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their presses, and by the resolutions of all the clubs. When made public, the most unheard of means were used to overwhelm it with general odium, to raise an universal cry against it, and deter the President from giving it his sanction. In every town, mobs were assembled, under the more respectable name of town meetings; those of a different opinion were silenced by clamor, intimidated by threats, or actually driven away by violence; and all opposition or discussion being thus prevented, these assemblages of ignorant and -illiterate men were prevailed upon to vote by acclamation for resolutions which they were incapable of understanding, and could not even hear.
Thus the appearance of a formidable popular rising in various parts of the continent, was exhibited, and the phrenzy caught. It spread wider and wider, and aided by various auxiliary passions, drew into its vortex great masses of the best citizens. The country again seemed on the point of rushing down the precipice; but fortunately its guardian genius yet presided over its affairs. The President of the United States again placed himself in the breach, and received on his buckler all the strokes, aimed at the happiness of his country. He spoke to the people, they heard the voice of their father, they listened and became calm. He ratified the treaty; and the people said, “It is done, and must it not be supported ?" He has done it, and is it not right?” They listened and were appeased, they read and were convinced, they discovered their first errors, acknowledged and renounced them.
But not so the party, whose object was war against England at all events. They saw in this treaty the death of their hopes, the final frustration of all their projects; for this treaty took away all cause of quarrel between the two countries; and they resolved to make one grand effort for its destruction, which being accomplished, all the ancient disputes would be reinstated with new aggravation; and a rupture would be rendered by so much the more certain, as there could
be no faith in any new accommodation. To this object they bent their whole force, and this House was the place chosen for the attack. When the treaty came before this House to be carried into effect, doctrines, new to the constitution and incompatible with its existence, were introduced, in order to destroy it. The treaty-making power was attempted to be rendered subject to the control of this House; as the power of appointing foreign ministers is now attempted to be rendered subject. The treaty was attacked through the sides of the constitution; a war was sought by the overthrow of our government, and the violation of our plighted faith. But a firm resistance was given to these attempts. Enlightened discussions spread the truth before the eyes of the people. Warned by the errors into which they had before been drawn, and roused by the magnitude of the danger, they rose in their might, and the party was dismayed; they spoke and it trembled; they put forth their hand and touched it, and it sunk to the earth.
Thus again, Mr. Chairman, were the projects of these gentlemen confounded. Thus again were they prevented from effecting their purpose, so much desired, of driving this country into war with England and into the fraternal embraces of France.
The remaining history is known. The French, under pretexts so frivolous, that not one gentleman on this floor has been found hardy enough to defend them, have quarrelled with us on account of this treaty; because, by terminating our differences with England, it cuts off all hopes of our being drawn into war against her. In this quarrel, France proceeded, avowedly, on the ground of our being a divided people, opposed to our government, and attached to her, repels all our amicable advances, meets them with new injuries, and declares, that before she will listen to us, we must tread back all our steps, reverse our whole system of policy, break our treaty with England, and admit her own construction of her treaty with us. In this criti
cal and alarming situation of affairs, the same description of persons, the same individuals even, who so perseveringly attempted to bring us into a war against England, according to the views of France, who have so uniformly and with so much zeal supported all the pretensions of France, now come forward and make a direct attack on the executive, the tendency of which necessarily is to divide it from this House, when there is the utmost need of union, and withdraw from it the confidence of the people, when that confidence is more then ever essential. What is this but a continuation of the same system? And are we to be blamed for seeing, in this attempt, a new effort to throw this country into the arms of France, by rendering the government unable to resist her ; by forcing it, from weakness, to submit to her mandates; to break, in obedience to them, its treaty with England, and substitute, in its place, an alliance, offensive and defensive, with her ?
If this be not the object of gentlemen; if it be not their intention thus to serve their country, by reducing it to the situation of Holland, how are we to reconcile their present with their former conduct; their eagerness for hostile measures formerly, with their tame, submissive spirit now; their zealous opposition to every thing like negociation formerly, with their equally zealous opposition to every thing like resistance now? If this be not their system, then all that I can say about their present, measures, coutrasted with those pursued by them on a former occasion, about their former eagerness for alliance with one foreign nation, and war with another, contrasted with their present declamations against all sorts of foreign connexions or intercourse, is to exclaim, in the eloquent language of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, that those measures form the last leaf of that book, wherein are written the inconsistencies of party.
Whether this system of war and alliance, this system of fraternity with France, such as the Dutch now enjoy, and hostility under her orders against all her enemies; this system, so steadily pursued, but so often defeated, shall now at length begin to triumph, I consider as the question now to be decided. It is now to be decided, whether an important step shall be taken, towards compelling our government, through debility, to submit implicitly to France, towards laying this country, bound hand and foot, at the feet of that haughty, domineering nation. To take this step, to commence the triumph of the fraternal system, I take to be the object, as I know it to be the tendency of the inroad on the executive power attempted by this amendment. Hence it is that I oppose it with the warmest zeal, and with all my might; and if my opposition shall contribute, in the smallest degree, to its defeat, I shall neither regret the time I have occupied, nor apologize for the trouble I have given to the committee.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
DELIVERED MARCH 4, 1801.
FRIENDS AND FELLOW-CITIZENS, Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow-citizens which is here assembled, to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look towards me, to declare a sincere consciousness, that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments, which the greatness of the charge, and the weakness of my
justly inspire. A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye; when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honor, the happiness and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation, and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking. Utterly indeed, should I despair, did not the presence of many, whom I here see, remind me, that, in the other high authorities provided