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effect. This belief will be to me a source of permanent satisfaction, and those acknowledgments a rich reward.
My sincere thanks are due, and I beg you, Gentlemen, to make them acceptable to the Council and General Assembly of the State of Vermont, for the very obliging and affectionate terms in which they notice me and my public services. To such confidence and support, as I have experienced from Councils, Legislative assemblies, and the great body of American Citizens, I owed the best exertions of every faculty I possessed: happy now in the reflection that our joint labours have been crowned with success,-When withdrawn to the shade of private life, I shall view with growing pleasure, the increasing prosperity of the United States: in the perfect protection of their government, I trust to enjoy my retirement in tranquillity: and then, while indulging a favorite wish of my heart in agricultural pursuits, I may hope to make even my private business and amusement of some use to my Country.—
ADDRESS TO PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS--1798.
IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY, Oct. 12 1798. On motion, Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to draft and report to this House an address to the President of the United States.
Ordered, That the said committee be appointed of Mr. [Samuel] Williams, Mr. [Udney] Hay, Mr. Amos Marsh, Mr. [John W.] Blake, and Mr. [Daniel] Farrand.""
Oct. 20.-The address to the President of the United States was then read, in the words following.
"To the President of the United States.
"While the Communities, Corporations, Towns, Cities and Legislatures of your Country, are crowding to approach you with addresses of approbation and gratitude, will you, Sir, permit the Legislature of the State of Vermont to join the general voice? Among the latest to address, we would be considered as among the foremost to approve your official conduct.
We have been represented as a divided people ; but this report has been fabricated, and cherished, by men whose destructive policy would lead them first to excite disunion, and like the incendiary, to profit by the confusion they have created.
"That the great bulk of our citizens are firmly attached to our excellent federal constitution of government, and highly approve its adminis
'Ms. Vermont State Papers, Vol. 24, p. 95. The signature and date to the foregoing were written by Washington; while the body of the letter was written by a secretary, who, doubtless, was responsible for the few errors in spelling and punctuation.
Oct. 16, by another resolution, this was made a joint committee, and Councillors Jacob and Spencer were joined.
Literally so "represented" by Daniel Buck of the eastern congressional district, who was a federalist; and by Matthew Lyon of the western district, who was so over-zealous in opposition as to be then in jail under the sedition act.
tration, you may be assured is an incontrovertible fact.' That some men should not appreciate its advantages, or that some should be bad enough to strike at its very existence, is not strange. When we consider government as the association of the honest, the pious, and the peaceable, to protect themselves from the wickedness of the dishonest, the impious, and the unruly; it is not strange that if the beneficial designs of the former be effected, the latter will complain, and attempt to break every barrier which protects society. We know of no government, ancient or modern, that was ever celebrated for its excellency, whose archives were not disgraced with impediments of opposition, and the page of whose history is not stained with frequent insurrection. Even under the divine theocracy of the Jews, the people murmured amidst plenty; and, while their first magistrate was in immediate conference with Heaven for their good, a stupid faction of that people lost the remembrance of their divine government, in the adoration of a Molten God.
"But you, sir, can accurately distinguish between the voice of your country, and the clamour of party: we here offer you the genuine sentiments of our constituents, the freemen of Vermont, as delivered through their constitutional organ, the legislature.
"In the infancy of French political reformation, with our brethren of the United States, we wished well to the cause of French patriotism, because we supposed it the cause of virtue, religion, and rational liberty. But when Gallic virtue was succeded by licentiousness and inhumanity; when religion gave place to atheism, and rational liberty to grievous oppression; when, no longer contented with abortive attempts to reform their own government, they boldly obtruded their political creed upon the order and tranquility of other nations; and with rapacious ambition, unknown to their proudest monarchs, dissolved ancient governments, annexing plundered provinces to their own blood-stained territories; when they violated the neutral rights of the United States, commissioned their ambassadors to excite us to foreign war and domestic insurrection, and made the most unprovoked depredations on our commerce; when they insulted our messengers of peace, and insidiously attempted to degrade them into the mean instruments of subjecting their country to a scandalous tribute: when they refused to stop the hand of plunder, for a little period, while our government might attempt, by discussion or concession, to avert the calamities of war; when they violently and insidiously struck at our national independence, every tie of affection for Frenchmen was dissolved; and we clearly perceived, that we could no longer be attached to that nation, but at the expence of our morals, our religion, and the love of our country.
