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SECOND ANNUAL ADDRESS.
DECEMBER 8, 1790.
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives :
In meeting you again, I feel much satisfaction in being able to repeat my congratulations on the favorable prospects which continue to distinguish our public affairs. The abundant fruits of another year have blessed our country with plenty and with the means of a flourishing commerce. The progress of public credit is witnessed by a considerable rise of American stock abroad as well as at home ; and the revenues allotted for this and other national purposes have been productive beyond the calculations by which they were regulated. The latter circumstance is the more pleasing, as it is not only a proof of the fertility of our resources, but as it assures us of a further increase of the national respectability and credit; and, let me add, as it bears an honorable testimony to the patriotism and integrity of the mercantile and marine part of our citizens. The punctuality of the former in discharging their engagements has been exemplary.
In conforming to the powers vested in me by acts of the last session, a loan of three millions of florins, toward which some provisional measures had previously taken place, has been completed in Holland. As well the celerity with which it has been filled, as the nature of the terms (considering the more than ordinary demands for borrowing, created by the situation of Europe), give a reasonable hope that the further execution of those powers may proceed with advantage and success.
The secretary of the treasury has my direction to communicate such further particulars as may be requisite for more precise information.
Since your last session, I have received communications by which it appears that the district of Kentucky, at present a part of Virginia, has concurred in certain propositions contained in a law of that state; in consequence of which, the district is to become a distinct member of the Union, in case the requisite sanction of Congress be added. For this sanction, application is now made. I shall cause the papers on this very important transaction to be laid before you. The liberality and harmony with which it has been conducted will be found to do great honor to both the parties; and the sentiments of warın attachment to the Union and its present government, expressed by our fellow-citizens of Kentucky, can not fail to add an affectionate concern for their particular welfare to the great national impressions under which you will decide on the case submitted
It has been heretofore known to Congress that frequent incursions have b en made on our frontier settlements by certain banditti of Indians from the northwest side of Ohio. These, with some of the tribes dwelling on and near the Wabash, have of late been particularly active in their depredations; and being emboldened by the impunity of their crimes, and aided by such parts of the neighboring tribes as could be seduced to join in their hostilities or afford them a retreat for their prisoners and plunder, have, instead of listening to the humane invitations and overtures made on the
part of the United States, renewed their violences with fresh alacrity and greater effect. The lives of a number of valuable citizens have thus been sacrificed, and some of them under circumstances peculiarly shocking: while others have been carried into a deplorable captivity.
These aggravated provocations rendered it essential to the safety of the western settlements that the aggressors should be made sensible that the government of the Union is not less capable of punishing their crimes than it is disposed to respect their rights and reward their attachments. As this object could not be effected by defensive measures, it became necessary to put in force the act which empowers the president to call out the militia for the protection of the frontier. I have accordingly authorized an expedition in which the regular troops in that quarter are combined with such draughts of militia as were deemed sufficient. The event of the measure is yet unknown to me. The secretary of war is directed to lay before you a statement of the information on which it is founded, as well as an estimate of the expense with which it will be attended.
The disturbed situation of Europe, and particularly the critical posture of the great maritime powers, while it ought to make us the more thankful for the general peace and security enjoyed by the United States, reminds us at the same time of the circumspection with which it becomes us to preserve these blessings. It requires, also, that we should not overlook the tendency of a war, and even of preparations for a war, among the nations most concerned in active commerce with this country, to abridge the means, and thereby at least enhance the price, of transporting its valuable productions to their proper market. I recommend it to your serious reflections how far, and in what mode, it may be expedient to guard against embarrassments from these contingencies, by such encouragement to our own navigation as will render our commerce and agriculture less dependent on foreign bottoms, which may fail us in the very moments most interesting to both of these great objects. Our fisheries and the transportation of our own produce offer us abundant means for guarding ourselves against this evil.
