The globe. (Huntingdon, Pa.) 1856-1877, December 15, 1858, Image 2

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therefore a great grievance
.that r when any
difficulty.occurs, no matter how unimportant,
which might be readily settled at • the mo
ment, we should be obliged to resort to Ma
drid, .especially when the- very first step to
be taken there is to refer it back•to Cuba.
The .truth is that Cuba, in its existing
-colonial condition, is a constant source of
injury and annoyance to the American peo
ple... It is the only spot in the civilized
- world, where the' African slave-trade is tol
erated ; and we are bound by treaty; with
-Great Britain, to maintain a naval. force .on
:the coast of Africa, at much expense, both of
-life and treasure,- solely- for - the purpose of
arresting slavers bound to that island. -The
late serious difficulties between the United
States and Great Britain respecting the right
. search, - now so happily terminated, could
never have arisen if Cuba had not afforded
a market for slaves. As long as this mar
ket shall remain open, there can be no hope
for the civilization of benighted Africa.—
'Whilst the demand for slaves continues in
Cuba, wars will be waged among the petty
and barbarous chiefs in Africa, for the pur
pose of seizing subjects to supply this trade.
In such a condition of affairs, it is impossible
that the light of civilization and religion can
ever penetrate these dark abodes.
It has been made known to: the world by
my predecessors, that - the United States have,
-on several occasions, endeavored to acquire
Cuba from Spain by honorable negotiation.
If this were accomplished, the last relic of
the African slave-trade would instantly dis
appear. We would not, if we could, acquire
Cuba in any other manner. This is due to
"our national character. All the territory
-which 'we have acquired since the origin of
-the government, has been by fair purchase
from France, Spain, and Mexico, or by the
free and voluntary act of the independent
-- , StaTrlCTc:tas•,-1.n.. blending her destinies
This course we shall ever
with our own
pursue, unless circumstances should occur,
which we do not now anticipate, rendering a
departure from it clearly justifiable, under
the imperative and overruling law of self
The Island of Cuba, from its geographical
position, commands the mouth of the Missis
sippi, and the immense and • annually-in
creasing trade, foreign and coastwise, from
the valley'of that noble river, now embracing
half the sovereign States of the Union.—
With that Island underthe dominion of a
distant foreign power, this trade, of vital im
portance to these States, is exposed to the
danger of being destroyed in time of war,
and it has hitherto been subjected to per
petual injury and annoyance in time of
peace. Our relations with Spain, which
ought to be of the most friendly character,
must always be placed in jeopardy, whilst
tho existing colonial government over the
Island shall remain in its present condition.
Whilst the possession of the Island would
be of vast -importance to the United States,
its value to Spain is, comparatively, unim
portant. Such was the relative situation of
the parties, when the great Napoleon 'trans
ferred Louisiana to the United States.—
Jealous, as he ever was, of the national hon
ors and interests of France, no person
throughout the 'world, has imputed blame to
him, for accepting a pecuniary equivalent
for this cession.
The publicity which has been given to our
former negotiations upon this subject, and
the large approbation which. may be required
to effect the purpose, render it expedient, be
fore making another attempt to renew the
negotiation, that I „should lay the whole sub
ject before Congress. This is especially ne
cessary, as it may become indispensable to
success, that I should
.be intrusted with the
means of making an. advance to the Spanish
government immediately after tho signing of
the treaty, without awaiting the ratification
of it by the Senate. I am encouraged to
make this suggestion, by the example of Mr.
Jefferson previous to the purchase of Louisi
ana from France, and by-that of Mr: Polk in
view of the acquisition of territory from Mex
ico. I refer the whole sultject to Congress,
and commend it to their careful considera
I repeat the recommendation made in my
message of December last, in favor of an ap
propriation "to be paid to the Spanish govern
ment for the purpose of distribution among
the claimants in the Amistad case." Presi
dent Polk first made a similar recommenda
tion in December,lB47, and it was repeated by
my immediate predecessor in December, 1853.
