Imágenes de páginas

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 spectacle was perhaps never seen than is exhibited within the limits of the United States—a ter. ritory so vast, and advantageously situated, containing objects so grand, so useful, so happily connected 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 unexpected, 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 exhausting, as it may dr in foreign hands, would be felt advantageously on agri culture, 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 cultivate 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 proof of the competency of the national resources for any emergency, as they are of the willingness of our fellow-citizens to bear the burdens 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 preparations 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 intrusted 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 felt by the 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 executive, 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 suscained 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. ance with the principles of our republican government, and in a manner to give the most complete effect, and to advance, in all other respects, the best interests of our country, will be the object of my constant and zealous exertions.

Never did a government commence under auspices sc 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 perfection; 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.

In the administration of the illustrious men who have preceded me in this high 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 the most faithful and meritorious services. Relying on the aid to be derived from the other departments of government, I enter on the trust to which I have been called by the suffrages of my fellow-itizens, with my fervent prayers to the Almighty that he will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection which he has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor.


DECEMBER 3, 1817. Fellow-Citizens of the Senate,

and House of Representatives : At no period of our political existence had we so

much cause to felicitate ourselves at the prosperous and happy condition of our country. The abundant fruits of the earth have filled it with plenty. An extensive and profitable commerce has greatly augmented our revenue. The public credit has attained an extraordinary elevation. Our preparations for defence, in case of future wars, from which, by the experience of all nations, we ought not ex. pect to be exempted, are advancing, under a well digested system, with all the despatch which so important a work will admit.

Our free government, founded on the interests and affections of the people, has gained, and is daily gaining strength. Local jealousies are rapidly yielding to more generous, enlarged, and enlightened views of national policy. For advantages so numerous and highly important, it is our duty to unite in grateful acknowledgments to that Omnipotent Being, from whom they are derived, and in unceasing prayer that he will endow us with virtue and strength to maintain and hand them down, in their utmost purity, to our latest posterity.

I have the satisfaction to inform you, that an arrangement, which had been commenced by my predecessor, with the British government, for the reduction of the naval force, by Great Britain and the United States, on the lakes, has been concluded; by which it is provided, that neither party shall keep in service on lake Champlain more than one vessel ; on lake Ontario, more than one ; on lake Erie and the upper lakes, more than two; to be armed, each with one cannon only, and that all the other armed vessels o' both parties, of which an exact list is

interchanged, shall be dismantled. It is also agreed, that the force retained shull be restricted in its duty to the internal purposes of each party; and that the arrangement shall remain in force until six months shall have expired after notice having been given by one of the parties to the other of its desire that it should terminate. By this arrangement, useless expense on both sides, and, what is of greater importance, the danger of collision between armed vessels in those inland waters, which was great, is prevented.

I have the satisfaction also to state, that the commissioners under the fourth article of the treaty of Ghent, to whom it was referred to decide to which party the several islands in the bay of Passamaquoddy belonged, under the treaty of one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three, have agreed in a report, by which all the islands in the possession of each party before the late war have been decreed to it. The commissioners acting under the other articles of the treaty of Ghent, for the settlement of the boundaries, have also been engaged in the discharge of their respective duties, but have not yet completed them. The difference which arose between the two governments, under the treaty, respecting the right of the United States to take and cure fish on the coast of the British provinces, north of our limits, which had been secured by the treaty of one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three, is still in negotiation. The proposition made by this government, to extend to the colonies of Great Britain the principle of the convention of London, by which the commerce between the ports of the United States and British ports of Europe had been placed on a footing of equality, has been declined by the British government.

This subject having been thus amicably discussed between the two governments, and it appearing that the British government is unwilling to depart from its present regulations, it remains for Congress to decide whether they will make any other regulations, in consequence thereof, for the protection and improvement of our navigation.

The negotiation with Spain, for spoliations on our commerce, and the settlement of boundaries, remains essentially in the state it held in the communications that were

« AnteriorContinuar »