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interesting object of attention, whether we consider it of annoying our trade, a great evil will be prevented. in relation to the wealth and finances, or the strength With the same view I think it proper to mention that and resources of the nation. With a sea-coast of near some of our citizens resident abroad have fitted out pritwo thousand miles in extent, opening a wide field for va teers, and others have voluntarily taken the command, fisheries, navigation, and commerce, a great portion of or entered on board of them, and committed spoliations our citizens naturally apply their industry and enter- on the commerce of the United States. Such unnatuprise to these objects. Any serious and permanent in- ral and iniquitous practices can be restrained only by jury to commerce, would not fail to produce the most severe punishments. embarrassing disorders; to prevent it from being un- But besides a protection of commerce on the seas, I dermined and destroyed, it is essential that it receive think it highly necessary to protect it at home, where it an adequate protection.
is collected in our most important ports. The distance The Naval Establishment must occur to every man
of the United States from Europe, and the well known who considers the injuries committed on our commerce, promptitude, ardor, and courage of the people, in defence the insults offered to our citizens, and the description of of their country, happily diminish the probability of invavessels by which these abuses have been practised. As sion: nevertheless, to guard against sudden and predatothe sufferings of our mercantile and seafaring citizens ry incursions, the situation of some of our principal seacannot be ascribed to the omission of duties demandable, ports demands your consideration; and as our country considering the neutral situation of our country, they
is vulnerable in other interests besides those of its comare to be attributed to the hope of impunity, arising merce, you will seriously deliberate whether the means from a supposed inability on our part to afford protec. of general defence ought not to be increased by an adtion. To resist the consequences of such impressions dition to the regular artillery and cavalry, and by aron the minds of foreign nations, and to guard against rangements for forming a provisional army. the degradation and servility which they must finally
With the same view, and as a measure, which even in stamp on the American character, is an important duty a time of universal peace ought not to be neglected, I reof Government.
commend to your consideration a revision of the laws for A Naval power, next to the Militia, is the natural organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, to rendefence of the United States. The experience of the der that natural and safe defence of the country efficalast war would be sufficient to show, that a moderate cious. Although it is very true, that we ought not to Naval force, such as would be easily within the present involve ourselves in the political system of Europe, but abilities of the Union, would have been sufficient to if we can, yet to effect this separation, early, punctual,
to keep ourselves always distinct and separate from it have battled many formidable transportations of troops from one State to another, which were then practised. and continual information of the current chain of Our sea-coasts, from their great extent, are more easily events, and of tho political projects in contemplation, is annoyed and more easily defended by a Naval force no less necessary than if we were directly concerned in than any other. With all the materials our country them. It is necessary in order to the discovery of the abounds; in skill, our naval architects and navigators efforts made to draw us into the vortex, in season to are equal to any; and commanders and seamen will consider ourselves, the maritime and commercial Powers
make preparations against them. However we may not be wanting.
of the world will consider the United States of America But although the establishment of a permanent sys
as forming a weight, in that balance of power in Eutem of Naval defence appears to be requisite, I am sensi- rope, which never can be forgotten or neglected. It ble it cannot be formed so speedily and extensively as
would not only be against our interest, but it would be the present crisis demands. Hitherto I have thought doing wrong to one half of Europe, at least, if we proper to prevent the sailing of armed vessels, except should voluntarily throw ourselves into either scale. It on voyages to the East Indies, where general usage, is a natural policy for a nation that studies to be neuand the danger from pirates, appeared to render permis- tral, to consult with other nations engaged in the same sion proper; yet the restriction has originated solely studies and pursuits. At the same time that measures from a wish to prevent collusions with the Powers at ought to be pursued with this view, our treaties with war, contravening the act of Congress of June, one Prussia and Sweden, one of which is expired, and the thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, and not from other near expiring, might be renewed. any doubt entertained by me of the policy and propriety of permitting our vessels to employ means of de Gentlemen of the House of Representatives : fence, while engaged in a lawful foreign commerce. It It is particularly your province to consider the state remains for Congress to prescribe such regulations as of the public finances; and to adopt such measures rewill enable our seafaring citizens to defend themselves specting them as exigencies shall be found to require. against violations of the law of nations; and, at the The preservation of public credit, the regular extinsame time, restrain them from committing acts of hos- guishment of the public debt, and a provision of funds tility against the Powers at war. In addition to this to defray any extraordinary expenses, will of course voluntary provision for defence by individual citizens, it call for your serious attention. Although the imposition appears to me necessary to equip the frigates, and pro. of new burdens cannot be in itself agreeable, yet there vide other vessels of inferior force to take under convoy is no ground to doubt that the American people will such merchant vessels as shall remain unarmed. expect from you such measures as their actual engage
The greater part of the cruisers whose depredations ments, their present security, and future interests dehave been most injurious, have been built, and some of mand. them partially equipped in the United States. Although an effectual remedy may be attended with difficulty, yet Gentlemen of the Senate, and I have thought it my duty to present the subject gen.
