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The Secretary of State has addressed to me a paper upon two subjects, interesting to the commerce of the country, which will receive my consideration, and which I have the honor to communicate to Congress.
So far as it depends on the course of this Government, our relations of good will and friendship will be sedulously cultivated with all nations. The true American policy will be found to consist in the exercise of a spirit of justice to be manifested in the discharge of all our international obligations, to the weakest of the family of nations, as well as to the most powerful. Occasional conflicts of opinion may arise, but when the discussions incident to them are conducted in the language of truth, and with a strict regard to justice, the scourge of war will for the most part be avoided. The time ought to be regarded as having gone by when a resort to arms is to be esteemed as the only proper arbiter of national differences.
The census recently taken shows a regularly progressive increase in our population. On the breaking out of the war of the revolution, our numbers scarcely equalled three millions of souls; they already exceed seventeen millions, and will continue to progress in a ratio which duplicates in a period of about twenty-three years. The old States contain a territory sufficient in itself to maintain a population of additional millions, and the most populous of the new States may even yet be regarded as but partially settled, while of the new lands on this side of the Rocky mountains, to say nothing of the immense region which stretches from the base of those pountains to the mouth of the Columbia river, about 270,000,000 of acres, ceded and unceded, still remain to be brought into market. We hold out to the people of other countries an invitation to come and settle among us as members of our rapidly growing family, and, for the blessings which we offer them, we require them to look upon our country, as their country, and to unite with us in the great task of pre. serving our institutions, and thereby perpetuating our liber. ties. No motive exists for foreign conquests. We desire but to reclaim our almost illimitable wilderness, and thereby to introduce into their depths the light of civilization. While we shall at all times be prepared to vindicate the national honor, our most earnest desire will be to maintain an unbroken peace.
In presenting the foregoing views, I cannot withhold the expression of the opinion that there exists nothing in the extension of our empire over our acknowledged possessions to excite the alarm of the patriot for the safety of our institutions. The federative system, leaving to each state the care of its domestic concerns, and devolving on the federal government those of general import, admits in safety of the greatest expansion, but at the same time I deem it proper to add that there will be found to exist at all times an imperious necessity for restraining all the functionaries of this Government within the range of their respective powers, thereby preserving a just balance between the powers granted to this Government and those reserved to the States and to the people.
From the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, you will perceive that the fiscal means present and accruing, are insufficient to supply the wants of the Government for the current year. The balance in the 'Treasury on the 4th day of March last, not covered by outstanding drafts, and exclusive of trust funds, is estimated at $860, 000. This includes the sum of $215,000 deposited in the mint and its branches to procure metal for coining and in process of coinage, and which could not be withdrawn without inconvenience ; thus leaving subject to draft in the various depositories, the sum of $645,000. By virtue of two several acts of Congress, the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to issue, on and after the 4th of March last, Treasury Notes to the amount of $5,413,000, making an aggregate available fund of $6,058,000 on hand.
But this fund was chargeable with outstanding Treasury Notes redeemable in the current year and interest thereon to the estimated amount of five millions two hundred and eighty thousand dollars. There is also thrown upon the 'Treasury the payment of a large amount of demands accrued in whole or in part in former years, which will exhaust the available means of the Treasury, and leave the accruing revenue reduced as it is in amount, burdened with debt, and charged with the current ex: penses of the Government. The aggregate amount of outstanding appropriations on the 4th of March last was $33,429,616 50, of which $24,210,300 will be required during the current year, and there will also be re quired for the use of the War Department additional appropriations to the amount of two millions five hundred and eleven thousand one hundred and thirty two dollars and ninety eight cents, the especial objects of which will be seen by reference to the report of the Secretary of War
The anticipated means of the Treasury are greatly inadequate to this demand. The receipts for customs for the last three quarters of the last year, amounted to $12,100,000 ; the receipts for lands for the same time to $2,742,450 ; showing an average revenue from both sources of $1,236,780 per month. A gradual expansion of trade growing out of a restoration of confidence, together with a reduction in the expenses of collecting, and punctuality on the part of collecting officers, may cause an addition to the monthly receipt fron the customs. They are estimated for the residue of the year, from the fourth of March, $12,000,000; the receipts from the public land for the same time are estimated at $2,600,000; and from miscellaneous sources at $170,000; making an aggregate of available fund within the year of $14,670,000; which will leave a probable deficit of $11,406,132 98. To meet this, some temporary provision is necessary, until the amount can be absorbed by the excess of revenues, which are anticipated to accrue at no distant day.
