The Otsego Herald for Dec. 20, 1819, compiled, with comments:
Address to Congress
Tuesday, Dec. 7, 1819. This day, at 12 o’clock, the President of the United States, transmitted to both Houses of Congress ... the following MESSAGE.
Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
The public buildings being advanced to a stage to afford accommodation for Congress, I offer you my sincere congratulations on the re-commencement of your duties in the Capitol.
In bringing to view the incidents most deserving attention, I regret to have to state that several of our principal cities have suffered by sickness; that an unusual drought has prevailed in the middle and western states; and that a derangement has been felt in some of our monied institutions, which has proportionally affected their credit.
I am happy, however, to have it in my power to assure you that the health of our cities is now completely restored; that the produce of the year, though less abundant than usual, will not only be amply sufficient for home consumption, but afford a large surplus for the supply of the wants of other nations; and that the derangement in the circulating paper medium is being left to those remedies which its obvious causes suggested, and the good sense and virtue of our fellow citizens supplied has diminished;
Foreign Affairs: Spain
Having informed Congress, on the 27th of February last, that a treaty of amity, settlement, and limits, had been concluded in this city, between the United States and Spain, and ratified by the competent authorities of the former, full confidence was entertained that it would have been ratified by his Catholic Majesty, with equal promptitude. ... I regret to have to state that this reasonable expectation has been disappointed; the treaty was not ratified within the time stipulated, and has not since been ratified. ...
For territory ceded by Spain, other territory, of great value, on which our claim was believed to be well-founded, was ceded by the United States. ....
This territory ... was surrounded by the territories of the United States on every side, except on that of the ocean. Spain had lost her authority over it, and falling into the hands of adventurers connected with the savages, it was made the means of unceasing annoyance and injury to our Union. ... By this cession, then, Spain ceded a territory, in reality, of no value to her. ...
In respect to the other act alleged, that this government had tolerated or protected an expedition against Texas, it is utterly without foundation. Every discountenance has invariably been given to every such attempt, within the limits of the United States. ... There being cause, however, to apprehend, in the course of the last summer, that some adventurers entertained views of the kind suggested, the attention of the constituted authorities was immediately drawn to them, and it is known that the project, whatever it might be, has utterly failed.
Foreign Affairs: Latin American Independence
In the civil war existing between Spain and the Spanish provinces in this hemisphere, the greatest care has been taken to enforce the laws intended to preserve an impartial neutrality. ... The progress of the war, however, operated manifestly in favor of the Colonies. Buenos Ayres still maintains, unshaken, the independence which it declared in 1816, and has enjoyed since 1810. Like success has also lately attended Chili and the provinces north of the La Plata, bordering on it; and likewise Venezuela. ...
Foreign Affairs: Great Britain
The true intent ... of the treaty of Ghent, in relation to the carrying away, by British officers, of slaves from the United States ... should be referred to the decision of some friendly sovereign or state. ...
The receipts into the Treasury ... have amounted to $19 million. ... There remained in the Treasury more than $2.5 million, which will exceed the current demands upon the Treasury. ... For the probable receipts of the next year, I refer you to the statements which will be transmitted from the Treasury. ...
The great reduction in the price of the principal articles of domestic growth ... and the consequent fall in the price of labor ... have not shielded them against other causes adverse to their prosperity. ... It is deemed of great importance to give encouragement to our domestic manufacturers. In what manner the evils adverted to may be remedied ... is submitted to the wisdom of Congress.
The survey of the coast for the establishment of fortifications is now nearly completed. ... The troops intended to occupy a station at the mouth of the St. Peters, on the Mississippi, have established themselves there. ... Much progress has likewise been made in the construction of ships of war. ... For the protection of our commerce ... it has been found necessary to maintain a strong naval force. ... Such, too, has been the growth of a spirit of piracy ... by adventurers of every country ... that not to protect our commerce, would be to abandon it ... to their rapacity. Due attention has likewise been paid to the suppression of the slave trade, in compliance with a law of the last session. ...
JAMES MONROE, Washington, Dec. 7, 1819. — National Intelligencer, Extra.
Cause of Ashes in Air
The remarkable days and atmosphere ... in November, in Canada, in this state, and in states to the east, are conjectured in the Canada papers to have been caused by a volcanic eruption ... say on the coast of Labrador. In ... Quebec, a large quantity of ashes fell, so as to cover the snow ... and at Montreal and in this state, the water which fell exhibited a dark sediment resembling volcanic ashes.
COMMENT: No active volcanoes are known in Eastern Canada, including Labrador. The cause of these apparent ashes, in several parts of eastern North America, is apparently unknown — unless it relates to volcanic eruptions several years earlier.