United States. President.

A compilation of the messages and papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897 online

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March 30, 1802.
Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

The Secretary of War has prepared an estimate of expenditures for
the Army of the United States during the year 1802, conformably to
the act fixing the military peace establishment, which estimate, with his
letter accompanying and explaining it, I now transmit to both Houses
of Congress.


March 31, 1802.
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

According to the desire expressed in your resolution of the 23d instant,
I now transmit a report of the Secretary of State, with the letters it refers
to, shewing the proceedings which have taken place under the resolution
of Congress of the i6th of April, 1800. The term prescribed for the exe-
cution of the resolution having elapsed before the person appointed had
sat out on the service, I did not deem it justifiable to commence a course
of expenditure after the expiration of the resolution authorizing it. The
correspondence which has taken place, having regard to dates, will place
this subject properly under the view of the House of Representatives.


340 ' Messages and Papers of the Presidents

Aprii, 8, 1802.
Gentlemen of tlie Senate:

In order to satisfy as far as it is in my power the desire expressed in
your resolution of the 6th instant, I now transmit you a letter from John
Read, agent for the United States before the board of commissioners
under the sixth article of the treaty with Great Britain, to the Attorney-
General, bearing date the 25th of April, iSoi, in which he gives a sum-
mary view of the proceedings of those commissioners and of the principles
estabUshed or insisted on by a majority of them.

Supposing it might be practicable for us to settle by negotiation with
Great Britain the principles which ought to govern the decisions under
the treaty, I caused instructions to be given to Mr. Read to analyze the
claims before the board of commissioners, to class them, under the prin-
ciples on which they respectively depended, and to state the sum depending
on each principle or the amount of each description of debt. The object
of this was that we might know what principles were most important for
us to contend for and what others might be conceded without much
injury. He performed this duty, and gave in such a statement during
the last summer, but the chief clerk of the Secretary of State's office
being absent on account of sickness, and the only person, acquainted with
the arrangement of the papers of the office, this particular document can
not at this time be found. Having, however, been myself in possession
of it a few days after its receipt, I then transcribed from it for my own
use the recapitulation of the amount of each description* of debt. A
copy of this transcript I shall subjoin hereto, with assurances that it is
substantially correct, and with the hope that it will give a view of the
subject sufficiently precise to fulfill the wishes of the Senate. To save
them the delay of waiting till a copy of the agent's letter could be made,
I send the original, with the request that it may be returned at the con-
venience of the Senate,


Aprii, 15, 1802.
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

I now transmit the papers desired in your resolution of the 6th instant.
Those respecting the Berceau will sufficiently explain themselves. The
officer charged with her repairs states in his letter, received August 27,
1801, that he had been led by circumstances, which he explains, to go
considerably beyond his orders. In questions between nations, who
have no common umpire but reason, something must often be yielded of
mutual opinion to enable them to meet in a common point.

The allowance which had been proposed to the officers of that vessel
being represented as too small for their daily necessities, and still more so
as the means of paying before their departure debts contracted with our

Thomas Jefferson 341

citizens for subsistence, it was requested on their behalf that the daily
pay of each might be the measure of their allowance.

This being solicited and reimbursement assumed by the agent of their
nation, I deemed that the indulgence would have a propitious effect in
the moment of returning friendship. The sum of $870.83 was accordingly
furnished them for the five months of past captivity and a proportional
allowance authorized until their embarkation.


Aprii< 20, 1802.
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

I transmit you a report from the Secretary of State, with the information
desired by the House of Representatives, of the 8th of January, relative
to certain spoUations and other proceedings therein referred to.


Aprii, 26, 1802.
Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

In pursuance of the act entitled' "An act supplemental to the act
entitled 'An act for an amicable settlement of limits with the State of
Georgia, and authorizing the establishment of a government in the Mis-
sissippi Territory, ' ' ' James Madison, Secretary of State, Albert Gallatin,
Secretary of the Treasury, and I<evi I,incoln, Attorney- General of the
United States, were appointed commissioners to settle by compromise
with the commissioners appointed by the State of Georgia the claims and
cession to which the said act has relation.

Articles of agreement and cession have accordingly been entered into
and signed by the said commissioners of the United States and of Georgia,
which, as they leave a right to Congress to act upon them legislatively
at any time within six months after their date, I have thought it my duty
immediately to communicate to the I^egislature.


