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it is capable, and no tribe or people have a right to withhold from the wants of others more than is necessary for their own support and comfort. It is gratifying to know that the reservations of land made by the treaties with the tribes on Lake Erie, were made with a view to individual ownership among them, and to the cultivation of the soil by all, and that an annual stipend has been pledged to supply their other wants. It will merit the consideration of Congress, whether other provision, not stipulated by treaty, ought to be made for these tribes, and for the advancement of the liberal and humane policy of the United States towards all the tribes within our limits, and more particularly for their improvement in the arts-of civilized life.
Among the advantages incident to these purchases, and to those which have preceded, the security which may thereby be afforded to our inland frontiers is peculiarly important. With a strong barrier, consisting of our own people thus planted on the lakes, the Mississippi, and the Mobile, with the protection to be derived from the regular forces, Indian hostilities, if they do not altogether cease, will henceforth lose their terror. Fortifications in those quarters, to any extent, will not be necessary, and the expense attending them may be saved. A people accustomed to the use of fire arms only, as the Indian tribes are, will shun even moderate works, which are defended by cannon. Great fortifications, will, therefore, be requisite only, in future, along the coast, and at some points in the interior, connected with it. On these will the safety of our towns, and the commerce of our great rivers, from the Bay of Fundy to the Missis. sippi, depend. On these, therefore, should the utmost attention, skill, and labor, be bestowed.
A considerable and rapid augmentation in the value of all the public lands, proceeding from these and other obvious causes, may Irenceforward be expected. The difficulties attending early emigrations, will be dissipated even in the most remote parts. Several new states have been admitted into our Union, to the west and south, and territorial governments, happily organized, established over every other portion, in which there is vacant land for sale. In terminating Indian hostilities, as must soon be done, in a formidable 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. 1 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 extent 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 advantage 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 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 coinmunicating my sentiments on a very important circumstance connected with it, with that freedom and candor 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 honored, 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 incident to, or a necessary mean, viewed on the most liberal scale, for carrying into effect any of the powers which are specifically gianted. 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. Wennay 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 favorable 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 allimportant purpose of diffusing knowledge among our fellow citizens throughout the United States.
Our manufactories will require the continued attention of Congross. 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 favorable 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 whom 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 inconvenience 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 republicks. The policy which dictated the establishment of a permanent residence for the national government, and the spirit in which it was commenced and has been prosecuted, show that such improvement was thought worthy the attention of this nation. Its central position, between the northern and southern extremes 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 inore reasonable and proper, than that convenient accommodation should be provided, on a well digested plan, for the heads of the several departments, and of the attorney general; 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, whó 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 honor to their country to provide for them. The lapse of a few years more, and the opportunity will be forever lost: indeed, so long already has been the interval, that the number to be benefitted by any provision which may be made, will not be great.
It appearing in a satisfactory manner that the revenue arising from imposts 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 interest on the public debt, and to the extinguishment of it at the times authorized, without the aid of the 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 fulfillment 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 ķnow 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.
Ordered, That the said message be referred to the committee of the whole, on the state of the Union, and that 5000 copies thereof be printed for the use of the members of this House.
On motion of Mr. James S. Smith. Ordered, That the Constitution of the United States and the rules and orders of this House be printed for the use of the members,
And then the House adjourned.
WEDNESDAY, December 3, 1817.
Several other members, to wit: from Pennsylvania, John Sergeant; from Virginia, Peterson Goodwyn and Thomas M. Nelson; and from South Carolina, Wilson Nesbit appeared, produced their credentials, and took their seats; the oath to support the Constitution of the United States being first administered to them by Mr. Speaker.
The Speaker laid before the House a letter from John Gardiner, chief clerk in the general land office, accompanied with two copies of a Map of the bounty lands in the Illinois territory, engraved for the use of the soldiers of the late ariny, which was ordered to lie on the table.
On motion of Mr. Smith, of Maryland, Resolved, That the House do now proceed to the appointment of the standing committees, pursuant to the rules and orders of the House: Whereupon
A committee of Ways and Means was appointed, consisting of Mr. Lowndes, Mr. Smith. (Md.) Mr. Burwell, Mr. Pitkin, Mr. Abbott, Mr. Sargeant, and Mr. Trimble.
A committee of Elections was appointed, consisting of Mr. Taylor, Mr. Tyler, Mr. Merrill, Mr. Shaw, Mr. Boss, Mr. Whitman, and Mr. Strong.
A committee of Commerce and Manufactures was appointed, consisting of Mr. Newton, Mr. Seybert, Mr. Moseley, Mr. Irving, (N. Y.) Mr. M Lane, Mr. Crawford, and Mr. Kinsey.
A committee of Claims was appointed, consisting of Mr. Wil. liams, (N. C.) Mr. Rich, Mr. Bateman, Mr. M.Coy, Mr. Hunting. ton, Mr. Schuyler, and Mr. Walker, (Ken.)
A committee for the District of Columbia was appointed, consisting of Mr. Herbert, Mr. Miller, Mr. Peter, Mr. Boden, Mr. Strother, Mr, Claiborne, and Mr. Cobb.
A committee on the Public Lands was appointed, consisting of Mr. Robertson, (Lou.) Mr. Anderson, (Ky.) Mr. Mercer, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Hendricks, Mr. Terry, and Mr. Marr.
A Committee on Private Land Claims was appointed, consisting of Mr. Herrick, Mr. Heister, Mr. Pindall, Mr. Hogg, and Mr. Tompkins.
A committee on the Post Office and Post Roads was appointed, consisting of Mr. Ingham, Mr. Blount, Mr. Barber, (Ohio) Mr. Townsend, Mr. Jeremiah Nelson, Mr. Colston, and Mr. Terrell.
A committee on Pensions and Revolutionary Claims was appointed, consisting of Mr. Rhea, Mr. Wilkin, Mr. Ruggles, Mr. William P. Maclay, Mr. Sherwood, Mr. Ellicot, and Mr. Owen.
A committee on Public Expenditures was appointed, consisting of Mr. Desha, Mr. Anderson, (Pa.) Mr. Garnett, Mr. Cushman, Mr. Culbreth, Mr. Hunter, and Mr. Holmes, (Con.)
A committee on the Judiciary was appointed, consisting of Mr. Hugh Nelson, Mr. Hopkinson, Mr. Spencer, Mr. Edwards, Mr. Beecher, Mr. Livermore, and Mr. Hale.
A committee of accounts was appointed, consisting of Mr. Little, Mr. Bennet, and Mr. Allen, (Mass.)
A committee of Revisal and Unfinished Business was appointed consisting of Mr. Savage, Mr. Whiteside, and Mr. Westerlo.
A committee on the Expenditures in the Department of State was appointed, consisting of Mr. Forsyth, Mr. Hasbrouck, and Mr. Scudder.