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tance, to be dragged along by the current of events, or to be precipitated by the torrent of the popular voice, is a certain mark of an indecisive, a feeble, and dependent mind, the servant of circumstances, the sport of caprice and the slave of power.
A man of such a capacity is not, however, mereJy on that account, to be despised.-While he is content to move in the humble sphere for which God has made him, he is even entitled to our regard: he is despicable only when his imbecility is accompanied with presumption.
Proceedings during the Session of Congress, which
opened on the 22d of November, 1797. Under this head I shall first insert the PresiDENT'S SPEECH, next the report on the embassy to France, which I shall follow by a summary of the proceedings during the session, which was drawn up for PORCUPINE'S GAZETTE, and was published in the form of a letter from Mr. Harper to his constituents.
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 expense, and add to the calamities of the inhabitants of this city whose sufferings must have excited the sympathy of all their
fellow citizens; therefore, after 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 yet 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 causes of gratitude to the source of benevolence and influence, for interior tranquillity 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, but steady determination to support our sovereignty, as well as our moral and religious principles, against all open and secret attacks.
6. Our envoy's extraordinary to the French republic embarked, one in July, the other early in August, to join their colleague, in Holland. I have received intelligence of the arrival of both of them in Holland, from whence they all proceeded on their journey to Paris within a few days of the nineteenth of September. Whatever may be the result of this mission, I trust that nothing will have been omitted on my part, to conduct the negotiation to a successful conclusion, on such equitable terms as may be compatible with the safety, honour, and interest of the United States. No
thing in the meantime will contribute so much to the preservation of peace, and the attainment of justice, as a manifestation of that energy and unanimity, of which, on many former occasions, the people of the United States have given such me morable proof, and the exertion of those resources, for.national defence, which a beneficent providence has kindly placed within their power.
“ It may be confidently asserted, that nothing has occurred since the adjournment of Congress, which renders inexpedient those precautionary mea, sures, recommended by me to the consideration of the two houses at the opening of your late extraordinary session. If that, system was then prudent, it is more so now, as increasing depredations strengthen the reasons for its adoption. : Indeed, whatever may be the issue of the new gotiation with France, and whether the war in Europe is, or is not to continue, I hold it most certain, that permanent tranquillity and order will not soon be obtained. The state of society has so long been disturbed; the sense of moral and religious obligation, so much weakened ; public faith and national honour have been so impaired; respect to treaties has been so diminished, and the law of nations has lost so much of its force; while pride, ambition, avarice, and violence, have been so long unrestrained, there remains no unreasonable ground, on which to raise an expectation that a commerce without protection or defence, will not be plundered.
“ The commerce of the United States, is essential, if not to their existence, at least to their comfort, their growth, prosperity and happiness. The genius, character, and habits of the people are highly commercial; their cities have been formed and exist upon commerce; our agriculture, fishę
ries, arts and manufactures, are connected with, and depend upon it; in short, commerce has made this country what it is, and it cannot be destroyed or neglected, without involving the people in poverty and distress; great numbers are directly and solely supported by navigation, the faith of society is pledged for the preservation of the rights of commercial, and seafaring, no less than of the other citizens.-Under this view of our affairs, I should hold myself guilty of a heglect of duty, if I forebore to recommend, that' we should make every exertion to protect our commerce, aud to place our country in a suitable posture of defence, as the only sure means of preserving both. 3:19 **I have entertained an expectation, that it would have been in my power, at the opening of this session, to have communicated to you, the agreeable information of the due execution of our treaty with his Catholic Majesty, respecting the withdrawing of the troops, from our territory, and a demarcation of the line of limits; but by the latest authentic intelligence, Spanish garrisons were still continued within our country, and the running of 'the boundary line had not been commenced; these circumstances are the more to be regretted, as they cannot fail to affect the Indians in a manner injurious to the United States ; still, however, indulg. ing the hope, that the answers which have been given, will remove the objections offered by the Spanish officers, to the iminediate exécution of the treaty, I have judged it proper that we should continue in readiness to receive the posts, and to run the line of limits. Further information on this subject will be communicated in the course of the session. : * In connection with the unpleasant state of things on our Western frontier, it is proper for ine to mention, the attempts of foreign agents, to alie
nate the affections of the Indian nations, and to excite them to actual hostilities, against the United States; great activity has been exerted by those per sons, who have insinuated themselves, among the Indian tribes, residing within the territory of the United States, to influence them to transfer their affections, and force, to a foreign nation, to form them into a confederacy, and prepare them for war against the United States.
« Although measures have been taken to counteract these infractions upon our rights, to prevent Indian hostilities, and to preserve entire their attachment to the United States, it is my duty to observe that to give a better effect to these measures, and to obviate the consequences of repetition of such practices, a law providing adequate punishment, for such offences may be necessary. .
66. The commissioners appointed under the fifth article of the treaty of amity, commerce and navigation, between the United States and Great Britain to ascertain the river, which was truly intended, under the name of the river St. Croix, mentioned in the treaty of peace, met at Passamaquoddy-Bay in October 1796, and viewed the mouths of the rivers in question, the adjacent shores and islands; and being of opinion, that actual surveys of both rivers to their sources, were necessary, gave to the agents of the two nations, instructions for that purpose; and adjourned to meet at Boston in August; they met, but the surveys requiring more time than had been supposed, and not being then completed, the commissioners again adjourned to meet at Providence, in the State of Rhode Island in June next, when we may expect a final examination and decision. ..“ The cominissioners appointed in pursuance of the 6th article of the treaty met at Philadelphia in May last, to examine the claims of British sub