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Although the embarrassments arising from the want of an uniform national currency have not been diminished since the adjournment of Congress, great satisfaction has been derived in contemplating the revival of the public credit, and the efficiency of the public resources. The receipts into the treasury, from the various branches of revenue, during the nine months ending on the 30th of September last, have been estimated at twelve millions and a half of dollars; the issues of treasury notes of every denomination during the same period amounted to the sum of fourteen millions of dollars; and there was also obtained upon loan during the same period, a sum of nine millions of dollars, of which the sum of six millions of dollars was subscribed in cash, and the sum of three millions of dollars in treasury notes. With these means added to the sum of one million and a half of dollars, being the balance of money in the treasury on the 1st of January, there has been paid between the 1st of January and the 1st of October, on account of the appropriations of the preceding and of the present year, (exclusively of the amount of the treasury notes subscribed to the loan, and the amount redeemed in the payment of duties and taxes.) the aggregate sum of thirty-three millions and a half of dollars, leaving a balance then in the treasury estimated at the sum of three millions of dollars. Independent, however, of the arrearages due for military services and supplies, it is presumed that a farther sum of five millions of doliars, including the interest on the public debt payable on the first of January next, will be demanded at the treasury to complete the expenditures of the present year, and for which the existing ways and means will sufficiently provide.
The national debt, as it was ascertained on the first of October last, amounted in the whole to the sum of one hundred and twenty millions of dollars, consisting of the unredeemed balance of the debt contracted before the late war, (thirty-nine millions of dollars,) the amount of the funded debt contracted in consequence of the war, (sixty-four millions of dollars,) and the amount of the unfunded floating debt, (including the various issues of treasury notes,) seventeen millions of dollars, which is in a gradual course of payment. There will probably be some addition to the public debt upon the liquidation of various claims which are depending; and a conciliatory disposition on the part of Congress may lead honorably and advantageously to an equitable arrangement of the militia expenses incurred by the several states without the previous sanction or authority of the government of the United States; but when it is considered that the new as well as the old portion of the debt has been contracted in the assertion of the national rights and independence, and when it is recollected that the public expenditures, not being exclusively bestowed upon subjects of a transient nature, will long be visible in the number and equipments of the American navy, in the military works for the defence of our harbors and our frontiers, and the supplies of our arsenals and magazines, the amount will bear a gratifying comparison with the objects which have been attained, as well as with the resources of the country.
The arrangenent of the finances with a view to the receipts and expenditures of a permanent peace establishment will necessarily enter into the deliberations of Congress during the present session. It is true that the improved condition of the public revenue will not only afford the means of maintaining the faith of the government with its creditors
inviolate, and of prosecuting successfully the measures of the most liberal policy, but will also justify an immediate alleviation of the burdens imposed by the necessity of the war. It is, however, essential to every modification of the finances, that the benefits of an uniform national currency should be restored to the community. The absence of the precious metals will, it is believed, be a temporary evil, but until they can again be rendered the general medium of exchange, it devolves on the wisdom of Congress to provide a substitute which shall equally engage the confidence and accommodate the wants of the citizens throughout the Union. If the operation of the state banks cannot produce this result, the probable operation of a national bank will merit consideration; and, if neither of these expedients be deemed effectual, it may be necessary to ascertain the terins upon which the notes of the government (no longer required as an instrument of credit) shall be issued upon motives of general policy as a common medium of circulation.
Notwithstanding the security for future repose which the United States ought to find in their love of peace, and their constant respect for the rights of other nations, the character of the times particularly inculcates the lesson that, whether to prevent or repel danger, we ought not to be unprepared for it. This consideration will sufficiently recommend to Congress a liberal provision for the immediate extension and gradual completion of the works of defence, both fixed and floating, on our maritime frontier, and an adequate provision for guarding our ipland frontier against dangers to which certain portions of it may continue to be exposed.
As an improvement on our military establishment, it will deserve the consideration of Congress whether à corps of invalids might not be so organized and employed as at once to aid in the support of meritorious individuals excluded by age or infirmities from the existing establishment, and to preserve to the public the benefit of their stationary services and of their exemplary discipline. I recommend, also, an enlargement of the military academy already established, and the establishment of others in other sections of the Union. And I cannot press too much on the attention of Congress such a classification and organization of the militia as will most effectually render it the safeguard of a free state. If experience has shown in the late splendid achievements of militia the value of this resource for the public defence, it has shown also the importance of that skill in the use of arms and that familiarity with the essential rules of discipline which cannot be expcted from the regulations now in force. With this subject is intimately connected the necessity of accommodating the laws, in every respect, to the great object of enabling the political authority of the Union to employ promptly and effectually the physical power of the Union in the cases designated by the constitution.
The signal services which have been rendered by our navy, and the capacities it has developed for successful co-operation in the national defence, will give to that portion of the public force its full value in the eyes of Congress, at an epoch which calls for the constant vigilance of all governments.
To preserve the ships now in a sound state, to complete those already contemplated, to provide amply the imperishable materials for prompt augmentations, and to improve the existing arrangements into more advantageous establishments for the construction, the repairs, and the security of vessels of war, is dictated by the soundest policy.
