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PUBLIC DOCUMENTS.

I. DOMESTIC.

Message of the President of the United States to the Twentieth Congress.-First Session.

Fellow-Citizens of the Senate,

and of the House of Representatives: A REVOLUTION of the seasons has nearly been completed, since the Representatives of the People and States of this Union were last assembled at this place, to deliberate and to act upon the common important interests of their constituents. In that interval, the neverslumbering eye of a wise and beneficient Providence has continued its guardian care over the welfare of our beloved country. The blessing of health has continued gene-rally to prevail throughout the land. The blessing of peace with our brethren of the human race, has been enjoyed without interruption; internal quiet has left our fellow citizens in the full enjoyment of all their rights, and in the free exercise of all their faculties, to pursue the impulse of their nature, and the obligation of their duty, in the improvement of their own condition. The productions of the soil, the exchanges of commerce, the vivify. ing labours of human industry, have combined to mingle in our cup a

portion of enjoyment as large and liberal as the indulgence of hoaven has perhaps ever granted to the imperfect state of man upon earth; and as the purest of human felicity consists in its participation with others, it is no small addition to the sum of our national happiness, at this time, that peace and prosperity prevail to a degree seldom experienced over the whole habi. table globe; presenting, though as yet with painful exceptions, a foretaste of that blessed period of promise, when the lion shall lie down with the lamb, and wars shall be no more. To preserve, to improve, and to perpetuate the sources, and to direct, in their most effective channels, the streams which contribute to the public weal, is the purpose for which government was instituted. Objects of deep importance to the welfare of the Union are constantly recurring, to demand the attention of the Federal Legislature; and they call with accumulated interest, at the first meeting of the two Houses, after their periodical renovation. To present

to their consideration from time to time, subjects in which the interests of the nation are most deeply involved, and for the regulation of which the legislative will is alone competent, is a duty prescribed by the constitution, to the performance of which the first meeting of the new Congress is a period eminently appropriate, and which it is now my purpose to discharge.

Our relations of friendship with the other nations of the earth, political and commercial, have been preserved unimpaired; and the opportunities to improve them have been cultivated with anxious and unremitting attention. A negotia. tion upon subjects of high and delicate interest with the government of Great Britain, has terminated in the adjustment of some of the questions at issue upon satisfactory terms, and the postponement of others for future discussion and agreement. The purposes of the convention concluded at St. Petersburg, on the 12th day of July, 1822, under the mediation of the late Emperor Alexander, have been car. ried into effect, by a subsequent convention concluded at London on the 13th of November, 1826, the ratifications of which were ex. changed at that place on the 6th day of February last. A copy of the proclamation issued on the nineteenth day of March last, pub. lishing this convention, is herewith communicated to Congress. The sum of twelve hundred and four thousand nine hundred and sixty dollars, therein stipulated to be paid to the claimants of indemnity under the first Article of the Treaty of Ghent, has been duly received, and the Commission instituted conformably to the act of Congress of the second of March last, for the dis

tribution of the indemnity to the persons entitled to receive it, are now in session, and approaching the consummation of their labours. This final disposal of one of the most painful topics of collision be tween the United States and Great Britain, not only affords an occa sion of gratulation to ourselves, but has had the happiest effect in promoting a friendly disposition, and in softening asperities upon other objects of discussion. Nor ought it to pass without the tribute of a frank and cordial acknowledgment of the magnanimity with which an honourab e nation, by the reparation of their own wrongs, achieves a triumph more glorious than any field of blood can ever bestow.

The conventions of 3d July, 1815, and of 20th October, 1818, will expire by their own limitation on the 20th of October, 1828. These have regulated the direct commer. cial intercourse between the United States and Great Britain, upon terms of the most perfect reciprocity; and they effected a tempora. ry compromise of the respective rights and claims to territory westward of the Rocky Mountains. These arrangements have been continued for an indefinite period of time, after the expiration of the. above-mentioned conventions; leaving each party the liberty of ter minating them, by giving twelve months notice to the other. The radical principle of all commercial intercourse between independent nations, is the mutual interest of both parties. It is the vital spirit of trade itself; nor can it be reconciled to the nature of man, or to the primary laws of human society, that any traffic should long be willingly pursued, of which all the advanta ges are on one side, and all the bur.

the 6th of August last, and will be forthwith laid before the Senate for the exercise of their constitutional authority concerning them.

