Page images






5th DECEMBER. This day the Congress met, and a quorum

, being formed, it was agreed, on the 6th, to inform the President that the two Houses were ready to receive such communications as he might have to make to them.

7th DECEMBER. The President went to the Representatives' chamber in the usual manner, where the two Houses being assembled, he delivered the following address. Fellow Citizens of the Senate, and of the House

of Representatives, IN recurring to the internal situation of our country since I had last the pleasure to address you, I find ample reason for a renewed expression of that gratitude to the Ruler of the Universe, which a continued series of prosperity has so often and so justly called forth.

The acts of the last session, which required special arrangements, have been, as far as circumstances would admit, carried into operation.

Measures calculated to ensure a continuance of the friendship of the Indians, and to preserve peace along the extent




our interior frontier, have been digested and adopted. In the framing of these, care has been taken to guard on the one hand, our advanced settlements from the predatory incursions of those unruly individuals, who cannot be restrained by their tribes; and on the other hand, to protect the rights secured to the Indians by treaty; to draw them nearer to the civilized state ; and inspire them with correct conceptions of the power, as well as justice of the governinent.

The meeting of the leputies from the Creek nation at Coleraine, in the State of Georgia, which had for a principal object the purchase of a parcel of their land by that State, broke up without its being accomplished; the nation having, previous to their departure, instructed them against making any sale ; the occasion however has been improved, to confirm by a new treaty with the Creeks, their pre-existing engagements with the United States; and to obtain their consent to the establishment of trading houses, and military posts, within their boundary; by means of which their friendship and the general peace may be more effectually secured.

The period during the late session, at which the appropriation was passed, for carrying into effect the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation, between the United States and his Britannic Majesty, necessarily procrastinated the reception of the posts stipulated to be delivered, beyond the date assigned for that event.

As soon however as the Governor General of Canada could be adeiressed with propriety on the subject, arrangements were cordially and promptly concluded for their evacuation, and the United States took possession of the principal of them, comprehcnding Oswego, Niagara, Detroit, Michilimackinac and Fort Miami, where such repairs and additions have been ordered to be made as appeared indispensable.

The commissioners appointed on the part of the United States and of Great Britain, to determnine which is the river St. Croix, mentioned in the treaty of peace of 1783, agreed in the choice of Egbert Benson, Esq. of New York, for the third commissioner. The whole met at St. Andrew's, in Passamaquody Bay, in the beginning of October, and directed surveys to be made of the rivers in dispute ; but deemed it impracticable to have these surveys completed before the next year, they adjourned, to meet at Boston in August 1797, for the final decision of the question.

Other commissioners appointed on the part of the United States, agreeably to the seventh article of the treaty with Great Britain, relative to captures and condemnation of ves

[ocr errors]


sels and other property, met the commissioners of his Britannic Majesty in London, in August last, when John Trumbull, Esq. was chosen by lot, for the fifth commissio

In October following, the board were to proceed to business. As yet, there has been no communication of commissioners on the part of Great Britain to unite with those who have been appointed on the part of the United States, for carrying into effect the sixth article of the treaty.

The treaty with Spain required that the commissioners for running the boundary line between the territory of the United States, and his Catholic Majesty's provinces of East and West Florida, should meet at the Natchez before the expiration of six months after the exchange of the ratifications, which was effected at Aranjuez on the twenty-fifth day of April ; and the troops of his Catholic Majesty, occupying any posts within the limits of the United States, were within the same period to be withdrawn.- The commissioner of the United States, therefore, commenced his journey for the Natchez in September, and troops were ordered to occupy the posts from which the Spanish garrisons should be withdrawn. Information has been recently received of the appointment of a commissioner on the part of his Catholic Majesty for running the boundary line: but none of any appointment for the adjustment of the claims of our citizens, whose vessels were captured by the armed vessels of Spain.

In pursuance of the act of Congress passed in the last session, for the protection and relief of American seamen, agents were appointed, one to reside in Great Britain, and the other in the West Indies. The effects of the


in the West Indies are not yet fully ascertained; but those which have been communicated, afford grounds to believe the measure will be beneficial. The agent destined to reside in Great Britain declining to accept the appointinent, the business has consequently devolved on the minister of the United States, in London, and will command his attention, until a new agent shall be appointed.

