John Adams

Special Message

February 25, 1799

Gentlemen of the Senate:

The proposition of a fresh negotiation with France in consequence of advances made by the French Government has excited so general an attention and so much conversation as to have given occasion to many manifestations of the public opinion, from which it appears to me that a new modification of the embassy will give more general satisfaction to the Legislature and to the nation, and perhaps better answer the purposes we have in view.

It is upon this supposition and with this expectation that I now nominate Oliver Ellsworth, esq., Chief Justice of the United States; Patrick Henry, esq., late governor of Virginia, and William Vans Murray, esq., our minister resident at The Hague, to be envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary to the French Republic, with full powers to discuss and settle by a treaty all controversies between the United States and France.

It is not intended that the two former of these gentlemen shall embark for Europe until they shall have received from the Executive Directory assurances, signified by their secretary of foreign relations, that they shall be received in character, that they shall enjoy all the prerogatives attached to that character by the law of nations, and that a minister or ministers of equal powers shall be appointed and commissioned to treat with them.


John Adams, Special Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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