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we have enjoyed, as the fruit of their labors, to transmit the same, unimpaired, to the succeeding generations.
In the compass of thirty-six years, since this great national covenant was instituted, a body of laws enacted under its authority, and in conformity with its provisions, has unfolded its powers, and carried into practical operation its effective energies. Subordinate departments have distributed the executive functions in their various relations tc foreign affairs, to the revenue and expenditures, and to the military force of the Union by land and sea. A co-ordinate department of the judiciary has expoca.ded
the constitution and the laws; settling, in harmonious colite incidence with the legislative will, numerous weighty
questions of construction which the imperfection of hu
man language had rendered unavoidable. The year of fra jubilee, since the first formation of our Union has just
elapsed ; that of the declaration of independence is at hand. The consummation of both was effected by this constitu
tion. Since that period, a population of four millions has ekkor multiplied to twelve. A territory, bounded by the Mis
sissippi, has been extended from sea to sea. New states have been admitted to the Union, in numbers nearly equal to those of the first confederation. Treaties of peace, amity, and commerce, have been concluded with the principal dominions of the earth. The people of other nations, inhabitants of regions acquired, not by conquest but by compact, have been united with us in the participation of our rights and duties, of our burdens and blessings. The forest has fallen by the axe of our woodsman; the soil lias been made to teem by the tillage of our farmers; our commerce has whitened every ocean. The dominion of man over physical nature has been extended
by the invention of our artists. Liberty and law have Cicial marched hand in hand. All the purposes of human asso
ciation have been accomplished as effectively as under Lee any other government on the globe ; and at a cost, little
exceeding, in a whole generation, the expenditures of other nations in a single year.
Such is the unexaggerated picture of our condition under a constitution founded upon the republican princi. ple of equal rights. To admit that this picture has its
shades, is but to say that it is still the condition of men upon earth. From evil, physical, moral and political, it će is not our claim to be exempt. We have suffered some times by the visitation of Heaven, through disease ; often by the wrongs and injustices of other nations, even to the extremities of war'; and lastly, by dissensions among ourselves-dissensions, perhaps, inseparable from the enjoyment of freedom, but which have more than once appeared to threaten the dissolution of the Union, and, with it the overthrow of all the enjoyments of our present lot, and all our earthly hopes of the future. The causes of these dissensions have been various, founded upon differences of speculation in the theory of republican government; upon conflicting views of policy, in our relations with foreign nations ; upon jealousies of partial and sectional interests, aggravated by prejudices and prepossessions, which strangers to each other are ever apt to entertain.
It is a source of gratification and of encouragement to me, to observe that the great result of this experiment upon the theory of human rights has, at the close of that generation by which it was forined, been crowned with success equal to the most sanguine expectations of its sounders. Union, justice, tranquillity, the common defence, the general welfare, and the blessings of liberty, all have been promoted by the government under which we have lived. Standing at this point of time; looking back to that generation which has gone by, and forward to that which is advancing, we may at once indulge in grateful exultation and in cheering hope. From the
experience of the past, we derive instructive lessons for the future. Of the two great political parties which have divided the opinions and feelings of our country, the candid and the just will now admit that both have contributed splendid talents, spotless integrity, ardent patriotism and disinterested sacrifices, to the formation and administration of this government; and that both have required a liberal indul. gence for a portion of human infirmity and error The revolutionary wars of Europe, commencing precisely at the moment when the government of the United States first went into operation under this constitution, excited a collision of sentiments and of sympathies, which kin
there have been projects of partial confederacies to be erected upon the ruins of the Union, they have been scattered to the winds. If there have been dangerous attachments to one foreign nation, and antipathies against another, they have been extinguished. Ten years of peace, at home and abroad, have assuaged the animosities of political contention, and blended into harmony the most discordant elements of public opinion. There still remains one effort of magnanimity, one sacrifice of prejudice and passion, to be made by the individuals throughout the nation, who have heretofore followed the standard of political party. It is that of discarding every remnant of rancor against each other; of embracing as countrymen and friends; and of yielding to talents and virtue alone, that confidence which, in times of contention for principle, was bestowed only upon those who bore the badge of party communion.
The collisions of party spirit, which originate in speculative opinions, or in different views of administrative policy, are in their nature transitory. Those which are founded on geographical divisions, adverse interests of soil, climate, and modes of domestic life, are more permanent, and therefore perhaps more dangerous. It is this which gives inestimable value to the character of our government, at once federal and national. It holds out to us a perpetual admonition to preserve alike, and with equal anxiety, the rights of each individual state in its own government, and the rights of the whole nation in that of the Union. Whatever is of domestic concealment, unconnected with the other members of the Union, or with foreign lands, belongs exclusively to the administration of the state governments. Whatsoever directly involves the rights and interests of the federative fraternity, or of foreign powers, is of the resort of this general government. The duties of both are obvious in the general principle, though sometimes perplexed with difficulties in the detail. To respect the rights of the state governments is the inviolable duty of that of the Union; the government of every state will feel its own obligation to respect and preserve the rights of the whole. The prejudices every where loo commonly entertained against distant strangers are
worn away, and the jealousies of jarring interests are al layed by the composition and functions of the great na tional councils annually assembled from all quarters of the Union at this place. Here the distinguished men from every section of our country, while meeting to deliberate upon the great interests of those by whom they are depute 3, learn to estimate the talents, and do justice to the virtues of each other. The harmony of the nation is promoted, and the whole Union is knit together by the sentiments of mutual respect, the habits of social intercourse, and the ties of personal friendship, formed between the representatives of its several parts, in the performance of their service at this metropolis.
Passing from this general review of the purposes and injunctions of the federal constitution, and their results, as indicating the first traces of the path of duty in the discharge of my public trust, I turn to the administration of my immediate predecessor, as the second. It has passed away in a period of profound peace : how much to the satisfaction of our country, and to the honor of our country's name, is known to you all. The great features of its policy, in general concurrence with the will of the legislature, have been—to cherish peace while preparing for defensive war; to yield exact justice to other nations, and maintain the rights of our own ; to cherish the prin• ciples of freedom and of equal rights, wherever they were proclaimed; to discharge with all possible promptitude the national debt; to reduce within the narrowest limits of efficiency the military force; to improve the organization and discipline of the army; to provide and sustain a school of military science; to extend equal protection to all the great interests of the nation; to promote the civilization of the Indian tribes; and to proceed in the great system of internal improvements within the limits of the constitutional power of the Union. Under the pledge of these promises, made by that eminent citizen, at the time of his first induction to this office, in his career of eight years, the internal taxes have been repealed; sixty mil. lions of the public debt have been discharged; provision has been made for the comfort and relief of the aged and indigent among the surviving warriors of the revolution ;