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mulate, would ultimately be of the least value to the government. The spirit of expansion and speculation was not confined to deposite banks, but pervaded the whole multitude of banks throughout the Union, and was giving rise to new institutions to aggravate the evil. The safety of the public funds, and the interest of the people generally
, required that these operations should be checked; and it became the duty of every branch of the general and state governments to adopt all legitimate and proper means to produce the salutary effect. Under this view of my duty, I directed the issuing of the order which will be laid before you by the secretary of the treasury, requiring payment for the public lands to be sold, to be made in specie, with an exception, until the fifieenth of the present month, in favor of actual settlers. This measure has produced many salutary consequences. It checked the career of the western banks and gave them additional strength, in anticipation of the pressure which has since pervaded our eastern as well as the European commercial cities. By preventing the extension of the credit system, it ineasurably cut off the means of speculation, and retarded its progress in monopolizing the most valuable of the public lands. It has tended to save the new states from a non-resident proprietorship, one of the greatest obstacles to the advancement of a new country, and the prosperity of an old one. It has tended to keep open the public lands for entry by emigrants at government prices, instead of their being compelled to purchase of speculators at double or treble prices. And it is conveying into the interior large sums in silver and gold, there to enter permanently into the currency of the country, and place it on a firmer foundation. It is confidently believed that the country will find, in the motives which induced that order, and the happy consequences which will have ensued, much to commend and nothing to condemn.
It remains for Congress, if they approve the policy which dictated this order, to follow it up in its various bearings
. Much good, in my judgment, would be produced by prohibiting sales of the public lands, except to actual settlers at a reasonable reduction of price, and to limit the quantity which shall be sold to them. Although it is believed the general government never ought to receive anything but the constitutional currency in exchange for the public lands, that point would be of less importance if the lands were sold for immediate seulement and cultivation. Indeed there is scarcely a mischief arising out of our present land system, including the accumulating surplus of revenue, which would not be remedied at once by a restriction on land sales to actual settlers; and it promises other advantages to the country in general, and to the new states in particular, which cannot fail to receive the most profound consideration of Congress.
Experience continues to realize the expectations entertained as to the capacity of the state banks to perform the duties of fiscal agents for the ernment, at the time of the removal of the deposites. It was alleged by the advocates of the Bank of the United States, that the state banks, whatever might be the regulations of the treasury department, could not make the transfers required by the government, or negotiate the domestic exchanges of the country. It is now well ascertained that the real domestic exchanges
, performed through discounts by the United States Bank and its twenty-fire branches, were at least one third less than those of the deposite banks for an equal period of time; and if a comparison be instituted between the amounts of service rendered by these institutions, on the broader basis which has been used by the advocates of the United States Bank, in estimating
what they consider the domestic exchanges transacted by it, the result will be still more favorable to the deposite banks.
The whole amount of public money transferred by the Bank of the United States, in 1832, was sixteen millions of dollars. The amount transferred and actually paid by the deposite banks in the year ending the first of October last, was thirty-nine millions three hundred and nineteen thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine dollars; the amount transferred and paid between that period and the sixth of November was five millions three hundred and ninety-nine thousand dollars.; and the amount of transfer warrants outstanding on that day, was fourteen millions, four hundred and hfty thousand dollars, making an aggregate of fifty-nine millions one hundred and sixty-eight thousand eight hundred and ninety-four dollars. These enormous sums of money first mentioned have been transferred with the greatest promptitude and regularity; and the rates at which the exchanges have been negotiated previously to the passage of the deposite act, were generally below those charged by the Bank of the United States. Inde. pendently of these services, which are far greater than those rendered by the United States Bank and ils twenty-five branches, a number of deposite banks have, with a commendable zeal to aid in the improvement of the currency, imported from abroad, at their own expense, large sums of the pre- / cious metals for coinage and circulation.
lo the same manner have nearly all the predictions turned out in respect to the effect of the removal of the deposites — a step unquestionably necessary to prevent the evils which it was foreseen the bank itself would endeavor to create in a final struggle to procure the renewal of its charter. It may be thus, too, in some degree, with the farther steps which inay be taken to prevent the excessive issues of other bank paper; but it is to be hoped that nothing will now deter the federal and state authorities from the firm and vigorous performance of their duties to themselves and 10 the people in this respect.
