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Title: State of the Union Addresses of Andrew Jackson

Author: Andrew Jackson

Posting Date: November 21, 2014 [EBook #5016]
Release Date: February, 2004
First Posted: April 11, 2002
Last Updated: December 16, 2004

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by James Linden.  HTML version by Al Haines.

State of the Union Addresses of Andrew Jackson

Dates of addresses by Andrew Jackson in this eBook:

December 8, 1829
December 6, 1830
December 6, 1831
December 4, 1832
December 3, 1833
December 1, 1834
December 7, 1835
December 5, 1836


State of the Union Address
Andrew Jackson
December 8, 1829

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

It affords me pleasure to tender my friendly greetings to you on the occasion of your assembling at the seat of Government to enter upon the important duties to which you have been called by the voice of our country-men. The task devolves on me, under a provision of the Constitution, to present to you, as the Federal Legislature of 24 sovereign States and 12,000,000 happy people, a view of our affairs, and to propose such measures as in the discharge of my official functions have suggested themselves as necessary to promote the objects of our Union.

In communicating with you for the first time it is to me a source of unfeigned satisfaction, calling for mutual gratulation and devout thanks to a benign Providence, that we are at peace with all man-kind, and that our country exhibits the most cheering evidence of general welfare and progressive improvement. Turning our eyes to other nations, our great desire is to see our brethren of the human race secured in the blessings enjoyed by ourselves, and advancing in knowledge, in freedom, and in social happiness.

Our foreign relations, although in their general character pacific and friendly, present subjects of difference between us and other powers of deep interest as well to the country at large as to many of our citizens. To effect an adjustment of these shall continue to be the object of my earnest endeavors, and not with standing the difficulties of the task, I do not allow myself to apprehend unfavorable results. Blessed as our country is with every thing which constitutes national strength, she is fully adequate to the maintenance of all her interests. In discharging the responsible trust confided to the Executive in this respect it is my settled purpose to ask nothing that is not clearly right and to submit to nothing that is wrong; and I flatter myself that, supported by the other branches of the Government and by the intelligence and patriotism of the people, we shall be able, under the protection of Providence, to cause all our just rights to be respected.

Of the unsettled matters between the United States and other powers, the most prominent are those which have for years been the subject of negotiation with England, France, and Spain. The late periods at which our ministers to those Governments left the United States render it impossible at this early day to inform you of what has been done on the subjects with which they have been respectively charged. Relying upon the justice of our views in relation to the points committed to negotiation and the reciprocal good feeling which characterizes our intercourse with those nations, we have the best reason to hope for a satisfactory adjustment of existing differences.

With Great Britain, alike distinguished in peace and war, we may look forward to years of peaceful, honorable, and elevated competition. Every thing in the condition and history of the two nations is calculated to inspire sentiments of mutual respect and to carry conviction to the minds of both that it is their policy to preserve the most cordial relations. Such are my own views, and it is not to be doubted that such are also the prevailing sentiments of our constituents. Although neither time nor opportunity has been afforded for a full development of the policy which the present cabinet of Great Britain designs to pursue toward this country, I indulge the hope that it will be of a just and pacific character; and if this anticipation be realized we may look with confidence to a speedy and acceptable adjustment of our affairs.

Under the convention for regulating the reference to arbitration of the disputed points of boundary under the 5th article of the treaty of Ghent, the proceedings have hitherto been conducted in that spirit of candor and liberality which ought ever to characterize the acts of sovereign States seeking to adjust by the most unexceptionable means important and delicate subjects of contention. The first sentiments of the parties have been exchanged, and the final replication on our part is in a course of preparation. This subject has received the attention demanded by its great and peculiar importance to a patriotic member of this Confederacy. The exposition of our rights already made is such as, from the high reputation of the commissioners by whom it has been prepared, we had a right to expect. Our interests at the Court of the Sovereign who has evinced his friendly disposition by assuming the delicate task of arbitration have been committed to a citizen of the State of Maine, whose character, talents, and intimate acquaintance with the subject eminently qualify him for so responsible a trust. With full confidence in the justice of our cause and in the probity, intelligence, and uncompromising independence of the illustrious arbitrator, we can have nothing to apprehend from the result.

From France, our ancient ally, we have a right to expect that justice which becomes the sovereign of a powerful, intelligent, and magnanimous people. The beneficial effects produced by the commercial convention of 1822, limited as are its provisions, are too obvious not to make a salutary impression upon the minds of those who are charged with the administration of her Government. Should this result induce a disposition to embrace to their full extent the wholesome principles which constitute our commercial policy, our minister to that Court will be found instructed to cherish such a disposition and to aid in conducting it to useful practical conclusions. The claims of our citizens for depredations upon their property, long since committed under the authority, and in many instances by the express direction, of the then existing Government of France, remain unsatisfied, and must therefore continue to furnish a subject of unpleasant discussion and possible collision between the two Governments. I cherish, however, a lively hope, founded as well on the validity of those claims and the established policy of all enlightened governments as on the known integrity of the French Monarch, that the injurious delays of the past will find redress in the equity of the future. Our minister has been instructed to press these demands on the French Government with all the earnestness which is called for by their importance and irrefutable justice, and in a spirit that will evince the respect which is due to the feelings of those from whom the satisfaction is required.

Our minister recently appointed to Spain has been authorized to assist in removing evils alike injurious to both countries, either by concluding a commercial convention upon liberal and reciprocal terms or by urging the acceptance in their full extent of the mutually beneficial provisions of our navigation acts. He has also been instructed to make a further appeal to the justice of Spain, in behalf of our citizens, for indemnity for spoliations upon our commerce committed under her authority--an appeal which the pacific and liberal course observed on our part and a due confidence in the honor of that Government authorize us to expect will not be made in vain.

With other European powers our intercourse is on the most friendly footing. In Russia, placed by her territorial limits, extensive population, and great power high in the rank of nations, the United States have always found a steadfast friend. Although her recent invasion of Turkey awakened a lively sympathy for those who were exposed to the desolation of war, we can not but anticipate that the result will prove favorable to the cause of civilization and to the progress of human happiness. The treaty of peace between these powers having been ratified, we can not be insensible to the great benefit to be derived by the commerce of the United States from unlocking the navigation of the Black Sea, a free passage into which is secured to all merchant vessels bound to ports of Russia under a flag at peace with the Porte. This advantage, enjoyed upon conditions by most of the powers of Europe, has hitherto been withheld from us. During the past summer an antecedent but unsuccessful attempt to obtain it was renewed under circumstances which promised the most favorable results. Although these results have fortunately been thus in part attained, further facilities to the enjoyment of this new field for the enterprise of our citizens are, in my opinion, sufficiently desirable to insure to them our most zealous attention.

Our trade with Austria, although of secondary importance, has been gradually increasing, and is now so extended as to deserve the fostering care of the Government. A negotiation, commenced and nearly completed with that power by the late Administration, has been consummated by a treaty of amity, navigation, and commerce, which will be laid before the Senate.

During the recess of Congress our diplomatic relations with Portugal have been resumed. The peculiar state of things in that country caused a suspension of the recognition of the representative who presented himself until an opportunity was had to obtain from our official organ there information regarding the actual and, as far as practicable, prospective condition of the authority by which the representative in question was appointed. This information being received, the application of the established rule of our Government in like cases was no longer withheld.

Considerable advances have been made during the present year in the adjustment of claims of our citizens upon Denmark for spoliations, but all that we have a right to demand from that Government in their behalf has not yet been conceded. From the liberal footing, however, upon which this subject has, with the approbation of the claimants, been placed by the Government, together with the uniformly just and friendly disposition which has been evinced by His Danish Majesty, there is a reasonable ground to hope that this single subject of difference will speedily be removed.

Our relations with the Barbary Powers continue, as they have long been, of the most favorable character. The policy of keeping an adequate force in the Mediterranean, as security for the continuance of this tranquillity, will be persevered in, as well as a similar one for the protection of our commerce and fisheries in the Pacific.

The southern Republics of our own hemisphere have not yet realized all the advantages for which they have been so long struggling. We trust, however, that the day is not distant when the restoration of peace and internal quiet, under permanent systems of government, securing the liberty and promoting the happiness of the citizens, will crown with complete success their long and arduous efforts in the cause of self-government, and enable us to salute them as friendly rivals in all that is truly great and glorious.

The recent invasion of Mexico, and the effect thereby produced upon her domestic policy, must have a controlling influence upon the great question of South American emancipation. We have seen the fell spirit of civil dissension rebuked, and perhaps for ever stifled, in that Republic by the love of independence. If it be true, as appearances strongly indicate, the spirit of independence is the master spirit, and if a corresponding sentiment prevails in the other States, this devotion to liberty can not be without a proper effect upon the counsels of the mother country. The adoption by Spain of a pacific policy toward her former colonies--an event consoling to humanity, and a blessing to the world, in which she herself can not fail largely to participate--may be most reasonably expected.

The claims of our citizens upon the South American Governments generally are in a train of settlement, while the principal part of those upon Brazil have been adjusted, and a decree in council ordering bonds to be issued by the minister of the treasury for their amount has received the sanction of His Imperial Majesty. This event, together with the exchange of the ratifications of the treaty negotiated and concluded in 1828, happily terminates all serious causes of difference with that power.

Measures have been taken to place our commercial relations with Peru upon a better footing than that upon which they have hitherto rested, and if met by a proper disposition on the part of that Government important benefits may be secured to both countries.

Deeply interested as we are in the prosperity of our sister Republics, and more particularly in that of our immediate neighbor, it would be most gratifying to me were I permitted to say that the treatment which we have received at her hands has been as universally friendly as the early and constant solicitude manifested by the United States for her success gave us a right to expect. But it becomes my duty to inform you that prejudices long indulged by a portion of the inhabitants of Mexico against the envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States have had an unfortunate influence upon the affairs of the two countries, and have diminished that usefulness to his own which was justly to be expected from his talents and zeal. To this cause, in a great degree, is to be imputed the failure of several measures equally interesting to both parties, but particularly that of the Mexican Government to ratify a treaty negotiated and concluded in its own capital and under its own eye. Under these circumstances it appeared expedient to give to Mr. Poinsett the option either to return or not, as in his judgment the interest of his country might require, and instructions to that end were prepared; but before they could be dispatched a communication was received from the Government of Mexico, through its charge d'affaires here, requesting the recall of our minister. This was promptly complied with, and a representative of a rank corresponding with that of the Mexican diplomatic agent near this Government was appointed. Our conduct toward that Republic has been uniformly of the most friendly character, and having thus removed the only alleged obstacle to harmonious intercourse, I can not but hope that an advantageous change will occur in our affairs.

In justice to Mr. Poinsett it is proper to say that my immediate compliance with the application for his recall and the appointment of a successor are not to be ascribed to any evidence that the imputation of an improper interference by him in the local politics of Mexico was well founded, nor to a want of confidence in his talents or integrity, and to add that the truth of the charges has never been affirmed by the federal Government of Mexico in its communications with us.

I consider it one of the most urgent of my duties to bring to your attention the propriety of amending that part of the Constitution which relates to the election of President and Vice-President. Our system of government was by its framers deemed an experiment, and they therefore consistently provided a mode of remedying its defects.

To the people belongs the right of electing their Chief Magistrate; it was never designed that their choice should in any case be defeated, either by the intervention of electoral colleges or by the agency confided, under certain contingencies, to the House of Representatives. Experience proves that in proportion as agents to execute the will of the people are multiplied there is danger of their wishes being frustrated. Some may be unfaithful; all are liable to err. So far, therefore, as the people can with convenience speak, it is safer for them to express their own will.

The number of aspirants to the Presidency and the diversity of the interests which may influence their claims leave little reason to expect a choice in the first instance, and in that event the election must devolve on the House of Representatives, where it is obvious the will of the people may not be always ascertained, or, if ascertained, may not be regarded. From the mode of voting by States the choice is to be made by 24 votes, and it may often occur that one of these will be controlled by an individual Representative. Honors and offices are at the disposal of the successful candidate. Repeated ballotings may make it apparent that a single individual holds the cast in his hand. May he not be tempted to name his reward?

But even without corruption, supposing the probity of the Representative to be proof against the powerful motives by which it may be assailed, the will of the people is still constantly liable to be misrepresented. One may err from ignorance of the wishes of his constituents; another from a conviction that it is his duty to be governed by his own judgment of the fitness of the candidates; finally, although all were inflexibly honest, all accurately informed of the wishes of their constituents, yet under the present mode of election a minority may often elect a President, and when this happens it may reasonably be expected that efforts will be made on the part of the majority to rectify this injurious operation of their institutions. But although no evil of this character should result from such a perversion of the first principle of our system--that the majority is to govern--it must be very certain that a President elected by a minority can not enjoy the confidence necessary to the successful discharge of his duties.

In this as in all other matters of public concern policy requires that as few impediments as possible should exist to the free operation of the public will. Let us, then, endeavor so to amend our system that the office of Chief Magistrate may not be conferred upon any citizen but in pursuance of a fair expression of the will of the majority.

I would therefore recommend such an amendment of the Constitution as may remove all intermediate agency in the election of the President and Vice-President. The mode may be so regulated as to preserve to each State its present relative weight in the election, and a failure in the first attempt may be provided for by confining the second to a choice between the two highest candidates. In connection with such an amendment it would seem advisable to limit the service of the Chief Magistrate to a single term of either four or six years. If, however, it should not be adopted, it is worthy of consideration whether a provision disqualifying for office the Representatives in Congress on whom such an election may have devolved would not be proper.

While members of Congress can be constitutionally appointed to offices of trust and profit it will be the practice, even under the most conscientious adherence to duty, to select them for such stations as they are believed to be better qualified to fill than other citizens; but the purity of our Government would doubtless be promoted by their exclusion from all appointments in the gift of the President, in whose election they may have been officially concerned. The nature of the judicial office and the necessity of securing in the Cabinet and in diplomatic stations of the highest rank the best talents and political experience should, perhaps, except these from the exclusion.

There are, perhaps, few men who can for any great length of time enjoy office and power without being more or less under the influence of feelings unfavorable to the faithful discharge of their public duties. Their integrity may be proof against improper considerations immediately addressed to themselves, but they are apt to acquire a habit of looking with indifference upon the public interests and of tolerating conduct from which an unpracticed man would revolt. Office is considered as a species of property, and government rather as a means of promoting individual interests than as an instrument created solely for the service of the people. Corruption in some and in others a perversion of correct feelings and principles divert government from its legitimate ends and make it an engine for the support of the few at the expense of the many. The duties of all public officers are, or at least admit of being made, so plain and simple that men of intelligence may readily qualify themselves for their performance; and I can not but believe that more is lost by the long continuance of men in office than is generally to be gained by their experience. I submit, therefore, to your consideration whether the efficiency of the Government would not be promoted and official industry and integrity better secured by a general extension of the law which limits appointments to four years.

In a country where offices are created solely for the benefit of the people no one man has any more intrinsic right to official station than another. Offices were not established to give support to particular men at the public expense. No individual wrong is, therefore, done by removal, since neither appointment to nor continuance in office is a matter of right. The incumbent became an officer with a view to public benefits, and when these require his removal they are not to be sacrificed to private interests. It is the people, and they alone, who have a right to complain when a bad officer is substituted for a good one. He who is removed has the same means of obtaining a living that are enjoyed by the millions who never held office. The proposed limitation would destroy the idea of property now so generally connected with official station, and although individual distress may be some times produced, it would, by promoting that rotation which constitutes a leading principle in the republican creed, give healthful action to the system.

No very considerable change has occurred during the recess of Congress in the condition of either our agriculture, commerce, or manufactures. The operation of the tariff has not proved so injurious to the two former or as beneficial to the latter as was anticipated. Importations of foreign goods have not been sensibly diminished, while domestic competition, under an illusive excitement, has increased the production much beyond the demand for home consumption. The consequences have been low prices, temporary embarrassment, and partial loss. That such of our manufacturing establishments as are based upon capital and are prudently managed will survive the shock and be ultimately profitable there is no good reason to doubt.

To regulate its conduct so as to promote equally the prosperity of these three cardinal interests is one of the most difficult tasks of Government; and it may be regretted that the complicated restrictions which now embarrass the intercourse of nations could not by common consent be abolished, and commerce allowed to flow in those channels to which individual enterprise, always its surest guide, might direct it. But we must ever expect selfish legislation in other nations, and are therefore compelled to adapt our own to their regulations in the manner best calculated to avoid serious injury and to harmonize the conflicting interests of our agriculture, our commerce, and our manufactures. Under these impressions I invite your attention to the existing tariff, believing that some of its provisions require modification.

The general rule to be applied in graduating the duties upon articles of foreign growth or manufacture is that which will place our own in fair competition with those of other countries; and the inducements to advance even a step beyond this point are controlling in regard to those articles which are of primary necessity in time of war. When we reflect upon the difficulty and delicacy of this operation, it is important that it should never be attempted but with the utmost caution. Frequent legislation in regard to any branch of industry, affecting its value, and by which its capital may be transferred to new channels, must always be productive of hazardous speculation and loss.

In deliberating, therefore, on these interesting subjects local feelings and prejudices should be merged in the patriotic determination to promote the great interests of the whole. All attempts to connect them with the party conflicts of the day are necessarily injurious, and should be discountenanced. Our action upon them should be under the control of higher and purer motives. Legislation subjected to such influences can never be just, and will not long retain the sanction of a people whose active patriotism is not bounded by sectional limits nor insensible to that spirit of concession and forbearance which gave life to our political compact and still sustains it. Discarding all calculations of political ascendancy, the North, the South, the East, and the West should unite in diminishing any burthen of which either may justly complain.

The agricultural interest of our country is so essentially connected with every other and so superior in importance to them all that it is scarcely necessary to invite to it your particular attention. It is principally as manufactures and commerce tend to increase the value of agricultural productions and to extend their application to the wants and comforts of society that they deserve the fostering care of Government.

Looking forward to the period, not far distant, when a sinking fund will no longer be required, the duties on those articles of importation which can not come in competition with our own productions are the first that should engage the attention of Congress in the modification of the tariff. Of these, tea and coffee are the most important. They enter largely into the consumption of the country, and have become articles of necessity to all classes. A reduction, therefore, of the existing duties will be felt as a common benefit, but like all other legislation connected with commerce, to be efficacious and not injurious it should be gradual and certain.

The public prosperity is evinced in the increased revenue arising from the sales of the public lands and in the steady maintenance of that produced by imposts and tonnage, not withstanding the additional duties imposed by the act of May 19th, 1828, and the unusual importations in the early part of that year.

The balance in the Treasury on January 1st, 1829 was $5,972,435.81. The receipts of the current year are estimated at $24,602,230 and the expenditures for the same time at $26,164,595, leaving a balance in the Treasury on January 1st, 1830 of $4,410,070.81.

There will have been paid on account of the public debt during the present year the sum of $12,405,005.80, reducing the whole debt of the Government on January 1st, 1830 to $48,565,406.50, including $7 millions of the 5% stock subscribed to the Bank of the United States. The payment on account of public debt made on July 1st, 1829 was $8,715,462.87. It was apprehended that the sudden withdrawal of so large a sum from the banks in which it was deposited, at a time of unusual pressure in the money market, might cause much injury to the interests dependent on bank accommodations. But this evil was wholly averted by an early anticipation of it at the Treasury, aided by the judicious arrangements of the officers of the Bank of the United States.

This state of the finances exhibits the resources of the nation in an aspect highly flattering to its industry and auspicious of the ability of Government in a very short time to extinguish the public debt. When this shall be done our population will be relieved from a considerable portion of its present burthens, and will find not only new motives to patriotic affection, but additional means for the display of individual enterprise. The fiscal power of the States will also be increased, and may be more extensively exerted in favor of education and other public objects, while ample means will remain in the Federal Government to promote the general weal in all the modes permitted to its authority.

After the extinction of the public debt it is not probable that any adjustment of the tariff upon principles satisfactory to the people of the Union will until a remote period, if ever, leave the Government without a considerable surplus in the Treasury beyond what may be required for its current service. As, then, the period approaches when the application of the revenue to the payment of debt will cease, the disposition of the surplus will present a subject for the serious deliberation of Congress; and it may be fortunate for the country that it is yet to be decided.

Considered in connection with the difficulties which have heretofore attended appropriations for purposes of internal improvement, and with those which this experience tells us will certainly arise when ever power over such subjects may be exercised by the Central Government, it is hoped that it may lead to the adoption of some plan which will reconcile the diversified interests of the States and strengthen the bonds which unite them. Every member of the Union, in peace and in war, will be benefited by the improvement of inland navigation and the construction of high ways in the several States. Let us, then, endeavor to attain this benefit in a mode which will be satisfactory to all. That hitherto adopted has by many of our fellow citizens been deprecated as an infraction of the Constitution, while by others it has been viewed as inexpedient. All feel that it has been employed at the expense of harmony in the legislative councils.

To avoid these evils it appears to me that the most safe, just, and federal disposition which could be made of the surplus revenue would be its apportionment among the several States according to their ratio of representation, and should this measure not be found warranted by the Constitution that it would be expedient to propose to the States an amendment authorizing it. I regard an appeal to the source of power in cases of real doubt, and where its exercise is deemed indispensable to the general welfare, as among the most sacred of all our obligations.

Upon this country more than any other has, in the providence of God, been cast the special guardianship of the great principle of adherence to written constitutions. If it fail here, all hope in regard to it will be extinguished.

That this was intended to be a government of limited and specific, and not general, powers must be admitted by all, and it is our duty to preserve for it the character intended by its framers. If experience points out the necessity for an enlargement of these powers, let us apply for it to those for whose benefit it is to be exercised, and not under-mine the whole system by a resort to over-strained constructions. The scheme has worked well. It has exceeded the hopes of those who devised it, and become an object of admiration to the world. We are responsible to our country and to the glorious cause of self-government for the preservation of so great a good.

The great mass of legislation relating to our internal affairs was intended to be left where the Federal Convention found it--in the State governments. Nothing is clearer, in my view, than that we are chiefly indebted for the success of the Constitution under which we are now acting to the watchful and auxiliary operation of the State authorities. This is not the reflection of a day, but belongs to the most deeply rooted convictions of my mind. I can not, therefore, too strongly or too earnestly, for my own sense of its importance, warn you against all encroachments upon the legitimate sphere of State sovereignty. Sustained by its healthful and invigorating influence the federal system can never fall.

In the collection of the revenue the long credits authorized on goods imported from beyond the Cape of Good Hope are the chief cause of the losses at present sustained. If these were shortened to 6, 9, and 12 months, and ware-houses provided by Government sufficient to receive the goods offered in deposit for security and for debenture, and if the right of the United States to a priority of payment out of the estates of its insolvent debtors were more effectually secured, this evil would in a great measure be obviated. An authority to construct such houses is therefore, with the proposed alteration of the credits, recommended to your attention.

It is worthy of notice that the laws for the collection and security of the revenue arising from imposts were chiefly framed when the rates of duties on imported goods presented much less temptation for illicit trade than at present exists. There is reason to believe that these laws are in some respects quite insufficient for the proper security of the revenue and the protection of the interests of those who are disposed to observe them. The injurious and demoralizing tendency of a successful system of smuggling is so obvious as not to require comment, and can not be too carefully guarded against. I therefore suggest to Congress the propriety of adopting efficient measures to prevent this evil, avoiding, however, as much as possible, every unnecessary infringement of individual liberty and embarrassment of fair and lawful business.

On an examination of the records of the Treasury I have been forcibly struck with the large amount of public money which appears to be outstanding. Of the sum thus due from individuals to the Government a considerable portion is undoubtedly desperate, and in many instances has probably been rendered so by remissness in the agents charged with its collection. By proper exertions a great part, however, may yet be recovered; and what ever may be the portions respectively belonging to these two classes, it behooves the Government to ascertain the real state of the fact. This can be done only by the prompt adoption of judicious measures for the collection of such as may be made available. It is believed that a very large amount has been lost through the inadequacy of the means provided for the collection of debts due to the public, and that this inadequacy lies chiefly in the want of legal skill habitually and constantly employed in the direction of the agents engaged in the service. It must, I think, be admitted that the supervisory power over suits brought by the public, which is now vested in an accounting officer of the Treasury, not selected with a view to his legal knowledge, and encumbered as he is with numerous other duties, operates unfavorably to the public interest.

It is important that this branch of the public service should be subjected to the supervision of such professional skill as will give it efficiency. The expense attendant upon such a modification of the executive department would be justified by the soundest principles of economy. I would recommend, therefore, that the duties now assigned to the agent of the Treasury, so far as they relate to the superintendence and management of legal proceedings on the part of the United States, be transferred to the Attorney General, and that this officer be placed on the same footing in all respects as the heads of the other Departments, receiving like compensation and having such subordinate officers provided for his Department as may be requisite for the discharge of these additional duties. The professional skill of the Attorney General, employed in directing the conduct of marshals and district attorneys, would hasten the collection of debts now in suit and hereafter save much to the Government. It might be further extended to the superintendence of all criminal proceedings for offenses against the United States. In making this transfer great care should be taken, however, that the power necessary to the Treasury Department be not impaired, one of its greatest securities consisting in control over all accounts until they are audited or reported for suit.

In connection with the foregoing views I would suggest also an inquiry whether the provisions of the act of Congress authorizing the discharge of the persons of the debtors to the Government from imprisonment may not, consistently with the public interest, be extended to the release of the debt where the conduct of the debtor is wholly exempt from the imputation of fraud. Some more liberal policy than that which now prevails in reference to this unfortunate class of citizens is certainly due to them, and would prove beneficial to the country. The continuance of the liability after the means to discharge it have been exhausted can only serve to dispirit the debtor; or, where his resources are but partial, the want of power in the Government to compromise and release the demand instigates to fraud as the only resource for securing a support to his family. He thus sinks into a state of apathy, and becomes a useless drone in society or a vicious member of it, if not a feeling witness of the rigor and inhumanity of his country. All experience proves that oppressive debt is the bane of enterprise, and it should be the care of a republic not to exert a grinding power over misfortune and poverty.

Since the last session of Congress numerous frauds on the Treasury have been discovered, which I thought it my duty to bring under the cognizance of the United States court for this district by a criminal prosecution. It was my opinion and that of able counsel who were consulted that the cases came within the penalties of the act of the 17th Congress approved March 3d, 1823, providing for punishment of frauds committed on the Government of the United States. Either from some defect in the law or in its administration every effort to bring the accused to trial under its provisions proved ineffectual, and the Government was driven to the necessity of resorting to the vague and inadequate provisions of the common law. It is therefore my duty to call your attention to the laws which have been passed for the protection of the Treasury. If, indeed, there be no provision by which those who may be unworthily intrusted with its guardianship can be punished for the most flagrant violation of duty, extending even to the most fraudulent appropriation of the public funds to their own use, it is time to remedy so dangerous an omission; or if the law has been perverted from its original purposes, and criminals deserving to be punished under its provisions have been rescued by legal subtleties, it ought to be made so plain by amendatory provisions as to baffle the arts of perversion and accomplish the ends of its original enactment.

In one of the most flagrant causes the court decided that the prosecution was barred by the statute which limits prosecutions for fraud to two years. In this case all the evidences of the fraud, and, indeed, all knowledge that a fraud had been committed, were in possession of the party accused until after the two years had elapsed. Surely the statute ought not to run in favor of any man while he retains all the evidences of his crime in his own possession, and least of all in favor of a public officer who continues to defraud the Treasury and conceal the transaction for the brief term of two years. I would therefore recommend such an alteration of the law as will give the injured party and the Government two years after the disclosure of the fraud or after the accused is out of office to commence their prosecution.

In connection with this subject I invite the attention of Congress to a general and minute inquiry into the condition of the Government, with a view to ascertain what offices can be dispensed with, what expenses retrenched, and what improvements may be made in the organization of its various parts to secure the proper responsibility of public agents and promote efficiency and justice in all its operations.

The report of the Secretary of War will make you acquainted with the condition of our Army, fortifications, arsenals, and Indian affairs. The proper discipline of the Army, the training and equipment of the militia, the education bestowed at West Point, and the accumulation of the means of defense applicable to the naval force will tend to prolong the peace we now enjoy, and which every good citizen, more especially those who have felt the miseries of even a successful warfare, must ardently desire to perpetuate.

The returns from the subordinate branches of this service exhibit a regularity and order highly creditable to its character. Both officers and soldiers seem imbued with a proper sense of duty, and conform to the restraints of exact discipline with that cheerfulness which becomes the profession of arms. There is need, however, of further legislation to obviate the inconveniences specified in the report under consideration, to some of which it is proper that I should call your particular attention.

The act of Congress of March 2d, 1821, to reduce and fix the military establishment, remaining unexecuted as it regards the command of one of the regiments of artillery, can not now be deemed a guide to the Executive in making the proper appointment. An explanatory act, designating the class of officers out of which the grade is to be filled--whether from the military list as existing prior to the act of 1821 or from it as it has been fixed by that act--would remove this difficulty. It is also important that the laws regulating the pay and emoluments of officers generally should be more specific than they now are. Those, for example, in relation to the Pay Master and Surgeon General assign to them an annual salary of $2.500, but are silent as to allowances which in certain exigencies of the service may be deemed indispensable to the discharge of their duties. This circumstance has been the authority for extending to them various allowances at different times under former Administrations, but no uniform rule has been observed on the subject. Similar inconveniences exist in other cases, in which the construction put upon the laws by the public accountants may operate unequally, produce confusion, and expose officers to the odium of claiming what is not their due.

I recommend to your fostering care, as one of our safest means of national defense, the Military Academy. This institution has already exercised the happiest influence upon the moral and intellectual character of our Army; and such of the graduates as from various causes may not pursue the profession of arms will be scarcely less useful as citizens. Their knowledge of the military art will be advantageously employed in the militia service, and in a measure secure to that class of troops the advantages which in this respect belong to standing armies.

I would also suggest a review of the pension law, for the purpose of extending its benefits to every Revolutionary soldier who aided in establishing our liberties, and who is unable to maintain himself in comfort. These relics of the War of Independence have strong claims upon their country's gratitude and bounty. The law is defective in not embracing within its provisions all those who were during the last war disabled from supporting themselves by manual labor. Such an amendment would add but little to the amount of pensions, and is called for by the sympathies of the people as well as by considerations of sound policy.

It will be perceived that a large addition to the list of pensioners has been occasioned by an order of the late Administration, departing materially from the rules which had previously prevailed. Considering it an act of legislation, I suspended its operation as soon as I was informed that it had commenced. Before this period, however, applications under the new regulation had been preferred to the number of 154, of which, on March 27, the date of its revocation, 87 were admitted. For the amount there was neither estimate nor appropriation; and besides this deficiency, the regular allowances, according to the rules which have heretofore governed the Department, exceed the estimate of its late Secretary by about $50,000, for which an appropriation is asked.

Your particular attention is requested to that part of the report of the Secretary of War which relates to the money held in trust for the Seneca tribe of Indians. It will be perceived that without legislative aid the Executive can not obviate the embarrassments occasioned by the diminution of the dividends on that fund, which originally amounted to $100,000, and has recently been invested in United States 3% stock.

The condition and ulterior destiny of the Indian tribes within the limits of some of our States have become objects of much interest and importance. It has long been the policy of Government to introduce among them the arts of civilization, in the hope of gradually reclaiming them from a wandering life. This policy has, however, been coupled with another wholly incompatible with its success. Professing a desire to civilize and settle them, we have at the same time lost no opportunity to purchase their lands and thrust them farther into the wilderness. By this means they have not only been kept in a wandering state, but been led to look upon us as unjust and indifferent to their fate. Thus, though lavish in its expenditures upon the subject, Government has constantly defeated its own policy, and the Indians in general, receding farther and farther to the west, have retained their savage habits. A portion, however, of the Southern tribes, having mingled much with the whites and made some progress in the arts of civilized life, have lately attempted to erect an independent government within the limits of Georgia and Alabama. These States, claiming to be the only sovereigns within their territories, extended their laws over the Indians, which induced the latter to call upon the United States for protection.

Under these circumstances the question presented was whether the General Government had a right to sustain those people in their pretensions. The Constitution declares that "no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State" without the consent of its legislature. If the General Government is not permitted to tolerate the erection of a confederate State within the territory of one of the members of this Union against her consent, much less could it allow a foreign and independent government to establish itself there.

Georgia became a member of the Confederacy which eventuated in our Federal Union as a sovereign State, always asserting her claim to certain limits, which, having been originally defined in her colonial charter and subsequently recognized in the treaty of peace, she has ever since continued to enjoy, except as they have been circumscribed by her own voluntary transfer of a portion of her territory to the United States in the articles of cession of 1802. Alabama was admitted into the Union on the same footing with the original States, with boundaries which were prescribed by Congress.

There is no constitutional, conventional, or legal provision which allows them less power over the Indians within their borders than is possessed by Maine or New York. Would the people of Maine permit the Penobscot tribe to erect an independent government within their State? And unless they did would it not be the duty of the General Government to support them in resisting such a measure? Would the people of New York permit each remnant of the six Nations within her borders to declare itself an independent people under the protection of the United States? Could the Indians establish a separate republic on each of their reservations in Ohio? And if they were so disposed would it be the duty of this Government to protect them in the attempt? If the principle involved in the obvious answer to these questions be abandoned, it will follow that the objects of this Government are reversed, and that it has become a part of its duty to aid in destroying the States which it was established to protect.

Actuated by this view of the subject, I informed the Indians inhabiting parts of Georgia and Alabama that their attempt to establish an independent government would not be countenanced by the Executive of the United States, and advised them to emigrate beyond the Mississippi or submit to the laws of those States.

Our conduct toward these people is deeply interesting to our national character. Their present condition, contrasted with what they once were, makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies. Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions. By persuasion and force they have been made to retire from river to river and from mountain to mountain, until some of the tribes have become extinct and others have left but remnants to preserve for a while their once terrible names. Surrounded by the whites with their arts of civilization, which by destroying the resources of the savage doom him to weakness and decay, the fate of the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware is fast over-taking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek. That this fate surely awaits them if they remain within the limits of the States does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity. It is too late to inquire whether it was just in the United States to include them and their territory within the bounds of new States, whose limits they could control. That step can not be retraced. A State can not be dismembered by Congress or restricted in the exercise of her constitutional power. But the people of those States and of every State, actuated by feelings of justice and a regard for our national honor, submit to you the interesting question whether something can not be done, consistently with the rights of the States, to preserve this much-injured race. As a means of effecting this end I suggest for your consideration the propriety of setting apart an ample district west of the Mississippi, and without the limits of any State or Territory now formed, to be guaranteed to the Indian tribes as long as they shall occupy it, each tribe having a distinct control over the portion designated for its use. There they may be secured in the enjoyment of governments of their own choice, subject to no other control from the United States than such as may be necessary to preserve peace on the frontier and between the several tribes. There the benevolent may endeavor to teach them the arts of civilization, and, by promoting union and harmony among them, to raise up an interesting commonwealth, destined to perpetuate the race and to attest the humanity and justice of this Government.

This emigration should be voluntary, for it would be as cruel as unjust to compel the aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers and seek a home in a distant land. But they should be distinctly informed that if they remain within the limits of the States they must be subject to their laws. In return for their obedience as individuals they will without doubt be protected in the enjoyment of those possessions which they have improved by their industry. But it seems to me visionary to suppose that in this state of things claims can be allowed on tracts of country on which they have neither dwelt nor made improvements, merely because they have seen them from the mountain or passed them in the chase. Submitting to the laws of the States, and receiving, like other citizens, protection in their persons and property, they will ere long become merged in the mass of our population.

The accompanying report of the Secretary of the Navy will make you acquainted with the condition and useful employment of that branch of our service during the present year. Constituting as it does the best standing security of this country against foreign aggression, it claims the especial attention of Government. In this spirit the measures which since the termination of the last war have been in operation for its gradual enlargement were adopted, and it should continue to be cherished as the off-spring of our national experience. It will be seen, however, that not withstanding the great solicitude which has been manifested for the perfect organization of this arm and the liberality of the appropriations which that solicitude has suggested, this object has in many important respects not been secured.

In time of peace we have need of no more ships of war than are requisite to the protection of our commerce. Those not wanted for this object must lay in the harbors, where without proper covering they rapidly decay, and even under the best precautions for their preservation must soon become useless. Such is already the case with many of our finest vessels, which, though unfinished, will now require immense sums of money to be restored to the condition in which they were when committed to their proper element.

On this subject there can be but little doubt that our best policy would be to discontinue the building of ships of the first and second class, and look rather to the possession of ample materials, prepared for the emergencies of war, than to the number of vessels which we can float in a season of peace, as the index of our naval power. Judicious deposits in navy yards of timber and other materials, fashioned under the hands of skillful work-men and fitted for prompt application to their various purposes, would enable us at all times to construct vessels as fast as they can be manned, and save the heavy expense of repairs, except to such vessels as must be employed in guarding our commerce.

The proper points for the establishment of these yards are indicated with so much force in the report of the Navy Board that in recommending it to your attention I deem it unnecessary to do more than express my hearty concurrence in their views. The yard in this District, being already furnished with most of the machinery necessary for ship building, will be competent to the supply of the two selected by the Board as the best for the concentration of materials, and, from the facility and certainty of communication between them, it will be useless to incur at those depots the expense of similar machinery, especially that used in preparing the usual metallic and wooden furniture of vessels.

Another improvement would be effected by dispensing altogether with the Navy Board as now constituted, and substituting in its stead bureaux similar to those already existing in the War Department. Each member of the Board, transferred to the head of a separate bureau charged with specific duties, would feel in its highest degree that wholesome responsibility which can not be divided without a far more than proportionate diminution of its force. Their valuable services would become still more so when separately appropriated to distinct portions of the great interests of the Navy, to the prosperity of which each would be impelled to devote himself by the strongest motives. Under such an arrangement every branch of this important service would assume a more simple and precise character, its efficiency would be increased, and scrupulous economy in the expenditure of public money promoted.

I would also recommend that the Marine Corps be merged in the artillery or infantry, as the best mode of curing the many defects in its organization. But little exceeding in number any of the regiments of infantry, that corps has, besides its lieutenant-colonel commandant, five brevet lieutenant-colonels, who receive the full pay and emoluments of their brevet rank, without rendering proportionate service. Details for marine service could as well be made from the artillery or infantry, there being no peculiar training requisite for it.

With these improvements, and such others as zealous watchfulness and mature consideration may suggest, there can be little doubt that under an energetic administration of its affairs the Navy may soon be made every thing that the nation wishes it to be. Its efficiency in the suppression of piracy in the West India seas, and wherever its squadrons have been employed in securing the interests of the country, will appear from the report of the Secretary, to which I refer you for other interesting details. Among these I would bespeak the attention of Congress for the views presented in relation to the inequality between the Army and Navy as to the pay of officers. No such inequality should prevail between these brave defenders of their country, and where it does exist it is submitted to Congress whether it ought not to be rectified.

The report of the Post Master General is referred to as exhibiting a highly satisfactory administration of that 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 to ourselves the 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. An 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 members as would encumber the supreme appellate tribunal, is the object desired. Perhaps it might be accomplished by dividing the circuit judges into two classes, and providing that the Supreme Court should be held by these 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 determined upon, it would of course be necessary to revise the present arrangement 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 that 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 toward 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 its Secretary 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, I respectfully invite your attention to it.

The charter of the Bank of the United States expires in 1836, and its stock holders 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 principles and such deep pecuniary interests, I feel that I can 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 an 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 difficulties and at the same time secure all the advantages to the Government and country that were expected to result from the present bank.

I can not close this communication without bringing to your view the just claim of the representatives of Commodore Decatur, his officers and crew, arising from the recapture 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, I 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 recognized 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 here after 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 what ever 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.


State of the Union Address
Andrew Jackson
December 6, 1830

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

The pleasure I have in congratulating you upon your return to your constitutional duties is much heightened by the satisfaction which the condition of our beloved country at this period justly inspires. The beneficent Author of All Good has granted to us during the present year health, peace, and plenty, and numerous causes for joy in the wonderful success which attends the progress of our free institutions.

With a population unparalleled in its increase, and possessing a character which combines the hardihood of enterprise with the considerateness of wisdom, we see in every section of our happy country a steady improvement in the means of social intercourse, and correspondent effects upon the genius and laws of our extended Republic.

The apparent exceptions to the harmony of the prospect are to be referred rather to inevitable diversities in the various interests which enter into the composition of so extensive a whole than any want of attachment to the Union--interests whose collisions serve only in the end to foster the spirit of conciliation and patriotism so essential to the preservation of that Union which I most devoutly hope is destined to prove imperishable.

In the midst of these blessings we have recently witnessed changes in the conditions of other nations which may in their consequences call for the utmost vigilance, wisdom, and unanimity in our councils, and the exercise of all the moderation and patriotism of our people.

The important modifications of their Government, effected with so much courage and wisdom by the people of France, afford a happy presage of their future course, and have naturally elicited from the kindred feelings of this nation that spontaneous and universal burst of applause in which you have participated. In congratulating you, my fellow citizens, upon an event so auspicious to the dearest interests of man-kind I do no more than respond to the voice of my country, without transcending in the slightest degree that salutary maxim of the illustrious Washington which enjoins an abstinence from all interference with the internal affairs of other nations. From a people exercising in the most unlimited degree the right of self-government, and enjoying, as derived from this proud characteristic, under the favor of Heaven, much of the happiness with which they are blessed; a people who can point in triumph to their free institutions and challenge comparison with the fruits they bear, as well as with the moderation, intelligence, and energy with which they are administered-- from such a people the deepest sympathy was to be expected in a struggle for the sacred principles of liberty, conducted in a spirit every way worthy of the cause, and crowned by a heroic moderation which has disarmed revolution of its terrors. Not withstanding the strong assurances which the man whom we so sincerely love and justly admire has given to the world of the high character of the present King of the French, and which if sustained to the end will secure to him the proud appellation of Patriot King, it is not in his success, but in that of the great principle which has borne him to the throne--the paramount authority of the public will--that the American people rejoice.

I am happy to inform you that the anticipations which were indulged at the date of my last communication on the subject of our foreign affairs have been fully realized in several important particulars.

An arrangement has been effected with Great Britain in relation to the trade between the United States and her West India and North American colonies which has settled a question that has for years afforded matter for contention and almost uninterrupted discussion, and has been the subject of no less than six negotiations, in a manner which promises results highly favorable to the parties.

The abstract right of Great Britain to monopolize the trade with her colonies or to exclude us from a participation therein has never been denied by the United States. But we have contended, and with reason, that if at any time Great Britain may desire the productions of this country as necessary to her colonies they must be received upon principles of just reciprocity, and, further, that it is making an invidious and unfriendly distinction to open her colonial ports to the vessels of other nations and close them against those of the United States.

