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the President the duty of laying before Congress the condition of the county, in its foreign and domestic relations, and of recommending such measures as may, in his opinion, be required by its interests. From the performance of ihis duty he cannot be deterred by the fear of wounding the sensibilities of the people or Government of whom it may become necessary to speak; and the American People are incapable of submitting to an inter ferance, by any Government on earth, however powerful, with the free persormance of the domestic duties which the constitution has inposed on their public functionaries. The discussions which intervene between the several departments of our Government belong to ourselves; and for any thing said in them, our public servants are only responsible to their own constituents, and to each other. If, in the course of their consultations, facts are erroneously stated, or unjust deductions are made, they require no other inducement to correct them, however informed of their error, than their love of justice, and what is due to their own character; but they can never submit to be interrogated upon the subject as a matter os right, by a foreign power. When our discussions terminate in acts, our responsibility to foreign powers commences, not as individuals, but as a nation. The principle which calls in question the President for the language of his message, would equally justify a foreign power in demanding explanation of the language used in the report of a committee, or by a member in debate.
This is not the first time that the Government of France bas taken exception to the messages of American Presidents. President Washington, and the first President Adams, in the performance of their duties to the American People, fell under the animadversions of the French Directory. The objection taken by the Ministry of Charles X. and
removed by the explanations made by one Minister upon the spot, has already been adverted to. When it was understood that the Ministry of the present King took exception to my message of last year, putting a construction upon it which was disavowed on its face, our late Minister at Paris, in answer to the note "which first announced a dissatisfaction with the language used in the message, made a communication to the French Government, under date of the 29th of January, 1835, calculated to remove all impressions which an unreasonable susceptibility had crealed. He repeated, and called the attention of the French Government to, the disavowal contained in the message itself, of any intention to intimidate by menace-he truly declared that it contained, and was
intended to contain, no charge of ill faith against the King of the French, and properly distinguished between the right to complain, in unexceptable terms, of the omission to execute an agreement, and an accusation of bad inotives in withholding such execution--and demonstrated, that the necessary use of that right ought not in be considered as an offensive imputation. Although this comniunication was made without instructions, and entirely on the Minister's own responsibility, yet it was
afterwards made the act of this Government by my full approbation, and that approbation, was officially made known on the 25th of April, 1835, to the French Government. It, however,' failed to have any effect. The law, after this friendly explanation, passed with the obnoxious amendment, supported by the King's Ministers, and was finally a pproved by the King.
The People of the United States are justly attached to a pacific system in their intercourse with foreign nations. It is proper, therefore, that they should know whether their Government has adhered to it. In the present instance, it has been carried to the utmost extent that was consistent with a becoming self-respect. The note of the 29th of January, to which I have before alluded, was not the only one which our Minister took upon himself the responsibility of presenting on the same subject, and in the same spirit. Finding that it was intended to make the payment of a just debt dependent on the performance of a condition which he knew could never be complied with, he thought it a duty to make another attempt to convince the French Government, that whilst selfrespect and regard to the dignity of other nations would always prevent us from using any language that ought to give offence, yet we could never admit a right in any foreign Government to ask explanations of, or to interfere in any manner in, the communications which one branch of our public councils made with another : that in the present case, no such language had been used, and that this had in a former note been fully and voluntarily stated, before it was conteinplated to make the explanation a condition: and that there might be no misapprehension, he stated the terms used in that note, and he officially informed them that it had been approved by the President; and that, therefore, every explanation which could reasonably be asked, or honorably given, had been already made—that the contemplated measure had been anticipated by a voluntary aud friendly declaration, and was therefore not only useless, but might be deemed offensive, and certainly would not be complied with, if annexed as a condition.
When this latter communication, to which I specially invite the attention of Congress, was laid before me, I entertained the hope that the means it was obviously intended to afford, of an honorable and speedy adjustment of the difficulties between the two nations, would have been accepted ; and I therefore did not hesitate to give it my sanction and full approbation. This was due to the Minister who had made himself responsible for the act; and it was published to the People of the United States, and is now laid before their Representatives, to show how far their Executive has gone in its endeavors to restore a good
understanding between the two couutries It would have been, at any time, communicated to the Government of France, had it been officially requested.
