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29th April, 1816, appropriated one million of dollars annually, for eight years, to the gradual increase of the navy. . At a subsequent period, this annual appropriation was reduced to half a million for six years, of which the present year is the last, A yet more recent appropriation of the last two years, for building ten sloops of war, has nearly restored the original appropriation of 1816, of a million for every year. The result is before us all. We have twelve line-of-battle ships, twenty frigates, and sloops of war in proportion; which, with a few months of preparation, may present a line of floating fortifications along the whole range of our coast, ready to meet any invader who might attempt to set foot upon our shores. Combining with a system of fortifications upon the shores themselves, commenced about the same time under the auspices of my immediate predecessor, and hitherto systematically pursued, it has placed in our possession the most effective sinews of war, and has left us at once an example and a lesson from which our own duties
be inferred. The gradual increase of the navy was the principle of which the act of 29th April, 1816, was the first development. It was the introduction of a system to act upon the character and history of our country for an indefinite series of It was a declaration of that Congress, to their constituents and to posterity, that it was the destiny and the duty of these confederated states to become, in regular process of time, and by no petty advances, a great naval power. That which they proposed to accomplish in eight years is rather to be considered as the measure of their means, than the limitation of their design. They looked forward for a term of years sufficient for the accomplishment of a definite portion of their purpose; and they left to their successors to fill up the canvass of which they had traced the large and prophetic outline. The ships of the line and frigates, which they had in contemplation, will be shortly completed. The time which they had allotted for the accomplishment of the work has more than elapsed. It remains for
consi deration how their successors may contribute their portion of toil and of treasure for the benefit of the succeeding age, in the gradual increase of our navy.
There is, perhaps, no part of the exercise of the constitutional powers of the federal government which has given more general satisfaclion to the people of the Union than this. The system has not been thus vigorously introduced and hitherto sustained, to be now departed from or abandoned. In continuing to provide for the gradual increase of the navy, it may not be necessary or expedient to add for the present any more to the number of our ships; but should you deem it advisable to continue the yearly appropriation of half a million to the same objects, it may be profit. ably expended in providing a supply of timber to be seasoned, and other materials for future use in the construction of docks, or in laying the foundation of schools for naval education, as to the wisdom of Congress either of those measures may appear to claim the preference.
Of the small portions of this nary engaged in actual service during the peace, squadrons have continued to be maintained on the Pacific ocean, in the West India seås, and in the Mediterranean; to which has been added a small armament to cruise on the eastern coast of South America. In all they have afforded protection to our commerce, have contributed to make our country advantageously known to foreign nations, have honorably employed multitudes of our seamen in the service of their country, and have enured numbers of youths of the rising generation to lives of manly hardihood and of nautical experience and skill. The piracies with which the
West India seas were for several years infested, have been totally suppressed. But in the Mediterranean they have increased in a manner afflictive to other nations, and but for the continual presence of our squadron, would probably have been distressing to our own. The war wbich has unfortunately broken out between the republic of Buenos Ayres and the Brazilian government, has given rise io very great irregularities among the naval officers of the latter, by whom principles in relation to blockades, and to neutral navigation, have been brought forward, to which we cannot subscribe, and which our own commanders have found it neces. sary to resist. From the friendly disposition toward the United States constantly manifested by the Emperor of Brazil, and the very useful and friendly commercial intercourse between the United States and his dominions, we have reason to believe that the just reparation demanded for the injuries sustained by several of our citizens from some of his officers, will not be withheld. Abstracts from the recent despatches of the commanders of our several squadrons are communicated with the report of the secretary of the navy to Congress.
A report from the postmaster-general is likewise communicated, presenting, in a highly satisfactory manner, the result of a vigorous, efficient and economical administration of that department. The revenue of the office, even of the year including the latter half of 1824, and of the first half of 1825, had exceeded its expenditures by a sum of more than forty-five thousand dollars. That of the succeeding year has been still more productive
. The increase of the receipts, in the year preceding the first of July last, over that of the year before, exceeds one hundred and thirty-six thousand dollars, and the excess of the receipts over the expenditures of the year has swollen from forty-five thousand to nearly eighty thousand dollars. During the same period, contracts for additional transportation of the mail in stages, for about two hundred and sixty thousand miles, have been made, and for seventy thousand miles annually, on horseback. Seven hundred and four. teen new post-offices have been established within the year; and the increase of revenue within the last three years, as well as the augmentation of the transportation by mail, is more than equal to the whole amount of re ceipts and of mail conveyance at the commencement of the present century, when the seat of the general government was removed to this place. When we reflect that the objects effected by the transportation of the mail are among the choicest comforts and enjoyments of social life, it is pleasing to observe that the dissemination of them to every corner of our country has outstripped in their increase even the rapid march of our population.
