« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
to that portion of the globe. Penetrating, internally, to the great lakes, and beyond the source of the great rivers which communicate through our whole interior, no country was ever happier with respect to its domain. Blessed too with a fertile soil, our produce has always been very abundant, leaving, even in years the least favorable, a surplus for the wants of our fellowmen, in other countries. Such is our peculiar felicity, that there is not a part of our union that is not particularly interested in preserving it. The great agricultural interest of the nation prospers under its protection. Local interests are not less fostered by it. Our fellow-citizens of the north, engaged in navigation, find great encouragement in being made the favored carriers of the vast productions of the other portions of the United States, while the inhabitants of these are amply recompensed, in their turn, by the nursery for seamen and naval force, thus formed and reared
for the support of our common rights. Our manufactures find a generous encouragement by the policy which patronizes domestic industry; and the surplus of our produce, a steady and profitable market by local wants, in less favored parts at home.
Such, then, being the highly favored condition of our country, it is the interest of every citizen to maintain it. What are the dangers which menace us? If any exist, they ought to be ascertained and guarded against.
In explaining my sentiments on this subject, it may be asked, what raised us to the present happy state? How did we accomplish the revolution? How remedy the defects of the first instrument of our union, by infusing into the national government sufficient power for national purposes, without impairing the just rights of the states, or affecting those of individuals? How sustain, and pass with glory through the late war? The government has been in the hands of the people. To the people, therefore, and to the faithful and able depositories of their trust, is the credit due. Had the
people of the United States been educated in different principles; had they been less intelligent, less independent, or less virtuous, can it be believed that we should have maintained the same steady and consistent career, or been blessed with the same success? While then the constituent body retains its present sound and healthful state, every thing will be safe. They will choose competent and faithful representatives of every department. It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt; when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising the sovereignty. Usurpation is then an easy attainment, and a usurper soon found. The people themselves become the willing instruments of their own debasement and ruin. Let us then look to the great cause and endeavor to preserve it in full force. Let us, by all wise and constitutional measures, promote intelligence among the people, as the best means of preserving our liberties.
Dangers from abroad are not less deserving of attention. Experiencing the fortune of other nations, the United States may be again involved in war, and
in that event, be the object of the adverse party to overset our government, to break our union, and demolish us as a nation. Our distance from Europe, and the just, moderate and pacific policy of our government, may form some security against these dangers, but they ought to be anticipated and guarded against. Many of our citizens are engaged in commerce and navigation, and all of them are in a certain degree dependent on their prosperous state. Many are engaged in the fisheries. These interests are exposed to invasion in the wars between other powers, and we should disregard the faithful admonition of experience if we did not expect it. We must support our rights or lose our character, and with it perhaps our liberties. A people who fail to do it, can scarcely be said to hold a place among independent nations. National honor is national property of the highest va
lue. The sentiment in the mind of every citizen, is national strength. It ought therefore to be cherished.
To secure us against these dangers our coast and inland frontiers should be fortified, our army and navy regulated upon just principles as to the force of each, be kept in perfect order, and our
militia be placed on the best practicable footing. To put our extensive coast in such a state of defence, as to secure our cities and interior from invasion, will be attended with expense, but the work when finished will be permanent, and it is fair to presume that a single campaign of invasion, by a naval force superior to our own, aided by a few thousand land troops, would expose us to greater expense, without taking into the estimate the loss of property, and distress of our citizens, than would be sufficient for this great work. Our land and naval forces should be moderate but adequate to the necessary purposes. The former to garrison and
preserve our fortifications and to meet the first invasions of a foreign foe; and, while constituting the elements of a greater force, to preserve the science, as well as all the necessary implements of war, in a state to be brought into activity in the event of war. The latter, retained within the limits proper in a state of peace, might aid in maintaining the neutrality of the United States with dignity in the wars of other powers, and in saving the property of their citizens from spoliation. In time of war, with the enlargement of which the great naval resources of the country render it susceptible, and which should be duly fostered in time of peace, it would contribute essentially both as an auxiliary of defence, and as a powerful engine of annoyance, to diminsh the calamities of war, and to bring the war to a speedy and honorable termination.
But it always ought to be held prominently in view, that the safety of these states, and of every thing dear to a free people must depend in an eminent degree on the militia. Invasions may be made. too formidable to be
resisted by any land and naval force, which it would comport either with the principles of our government, or the circumstances of the United States to maintain. In such cases, recourse must be had to the great body of the people, and in a manner to produce the best effect. It is of the highest importance, therefore, that they be so organized and trained, as to be prepared for any emergency. The arrangement should be such, as to put at the command of the government the ardent patriotism and youthful vigor of the country. If formod on equal and just principles, it cannot be oppressive. It is the crisis which makes the pressure, and not the laws which provide a remedy for it. This arrangement should be formed too in time of peace, to be better prepared for war. With such an organization of such a people, the Un ted States have nothing to dread from foreign invasion. At its approach, an overwhelming force of gallant men might always be put in motion.
Other interests of high importance will claim attention, among which the improvement of our country by roads and canals, preceding always with a constitutional sanction, holds a distinguished place. By thus facilitating the intercourse between the states, we shall add much to the convenience and comfort of our fellow-citizens; much to the ornament of the country; and, what is of a greater importance, we shall shorten distances, and by making each part more accessible to, and dependent on the other, we shall bind the union more closely together. Nature has done so much for us by intersecting the country with so many great rivers, bays and lakes, approaching from distant points so near to each other, that the inducement to complete the work seems to be peculiarly strong. A more interesting spectacle was perhaps never seen than is exhibited within the United States ; a territory so vast, and advantageously situated, containing objects so grand, so useful, so happily connected in all their parts,
Our manufactures will likewise require the systematic and fostering care of the government. Possessing, as we do, all the raw materials, the fruit of our own soil and industry, we ought not to depend in the degree we have done on the supplies from other countries. While we are thus dependent, the sudden event of war unsought and unexpected, cannot fail to plunge us into the most serious difficulties. It is important, too, that the capital which nourishes our manufactures should be domestic, as its influence in that case instead of exhausting, as it may do in foreign hands, would be felt advantageously on agriculture, and every other branch of industry. Equally important is it to provide at home a market for our raw materials, as by extending the competition, it will enhance the price, and protect the cultivator against the casualties incident to foreign markets.
With the Indian tribes it is our duty to cultivate friendly relations, and to act with kindness and liberality in all our transactions. Equally proper is it to persevere in our efforts to extend to them the advantages of civilization.
The great amount of our revenue, and the flourishing state of the treasury, are a full proof of the competency of the national resources for any emergency, as they are, of the willingness of our fellowcitizens to bear the burdens which the public necessities require. The vast amount of vacant lands, the value of which daily augments, forms an additional resource of great extent and duration. These resources, besides accomplishing every other necessary purpose, put it completely in the power of the United States, to discharge the national debt at an early period. Peace is the best time for improvement and preparation of every kind; it is in peace that our commerce flourishes most ; that taxes are most easily paid, and that the revenue is most productive.
The executive is charged officially, in the depart