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republics, that liberal and friendly character by which they should always be distinguished. I regret, therefore, the more deeply, to have found in the recent communica tions of that government, so little reason to hope that any efforts of mine for the accomplishment of those desirable objects would be successful.
Although the larger number, and many of them aggravated cases of personal wrongs have been now for years before the Mexican government, and some of the causes of national complaint, and those of the most offensive character, admitted of immediate, simple and satisfactory replies, it is only within a few days past that any specific communication in answer to our last demand, made five months ago, has been received from the Mexican minister. By the report of the secretary of state, herewith presented, and the accompanying documents, it will be seen, that for not one of our public complaints has satisfaction been given or offered ; that but one of the causes of personal wrong has been favorably considered ; and that but four cases of both descriptions, out of all those formally presented, and earnestly pressed, have as yet been decided upon by the Mexican government.
Not perceiving in what manner any of the powers given to the Executive alone, could be further usefully employed in bringing this unfortunate controversy to a satisfactory termination, the subject was, by my predecessor, referred to Congress, as one calling for its interposition In accordance with the clearly understood wishes of the legislature, another and formal demand for satisfaction has been made upon the Mexican government, with what success the documents now communicated will show. On a careful and deliberate examination of their contents, and considering the spirit manifested by the Mexican government, it has become my painful duty to return the subject, as it now stands, to Congress, to whom it belongs to decide upon the time, the mode, and the measures of redress. Whatever may be your decision, it shall be faithfully executed, confident that it will be characterized by that moderation and justice which will, I trust, under all circumstances, govern the councils of our country.
The balance in the treasury on the first day of January, 1837, was forty-five millions nine hundred and sixty-eight
thousand five hundred and twenty-three dollars. The receipts during the present year from all sources, including the amount of treasury notes issued, are estimated at twenty-three millions four hundred and ninety-nine thousand nine hundred and eighty-one dollars, constituting an aggregate of sixty-nine millions four hundred and sixty-eight thousand five hundred and four dollars. Of this amount, about thirty-five millions two hundred and eighty-one thousand three hundred and sixty-one dollars will have been expended, at the end of the year, on appropriations made by Congress; and the residue, amounting to thirty-four millions one hundred and eighty-seven thousand one hundred and forty-three dollars, will be the nominal balance in the treasury on the first of January next. But of that sum, only one million eighty-five thousand four hundred and ninety-eight dollars is considered as immediately available for, and applicable to, public purposes.
Those portions of it which will be for some time unavailable, consist chiefly of sums deposited with the states, and due from the former deposit banks. The details upon this subject will be found in the annual report of the secretary of the treasury. The amount of treasury notes which it will be necessary to issue during the year on account of those funds being unavailable, will, it is supposed, not exceed four and a half millions. It seemed proper in the condition of the country, to have the estimates on all subjects made as low as practicable, without prejudice to any great public measures. The departments were, therefore, desired to prepare their estimates accordingly ; and I am happy to find that they have been able to graduate them on so economical a scale.
In the great and often unexpected fluctuations to which the revenue is subjected, it is not possible to com pute the receipts beforehand with great certainty ; but should they not differ essentially from present anticipations, and should the appropriations not much exceed the estimates, no difficulty seems likely to happen in defraying the current expenses with promptitude and fidelity.
Notwithstanding the great embarrassments which have recently occurred in commercial affairs, and the liberal indulgence which, in consequence of those embarrass
ments, has been extended to both the merchants and the banks, it is gratifying to be able to anticipate that the treasury notes, which have been issued during the present year will be redeemed, and that the resources of the treasury, without any resort to loans or increased taxes, will prove ample for defraying all charges imposed on it during 1838.
The report of the secretary of the treasury will afford you a more minute exposition of all matters connected with the administration of the finances during the current year; a period which, for the amount of public inoneys disbursed and deposited with the states, as well as the financial difficulties encountered and overcome, has few parallels in our history.
