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closed at their next session, appointed for the 23d of May, of the ensuing year.
The other commission appointed to ascertain the indemnities due for slaves carried away from the United States, after the close of the late war, have met with some difficulty, which has delayed their progress in the inquiry. A reference has been made to the British Government on the subject, which, it may be hoped, will tend to hasten the decision of the commissioners, or serve as a substitute for it. *
Among the powers specifically granted to Congress, by the Constitution, are those of establishing uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States, and of providing for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States. The magnitude and complexity of the interests affected by legislation upon these subjects, may account for the fact that, long and often as both of them have occupied the attention, and animated the debates of Congress, no systems have yet been devised for fulfilling, to the satisfaction of the community, the duties prescribed by these grants of power. To conciliate the claim of the individual citizen to the enjoyment of personal liberty, with the effective obligation of private contracts, is the difficult problem to be solved by a law of bankruptcy. These are objects of the deepest interest to society; affecting all that is precious in the existence of multitudes of persons, many of them in the classes essentially dependent and helpless; of the age requiring nurture, and of the sex entitled to protection from the free agency of the parent and the husband. The organization of the militia is yet more indispensable to the liberties of the country. It is only by an effective militia that we can at once enjoy the repose of peace, and bid defiance to foreign aggression; it is by the militia that we are constituted an armed nation, standing in perpetual panoply of defense, in the presence of all the other nations of the earth. To this end it would be necessary so to shape its organization, as to give it a more united and active energy. There are laws for establishing a uniform militia throughout the United States, and for arming and equipping its whole body. But it is a body of dislocated members, without the vigor of unity, and having little of uniformity but the name. To infuse into this most important institution the power of which it is susceptible, and to make it available for the defense of the Union, at the shortest notice, and at the smallest expense of time, of life, and of treasure, are among the benefits to be expected from the persevering deliberations of Congress.
Among the unequivocal indications of our national prosperity is the flourishing state of our finances. The revenues of the present year, from all their principal sources, will exceed the anticipations of the last. The balance in the treasury on the 1st of January last, was a little short of two millions of dollars, exclusive of two millions and a half, being a moiety of the loan of five millions, authorized by the act of the 26th of May, 1824. The receipts into the treasury, from the 1st of January to the 30th of September, exclusive of the other moiety of the same loan, are estimated at sixteen millions five hundred thousand dollars; and it is expected that those of the current quarter will exceed five millions of dollars; forming an aggregate of receipts of nearly twenty-two millions, independent of the loan. The expenditures of the year will not exceed that sum more than two millions. By those expenditures, nearly eight millions of the principal of the public debt have been discharged. More than a million and a half has been devoted to the debt of gratitude to the warriors of the Revolution; a nearly equal sum to the construction of fortifications and the acquisition of ordnance, and other permanent preparatives of national defense; half a million to the gradual increase of the navy; an equal sum for purchases of territory from the Indians, and payment of annuities to them; and upward of a million for objects of internal improvement, authorized by special acts of the last Congress. If we add to these four millions of dollars for payment of interest upon the public debt, there remains a sum of about seven millions, which have defrayed the whole expense of the administration of government, in its legislative, executive, and judiciary departments, including the support of the military and naval establishments, and all the occasional contingencies of a government co-extensive with the Union.
The amount of duties secured on merchandise imported, from the commencement of the year, is about twenty-five millions and a half; and that which will accrue during the current quarter is estimated at five millions and a half; from these thirty-one millions, deducting the drawbacks, estimated at less than seven millions, a sum exceeding twenty-four millions will constitute the revenue of the year, and will exceed the whole expenditures of the year. The entire amount of the public debt remaining due on the 1st of January next, will be short of eighty-one millions of dollars.
By an act of Congress of the 3d of March last, a loan of twelve millions of dollars was authorized at four and a half per cent, or an exchange of stock to that amount, of four and a half per cent, for a stock of six per cent, to create a fund for extinguishing an equal amount of the public debt, bearing an interest of six per cent, redeemable in 1826. Ah account of the measures taken to give effect to this act will be laid before you by the Secretary of the Treasury. As the object which it had in view has been but partially accomplished, it will be for the consideration of Congress, whether the power with which it clothed the Executive should not be renewed at an early day of the present session, and under what modifications.
The act of Congress of the 3d of March last, directing the Secretary of the Treasury to subscribe, in the name and for the use of the United States, for one thousand five hundred shares of the capital stock of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company, has been executed by the actual subscription for the amount specified; and such other measures have been adopted by that officer, under the act, as the fulfillment of its intentions requires. The latest accounts received of this important undertaking authorize the belief that it is in successful progress.