Your attention seems to be not less due to that particular branch of our trade which belongs to the Mediterranean. So many circumstances unite in rendering the present state of it distressful to us, that you will not think any deliberations misemployed which may lead to its relief and protection
The laws you have already passed for the establishment of a judiciary system, have opened the doors of justice to all descriptions of persons. You will consider in your wisdom whether improvements in that system may yet be made; and particularly whether a uniform process of execution on sentences issuing from the federal courts be not desirable through all the states.
The patronage of our commerce, of our merchants, and seamen, has called for the appointment of consuls in foreign countries. It seems expedient to regulate by law the exercise of that jurisdiction and those functions which are permitted them, either by express convention or by a friendly indulgence, in the places of their residence. The consular convention, too, with his most Christian majesty, has stipulated, in certain cases, the aid of the national authority to his consuls established here. Some legislative provision is requisite to carry these stipulations into full effect.
The establishment of the militia, of a mint, of standards of weights and measures, of the postoffice and post-roads, are subjects which I presume you will resume of course, and which are abundantly urged by their own importance.
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
The sufficiency of the revenues you have established for the objects to which they are appropriated, leaves no doubt but the residuary provisions will be commensurate to the other objects for which the public faith stands now pledged. Allow me, moreover, to hope that it will be a favorite policy with you, not merely to secure a payment of the interest of the debt funded, but as far and as fast as the growing resources of the country will permit
, to exonerate it of the principal itself. The appropriations you have made of the western lands explain your disposition on this subject, and I am persuaded that the sooner that valuable fund can be made to contribute, along with other means, to the actual reduction of the public debt, the more salutary will the measure be to every public interest, as well as the more satisfactory to our constituents. Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives :
In pursuing the various and weighty business of the present session, I indulge the fullest persuasion that your consultations will be equally marked with wisdom and animated by the love of your country. In whatever belongs to my duty, you shall have all the co-operation which an undiminished zeal for its welfare can inspire. It will be happy for us both, and our best reward, if, by a successful administration of our respective trusts, we can make the established government more and more instrumental in promoting the good of our fellow-citizens, and more and more the object of their attachment and confidence
THIRD ANNUAL ADDRESS.
OCTOBER 25, 1791.
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives :
I meet you upon the present occasion with the feelings which are naturally inspired by a strong impression of the prosperous situation of our common country, and by a persuasion equally strong that the labors of the session which has just commenced, will, under the guidance of a spirit no less prudent than patriotic, issue in measures conducive to the stability and increase of national prosperity.
Numerous as are the providential blessings which demand our grateful acknowledgments, the abundance with which another year has again rewarded the industry of the husbandman is too important to escape recollection.
Your own observations in your respective situations will have satisfied you of the progressive state of agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation. In tracing their causes, you will have remarked with particular pleasure the happy effects of that revival of confidence, public as well as private, to which the constitution and laws of the United States have so eminently contributed ; and you will have observed, with no less interest, new and decisive proofs of the increasing reputation and credit of the nation. But you, nevertheless, can not fail to derive satisfaction from the confirmation of these circumstances which will be disclosed in the several
official communications that will be made to you in the course of your deliberations.
The rapid subscriptions to the bank of the United States which completed the sum allowed to be subscribed in a single day, is among the striking and pleasing evidences which present themselves, not only of confidence in the government, but of resources in the community.
In the interval of your recess, due attention has been paid to the execution of the different objects which were specially provided for by the laws and resolutions of the last session.
Among the most important of these is the defence and security of the western frontiers. To accomplish it on the most humane principles was a primary wish.
Accordingly, at the same time that treaties have been provisionally concluded, and other proper means used to attach the wavering and to confirm in their friendship, the well-disposed tribes of Indians, effectual measures have been adopted to make those of a hostile description sensible that a pacification was desired upon terms of moderation and justice.
These measures having proved unsuccessful, it became necessary, to convince the refractory of the power of the United States, to punish their depredations. Offensive operations have therefore been directed, to be conducted, however, as consistently as possible with the dictates of humanity. Some of these have been crowned with full success, and others are yet depending. The expeditions which have been completed were carried on under the authority and at the expense of the United States by the militia of Kentucky, whose enterprise, intrepidity, and good conduct, are entitled to peculiar commendation.
