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Your attention is respectfully invited to the situation of the District of Columbia. Placed by the constitution under the exclusive jurisdiction and control of Congress, this district is certainly entitled to a much greater share of its consideration than it has yet received. There is a want of uniformity in its laws, particularly those of a penal character, which increases the expense of their administration, and subjects the people to all the inconveniences which result from the operation of different codes in so small a territory. On different sides of the Potomac, the same offence is punishable in unequal degrees; and the peculiarities of many of the early laws of Maryland and Virginia remain in force, notwithstanding their repugnance, in some cases, to the improvements which have superseded them in those states.
Besides a remedy for these evils, which is loudly called for, it is respectfully submitted whether a provision authorizing the election of a delegate to represent the wants of the citizens of this district on the floor of Congress, is not due to them, and to the character of our government. No portion of our citizens should be without a practical enjoyment of the principles of freedom; and there is none more important than that which cultivates a proper relation between the governors and the governed. Imperfect as this must be in this case, yet it is believed that it would be greatly improved by a representation in Congress, with the same privileges that are allowed to that of the other territories of the United States.
The penitentiary is ready for the reception of convicts, and only awaits the necessary legislation to put it into operation; as one object of which, I beg leave to recall your attention to the propriety of providing suitable compensation for the officers charged with its inspection.
The importance of the principle involved in the inquiry whether it will be proper to recharter the Bank of the United States, requires that I should again call the attention of Congress to the subject. Nothing has occurred to lessen in any degree, the dangers which many of our citizens apprehend from that institution, as at present organized. In the spirit of improvement and compromise which distinguishes our country and its institutions, it becomes us to inquire whether it be not possible to secure the advantages afforded by the present bank, through the agency of a Bank of the United States so rnodified in its principles and structure as to obviate constitutional and other objections.
It is thought practicable to organize such a bank with the necessary officers, as a branch of the treasury department, based on the public and individual deposites, without power to make loans or purchase property, which shall remit the funds of the government, and the expenses of which may be paid, if thought advisable, by allowing its officers to sell bills of exchange to private individuals at a moderate premium. Not being a corporate body, having no stockholders, debtors, or property, and but few officers, it would not be obnoxious to the constitutional objections which are urged against the present bank; and having no means to operate on the hopes, fears, or interests of large masses of the community, it would be shorn of the influ. ence which makes that bank formidable. The states would be strengthened by having in their hands the means of furnishing the local paper currency through their own banks; while the bank of the United States, though issuing
no paper, would check the issues of the state banks, by taking their notes in deposite, and for exchange only, so long as they continue to be re
deemed with specie. In times of public emergency, the capacities of such an institution might be enlarged by legislative provisions.
These suggestions are made, not so much as a recommendation, as with a view of calling the attention of Congress to the possible modifications of a system which cannot continue to exist in its present form without occasional collisions with the local authorities, and perpetual apprehensions and discontent on the part of the states and the people.
In conclusion, fellow citizens, allow me to invoke in behalf of your de liberations, that spirit of reconciliation and disinterestedness which is the gift of patriotism. Under an overruling and merciful Providence, the agency of this spirit has thus far been signalized in the prosperity and glory of our beloved country. May its influence be eternal.
THIRD ANNUAL MESSAGE.
DECEMBER 6, 1831.
The representation of the people has been renewed for the twenty-second time since the constitution they formed has been in force. For near half a century, the chief magistrates who have been successively chosen have made their annual communications of the state of the nation to its repre sentatives. Generally, these communications have been of the most gratifying nature, testifying an advance in all the improvements of social, and all the securities of political life. But, frequently and justly as you have been called on to be grateful for the bounties of Providence, at few periods have they been more abundantly or extensively bestowed, than at the present; rarely, if ever, have we had greater reason to congratulate each other on the continued and increasing prosperity of our beloved country.
