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questions involved in the existing controversy there, render it desirable that it should be permanently and speedily adjusted. The interests of humanity and of general commerce also demand this; and, as intimations of the same sentiment have been received from other governments, it is hoped that some plan may soon be devised to effect the object in a manner likely to give general satisfaction. The government of the United States will not fail, by the exer. cise of all proper friendly offices, to do all in its power to put an end to the destructive war which has raged between the different parts of the island, and to secure to them both the benefits of peace and commerce.
I refer you to the report of the Secretary of the Treasury for a detailed statement of the finances.
The total receipts into the treasury for the year ending 30th June last, were forty-seven million four hundred and twenty-one thousand seven hundred and forty-eight dollars and ninety cents ($47,421,748 90).
The total expenditures during the same period were fortythree million two thousand one hundred and sixty-eight dollars and ninety cents ($43,002,168 90).
The public debt has been reduced, since the last annual report from the Treasury Department, four hundred and ninety-five thousand two hundred and seventy-six dollars and seventy-nine cents (8493,276 79).
By the 19th section of the act of 28th January, 1847, the proceeds of the sales of the public lands were pledged for the interest and principal of the public debt. The great amount of those lands subsequently granted by Congress for military bounties will, it is believed, very nearly supply the public demand for several years to come, and but little reliance can, therefore, be placed on that hitherto fruitful source of revenue.
Aside from the permanent annual expenditures, which have necessarily largely increased, a portion of the public debt, amounting to eight million seventy-five thousand nine hundred and eighty-six dollars and fifty-nine cents ($8,075,986 59), must be provided for within the next two
It is most desirable that these accruing demands should be met without resorting to new loans.
All experierce has demonstrated the wisdom and policy
of raising a large portion of revenue for the support of gov. ernment from duties on goods imported. The power to lay these duties is unquestionable, and its chief object, of course, is to replenish the treasury. But if, in doing this, an incidental advantage may be gained by encouraging the industry of our own citizens, it is our duty to avail ourselves of that advantage.
A duty laid upon an article which cannot be produced in · this country—such as tea or coffee—adds to the cost of the
article, and is chiefly or wholly paid by the consumer. But a duty laid upon an article which may be produced here, stimulates the skill and industry of our own country to produce the same article, which is brought into the market in competition with the foreign article, and the importer is thus compelled to reduce his price to that at which the domestic article can be sold, thereby throwing a part of the duty upon the producer of the foreign article. The continuance of this process creates the skill, and invites the capital, which finally enable us to produce the article much cheaper than it could have been procured from abroad, thereby benefiting both the producer and the consumer at home. The consequence of this is, that the artisan and the agriculturist are brought together, each affords a ready market for the produce of the other, and the whole country becomes prosperous; and the ability to produce every necessary of life renders us independent in war as well as in peace.
A high tariff can never be permanent. It will cause dissatisfaction, and will be changed. It excludes competition, and thereby invites the investment of capital in manufactures to such excess, that when changed it brings distress, bankruptcy, and ruin upon all who have been misled by its faithless protection. What the manufacturer wants is uniformity and permanency, that he may feel a confidence that he is not to be ruined by sudden changes. But to make a tariff uniform and permanent, it is not only necessary that the law should not be altered, but that the duty should not fluctuate. .To effect this, all duties should be specific, wherever the nature of the article is such as to adnit of it. Ad-valorem duties fuctuate with the price, and offer strong temptations to fraud and perjury. Specific duties, on the con rary, are equal and uniform in all ports,
and at all times, and offer a strong inducement to the im porter to bring the best article, as he pays no more duty upon that than upon one of inferior quality. I therefore strongly recommend a modification of the present tariff, which has prostrated some of our most important and necessary manufactures, and that specific duties be imposed sufficient to raise the requisite revenue, making such discrimination in favor of the industrial pursuits of our own country as to encourage home production, without excluding foreign competition. It is also important that an unfortunate provision in the present tariff, which imposes a much higher duty upon the raw material that enters into our manufactures than upon the manufactured article, should be remedied.
