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restored, and many of the offenders arrested. Of these some have been convicted of misdemeanors, and others, charged with various crimes, remain to be tried.
To give due effect to the civil administratia of government, and to insure a just execution of the laws, a revision and amendment of the judiciary system is indispensably necessary. In this extensive country, it can not but happen that numerous questions respecting the interpretation of the laws, and the rights and duties of officers and citizens, must arise. On the one hand, the laws should be executed ; on the other, individuals should be guarded from oppression. Neither of these objects is sufficiently assured under the present organization of the judicial department. I therefore earnestly recommend the subject to your serious consideration.
Persevering in the pacific and humane policy which has been invariably professed and sincerely pursued by the executive authority of the United States, when indications were made on the part of the French republic of a disposition to accommodate the existing differences between the two countries, I felt it to be my duty to prepare for meeting their advances by a nomination of ministers upon certain conditions which the honor of our country dictated, and which its moderation had given a right to prescribe. The assurances which were required of the French government previous to the departure of our envoys, have been given through their minister of foreign relations, and I have directed them to proceed on their mission to Paris. They have full power to conclude a treaty, subject to the constitutional advice and consent of the senate. The characters of these gentlemen are sure pledges to their country that nothing incompatible with its honor or interest, nothing inconsistent with our obligations of good faith or friendship to any other nation, will be stipulated.
It appearing probable, from the information I received, that our commercial intercourse with some ports in the island of St. Domingo might safely be renewed, I took such steps as seemed to me expedient to ascer. tain that point. The result being satisfactory, I then, in conformity with the act of Congress on the subject, directed the restraints and prohibitions of that intercourse to be discontinued on terms which were made known by proclamation. Since the renewal of this intercourse, our citizens trading to those ports, with their property, have been duly respected, and privateering from those ports has ceased.
In examining the claims of British subjects by the commissioners at · Philadelphia, acting under the sixth article of the treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, with Great Britain, a difference of opinion, on points deemed essential in the interpretation of that article, has arisen between the commissioners appointed by the United States, and the other members of that board, from which the former have thought it their duty to withdraw. It is sincerely to be regretted that the execution of an article produced by a mutual spirit of amity and justice, should have been thus unavoidably interrupted. It is, however, confidently expected that the same spirit of amity and the same sense of justice in which it originated will lead to satisfactory explanations. In consequence of the obstacles to the progress of the commission in Philadelphia, his Britannic majesty has directed the commissioners appointed by him under the seventh article of the treaty relating to British captures of American vessels, to withdraw from the board sitting in London ; but with the express declaration of his determination to fulfil, with punctuality and good faith, the engagements which his majesty has contracted by his treaty with the United
States, and that they will be instructed to resume their functions whenever the obstacles which impede the progress of the commission at Phil. adelphia shall be removed. It being in like manner my sincere determination, so far as the same depends on me, that with equal punctuality and good faith the engagements contracted by the United States in theii treaties with his Britannic majesty shall be fulfilled, I shall immediately instruct our minister at London to endeavor to obtain the explanations necessary to a just performance of those engagements on the part of the United States. With such dispositions on both sides, I can not entertain a doubt that all difficulties will soon be removed, and that the two boards will then proceed and bring the business committed to them respectively, to a satisfactory conclusion.
