« AnteriorContinuar »
The report of the Postmaster-General is referred to as exhibiting a highly satisfactory administration of thai department. Abuses have been reformed; increased expedition in the transportation of the mail secured; and its revenue much improved. In a political point of view, this department is chiefly important as affording the means of diffusing knowledge. It is to the body politic what the veins and arteries are to the natural-conveying rapidly and regularly to the remotest parts of the system, correct information of the operations of the government; and bringing back to it the wishes and feelings of the people. Through its agency, we have secured 10 ourselves ihe full enjoyment of the blessings of a free press.
In this general survey of our affairs, a subject of high importance presents itself in the present organization of the judiciary. A uniform operation of the federal government in the different states is certainly desirable; and existing as they do in the Union, on the basis of perfect equality, each state has a right to expect that the benefits
conferred on the citizens of others should be extended to · hers. The judicial system of the United States exists
in all its efficiency in only fifteen members of the Union : to three others, the circuit courts, which constitute an important part of that system, have been imperfectly extended; and to the remaining six, altogether denied. The effect has been to withhold from the inhabitants of the latter, the advantages afforded (by the supreme court) 'to their fellow-citizens in other states, in the whole extent of the criminal, and much of the civil authority of the federal judiciary. That this state of things ought to be remedied, if it can be done consistently with the public welfare, is not to be doubted: neither is it to be disguised that the organization of our judicial system is at once a difficult and delicate task. To extend the circuit courts equally throughout the different parts of the Union, and at the same time, to avoid such a multiplication of mem bers as would encumber the supreme appellate tribu« nal, is the object desired. Perhaps it might be accom. plished by dividing the circuit judges into two classes, and pro-iding that the supreme court should be held by those classes alternately--the chief justice always presiding.
If an extension of the circuit court system to those states which do not now enjoy its benefits should be de. termined upon, it would of course be necessary to revise the present an angements of the circuits; and even if that system should not be enlarged, such a revision is recommended.
A provision for taking the census of the people of the United States will, to insure the completion of that work within a convenient time, claim the early attention of Congress.
The great and constant increase of business in the Department of State forced itself, at an early period, upon the attention of the executive. Thirteen years ago, it was, in Mr. Madison's last message to Congress, made the subject of an earnest recommendation, which has been repeated by both of his successors; and my comparatively limited experience has satisfied me of its justness. It has arisen from many causes, not the least of which is, the large addition which has been made to the family of independent nations, and the proportionate extension of our foreign relations. The remedy proposed was the establishment of a Home Department-a measure which does not appear to have met the views of Congress, on account of its supposed tendency to increase, gradually and imperceptibly, the already too strong bias of the federal system towards the exercise of authority not delegated to it. I am not, therefore, disposed to revive the recommendation ; but am not the less impressed with the importance of so organizing that department, that the secrelary may devote more of his time to our foreign relations. Clearly satisfied that the public good would be promoted by some suitable provision on the subject, 1 respectfully invite your attention to it.
T'he charter of the Bank of the United States expires in 1836, and its stockholders will most probably apply for a renewal of their privileges. In order to avoid the evils resulting from precipitancy in a measure involving such important princ ples, and such deep pecuniary interests, I feel that I car not, in justice to the parties interested, too soon present it to the deliberate consideration of the legislature and the people. Both the constitutionality and the expediency of the law creating this bank are well questioned by a large portion of our fellow-citizens; and it must be admitted by all, that it has failed in the great end of establishing a uniform and sound currency.
Under these circumstances, if such an institution is deemed essential to the fiscal operations of the government, I submit to the wisdom of the legislature whether a national one, founded upon the credit of the government and its revenues, might not be devised, which would avoid all constitutional difficuities; and, at the same time, secure all the advantages to the government and country that were expected to result from the present bank.