There will fall due within the next three months, Treasury Notes of the issues of 1840, including interest, about $2,850,000. There is chargeable in the same period for arrearages for taking the sixth census $294,000; and the estimated expenditures for the current service are about $3,100,000, making the aggregate demands upon the Treasury, prior to the first of September next, about $11,340,000. The ways and means in the Treasury, and estimated to accrue within the above named period, consist of about $694,000 of funds available on the 28th ultimo ; an unissued balance of Treasury Notes authorized by the act of 1841, amounting to $1,955,000, and estimated receipts from all sources of $3,800,000, making an aggregate of about $6,450,000, and leaving a probable deficit on the 1st of September next of $4,845,000.
In order to supply the wants of the Government, an intelligent constituency, in view of the best interests, will, without hesitation, submit to all necessary burdens. But it is nevertheless important so to impose them as to avoid defeating the just expectations of the country, growing out of pre-existing laws. The act of 20 March, 1833, commonly called the Compromise Act, should not be altered except under urgent circumstances, which are not believed at this time to exist. One year only remains to complete the series of reductions provided for by that law, at which time provisions made by the same law, and which will then be brought actively in aid of the manufacturing interests of the Union, will not fail to produce the most beneficial results. Under a system of discriminating duties imposed for purposes of revenue, in unison with the provisions of existing laws, it is to be hoped that our policy will, in the future, be fixed and permanent, so as to avoid those constant fluctuations which defeat the very object they have in view. We shall thus best maintain a position which, while it will enable us the more readily to meet the advances of other countries calculated to promote our trade and commerce, and will at the same time leave in our own hands the means of retaliating with greater effect unjust regulations.
In intimate connexion with the question of revenue is that which makes provision for a suitable fiscal agent capable of adding increased facilities in the collection and disbursement of the public revenues, rendering more secure their custody, and consulting a true economy in the great multiplied and delicate operations of the Treasury Department. Upon such an agent, depends, in an eminent degree, the establishment of a currency uniform in value, which is of so great importance to all the essential interests of society; and on the wisdom to be manifested in its creation much depends.
So intimately interwoven are its operations, not only with the interests of individuals, but with those of the States, that it may be regarded in a great degree as controlling both. If paper be used as the chief medium of circulation, and the power be vested in the Government of using it at pleasure, either in the form of Treasury drafts or any other, or if banks be used as the public de. positories, with liberty to regard all surplusses, from day to day as so much added to their active capital, prices are exposed to constant fluctuations, and industry to severe suffering. In the one case, political considerations, directed to party purposes, may control, while excessive cupidity may prevail in the other. The public is thus constantly liable to imposition. Expansions and contractions may follow each other in rapid succession, the one engendering a reckless spirit of adventure and speculation, which embraces States as well as individuals; the other causing a fall in prices, and accomplishing an entire change in the aspect of affairs. Stocks of all kinds rapidly decline-individuals are ruined, and States embarrassed even in their efforts to meet with punctuality the interest on their debts. Such, unhappily, is the state of things now existing in the United States. These effects may readily be traced to the causes above referred to. The public revenues, on being removed from the Bank of the United States, under an order of the late President, were placed in selected Banks, which actuated by the double motive of conciliating the Government and augmenting their profits to the greatest possible extent, enlarged extravagantly their discounts, thus enabling all other existing banks to do the same.
Large dividends were declared, which, stimulating the cupidity of capitalists, caused a rush to be made to the legislatures of the respective States for similar acts of incorporation, which, by many of the States, under a temporary infatuation, were readily granted, and thus the augmentation of the circulating medium, consisting almost exclusively of paper, produced a most fatal delusion. An illustration, derived from the land sales of the period alluded to, will serve best to show the effect of the whole system. The average sales of the public lands, for a period of ten years prior to 1834, had not much exceeded $2,000,000 per annum. In 1834 they attained in round numbers, to the amount of $6,000,000. In the succeeding year, of 1835, they reached $16,000,000. And the next year, of 1836, they amounted to the enormous sum of $25,000,000. Thus crowded into the short space of three