The act of Congress relative to the seat of government of the United States, requiring that on the first Monday of December next it should be transferred from Philadelphia to the district chosen for its permanent seat, it is proper for me to inform you that the commissioners appointed to provide suitable buildings for the accommodation of Congress and of the president and for the public offices of the government, have made a report of the state of the buildings designed for those purposes in the city of Washington, from which they conclude that the removal of the seat of government to that place at the time required will be practicable and the accommodation satisfactory. Their report will be laid before you. Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
I shall direct the estimates of the appropriations necessary for the service of the ensuing year, together with an account of the revenue and expenditure, to be laid before you. During a period in which a great portion of the civilized world has been involved in a war unusually calamitous and destructive, it was not to be expected that the United States could be exempted from extraordinary burdens. Although the period is not arrived when the measures adopted to secure our country against foreign attacks can be renounced, yet it is alike necessary, for the honor of the government and the satisfaction of the community, that an exact economy should be maintained. I invite you, gentlemen, to investigate the different branches of the public expenditure. The examination will lead to beneficial retrenchments, or produce a conviction of the wisdom of the measures to which the expenditure relates. Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives :
At a period like the present, when momentous changes are occurring and every hour is preparing new and great events in the political worldwhen a spirit of war is prevalent in almost every nation with whose affairs the interest of the United States have any connexion—unsafe and precari. ous would be our situation were we to neglect the means of maintaining our just rights. The result of the mission to France is uncertain; but however it may terminate, a steady perseverance in a system of national defence commensurate with our resources and the situation of our country is an obvious dictate of wisdom. For remotely as we are placed from the belligerent nations, and desirous as we are, by doing justice to all, to avoid offence to any, nothing short of the power of repelling aggressions will secure to our country a rational prospect of escaping the calamities of war or national degradation. As to myself, it is my anxious desire so to execute the trust reposed in me as to render the people of the United States
prosperous and happy. I rely with entire confidence on your co-operation in objects equally your care, and that our mutual labors will serve to increase and confirm union among our fellow-citizens and an unshaken attachment to our government.
December 23, 1799.
Gentlemen of the Senate :
I receive with the most respectful and affectionate sentiments, in your impressive address, the obliging expressions of your regard for the loss our country has sustained in the death of her most esteemed, beloved, and admired citizen.
In the multitude of my thoughts and recollections on this melancholy event, you will permit me only to say that I have seen him in days of adversity, in some of the scenes of his deepest distress and most trying perplexities; and I have also attended him in his highest elevation and most prosperous felicity, with uniform admiration of his wisdom, moderation, and constancy.
Among all our original associates in that memorable league of the continent in 1774, which first expressed the sovereign will of a free nation in America, he was the only one remaining in the general government. Although with a constitution more enfeebled than his, at an age, when he thought it necessary to prepare for retirement, I feel myself alone, bereaved of my last brother. Yet I derive a strong consolation from the unanimous disposition which appears in all ages and classes to mingle their sorrows with mine on this common calamity to the world.
The life of our Washington can not suffer by a comparison with those of other countries who have been most celebrated and exalted by fame. The attributes and decorations of loyalty could only have served to eclipse the majesty of those virtues which made him, from being a modest citizen, a more resplendent luminary. Misfortune, had he lived, could hereafter have sullied his glory only with those superficial minds who, believing that characters and actions are marked by success alone, rarely deserve to enjoy it. Malice could never blast his honor, and envy made him a singular exception to her universal rule. For himself, he had lived enough to life and to glory. For his fellow-citizens, if their prayers could have been answered he would have been immortal. For me, his departure is at a most unfortunate moment. Trusting, however, in the wise and righteous dominion of Providence over the opinions of men and the results of their councils and actions, as well as over their lives, nothing remains for me but humble resignation.
His example is now complete, and it will teach wisdom and virtue to magistrates, citizens, and men, not only in the present age but in future generations, as long as our history shall be read. If a Trajan found a Pliny, a Marcus Aurelius can never want biographers, eulogists, or historians.
JANUARY 8, 1800.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives :
In compliance with the request in one of the resolutions of Congress of the 21st of December last, I transmitted a copy of these resolutions, by my secretary Mr. Shaw, to Mrs. Washington, assuring her of the profound respect Congress will ever bear to her person and character; of their condolence in the late afflicting dispensation of Providence; and entreating her assent to the interment of the remains of General George Washington in the manner expressed in the first resolution. As the sentiments of that virtuous lady, not less beloved by this nation than she is at present greatly afflicted, can never be so well expressed as in her own words, I transmit to Congress her original letter
It would be an attempt of too much delicacy to make any comments upon it ; but there can be no doubt that the nation at large, as well as all the branches of the government, will be highly gratified by any arrangement which may diminish the sacrifices she makes of her personal feelings.
