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The augmentation of our naval force, as authorized at the last session of Congress, is in progress. On the lakes our superiority is near at hand where it is not already established.
The events of the campaign, so far as they are known to us, furnish matter of congratulation, and show that under a wise organization and efficient direction the army is destined to a glory not less brilliant than that which already encircles the navy. The attack and capture of York is in that quarter a presage of future and greater victories, while on the western frontier, the issue of the late siege of Fort Meigs leaves us nothing to regret but a single act of inconsiderate valor.
The provisions last made for filling the ranks and enlarging the staff of the army have had the best effects. It will be for the consideration of Congress, whether other provision, depending on their authority, may not still farther improve the military establishment and the means of defence.
The sudden death of the distinguished citizen who represented the United States in France, without any special arrangement by him for such a contingency, has left us without the expected sequel to his last communications; nor has the French government taken any measures for bringing the depending negotiations to a conclusion through its representative in the United States. This failure adds to delays before so unreasonably spun out. A successor to our deceased minister has been appointed and is ready to proceed on his mission. The course which he will pursue in fulfilling it is that prescribed by a steady regard to the true interests of the United States, which equally avoids an abandonment of their just demands and a connection of their fortunes with the systems of other powers.
The receipts in the treasury, from the 1st of October to the 31st day of March last, including the sums received on account of treasury notes, and of the loans authorized by the acts of the last and the preceding session of Congress, have amounted to fifteen millions four hundred and twelve thousand dollars. The expenditures during the same period amounted to fifteen millions nine hundred and twenty thousand dollars, and left in the treasury, on the first of April, the sum of one million eight hundred and fifty seven thousand dollars. The loan of sixteen millions of dollars, authorized by the act of the 8th of February last, has been contracted for. Of that sum more than a million of dollars has been paid into the treasury prior to the 1st of April, and formed a part of the receipts as above stated. The remainder of that loan, amounting to near fifteen millions of dollars, with the sum of five millions of dollars authorized to be issued in treasury notes, and the estimated receipts from the customs and the sales of public lands, amounting to nine millions three hundred thousand dollars, and making, in the whole, twentynine millions three hundred thousand dollars to be received during the last nine months of the present year, will be necessary to meet the expenditures already authorized and the engagements contracted in relation to public debt. These engagements amount during that period to ten millions five hundred thousand dollars, which, with near one million for the civil, miscellaneous, and diplomatic expenses, both foreign and domestic, and seventeen millions eight hundred thousand dollars for the military and naval expenditures, including the ships of war building and to be built, will leave a sum in the treasury at the end of the present year equal to that on the first of April last. A part of this sum may be considered as a resource for defraying any extraordinary expenses already authorized by law beyond the sums above estimated, and a farther resource for any emergency may be found in the
sum of one million of dollars, the loan of which to the United States has been authorized by the state of Pennsylvania but which has not yet been brought into effect.
This view of our finances, whilst it shows that due provision has been made for the expenses of the current year, shows at the same time, by the limited amount of the actual revenue and the dependence on loans, the ne cessity of providing more adequately for the future supplies of the treasury. This can be best done by a well digested system of internal revenue, in aid of existing sources, which will have the effect, both of abridging the amount of necessary loans, and on that account, as well as by placing the public credit on a more satisfactory basis, of improving the terms on which loans may be obtained. The loan of sixteen millions was not contracted for at a less interest than about seven and a half per cent., and, although other causes may have had an agency, it cannot be doubted that with the advantage of a more extended and less precarious revenue, a lower rate of interest might have sufficed. A longer postponement of this advantage could not fail to have a still greater influence on future loans.
In recommending to the national legislature this resort to additional taxes, I feel great satisfaction in the assurance that our constituents, who have already displayed so much zeal and firmness in the cause of their country, will cheerfully give any other proof of their patriotism which it calls for. Happily no people, with local and transitory exceptions never to be wholly avoided, are more able than the people of the United States to spare for the public wants a portion of their private means, whether regard be had to the ordinary profits of industry or the ordinary price of subsistence in our country compared with those in any other. And in no case could stronger reasons be felt for yielding the requisite contributions. By rendering the public resources certain, and commensurate to the public exigencies, the constituted authorities will be able to prosecute the war the more rapidly to our proper issue; every hostile hope founded on a calculated failure of its resources will be cut off
, and by adding to the evidence of bravery and skill on combats on the ocean and the land, and alacrity in supplying the treasure necessary to give them their fullest effects, and demonstrating to the world the public energy which our political institutions combine, with the personal liberty distinguishing them, the best security will be provided against future enterprises on the rights or the peace of the nation.
