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21st Cong. 1st SEss.]
Message of the President, at the Opening of the Session.
[SEN, AND H. of REPs.
ernment of limited and specific, and not general powers, an accounting officer of the Treasury, not selected with a 1 21st Cong. 1st SEss.]
must be admitted by all; and it is our duty to preserve for it the character intended by its framers. If experience points out the necessity for an enlargement of these powers, let us apply for it to those for whose benefit it is to be exercised; and not undermine the whole system by a resort to overstrained constructions. The scheme has worked well. . It has exceeded the hopes of those who devised it, and become an object of admiration to the world. We are responsible to our country, and to the glorious cause of self-government, for the preservation of so great a good. The great mass of legislation relating to our internal affairs, was intended to be left where the Federal convention found it—in the State Governments. Nothing is clearer, in my view, than that we are chiefly indebted for the success of the Constitution under which we are now acting, to the watchful and auxiliary operation of the State authorities. This is not the reflection of a day, but belongs to the most deeply rooted convictions of my mind. I cannot, therefore, too strongly or too earnestly, for my own sense of its importance, warn you against all encroachments upon the legitimate sphere of State sovereignty. Sustained by its healthful and invigorating influence, the Federal system cau never fall. In the collection of the revenue, the long credits authorized on goods imported from beyond the Cape of Good Hope, are the chief cause of the losses at present sustained. If these were shortened to six, nine, and twelve months, and warehouses provided by Government, sufficient to receive the goods offered in deposite for security, and for debenture; and if the right of the United States to a priority of payment out of the estates of its insolvent debtors were more effectually secured, this evil would, in a great measure, be obviated. An authority to construct such houses is, therefore, with the proposed alteration of the credits, recommended to your attention. It is worthy of notice that the laws for the collection and security of the revenue anising from imposts, were chiefly framed when the rates of duties on imported goods presented much less temptation for illicit trade than at present exists. There is reason to believe that these laws are in some respects quite insufficient for the proper se. curity of the revenue, and the protection of the interests of those who are disposed to observe them. The injurious and demoralizing tendency of a successful system of smuggling, is so obvious as not to require comment, and cannot be too carefully guarded against. I therefore suggest to Congress the propriety of adopting efficient measures to prevent this evil; avoiding, however, as much as possible, every unnecessary infringement of individual liberty, and embarrassment of fair and lawful business. On an examination of the records of the Treasury, I have been forcibly struck with the large amount of pub lic money which appears to be outstanding. Of the sum thus due from individuals to the Government, a considerable portion is undoubtedly desperate; and, in many instances, has probably been rendered so by remissness in the agents charged with its collection. By proper exer tions a great part, however, may yet be recovered; and, whatever may be the portions respectively belonging to these two classes, it behooves the Government to ascertain the real state of the fact. This can be done only by the prompt adoption of judicious measures for the collection of such as may be made available. It is believed that a very large amount has been lost through the inadequacy of the means provided for the collection of debts due to the public, and that this inadequacy lies chiefly in the want of legal skill, habitually and constantly employed in the direction of the agents engaged in the service. It must, I think, be admitted, that the supervisory power over suits brought by the public, which is now vested in
Departments, receiving like compensation, and having
view to his legal knowledge, and encumbered as he is with numerous other duties, operates unfavorably to the public interest. It is important that this branch of the public services should be subjected to the supervision of such professional skill as will give it efficiency. The expense attendant: upon such a modification of the Executive Department would be justified by the soundest principles of economy. I would recommend, therefore, that the duties now assigned to the Agent of the Treasury, so far as they relate to the superintendence and management of legal proceedings, on the part of the United States, be transferred to the Attorney General, and that this officer be placed on the same footing, in all respects, as the Heads of the other
such subordinate officers provided for his Department as may be requisite for the discharge of these additional duties. The professional skill of the Attorney General, em. ployed in directing the conduct of Marshals and District Attorneys, would hasten the collection of debts now in suit, and, hereafter, save much to the Government. It might be further extended to the superintendence of all
