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ral profusion which has prevailed ; but when and how that is to be effected is a question difficult to be decided. The coin is gone, and no staple yet established to restore it, and yet the infatuation subsists. I don't see but that we must look to necessity for those effects, which every good man might wish should be the consequence of virtue and reason rather than fatal experience. Accept the sincerest professions of friendship from
J. WARREN. E. Gerry, Esq.
Letters from Mr. John Adams.........
Mr. Jefferson........Mr. Rufus King....... Leaves Congress........Marriage.
The most important affairs, which claimed at this time the attention of congress, were the detention of the western posts by the British troops under the direction of their government, in the obvious infraction of the treaty of peace, the conduct of the Spanish court respecting the navigation of the Mississippi, a demand made by the French government for the delivery of one Longchamps for an alleged violation of the law of nations, in committing an assault on the public accredited agent of that government in the United States, and the general state of commercial affairs; to which may be added, as most interesting to Massachusetts, the settling by authority of congress under the confederation, a dispute with NewYork on the boundary line between the two states. It was this last matter which had imperiously required the attendance of the delegates of Massachusetts by the 21st December. The immediate object being arranged, Mr. Gerry left the other
affairs of congress in the hands of his colleagues and returned home.*
* The journals of the house of representatives of Massachusetts contain the following entries.
“ March 14, 1785. Ordered, that a chair be assigned for the honourable Elbridge Gerry to attend the debates of the house whenever he may please, and that he be requested to attend tomorrow morning at ten o'clock, for the purpose of informing the house relative to such matters as may be asked of him.
“ March 15. The honourable Mr. Gerry attended the house, agreeably to their request. A message was sent to the honourable senate to inform them that the house were about to receive communications from that gentleman, and that it would be inconvenient to receive any messages at present.
“ March 16. The honourable Mr. Sedgwick came down and said that the senate were receiving communications from one of the delegates in congress, [Mr. Gerry) and it would be inconvenient to receive any messages from the house at present, but that the senate would inform the house when their conference with that gentleman was over."
The interdiction of messages and assignment of a chair were the then customary marks of respect. A chair was assigned “ to his excellency Thomas Jefferson, late governour of Virginia, and now one of the commissioners for negociating treaties,” June 12, 1784, and to the marquis de Lafayette 16th October of the same year.
The etiquette of business between the two houses was much more formal than the simplicity of present times admits. All bills and reports of committees were carried from one house to the other by members.
When governour Haveock [18th February 1785) resigned the chair, he was received with great formality in the representatives' chamber, and the house voted, “ that a chair be placed for the honourable the speaker of the house of representatives in front of the north side of the room in which the representatives sit, and that the representatives sit on that side. That a chair be assigned for the honourable president of the senate, and the seats on the south-west corner of the room for their members.
His connexion with the politics of the day was preserved through the medium of correspondents.
MR. J. ADAMS TO MR. GERRY.
AUTEUIL, NEAR Paris, March 9, 1785. MY DEAR SIR, You will see by our joint despatches that the pope, Sardinia and Naples, by their answers, have politely invited our vessels into their ports, but have not accepted the proposition of treaties of commerce. His holiness has gone as far, I believe, in his complaisance to us, as his maxims will allow; there being, as I believe, no example of a
That a committee be appointed to receive at the door the president of the senate, and conduct him to his seat. But the honourable Mr. Lowell came down and said that the senate did not agree to the assignment of seats for their members, as made by the house, but if the usual seats were assigned, the senate would accept them, otherwise they should stand on the floor. The house reconsidered their vote, and assigned the usual seats.
Messages were announced by the door-keeper, who stood with his hand upon the latch of the door until ordered to admit the messenger. He was accidentally absent one day when a venerable member of the house was in attendance with a message. A junior member of the senate, who knew no difference in rank between a door-keeper and a senator, seized the door and announced the message, and considered himself as having performed a very kind and serviceable act until the indignation of the president, Samuel Adams, terrified the astonished member by threatening an expulsion, for betraying the dignity of his station and the body to which he belonged.
treaty between his court and any protestant power. Naples probably waits for Spain. The motives of Sardinia, who has two daughters near the throne of France, although he has ancient attachments to England, are not so obvious.
Prussia will probably agree with us, or we shall agree with him, as the points in discussion are not essential, although some of them are of some importance. From Portugal, Denmark and the emperour we have no decisive answers, nor from Russia any answer at all. Spain and England will continue, I suppose, to refuse treating here. Mr. Hales, the British charge des affairs, told me that his court were determined never to treat here, and this declaration agrees with every information and all the circumstances that have come to our knowledge. I think the invitation to send a minister to London should be accepted, as it is undoubtedly our place to send first, and as the neglect of exchanging ambassadors will forever be regarded as a proof of coldness and jealousies by the people of England, the people of America, and by all the courts and nations of Europe. It is in vain to expect of us treaties of commerce with England, while she will not treat here and congress will not treat there. We cannot force them to treat, and it is not expected we should petition them: petitions would be neglected now as much as ever. We can do nothing with the Barbary states without money and