Antecedently to 1794 a portion of our productions was admitted into the colonial islands of Great Britain by particular concessions, limited to the term of one year, but renewed from year to year. In the transportation of these productions, however, our vessels were not allowed to engage, this being a privilege reserved to British shipping, by which alone our produce could be taken to the islands and theirs brought to us in return. From Newfoundland and her continental possessions all our productions, as well as our vessels, were excluded, with occasional relaxations, by which, in seasons of distress, the former were admitted in British bottoms.

By the treaty of 1794 she offered to concede to us for a limited time the right of carrying to her West India possessions in our vessels not exceeding 70 tons burthen, and upon the same terms as British vessels, any productions of the United States which British vessels might import therefrom. But this privilege was coupled with conditions which are supposed to have led to its rejection by the Senate; that is, that American vessels should land their return cargoes in the United States only, and, moreover, that they should during the continuance of the privilege be precluded from carrying molasses, sugar, coffee, cocoa, or cotton either from those islands or from the United States to any other part of the world. Great Britain readily consented to expunge this article from the treaty, and subsequent attempts to arrange the terms of the trade either by treaty stipulations or concerted legislation have failed, it has been successively suspended and allowed according to the varying legislation of the parties.

The following are the prominent points which have in later years separated the two Governments: Besides a restriction whereby all importations into her colonies in American vessels are confined to our own products carried hence, a restriction to which it does not appear that we have ever objected, a leading object on the part of Great Britain has been to prevent us from becoming the carriers of British West India commodities to any other country than our own. On the part of the United States it has been contended, first, that the subject should be regulated by treaty stipulation in preference to separate legislation; second, that our productions, when imported into the colonies in question, should not be subject to higher duties than the productions of the mother country or of her other colonial possessions, and, 3rd, that our vessels should be allowed to participate in the circuitous trade between the United States and different parts of the British dominions.

The first point, after having been for a long time strenuously insisted upon by Great Britain, was given up by the act of Parliament of July, 1825, all vessels suffered to trade with the colonies being permitted to clear from thence with any articles which British vessels might export and proceed to any part of the world, Great Britain and her dependencies alone excepted. On our part each of the above points had in succession been explicitly abandoned in negotiations preceding that of which the result is now announced.

This arrangement secures to the United States every advantage asked by them, and which the state of the negotiation allowed us to insist upon. The trade will be placed upon a footing decidedly more favorable to this country than any on which it ever stood, and our commerce and navigation will enjoy in the colonial ports of Great Britain every privilege allowed to other nations.

That the prosperity of the country so far as it depends on this trade will be greatly promoted by the new arrangement there can be no doubt. Independently of the more obvious advantages of an open and direct intercourse, its establishment will be attended with other consequences of a higher value. That which has been carried on since the mutual interdict under all the expense and inconvenience unavoidably incident to it would have been insupportably onerous had it not been in a great degree lightened by concerted evasions in the mode of making the transshipments at what are called the neutral ports. These indirections are inconsistent with the dignity of nations that have so many motives not only to cherish feelings of mutual friendship, but to maintain such relations as will stimulate their respective citizens and subjects to efforts of direct, open, and honorable competition only, and preserve them from the influence of seductive and vitiating circumstances.

When your preliminary interposition was asked at the close of the last session, a copy of the instructions under which Mr. McLane has acted, together with the communications which had at that time passed between him and the British Government, was laid before you. Although there has not been any thing in the acts of the two Governments which requires secrecy, it was thought most proper in the then state of the negotiation to make that communication a confidential one. So soon, however, as the evidence of execution on the part of Great Britain is received the whole matter shall be laid before you, when it will be seen that the apprehension which appears to have suggested one of the provisions of the act passed at your last session, that the restoration of the trade in question might be connected with other subjects and was sought to be obtained at the sacrifice of the public interest in other particulars, was wholly unfounded, and that the change which has taken place in the views of the British Government has been induced by considerations as honorable to both parties as I trust the result will prove beneficial.

This desirable result was, it will be seen, greatly promoted by the liberal and confiding provisions of the act of Congress of the last session, by which our ports were upon the reception and annunciation by the President of the required assurance on the part of Great Britain forthwith opened to her vessels before the arrangement could be carried into effect on her part, pursuing in this act of prospective legislation a similar course to that adopted by Great Britain in abolishing, by her act of Parliament in 1825, a restriction then existing and permitting our vessels to clear from the colonies on their return voyages for any foreign country whatever before British vessels had been relieved from the restriction imposed by our law of returning directly from the United States to the colonies, a restriction which she required and expected that we should abolish. Upon each occasion a limited and temporary advantage has been given to the opposite party, but an advantage of no importance in comparison with the restoration of mutual confidence and good feeling, and the ultimate establishment of the trade upon fair principles.

It gives me unfeigned pleasure to assure you that this negotiation has been throughout characterized by the most frank and friendly spirit on the part of Great Britain, and concluded in a manner strongly indicative of a sincere desire to cultivate the best relations with the United States. To reciprocate this disposition to the fullest extent of my ability is a duty which I shall deem it a privilege to discharge.

Although the result is itself the best commentary on the services rendered to his country by our minister at the Court of St. James, it would be doing violence to my feelings were I to dismiss the subject without expressing the very high sense I entertain of the talent and exertion which have been displayed by him on the occasion.

The injury to the commerce of the United States resulting from the exclusion of our vessels from the Black Sea and the previous footing of mere sufferance upon which even the limited trade enjoyed by us with Turkey has hitherto been placed have for a long time been a source of much solicitude to this Government, and several endeavors have been made to obtain a better state of things. Sensible of the importance of the object, I felt it my duty to leave no proper means unemployed to acquire for our flag the same privileges that are enjoyed by the principal powers of Europe. Commissioners were consequently appointed to open a negotiation with the Sublime Porte. Not long after the member of the commission who went directly from the United States had sailed, the account of the treaty of Adrianople, by which one of the objects in view was supposed to be secured, reached this country. The Black Sea was understood to be opened to us. Under the supposition that this was the case, the additional facilities to be derived from the establishment of commercial regulations with the Porte were deemed of sufficient importance to require a prosecution of the negotiation as originally contemplated. It was therefore persevered in, and resulted in a treaty, which will be forthwith laid before the Senate.

By its provisions a free passage is secured, without limitations of time, to the vessels of the United States to and from the Black Sea, including the navigation thereof, and our trade with Turkey is placed on the footing of the most favored nation. The latter is an arrangement wholly independent of the treaty of Adrianople, and the former derives much value, not only from the increased security which under any circumstances it would give to the right in question, but from the fact, ascertained in the course of the negotiation, that by the construction put upon that treaty by Turkey the article relating to the passage of the Bosphorus is confined to nations having treaties with the Porte. The most friendly feelings appear to be entertained by the Sultan, and an enlightened disposition is evinced by him to foster the intercourse between the two countries by the most liberal arrangements. This disposition it will be our duty and interest to cherish.

Our relations with Russia are of the most stable character. Respect for that Empire and confidence in its friendship toward the United States have been so long entertained on our part and so carefully cherished by the present Emperor and his illustrious predecessor as to have become incorporated with the public sentiment of the United States. No means will be left unemployed on my part to promote these salutary feelings and those improvements of which the commercial intercourse between the two countries is susceptible, and which have derived increased importance from our treaty with the Sublime Porte.

I sincerely regret to inform you that our minister lately commissioned to that Court, on whose distinguished talents and great experience in public affairs I place great reliance, has been compelled by extreme indisposition to exercise a privilege which, in consideration of the extent to which his constitution had been impaired in the public service, was committed to his discretion--of leaving temporarily his post for the advantage of a more genial climate.

If, as it is to be hoped, the improvement of his health should be such as to justify him in doing so, he will repair to St. Petersburg and resume the discharge of his official duties. I have received the most satisfactory assurances that in the mean time the public interest in that quarter will be preserved from prejudice by the intercourse which he will continue through the secretary of legation with the Russian cabinet.

You are apprised, although the fact has not yet been officially announced to the House of Representatives, that a treaty was in the month of March last concluded between the United States, and Denmark, by which $650 thousand are secured to our citizens as an indemnity for spoliations upon their commerce in the years 1808, 1809, 1810, and 1811. This treaty was sanctioned by the Senate at the close of its last session, and it now becomes the duty of Congress to pass the necessary laws for the organization of the board of commissioners to distribute the indemnity among the claimants. It is an agreeable circumstance in this adjustment that the terms are in conformity with the previously ascertained views of the claimants themselves, thus removing all pretense for a future agitation of the subject in any form.

The negotiations in regard to such points in our foreign relations as remain to be adjusted have been actively prosecuted during the recess. Material advances have been made, which are of a character to promise favorable results. Our country, by the blessing of God, is not in a situation to invite aggression, and it will be our fault if she ever becomes so. Sincerely desirous to cultivate the most liberal and friendly relations with all; ever ready to fulfill our engagements with scrupulous fidelity; limiting our demands upon others to mere justice; holding ourselves ever ready to do unto them as we would wish to be done by, and avoiding even the appearance of undue partiality to any nation, it appears to me impossible that a simple and sincere application of our principles to our foreign relations can fail to place them ultimately upon the footing on which it is our wish they should rest.

Of the points referred to, the most prominent are our claims upon France for spoliations upon our commerce; similar claims upon Spain, together with embarrassments in the commercial intercourse between the two countries which ought to be removed; the conclusion of the treaty of commerce and navigation with Mexico, which has been so long in suspense, as well as the final settlement of limits between ourselves and that Republic, and, finally, the arbitrament of the question between the United States and Great Britain in regard to the north-eastern boundary.

The negotiation with France has been conducted by our minister with zeal and ability, and in all respects to my entire satisfaction. Although the prospect of a favorable termination was occasionally dimmed by counter pretensions to which the United States could not assent, he yet had strong hopes of being able to arrive at a satisfactory settlement with the late Government. The negotiation has been renewed with the present authorities, and, sensible of the general and lively confidence of our citizens in the justice and magnanimity of regenerated France, I regret the more not to have it in my power yet to announce the result so confidently anticipated. No ground, however, inconsistent with this expectation has yet been taken, and I do not allow myself to doubt that justice will soon be done us. The amount of the claims, the length of time they have remained unsatisfied, and their incontrovertible justice make an earnest prosecution of them by this Government an urgent duty. The illegality of the seizures and confiscations out of which they have arisen is not disputed, and what ever distinctions may have heretofore been set up in regard to the liability of the existing Government it is quite clear that such considerations can not now be interposed.

The commercial intercourse between the two countries is susceptible of highly advantageous improvements, but the sense of this injury has had, and must continue to have, a very unfavorable influence upon them. From its satisfactory adjustment not only a firm and cordial friendship, but a progressive development of all their relations, may be expected. It is, therefore, my earnest hope that this old and vexatious subject of difference may be speedily removed.

I feel that my confidence in our appeal to the motives which should govern a just and magnanimous nation is alike warranted by the character of the French people and by the high voucher we possess for the enlarged views and pure integrity of the Monarch who now presides over their councils, and nothing shall be wanting on my part to meet any manifestation of the spirit we anticipate in one of corresponding frankness and liberality.

The subjects of difference with Spain have been brought to the view of that Government by our minister there with much force and propriety, and the strongest assurances have been received of their early and favorable consideration.

The steps which remained to place the matter in controversy between Great Britain and the United States fairly before the arbitrator have all been taken in the same liberal and friendly spirit which characterized those before announced. Recent events have doubtless served to delay the decision, but our minister at the Court of the distinguished arbitrator has been assured that it will be made within the time contemplated by the treaty.

I am particularly gratified in being able to state that a decidedly favorable, and, as I hope, lasting, change has been effected in our relations with the neighboring Republic of Mexico. The unfortunate and unfounded suspicions in regard to our disposition which it became my painful duty to advert to on a former occasion have been, I believe, entirely removed, and the Government of Mexico has been made to understand the real character of the wishes and views of this in regard to that country. The consequences is the establishment of friendship and mutual confidence. Such are the assurances I have received, and I see no cause to doubt their sincerity.

I had reason to expect the conclusion of a commercial treaty with Mexico in season for communication on the present occasion. Circumstances which are not explained, but which I am persuaded are not the result of an indisposition on her part to enter into it, have produced the delay.

There was reason to fear in the course of the last summer that the harmony of our relations might be disturbed by the acts of certain claimants, under Mexican grants, of territory which had hitherto been under our jurisdiction. The cooperation of the representative of Mexico near this Government was asked on the occasion and was readily afforded. Instructions and advice have been given to the governor of Arkansas and the officers in command in the adjoining Mexican State by which it is hoped the quiet of that frontier will be preserved until a final settlement of the dividing line shall have removed all ground of controversy.

The exchange of ratifications of the treaty concluded last year with Austria has not yet taken place. The delay has been occasioned by the non-arrival of the ratification of that Government within the time prescribed by the treaty. Renewed authority has been asked for by the representative of Austria, and in the mean time the rapidly increasing trade and navigation between the two countries have been placed upon the most liberal footing of our navigation acts.

Several alleged depredations have been recently committed on our commerce by the national vessels of Portugal. They have been made the subject of immediate remonstrance and reclamation. I am not yet possessed of sufficient information to express a definitive opinion of their character, but expect soon to receive it. No proper means shall be omitted to obtain for our citizens all the redress to which they may appear to be entitled.

Almost at the moment of the adjournment of your last session two bills--the one entitled "An act for making appropriations for building light houses, light boats, beacons, and monuments, placing buoys, and for improving harbors and directing surveys", and the other "An act to authorize a subscription for stock in the Louisville and Portland Canal Company"--were submitted for my approval. It was not possible within the time allowed for me before the close of the session to give to these bills the consideration which was due to their character and importance, and I was compelled to retain them for that purpose. I now avail myself of this early opportunity to return them to the Houses in which they respectively originated with the reasons which, after mature deliberation, compel me to withhold my approval.

The practice of defraying out of the Treasury of the United States the expenses incurred by the establishment and support of light houses, beacons, buoys, and public piers within the bays, inlets, harbors, and ports of the United States, to render the navigation thereof safe and easy, is coeval with the adoption of the Constitution, and has been continued without interruption or dispute.

As our foreign commerce increased and was extended into the interior of the country by the establishment of ports of entry and delivery upon our navigable rivers the sphere of those expenditures received a corresponding enlargement. Light houses, beacons, buoys, public piers, and the removal of sand bars, sawyers, and other partial or temporary impediments in the navigable rivers and harbors which were embraced in the revenue districts from time to time established by law were authorized upon the same principle and the expense defrayed in the same manner. That these expenses have at times been extravagant and disproportionate is very probable. The circumstances under which they are incurred are well calculated to lead to such a result unless their application is subjected to the closest scrutiny. The local advantages arising from the disbursement of public money too frequently, it is to be feared, invite appropriations for objects of this character that are neither necessary nor useful.

The number of light house keepers is already very large, and the bill before me proposes to add to it 51 more of various descriptions. From representations upon the subject which are understood to be entitled to respect I am induced to believe that there has not only been great improvidence in the past expenditures of the Government upon these objects, but that the security of navigation has in some instances been diminished by the multiplication of light houses and consequent change of lights upon the coast. It is in this as in other respects our duty to avoid all unnecessary expense, as well as every increase of patronage not called for by the public service.

But in the discharge of that duty in this particular it must not be forgotten that in relation to our foreign commerce the burden and benefit of protecting and accommodating it necessarily go together, and must do so as long as the public revenue is drawn from the people through the custom house. It is indisputable that whatever gives facility and security to navigation cheapens imports and all who consume them are alike interested in what ever produces this effect. If they consume, they ought, as they now do, to pay; otherwise they do not pay. The consumer in the most inland State derives the same advantage from every necessary and prudent expenditure for the facility and security of our foreign commerce and navigation that he does who resides in a maritime State. Local expenditures have not of themselves a corresponding operation.

From a bill making direct appropriations for such objects I should not have withheld my assent. The one now returned does so in several particulars, but it also contains appropriations for surveys of local character, which I can not approve. It gives me satisfaction to find that no serious inconvenience has arisen from withholding my approval from this bill; nor will it, I trust, be cause of regret that an opportunity will be thereby afforded for Congress to review its provisions under circumstances better calculated for full investigation than those under which it was passed.

In speaking of direct appropriations I mean not to include a practice which has obtained to some extent, and to which I have in one instance, in a different capacity, given my assent--that of subscribing to the stock of private associations. Positive experience and a more thorough consideration of the subject have convinced me of the impropriety as well as inexpediency of such investments. All improvements effected by the funds of the nation for general use should be open to the enjoyment of all our fellow citizens, exempt from the payment of tolls or any imposition of that character. The practice of thus mingling the concerns of the Government with those of the States or of individuals is inconsistent with the object of its institution and highly impolite. The successful operation of the federal system can only be preserved by confining it to the few and simple, but yet important, objects for which it was designed.

A different practice, if allowed to progress, would ultimately change the character of this Government by consolidating into one the General and State Governments, which were intended to be kept for ever distinct. I can not perceive how bills authorizing such subscriptions can be otherwise regarded than as bills for revenue, and consequently subject to the rule in that respect prescribed by the Constitution. If the interest of the Government in private companies is subordinate to that of individuals, the management and control of a portion of the public funds is delegated to an authority unknown to the Constitution and beyond the supervision of our constituents; if superior, its officers and agents will be constantly exposed to imputations of favoritism and oppression. Direct prejudice the public interest or an alienation of the affections and respect of portions of the people may, therefore, in addition to the general discredit resulting to the Government from embarking with its constituents in pecuniary stipulations, be looked for as the probable fruit of such associations. It is no answer to this objection to say that the extent of consequences like these can not be great from a limited and small number of investments, because experience in other matters teaches us--and we are not at liberty to disregard its admonitions--that unless an entire stop be put to them it will soon be impossible to prevent their accumulation until they are spread over the whole country and made to embrace many of the private and appropriate concerns of individuals.

The power which the General Government would acquire within the several States by becoming the principal stock-holder in corporations, controlling every canal and each 60 or 100 miles of every important road, and giving a proportionate vote in all their elections, is almost inconceivable, and in my view dangerous to the liberties of the people.

This mode of aiding such works is also in its nature deceptive, and in many cases conducive to improvidence in the administration of the national funds. Appropriations will be obtained with much greater facility and granted with less security to the public interest when the measure is thus disguised than when definite and direct expenditures of money are asked for. The interests of the nation would doubtless be better served by avoiding all such indirect modes of aiding particular objects. In a government like ours more especially should all public acts be, as far as practicable, simple, undisguised, and intelligible, that they may become fit subjects for the approbation to animadversion of the people.

The bill authorizing a subscription to the Louisville and Portland Canal affords a striking illustration of the difficulty of withholding additional appropriations for the same object when the first erroneous step has been taken by instituting a partnership between the Government and private companies. It proposes a third subscription on the part of the United States, when each preceding one was at the time regarded as the extent of the aid which Government was to render to that work; and the accompanying bill for light houses, etc., contains an appropriation for a survey of the bed of the river, with a view to its improvement by removing the obstruction which the canal is designed to avoid. This improvement, if successful, would afford a free passage of the river and render the canal entirely useless. To such improvidence is the course of legislation subject in relation to internal improvements on local matters, even with the best intentions on the part of Congress.

Although the motives which have influenced me in this matter may be already sufficiently stated, I am, never the less, induced by its importance to add a few observations of a general character.

In my objections to the bills authorizing subscriptions to the Maysville and Rockville road companies I expressed my views fully in regard to the power of Congress to construct roads and canals within a State of to appropriate money for improvements of a local character. I at the same time intimated me belief that the right to make appropriations for such as were of a national character had been so generally acted upon and so long acquiesced in by the Federal and State Governments and the constituents of each as to justify its exercise on the ground of continued and uninterrupted usage, but that it was, never the less, highly expedient that appropriations even of that character should, with the exception made at the time, be deferred until the national debt is paid, and that in the mean while some general rule for the action of the Government in that respect ought to be established.

These suggestions were not necessary to the decision of the question then before me, and were, I readily admit, intended to awake the attention and draw forth the opinion and observations of our constituents upon a subject of the highest importance to their interests, and one destined to exert a powerful influence upon the future operations of our political system. I know of no tribunal to which a public man in this country, in a case of doubt and difficulty, can appeal with greater advantage or more propriety than the judgment of the people; and although I must necessarily in the discharge of my official duties be governed by the dictates of my own judgment, I have no desire to conceal my anxious wish to conform as far as I can to the views of those for whom I act.

All irregular expressions of public opinion are of necessity attended with some doubt as to their accuracy, but making full allowances on that account I can not, I think, deceive myself in believing that the acts referred to, as well as the suggestions which I allowed myself to make in relation to their bearing upon the future operations of the Government, have been approved by the great body of the people. That those whose immediate pecuniary interests are to be affected by proposed expenditures should shrink from the application of a rule which prefers their more general and remote interests to those which are personal and immediate is to be expected. But even such objections must from the nature of our population be but temporary in their duration, and if it were otherwise our course should be the same, for the time is yet, I hope, far distant when those intrusted with power to be exercised for the good of the whole will consider it either honest or wise to purchase local favors at the sacrifice of principle and general good.

So understanding public sentiment, and thoroughly satisfied that the best interests of our common country imperiously require that the course which I have recommended in this regard should be adopted, I have, upon the most mature consideration, determined to pursue it.

It is due to candor, as well as to my own feelings, that I should express the reluctance and anxiety which I must at all times experience in exercising the undoubted right of the Executive to withhold his assent from bills on other grounds than their constitutionality. That this right should not be exercised on slight occasions all will admit. It is only in matters of deep interest, when the principle involved may be justly regarded as next in importance to infractions of the Constitution itself, that such a step can be expected to meet with the approbation of the people. Such an occasion do I conscientiously believe the present to be.

In the discharge of this delicate and highly responsible duty I am sustained by the reflection that the exercise of this power has been deemed consistent with the obligation of official duty by several of my predecessors, and by the persuasion, too, that what ever liberal institutions may have to fear from the encroachments of Executive power, which has been every where the cause of so much strife and bloody contention, but little danger is to be apprehended from a precedent by which that authority denies to itself the exercise of powers that bring in their train influence and patronage of great extent, and thus excludes the operation of personal interests, every where the bane of official trust.

I derive, too, no small degree of satisfaction from the reflection that if I have mistaken the interests and wishes of the people the Constitution affords the means of soon redressing the error by selecting for the place their favor has bestowed upon me a citizen whose opinions may accord with their own. I trust, in the mean time, the interests of the nation will be saved from prejudice by a rigid application of that portion of the public funds which might otherwise be applied to different objects to that highest of all our obligations, the payment of the public debt, and an opportunity be afforded for the adoption of some better rule for the operations of the Government in this matter than any which has hitherto been acted upon.

Profoundly impressed with the importance of the subject, not merely as relates to the general prosperity of the country, but to the safety of the federal system, I can not avoid repeating my earnest hope that all good citizens who take a proper interest in the success and harmony of our admirable political institutions, and who are incapable of desiring to convert an opposite state of things into means for the gratification of personal ambition, will, laying aside minor considerations and discarding local prejudices, unite their honest exertions to establish some fixed general principle which shall be calculated to effect the greatest extent of public good in regard to the subject of internal improvement, and afford the least ground for sectional discontent.

The general grounds of my objection to local appropriations have been heretofore expressed, and I shall endeavor to avoid a repetition of what has been already urged--the importance of sustaining the State sovereignties as far as is consistent with the rightful action of the Federal Government, and of preserving the greatest attainable harmony between them. I will now only add an expression of my conviction--a conviction which every day's experience serves to confirm--that the political creed which inculcates the pursuit of those great objects as a paramount duty is the true faith, and one to which we are mainly indebted for the present success of the entire system, and to which we must alone look for its future stability.

That there are diversities in the interests of the different States which compose this extensive Confederacy must be admitted. Those diversities arising from situation, climate, population, and pursuits are doubtless, as it is natural they should be, greatly exaggerated by jealousies and that spirit of rivalry so inseparable from neighboring communities. These circumstances make it the duty of those who are intrusted with the management of its affairs to neutralize their effects as far as practicable by making the beneficial operation of the Federal Government as equal and equitable among the several States as can be done consistently with the great ends of its institution.

It is only necessary to refer to undoubted facts to see how far the past acts of the Government upon the subject under consideration have fallen short of this object. The expenditures heretofore made for internal improvements amount to upward of $5 millions, and have been distributed in very unequal proportions amongst the States. The estimated expense of works of which surveys have been made, together with that of others projected and partially surveyed, amounts to more than $96 millions.

That such improvements, on account of particular circumstances, may be more advantageously and beneficially made in some States than in others is doubtless true, but that they are of a character which should prevent an equitable distribution of the funds amongst the several States is not to be conceded. The want of this equitable distribution can not fail to prove a prolific source of irritation among the States.

We have it constantly before our eyes that professions of superior zeal in the cause of internal improvement and a disposition to lavish the public funds upon objects of this character are daily and earnestly put forth by aspirants to power as constituting the highest claims to the confidence of the people. Would it be strange, under such circumstances, and in times of great excitement, that grants of this description should find their motives in objects which may not accord with the public good? Those who have not had occasion to see and regret the indication of a sinister influence in these matters in past times have been more fortunate than myself in their observation of the course of public affairs. If to these evils be added the combinations and angry contentions to which such a course of things gives rise, with their baleful influences upon the legislation of Congress touching the leading and appropriate duties of the Federal Government, it was but doing justice to the character of our people to expect the severe condemnation of the past which the recent exhibitions of public sentiment has evinced.

Nothing short of a radical change in the action of the Government upon the subject can, in my opinion, remedy the evil. If, as it would be natural to expect, the States which have been least favored in past appropriations should insist on being redressed in those here after to be made, at the expense of the States which have so largely and disproportionately participated, we have, as matters now stand, but little security that the attempt would do more than change the inequality from one quarter to another.

Thus viewing the subject, I have heretofore felt it my duty to recommend the adoption of some plan for the distribution of the surplus funds, which may at any time remain in the Treasury after the national debt shall have been paid, among the States, in proportion to the number of their Representatives, to be applied by them to objects of internal improvement.

Although this plan has met with favor in some portions of the Union, it has also elicited objections which merit deliberate consideration. A brief notice of these objections here will not, therefore, I trust, be regarded as out of place.

They rest, as far as they have come to my knowledge, on the following grounds: first, an objection to the ration of distribution; second, an apprehension that the existence of such a regulation would produce improvident and oppressive taxation to raise the funds for distribution; 3rd, that the mode proposed would lead to the construction of works of a local nature, to the exclusion of such as are general and as would consequently be of a more useful character; and, last, that it would create a discreditable and injurious dependence on the part of the State governments upon the Federal power.

Of those who object to the ration of representatives as the basis of distribution, some insist that the importations of the respective States would constitute one that would be more equitable; and others again, that the extent of their respective territories would furnish a standard which would be more expedient and sufficiently equitable. The ration of representation presented itself to my mind, and it still does, as one of obvious equity, because of its being the ratio of contribution, whether the funds to be distributed be derived from the customs or from direct taxation. It does not follow, however, that its adoption is indispensable to the establishment of the system proposed. There may be considerations appertaining to the subject which would render a departure, to some extent, from the rule of contribution proper. Nor is it absolutely necessary that the basis of distribution be confined to one ground. It may, if in the judgment of those whose right it is to fix it it be deemed politic and just to give it that character, have regard to several.

In my first message I stated it to be my opinion that "it is not probably that any adjustment of the tariff upon principles satisfactory to the people of the Union will until a remote period, if ever, leave the Government without a considerable surplus in the Treasury beyond what may be required for its current surplus". I have had no cause to change that opinion, but much to confirm it. Should these expectations be realized, a suitable fund would thus be produced for the plan under consideration to operate upon, and if there be no such fund its adoption will, in my opinion, work no injury to any interest; for I can not assent to the justness of the apprehension that the establishment of the proposed system would tend to the encouragement of improvident legislation of the character supposed. What ever the proper authority in the exercise of constitutional power shall at any time here after decide to be for the general good will in that as in other respects deserve and receive the acquiescence and support of the whole country, and we have ample security that every abuse of power in that regard by agents of the people will receive a speedy and effectual corrective at their hands. The views which I take of the future, founded on the obvious and increasing improvement of all classes of our fellow citizens in intelligence and in public and private virtue, leave me without much apprehension on that head.

I do not doubt that those who come after us will be as much alive as we are to the obligation upon all the trustees of political power to exempt those for whom they act from all unnecessary burthens, and as sensible of the great truth that the resources of the nation beyond those required for immediate and necessary purposes of Government can no where be so well deposited as in the pockets of the people.

It may some times happen that the interests of particular States would not be deemed to coincide with the general interest in relation to improvements within such States. But if the danger to be apprehended from this source is sufficient to require it, a discretion might be reserved to Congress to direct to such improvements of a general character as the States concerned might not be disposed to unite in, the application of the quotas of those States, under the restriction of confining to each State the expenditure of its appropriate quota. It may, however, be assumed as a safe general rule that such improvements as serve to increase the prosperity of the respective States in which they are made, by giving new facilities to trade, and thereby augmenting the wealth and comfort of their inhabitants, constitute the surest mode of conferring permanent and substantial advantages upon the whole. The strength as well as the true glory of the Confederacy is founded on the prosperity and power of the several independent sovereignties of which it is composed and the certainty with which they can be brought into successful active cooperation through the agency of the Federal Government.

It is, more over, within the knowledge of such as are at all conversant with public affairs that schemes of internal improvement have from time to time been proposed which, from their extent and seeming magnificence, were readily regarded as of national concernment, but which upon fuller consideration and further experience would now be rejected with great unanimity.

That the plan under consideration would derive important advantages from its certainty, and that the moneys set apart for these purposes would be more judiciously applied and economically expended under the direction of the State legislatures, in which every part of each State is immediately represented, can not, I think, be doubted. In the new States particularly, where a comparatively small population is scattered over an extensive surface, and the representation in Congress consequently very limited, it is natural to expect that the appropriations made by the Federal Government would be more likely to be expended in the vicinity of those numbers through whose immediate agency they were obtained than if the funds were placed under the control of the legislature, in which every county of the State has its own representative. This supposition does not necessarily impugn the motives of such Congressional representatives, nor is it so intended. We are all sensible of the bias to which the strongest minds and purest hearts are, under such circumstances, liable. In respect to the last objection--its probable effect upon the dignity and independence of State governments--it appears to me only necessary to state the case as it is, and as it would be if the measure proposed were adopted, to show that the operation is most likely to be the very reverse of that which the objection supposes.

In the one case the State would receive its quota of the national revenue for domestic use upon a fixed principle as a matter of right, and from a fund to the creation of which it had itself contributed its fair proportion. Surely there could be nothing derogatory in that. As matters now stand the States themselves, in their sovereign character, are not unfrequently petitioners at the bar of the Federal Legislature for such allowances out of the National Treasury as it may comport with their pleasure or sense of duty to bestow upon them. It can not require argument to prove which of the two courses is most compatible with the efficiency or respectability of the State governments.

But all these are matters for discussion and dispassionate consideration. That the desired adjustment would be attended with difficulty affords no reason why it should not be attempted. The effective operation of such motives would have prevented the adoption of the Constitution under which we have so long lived and under the benign influence of which our beloved country has so signally prospered. The framers of that sacred instrument had greater difficulties to overcome, and they did overcome them. The patriotism of the people, directed by a deep conviction of the importance of the Union, produced mutual concession and reciprocal forbearance. Strict right was merged in a spirit of compromise, and the result has consecrated their disinterested devotion to the general weal. Unless the American people have degenerated, the same result can be again effected when ever experience points out the necessity of a resort to the same means to uphold the fabric which their fathers have reared.

It is beyond the power of man to make a system of government like ours or any other operate with precise equality upon States situated like those which compose this Confederacy; nor is inequality always injustice. Every State can not expect to shape the measures of the General Government to suit its own particular interests. The causes which prevent it are seated in the nature of things, and can not be entirely counteracted by human means. Mutual forbearance becomes, therefore, a duty obligatory upon all, and we may, I am confident, count upon a cheerful compliance with this high injunction on the part of our constituents. It is not to be supposed that they will object to make such comparatively inconsiderable sacrifices for the preservation of rights and privileges which other less favored portions of the world have in vain waded through seas of blood to acquire.

Our course is a safe one if it be but faithfully adhered to. Acquiescence in the constitutionally expressed will of the majority, and the exercise of that will in a spirit of moderation, justice, and brotherly kindness, will constitute a cement which would for ever preserve our Union. Those who cherish and inculcate sentiments like these render a most essential service to their country, while those who seek to weaken their influence are, how ever conscientious and praise worthy their intentions, in effect its worst enemies.

If the intelligence and influence of the country, instead of laboring to foment sectional prejudices, to be made subservient to party warfare, were in good faith applied to the eradication of causes of local discontent, by the improvement of our institutions and by facilitating their adaptation to the condition of the times, this task would prove one of less difficulty. May we not hope that the obvious interests of our common country and the dictates of an enlightened patriotism will in the end lead the public mind in that direction?

After all, the nature of the subject does not admit of a plan wholly free from objection. That which has for some time been in operation is, perhaps, the worst that could exist, and every advance that can be made in its improvement is a matter eminently worthy of your most deliberate attention.

It is very possible that one better calculated to effect the objects in view may yet be devised. If so, it is to be hoped that those who disapprove the past and dissent from what is proposed for the future will feel it their duty to direct their attention to it, as they must be sensible that unless some fixed rule for the action of the Federal Government in this respect is established the course now attempted to be arrested will be again resorted to. Any mode which is calculated to give the greatest degree of effect and harmony to our legislation upon the subject, which shall best serve to keep the movements of the Federal Government within the sphere intended by those who modeled and those who adopted it, which shall lead to the extinguishment of the national debt in the shortest period and impose the lightest burthens upon our constituents, shall receive from me a cordial and firm support.

Among the objects of great national concern I can not omit to press again upon your attention that part of the Constitution which regulates the election of President and Vice-President. The necessity for its amendment is made so clear to my mind by observation of its evils and by the many able discussions which they have elicited on the floor of Congress and elsewhere that I should be wanting to my duty were I to withhold another expression of my deep solicitude on the subject. Our system fortunately contemplates a recurrence to first principles, differing in this respect from all that have preceded it, and securing it, I trust, equally against the decay and the commotions which have marked the progress of other governments.

Our fellow citizens, too, who in proportion to their love of liberty keep a steady eye upon the means of sustaining it, do not require to be reminded of the duty they owe to themselves to remedy all essential defects in so vital a part of their system. While they are sensible that every evil attendant upon its operation is not necessarily indicative of a bad organization, but may proceed from temporary causes, yet the habitual presence, or even a single instance, of evils which can be clearly traced to an organic defect will not, I trust, be over-looked through a too scrupulous veneration for the work of their ancestors.

The Constitution was an experiment committed to the virtue and intelligence of the great mass of our country-men, in whose ranks the framers of it themselves were to perform the part of patriotic observation and scrutiny, and if they have passed from the stage of existence with an increased confidence in its general adaptation to our condition we should learn from authority so high the duty of fortifying the points in it which time proves to be exposed rather than be deterred from approaching them by the suggestions of fear or the dictates of misplaced reverence.

A provision which does not secure to the people a direct choice of their Chief Magistrate, but has a tendency to defeat their will, presented to my mind such an inconsistence with the general spirit of our institutions that I was indeed to suggest for your consideration the substitute which appeared to me at the same time the most likely to correct the evil and to meet the views of our constituents. The most mature reflection since has added strength to the belief that the best interests of our country require the speedy adoption of some plan calculated to effect this end. A contingency which some times places it in the power of a single member of the House of Representatives to decide an election of so high and solemn a character is unjust to the people, and becomes when it occurs a source of embarrassment to the individuals thus brought into power and a cause of distrust of the representative body.

Liable as the Confederacy is, from its great extent, to parties founded upon sectional interests, and to a corresponding multiplication of candidates for the Presidency, the tendency of the constitutional reference to the House of Representatives is to devolve the election upon that body in almost every instance, and, what ever choice may then be made among the candidates thus presented to them, to swell the influence of particular interests to a degree inconsistent with the general good. The consequences of this feature of the Constitution appear far more threatening to the peace and integrity of the Union than any which I can conceive as likely to result from the simple legislative action of the Federal Government.

It was a leading object with the framers of the Constitution to keep as separate as possible the action of the legislative and executive branches of the Government. To secure this object nothing is more essential than to preserve the former from all temptations of private interest, and therefore so to direct the patronage of the latter as not to permit such temptations to be offered. Experience abundantly demonstrates that every precaution in this respect is a valuable safe-guard of liberty, and one which my reflections upon the tendencies of our system incline me to think should be made still stronger.

It was for this reason that, in connection with an amendment of the Constitution removing all intermediate agency in the choice of the President, I recommended some restrictions upon the re-eligibility of that officer and upon the tenure of offices generally. The reason still exists, and I renew the recommendation with an increased confidence that its adoption will strengthen those checks by which the Constitution designed to secure the independence of each department of the Government and promote the healthful and equitable administration of all the trusts which it has created.

The agent most likely to contravene this design of the Constitution is the Chief Magistrate. In order, particularly, that his appointment may as far as possible be placed beyond the reach of any improper influences; in order that he may approach the solemn responsibilities of the highest office in the gift of a free people uncommitted to any other course than the strict line of constitutional duty, and that the securities for this independence may be rendered as strong as the nature of power and the weakness of its possessor will admit, I can not too earnestly invite your attention to the propriety of promoting such an amendment of the Constitution as will render him ineligible after one term of service.

It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly 30 years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy consummation. Two important tribes have accepted the provision made for their removal at the last session of Congress, and it is believed that their example will induce the remaining tribes also to seek the same obvious advantages.

The consequences of a speedy removal will be important to the United States, to individual States, and to the Indians themselves. The pecuniary advantages which it promises to the Government are the least of its recommendations. It puts an end to all possible danger of collision between the authorities of the General and State Governments on account of the Indians. It will place a dense and civilized population in large tracts of country now occupied by a few savage hunters. By opening the whole territory between Tennessee on the north and Louisiana on the south to the settlement of the whites it will incalculably strengthen the south west frontier and render the adjacent States strong enough to repel future invasions without remote aid. It will relieve the whole State of Mississippi and the western part of Alabama of Indian occupancy, and enable those States to advance rapidly in population, wealth, and power. It will separate the Indians from immediate contact with settlements of whites; free them from the power of the States; enable them to pursue happiness in their own way and under their own rude institutions; will retard the progress of decay, which is lessening their numbers, and perhaps cause them gradually, under the protection of the Government and through the influence of good counsels, to cast off their savage habits and become an interesting, civilized, and Christian community. These consequences, some of them so certain and the rest so probable, make the complete execution of the plan sanctioned by Congress at their last session an object of much solicitude.

Toward the aborigines of the country no one can indulge a more friendly feeling than myself, or would go further in attempting to reclaim them from their wandering habits and make them a happy, prosperous people. I have endeavored to impress upon them my own solemn convictions of the duties and powers of the General Government in relation to the State authorities. For the justice of the laws passed by the States within the scope of their reserved powers they are not responsible to this Government. As individuals we may entertain and express our opinions of their acts, but as a Government we have as little right to control them as we have to prescribe laws for other nations.

With a full understanding of the subject, the Choctaw and the Chickasaw tribes have with great unanimity determined to avail themselves of the liberal offers presented by the act of Congress, and have agreed to remove beyond the Mississippi River. Treaties have been made with them, which in due season will be submitted for consideration. In negotiating these treaties they were made to understand their true condition, and they have preferred maintaining their independence in the Western forests to submitting to the laws of the States in which they now reside. These treaties, being probably the last which will ever be made with them, are characterized by great liberality on the part of the Government. They give the Indians a liberal sum in consideration of their removal, and comfortable subsistence on their arrival at their new homes. If it be their real interest to maintain a separate existence, they will there be at liberty to do so without the inconveniences and vexations to which they would unavoidably have been subject in Alabama and Mississippi.

Humanity has often wept over the fate of the aborigines of this country, and Philanthropy has been long busily employed in devising means to avert it, but its progress has never for a moment been arrested, and one by one have many powerful tribes disappeared from the earth. To follow to the tomb the last of his race and to tread on the graves of extinct nations excite melancholy reflections. But true philanthropy reconciles the mind to these vicissitudes as it does to the extinction of one generation to make room for another. In the monuments and fortifications of an unknown people, spread over the extensive regions of the West, we behold the memorials of a once powerful race, which was exterminated of has disappeared to make room for the existing savage tribes. Nor is there any thing in this which, upon a comprehensive view of the general interests of the human race, is to be regretted. Philanthropy could not wish to see this continent restored to the condition in which it was found by our forefathers. What good man would prefer a country covered with forests and ranged by a few thousand savages to our extensive Republic, studded with cities, towns, and prosperous farms, embellished with all the improvements which art can devise or industry execute, occupied by more than 12,000,000 happy people, and filled with all the blessings of liberty, civilization, and religion?

The present policy of the Government is but a continuation of the same progressive change by a milder process. The tribes which occupied the countries now constituting the Eastern States were annihilated or have melted away to make room for the whites. The waves of population and civilization are rolling to the westward, and we now propose to acquire the countries occupied by the red men of the South and West by a fair exchange, and, at the expense of the United States, to send them to a land where their existence may be prolonged and perhaps made perpetual.

Doubtless it will be painful to leave the graves of their fathers; but what do they more than our ancestors did or than our children are now doing? To better their condition in an unknown land our forefathers left all that was dear in earthly objects. Our children by thousands yearly leave the land of their birth to seek new homes in distant regions. Does Humanity weep at these painful separations from every thing, animate and inanimate, with which the young heart has become entwined? Far from it. It is rather a source of joy that our country affords scope where our young population may range unconstrained in body or in mind, developing the power and faculties of man in their highest perfection.

These remove hundreds and almost thousands of miles at their own expense, purchase the lands they occupy, and support themselves at their new homes from the moment of their arrival. Can it be cruel in this Government when, by events which it can not control, the Indian is made discontented in his ancient home to purchase his lands, to give him a new and extensive territory, to pay the expense of his removal, and support him a year in his new abode? How many thousands of our own people would gladly embrace the opportunity of removing to the West on such conditions! If the offers made to the Indians were extended to them, they would be hailed with gratitude and joy.

And is it supposed that the wandering savage has a stronger attachment to his home than the settled, civilized Christian? Is it more afflicting to him to leave the graves of his fathers than it is to our brothers and children? Rightly considered, the policy of the General Government toward the red man is not only liberal, but generous. He is unwilling to submit to the laws of the States and mingle with their population. To save him from this alternative, or perhaps utter annihilation, the General Government kindly offers him a new home, and proposes to pay the whole expense of his removal and settlement.