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives : erally to your consideration. If a mode can be devised The present situation of our country imposes an obby the wisdom of Congress to prevent the resources of ligation on all the departments of Government tondopt the United States from being converted into the means an explicit and decided conduct. In my situation, an
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[May, 1797. exposition of the principles by which my administration! Mr. Craik then moved a resolution, which, he will be governed ought not to be omitted.
| observed, was merely a matter of form, as there It is impossible to conceal from ourselves or the had been one to the same effect, on every similar world, what has been before observed, that endeavors occasion. It was, “that it is the opinion of this have been employed to foster and establish a division committee, íhat a respectful Address should be between the Government and people of the United presented to the President, in answer to his States. To investigate the causes which have encour- Speech to both Houses of Congress, containing aged this attempt is not necessary; but to repel by de- assurances, that this House will take into considcided and united councils insinuations so derogatory to eration the various and important matters recomthe honor, and aggressions so dangerous to the Consti- mended to their consideration.” The committee tution, union, and even independence, of the nation, is agreed to the resolution. They rose, and it immean indispensable duty.
It must not be permitted to be doubted, whether the diately passed the House in the common form. people of the United States will support the Govern
On motion, it was Ordered, That a committee ment established by their voluntary consent, and ap- be appointed to prepare an Answer to the Speech. pointed by their free choice, or whether by surrendering
Mr. VenABLE, Mr. KITTERA, Mr. FREEMAN, themselves to the direction of foreign and domestic fac- Mr. RUTLEDGE, and Mr. Griswold, were nomitions, in opposition to their own Government, they will nated to report the Answer. forfait the honorable station they have hitherto main- On motion, by Mr. Williams, the Speech was tained.
referred to the Committee of the Whole on the For myself, having never been indifferent to what state of the Union. concerned the interests of my country, devoted the best ; Mr. Giles then moved to adjourn. The House part of my life to obtain and support its independence, accordingly rose at half past 12 o'clock. and constantly witnessed the patriotism, fidelity, and perseverance of my fellow-citizens, on the most trying occasions, it is not for me to hesitate or abandon a
THURSDAY, May 18. cause in which my heart has been so long engaged. COMMITTEE ON UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
Convinced that the conduct of the Government has been just and impartial to foreign nations; that those Revisal and Unfinished Business be appointed.
Mr. Coit moved that a Standing Committee of internal regulations, which have been established by law for the preservation of peace, are in their nature
Mr. HARTLEY hoped that such a committee proper, and that they have been fairly executed; no
would not be appointed, as, if all the unfinished thing will ever be done by me to impair the national business of last session were to be reported and engagements, to innovate upon principles, which have acted upon, the session would be protracted to a been so deliberately and uprightly established, or to length which he trusted was not the wish of the surrender in any manner the rights of the Government. members of that House. To enable me to maintain this declaration, I rely upon Mr. Cort observed, that the appointment of God with entire confidence, on the firm and enlighten- such a committee did not infer that the House ed support of the National Legislature, and upon the would go into the consideration of all the unfinvirtue and patriotism of my fellow-citizens.
