Imágenes de páginas

of our fellow-citizens alone, but of the nations of Europe, and of their rulers. While dwelling with pleasing satisfaction upon the superior excellence of our political in stitutions, let us not be unmindful that liberty is power; that the nation blessed with the largest portion of liberty, must, in proportion to its numbers, be the most powerful nation upon earth; and that the tenure of power by man is, in the moral purposes of his Creator, upon condition that it shall be exercised to ends of beneficence, to improve the condition of himself and his fellow-men. While foreign nations, less blessed with that freedom which is power than ourselves, are advancing with gigantic strides in the career of public improvement; were we to slumber in indolence, or fold up our arms and proclaim to the world that we are palsied by the will of our constituents, would it not be to cast away the bounties of Providence, and doom ourselves to perpetual inferiority? In the course of the year now drawing to its close, we have beheld, under the auspices and expense of one state in our Union, a new university u folding its portals to the sons of science, and holding up the torch of human improvement to the eyes that seek the light. We have seen, under the persevering and enlightened enterprise of another state, the waters of our western lakes mingle with those of the ocean. If undertakings like these have been accomplished in the course of a few years, by the author. ity of single members of our confederation, can we, the representative authorities of the whole Union, fall behind our fellow-servants in the exercise of the trust committed to us for the benefit of our common sovereign, by the accomplishment of works important to the whole, and to which neither the authority nor the resources of any one state can be adequate ?

Finally, fellow-citizens, I shall await, with cheering hope and faithful co-operation, the result of your deliberations, assured that, without encroaching upon the powers reserved to the authorities of the respective states, or to the people, you will, with a due sense of your obligations to your country, and of the high responsibilities weighing upon yourselves, give efficacy to the means committed to you for the common good And may He who searches , the hearts of the children of men, prosper your exertions to secure the blessings of peace and promote the highest welfare of our country.


MARCH 4, 1829. Fellow-Citizens :

ABOUT to undertake the arduous duties that I have been appointed to perform, by the choice of a free people, I avail myself of this customary and solemn occasion to express the gratitude which their confidence inspires, and to acknowledge the accountability which my situation enjoins. While the magnitude of their interests convinces me that no thanks can be adequate to the honor they have conferred, it admonishes me that the best return I can make, is the zealous dedication of my humble abilities to their service and their good.

As the instrument of the federal constitution, it will devolve upon me, for a stated period, to execute the laws of the United States; to superintend their foreign and confederate relations; to manage their revenue ; to com mand their forces; and, by communications to the legis lature, to watch over and to promote their interests gene rally. And the principles of action by which I shall endeavor to accomplish this circle of duties, it is now proper for me briefly to explain.

In administering the laws of Congress, I shall keep steadily in view the limitations as well as the extent of the executive power, trusting thereby to discharge the functions of my office, without transcending its authority. With foreign nations it will be my study to preserve peace, and to cultivate friendship on fair and honorable terms; and in the adjustment of any differences that may exist or arise, to exhibit the forbearance becoming a powerful nation, rather than the sensibility belonging to a gallant people.

In such measures as I may be called on to pursue, in regard to the rights of the separate states, I hope to be animated by a proper respect for those sovereign me nbers of our Union ; laking care not to confound the powers they have reserved to themselves with those they have granted to the confederacy.

The management of the public revenue—that searching operation of all governments—is among the most delicate and important trusts in ours; and it will, of course, deinand no inconsiderable share of my official solicitude. Under every aspect in which it can be considered, it would appear that advantage must result from the observ. ance of a strict and faithful economy. This I shall aim at the more anxiously, both because it will facilitate the extinguishment of the national debt, the unnecessary duration of which is incompatible with real independence, and because it will counteract that tendency to public and private profligacy which a profuse expenditure of money by the government is but too apt to engender. Powerful auxiliaries to the attainment of this desirable end are to be found in the regulations provided by the wisdom of Congress for the specific appropriation of public money, and the prompt accountability of public officers. With regard to a proper selection of the subjects of imposts, with a view to revenue, it would seem to me that the spirit of equity, caution, and compromise, in which the constitution was formed, requires that the great interests of agriculture, commerce and manufactures, should be equally favored, and that perhaps the only exception to this rule should consist in the peculiar encouragement of any products of either of them that may be found essential to our national independence.

