Page images
PDF
EPUB

aggrandizement. The necessity, however, of repressing such unlawful movements clearly indicates the duty which rests upon us of adapting our legislative action to the new circumstances of a decline of European monarchical power and influence and the increase of American republican ideas, interests, and sympathies.

It can not be long before it will become necessary for this Government to lend some effective aid to the solution of the political and social problems which are continually kept before the world by the two Republics of the island of St. Domingo, and which are now disclosing themselves more distinctly than heretofore in the island of Cuba. The subject is commended to your consideration with all the more earnestness because I am satisfied that the time has arrived when even so direct a proceeding as a proposition for an annexation of the two Republics of the island of St. Domingo would not only receive the consent of the people interested, but would also give satisfaction to all other foreign nations.

I am aware that upon the question of further extending our possessions it is apprehended by some that our political system can not successfully be applied to an area more extended than our continent; but the conviction is rapidly gaining ground in the American mind that with the increased facilities for intercommunication between all portions of the earth the principles of free government, as embraced in our Constitution, if faithfully maintained and carried out, would prove of sufficient strength and breadth to comprehend within their sphere and influence the civilized nations of the world.

The attention of the Senate and of Congress is again respectfully. invited to the treaty for the establishment of commercial reciprocity with the Hawaiian Kingdom entered into last year, and already ratified by that Government. The attitude of the United States toward these islands is not very different from that in which they stand toward the West Indies. It is known and felt by the Hawaiian Government and people that their Government and institutions are feeble and precarious; that the United States, being so near a neighbor, would be unwilling to see the islands pass under foreign control. Their prosperity is continually disturbed by expectations and alarms of unfriendly political proceedings, as well from the United States as from other foreign powers. A reciprocity treaty, while it could not materially diminish the revenues of the United States, would be a guaranty of the good will and forbearance of all nations until the people of the islands shall of themselves, at no distant day, voluntarily apply for admission into the Union.

The Emperor of Russia has acceded to the treaty negotiated here in January last for the security of trade-marks in the interest of manufacturers and commerce. I have invited his attention to the importance of establishing, now while it seems easy and practicable, a fair and equal regulation of the vast fisheries belonging to the two nations in the waters of the North Pacific Ocean.

M P-VOL VI-44

[graphic]

The two treaties between the United States and Italy for the regulation of consular powers and the extradition of criminals, negotiated and ratified here during the last session of Congress, have been accepted and confirmed by the Italian Government. A liberal consular convention which has been negotiated with Belgium will be submitted to the Senate. The very important treaties which were negotiated between the United States and North Germany and Bavaria for the regulation of the rights of naturalized citizens have been duly ratified and exchanged, and similar treaties have been entered into with the Kingdoms of Belgium and Wurtemberg and with the Grand Duchies of Baden and Hesse-Darmstadt. I hope soon to be able to submit equally satisfactory conventions of the same character now in the course of negotiation with the respective Governments of Spain, Italy, and the Ottoman Empire.

Examination of claims against the United States by the Hudsons Bay Company and the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, on account of certain possessory rights in the State of Oregon and Territory of Washington, alleged by those companies in virtue of provisions of the treaty between the United States and Great Britain of June 15, 1846, has been diligently prosecuted, under the direction of the joint international commission to which they were submitted for adjudication by treaty between the two Governments of July 1, 1863, and will, it is expected, be concluded at an early day.

No practical regulation concerning colonial trade and the fisheries can be accomplished by treaty between the United States and Great Britain until Congress shall have expressed their judgment concerning the principles involved. Three other questions, however, between the United States and Great Britain remain open for adjustment. These are the mutual rights of naturalized citizens, the boundary question involving the title to the island of San Juan, on the Pacific coast, and mutual claims arising since the year 1853 of the citizens and subjects of the two countries for injuries and depredations committed under the authority of their respective Governments. Negotiations upon these subjects are pending, and I am not without hope of being able to lay before the Senate, for its consideration during the present session, protocols calculated to bring to an end these justly exciting and long-existing controversies.

We are not advised of the action of the Chinese Government upon the liberal and auspicious treaty which was recently celebrated with its plenipotentiaries at this capital.

Japan remains a theater of civil war, marked by religious incidents and political severities peculiar to that long-isolated Empire. The Executive has hitherto maintained strict neutrality among the belligerents, and acknowledges with pleasure that it has been frankly and fully sustained in that course by the enlightened concurrence and cooperation of the other treaty powers, namely, Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, North Germany, and Italy.

