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Secretary of the Treasury, relating to the progress made in surveying the several tracts of military bounty lands appropriated by Congress for the late army of the United States, and the time at which such survey will probably be completed.
DECEMBER 22, 1817. To the House of Representatives:
In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the uth of this month, requesting to be informed of the present strength of the Army of the United States, its distribution among the several military posts which it is designed to protect, and its competency to preserve and defend the fortifications amongst which it is distributed, and to aid in constructing such other military works, if any, as it may be deemed proper to erect for the more effectual security of the United States and of the Territories thereof, I now transmit a report from the Secretary of War which contains the information desired.
DECEMBER 29, 1817. To the Senate of the United States:
In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 16th of this month, requesting information touching the execution of so much of the first article of the treaty of Ghent as relates to the restitution of slaves, which has not heretofore been communicated, I now transmit a report of the Secretary of State on that subject.
DECEMBER 29, 1817. To the House of Representatives of the United States:
In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 12th of this month, requesting to be informed whether any, and which, of the Representatives in a list thereto annexed have held offices since the 4th of March last, designating the offices, the times of appointment and acceptance, and whether they were at that time so held or when they had been resigned, I now transmit a report from the Secretary of State which contains the information desired.
WASHINGTON, January 12, 1818. To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
The claim of the representatives of the late Caron de Beaumarchais having been recommended to the favorable consideration of the Legislature by my predecessor in his inessage to Congress of the 31st of January last, and concurring in the sentiments therein expressed, I now transmit copies of a new representation relative to it received by the Secretary of State from the minister of France, and of a correspondence on the subject between the minister of the United States at Paris and the Duke of Richelieu, inclosed with that representation.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States.
I have the satisfaction to inform Congress that the establishment at Amelia Island has been suppressed, and without the effusion of blood. The papers which explain this transaction I now lay before Congress.
By the suppression of this establishment and of that at Galveztown, which will soon follow, if it has not already ceased to exist, there is good cause to believe that the consummation of a project fraught with much injury to the United States has been prevented.
When we consider the persons engaged in it, being adventurers from different countries, with very few, if any, of the native inhabitants of the Spanish colonies; the territory on which the establishments were madeone on a portion of that claimed by the United States westward of the Mississippi, the other on a part of East Florida, a Province in negotiation between the United States and Spain; the claim of their leader as announced by his proclamation on taking possession of Amelia Island, comprising the whole of both the Floridas, without excepting that part of West Florida which is incorporated into the State of Louisiana; their conduct while in the possession of the island making it instrumental to every species of contraband, and, in regard to slaves, of the most odious and dangerous character, it may fairly be concluded that if the enterprise had succeeded on the scale on which it was formed much annoyance and injury would have resulted from it to the United States.
Other circumstances were thought to be no less deserving of attention. The institution of a government by foreign adventurers in the island, distinct from the colonial governments of Buenos Ayres, Venezuela, or Mexico, pretending to sovereignty and exercising its liighest offices, particularly in granting commissions to privateers, were acts which could not fail to draw after them the most serious consequences. It was the duty of the Executive either to extend to this establishment all the advantages of that neutrality which the United States had proclaimed, and have observed in favor of the colonies of Spain who, by the strength of their own population and resources, had declared their independence and were affording strong proof of their ability to maintain it, or of making the discrimination which circumstances required.
Had the first course been pursued, we should not only have sanctioned all the unlawful claims and practices of this pretended Government in regard to the United States, but have countenanced a system of privateering in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere the ill effects of which might, and probably would, have been deeply and very extensively felt.
The path of duty was plain from the commencement, but it was painful to enter upon it while the obligation could be resisted. The law of 1811, lately published, and which it is therefore proper now to mention, was considered applicable to the case from the moment that the proclamation of the chief of the enterprise was seen, and its obligation was daily increased by other considerations of high importance already mentioned, which were deemed sufficiently strong in themselves to dictate the course which has been pursued.
Early intimation having been received of the dangerous purposes of these adventurers, timely precautions were taken by the establishment of a force near the St. Marys to prevent their effect, or it is probable that it would have been more sensibly felt.
To such establishments, made so near to our settlements in the expectation of deriving aid from them, it is particularly gratifying to find that very little encouragement was given. The example so conspicuously displayed by our fellow-citizens that their sympathies can not be perverted to improper purposes, but that a love of country, the influence of moral principles, and a respect for the laws are predominant with them, is a sure pledge that all the very flattering anticipations which have been formed of the success of our institutions will be realized. This example has proved that if our relations with foreign powers are to be changed it must be done by the constituted authorities, who alone, acting on a high responsibility, are competent to the purpose, and until such change is thus made that our fellow-citizens will respect the existing relations by a faithful adherence to the laws which secure them.
