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tion of the public building occupied by the Treasury Department, which happened since the last adjournment of Congress. A thorough inquiry into the causes of this loss was directed and made at the time, the result of which will be duly communicated to you. I take pleasure, however, in stating here, that, by the laudable exertions of the officers of the Department, and many of the citizens of the District, but few papers were lost, and none that will materially affect the public interest.
The public convenience requires that another building should be erected as soon as practicable; and providing for it, it will be advisable to enlarge, in some manner, the accommodations for the public officers of the several Departments, and to authorize the erection of suitable depositories for the safe keeping of the public documents and records.
Since the last adjournment of Congress, the Secretary of the Treasury has directed the money of the United States to be deposited in certain State banks, designated by him, and he will immediately lay before you his reasous for this direction. I concur with him entirely in the view he has taken of the subject; and, some months before the removal, I urged upon the Department the propriety of taking that step. The near approach of the day on which the charter will expire, as well as the conduct of the bank, appeared to me to call for this measure, upon the high consideration of public interest and public duty. The extent of its misconduct, however, although known to be great, was not at that time fully developed by proof. It was not until late in the month of August, that I received from the Government Directors an official report, establishing beyond question that this great and powerful institution had been actively engaged in attempting to influence the elections of the public officers, by means of its money; and that, in violation of the express provisions of its charter, it had, by a formal resolution, placed its funds at the disposition of its President to be employed in sustaining the political power of the bank. A copy of this resolution is contained in the report of the Government Directors, before referred to; and, however the objects may be disguised by cautious language, no one can doubt that this money was in truth intended for electioneering purposes, and the particular uses to which it was proved to have been applied, abundantly show that it was so understood. Not only was the evidence complete, as to the past application of the money and power of the bank, to electioneering purposes, but that the resolution of the Board of Direcctors authorized the same course to be pursued in future.
It being thus established by unquestionable proof that the Bank of the United States was converted into a permanent electioneering engine, it appeared to me that the path of duty which the Executive Department of the Goverment ought to pursue, was not doubtful. As, by the terms of the bank charter, no officer but the Secretary of the Treasury could remove the deposites, it seemed to me that authority ought to be at once exerted, to deprive that great corporation of the support and countenance of the Government in such a use of its funds and such an exertion of its power. In this point of the case, the question is distinctly presented, whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiassed suffrages, or whether the power and money of great coporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment, and control their decisions It must now be determined whether the bank is
to have its candidates for all offices in the country, from the highest to the lowest, or whether candidates on both sides of politica! questions shall be brought forward as heretofore, and supported by the usual means.
At this time the efforts of the Bank to control public option through the distresses of some and the fears of others, are equally apparent, and, if possible, more objectionable. By a curtailment of its accommodations more rapid than any emergency requires, and even while it retains specie to an almost unprecedented amount in its vaults, it is attempting to pro duce great embarrassment in one portion of the community, while, through presses known to have been sustained by its money, it attempts, by unfounded alarms, to create a panic in all.
These are the means by which it seems to expect that it can force a restoration of the deposites, and as a necessary consequence, extort from Congress a renewal of its charter. I am happy to know that, through the good sense of our People, the effort to get up a panic has hitherto failed, and that, through the increased accommodations which the State Banks have been enabled to afford, no public distress has followed the exertions of the Bank; and it cannot be doubted that the exercise of its power, and the expenditure of its money, as well as its efforts to spread groundless alarm, will be met and rebuked as they deserve. In my own sphere of duty, I should feel myself called on by the facts disclosed to order a scire facias against the Bank, with a view to put an end to the chartered rights it has so palpably violated, were it not that the charter itself will expire as soon as a decision would probably be obtained from the court of last resort
I called the attention of Congress to this subject in my last Annual Message, and informed them that such measures as were within the reach of the Secretary of the Treasury, had been taken to enable him to judge whether the public deposites in the Bank of the United States were entirely safe; but that as his single powers might be inadequate to the object, I recommended the subject to Congress, as worthy of their serious investigatiou: declaring it as my opinion that an inquiry into the transactions of that institution, embracing the Branches as well as the principal Bank, was called for by the credit which was given throughout the country to many serious charges impeaching their character, and which, if true, might justly excite the apprehension that they were no longer a safe depository for the public money. The extent to which the examination, thus recommended, was gone into, is spread upon your journals, and is too well known to require to be stated. Such as was made result ed in a report from a majority of the Committee of Ways and Means, touching certain specified points only, concluding with a resolution that the Government deposites might safely be continued in the Bank of the United States. This resolution was adopted at the close of the session, by the vote of a majority of the House of Representatives.