The contest in which the United States are engaged appeals for its support to every motive that can animate an uncorrupted and enlightened people: to the love of country; to the pride of liberty; to an emulation of the glorious founders of their independence by a successful vindication of its violated attributes; to the gratitude and sympathy which demands security from the most degrading wrongs of a class of citizens who have proved themselves so worthy the protection of their country by their heroic zeal in its defence; and finally, to the sacred obligation of transmitting entire to future generations that precious patrimony of national rights and independence which is held in trust by the present, from the goodness of Divine Providence.
Being aware of the inconveniences to which a protracted session at this season would be liable, I limit the present communication to objects of primary importance. In special messages which may ensue, regard will be had to the same consideration.
JULY 20, 1813.
There being sufficient reason to infer that it is the purpose of the enemy to combine with the blockade of our ports special lic i ses 'o neutral vessels or to British vessels in neutral disguises, whereby they may draw from our country the precise kind and quantity of exports essential to their wants, whilst its general commerce remains obstructed, keeping in view also the insidious discrimination between the different ports of the United States; and as such a system, if not counteracted, will have the effect of diminishing very materially the pressure of the war on the enemy, and encouraging a perseverance in it, at the same time that it will leave the general commerce of the United States under all the pressure the enemy can impose, thus subjecting the whole to British regulation in subserviency to British monopoly, I recommend to the consideration of Congress the expediency of an immediate and effectual prohibition of exports limited to a convenient day in their next session, and removable in the mean time in the event of a cessation of the blockade of our ports.
FIFTH ANNUAL MESSAGE
DECEMBER 7, 1813.
In meeting you at the present interesting conjuncture, it would have been highly satisfactory if I could have communicated a favorable result to the mission charged with negotiations for restoring peace. It was a just expectation, from the respect due to the distinguished sovereign who had invited them by his offer of mediation, from the readiness with which the invitation was accepted on the part of the United States, and from the pledge to be found in an act of their legislature for the liberality, which their plenipotentiaries would carry into the negotiations, that no time would be lost by the British government in embracing the experiment for hastening a stop to the effusion of blood. A prompt and cordial acceptance of the mediation on that side was the less to be doubted, as it was of a nature not to submit rights or pretensions on either side to the decision of an umpire, but to afford merely an opportunity, honorable and desirable to both, for discussing, and if possible adjusting them for the interest of both.
The British cabinet, either mistaking our desire of peace for a dread of British power, or misled by other fallacious calculations, has disappointed this reasonable anticipation. No communications from our envoys having reached us, no information on the subject has been received from that source. But it is known that the mediation was declined in the first instance, and there is no evidence, notwithstanding the lapse of time, that a change of disposition in the British councils has taken place or is to be expected.
Under such circumstances, a nation proud of its rights and conscious of its strength has no choice but an exertion of the one in support of the other
To this determination the best encouragement is derived from the success with which it has pleased the Almighty to bless our arms both on the land and on the water.
Whilst proofs have been continued of the enterprise and skill of our cruisers, public and private, on the ocean, and a new trophy gained in the capture of a British by an American vessel of war, after an action giving celebrity to the name of the victorious commander, the great inland waters on which the enemy were also to be encountered have presented achievements of our naval arms as brilliant in their character as they have been important in their consequences,
On Lake Erie, the squadron under the command of Captain Perry having met the British squadron of a superior force, a sanguinary conflict ended in the capture of the whole. The conduct of that officer, adroit as it was daring, and which was so well seconded by his comrades, justly entitles them to the admiration and gratitude of their country, and will find an early page in its naval annals, with a victory never surpassed in lustre however much it may have been in magnitude.
