網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

1816.

immediate use, an agent was sent to ture annual product.

ture annual product. Exclusive of England to obtain $5,000,000 in specie, loans and treasury notes, it was calcuon account of the bank.

lated that the actual receipts, including The second session of the fourteenth the balance in hand at the commenceCongress was commenced on the 2d of ment of the year, amounted to about December, and the next day the presi- $47,000,000. The total of actual paydent sent in his eighth and last annual ments was about $38,000,000; so that message. It is a long and interesting there was a surplus of some $9,000,000. document, and abounds in evidences of The condition of the national currency the earnest patriotism of the man who, was pointed out as the main source of for eight years past, had been called the difficulties which obstructed the upon to administer the government of operations of the treasury. Yet there our beloved country. He adverts, in was hope in that quarter; for the Bank the opening of his message, to some

of the United States had been organunfavorable circumstances, as the par-ized under most favorable auspices, and tial failure of the crops, the depression could scarcely fail to be a most im. of the manufactures of the country, the portant auxiliary. The floating debt, languishing of navigation, etc. For- it was expected, would soon be entire

eign affairs were generally in a ly discharged. The funded debt had

quiet condition, and the Indian been estimated at a sum not exceedtribes were gradually improving in pro- ing $110,000,000. The ordinary angress towards civilization. The organ- nual expenses were reckoned at unization of the militia, the establishment der $20,000,000; and the permanent of a uniform system of weights and revenue, from all sources, at about measures, the erection of a national $25,000,000. For other favorable ciruniversity, an amendment of the law cumstances connected with the financial in relation to criminal trials, the pre- position of affairs, reference was made vention of the African slave trade, and to the statement of the secretary of the a proposal to remodify the federal ju- treasury. diciary, and to add another department

Conscious that his term of office was to the executive branch of government, now nearly closed, the president alludes, were all touched upon in succession. in grateful language, to the confidence

In respect to the finances, the presi- reposed in him by his country; eulogizes dent expressed his gratification to find, the Constitution by which our liberties that even within the short period which are secured; and, reading in the charhad elapsed since the return of peace, acter of the American people the revenue had far exceeded all the their devotion to true liberty, current demands upon the treasury; so

and their determination to support “a that an ample fund for the extinction government whose conduct, within and of the debt was afforded, even though, without, shall bespeak the most noble through the vicissitudes of commerce, of all ambitions—that of promoting any diminution should occur in its fu- peace on earth and good will to man."

1816.

CE. I.]

CALHOUN ON INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS.

305

he concludes his message by saying; ed, mainly by the influence of Mr. Pick“ these contemplations, sweetening the | ering. In the Senate, after it had remnant of my days, will animate my passed the House, it was further amendprayers for the happiness of my beloved ed, and the amendment was accepted country, and a perpetuity of the insti- | by the House. It passed finally on the tutions under wbich it is enjoyed.” 8th of February

Congress, sincerely anxious to dis Mr. Calhoun's view of the question charge the weighty duties imposed upon was large and clear, and expressed in them, seconded the views of the presi- his most masterly manner. The value dent, and entered zealously upon their of a well-arranged system of internal work. One act of great moment was communications by road and water; passed, as it provided for the paying the magnitude of some of the most de off of the national debt by annual sirable works of both kinds; the facility instalments of $10,000,000. For the with which private and state enterprise debt, in fact, exceeded $120,000,000, could harmonize with, and supplement and neither could Mr. Madison, nor the undertakings of Congress; the adcould any one who had borne a part in dition to the sum of national wealth the management of affairs when it was made by increasing the accessibility contracted, properly leave office with of the ports and markets for the proout making some provision for its ul- ducers; the additional tax-paying power timate extinction. But it appears to of the country in consequence; the tenhave been chiefly by the exertions of dency to promote the stability of the William Lowndes, chairman of the com- Union ;-were all urged as preliminary mittee of ways and means, that this act considerations to the discussion of the was carried successfully through Con- constitutionality of the proposal. And gress.