ished business which might be reported; but there
JOHN ADAMS. might be some subjects which would require atHaving concluded his Speech, after presenting tention, particularly any laws which might be a copy of it to the President of the Senate, and about to expire. another to the Speaker of the House of Repre- of this committee; he was against aitending to
Mr. Thatcher was opposed to the appointment sentatives, the President retired, as did also the members of the Senate; and the Speaker having any private business; he wished only to attend to resumed bis Chair. he read the Speech: After the important subject for which they had been which, on motion, it was ordered to be committed called iogether. As to any laws being about to to a Committee of the Whole to-morrow.
expire, he did not believe there were any, as all such were attended to last session.
Mr. Giles thought there was no necessity for WEDNESDAY, May 17.
this committee. He thought the question, howSeveral other members, to wit: from New ever, of some importance, as the decision upon it Hampshire, William GORDON and JEREMIAH
would show whether the House intended to atSmith; from Pennsylvania, Andrew GREGG;
tend to ordinary business, or merely to that which appeared, produced their credentials, were quali- would arise from the Speech of the President. fied, and took their seats.
For his part, he wished to get away as soon as The House proceeded, by ballot, to the choice possible, and, therefore, to confine their business of a Chaplain. On counting the votes they were
to that subject upon which they were called to as follows:
deliberate; and, though the Speech contained a Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green 60; Dr. Priestley 12; variety of important objects, he hoped they should Rev. Mr. Carroll 2; Rev. Mr. Helmuth 1.
soon be able to get through them. He hoped, Dr. GREEN was consequently chosen.
therefore, no business would be taken up until
that was disposed of. THE PRESIDENT'S SPEECH.
Mr. SitgREAVES said, the opposition to the apThe House then went into a Committee of the pointment of this committee was totally without Whole, Mr. Dent, in the Chair, on the Presi- object. It should be recollected, he said, that the dent's Speech. It was read by the Clerk. appointment of this committee was a part of the
[H. OF R. Standing Rules of the House ; unless it were ap- l settled so as to meet the wishes of the House. He pointed, therefore, there would be a contravention hoped a committee would be appoinied and afterof a rule. (Mr. S. read the rule.] For his own wards discharged from all other parts of their part, he was not prepared to say with the gentle duty except what related to expiring laws. man from Massachusetts (Mr. THATCHER) that The question being put it was carried, there there were no laws which would expire before being 51 votes in favor of it; and a committee of the next session of Congress. It was true, that three were appointed accordingly. these had been attended to last session ; but it was Mr. N. then moved that the committee be disalso true, that laws which were passed for a lim-charged from "examining and reporting, from the ited time, were said to be for so long, “and until Journal of last session, all such matters as were the end of the next session of Congress ;" and this i then depending and undetermined ; and also session, being an extraordinary one, might put a from revising the laws for the establishment of period to some of such laws. But, suppose this offices, and from reporting, from time to time, were not the case, what mischief, he asked, could such provisions and expenses attending them as the appointment of the committee effect? He may appear to have become necessary.” could see none. It would, by reporting the un- Mr. Giles seconded the motion. The only obfinished business, and any expiring laws (if such jection which he had to this procedure was, that there were) take the trouble of inquiry from the it was rather awkward first to appoint a comHouse; and, when the business was reported, any mittee, and then to discharge it from a great part part of it might be taken up or not as the House of its duties; but having appointed the commitshould determine. It might, therefore, be of some tee, he hoped this course would be taken, as genadvantage, but could be of no disadvantage, to ap- tlemen would recollect how easy it was to glide point this committee.
