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required in hospitals and garrisons, rendered a complete execution of the act impracticable on the first of May, the period more immediately contemplated As soon, however, as circumstances would permit, and as far as it has been practicable, consistently with the public interests, the reduction of the army has been accomplished; but the appropriations for its pay and for other branches of the military service, having proved inadequate, the earliest attention to that subject will be necessary; and the expediency of continuing upon
peace establishment, the staff officers who have hitherto been provisionally retained, is also recommended to the consideration of congress.
In the performance of the executive duty upon this occasion, there has not been wanting a just sensibility to the merits of the American army during the late war: but the obvious policy and design in fixing an efficient military peace establishment did not afford an opportunity to distinguish the aged and infirm, on account of their past services; nor the wounded and disabled, on account of their present sufferings. The extent of the reduction indeed unavoidably involved the exclusion of many meritorious officers of every rank from the service of their country; and so equal, as well as so numerous, were the claims to attention, that a decision by the standard of comparative merit, could seldom be attained. Judged, however, in candour, by a general standard of positive merit, the army register will, it is be
lieved, do honour to the establishment; while the case of those officers, whose names are not included in it, devolves, with the strongest interest, upon the legislative authority, for such provision as shall be deemed the best calculated to give support and solace to the veteran and the invalid; to display the beneficence, as well as the justice, of the goyernment; and to inspire a martial zeal for the public service upon every future emergency.
Although the embarrassments arising from the want of an uniform national currency have not been diminished since the adjournment of congress, great satisfaction has been derived in contemplating the revival of the public credit, and the efficiency of the public resources. The receipts into the treasury, from the various branches of revenue, during the nine months ending on the 30th of September last, have been estimated at twelve millions and a half of dollars; the issues of treasury notes of every denomination, during the same period, amounted to the sum of fourteen millions of dollars: and there was also obtained upon loan, during the same period, a sum of nine millions of dollars; of which the sum of six millions of dollars was subscribed in cash, and the sum of three millions of dollars in treasury notes. With these means, added to the sum of one million and a half of dollars, being the balance of money in the treasury on the 1st of January, there has been paid, between the 1st of January and the 1st of October, on account of the appropriations of the preceding and of the present year, (exclusively of the amount of the treasury notes subscribed to the loan, and of the amount redeemed in the
payment of duties and taxes,) the aggregate sum of thirty-three millions and a half of dollars, leaving a balance then in the treasury estimated at the sum of three millions of dollars. Independent, however, of the arrearages due for military services and supplies, it is presumed, that a further sum of five millions of dollars, including the interest on the public debt payable on the 1st of January next, will be demanded at the treasury to complete the expenditures of the present year, and for which the existing ways and means will sufficiently provide.
The national debt, as it was ascertained on the 1st of October last, amounted in the whole to the sum of one hundred and twenty millions of dollars, consisting of the unredeemed balance of the debt contracted before the late war, (thirtynine millions of dollars,) the amount of the funded debt contracted in consequence of the war, (sixty four millions of dollars,) and the amount of the unfunded and floating debt, (including the various issues of treasury notes,) seventeen millions of dollars, which is in a gradual course of payment. There will, probably, be some addition to the public debt, upon the liquidation of various claims, which are depending; and a conciliatory disposition on the part of congress may lead honourably and advantageously to an equitable arrangement
of the militia expenses, incurred by the several States, without the previous sanction or authority of the government of the United States: but when it is considered that the new, as well as the old, portion of the debt has been contracted in the assertion of the national rights and independence; and when it is recollected, that the public expenditures, not being exclusively bestowed upon subjects of a transient nature, will long be visible in the number and equipments of the American navy, in the military works for the defence of our harbours and our frontiers, and in the supplies of our arsenals and magazines; the amount will bear a gratifying comparison with the objects which have been attained, as well as with the resources of the country.
The arrangements of the finances, with a view to the receipts and expenditures of a permanent peace establishment, will necessarily enter into the deliberations of congress during the present session. It is true that the improved condition of the public revenue will not only afford the means of maintaining the faith of the government, with its creditors inviolate, and of prosecuting, successfully, the measures of the most liberal policy ; but will, also, justify an immediate alleviation of the burdens imposed by the necessities of the war. It is, however, essential to every modification of the finances, that the benefits of an uniform national currency should be restored to the community. The absence of the precious metals will, it is believed, be a temporary evil; but, until they can again be rendered the general medium of exchange, it devolves on the wisdom of congress, to provide a substitute, which shall equally engage the confidence, and accommodate the wants, of the citizens throughout the union. If the operation of the State banks cannot produce this result, the probable operation of a National Bank will merit consideration; and, if neither of these expedients be deemed effectual, it
may become necessary to ascertain the terms upon which the notes of the government (no longer required as an instrument of credit) shall be issued, upon motives of general policy, as a common medium of circulation.
Notwithstanding the security for future repose, which the United States ought to find in their love of peace, and their constant respect for the rights of other nations, the character of the times
particularly inculcates the lesson, that, whether to prevent or repel danger, we ought not to be unprepar: ed for it. This consideration will sufficiently recommend to congress a liberal provision for the immediate extension, and gradual completion, of the works of defence, both fixed and floating, on our maritime frontier; and an adequate provision for guarding our inland frontier against dangers to which certain portions of it may continue to be exposed.
As an improvement in our military establishment, it will deserve the consideration of congress, whether a corps of invalids might not be so organ