After many delays and disappointments arising out of the European war, the final arrangements for fulfilling the engagements made to the Dey and Regency of Algiers, will, in all present appearance, be crowned with success; but under great, though inevitable disadvantages in the pecuniary transactions, occasioned by that war: which will render a further provision necessary. The actual liberation of all our citizens who were prisoners in Algiers, while it gratifies every feeling heart, is itself an earnest of a satisfactory ter



mination of the whole negotiation. Measures are in operation for effecting treaties with the Regencies of Tunis and Tripoli.

Tq an active external commerce, the protection of a naval force is indispensable. This is manifest with regard to wars in which a state is itself a party. But besides this, it is in our own experience, that the most sincere neutrality is not a sufficient guard against the depredations of nations at

To secure respect to a neutral flag, requires a naval force, organized and ready to vindicate it from insult or aggression. This may even prevent the necessity of going to war, by discouraging belligerent powers froin committing such violations of the rights of the neutral party, as may, first or last, leave no other option. From the best information I have been able to obtain, it would seem as if our trade to the Mediterranean, without a protecting force, will always be insecure; and our citizens exposed to the calamities from which numbers of them have but just been relieved.

These considerations invite the United States to look to the means, and to set about the gradual creation of a navy. The increasing progress of their navigation promises them, at no distant period, the requisite supply of seamen; and their means in other respects, favour the undertaking. It is an encouragement likewise, that their particular situation will give weight and influence to a moderate naval force in their hands. Will it not then be advisable to begin without delay to provide and lay up the materials for the building and equipping of ships of war; and to proceed in the work by degrees, in proportion as our resources shall render it practicable without inconvenience; so that a future war of Europe may not find our commerce in the same unprotected state in which it was found by the present

Congress have repeatedly, and not without success, directed their attention to the encouragement of manufactures. The object is of too much consequence not to ensure a continuance of their efforts in every way which shall appear eligible. As a general rule, manufactures on public account are inexpedient. But where the state of things in a country leaves little hope that certain branches of manufacture will for a great length of tiine obtain ; when these are of a nature essential to the furnishing and equipping of the public force in tiine of war; are not establishments for procuring them on public account, to the extent of the ordinary demand for the public service, recommended toy strong considerations of national policy, as an exception to the general


rule ? Ought our country to remain in such cases dependent on foreign supply, precarious, because liable to be interrupted? If the necess

articles should in this mode cost inore in time of peace, will not the security and independence thence arising, form an ample compensation? Establishments of this sort, commensurate only with the calls of the public service in time of peace, will in time of war, easily be extended in proportion to the exigencies of the government; and may even perhaps be made to yield a surplus for the supply of our citizens at large, so as to mitigate the privations from the interruptions of their trade. If adopted, the plan ought to exclude all those branches which are already or likely soon to be established in the country; in order that there may be no danger of interference with pursuits of individual industry.

It will not be doubted, that with reference either to individual or national welfare, agriculture is of primary impor. tance. In proportion as nations advance in population, and other circunstances of maturity, this truth becomes more apparent; and renders the cultivation of the foil more and more an object of public patronage. Institutions, for promoting it, grow up supported by the public purse: and to what object can it be dedicated with greater propriety? Among the ineans which have been employed to this end, none have been attended with greater success, than the establishment of Boards, composed of proper characters, charged with collecting and diffusing information, and enabled, by premiumns and small pecuniary aids, to encourage and assist a spirit of discovery and iinprovement. This species of establishment contributes doubly to the increase of improvement; by stimulating to enterprize and experiment; and by drawing to a common centre the results every where of individual skill and observation, and spreading them thence over the whole nation. Experience accordingly has shewn, that they are very cheap instruments of immense national benefits.

I have heretofore proposed to the consideration of Congress, the expediency of establishing a National University : and also a Military Academy. The desirableness of both these institutions, has so constantly increased with every new view I have taken of the subject, that I cannot omit the opportunity of once for all, recalling your attention 10 them.

The assembly to which I address myself, is too enlightened not to be fully sensible how much a flourishing state of


« PreviousContinue »