« AnteriorContinuar »
shape at least, the emigration, which has heretofore been great, will probably increase, and the demand for land, and the augmentation in its value, be in like proportion. The great increase of our population throughout the union will alone produce an important effect, and in no quarter will it be so sensibly felt as in those in contemplation. The public lands are a public stock, which ought to be disposed of to the best advantage for the nation. The nation should, therefore, derive the profit proceeding from the continual rise in their value. Every encouragement should be given to the emigrants consistent with a fair competition between them; but that competition should operate, in the first sale, to the advantage of the nation rather than of individuals. Great capitalists will derive all the benefit incident to their superior wealth, under any mode of sale which may be adopted. But if, looking forward to the rise in the value of the public lands, they should have the opportunity of amassing, at a low price, vast bodies in their hands, the profit will accrue to them and not to the public. They would also have the power, in that degree, to control the emigration and settlement in such manner as their opinion of their respective interests might dictate. I submit this subject to the consideration of Congress, that such further provision may be made in the sale of the public lands, with a view to the public interest, should any be deemed expedient, as in their judgment may be best adapted to the object.
"When we consider the vast ex
tent of territory, within the United States, the great amount and value of its productions, the connexion of its parts, and other circumstances on which their prosperity and happiness depend, we cannot fail to entertain a high sense of the advantages to be derived from the facility which may be afforded in the intercourse between them by means of good roads and canals. Never did a country of such vast extent offer equal inducements to improvements of this kind, nor ever were consequences of such vast magnitude involved in them. As this subject was acted on by Congress at the last session, and there may be a disposition to revive it at the present, I have brought it into view, for the purpose of communicating my sentiments on a very important circumstance connected with it, with that freedom and candour which a regard for the public interest, and a proper respect for Congress, require. A difference of opinion has existed, from the first formation of our constitution to the present time, among our most enlightened and virtuous citizens, respecting the right of Congress to establish such a system of improvement. Taking into view the trust with which I am now honoured, it would be improper, after what has passed, that this discussion should be revived, with an uncertainty of my opinion respecting the right. Disregarding early impressions, I have bestowed on the subject all the deliberation which its great importance, and a just sense of my duty, required; and the result is a settled conviction in my mind, that Congress do not possess the right.
It is not contained in any of the specified powers granted to Congress; nor can I consider it in cidental to, or a necessary mean, viewed on the most liberal scale, for carrying into effect any of the powers which are specifically granted. In communicating this result, I cannot resist the obligation which I feel to suggest to Congress the propriety of recommending to the States the adoption of an amendment to the constitution, which shall give to Congress the right in question. In cases of doubtful construction, especially of such vital interest, it comports with the nature and origin of our institutions, and will contribute much to preserve them, to apply to our constituents for an explicit grant of the power. We may confidently rely, that if it appears to their satisfaction that the power is necessary, it will always be granted. In this case I am happy to observe that experience has afforded the most ample proof of its utility, and that the benign spirit of conciliation and harmony which now manifests itself throughout our Union, promises to such a recommendation the most prompt and favourable result. I think proper to suggest also, in case this measure is adopted, that it be recommended to the States to include in the amendment sought, a right in Congress to institute, likewise, seminaries of learning, for the all-important purpose of diffusing knowledge among our fellowcitizens throughout the United States.
"Our manufactories will require the continued attention of Congress. The capital employed
in them is considerable, and the knowledge acquired in the machinery and fabric of all the most useful manufactures is of great value. Their preservation, which depends on due encouragement, is connected with the high interests of the nation.
Although the progress of the public buildings has been as favourable as circumstances have permitted, it is to be regretted that the Capitol is not yet in a state to receive you. There is good cause to presume that the two wings, the only parts as yet commenced, will be prepared for that purpose at the next session. The time seems now to have arrived when this subject may be deemed worthy the attention of Congress, on a scale adequate to national purposes. The completion of the middle building will be necessary to the convenient accommodation of Congress, of the Committees, and various offices belonging to it. It is evident that the other public buildings are altogether insufficient for the accommodation of the several executive departments, some of which are much crowded, and even subjected to the necessity of obtaining it in private buildings, at some distance from the head of the department, and with inconve nience to the management of the public business. Most nations have taken an interest and a pride in the improvement and ornament of their metropolis, and none were more conspicuous in that respect than the ancient republics. The policy which dictated the establishment of a permanent residence for the national government, and the spirit in which it was com
menced and has been prosecuted, show that such improvement was thought worthy the attention of this nation. Its central position, between the northern and southern extremities of our union, and its approach to the west, at the head of a great navigable river which interlocks with the western waters, prove the wisdom of the councils which established it. Nothing appears to be more reasonable and proper than that convenient accommodations should be provided, on a well-digested plan, for the heads of the several departments, and for the AttorneyGeneral; and it is believed that the public ground in the city, applied to those objects, will be found amply sufficient. I submit this subject to the consideration of Congress, that such further provision may be made in it as to them may seem proper.
