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then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished, by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years."*
On the 2d of July, 1798, President Adams sent to the Senate of the United States a communication, in which he nominated the venerable Ex-President, George Washington, to the office of Lieutenant General and commander-in-chief of the armies raised or to be raised for the service of the United States." The Senate confirmed this nomination on the 3d of July: on the 13th of the same month, Washington accepted the new commission and addressed to Mr. Adams a letter, from which the following is an extract:-“I cannot express how greatly affected I am at this new proof of public confidence, and the highly flattering manner in which you have been pleased to make the communication; at the same time I must not conceal from you my earnest wish, that the choice had fallen upon a man less declined in years, and better qualified to encounter the usual vicissitudes of war. You know, sir, what calculations I had made relative to the probable course of events on my retiring from office, and the determination I had consoled myself with, of closing the remainder of my days in my present peaceful abode: you will, therefore, be at no loss to conceive and appreciate the sensations I must have experienced to bring my mind to any conclusion that would pledge me, at so late a period of life, to leave scenes I sincerely love, to enter upon the boundless field of public action, incessant trouble, and high responsibility.
“It was not possible for me to remain ignorant of, or indifferent to, recent transactions. The conduct of the Directory of France towards our country; their insidious hostility to its government; their various practices to withdraw the affections of the people from it; the evident tendency of their acts and those of their agents to countenance and invigorate opposition; their disregard of solemn treaties and the laws of nations; their war upon our defenceless commerce; their treatment of our Laws of the United States, ij. 98.
ministers of peace, and their demands, amounting to tribute; could not fail to excite in me corresponding sentiments with those my countrymen have so generally expressed in their affectionate addresses to you. Believe me, sir, no one can more cordially approve of the wise and prudent measures of your administration. They ought to inspire universal confidence; and will, no doubt, combined with the state of things, call from Congress such laws and means as will enable you to meet the full force and extent of the crisis. Satisfied, therefore, that you have sincerely wished and endeavored to avert war, and exhausted, to the last drop, the cup of reconciliation, we can with pure hearts appeal to heaven for the justice of our cause; and may confidently trust the final result to that Providence who has heretofore, and so often, signally favored the people of these United States.”
In the beginning of the year 1798, the government of Spain seemed to expect that Great Britain would send an expedition from Canada, through the Northwestern Territory, against the province of Louisiana. To quiet the anxiety of Spain, on this subject, and to protect the territory of the United States, President Adams, on the 4th of February, 1798, instructed General Wilkinson to employ all the force within his power, both militia and regulars, if necessary, to oppose the English or any other foreign nation, “who should presume to attempt a violation of the territory of the United States, by an expedition through it, against their enemies.” During the summer of 1798, the Spaniards retired reluctantly from the posts within the territory of the United States. On the 5th of October, 1798, General Wilkinson established his head quarters at Loftus' Heights, where Fort Adams was soon afterwards erected. This Fort stood on the left bank of the river Mississippi, about six miles north of the 31st degree of north latitude. +
In the month of September, 1799, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Charles Maurice Talleyrand, intimated, indirectly,
Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the U. S. of America i. 291. | Wilkinson's Memoirs, i. 434.
to Mr. Murray, American minister in Holland, that the Republic of France was disposed to preserve peace with the United States, and desired to renew negotiations to effect that object. Negotiations were soon afterwards commenced at Paris and carried on until the 30th of September, 1800; on which day a treaty of peace and commerce was concluded between the United States and the Republic of France.* By a treaty concluded at St. Ildefonso, on the 1st of October, 1800, Spain agreed to retrocede to France the province of Louisiana, with the same extent that it had when France possessed it: and, on the 30th of April, 1803, France sold and ceded Louisiana (in its greatest extent,) to the United States for a sum about equal to fifteen millions of dollars.t
At a legislative session which was commenced at Cincinnati on the 23d of April, 1798, and closed on the 7th of May, in the same year, Winthrop Sargent, acting as Governor of the northwestern territory, and John Cleves Symmes, Joseph Gilman, and Return Jonathan Meigs, jr. judges of the territory, adopted and published eleven laws, under the following titles:
I.- A law to confer on certain associations of the citizens of this territory the powers and immunities of corporations or bodies politic in law. — Adopted from the Pennsylvania code, and published on the 1st day of May.
