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of legislation would introduce once more into our national councils those disturbing questions in relation to the tariff of duties which have been so 1 'ecently put to rest. Besides, by every measure adopted by the Governpient of the United States with the view of injuring France, the clear perception of right which will induce our own people, and the rulers and people of all other nations, even of France herself, to pronounce our quarrel just, will be obscured, and the support rendered to us, in a final re sort to more decisive measures, will be more limited and equivocal. Th ere is but one point in the controversy, and upon that the whole civilized world must pronounce France to be in the wrong. We insist that she shall pay us a sum of money, which she has acknowledged to be due ; and of the justice of this demand there can be but one opinion among man kind. True policy would seem to dictate that the question at issue shou ld be kept thus disencuinbered, and that not the slightest pretence should be given to France to persist in her refusal to make payment, by any act on our part affecting the interests of her people. The question should be left as it is now, in such an attitude that, when France fulfils her treaty stipulations, all controversy will be at an end.
It is my conviction that the United States ought to insist on a prompt execution of the treaty, and, in case it be refused, or longer delayed, take redress into their own hands. After the delay, on the part of France, of a quarter of a century, in acknowledging these claims by treaty, it is not to be tolerated that another quarter of a century is to be wasted in negotiating about the payment. The laws of nations provide a remedy for such occasions. It is a well-settled principle of the international code, that wliere one nation owes another a liquidated debt, which it refuses or neglects to pay, the aggrieved party may seize on the property belonging to the other, its citizens or subjects, sufficient to pay the debt, without giving just cause of war. This remedy has been repeatediy resorted to, and recently by France herself towards Portugal, under circumstances less unquestionable.
The time at which resort should be had to this, or any other mode of redress, is a point to be decided by Congress. If an appropriation shall not be made by the French Chambers at their next session, it may justly be concluded that the Government of France has finally determined to disregard its own solemn undertaking, and refuse to pay an acknowledged debt. In that event, every day's delay on our part will be a stain upon our national honor, as well as a denial of justice to our injured citizens. Prompt measures, when the refusal of France shall be complete, will not only be most honorable and just, but will have the best effect upon our national character.
Since France, in violation of the pledges given through her minister here, has delayed her final action so long that her decision will not probably be known in time to be communicated to this Congress, I recommend that a law be passed authorizing reprisals upon French property, in case provision shall not be made for the payment of the debt at the approaching session of the French Chambers. Such a measure ought not to be considered by France as a menace. Her pride and power are too well known to expect any thing from her fears, and preclude the necessity of the declaration that nothing partaking of the character of intimidation is intended by us. She ought to look upon it as the evidence only
of an inflexible determination on the part of the United States to insist on their rights. That Government, by doing only w hat it has itself acknowledged to be just, will be able to spare the Unite 1 States the necessity of taking redress into their own hands, and say 'e the property of French citizens from that seizure and sequestration wh ich American citizens so long endured without retaliation or redress.
If she should continue to refuse that act of acknowledged justice, and, i n violation of the law of nations, make reprisals on our part the occasion of hostilities against the United States, she would but add violence to injustice, and could not sail to expose herself to the just censure of civilized na tions, and to the : retributive judgments of Heaven.
Collision with France is the more to be regretted, on account of the position she occupies in Europe in relation to liberal in stitutions. But, in maintaining our national rights and honor, all Gover nments are alik je to us. If, by a collision with France, in a case where she is clearly in the wrong, the march of liberal principles shall be impeded, the respo nsibility for that result, as well as every other, will rest on her own head,
Having submitted these considerations, it belongs to Congress to è lecide whether, after what has taken place, it will still await the further action of the French Chambers, or now adopt such provisional measu' res as it may deem necessary, and best adapted to protect the rights and ma intain the honor of the country. Whatever that decision may be, it will be faithfully enforced by the Executive, as far as he is authorized so to do.
According to the estimates of the Treasury Department, the revenue cruing from all sources, during the present year,will amount to twenty million six hundred and twenty-four thousand seven hundred and seventeendol lars, which, with the balance remaining in the Treasu ry on the 1st of Jan uary last, of eleven million seven hundred and two thousand nine hundre d and five dollars, produces an aggregate of thirty-two million three hu idred and twenty-seven thousand six hundred and twenty-three dollars. The total expenditure during the year for all objects, including the public : debt, is estimated at twenty-five million five hundred and ninety-one thousand three hundred and ninety dollars, which will leave a balance in the Treasury on the 1st of January, 1835, of six million seven hundred and thirty-six thousand two hundred and thirty-two dollars. In this b: alance, however, will be included about one million one hundred and fifty, thousand dollars of what was heretofore reported by the department as not effective.
