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upon credit. The debt which had been contracted under the credit sales had become unwieldy, and its extinction was alike advantageous to the purchaser and the public. Under the system of sales, matured as it has been by experience, and adapted to the exigencies of the times, the lands will continue as they have become, an abundant source of revenue; and when the pledge of them to the public creditor shall be redeemed by the entire discharge of the national debt, the swelling tide of wealth with which they replenish the common treasury may be made to re-flow, in unfailing streams of improvement, from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean.
The condition of the various branches of the public service resulting from the department of war, and their administration during the current year, will be exhibited in the report of the secretary of war, and the accompanying documents herewith communicated. The organization and discipline of the army are effective and satisfactory. To counteract the prevalence of desertion among the troops, it has been suggested to withhold from the men small portion of their monthly pay, until the period of their discharge; and some expedient appears to be necessary, to preserve and maintain among the officers so much of the art of horsemanship as could scarcely fail to be found wanting on the possibly sudden eruption of a war, which should overtake us unprovided with a single corps of cavalry. The military academy at West Point, under the restrictions of a severe but paternal superintendence, recommends itself more and more to the patronage of the nation; and the number of meritorious officers which it forms and introduces to the public service, furnishes the means of multiplying the undertaking of public improvements, to which their acquirements at that institution are peculiarly adapted. The school of artillery practice, established at fortress Monroe, is well suited to the same purpose, and may need the aid of farther legislative provisions to the same end. The report from the various officers at the head of the administrative branches of the military service, connected with the quartering, clothing, subsistence, health, and pay of the army, exhibit the assiduous vigilance of those officers in the performance of their respective duties, and the faithful accountability which has pervaded every part of the system.
Our relations with the numerous tribes of aboriginal natives of this courtry, scattered over its extensive surface, and so dependent, even for their existence, upon our power, have been during the present year highly interesting. An act of Congress of the 25th of May, 1824, made an appropriation to defray the expenses of making treaties of trade and friendship with the Indian tribes beyond the Mississippi. An act of the 3d of March, 1825, authorized treaties to be made with the Indians for their consent to the making of a road from the frontier of Missouri to that of New Mexico. And another act, of the same date, providing for defraying the expenses of holding treaties with the Sioux, Chippewas, Menomonees, Sacs, Foxes, &c., for the purpose of establishing boundaries and promoting peace between said tribes. The first and the last objects of these acts have been accomplished; and the second is yet in process of execution. The treaties which, since the last session of Congress, have been concluded with the several tribes, will be laid before the Senate for their consideration, conformably to the constitution. They comprise large and valuable acquisitions of territory, and they secure an adjustment of boundaries and give pledges of permanent peace between several tribes which had been long waging bloody war against each other.
On the 12th of February last, a treaty was signed at the Indian Springs, between commissioners appointed on the part of the United States and certain chiefs and individuals of the Creek nation of Indians, which was received at the seat of government only a few days before the close of the last session of Congress and of the late administration. The advice and consent of the Senate was given to it on the 3d of March, too late for it to receive the ratification of the then president of the United States; it was ratified on the 7th of March, under the unsuspecting impression that it had been negotiated in good faith, and in the confidence inspired by the recommen: dation of the Senate. The subsequent transactions in relation to this treaty will form the subject of a separate message.
The appropriations made by Congress for public works, as well in the construction of fortifications as for purposes of internal improvement
, so far as they have been expended, have been faithfully applied. Their progress has been delayed by the want of suitable officers for superintending them. An increase of both the corps of engineers, military and topographical
, was recommended by my predecessor at the last session of Congress. The reasons upon which that recommendation was founded subsist in all their force, and have acquired additional urgency since that time. It may also be expedient to organize the topographical engineers into a corps similar to the present establishment of ihe corps of engineers. The military academy at West Point will furnish, from the cadets annually graduated there, officers well qualified for carrying this measure into effeci.
The board of engineers for internal improvement, appointed for carrying into execution the act of Congress of 30th April, 1824, "10 procure the necessary surveys, plans, and estimates, on the subject of roads and canals," have been actively engaged in that service from the close of the last session of Congress. They have completed the surveys necessary for ascertaining the practicability of a canal from the Chesapeake bay to the Ohio river, and are preparing a full report on that subject, which, when completed, will be laid before you. The same observation is to be made with regard to the two other objects of great national importance, upon which the board have been occupied; namely, the accomplishment of a national road from this city to New Orleans, and the practicability of uniting the waters of Lake Memphramagog with Connecticut river, and the improvement of the navigation of that river. The surveys have been made, and are nearly completed. The report may be expected at an early period during the present session of Congress.