In reducing the revenue to the wants of the government, your particular attention is invited to those articles which consiitute the necessaries of life. The duty on salt was laid as a war tax, and was no doubt continued to assist in providing for the payment of the war debt. There is no article the release of which from taxation would be felt so generally and so beneficially. To this may be added all kinds of fuel and provisions. Justice and benevolence unite in favor of releasing the poor of our cities from burdens which are not necessary to the support of our government, and tend only to increase the wants of the destitute.
It will be seen by the report of the secretary of the treasury, and the accompanying documents, that the Bank of the United States has made no payment on account of the stock held by the government in that institution, although urged to pay any portion which might suit its convenience; and that it has given no information when payment may be expected. Nor although repeatedly requested, has it furnished the information in relation to its condition, which Congress authorized the secretary to collect at their last session. Such measures as are within the power of the executive have been taken to ascertain the value of the stock, and procure the payment as early as possible.
The conduct and present condition of that bank, and the great amount of capital vested in it by the United States, require your careful attention. Its charter expired on the 3d day of. March last, and it has now no power but
that given in the 21st section, to use the corporate name, style, and capacity for the purpose of suits for the final settlement and liquidation of the affairs and accounts of the corporation, and for the sale and disposition of their estate, real, personal, and mixed, but not for any other purpose or in any other manner whatsoever, nor for a period exceeding two years after the expiration of the said term of incorporation." Before the expiration of the charter, the stockholders of the bank obtained an act of incorporation from the Legislature of Pennsylvania, excluding only the United States. Instead of proceeding to wind up their concerns, and pay over to the United States the amount due on account of the stock held by them, the president and directors of the old bank appear to have transferred the books, papers, notes, obligations, and most or all of its property, to this new corporation, which
business as a continuation of ihe old concern. Amongst other acts of questionable validity, the notes of the expired corporation are known to have been used as its own, and again put in circulation. That the old bank had no righ: to issue or re-issue its notes after the expiration of its charter, cannot be denied; and that it could not confer any such right on its substitute any more than exercise it itself, is equally plain. In law and honesty, the notes of the bank in circulation, at the expiration of its charter, should have been called in by public advertisement, paid up as presented, and, together with those on hand, cancelled and destroyed. Their re-issue is sanctioned by no law, and warranted by no necessity. If the United States be responsible in their stock for the payment of these notes, their re-issue by the new corporation, for their own profit, is a fraud on the gor: ernment. If the United States is not responsible, then there is no legal responsibility in any quarter, and it is a fraud on the country. They are the redeemed notes of a dissolved parinership, but, contrary to the wishes of the retiring partner, and without his consent, are again re-issued and circulated.
It is the high and peculiar duty of Congress to decide whether any far. ther legislation be necessary for the security of the large amount of public property now held and in use by the new bank, and for vindicating the rights of the government, and compelling a speedy and honest settlement with all the creditors of the old bank, public and private: or whether the subject shall be left to the power now possessed by the executive and judiciary It remains to be seen whether the persons who, as managers of the old bank, undertook to control the government, retained the public dividends, shut their doors upon a comunittee of the House of Representatives, and filled the country with panic to accomplish their own sinister objects, may now, as managers of a new bank, continue with impunity to flood the country with a spurious currency, use the seven millions of government stock for their own profit, and refuse to the United States all information as to the present condition of their own property, and the prospect of recorering it into their own possession.
The lesson taught by the Bank of the United States cannot well be lost upon the American people. They will take care never again to place so tremendous a power in irresponsible hands; and it will be fortunate if they seriously consider the consequences which are likely to result on a smaller scale, from the facility with which corporate powers are granted by their state governments.
It is believed that the law of the last session, regulating the deposite banks, operates onerously and unjustly upon them in many respects ; and it
is hoped that Congress, on proper representation, will adopt the modifications which are necessary to prevent
consequence. The report of the secretary of war ad interim, and the accompanying documents, all which are herewith laid before you, will give you a full view of the diversified and important operations of that department, during the past year.
The military movements rendered necessary by the aggressions of the hostile portions of the Seminole and Creek tribes of Indians, and by other circumstances, have required the active employment of nearly our whole regular force, including the marine corps, and of large bodies of militia and volunteers. With all these events, so far as they were known at the seat of government before the termination of your last session, you are already acquainted; and it is therefore only needful in this place to lay before you a brief summary of what has since occurred.