criminal proceedings for offences against the United States. In making this transfer, great care should be taken, however, that the power necessary to the Treasury Department be not impaired: one of its greatest securi ties consisting in a control over all accounts, until they are audited or reported for suit. | In connexion with the foregoing views, I would suggest, also, an inquiry, whether the provisions of the act of Congress authorizing the discharge of the persons of debtors to the Government, from imprisonment, may not, consistently with the public interest, be extended to the release of the debt, where the conduct of the debtor is wholly exempt from the imputation of fraud. Some more liberal policy than that which now prevails, in reference to this unfortunate class of citizens, is certainly due to them, and would prove beneficial to the country. The continuance of the liability, after the means to discharge it have been exhausted, can only serve to dispirit the debtor; or, where his resources are but partial, the want of power in the Government to compromise and release the demand, instigates to fraud, as the only resource for securing a support to his family. He thus sinks into a state of apathy, and becomes a useless drone in society, or a vicious member of it, if not a feeling witness of the rigor and inhumanity of his country. All experience proves that oppressive debt is the bane of enterprise; and it should be the care of a Republic not to exert a grinding power over misfortune and poverty. Since the last session of Congress, numerous frauds on the Treasury have been discovered, which I thought it my duty to bring under the cognizance of the United States' Court for this District, by a criminal prosecution. It was my opinion, and that of able counsel who were consulted, that the cases came within the penalties of the act of the 17th Congress, approved 3rd March, 1823, oil. for the punishment of frauds committed on the overnment of the United States. Either from some defect in the law, or in its administration, every effort to bring the accused to trial under its provisions proved ineffectual, and the Government was driven to the necessity of resorting to the vague and inadequate provisions of the common law. It is therefore my duty to call your attention to the laws which have been passed for the protection of the Treasury. If, indeed, there be no provision by which those who may be unworthily entrusted with its guardianship, can be punished for the most fla-, grant violation of duty, extending even to the most fraudulent appropriation of the public funds to their own use, it is time to remedy so dangerous an omission. Or, if the
law has been perverted from its original purposes, and
Message of the President, at the Opening of the Session.
[SEN. AND H. of REPs.
triminals, deserving to be punished under its provisions,
This institution has already exercised the happiest influ-
erected within the jurisdiction of any other State,” without the consent of its Legislature. If the General Government is not permitted to tolerate the erection of a confederate State within the territory of one of the members of this Union, against her cousent, much less could it allow a foreign and independent government to establish itself there. Georgia became a member of the Confederacy which eventuated in our federal union, as a sovereign State, always asserting her claim to certain limits; which, having been originally defined in her colonial charter, and subsequently recognised in the treaty of peace, she has ever since continued to enjoy, except as they have been circumscribed by her own voluntary transfer of a portion of her territory to the United States, in the articles of cession of 1802. Alabama was admitted into the Union on the same footing with the original States, with boundaries which were prescribed by Congress. There is no constitutional, conventional, or legal provision, which allows them less power over the Indians within their borders, than is possessed by Maine or New York. Would the people of Maine permit the Penobscot tribe to erect an Independent Government within their State and, unless they did, would it not be the duty of the General Government to support them in resisting such a measure would the people of New York permit each remnant of the Six Nations within her borders, to declare itself an independent people, under the protection of the United States Could the Indians establish a separate republic on each of their reservations in Ohio ! And if they were so disposed, would it be the duty of this Government to protect them in the attempt. If the principle involved in the obvious answer to these questions be abandoned, it will follow that the objects of this Government are reversed; and that it has become a party of its duty to aid in destroying the States which it was established to protect. - Actuated by this view of the subject, I informed the Indians inhabiting parts of Georgia and Alabama, that their attempt to establish, an independent government would not be countenanced by the Executive of the Uni ted States, and advised them to emigrate beyond the Mississippi, or submit to the laws of those States. Our conduct towards these People is deeply interesting to our national character. Their present condition, contrasted with what they once were, makes a most powerful appeal to our sympathies. Our ancestors found them the uncontrolled possessors of these