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privileges with those who are not. But it is not believed to be the disposition of Congress to open the public lands to occupancy without regular entries and payment of the government price, as such a course must tend to worse evils than the credit system, which it was found necessary to abolish.
It would seem, therefore, to be the part of wisdom and sound policy to remove, as far as practicable, the causes which produce intrusions upon the public lands, and then take efficient steps to prevent them in future. single measure be so effective in removing all plausible grounds for these intrusions as the graduation of price already suggested? A short period of industry and economy in any part of our country would enable the poorest citizen to accumulate the means to buy him a home at the lowest prices, and leave him without apology for settling on lands not his own. If he did not, under such circumstances, he would enlist no sympathy in his favor; and the laws would be readily executed without doing violence to public opinion.
A large portion of our citizens have seated theinselves on the public lands, without authority, since the passage of the last pre-emption law, and now ask the enactment of another, to enable them to retain the lands occupied, upon payment of the minimum government price. They ask that which has been repeatedly granted before. if the future may be judged of by the past, little harm can be done to the interests of the treasury by yielding to their request. Upon a critical examination, it is found that the lands sold at the public sales since the introduction of cash payments in 1820, have produced, on an average, the nett of only six cents an acre more than the minimum government price. There is no reason to suppose that future sales will be more productive. The government.
therefore, has no adequate pecuniary interest to induce it ! to drive those people from the lands they occupy, for the purpose of selling them to others.
Entertaining these views, I recommend the passage of a pre-emption law for their benefit, in connection with the preparatory steps towards the graduation of the price of the public lands, and farther and more effectual pro. visions to prevent intrusions hereafter. Indulgence to those who have settled on these lands with expectations that past legislation would be made a rule for the future, and at the same time removing the most plausible ground on which intrusions are excused, and adopting more efficient means to prevent them hereafter, appears to me the most judicious disposition which can be made of this difficult subject.
The limitations and restrictions to guard against abuses in the execution of the pre-emption law, will necessarily attract the attention of Congress : but under no circumstances is it considered expedient to authorize floating claims in any shape. They have been heretofore, and doubtless would be hereafter, most prolifie sources of fraud and oppression, and instead of operating to confer the favor of the government on industrious settlers, are often used only to minister to a spirit of cupidity at the expense of the most meritorious of that class.
The accompanying report of the secretary of war will bring to your view the state of the army, and all the va. rious subjects confided to the superintendence of that officer.
The principal part of the army has been concentrated in Florida, with a view and in the expectation of bringe ing the war in that territory to a speedy close. The necessity of stripping the posts on the maritime and inland frontiers, of their entire garrisons, for the purpose of assembling in the field an army of less than four thousand men, would seem to indicate the necessity of increasing our regular forces; and the superior efficiency as well as greatly diminished expense of that description of troops, recommend this measure as one of economy, as well as of expediency. I refer to the report for the reasons which have induced the secretary of war to urge the re-organization and enlargement of the staff of the army, and of the ordnance corps, in which I fully concur.
It is not, however, compatible with the interest of the people to maintain, in time of peace, a regular force adequate to the defence of our extensive frontiers. riods of danger and alarm, we must rely principally upon & well-organized militia; and some general arrangement
that will render this description of force more efficient, has long been a subject of anxious solicitude. It was recommended to the first Congress by General Washington, and has since been frequently brought to your notice, and recently its importance strongly urged by my immediate predecessor.
The provision in the constitution that renders it necessary to adopt a uniform system of organization for the militia throughout the United States, presents an insurmountable obstacle to an efficient arrangement by the classification heretofore proposed, and I invite your attention to the plan which will be submitted by the secretary of war, for the organization of the volunteer corps, and he instruction of militia officers, as more simple and practicable, if not equally advantageous, as a general arrangement of the whole militia of the United States.
A moderate increase of the corps both of military and topographical engineers, has been more than once recommended by my predecessor, and my conviction of the propriety, not to say necessity of the measure, in order to enable them to perform the various and important duties imposed upon them, induces me to repeat the recommendation.
