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Wars, and its ultimate danger to public liberty, will lead us, I trust, to place our principal dependence for protection upon the great body of the citizens of the republic. If, in asserting rights or in repelling wrongs, war should come upon us, our regular force should be increased to an extent proportioned 10 the emergency, and our present small army is a nucleous around which such force could be formed and embudied. But, for the purposes of defence under ordinary circumstances, we must rely upon the electors of the country. Those by whom, and for whom, the Government was instituted, and is supported, will constitute its protection in the hour of danger, as they do its check in the hour of safety.
But it is obvious that the militia system is imperfect. Much time is lost, much unnecessary expense incurred, and much public property wasted, under the present arrangement. Little useful knowledge is gained by the musters and drills as now established, and the whole subject evidently requires a thorough examination. Whether a plan of classification remedying these defects, and providing for a system of instruction, might not be adopted, is subroitted to the consideration of Congress. The constitution has vesied in the General Government an independent authority upon the subject of the militia, which renders its action essential to the establishment or improvement of the system, and I recommend the matter to your consideration, in the conviction that the state of this important arm of the public desence requires your attention.
I am happy to inform you, that the wise and humane policy of transferring from the eastern to the western side of the Mississippi, the remnants of our aboriginal tribes, with their own consent, and upon just terms, has been steadily pursued, and is approaching, I trust, its consummation. By reference to the report of the Secretary of War, and to the documents submitted with it, you will see the progress which has been made since your last session in the arrangement of the various matters connected with our Indian relations. With one exception, every subject involving any question of conflicting jurisdiction, or of peculiar difficulty, has been happily disposed of, and the conviction evidently gains ground among the Indians, that their removal to the country assigned by the United States for their permanent residence, furnishes the only hope of their ultimate prosperity.
With that portion of the Cherokees, however, living within the State of Georgia, it has been found impracticable, as yet, to make a satisfactory adjustment. Such was my anxiety to remove all the grounds of complaint, and to bring to a termination the difficulties in which they are involved, that I directed the very liberal propositions to be made to them which accompany the documents herewith submitted. They cannot but have seen in these offers the evidence of the strongest disposition, on the part of the Government, to deal justly and liberally with them. An ample indemnity was offered for their present possessions, a liberal provision for their future support and improvement, and full security for their private and political rights. Whatever difference of opinion may have prevailed respecting the just claims of these people, there will probably be none respecting the liberality of the propositions, and very little respecting the expediency of their immediate acceptance. They were, however, rejected, and thus the position of these Indians remains unchanged, as do the views communicated in my message to the Senate, of February 22, 1831.
I refer you to the annual report of the Secretary of the Navy, which accommpanies this message, for a detail of the operations of that branch of the service during the present year.
Besides the general remarks on some of the transactions of our navy, presented in the view which has been taken of our foreign relations, I seize this occasion to invite to your notice the increased protection which it has afforded to our commerce and citizens on distant seas, without any augmentation of the force in commission. In the gradual improvement of its pecuniary concerns, in the constant progress in the collection of materials suitable for use during future emergencies, and in the construction of vessels, and the buildings necessary to their preservation and repair, the present state of this branch of the service exhibits the fruits of that vigilance and care which are so indispensable to its efficiency. Various new suggestions contained in the annexed report, as well as others heretofore subinitied to Congress, are worthy of your attention; but none more so than that urging the renewal, for another term of six years, of the general appropriation for the gradual improvement of the navy.
From the accompanying report of the Postmaster General, you will also perceive that that departme:it continues to extend its usefulness without impairing its resources, or lessening the accommodations which it affords in the secure and rapid transportation of the mail.
I beg leave to call the attention of Congress to the views heretofore expressed in relation to the inode of choosing the President and Vice President of the United States, and to those respecting the tenure of office generally. Still impressed with the jistness of those views, and with the belief that the modifications suggested on those subjects, if adopted, will contribute to the prosperity and harmony of the country, I earnestly recommend them to your consideration at this time.
I have heretofore pointed out defects in the law for punishing official frauds, especially within the District of Columbia. It has been found almost impossible to bring notorious culprits to punishment, and, according to a decision of the court for this District, a prosecution is barred by a lapse of two years after the frand has been committed. It may happen again, as it has already happened, that, during the whole two years, all the evidences of the fraud may be in the possession of the culprit himself.
However proper the limitation may be in relation to private citizens, it would seem that it ought not to commence running in favor of public officers until they go out of office.
