Front Page Titles (by Subject) PROCLAMATIONS. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 9 (Letters and State Papers 1799-1811)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
PROCLAMATIONS. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 9 (Letters and State Papers 1799-1811) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 9.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
25 March, 1797.
Whereas the Constitution of the United States of America provides that the President may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses of Congress; and whereas an extraordinary occasion exists for convening Congress, and divers great and weighty matters claim their consideration, I have therefore thought it necessary to convene, and I do by these presents convene the Congress of the United States of America, at the city of Philadelphia, in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, on Monday, the fifteenth day of May next, hereby requiring the senators and representatives in the Congress of the United States of America, and every of them, that, laying aside all other matters and cares, they then and there meet and assemble in Congress, in order to consult and determine on such measures as in their wisdom shall be deemed meet for the safety and welfare of the said United States.
In testimony whereof, &c.
23 March, 1798.
As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God; and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty, which the people owe to him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety, without which social happiness cannot exist, nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed; and as this duty, at all times incumbent, is so especially in seasons of difficulty and of danger, when existing or threatening calamities, the just judgments of God against prevalent iniquity, are a loud call to repentance and reformation; and as the United States of America are at present placed in a hazardous and afflictive situation, by the unfriendly disposition, conduct, and demands of a foreign power, evinced by repeated refusals to receive our messengers of reconciliation and peace, by depredations on our commerce, and the infliction of injuries on very many of our fellow-citizens, while engaged in their lawful business on the seas;—under these considerations, it has appeared to me that the duty of imploring the mercy and benediction of Heaven on our country, demands at this time a special attention from its inhabitants.
I have therefore thought fit to recommend, and I do hereby recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next, be observed throughout the United States, as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting and prayer; that the citizens of these States, abstaining on that day from their customary worldly occupations, offer their devout addresses to the Father of mercies, agreeably to those forms or methods which they have severally adopted as the most suitable and becoming; that all religious congregations do, with the deepest humility, acknowledge before God the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation; beseeching him at the same time, of his infinite grace, through the Redeemer of the world, freely to remit all our offences, and to incline us, by his Holy Spirit, to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction; that it be made the subject of particular and earnest supplication, that our country may be protected from all the dangers which threaten it, that our civil and religious privileges may be preserved inviolate, and perpetuated to the latest generations, that our public councils and magistrates may be especially enlightened and directed at this critical period, that the American people may be united in those bonds of amity and mutual confidence, and inspired with that vigor and fortitude by which they have in times past been so highly distinguished, and by which they have obtained such invaluable advantages, that the health of the inhabitants of our land may be preserved, and their agriculture, commerce, fisheries, arts, and manufactures, be blessed and prospered, that the principles of genuine piety and sound morality may influence the minds and govern the lives of every description of our citizens, and that the blessings of peace, freedom, and pure religion, may be speedily extended to all the nations of the earth.
And finally I recommend, that on the said day, the duties of humiliation and prayer be accompanied by fervent thanksgiving to the bestower of every good gift, not only for having hitherto protected and preserved the people of these United States in the independent enjoyment of their religious and civil freedom, but also for having prospered them in a wonderful progress of population, and for conferring on them many and great favors conducive to the happiness and prosperity of a nation.