The Military Academy continues to answer all the purposes of its establishment, and not only furnishes welleducated officers of the army, but serves to diffuse throughort the mass of our citizens, individuals possessed of miatary knowledge, and the scientific attainments of civil and military engineering. At present, the cadet is bound, with the consent of his parents or guardians, to remain in service five years from the period of his enlistment, unless sooner discharged, thus exacting only one year's service in the army after his education is completed. This does not appear to me sufficient. Government ought to command for a longer period the services of those who are educated at the public expense; and I recommend that the time of enlistment be extended to seven years, and the terms of the engagement strictly enforced.
The creation of a national foundry for cannon, to be common to the service of the army and navy of the United States, has been heretofore recommended, and ap
pears to be required in order to place our ordnance on an equal footing with that of other countries, and to enable that branch of the service to control the prices of those articles, and graduate the supplies to the wants of the government, as well as to regulate their quality and insure their uniformity.
The same reasons induce me to recommend the erection of a manufactory of gunpowder, to be under the direction of the ordnance office. The establishment of a manufactory of small arms west of the Alleghany moun. tains, upon the plan proposed by the secretary of war, will contribute to extend throughout that country the improvements which exist in establishments of a similar description in the Atlantic states, and tend to a much more economical distribution of the armament required in the western portion of our Union.
The system of removing the Indians west of the Mississippi, commenced by Mr. Jefferson, in 1804, has been steadily persevered in by every succeeding President, and may be considered the settled policy of the country. Unconnected at first with any well-defined system for their improvement, the inducements held cat to the Indians were confined to the greater abundance of game to be found in the west; but when the beneficial effects of their removal were made apparent, a more philanthropic and enlightened policy was adopted, in purchasing their lands east of the Mississippi. Liberal prices were given, and provisions inserted in all the treaties with them for the application of the funds they received in exchange, to such purposes as were best calculated to promote their present welfare, and advance their future civilization. These measures have been attended thus far with the happiest results.
It will been seen, by referring to the report of the commissioner of Indian affairs, that the most sanguine expectations of the friends and promoters of this system have been realized. The Choctaws, Cherokees, and other tribes that first emigrated beyond the Mississippi, have, for the most part, abandoned the hunter state and be. come cultivators of the soil. The improvement of their condition has been rapid, and it is believed that
they are now fitted to enjoy the advantages of a simple form of government, which has been submitted to them and received their sanction; and I cannot too strongly arge this subject upon
the attention of Congress. Stipulations have been made with all the Indian tribes to remove them beyond the Mississippi, cxcept with the band of the Wyandotis, the Six Nations, in New York, the Menomonees, Mandans, and Stockbridges, in Wisconsin, and Miamies, in Indiana. With all but the Menomonees, it is expected that arrangements for their emigration will be completed the present year. The resistance which has been opposed to their removal by some tribes, even after treaties had been made with them 10 that effect, has arisen from various causes, operating differently on each of them.
In most instances they have been instigated to resistance by persons to whom the trade with them and the acquisition of their annuities were important; and in some by the personal influence of interested chiefs. These obstacles must be overcome ; for the government cannot relinquish the execution of this policy with out sacrificing important interests, and abandoning the tribes remaining east of the Mississippi to certain destruction.
The decrease in numbers of the tribes within the limits of the states and territories has been most rapid. If they be removed, they can be protected from those associations and evil practices which exert so pernicious and destructive an influence over their destinies. They can be induced to labor, and to acquire property, and its acquisition will inspire them with a feeling of independence. Their minds can be cultivated, and they can be taught the value of salutary and uniform laws, and be made sensible of the blessings of free government, and capable of enjoying its advantages.
In the possession of property, knowledge, and a good government, free to give what direction they please to their labor, and sharers in the legislation by which their persons and the profits of their industry are to be protected and secured, they will have an ever present conviction of the importance of union, of peace among