"In contemplating the happy situation of the United States, our attention is drawn, with peculiar interest, to the surviving officers and soldiers of our revolutionary army, who so eminently contributed, by their services, to lay its foundation. Most of those very meritorious citizens have paid the debt of nature, and gone to repose. It is believed that among the survivors there are some not provided for by existing laws, who are reduced to indigence, and even to real distress. These men have a claim on the gratitude of their country, and it will do honour to their country to provide for them. The lapse of a few years more, and the opportunity will be for ever lost indeed, so long already has been the interval, that the number to be benefited by any
provision which may be made will not be great.
"It appearing in a satisfactory manner that the revenue arising from imports and tonnage, and from the sale of the public lands, will be fully adequate to the support of the civil government, of the present military and naval establishments, including the annual augmentation of the latter, to the extent provided for, to the payment of the interests on the public debt, and to the extinguishment of it at the times authorised, without the aid of internal taxes; I consider it my duty to recommend to Congress their repeal. To impose taxes, when the public exigencies require them, is an obligation of the most sacred character, especially with a free people.
The faithful fulfilment of it is among the highest proofs of their virtue, and capacity for self-government. To dispense
with taxes, when it may be done with perfect safety, is equally the duty of their representatives. In this instance we have the satisfaction to know that they were imposed when the demand was imperious, and have been sustained with exemplary fidelity. I have to add, that, however gratifying it may be to me, regarding the prosperous and happy condition of our country, to recommend the repeal of these taxes at this time, I shall nevertheless be attentive to events, and, should any future emergency occur, be not less prompt to suggest such measures and burdens as may then be requisite and proper.
JAMES MONROE. "Washington, Dec. 2, 1817."
The state of affairs in the Spanish Colonies of North and South America appears to have undergone little change in the present year; one cause of which has been the mutual debility of both parties, which may be ascribed to the weakness induced upon each by the savage manner in which war has been carried on.
Buenos Ayres, which from the beginning of the contest has constituted the principal strength of the patriot or insurgent cause, sent out a force under General San Martin, which was designed to recover the province of Chili. The General fell in with the Royalists near Chabuco, and defeated them in a general action on the 12th of February; after which a new government was organized in Santiago, the capital of Chili. The former Spanish governor of the province, Marco del Pont, was captured by the Patriots. San Martin, who arrived at Santiago on April 11, was employed in completing his conquest. The remaining royal forces were strongly posted in the harbour of Talcahuano, where five vessels were detained for the removal of the troops, should it be found necessary.
The Portuguese troops were still at Montevideo.
Early in the year there arrived by sea a person named Gregor M'Gregor, a native of Scotland, who took possession of an island called Amelia, and entitled himself General of Brigade of the Armies of the United Provinces of New Granada and Venezuela, and General-in-Chief of the Armies destined against the Floridas.
established himself in Amelia is
land, with a crew composed of the natives of different countries; but it was generally suspected that his motive was chiefly to secure a good port, whence he might carry on a kind of piratical traffic with the persons with whom he was connected. After continuing for a considerable time at Amelia, being disappointed, it is said, of aid which he expected from Baltimore, M'Gregor and his wife left the island on the 5th of September, and sailed away in a brig. The Mexican (patriotic) flag was hoisted in the same month, and proclamations were issued, signed by Aury, Commander-in-Chief, and R. Hubbard, Governor..
The Buenos Ayres government having felt themselves aggrieved by the numerous complaints made by foreign nations against the robberies committed by South American privateers upon their commerce, published, on Aug. 16, the following official notice, addressed to all such complainants.—
"For some time past the foreign papers have been filled with complaints against our cruisers, for acting contrary to the laws of nations; but as those complaints must refer to other parts of South America as well as to ours, this government waits for information less vague as to the authors of those excesses, in order to give entire satisfaction to neu. tral and friendly powers. The injustice of Spain has placed us on a precipice, and involves our name in acts repugnant to our feelings. The evil originated from little caution used by the former Government in granting letters of marque, little suspecting then that bad use would be made of them;
but the present administration has taken care to regulate every thing according to the law of nations. Latterly, one of our privateers captured two Portuguese vessels under the mistaken idea that we were at war with that power. They shall be immediately restored, in order to show that we have no other interest in the privateers than in so far as they contribute to our national defence; and that we have no other enemies but Spaniards, against whom our whole efforts are to be directed. At present, the Supreme Government has appointed a commission, which is acting incessantly in order to put a stop to the future abuses of our privateers. We hold nothing more sacred than honour, and no time shall be lost in removing all occasion for those calumnies raised by our enemies. Neither anarchical nor sans culotte ideas exist in South America. We did not declare our independence until interior order was completely
The Royal General Morillo, on the 14th of July, landed on the
island of Margaretta, and sent a column of his troops to attack Porlamar, of which they took possession, after a desperate resistance. Three hundred of the Patriots were killed, and many were wounded and made prisoners. The survivors fled to the mountains. The island was surrounded with twenty Spanish ships of war; and several of the insurgent families who endeavoured to escape had already been taken.
A dispatch from Don Francisco de Orantia to Viceroy Don Juan Ruez de Apodaca, dated from Silao, in the government of Mexico, October 27, contains an account of his having taken prisoner Mina, the nephew of the celebrated general against the French, with twenty-five other persons, in the pass of Venadito, where Mina was at the head of 200 men, nearly the half of whom are killed. This capture appears to have been considered as of great importance by the Spanish government, which could not remain indifferent as to the possible success of the enterprise.