vast regions. By persuasion and force, they have been made to retire from river to river, and from mountain to mountain, until some of the tribes have become extinct, and others have left but remnants, to preserve, for a while, their once terrible names. Surrounded by the whites, with their arts of civilization, which, by destroying the resources of the savage, doom him to weakness and decay, the fate of the Mohegau, the Narragansett, and the Delaware, is fast overtaking the Choctaw, the Cherokee, and the Creek. That this fate surely awaits them, if they remain within the limits of the States, does not admit of a doubt. Humanity and national honor demand that every effort should be made to avert so great a calamity. It is too late to inquire whether it was just in the United States to include them, and their terri. tory within the bounds of new States whose limits they could control. That step cannot be retraced. A State cannot be dismembered by Congress, or restricted in the exercise of her constitutional power. But, the People of those States, and of every State, actuated by feelings of justice and regard for our national honor, submit to you the interesting question, whether something cannot be done, consistently with the rights of the States, to preserve this much injured race. As a means of effecting this end, I suggest, for your consideration, the propriety for setting apart an ample district West of the Mississippi, and without the limits of
any State or Territory, now formed, to be guarantied to the Indian tribes, as long as they shall occupy it: each tribe having a distinct control over the portion designated for its use. There they may be secured in the enjoyment of governments of their own choice, subject to no other control from the United States than such as may be necessary to preserve peace on the frontier, and between the several tribes. There the benevolent may endeavor to teach them the arts of civilization; and, by promoting union and harmony among them, to raise up an interesting commonwealth, destined to perpetuate the race, and to attest the humanity and justice of this Government. This emigration should be voluntary: for it would be as cruel as unjust to compel the aborginies to abandon the graves of their fathers, and seek a hone in a distant land. But they should be distinctly informed that, if they remain within the limits of the States, they must be subject to their laws. In return for their obedience, as individuals, they will, without doubt, be protected in the enjoyment of those possessions which they have improved by their industry. But it seems to be visionary to suppose that, in this state of things, claims can be allowed on tracts of country on which they have neither dwelt nor made improvements, merely because they have seen them from the mountain, or passed them in the chase. Submitting to the laws of the States, and receiving, like other citizens, protection in their persons and property, they will, ere long, become merged in the mass of our population. The accompanying report of the Secretary of the Navy will make you acquainted with the condition and useful employment of that branch of our service, during the present year. Constituting, as it does, the best standing security of this country against foreign aggression, it claims the especial attention of Government. In this spirit, the measures which, since the termination of the last war, have been in operation for its gradual enlargement, were adopted; and it should continue to be cherished as the offspring of our national experience. It will be seen, however, that, notwithstanding the great solicitude which has been manifested for the perfect organization of this arm, and the liberality of the appropriations which that solicitude has suggested, this object has, in many important respects, not been secured. In time of peace, we have need of no more ships of war than are requisite to the protection of our commeree. Those not wanted for this object must lay in the harbors, where, without proper covering, they rapidly decay; and, even under the best precautions for their preservation, must soon become useless. Such is already the case with many of our finest vessels; which, though unfinished, will now require immense sums of money to be restored to the condition in which they were, when committed to their proper element. On this subject there can be but little doubt that our best policy would be, to discontinue , the building of ships of the first and second class, and look rather to the possession of ample materials. prepared for the emergencies of war, than to the number of vessels which we can float in a season of peace, as the index of our naval power. Judicious deposits in navy i. of timber and other materials, fashioned under the ands of skilful workmen, and fitted for prompt application to their various purposes, would enable us, at all times, to construct vessels as fast as they can be manned, and save the heavy expense of repairs, except to such ves. sels as must be employed in guarding our commerce. The proper points for the establishment of these yards are indicated with so much force, in the report of the Navy Board, that, in recommending it to your attention, I deem it undecessary to do more than express my hearty concurrence in their views. The Yard in this District being already furnished with most of the machinery ne: SEN. AND H. or Reps.]
