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THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES,
AT THE FIRST SESSION OF THE FIFTH CONGRESS, BEGUN AT THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, MAY 15, 1797.
The first session of the Fifth Congress, under A message from the House of Representatives the Constitution of Government of the United States, commenced at the city of Philadelphia, agreeably to the Proclamation of the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, of the twenty-fifth day of March last, and the Senate accordingly assembled on this day, being
MONDAY, May 15, 1797.
informed the Senate that the House have appointed a joint committee on their part, together with such committee as the Senate may appoint, to wait on the President of the United States, and inform him that a quorum of the two Houses is assembled, and ready to receive any communications that he may be pleased to make to them. Resolved, That the Senate do concur in the appointment of a joint committee, and that Messrs.
on the part of the Senate.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, Vice President of the LIVERMORE and LANGDON be the joint committee United States and President of the Senate. JOHN LANGDON and SAMUEL LIVERMORE, from New Hampshire;
BENJAMIN GOODHUE, from Massachusetts; THEODORE FOSTER and WILLIAM BRADFORD, from Rhode Island;
JAMES HILLHOUSE and URIAH TRACY, from
ISAAC TICHENOR, from Vermont;
WILLIAM BINGHAM, from Pennsylvania;
HENRY LATIMER, from Delaware;
JOHN E. HOWARD, from Maryland;
STEVENS T. MASON, from Virginia;
Mr. LIVERMORE reported, from the joint committee, that they had waited on the President of the United States, and had notified him that a quorum of the two Houses is assembled ; and that the President of the United States acquainted the committee that he would meet the two Houses in the Representatives' Chamber at 12 o'clock to
A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that the House have resolved that two Chaplains be appointed to Congress, for the present session, one by each House, who shall interchange weekly; in which they desire
ALEXANDER MARTIN and TIMOTHY BLOOD- the concurrence of the Senate.
The Senate proceeded to consider the said resolution; and,
Resolved, That they do concur therein, and that lain on the part of the Senate. the Right Reverend Bishop WHITE be the Chap
TUESDAY, May 16.
WILLIAM BLOUNT, from the State of Tennessee; THEODORE SEDGWICK, from the State of Massachusetts; and JOHN VINING, from the State of Delaware, severally attended.
A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that the House are now ready to meet the Senate in the Chamber of that House, to receive such communications as the President of the United States shall be pleased to make to them. Whereupon,
The Senate repaired to the Chamber of the House of Representatives, for the purpose above expressed.
The Senate returned to their own Chamber and a copy of the Speech of the President of the United States, this day addressed to both Houses
of Congress, was read. (For which, see House Proceedings, post.)
Ordered, That Messrs. TRACY, LAURANCE, and LIVERMORE, be a committee to report the draught of an Address to the President of the United States, in answer to his Speech this day to both Houses of Congress.
It was further ordered that the Speech be printed for the use of the Senate.
Resolved, That each Senator be supplied, during the present session, with copies of three such newspapers, printed in any of the States, as he may choose; provided that the same are furnished at the rate of the usual annual charge for such
On motion, that the report, as amended, be printed for the use of the Senate, it passed in the negative.
Ordered, That the consideration thereof be postponed until Monday next.
MONDAY, May 23.
JOHN BROWN, from the State of Kentucky, and JACOB READ, from the State of South Carolina, severally attended.
JOHN RUTHERFURD, appointed a Senator from the State of New Jersey, produced his credentials, which were read, and the oath required by law being administered to him, he took his seat in the Senate.
The Senate took into consideration the draught, reported by the committee, of an Address to the President of the United States, in answer to his Speech at the opening of the session, and having agreed to sundry amendments, adjourned.
TUESDAY, May 23.
The Senate resumed the consideration of the report of the committee of the draught of an Address, in answer to the Speech of the President of the United States to both Houses of Congress, at the opening of the session.
On motion, to expunge the following paragraph, to wit:
"We are happy, since our sentiments on the subject are in perfect unison with yours, in this public manner to declare, that the conduct of the Government has been just and impartial to foreign nations, and that those internal regulations, which have been established for the preservation of peace, are, in their nature, proper, and have been fairly executed :"
It was determined in the negative-yeas 11, nays 15, as follows:
YEAS-Messrs. Bloodworth, Blount, Brown, Cocke,
JOHN HENRY, from the State of Maryland, Henry, Hunter, Langdon, Martin, Mason, Tazewell,
On motion, by Mr. TRACY,
Ordered, That the report of the committee, appointed to draught an Address, in answer to the Speech of the President of the United States at the opening of the session, be recommitted. And it was agreed that Messrs. HENRY and TAZEWELL be added to the committee.
The VICE PRESIDENT laid before the Senate a letter from the Secretary for the Department of State, communicating, by order of the President of the United States, sundry papers, No. 1 to 18, respecting the situation of affairs of the United States with France, Spain, and Holland; which papers were read.
Ordered, That they lie for consideration.
SATURDAY, May 20.
Mr. TRACY, from the committee to whom was recommitted the report of an Address in answer to the Speech of the President of the United States, to both Houses of Congress, at the opening of the session, reported sundry amendments; which were read.