from one step of business to another, which was Mr. Coit (after obtaining leave to speak a third not at first intended, when so much lay before time on the same subject) said, his principal ob- , them. ject in the motion he had made, was to attend to Mr. Craik was not prepared to say that it expiring laws. The gentleman from Massachu- would be improper to act upon any of the unfinsetts was mistaken, when he asserted no law ished business of last session. He felt as strong a would expire before the next meeting of Con- disposition to make the present session a short gress. One he recollected; there might be others; one as other gentlemen; but to enable them to do it was a law passed May 6, 1796, relative to reve- the business properly, he thought the best way nue cutters, which was to remain in force for one would be to suffer ihis committee to take the year, and from thence to the end of the next ses- whole of it before them, as it was not in the sion of Congress; of course it would expire, if no power of individual members to go over the provision was made to prevent it, with this ses- Journal of last session, and say what was necession.
sary to be gone into. Upon a view of the subject, Mr. THATCHER withdrew his objection to the there might be measures which it would be essenmotion.
tial to have acted upon; and, after the report was Mr. Giles did not know that the appointment made, the House would not be obliged to take up of this committee would protract the session ; but any thing which it did not think it necessary to if gentlemen attended to the duties of this com- do, and therefore no inconvenience could arise mittee, they would find that, if the House were to from it. attend to all the subjects upon which they were Mr. SWANWICK said, whatever might be the to report, it would of necessity occupy a consider. decision of the House upon this question, there able length of time. [He read what these were.] was one case which he thought in some degree If, indeed, it were understood that this committee connected with the subject of the President's was only to extend to expiring laws, he should Speech, which he wished to be considered. It have no objection to its being appointed; but, was the case of North & Vesey, of Charleston, should a general report be made, and the House merchants, who prayed for the refunding of ceract upon it, the session would be extended to a tain duties. There were circumstances in this period beyond what any member contemplated. case, he believed, which were infringements of
Mr. HARTLEY hoped the committee would not existing treaties. be appointed, as he said there were from ninety to Mr. Giles said, if they gave way to business of one hundred private cases on the list of unfinished this sort, they might expect to sit all the Summer, business, to consider which would make a long as every member had business entrusted to him session. If it were intended merely to inquire which he thought of the first importance. He what laws were expiring, he would agree to it, hoped they should attend only to the business but not otherwise. The rules which were before upon which they were called. them, he said, were intended only for their ordi- Mr. SwanWICK hoped, if the present motion pary annual sessions, and not to govern an extra- were agreed to, an exception would be made in ordinary meeting like the present. If this com- favor of the case he had mentioned. mittee were appointed, they might proceed to the
The PEAKER said the exception would not be appointment of a Committee of Claims. He in order. hoped they should not decide any thing, before! Then, Mr. Swanwick added, he should vote they had disposed of the President's Speech. against the motion, as he looked on this business
Mr. Nicholas hoped this business would be of the first importance, and that whilst we were
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[May, 1797. attending to our own rights, we ought, in some they had leave to sit, they should be able to redegree, to respect those of other nations.
port the Answer in half an hour. Mr. Macon said, it was of little consequence On motion, leave was given. how the matter was determined, since, if the mo
DOCUMENTS REFERRED TO IN THE PRESI. tion was carried, it would be in the power of any
DENT'S SPEECH. two members to bring forward any subject they pleased. He thought it would be best io deter- The SPEAKER informed the House that he had mine to do no private business at all.
received a communication from the Department Mr. Hartley observed that if any private case of State, containing sundry documents referred to were taken up, none deserved attention more than by the President in his Speech to both Houses, that of Mrs. Carmichael.
numbered from 1 to 18. He proceeded to read Mr. Nicholas knew that it was in the power : No. 1, viz: of any two members to bring forward any private 1. A letter from General Pinckney to the Sebusiness, and, if they could persuade the House cretary of State, dated Paris, December 20, 1796, to do it, to have it decided; but he concluded, if giving an account of his arrival at Bordeaux; this vote passed, all such attempts would be in of his journey from thence to Paris, in which, vain.
