present to purchase many of that description; but a operations in that branch of public service during Although, for the reason before given, it would be sufficient number of large chambered guns to arm the year will be seen. The additional duties caused impracticable to notice all the works specified in the our forts, will be procured. And in consequence of by the act of the last session, transferring to that de- report of the colonel of engineers, yet some of them the adoption of the suggestion of the treasury department the business of the commissary of purcha- seem to demand observation. partment, before mentioned, a large portion of the ses, have been undertaken, and so far successfully The reason for the delay in the construction of the money intended for the service of the year 1842, re- performed. The termination of hostilities in Flori- barracks and defensive works at Detroit and Buffa mains unexpended; and any specific appropriations da relieved a large number of assistant quartermas-lo. are stated by the chief engineer. As they were for the ordnance department, for the first six months ters from duty there, and placed them at the dispo- of a temporary character, and have now been overof 1843, will be unnecessary. sition of this department, many of whom have been come, these works will be vigorously prosecuted, so The estimates for the fiscal year commencing Ju- returned to their companies, still retaining their ap- soon as the season will admit, and it is very satisfacly 1, 1843, are made upon a scale so reduced as to pointments in the staff. The provisions of the ninth tory to know, without the necessity of any further be warranted only by the possible state of the trea- section of the act of July 5, 1838, render it ques-appropriations, for the next eighteen months. sury. The usual appropriations for the ordinary ob- tionable whether they can be deprived of those apThe conclusion of a treaty with the envoy of Great jects of expenditure in this branch of service are as pointments without actual removal from office by desirable now as at former periods; and it is believ- the president. The same remark applies, although Britain, by which a cession was made of the strip of ed that a mistaken economy only would dictate the not with equal force, to the assistant adjutants gene- New York and Vermont, which included the site land along the northern boundary of the states of continuance of such reduced amounts, when the ral, provided for by the seventh section of the same heretofore selected at Rouse's Point for a fort, rencondition of the public finances will admit of what act. It must happen that the number of these offiis demanded by our true interests. cers appointed in one state of circumstances, will dered it expedient to suspend all operations in refernot be required in another, and it is therefore, high-ence to the two works on either side of the outlet of ly expedient that the president should be authorised Lake Champlain, which had been contemplated in to dispense with their staff services, and vacate their place of that of Rouse's Point, when it was ascerstaff appointments whenever the public exigency no tained that the latter did not fall within our bounlonger demands them. dary.

I cannot omit to refer to the recommendation contained in the last annual report, for a national foundry, on a limited scale, at which the qualities of iron may be tested and ascertained, and models for ordnance may be fabricated. It is apprehended that the great importance of such a laboratory to the country at large, as well as to the government, has not been sufficiently considered.

The best and the most agreeable evidence that The report of the board of officers, in May, 1840, could be furnished of the economy which has pre-presenting a connected plan of defences by land, esvailed in the disbursements, will be found in the cir- timated the expense of a permanent work at Stony cumstance that so much of the appropriations made Point, on the New York side of the outlet, at $300,at the last session remain on hand, that $131,000 000, and the same sum for a permanent work at only will be required for the first half of the ensu- Windmill Point, on the Vermont side. By the cesing year; and the estimates for the fiscal year, com- sion referred to, and which has now become complete mencing on the first of July, 1843, are much below by the ratification of the treaty, these works have bethose that have been presented and sanctioned by come unnecessary. As the existing appropriation congress for several years. will be sufficient for the present, immediate measures will be taken to carry into effect the design of congress, by commencing the work at Rouse's Point.

It will be seen that some legislative provision has become quite necessary in reference to the lead mines and the mineral lands. Under the existing laws, no alternative was left to the executive, but to proceed and lease the mineral lands reserved for sale. The difficulties of this course are detailed in the report of the ordnance bureau. The principal, if not the only cause of them, would seem to be the claims The measures adopted for putting in order Fort to those lands (in most cases utterly unfounded) by Jesup, in Louisiana, and Fort Atkinson; for estabpersons who have entered them for purchase at the lishing the new posts on the Marmiton river, and on land office, when they were not liable to entry, or or near the False Washita, and the operations at Deby persons who have occupied them without any troit, Plattsburg, Fort Sullivan, Fort Adams, and at right or pretence of right. It is unfortunate that various other posts, are detailed in the accompanythese persons constitute a powerful though not a nu-ing report of the quartermaster general. merous class, who are able to exact from the miners who bring ont the ore, a large portion of their produce, while they refuse to pay any rent to the U. States. Thus the poor, industrious, and very numerous body of miners, are oppressed, while the I deeply regret the necessity for again invoking country is deprived of the use of its own property, the attention of congress to the dishonored pledge and of any equivalent for such use by others. The given by the quartermaster general, in the name and difficulty incident to the leasing lands of any descrip- by the authority of this nation, to the Creek Indians, tion, and collecting rents, by a government, is so to remunerate them for their services in Florida, and great, and is attended with so much expense and ha- as a consideration for their removal. The earnestzard of loss, that no essential benefit can be antici-ness with which a gallant soldier pleads for the faith pated from the practice.

I concur in his recommendation of appropriations for new barracks at Fort Gibson, and consider the reasons urged by him so strong as to require nothing more than a reference to them.

and honor of his country, and for justice to a help-
less tribe, who have no resort but to our own sense
of right, it is hoped will not only be excused by the
circumstances, but will find a hearty response in



The report of the colonel of engineers exhibits a most gratifying account of the ability and fidelity of the offices of that corps, and of the results of their labors. Notwithstanding the state of the treasury rendered it indispensable to suspend some of the operations during the past year, yet it will be seen that many important works are in complete order, others in a condition to render effective service, and others very near completion. The arrangements, with all the requisite collateral preparations, are complete for mounting 2,085 guns, at points most important for the defence of the sea coast. This may be said to have been accomplished substantially within the two last years.

It is believed that the appropriation made in 1841 for the erection of defensive work at the junction of the Matawanskeag and Penobscot rivers, in the state of Maine, can be better applied in the erection of a fort at the Narrows of the Penobscot, and it is respectfully recommended that authority for that purpose be given.

Although the state of the works for the defence of the harbor of New York is very gratifying, yet it should not be forgotten that they do not complete the system, and that, without such completion, they do not afford adequate protection. The fortifications on Staten Island, at the Narrows, are deemed more important than the opposite forts Hamilton and Lafayette. The United States have expended more than $15,000 in erecting the works on Staten Island, upon land belonging to the state of New York. That state has offered to convey this land, on receiving the original purchase money and the interest. The difficulty respecting the title, which was supposed to exist, has been removed by the opinion of the attorney general, that the right to the land is unquestionably in the state of New York. It is therefore confidently hoped that the necessary appropriation will now be made to purchase the site of the works erected, and to put them in repair. Should any apprehension be felt of a want of means they can probably be supplied by the sale of the site of fort Gansevoort, on the North river, which has become comparatively useless, and by the application of the proceeds of such sale to the works on Staten Island.

