North Carolina Newspapers

JYmnbcr 20, of Volume 1G :
Delirered to both Houses, at the opening cf the of the Twenty-fourth Congress, on
the bth cf JJccembcr, 1 35.
I'lUoic-Citizens of the Senate
and House of Representatives :
In the discharge of my official duty, the task
again dcvoles up.n mo of communicating with a
new Congress. The reflection that the representa
tion of the Union has been recently renewed, and
that the constitutional term of its service will expire
with my own, heightens the solicitude with which
1 shall attempt to lay before it the state of our na
tional concern, ami the devout hope which 1 che
rish that its lalnrs to improve them may be crown
ed with success.
You are assembled at a period of profound inte
rest to the American patriot. The unexampled
growth and prosperity of our country, hav ing given
us a rank in tbe scale of nations which removes all
apprehension of danger to our integrity ami inde
pendence from external foes, the career of freedom
lief ire us, with an earnest from the past, that, if
true to ourselves, there can le no formidable obsta
cle in the future, to its peaceful and uninterrupted
pursuit. Yet, in proportion to the disappearance
of those apprehensions which attended our weak
ness, nt once contrasted with the power of some of
the states of the old world, should we now lm soli
citous as to those which belong to the conviction,
that it is to our own conduct we must look f r the
preservation of those causes, on which dejiend the
excellence and the duration of our happy system of
In the example of other systems, founded on the
will of the people, we trace to internal dissension
the influences which have so often blated the hopes
of the friends of freedom. The social elements,
which were strong and successful when united
against external danger, failed in the more difficult
task of properly adjusting their own internal organ
ization, and thus gave way the great principle of
self-government. Let us trust that this admonition
will never b? forgotten by the Government or the
)oople of the United States; and that the testimony
which our experience thus far hold out to the
great human family of the practicability ami the
blessings of free government will be confirmed in
all time to come.
We have but to look at the state of our agricul
ture, manufactures, and commerce, and the unex
ampled increase of our population, to feel the mag
nitude of the trust committed to us. Never, in an
former period of our history, have we had greater
reason than we now have, to le thankful to Divine
Providence for the blessings of health and general
prosperity. Kvery branch of labor we see crown
ed with most abundant rewards: in every element
of national resources and wealth, and of individual
comfort, wo witness the most rapid and solid im
provements. With no interruptions to this pleas
ing prospect at home, which will not yield to the
spirit of harmony and good will that sj striMngly
pervades the mass of the people an every quarter,
amidst all the diversity of interest ami pursuits to
which they are attached : and with no cause of so
licitude in regard to our external atlairs, which
will not, it is iiojwd, disappear before the principle
of simple justice and the forbearance that mark oir
intercourse with foreign Powers we have every
reason t feel proud of our b-doved countrv.
The general state of our Foreign Relations has
not materially changed since my last annual m :s
In the settle nrit of the question of the North
easter.! boundary, little progress has been made,
Great Rritai.n na decimal acceding to the propo
sition of the Unite- States, presented in accordance
with the resolution of the Senate, unless certain
preliminary conditions were a dmittt d which I
deemed incomrutib'.o with a satisfactory and rii:ht
ful adjustment of the contnnersy. Waiting for
some distinct proposal from the Government of
Great loitrin, which has been invited, I can cnlv
repeat the expression of my confidence, that with
the ?i ruii mutual disposition which I ldieve exists,
to make a just arrangement, this perplexing ques
tion can be settled with a due regard to the well
founded pretensions and pacific policy of all the
parties to it. Fvcuts are frequently occurring on
the Northeastern frontier, of a character to impress
all the necessity of a speedy and definitive
termination ot tho dispute. i nis consideration,
added to the desire common to both, to relieve- the
!i!eral and friendly relations so happily existing
ctween the two countries from all embarrassment,
will, no doubt, have its just influence upon both.
Our diplomatic intercourse with Portugal has
iccn renewed, and it is expected that the claims of
ur citizens, partially paid, will be fully satisfied as
oon as the condition of the Queen's Government
will permit the proper attention to the subject of
hem. I hat Government has, 1 am happy to in
form you, manifested a determination to act upon
,he liberal principles which have marked our com
timrcial policy; the happiest effects upn the future
trade between the United States and Portugal, are
anticipated, from it, and the time is not thought to
be remote when a system of perfect reciprocity will
be establishad.
