|First Inaugural Address 1817.3.4
Our manufacturers 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 supplies from other countries. While we are thus dependent the sudden event of war, unsought and unexpected, can not fail to plunge us into the most serious difficulties. It is important, too, that the capital which nourishes our manufacturers 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
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 fellow-citizens 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 Departments under it with the disbursement of the public money, and is responsible for the faithful application of it to the purposes for which it is raised. The Legislature is the watchful guardian over the public purse. It is its duty to see that the disbursement has been honestly made. To meet the requisite responsibility every facility should be afforded to the Executive to enable it to bring the public agents intrusted with the public money strictly and promptly to account. Nothing should be presumed against them; but if, with the requisite facilities, the public money is suffered to lie long and uselessly in their hands, they will not be the only defaulters, nor will the demoralizing effect be confined to them. It will evince a relaxation and want of tone in the Administration which will be felt by the whole community. I shall do all I can to secure economy and fidelity in this important branch of the Administration, and I doubt not that the Legislature will perform its duty with equal zeal. A thorough examination should be regularly made, and I will promote it.
It is particularly gratifying to me to enter on the discharge of these
duties at a time when the United States are blessed with peace. It is a
state most consistent with their prosperity and happiness. It will be my
sincere desire to preserve it, so far as depends on the Executive, on just
principles with all nations, claiming nothing unreasonable of any and rendering
to each what is due.
Equally gratifying is it to witness the increased harmony of opinion which
pervades our Union. Discord does not belong to our system. Union is recommended
as well by the free and benign principles of our Government, extending
its blessings to every individual, as by the other eminent advantages attending
it. The American people have encountered together great dangers and sustained
severe trials with success. They constitute one great family with a common
interest. Experience has enlightened us on some questions of essential
importance to the country. The progress has been slow, dictated by a just
reflection and a faithful regard to every interest connected with it. To
promote this harmony in accord with the principles of our republican Government
and in a manner to give them the most complete effect, and to advance in
all other respects the best interests of our Union, will be the object
of my constant and zealous exertions.