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zation and improvement in agriculture and the mechanic arts, and have led to many unfortunate acts of domestic strife, against which the government is, bound, by the treaty of 1835, to protect them. Their unfortunate internal dissensions had attracted the notice, and excited the sympathies of the whole country, and it became evident that if something was not done to heal them, they would terminate in a sanguinary war, in which other tribes of Indians might become involved, and the lives and property of our own citizens on the frontier endangered. I recommended, in my message to Congress on the 13th of April last [1846), such measures as I then thought it expedient should be adopted to restore peace and good order among the Cherokees, one of which was a division of the country which they occupy, and separation of the tribe. This recommendation was made under the belief that the different factions could not be reconciled, and live together in harmony—a belief based, in a great degree, upon the representations of the delegates of two of the divisions of the tribe. Since then, however, there appears to have been a change of opinion on this subject on the part of these divisions of the tribe ; and, on representations being made to me, that, by the appointment of commissioners to hear and investigate the causes of grievance of the parties against each other, and to examine into their claims against the government, it would probably be found that an arrangement could be made which would once more harmonize the tribe, and adjust, in a satisfactory manner, their claims upon, and relations with, the United States, I did not hesitate to appoint three persons for the purpose. The commissioners entered into an able and laborious investigation; and, on their making known to me the probability of their being able to conclude a new treaty with the delegates of all the divisions of the tribe, who were fully prepared to make any new arrangement which would heal all dissensions among the Cherokees, and restore them to their ancient condition of peace and good brotherhood, I authorized and appointed them to enter into negotiations with these delegates for the accomplishment of that object. The treaty now transmitted is the result of their labors, and it is hoped that it will meet the approbation of Congress; and, if carried out in good faith by all parties to it, it is believed it will effect the great and desirable ends had in view.
Accompanying the treaty is the report of the commissioners, and also a communication to them from John Ross and others, who represent what is termed the government party of Cherokees, and which is transmitted, at their request, for the consideration of the senate.
FOURTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.
DECEMBER 5, 1848.
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives :
UNDER the benignant providence of Almighty God, the representatives of the states and of the people are again brought together to deliberate for the public good. The gratitude of the nation to the sovereign arbiter of all human events, should be commensurate with the boundless blessings which we enjoy.
Peace, plenty, and conteniment, reign throughout our borders, and our beloved country presents a sublime moral spectacle to the world.
The troubled and unsettled condition of some of the principal European powers has had a necessary tendency to check and embarrass trade, and to depress prices throughout all commercial nations ; but notwithstanding these causes, the United States, with their abundant products, have felt their effects less severely than any other country, and all our great interests are still prosperous and successful.
In reviewing the great events of the past year, and contrasting the agitated and disturbed state of other countries with our own tranquil and happy condition, we may congratulate ourselves that we are the most favored people on the face of the earth. While the people of other countries are struggling to establish free institutions, under which man may govern himself, we are in the actual enjoyment of them-a rich inheritance from our fathers. While enlightened nations of Europe are convulsed and distracted by civil war or intestine strife, we settle all our political controversies by the peaceful exercise of the rights of freemen at the ballot-box. The great republican maxim so deeply engraven on the hearts of our people, that the will of the majority, constitutionally expressed, shall prevail, is our sure safeguard against force and violence. It is a subject of just pride, that our fame and character as a nation continue rapidly to advance in the estimation of the civilized world. To our wise and free institutions it is to be attributed, that while other nations have achieved glory at the price of the suffering, distress, and impoverishment, of their people, we have won our honorable position in the midst of an uninterrupted prosperity, and of an increasing individual comfort and happiness. I am happy to inform you that our relations with all nations are friendly and pacific. Advantageous treaties of commerce have been concluded within the last four years with New Grenada, Peru, the Two Sicilies, Belgium, Hanover, Oldenburg, and Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Pursuing our example, the restrictive system of Great Britain, our principal foreign customer, has been relaxed; a more liberal commercial policy has been adopted by other enlightened nations, and our trade has been greatly enlarged and extended. Our country stands higher in the respect of ihe world than at any former period. To continue to occupy this proud position, it is only necessary to preserve peace, and faithfully adhere to the great and fundamental principle of our foreign policy, of non-interference in the domestic concerns of other nations. We recognise in all nations the right which we enjoy ourselves, to change and reform their political institutions according to their own will and pleasure. Hence we do not look behind existing governments, capable of maintaining their own authority. We recognise all such actual governments, not only from the dictates of true policy, but from a sacred regard for the independence of nations.