13 July, 1798.
The citizen Joseph Philippe Letombe having heretofore produced to the President of the United States his commission as consul-general of the French republic, within the United States of America, and another commission as consul of the French republic at Philadelphia; and, in like manner, the citizen Rosier having produced his commission as vice-consul of the French republic at New York; and the citizen Arcambal having produced his commission as vice-consul of the French republic at Newport; and citizen Theodore Charles Mozard having produced his commission as consul of the French republic within the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island; and the President of the United States having thereupon granted an exequatur to each of the French citizens above named, recognizing them in their respective consular offices above mentioned, and declaring them respectively free to exercise and enjoy such functions, powers, and privileges as are allowed to a consul-general, consuls, and vice-consuls of the French republic, by their treaties, conventions, and laws in that case made and provided;—and the Congress of the United States, by their act, passed the seventh day of July, 1798, having declared, “That the United States are of right freed and exonerated from the stipulations of the treaties, and of the consular convention heretofore concluded between the United States and France; and that the same shall not henceforth be regarded as legally obligatory on the government or citizens of the United States,” and by a former act, passed the 13th day of May, 1798, the Congress of the United States having “suspended the commercial intercourse between the United States and France, and the dependencies thereof,” which commercial intercourse was the direct and chief object of the consular establishment;
And whereas actual hostilities have long been practised on the commerce of the United States by the cruisers of the French republic under the orders of its government, which orders that government refuses to revoke or relax; and hence it has become improper any longer to allow the consul-general, consuls, and vice-consuls of the French republic, above named, or any of its consular persons or agents heretofore admitted in these United States, any longer to exercise their consular functions;—these are therefore to declare, that I do no longer recognize the said citizen Letombe as consul-general, or consul, nor the said citizens Rosier and Arcambal as vice-consuls, nor the said citizen Mozard as consul of the French republic, in any part of these United States, nor permit them or any other consular persons or agents of the French republic, heretofore admitted in the United States, to exercise their functions as such; and I do hereby wholly revoke the exequaturs heretofore given to them respectively, and do declare them absolutely null and void, from this day forward.
In testimony whereof, &c.
6 March, 1799.
As no truth is more clearly taught in the volume of inspiration, nor any more fully demonstrated by the experience of all ages, than that a deep sense and a due acknowledgment of the governing providence of a Supreme Being, and of the accountableness of men to Him as the searcher of hearts and righteous distributor of rewards and punishments, are conducive equally to the happiness and rectitude of individuals, and to the well-being of communities; as it is, also, most reasonable in itself, that men who are made capable of social acts and relations, who owe their improvements to the social state, and who derive their enjoyments from it, should, as a society, make their acknowledgments of dependence and obligation to Him, who hath endowed them with these capacities, and elevated them in the scale of existence by these distinctions; as it is, likewise, a plain dictate of duty, and a strong sentiment of nature, that in circumstances of great urgency and seasons of imminent danger, earnest and particular supplications should be made to Him who is able to defend or to destroy; as, moreover, the most precious interests of the people of the United States are still held in jeopardy by the hostile designs and insidious acts of a foreign nation, as well as by the dissemination among them of those principles, subversive of the foundations of all religious, moral, and social obligations, that have produced incalculable mischief and misery in other countries; and as, in fine, the observance of special seasons for public religious solemnities, is happily calculated to avert the evils which we ought to deprecate, and to excite to the performance of the duties which we ought to discharge, by calling and fixing the attention of the people at large to the momentous truths already recited, by affording opportunity to teach and inculcate them, by animating devotion, and giving to it the character of a national act:
For these reasons I have thought proper to recommend, and I do hereby recommend accordingly, that Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of April next, be observed, throughout the United States of America, as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens, on that day, abstain as far as may be from their secular occupations, devote the time to the sacred duties of religion, in public and in private; that they call to mind our numerous offences against the most high God, confess them before him with the sincerest penitence, implore his pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions, and that, through the grace of his Holy Spirit, we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to his righteous requisitions in time to come; that he would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice, so offensive to himself and so ruinous to mankind; that he would make us deeply sensible, that “righteousness exalteth a nation, but that sin is the reproach of any people”; that he would turn us from our transgressions, and turn his displeasure from us; that he would withhold us from unreasonable discontent, from disunion, faction, sedition, and insurrection; that he would preserve our country from the desolating sword; that he would save our cities and towns from a repetition of those awful pestilential visitations under which they have lately suffered so severely, and that the health of our inhabitants, generally, may be precious in his sight; that he would favor us with fruitful seasons, and so bless the labors of the husbandman as that there may be food in abundance for man and beast; that he would prosper our commerce, manufactures, and fisheries, and give success to the people in all their lawful industry and enterprise; that he would smile on our colleges, academies, schools, and seminaries of learning, and make them nurseries of sound science, morals, and religion; that he would bless all magistrates from the highest to the lowest, give them the true spirit of their station, make them a terror to evil-doers, and a praise to them that do well; that he would preside over the councils of the nation at this critical period, enlighten them to a just discernment of the public interest, and save them from mistake, division, and discord; that he would make succeed our preparations for defence, and bless our armaments by land and by sea; that he would put an end to the effusion of human blood and the accumulation of human misery among the contending nations of the earth, by disposing them to justice, to equity, to benevolence, and to peace; and that he would extend the blessings of knowledge, of true liberty, and of pure and undefiled religion, throughout the world.