The French Government having received all the explanation which honor and principle permitted, and which could in reason be asked, it was hoped it would no longer hesitate to pay the instalments' now due. The agent authorized to receive the money was instructed to inform the French Minister of his readiness to do so. In reply to this notice, be was told that the money could not then be paid, because the formalities required by the act of the Chambers had not been arranged.
Not having received any official information of the intentions of the French Government, and anxinus to bring, às far as practicable, this unpleasant affair to a close before the meeting of Congress, that you might have the whole subject before you, I caused our Chargé d'Affaires at Paris to be instructed to ask for the final determination of the French Government; and in the event of their refusal to pay the
instalments now due, without further explanations, to return to the United States.
The result of this last application has not yet reached us, but is daily expected. That it may be favorable is my sincere wish. France having Dow, through all the branches of her Government, acknowledged the validity of our claims, and the obligation of the treaty of 1831 ; and there really existing no adequate cause for further delay, will, at length, it may be hoped, adopt the course which the interests of both nations, pot less than the principles of justice, so imperiously require. The treaty being once executed on her part, little will remain to disturb the friendly relations of the two countries ; nothing, indeed, which will not yield to the suggestions of a pacific and enlightened policy, and to the influence of that mutual goud will and of those generous recollections, which we may confidently expect will then be revived in all their ancient force. In any event, however, the principle involved in the new aspect, which has been given to the controversy, is so vitally important to the independent administration of the Government, that it can neither be surrendered nor compromitted, without national degradation. I hope it is unnecessary for me to say that such a sacrifice will not be made through any agency of mine. The honor of my country shall never be stained by an apology from me, for the statement of truth and the per
formance of duty; nor can I give any explanation of my official acts, except such as is due to integrity and justice, and consistent with the principles on which our institutions have been framed. This determination will, I am confident, be approved by my constituents. I have indeed studied their character to but little purpose, if the suin of twenty-five millions of francs will have the weight of a seather in the estimation of what appertains to their national independence ; and if, unhappily, a
different impression should at any time obtain in any quarter, they will, I am sure, rally round the Government of their choice with alacrity and unanimity, and silence forever the degrading insputation.
Having thus frankly presented to you the circumstances which, since the last session of Congress, have occured in this interesting and inportant matter, with the views of the Executive in regard to them, it is at this time only necessary to add, that whenever the advices now daily expected from our Chargé d'Affaires shall have been received, they will be made the subject of a special communication.
The cundition of the Public Finances was never more flattering than at the present period,
Since my last annual communication, all the remains of the Public Debt have been redeemned, or money has been placed in disposite for this purpose, whenever the creditors choose to receive it.
All the other pecuniary engagenients of the Government have been honorabiy and promptly sullilled, and there will be a balance in the Treasury, at the close of the present year, of about nineteen millions of dollars. It is believed, that after ineeting all outstanding and unexpended appropriations, there will remain near eleven millions to be applied to any new objects which Congress may designate, or to the more rapid execution
of the works already in progress. In aid of these objects, and to satisfy the current expenditures of the ensuing year, it is estiinated that there will be received, from various sources, twenty millions more in 1836.
Should Congress make new appropriations, in conformity with the estimates which will be submitted from the proper departments, amountfing to about twenty-four millions, still the available surplus, at the close of the next year, after deducting all unexpended appropriations, will probably be not less than six millions. This sum can, in my judgment be now usefully applied to proposed improvements in our Navy Yards, and to new national works, which are not enumerated in the present estimates, or to the more rapid completion of those already begun. Either would be constitutional and useful, and would render unnecessary any attempt in our present peculiar condition, to divide the surplus revenue, or to reduce it any faster than will be effected by the existing laws. In any event, as the annual report from the Secretary of the Treasury will enter into details, showing the probability of some decrease in the revenue during the next seven years, and a very considerable deduction in 1842, it is not recommended that Congress should undertake to modify the present tariff, so as to disturb the principles on which the conipromise act was passed, Taxation on some of the articles of general consumption, which are not in competition with our own productions, may be, no doubt, so diminished as to lessen to some extent the source of this revenue ; and the same object can also be assisted by more liberal provisions for the subjects of public defence, which in the present state of our prosperity and wealth, may be expected to engage your attention. If, howerer, after satisfying all the demands which can arise from these sources, the unexpended balance in the T'reasury should still continue to increase, it would be better to bear with the evil until the great changes contemplated in our tariff laws nave occurred, and shall enable us to revise the system with that care and circumspection which are due to so delicate and important a subject.