I entertain no doubt that indemnity is fairly
due to these claimants under our treaty with
Spain of, the 27th October, 1705 ; and whilst
demanding justice we ought to do justice.—
An appropriation promptly made for this
purpose, could not fail-to exert a favorable
influence on our negotiations with Spain.
Our position in relation to the independent
States south of us on this continent and es
pecially those within the limits of North
America, is of a peculiar character. The
northern boundary of Mexico is coincident
with our own southern boundary from ocean
to ocean and we must necessarily feel a deep
interest in all that concerns the well being
and the fate of so near a neighbor. We have
always cherished, the kindest wishes for the
success of that republic, and have indulged
the hope that it might at last after all its tri
als; enjoy peace and prosperity under a free
and stable government. We have never
hitherto interfered, directly or indirectly,
with its internal affairs, and it is a duty which
we - owe to ourselves, to protect the integrity
of its territory, against the hostile interference
of - any other power. Our geographical posi
tion, our direct interest in all that concerns
Mexico, and our well-settled policy in - regard
to the North American continent, render this
an' indispensable duty.
Mexico has been in a state of constant rev
olution, almost ever since it achieved its in
dependence. One military leader after an
other has usurped the government in rapid
_succession ; and the various constitutions from
time to time_adopted, have been set at naught
almost as soon as they were proclaimed.—
The successive governments have afforded no
adequate protection, either to Mexican citi
. zens or foreign residents, against lawless vi
olerce. Heretofore, a seizure of the capital
by a military chieftain, has been generally
'followed by at least the nominal submission
of the country
,to his rule for a brief •period,
but not so at the present crisis of Mexican
. affairs. 'A civil war has been raging for
'some time throughout; the republic, between
the central government at the city of Mexico,
which has endeavored to subvert the consti-
s litht framed, by military power, and
ilio,s'e'vi , ho Maintain the authority of that con
:stitution. The antagonist parties each hold
"poSseSsion of different States of the republic,
and the fortUnes of the war are constantly
changing. hro`anwhile, the most reprchensi
'ble means have been employed by both par
to extort money from foreigners, as well
"as, natives, to carry on this ruinous contest.
The truth is, that this fine country, blessed
with a productive soil and a benign climate,
has been reduced by civil dissensions to a
condition almost hopeless anarchy and imbe
cility. It would be in vain for this govern
ment to attempt to enforce payment in money
of the claims of American citizens, now
amounting to more than ten million dollars,
against Mexico,because she is destitute of all
pecuniary means to satisfy these demands.
Our late minister was furnished with am
ple powers and instructions for the adjust
ment of all pending questions with the cen
tral government of Mexico, and he performed
his duty With zeal and ability. The claims
of our citizens, some of them arising oat of
the -violation of an express provision of the
treaty of Guadalupe Ilid.algo, and others
from gross injuries to persons as well as prop
erty, have remained unredressed and even
unnoticed. Remonstrances against those
grievances, have been addressed without ef
fect to that government. Meantime, in vari
ous parts of the republic, instances have been
numerous of the murder, imprisonment, and
plunder of our citizens, by different parties
claiming and exercising a local jurisdiction;
but the central government, although re
peatedly urged thereto, have made no effort
either to punish the authors of these outrages
or to prevent their recurrence. No Ameri
can citizen can now visit Mexico on lawful
business, without imminent danger to his per
son and property. There is no adequate pro
teetion, t o o either; and in
,this respect our
treaty 'with that republic is Auost a dead
This state of affairs was brought to a crisis
in May last, by the promulgation of a decree
levying a contribution pro rata upon all the
capital in the republic, between certain spec
,fied amounts, whether held by Mexicans or
foreigners. Mr. Forsyth, regarding this de
cree in the light of a "forced loan," formally
protested against its application to his coun
trymen, and advised them not to pay the con
tribution, but to suffer if to be forcibly exac
ted. Acting upon this advice, an Americian
citizen•refused to pay the contribution, and
his property was seized by armed men to sat
isfy the amount. Not content with this, the
government proceeded still further, and is
sued a decree banishing him from the coun
try. Our minister immediately notified them