“MOUNT VERNON, December 31, 1799. “Sir : While I feel with keenest anguish the late dispensation of Divine Providence, I can not be insensible to the mournful tributes of respect and veneration, which are paid to the memory of my dear deceased husband ; and as his best services and most anxious wishes were always devoted to the welfare and happiness of his country, to know that they were truly appreciated and gratefully remembered affords no inconsiderable consolation.
“Taught by the great example which I have so long had before me never to oppose my private wishes to the public will, I must consent to the request made by Congress, which you have had the goodness to transmit to me; and in doing this I need not, I can not, say what a sacrifice of individual feeling I make to a sense of public duty.
“ With grateful acknowledgments and unfeigned thanks for the personal respect and evidences of condolence expressed by Congress and yourself,
“I remain, very respectfully, sir,
1. Maksha suraSHINGTON.”
FOURTH ANNUAL ADDRESS.
NOVEMBER 22, 1800.
Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives :
IMMEDIATELY after the adjournment of Congress, at their last session in Philadelphia, I gave directions, in compliance with the laws, for the removal of the public offices, records, and property. These directions have been executed, and the public officers have since resided and conducted the ordinary business of the government in this place.
I congratulate the people of the United States on the assembling of Congress at the permanent seat of their government, and I congratulate you, gentlemen, on the prospect of a residence not to be changed. Although there is cause to apprehend that accommodations are not now so complete as might be wished, yet there is great reason to believe that this inconvenience will cease with the present session.
It would be unbecoming the representatives of this nation to assemble for the first time in this solemn temple, without looking up to the Supreme Ruler of the universe and imploring his blessing.
May this territory be the residence of virtue and happiness! In this city may that piety and virtue, that wisdom and magnanimity, that constancy and self-government, which adorned the great character whose name it bears, be for ever held in veneration! Here, and throughout our country, may simple manners, pure morals, and true religion, flourish for ever!
It is with you, gentlemen, to consider whether the local powers over the District of Columbia vested by the constitution in the Congress of the United States shall be immediately exercised. If in your opinion this 'important trust ought now to be executed, you can not fail, while performing it, to take into view the future probable situation of the territory for the happiness of which you are about to provide. You will consider it as the capital of a great nation advancing with unexampled rapidity in arts, in commerce, in wealth, and in population ; and possessing within itself those energies and resources which, if not thrown away or lamentably misdirected, will secure to it a long course of prosperity and self-government.
In compliance with a law of the last session of Congress, the officers and soldiers of the temporary army have been discharged. It affords real pleasure to recollect the honorable testimony they gave to the patriotic motives which brought them into the service of their country, by the readiness and regularity with which they returned to the station of private citizens.
It is in every point of view of such primary importance to carry the laws into prompt and faithful execution, and to render that part of the administration of justice which the constitution and laws devolve on the federal courts as convenient to the people as may consist with their present circumstances, that I can not omit once more to recommend to your serious consideration the judiciary system of the United States. No subject is more interesting than this to the public happiness, and to none can those improvements which may have been suggested by experience be more beneficially applied.
A treaty of amity and commerce with the king of Prussia has been concluded and ratified. The ratifications have been exchanged, and I have directed the treaty to be promulgated by proclamation.
The difficulties which suspend the execution of the sixth article of our treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, with Great Britain, have not yet been removed. The negotiation on this subject is still depending. As it must be for the interest and honor of both nations to adjust this difference with good faith, I indulge confidently the expectation that the sincere endeavors of the government of the United States to bring it to an amicable termination will not be disappointed.
The envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary from the United States to France were received by the first consul with the respect due to