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May, 1797.]
Answer to the President's Speech.

(H. OF R. judge from the Treaty itself, they were ex-l on board of British vessels, they threaten to tremely full. For the making of such a Treaty treat them as pirates, and will not allow them he had never heard a reason, nor had he ever to prove that they were impressed. been able to learn one good consequence likely to accrue from it. It had been called an instru

TUESDAY, May 30. ment of peace, and its first effect was, that we JOHN FOWLER, from Kentucky, appeared, prowere summoned to fight with France, Spain, duced his credentials, was qualified, and took and Holland. One of the articles was that free his seat. ships do not make free goods. This was highly injurious both to France and the United States;

Answer to President's Speech. it implied a breach of the law of nations, be- The House again resolved itself into a Comcause, before you can search for an enemy's mittee of the Whole, on the Address reported goods you must stop neutral ships. This regu- in Answer to the Speech of the PRESIDENT OF lation could only be understood as operating THE UNITED STATES; when against France. If we could not help the prac- Mr. Coit said he thought that part of the 5th tice going on, we should at least have suffered paragraph which related to the Executive Direcit to stand as it was, without any countenance. tory would be less exceptionable, and equally All the principal articles of export from the convey their disapprobation of such sentiments, United States were declared contraband, except if it were expressed more generally, and withtobacco, and, indeed, that might be included out any allusion to M. Barras. He proposed, under the general title of provisions, as people therefore, to strike out from “at," in the 4th would sometimes be in want of a chew. He line of the 5th paragraph, to “United States," in spoke of this provision clause as infamous. He the 6th line, and to insert “any sentiments referred to Count Bernstoff, Minister of Den-tending to derogate from that confidence; such mark, who had kept his country in a more sentiments, wherever entertained, serve to honorable situation than perhaps any other in evince an imperfect knowledge of the real opinEurope had done during the present war. Mr. ion of our constituents.” G. read the refusal of Count Bernstoff to com- | Mr. W. SMITH objected to the amendment of ply with the British requisition to that effect. the gentleman from Connecticut, (Mr. Coit,) During the armed neutrality, the United States because it was hypothetical. He wished, as the had owned that free bottoms should make free fact was clearly established, to have a direct goods. Was there any reason since to alter our reference to the Speech of Barras, in their inopinion? He would be glad to hear gentlemen dignation at the sentiments. As the matter had answer if there was any. He had always said appeared of sufficient importance to find a place that the provision article was unjust to France, in the PRESIDENT's Speech, he thought it was and yet on account of the British Treaty we are also worthy of their notice. He insisted upon to plunge into a war before we know whether its being an attempt to divide the people of this we are in the right or in the wrong. Gentle country from their Government, by speaking men who had promoted the British Treaty now insultingly of the latter, and flattering the forcame forward to support it, but it would now mer. He did not exactly know what was meant be more manly to declare at once that we can- by the “suggestion of our former tyrants," but not do so. In Citizen Adet's complaints, many he supposed it meant bribery, and that by articles were unjust and trifling, but this was “perfidious people," General Washington was always the case in productions of that sort. Mr. / included. G. then referred to the speech of Barras : he Mr. W. SMITi said, that by the Government, said that Britain still went on robbing and im- the Executive only was meant. He was conpressing American seamen. Mr. HARPER had vinced of this from the manner in which he Festerday said that the impressments were few; had seen the word used in the French Governbat how were we to be certain of that? The ment paper, entitled the Redacteur. men are not allowed to write to us, and Mr. Mr. Coit believed, that whatever M. Barras Pinckney informs us that vast numbers of them had said, it was not worth their attention. We are in French jails. He had always wondered might defy France or Frenchmen to say worse at our having so few communications on this of us than they themselves said. He did not bead from the Executive. A law had passed himself know how far the Speech of Barras was in this House and in the Senate upon this sub- an act of Government; for, said he, when we ject, without any information from that quarter. directed our Speaker to reprimand Randal and Gentlemen had allowed that it would be just Whitney, the words he used upon the occasion enough to grant an equality of privileges to were not an act of the House. On another occaEvery foreign nation; but, Mr. Harper had ob- sion, when the House were about to receive the jected, that if this were granted to France, she French flag, they could not call what was said World still continue to demand. When she by the Speaker on that occasion, an act of the bakes an unjust claim, said Mr. G., we should House. stop; he would not be for going any further.' Mr. WILLIAMS said, if Mr. Pinckney's letter The French had not acted on vague claims ;was an authentic paper, the Speech of Barras they take neutral and contraband articles; they was likewise so; and if so, it was doubtless an take the ships, and when they find our seamen indignity to Government. He did not think H. OF R

Answer to the President's Speech.

