Page images
PDF
EPUB

the market in competition with the inducement to the importer to foreign article, and the importer is bring the best article, as he pays thus compelled to reduce his price no more duty upon that than upon to that at which the domestic arti- one of inferior quality. I therecle can be sold, thereby throwing fore strongly recommend a modifia part of the duty upon the pro- cation of the present tariff, which ducer of the foreign article. The has prostrated some of our most continuance of this process creates important and necessary manufacthe skill, and invites the capital, tures, and that specific duties be which finally enable us to produce imposed sufficient to raise the rethe article much cheaper than it quisite revenue, making such discould have been procured from crimination in favour of the indusabroad, thereby benefiting both the trial pursuits of our country as to producer and the consumer at encourage home production with. home. The consequence of this is, out excluding foreign competition. that the artizan and the agricultu. It is also important that an unforrist are brought together, each af- tunate provision in the present fords a ready market for the pro- tariff, which imposes a much higher duce of the other, the whole coun- duty upon the raw material that try becomes prosperous, and the enters into our manufactures than ability to produce every necessary upon the manufactured article, of life renders us independent in should be remedied. war as well as in peace.

“The papers accompanying the “A high tariff can never be per- report of the Secretary of the Treamanent. It will cause dissatisfac- sury will disclose frauds attempted tion, and will be changed. It ex- upon the revenue, in variety and cludes competition, and thereby amount so great as to justify the invites the investment of capital conclusion that it is impossible, in manufactures to such excess, under any system of ad valorem duthat when changed it brings dis- ties levied upon the foreign cost or tress, bankruptcy, and ruin upon value of the article, to secure an all who have been misled by its honest observance and an effectual faithless protection. What the administration of the laws. The manufacturer wants is uniformity fraudulent devices to evade the law, and permanency, that he may feel which have been detected by the a confidence that he is not to be vigilance of the appraisers, leave ruined by sudden changes. But no room to doubt that similar imto make a tariff uniform and per. positions, not discovered, to a large manent it is not only necessary that amount, have been successfully the law should not be altered, but practised since the enactment of that the duty should not fluctuate. the law now in force. This state To effect this, all duties should be of things has already had a prespecific, wherever the nature of the judicial influence upon those enarticle is such as to admit of it. gaged in foreign commerce. It Ad valorem duties fluctuate with has a tendency to drive the honest the price, and offer strong tempta-. trader from the business of imtions to fraud and perjury. porting, but to throw that impor

“Specific duties, on the contrary, tant branch of employment into are equal and uniform in all ports the hands of unscrupulous and disand at all times, and offer a strong honest men, who are alike regardless of law and the obligations of rounded by powerful tribes of Inan oath.

dians, who are a source of constant Land Laws.-I also beg leave terror and annoyance to the inhato call your attention to the pro- bitants. Separating into small prepriety of extending, at an early day, datory bands, and always mounted, our system of land laws, with such they overrun the country, devastatmodifications as may be necessary, ing farms, destroying crops, driving over the State of California and off whole herds of cattle, and occathe territories of Utah and New sionally murdering the inhabitants Mexico. The mineral lands of or carrying them into captivity. California will, of course, form The great roads leading into the an exception to any general country are infested with them, system which may be adopted. whereby travelling is rendered exVarious methods of disposing of tremely dangerous, and immigrathem have been suggested. I was tion is almost entirely arrested. at first inclined to favour the sys. The Mexican frontier, which, by tem of leasing, as it seemed to the 11th article of the Treaty of promise the largest revenue to the Guadaloupe Hidalgo, we are bound Government and to afford the best to protect against the Indians security against monopolies; but within our border, is exposed to further reflection, and our experi- these incursions equally with our ence in leasing the lead mines and own. The military force stationed selling lands upon credit, have in that country, although forming a brought my mind to the conclusion large proportion of the army, is that there would be great difficulty represented as entirely inadequate in collecting the rents, and that to our own protection and the fulthe relation of debtor and creditor filment of our treaty-stipulations between the citizens and the Go with Mexico. The principal defivernment would be attended with ciency is in cavalry, and I recommany mischievous consequences. mend that Congress should, at as I therefore recommend that, in- early a period as practicable, provide stead of retaining the mineral for the raising of one or more regilands under the permanent con

ments of mounted men. trol of the Government, they may Navy.The Navy continues to be divided into small parcels, and give protection to our commerce sold, under such restrictions as to and other national interests in the quantity and time as will insure different quarters of the globe, the best price, and guard most ef- and, with the exception of a single fectually against combinations of steamer on the northern lakes, the capitalists to obtain monopolies. vessels in commission are distri