Aprii, 27, 1802.
Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

The commissioners who were appointed to carry into execution the
sixth article of the treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation between
the United States and Great Britain having differed in their construction
of that article, and separated in consequence of that difference, the Presi-
dent of the United States took immediate measures for obtaining conven-
tional explanations of that article for the government of the commissioners.
Finding, however, great difficulties opposed to a settlement in that way,

342 Messages and Papers of the Presidents

he authorized our minister at the Court of London to meet a proposition
that the United States by the payment of a fixed sum should discharge
themselves from their responsibility for such debts as can not be recovered
from the individual debtors. A convention has accordingly been signed,
fixing the sum to be paid at ;^6oo,ooo in three equal and annual install-
ments, which has been ratified by me with the advice and consent of the

I now transmit copies thereof to both Houses of Congress, trusting
that in the free exercise of the authority which the Constitution has given
them on the subject of public expenditures they will deem it for the
public interest to appropriate the sums necessary for carrjdng this con-
vention into execution.



December 15, 1802.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

When we assemble together, fellow-citizens, to consider the state of
our beloved country, our just attentions are first drawn to those pleasing
circumstances which mark the goodness of that Being from whose favor
they flow and the large measure of thankfulness we owe for His bounty.
Another year has come around, and finds us still blessed with peace and
friendship abroad; law, order, and religion at home; good affection and
harmony with our Indian neighbors; our burthens lightened, yet our
income sufiicient for the public wants, and the produce of the year great
beyond example. These, fellow-citizens, are the circumstances under
which we meet, and we remark with special satisfaction those which
under the smiles of Providence result from the skill, industry, and order
of our citizens, managing their own affairs in their own way and for their
own use, unembarrassed by too much regulation, unoppressed by fiscal

On the restoration of peace in Europe that portion of the general car-
rying trade which had fallen to our share during the war was abridged
by the returning competition of the belligerent powers. This was to be
expected, and was just. But in addition we find in some parts of Europe
monopolizing discriminations, which in the form of duties tend effectu-
ally to prohibit the carrying thither our own produce in our own vessels.
From existing amities and a spirit of justice it is hoped that friendly
discussion will produce a fair and adequate reciprocity. But should
false calculations of interest defeat our hope, it rests with the Legislature
to decide whether they will meet inequalities abroad with countervailing
inequalities at home, or provide for the evil in any other way.

Thomas Jefferson 343

It is witli satisfaction I lay before you an act of the British Parliament
anticipating this subject so far as to authorize a mutual abolition of the
duties and countervailing duties permitted under the treaty of 1794. It
shows on their part a spirit of justice and friendly accommodation which
it is our duty and our interest to cultivate with all nations. Whether this
would produce a due equality in the navigation between the two coun-
tries is a subject for your consideration.

Another circumstance which claims attention as directly affecting the
very source of our navigation is the defect or the evasion of the law pro-
viding for the return of seamen, and particularly of those belonging to
vessels sold abroad. Numbers of them, discharged in foreign ports, have
been thrown on the hands of our consuls, who, to rescue them from the
dangers into which their distresses might plunge them and save them to
their country, have found it necessary in some cases to return them at the
public charge.

The cession of the Spanish Province of Louisiana to France, which
took place in the course of the late war, will, if carried into effect, make
a change in the aspect of our foreign relations which will doubtless have
just weight in any deUberations of the Legislature connected with that

There was reason not long since to apprehend that the warfare in which
we were engaged with Tripoli might be taken up by some other of the
Barbary Powers. A reenforcement, therefore, was immediately ordered
to the vessels already there. Subsequent information, however, has
removed these apprehensions for the present. To secure our commerce
in that sea with the smallest force competent, we have supposed it best
to watch strictly the harbor of TripoU. Still, however, the shallowness
of their coast and the want of smaller vessels on our part has permitted
some cnusers to escape unobserved, and to one of these an American
vessel unfortunately fell a prey. The captain, one American seaman, and
two others of color remain prisoners with them unless exchanged under
an agreement formerly made with the Bashaw, to whom, on the faith of
that, some of his captive subjects had been restored.

The convention with the State of Georgia has been ratified by their
legislature, and a repurchase from the Creeks has been consequently made
of a part of the Talasscee country. In this purchase has been also com-
prehended a part of the lands within the fork of Oconee and Oakmulgee
rivers. The particulars of the contract \vill be laid before Congress so
soon as they shall be in a state for communication.

In order to remove every ground of difference possible with our Indian
neighbors, I have proceeded in the work of settling with them and mark-
ing the boundaries between us. That with the Choctaw Nation is fixed
in one part and will be through the whole within a short time. The
country to which their title had been extinguished before the Revolution,
is sufficient to receive a very respectable population, which Congress will

344 Messages and Papers of the Presidents

probably see the expediency of encouraging so soon as tlie limits shall be
declared. We are to view this position as an outpost of the United States,
surrounded by strong neighbors and distant from its support; and how
far that monopoly which prevents population should here be guarded
against and actual habitation made a condition of the continuance of title
will be for your consideration. A prompt settlement, too, of all existing
rights and claims within this territory presents itself as a preUminary

In that part of the Indiana Territory which includes Vincennes the hues
settled with the neighboring tribes fix the extinction of their title at a
breadth of 24 leagues from east to west and about the same length par-
allel with and including the "Wabash. They have also ceded a tract of
4 miles square, including the salt springs near the mouth of that river.

