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necessary, our thankfulness is due to Providence, for what is far more than a compensation, in the remarkable health which has distinguished the present year.
"Amidst the advantages which have succeeded the peace of Europe, and that of the United States with Great Britain, in a general invigoration of industry among us, and in the extension of our commerce, the value of which is more and more disclosing itself to commercial nations, it is to be regretted that a depression is experienced by particular branches of our manufactures, and by a portion of our navigation. As the first proceeds, in an essential degree, from an excess of imported merchandize, which carries a check in its own tendency, the cause, in its present extent, cannot be of very long duration. The evil will not, however, be viewed by Congress, without a recollection, that manufacturing establishments, if suffered to sink too low, or languish too long, may not revive, after the causes shall have ceased; and that, in the vicissitudes of human affairs, situations may recur, in which a dependence on foreign sources, for indispensable supplies, may be among the most serious embarrass
"The depressed state of our navigation is to be ascribed, in a material degree, to its exclusion from the colonial ports of the nation most extensively connected with us in commerce, and from the indirect operation of that exclusion.
"Previous to the late convention at London, between the United States and Great Britain, the relative state of the navigation laws of the two countries, growing out of the treaty of 1794, had given to the British navigation a material advantage over the American, in the intercourse between the American ports and British ports in Europe. The convention of London equalized the laws of the two countries, relating to those ports; leaving the intercourse between our ports and the ports of the British colonies, subject, as before, to the respective regula tions of the parties. The British Government, enforcing, now, regulations which prohibit a trade between its colonies and the United States, in American vessels, whilst they permit a trade in British vessels, the American navigation loses accordingly; and the loss is augmented by the advantage which is given to the British competition over the American, in the navigation between our ports and British ports in Europe, by the circuitous voyages enjoyed by the one, and not enjoyed by the other.
"The reasonableness of the rule of reciprocity, applied to one branch of the comincrcial intercourse, has been pressed on
our part, as equally applicable to both branches: but it is ascertained, that the British Cabinet declines all negociation on the subject, with a disavowal, however, of any disposition to view, in an unfriendly light, whatever countervailing regulations the United States may oppose to the regulations of which they complain. The wis dom of the Legislature will decide on the course, which, under these circumstances, is prescribed by a joint regard to the amicable relations between the two nations, and to the just interests of the United States.
"I have the satisfaction to state, generally, that we remain in amity with foreign powers.
"An occurrence has, indeed, taken place in the Gulf of Mexico, which, if sanctioned by the Spanish Government, may make an exception as to that Power. According to the report of our naval commander on that station, one of our public armed vessels was attacked by an overpowering force, under a Spanish commander, and the American flag, with the officers and crew, insulted, in a manner calling for prompt reparation. This has been demanded. In the mean time, a frigate and smaller vessels of war have been ordered into that Gulf, for the protection of our commerce. It would be improper to omit, that the Representative of his Catholic Majesty, in the United States, lost no time in giving the strongest assurances, that no hostile order could have emanated from his Government, and that it will be as ready to do, as to expect, whatever the nature of the case, and the friendly relations of the two countries, shall be found to require.
"The posture of our affairs with Algiers, at the present moment, is not known. The Dey, drawing pretexts from circumstances, for which the United States were not answerable, addressed a letter to this Government, declaring the treaty last concluded with him to have been annulled by our violation of it; and presenting, as the alternative, war, or a renewal of the former treaty, which stipulated, among other things, an annual tribute. The answer, with an explicit declaration that the United States preferred war to tribute, required his recognition and observance of the treaty last made, which abolishes tribute and the slavery of our captured citizens. The result of the answer has not been received. Should be renew his warfare on our commerce, we rely on the protection it will find in our naval force, actually in the Mediterranean.
"With the other Barbary States, our affairs have undergone no change.
