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and domestic enjoyments the veteran hero whose youthful blood and treasure had freely flowed in the cause of our country's independence, and whose whole life has been a series of services and sacrifices to the improvement of his fellow-men. The visit of General Lafayette, alike honorable to himself and to our country, closed, as it had commenced, with the most affecting testimonials of devoted attachment on his part, and of unbounded gratitude of this people to him in return. It will form, hereafter, a pleasing incident in the annals of our Union, giving to real history the intense interest of romance, and signally marking the unpurchasable tribute of a great nation's social affections to the disinterested champion of the liberties of human kind.
The constant maintenance of a small squadron in the Mediterranean is a necessary substitute for the humiliating alternative of paying tribute for the security of our commerce in that sea, and for a precarious peace, at the mercy of every caprice of four Barbary states, by whom it was liable to be violated. An additional motive for keeping a respectable force stationed there at this time, is found in the maritime war raging between the Greeks and the Turks; and in which the neutral navigation of this Union is always in danger of outrage and depredation. A few instances have occurred of such depredations upon our merchant vessels by privateers or pirates wearing the Grecian flag, but without real authority from the Greek or any other government. The heroic struggles of the Greeks themselves, in which our warmest sympathies, as freemen and Christians, have been engaged, have continued to be maintained with vicissitudes of success adverse and favorable.
Similar motives have rendered expedient the keeping a like force on the coasts of Peru and Chili, on the Pacific. The irregular and convulsive character of the war upon the shores has been extended to the conflicts upon the ocean. An active warfare has been kept up for years, with alternate success, though generally to the advantage of the American patriots. But their naval forces have not always been under the control of their own governments. Blockades, unjustifiable upon any acknowledged principles
of international law, have been proclaimed by officers in command; and, though disavowed by the supreme authorities, the protection of our own commerce against them has been made a cause of complaint and erroneous imputations against some of the most gallant officers of our navy. Complaints equally groundless have been made by the commanders of the Spanish royal forces in those seas; but the most effective protection to our commerce has been the flag and the firmness of our own commanding officers. The cessation of the war, by the complete triumph of the patriot cause, has removed, it is hoped, all cause of dissension with one party, and all vestige of force of the other. But an unsettled coast of many degrees of latitude, forming a part of our own territory, and a flourishing commerce and fishery, extending to the islands of the Pacific and to China, still require that the protecting power of the Union should be displayed under its flag, as well upon the ocean as upon the land.
The objects of the West Indies squadron have been, to carry into execution the laws for the suppression of the African slave trade; for the protection of our commerce against vessels of piratical character, though bearing commissions from either of the belligerent parties; for its protection against open and unequivocal pirates. These objects, during the present year, have been accomplished more effectually than at any former period. The African slave trade has long been excluded from the use of our flag; and if some few citizens of our country have continued to set the laws of the Union, as well as those of nature and humanity, at defiance, by persevering in that abominable traffic, it has been only by sheltering themselves under the banners of other nations, less earnest for the total extinction of the trade than ours.
The irregular privateers have, within the last year, been in a great measure banished from those seas; and the pirates, for months past, appear to have been almost entirely swept away from the borders and the shores of the two Spanish islands in those regions. The active, persevering, and unremitted energy of Captain Warrington, and of the officers and men under his command, on that trying and perilous service, have been crowned with signal success, and are entitled to
the approbation of their country. But experience has shown that not even a temporary suspension or relaxation from assiduity can be indulged on that station without reproducing piracy and murder in all their horrors; nor is it probable that, for years to come, our immensely valuable commerce in those seas can navigate in security, without the steady continuance of an armed force devoted to its protection.
It were indeed a vain and dangerous illusion to believe that in the present or probable condition of human society, a commerce so extensive and so rich as ours could exist and be pursued in safety, without the continual support of a military marine the only arm by which the power of this confederacy can be estimated or felt by foreign nations, and the only standing military force which can never be dangerous to our own liberties at home. A permanent naval peace establishment, therefore, adapted to our present condition, and adaptable to that gigantic growth with which the nation is advancing in its career, is among
the subjects which have already occupied the foresight of the last Congress, and which will deserve your serious deliberations. Our navy, commenced at an early period of our present political organization, upon a scale commensurate with the incipient energies, the scanty resources, and the comparative indigence of our infancy, was even then found adequate to cope with all the powers of Barbary, save the first, and with one of the principal maritime powers of Europe.