Message of the President, at the Opening of the Session. [21st Cong: 1st Sess,
cessary for ship-building, will be competent to the supply of the two selected by the Board as the best for the concentration of materials; and, from the facility and cer. tainty of communication between them, it will be useless to incur, at those depots, the expense of similar machinery, especially that used in preparing the usual metallic and wooden furniture of vessels, Another improvement would be effected by dispensing altogether with the Navy Board, as now constituted, and substituting in its stead, bureaux similar to those already existing in tue War Department. Each member of the Board, transferred to the head of a separate bureau, charged with specific duties, would feel, in its highest degree, that wholesome responsibility, which cannot be divided, without a far more than proportionate diminution of its force. Their valuable services would become still more so when separately appropriated to distinct portions of the great interests of the §. to the prosperity of which each would be impelled to devote himself, by the strongest motives. Under such an arrangement, every branch of this important service would assume a more simple and precise character: its efficiency would be increased, and scrupulous economy in the expenditure of public money promoted. I would also recommend that the marine corps be merged in the artillery or infantry, as the best mode of curing the many defects in its organization. But little exceeding in number any of the regiments of infantry, that corps has, besides its Lieutenant Colonel Command. ant, five Brevet Lieutenant Colonels, who receive the full pay and emoluments of their brevet rank, without ...; proportionate service. Details for marine ser: vice could as well be made from the artillery or infantry, their being no peculiar training requsite for it. With these improvements, and such others as zealous watchfulness and mature consideration may suggest, there “can be little doubt that, under an energetic administration of its affairs, the Navy may soon be made everything that the nation wishes it to be. Its efficiency in the suppression of piracy in the West India seas, and wherever its squadrons have been employed in securing the interests of the country, will appear from the report of the Secretary, to which I refer you for other interesting details. Among those I would bespeak the attention of Congress for the views presented in relation to the inequality between the Army and Navy, as to the pay of officers. No such inequality should prevail between these brave de'feuders of their country; and where it does exist, it is submitted to Congress whether it ought not to be rectified: * The report of the Postmaster General is referred to as exhibiting a highly satisfactory administration of that Department. Abuses have been reformed; increased ex: dition in the transportation of the mail secured; and its revenue much improved. In a political point of view, this Department is chiefly important as affording the means of diffusing knowledge. It is to the body politic what the veins and arteries are to the natural, conveying, rapidly and regularly, to the remotest parts of the system, correct information of the operations of the Government, and bringing back to it the wishes and feelings of the People. Through its agency, we have secured to ourselves the full enjoyment of the blessings of a free press. In this general survey of our affairs, a subject of high importance presents itself in the present organization of the Judiciary. An uniform operation of the Federal Go. vernment in the different States is certainly desirable; and, existing as they do in the Union on the basis of perfect equality, each State has a right to expect that the benefits conferred on the citizens of others should be extended to hers. The judicial system of the United States exists in all its efficiency in only fifteen members of the Union; to three others, the Circuit Courts, which constitute an important part of that system, have been Vol. WL–B