" The annexation of Texas, and buted in six different squadrons. the acquisition of California and The report of the head of that New Mexico, have given increased department will exhibit the serimportance to our Indian relations. vices of these squadrous, and of the The various tribes brought under several vessels employed in each our jurisdiction by these enlarge- during the past year. It is a ments of our boundaries are esti- source of gratification that, while mated to embrace a population of they have been constantly pre124,000.

pared for any hostile emergency, Texas and New Mexico are sur- they have everywhere met with the

66

respect and courtesy, due as well government of the navy seems to to the dignity as to the peaceful require the immediate consideradisposition and just purposes of the tion of Congress. Its system of nation.

crimes and punishments has underThe two brigantines accepted by gone no change for half a century the Government from a generous until the last Session, though its citizen of New York, and placed defects have been often and ably under the command of an officer of pointed out, and the abolition of a the navy, to proceed to the Arctic particular species of corporal punSeas in quest of the British com- ishment, which then took place, mander, Sir John Franklin, and without providing any substitute, his companions, in compliance has left the service in a state of with the Act of Congress, approved defectiveness which calls for prompt in May last, had, when last heard correction. I therefore recomfrom, penetrated into a high north- mend that the whole subject be reern latitude, but the success of vised without delay, and such a systhis noble and humane enterprise tem established for the enforceis yet uncertain.

ment of discipline as shall be at “The questions in relation to rank once humane and effectual. in the army and navy, and relative Post-Office.—The accompanyto rank between officers of the two ing report of the Postmaster-Gebranches of the service, presented neral presents a satisfactory view to the Executive by certain resolu- of the operations and condition of tions of the House of Representa- that department. tives at the last Session of Congress, “At the close of the last fiscal have been submitted to a board of year the length of the inland mail officers in each branch of the ser- routes in the United States (not vice, and their report may be ex- embracing the service in Oregon pected at an early day.

and California) was 178,672 miles; “I also earnestly recommend the the annual transportation thereon enactment of a law authorising 46,541,423 miles; and the anofficers of the army and navy to be nual cost of such transportation retired from the service when in- 2,724,426 dollars. competent for its vigorous and The increase of the annual active duties, taking care to make transportation over that of the suitable provision for those who have preceding year was 3,997,354 faithfully served their country, and miles, and the increase in cost awarding distinctions, by retaining was 342,440 dollars. in appropriate commands those The number of post-offices in who have been particularly conspi- the United States on the 1st day of cuous for gallantry and good con- July last was 18,417, being an induct. While the obligation of the crease of 1670 during the preceding country is to maintain and honour year. those who, to the exclusion of other “ The gross revenue of the depursuits, have devoted themselves partment for the fiscal year endto its arduous service, this obli- ing June 30, 1850, amounted to gation should not be permitted to 5,552,971 dollars 48c., including interfere with the efficiency of the the annual appropriation of 260,000 service itself.

dollars for the franked matter of A revision of the code for the the departments, and excluding the VOL. XCII.

[AA]

foreign postages collected for and difficulties and delays incident to payable to the British Govern- the settlement of private claims by ment.

Congress, amount in many cases to The expenditures for the same a denial of justice. There is reaperiod were 5,212,953 dollars 43c., son to apprehend that many unleaving a balance of revenue over fortunate creditors of the Governexpenditure of 348,018 dollars 5c. ment have thereby been unavoida

