網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

Message of the President of the United States.

States may be obliged to resort to such measures as are of necessary self-defence, and there is no reason to apprehend that it would be unfavorably received. The proposed proceedings, if adopted, would not be permitted, however, in any degree to induce a relaxation in the efforts of our minister to effect a repeal of this irregularity by friendly negotiation, and it might serve to give force to his representations by showing the dangers to which that valuable trade is exposed by the obstructions and burdens, which a system of discriminating and countervailing duties necessarily produces. The selection and preparation of the Florida archives, for the purpose of being delivered over to the United States, in conformity with the royal order, as mentioned in my last annual message, though in progress, has not yet been completed. This delay has been produced partly by causes which were unavoidable, particularly the prevalence of cholera at Havana; but measures have been taken which it is believed will expedite the delivery of those important records. Congress were informed, at the opening of the last session, that, “owing, as was alleged, to embarrassments in the finances of Portugal, consequent upon the civil war in which that nation was engaged,” payment had been made of only one instalment of the amount which the Portuguese Government had stipulated to pay for indemnifying our citizens for property illegally captured in the blockade of Terceira. Since that time, a postponement for two years, with interest, of the two remaining instal. ments, was requested by the Portuguese Government; and, as a consideration, it offered to stipulate that rice of the United States should be admitted into Portugal at the same duties as Brazilian rice. Being satisfied that no better arrangement could be made, my consent was given; and a royal order of the King of Portugal was accordingly issued on the 4th of February last for the reduction of the duty on rice of the United States. It would give me great pleasure if, in speaking of that country, in whose prosperity the United States are so much interested, and with whom a long subsisting, extensive, and mutually advantageous commercial intercourse has strengthened the relations of friendship, I could announce to you the restoration of its internal tranquillity. Subsequently to the commencement of the last session of Congress, the final instalment payable by Denmark, under the cenvention of the 28th day of March, 1830, was received. The commissioners sor examining the claims have since terminated their labors, and their awards have been paid at the Treasury as they have been called for. The justice rendered to our citizens by that Government is thus completed, and a pledge is thereby afforded for the maintenance of that friendly intercourse becoming the relations that the two nations mutually bear to each other. It is satisfactory to inform you that the Danish Government have recently issued an ordinance by which the commerce with the island of St Croix is placed on a more liberal footing than heretofore. This change cannot fail to prove beneficial to the trade between the United States and that colony; and the advantages likely to flow from it may lead to greater relaxations in the colonial systems of other nations. The ratifications of the convention with the King of the Two Sicilies have been duly exchanged, and the commissioners appointed for examining the claims under it have entered upon the duties assigned to them by law. The friendship that the interests of the two nations require of them being now established, it may be hoped that each will enjoy the benefits which a liberal commerce should yield to both. A treaty of amity and commerce between the United States and Belgium was concluded during the last winter, and received the sanction of the Senate; but the exchange

[23d CoNg. 1st SEss.

