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Special Message

January 22, 1845

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

I communicate herewith an abstract of the treaty between the United States of America and the Chinese Empire concluded at Wang-Hiya on the 3d of July last, and ratified by the Senate on the 16th instant, and which, having also been ratified by the Emperor of China, now awaits only the exchange of the ratifications in China, from which it will be seen that the special mission authorized by Congress for this purpose has fully succeeded in the accomplishment so far of the great objects for which it was appointed, and in placing our relations with China on a new footing eminently favorable to the commerce and other interests of the United States.

In view of the magnitude and importance of our national concerns, actual and prospective, in China, I submit to the consideration of Congress the expediency of providing for the preservation and cultivation of the subsisting relations of amity between the United States and the Chinese Government, either by means of a permanent minister or commissioner with diplomatic functions, as in the case of certain of the Mohammedan States. It appears by one of the extracts annexed that the establishment of the British Government in China consists both of a plenipotentiary and also of paid consuls for all the five ports, one of whom has the title and exercises the functions of consul-general; and France has also a salaried consul-general, and the interests of the United States seem in like manner to call for some representative in China of a higher class than an ordinary commercial consulate.

I also submit to the consideration of Congress the expediency of making some special provision by law for the security of the independent and honorable position which the treaty of Wang-Hiya confers on citizens of the United States residing or doing business in China. By the twenty-first and twenty-fifth articles of the treaty (copies of which are subjoined in extenso ) citizens of the United States in China are wholly exempted, as well in criminal as in civil matters, from the local jurisdiction of the Chinese Government and made amenable to the laws and subject to the jurisdiction of the appropriate authorities of the United States alone. Some action on the part of Congress seems desirable in order to give full effect to these important concessions of the Chinese Government.


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

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