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In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed.


Given under my hand, at the city of Washington, this 2d
day of June, A. D. 1856, and of the Independence of the United
States the eightieth.

By the President:


Secretary of State.



Whereas whilst hostilities exist with various Indian tribes on the remote frontiers of the United States, and whilst in other respects the public peace is seriously threatened, Congress has adjourned without granting necessary supplies for the Army, depriving the Executive of the power to perform his duty in relation to the common defense and security, and an extraordinary occasion has thus arisen for assembling the two Houses of Congress, I do therefore by this my proclamation convene the said Houses to meet in the Capitol, at the city of Washington, on Thursday, the 21st day of August instant, hereby requiring the respective Senators and Representatives then and there to assemble to consult and determine on such measures as the state of the Union may seem to require.

In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed and signed the same with my hand. Done at the city of Washington, the 18th day of August, A. D. 1856, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-first.


By order:



Secretary of State.


WASHINGTON, August 21, 1856.

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

In consequence of the failure of Congress at its recent session to make provision for the support of the Army, it became imperatively incumbent on me to exercise the power which the Constitution confers on the Executive for extraordinary occasions, and promptly to convene the two

Houses in order to afford them an opportunity of reconsidering a subject of such vital interest to the peace and welfare of the Union.

With the exception of a partial authority vested by law in the Secretary of War to contract for the supply of clothing and subsistence, the Army is wholly dependent on the appropriations annually made by Congress. The omission of Congress to act in this respect before the termination of the fiscal year had already caused embarrassments to the service, which were overcome only in expectation of appropriations before the close of the present month. If the requisite funds be not speedily provided, the Executive will no longer be able to furnish the transportation, equipments, and munitions which are essential to the effectiveness of a military force in the field. With no provision for the pay of troops the contracts of enlistment would be broken and the Army must in effect be disbanded, the consequences of which would be so disastrous as to demand all possible efforts to avert the calamity.

It is not merely that the officers and enlisted men of the Army are to be thus deprived of the pay and emoluments to which they are entitled by standing laws; that the construction of arms at the public armories, the repair and construction of ordnance at the arsenals, and the manufacture of military clothing and camp equipage must be discontinued, and the persons connected with this branch of the public service thus be deprived suddenly of the employment essential to their subsistence; nor is it merely the waste consequent on the forced abandonment of the seaboard fortifications and of the interior military posts and other establishments, and the enormous expense of recruiting and reorganizing the Army and again distributing it over the vast regions which it now occupies. These are evils which may, it is true, be repaired hereafter by taxes imposed on the country; but other evils are involved, which no expenditures, however lavish, could remedy, in comparison with which local and personal injuries or interests sink into insignificance.

A great part of the Army is situated on the remote frontier or in the deserts and mountains of the interior. To discharge large bodies of men in such places without the means of regaining their homes, and where few, if any, could obtain subsistence by honest industry, would be to subject them to suffering and temptation, with disregard of justice and right most derogatory to the Government.

In the Territories of Washington and Oregon numerous bands of Indians are in arms and are waging a war of extermination against the white inhabitants; and although our troops are actively carrying on the campaign, we have no intelligence as yet of a successful result. On the Western plains, notwithstanding the imposing display of military force recently made there and the chastisement inflicted on the rebellious tribes, others, far from being dismayed, have manifested hostile intentions and been guilty of outrages which, if not designed to provoke a conflict, serve to show that the apprehension of it is insufficient wholly to restrain

their vicious propensities. A strong force in the State of Texas has produced a temporary suspension of hostilities there, but in New Mexico incessant activity on the part of the troops is required to keep in check the marauding tribes which infest that Territory. The hostile Indians have not been removed from the State of Florida, and the withdrawal of the troops therefrom, leaving that object unaccomplished, would be most injurious to the inhabitants and a breach of the positive engagement of the General Government.

To refuse supplies to the Army, therefore, is to compel the complete cessation of all its operations and its practical disbandment, and thus to invite hordes of predatory savages from the Western plains and the Rocky Mountains to spread devastation along a frontier of more than 4,000 miles in extent and to deliver up the sparse population of a vast tract of country to rapine and murder.

Such, in substance, would be the direct and immediate effects of the refusal of Congress, for the first time in the history of the Government, to grant supplies for the maintenance of the Army-the inevitable waste of millions of public treasure; the infliction of extreme wrong upon all persons connected with the military establishment by service, employment, or contracts; the recall of our forces from the field; the fearful sacrifice of life and incalculable destruction of property on the remote frontiers; the striking of our national flag on the battlements of the fortresses which defend our maritime cities against foreign invasion; the violation of the public honor and good faith, and the discredit of the United States in the eyes of the civilized world.

