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nity for property taken or destroyed, under circumstances of the most aggravated and outrageous character. In the long period during which continued and earnest appeals have been made to the equity and magnanimity of France, in behalf of those claims, their justice has not been, as it could not be, denied. It was hoped that the accession of a new sovereign to the throne, would have afforded a favorable opportunity for presenting them to the consideration of his government. They have been presented and urged, hitherto without effect. The repeated and earnest representations of our minister at the court of France, remain as yet even without an answer. Were the demands of nations upon the justice of each other susceptible of adjudication by the decision of an impartial tribunal, those to whom I now refer would long since have been settled, and adequate indemnity would have been obtained. There are large amounts of similar claims upon the Netherlands, Naples, and Denmark. For those upon Spain, prior to 1819, indemnity was, after many years of patient forbearance, obtained, and those of Sweden have been lately compromised by a private settlement, in which the claimants themselves have acquiesced. The governments of Denmark and of Naples have been recently reminded of those yet existing against them ; nor will any of them be forgotten while a hope may be indulged of obtaining justice, by the means within the constitutional power of the executive, and with. out resorting to those means of self-redress, which, as well as the time, circumstances, and occasion, which may require them, are within the exclusive competency of the legislature.
It is with great satisfaction that I am enabled to bear witness to the liberal spirit with which the republic of Colombia has made satisfaction for well-established claims of a similar character. And among the documents now communicated to Congress, will be distinguished a treaty of commerce and navigation with that republic, the ratifications of which have been exchanged since the last recess of the legislature. The negotiation of similar treaties with all the independent South American states, has been contemplated, and may yet be accomplished. The basis of them all, as proposed by the United States, has been
laid in two principles; the one, of entire and unqualified reciprocity; the other, the mutual obligation of the parties to place each other permanently on the footing of the most favored nation. These principles are, indeed, indispensable to the effectual emancipation of the American hemisphere from the thraldom of colonizing monopolies and exclusions - an event rapidly realizing in the progress of human affairs, and which the resistance still opposed in certain parts of Europe to the acknowledgment of the Southern American republics as independent states, will, it is believed, contribute more effectually to accomplish. The time has been, and that not remote, when some of these states might, in their anxious desire to obtain a nominal recognition, have accepted of a nominal independence, clogged with burdensome conditions, and exclusive commercial privileges, granted to the nation from which they have separated, to the disadvantage of all others. They now are all aware that such concessions to any European nation would be incompatible with that independence which they have declared and maintained.
Among the measures which have been suggested to them by the new relations with one another, resulting from the recent changes in their condition, is that of assembling at the Isthmus of Panama, a Congress, at which each of them should be represented, to deliberate upon objects important to the welfare of all. The republics of Colombia, of Mexico, and of Central America, have already deputed plenipotentiaries to such a meeting, and they have invited the United States to be also represented there by their ministers. The invitation has been accepted, and ministers on the part of the United States will be commissioned to attend at those deliberations, and to take part in them, so far as it may be compatible with that neutrality from which it is neither our intention nor the desire of the American states that we should depart.
The commissioners under the seventh article of the treaty of Ghent have so nearly completed their arduous labors, that, by the report recently received from their agent on the part of the United States, there is reason to expect that the commission will be closed at their next session, appointed for the 22d of May, of the ensuing year.
The other commission, appointed to ascertain the indemnities due for slaves carried away from the United States, after the close of the late war, have met with some difficulty, which has delayed their progress in the inquiry. A reference has been made to the British government on the subject, which, it may be hoped, will tend to hasten the decision of the commissioners, or serve as a substitute for it.
