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could not be reconciled and live together in harmony—a belief based in a great degree upon the representations of the delegates of the two divisions. of the tribe. Since then, however, there appears to have been a change of opinion on this subject on the part of these divisions of the tribe, and on representations being made to me that by the appointment of commissioners to hear and investigate the causes of grievance of the parties against each other and to examine into their claims against the Government it would probably be found that an arrangement could be made which would once more harmonize the tribe and adjust in a satisfactory manner their claims upon and relations with the United States, I did not hesitate to appoint three persons for the purpose. The commissioners entered into an able and laborious investigation, and on their making known to me the probability of their being able to conclude a new treaty with the delegates of all the divisions of the tribe, who were fully empowered to make any new arrangement which would heal all dissensions among the Cherokees and restore them to their ancient condition of peace and good brotherhood, I authorized and appointed them. to enter into negotiations with these delegates for the accomplishment of that object. The treaty now transmitted is the result of their labors, and it is hoped that it will meet the approbation of Congress, and, if carried out in good faith by all parties to it, it is believed it will effect the great and desirable ends had in view. Accompanying the treaty is the report of the commissioners, and also a communication to them from John Ross and others, who represent what is termed the government party of the Cherokees, and which is transmitted at their request for the consideration of the Senate.
JAMES K. POLK.
WASHINGTON, August 8, 1846.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
I invite your attention to the propriety of making an appropriation to provide for any expenditure which it may be necessary to make in advance for the purpose of settling all our difficulties with the Mexican Republic. It is my sincere desire to terminate, as it was originally to avoid, the existing war with Mexico by a peace just and honorable to both parties. It is probable that the chief obstacle to be surmounted in accomplishing this desirable object will be the adjustment of a boundary between the two Republics which shall prove satisfactory and convenient to both, and such as neither will hereafter be inclined to disturb. In the adjustment of this boundary we ought to pay a fair equivalent for any concessions which may be made by Mexico.
Under these circumstances, and considering the other complicated questions to be settled by negotiation with the Mexican Republic, I deem it important that a sum of money should be placed under the control of the Executive to be advanced, if need be, to the Government of that Republic immediately after their ratification of a treaty.' It might be inconvenient for the Mexican Government to wait for the whole sum the payment of which may be stipulated by this treaty until it could be ratified by our. Senate and an appropriation to carry it into effect made by Congress. Indeed, the necessity for this delay might defeat the object altogether. The disbursement of this money would of course be accounted for, not as secret-service money, but like other expenditures. Two precedents for such a proceeding exist in our past history, during the Administration of Mr. Jefferson, to which I would call your attention: On the 26th February, 1803, an act was passed appropriating $2,000,ooo “for the purpose of defraying any extraordinary expenses which may be incurred in the intercourse between the United States and foreign nations,” “to be applied under the direction of the President of the United States, who shall cause an account of the expenditure thereof to be laid before Congress as soon as may be;” and on the 13th of February, 1806, an appropriation was made of the same amount and in the same terms. In neither case was the money actually drawn from the Treasury, and I should hope that the result in this respect might be similar on the present occasion, although the appropriation may prove to be indispensable in accomplishing the object. I would therefore recommend the passage of a law appropriating $2,000,ooo to be placed at the disposal of the Executive for the purpose which I have indicated. In order to prevent all misapprehension, it is my duty to state that, anxious as I am to terminate the existing war with the least possible delay, it will continue to be prosecuted with the utmost vigor until a treaty of peace shall be signed by the parties and ratified by the Mexican
Republic. JAMES K. POLK.
WASHINGTON, August 3, 1846.
7b the House of Representatives:
I have considered the bill entitled “An act making appropriations for the improvement of certain harbors and rivers” with the care which its importance demands, and now return the same to the House of Representatives, in which it originated, with my objections to its becoming a law. The bill proposes to appropriate $1,378,450 to be applied to more than forty distinct and separate objects of improvement. On examining its provisions and the variety of objects of improvement which it embraces, many of them of a local character, it is difficult to conceive, if it shall be sanctioned and become a law, what practical constitutionar restraint can hereafter be imposed upon the most extended system of internal improvements by the Federal Government in all parts of the Union. The Constitution has not, in my judgment, conferred upon the Federal Government the power to construct works of internal improvement within the States, or to appropriate money from the Treasury for that purpose. That this bill assumes for the Federal Government the right to exercise this power can not, I think, be doubted. The approved course of the Government and the deliberately expressed judgment of the people have denied the existence of such a power under the Constitution. Several of my predecessors have denied its existence in the most solemn forms. The general proposition that the Federal Government does not possess this power is so well settled and has for a considerable period been so generally acquiesced in that it is not deemed necessary to reiterate the arguments by which it is sustained. Nor do I deem it necessary, after the full and elaborate discussions which have taken place before the country on this subject, to do more than to state the general considerations which have satisfied me of the unconstitutionality and inexpediency of the exercise of such a power. It is not questioned that the Federal Government is one of limited powers. Its powers are such, and such only, as are expressly granted in the Constitution or are properly incident to the expressly granted powers and necessary to their execution. In determining whether a given power has been granted a sound rule of construction has been laid down by Mr. Madison. That rule is that—
Whenever a question arises concerning a particular power, the first question is whether the power be expressed in the Constitution. If it be, the question is decided. If it be not expressed, the next inquiry must be whether it is properly an incident to an expressed power and necessary to its execution. If it be, it may be exercised by Congress. If it be not, Congress can not exercise it.
