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ADDRESSES OF THE LEGISLATURE OF VERMONT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
AND ANSWERS THERETO.
ADDRESS TO PRESIDENT WASHINGTON.–1796.
IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY 17th October 1796. On motion, Resolved, That the following persons be a Committee to draft an address in the name of the legislature of this state, to the presieent of the United States, in answer to his late [farewell] address to his fellow citizens, viz. Mr. Speaker (Lewis R. Morris,] Mr. (Amos) Marsh, and Mr. [Daniel] Farrand.
25th Oct. The committee appointed to draft and report an address to the president of the United States, in answer to his late address to his fellow citizens, reported as follows, viz. “ An address from the legislature of the state of Vermont, to the President
of the United States. “Sir, From the unrecognized situation of this state, the legislature had not an opportunity in common with their sister states, to anticipate by an address, the blessings which were expected from your administration ; permit us now, with sincere satisfaction, to assure you, that the event has justified the most sanguine hopes of the legislature of Vermont, and their constituents.
“When we contrast the gloomy aspect, both of our domestic and foreign affairs, a few years since, with ihe flattering prospect now before us, we at once appreciate the advantages which immediately result from one general government, and the justice, magnanimity and moderation which has marked your administration.
“ Convinced of our true interest, you have successfully opposed faction, and maintained that neutrality so necessary to our national honour and peace-accept, sir, the only acknowledgment in our power to make, or yours to receive, the gratitude of a free people.
Ardently as we wish your continuance in public office, yet when we reflect on the years of anxiety you have spent in your country's services, we must reluctantly acquiesce in your wishes, and consent that you should pass the evening of your days, in reviewing a well spent life, and looking forward to scenes beyond the grave, where our prayers shall ascend for a complete reward for all your services, in a happy immortal
ity: and we receive your address to your fellow citizens, as expressive of the highest zeal for their prosperity, and containing the best advice to ensure its continuance.
“We cannot, sir, close this address (probably the last public communication we may have occasion to make to you) without assuring you of our affection and respect. May the shade of private life be as grateful to you as the splendor of your public life has been useful to your country.
“We shall recollect you with fillial affection; your advice as an inestimable legacy, and shall pride ourselves in teaching our children the importance of that advice, and a humble imitation of your example."
Which report was read and unanimously adopted. The same being then signed by the Speaker, and countersigned by the clerk, on motion, Resolved, That the governor and council be requested to concur in the foregoing address to the president of the United States; and that the same be presented to the president by the senators in congress from this state.
IN COUNCIL, Oct. 27 1796. An Address from the House to the President of the United States requesting the Concurrence of the Gov" & Council, Read & Resolved to Concurr accordingly.
U. S. Senators for Vermont to Gov. Chittenden.
PHILADELPHIA Jans. 24th. 1797 1 Sir On the 12th. ultimo we presented the Address of the Legislature of Vermont to the President of the United States & on the same day received his Answer, which we respectfully transmit to your Excellency to be communicated to the Council and Gent. Assembly:-We are with perfect Sentiments of Esteem Your Obt. & Humble Serts
ISAAC TICHENOR, His Excelly. Thos. Chittenden.?
REPLY OF PRESIDENT WASHINGTON. To Elijah Paine and Isaac Tichenor Esqus Senators in Congress from the
State of Vermont. Gentlemen, With particular pleasure I receive the unanimous address of the Council and General Assembly of the State of Vermont.-Although but lately admitted into the Union, yet the importance of your State, its love of liberty and its energy, were manifested in the earliest periods of the revolution which established our Independence. Unconnected in name only, but in reality united with the confederated States, these felt and acknowledged the benefits of your cooperation. Their mutual safety and advantage duly appreciated, will never permit this Union to be dissolved.
I enjoy great happiness in the testimony you have presented, and in the other proofs exhibited from various parts of our Country, that the operations of the general Government have justified the hopes of our citizens at its formation, which is recognized as the era of national prosperity. The voluntary acknowledgments of my fellow citizens persuade me to believe that my agency has contributed to produce this
1 The transmission of the President's answer was delayed, as the legislature was not to meet until the 14th of the then next February.