Overtures of peace are still continued to the deluded tribes, and consid. erable numbers of individuals belonging to them have lately renounced all further opposition, removed from their former situations, and placed themselves under the immediate protection of the United States.
It is sincerely to be desired that all need of coercion in future may cease, and that an intimate intercourse may succeed, calculated to advance the happiness of the Indians and to attach them firmly to the United States.
In order to this, it seems necessary
That they should experience the benefits of an impartial dispensation of justice.
That the mode of alienating the lands, the main source of discontent and war, should be so defined and regulated as to obviate impositions, and, as far as may be practicable, controversy concerning the reality and extent of the alienations which are made.
That commerce with them should be promoted under regulations tending to secure an equitable deportment toward them, and that such rational experiments should be made for imparting to them the blessings of civilization as may from time to time suit their condition.
That the executive of the United States should be enabled to employ the means to which the Indians have been long accustomed for uniting their immediate interests with the preservation of peace.
And that efficacious provision should be made for inflicting adequate penalties upon all those who, by violating their rights, shall infringe the treaties and endanger the peace of the Union.
A system corresponding with the mild principles of religion and philanthropy toward an unenlightened race of men, whose happiness materi
ally depends on the conduct of the United States, would be as honorable to the national character as conformable to the dictates of sound policy.
The powers specially vested in me by the act laying certain duties on distilled spirits, which respect the subdivisions of the districts into surveys, the appointment of officers, and the assignment of compensation, have likewise been carried into effect. In a matter in which both materials and experience were wanting to guide the calculation, it will be readily conceived that there must have been difficulty in such an adjustment of the rates of compensation as would conciliate a reasonable competency with a proper regard to the limits prescribed by law. It is hoped that the circumspection which has been used will be found, in the result, to have secured the last of the two objects; but it is probable that, with a view to the first, in some instances a revision of the provision will be found advisable.
The impressions with which this law has been received by the community have been, upon the whole, such as were to be expected among enlightened and well-disposed citizens, from the propriety and necessity of the measure. The novelty, however, of the tax, in a considerable part of the United States, and a misconception of some of its provisions, have given occasion in particular places to some degree of discontent. But it is satisfactory to know that this disposition yields to proper explanations and more just apprehensions of the true nature of the law. And I entertain a full confidence that it will, in all, give way to motives which arise out of a just sense of duty and a virtuous regard to the public welfare.
If there are any circumstances in the law which, consistently with its inain design, may be so varied as to remove any well-intentioned objeccions that may happen to exist, it will consist with a wise moderation to make the proper variations. It is desirable, on all occasions, to unite, with a steady and firm adherence to constitutional and necessary acts of government, the fullest evidence of disposition, as far as may be practicable, to consult the wishes of every part of the community, and to lay the foundations of the public administration in the affections of the people.
Pursuant to the authority contained in the several acts on that subject, a district of ten miles square, for the permanent seat of the government of the United States, has been fixed and announced by proclamation ; which district will comprehend lands on both sides of the river Potomac, and the towns of Alexandria and Georgetown. A city has also been laid out agreeably to a plan which will be laid before congress. And as there is a prospect, favored by the rate of sales which have already taken place, of ample funds for carrying on the necessary public buildings, there is every expectation of their due progress.
The completion of the census of the inhabitants, for which provision was made by law, has been duly notified (excepting one instance, in which the return has been informal—and another in which it has been omitted or miscarried), and the returns of the officers who were charged with this duty, which will be laid before you, will give you the pleasing assurance that the present population of the United States borders on four millions of persons.
It is proper, also, to inform you that a further loan of two millions and a half of florins has been completed in Holland, the terms of which are similar to those of the one last announced, except as to a small reduction of charges. Another, on like terms, for six millions of florins, had been set on foot under circumstances that assured an immediate completion.