Martin van Buren photo

Special Message

January 08, 1838

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

In the highly excited state of feeling on the northern frontier, occasioned by the disturbances in Canada, it was to be apprehended that causes of complaint might arise on the line dividing the United States from Her Britannic Majesty's dominions. Every precaution was therefore taken on our part authorized by the existing laws, and as the troops of the Provinces were embodied on the Canadian side it was hoped that no serious violation of the rights of the United States would be permitted to occur. I regret, however, to inform you that an outrage of a most aggravated character has been committed, accompanied by a hostile though temporary invasion of our territory, producing the strongest feelings of resentment on the part of our citizens in the neighborhood and on the whole border line, and that the excitement previously existing has been alarmingly increased. To guard against the possible recurrence of any similar act I have thought it indispensable to call out a portion of the militia, to be posted on that frontier. The documents herewith presented to Congress show the character of the outrage committed, the measures taken in consequence of its occurrence, and the necessity for resorting to them.

It will also be seen that the subject was immediately brought to the notice of the British minister accredited to this country, and the proper steps taken on our part to obtain the fullest information of all the circumstances leading to and attendant upon the transaction, preparatory to a demand for reparation. I ask such appropriations as the circumstances in which our country is thus unexpectedly placed require.


Mr. Rogers to the President.

Martin van Buren, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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