Closing the remnant of my days in my present peaceful abode; you will, therefore, be at no loss to conceive and appreciate the sensations I must have experienced, to bring my mind to any conclusion, that would pledge me, at so late a period of life, to leave scenes I sincerely love, to enter upon the boundless field of public action, incessant trouble, and high responsibility.

IT was not possible for me to remain ignorant of, or indifferent to, recent transactions.

THE Conduct of the Directory of France towards our country; their insidious hostility to its government; their various practices to withdraw the affections of the people from it; the evident tendency of their acts, and those of their agents, to countenance and invigorate opposition; their disregard of solemn treaties and the laws of nations; their war upon our defenceless commerce; their treatment of our ministers of peace, and their demands, amounting to tribute, could not fail to excite in me corresponding sentiments, with those my countrymen have so generally expressed in their affectionate ad

[ocr errors]

dresses to you.-Believe me, sir, no one can more cordially approve of the wise and prudent measures of your administration. They ought to inspire universal confidence, and will, no doubt, combined with the state of things, call from Congress such laws and means as will enable you to meet the full force and extent of the crisis.

SATISFIED thereof, that you have sincerely wished and endeavoured to avert war, and exhausted, to the last drop, the cup of reconciliation, we can with pure hearts appeal to heaven for the justice of our cause; and may confidently trust the final result to that kind providencce who has heretofore, and so often, signally favoured the people of these United States.

THINKING in this manner, and feeling how incumbent it is upon every person, of every description, to contribute at all times to his country's welfare, especially in a moment like the present, when every thing we hold dear and sacred is so seriously threatened I have finally determined to accept the commission of commander in chief of the armies of the United States; with this reserve only,

[ocr errors]

that I shall not be called into the field until the army is in a situation to require my presence, or it becomes indispensable by the urgency of circumstances.

IN making this reservation, I beg it may be understood, that I do not mean to withhold any assistance to arrange and organize the army, which you think I can afford. I take the liberty also to mention, that I must decline having my acceptance considered as drawing after it any immediate charge upon the public; or that I can receive any emoluments annexed to the appointment, before entering into a situation to incur expence.

THE secretary of war being anxious to return to the seat of government, I have detained him no longer than was necessary to a full communication upon the several points he had in charge.

WITH very great respect and consideration, I have the honour to be, dear sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

JOHN ADAMS, Prefident of the United States.



CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, House of Representatives, Dec. 18, 1799.

IMMEDIATELY after the journals were read, General MARSHALL came into the house of representatives, apparently much agitated, and said,


INFORMATION has just been received, that our illustrious fellow-citizen, the commander in chief of the American army, and the late president of the United States, is no more. Though this distressing intelligence is not certain, there is too much reason to believe its truth.

AFTER receiving information of a national calamity so heavy, and so afflicting, the house of representatives can be but ill fitted for public business. I move you, therefore, that we adjourn.

The bouse immediately adjourned.

« ForrigeFortsett »