of the ratifications has been hitherto delayed, in conse. quence, in the first instance, of some delay in the reception of the treaty at Brussels, and, subsequently, of the absence of the Belgian minister of Foreign Affairs, at the important conferences in which his Government is engaged at London. That treaty does but imbody those enlarged principles of friendly policy which, it is sincerely hoped, will always regulate the conduct of the two nations, having such strong motives to maintain amicable relations towards each other, and so sincerely desirous to cherish them. With all the cther European powers with whom the United States have formed diplomatic relations, and with the Sublime Porte, the best understanding prevails, From all, I continue to receive assurances of good will towards the United States—assurances which it gives me no less pleasure to reciprocate than to receive. With all, the engagements which have been entered into, are fulfilled with good faith on both sides. Measures have also been taken to enlarge our friendly relations and extend our commercial intercourse with other States. The system we have pursued of aiming at no exclusive advantages, of dealing with all on terms of fair and equal reciprocity, and of adhering scrupulously to all our engagements, is well calculated to give success to efforts intended to be mutually beneficial. The wars, of which the southern part of this continent was so long the theatre, and which were carried on either by the mother country against the states which had formerly been her colonies, or by the states against each other, having terminated, and their civil dissensions having so far subsided, as, with few exceptions, no longer to disturb the public tranquillity, it is earnestly hoped those states will be able to employ themselves without interruption in perfecting their institutions, cultivating the arts of peace, and promoting, by wise councils and able exertions, the public and private prosperity which their patriotic struggles so well entitle them to enjoy. With those states our relations have undergone but little change during the present year. No reunion having yet taken place between the states which composed the Republic of Colombia, our charge d'affaires at Bogota has been accredited to the Government of New Granada, and we have, therefore, no diplomatic relations with Venezuela and Equator, except as they may be included in those heretofore formed with the Colombian Republic. It is understood that representatives from the three states were about to assemble at Bogota, to confer on the subject of their mutual interests, particularly that of their union; and if the result should render it necessary, meas. ures will be taken on our part to preserve with each that friendship and those liberal commercial connexions which it has been the constant desire of the United States to cultivate with their sister republics of this hemisphere. Until the important question of reunion shall be settled, however, the different matters which have been under discussion between the United States and the Republic of Colombia, or either of the states which composed it, are not likely to be brought to a satisfactory issue. In consequence of the illness of the chargé d'affaires appointed to Central America at the last session of Congress, he was prevented from proceeding on his mission until the month of October. It is hoped, however, that he is by this time at his post, and that the official intercourse, unfortunately so long interrupted, has been thus renewed on the part of the two nations, so amicably and advantageously connected by engagements founded on the most enlarged principles of commercial reciprocity. It is gratifying to state that, since my last annual message, some of the most important claims of our fellowcitizens upon the Government of Brazil have been satisfactorily adjusted, and a reliance is placed on the friendly dispositions manifested by it that justice will also be done

[ocr errors]

in others. No new causes of complaint have arisen i and the trade between the two countries flourishes under the encouragement secured to it by the liberal provisions of the treaty. It is cause of regret, that, owing probably to the civil dissensions which have occupied the attention of the Mexican Government, the time fixed by the treaty of limits with the United States for the meeting of the commis. sioners to define the boundaries between the two nations, has been suffered to expire without the appointment of any commissioners on the part of that Government. While the true boundary remains in doubt by either party, it is difficult to give effect to those measures which are necessary to the protection and quiet of our numerous citizens residing near that frontier. The subject is one of great solicitude to the United States, and will not fail to receive my earnest attention. The treaty concluded with Chili, and approved by the Senate at its last session, was also ratified by the Chilian Government, but with certain additional and explanatory articles of a nature to have required it to be again submitted to the Senate. The time limited for the exchange of the ratifications, however, having since expired, the action of both Governments on the treaty will again become necessary. The negotiations commenced with the Argentine Republic, relative to the outrages committed on our vessels engaged in the fisheries at the Falkland islands, by persons acting under the color of its authority, as well as the other matters in controversy between the two Governments, have been suspended by the departure of the chargé d'affaires of the United States from Buenos Ayres. It is understood, however, that a minister was subsequently appointed by that Government to renew the negotiation in the United States, but, though daily expected, he has not yet arrived in this country. With Peru no treaty has yet been formed, and with Bolivia no diplomatic intercourse has yet been established. It will be my endeavor to encourage those sentiments of amity and that liberal commerce which belong to the relations in which all the independent states of this continent stand towards each other. I deem it proper to recommend to your notice the revision of our consular system. This has become an important branch of the public service, inasmuch as it is intimately connected with the preservation of our national character abroad, with the interest of our citizens in foreign countries, with the regulations and care of our commerce, and with the protection of our seamen. At the close of the last session of Congress I communicated a report from the Secretary of State upon the subject, to which l now refer, as containing information which may be useful in any inquiries that Congress may see fit to institute with a view to a salutary reform of the system. It gives me great pleasure to congratulate you upon the prosperous condition of the finances of the country, as will appear from the report which the Secretary of the Treasury will, in due time, lay before you. The receipts into the Treasury during the present year will amount to more than thirty-two millions of dollars. The revenue derived from customs will, it is believed, be more than twenty-eight millions, and the public lands will yield about three millions. The expenditures within the year, for all objects, including two million five hundred and seventy-two thousand two hundred and forty dollars and ninety-nine cents on account of the public debt, will not amount to twenty-five millions, and a large balance will remain in the Treasury after satisfying all the appropriations chargeable on the revenue for the present year. The measures taken by the Secretary of the Treasury will probably enable him to pay off, in the course of the present year, the residue of the exchanged four and a half per cent, stock, redeemable on the first day of Jan