Among the powers specifically granted to Congress by the constitution, are those of establishing uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States; and for providing 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. The magnitude and complexity of the interests affected by legislation upon these subjects, may, account for the fact, that long and often as both of them have occupied the attention, and animated the debates of Congress, no systems have yet been devised for fulfilling, to the satisfaction of the community, the duties prescribed by these grants of power. To conciliate the claim of the individual citizen to the enjoyment of personal liberty, with the effective obligation of private contracts, is the difficult problem to be solved by a law of bankruptcy. These are objects of the deepest interest to society; affecting all that is precious in the existence of multitudes of persons, many of them in the classes essentially dependent and helpless; of the age requiring nurture, and of the sex entitled to protection from the free agency of the parent and the husband. The organization of the militia is yet more indispensable to the liberties of the country. It is only by an effective militia that we can at once enjoy the repose of peace, and bid defiance to foreign aggression; it is by the militia that we are constituted an armed nation, standing in perpetual panoply of defence, in the presence of all the other nations of the earth. To this end, it would be necessary, if possible, so to shape its organization, as to give it a more united and active energy. There are laws for establishing a uniform militia throughout the United States, and for arming and equipping its whole body. But it is a body of dislocated members, without the vigor of unity, and having little of uniformity but the name. To infuse into
this most important institution the power of which it is susceptible, and to make it available for the defence of the Union, at the shortest notice, and at the smallest expense possible of time, of life, and of treasure, are among the benefits to be expected from the persevering deliberations of Congress.
Among the unequivocal indications of our national prosperity, is the flourishing state of our finances. The revenues of the present year, from all their principal sources, will exceed the anticipations of the last. The balance in the treasury on the first of January last, was a little short of two millions of dollars, exclusive of two millions and a half, being a moiety of the loan of five millions, authorized by the act of the 26th May, 1824.. The receipts into the treasury from the 1st of January to the 30th of September, exclusive of the other moiety of the same loan, are estimated at sixteen millions five hundred thousand dollars; and it is expected that those of the current year will exceed five millions of dollars; forming an aggregate of receipts of nearly twenty-two millions, independent of the loan. The expenditures of the year will not exceed that sum more than two millions. By those expenditures, nearly eight millions of the principal of the public debt have been discharged. More than a million and a half has been devoted to the debt of gratitude to the warriors of the revolution; a nearly equal sum to the construction of fortifications and the acquisition of ordnance, and other permanent preparations of national defence; half a million to the gradual increase of the pavy; an equal sum for purchases of territory from the Indians, and payment of annuities to them; and upwards of a million for objects of internal improvement, authorized by special acts of the last Congress. If we add to these, four millions of dollars for payment of interest upon the public debt, there remains a sum of about seven millions, which has defrayed the whole expense of the administration of government, in its legislative, executive, and judiciary departments, including the support of the military and naval establishments, and all the occasional contingencies of a government coëxtensive with the Union, The amount of duties secured on merchandise imported,
since the commencement of the year, is about twenty-five millions and a half; and that which will accrue during the current quarter, is estimated at five millions and a half; from these thirty-one millions, deducting the drawbacks, estimated at less than seven millions, a sum exceeding twenty-four millions will constitute the revenue of the year, and will exceed the whole expenditures of the year. The entire amount of the public debt remaining due on the first of January next, will be short of eighty-one millions of dollars.
By an act of Congress of the 3d of March last, a loan of twelve millions of dollars was authorized at four and a half per cent., or an exchange of stock to that amount, of four and a half per cent., for a stock of six per cent., to create a fund for extinguishing an equal amount of the public debt, bearing an interest of six per cent., redeemable in 1826. An account of the measures taken to give effect to this act will be laid before you by the Secretary of the Treasury. As the object which it had in view has been but partially accomplished, it will be for the consideration of Congress, whether the power with which it clothed the executive should not be renewed at an early day of the present session, and under what modifications.
The act of Congress of the 3d of March last, directing the Secretary of the Treasury to subscribe, in the name and for the use of the United States, for one thousand five hundred shares of the capital stock of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company, has been executed by the actual subscription for the sum specified; and such other measures have been adopted by that officer, under the act, as the fulfilment of its intentions requires. The latest accounts received of this important undertaking, authorize the belief that it is in successful progress.
The payments into the treasury from proceeds of the sales of the public lands, during the present year, were estimated at one million of dollars. The actual receipts of the first two quarters have fallen very little short of that sum: it is not expected that the second half of the year will be equally productive; but the income of the year, from that source, may now be safely estimated at a million and a half. The act of Congress of the 18th of May,