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favour of expediting a work which, in my judgment, is clearly embraced within the war-making power.
For these reasons I commend to the friendly consideration of Congress the subject of the Pacific railroad, without finally committing myself to any particular route.
The report of the Secretary of the Treasury will furnish a detailed statement of the condition of the public finances and of the respective branches of the public service devolved upon that department of the Government. By this report it appears that the amount of revenue received from all sources into the treasury during the fiscal year ending the 30th June, 1857, was 68,631,513 dollars 67 cents, which amount, with the balance of 19,901,325 dollars 15 cents, remaining in the treasury at the commencement of the year, made an aggregate for the service of the year of 88,532,839 dollars 12 cents.
The public expenditures for the fiscal year ending 30th June, IS57, amounted to 70,822,724 dollars 85 cents, of which 5,943,896 dollars 91 cents were applied to the redemption of the public debt, including interest and premium, leaving in the treasury at the commencement of the present fiscal year on the 1st July, 1857, 17,710,114 dollars 27 cents.
The receipts into the treasury for the first quarter of the present fiscal year, commencing 1st July, 1857, were 20,929,819 dollars 81 centa, and the estimated receipts of the remaining three quarters to the 30th June, 1858, are 36,750,000 dollars, making, with the balance before stated, an aggregate of 75,389,934 dollars 08 cents for the service of the present fiscal year.
The actual expenditures during the first quarter of the present fiscal year were 23,714,528 dollars 37 cents, of which 3,895,232 dollars 39 cents were applied to the redemption of the public debt, including interest and premium. The probable expenditures of the remainiug three quarters, to 30th June, 1858, are 51,248,530 dollars 04 cents, including interest on the public debt, making an aggregate of 74563,058 dollars 41 cents, leaving an estimated balance in the treasury at the close of the present fiscal year of 426,875 dollars 67 cents.
The amount of the public debt at the commencement of the preseut fiscal year was 29,060,386 dollars 90 cents.
The amount redeemed since the 1st of July was 3,895,232 dollars 39 cents, leaving a balance unredeemed at this time of 25,165,154 dollars 51 cents.
The amount of estimated expenditures for the remaining three quarters of the present fiscal year will, in all probability, be increased from the causes set forth in the Eeport of the Secretary. His suggestion, therefore, that authority should be given to supply any temporary deficiency by the issue of a limited amount of treasurynotes is approved, and I accordingly recommend the passage of such a law.
As stated in the Eeport of the Secretary, the tariff of March 3, 1857, has beeu in operation for so short a period of time, and under circumstances so unfavourable to a just development of its results as a revenue measure, that I should regard it as inexpedient, at least for the present, to undertake its revision.
I transmit herewith the Eeports made to me by the Secretaries of "War and of the .Navy, of the Interior and of the PostmasterGeneral. They all contain valuable and important information and suggestions, which I commend to the favourable consideration of Congress.
I have already recommended the raising of four additional regiments, and the Eeport of the Secretary of War presents strong reasons, proving this increase of the army, under existing circumstances, to be indispensable.
I would call the special attention of Congress to the recommendation of the Secretary of the Navy in favour of the construction of 10 small war steamers of light draught. For some years the Government has been obliged on many occasions to hire such steamers from individuals to supply its pressing wants. At the present moment we have no armed vessel in the navy which can penetrate the rivers of China. We have but few which can enter any of the harbours south of Norfolk, although many millions of foreign and domestic commerce annually pass in and out of these harbours. Some of our most valuable interests and most vulnerable points are thus left exposed. This class of vessels of light draught, great speed, and heavy guns would be formidable in coast defence. The cost of their construction will not be great, and they will require but a comparatively small expenditure to keep them in commission. In time of peace they will prove as effective as much larger vessels, and more useful. One of them should be at every station where we maintain a squadron, and three or four should be constantly employed on our Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Economy, utility, and efficiency, combine to recommend them as almost indispensable. Ten of these small vessels would be of incalculable advantage to the naval service, and the whole cost of their construction would not exceed 2,300,000 dollars, or 230,000 dollars each.
The Eeport of the Secretary of the Interior is worthy of grave consideration. It treats of the numerous, important, and diversified branches of domestic administration intrusted to him by law. Among these the most prominent are the public lands and our relations with the Indians.
Our system for the disposal of the public lands, originating witb tie fathers of the Republic, has been improved as experience pointed tie way, and gradually adapted to the growth and settlement of our ttstern States and territories. It has worked well in practice. Already 13 States and 7 territories hare been carved out of these linds, and still more than 1,000,000,000 of acres remain unsold. Fhat a boundless prospect this presents to our country of future prosperity and power! j We have heretofore disposed of 363,862,4G4 acres of the public land.
Whilst the public lands, as a source of revenue, are of great importance, their importance is far greater as furnishing homes for a hardy and independent race of honest and industrious citizens, tho desire to subdue and cultivate the soil. They ought to be idministered mainly with a view of promoting this wise and benerolent policy. In appropriating them for any other purpose, we ought to use even greater economy than if they had been converted into money and the proceeds were already in the public treasury. To squander away this richest and noblest inheritance which any people have ever enjoyed upon objects of doubtful constitutionality or expediency, would be to violate one of the most important trusts erer committed to any people. Whilst I do not deny to Congress the power, when acting band fide as a proprietor, to give away portions of them for the purpose of increasing the value of the remainder, yet, considering the great temptation to abuse this power, we cannot be too cautious in its exercise.
