Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

post-offices. Contractors, postmasters, and others engaged in this branch of the service have performed their duties with energy and faithfulness deserving commendation. For many interesting details connected with the operations of this establishment you are referred to the report of the Postmaster-General, and his suggestions for improving its revenues are recommended to your favorable consideration. I repeat the opinion expressed in my last annual message that the business of this Department should be so regulated that the revenues derived from it should be made to equal the expenditures, and it is believed that this may be done by proper modifications of the present laws, as suggested in the report of the Postmaster-General, without changing the present rates of postage.

With full reliance upon the wisdom and patriotism of your deliberations, it will be my duty, as it will be my anxious desire, to cooperate with you in every constitutional effort to promote the welfare and maintain the honor of our common country.

JAMES K. POLK.

SPECIAL MESSAGES.

WASHINGTON, December 14, 1846. To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate, for their consideration and advice with regard to its ratification, a convention for the mutual surrender of criminals between the United States and the Swiss Confederation, signed by their respective plenipotentiaries on the 15th of September last at Paris.

I transmit also a copy of a dispatch from the plenipotentiary of the United States, with the accompanying documents.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, December 22, 1846. To the House of Representatives of the United States:

In compliance with the request contained in the resolution of tnt House of Representatives of the 15th instant, I communicate herewith reports from the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy, with the documents which accompany them.

These documents contain all the “orders or instructions” to any military, naval, or other officer of the Government "in relation to the establishment or organization of civil government in any portion of the territory of Mexico which has or might be taken possession of by the Army or Navy of the United States."

These orders and instructions were given to regulate the exercise of the rights of a belligerent engaged in actual war over such portions of the territory of our enemy as by military conquest might be "taken possession

of” and be occupied by our armed forces-rights necessarily resulting from a state of war and clearly recognized by the laws of nations. This was all the authority which could be delegated to our military and naval commanders, and its exercise was indispensable to the secure occupation and possession of territory of the enemy which might be conquered. The regulations authorized were temporary, and dependent on the rights acquired by conquest. They were authorized as belligerent rights, and were to be carried into effect by military or naval officers. They were but the amelioration of martial law, which modern civilization requires, and were due as well to the security of the conquest as to the inhabitaats of the conquered territory.

The documents communicated also contain the reports of several highly meritorious officers of our Army and Navy who have conquered and taken possession of portions of the enemy's territory.

Among the documents accompanying the report of the Secretary of War will be found a "form of government" "established and organized” by the military commander who conquered and occupied with his forces the Territory of New Mexico. This document was received at the War Department in the latter part of the last month, and, as will be perceived by the report of the Secretary of War, was not, for the reasons stated by that officer, brought to my notice until after my annual message of the 8th instant was communicated to Congress.

It is declared on its face to be a "temporary government of the said Territory," but there are portions of it which purport to establish and organize" a permanent Territorial government of the United States over the Territory and to impart to its inhabitants political rights which under the Constitution of the United States can be enjoyed permanently only by citizens of the United States. These have not been “approved and recognized” by me. Such organized regulations as have been established in any of the conquered territories for the security of our conquest, for the preservation of order, for the protection of the rights of the inhabitants, and for depriving the enemy of the advantages of these territories while the military possession of them by the forces of the United States continues will be recognized and approved.

It will be apparent from the reports of the officers who have been required by the success which has crowned their arms to exercise the powers of temporary government over the conquered territories that if any excess of power has been exercised the departure has been the offspring of a patriotic desire to give to the inhabitants the privileges and immunities so cherished by the people of our own country, and which they believed calculated to improve their condition and promote their prosperity. Any such excess has resulted in no practical injury, but can and will be early corrected in a manner to alienate as little as possible the good feelings of the inhabitants of the conquered territory.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, December 29, 1846. To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

In order to prosecute the war against Mexico with vigor and success, it is necessary that authority should be promptly given by Congress to increase the Regular Army and to remedy existing defects in its organization. With this view your favorable attention is invited to the annual report of the Secretary of War, which accompanied my message of the 8th instant, in which he recommends that ten additional regiments of regular troops shall be raised, to serve during the war.

Of the additional regiments of volunteers which have been called for from several of the States, some have been promptly raised; but this has not been the case in regard to all. The existing law, requiring that they should be organized by the independent action of the State governments, has in some instances occasioned considerable delay, and it is yet uncertain when the troops required can be ready for service in the field.

