« AnteriorContinuar »
gress of the United States on an equal footing with the original States, in all respects whatever, when it should have therein sixty thousand free inhabitants ; provided the constitution and government, so to be formed, should be republican, and in conformity to the principles contained in the articles of the said ordinance.
As proofs of the several requisites to entitle the territory south of the River Ohio to be admitted as a State into the Union, Governor Blount has transmitted a return of the enumeration of its inhabitants, and a printed copy of the constitution and form of government on which they have agreed; which, with his letters accompanying the same, are herewith laid before Congress.
TO BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS; ON THE INJURY SUSTAINED BY AMERICAN COMMERCE
FROM FRENCH CRUISERS.
JANUARY 19TH, 1797.
At the opening of the present session of Congress, I mentioned that some circumstances of an unwelcome nature had lately occurred in relation to France; that our trade had suffered and was suffering extensive injuries in the West Indies from the cruisers and agents of the French Republic; and that communications had been received from its minister here, which indicated danger of a further disturbance of our commerce by its authority, and that were in other respects far from agreeable; but that I reserved for a special message a more particular communication on this interesting subject. This communication I now make.
The complaints of the French minister embraced most of the transactions of our government in relation to France from an early period of the present war; which, therefore, it was necessary carefully to review. A collection has been formed, of letters and papers relating to those transactions, which I now lay before you, with a letter to Mr. Pinckney, our minister at Paris, containing an examination of the notes of the French minister, and such information as I thought might be useful to Mr. Pinckney in any further representations he might find necessary to be made to the French government. The immediate object of his mission was to make to that government such explanations of the principles and conduct of our own, as, by manifesting our good faith, might remove all jealousy and discontent, and maintain that harmony and good understanding with the French Republic, which it has been my constant solicitude to preserve. A government, which required only a knowledge of the truth to justify its measures, could not but be anxious to have this fully and frankly displayed.
FOR A NATIONAL THANKSGIVING.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness ;"
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the Beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks for his kind care and protection of the people of this country, previous to their becoming a nation ; for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed ; for the peaceable and ra
tional manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors, which he has been pleased to confer upon us.
And, also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science, among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
PROCLAMATION CONCERNING THE LOCATION OF THE PERMANENT
SEAT OF GOVERNMENT.
Whereas the General Assembly of the State of Maryland, by an act passed on the 230 day of December, in the year 1788, entitled, “An act to cede to Congress a district of ten miles square in this State, for the seat of the government of the United States," did enact, that the representatives of the said State, in the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, appointed to assemble at New York on the first Wednesday of March then next ensuing, should be, and they were thereby authorized and required, on the behalf of the said State, to cede to the Congress of the United States any district in the said State not exceeding ten miles square, which the Congress might fix upon and accept for the seat of government of the United States;
And the General Assembly of the commonwealth of Virginia, by an act passed on the 3d day of December, 1789, and entitled, “An act for the cession of ten miles square, or any lesser quantity of territory within this State to the United States in Congress assembled, for the permanent seat of the general government,” did enact, that a tract of country not exceeding ten miles square, or any lesser quantity, to be located within the limits of the said State, and in any part thereof, as Congress might by law direct, should be, and the same was thereby for ever ceded and relinquished to the Congress and government of the United States, in full and absolute right, and exclusive jurisdiction, as well of soil as of persons residing or to reside thereon, pursuant to the tenor and