of retrenchment, I pledge myself to examine closely the
bills appropriating lands or money, so that if any of these should
inadvertently pass both Houses, as must sometimes be the case, I may afford
them an opportunity for reconsideration. At the same time, we ought never
to forget that true public economy consists not in withholding the means
necessary to accomplish important national objects confided to us by the
Constitution, but in taking care that the money appropriated for these
purposes shall be faithfully and frugally expended.

It will appear from the report of the Secretary of the Treasury that it is
extremely doubtful, to say the least, whether we shall be able to pass
through the present and the next fiscal year without providing additional
revenue. This can only be accomplished by strictly confining the
appropriations within the estimates of the different Departments, without
making an allowance for any additional expenditures which Congress may
think proper, in their discretion, to authorize, and without providing for
the redemption of any portion of the $20,000,000 of Treasury notes which
have been already issued. In the event of a deficiency, which I consider
probable, this ought never to be supplied by a resort to additional loans.
It would be a ruinous practice in the days of peace and prosperity to go on
increasing the national debt to meet the ordinary expenses of the
Government. This policy would cripple our resources and impair our credit
in case the existence of war should render it necessary to borrow money.
Should such a deficiency occur as I apprehend, I would recommend that the
necessary revenue be raised by an increase of our present duties on
imports. I need not repeat the opinions expressed in my last annual message
as to the best mode and manner of accomplishing this object, and shall now
merely observe that these have since undergone no change. The report of the
Secretary of the Treasury will explain in detail the operations of that
Department of the Government. The receipts into the Treasury from all
sources during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1859, including the loan
authorized by the act of June 14, 1858, and the issues of Treasury notes
authorized by existing laws, were $81,692,471.01, which sum, with the
balance of $6,398,316.10 remaining in the Treasury at the commencement of
that fiscal year, made an aggregate for the service of the year of
$88,090,787.11.

The public expenditures during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1859,
amounted to $83,751,511.57. Of this sum $17,405,285.44 were applied to the
payment of interest on the public debt and the redemption of the issues of
Treasury notes. The expenditures for all other branches of the public
service during that fiscal year were therefore $66,346,226.13. The balance
remaining in the Treasury on the 1st July, 1859, being the commencement of
the present fiscal year, was $4,339,275.54. The receipts into the Treasury
during the first quarter of the present fiscal year, commencing July 1,
1859, were $20,618,865.85. Of this amount $3,821,300 was received on
account of the loan and the issue of Treasury notes, the amount of
$16,797,565.85 having been received during the quarter from the ordinary
sources of public revenue. The estimated receipts for the remaining three
quarters of the present fiscal year, to June 30, 1860, are $50,426,400. Of
this amount it is estimated that $5,756,400 will be received for Treasury
notes which may be reissued under the fifth section of the act of 3d March
last, and $1,170,000 on account of the loan authorized by the act of June
14, 1858, making $6,926,400 from these extraordinary sources, and
$43,500,000 from the ordinary sources of the public revenue, making an
aggregate, with the balance in the Treasury on the 1st July, 1859, of
$75,384,541.89 for the estimated means of the present fiscal year, ending
June 30, 1860.

The expenditures during the first quarter of the present fiscal year were
$20,007,174.76. Four million six hundred and sixty—four thousand three
hundred and sixty—six dollars and seventy—six cents of this sum were
applied to the payment of interest on the public debt and the redemption of
the issues of Treasury notes, and the remainder, being $15,342,808, were
applied to ordinary expenditures during the quarter. The estimated
expenditures during the remaining three quarters, to June 30, 1860, are
$40,995,558.23, of which sum $2,886,621.34 are estimated for the interest
on the public debt. The ascertained and estimated expenditures for the
fiscal year ending June 30, 1860, on account of the public debt are
accordingly $7,550,988.10, and for the ordinary expenditures of the
Government $53,451,744.89, making an aggregate of $61,002,732.99, leaving
an estimated balance in the Treasury on June 30, 1860, of $14,381,808.40.

The estimated receipts during the next fiscal year, ending June 30, 1861,
are $66,225,000, which, with the balance estimated, as before stated, as
remaining in the Treasury on the 30th June, 1860, will make an aggregate
for the service of the next fiscal year of $80,606,808.40.

The estimated expenditures during the next fiscal year, ending 30th June,
1861, are $66,714,928.79. Of this amount $3,386,621.34 will be required to
pay the interest on the public debt, leaving the sum of $63,328,307.45 for
the estimated ordinary expenditures during the fiscal year ending 30th
June, 1861. Upon these estimates a balance will be left in the Treasury on
the 30th June, 1861, of $13,891,879.61. But this balance, as well as that
estimated to remain in the Treasury on the 1st July, 1860, will be reduced
by such appropriations as shall be made by law to carry into effect certain
Indian treaties during the present fiscal year, asked for by the Secretary
of the Interior, to the amount of $539,350; and upon the estimates of the
postmaster—General for the service of his Department the last fiscal year,
ending 30th June, 1859, amounting to $4,296,009, together with the further
estimate of that officer for the service of the present fiscal year, ending
30th June, 1860, being $5,526,324, making an aggregate of $10,361,683.

Should these appropriations be made as requested by the proper Departments,
the balance in the Treasury on the 30th June, 1861, will not, it is
estimated, exceed $3,530,196.61.

I transmit herewith the reports of the Secretaries of War, of the Navy, of
the Interior, and of the postmaster—General. They each contain valuable
information and important recommendations well worthy of the serious
consideration of Congress. It will appear from the report of the Secretary
of War that the Army expenditures have been materially reduced by a system
of rigid economy, which in his opinion offers every guaranty that the
reduction will be permanent. The estimates of the Department for the next
have been reduced nearly $2,000,000 below the estimates for the present
fiscal year and $500,000 below the amount granted for this year at the last
session of Congress.

The expenditures of the Post—Office Department during the past fiscal year,
ending on the 30th June, 1859, exclusive of payments for mail service
specially provided for by Congress out of the general Treasury, amounted to
$14,964,493.33 and its receipts to $7,968,484.07, showing a deficiency to
be supplied from the Treasury of $6,996,009.26, against $5,235,677.15 for
the year ending 30th June, 1858. The increased cost of transportation,
growing out of the expansion of the service required by Congress, explains
this rapid augmentation of the expenditures. It is gratifying, however, to
observe an increase of receipts for the year ending on the 30th of June,
1859, equal to $481,691.21 compared with those in the year ending on the
30th June, 1858.

It is estimated that the deficiency for the current fiscal year will be
$5,988,424.04, but that for the year ending 30th June, 1861, it will not
exceed $1,342,473.90 should Congress adopt the measures of reform proposed
and urged by the Postmaster—General. Since the month of March retrenchments
have been made in the expenditures amounting to $1,826,471 annually, which,
however, did not take effect until after the commencement of the present
fiscal year. The period seems to have arrived for determining the question
whether this Department shall become a permanent and ever—increasing charge
upon the Treasury, or shall be permitted to resume the self—sustaining
policy which had so long controlled its administration. The course of
legislation recommended by the Postmaster—General for the relief of the
Department from its present embarrassments and for restoring it to its
original independence is deserving of your early and earnest
consideration.

In conclusion I would again commend to the just liberality of Congress the
local interests of the District of Columbia. Surely the city bearing the
name of Washington, and destined, I trust, for ages to be the capital of
our united, free, and prosperous Confederacy, has strong claims on our
favorable regard.

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