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unimpaired the free institutions under which we live, and transmit them to those who shall succeed me in their full force and vigor.
TYLER'S FIRST MESSAGE,
To the Senate, and
JUNE 1, 1841.
House of Representatives of the United States: Fellow-Citizens:-You have been assembled, in your respective halls of legislation, under a proclamation bearing the signature of the illustrious citizen who was so lately called by the direct suffrages of the people to the discharge of the important functions of their chief executive office. Upon the expiration of a single month from the day of his installation, he has paid the great debt of nature, leaving behind him a name associated with the recollection of numerous benefits conferred upon the country during a long life of patriotic devotion. With this public bereavement are connected other considerations which will not escape the attention of Congress. The preparations necessary for his removal to the seat of Government in view of a residence of four years, must have devolved upon the late President heavy expenditures, which, if permitted to burden the limited resources of his private fortune, may tend seriously to the embarrassment of his surviving family; and it is therefore respectfully submitted to Congress whether the ordinary principles of justice would not dictate the propriety of its legislative interposition. By the provisions of the fundamental law, the powers and duties of the high station to which he was elected have devolved upon me, and in the disposition of the representatives of the States and of the people will be found to a great extent a solution of the problem to which our institutions are for the first time subjected.
In entering upon the duties of this office, I did not feel that it would be becoming in me to disturb what had been ordered by my lamented predecessor. Whatever, therefore, may have been my opinion, originally, as to the propriety of convening Congress at so early a day from that of its late adjournment, I found a new and controlling inducement not to interfere with the patriotic desires of the late President, in the novelty of the situation in which I was so unexpectedly placed. My first wish, under such cir cumstances, would necessarily have been to have called to my aid, in the administration of public affairs, the combined wisdom of the two Houses of Congress, in order to take their counsel and advice as to the best mode of extricating the Government and the country from the embarrassments weighing heavily on both. I am then most happy in finding myself, so soon after my accession to the Presidency, surrounded by the immediate representatives of the states and people.
No important changes having taken place in our for eign relations since the last session of Congress, it is not deemed necessary on this occasion to go into a detailed statement in regard to them. I am happy to say that I see nothing to destroy the hope of being able to preserve peace.
The ratification of the treaty with Portugal has been duly exchanged between the two Governments. This Government has not been inattentive to the interests of those of our citizens who have claims on the Government of Spain founded on express treaty stipulations; and a hope is indulged that the representations which have been made to that Government on this subject may lead ere long to beneficial results.
A correspondence has taken place between the Secretary of State and the Minister of Her Britannic Majesty accredited to this Government, on the subject of Alexander McLeod's indictment and imprisonment, copies of which are here with communicated to Congress.
In addition to what appears from these papers, it may be proper to state that Alexander McLeod has been heard by the Supreme Court of the State of New York on his motion to be discharged from imprisonment, and that the decision of that court has not as yet been pronounced.
The Secretary of State has addressed to me a paper upon two subjects, interesting to the commerce of the country, which will receive my consideration, and which I have the honor to communicate to Congress.
So far as it depends on the course of this Government, our relations of good will and friendship will be sedulously cultivated with all nations. The true American policy will be found to consist in the exercise of a spirit of justice to be manifested in the discharge of all our international obligations, to the weakest of the family of nations, as well as to the most powerful. Occasional conflicts of opinion may arise, but when the discussions incident to them are conducted in the language of truth, and with a strict regard to justice, the scourge of war will for the most part be avoided. The time ought to be regarded as having gone by when a resort to arms is to be esteemed as the only proper arbiter of national differences.
