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their characters, and three persons with equal powers were appointed to treat with them. Although at the date of the last official intelligence the negotiation had not terminated, yet it is to be hoped that our efforts to effect an accommodation will at length meet with a success proportioned to the sincerity with which they have been so often repeated.
While our best endeavors for the preservation of harmony with all nations will continue to be used, the experience of the world, our own experience, admonishes us of the insecurity of trusting too confidently to their success. We can not, without committing a dangerous imprudence, abandon those measures of self-protection which were adapted to our site uation, and to which, notwithstanding our pacific policy, the violence and injustice of others may again compel us to resort.
While our vast extent of seacoast, the commercial and agricultural habits of our people, the great capital they will continue to trust on the ocean, sugg of defence which will be most beneficial to ourselves, our distance from Europe and our resources from maritime strength will enable us to employ it with effect. Seasonable and systematic arrangements, so far as our resources will justify, for a navy adapted for defensive war, and which may in case of necessity be quickly brought into use, seem to be as much recommended by a wise and true economy as by a just regard for our future tranquillity, for the safety of our shores, and for the protection of our property committed to the ocean.
The present navy of the United States, called suddenly into existence by a great national exigency, has raised us in our own esteem, and by the protection afforded to our commerce, has esfected to the extent of our expectations, the object for which it was created.
In connexion with a navy ought to be contemplated the fortification of some of our principal seaports and harbors. A variety of considerations, which will readily suggest themselves, urge an attention to this measure of precaution. To give security to our principal ports considerable sums have already been expended, but the works remain incomplete. It is for Congress to determine whether additional appropriations shall be made, in order to render competent to the intended purposes the fortifications which have been commenced.
The manufacture of arms within the United States still invites the attention of the national legislature. At a considerable expense to the public, this manufacture has been brought to such a state of maturity as, with continued encouragement, will supersede the necessity of future importations from foreign countries. Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
I shall direct the estimates of the appropriations necessary for the ensuing year, together with an account of the public revenue and expenditure to a later period, to be laid before you. " I observe with much satisiaction, that the product of the revenue during the present year has been more considerable than during any former equal period. This result affords conclusive evidence of the great resources of this country, and of the wisdom and efficiency of the measures which have been adopted by Congress for the protection of commerce and preservation of public credit. Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
As one of the grand community of nations our attention is irresistibly drawn to the important scenes which surround us. If they have exhibited
an uncommon portion of calamity, it is the province of humanity to deplore, and of wisdom to avoid, the causes which may have produced it. İf. turning our eyes homeward, we find reason to rejoice at the prospect which presents itself; if we perceive the interior of our country prosper. ous, free, and happy; if all enjoy safety under the protection of laws emanating only from the general will, the fruits of their own labor; we ought to fortify and cling to those institutions which have been the source of such real felicity, and resist with unabating perseverance the progress of those dangerous innovations which may diminish their influence.
To your patriotism, gentlemen, has been confided the honorable duty of guarding the public interests; and while the past is to your country a sure pledge that it will be faithfully discharged, permit me to assure you that your labors to promote the general happiness will receive from me the most zealous co-operation.
ADMINISTRATION OF JOHN
The inauguration of John Adams, as the second president of the United States, took place in Congress Hall, at Philadelphia, on the fourth of March, 1797, in the presence of a large concourse of people, among whom were General Washington, the vice-president elect, the heads of departments, many members of Congress, foreign ministers, and other distinguished persons. Mr. Adams, who was then in his 62d year, was dressed in a full suit of pearl-colored broadcloth ; with powdered hair. Before the oath of office was administered to the new president, by Chief-Justice Ellsworth, he delivered his inaugural address; the sentiments and style of which produced a favorable impression upon the people.
The retirement of General Washington was a cause of sincere rejoicing among those of his countrymen who had opposed his administration. In France it was an event long desired and cordially welcomed. On the other hand, many of the political friends of Washington, in view of the situation of the country, considered the loss of his personal influence a public calamity. But, as his successor was known to entertain similar views of public policy, great hopes were felt for the success of the new administration.
Mr. Adams continued in ofice the same cabinet which had been left by President Washington, namely: Timothy Pickering, secretary of state; Oliver Wolcott, secretary of the treasury ; James M.Henry, secretary of war; and Charles Lee, attorney-general; these gentlemen being all of the
The navy department was not established until 1798, when Benjamin Stoddert, of Maryland, was appointed secretary of the navy, George Cabot, of Massachusetts, having declined the office.