The instalments due under the Convention with
the King of the Two Sicilies, have been paid with
that scrupulous fidelity by which his whole conduct
has been characterised, and the hope is indulged,
that the adjustment of the vexed question of our
claims will be followed by a more extended and
mutually beneficial intercourse between the two
The internal contest still continues in Spun.
Distinguished as this struggle has unhappily lcen,
ly incidents of the most sanguinary haracter, the
cbligations of the late treaty of inde: t.ii ftcatiou with
Up, have been, nevertheless, faithfully executed by
the Spanish Government.
No provision having been made at the last ses
sion of Congress for the ascertainment of the claims
to- Le paid, and the apportionment of the funds, un
derline convention made with Spain, I invite your
early attention to the subject. The public eviden
ces of the debt have, according to the terms of the
convention, and in the forms prescribed by it, been
placed in the possession of the United States, and
the interest, as it fell due, has been regularly paid
upon them. Our commercial intercouse with Cuba
stands as regulated by the act of Congress. No
recent information has been received as to the dis
position of the Government of Madrid on this sub
ject, and the lamented death of our recently ap
pointed Minister, on his way to Spain, with the
pressure cf their affairs at home, render it scarcely
probable that any change is to Ikj looked for during
the comjng year. Further ortions of the Florida
archives have been sent to the Unictd States, al
though the death of one of the Commissioners, at
ii critical moment, embarrassed the progress of the
delivery of them. The higher officers of the local
Government have recently shown an anxious desire,
in compliance with the orders from the parent Go
vernment, to facilitate the selection and delivery of
all we have a right to claim.
Negotiations have leen opened at Madrid, for
the establishment of a lasting ieace between Spain
and such of the Spanish American Governments of
this hemisphere, as have availed themselves of the
intimation given to all of them, of the disposition
of Spain to treat ujon the basis of their entire in
dependence. It is to be regretted, that simulta
neons appointments, by all, of ministers to negotiate
with Spain, had not been made ; the negotiation it
self would have Irmmi simplified, and this long-standing
dispute, spreading over a large portion of the
world, would have been brought to a more speedy
Our political and commercial relations with Aus
tria, Prussia, Sweden, and Denmark, stand on the
usual favorable bases. One of the articles of our
treaty with Russia, in relation to the trado on the
Northwest coast of America, having expired, in
structions have l)cen given to our Minister at St.
Petersburg to negotiate a renewal of it. The long
and unbroken amitv between the two Governments
gives every reason for supposing the article will be
renewed, if stronger motives do not exist to prevent
it than, with our view of the subject, can be antici
pated here.
I nsk vour attention to tho Message of my pre
decessor at the opening of the second session of the
nineteenth Congress, relative to our commercial in
tercourse with Holland, and to the documents con
nected with that subject, communicated to the Ho.
of Representatives on the 10th of January, 1825,
and lth January, 1827. Coinciding in tho opin
ion of my predecessor, that Holland is not, under
the regulations of her present system, entitled to
have her vessels and their cargoes received into
the United States on the footing of American ves
sels and cargoes, as regards duties of tonnage and
impost, a respect for bis reference of it to the le
gislature, has alone prevented me from acting on
the subject, I should still have waited, without
Comment, for the action of Congress, but recently
u claim has been made by Relgian subjects for ad
mission into our ports for their ships and cargoes,
on the same (voting as American, with the allega
tion we could not dispute, that our vessels received
in their ports the identical treatment shown to them
in tho ports ot HoIIoid, upon whoso vessels no dis
crimination is made in the ports of the U. States.
(hving the same privilege's, the Lelgtans expected
the same benefits benefits that were enjoyed, in
fact, when Belgium and Holland were under one
government. Satisfied with the justness of their
pretensions to Irj placed on the same footing with
lioil?.nd, J could not, nevertheless, without disre
g.ird to the principle of our laws, admit their claim
to be treated as Americans; and at the same time
a res:ect for Congress, to whom the subject had
long since lecn referred, has prevented me from
producing a just equality, by taking from the ves
sels of Holland riileges conditionally granted by
nets of Congress, although the condition upon which
the grant was made, has, in my judgement, failed
since I recommend, therefore, a review of
the act of 182-1, and such a modification of it as
will produce equality, on such terms as Congress
shall think best comports with our settled policy,
and the the obligations of justice to two friendly
With the Sublime Porte, and all the Govern
ments on tho coast of Iiarbary, our relations con
tinue to be friendly. The projor steps have been
taken to renew our treaty with Morocco.
