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inland frontiers should be fortified, our army and navy regulated upon just principles as to the force of each, be kept in perfect order, and our militia be placed on the best practicable footing. To put our extensive coast in such a state of defence as to secure our cities and interior from invasion, will be attended with expense, but the work when finished will be permanent, and it is fair to presume that a single campaign of invasion, by a naval force, superior to our own, aided by a few thousand land troops, would expose us to a greater expense, without taking into the estimate the loss of property and distress of our citizens, than would be sufficient for this great work. Our land and naval forces should be moderate, but adequate to the necessary purposes. The former to garrison and preserve our fortifications, and to meet the first invasions of a foreign foe; and while constituting the elements of a greater force, to preserve the science, as well as all the necessary implements of war, in a state to be brought into activity in the event of war. The latter, retained within the limits proper in state of peace, might aid in maintaining the neutrality of the United States with dignity, in the wars of other powers, and in saving the property of their citizens from spoliation. In time of war, with the enlargement of which the great nae val resources of the country render it susceptible, and which should be duly fostered in time of peace, it would contribute essentially, both as an auxiliary of defence and as a powerful engine of annoyance, to diminish the calamities of war, and to bring the war to a speedy and honorable termination.
But it ought always to be held prominently in view, that the safety of these states, and of every thing dear to a free people, must depend in an eminent degree on the militia. Invasions may be made too formidable to be resisted by any land and naval force, which it would comport, either with the principles of our government, or the circumstances of the United States to maintain. In such cases, recourse must be had to the great body of the people, and in a manner to produce the best effect. It is of the highest importance, therefore, that they be so orga. nized and trained as to be prepared for any emergency
The arrangement should be such as to put at the command of the government the ardent patriotism and youthful vigor of the country. If formed on equal and just principles, it cannot be oppressive. It is the crisis which makes the pressure, and not the laws whieh provide a remedy for it. This arrangement should be formed, too, in time of peace, to be the better prepared for war. With such an organization of such a people, the United States hare nothing to dread from foreign invasion. At its approach, an overwhelming force of gallant men might always be put in motion.
Other interests of high importance will claim attention; among which, the improvement of our country by roads and canals, proceeding always with a constitutional sanction, holds a distinguished place. By thus facilitating the intercourse between the states, we shall add much to the convenience and comfort of our fellow-citizens, much to the ornament of the country, and what is of greater importance, we shall shorten distances, and by niaking each part more accessible to and dependent on the other, we shall bind the union more closely together. Nature has done so much for us by intersecting the country with so many great rivers, bays, and lakes, approaching from distant points so near to each other, that the inducement to complete the work seems to be peculiarly strong. A more interesting spectacle was perhaps never seen than is exhibited within the limits of the United States-a ter. ritory so vast, and advantageously situated, containing objects so grand, so useful, so happily connected in all their parts.
Our manufactures will, likewise, require the systematic and fostering care of the government. Possessing, as we do, all the raw materials, the fruit of our own soil and industry, we ought not to depend in the degree we have done, on supplies from other countries. While we are thus dependent, the sudden event of war, unsought and unexpected, cannot fail to plunge us into the most serious difficulties. It is important, too, that the capital which nourishes our manufactures should be domestic, as its influence in that case, instead of exhausting, as it may do in foreign hands, would be felt advantageously on agri
culture, and every other branch of industry. Equally im portant is it to provide at home a market for our raw materials, as by extending the competition, it will enhance the price, and protect the cultivator against the casualties incident to foreign markets.
With the Indian tribes it is our duty to cultivate friendly relations, and to act with kindness and liberality in all our transactions. Equally proper is it to persevere in our ef. forts to extend to them the advantages of civilization.