. that if this decree should be carried into ex
ecution he would feel it to be his duty to
adopt "the most decided measures that be
long to the powers and obligations of the rep
resentative office." Notwithstanding this
, warning, the_ banishment was enforced, and
Mr. Forsyth promptly announced to the gov
ernment the suspension of the political rela
tions of his legation with them, until the
pleasure of his own government should be as
The government did not regard the contri
bution imposed by the decree of the 15th
May last to be in strictness a "forced loan,"
and as such prohibited by the 10th article of
the treaty of 1826 between Great Britain and
Mexico, to the benefits of Which American
citizens ai•e entitled by treaty; yet the impo
sition of the contribution upon foreigners
was considered an Unjust mid oppressive
measure. Besides, internal factions in other
parts of the republic were at the same time
levying similar exactions upon the property
of our citizens, and interrupting their com
merce. There had been an entire failure on
the part of our minister, to secure redresS for
the wrongs which our citizens had endured,
notwithstanding - his. perseverinb• efforts.—
And from the temper manifested by the Mex
ican government, he had repeatedly assured
us that no favorable change could be expect
tell, until the United States should "give
striking evidence of their will and power to
protect their citizens," and that "severe chas
tening is the only earthly remedy for our
grievances." From this statement of facts,
'it would have been WorSe than idle to direct
Mr. Forsyth to retrace his steps and resume
diplomatic relations. with that government ;
and it was, therefore, deemed proper to sanc
tion his withdrawal of the legation from the
city of Mexico.
Abundant causes now undoubtedly exists,
for a resort to hostilities against the .govern
ment still holding possession of the capital.
} Should theysucceet, in subduing the constitu
tional forces, all reasonable hope will then
have expired of-a peaccfid settlement of our
On the other hand, should the constitu
tional party prevail, and their authority be
established over the republic, there is reason
to hope that they will be animated by a less
unfriendly spirit, and may grant that redress
to American citizens, which justice requires,
so far as they may possess the means. But
for this expectation, I should at once have
recommended to Congress to grant the ne
cessary power to the President, to take pos
session of a sufficient portion of the remote
and unsettled territory of Mexico, to be held
in pledge until our injuries shall be redress
ed and our just demands be satisfied. We
have already exhausted every milder means
of obtaining justice. In such a ease, this
remedy, of reprisals is recognized by the law
of nations, not only as just in itself, but as a
means of preventing actual war.
But there is-another view of our relations
with Mexico, arising from the unhappy con
dition of affairs along our southwestern fron
tier, which demands immediate action. In
that remote region, where there are but few
white inhabitants, large bands of hostile
and predatory Indians roam promiscuously
over the Mexican States of 'Chihuahua and
Sonora, and our adjoining Territories. The
local governments of these States are per
fectly helpless, and arc kept in a state of
constant alarm by the Indians. They have
not the power, if they possessed the will,
even to restrain lawless Mexicans from pass
ing the border and committing depredations
on our remote settlers. A state of anarchy
and violence prevails throughout that distant
frontier. The laws are a dead letter, and
life and property are wholly insecure. For
this reason the settlement of Arizona is ar
rested, whilst it is of great importance that
a chain of inhabitants should extend all
along its southern border, sufficient for their
own protection and that of the United States
mail passing to and from California. Well
founded apprehensions are now entertained,
that the Indians, and wandering Mexicans
equally lawless, may break up the important
stage and postal communication recently es
tablished between our Atlantic and Pacific
possessions. This passes very near to the
Mexican boundary, throughout the whole
length of Arizona. I can imagine no possi
ble remedy for these evils, and ,no mode of
restoring law and order on that remote and
unsettled frontier, but for the government of
the United States to assume a temporary
protectorate over the northern portions of
Chihuahua and Sonora, and to establish mili
tary posts within the same—and this I ear
nestly recommend to Congress. This protec
tion'may be withdrawn as soon as local gov-
ernrnents shall be established in these Mexi
can States, capable of performing their du- .
ties to the United States, restraining theloay
less and preserving peace along the border.