"The Indian tribes within our limits appear also disposed to remain at peace. From several of them purchases of lands have been
teen made, particularly favourable to the to the establishment of a University within 1 wishes and security of our frontier settle. ments, as well as to the general interests of the nation. In some instances the titles, though not supported by due proof, and clashing those of one tribe with the claims of another, have been extinguished by double purchases: the benevolent policy of the United States preferring the augmented expence to the hazard of doing injustice, or to the inforcement of justice against a feeble and untutored people, by means involving cr threatening an effusion of blood. I am happy to add, that the tranquillity which has been restored among the tribes themselves, as well as between them and our own population, will favour the resumption of the work of civilization, which had made an encouraging progress among some tribes; and that the facility is increasing for extending that divided and individual ownership, which exists now in moveable property only, to the soil itself ;-and of thus establishing, in the culture and improvement cf it, the true foundation for a transit from the habits of the savage to the arts and comforts of social life.
this district, on a scale, and for objects worthy of the American nation, induces me to renew my recommendation of it to the favourable consideration of Congress and I particularly invite again their attention to the expediency of exercising their existing powers, and where necessary, of resorting to the prescribed mode of enlarging them, in order to effectuate a comprehensive system of roads and canals, such as will have the effect of drawing more closely together every part of our country, by promoting intercourse and improvements, and by increasing the share of every part in the.common stock of national prosperity.
"Occurrences having taken place which shew that the statutory provisions for the dispensation of criminal justice are deficient in relation both to places and to persons under the exclusive cognizance of the national authority, an amendment of the law, embracing such cases, will merit the earliest attention of the Legislature. It will be a seasonable occasion, also, for inquiring how far legislative interposition may be requisite in providing penalties for offences designa, ted in the Constitution or in the Statutes, and to which either no penalties are annexed, or none with sufficient certainty. And I submit to the wisdom of Congress, whe ther a more enlarged revisal of the criminal code be not expedient, for the purpose of mitigating, in certain cases, penalties which were adopted into it antecedent to experi ments and examples which justify and recommend a more lenient policy.
"As a subject of the highest importance to the national welfare, I must again earnestly recommend to the consideration of Congress, a re-organization of the militia, on a plan which will form it into classes, according to the periods of life more or less adapted to military service. An efficient anlitia is authorised and contemplated by the Constitution, and required by the spirit and safety of a free Government. The present organization of our militia is universally regarded as less efficient than it ought to be made; and no organization can be better calculated to give to it its due force, than a classification which will assign the foremost place in the defence of the country, to that portion of its citizens whose activity and animation best enable them to rally to its standard. Besides the consideration that a time of peace is the time when a change can be made with most convenience and equity, it will now be aided by the experience of a recent war, in which the militia bore so in teresting a part.
"Congress will call to mind, that no adequate provision has yet been made for the uniformity of weights and measures, also contemplated by the Constitution. The great utility of a standard, fixed in its nature, and founded on the easy rule of decimal proportion, is sufficiently obvious. It led the Government, at an early stage, to preparatory steps for introducing it; and a completion of the work will be a just title to the public gratitude.
"The importance which I have attached
"The United States having been the first to abolish, within the extent of their authority, the transportation of the natives of Africa into slavery, by prohibiting the introduction of slaves, and by punishing their citizens participating in the traffic, cannot but be gratified at the progress made by concurrent efforts of other nations towards a general suppression of so great an evil, They must feel, at the same time, the greatest solicitude to give the fullest efficacy to their own regulations. With that view, the interposition of Congress appears to be required, by the violations and evasions, which, it is suggested, are chargeable on unworthy citizens who mingle in the slave trade under foreign flags, and with foreign ports, and by collusive importations of slaves into the United States through adjoining ports and territories. I present the subject to Congress, with a full assurance of their disposition to apply all the remedy which can be afforded by an amendment of the law. The regulations which were intended to guard against abuses of a kindred character in the trade between the several states,
states, ought also to be rendered more effectual for their humane object.