"This, sir, is a day which calls loudly for decision: and we are proud to declare our attachment to the Constitution of the United States; we believe its prosperity deeply involves our own; we have the firmest reliance on the executive administration of our general government. Your
At the election in Sept. 1798, Isaac Tichenor, federalist, received 6211 votes; and Moses Robinson, opposition, 2805. The yeas and nays on this address show that the federalists predominated quite as largely in the Assembly.
"A sum of money was required" from the United States "for the pockets of the directory and ministers, which would be at the disposal of M. Talleyrand."-American Envoys to the Secretary of State, Oct. 22 1797, in American State Papers, octavo edition of 1817, Vol. 3, p. 478.
instructions to our national envoys to France carry conviction with them of your uprightness. Your resolution to send no other envoys to that haughty nation, unless previously assured of their honorable reception, evidences beyond doubt, your firm attachment to the interest and honor of your country. You have justified your country in the face of the world; and if the consequences of French duplicity and rapacity shall involve us in a war, which we pray heaven to avert, we pledge ourselves to our country, for our firmest support of her violated rights.
"Permit us to add assurances of our personal respect; while we honor you as our chief magistrate, we respect you as a man; and it is to your glory we can say, we regard JOHN ADAMS because we love our country.
Mr. W. C. Harrington then introduced the following resolution: to wit. Resolved, That the foregoing address pass; that it be signed by the speaker [Daniel Farrand] in behalf of this house; and that it be sent to the governor and council for concurrence: further resolved, that His Excellency the Governor be requested to forward the same to the President of the United States.
On the question, will the house pass the foregoing resolutions? The yeas and nays being required by Mr. Amos Marsh, it passed in the affirmative: Yeas 129, Nays 23.1
The address was concurred in by the Governor and Council, 11 to 2. See ante, pp. 183, 186-7.
'Printed Assembly Journal for 1798, pp. 40, 41, 75-80. The Vermont Gazette Extra of Dec. 20 1798 contains an address of the minority to their constituents, in which they state their objections to the legislative address : first, that the introduction is servile; second, because it renders a full approbation to every measure of the executive administration of the executive government-[meaning but not naming the alien and sedition acts, and the manner of their execution, as exceptions; } third, that the address was peculiarly pointed against distinguished characters, who had always possessed their fullest confidence; and fourth, that it inveighs against France on account of their religious sentiment. The minority also published and approved of a form of address to the President, which had been read in the Assembly by Udney Hay, as a part of his speech against the legislative address. Mr. Hay's draft professed their zeal and attachment to the federal government; abhorrence of all foreign influence and intrigues; condemnation of the inattention with which our ambassadors of peace to the French republic had been received; their readiness to sacrifice all the comforts and blessings of peace rather than yield to an imperious insulting government; their veneration of President Adams for his virtues, and their respect for his abilities; their fullest confidence that his conduct would continue to be actuated by zeal for the public welfare, and their most sincere prayer that the divine ruler of the universe might render his exertions the glorious means of saving the country from the horrors and calamities with which the European world was then overspread.
Mr. Hay's form might well have received the vote of every member, had he proposed it as a substitute. The fact undoubtedly was, however,
REPLY OF PRESIDENT ADAMS
To the Legislature of Vermont.
Gentlemen, Your address of the 24th of Oct. has been forwarded to me, as you desired, by his excellency Isaac Tichenor, your worthy governor. Among all the addresses which have been presented to me, from communities, corporations, towns, cities, and legislatures, there has been none more acceptable to me, or which has affected my sensibility or commanded my gratitude more than this very sentimental compliment from the State of Vermont; a state, which, within my memory,
that the federalists wished to press their opponents into avowed antagonism to the government; and the opposition party was quite as ready to put the burden of the alien and sedition acts upon the federalists-a stroke of party policy which promised to be very efficient at that time, as public sentiment and sympathy in western Vermont were then very strong in favor of their imprisoned congressman, Matthew Lyon. The result answered their expectation. In September 1798, Lyon failed of an election, but in December he received a large majority. This favor to Lyon was founded rather on a jealous zeal for the liberty of speech and the press than for the man personally, and the following account of Lyon's reception on the expiration of his sentence, is worthy of preservation, as a protest of the people against political persecution. It was contributed to the Rutland Herald, a few months ago, by the Hon. RosWELL BOTTOм of Orwell, who doubtless had his facts from Mr. Austin and others who were prominent in the matter.