I do not doubt that this measure . will be
viewed in .a friendly spirit by the- govern
ments and people.of Chihuahua and Sonora,
as it will prove equally effectual for the pro-
tection of their citizens on that remote and
lawless frontier, as for citizens of the United
And in this connexion, permit me to recall
your attention to the condition of Arizona.
The population of that Territory, numbering,
as is alleged, more than ten thousand souls,
are practically without a government, with
out laws and without - any regular 'adminis
tration of justice. Murder and other crimes
are committed with impunity. This state of
things calls loudly for redress ;• and 1, there
fore, repeat my recommendation for the ,es
tablishment of a, territorial government over
The political condition of the narrow isth
mus of Central America through - which tran
sit routes pass, between thn Atlantic and
Pacific oceans, presents a subject of deep in
terest to all commercial nations. It is over
these transits, that a large proportion of the
trade and travel between the European and
Asiatic continents, is destined to pass. To
the United States these routes are of incalcu
lable importance, as a means of communica
tion between their Atlantic and Pacific . pos
sessions. The latter now, extend throughout
seventeen degrees of latitude on the Pacific
coast, embracing the important State of Cali
fornia and the flourishing Territories of Ore
gon and Washington. All commercial na
tions, therefore, have a deep and direct inter
est, that these communications shall be ren
dered secure from interruption. If an arm
of the sea, connecting the two oceans, pene
trated through Nicaragua and Costa Rica, it
could not be pretended that these States
would have the right to arrest or retard its
navigation, to the injury of other nations.—
The transit-by land over this narrow isth
mus,,occupies nearly the same position. It
is a highway in which they themselves have
little interest, when compared with, the vast
interests of the rest of the world. :Whilst
their rights of sovereignty ought to„ben-e
-spected, it is the duty of other nations to re
quire, 'that this important passage shall not
be interrupted, by the civil wars and revolu
tionary outbreaks, which have so frequently
occurred in that region. The stake is too
important, to be left at the mercy of riVal
companies, claiming to hold conflicting con
tracts with Nicaragua. The commerce of
other nations is not to.stand still and await
the adjustment of such petty controversies.
The government of the United States ex
pects no more than this, and they will not
be satisfied with less. They would not, if
they could, derive any advantage from the
Nicaragua transit, not common to the rest of
the world. Its neutrality and protection,
fur the common use - of all nations, is their
only object. They have no objection - that 1
Nicaragua shall demand and receive a fair
compensation, from the companies and indi
viduals who may traverse the route ; but
they insist that it shall never hereafter be
closed, by an arbitrary decree
. of that; ger
eminent. If disputes arise between it and
those with whom they have entered into''eatil.
tracts, these must be. adjusted by sonic fair
tribunal provided fur the purpose, and the
route must not be closed pending the ecintro
versy. This is our whole policy, and it can
uot fail to be acceptable to other nations.
All these difficulties might be avoided, if,
consistently with the good faith of Nicara
gua, the use of this transit could be thrown
open to general competition ; providing at
the same time for the payment of a reasona
ble rate to the Nicaraguan government, on
passengers and freight.
In August, 185'2, the Accessory Transit
Company made its first interoceanic trip
over the Nicaraguan route, and continued in
successful operation, with great advantage
to the public, until the 18th of February,
1856, when it was closed, and the grant to
this company, as well as its charter, were
summarily and arbitrarily revolted by the
(rovernment -of President Rivas. Previous to
this date, however, in 185 , 4, serious disputes
concerning the settlements of their accounts
had arisen between the company, and the
government, threatening the interruption of
the route at any moment. These, the United
States in vain endeavored to compose. It
would be useless to narrate the various pro
ceedings which took place between the par
ties, up till the time when the transit was
discontinued. Suffice it to say that, since
February, 1856, it has remained closed,
greatly to the prejudice - of citizens of the
United States. Since that time, the competi
tion has ceased between the rival routes of
Panama and Nicaragua, and, in consequence
thereof, an unjust and unreasonable amount
has been exacted from oar citizens for their
passage to and from California.