In adjusting the duties on imports to the object of revenue, the influence of the tariff on manufactures will necessarily present itself for consideration. However wise the theory may be which leaves to the sagacity and interest of individuals the application of their industry and resources, there are in this, as in other cases, exceptions to the general rule. Besides the condition which the theory itself implies of a reciprocal adoption by other nations, experience teaches that so many circumstances must occur 'in introducing and maturing manufacturing establishments, especially of the more complicated kinds, that a country may remain long without them although sufficiently advanced, and in some respects even peculiarly fitted for carrying them on with success. Under circumstances giving a powerful impulse to manufacturing industry, it has made among us a progress, and exhibited an efficiency, whicho justify the belief that with a protection not more than is due to the enterprising citizens whose interests are now at stake, it will become at an early day not only safe against occasional competitions from abroad, but a source of domestic wealth and even of external commerce. In selecting the branches more especially entitled to the public patronage, a preference is obviously claimed by such as will relieve the United States from a dependence on foreign supplies, ever subject to casual failures, for articles necessary for the public defence, or connected with the primary wants of individuals. It will be an additional recommendation of particular manufactures, where the materials for them are extensively drawn from our agriculture, and consequently impart and ensure to that great fund of national prosperity and independence an encouragement which cannot fail to be rewarded.
Among the means of advancing the public interest, the occasion is a proper one for recalling the attention of Congress to the great importance of establishing throughout our country the roads and canals which can best be executed under the national authority. No objects within the circle of political economy so richly repay the expense bestowed upon them; there are none, the utility of which is more universally ascertained and acknowledged; none that do more honor to the government whose wise and enlarged patriotism duly appreciates them. Nor is there any country which presents a field where nature invites more the art of man to complete her own work for his accommodation and benefit. These considerations are strengthened, moreover, by the political effect of these facilities for intercommunication in bringing and binding more closely together the various parts of our extended confederacy. Whilst the states individually, with a laudable enterprise and emulation, avail themselves of their local advantages by new roads, by navigable canals, and by impro. ving the streams susceptible of navigation, the general government is the more urged to similar undertakings, requiring a national jurisdiction and national means, by the prospect of thus systematically completing so inestimable a work And it is a happy reflection, that any defect of constitutional authority which may be encountered can be supplied in a mode which the constitution itself has providently pointed out.
The present is a favorable season also for bringing again into view the establishment of a national seminary of learning within the District of Columbia, and with means drawn from the property therein, subject to the authority of the general government. Such an institution claims the patronage of Congress as a monument of their solicitude for the advance
ment of knowledge, without which the blessings of liberty cannot be fully enjoyed or long preserved; as a modelinstructive in the formation of other seminaries; as a nursery of enlightened preceptors; as a central resort of youth and genius from every part of their country, diffusing on their return examples of those national feelings, those liberal sentiments, and those congenial manners, which contribute cement to our Union, and strength to the political fabric of which that is the foundation.
In closing this commuuication I ought not to repress a sensibility, in which you will unite, to the happy lot of our country, and to the goodness of a superintending Providence to which we are indebted for it. Whilst other portions of mankind are laboring under the distresses of war, or struggling with adversity in other forms, the United States are in the tranquil enjoyment of prosperous and honorable peace. In reviewing the scenes through which it has been attained, we can rejoice in the proofs given that our political institutions, founded in human rights and framed for their preservation, are equal to the severest trials of war as well as adapted to the ordinary periods of repose. As fruits of this experience, and of the reputation acquired by the American arms on the land and on the water, the nation finds itself possessed of a growing respect abroad, and of a just confidence in itself which are among the best pledges for its peaceful career. Under other aspects of our country, the strongest fea. tures of its flourishing condition are seen in a population rapidly increasing on a territory as productive as it is extensive; in a general industry and fertile ingenuity which find their ample rewards; and in an afiluent revenue, which admits a reduction of the public burdens without withdrawing the means of sustaining the public credit, of gradually discharging the public debt, of providing for the necessary defensive and precautionary establishments, and of patronizing, in every authorized mode, undertakings conducive to the aggregate wealth and individual comfort of our citizens.
It remains for the guardians of the public welfare to persevere in that justice and good will toward other nations which invite à return of these sentiments toward the United States; to cherish institutions which guaranty their safety and liberties civil and religious; and to combine with a liberal system of foreign commerce an improvement of the natural advan. tages, and a protection and extension of the independent resources, of our highly favored and happy country,
In all measures having such objects, my faithful co-operation will be afforded.
EIGHTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.
DECEMBER 3, 1816.
In reviewing the present state of our country, our attention cannot be withheld from the effect produced from 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 of 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 Providence 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 merchandise, which carries 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 dependence on foreign sources for the 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 convention at London, between the United States and Great Britain, the relative state of the navigation laws of the two 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 at London equalised the laws of the two 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 new regulations which prohibit a trade between its colonies and the United States in American vessels, while they permit a trade in British vessels the American navigation suffers 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 negotiation 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 two nations, and to the just interests of the United States.
I have the satisfaction to state, generally, that we remain in amity with
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, oue of our public armed vessels was attacked by an overpowering force, under a Spanish commander, and the American flag, with the officers and