It is our settled policy to maintain in time of peace as small a Regular Army as the exigencies of the public service will permit. In a state of war, notwithstanding the great advantage with which our volunteer citizen soldiers can be brought into the field, this small Regular Army must be increased in its numbers in order to render the whole force more efficient.

Additional officers as well as men then become indispensable. Under the circumstances of our service a peculiar propriety exists for increasing the officers, especially in the higher grades. The number of such officers who from age and other causes are rendered incapable of active service in the field has seriously impaired the efficiency of the Army.

From the report of the Secretary of War it appears that about twothirds of the whole number of regimental field officers are either permanently disabled or are necessarily detached from their' commands on other duties. The long enjoyment of peace has prevented us from experiencing much embarrassment from this cause, but now, in a state of war, conducted in a foreign country, it has produced serious injury to the public service.

An efficient organization of the Army, composed of regulars and volunteers, whilst prosecuting the war in Mexico, it is believed would require the appointment of a general officer to take the command of all our military forces in the field. Upon the conclusion of the war the services of such an officer would no longer be necessary, and should be dispensed with upon the reduction of the Army to a peace establishment.

I recommend that provision be made by law for the appointment of such a general officer to serve during the war.

It is respectfully recommended that early action should be had by Congress upon the suggestions submitted for their consideration, as necessary to insure active and efficient service in prosecuting the war, before the present favorable season for military operations in the enenıy's country shall have passed away.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, January 4, 1847. To the Senate of the United States:

I communicate herewith a report of the Postmaster-General, which contains the information called for by the resolution of the Senate of the 16th instant, in relation to the means which have been taken for the transmission of letters and papers to and from the officers and soldiers now in the service of the United States in Mexico. In answer to the inquiry whether any legislation is necessary to secure the speedy transmission and delivery of such letters and papers, I refer you to the suggestions of the Postmaster-General, which are recommended to your favorable consideration.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, January 11, 1847. To the Senate of the United States:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the 22d ultimo, calling for information relative to the negotiation of the treaty of commerce with the Republic of New Granada signed on the 20th of December, 1844, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents by which it was accompanied.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, January 19, 1847. To the House of Representatives of the United States:

I transmit herewith a report of the Secretary of War, with the accompanying report from the Adjutant-General of the Army, made in compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 5th instant, requesting the President to communicate to the House "the whole number of volunteers which have been mustered into the service of the United States since the ist day of May last, designating the number mustered for three months, six months, and twelve months; the number of those who have been discharged before they served two months, number discharged after two months' service, and the number of volunteer officers who have resigned, and the dates of their resignations."

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, January 20, 1847. To the House of Representatives of the United States:

I communicate herewith a letter received from the president of the convention of delegates of the people of Wisconsin, transmitting a certified copy of the constitution adopted by the delegates of the people of Wisconsin in convention assembled, also a copy of the act of the legislature of the Territory of Wisconsin providing for the calling of said convention, and also a copy of the last census, showing the number of

inhabitants in said Territory, requesting the President to "lay the same before the Congress of the United States with the request that Congress act upon the same at its present session,"

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, January 25, 1847. To the House of Representatives of the United States:

I communicate herewith a report of the Secretary of the Treasury, accompanied by a statement of the Register of the Treasury prepared in compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 7th instant, requesting the President "to furnish the House with a statement showing the whole amount allowed and paid at the Treasury during the year ending 30th June, 1846, for postages of the Executive Departments of the Government and for the several officers and persons authorized by the act approved 3d March, 1846, to send or receive matter through the mails free, including the amount allowed or allowable, if charged in the postages of any officers or agents, military, naval, or civil, employed in or by any of said Departments.” It will be perceived that said statement is as full and accurate as can be made during the present session of Congress.

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, January 29, 1847. To the House of Representatives of the United States:

I communicate herewith a report of the Secretary of War, together with reports of the Adjutant-General and Paymaster-General of the Army, in answer to a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 20th instant, requesting the President to communicate to the House “whether any, and, if any, which, of the Representatives named in the list annexed have held any office or offices under the United States since the commencement of the Twenty-ninth Congress, designating the office or offices held by each, and whether the same are now so held, and including in said information the names of all who are now serving in the Army of the United States as officers and receiving pay as such, and when and by whom they were commissioned.”

JAMES K. POLK.

WASHINGTON, February 3, 1847. To the Senate of the United States.

I communicate herewith reports of the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Treasury, with accompanying documents, in answer to a resolution of the Senate "requesting the President to inform the Senate whether any funds of the Government, and, if any, what amount, have

« EdellinenJatka »