The payments into the Treasury from the proceeds of the sales of the public lauds, during the present year, were estimated at one million of dollars. The actual receipts of the first two quarters have fallen very little short of that sum; it is not expected that the second half of the year will be equally productive, but the income of the year, from that source, may now be safely estimated at a million and a half. The act of Congress of 18th May, 1824, to provide for the extinguishment of the debt due to the United States by the purchasers of public lands, was limited, in its operation of relief to the purchaser, to the 10th of April last. Its effect at the end of the quarter during which it expired was to reduce that debt from ten to seven millions. By the operation of similar prior laws of relief, from and since that of 2d of March, 1821, the debt had been reduced from upward of twenty-two millions to ten. It is exceedingly desirable that it should be extinguished altogether; and to facilitate that consummation, I recommend to Congress the revival, for one year more, of the act of 18th May, 1824, with such provisional modification as may be necessary to guard the public interests against fraudulent practices in the resale of the relinquished land. The purchasers of public lands are among the most useful of our fellow-citizens; and, since the system of sales for cash alone has been introduced, great indulgence has been justly extended to those who had previously purchased upon credit. The debt which had been contracted under the credit sales had become unwieldy, and its extinction was alike advantageous to the purchaser and the public. Under the system of sales, matured as it has been by experience, and adapted to the exigencies of the times, the lands will continue as they have become, an abundant source of revenue; and when the pledge of them to the public creditor shall be redeemed by the entire discharge of the national debt, the swelling tide of wealth with which they replenish the common treasury may be made to reflow, in unfailing streams of improvement, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.
The condition of the various branches of the public service resulting from the Department of War, and their administration during the current year, will be exhibited in the report of the Secretary of War, and the accompanying documents herewith communicated. The organization and discipline of the army are effective and satisfactory. To counteract the prevalence of desertion among the troops, it has been suggested to withhold from the men a small portion of their monthly pay, until the period of their discharge; and some expedient appears to be necessary to preserve and maintain among the officers so much of the art of horsemanship as could scarcely fail to be found wanting on the possibly sudden eruption of a war, which should overtake us unprovided with a single corps of cavalry. The military academy at West Point, under the restrictions of a severe but paternal superintendence, recommends itself more and more to the patronage of the Nation; and the number of meritorious officers which it forms and introduces to the public service, furnishes the means of multiplying the undertaking of public improvements, to which their acquirements at that institution are peculiarly adapted. The school of artillery practice, established at Fortress Monroe, is well suited to the same purpose, and may need the aid of further legislative provisions to the same end. The report from the various officers at the head of the administrative branches of the military service, connected with the, quartering, clothing, subsistence, health, and pay of the army, exhibit the assiduous vigilance of those officers in the performance of their respective duties, and the faithful accountability which has pervaded every part of the system.
Our relations with the numerous tribes of aboriginal natives of this country, scattered over its extensive surface, and so dependent, even for their existence, upon our power, have been during the present year highly interesting. An act of Congress of the 25th of May, 1824, made an appropriation to defray the expenses of making treaties of trade and friendship with the Indian tribes beyond the Mississippi. An act of the 3d of March, 1825, authorized treaties to be made with the Indians for their consent to the making of a road from the frontier of Missouri to that of New Mexico. And another act, of the same date, providing for defraying the expenses of holding treaties with the Sioux, Chippewas, Menomonees, Sacs, Foxes, etc., for the purpose of establishing boundaries and promoting peace between said tribes. The first and the last objects of these acts have been accomplished; and the second is yet in process of execution. The treaties which, since the last session of Congress, have been concluded with the several tribes, will be laid before the Senate for their consideration, conformably to the Constitution. They comprise large and valuable acquisitions of territory, and they secure an adjustment of boundaries and give pledges of permanent peace between several tribes which had been long waging bloody war against each other.
On the 12th of February last, a treaty was signed at the Indian Springs, between commissioners appointed on the part of the United States and certain chiefs and individuals of the Creek nation of Indians, which was received at the seat of Government only a few days before the close of the last session of Congress, and of the late Administration. The advice and consent of the Senate was given to it on the 3d of March, too late for it to receive the ratification of the then President of the United States; it was ratified on the 7th of March, under the unsuspecting impression that it had been negotiated in good faith, and in the confidence inspired by the recommendation of the Senate. The subsequent transactions in relation to this treaty will form the subject of a separate message.
The appropriations made by Congress for public works, as