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State of the Union Address: December 3, 1799 (continued)
Persevering in the pacific and humane policy which had been invariably professed and sincerely pursued by the Executive authority of the United States, when indications were made on the part of the French Republic of a disposition to accommodate the existing differences between the two countries, I felt it to be my duty to prepare for meeting their advances by a nomination of ministers upon certain conditions which the honor of our country dictated, and which its moderation had given it a right to prescribe.
The assurances which were required of the French Government previous to the departure of our envoys have been given through their minister of foreign relations, and I have directed them to proceed on their mission to Paris. They have full power to conclude a treaty, subject to the constitutional advice and consent of the Senate. The characters of these gentlemen are sure pledges to their country that nothing incompatible with its honor or interest, nothing inconsistent with our obligations of good faith or friendship to any other nation, will be stipulated.
It appearing probable from the information I received that our commercial intercourse with some ports in the island of St. Domingo might safely be renewed, I took such steps as seemed to me expedient to ascertain that point. The result being satisfactory, I then, in conformity with the act of Congress on the subject, directed the restraints and prohibitions of that intercourse to be discontinued on terms which were made known by proclamation. Since the renewal of this intercourse our citizens trading to those ports, with their property, have been duly respected, and privateering from those ports has ceased.
In examining the claims of British subjects by the commissioners at Philadelphia, acting under the 6th article of the treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation with Great Britain, a difference of opinion on points deemed essential in the interpretation of that article has arisen between the commissioners appointed by the United States and the other members of that board, from which the former have thought it their duty to withdraw. It is sincerely to be regretted that the execution of an article produced by a mutual spirit of amity and justice should have been thus unavoidably interrupted. It is, however, confidently expected that the same spirit of amity and the same sense of justice in which it originated will lead to satisfactory explanations.
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