its entire accordance with the charter The subject of internal improvements of our Union, interpreted by “plain again gave rise to animated debates in good sense,” he stoutly and intelligently Congress. On motion of John C. Cal- maintained; urging the purchase of houn, in December, 1816, a resolution Louisiana, and the construction of the was proposed, directing the appoint-Cumberland road, as precedents for the ment of a committee to inquire into the views he advocated.* Henry Clay's desirableness of setting apart the bonus speech in favor of the bill repeated and net annual profits in the form of Calhoun's arguments, and urged others dividends, of the national bank, as a which produced their effect upon

the permanent fund for internal improve-House. ments. This being adopted by the The president, however, on the last House, there resulted, on the 23d, a day of his official career, returned the bill constructed for the purpose of securing that end. It was fully considered in a committee of the whole, early

* For Calhoun's speech on this topic, see "American in February, 1817, and slightly amendo | Eloquence," by Frank Moore, vol. ii., pp. 479-82.

VOL. III.-39

1817.

1817.

bill to Congress, with his objections to which he had been extrusted for tho its becoming a law, principally on the preceding eight eventful years.

ground that there was no ex- Of his ability and character,

press power granted by the the reader has had abundant opporConstitution to make roads and canals. tunity of judging from what we have An attempt was made to pass the bill narrated respecting his administration by the constitutional two-thirds vote, That he was a man of undoubted patbut it failed, and the bill was conse- riotism, and sincerely devoted to the quently lost.

best interests of his country, cannot be The navigation laws were revised questioned; but it is not to be denied, during this short session, and made on the other hand, that he was not a more conformable to the protective man of genius or commanding talent, policy which was now in favor in the and was hardly at all adapted to the United States. Acts were passed re- taking the helm of state in the stormy gulating the territories of the United period of war and its attendant trials States, confirming to them the privi- and commotions. Though censured lege of sending each a delegate to Con- with being deficient in energy; though gress, to take part in the debates of the no hero; though disposed to yield too House, but not to vote; fixing the peace much to others on various occasions; establishment of the marine corps at though far better fitted for the duties eight hundred men, including officers; of peace than of war; yet his adminis. providing for the relief of persons im- tration was, to a great extent, successful, prisoned for debt; determining the erec- and clearly met the approbation of the tion of the territory of Alabama; for majority of the people. He enjoyed a punishing crimes committed in the In- large share of the confidence of Amerdian lands; and for other important icans in the day when he presided over national objects. On the 11th of De- the destinies of our country, and that cember, 1816, Indiana, having formed confidence in his wisdom, integrity, and a constitution in conformity to the act patriotism has not been diminished by of Congress, was admitted into the the lapse of time, or the searching inUnion. An act was also passed at this vestigation to which his life and career session, authorizing the inhabitants of have been subjected.* the western part of Mississippi to form a constitution, preparatory to admission into the Union as a state.

* The reader who wishes to see what eloquent words On the 3d of March, the fourteenth have been uttered by an appreciative mind, respecting Congress reached its termination. On the fourth president of the United States, may consult the same day also, James Madison, not Adams, before the two Houses of Congress, in 1886,

to advantage the Eulogy delivered by John Quincy anwillingly, laid down the office with

soon after Mr. Madison's death.

[blocks in formation]

The fifth president enters upon his administration - His Inaugural address — Mr. Monroe's cabinet - Political prin.

ciples of his administration — The president's tour through the eastern, middle, and western states — First session of the fifteenth Congress — The message of the president — Abstract of its contents — Debates in Congress Abolition of internal taxes -- State of the country — Tariff arrangements — Internal improvements - Discussion of the subject — Measures proposed — Amelia Island and Galveston — M'Gregor and Aury, and their proceedings-Expelled by the United States forces -- Mississippi admitted into the Union - Treaties with the Indians - The Seminole war — General Gaines's orders - General Jackson in command - Marches into Florida - Arbuthnot and Ambrister — Their trial and execution —Jackson marches to Pensacola — The Spanish authority abolished — Excitement in consequence of Jackson's course — Congress again in session — The president's message - The Bank of the United States complained of — Committee of inquiry appointed - Result of their investigation --Speculations and frauds — New president and directors appointed — Return of confidence — Action in Congress respecting General Jackson and the Seminole war - Debates and result — Illinois admitted into the Union - Question on admission of Alabama and Missouri - Former admitted, latter not. - Calhoun's report on roads, canals, etc. — Treaty with Spain, and cession of Florida to the United States - Claims for indemnity on European governments -- Pressed, but evaded and refused,

1817.

