« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
frontiers is peculiarly important. With a strong barrier, consisting of our own people, thus planted on the Lakes, the Mississippi, and the Mobile, with the protection to be derived from the regular force, Indian hostilities, if they do not altogether cease, will henceforth lose their terror. Fortifications in those quarters to any extent will not be necessary, and the expense attending them may be saved. A people accustomed to the use of firearms only, as the Indian tribes are, will shun even moderate works which are defended by cannon. Great fortifications will therefore be requisite only in future along the coast and at some points in the interior connected with it. On these will the safety of our towns and the commerce of our great rivers, from the Bay of Fundy to the Mississippi, depend. On these, therefore, should the utmost attention, skill, and labor be bestowed.
A considerable and rapid augmentation in the value of all the public lands, proceeding from these and other obvious causes, may henceforward be expected. The difficulties attending early emigrations will be dissipated even in the most remote parts. Several new States have been admitted into our Union to the west and south, and Territorial governments, happily organized, established over every other portion in which there is vacant land for sale. In terminating Indian hostilities, as must soon be done, in a formidable shape at least, the emigration, which has heretofore been great, will probably increase, and the demand for land and the augmentation in its value be in like proportion. The great increase of our population throughout the Union will alone produce an important effect, and in no quarter will it be so sensibly felt as in those in contemplation. The public lands are a public stock, which ought to be disposed of to the best advantage for the nation. The nation should therefore derive the profit proceeding from the continual rise in their value. Every encouragement should be given to the emigrants consistent with a fair competition between them, but that competition should operate in the first sale to the advantage of the nation rather than of individuals. Great capitalists will derive all the benefit incident to their superior wealth under any mode of sale which may be adopted. But if, looking forward to the rise in the value of the public lands, they should have the opportunity of amassing at a low price vast bodies in their hands, the profit will accrue to them and not to the public. They would also have the power in that degree to control the emigration and settlement in such a manner as their opinion of their respective interests might dictate. I submit this subject to the consideration of Congress, that such further provision may be made in the sale of the public lands, with a view to the public interest, should any be deemed expedient, as in their judgment may be best adapted to the object.
When we consider the vast extent of territory within the United States, the great amount and value of its productions, the connection of its parts, and other circumstances on which their prosperity and happiness depend, M P-VOL II-2
we can not fail to entertain a high sense of the advantage to be derived from the facility which may be afforded in the intercourse between them by means of good roads and canals. Never did a country of such vast extent offer equal inducements to improvements of this kind, nor ever were consequences of such magnitude involved in them. As this subject was acted on by Congress at the last session, and there may be a disposition to revive it at the present, I have brought it into view for the purpose of communicating my sentiments on a very important circumstance connected with it with that freedom and candor which a regard for the public interest and a proper respect for Congress require. A difference of opinion has existed from the first formation of our Constitution to the present time among our most enlightened and virtuous citizens respecting the right of Congress to establish such a system of improvement. Taking into view the trust with which I am now honored, it would be improper after what has passed that this discussion should be revived with an uncertainty of my opinion respecting the right. Disregarding early impressions, I have bestowed on the subject all the deliberation which its great importance and a just sense of my duty required, and the result is a settled conviction in my mind that Congress do not possess the right. It is not contained in any of the specified powers granted to Congress, nor can I consider it incidental to or a necessary means, viewed on the most liberal scale, for carrying into effect any of the powers which are specifically granted. In communicating this result I can not resist the obligation which I feel to suggest to Congress the propriety of recommending to the States the adoption of an amendment to the Constitution which shall give to Congress the right in question. In cases of doubtful construction, especially of such vital interest, it comports with the nature and origin of our institutions, and will contribute much to preserve them, to apply to our constituents for an explicit grant of the power. We may confidently rely that if it appears to their satisfaction that the power is necessary, it will always be granted.
In this case I am happy to observe that experience has afforded the most ample proof of its utility, and that the benign spirit of conciliation and harmony which now manifests itself throughout our Union promises to such a recommendation the most prompt and favorable result. I think proper to suggest also, in case this measure is adopted, that it be recommended to the States to include in the amendment sought a right in Congress to institute likewis? seminaries of learning, for the all-important purpose of diffusing knowledge among our fellow-citizens throughout the United States.
Our manufactories will require the continued attention of Congress. The capital employed in them is considerable, and the knowledge acquired in the machinery and fabric of all the most useful manufactures is of great value. Their preservation, which depends on due encouragement is con nected with the high interests of the nation.
Although the progress of the public buildings has been as favorable as circumstances have permitted, it is to be regretted that the Capitol is not yet in a state to receive you. There is good cause to presume that the two wings, the only parts as yet commenced, will be prepared for that purpose at the next session. The time seems now to have arrived when this subject may be deemed worthy the attention of Congress on a scale adequate to national purposes. The completion of the middle building will be necessary to the convenient accommodation of Congress, of the committees, and various offices belonging to it. It is evident that the other public buildings are altogether insufficient for the accommodation of the several Executive Departments, some of whom are much crowded and even subjected to the necessity of obtaining it in private buildings at some distance from the head of the Department, and with inconvenience to the management of the public business. Most nations have taken an interest and a pride in the improvement and ornament of their metropolis, and none were more conspicuous in that respect than the ancient republics. The policy which dictated the establishment of a permanent residence for the National Government and the spirit in which it was.commenced and has been prosecuted show that such improvement was thought worthy the attention of this nation. Its central position, between the northern and southern extremes of our Union, and its approach to the west at the head of a great navigable river which interlocks with the Western waters, prove the wisdom of the councils which established it.
