« AnteriorContinuar »
by them, which, from sixty-seven thousand dollars, has swollen to upwards of one million five hundred thousand dollars, and in the number of miles of post-roads, which, from five thousand six hundred and forty-two, have mul. tiplied to one hundred and fourteen thousand five hundred and thirty-six While, in the same period of time, the population of the Union has about thrice doubled, the rate of increase of these offices is nearly forty, and of the revenue and of travelled miles, from twenty to twenty-five for one.
The increase of revenue wi' hin the last five years has been nearly equal to the whole revenue of the department in 1812.
The expenditures of the department during the year which ended on the first of July last, have exceeded the receipts by a sum of about twenty-five thousand dollars. The excess has been occasioned by the increase of mail conveyances and facilities to the extent of near eight hundred thousand miles. It has been supplied by collections from the postmasters of the arrearages of the preceding years. While the correct principle seems to be, that the income levied by ihe department should defray all its expenses, it has never been the policy of this government to raise from this establishment venue to be applied to any other purposes. The suggestion of the postmaster-general, that the insurance of the safe transmission of moneys by the mail might be assumed by the department, for a moderate and competene remuneration, will deserve the consideration of Congress.
A report from the commissioner of the public buildings in this city exhi: bits the expenditures upon them in the course of the current year. It will be seen that the humane and benevolent intentions of Congress in providing, by the act of the 20th of May, 1826, for the erection of a penitentiary in this district have been accomplished. The authority of farther legislation is now required for the removal to this tenement of the offenders against the laws, sentenced to atone by personal confinement for their crimes, and 10 provide a code for their employment and government while thus confined.
The commissioners appointed conformably to the act of 2d March, 1827, to provide for the adjustment of claims of persons entitled to indemnification under the first article of the treaty of Ghent, and for the distribution among such claimants of the sum paid by the government of Great Britain, under the convention of 13th November, 1826, closed their labors on the 30th August last, by awarding to the claimants the sum of one million one busdred and ninety-seven thousand four hundred and twenty-two dollars and eighteen cents; leaving a balance of seven thousand five hundred and thirtyseven dollars and eighty-two cents, which was distributed ratedly among all the claimants to whom awards had been made, according to the directions of the act.
The exhibits appended to the report from the commissioner of the general land office, present the actual condition of that common property of the Union. The amount paid into the treasury, from the proceeds of lands, during the year 1827, and the first half of 1828, falls little short of two millions of dollars. The propriety of farther extending the time for the extin guishment of the debt due to the United States by the purchasers of the pub lic lands, limited by the act of 21st March last to the 4th of July next, wil claim the consideration of Congress, to whose vigilance and careful atten tion, the regulation, disposal, and preservation of this great national inherit ance has by the people of the United States been entrusted.
Among the important subjects to which the attention of the present Con: gress has already been invited, and which may occupy their farther and
deliberate discussion, will be the provision to be made for taking the fifth census, or enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States. The constitution of the United States requires that this enumeration should be made within every term of ten years, and the date from which the last enumeration commenced was the first Monday of August, of the year 1820. The laws under which the former enumerations were taken were enacted at the session of Congress immediately preceding the operation. But considerable inconveniences were experienced from the delay of legislation to so late a period. That law, like those of the preceding enumerations, directed that the census should be taken by the marshals of the several districts and territories, under instructions from the secretary of state. The preparation and transmission to the marshals of those instructions, required more time than was then allowed between the passage of the law and the day when the enumeration was to commence. The term of six months, limited for the returns of the marshals, was also found even then too short, and must be more so now, when an additional population of at least three millions must be presented upon the returns. As they are to be made at the short session of Congress, it would, as well as from other considerations, be more convenient to commence the enumeration at an earlier period of the year than the first of August. The most favorable season would be the spring. On a review of the former enumerations, it will be found that the plan for taking every census has contained improveinents upon that of its predecessor. The last is still susceptible of much improvement. The third census was the first at which any account was taken of the manufactures of the country. It was repeated at the last enumeration, but the returns in both cases were necessarily very imperfect.
They must always be so, resting of course only on the communications voluntarily made by individuals interested in some of the manufacturing establishments. Yet they contained much valuable information, and may by some supplementary provision of the law be rendered more effective. The columns of age, commencing from infancy, have hitherto been confined to a few periods, all under the number of forty-five years. Important knowledge would be obtained by extending those columns, in intervals of ten years, to the utmost boundaries of human life. The labor of taking them would be a trifling addition to that already prescribed, and the result would exhibit comparative tables of longevity highly interesting to the country. I deem it my duty farther to observe, that much of the imperfections in the returns of the last, and perhaps of preceding enumerations, proceeded from the inadequateness of the compensation allowed to the marshals and their assistants in taking them.
