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well constituted seminary, in the centre of the nation, is recommended by the consideration that the additional instruction emanating from it would contribute not less to strengthen the foundation than to adorn the structure of our free and happy system of government.
Among the commercial abuses still committed under the American flag, and leaving in force my former reference to that subject, it appears that American citizens are instrumental in carrying on a traffic in enslaved Africans, equally in violation of the laws of humanity and in defiance of those of their own country. The same just and benevolent motives which produced the interdiction in force against this criminal conduct will doubtless be felt by Congress in devising farther means of suppressing the evil.
In the midst of uncertainties necessarily connected with the great interests of the United States, prudence requires a continuance of our defensive and precautionary arrangements. The secretary of war and the secretary of the navy will submit the statements and estimates which may aid Congress in their ensuing provisions for the land and naval forces. The statements of the latter will include a view of the transfers of appropriations in the naval expenditures, and the grounds on which they were made.
The fortifications for the defence of our maritime frontier have been prosecuted according to the plan laid down in 1808. The works, with some exceptions, are completed and furnished with ordnance. Those for the security of the city of New York, though far advanced toward completion, will require a farther time and appropriation. This is the case with a few others, either not completed or in need of repairs.
The improvements in quality and quantity, made in the manufacture of cannon and small arms, both at the public armories and private factories, warrant additional confidence in the competency of these resources for supplying the public exigencies.
These preparations for arming the militia having thus far provided for one of the objects contemplated by the power vested in Congress with respect to that great bulwark of the public safety, it is for their consideration whether farther provisions are not requisite for the other contemplated objects of organization and discipline. To give to this great mass of physical and moral force the efficiency which it merits, and is capable of receiving, it is indispensable that they should be instructed and practised in the rules by which they are to be governed. Toward an accomplishment of this important work, I recommend for the consideration of Congress the expediency of instituting a system which shall in the first instance call into the field, at the public expense and for a given time, certain portions of the commissioned and non-commissioned officers. The instruction and discipline thus acquired would gradually diffuse through the entire body of the militia that practical knowledge and promptitude for active service which are the great ends to be pursued. Experience has left no doubt either of the necessity or of the efficacy of competent military skill in those portions of an army, in fitting it for the final duties which it may have to perform.
The corps of engineers, with the military academy, are entitled to the early attention of Congress. The buildings at the seat fixed by law for the present academy are so far in decay as not to afford the necessary accommodation. But a revision of the law is recommended, principally with a view to a more enlarged cultivation and diffusion of the advantages of such institutions, by providing professorships for all the necessary branches of military instruction, and by the establishment of an additional academy at the seat of
government or elsewhere. The means by which wars, as well for defence as for offence, are now carried on, render these schools of the more scientific operations an indispensable part of every adequate system. Even among nations whose large standing armies and frequent wars afford every other opportunity of instruction, these establishments are found to be indispensa ble for the due attainment of the branches of military science which require a regular course of study and experiment. In a government happily with out the other opportunities, seminaries where the elementary principles of the art of war can be taught without actual war, and without the expense of extensive and standing armies, have the precious advantage of uniting an essential preparation against external danger with a scrupulous regard to internal safety. In no other way, probably, can a provision of equal efficacy for the public defence be made at so little expense, or more consistently with the public liberty.
The receipts into the treasury during the year ending on the 30th of September last, (and amounting to more than eight millions and a half of dollars,) have exceeded the current expenses of government, including the interest on the public debt. For the purpose of reimbursing, at the end of the year, three millions seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars of the principal, a loan, as authorized by law, had been negotiated to that amount, but has since been reduced to two millions seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars; the reduction being permitted by the state of the treasury, in which there will be a balance remaining at the end of the year estimated at two millions of dollars. For the probable receipts of the next year, and other details, I refer to statements which will be transmitted from the treasury, and which will enable you to judge what farther provisions may be necessary for the ensuing years.
Reserving for future occasions in the course of the session whatever other communications may claim your attention, I close the present by expressing my reliance, under the blessing of Divine Providence, on the judgment and patriotism which will guide your measures, at a period particularly calling for united councils and inflexible exertions for the welfare of our country, and by assuring you of the fidelity and alacrity with which my co-operation will be afforded.
THIRD ANNUAL MESSAGE.