II. - A law for the punishment of maiming or disfiguring.Adopted from the Kentucky code, and published on the 1st day of May. [This law was comprised in the following words: “Whosoever on purpose and of malice aforethought by laying in wait shall unlawfully cut out or disable the tongue, put out an eye, slit or bite the nose, ear or lip, or cut off or disable any limb or member with the intention in so doing to maim or disfigure such person, or shall voluntarily, maliciously and of purpose, pull or put out an eye while fighting or otherwise, every such offender, his or her aiders, abettors and counsellors shall be sentenced to undergo a confinement in the jail of the county in which the offence is committed, for any time not less than
* Vide Am. State Papers, For. Relations, ii. 295, 344, 345. † Vide Am. Stale Papers-Foreign Relations, ii. from p. 507 to 695:
one month nor more than six months, and shall also pay a fine not less than fifty dollars, and not exceeding one thousand dollars; one fourth of which shall be to the use of the territory, and three fourths thereof to the use of the party grieved, and for want of the means of payment the offender shall be sold to service by the court before which he is convicted, for any time not exceeding five years, the purchaser finding him food and raiment during the term."]
III.- A law vesting certain powers in justices of the peace in criminal cases.-- Adopted from the Massachusetts code, and published on the 1st day of May.
IV.- A law for the equal division and distribution of insolvent estates. - Adopted from the Connecticut code, and published on the 1st day of May.
V.- A law to provide for the improvement of the breed of horses. — Adopted from the Kentucky code, and published on the 1st day of May.
VI. --A law directing the mode of proceeding in civil cases. - Adopted from the Massachusetts code, and published on the Ist day of May.
VII. - A law in addition to a law entitled “a law ascertaining the fees of the several officers and persons therein named.” - Published on the 1st day of May.
VIII. — A law for the purpose of including all unsettled and unimproved tracts or parcels of land and subjecting them to taxation.”- Adopted from an act of the state of Kentucky, and published on the 1st day of May.
IX.- A law rendering the acknowledgment of deeds more easy.-- Adopted from the Connecticut code, and published on the 1st day of May. [This law contained the following provision : “All grants and deeds made of houses and lands may be acknowledged before one of the judges of the territory, justice of the common pleas, or justice of the peace, any former law to the contrary notwithstanding."]
X.- A law for establishing a land office. — Adopted from the Kentucky code, and published on the 1st of May.
XI. — An act repealing certain laws and parts of laws. – Published on the 1st day of May. [Parts of two laws, (one concerning the fees of officers, &c. and the other relating to county levies,) were repealed by this act.]
By an act of Congress, approved on the 7th of April, 1798,* the Territory of Mississippi was established; and, on the 2d of May, Winthrop Sargent was nominated to the office of Gov. ernor of that territory. His nomination was confirmed by the Senate of the United States, on the 7th of May. On the 26th of June, in the same year, William Henry Harrison was nominated to the office of Secretary of the Territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio, and the nomination was confirmed by the Senate on the 28th of the same month.
On the 29th day of October, 1798, Governor St. Clair issued a proclamation in which he directed the qualified voters of the northwestern territory to hold elections in their respective counties on the third Monday of December, and to elect representatives to a General Assembly, which he ordered to convene at Cincinnati on the 22d day of January, 1799. The representatives met at Cincinnati, and, in order to establish a Legislative Council according to the provisions of the Ordinance of 1787, nominated ten persons, whose names were sent to the President of the United States. Governor St. Clair then prorogued the meeting of the representatives to the 16th day of September, 1799. On the 2d of March, 1799, President Adams selected from the list of ten nominees, the names of Jacob Burnet, James Findlay, Henry Vanderburgh, Robert Oliver, and David Vance, and nominated these persons to be the Legislative Council of the Territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio. On the next day the nomination was confirmed by the Senate.
A few members of the Territorial Legislature met at Cincinnati on the 16th of September, 1799, but the two Houses were not properly organized until the 24th of September. Henry Vanderburgh was elected President of the Legislative
* Laws of the United States, iij. 39. † Journal of the Executive proceedings of the Senate of the United States, i. 323.