The acts of Congress of the last session, relative to the surveying, marking, or laying out roads in the territories of Florida, Arkansas, and Michigan, from Missouri to Mexico, and for the continuation of the Cumberland road, are, some of them, fully executed, and others in the process of execution. Those for completing or commencing fortifications have been delayed only so far as the corps of engineers has been inadequate to furnish officers for the necessary superintendence of the works. Under the act confirming the statutes of Virginia and Maryland, incorporating the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, three commissioners on the part of the United States have been appointed for opening books and receiving subscriptions, in concert with a like number of commissioners appointed on the part of cach of those states. A meeting of the commissioners has been postponed, to await the definitive report of the board of engineers. The light-houses and monuments for the safety of our commerce and mariners; the works for the secu
rity of Plymouth Beach, and for the preservation of the islands in Boston harbor, have received the attention required by the laws relating to those objects respectively. The continuation of the Cumberland road, the most important of them all, after surmounting no inconsiderable difficulty in fixing upon the direction of the road, has commenced under the most promising auspices, with the improvements of recent invention in the mode of construction, and with the advantage of a great reduction in the comparative cost of the work.
The operation of the laws relating to the revolutionary pensioners may deserve the renewed consideration of Congress. The act of 18th March, 1818, while it made provision for many meritorious and indigent citizens who had served in the war of independence, opened a door to numerous abuses and impositions. To remedy this, the act of 1st May, 1820, exacted proofs of absolute indigence, which many really in want were unable, and all, susceptible of that delicacy which is allied to many virtues, must be deeply reluctant to give. The result has been, that some among the least deserving have been retained, and some in whom the requisites both of worth and want were combined, have been stricken from the list. As the numbers of these venerable relics of an age gone by diminish ; as the decays of body, mind, and estate, of those that survive must, in the common course of nature, increase; should not a more liberal portion of indulgence be dealt out to them? May not the want in most instances be inferred from the demand, when the service can be duly proved; and may not the last days of human infirmity be spared the mortification of purchasing a pittance of relief only by the exposure of its own necessities? I submit to Congress the expediency either of providing for individual cases of this description, by special enactment, or of revising the act of the 1st of May, 1820, with a view to mitigate the rigor of its exclusions, in favor of persons to whom charity, now bestowed, can scarcely discharge the debt of justice.
The portion of the naval force of the Union in actual service has been chiefly employed on three stations : the Mediterranean, the coasts of South America bordering on the Pacific ocean, and the West Indies. An occasional cruiser has been sent to range along the African shores most polluted by the traffic of slaves; one armed vessel has been stationed on the coast of our eastern boundary, to cruise along the fishing grounds in Hudson's bay, and on the coast of Labrador; and the first service of a new frigate has been performed, in restoring to his native soil, and domestic enjoyments, the veteran hero whose youthful blood and treasure had freely flowed in the cause of our country's independence, and whose whole life has been a series of services and sacrifices to the improvement of his fellow men. The visit of General Lafayette, alike honorable to himself and to our country, closed, as it had commenced, with the most affecting testimonials of devoted attachment on his
part, and of unbounded gratitude of this people to him in return. It will form, hereafter, a pleasing incident in the annals of our Union, giving to real history the intense interest of romance, and signally marking the unpurchasable tribute of a great nation's social affections to the disinterested champion of the liberties of human kind.
The constant maintenance of a small squadron in the Mediterranean is a necessary substitute for the humiliating alternative of paying tribute for the security of our commerce in that sea, and for a precarious peace, at the mercy of every caprice of four Barbary States, by whom it was liable to be violated. An additional motive for keeping a respectable force stationed there at this
time, is found in the maritime war raging between the Greeks and the Turks; and in which the neutral navigation of this Union is always in danger of outrage and depredation. A few instances have occurred of such depredations upon our merchant vessels by privateers or pirates wearing the Grecian flag, but without real authority from the Greek or any other government. The heroic struggles of the Greeks themselves, in which our warmest sympathies as freemen and Christians have been engaged, have continued to be maintained with vicissitudes of success adverse and favorable.