"To these recommendations, I add, for the consideration of Congress, the expediency of a re-modification of the judiciary es. tablishment, and of an additional department in the executive branch of the Government.
The first is called for by the accruing business, which necessarily swells the du ties of the Federal Courts, and by the great and widening space, within which justice is to be dispensed by them. The time seems to have arrived, which claims for members of the Supreme Court a relief from itinerary fatigues, incompatible, as well with the age which a portion of them will always have attained, as with the researches and preparations which are due to their stations, and to the juridical reputation of their country. And considerations equally cogent require a more convenient organization of the subor dinate tribunals, which may be accomplished without an objectionable increase of the number or expence of the Judges.
"The extent and variety of executive business, also accumulating with the progress of our country, and its growing population, call for an additional department, to be charged with duties now overburdening other departments, and with such as have not been annexed to any department.
"The course of experience recommends, as another improvement in the executive establishment, that the provision for the sta tion of Attorney-General, whose residence at the seat of Government, official connexions with it, and management of the public business before the Judiciary, preclude an extensive participation in professional emoluments, be made more adequate to his services and his relinquishments; and that, with a view to his reasonable accommodation, and to a proper depositary of his official opinions and proceedings, there be in cluded in the provision the usual appurte nances to a public office.
In directing the legislative attention to the state of the finances, it is a subject of great gratification to find, that, even within the short period which has elapsed since the return of peace, the revenue has far exceeded all the current demands upon the Treasury, and that under any probable diminution of its future annual produce, which the vicissitudes of commerce may occasion, it will afford an ample fund for the effectual and early extinguishment of the public debt. It has been estimated, that, during the year 1816, the actual receipts of the revenue at the Treasury, including the balance at the commencement of the year, and excluding the proceeds of loans and Treasury notes,
will amount to about the sum of forty-seven millions of dollars; that during the same year, the actual payments at the Treasury, including the payment of the arrearages of the War Departinent, as well as the pay. ment of a considerable excess, beyond the annual appropriation, will amount to the sum of about thirty-eight millions of dollars; and that, consequently, at the close of the year, there will be a surplus in the Treasury, of about the sum of nine millions of dollars.
"The operations of the Treasury continue to be obstructed by difficulties arising from the condition of the national currency; but they have, nevertheless, been effectual, to a beneficial extent, in the reduction of the public debt, and the establishment of the public credit. The floating debt of Treasury notes, and temporary loans, will soon be entirely discharged. The aggre gate of the funded debt, composed of the debts incurred during the wars of 1776 and of 1812, has been estimated, with reference to the 1st of January next, at a sum not exceeding one hundred and ten millions of dollars. The ordinary annual expences of the Government, for the maintenance of all its institutions, civil, military, and naval, have been estimated at a sum less than twenty millions of dollars. And the permanent revenue, to be derived from all the existing sources, has been estimated at a sum of about twenty-five millions of dollars.
Upon this general view of the subject, it is obvious, that there is only wanting, for the fiscal prosperity of the Government, the restoration of an uniform medium of exchange. The resources and the faith of the nation, displayed in the system which Congress has established, ensure confidence both at home and abroad. The local accumulations of the revenue have already enabled the Treasury to meet the public engagements in the local currency of most of the states; and it is expected that the same cause will produce the same effect throughout the Union. But, for the interests of the community at large, as well as for the purposes of the Treasury, it is essential that the nation should possess a currency of equal value, credit, and use, wherever it may cir culate. The Constitution has entrusted Congress exclusively with the power of creating and regulating a currency of that description; and the measures which were taken during the last session, in execution of the power, give every promise of success. The Bank of the United States has been organized under auspices the most favourable, and cannot fail to be an important auxiliary to those measures. * For
"For a more enlarged view of the pub lic finances, with a view of the measures pursued by the Treasury Department, previous to the resignation of the late Secretary, I transmit an extract from the last report of that officer. Congress will perceive in it ample proofs of the solid foundation on which the financial prosperity of the nation rests; and will do justice to the distinguish ed ability and successful exertions with which the duties of the department were executed, during a period remarkable for its difficulties and its peculiar perplexities.