Agriculture, the first and most important occupation of man, has compen sated the labors of the husbandman with plentiful crops of all the varied products of our extensive country. Manufactures have been established in which the funds of the capitalist find a profitable investment, and which give employment and subsistence to a numerous and increasing body of industrious and dexterous mechanics. The laborer is rewarded by high wa. ges in the construction of works of internal improvement, which are extending with unprecedented rapidity. Science is steadily penetrating the recesses of nature, and disclosing her secrets, while the ingenuity of free minds is subjecting the elements to the power of man, and making each new conquest auxiliary to his comfort. By our mails, whose speed is regularly increased and whose routes are every year extended, the communication of public intelligence and private business is rendered frequent and sale
; the intercourse between distant cities, which it formerly required weeks to accomplish, is now effected in a few days; and in the construction of railroads, and the application of steam power, we have a reasonable prospect that the extreme parts of our country will be so much approximated, and those most isolated by the obstacles of nature rendered so accessible, remove an apprehension sometimes entertained, that the great extent of the Union would endanger its permanent existence.
If, from the satisfactory view of our agriculture, manufactures, and inter nal improvements, we turn to the state of our navigation and trade with
foreign nations and between the states, we shall scarcely find less cause for gratulation. A beneficent Providence has provided for their exercise and encouragement an extensive coast, indented by capacious bays, noble rivers, inland seas; with a country productive of every material for ship-building, and every commodity for gainful commerce, and filled with a population, active, intelligent, well-informed, and fearless of danger. These advantages are not neglected; and an impulse has lately been given to commercial enterprise, which fills our ship-yards with new constructions, encourages all the arts and branches of industry connected with them, crowds the wharves of our cities with vessels, and covers the most distant seas with our canvas.
Let us be grateful for these blessings to the beneficent Being who has conferred them, and who suffers us to indulge a reasonable hope of their continuance and extension, while we neglect not the means by which they may be preserved. If we may dare to judge of His future designs by the manner in which his past favors have been bestowed, he has made our national prosperity to depend on the preservation of our liberties - our national force on our federal Union — and our individual happiness on the main. tenance of our state rights and wise institutions. If we are prosperous at home, and respected abroad, it is because we are free, united, industrious, and obedient to the laws. While we continue so, we shall, by the blessing of Heaven, go on in the happy career we have begun, and which has brought us, in the short period of our political existence, from a population of three to thirteen millions — from thirteen separate colonies to twenty. four United States — from weakness to strength from a rank scarcely marked in the scale of nations to a high place in their respect.
This last advantage is one that has resulted, in a great degree, from the principles which have guided our intercourse with foreign powers, since we have assumed an equal station among theme and hence the annual account which the executive renders to the country of the manner in which that branch of his duties has been fulfilled, proves instructive and salutary.
The pacific and wise policy of our government kept us in a state of neutrality during the wars that have, at different periods since our political existence, been carried on by other powers; but this policy, while it gave activity and extent to our commerce, exposed it in the same proportion to injuries from the belligerent nations. Hence have arisen claims of indemnity for those injuries. England, France, Spain, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Naples, and lately Portugal, had all, in a greater or less degree, infringed our neutral rights. Demands for reparation were made upon all. They have had in all, and continue to have, in some cases, a leading influence on the nature of our relations with the powers on whom they were made.
