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being overbalanced by the aggregate benefits which derives from a neutral position. Our population advances with a celerity which, exceeding the most sanguine calculations, proportionally augments our strength and resources, and guarantees our future security. Every part of the Union displays indications of rapid and various improvement; and with burdens so light as scarcely to be perceived, with resources fully adequate to our present exigencies, with governments founded on the genuine principles of rational liberty, and with mild and wholesome laws, is it too much to say that our country exhibits a spectacle of national happiness never surpassed, if ever before equalled ?
Placed in a situation every way so auspicious, motives of commanding force impel us, with sincere acknowledgment to heaven and pure love to our country, to unite our efforts to preserve, prolong, and improve our immense advantages. To co-operate with you in this desirable work is a fervent and favorite wish of my heart.
It is a valuable ingredient in the general estimate of our welfare, that the part of our country which was lately the scene of disorder and insurrection now enjoys the blessings of quiet and order. The misled have abandoned their errors, and pay the respect to our constitution and laws ! which is due from good citizens to the public authorities of society. These circumstances have induced me to pardon generally the offenders here referred to, and to extend forgiveness to those who had been adjudged to capital punishment. For though I shall always think it a sacred duty to exercise with firmness and energy the constitutional powers with which I am vested, yet it appears to me no less consistent with the public good than it is with my personal feelings to mingle, in the operations of government, every degree of moderation and tenderness which the national justice, dignity, and safety may permit. Gentlemen :
Among the objects which will claim your attention in the course of the session, a review of our military establishment is not the least important. It is called for by the events which have changed, and may be expected still farther to change, the relative situation of our frontiers. In this review, you will doubtless allow due weight to the considerations that the questions between us and certain foreign powers are not yet finally adjusted, that the war in Europe is not yet terminated, and that our western posts, when recovered, will demand provision for garrisoning and securing them. A statement of our present militia force will be laid before you by the Department of War.
With the review of our army establishment is naturally connected that of the militia. It will merit inquiry, what imperfections in the existing plan farther experience may have unfolded. The subject is of so much moment in my estimation as to excite a constant solicitude that the consideration of it may be renewed, until the greatest attainable perfection shall be accomplished. Time is wearing away some of the advantages for forwarding the object, while none better deserves the persevering attention of the public councils.
While we indulge the satisfaction which the actual condition of our western borders so well authorises, it is necessary that we should not lose sight of an important truth which continually receives new confirmations, namely, that the provisions heretofore made with a view to the protection
of the Indians from the violence of the lawless part of our frontier in babitants, are insufficient. It is demonstrated that these violences can now be perpetrated with impunity; and it can need no argument to prove that, unless the murdering of Indians can be restrained by bringing the murderers to condign punishment, all the exertions of the government to prevent destructive retaliations by the Indians will prove fruitless, and all our present agreeable prospects illusory. The frequent destruction of innocent women and children, who are chiefly the victims of retaliation, must continue to shock humanity, and to be an enormous expense to drain the treasury of the Union.
To enforce upon the Indians the observance of justice, it is indispensable that there shall be competent means of rendering justice to them. If these means can be devised by the wisdom of Congress, and especially if there can be added an adequate provision for supplying the necessities of the Indians on reasonable terms, (a measure the mention of which I the more readily repeat, as in all the conferences with them they urge it with solicitude,) I should not hesitate to entertain a strong hope of rendering our tranquillity permanent. I add, with pleasure, that the probability even of their civilization is not diminished by the experiments which have been thus far made under the auspices of government. The accomplishment of this work, if practicable, will reflect undecaying lustre on our national character, and administer the most grateful consolations that virtuous minds can know. Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
The state of our revenue, with the sums which have been borrowed and reimbursed pursuant to different acts of Congress, will be submitted from the proper department, together with an estimate of the appropriations necessary to be made for the service of the coming year.
Whether measures may not be advisable to reinforce the provision for the redemption of the public debt, will naturally engage your examination. Congress have demonstrated their sense to be, and it were superfluous to repeat mine, that whatsoever will tend to accelerate the honorable extinction of our public debt accords as much with the true interests of our country as with the general sense of our constituents. Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives :
The statements which will be laid before you relative to the mint, will show the situation of that institution, and the necessity of some farther legislative provisions for carrying the business of it more completely into effect, and for checking abuses which appear to be arising in particular quarters.