Another and most essential part of the defence of the harbor of New York, which has been rendered more necessary by the discovery of a new channel, consists of a work on Sandy Hook, the immediate commencement of which is strenuously urged by the chief engineer by the most convincing considerations. It is most earnestly and respectfully recommended to the consideration of congress.

The tenure of land by short leases is so foreign to the genius of our institutions and the habits of our people, that it necessarily becomes somewhat odious, and increases the difficulty. To enable the go. vernment to obtain some value for these lands and mines, and at the same time to afford to the humble and comparatively indigent laborers an opportunity to acquire lots for sums within their means of payment, and in quantities adapted to their means of working them, it is recommended that the reserved mineral lands in the north part of Illinois and the territories of Wiskonsan and Iowa be allowed to be sold in lots of ten acres each, at a minimum price of ten dollars per acre. It is represented that they are worth from twenty to fifty dollars per acre, depending on their situations. Prior to such sales the claims to any of the mineral lands should be determined by a board instituted for that purpose, and the claimants allowed to enter and purchase the lands at the same No satisfactory account of the work performed at minimum price in order of priority to be settled in the different forts, or of their present condition, can the law or by the board. The interest of the United be given, without a minuteness of detail incompatiStates in these lands and mines is of very great va-ble with the general design of this report. For this, lue, and is endangered by delay in the proper mea- reference is therefore made to very clear and ample sures to secure it. At the same time, the prosperi- statements of the chief engineer. It will be seen, ty. and, indeed, the peace and quiet of the large with what cautious regard to the possible state of number of citizens occupying the lands or working the public revenues, the estimates have been made mendations contained in the last annual report of I would earnestly invite attention to the recomthe mines, demand that their rights should be settled, for continuing and completing the works now in pro- this department, in favor of the establishment of and their conflicting titles and claims adjusted. gress and for the repairs of such as require them. military defences on the remote southern portion What may now be accomplished without difficulty, It is hoped that the moderation of these estimates, of our Atlantic frontier. may hereafter, when the parties interested become and the sound and just views by which they are susAs there appears to be more numerous and more tenacious, be found im- tained, will commend them to the favorable conside-some question whether the points on the coast withto the earnest attention of congress who can alone steadiness and regularity of the appropriations, than the engineer bureau, and which is recommended by practicable. The subject is therefore commended ration of congress. More, perhaps, depends on the in the state of Georgia, heretofore indicated, are the most advisable, the appropriation asked by provide the necessary means for rendering justice to upon their large amount. At a time when there is this department, may be for the commencement of the government, to the claimants, and to the miners. so little employment for labor, and it is so cheap, These suggestions are not intended to apply to the economy will be promoted by continuing our nation- a work on the coast of Georgia, at such site as the mineral lands in the south part of Illinois. The al defences, while the expenditures will operate president shall select, after the necessary military character and nature of the mines in that quarter most beneficially among the industrial classes of our are not yet sufficiently ascertained to enable us to fellow citizens, and add much to the means and the The recommendations in the last annual report affix a price to them, nor is there as yet any conflict spirit of our internal trade. If then, what is not of works for the security of Mobile bay are rebetween claimants and occupants to require the in-supposed to admit of doubt, and what this depart-newed. This very exposed frontier would seem terposition of the government. A strong beliefment will not suffer itself to question or to discuss, to demand more protection than has hitherto been is entertained by the lessees that these mines contain it is the determination of the government to place large proportions of silver. Should such expecta-the country in a competent state of defence against tions be realized, a different policy from that adopt-foreign aggression, the present time would seem to ed in respect to the lead mines may be expedient. be propitious for continuing the plan of fortifications In the report of the quartermaster general, the heretofore adopted.



The report of the colonel of engineers shows the necessity of some provision for completing the work on the national road which was begun, but which is left unfinished, and is now exposed to rapid destruc

tion for the want of that finish which is essential to its protection. If it be the determination of congress not to authorise any further expenditures on this road, it is suggested whether some measure might not be adopted by which the states through which it passes may be enabled to complete and keep in repair an avenue of such great importance to the whole community, and particularly to our western fellow citizens, and one so eminently beneficial to the operations of the federal government in peace, and almost indispensable in war.

The expense of the survey for the continuation of this road through the states of Illinois and Missouri to the city of Jefferson, heretofore made under a resolution of the senate, has not been defrayed, and provision for it would be but an act of justice to the public creditors by whom it was in


liberation, doubtless dictated the formation of this next. It is intended to cause a similar survey of the corps. And all our experience has shown the wis- country south of that river, embracing the approaches dom of the measure. The reports in detail of the to the Rocky Mountains, their several passes, and several officers of the corps, appended to that of the gradually the region between them and our possescolonel, presents a mass of the most valuable infor- sions on the Pacific. These explorations and surmation respecting the topography of various parts veys are indispensable to such a knowledge of the of the union, from the remote north to the extreme country, its resources and its streams, as we must south. They exhibit the progress made in the sur- possess before we can establish any communication veys, in the improvement of harbors and rivers, in with a region that is every day becoming more imthe construction of light houses and breakwaters, portant to us. And it is hoped that there will be and various other works in charge of the corps. A no reluctance to granting the very moderate approbrief notice of a few of those which seem to require priations asked for the continuance of the "military attention, is all that will be attempted on the present and geographical surveys west of the Mississippi occasion,