In the Department of Finance it is with pleasure I inform you that the
receipts of external duties for the last twelve months have exceeded those
of any former year, and that the ratio of increase has been also greater
than usual. This has enabled us to answer all the regular exigencies
of Government, to pay from the Treasury within one year upward of
$8,000,000, principal and interest, of the pubhc debt, exclusive of upward
of one million paid by the sale of bank stock, and making in the whole
a reduction of nearly five millions and a half of principal, and to have
now in the Treasury $4,500,000, which are in a course of application to
the further discharge of debt and current demands. Experience, too, so
far, authorizes us to believe, if no extraordinary event supervenes, and
the expenses which will be actually incurred shall not be greater than
were contemplated by Congress at their last session, that we shall not be
disappointed in the expectations then formed. But nevertheless, as the
effect of peace on the amount of duties is not yet fully ascertained, it is
the more necessary to practice every useful economy and to incur no
expense which may be avoided without prejudice.

The collection of the internal taxes having been completed in some of
the States, the officers employed in it are of course out of commission.
In others they will be so shortly. But in a few, where the arrangements
for the direct tax had been retarded, it will be some time before the
system is closed. It has not yet been thought necessary to employ the
agent authorized by an act of the last session for transacting business in
Europe relative to debts and loans. Nor have we used the power con-
fided by the same act of prolonging the foreign debt by reloans, and of
redeeming instead thereof an equal sum of the domestic debt. Should,
however, the difficulties of remittance on so large a scale render it neces-
sary at any time, the power shall be executed and the money thus unem-
ployed abroad shall, in conformity with that law, be faithfully apphed
here in an equivalent extinction of domestic debt. When effects so sal-
• utary result from the plans you have already sanctioned; when merely by
avoiding false objects of expense we are able, without a direct tax, with-

Thomas Jefferson 345

out internal taxes, and without borrowing to make large and effectual
payments toward the discharge of our public debt and the emancipation
of our posterity from that mortal canker, it is an encouragement, fellow-
citizens, of the highest order to proceed as we have begun in substituting
economy for taxation, and in pursuing what is useful for a nation placed
as we are, rather than what is practiced by others under different circum-
stances. And whensoever we are destined to meet events which shall
call forth all the energies of our countrymen, we have the firmest reliance
on those energies and the comfort of leaving for calls like these the
extraordinary resources of loans and internal taxes. In the meantime,
by payments of the principal of our debt, we are liberating annually
portions of the external taxes and forming from them a grov/ing fund
still further to lessen the necessity of recurring to extraordinary resources.
The usual account of receipts and expenditures for the last year, with
an estimate of the expenses of the ensuing one, will be laid before you by
the Secretary of the Treasury.

No change being deemed necessary in our military establishment, an
estimate of its expenses for the ensuing year on its present footing, as
also of the sums to be employed in fortifications and other objects within
that department, has been prepared by the Secretary of War, and will
make a part of the general estimates which will be presented you.

Considering that our regular troops are employed for local purposes,
and that the militia is our general reliance for great and sudden emer-
gencies, you will doubtless think this institution worthy of a review, and
give it those improvements of which you find it susceptible.

Estimates for the Naval Department, prepared by the Secretary of the
Navy, for another year will in like manner be communicated with the
general estimates. A small force in the Mediterranean will still be neces-
sary to restrain the Tripoline cruisers, and the uncertain tenure of peace
with some other of the Barbary Powers may eventually require that force
to be augmented. The necessity of procuring some smaller vessels for
that service will raise the estimate, but the difference in their maintenance
will soon make it a measure of economy.

Presuming it will be deemed expedient to expend annually a conven-
ient sum toward providing the naval defense which our situation may
require, I can not but recommend that the first appropriations for that
purpose may go to the saving what we already possess. No cares, no
attentions, can preserve vessels from rapid decay which lie in water and
exposed to the sun. These decays require great and constant repairs,
and will consume, if continued, a great portion of the moneys destined
to naval purposes. To avoid this waste of our resources it is proposed to
add to our navy-yard here a dock within which our present vessels may
be laid up dry and under cover from the sun. Under these circumstances
experience proves that works of wood will remain scarcely at all affected
by time. The great abundance of running water which this situation

346 Messages and Papers of the Presidents

possesses, at heights far abdVe the level of the tide, if employed as is prac-
ticed for lock navigation, furnishes the means for raising and laying up
our vessels on a dry and sheltered bed. And should the measure be found
useful here, similar depositories for laying up as well as for building and
repairing vessels may hereafter be undertaken at other navy-yards offering
the same means. The plans and estimates of the work, prepared by a
person of skill and experience, will be presented to you without delay,
and from this it will be seen that scarcely more than has been the cost of
one vessel is necessary to save the whole, and that the annual sum to be
employed toward its completion may be adapted to the views of the Leg-
islature as to naval expenditure.