of the claims upon England, it is unnecessary to speak, farther than to say, that the state of things to which their prosecution and denial gave rise has been succeeded by arrangements productive of mutual good feeling and amicable relations between the two countries, which it is hoped will not be interrupted. One of these arrangements is that relating to the colonial trade, which was communicated to Congress at the last session; and although the short period during which it has been in force will not enable me to form an accurate judgment of its operation, there is every reason to believe that it will prove highly beneficial. The trade thereby authorized has employed, to the 30th September last, upwards of thirty thousand tons of American, and fifteen thousand tons of foreign shipping in the outward voyages; and in the inward, nearly an equal amount of American, and
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**'. *% und * o ...in/ came into office. But I found arrangement Ao., which I had no control. The commissioners onder the provisions of the treaty of Ghent having * ... is: convention was made with Great Britain by my
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time orbed in the fifth article of the treaty of Ghent, shall be cen" o join rovided, to some friendly sovereign or state, who shall m: o ...signe and make a decision upon such points of differ; st *oft, sing of the Netherlands having, by the late president and o: o: jesty, been designated as such friendly sovereign, it became jobs"...rry, with good faith, the agreement so made into full effect
go do.; scăused all the measures to be taken which were necessary to follo...sition of our case to the sovereign arbiter; and nominated as , sillo senipotentiary to his court, a distinguished citizen of the state most minis” ". the question, and who had been one of the agents previously intereo for settling the controversy. On the tenth day of January las, emp joy, the king of the Netherlands, delivered to the plenipotentiaries Jhis *śl States and of Great Britain, his written opinion on the case 2. to him. The papers in relation to the subject will be communi o by a special message, to the proper branch of the government, with . perfect confidence that its wisdom will adopt such measures as will t oute an amicable settlement of the controversy, without infringing any jitutional right of the states immediately interested. It affords me satisfaction to inform you that suggestions made by my direction to the chargé d'affaires of his Britannic majesty to this government, have had their desired effect in producing the release of certain American citizens, who were imprisoned for setting up the authority of the state of Maine at a place in the disputed territory under the actual jurisdiction of his Britannic majesty. From this, and the assurances I have received of the desire of the local authorities to avoid any cause of collision, I have th: best hopes that a good understanding will be kept up until it is confirmed by the final disposition of the subject. The amicable relations which now subsist between the United States and Great Britain, the increasing intercourse between their citizens, and the rapid obliteration of unfriendly prejudices to which former events very naturally gave rise—concurred to present this as a fit period for renewing °or endeavors to provide against the recurrence of causes of irritation
* *t of war between Great Britain and any other power, 'anger our peace. Animated by the sincerest desire to of things, and peacefully to secure, under all possible o * he rights and honor of the country, I have given such * . , the minister lately sent to the court of London, as will evince and if met by a correspondent disposition, which we cannot ill put an end to the causes of collision which, without advantage der, tend to estrange from each other two nations who have every alve to preserve not only peace, but an intercourse of the most amicable nature. In my message at the opening of the last session of Congress, I expressed a confident hope that the justice of our claims upon France, urged as they were, with perseverance and signal ability by our minister there, would finally be acknowledged. This hope has been realized. A treaty has been signed which will immediately be laid before the Senate for its approbation; and which, containing stipulations that require legislative acts, must have the concurrence of both houses before it can be carried into effect. By it, the French government engaged to pay a sum, which, if not quite equal to that which may be found due to our citizens, will yet, it is believed, under all circumstances, be deemed satisfactory by those interested. The offer of a gross sum instead of the satisfaction of each individual claim, was accepted, because the only alternatives were a rigorous exaction of the whole amount stated to be due on each claim, which might in some instances, be exaggerated by design, in others overrated through error, and which, therefore, it would have been both ungracious and unjust to have insisted on; or a settlement by a mixed commission, to which the French negotiators were very averse, and which experience in other cases had shown to be dilatory and often wholly inadequate to the end. A comparatively small sum is stipulated on our part, to go to the extinction of all claims by French citizens on our government; and a reduction of duties on our cotton, and their wines, has been agreed on, as a consideration for the renunciation of an important claim for commercial privileges, under the construction they gave to the treaty for the cession of Louisiana. Should this treaty receive the proper sanction, a source of irritation will be stopped, that has, for so many years, in some degree alienated from each other, two nations who, from interest as well as the remembrance of early associations, ought to cherish the most friendly relations; an encouragement will be given for perseverance in the demands of justice, by this new roof that if steadily pursued, they will be listened to; and admonition will offered to those powers, if any, which may be inclined to evade them, that they will never be abandoned. Above all, a just confidence will be inspired in our fellow citizens, that their government will exert all the powers with which they have invested it, in support of their just claims upon foreign nations; at the same time that the frank acknowledgment and provision for the payment of those which are addressed to our equity, although unsupported by legal proof, affords a practical illustration of our submission to the divine rule of doing to others what we desire they should do unto us. Sweden and Denmark, having made compensation for the irregularities committed by their vessels, or in their ports, to the perfect satisfaction of the parties concerned, and having renewed the treaties of commerce entered into with them, our political and commercial relations with those powers continue to be on the most friendly footing.