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Annihilate this trade, arrest its free progress by the geographical lines of jealous and hostile States, and you destroy the prosperity and onward march of the whole and every part, and involve all in one common ruin. But such considerations, important as they are in themselves, sink into insignificance when we reflect on the terrific evils which would result from disunion to every portion of the confederacy,—to the North not more than to the Southto the East not more than to the West. These I shall not attempt to portray, because I feel an humble confidence that the kind Providence which inspired our fathers with wisdom to frame the niost perfect form of government and union ever devised by man will not suffer it to perish until it shall have been peacefully instrumental, by its example, in the extension of civil and religious liberty throughout the world.
Next in importance to the maintenance of the Consti: tution and the Union, is the duty of preserving the government free from the taint or even the suspicion of corrup,
Public virtue is the vital spirit of republics; and history proves that when this has decayed and the love of money has usurped its place, although the forms of free government may remain for a season, the substance has departed forever.
Our present financial condition is without a parallel in history. No nation has ever before been embarrassed from too large a surplus in its treasury. This almost necessarily gives birth to extravagant legislation. It produces wild schemes of expenditures, and begets a race of speculators and jobbers whose ingenuity is exerted in contriving and promoting expedients to obtain public money. The purity of official agents, whether rightfully or wrongfully, is suspected, and the character of the government suffers in the estimation of the people. This is in itself a very great evil. The natural mode of relief from this embarrassment is to appropriate the surplus in the Treasury to great national objects, for which a clear warrant can be found in the Constitution. Among these I might mention the extinguishment of the public debt, a reasonable increase of the Navy,--which is at present inadequate to the pro. tection of our vast tonnage afloat, now greater than that
construed has more or less divided political parties from the beginning. Without entering into the argument, I desire to state, at the commencement of my administration, that long experience and observation have convinced me that a strict construction of the powers of the government is the only true, as well as the only safe, theory of the Constitution. Whenever, in our past history, doubtful powers have been exercised by Congress, these have never failed to produce injurious and unhappy consequences. Many such instances might be adduced if this were the proper occasion. Neither is it necessary for the public service to strain the language of the Constitution, because all the great and useful powers required for a successful administration of the government, both in peace and in war, have been granted either in express terms, or by the plainest implication. Whilst deeply convineed of these truths, I yet consider it clear that, under the war-making power, Congress may appropriate money towards the construction of a military road, when this is absolutely necessary for the defence of any State or Territory of the Union against foreign invasion. Under the Constitution, Congress has power “to declare war”_" to raise and support armies" to provide and maintain a navy," and to call forth the militia to "repel invasion." Thus endowed in an ample manner with the war-making power, the corresponding duty is secured that the United States shall protect each of them (the States) against invasion." Now, is it possible to afford this protection to California and our Pacific possessions except by means of a military road through the territories of the United States, over which men and munitions of war may be speedily transported from the Atlantic States to meet and repel the invader? In the event of a war with a naval power much stronger than our own, we should then have no other available-access to the Pacific coast, because such a power would instantly close the route across the Isthmus of Central America. It is impossible to conceive that, whilst the Constitution has expressly required Congress to defend all the States, it should yet deny to them by any fair construction the only possible means by which one of these States can be defended. Besides, the government, ever since its origin, has been in the constant practice of constructing military roads. It might also be wise to consider whether the love for the Uoion which now animates our fellow-citizens on the Pacific coast may not be impaired by our neglect or refusal to provide for them, in their remote and isolated condition, the only means by which the power of the States on this side of the Rocky Mountains can reach them in sufficient time to protect them against invasion.
I forbear for the present from expressing an opinion as to the wisest and most economical mode in which the government can lend its aid in accomplishing this great and necessary work. I believe that many of the difficulties in the
way, which now appear formidable, will in a great degree vanish as soon as the nearest and best route shall have been satisfactorily ascertained. It may be right that on this occasion I should make some brief remarks in regard to our rights and duties as a member of the great family of nations. In our intercourse with them there are some plain principles approved by our own experience, from which we should never depart.
We ought to cultivate peace, commerce, and friendship with all nations; and this, not merely as the best means of promoting our own material interests, but in a spirit of Christian benevolence towards fellow-men wherever their lot may be cast.
Our diplomacy should be direct and frank,-neither seeking to obtain more, nor accepting less, than is our due. We ought to cherish a sacred regard for the independence of all nations, and never attempt to interfere in the domestic concerns of any, unless this shall be imperatively required by the great law of self-preservation. To avoid entangling alliances has been a maxim of our policy ever since the days of Washington, and its wisdom no one will attempt to dispute.
In short, we ought to do justice in a kindly spirit to all nations, and require justice from them in return.
It is our glory that, whilst other nations have extended their dominions by the sword, we have never acquired any territory except by fair purchase, or, as in the case of Texas, by the voluntary determination of a brave, kindred,
and independent people to blend their destinies with our own. Even our acquisitions from Mexico form no exception. Unwilling to take advantage of the fortune of war against a sister republic, we purchased these possessions under the treaty of peace for a sum which was considered at the time a fair equivalent. Our past history forbids that we should in the future acquire territory, unless this be sanctioned by the laws of justice and honour. Acting on this principle, no nation will have a right to interfere or to complain if, in the progress of events, we shall still further extend our possessions. Hitherto, in all our acquisitions, the people under the protection of the American flag have enjoyed civil and religious liberty, as well as equal and just laws, and have been contented, prosperous, aod happy. Their trade with the rest of the world has rapidly increased, and thus every commercial nation has shared largely in their successful progress. I shall Dow proceed to take the oath prescribed by the Constitution—whilst humbly invoking the blessings of Divine Providence on this great people.