? Ms. Vermont State Papers, Vol. 24, p. 97.
effect. This belief will be to me a source of permanent satisfaction, and those acknowledgments a rich reward.
My sincere thanks are due, and I beg you, Gentlemen, to make them acceptable to the Council and General Assembly of the State of Vermont, for the very obliging and affectionate terms in which they notice me and my public services. To such contidence and support, as I have experienced from Councils, Legislative assemblies, and the great body of American Citizens, I owed the best exertions of every faculty I possessed: happy now in the reflection that our joint labours have been crowned with success, ---When withdrawn to the shade of private life, I shall view with growing pleasure, the increasing prosperity of the United States: in the perfect protection of their government, I trust to enjoy my retirement in tranquillity: and then, while indulging a favorite wish of my heart in agricultural pursuits, I may hope to make even my private business and amusement of some use to my Country:
G. WASHINGTON United States
1796.1 12th December
ADDRESS TO PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS--1798.
IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Oct. 12 1798. On motion, Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to draft and report to this Ilouse an address to the President of the United States.
Ordered, That the said committee be appointed of Mr. (Samuel] Williams, Mr. [Udney] Flay, Mr. Amos Marsh, Mr. [John W.] Blake, and Mr. Daniel Farrand.
Oct. 20.—The address to the President of the United States was then read, in the words following. “ To the President of the United States.
· While the Communities, Corporations, Towns, Cities and Legislatures of your Country, are crowding to approach you with addresses of approbation and gratitude, will you. Sir, permit the Legislature of the State of Vermont to join the general voice? Among the latest to address, we would be considered as among the foremost to approve your official conduct.
“We have been represented as a divided people ;? but this report has been fabricated, and cherished, by men whose destructive policy would lead them first to excite disunion, and like the incendiary, to protit by the confusion they have created.
" That the great bulk of our citizens are firmly attached to our excellent federal constitution of government, and highly approve its adminis
Ms. Vermont State Papers, Vol. 24, p. 95. The signature and date to the foregoing were written by Washington ; while the body of the letter was written by a secretary, who, doubtless, was responsible for the few errors in spelling and punctuation.
? Oct. 16 by another resolution, this was made a joint committee, and Councillors Jacob and Spencer were joined.
3 Literally so represented” by Daniel Buck of the eastern congressional district, who was a federalist; and by Matthew Lyon of the western district, who was so over-zealous in opposition as to be then in jail under the sedition act.
tration, you may be assured is an incontrovertible fact.'
That some men should not appreciate its advantages, or that some should be bad enough to strike at its very existence, is not strange. When we consider government as the association of the honest, the pious, and the peaceable, to protect themselves from the wickedness of the dishonest, the impious, and the unruly ; it is not strange that if the beneficial designs of the former be etřected, the latter will complain, and attempt to break every barrier which protects society. We know of no government, ancient or modern, that was ever celebrated for its excellency, whose archives were not disgraced with impediments of opposition, and the page of whose history is not stained with frequent insurrection. Even under the divine theocracy of the Jews, the people murmured amidst plenty ; and, while their first magistrate was in immediate conference with Heaven for their good, a stupid faction of that people lost the remembrance of their divine government, in the adoration of a Molten God.
“ But you, sir, can accurately distinguish between the voice of your country, and the clamour of party : we here offer you the genuine sentiments of our constituents, the freemen of Vermont, as delivered through their constitutional organ, the legislature.