Nothing appears to be more reasonable and proper than that convenient accommodation should be provided on a well-digested plan for the heads of the several Departments and for the Attorney-General, and it is believed that the public ground in the city applied to these objects will be found amply sufficient. I submit this subject to the consideration of Congress, that such further provision may be made in it as to them may seem proper.
In contemplating the happy situation of the United States, our attention is drawn with peculiar interest to the surviving officers and soldiers of our Revolutionary army, who so eminently contributed by their services to lay its foundation. Most of those very meritorious citizens have paid the debt of nature and gone to repose. It is believed that among the survivors there are some not provided for by existing laws, who are reduced to indigence and even to real distress. These men have a claim on the gratitude of their country, and it will do honor to their country to provide for them. The lapse of a few years more and the opportunity will be forever lost; indeed, so long already has been the interval that the number to be benefited by any provision which may be made will not be great.
It appearing in a satisfactory manner that the revenue arising from imposts and tonnage and from the sale of the public lands will be fully adequate to the support of the civil Government, of the present military
and naval establishments, including the annual augmentation of the latter to the extent provided for, to the payment of the interest of the public debt, and to the extinguishment of it at the times authorized, without the aid of the internal taxes, I consider it my duty to recommend to Congress their repeal. To impose taxes when the public exigencies require them is an obligation of the most sacred character, especially with a free people. The faithful fulfillment of it is among the highest proofs of their virtue and capacity for self-government. To dispense with taxes when it may be done with perfect safety is equally the duty of their representatives. In this instance we have the satisfaction to know that they were imposed when the demand was imperious, and have been sustained with exemplary fidelity. I have to add that however gratifying it may be to me regarding the prosperous and happy condition of our country to recommend the repeal of these taxes at this time, I shall nevertheless be attentive to events, and, should any future emergency occur, be not less prompt to suggest such measures and burdens as may then be requisite and proper.
DECEMBER 2, 1817.
To the Senate of the United States:
I submit to the Senate, for their consideration and advice, the following treaties entered into with several of the Indian tribes, to wit:
A treaty of peace and friendship made and concluded by William Clark, Ninian Edwards, and Auguste Choteau, commissioners on the part of the United States of America, and the chiefs and warriors of the Menomene tribe or nation of Indians, on the 30th of March, 1817, at St. Louis.
A treaty of peace and friendship made and concluded on the 4th June, 1817, at St. Louis, by William Clark, Ninian Edwards, and Auguste Choteau, commissioners on the part of the United States of America, and the chiefs and warriors of the Ottoes tribe of Indians.
A treaty of peace and friendship made and concluded on the 5th June, 1817, at St. Louis, by William Clark, Ninian Edwards, and Auguste Choteau, commissioners on the part of the United States of America, and the chiefs and warriors of the Poncarar tribe of Indians.
A treaty concluded at the Cherokee Agency on the 8th of July, 1817, between Major-General Andrew Jackson, Joseph McMinn, governor of the State of Tennessee, and General David Meriwether, commissioners of the United States of America, of the one part, and the chiefs, headmen, and warriors of the Cherokee Nation east of the Mississippi River
and the chiefs, headmen, and warriors of the Cherokees on the Arkansas River, and their deputies, John D. Chisholm and James Rogers.
A treaty concluded on the 29th day of September, 1817, at the foot of the Rapids of the Miami of Lake Erie, between Lewis Cass and Duncan McArthur, commissioners of the United States, and the sachems, chiefs, and warriors of the Wyandot, Seneca, Delaware, Shawnese, Potawatamies, Ottawas, and Chippewa tribes of Indians.
The Wyandots and other tribes parties to the treaty lately concluded with them have, by a deputation to this city, requested permission to retain possession of such lands as they actually cultivate and reside on, for the ensuing year. They have also expressed a desire that the reservations made in their favor should be enlarged, representing that they had entered into the treaty in full confidence that that would be done, preferring a reliance on the justice of the United States for such extension rather than that the treaty should fail.
The Wyandots claim an extension of their reservation to 16 miles square, and the other tribes in a proportional degree. Sufficient information is not now in the possession of the Executive to enable it to decide how far it may be proper to comply with the wishes of these tribes in the extent desired. The necessary information may be obtained in the course of the next year, and if they are permitted to remain in the possession of the lands they cultivate during that time such further extension of their reservations may be made by law at the next session as justice and a liberal policy toward these people may require. It is submitted to the consideration of the Senate whether it may not be proper to annex to their advice and consent for the ratification of the treaty a declaration providing for the above objects,
DECEMBER II, 1817.
WASHINGTON, December 15, 1817.
To the House of Representatives of the United States:
In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 8th of this month, I transmit, for the information of the House, a report from the Secretary of State, with the documents referred to in it, containing all the information in the possession of the Executive which it is proper to disclose, relative to certain persons who lately took possession of Amelia Island and Galvezton,
DECEMBER 18, 1817.
To the Senate of the United States:
In compliance with the resolution of the Senate of the 11th of this month, I transmit, for the information of the Senate, a report from the