« AnteriorContinuar »
pressions which have thus been made, strengthened as they will have been, by subsequent transactions with the regencies of Tunis and of 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 a reasonable prospect of future security, for the valuable portion of our commerce which passes within reach of the Barbarv 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 conciliatory tendency, would have the further advantage of encreasing the independence of our navigation, and the resources for our maritime defence.
In conformity with the articles in 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 further explanations, or by such other means as may be adapted to the dispositions they may finally disclose.
The Indian tribes within, and bordering on the southern frontier, whom a cruel war on their part had compelled us to chastise into
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 candour, by a general standard of positive merit, the army register will, it is believed, do honour to the establishment; while the case of those officers, whose names are not included in it, devolves, with the strongest interest, upon the legislative authority, for such provision as shall be deemed the best calculated to give support and solace to the veteran and the 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.
Although the embarrassments arising from the want of an uniform national currency have not been diminished since the adjournment of congress, great satisfaction has been derived in contemplating the revival of the public credit, and the efficiency of the public resources. The receipts into the treasury, from the various branches of revenue, during the nine months ending on the 30th of September last, have been estimated at twelve millions and a half of dollars; the issues of treasury notes of every denomination, during the same period, amounted to the sum of fourteen millions of dollars: and there was also obtained upon loan, during the same period, a sum of nine millions of dollars; of which the sum of six millions of dollars was subscribed in cash, and the sum of three millions of dollars in treasury notes. With these means, added to the sum of one million and a half of dollars, being the balance of money in the treasury on the 1st of January, there has been paid, between the 1st of January and the 1st of October, on account of the appropriations of the preceding and of the present year, (exclusively of the amount of the treasury notes subscribed to the loan, and of the amount redeemed in the payment of duties and taxes, the aggregate sum of thirty-three millions and a half of dollars, leaving a balance then in the treasury estimated at the sum of three millions of dollars. Independent, however, of the arrearages due for military services and supplies, it is presumed, that a further sum of five millions of dollars, including the interest on the public debt payable on the 1st of January next, will be demanded at the treasury to complete the expenditures of the present year, and for which the existing ways and means will sufficiently provide.
The national debt, as it was ascertained on the Ist of October last, amounted in the whole to the sum of one hundred and twenty millions of dollars, consisting of the unredeemed balance of the debt contracted before the late war, (thirtynine millions of dollars,) the amount of the funded debt contracted in consequence of the war, (sixty four millions of dollars,) and the amount of the unfunded and floating debt, (including the various issues of treasury notes,) seventeen millions of dollars, which is in a gradual course of payment. There will, probably, be some addition to the public debt, upon the liquidation of various claims, which are depending; and a conciliatory disposition on the part of congress may lead honourably and advantageously to an equitable arrangement of the militia expenses, incurred by the several