Page images


ing the permanent annual revenue amount to twenty-six millions of dollars, and leaving an annual excess of revenue after the year 1819, beyond the permanent authorized expenditure, of more than four millions of dollars.

By the last returns to the department of war, the militia force of the several states may be estimated at eight hundred thousand men, infantry, artillery, and cavalry. Great part of this force is armed, and measures are taken to arm the whole. An improvement in the organization and discipline of the militia, is one of the great objects which claim the unremitted attention of Congress.

The regular force amounts nearly to the number required by law, and is stationed along the Atlantic and inland frontiers.

Of the naval force, it has been necessary to maintain strong squadrons in the Mediterranean and in the Gulf of Mexico.

From several of the Indian tribes, inhabiting the country bordering on Lake Erie, purchases have been made of lands, on conditions very favorable to the United States, and, it is presumed, not less so to the tribes themselves. By these purchases, the Indian title, with moderate reservations, has been extinguished to the whole of the land within the state of Ohio, and to a great part of that in Michigan territory, and of the state of Indiana. From the Cherokee tribe a tract has been purchased in the state of Georgia, and an arrangement made, by which, in exchange for lands beyond the Mississippi, a great part, if not the whole of the land belonging to the tribe, eastward of that river, in the states of North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee, and in the Alabama territory, will soon be acquired. By these acquisitions, and others that may reasonably be expected soon to follow, we shall be enabled to extend our settlements from the inhabited parts of the state of Ohio, along Lake Erie, into the Michigan territory, and to connect our settlements by degrees, through the state of Indiana and the Illinois territory, to that of Missouri. A similar and equally advantageous effect will soon be produced to the south, through the whole extent of the states and territory which border on the waters emptying into the Mississippi and the Mobile. In this progress,


which the rights of nature demand, and nothing can prevent, marking a growth rapid and gigantic, it is our duty to make new efforts for the preservation, improvement, and civilization of the native inhabitants. The hunter state can exist only in the vast, uncultivated desert. It yields to the more dense and compact form and greater force of civilized population; and of right it ought to yield, for the earth was given to mankind to support the greatest number of which it is capable, and no tribe or people have a right to withhold from the wants of others more than is necessary for their own support and comfort. It is gratifying to know that the reservations of land made by the treaties with the tribes on Lake Erie, were made with a view to individual ownership among them, and to the cultivation of the soil by all, and that an annual stipend has been pledged to supply their other wants. It will merit the consideration of Congress, whether other provisions, not stipulated by the treaty, ought to be made for these tribes, and for the advancement of the liberal and humane policy of the United States towards all the tribes within our limits, and more particularly for their improvement in the arts of civilized life.

Among the advantages incident to these purchases, and to those which have preceded, the security which may thereby be afforded to our inland frontier 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 fire-arms 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 towns and the commerce of our 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

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, likewise, seminaries of learning, for the all-important purpose of diffusing knowledge among our fellow-citizens throughout the United States.

Our manufactures will require the continued attention of Congress. The capital employed in them is considerable, and the knowledge required in the machinery and fabric of all the most useful manufactures is of great value. Their preservation, which depends on due encouragement, is connected 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 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 the next session. The time seems now to have arrived, when this subject may be deemed worthy of 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 officers 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 subject 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 navi

gable 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 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 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 on 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 fulfilment 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.

MARCH 4, 1825.

In compliance with a usage coëval with the existence of our federal constitution, and sanctioned by the example of my predecessors in the career upon which I am about to enter, I appear, my fellow-citizens, in your presence, and in that of Heaven, to bind myself, by the solemnities of a religious obligation, to the faithful performance of the duties allotted to me, in the station to which I have been called.

In unfolding to my countrymen the principles by which I shall be governed in the fulfilment of those duties, my first resort will be to that constitution, which I shall swear, to the best of my ability, to preserve, protect, and defend. That revered instrument enumerates the powers and prescribes the duties of the executive magistrate; and, in its first words, declares the purposes to which these, and the whole action of the government, instituted by it, should be invariably and sacredly devoted - to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to the people of this Union, in their successive generations. Since the adoption of this social compact, one of these generations has passed away. It is the work of our

« PreviousContinue »