In the consummation of a policy originating at an early period, and steadily pursued by every Administration within the present century--so just to the States and so generous to the Indians--the Executive feels it has a right to expect the cooperation of Congress and of all good and disinterested men. The States, moreover, have a right to demand it. It was substantially a part of the compact which made them members of our Confederacy. With Georgia there is an express contract; with the new States an implied one of equal obligation. Why, in authorizing Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, and Alabama to form constitutions and become separate States, did Congress include within their limits extensive tracts of Indian lands, and, in some instances, powerful Indian tribes? Was it not understood by both parties that the power of the States was to be coextensive with their limits, and that with all convenient dispatch the General Government should extinguish the Indian title and remove every obstruction to the complete jurisdiction of the State governments over the soil? Probably not one of those States would have accepted a separate existence--certainly it would never have been granted by Congress--had it been understood that they were to be confined for ever to those small portions of their nominal territory the Indian title to which had at the time been extinguished.

It is, therefore, a duty which this Government owes to the new States to extinguish as soon as possible the Indian title to all lands which Congress themselves have included within their limits. When this is done the duties of the General Government in relation to the States and the Indians within their limits are at an end. The Indians may leave the State or not, as they choose. The purchase of their lands does not alter in the least their personal relations with the State government. No act of the General Government has ever been deemed necessary to give the States jurisdiction over the persons of the Indians. That they possess by virtue of their sovereign power within their own limits in as full a manner before as after the purchase of the Indian lands; nor can this Government add to or diminish it.

May we not hope, therefore, that all good citizens, and none more zealously than those who think the Indians oppressed by subjection to the laws of the States, will unite in attempting to open the eyes of those children of the forest to their true condition, and by a speedy removal to relieve them from all the evils, real or imaginary, present or prospective, with which they may be supposed to be threatened.

Among the numerous causes of congratulation the condition of our impost revenue deserves special mention, in as much as it promises the means of extinguishing the public debt sooner than was anticipated, and furnishes a strong illustration of the practical effects of the present tariff upon our commercial interests.

The object of the tariff is objected to by some as unconstitutional, and it is considered by almost all as defective in many of its parts.

The power to impose duties on imports originally belonged to the several States. The right to adjust those duties with a view to the encouragement of domestic branches of industry is so completely incidental to that power that it is difficult to suppose the existence of the one without the other. The States have delegated their whole authority over imports to the General Government without limitation or restriction, saving the very inconsiderable reservation relating to their inspection laws. This authority having thus entirely passed from the States, the right to exercise it for the purpose of protection does not exist in them, and consequently if it be not possessed by the General Government it must be extinct. Our political system would thus present the anomaly of a people stripped of the right to foster their own industry and to counteract the most selfish and destructive policy which might be adopted by foreign nations. This sure can not be the case. This indispensable power thus surrendered by the States must be within the scope of the authority on the subject expressly delegated to Congress.

In this conclusion I am confirmed as well by the opinions of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, who have each repeatedly recommended the exercise of this right under the Constitution, as by the uniform practice of Congress, the continued acquiescence of the States, and the general understanding of the people.

The difficulties of a more expedient adjustment of the present tariff, although great, are far from being insurmountable. Some are unwilling to improve any of its parts because they would destroy the whole; others fear to touch the objectionable parts lest those they approve should be jeoparded. I am persuaded that the advocates of these conflicting views do injustice to the American people and to their representatives. The general interest is the interest of each, and my confidence is entire that to insure the adoption of such modifications of the tariff as the general interest requires it is only necessary that that interest should be understood.

It is an infirmity of our nature to mingle our interests and prejudices with the operation of our reasoning powers, and attribute to the objects of our likes and dislikes qualities they do not possess and effects they can not produce. The effects of the present tariff are doubtless over-rated, both in its evils and in its advantages. By one class of reasoners the reduced price of cotton and other agricultural products is ascribed wholly to its influence, and by another the reduced price of manufactured articles.

The probability is that neither opinion approaches the truth, and that both are induced by that influence of interests and prejudices to which I have referred. The decrease of prices extends throughout the commercial world, embracing not only the raw material and the manufactured article, but provisions and lands. The cause must therefore be deeper and more pervading than the tariff of the United States. It may in a measure be attributable to the increased value of the precious metals, produced by a diminution of the supply and an increase in the demand, while commerce has rapidly extended itself and population has augmented. The supply of gold and silver, the general medium of exchange, has been greatly interrupted by civil convulsions in the countries from which they are principally drawn. A part of the effect, too, is doubtless owing to an increase of operatives and improvements in machinery. But on the whole it is questionable whether the reduction in the price of lands, produce, and manufactures has been greater than the appreciation of the standard of value.

While the chief object of duties should be revenue, they may be so adjusted as to encourage manufactures. In this adjustment, however, it is the duty of the Government to be guided by the general good. Objects of national importance alone ought to be protected. Of these the productions of our soil, our mines, and our work shops, essential to national defense, occupy the first rank. What ever other species of domestic industry, having the importance to which I have referred, may be expected, after temporary protection, to compete with foreign labor on equal terms merit the same attention in a subordinate degree.

The present tariff taxes some of the comforts of life unnecessarily high; it undertakes to protect interests too local and minute to justify a general exaction, and it also attempts to force some kinds of manufactures for which the country is not ripe. Much relief will be derived in some of these respects from the measures of your last session.

The best as well as fairest mode of determining whether from any just considerations a particular interest ought to receive protection would be to submit the question singly for deliberation. If after due examination of its merits, unconnected with extraneous considerations--such as a desire to sustain a general system or to purchase support for a different interest--it should enlist in its favor a majority of the representatives of the people, there can be little danger of wrong or injury in adjusting the tariff with reference to its protective effect. If this obviously just principle were honestly adhered to, the branches of industry which deserve protection would be saved from the prejudice excited against them when that protection forms part of a system by which portions of the country feel or conceive themselves to be oppressed. What is incalculably more important, the vital principle of our system--that principle which requires acquiescence in the will of the majority--would be secure from the discredit and danger to which it is exposed by the acts of majorities founded not on identity of conviction, but on combinations of small minorities entered into for the purpose of mutual assistance in measures which, resting solely on their own merits, could never be carried.

I am well aware that this is a subject of so much delicacy, on account of the extended interests in involves, as to require that it should be touched with the utmost caution, and that while an abandonment of the policy in which it originated--a policy coeval with our Government, and pursued through successive Administrations--is neither to be expected or desired, the people have a right to demand, and have demanded, that it be so modified as to correct abuses and obviate injustice.

That our deliberations on this interesting subject should be uninfluenced by those partisan conflicts that are incident to free institutions is the fervent wish of my heart. To make this great question, which unhappily so much divides and excites the public mind, subservient to the short-sighted views of faction, must destroy all hope of settling it satisfactorily to the great body of the people and for the general interest. I can not, therefore, in taking leave of the subject, too earnestly for my own feelings or the common good warn you against the blighting consequences of such a course.

According to the estimates at the Treasury Department, the receipts in the Treasury during the present year will amount to $24,161,018, which will exceed by about $300,000 the estimate presented in the last annual report of the Secretary of the Treasury. The total expenditure during the year, exclusive of public debt, is estimated at $13,742,311, and the payment on account of public debt for the same period will have been $11,354,630, leaving a balance in the Treasury on January 1st, 1831 of $4,819,781.

In connection with the condition of our finances, it affords me pleasure to remark that judicious and efficient arrangements have been made by the Treasury Department for securing the pecuniary responsibility of the public officers and the more punctual payment of the public dues. The Revenue Cutter Service has been organized and placed on a good footing, and aided by an increase of inspectors at exposed points, and regulations adopted under the act of May, 1830, for the inspection and appraisement of merchandise, has produced much improvement in the execution of the laws and more security against the commission of frauds upon the revenue. Abuses in the allowances for fishing bounties have also been corrected, and a material saving in that branch of the service thereby effected. In addition to these improvements the system of expenditure for sick sea men belonging to the merchant service has been revised, and being rendered uniform and economical the benefits of the fund applicable to this object have been usefully extended.

The prosperity of our country is also further evinced by the increased revenue arising from the sale of public lands, as will appear from the report of the Commissioner of the General Land Office and the documents accompanying it, which are herewith transmitted. I beg leave to draw your attention to this report, and to the propriety of making early appropriations for the objects which it specifies.

Your attention is again invited to the subjects connected with that portion of the public interests intrusted to the War Department. Some of them were referred to in my former message, and they are presented in detail in the report of the Secretary of War herewith submitted. I refer you also to the report of that officer for a knowledge of the state of the Army, fortifications, arsenals, and Indian affairs, all of which it will be perceived have been guarded with zealous attention and care. It is worthy of your consideration whether the armaments necessary for the fortifications on our maritime frontier which are now or shortly will be completed should not be in readiness sooner than the customary appropriations will enable the Department to provide them. This precaution seems to be due to the general system of fortification which has been sanctioned by Congress, and is recommended by that maxim of wisdom which tells us in peace to prepare for war.

I refer you to the report of the Secretary of the Navy for a highly satisfactory account of the manner in which the concerns of that Department have been conducted during the present year. Our position in relation to the most powerful nations of the earth, and the present condition of Europe, admonish us to cherish this arm of our national defense with peculiar care. Separated by wide seas from all those Governments whose power we might have reason to dread, we have nothing to apprehend from attempts at conquest. It is chiefly attacks upon our commerce and harrassing in-roads upon our coast against which we have to guard. A naval force adequate to the protection of our commerce, always afloat, with an accumulation of the means to give it a rapid extension in case of need, furnishes the power by which all such aggressions may be prevented or repelled. The attention of the Government has therefore been recently directed more to preserving the public vessels already built and providing materials to be placed in depot for future use than to increasing their number. With the aid of Congress, in a few years the Government will be prepared in case of emergency to put afloat a powerful navy of new ships almost as soon as old ones could be repaired.

The modifications in this part of the service suggested in my last annual message, which are noticed more in detail in the report of the Secretary of the Navy, are again recommended to your serious attention.

The report of the Post Master General in like manner exhibits a satisfactory view of the important branch of the Government under his charge. In addition to the benefits already secured by the operations of the Post Office Department, considerable improvements within the present year have been made by an increase in the accommodation afforded by stage coaches, and in the frequency and celerity of the mail between some of the most important points of the Union.

Under the late contracts improvements have been provided for the southern section of the country, and at the same time an annual saving made of upward of $72,000. Not with standing the excess of expenditure beyond the current receipts for a few years past, necessarily incurred in the fulfillment of existing contracts and in the additional expenses between the periods of contracting to meet the demands created by the rapid growth and extension of our flourishing country, yet the satisfactory assurance is given that the future revenue of the Department will be sufficient to meets its extensive engagements. The system recently introduced that subjects its receipts and disbursements to strict regulation has entirely fulfilled its designs. It gives full assurance of the punctual transmission, as well as the security of the funds of the Department. The efficiency and industry of its officers and the ability and energy of contractors justify an increased confidence in its continued prosperity.

The attention of Congress was called on a former occasion to the necessity of such a modification in the office of Attorney General of the United States as would render it more adequate to the wants of the public service. This resulted in the establishment of the office of Solicitor of the Treasury, and the earliest measures were taken to give effect to the provisions of the law which authorized the appointment of that officer and defined his duties. But it is not believed that this provision, however useful in itself, is calculated to supersede the necessity of extending the duties and powers of the Attorney General's Office. On the contrary, I am convinced that the public interest would be greatly promoted by giving to that officer the general superintendence of the various law agents of the Government, and of all law proceedings, whether civil or criminal, in which the United States may be interested, allowing him at the same time such compensation as would enable him to devote his undivided attention to the public business. I think such a provision is alike due to the public and to the officer.

Occasions of reference from the different Executive Departments to the Attorney General are of frequent occurrence, and the prompt decision of the questions so referred tends much to facilitate the dispatch of business in those Departments. The report of the Secretary of the Treasury hereto appended shows also a branch of the public service not specifically intrusted to any officer which might be advantageously committed to the Attorney General. But independently of those considerations this office is now one of daily duty. It was originally organized and its compensation fixed with a view to occasional service, leaving to the incumbent time for the exercise of his profession in private practice. The state of things which warranted such an organization no longer exists. The frequent claims upon the services of this officer would render his absence from the seat of Government in professional attendance upon the courts injurious to the public service, and the interests of the Government could not fail to be promoted by charging him with the general superintendence of all its legal concerns.

Under a strong conviction of the justness of these suggestions, I recommend it to Congress to make the necessary provisions for giving effect to them, and to place the Attorney General in regard to compensation on the same footing with the heads of the several Executive Departments. To this officer might also be intrusted a cognizance of the cases of insolvency in public debtors, especially if the views which I submitted on this subject last year should meet the approbation of Congress--to which I again solicit your attention.

Your attention is respectfully invited to the situation of the District of Columbia. Placed by the Constitution under the exclusive jurisdiction and control of Congress, this District is certainly entitled to a much greater share of its consideration than it has yet received. There is a want of uniformity in its laws, particularly in those of a penal character, which increases the expense of their administration and subjects the people to all the inconveniences which result from the operation of different codes in so small a territory. On different sides of the Potomac the same offense is punishable in unequal degrees, and the peculiarities of many of the early laws of Maryland and Virginia remain in force, not with standing their repugnance in some cases to the improvements which have superseded them in those States.

Besides a remedy for these evils, which is loudly called for, it is respectfully submitted whether a provision authorizing the election of a delegate to represent the wants of the citizens of this District on the floor of Congress is not due to them and to the character of our Government. No principles of freedom, and there is none more important than that which cultivates a proper relation between the governors and the governed. Imperfect as this must be in this case, yet it is believed that it would be greatly improved by a representation in Congress with the same privileges that are allowed to the other Territories of the United States.

The penitentiary is ready for the reception of convicts, and only awaits the necessary legislation to put it into operation, as one object of which I beg leave to recall your attention to the propriety of providing suitable compensation for the officers charged with its inspection.

The importance of the principles involved in the inquiry whether it will be proper to recharter the Bank of the United States requires that I should again call the attention of Congress to the subject. Nothing has occurred to lessen in any degree the dangers which many of our citizens apprehend from that institution as at present organized. In the spirit of improvement and compromise which distinguishes our country and its institutions it becomes us to inquire whether it be not possible to secure the advantages afforded by the present bank through the agency of a Bank of the United States so modified in its principles and structures as to obviate constitutional and other objections.

It is thought practicable to organize such a bank with the necessary officers as a branch of the Treasury Department, based on the public and individual deposits, without power to make loans or purchase property, which shall remit the funds of the Government, and the expense of which may be paid, if thought advisable, by allowing its officers to sell bills of exchange to private individuals at a moderate premium. Not being a corporate body, having no stock holders, debtors, or property, and but few officers, it would not be obnoxious to the constitutional objections which are urged against the present bank; and having no means to operate on the hopes, fears, or interests of large masses of the community, it would be shorn of the influence which makes that bank formidable. The States would be strengthened by having in their hands the means of furnishing the local paper currency through their own banks, while the Bank of the United States, though issuing no paper, would check the issues of the State banks by taking their notes in deposit and for exchange only so long as they continue to be redeemed with specie. In times of public emergency the capacities of such an institution might be enlarged by legislative provisions.

These suggestions are made not so much as a recommendation as with a view of calling the attention of Congress to the possible modifications of a system which can not continue to exist in its present form without occasional collisions with the local authorities and perpetual apprehensions and discontent on the part of the States and the people.

In conclusion, fellow citizens, allow me to invoke in behalf of your deliberations that spirit of conciliation and disinterestedness which is the gift of patriotism. Under an over-ruling and merciful Providence the agency of this spirit has thus far been signalized in the prosperity and glory of our beloved country. May its influence be eternal.


State of the Union Address
Andrew Jackson
December 6, 1831

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

The representation of the people has been renewed for the 22nd time since the Constitution they formed has been in force. For near half a century the Chief Magistrates who have been successively chosen have made their annual communications of the state of the nation to its representatives. Generally these communications have been of the most gratifying nature, testifying an advance in all the improvements of social and all the securities of political life. But frequently and justly as you have been called on to be grateful for the bounties of Providence, at few periods have they been more abundantly or extensively bestowed than at the present; rarely, if ever, have we had greater reason to congratulate each other on the continued and increasing prosperity of our beloved country.

Agriculture, the first and most important occupation of man, has compensated the labors of the husband-man with plentiful crops of all the varied products of our extensive country. Manufactures have been established in which the funds of the capitalist find a profitable investment, and which give employment and subsistence to a numerous and increasing body of industrious and dexterous mechanics. The laborer is rewarded by high wages in the construction of works of internal improvement, which are extending with unprecedented rapidity. Science is steadily penetrating the recesses of nature and disclosing her secrets, while the ingenuity of free minds is subjecting the elements to the power of man and making each new conquest auxiliary to his comfort. By our mails, whose speed is regularly increased and whose routes are every year extended, the communication of public intelligence and private business is rendered frequent and safe; the intercourse between distant cities, which it formerly required weeks to accomplish, is now effected in a few days; and in the construction of rail roads and the application of steam power we have a reasonable prospect that the extreme parts of our country will be so much approximated and those most isolated by the obstacles of nature rendered so accessible as to remove an apprehension some times entertained that the great extent of the Union would endanger its permanent existence.

If from the satisfactory view of our agriculture, manufactures, and internal improvements we turn to the state of our navigation and trade with foreign nations and between the States, we shall scarcely find less cause for gratulation. A beneficent Providence has provided for their exercise and encouragement an extensive coast, indented by capacious bays, noble rivers, inland seas; with a country productive of every material for ship building and every commodity for gainful commerce, and filled with a population active, intelligent, well-informed, and fearless of danger. These advantages are not neglected, and an impulse has lately been given to commercial enterprise, which fills our ship yards with new constructions, encourages all the arts and branches of industry connected with them, crowds the wharves of our cities with vessels, and covers the most distant seas with our canvas.

Let us be grateful for these blessings to the beneficent Being who has conferred them, and who suffers us to indulge a reasonable hope of their continuance and extension, while we neglect not the means by which they may be preserved. If we may dare to judge of His future designs by the manner in which His past favors have been bestowed, He has made our national prosperity to depend on the preservation of our liberties, our national force on our Federal Union, and our individual happiness on the maintenance of our State rights and wise institutions. If we are prosperous at home and respected abroad, it is because we are free, united, industrious, and obedient to the laws. While we continue so we shall by the blessing of Heaven go on in the happy career we have begun, and which has brought us in the short period of our political existence from a population of 3,000,000 to 13,000,000; from 13 separate colonies to 24 united States; from weakness to strength; from a rank scarcely marked in the scale of nations to a high place in their respect.

This last advantage is one that has resulted in a great degree from the principles which have guided our intercourse with foreign powers since we have assumed an equal station among them, and hence the annual account which the Executive renders to the country of the manner in which that branch of his duties has been fulfilled proves instructive and salutary.

The pacific and wise policy of our Government kept us in a state of neutrality during the wars that have at different periods since our political existence been carried on by other powers; but this policy, while it gave activity and extent to our commerce, exposed it in the same proportion to injuries from the belligerent nations. Hence have arisen claims of indemnity for those injuries. England, France, Spain, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Naples, and lately Portugal had all in a greater or less degree infringed our neutral rights. Demands for reparation were made upon all. They have had in all, and continue to have in some, cases a leading influence on the nature of our relations with the powers on whom they were made.

Of the claims upon England it is unnecessary to speak further than to say that the state of things to which their prosecution and denial gave rise has been succeeded by arrangements productive of mutual good feeling and amicable relations between the two countries, which it is hoped will not be interrupted. One of these arrangements is that relating to the colonial trade which was communicated to Congress at the last session; and although the short period during which it has been in force will not enable me to form an accurate judgment of its operation, there is every reason to believe that it will prove highly beneficial. The trade thereby authorized has employed to September 30th, 1831 upward of 30 thousand tons of American and 15 thousand tons of foreign shipping in the outward voyages, and in the inward nearly an equal amount of American and 20 thousand only of foreign tonnage. Advantages, too, have resulted to our agricultural interests from the state of the trade between Canada and our Territories and States bordering or the St. Lawrence and the Lakes which may prove more than equivalent to the loss sustained by the discrimination made to favor the trade of the northern colonies with the West Indies.

After our transition from the state of colonies to that of an independent nation many points were found necessary to be settled between us and Great Britain. Among them was the demarcation of boundaries not described with sufficient precision in the treaty of peace. Some of the lines that divide the States and Territories of the United States from the British Provinces have been definitively fixed.

That, however, which separates us from the Provinces of Canada and New Brunswick to the North and the East was still in dispute when I came into office, but I found arrangements made for its settlement over which I had no control. The commissioners who had been appointed under the provisions of the treaty of Ghent having been unable to agree, a convention was made with Great Britain by my immediate predecessor in office, with the advice and consent of the Senate, by which it was agreed "that the points of difference which have arisen in the settlement of the boundary line between the American and British dominions, as described in the 5th article of the treaty of Ghent, shall be referred, as therein provided, to some friendly sovereign or State, who shall be invited to investigate and make a decision upon such points of difference"; and the King of the Netherlands having by the late President and His Britannic Majesty been designated as such friendly sovereign, it became my duty to carry with good faith the agreement so made into full effect. To this end I caused all the measures to be taken which were necessary to a full exposition of our case to the sovereign arbiter, and nominated as minister plenipotentiary to his Court a distinguished citizen of the State most interested in the question, and who had been one of the agents previously employed for settling the controversy.

On January 10th, 1831 His Majesty the King of the Netherlands delivered to the plenipotentiaries of the United States and of Great Britain his written opinion on the case referred to him. The papers in relation to the subject will be communicated by a special message to the proper branch of the Government with the perfect confidence that its wisdom will adopt such measures as will secure an amicable settlement of the controversy without infringing any constitutional right of the States immediately interested.

It affords me satisfaction to inform you that suggestions made by my direction to the charge d'affaires of His Britannic Majesty to this Government have had their desired effect in producing the release of certain American citizens who were imprisoned for setting up the authority of the State of Maine at a place in the disputed territory under the actual jurisdiction of His Britannic Majesty. From this and the assurances I have received of the desire of the local authorities to avoid any cause of collision I have the best hopes that a good understanding will be kept up until it is confirmed by the final disposition of the subject.

The amicable relations which now subsist between the United States and Great Britain, the increasing intercourse between their citizens, and the rapid obliteration of unfriendly prejudices to which former events naturally gave rise concurred to present this as a fit period for renewing our endeavors to provide against the recurrence of causes of irritation which in the event of war between Great Britain and any other power would inevitably endanger our peace. Animated by the sincerest desire to avoid such a state of things, and peacefully to secure under all possible circumstances the rights and honor of the country, I have given such instructions to the minister lately sent to the Court of London as will evince that desire, and if met by a correspondent disposition, which we can not doubt, will put an end to causes of collision which, without advantage to either, tend to estrange from each other two nations who have every motive to preserve not only peace, but an intercourse of the most amicable nature.

In my message at the opening of the last session of Congress I expressed a confident hope that the justice of our claims upon France, urged as they were with perseverance and signal ability by our minister there, would finally be acknowledged. This hope has been realized. A treaty has been signed which will immediately be laid before the Senate for its approbation, and which, containing stipulations that require legislative acts, must have the concurrence of both houses before it can be carried into effect.

By it the French Government engage to pay a sum which, if not quite equal to that which may be found due to our citizens, will yet, it is believed, under all circumstances, be deemed satisfactory by those interested. The offer of a gross sum instead of the satisfaction of each individual claim was accepted because the only alternatives were a rigorous exaction of the whole amount stated to be due on each claim, which might in some instances be exaggerated by design, in other over-rated through error, and which, therefore, it would have been both ungracious and unjust to have insisted on; or a settlement by a mixed commission, to which the French negotiators were very averse, and which experience in other cases had shewn to be dilatory and often wholly inadequate to the end.

A comparatively small sum is stipulated on our part to go to the extinction of all claims by French citizens on our Government, and a reduction of duties on our cotton and their wines has been agreed on as a consideration for the renunciation of an important claim for commercial privileges under the construction they gave to the treaty for the cession of Louisiana.

Should this treaty receive the proper sanction, a source of irritation will be stopped that has for so many years in some degree alienated from each other two nations who, from interest as well as the remembrance of early associations, ought to cherish the most friendly relations; an encouragement will be given for perseverance in the demands of justice by this new proof that if steadily pursued they will be listened to, and admonition will be offered to those powers, if any, which may be inclined to evade them that they will never be abandoned; above all, a just confidence will be inspired in our fellow citizens that their Government will exert all the powers with which they have invested it in support of their just claims upon foreign nations; at the same time that the frank acknowledgment and provision for the payment of those which were addressed to our equity, although unsupported by legal proof, affords a practical illustration of our submission to the divine rule of doing to others what we desire they should do unto us.

Sweden and Denmark having made compensation for the irregularities committed by their vessels or in their ports to the perfect satisfaction of the parties concerned, and having renewed the treaties of commerce entered into with them, our political and commercial relations with those powers continue to be on the most friendly footing.

With Spain our differences up to February 22d, 1819 were settled by the treaty of Washington of that date, but at a subsequent period our commerce with the States formerly colonies of Spain on the continent of America was annoyed and frequently interrupted by her public and private armed ships. They captured many of our vessels prosecuting a lawful commerce and sold them and their cargoes, and at one time to our demands for restoration and indemnity opposed the allegation that they were taken in the violation of a blockade of all the ports of those States. This blockade was declaratory only, and the inadequacy of the force to maintain it was so manifest that this allegation was varied to a charge of trade in contraband of war. This, in its turn, was also found untenable, and the minister whom I sent with instructions to press for the reparation that was due to our injured fellow citizens has transmitted an answer to his demand by which the captures are declared to have been legal, and are justified because the independence of the States of America never having been acknowledged by Spain she had a right to prohibit trade with them under her old colonial laws. This ground of defense was contradictory, not only to those which had been formerly alleged, but to the uniform practice and established laws of nations, and had been abandoned by Spain herself in the convention which granted indemnity to British subjects for captures made at the same time, under the same circumstances, and for the same allegations with those of which we complain.

I, however, indulge the hope that further reflection will lead to other views, and feel confident that when His Catholic Majesty shall be convinced of the justice of the claims his desire to preserve friendly relations between the two countries, which it is my earnest endeavor to maintain, will induce him to accede to our demand. I have therefore dispatched a special messenger with instructions to our minister to bring the case once more to his consideration, to the end that if (which I can not bring myself to believe) the same decision (that can not but be deemed an unfriendly denial of justice) should be persisted in the matter may before your adjournment be laid before you, the constitutional judges of what is proper to be done when negotiation for redress of injury fails.

The conclusion of a treaty for indemnity with France seemed to present a favorable opportunity to renew our claims of a similar nature on other powers, and particularly in the case of those upon Naples, more especially as in the course of former negotiations with that power our failure to induce France to render us justice was used as an argument against us. The desires of the merchants, who were the principal sufferers, have therefore been acceded to, and a mission has been instituted for the special purpose of obtaining for them a reparation already too long delayed. This measure having been resolved on, it was put in execution without waiting for the meeting of Congress, because the state of Europe created an apprehension of events that might have rendered our application ineffectual.

Our demands upon the Government of the two Sicilies are of a peculiar nature. The injuries on which they are founded are not denied, nor are the atrocity and perfidy under which those injuries were perpetrated attempted to be extenuated. The sole ground on which indemnity has been refused is the alleged illegality of the tenure by which the monarch who made the seizures held his crown. This defense, always unfounded in any principle of the law of nations, now universally abandoned, even by those powers upon whom the responsibility for the acts of past rulers bore the most heavily, will unquestionably be given up by His Sicilian Majesty, whose counsels will receive an impulse from that high sense of honor and regard to justice which are said to characterize him; and I feel the fullest confidence that the talents of the citizen commissioned for that purpose will place before him the just claims of our injured citizens in such as light as will enable me before your adjournment to announce that they have been adjusted and secured. Precise instructions to the effect of bringing the negotiation to a speedy issue have been given, and will be obeyed.

In the late blockade of Terceira some of the Portuguese fleet captured several of our vessels and committed other excesses, for which reparation was demanded, and I was on the point of dispatching an armed force to prevent any recurrence of a similar violence and protect our citizens in the prosecution of their lawful commerce when official assurances, on which I relied, made the sailing of the ships unnecessary. Since that period frequent promises have been made that full indemnity shall be given for the injuries inflicted and the losses sustained. In the performance there has been some, perhaps unavoidable, delay; but I have the fullest confidence that my earnest desire that this business may at once be closed, which our minister has been instructed strongly to express, will very soon be gratified. I have the better ground for this hope from the evidence of a friendly disposition which that Government has shown an actual reduction in the duty on rice the produce of our Southern States, authorizing the anticipation that this important article of our export will soon be admitted on the same footing with that produced by the most favored nation.

With the other powers of Europe we have fortunately had no cause of discussions for the redress of injuries. With the Empire of the Russias our political connection is of the most friendly and our commercial of the most liberal kind. We enjoy the advantages of navigation and trade given to the most favored nation, but it has not yet suited their policy, or perhaps has not been found convenient from other considerations, to give stability and reciprocity to those privileges by a commercial treaty. The ill health of the minister last year charged with making a proposition for that arrangement did not permit him to remain at St. Petersburg, and the attention of that Government during the whole of the period since his departure having been occupied by the war in which it was engaged, we have been assured that nothing could have been effected by his presence. A minister will soon be nominated, as well to effect this important object as to keep up the relations of amity and good understanding of which we have received so many assurances and proofs from His Imperial Majesty and the Emperor his predecessor.

The treaty with Austria is opening to us an important trade with the hereditary dominions of the Emperor, the value of which has been hitherto little known, and of course not sufficiently appreciated. While our commerce finds an entrance into the south of Germany by means of this treaty, those we have formed with the Hanseatic towns and Prussia and others now in negotiation will open that vast country to the enterprising spirit of our merchants on the north--a country abounding in all the materials for a mutually beneficial commerce, filled with enlightened and industrious inhabitants, holding an important place in the politics of Europe, and to which we owe so many valuable citizens. The ratification of the treaty with the Porte was sent to be exchanged by the gentleman appointed our charge d'affaires to that Court. Some difficulties occurred on his arrival, but at the date of his last official dispatch he supposed they had been obviated and that there was every prospect of the exchange being speedily effected.

This finishes the connected view I have thought it proper to give of our political and commercial relations in Europe. Every effort in my power will be continued to strengthen and extend them by treaties founded on principles of the most perfect reciprocity of interest, neither asking nor conceding any exclusive advantage, but liberating as far as it lies in my power the activity and industry of our fellow citizens from the shackles which foreign restrictions may impose.

To China and the East Indies our commerce continues in its usual extent, and with increased facilities which the credit and capital of our merchants afford by substituting bills for payments in specie. A daring outrage having been committed in those seas by the plunder of one of our merchant-men engaged in the pepper trade at a port in Sumatra, and the piratical perpetrators belonging to tribes in such a state of society that the usual course of proceedings between civilized nations could not be pursued, I forthwith dispatched a frigate with orders to require immediate satisfaction for the injury and indemnity to the sufferers.

Few changes have taken place in our connections with the independent States of America since my last communication to Congress. The ratification of a commercial treaty with the United Republics of Mexico has been for some time under deliberation in their Congress, but was still undecided at the date of our last dispatches. The unhappy civil commotions that have prevailed there were undoubtedly the cause of the delay, but as the Government is now said to be tranquillized we may hope soon to receive the ratification of the treaty and an arrangement for the demarcation of the boundaries between us. In the mean time, an important trade has been opened with mutual benefit from St. Louis, in the State of Missouri, by caravans to the interior Provinces of Mexico. This commerce is protected in its progress through the Indian countries by the troops of the United States, which have been permitted to escort the caravans beyond our boundaries to the settled part of the Mexican territory.

From Central America I have received assurances of the most friendly kind and a gratifying application for our good offices to remove a supposed indisposition toward that Government in a neighboring State. This application was immediately and successfully complied with. They gave us also the pleasing intelligence that differences which had prevailed in their internal affairs had been peaceably adjusted. Our treaty with this Republic continues to be faithfully observed, and promises a great and beneficial commerce between the two countries--a commerce of the greatest importance if the magnificent project of a ship canal through the dominions of that State from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, now in serious contemplation, shall be executed.

I have great satisfaction in communicating the success which has attended the exertions of our minister in Colombia to procure a very considerable reduction in the duties on our flour in that Republic. Indemnity also has been stipulated for injuries received by our merchants from illegal seizures, and renewed assurances are given that the treaty between the two countries shall be faithfully observed.

Chili and Peru seem to be still threatened with civil commotions, and until they shall be settled disorders may naturally be apprehended, requiring the constant presence of a naval force in the Pacific Ocean to protect our fisheries and guard our commerce.

The disturbances that took place in the Empire of Brazil previously to and immediately consequent upon the abdication of the late Emperor necessarily suspended any effectual application for the redress of some past injuries suffered by our citizens from that Government, while they have been the cause of others, in which all foreigners seem to have participated. Instructions have been given to our minister there to press for indemnity due for losses occasioned by these irregularities, and to take care of our fellow citizens shall enjoy all the privileges stipulated in their favor by the treaty lately made between the two powers, all which the good intelligence that prevails between our minister at Rio Janeiro and the Regency gives us the best reason to expect.

I should have placed Buenos Ayres in the list of South American powers in respect to which nothing of importance affecting us was to be communicated but for occurrences which have lately taken place at the Falkland Islands, in which the name of that Republic has been used to cover with a show of authority acts injurious to our commerce and to the property and liberty of our fellow citizens. In the course of the present year one of our vessels, engaged in the pursuit of a trade which we have always enjoyed without molestation, has been captured by a band acting, as they pretend, under the authority of the Government of Buenos Ayres. I have therefore given orders for the dispatch of an armed vessel to join our squadron in those seas and aid in affording all lawful protection to our trade which shall be necessary, and shall without delay send a minister to inquire into the nature of the circumstances and also of the claim, if any, that is set up by that Government to those islands. In the mean time, I submit the case to the consideration of Congress, to the end that they may clothe the Executive with such authority and means as they may deem necessary for providing a force adequate to the complete protection of our fellow citizens fishing and trading in those seas.

This rapid sketch of our foreign relations, it is hoped, fellow citizens, may be of some use in so much of your legislation as may bear on that important subject, while it affords to the country at large a source of high gratification in the contemplation of our political and commercial connection with the rest of the world. At peace with all; having subjects of future difference with few, and those susceptible of easy adjustment; extending our commerce gradually on all sides and on none by any but the most liberal and mutually beneficial means, we may, by the blessing of Providence, hope for all that national prosperity which can be derived from an intercourse with foreign nations, guided by those eternal principles of justice and reciprocal good will which are binding as well upon States as the individuals of whom they are composed.

I have great satisfaction in making this statement of our affairs, because the course of our national policy enables me to do it without any indiscreet exposure of what in other governments is usually concealed from the people. Having none but a straight-forward, open course to pursue, guided by a single principle that will bear the strongest light, we have happily no political combinations to form, no alliances to entangle us, no complicated interests to consult, and in subjecting all we have done to the consideration of our citizens and to the inspection of the world we give no advantage to other nations and lay ourselves open to no injury.

It may not be improper to add that to preserve this state of things and give confidence to the world in the integrity of our designs all our consular and diplomatic agents are strictly enjoined to examine well every cause of complaint preferred by our citizens, and while they urge with proper earnestness those that are well founded, to countenance none that are unreasonable or unjust, and to enjoin on our merchants and navigators the strictest obedience to the laws of the countries to which they resort, and a course of conduct in their dealings that may support the character of our nation and render us respected abroad.

Connected with this subject, I must recommend a revisal of our consular laws. Defects and omissions have been discovered in their operation that ought to be remedied and supplied. For your further information on this subject I have directed a report to be made by the Secretary of State, which I shall hereafter submit to your consideration.

The internal peace and security of our confederated States is the next principal object of the General Government. Time and experience have proved that the abode of the native Indian within their limits is dangerous to their peace and injurious to himself. In accordance with my recommendation at a former session of Congress, an appropriation of $500 thousand was made to aid the voluntary removal of the various tribes beyond the limits of the States. At the last session I had the happiness to announce that the Chickasaws and Choctaws had accepted the generous offer of the Government and agreed to remove beyond the Mississippi River, by which the whole of the State of Mississippi and the western part of Alabama will be freed from Indian occupancy and opened to a civilized population. The treaties with these tribes are in a course of execution, and their removal, it is hoped, will be completed in the course of 1832.

At the request of the authorities of Georgia the registration of Cherokee Indians for emigration has been resumed, and it is confidently expected that half, if not two-third, of that tribe will follow the wise example of their more westerly brethren. Those who prefer remaining at their present homes will hereafter be governed by the laws of Georgia, as all her citizens are, and cease to be the objects of peculiar care on the part of the General Government.

During the present year the attention of the Government has been particularly directed to those tribes in the powerful and growing State of Ohio, where considerable tracts of the finest lands were still occupied by the aboriginal proprietors. Treaties, either absolute or conditional, have been made extinguishing the whole Indian title to the reservations in that State, and the time is not distant, it is hoped, when Ohio will be no longer embarrassed with the Indian population. The same measures will be extended to Indiana as soon as there is reason to anticipate success. It is confidently believed that perseverance for a few years in the present policy of the Government will extinguish the Indian title to all lands lying within the States composing our Federal Union, and remove beyond their limits every Indian who is not willing to submit to their laws.

Thus will all conflicting claims to jurisdiction between the States and the Indian tribes be put to rest. It is pleasing to reflect that results so beneficial, not only to the States immediately concerned, but to the harmony of the Union, will have been accomplished by measures equally advantageous to the Indians. What the native savages become when surrounded by a dense population and by mixing with the whites may be seen in the miserable remnants of a few Eastern tribes, deprived of political and civil rights, forbidden to make contracts, and subjected to guardians, dragging out a wretched existence, without excitement, without hope, and almost without thought.

But the removal of the Indians beyond the limits and jurisdiction of the States does not place them beyond the reach of philanthropic aid and Christian instruction. On the contrary, those whom philanthropy or religion may induce to live among them in their new abode will be more free in the exercise of their benevolent functions than if they had remained within the limits of the States, embarrassed by their internal regulations. Now subject to no control but the superintending agency of the General Government, exercised with the sole view of preserving peace, they may proceed unmolested in the interesting experiment of gradually advancing a community of American Indians from barbarism to the habits and enjoyments of civilized life.

Among the happiest effects of the improved relations of our Republic has been an increase of trade, producing a corresponding increase of revenue beyond the most sanguine anticipations of the Treasury Department.

The state of the public finances will be fully shown by the Secretary of the Treasury in the report which he will presently lay before you. I will here, however, congratulate you upon their prosperous condition. The revenue received in the present year will not fall short of $27,700,000, and the expenditures for all objects other than the public debt will not exceed $14,700,000. The payment on account of the principal and interest of the debt during the year will exceed $16,500,000, a greater sum than has been applied to that object out of the revenue in any year since the enlargement of the sinking fund except the two years following immediately there after. The amount which will have been applied to the public debt from March 4th, 1829 to January 1st, 1832, which is less than three years since the Administration has been placed in my hands, will exceed $40,000,000.

From the large importations of the present year it may be safely estimated that the revenue which will be received into the Treasury from that source during the next year, with the aid of that received from the public lands, will considerably exceed the amount of the receipts of the present year; and it is believed that with the means which the Government will have at its disposal from various sources, which will be fully stated by the proper Department, the whole of the public debt may be extinguished, either by redemption or purchase, within the four years of my Administration. We shall then exhibit the rare example of a great nation, abounding in all the means of happiness and security, altogether free from debt.

The confidence with which the extinguishment of the public debt may be anticipated presents an opportunity for carrying into effect more fully the policy in relation to import duties which has been recommended in my former messages. A modification of the tariff which shall produce a reduction of our revenue to the wants of the Government and an adjustment of the duties on imports with a view to equal justice in relation to all our national interests and to the counteraction of foreign policy so far as it may be injurious to those interests, is deemed to be one of the principal objects which demand the consideration of the present Congress. Justice to the interests of the merchant as well as the manufacturer requires that material reductions in the import duties be prospective; and unless the present Congress shall dispose of the subject the proposed reductions can not properly be made to take effect at the period when the necessity for the revenue arising from present rates shall cease. It is therefore desirable that arrangements be adopted at your present session to relieve the people from unnecessary taxation after the extinguishment of the public debt. In the exercise of that spirit of concession and conciliation which has distinguished the friends of our Union in all great emergencies, it is believed that this object may be effected without injury to any national interest.

In my annual message of December, 1829, I had the honor to recommend the adoption of a more liberal policy than that which then prevailed toward unfortunate debtors to the Government, and I deem it my duty again to invite your attention to this subject.

Actuated by similar views, Congress at their last session passed an act for the relief of certain insolvent debtors of the United States, but the provisions of that law have not been deemed such as were adequate to that relief to this unfortunate class of our fellow citizens which may be safely extended to them. The points in which the law appears to be defective will be particularly communicated by the Secretary of the Treasury, and I take pleasure in recommending such an extension of its provisions as will unfetter the enterprise of a valuable portion of our citizens and restore to them the means of usefulness to themselves and the community. While deliberating on this subject I would also recommend to your consideration the propriety of so modifying the laws for enforcing the payment of debts due either to the public or to individuals suing in the courts of the United States as to restrict the imprisonment of the person to cases of fraudulent concealment of property. The personal liberty of the citizen seems too sacred to be held, as in many cases it now is, at the will of a creditor to whom he is willing to surrender all the means he has of discharging his debt.

The reports from the Secretaries of the War and Navy Departments and from the Post Master General, which accompany this message, present satisfactory views of the operations of the Departments respectively under their charge, and suggest improvements which are worthy of and to which I invite the serious attention of Congress. Certain defects and omissions having been discovered in the operation of the laws respecting patents, they are pointed out in the accompanying report from the Secretary of State.

I have heretofore recommended amendments of the Federal Constitution giving the election of President and Vice-President to the people and limiting the service of the former to a single term. So important do I consider these changes in our fundamental law that I can not, in accordance with my sense of duty, omit to press them upon the consideration of a new Congress. For my views more at large, as well in relation to these points as to the disqualification of members of Congress to receive an office from a President in whose election they have had an official agency, which I proposed as a substitute, I refer you to my former messages.

Our system of public accounts is extremely complicated, and it is believed may be much improved. Much of the present machinery and a considerable portion of the expenditure of public money may be dispensed with, while greater facilities can be afforded to the liquidation of claims upon the Government and an examination into their justice and legality quite as efficient as the present secured. With a view to a general reform in the system, I recommend the subject to the attention of Congress.