(Mar, 1797,

with the gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. / What gentlemen could not effect by reason, they FREEMAN,) that it was “childish gasconade." | seemed inclined to effect in a different way. He believed it was intended as an insult to the He did not think this fair conduct. Government of this country. As to the grati- Mr. VENABLE supported the amendment. He tude which had been said to belong to the did not think any of the objections made against French nation, for their assistance in the war, it had much weight in them. He thought the he thought their services were amply repaid by mode of expressing our sense of the indignity the separation of this country from Great Brit- shown to this country by the Speech in quesain. Besides, he added, the French never came tion, was judiciously chosen by the gentleman to the assistance of this country until they saw from Connecticut. It was most consistent with we were likely to be successful in our struggle. dignity. It was not wise in them to take notice

Mr. GORDON said there could be no doubt of of every harsh expression which might be used the authenticity of Barras' Speech, since it against this country in any foreign nation; for, stood upon the same ground as the rest of the if such were our conduct, foreign nations would documents. It was a flagrant insult upon Gov. have good ground of complaint against us, and ernment, in his opinion, and warranted all that on that floor the account would be settled. Nor had been said upon it, as it was doubtless an did ne think it very becoming or dignified in attempt to separate the people from the Gov- gentlemen in that House so to express themernment.

selves as, to excite frequent risibility; nor was Mr. THATOHER said the question was, whether it very honorable to that Assembly. [Alluding or not any notice should be taken of the insult- to the gentleman from Massachusetts.] ing Speech of Barras. When, said he, the French Mr. SITGREAVES had no doubt of the Speech flag was presented to this House, we were told of Barras being an official paper, and that its we were not to stop to reason, but to express object was to divide the people from the Govforthwith our feelings of affection. But now, ernment. If he proved this, he trusted the lanwhen the most unexampled insult is offered us, guage of the report would be preserved. It such as one man would not receive from an- would be allowed that Barras was the mouth other, we are not to notice it at all, lest it should of the Directory, and that the sentiments which offend the French Republic. He knew of only he speaks, are not his own, but what were beone reason for passing it over in silence, and forehand agreed upon. It was doubtless, therethat, it was true, had some weight with him. fore, a solemn official act. With respect to the That Barras spoke as the organ of the French observation of the gentleman from Virginia nation, there could be no doubt; but he had that what he said respecting our Government his doubts whether he knew himself what he was not applicable to the Executive, but to the said. The Speech had strong marks of delirium, people at large, he believed he was wholly misand he could not help believing that, when he taken, as the word Government, in the French delivered it, he was either drunk or mad. If language, constantly meant Executive, as was the world went on for six thousand years to abundantly clear from the way in which it was come, they would never again behold such a used in Mr. Adet's notes. (He quoted a numproduction.