Your attention was, at the last session, invited to the necessity of additional legislative provisions in respect to the collection, safe-keeping, and transfer of the public money. No law having been then matured, and not understanding the proceedings of Congress as intended to be final, it becomes my duty again to bring the subject to
On that occasion, three modes of performing this branch of the public service were presented for consideration. These were, the creation of a national bank; the revival, with modifications, of the deposit system established by the act of the 230 June, 1836, permitting the use of the public moneys by the banks ; and the discontinuance of the use of such institutions for the purposes referred to, with suitable provisions for their accomplishment through the agency of public officers. Considering the opinions of both houses of Congress on the two first propositions as expressed in the negative, in which I entirely concur, it is unnecessary for me again to recur to them. In respect to the last, you have had an opportunity, since your adjournment, not only to test still further the expediency of the measure, by the continued practical operation of such parts of it as are now in force, but also to discover -What should ever be sought for and regarded with the utmost deference—the opinions and wishes of the people.
The national will is the supreme law of the republic, and on all subjects within the limits of its constitutions!
powers, should be faithfully obeyed by the public servant. Since the measure in question was submitted to your consideration, most of you have enjoyed the advantage of personal communication with your constituents. For one state only has an election been held for the federal government; but the early day at which it took place, deprives the measure under consideration of much of the support it might otherwise have derived from the result. Local elections for state officers have, however, been held in several of the states, at which the expediency of the plan proposed by the executive has been more or less discussed. You will, I am confident, yield to their results the respect due to every expression of the public voice. Desiring, however, to arrive at truth and a just view of the subject in all its bearings, you will at the same time remember, that questions of far deeper and more immediate local interest than the fiscal plans of the national treasury were involved in those eleciions.
Above all, we cannot overlook tht striking fact, that there were, at the time, in those states, more than one hundred and sixty millions of bank capital, of which large portions were subject to actual forfeiture-other large portions upheld only by special and limited legislative indulgencies—and most of it, if not all, to a greater or less extent, dependent for a continuance of its corporate existence upon the will of the state legislatures to be then chosen. Apprised of this circumstance, you will judge whether it is not most probable that the peculiar condition of that vast interest in these respects, the extent to which it has been spread through all the ramifications of society, its direct connection with the then pending elections, and the feelings it was calculated to infuse into the canvass, have not exercised a far greater influence over the result than any which could possibly have been produced by a conflict of opinion in respect to a question in the administration of the general government, more remote and far less important in its bearing upon that interest.
I have found no reason to change my own opinion as to the expediency of adopting the system proposed, being perfectly satisfied that there will be neither stability nor safety, either in the fiscal affairs of the government, or in the pecuniary transactions of individuals and corporations, so long as a connection exists between them, which, like the past, offers such strong inducements to make them the subjects of political agitation. Indeed, I am more than ever convinced of the dangers to which the free and unbiassed exercise of political opinion—the only sure foundation and safeguard of republican governmentwould be exposed by any further increase of the already overgrown influence of corporate authorities—I cannot, therefore, consistently with my views of duty, advise a renewal of a connection which circumstances have dis. solved.
The discontinuance of the use of state banks for fiscal purposes ought not to be regarded as a measure of hostility towards these institutions. Banks properly established and conducted, are highly useful to the business of the country, and doubtless will continue to exist in the states so long as they conform to their laws, and are found to be safe and beneficial. How they should be created, what privileges they should enjoy, under what responsibilities they should act, and to what restrictions they should be subject, are questions which, as I observed on a previous occasion, belong to the states to decide. Upon their rights, or the exercise of them, the general govern, ment can have no motive to encroach. Its duty toward them is well performed, when it refrains from legislating for their special benefit, because such legislation would violate the spirit of the constitution, and be unjust to other interests ; when it takes no steps to impair their usefulness, but so manages its own affairs as to make it the interest of those institutions to strengthen and improve their condition for the security and welfare of the community at large. They have no right to insist on a connection with the federal government, nor on the use of the public money for their own benefit.
The object of the measure under consideration is, to avoid for the future a compulsory connection of this kind. It proposes to place the general government, in regard to the essential points of the collection, safe-keeping and transfer of the public money, in a situation which shall