It will be perceived that considerable progress has been made in the survey of the northwestern lakes, and that preparations for its continuance the next season have been made, which will enable those in The report of the board of visiters, appointed du- charge of the work to accomplish more than was ring the last year to examine the military academy practicable during the last year. The expense of at West point, accompanies that of the colonel of en- these surveys is comparatively so trifling that they gineers. It evinces great ability, and the close and can scarcely be liable to objection in almost any critical scrutiny with which a board of disinterested state of the treasury. I cannot omit to call attenand independent citizens have looked into every de- tion to the report of captain Williams, respecting the partment of this great national institution, and the urgent necessity of a harbor on the west side of high praise which they award to its superintendent, Lake Michigan, and the improvement of the navigaprofessors, and teachers, to the exact discipline tion at the mouth of the St. Clair river. These are maintained, and to the thorough instruction imparted, exceedingly important to the United States, to enais enhanced by their obviously eminent capacity to ble us to furnish supplies to the Indian tribes, and form a correct judgment, and by their equally obvi- military stores and subsistance for the troops which, ous regard for discriminating truth. The testimony even in time of peace, must be maintained in that of the chief engineer, himself so long and so thorough- quarter, and which, in the event of hostilities, will ly acquainted with all the operations of the academy, afford the only barrier between savage ferocity and that, in his opinion, "it has never been in a condition our frontier settlements. But to our fellow citizens so perfectly fulfilling the purposes of its creation of that region, who have purchased the public lands, and maintenance as now," is equally gratifying and a safe access to the markets of the east is so essenconvincing. A personal examination during the re- tial as to justify their calls upon the government for cess of congress enables me to add what these testi- a common share of its protection. The commerce monials scarcely required, my own conviction of of the lakes, comprising the productions of seven their entire justness. Having in the last annual re- states and one territory, which must annually exceed port, expressed somewhat at large my views of the twenty five millions of dollars, would seem entitled inestimable advantages of this institution to the to consideration and assistance, not only on account whole country in diffusing a species of knowledge that of the great interests involved in its success, but on can be no otherwise acquired, and of its absolute the ground, also, of a fair apportionment of the fosnecessity for preserving and improving that science tering and protecting aid of the government. This upon which our safety in war must depend, it is not commerce affords the only effective means of supdeemed necessary to repeat them. Indeed, the stea-plying the nation with the mariners who will be dy adherence of congress at all times and under all found indispensable in that quarter, in the event of circumstances, even of pecuniary difficulty, to an in-hostilities. stitution which so much resembles that body in its It will be seen that the surveys for the defences of influences upon the formation of a national character, Soller's flats and of Delaware breakwater harbor are operating as it does upon pupils selected mainly by completed. Those for the defences of Sandy Hook, the immediate representatives of the people, from and the harbor and town of Portsmouth, New Hampevery district of the union, renders superfluous any shire, are in execution, as well as the military reextended observations on the subject. connoisance of the peninsula of Maryland, south of the city. It is gratifying to learn that an expensive and very thorough reconnoisance of the defences of New Orleans, embracing a large extent of territory, has been completed.

The alterations and improvements suggested by the board of visiters have received the most respectful consideration, and have been adopted where circumstances justified such a course. The barracks for the residence of the students have been a subject of complaint by every board of visiters for several years past. The single fact, that ordinarily three pupils, and frequently a larger number, are obliged to study and sleep in a room scarcely sufficient for one, is of itself sufficient to show how indispensable additional accommodations in that respect have become. In one of the buildings, not only are the pupils deprived of the ordinary comforts of room, but their health is jeoparded by exposure to storms and to sudden transitions. I cannot too earnestly recommend the moderate appropriation asked by the engineer bureau for an addition to the barracks at the academy.

The raft which formed the obstruction to the navigation of Red river has been removed; an event of no small importance to our fellow citizens in that quarter.

The Potomac aqueduct is so far completed as to warrant the confident expectation that it will be in a condition to receive water in the course of the next season. The repairs of the Potomac bridge are drawing to a close, and it is believed that it will be passable in January next.


In the last annual report of the department, your attention and that of congress was called to the great importance of establishing a chain of military posts extending from the Council bluffs to the mouth of the Columbia river. A plan and estimate of the expenses were subsequently laid before the military committee of the house of representatives, by whom a very able and interesting report was made, accompanied by a bill. I would again earnestly invite a consideration of the subject. There are two aspects in which it may be regarded. In the first place, the exhibition of military power is indispensable to counteract and control any hostile disposition of the Indians in that vast and sequestered region. They are now exposed to the unresisted influences of the traders and emissaries of foreign nations, by whom they could at any time be excited to devastate that entire frontier. We could command the avenues by which these Indians pass from the north to the south in their hunting expeditions, and thus make them sensible of our power to resist and punish aggression. In the second place, if we intend to maintain our right to the territories on the Pacific, belonging to us, which, it is supposed, does not admit of a question, we must occupy them; and we must establish a communication with them other than that of a five months' voyage by sea, at a particular season of the year. By extending our laws and civil jurisdiction over the country, and affording protection to our citizens disposed to emigrate thi ther, I have the strongest reason to believe, from communications to the department, that a sufficient number would soon establish themselves in that quarter, provided they could be assured of immunity from Indians on the way, and their journey could be facilitated by the government. To attain these purposes it is not supposed that a continued chain of posts is immediately necessary. The establishment of one at some proper point on the Missouri, probably between the great bend of that river and White river, at which stores and supplies could be sent out, would answer for the present, and until the whole ground should be better known. These parties would be occupied primarily in exploring and surveying, to ascertain the best routes, in removing obstructions and facilitating the passage of such routes, and in protecting the caravans of emigrants. And if small detachments of hired men, acquainted with the country, were furnished to the latter, upon their crossing the mountains, it is believed that nothing further would be required. Every colony that passed over the mountains would facilitate the progress of its successor, and every one that established itself beyond them would add to the strength and power of the government, and would perhaps render permanent forts unnecessary.

The measures taken to execute the law of the last session appropriating one hundred thousand dollars There are many indications that the time has arrivfor the improvement of the Ohio, Mississippi, Mis-ed for decided action on this subject, and I trust that souri, and Arkansas rivers, are also stated. So soon at the ensuing session of congress, there will be such The subject of a corps of artificers to learn and as the application for an injunction by Henry M. appropriations as will enable this department to make practice the duties of military field engineering, was Shreve, esq. which has arrested the progress of those the necessary arrangements to send on to Oregon a brought to the attention of congress in the last annu- measures, shall be disposed of, they will be resumed. colony of citizens impatient to undertake the enteral report, and is renewed by the chief engineer. It is manifest that the present appropriation is whol- prise. A post at or near the mouth of the Columbia, Deeming it impossible to increase the cogency of the ly inadequate-that it can only provide the necessa- would certainly be desirable; but it is not deemed abreasons urged by him for some provision on the sub-ry snag-boats, and that unless followed by others, solutely necessary, in the present condition of things. ject, I can but again add my earnest recommenda- the expenditure of the money will be but to waste it. The operations in the paymaster general's and the tion to those so repeatedly presented by my prede- The proceedings of the corps under the laws re- surgeon general's departments, are detailed in the recessor, in favor of the necessary provisions to effect specting the construction of light houses are also de- ports of their respective chiefs. Under the authority that object. tailed in the report. It would seem that the expense of the appropriation at the last session, for extending The report of the colonel of topographical engi- of these invaluable auxiliaries to commerce may be and rendering more complete the meteoroligical obneers affords new and continued evidence of the great much diminished by the adoption of Mitchell's pa- servations conducted at the military posts, professor usefulness of that corps, and of the zeal and ability tent screw moorings, a recent English invention, and Espy has been employed to render that assistance for of its officers. An accurate knowledge of the topo- that by means of such moorings they can be placed which his extensive researches so eminently quality graphy of our very extended territory, particularly in positions far more advantageous to the mariner him. Instructions and forms have been prepared, of its maritime and internal frontiers, of its lakes than any that can be occupied in the present mode of which, it is believed, will ensure very exact and very and rivers, of the obstructions to intercommunica- building them. The sanction of congress is invited extensive observations, from which an important tion, and of the positions most requiring, and most to the steps recommended by the colonel of topogra- science cannot fail to derive great advantages. capable of, defensive works, is indispensable alike phical engineers to procure the necessary apparatus, The report of the commissary general of subsisto intelligent legislation and to efficient executive and acquire a knowledge of its application. tance exhibits the very prosperous condition of his deadministration. As a mere question of economy, It will be seen that a party of engineers is in the partment. All the accounts of disbursing agents have such information can scarcely be acquired at too field for the survey of the Arkansas and Platte rivers, been faithfully rendered. For the reasons stated by high a price. The advantage of an organized scien- and the adjacent country. A survey of the country him, no appropriations for the first six months of 1843 tific corps, qualified by study and by practice for this north of the Missouri having been completed, the will be necessary, on account of subsistance of the peculiar duty, over the irregular services of persons map of which, constructed by Mr. Nicallet, unequal- army. The success which has so far attended the systransiently employed, without organization, and led in the accuracy and fullness of its details, is now tem of purchase by contract, induces me to dissent with the opportunities of mature and systematic de- nearly finished, and will be published in January from the recommendation to change it. Perhaps