ber of passages to prove his assertion.] It was Mr. McDOWELL was in favor of the amend generally used for the Executive in contradisment. He did not think himself bound, as had tinction to Congress, or any other of the conbeen insinuated by the gentleman from South stituted authorities. If it were clearly intended Carolina, to echo all the sentiments in the PRE- to convey an insult upon our Executive, and SIDENT's Speech. He wished to have an opin- there could be no doubt of it,) even the mover ion of his own. He agreed that Barras' Speech of the amendment could not think it unbecomwas an indignity to the United States. He felting in that House to express themselves in the it, and would express it: but he did not think words of the Address. this the proper time. He denied the justness Mr. GALLATIN said, whatever might be the inof the construction put upon the Speech by the sult intended by the Speech of the Executive Digentleman from South Carolina. He supposed rectory, he thought it best to notice it in general by “perfidious persons," was meant the persons terms as it was the sentiment which was objecin this country, generally called the “British tionable and not the Government of France. faction." He differed in opinion also with that But as so much had been said about Governgentleman on the subject of dividing the people ment and people, he would say, that an insult and Government, and could not allow that the offered to the people could not be less offensive phrase "good people" was intended as an in- than one offered to the Government. He supsult. He allowed it was going too far to say | posed they alluded to the British Treaty, which that we owed our liberty to France; but being was as much the instrument of Congress as of in some respect true, it took off from the of the Executive, and of the people as either, since fence. He was sorry to see on one side of the they very generally petitioned in favor of it. House constant attempts made to excite the re- He then took notice of the perversions which sentment of the people of this country against the gentleman from South Carolina had put France. It was not necessary at present to raise upon the words of Rarras, and denied that there such feelings. They were not about to unsheath was the least ground for them, and said that the the sword, and to say, “We conquer or die.” | Gazette of the United States might as well be

Mar, 1797.]
Answer to the President's Speech

[H. OF R called a Government paper of this country, as come forward, and show the imputation false. the Redacteur, that of France. If, said Mr. G. He informed that gentleman that he did not feel it be our intention to declare war at once, then his reputation hurt by any imputation which he there might be some propriety in taking hold or any other person might throw upon him. He of every word which would bear to be construed would rather the gentleman would convince into an insult, but if we wished for peace, it them they were wrong, than call them names, was unwise to do so. Besides, he said, this Mr. Otis explained. He declared he meant Speech was not communicated in an official only to say that they had been unjustly charged manner, nor could it be so communicated. It with those imputations, and that such a conduct was sent by Mr. Pinckney in a newspaper, from would show it. which the copy sent to them was translated, Mr. W. SMITH again urged the propriety of bat the translation was not even authenticated, retaining the words in the Address as reported, as usual. He did not dispute the fact, but it as the amendment proposed had no reference to

is a thing which they were not bound to the PRESIDENT's Speech, as that referred to an notice; indeed, an error with respect to a name official act; whereas the amendment had no resppeared on the face of the paper; and being lation to France, but would apply to the people delivered to Mr. Monroe, who was no longer of China, or the people of this country, as well Minister, it could not be officially communicated. as to those of France. He believed the discusHe therefore thought it was not worth their sion had been of some use, because it was now rotice.

on all sides acknowledged that the Speech of Mr. OTIs thought it right to pay respect to Barras was an insult, which was not allowed at what was recommended by the PRESIDENT. The the beginning of the debate. He could only question was whether they should notice the say that gentlemen died hard ; to use the exinsalt generally, or in reference to the Directory. pression of his friend from Pennsylvania, (Mr. He was in favor of the first; but as this was the SITGREAVES, they seem determined to die in oniy opportunity given in the Address of ex- the last ditch. The objections to the words of pressing their opinion of the conduct of the the present Address, were like the objections of French Government, he wished the Address to | Thomas Paine to the writings of Moses. He stand as reported.

denied that there was any similarity between Mr. O. remarked upon Barras Speech. He expressions used in debate in that House, and did not know what was meant by granting expressions used by an Executive authority. No peace. When parties were at war, one granted notice, he said, ought to be taken of what fell the other peaco; or sometimes a stronger power from members in that House, whilst they were suffered a weaker to be at peace. He supposed allowed to be in order; and if foreign Ministers the French meant it in the latter sense towards attended to hear their debates, and heard things this country. On condition that we respect her which they did not like, they ought not to take sovereignty! What was meant here? If it exceptions at it, since they came there uninvited, Eis sovereignty over their own nation, we had and it was their duty to say what appeared to nothing to do with it; if it was any other, it them right at the time. must be the sovereignty they had over us. He The question was put on the amendment, concluded by remarking, that if there were any when there appeared 49 votes for it, and 49 members in that House upon whom any impu- against it. The Chairman declared it carried in tation could rest of their being unduly attached the affirmative. to the French cause, he thought it a good opportunity to come forward and convince the

WEDNESDAY, May 31. world that the charges were unjust.

