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ration, they have been recently pressed, and an expectation is entertained that they may now soon be brought to an issue of some sort. With their subjects on our borders no new collisions have taken place nor seem immediately to be apprehended. To our former grounds of complaint has been added a very serious one, as you will see by the decree, a copy of which is now communicated. Whether this decree, which professes to be conformable to that of the French government of November 21st, 1806, heretofore communicated to Congress, will also be conformed to that in its construction and application in relation to the United States, has not been ascertained at the date of our last communications. These, however, gave reason to expect such a conformity.
With the other nations of Europe our harmony has been uninterrupted, and commerce and friendly intercourse have been maintained on their usual footing
Our peace with the several states on the coast of Barbary appears as firm as at any former period, and is as likely to continue as that of any other nation.
Among our Indian neighbors in the northwestern quarter, some fermentation was observed soon after the late occurrences, threatening the continuance of our peace. Messages were said to be interchanged, and tokens to be passing, which usually denote a state of restlessness
them, and the character of the agitators pointed to the sources of excitement. Measures were immediately taken for providing against that danger, instructions were given to require explanations, and with assurances of our continued friendship, to admonish the tribes to remain quiet at home, taking no part in quarrels not belonging to them. As far as we are yet informed, the tribes in our vicinity, who are most advanced in the pursuits of industry, are sincerely disposed to adhere to their friendship with us and to their peace with all others.
While those more remote do not present appearances sufficiently quiet to justify the intermission of military precaution on our part.
The great tribes on the southwestern quarter, much advanced beyond the others in agriculture and household arts, appear tranquil, and identifying their views with ours in proportion to their advancement, With the whole of these people, in every quarter
, I shall continue to inculcate peace and friendship with all their neighbors, and perseverance in those occupations and pursuits which will best promote their own well-being.
The appropriations of the last session, for the defence of our sea port towns and harbors, were made under expectation that a continuance of our peace would permit us to proceed in that work according to our convenience. It has been thought better to apply the sums then given, toward the defence of New York, Charleston, and New Orleans chiefly, as most open and most likely first to need protection; and to leave places less immediately in danger to the provisions of the present session.
The gun-boats, too, already provided, have on a like principle been chiefly assigned to New York, New Orleans, and the Chesapeake. Whether our moveable force on the water, so materially in aid of the defensive works on the land, should be augmented in this or any other form, is left to the wisdom of the legislature. For the purpose of manning these vessels in sudden attacks on our harbors, it is a matter for consideration, whether the seamen of the United States may not justly be formed into a special militia, to be called on for tours of duty in defence of the harbors where
they shall happen to be; the ordipary militia of the place furnishing that portion which may consist of landsmen.
The moment our peace was threatened, I deemed it indispensable to secure a greater provision of those articles of military stores with which our magazines were not sufficiently furnished. To have a waited a previous and special sanction by law would have lost occasions which might not be retrieved. I did not hesitate, therefore, to authorize engagements for such supplements to our existing stock as would render it adequate to the emergencies threatening us; and I trust that the legislature, feeling the same anxiety for the safety of our country so materially advanced by this precaution, will approve, when done, what they would have seen so important to be done if then assembled. Expenses, also unprovided for, a rose out of the necessity of calling all our gun-boats into actual service for the defence of our harbors; of all which, accounts will be laid before you.
Whether a regular army is to be raised, and to what extent, must depend on the information so shortly expected. In the mean time, I bave called on the states for quotas of militia, to be in readiness for present defence; and have, moreover, encouraged the acceptance of volunteers; and I am happy to inform you that these have offered themselves with great alacrity in every part of the Union. They are ordered to be organized, and ready at a moment's warning to proceed on any service to which they may be called, and every preparation within the executive powers has been made to ensure us the benefit of early exertions.