[ocr errors]

Since the last annual report, a treaty has been concluded and ratified with the Senecas of N. York, by which a dispute that threatened the most vexatious consequences, has been amicably adjusted, the rights of the Indians protected, their interests promoted, and the government relieved from large pecuniary responsibilities.

With the Wyandots of Ohio a treaty has been ratified, by which that state will be relieved from a population that encumbered the fairest portion of its territory-a portion that will now be open to enterprise, and contribute to a general prosperity.

more discretion might be safely allowed, to purchase | nominal. The most atrocious offenders are seldom complish these purposes. There are many honest in the open market when proposals are deemed exor- pursued, and more rarely brought to justice. Civil and faithful traders, but they cannot counteract the bitant. The unsettled accounts for subsistance fur-obligation it is wholly vain to attempt to enforce. recklessness of the Indians, who will purchase goods nished in Florida, in 1839 and 40, would seem to re- There is no cause for surprise that, in this state of either of a worthless kind, or in quantities altoge quire special legislation for their adjustment. things, the law of force and of retaliation is the only ther beyond their wants, which, with charactreistic From the report of the commissioner of pensions it, one recognised. The plan of something like a terri- improvidence, they waste or barter for ardent spirits, appears that the number of pensions on the rolls istorial government for the Indians has been suggested. and leave themselves destitute of the articles of neless by 1,496, than at the date of the last anuual report. The object is worthy the most deliberate considera- cessity for the residue of the year. This destituThe whole number at that time was 26,531. The tion of all who take an interest in the fate of this tion produces suffering, dependence, and inactivity, number at present on the rolls is 25,035; of whom hapless race. and they resign themselves to the allurements of in2,662 are invalids; 3,724 receive pensions under the The vice to which they are most inclined, and toxication, or of wretched idleness. At the same act of 1818; 412 under the act of 1828; 15,535 under which is the most deadly to their prosperity, is an in- time, an influence is acquired over them by the trathe act of 1832; 2,307 under the act of 1836, and 395 dulgence in intoxicating liquors. All the powers ders, altogether beyond that of the officers of the have been pensioned under the act of 1838, in conse- given to this department by existing laws have been government, and which may be, and sometimes has quence chiefly of the joint resolution and act of the exerted to restrain this propensity, and to prevent been wielded in opposition to its policy, and tending last session of congress, relating to the death of pen- the introduction of alcohol into the Indian country. to the continued degradation and detriment of the sioners since 1832, and to the marriage of their Circulars to agents and superintendents, and instruc- Indians. In this respect, it seems to me the British widows. It is believed that many must have died, tions to military commanders, have been reiterated policy is far preferable, which retains to the officers without the fact being known to the agents, and of with but partial effect. The cupidity of the white of the nation the means of influencing men who can course not reported by them. The persons who re-man, boasting of his superior civilization, stimulates be reached mainly only through their personal wants. ceived their pensions in the first and second quarters his craft in devising the means of evading the laws, I am disposed to concur in the views of the commisof 1842, amounted to 18,074, and it is supposed that and still further brutalizing his ignorant, weak, and sioner of Indian affairs, as to the propriety of emthis approximates very nearly to the actual number yielding red brother. Depositories of ardent spirits ploying agents of the government to furnish supnow alive. This would exhibit a diminution of 8,457, are established on the confines of the Indian territo-plies to the Indians at fixed prices, of which they which is not so great as that which occurred between ry, within the jurisdiction of the states; where the should be notified, and in such quantities, at given the dates of the reports in 1840 and 1841, and which laws of the union cannot apply, and where there are periods of time, as will ensure their deriving the utamounted to 17,863. It will be seen that the estimate none of the state adapted to the case, or if they exist, most benefit from them. It is not perceived why the for pensions is much below that for 1842. are never executed. Some remedy may be provided principle recently adopted in reference to pursers in The law relating to military bounty lands for ser- by substituting imprisonment for the present pecu- the navy, may not be applied to this case, and a sysvices in the revolutionary war,and in that of 1842 hav-niary penalty prescribed for selling or introducing li- tem of checks established, that will guard against all ing been revived by the act of July 27, 1842, the ex-quor, or establishing distilleries, in the Indian coun- fraud and abuse, and enable the Indian to receive amination of the claims presented was referred to the try, which is wholly ineffectual against a class of the best kind of goods at the cost of purchase and commissioner of pensions, as rolls and documents persons who have no visible property, and by giving transportation, and a per centage to defray the exrelating to them were in his office. From the state- jurisdiction over the offence to some local or other penses of sale. ment annexed to his report, it will appear that 358 authority to which convenient access can be had. claims on account of revolutionary services,have been Among some of the more civilized tribes, particupresented within the year, and that 22 warrants have larly the Choctaws and Cherokees, it is understood been issued for 5,250 acres of land; that 416 claims for that the doctrines and the practice of temperance services in the last war with Great Britain have been have made much progress, and that they have passed presented within the same time, and that 65 warrants some wise laws to restrain their own people. The have been issued for 10,720 acres of land. fact thus established that the Indian can be made By the act of March 4.1840, the office of commis-temperate is calculated to cheer us in efforts to save sioner of pensions was continued until the 4th day of him. March, 1843, when it will cease, unless further con- An exhibit of the condition of the civilization tinued by congress. By the same act, the pension fund, and of its application, accompanies the report business of the navy department was transferred to the of the commissioner. This small fund has accomoffice of the commissioner of pensions. The duties plished much. It scatters its good seed very extenyet remaining to be performed under the laws relat- sively, and a great portion of it falls on good soil. ing to army and navy pensions, and to the military Its fruits are to be seen in the gradual, but decided bounty lands, require the continuance of the office of improvement of many of the Indian tribes. This fund is applied so as to co-operate, as far as practicaThe condition of our affairs with the Indians pre-ble, with the schools established and maintained by sents a subject of the deepest interest to every phil- means of the moneys provided by treaties with varianthropist. The report of the commissioner who ous tribes, for purposes of education. From table has them immediately under his charge, with the ac- 84, appended to the commissioner's report, it appears companying tabular statements, and the returns of that the whole amount thus provided at the present the various superintendents and agents, furnish copi- time, is $67,155. It will also be seen from table 83, ous information of the results of past labors and the that there are fifty-two schools maintained for Indian ground of hope for the continued improvement of youth, at which there are 2.132 scholars; of whom these victims of the progress of civilization. The 1,058 are boys, and 852 girls, and 222 whose sex is Pursuant to the act of the last session of congress, policy of removing the Indians from their native not stated were instructed during the past year, and commissioners have been appointed to adjust the homes to make room for the white man, and of col- that from 7 schools there are no returns. Wherever claims arising under the Choctaw treaty of 1830, and lecting them in large bodies on our western frontier, the means of comparison exist, it is gratifying to find instructions have been given them for the performis not now debateable. It has been long settled, and that the aggregate number of pupils is on the increase. ance of their duties. Commissioners have also been it may now be considered as having been executed. Convinced that the only means of diffusing elementa- appointed to settle the remaining claims under the There is no more land east of the Mississippi, remain-ry knowledge among the children of these people, is treaty with the Cherokees of 1836. Delegates from ing unceded, to be desired by us. No new source of to interest their parents in the undertaking, by that nation were in attendance at the seat of governexpense on this account need be opened for many enabling them to take a part in the establishment of ment for several months during the past year, to obyears to come; and when the treaties now pending schools and in their supervision, our efforts have been tain a recognition of other and extensive claims, and shall be ratified, and those requiring the removal of directed to the encouragement of such seminaries in to settle some points in relation to the intercourse of Indians shall be executed, our system will become their respective nations. A sufficient number of our citizens with their people and the administration settled. It is to be hoped that the red man will then many of the tribes have already been educated, and of their laws. Their applications were listened to be suffered to rest in peace, and that our undivided prepared to become teachers among their own peo- not only patiently, but with a sincere desire to gratiefforts will be bestowed in discharging the fearful ple. Every school becomes the nursery of new fy them in every request that could be granted conresponsibilities we have incurred to improve his in- teachers, who, being thus prepared at home, removed sistently with a regard to our own rights and duties. tellectual and moral condition as the only means of from the temptations that assail them among the The propositions made to them to meet many of rendering him happy here or hereafter. whites, and retaining the manners of their own peo- their objects, were declined, and the whole negotiaFrom the returns we have been able to obtain, it ple, will be more acceptable and more successful tion failed. appears that 88,124 have been removed to the re- than any others. In this way only can females be gions west of the Mississippi, and that of the once educated, and the potent influence of mothers be pronumerous tribes east of that river less than 25,000 perly directed in the formation of the character of souls remain. The greater portion of those are under the generation that is soon to take its place in the treaty obligations to remove within a very few years. scene of life. Although the academy in Kentucky This policy of collecting the Indians has proceeded is continued for the double purpose of fulfilling exon the idea of relieving them from their dependent pectations which caused heavy expenses in its estaband degrading condition when mixed with a white lishment, and of furnishing a higher grade of instrucpopulation, and of isolating them from the vices of a tion, to enable the pupils to become physicians, clersemi-civilization. Scarcely capable of self-govern- gymen, and teachers, yet, as it is supposed, these ment, they are quite incompetent to protect them- purposes will be as nearly accomplished within two selves from the frauds and from the violence of the years as they can be at any time, consistently with white man. The present system of superintendents the greater and main object of instructing the greatand agents is inadequate, and the time seems to have est possible number, it has been arranged with the arrived when we should turn our attention to devising founder and proprietor of that academy, that, at the some form of government which may secure peace expiration of that time, the obligations of the governand order among themselves and protection against ment to furnish pupils to it, are to cease. others. Until they feel safe in their persons and pos- Intimately connected with the improvement of the sessions they can make no advances towards civiliza- moral and intellectual condition of the Indians, is tion. Although the criminal jurisdiction of the ad-the system which supplies them with clothing and jacent courts of the United States is extended over the means of procuring subsistance. It is undeniathem, yet all experience has shown that it is merely ble that the trading system does not adequately ac