Answer to the President's Speech. Mr. LIVINGSTON took notice of what had | The House again resolved itself into a Comfallen from the gentleman last up, and showed mittee of the Whole on the Answer to the PREthe folly of adopting an irritating tone; as, if SJDENT's Speech, Mr. Dayton's amendment we charged a foreign government with making being under consideration. ose of one disrespectful expression, they would Mr. HARTLEY was persuaded there was but have no difficulty in retorting the complaint, as one wish in the House with respect to peace, in the course of that debate, the gentleman from notwithstanding insinuations to the contrary ; South Carolina (Mr. HARPER) had called the but he could not agree with the proposed King of Spain the humble vassal of France, and amendment, as he wished the negotiation to be had not been sparing of his epithets to other left wholly to the PRESIDENT. The treaty enpowers; and the gentleman from Massachusetts tered into with France provided for their being (Mr. THATCHER) had termed Barras drunk or placed on the same footing with other nations, mad. He also noticed the constructions put and wished that right to be recognized by neubon the words " granting peace," and “sove- gotiation, and he doubted not the PRESIDENT reignty," as very extravagant. The Speech, he would do it; for as he must see that peace was aloved, was bad enough, but he saw no reason the desire of all, he would take such steps as for torturing it in this manner.

would be best calculated to lead to it. He was Mr. GILES said the gentleman from Massachu- against encroachments on the Executive, as, if setts had called upon persons who might lie they once begun, there was no knowing where under imputation of being friends to France, to they could stop. He thought there was no

H. OF R.]
Answer to the Presidont's Speech.

[Jung1707 danger of war; it would be a disagreeable thing Mr. Lyon said he yesterday voted against the for men who fought in the Revolutionary war, appointment of a committee to wait upon the to be obliged to unsheathe their swords against PRESIDENT to know when and where he would France; but he trusted before they rose, means receive their Address, because he believed the would be taken for putting the country into a PRESIDENT should always be ready to receive imstate of defence.

portant communications. He wished to make 3 The question was then taken on the Address motion, which was, “that such members as do as amended, and resolved in the affirmative— not choose to attend upon the PRESIDENT to preyeas 62, nays 36, as follows:

sent the Answer to his Speech, shall be excused." YEAS-John Allen, George Baer, jr., Abraham

He wished to be understood. He thought the Baldwin, David Bard, James A. Bayard, Theophilus motion a reasonable one, because it proposed to Bradbury, David Brooks, John Chapman, Christopher | leave them at liberty to do as they pleased. And G. Champlin, James Cochran, Joshua Coit, Williain by the rules he saw, he was obliged to attend, Craik, Samuel W. Dana, James Davenport, John except sick, or leave of absence was obtained; Dennis, George Dent, George Ege, Thomas Evans, now, as he hoped not to be sick, he wished to Abiel Foster, Dwight Foster, Jonathan Freeman, Na- | put himself out of the power of the Sergeant-atthaniel Freeman, jr., Albert Gallatin, Henry Glenn,

Arms, if he did not attend. He had been told Chauncey Goodrich, William Gordon, Roger Griswold.

he might stay behind withont being noticed; William B. Grove, John A. Hanna, Robert Goodloe

but this was not enough for him, as he was a Harper, Carter B. Harrison, Thomas Hartley, William Hindman, David Holmes, Hezekiah L. Hosmer, James

timid man, and the House had the law on their H. Imlay, John Wilkes Kittera, Samuel Lyman,

side, as he recollected something of a reprimand James Machir, John Milledge, Daniel Morgan, John

which had been given to Mr. WHITNEY. [The Nicholas, Harrison G. Otis, Elisha R. Potter, John

SPEAKER reminded him it was out of order to Read, John Rutledge, jr., James Schureman, Samuel censure the proceedings of the House on any Sewall, William Shepard, Thompson J. Skinner, Tho- | former occasion.] He said he stood corrected, mas Sinnickson, Jeremiah Smith, Nathaniel Smith, and proceeded. Samuel Smith, William Smith, (of Charleston,) George He had spoken, he said, to both sides of the Thatcher, Richard Thomas, Mark Thomson, Abram House (as they were called) on the subject. One Trigg, John E. Van Allen, Peleg Wadsworth, and side dissuaded him from his motion, and laughed John Williams.