Message of the President of the United States.

uary next; it has, therefore, been included in the estimated expenditures of this year, and forms a part of the sum above stated to have been paid on account of the public debt: the payment of this stock will reduce the whole debt of the United States, funded and unfunded, to the sum of $4,760,082 08; and, as provision has already been made for the four and a half per cent. above mentioned, and charged in the expenses of the present year, the sum last stated is all that now remains of the national debt; and the revenue of the coming year, together with the balance now in the Treasury, will be sufficient to discharge it, after meeting the current expenses of the Government. Under the power given to the Commissioners of the Sinking Fund, it will, I have no doubt,

be purchased on favorable terms within the year.

From this view of the state of the finances, and the public engagements yet to be sulfilled, you will perceive that, if Providence permits me to meet you at another session, I shall have the high gratification of announcing to you that the national debt is extinguished. I cannot refrain from expressing the pleasure I feel at the near approach of that desirable event. The short period of time within which the public debt will have been discharged, is strong evidence of the abundant resources of the country, and of the prudence and economy with which the Government has heretofore been administered. We have waged two wars since we became a nation, with one of the most powerful kingdoms in the world; both of them undertaken in defence of our dearest rights— both successfully prosecuted and honorably terminated; and many of those who partook in the first struggle, as well as the second, will have lived to see the last item of the debt incurred in these necessary but expensive conflicts, faithfully and honestly discharged; and we shall have the proud satisfaction of bequeathing to the public servants who follow us in the administration of the Government, the rare blessing of a revenue sufficiently abundant, raised without injustice or oppression to our citizens, and unencumbered with any burdens but what they themselves shall think proper to impose upon it.

The flourishing state of the finances ought not, however, to encourage us to indulge in a lavish expenditure of the public treasure. The receipts of the present year do not furnish the test by which we are to estimate the income of the next. The changes made in our revenue system by the acts of Congress of 1832 and 1833, and more especially by the former, have swelled the receipts of the present year far beyond the amount to be expected in future years upon the reduced tariff of duties. The shortened credits on revenue bonds, and the cash duties on wooliens, which were introduced by the act of 1832, and took effect on the 4th of March last, have brought large sums into the Treasury in 1833, which, according to the credits formerly given, would not have been payable until 1834, and would have formed a part of the income of that year. These causes would of themselves produce a great diminution of the receipts in the year 1834, as compared with the present one, and they will be still more diminished by the reduced rates of duties which take place on the 1st of January next on some of the most important and productive articles. Upon the best estimates that can be made, the receipts of the next year, with the aid of the unappropriated amount now in the Treasury, will not be much more than sufficient to meet the expenses of the year, and pay the small remnant of the national debt which yet remains unsatisfied. I cannot, therefore, recommend to you any alteration in the present tariff of duties. The rate as now fixed by law on the various articles was adopted at the last session of Congress as a master of compromise with unusual unanimity; and ‘unless it is found to produce more than the necessities of the Government call for, there would seem to be no reason, at this time, to justify a change.

