Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Cultivated lands, 300,000,000 of acres, at ten dollars per acre . . . . . . 3,000,000,000

Dwelling houses of all kinds . . . . . food,000,000
Total of real property . . . . . . D. 5,000,000,000

The personal property of the United States consists of the national debt, which, although a debt on the part of government, is Capital to the stockholders, who are Ameorican citizens . . . . . . . . . D. 100,000,000 Banking stock . . . . . . . . . 100,000,000 Slaves, 1,500,000,000, at D. 150 each . . 225,000,000 Shipping of all kinds . . . . . 225,000,000 Money, farming stock and utensils, manufactures, household furniture, plate, earriages, and every other species of personal property . . . . . . . . . . 1,550,000,000

Total of personal property . . . . D.2,200,000,000 real property . . . . . . . 5,000,000,000

Grand total of American capital. . . D. 7,200,000,000

Naval and military strength.-The establishments of the

navy and army, in the United States, are wisely kept upon a moderate scale; particularly that of the regular military.

force. To aspire at such a navy as the principal maritime powers of Europe possess, would be a useless waste of revenue in so young a country. As they have no possessions to protect abroad, nor any views of extending their dominions by foreign conquest, it is deemed sufficient, that shi

enough be kept to repel any hostile attempt of those nations of Europe that are weak on the sea; because circumstances exist, which render even the stronger ones weak as to them. Providence has placed the richest and most defenceless European possessious at the very door of the United States, and obliges its most valuable commerce to pass by their shores. To protect either of these, a small part only of any European navy would ever be detached across the Atlantic ; and the danger to which the elements expose them there, have been too often fatally experienced by the principal powers of Europe. Hence, a small naval force will at all times be sufficient to cope with such de

tachments, as well as to protect the American territory,

and annoy the commerce of their enemies.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

At the beginning of the year 1812, previous to the commencement of the late war, the United States navy consisted of three ships of 44 guns, three of 36, four of 32, one of 24, four of 18, three of 16, four of 14, one of 12 guns, and one schooner, besides gun-boats, bombs, &c. Of this number the British captured one of 44 guns, one of 36, three of 32, one of 18, two of 16, three of 14, and one of 12 guns. At present (1818) the American navy consists of five ships of 74 guns, and four of the same rate building ; six of 44, and several others building ; three of 36, two of 32, one of 28, three of 24, two of 20, thirteen of 18, seven of 16, three of 14, seven of 12, and five of 10 guns, besides thirty-eight of a smaller rate.* The chief part of the above naval force, now in commission, is employed in maintaining a strong squadron in the Mediterranean, and another in the gulf of Mexico.

The military strength of the United States lies principally in a well-disciplined militia, which in December 1817, amounted to 800,000 men, infantry, artillery, and eavalry; the greater part being then armed, and measures adopted to arm the whole. At the same period the regular troops had been raised to the number appointed by law, viz. 10,000 men. This little army is divided and stationed in garrisons along the Atlantic coast, from the district of Maine to St. Mary's, in Georgia, a distance of hearly 2000 miles; and on the west, from the great northern lakes to New Orleans, a still greater distance. But it is to the energy and exertions of their militia that the people of the United States chuse to depend, in case of war; rather than risk the introduction of a standing army, that bane of public liberty. Upon the whole, it must appear obvious, that the United States are now perfectly capable of maintaining their independence; nor is there any single nation, however powerful, mad enough to make an attack, which would infallibly end in disaster and disgrace. The republic contains more than 10,000,000 of free people, and, if invaded, could at a short notice turn out 1,000,000 of fighting men. This fact is well known in Europe, and would, of eourse, enter into the calculation of any general who might pian an attack on that country. He could not hope for success without, at least, an equal number of men; and it may be safely presumed, that such an army will never be sent 3000 miles on an expedition, which, though successful, would not pay a thousandth part of the expense.

* The American ships of war always carry more guns than their rate implies. * page 66 of this Work.