Of former appropriations, it is estimated that there will remain unexpended at the close of the year eight million two thousand nine h undred and twenty-five dollars, and that of this sum there will not be required more than five million one hundred and forty-one thousand nine h undred and sixty-four dollars, to accomplish the objects of all the current appropriations. Thus it appears that, after satisfying all those appropriatio ns, and after discharging the last item of our public debt, which will be done on the 1st of January next, there will remain unexpended in the Treasury an effective balance of about four hundred and forty thousand dollars. That such should be the aspect of our finances, is highly flatterings to the industry and enterprise of our population, and auspicious of the wealth and prosperity which await the future cultivation of their growing resources. It is not deemed prudent, however, to recommend any change
for the present in our impost rates, the effect of the gradual reduction now in progress in many of them not being sufficiently tested to guide us in determining the precise amount of revenue which they will produce.
Free from public debt, at peace with all the world, and with no complicated interests to consult in our intercourse with foreign Powers, the present may be hailed as that epoch in our history the most favorable for the settlement of those principies in our domestic policy, which shall be best calculated to give stability to our republic, and secure the blessings of freedom to our citizens. Among these principles, from our past experience, it cannot be doubted that simplicity in the character of the Federal Government, and a rigid economy in its administration, should be regarded as fundamental and sacred. All must be sensible that the existence of the public debt, by rendering taxation necessary for its extinguishment, has increased the difficulties which are inseparable from any exercise of the taxing power; and that it was, in this respect, a remote agent in producing those disturbing questions which grew out of the discussions relating to the tariff. If such has been the tendency of a debt incurred in the acquisition and maintenance of our national rights and liberties, the obligation of which all portions of the Union cheerfully acknowledged, it must be obvious, that whatever is calculated to increase the burdens of Government without necessity, must be fatal to all our hopes of preserving its true character. While we are felicitating ourselves, therefore, upon the extinguishment of the national debt, and the prosperous state of our finances, let us not be tempted to depart from those sound maxims of public policy, which enjoin a just adaptation of the revenue to the expenditures that are consistent with a rigid economy, and an entire abstinence from all topics of legislation that are not clearly within the constitutional powers of the Government, and suggested by the wants of the country. Properly regarded, under such a policy, every diminution of the public burdens, arising from taxation, gives to individual enterprise increased power, and furnishes to all the members of our happy confederacy new motives for patriotic affection and support. But, above all, its most important effect will be found in its influence upon the character of the Government, by confining its action to those objects which will be sure to secure to it the attachment and support of our fellow-citizens.
Circumstances make it my duty to call the attention of Congress to the Bank of the United States. Created for the convenience of the Gov. ernment, that institution has become the scourge of the people. Its interference to postpone the payment of a portion of the national debt, that it might retain the public money appropriated for that purpose, to strengthen it in a political contest; the extraordinary extension and contraction of its accommodations to the community ; its corrupt and partisan loans; its exclusion of the public directors from a knowledge of its most important proceedings; the unlimited authority conferred on the president to expend its funds in hiring writers, and procuring the execution of printing, and the use made of that authority; the retention of the pension money and books after the selection of new agents; the groundless claim to heavy damages, in consequence of the protest of the bill drawn on the French Government, have, through various channels, been laid before Congress. Immediately after the close of the last ses
sion, the Bank, through its president, announced its ability and readiness to abandon the system of unparalleled curtailment, and the interruption of domestic exchanges, which it had practised upon from the 1st of August, 1833, to the 30th of June, 1834, and to extend its accommodations to the community. The grounds assumed in this annunciation amounted to an acknowledgment that the curtailment, in the extent to which it had been carried, was not necessary to the safety of the Bank, and had been persisted in merely to induce Congress to grant the prayer of the Bank in its memorial relative to the removal of the deposites, and to give it a new charter. They were substantially a confession that all. the real distresses which individuals and the country had endured for the preceding six or eight months, had been needlessly produced by it, with the view of affecting, through the sufferings of the people, the legislative action of Congress. It is a subject of congratulation that Congress and the country had the virtue and firmness to bear the infliction ; that the energies of our people soon found relief from this wanton tyranny, in vast importations of the precious metals from alınost every part of the world; and that, at the close of this tremendous effort to control our Government, the Bank found itself powerless, and no longer able to loan out its surplus means. The community had learned to manage its affairs without its assistance, and trade had already found new auxiliaries ; so that, on the 1st of October last, the extraordinary spectacle was presented of a National Bank, more than one-half of whose capital was either lying unproductive in its vaults, or in the hands of foreign bankers.