I deem it my duty again to call your attention to the condition of the District of Columbia. It was doubtless wise in the framers of our Constitution to place the people of this District under the jurisdiction of the General Government, but to accomplish the objects they had in view it is not necessary that this people should be deprived of all the privileges of self-government. Independently of the difficulty of inducing the representatives of distant States to turn their attention to projects of laws which are not of the highest interest to their constituents, they are not individually, nor in Congress collectively, well qualified to legislate over the local concerns of this District. Consequently its interests are much neglected, and the people are almost afraid to present their grievances, lest a body in which they are not represented and which feels little sympathy in their local relations should in its attempt to make laws for them do more harm than good.

Governed by the laws of the States whence they were severed, the two shores of the Potomac within the ten miles square have different penal codes--not the present codes of Virginia and Maryland, but such as existed in those States at the time of the cession to the United States. As Congress will not form a new code, and as the people of the District can not make one for themselves, they are virtually under two governments. Is it not just to allow them at least a Delegate in Congress, if not a local legislature, to make laws for the District, subject to the approval or rejection of Congress? I earnestly recommend the extension to them of every political right which their interests require and which may be compatible with the Constitution.

The extension of the judiciary system of the United States is deemed to be one of the duties of the Government. One-fourth of the States in the Union do not participate in the benefits of a circuit court. To the States of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, admitted into the Union since the present judicial system was organized, only a district court has been allowed. If this be sufficient, then the circuit courts already existing in 18 States ought to be abolished; if it be not sufficient, the defect ought to be remedied, and these States placed on the same footing with the other members of the Union. It was on this condition and on this footing that they entered the Union, and they may demand circuit courts as a matter not of concession, but of right. I trust that Congress will not adjourn leaving this anomaly in our system.

Entertaining the opinions heretofore expressed in relation to the Bank of the United States as at present organized, I felt it my duty in my former messages frankly to disclose them, in order that the attention of the Legislature and the people should be seasonably directed to that important subject, and that it might be considered and finally disposed of in a manner best calculated to promote the ends of the Constitution and subserve the public interests. Having thus conscientiously discharged a constitutional duty, I deem it proper on this occasion, without a more particular reference to the views of the subject then expressed to leave it for the present to the investigation of an enlightened people and their representatives.

In conclusion permit me to invoke that Power which superintends all governments to infuse into your deliberations at this important crisis of our history a spirit of mutual forbearance and conciliation. In that spirit was our Union formed, and in that spirit must it be preserved.


State of the Union Address
Andrew Jackson
December 4, 1832

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

It gives me pleasure to congratulate you upon your return to the seat of Government for the purpose of discharging your duties to the people of the United States. Although the pestilence which had traversed the Old World has entered our limits and extended its ravages over much of our land, it has pleased Almighty God to mitigate its severity and lessen the number of its victims compared with those who have fallen in most other countries over which it has spread its terrors. Not with standing this visitation, our country presents on every side marks of prosperity and happiness unequaled, perhaps, in any other portion of the world. If we fully appreciate our comparative condition, existing causes of discontent will appear unworthy of attention, and, with hearts of thankfulness to that divine Being who has filled our cup of prosperity, we shall feel our resolution strengthened to preserve and hand down to our posterity that liberty and that union which we have received from our fathers, and which constitute the sources and the shield of all our blessings.

The relations of our country continue to present the same picture of amicable intercourse that I had the satisfaction to hold up to your view at the opening of your last session. The same friendly professions, the same desire to participate in our flourishing commerce, the same dispositions, evinced by all nations with whom we have any intercourse. This desirable state of things may be mainly ascribed to our undeviating practice of the rule which has long guided our national policy, to require no exclusive privileges in commerce and to grant none. It is daily producing its beneficial effect in the respect shown to our flag, the protection of our citizens and their property abroad, and in the increase of our navigation and the extension of our mercantile operations. The returns which have been made out since we last met will show an increase during the last preceding year of more than 80 thousand tons in our shipping and of near $40,000,000 in the aggregate of our imports and exports.

Nor have we less reason to felicitate ourselves on the position of our political than of our commercial concerns. They remain in the state in which they were when I last addressed you--a state of prosperity and peace, the effect of a wise attention to the parting advice of the revered Father of his Country on this subject, condensed into a maxim for the use of posterity by one of his most distinguished successors--to cultivate free commerce and honest friendship with all nations, but to make entangling alliances with none. A strict adherence to this policy has kept us aloof from the perplexing questions that now agitate the European world and have more than once deluged those countries with blood. Should those scenes unfortunately recur, the parties to the contest may count on a faithful performance of the duties incumbent on us as a neutral nation, and our own citizens may equally rely on the firm assertion of their neutral rights.

With the nation that was our earliest friend and ally in the infancy of our political existence the most friendly relations have subsisted through the late revolutions of its Government, and, from the events of the last, promise a permanent duration. It has made an approximation in some of its political institutions to our own, and raised a monarch to the throne who preserves, it is said, a friendly recollection of the period during which he acquired among our citizens the high consideration that could then have been produced by his personal qualifications alone.

Our commerce with that nation is gradually assuming a mutually beneficial character, and the adjustment of the claims of our citizens has removed the only obstacle there was to an intercourse not only lucrative, but productive of literary and scientific improvement.

From Great Britain I have the satisfaction to inform you that I continue to receive assurances of the most amicable disposition, which have on my part on all proper occasions been promptly and sincerely reciprocated. The attention of that Government has latterly been so much engrossed by matters of a deeply interesting domestic character that we could not press upon it the renewal of negotiations which had been unfortunately broken off by the unexpected recall of our minister, who had commenced them with some hopes of success. My great object was the settlement of questions which, though now dormant, might here-after be revived under circumstances that would endanger the good understanding which it is the interest of both parties to preserve inviolate, cemented as it is by a community of language, manners, and social habits, and by the high obligations we owe to our British ancestors for many of our most valuable institutions and for that system of representative government which has enabled us to preserve and improve them. The question of our North-East boundary still remains unsettled. In my last annual message I explained to you the situation in which I found that business on my coming into office, and the measures I thought it my duty to pursue for asserting the rights of the United States before the sovereign who had been chosen by my predecessor to determine the question, and also the manner in which he had disposed of it. A special message to the Senate in their executive capacity afterwards brought before them to the question whether they would advise a submission to the opinion of the sovereign arbiter. That body having considered the award as not obligatory and advised me to open a further negotiation, the proposition was immediately made to the British Government, but the circumstances to which I have alluded have hitherto prevented any answer being given to the overture. Early attention, however, has been promised to the subject, and every effort on my part will be made for a satisfactory settlement of this question, interesting to the Union generally, and particularly so to one of its members.

The claims of our citizens on Spain are not yet acknowledged. On a closer investigation of them than appears to have heretofore taken place it was discovered that some of these demands, however strong they might be upon the equity of that Government, were not such as could be made the subject of national interference; and faithful to the principle of asking nothing but what was clearly right, additional instructions have been sent to modify our demands so as to embrace those only on which, according to the laws of nations, we had a strict right to insist. An inevitable delay in procuring the documents necessary for this review of the merits of these claims retarded this operation until an unfortunate malady which has afflicted His Catholic Majesty prevented an examination of them. Being now for the first time presented in an unexceptionable form, it is confidently hoped that the application will be successful.

I have the satisfaction to inform you that the application I directed to be made for the delivery of a part of the archives of Florida, which had been carried to The Havannah, has produced a royal order for their delivery, and that measures have been taken to procure its execution.

By the report of the Secretary of State communicated to you on June 25th, 1832 you were informed of the conditional reduction obtained by the minister of the United States at Madrid of the duties on tonnage levied on American shipping in the ports of Spain. The condition of that reduction having been complied with on our part by the act passed July 13th, 1832, I have the satisfaction to inform you that our ships now pay no higher nor other duties in the continental ports of Spain than are levied on their national vessels.

The demands against Portugal for illegal captures in the blockade of Terceira have been allowed to the full amount of the accounts presented by the claimants, and payment was promised to be made in three installments. The first of these has been paid; the second, although due, had not at the date of our last advices been received, owing, it was alleged, to embarrassments in the finances consequent on the civil war in which that nation is engaged.

The payments stipulated by the convention with Denmark have been punctually made, and the amount is ready for distribution among the claimants as soon as the board, now sitting, shall have performed their functions.

I regret that by the last advices from our charge d'affaires at Naples that Government had still delayed the satisfaction due to our citizens, but at that date the effect of the last instructions was not known. Dispatches from thence are hourly expected, and the result will be communicated to you without delay.

With the rest of Europe our relations, political and commercial, remain unchanged. Negotiations are going on to put on a permanent basis the liberal system of commerce now carried on between us and the Empire of Russia. The treaty concluded with Austria is executed by His Imperial Majesty with the most perfect good faith, and as we have no diplomatic agent at his Court he personally inquired into and corrected a proceeding of some of his subaltern officers to the injury of our consul in one of his ports.

Our treaty with the Sublime Porte is producing its expected effects on our commerce. New markets are opening for our commodities and a more extensive range for the employment of our ships. A slight augmentation of the duties on our commerce, inconsistent with the spirit of the treaty, had been imposed, but on the representation of our charge d'affaires it has been promptly withdrawn, and we now enjoy the trade and navigation of the Black Sea and of all the ports belonging to the Turkish Empire and Asia on the most perfect equality with all foreign nations.

I wish earnestly that in announcing to you the continuance of friendship and the increase of a profitable commercial intercourse with Mexico, with Central America, and the States of the South I could accompany it with the assurance that they all are blessed with that internal tranquillity and foreign peace which their heroic devotion to the cause of their independence merits. In Mexico a sanguinary struggle is now carried on, which has caused some embarrassment to our commerce, but both parties profess the most friendly disposition toward us. To the termination of this contest we look for the establishment of that secure intercourse so necessary to nations whose territories are contiguous. How important it will be to us we may calculate from the fact that even in this unfavorable state of things our maritime commerce has increased, and an internal trade by caravans from St. Louis to Santa Fe, under the protection of escorts furnished by the Government, is carried on to great advantage and is daily increasing. The agents provided for by the treaty, with this power to designate the boundaries which it established, have been named on our part, but one of the evils of the civil war now raging there has been that the appointment of those with whom they were to cooperate has not yet been announced to us.

The Government of Central America has expelled from its territory the party which some time since disturbed its peace. Desirous of fostering a favorable disposition toward us, which has on more than one occasion been evinced by this interesting country, I made a second attempt in this year to establish a diplomatic intercourse with them; but the death of the distinguished citizen whom I had appointed for that purpose has retarded the execution of measures from which I hoped much advantage to our commerce. The union of the three States which formed the Republic of Colombia has been dissolved, but they all, it is believed, consider themselves as separately bound by the treaty which was made in their federal capacity. The minister accredited to the federation continues in that character near the Government of New Grenada, and hopes were entertained that a new union would be formed between the separate States, at least for the purposes of foreign intercourse. Our minister has been instructed to use his good offices, when ever they shall be desired, to produce the reunion so much to be wished for, the domestic tranquillity of the parties, and the security and facility of foreign commerce.

Some agitations naturally attendant on an infant reign have prevailed in the Empire of Brazil, which have had the usual effect upon commercial operations, and while they suspended the consideration of claims created on similar occasions, they have given rise to new complaints on the part of our citizens. A proper consideration for calamities and difficulties of this nature has made us less urgent and peremptory in our demands for justice than duty to our fellow citizens would under other circumstances have required. But their claims are not neglected, and will on all proper occasions be urged, and it is hoped with effect.

I refrain from making any communication on the subject of our affairs with Buenos Ayres, because the negotiation communicated to you in my last annual message was at the date of our last advices still pending and in a state that would render a publication of the details inexpedient.

A treaty of amity and commerce has been formed with the Republic of Chili, which, if approved by the Senate, will be laid before you. That Government seems to be established, and at peace with its neighbors; and its ports being the resorts of our ships which are employed in the highly important trade of the fisheries, this commercial convention can not but be of great advantage to our fellow citizens engaged in that perilous but profitable business.

Our commerce with the neighboring State of Peru, owing to the onerous duties levied on our principal articles of export, has been on the decline, and all endeavors to procure an alteration have hitherto proved fruitless. With Bolivia we have yet no diplomatic intercourse, and the continual contests carried on between it and Peru have made me defer until a more favorable period the appointment of any agent for that purpose.

An act of atrocious piracy having been committed on one of our trading ships by the inhabitants of a settlement on the west coast of Sumatra, a frigate was dispatched with orders to demand satisfaction for the injury if those who committed it should be found to be members of a regular government, capable of maintaining the usual relations with foreign nations; but if, as it was supposed and as they proved to be, they were a band of lawless pirates, to inflict such a chastisement as would deter them and others from like aggressions. This last was done, and the effect has been an increased respect for our flag in those distant seas and additional security for our commerce.

In the view I have given of our connection with foreign powers allusions have been made to their domestic disturbances or foreign wars, to their revolutions or dissensions. It may be proper to observe that this is done solely in cases where those events affect our political relations with them, or to show their operation on our commerce. Further than this it is neither our policy nor our right to interfere. Our best wishes on all occasions, our good offices when required, will be afforded to promote the domestic tranquillity and foreign peace of all nations with whom we have any intercourse. Any intervention in their affairs further than this, even by the expression of an official opinion, is contrary to our principles of international policy, and will always be avoided.

The report which the Secretary of the Treasury will in due time lay before you will exhibit the national finances in a highly prosperous state. Owing to the continued success of our commercial enterprise, which has enabled the merchants to fulfill their engagements with the Government, the receipts from customs during the year will exceed the estimate presented at the last session, and with the other means of the Treasury will prove fully adequate not only to meet the increased expenditures resulting from the large appropriations made by Congress, but to provide for the payment of all the public debt which is at present redeemable.

It is now estimated that the customs will yield to the Treasury during the present year upward of $28,000,000. The public lands, however, have proved less productive than was anticipated, and according to present information will not much exceed $2,000,000. The expenditures for all objects other than the public debt are estimated to amount during the year to about $16,500,000, while a still larger sum, viz, $18,000,000, will have been applied to the principal and interest of the public debt. It is expected, however, that in consequence of the reduced rates of duty which will take effect after March 3d, 1833 there will be a considerable falling off in the revenue from customs in the year 1833. It will never the less be amply sufficient to provide for all the wants of the public service, estimated even upon a liberal scale, and for the redemption and purchase of the remainder of the public debt. On January 1st, 1833 the entire public debt of the United States, funded and unfunded, will be reduced to within a fraction of $7,000,000, of which $2,227,363 are not of right redeemable until January 1st, 1834 and $4,735,296 not until January 2d, 1835. The commissioners of the sinking funds, however, being invested with full authority to purchase the debt at the market price, and the means of the Treasury being ample, it may be hoped that the whole will be extinguished within the year 1833.

I can not too cordially congratulate Congress and my fellow citizens on the near approach of that memorable and happy event--the extinction of the public debt of this great and free nation.

Faithful to the wise and patriotic policy marked out by the legislation of the country for this object, the present Administration has devoted to it all the means which a flourishing commerce has supplied and a prudent economy preserved for the public Treasury. Within the four years for which the people have confided the Executive power to my charge $58,000,000 will have been applied to the payment of the public debt. That this has been accomplished without stinting the expenditures for all other proper objects will be seen by referring to the liberal provision made during the same period for the support and increase of our means of maritime and military defense, for internal improvements of a national character, for the removal and preservation of the Indians, and, lastly, for the gallant veterans of the Revolution.

The final removal of this great burthen from our resources affords the means of further provision for all the objects of general welfare and public defense which the Constitution authorizes, and presents the occasion for such further reductions in the revenue as may not be required for them. From the report of the Secretary of the Treasury it will be seen that after the present year such a reduction may be made to a considerable extent, and the subject is earnestly recommended to the consideration of Congress in the hope that the combined wisdom of the representatives of the people will devise such means of effecting that salutary object as may remove those burthens which shall be found to fall unequally upon any and as may promote all the great interests of the community.

Long and patient reflection has strengthened the opinions I have heretofore expressed to Congress on this subject, and I deem it my duty on the present occasion again to urge them upon the attention of the Legislature. The soundest maxims of public policy and the principals upon which our republican institutions are founded recommend a proper adaptation of the revenue to the expenditure, and they also require that the expenditure shall be limited to what, by an economical administration, shall be consistent with the simplicity of the Government and necessary to an efficient public service.

In effecting this adjustment it is due, in justice to the interests of the different States, and even to the preservation of the Union itself, that the protection afforded by existing laws to any branches of the national industry should not exceed what may be necessary to counteract the regulations of foreign nations and to secure a supply of those articles of manufacture essential to the national independence and safety in time of war. If upon investigation it shall be found, as it is believed it will be, that the legislative protection granted to any particular interest is greater than is indispensably requisite for these objects, I recommend that it be gradually diminished, and that as far as may be consistent with these objects the whole scheme of duties be reduced to the revenue standard as soon as a just regard to the faith of the Government and to the preservation of the large capital invested in establishments of domestic industry will permit.

That manufactures adequate to the supply of our domestic consumption would in the abstract be beneficial to our country there is no reason to doubt, and to effect their establishment there is perhaps no American citizen who would not for a while be willing to pay a higher price for them. But for this purpose it is presumed that a tariff of high duties, designed for perpetual protection, which they maintain has the effect to reduce the price by domestic competition below that of the foreign article. Experience, however, our best guide on this as on other subjects, makes it doubtful whether the advantages of this system are not counter-balanced by many evils, and whether it does not tend to beget in the minds of a large portion of our country-men a spirit of discontent and jealousy dangerous to the stability of the Union.

What, then, shall be done? Large interests have grown up under the implied pledge of our national legislation, which it would seem a violation of public faith suddenly to abandon. Nothing could justify it but the public safety, which is the supreme law. But those who have vested their capital in manufacturing establishments can not expect that the people will continue permanently to pay high taxes for their benefit, when the money is not required for any legitimate purpose in the administration of the Government. Is it not enough that the high duties have been paid as long as the money arising from them could be applied to the common benefit in the extinguishment of the public debt?

Those who take an enlarged view of the condition of our country must be satisfied that the policy of protection must be ultimately limited to those articles of domestic manufacture which are indispensable to our safety in time of war. Within this scope, on a reasonable scale, it is recommended by every consideration of patriotism and duty, which will doubtless always secure to it a liberal and efficient support. But beyond this object we have already seen the operation of the system productive of discontent. In some sections of the Republic its influence is deprecated as tending to concentrate wealth into a few hands, and as creating those germs of dependence and vice which in other countries have characterized the existence of monopolies and proved so destructive of liberty and the general good. A large portion of the people in one section of the Republic declares it not only inexpedient on these grounds, but as disturbing the equal relations of property by legislation, and therefore unconstitutional and unjust.

Doubtless these effects are in a great degree exaggerated, and may be ascribed to a mistaken view of the considerations which led to the adoption of the tariff system; but they are never the less important in enabling us to review the subject with a more thorough knowledge of all its bearings upon the great interests of the Republic, and with a determination to dispose of it so that none can with justice complain.

It is my painful duty to state that in one quarter of the United States opposition to the revenue laws has arisen to a height which threatens to thwart their execution, if not to endanger the integrity of the Union. What ever obstructions may be thrown in the way of the judicial authorities of the General Government, it is hoped they will be able peaceably to overcome them by the prudence of their own officers and the patriotism of the people. But should this reasonable reliance on the moderation and good sense of all portions of our fellow citizens be disappointed, it is believed that the laws themselves are fully adequate to the suppression of such attempts as may be immediately made. Should the exigency arise rendering the execution of the existing laws impracticable from any cause what ever, prompt notice of it will be given to Congress, with a suggestion of such views and measures as may be deemed necessary to meet it.

In conformity with principles heretofore explained, and with the hope of reducing the General Government to that simple machine which the Constitution created and of withdrawing from the States all other influence than that of its universal beneficence in preserving peace, affording an uniform currency, maintaining the inviolability of contracts, diffusing intelligence, and discharging unfelt its other super-intending functions, I recommend that provision be made to dispose of all stocks now held by it in corporations, whether created by the General or State Governments, and placing the proceeds in the Treasury. As a source of profit these stocks are of little or no value; as a means of influence among the States they are adverse to the purity of our institutions. The whole principle on which they are based is deemed by many unconstitutional, and to persist in the policy which they indicate is considered wholly inexpedient.

It is my duty to acquaint you with an arrangement made by the Bank of the United States with a portion of the holders of the 3% stock, by which the Government will be deprived of the use of the public funds longer than was anticipated. By this arrangement, which will be particularly explained by the Secretary of the Treasury, a surrender of the certificates of this stock may be postponed until October, 1833, and thus may be continued by the failure of the bank to perform its duties.

Such measures as are within the reach of the Secretary of the Treasury have been taken to enable him to judge whether the public deposits in that institution may be regarded as entirely safe; but as his limited power may prove inadequate to this object, I recommend the subject to the attention of Congress, under the firm belief that it is worthy of their serious investigation. An inquiry into the transactions of the institution, embracing the branches as well as the principal bank, seems called for by the credit which is given throughout the country to many serious charges impeaching its character, and which if true may justly excite the apprehension that it is no longer a safe depository of the money of the people.

Among the interests which merit the consideration of Congress after the payment of the public debt, one of the most important, in my view, is that of the public lands. Previous to the formation of our present Constitution it was recommended by Congress that a portion of the waste lands owned by the States should be ceded to the United States for the purposes of general harmony and as a fund to meet the expenses of the war. The recommendation was adopted, and at different periods of time the States of Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia granted their vacant soil for the uses for which they had been asked. As the lands may now be considered as relieved from this pledge, it is in the discretion of Congress to dispose of them in such way as best to conduce to the quiet, harmony, and general interest of the American people. In examining this question all local and sectional feelings should be discarded and the whole United States regarded as one people, interested alike in the prosperity of their common country.

It can not be doubted that the speedy settlement of these lands constitutes the true interest of the Republic. The wealth and strength of a country are its population, and the best part of that population are cultivators of the soil. Independent farmers are every where the basis of society and true friends of liberty.

In addition to these considerations questions have already arisen, and may be expected hereafter to grow out of the public lands, which involve the rights of the new States and the powers of the General Government, and unless a liberal policy be now adopted there is danger that these questions may speedily assume an importance not now generally anticipated. The influence of a great sectional interest, when brought into full action, will be found more dangerous to the harmony and union of the States than any other cause of discontent, and it is the part of wisdom and sound policy to foresee its approaches and endeavor if possible to counteract them.

Of the various schemes which have been hitherto proposed in regard to the disposal of the public lands, none has yet received the entire approbation of the National Legislature. Deeply impressed with the importance of a speedy and satisfactory arrangement of the subject, I deem it my duty on this occasion to urge it upon your consideration, and to the propositions which have been heretofore suggested by others to contribute those reflections which have occurred to me, in the hope that they may assist you in your future deliberations.

It seems to me to be our policy that the public lands shall cease as soon as practicable to be a source of revenue, and that they be sold to settlers in limited parcels at a price barely sufficient to reimburse to the United States the expense of the present system and the cost arising under our Indian compacts. The advantages of accurate surveys and undoubted titles now secured to purchasers seem to forbid the abolition of the present system, because none can be substituted which will more perfectly accomplish these important ends. It is desirable, however, that in convenient time this machinery be withdrawn from the States, and that the right of soil and the future disposition of it be surrendered to the States respectively in which it lies.

The adventurous and hardy population of the West, besides contributing their equal share of taxation under our impost system, have in the progress of our Government, for the lands they occupy, paid into the Treasury a large proportion of $40,000,000, and of the revenue received therefrom but a small part has been expended among them. When to the disadvantage of their situation in this respect we add the consideration that it is their labor alone which gives real value to the lands, and that the proceeds arising from their sale are distributed chiefly among States which had not originally any claim to them, and which have enjoyed the undivided emolument arising from the sale of their own lands, it can not be expected that the new States will remain longer contented with the present policy after the payment of the public debt. To avert the consequences which may be apprehended from this cause, to pub an end for ever to all partial and interested legislation on the subject, and to afford to every American citizen of enterprise the opportunity of securing an independent freehold, it seems to me, therefore, best to abandon the idea of raising a future revenue out of the public lands.

In former messages I have expressed my conviction that the Constitution does not warrant the application of the funds of the General Government to objects of internal improvement which are not national in their character, and, both as a means of doing justice to all interests and putting an end to a course of legislation calculated to destroy the purity of the Government, have urged the necessity of reducing the whole subject to some fixed and certain rule. As there never will occur a period, perhaps, more propitious than the present to the accomplishment of this object, I beg leave to press the subject again upon your attention.

Without some general and well-defined principles ascertaining those objects of internal improvement to which the means of the nation may be constitutionally applied, it is obvious that the exercise of the power can never be satisfactory. Besides the danger to which it exposes Congress of making hasty appropriations to works of the character of which they may be frequently ignorant, it promotes a mischievous and corrupting influence upon elections by holding out to the people the fallacious hope that the success of a certain candidate will make navigable their neighboring creek or river, bring commerce to their doors, and increase the value of their property. It thus favors combinations to squander the treasure of the country upon a multitude of local objects, as fatal to just legislation as to the purity of public men.

If a system compatible with the Constitution can not be devised which is free from such tendencies, we should recollect that that instrument provides within itself the mode of its amendment, and that there is, therefore, no excuse for the assumption of doubtful powers by the General Government. If those which are clearly granted shall be found incompetent to the ends of its creation, it can at any time apply for their enlargement; and there is no probability that such an application, if founded on the public interest, will ever be refused. If the propriety of the proposed grant be not sufficiently apparent to command the assent of 3/4 of the States, the best possible reason why the power should not be assumed on doubtful authority is afforded; for if more than one quarter of the States are unwilling to make the grant its exercise will be productive of discontents which will far over-balance any advantages that could be derived from it. All must admit that there is nothing so worthy of the constant solicitude of this Government as the harmony and union of the people.

Being solemnly impressed with the conviction that the extension of the power to make internal improvements beyond the limit I have suggested, even if it be deemed constitutional, is subversive of the best interests of our country, I earnestly recommend to Congress to refrain from its exercise in doubtful cases, except in relation to improvements already begun, unless they shall first procure from the States such an amendment of the Constitution as will define its character and prescribe its bounds. If the States feel themselves competent to these objects, why should this Government wish to assume the power? If they do not, then they will not hesitate to make the grant. Both Governments are the Governments of the people; improvements must be made with the money of the people, and if the money can be collected and applied by those more simple and economical political machines, the State governments, it will unquestionably be safer and better for the people than to add to the splendor, the patronage, and the power of the General Government. But if the people of the several States think otherwise they will amend the Constitution, and in their decision all ought cheerfully to acquiesce.

For a detailed and highly satisfactory view of the operations of the War Department I refer you to the accompanying report of the Secretary of War.

The hostile incursions of the Sac and Fox Indians necessarily led to the interposition of the Government. A portion of the troops, under Generals Scott and Atkinson, and of the militia of the State of Illinois were called into the field. After a harassing warfare, prolonged by the nature of the country and by the difficulty of procuring subsistence, the Indians were entirely defeated, and the disaffected band dispersed or destroyed. The result has been creditable to the troops engaged in the service. Severe as is the lesson to the Indians, it was rendered necessary by their unprovoked aggressions, and it is to be hoped that its impression will be permanent and salutary.

This campaign has evinced the efficient organization of the Army and its capacity for prompt and active service. Its several departments have performed their functions with energy and dispatch, and the general movement was satisfactory.

Our fellow citizens upon the frontiers were ready, as they always are, in the tender of their services in the hour of danger. But a more efficient organization of our militia system is essential to that security which is one of the principal objects of all governments. Neither our situation nor our institutions require or permit the maintenance of a large regular force. History offers too many lessons of the fatal result of such a measure not to warn us against its adoption here. The expense which attends it, the obvious tendency to employ it because it exists and thus to engage in unnecessary wars, and its ultimate danger to public liberty will lead us, I trust, to place our principal dependence for protection upon the great body of the citizens of the Republic. If in asserting rights or in repelling wrongs war should come upon us, our regular force should be increased to an extent proportional to the emergency, and our present small Army is a nucleus around which such force could be formed and embodied. But for the purposes of defense under ordinary circumstances we must rely upon the electors of the country. Those by whom and for whom the Government was instituted and is supported will constitute its protection in the hour of danger as they do its check in the hour of safety.

But it is obvious that the militia system is imperfect. Much time is lost, much unnecessary expense incurred, and much public property wasted under the present arrangement. Little useful knowledge is gained by the musters and drills as now established, and the whole subject evidently requires a thorough examination. Whether a plan of classification remedying these defects and providing for a system of instruction might not be adopted is submitted to the consideration of Congress. The Constitution has vested in the General Government an independent authority upon the subject of the militia which renders its action essential to the establishment or improvement of the system, and I recommend the matter to your consideration in the conviction that the state of this important arm of the public defense requires your attention.

I am happy to inform you that the wise and humane policy of transferring from the eastern to the western side of the Mississippi the remnants of our aboriginal tribes, with their own consent and upon just terms, has been steadily pursued, and is approaching, I trust, its consummation. By reference to the report of the Secretary of War and to the documents submitted with it you will see the progress which has been made since your last session in the arrangement of the various matters connected with our Indian relations. With one exception every subject involving any question of conflicting jurisdiction or of peculiar difficulty has been happily disposed of, and the conviction evidently gains ground among the Indians that their removal to the country assigned by the United States for their permanent residence furnishes the only hope of their ultimate prosperity.

With that portion of the Cherokees, however, living within the State of Georgia it has been found impracticable as yet to make a satisfactory adjustment. Such was my anxiety to remove all the grounds of complaint and to bring to a termination the difficulties in which they are involved that I directed the very liberal propositions to be made to them which accompany the documents herewith submitted. They can not but have seen in these offers the evidence of the strongest disposition on the part of the Government to deal justly and liberally with them. An ample indemnity was offered for their present possessions, a liberal provision for their future support and improvement, and full security for their private and political rights. What ever difference of opinion may have prevailed respecting the just claims of these people, there will probably be none respecting the liberality of the propositions, and very little respecting the expediency of their immediate acceptance. They were, however, rejected, and thus the position of these Indians remains unchanged, as do the views communicated in my message to the Senate of February 22d, 1831.

I refer you to the annual report of the Secretary of the Navy, which accompanies this message, for a detail of the operations of that branch of the service during the present year.

Besides the general remarks on some of the transactions of our Navy presented in the view which has been taken of our foreign relations, I seize this occasion to invite to your notice the increased protection which it has afforded to our commerce and citizens on distant seas without any augmentation of the force in commission. In the gradual improvement of its pecuniary concerns, in the constant progress in the collection of materials suitable for use during future emergencies, and in the construction of vessels and the buildings necessary to their preservation and repair, the present state of this branch of the service exhibits the fruits of that vigilance and care which are so indispensable to its efficiency. Various new suggestions, contained in the annexed report, as well as others heretofore to Congress, are worthy of your attention, but none more so than that urging the renewal for another term of six years of the general appropriation for the gradual improvement of the Navy.

From the accompanying report of the Post Master General you will also perceive that that Department continues to extend its usefulness without impairing its resources or lessening the accommodations which it affords in the secure and rapid transportation of the mail.

I beg leave to call the attention of Congress to the views heretofore expressed in relation to the mode of choosing the President and Vice- President of the United States, and to those respecting the tenure of office generally. Still impressed with the justness of those views and with the belief that the modifications suggested on those subjects if adopted will contribute to the prosperity and harmony of the country, I earnestly recommend them to your consideration at this time.

I have heretofore pointed out defects in the law for punishing official frauds, especially within the District of Columbia. It has been found almost impossible to bring notorious culprits to punishment, and, according to a decision of the court for this District, a prosecution is barred by a lapse of two years after the fraud has been committed. It may happen again, as it has already happened, that during the whole two years all the evidences of the fraud may be in the possession of the culprit himself. However proper the limitation may be in relation to private citizens, it would seem that it ought not to commence running in favor of public officers until they go out of office.

The judiciary system of the United States remains imperfect. Of the 9 Western and South Western States, three only enjoy the benefits of a circuit court. Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee are embraced in the general system, but Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana have only district courts. If the existing system be a good one, why should it not be extended? If it be a bad one, why is it suffered to exist? The new States were promised equal rights and privileges when they came into the Union, and such are the guaranties of the Constitution. Nothing can be more obvious than the obligation of the General Government to place all the States on the same footing in relation to the administration of justice, and I trust this duty will be neglected no longer.

On many of the subjects to which your attention is invited in this communication it is a source of gratification to reflect that the steps to be now adopted are uninfluenced by the embarrassments entailed upon the country by the wars through which it has passed. In regard to most of our great interests we may consider ourselves as just starting in our career, and after a salutary experience about to fix upon a permanent basis the policy best calculated to promote the happiness of the people and facilitate their progress toward the most complete enjoyment of civil liberty. On an occasion so interesting and important in our history, and of such anxious concern to the friends of freedom throughout the world, it is our imperious duty to lay aside all selfish and local considerations and be guided by a lofty spirit of devotion to the great principles on which our institutions are founded.

That this Government may be so administered as to preserve its efficiency in promoting and securing these general objects should be the only aim of our ambition, and we can not, therefore, too carefully examine its structure, in order that we may not mistake its powers or assume those which the people have reserved to themselves or have preferred to assign to other agents. We should bear constantly in mind the fact that the considerations which induced the framers of the Constitution to withhold from the General Government the power to regulate the great mass of the business and concerns of the people have been fully justified by experience, and that it can not now be doubted that the genius of all our institutions prescribes simplicity and economy as the characteristics of the reform which is yet to be effected in the present and future execution of the functions bestowed upon us by the Constitution.

Limited to a general superintending power to maintain peace at home and abroad, and to prescribe laws on a few subjects of general interest not calculated to restrict human liberty, but to enforce human rights, this Government will find its strength and its glory in the faithful discharge of these plain and simple duties. Relieved by its protecting shield from the fear of war and the apprehension of oppression, the free enterprise of our citizens, aided by the State sovereignties, will work out improvements and ameliorations which can not fail to demonstrate that the great truth that the people can govern themselves is not only realized in our example, but that it is done by a machinery in government so simple and economical as scarcely to be felt. That the Almighty Ruler of the Universe may so direct our deliberations and over-rule our acts as to make us instrumental in securing a result so dear to mankind is my most earnest and sincere prayer.


State of the Union Address
Andrew Jackson
December 3, 1833

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

On your assembling to perform the high trusts which the people of the United States have confided to you, of legislating for their common welfare, it gives me pleasure to congratulate you upon the happy condition of our beloved country. By the favor of Divine Providence health is again restored to us, peace reigns within our borders, abundance crowns the labors of our fields, commerce and domestic industry flourish and increase, and individual happiness rewards the private virtue and enterprise of our citizens.

Our condition abroad is no less honorable than it is prosperous at home. Seeking nothing that is not right and determined to submit to nothing that is wrong, but desiring honest friendships and liberal intercourse with all nations, the United States have gained throughout the world the confidence and respect which are due to a policy so just and so congenial to the character of the American people and to the spirit of their institutions.

In bringing to your notice the particular state of our foreign affairs, it affords me high gratification to inform you that they are in a condition which promises the continuance of friendship with all nations.

With Great Britain the interesting question of our North East boundary remains still undecided. A negotiation, however, upon that subject has been renewed since the close of the last Congress, and a proposition has been submitted to the British Government with the view of establishing, in conformity with the resolution of the Senate, the line designated by the treaty of 1783. Though no definitive answer has been received, it may be daily looked for, and I entertain a hope that the overture may ultimately lead to a satisfactory adjustment of this important matter.

I have the satisfaction to inform you that a negotiation which, by desire of the House of Representatives, was opened some years ago with the British Government, for the erection of light houses on the Bahamas, has been successful. Those works, when completed, together with those which the United States have constructed on the western side of the Gulf of Florida, will contribute essentially to the safety of navigation in that sea. This joint participation in establishments interesting to humanity and beneficial to commerce is worthy of two enlightened nations, and indicates feelings which can not fail to have a happy influence upon their political relations. It is gratifying to the friends of both to perceive that the intercourse between the two people is becoming daily more extensive, and that sentiments of mutual good will have grown up befitting their common origin and justifying the hope that by wise counsels on each side not only unsettled questions may be satisfactorily terminated, but new causes of misunderstanding prevented.

Not withstanding that I continue to receive the most amicable assurances from the Government of France, and that in all other respects the most friendly relations exist between the United States and that Government, it is to be regretted that the stipulations of the convention concluded on July 4th, 1831 remain in some important parts unfulfilled.

By the second article of that convention it was stipulated that the sum payable to the United States should be paid at Paris, in six annual installments, into the hands of such person or persons as should be authorized by the Government of the United States to receive it, and by the same article the first installment was payable on February 2d, 1833. By the act of Congress of July 13th, 1832 it was made the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to cause the several installments, with the interest thereon, to be received from the French Government and transferred to the United States in such manner as he may deem best; and by the same act of Congress the stipulations on the part of the United States in the convention were in all respects fulfilled. Not doubting that a treaty thus made and ratified by the two Governments, and faithfully executed by the United States, would be promptly complied with by the other party, and desiring to avoid the risk and expense of intermediate agencies, the Secretary of the Treasury deemed it advisable to receive and transfer the first installment by means of a draft upon the French minister of finance.

A draft for this purpose was accordingly drawn in favor of the cashier of the Bank of the United States for the amount accruing to the United States out of the first installment, and the interest payable with it. This bill was not drawn at Washington until five days after the installment was payable at Paris, and was accompanied by a special authority from the President authorizing the cashier or his assigns to receive the amount. The mode thus adopted of receiving the installment was officially made known to the French Government by the American charge d'affaires at Paris, pursuant to instructions from the Department of State. The bill, however, though not presented for payment until March 23d, 1833, was not paid, and for the reason assigned by the French minister of finance that no appropriation had been made by the French Chambers. It is not known to me that up to that period any appropriation had been required of the Chambers, and although a communication was subsequently made to the Chambers by direction of the King, recommending that the necessary provision should be made for carrying the convention into effect, it was at an advanced period of the session, and the subject was finally postponed until the next meeting of the Chambers.

Not withstanding it has been supposed by the French ministry that the financial stipulations of the treaty can not be carried into effect without an appropriation by the Chambers, it appears to me to be not only consistent with the character of France, but due to the character of both Governments, as well as to the rights of our citizens, to treat the convention, made and ratified in proper form, as pledging the good faith of the French Government for its execution, and as imposing upon each department an obligation to fulfill it; and I have received assurances through our charge d'affaires at Paris and the French minister plenipotentiary at Washington, and more recently through the minister of the United States at Paris, that the delay has not proceeded from any indisposition on the part of the King and his ministers to fulfill their treaty, and that measures will be presented at the next meeting of the Chambers, and with a reasonable hope of success, to obtain the necessary appropriation.

It is necessary to state, however, that the documents, except certain lists of vessels captured, condemned, or burnt at sea, proper to facilitate the examination and liquidation of the reclamations comprised in the stipulations of the convention, and which by the 6th article France engaged to communicate to the United States by the intermediary of the legation, though repeatedly applied for by the American charge d'affaires under instructions from this Government, have not yet been communicated; and this delay, it is apprehended, will necessarily prevent the completion of the duties assigned to the commissioners within the time at present prescribed by law.

The reasons for delaying to communicate these documents have not been explicitly stated, and this is the more to be regretted as it is not understood that the interposition of the Chambers is in any manner required for the delivery of those papers.

Under these circumstances, in a case so important to the interests of our citizens and to the character of our country, and under disappointments so unexpected, I deemed it my duty, however I might respect the general assurances to which I have adverted, no longer to delay the appointment of a minister plenipotentiary to Paris, but to dispatch him in season to communicate the result of his application to the French Government at an early period of your session. I accordingly appointed a distinguished citizen for this purpose, who proceeded on his mission in August last and was presented to the King early in the month of October. He is particularly instructed as to all matters connected with the present posture of affairs, and I indulge the hope that with the representations he is instructed to make, and from the disposition manifested by the King and his ministers in their recent assurances to our minister at Paris, the subject will be early considered, and satisfactorily disposed of at the next meeting of the Chambers.

As this subject involves important interests and has attracted a considerable share of the public attention, I have deemed it proper to make this explicit statement of its actual condition, and should I be disappointed in the hope now entertained the subject will be again brought to the notice of Congress in such manner as the occasion may require.

The friendly relations which have always been maintained between the United States and Russia have been further extended and strengthened by the treaty of navigation and commerce concluded on December 6th, 1832, and sanctioned by the Senate before the close of its last session. The ratifications having been since exchanged, the liberal provisions of the treaty are now in full force, and under the encouragement which they have secured a flourishing and increasing commerce, yielding its benefits to the enterprise of both nations, affords to each the just recompense of wise measures, and adds new motives for that mutual friendship which the two countries have hitherto cherished toward each other.

It affords me peculiar satisfaction to state that the Government of Spain has at length yielded to the justice of the claims which have been so long urged in behalf of our citizens, and has expressed a willingness to provide an indemnification as soon as the proper amount can be agreed upon. Upon this latter point it is probable an understanding had taken place between the minister of the United States and the Spanish Government before the decease of the late King of Spain; and, unless that event may have delayed its completion, there is reason to hope that it may be in my power to announce to you early in your present session the conclusion of a convention upon terms not less favorable than those entered into for similar objects with other nations. That act of justice would well accord with the character of Spain, and is due to the United States from their ancient friend. It could not fail to strengthen the sentiments of amity and good will between the two nations which it is so much the wish of the United States to cherish and so truly the interest of both to maintain.

By the first section of an act of Congress passed on July 13th, 1832 the tonnage duty on Spanish ships arriving from the ports of Spain previous to October 20th, 1817, being five cents per ton. That act was intended to give effect on our side to an arrangement made with the Spanish Government by which discriminating duties of tonnage were to be abolished in the ports of the United States and Spain on he vessels of the two nations. Pursuant to that arrangement, which was carried into effect on the part of Spain on May 20th, 1832, by a royal order dated April 29th, 1832, American vessels in the ports of Spain have paid five cents per ton, which rate of duty is also paid in those ports by Spanish ships; but as American vessels pay no tonnage duty in the ports of the United States, the duty of five cents payable in our ports by Spanish vessels under the act above mentioned is really a discriminating duty, operating to the disadvantage of Spain.

Though no complaint has yet been made on the part of Spain, we are not the less bound by the obligations of good faith to remove the discrimination, and I recommend that the act be amended accordingly. As the royal order above alluded to includes the ports of the Balearic and Canary islands as well as those of Spain, it would seem that the provisions of the act of Congress should be equally extensive, and that for the repayments of such duties as may have been improperly received an addition should be made to the sum appropriated at the last session of Congress for refunding discriminating duties.