A treaty was signed on the 16th day of
November, 1557, by the Secretary of State
and Minister of Nicaragua, under the stipu
lations of which the use and protection of the
.transit route would have been secured, not
only to the United States, but equally to all
other nations. How and on what pretexts
this treaty has failed to receive the ratifica
tion of the Nicaragua government, will ap
pear by the papers herewith communicated
from the State Department. • The principal
objection seems to have 'been to the provision
authorizing the United States to employ force
to keep the route open, in case Nicaragua
should fail to perform her duty in this respect.
From the feebleness of that republic, its fre
quent changes of government, and its
stant internal dissensions, this had become a
most important stipulation, and one essen
tially necessary not only for the security of
the route, but for the safety of American cit
izens passing and repassing to and from our
Pacific possessions. Were such a stipulation
embraced in • a treaty between the United
States and Nicaragua, the-knowledge of this
fact would of itself most probably prevent
hostile parties from committing aggressions
on the route, and render our actual inter
ference for .its protection necessary.
The executive government of this country,
in its intercourse with foreign nations, is lim
ited to the employment of diplomacy alone.
When thiS fails, it can proceed no further.
It cannot legitimately resort , to force, without
the direct authority of Congress, except in
resisting and repelling hostile attacks. It
would have no authority to enter the territo
ries of Nicaragua, even to prevent the de
struction of the transit, - and to protect the
lives and property of our own citizens on
their passage. It is true, that on a sudden
emergency of this character,. the President
would direct any armed force in the vicinity
to march to their relief; but doing this he
would act upon his own responsibility.
Under these circumstances, I earnestly
recommend to Congress the passage of an act
authorizing the President, under such re
strictions as they may deem proper, to employ
the land and naval forces of the United States
in preventing the transit from being obstruc
ted or closed by lawless violence, and in pro
tecting the lives and property, 'of American
citizens traveling thereupon, requiring at the
same time that these forpeS• shall" be with
drawn the moment the danger shall have
passed away. Without such a provision, our
citizens will be constantly exposed to inter
ruption in their progress, .and to lawless vio
A similar necessity exists for the passage
of such an act for the protection of the Pan
ama and. Tehuantepec routes.
In reference to tile" Panamaroute, the Uni
ted States, by their eidsting treaty With New
Granada, expressly guarantee the neutrality
of the Isthmus, "with the view that the free
transit from the one to the other sea may not
be interrupted. or embarrassed in any future
time while this treaty exists."
In regard to the Tehuantepec route, which
has been recently opened under the most fa
horable auspices, our treaty with Mexico, of
the 30th of December, 1853, secures to the
citizens of the United States a right of tran
sit over it for their persons and merchandize,
and stipulates that neither government shall
"interpose any obstacle" thereto. It - also
concedes to the United States the "right to
transport.across the Isthmus, in closed bags,
the mails of the United. States not intended
for distribution along the line of the commu
nication ; also, the effects of the United
States government and its citizens which may
be intended for transit, and not for distribu
tion on the Isthmus, free of custom-house or
other charges by the Mexican governMent."
The treaty stipulations with New Granada
and Mexico, in addition to the considerations
applicable to the Nicaraguan route, seems to
require legislation fur the purpose of carry
ing them into effect.