And I do, also, recommend that, with these acts of humiliation, penitence, and prayer, fervent thanksgiving to the author of all good be united, for the countless favors which he is still continuing to the people of the United States, and which render their condition as a nation eminently happy, when compared with the lot of others.
12 March, 1799.
Whereas, combinations to defeat the execution of the law for the valuation of lands and dwelling-houses within the United States, have existed in the counties of Northampton, Montgomery, and Bucks, in the State of Pennsylvania, and have proceeded in a manner subversive of the just authority of the government, by misrepresentations to render the laws odious, by deterring the officers of the United States to forbear the execution of their functions, and by openly threatening their lives: And whereas, the endeavors of the well-affected citizens, as well as of the executive officers, to conciliate a compliance with those laws, have failed of success, and certain persons in the county of Northampton, aforesaid, have been hardy enough to perpetrate certain acts, which, I am advised, amount to treason, being overt acts of levying war against the United States, the said persons, exceeding one hundred in number, and, armed and arrayed in a warlike manner, having, on the seventh day of the present month of March, proceeded to the house of Abraham Lovering, in the town of Bethlehem, and there compelled William Nicholas, Marshal of the United States, and for the district of Pennsylvania, to desist from the execution of certain legal processes in his hands to be executed, and having compelled him to discharge and set at liberty certain persons whom he had arrested by virtue of a criminal process, duly issued for offences against the United States, and having impeded and prevented the commissioners and assessors, in conformity with the laws aforesaid, in the county of Northampton aforesaid, by threats of personal injury, from executing the said laws, avowing as the motive of these illegal and treasonable proceedings an intention to prevent, by force of arms, the execution of the said laws, and to withstand by open violence the lawful authority of the government of the United States. And whereas, by the Constitution and laws of the United States, I am authorized, whenever the laws of the United States shall be opposed, or the execution thereof obstructed, in any State, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings or by powers vested in the marshal, to call forth military force to suppress such combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed; and I have accordingly determined so to do, under the solemn conviction that the essential interests of the United States demand it. Wherefore I, John Adams, President of the United States, do hereby command all persons being insurgents as aforesaid, and all others whom it may concern, on or before Monday next, being the eighteenth day of this present month, to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes. And I do, moreover, warn all persons whomsoever, against aiding, abetting, or comforting the perpetrators of the aforesaid treasonable acts, and I do require all officers and others, good and faithful citizens, according to their respective duties and the laws of the land, to exert their utmost endeavors to prevent and suppress such dangerous and unlawful proceedings.
In testimony whereof, &c.
26 June, 1799.
Whereas, by an act of the Congress of the United States, passed the 9th day of February last, entitled “An act further to suspend the commercial intercourse between the United States and France, and the dependencies thereof,” it is provided, that at any time after the passing of this act, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, if he shall deem it expedient and consistent with the interest of the United States, by his order, to remit and discontinue for the time being the restraints and prohibitions by the said act imposed, either with respect to the French republic, or to any island, port, or place, belonging to the said republic, with which a commercial intercourse may safely be renewed; and also to revoke such order, whenever in his opinion the interest of the United States shall require; and he is authorized to make proclamation thereof accordingly;
And whereas the arrangements which have been made at St. Domingo for the safety of the commerce of the United States, and for the admission of American vessels into certain ports of that island, do, in my opinion render it expedient and for the interest of the United States to renew a commercial intercourse with such ports;
Therefore I, John Adams, President of the United States, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the above recited act, do hereby remit and discontinue the restraints and prohibitions therein contained, within the limits and under the regulations here following, to wit:
1. It shall be lawful for vessels which have departed or may depart from the United States, to enter the ports of Cape François and Port Republicain, formerly called Port-au-Prince, in the said island of St. Domingo, on and after the first day of August next.1
2. No vessel shall be cleared for any other port in St. Domingo than Cape François and Port Republicain.
3. It shall be lawful for vessels which shall enter the said ports of Cape François and Port Republicain, after the thirty-first day of July next, to depart from thence to any port in said island between Monte Christi on the north and Petit Goave on the west; provided it be done with the consent of the government of St. Domingo, and pursuant to certificates or passports expressing such consent, signed by the consul-general of the United States, or consul residing at the port of departure.