[merged small][ocr errors]

But, while I forbear to recommend any further reduction of the duties beyond that already provided for by the existing laws, I must earnestly and respectfully press upon Congress the importance of abstaining from all appropriations which are not absolutely required for the public interests, and authorized by the powers clearly delegated to the United States. We are beginning a new era in our Government. The national debt, which has so long been a burden on the Treasury, will be finally discharged in the course of the ensuing year. No more money will afterwards be needed than what may be necessary to meet the ordinary expenses of the Government. Now, then, is the proper moment to fix our system of expenditure on firm and durable principles; and I cannot too strongly urge the necessity of a rigid economy, and an inflexible determination not to enlarge the income beyond the real necesities of the Government, and not to increase the wants of the Government by unnecessary and profuse expenditures. If a contrary course should be pursued, it may happen that the revenue of 1834 will fall short of the demands upon it: and after reducing the tariff in order to lighten the burdens of the people, and providing for a still further reduct on to take effect hereafter, it would be much to be deplored if, at the end of another year, we should find ourselves obliged to retrace our steps, and impose additional taxes to meet unnecessary expenditures. It is my duty, on this occasion, to call your attention to the destruction of the public building occupied by the Treasury Department, which happened since the last adjournment of Congress. A thorough inquiry into the causes of this loss was directed and made at the time, the result of which will be duly communicated to you. I take pleasure, however, in stating here, that, by the laudable exertions of the officers of the 1)epartment, and many of the citizens of the District, but few papers were lost, and none that will materially affect the public interest. The public convenience requires that another building should be erected as soon as practicable, and, in providing for it, it will be advisable to enlarge, in some manner, the accommodations for the public officers of the several idepartments, and to authorize the erection of suitable depositories for the safe-keeping of the public documents and records. Since the last adjournment of Congress, the Secretary of the Treasury has directed the money of the United States to be deposited in certain State banks designated by him, and he will immediately lay before you his reasons for this direction. I concur with him entirely in the view he has taken of the subject, and some months before the removal I urged upon the Department the propriety of taking that step. The near approach of the day on which the charter will expire, as well as the conduct of the bank, appeared to me to call for this measure, upon the high considerations of public interest and public duty. The extent of its misconduct, however, although known to be great, was not at that time fully developed by proof. It was not until late in the month of August that I received from the Government directors an official report, establishing beyond question that this great and powerful institution had been actively engaged in attempting to influence the elections of the public officers by means of its money, and that, in violation of the express provisions of its charter, it had, by a formal resolution, placed its funds at the disposition of its president, to be employed in sustaining the political power of the bank. A copy of this resolution is contained in the report of the Government directors, before referred to; and, however the objects may be disguised by cautious language, no one can doubt that this money was, in truth, intended for electioneering purposes, and the particular uses to which it is proved to have been applied, abundantly show that it was so understood. Not only was the evidence complete as to the past application of the money and power of the bank to electioneering purposes, but that the reso

lution of the board of directors authorized the same course to be pursued in future. It being thus established, by unquestionable proof, that the Bank of the United States was converted into a permanent electioneering engine, it appeared to me that the path of duty which the Executive department of the Government ought to pursue was not doubtful. As, by the terms of the bank charter, no officer but the Secretary of the Treasury could remove the deposites, it seemed to me that this authority ought to be at once exerted to deprive that great corporation of the support and countenance of the Government in such a use of its funds and such an exertion of its power. In this point of the case, the question is distinctly presented, whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages, or whether the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and control their decisions. It must now be determined whether the bank is to have its candidates for all offices in the country, from the highest to the lowest, or whether candidates on both sides of political questions shall be brought forward, as heretofore, and supported by the usual means. At this time the efforts of the bank to control public opinion through the distresses of some and the fears of others, are equally apparent, and, if possible, more objectionable. By a curtailment of its accommodations more rapid than any emergency requires, and even while it retains specie to an almost unprecedented amount in its vaults, it is attempting to produce great embarrassment in one portion of the community, while, through presses known to luave been sustained by its money, it attempts, by unfounded alarms, to create a panic in all. These are the means by which it seems to expect that it can force a restoration of the deposites, and, as a necessary consequence, extort from Congress a renewal of its charter. I am happy to know that, through the good sense of our people, the effort to get up a panic has hither. to failed, and that, through the increased accommodations which the State banks have been enabled to afford, no public distress has followed the exertions of the bank; and it cannot be doubted that the exercise of its power, and the expenditure of its money, as well as its efforts to spread groundless alarm, will be met and rebuked as they deserve. In my own sphere of duty, 1 should feel myself called on, by the facts disclosed, to order a scire facias against the bank, with a view to put an end to the chartered rights it has so palpably violated, were it not that the charter itself will expire as soon as a decision would probably be obtained from the court of last resort. I called the attention of Congress to this subject in my last annual message, and informed them that such meas. ures as were within the reach of the Secretary of the Treasury, had been taken to enable him to judge whether the public deposites in the Bank of the United States were entirely safe; but that, as his single powers might be inadequate to the object, I recommend the subject to Congress, as worthy of their serious investigation: declaring it as my opinion that an inquiry into the transactions of that institution, embracing the branches as well as the principal bank, was called for by the credit which was given throughout the country to many serious charges impeaching their character; and which, if true, might justly excite the apprehension that they were no longer a safe depository for the public money. The extent to which the examination, thus recommended, was gone into, is spread upon your journals, and is too well known to require to be stated. Such as was made resulted in a report from a majority of the Committee of Ways and Means, touching certain specified points only, concluding with a resolution that the Government deposites might safely be continued in the IBank of the United States. 'I his resolution was adopted at the close of the session, by the vote of a majority of the House of Representatives,