The Argentine Republic has again promised to
send, within the current year, a Minister to the U.
A Convention with Mexico for extending the
time for the appointment of Commissioners to run
the boundary line has been concluded, and will be
submitted to the Senate. Recent veents in that
country have awakened the liveliest solicitude in
the United Stutes. Aware of the strong tempta
tions existing, and powerful inducements held out
to the people of the United States to mingie in the
dissensions of our immediate neighbors, instruc
tions have been given to the District Attorneys of
the United States, where indications warranted it,
to prosecute, without resjcct to jiersons, all who
might attempt to violate the obligations of our neu
trality : while at the same time it has been thought
necessary to apprize the Government of Mexico,
that we should require the integrity of our territo
ry to be scrupulou.-dy resjected by Inttli parties.
From our diplomatic agents in Rrazil, Chili, Pe
rt?, Central America, Venezuela, and New Grana
da, constant assurances are received of the contin
ued good understanding with the Governments to
which they are severally accredited. With those
Governments upon which our citizens have valid
and accumulating claims, scarcely an advance to
wards the settlement of them is made, owing main
ly to their distracted state, or to the pressure of im
perative domestic questions. Our patience has
been, and wi'd probably be, still further severely
tried; but our fellow-citizens whose interests are
involved, may confide in the determination of the
Government to obtain for them, eventually, ample
Unfortunately many of the nations of this hem
isphere arc still seif-tormcnted by domestic dissen
sions. Revolution succeeds revolution, injuries are
committed on foreigners engaged in lawful pursuits,
much time elapses before a Government sufficiently
stable is erected to justify expectations of redress
Ministers are sent and received, and before the dis
cussions of past injuries are fairly beun, new trou
arise ; but too frequently new injuries are added to
the old, to be discussed together, with the existing
Government, after it has proved its ability to sus
tain the assaults made upon it, or witli its successor,
if overthrown. If this unhappy condition of things
shall continue much longer, other nations will be
under the painful necessity of decid ng whether jus
tice to their suffering citizens dtcs not require a
prompt redress of injuries by their own power
without waiting for the establishment of a Govern
ment couictent and enduring enough to discuss
and to make satisfaction for them.
Since the last session of Congress, the validity
of our claims upon France, as liquidated by the
treaty ot lb-SI, has been acknowledged by botn
branches of her legislature, aud the money has
been appropriated for their discharge ; but the pay
met is, 1 regret to inform you, still withheld.
A brief recapitulation of the most imimrtant in
cidents in this protracted controversy, will show
how utterly untenable are the grounds upon which
this course is attempted to be justified.
On entering umm the duties of mv station, I found
the United States an unsuccessful applicant to the
justice of France, for the satisfaction of claims, the
validity of which was never questionable, and has
now leen most solemnly admitted by France herself.
The antiquity of these claims, their high justice,
and the aggravating circumstances out of which
thev arose, are too familiar to the American Peo
pie to require description. It is sufficient to say,
that, for a jeriod of ten or upwards years, our com
merce was, with but little interruption, the subject
of constant aggressions on the part of France ag
gressions, the ordinary features of which wre con
demnations of vessels and cargoes under arbitrary
decrees, adopted in contravention, as well of the
laws of nations, as of treaty stipulations; burnings
on the high seas, aud seizures and confiscations,
under special unierial rescripts, in the ports of oth
er nations occupied by the armies, or under the
control of France. Such, it is now conceded, is the
character of the wrongs we suffered wrongs, in
many cases, so flagrant, that even their authors ne
ver denied our right to reparation. Of the extent
of these injuries, some conception may be formed
from the fact, that after the burning of a large
amount at sea, and the necessary deterioration, in
other cases, by long detention, the American pro
perty so seized and sacrificed at forced sales, ex
cluding what was adjudged to privateers, bof re or
without condemnation, brought into the French
Treasury upwards of twenty-four millions of francs,
besides large custom-house duties.