I confidently trust that these considerations, and others appertaining to the domestic peace of the country which can not fail to suggest themselves to every patriotic mind, will on reflection be duly appreciated by both Houses of Congress and induce the enactment of the requisite provisions of law for the support of the Army of the United States.



EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Washington, August 21, 1856.

To the Senate and House of Representatives:

I transmit herewith a letter from the Secretary of War, in relation to the balances remaining in the Treasury from the last appropriation for the support of the Army.



WASHINGTON, December 2, 1856.

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

The Constitution requires that the President shall from time to time not only recommend to the consideration of Congress such measures as he may judge necessary and expedient, but also that he shall give information to them of the state of the Union. To do this fully involves exposition of all matters in the actual condition of the country, domestic or foreign, which essentially concern the general welfare. While performing his constitutional duty in this respect, the President does not speak merely to express personal convictions, but as the executive minister of the Government, enabled by his position and called upon by his official obligations to scan with an impartial eye the interests of the whole and of every part of the United States.

Of the condition of the domestic interests of the Union-its agriculture, mines, manufactures, navigation, and commerce-it is necessary only to say that the internal prosperity of the country, its continuous and steady advancement in wealth and population and in private as well as public well-being, attest the wisdom of our institutions and the predominant spirit of intelligence and patriotism which, notwithstanding occasional irregularities of opinion or action resulting from popular freedom, has distinguished and characterized the people of America.

In the brief interval between the termination of the last and the commencement of the present session of Congress the public mind has been occupied with the care of selecting for another constitutional term the President and Vice-President of the United States.

The determination of the persons who are of right, or contingently, to preside over the administration of the Government is under our system committed to the States and the people. We appeal to them, by their voice pronounced in the forms of law, to call whomsoever they will to the high post of Chief Magistrate.

And thus it is that as the Senators represent the respective States of the Union and the members of the House of Representatives the several constituencies of each State, so the President represents the aggregate population of the United States. Their election of him is the explicit and solemn act of the sole sovereign authority of the Union.

It is impossible to misapprehend the great principles which by their recent political action the people of the United States have sanctioned and announced.

They have asserted the constitutional equality of each and all of the States of the Union as States; they have affirmed the constitutional

equality of each and all of the citizens of the United States as citizens, whatever their religion, wherever their birth or their residence; they have maintained the inviolability of the constitutional rights of the different sections of the Union, and they have proclaimed their devoted and unalterable attachment to the Union and to the Constitution, as objects of interest superior to all subjects of local or sectional controversy, as the safeguard of the rights of all, as the spirit and the essence of the liberty, peace, and greatness of the Republic.

In doing this they have at the same time emphatically condemned the idea of organizing in these United States mere geographical parties, of marshaling in hostile array toward each other the different parts of the country, North or South, East or West.

Schemes of this nature, fraught with incalculable mischief, and which the considerate sense of the people has rejected, could have had countenance in no part of the country had they not been disguised by suggestions plausible in appearance, acting upon an excited state of the public mind, induced by causes temporary in their character and, it is to be hoped, transient in their influence.

Perfect liberty of association for political objects and the widest scope of discussion are the received and ordinary conditions of government in our country. Our institutions, framed in the spirit of confidence in the intelligence and integrity of the people, do not forbid citizens, either individually or associated together, to attack by writing, speech, or any other methods short of physical force the Constitution and the very existence of the Union. Under the shelter of this great liberty, and protected by the laws and usages of the Government they assail, associations have been formed in some of the States of individuals who, pretending to seek only to prevent the spread of the institution of slavery into the present or future inchoate States of the Union, are really inflamed with desire to change the domestic institutions of existing States. To accomplish their objects they dedicate themselves to the odious task of depreciating the government organization which stands in their way and of calumniating with indiscriminate invective not only the citizens of particular States with whose laws they find fault, but all others of their fellowcitizens throughout the country who do not participate with them in their assaults upon the Constitution, framed and adopted by our fathers, and claiming for the privileges it has secured and the blessings it has conferred the steady support and grateful reverence of their children. They seek an object which they well know to be a revolutionary one. They are perfectly aware that the change in the relative condition of the white and black races in the slaveholding States which they would promote is beyond their lawful authority; that to them it is a foreign object; that it can not be effected by any peaceful instrumentality of theirs; that for them and the States of which they are citizens the only path to its accomplishment is through burning cities, and ravaged fields,

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