[graphic]

Spain having recently undergone a revolution marked by extraordinary unanimity and preservation of order, the provisional government established at Madrid has been recognized, and the friendly intercourse which has so long happily existed between the two countries remains unchanged.

I renew the recommendation contained in my communication to Congress dated the 18th July last—a copy of which accompanies this message—that the judgment of the people should be taken on the propriety of so amending the Federal Constitution that it shall provide—

First. For an election of President and Vice-President by a direct vote of the people, instead of through the agency of electors, and making them ineligible for reelection to a second term.

Second. For a distinct designation of the person who shall discharge the duties of President in the event of a vacancy in that office by the death, resignation, or removal of both the President and Vice-President.

Third. For the election of Senators of the United States directly by the people of the several States, instead of by the legislatures; and Fourth. For the limitation to a period of years of the terms of Federal judges.

Profoundly impressed with the propriety of making these important modifications in the Constitution, I respectfully submit them for the early and mature consideration of Congress. We should, as far as possible, remove all pretext for violations of the organic law, by remedying such imperfections as time and experience may develop, ever remembering that "the constitution which at any time exists until changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people is sacredly obligatory upon all."

In the performance of a duty imposed upon me by the Constitution, I have thus communicated to Congress information of the state of the Union and recommended for their consideration such measures as have seemed to me necessary and expedient. If carried into effect, they will hasten the accomplishment of the great and beneficent purposes for which the Constitution was ordained, and which it comprehensively states were "to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity." In Congress are vested all legislative powers, and upon them devolves the responsibility as well for framing unwise and excessive laws as for neglecting to devise and adopt measures absolutely demanded by the wants of the country. Let us earnestly hope that before the expiration of our respective terms of service, now rapidly drawing to a close, an allwise Providence will so guide our counsels as to strengthen and preserve the Federal Union, inspire reverence for the Constitution, restore prosperity and happiness to our whole people, and promote "on earth peace, good will toward men."

ANDREW JOHNSON.

[graphic]

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, December 8, 1868.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit a copy of a note of the 24th of November last addressed to the Secretary of State by the minister of Great Britain, communicating a decree of the district court of the United States for the southern district of New York ordering the payment of certain sums to the defendants in a suit against the English schooner Sibyl, libeled as a prize of war. It is requisite for the fulfillment of the decree that an appropriation of the sums specified therein should be made by Congress. The appropriation is recommended accordingly.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, December 11, 1868.

To the House of Representatives of the United States:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 7th instant, relating to the correspondence with the American minister at London concerning the so-called Alabama claims, I transmit a report on the subject from the Secretary of State.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, December 16, 1868.

To the House of Representatives:

In answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 14th December instant, I transmit the accompanying report* of the Secretary of State.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, December 16, 1868.

To the House of Representatives:

In answer to the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 14th instant, requesting the correspondence which has taken place between the United States minister at Brazil and Rear-Admiral Davis touching the disposition of the American squadron at Rio Janeiro and the Paraguay difficulties, I transmit a report of the Secretary of State upon that subject. ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, December 16, 1868.

To the Senate of the United States:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 8th instant, concerning recent transactions in the region of the La Plata affecting the political

*Relating to the sending of a commissioner from the United States to Spain.

relations of the United States with Paraguay, the Argentine Republic, Uruguay, and Brazil, I transmit a report of the Secretary of State, which is accompanied by a copy of the papers called for by the resolution. ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, December 18, 1868.

To the House of Representatives:

I herewith communicate a report of the Secretary of the Interior, in answer to a resolution adopted by the House of Representatives on the 16th instant, making inquiries in reference to the Union Pacific Railroad and requesting the transmission of the report of the special commissioners appointed to examine the construction and equipment of the road. ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, January 4, 1869.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate, in compliance with the request contained in its resolution of the 15th ultimo, a report from the Secretary of State, communicating information in regard to the action of the mixed commission for the adjustment of claims by citizens of the United States against the Government of Venezuela.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, January 4, 1869.

To the House of Representatives:

I transmit to the House of Representatives a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying papers, in relation to the resolution of Congress approved July 20, 1867, "declaring sympathy with the suffering people of Crete." ANDREW JOHNSON.

[The same message was sent to the Senate.]

WASHINGTON, January 4, 1869.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to ratification, an additional article to the convention of the 24th of October, 1867, between the United States and His Majesty the King of Denmark.

ANDREW JOHNSON.

WASHINGTON, January 5, 1869.

To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to ratification, a convention between the United States and His Hawaiian Majesty,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »