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bank, though not exchangeable for specie, yet resting on good pledges and performing the uses of specie in the payment of taxes, and in other public transactions, would, as experience has ascertained, qualify the bank to supply at once a circulating medium and pecuniary aids to the government. Under the fetters imposed by the bill it is manifest, that during the actual state of things, and probably during the war, the period particularly requiring such a medium and such a resource for loans and advances to the government, notes for which the bank would be compellable to give specie in exchange could not be kept in circulation. The most the bank could effect, and the most it would be expected to aim at, would be to keep the institution alive by limited and local transactions which, with the interest on the public stock in the bank, might yield a dividend sufficient for the purpose until a change from war to peace should enable it, by a flow of specie into its vaults and a removal of the external demand for it, to derive its contemplated emoluments from a safe and full extension of its operations.
On the whole, when it is considered that the proposed establishment will enjoy the monopoly of the profits of a national bank for a period of twenty years; that the monopolized profits will be continually growing with the progress of the national population and wealth; that the nation will, during the same period, be dependent on the notes of the bank for that species of circulating medium, whenever the precious metals may be wanted, and at all times for so much thereof as may be an eligible substitute for a specie medium; and that the extensive employment of the notes in the collection of the augmented taxes will, moreover, enable the bank greatly to extend its profitable issues of them, without the expense of specie capital to support their circulation, it is as reasonable as it is requisite that the government, in return for these extraordinary concessions to the bank, should have a greater security for attaining the public objects of the institution than is presented in the bill, and particularly for every practicable accommodation, both in the temporary advances necessary to anticipate the taxes, and in those more durable loans which are equally necessary to diminish the
resort to taxes.
In discharging this painful duty of stating objections to a measure which has undergone the deliberations and received the sanction of the two houses of the national legislature, I console myself with the reflection, that if hey have not the weight which I attach to them they can be constitutionally overruled, and with a confidence that in a contrary event the wisdom of Congress will hasten to substitute a more commensurate and certain provision for the public exigencies.
FEBRUARY 20, 1815.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
I LAY before Congress copies of the treaty of peace and amity between the United States and His Britannic Majesty, which was signed by the commissioners of both parties at Ghent, on the 24th of December, 1814, and the ratifications of which have been duly exchanged.
While performing this act, I congratulate you and our constituents upon an event which is highly honorable to the nation, and terminates with peculiar felicity a campaign signalized by the most brilliant successes.
The late war, although reluctantly declared by Congress, had become a necessary resort to assert the rights and independence of the nation. It has been waged with a success which is the natural result of the wisdom of the legislative councils, of the patriotism of the people, of the public spirit of the militia, and of the valor of the military and naval forces of the country. Peace, at all times a blessing, is peculiarly welcome therefore at a period when the causes for the war have ceased to operate; when the government has demonstrated the efficiency of its powers of defence; and when the nation can review its conduct without regret and without reproach.
I recommend to your care and beneficence the gallant men whose achievements in every department of the military service, on the land and on the water, have so essentially contributed to the honor of the American name and to the restoration of peace. The feelings of conscious patriotism and worth will animate such men under every change of fortune and pursuit, but their country performs a duty to itself when it bestows those testimonials of approbation and applause which are at once the reward and the incentive to great actions.
The reduction of the public expenditures to the demands of a peace establishment will doubtless engage the immediate attention of Congress. There are, however, important considerations which forbid a sudden and general revocation of the measures that have been produced by the war. Experience has taught us that neither the pacific dispositions of the American people, nor the pacific character of their political institutions, can altogether exempt them from that strife which appears, beyond the ordinary lot of nations, to be incident to the actual period of the world; and the same faithful monitor demonstrates that a certain degree of preparation for war is not only indispensable to avert disasters in the onset, but affords also the best security for the continuance of peace. The wisdom of Congress will therefore, I am confident, provide for the maintenance of an adequate regular force; for the gradual advancement of the naval establishment; for improving all the means of harbor defence; for adding discipline to the distinguished bravery of the militia; and for cultivating the military art in its essential branches, under the liberal patronage of gov
The resources of our country were at all times competent to the attainment of every national object, but they will now be enriched and invigorated by the activity which peace will introduce into all the means of domestic enterprise and labor. The provision that has been made for the public creditors during the present session of Congress must have a decisive effect in the establishment of the public credit both at home and abroad. The reviving interests of commerce will clain the legislative attention at the earliest opportunity, and such regulations will, I trust, be seasonably devised as shall secure to the United States their just proportion of the navigation of the world. The most liberal policy toward other nations, if met by corresponding dispositions, will in this respect be found the most beneficial policy toward ourselves. But there is no subject that can enter with greater force and merit into the deliberations of Congress, than a consideration of the means to preserve and promote the manufactures which have
sprung into existence, and attained an unparalleled maturity throughout the United States during the period of the European wars. This source of national independence and wealth I anxiously recommend, therefore, to the prompt and constant guardianship of Congress.
The termination of the legislative sessions will soon separate you, fellow citizens, from each other, and restore you to your constituents. I pray you to bear with you the expressions of my sanguine hope that the peace which has been just declared will not only be the foundation of the most friendly intercourse between the United States and Great Britain, but that it will also be productive of happiness and harmony in every section of our beloved country. The influence of your precepts and example must be every where powerful, and while we accord in grateful acknowledgments for the protection which Providence has bestowed upon us, let us never cease to inculcate obedience to the laws and fidelity to the Union as constitituting the palladium of the national independence and prosperity.
FEBRUARY 25, 1815.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
PEACE having happily taken place between the United States and Great Britain, it is desirable to guard against incidents which during the periods of war in Europe might tend to interrupt it; and it is believed, in particular, that the navigation of American vessels exclusively by American seamen, either natives or such as are already naturalized, would not only conduce to the attainment of that object but also to increase the number of our seamen, and consequently to render our commerce and navigation independent of the service of foreigners, who might be recalled by their governments under circumstances the most inconvenient to the United States. I recommend the subject therefore to the consideration of Congress, and in deciding upon it I am persuaded that they will sufficiently estimate the policy of manifesting to the world a desire on all occasions to cultivate harmony with other nations, by any reasonable accommodations which do not impair the enjoyment of any of the essential rights of a free and independent people. The example on the part of the American government will merit, and may be expected to receive, a reciprocal attention from all the friendly powers of Europe.
FEBRUARY 23, 1815.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
CONGRESS will have seen by the communication from the consul-general of the United States at Algiers, laid before them on the 17th of November, 1812, the hostile proceedings of the Dey against that functionary. These have been followed by acts of more overt and direct warfare against the citizens of the United States trading in the Mediterranean, some of whom
are still detained in captivity, notwithstanding the attempts which have been made to ransom them, and are treated with the rigor usual on the coast of Barbary.
The considerations which rendered it unnecessary and unimportant to commence hostile operations on the part of the United States being now terminated by the peace with Great Britain, which opens the prospect of an active and valuable trade of their citizens within the range of the Algerine cruisers, I recommend to Congress the expediency of an act declaring the existence of a state of war between the United States and the Dey and Regency of Algiers, and of such provisions as may be requisite for a vigorous prosecution of it to a successful issue.
SEVENTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.
DECEMBER 5, 1815.