[ocr errors][merged small]

Although I may not always be able to concur in the views of the public interest, or the duties of its agents, which may be taken by the other departments of the Government, or either of its branches, I am, notwithstanding, wholly incapable of receiving otherwise than with the most sincere respect, all opinions or suggestions proceeding from such a source; and in respect to none am I more inclined to do so, than to the House of Representatives. But it will be seen, srom the brief views at this time taken of the subject by myself, as well as the more ample ones presented by the Secretary of the Treasury, that the change in the deposites which has been ordered, has been deemed to be called for by considerations which are not affected by the proceedings referred to, and which, if correctly viewed by that Department, rendered its act a matter of imperious duty. Coming as you do, for the most part, immediately from the people and the States, by election, and possessing the fullest opportunity to know their sentiments, the present Congress will be sincerely solicitous to carry into full and fair effect the will of their constituents in regard to this institution. It will be for those in whose behalf we all act, to decide whether the Executive department of the Government, in the steps which it has taken on this subject, has been found in the line of its duty. The accompanying report of the Secretary of War, with the documen's annexed to it, exhibit the operations of the War Department for the past year, and the condition of the various subjects intrusted to its administration. It will be seen from them that the army maintains the character it has heretofore acquired for efficiency and military knowledge. Nothing has occurred since your last session to require its services beyond the ordinary routine of duties, which upon the seaboard and the inland frontier devolve upon it in a time of peace. The sys'em, so wisely adopted and so long pursued, of constructing fortifications at exposed points, and of preparing and collecting the supplies necessary for the military defence of the country, and thus providently furnishing in peace the means of defence in war, has been continued with the usual results. I recommend to your consideration the various subjects suggested in the report of the Secretary of War. Their adoption would promote the public service and meliorate the condition of the army. Our relations with the various Indian tribes have been undisturbed since the termination of the difficulties growing out of the hostile aggressions of the Sac and Fox Indians. Several treaties have been formed for the relinquishment of territory to the United States, and for the migration of the occupants to the region assigned for their residence west of the Mississippi. Should these treaties be ratified by the Senate, provision will have been made for the removal of almost all the tribes now remaining east of that river, and for the termination of many difficult and embarrassing questions arising out of their anomalous political condition. It it to be hoped that those portions of two of the Southern tribes, which, in that event, will present the only remaining difficulties, will realize the necessity of emigration, and will speedily resort to it. My original convictions upon this subject have been confirmed by the course of events for several years, and experience is every day adding to their strength. That those tribes cannot exist, surrounded by our settlements, and in continual contact with our citizens, is certain. They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement, which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the midst of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority, or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of circumstances, and ere long disappear. Such has been their fate heretofore, and if it is to be averted,