The subject had already been an affair of twenty
years' uninterrupted ncgociation, except for a short
time, when France was overwhelmed by the mili
tary power of united Furepe. During this period,
whiUt other nations were extorting from her pay
ment of their claims at the point of the bayonet,
the United States intermitted their demand for jus
tice, out of respect to the oppressed condition of a
gallant people, to whom they felt under obligations
for fraternal assistance in their own days of suffer
'1112, and peril. The bad effects of these protracted
and unavailing discussions, as well upon our rela
tions with r ranee as u(on our national honor, were
obvious; and the line of duty to my mind was equal
ly so. This was, either to insist upon the adjust
ment of our claims within a reasonable period, or
to abandon them altogether. I could not doubt
that, by this course, the interests and honor of tho
countries would Ik; best consulted. Instructions
were therefore given in this spirit, to the Minister
who was sent out, once more to demand reparation.
Upon the meeting of Congress, in Doccmler, I S'-'O,
I felt it my duty to speak of these claims, and the
delays of France, in terms calculated to call the
serious attention of both countries to the suhject.-
The then French Ministry took exception to the
Message on the ground of its containing a menace,
under which it was not agreeable for the French
Government to negociate. The American Minis,
ter, of his own accord, refuted the construction
which was attempted to Ikj put upon the Message,
and, at the same time, called to the recollection of
the French Ministry, that the President's Mesae
was a communication addressed, not to foreign Go
vernments, but to the Congress of the U. States,
in which it was enjoined upon him, by the Consti
tution, to lay before that body information of the
state of the Union, comprehending its foreign as
well as its domestic relations; and that if, in the
discharge of this duty, he felt it incumbent upon
him to summon the attention of Congress, in due
time, to what might be the possible consequences
of existing difficulties with any foreign Government,
he might fairly lo supposed to do so under a sense
of what was duo from him in a frank communica
tion with another branch of his own government,
and not from any intention of holding a menace
over a foreign Power. The views taken by him
received my approbation; the French Government
was satisfied, and the negotiation was continued.
It terminated in tho Treaty of July 4, 1831, re
cognizing the justice of our claims, in part, and
promising payment to the amount of twenty-five
millions of francs, in six annual instalments.
The ratifications of this treaty were exchanged
at Washington, on the tind of February, 1832, and
in five days thereafter it was laid before Congress,
who immediately passed the acts necessary, on our
part, to secure to France the commercial advanta
ges conceded to her in the compact. The Treaty
had previously been solemnly ratified by the King
f i the French, in terms which are certainly not
mere matters of form, and of which the translation
is as follows: "We approving the above Conven
tion, '1 all and each of the dispositions which are
contained in it, do declare, by rirselves, as we'll as
by our heirs and successors, that it is accepted, ap
proved, ratified, anil confirmed ; and by these pre- commend such as in my judgment, the occasion
sents, signed by our hand, we do accept, approve, called for. To this end, an unreserved communi
ratify, and confirm it; promising, on the faith and cation of the case, in all its aspects, became indis
word of a King, to observe it, and to cause it to be pensable. To have shrunk, in making it, from
observed inviolably, without ever contravening it, saying all that was necessary to its correct under
or suffering it to bo contravened, directly or inch- standing, and that the truth would justify, for fear
rectly, for any cause, or under any pretence what- of giving offence to others, would have been un
soevcr." worthy of us. To have gone, on the other hand,
Official information of the exchange of ratifica- a single step further, for the purpose of wounding
tions in the United States reached Paris whilst the the pride of a Government and people with whom
Chambers were in session. The extraordinary, we had so many motives for cultivating relations of
and to us, injurious delays of the French Govern- amity- and reciprocal advantage, would have been
ment, in their action upon the subject of its fulfil- unwise and improper. Admonished by the past of
ment, have been heretofore stated to Congress, and the difficulty of making even the simplest statement
I have no disposition to enlarge upon them here, of our wrongs, without disturbing the sensibilities
It is sufficient to observe that ttie then pending ses- of those who had, by their position, become rcspon
sion was allowed to expire without even an effort to sible for their redress, end earnestly desirous of
obtain the necessary appropriations ; that the two preventing further obstacles from that source, I
succeeding ones were also suffered to pass away went out of my way to preclude a construction of
without any thing like a serious attempt to obtain the message, by which the recommendation that
a decision upon the subject ; and that it was not was made to Congress mi "-lit be regarded as a me
until the fourth session, almost three years after nace to r ranee, in not only disavowing such a dc
the conclusion of the treaty, and more than two sign, but in declaring that her pride aud her power
years after the exchange of ratifications, that the were too well known to expect any thing from her
bill for the execution of the treaty was pressed to fears. The message did not reach Paris until more
a vote and rejected. than a month after the Chambers had been in ses-
In the meantime, the Government of the United sion ; and such was the insensibility of the Ministry
States having full confidence that a treaty entered to our rightful claims and just expectations, that
into and so solemni)' ratified by the French King, our Minister had leen informed that the matter,
would le executed in good faith, and not doubting when introduced, would not be pressed as a cabinet
that provision would be made for the payment of measure.
