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the present year, such a reduction may be made to a considerable extent; and the subject is earnestly recommended to the consideration of Congress, in the hope that the combined wisdom of the representatives of the people will devise such means of effecting that salutary object, as may remove those burthens which shall be found to fall unequally upon any, and as may promote all the great interests of the community.
Long and patient reflection has strengthened the opinions I have heretofore expressed to Congress on this subject; and I deem it my duty, on the present occasion, again to urge them upon the atiention of the Legislature. The soundest maxims of public policy, and the principles upon which our republican institutions are founded, recommend a pro. per adapiation of the revenue to the expenditure, and they also require that the expenditure shall be limited to what, by an economical admin. istration, shall be consistent with the simplicity of the Government, and necessary to an efficient public service. In effecting this adjustment, it is due, in justice, to the interests of the different States, and even to the preservation of the Union itself, that the protection afforded by existing laws to any branches of the national industry, should not exceed what may be necessary to counteract the regulations of foreign nations, and to secure a supply of those articles of manufacture, essential to the national independence and safety in time of war. If, upon investigation, it shall be found, as it is believed it will be, that the legislative protection granted to any particular interests is greater than is indispensably requisite for these objects, I recommend that it be gradually diminished, and that, as far as may be consistent with these objects, the whole scheme of duties be reduced to the revenue standard as soon as a just regard to the faith of the Government, and to the prescrvation of the large capital invested in establishments of domestic industry, will permit.
That manufactures adequate to the supply of our domestic consumption would, in the abstract, be beneficial to our country, there is no reason to doubt; and to effect their establishment, there is, perhaps, no American citizen who would not, for a while, be willing to pay a higher price for them. But for this purpose, it is presumed that a tariff of high duties, designed for perpetual protection, has entered into the minds of but few of our states
The niost they have anticipated is a temporary, and, generally, inci. dental protection, which they maintain has the effect lo reduce the price by domestic competition below that of the foreign article. Experience, howcver, our best guide on this as on other subjects, makes it doubuul whether the advantages of this system are not counterbalanced by many evils, and whether it does not tend to beget, in the minds of a large portion of our countryinen, a spirit of discontent and jealousy dangerous to the stability of the Union.
What then shall be done? Large interests have grown up under the implied pledge of our national legislation, which it would seem a violation of public faith suddenly to abandon. Nothing could justify it but the public safety, which is the supreme law. But those who have vested their capital in manufacturing establishments cannot expect that the people will continue permanently to pay high taxes for their benefit, when the money is not required for any legitimate purpose in the administration of the Government. Is it not enough that the high duties have been paid as long as the money arising from them could be applied to the common benefit in the extinguish ment of the public debt?
Those who take an enlarged view of the condition of our country, must be satisfied that the policy of protection must be ultimately limited to those articles of domestic manufacture which are indispensable to our safety in time of war. Within this scope, on a reasonable scale, it is recommended by every consideration of patriotism and duty, which will doubtless always secure to it a liberal and efficient support. But beyond this ohject, we have already seen the operation of the system productive of discontent. In some sections of the republic, its influence is deprecated as tending to concentrate wealth into a few hands, and as creating those germs of dependence and vice which, in other countries, have characterized the existence of monopolies, and proved so destructive of liberty and the general good. A large portion of the people, in one section of the republic, declares it not only in. expedient on these grounds, but as disturbing the equal relations of property by legislation, and iherefore unconstitutional and unjust.
Doubtless, these effects are, in a great degree, exaggerated, and may be ascribed to a mistaken view of the considerations which led to the adoption of the tariff system; but they are, nevertheless, important in enabling us io re view the subject with a more thorough knowledge of all its bearings upon the great interests of the republic, and with a determination to dispose of it so ihat none can, with justice, complain.
It is my painful duty to state, that, in one quarter of the United States, opposition to the revenue laws has risen to a height which threatens to thwart their execution, if not to endanger the integrity of the Union. Whatever obstructions may be thrown in the way of the judicial authoritics of the General Government, it is hoped they will be able, peaceably, to overcome them by the prudence of their own officers, and the patriotism of the people. But should this reasonable reliance on the moderation and good sense of all portions of our fellow citizens be disappointed, it is believed that the laws themselves are fully adequate to the suppression of such attempts as may be immediately made. Should the exigency arise, rendering the execution of the existing laws impracticable, from any cause whatever, prompt notice of it will be given to Congress, with the suggestion of such views and measures as may be deemed necessary to meet it.
