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of our treaty made with his father the late emperor, and consequently the continuance of peace with that power. With peculiar satisfaction, I add, that information has been received from an agent deputed on our part to Algiers, importing that the terms of a treaty with the dey and regency of that country had been adjusted in such a manner as to authorize the expectation of a speedy peace and the restoration of our unfortunate fellowcitizens from a grievous captivity.
The latest advices from our envoy at the court of Madrid give, moreover, the pleasing information that he had received assurances of a speedy and satisfactory conclusion of his negotiation. While the event depending upon unadjusted particulars, can not be regarded as ascertained, it is agreeable to cherish the expectation of an issue which, securing amicably very essential interests of the United States, will at the same time lay the foundation of lasting harmony with a power whose friendship we have uniformly and sincerely desired to cultivate.
Though not before officially disclosed to the house of representatives, you, gentlemen, are all apprized that a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, has been negotiated with Great Britain, and that the senate have advised and consented to its ratification upon a condition which excepts part of one article. Agreeably thereto, and to the best judgment I was able to form of the public interest, after full and mature deliberation, I have added my sanction. The result on the part of his Britannic majesty is unknown. When received, the subject will without delay be placed before Congress.
This interesting summary of our affairs with regard to foreign powers, between whom and the United States controversies have subsisted, and with regard also to those of our Indian neighbors with whom we have been in a state of enmity or misunderstanding, opens a wide field for consoling and gratifying reflections. If, by prudence and moderation on every side, the extinguishment of all the causes of external discord which have heretofore menaced our tranquillity, on terms compatible with our national rights and honor, shall be the happy result, how firm and how precious a foundation will have been laid for accelerating, maturing, and establishing, the prosperity of our country.
Contemplating the internal situation as well as the external relations of the United States, we discover equal cause for contentment and satisfaction. While many of the nations of Europe, with their American dependencies, have been involved in a contest unusually bloody, exhausting, and calamitous, in which the evils of foreign war have been aggravated by domestic convulsion and insurrection; in which many of the arts most useful to society have been exposed to discouragement and decay; in which scarcity of subsistence has imbittered other sufferings; while even the anticipations of a return of the blessings of peace and repose are alloyed by the sense of heavy and accumulating burdens, which press upon all the departments of industry, and threaten to clog the future springs of government, our favored country, happy in a striking contrast, has enjoy ed general tranquillity-a tranquillity the more satisfactory because maintained at the expense of no duty. Faithful to ourselves, we have violated no obligation to others. Our agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, prosper beyond example, the molestations of our trade (to prevent a continuance of which, however, very pointed remonstrances have been made) being overbalanced by the aggregate benefits which derives from a neutral position. Our population advances with a celerity which, exceeding the
most sanguine calculations, proportionally augments our strength and resources, and guaranties our future security. Every part of the Union displays indications of rapid and various improvement; and with burdens so light as scarcely to be perceived, with resources fully adequate to our present exigencies, with governinents founded on the genuine principles of rational liberty, and with mild and wholesome laws, is it too much to say that our country exhibits a spectacle of national happiness never surpassed, if ever before equalled?
Placed in a situation every way so auspicious, motives of commanding force impel us, with sincere acknowledgment to Heaven and pure love to our country, to unite our efforts to preserve, prolong, and improve, our immense advantages. To co-operate with you in this desirable work is a fervent and favorite wish of my heart.
It is a valuable ingredient in the general estimate of our welfare, that the part of our country which was lately the scene of disorder and insurrection now enjoys the blessings of quiet and order. The misled have abandoned their errors, and pay the respect to our constitution and laws which is due from good citizens to the public authorities of society. These circumstances have induced me to pardon generally the offenders here referred to, and to extend forgiveness to those who had been adjudged to capital punishment. For though I shall always think it a sacred duty to exercise with firmness and energy the constitutional powers with which I am vested, yet it appears to me no less consistent with the public good than it is with my personal feelings, to mingle, in the operations of gov ernment, every degree of moderation and tenderness which the national justice, dignity, and safety, may permit.