As the arrangement referred to, however, did not embrace the islands of Cuba and Puerto Rico, discriminating duties to the prejudice of American shipping continue to be levied there. From the extent of the commerce carried on between the United States and those islands, particularly the former, this discrimination causes serious injury to one of those great national interests which it has been considered an essential part of our policy to cherish, and has given rise to complaints on the part of our merchants. Under instructions given to our minister at Madrid, earnest representations have been made by him to the Spanish Government upon this subject, and there is reason to expect, from the friendly disposition which is entertained toward this country, that a beneficial change will be produced.

The disadvantage, however, to which our shipping is subjected by the operation of these discriminating duties requires that they be met by suitable countervailing duties during your present session, power being at the same time vested in the President to modify or discontinue them as the discriminating duties on American vessels or their cargoes may be modified or discontinued at those islands. Intimations have been given to the Spanish Government that the United States may be obliged to resort to such measures as are of necessary self-defense, and there is no reason to apprehend that it would be unfavorably received. The proposed proceeding if adopted would not be permitted, however, in any degree to induce a relaxation in the efforts of our minister to effect a repeal of this irregularity by friendly negotiation, and it might serve to give force to his representations by showing the dangers to which that valuable trade is exposed by the obstructions and burdens which a system of discriminating and countervailing duties necessarily produces.

The selection and preparation of the Florida archives for the purpose of being delivered over to the United States, in conformity with the royal order as mentioned in my last annual message, though in progress, has not yet been completed. This delay has been produced partly by causes which were unavoidable, particularly the prevalence of the cholera at Havana; but measures have been taken which it is believed will expedite the delivery of those important records.

Congress were informed at the opening of the last session that "owing, as was alleged, to embarrassments in the finances of Portugal, consequent upon the civil war in which that nation was engaged", payment had been made of only one installment of the amount which the Portuguese Government had stipulated to pay for indemnifying our citizens for property illegally captured in the blockade of Terceira. Since that time a postponement for two years, with interest, of the two remaining installments was requested by the Portuguese Government, and as a consideration it offered to stipulate that rice of the United States should be admitted into Portugal at the same duties as Brazilian rice. Being satisfied that no better arrangement could be made, my consent was given, and a royal order of the King of Portugal was accordingly issued on February 4th, 1833 for the reduction of the duty on rice of the United States. It would give me great pleasure if in speaking of that country, in whose prosperity the United States are so much interested, and with whom a long-subsisting, extensive, and mutually advantageous commercial intercourse has strengthened the relation of friendship, I could announce to you the restoration of its internal tranquillity.

Subsequently to the commencement of the last session of Congress the final installment payable by Denmark under the convention of March 28th, 1830 was received. The commissioners for examining the claims have since terminated their labors, and their awards have been paid at the Treasury as they have been called for. The justice rendered to our citizens by that Government is thus completed, and a pledge is thereby afforded for the maintenance of that friendly intercourse becoming the relations that the two nations mutually bear to each other.

It is satisfactory to inform you that the Danish Government have recently issued an ordinance by which the commerce with the island of St. Croix is placed on a more liberal footing than heretofore. This change can not fail to prove beneficial to the trade between the United States and that colony, and the advantages likely to flow from it may lead to greater relaxations in the colonial systems of other nations.

The ratifications of the convention with the King of the two Sicilies have been duly exchanged, and the commissioners appointed for examining the claims under it have entered upon the duties assigned to them by law. The friendship that the interests of the two nations require of them being now established, it may be hoped that each will enjoy the benefits which a liberal commerce should yield to both.

A treaty of amity and commerce between the United States and Belgium was concluded during the last winter and received the sanction of the Senate, but the exchange of the ratifications has been hitherto delayed, in consequence, in the first instance, of some delay in the reception of the treaty at Brussels, and, subsequently, of the absence of the Belgian minister of foreign affairs at the important conferences in which his Government is engaged at London. That treaty does but embody those enlarged principles of friendly policy which it is sincerely hoped will always regulate the conduct of the two nations having such strong motives to maintain amicable relations toward each other and so sincerely desirous to cherish them.

With all the other European powers with whom the United States have formed diplomatic relations and with the Sublime Porte the best understanding prevails. From all I continue to receive assurances of good will toward the United States--assurances which it gives me no less pleasure to reciprocate than to receive. With all, the engagements which have been entered into are fulfilled with good faith on both sides. Measures have also been taken to enlarge our friendly relations and extend our commercial intercourse with other States. The system we have pursued of aiming at no exclusive advantages, of dealing with all on terms of fair and equal reciprocity, and of adhering scrupulously to all our engagements is well calculated to give success to efforts intended to be mutually beneficial.

The wars of which the southern part of this continent was so long the theater, and which were carried on either by the mother country against the States which had formerly been her colonies or by the States against each other, having terminated, and their civil dissensions having so far subsided as with few exceptions no longer to disturb the public tranquillity, it is earnestly hoped those States will be able to employ themselves without interruption in perfecting their institutions, cultivating the arts of peace, and promoting by wise councils and able exertions the public and private prosperity which their patriotic struggles so well entitle them to enjoy.

With those States our relations have under-gone but little change during the present year. No reunion having yet taken place between the States which composed the Republic of Colombia, our charge d'affaires at Bogota has been accredited to the Government of New Grenada, and we have, therefore, no diplomatic relations with Venezuela and Equator, except as they may be included in those heretofore formed with the Colombian Republic.

It is understood that representatives from the three states were about to assemble at Bogota to confer on the subject of their mutual interests, particularly that of their union, and if the result should render it necessary, measures will be taken on our part to preserve with each that friendship and those liberal commercial connections which it has been the constant desire of the United States to cultivate with their sister Republics of this hemisphere. Until the important question of reunion shall be settled, however, the different matters which have been under discussion between the United States and the Republic of Colombia, or either of the States which composed it, are not likely to be brought to a satisfactory issue.

In consequence of the illness of the charge d'affaires appointed to Central America at the last session of Congress, he was prevented from proceeding on his mission until the month of October. It is hoped, however, that he is by this time at his post, and that the official intercourse, unfortunately so long interrupted, has been thus renewed on the part of the two nations so amicably and advantageously connected by engagements founded on the most enlarged principles of commercial reciprocity.

It is gratifying to state that since my last annual message some of the most important claims of our fellow citizens upon the Government of Brazil have been satisfactorily adjusted, and a reliance is placed on the friendly dispositions manifested by it that justice will also be done in others. No new causes of complaint have arisen, and the trade between the two countries flourishes under the encouragement secured to it by the liberal provisions of the treaty.

It is cause of regret that, owing, probably, to the civil dissensions which have occupied the attention of the Mexican Government, the time fixed by the treaty of limits with the United States for the meeting of the commissioners to define the boundaries between the two nations has been suffered to expire without the appointment of any commissioners on the part of that Government. While the true boundary remains in doubt by either party it is difficult to give effect to those measures which are necessary to the protection and quiet of our numerous citizens residing near that frontier. The subject is one of great solicitude to the United States, and will not fail to receive my earnest attention.

The treaty concluded with Chili and approved by the Senate at its last session was also ratified by the Chilian Government, but with certain additional and explanatory articles of a nature to have required it to be again submitted to the Senate. The time limited for the exchange of the ratification, however, having since expired, the action of both Governments on the treaty will again become necessary.

The negotiations commenced with the Argentine Republic relative to the outrages committed on our vessels engaged in the fisheries at the Falkland Islands by persons acting under the color of its authority, as well as the other matters in controversy between the two Governments, have been suspended by the departure of the charge d'affaires of the United States from Buenos Ayres. It is understood, however, that a minister was subsequently appointed by that Government to renew the negotiation in the United States, but though daily expected he has not yet arrived in this country.

With Peru no treaty has yet been formed, and with Bolivia no diplomatic intercourse has yet been established. It will be my endeavor to encourage those sentiments of amity and that liberal commerce which belong to the relations in which all the independent States of this continent stand toward each other.

I deem it proper to recommend to your notice the revision of our consular system. This has become an important branch of the public service, in as much as it is intimately connected with the preservation of our national character abroad, with the interest of our citizens in foreign countries, with the regulation and care of our commerce, and with the protection of our sea men. At the close of the last session of Congress I communicated a report from the Secretary of State upon the subject, to which I now refer, as containing information which may be useful in any inquiries that Congress may see fit to institute with a view to a salutary reform of the system.

It gives me great pleasure to congratulate you upon the prosperous condition of the finances of the country, as will appear from the report which the Secretary of the Treasury will in due time lay before you. The receipts into the Treasury during the present year will amount to more than $32,000,000. The revenue derived from customs will, it is believed, be more than $28,000,000, and the public lands will yield about $3,0900,000. The expenditures within the year for all objects, including $2,572,240.99 on account of the public debt, will not amount to $25,000,000, and a large balance will remain in the Treasury after satisfying all the appropriations chargeable on the revenue for the present year.

The measures taken by the Secretary of the Treasury will probably enable to pay off in the course of the present year the residue of the exchanged 4.5% stock, redeemable on January 1st, 1834. It has therefore been included in the estimated expenditures of this year, and forms a part of the sum above stated to have been paid on account of the public debt. The payment of this stock will reduce the whole debt of the United States, funded and unfunded, to the sum of $4,760,082.08, and as provision has already been made for the 4.5% stocks above mentioned, and charged in the expenses of the present year, the sum last stated is all that now remains of the national debt; and the revenue of the coming year, together with the balance now in the Treasury, will be sufficient to discharge it, after meeting the current expenses of the Government. Under the power given to the commissioners of the sinking fund, it will, I have no doubt, be purchased on favorable terms within the year.

From this view of the state of the finances and the public engagements yet to be fulfilled you will perceive that if Providence permits me to meet you at another session I shall have the high gratification of announcing to you that the national debt is extinguished. I can not refrain from expressing the pleasure I feel at the near approach of that desirable event. The short period of time within which the public debt will have been discharged is strong evidence of the abundant resources of the country and of the prudence and economy with which the Government has heretofore been administered. We have waged two wars since we became a nation, with one of the most powerful kingdoms in the world, both of them undertaken in defense of our dearest rights, been successfully prosecuted and honorably terminated; and many of those who partook in the first struggle as well as in the second will have lived to see the last item of the debt incurred in these necessary but expensive conflicts faithfully and honestly discharged. And we shall have the proud satisfaction of bequeathing to the public servants who follow us in the administration of the Government the rare blessing of a revenue sufficiently abundant, raised without injustice or oppression to our citizens, and unencumbered with any burdens but what they themselves shall think proper to impose upon it.

The flourishing state of the finances ought not, however, to encourage us to indulge in a lavish expenditure of the public treasure. The receipts of the present year do not furnish the test by which we are to estimate the income of the next. The changes made in our revenue system by the acts of Congress of 1832 and 1833, and more especially by the former, have swelled the receipts of the present year far beyond the amount to be expected in future years upon the reduced tariff of duties. The shortened credits on revenue bonds and the cash duties on woolens which were introduced by the act of 1832, and took effect on March 4th, 1832, have brought large sums into the Treasury in 1833, which, according to the credits formerly given, would not have been payable until 1834, and would have formed a part of the income of that year. These causes would of themselves produce a great diminution of the receipts in the year 1834 as compared with the present one, and they will be still more diminished by the reduced rates of duties which take place on January 1st, 1834 on some of the most important and productive articles.

Upon the best estimates that can be made the receipts of the next year, with the aid of the unappropriated amount now in the Treasury, will not be much more than sufficient to meet the expenses of the year and pay the small remnant of the national debt which yet remains unsatisfied. I can not, therefore, recommend to you any alteration in the present tariff of duties. The rate as now fixed by law on the various articles was adopted at the last session of Congress, as a matter of compromise, with unusual unanimity, and unless it is found to produce more than the necessities of the Government call for there would seem to be no reason at this time to justify a change.

But while I forbear to recommend any further reduction of the duties beyond that already provided for by the existing laws, I must earnestly and respectfully press upon Congress the importance of abstaining from all appropriations which are not absolutely required for the public interest and authorized by the powers clearly delegated to the United States. We are beginning a new era in our Government. The national debt, which has so long been a burden on the Treasury, will be finally discharged in the course of the ensuing year. No more memory will afterwards be needed than what may be necessary to meet the ordinary expenses of the Government. Now, then, is the proper moment to fix our system of expenditure on firm and durable principles, and I can not too strongly urge the necessity of a rigid economy and an inflexible determination not to enlarge the income beyond the real necessities of the Government and not to increase the wants of the Government by unnecessary and profuse expenditures.

If a contrary course should be pursued, it may happen that the revenue of 1834 will fall short of the demands upon it, and after reducing the tariff in order to lighten the burdens of the people, and providing for a still further reduction to take effect hereafter, it would be much to be deplored if at the end of another year we should find ourselves obliged to retrace our steps and impose additional taxes to meet unnecessary expenditures.

It is my duty on this occasion to call your attention to the destruction of the public building occupied by the Treasury Department, which happened since the last adjournment of Congress. A thorough inquiry into the causes of this loss was directed and made at the time, the result of which will be duly communicated to you. I take pleasure, however, in stating here that by the laudable exertions of the officers of the Department and many of the citizens of the District but few papers were lost, and none that will materially affect the public interest.

The public convenience requires that another building should be erected as soon as practicable, and in providing for it it will be advisable to enlarge in some manner the accommodations for the public officers of the several Departments, and to authorize the erection of suitable depositories for the safe-keeping of the public documents and records.

Since the last adjournment of Congress the Secretary of the Treasury has directed the money of the United States to be deposited in certain State banks designated by him, and he will immediately lay before you his reasons for this direction. I concur with him entirely in the view he has taken on the subject, and some months before the removal I urged upon the Department the propriety of taking that step. The near approach of the day on which the charger will expire, as well as the conduct of the bank, appeared to me to call for this measure upon the high considerations of public interest and public duty. The extent of its misconduct, however, although known to be great, was not at that time fully developed by proof. It was not until late in the month of August that I received from the Government directors an official report establishing beyond question that this great and powerful institution had been actively engaged in attempting to influence the elections of the public officers by means of its money, and that, in violation of the express provisions of its charter, it had by a formal resolution placed its funds at the disposition of its president to be employed in sustaining the political power of the bank. A copy of this resolution is contained in the report of the Government directors before referred to, and how ever the object may be disguised by cautious language, no one can doubt that this money was in truth intended for electioneering purposes, and the particular uses to which it was proved to have been applied abundantly show that it was so understood. Not only was the evidence complete as to the past application of the money and power of the bank to electioneering purposes, but that the resolution of the board of directors authorized the same course to be pursued in future.

It being thus established by unquestionable proof that the Bank of the United States was converted into a permanent electioneering engine, it appeared to me that the path of duty which the executive department of the Government ought to pursue was not doubtful. As by the terms of the bank charter no officer but the Secretary of the Treasury could remove the deposits, it seemed to me that this authority ought to be at once exerted to deprive that great corporation of the support and countenance of the Government in such an use of its and such an exertion of its power. In this point of the case the question is distinctly presented whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages or whether the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and control their decisions. It must now be determined whether the bank is to have its candidates for all offices in the country, from the highest to the lowest, or whether candidates on both sides of political questions shall be brought forward as heretofore and supported by the usual means.

At this time the efforts of the bank to control public opinion, through the distresses of some and the fears of others, are equally apparent, and, if possible, more objectionable. By a curtailment of its accommodations more rapid than any emergency requires, and even while it retains specie to an almost unprecedented amount in its vaults, it is attempting to produce great embarrassment in one portion of the community, while through presses known to have been sustained by its money it attempts by unfounded alarms to create a panic in all.

These are the means by which it seems to expect that it can force a restoration of the deposits, and as a necessary consequence extort from Congress a renewal of its charter. I am happy to know that through the good sense of our people the effort to get up a panic has hitherto failed, and that through the increased accommodations which the State banks have been enabled to afford, no public distress has followed the exertions of the bank, and it can not be doubted that the exercise of its power and the expenditure of its money, as well as its efforts to spread groundless alarm, will be met and rebuked as they deserve. In my own sphere of duty I should feel myself called on by the facts disclosed to order a scire facias against the bank, with a view to put an end to the chartered rights it has so palpably violated, were it not that the charter itself will expire as soon as a decision would probably be obtained from the court of last resort.

I called the attention of Congress to this subject in my last annual message, and informed them that such measures as were within the reach of the Secretary of the Treasury had been taken to enable him to judge whether the public deposits in the Bank of the United States were entirely safe; but that as his single powers might be inadequate to the object, I recommended the subject to Congress as worthy of their serious investigation, declaring it as my opinion that an inquiry into the transactions of that institution, embracing the branches as well as the principal bank, was called for by the credit which was given throughout the country to many serious charges impeaching their character, and which, if true, might justly excite the apprehension that they were no longer a safe depository for the public money. The extent to which the examination thus recommended was gone into is spread upon your journals, and is too well known to require to be stated. Such as was made resulted in a report from a majority of the Committee of Ways and Means touching certain specified points only, concluding with a resolution that the Government deposits might safely be continued in the Bank of the United States. This resolution was adopted at the close of the session by the vote of a majority of the House of Representatives.

Although I may not always be able to concur in the views of the public interest or the duties of its agents which may be taken by the other departments of the Government or either of its branches, I am, not withstanding, wholly incapable of receiving otherwise than with the most sincere respect all opinions or suggestions proceeding from such a source, and in respect to none am I more inclined to do so than to the House of Representatives. But it will be seen from the brief views at this time taken of the subject by myself, as well as the more ample ones presented by the Secretary of the Treasury, that the change in the deposits which has been ordered has been deemed to be called for by considerations which are not affected by the proceedings referred to, and which, if correctly viewed by that Department, rendered its act a matter of imperious duty.

Coming as you do, for the most part, immediately from the people and the States by election, and possessing the fullest opportunity to know their sentiments, the present Congress will be sincerely solicitous to carry into full and fair effect the will of their constituents in regard to this institution. It will be for those in whose behalf we all act to decide whether the executive department of the Government, in the steps which it has taken on this subject, has been found in the line of its duty.

The accompanying report of the Secretary of War, with the documents annexed to it, exhibits the operations of the War Department for the past year and the condition of the various subjects intrusted to its administration.

It will be seen from them that the Army maintains the character it has heretofore acquired for efficiency and military knowledge. Nothing has occurred since your last session to require its services beyond the ordinary routine duties which upon the sea-board and the in-land frontier devolve upon it in a time of peace. The system so wisely adopted and so long pursued of constructing fortifications at exposed points and of preparing and collecting the supplies necessary for the military defense of the country, and thus providently furnishing in peace the means of defense in war, has been continued with the usual results. I recommend to your consideration the various subjects suggested in the report of the Secretary of War. Their adoption would promote the public service and meliorate the condition of the Army.

Our relations with the various Indian tribes have been undisturbed since the termination of the difficulties growing out of the hostile aggressions of the Sac and Fox Indians. Several treaties have been formed for the relinquishment of territory to the United States and for the migration of the occupants of the region assigned for their residence West of the Mississippi. Should these treaties be ratified by the Senate, provision will have been made for the removal of almost all the tribes remaining E of that river and for the termination of many difficult and embarrassing questions arising out of their anomalous political condition.

It is to be hoped that those portions of two of the Southern tribes, which in that event will present the only remaining difficulties, will realize the necessity of emigration, and will speedily resort to it. My original convictions upon this subject have been confirmed by the course of events for several years, and experience is every day adding to their strength. That those tribes can not exist surrounded by our settlements and in continual contact with our citizens is certain. They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances and ere long disappear.

Such has been their fate heretofore, and if it is to be averted--and it is--it can only be done by a general removal beyond our boundary and by the reorganization of their political system upon principles adapted to the new relations in which they will be placed. The experiment which has been recently made has so far proved successful. The emigrants generally are represented to be prosperous and contented, the country suitable to their wants and habits, and the essential articles of subsistence easily procured. When the report of the commissioners now engaged in investigating the condition and prospects of these Indians and in devising a plan for their intercourse and government is received, I trust ample means of information will be in possession of the Government for adjusting all the unsettled questions connected with this interesting subject.

The operations of the Navy during the year and its present condition are fully exhibited in the annual report from the Navy Department.

Suggestions are made by the Secretary of various improvements, which deserve careful consideration, and most of which, if adopted, bid fair to promote the efficiency of this important branch of the public service. Among these are the new organization of the Navy Board, the revision of the pay to officers, and a change in the period of time or in the manner of making the annual appropriations, to which I beg leave to call your particular attention.

The views which are presented on almost every portion of our naval concerns, and especially on the amount of force and the number of officers, and the general course of policy appropriate in the present state of our country for securing the great and useful purposes of naval protection in peace and due preparation for the contingencies of war, meet with my entire approbation.

It will be perceived from the report referred to that the fiscal concerns of the establishment are in an excellent condition, and it is hoped that Congress may feel disposed to make promptly every suitable provision desired either for preserving or improving the system.

The general Post Office Department has continued, upon the strength of its own resources, to facilitate the means of communication between the various portions of the Union with increased activity. The method, however, in which the accounts of the transportation of the mail have always been kept appears to have presented an imperfect view of its expenses. It has recently been discovered that from the earliest records of the Department the annual statements have been calculated to exhibit an amount considerably short of the actual expense incurred for that service. These illusory statements, together with the expense of carrying into effect the law of the last session of Congress establishing new mail routes, and a disposition on the part of the head of the Department to gratify the wishes of the public in the extension of mail facilities, have induced him to incur responsibilities for their improvement beyond what the current resources of the Department would sustain. As soon as he had discovered the imperfection of the method he caused an investigation to be made of its results and applied the proper remedy to correct the evil. It became necessary for him to withdraw some of the improvements which he had made to bring the expenses of the Department within its own resources. These expenses were incurred for the public good, and the public have enjoyed their benefit. They are now but partially suspended, and that where they may be discontinued with the least inconvenience to the country.

The progressive increase in the income from postages has equaled the highest expectations, and it affords demonstrative evidence of the growing importance and great utility of this Department. The details are exhibited in the accompanying report of the Post Master General.

The many distressing accidents which have of late occurred in that portion of our navigation carried on by the use of steam power deserve the immediate and unremitting attention of the constituted authorities of the country. The fact that the number of those fatal disasters is constantly increasing, not withstanding the great improvements which are every where made in the machinery employed and in the rapid advances which have made in that branch of science, shows very clearly that they are in a great degree the result of criminal negligence on the part of those by whom the vessels are navigated and to whose care and attention the lives and property of our citizens are so extensively intrusted.

That these evils may be greatly lessened, if not substantially removed, by means of precautionary and penal legislation seems to be highly probably. So far, therefore, as the subject can be regarded as within the constitutional purview of Congress I earnestly recommend it to your prompt and serious consideration.

I would also call your attention to the views I have heretofore expressed of the propriety of amending the Constitution in relation to the mode of electing the President and the Vice-President of the United States. Regarding it as all important to the future quiet and harmony of the people that every intermediate agency in the election of these officers should be removed and that their eligibility should be limited to one term of either four or six years, I can not too earnestly invite your consideration of the subject.

Trusting that your deliberations on all the topics of general interest to which I have adverted, and such others as your more extensive knowledge of the wants of our beloved country may suggest, may be crowned with success, I tender you in conclusion the cooperation which it may be in my power to afford them.


State of the Union Address
Andrew Jackson
December 1, 1834

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

In performing my duty at the opening of your present session it gives me pleasure to congratulate you again upon the prosperous condition of our beloved country. Divine Providence has favored us with general health, with rich rewards in the fields of agriculture and in every branch of labor, and with peace to cultivate and extend the various resources which employ the virtue and enterprise of our citizens. Let us trust that in surveying a scene so flattering to our free institutions our joint deliberations to preserve them may be crowned with success.

Our foreign relations continue, with but few exceptions, to maintain the favorable aspect which they bore in my last annual message, and promise to extend those advantages which the principles that regulate our intercourse with other nations are so well calculated to secure.

The question of our North East boundary is still pending with Great Britain, and the proposition made in accordance with the resolution of the Senate for the establishment of a line according to the treaty of 1783 has not been accepted by that Government. Believing that every disposition is felt on both sides to adjust this perplexing question to the satisfaction of all the parties interested in it, the hope is yet indulged that it may be effected on the basis of that proposition.

With the Governments of Austria, Russia, Prussia, Holland, Sweden, and Denmark the best understanding exists. Commerce with all is fostered and protected by reciprocal good will under the sanction of liberal conventional or legal provisions.

In the midst of her internal difficulties the Queen of Spain has ratified the convention for the payment of the claims of our citizens arising since 1819. It is in the course of execution on her part, and a copy of it is now laid before you for such legislation as may be found necessary to enable those interested to derive the benefits of it.

Yielding to the force of circumstances and to the wise counsels of time and experience, that power has finally resolved no longer to occupy the unnatural position in which she stood to the new Governments established in this hemisphere. I have the great satisfaction of stating to you that in preparing the way for the restoration of harmony between those who have sprung from the same ancestors, who are allied by common interests, profess the same religion, and speak the same language the United States have been actively instrumental. Our efforts to effect this good work will be persevered in while they are deemed useful to the parties and our entire disinterestedness continues to be felt and understood. The act of Congress to countervail the discriminating duties to the prejudice of our navigation levied in Cuba and Puerto Rico has been transmitted to the minister of the United States at Madrid, to be communicated to the Government of the Queen. No intelligence of its receipt has yet reached the Department of State. If the present condition of the country permits the Government to make a careful and enlarged examination of the true interests of these important portions of its dominions, no doubt is entertained that their future intercourse with the United States will be placed upon a more just and liberal basis.

The Florida archives have not yet been selected and delivered. Recent orders have been sent to the agent of the United States at Havana to return with all that he can obtain, so that they may be in Washington before the session of the Supreme Court, to be used in the legal questions there pending to which the Government is a party.

Internal tranquillity is happily restored to Portugal. The distracted state of the country rendered unavoidable the postponement of a final payment of the just claims of our citizens. Our diplomatic relations will be soon resumed, and the long-subsisting friendship with that power affords the strongest guaranty that the balance due will receive prompt attention.

The first installment due under the convention of indemnity with the King of the Two Sicilies has been duly received, and an offer has been made to extinguish the whole by a prompt payment--an offer I did not consider myself authorized to accept, as the indemnification provided is the exclusive property of individual citizens of the United States. The original adjustment of our claims and the anxiety displayed to fulfill at once the stipulations made for the payment of them are highly honorable to the Government of the Two Sicilies. When it is recollected that they were the result of the injustice of an intrusive power temporarily dominant in its territory, a repugnance to acknowledge and to pay which would have been neither unnatural nor unexpected, the circumstances can not fail to exalt its character for justice and good faith in the eyes of all nations.

The treaty of amity and commerce between the United States and Belgium, brought to your notice in my last annual message as sanctioned by the Senate, but the ratifications of which had not been exchanged owing to a delay in its reception at Brussels and a subsequent absence of the Belgian minister of foreign affairs, has been, after mature deliberation, finally disavowed by that Government as inconsistent with the powers and instructions given to their minister who negotiated it. This disavowal was entirely unexpected, as the liberal principles embodied in the convention, and which form the ground-work of the objections to it, were perfectly satisfactory to the Belgian representative, and were supposed to be not only within the powers granted, but expressly conformable to the instructions given to him. An offer, not yet accepted, has been made by Belgium to renew negotiations for a treaty less liberal in its provisions on questions of general maritime law.

Our newly established relations with the Sublime Porte promise to be useful to our commerce and satisfactory in every respect to this Government. Our intercourse with the Barbary Powers continues without important change, except that the present political state of Algiers has induced me to terminate the residence there of a salaried consul and to substitute an ordinary consulate, to remain so long as the place continues in the possession of France. Our first treaty with one of these powers, the Emperor of Morocco, was formed in 1786, and was limited to fifty years. That period has almost expired. I shall take measures to renew it with the greater satisfaction as its stipulations are just and liberal and have been, with mutual fidelity and reciprocal advantage, scrupulously fulfilled.

Intestine dissensions have too frequently occurred to mar the prosperity, interrupt the commerce, and distract the governments of most of the nations of this hemisphere which have separated themselves from Spain. When a firm and permanent understanding with the parent country shall have produced a formal acknowledgment of their independence, and the idea of danger from that quarter can be no longer entertained, the friends of freedom expect that those countries, so favored by nature, will be distinguished for their love of justice and their devotion to those peaceful arts the assiduous cultivation of which confers honor upon nations and gives value to human life.

In the mean time I confidently hope that the apprehensions entertained that some of the people of these luxuriant regions may be tempted, in a moment of unworthy distrust of their own capacity for the enjoyment of liberty, to commit the too common error of purchasing present repose by bestowing on some favorite leaders the fatal gift of irresponsible power will not be realized. With all these Governments and with that of Brazil no unexpected changes in our relations have occurred during the present year.

Frequent causes of just complaint have arisen upon the part of the citizens of the United States, some times from the irregular action of the constituted subordinate authorities of the maritime regions and some times from the leaders or partisans of those in arms against the established Governments. In all cases representations have been or will be made, and as soon as their political affairs are in a settled position it is expected that our friendly remonstrances will be followed by adequate redress.

The Government of Mexico made known in December last the appointment of commissioners and a surveyor on its part to run, in conjunction with ours, the boundary line between its territories and the United States, and excused the delay for the reasons anticipated--the prevalence of civil war. The commissioners and surveyors not having met within the time stipulated by the treaty, a new arrangement became necessary, and our charge d'affaires was instructed in January, 1833 to negotiate in Mexico an article additional to the pre-existing treaty. This instruction was acknowledged, and no difficulty was apprehended in the accomplishment of that object. By information just received that additional article to the treaty will be obtained and transmitted to this country as soon as it can receive the ratification of the Mexican Congress.

The reunion of the three States of New Grenada, Venezuela, and Equador, forming the Republic of Colombia, seems every day to become more improbable. The commissioners of the two first are understood to be now negotiating a just division of the obligations contracted by them when united under one government. The civil war in Equador, it is believed, has prevented even the appointment of a commissioner on its part.

I propose at an early day to submit, in the proper form, the appointment of a diplomatic agent to Venezuela, the importance of the commerce of that country to the United States and the large claims of our citizens upon the Government arising before and since the division of Colombia rendering it, in my judgment, improper longer to delay this step.

Our representatives to Central America, Peru, and Brazil are either at or on their way to their respective posts.

From the Argentine Republic, from which a minister was expected to this Government, nothing further has been heard. Occasion has been taken on the departure of a new consul to Buenos Ayres to remind that Government that its long delayed minister, whose appointment had been made known to us, had not arrived.

It becomes my unpleasant duty to inform you that this pacific and highly gratifying picture of our foreign relations does not include those with France at this time. It is not possible that any Government and people could be more sincerely desirous of conciliating a just and friendly intercourse with another nation than are those of the United States with their ancient ally and friend. This disposition is founded as well on the most grateful and honorable recollections associated with our struggle for independence as upon a well grounded conviction that it is consonant with the true policy of both. The people of the United States could not, therefore, see without the deepest regret even a temporary interruption of the friendly relations between the two countries--a regret which would, I am sure, be greatly aggravated if there should turn out to be any reasonable ground for attributing such a result to any act of omission or commission on our part. I derive, therefore, the highest satisfaction from being able to assure you that the whole course of this Government has been characterized by a spirit so conciliatory and for bearing as to make it impossible that our justice and moderation should be questioned, what ever may be the consequences of a longer perseverance on the part of the French Government in her omission to satisfy the conceded claims of our citizens.

The history of the accumulated and unprovoked aggressions upon our commerce committed by authority of the existing Governments of France between the years 1800 and 1817 has been rendered too painfully familiar to Americans to make its repetition either necessary or desirable. It will be sufficient here to remark that there has for many years been scarcely a single administration of the French Government by whom the justice and legality of the claims of our citizens to indemnity were not to a very considerable extent admitted, and yet near a quarter of a century has been wasted in ineffectual negotiations to secure it.

Deeply sensible of the injurious effects resulting from this state of things upon the interests and character of both nations, I regarded it as among my first duties to cause one more effort to be made to satisfy France that a just and liberal settlement of our claims was as well due to her own honor as to their incontestable validity. The negotiation for this purpose was commenced with the late Government of France, and was prosecuted with such success as to leave no reasonable ground to doubt that a settlement of a character quite as liberal as that which was subsequently made would have been effected had not the revolution by which the negotiation was cut off taken place. The discussions were resumed with the present Government, and the result showed that we were not wrong in supposing that an event by which the two Governments were made to approach each other so much nearer in their political principles, and by which the motives for the most liberal and friendly intercourse were so greatly multiplied, could exercise no other than a salutary influence upon the negotiation.

After the most deliberate and thorough examination of the whole subject a treaty between the two Governments was concluded and signed at Paris on July 4th, 1831, by which it was stipulated that "the French Government, in order to liberate itself from all the reclamations preferred against it by citizens of the United States for unlawful seizures, captures, sequestrations, confiscations, or destruction of their vessels, cargoes, or other property, engages to pay a sum of 25,000,000 francs to the United States, who shall distribute it among those entitled in the manner and according to the rules it shall determine"; and it was also stipulated on the part of the French Government that this 25,000,000 francs should be paid at Paris, in six annual installments of 4,166,666 francs and 66 centimes each, into the hands of such person or persons "as shall be authorized by the Government of the United States to receive it", the first installment to be paid "at the expiration of one year next following the exchange of the ratifications of this convention and the others at successive intervals of a year, one after another, 'til the whole shall be paid. To the amount of each of the said installments shall be added interest at 4% thereupon, as upon the other installments then remaining unpaid, the said interest to be computed from the day of the exchange of the present convention".

It was also stipulated on the part of the United States, for the purpose of being completely liberated from all the reclamations presented by France on behalf of its citizens, that the sum of 1,500,000 francs should be paid to the Government of France in six annual installments, to be deducted out of the annual sums which France had agreed to pay, interest thereupon being in like manner computed from the day of the exchange of the ratifications. In addition to this stipulation, important advantages were secured to France by the following article, viz: The wines of France, from and after the exchange of the ratifications of the present conventions, shall be admitted to consumption in the States of the Union at duties which shall not exceed the following rates by the gallon (such as it is used at present for wines in the United States), to wit: six cents for red wines in casks; ten cents for white wines in casks, and 22 cents for wines of all sorts in bottles. The proportions existing between the duties on French wines thus reduced and the general rates of the tariff which went into operation January 1st, 1829, shall be maintained in case the Government of the United States should think proper to diminish those general rates in a new tariff.

In consideration of this stipulation, which shall be binding on the United States for ten years, the French Government abandons the reclamations which it had formed in relation to the 8th article of the treaty of cession of Louisiana. It engages, moreover, to establish on the long-staple cottons of the United States which after the exchange of the ratifications of the present convention shall be brought directly thence to France by the vessels of the United States or by French vessels the same duties as on short-staple cotton. This treaty was duly ratified in the manner prescribed by the constitutions of both countries, and the ratification was exchanged at the city of Washington on February 2d, 1832. On account of its commercial stipulations it was in five days thereafter laid before the Congress of the United States, which proceeded to enact such laws favorable to the commerce of France as were necessary to carry it into full execution, and France has from that period to the present been in the unrestricted enjoyment of the valuable privileges that were thus secured to her.

The faith of the French nation having been thus solemnly pledged through its constitutional organ for the liquidation and ultimate payment of the long deferred claims of our citizens, as also for the adjustment of other points of great and reciprocal benefits to both countries, and the United States having, with a fidelity and promptitude by which their conduct will, I trust, be always characterized, done every thing that was necessary to carry the treaty into full and fair effect on their part, counted with the most perfect confidence on equal fidelity and promptitude on the part of the French Government. In this reasonable expectation we have been, I regret to inform you, wholly disappointed. No legislative provision has been made by France for the execution of the treaty, either as it respects the indemnity to be paid or the commercial benefits to be secured to the United States, and the relations between the United States and that power in consequence thereof are placed in a situation threatening to interrupt the good understanding which has so long and so happily existed between the two nations.

Not only has the French Government been thus wanting in the performance of the stipulations it has so solemnly entered into with the United States, but its omissions have been marked by circumstances which would seem to leave us without satisfactory evidences that such performance will certainly take place at a future period. Advice of the exchange of ratifications reached Paris prior to April 8th, 1832. The French Chambers were then sitting, and continued in session until April 21st, 1832, and although one installment of the indemnity was payable on February 2d, 1833, one year after the exchange of ratifications, no application was made to the Chambers for the required appropriation, and in consequence of no appropriation having then been made the draft of the United States Government for that installment was dishonored by the minister of finance, and the United States thereby involved in much controversy.

The next session of the Chambers commenced on November 19th, 1832, and continued until April 25th, 1833. Not withstanding the omission to pay the first installment had been made the subject of earnest remonstrance on our part, the treaty with the United States and a bill making the necessary appropriations to execute it were not laid before the Chamber of Deputies until April 6th, 1833, nearly five months after its meeting, and only nineteen days before the close of the session. The bill was read and referred to a committee, but there was no further action upon it.

The next session of the Chambers commenced on April 26th, 1833, and continued until June 26th, 1833. A new bill was introduced on June 11th, 1833, but nothing important was done in relation to it during the session.

In 1834 April, nearly three years after the signature of the treaty, the final action of the French Chambers upon the bill to carry the treaty into effect was obtained, and resulted in a refusal of the necessary appropriations. The avowed grounds upon which the bill was rejected are to be found in the published debates of that body, and no observations of mine can be necessary to satisfy Congress of their utter insufficiency. Although the gross amount of the claims of our citizens is probably greater than will be ultimately allowed by the commissioners, sufficient is, never the less, shown to render it absolutely certain that the indemnity falls far short of the actual amount of our just claims, independently of the question of damages and interest for the detention. That the settlement involved a sacrifice in this respect was well known at the time--a sacrifice which was cheerfully acquiesced in by the different branches of the Federal Government, whose action upon the treaty was required from a sincere desire to avoid further collision upon this old and disturbing subject and in the confident expectation that the general relations between the two countries would be improved thereby.

The refusal to vote the appropriation, the news of which was received from our minister in Paris about May 15th, 1834, might have been considered the final determination of the French Government not to execute the stipulations of the treaty, and would have justified an immediate communication of the facts to Congress, with a recommendation of such ultimate measures as the interest and honor of the United States might seem to require. But with the news of the refusal of the Chambers to make the appropriation were conveyed the regrets of the King and a declaration that a national vessel should be forthwith sent out with instructions to the French minister to give the most ample explanations of the past and the strongest assurances for the future. After a long passage the promised dispatch vessel arrived.

The pledges given by the French minister upon receipt of his instructions were that as soon after the election of the new members as the charter would permit the legislative Chambers of France should be called together and the proposition for an appropriation laid before them; that all the constitutional powers of the King and his cabinet should be exerted to accomplish the object, and that the result should be made known early enough to be communicated to Congress at the commencement of the present session. Relying upon these pledges, and not doubting that the acknowledged justice of our claims, the promised exertions of the King and his cabinet, and, above all, that sacred regard for the national faith and honor for which the French character has been so distinguished would secure an early execution of the treaty in all its parts, I did not deem it necessary to call the attention of Congress to the subject at the last session.

I regret to say that the pledges made through the minister of France have not been redeemed. The new Chambers met on July 31st, 1834, and although the subject of fulfilling treaties was alluded to in the speech from the throne, no attempt was made by the King or his cabinet to procure an appropriation to carry it into execution. The reasons given for this omission, although they might be considered sufficient in an ordinary case, are not consistent with the expectations founded upon the assurances given here, for there is no constitutional obstacle to entering into legislative business at the first meeting of the Chambers. This point, however, might have been over-looked had not the Chambers, instead of being called to meet at so early a day that the result of their deliberations might be communicated to me before the meeting of Congress, been prorogued to December 29th, 1834--a period so late that their decision can scarcely be made known to the present Congress prior to its dissolution. To avoid this delay our minister in Paris, in virtue of the assurance given by the French minister in the United States, strongly urged the convocation of the Chambers at an earlier day, but without success. It is proper to remark, however, that this refusal has been accompanied with the most positive assurances on the part of the executive government of France of their intention to press the appropriation at the ensuing session of the Chambers.

The executive branch of this Government has, as matters stand, exhausted all the authority upon the subject with which it is invested and which it had any reason to believe could be beneficially employed.

The idea of acquiescing in the refusal to execute the treaty will not, I am confident, be for a moment entertained by any branch of this Government, and further negotiation upon the subject is equally out of the question.

If it shall be the pleasure of Congress to await the further action of the French Chambers, no further consideration of the subject will at this session probably be required at your hands. But if from the original delay in asking for an appropriation, from the refusal of the Chambers to grant it when asked, from the omission to bring the subject before the Chambers at their last session, from the fact that, including that session, there have been five different occasions when the appropriation might have been made, and from the delay in convoking the Chambers until some weeks after the meeting of Congress, when it was well known that a communication of the whole subject to Congress at the last session was prevented by assurances that it should be disposed of before its present meeting, you should feel yourselves constrained to doubt whether it be the intention of the French Government, in all its branches, to carry the treaty into effect, and think that such measures as the occasion may be deemed to call for should be now adopted, the important question arises what those measures shall be.

Our institutions are essentially pacific. Peace and friendly intercourse with all nations are as much the desire of our Government as they are the interest of our people. But these objects are not to be permanently secured by surrendering the rights of our citizens or permitting solemn treaties for their indemnity, in cases of flagrant wrong, to be abrogated or set aside.

It is undoubtedly in the power of Congress seriously to affect the agricultural and manufacturing interests of France by the passage of laws relating to her trade with the United States. Her products, manufactures, and tonnage may be subjected to heavy duties in our ports, or all commercial intercourse with her may be suspended. But there are powerful and to my mind conclusive objections to this mode of proceeding.

We can not embarrass or cut off the trade of France without at the same time in some degree embarrassing or cutting off our own trade. The injury of such a warfare must fall, though unequally, upon our own citizens, and could not but impair the means of the Government and weaken that united sentiment in support of the rights and honor of the nation which must now pervade every bosom. Nor is it impossible that such a course of legislation would introduce once more into our national councils those disturbing questions in relation to the tariff of duties which have been so recently put to rest. Besides, by every measure adopted by the Government of the United States with the view of injuring France the clear perception of right which will induce our own people and the rulers and people of all other nations, even of France herself, to pronounce our quarrel just will be obscured and the support rendered to us in a final resort to more decisive measures will be more limited and equivocal.

There is but one point of controversy, and upon that the whole civilized world must pronounce France to be in the wrong. We insist that she shall pay us a sum of money which she has acknowledged to be due, and of the justice of this demand there can be but one opinion among mankind. True policy would seem to dictate that the question at issue should be kept thus disencumbered and that not the slightest pretense should be given to France to persist in her refusal to make payment by any act on our part affecting the interests of her people. The question should be left, as it is now, in such an attitude that when France fulfills her treaty stipulations all controversy will be at an end.

