Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

WASHINGTON, January 10, 1851. To the Senate of the United States:

I have the honor herewith to transmit to the Senate a communication from the Secretary of the Navy on the subject of the discipline of the Navy, suggesting such amendments of the law as may be necessary in consequence of the recent act abolishing flogging; to which I respectfully invite the immediate attention of Congress.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, January 14, 1851. To the House of Representatives of the United States:

In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives adopted July 18, 1850, requesting the President to communicate his views on sundry questions of rank, precedence, and command among officers of the Army and officers of the Navy, respectively, and of relative rank between officers of the Army and Navy when brought into cooperation, I caused to be convened a board of intelligent and experienced officers in each branch of the service to consider the matters involved in said resolutions and to report their opinion for my advice and information.

Their reports have been made, and I have the honor herewith to submit copies of them, together with bills drafted substantially in accordance therewith, on the subject of rank in each branch of the service.

The subject is one of great interest, and it is highly important that it should be settled by legislative authority and with as little delay as possible consistently with its proper examination.

The points on which it will be perceived that the two boards disagree in regard to relative rank between officers of the Army and Navy are not esteemed of very great practical importance, and the adoption of the rule proposed by either would be acceptable to the Executive.

But even if a decision on these shall be suspended, it is hoped that the bills which are designed to regulate rank, precedence, and command in the Army and Navy as separate branches of service may receive the sanction of Congress, with such amendments as may be deemed appropriate, in the course of the present session.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, February 3, 1851. To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying papers, * in answer to their resolution of the 30th ultimo.

MILLARD FILLMORE. *Correspondence relative to the possessory rights of the British Hudsons Bay Company in Oregon,

WASHINGTON, February 12, 1851. To the Senate of the United States:

I transmit herewith a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying documents, * in answer to the Senate's resolution of the ist instant.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, February 13, 1851. To the Senate of the United States:

I herewith communicate to the Senate, for its consideration, a general convention between the United States and the Swiss Confederation, concluded and signed at Berne on the 25th day of November last by Mr. A. Dudley Mann on the part of the United States and by Messrs. Druey and Frey-Hérosée on the part of the Swiss Confederation. I communicate at the same time a copy of the instructions under which Mr. Mann acted and his dispatch of the 30th November last, explanatory of the articles of the convention.

In submitting this convention to the consideration of the Senate I feel it my duty to invite its special attention to the first and fifth articles. These articles appear to contain provisions quite objectionable, if, indeed, they can be considered as properly embraced in the treaty-making power.

The second clause of the first article is in these words: In the United States of America citizens of Switzerland shall be received and treated in each State upon the same footing and upon the same conditions as citizens of the United States born in or belonging to other States of the Union.

It is well known that according to the Constitution of the United States a citizen of one State may hold lands in any other State; and States have, sometimes by general, sometimes by special, laws, removed the disabilities attaching to foreigners not naturalized in regard to the holding of land. But this is not supposed to be a power properly to be exercised by the President and Senate in concluding and ratifying a treaty with a foreign state. The authority naturally belongs to the State within whose limits the land may lie. The naturalization of foreigners is provided for by the laws of the United States, in pursuance of the provision of the Constitution; but when, under the operation of these laws, foreigners become cit. izens of the United States, all would seem to be done which it is in the power of this Government to do to enable foreigners to hold land. The clause referred to, therefore, appears to me inadmissible.

The fourth clause of the same article provides, among other things, that citizens of Switzerland may, within the United States, acquire, possess, and alienate personal and real estate, and the fifth article grants them the power of disposing of their real estate, which, perhaps, would

*Correspondence with Spain relative to the claim of the owners of the schooner Amistad for compensation on account of the liberation of begroes on board said vessel.

be no otherwise objectionable, if it stood by itself, than as it would seem to imply a power to hold that of which they are permitted to dispose.

These objections, perhaps, may be removed by striking out the second clause of the first article and the words "and real” in the fourth clause. An amendment similar to the last here suggested was made by the Senate in the convention between the United States and the King of Bavaria, the ratification of which, as amended, the Senate advised and consented to on the 15th day of March, 1845.

But there is another and a decisive objection, arising from the last clause in the first article. That clause is in these words:

On account of the tenor of the federal constitution of Switzerland, Christians alone are entitled to the enjoyment of the privileges guaranteed by the present article in the Swiss Cantons. But said Cantons are not prohibited from extending the same privileges to citizens of the United States of other religious persuasions.

It appears from this that Christians alone are, in some of the Swiss Cantons, entitled to the enjoyment of privileges guaranteed by the first article, although the Cantons themselves are not prohibited from extend. ing the same privileges to citizens of the United States of other religious persuasions.