Actual settlers under existing laws are protected against other purchasers at the public sales, in their right of pre-emption, to the extent of a quarter-section, .or 1G0 acres of land. The remainder may then be disposed of at public or entered at private sale in unlimited quantities.
Speculation has of late years prevailed to a great extent in the public lands. The consequence has been that large portions of them have become the property of individuals and companies, and thus the price is greatly enhanced to those who desire to purchase for actual settlement. In order to limit the area of speculation as much as possible, the extinction of the Indian title and the extension of the public surveys ought only to keep pace with the tide of emigration.
If Congress should hereafter grant alternate sections to States or companies, as they have done heretofore, I recommend that the intermediate sections retained by the Government should be subject to pre-emption by actual settlers.
It ought ever to be our cardinal policy to reserve the public landa as much as may be for actual settlers, and this at moderate prices. We shall thus not only best promote the prosperity of the new States and territories, and the power of the Union, but shall secure homes for our posterity for many generations.
The extension of our limits has brought within our jurisdiction many additional and populous tribes of Indians, a large proportion of which are wild, untractable, aud difficult to control. Predatory and warlike in their disposition and habits, it is impossible altogether to restrain them from committing aggressions on each other, as well as upon our frontier citizens and those emigrating to our distant States and territories. Hence expensive military expeditions are. frequently necessary to overawe and chastise the more lawless aud hostile.
The present system of making them valuable presents to influence them to remain at peace has proved ineffectual. It is believed to bo the better policy to colonize them in suitable localities, where they can receive the rudiments of education and be gradually induced to adopt habits of industry. So far as the experiment has been tried it has worked well in practice, and it will doubtless prove to be less expensive than the present system.
The whole number of Indians within our territorial limits ia believed to be, from the best data in the Interior Department, about 325,000.
The tribes of Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Creeks, Bettled in the territory set apart for them west of Arkansas, are rapidly advancing in education aud in all the arts of civilization and self-government; and we may indulge the agreeable anticipation that at no very distant day they will be incorporated into the Union as one of the sovereign States.
It will bo seen from the report of the Postmaster-General that the Post Office Department still continues to depend on the Treasury, as it has been compelled to do for several years past, for an important portion of the means of sustaining aud extending ita operations. Their rapid growth and expansion are shown by a decennial statement of the number of post offices, and the length of post roads, commencing with the year 1S27. In that year there were 7,000 post offices; in 1837, 11,177; in 1S17, 15,110; and in 1857 they number 2G,5SG. In this year, 1,725 post offices have been established and 701 discontinued, leaving a net increase of 1,021. The postmasters of 308 offices are appointed by the President.
The length of post roads in 1827 was 105,330 miles; in 1837, 111,212 miles; iu 1817, 153,818 miles; and in the year 1857 there are 242,001 miles of post road, including 22,530 miles of railroad, ou which the mails are transported.
The expenditures of the department for the fiscal year ending on the 30th Juno, 1857, as adjusted by the auditor, amounted to 11,507,670 dollars. To defray these expenditures there was to tho credit of the department on the 1st July, 1856, the sum of 789,59!) dollars; the gross revenue of the year, including the annual allowances for the transportation of free mail matter, produced 8,053,951 dollars; and the remainder was supplied by the appropriation from the Treasury of 2,250,000 dollars, granted by the Act of Congress approTed August 18, 1S56, nnd by the appropriation of 606,883 dollars made by the Act of March 3, 1857, leaving 252,763 dollars to be carried to the credit of the department in the accounts of the current year. I commend to your consideration the report of the department in relation to the establishment of the overland mail route from the Mississippi Eiver to San Francisco, California. The route was selected with my full concurrence, as the one in my judgment, beat calculated to attain the important objects contemn plated by Congress.
The late disastrous monetary revulsion may have one good effect ihould it cause both the Government and the people to return to the practice of a wise and judicious economy both in public and private expenditures,
An overflowing treasury has led to habits of prodigality and extravagance in our legislation. It has induced Congress to make large appropriations to objects for which they never would have provided had it been necessary to raise the amount of revenue required to meet them by increased taxation or by loans. We are now compelled to pause in our career, and to scrutinize our expenditures with the utmost vigilance; and in performing this duty, I pledge my co-operation to the extent of my constitutional competencr.
It ought to be observed at the same time that true public economy does not consist in withholding the means necessary to accomplish important national objects intrusted to us by the Constitution, and especially such as may be necessary for the common defence. In the present crisis of the country it is our duty to confine our appropriations to objects of this character, unless in cases where justice to individuals may demand a different course. In all cases care ought to be taken that the money granted by Congress shall be faithfully and economically applied.
Under the Federal Constitution, "every Bill which shall have passed the House of Eepresentatives and the Senate shall, before it becomes a law," be approved and signed by the President; and, if not approved, "he shall return it with his objections to that house in which it originated." In order to perform this high and responsible duty, sufficient time must be allowed the President to read and examine every Bill presented to him for approval. Unless this be afforded, the Constitution becomes a dead letter in this