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Although the report of the commissioners marks their firmness and abilities, and must unite all virtuous men, by showing that the means of conciliation have been exhausted, and that all of those who had committed or abetted the tumults did not subscribe the mild form which was proposed as the atonement, the indications of a peaceable temper were neither suffi. ciently general nor conclusive to recommend or warrant the farther suspension of the march of the militia. Thus the painful alternative could not be discarded. l ordered the militia to march, after once more admonishing the insurgents in my proclamation on the 25th of September last. It was a task too difficult to ascertain with precision the lowest degree of force competent to the quelling of the insurrection. From a respect, indeed, to economy, and the ease of my fellow citizens belonging to the militia, it would have gratified me to accomplish such an estimate. My very reluctance to ascribe too much importance to the opposition, had its extent been accurately seen, would have been a decided inducement to the smallest efficient numbers. In this uncertainty, therefore, I put into motion fifteen thousand men, as being an army which, according to all human calculations, would be prompt and adequate in every view, and might, perhaps, by rendering resistance desperate, prevent the effusion of blood. Quotas had been assigned to the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia; the governor of Pennsylvania having declared, on this occasion, an opinion which justified a requisition to the other states. As commander-in-chief of the militia when called into the actual ser. vice of the United States, I have visited the places of general rendezvous to obtain more exact information, and to direct a plan for ulterior movements. Had there been room for a persuasion that the laws were secure from obstruction; that the civil magistrate was able to bring to justice such of the most culpable as have not embraced the proffered terms of amnesty, and may be deemed fit objects of example; that the friends to peace and good government were not in need of that aid and countenance which they ought always to receive, and, I trust, ever will receive, against the vicious and turbulent; I should have caught with avidity the opportunity of restoring the militia to their families and homes. But succeeding intelligence has tended to manifest the necessity of what has been done, it being now confessed by those who were not inclined to exaggerate the ill conduct of the insurgents, that their malevolence was not pointed merely to a particular law, but that a spirit inimical to all order has actuated many of the offenders. If the state of things had afforded reason for the continuance of my presence with the army, it would not have been withholden. But every appearance assuring such an issue as will redound to the reputation and strength of the United States, I have judged it most proper to resume my duties at the seat of government, leaving the chief command with the governor of Virginia. Still, however, as it is probable that, in a commotion like the present, whatsoever may be the pretence, the purposes of mischief and revenge may not be laid aside, the stationing of a small force, for a certain period, in the four western counties of Pennsylvania will be indispensable, whether we contemplate the situation of those who are connected with the execution of the laws, or of others who may have exposed themselves by an honorable attachment to them. Thirty days from the commencement of this
session being the legal limitation of the employment of the militia, Congress cannot be too early occupied with this subject. Among the discussions which may arise from this aspect of our affairs, and from the documents which will be submitted to Congress, it will not escape their observation that not only the inspector of the revenue, but other officers of the United States in Pennsylvania, have, from their fidel. ity in the discharge of their functions, sustained material injuries to their property. The obligation and policy of indemnifying them are strong and obvious. It may also merit attention, whether policy will not enlarge this provision to the retribution of other citizens, who, though not under the ties of office, may have suffered damage by their generous exertions for upholding the constitution and the laws. The amount, even if all the injured were included, would not be great; and on future emergencies, the government would be amply repaid by the influence of an example that he who incurs a loss in its defence, shall find a recompense in its liberality. While there is cause to lament that occurrences of this nature jã have disgraced the name or interrupted the tranquillity of any part of our community, or should have diverted to a new application any portion of the public resources, there are not wanting real and substantial consolations for the misfortune. It has demonstrated that our prosperity rests on solid foundations, by furnishing an additional proof that my fellow citizens understand the true principles of government and liberty; that they feel their inseparable union; that, notwithstanding all the devices which have been used to sway them from their interest and duty, they are now as ready to maintain the authority of the laws against licentious invasions, as they were to defend their rights against usurpation. It has been a spectacle displaying to the highest advantage the value of republican government, to behold the most and the least wealthy of our citizens standing in the same ranks as private soldiers, pre-eminently distinguished by being the army of the constitution— undeterred by a march of three hundred miles over rugged mountains, by the approach of an inclement season, or by any other discouragement. Nor ought I to omit to acknowledge the efficacious and patriotic co-operations which I have experienced from the chief magistrates of the states to which my requisitions have been addressed. To every description of citizens, indeed, let praise be given. But let them persevere in their affectionate vigilance over that precious depository of American happiness, the constitution of the United States. Let them cherish it, too, for the sake of those who, from every clime, are daily seeking a dwelling in our land. And when, in the calm moments of reflection, they shall have traced the origin and progress of the insurrection, let them determine whether it has not been formented by combinations of men who, careless of consequences, and disregarding the unerring truth that those who rouse cannot always appease a civil convulsion, have disseminated, from an ignorance or perversion of facts, suspicions, jealousies, and accusations of the whole government. Having thus fulfilled the engagement which I took, when I entered into office, “to the best of my ability to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States,” on you, gentlemen, and the people by whom you are deputed, I rely for support. In the arrangements to which the possibility of a similar contingency will naturally draw your attention, it ought not to be forgotten that the militia laws have exhibited such striking defects as