the first instalment, which was to become due on Although the message was not ofBciallv mm.
the second day of February, 19.'J3, negotiated a municated to the French Government, and notwith
draft for the amount through the Rank of the Uni- standing the declaration to the contrary which it
ted Stales. When this draft was presented by the contained, the French Ministry decided to consider
holder, with the credentials required by the treaty the conditional recommendation of reprisals, a me
to authorize him to receive the money, the Govern- nace and an insult, which the honor of the nation
ment of France allowed it to be protested. In ad- made it incumbent on them to resent. The mea
dition to the injury in the non-payment of the mo- sures resorted to by them to evince their sense of
ney by France, conformably to her engagement, the supposed indignity, were, the immediate recall
the United States wore exposed to a heavy claim of their minister at Washington, the offer of pass
on the part of the Rank, under pretence of damages, ports to the American Minister at Paris, and a pub
in satisfaction of which said institution seized upon, lie notice to the Legislative Chambers, that all di
and still retains, an equal amount of the public mo- plomatic intercourse with the United States had
neys. Congress was in session when the decision been suspended.
of the Chambers reached Washington, and an im- Having, in this manner, vindicated the dignity of
mediate communication of this apparently final de- France, they next proceeded to illustrate her justice,
cision of France not to fulfil the sf ipulations of the To this end a bill was immediately introduced into
treaty, was the course naturally to be expected from the Chamljer of Deputies, proposing to make the
the President. The deep tone of dissatisfaction appropriations necessary to carry into effect the
which M'rvaded the public mind, and the cor res- treaty. As this bill subsequently passed into a law
ondcnt excitement produced in Congress by only the provisions of which now constitute the main
a general knowledge of the result, rendered it more subject of ditlicuby letween the two nations, it bc
than probable that a resort to immediate measures comes my duty, in order to place the subject before
of redress would le the consequence of calling the you in a clear light, to trace the history of its pas
attention of that body to the subject. Sincerely sage, and to relet, with some particularity, to the
desirious of preserving tho pacific relations which proceedings and discussions in regard to it. The
had so long existed lietwcen the two countries, I Minister of Finance, in his ojening speech, alluded
was anxious to avoid this course if I co jld be satis- to the measures which had been adopted to resent
fled that by doing so neither the interest nor the the supposed indignity, and recommended the exe-
honor of my country would be compromised. cution of the treaty as a measure reouired by the
Without the fullest assurances upon that point, I honor and justice of France. He, as the oran of
could not hope to acquit myself of the responsibility the Ministry, declared the message, so lon as it
to be incurred, in suffering Congress to adjourn had not received the sanction of Congress, a mere
without laying the subject lefoie them. Those expression of the personal opinion of the President
received by me were believed to be of that cha- for which neither the Government nor People of the
racier. United States were responsible, and that an en-rafre-
That the feelings produced in the United States ment had been entered into, for the fnlfilmenrof
by the news of the rejection of the appropriation which the honor of France was pledged. Entcr-
would be such as I have.describod them to have taining these views, the single condition which the
been, was foreseen by the French Government, and French Ministry proposed to annex to the payment
prompt measures were taken by it to prevent the of the money was, that it should not be made until
consequences. The Kinr, in person, expressed it was ascertained that the Government of the Uni-
through our Minister at Paris his profound regret ted S ates had done nothing to injure the interests
at the decision of the Chambers, and promised to of France ; or, in other words, that no steps had
send, forthwith, a national ship with despatches to been authorized by Congress of a hostile character
his Minister here, authorizing him to jive such as- towards France.
