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over American vessels on the coasts of the United States or the seas adjacent thereto.
"Ministers and consuls of foreign nations are the means and agents of communication between us and those nations, and it is of the utmost importance that, while residing in the country, they should feel a perfect security so long as they faithfully discharge their respective duties, and are guilty of no violation of our laws. This is the admitted law of nations, and no country has a deeper interest in maintaining it than the United States. Our commerce spreads over every sea and visits every clime, and our ministers and consuls are appointed to protect the interests of that commerce, as well as to guard the peace of the country, and maintain the honour of its flag. But how can they discharge these duties unless they be themselves protected? and, if protected, it must be by the laws of the country in which they reside. And what is due to our own public functionaries residing in foreign nations is exactly the measure of what is due to the functionaries of other Governments residing here. As in war the bearers of flags of truce are sacred, or else wars would be interminable, so in peace ambassadors, public ministers, and consuls, charged with friendly national intercourse, are objects of special respect and protection, each according to the rights belonging to his rank and station. In view of these important principles it is with deep mortification and regret I announce to you that during the excitement growing out of the executions at Havannah, the office of Her Catholic Majesty's consul at New Orleans was assailed by a mob, his property destroyed,
the Spanish flag found in the office carried off and torn in pieces, and he himself induced to flee for his personal safety, which he supposed to be in danger. On receiving intelligence of these events I forthwith directed the attorney of the United States residing at New Orleans to inquire into the facts, and the extent of the pecuniary loss sustained by the consul, with the intention of laying them before you, that you might make provision for such indemnity to him as a just regard for the honour of the nation, and the respect which is due to a friendly power, might, in your judgment, seem to require. The correspondence upon this subject, between the Secretary of State and Her Catholic Majesty's Minister Plenipotentiary, is herewith transmitted.
"The occurrence atNew Orleans has led me to give my attention to the state of our law in regard to foreign ambassadors, ministers, and consuls. I think the legislation of the country is deficient in not providing sufficiently either for the protection or the punishment of consuls. I therefore recommend the subject to the consideration of Congress.
"The Turkish Government has expressed its thanks for the kind reception given to the Sultan's agent, Amin Bey, on the occasion of his recent visit to the United States. On the 28th of February last a dispatch was addressed by the Secretary of State to Mr. Marsh, the American Minister at Constantinople, instructing him to ask of' the Turkish Government permission for the Hungarians, then imprisoned within the dominions of the Sublime Porte, to remove to this country. On the 3rd of March last both Houses of Congress passed a resolution requesting the President to authorize the employment of a public vessel to convey to this country Louis Kossuth and his associates in captivity.
"The instruction above referred to was complied with, and the Turkish Government having released Governor Kossuth and his companions from prison, on the 10th of September last they embarked on board the United States' steam-frigate Mississippi, which was selected to carry into effect the resolution of Congress. Governor Kossuth left the Mississippi at Gibraltar for the purpose of making a visit to England, and may shortly be expected in New York. By communications to the Department of State he has expressed his grateful acknowledgments for the interposition of this Government in behalf of himself and his associates. This country has been justly regarded as a safe asylum for those whom political events have exiled from their homes in Europe; and it is recommended to Congress to consider in what manner Governor Kossuth and his companions, brought hither by its authority, shall be received and treated.
"In my last annual message I informed Congress that citizens of the United States had undertaken the connection of the two oceans by means of a railroad across the Isthmus of Tehuantepee, under a grant of the Mexican Government to a citizen of that Republic; and that this enterprise would probably be prosecuted with energy whenever Mexico should consent to such stipulations with the Government of the United States as should impart a feeling of security
to those who should invest their property in the enterprise.
"A convention between the two Governments for the accomplishment of that end has been ratified by this Government, and only awaits the decision of the Congress and the Executive of that Republic.
"Some unexpected difficulties and delays have arisen in the ratification of that convention by Mexico, but it is to be presumed that her decision will be governed by just and enlightened views, as well of the general importance of the object, as of her own interests and obligations.