The injuries which have been inflicted
upon our citizens in Costa Rica and Nicara
gua during the last two or three years, have
received the prompt attention of this govern
ment. Some ,of these injuries were of the
most aggravated 'character. The transaction
of Virgin Bay, in April, 1856, when a coin
pany'or unarmed Americans, who were in
no way connected. with any belligerent con
duct or party, Were fired upon by the troops
of Costa Itica, and numbers of them killed
and wounded, was brought to the knowledge
of Congress by my predecessor soon after its
occurrence, and was also presented to the
government of Costa Rica, for that immedi
ate investigation and redress which the na
ture of the case demanded. A-similar course
was pursued with reference to other outrages
in these countries, some of which were hardly
less aggravated in their character than the
transactions at Virgin Bay. At the time,
however, when our present minister to Nica
ragua was appointed, in December, 1857, no
redress had been obtained for any of these
wrongs, and no reply even had been received
to the demands which had been made by this
government upon that of Costa Rica, more
than a year before.
Our minister was instructed, therefore, to
lose no time in expressing, to those govern
ments •the deep regret with which the Presi
dent had witnessed this inattention to the, just
clairus of the United States, and. in demand
ing their proinpt and satisfactory adjustment.
Unless this demand shall be complied with at
an early day, it will only remain for this
government to adopt such other measures as
may be necessary, in order to. obtain for itself
that justice which it has in vain attempted to
secure by peaceful means, from the Govern
ments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Wh:le
it has shOwn, and will continue to show, the
most sincere regard fur the rights and honor
of these republics, it cannot permit this re
gard to be met by au utter neglect, on their
part, of what is due to the government and
citizens of the United States.
Against New Granada we have long stand
ing causes of complaint, arising out of the
unsatisfied claim of our citizens upon that
republic ; and to these have been more re
cently- added the outrages upon our citizens
at Panama in April, 1856. A treaty for the
adjUstMent of theSe difficulties, was conclu
ded by the Secretary of State and the Minis
ter of New Granada, in September, 1857,
which contained just and acceptable provi
sions for that purpose. This treaty was
transmitted to Bogota, and was ratified by
the government of New Granada, but with
certain amendments. It was not however,
returned to this city until after the close of
the last session of the Senate. It will be
immediately transmitted to that body for
their advice and consent ; and should this be
obtained, it will remove all our existing cau
ses of complaint against New Granada on
the subject of claims.
Questions have arisen between the two
governments, as to the right of New Granada
to•levy a tonnage duty upon the vessels of
the United States in its ports of the Isthmus,
and to levy a passenger tax upon our citizens
arriving in that country, whether with a de
sign to remain there or pass from ocean to
ocean by the transit route ; and also a tax
upon the mail of the United States transpor
ted over the Panama Railroad. The govern
ment of New Granada has been informed that
the United States would consider the collec
tion of either of these taxes as an act in vio
lation of the treaty between the two countries,
and as such would be resisted by the United
States. At the same, time we are prepared
to discuss these questions in a spirit,of amity
and justice, and with a sincere desire•to ad
just them in a satisfactory manner. A nego
tiation for that purpose has already been corn-
Menced. No effort has recently been made
to collect these taxes, nor is any anticipated
under present circumstances.
With the empire of Brazil our relations
are of the most friendly character. The pro
ductions of the two countries, and especially
those of an agricultural nature, are such as
to invite extensive mutual exchanges. A
large quantity of American flour is consumed
in Brazil; whilst more than treble the amount
in Value of Brazilian coffee is consumed in
the United States. Whilst this is the case,
a heavy duty has been levied, until very re
cently, upon the importation of American
flour into Brazil. I am gratified, however,
to be able to inform you that in September
last this has been reduced from $1,32 to
about forty-nine cents per barrel, and the
duties on, other articles of our production
have been diminished in nearly the same pro
I regret to state that the government of
Brazil still continues to levy an export duty
of about 11 per cent. on coffee, notwithstand
ing this article is admitted free from duty in
the United States. This is a heavy charge
upon the consumers of coffee in our country
as we purchase half the entire surplus crop
of that article raised in Brazil. Our minis
ter, under, instructions, will reiterate his
efforts to have this export duty removed; and
it is hoped the enlightened Government of
the Emperor will adopt this wise, just and
equarpolicy. In that event there is good
reason to believe that the commerce between
the two countries will greatly increase much
to .the advantage of both.
