James Madison

Special Message

January 03, 1810

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

The act authorizing a detachment of 100,000 men from the militia will expire on the 30th of March next. Its early revival is recommended, in order that timely steps may be taken for arrangements such as the act contemplated.

Without interfering with the modifications rendered necessary by the defects or the inefficacy of the laws restrictive of commerce and navigation, or with the policy of disallowing to foreign armed vessels the use of our waters, it falls within my duty to recommend also that, in addition to the precautionary measure authorized by that act and to the regular troops for completing the legal establishment of which enlistments are renewed, every necessary provision may be made for a volunteer force of 20,000 men, to be enlisted for a short period and held in a state of organization and readiness for actual service at the shortest warning.

I submit to the consideration of Congress, moreover, the expediency of such a classification and organization of the militia as will best insure prompt and successive aids from that source, adequate to emergencies which may call for them.

It will rest with them also to determine how far further provision may be expedient for putting into actual service, if necessary, any part of the naval armament not now employed.

At a period presenting features in the conduct of foreign powers toward the United States which impose on them the necessity of precautionary measures involving expense, it is a happy consideration that such is the solid state of the public credit that reliance may be justly placed on any legal provision that may be made for resorting to it in a convenient form and to an adequate amount.


James Madison, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/205649

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