surances as would satisfy the Government and Peo- What the disposition or action of Congress miht
n!o of the United States that the treaty would yet be, was then unknown to the French Cabinet, jfut,
be faithfully executed by France. The national on the 14th of January, the Senate resolved that it
ship arrived, and the Minister received his instruc- was, at that time, inexpedient to adopt any legisla
tions. Claiming to act under the authority derived tive measures in regard to the state of affairs be
from them, he g ive to this Government in the tween the United States and France, and no action
name of his, the most solemn assurances, that, as on the subjec t had occurred in the House of Repre
soon after the new elections as the charter would sentatives. These facts were known in Paris prior
permit, the French Cham!ers would be convened, to the Sth of March, 1S35, when the committee
and the attempt to procure tho necessary appropri- to whom the bill of indemnification had been refer
ations renewed ; that all the constitutional powers red, reported it to the Chamber of Deputies. That
of the King and his Ministers should be put in re- committee substantially re-echoed the sentiments
quisition to accomplish the object ; and he was un- of the Ministry, declared that Congress had set
derstood and so expressly informed by this Govern- aside the proposition cf the President, and recom
ment at the time, to engage that the question should mended the passage of the bill without any other
be pressed to a decision at a period sufficiently ear- restrictions than that originallv proposed. Thus
ly to permit information of the result to bo. com- it was known to the French Ministry and Cliam
municatod to Congress at the commencement of bers, that if the position assumed by them and
their next session. Relying upon these assurances, which bad been so frequently and solemnly announ-
I incurred the responsibility, great as I regarded ced as the only one compatible with the honor of
it to be, of suffering Congress to separate without France, was maintained, and the bill passed as ori-
conimunicating with them upon the sul ject. ginally proposed, the money would be paid, and
The expectations justly founded upon the promt- there would be an end of this unfortunate contro-
ses thus solemnly made to this Government by that vers-.
of France, were not realized. The French Cham- But this cheering prospect was soon destroyed
bers met on the 31st of July, 1834, soon after the by an amendment introduced into the bill at "the
election ; and although our Minister in Paris urged moment of its passage, providing that the money
the French Ministry to bring the subject before should not be paid until the French Government
them, they declined doing so. lie next insisted had received satisfactory explanations cf the Pre
that the Chambers, if prorogued without acting on sident's message, of the 2d December, 1834 ; and
the subject, should be re-assembled at a period so what is still more extraordinary, the President of
early that their action on the treaty might be known the Council of Ministers adopted this amendment
in Washington prior to the meeting of Congress, and consented to its incorporation in the bill. In
This reasonable request was not only declined, but regard to a supposed insult which had been form
the Chambers were prorogued to tho 29th of De- ally resented by the recall of their Minister, and
cember, a day so late, that their decision, however the offer of passports to ours, thev- now, for tho
urgently pressed, could not, in all probability, be first time, proposed to ask explanations. Senti
obtained in time to reach Washington before the ments and propositions, which they had declared
necessary adjournment of Congress by the Consti- could not justly be imputed to the Government or
tution. The reasons given by the Ministry for re- People of the United States, are set un as obstacles
fusing to convoke tho Chambers at an early period, to the performance of an act of conceded justice to
were afterwards shown not to be insuperable, by that Government and people. They had declared
their actual convocation on the 1st of December, that the honor of France required the fulfilment of
under a special call, for domestic purposes which the engagement into which the Kin- had entered
fact, however, did not become known to this Go- unless Congress adopted the recommendations of
vernmeat until after the commencement of the last the message. They ascertained that Congress
session of Congress. did not adopt them, and yet that fulfilment is refus
Thus disappointed in our just expectations, it be- ed, unless they first obtain from the President ex
came my imperative duty to consult with Congress planations of an opinion characterized by themselves
in regard to the expediency of a resort to retaliate- as personal and inoperative.
ry measures, in case the stipulations of the treaty The conception that it was my intention to me-
sliould not be speedily complied with ; aud to re- nace or insult the Government of France, is as un-

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