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they will endeavor to establish, in the different states, one moneyed institution with overgrown capita., and exclu sive privileges, sufficient to enable it to control the
opera. tions of other banks. Such an institution will be pregnant with the same evils produced by the Bank of the United States, although its sphere of action is more confined; and in the state in which it is chartered, the money power will be able to embody its whole strength, and to move together with undivided force to accomplish any object it may wish to attain. You have already had abundant evidence of its powers to inflict injury upon the agricultural, mechanical, and laboring classes of society; and over those whose engagements in trade or speculation render them dependent on bank facilities, the dominion of the state monopoly will be absolute, and their obedi. ence unlimited. With such a bank and a paper currency, the money power would in a few years govern the state and control its measures; and if a sufficient number of states can be induced to create such establishments, the time will soon come when it will again take the field against the United States, and succeed in perfecting and perpetuating its organization by a charter from Congress.
It is one of the serious evils of our present system of banking, that it enables one class of society—and that by no means a numerous one-by its control over the cur. rency, to act injuriously upon the interests of all the others, and to exercise more than its just proportion of influence in political affairs 'The agricultural, the mechanical, and the aboring classes, have little or no share in the direction of the great moneyed corporations; and from their habits and the nature of their pursuits, they are incapable of forming extensive combinations to act together with united force. Such concert of action may sometimes be produced in a single city, or in a small dis. trict of country, by means of personal communications with each other; but they have no regular or active correspondence with those who are engaged in similar pursuits in distant places; they have but little patronage to give to the press, and exercise but a small share of influence over it; they have no crowd of dependents about them, who hope to grow rich without labor, by their countenance and favor, and who are, therefore, always ready to execute their wishes. The planter, the farmer, the mechanic and the laborer, all know that their success depends upon their own industry and economy, and that they must not expect to become suddenly rich by the fruits of their toil. Yet these classes form the great body of the people of the United States; they are the bone and sinew of the country; men who love liberty, and desire nothing but equal rights and equal laws, and who. moreove hold the great mass of our national wealth. although it is distributed in moderate amounts among the millions of freemen who possess it. But, with overwhelming numbers and wealth on their side, they are in constant danger of losing their fair influence in the government, and with difficulty maintain their just rights against the incessant efforts daily made to encroach upon them.
The mischief springs from the power which the moneyed interest derives from a paper currency, which they are able to control, from the multitude of corporations with exclusive privileges, which they have succeeded in obtaining in the different states, and which are employed altogether for their benefit; and unless you become more watchful in your states, and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will, in the end, find that the most important powers of government have been given or bartered away, and the control over your dearest interests has passed into the hands of these corporations.
The paper-moneyed system, and its natural associates, monopoly and exclusive privileges, have already struck their roots deep in the soil, and it will require all your efforts to check its further growth, and to eradicate the evil. The men who profit by the abuses, and desire to perpetuate them, will continue to besiege the halls of legislation, in the general government as well as in the states, and will seek, by every artifice, to mislead and deceive the public servants. It is to yourse.ves that you must look for safety and the means of guarding and per. petuating your free institutions. In your hands is rightfully placed the sovereignty of the country, and to you every one placed in authority is ultimately responsible. It is always in your power to see that the wishes of the people are carried into faithful execution; and their will, when once made known, must sooner or later be obeyed.
And while the people remain, as I trust they ever will, uncorrupted and incorruptible, and continue watchful and
jealous of their rights, the government is safe, and the cause of freedom will continue to triumph over all its enemies.
But it will require steady and persevering exertions on your part to rid yourselves of the iniquities and mischiefs of the paper system, and to check the spirit of monopoly and other abuses which have sprung up with it, and of which it is the main support. So many interests are united to resist all reform on this subject, that you must not hope the conflict will be a short one, nor success easy. My humble efforts have noi been spared, during my administration of the government, to restore the constitutional currency of gold and silver: and something, I trust, has been done towards the accomplishment of this most desirable object. But enough yet remains to require
your energy and perseverance. "The power, however, is in your hands, and the remedy must and will be applied, if you determine upon it.
