Page images

change, developing itself in that portion of West Florida, which, though of right appertaining to the United States, had remained in the possession of Spain ; awaiting the result of negotiations for its actual delivery to them. The Spanish authority was subverted; and a situation produc-, ed, exposing the country to ulterior events, which might essentially affect the rights and welfare of the Union. In such a conjuncture, I did not delay the interposition required for ihe occupancy of the territory west of the river Perdido; to which the title of the United States extends, and to which the laws, provided for the territory of Orleans, are applicable. With this view, the proclamation, of which a copy is laid before you, was confided to the governour of that territory, to be carried into effect. The legality and necessity of the course pursued, assure me of the favourable light in which it will present itself to the legislature; and of the promptitude, with which they will supply whatever provisions may be due to the essential rights and equitable interests of the people thus brought into the bosom of the American family. * Our amity with the powers of Barbary, with the exception of a recent occurrence at Tunis, of which an explanation is just received, appears to have been uninterrupted, and to have become more firmly established.

With the Indian tribes, also, the peace and friendship of the United States are found to be so eligible, that the general disposition to preserve both, continues to gain strength.

I feel particular satisfaction in remarking that an interior view of our country presents us with grateful proofs of its substantial and increasing prosperity. To a thriving agriculture, and the improvements related to it, is added a highly interesting extension of useful manufactures; the combined product of professional occupations, and of household industry. Such, indeed, is the experience of economy, as well as of policy, in these substitutes for supplies heretofore obtained by foreign commerce, that, in a national view, the change is justly regarded as of itself more than a recompense for those privations and losses resulting from foreign injustice, which furnished the general impulse required for its accomplishment. How far it may be expedient to guard the infancy of this improve

ment in the distribution of labour, by regulations of the commercial tariff, is a subject which cannot fail to suggest itself to your patriotick reflections.

It will rest with the consideration of Congress, also, whether a provident, as well as fair encouragement, would not be given to our navigation, by such regulations as will place it on a level of competition with foreign vessels, parlicularly in transporting the important and bulky productions of our own soil. The failure of equality and reciprocity in the existing regulations on this subject operates, in our ports, as a premium to foreign competitors; and the inconvenience must increase, as these may be multiplied, under more favourable circumstances, by the more than countervailing encouragements now given them, by the laws of their respective countries.

Whilst it is universally admitted that a well instructed people alone can be permanently a free people ; and whilst it is evident that the means of diffusing and improying useful knowledge form so small a proportion of the expenditures for national purposes, I cannot presume it to be unseasonable, to invite your attention to the advantages of superadding, to the means of education provided by the several states, a seminary of learning, instituted by the national legislature, within the limits of their exclusive jurisdiction; the expense of which might be defrayed, or reimbursed, out of the vacant grounds which have accrucd to the nation within those limits.

Such an institution, though local in its legal character, would be universal in its beneficial effects. By enlightening the opinions; by expanding the patriotism; and by assimilating the principles, the sentiments and the manners of those who might resort to this temple of science, to be re-distributed, in due time, through every part of the community; sources of jealousy and prejudice would be diminished, the features of national character would be multiplied, and greater extent given to social harmony. But above all, a well constituted seminary, in the centre of the nation, is recommended by the consideration, that the additional instruction emanating from it would contribute not less to strengthen the foundations, than to adorn the structure, of our free and happy system of government.

Among the commercial abuses still committed under the American flag, and leaving in force my former reference to that subject, it appears that American citizens are instrumental in carrying on a traffick in enslaved Af. ricans, equally in yiolation of the laws of humanity, and in defiance of those of their own country. The same just and benevolent motives which produced the interdiction in force against this criminal conduct, will doubtless be felt by Congress, in devising further means of suppressing the evil.

In the midst of uncertainties, necessarily connected with the great interests of the United States, prudence requires a continuance of our defensive and precautionary arrangements. The Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy will submit the statements and estimates which may aid Congress, in their ensuing provisions for the land and naval forces. The statements of the latter will include a view of the transfers of appropriations in the naval expenditures, and the grounds on which they were made.