In conformity with principles heretofore explained, and with the hope of reducing the General Government to that simple machine which the con stitution created, and of withdrawing from the States all other influence than that of its universal beneficence in preserving peace, affording an uniform currency, maintaining the inviolability of contracts, diffusing intelligence, and discharging, unfelt, its other superintending functions, I recommend that provision be made to dispose of all stocks now held by it in corporations, whether created by the General or State Governments, and placing the pro ceeds in the Treasury. As a source of profit, these stocks are of little or no value; as a means of influence among the States, they are adverse to the puri. ty of our institutions. The whole principle on which they are based, is deemed by many unconstitutional, and, to persist in the policy which they indicate, is considered wholly inexpedient.
It is my duty to acquaint you with an arrangement made by the Bank of the United States with a portion of the holders of the three per cent stock, by which the Government will be deprived of the use of the public funds longer than was anticipated. By this arrangement, which will be particularly exa plained by the Secretary of the Treasury, a surrender of the certificates of this stock may be postponed until October, 1833; and thus the liability of the Government, after its ability to discharge the debt, may be continued by the failurs of the bank to perform its duties.
Such measures as are within the reach of the Secretary of the 'l'reasury have been taken to enable him to judge whether the public deposites in that institution may be regarded as entirely safe; but, as his limited power may prove inadequate 10 this object, I recoinmend the subject to the attention of Congress, under the firm belief that it is worthy of their serious investigation. An inquiry into the transactions of the institution, embracing the branches as well as the principal bank, seems called for by the credit which is given throughout the country to many serious charges impeaching its char. acter, and which, if truc, may justly excite the apprehension that it is no longer a safe depository of the money of the people.
Among the interests which merit the consideration of Congress after the payment of the public debt, one of the most important, in my view, is that of the public lands. Previous to the formation of our present constitution, it was recommended by Congress that a portion of the waste lands owned by the States should be ceded to the United States for the purposes of general harmony, and as a fund to meet the expenses of the war. The recommendation was adopted, and, at different periods of time, the States of Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia, granted their vacant soil for the uses for which they had been asked. As the lands may now be considered as relieved from this pledge, the object for which they were ceded having been accomplished, it is in the discretion of Congress to dispose of them in such way as best to conduce to the quiet, harmony, and general interest, of the American people. In examining this question, all local and sectional feelings should be discarded, and the whole United States regarded as one pcople, interested alike in the prosperity of their common country.
It cannot be doubted that the speedy settlement of these lands constitutes the true interest of the republic. The wealth and strength of a country are its population, and the best part of that population are the cultivators of the soil. Independent farmers are every where the basis of society, and true friends of liberty.
In addition to these considerations, questions have already arisen, and may be expected hereafter to grow out of the public lands, which involve the rights of the new States, and the powers of the General Government; and, unless a liberal policy be now adopted, there is danger that these questions may speedily assume an importance not now generally anticipated. The influence of a great sectional interest, when brought into full action, will be found more dangerous to the harmony and union of the States than any other cause of discontent; and it is the part of wisdom and sound policy to foresee its approaches, and endeavor, if possible, to counteract them.
of the various schemes which have been hitherto proposed in regard to the disposal of the public lands, none has yet received the entire approbation of the National Legislature. Deeply impressed with the importance of a speedy and satisfactory arrangement of the subject, I deem it my duty, on this occasion, to urge it upon your consideration, and, to the propositions which have been heretofore suggested by others, to contribute those reflections which have occured to me, in the hope that they may assist you in your future deliberations.
It seems to me to be our true policy that the public lands shall cease, as soon as practicable, to be a source of revenue, and that they be sold to settlers
in limited parcels, at a price barely suflicient to reimburse to the United States the expense of the present system, and the cost arising under our Indian compacts. The advantages of accurate surveys and undoubled titles, now secured to purchasers, seem to forbid the abolition of the present system, because none can be substituted which will more perfectly accomplish these important ends. It is desirable, however, that, in convenient time, this machinery be withdrawn from the States, and that the right of soil, and the future disposition of it, be surrendered to the States, respectively, in which it lies.
