Documents Relating to the Controversy over Neutral Rights between the United States and France, 1797-1800

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Extracts from Messages of President Adams, and Replies of the Senate and House

SPECIAL SESSION MESSAGE1

UNITED STATES, May 16, 1797.

Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

The personal inconveniences to the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives in leaving their families and private affairs at this season of the year are so obvious that I the more regret the extraordinary occasion which has rendered the convention of Congress indispensable.

It would have afforded me the highest satisfaction to have been able to congratulate you on a restoration of peace to the nations of Europe whose animosities have endangered our tranquillity; but we have still abundant cause of gratitude to the Supreme Dispenser of National Blessings for general health and promising seasons, for domestic and social happiness, for the rapid progress and ample acquisitions of industry through extensive territories, for civil, political, and religious liberty. While other states are desolated with foreign war or convulsed with intestine divisions, the United States present the pleasing prospect of a nation governed by mild and equal laws, generally satisfied with the possession of their rights, neither envying the advantages nor fearing the power of other nations, solicitous only for the maintenance of order and justice and the preservation of liberty, increasing daily in their attachment to a system of government in proportion to their experience of its utility, yielding a ready and general obedience to laws flowing from the reason and resting on the only solid foundation--the affections of the people.

It is with extreme regret that I shall be obliged to turn your thoughts to other circumstances, which admonish us that some of these felicities may not be lasting. But if the tide of our prosperity is full and a reflux commencing, a vigilant circumspection becomes us, that we may meet out reverses with fortitude and extricate ourselves from their consequences with all the skill we possess and all the efforts in our power.

In giving to Congress information of the state of the Union and rec-

____________________
1
Richardson, Messages, vol. 1, p. 233.

-27-

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Documents Relating to the Controversy over Neutral Rights between the United States and France, 1797-1800
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Prefatory Note iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Authorities vii
  • Extract from Notes to Treaties and Conventions, 1889, Relating to the United States and France 1
  • Extracts from Messages of President Adams, and Replies of the Senate and House 27
  • Acts of Congress 59
  • Proclamations 77
  • Appendix 81
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