By the treaties with France and Spain, respectively ceding Louisiana and the Floridas to the United States, provision was made for the security of land titles derived from the governments of those nations. Some progress has been made, under the authority of various acts of Congress, in the ascertainment and establishment of those titles ; and claims to a very large extent remain unadjusted. The public faith, no less than the just rights of individuals, and the interest of the community itself, appears to require farther provision for the speedy settlement of these claims, which I therefore recomiend to the care and attention of the legislature.
In conformity with the provisions of the 20th of May last, to provide for erecting a penitentiary in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes, three commissioners were appointed to select a site for the erection of a penitentiary for the District, and also a site in the county of Alexandria for
a county jail; both of which objects have been effected. The building of the penitentiary has been commenced, and is in such a degree of forwardness as to promise that it will be completed before the meeting of the next Congress. This consideration points to the expediency of maturing, at the present session, a system for the regulation and government of the penitentiary, and of defining the class of offences which shall be punishable by confinement in this edifice.
In closing this communication, I trust that it will not be deemed inappropriate to the occasion and purposes upon which we are here assembled, to indulge a momentary retrospect, combining, in a single glance, the period of our origin as a national confederation with that of our present existence, at the precise interval of half a century from each other. Since your last meeting at this place, the fiftieth anniversary of the day when our independence was declared, has been celebrated throughout our land; and on that day, when every heart was bounding with joy, and every voice was tuned to gratulation, amid the blessings of freedom and independence, which the sires of a former-age have handed down to their children, two of the principal actors in that solemn scene, the hand that penned the ever-memorable declaration, and the voice that sustained it in debate, were, by one summons, at the distance of seven hundred miles from each other, called before the Judge of all, to account for their deeds done upon earth. They departed cheered by the benedictions of their country, to whom they left the inheritance of their fame, and the memory of their bright example. If we turn our thoughts to the condition of their country, in the contrast of the first and last day of that half century, how resplendent and sublime is the transition from gloom to glory! Then, glancing through the same lapse of time, in the condition of the individuals, we see the first day marked with the fulness and vigor of youth, in the pledge of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, to the cause of freedom and mankind. And on the last
, extended on the bed of death, with but sense and sensibility left to breathe a last aspiration to Heaven of blessing upon their country; may we not humbly hope, that to them too, it was a pledge of transition from gloom to glory, and that while their mortal vestments were sinking into the clod of the valley, their emancipated spirits were ascending to the bosom of their God!
THIRD ANNUAL MESSAGE.
DECEMBER 8, 1827.
A REVOLUTION of the seasons has nearly been completed since the repre. sentatives of the people and the states of :his Union were last assembled at this place, to deliberate and to act upon the common important interests of their constituents. In that interval, the never-slumbering eye of a wise and beneficent Providence has continued its guardian care over the welfare of our beloved country. The blessing of health has continued generally to prevail throughout the land. The blessing of peace with our brethren of the human race has been enjoyed without interruption; internal quiet has left our fellow citizens in the full enjoyment of all their rights, and in the free exercise of all their faculties, to pursue the impulse of their nature, and
the obligation of their duty in the improvement of their own condition. the productions of the soil, the exchanges of commerce, the vivifying labors of human industry, have combined to mingle in our cup a portion of enjoy. ment as large and liberal as the indulgence of Heaven has perhaps ever granted to the imperfect state of man upon earth; and, as the purest of human felicity consists in its participation with others, it is no small addition to the sum of our national happiness at this time, that peace and prosperity prevail to a degree seldom experienced over the whole habitable globe'; presenting, though as yet with painful exceptions, a foretaste of that blessed period of promise, when the lion shall lie down with the lamb, and wars shall be no more. To preserve, to improve, and to perpetuate the sources, and to direct in their most effective channels the streams which contribute to the public weal, is the purpose for which government was instituted. Objects of deep importance to ihe welfare of the Union are constantly se curring to demand the attention of the federal legislature, and they call with accumulated interest at the first meeting of the two houses, after their periodical renovation. To present to their consideration, from time to time, subjects in which the interests of the nation are most deeply involved, and for the regulation of which the legislative will is alone competent, is a duty prescribed by the constitution, to the performance of which, the first meeting of the new Congress is a period eminently appropriate, and which it is now my purpose to discharge.