The papers accompanying the report of the Secretary of the Treasury will disclose frauds attempted upon the rerenue, in variety and amount so great, as to justify the conclusion that it is impossible, under any system of ad-valorem duties levied upon the foreign cost or value of the article, to secure an honest observance and an effectual administration of the laws. The fraudulent devices to evade the law which have been detected by the vigilance of the appraisers, leave no room to doubt that similar impositions not discovered, to a large amount, have been successfully practised since the enactment of the law now in force. This state of things has already had a prejudicial influence upon those engaged in foreign commerce. It has a tendency to drive the honest trader from the business of importing, and to throw that important branch of employment into the hands of unscrupulous and dishonest men, who are alike regardless of law and the obligations of an oath. By these means the plain intentions of Congress, as expressed in the law, are daily defeated. Every motive of policy and duty, therefore, impel me to ask the earnest attention of Congress to this subject. If Congress should deem it unwise to attempt any important changes, in the system of levying duties at this session, it will become indispensable to the protection of the revenue that such remedies as, in the judgment of Congress, may mitigate the evils complained of, should at once be applied.
As before stated, specific duties would, in my opinion, afford the most perfect remedy for this evil; but, if you should not conçur in this view, then, as a partial remedy, .!
beg leave respectfully to recommend that, instead of taking the invoice of the article abroad as a means of determining its value here, the correctness of which invoice it is in many cases impossible to verify, the law be so changed as to require a home valuation or appraisal, to be regulated in such manner as to give, as far as practicable, uniformity in the several ports.
There being no mint in California, I am informed that the laborers in the mines are compelled to dispose of their gold dust at a large discount. This appears to me to be a heavy and unjust tax upon the labor of those employed in extracting this precious metal ; and I doubt not you will be disposed, at the earliest period possible, to relieve them from it by the establishment of a mint. In the mean time, as an assayer's office is established there, I would respectfully submit for your consideration the propriety of authorizing gold bullion, which has been assayed and stamped, to be received in payment of government dues. I cannot conceive that the treasury would suffer any loss by such a provision, which will at once raise bullion to its par value, and thereby save (if I am rightly informed) many millions of dollars to the laborers which are now paid in brokerage to convert this precious metal into available funds. This discount upon their hard earnings is a heavy tax, and every effort should be made by the government to relieve them from so great a burden.
More than three-fourths of our population are engaged in the cultivation of the soil. The commercial, manufacturing, and navigating interests are all, to a great extent, dependent on the agricultural. It is, therefore, the most important interest of the nation, and has a just claim to the fostering care and protection of the government, so far as they can be extended consistently with the provisions of the constitution. As this cannot be done by the ordinary modes of legislation, I respectfully recommend the establishment of an Agricuitural Bureau, to be charged with the duty of giving to this leading branch of American industry the encouragement which it so well deserves. In view of the immense mineral resources of our country, provision should also be made for the employment of a competent mineralogist and chemist, who should be required, under the direction of the head of the bureau, to collect specimens of the various minerals of our country, and to ascertain, by careful analysis, their respective elements and properties, and their adaptation to useful purposes.
He should lso be required to examine and report upon the qualities of different soils, and the manures best calculated to improve their productiveness. By publishing the results of such experiments, with suitable explanations, and by the collection and distribution of rare seeds and plants, with instructions as to the best system of cultivation, much may be done to promote this great national interest.
In compliance with the act of Congress, passed on the 23d of May, 1850, providing, among other things, for taking the seventh census, a superintendent was appointed, and all other measures adopted which were deemed necessary to insure the prompt and faithful performance of that duty. The appropriation already made will, it is believed, be sufficient to defray the whole expense of the work; but further legislation may be necessary in regard to the compensation of some of the marshals of the territories. It will also be proper to make provision by law, at an early day, for the publication of such abstracts of the returns as the public interests may require.
The unprecedented growth of our territories on the Pacific in wealth and population, and the consequent increase of their social and commercial relations with the Atlantic States, seem to render it the duty of the government to use all its constitutional power to improve the means of intercourse with them. The importance of opening “a line of communication, the best and most expeditious of which the nature of the country will admit,” between the valley of the Mississippi and the Pacific, was brought to your notice by my predecessor, in his annual message; and as the reasons which he presented in favor of the measure still exist in full force, I beg leave to call your attention to them, and to repeat the recommendations then made by him.
The uncertainty which exists in regard to the validity of land titles in California, is a subject which demands you early consideration. Large bodies of land in that State are claimed under grants said to have been made by authority of the Spanish and Mexican governments.
Many of these