It is my conviction that the United States ought to insist on a prompt execution of the treaty, and in case it be refused or longer delayed take redress into their own hands. After the delay on the part of France of a quarter of a century in acknowledging these claims by treaty, it is not to be tolerated that another quarter of a century is to be wasted in negotiating about the payment. The laws of nations provide a remedy for such occasions. It is a well-settled principle of the international code that where one nation owes another a liquidated debt which it refuses or neglects to pay the aggrieved party may seize on the property belonging to the other, its citizens or subjects, sufficient to pay the debt without giving just cause of war. This remedy has been repeatedly resorted to, and recently by France herself toward Portugal, under circumstances less unquestionable.

The time at which resort should be had to this or any other mode of redress is a point to be decided by Congress. If an appropriation shall not be made by the French Chambers at their next session, it may justly be concluded that the Government of France has finally determined to disregard its own solemn undertaking and refuse to pay an acknowledged debt. In that event every day's delay on our part will be a stain upon our national honor, as well as a denial of justice to our injured citizens. Prompt measures, when the refusal of France shall be complete, will not only be most honorable and just, but will have the best effect upon our national character.

Since France, in violation of the pledges given through her minister here, has delayed her final action so long that her decision will not probably be known in time to be communicated to this Congress, I recommend that a law be passed authorizing reprisals upon French property in case provision shall not be made for the payment of the debt at the approaching session of the French Chambers. Her pride and power are too well known to expect any thing from her fears and preclude the necessity of a declaration that nothing partaking of the character of intimidation is intended by us. She ought to look upon it as the evidence only of an inflexible determination on the part of the United States to insist on their rights.

That Government, by doing only what it has itself acknowledged to be just, will be able to spare the United States the necessity of taking redress into their own hands and save the property of French citizens from that seizure and sequestration which American citizens so long endured without retaliation or redress. If she should continue to refuse that act of acknowledged justice and, in violation of the law of nations, make reprisals on our part the occasion of hostilities against the United States, she would but add violence to injustice, and could not fail to expose herself to the just censure of civilized nations and to the retributive judgments of Heaven.

Collision with France is the more to be regretted on account of the position she occupies in Europe in relation to liberal institutions, but in maintaining our national rights and honor all governments are alike to us. If by a collision with France in a case where she is clearly in the wrong the march of liberal principles shall be impeded, the responsibility for that result as well as every other will rest on her own head.

Having submitted these considerations, it belongs to Congress to decide whether after what has taken place it will still await the further action of the French Chambers or now adopt such provisional measures as it may deem necessary and best adapted to protect the rights and maintain the honor of the country. What ever that decision may be, it will be faithfully enforced by the Executive as far as he is authorized so to do.

According to the estimate of the Treasury Department, the revenue accruing from all sources during the present year will amount to $20,624,717, which, with the balance remaining in the Treasury on January 1st, 1834 of $11,702,905, produces an aggregate of $32,327,623. The total expenditure during the year for all objects, including the public debt, is estimated at $25,591,390, which will leave a balance in the Treasury on January 1st, 1835 of $6,736,232. In this balance, however, will be included about $1,150,000 of what was heretofore reported by the Department as not effective.

Of former appropriations it is estimated that there will remain unexpended at the close of the year $8,002,925, and that of this sum there will not be required more than $5,141,964 to accomplish the objects of all the current appropriations. Thus it appears that after satisfying all those appropriations and after discharging the last item of our public debt, which will be done on January 1st, 1835, there will remain unexpended in the Treasury an effective balance of about $440,000. That such should be the aspect of our finances is highly flattering to the industry and enterprise of our population and auspicious of the wealth and prosperity which await the future cultivation of their growing resources. It is not deemed prudent, however, to recommend any change for the present in our impost rates, the effect of the gradual reduction now in progress in many of them not being sufficiently tested to guide us in determining the precise amount of revenue which they will produce.

Free from public debt, at peace with all the world, and with no complicated interests to consult in our intercourse with foreign powers, the present may be hailed as the epoch in our history the most favorable for the settlement of those principles in our domestic policy which shall be best calculated to give stability to our Republic and secure the blessings of freedom to our citizens.

Among these principles, from our past experience, it can not be doubted that simplicity in the character of the Federal Government and a rigid economy in its administration should be regarded as fundamental and sacred. All must be sensible that the existence of the public debt, by rendering taxation necessary for its extinguishment, has increased the difficulties which are inseparable from every exercise of the taxing power, and that it was in this respect a remote agent in producing those disturbing questions which grew out of the discussions relating to the tariff. If such has been the tendency of a debt incurred in the acquisition and maintenance of our national rights and liberties, the obligations of which all portions of the Union cheerfully acknowledged, it must be obvious that what ever is calculated to increase the burdens of Government without necessity must be fatal to all our hopes of preserving its true character.

While we are felicitating ourselves, therefore, upon the extinguishment of the national debt and the prosperous state of our finances, let us not be tempted to depart from those sound maxims of public policy which enjoin a just adaptation of the revenue to the expenditures that are consistent with a rigid economy and an entire abstinence from all topics of legislation that are not clearly within the constitutional powers of the Government and suggested by the wants of the country. Properly regarded under such a policy, every diminution of the public burdens arising from taxation gives to individual enterprise increased power and furnishes to all the members of our happy Confederacy new motives for patriotic affection and support. But above all, its most important effect will be found in its influence upon the character of the Government by confining its action to those objects which will be sure to secure to it the attachment and support of our fellow citizens.

Circumstances make it my duty to call the attention of Congress to the Bank of the United States. Created for the convenience of the Government, that institution has become the scourge of the people. Its interference to postpone the payment of a portion of the national debt that it might retain the public money appropriated for that purpose to strengthen it in a political contest, the extraordinary extension and contraction of its accommodations to the community, its corrupt and partisan loans, its exclusion of the public directors from a knowledge of its most important proceedings, the unlimited authority conferred on the president to expend its funds in hiring writers and procuring the execution of printing, and the use made of that authority, the retention of the pension money and books after the selection of new agents, the groundless claim to heavy damages in consequence of the protest of the bill drawn on the French Government, have through various channels been laid before Congress.

Immediately after the close of the last session the bank, through its president, announced its ability and readiness to abandon the system of unparalleled curtailment and the interruption of domestic exchanges which it had practiced upon from August 1st, 1833 to June 30th, 1834, and to extend its accommodations to the community. The grounds assumed in this annunciation amounted to an acknowledgment that the curtailment, in the extent to which it had been carried, was not necessary to the safety of the bank, and had been persisted in merely to induce Congress to grant the prayer of the bank in its memorial relative to the removal of the deposits and to give it a new charter. They were substantially a confession that all the real distresses which individuals and the country had endured for the preceding six or eight months had been needlessly produced by it, with the view of affecting through the sufferings of the people the legislative action of Congress.

It is subject of congratulation that Congress and the country had the virtue and firmness to bear the infliction, that the energies of our people soon found relief from this wanton tyranny in vast importations of the precious metals from almost every part of the world, and that at the close of this tremendous effort to control our Government the bank found itself powerless and no longer able to loan out its surplus means. The community had learned to manage its affairs without its assistance, and trade had already found new auxiliaries, so that on October 1st, 1834 the extraordinary spectacle was presented of a national more than half of whose capital was either lying unproductive in its vaults or in the hands of foreign bankers.

To the needless distresses brought on the country during the last session of Congress has since been added the open seizure of the dividends on the public stock to the amount of $170,041, under pretense of paying damages, cost, and interest upon the protested French bill. This sum constituted a portion of the estimated revenues for the year 1834, upon which the appropriations made by Congress were based. It would as soon have been expected that our collectors would seize on the customs or the receivers of our land offices on the moneys arising from the sale of public lands under pretenses of claims against the United States as that the bank would have retained the dividends. Indeed, if the principle be established that any one who chooses to set up a claim against the United States may without authority of law seize on the public property or money wherever he can find it to pay such claim, there will remain no assurance that our revenue will reach the Treasury or that it will be applied after the appropriation to the purposes designated in the law.

The pay masters of our Army and the pursers of our Navy may under like pretenses apply to their own use moneys appropriated to set in motion the public force, and in time of war leave the country without defense. This measure resorted to by the bank is disorganizing and revolutionary, and if generally resorted to by private citizens in like cases would fill the land with anarchy and violence.

It is a constitutional provision "that no money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law". The palpable object of this provision is to prevent the expenditure of the public money for any purpose what so ever which shall not have been 1st approved by the representatives of the people and the States in Congress assembled. It vests the power of declaring for what purposes the public money shall be expended in the legislative department of the Government, to the exclusion of the executive and judicial, and it is not within the constitutional authority of either of those departments to pay it away without law or to sanction its payment.

According to this plain constitutional provision, the claim of the bank can never be paid without an appropriation by act of Congress. But the bank has never asked for an appropriation. It attempts to defeat the provision of the Constitution and obtain payment without an act of Congress. Instead of awaiting an appropriation passed by both Houses and approved by the President, it makes an appropriation for itself and invites an appeal to the judiciary to sanction it. That the money had not technically been paid into the Treasury does not affect the principle intended to be established by the Constitution.

The Executive and the judiciary have as little right to appropriate and expend the public money without authority of law before it is placed to the credit of the Treasury as to take it from the Treasury. In the annual report of the Secretary of the Treasury, and in his correspondence with the president of the bank, and the opinions of the Attorney General accompanying it, you will find a further examination of the claims of the bank and the course it has pursued.

It seems due to the safety of the people funds remaining in that bank and to the honor of the American people that measures be taken to separate the Government entirely from an institution so mischievous to the public prosperity and so regardless of the Constitution and laws. By transferring the public deposits, by appointing other pension agents as far as it had the power, by ordering the discontinuance of the receipt of bank checks in the payment of the public dues after January 1st, 1834, the Executive has exerted all its lawful authority to sever the connection between the Government and this faithless corporation.

The high-handed career of this institution imposes upon the constitutional functionaries of this Government duties of the gravest and most imperative character--duties which they can not avoid and from which I trust there will be no inclination on the part of any of them to shrink. My own sense of them is most clear, as is also my readiness to discharge those which may rightfully fall on me. To continue any business relations with the Bank of the United States that may be avoided without a violation of the national faith after that institution has set at open defiance the conceded right of the Government to examine its affairs, after it has done all in its power to deride the public authority in other respects and to bring it into disrepute at home and abroad, after it has attempted to defeat the clearly expressed will of the people by turning against them the immense power intrusted to its hands and by involving a country otherwise peaceful, flourishing, and happy, in dissension, embarrassment, and distress, would make the nation itself a party to the degradation so sedulously prepared for its public agents and do much to destroy the confidence of man-kind in popular governments and to bring into contempt their authority and efficiency.

In guarding against an evil of such magnitude consideration of temporary convenience should be thrown out of the question, and we should be influenced by such motives only as look to the honor and preservation of the republican system. Deeply and solemnly impressed with the justice of these views, I feel it to be my duty to recommend to you that a law be passed authorizing the sale of the public stock; that the provision of the charter requiring the receipt of notes of the bank in payment of public dues shall, in accordance with the power reserved to Congress in the 14th section of the charter, be suspended until the bank pays to the Treasury the dividends withheld, and that all laws connecting the Government or its officers with the bank, directly or indirectly, be repealed, and that the institution be left hereafter to its own resources and means.

Events have satisfied my mind, and I think the minds of the American people, that the mischiefs and dangers which flow from a national bank far over-balance all its advantages. The bold effort the present bank has made to control the Government, the distresses it has wantonly produced, the violence of which it has been the occasion in one of our cities famed for its observance of law and order, are but premonitions of the fate which awaits the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it. It is fervently hoped that thus admonished those who have heretofore favored the establishment of a substitute for the present bank will be induced to abandon it, as it is evidently better to incur any inconvenience that may be reasonably expected than to concentrate the whole moneyed power of the Republic in any form what so ever or under any restrictions.

Happily it is already illustrated that the agency of such an institution is not necessary to the fiscal operations of the Government. The State banks are found fully adequate to the performance of all services which were required of the Bank of the United States, quite as promptly and with the same cheapness. They have maintained themselves and discharged all these duties while the Bank of the United States was still powerful and in the field as an open enemy, and it is not possible to conceive that they will find greater difficulties in their operations when that enemy shall cease to exist.

The attention of Congress is earnestly invited to the regulation of the deposits in the State banks by law. Although the power now exercised by the executive department in this behalf is only such as was uniformly exerted through every Administration from the origin of the Government up to the establishment of the present bank, yet it is one which is susceptible of regulation by law, and therefore ought so to be regulated. The power of Congress to direct in what places the Treasurer shall keep the moneys in the Treasury and to impose restrictions upon the Executive authority in relation to their custody and removal is unlimited, and its exercise will rather be courted than discouraged by those public officers and agents on whom rests the responsibility for their safety. It is desirable that as little power as possible should be left to the President or the Secretary of the Treasury over those institutions, which, being thus freed from Executive influence, and without a common head to direct their operations, would have neither the temptation nor the ability to interfere in the political conflicts of the country. Not deriving their charters from the national authorities, they would never have those inducements to meddle in general elections which have led the Bank of the United States to agitate and convulse the country for upward of two years.

The progress of our gold coinage is creditable to the officers of the Mint, and promises in a short period to furnish the country with a sound and portable currency, which will much diminish the inconvenience to travelers of the want of a general paper currency should the State banks be incapable of furnishing it. Those institutions have already shown themselves competent to purchase and furnish domestic exchange for the convenience of trade at reasonable rates, and not a doubt is entertained that in a short period all the wants of the country in bank accommodations and exchange will be supplied as promptly and as cheaply as they have heretofore been by the Bank of the United States. If the several States shall be induced gradually to reform their banking systems and prohibit the issue of all small notes, we shall in a few years have a currency as sound and as little liable to fluctuations as any other commercial country.

The report of the Secretary of War, together with the accompanying documents from the several bureaux of that Department, will exhibit the situation of the various objects committed to its administration.

No event has occurred since your last session rendering necessary any movements of the Army, with the exception of the expedition of the regiment of dragoons into the territory of the wandering and predatory tribes inhabiting the western frontier and living adjacent to the Mexican boundary. These tribes have been heretofore known to us principally by their attacks upon our own citizens and upon other Indians entitled to the protection of the United States. It became necessary for the peace of the frontiers to check these habitual inroads, and I am happy to inform you that the object has been effected without the commission of any act of hostility. Colonel Dodge and the troops under his command have acted with equal firmness and humanity, and an arrangement has been made with those Indians which it is hoped will assure their permanent pacific relations with the United States and the other tribes of Indians upon that border. It is to be regretted that the prevalence of sickness in that quarter has deprived the country of a number of valuable lives, and particularly that General Leavenworth, an officer well known, and esteemed for his gallant services in the late war and for his subsequent good conduct, has fallen a victim to his zeal and exertions in the discharge of his duty.

The Army is in a high state of discipline. Its moral condition, so far as that is known here, is good, and the various branches of the public service are carefully attended to. It is amply sufficient under its present organization for providing the necessary garrisons for the seaboard and for the defense of the internal frontier, and also for preserving the elements of military knowledge and for keeping pace with those improvements which modern experience is continually making. And these objects appear to me to embrace all the legitimate purposes for which a permanent military force should be maintained in our country. The lessons of history teach us its danger and the tendency which exists to an increase. This can be best met and averted by a just caution on the part of the public itself, and of those who represent them in Congress.

From the duties which devolve on the Engineer Department and upon the topographical engineers, a different organization seems to be demanded by the public interest, and I recommend the subject to your consideration.

No important change has during this season taken place in the condition of the Indians. Arrangements are in progress for the removal of the Creeks, and will soon be for the removal of the Seminoles. I regret that the Cherokees east of the Mississippi have not yet determined as a community to remove. How long the personal causes which have heretofore retarded that ultimately inevitable measure will continue to operate I am unable to conjecture. It is certain, however, that delay will bring with it accumulated evils which will render their condition more and more unpleasant. The experience of every year adds to the conviction that emigration, and that alone, can preserve from destruction the remnant of the tribes yet living amongst us. The facility with which the necessaries of life are procured and the treaty stipulations providing aid for the emigrant Indians in their agricultural pursuits and in the important concern of education, and their removal from those causes which have heretofore depressed all and destroyed many of the tribes, can not fail to stimulate their exertions and to reward their industry.

The two laws passed at the last session of Congress on the subject of Indian affairs have been carried into effect, and detailed instructions for their administration have been given. It will be seen by the estimates for the present session that a great reduction will take place in the expenditures of the Department in consequence of these laws, and there is reason to believe that their operation will be salutary and that the colonization of the Indians on the western frontier, together with a judicious system of administration, will still further reduce the expenses of this branch of the public service and at the same time promote its usefulness and efficiency.

Circumstances have been recently developed showing the existence of extensive frauds under the various laws granting pensions and gratuities for Revolutionary services. It is impossible to estimate the amount which may have been thus fraudulently obtained from the National Treasury. I am satisfied, however, it has been such as to justify a re-examination of the system and the adoption of the necessary checks in its administration. All will agree that the services and sufferings of the remnant of our Revolutionary band should be fully compensated; but while this is done, every proper precaution should be taken to prevent the admission of fabricated and fraudulent claims.

In the present mode of proceeding the attestations and certificates of the judicial officers of the various States from a considerable portion of the checks which are interposed against the commission of frauds. These, however, have been and may be fabricated, and in such a way as to elude detection at the examining offices. And independently of this practical difficulty, it is ascertained that these documents are often loosely granted; some times even blank certificates have been issued; some times prepared papers have been signed without inquiry, and in one instance, at least, the seal of the court has been within reach of a person most interested in its improper application. It is obvious that under such circumstances no severity of administration can check the abuse of the law. And information has from time to time been communicated to the Pension Office questioning or denying the right of persons placed upon the pension list to the bounty of the country.

Such cautions are always attended to and examined, but a far more general investigation is called for, and I therefore recommend, in conformity with the suggestion of the Secretary of War, that an actual inspection should be made in each State into the circumstances and claims of every person now drawing a pension. The honest veteran has nothing to fear from such a scrutiny, while the fraudulent claimant will be detected and the public Treasury relieved to an amount, I have reason to believe, far greater than has heretofore been suspected. The details of such a plan could be so regulated as to interpose the necessary checks without any burdensome operation upon the pensioners. The object should be two-fold: To look into the original justice of the claims, so far as this can be done under a proper system of regulations, by an examination of the claimants themselves and by inquiring in the vicinity of their residence into their history and into the opinion entertained of their Revolutionary services. To ascertain in all cases whether the original claimant is living and this by actual personal inspection. This measure will, if adopted, be productive, I think, of the desired results, and I therefore recommend it to your consideration, with the further suggestion that all payments should be suspended 'til the necessary reports are received.

It will be seen by a tabular statement annexed to the documents transmitted to Congress that the appropriations for objects connected with the War Department, made at the last session, for the service of the year 1834, excluding the permanent appropriation for the payment of military gratuities under the act of June 7th, 1832, the appropriation of $200,000 for arming and equipping the militia, and the appropriation of $10,000 for the civilization of the Indians, which are not annually renewed, amounted to the sum of $9,003,261, and that the estimates of appropriations necessary for the same branches of service for the year 1835 amount to the sum of $5,778,964, making a difference in the appropriations of the current year over the estimates of the appropriations for the next of $3,224,297.

The principal causes which have operated at this time to produce this great difference are shown in the reports and documents and in the detailed estimates. Some of these causes are accidental and temporary, while others are permanent, and, aided by a just course of administration, may continue to operate beneficially upon the public expenditures.

A just economy, expending where the public service requires and withholding where it does not, is among the indispensable duties of the Government.

I refer you to the accompanying report of the Secretary of the Navy and to the documents with it for a full view of the operations of that important branch of our service during the present year. It will be seen that the wisdom and liberality with which Congress has provided for the gradual increase of our navy material have been seconded by a corresponding zeal and fidelity on the part of those to whom has been confided the execution of the laws on the subject, and that but a short period would be now required to put in commission a force large enough for any exigency into which the country may be thrown.

When we reflect upon our position in relation to other nations, it must be apparent that in the event of conflicts with them we must look chiefly to our Navy for the protection of our national rights. The wide seas which separate us from other Governments must of necessity be the theater on which an enemy will aim to assail us, and unless we are prepared to meet him on this element we can not be said to possess the power requisite to repel or prevent aggressions. We can not, therefore, watch with too much attention this arm of our defense, or cherish with too much care the means by which it can possess the necessary efficiency and extension. To this end our policy has been heretofore wisely directed to the constant employment of a force sufficient to guard our commerce, and to the rapid accumulation of the materials which are necessary to repair our vessels and construct with ease such new ones as may be required in a state of war.

In accordance with this policy, I recommend to your consideration the erection of the additional dry dock described by the Secretary of the Navy, and also the construction of the steam batteries to which he has referred, for the purpose of testing their efficacy as auxiliaries to the system of defense now in use.

The report of the Post Master General herewith submitted exhibits the condition and prospects of that Department. From that document it appears that there was a deficit in the funds of the Department at the commencement of the present year beyond its available means of $315,599.98, which on the first of July last had been reduced to $268,092.74. It appears also that the revenues for the coming year will exceed the expenditures about $270,000, which, with the excess of revenue which will result from the operations of the current half year, may be expected, independently of any increase in the gross amount of postages, to supply the entire deficit before the end of 1835. But as this calculation is based on the gross amount of postages which had accrued within the period embraced by the times of striking the balances, it is obvious that without a progressive increase in the amount of postages the existing retrenchments must be persevered in through the year 1836 that the Department may accumulate a surplus fund sufficient to place it in a condition of perfect ease.

It will be observed that the revenues of the Post Office Department, though they have increased, and their amount is above that of any former year, have yet fallen short of the estimates more than $100,000. This is attributed in a great degree to the increase of free letters growing out of the extension and abuse of the franking privilege. There has been a gradual increase in the number of executive offices to which it has been granted, and by an act passed in March, 1833, it was extended to members of Congress throughout the whole year. It is believed that a revision of the laws relative to the franking privilege, with some enactments to enforce more rigidly the restrictions under which it is granted, would operate beneficially to the country, by enabling the Department at an earlier period to restore the mail facilities that have been withdrawn, and to extend them more widely, as the growing settlements of the country may require.

To a measure so important to the Government and so just to our constituents, who ask no exclusive privileges for themselves and are not willing to concede them to others, I earnestly recommend the serious attention of Congress.

The importance of the Post Office Department and the magnitude to which it has grown, both in its revenues and in its operations, seem to demand its reorganization by law. The whole of its receipts and disbursements have hitherto been left entirely to Executive control and individual discretion. The principle is as sound in relation to this as to any other Department of the Government, that as little discretion should be confided to the executive officer who controls it as is compatible with its efficiency. It is therefore earnestly recommended that it be organized with an auditor and treasurer of its own, appointed by the President and Senate, who shall be branches of the Treasury Department.

Your attention is again respectfully invited to the defect which exists in the judicial system of the United States. Nothing can be more desirable than the uniform operation of the Federal judiciary throughout the several States, all of which, standing on the same footing as members of the Union, have equal rights to the advantages and benefits resulting from its laws. This object is not attained by the judicial acts now in force, because they leave one quarter of the States without circuit courts.

It is undoubtedly the duty of Congress to place all the States on the same footing in this respect, either by the creation of an additional number of associate judges or by an enlargement of the circuits assigned to those already appointed so as to include the new States. What ever may be the difficulty in a proper organization of the judicial system so as to secure its efficiency and uniformity in all parts of the Union and at the same time to avoid such an increase of judges as would encumber the supreme appellate tribunal, it should not be allowed to weigh against the great injustice which the present operation of the system produces.

I trust that I may be also pardoned for renewing the recommendation I have so often submitted to your attention in regard to the mode of electing the President and Vice President of the United States. All the reflection I have been able to bestow upon the subject increases my conviction that the best interests of the country will be promoted by the adoption of some plan which will secure in all contingencies that important right of sovereignty to the direct control of the people. Could this be attained, and the terms of those officers be limited to a single period of either four or six years, I think our liberties would possess an additional safeguard.

At your last session I called the attention of Congress to the destruction of the public building occupied by the Treasury Department. As the public interest requires that another building should be erected with as little delay as possible, it is hoped that the means will be seasonably provided and that they will be ample enough to authorize such an enlargement and improvement in the plan of the building as will more effectually accommodate the public officers and secure the public documents deposited in it from the casualties of fire.

I have not been able to satisfy myself that the bill entitled "An act to improve the navigation of the Wabash River", which was sent to me at the close of your last session, ought to pass, and I have therefore withheld from it my approval and now return it to the Senate, the body in which it originated.

There can be no question connected with the administration of public affairs more important or more difficult to be satisfactorily dealt with than that which relates to the rightful authority and proper action of the Federal Government upon the subject of internal improvements. To inherent embarrassments have been added others resulting from the course of our legislation concerning it.

I have heretofore communicated freely with Congress upon this subject, and in adverting to it again I can not refrain from expressing my increased conviction of its extreme importance as well in regard to its bearing upon the maintenance of the Constitution and the prudent management of the public revenue as on account of its disturbing effect upon the harmony of the Union.

We are in no danger from violations of the Constitution by which encroachments are made upon the personal rights of the citizen. The sentence of condemnation long since pronounced by the American people upon acts of that character will, I doubt not, continue to prove as salutary in its effects as it is irreversible in its nature.

But against the dangers of unconstitutional acts which, instead of menacing the vengeance of offended authority, proffer local advantages and bring in their train the patronage of the Government, we are, I fear, not so safe. To suppose that because our Government has been instituted for the benefit of the people it must therefore have the power to do what ever may seem to conduce to the public good is an error into which even honest minds are too apt to fall. In yielding themselves to this fallacy they overlook the great considerations in which the Federal Constitution was founded. They forget that in consequence of the conceded diversities in the interest and condition of the different States it was foreseen at the period of its adoption that although a particular measure of the Government might be beneficial and proper in one State it might be the reverse in another; that it was for this reason the States would not consent to make a grant to the Federal Government of the general and usual powers of government, but of such only as were specifically enumerated, and the probable effects of which they could, as they thought, safely anticipate; and they forget also the paramount obligation upon all to abide by the compact then so solemnly and, as it was hoped, so firmly established.

In addition to the dangers to the Constitution springing from the sources I have stated, there has been one which was perhaps greater than all. I allude to the materials which this subject has afforded for sinister appeals to selfish feelings, and the opinion heretofore so extensively entertained of its adaptation to the purposes of personal ambition. With such stimulus it is not surprising that the acts and pretensions of the Federal Government in this behalf should some times have been carried to an alarming extent. The questions which have arisen upon this subject have related--To the power of making internal improvements within the limits of a State, with the right of territorial jurisdiction, sufficient at least for their preservation and use. To the right of appropriating money in aid of such works when carried on by a State of by a company in virtue of State authority, surrendering the claim of jurisdiction; and To the propriety of appropriation for improvements of a particular class, viz, for light houses, beacons, buoys, public piers, and for the removal of sand bars, sawyers, and other temporary and partial impediments in our navigable rivers and harbors. The claims of power for the General Government upon each of these points certainly present matter of the deepest interest. The first is, however, of much the greatest importance, in as much as, in addition to the dangers of unequal and improvident expenditures of public moneys common to all, there is super-added to that the conflicting jurisdictions of the respective governments. Federal jurisdiction, at least to the extent I have stated, has been justly regarded by its advocates as necessarily appurtenant to the power in question, if that exists by the Constitution.

That the most injurious conflicts would unavoidably arise between the respective jurisdictions of the State and Federal Governments in the absence of a constitutional provision marking out their respective boundaries can not be doubted. The local advantages to be obtained would induce the States to overlook in the beginning the dangers and difficulties to which they might ultimately be exposed. The powers exercised by the Federal Government would soon be regarded with jealousy by the State authorities, and originating as they must from implication or assumption, it would be impossible to affix to them certain and safe limits.

Opportunities and temptations to the assumption of power incompatible with State sovereignty would be increased and those barriers which resist the tendency of our system toward consolidation greatly weakened. The officers and agents of the General Government might not always have the discretion to abstain from intermeddling with State concerns, and if they did they would not always escape the suspicion of having done so. Collisions and consequent irritations would spring up; that harmony which should ever exist between the General Government and each member of the Confederacy would be frequently interrupted; a spirit of contention would be engendered and the dangers of disunion greatly multiplied.

Yet we know that not withstanding these grave objections this dangerous doctrine was at one time apparently proceeding to its final establishment with fearful rapidity. The desire to embark the Federal Government in works of internal improvement prevailed in the highest degree during the first session of the first Congress that I had the honor to meet in my present situation. When the bill authorizing a subscription on the part of the United States for stock in the Maysville and Lexington Turn Pike Company passed the two houses, there had been reported by the Committees of Internal Improvements bills containing appropriations for such objects, inclusive of those for the Cumberland road and for harbors and light houses, to the amount of $106,000,000. In this amount was included authority to the Secretary of the Treasury to subscribe for the stock of different companies to a great extent, and the residue was principally for the direct construction of roads by this Government. In addition to these projects, which had been presented to the two Houses under the sanction and recommendation of their respective Committees on Internal Improvements, there were then still pending before the committees, and in memorials to Congress presented but not referred, different projects for works of a similar character, the expense of which can not be estimated with certainty, but must have exceeded $100,000,000.

Regarding the bill authorizing a subscription to the stock of the Maysville and Lexington Turn Pike Company as the entering wedge of a system which, however weak at first, might soon become strong enough to rive the bands of the Union asunder, and believing that if its passage was acquiesced in by the Executive and the people there would no longer be any limitation upon the authority of the General Government in respect to the appropriation of money for such objects, I deemed it an imperative duty to withhold from it the Executive approval.

Although from the obviously local character of that work I might well have contented myself with a refusal to approve the bill upon that ground, yet sensible of the vital importance of the subject, and anxious that my views and opinions in regard to the whole matter should be fully understood by Congress and by my constituents, I felt it my duty to go further. I therefore embraced that early occasion to apprise Congress that in my opinion the Constitution did not confer upon it the power to authorize the construction of ordinary roads and canals within the limits of a State and to say, respectfully, that no bill admitting such a power could receive my official sanction. I did so in the confident expectation that the speedy settlement of the public mind upon the whole subject would be greatly facilitated by the difference between the two Houses and myself, and that the harmonious action of the several departments of the Federal Government in regard to it would be ultimately secured.

So far, at least, as it regards this branch of the subject, my best hopes have been realized. Nearly four years have elapsed, and several sessions of Congress have intervened, and no attempt within my recollection has been made to induce Congress to exercise this power. The applications for the construction of roads and canals which were formerly multiplied upon your files are no longer presented, and we have good reason to infer that the current public sentiment has become so decided against the pretension as effectually to discourage its reassertion. So thinking, I derive the greatest satisfaction from the conviction that thus much at least has been secured upon this important and embarrassing subject.

From attempts to appropriate the national funds to objects which are confessedly of a local character we can not, I trust, have anything further to apprehend. My views in regard to the expediency of making appropriations for works which are claimed to be of a national character and prosecuted under State authority--assuming that Congress have the right to do so--were stated in my annual message to Congress in 1830, and also in that containing my objections to the Maysville road bill.

So thoroughly convinced am I that no such appropriations ought to be made by Congress until a suitable constitutional provision is made upon the subject, and so essential do I regard the point to the highest interests of our country, that I could not consider myself as discharging my duty to my constituents in giving the Executive sanction to any bill containing such an appropriation. If the people of the United States desire that the public Treasury shall be resorted to for the means to prosecute such works, they will concur in an amendment of the Constitution prescribing a rule by which the national character of the works is to be tested, and by which the greatest practicable equality of benefits may be secured to each member of the Confederacy. The effects of such a regulation would be most salutary in preventing unprofitable expenditures, in securing our legislation from the pernicious consequences of a scramble for the favors of Government, and in repressing the spirit of discontent which must inevitably arise from an unequal distribution of treasures which belong alike to all.

There is another class of appropriations for what may be called, without impropriety, internal improvements, which have always been regarded as standing upon different grounds from those to which I have referred. I allude to such as have for their object the improvement of our harbors, the removal of partial and temporary obstructions in our navigable rivers, for the facility and security of our foreign commerce. The grounds upon which I distinguished appropriations of this character from others have already been stated to Congress. I will now only add that at the 1st session of Congress under the new Constitution it was provided by law that all expenses which should accrue from and after the 15th day of August, 1789, in the necessary support and maintenance and repairs of all light houses, beacons, buoys, and public piers erected, placed, or sunk before the passage of the act within any bay, inlet, harbor, or port of the United States, for rendering the navigation thereof easy and safe, should be defrayed out of the Treasury of the United States, and, further, that it should be the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to provide by contracts, with the approbation of the President, for rebuilding when necessary and keeping in good repair the light houses, beacons, buoys, and public piers in the several States, and for furnishing them with supplies.

Appropriations for similar objects have been continued from that time to the present without interruption or dispute. As a natural consequence of the increase and extension of our foreign commerce, ports of entry and delivery have been multiplied and established, not only upon our sea-board but in the interior of the country upon our lakes and navigable rivers. The convenience and safety of this commerce have led to the gradual extension of these expenditures; to the erection of light houses, the placing, planting, and sinking of buoys, beacons, and piers, and to the removal of partial and temporary obstructions in our navigable rivers and in the harbors upon our Great Lakes as well as on the sea-board.

Although I have expressed to Congress my apprehension that these expenditures have some times been extravagant and disproportionate to the advantages to be derived from them, I have not felt it to be my duty to refuse my assent to bills containing them, and have contented myself to follow in this respect in the foot-steps of all my predecessors. Sensible, however, from experience and observation of the great abuses to which the unrestricted exercise of this authority by Congress was exposed, I have prescribed a limitation for the government of my own conduct by which expenditures of this character are confined to places below the ports of entry or delivery established by law. I am very sensible that this restriction is not as satisfactory as could be desired, and that much embarrassment may be caused to the executive department in its execution by appropriations for remote and not well-understood objects. But as neither my own reflections nor the lights which I may properly derive from other sources have supplied me with a better, I shall continue to apply my best exertions to a faithful application of the rule upon which it is founded.

I sincerely regret that I could not give my assent to the bill entitled: "An act to improve the navigation of the Wabash River"; but I could not have done so without receding from the ground which I have, upon the fullest consideration, taken upon this subject, and of which Congress has been heretofore apprised, and without throwing the subject again open to abuses which no good citizen entertaining my opinions could desire.

I rely upon the intelligence and candor of my fellow citizens, in whose liberal indulgence I have already so largely participated, for a correct appreciation on my motives in interposing as I have done on this and other occasions checks to a course of legislation which, without in the slightest degree calling in question the motives of others, I consider as sanctioning improper and unconstitutional expenditures of public treasure.

I am not hostile to internal improvements, and wish to see them extended to every part of the country. But I am fully persuaded, if they are not commenced in a proper manner, confined to proper objects, and conducted under an authority generally conceded to be rightful, that a successful prosecution of them can not be reasonably expected. The attempt will meet with resistance where it might otherwise receive support, and instead of strengthening the bonds of our Confederacy it will only multiply and aggravate the causes of disunion.


State of the Union Address
Andrew Jackson
December 7, 1835

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

In the discharge of my official duty the again devolves upon me of communicating with a new Congress. The reflection that the representation of the Union has been recently renewed, and that the constitutional term of its service will expire with my own, heightens the solicitude with which I shall attempt to lay before it the state of our national concerns and the devout hope which I cherish that its labors to improve them may be crowned with success.

You are assembled at a period of profound interest to the American patriot. The unexampled growth and prosperity of our country having given us a rank in the scale of nations which removes all apprehension of danger to our integrity and independence from external foes, the career of freedom is before us, with an earnest from the past that if true to ourselves there can be no formidable obstacle in the future to its peaceful and uninterrupted pursuit. Yet, in proportion to the disappearance of those apprehensions which attended our weakness, as once contrasted with the power of some of the States of the Old World, should we now be solicitous as to those which belong to the conviction that it is to our own conduct we must look for the preservation of those causes on which depend the excellence and the duration of our happy system of government.

In the example of other systems founded on the will of the people we trace to internal dissension the influences which have so often blasted the hopes of the friends of freedom. The social elements, which were strong and successful when united against external danger, failed in the more difficult task of properly adjusting their own internal organization, and thus gave way the great principle of self-government. Let us trust that this admonition will never be forgotten by the Government or the people of the United States, and that the testimony which our experience thus far holds out to the great human family of the practicability and the blessings of free government will be confirmed in all time to come.

We have but to look at the state of our agriculture, manufactures, and commerce and the unexampled increase of our population to feel the magnitude of the trust committed to us. Never in any former period of our history have we had greater reason than we now have to be thankful to Divine Providence for the blessings of health and general prosperity. Every branch of labor we see crowned with the most abundant rewards. In every element of national resources and wealth and of individual comfort we witness the most rapid and solid improvements. With no interruptions to this pleasing prospect at home which will not yield to the spirit of harmony and good will that so strikingly pervades the mass of the people in every quarter, amidst all the diversity of interest and pursuits to which they are attached, and with no cause of solicitude in regard to our external affairs which will not, it is hoped, disappear before the principles of simple justice and the forbearance that mark our intercourse with foreign powers, we have every reason to feel proud of our beloved country.

The general state of our foreign relations has not materially changed since my last annual message.

In the settlement of the question of the North Eastern boundary little progress has been made. Great Britain has declined acceding to the proposition of the United States, presented in accordance with the resolution of the Senate, unless certain preliminary conditions were admitted, which I deemed incompatible with a satisfactory and rightful adjustment of the controversy. Waiting for some distinct proposal from the Government of Great Britain, which has been invited, I can only repeat the expression of my confidence that, with the strong mutual disposition which I believe exists to make a just arrangement, this perplexing question can be settled with a due regard to the well-founded pretensions and pacific policy of all the parties to it. Events are frequently occurring on the North Eastern frontier of a character to impress upon all the necessity of a speedy and definitive termination of the dispute. This consideration, added to the desire common to both to relieve the liberal and friendly relations so happily existing between the two countries from all embarrassment, will no doubt have its just influence upon both.

Our diplomatic intercourse with Portugal has been renewed, and it is expected that the claims of our citizens, partially paid, will be fully satisfied as soon as the condition of the Queen's Government will permit the proper attention to the subject of them. That Government has, I am happy to inform you, manifested a determination to act upon the liberal principles which have marked our commercial policy. The happiest effects upon the future trade between the United States and Portugal are anticipated from it, and the time is not thought to be remote when a system of perfect reciprocity will be established.

The installments due under the convention with the King of the Two Sicilies have been paid with that scrupulous fidelity by which his whole conduct has been characterized, and the hope is indulged that the adjustment of the vexed question of our claims will be followed by a more extended and mutually beneficial intercourse between the two countries.

The internal contest still continues in Spain. Distinguished as this struggle has unhappily been by incidents of the most sanguinary character, the obligations of the late treaty of indemnification with us have been, never the less, faithfully executed by the Spanish Government.

No provision having been made at the last session of Congress for the ascertainment of the claims to be paid and the apportionment of the funds under the convention made with Spain, I invite your early attention to the subject. The public evidences of the debt have, according to the terms of the convention and in the forms prescribed by it, been placed in the possession of the United States, and the interest as it fell due has been regularly paid upon them. Our commercial intercourse with Cuba stands as regulated by the act of Congress. No recent information has been received as to the disposition of the Government of Madrid, and the lamented death of our recently appointed minister on his way to Spain, with the pressure of their affairs at home, renders it scarcely probable that any change is to be looked for during the coming year.

Further portions of the Florida archives have been sent to the United States, although the death of one of the commissioners at a critical moment embarrassed the progress of the delivery of them. The higher officers of the local government have recently shown an anxious desire, in compliance with the orders from the parent Government, to facilitate the selection and delivery of all we have a right to claim.

Negotiations have been opened at Madrid for the establishment of a lasting peace between Spain and such of the Spanish American Governments of this hemisphere as have availed themselves of the intimation given to all of them of the disposition of Spain to treat upon the basis of their entire independence. It is to be regretted that simultaneous appointments by all of ministers to negotiate with Spain had not been made. The negotiation itself would have been simplified, and this long-standing dispute, spreading over a large portion of the world, would have been brought to a more speedy conclusion.

Our political and commercial relations with Austria, Prussia, Sweden, and Denmark stand on the usual favorable bases. One of the articles of our treaty with Russia in relation to the trade on the North-West coast of America having expired, instructions have been given to our minister at St. Petersburg to negotiate a renewal of it. The long and unbroken amity between the two Governments gives every reason for supposing the article will be renewed, if stronger motives do not exist to prevent it than with our view of the subject can be anticipated here. I ask your attention to the message of my predecessor at the opening of the second session of the 19th Congress, relative to our commercial intercourse with Holland, and to the documents connected with that subject, communicated to the House of Representatives on the 10th of January, 1825, and 18th of January, 1827.

Coinciding in the opinion of my predecessor that Holland is not, under the regulations of her present system, entitled to have her vessels and their cargoes received into the United States on the footing of American vessels and cargoes as regards duties of tonnage and impost, a respect for his reference of it to the Legislature has alone prevented me from acting on the subject. I should still have waited without comment for the action of Congress, but recently a claim has been made by Belgian subjects to admission into our ports for their ships and cargoes on the same footing as American, with the allegation we could not dispute that our vessels received in their ports the identical treatment shewn to them in the ports of Holland, upon whose vessels no discrimination is made in the ports of the United States.

Given the same privileges the Belgians expected the same benefits-- benefits that were, in fact, enjoyed when Belgium and Holland were united under one Government. Satisfied with the justice of their pretension to be placed on the same footing with Holland, I could not, never the less, without disregard to the principle of our laws, admit their claim to be treated as Americans, and at the same time a respect for Congress, to whom the subject had long since been referred, has prevented me from producing a just equality by taking from the vessels of Holland privileges conditionally granted by acts of Congress, although the condition upon which the grant was made has, in my judgment, failed since 1822. I recommend, therefore, a review of the act of 1824, and such modification of it as will produce an equality on such terms as Congress shall think best comports with our settled policy and the obligations of justice to two friendly powers.

With the Sublime Porte and all the Governments on the coast of Barbary our relations continue to be friendly. The proper steps have been taken to renew our treaty with Morocco.

The Argentine Republic has again promised to send within the current year a minister to the United States.