The great amount of our revenue, and the flourishing state of the treasury are a full proof of the competency of the national resources for any emergency, as they are of the willingness of our fellow-citizens to bear the burdens which the public necessities require. The vast amount of vacant lands, the value of which daily augments, forms an additional resource of great extent and duration. These resources, besides accomplishing every other necessary purpose, puts it completely in the power of the United States to discharge the national debt at an early period. Peace is the best time for improvement and preparations of every kind: it is in peace that our commerce fiourishes most, that taxes are most easily paid, and that the revenue is most productive.
The executive is charged, officially, in the departments under it, with the disbursement of the public money, and is responsible for the faithful application of it to the purposes for which it is raised. The legislature is the watchful guardian over the public purse. It is its duty to see that the disbursement has been honestly made. To meet the requisite responsibility, every facility should be afforded to the executive, to enable it to bring the public agents intrusted with the public money, strictly and promptly to account. Nothing should be presumed against them: but if, with the requisite facilities, the public money is suffered to lie long and uselessly in their hands, they will not be the only defaulters, nor will the demoralizing effect be confined to them. It will evince a relaxation and want of tone in the administration, which will be felt by the whole community. I shall do all that I can to secure economy and fidelity in this important branch of the administration and I doubt not that the legislature will
perform its duty with equal zeal. A thorough examinaSion should be regularly made, and I will promote it.“!
It is particularly gratifying to me to enter on the discharge of these duties at a time when the United States are blessed with peace. It is a state most consistent with their prosperity and happiness. It will be my sincere desire to preserve it, so far as depends on the executive, on just principle with all nations, claiming nothing unreasonable of any, and rendering to each what is its due.
Equally gratifying is it to witness the increased harmony of opinion which pervades our Union. Discord does not belong to our system. Union is recommended, as well by the free and benign principles of our government, extending its blessings to every individual, as by the other eminent advantages attending it. The American people have encountered together great dangers, and sustained severe trials with success. They constitute one great family with a common interest. Experience has enlightened us on some questions of essential importance to the country. The progress has been slow, dictated by a just reflection, and a faithful regard to every interest connected with it. To promote this harmony, in accordance with the principles of our republican government, and in a manner to give them the most complete effect, and to advance, in all other respects, the best interests of our country, will be the object of my constant and zealous ex. ertions.
Never did a government commence under auspices so favorable, nor ever was success so complete. If we look to the history of other nations, ancient or modern, we find no example of a growth so rapid, so gigantic ; of a people so prosperous and happy. In contemplating what we have still to perform, the heart of every citizen must expand with joy, when he reflects how near our government has approached to perfection ; that in respect to it we have no essential improvement to make; that the great object is to preserve it in the essential principles and features which characterize it, and that that is to be done by preserving the virtue and enlightening the minds of the people; and, as a security against foreign dangers, to adopt such arrangements as are indispensable to the
support of our independence, our rights and liberties. I we persevere in the career in which we have advanced so far, and in the path already traced, we cannot fail, under the favor of a gracious Providence, to attain the high destiny which seems to await us.
In the administration of the illustrious men who have preceded me in this high station, with some of whom I have been connected by the closest ties from early life, examples are presented which will always be found highly instructive and useful to their successors. From these I shall endeavor to derive all the advantages which they may afford. Of my immediate predecessor, under whom so important a portion of this great and successful experiment has been made, I shall be pardoned for expressing my earnest wishes that he may long enjoy in his retirement the affections of a grateful country, the best reward of exalted talents and the most faithful and meritorious services. Relying on the aid to be derived from the other departments of government, I enter on the trust to which I have been called by the suffrages of my fellow-citizens, with my fervent prayers to the Almighty that he will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection which he has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor.
MONROE'S FIRST ANNUAL MESSAGE,
DECEMBER 3, 1817.
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate
and House of Representatives : At no period of our political existence had we so much cause to felicitate ourselves at the prosperous and happy condition of our country. The abundant fruits of the earth have filled it with plenty. An extensive and profitable commerce has greatly augmented our revenue. The public credit has attained an extraordinary elevation. Our preparations for defence, in case of future wars, from which, by the experience of all nations, we ought not exDect to be exempted, are advancing, under a well-digested .