NOVEMBER 5, 1811.
Fellow Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:
IN calling you together sooner than a separation from your homes would otherwise have been required, I yielded to considerations drawn from the posture of our foreign affairs; and in fixing the present for the time of your meeting, regard was had to the probability of farther developments of the policy of the belligerent powers toward this country, which might the more unite the national councils in the measures to be pursued.
At the close of the last session of Congress, it was hoped that the succes sive confirmations of the extinction of the French decrees, so far as they violated our neutral commerce, would have induced the government of Great Britain to repeal its orders in council, and thereby authorize a removal of the existing obstructions to her commerce with the United States.
Instead of this reasonable step toward satisfaction and friendship between the two nations, the orders were, at a moment when least to have been expected, put into more rigorous execution; and it was communicated through the British envoy just arrived, that whilst the revocation of the edicts of France, as officially made known to the British government, was denied to have taken place, it was an indispensable condition of the repeal of the British orders that commerce should be restored to a footing that would admit the productions and manufactures of Great Britain, when owned by neutrals, into markets shut against them by her enemy; the United States being given to understand that in the mean time a continuance of their non-importation act would lead to measures of retaliation.
At a later date, it has indeed appeared that a communication to the British government of fresh evidence of the repeal of the French decrees against our neutral trade was followed by an intimation that it had been transmitted to the British plenipotentiary here in order that it might receive full consideration in the depending discussions. The communication appears not to have been received; but the transmission of it hither, instead of founding on it an actual repeal of the orders, or assurances that the repeal would ensue, will not permit us to rely on any effective change in the British cabinet. To be ready to meet with cordiality satisfactory proofs of such a change, and to proceed in the mean time in adapting our measures to the views which have been disclosed through that minister, will best consult our whole duty.
In the unfriendly spirit of those disclosures, indemnity and redress for other wrongs have continued to be withheld, and our coasts and the mouths of our harbors have again witnessed scenes not less derogatory to the dearest of our national rights than vexatious to the regular course of our trade.
Among the occurrences produced by the conduct of British ships of war hovering on our coasts, was an encounter between one of them and the American frigate commanded by Captain Rogers, rendered unavoidable on the part of the latter by a fire commenced without cause by the former, whose commander is therefore alone chargeable with the blood unfortunately shed in maintaining the honor of the American flag. The proceedings of a court of inquiry requested by Captain Rogers are communicated, together with the correspondence relating to the occurrence between the secretary of state and His Britannic Majesty's envoy. To these are added the several correspondences which have passed on the subject of the British orders in council, and to both, the correspondence relating to the Floridas, in which Congress will be made acquainted with the interposition which the government of Great Britain has thought proper to make against the proceedings of the United States.
The justness and fairness which have been evinced on the part of the United States toward France, both before and since the revocation of her decrees, authorized an expectation that her government would have followed up that measure by all such others as were due to our reasonable claims, as well as dictated by its amicable professions. No proof, however, is yet given of an intention to repair the other wrongs done to the United States, and particularly to restore the great amount of American property seized and condemned under edicts which, though not affecting our neutral relations, and therefore not entering into questions between the United States and other belligerents, were nevertheless founded in such unjust principles that the reparation ought to have been prompt and ample.
In addition to this and other demands of strict right on that nation, the
United States have much reason to be dissatisfied with the rigorous and unexpected restrictions to which their trade with the French dominions has been subjected, and which, if not discontinued, will require at least corresponding restrictions on importations from France into the United States.
On all those subjects our minister plenipotentiary, lately sent to Paris, has carried with him the necessary instructions, the result of which will be communicated to you, and, by ascertaining the ulterior policy of the French government toward the United States, will enable you to adapt to it that of the United States toward France.
Our other foreign relations remain without unfavorable changes. With Russia they are on the best footing of friendship. The ports of Sweden have afforded proofs of friendly dispositions toward our commerce in the councils of that nation also. And the information from our special minister to Denmark shows that the mission had been attended with valuable effects to our citizens, whose property had been so extensively violated and endangered by cruisers under the Danish flag.