and it is, it can only be done by a general removal beyond our boundary, and by a reorganization of their political system upon principles adapted to the new relations in which they will be placed. The experiment which has been recently made has so far proved successful. The emigrants generally are represented to be prosperous and contented, the country suitable to their wants and habits, and the essential articles of subsistence easily procured. When the report of the commissioners now engaged in investigating the condition and prospects of these Indians, and in devising a plan for their intercourse and government, is received, I trust ample means of information will be in possession of the Government for adjusting all the unsettled questions connected with this interesting subject. The operations of the navy during the year, and its present condition, are fully exhibited in the annual report from the Navy Department. Suggestions are made by the Secretary of various im. provements, which deserve careful consideration, and most of which, if adopted, bid fair to promote the efficien. cy of this important branch of the public service. Among these are the new organization of the Navy Board, the revision of the pay to officers, and a change in the period of time, or in the manner of making the annual appropriations, to which I beg leave to call your particular attention. The views which are presented on almost every portion of our naval concerns, and especially on the amount of force and the number of officers, and the general course of policy appropriate in the present state of our country, for securing the great and useful purposes of naval protection in peace, and due preparation for the contingencies of war, meet with my entire approbation. It will be perceived, from the report referred to, that the fiscal concerns of the establishment are in an excel. lent condition; and it is hoped that Congress may feel disposed to make promptly every suitable provision desired, either for preserving or improving the system. The General Post Office Department has continued, upon the strength of its own resources, to facilitate the means of communication between the various portions of the Union with increased activity. The method, however, in which the accounts of the transportation of the mail have always been kept, appears to have presented an imperfect view of its expenses. It has recently been discovered that, from the earliest records of the Department, the annual statements have been calculated to exhibit an amount considerably short of the actual expense incurred for that service. These illusory statements, together with the expense of carrying into effect the law of the last session of Congress establishing new mail routes, and a disposition on the part of the head of the Department to gratify the wishes of the public in the extension of mail facilities, have induced him to incur responsibilities for their improvement, beyond what the current resources of the Department would sustain. As soon as he had discovered the imperfection of the method, he caused an investigation to be made of its results, and applied the proper remedy to correct the evil. It became necessary for him to withdraw some of the improvements which he had made, to bring the expenses of the Department within its own resources. These expenses were incurred for the public good, and the public have enjoyed their benefit. They are now but partially suspended, and that where they may be discontinued with the least inconvenience to the country. The progressive increase in the income from postages has equalled the highest expectations, and it affords de. monstrative evidence of the growing importance and great utility of this Department. The details are exhibited in the accompanying report of the Postmaster Generals The many distressing accidents which have of late oc[23d Cong. 1st Sess.

Documents accompanying the President’s Message.

curred in that portion of our navigation carried on by the use of steam power, deserve the immediate and unremitting attention of the constituted authorities of the country. The fact that the number of those fatal disasters is constantly increasing, notwithstanding the great improvements which are every where made in the machinery employed, and in the rapid advances which have been made in that branch of science, show very clearly that they are in a great degree the result of criminal negligence on the part of those by whom the vessels are navi. gated, and to whose care and attention the lives and property of our citizens are so extensively intrusted. That these evils may be greatly lessened, if not substantially removed, by means of precautionary and penal legislation, seems to be highly probable ; so far, therefore, as the subject can be regarded as within the constitutional purview of Congress, I earnestly recommend it to your prompt and serious consideration. I would also call your attention to the views I have heretofore expressed of the propriety of amending the contitution in relation to the mode of electing the Presi. dent and Vice President of the United States. Regarding it as all important to the future quiet and harmony of the people that every intermediate agency in the election of these officers should be removed, and that their eligibility should be limited to one term of either four or six years, I cannot too earnestly invite your consideration of the subject. Trusting that your deliberations on all the topics of general interest to which I have adverted, and such others as your more extensive knowledge of the wants of our beloved country may suggest, may be crowned with success, I tender you, in conclusion, the co-operation which it may be in my power to afford them. ANDREW JACKSON. Washi NgtoN, December 3, 1833.

Documents accompanying the President’s Message.

REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR.

DEPARTMENT of WAIt, November 29, 1833.

To the President of the United States:

SIR: In submitting to you, agreeably to your instruc. tions, a report of the operations and administration of this Department for the past year, it affords me pleasure to bear my testimony to the zeal and ability of the respective officers at the head of the various bureaus, and of those employed to aid them in the performance of the important functions committed to this branch of the Executive Government.

A reference to the accompanying report and documents will show the state of the army, as well with relation to its numbers, and their position and condition, as to the progress of the various works intrusted to them, and the collection and preservation of the necessary materiel for offensive and defensive operations, which is indispensable to the safety of the country. The principle which governed the reduction of the army from a war to a peace establishment has been found, by subsequent experience, to be salutary, and its practical operation has been to form a body of officers equal in all the requisites of military knowledge and efficiency to those of any other service which is known to us. The army is so organized that, should an increase become necessary in consequence of those conflicts of interest and opinion to which all nations in their intercourse with one another have been exposed, and from which we have no right to expect perpetual exemption, any reasonable addition may be made to it without disturbing its arrangement; and the professional knowledge and experience imbodied in it will

be immediately felt in the new corps, and will identify them with those previously in service. The military experience of other countries, as well as of our own, has shown that the system of extension, by which new and old troops are incorporated together, is much better calculated to produce discipline and subordination, and thus to meet the exigencies of a service which does not allow large bodies of troops to be kept up in time of peace, than the organization of separate corps, composed of inex. perienced officers and me , with all their military knowledge to acquire, and all their military habits to form. And this is more particularly true of the staff departments of an army, upon which its movement, its subsistence, and the economy of its administration must principally depend. The system established in our service is equally creditable to the army and satisfactory to the Government, and may be applied to any necessary extent without any diminution of that economy and efficiency which have here. tofore marked its operation. Much advantage is anticipated from the operation of the act passed at the last session of Congress for improving the condition of the army. Already its effects have been felt (as the subjoined documents will show) in the decrease of desertion, and in the increase of the business of recruiting. The addition to the pay of the rank and file, the reduction of the term of service, and the improved condition of the non-commissioned officers, promise important meliorations in the character of the army, This prospect cannot but be interesting to the Government and the country. Although the numerical strength of the army is comparatively small, it is yet sufficient to excite public solicitude; and this must be increased by the consideration that the character of our military establishment may hereafter essentially depend upon the measures now taken for its moral and intellectual advancement. Although it were idle, in the present state of the country, to apprehend any danger from the force which is em. ployed, still, the lessons of experience taught by the progress of events in other nations ought not to be neglected, nor the possibility overlooked that other circumstances may lead to the increase of our military strength, and to the diminution of that wise jealousy which is now one of our national characteristics. Moral habits in the soldiery constitute one of the best safeguards against the abuse of military power, and their inculcation has engaged the attention of this Department during successive periods of its administration. Amongst other measures which have been adopted with this view, you have recently directed the discontinuance of all parades on Sunday, in order that that day may be exclusively devoted to the purposes of instruction and improvement. Certainly, in time of peace, no just reason can exist for converting a day of rest and devotion into a day of military parade. The act for the better defence of the frontiers, by raising a regiment of dragoons, is in the process of execution. About six hundred men have been enlisted, and most of the officers appointed, and five of the companies have been ordered to proceed to Fort Gibson, upon the Arkansas, where they will be stationed during the winter. The remainder of the regiment will be concentrated at Jefferson barracks this season, and it is intended, in the spring, to order the whole to proceed through the extensive Indian regions between the western boundaries of Missouri and Arkansas and the Rocky mountains. It is deemed indispensable to the peace and security of the frontiers that a respectable force should be displayed in that quarter, and that the wandering and restless tribes who roam through it should be impressed with the power of the United States by the exhibition of a corps so well qualified to excite their respect. These Indians are beyond the reach of a mere infantry force. Without stationary residences, and possessing an abundant supply of horses, and with habits admirably adapted to their use,

« 上一頁繼續 »