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of the government, seen a crisis which, in my opinion, has been so pregnant with interesting events, nor one from which more is to be apprehended, whether viewed on the one side or the other. From New York there is, and I am told will further be, a counter current ; but how formidable it may appear, I know not. If the same does not take place at Boston and other towns, it will afford but too strong evidence that the opposition is in a manner universal, and would make the ratification a very serious business indeed. But as it respects the French, even counter resolutions would, for the reasons I have already mentioned, do little more than weaken, in a small degres, the effect the other side would have.” In a letter to the Secretary, of the 31st of July, having mentioned his determination to return to Philadelphia, and stated the firmness and wisdom necessary to meet the crisis, he proceeded, “ There is too much reason to believe, from the pains that have been taken before, at, and since the advice of the Senate respecting the treaty, that the prejudices against it are more extensive than is generally imagined. How should it be otherwise, when no stone has heen left unturned that could impress on the minda of the people the most errant misrepresentation of facts ; that their rights have not only been neglected, but absolutely sold; that there are no reciprocal advantages in the treaty; that the benefits are all on the side of Great Britain; and what seems to have had more weight with them than all the rest, and has been most pressed ; that the treaty is made with the design to oppress the French Republick, in open violation of any treaty with that nation, and contrary too to every principle of gratitude and sound policy. In time, when passion shall have yielded to sober reason, the current may possibly turn; but, in the mean while, this government in relation to France and England may be compared to a ship between Scylla and Charybdis. If the treaty is ratified, the partisans of the
French, or rather of war and confusion, will excite them to hostile measures, or at least to unfriendly sentiments ; if it is not, there is no foreseeing all the consequences that may follow as it respects Great Britain.
“ It is not to be inferred from hence, that I am, or shall be disposed to quit the ground I have taken, unless circumstances more imperious than have yet come to my knowledge, should compel it; for there is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth, and to pursue it steadily. But these things are mentioned to show that a close investigation of the subject is more than ever necessary. Every step should be explored before it is taken, and every word weighed before it is uttered or delivered in writing." In a subsequent letter, in which he mentioned the increasing hostility to the treaty, he added, “ All these things do not shake my deterınination with respect to the proposed ratifi. cation; nor will they, unless something more imperious and unknown to me should, in the opinion of yourself and the gentleman with you, make it adviseable for me to pause.
On the 11th of August, the President arrived at Philadelphia, and on the next day he brought before the Cabinet the question respecting the immediate ratification of the treaty. The Secretary of State advised to the postponement of this measure, until the orders of the British should be revoked. The other inembers of the Cabinet voted for an immediate ratification with a strong memorial against those orders. Wit. this advice the President closed. The orders were recalled, and the ratifications of the treaty exchanged.
The President was probably led to this immediate ratification of the treaty by the popular violence, which was raised against it in every part of the United States. He conceived that it was necessary, either at once to arrest its progress, or ultimately to yield to its force. The event proved the soundness of his judgment and
the influence of his character. Violent opposition ceased. Reflection and experience convinceà discerning men, that the treaty was a wise and salutary
On the 19th of August 1795, Mr. Randolph resigned his office as Secretary of State. He had been strongly suspected of breach of trust, and of having committed the honour and interest of his country in his communications with the French Minister. To enable him, as he affirmed, to vindicate himself, he requested the sight of a confidential letter, which the President had written to him, and which he had left in the office. His avowed purpose was to publish this, with other documents, to show that he had been disgraced on account of his attachment to France and liberty. “I have directed," replied the President, “that you should have the inspection of my letter of the 22d of July, agreeably to your request ; and you are at full liberty to publish without reserve any or every private and confidential letter I ever wrote you; nay more, every word I ever uttered to you or in your presence, from whence you can derive any advantage in your vindication.” Happy the ruler, who in the consciousness of the purity of his intentions can, in times of political agitation, thus address a suspected member of his Council, who had been admitted to his unlimited confidence.
Colonel Pickering was removed to the departmert of State, and Mr. M`Henry appointed Secretary of War. By the death of Mr. Bradford, tlie office of Attorney General became vacant, which was soon filled by Mr. Lee of Virginia.
In the Autumn of 1795 a treaty was negotiated through the agency of Colonel Humphreys with the the Regency of Algiers, by which a number of American citizens, who had been enslaved, were liberated.
On opening the first session of the fourth Congress, Dec. 1795, the President congratulated the two Houses
on the prosperity of the nation. “I trust,” said he, “ I do not deceive myself while I indulge the persuasion that I have never met you at any period, when, more than at the present, the situation of our publick affairs has afforded just cease for mutual congratulation ; and for inviting you to join with me in profound gratitude to the author of all good for the numerous and extraordinary blessings we enjoy.” Then making a brief statement of the situation of the United States in their foreign relations, he thus proceeded.
6. Tiis interesting summary of our affairs, with regard to the powers between whom and the United States, controversies have subsisted ; and with regard also to our Indian neighbours with whom we have been in a state of enmity or misunderstanding, opens a wide field for consoling and gratifying reflections. If by prudence and moderation on every side, the extinguishment of all the causes of external discord which have heretofore menaced our tranquillity, on terms compatible with our national faith and honour, shall be the happy result, how firm and how precious a foundation will have been laid for eccelerating, maturing, and establishing the prosperity of our country.”
Recommending a number of national objects, to the attention of the Legislature, the speech was concluded in the following manner.
Temperate discussion of the important subjects that may arise in the course of the session, and mutual forbearance where there is a difference in opinion, are too obvious and necessary for the peace, happiness, and welfare of our country, to need any recommendation of mine."
The answer of the Senate was in their usual cordial and respectful manner.
A majority of the House of Representatives of this Congress was of the party opposed to the general od. ministration of the government. To this party the Bii:ish treaty was offensive; and their feelings on this
subject had an influence on their reply to the Presi. dent's speech.
The Committee reported an answer, which contain: ed this clause ; " that the confidence of his fellow citizens in the Chief Magistrate remained undiminished.” It was moved to strike out this clause because it contained an untruth. In the animated debate that ensued, the friends of the President supported the clause, and maintained with zeal, that the confidence of the American citizens in him had suffered no dimi nution; the advocates of the motion with pertinacity averred that by a recent transaction the confidence of the people in the President was diminished; and seve ral of the speakers declared, that their own confidence in him was lessened.
To prevent a vote of the House to expunge the clause, it was moved and carried to recommit the an swer. In the second report, this clause was in such : manner modified as to pass without objection.
Mr. Monroe reached Paris soon after the fall of Robespierre, his reception as the American Minister was publick, and on the occasion, he gave the Convention the most positive assurances of the fervent' attachment of the American people to the interest of France.
The Committee of Safety of France had previously written to the American Congress, and the Executive of the Federal Government being the constituted organ of foreign intercourse, the Senate and House of Representatives had, by their resolves, transmitted this letter to the President with a request, that he would in a respectful answer express their friendly disposi. tion towards the French Republick. Accordingly the Secretary of State addressed two letters to the Committee of Safety, in the name of each branch of the Legislature. These Mr. Monroe conveyed, and de. livered with his own credentials to the President of the Convention.
The communications of the American Minister were