Imagens das páginas

proper now to state that this government neither seeks nor would accept from them any advantage in commerce or otherwise, which will not be equally open to all other nations. The colonies will, in that event, become independent states, free from any obligation to, or connection with us, which it may not then be their interest to form on a basis of fair reciprocity.

In the summer of the present year, an expedition was set on foot against East Florida, by persons claiming to act under the authority of some of the colonies, who took possession of Amelia Ísland, at the mouth of St. Mary's River, near the boundary of the state of Georgia. As the province lies eastward of the Mississippi, and is bounded by the United States and the ocean on every side, and has been a subject of negotiation with the government of Spain, as an indemnity for losses by spoliation, or in exchange of territory of equal value, westward of the Mississippi, a fact well known to the world, -it excited surprise that any countenance should be given to this measure by any of the colonies. As it would be difficult to reconcile it with the friendly relations existing between the United States and the colonies, a doubt was entertained whether it had been authorized by them, or any of them. This doubt has gained strength, by the circumstances which have unfolded themselves in the prosecution of the enterprise, which have marked it as a mere private, unauthorized adventure. Projected and commenced with an incompetent force, reliance seems to have been placed on what might be drawn, in defiance of our laws, from within our limits; and of late, as their resources have failed, it has assumed a more marked character of unfriendliness to us, the island being made a channel for the illicit introduction of slaves from Africa into the United States, an asylum for fugitive slaves from the neighboring states, and a port for smuggling of every kind.

A similar establishment was made, at an earlier period, by persons of the same description, in the Gulf of Mexico, at a place called Galveston, within the limits of the United States, as we contend, under the cession of Louisiana. This enterprise has been marked in a more signal manner by all the objectionable circumstances which characterized

the other, and more particularly by the equipment of privateers which have annoyed our commerce, and by smuggling. These establishments, if ever sanctioned by any authority whatever, which is not believed, have abused their trust and forfeited all claim to consideration. A just regard for the rights and interests of the United States required that they should be suppressed, and orders have accordingly been issued to that effect. The imperious considerations which produced this measure will be explained to the parties whom it may in any degree concern.

To obtain correct information on every subject in which the United States are interested ; to inspire just sentiments in all persons in authority, on either side, of our friendly disposition, so far as it may comport with an impartial neutrality, and to secure proper respect to our commerce in every port, and from every flag, it has been thought proper to send a ship of war, with three distinguished citizens, along the southern coast, with instructions to touch at such ports as they may find most expedient for these

purposes. With the existing authorities, with those in the possession of, and exercising the sovereignty, must the communication be held; from them alone can redress for past injuries, committed by persons acting under them, be obtained; by them alone can the commission of the like in future be prevented.

Our relations with the other powers of Europe have experienced no essential change since the last session. In our intercourse with each, due attention continues to be paid to the protection of our commerce, and to every other object in which the United States are interested. A strong hope is entertained, that, by adhering to the maxims of a just, candid, and friendly policy, we may long preserve amicable relations with all the powers of Europe, on conditions advantageous and honorable to our country.

With the Barbary states and the Indian tribes, our pacific relations have been preserved.

In calling your attention to the internal concerns of our country, the view which they exhibit is peculiarly gratifying. The payments which have been made into the treasury show the very productive state of the public revenue. After satisfying the appropriations made by law

for the support of the civil government and of the military and naval establishments, embracing suitable provision for fortification and for the gradual increase of the navy, paying the interest of the public debt, and extinguishing more than eighteen millions of the principal, within the present year, it is estimated that a balance of more than six millions of dollars will remain in the treasury on the first day of January, applicable to the current service of the ensuing year.

The payments into the treasury during the year one thousand eight hundred and seventeen, on account of imports and tonnage, resulting principally from duties which have accrued in the present year, may be fairly estimated at twenty millions of dollars; internal revenues, at two millions five hundred thousand; public lands, at one million five hundred thousand; bank dividends and incidental receipts, at five hundred thousand; making, in the whole, twenty-four millions and five hundred thousand dollars.

The annual permanent expenditure for the support of the civil government, and of the army and navy, as now established by law, amounts to eleven millions eight hundred thousand dollars; and for the sinking fund, to ten millions; making, in the whole, twenty-one millions eight hundred thousand dollars; leaving an annual excess of revenue, beyond the expenditure, of two millions seven hundred thousand dollars, exclusive of the balance estimated to be in the treasury on the 1st day of January, one thousand eight hundred and eighteen.

In the present state of the treasury, the whole of the Louisiana debt may be redeemed in the year 1819; after which, if the public debt continues as it now is, above par, there will be annually about five millions of the sinking fund unexpended, until the year 1825, when the loan of 1812, and the stock created by funding treasury notes, will be redeemable.

It is also estimated that the Mississippi stock will be discharged during the year 1819, from the proceeds of the public lands assigned to that object; after which the receipts from those lands will annually add to the public revenue the sum of one million five hundred thousand dollars, mak

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,

It is grats

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. ifying 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

« AnteriorContinuar »