the commissioner.

A treaty has also been held with the Sac and Fox Indians, which, under your directions, will be submitted to the senate for ratification, by which about ten millions of acres of some of the best land in the territory of Iowa, are acquired. A purchase has also been made of the Chippewas in the northwest of Michigan and in Wiskonsin, of about fifteen millions of acres, by a treaty which will in like have been made at a reduced expense quite unpremanner be submitted to the senate. These treaties cedented, in the most open, fair and frank manner, and on terms of justice and even liberality to the Indians, becoming the character of the U. States.

During the year the claims arising under the Creek treaty, connected with the contract of Watson & Co., have been disposed of, and many of those prior to that contract have been adjusted, and the residue will soon cease to encumber the department. The claims under the treaty of 1839 with the Osages, have all been finally decided except five, which have been referred for further information.

Appended to the report of the commissioner, are tabular statements of the investments made in stocks for the benefit of the several Indian tribes, and of the amounts retained in the treasury on which the gov ernment pays the annual interest.

I found existing in the department, a disbursing agent, in whose name large sums of money belonging to various Indians were deposited in different banks or held by him in public securities. Although this money could not be drawn or used without a check countersigned by the secretary of war and the commissioner of Indian affairs, yet the system appeared to be erroneous in principle, and liable to abuse. As soon as the necessary arrangements could be made,

[ocr errors]

directions were given to transfer these funds directly to the treasury of the United States. This has been done, with the exception of a small sum necessarily retained to meet outstanding demands, or to adjust unsettled accounts of agents.

I concur in the request of the commissioner, that authority be given to sell the buildings and the adjacent improvements, which have at former times been constructed and made for the use of the Indian agencies, but which have become useless to the Indian department.

to him by the one whose account is settled. During | for the year ending June, 1842, was estimated, in my
the delay that occurs in ascertaining the fact of such report of December last, at $4,490,000. The re-
liability, the person to be charged becomes insolvent, venue to be derived from postage, &c. in the same
or dies, or no trace of him can be found. I would report, was estimated at $4,380,000. The amount
most respectfully and most earnestly urge an increase estimated for the expenditure did not include the
of the force of the second and third auditors' offices, sums due by the department prior to the 31st March,
at least temporarily until the existing mass of ac- 1841. Thus exhibiting a probable liability of $110,-
counts be disposed of. A very large proportion of 000 beyond its estimated current receipts of that year.
the information called for by congress is necessarily
derived from those auditors, and the time and labor
required to furnish it, are abstracted from the regular
duties of the office. And this, doubtless, is the prin-
cipal cause of their ordinary business being in arrear.
They should, also, be relieved from the charge of
what are called property accounts, which, in truth,
belong to the administrative departments, rather than
the accounting officers.