"I am happy to find that the fis- bly ruined. Congress has so much cal condition of the department is business of a public character that such as to justify the Postmaster- it is impossible it should give much General in recommending the re- attention to mere private claims, duction of our inland letter postage and their accumulation is now so to 3c. the single letter when pre- great that many claimants must paid, and 5c. when not prepaid. despair of ever being able to obHe also recommends that the pre- tain a hearing. It may well be paid rate shall be reduced to 2c. doubted whether Congress, from whenever the revenues of the de- the nature of its organization, is partment, after the reduction, shall properly constituted to decide upon exceed the expenditures by more such cases. It is impossible that than 5 per cent. for two consecu- each member should examine the tive years; that the postage upon merits of every claim on which he is California and other letters sent by compelled to vote, and it is preposour ocean steamers shall be much terous to ask a judge to decide a reduced; and that the rates of case which he has never heard. postage on newspapers, pamphlets, Such decisions may, and freperiodicals, and other printed mat- quently must, do injustice either ter, shall be modified and some re- to the claimant or the Government, duction thereon made.

and I perceive no better remedy • It cannot be doubted that the for this growing evil than the estaproposed reduction will for the pre- blishment of some tribunal to adsent diminish the revenues of the judicate upon such claims. I beg department. It is believed that leave, therefore, most respectfully the deficiency, after the surplus to recommend that provision be already accumulated shall be ex- made by law for the appointment hausted, may be almost wholly met, of a commission to settle all private either by abolishing the existing claims against the United States ; privileges of sending free matter and as an ex parte hearing must in through the mails, or by paying all contested cases be very unsatisout of the Treasury to the Post- factory, I also recommend the office department a sum equivalent appointment of a solicitor, whose to the postage of which it is de- duty it shall be to represent the prived by such privileges. The Government before such commislatter is supposed to be the prefer- sion, and protect it againstallillegal, able mode, and will, if not entire. fraudulent, or unjust claims which ly, so nearly supply the deficiency may be presented for their adjudias to make any further appropria- cation. tion that may be found necessary Measures of the Session.—“It so inconsiderable as to form no ob- was hardly to have been expected stacle to the proposed reductions. that the series of measures passed

· Creditors of Government. The at your last Session with the view

[ocr errors]

of healing the sectional differences have been enacted under its authowhich had sprung from the slaveryrity. and territorial questions, should at “ The series of measures to which once have realized their beneficent I have alluded are regarded by me purpose. All mutual concessions in as a settlement in principle and the nature of a compromise must substance--a final settlement of necessarily be unwelcome to men the dangerous and exciting subjects of extreme opinions; and though which they embraced. Most of without such concessions our Con- these subjects, indeed, are beyond stitution could not have been your reach, as the legislation which formed and cannot be permanently disposed of them was, in its chasustained, yet we have seen them racter, final and irrevocable. It made the subject of bitter contro- may be presumed from the opposiversy in both sections of the Re- tion which they all encountered public. It required many months that none of those measures were of discussion and deliberation to free from imperfections, but in secure the concurrence of a major- their mutual dependence and conity of Congress in their favour. It nection they formed a system of would be strange if they had been compromise, the most conciliatory received with immediate approba- and the best for the entire country tion by people and States preju- that could be obtained from condiced and heated by the exciting flicting sectional interests and opicontroversy of their representatives. nions.

• I believe these measures to have “For this reason I recommend been required by the circumstances your adherence to the adjustment and condition of the country. I established by those measures, until believe they were necessary to allay time and experience shall demonasperities and animosities that strate the necessity of further lewere rapidly alienating one section gislation to guard against evasion of the country from another, and or abuse. destroying those fraternal senti- " By that adjustment we have ments which are the strongest sup- been rescued from the wide and port of the Constitution. They boundless agitation that surrounded were adopted in the spirit of con- us, and have a firm, distinct, and ciliation and for the purpose of legal ground to rest upon. And conciliation. I believe that a great the occasion, I trust, will justify majority of our fellow citizens sym- me in exhorting my countrymen to pathize in that spirit and that pur- rally upon and maintain that pose, and in the main approve, and ground as the best if not the only are prepared in all respects to sus- means of restoring peace and quiet tain, these enactments. I cannot to the country and maintaining indoubt that the American people, violate the integrity of the Union. bound together by kindred blood “ And now, fellow citizens, I canand common traditions, still cherish not bring this communication to a a paramount regard for the Union close without invoking you to join of their fathers, and that they are me in humble and devout thanks ready to rebuke any attempt to to the great Ruler of nations for undermine its integrity, to disturb the multiplied blessings which He the compromises on which it is has graciously bestowed on us. passed, or to resist the laws which His hand, so often visible in our

« PreviousContinue »