« AnteriorContinuar »
The United States being obligated to make compensa lion for the losses and damages sustained by British subjects, upon the award of the commissioners acting under the sixth article of the treaty with Great Britain, and for the losses and damages sustained by British subjects, by reason of the capture of their vessels and merchandise, taken within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, and brought into their ports, or taken by vessels originally armed in ports of the United States, upon the awards of the commissioners, acting under the seventh article of the same treaty; it is necessary that provision be made for fulfilling these obligations.
The numerous captures of American vessels by the cruisers of the French republic, and of some of those of Spain, have occasioned considerable expenses in making and supporting the claims of our citizens before their tribunals. The sums required for this purpose, have, in divers instances, been disbursed by the consuls of the United States. By means of the same captures, great numbers of our seamen have been thrown ashore in foreign countries, destitute of all means of subsistence, and the sick, in particular, have been exposed to grievous sufferings. The consuls have, in these cases also, advanced money for their relief; for these advances they reasonably expect reimbursements from the United States.
The consular act, relative to seamen, requires revision and amendment; the provisions for their support in foreign countries, and for their return, are found to be inadequate and ineffectual. Another provision seems necessary to be added to the consular act; some foreign vessels have been discovered sailing under the flag of the United States, and with forged papers ; it seldom happens that the consuls can detect this deception, because they have no authority to demand an inspection of the registers and sea-letters.
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
It is my duty to recommend to your serious consideration those objects, which, by the constitution, are placed particularly within your sphere, the national debts and
Since the decay of the feudal system, by which the public defence was provided for chiefly at the expense of individuals, the system of loans has been introduced; and as no nation can raise within the year, by taxes, sufficient sums for the defence and military operations in time of war, the sums loaned and debts contracted have necessarily become the subjects of what have been called funding systems. The consequences arising from the continual accumulation of public debts in other countries, ought to admonish us to be careful to prevent their growth in our own. The national defence must be provided for, as well as the support of government; but both should be accomplished, as much as possible, by immediate taxes, and as little as possible by loans.
The estimates for the service of the ensuing year, will by my direction, be laid before you. Gentlemen of the Senate,
and House of Representatives : We are met together at a most interesting period. The situations of the principal powers of Europe are singular and portentous. Connected with some by treaties, and with all by commerce, no important event there can be indifferent to us. Such circumstances call with peculiar importunity, not less for a disposition to unite in all those measures on which the honor, safety, and prosperity of our country depend, than for all the exertions of wisdom and firmness.
In all such measures, you may rely on my zealous and hearty concurrence.
JEFFERSON'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS,
MARCH 4, 1801.
Friends and Fellow-citizens:
Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow-citizens which is here as
sembled, to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look towards me, to de clare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and aw. ful presentiments, which the greatness of the charge, and the weakness of my powers, so justly inspire. A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye; when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honor, the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation, and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking, Utterly indeed should I despair, did not the presence of many whom I here see remind nie that, in the other high authorities provided by our constitution, I shall find re. sources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal, on which to rely under all difficulties. To you, then, gentleman, who are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked amid the conflicting elements of a troubled world.
During the contest of opinion through which we have passed, the animation of discussion and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely, and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the constitution, all will of course arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All too will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate, would be oppres. sion. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind, let us restore to social intercourse that harmony, and affection, without which liberty, and even life itself, are but dreary things. And let us reflect, that,