To bring the expenditure within the income of the department was a duty demanded at my hands by a regard for the observance of the principle upon which I desire to conduct the administration of the general post office, viz: that, while the department should not be regarded as a source of revenue to the government, it must not become an annual charge upon the public treasury.

The reductions directed by the act "respecting the organization of the army, and for other purposes," passed at the last session, have been effected, so far as authority for that purpose was given by the act. The offices of the superintendents of the armories have been abolished; the military storekeepers at To effect this object, great labor and minute attentached to the ordnance service have been reduced to the number directed; the duties of the commissary department are in a condition that defies any power The accounts of the disbursing agents in the Indian tion have been bestowed by all concerned. A revision of post roads and post offices, necessary of purchases have been transferred to the quarter- of the executive officers to bring them to a a reduction of unprofitable routes, and the disconmaster's department; two paymasters, one surgeon, Payments have been made to a large amount out of tinuance of unproductive and useless post offices, and and ten assistant surgeons, have been disbanded, there one fund for objects legally authorized, but to which the substitution of others at more important points, being a vacancy in the office of paymaster and in it was not by law applicable; and the agents remain better suited to the public wants; the institution of a that of surgeon. Although the act directed that the charged with such payments, although they have ren-system for the preservation and safety of the public office of one inspector general should be abolished, dered vouchers for the expenditures. Many accounts property, and the reduction of useless expenditures, yet it did not authorise the president to discharge in other branches of the service are understood to be was a task requiring no ordinary portion of labor either of the incumbents, while it gave that authority in a similar condition. A law authorising transfers of and time, and its performance could not fail often to in respect to the paymasters, surgeons, and assistant appropriations. similar to that passed on the 27th subject the head of the department to censure and surgeons. The case was such as not to require or January, 1831, to meet similar difficulties, which criticism from those who did not feel the necessity justify the exercise of the power of removal, by will not draw a dollar from the treasury, is demand- of the measures adopted. The effect has been salustriking from the army register the name of either of ed by the interest of the government, and by a sense tary to the public service, as well in reference to its the inspectors general, solely upon the executive au- of justice to the agents. It is believed that they have income, as to its usefulness and cost. I refer you to thority or responsibility. Deeming the legislation accounted for the money placed in their hands, but the reports of the 1st and 3d assistant postmasters on this subject inchoate, as both those officers were it is impossible to have official certainty on the sub-general, which will give more in detail the effect engaged on highly important duties, and their ser- ject until their accounts are adjusted. The accounts which has been produced by the measures adopted. vices could not be dispensed with without great in- of officers of the Quartermaster's department, serv- Useless and unproductive routes have been disconjustice to the service, you were advised to follow the ing in Florida in 1838 and 1839, cannot be closed tinued; whilst others, more convenient, less expensive precedent of 1815, under similar circumstances, when without legislative provision. The difficulty is stated and more productive, have been substituted. In the president found it impracticable to carry out the in the report of the quartermaster general, and I many instances, where the nature and size of the legislation of congress, and suspended proceedings would respectfully solicit the passage of the necessa- mail did not demand the higher grade of service the for the further action of the legislative body. As less expensive modes of transportation have been little more than two months would elapse before they law to remove it. I cannot close this report without again reverting trated by a reference to the service in the northwestemployed. This may be more satisfactorily illusopportunity for such an action would present itself, you concluded to adopt that course. to a subject that has so repeatedly been brought to I beg leave now to express the decided conviction of this department, the attention of congress, namely, the inconvenience ern and southwestern districts, comprising the states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, founded upon the information and advice of many of and the great insecurity of the out buildings in which Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and the most intelligent and experienced officers of the the offices of the paymaster general, of the ordinance Louisiana, and the territories of Wisconsin and Iowa, army, that the number of inspectors general cannot bureau, of the bureaus of engineers and of topogra- prior to the 1st July, 1842, and the service under the be reduced without essential and permanent injury to phical engineers, of the commissary general of sub-recent lettings. The whole number of miles of mail the service. The reduction of the rank and file does sistence, of the surgeon general, and of the com- service in these districts annually was 11,005.865, not diminish the number of posts, of forts, of arsenals, missioner of pensions are kept. Vain as may be the costing annually the sum of $1,102,045 prior to the or of depots. Without the inspection of an indepen- effort, is is still a duty to ask, that the invaluable pa- 1st July last. The recent contracts require the transdent oflicer, in no way connected with the branch of pers and documents in those offices may be preserved portation of the mail, in each year, 11,424,128 miles service which may have charge of the public proper- from destruction by being placed in a building not ty, and not responsible for the condition of the troops, exposed as they now are to the slightest carelessness at a cost of $957,768-thus giving, in fact, 418,263 miles more of service for $144,277 less expense.the government will be obliged to rely mainly on the in the inhabitants of the houses that surround And I do not hazard much when I assert that this information of those whose feelings and whose inter- them. Respectfully submitted. ests would be adverse to the discovery of any delinquency. It is no imputation to apply in the military service the principles of supervision and check which pervade every other department of the government. POSTMASTER GENERAL'S REPORT. And to render such inspections effectual, it is indispensable that they should be conducted by officers Post Office department, Dec. 3d, 1842. not only of experience, but of high rank, whose au- To the President of the United States— thority would be respected. These observations are SIR: In presenting to your consideration a report made here, in the hope that, on reconsideration of of the condition and operations of the post office dethe subject, it will be deemed most expedient to partment, for the year preceding the 30th June, 1842, leave this part of the means of fulfilling the duties it affords me pleasure to say, its condition has been and meeting the responsibilities of the department, improved, and the service has been attended with as it was established in 1821, when the army was remore than ordinary success, whether considered in duced, and as it has continued since that time. reference to the management of its financial concerns, or the regularity and extent of its operations.

It appears from statements furnished this department by the second and third auditors, that the num ber of unsettled accounts in their office has been considerably diminished since the last annual report.

To the president.


A public service, which requires the agency of 13,733 postmasters and their clerks, 2,343 contractors

saving has been made while the service itself has been, in the aggregate, greatly improved.

The heretofore heavy expenditure of mail bags and locks has been greatly reduced. Entertaining the opinion that by a proper system of preservation, and a just responsibility imposed upon public agents, the number of mail bags on hand was equal to the wants of the service, and would be sufficient to meet its demands for several years, I have, in effect, ordered their manufacture to cease.

By the report of the third assistant, it will be seen


$56,702 28

that the expenditure for mail bags was, in the year
In 1838,
In 1839,
In 1840,

38,737 36

36,082 46

35,337 23

From 1st April, 1841, to 1st April, 1842, the amount expended was but $13,566 30.

