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Message from the Governor.
Fellow-citizens Of The Senate And Assembly:
The people of this State having recently selected me to discharge the duties of their chief magistrate for a second term, I avail myself of the present occasion to express my grateful acknowledgments for this renewed manifestation of their confidence, and to assure them that my best efforts shall be devoted to their service.
At no former period have the United States occupied a more elevated position than at present, in relation to foreign powers. The claims for depredations formerly committed on the property of our merchants have been sustained by ably conducted negociations, and admitted in almost all instances by solemn treaties; our commerce is extended to nearly every region of the globe; and our flag respected by all nations.
In adverting to the internal affairs of our country we find few causes for discontent and many for congratulation. The general government is administered with wisdom, and with a special regard to the principles on which it was founded; our national debt is now extinguished; our public revenues exceed our wants; the burden of taxation has been within a few years greatly diminished; considerable progress has been lately made in reconstructing the barriers which were erected to resist the encroachments of federal power, but which were partially overthrown by the errors of past legislation; and there is now good reason to hope that the general government, in relation to its practical operations, will
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soon become in all respects what it was designed to be by its wise and patriotic founders.
But your attention is chiefly to be directed to the internal affairs of our own State; it is to them your powers as legislators extend, and to them, in an especial manner, your duties relate.
In reviewing the events of the past year, your attention will be necessarily arrested by the extraordinary state of things which existed at its commencement, and continued some time thereafter. Shortly before this period, an unwonted prosperity prevailed throughout the State; the bounties of Providence had been showered upon us with a liberal hand; wc had been favored with a fruitful season; labor in all the branches of industry found a ready employment and received a fair reward; the characteristic enterprize of the people was stimulated to great activity; our internal trade exceeded in amount and extent all former example; and our foreign commerce presented sure indications of being in a sound and healthful state. There was then nothing either in our internal condition or external relations which did not presage, to the mind of ordinary observers at least, the continuance of this high state of prosperity; but it suddenly passed away, and was succeeded by a period of great pecuniary embarrassment. It is not to the present purpose to trace minutely the operation of the causes which wrought this change; but all will concur. I think, in ascribing it mainly to the contest relative to re-chartering the Bar.k of the United States.
This Bank, since its first establishment, has been deprecated by many, as an institution existing without constitutional authority, and by still more, as a power capable of resisting the public will, and of spurning the control reserved by the authority which created it—not necessary to the fiscal operations of the treasury—pernicious in its general influence upon our currency—and dangerous, as a political engine, to the principles of our government. A great majority of the people, viewing it with disfavor, had, by electing a Chief Magistrate well known to be decidedly opposed to a renewal of its charter, indicated their unwillingness to prolong its existence. It was not generally anticipated, though by many it was feared, that an attempt would be made by the infliction of public distress, to reverse this condemnatory sentence, so deliberately pronounced by the sovereign power of the country. But it did not comport with the views of the managers of the Bank, nor with the designs of those who had espoused Us cause, to submit quietly to this decision. The Bank commenced a rapid curtailment of its issues, and withheld from the public its usual accommodations. Those who directed its operations, as well as those who acted in subservience to its views, loudly proclaimed its ability to inflict on the country universal distress, and announced its determination to do so, if the government did not act in conformity to its wishes. It was represented that its powers of annoyance were unexhausted, and almost inexhaustible; that the country was only in the beginning of its troubles; and that a dismal period was fast approaching when our channels of internal trade would be solitudes—the surplus productions of our soil would find no market—labor be without employment—commerce destroyed—bankruptcy become the inevitable lot of most men engaged in active business:—when in short, all classes of our citizens would be involved in a common ruin. In furtherance of this design to bring the government to the feet of this great monied power, the banks of this State were made the special objects of attack. Their condition was misrepresented; their ability derided; and their solvency questioned.
By these exaggerated representations of the actual difficulties in which we were involved; by these bold and confident predictions of still greater embarrassments about to follow; and by the assaults made upon the credit and solvency of our local banks, a general panic was created; individual credit was impaired, public confidence shaken, and the resources which the country possessed, and which were sufficient, if brought into use, to relieve it, were withheld.
No relief was to be expected from a change of policy on the part of the Bank, without a submission to its requirements;—a submission which would necessarily concede to it the power, not only to over-rule the public will, but to impose its commands on the government by its ability and disposition to oppress and harrass the people in their business pursuits.
The advocates of this institution exercised a controlling influence over one branch of the National Legislature, and it was therefore equally vain to hope for relief from Congress, without the same degrading submission. Under these circumstances, the people of this State could look to no quarter but to their State Go