NAYS-Messrs. Bingham, Bradford, Foster, Goodhue, Hillhouse, Howard, Laurance, Latimer, Livermore, Read, Rutherfurd, Sedgwick, Stockton, Tichenor, and Tracy.
And the report being further amended, was adopted, as follows:
SIR: The Senate of the United States request you to accept their acknowledgments for the comprehensive and interesting detail you have given, in your Speech to both Houses of Congress, on the existing state of the Union.
of the Legislature, we wish to express our entire apWhile we regret the necessity of the present meeting probation of your conduct in convening it on this momentous occasion.
The superintendence of our national faith, honor, and dignity, being, in a great measure, constitutionally deposited with the Executive, we observe, with singular satisfaction, the vigilance, firmness, and promptitude, exhibited by you, in this critical state of our public affairs, and from thence derive an evidence and pledge of the rectitude and integrity of your administration. And we are sensible it is an object of primary importance, that each branch of the Government should adopt
a language and system of conduct, which shall be cool, just, and dispassionate; but firm, explicit, and decided. We are equally desirous, with you, to preserve peace and friendship with all nations, and are happy to be informed, that neither the honor nor interests of the United States forbid advances for securing those desirable objects, by amicable negotiation with the French Republic. This method of adjusting national differences is not only the most mild, but the most rational and humane, and with Governments disposed to be just, can seldom fail of success, when fairly, candidly, and sincerely, used. If we have committed errors, and can be made sensible of them, we agree with you in opinion that we ought to correct them, and compensate the injuries which may have been consequent thereon; and we trust the French Republic will be actuated by the same just and benevolent principles of national policy.
We do, therefore, most sincerely approve of your determination to promote and accelerate an accommodation of our existing differences with that Republic, by negotiation, on terms compatible with the rights, duties, interests, and honor, of our nation. And you may rest assured of our most cordial co-operation, so far as it may become necessary, in this pursuit.
Peace and harmony with all nations is our sincere wish; but, such being the lot of humanity, that nations will not always reciprocate peaceable dispositions, it is our firm belief, that effectual measures of defence will tend to inspire that national self-respect and confidence at home, which is the unfailing source of respectability abroad, to check aggression, and prevent war.
While we are endeavoring to adjust our differences with the French Republic, by amicable negotiation, the progress of the war in Europe, the depredations on our commerce, the personal injuries to our citizens, and the general complexion of affairs, prove to us your vigilant care, in recommending to our attention effectual measures of defence.
Those which you recommend, whether they relate to external defence, by permitting our citizens to arm for the purpose of repelling aggressions on their commercial rights, and by providing sea convoys, or to internal defence, by increasing the establishments of artillery and cavalry, by forming a provisional army, by revising the militia laws, and fortifying, more completely, our ports and harbors, will meet our consideration, under the influence of the same just regard for the security, interest, and honor, of our country, which dictated your recommendation.
Practices so unnatural and iniquitous, as those you state, of our own citizens, converting their property and personal exertions into the means of annoying our trade, and injuring their fellow-citizens, deserve legal severity commensurate with their turpitude.
Although the Senate believe that the prosperity and happiness of our country does not depend on general and extensive political connexions with European nations, yet we can never lose sight of the propriety as well as necessity of enabling the Executive, by sufficient and liberal supplies, to maintain, and even extend, our foreign intercourse, as exigencies may require, reposing full confidence in the Executive, in whom the Constitution has placed the powers of negotiation.
We learn, with sincere concern, that attempts are in operation to alienate the affections of our fellow-citizens from their Government. Attempts so wicked, wherever they exist, cannot fail to excite our utmost abhorrence. A Government chosen by the people for their own safety and happiness, and calculated to secure both, cannot
lose their affections, so long as its administration pursues the principle upon which it was erected. And your resolution to observe a conduct just and impartial to all nations, a sacred regard to our national engagements, and not to impair the rights of our Government, contains principles which cannot fail to secure to your administration the support of the National Legislature, to render abortive every attempt to excite dangerous jealousies among us, and to convince the world that our Government, and your administration of it, cannot be separated from the affectionate support of every good citizen. And the Senate cannot suffer the present occasion to pass, without thus publicly and solemnly expressing their attachment to the Constitution and Government of their country; and as they hold themselves responsible to their constituents, their consciences, and their God, it is their determination, by all their exertions, to repel every attempt to alienate the affections of the people from the Government, so highly injurious to the honor, safety, and independence of the United States.
We are happy, since our sentiments on the subject are in perfect unison with yours, in this public manner to declare, that we believe the conduct of the Government has been just and impartial to foreign nations, and that those internal regulations which have been established for the preservation of peace, are in their nature proper, and have been fairly executed.
And we are equally happy in possessing an entire confidence in your abilities and exertions in your station to maintain untarnished the honor, preserve the peace, and support the independence of our country; to acquire and establish which, in connexion with your fellow-citizens, has been the virtuous effort of a principal part of your life.