In the second auditor's office there are none which and their agents; covering, during the year, 34,835, months-$7,640 59. A large proportion of which

were presented in 1840, that of those presented in 1841, 57, and of those presented in 1842, 815 remain unsettled, making 872 in the whole, and showing a reduction of 300 since the last annual report. In the third auditor's office there remain unsettled, of the accounts presented in 1840, 294, of those presented in 1841, 345, and of those presented in 1842, 840,

991 miles of transportation, and extending almost to
the door of every citizen, must encounter difficulties,
and be subjected to occasional irregularities, not only
from the neglect of some of its numerous agents, but
from physical causes, not in the power of this de-
partment to overcome.

When the vast machinery of the general post office, making 1479, and exhibiting a reduction of the num- the minuteness of its details, and the character of the ber stated in the last annual report of 335. Although majority of the roads over which the mail is transa decided improvement is thus shown, yet the num- ported, are contemplated, there should be more of ber not disposed of is altogether too large. Some of astonishment at the general regularity of the service, them are known to be delayed for the want of expla- than of surprise and discontent at occasional failures. nation of deficient vouchers; but by far the greatest Absolute certainty and unbroken regularity in the proportion have not been examined. Nothing can arrival and departure of the mails at all times, canbe more unjust to the faithful officers who have ren- not, and ought not to be expected. And it is with dered their accounts, than the omission to settle them pleasure I bear in testimony, on this occasion, to the until the persons who could supply sufficient vouch- general zeal and fidelity of those employed in this ers are dead, or removed to unknown places, or until branch of the public service. the means of explanation are lost or forgotten. It is

The whole amount of mail transportation for the a cruelty most ruinous in its results, which is believ-year ending June 30th, 1841, was 34,996 525 miles, ed not to exist in any other country. And its effects at a contract cost of $3,159,375. The whole amount are very injurious to the government. For it often of transportation for the year ending June 30, 1842, happens that it is found necessary to charge another was 34,835,991 miles, at a contract cost of $3,087,icer with a sum which has been paid or advanced 796. The amount of expenditure of the department,

From 1st April, 1842, to 1st October, 1842-six was the mail bags manufactured prior to 1841.

It is important, in every branch of the public service, to impress upon those in its employment the necessity of taking care of, and preserving the public property. This is best done by the adoption of an bility those charged with administrative duties; and, appropriate system, and holding to a just responsiwhen they prove themselves faithless or negligent, to appoint others in their places.

The good effects of this rule are strictly illustrated, not only in the item of expenditure just enumerated, but they are manifested throughout the results of the entire year's service.

It will be seen, by reference to my report of De

cember last, that the amount received from postage on letters and newspapers, and fines, for the year, commencing 1st July, 1840, and ending 30th June,

1841, was stated to be $4,379,317 78.

The amount arising from the same sources for the year ending 30th June, 1842, is $4,546,246 13. Thus showing an increase of the revenue of the department, of $166,928 35, over the revenue of the preceding year.

This increase has not been the result of an in

crease of mail matter, I am persuaded, but has arisen
from a more systematic and vigilant execution of the
The gross expenditures of the department for the
year, ending 30th June, 1842 so far as they have
been audited and paid, are $4,627,716 62-exceeding
the amount derived from postage, during the same
year, $81,470 49.

the department. The original grant of this privilege! The plan which I proposed was that congress was designed the better to enable the public officer to ' should authorise the department to purchase this discharge his official duties without burden upon his right; enter into the stipulation of a contract with the private means. It is now generally esteemed more as companies and report those contracts, as made, from a private and individual right, than any official privi- time to time, to congress, to be binding only when lege. If persons entitled to this privilege were content ratified by congress. Nothing dangerous can arise to enjoy it themselves, without lending their franks to from thus treating with the companies. No enlargeothers, the burthen and loss to the department would ment of executive power is asked. On the contraIt will be remembered that by the act approved the not be so great, and there would be less cause of just ry, it is proposed to subject executive power direct9th September, 1841, there was appropriated, "to complaint by the public. ly to the controlling influence of congress. As the enable the post office department to meet its engage- Although the act of 1825 expressly declares that law now stands the department has the power to ments and pay its debts," the sum of $482,657. "if any person shall frank any letter or letters, other contract with these companies for four years, with Of thris sum, there has been expended, during the than those written by himself, or by his order, on the a nominal limitation as to the amount to be paid last fiscal year, the sum of $392,661 51, in satisfac-business of his office, he shall, on conviction thereof, them per mile. Surely no danger can arise to pubtion of demands against the department, prior to the pay a fine of ten dollars, and it shall, be the espe lic liberty or legislative authority, by authorising month of April, 1841. The report of the chief clerk cial duty of postmasters to prosecute for said offence," the department to make a provisional permanent conupon this subject, No. 1, will exhibit more in detail the penalty declared by this law has not been suffi-tract, subject to the approval of both houses of conthe application of this fund. cient to prevent the too frequent violation of its pro- gress. visions.

There remained unexpended of this appropriation on 30th June, 1842, $89,992 49, to meet such other demands as may be established to be due prior to 31st March, 1841.

If congress shall deem it incxpedient to limit, or further restrain, this right, an imposition of the same penalty upon him who uses the frank of another, as is imposed upon the person who abuses his privilege, would tend greatly to lessen the evil.

The great question involved is, whether congress should make these contracts, and pay the consideration out of the resources of the government, or whether the department shall levy the amount by continuing the present rates of postage upon letters, and in all time to come, devote so large a portion thereThe whole number of free letters sent through the of to the payment for rail road transportation, as to post office annually, so far as the returns of postmas-deny even the hope to the more distant and less faters exhibit, is about three millions. vored portions of our country of any increased mail facilities? The cost of rail road transportation, for the last year, stands at $432 568. The whole length of mail toad in the United States is 149,732 miles, costing $3,087,796. Of this length of mail road, only 3,091 miles is rail road transportation, at a cost of $432,568. Only one forty-eighth part of the whole number of miles costing one-seventh part of the gross sum.

I repeat the inquiry made on a former occasion. Is it just that the whole burden of the public correspondence, now nearly equal to half a million of dollars annually, should be sustained by a tax upon the business and friendly correspondence of the community? If the government exacts from the citizen no more than the cost and expense of transporting his letters, he has no right to complain, but when an additional sum is wanted to defray the expenses of transporting the correspondence of the government and its officers, that sum, like the tax for every other public service, should be drawn from the common resources of the country.