imperfectly extended; and to the remaining six, altogether denied. #. effect has been to withhold from the inhabitants of the latter, the advantages afforded (by the Supreme Court) to their fellow-citizens in other States, in the whole extent of the criminal, and much of the civil, authority of "the Federal Judiciary. That this state of things ought to be remedied, if it can be done consistently with the public welfare, is not to be doubted : neither is it to be disguised that the organization of our judicial system is at once a difficult and delicate task. To extend the Circuit Courts equally throughout the different parts of the Union, and, at the same time, to avoid such a multiplication of members as would encumber the Supreme Appellate Tribunal, is the object desired. Perhaps it might be accomplished by dividing the Circuit Judges into two classes and providing that the Supreme Court should be held b those classes alternately—the Chief Justice always presidIng. If an extension of the Circuit Court m to those States which do not now enjoy its benefits should be determined upon, it would, of course, be necessary to revise the present arrangement of the Circuits; and even if that system should not be enlarged, such a revision is recommended. A provision for taking the census of the People of the U. States will, to ensure the completion of that work within a convenient time, claim the early attention of Congress. The great and constant increase of business in the Department of State forced itself, at an early period, upon the attention of the Executive. Thirteen years ago, it was, in Mr. Madison's last message to Congress, made the subject of an earnest recommendation, which has been reo by both of his successors; and my comparatively imited experience has satisfied me of its justness. It has arisen from many causes, not the least of which is the large addition that has been made to the family of independent nations, and the proportionate extension of our foreign relations. The remedy proposed was the establishment of a Home Department—a measure which does not appear to have met the views of Congress, on account of its supposed tendency to increase, gradually and imperceptibly, the already too strong bias of the Federal system towards the exercise of authority not delegated to it. I am not, therefore, disposed to revive the recommendation; but am not the less impressed with the importance of so organizing that Department, that its :*: may devote more .#. time to our foreign relations. early satisfied that the public good would be promoted by some suitable provision on the subject, I respectfully invite your attention to it. o The charter of the Bank of the United States expires in 1836, and its stockholders will most probably apply for a renewal of their privileges. In order to avoid the evils resulting from precipitalicy in a measure involving such important F. and such deep pecuniary interests, I feel that I cannot, ino: to the parties interested, too soon present it to the deliberate consideration of the Legis-, lature and the People. Both the constitutionality and the expediency of the law creating this bank, are well questioned by a large portion of our fellow eitizens; and it must be admitted by all, that it has failed in the great end of establishing a uniform and sound curreney. . " Under these circumstances, if such an institution is deemed essential to the fiscal operations of the Government, I submit to the wisdom of the Legislature, whether a National one, founded upon the eredit of the Government, and its revenues, might not be devised, which would avoid all constitutional difficulties, and, at the same time, secure all the advantages to the Government and country that were *:::: to result from the present Bank. . . . . . cannot close this communication without bringing to your view the just claim of the representatives of Commodore Decatur, his officers and crew," arising from the
re-capture of the frigate Philadelphia, under the heavy batteries of Tripoli. Although sensible, as a general rule, of the impropriety of Executive interference, under a Government like ours, where every individual enjoys the right of directly petitioning. Congress, yet, viewing this case as one of a very peculiar character, I deem it my duty to recommend it to your favorable consideration. Besides the justice of this claim, as corresponding to those which have been since recognised and satisfied, it is the fruit of a deed of patriotic and chivalrous daring, which infused life and confidence into our infant Navy, and contributed, as much as any exploit in its history, to elevate our national character. Public gratitude, therefore, stamps her seal upon it; and the meed should not be withheld which may hereafter operate as a stimulus to our gallant tars. I now commend you, fellow citizens, to the guidance of Almighty God, with a full reliance on His merciful providence for the maintenance of our free institutions; and with an earnest supplication, that, whatever errors it may be my lot to commit, in discharging the arduous duties which have devolved on me, will find a remedy in the harmony and wisdom of your councils. ANDREW JACKSON. JDecember 8, 1829.