The progress in providing materials for the frigates, and in building them; the state of the fortifications of our harbors; ihe measures which have been pursued for obtaining proper sites for arsenals, and for replenishing our magazines with military stores; and the steps which have been taken towards the execution of the law for opening a trade with the Indians, will likewise be presented for the information of Congress.
Temperate discussion of the important subjects which may arise in the course of the session, and mutual forbearance where there is a difference of opinion, are too obvious and too necessary for the peace, happiness and welfare of our country to need any recommendation of mine,
EIGHTH ANNUAL ADDRESS.
DECEMBER 7, 1796.
In recurring to the internal situation of our country since I had last the pleasure to address you, I find ample reason for a renewed expression of that gratitude to the Ruler of the Universe which a continued series of prosperity has so often and so justly called forth.
The acts of the last session which required special arrangement, have been, as far as circumstances would admit, carried into operation.
Measures calculated to ensure a continuance of the friendship of the Indians and to preserve peace along the extent of our interior frontier, have been digested and adopted. In the framing of these, care has been taken to guard, on the one hand, our advanced settlements from the predatory incursions of those unruly individuals who cannot be restrained by their tribes, and on the other hand, to protect the rights secured to the Indians by treaty; to draw them nearer to the civilized state, and inspire them with correct conceptions of the power, as well as justice, of the government
The meeting of the deputies from the Creek nation at Colerain, in the state of Georgia, which had for a principal object the purchase of a parcel of their land by that state, broke up without its being accomplished, the nation having, previous to their departure, instructed them against making any sale. The occasion has however been improved to confirm, by a new treaty with the Creeks, their pre-existing engagements with the United States, and to obtain their consent to the establishment of trading houses and military posts within their boundary, by means of which their friendship and the general peace may be more effectually secured.
The period during the late session at which the appropriation was passed for carrying into effect the treaty of amity, commerce and navigation between the United States and His Britannic Majesty, necessarily procrastinated the reception of the posts stipulated to be delivered beyond the date assigned for that event. As soon, however, as the Governor General of Canada could be addressed with propriety on the subject, arrangements were cordially and promptly concluded for their evacuation; and the United States took possession of the principal of them, comprehending Oswego, Niagara, Detroit, Michilimackinac, and Fort Miami, wbere such repairs and additions have been ordered to be made as appeared indispensable.
The commissioners appointed on the part of the United States and of Great Britain to determine which is the river St. Croix mentioned in the treaty of peace of 1783, agreed in the choice of Egbert Benson, Esq., of New York, for the third commissioner. The whole met at St. Andrews, in Passamaquoddy Bay, in the beginning of October, and directed surveys to be made of the rivers in dispute; but deeming it impracticable to have these surveys completed before the next year, they adjourned, to meet at Boston, in August
, 1797, for the final decision of the question. Other commissioners, appointed on the part of the United States, agreeably to the seventh article of the treaty with Great Britain relative to captures and condemnation of vessels and other property, met the commissioners of His Britannic Majesty in London, in August last, when
John Trumbull, Esq. was chosen by lot for the fifth commissioner. In October following, the board were to proceed to business. As yet, there has been no communication of commissioners on the part of Great Britain to unite with those who had been appointed on the part of the United States for carrying into effect the sixth article of the treaty.
The treaty with Spain required that the commissioners for running the boundary line betweeen the territory of the United States and His Catholic Majesty's provinces of East and West Florida should meet at the Natchez before the expiration of six months after the exchange of the ratifications, which was effected at Aranjuez, on the 25th day of April; and the troops of His Catholic Majesty occupying any posts within the limits of the United States were, within the same period, to be withdrawn. The commissioner of the United States, therefore, commenced his journey for the Natchez in September, and troops were ordered to occupy the posts from which the Spanish garrisons should be withdrawn. Information has been recently received of the appointment of a commissioner on the part of His Catholic Majesty for running the boundary line; but none of any appointment for the adjustment of the claims of our citizens whose vessels were captured by the armed vessels of Spain.