It is quite certain that neither by law, nor by treaty, nor by any other official proceeding is it competent for the Government of the United States to establish any distinction between its citizens founded on differences in religious beliefs. Any benefit or privilege conferred by law or treaty on one must be common to all, and we are not at liberty, on a question of such vital interest and plain constitutional duty, to consider whether the particular case is one in which substantial inconvenience or injustice might ensue. It is enough that an inequality would be sanctioned hostile to the institutions of the United States and inconsistent with the Constitution and the laws.

Nor can the Government of the United States rely on the individual Cantons of Switzerland for extending the same privileges to other citizens of the United States as this article extends to Christians. It is indispensable not only that every privilege granted to any of the citizens of the United States should be granted to all, but also that the grant of such privilege should stand upon the same stipulation and assurance by the whole Swiss Confederation as those of other articles of the convention.

There have been instances, especially some of recent occurrence, in which the Executive has transmitted treaties to the Senate with suggestions of amendment, and I have therefore thought it not improper to send the present convention to the Senate, inviting its attention to such amendments as appeared to me to be important, although I have entertained considerable doubt whether it would not be better to send back the convention for correction in the objectionable particulars before laying it before the Senate for ratification.

MILLARD FILLMORE

WASHINGTON, February 13, 1851. To the Senate of the United States:

In answer to the resolution of the Senate of the roth instant, calling for information relative to a contract alleged to have been made by Mr. I. D. Marks with the Mexican Government, I transmit a report from the Secretary of State and the documents * which accompanied it.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, February 13, 1851. To the Senate of the United States:

In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 28th of January, 1851, I have the honor to transmit herewith reports from the Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury, giving the required correspondence in the case of the British ship Albion, seized in Oregon for an alleged violation of the revenue laws.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, February 15, 1851. To the Senate of the United States:

In addition to the information heretofore communicated, I now transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State, with accompanying papers, † in answer to their resolution of the 28th ultimo.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, February 15, 1851. To the Senate of the United States:

I herewith transmit to the Senate a report from the Secretary of State, in answer to their resolution of the roth instant.

MILLARD FILLMORE.

WASHINGTON, February 18, 1851. The PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE:

In addition to the papers already transmitted to the Senate in compliance with its resolution of the 28th ultimo, I have the honor herewith to transmit an additional report from the Secretary of the Treasury.

MILLARD FILLMORE. * Relating to drafts upon the Treasury of the United States by Mexico on account of indemnity due that Government in pursuance of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

+ Additional correspondence relative to the seizure of the British ship Albion.

Relating to taxation by New Granada on United States citizens when in transitu across the Isthmus of Panama, and to the United States mail service at said Isthmu.

Relating to the seizure of the British ship Albion.

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, February 19, 1851. To the Senate of the United States:

I have received the resolution of the Senate of the 18th instant, requesting me to lay before that body, if not incompatible with the public interest, any information I may possess in regard to an alleged recent case of a forcible resistance to the execution of the laws of the United States in the city of Boston, and to communicate to the Senate, under the above conditions, what means I have adopted to meet the occurrence, and whether in my opinion any additional legislation is necessary to meet the exigency of the case and to more vigorously execute existing laws.

The public newspapers contain an affidavit of Patrick Riley, a deputy marshal for the district of Massachusetts, setting forth the circumstances of the case, a copy of which affidavit is herewith communicated. Private and unofficial communications concur in establishing the main facts of this account, but no satisfactory official information has as yet been received; and in some important respects the accuracy of the account has been denied by persons whom it implicates. Nothing could be more unexpected than that such a gross violation of law, such a high-handed contempt of the authority of the United States, should be perpetrated by a band of lawless confederates at noonday in the city of Boston, and in the very temple of justice. I regard this flagitious proceeding as being a surprise not unattended by some degree of negligence; nor do I doubt that if any such act of violence had been apprehended thousands of the good citizens of Boston would have presented themselves voluntarily and promptly to prevent it. But the danger does not seem to have been timely made known or duly appreciated by those who were concerned in the execution of the process. In a community distinguished for its love of order and respect for the laws, among a people whose sentiment is liberty and law, and not liberty without law nor above the law, such an outrage could only be the result of sudden violence, unhappily too much unprepared for to be successfully resisted. It would be melancholy indeed if we were obliged to regard this outbreak against the constitutional and legal authority of the Government as proceeding from the general feeling of the people in a spot which is proverbially called “the Cradle of American Liberty.” Such, undoubtedly, is not the fact. It violates without question the general sentiment of the people of Boston and of a vast majority of the whole people of Massachusetts, as much as it violates the law, defies the authority of the Government, and disgraces those concerned in it, their aiders and abettors.

It is, nevertheless, my duty to lay before the Senate, in answer to its resolution, some important facts and considerations connected with the subject.

A resolution of Congress of September 23, 1789, declared: That it be recommended to the legislatures of the several States to pass laws making it expressly the duty of the keepers of their jails to receive and safe keep therein

MP_VOL IV-22

« EdellinenJatka »