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py consequences of all this array of horrors. They can see intestine discords, our government disorganized, our wrongs aggravated, multiplied and unredressed, peace with dishonor, or war without justice, union or resources, in " the calm lights of mild philosophy.”'
But whatever they may anticipate as the next measure of prudence and safety, they have explained nothing to the House. After rejecting the treaty, what is to be the next step? They must have foreseen what ought to be done, they have doubtless resolved what to propose. Why then are they silent ? Dare they not avow their plan of conduct, or do they wait till our progress towards confusion shall guide them in form
Let me cheer the mind, weary no doubt and ready to despond on this prospect, by presenting another, which it is yet in our power to realize. Is it possible for a real American to look at the prosperity of this country without some desire for its continuance, without some respect for the measures which, many will say, produced, and all will confess, have preserved it ? Will he not feel some dread, that a change of system will reverse the scene? The' well grounded fears of our citizens in 1794, were removed by the treaty, but are not forgotten. Then they deemed war nearly inevitable, and would not this adjustment have been considered, at that day, as a happy escape from the calamity? The great interest and the general desire of our people, was to enjoy the advantages of neutrality. This instrument, however misrepresented, affords America that inestimable security. The causes of our disputes are either cut up by the roots, or referred to a new negociation after the end of the European war. This was gaining every thing, because it confirmed our neutrality, by which our citizens are gaining every thing. This alone would justify the engagements of the government. For, when the fiery vapors of the war lowered in the skirts of our horizon, all our wishes were concentred in this one, that
we might escape the desolation of the storm. This treaty, like a rainbow on the edge of the cloud, marked to our eyes the space where it was raging, and afforded, at the same time, the sure prognostic of fair weather. If we reject it, the vivid colors will grow pale, it will be a baleful meteor portending tempest
Let us not hesitate then, to agree to the appropriation to carry it into faithful execution. Thus we shall save the faith of our nation, secure its peace, and diffuse the spirit of confidence and enterprize, that will augment its prosperity. The progress of wealth and improvement is wonderful, and some will think, too rapid. The field for exertion is fruitful and vast, and if peace and good government should be preserved, the acquisitions of our citizens are not so pleasing as the proofs of their industry, as the instruments of their future success.
The rewards of exertion go to augment its power. Profit is every hour becoming capital. The vast crop of our neutrality is all seed-wheat, and is sown again to swell, almost beyond calculation, the future harvest of prosperity. And in this progress, what seems to be fiction is found to fall short of experience.
I rose to speak under impressions, that I would have resisted if I could. Those who see me will believe, that the reduced state of my health has unfitted me, almost equally, for much exertion of body or mind. Unprepared for debate, by careful reflection in my retirement, or by long attention here, I thought the resolution I had taken to sit silent, was imposed by necessity, and would cost me no effort to maintain. With a mind thus vacant of ideas, and sinking, as I really am, under a sense of weakness, I imagined the very desire of speaking was extinguished by the persuasion that I had nothing to say. Yet when I come to the moment of deciding the vote, I start back with dread from the edge of the pit into which we are plunging. In my view, even the minutes I have spent in expostulation,
have their value, because they protract the crisis, and, the short period in which alone we may resolve to
I have thủs been led, by my feelings, to speak more at length than I had intended. Yet I have, perhaps, as little personal interest in the event as any one here. There is, I believe, no member who will not think his chance to be a witness of the consequences greater than mine. If, however, the vote should pass to reject, and a spirit should rise, as it will, with the public disorders, to make confusion worse confounded, even I, slender and almost 'broken as my hold upon life is, may. outlive the government and constitution of my country.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
DELIVERED MARCH 4, 1797.
When it was first perceived, in early times, that no middle course for America remained, between unlimited submission to a foreign legislature and a total independence of its claims; men of reflection were less apprehensive of danger from the formidable power of fleets and armies they must determine to resist, than from those contests and dissensions, which would certainly arise, concerning the forms of government to bé instituted over the whole, and over the parts of this extensive country. Relying, however, on the purity of their intentions, the justice of their cause, and the integrity and intelligence of the people, under an overruling Providence, which had so signally protected this country from the first; the representatives of this nation, then consisting of little more than half its present numbers, not only broke to pieces the chains which were forging, and the rod of iron that was lifted up, and frankly cut asunder the ties which had bound them, and launched into an ocean of uncertainty.
The zeal and ardor ofthe people during the revolutionary war, supplying the place of government, commanded a degree of order, sufficient at least for the temporary preservation of society. The confederation, which was early felt to be necessary, was prepared from the models of the Batavian and Helvetic confederacies, the only examples which remain, with any detail and precision, in history, and certainly the only ones, which the people at large had ever considered. But, reflecting on the striking difference, in so many particulars, between this country and those, where a
courier may go from the seat of government to the frontier in a single day, it was then certainly foreseen by some, who assisted in Congress at the formation of it, that it could not be durable.
Negligence of its regulations, inattention to its recommendations, if not disobedience to its authority, not only in individuals, but in states, soon appeared with their melancholy consequences; universal languor, jealousies, rivalries of states; decline of navigation and commerce; discouragement of necessary manufactures; universal fall in the value of lands and their produce; contempt of public and private faith; loss of consideration and credit with foreign nations; and, at length, in discontents, animosities, combinations, partial conventions, and insurrection, threatening some great national calamity.
In this dangerous crisis, the people of America were not abandoned by their usual good sense, presence of mind, resolution, or integrity. Measures were pursued to concert a plan, to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty. The public disquisition, discussions, and deliberations issued in the present happy constitution of government.
Employed in the service of my country abroad during the whole course of these transactions, I first saw the constitution of the United States in a foreign country. Irritated by no literary altercation, animated by no public debate, heated by no party animosity, I read it with great satisfaction, as the result of good heads, prompted by good hearts; as an experiment, better adapted to the genius, character, situation, and relations of this nation and country, than any, which had ever been proposed or suggested. In its general principles and great outlines, it was conformable to such a system of government as I had ever most esteemed; and in some states, my own native state in particular, had contributed to establish. Claiming a right of suffrage in common with my fellow-citizens