I informed Congress at their last session of the enterprises against the public peace, which were believed to be in preparation by Aaron Burr and his associates, of the measures taken to defeat them, and to bring the offenders to justice. Their enterprises were happily defeated by the patriotic exertions of the militia whenever called into action, by the fidelity of the army, and energy of the commander-in-chief in promptly arranging the difficulties presenting themselves on the Sabine, repairing to meet those arising on the Mississippi, and dissipating, before their explosion, plots engendering there. I shall think it my duty to lay before you the proceedings and the evidence publicly exhibited on the arraignment of the principal offenders before the circuit court of Virginia, You will be enabled to judge whether the defect was in the testimony, in the law, or in the administration of the law, and wherever it shall be found, the legislature alone can apply or originate the remedy: The framers of our constitution certainly supposed they had guarded, as well their government against destruction by treason, as their citizens against oppression, under pretence of it, and if these ends are not attained, it is of importance to inquire by what means more effectually they may be secured.
The accounts of the receipts of revenue during the year ending on the thirteenth day of September last, being not yet made up, a correct statement will be hereafter transmitted from the treasury, In the mean time, it is ascertained that the receipts have amounted to near sixteen millions of dollars, which, with the five millions and a half in the treasury at the beginning of the year, have enabled us, after meeting the current demands and interest incurred, to pay more than four millions of the principal of our funded debt. These payments, with those of the preceding five and a half years, have extinguished of the funded debt twenty-five millions and a half of dollars, being the whole which could be paid or purchased within the limits of the law and of our contracts, and have left us in the treasury eight
millions and a half of dollars. A portion of this sum may be considered as a commencement of accumulation of the surpluses of revenue, which, after paying the instalments of debts as they shall become payable, will remain without any specific object. It may partly indeed be applied toward completing the defence of the exposed points of our country, on such a scale as shall be adapted to our principles and circumstances. This object is doubtless among the first entitled to attention in such a state of our finances, and it is one which, whether we have peace or war, will provide security where it is due. Whether what shall remain of this, with the future surpluses, may be usefully applied to purposes already authorized, or more usefully to others requiring new authorities, or how otherwise they shall be disposed of, are questions calling for the notice of Congress, unless indeed they shall be superseded by a change in our public relations now awaiting the determination of others. Whatever be that determination, it is a great consolation that it will become known at a moment when the supreme council of the nation is assembled at its post, and ready to give the aids of its wisdom and authority to whatever course the good of our country shall then call us to pursue.
Matters of minor importance will be the subjects of future communica. tions, and nothing shall be wanting on my part which may give information or despatch to the proceedings of the legislature in the exercise of their high duties, and at a moment so interesting to the public welfare.
DECEMBER 18, 1807.
The communications now made, showing the great and increasing dangers with which our vessels, our seamen and merchandise, are threatened on the high seas and elsewhere, from the belligerent powers of Europe, and it being of great importance to keep in safety these essential resources, I deem it my duty to recommend the subject to the consideration of Congress, who will doubtless perceive all the advantages which may be expected from an inhibition of the departure of our vessels from the ports of the United States.
Their wisdom will also see the necessity of making every preparation for whatever events may grow out of the present crisis.
FEBRUARY 9, 1808.
I COMMUNICATE to Congress for their information, a letter from the person acting it the absence of our consul at Naples, giving reason 10 believe, on the affidavit of a Captain Sheffield of the American schooner Mary Ann, that the Dey of Algiers has commenced war against the United States. For this no just cause has been given on our part within iny knowledge. We may daily expect more authentic and particular information on the subject from Mr. Lear, who was residing as our consul at Algiers.
FEBRUARY 25, 1808.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States :
The dangers to our country, arising from the contests of other nations and the urgency of making preparation for whatever events might affect our relations with them, have been intimated in preceding messages to Congress To secure ourselves by due precautions, an augmentation of our military force, as well regular as of volunteer militia, seems to be expedient. The precise extent of that augmentation cannot as yet be satisfactorily sug: gested, but that no time may be lost, and especiaily at a season deemed favorable to the object, I submit to the wisdom of the legislature whether they will authorize a commencement of this precautionary work by a provision for raising and organizing some additional force, reserving to them. selves to decide its ultimate extent on such views of our situation as I may be enabled to present at a future day of the session.