Believing that this enterprise, though undertaken by persons some of whom may have held commissions from some of the colonies, was unauthorized by and unknown to the colonial governments, full confidence is entertained that it will be disclaimed by them, and that effectual measures will be taken to prevent the abuse of their authority in all cases to the injury of the United States.
For these injuries, especially those proceeding from Amelia Island, Spain would be responsible if it was not manifest that, though committed in the latter instance through her territory, she was utterly unable to prevent them. Her territory, however, ought not to be made instrumental, through her inability to defend it, to purposes so injurious to the United States. To a country over which she fails to maintain her authority, and which she permits to be converted to the annoyance of her neighbors, her jurisdiction for the time necessarily ceases to exist. The territory of Spain will nevertheless be respected so far as it may be done consistently with the essential interests and safety of the United States. In expelling these adventurers from these posts it was not intended to make any conquest from Spain or to injure in any degree the cause of the colonies. Care will be taken that 110 part of the territory contemplated by the law of 1811 shall be occupied by a foreign government of any kind, or that injuries of the nature of those complained of shall be repeated; but this, it is expected, will be provided for with every other interest in a spirit of amity in the negotiation now depending with the Government of Spain.
JAMES MONROE. JANUARY 13, 1818.
WASHINGTON, January 23, 1878. To the House of Representatives of the United States:
In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 9th of December last, requesting information of what roads have been made or are in progress under the authority of the Executive of the United States, the States and Territories through which they pass or are intended to pass, the periods when they were ordered to be made, and how far they have been executed, I now communicate a report from the Secretary of the Treasury, and likewise a report from the Secretary of War, containing the information which is desired.
WASHINGTON, January 28, 1818. To the Senate of the United States:
In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 22d of this month, requesting to be informed “in what manner the troops in the service of the United States now operating against the Seminole tribe of Indians have been subsisted, whether by contract or otherwise, and whether they have been furnished regularly with rations," I now transmit a report from the Secretary of War containing the information required.
WASHINGTON, January 29, 1818. To the House of Representatives of the United States:
In compliance with a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 23d of December last, requesting information relative to the imprisonment and detention in confinement of Richard W. Meade, a citizen of the United States, I now transmit to the House a report from the Secretary of State containing the information required.
To the Senate of the United States:
In compliance with a resolution of the Senate of the 8th of last month, requesting me to cause to be laid before it the proceedings which may have been had under an act entitled "An act for the gradual increase of the Navy of the United States,” specifying the number of ships put on the stocks and of what class; the quantity of materials procured for shipbuilding, and also the sums of money which may have been paid out of the fund created by said act, and for what objects; and likewise the contracts which may have been entered into in execution of the act aforesaid on which moneys may not yet have been advanced, I now transmit a report of the Secretary of the Navy, accompanied by a report from the Board of Commissioners of the Navy, with documents which contain the information desired.
JAMES MONROE. FEBRUARY 2, 1818
WASHINGTON, February 6, 1818. To the House of Representatives of the United States:
I transmit to the House of Representatives a report of the Secretary of State, in compliance with the resolution of said House requesting information respecting the ratification of the thirteenth article of the amendments to the Constitution of the United States.
WASHINGTON, February 10, 1818. To the Senate and Ilouse of Representatives of the United States:
As the house appropriated for the President of the United States will be finished this year, it is thought to merit the attention of the Congress in what manner it should be furnished and what measures ought to be adopted for the safe-keeping of the furniture in future. All the public furniture provided before 1814 having been destroyed with the public buildings in that year, and little afterwards procured, owing to the inadequacy of the appropriation, it has become necessary to provide almost every article requisite for such an establishment, whence the sum to be expended will be much greater than at any former period. The furniture in its kind and extent is thought to be an object not less deserving attention than the building for which it is intended. Both being national objects, each seems to have an equal claim to legislative sanction. The disbursement of the public money, too, ought, it is presumed, to be in like manner provided for by law. The person who may happen to be placed by the suffrage of his fellow-citizens in the high trust, having no personal interest in these concerns, should be exempted from undue responsibility respecting them.
For a building so extensive, intended for a purpose exclusively national, in which in the furniture provided for it a mingled regard is due to the simplicity and purity of our institutions and to the character of the people who are represented in it, the sum already appropriated has proved altogether inadequate. The present is therefore a proper time for Con