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as the highest admiration. To call your nation brave, were to pronounce but common praise. Wonderful people! Ages to come will read with astonishment the history of your brilliant exploits! I rejoice, that the period of your toils and of your immense sacrifices, is approaching. Í rejoice that the interesting revolutionary movements of so many years have issued in the formation of a constitution designed to give permanency to the great object for which you have contended. I rejoice that liberty, which you have so long embraced with enthusiasm,-liberty, of which you have been the invincible defenders, now finds an asylum in the bosom of a regularly organized government; a government, which, being formed to secure the happiness of the French people, corresponds with the ardent wishes of my heart, while it gratifies the pride of every citizen of the United States, by its resemblance to their own. On these glorious events, accept, sir, my sincere congratulations.

In delivering to you these sentiments, I express not my own feelings only, but those of my fellow citizens, in relation to the commencement, the progress, and the issue of the French revolution : and they will cordially join with me in purest wishes to the Supreme Being, that the citi. zens of our sister republick, our magnanimous allies, may soon enjoy in peace, that liberty which they have purchased at so great a price, and all the happiness which liberty can bestow.

I receive, sir, with lively sensibility, the symbol of the triumphs and of the enfranchisement of your nation, the colours of France, which you have now presented to the United States. The transaction will be announced to Congress; and the colours will be deposited with those archives of the United States, which are at once the evidences and the memorials of their freedom and independence. May these be perpetual! and may the friendship of the two Republicks be commensurate with their existence.

United States,
January 1st, 1796.


True copy,

GEO. TAYLOR, Jun. Chief Clerk

in the Dep. of State.

The House proceeded to consider the said message and papers : Whereupon,

Resolved unanimously, That the President of the United States be requested to make known to the Representatives of the French people, that this House hath received, with the most sincere and lively sensibility, the communication of the committee of publick safety, dated the 21st October, 1794, accompanied with the colours of the French Republick; and to assure them, that the presentation of the colours of the French Republick to the Congress of the United States, is deemed the most honourable testimonial of the existing sympathies and affections of the two Republicks, founded upon their solid and reciprocal interests ;—and that this House rejoices in the opportunity thereby afforded, to congratulate the French nation upon the brilliant and glorious achievements which have been accomplished under their influence, during the present afflicting war; and confidently hopes, that those achievements will be attended with the perfect attainment of their object-the permanent establishment of the liberties and happiness of a great and magnanimous people.

Ordered, that Mr. Giles and Mr. Samuel Smith be appointed a committee to wait on the President, with the foregoing resolution. Extract from the Journal,





[See Vol. Confidential Documents.]




GRESS. MARCH 25, 1796. I send herewith, for your information, the translation of a letter from the minister plenipotentiary of the French Republick to the Secretary of State, announcing the peace made by the Republick with the kings of Prussia and Spain, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel; and that the republican constitution decreed by the National Convention, had been accepted by the people of France, and was in operation. I also send you a copy of the answer given by my direction to this communication from the French minister. My sentiments therein expressed, I am persuaded, will harmonize with yours, and with those of all my fellow citizens.



The Minister Plenipotentiary of the French Republick, near

the United States, to Mr. Pickering, Secretary of State of the United States. Philadelphia, the 21st Ventose, 4th year of the French Republick, one and indivisible. (The 11th March, 1796, 0. S.)

SIR,- The committee of publick safety, by their last despatches, charged me to announce to you that peace had been made between the French Republick and the kings of Prussia and of Spain, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel.

With very great satisfaction I acquit myself of the duty enjoined on me by the committee. I am persuaded, sir, that the government of the United States will participate in it; and that, since the French people are combating for liberty, it cannot observe their successes with an eye of indifference.

I embrace this opportunity of announcing to you that the republican constitution decreed by the National Con

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yention, has been accepted by the French people, and that the constitutional government is in operation. Accept, sir, &c.


Department of State, March 14, 1796. Sir, I have laid before the President of the United States, the letter with which you honoured me on the 11th instant, and I am directed to assure you of the high and sincere satisfaction he derives from the information you were charged by the committee of publick safety, to communicate, that peace had been made between the French Republick and the kings of Prussia and Spain, the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and the Landgrave of Hesse Cassel. With equal satisfaction the President receives the farther information which you have been pleased to give, that the republican constitution decreed by the National Convention, has been accepted by the French people, and that the constitutional government is in operation. With great respect, I am, sir, &c.


Faithfully translated, and copied from the originals, by




OF REPRESENTATIVES, Assigning his reasons for not complying with their resolu

tion of the 25th inst. requesting a copy of the instructions, correspondence, and other documents relative to the treaty lately concluded between the United States and Great Britain.March 30, 1796.

Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,

With the utmost attention I have considered your resolution of the 24th inst. requesting me to lay before your House, a copy of the instructions to the minister of the United States, who negotiated the treaty with the king of Great Britain, together with the correspondence and other documents relative to that treaty, excepting such of the said papers as any existing negotiation may render improper to be disclosed.

In deliberating upon this subject, it was impossible for me to lose sight of the principle which some have avowed in its discussion, or to avoid extending my views to the consequences which must flow from the admission of that principle.

I trust that no part of my conduct has ever indicated a disposition to withhold any information which the constitution has enjoined upon the President as a duty to give, or which could be required of him by either House of Congress as a right; and with truth I affirm, that it has been, as it will continue to be while I have the honour to preside in the government, my constant endeavour to harmonize with the other branches thereof, so far as the trust delegated to me by the people of the United States, and my sense of the obligation it imposes to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution," will permit.

The nature of foreign negotiations requires caution : and their success must often depend on secrecy; and even when brought to a conclusion, a full disclosure of all the measures, demands, or eventual concessions, which may have been proposed or contemplated, would be extremely impolitick; for this might have a pernicious influence on future negotiations, or produce immediate inconveniences; perhaps danger and mischief, in relation to other powers. The necessity of such caution and secrecy was one cogent reason for vesting the power of making treaties in the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate; the principle on which that body was formed confining it to a small number of members. To admit, then, a right in the House of Representatives, to demand, and to have, as a matter of course, all the papers respecting a negotiation with a foreign power, would be to establish a dangerous precedent.

It does not occur, that the inspection of the papers asked for, can be relative to any purpose under the cognizance of the House of Representatives, except that of an im. peachment, which the resolution has not expressed. I repeat, that I have no disposition to withhold any informa

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