Constitution and government.—The origin of the present system of government in the United States, had its rise from a general congress which first assembled at Philadelphia, in October, 1774, and was composed of delegates chosen by the houses of representatives of each of the thirteen old colonies, except Georgia. This colony having afterwards acceded, the number of members amounted to fifty-four, and a president. In July, 1776, congress, by a solemn act, renounced allegiance to the king of Great Britain, and declared the American colonies to be free and independent states. At the same time they published articles of confederation and perpetual union between the states, in which they took the style of “The UNITED STATEs of AMERICA”; and decreed, that each state should retain its sovereignty and independence, and every other power and right not delegated to congress. . By these articles, the thirteen United States severally entered into a firm league of friendship, for the security of their liberties, and for their general defence. It was likewise determined, that delegates should be appointed annually, to meet in congress on the first Monday in November of every year. No state was to send less than two, or more than seven delegates; and no person could be a delegate more than three years; nor was he capable of holding any office under the United States, or to receive salary, fees, or emoluments of any kind... In determining questions in congress, each state was to have one vote; and every state was bound by the decisions of congress.

These articles of confederation, after eleven years experience, being found inadequate to the purposes for which they were intended, delegates were chosen in each of the United States to meet and fix upon the necessary amendments, They accordingly met in convention at Philadelphia in the summer of 1787, when a new constitution was adopted, of which the following are the outlines:

The Legislative poucer is vested in a congress of the United States, consisting of a senate and house of representatives. The members of the house of representatives are chosen every second year by the people of the several states; and the electors in each state must have the qualifications requisite for the electors of the most numerous branch of the state legislature. A representative must be twenty-five years of age, and have been reven years a citizen of the United States; and be an inhabitant of that state for which he shall be chosen. The representatives will hereafter be chosen in the several states in the proportion of one for

every 35,000, in which enumeration the Indians and twofifths of the people of colour are not included. The senate is composed of two members from each state, chosen for six years by the respective state legislatures; and the seats of one-third are vacated every two years. A senator must be thirty years of age, and have been nine years a citizen of the United States, and at the time of his election an inhabitant of the state for which he is chosen. The vice-president of the United States is president of the senate, but has no vote unless they are equally divided. Congress must assemble at least once every year. Their

meetings shall be on the first Monday in December, unless

they shall by law appoint a different day. No law can be passed without the concurrence of both houses. When that is obtained, it is presented to the president, who, if he approves, signs it; if not, he returns it, with his objections, for the reconsideration of congress, and it cannot in that case become a law without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members. The president

must return it within ten days, otherwise it becomes a law .

without his approbation.

The congress have power— * .
I. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises

to pay the debts and provide for the common, defence, and general welfare of the United States: but all duties, im

§: and excises, shall be uniform throughout the United tates. . . . S II. To borrow money on the credit of the United tates. ... . . . III. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes. . . IV. To establish an uniform rule of naturalization ; and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies, throughout the United States. W. To coin money; to regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin; and fix the standard of weights and meaSures. WI. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States. VII. To establish post-offices and post-roads. . VIII. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. IX. To constitute tribunals inferior to the supreme court. X. To define and punish piracies and felonies commitS

[graphic]

*

ted on the high seas, and offenees against the law of nations. XI. To declare war; grant letters of marque and reprisal; and make rules concerning eaptures on land and water. XII. To raise and support armies. But no appropriation of money for that use shall be for a longer term than two years. XIII. To provide and maintain a navy. XIV. To make rules for the government and regulation. of the land and naval forces. XV. To provide for calling forth the militia to exeeute the laws of the union, suppress insurreetions, and repel invasions. XVI. To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States; reserving to the states respectively the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia aeegrding to the discipline prescribed by congress. XVII. To exercise exclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of eongress, become the seat of government of the United States; and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings; and, XVIII. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or any department or officer thereof. The migration or importation of such persons, as any of the states now existing shall think proper to admit, shall Bot be prohibited by the congress, prior to the year 1808; but a tax may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person. . . The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it. No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed. No capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken. No taa or duty shall be laid on articles exported frout

« AnteriorContinuar »