John Quincy Adams: State of the Union Addresses of John Quincy Adams

4. State of the Union Address: December 2, 1828

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:

If the enjoyment in profusion of the bounties of Providence forms a suitable subject of mutual gratulation and grateful acknowledgment, we are admonished at this return of the season when the representatives of the nation are assembled to deliberate upon their concerns to offer up the tribute of fervent and grateful hearts for the never failing mercies of Him who ruleth over all. He has again favored us with healthful seasons and abundant harvests; He has sustained us in peace with foreign countries and in tranquillity within our borders; He has preserved us in the quiet and undisturbed possession of civil and religious liberty; He has crowned the year with His goodness, imposing on us no other condition than of improving for our own happiness the blessings bestowed by His hands, and, in the fruition of all His favors, of devoting his faculties with which we have been endowed by Him to His glory and to our own temporal and eternal welfare.

In the relations of our Federal Union with our brethren of the human race the changes which have occurred since the close of your last session have generally tended to the preservation of peace and to the cultivation of harmony. Before your last separation a war had unhappily been kindled between the Empire of Russia, one of those with which our intercourse has been no other than a constant exchange of good offices, and that of the Ottoman Porte, a nation from which geographical distance, religious opinions and maxims of government on their part little suited to the formation of those bonds of mutual benevolence which result from the benefits of commerce had department us in a state, perhaps too much prolonged, of coldness and alienation.

The extensive, fertile, and populous dominions of the Sultan belong rather to the Asiatic than the European division of the human family. They enter but partially into the system of Europe, nor have their wars with Russia and Austria, the European States upon which they border, for more than a century past disturbed the pacific relations of those States with the other great powers of Europe. Neither France nor Prussia nor Great Britain has ever taken part in them, nor is it to be expected that they will at this time. The declaration of war by Russia has received the approbation or acquiescence of her allies, and we may indulge the hope that its progress and termination will be signalized by the moderation and forbearance no less than by the energy of the Emperor Nicholas, and that it will afford the opportunity for such collateral agency in behalf of the suffering Greeks as will secure to them ultimately the triumph of humanity and of freedom.

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