At a period of further advancement, but with little accession of strength, it not only sustained with honor the most unequal of conflicts, but covered itself and our country with unfading glory. But it is only since the close of the late war that, by the numbers and force of the ships of which it was composed, it could deserve the name of a navy. Yet it retains nearly the same organization as when it consisted of only five frigates. The rules and regulations by which it is governed earnestly call for revision; and the want of a naval school of instruction, corresponding with the Military Academy at West Point, for the formation of scientific and accomplished officers, is felt with daily increasing aggravation.
The act of Congress of 26th of May, 1824, authorizing an examination and survey of the harbor of Charleston, in South Carolina, of St. Mary's, in Georgia, and of the coast of Florida, and for other purposes, has been executed so far as the appropriation would admit. Those of the 3d of March last, authorizing the establishment of a navyyard and depot on the coast of Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico, and authorizing the building of ten sloops of war, and for other purposes, are in the course of execution; for the particulars of which and other objects connected with this department, I refer to the report of the Secretary of the Navy herewith communicated.
A report from the Postmaster-general is also submitted, exhibiting the present flourishing condition of that de partment.
For the first time for many years, the receipts for the year ending on the 1st of July last, exceeded the expenditures during the same period, to the amount of more than forty-five thousand dollars. Other facts, equally creditable to the administration of this department, are, that in two years from the 1st of July, 1823, an improvement of more than one hundred and eighty-five thousand dollars in its pecuniary affairs, has been realized; that, in the same interval, the increase of the transportation of the mail has exceeded one million five hundred thousand miles annually; and that one thousand and forty new post-offices have been established. It hence appears, that under judicious management, the income from this establishment may be relied on as fully adequate to defray its expenses ; and that, by the discontinuance of post roads, altogether unproductive, others of more useful character may be opened, till the circulation of the mail shall keep pace with the spread of our population, and the comforts of friendly correspondence, the exchanges of internal traffic, and the lights of the periodical press, shall be distributed to the remotest corners of the Union, at a charge scarcely perceptible to any individual, and without the cost of a dollar to the public treasury.
Upon this first occasion of addressing the legislature of the Union, with which I have been honored, in presenting to their view the execution, so far as it has been effected, of the measures sanctioned by them, for promoting the
internal improvement of our country, I cannot close the communication without recommending to their calm and persevering consideration the general principle in a more enlarged extent. The great object of the institution of civil government is the improvement of the condition of those who are parties to the social compact. And no government, in whatever form constituted, can accomplish the lawful ends of its institution, but in proportion as it improves the condition of those over whom it is established. Roads and canals, by multiplying and facilitating the communications and intercourse between distant regions and multitudes of men, are among the most important means of improvement. But moral, political and intellectual improvement, are duties assigned by the Author of our existence, to social, no less than to individual man. For the fulfilment of those duties, governments are invested with power ; and, to the attainment of the end, the progressive improvement of the condition of the governed, the exercise of delegated powers, is a duty as sacred and indispensable as the usurpation of powers not granted is criminal and odious. Among the first, perhaps the very first instrument for the improvement of the condition of men, is knowledge; and to the acquisition of much of the knowledge adapted to the wants, the comforts, and enjoyments of human life, public institutions and seminaries of learning are essential. So convinced of this was the first of my predecessors in this office, now first in the memory, as, living, he was the first in the hearts of our country, that once and again, in his addresses to the Congresses with whom he coöperated in the public service, he earnestly recommended the establishment of seminaries of learning, to prepare for all the emergencies of peace and war national university, and a military academy. With respect to the latter, had he lived to the present day, in turning his eyes to the institution at West Point, he would have enjoyed the gratification of his most earnest wishes. But, in surveying the city which has been honored with his name, he would have seen the spot of earth which he had destined and bequeathed to the use and benefit of his country as the site for a university, still bare and barren.
In assuming her station among the civilized nations of