Although I may not always be able to concur in the views of the public interest, or the duties of its agents, which may be taken by the other departments of the Government, or either of its branches, I am, notwithstanding, wholly incapable of receiving otherwise than with the most sincere respect, all opinions or suggestions proceeding from such a source; and in respect to none am I more inclined to do so, than to the House of Representatives. But it will be seen, from the brief views at this time
taken of the subject by myself, as well as the more ample ones presented by the Secretary of the Treasury that the change in the deposites which has been ordered has been deemed to be called for by considerations which are not affected by the procedings referred to, and which, if correctly viewed by that department, rendered its act a matter of imperious duty. Coming as you do, for the most part, immediately from the People and the States, by election, and possessing the fullest opportunity to know their sentiments, the present Congress will be sincerely solicitous to carry into full and fair effect the will of their constituents in regard to this institution. It will be for these in whose behalf we all act, to decide whether the Exccutive Department of the Government, in the steps which t has taken on this subject, has been found in the line of its duty.
The accompanying report of the Secretary of War, with the documents annexed to it, exhibit the operations of the War Department for the past year, and the condition of the various subjects entrusted to its administration.
It will be seen from them that the Army maintains the character it has heretofore acquired for efficiency and military knowledge. Nothing has occurred since your last session to require its services beyond the ordinary routine of duties, which upon the seaboard and the inland frontier devolve upon it in a time of peace. The system, so wisely adopted and so long pursued, of constructing fortifications at exposed points, and of preparing and collecting the supplies necessary for the military defence of the country, and thus providently furnishing in peace the means of defence in war, has been continued with the usual results. I recommend to your consideration the various subjects suggested in the report of the Secretary of War. Their adoption would promote the public service and meliorate the condition of the army.
Our relations with the various Indian Tribes have been undisturbed since the termination of the difficulties growing out of the hostile aggressions of the Sacs and Fox Indians, Several treaties have been formed for the relinquishment of territory to the United States, and for the migration of the occupants to the region assigned for their residence west of the Mississippi. Should these treaties be ratified by the Senate, provision will have been made for the removal of almost all the tribes now remaining east of that river, and for the termination of many difficult and embarrassing questions arising out of their anomalous political condition. It is to be hoped that those portions of two of the southern tribes which in that event will present the only remaining difficulties, will realize the necessity of emigration, and will speedily resort to it. My original convictions upon this subject have been confirmed by the course of events for several years, and experience is every day adding to their strength.] That those tribes canuot exist, surrounded by our settlements and in continual contact with our citizens, is certain. They have neither the Findustry, the moral habits, nor the desire of improvement, which are essential to any favorable change in their condition. Established in the mids of another and a superior race, and without appreciating the causes of their inferiority, or seeking to control them, they must necessarily yield to the force of ircumstances, and ere long disappear. Such has been their fate heretofore, and if it is to be averted, and it is, it can only be done by a general removal beyond our boundary and by the re organiza
tion of their political system upon principles adopted to the new rela tions in which they will be placed. The experiment which has been recently made, has so far proved successful. The emigrants generally are represented to be prosperous and contented, the country suitable to their wants and habits, and the essential articles of subsistence easily procured. When the report of the commissioners now engaged in investigating the condition and prospects of these Indians, and in devising a plan for their intercourse and government is received. I trust ample means of information will be in possession of the Government for adjusting all the unsettled questions connected with this interesting subject.
The operations of the Navy during the year, and its present condition, are fully exhibited in the annual report from the Navy Department.