"In negotiating upon this important subject this Government has had in view one, and only one, object. That object has been, and is, the construction or attainment of a passage from ocean to ocean, the shortest and the best for travellers and merchandise, and equally open to all the world. It has sought to attain no territorial acquisition, nor any advantages peculiar to itself; and it would see with the greatest regret that Mexico should oppose any obstacle to the accomplishment of an enterprise which promises so much convenience to the whole commercial world, and such eminent advantages to Mexico herself. Impressed with these sentiments and these convictions, the Government will continue to exert all proper efforts to bring about the necessary arrangement with the Republic of Mexico for the speedy completion of the work,
"For some months past the Republic of Nicaragua has been the theatre of one of those civil convulsions from which the cause of free institutions, and the general prosperity and social progress of
the States of Central America have so often and so severely suffered. Until quiet shall have been restored, and a Government apparently stable shall have been organized, no advance can prudently be made in disposing of the questions pending between the two countries.
"I am happy to announce that an inter-oceanic communication from the mouth of the St. John to the Pacific has been so far accomplished as that passengers have actually traversed it, and merchandise has been transported over it; and when the canal shall have been completed according to the original plan, the means of communication will be further improved.
"By reference to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury it will be seen that the aggregate receipts for the last fiscal year amounted to 52,312,979 dollars 87c.; which, with the balance in the Treasury on the 1st of July, 1850, gave, as the available means for the year, the sum of 58,917,524 dollars 36c.
"The total expenditures for the same period were 48,005,878 dollars 68c.
"The total imports for the year ending the 30th of June, 1851, were 215,725,995 dollars.
"Of which there were in specie 4,967,901 dollars.
"The exports for the same period were 217,517,130 dollars.
"Of which there were, of domestic products, 178,546,555 dollars; foreign goods re-exported, 9,738,695 dollars; specie, 29,231,880 dollars: 217,517,130 dollars.
"Since the 1st of December last the payments in cash on account of the public debt,exclusiveof interest, have amounted to 7,501,456 dollars
56c.; which, however, includes the sum of 3,242,400 dollars paid under the 12 th article of the treaty with Mexico, and the further sum of 2,591,213 dollars 45c., being the amount of awards to American citizens under the late treaty with Mexico, for which the issue of stock was authorized, but which was paid in cash from the Treasury.
"The public debt on the 20th ultimo, exclusive of the stock authorized to be issued to Texas by the Act of the 9th of September, 1850, was 62,560,395 dollars 26o.
"The receipts for the next fiscal year are estimated at 51,800,000 dollars, which, with the probable unappropriated balance in the Treasury on the 30th of June next, will give as the probable available means for that year the sum of 63,258,743 dollars the.
"It has been deemed proper, in view of the large expenditures consequent upon the acquisition of territory from Mexico, that the estimates for the next fiscal year should be laid before Congress in such manner as to distinguish the expenditures so required from the otherwise ordinary demands upon the Treasury.
"The total expenditures for the next fiscal year are estimated at 42,892,299 dollars 19c., of which there is required for the ordinary purposes of the Government, other than those consequent upon the acquisition of our new territories, and deducting the payments on account of the public debt, the sum of 33,343,198 dollars 8c., and for the purposes connected directly or indirectly with those territories, and in the fulfilment of the obligations of the Government, contracted in consequence of their acquisition, the sum of 9,549,101 dollars 1 lc.
"The values of our domestic exports for the last fiscal year, as compared with those of the previous year, exhibit an increase of 48,646,32-2 dollars. At first view this condition of our trade with foreign nations would seem to present the most flattering hopes of its future properity. An examination of the details of our exports, however, will show that the increased value of our exports for the last fiscal year is to be found in the high price of cotton which prevailed during the first half of that year, which price has since declined about one-half.
"The value of our exports of bread-stuffs and provisions, which it was supposed the incentive of a low tariff and large importations from abroad would have greatly augmented, has fallen from 68,701,9-21 dollars in 1847 to 20,051,373 dollarsin 1850, and to 21,948,653dollars in 1851, with a strong probability, amounting almost to a certainty, of a still further reduction in the current year.