Similar motives have rendered expedient the keeping of a like force on the coasts of Peru and Chili, on the Pacific. The irregular and convulsive character of the war upon the shores has been extended to the conflicts upon the ocean. An active warfare has been kept up for years, with alternate success, though generally to the advantage of the American patriots. But their naval forces have not always been under the control of their own gorernments. Blockades, unjustifiable upon any acknowledged principles of international law, have been proclaimed by officers in command; and though disavowed by the supreme authorities, the protection of our own commerce against them has been made cause of complaint and of erroneous imputations against some of the most gallant officers of our navy. Complaints equally groundless have been made by the commanders of the Spanish royal forces in those seas; but the most effective protection to our commerce has been the flag, and the firmness of our own commanding officers. The cessation of the war, by the complete triumph of the patriot cause, has removed, it is hoped, all cause of dissension with one party, and all vestige of force of the other. But an unsettled coast of many degrees of latitude, forming a part of our own territory, and a flourishing commerce and fishery, extending to the islands of the Pacific and to China, still require that the protecting power of the Union should be displayed under its flag, as well upon the ocean as upon the land.
The objects of the West India squadron have been to carry into execution the laws for the suppression of the African slave trade; for the protection of our commerce against vessels of piratical character, though bearing commissions from either of the belligerent parties; for its protection against open and unequivocal pirates. These objects, during the present year, have been accomplished more effectually than at any former period. "The African slave trade has long been excluded from the use of our flag;
and if some few citizens of our country have continued to set the laws of the Union, as well as those of nature and humanity, at defiance, by persevering in that abominable traffic, it has been only by sheltering themselves under the banners of other nations, less earnest for the total extinction of the trade than ours. The irregular privateers have, within the last year, been in a great measure banished from those seas; and the pirates, for months past, appear to have been almost entirely swept away from the borders and the shores of the two Spanish islands in those regions. The active, persere
, ring, and unremitted energy of Captain Warrington, and of the officers and men under his command, on that trying and perilous service, have been crowned with signal success, and are entitled to the approbation of their country. But experience has shown that not even a temporary suspension or relaxation from assiduity can be indulged on that station without reproducing piracy and murder in all their horrors; nor is it probable that, for years to come, our immensely valuable commerce in those seas can navigate in security, without the steady continuance of an armed force devoted to its protection.
It were indeed a vain and dangerous illusion to believe, that in the present or probable condition of human society, a commerce so extensive and so rich as ours could exist and be pursued in safety, without the continual support of a military marine, the only arm by which the power of this confederacy can be estimated or felt by foreign nations, and the only standing military force which can never be dangerous to our own liberties at home. A permanent naval peace establishment, therefore, adapted to our present condition, and adaptable to that gigantic growth with which the nation is advancing in its career, is among the subjects which have already occupied the foresight of the last Congress, and which will deserve your serious deliberations. Our navy, commenced at an early period of our present political organization upon a scale commensurate with the incipient energies, the scanty resources, and the comparative indigence of our infancy, was even then found adequate to cope with all the powers of Barbary, save the first, and with one of the principal maritime powers of Europe.
At a period of farther advancement, but with little accession of strength, it not only sustained with honor the most unequal of conflicts, but covered itself and our country with unfading glory. But it is only since the close of the late war that, by the numbers and force of the ships of which it was composed, it could deserve the name of a navy. Yet it retains nearly the same organization as when it consisted only of five frigates. The rules and regulations by which it is governed earnestly call for revision; and the want of a naval school of instruction, corresponding with the military academy at West Point, for the formation of scientific and accomplished officers, is felt with daily increasing aggravation.
The act of Congres, of 26th of May, 1824, authorizing an examination and survey of the harbor of Charleston in South Carolina, of St. Mary's in Georgia, and of the coast of Florida, and for other purposes, has been executed so far as the appropriation would admit. Those of the 3d of March last, authorizing the establishment of a navy yard and depot on the coast of Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico, and authorizing the building of ten sloops of war, and for other purposes; are in the course of execution, for the particulars of which, and other objects connected with this department, I refer to the report of the secretary of the navy herewith communicated.
A report from the postmaster-general is also submitted, exhibiting the present flourishing condition of that department. For the first time for many years, the receipts for the year ending on the first of July last, exceeded the expenditures during the same period, to the amount of more than forty-five thousand dollars. Other facts, equally creditable to the administration of the department, are, that in two years from the first of July, 1823, an improvement of more than one hundred and eighty-five thousand dollars, in its pecuniary affairs, has been realized; that, in the same interval, the increase of the transportation of the mail has exceeded one million five hundred thousand miles annually; and that one thousand and forty new postoffices have been established. It hence appears, that under judicious management, the income from this establishment may be relied on as fully adequate to defray its expenses; and that, by the discontinuance of postroads, altogether unproductive, others of more useful character may be opened, till the circulation of the mail shall keep pace with the spread of our population, and the comforts of friendly correspondence, the exchanges of internal traffic, and the lights of the periodical press shall be distributed