To cultivate peace and maintain commerce and navigation in all their
lawful enterprises; to foster our fisheries as nurseries of navigation and
for the nurture of man, and protect the manufactures adapted to our cir-
cumstances; to preserve the faith of the nation by an exact discharge of
its debts and contracts, expend the public money with the same care and
economy we would practice with our own, and impose on our citizens no
unnecessary burthens; to keep in all things within the pale of our consti-
tutional powers, and cherish the federal union as the only rock of safety —
these, fellow-citizens, are the landmarks by which we are to guide our-
selves in all our proceedings. By continuing to make these the rule of
our' action we shall endear to our countrymen the true principles of their
Constitution and promote an union of sentiment and of action equally
auspicious to their happiness and safety. On my part, you may count on
a cordial concurrence in every measure for the public good and on all
the information I possess which may enable you to discharge to advan-
tage the high functions with which you are invested by your country.



December 22, 1802.
Gentlemen of ilie House of Representatives:

I now transmit a report from the Secretary of State with the mforma-
tion requested in your resolution of the 17th instant.

In making this communication I deem it proper to observe that I was
led by the regard due to the rights and interests of the United States and
to the just sensibility of the portion of our fellow-citizens more imme-
diately affected by the irregular proceeding at New Orleans to lose not
a moment in causing every step to be taken which the occasion claimed
from me, being equally aware of the obligation to maintain in all cases
the rights of the nation and to employ for that purpose those just and
honorable means which belong to the character of the United States.


Thomas Jefferson 347

December 23, 1802.
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives.

In pursuance of the resolution of the House of Representatives of the
3d of May last, desiring a statement of expenditures from January i , 1 797,
by the Quartermaster- General and the navy agents, for the contingen-
cies of the naval and military establishments and the navy contracts for
timber and stores, I now transmit such statements from the offices of the
Secretaries of the Treasury, War, and Navy, where alone these expend-
itures are entered,


December 27, 1802.
Gentlemen of the Senate:

I lay before you a treaty, which has been agreed to by commissioners
duly authorized on the part of the United States and the Creek Nation
of Indians, for the extinguishment of the native title to lands in the
Talassee County, and others between the forks of Oconee and Oakmulgee
rivers, in Georgia, in pursuance of the convention with that State,
together with the documents explanatory thereof; and it is submitted to
your determination whether you will advise and consent to the ratifica-
tion thereof.


December 27, 1802.
Gentlemen of the Senate:

I lay before you a treaty, which has been concluded between the State
of New York and the Oneida Indians, for the purchase of lands within
that State.

One other, between the same State and the Seneca Indians, for the
purchase of other lands within the same State.

One other, between certain individuals styled the Holland Company
with the Senecas, for the exchange of certain lands in the same State.

And one other, between Oliver Phelps, a citizen of the United States,
and the Senecas, for the exchange of lands in the same State; with sundry
explanatory papers, all of them conducted under the superintendence of
a commissioner on the part of the United States, who reports that they
have been adjusted with the fair and free consent and understanding of
the parties. It is therefore submitted to your determination whether you
will advise and consent to their respective ratifications.


December 27, 1802.
Gentlemen of the Senate and of the House of Represejitatives:

In my message of the 15th instant I mentioned that plans and esti-
mates of a dry dock for the -nreservation of our ships of war, prepared by

348 Messages and Papers of the Presidents

a person of skill and experience, should be laid before you without delay.
These are now transmitted, the report and estimates by dupUcates; but
the plans being single only, I must request an intercommunication of
them between the Houses and their return when they shall no longer be
wanting for their consideration.


Decemb:er 30, 1802.

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

In addition to the information accompanying my message of the 2 2d

instant, I now transmit the copy of a letter on the same subject, recently



Washington, December* jo, 1802.
The Speaker oe the House of Representatives.

Sir: Although an informal communication to the public of the sub-
stance of the inclosed letter may be proper for quieting the public mind,
yet I refer to the consideration of the House of Representatives whether
the publication of it in. form might not give dissatisfaction to the writer
and tend to discourage the freedom and confidence of communications
between the agents of the two Governments. Accept assurances of my

high consideration and respect.

Online LibraryUnited States. PresidentA compilation of the messages and papers of the Presidents, 1789-1897 → online text (page 37 of 64)