Page images

MESSAGE of The President of The United States, to both Houses of Congress, December 2nd, 1823. Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

MANY important subjects will claim your attention during the present Session, of which I shall endeavour to give, in aid of your deliberations, a just idea in this Communication. I undertake this duty with diffidence, from the vast extent of the interests on which I have to treat, and of their great importance to every portion of our Union. I enter on it with zeal, from a thorough conviction that there never was a period, since the establishment of our Revolution, when, regarding the condition of the civilized World, and its bearing on us, there was greater necessity for devotion in the public Servants to their respective duties, or for virtue, patriotism, and union in our Constituents.

Meeting in you a new Congress, I deem it proper to present this view of public affairs in greater detail than might otherwise be necessary. I do it, however, with peculiar satisfaction, from a knowledge that, in this respect, I shall comply more fully with the sound principles of our Government. The People being with us exclusively the Sovereign, it is indispensable that full information be laid before them on all important subjects, to enable them to exercise that high power with complete effect. If kept in the dark, they must be incompetent to it. We are all liable to error, and those who are engaged in the management of public affairs, are more subject to excitement, and to be led astray by their particular interests and passions, than the great body of our Constituents, who, being at home in the pursuit of their ordinary avocations, are calm but deeply interested Spectators of events, and of the conduct of those who are parties to them. To the People, every Department of the Government, and every Individual in each, are responsible; and the more full their information, the better they can judge of the wisdom of the policy pursued, and of the conduct of each in regard to it. From their dispassionate judgment much aid may always be obtained, while their approbation will form the greatest incentive, and most gratifying reward, for virtuous actions, and the dread of their censure the best security against the abuse of their confidence.— Their interests, in all vital questions, are the same; and the bond, by sentiment, as well as by interest, will be proportion

ably strengthened as they are better informed of the real state of public affairs, especially in difficult conjunctures. It is by such knowledge that local prejudices and jealousies are surmounted, and that a national policy, extending its fostering care and protection to all the great interests of our Union, is formed and steadily adhered to.

A precise knowledge of our relations with Foreign Powers, as respects our negotiations and transactions with each, is thought to be particularly necessary. Equally necessary is it, that we should form a just estimate of our resources, revenue, and progress in every kind of improvement connected with the national prosperity and public defence. It is by rendering justice to other Nations that we may expect it from them. It is by our ability to resent injuries and redress wrongs that we may avoid them.

The Commissioners under the fifth Article of the Treaty of Ghent, having disagreed in their opinions respecting that portion of the Boundary between the Territories of The United States and of Great Britain, the establishment of which had been submitted to them, have made their respective Reports, in compliance with that Article, that the same might be referred to the decision of a friendly Power. It being manifest, however, that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for any Power to perform that office, without great delay and much inconvenience to itself, a Proposal has been made by this Government, and acceded to by that of Great Britain, to endeavour to establish that Boundary by amicable Negotiation. It appearing, from long experience, that no satisfactory arrangement could be formed of the commercial intercourse between The United States and the British Colonies in this Hemisphere, by legislative Acts, while each Party pursued its own course, without agreement or concert with the other, a Proposal has been made to the British Government to regulate this Commerce by Treaty, as it has been to arrange, in like manner, the just claim of the Citizens of The United States, inhabiting the States and Territories bordering on the Lakes and Rivers which empty into the St. Lawrence, to the navigation of that River to the Ocean. For these, and other objects of high importance to the interests of both Parties, a Negotiation has been opened with the British Government, which, it is hoped, will have a satisfactory result.

The Commissioners, under the sixth and seventh Articles of the Treaty of Ghent, having successfully closed their labours in relation to the sixth, have proceeded to the discharge of those relating to the seventh. Their progress in the extensive Survey required for the performance of their duties, justifies the presumption that it will be completed in the ensuing Year.

The Negotiation which had been long depending with the French Government on several important subjects, and particularly for a just indemnity for losses sustained in the late Wars by the Citizens of The United States, under unjustifiable seizures and confiscations of their property, has not, as yet, had the desired effect. As this claim rests on the same principle with others, which have been admitted by the French Government, it is not perceived on what just ground it can be rejected. A Minister will be immediately appointed to proceed to France, and resume the Negotiation on this and other subjects which may arise between the two Nations.

