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to foster and establish a division between the Government and people of the United States. To investigate the causes which have encouraged this attempt is not necessary; but to repel, by decided and united councils, insinuations so derogatory to the honor and aggressions so dangerous to the Constitution, union, and even independence of the nation, is an indispensable duty.
It must not be permitted to be doubted whether the people of the United States will support the Government established by their voluntary consent and appointed by their free choice, or whether, by surrendering themselves to the direction of foreign and domestic factions, in opposition to their own Government, they will forfeit the honorable station they have hitherto maintained.
For myself, having never been indifferent to what concerned the interests of my country, devoted the best part of my life to obtain and support its independence, and constantly witnessed the patriotism, fidelity, and perseverance of my fellow-citizens on the most trying occasions, it is not for me to hesitate or abandon a cause in which my heart has been so long engaged.
Convinced that the conduct of the Government has been just and impartial to foreign nations, that those internal regulations which have been established by law for the preservation of peace are in their nature proper, and that they have been fairly executed, nothing will ever be done by me to impair the national engagements, to innovate upon principles which have been so deliberately and uprightly established, or to surrender in any manner the rights of the Government. To enable me to maintain this declaration, I rely, under God, with entire confidence on the firm and enlightened support of the National Legislature and upon the virtue and patriotism of my fellowcitizens.
The complete edition of the Works of John Adams, in ten volumes, edited in the most thorough and scholarly manner and accompanied by an admirable biography by Charles Francis Adams, furnishes us with the richest and most satisfying material for the study of John Adams's public services. This was prepared in 1856. In 1870 the biography, which oc. cupied the first of these ten volumes, was revised, and published separately in two volumes. The briefer life in the “ American Statesmen " series is by John T. Morse, Jr. The admirable essay by Mellen Chamberlain on * John Adams, the Statesman of the Revolution," surveys Adams's services only during the first period of his public life, not touching his Presidency. His election to the Presidency intensified the bitterness in France
toward the United States which had been caused by the Jay treaty; and the relations became so strained that a special session of Congress was immediately called. As the questions growing out of this friction were the distinguishing features of Adams's administration, his message to Congress is included in the present leaflet. Charles Francis Adams justly characterizes it as “one of the most manly and dignified State papers that ever emanated from the American Executive.” Of the inaugural he writes as follows:
“ Few efforts of the kind contain, within so narrow a compass, a more comprehensive view of a policy suitable for the chief magistrate of the United States, of any party. Not unaware of the rumors that had been sedulously spread against him, of his desire to alter the existing form of government and to introduce something which had an awful squinting to a monarchy,' and not insensible of the importance of putting an end to them by a frank denial, he seized the opportunity to express his entire satisfaction with the Constitution, as conformable to such a system of government as he had ever most esteemed, and in his own State had contributed to establish. Then, going to the root of these calumnies, he added the decisive words : • It was not then, nor has been since, any objection to it in my mind, that the Executive and Senate were not more permanent. Nor have I entertained a thought of promoting any alterations in it but such as the people themselves, in the course of their experience, should see and feel to be necess
essary or expedient and, by their representatives in Congress and the State legislatures, according to the Constitution itself adopt and ordain.'
" Having thus removed the obstacles heretofore put in his way, he next declared the principles that should guide him for the future.
With a high compliment to the administration as well as to the personal character of his predecessor, he proceeded to give, in one of the longest sentences in the language, his whole creed. Yet, long as it is, perhaps none was ever constructed by a statesman with less redundance to convey the same amount of meaning. After alluding to the general satisfaction felt with the course taken by Washington as a model for the imitation of his successors, he added 'these words : • The occasion, I hope, etc. [See passage in leaflet.] When deeply stirred by internal emotion, Mr. Adams's manner became grave and very impressive. Nothing short of this could have made the delivery of so elaborate a paragraph at all effective before a large audience. The next day he wrote to his wife, in his most natural and candid manner : —
"Your dearest friend never had a more trying day than yesterday. A solemn scene it was, indeed; and it was made more affecting to me by the presence of the General, whose countenance was as serene and unclouded as the day: He seemed to me to enjoy a triumph over me. Methought I heard him say: " Ay: 1 am fairly out, and you fairly in! See which of us will be happiest.” When the ceremony was over, he came and made me a visit, and cor dially congratulated me and wished my administration might be happy, successful, and honorable. In the chamber of the House of Representatives was a multitude as great as the space could contain, and I believe scarcely a dry eye but Washington's. The sight of the sun setting full-orbed, and another rising, though less splendid, was a novelty. Chief Justice Ellsworth administered the oath, and with great energy: Judges Cushing, Wilson, and Iredell were present. Many ladies. I had not slept well the night before, and did not sleep well the night after. I was unwell, and did not know whether I should get through or not. I did, however. How the business was received I know not, only I have been told that Mason, the treaty publisher, said we should lose nothing by the change, for he never heard such a speech in public in his life. All agreed that, taken altogether, it was the sublimest thing ever exhibited in America.'”
“ The fact is unquestionable that this speech was very well received by the public at large. Even the members of the opposition declared themselves relieved by it from much anxiety, and disposed to await further developments of the executive policy. Mr. Jefferson, on taking his post as Vice-President, had gone so far as to declare that the high functions of the first office had been "justly confided' to Mr. Adams, and to deprecate any untoward event which should devolve the duties of it during his term of office upon himself. The only persons who manifested discontent were to be found among the Federalists sympathizing with Mr. Hamilton. They lamented its tone as temporizing. Their party feeling would have prompted a thorough demarcation of the line between themselves and the opposition, by the delineation of a policy which every man should be obliged to notice, and by the acceptance or rejection of which his own position should be unmistakably defined. The avoidance of this course in the address was ominous to them of the accession to the chair of a man who would not meet their expectations; and this suspicion other events, which soon came to their knowledge, had a strong tendency to confirm.”
THE DIRECTORS OF THE OLD SOUTH WORK,
Old South Meeting-house, Boston, Mass.
INAUGURAL ADDRESS AT WASHINGTON, MARCH 4, 1801.
Friends and Fellow-citizens :
Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow-citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire. A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye, - when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honor, the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation, and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking. Utterly, indeed, should I despair, did not the presence of many whom I here see remind me that in the other high authorities provided by our Constitution I shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal on which to rely under all difficulties. To you, then, gentlemen, who are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the
vessel in which we are all embarked amidst the conflicting ele. ments of a troubled world.
During the contest of opinion through which we have passed, the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think ; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will of course arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts, for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that, though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail
, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable ; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared, by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety. But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by
different names brethren of the same principle. We are all 1 + Republicans, we are all Federalists. — If there be any among
us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.
I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government cannot be strong, that this Government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strong.