Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the first portions of your militia repaired to the standard of their country. It was deemed best to provide a force equal to any event which might arise out of the transaction, and especially to the preservation of order, among our newly-associated brethren, in the first moments of their transition from one authority to another. I tender to the legislature of Tennessee assurances of my high respect and consideration.

TO THE TWO BRANCHES OF THE LEGISLATURE OF MASSACHUSETTS.

February 14, 1807. It is with sincere pleasure that I receive, from the two branches of the legislature of Massachusetts, an address, expressive of their satisfaction with the administration of our government. The approbation of my constituents is truly the most valued reward for any services it has fallen to my lot to render them—their confidence and esteem, the greatest consolation of my life. The measures which you have been pleased particularly to note, I have believed to have been for the best interests of our country. But far from assuming their merit to myself, they belong first, to a wise and patriotic legislature, which has given them the form and sanction of law, and next, to my faithful and able fellowlaborers in the Executive administration.

The progression of sentiment in the great body of our fellow citizens of Massachusetts, and the increasing support of their opinion, I have seen with satisfaction, and was ever confident I should see; persuaded that an enlightened people, whenever they should view impartially the course we have pursued, could never wish that our measures should have been reversed; could never desire that the expenses of the government should have been increased, taxes multiplied, debt accumulated, wars undertaken, and the tomahawk and scalping knife left in the hands of our neighbors, rather than the hoe and plough. In whatever tended to strengthen the republican features of our constitution, we could not fail to expect from Massachusetts, the cradle of our revolutionary principles, an ultimate concurrence ; and cultivating

!

the peace of nations, with justice and prudence, we yet were always confident that, whenever our rights would be to be vindicated against the aggression of foreign foes, or the machinations of internal conspirators, the people of Massachusetts, so prominent in the military achievements which placed our country in the right of self-government, would never be found wanting in their duty to the calls of their country, or the requisitions of their government.

During the term, which yet remains, of my continuance in the station assigned me, your confidence shall not be disappointed, so far as faithful endeavors for your service can merit it.

I feel with particular sensibility your kind expressions towards myself personally; and I pray that that Providence in whose hand are the nations of the earth, may continue towards ours his fostering care, and bestow on yourselves the blessings of His protection and favor.

TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, AND SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF MASSACHUSETTS.

WASHINGTON, February 14, 1807. GENTLEMEN,—I acknowledge, in the first moment it has been in my power, the receipt of your joint letter of January 26th, with the address of the two branches of legislature of Massachusetts, expressing their approbation of the proceedings of our government. This declaration cannot fail to give particular and general satisfaction to our fellow citizens, and to produce wholesome effects at home and abroad. The remarkable union of sentiment which pervaded nearly the whole of the States and territories composing our nation, was such, indeed, as to inspire a just confidence in the course we had to pursue. Yet something was sensibly wanting to fill up the measure of our happiness, while a member so important, so esteemed as Massachusetts, had not yet declared its participation in the common sentiment. That it is now done, will be a subject of mutual congratulation.

I am sensible that the terms in which you have been pleased

to make this communication, are not merely those of official duty. I feel how much I am indebted to the kind and friendly disposition they manifest; and I cherish them as proofs of an esteem highly valued.

Permit me, through you, to return to the two branches of the legislature the enclosed answer, and accept the assurances of my esteem and high consideration.

TO MESSRS. THOMAS, ELLICOT, AND OTHERS.

November 13, 1807. FRIENDS AND Fellow CITIZENS,—I thank you for the address you have kindly presented me, on behalf of that portion of the Society of Friends of which you are the representatives, and I learn with satisfaction their approbation of the principles which have influenced the councils of the general government in their decisions on several important subjects confided to them.

The desire to preserve our country from the calamities and ravages of war, by cultivating a disposition, and pursuing a conduct, conciliatory and friendly to all nations, has been sincerely entertained and faithfully followed. It was dictated by the principles of humanity, the precepts of the gospel, and the general wish of our country, and it was not to be doubted that the Society of Friends, with whom it is a religious principle, would sanction it by their support.

The same philanthropic motives have directed the public endeavors to ameliorate the condition of the Indian natives, by introducing among them a knowledge of agriculture and some of the mechanic arts, by encouraging them to resort to these as more certain, and less laborious resources for subsistence than the chase; and by withholding from them the pernicious supplies of ardent spirits. They are our brethren, our neighbors; they may be valuable friends, and troublesome enemies. Both duty and interest then enjoin, that we should extend to them the blessings of civilized life, and prepare their minds for becoming useful members of the American family. In this important work I owe

to your society an acknowledgment that we have felt the benefits of their zealous co-operation, and approved its judicious direction towards producing among those people habits of industry, comfortable subsistence, and civilized usages, as preparatory to religious instruction and the cultivation of letters.

Whatever may have been the circumstances which influenced our forefathers to permit the introduction of personal bondage into any part of these States, and to participate in the wrongs committed on an unoffending quarter of the globe, we may rejoice that such circumstances, and such a sense of them, exist no longer. It is honorable to the nation at large that their legislature availed themselves of the first practicable moment for arresting the progress of this great moral and political error; and I sincerely pray with you, my friends, that all the members of the human family may, in the time prescribed by the Father of us all, find themselves securely established in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and happiness.

TO CAPTAIN JOHN THOMAS.

WASHINGTON, November 18, 1807. Sir, I received on the 14th instant your favor of August 31, and I beg you to assure my fellow citizens of the Baptist church of Newhope meeting-house, that I learn with great satisfaction their approbation of the principles which have guided the present administration of the government. To cherish and maintain the rights and liberties of our citizens, and to ward from them the burthens, the miseries, and the crimes of war, by a just and friendly conduct towards all nations, were among the most obvious and important duties of those to whom the management of their public interests have been confided; and happy shall we be if a conduct guided by these views on our part, shall secure to us a reciprocation of peace and justice from other nations.

Among the most inestimable of our blessings, also, is that you so justly particularize, of liberty to worship our Creator in the way we think most agreeable to his will; a liberty deemed in

other counties incompatible with good government, and yet proved by our experience to be its best support.

Your confidence in my dispositions to befriend every human right is highly grateful to me, and is rendered the more so by a consciousness that these dispositions have been sincerely entertained and pursued. I am thankful for the kindness expressed towards me personally, and pray you to return to the society in whose name you have addressed me, my best wishes for their happiness and prosperity; and to accept for yourself assurances of my great esteem and respect.

TO HIS EXCELLENCY GOVERNOR SMITH

WASHINGTON, December 1, 1807. SIR,— The Secretary of State has communicated to me your letter to him of the 14th of November, covering the resolutions of the General Assembly of Vermont of the 4th of the same month.

The sentiments expressed by the General Assembly of Vermont on the late hostile attack on the Chesapeake by the Leopard ship-of-war, as well as on other violations of our maritime and territorial rights, are worthy of their known patriotism; and their readiness to rally around the constituted authorities of their country, and to support its rights with their lives and fortunes, is the more honorable to them as exposed by their position, in front of the contest. The issue of the present misunderstandings cannot now be foreseen; but the measures adopted for their settlement have been sincerely directed to maintain the rights, the honor, the peace of our country; and the approbation of them expressed by the General Assembly is to me a confirmation of their correctness.

The confidence they are pleased to declare in my personal care of the public interests, is highly gratifying to me, and gives a new claim to everything which zeal can effect for their service.

I beg leave to tender to the General Assembly of Vermont, and to yourself, the assurances of my high consideration and respect.

« ZurückWeiter »