It is not pretended that there is any express grant in the Constitution conferring on Congress the power in question. Is it, then, an incidental power necessary and proper for the execution of any of the granted powers? All the granted powers, it is confidently affirmed, may be effectually executed without the aid of such an incident. “A power, to be incidental, must not be exercised for ends which make it a principal or substantive power, independent of the principal power to which it is an incident.” It is not enough that it may be regarded by Congress as convenient or that its exercise would advance the public weal. It must be necessary and proper to the execution of the principal expressed power to which it is an incident, and without which such principal power can not be carried into effect. The whole frame of the Federal Constitution proves that the Government which it creates was intended to be one of limited and specified powers. A construction of the Constitution so broad as that by which the power in question is defended tends imperceptibly to a consolidation of power in a Government intended by its framers to be thus limited in its authority. “The obvious tendency and inevitable result of a consolidation of the States into one sovereignty would be to transform the republican system of the United States into a monarchy.” To guard against the assumption of all powers which encroach upon the reserved sovereignty of the States, and which consequently tend to consolidation, is the duty of all the true friends of our political system. That the power in question is not properly an incident to any of the granted powers I am fully satisfied; but if there were doubts on this subject, experience has demonstrated the wisdom of the rule that all the functionaries of the Federal Government should abstain from the exercise of all questionable or doubtful powers. If an enlargement of the powers of the Federal Government should be deemed proper, it is safer and wiser to appeal to the States and the people in the mode prescribed by the Constitution for the grant desired than to assume its exercise without an amendment of the Constitution. If Congress does not possess the general power to construct works of internal improvement within the States, or to appropriate money from the Treasury for that purpose, what is there to exempt some, at least, of the objects of appropriation included in this bill from the operation of the general rule? This bill assumes the existence of the power, and in some of its provisions asserts the principle that Congress may exercise it as fully as though the appropriations which it proposes were applicable to the construction of roads and canals. If there be a distinction in principle, it is not perceived, and should be clearly defined. Some of the objects of appropriation contained in this bill are local in their character, and lie within the limits of a single State; and though in the language of the bill they are called harbors, they are not connected with foreign commerce, nor are they places of refuge or shelter for our Navy or commercial marine on the ocean or lake shores. To call the mouth of a creek or a shallow inlet on our coast a harbor can not confer the authority to expend the public money in its improvement. Congress have exercised the power coeval with the Constitution of establishing light-houses, beacons, buoys, and piers on our ocean and lake shores for the purpose of rendering navigation safe and easy and of affording protection and shelter for our Navy and other shipping. These are safeguards placed in existing channels of navigation. After the long acquiescence of the Government through all preceding Administrations, I am not disposed to question or disturb the authority to make appropriations for such purposes. When we advance a step beyond this point, and, in addition to the establishment and support, by appropriations from the Treasury, of lighthouses, beacons, buoys, piers, and other improvements within the bays, inlets, and harbors on our ocean and lake coasts immediately connected with our foreign commerce, attempt to make improvements in the interior at points unconnected with foreign commerce, and where they are not needed for the protection and security of our Navy and commercial marine, the difficulty arises in drawing a line beyond which appropriations may not be made by the Federal Government. One of my predecessors, who saw the evil consequences of the system proposed to be revived by this bill, attempted to define this line by declaring that “expenditures of this character” should be “confined below the ports of entry or delivery established by law.” Acting on this restriction, he withheld his sanction from a bill which had passed Congress “to improve the navigation of the Wabash River.” He was at the same time “sensible that this restriction was not as satisfactory as could be desired, and that much embarrassment may be caused to the executive department in its execution, by appropriations for remote and not wellunderstood objects.” This restriction, it was soon found, was subject to be evaded and rendered comparatively useless in checking the system of improvements which it was designed to arrest, in consequence of the facility with which ports of entry and delivery may be established by law upon the upper waters, and in some instances almost at the head springs of some of the most unimportant of our rivers, and at points on our coast possessing no commercial importance and not used as places of refuge and safety by our Navy and other shipping. Many of the ports of entry and delivery now authorized by law, so far as foreign commerce is concerned, exist only in the statute books. No entry of foreign goods is ever made and no duties are ever collected at them. No exports of American products bound for foreign countries ever clear from them. To assume that their existence in the statute book as ports of entry or delivery warrants expenditures on the waters leading to them, which would be otherwise unauthorized, would be to assert the proposition that the lawmaking power may ingraft new provisions on the Constitution. If the restriction is a sound one, it can only apply to the bays, inlets, and rivers connected with or leading to such ports as actually have foreign commerce—ports at which foreign importations arrive in bulk, paying the duties charged by law, and from which exports are made to foreign countries. It will be found by applying the restriction thus understood to the bill under consideration that it contains appropriations for more than twenty objects of internal improvement, called in the bill harbors, at places which have never been declared by law either ports of entry or delivery, and at which, as appears from the records of the Treasury, there has never been an arrival of foreign merchandise, and from which there has never been a vessel cleared for a foreign country. It will be found that many of these works are new, and at places for the improvement of which appropriations are now for the first time proposed. It will be found also that the bill contains appropriations for rivers upon which there not only exists no foreign commerce, but upon which there has not been established even a paper port of entry,