網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

dergone no change, I have nothing to add. The report of the Bank Commissioners will probably be laid before you at an early day of the session.

A change in the time for the meeting of the Legislature, from winter to summer, I continue to believe would tend to reduce the expenses of the government, and in various ways promote the interests of the State. We are not without evidence, also, that public opinion is in favor of such change. I would, therefore, again recommend, that the question of an amendment of the Constitution for that purpose, be submitted to the people.

I transmit herewith, a report, with accompanying documents, of the Commissioners appointed under Resolve of May 26, 1842, to confer with the authorities of the General Government upon the subject of a proposed settlement of the Northeastern boundary of this State, and for other purposes.

The result and final adjustment of this question, even if it should be regarded by the people of this state as preferable to further procrastination and another foreign arbitration, under present auspices, I am persuaded, is far different from what they had anticipated. For myself, I can truly say, that I have been deeply disappointed, to use no stronger term. By this, however, I would not be understood as intending to cast censure upon the Commissioners of this State. They were selected by the Legislature as gentlemen ofo elevated standing-commanding, in a high degree, the confidence of the public, and, as eminently qualified for such a service. The correspondence on their part was conducted with signal ability, and the embarrassments of their position, and the circumstances by which they were ultimately induced to submit the question to the determination of the Senate of the United States, are fully appreciated. But however their course may be regarded, the result is, nevertheless, a subject of deep disappointment. The course of the British Government, so far from having been, as was anticipated, conciliatory and liberal, was marked by an unyielding and grasping spirit. Its liberality, if any was evinced, was in unmeaning diplomatic compliments, while its exactions were in acres and substantial privileges. For, this State can never admit that the case presented was one of doubtful tille, in which the adversary parties might reasonably be expected to compromise by “ splitting the difference.” The relinquishment of a claim, therefore, by the British Government, to a portion of what has been denominated the disputed territory, cannot be regarded by us, as in any sense, a concession. If a portion of this territory was necessary for the convenience of the British Government, this State had a right to expect, on its being yielded, that a full and ample equivalent in other terri'ory would have been freely tendered.

Towards the fulfilment of such an expectation, there has not been the slightest approximation.

The indirect overtures on the part of the British Government for an amicable adjustment of the boundary question, it is well known, were met on the part of this State, in a spirit of magnanimous forgetfulness of the past, and with a generous regard to the supposed interests and wishes of her Sister States. Earnestly entreated by the General Government, and pressed as she was by circumstances, she could not hesitate to place herself in a posi

[graphic]

tion admitting of an amicable and honorable settlement of the question, confidently trusting, that the Government of the Union, in some of its departments, at le:ist, would secure her from sacrifice. For this step, she has no cause of self reproach. It was taken under circumstances that would fully justify its repetition. How this generosity and confidence on her part has been rewarded, is seen in the result! But I forbear to dilate upon the subject, especially as it would be unavailing. If in this, Mainc " has not been treated as she has endeavored to deserve,” it is far from being the first instance. All her injuries, however, cannot shake her sense of duty. As a member of the Union, she will continue to be, what she has ever been, faithful and true. And if she could be satisfied that the sacrifice was necessary for the good of the Country, she could in that find ample consolation. To insolent and unfounded pretension, she can yield nothing; to the cause of patriotism and the Union, everything

I have received from the Governor of the State of Connecticut, certain resolutions adopted by the Legislature of that State relative to the tariff, the bankrupt law, the act for the distribution of the proceeds of the public lands, and to West Point Academy, which are herewith laid before you.

The tariff, as a source of revenue, but especially by the important benefits it is made to confer upon individuals and classes, has ever been a subject of deep and absorbing interest, often strongly agitating the whole Country, and, once at least, by the extreme length to which it was pushed by private interest, threatening a rupture of our glorious Union. That the time is near when political aspirants will cease to endeavor, by means of it, to acquire popular favor and obtain power, we have no reason to expect. But we may hope, that arguments addressing themselves to interests purely selfish, will not always, or indeed, generally, predominate over the impulses of patriotism.

It is not against a tariff, however, but its abuses only, that I speak. This mode of raising a revenue for the support of the government, seems now to be almost universally regarded as the most convenient and expedient, notwithstanding the impossibility, under any adjustment of a tariff, of attaining perfect equality in the burdens imposed, for the duty being paid by consumers of taxed articles, the amount of the tax must of course be, to a considerable extent, irrespective of property. But, the general favor with which this mode of taxation is regarded, does not extend to its abuses. If, in addition to the inherent and unavoidable inequalities of the system, it be made to confer special favors upon one section of the country, or upon particular classes of citizens, to the detriment of other sections and other classes, it becomes anti-republican and oppressive-and, violating the plainest principles of natural justice, it is not strange that it should become odious. The favors of government should be dispensed, not only with a liberal, but an impartial, hand.

I would not, however, be understood as opposing all discrimination in selecting articles for taxation. The legitimate purpose of a tariff should be revenue,--but in its adjustment, those articles may be favorably regarded that are classed with the necessaries of life, and enter. largely into the daily consumption of the poor.

[graphic]

A reasonable protection to the industrial classes of the country, also, under a judicious arrangement of the tariff, could hardly fail to be secured—but it would be incidental, merely, to the main design, and would not, therefore, conflict with the views already expressed.

The tariff adopted at the last session of Congress, however, is regarded as inconsistent with these principles and views. It proposes to raise a much larger sum than an economical administration of the government requires, and is unequal and unjust in its operations. The public voice clearly calls for an essential modification of it.

Whatever opinions may be entertained as to the constitutionality of some of the provisions of the Bankrupt Act, but few, it is believed, will question that “it is unjust in its operations, and subversive of moral obligations —that it tends to encourage fraud, to destroy confidence between man and man, and to aggravate the embarrassments of the country.” Its repeal, so far as I have become acquainted with public sentiment in this State, would be regarded with general, not to say universal, approbation.

Disclaiming all right to interfere with matters of local interest merely, in any of our sister States, cases may nevertheless occur, in which their proceedings would involve consequences of such general concernment, as to justify, if not require, an expression of opinion, at least, by the governments and citizens of other States. Such,

« 上一頁繼續 »