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NAVY. Heads of expenditure. Year ending 30th October and No
Sept. 1812. vember, 1812. Pay,
870,000 300,000 Provisions,
486,263 34 75,000 Medical and hospital,
46,000 Ordnance and saltpetre,
140,000 168,000 Repairs,
1,085,000 200,000 Purchase of captured vessels,
50,000 Purchase of timber,
25,000 100,000 Navy yards,
106,000 Contingent expences,
70,000 Miscellaneous expences,
3,165 70 Marine corps,
Dollars, 3,107,501 54 Balance in the hands of the Treasurer, on account of the navy department, 1st Oct. 1811, ditto, ditto, 1st Oct. 1812,
$ 116,847 32
Message from the President of the United States to the two
houses of Congress, at the commencement of the first session
of the thirteenth Congress. Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives.
At an early day after the close of the last session of congress, an offer was formally communicated from his imperial majesty, the emperor of Russia, of his mediation, as the common friend of the United States and Great Britain, for the purpose of facilitating a peace between them. The high character of the emperor Alexander being a satisfactory pledge for the sincerity and impartiality of his offer, it was immediately accepted ; and as a further proof of the disposition on the part of the United States, to meet their adversary in honourable experiments for terminating the war, it was determined to avoid intermediate delays, incident to the distance of the parties, by a definite provision for the contemplated negotiation. Three of our eminent citizens were accordingly commissioned with the requisite powers to conclude a treaty of
clothed with like powers on the part of Great Britain. They are authorized also to enter into such conventional regulations of the commerce between the two countries as may be mutually advantageous. The two envoys who were in the United States at the time of their appointment, have proceeded to join their colleague already at St. Petersburg.
The envoys have received another commission, authorizing them to conclude with Russia a treaty of commerce, with a view to strengthen the amicable relations, and improve the beneficial intercourse between the two countries.
The issue of this friendly interposition of the Russian emperor, and this pacific manifestation on the part of the United States, time only can decide. That the sentiments of Great Britain towards that sovereign will have produced an acceptance of his offered mediation must be presumed. That no adequate motives exist to prefer a continuance of the war with the United States, to the terms on which they are willing to close it, is certain. The British cabinet also must be sensible that, with respect to the important question of impressment, on which the war so essentially turns, a search for, or seizure of British persons or property on board neutral vessels on the high
seas, is not a belligerent right derived from the law of nations ; and it is obvious, that no visit or search, or use of force, for any purpose, on board the vessels of one independent power on the high seas, can in war or peace be sanctioned by the laws or authority of another power. It is equally obvious, that for the purpose of preserving to each state its seafaring members, by excluding them from the vessels of the other, the mode heretofore proposed by the United States, and now enacted by them as an article of municipal policy, cannot for a moment be compared with the mode practised by Great Britain, without a conviction of its title to preference ; inasmuch as the latter leaves the dis. crimination between the mariners of the two nations, to officers exposed by unavoidable bias, as well as by a defect of evidence, to a wrong decision, under circumstances precluding, for the most part, the enforcement of controlling penalties, and where a wrong decision, besides the irreparable violation of the sacred rights of persons, might frustrate the plans and profits of entire voyages; whereas the mode assumed by the United States guards with studied fairness and efficacy against errors in such cases, and avoids the effect of casual errors on the safety of navigation, and the success of mercantile expeditions.
If the reasonableness of expectations, drawn from these considerations, could guarantee their fulfilment, a just peace would not be distant. But it becomes the wisdom of the national legislature, to keep in mind the true policy, or rather the indispensable obligation of adapting its measures to the supposition, that the only course to that happy event, is in the vigorous employment of the resources of war. And painful as the reflection is, this duty is particularly enforced, by the spirit and manner in which the war continues to be waged by the enemy; who, uninAuenced by the unvaried examples of humanity set them, are adding to the savage fury of it on one frontier, a system of plunder and conflagration on the other, equally forbidden by respect for national character, and by the established rules of civi. lized warfare.
As an encouragement to persevering and invigorated exertions to bring the contest to a happy result, I have the satisfaction of being able to appeal to the auspicious progress of our arms, both by land and on the water.
