Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

more encouraged in all my endeavours for the public weal; and particularly in those, which may be required on my part for executing the salutary measures I anticipate from your present deliberations.

GEORGE WASHINGTON.

SPEECH
TO BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS,

NOVEMBER 6тн, 1792.

FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE

AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, It is some abatement of the satisfaction, with which I meet you on the present occasion, that, in felicitating you on a continuance of the national prosperity generally, I am not able to add to it information, that the Indian hostilities, which have for some time past distressed our northwestern frontier, have terminated. You will

, I am persuaded, learn, with no less concern than I communicate it, that reiterated endeavours towards effecting a pacification have hitherto issued only in new and outrageous proofs of persevering hostility on the part of the tribes with whom we are in contest. An earnest desire to procure tranquillity to the frontiers, to stop the further effusion of blood, to arrest the progress of expense, to forward the prevalent wish of the nation for peace, has led to strenuous efforts through various channels to accomplish these desirable purposes ; in making which efforts I consulted less my own anticipations of the event, or the scruples which some considerations were calculated to inspire, than the wish to find the object attainable, or, if not attainable, to ascertain unequivocally, that such is the case.

[ocr errors]

A detail of the measures which have been pursued, and of their consequences, which will be laid before you, while it will confirm to you the want of success thus far, will, I trust, evince that means, as proper and as efficacious as could have been devised, have been employed. The issue of some of them, indeed, is still depending; but a favorable one, though not to be despaired of, is not promised by any thing that has yet happened.

In the course of the attempts which have been made, some valuable citizens have fallen victims to their zeal for the public service. A sanction commonly respected, even among savages, has been found, in this instance, insufficient to protect from massacre the emissaries of peace; it will, I presume, be duly considered, whether the occasion does not call for an exercise of liberality towards the families of the deceased.

It must add to your concern to be informed, that, besides the continuation of hostile appearances among the tribes north of the Ohio, some threatening symptoms have of late been revived among some of those south of it.

A part of the Cherokees, known by the name of Chickamagas, inhabiting five villages on the Tennessee River, have long been in the practice of committing depredations on the neighbouring settlements.

It was hoped, that the treaty of Holston, made with the Cherokee nation in July, 1791, would have prevented a repetition of such depredations; but the event has not answered this hope. The Chickamagas, aided by some banditti of another tribe in their vicinity, have recently perpetrated wanton and unprovoked hostilities upon the citizens of the United States in that quarter. The information which has been received on this subject will be laid before you. Hitherto, defen

sive precautions only have been strictly enjoined and observed.

It is not understood that any breach of treaty, or aggression whatsoever, on the part of the United States, or their citizens, is even alleged as a pretext for the spirit of hostility in this quarter.

I have reason to believe, that every practicable exertion has been made (pursuant to the provision by law for that purpose) to be prepared for the alternative of a prosecution of the war, in the event of a failure of pacific overtures. A large proportion of the troops authorized to be raised have been recruited, though the number is still incomplete; and pains have been taken to discipline and put them in condition for the particular kind of service to be performed. A delay of operations (besides being dictated by the measures which were pursuing towards a pacific termination of the war) has been in itself deemed preferable to immature efforts. A statement, from the proper department, with regard to the number of troops raised, and some other points which have been suggested, will afford more precise information as a guide to the legislative consultations; and, among other things, will enable Congress to judge whether some additional stimulus to the recruiting service may not be advisable.

In looking forward to the future expense of the operations, which may be found inevitable, I derive consolation from the information I receive, that the product of the revenues for the present year is likely to supersede the necessity of additional burthens on the community for the service of the ensuing year. This, however, will be better ascertained in the course of the session ; and it is proper to add, that the information alluded to proceeds upon the supposition of no material extension of the spirit of hostility.

I cannot dismiss the subject of Indian affairs, without again recommending to your consideration the expediency of more adequate provision for giving energy to the laws throughout our interior frontier, and for restraining the commission of outrages upon the Indians ; without which all pacific plans must prove nugatory. To enable, by competent rewards, the employment of qualified and trusty persons to reside among them as agents, would also contribute to the preservation of peace and good neighbourhood. If, in addition to these expedients, an eligible plan could be devised for promoting civilization among the friendly tribes, and for carrying on trade with them upon a scale equal to their wants, and under regulations calculated to protect them from imposition and extortion, its influence in cementing their interests with ours could not but be considerable.

The prosperous state of our revenue has been intimated. This would be still more the case, were it not for the impediments, which in some places continue to embarrass the collection of the duties on spirits distilled within the United States. These impediments have lessened, and are lessening, in local extent; and, as applied to the community at large, the contentment with the law appears to be progressive.

But, symptoms of increased opposition having lately manifested themselves in certain quarters, I judged a special interposition on my part proper and advisable; and under this impression have issued a proclamation, warning against all unlawful combinations and proceedings having for their object, or tending, to obstruct the operation of the law in question, and announcing that all lawful ways and means would be strictly put in execution for bringing to justice the infractors thereof, and securing obedience thereto.

Measures have also been taken for the prosecution of offenders. And Congress may be assured, that nothing within constitutional and legal limits, which may depend on me, shall be wanting to assert and maintain the just authority of the laws. In fulfilling this trust, I shall count entirely upon the full coöperation of the other departments of government, and upon the zealous support of all good citizens.

I cannot forbear to bring again into the view of the legislature the subject of a revision of the judiciary system. A representation from the judges of the Supreme Court, which will be laid before you, points out some of the inconveniences that are experienced. In the course of the execution of the laws, considerations rise out of the 'structure of that system, which in some measure tend to relax their efficacy. As connected with this subject, provisions to facilitate the taking of bail upon processes out of the courts of the United States, and supplementary definition of offences against the constitution and laws of the Union, and of the punishment for such offences, will, it is presumed, be found worthy of particular attention.

Observations on the value of peace with other nations are unnecessary. It would be wise, however, by timely provisions, to guard against those acts of our own citizens, which might tend to disturb it, and to put ourselves in a condition to give that satisfaction to foreign nations, which we may sometimes have occasion to require from them. I particularly recommend to your consideration the means of preventing those aggressions by our citizens on the territory of other nations, and other infractions of the law of nations, which, furnishing just subject of complaint, might endanger our peace with them. And, in general, the maintenance of a friendly intercourse with foreign

« AnteriorContinuar »