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Legislature, and upon the virtue and patriotism of my fellow citizens.
ANSWER OF THE SENATE. SIR,
THE Senate of the United States request you to accept their acknowledgments for the comprehensive and interesting detail you have given in your speech to both Houses of Congress, on the existing state of the Union.
While we regret the necessity of the present meet. ing of the legislature, we wish to express our entire approbation of your conduct in convening it on this momentous occasion.
The superintendance of our national faith, honor and dignity, being, in a great measure, constitutionally deposited with the Executive, we observe, with singular satisfaction, the vigilance, firmness and promptitude, exhibited by you in this critical state of public affairs, and from thence derive an evidence and pledge of the rectitude and integrity of your aclministration. And we are sensible it is an object of primary importance, that each branch of the government should adopt a language and system of conduct which shall be cool, just and dispassionate, but firm, explicit and decided.
We are equally desirous with you to preserve peace and friendship with all nations, and are happy to be informed, that neither the honor nor interests of the United States forbid advances for securing those desirable objects, by amicable negociation, with the French Republic. This method of adjusting national differences is not only the most mild, but the most rational and humane ; and with governments disposed to be just, can seldom fail of success when
fairly, candidly, and sincerely used. If we have committed errors, and can be made sensible of them, we agree with you in opinion, that we ought to correct them, and compensate the injuries which may have been consequent thereon, and we trust the French Republic will be actuated by the same just and benevolent principles of national policy. - We do therefore most sincerely approve of your determination to promote and accelerate an accommodation of our existing differences with that Republic by negociation, on terms compatible with the rights, duties, interests and honor of our nation : and you may rest assured of our most cordial cooperation so far as it may become necessary in this pursuit.
Peace and harmony with all nations is our sincere wish ; but such being the lot of humanity, that nations will not always reciprocate peaceable disposi. tions, it is our firm belief that effectual measures of defence will tend to inspire that national self-respect and confidence at home, which is the unfailing source of respectability abroad, to check aggressions and prevent war.
While we are endeavouring to adjust our differences with the French Republic by amicable negociation, the progress of the war in Europe, the de. predations on our commerce, the personal injuries to our citizens, and the general complexion of affairs, prove to us your vigilant care in recommending to our attention effectual measures of defence. • Those which you recommend, whether they relate to external defence, by permitting our citizens to arm for the purpose of repelling aggressions on their commercial rights, and by providing sea convoys ; or to internal defence, by increasing the establishment of artillery and cavalry, by forming a provi. sional army, by revising the militia laws, and forti. fying more completely our ports and harbours-will meet our consideration under the influence of the same just regard for the security, interest and honor of our country, which dictated your recommendation.
Practices so unnatural and iniquitous, as those you state, of our citizens converting their property and personal exertions into the means of annoying our trade, and injuring their fellow citizens, deserves legal severity commensurate with their turpitude.
Although the Senate believe that the prosperity and happiness of our country does not depend on general and extensive political connections with European nations, yet we can never lose sight of the propriety as well as necessity of enabling the executive, by sufficient and liberal supplies, to maintain, and even extend our foreign intercourse, as exigencies may require, reposing full confidence in the executive, in whom the constitution has placed the powers of negociation.
We learn with sincere concern, that attempts are in operation to alienate the affections of our fellow citizens from their government. Attempts so wicked, wherever they exist, cannot fail to excite our utmost abhorrence. A government chosen by the people for their own safety and happiness, and calculated to secure both, cannot lose their affections, so long as its administration pursues the principles upon which it was erected And your resolution to observe a concluct just and impartial to all nations, a sacred regard to our national engagements, and not to impair the rights of our government, contains principles which cannot fail to secure to your administration the support of the national legislature, to render abortive every attempt to excite dangerous jealousies among us, and to convince the world that our government and your administration of it cannot be separated from the affectionate support of every good citizen--And the Senate cannot suffer the presint occasion to pass, without thus publicly and so
lemnly expressing their attachment to the constituition and government of their country ; and as they hold themselves responsible to their constituents, their consciences and their God, it is their determi. nation by all their exertions to repel every attempt to alienate the affections of the people from the government, so highly injurious to the honor, safety, and independence of the United States.
We are happy, since our sentiments on the sub. ject are in perfect unison with yours, in this public manner to declare, that we believe the conduct of the government has been just and impartial to foreign nations, and that those internal regulations which have been established for the preservation of peace, are in their nature proper, and have been fairly executed.
And we are equally happy in possessing an entire confidence in your abilities and exertions in your station, to maintain untarnished, the honor, preserve the peace, and support the independence of our country; to acquire and establish which, in connection with your fellow citizens; has been the virtuous effort of a part of your life.
To aid you in the honorable and arduous exertions, as it is our duty, so it shall be our faithful endeavour. And we flatier ourselves, Sir, that the proceedings of the present session of Congress will manifest to the world, that although the United States love peace, they will be independent. That they are sincere in their declarations to be just to the French, and all other nations, and expect the same in return.
If a sense of justice, a love of moderation and peace, shall influence their councils, which we sincerely hope, we shall have just grounds to expect peace and amity between the United States and all nations will be preserved.
• But if we are so unfortunate as to experience injuries from any foreign power, and the ordinary me
thods by which differences are amicably adjusted between nations shall be rejected—the determination “ not to surrender in any manner the rights of the government,” being so inseparably connected with the dignity, interest and independence of our coun. try, shall be steadily and inviolably supported.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, Vice-President of the United States,
and President of the Senate.
THE PRESIDENT'S REPLY,
MR. VICE-PRESIDENT, AND
GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE, IT would be an affectation in me to dissemble the pleasure I feel in receiving this kind address.
My long experience of the wisdom, fortitude and patriotism of the Senate of the United States, en. hances, in my estimation, the value of those oblig. ing expressions of your approbation of my conduct, which are a generous reward for the past, and an af. fecting encouragement to constancy and perseverance in future.
Our sentiments appear to be so entirely in unison, that I cannot but believe them to be the rational result of the understandings, and the natural feelings of the hearts, of Americans in general, in contemplating the present state of the nation. While such principles and affections prevail, they will form an indissoluble bond of union, and a sure pledge, that our country has no essential injury to apprehend, from any portentous appearances abroad. In a hum. ble reliance on Divine Providence, we may rest assured, that while we reiterate with sincerity our endeavours to accommodate all our differences with France, the independence of our country cannot be