It was on the 4th day of March, the new president meant to proceed in 1817, that James Monroe, with a large the discharge of the duties of his posi. concourse of friends and fellow-citizens, tion. A paragraph or two, in concluproceeded to the capitol, and went sion, may not inaptly be quoted. through the imposing ceremony of in “It is particularly gratifying to me, auguration, as the fifth president of the to enter on the discharge of these du

United States. Mr. Madison ties, at a time when the United States

graced the scene by his pres are blessed with peace. It is a state ence, and the judges of the supreme most consistent with their prosperity court, foreign ministers, and other dig. and happiness. It will be my sincere nitaries, were there as spectators and desire to preserve it, so far as depends witnesses of the pledges which the new on the executive, on just principles with president was about to give of his de- all nations, claiming nothing unreasonvotion to his country's interests and able of any, and rendering to each what welfare. His Inaugural address was is its due. unusually long; and we regret that our “Equally gratifying is it, to witness limits do not admit of quoting it in the increased harmony of opinion which fall. It is a calm, clear, and earnest pervades our Union. Discord does not exposition of the principles on which belong to our system. Union is recom

mended, as well by the free and benign independence, our rights, and liberties. principles of our government, extending If we persevere in the career in which its blessings to every individual, as by we have advanced so far, and in the the other eminent advantages attend- path already traced, we cannot fail, by ing it. The American people have en- the favor of a gracious Providence, to countered together great dangers, and attain the high destiny which seems to sustained severe trials with success. await us. They constitute one great family with “In the administration of the illusa common interest. Experience has trious men who have preceded me in enlightened us on some questions of es- this high station, with some of whom I sential importance to the country. The have been connected by the closest ties progress has been slow, dictated by a from early life, examples are presented, just reflection, and faithful regard to which will always be found highly inevery interest connected with it. To structive, and useful to their successors. promote this harmony, in accord with "From these I shall endeavor to dethe principles of our republican govern- rive all the advantages which they may ment, and in a manner to give them afford. Of my immediate predecessor, the most complete effect, and to ad- under whom so important a portion of vance in all other respects the best in this great and successful experiment terests of our Union, will be the object has been made, I shall be pardoned for of my constant and zealous exertions. expressing my earnest wishes that he

“Never did a government commence may long enjoy, in his retirement, the under auspices so favorable, nor ever affections of a grateful country, the best was success so complete. If we look reward of exalted talents, and the most to the history of other nations, ancient faithful and meritorious services. Reand modern, we find no example of a lying on the aid to be derived from the growth so rapid, so gigantic; of a people other departments of the government, B0 prosperous and happy. In contem- I enter on the trust to which I have plating what we have still to perform, been called by the suffrages of my felthe heart of every citizen must expand low-citizens, with my fervent prayers with joy when he reflects how near our to the Almighty, that He will be gra

government has approached to ciously pleased to continue to us that

perfection; that in respect to it protection, which He has already so we have no essential improvement to conspicuously displayed in our favor." make; that the great object is to pre The president then took the oath of serve it in the essential principles and office, and immediately sent in to the features which characterize it, and that Senate the names of the gentlemen is to be done by preserving the virtue whom he had selected as his cabinet. and enlightening the minds of the peo- John Quincy Adams, recalled from bis ple; and, as a security against foreign post at London, was made secretary of dangers, to adopt such arrangements as state. William H. Crawford, who had are indispensable to the support of our formerly represented the United States

1817.

« 上一頁繼續 »