The claims of our citizens against the gov
ernment of Brazil are not, in the aggregate,
of very large amount; but some of these rest
upon plain principles of justice, and their
settlement ought not to be longer delayed.
A renewed and earnest, and, I trust, a suc
cessful effort will be made by our minister
to procure their final adjustment.
On the 2d of June last, Congress passed a
joint resolution authorizing the President "to
adopt such measures and
,u - Se such force as,
in his judgment, may be necessary and ad
visable" "for the purpose of adjusting the
differences between .the United States and
the republic of Paraguay, in connection with
the attack on the United States steamer
Water 'Witch, and with other measures ro
ferred to" in his annual, message. And on
the 12th of July following, they made an ap
propriation to defray the expenses and com
pensation of a commissioner to that republic,
should the President deem it proper to make
such an appointment.
In compliance with the enactments, I have
appointed a commissioner, who has procee
ded to Paraguay, with full powers and instruc
tions to settle these differences in an amicable
and-peaceful manner, if this be practicable.
His experience and discretion justify the hope
that he may prove successful in convincing the
Paraguayan go - vernment, that it is due both
to honor and justice, that they should volun
tarily and promptly make attonement for the
wrongs which they have committed against
the Uited States, and indemnify our injured
citizens whom they have forcibly despoiled of
their property.
Should our commissioner prove unsuccess
ful, after a sincere and earnest effort to ac
complish the object of his mission, then no al
ternative will remain, but the employment of
force to obtain "just satisfaction" from Par
aguay. In view of this contingency, the Sec
retary of the Navy, under my discretion, has
fitted out and despatched a naval force, to
rendezvoue near Buenos Ayres, which, it is
believed, will prove sufficient fur the occa
sion. It is my earnest desire, however, that
it may not be found necessary to resort to
this last alternative.
When Congress met in December last, the
business of the country had just been crushed,
by one of those periodical revulsions, which
are the inevitable consequence of our un
sound and extravagant system of hank credits
and inflated currency. With all the elements
of national wealth in abundance, our manu
factures were suspended, our useful public
and private enterprises were arrested, and
thousands of laborers were deprived of em
ployment and reduced to want. Universal
distress prevailed among the commercial,
manufacturing and mechanical classes. This
revulsion was felt the more severely in the
United States, because similar causes had
produced the like deplorable effects through
out the commercial nations of Europe. All
were experiencing sad reverse at the same
moment. Our manufacturers every where suf
fered severely, not because of the recent re
duction in the tariff of duties on imports, but
because there was no demand at-any price for
their productions. The people were obliged
to restrict themselves, in their purchases, to
articles of prime necessity. In the general
prostration of business, iron manufacturers
in .different States probably suffered more
than any other class,•and much destitution
was the inevitable consequence, among the
treat number of workmen who had been em
ployed in this useful branch of our industry.
There could be no supply when there was no
demand. To present an example, there could
be no demand for railroad iron, after our
magnificent system of railroads, extending
its benefits to every portion of the Union,
had been brought to a dead rase. The
same consequences have resulted - from simi
lar causes to many other branches of useful
manufactures. It is self-evident that where
there is no ability to purchase manufactured
articles, these cannot be sold, and consequent
ly must cease to be produced.
No government, and especially a govern
ment o such liMited powers as that -of the
United States, could have prevented the late
revulsion. The whole commercial world
seemed for years to have been rushing to
this catastrophe. The same ruinous conse
quences would have followed in the United
States, whether the duties upon foreign im
ports had remained . kthey were under the
tariff. of 1846, or. had been raised to a much
higher standard. "The tariff of 1857 had no
agency in the result. The general causes
existing throughout the world, could not
have been controlled by the legislation of
any particular country.