Our relations of friendship with the other nations of the earth, political and commercial, have been preserved unimpaired; and the opportunities to improve them have been cultivated with anxious and unremitting attention. A negotiation upon subjects of high and delicate interest with the government of Great Britain, has terminated in the adjustment of some of the questions at issue, upon satisfactory terms, and the postponement of others for future discussion and agreement. The purposes of the convention concluded at St. Petersburgh, on the 12th day of July, 1822, under the mediation of the late Emperor Alexander, have been carried into effect by a subsequent convention, concluded at London, on the 13th of Novenber, 1826, the ratifications of which were exchanged at that place on the 6th day of February last. A copy of the proclamation issued on the 19th day of March last, publishing this convention, is herewith communicated to Congress. The sum of twelve hundred and four thousand nine bundred and sixty dollars, therein stipulated to be paid to the claimants of indemnity, under the first article of the treaty of Ghent, has been duly received, and the commission instituted, conformably to the act of Congress of the 2d of March last, for the distribution of the indemnity to the persons entitled to receive it, are now in session, and approaching the consummation of their labors. This final disposal of one of the most painful topics of collision between the United States and Great Britain, not only affords an occasion of gratulation to ourselves, but has had the happiest effect in promoting a friendly disposition, and in softening asperities upon other objects of discussion. Nor ought it to pass without the tribute of a frank and cordial acknowledgment of the magnanimity with which an honorable nation, by the reparation of their own wrongs, achieves a triumph more glorious than any field of blood can ever bestow.
The conventions of 30 July, 1815, and of 20th October, 1818, will expire, by their own limitation, on the 20th October, 1828. These have regulated the direct commercial intercourse between the United States and Great
Britain, upon terms of the most perfect reciprocity; and they effected a temporary compromise of the respective rights and claims to territory westward of the Rocky Mountains. These arrangements have been continued for an indefinite period of time, after the expiration of the above-mentioned conventions; leaving each party the liberty of terminating them by giving twelve months notice to the other. The radical principle of all commer. cial intercourse between independent nations is the mutual interest of both parties. It is the vital spirit of trade itself; nor can it be reconciled to the nature of man, or to the primary laws of human society, that any traffic should long be willingly pursued, of which all the advantages are on one side, and all the burdens on the other. Treaties of commerce have been found, by experience, to be among the most effective instruments for promoting peace and harmony between nations whose interests, exclusively considered on either side, are brought into frequent collisions by competition. In framing such treaties, it is the duty of each party, not simply to urge with unyielding pertinacity that which suits its own interests, but to concede liberally to that which is adapted to the interest of the other. To. accomplish this, little more is generally required than a simple observance of the rule of reciprocity; and were it possible for the statesman of one nation, by stratagem and management, to obtain from the weakness or igno. rance of another an overreaching treaty, such a compact would prove an incentive to war rather than a bond of peace. Our conventions with Great Britain are founded upon the principles of reciprocity. The commercial intercourse between the two countries is greater in magnitude and amount than between any two other nations on the globe. It is
, for all purposes of benefit or advantage to both, as precious, and in all probability far more extensive, than if the parties were still constituent parts of one and the same nation. Treaties between such states, regulating the intercourse of peace between them, and adjusting interests of such transcendent importance to both, which have been found in a long experience of years mutually advantageous, should not be lightly cancelled or discontinued. Two conventions for continuing in force those above mentioned, have been concluded between the plenipotentiaries of the two governments, on the 6th of August last, and will be forthwith laid before the Senate for the exercise of their constitutional authority concerning them.
In the execution of the treaties of peace, of November, 1782 and September, 1783, between the United States and Great Britain, and which ter. minated the war of our independence, a line of boundary was drawn as the demarcation of territory between the two countries, extending over near twenty degrees of latitude, and ranging over seas, lakes, and mountains, then very imperfectly explored, and scarcely opened to the geograpbicas knowledge of the age. In the progress of discovery and settlement by both parties, since that time, several questions of boundary between their respective territories have arisen, which have been found of exceedingly difficult adjustment. At the close of the last war with Great Britain, four of these questions pressed themselves upon the consideration of the negotiation of the treaty of Ghent, but without the means of concluding a definitive arrangement concerning them. They were referred to three separate commissions, consisting of two commissioners, one appointed by each party, to examine and decide upon their respective claims. In the event of disagreement between the commissioners, it was provided that they should make reports to their several governments, and that the reports