On Lake Ontario, the caution of the British commander, favored by contingencies, frustrated the efforts of the American commander to bring on a decisive action. Captain Chauncey was able, however, to establish an ascendency on that important theatre, and to prove, by the manner in which he effected every thing possible, that opportunities only were wanted for a more shining display of his own talents and the gallantry of those under his command.
The success on Lake Erie having opened a passage to the territory of the enemy, the officer commanding the northwestern army transferred the war thither, and rapidly pursuing the hostile troops, fleeing with their savage associates, forced a general action which quickly terminated in the capture of the British and dispersion of the savage force.
This result is signally honorable to Major-general Harrison, by whose military talents it was prepared; to Colonel Johnson and his mounted volunteers, whose impetuous onset gave a decisive blow to the ranks of the enemy; and to the spirit of the volunteer militia, equally brave and patriotic, who bore an interesting part in the scene; more especially to the cbief magistrate of Kentucky at the head of them, whose heroism, signalized in the war which established the independence of his country, sought at an advanced age a share in hardships and battles for maintaining its rights and its safety.
The effect of these successes has been to rescue the inhabitants of Michigan from their oppressions, aggravated by gross infractions of the capitulation which subjected them to a foreign power; to alienate the savages of numerous tribes from the enemy, by whom they were disappointed and abandoned; and to relieve an extensive region of country from a merciless warfare which desolated its frontiers and imposed on its citizens the most harassing services.
In consequence of our naval superiority on Lake Ontario, and the opportunity afforded by it for concentrating our forces by water, operations which had been provisionally planned were set on foot against the possessions of the enemy on the St. Lawrence. Such, however, was the delay produced in the first instance by adverse weather of unusual violence and continuance,
and such the circumstances attending the final movement of the army, that the prospect at one time so favorable was not realized.
The cruelty of the enemy in enlisting the savages into a war with a nation desirous of mutual emulation in mitigating its calamities, has not been confined to any one quarter. Wherever they could be turned against us no exertions to effect it have been spared, On our southwestern border, the Creek tribes, who yielding to our persevering endeavors were gradually acquiring more civilized habits, became the unfortunate victims of seduction. A war in that quarter has been the consequence, infuriated by a bloody fanaticism recently propagated among them. It was necessary to crush such a war before it could spread among the contiguous tribes, and before it could favor enterprises of the enemy into that vicinity. With this view, a force was called into the service of the United States from the states of Georgia and Tennessee, which, with the nearest regular troops, and other corps from the Mississippi territory, might not only chastise the savages into present peace but make a lasting impression on their fears.
The progress of the expedition, as far as is yet known, corresponds with the martial zeal with which it was espoused, and the best hopes of a satisfactory issue are authorized by the complete success with which a well planned enterprise was executed against a body of hostile savages by a detachment of the volunteer militia of Tennessee, under the gallant command of General Coffee; and by a still more important victory over a large body of them, gained under the immediate command of Major-general Jackson, an officer equally distinguished for his patriotism and military talents.
The systematic perseverance of the enemy in courting the aid of the savages on all quarters, had the natural effect of kindling their ordinary propensity to war into a passion which, even among those best disposed toward the United States, was ready, if not employed on our side, to be turned against us. A departure from our protracted forbearance to accept the services tendered by them, has thus been forced upon us. But in yielding to it, the retaliation has been mitigated as much as possible both in its extent and in its character, stopping far short of the example of the enemy, who owe the advantages they have occasionally gained in battle chiefly to the number of their savage associates; and who have not controlled them either from their usual practice of indiscriminate massacre on defenceless in habitants, or from scenes of carnage without a parallel, on prisoners to the British arms, guarded by all the laws of humanity and of honorable war. For these enormities the enemy are equally responsible, whether with the power to prevent them they want the will, or with the knowledge of a want of power they still avail themselves of such instruments.
In other respects the enemy are pursuing a course which threatens consequences most afflicting to humanity.
A standing law of Great Britain naturalizes, as is well known, all aliens complying with conditions limited to a shorter period than those required by the United States; and naturalized subjects are in war employed by her government in common with native subjects
. In a contiguous British province, regulations promulgated since the commencement of the war compel citizens of the United States being there under certain circumstances to bear arms, whilst of the native emigrants from the United States who