at it; the other side did not wish to join him in Nays—Thomas Blount, Richard Brent, Nathan it, because it would look like disrespect to the Bryan, Samuel J. Cabell, Thomas Claiborne, Matthew person lately elected, who was not a man of their Clay, John Clopton, Thomas T. Davis, John Dawson,

on, choice; but he trusted our magnanimous PRELucas Elmendorph, William Findlay, John Fowler, William B. Giles, James Gillespie, Andrew Gregg,

F: SIDENT would, with the enlightened yeomanry of Jonathan N. Havens, Walter Jones, Edward Living

America, despise such a boyish piece of business. ston, Matthew Locke, Matthew Lyon, Nathaniel Ma

This, he said, was no new subject with him, he con, Blair M-Clenachan, Joseph McDowell, Anthony

had long heard the folly of the wise made a matNew, Josiah Parker, Samuel Sitgreaves, William

ter of wonder in this respect. It was said this Smith (of Pinckney District), Richard Sprigg, jr.,

was not the time to abolish the custom; but this Richard Stanford, Thomas Sumter, John Swanwick, was the cant used against every kind of reform. John Trigg, Philip Van Cortlandt, Joseph B. Varnum, No better time could ever arrive, he said, than Abraham Venable, and Robert Williams.

this, which was the threshold of a new PresiResolved, That Mr. SPEAKER, attended by the dency, at a time when the man elected to the House, do present the said Address : and that office was beloved and revered by his fellowMr. VENABLE, Mr. KITTERA, and Mr. NATHANIEL citizens; he was as yet unused to vain adulation; FREEMAN, Jr., be a committee to wait on the he had spent a great part of his life amongst a President, to know when and where it will be people whose love of a plainness of manner forconvenient for him to receive the same.

bids all pageantry; he would be glad to see the And then the House adjourned.

custom done away. Were he acting in his own

personal character, he perhaps might conform SATURDAY, June 3.

to the idle usage, but acting as he was for eighty A report was received from the Commissioners

thonsand people, every father of a family in his of the Federal City, which was ordered to be

district would condemn him for such an act. printed.

Mr. BLOUNT said he had seconded the motion Answer to the President's Speech.

of the gentleman from Vermont, in order to give

him an opportunity of stating his reasons for Mr. VENABLE, from the committee appointed making it, and not from any desire to rescind to wait on the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, the rule. to know when and where it will be convenient for Mr. Dana observed that the House would not him to receive the Address of this House, in an- / wish to do violence to the gentleman's feelings. swer to his Speech to both Houses of Congress, | It was true some of the most respectable men in reported that the committee had, according to the United States had waited upon the PRESIDENT order, waited on the PRESIDENT, who signified to in a similar way, yet, if the gentleman thought them that it would be convenient to him to re- it would not comport with his own dignity to ceive the said Address, at twelve o'clock this do it, he hoped he would be excused. day, at his own house.

| The motion was put, and carried unanimously.

JUNE, 1797.)
Answer to the President's Speech.

[H. OF R. The SPEAKER informed the House the hour | flicted by the transactions disclosed in your communiwas arrived at which the PRESIDENT had ap- cations, yet we think with you, that neither the honor pointed to receive them.

| nor the interest of the United States forbid the repetiMr. Macoy moved that the House do now ad- tion of advances for preserving peace. We, therefore, journ. He should wait upon the PRESIDENT; but rece

on the PppAnTVA. but receive with the utmost satisfaction your information it seemed to be understood that members were

that a fresh attempt at negotiation will be instituted ; obliged to go. He thought, however the power

and we cherish the hope that a mutual spirit of conci

| liation, and a disposition on the part of France to comof the House might extend to bringing a mem

pensate for any injuries which may have been comber into the House, there was no power to carry mitted upon our neutral rights: and on the da

rt of him out.

the United States, to place France on grounds similar The motion was negatived without a division. to those of other countries in their relation and con

The House then withdrew, and waited upon nection with us, if any inequalities shall be found to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES with the exist, will produce an accommodation compatible with following Address :

the engagements, rights, duties and honor of the To the President of the United States :