It is certainly our duty to diminish, as far as we can, the burdens of taxation, and to regard all the restrictions which are imposed on the trade and navigation of our citizens as evils which we shall mitigate whenever we are not prevented by the adverse legislation and policy or foreign nations, or those primary duties which the defence and independence of our country enjoin upon us.
That we have accomplished much towards the relief of our citizens by the changes which have accompanied the payment of the public debt, and the adoption of the present revenue laws, is manifest from the fact, that compared with 1833, there is a diminution of near twenty-five millions in the last two years, and that our expenditures, independently of those for the public debt, have been reduced near nine millions during the same period. Let us trust that by the continued observance of economy, and by harmonizing the great interests of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, much more may be accomplished to diminish the burdens of Government, and to increase still further the enterprise and the pairiotic affection of all classes of our citizens, and all the members of our happy confederacy. As the data which the Secretary of the Treasury will lay before you, in regard to our financial resources, are full and extended, and will afford a safe guide in your future calculations, I think it unnecessary to offer any further observations on that subject here.
Among the evidences of the increasing prosperity of the country, not the least gratifying is that afforded by the receipts from the sales of the
Public Lands, which a mount, in the present year, to the unexpected sum of $11,000,000. This circumstance attesis the rapidity with which agriculture, the first and most important occupation of man, advances, and contributes to the wealth and power of our extended territory, Being still of the opinion that it is our best policy, as far as we can, consistently with the obligations under which those lands were ceded to the United States, to promote their speedly settlement, I beg leave to call the attention of the present Congress to the suggestions I have offered respecting it, in my former messages.
The extraordinary receipts from the sales of the public lands invite you to consider what improvements the land system, and particularly the condition of the General Land Office may require. At the time this institution was organized, near a quarter of a century ago, it would probably have been thought extravagant to anticipate, for this period, such an addition to its business as has been produced by the vast increase of those sales, during the past and present years. It may also be obseryJed, that since the year 1812, the land offices and surveying districts have been greatly multiplied, and that numerous legislative enactmeuts, from year to year since that time, have imposed a great amount of new and additional duties upon that office; while the want of a timely application of force, commensurate with the care and labor required, has caused the increasing embarrassment of accunsulated arrears in the different branches of the establishment.
These impediments to the expedition of much duty in the General Land Office, induce me to subalit to your judgment, whether some modi. fication of the laws relating to its organization, or an organization of a new character, be not called for, at the present juncture, to enable the office to accomplish all the ends of its institution with a greater degree of facility and promptitude than experience has proved to be practicable, under existing regulations. The variety of the concerns, and the maguitude and complexity of the details occupying and dividing the attention of the Commissioner, appear to render it difficult, if not impracticable, for that officer, by any possible assiduity, to bestow on all the multifarious subjects upon which he is called to act, the ready and careful attention due to their respective importance, unless the Legislature shall assist him by a law providing, or enabling him to provide, for a more regular and economical distribution of labor, with the incident responsibility, among those employed under his direction. The mere manual operation of affixing his signature to the vast number of documents issuing from his office, subtracts so largely from the time and attention claimed by the weighty and complicated subjects daily accumulating in that branch of the public service, as to indicate the strong necessity of revising the organic law of the establishment. It will be easy for Congress, hereafter, to proportion the expenditure on account of this branch of the service to its real wants, by abolishing, from time to time the offices which can be dispensed with.
The extinction of the Public Debt having taken place, there is no longer any use for the offices of Commissioners of Loans and of the Sinking
Fund. I recommend, therefore, that they be abolished, and that proper measures be taken for the transfer to the Treasury Department, of any funds, books, and papers, connected with the operations of those offices ;