"The period of my retiring from the public service being at a little distance, I shall find no occasion more proper than the present for expressing to my fellow citizens my deep sense of the continued confidence and kind support which I have received from them. My grateful recollection of these distinguished marks of their favour" able regard can never cease; and with the consciousness, that if I have not served my country with greater ability, I have served it with a sincere devotion, will accompany me as a source of unfailing gratification.
"Happily I shall carry with me from the public theatre, other sources, which those who love their country most will best appreciate. I shall behold it blessed with tranquillity and prosperity at home, and with peace and respect abroad. I can indulge the proud reflection, that the American people have reached in safety and success their fortieth year as an independent nation; and for nearly an entire generation, they have had experience of their present Constitution, the offspring of their undisturbed deliberation, and of their free choice; that they have found it to bear the trials of adverse as well as prosperous circumstances, to contain, in its combination of the federate, and elective principles, a reconcilement of public strength with individual liberty, of national power for the defence of national rights, with a security against wars of injustice, of ambition, or of vain glory, in the fundamental provision which subjects all questions of war to the will of the nation itself, which is to pay its costs and feel its calamities. Nor is it less a peculiar felicity of this Constitution, so dear to us all, that it is found to be capable, without losing its vital energies, of expanding itself over a spacious territory, with the increase and expansion of the community for whose benefit it was established.
country will exhibit a Government pursuing the public good as its sole object, and regulating its means by the great principles consecrated in its charter, and by those moral principles to which they are so well allied; a Government which watches over the purity of elections, the freedom of speech, and of the press, the trial by jury, and the equal interdict against encroachments and compacts between religion and the State, which maintains inviolably the maxims of public faith, the security of persons and property, and encourages, in every authorised mode, that general diffusion of knowledge which guarantees to public liberty its permanency, and to those who possess the blessing, the true enjoyment of it; a Government which avoids intrusions on the internal repose of other nations, and repels them from its own; which does justice to all nations with a readiness equal to the firmness with which it requires justice from them; and which, whilst it refines its domestic code from every ingredient not congenial with the precepts of an enlightened age, and the sentiments of a virtuous people, seeks, by appeals to reason, and by its liberal examples, to infuse into the law which governs the civilized world a spirit which may diminish the frequency, or circumscribe the calamities of war, and meliorate the social and beneficent relations of peace; a Government, in a word, whose conduct, within and without, may bespeak the most noble of all ambitions, that of promoting peace on earth and good will to man.
"And may I not be allowed to add to this gratifying spectacle, that I shall read in the character of the American people, in their devotion to true liberty, and to the Constitution which is its palladium, sure presages, that the destined career of my
"These contemplations, sweetening the remnant of my days, will animate my prayers for the happiness of my beloved country, and a perpetuity of the institutions under which it is enjoyed.
By the Newfoundland Gazettes we learn that a question of great importance attracts the attention of the inhabitants of that island, and one of much interest to all the colonies of Great Britain. The validity of marriages solemnized by dissenting ministers has been doubted, and reference has been made on the subject to the statute law of England. Two persons, we presume dissenters, signing themselves James Sabine and George Cubut, in a circular, occupying five columns of the Newfoundland paper, contend that the dissenters have a right to marry, and they take a review of all the laws on this subject from an early period. It would appear they are determined to bring the matter to a decision.
At Montreal, on the 9th Nov. a severe shock of an earthquake was felt, and on the 16th another smart shock of about 30 seconds duration.
It seems probable that all the Spanish
colonies in South America will soon be emancipated from the yoke of the mother country; and when it is considered what a crucl, intolerant, and illiberal despotism the Government of Spain has proved to those fine provinces, such a consummation is surely devoutly to be wished.