United States. Fully, however, impressed with the

uncertainty of the result, we shall prepare to meet Sir, the interesting detail of those events which have

with fortitude any unfavorable events which may ocrendered the convention of Congress, at this time, in

cur, and to extricate ourselves from their consequences dispensable, (communicated in your Speech to both

with all the skill we possess, and all the efforts in our Houses,) has excited in us the strongest emotions.

power. Believing with you that the conduct of the Whilst we regret the occasion, we cannot omit to tes

Government has been just and impartial to foreign tify our approbation of the measure, and to pledge

nations, that the laws for the preservation of peace ourselves that no considerations of private inconve

have been proper, and that they have been fairly exenience shall prevent, on our part, a faithful discharge

cuted, the Representatives of the people do not hesiof the duties to which we are called. We have constantly hoped that the nations of Eu

tate to declare that they will give their most cordial

support to the execution of principles so deliberately rope, whilst desolated by foreign wars, or convulsed

and uprightly established. by intestine divisions, would have left the United States

The many interesting subjects which you have reto enjoy that peace and tranquillity to which the im

commended to our consideration, and which are so partial conduct of our Government has entitled us;

strongly enforced by this momentous occasion, will and it is now, with extreme regret, we find the mea

receive every attention which their importanco desures of the French Republic tending to endanger a

mands; and we trust that by the decided and explicit situation so desirable and interesting to our country.

conduct which will govern our deliberations, every inUpon this occasion we feel it our duty to express, in the most explicit manner, the sensations which the

sinuation will be repelled which is derogatory to tho

honor and independence of our country. present crisis has excited, and to assure you of our

Permit us, in offering this Address, to express our zealous co-operation in those measures which may

satisfaction at your promotion to the first office in the appear necessary for our security or peace.

Government, and our entire confidence that the preAlthough it is the earnest wish of our hearts that

eminent talents and patriotism which have placed you peace may be maintained with the French Republic,

in this distinguished situation, will enable you to disand with all the world, yet we will never surrender those rights which belong to us as a nation; and

charge its various duties with satisfaction to yourself whilst we view with satisfaction the wisdom, dignity,

and advantage to our common country. and moderation, which have marked the measures of To which the PRESIDENT returned the followthe supreme Executive of our country, in its attempts ing answer: to remove, by candid explanations, the complaints and jealousies of France, we feel the full force of that in- Jr. Speaker, and dignity which has been offered our country in the re Gentlemen of the House of Representatives : jection of its Minister. No attempts to wound our I receive with great satisfaction your candid approrights as a sovereign State will escape the notice of bation of the convention of Congress; and thank you our constituents; they will be felt with indignation, for your assurances that the interesting subjects reand repelled with that decision which shall convince commended to your consideration shall receive the the world that we are not a degraded people, that we attention which their importance demands; and that can never submit to the demands of a foreign power your co-operation may be expected in those measures without examination and without discussion.

which may appear necessary for our security or Knowing as we do the confidence reposed by the peace. people of the United States in their Government, we The declaration of the Representatives of this nation, cannot hesitate in expressing our indignation at any of their satisfaction at my promotion to the first office sentiments tending to derogate from that confidence. in the Government, and of their confidence in my sinSuch sentiments, wherever entertained, served to cere endeavors to discharge the various duties of it, evince an imperfect knowledge of the opinions of our with advantage to our common country, have excited constituents. An attempt to separate the people of my most grateful sensibility. the United States from their Government, is an ats! I pray you, gentlemen, to believe, and to commutempt to separate them from themselves; and al- nicate such assurance to our constituents, that no though foreigners, who know not the genius of our event which I can foresee to be attainable by any excountry, may have conceived the project, and foreign ertions in the discharge of my duties, can afford me emissaries may attempt the execution, yet the united so much cordial satisfaction as to conduct a negotiaefforts of our fellow-citizens will convince the world tion with the French Republic, to a removal of preof its impracticability.

judices, a correction of errors, a dissipation of um. Sensibly as we feel the wound which has been in- / brages, an accommodation of all differences, and a

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