In the execution of the treaties of peace of November, 1782, and September, 1783, between the United States and Great Britain, and which terminated the war of our Independence, a line of boundary was drawn as a demarcation of territory between the two countries, extending over near twenty degrees of latitude, and ranging over seas, lakes, and mountains, then very imperfectly explored, and scarcely opened to the geographical knowledge of the age. In the progress of discovery and settlement by both parties since that time, several questions of bounda ry between their respective territories have arisen, which have been found of exceedingly difficult adjustment. At the close of the last war with Great Britain, four of these questions pressed themselves upon the consideration of the negotiators of the treaty of Ghent, but without the means of concluding a definitive arrangement concerning them. They were referred to three separate commissions, consisting of two commissioners, one appointed by each party, to examine and decide upon their respective claims. In the event of dis. agreement between the commissioners, it was provided that they should make reports to their several governments; and that the reports should finally be referred to the decision of a sovereign, the common friend of both. Of these commissions, two have already terminated their sessions and investigations, one by entire, the other by partial agreement. The commissioners of the fifth article of the

dens on the other. Treaties of commerce have been found, by experience, to be among the most effective instruments for promoting peace and harmony between na. tions whose interests, exclusively considered on either side, are brought into frequent collisions by competition. In framing such treaties, it is the duty of each party, not simply to urge with unyielding pertinacity that which suits its own ́interest, but to concede liberally to that which is adapted to the interest of the other. To accomplish this, little more is generally required than a simple observance of the rule of reciprocity; and were it possible for the statesmen of our nation, by stratagem and management, to obtain from the weakness or ignorance of another, an overreaching treaty, such a compact would prove an incentive to war rather than a bond of peace. Our conventions with Great Britain are founded upon the principles of reciprocity. The commercial intercourse between the two countries is greater in magnitude and amount than between any other two nations on the globe. It is, for all purposes of benefit or advantage to both, as precious, and in all pro. bability, far more extensive than if the parties were still constituent parts of one and the same nation. Treaties betweensuch states, regu. lating the intercourse of peace between them, and adjusting interests of such transcendant importance to both, which have been found, in a long experience of years, mutually advantageous, should not be lightly cancelled or discontinued. Two conventions for continuing in force those above mentioned have been concluded between the plenipotentiaries of the two governments, on

treaty of Ghent have finally disagreed, and made their conflicting reports to their own governments. But from these reports a great difficulty has occurred in making up a question to be decided by the arbitrator. This purpose has, however, been effected by a fourth convention, concluded at London by the plenipotentiaries of the two governments on the 29th of September last. It will be submitted, together with the others, to the consideration of the Senate.

While these questions have been pending, incidents have occurred of conflicting pretensions, and of dangerous character, upon the territory itself in dispute between the two nations. By a common understanding between the governments, it was agreed that no exercise of exclusive jurisdiction by either party, while the negotiation was pending, should change the state of the question of right to be definitively settled. Such collision has nevertheless recently taken place, by occur. rences, the precise character of which has not yet been ascertained. A communication from the Governor of the state of Maine, with ac. companying documents, and a correspondence between the Secretary of State and the Minister of Great Britain, on this subject, are now communicated. Measures have been taken to ascertain the state of the facts more correctly, by the employment of a special agent to visit the spot where the alleged outrages have occurred, the result of whose inquiries, when received, will be transmitted to Congress.

While so many of the subjects of high interest to the friendly rela. tions between the two countries have been so far adjusted, it is matter of regret, that their views re.

specting the commercial intercourse between the United States and the British colonial possessions have not equally approximated to a friendly agreement.

At the commencement of the last session of Congress, they were informed of the sudden and unexpected exclusion by the British government, of access, in vessels of the United States, to all their colonial ports, except those immediately bordering upon our own territories. In the amicable discussions which have succeeded the adoption of this measure, which, as it affected harshly the interests of the United States, became a subject of expostulation on our part, the principles upon which its justification has been placed have been of a diversified character. It has been at once ascribed to a mere recurrence to the old long established principle of colonial monopoly, and at the same time to a feeling of resentment because the offers of an act of Parliament, opening the colonial ports upon certain conditions, had not been grasp. ed at with sufficient eagerness by

an

instantaneous conformity to them. At a subsequent period, it has been intimated that the new exclusion was in resentment, because a prior act of Parliament of 1822, opening certain colonial ports under heavy and burdensome restrictions to vessels of the United States, had not been reciprocated by an admission of British vessels from the colonies, and their cargoes, without any restriction or discrimination whatever. But, be the motive for the interdiction what it may, the British government have manifested no disposition, either by negotiation or by corresponding legislative enactments, to recede

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