The adventurous and hardy population of the west, besides contributing their equal share of taxation under our impost system, have, in the progress of our Government, for the lands they occupy, paid into the Treasury a large proportion of forty millions of dollars, and, of the revenue received therefrom, but a small part has been expended amongst them. Wher, to the disadvantage of their situation in this respect, we add the consideration that it is their labor alone which gives real value to the lands, and that the proceeds arising from their sale are distributed chiefly among States which bad not originally any claim to them, and which have enjoyed the undivided emolument arising from the sale of their own lands, it cannot be expected that the new States will remain longer contented with the present policy, after the payment of the public debt. To avert the consequences which may be apprehended from this cause, to put an end for ever to all partial and interested legislation on the subject, and to afford to every American citizen of enterprise, the opportunity of securing an independent freehold, it seems to me, therefore, best to abandon the idea of raising a future revenue out of the public lands.
In former messages, I have expressed my conviction that the constitution does not warrant the application of the funds of the General Government to objects of internal improvement which are not national in their character; and, both as a means of doing justice to all interests, and putting an end to a course of legislation calculated to destroy the purity of the Government, have urged the necessity of reducing the whole subject to some fixed and certain rule. As there never will occur a period, perhaps, inore propitious than the present to the accomplishment of this object, I beg leave to press the subject again upon your attention.
Without some general and well defined principles ascertaining those objects of internal improvement to which the means of the nation may be constitutionally applied, it is obvious that the exercise of the power can never be satisfactory. Besides the danger to which it exposes Congress of making hasty appropriations to works of the character of which they may be frequently ignorant, it promotes a mischievous and corrupting influence upon elections, by holding out to the people the fallacious hope that the success of a certain candidate will make navigable their neighboring creek or river, bring commerce to their doors, and increase the value of their property. It thus favors combinations to squander the treasure of the country upon a multitude of local objects, as fatal lo just legislation as to the purity public men.
If a system compatible with the constitution cannot be devised, which is free from such tendencies, we should recollect that that instrument provides within itself the mode of its amendment; and that there is, therefore, no excuse for the assumption of doubtful powers by the General Government. If those which are clearly granted shall be found incompetent to the ends of its creation, it can at any time apply for their enlargement; and there is no probability that such an application, if founded on the public interest. will ever be refused. If the propriety of the proposed grant be not sufficiently apparent to command the assent of three-fourths of the States, the best possible reason why the power should not be assumed on doubtful authority is afsorded; for if more than one-fourth of the States are unwilling to make the grant, its exercise will be productive of discontents which will far overbalance any advantages that could be derived from it. All must admit that there is nothing so worthy of the constant solicitude of this Government, as the harmony and union of the people.
Being solemnly impressed with the conviction that the extension of the power to make internal improvements beyond the limit I have suggested, even if it be deemed constitutional, is subversive of the best interests of our country, I earnestly recommend to Congress to refrain from its exercise, in doubtful cases, except in relation to improvements already begun, unless they shall first procure from the States such an amendment of the constitution as will define its character, and prescribe its bounds. If the States feel themselves competent to these objects, why should this Government wish to assume the power? If they do not, then they will not hesitate to make the grant. Both Governments are the Governments of the people: improvements must be made with the money of the people; and if the money can be collected and applied by those more simple and economical political machines, the State Governments, it will, unquestionably, he safer and better for the people, than to add to the splendor, the patronage, and the power, of the General Government. But if the people of the several States think otherwise, they will amend the constitution, and, in their decision, all ought cheerfully to acquiesce.
For a detailed and highly satisfactory view of the operations of the War Department, I refer you to the accompanying report of the Secretary of
The bostile incursions of the Sac and Fox Indians necessarily led to the interposition of the Government. A portion of the troops, under Generals Scott and Atkinson, and of the militia of the State of Illinois, were called into the field. After a harrassing warfare, prolonged by the nature of the country, and hy the difficulty of procuring subsistence, the Indians were entirely defeated, and the disaffected band dispersed or destroyed. The result has been creditable to the troops engaged in the service. Severe as is the lesson to the Indians, it was rendered necessary by their unprovoked aggressions; and it is to be hoped that its impression will be permanent and salutary.
This campaign has evinced the efficient organization of the army, and its capacity for prompt and active service. Its several departments have performed their functions with energy and despatch, and the general movement was satisfactory.
Our fellow citizens upon the frontiers were ready, as they always are, in the tender of their services in the hour of danger. But a more efficient or. ganization of our militia system is essential to that security which is one of the principal objects of all governments. Neither our situation nor our institutions, require or permit the maintenance of a large regular force. History offers too many lessons of the faial result of such a measure, not to warn us against its adoption here. The expense which attends it, the obvious tendency to employ it because it exists, and thus to engage in unnecessary