4. All vessels sailing in contravention of these regulations will be out of the protection of the United States, and be moreover liable to capture, seizure, and confiscation.
Given under, &c.
9 May, 1800.
Whereas, by an act of Congress of the United States, passed the 27th day of February last, entitled “An act further to suspend the commercial intercourse between the United States and France and the dependencies thereof,” it is enacted, That, any time after the passing of the said act, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, by his order, to remit and discontinue for the time being, whenever he shall deem it expedient and for the interest of the United States, all or any of the restraints and prohibitions imposed by the said act, in respect to the territories of the French republic, or to any island, port, or place, belonging to the said republic, with which, in his opinion, a commercial intercourse may be safely renewed; and to make proclamation thereof accordingly; and it is also thereby further enacted, That the whole of the island of Hispaniola shall, for the purposes of the said act, be considered as a dependence of the French republic. And whereas the circumstances of certain ports and places of the said island not comprised in the proclamation of the 26th day of June, 1799, are such that I deem it expedient, and for the interest of the United States, to remit and discontinue the restraints and prohibitions imposed by the said act, in respect to those ports and places, in order that a commercial intercourse with the same may be renewed;—
Therefore I, John Adams, President of the United States, by virtue of the powers vested in me as aforesaid, do hereby remit and discontinue the restraints and prohibitions imposed by the act aforesaid, in respect to all the ports and places in the said island of Hispaniola, from Monte Christi on the north, round by the eastern end thereof, as far as the port of Jacmel, on the south, inclusively. And it shall henceforth be lawful for vessels of the United States to enter and trade at any of the said ports and places, provided it be done with the consent of the government of St. Domingo. And for this purpose it is hereby required that such vessels first enter the port of Cape François or Port Republicain, in the said island, and there obtain the passports of the said government, which shall also be signed by the consulgeneral or consul of the United States residing at Cape François or Port Republicain, permitting such vessel to go thence to the other ports and places of the said island herein before mentioned and described. Of all which the collectors of the customs and all other officers and citizens of the United States are to take due notice, and govern themselves.
In testimony, &c.
21 May, 1800.
Whereas, the late wicked and treasonable insurrection against the just authority of the United States, of sundry persons in the counties of Northampton, Montgomery, and Bucks, in the State of Pennsylvania, in the year 1799, having been speedily suppressed, without any of the calamities usually attending rebellion; whereupon peace, order, and submission to the laws of the United States were restored in the aforesaid counties, and the ignorant, misguided, and misinformed in the counties, have returned to a proper sense of their duty; whereby it is become unnecessary for the public good that any future prosecutions should be commenced or carried on against any person or persons, by reason of their being concerned in the said insurrection:—wherefore be it known, that I, John Adams, President of the United States of America, have granted, and by these presents do grant, a full, free, and absolute pardon, to all and every person or persons concerned in the said insurrection, excepting as hereinafter excepted, of all treasons, misprisions of treason, felonies, misdemeanors, and other crimes by them respectively done or committed against the United States, in either of the said counties, before the twelfth day of March in the year 1799; excepting and excluding therefrom every person who now standeth indicted or convicted of any treason, misprision of treason, or other offence against the United States; whereby remedying and releasing unto all persons, except as before excepted, all pains and penalties incurred or supposed to be incurred for or on account of the premises.
[1 ]Such of the proclamations have been selected as are connected with the extraordinary measures of this administration. With regard to the mode of arranging this portion of the work, nothing can be added to the rules laid down in Sparks’s Washington; Introduction to the fifth part. vol. xii. p. vii.
[1 ]A mistake was made here by the Secretary of State. The first of August was the date of departure from the United States. See vol. viii. p. 661, note.