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we cannot fail to entertain a high sense of the advan 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 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 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 incidental to, or a necessary mean, viewed on the most liberal scale, for carrying into effect any of the powers which are #. granted. In communicating this result, I cannot resist the obligation which I feel, to suggest to Congress the propriety of recommending to the states an adoption of an amendment to the constitution, which shall give Congress the right in question. In :ases of doubtful construction, especially of such vital interest, it comports with the nature and origin of our republican institutions, and will contribute much to |. serve them, to apply to our constituents for an explicit gran: of the power. We may confidently rely, that, if it appears to their satisfaction that the power is necessary, it will 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, asso, 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 fellow-citizens throughout the United States. Our manufactures will require the continued attention of Congress. The capital employed in them is considerable, and the knowledge required 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 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 the next session. The time seems now to have arrived, when this subject may be deemed worthy of the attention of Congress, on a scale adequate to national urposes. The completion of the middle building will necessary to the convenient accommodation of Congress, of the committees, and various officers 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 subject 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 republics. 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 im. rovement was thought worthy the attention of this nation. ts 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 more reasonable and proper, than that convenient accommodation should be provided, on a well-digested plan, for the heads of the several departments, and for the attorney-general; and it is believed that the public ground in the city, applied to these objects, Wils be found amply sufficient. I submit this subject to the consideration of Congress, that such 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 honor to their country to provide for †. 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 public lands, will be fully adequate to the support of the civi 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 2:1thorized, 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, goal, with a free people. The faithful fulfilment l 14
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 gratisying it may be to me, regarding the prosperous and happy condition of our country, to recommend the repeal of these taxes at this ...?...i. 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.
IN compliance with a usage coeval with the existence of our federal constitution, and sanctioned by the example of my predecessors in the career upon which I am about to enter, I appear, my fellow-citizens, in your presence, and in that of Heaven, to bind myself, by the o of a religious obligation, to the faithful performance of the duties allotted to me, in the station to which I have been called.
In unfolding to my countrymen the principles by which I shall be governed in the fulfilment of those duties, m first resort will be to that constitution, which I shall swear, to the best of my ability, to preserve, protect, and defend. That revered instrument enumerates the powers and prescribes the duties of the executive magistrate ; and, in its first words, declares the purposes to which these, and the whole action of the government, instituted by it, should be invariably and sacredly devoted—to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of i. to the go of this Union, in their successive generations Since the adoption of this social compact, one of these
o has passed away. It is the work of our forefathers. Administered by some of the most eminent men who contributed to its formation, through a most eventful period in the annals of the world, and through all the vicissitudes of peace and war, incidental to the condition of associated man, it has not disappointed the hopes and aspirations of those illustrious benefactors of their age and nation. It has promoted the lasting welfare of that country, so dear to us all; it has, to an extent far beyond the ordinary lot of humanity, secured the freedom and happiness of this people. We now receive it as a precious inheritance from those to whom we are indebted for its establishment, doubly bound by the ex amples they have left us, and by the blessings which we have enjoyed, as the fruits of their labors, to transmit the same, unimpaired, to the succeeding generations. In the compass of thirty-six years, since this great national covenant was instituted, a body of laws enacted under its authority, and in conformity with its provisions, has unfolded its powers, and carried into practical operation its effective energies. Subordinate departments have distributed the executive functions in their various relations to foreign affairs, to the revenue and expenditures, and to the military force of the Union by land and sea A co-ordinate department of the judiciary has expounded the constitution and the laws; settling, in harmonious coincidence with the legislative will, numerous weighty questions of construction which the imperfection of human language had rendered unavoidable. The year of jubilee since the first formation of our Union has just elapsed; that of the declaration of independence is at hand. The consummation of both was effected by this constitution. Sinée that period, a population of four millions has multiplied to twelve. A territory, bounded by the Mississippi, has been extended from sea to sea. New states have been admitted to the Union, in numbers nearly equal to those of the first confederation. Treaties of peace, amity, and commerce, have been concluded with the principal dominions of the earth. The people of other nations, the inhabitants of regions acquired, not by conquest but by compact, have been united with us in the