The census recently taken shows a regularly progressive increase in our population. On the breaking out of the war of the revolution, our numbers scarcely equalled three millions of souls; they already exceed seventeen. millions, and will continue to progress in a ratio which duplicates in a period of about twenty-three years. The old States contain a territory sufficient in itself to maintain a population of additional millions, and the most populous of the new States may even yet be regarded as but partially settled, while of the new lands on this side of the Rocky mountains, to say nothing of the immense region which stretches from the base of those mountains to the mouth of the Columbia river, about 270,000,000 of acres, ceded and unceded, still remain to be brought into market. We hold out to the people of other countries an invitation to come and settle among us as members of our rapidly growing family, and, for the blessings which we offer them, we require them to look upon our country, as their country, and to unite with us in the great task of preserving our institutions, and thereby perpetuating our liberties. No motive exists for foreign conquests. We desire but to reclaim our almost illimitable wilderness, and thereby to introduce into their depths the light of civilization. While we shall at all times be prepared to vindicate the
national honor, our most earnest desire will be to main. tain an unbroken peace.
In presenting the foregoing views, I cannot withhold the expression of the opinion that there exists nothing in the extension of our empire over our acknowledged possessions to excite the alarm of the patriot for the safety of our institutions. The federative system, leaving to each state the care of its domestic concerns, and devolving on the federal government those of general import, admits in safety of the greatest expansion, but at the same time I deem it proper to add that there will be found to exist at all times an imperious necessity for restraining all the functionaries of this Government within the range of their respective powers, thereby preserving a just balance between the powers granted to this Government and those reserved to the States and to the people.
From the report of the Secretary of the Treasury, you will perceive that the fiscal means present and accruing, are insufficient to supply the wants of the Government for the current year. The balance in the Treasury on the 4th day of March last, not covered by outstanding drafts, and exclusive of trust funds, is estimated at $860, 000. This includes the sum of $215,000 deposited in the mint and its branches to procure metal for coining and in process of coinage, and which could not be withdrawn without inconvenience; thus leaving subject to draft in the various depositories, the sum of $645,000. By virtue of two several acts of Congress, the Secretary of the Treasury was authorized to issue, on and after the 4th of March last, Treasury Notes to the amount of $5,413,000, making an aggregate available fund of $6,058,000 on hand.
But this fund was chargeable with outstanding Treasury Notes redeemable in the current year and interest thereon to the estimated amount of five millions two hundred and eighty thousand dollars. There is also thrown upon the Treasury the payment of a large amount of demands accrued in whole or in part in former years, which will exhaust the available means of the Treasury, and leave the accruing revenue reduced as it is in amount, burdened with debt, and charged with the current expenses of the Government. The aggregate amount of
outstanding appropriations on the 4th of March last was $33,429,616 50, of which $24,210,300 will be required during the current year, and there will also be required for the use of the War Department additional appropriations to the amount of two millions five hundred and eleven thousand one hundred and thirty two dollars and ninety eight cents, the especial objects of which will be seen by reference to the report of the Secretary of War
The anticipated means of the Treasury are greatly inadequate to this demand. The receipts for customs for the last three quarters of the last year, amounted to $12,100,000; the receipts for lands for the same time to $2,742,450; showing an average revenue from both sources of $1,236,780 per month. A gradual expansion of trade growing out of a restoration of confidence, together with a reduction in the expenses of collecting, and punctuality on the part of collecting officers, may cause an addition to the monthly receipt from the customs. They are estimated for the residue of the year, from the fourth of March, $12,000,000; the receipts from the public land for the same time are estimated at $2,600,000; and from miscellaneous sources at $170,000; making an aggregate of available fund within the year of $14,670,000; which will leave a probable deficit of $11,406,132 98. To meet this, some temporary provision is necessary, until the amount can be absorbed by the excess of revenues, which are anticipated to accrue at no distant day.
There will fall due within the next three months, Treasury Notes of the issues of 1840, including interest, about $2,850,000. There is chargeable in the same period for arrearages for taking the sixth census $294,000; and the estimated expenditures for the current service are about $3,100,000, making the aggregate demands upon the Treasury, prior to the first of September next, about $11,340,000. The ways and means in the Treasury, and estimated to accrue within the above named period, consist of about $694,000 of funds available on the 28th ultimo; an unissued balance of Treasury Notes authorized by the act of 1841, amounting to $1,955,000, and estimated receipts from all sources of $3,800,000, making an aggregate of about $6,450,000, and leaving a probable deficit on the 1st of September next of $4,845,000.