« AnteriorContinuar »
state of Peace, might aid in maintaining the Neutrality of The Uuited States with dignity in the Wars of other Powers, and in saving the property of their Citizens from spoliation. In time of War, with the en. largement, of which the great Naval Resources of the Country render it susceptible, and which should be duly fostered in time of Peace, it would contribute essentially, both as an auxiliary of defence, and as a powerful engine of annoyance, to diminish the calamities of War, and to bring the War to a speedy and honorable termination.
But it ought always to be held prominently in view, that the safety of these States, and of every thing dear to a Free People, must depend, in an eminent degree, on the Militia. Invasions may be made too formidable to be resisted by any Land and Naval Force, which it would comport, either with the principles of our Government, or the circumstances of The United States, to maintain. In such cases, recourse must be had to the great body of the People, and in a manner to produce the best effect. It is of the highest importance, theresore, that they be so organized and trained, as to be prepared for any emergency. The arrangement should be such, as to put at the command of the Government the ardent patriotism, and youthful vigor of the Country. If formed on equal and just principles, it cannot be oppressive. It is the crisis which makes the pressure, and not the Laws, which provide a remedy for it. This arrangement should be formed, too, in time of Peace, to be the better prepared for War. With such an organization of such a People, The United States have nothing to dread from Foreign Invasion. At its approach, an overwhelming Force of gallant Men might always be put in motion.
Other interests of high importance will claim attention; among which, the improvement of our Country by Roads and Canals, proceeding always with a Constitutional sanction, holds a distinguished place. By thus facilitating the intercourse between the States, we shall add much to the convenience and comfort of our Fellow-Citizens, much to the ornament of the Country; and, what is of greater importance, we shall shorten distances, and, by making each part more accessible to and dependent on the other, we shall bind the Union more closely together. Nature has done so much for us, by intersecting the Country with so many great Rivers, Bays, and Lakes, approaching from distant points so near to each other, that the inducement to complete the work seems to be peculiarly strong. A more interesting spec. tacle was, perhaps, never seen than is exhibited within The United States; a Territory so vast, and advantageously situated, containing objects so grand, so useful, so happily conoected in all their parts.
Our Manufactures will, likewise, require the systematic and fostering care of the Government. Possessing, as we do, all the raw materials, the fruit of our own soil and industry, we ought not to depend, in the degree we have done, on supplies from other Countries. While we are thus dependent, the sudden event of War, unsought, and anexpected, cannot fail to plunge us into the most serious difficulties. It is important, too, that the capital which nourishes our Manufactures should be domestic, as its influence in that case, instead of exhaust. ing, as it may do in foreign hands, would be felt advantageously on Agriculture, and every other branch of industry. Equally important is it, to provide at home a market for our raw materials, as by extending the competition, it will enhance the price, and protect the Cultivator against the casualties incident to foreign markets.
With the Indian Tribes it is our duty to coltivate friendly relations, and to act with kindness and liberality in all our transactions. Equally proper is it, to persevere in our efforts to extend to them the advantages of civilization.
The great amount of our Revenue, and the flourishing state of the Treasury, are a full oof of the competency of the National resources for any emergency, as they are of the willingness of our Fellow-Citizens to bear the burthens which the public necessities require. The vast amount of vacant Lands, the value of which daily augments, forms an additional resource of great extent and duration. These resources, besides accomplishing every other necessary purpose, put it completely in the power of The United States to discharge the National Debt at an early period. Peace is the best time for improvement, and preparation of every kind: it is in Peace that our Commerce flourishes most, that Taxes are most easily paid, and that the Revenue is most productive.
The Executive is charged officially, in the Departments under it, with the disbursement of the Public Money, and is responsible for the faithful application of it to the purposes for which it is raised. The Legislature is the watchful guardian over the Public purse. It is its duty to see that the disbursement has been honestly made. To meet the requisite responsibility, every facility should be afforded to the Executive, to enable it to bring the Public Agents, entrusted with the Public money, strictly and promptly to account. Nothing should be presumed against them; but if, with the requisite facilities, the Public money is suffered to lie, long and uselessly, in their hands, they will not be the only Defaulters, nor will the demoralizing effect be confined to them. It will evince a relaxation, and want of tone in the Administration, which will be selt by she whole Community. I shall do all that I can, to secure economy and fidelity in this important branch of the Administration, and I doubt not, that the Legislature will perform its duty with equal zeal. A thorough examination should be regularly made, and I will promote it.
It is particularly gratifying to me to enter on the discharge of these duties, at a time when The United States are blessed with Peace. It is a state most consistent with their prosperity and happiness. It
will be my sincere desire to preserve it, so far as depends on the Exe. cutive, on just principles, with all Nations, claiming nothing unreasonable of any, and rendering to each what is its due.
Equally gratifying is it, to witness the increased harmony of opinion, which pervades our Union. Discord does not belong to our system. Union is recommended, as well by the free and benign principles of our Government, extending its blessings to every Individual, as by the other eminent advantages attending it. The American People have encountered together great dangers, and sustained severe trials with success. They constitute one great Family, with a common interest. Experience has enlightened us, on some questions of essential importance to the Country. The progress has been slow, dictated by a just reflection, and a faithful regard to every interest connected with it. To promote this harmony, in accord with the principles of our Republican Government, and in a manner to give them the most complete effect, and to advance, in all other respects, the best interests of our Union, will be the object of my constant and zealous exertions.