Among the objects which will claim your attention in the course of the session, a review of our military establishment is not the least important. It is called for by the events which have changed, and may be expected still farther to change, the relative situation of our frontiers. In this review, you will doubtless allow due weight to the considerations that the questions between us and certain foreign powers are not yet finally adjusted, that the war in Europe is not yet terminated, and that our western posts, when recovered, will demand provision for garrisoning and securing them. A statement of our present militia force will be laid before you by the department of war.
With the review of our army establishment is naturally connected that of the militia. It will merit inquiry, what imperfections in the existing plan further experience may have unfolded. The subject is of so much moment in my estimation as to excite a constant solicitude that the consideration of it may be renewed, until the greatest attainable perfection shall be accomplished. Time is wearing away some advantages for forwarding the object, while none better deserves the persevering attention of the public councils.
While we indulge the satisfaction which the actual condition of our western borders so well authorizes, it is necessary that we should not lose sight of an important truth which continually receives new confirmations, namely, that the provisions heretofore made with a view to the protection of the Indians from the violence of the lawless part of our frontier inhabitants, are insufficient. It is demonstrated that these violences can now be perpetrated with impunity; and it can need no argument to prove
that, unless the murdering of Indians can be restrained by bringing the murderers to condign punishment, all the exertions of the government to prevent destructive retaliations by the Indians will prove fruitless, and all our present agreeable prospects illusory. The frequent destruction of innocent women and children, who are chiefly the victims of retaliation, must continue to shock humanity, and to be an enormous expense to drain the treasury of the Union.
To enforce upon the Indians the observance of justice, it is indispensable that there shall be competent means of rendering justice to them. If these means can be devised by the wisdom of Congress, and especially if there can be added an adequate provision for supplying the necessities of the Indians on reasonable terms (a measure the mention of which 1 the more readily repeat, as in all the conferences with them they urge it with solicitude), I should not hesitate to entertain a strong hope of rendering our tranquillity permanent. I add, with pleasure, that the probability even of their civilization is not diminished by the experiments which have been thus far made under the auspices of government. The accomplishment of this work, if practicable, will reflect undecaying lustre on our national character, and administer the most grateful consolations that virtuous minds can know.
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
The state of our revenue, with the sums which have been borrowed and reimbursed pursuant to different acts of Congress, will be submitted from the proper department, together with an estimate of the appropriations necessary to be made for the service of the coming year.
Whether measures may not be advisable to reinforce the provision for the redemption of the public debt, will naturally engage your examination. Congress have demonstrated their sense to be, and it were superfluous to repeat mine, that whatsoever will tend to accelerate the honorable extinction of our public debt accords as much with the true interests of our country as with the general sense of our constituents.
Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives :—
The statements which will be laid before you relative to the mint, will show the situation of that institution, and the necessity of some further legislative provisions for carrying the business of it more completely into effect, and for checking abuses which appear to be arising in particular quarters.
The progress in providing materials for the frigates, and in building them; the state of the fortifications of our harbors; the measures which have been pursued for obtaining proper sites for arsenals, and for replenishing our magazines with military stores; and the steps which have been taken toward the execution of the law for opening a trade with the Indians, will likewise be presented for the information of Congress.
Temperate discussion of the important subjects which may arise in the course of the session, and mutual forbearance where there is a difference of opinion, are too obvious and too necessary for the peace, happiness, and welfare of our country, to need any recommendation of mine.
EIGHTH ANNUAL ADDRESS.
DECEMBER 7, 1796.
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives :
IN recurring to the internal situation of our country since I had last the pleasure to address you, I find ample reason for a renewed expression of that gratitude to the Ruler of the universe which a continued series of prosperity has so often and so justly called forth.
The acts of the last session which required special arrangement, have been, as far as circumstances would admit, carried into operation.
Measures calculated to ensure a continuance of the friendship of the Indians and to preserve peace along the extent of our interior frontier, have been digested and adopted. In the framing of these care has been taken to guard on the one hand, our advanced settlements from the predatory incursions of those unruly individuals who can not be restrained by their tribes, and on the other hand, to protect the rights secured to the Indians by treaty; to draw them nearer to the civilized state, and inspire them with correct conceptions of the power, as well as justice, of the government.