The judiciary system of the United States remains imperfect. Of the nine western and southwestern States, three only enjoy the benefits of a circuit court. Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, are embraced in the general system; but Iudiana, Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, have oniy district courts. If the existing system be a good one, why should it not be extended? If it be a bad one, why is it suffered to exist? The new States were promised equal rights and privileges when they came into the Union, and such are the guarantees of the constitution. No thing can be more obrious than the obligation of the General Government to place all the States on the same footing in relation to the administration of justice, and I trust this duty will be neglected no longer.
On many of the subjects to which your altention is invited in this communication, it is a source of gratification to reflect that the steps to be now adopted are uninfluenced by the embarrassments entailed upon the country by ihe wars throngh which it has passed. In regard to most of our great interests, we may consider ourselves as just starting in our career, and, after a salutary experience, about to fix, upon a permanent basis, the policy best caleulated to promote the happiness of the people, and facilitate their progress towards the most complete enjoyment of civil liberty. On an occasion so interesting and important in our history, and of such anxious concern to the friends of freedom throughout the world, it is our imperious duty to lay aside all selfish and local considerations, and be guided by a lofty spirit of devotion to the great principles on which our institutions are founded.
That this Government may be so administered as to preserve its efficiency in promoting and securing these general objects, should be the only aim of our ambition; and we cannot, therefore, too carefully examine its structure, in order that we may not mistake its powers, or assume those which the people have reserved to themselves, or have preferred to assign to other agents.
We should bear constantly in mind the fact, that the considerations which induced the framers of the constitution to withhold from the General Government the power to regulate the great mass of the business and concerns of the people, have been fully justified by experience; and that it cannot now be doubted that the genius of all our institutions prescribes simplicity and economy as the characteristics of the reform which is yet to be effected in the present and future execution of the functions bestowed upon us by the constitution.
Limited to a general superintending power to maintain peace at home and abroad, and to prescribe laws on a few subjects of general interest, not calculated to restrict human liberty, but to enforce human rights, this Government will find its strength and its glory in the faithful discharge of these plain and simple duties. Relieved by its protecting shield from the fear of war and the apprehension of oppression, the free enterprise of our citizens, aided by the State sovereignties, will work out improvements and ameliorations which cannot fail to demonstrate that the great truth, that the people can govern themselves, is not only realized in our example, but that it is done by a machinery in government so simple and economical as scarcely to
That the Almighty Ruler of the Universe may so direct our deliberations, and overrule our acts, as to make us instrumental in securing a result so dear to mankind, is my most earnest and sincere prayer.
ANDREW JACKSON. December 4th, 1832.
Ordered, That the said message be committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, and that ten thousand copies thereof, with the documents accompanying the same, be printed for the use of the members of the House.
And then the House adjourned until to-morrow, twelve o'clock, meridian.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1832.
The House met pursuant to adjournment: when
From Alabama, Dixon H. Lewis; appeared and took their seats; and then,
On motion of Mr. Polk,
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1832.
Several other members, viz.
A new member, viz. from Massachusetts, Jeremiah Nelson, appeared, produced his credentials, was sworn to support the Constitution of the United Slates, and took his seat.
On motion of Mr. Taylor, it was Ordered, That the several standing committees be now appointed, pursuant to the standing rules and orders of the House.
And thereupon, A Committee of Elections was appointed, consisting of Mr. Claiborne, Mr. Randolph, Mr. Holland, Mr. Griffin, Mr. Bethune, Mr. Collier, and Mr. Arnold.
A Committee of Ways and Means was appointed, consisting of Mr. Verplanck, Mr. Ingersoll, Mr. Gilmore, Mr. Alexander, Mr. Wilde, Mr. Gaither, and Mr. Polk.
A Committee of Claims was appointed, consisting of Mr. Whittlesey, Mr. Barber, oi Connecticut, Mr. Mclatire, Mr. Ihrie, Mr. Rencher, Mr. Dayan, and Mr. Grennell.
A Committee on Commerce was appointed, consisting of Mr. Cambreleng, Mr. Howard, Mr. Sutherland, Mr. Newton, Mr. Davis, of Massachusetts, Mr. Jarvis, and Mr. Harper.
A Committee on the Public Lands was appointed, consisting of Mr. Wickliffe, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Clay, Mr. Irvin, Mr. Boon, Mr. Plummer, and Mr. Mason.
A Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads was appointed, consisting of Mr. Connor, Mr. Russel, Mr. Pearce, Mr. Hammons, Mr. Kavanagh, Mr. Doubleday, and Mr. Roane.