The periodical revulsions which have ex
isted in our paSt history, must continue to
return at intervals, so long as our present
unbounded system of bank credits shall pre
vail. They will, however, probably be the
less severe in future ; because it is not to be
expected, at least for many years to come,
that the commercial nations of , Europe, with
whose interests our own are so materially in
volved, will expose themselves to similar
calamities. But this, subject was treated-so
much at large in my last annual message,
that I shall not now pursue it farther. Still,
I respectfully renew the recommendation, in
favor of the passage of a uniform bankrupt
law, applicable to banking institutions.--
This is all the power over the subject which,
I believe, the federal government possesses.
Such a law would mitigate, though it. might
not prevent the evil.• The instinct of self
preservation might produce a wholesome re
straint upon their banking business, if they
knew in advance, that a suspension of specie
payments would inevitably produce their
civil death.
But the effects of the revulsion are ,now
slowly but surely passing away. The energy
and enterprise of our citizens, with our un
•bounded resources, will,. within the period of
another year restore a state of wholesome in
dustry and trade. Capital has again accu
mulated in our large cities. The rate of in
terest is there very low. Confidence is grad
ually reviving, and so soon as it is discovered
that this capital can be profitably employed
in commercial and manufacturing enterprises,
and in the construction of railroads and other
works of public and private improvement,
prosperity will again smile throughout the
land. It is in vain, however, to disguise the
fact from ourselves, that a speculative infla
tion of our currency, without a correspond
ing inflation in other countries whose manu
factures come into competition with our own,
must ever produce disastrous results to our
domestic manufactures. No tariff, short. of
absolute prohibition, can prevent theSe evil
In connection with this subject, it is proper
to refer to our financial condition. The same
causes which have produced pecuniary dis
tress throughout the country,-have so reduced
the amount of imports from foreign countries,
that the revenue has proved inadequate to
meet the 'necessary expenses of the govern
ment. To supply the deficiency, Congress,
by the act of the 23d of December, 1857, au
thorizes the issue of. $20,000;000 of treasury
notes ; and, this proving inadequate, they au
thorized,' by ills act of June 14, 1858, a loan
of $20,000,000, "to be applied to the, pay
ment of appropriations made by lair.' ,
No statesman would advise, that-we should
go on increasing the national debt to meet
the ordinary expenses of the government.-- ,
This would be a most ruinous policy, In
case of - War, our credit must be our chief re
source, at least for the first year, and this
would be greatly impaired by having con
tracted a large debt in time of peace. It is
our true -policy to increase our revenue so as
to equal our expenditures. It would be ruin
ous to continue to borrow. Besides, it may
be proper to observe, that the incidental pro
tection, thus afforded by a revenue tariff,
would at the present moment, to some extent,
increase the confidence of the manufacturing
interests, and give fresh impulse to our re
viving business. To this, surely, no person
will object.
In' regard to the mode of assessing and col
lecting duties under a strictly revenue tariff,
I have long entertained and often expressed
the opinion, that sound policy requires this
should be one by specific duties, in cases to
which these can be properly applied. They
are well adapted- to commodities which are
usually sold by weight or- by measure, and
which, from their nature, are of equal or of
nearly equal value. Such, for example are
the articles of iron of different classes, raw
sugar, and foreign wines, and spirits.
In my deliberate judgment, specific du
ties are the best, if not the only means of se
curing revenue against false and fraudulent
invoices, and such has been the practice
adopted for this purpose by other commer
cial nations. Besides specific duties would
-afford to the American manufacturer-the in
cidental advantages to which he is fairly en
titled under a revenue tarriff. Tho present
system is a sliding scale to his disadvantage.
Under it, when prices are high and business
- prosperous, the duties rise in amount when
he least requires their aid: On the contrary,
when prices fall, and he is struggling against
adversity, the duties are diminished in the
same proportion, greatly to his injury.
Neither would there be danger that ahigh
er rate of duty than that intended by Con
gess, could be levied in -the form of specific
duties. It would be easy- to ascertain the
average value of any imported article for a
series of years ; and7instead of subjecting it
to an cut valol'em, dirty at a certain rate per
contain, to substitute in its place an equiva
lent specific duty.
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