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diminished, its dignity degraded, or its glory tarnished, by any nation, or combination of nations, whether friends or enemies.
ANSWER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESEN
TATIVES. SIR, : THE interesting detail of those events, which have rendered the convention of Congress at this time indispensible, (communicated in your speech to both Houses) has excited in us the strongest emotions. Whilst we regret the occasion, we cannot omit to testify our approbation of the mea. sure, and to pledge ourselves that no consideration of private inconvenience, shall prevent on our part, a faithful discharge of the duties to which we are called.
We have constantly hoped, that the nations of Europe, whilst desolated by foreign wars, or convulsed by intestine divisions, would have left the United States to enjoy that peace and tranquility, to which the impartial conduct of our government has entitled us ; and it is now with extreme regret we find the measures of the French Republic tending to endanger a situation so desirable and interesting to our country.
Upon this occasion, we feel it our duty to ex. press, in the most explicit manner, sensations which the present crisis has excited, and to assure you of our zealous co-operation in those measures which may appear necessary for our security or peace. . Although it is the earnest wish of our hearts, that peace may be maintained with the French Republic, and with all the world, yet we never will surrender throse rights which belong to us as a na:
tion ; and whilst we view with satisfaction the wisdom, dignity and moderation, which have marked the measures of the Supreme Executive of our country, in its attempts to remove, by candid explanations, the complaints and jealousies of France, we feel the full force of that indignity which has been offered our country in the rejection of its minister. No attempts to wound our rights as a sovereign state will escape the notice of our constituents ; they will be felt with indignation, and repelled with that decision which shall convince the world that we are not a degraded people, that we can never submit to the demands of a foreign power, without examination and without discussion.
Knowing as we do the confidence 'reposed by the people of the United States in their government, we cannot hesitate in expressing our indig. nation at any sentiments tending to derogate from that confidence ; such sentiments, wherever entertained, serve to evince an imperfect knowledge of the opinions of our constituents.
Sensibly as we feel the wound which has been inflicted, by transactions disclosed in your communication, yet we think with you that neither the honor nor the interest of the United States forbid the repetition of advances for preserving peace.
We therefore receive with the utmost satisfaction your information that a fresh attempt at negociation will be instituted, and we cherish the hope that a mutual spirit of conciliation and a disposition on the part of France to compensate for any injuries which may have been committed on our neutral rights, and on the part of the United States to place France on grounds similar to those of other countries, in their relations and connection with us, if any inequalities shall be found to exist, will produce an accommodation compatible with the engage. ments, rights, interest and honor of the United States.
: Fully, however, impressed with the uncertainty of the result, we shall prepare to meet with fortitude any unfavorable events which may occur, and to extricate ourselves from their consequences with all the skill we possess and with all the efforts in our power. Believing with you that the conduct of the government has been just and impartial to foreign nations, that the laws for the preservation of peace have been proper, and that they have been fairly executed, the Representatives of the people do not hesitate to declare, that they will give their most cordial support to the execution of principles so deliberately and uprightly established.
The many interesting subjects which you have recommended to our consideration, and which are so strongly enforced by this momentous occasion, will receive every attention which their importance demands ; and we trust that by the decided and explicit conduct which will govern our deliberations, every insinuation will be repelled which is deroga. tory to the honor and independence of our country.
Permit us in offering this address, to express our satisfaction at your promotion to the first office in the government, and our entire confidence that the pre-eminent talents and patriotism which have placed you in this distinguished situation, will enable you to discharge its various duties with satisfaction to yourself and advantage to our common country.
THE PRESIDENT'S REPLY.
DIR. SPEAKER, AND GENTLEMEN OF
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, I RECEIVE with great satisfaction your can. did approbation of the convention of Congress, and thank you for your assurances, that the interesting subjects recommended to your consideration shall all receive the attention which their importance deitu. mands, and that your co-operation may be expected di in those measures which may appear necessary for hd our security and peace.
The declaration of the representatives of this nation, of their satisfaction at my promotion to the e first office in the government, and of their confidence
in my sincere endeavors to discharge the various duties of it, with advantage to our common country, have excited my most grateful sensibility.
I pray you, gentlemen, to believe and to commu. nicate such assurance to our constituents that no event, which I can foresee to be attainable by any exertions in the discharge of my duties, can afford me so much cordial satisfaction as to conduct a negociation with the French Republic to a removal of prejudices, a correction of error, a dissipation of umbrages, an accommodation of all differences, and a restoration of harmony and affection to the mutual satisfaction of both nations : And whenever the legitimate organs of intercourse shall be restored and the real sentiments of the two governments can be candidly communicated to each other, although strongly impressed with the necessity of collecting ourselves into a manly posture of defence, I nevertheless entertain an encouraging confidence, that a mutual spirit of conciliation, a disposition to compensate injuries, and accommodate each other in all our relations and connections, will produce an agreement to a treaty, consistent with the engagements, rights, duties and honor of both nations.
JOHN ADAMS. United States, June 3d, 1797.
FIFTH CONGRESS-SECOND SESSION.
THE PRESIDENT’S SPEECH.
Gentlemen of the Senate, and
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives, I WAS for some time apprehensive that it would be necessary, on account of the contagious sickness which afflicted the city of Philadelphia, to convene the National Legislature at some other place; this measure it was desirable to avoid, because it would occasion much public inconvenience and a considerable public expence, and add to the calamities of the inhabitants of this city, whose sufferings must have excited the sympathy of all their fellow-citizens ; therefore, aster taking measures to ascertain the state and decline of the sickness, I postponed my determination, having hopes, now happily realized, that without hazard to the lives or health of the members, Congress might assemble at this place, where it was next by law to meet. I submit, however, to your consideration, whether a power to postpone the meeting of Congress, without passing the time fixed by the Constitution, upon such occasions, would not be a useful amendment to the law of one thousand seven hundred and ninety four.
Although I cannot congratulate you on the re-establishment of peace in Europe, and the restoration of security to the persons and properties of our citizens from injustice and violence at sea ; we have nevertheless abundant cause of gratitude to the source of benevolence and influence, for interior tranquility and personal security, for propitious seasons, prosperous agriculture, productive fisheries, and general improvements; and above all, for a rational spirit of civil and religious liberty, and a calm