A convention with Mexico for extending the time for the appointment of commissioners to run the boundary line has been concluded and will be submitted to the Senate. Recent events in that country have awakened the liveliest solicitude in the United States. Aware of the strong temptations existing and powerful inducements held out to the citizens of the United States to mingle in the dissensions of our immediate neighbors, instructions have been given to the district attorneys of the United States where indications warranted it to prosecute without respect to persons all who might attempt to violate the obligations of our neutrality, while at the same time it has been thought necessary to apprise the Government of Mexico that we should require the integrity of our territory to be scrupulously respected by both parties.

From our diplomatic agents in Brazil, Chile, Peru, Central America, Venezuela, and New Granada constant assurances are received of the continued good understanding with the Governments to which they are severally accredited. With those Governments upon which our citizens have valid and accumulating claims, scarcely an advance toward a settlement of them is made, owing mainly to their distracted state or to the pressure of imperative domestic questions. Our patience has been and will probably be still further severely tried, but our fellow citizens whose interests are involved may confide in the determination of the Government to obtain for them eventually ample retribution.

Unfortunately, many of the nations of this hemisphere are still self-tormented by domestic dissensions. Revolution succeeds revolution; injuries are committed upon foreigners engaged in lawful pursuits; much time elapses before a government sufficiently stable is erected to justify expectation of redress; ministers are sent and received, and before the discussions of past injuries are fairly begun fresh troubles arise; but too frequently new injuries are added to the old, to be discussed together with the existing government after it has proved its ability to sustain the assaults made upon it, or with its successor if overthrown. If this unhappy condition of things continues much longer, other nations will be under the painful necessity of deciding whether justice to their suffering citizens does not require a prompt redress of injuries by their own power, without waiting for the establishment of a government competent and enduring enough to discuss and to make satisfaction for them.

Since the last session of Congress the validity of our claims upon France, as liquidated by the treaty of 1831, has been acknowledged by both branches of her legislature, and the money has been appropriated for their discharge; but the payment is, I regret to inform you, still withheld.

A brief recapitulation of the most important incidents in this protracted controversy will shew how utterly untenable are the grounds upon which this course is attempted to be justified.

On entering upon the duties of my station I found the United States an unsuccessful applicant to the justice of France for the satisfaction of claims the validity of which was never questionable, and has now been most solemnly admitted by France herself. The antiquity of these claims, their high justice, and the aggravating circumstances out of which they arose are too familiar to the American people to require description. It is sufficient to say that for a period of ten years and upward our commerce was, with but little interruption, the subject of constant aggression on the part of France--aggressions the ordinary features of which were condemnations of vessels and cargoes under arbitrary decrees, adopted in contravention as well of the laws of nations as of treaty stipulations, burnings on the high seas, and seizures and confiscations under special imperial rescripts in the ports of other nations occupied by the armies or under the control of France. Such it is now conceded is the character of the wrongs we suffered--wrongs in many cases so flagrant that even their authors never denied our right to reparation. Of the extent of these injuries some conception may be formed from the fact that after the burning of a large amount at sea and the necessary deterioration in other cases by long detention the American property so seized and sacrificed at forced sales, excluding what was adjudged to privateers before or without condemnation, brought into the French treasury upward of 24,000,000 francs, besides large custom house duties.

The subject had already been an affair of 20 years' uninterrupted negotiation, except for a short time when France was overwhelmed by the military power of united Europe. During this period, whilst other nations were extorting from her payment of their claims at the point of the bayonet, the United States intermitted their demand for justice out of respect to the oppressed condition of a gallant people to whom they felt under obligations for fraternal assistance in their own days of suffering and peril. The bad effects of these protracted and unavailing discussions, were obvious, and the line of duty was to my mind equally so.

This was either to insist upon the adjustment of our claims within a reasonable period or to abandon them altogether. I could not doubt that by this course the interests and honor of both countries would be best consulted. Instructions were therefore given in this spirit to the minister who was sent out once more to demand reparation.

Upon the meeting of Congress in December, 1829, I felt it my duty to speak of these claims and the delays of France in terms calculated to call the serious attention of both countries to the subject. The then French ministry took exception to the message on the ground of its containing a menace, under it was not agreeable to the French Government to negotiate. The American minister of his own accord refuted the construction which was attempted to be put upon the message and at the same time called to the recollection of the French ministry that the President's message was a communication addressed, not to foreign governments, but to the Congress of the United States, in which it was enjoined upon him by the Constitution to lay before that body information of the state of the Union, comprehending its foreign as well as its domestic relations, and that if in the discharge of this duty he felt it incumbent upon him to summon the attention of Congress in due time to what might be the possible consequences of existing difficulties with any foreign government, he might fairly be supposed to do so under a sense of his own Government, and not from any intention of holding a menace over a foreign power.

The views taken by him received my approbation, the French Government was satisfied, and the negotiation was continued. It terminated in the treaty of July 4th, recognizing the justice of our claims in part and promising payment to the amount of 25,000,000 francs in six annual installments.

The ratifications of this treaty were exchanged at Washington on the second of February, 1832, and in five days thereafter it was laid before Congress, who immediately passed the acts necessary on our part to secure to France the commercial advantages conceded to her in the compact. The treaty had previously been solemnly ratified by the King of the French in terms which are certainly not mere matters of form, and of which the translation is as follows: WE, approving the above convention in all and each of the dispositions which are contained in it, do declare, by ourselves as well as by our heirs and successors, that it is accepted, approved, ratified, and confirmed, and by these presents, signed by our hand, we do accept, approve, ratify, and confirm it; promising, on the faith and word of a king, to observe it and to cause it to be observed inviolably, without ever contravening it or suffering it to be contravened, directly or indirectly, for any cause or under any pretense whatsoever. Official information of the exchange of ratifications in the United States reached Paris whilst the Chambers were in session. The extraordinary and to us injurious delays of the French Government in their action upon the subject of its fulfillment have been heretofore stated to Congress, and I have no disposition to enlarge upon them here. It is sufficient to observe that the then pending session was allowed to expire without even an effort to obtain the necessary appropriations; that the two succeeding ones were also suffered to pass away without anything like a serious attempt to obtain a decision upon the subject, and that it was not until the fourth session, almost three years after the conclusion of the treaty and more than two years after the exchange of ratifications, that the bill for the execution of the treaty was pressed to a vote and rejected.

In the mean time the Government of the United States, having full confidence that a treaty entered into and so solemnly ratified by the French King would be executed in good faith, and not doubting that provision would be made for the payment of the first installment which was to become due on the second day of February, 1833, negotiated a draft for the amount through the Bank of the United States. When this draft was presented by the holder with the credentials required by the treaty to authorize him to receive the money, the Government of France allowed it to be protested. In addition to the injury in the nonpayment of the money by France, conformably to her engagement, the United States were exposed to a heavy claim on the part of the bank under pretense of damages, in satisfaction of which that institution seized upon and still retains an equal amount of the public money.

Congress was in session when the decision of the Chambers reached Washington, and an immediate communication of this apparently final decision of France not to fulfill the stipulation of the treaty was the course naturally to be expected from the President. The deep tone of dissatisfaction which pervaded the public mind and the correspondent excitement produced in Congress by only a general knowledge of the result rendered it more than probable that a resort to immediate measures of redress would be the consequence of calling the attention of that body to the subject. Sincerely desirous of preserving the pacific relations which had so long existed between the two countries, I was anxious to avoid this course if I could be satisfied that by so neither the interests nor the honor of my country would be compromitted. Without the fullest assurances on that point, I could not hope to acquit myself of the responsibility to be incurred in suffering Congress to adjourn without laying the subject before them. Those received by me were believed to be of that character.

That the feelings produced in the United States by the news of the rejection of the appropriation would be such as I have described them to have been was foreseen by the French Government, and prompt measures were taken by it to prevent the consequence. The King in person expressed through our minister at Paris his profound regret at the decision of the Chambers, and promised to send forthwith a ship with dispatches to his minister here authorizing him to give such assurances as would satisfy the Government and people of the United States that the treaty would yet be faithfully executed by France.

The national ship arrived, and the minister received his instructions. Claiming to act under the authority derived from them, he gave to this government in the name of his the most solemn assurances that as soon after the new elections as the charter would permit the French Chambers would be convened and the attempt to procure the necessary appropriations renewed; that all the constitutional powers of the King and his ministers should be put in requisition to accomplish the object, and he was understood, and so expressly informed by this Government at the time, to engage that the question should be pressed to a decision at a period sufficiently early to permit information of the result to be communicated to Congress at the commencement of their next session. Relying upon these assurances, I incurred the responsibility, great as I regarded it to be, of suffering Congress to separate without communicating with them upon the subject.

The expectations justly founded upon the promises thus solemnly made to this Government by that of France were not realized. The French Chambers met on the thirty-first of July, 1834, soon after the election, and although our minister in Paris urged the French ministry to bring the subject before them, they declined doing so. He next insisted that the Chambers, of prorogued without acting on the subject, should be reassembled at a period so early that their action on the treaty might be known in Washington prior to the meeting of Congress.

This reasonable request was not only declined, but the Chambers were prorogued to the 29th of December, a day so late that their decision, however urgently pressed, could not in all probability be obtained in time to reach Washington before the necessary adjournment of Congress by the Constitution. The reasons given by the ministry for refusing to convoke the Chambers at an earlier period were afterwards shewn not to be insuperable by their actual convocation on the first of December under a special call for domestic purposes, which fact, however, did not become known to this Government until after the commencement of the last session of Congress.

Thus disappointed in our just expectations, it became my imperative duty to consult with Congress in regard to the expediency of a resort to retaliatory measures in case the stipulations of the treaty should not be speedily complied with, and to recommend such as in my judgment the occasion called for. To this end an unreserved communication of the case in all its aspects became indispensable. To have shrunk in making it from saying all that was necessary to its correct understanding, and that the truth would justify, for fear of giving offense to others, would have been unworthy of us. To have gone, on the other hand, a single step further for the purpose of wounding the pride of a Government and people with whom we had so many motives for cultivating relations of amity and reciprocal advantage would have been unwise and improper.

Admonished by the past of the difficulty of making even the simplest statement of our wrongs without disturbing the sensibilities of those who had by their position become responsible for their redress, and earnestly desirous of preventing further obstacles from that source, I went out of my way to preclude a construction of the message by which the recommendation that was made to Congress might be regarded as a menace to France in not only disavowing such a design, but in declaring that her pride and her power were too well known to expect anything from her fears. The message did not reach Paris until more than a month after the Chambers had been in session, and such was the insensibility of the ministry to our rightful claims and just expectations that our minister had been informed that the matter when introduced would not be pressed as a cabinet measure.

Although the message was not officially communicated to the French Government, and not withstanding the declaration to the contrary which it contained, the French ministry decided to consider the conditional recommendation of reprisals a menace and an insult which the honor of the nation made it incumbent on them to resent. The measures resorted to by them to evince their sense of the supposed indignity were the immediate recall of their minister at Washington, the offer of passports to the American minister at Paris, and a public notice to the legislative Chambers that all diplomatic intercourse with the United States had been suspended.

Having in this manner vindicated the dignity of France, they next proceeded to illustrate her justice. To this end a bill was immediately introduced into the Chamber of Deputies proposing to make the appropriations necessary to carry into effect the treaty. As this bill subsequently passed into a law, the provisions of which now constitute the main subject of difficulty between the two nations, it becomes my duty, in order to place the subject before you in a clear light, to trace the history of its passage and to refer with some particularity to the proceedings and discussions in regard to it.

The minister of finance in his opening speech alluded to the measures which had been adopted to resent the supposed indignity, and recommended the execution of the treaty as a measure required by the honor and justice of France. He as the organ of the ministry declared the message, so long as it had not received the sanction of Congress, a mere expression of the personal opinion of the President, for which neither the Government nor people of the United States were responsible, and that an engagement had been entered into for the fulfillment of which the honor of France was pledged. Entertaining these views, the single condition which the French ministry proposed to annex to the payment of the money was that it should not be made until it was ascertained that the Government of the United States had done nothing to injure the interests of France, or, in other words, that no steps had been authorized by Congress of a hostile character toward France.

What the disposition of action of Congress might be was then unknown to the French cabinet; but on the 14th day of January the Senate resolved that it was at that time inexpedient to adopt any legislative measures in regard to the state of affairs between the United States and France, and no action on the subject had occurred in the House of Representatives. These facts were known in Paris prior to the 28th of March, 1835, when the committee to whom the bill of indemnification had been referred reported it to the Chamber of Deputies. That committee substantially re-echoed the sentiments of the ministry, declared that Congress had set aside the proposition of the President, and recommended the passage of the bill without any other restriction than that originally proposed. Thus was it known to the French ministry and Chambers that if the position assumed by them, and which had been so frequently and solemnly announced as the only one compatible with the honor of France, was maintained and the bill passed as originally proposed, the money would be paid and there would be an end of this unfortunate controversy.

But this cheering prospect was soon destroyed by an amendment introduced into the bill at the moment of its passage, providing that the money should not be paid until the French Government had received satisfactory explanations of the President's message of the second December, 1834, and, what is still more extraordinary, the president of the council of ministers adopted this amendment and consented to its incorporation in the bill. In regard to a supposed insult which had been formally resented by the recall of their minister and the offer of passports to ours, they now for the first time proposed to ask explanations. Sentiments and propositions which they had declared could not justly be imputed to the Government or people of the United States are set up as obstacles to the performance of an act of conceded justice to that Government and people. They had declared that the honor of France required the fulfillment of the engagement into which the King had entered, unless Congress adopted the recommendations of the message. They ascertained that Congress did not adopt them, and yet that fulfillment is refused unless they first obtain from the President explanations of an opinion characterized by themselves as personal and inoperative.

The conception that it was my intention to menace or insult the Government of France is as unfounded as the attempt to extort from the fears of that nation what her sense of justice may deny would be vain and ridiculous. But the Constitution of the United States imposes on the President the duty of laying before Congress the condition of the country in its foreign and domestic relations, and of recommending such measures as may in his opinion be required by its interests. From the performance of this duty he can not be deterred by the fear of wounding the sensibilities of the people or government of whom it may become necessary to speak; and the American people are incapable of submitting to an interference by any government on earth, however powerful, with the free performance of the domestic duties which the Constitution has imposed on their public functionaries.

The discussions which intervene between the several departments of our Government being to ourselves, and for anything said in them our public servants are only responsible to their own constituents and to each other. If in the course of their consultations facts are erroneously stated or unjust deductions are made, they require no other inducement to correct them, however informed of their error, than their love of justice and what is due to their own character; but they can never submit to be interrogated upon the subject as a matter of right by a foreign power. When our discussions terminate in acts, our responsibility to foreign powers commences, not as individuals, but as a nation. The principle which calls in question the President for the language of his message would equally justify a foreign power in demanding explanations of the language used in the report of a committee or by a member in debate.

This is not the first time that the Government of France has taken exception to the messages of American Presidents. President Washington and the first President Adams in the performance of their duties to the American people fell under the animadversions of the French Directory. The objection taken by the ministry of Charles X, and removed by the explanation made by our minister upon the spot, has already been adverted to. When it was understood that the ministry of the present King took exception to my message of last year, putting a construction upon it which was disavowed on its face, our late minister at Paris, in answer to the note which first announced a dissatisfaction with the language used in the message, made a communication to the French Government under date of the 29th of January, 1835, calculated to remove all impressions which an unreasonable susceptibility had created. He repeated and called the attention of the French Government to the disavowal contained in the message itself of any intention to intimidate by menace; he truly declared that it contained and was intended to contain no charge of ill faith against the King of the French, and properly distinguished between the right to complain in unexceptionable terms of the omission to execute an agreement and an accusation of bad motives in withholding such execution, and demonstrated that the necessary use of that right ought not to be considered as an offensive imputation.

Although this communication was made without instructions and entirely on the minister's own responsibility, yet it was afterwards made the act of this Government by my full approbation, and that approbation was officially made known on the 25th of April, 1835, to the French Government. It, however, failed to have any effect. The law, after this friendly explanation, passed with the obnoxious amendment, supported by the King's ministers, and was finally approved by the King.

The people of the United States are justly attached to a pacific system in their intercourse with foreign nations. It is proper, therefore, that they should know whether their Government has adhered to it. In the present instance it has been carried to the utmost extent that was consistent with a becoming self-respect. The note of the 29th of January, to which I have before alluded, was not the only one which our minister took upon himself the responsibility of presenting on the same subject and in the same spirit.

Finding that it was intended to make the payment of a just debt dependent on the performance of a condition which he knew could never be complied with, he thought it a duty to make another attempt to convince the French Government that whilst self-respect and regard to the dignity of other nations would always prevent us from using any language that ought to give offense, yet we could never admit a right in any foreign government to ask explanations of or to interfere in any manner in the communications which one branch of our public councils made with another; that in the present case no such language had been used, and that this had in a former note been fully and voluntarily state, before it was contemplated to make the explanation a condition; and that there might be no misapprehension he stated the terms used in that note, and he officially informed them that it had been approved by the President, and that therefore every explanation which could reasonably be asked or honorably given had been already made; that the contemplated measure had been anticipated by a voluntary and friendly declaration, and was therefore not only useless, but might be deemed offensive, and certainly would not be complied with if annexed as a condition.

When this latter communication, to which I especially invite the attention of Congress, was laid before me, I entertained the hope that the means it was obviously intended to afford of an honorable and speedy adjustment of the difficulties between the two nations would have been accepted, and I therefore did not hesitate to give it my sanction and full approbation. This was due to the minister who had made himself responsible for the act, and it was published to the people of the United States and is now laid before their representatives to shew how far their Executive has gone in its endeavors to restore a good understanding between the two countries. It would have been at any time communicated to the Government of France had it been officially requested.

The French Government having received all the explanation which honor and principle permitted, and which could in reason be asked, it was hoped it would no longer hesitate to pay the installments now due. The agent authorized to receive the money was instructed to inform the French minister of his readiness to do so. In reply to this notice he was told that the money could not then be paid, because the formalities required by the act of the Chambers had not been arranged.

Not having received any official information of the intentions of the French Government, and anxious to bring, as far as practicable, this unpleasant affair to a close before the meeting of Congress, that you might have the whole subject before you, I caused our charge d'affaires at Paris to be instructed to ask for the final determination of the French Government, and in the event of their refusal to pay the installments now due, without further explanations to return to the United States.

The result of this last application has not yet reached us, but is daily expected. That it may be favorable is my sincere wish. France having now, through all the branches of her Government, acknowledged the validity of our claims and the obligation of the treaty of 1831, and there really existing no adequate cause for further delay, will at length, it may be hoped, adopt the course which the interests of both nations, not less than the principles of justice, so imperiously require. The treaty being once executed on her part, little will remain to disturb the friendly relations of the two countries--nothing, indeed, which will not yield to the suggestions of a pacific and enlightened policy and to the influence of that mutual good will and of those generous recollections which we may confidently expect will then be revived in all their ancient force.

In any event, however, the principle involved in the new aspect which has been given to the controversy is so vitally important to the independent administration of the Government that it can neither be surrendered nor compromitted without national degradation. I hope it is unnecessary for me to say that such a sacrifice will not be made through any agency of mine. The honor of my country shall never be stained by an apology from me for the statement of truth and the performance of duty; nor can I give any explanation of my official acts except such as is due to integrity and justice and consistent with the principles on which our institutions have been framed. This determination will, I am confident, be approved by my constituents. I have, indeed, studied their character to but little purpose if the sum of 25,000,000 francs will have the weight of a feather in the estimation of what appertains to their national independence, and if, unhappily, a different impression should at any time obtain in any quarter, they will, I am sure, rally round the Government of their choice with alacrity and unanimity, and silence for ever the degrading imputation.

Having thus frankly presented to you the circumstances which since the last session of Congress have occurred in this interesting and important matter, with the views of the Executive in regard to them, it is at this time only necessary to add that when ever the advices now daily expected from our charge d'affaires shall have been received they will be made the subject of a special communication.

The condition of the public finances was never more flattering than at the present period.

Since my last annual communication all the remains of the public debt have been redeemed, or money has been placed in deposit for this purpose when ever the creditors choose to receive it. All the other pecuniary engagements of the Government have been honorably and promptly fulfilled, and there will be a balance in the Treasury at the close of the year of about $19,000,000. It is believed that after meeting all outstanding and unexpended appropriations there will remain near $11,000,000 to be applied to any new objects which Congress may designate or to the more rapid execution of the works already in progress. In aid of these objects, and to satisfy the current expenditures of the ensuing year, it is estimated that there will be received from various sources $20,000,000 more in 1836.

Should Congress make new appropriations in conformity with the estimates which will be submitted from the proper Departments, amounting to about $24,000,000, still the available surplus at the close of the next year, after deducting all unexpended appropriations, will probably not be less than $6,000,000. This sum can, in my judgment, be now usefully applied to proposed improvements in our navy yards, and to new national works which are not enumerated in the present estimates or to the more rapid completion of those already begun. Either would be constitutional and useful, and would render unnecessary any attempt in our present peculiar condition to divide the surplus revenue or to reduce it any faster than will be effected by the existing laws.

In any event, as the annual report from the Secretary of the Treasury will enter into details, shewing the probability of some decrease in the revenue during the next seven years and a very considerable deduction in 1842, it is not recommended that Congress should undertake to modify the present tariff so as to disturb the principles on which the compromise act was passed. Taxation on some of the articles of general consumption which are not in competition with our own productions may be no doubt so diminished as to lessen to some extent the source of this revenue, and the same object can also be assisted by more liberal provisions for the subjects of public defense, which in the present state of our prosperity and wealth may be expected to engage your attention.

If, however, after satisfying all the demands which can arise from these sources the unexpended balance in the Treasury should still continue to increase, it would be better to bear with the evil until the great changes contemplated in our tariff laws have occurred and shall enable us to revise the system with that care and circumspection which are due to so delicate and important a subject.

It is certainly our duty to diminish as far as we can the burdens of taxation and to regard all the restrictions which are imposed on the trade and navigation of our citizens as evils which we shall mitigate when ever we are not prevented by the adverse legislation and policy of foreign nations or those primary duties which the defense and independence of our country enjoin upon us. That we have accomplished much toward the relief of our citizens by the changes which have accompanied the payment of the public debt and the adoption of the present revenue laws is manifest from the fact that compared to 1833 there is a diminution of near $25,000,000 in the last two years, and that our expenditures, independently of those for the public debt, have been reduced near $9,000,000 during the same period. Let us trust that by the continued observance of economy and by harmonizing the great interests of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce much more may be accomplished to diminish the burdens of government and to increase still further the enterprise and the patriotic affection of all classes of our citizens and all the members of our happy Confederacy. As the data which the Secretary of the Treasury will lay before you in regard to our financial resources are full and extended, and will afford a safe guide in your future calculations, I think it unnecessary to offer any further observations on that subject here.

Among the evidences of the increasing prosperity of the country, not the least gratifying is that afforded by the receipts from the sales of the public lands, which amount in the present year to the unexpected sum of $11,000,000. This circumstance attests the rapidity with which agriculture, the first and most important occupation of man, advances and contributes to the wealth and power of our extended territory. Being still of the opinion that it is our best policy, as far as we can consistently with the obligations under which those lands were ceded to the United States, to promote their speedy settlement, I beg leave to call the attention of the present Congress to the suggestions I have offered respecting it in my former messages.

The extraordinary receipts from the sales of the public lands invite you to consider what improvements the land system, and particularly the condition of the General Land Office, may require. At the time this institution was organized, near a quarter century ago, it would probably have been thought extravagant to anticipate for this period such an addition to its business as has been produced by the vast increase of those sales during the past and present years. It may also be observed that since the year 1812 the land offices and surveying districts have been greatly multiplied, and that numerous legislative enactments from year to year since that time have imposed a great amount of new and additional duties upon that office, while the want of a timely application of force commensurate with the care and labor required has caused the increasing embarrassment of accumulated arrears in the different branches of the establishment.

These impediments to the expedition of much duty in the General Land Office induce me to submit to your judgment whether some modification of the laws relating to its organization, or an organization of a new character, be not called for at the present juncture, to enable the office to accomplish all the ends of its institution with a greater degree of facility and promptitude than experience has proved to be practicable under existing regulations. The variety of the concerns and the magnitude and complexity of the details occupying and dividing the attention of the Commissioner appear to render it difficult, if not impracticable, for that officer by any possible assiduity to bestow on all the multifarious subjects upon which he is called to act the ready and careful attention due to their respective importance, unless the Legislature shall assist him by a law providing, or enabling him to provide, for a more regular and economical distribution of labor, with the incident responsibility among those employed under his direction. The mere manual operation of affixing his signature to the vast number of documents issuing from his office subtracts so largely from the time and attention claimed by the weighty and complicated subjects daily accumulating in that branch of the public service as to indicate the strong necessity of revising the organic law of the establishment. It will be easy for Congress hereafter to proportion the expenditure on account of this branch of the service to its real wants by abolishing from time to time the offices which can be dispensed with.

The extinction of the public debt having taken place, there is no longer any use for the offices of Commissioners of Loans and of the Sinking Fund. I recommend, therefore, that they be abolished, and that proper measures be taken for the transfer to the Treasury Department of any funds, books, and papers connected with the operations of those offices, and that the proper power be given to that Department for closing finally any portion of their business which may remain to be settled.

It is also incumbent on Congress in guarding the pecuniary interests of the country to discontinue by such a law as was passed in 1812 the receipt of the bills of the Bank of the United States in payment of the public revenue, and to provide for the designation of an agent whose duty it shall be to take charge of the books and stock of the United States in that institution, and to close all connection with it after the 3d of March, 1833, when its charter expires. In making provision in regard to the disposition of this stock it will be essential to define clearly and strictly the duties and powers of the officer charged with that branch of the public service.

It will be seen from the correspondence which the Secretary of the Treasury will lay before you that not withstanding the large amount of the stock which the United States hold in that institution no information has yet been communicated which will enable the Government to anticipate when it can receive any dividends or derive any benefit from it.

Connected with the condition of the finances and the flourishing state of the country in all its branches of industry, it is pleasing to witness the advantages which have been already derived from the recent laws regulating the value of the gold coinage. These advantages will be more apparent in the course of the next year, when the branch mints authorized to be established in North Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana shall have gone into operation. Aided, as it is hoped they will be, by further reforms in the banking systems of the States and by judicious regulations on the part of Congress in relation to the custody of the public moneys, it may be confidently anticipated that the use of gold and silver as circulating medium will become general in the ordinary transactions connected with the labor of the country.

The great desideratum in modern times is an efficient check upon the power of banks, preventing that excessive issue of paper whence arise those fluctuations in the standard of value which render uncertain the rewards of labor. It was supposed by those who established the Bank of the United States that from the credit given to it by the custody of the public moneys and other privileges and the precautions taken to guard against the evils which the country had suffered in the bankruptcy of many of the State institutions of that period we should derive from that institution all the security and benefits of a sound currency and every good end that was attainable under the provision of the Constitution which authorizes Congress alone to coin money and regulate the value thereof. But it is scarcely necessary now to say that these anticipations have not been realized.

After the extensive embarrassment and distress recently produced by the Bank of the United States, from which the country is now recovering, aggravated as they were by pretensions to power which defied the public authority, and which if acquiesced in by the people would have changed the whole character of our Government, every candid and intelligent individual must admit that for the attainment of the great advantages of a sound currency we must look to a course of legislation radically different from that which created such an institution.

In considering the means of obtaining so important an end we must set aside all calculations of temporary convenience, and be influenced by those only which are in harmony with the true character and the permanent interests of the Republic. We must recur to first principles and see what it is that has prevented the legislation of Congress and the States on the subject of currency from satisfying the public expectation and realizing results corresponding to those which have attended the action of our system when truly consistent with the great principle of equality upon which it rests, and with that spirit of forbearance and mutual concession and generous patriotism which was originally, and must ever continue to be, the vital element of our Union.

On this subject I am sure that I can not be mistaken in ascribing our want of success to the undue countenance which has been afforded to the spirit of monopoly. All the serious dangers which our system has yet encountered may be traced to the resort to implied powers and the use of corporations clothed with privileges, the effect of which is to advance the interests of the few at the expense of the many.

We have felt but one class of these dangers exhibited in the contest waged by the Bank of the United States against the Government for the last four years. Happily they have been obviated for the present by the indignant resistance of the people, but we should recollect that the principle whence they sprung is an ever-active one, which will not fail to renew its efforts in the same and in other forms so long as there is a hope of success, founded either on the inattention of the people or the treachery of their representatives to the subtle progress of its influence.

The bank is, in fact, but one of the fruits of a system at war with the genius of all our institutions--a system founded upon a political creed the fundamental principle of which is a distrust of the popular will as a safe regulator of political power, and whose great ultimate object and inevitable result, should it prevail, is the consolidation of all power in our system in one central government. Lavish public disbursements and corporations with exclusive privileges would be its substitutes for the original and as yet sound checks and balances of the Constitution--the means by whose silent and secret operation a control would be exercised by the few over the political conduct of the many by first acquiring that control over the labor and earnings of the great body of the people. Wherever this spirit has effected an alliance with political power, tyranny and despotism have been the fruit. If it is ever used for the ends of government, it has to be incessantly watched, or it corrupts the sources of the public virtue and agitates the country with questions unfavorable to the harmonious and steady pursuit of its true interests.

We are now to see whether, in the present favorable condition of the country, we can not take an effectual stand against the spirit of monopoly, and practically prove in respect to the currency as well as other important interests that there is no necessity for so extensive a resort to it as that which has been heretofore practiced. The experience of another year has confirmed the utter fallacy of the idea that the Bank of the United States was necessary as a fiscal agent of the Government. Without its aid as such, indeed, in despite of all the embarrassment it was in its power to create, the revenue has been paid with punctuality by our citizens, the business of exchange, both foreign and domestic, has been conducted with convenience, and the circulating medium has been greatly improved.

By the use of the State banks, which do not derive their charters from the General Government and are not controlled by its authority, it is ascertained that the moneys of the United States can be collected and disbursed without loss or inconvenience, and that all the wants of the community in relation to exchange and currency are supplied as well as they have ever been before. If under circumstances the most unfavorable to the steadiness of the money market it has been found that the considerations on which the Bank of the United States rested its claims to the public favor were imaginary and groundless, it can not be doubted that the experience of the future will be more decisive against them.

It has been seen that without the agency of a great moneyed monopoly the revenue can be collected and conveniently and safely applied to all the purposes of the public expenditure. It is also ascertained that instead of being necessarily made to promote the evils of an unchecked paper system, the management of the revenue can be made auxiliary to the reform which the legislatures of several of the States have already commenced in regard to the suppression of small bills, and which has only to be fostered by proper regulations on the part of Congress to secure a practical return to the extent required for the security of the currency to the constitutional medium.

Severed from the Government as political engines, and not susceptible of dangerous extension and combination, the State banks will not be tempted, nor will they have the power, which we have seen exercised, to divert the public funds from the legitimate purposes of the Government. The collection and custody of the revenue, being, on the contrary, a source of credit to them, will increase the security which the States provide for a faithful execution of their trusts by multiplying the scrutinies to which their operations and accounts will be subjected. Thus disposed, as well from interest as the obligations of their charters, it can not be doubted that such conditions as Congress may see fit to adopt respecting the deposits in these institutions, with a view to the gradual disuse, of the small bills will be cheerfully complied with, and that we shall soon gain in place of the Bank of the United States a practical reform in the whole paper system of the country. If by this policy we can ultimately witness the suppression of all bank bills below $20, it is apparent that gold and silver will take their place and become the principal circulating medium in the common business of the farmers and mechanics of the country. The attainment of such a result will form an era in the history of our country which will be dwelt upon with delight by every true friend of its liberty and independence. It will lighten the great tax which our paper system has so long collected from the earnings of labor, and do more to revive and perpetuate those habits of economy and simplicity which are so congenial to the character of republicans than all the legislation which has yet been attempted.

To this subject I feel that I can not too earnestly invite the special attention of Congress, without the exercise of whose authority the opportunity to accomplish so much public good must pass unimproved. Deeply impressed with its vital importance, the Executive has taken all the steps within his constitutional power to guard the public revenue and defeat the expectation which the Bank of the United States indulged of renewing and perpetuating its monopoly on the ground of its necessity as a fiscal agent and as affording a sounder currency than could be obtained without such an institution.

In the performance of this duty much responsibility was incurred which would have been gladly avoided if the stake which the public had in the question could have been otherwise preserved. Although clothed with the legal authority and supported by precedent, I was aware that there was in the act of the removal of the deposits a liability to excite that sensitiveness to Executive power which it is characteristic and the duty of free men to indulge; but I relied on this feeling also, directed by patriotism and intelligence, to vindicate the conduct which in the end would appear to have been called for by the interests of my country. The apprehensions natural to this feeling that there may have been a desire, through the instrumentality of that measure, to extend the Executive influence, or that it may have been prompted by motives not sufficiently free from ambition, were not over-looked. Under the operation of our institutions the public servant who is called on to take a step of high responsibility should feel in the freedom which gives rise to such apprehensions his highest security. When unfounded the attention which they arouse and the discussions they excite deprive those who indulge them of the power to do harm; when just they but hasten the certainty with which the great body of our citizens never fail to repel an attempt to procure the sanction to any exercise of power inconsistent with the jealous maintenance of their rights.

Under such convictions, and entertaining no doubt that my constitutional obligations demanded the steps which were taken in reference to the removal of the deposits, it was impossible for me to be deterred from the path of duty by a fear that my motives could be misjudged or that political prejudices could defeat the just consideration of the merits of my conduct. The result has shewn how safe is this reliance upon the patriotic temper and enlightened discernment of the people. That measure has now been before them and has stood the test of all the severe analysis which its general importance, the interests it affected, and the apprehensions it excited were calculated to produce, and it now remains for Congress to consider what legislation has become necessary in consequence.

I need only add to what I have on former occasions said on this subject generally that in the regulations which Congress may prescribe respecting the custody of the public moneys it is desirable that as little discretion as may be deemed consistent with their safe-keeping should be given to the executive agents. No one can be more deeply impressed than I am with the soundness of the doctrine which restrains and limits, by specific provisions, executive discretion, as far as it can be done consistently with the preservation of its constitutional character. In respect to the control over the public money this doctrine is peculiarly applicable, and is in harmony with the great principle which I felt I was sustaining in the controversy with the Bank of the United States, which has resulted in severing to some extent a dangerous connection between a moneyed and political power. The duty of the Legislature to define, by clear and positive enactments, the nature and extent of the action which it belongs to the Executive to superintend springs out of a policy analogous to that which enjoins upon all branches of the Federal Government an abstinence from the exercise of powers not clearly granted.

In such a Government, possessing only limited and specific powers, the spirit of its general administration can not be wise or just when it opposes the reference of all doubtful points to the great source of authority, the States and the people, whose number and diversified relations securing them against the influences and excitements which may mislead their agents, make them the safest depository of power. In its application to the Executive, with reference to the legislative branch of the Government, the same rule of action should make the President ever anxious to avoid the exercise of any discretionary authority which can be regulated by Congress. The biases which may operate upon him will not be so likely to extend to the representatives of the people in that body.

In my former messages to Congress I have repeatedly urged the propriety of lessening the discretionary authority lodged in the various Departments, but it has produced no effect as yet, except the discontinuance of extra allowances in the Army and Navy and the substitution of fixed salaries in the latter. It is believed that the same principles could be advantageously applied in all cases, and would promote the efficiency and economy of the public service, at the same time that greater satisfaction and more equal justice would be secured to the public officers generally.

The accompanying report of the Secretary of War will put you in possession of the operations of the Department confided to his care in all its diversified relations during the past year.

I am gratified in being able to inform you that no occurrence has required any movement of the military force, except such as is common to a state of peace. The services of the Army have been limited to their usual duties at the various garrisons upon the Atlantic and in-land frontier, with the exceptions states by the Secretary of War. Our small military establishment appears to be adequate to the purposes for which it is maintained, and it forms a nucleus around which any additional force may be collected should the public exigencies unfortunately require any increase of our military means.


State of the Union Address
Andrew Jackson
December 5, 1836

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

Addressing to you the last annual message I shall ever present to the Congress of the United States, it is a source of the most heartfelt satisfaction to be able to congratulate you on the high state of prosperity which our beloved country has attained. With no causes at home or abroad to lessen the confidence with which we look to the future for continuing proofs of the capacity of our free institutions to produce all the fruits of good government, the general condition of our affairs may well excite our national pride.

I can not avoid congratulating you, and my country particularly, on the success of the efforts made during my Administration by the Executive and Legislature, in conformity with the sincere, constant, and earnest desire of the people, to maintain peace and establish cordial relations with all foreign powers. Our gratitude is due to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and I invite you to unite with me in offering to Him fervent supplications that His providential care may ever be extended to those who follow us, enabling them to avoid the dangers and the horrors of war consistently with a just and indispensable regard to the rights and honor of our country. But although the present state of our foreign affairs, standing, without important change, as they did when you separated in July last, is flattering in the extreme, I regret to say that many questions of an interesting character, at issue with other powers, are yet unadjusted. Amongst the most prominent of these is that of our north east boundary. With an undiminished confidence in the sincere desire of His Britannic Majesty's Government to adjust that question, I am not yet in possession of the precise grounds upon which it proposes a satisfactory adjustment.

With France our diplomatic relations have been resumed, and under circumstances which attest the disposition of both Governments to preserve a mutually beneficial intercourse and foster those amicable feelings which are so strongly required by the true interests of the two countries. With Russia, Austria, Prussia, Naples, Sweden, and Denmark the best understanding exists, and our commercial intercourse is gradually expanding itself with them. It is encouraged in all these countries, except Naples, by their mutually advantageous and liberal treaty stipulations with us.

The claims of our citizens on Portugal are admitted to be just, but provision for the payment of them has been unfortunately delayed by frequent political changes in that Kingdom.

The blessings of peace have not been secured by Spain. Our connections with that country are on the best footing, with the exception of the burdens still imposed upon our commerce with her possessions out of Europe.

The claims of American citizens for losses sustained at the bombardment of Antwerp have been presented to the Governments of Holland and Belgium, and will be pressed, in due season, to settlement.

With Brazil and all our neighbors of this continent we continue to maintain relations of amity and concord, extending our commerce with them as far as the resources of the people and the policy of their Governments will permit. The just and long-standing claims of our citizens upon some of them are yet sources of dissatisfaction and complaint. No danger is apprehended, however, that they will not be peacefully, although tardily, acknowledged and paid by all, unless the irritating effect of her struggle with Texas should unfortunately make our immediate neighbor, Mexico, an exception.

It is already known to you, by the correspondence between the two Governments communicated at your last session, that our conduct in relation to that struggle is regulated by the same principles that governed us in the dispute between Spain and Mexico herself, and I trust that it will be found on the most severe scrutiny that our acts have strictly corresponded with our professions. That the inhabitants of the United States should feel strong prepossessions for the one party is not surprising. But this circumstance should of itself teach us great caution, lest it lead us into the great error of suffering public policy to be regulated by partially or prejudice; and there are considerations connected with the possible result of this contest between the two parties of so much delicacy and importance to the United States that our character requires that we should neither anticipate events nor attempt to control them.

The known desire of the Texans to become a part of our system, although its gratification depends upon the reconcilement of various and conflicting interests, necessarily a work of time and uncertain in itself, is calculated to expose our conduct to misconstruction in the eyes of the world. There are already those who, indifferent to principle themselves and prone to suspect the want of it in others, charge us with ambitious designs and insidious policy.

You will perceive by the accompanying documents that the extraordinary mission from Mexico has been terminated on the sole ground that the obligations of this Government to itself and to Mexico, under treaty stipulations, have compelled me to trust a discretionary authority to a high officer of our Army to advance into territory claimed as part of Texas if necessary to protect our own or the neighboring frontier from Indian depredation. In the opinion of the Mexican functionary who has just left us, the honor of his country will be wounded by American soldiers entering, with the most amicable avowed purposes, upon ground from which the followers of his Government have been expelled, and over which there is at present no certainty of a serious effort on its part to re-establish its dominion. The departure of this minister was the more singular as he was apprised that the sufficiency of the causes assigned for the advance of our troops by the commanding general had been seriously doubted by me, and there was every reason to suppose that the troops of the United States, their commander having had time to ascertain the truth or falsehood of the information upon which they had been marched to Nacogdoches, would be either there in perfect accordance with the principles admitted to be just in his conference with the Secretary of State by the Mexican minister himself, or were already withdrawn in consequence of the impressive warnings their commanding officer had received from the Department of War. It is hoped and believed that his Government will take a more dispassionate and just view of this subject, and not be disposed to construe a measure of justifiable precaution, made necessary by its known inability in execution of the stipulations of our treaty to act upon the frontier, into an encroachment upon its rights or a stain upon its honor.

In the mean time the ancient complaints of injustice made on behalf of our citizens are disregarded, and new causes of dissatisfaction have arisen, some of them of a character requiring prompt remonstrance and ample and immediate redress. I trust, however, by tempering firmness with courtesy and acting with great forbearance upon every incident that has occurred or that may happen, to do and to obtain justice, and thus avoid the necessity of again bringing this subject to the view of Congress.

It is my duty to remind you that no provision has been made to execute our treaty with Mexico for tracing the boundary line between the two countries. What ever may be the prospect of Mexico's being soon able to execute the treaty on its part, it is proper that we should be in anticipation prepared at all times to perform our obligations, without regard to the probable condition of those with whom we have contracted them.

The result of the confidential inquiries made into the condition and prospects of the newly declared Texan Government will be communicated to you in the course of the session.

Commercial treaties promising great advantages to our enterprising merchants and navigators have been formed with the distant Governments of Muscat and Siam. The ratifications have been exchanged, but have not reached the Department of State. Copes of the treaties will be transmitted to you if received before, or published if arriving after, the close of the present session of Congress.

Nothing has occurred to interrupt the good understanding that has long existed with the Barbary Powers, nor to check the good will which is gradually growing up from our intercourse with the dominions of the Government of growing of the distinguished chief of the Ottoman Empire.

Information has been received at the Department of State that a treaty with the Emperor of Morocco has just been negotiated, which, I hope, will be received in time to be laid before the Senate previous to the close of the session.

You will perceive from the report of the Secretary of the Treasury that the financial means of the country continue to keep pace with its improvement in all other respects. The receipts into the Treasury during the present year will amount to about $47,691,898; those from customs being estimated at $22,523,151, those from lands at about $24,000,000, and the residue from miscellaneous sources. The expenditures for all objects during the year are estimated not to exceed $32,000,000, which will leave a balance in the Treasury for public purposes on the first day of January next of about $41,723,959. This sum, with the exception of $5,000,000, will be transferred to the several States in accordance with the provisions of the act regulating the deposits of the public money.

