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Last Annual Message.
moment excited some political apprehension, and caused a closing of the inter-oceanic transit route, have been amicably adjusted, and that there is a good prospect that the route wil! soon be re-opened with an increase of capacity and adaptation.
"We could not exaggerate either the commercial or the political importance of that great improvement. It would be doing injustice to an important South American State not to acknowledge the directness, frankness, and cordiality with. which the United States of Columbia has entered into intimate relation with this Government. A Claim Convention has been constituted to complete the unfinished work of the one which closed its session in 1861.
"The new liberal Constitution of Venezuela having gone into effect with the universal acquiescence of the people, the Government under it has been recognized, and diplomatic intercourse with it has been opened in a cordial and friendly spirit.
"The long-deferred Avis Island claim has been satisfactorily paid and discharged. Mutual payments have been made of the claims awarded by the late Joint Commission for the settlement of claims between the United States and Peru. An earnest and candid friendship continues to exist between the two countries; and such efforts as were in my power have been used to prevent misunderstanding, and avert a threatened war between Peru and Spain.
"Our relations are of the most friendly nature with Chili, the Argentine Republic, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, San Salvador, and Hayti. During the past year, no differences of any kind have arisen with any of these Republics. And, on the other hand, their sympathies with the United States are constantly expressed with cordiality and earnestness.
"The claims arising from the seizure of the cargo of the brig Macedonian, in 1821, have been paid in full by the Government of Chili.
Last Annual Message.
Overland and Atlantic Telegraph.
"Civil war continues in the Spanish port of San Domingo, apparently without prospect of an early close.
"Official correspondence has been freely opened with Liberia, and it gives us a pleasing view of social and political progress in that Republic. It may be expected to derive new vigor from American influence, improved by the rapid disap pearance of slavery in the United States.
"I solicit your authority to promise to the Republic a gunboat, at a moderate cost, to be reimbursed to the United States by instalments. Such a vessel is needed for the safety of that State against the native African races, and in Liberian hands it would be more effective in arresting the African slave-trade than a squadron in our own hands.
"The possession of the least authorized naval force would stimulate a generous ambition in the Republic, and the confidence which we should manifest by furnishing it would win forbearance and favor toward the colony from all civilized nations. The proposed overland telegraph between America and Europe by the way of Behring Strait and Asiatic Russia, which was sanctioned by Congress at the last session, has been undertaken under very favorable circumstances by an association of American citizens, with the cordial good will and support as well of this Government as of those of Great Britain and Russia.
"Assurances have been received from most of the South Am ican States of their high appreciation of the enterprise and their readiness to cooperate in constructing lines tributary to that world-encircling communication.
"I learn with much satisfaction that the noble design of a telegraphic ommunication between the eastern coast of America an Great Britain has been renewed with full expectation of its early accomplishment.
"Thus it is hoped that with the return of domestic peace the country will be able to resume with energy and advan tage her former high career of commerce and civilization.
Our Relations with Japan.
Our very popular and able representative in Egypt died in April last.
"An unpleasant altercation which arose between the temporary incumbent and the Government of the Pacha, resulted in a suspension of intercourse. The evil was promptly corrected on the arrival of the successor in the consulate, and our relations with Egypt as well as our relations with the Barbary Powers, are entirely satisfactory.
"The rebellion which has so long been flagrant in China, has at last been suppressed with the coöperating good offices of this Government and of the other Western Commercial States. The judicial consular establishment has become very difficult and onerous, and it will need legislative requisition to adapt it to the extension of our commerce, and to the more intimate intercourse which has been instituted with the Government and people of that vast empire.
"China seems to be accepting with hearty good-will the conventional laws which regulate commerce and social intercourse among the Western nations.
"Owing to the peculiar situation of Japan, and the anomalous form of its Government, the action of that Empire in performing treaty stipulations is inconsistent and capricious Nevertheless good progress has been effected by the Western Powers, moving with enlightened concert. Our own pecuniary claims have been allowed, or put in course of settlement, and the Inland Sea has been reopened to Commerce.
"There is reason also to believe that these proceedings have increased rather than diminished the friendship of Japan toward the United States.
"The ports of Norfolk, Fernandino, and Pensacola have been opened by proclamation.
"It is hoped that foreign merchants will now consider whether it is not safer and more profitable to themselves as well as just to the United States, to resort to these and other open ports, than it is to pursue, through many hazards and at
The Slave Trade.
Last Annual Message.
vast cost, a contraband trade with other ports which are closed, if not by actual military operations, at least by a lawful and effective blockade.
"For myself, I have no doubt of the power and duty of the Executive, under the laws of nations, to exclude enemies of the human race from an asylum in the United States. If Congress should think that proceedings in such cases lack the authority of law, or ought to be further regulated by it, I recommend that provision be made for effectually preventing foreign slave-traders from acquiring domicil and facilities for their criminal occupation in our country.
"It is possible that if this were a new and open question, the maritime powers, with the light they now enjoy, would not concede the privileges of a naval belligerent to the insurgents of the United States, destitute as they are and always have been, equally of ships, and of ports and harbors.
"Disloyal enemies have been neither less assiduous nor more successful during the last year than they were before that time, in their efforts, under favor of that privilege, to embroil our country in foreign wars. The desire and determination of the maritime States to defeat that design are believed to be as sincere as, and cannot be more earnest than
"Nevertheless, unforseen political difficulties have arisen, especially in Brazilian and British ports, and on the Northern boundary of the United States, which have required and are likely to continue to require the practice of constant vigilance, and a just and conciliatory spirit on the part of the United States, as well as of the nations concerned and their Governments. Commissioners have been appointed under the treaty with Great Britain, in the adjustment of the claims of the Hudson's Bay and Puget Sound Agricultural Companies in Oregon, and are now proceeding to the execution of the trust assigned to them.
"In view of the insecurity of life in the region adjacent to
Last Annual Message.
Condition of the Border.
the Canadian border by recent assaults and depredations committed by inimical and desperate persons who are harbored there, it has been thought proper to give notice that after the expiration of six months, the period conditionally stipulated in the existing arrangements with Great Britain, the United States must hold themselves at liberty to increase their naval armament upon the lakes, if they shall find that proceeding necessary.
"The condition of the Border will necessarily come into consideration in connection with the continuing or modifying the rights of transit from Canada through the United States, as well as the regulation of imposts, which were temporarily established by the Reciprocity Treaty of the 5th of June, 1864. I desire, however, to be understood while making this statement that the Colonial authorities are not deemed to be intentionally unjust or unfriendly toward the United States; but, on the contrary, there is every reason to expect that, with the approval of the Imperial Government, they will take the necessary measures to prevent new incursions across the border.
"The act passed at the last session for the encouragement of immigration has, as far as was possible, been put into operation.
"It seems to need an amendment which will enable the officers of the Government to prevent the practice of frauds against the immigrants while on their way and on their arrival in the ports, so as to secure them here a free choice of avocacations and place of settlement.
"A liberal disposition toward this great National policy is manifested by most of the European States, and ought to be reciprocated on our part by giving the immigrants effective National protection. I regard our immigrants as one of the principal replenishing streams which are appointed by Providence to repair the ravages of internal war, and its wastes of National strength and health.