I cannot close this communication without bringing to your view the just claim of the representatives of Commodore Decatur, his officers and crew, arising from the re-capture of the frigate Philadelphia, under the heavy batteries of Tripoli. Although sensible, as a general rule, of the impropriety of executive interference under a government like ours, where every individual enjoys the right of directly petitioning Congress; yet, viewing this case as one of very peculiar character, 1 deem it my duty to recommend it to your favorable consideration. Besides the justice of this claim, as corresponding to those which have been since recognised and satisfied, it is the fruit of a deed of patriotic and chivalrous daring, which infused life and confidence into our infant navy, and contributed, as much as any exploit in its history, to elevate our national character. Public gratitude, therefore, stamps her seal upon it; and the meed should not be withheld which may hereafter operate as a stimulus to our gallant tars.
I now commend you, fellow-citizens, to the guidance of Almighty God, with a full reliance on his merciful providence for the maintenance of our free institutions ; and with an earnest supplication, that whatever errors it may be my lot to commit
, in discharging the arduous duties which have devolved on me, will find a remedy in the harmony and wisdom of your counsels.
JACKSON'S FAREWELL ADDRESS.
Being about to retire finally from public life, I beg leave to offer you my grateful thanks for the many proofs of kindness and confidence which I have received at your bands. It has been my fortune, in the discharge of public duties, civil and military, frequently to have found myself in difficult and trying situations, where prompt decision and energetic action were necessary, and where the interests of the country required that high responsibilities should be fearlessly encountered ; and it is with the deepest emotions of gratitude that I acknowledge the continued and unbroken confidence with which you have sustained me in every trial. My public life has been a long one, and I cannot hope that it has at all times been free from errors.
But I have the consolation of knowing that if mistakes have been committed, they have not seriously injured the country I so anxiously endeavored to serve; and at the moment when I surrender my last public trust, I leave this great people prosperous and happy; in the full enjoyment of liberty and peace; and honored and respected by every nation of the world.
If my humble efforts have, in any degree, contributed to preserve to you these blessings, I have been more than rewarded by the honor you have heaped upon me; and. above all, by the generous confidence with which you have supported me in every peril, and with which you have continued to animate and cheer my path to the clas, ing hour of my political life. The time has now come, when advanced age and a broken frame warn me to retire from public concerns; but the recollection of the niany favors you have bestowed upon me is engraven upon my heart, and I have felt that I could not part from your service without making this public acknowledgment of the gratitude I owe you. And if I use the occasion to offer to you the counsels of age and experience, you will, I trust, receive them with the same indulgent kindness which you have so often extended to me; and will, at least, see in them an carnest desire to perpetuate, in this favored land, the blessings of liberty and equal laws.
We have now lived almost fifty years under the constitution framed by the sages and patriots of the revolution. The conflicts in which the nations of Europe were engaged during a great part of this period; the spirit in which they waged war with each other; and our intimate commercial connections with every part of the civilized world, rendered it a time of inuch difficulty for the gove ernment of the United States. We have had our seasons of peace and of war, with all the evils which precede or follow a state of hostility with powerful nations. We encountered these trials, with our constitution yet in its infancy, and under the disadvantages which a new and untried government must always feel when it is called to put forth its whole strength, without the lights of experi. ence to guide it, or the weight of precedent to justify its measures. But we have passed triumphantly through all these difficulties. Our constitution is no longer a doubtful experiment; and at the end of nearly half a century, we find that it has preserved unimpaired the liberties of the people, secured the rights of property, and that ou country has improved, and is flourishing beyond any former example in the history of nations.
In our domestic concerns, there is everything to encourage us; and if you are true to yourselves, nothing can impede your march to the highest point of national prosperity. The states which had so long been retarded in their improvement by the Indian tribes residing in the midst of them, are at length relieved from the evil; and this unhappy race-the original dwellers in our landare now placed in a situation where we may well hope that they will share in the blessings of civilization, and be saved from that degradation and destruction to which they were rapidly bastening while they remained in the