The war with the Seminoles during the summer, was on our part chiefly confined to the protection of our frontier settlements from the incursions of the enemy; and, as a necessary and important means for the accomplishment of that end, to the maintenance of the posts previously established. In the course of this duty, several actions took place, in which the bravery and discipline of both officers and men were conspicuously displayed, and which I have deemed it proper to notice, in respect to the former, by the granting of brevet rank for gallant services in the field. But as the force of the Indians was not so far weakened by these partial successes as to lead thein to submit, and as their savage inroads were frequently repeated, early measures were taken for placing at the disposal of Governor Call, who, as commander-in-chief of the territorial militia, had been temporarily invested with the command, an ample force for the purpose of resuming offensive operations, in the most efficient manner, so soon as the season should permit
. Major-general Jessup was also directed, on the conclusion of his duties in the Creek country, to repair to Florida and assume the command.
The result of the first movement made by the forces under the direction of Governor Call, in October last, as detailed in the accompanying papers, excited much surprise and disappointment. A full explanation has been required of the causes which led to the failure of that movement, but has not yet been received. In the mean time it was feared that the health of Governor Call, who was understood to have suffered much from sickness, might not be adequate to the crisis, and as Major-general Jessup was known to have reached Florida, that officer was directed to assume the command, and to prosecute all needful operations with the utmost promptitude and vigor. From the force at his disposal, and the dispositions he has made, and is instructed to make, and from the very efficient measures which it is since ascertained have been taken by Governor Call, there is reason to hope that they will soon be enabled to reduce the enemy to subjection. In the mean time, as you will perceive, fromt he report of the secretary, there is urgent necessity for farther appropriations to suppress these hostilities.
Happily for the interests of humanity, the hostilities with the Creeks have been brought to a close soon after your adjournment, without that effusion of blood which at one time was apprehended as inevitable. The unconditional submission of the hostile party was followed by their speedy removal to the country assigned them west of the Mississippi. The inquiry as to alleged frauds in the purchase of the reservations of these Indians, and the causes of these hostilities, requested by the resolution of the House of Rep
resentatives of the 1st of July last, to be made to the President, is now going on, through the agency of commissioners appointed for that purpose. Their report may be expected during the present session.
The difficulties apprehended in the Cherokee country have been pre vented, and the peace and safety of that region and its vicinity effectually secured, by the timely measures taken by the war department, and still continued.
The discretionary authority given to General Gaines to cross the Sa bine, and to occupy a position as far west as Nacogdoches, in case he should deem such a step necessary to the protection of the frontier, and to the fulfil: ment of the stipulations contained in our treaty with Mexico, and the move ment subsequently made by that officer, have been alluded to in a former part of this message. At ihe date of the latest intelligence from Nacogdoches, our troops were yet at that station, but the officer who has succeeded General Gaines has recently been advised, that, from the facts known at the seat of government, there would seem to be no adequate cause for any longer maintaining that position; and he was accordingly instructed, in case the troops were not already withdrawn under the discretionary powers before possessed by him, to give the requisite orders for that purpose, on the receipt of the instructions, unless he shall then have in his possession such information as shall satisfy him that the maintenance of the post is essential to the protection of our frontiers, and to the due execution of our treaty stipulations, as previously explained to him.
Whilst the necessities existing during the present year, for the service of militia and volunteers, have furnished new proofs of the patriotism of our fellow citizens, they have also strongly illustrated the importance of an increase in the rank and file of the regular army. The views of this subject
, submitted by the secretary of war in bis report
, meet my entire concurrence, and are earnestly commended to the deliberate attention of Congress. In this connection it is also proper to remind you, that the defects in our pres. ent militia system are every day rendered more apparent. The duty of making farther provision by law, for organizing, arming, and disciplining this armed defence, has been so repeatedly presented to Congress, by myseli and my predecessors, that I deem it sufficient on this occasion, to refer to the last annual message and to former executive communications, in which the subject has been discussed.
It appears from the reports of the officers, charged with mustering into service the volunteers called for under the act of Congress of the last ses sion, that more presented themselves at the place of rendezvous in Tennessee, than were sufficient to meet the requisition which had been made by the secretary of war upon the governor of that state. This was occasioned by the omission of the governor to apportion the requisition to the different regiments of militia, so as to obtain the proper number of troops and no more. It seems but just to the patriotic citizens who repaired to the general rendezvous, under circumstances authorizing them to believe that their services were needed, and would be accepted, that the expenses incurred by them, while absent from their homes, should be paid by the government
. I accordingly recommend that a law to this effect be passed by Congress
, giving them a compensation which will cover their expenses on the march to and from the place of rendezvous, and while there; in connection with which, it will also be proper to make provision for such other equitable claims, growing out of the service of the militia, as may not be embraced in the existing laws.