In closing this communication, it only remains for me to assure the legislature of my continued earnest wish for the adoption of measures recommended by me heretofore, and yet to be acted on by them, and of the cordial concurrence on my part in every constitutional provision which
may receive their sanction during the session, tending to the general welfare.
ADDRESSES AND MESSAGES.
MARCH 4, 1829. Fellow Citizens :
About to undertake the arduous duties that I have been appointed to perform by the choice of a free people, I avail myself of this customary and solemn occasion to express the gratitude which their confidence inspires, and to acknowledge the accountability which my situation enjoins. While the magnitude of their interests convinces me that no thanks can be adequate to the honor they have conferred, it admonishes me that the best return I can make, is the zealous dedication of my humble abilities to their service and their good.
As the instrument of the federal constitution, it will devolve upon me, for a stated period, to execute the laws of the United States; to superintend their foreign and confederate relations; to manage their revenue; to command their forces; and, by communications to the legislature, to watch over and to promote their interests generally. And the principles of action by which I shall endeavor to accomplish this circle of duties, it is now proper for me briefly to explain.
In administering the laws of Congress, I shall keep steadily in view the limitations as well as the extent of the executive power, trusting thereby to discharge the functions of my office without transcending its authority. With foreign nations it will be my study to preserve peace, and to cultivate friendship on fair and honorable terms; and in the adjustment of any dif ferences that may exist or arise, to exhibit the forbearance becoming a powerful nation, rather than the sensibility belonging to a gallant people.
In such measures as I may be called on to pursue, in regard to the rights of the separate states, I hope to be animated by a proper respect for those sovereign members of our Union; taking care
to confound the powers they have reserved to themselves with those they have granted to the confederacy.
The management of the public revenue—that searching operation in all governments—is among the most delicate and important trusts in ours; and it will, of course, demand no inconsiderable share of my official solicitude. Under
every aspect in which it can be considered, it would appear that advantage must result from the observance of a strict and faithful economy, This, I shall aim at the more anxiously, both because it will facilitate the extinguishment of the national debt, the unnecessary duration of which is incompatible with real independence, and because it will counteract that tendency to public and private profligacy which a profuse expenditure of money by the government is but too apt to engender. Powerful auxiliaries to the attainment of this desirable end are to be found in the regulations provided by the wisdom of Congress for the specific appropriation of public money, and the prompt accountability of public officers.
With regard to a proper selection of the subjects of impost, with a view to revenue, it would seem to me that the spirit of equity, caution, and compromise, in which the constitution was formed, requires that the great inte rests of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, should be equally favored; and that perhaps the only exception to this rule should consist in the peculiar encouragement of any products of either of them that may be found essential to our national independence.
Internal improvement, and the diffusion of knowledge, so far as they can be promoted by the constitutional acts of the federal government, are of high importance.
Considering standing armies as dangerous to free governments in time of peace, I shall not seek to enlarge our present establishment, nor to disre gard that salutary lesson of political experience which teaches that the military should be held subordinate to the civil power. The gradual increase of our navy, whose flag has displayed in distant climes our skill in naviga. tion and our fame in arms; the preservation of our forts, arsenals
, and dock-yards; and the introduction of progressive improvements in the discipline and science of both branches of our military service, are so plainly prescribed by prudence, that I should be excused for omitting their mention
, sooner than en larging on their importance. But the bulwark of our defence is the national militia, which, in the present state of our intelligence and population, must render us invincible. As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of person and property, liberty of conscience
, and of the press, it will be worth defending; and so long as it is worth defending, a patriotic militia will cover it with an impenetrable agis. Partial injuries and occasional mortifications we may be subjected to; but a million of armed freemen, possessed of the means of war, can never be conquered by a foreign foe. To any just system, therefore, calculated to strengthen this natural safeguard of the country, I shall cheerfully lend all the aid in my power. • It will be my sincere and constant desire to observe toward the Indian tribes within our limits a just and liberal policy, and to give that humane and considerate attention to their rights and their wants which are consistent with the habits of our government and the feelings of our people.
The recent demonstration of public sentiment inscribes on the list of erecutive duties, in characters too legible to be overlooked, the task of reform; which will require particularly the correction of those abuses that have brought the patronage of the federal government into conflict with the freedom of elections, and the counteraction of those causes which have disturbed the rightful course of appointment, and have placed or continued power in unfaithful or incompetent hands.
In the performance of a task thus generally delineated, I shall endeavor to select men whose diligence and talents will ensure, in their respective stations, able and faithful co-operation, -depending for the advancement of the public service, more on the integrity and zeal of the public officers, than on their numbers.
A diffidence, perhaps too just, in my own qualifications, will teach me to look with reverence to the examples of public virtue left by my illustrious predecessors, and with veneration to the lights that flow from the mind that founded and the mind that reformed our system. The same diffidence induces me to hope for instruction and aid from the co-ordinate branches of