In pursuance of the act of Congress, passed in the last session, for the protection and relief of American seamen, agents were appointed, one to reside in Great Britain and the other in the West Indies. The effects of the agency in the West Indies are not yet fully ascertained; but those which have been communicated afford grounds to believe the measure will be beneficial. The agent destined to reside in Great Britain declining to accept the appointment, the business has consequently devolved on the minister of the United States in London, and will command his attention until a new agent shall be appointed.
After many delays and disappointments arising out of the European war, the final arrangements for fulfilling the engagements made to the Dey and Regency of Algiers will, in all present appearance, be crowned with success, but under great though inevitable disadvantages in the pecuniary transactions occasioned by that war, which will render far. ther provision necessary. The actual liberation of all our citizens who were prisoners in Algiers, while it gratifies every feeling heart, is itself an earnest of a satisfactory termination of the whole negotiation. Measures are in operation for effecting treaties with the
gencies of Tunis and Tripoli.
To an active external commerce, the protection of a naval force is indispensable. But besides this, it is in our own experience that the most sincere neutrality is not a sufficient guard against the depredations of nations at war. To secure respect to a neutral flag requires a naval force, organized and ready to vindicate it from insult or aggression. This may prevent even the necessity of going to war, by discouraging belligerent powers from committing such violations of the rights of the neutral party as may, first or last, leave no other option. From the best information I have been able to obtain, it would seem as if our trade to the Mediterranean, without a protecting force, will always be insecure, and our citizens exposed to the calamities from which numbers of them have just been relieved.
These considerations invite the United States to look to the means, and to set about the gradual creation, of a navy. The increasing progress of
their navigation promises them, at no distant period, the requisite supply of seamen; and their means, in other respects, favor the undertaking. It is an encouragement
, likewise, that their particular situation will give weight and influence to a moderate naval force in their hands. Will it not then be advisable to begin without delay to provide and lay up the materials for the building and the equipping of ships of war, and to proceed in the work by degrees, in proportion as our resources may render it practicable without inconvenience, so that a future war of Europe may not find our commerce in the same unprotected state in which it was found by the present ?
Congress have repeatedly, and not without success, directed their attention to the encouragement of manufactures. The object is of too much consequence not to ensure a continuance of their efforts in every way which shall appear eligible. As a general rule, manufactures on the public account are inexpedient; but where the state of things in a country leaves little hope that certain branches of manufacture will, for a great length of time, obtain, when these are of a nature essential to the furnishing and equipping of the public force in time of war, are not establishments for procuring them on public account, to the extent of the ordinary demand for the public service, recommended by strong considerations of national policy as an exception to the general rule? Ought our country to remain, in such cases, dependent on foreign supply, precarious because liable to be interrupted ? If the necessary article should, in this mode, cost more in time of peace, will not the security and independence thence arising form an ample compensation ? Establishments of this sort, commensurate only with the calls of the public service in time of peace, will, in time of war, easily be extended in proportion to the exigencies of the government, and may even perhaps be made to yield a surplus for the supply of our citizens at large, so as to mitigate the privation from the interruption of their trade. If adopted, the plan ought to exclude all those branches which are already, or likely soon to be, established in the country, in order that there may be no danger of interference with pursuits of individual industry.
It will not be doubted that, with reference either to individual or national welfare, agriculture is of primary importance. In proportion as nations advance in population and other circumstances of maturity, this truth becomes more apparent, and renders the cultivation of the soil more and more an object of public patronage. Institutions for promoting it grow up, supported by the public purse. Among the means which have been employed to this end none have been attended with greater success than the establishments of boards, composed of proper characters, charged with collecting and diffusing information, and enabled by premiums and small pecuniary aids to encourage and assist a spirit of discovery and improvement. This species of establishment contributes doubly to the increase of improvement, by stimulating to enterprise and experiment, and by drawing to a common centre the results, everywhere, of individual skill and observation, and spreading them thence over the whole nation. Experience accordingly hath shown that they are very cheap instruments of immense national benefit.
I have therefore proposed to the consideration of Congress the expediency of establishing a national university, and also a military academy, The desirableness of both these institutions has so constantly increased