The meeting of the deputies from the Creek nation at Colerain, in the state of Georgia, which had for a principal object the purchase of a parcel of their land by that state, broke up without its being accomplished, the nation having, previous to their departure, instructed them against making any sale. The occasion, however, has been improved to confirm, by a new treaty with the Creeks, their pre-existing engagements with the United States, and to obtain their consent to the establishment of trading-houses and military posts within their boundary, by means of which their friendship and the general peace may be more effectually secured.
The period during the late session at which the appropriation was passed for carrying into effect the treaty of amity, commerce and navigation between the United States and his Britannic majesty, necessarily procrastinated the reception of the posts stipulated to be delivered beyond the date assigned for that event. As soon, however, as the governorgeneral of Canada could be addressed with propriety on the subject, arrangements were cordially and promptly concluded for their evacuation; and the United States took possession of the principal of them, comprehending Oswego, Niagara, Detroit, Michilimackinac, and Fort Miami, where such repairs and additions have been ordered to be made as appeared indispensable.
The commissioners appointed on the part of the United States and of Great Britain to determine which is the river St. Croix mentioned in the treaty of peace of 1783, agreed in the choice of Egbert Benson, Esq., of New York, for the third commissioner. The whole met at St. Andrews, in Passamaquoddy bay, in the beginning of October, and directed surveys to be made of the rivers in dispute; but deeming it impracticable to have these surveys completed before the next year, they adjourned to meet at Boston, in August, 1797, for the final decision of the question.
Other commissioners, appointed on the part of the United States, agreeably to the seventh article of the treaty with Great Britain relative to captures and condemnation of vessels and other property, met the com
missioners of his Britannic majesty in London, in August last, when John Trumbull, Esq., was chosen by lot for the fifth commissioner. In October following, the board were to proceed to business. As yet, there has been no communication of commissioners on the part of Great Britain to unite with those who had been appointed on the part of the United States for carrying into effect the sixth article of the treaty.
The treaty with Spain required that the commissioners for running the boundary line between the territory of the United States and his catholic majesty's provinces of East and West Florida should meet at the Natchez before the expiration of six months after the exchange of the ratifications, which was effected at Aranjuez, on the 25th day of April; and the troops of his catholic majesty occupying any posts within the limits of the United States were, within the same period, to be withdrawn. The commissioner of the United States, therefore, commenced his journey for the Natchez in September, and troops were ordered to occupy the posts from which the Spanish garrisons should be withdrawn. Information has been recently received of the appointment of a commissioner on the part of his catholic majesty for running the boundary line; but none of any appoint ment for the adjustment of the claims of our citizens whose vessels were captured by the armed vessels of Spain.
In pursuance of the act of Congress, passed in the last session, for the protection and relief of American seamen, agents were appointed, one to reside in Great Britain and the other in the West Indies. The effects of the agency in the West Indies are not yet fully ascertained; but those which have been communicated afford grounds to believe the measure will be beneficial. The agent destined to reside in Great Britain declining to accept the appointment, the business has consequently devolved on the minister of the United States in London, and will command his attention. until a new agent shall be appointed.
After many delays and disappointments arising out of the European war, the final arrangements for fulfilling the engagements made to the dey and regency of Algiers will, in all present appearance, be crowned with success, but under great though inevitable disadvantages in the pecuniary transactions occasioned by that war, which will render further provision necessary. The actual liberation of all our citizens who were prisoners in Algiers, while it gratifies every feeling heart, is itself an earnest of a satisfactory termination of the whole negotiation. Measures are in operation for effecting treaties with the regencies of Tunis and Tripoli.
To an active external commerce, the protection of a naval force is indispensable. This is manifest with regard to wars in which a state itself is a party. But besides this, it is in our own experience that the most sincere neutrality is not a sufficient guard against the depredations of nations at war. To secure respect to a neutral flag requires a naval force, organized and ready to vindicate it from insult or aggression. This may prevent even the necessity of going to war, by discouraging belligerent powers from committing such violations of the rights of the neutral party as may, first or last, leave no other option. From the best information I have been able to obtain, it would seem as if our trade to the Mediterranean, without a protecting force, will always be insecure, and our citizens exposed to the calamities from which numbers of them have but just been relieved.
These considerations invite the United States to look to the means, and