August 5, 1846: Message Requesting the Creation of an Oregon Territory
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
I communicate herewith a copy of a convention for the settlement and adjustment of the Oregon question, which was concluded in this city on the 15th day of June last between the United States and Her Britannic Majesty. This convention has since been duly ratified by the respective parties, and the ratifications were exchanged at London on the 17th day of July, 1846.
It now becomes important that provision should be made by law at the earliest practicable period for the organization of a Territorial government in Oregon.
It is also deemed proper that our laws regulating trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes east of the Rocky Mountains should be extended to such tribes within our territory as dwell beyond them, and that a suitable number of Indian agents should be appointed for the purpose of carrying these laws into execution.
It is likewise important that mail facilities, so indispensable for the diffusion of information and for binding together the different portions of our extended Confederacy, should be afforded to our citizens west of the Rocky Mountains.
There is another subject to which I desire to call your special attention. It is of great importance to our country generally, and especially to our navigating and whaling interests, that the Pacific Coast, and, indeed, the whole of our territory west of the Rocky Mountains, should speedily be filled up by a hardy and patriotic population. Emigrants to that territory have many difficulties to encounter and privations to endure in their long and perilous journey, and by the time they reach their place of destination their pecuniary means are generally much reduced, if not altogether exhausted. Under these circumstances it is deemed but an act of justice that these emigrants, whilst most effectually advancing the interests and policy of the Government, should be aided by liberal grants of land. I would therefore recommend that such grants be made to actual settlers upon the terms and under the restrictions and limitations which Congress may think advisable.