The affairs of the United States with France, received the early attention of President Adams. The American minister to that republic, Charles C. Pinckney, had been expelled from their territory by the French rulers, who also issued new orders for depredations upon American commerce, more unjust and injurious than their former decrees. The president thought the state of affairs demanded the immediate consideration of Congress, and he therefore called that body together on the fifteenth of May, 1797.
There was a decided federal majority in each branch of the nationas legislature. · Jonathan Dayton, of New Jersey, was again elected speaker of the house of representatives; which body, as well as the senate, responded to the president's speech in terms of approval. Several members, who were generally found in the opposition, voted in favor of resolutions for supporting the honor of the country, in consequence of the insulting conduct of the French government.
The administration and a majority in Congress, were still desirous of maintaining a neutral position, and an act was passed, in June, 1797, to prevent American citizens from fitting out or employing privateers against nations at peace with the United States. The exportation of arms and ammunition was also prohibited, and the importation of the same encouraged by law. The president was authorized to call out the militia to the number of eighty thousand, and to accept of the services of volunteers. At the same time, Congress provided for a small naval force, but not sufficient to meet the views of the president.
To provide means for extra expenses, to be incurred for measures of national defence, duties were imposed on stamped paper, and parchment, used for business purposes; an additional duty was also laid on salt, while a drawback was allowed on salt provisions and pickled fish exported. The stamp act proved an unpopular measure. This special session of the fifth Congress was adjourned on the 10th of July, 1797.
The president having intimated to Congress that he should make a new attempt to conciliate France, appointed, with the advice and consent of the senate, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Elbridge Gerry, and John Marshail, special envoys to that republic, with very ample powers. These gentlemen met at Paris, in October, 1797, and promptly attempted to execute their commission. The scenes which followed were well calculated to excite the indignation of the Americans.
The French government employed unofficial individuals to confer with the envoys, those individuals using, instead of their names, which were then unknown, the letters X. Y. Z., and in this way the intercourse with the American ministers was carried on. Attempts were made to detach the envoys from each other, and to learn the separate views of each, by secret interviews. Two of the ministers, Messrs. Pinckney and Marshall, were soon satisfied that no treaty could be made with France which would be honorable to the United States, and they requested of President Adams leave to return. They were soon ordered by the French government to quit France, while Mr. Gerry was invited to remain, and did so; not returning to the United States until October following:
When the despatches from the envoys were made public in the United States, they excited very general indignation, particularly when it was known that the French negotiators had demanded money of the United States,
as the price of peace. The people responded to the sentiment of Mr. Pinckney on the occasion, “ Millions for defence, but not a cent for tribute.” Mr. Gerry was severely censured for not having left France with his colleagues. There is no doubt that he meant well, and that he supposed his better standing with the French rulers would enable him to effect the purposes of his mission. After finding his mistake, he was compelled to withdraw, on receiving instructions from the president, without, of course, effecting anything.
The fifth Congress reassembled at Philadelphia, on the 13th of November, 1797, and continued in session until the 16th of July, 1798, a period of 247 days, or over eight months. Many important laws were passedamong which were those for the protection of navigation, for maintaining neutrality, for the defence of the seacoast, by the fortification of Boston, Newport, New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, and Savannah ; and for an additional land and naval force; also for a loan, which was negotiated at eight per cent. interest, and a direct tax on real estate, to meet the extra expenses of these measures of defence. There was an apprehension on the part of a majority in Congress, that the French government, elated by the success of their arms in Europe, might attempt an invasion of the United States. At this time French ships-of-war were depredating on American commerce, and decrees were issued by the French directory, subjecting to seizure all American vessels having on board British goods or products, or which had sailed from British ports. An act of Congress was passed, in June, 1798, to suspend the commercial intercourse between the United States and France and her possessions. Merchant ships were authorized, under certain restrictions, to be armed in their voyages either to the West Indies or to Europe. A regular and permanent army was ordered to be raised, and the president was authorized to organize twelve additional regiments of infantry, and one regiment each of cavalry, artillery, and engineers, to serve during the difficulties with France. The president was also vested with power to build, purchase, or hire, twelve vessels, of twenty guns each, as an increase of the infant navy of the United States. Although these measures for defence were generally warmly opposed by the democratic minority in Congress, and some of them adopted by small majorities, they were received with approbation by a great majority of the people. The young men took up the subject of the affairs of the country with great zeal, and in Boston, Robert Treat Paine wrote the celebrated song of “ Adams and Liberty.” He and othars delivered patriotic orations to their young associates. Addresses were sent to the president from all parts of the country, glowing with patriotism, and with defiance of France. Mr. Adams had good reason to think that he stood strong in the respect and affections of the people, and at this period his administration was undoubtedly popular.
At this session provision was made by law for the establishment of a nary department.