from the badness of the roads, he broke three Mr. Thatcher hoped the motion would pre- ' wheels of his carriage; of the ill treatment he vail, as it was well known they had agreed to received from M. Delacroix, &c. He remarks, meet a month sooner than usual in their annual that it is not surprising that the French Republic session, on account of the number of private cases have refused to receive him, since they have disundetermined; and, if they were to go into that missed no less than thirteen foreign Ministers; business now, it would détain them in session and since they have been led to believe by a late six months.
emigrant, that the United States was of no greater Mr. Macon believed it would take less time to consequence to them than the Republies of Genoa go on in the usual way, than to pass the present or Geneva. He also mentions, that it seemed to vote; for, he was convinced when the report be the opinion in France, that much depended on should be made, the bulk of the business would the election of the President, as one of the candideter the House from entering upon it.
dates was considered as the friend of England, The question was put and carried without a the other as devoted to France. The people of division.
France, he observes, have been greatly deceived, Mr. Swanwick said, since they had determined with respect to the United States, by misrepreto take up no private business, he wished the sentation, being led to believe that the people and House to resolve itself into a Committee of the Government have different views; but, adds he, Whole on the state of the Union, in order that any attempt to divide the people from the Govthey might take up the President's Speech. erament, ought to be to the people of the United
Mr. Giles observed that this would be prema- States, the signal for rallying. Gen. Pinckney ture, since the President had promised them cer- several times mentions Mr. Monroe in this letter tain papers which were not received, and they | with great respect; and says that before his arrihad yei to determine upon an Answer to his val the Direciory had been very cool towards Speech.
him, but, since that time, they had renewed their Mr. Williams said, perhaps the business would civilities to him. be best expedited by an adjournment, since it 2. Is a report of Major General Mouniflorence would allow the gentlemen on the committee ap- to General Pinckney, dated December 18, 1796, pointed for the purpose, time to prepare an An- on the subject of American vessels brought prizes swer to the Speech, and report it the earlier. into the ports of France. He made a motion to that effect, which was 3. Exiract of a letter from Gen. Pinckney to carried.
the Secretary of State, dated Paris, January 6,
1797, in which he mentions the distressed situaFriday, May 19.
tion of American citizens, arriving in the ports of Richard Brent, from Virginia, appeared, pro
France, who were immediately thrown into priduced his credentials, was qualified and took his son, and could not be released, until an order was
got from the American Minister, countersigned seat.
Mr. Cort, from the Committee of Elections, by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs; and made a repori from the documents which they no relief could be afforded. He, however, ap
no Minister being acknowledged there al present, had received, of members entitled to their seats. plied to M. Delacroix on their behalf
, by means RULE OF THE HOUSE.
of the secretary, Major Rutledge, and got them The SPEAKER observed that there was a rule attended to through the Minister of General Poof the House in these words: “No committee lice. General Pinckney gives a further account shall sit during the sitting of the House, without of conversations which passed between his secrespecial leave.” He thought it necessary to ob- tary and M. Delacroix, on the subject of his quitserve, that he had sent to the committee to whointing Paris, in which he told him he musi do so, it was referred to prepare an Answer to the Presi- or be liable to the operation of the police laws: dent's Speech, to learn if they were ready to re- but refused to commit his orders to writing. He port. They returned for answer that, provided mentions Barras's answer to Monroe's address as
[H. OF R. a curious production ; but says it was not particu- ceive regular payments. He adds, however, that larly calculated as an answer to what was said by they have no will in opposition to the French Mr. Monroe, as he had it prepared, and was un- Governmeat. acquainted with what would be said by Mr. 12. Extract of a letter from the Committee of Monroe.