If an increase of force be now approved, I submit to their consideration the outlines of a plan proposed in the enclosed letter from the secretary of war.
I recommend, also, to the attention of Congress, the term at which the act of April 18th, 1806, concerning the militia, will expire, and the effect of that expiration.
March 22, 1808.
Ar the opening of the present session I informed the legislature that the measures which had been taken with the government of Great Britain for the settlement of our neutral and national rights, and of the conditions of commercial intercourse with that nation, had resulted in articles of a treaty which could not be acceded to on our part; that instructions had consequently been sent to our ministers there to resume the negotiations, and to endeavor to obtain certain alterations; and that this was interrupted by the transaction which took place between the frigates Leopard and Chesapeake. The call on that government for reparation of this wrong produced, as Congress have already been informed, the mission of a special minister to this country, and the occasion is now arrived when the public interest permits and requires that the whole of these proceedings should be made known to you
I therefore now communicate the instructions given to our minister resident at London, and his communications to that government on the subject of the Chesapeake, with the correspondence which has taken place here between the secretary of state and Mr. Rose, the special minister charged with the adjustment of that difference; the instructions to our ministers for the formation of a treaty ; their correspondence with the British commissioners and with their own government on that subject; the treaty itself and written declaration of the British commissioners accompanying
it, and the instructions given by us for resuming the negotiations, with the proceedings and correspondence subsequent thereto. To these I have added a letter lately addressed to the secretary of state from one of our late ministers, which, though not strictly written in an official character, I think it my duty to communicate, in order that his views of the proposed treaty and its several articles may be fairly presented and understood.
Although I have heretofore and from time to time made such commu. nications to Congress as to keep them possessed of a general and just view of the proceedings and dispositions of the government of France toward this country, yet, in our present critical situation, when we find no conduct on our part
, however impartial and friendly, has been sufficient to ensure from either belligerent a just respect for our rights, I am desirous that nothing shall be omitted on my part which may add to your information on this subject, or contribute to the correctness of the views which should be formed. The papers which for these reasons I now lay before you embrace all the communications, official or verbal, from the French government, respecting the general relations between the two countries which have been transmitted through our minister there, or through any other accredited channel, since the last session of Congress, to which time all information of the same kind had from time to time been given. Some of these papers have already been submitted to Congress, but it is thought better to offer them again, in order that the chain of communications of which they make a part may be presented unbroken.
When, on the 26th of February, I communicated to both Houses the letter of General Armstrong to M. Champagny, I desired it might not be published, because of the tendency of that practice to restrain injuriously the freedom of our foreign correspondence. But perceiving that this caution, proceeding purely from a regard for the public good, has furnished occasion for disseminating unfounded suspicions and insinuations, I am induced to believe that the good which will now result from its publication, by confirming the confidence and union of our fellow citizens, will more than countervail the ordinary objection to such publications. It is my wish, therefore, that it may be now published.
EIGHTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.
NOVEMBER 8, 1808.
It would have been a source, fellow citizens, of much gratification, if our last communications from Europe had enabled me to inform you that the belligerent nations, whose disregard of neutral rights has been so destructive to our commerce, had become awakened to the duty and true policy of revoking their unrighteous edicts. That no means might be omitted to produce this salutary effect, I lost no time in availing myself of the act authorizing a suspension, in whole or in part, of the several embargo laws. Our ministers at London and Paris were instructed to explain to the respective governments there our disposition to exercise the authority in such manner as would withdraw the pretext on which the aggressions were originally founded, and open the way for a renewal of that commercial intercourse which it was alleged on all sides had been