The unexpended balances of appropriation on the first day of January next are estimated at $14,636,062, exceeding by $9,636,062 the amount which will be left in the deposit banks, subject to the draft of the Treasurer of the United States, after the contemplated transfers to the several States are made. If, therefore, the future receipts should not be sufficient to meet these outstanding and future appropriations, there may be soon a necessity to use a portion of the funds deposited with the States.

The consequences apprehended when the deposit act of the last session received a reluctant approval have been measurably realized. Though an act merely for the deposit of the surplus moneys of the United States in the State treasuries for safe-keeping until they may be wanted for the service of the General Government, it has been extensively spoken of as an act to give the money to the several States, and they have been advised to use it as a gift, without regard to the means of refunding it when called for. Such a suggestion has doubtless been made without a proper attention to the various principles and interests which are affected by it.

It is manifest that the law itself can not sanction such a suggestion, and that as it now stands the States have no more authority to receive and use these deposits without intending to return them than any deposit bank or any individual temporarily charged with the safe-keeping or application of the public money would now have for converting the same to their private use without the consent and against the will of the Government. But independently of the violation of public faith and moral obligation which are involved in this suggestion when examined in reference to the terms of the present deposit act, it is believed that the considerations which should govern the future legislation of Congress on this subject will be equally conclusive against the adoption of any measure recognizing the principles on which the suggestion has been made.

Considering the intimate connection of the subject with the financial interests of the country and its great importance in whatever aspect it can be viewed, I have bestowed upon it the most anxious reflection, and feel it to be my duty to state to Congress such thoughts as have occurred to me, to aid their deliberation in treating it in the manner best calculated to conduce to the common good.

The experience of other nations admonished us to hasten the extinguishment of the public debt; but it will be in vain that we have congratulated each other upon the disappearance of this evil if we do not guard against the equally great one of promoting the unnecessary accumulation of public revenue. No political maxim is better established than that which tells us that an improvident expenditure of money is the parent of profligacy, and that no people can hope to perpetuate their liberties who long acquiesce in a policy which taxes them for objects not necessary to the legitimate and real wants of their Government. Flattering as is the condition of our country at the present period, because of its unexampled advance in all the steps of social and political improvement, it can not be disguised that there is a lurking danger already apparent in the neglect of this warning truth, and that the time has arrived when the representatives of the people should be employed in devising some more appropriate remedy than now exists to avert it.

Under our present revenue system there is every probability that there will continue to be a surplus beyond the wants of the Government, and it has become our duty to decide whether such a result be consistent with the true objects of our Government.

Should a surplus be permitted to accumulate beyond the appropriations, it must be retained in the Treasury, as it now is, or distributed among the people or the States.

To retain it in the Treasury unemployed in any way is impracticable; it is, besides, against the genius of our free institutions to lock up in vaults the treasure of the nation. To take from the people the right of bearing arms and put their weapons of defense in the hands of a standing army would be scarcely more dangerous to their liberties than to permit the Government to accumulate immense amounts of treasure beyond the supplies necessary to its legitimate wants. Such a treasure would doubtless be employed at some time, as it has been in other countries, when opportunity tempted ambition.

To collect it merely for distribution to the States would seem to be highly impolitic, if not as dangerous as the proposition to retain it in the Treasury.

The shortest reflection must satisfy everyone that to require the people to pay taxes to the Government merely that they may be paid back again is sporting with the substantial interests of the country, and no system which produces such a result can be expected to receive the public countenance. Nothing could be gained by it even if each individual who contributed a portion of the tax could receive back promptly the same portion. But it is apparent that no system of the kind can ever be enforced which will not absorb a considerable portion of the money to be distributed in salaries and commissions to the agents employed in the process and in the various losses and depreciations which arise from other causes, and the practical effect of such an attempt must ever be to burden the people with taxes, not for purposes beneficial to them, but to swell the profits of deposit banks and support a band of useless public officers.

A distribution to the people is impracticable and unjust in other respects. It would be taking one man's property and giving it to another. Such would be the unavoidable result of a rule of equality (and none other is spoken of or would be likely to be adopted), in as much as there is no mode by which the amount of the individual contributions of our citizens to the public revenue can be ascertained. We know that they contribute unequally, and a rule, therefore, that would distribute to them equally would be liable to all the objections which apply to the principle of an equal division of property. To make the General Government the instrument of carrying this odious principle into effect would be at once to destroy the means of its usefulness and change the character designed for it by the framers of the Constitution.

But the more extended and injurious consequences likely to result from a policy which would collect a surplus revenue from the purpose of distributing it may be forcibly illustrated by an examination of the effects already produced by the present deposit act. This act, although certainly designed to secure the safe-keeping of the public revenue, is not entirely free in its tendencies from any of the objections which apply to this principle of distribution. The Government had without necessity received from the people a large surplus, which, instead of being employed as heretofore and returned to them by means of the public expenditure, was deposited with sundry banks. The banks proceeded to make loans upon this surplus, and thus converted it into banking capital, and in this manner it has tended to multiply bank charters and has had a great agency in producing a spirit of wild speculation. The possession and use of the property out of which this surplus was created belonged to the people, but the Government has transferred its possession to incorporated banks, whose interest and effort it is to make large profits out of its use. This process need only be stated to show its injustice and bad policy.

And the same observations apply to the influence which is produced by the steps necessary to collect as well as to distribute such a revenue. About 3/5 of all the duties on imports are paid in the city of New York, but it is obvious that the means to pay those duties are drawn from every quarter of the Union. Every citizen in every State who purchases and consumes an article which has paid a duty at that port contributes to the accumulating mass. The surplus collected there must therefore be made up of moneys or property withdrawn from other points and other States. Thus the wealth and business of every region from which these surplus funds proceed must be to some extent injured, while that of the place where the funds are concentrated and are employed in banking are proportionably extended. But both in making the transfer of the funds which are first necessary to pay the duties and collect the surplus and in making the re-transfer which becomes necessary when the time arrives for the distribution of that surplus there is a considerable period when the funds can not be brought into use, and it is manifest that, besides the loss inevitable from such an operation, its tendency is to produce fluctuations in the business of the country, which are always productive of speculation and detrimental to the interests of regular trade. Argument can scarcely be necessary to show that a measure of this character ought not to receive further legislative encouragement.

By examining the practical operation of the ration for distribution adopted in the deposit bill of the last session we shall discover other features that appear equally objectionable. Let it be assumed, for the sake of argument, that the surplus moneys to be deposited with the States have been collected and belong to them in the ration of their federal representative population--an assumption founded upon the fact that any deficiencies in our future revenue from imposts and public lands must be made up by direct taxes collected from the States in that ration. It is proposed to distribute this surplus--say $30,000,000--not according to the ration in which it has been collected and belongs to the people of the States, but in that of their votes in the colleges of electors of President and Vice President. The effect of a distribution upon that ration is shown by the annexed table, marked A.

By an examination of that table it will be perceived that in the distribution of a surplus of $30,000,000 upon that basis there is a great departure from the principle which regards representation as the true measure of taxation, and it will be found that the tendency of that departure will be to increase whatever inequalities have been supposed to attend the operation of our federal system in respect to its bearings upon the different interests of the Union. In making the basis of representation the basis of taxation the framers of the Constitution intended to equalize the burdens which are necessary to support the Government, and the adoption of that ratio, while it accomplished this object, was also the means of adjusting other great topics arising out of the conflicting views respecting the political equality of the various members of the Confederacy. What ever, therefore, disturbs the liberal spirit of the compromises which established a rule of taxation so just and equitable, and which experience has proved to be so well adapted to the genius and habits of our people, should be received with the greatest caution and distrust.

A bare inspection in the annexed table of the differences produced by the ration used in the deposit act compared with the results of a distribution according to the ration of direct taxation must satisfy every unprejudiced mind that the former ration contravenes the spirit of the Constitution and produces a degree of injustice in the operations of the Federal Government which would be fatal to the hope of perpetuating it. By the ration of direct taxation, for example, the State of Delaware in the collection of $30,000,000 of revenue would pay into the Treasury $188,716, and in a distribution of $30,000,000 she would receive back from the Government, according to the ration of the deposit bill, the sum of $306,122; and similar results would follow the comparison between the small and the large States throughout the Union, thus realizing to the small States an advantage which would be doubtless as unacceptable to them as a motive for incorporating the principle in any system which would produce it as it would be inconsistent with the rights and expectations of the large States.

It was certainly the intention of that provision of the Constitution which declares that "all duties, imposts, and excises" shall "be uniform throughout the United States" to make the burdens of taxation fall equally upon the people in what ever State of the Union they may reside. But what would be the value of such a uniform rule if the moneys raised by it could be immediately returned by a different one which will give to the people of some States much more and to those of others much less than their fair proportions? Were the Federal Government to exempt in express terms the imports, products, and manufactures of some portions of the country from all duties while it imposed heavy ones on others, the injustice could not be greater. It would be easy to show how by the operation of such a principle the large States of the Union would not only have to contribute their just share toward the support of the Federal Government, but also have to bear in some degree the taxes necessary to support the governments of their smaller sisters; but it is deemed unnecessary to state the details where the general principle is so obvious.

A system liable to such objections can never be supposed to have been sanctioned by the framers of the Constitution when they conferred on Congress the taxing power, and I feel persuaded that a mature examination of the subject will satisfy everyone that there are insurmountable difficulties in the operation of any plan which can be devised of collecting revenue for the purpose of distributing it. Congress is only authorized to levy taxes "to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States". There is no such provision as would authorize Congress to collect together the property of the country, under the name of revenue, for the purpose of dividing it equally or unequally among the States or the people. Indeed, it is not probable that such an idea ever occurred to the States when they adopted the Constitution. But however this may be, the only safe rule for us in interpreting the powers granted to the Federal Government is to regard the absence of express authority to touch a subject so important and delicate as this as equivalent to a prohibition.

Even if our powers were less doubtful in this respect as the Constitution now stands, there are considerations afforded by recent experience which would seem to make it our duty to avoid a resort to such a system. All will admit that the simplicity and economy of the State governments mainly depend on the fact that money has to be supplied to support them by the same men, or their agents, who vote it away in appropriations. Hence when there are extravagant and wasteful appropriations there must be a corresponding increase of taxes, and the people, becoming awakened, will necessarily scrutinize the character of measures which thus increase their burdens. By the watchful eye of self-interest the agents of the people in the State governments are repressed and kept within the limits of a just economy.

But if the necessity of levying the taxes be taken from those who make the appropriations and thrown upon a more distant and less responsible set of public agents, who have power to approach the people by an indirect and stealthy taxation, there is reason to fear that prodigality will soon supersede those characteristics which have thus far made us look with so much pride and confidence to the State governments as the main-stay of our Union and liberties. The State legislatures, instead of studying to restrict their State expenditures to the smallest possible sum, will claim credit for their profusion, and harass the General Government for increased supplies.

Practically there would soon be but one taxing power, and that vested in a body of men far removed from the people, in which the farming and mechanic interests would scarcely be represented. The States would gradually lose their purity as well as their independence; they would not dare to murmur at the proceedings of the General Government, lest they should lose their supplies; all would be merged in a practical consolidation, cemented by wide-spread corruption, which could only be eradicated by one of those bloody revolutions which occasionally over-throw the despotic systems of the Old World.

In all the other aspects in which I have been able to look at the effect of such a principle of distribution upon the best interests of the country I can see nothing to compensate for the disadvantages to which I have adverted. If we consider the protective duties, which are in a great degree the source of the surplus revenue, beneficial to one section of the Union and prejudicial to another, there is no corrective for the evil in such a plan of distribution. On the contrary, there is reason to fear that all the complaints which have sprung from this cause would be aggravated. Everyone must be sensible that a distribution of the surplus must beget a disposition to cherish the means which create it, and any system, therefore, into which it enters must have a powerful tendency to increase rather than diminish the tariff. If it were even admitted that the advantages of such a system could be made equal to all the sections of the Union, the reasons already so urgently calling for a reduction of the revenue would never the less lose none of their force, for it will always be improbable that an intelligent and virtuous community can consent to raise a surplus for the mere purpose of dividing it, diminished as it must inevitably be by the expenses of the various machinery necessary to the process.

The safest and simplest mode of obviating all the difficulties which have been mentioned is to collect only revenue enough to meet the wants of the Government, and let the people keep the balance of their property in their own hands, to be used for their own profit. Each State will then support its own government and contribute its due share toward the support of the General Government. There would be no surplus to cramp and lessen the resources of individual wealth and enterprise, and the banks would be left to their ordinary means. Whatever agitations and fluctuations might arise from our unfortunate paper system, they could never be attributed, justly or unjustly, to the action of the Federal Government. There would be some guaranty that the spirit of wild speculation which seeks to convert the surplus revenue into banking capital would be effectually checked, and that the scenes of demoralization which are now so prevalent through the land would disappear.

Without desiring to conceal that the experience and observation of the last two years have operated a partial change in my views upon this interesting subject, it is never the less regretted that the suggestions made by me in my annual messages of 1829 and 1830 have been greatly misunderstood. At that time the great struggle was begun against that latitudinarian construction of the Constitution which authorizes the unlimited appropriation of the revenues of the Union to internal improvements within the States, tending to invest in the hands and place under the control of the General Government all the principal roads and canals of the country, in violation of State rights and in derogation of State authority.

At the same time the condition of the manufacturing interest was such as to create an apprehension that the duties on imports could not without extensive mischief be reduced in season to prevent the accumulation of a considerable surplus after the payment of the national debt. In view of the dangers of such a surplus, and in preference to its application to internal improvements in derogation of the rights and powers of the States, the suggestion of an amendment of the Constitution to authorize its distribution was made. It was an alternative for what were deemed greater evils--a temporary resort to relieve an over-burdened treasury until the Government could, without a sudden and destructive revulsion in the business of the country, gradually return to the just principle of raising no more revenue from the people in taxes than is necessary for its economical support.

Even that alternative was not spoken of but in connection with an amendment of the Constitution. No temporary inconvenience can justify the exercise of a prohibited power not granted by that instrument, and it was from a conviction that the power to distribute even a temporary surplus of revenue is of that character that it was suggested only in connection with an appeal to the source of all legal power in the General Government, the States which have established it. No such appeal has been taken, and in my opinion a distribution of the surplus revenue by Congress either to the States or the people is to be considered as among the prohibitions of the Constitution.

As already intimated, my views have undergone a change so far as to be convinced that no alteration of the Constitution in this respect is wise or expedient. The influence of an accumulating surplus upon the credit system of the country, producing dangerous extensions and ruinous contractions, fluctuations in the price of property, rash speculation, idleness, extravagance, and a deterioration of morals, have taught us the important lesson that any transient mischief which may attend the reduction of our revenue to the wants of our Government is to be borne in preference to an over-flowing treasury.

I beg leave to call your attention to another subject intimately associated with the preceding one--the currency of the country.

It is apparent from the whole context of the Constitution, as well as the history of the times which gave birth to it, that it was the purpose of the Convention to establish a currency consisting of the precious metals. These, from their peculiar properties which rendered them the standard of value in all other countries, were adopted in this as well to establish its commercial standard in reference to foreign countries by a permanent rule as to exclude the use of a mutable medium of exchange, such as of certain agricultural commodities recognized by the statutes of some States as a tender for debts, or the still more pernicious expedient of a paper currency.

The last, from the experience of the evils of the issues of paper during the Revolution, had become so justly obnoxious as not only to suggest the clause in the Constitution forbidding the emission of bills of credit by the States, but also to produce that vote in the Convention which negatived the proposition to grant power to Congress to charter corporations--a proposition well understood at the time as intended to authorize the establishment of a national bank, which was to issue a currency of bank notes on a capital to be created to some extent out of Government stocks. Although this proposition was refused by a direct vote of the Convention, the object was afterwards in effect obtained by its ingenious advocates through a strained construction of the Constitution. The debts of the Revolution were funded at prices which formed no equivalent compared with the nominal amount of the stock, and under circumstances which exposed the motives of some of those who participated in the passage of the act to distrust.

The facts that the value of the stock was greatly enhanced by the creation of the bank, that it was well understood that such would be the case, and that some of the advocates of the measure were largely benefited by it belong to the history of the times, and are well calculated to diminish the respect which might otherwise have been due to the action of the Congress which created the institution.

On the establishment of a national bank it became the interest of its creditors that gold should be superseded by the paper of the bank as a general currency. A value was soon attached to the gold coins which made their exportation to foreign countries as a mercantile commodity more profitable than their retention and use at home as money. It followed as a matter of course, if not designed by those who established the bank, that the bank became in effect a substitute for the Mint of the United States.

Such was the origin of a national bank currency, and such the beginning of those difficulties which now appear in the excessive issues of the banks incorporated by the various States.

Although it may not be possible by any legislative means within our power to change at once the system which has thus been introduced, and has received the acquiescence of all portions of the country, it is certainly our duty to do all that is consistent with our constitutional obligations in preventing the mischiefs which are threatened by its undue extension. That the efforts of the fathers of our Government to guard against it by a constitutional provision were founded on an intimate knowledge of the subject has been frequently attested by the bitter experience of the country. The same causes which led them to refuse their sanction to a power authorizing the establishment of incorporations for banking purposes now exist in a much stronger degree to urge us to exert the utmost vigilance in calling into action the means necessary to correct the evils resulting from the unfortunate exercise of the power, and it is hoped that the opportunity for effecting this great good will be improved before the country witnesses new scenes of embarrassment and distress.

Variableness must ever be the characteristic of a currency of which the precious metals are not the chief ingredient, or which can be expanded or contracted without regard to the principles that regulate the value of those metals as a standard in the general trade of the world. With us bank issues constitute such a currency, and must ever do so until they are made dependent on those just proportions of gold and silver as a circulating medium which experience has proved to be necessary not only in this but in all other commercial countries. Where those proportions are not infused into the circulation and do not control it, it is manifest that prices must vary according to the tide of bank issues, and the value and stability of property must stand exposed to all the uncertainty which attends the administration of institutions that are constantly liable to the temptation of an interest distinct from that of the community in which they are established.

The progress of an expansion, or rather a depreciation, of the currency by excessive bank issues is always attended by a loss to the laboring classes. This portion of the community have neither time nor opportunity to watch the ebbs and flows of the money market. Engaged from day to day in their useful toils, they do not perceive that although their wages are nominally the same, or even somewhat higher, they are greatly reduced in fact by the rapid increase of a spurious currency, which, as it appears to make money abound, they are at first inclined to consider a blessing.

It is not so with the speculator, by whom this operation is better understood, and is made to contribute to his advantage. It is not until the prices of the necessaries of life become so dear that the laboring classes can not supply their wants out of their wages that the wages rise and gradually reach a justly proportioned rate to that of the products of their labor. When thus, by depreciation in consequence of the quantity of paper in circulation, wages as well as prices become exorbitant, it is soon found that the whole effect of the adulteration is a tariff on our home industry for the benefit of the countries where gold and silver circulate and maintain uniformity and moderation in prices. It is then perceived that the enhancement of the price of land and labor produces a corresponding increase in the price of products until these products do not sustain a competition with similar ones in other countries, and thus both manufactured and agricultural productions cease to bear expectation from the country of the spurious currency, because they can not be sold for cost.

This is the process by which specie is banished by the paper of the banks. Their vaults are soon exhausted to pay for foreign commodities. The next step is a stoppage of specie payment--a total degradation of paper as a currency--unusual depression of prices, the ruin of debtors, and the accumulation of property in the hands of creditors and cautious capitalists.

It was in view of these evils, together with the dangerous power wielded by the Bank of the United States and its repugnance to our Constitution, that I was induced to exert the power conferred upon me by the American people to prevent the continuance of that institution. But although various dangers to our republican institutions have been obviated by the failure of that bank to extort from the Government a renewal of its charter, it is obvious that little has been accomplished except a salutary change of public opinion toward restoring to the country the sound currency provided for in the Constitution.

In the acts of several of the States prohibiting the circulation of small notes and the auxiliary enactments of Congress at the last session forbidding their reception or payment on public account, the true policy of the country has been advanced and a larger portion of the precious metals infused into our circulating medium. These measures will probably be followed up in due time by the enactment of State laws banishing from circulation bank notes of still higher denominations, and the object may be materially promoted by further acts of Congress forbidding the employment as fiscal agents of such banks as continue to issue notes of low denominations and throw impediments in the way of the circulation of gold and silver.

The effects of an extension of bank credits and over-issues of bank paper have been strikingly illustrated in the sales of the public lands. From the returns made by the various registers and receivers in the early part of last summer it was perceived that the receipts arising from the sales of the public lands were increasing to an unprecedented amount. In effect, however, these receipts amounted to nothing more than credits in bank. The banks lent out their notes to speculators. They were paid to the receivers and immediately returned to the banks, to be lent out again and again, being mere instruments to transfer to speculators the most valuable public land and pay the Government by a credit on the books of the banks.

Those credits on the books of some of the Western banks, usually called deposits, were already greatly beyond their immediate means of payment, and were rapidly increasing. Indeed, each speculation furnished means for another; for no sooner had one individual or company paid in the notes than they were immediately lent to another for a like purpose, and the banks were extending their business and their issues so largely as to alarm considerate men and render it doubtful whether these bank credits, if permitted to accumulate, would ultimately be of the least value to the Government. The spirit of expansion and speculation was not confined to the deposit banks, but pervaded the whole multitude of banks throughout the Union and was giving rise to new institutions to aggravate the evil.

The safety of the public funds and the interest of the people generally required that these operations should be checked; and it became the duty of every branch of the General and State Governments to adopt all legitimate and proper means to produce that salutary effect. Under this view of my duty I directed the issuing of the order which will be laid before you by the Secretary of the Treasury, requiring payment for the public lands sold to be made in specie, with an exception until the 15th of the present month in favor of actual settlers.

This measure has produced many salutary consequences. It checked the career of the Western banks and gave them additional strength in anticipation of the pressure which has since pervaded our Eastern as well as the European commercial cities. By preventing the extension of the credit system it measurably cut off the means of speculation and retarded its progress in monopolizing the most valuable of the public lands. It has tended to save the new States from a non-resident proprietorship, one of the greatest obstacles to the advancement of a new country and the prosperity of an old one. It has tended to keep open the public lands for entry by emigrants at Government prices instead of their being compelled to purchase of speculators at double or triple prices. And it is conveying into the interior large sums in silver and gold, there to enter permanently into the currency of the country and place it on a firmer foundation. It is confidently believed that the country will find in the motives which induced that order and the happy consequences which will have ensued much to commend and nothing to condemn.

It remains for Congress if they approve the policy which dictated this order to follow it up in its various bearings. Much good, in my judgment, would be produced by prohibiting sales of the public lands except to actual settlers at a reasonable reduction of price, and to limit the quantity which shall be sold to them. Although it is believed the General Government never ought to receive anything but the constitutional currency in exchange for the public lands, that point would be of less importance if the lands were sold for immediate settlement and cultivation. Indeed, there is scarcely a mischief arising out of our present land system, including the accumulating surplus of revenues, which would not be remedied at once by a restriction on land sales to actual settlers; and it promises other advantages to the country in general and to the new States in particular which can not fail to receive the most profound consideration of Congress.

Experience continues to realize the expectations entertained as to the capacity of the State banks to perform the duties of fiscal agents for the Government at the time of the removal of the deposits. It was alleged by the advocates of the Bank of the United States that the State banks, what ever might be the regulations of the Treasury Department, could not make the transfers required by the Government or negotiate the domestic exchanges of the country. It is now well ascertained that the real domestic exchanges performed through discounts by the United States Bank and its 25 branches were at least one third less than those of the deposit banks for an equal period of time; and if a comparison be instituted between the amounts of service rendered by these institutions on the broader basis which has been used by the advocates of the United States Bank in estimating what they consider the domestic exchanges transacted by it, the result will be still more favorable to the deposit banks.

The whole amount of public money transferred by the Bank of the United States in 1832 was $16,000,000. The amount transferred and actually paid by the deposit banks in the year ending the first of October last was $39,319,899; the amount transferred and paid between that period and the 6th of November was $5,399,000, and the amount of transfer warrants outstanding on that day was $14,450,000, making an aggregate of $59,168,894. These enormous sums of money first mentioned have been transferred with the greatest promptitude and regularity, and the rates at which the exchanges have been negotiated previously to the passage of the deposit act were generally below those charged by the Bank of the United States. Independently of these services, which are far greater than those rendered by the United States Bank and its 25 branches, a number of the deposit banks have, with a commendable zeal to aid in the improvement of the currency, imported from abroad, at their own expense, large sums of the precious metals for coinage and circulation.

In the same manner have nearly all the predictions turned out in respect to the effect of the removal of the deposits--a step unquestionably necessary to prevent the evils which it was foreseen the bank itself would endeavor to create in a final struggle to procure a renewal of its charter. It may be thus, too, in some degree with the further steps which may be taken to prevent the excessive issue of other bank paper, but it is to be hoped that nothing will now deter the Federal and State authorities from the firm and vigorous performance of their duties to themselves and to the people in this respect.

In reducing the revenue to the wants of the Government your particular attention is invited to those articles which constitute the necessaries of life. The duty on salt was laid as a war tax, and was no doubt continued to assist in providing for the payment of the war debt. There is no article the release of which from taxation would be felt so generally and so beneficially. To this may be added all kinds of fuel and provisions. Justice and benevolence unite in favor of releasing the poor of our cities from burdens which are not necessary to the support of our Government and tend only to increase the wants of the destitute.

It will be seen by the report of the Secretary of the Treasury and the accompanying documents that the Bank of the United States has made no payment on account of the stock held by the Government in that institution, although urged to pay any portion which might suit its convenience, and that it has given no information when payment may be expected. Nor, although repeatedly requested, has it furnished the information in relation to its condition which Congress authorized the Secretary to collect at their last session. Such measures as are within the power of the Executive have been taken to ascertain the value of the stock and procure the payment as early as possible.

The conduct and present condition of that bank and the great amount of capital vested in it by the United States require your careful attention. Its charter expired on the third day of March last, and it has now no power but that given in the twenty-first section, "to use the corporate name, style, and capacity for the purpose of suits for the final settlement and liquidation of the affairs and accounts of the corporation, and for the sale and disposition of their estate--real, personal, and mixed--but not for any other purpose or in any other manner what so ever, nor for a period exceeding two years after the expiration of the said term of incorporation".

Before the expiration of the charter the stock-holders of the bank obtained an act of incorporation from the legislature of Pennsylvania, excluding only the United States. Instead of proceeding to wind up their concerns and pay over to the United States the amount due on account of the stock held by them, the president and directors of the old bank appear to have transferred the books, papers, notes, obligations, and most or all of its property to this new corporation, which entered upon business as a continuation of the old concern.

Amongst other acts of questionable validity, the notes of the expired corporation are known to have been used as its own and again put in circulation. That the old bank had no right to issue or re-issue its notes after the expiration of its charter can not be denied, and that it could not confer any such right on its substitute any more than exercise it itself is equally plain. In law and honesty the notes of the bank in circulation at the expiration of its charter should have been called in by public advertisement, paid up as presented, and, together with those on hand, canceled and destroyed.

Their re-issue is sanctioned by no law and warranted by no necessity. If the United States be responsible in their stock for the payment of these notes, their re-issue by the new corporation for their own profit is a fraud on the Government. If the United States is not responsible, then there is no legal responsibility in any quarter, and it is a fraud on the country. They are the redeemed notes of a dissolved partnership, but, contrary to the wishes of the retiring partner and without his consent, are again re-issued and circulated.

It is the high and peculiar duty of Congress to decide whether any further legislation be necessary for the security of the large amount of public property now held and in use by the new bank, and for vindicating the rights of the Government and compelling a speedy and honest settlement with all the creditors of the old bank, public and private, or whether the subject shall be left to the power now possessed by the Executive and judiciary. It remains to be seen whether the persons who as managers of the old bank undertook to control the Government, retained the public dividends, shut their doors upon a committee of the House of Representatives, and filled the country with panic to accomplish their own sinister objects may now as managers of a new bank continue with impunity to flood the country with a spurious currency, use the $7 millions of Government stock for their own profit, and refuse to the United States all information as to the present condition of their own property and the prospect of recovering it into their own possession.

The lessons taught by the Bank of the United States can not well be lost upon the American people. They will take care never again to place so tremendous a power in irresponsible hands, and it will be fortunate if they seriously consider the consequences which are likely to result on a smaller scale from the facility with which corporate powers are granted by their State governments.

It is believed that the law of the last session regulating the deposit banks operates onerously and unjustly upon them in many respects, and it is hoped that Congress, on proper representations, will adopt the modifications which are necessary to prevent this consequence.

The report of the Secretary of War ad interim and the accompanying documents, all which are herewith laid before you, will give you a full view of the diversified and important operations of that Department during the past year.

The military movements rendered necessary by the aggressions of the hostile portions of the Seminole and Creek tribes of Indians, and by other circumstances, have required the active employment of nearly our whole regular force, including the Marine Corps, and of large bodies of militia and volunteers. With all these events so far as they were known at the seat of Government before the termination of your last session you are already acquainted, and it is therefore only needful in this place to lay before you a brief summary of what has since occurred.

The war with the Seminoles during the summer was on our part chiefly confined to the protection of our frontier settlements from the incursions of the enemy, and, as a necessary and important means for the accomplishment of that end, to the maintenance of the posts previously established. In the course of this duty several actions took place, in which the bravery and discipline of both officers and men were conspicuously displayed, and which I have deemed it proper to notice in respect to the former by the granting of brevet rank for gallant services in the field. But as the force of the Indians was not so far weakened by these partial successes as to lead them to submit, and as their savage inroads were frequently repeated, early measures were taken for placing at the disposal of Governor Call, who as commander in chief of the Territorial militia had been temporarily invested with the command, an ample force for the purpose of resuming offensive operations in the most efficient manner so soon as the season should permit. Major General Jesup was also directed, on the conclusion of his duties in the Creek country, to repair to Florida and assume the command.

The result of the first movement made by the forces under the direction of Governor Call in October last, as detailed in the accompanying papers, excited much surprise and disappointment. A full explanation has been required of the causes which led to the failure of that movement, but has not yet been received. In the mean time, as it was feared that the health of Governor Call, who was understood to have suffered much from sickness, might not be adequate to the crisis, and as Major General Jesup was known to have reached Florida, that officer was directed to assume command, and to prosecute all needful operations with the utmost promptitude and vigor. From the force at his disposal and the dispositions he has made and is instructed to make, and from the very efficient measures which it is since ascertained have been taken by Governor Call, there is reason to hope that they will soon be enabled to reduce the enemy to subjection. In the mean time, as you will perceive from the report of the Secretary, there is urgent necessity for further appropriations to suppress these hostilities.

Happily for the interests of humanity, the hostilities with the Creeks were brought to a close soon after your adjournment, without that effusion of blood which at one time was apprehended as inevitable. The unconditional submission of the hostile party was followed by their speedy removal to the country assigned them West of the Mississippi. The inquiry as to alleged frauds in the purchase of the reservations of these Indians and the causes of their hostilities, requested by the resolution of the House of Representatives of the first of July last July 1st, 1836 to be made by the President, is now going on through the agency of commissioners appointed for that purpose. Their report may be expected during your present session.

The difficulties apprehended in the Cherokee country have been prevented, and the peace and safety of that region and its vicinity effectually secured, by the timely measures taken by the War Department, and still continued.

The discretionary authority given to General Gaines to cross the Sabine and to occupy a position as far West as Nacogdoches, in case he should deem such a step necessary to the protection of the frontier and to the fulfillment of the stipulations contained in our treaty with Mexico, and the movement subsequently made by that officer have been alluded to in a former part of this message. At the date of the latest intelligence from Nacogdoches our troops were yet at that station, but the officer who has succeeded General Gaines has recently been advised that from the facts known at the seat of Government there would seem to be no adequate cause for any longer maintaining that position, and he was accordingly instructed, in case the troops were not already withdrawn under the discretionary powers before possessed by him, to give the requisite orders for that purpose on the receipt of the instructions, unless he shall then have in his possession such information as shall satisfy him that the maintenance of the post is essential to the protection of our frontiers and to the due execution of our treaty stipulations, as previously explained to him.

Whilst the necessities existing during the present year for the service of militia and volunteers have furnished new proofs of the patriotism of our fellow citizens, they have also strongly illustrated the importance of an increase in the rank and file of the Regular Army. The views of this subject submitted by the Secretary of War in his report meet my entire concurrence, and are earnestly commended to the deliberate attention of Congress. In this connection it is also proper to remind you that the defects in our present militia system are every day rendered more apparent. The duty of making further provision by law for organizing, arming, and disciplining this arm of defense has been so repeatedly presented to Congress by myself and my predecessors that I deem it sufficient on this occasion to refer to the last annual message and to former Executive communications in which the subject has been discussed.

It appears from the reports of the officers charged with mustering into service the volunteers called for under the act of Congress of the last session that more presented themselves at the place of rendezvous in Tennessee than were sufficient to meet the requisition which had been made by the Secretary of War upon the governor of that State. This was occasioned by the omission of the governor to apportion the requisition to the different regiments of militia so as to obtain the proper number of troops and no more. It seems but just to the patriotic citizens who repaired to the general rendezvous under circumstances authorizing them to believe that their services were needed and would be accepted that the expenses incurred by them while absent from their homes should be paid by the Government. I accordingly recommend that a law to this effect be passed by Congress, giving them a compensation which will cover their expenses on the march to and from the place of rendezvous and while there; in connection with which it will also be proper to make provision for such other equitable claims growing out of the service of the militia as may not be embraced in the existing laws.

On the unexpected breaking out of hostilities in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia it became necessary in some cases to take the property of individuals for public use. Provision should be made by law for indemnifying the owners; and I would also respectfully suggest whether some provision may not be made, consistently with the principles of our Government, for the relief of the sufferers by Indian depredations or by the operations of our own troops.

No time was lost after the making of the requisite appropriations in resuming the great national work of completing the unfinished fortifications on our sea-board and of placing them in a proper state of defense. In consequence, however, of the very late day at which those bills were passed, but little progress could be made during the season which has just closed. A very large amount of the moneys granted at your last session accordingly remains unexpended; but as the work will be again resumed at the earliest moment in the coming spring, the balance of the existing appropriations, and in several cases which will be laid before you, with the proper estimates, further sums for the like objects, may be usefully expended during the next year.

The recommendations of an increase in the Engineer Corps and for a reorganization of the Topographical Corps, submitted to you in my last annual message, derive additional strength from the great embarrassments experienced during the present year in those branches of the service, and under which they are now suffering. Several of the most important surveys and constructions directed by recent laws have been suspended in consequence of the want of adequate force in these corps.

The like observations may be applied to the Ordnance Corps and to the general staff, the operations of which as they are now organized must either be frequently interrupted or performed by officers taken from the line of the Army, to the great prejudice of the service.

For a general view of the condition of the Military Academy and of other branches of the military service not already noticed, as well as for further illustrations of those which have been mentioned, I refer you to the accompanying documents, and among the various proposals contained therein for legislative action I would particularly notice the suggestion of the Secretary of War for the revision of the pay of the Army as entitled to your favorable regard.

The national policy, founded alike in interest and in humanity, so long and so steadily pursued by this Government for the removal of the Indian tribes originally settled on this side of the Mississippi to the W of that river, may be said to have been consummated by the conclusion of the late treaty with the Cherokees. The measures taken in the execution of that treaty and in relation to our Indian affairs generally will fully appear by referring to the accompanying papers. Without dwelling on the numerous and important topics embraced in them, I again invite your attention to the importance of providing a well-digested and comprehensive system for the protection, supervision, and improvement of the various tribes now planted in the Indian country.

The suggestions submitted by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and enforced by the Secretary, on this subject, and also in regard to the establishment of additional military posts in the Indian country, are entitled to your profound consideration. Both measures are necessary, for the double purpose of protecting the Indians from intestine war, and in other respects complying with our engagements with them, and of securing our western frontier against incursions which otherwise will assuredly be made on it. The best hopes of humanity in regard to the aboriginal race, the welfare of our rapidly extending settlements, and the honor of the United States are all deeply involved in the relations existing between this Government and the emigrating tribes. I trust, therefore, that the various matters submitted in the accompanying documents in respect to those relations will receive your early and mature deliberation, and that it may issue in the adoption of legislative measures adapted to the circumstances and duties of the present crisis.

You are referred to the report of the Secretary of the Navy for a satisfactory view of the operations of the Department under his charge during the present year. In the construction of vessels at the different navy yards and in the employment of our ships and squadrons at sea that branch of the service has been actively and usefully employed. While the situation of our commercial interests in the West Indies required a greater number than usual of armed vessels to be kept on that station, it is gratifying to perceive that the protection due to our commerce in other quarters of the world has not proved insufficient. Every effort has been made to facilitate the equipment of the exploring expedition authorized by the act of the last session, but all the preparation necessary to enable it to sail has not yet been completed. No means will be spared by the Government to fit out the expedition on a scale corresponding with the liberal appropriations for the purpose and with the elevated character of the objects which are to be effected by it.

I beg leave to renew the recommendation made in my last annual message respecting the enlistment of boys in our naval service, and to urge upon your attention the necessity of further appropriations to increase the number of ships afloat and to enlarge generally the capacity and force of the Navy. The increase of our commerce and our position in regard to the other powers of the world will always make it our policy and interest to cherish the great naval resources of our country.

The report of the Post Master General presents a gratifying picture of the condition of the Post Office Department. Its revenues for the year ending the 30th June last were $3,398,455.19, showing an increase of revenue over that of the preceding year of $404,878.53, or more than 13%. The expenditures for the same year were $2,755,623.76, exhibiting a surplus of $642,831.43. The Department has been redeemed from embarrassment and debt, has accumulated a surplus exceeding half a million dollars, has largely extended and is preparing still further to extend the mail service, and recommends a reduction of postages equal to about 20%. It is practicing upon the great principle which should control every branch of our Government of rendering to the public the greatest good possible with the least possible taxation to the people.

The scale of postages suggested by the Post Master General recommends itself, not only by the reduction it proposes, but by the simplicity of its arrangement, its conformity with the Federal currency, and the improvement it will introduce into the accounts of the Department and its agents.

Your particular attention is invited to the subject of mail contracts with railroad companies. The present laws providing for the making of contracts are based upon the presumption that competition among bidders will secure the service at a fair price; but on most of the railroad lines there is no competition in that kind of transportation, and advertising is therefore useless. No contract can now be made with them except such as shall be negotiated before the time of offering or afterwards, and the power of the Post Master General to pay them high prices is practically without limitation. It would be a relief to him and no doubt would conduce to the public interest to prescribe by law some equitable basis upon which such contracts shall rest, and restrict him by a fixed rule of allowance. Under a liberal act of that sort he would undoubtedly be able to secure the services of most of the railroad companies, and the interest of the Department would be thus advanced.

The correspondence between the people of the United States and the European nations, and particularly with the British Islands, has become very extensive, and requires the interposition of Congress to give it security. No obstacle is perceived to an interchange of mails between New York and Liverpool or other foreign ports, as proposed by the Post Master General. On the contrary, it promises, by the security it will afford, to facilitate commercial transactions and give rise to an enlarged intercourse among the people of different nations, which can not but have a happy effect. Through the city of New York most of the correspondence between the Canadas and Europe is now carried on, and urgent representations have been received from the head of the provincial post office asking the interposition of the United States to guard it from the accidents and losses to which it is now subjected. Some legislation appears to be called for as well by our own interest as by comity to the adjoining British provinces.

The expediency of providing a fire-proof building for the important books and papers of the Post Office Department is worthy of consideration. In the present condition of our Treasury it is neither necessary nor wise to leave essential public interests exposed to so much danger when they can so readily be made secure. There are weighty considerations in the location of a new building for that Department in favor of placing it near the other executive buildings.

The important subjects of a survey of the coast and the manufacture of a standard of weights and measures for the different custom houses have been in progress for some years under the general direction of the Executive and the immediate superintendence of a gentleman possessing high scientific attainments. At the last session of Congress the making of a set of weights and measures for each State in the Union was added to the others by a joint resolution.

The care and correspondence as to all these subjects have been devolved on the Treasury Department during the last year. A special report from the Secretary of the Treasury will soon be communicated to Congress, which will show what has been accomplished as to the whole, the number and compensation of the persons now employed in these duties, and the progress expected to be made during the ensuing year, with a copy of the various correspondence deemed necessary to throw light on the subjects which seem to require additional legislation.

Claims have been made for retrospective allowances in behalf of the superintendent and some of his assistants, which I did not feel justified in granting. Other claims have been made for large increases in compensation, which, under the circumstances of the several cases, I declined making without the express sanction of Congress. In order to obtain that sanction the subject was at the last session, on my suggestion and by request of the immediate superintendent, submitted by the Treasury Department to the Committee on Commerce of the House of Representatives. But no legislative action having taken place, the early attention of Congress is now invited to the enactment of some express and detailed provisions in relation to the various claims made for the past, and to the compensation and allowances deemed proper for the future.

It is further respectfully recommended that, such being the inconvenience of attention to these duties by the Chief Magistrate, and such the great pressure of business on the Treasury Department, the general supervision of the coast survey and the completion of the weights and measures, if the works are kept united, should be devolved on a board of officers organized specially for that purpose, or on the Navy Board attached to the Navy Department.

All my experience and reflection confirm the conviction I have so often expressed to Congress in favor of an amendment of the Constitution which will prevent in any event the election of the President and Vice President of the United States devolving on the House of Representatives and the Senate, and I therefore beg leave again to solicit your attention to the subject. There were various other suggestions in my last annual message not acted upon, particularly that relating to the want of uniformity in the laws of the District of Columbia, that are deemed worthy of your favorable consideration.

Before concluding this paper I think it due to the various Executive Departments to bear testimony to their prosperous condition and to the ability and integrity with which they have been conducted. It has been my aim to enforce in all of them a vigilant and faithful discharge of the public business, and it is gratifying to me to believe that there is no just cause of complaint from any quarter at the manner in which they have fulfilled the objects of their creation.

Having now finished the observations deemed proper on this the last occasion I shall have of communicating with the two Houses of Congress at their meeting, I can not omit an expression of the gratitude which is due to the great body of my fellow citizens, in whose partiality and indulgence I have found encouragement and support in the many difficult and trying scenes through which it has been my lot to pass during my public career. Though deeply sensible that my exertions have not been crowned with a success corresponding to the degree of favor bestowed upon me, I am sure that they will be considered as having been directed by an earnest desire to promote the good of my country, and I am consoled by the persuasion that what ever errors have been committed will find a corrective in the intelligence and patriotism of those who will succeed us. All that has occurred during my Administration is calculated to inspire me with increased confidence in the stability of our institutions; and should I be spared to enter upon that retirement which is so suitable to my age and infirm health and so much desired by me in other respects, I shall not cease to invoke that beneficent Being to whose providence we are already so signally indebted for the continuance of His blessings on our beloved country.

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