"St Thomas's, Oct. 22.
"The political and military affairs of the Spanish main have at length reached an important crisis, that seems to portend the total downfal of Spanish power in this quarter. Unaware in what shape these occurrences are wafted over to you, we shall endeavour to give you an outline of what has happened since our last respects, which will enable you to form your own conclu sions.
"After Bolivar's defeat at Ocumare, a Scotchman of the name of Sir G. M'Gregor, who had early entered into the independent service, and married a Caraccas lady, cut his way into the interior of the country, accompanied by a corps of cavalry, commanded by him, and passing in the rear of the capital, he went towards Barcelona, collecting all the men and horses he could on the road. There he formed a junction with the other chiefs who had been assembling at Maturin, and on the 10th day of September, these united forces completely defeated the royalists under Lopez, and Barcelona fell into their power. The King's party having received timely advices of this disaster, had time to evacuate; but this they did not do till after they had put to death all those inhabitants whom they viewed in the light of partizans to their enemies.
"Some days afterwards, practising their old tricks of deception, the royalists caused a report to be circulated, that Barcelona had been retaken by them; and, indeed, such information was studiously conveyed over here; but yesterday a vessel came in direct from Barcelona, which, on the contrary, brings positive accounts, that Generals M'Gregor, Piar, Bermudez, and Marino, with an army of about 3000 men, subsequently attacked the royalist army, composed of a similar number of forces, and commanded by Morales; when, after a most obstinate and long engagement, the latter was routed, with the loss of all his baggage, artillery, and even his musicians. He was driven from the field of battle, which was covered with the dead, and with the greatest difficulty retreated with only 300 men. Bermudez, who gave a bold example to his followers, was wounded.Cumana hitherto had not been taken, but
as it can receive no succours, and the roy alists can make no further stand in this
quarter, it is soon expected to give up. The conquerors are now in full march on Caraccas, and on the road will be joined by body of men, whom the royalists have neSarazas, an independent chief, with a fresh have now nothing that can stop their prover been able to reduce. The Spaniards gress."
By letters from New York of the 25th November, we learn that accounts had been received from Laguira, which stated that the patriots were again in possession of Margaritta, Barcelona, Carupana, and part of Oronoko. Cumana was closely blockaded by them, and being much straitened for provisions, was expected soon to fall into their hands. The royalist General Morales, advancing to the relief of Cumana, was attacked near Barcelona by the patriots, on the 28th October, when a general engage. ment took place. The independents were commanded by Sir Gregor M'Gregor, and the Royalists by Morales. The force on cach side was about 7000 men. M'Gregor succeeded in taking 2500 prisoners, and killing 800 to 900, and got possession of the town. General Morales had escaped into the mountains, leaving behind him his horse, baggage, &c. It was reported that subsequent to this battle, the patriots had repossessed themselves of St Leon de Caraccas, Cumana, Laguira, and Porto Cavallo. But a letter from St Thomas's, November 26, says, "that the independent chiefs had disagreed amongst themselves with regard to the ulterior measures that were to be adopted. M'Gregor, who certainly possesses most talent, wished march straight on the Caraccas, without giving his enemy the time to look round him; the other chiefs, however, were of a different opinion, whence disputes originated among them. M'Gregor withdrew, and has been here for the last seven days. It is thought he has entirely abandoned the cause, at least of this part of Spanish America. He has brought nothing away with him. Piar, another of the chiefs, has marched with part of the troops on Guayana; the rest have remained to follow up the siege of Cumana. These wrong steps, on the part of the independents, have given Morales an opportunity of retiring to the Tul, where he collected the fugitives, &c. and received the reinforcements sent to him from Puerto Rico, as well as those which had evacuated Margarita."
The American papers also contain an account of a victory obtained over the royal ists in the vicinity of Arragua, by Generals Monegas and Zaraza, in which they slew