"In the infancy of French political reformation, with our brethren of the United States, we wished well to the cause of French patriotism, because we supposed it the cause of virtue, religion, and rational liberty. But when Gallic virtue was succeded by licentiousness and inhumanity; when religion gave place to atheism, and rational liberty to grievous oppression; when, no longer contented with abortive attempts to reform their own government, they boldly obtruded their political creed upon the order and tranquility of other nations; and with rapacious ambition, unknown to their proudest monarchs, dissolved ancient governments, annexing plundered provinces to their own blood-stained territories; when they violate the neutral rights of the United States, commissioned their ambassadors to excite us to foreign war and domestic insurrection, and made the most unprovoked depredations on our commerce; when they insulted our messengers of peace, and insidiously attempted to degrade them into the mean instruments of subjecting their country to a scandalous tribute;' when they refused to stop the hand of plunder, for a little period, while our government might attempt, by discussion or concession, to avert the calamities of war; when they violently and insidiously struck at our national independence, every tie of affection for Frenchmen was dissolved; and we clearly perceived, that we could no longer be attached to that nation, but at the expence of our morals, our religion, and the love of our country.
"This, sir, is a day which calls loudly for decision: and we are proud to declare our attachment to the Constitution of the United States; we believe its prosperity deeply involves our own; we have the firmest reliance on the executive administration of our general government. Your
| At the election in Sept. 1798, Isaac Tichenor, federalist, received 6211 votes ; and Moses Robinson, opposition, 2805. The yeas and
nays on this address show that the federalists predominated quite as largely in the Assembly.
2“A sum of money was required” from the United States “for the pockets of the directory and ministers, which would be at the disposal of M. Talleyrand."- American Envoys to the Secretary of State, Oct. 22 1797, in American State Papers, octavo edition of 1817, Vol. 3, p. 478.
instructions to our national envoys to France carry conviction with them of your uprightness. Your resolution to send no other envoys to that haughty nation, unless previously assured of their honorable reception, evidences beyond doubt, your firm attachment to the interest and honor of your country. You have justified your country in the face of the world; and if the consequences of French duplicity and rapacity shall involve us in a war, which we pray heaven to avert, we pledge ourselves to our country, for our firmest support of her violated rights.
“ Permit us to add assurances of our personal respect; while we honor you as our chief magistrate, we respect you as a man; and it is to your glory we can say, we regard JOHN ADAMS because we love our country.'
Mr. W. C. Harrington then introduced the following resolution: to wit. Resolved, That the foregoing address pass; that it be signed by the speaker [Daniel Farrand) in behalf of this house; and that it be sent to the governor and council for concurrence: further resolved, that His Excellency the Governor be requested to forward the same to the President of the United States.
On the question, will the house pass the foregoing resolutions ? The yeas and nays being required by Mr. Amos Marsh, * it passed in the atfirmative: Yeas 129, Nays 23.1
The address was concurred in by the Governor and Council, 11 to 2. See ante, pp. 183, 186-7.
'Printed Assembly Journal for 1798, pp. 40, 41, 75–80. The Vermont Gazette Extra of Dec. 20 1798 contains an address of the minority to their constituents, in which they state their objections to the legislative address : first, that the introduction is servile; second, because it renders a full approbation to every measure of the executive administration of the executive government-[meaning but not naming the alien and sedition acts, and the manner of their execution, as exceptions ;] third, that the address was peculiarly pointed against distinguished characters, who had always possessed their fullest confidence; and fourth, that it inveighs against France on account of their religious sentiment. The minority also published and approved of a form of address to the President, which had been read in the Assembly by Udney Hay, as a part of his speech against the legislative address.
ss. Mr. Hay's draft professed their zeal and attachment to the federal government; abhorrence of all foreign influence and intrigues ; condemnation of the inattention with which our ambassadors of peace to the French republic had been received ; their readiness to sacrifice all the comforts and blessings of peace rather than yield to an imperious insulting government; their veneration of President Adams for his virtues, and their respect for his abilities ; their fullest confidence that his conduct would continue to be actuated by zeal for the public welfare, and their most sincere prayer that the divine ruler of the universe might render his exertions the glorious means of saving the country from the horrors and calamities with which the European world was then overspread.
Mr. Hay's form might well have received the vote of every member, had he proposed it as a substitute. The fact undoubtedly was, however,