The ports of Norfolk, Fernandina, 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 vast cost, a contraband trade with other ports which are closed, if not by actual military occupation, at least by a lawful and effective blockade.
For myself, I have no doubt of the power and duty of the Executive, under the law of nations to exclude enemies of the human race from an asylum in the United States. If Congress should think that proceedings in slouch 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 domicile and facilities for their criminal occupation in our country.
It is possible, that, if it were a new and open question, the maritime powers, with the lights 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 of war and of ports and harbors. Disloyal emissaries 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 embryoid our country in foreign wars. The desire and determination of the Governments of the maritime states to defeat that design are believed to be as sincere as and cannot be more earnest than our own. Nevertheless, unforeseen political difficulties have arisen, especially in Brazilian and British ports and 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 on the adjustment of the claims of the Hudson's Bay and Puget's 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 and property in the region adjacent to the Canadian border, by reason of 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 arrangement 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 question of ts 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, 1854.
I desire, however, to be understood, while making this statement, that the colonial authorities of Canada 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, so far as was possible, been put into operation. It seems to need amendment which will enable the officers of the Government