could not have been supplied but by the zeal of our citizens. Besides the extraordinary expense and waste, which are not the least of the defects, every appeal to those laws is attended with a doubt on its success. The devising and establishing of a well-regulated militia, would be a genuine source of legislative honor, and a perfect title to public gratitude. I therefore entertain a hope that the present session will not pass without carrying to its full energy the power of organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia; and thus providing, in the language of the constitution, for calling them forth to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions. As auxiliary to the state of our defence, to which Congress can never too frequently recur, they will not omit to inquire whether the fortifications which have been already licensed by law be commensurate with our existence. The intelligence from the army under the command of General Wayne is a happy presage to our military operations against the hostile Indians north of the Ohio. From the advices which have been forwarded, the advance which he has made must have damped the ardor of the savages, and weakened their obstinacy in waging war against the United States. And yet, even at this late hour, when our power to punish them cannot be questioned, we shall not be unwilling to cement a lasting peace upon terms of candor, equity, and good neighborhood. Towards none of the Indian tribes have overtures of friendship been spared. The Creeks, in particular, are covered from encroachment by the interposition of the general government and that of Georgia. From a desire, also, to remove the discontent of the Six Nations, a settlement meditated at Presque Isle, on lake Erie, has been suspended, and an agent is now endeavoring to rectify any misconception into which they may have fallen. But I cannot refrain from again pressing upon your deliberations the plan which I recommended at the last session for the improvement of harmony with all the Indians within our limits, by the fixing and conducting of the trading-houses upon the principles then expressed.
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:
The time which has elapsed since the commencement of our fiscal measures, has developed our pecuniary resources so as to open the way for a definitive plan for the redemption of the public debt. It is believed that the result is such as to encourage Congress to consummate this work without delay. Nothing can more promote the permanent welfare of the nation, and nothing would be more grateful to our constituents. Indeed, whatsoever is unfinished of our system of public credit, cannot be benefited by procrastination; and, as far as may be practicable, we ought to place that credit on grounds which cannot be disturbed, and to prevent that progressive accumulation of debt which must ultimately endanger all governments.
An estimate of the necessary appropriations, including the expenditures into which we have been driven by the insurrection, will be submitted to Congress.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives:
The mint of the United States has entered upon the coinage of the pre: cious metals, and considerable sums of defective coins and bullion have
been lodged with the directors by individuals. There is a pleasing prospect that the institution will, at no remote day, realise the expectation which was originally formed of its utility. In subsequent communications, certain circumstances of our intercourse with foreign nations will be transmitted to Congress. However, it may not be unseasonable to announce that my policy in our foreign transactions has been to cultivate peace with all the world; to observe the treaties with pure and absolute faith; to check every deviation from the line of impartiality; to explain what may have been misapprehended, and correct what may have been injurious to any nation; and having thus acquired the right, to lose no time in acquiring the ability, to insist upon justice being done to ourselves. Let us unite, therefore, in imploring the Supreme Ruler of Nations to spread his holy protection over these United States; to turn the machinations of the wicked to the confirming of our constitution; to enable us at all times to root out internal sedition and put invasion to flight; to perpetuate to our country that prosperity which his goodness has already conferred, and to verify the anticipations of this government being a safeguard to human rights.
I TRust I do not deceive myself while I indulge the persuasion that I have never met you at any period when, more than at the present, the situation of our public affairs has afforded just cause for mutual congratulation, and for inviting you to join with me in profound gratitude to the Author of all Good for the numerous and extraordinary blessings we enjoy.
The termination of the long, expensive and distressing war in which we have been engaged with certain Indians northwest of the Ohio, is placed in the option of the United States by a treaty which the commander of our army has concluded provisionally with the hostile tribes in that region.
In the adjustment of the terms, the satisfaction of the Indians was deemed an object worthy no less of the policy than of the liberality of the United States as the necessary basis of durable tranquillity. The object, it is believed, has been fully attained. The articles agreed upon will immediately be laid before the Senate for their consideration.
The Creek and Cherokee Indians, who alone of the southern tribes had annoyed our frontiers, have lately confirmed their pre-existing treaties with us, and were giving evidence of a sincere disposition to carry them into effect by the surrender of the prisoners and property they had taken. But we have to lament that the prospect in this quarter has been once more clouded by wanton murders, which some citizens of Georgia are represented to have recently perpetrated on hunting-parties of the Creeks, which have again subjected that frontier to disquietude and danger which will be productive of farther expense, and may occasion more effusion of blood. Measures are pursuing to prevent or mitigate the usual consequences of such outrages, and with the hope of their succeeding, at least to avert general hostility.
A letter from the Emperor of Morocco announces to me his recognition 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 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 fellow citizens 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, cannot be regarded as ascertained, it is agreeable to cherish the expectation of an issue which, securing amicably every essential interest 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 apprised that a treaty of amity, commerce and nav. igation 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 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 satisfac. tion. 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 usesul 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 enjoyed general tranquillity—a tranquillity the more satisfactory because maintained at the expense of no duty. Faithful to ourselves, we have violated no obligations 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)