This sum of $392,664 51 constitutes no part of the $4,546,246 13, given above as the revenue for the last year derivable from postage and fines. It does, however, constitute a part of the $4,627,716 62, the gross expenditure for that year, and, if deducted, will show the gross expenditure, for ordinary current service, Assuming fifteen cents as the average rate of each to be $4,235,052 11. letter if charged with postage, four hundred and fifty This would present an apparent balance, or an ex-thousand dollars would be the amount received.cess of revenue, over expenditure of $311,194 02. Thus it will be seen that nearly one-ninth of all As it is highly probable that there are yet claims the matter which passes through the mail, passes unsatisfied, not having been presented for payment, free of postage. The loss to the department does and claims which were due prior to that time, and not stop here. Two cents are paid to postmasters which if presented, would have been audited and on each of these letters, constituting an annual paid within the year, and which have been paid since charge upon the revenue of 60,000 dollars. An evil 30th June, 1842, and consequently will be charged of this magnitude, I trust, will not fail to arrest the in the expenditures for the current year, it is not in- attention of congress, who alone can apply the protended to convey the idea that this $311,194 02 is a per corrective. It is wrong to burden the business surplus on hand, but it is a fact from which I am au- and friendly correspondence of the community with thorised to state that the income of the department this heavy charge. has been equal to its current expenditures during the The public voice has called for a reduction of the year ending in June, 1842; and it induces me to hope rates of postage upon letters; and whilst I have felt that, unless the burdens of the service shall be too its force, and am constrained to acknowledge its jusgreatly augmented by the additional rates created by tice, I have heretofore been deterred from making any the act of the last session of congress, the department specific recommendation upon this subject; lest, by will, in future, be enabled to sustain itself. I can- a sudden reduction, the only source of income might not anticipate, however, any great extension of the fail to meet the demands of the service. With a proservice, beyond its present limits and amount, unless per regulation of the franking privilege, and a fur- It is proposed that, in lieu of an annual drain from congress shall, in some mode, relieve the department ther protection against the violation of the laws of the treasury to pay the postage upon the public corfrom the heavy annual demands made upon its in- the department, I have no doubt a considerable re- respondence, the United States now secure and pay come by rail road transportation, and protect it by duction in postage might be safely made, and the be- for the perpetual right to transport the mails over appropriate legislation, against the inroads upon it by nefits and advantages of the department extended to rail roads. Can this right be now secured upon fair private expresses and rival mail establishments. many portions of the country which are now, in a and reasonable terms? is a question worthy to be It affords me great satisfaction to report to your great measure, destitute of proper mail accommoda- tested by fair experiment. I am of opinion it can excellency, that every legal demand by the contractions. More especially could this be done, if congress, be secured upon most, if not all of the important tors, properly vouched, upon the department, for ser- by some permanent arrangement with the rail road roads, upon reasonable terms, and with ample guavices rendered since I have had the honor of superin- companies, would relieve the department from the ranties. tending its operations, has been promptly paid. immense, and constantly increasing amount annualJustice to contractors requires that, as soon as they ly paid those companies for transporting the public have performed the service, they should be paid. To mail. enable the department to do this, punctuality on the part of postmasters in the payment of the balance due from them at the end of each quarter, is all important.

In every instance where there has been a failure on the part of such postmasters to meet the drafts of the general post office, I have felt it a duty not to be omitted to relieve such from the burden of official duty. The knowledge of the existence of this rule has banished defalcation from the department.

It is a fact worthy of notice, that although the aggregate amount received from postage during the past year has been greater by the sum stated, the receipts at the large offices for 1842, have been less than in 1841. The aggregate increase has been at

the medium and smaller offices.

I ventured to recommend, in my former report to you, that congress should then legislate upon this subject. Nothing has occurred since to cause me to doubt the correctness of the opinions then expressed. On the contrary, subsequent developements have strengthened the views then obtruded upon your consideration.

It is no part of the business of this department to speak of the effects which such contracts with the rail road companies would produce upon public credit, both at home and abroad. The effects, whatever they may be for good, are but incidental to the great object to be attained in reference to the mail service of the United States.

Entertaining these opinions upon this subject, I pray you to allow me most respectfully to press them upon your consideration.

Without the right in the department to control the Public opinion seemed so strong in favor of a rearrival and departure of the mails, regularity and duction of postage upon letters, that it could be redespatch cannot be expected. This is a right which garded in no other light than a demand upon those the rail road companies. in their periodical con- having the power over this subject, I have felt its intracts, will not yield willingly; and, when they do fluence, but have been unwilling to act unadvisedly yield it, make it a ground to increase their demands in any recommendation I might make upon the subupon the department for transporting the mail.ject. It will be remembered that England recently For the service of rail road transportation there reduced her rates of postage. The effect upon the never can be competition. Why then subject the department to the useless ceremony of advertising periodically for bids to carry the mail on rail roads, requiring it to take the lowest bid, when there will be but one bid for the same route? Each letting has heretofore been, and will hereafter be, but an inviI took occasion to invite your attention to this sub-tation to the companies to increase the prices previject in my report of last year, under the hope that some legislation, in aid of the present laws, would take place, to enable the department more effectually to protect itself.

This is accounted for by the fact that the means of intercommunication between the great commercial points have been such as to invite constant and increasing infractions and violations of the laws of congress regulating the general post office.

It is made the exclusive duty of the general government to establish post offices and post roads. The state governments have no right to interfere with the subject; neither has any individual, or company of individuals such right.

ously paid.

revenue, and upon the amount of mail matter, I was anxious to know. For this, and other objects con nected with the operations of this department, I availed myself of the services of General Green, in November last, who was about to visit England and France upon private business, and instructed him to make certain investigations and inquiries. The result of his investigations may be seen by a reference to his report to ine, a copy of which accompanies this.

The dissimilarity in the government of the two countries, as well as the difference in the extent of territory, induce me to doubt whether the same system of mail service and rates of postage could be safely adopted in the United States.

It is in vain to disguise the fact that the United States are compelled to employ these roads as carriers of the mail. Justice and policy alike require of the government to send the mail by the most expeditious means of conveyance, and it cannot employ any of its own creation equal to the rail roads. As a government, it cannot, by legislation, control those companies which have their corporate exis- One fact, however, is clearly developed by the retence by state enactments. The United States must port of Gen. Green, that, since the reduction of postherefore purchase the right, and the question pre-tage in England, the number of letters mailed has sented is, whether it is best to purchase this right greatly increased. I forbear to trouble you with any every four years, or for the period of the charter of particular suggestions upon this subject, because it the road. has been a duty devolved upon me by a resolution of the senate, to make to that body a specific report upon an alteration of the rates of postage, which I purpose to do at as early a day as practicable.

Upon most of the rail roads in the United States, over which the mail is transported at an immense expense, there are to be found individuals engaged in the transportation of mail matter, in violation of the laws of the land-laws which prohibit the offence, but do not punish it by adequate sanctions. It is more a question of ability at this time, on the A modification of the laws regulating the franking part of the government, than policy, to my humble privilege is essential to the continued prosperity of opinion.

« VorigeDoorgaan »