The fortifications for the defence of our maritime frontier have been prosecuted according to the plan laid down in 1808. The works, with some exceptions, are completed, and furnished with ordnance. Those for the security of the city of New York, though far advanced towards completion, will require a further time and appropriation. This is the case with a few others, either not completed, or in need of repairs.

The improvements, in quality and quantity, made in the manufactory of cannon, and of small arms, both at the publick armories, and private factories, warrant additional confidence in the competency of these resources, for supplying the publick exigencies.

These preparations for arming the militia, having thus far provided for one of the objects contemplated by the power vested in Congress, with respect to that great bulwark of the publick safety, it is for their consideration, whether further provisions are not requisite, for the other contemplated objects of organization and discipline. To give to this great mass of physical and moral force, the efficiency which it merits and is capable of receiving, it is indispensable that they should be instructed and practised in the rules by which they are to be governed. Towards

an accomplishment of this important work, I recommend for the consideration of Congress the expediency of instituting a system, which shall, in the first instance, call into the field, at the publick expense, and for a given time, certain portions of the commissioned and non-commissioned officers. The instruction and discipline thus acquired, would gradually diffuse through the entire body of the militia that practical knowledge and promptitude for 'active service, which are the great ends to be pursued. Experience has left no doubt either of the necessity or of the efficacy of competent military skill, in those portions of an army, in fitting it for the final duties which it may have to perform.

The corps of engineers, with the military academy, are entitled to the early attention of Congress. The buildings at the scat, fixed by law, for the present academy, are so far in decay as not to afford the necessary accommodation, But a revision of the law is recommended, principally with a view to a more enlarged cultivation and diffusion of the advantages of such institutions, by providing professorships for all the necessary branches of military instruction, and by the establishment of an additional academy, at the seat of government, or elsewhere. The means by which war, as well for defence, as for offence, are now carried on, render these schools of the more scientifick operations an indispensable part of every adequate system. Even among nations whose large standing armies and frequent wars afford every other opportunity of instruction, these establishments are found to be indispensable, for the due attainment of the branches of military science, which require. a regular course of study and experiment. In a government, happily without the other opportunities, seminaries, where the elementary principles of the art of war can be taught without actual war, and without the expense of extensive and standing armies, have the precious advantage of uniting an essential preparation against external danger, with a scrupulous regard to internal safety. In no other way, probably, can a provision, of equal efficacy for the publick defence, be made at so little expense, or more consistently with the publick liberty.

The receipts into the treasury during the year ending on the thirtieth of September last (and amounting to more than eight millions and a half of dollars) have exceeded VOL. VII:


the current expenses of the government, including the interest on the publick debt. For the purpose of reimbursing at the end of the year three million seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars of the principal, a loan, as authorized by law, had been negotiated to that amount; but has since been reduced to two million seven hundred and fifty thou. sand dollars; the reduction being permitted by the state of the treasury, in which there will be a balance remaining at the end of the year, estimated at two millions of dollars. For the probable receipts of the next year, and other details, ! refer to statements which will be transmitted from the treasury, and which will enable you to judge what further provisions may be necessary for the ensuing years.

Reserving for future occasions, in the course of the ses. sion, whatever other communications may claim your attention, I close the present, by expressing my reliance, under the blessing of Divine Providence, on the judgment and patriotism which will guide your measures, ai a period particularly calling for united councils, and inflexible exertions, for the welfare of our country, and by assuring you of the fidelity and alacrity with which my co-operation will be afforded.




UNITED STATES. DEC. 5, 1810. Extract of a Letter from Mr. Smith to Mr. Pinkney.

Department of State, Jan. 20, 1810. " In my letter to you of the 11th Nov. 1809, you were authorized to assure the British government, that the United States sincerely retained the desire which they have constantly professed to facilitate a friendly accommodation of all the existing differences between the two countries, and that nothing would be more agreeable to them than to find the successor of Mr. Jackson invested

« PreviousContinue »