A Committee for the District of Columbia was appointed, consisting of Mr. Washington, Mr. Semines, Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Chinn, Mr. Jeniter, Mr. Wm. B. Shepard, and Mr. McKennan.
A Committee on the Judiciary was appointed, consisting of Mr. Bell, Mr. Ellsworth, Mr. Daniel, Mr. Foster, Mr. Gordon, Mr. Beardsley, and Mr. Coulter.
A Committee on Revolutionary Claims was appointed, consisting of Mr. Muhlenberg, Mr. Nuckolls, Mr. Crane, Mr. Bales, of Massachusetts, Mr. Standefer, Mr. Marshall, and Mr. Newnan.
A Committee on Public Expenditures was appointed, consisting of Mr. Hall, of North Carolina, Mr Davenport, Mr. Lyon, Mr. Thomson, of Ohio, Mr. Pierson, Mr. Henry King, and Mr. Briggs.
A Committee on Private Land Claims was appointed, consisting of Mr. Johnson, of Tennessee, Mr. Coke, Mr. Stanbery, Mr. Mardis, Mr. Carr, Mr. Bullard, and Mr. Ashley.
A Committee on Manufactures was appointed, consisting of Mr. Adams, Mr. Hoffman, Mr. Lewis Condict, Mr. Findlay, Mr. Horn, Mr. Worthington, and Mr. Barbour, of Virginia.
A Committee on Agriculture was appointed, consisting of Mr. Root, Mr. McCoy, of Virginia, Mr. Smith, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Chandler, Mr. Wheeler, Mr. McCoy, of Pennsylvania, and Mr. Tompkins.
A Committee on Indian Affairs was appointed, consisting of Mr. Lewis, Mr. Thompson, of Georgia, Mr. Angel, Mr. Storrs, Mr. Lecompte, Mr. Kennon, and Mr. Hawkins.
A Committee on Military Affairs was appointed, consisting of Mr. Johnsun, of Kentucky, Mr. Vance, Mr. Blair, of South Carolina, Mr. Speight Mr. Adair, Mr. Ward, and Mr. Thomas, of Louisiana.
A Committee on Naval Affairs was appointed, consisting of Mr. Anderson, Mr. White, Mr. Milligan, Mr. Watmough, Mr. Patton, Mr. Dearborn, and Mr. Lansing.
A Committee on Foreign Affairs was appointed, consisting of Mr. Archer, Mr. Everett, of Massachusetts, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Crawford, Mr. Barnwell, Mr. Wayne, and Mr. Thomas, of Maryland.
A Committee on the Territories was appointed, consisting of Mr. Kerr, Mr. Creighton, Mr. Williams, Mr. Huntington, Mr. Allan, of Kentucky, Mr. Potts, and Mr. John King.
A Committee on Revolutionary Pensions was appointed, consisting of Mr. Hubbard, Mr Isacks, Mr. Denny, Mr. Pendleton, Mr. Bucher, Mr. Soule, and Mr. Choate.
A Committee on Invalid Pensions was appointed, consisting of Mr. Burges, Mr Ford, Mr. Evans, of Maine, Mr. Reed, of New York, Mr. Dewart, Mr. Slade, and Mr. Southard.
A Committee on Roads and Canals was appointed, consisting of Mr. Mercer, Mr. Blair, of Tennessee, Mr. Letcher, Nir. Vinton, Mr. Craig, Mr. Leavitt, and Mr. Jewett.
A Committee of Revisal and Unfinished Business was appointed, consisting of Mr. Reed, of Massachusetts, Mr. Bouck, and Mr. Silas Condit.
A Committee of Accounts was appointed, consisting of Mr. Bergen, Mr. Burd, and Mr. Hodges.
The Speaker laid before the House sundry communications, viz.
I. A letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, transmitting his annual report on the state of the finances, and containing a view of the foreig commerce of the country; which report was read, and so much thereof as relates to the finances, was referred to the Committee of Ways and Means; and so much thereof as relates to the commerce of the country, was referred to the Committee on Commerce.
II. A letter from the Secretary of the 'Treasury, transmitting a statement (printed) of the receipts and expenditures of the United States for the year 1831; which letter was laid upon the table.
III. A letter from the Secretary of the Navy, transmitting an abstract showing the condition of the navy pension fund, the navy hospital fund, and the privateer pension fund, on the 16th November, 1832; which letter was read, and laid upon the table.
IV. The annual report of this Clerk of this House of the expenditure of its contingent fund for the year ending 30th November, 1832, made in obedience to the resolution of Congress of Marchi, 1823; which report was ordered to lie upon the table.