To the President of the United States: • SIR : The Secretary of War submits to the President of the United States a report, shewing the manner in which the business of the Department has been conducted, that its details may be before him for consideration. The communications received from the different officers connected with the War Department, here annexed, contain every thing minutely, and more in detail, than can be presented in the Report. Such general suggestions, in reference to them, as may appear warranted by the public interest, it becomes his duty to submit, that they may receive from you the attention they shall be found to merit. It is with pleasure made known, that the army is satisfactorily #. their just engagements to the country; and that harmony and proper zeal prevails. The rank and file is nearly complete, and although desertion has not entirely ceased, yet it is less frequent thau heretofore. The rigid exactions of the law, in reference to this crime, is believed to carry too great severity for a state of peace, and should be meliorated into something better corresponding with the magnitude of the offence. It is not the quantum, but the certainty of punishment, that is calculated to deter offenders; and as no soldier, in peace, has been executed under the sentence of a court martial, it has occasioned the impression that so severe a i. will most probably not be enforced, and, hence, a disregard of it is entertained. I would by no means be understood as y recommending a return to the infliction of stripes; it is a punishment altogether too degrading; it strips the soldier of that proud spirit, and of those lofty feelings of honor, which will tend to prepare him, when a suitable occasion may offer, to become a traitor to the country that has branded him with infamy, the stigma of which, no future d conduct, on his part, can remove. The efficiency of an army is to be discerned through the pride, the elevated character of the individuals who com: se it. To secure this condition of things, no man should É. inveigled into public service under false pretences, and when his mind is not in a situation to engage in contract. . He who should bargain with a neighbor for his property,
when found in a state of intoxication, would be justly reprehensible, and obnoxious to the imputation of practised wrong: how much more cautious, then, should a Government be, the guardian of the rights of its citizens, to avoid a temporary purchase of their liberties, at such a time, and under such circumstances. , Resting upon the correctness of this impression, orders have been issued, prohibiting any, when intoxicated, to be enlisted, and forbidding any contract to be finally consummated, until time and opportunity are afforded for deliberation. Pursuing this course, qualified and valuable materials will enter into and compose the ranks of our army, and character and pride be obtained. To attain this end, an effectual alteration would be to withhold the premium which at present is given for enlistments; the effect of which may be to induce a carelessness and indifference as to the description of men who are received. It might be better to make the premium, thus wrongly bestowed, an increased bounty to the enlisted recruit. The long controverted question respecting brevet rank in the army has been decided in a manner which is believed to be in conformity with existing laws on the subject. I am happy to add, that, as far as opinions have been ascertained, the officers of the army are disposed to acquiesce in the decision, because of the certainty which has been arrived at, and the increased harmony which it is expected will be consequent upon that certainty. There is a doubt resting, in connexion with this subject, which I beg leave to suggest the propriety of bringing to the consideration of Congress: it is as to the compensation rightfully to be extended to brevet officers, when a command is held correspondent to their rank. The interpretation given to the law upon this subject, by a regulation of the War Department, in 1827, is, that when a Captain is in the command of any larger numerical force than a company, no matter how inconsiderable; a Major, a greater force than two companies; a Colonel more than a regiment;;a General any force greater than a brigade; that in all such, and similar cases, the officers, respectively, are to be considered as having a command according to their brevet, and pay corresponding to their rank; conformably to the conceived provisions of the act of the 18th of April, 1818. The effect of this construction has been, so far as the o of the army is concerned, instead of having one ajor General and two Aids-de-Camp, as the set of 1821, for organizing the military establishment contemplated, there have been in service three Major Generals and six Aids; and instead of two Brigadiers, as is required by the same act, there have been four Colonels, who, in virtue of the regulation of 1827, relative to brevet appointments, have received the pay and emoluments of a Brigadier General; thus appending to the army three Majors and four Brigadier Generals, with other officers of lower grade, not contemplated by the act of 1821 for fixing a military peace establishment. . It is submitted for Congress to determine how far this heretofore authorized procedure shall continue, or in future be restricted, to the conceived interpretation of the law. As this construction had obtained, it was considered, if not strictly correct, at least not improper to be continued; especially as previous appropriations by Congress for brevet compensation had been made, and at their last session, too; thereby indicating an acquiescence to the regulation of 1827. But owing to the number of brevets which, in pursuance of the law requiring them, were conferred previous to the adjournment of the Senate, payments made on this account will exceed the estimate presented from the Department for the year 1829, and the appriation consequent upon that estimate. Under this constructive mode of granting extra allowances, there has likewise been conceded to the Surgeon General of the army, fuel and quarters, and a commutation of them. The language of the act of the 14th of