While I am thus endeavoring to press upon your attention the principles which I deem of vital importance to the domestic concerns of the country, I ought not to pass over without notice the important considerations which should govern your policy towards foreign powers. It is unquestionably our true interest to cultivate the most friendly understanding with every nation, and to avoid, by every
honorable means, the calamities of war; and we shall best attain that object by frankness and sincerity in our foreign intercourse, by the prompt and faithful execution of treaties, and by justice and impartiality in our conduct to all. But no nation, however desirous of peace, can hope to escape collisions with other powers; and the soundest dictates of policy require that we should place ourselves in a condition to assert our rights, if a resort to force should ever becc ne necessary. Our local situation
our long line of sea-coast, indented by numerous bays, with deep rivers opening into the interior, as well as her extended and still increasing commerce, point to the navy as our natural means of defence. It will, in the end, be found to be the cheapest and most effectual; and now is the time, in a season of peace, and with an overflowing revenue, that we can year after year add to its strength, without increasing the burdens of the people. It is your true policy. For your navy will not only protect your rich and flourishing commerce in distant seas, bui enable you to reach and annoy the enemy, and will give to defence its greatest efficiency, by meeting danger at a distance from home. It is impossible, by any line of fortifications, to guard every point from attack against a hostile force advancing from the ocean, and selecting its object; but they are indispensable to prevent cities from bombardment; dock-yards and navy arsenals from destruction; to give shelter to merchant vessels in time of war, and to single ships of weaker squadrons when pressed by superi r force. Fortifications of this description cannot be tou soon completed and armed, and placed in a condition of the most perfect preparation. The abundant means we now possess cannot be applied in any manner more useful to the country; and when this is done, and our naval force sufficiently strengthened, and our military armed, we need not fear that any nation will wantonly insult us, or needlessly provoke hostilities. We shall more certainly preserve peace, when it is well understood that we are prepared for war.
In presenting to you, my fellow-citizens, these parting counsels, I have brought before you the leading principles upon which I endeavored to administer the government in the high office with which you twice honored me. Knowing that the path of freedom is continually beset by enemies, who often assume the disguise of friends, I have devoted the last hours of my public life to warn you of the dangers. The progress of the United States, under our free and happy institutions, has surpassed the most sanguine hopes of the founders of the republic. Our growth has been rapid, beyond all former example, in nurr bers, in wealth, in knowledge, and all the useful arts
which contribute to the comforts and convenience of man, and, from the earliest ages of history to the present day, there never have been thirteen millions of people associ. ated together in one political body, who enjoyed so much freedom and happiness as the people of these United States. You have no longer any cause to fear danger from abroad; your strength and power are well known throughout the civilized world, as well as the high and gallan: bearing of your sons.
It is from within, among yourselves, from cupidity, from corruption, from disappointed ambition, and inordinate thirst for power, that factions will be formed and liberty endangered. It is against such designs, whatever disguise the actors may assume, that you have especially to guard yourselves. You have the highest of human trusts committed to your
Providence has showered on this favored land blessings without number, and has chosen you, as the guardians of freedom, to preserve it for the benefit of the human race. May He, who holds in his hands the des. tinies of nations, make you worthy of the favors he has bestowed, and enable you, with pure hearts, and pure hands, and sleepless vigilance, to guard and defend to the end of time the great charge he has committed to your keeping My own race is nearly run; advanced
and failing health warn me that before long I must pass beyond the reach of human events, and cease to feel the vicissitudes of human affairs. I thank God that my life has been spent in a land of liberty, and that he has given me a heart to love my country with the affection of a son. And, filled with gratitude for your constant and unwavering kindness, I bid you a last and affectionate farewell.
VAN BUREN'S INAUGURAL ADDRESS,
MARCH 4, 1837. Fellow-citizens :
The practice of all my predecessors imposes on me an obligation I cheerfully fulfil, to accompany the first and solemn act of my piblic trust with an avowal of the prin