Under the ominous indications which commanded attention, it became a duty to exert the means committed to the executive department in providing for the general security. The works of defence on our maritime frontier have accordingly been prosecuted with an activity leaving little to be added for the completion of the most important ones; and as particularly suited for co-operation in emergencies, a portion of the gun-boats have in particular harbors been ordered to use. The ships of war before in commission, with the addition of a frigate, have been chiefly employed as a cruising guard to the rights of our coast. And such a disposition has been made of our land forces as was thought to promise the services most appropriate and important. In this disposition is included a force consisting of regu"lars and militia, embodied in the Indiana territory and marched toward our northwestern frontier. This measure was made requisite by several murders and depredations committed by the Indians, but more especially by the menacing preparations and aspect of a combination of them on the Wabash, under the influence and direction of a fanatic of the Shawanese tribe. With these exceptions, the Indian tribes retain their peaceable dispositions toward us, and their usual pursuits.
I must now add, that the period is arrived which claims from the legislative guardians of the national rights a system of more ample provisions for maintaining them. Notwithstanding the scrupulous justice, the protracted moderation, and the multiplied efforts on the part of the United States, to substitute for the accumulating dangers to the peace of the two countries all the mutual advantages of re-established friendship and confidence, we have seen that the British cabinet perseveres not only in withholding a remedy for other wrongs, so long and so loudly calling for it, but in the execution, brought home to the threshold of our territory, of measures which under existing circumstances have the character as well as the effect of war on our lawful commerce.
With this evidence of hostile inflexibility in trampling on rights which no independent nation can relinquish, Congress will feel the duty of putting the United States into an armor and an attitude demanded by the crisis, and corresponding with the national spirit and expectations.
I recommend, accordingly, that adequate provision be made for filling the ranks and prolonging the enlistments of the regular troops; for an auxiliary
force to be engaged for a more limited term; for the acceptance of volunteer corps, whose patriotic ardor may court a participation in urgent services; for detachments as they may be wanted of other portions of the militia; and for such a preparation of the great body as will proportion its usefulness to its intrinsic capacities. Nor can the occasion fail to remind you of the importance of those military seminaries which in every event will form a valuable and frugal part of our military establishment.
The manufacture of cannon and small arms has proceeded with due success, and the stock and resources of all the necessary munitions are adequate to emergencies It will not be inexpedient, however, for Congress to authorize an enlargement of them.
Your attention will of course be drawn to such provisions on the subject of our naval force as may be required for the services to which it may be best adapted. I submit to Congress the seasonablneess, also, of an authority to augment the stock of such materials as are imperishable in their nature, or may not at once be attainable.
In contemplating the scenes which distinguish this momentous epoch, and estimating their claims to our attention, it is impossible to overlook those developing themselves among the great communities which occupy the southern portion of our own hemisphere and extend into our neighborhood. An enlarged philanthrophy and an enlightened forecast concur in imposing on the national councils an obligation to take a deep interest in their destinies; to cherish reciprocal sentiments of good will; to regard the progress of events; and not to be unprepared for whatever order of things may be ultimately established.
Under another aspect of our situation, the early attention of Congress will be due to the expediency of farther guards against evasions and infractions of our commercial laws. The practice of smuggling, which is odious every where and particularly criminal in free governments, where, the laws being made by all for the good of all, a fraud is committed on every individual as well as on the state, attains its utmost guilt when it blends with a pursuit of ignominious gain a treacherous subserviency, in the transgressors, to a foreign policy adverse to that of their own country. It is then that the virtuous indignation of the public should be enabled to manifest itself through the regular animadversions of the most competent laws.
To secure greater respect to our mercantile flag, and to the honest interests which it covers, it is expedient also that it be made punishable in our citizens to accept licenses from foreign governments for a trade unlawfully interdicted by them to other American citizens, or to trade under false colors or papers of any sort.
A prohibition is equally called for against the acceptance by our citizens of special licenses to be used in a trade with the United States; and against the admission into particular ports of the United States of vessels from foreign countries authorized to trade with particular ports only.
Although other subjects will press more immediately on your deliberations, a portion of them cannot but be well bestowed on the just and sound policy of securing to our manufactures the success they have attained, and are still attaining, in some degree, under the impulse of causes not permanent; and to our navigation the fair extent of which it is at present abridged by the unequal regulations of foreign governments.
Besides the reasonableness of saving our manufacures from sacrifices which a change of circumstances might bring on them, the national interest