To the needless distresses brought on the country during the last session of Congress, has since been added the open seizure of the dividends on the public stock, to the amount of one hundred and seventy thousand and forty-one dollars, under pretence of paying damages, cost, and interest, upon the protested French bill. This sum constituted a portion of the estimated revenues for the year 1834, upon which the appropriations made by Congress were based. It would as soon have been expected that our collectors would seize on the customs, or the receivers of our land offices on the moneys arising from the sale of public lands, under pretences of claims against the United States, as that the Bank would have retained the dividends. Indeed, if the principle be established that any one who chooses to set up a claim against the United States may, without authority of law, seize on the public property or money wherever he can find it, to pay such claim, there will remain no assurance that our revenue will reach the Treasury, or that it will be applied after the appropriation to the purposes designated in the law. The paymasters of our army, and the pursers of our navy, may, under like pretences, apply to their own use moneys appropriated to set in motion the public force, and in time of war leave the country without defence. This measure, resorted to by the Bank, is disorganizing and revolutionary, and, if
generally resorted to by private citizens in like cases, would fill the land with anarchy and violence.
It is a constitutional provision, that “no money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” The palpable object of this provision is to prevent the expenditure of the public money, for any purpose whatsoever, which shall not have been first approved by the representatives of the people and the States in
Congress assembled. It vests the power of declaring for what purposes the public money shall be expended, in the Legislative Department of the Government, to the exclusion of the Executive and Judicial, and it is not within the constitutional authority of either of those departments to pay it away without law, or to sanction its payment. According to this plain constitutional provision, the claim of the Bank can never be paid without an appropriation by act of Congress. But the Bank has never asked for an appropriation. It attempts to defeat the provision of the constitution, and obtain payment without an act of Congress. Instead of awaiting an appropriation passed by both Houses, and approved by the President, it makes an appropriation for itself, and invites an appeal to the Judiciary to sanction it. That the money had not technically been paid into the Treasury, does not affect the principle intended to be established by the constitution. The Executive and Judiciary have as little right to appropriate and expend the public money without authority of law, before it is placed to the credit of the Treasurer, as to take it from the Treasury. In the annual report of the Secretary of the Treasury, and in his correspondence with the president of the Bank, and the opinions of the Attorney General accompanying it, you will find a further examination of the claims of the Bank, and the course it has pursued.
It seems due to the safety of the public funds remaining in that Bank, and to the honor of the American people, that measures be taken to separate the Government entirely from an institution so mischievous to the public prosperity, and so regardless of the constitution and laws. By transferring the public deposites, by appointing other pension agents, as far as it had the power, by ordering the discontinuance of the receipt of bank checks in payment of the public dues after the first day of January next, the Executive has exerted all its lawful authority to sever the connexion between the Government and this faithless corporation.
The high-handed career of this institution imposes upon the constitutional functionaries of this Government, duties of the gravest and most imperative character-duties which they cannot avoid, and from which I trust there will be no inclination on the part of any of them to shrink. My own sense of them is most clear, as is also my readiness to discharge those which may rightfully fall on me. To continue any business relations with the Bank of the United States, that may be avoided without a violation of the national faith, after that institution has set at open defiance the conceded right of the Government to examine its affairs; after it has done all in its power to deride the public authority in other respects, and to bring it into disrepute at home and abroad; after it has attempted to defeat the clearly expressed will of the people, by turning against them the immense power entrusted to its hands, and by involving a country otherwise peaceful, flourishing, and happy, in dissension, embarrassment, and distress, would make the nation itself a party to the degradation so sedulously prepared for its public agents, and do much to destroy the confidence of mankind in popular Governments, and to bring into contempt their authority and efficiency. In guarding against an evil of such magnitude, considerations of temporary convenience should be thrown out of the question, and we should be influenced by such motives only as look to the honor and preservation of the republican system. Deeply and solemnly impressed with the justice of these views,