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Prepared io accordance with the folliwia" provisions of "An act to expedite and regulate the printing of public documents, and for other purposes," approved Juno 25, 1331:
Be it enacted i$ the Senate and Honst of Representatives of the United.Stat's of America in Congress assembled. That hereafter, instead of furnishing manuscript copies of tho documents usoally accompanying their annual reports to each house of Congress, the heads of the scleral departments of government shall transmit them, on or before tho first day of November in each year, to the Superintendent of Public Printing, who shall cause to bo printed tho usual number, and, in addition thereto, ono thousand copies for tho use of tho Senate and two thousand copies fur the use of tho Honso of Representatives. And that it shall be the duty of the Joint Committee on Priuting to appoint somo competent person, who shall edit and select such portions of tho documents so placed in their hands as shall, in the judgment of tho committee, Do desirable tor popular distribution, and to prepare an alphabetical index to the
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8EC. 3. And bejt farther enacted. That it shall be the dutr of tho heads of the several departments of government to furnish the Superintendent of- Public Printing with copies of their respective reports on or before th:) third Monday in November iu each year.
Ski". 4. .'Iii'< be it farther enacted. That it shtllbe the duty of tho Superintendent of Public Priming to print the President's mossage, tho reports of the heads of depart men Is, and the abridgment i<f accompanying documents prepared under tho direction of too Joint Committer on Public Printing, suitably b ni 11; and that, in addition to the number now required by law, and unless otherwiso ordered by cither house of Congress, it shall be his duty to print ten thousand copies of tho sans for tho use of tho Senate, and twenty-five thousand copies for the use of the House, and to deliver the samo to the proper officer of each house, respectively, on or before tho third Wednesday iu Docembor following tho assembling of Congress, or a* soon thereafter as practicable.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
TWO HOUSES OF CONGRESS
AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE FIRST SESSION OF THE THIRTY-NINTH CONGRESS.
Fellow-citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:
To express gratitude to God, in the name of the people, for the preservation of the United States, is my first duty in addressing you. Our thoughts next revert to the death of the late President by an act of parricidal treason. The grief of the nation is still fresh; it finds some solace in the consideration that ho lived to enjoy the highest proof of its confidence by entering on the renewed term of the chief magistracy to which he had been elected; that he brought the civil war substantially to a close; that his loss was deplored in all parts of the Union; and that foreign nations have rendered justice to his memory. His removal cast upon me a heavier weight of cares than ever devolved upon any one of his predecessors. To fulfil my trust I need the support and confidence of all who are associated with me in the various departments of government, and the support and confidence of the people. There is but one way in which I can hope to gain their necessary aid : it is, to state with frankness the principles which guide my conduct, and their application to the present state of affairs, well aware that the efficiency of my labors will, in a great measure, depend on your and their undivided approbation.
The union of the United States of America was intended by its authors to last as long as the States themselves shall last. "The Union shall be perpetual," are the words of the confederation. "To form a more perfect Union," by an ordinance of the people of the United Sates, is the declared purpose of the Constitution. The hand of Divine Providence was never more plainly visible in the affairs of men than in the framing and the adopting of that instrument. It is, beyond comparison, the greatest event in American history; and indeed is it not, of all events in modern times, the most pregnant with consequences for every people of the earth 1 The members of the convention which prepared it, brought to their work the experience of the confederation, of their several StateB, and of other republican governments, old and new; but they needed and they obtained a wisdom superior to experience. And when, for its validity, it required the approval of a people that occupied a large part of a continent, and acted separately in many distinct conventions, what is more wonderful than that, after earnest contention aiid long discussion, all feelings and all opinions were ultimately drawn in one way to its support? The Constitution to which life was thus imparted contains within itself ample resources for its own preservation. It has power to enforce the laws, punish treason, and insure domestic tranquillity. In case of the usurpation of the government of a State by one man, or an oligarchy, it becomes a duty of the United States to make good the guarantee to that State of a republican form of government, and so to maintain the homogencousness of all. Does the lapse of time reveal defects? A simple mode of amendment is provided in the Constitution itself, so that its conditions can always be made to conform to tho requirements of advancing civilization. No room is allowed even for the thought of a possibility of its coming to an end. And these powers of self-preservation have always been asserted in their complete integrity by every patriotic Chief Magistrate—by Jefferson and Jackson, not less than by Washington and Madison. The parting advice of the Father of his Country, while yet President, to the people of the United States, wm, that "the free Constitution, which was the work of their hands, might be sacredly maintained;" and the inaugural words of President Jefferson held up "the preservation of the general government, in its constitutional vigor, as the sheet anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad." The Constitution is the work of " the people of tho United States," and it should be as indestructible As the people.
It is not strange that the framcrs of tho Constitution, which had no model in the past, should not have fully comprehended the excellence of their own work. Fresh from a struggle against arbitrary power, many patriots suffered from harassing fears of an absorption of the State governments by the general government, and many from a dread that the States would break away from their orbits. But the very greatness of our couutry should allay the apprehension of encroachments by the general government. The subjects that come unquestionably within its jurisdiction are so numerous that it must ever naturally refuse to be embarrassed by questions that lie beyond it. Were it otherwise, tho Executive would sink beneath the burden, the channels of justice would be choked, legislation would be obstructed by excess; so that there is a greater temptation to exercise some of the functions of the general government through the States than to trespass on their righttul sphere. "The absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority" was at the beginning of the century enforced by Jefferson "as the vital principle of republics;" and the events of the last four years hare established, wo will hope forever, that there lies no appeal to force.
The maintenance of the Union brings with it "tho support of the 8tate governments in all their rights;" but it is not one of the rights of any Slate governmerit to renounce its own place in the Union, or to nullify tbe laws of the "Union. The largest liberty is" to be maintained in the discussion of the acts of the federal government; but there is no appeal from its laws, except to the various branches of that government itself, or to the people, who grant to the members of the legislative and of the executive departments no tenure but a limited one,«and in that manner always retain the powers of redress.
"The sovereignty of the States" is the language of the confederacy, and not tbe language of the Constitution. The latter contains the emphatic words, "The Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding." *
Certainly the government of the United States is a limited government; and so is every State government a limited government. With us this idea of limitation spreads through every form of administration, general, State, and municipal, and rests on the great distinguishing principle of the recognition of the rights of man. The ancient republics absorbed the individual in the State, prescribed his religion, and controlled his activity. The American system rests on the assertion of the equal right of every man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to freedom of conscience; to the culture and exercise of all his faculties. As a consequence the State government is limited, as to the general government in the interest of union, as to the individual citizen in the interest of freedom.
States, with proper limitations of power, are essential to the existence of the Constitution of the United States. At the very commencement, when we assumed a place among the powers of the earth, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by States; so also were the articles of confederation; and when "the people of the United States " ordained and established the Constitution, it was the assent of the States, one by one, which gave it vitality. In the event, too, of any amendment to the Constitution, the proposition of Congress needs the confirmation of States. Without States, one great branch of the legislative government would be wanting. And if we look beyond the letter of the Constitution to the character of our country, its capacity for comprehending within its jurisdiction a vast continental empire is due to the system of States. The best security for the perpetual existence of the States is the "supreme authority" of the Constitution of the United States. The perpetuity of the Constitution brings with it the perpetuity of the States ; their mutual relation makes us what we are, and in our political system their connexion is indissoluble. The whole cannot exist without the parts, nor the parts without the whole. So long as the Constitution of the United States endures, the States will endure; the destruction of the one is the destruction of the other; the preservation of the one is the preservation of the other.
I have thus explained my views of the mutual relations of the Constitution mid the States because they unfold the principles on which I have sought to