Foreign Relations of the Batavian Republic, to 4. Extract of a letter from Gen. Pinckney to the above Minister, dated September 27, 1796, the Secretary of State, dated Amsterdam. Febru- making it appear very desirable that the United ary 18, informing him, that, having had official States should join them in their common cause notice to quit the French Republic, he had gone against Great Britain, reminding him of the to Amsterdam.
many services which they had rendered to this 5. Extract of a letter from General Pinckney to country, the Secretary of State, dated Amsterdam, March 13. Extract of a letter from John Quincy 5, in which he observes, that before he left Paris, Adams in answer to the above, wherein he says it was rumored that the Dutch were determinid he shall not omit to forward their letter to his to treat American vessels in the same manner as Government. the French had done. He now believes that the 14. Extract of a letter from John Quincy French wished them to do so, as he had lately Adams to the Secretary of State, dated Hague, received intelligence that the Dutch had objected February 17, 1797, representing the French Reto do this, alleging that it would be a great inju- public as paying as little attention to other neury to them, as they should then lose their trade iral Powers as to the United States. He alludes with this country, and if so, they would be de- to their conduct towards Hamburg, Bremen, Coprived of furnishing that support to the French penhagen, &c. which they then gave them. France acquiesced 15. Extract of a letter from Rufus King, Esq., because she saw it was her interest; and having to the Secretary of State, dated London, March 25.000 troops in Batavia, it was generally known 12, 1797, to the same effect. that they could do what they pleased with that! 16. A letter from the Minister of Spain, resicountry. The General adds, with detestation, dent in Philadelphia, to the Secretary of State, that there are American citizens who fit out pri- dated May 6, 1797, complaining of the injurious vateers to cruise against the trade of this countryoperation of the British Treaty against Spain, in
6. Extract of a letter from Major General three respects, viz: as it destroys the doctrine of Mountllorence to General Pinckney, dated Paris, free ships making free goods; as it makes certain February 14, mentioning the capture of a vessel articles contraband of war, which, in former treafrom Boston, and another from Baltimore, by an ties, were not considered so; and as it gives to American citizen on board a privateer ; adding: Great Britain a right to navigate the Mississippi, that American cizens of this class are continually which that Minister insists belonged not to us to wishing for more rigorous laws against American give, as it belonged wholly to Spain before it commerce.
gave the right to the United States, by the late 7. Extract of a letter from the same to the treaty, to navigate that river. He concludes his same, dated Paris, February 21, giving an ac- letter with saying, that the King of Spain is desicountof two more American vessels being brought rous of harmony between ihe two countries, and into L'Orient by the same man, and of another relies upon the equity of his complaints for satisvessel taken by a French privateer.
faction. 8. Extract of a letter from General Pinckney 17. A letter from the Secretary of State to the io the Secretary of State, dated Amsterdam, Spanish Minister, in answer to the above; in March 8, inentioning the capture of several Ame- ! which he acknowledges that the treaty lately rican vessels; he also speaks of the disagreeable-concluded between the two countries had proved ness of his situation; and was of opinion that satisfactory to the United States, as it put an end the new third of the French Councils would de- to a dispute which had existed for many years termine whether this country and France were respecting the navigation of the Mississippi, and to remain at peace, or go to war. Though the i also as it afforded satisfaction to our mercantile former was desirable, he wished the measures of citizens for the capture of our ships and cargoes, our Government to be firm.
All these, he allowed, were acts of substantial 9. Speech of Barras, President of the French justice; but all the other stipulations were wholly Directory, on Mr. Monroe's recall.
voluntary, and perfectly reciprocal. With respect 10. The decree of the Executive Directory of to the three articles of complaint respecting the March 2, relative to the seizure of American British Treaty, he justified the stipulations as vessels.
being just and consistent, and such as this coun11. Extract of a letter from John Quincy try had a right to enter into. Adams, Esq., Minister Resident of the United 18. A letter from General Pinckney to the States, near the Batavian Republic, to the Secre- Secretary of State, dated Paris, February 1, tary of State, dated at the Hague, November 4, stating that the day after the arrival of the news 1796, giving an account of the disposition of the of Buonaparte's successes in Italy, he received a people of that country towards this, which he letter from M. Delacroix, directing him to leave states to be friendly; and this he attributes to its Paris. General Pinckney concludes this letter being their interest to be so. This country, he with observing, that the French seem to speak of remarks, is the only quarter from which they re- this country as if it were indebted to them for