At the Proposal of the Russian Imperial Government, made through the Minister of the Emperor residing here, a Full Power and Instructions have been transmitted to the Minister of The United States at St. Petersburgh, to arrange, by amicable Negotiation, the respective rights and interests of the two Nations on the North-west Coast of this Continent. A similar Proposal had been made by His Imperial Majesty to the Government of Great Britain, which has likewise been acceded to. The Government of The United States has been desirous, by this friendly proceeding, of manifesting the great value which they have invariably attached to the friendship of the Emperor, and their solicitude to cultivate the best understanding with his Government. In the discussions to which this interest has given rise, and in the arrangements by which they may terminate, the occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of The United States are involved, that the American Continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European Powers.

Since the close of the last Session of Congress, the Commissioners and Arbitrators for ascertaining and determining the amount of indemnification which may be due to Citizens of The United States, under the decision of His Imperial

Majesty the Emperor of Russia, in conformity to the Convention concluded at St. Petersburgh, on the 12th of July, 1822, have assembled in this City and organized themselves as a Board for the performance of the duties assigned to them by that Treaty. The Commission constituted under the eleventh Article of the Treaty of the 22nd of February, 1819, between The United States and Spain, is also in session here; and, as the term of three years, limited by the Treaty for the execution of the trust, will expire before the period of the next regular meeting of Congress, the attention of the Legislature will be drawn to the measures which may be necessary to accomplish the objects for which the Commission was instituted.

In compliance with a Resolution of the House of Representatives, adopted at their last Session, Instructions have been given to all the Ministers of The United States, accredited to the Powers of Europe and America, to propose the proscription of the African Slave Trade, by classing it under the denomination, and inflicting on its perpetrators the punishment, of Piracy. Should this Proposal be acceded to, it is not doubted that this odious and criminal practice will be promptly and entirely suppressed. It is earnestly hoped that it will be acceded to, from the firm belief that it is the most effectual expedient that can be adopted for the purpose.

At the commencement of the recent War between France and Spain, it was declared by the French Government, that it would grant no Commissions to Privateers, and that neither the Commerce of Spain herself, nor of Neutral Nations, should be molested by the Naval Force of France, except in the breach of a lawful Blockade. This declaration, which appears to have been faithfully carried into effect, concurring with principles proclaimed and cherished by The United States, from the first establishment of their Independence, suggested the hope that the time had arrived when the proposal for adopting it, as a permanent and invariable rule, in all future maritime wars, might meet the favourable consideration of the great European Powers. Instructions have accordingly been given to our Ministers with France, Russia, and Great Britain, to make those Proposals to their respective Governments; and, when the friends of humanity reflect on the essential amelioration to the condition of the human race which would result from the abolition of private war on the Sea, and on the great

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

de todo, guild y wzitet from each.

i play ona ya y se otuer dent repubph w Rygain prevedet som her on," made d the Sovere

IR HEARNAR, Is wyprowing that Put the testerk was wwe warned off by the Commander Kisabato, ogy worn it was blockaded, and not Bekka, windre spprised by the Captain of the Ar of the Person whom he had on A gdy wom the sole object of his proposed ww way

maidered an infringement of the spaanlane mods of Nations, will form a just cause sment of France, against the Officer

A kép Nyom of the Public Finances, more than renda muticipations that were entertained of

[ocr errors]

A the Junt Session of Congress. On the 1st **** *** Balance in the Treasury of 4,237,427 *29***. Vrom that time to the 30th of Septemssage mounted to upwards of 16,100,000 dollars,

Muddures to 11,400,000 dollars. During the durata, fumalaa of the year, it is estimated that the Receipts will goud the Expenditures, and that there will remain in The Ticumury, on the 1st of January next, a Surplus of nearly 9,000,000 dollars,

On the 1st of January, 1825, a large amount of the War Debt, and a part of the Revolutionary Debt, become redeemable. Additional portions of the former will continue to become re

« PreviousContinue »