"The aggregrate values of rice exported during the last fiscal year, as compared with the previous year, also exhibit a decrease amounting to 460,017 dollars, which, with a decline in the values of the exports of tobacco for the same period, make an aggregate decrease in these two articles of 1,156,751 dollars.
"The policy which dictated a low rate of duties on foreign merchandise, it was thought by those who promoted and established it, would tend to benefit the farming population of this country, by increasing the demand and raising the price of agricultural products in foreign markets.
"The foregoing facts, however, seem to show incontestably that no such resulthasfollowedtheadoption of this policy. On the contrary.
notwithstanding the repeal of the restrictive corn laws in England, the foreign demand for the products of the American farmer has steadily declined, since the short crops and consequent famine in a portion of Europe have been happily replaced by full crops and comparative abundance of food.
"The production of gold in California, for the past year, seems to promise a large supply of that metal from that quarter for some time to come. This large annual increase of the currency of the world must be attended with its usual results. These have been already partially disclosed in the enhancement of prices and a rising spirit of speculation and adventure, tending to overtrading as well at home as abroad. Unless some salutary check shall be given to these tendencies, it is to be feared that importations of foreign goods beyond a healthy demand in this country will lead to a sudden drain of the precious metals from us, bringing with it, as it has done in former times, the most disastrous consequences to the business and capital of the American people.
"In my last annual message, to which I respectfully refer, I stated briefly the reasons which induced me to recommend a modification of the present tariff, by converting the ad valorem into a specific duty wherever the article imported was of such a character as to permit it, and that such a discrimination should be made in favour of the industrial pursuits of our own country as to encourage home production without excluding foreign competition.
"The numerous frauds which continue to be practised upon the revenue by false invoices and undervaluations constitute an unanswerable reason for adopting specific instead of ad valorem duties in all cases where the nature of the commodity does not forbid it. A striking illustration of these frauds will be exhibited in the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, showing the Custom-house valuation of articles imported under a former law subject to specific duties, when there was no inducement to undervaluation, and the Customhouse valuations of the same articles, under the present system of ad valorem duties, so greatly reduced as to leave no doubt of the existence of the most flagrant abuses under the existing laws. This practical evasion of the present law, combined with thelanguishingcondition of some of the great interests of the country, caused by overimportations and consequent depressed prices, and with the failure in obtaining a foreign market for our increasing surplusof breadstuffsand provision, has inducedme again to recommend a modification of the existing tariff. "The proper disposal of the mineral lands of California is a subject surrounded by great difficulties. In my last annual message I recommended the survey and sale of them in small parcels, under such restrictions as would effectually guard against monopoly and speculation. But, upon further information, and in deference to the opinions of persons familiar with the subject, I am inclined to change that recommendation, and to advise that they be permitted to remain, as at present, a common field, open to the enterprise and industry of all our citizens, until further experience shall have developed the best policy to be ultimately adopted in regard to them. It is safer to suffer the inconveniences that now exist for a short period than, by pre
mature legislation, to fasten on the country a system, founded in error, which may place the whole subject beyond the future control of Congress.
"The agricultural lands should, however, be surveyed and brought into market with as little delay as possible, that the titles may become settled, and the inhabitants stimulated to make permanent improvements, and enter on the ordinary pursuits of life. To effect these objects, it is desirable that the necessary provision be made by law for the establishment of land offices in California and Oregon, and for the efficient prosecution of the surveys at an early day.
"Agriculture may justly be regarded as the great interest of our people. Four-fifths of our active population are employed in the cultivation of the soil, and the rapid expansion of our settlements over new territory is daily adding to the number of those engaged in that vocation. Justice and sound policy, therefore, alike require that the Government should use all the means authorized by the Constitution to promote the interests and welfare of that important class of our fellow-citizens. And yet it is a singular fact that, while the manufacturing and commercial interests have engaged the attention of Congress during a large portion of every session, and our statutes abound in provisions for their protection and encouragement, little has yet been done directly for the advancement of agriculture. It is time that this reproach to our legislation should be removed; and I sincerely hope that the present Congress will not close their labours without adopting efficient means to supply the omissions of those who have preceded them.