At the time of his [Lyon's] imprisonment in Vergennes under the odious sedition law, passed by Congress during the Federal administration of John Adams, when he had stayed out in prison the term of his commitment of four months, and nothing remained but the payment of his thousand dollar fine to entitle him to his liberty, it was feared that the marshal of the State, whose sympathies and preferences were strongly with the Federal party, and against Lyon, would stickle about receiving for the fine any other than money that was of legal tender, and in that case it might be difficult to procure the specie. Most of the gold then in circulation was of foreign coin which passed at an uncertain value according to its weight, which often varied by different weighers, and was, therefore, not a legal tender. It was known that Mr. Lyon, while in prison, had issued frequent publications, therein freely discussing and sometimes censuring the measures of the federal administration, and that if any pretext could be made for continuing his imprisonment and thereby prevent his taking his seat in Congress, to which he had been re-elected while in prison, the marshal would not hesitate to resort to it. It was further ascertained that if the fine was paid, the marshal intended to re-arrest him for his subsequent publications. Therefore, to secure his liberty so that he could take his seat in Congress, which had already convened, Mr. Apollos Austin, a resident citizen of Orwell, and a man of wealth, at his own expense and trouble procured the thousand dollars in silver dollars, and on the day that Mr. Lyon's confinement expired, Mr. Austin, with the entire body of the Republicans in Orwell, nearly every man, went to Vergennes, where a like spirit brought together some thousands of the Republicans from other parts of the district and State, in order probably to overawc the authorities from re-ar
has been converted from a wilderness to a fruitful field. Knowing, as I do, your origin and progress, the brave, hardy, industrious, and temperate character of the people, the approbation of their representatives, their attachment to the constitution, and determination to support the government, are the more to be esteemed.
While we truly consider government as the association of the honest, the pious, and the peaceable, to protect themselves from the wickedness of the dishonest, the impious and unruly, we should never forget, that government at the same time ought to protect the dishonest, the impious and unruly, not only from the fraud and fury of each other, but from the errors and weaknesses of the honest and pious.
There is too much truth in your observation, that the most excellent governments have had their archives disgraced with impediments of opposition and frequent insurrections. The true cause of it is, that while the honest and pious are always disposed to submit to good government and choose the mildest, the dishonest and impious take advantage of the feeble restraint, to commit mischief, because it can be done with impunity. This in course introduces the necessity of severe curbs for the wicked, and then the sordid animal becomes too tame under the curb, the lash and the spur. While a tenderness of blood and a respect for human life is preserved among the people, however, there is not much danger, even from tumults. This maxim preserved the Romans who for four hundred years never shed the blood of a man in sedition. An example worthy the contemplation and imitation of all other republics.
The French have rendered it impossible for us to follow them in their notions and projects of government, or to submit to their arbitrary conduct and extravagant exactions to us: we must therefore defend ourselves against all they can attempt.
It is not possible for my fellow citizens to say any thing more glorious or delightful to me, than that they regard me, because they love their country. JOHN ADAMS.
Philadelphia, Nov. 30th, 1798.1
resting. Mr. Austin was not permitted, however, to pay the money he had brought. All claimed the privilege of bearing a part, and one dollar each was the maximum they would allow any one individual to pay. One gentleman from North Carolina, a staunch Republican, so zealously anxious for the release of Mr. Lyon from prison, that he might take his seat in Congress, at that time nearly equally divided by the two great political parties, came all the way on horseback from North Carolina with the thousand dollars in gold to pay the fine; supposing that as Vermont was then new, and comparatively poor, the resources of the people were not sufficiently ample to meet the exigency.* Having paid the fine, the friends of Mr. Lyon immediately took him into a sleigh, followed and preceded by a concourse of teams loaded with the political friends of Lyon, which reached from Vergennes as they traversed Otter creck upon the ice nearly to Middlebury, from which place a large number continued to bear him company to the State line at Hampton, New York, where they took leave of him and wished him God speed on to Congress. * * * The weak measures pursued by the Federal party against Mr. Lyon, and the odium that was everywhere felt against that abominable alien and sedition act passed by that Federal Congress, doubtless tended very greatly to change the parties of our State, which soon followed those proceedings, and perhaps had an influence over the whole country.
*Note by the editor of this volume.-Stevens Thomson Mason, U. S. Senator from Virginia, doubtless is the person referred to. His money seems to have been used to pay the fine. See letter of thanks to him in the Vermont Gazette of March 28 1799.
From the Vermont Gazette of Dec. 27 1798.