Fellow Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:
I HAVE the satisfaction, on our present meeting, of being able to communicate to you the successful termination of the war which had been commenced against the United States by the regency of Algiers. The squadron in advance on that service, under Commodore Decatur, lost not a moment after its arrival in the Mediterranean in seeking the naval force of the enemy then cruising in that sea, and succeeded in capturing two of his ships, one of them the principal ship commanded by the Algerine admiral. The high character of the American commander was brilliantly sustained on the occasion which brought his own ship into close action with that of his adversary, as was the accustomed gallantry of all the officers and men actually engaged. Having prepared the way by this demonstration of American skill and prowess, he hastened to the port of Algiers, where peace was promptly yielded to his victorious force. In the terms stipulated, the rights and honor of the United States were particularly consulted by a perpetual relinquishment, on the part of the Dey, of all pretensions to tribute from them. The impressions which have thus been made, strengthened as they will have been by subsequent transactions with the regency of Tunis and Tripoli, by the appearance of the larger force which followed under Commodore Bainbridge, the chief in command of the expedition, and by the judicious precautionary arrangements left by him in that quarter, afford reasonable prospect of future security for the valuable portion of our commerce which passes within the reach of the Barbary cruisers.
It is another source of satisfaction, that the treaty of peace with Great Britain has been succeeded by a convention on the subject of commerce concluded by the plenipotentiaries of the two countries. In this result a disposition is manifested on the part of that nation corresponding with the disposition of the United States, which it may be hoped will be improved into liberal arrangements on other subjects on which the parties have mutual interests, or which might endanger their future harmony. Congress will decide on the expediency of promoting such a sequel by giving effect to the measure of confining the American navigation to American seamen a measure which at the same time that it might have that concilia
tory tendency, would have the farther advantage of increasing the independence of our navigation, and the resources of our maritime defence.
In conformity with the articles of the treaty of Ghent, relating to the Indians, as well as with a view to the tranquillity of our western and northwestern frontiers, measures were taken to establish an immediate peace with the several tribes who had been engaged in hostilities against the United States. Such of them as were invited to Detroit acceded readily to a renewal of the former treaties of friendship. Of the other tribes who were invited to a station on the Mississippi, the greater number have also accepted the peace offered to them. The residue, consisting of the more distant tribes or parts of tribes, remain to be brought over by farther explanations, or by such other means as may be adapted to the dispositions they may finally disclose.
The Indian tribes within, and bordering on, our southern frontier, whom a cruel war on their part had compelled us to chastise into peace, have latterly shown a restlessness which has called for preparatory measures for repressing it, and for protecting the commissioners engaged in carrying the terms of the peace into execution.
The execution of the act for fixing the military peace establishment has been attended with difficulties which even now can only be overcome by legislative aid. The selection of officers; the payment and discharge of the troops enlisted for the war; the payment of the retained troops, and their re-union from detached and distant stations; the collection and security of the public property, in the quarter-master, commissary, and ordnance departments; and the constant medical assistance required in hospitals and garrisons, rendered a complete execution of the act impracticable on the first of May, the period more immediately contemplated. As soon, however, as circumstances would permit, and as far as it has been practicable consistently with the public interests, the reduction of the army has been accomplished; but the appropriations for its pay, and for other branches of the military service, having proved inadequate, the earliest attention to that subject will be necessary; and the expediency of continuing upon the peace establishment the staff officers who have hitherto been provisionally retained is also recommended to the consideration of Congress.
In the performance of the executive duty upon this occasion there has not been wanting a just sensibility to the merits of the American army during the late war; but the obvious policy and design in fixing an efficient military peace establishment did not afford an opportunity to distinguish the aged and infirm on account of their past services, nor the wounded and disabled on account of their present sufferings. The extent of the reduction indeed unavoidably involved the exclusion of many meritorious officers of every rank from the service of their country; and so equal, as well as so numerous, were the claims to attention, that a decision by the standard of comparative merit could seldom be attained. Judged, however, in candor, by a general standard of positive merit, the army register will, it is believed, do honor to the establishment, while the case of those officers whose names are not included in it devolves with the strongest interests upon the legislative authority, for such provision as shall be deemed the best calculated to give support and solace to the veteran and invalid, to display the beneficence, as well as the justice of the government, and to inspire a martial zeal for the public service upon every future emergency,