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man of the age, he there, devoting his time to the cultivation of an extensive farm, added to his titles of renown that of the most industrious and intelligent agriculturist of his country.
MR. ADAMS'S, MR. JEFFERSON'S, AND PART OF
MR. MADISON'S ADMINISTRATION-DECLARATION OF WAR.
MR. ADAMS, soon after the commencement of his presidential term, received from Mr. Pinkney despatches of a most disagreeable and alarming nature. The Directory, then exercising the executive authority in France, had refused to accredit him, declaring their determination not to receive another minister from the United States until they had fully complied with the demands which had been made. He was moreover ordered by a written mandate to quit the territories of the republic.
Congress were immediately convened, and the despatches laid before them. Their proceedings indicated a love of peace, but also a firm determination to yield to no unjust demand. Laws were passed authorizing the president, whenever he should deem it necessary, to detach eighty thousand men from the militia of the United States, providing for an increase of the for augmenting the revenue of the nation. To display to France, and to the world, his desire of peace, and to leave no means unattempted to preserve it, the president resolved to institute another and more solemn mission. General Pinkney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry, were accordingly appointed envoys to the French republic, and were instructed, as the first had before been, to seek a reconciliation as the representatives of a people dreading war much, but the sacrifice of honour more,
These also the Directory refused to receive. They were, however, addressed by persons verbally instructed by Talleyrand, the minister of foreign relations, to make them proposals. In explicit terms, these unofficial agents demanded a large sum of money before any negotiation could be opened. To this insulting demand, a decided negative was given. A compliance was nevertheless repeatedly urged, until at length the envoys refused to hold with them any further communication. After remaining several months at Paris, pressing in vain to, be received and heard, two, who were federalists, were ordered to leave France; but Mr. Gerry, who was a republican, was permitted to remain, and was invited singly to enter into discussions relating to the commencement of a negotiation.
When these events were known in the United States, they excited general indignation. The spirit of party appeared to be extinct.
" Millions for defence, not a cent for tribute, sounded from every quarter of the union. The treaty of alliance with France was declared by
congress to be no longer in force. Authority was given for capturing armed French vessels. Provision was made for raising immediately a small regular army; and, in case events should render it expedient, for augmenting it. A direct tax and additional internal duties were laid.
To command the armies of the United States, president Adams, with the unanimous advice of the Senate, appointed George Washington. He consented, but with great reluctancc, to accept the office, declaring, however, that he cordially approved the measures of the government.
No opportunity was presented of testing the courage and skill of the American troops. At sea, a desperate action was fought between the frigate Constellation, of 38 guns, commanded by Commodore Truxton, aud the French frigate l'Insurgente, of 40 guns. The latter, although of superior force, was captured. The same intrepid officers, in a subsequent action, compelled another French frigate of 50 guns to strike her colours, but she afterwards escaped in the night.
The United States, in arms at home and victorious on the ocean, commanded the respect of their enemy. The Directory made overtures of peace. The president immediately appointed ministers, who, on their arrival at Paris, found the executive authority in the possession of Buonaparte as first consul. They were promptly accredited, and in September, 1800, a treaty was concluded satisfactory to both countries.
While this negotiation was in progress, the whole American people were overshadowed with gloom, by the sudden death of the Father of his country. On the 14th of December, 1799, after an illness of one day only, General Washington expired. Intelligence of this event, as it rapidly spread, produced spontaneous, deep, and unaffected grief, suspending every other thought, and absorbing every different feeling.
Congress, then in session at Philadelphia, immediately adjourned. On assembling the next day, the house of representatives resolved, “ that the speaker's chair should be shrouded in black, and the members wear black during the session; and that a joint committee should be appointed to devise the most suitable manner of paying honour to the memory of the MAN first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."
The senate, on this melancholy occasion, addressed a letter of condolence to the president of the United States. “This event,”
“This event,” they observe, “so distressing to all our fellow citizens, must be particularly heavy to you, who have long been associated with him in deeds of patriotism. Permit us, Sir, to mingle our tears with yours. On this occasion it is manly to weep. To lose such a man, at such a crisis, is no common calamity to the world. Our country mourns a father. The Almighty Disposer of human events has taken from us our greatest benefactor and ornament. It becomes us to submit with reverence to HIM who maketh darkness his pavilion.
“With patriotic pride we review the life of our WASHINGTON, and compare him with those
of other countries who have been pre-eminent in fame. Ancient and modern names are diminished before him. Greatness and guilt have too often been allied; but his fame is whiter than it is brilliant. The destroyers of nations stood abashed at the majesty of his virtues. It reproved the intemperance of their ambition, and darkened the splendor of victory
“Such was the man whom we deplore. Thanks to God, his glory is consummated. Washington yet lives on earth in his spotless example-his spirit is in heaven. Let his countrymen consecrate the memory of the heroic general, the patriotic statesman, and the virtuous sage : let them teach their children never to forget that the fruits of his labours and of his example are their inheritance.”
Agreeably to the report of the committee, and the unanimous resolves of congress, a funeral procession moved from the legislative hall to the German Lutheran Church, where an oration was delivered by General Lee, a representative from Virginia. The procession was grand and solemn, the oration impressive and eloquent, Throughout the union similar marks of affliction were exhibited. A whole bereaved people appeared in mourning. In every part of the republic, funeral orations were delivered, and the best talents of the nation were devoted to an expression of the nation's grief.
In pursuance of the law enacted in 1790, a place had been selected on the Potomac, a few miles above Mount Vernon, for the permanent seat of the national government.
Within a district ten miles square,
which was called the District of Co