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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - 02539 (Page 3)

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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - 02539
considered, to produce in every intelligent mind the conviction; that the American government
is, at least, sincere in the opinion it has maintained.
Being entirely persuaded of the vast injury & injustice which would result from executing
the 6
article according to the strange system devis
by a majority of the commissioners, a sense
of duty & of national honor, as well as a wish to preserve a solid & lasting peace between the
two countries, rendered indispensable the step which has been taken. Had the United States
without a prospect pf speedy pacification,
been at open & declared war with France, the same causes must have indeed the same
The suspension then of the commission at Philadelphia was not influenced by the probability of
negotiations with France, nor have these two measures any tendency to explain each other. [6] It
is equally true that nether of them proceeds from a temper in the United States hostile to, or even
indifferent about a good understanding with, the british government.
The one has been shown to be a necessary measure of defense against, what was believed
to be, an unauthorized attack on the interests of the United States, which, it was conceived, the
british government woud not have sanctioned. The other is a necessary consequence of the well
digested political system which this government adopted early in the present war, & has
uniformly sought to maintain.
The United States do not hold themselves, in any degree, responsible to France or to
Britain, for their negotiations with the one or the other of those powers. But they are ready to
make amicable & reasonable explanations with either.
In this spirit their political system may be reviewd.
It has been the object of the American government from the commencement of the
present war, to preserve between the belligerent powers, an exact neutrality. Separated far from
Europe, we mean not to mingle in their [7] quarrels. This determination was early declard, & has
never been chang
. In pursuance of it we have avoided, & we shall continue to avoid, any
political connections which might engage as further than is compatible with the neutrality we
prosess; and we have sought, by a conduct just & friendly to all, to be permited to maintain a
position which, without offence to any, we had a right to take.
The aggressions, sometimes of one, & sometimes of another belligerent power, have
forcd us to contemplate, & to prepare for, war, as a probable event. We have [repeld], & we will

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