In a continuation of the brilliant achievements of our infant navy, a signal triumph has been gained by captain Lawrence and his companions in the Hornet sloop of war, which destroyed a British sloop of war, with a celerity so unexampled, and with a slaughter of the enemy so disproportionate to the loss in the Hornet, as to claim for the conquerors the highest praise,
and the full recompence provided by congress in preceding
Our public ships of war in general, as well as the private armed vessels, have continued also their activity and success against the commerce of the enemy, and by their vigilance and address have generally frustrated the efforts of the hostile squadrons distributed along our coasts to intercept them in returning into port, and resuming their cruizes.
The augmentation of our naval force, as authorized at the last session of congress, is in progress. On the lakes our superiority is near at hand where it is not already established.
The events of the campaign, so far as they are known to us, furnish matter of congratulation, and show that, under a wise organization and efficient direction, the army is destined to a glory not less brilliant than that which already encircles the navy. The attack and capture of York, is, in that quarter, presage of future and greater victories ; while, on the western frontier, the issue of the late siege of Fort Meigs leaves us nothing to regret but a single act of inconsiderate valour.
The provisions last made for filling the ranks and enlarging the staff of the army, have had the best effects. It will be for the consideration of congress, whether other provisions, depending on their authority, may not still further improve the military establishment and the means of defence.
The sudden death of the distinguished citizen who represented the United States in France, without any special arrangements by him for such a contingency, has left us without the expected sequel to his last communications ; nor has the French government taken any measures for bringing the depending negotiations to a conclusion, through its representative in the United States. This failure adds to delays, before so unreasonably spun out. A successor to our deceased minister has been appointed, and is ready to proceed on his mission : the course which he will pursue in fulfilling it, is that prescribed by a steady regard to the true interests of the United States, which equally avoids an abandonment of their just demands, and a connexion of their fortunes with the systems of other powers.
The receipts into the treasury from the 1st of October to the 31st day of March last, including the sums received on account of treasury notes, and of the loans authorized by the acts of the last and the preceding sessions of congress, have amounted to fifteen millions four hundred and twelve thousand dollars. The expenditures during the same period, amounted to fifteen millions nine hundred and twenty thousand dollars, and left in the treasury, on the 1st of April, the sum of one million eight hundred and fifty-seven thousand dollars. The loan of sixteen
millions of dollars, authorized by the act of the 8th of February last, has been contracted for. Of that sum, more than a million of dollars had been paid into the treasury, prior to the 1st of April, and formed a part of the receipts as above stated. The remainder of that loan, amounting to near fifteen millions of dollars, with the sum of five millions of dollars authorized to be issued in treasury notes, and the estimated receipts from the customs and the sales of public lands, amounting to nine millions three hundred thousand dollars, and making in the whole twenty-nine millions three hundred thousand dollars to be received during the last nine months of the present year, will be necessary to meet the expenditures already authorized, and the engagements contracted in relation to the public debt. These engagements amount during that period to ten millions five hundred thousand dollars, which, with near one million for the civil, miscellaneous, and diplomatic expenses, both foreign and domestic, and seventeen millions eight hundred thousand dollars for the military and naval expenditures, including the ships of war building and to be built, will leave a sum in the treasury, at the end of the present year, equal to that on the 1st of April last. A part of this sum may be considered as a resource for defraying any extraordinary expenses already authorized by law, beyond the sums above estimated ; and a further resource for any emergency may be found in the sum of one million of dollars, the loan of which to the United States has been authorized by the state of Pennsylvania, but which has not yet been brought into effect.
This view of our finances, whilst it shows that due provision has been made for the expenses of the current year, shows at the same time, by the limited amount of the actual revenue and the dependence on loans, the necessity of providing more adequately for the future supplies of the treasury. This can be best done by a well digested system of internal revenue, in aid of existing sources; which will have the effect, both of abridging the amount of necessary loans, and on that account, as well as by placing the public credit on a more satisfactory basis, of improving the terms on which loans may be obtained. The loan of sixteen millions was not contracted for at a less interest than about seven and a half per cent.; and although other cases may have had an agency, it cannot be doubted, that with the advantage of a more extended and less precarious revenue, a lower rate of interest might have sufficed. A longer postponement of this advantage could not fail to have a still greater influence on future loans.