Suggestions are made by the Secretary of various improvements, which deserve careful consideration, and most of which, if adopted, bid fair to promote the efficiency of this important branch of the public service. Among these are the new organization of the Navy Board, the revision of the pay to officers, and a change in the period of time, or in the manner of making annual appropriations, to which I beg leave to call your particular attention.
The views which are presented on almost every portion of our Naval concerns, and especially on the amount of force and the number of offi cers, and the general course of policy appropriate in the present state of our country, for securing the great and useful purposes of naval protection, in peace, and due preparation for the contingencies of war, meet with my entire approbation.
It will be perceived from the report referred to, that the fiscal concerns of the establishment are in an excellent condition; and it is hoped that Congress may feel disposed to make promptly every suitable provision desired, either for preserving or improving the system.
The General Post Office Department has continued, upon the strength of its own resources, to facilitate the means of communication between the various portions of the Union with increased activity. The method, however, in which the accounts of the transportation of the mail,have always been kept, appears to have presented an imperfect view of its expenses. It has recently been discovered that, from the earliest records of the Department, the annual statements have been calculated to exhibit an amount considerably short of the actual expense incurred for that service. These illusory statements, together with the expense of carrying into effect the law of the last session of Congress, establishing new mail routes, and a disposition on the part of the Head of the Department to gratify the wishes of the Public in the extension of the mail facilities, have induced him to incur responsibilities for their improvement, beyond what the current resources of the Department would sustain. As soon as he had discovered the imperfection of the method, he caused an investigation to be made of its results, and applied the proper remedy to correct the evil. It became necessary for him to withdraw some of the im provements which he had made, to bring the expenses of the Department within its own resources. These expenses were incurred for the public good, and the Public have enjoyed their benefit. They are now but partially suspended, and that where they may be discontinued with the least inconvenience to the country.
The progressive increase in the income from postages has equalled the highest expectations, and it affords demonstrative evidence of the growing importance and great utility of this Department. The details are exhibited in the accompanying report from the Postmaster General.
The many distressing accidents which have of late occurred in that portion of our navigation carried on by the use of steam power, deserve the immediate and unremitting attention of the constituted authorities of the country. The fact that the number of those fatal disasters is constantly increasing, notwithstanding the great improvements which are every where made in the machinery employed, and in the rapid advances which have been made in that branch of science, show very clearly that they are in a great degree the result of criminal negligence on the part of those by whom the vessels are navigated, and to whose care and attention the lives and property of our citizens are so extensively entrusted
That these evils may be greatly lessened, if not substantially removed,| by means of precautionary and penal legislation, seems to be highly probable; so far therefore as the subject can be regarded as within the constitutional purview of Congress, I earnestly recommend it to your prompt and serious consideration.
I would also call your attention to the views I have heretofore expressed of the propriety of amending the Constitution in relation to the mode of electing the President of the United States. Regarding it as allimportant to the future quiet and harmony of the people, that every in termediate agency in the election of these officers should be removed, and that their eligibility should be limited to one term of either four or six years, I cannot too earnestly invite your consideration of the subject.
Trusting that your deliberations on all the topics of general interest to which I have adverted, and such others as your more extensive knowledge of the wants of our beloved country may suggest, may be crowned with success, I tender you, in conclusion, the co-operation which it may be in my power to afford them.
December 4th, 1833.
The Congress of the United States consists of the Senate and House of Representatives; the former composed of forty eight in number, the latter of two hundred and forty three, of whom three are delegates.
There are two Senators from each State. They were originally divided into three classes, and one third of them are chosen every second year for the term of six years. They are chosen by the Legislatures of the States.
The Senate have upon all nominations by the President of the United States, a voice of advice and consent, or otherwise; in which case it sits with closed doors. The journal of its proceedings is then secret. They have also a vote in the ratification of treaties; in which case it is indis pensable that two thirds of them should consent. The Senate is also a court for the trial of high crimes and misdemeanors, upon impeachments by the House of Representatives.
The Vice President of the United States is. by the constitution, the