While this is our settled policy, it does not follow that we can ever be indifferent spectators of the progress of liberal principles. The government and people of the United States hailed with enthusiasm and delight the establishment of the French republic, as we now hail the efforts in progress to unite the states of Germany in a confederation, similar in many respects 10 our own federal Union. If the great and enlightened German states, occupying, as they do, a central and commanding position in Europe, shall succeed in establishing such a confederated government, securing at the same time to the citizens of each state local governments adapted to the peculiar condition of each, with unrestricted trade and intercourse with each other, it will be an important era in the history of human events. While it will consolidate and strengthen the power of Germany, it must essentially promote the cause of peace, commerce, civilization, and constitutional liberty, throughout the world.
With all the governments on this continent our relations, it is believed, are now on a more friendly and satisfactory footing than they have ever been at any former period.
Since the exchange of ratifications of the treaty of peace with Mexico, our intercourse with the government of that republic has been of the most friendly character. The envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States to Mexico has been received and accredited, and a diplomatic representative from Mexico of similar rank has been received and accredited by this government.
The amicable relations between the two countries which had been suspended have been happily restored, and are destined, I trust, to be long preserved. The two republics, both situated on this continent, and with coterminous territories, have every motive of sympathy and of interest to bind them together in perpetual amity.
This gratifying condition of our foreign relations renders it unnecessary for me to call your attention more specifically to them.
It has been my constant aim and desire to cultivate peace and commerce with all nations. Tranquillity at home and peaceful relations abroad constitute the true permanent policy of our country. War, the scourge of nations, sometimes becomes inevitable, but is always to be avoided when it can be done consistently with the rights and honor of a nation.
One of the most important results of the war into which we were recently forced with a neighboring nation, is the demonstration it has afforded of the military strength of our country. Before the late war with Mexico, European and other foreign powers entertained imperfect and erroneous views of our physical strength as a nation, and of our ability to prosecute war, and especially a war waged out of our own country. They saw that our standing army on the peace establishment did not exceed ten thousand
Accustomed themselves to maintain in peace large standing armies for the protection of thrones against their own subjects, as well as against foreign enemies, they had not conceived that it was possible for a nation without such an army, well disciplined and of long service, to wage war successfully. They held in low repute our militia, and were far from regarding them as an effective force, unless it might be for temporary defensive operations when invaded on our own soil. The events of the late war with Mexico have not only undeceived them, but have removed erroneous impressions which prevailed to some extent even among a portion of our own countrymen. That war has demonstrated, that upon the break
ing out of hostilities not anticipated, and for which no previous preparation had been made, a volunteer army of citizen-soldiers equal to veteran troops, and in numbers equal to any emergency, can in a short period be brouglit into the field. Unlike what would have occurred in any other country, we were under no nece
cessity of resorting to draughts or conscriptions. On the contrary, such was the number of volunteers who patriotically tendered their services, that the chief difficulty was in making selections and determining who should be disappointed and compelled to remain at home. Our citizen-soldiers are unlike those drawn from the population of any other country. They are composed indiscriminately of all professions and pursuits : of farmers, lawyers, physicians, merchants, manufacturers, mechanics, and laborers; and this, not only among the officers, but the private soldiers in the ranks. Our citizen-soldiers are unlike those of any other country in other respects. They are armed, and have been accustomed from their youth up to handle and use firearms; and a large proportion of them, especially in the western and more newly-settled states, are expert marksmen. They are men who have a reputation to maintain at home by their good conduct in the field. They are intelligent, and there is an individuality of character which is found in the ranks of no other army. In battle, each private man, as well as every officer, fights not only for his country, but for glory and distinction among his fellow-citizens when he shall return to civil life.