Internal improvement and the diffusion of knowledge, so far as they can be promoted by the constitutional acts of the federal government, are of high importance.

Considering standing armies as dangerous to free gov. ernments in time of peace, I shall not seek to enlarge our , present establishment, nor to disregard that salutary lesson of political experience which teaches that the military should be held subordinate to the civil power. The grad. ual increase of our navy, whose flag has displayed in distant. climes our skill in navigation and our fame in arms; the preservation of our forts, arsenals, and dockyards; and the introduction of progressive improvements

in the discipline and science of both branches of our military service, are so plainly prescribed by prudence that ! should be excused for omitting their mention, sooner ihan enlarging on their importance. But the bulwark of our defence is the national militia, which, in the present state of our intelligence and population, must render us invincible. As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the right of person and property, liberty of conscience, and of the press, it will be worth defending; and so long as it is worth defending, a patriotic militia will cover it with an impenetrable ægis. Partial injuries and occasional mortifications we may be subjected to; but a million of armed freemen, possessed of the means of war, can never be conquered by a foreign foe. To any just system therefore, calculated to strengthen this natural safeguart of the country, I shall cheerfully lend all the aid in my power,

It will be my sincere and constant desire to observe !owards the Indian tribes within our limits, a just and liberal policy; and to give that humane and considerate attention to their rights and their wants, which is consis. tent with the habits of our government and the feelings of our people.

The recent demonstration of public sentiment inscribes on the list of executive duties, in characters too legible to be overlooked, the task of reform ; which will require particularly the correction of those abuses that have brought the patronage of the federal government into conflict with the freedom of elections, and the counteraction of those causes which have disturbed the rightful course of appointment, and have placed or continued power in unfaithful or incompetent hands.

In the performance of a task thus generally delineated, I shall endeavor to select men whose diligence and talents will insure, in their respective stations, able and faithful co-operation-depending for the advancement of the public service, more on the integrity and zeal of the public officers, than on their numbers.

A diffidence, perhaps too just, in my own qualifications, will teach me to look with reverence to the exam. ples of public virtue left by my illustrious predecessors and with veneration to the lights that flow from the mind that founded and the mind that reformed our system. The same diffidence induces me to hope for instruction and aid from the co-ordinate branches of the government, and for the indulgence and support of my fellow-citizer.s generally. And a firm reliance on the goodness of that Power whose providence mercifully protected our national infancy, and has since upheld our liberties in various vicissitudes, encourages me to offer up my ardent supplications that He will continue to make our beloved country the object of his divine care and gracious benediction.


December 8, 1829. Fellow-Citizens of the Senate,

and House of Representatives : It affords me pleasure to tender my friendly greetings to you on the occasion of your assembling at the seat of government, to enter upon the important duties to which you have been called by the voice of our countrymen. The task devolves on me, under a provision of the constitution, to present to you, as the federal legislature of twenty-four sovereign states, and twelve millions of happy people, a view of our affairs, and to propose such measures as, in the discharge of my official functions, have suggested themselves as necessary to promote the objects of our Union.

In communicating with you for the first time, it is to me a source of unfeigned satisfaction, calling for mutual gratulation and devout thanks to a benign Providence, that we are at peace with all mankind; and that our country exhibits the most cheering evidence of general welfare and progressive improvement. Turning our eyes to other nations, our great desire is to see our brethren of the human race surrounded by the blessings enjoyed by ourselves and advancing in knowledge, in freedom, and in social happiness.

« AnteriorContinuar »