Never did a Government commence under auspices so favorable, nor ever was success so complete. If we look to the history of other Nations, ancient or modern, we find no example of a growth so rapid, so gigantic; of a People so prosperous and happy. In contemplating what we have still to perform, the heart of every Citizen must expand with joy, when he reflects how near our Government has approached to perfectiou ; that in respect to it, we have no essential improvement to make; that the great object is, to preserve it in the essential principles and features which characterize it, and that that is to be done by preserving the virtue and enlightening the minds of the People; and, as a security against foreign dangers, to adopt such arrangements as are indispensable to the support of our independence, our rights, and liberties. If we persevere in the career in which we have advanced so far, and in the path already traced, we cannot fail, under the favor of a gracious Providence, to attain the high destiny which seems to await us.
Io the Administrations of the illustrious Men who have preceded me in this bigh Station, with some of whom I have been connected by the closest ties from early life, examples are presented which will always be found highly instructive and useful to their Successors. From these I shall endeavor to derive all the advantages which they may afford. Of my immediate Predecessor, under whom so important a portion of this great and successful experiment has been made, I shall be pardoned for expressing my earnest wishes, that he may long enjoy, in his retirement, the affections of a grateful Country, the best reward of exalted talents and faithful services. Relying on the aid to be derived from the other Departments of the Government, I enter on the Trust to which I have been called by the suffrages of my FellowCitizens, with my fervent prayers to the Almighty, that He will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection wbich He has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor.
MESSAGE of the President of The United States, on the
Opening of Congress.--3rd December, 1816.
Fellow-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE, AND OF THE HOUSE OF REPRE
SENTATIVES, IN reviewing the present state of our Country, our attention cannot be withheld from the effect produced by peculiar seasons, which have very generally impaired the annual gifts of the earth, and threaten scarcity in particular Districts. Such, however, is the variety of soils, of climates, and of products, within our extensive Limits, that the aggregate resources for subsistence, are more than sufficient for the aggregate wants. And as far as an economy of consumption, more than usual, may be necessary, our thankfulness is due to Provi. dence, for what is far more than a compensation, in the remarkable health which has distinguished the present year.
Amidst the advantages which have succeeded the Peace of Europe, and that of The United States with Great Britain, in a general invigoration of industry among us, and in the extension of our Commerce, the value of which is more and more disclosing itself to commercial Nations, it is to be regretted that a depression is experienced by particular branches of our Manufactures, and by a portion of our Navigation. As the first proceeds, in an essential degree, from an excess of imported merchandize, which carries a
a check in its own tendency, the cause, in its present extent, cannot be of very long duration. The evil will not, however, be viewed by Congress, without a recollection, that Manufacturing Establishments, if suffered to sink too low, or languish too long, may not revive, after the causes shall have ceased; and that, in the vicissitudes of human affairs, situations may recur, in which a dependance on Foreign sources, for indispensable supplies, may be among the most serious embarrassments.
The depressed state of our Navigation is to be ascribed, in a material degree, to its exclusion from the Colonial Ports of the Nation most extensively connected with us in commerce, and from the indirect operation of that exclusion.
Previous to the late Convention at London, between The United States and Great Britain, the relative state of the Navigation Laws of the 2 Countries, growing out of the Treaty of 1794, had given to the British Navigation a material advantage over the American, in the intercourse between the American Ports and British Ports in Europe. The Convention of London equalized the Laws of the 2 Countries, relating to those Ports; leaving the intercourse between our Ports and the Ports of the British Colonies subject, as before, to the respective regulations of the Parties. The British Government enforcing now, Regulations which prohibit a Trade between its Colonies and The United States, in American Vessels, whilst they permit a Trade in British Vessels, the American navigation loses accordingly; and the loss is augmented by the advantage which is given to the British competition over the American, in the navigation between our Ports and British Ports in Europe, by the circuitous voyages enjoyed by the one, and not enjoyed by the other.
The reasonableness of the rule of reciprocity, applied to one branch of the commercial intercourse, has been pressed on our part, as equally applicable to both branches; but it is ascertained, that the. British Cabinet declines all negociation on the subject; with a disavowal, however, of any disposition to view, in an unfriendly light, whatever countervailing Regulations The United States may oppose to the Regulations of which they complain. The wisdom of the Legislature will decide on the course which, under these circumstances, is prescribed by a joint regard to the amicable relations between the 2 Nations, and to the just interests of The United States.
I have the satisfaction to state, generally, that we remain in amity with Foreign Powers.
An occurrence has, indeed, taken place in the Gulf of Mexico, which, if sanctioned by the Spanish Government, may make an exception as to that Power. According to the Report of our Naval Commander on that Station, one of our public armed Vessels was attacked by an overpowering Force, under a Spanish Commander, and the American Flag, with the Officers and Crew, insulted in a manner calling for prompt reparation. This has been demanded. In the mean time, a Frigate and smaller Vessel of War have been ordered into that Gulf, for the protection of our commerce. It would be improper to oinit, that the Representative of His Catholic Majesty, in the United States, lost po time in giving the strongest assurances, that no hostile Order could have emanated from his Government, and that it will be as ready to do, as to expect, whatever the nature of the case, and the friendly relations of the 2 Countries, shall be found to require.
The posture of our affairs with Algiers, at the present moment, is not known. The Dey, drawing pretexts from circumstances for which The United States were not answerable, addressed a Letter to this Government, declaring the Treaty last concluded with him, to have been annulled by our violation of it; and presenting, as the alternative, War, or a renewal of the former Treaty, which stipulated, among other things, an annual Tribute. The answer, with an explicit