The war with Mexico has demonstrated not only the ability of the government to organize a numerous army upon a sudden call, but also to provide it with all the munitions and necessary supplies with despatch, convenience, and ease, and to direct its operations with efficiency. The strength of our institutions has not only been displayed in the valor and skill of our troops engaged in active service in the field, but in the organization of those executive branches which were charged with the general direction and conduct of the war. While too great praise can not be bestowed upon the officers and men who fought our battles, it would be unjust to withhold from those officers necessarily stationed at home, who were charged with the duty of furnishing the army, in proper time and at proper places, with all the munitions of war and other supplies so necessary to make it efficient, lhe commendation to which they are entitled. The credit due to this class of our officers is the greater, when it is considered that no army in ancient or modern times was ever better appointed or provided than our army in Mexico. Operating in an enemy's country, removed two thousand miles from the seat of the federal government, its different corps spread over a vast extent of territory, hundreds, and even thousands of miles apart from each other, nothing short of the untiring vigilance and extraordinary energy of these officers could have enabled them to provide the army at all points, and in proper season, with all that was required for the most efficient service.
It is but an act of justice to declare that the officers in charge of the several executive bureaus, all under the immediate eye and supervision of the secretary of war, performed their respective duties with ability, energy, and eficiency. They have reaped less of the glory of the war, not having been personally exposed to its perils in battle, than their companions in arms; but, without their forecast, efficient aid, and co-operation, those in the field would not have been provided with the ample means they possessed of achieving for themselves and their country the unfading honors which they have won for both.
When all these facts are considered, it may cease to be a matter of so much amazement abroad how it happened that our noble army in Mexico, regulars and volunteers, were victorious upon every battle-field, however fearful the odds against them.
The war with Mexico has thus fully developed the capacity of republican governments to prosecute successsully a just and necessary foreign war with all the vigor usually attributed to more arbitrary forms of government. It has been usual for writers on public law to impute to republics a want of that unity, concentration of purpose, and vigor of execution, which are generally admitted to belong to the monarchical and aristocratic forms; and this feature of popular government has been supposed to display itself more particularly in the conduct of a war carried on in an enemy's territory. The war with Great Britain, in 1812, was to a great extent confined within our own limits, and shed but little light on this subject. But the war which we have just closed by an honorable peace evinces, beyond all doubt, that a popular representative government is equal to any emergency which is likely to arise in the affairs of a nation.
The war with Mexico has developed most strikingly and conspicuously another feature in our institutions. It is that, without cost to the government or danger to our liberties, we have in the bosom of our society of freemen, available in a just and necessary war, virtually a standing army of two millions of armed citizen-soldiers, such as fought the battles of Mexico.
But our military strength does not consist alone in our capacity for extended and successful operations on land. The navy is an important arm of the national defence. If the services of the navy were not so brilliant as those of the army, in the late war with Mexico, it was because they had no enemy to meet on their own element. While the
opportunity of performing more conspicuous service, the navy largely participated in the conduct of the war. Both branches of the service performed their whole duty to the country. For the able and gallant services of the officers and men of the navy-acting independently and as well as in cooperation with our troops-in the conquest of the Californias, the capture of Vera Cruz, and the seizure and occupation of other important positions on the gulf and Pacific coasts, the highest praise is due. Their vigilance, energy, and skill, rendered the most effective service in excluding munitions of war and other supplies from the enemy, while they secured a safe entrance for abundant supplies for our own army. Our extended commerce was nowhere interrupted ; and for this immunity from the evils of war, the country is indebted to the navy.
High praise is due to the officers of the several executive bureaus, navyyards, and stations connected with the service, all under the immediate direction of the secretary of the navy, for the industry, foresight, and energy, with which everything was directed and furnished to give efficiency to that branch of the service. The same vigilance existed in directing the operations of the navy as of the army. There was concert between the heads of the two arms of the service. By the orders which were from time to time issued, our vessels-of-war on the Pacific and the gulf of Mexico were stationed in proper time and in proper positions to co-operate efficiently with the army. By this means their combined power was brought to bear successfully on the enemy.
The great results which have been developed and brought to light by this war will be of immeasurable importance in the future progress of our