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of its character, and both would hazard its safety, or expose it to greater evils when war could not be avoided. Besides that war might often not depend upon its own choice. In proportion as the observance of pacific maxims might exempt a nation from the necessity of practising the rules of the military art, ought to be its care in preserving and transmitting, by proper establishments, the knowledge of that art. Whatever argument may be drawn from particular examples, superficially viewed, a thorough examination of the subject will evince, that the art of war is at once comprehensive and complicated; that it demands much previous study; and that the possession of it, in its most improved and perfect state, is always of great moment to the security of a nation. This, therefore, ought to be a serious care of every government; and for this purpose, an academy, where a regular course of instruction is given, is an obvious expedient, which different nations have successfully employed.
The compensations to the officers of the United States, in various instances, and in none more than in respect to the most important stations, appear to call for legislative revision. The consequences of a defective provision are of serious import to the government. If private wealth is to supply the defect of public retribution, it will greatly contract the sphere within which the selection of characters for office is to be made, and will proportionally diminish the probability of a choice of men able as well as upright. Besides that it would be repugnant to the vital principles of our government virtually to exclude, from public trusts, talents and virtue, unless accompanied by wealth.
While, in our external relations, some serious inconveniences and embarrassments have been overcome, and others lessened, it is with much pain and deep regret I mention, that circumstances of a very unwelcome nature have lately occurred. Our trade has suffered, and is suffering, extensive injuries in the West Indies from the cruisers and agents of the French Republic; and communications have been received from its minister here, which indicate the danger of a further disturbance of our commerce by its authority ; and which are, in other respects, far from agreeable.
It has been my constant, sincere, and earnest wish, in conformity with that of our nation, to maintain cordial harmony, and a perfectly friendly understanding with that Republic. This wish remains unabated ; and I shall persevere in the endeavour to fulfil it, to the utmost extent of what shall be consistent with a just and indispensable regard to the rights and honor of our country ; nor will I easily cease to cherish the expectation, that a spirit of justice, candor, and friendship, on the part of the Republic, will eventually in
In pursuing this course, however, I cannot forget what is due to the character of our government and nation ; or to a full and entire confidence in the good sense, patriotism, self-respect, and fortitude of my countrymen.
I reserve for a special message a more particular communication on this interesting subject.
GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, I have directed an estimate of the appropriations necessary for the service of the ensuing year to be submitted from the proper department, with a view of the public receipts and expenditures to the latest period to which an account can be prepared.
It is with satisfaction I am able to inform you, that VOL. XII.
the revenues of the United States continue in a state of progressive improvement.
A reinforcement of the existing provisions for discharging our public debt was mentioned in my address at the opening of the last session. Some preliminary steps were taken towards it, the maturing of which will, no doubt, engage your zealous attention during the present. I will only add, that it will afford me heart-felt satisfaction to concur in such further measures as will ascertain to our country the prospect of a speedy extinguishment of the debt. Posterity may have cause to regret, if, from any motive, intervals of tranquillity are left unimproved for accelerating this valuable end. GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE
AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, My solicitude to see the militia of the United States placed on an efficient establishment has been so often and so ardently expressed, that I shall but barely recall the subject to your view on the present occasion ; at the same time, that I shall submit to your inquiry, whether our harbours are yet susficiently secured.
The situation in which I now stand, for the last time, in the midst of the representatives of the people of the United States, naturally recalls the period when the administration of the present form of government commenced; and I cannot omit the occasion to congratulate you and my country, on the success of the experiment, nor to repeat my fervent supplications to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe and Sovereign Arbiter of Nations, that his providential care may still be extended to the United States; that the virtue and happiness of the people may be preserved ; and that the government, which they have instituted for the protection of their liberties, may be perpetual.
REPLY TO THE ANSWER OF THE SENATE.
It affords me great satisfaction to find in your address a concurrence in sentiment with me on the various topics, which I presented for your information and deliberation; and that the latter will receive from you an attention proportioned to their respective importance.
For the notice you take of my public services, civil and military, and your kind wishes for my personal happiness, I beg you to accept my cordial thanks. Those services, and greater, had I possessed ability to render them, were due to the unanimous calls of my country, and its approbation is my abundant reward.
When contemplating the period of my retirement, I saw virtuous and enlightened men, among whom I relied on the discernment and patriotism of my fellowcitizens to make the proper choice of a successor; men who would require no influential example to insure to the United States “an able, upright, and energetic administration.” To such men I shall cheerfully yield the palm of genius and talents to serve our common country; but, at the same time, I hope I may be indulged in expressing the consoling reflection (which consciousness suggests), and to bear it with me to my grave, that none can serve it with purer intentions than I have done, or with a more disinterested zeal.
REPLY TO THE ANSWER OF THE HOUSE OF
GENTLEMEN, To a citizen, whose views were unambitious, who preferred the shade and tranquillity of private life to the splendor and solicitude of elevated stations, and whom the voice of duty and his country could alone have drawn from his chosen retreat, no reward for his public services can be so grateful as public approbation, accompanied by a consciousness, that to render those services useful to that country has been his single aim; and, when this approbation is expressed by the representatives of a free and enlightened nation, the reward will admit of no addition. Receive, Gentlemen, my sincere and affectionate thanks for this signal testimony, that my services have been acceptable and useful to my country. The strong confidence of my fellow-citizens, while it animated all my actions, insured their zealous coöperation, which rendered those services successful. The virtue and wisdom of my successors, joined with the patriotism and intelligence of the citizens, who compose the other branches of government, I firmly trust will lead them to the adoption of measures, which, by the beneficence of Providence, will give stability to our system of government, add to its success, and secure to ourselves and to posterity that liberty, which is to all of us so dear.
While I acknowledge, with pleasure, the sincere and uniform disposition of the House of Representatives to preserve our neutral relations in violate, and with them deeply regret any degree of interruption of our good understanding with the French Republic, I beg you, Gentlemen, to rest assured, that my endeavours will be earnest and unceasing, by all honorable means, to