To aid you in these arduous and honorable exertions, as it is our duty, so it shall be our faithful endeavor. And we flatter ourselves, sir, that the proceedings of the present session of Congress will manifest to the world, that, although the United States love peace, they will be independent. That they are sincere in their declarations to be just to the French, and all other nations, and expect the same in return.
If a sense of justice, a love of moderation and peace, shall influence their councils, which we sincerely hope, we shall have just grounds to expect peace and amity between the United States and all nations will be preserved.
But if we are so unfortunate as to experience injuries from any foreign Power, and the ordinary methods by which differences are amicably adjusted between nations shall be rejected, the determination “not to surrender in any manner the rights of the Government" being so inseparably connected with the dignity, interest, and independence of our country, shall by us be steadily and inviolably supported.
THOMAS JEFFERSON, Vice President of the United States, and President of the Senate.
the Address wait on the President of the United Ordered, That the committee who prepared States, and desire him to acquaint the Senate at what time and place it will be most convenient for him that it should be presented.
Mr. TRACY reported from the committee that they had waited on the President of the United States, and that he would receive the Address of the Senate to-morrow, at 12 o'clock, at his own house.
Resolved, That the Senate will, to-morrow, at
12 o'clock, wait on the President of the United ted States fitting out privateers, taking the comStates accordingly.
WEDNESDAY, May 24.
ELIJAH PAINE, from the State of Vermont, attended.
Agreeably to the resolution of yesterday, the Senate waited on the President of the United States, and the VICE PRESIDENT, in their name, presented the Address then agreed to.
To which the PRESIDENT made the following reply:
Mr. Vice President,
and Gentlemen of the Senate:
It would be an affectation in me to dissemble the pleasure I feel on receiving this kind Address.
My long experience of the wisdom, fortitude, and patriotism, of the Senate of the United States, enhances in my estimation the value of those obliging expressions of your approbation of my conduct, which are a generous reward for the past, and an affecting encouragement to constancy and perseverance in future.
Our sentiments appear to be so entirely in unison, that I cannot but believe them to be the rational result of the understandings and the natural feelings of the hearts of Americans in general, on contemplating the present state of the nation.
While such principles and affections prevail, they will form an indissoluble bond of union, and a sure pledge that our country has no essential injury to apprehend from any portentous appearances abroad. In a humble reliance on Divine Providence, we may rest assured, that, while we reiterate with sincerity our endeavors to accommodate all our differences with France, the independence of our country cannot be diminished, its dignity degraded, or its glory tarnished, by any nation or combination of nations, whether friends or ene
mand, or entering on board of them, and committing spoliations on the commerce of the United States, be referred to Messrs. LIVERMORE, LAURANCE, and READ, to consider and report thereon; and that the said committee be authorized to report by bill or bills, or otherwise.
On motion, by Mr. SEDGWICK,
Ordered, That so much of the President's Speech as relates to a revision of the laws for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia be referred to Messrs. HOWARD, LATIMER, TICHENOR, FOSTER, and LAURANCE, to consider and report thereon; and that the said committee be authorized to report by bill or bills, or otherwise.
On motion, by Mr. SEDGWICK, that so much of the President's Speech as relates to the establishment of a permanent system of naval defence, and authorizing the arming of vessels the property of individuals, be referred to a select committee to consider and report; and that the said committee be authorized to report by bill or bills, or otherwise.
A motion was made that this motion be postponed until to-morrow; and it passed in the neg
On motion, by Mr. TAZEWELL, that the words, "and authorizing the arming of vessels the property of individuals," be expunged, it was determined in the negative-yeas 11, nays 17, as follows:
YEAS-Messrs. Bloodworth, Blount, Brown, Cocke, Hunter, Langdon, Livermore, Martin, Mason, Tazewell, and Tattnall.
NAYS-Messrs. Bingham, Bradford, Goodhue, Hillhouse, Howard, Latimer, Laurance, Marshall, Paine, Read, Ross, Rutherfurd, Sedgwick, Stockton, Tichenor, Tracy, and Vining.
And it was agreed that the original motion be The Senate returned to their own Chamber, referred to Messrs. GOODHUE, BINGHAM, BRADand adjourned.
FORD, HENRY, and RUTHERFurd.
Ordered, That so much of the President's Speech as relates to providing means of additional defence, by an augmentation of the regular artillery and cavalry, and making arrangements for forming a provisional army. be referred to Messrs. TRACY, SEDGWICK, MARSHALL, Ross, and VINand that the said commitee be authorized to reING, to consider and report thereon to the Senate; port by bill or bills, or otherwise.
TUESDAY, May 30.
Conformable to notice given yesterday, Mr. READ had permission to introduce a bill prohibiting, for a limited time, the exportation of arms and ammunition; which bill was read a first time, and ordered to the second reading.
WEDNESDAY, May 31.
On motion, by Mr. SEDGWICK, Ordered, That so much of the President's The bill prohibiting, for a limited time, the exSpeech as relates to building and equipping, with-portation of arms and ammunition, was read the in the United States, cruisers to commit depreda- second time, and referred to Messrs. READ, BROWN, tions on the commerce of the United States, and and BLOODWORTH, to consider and report thereon so much thereof as relates to citizens of the Uni- to the Senate.