Transcriptions closed on May 15, 2018. Read more details here.

Requests for Cabinet Guidance on State of the Union Speech & Other Issues

Sources & Images
Source Name Image(s)
CollectionMassachusetts Historical Society: John Adams Papers view image
Document Information
Date March 20, 1797
Author Name John Adams (primary)
Recipient Name Cabinet (primary)
Summary Asks Secretary of State and Attorney General to find a precedent for the State of the Union speech, as none has ever before been given [to Adams' knowledge]. Also asks the Secretaries of State, Treasury, War, and the Attorney General to submit reports on their offices, and requests their advice on various matters, including foreign relations.
Document Format Type Undetermined
Document Notes Unclear whether other documents exist for the disparate texts found here; for comprehensivity, all texts on both pages described in Gist & Title. Partially illegible due to handwriting.
Content Notes [not available]
Related Persons/Groups John Adams; President of United States; Attorney General; Secretary of War; Secretary of Treasury; Secretary of State; congress; England; Pinckney; French commissioners; ;
Related Places North Carolina; England; France; ;
Keywords revenue cutter; state of union speech; advice; foreign relations; US Constitution; 2nd article of constitution; relations with France; XYZ affair; treaty; articles; French ships of war; ;
Key Phrases [not available]

[Note: Transcriptions are works in progress and maybe partial. Please help us correct any errors or omissions by signing up for a transcription account.]
The President of the United States requests the Secretary of State and the Attorney General to take into their consideration the 8ths. of the 2nd article of the Constitution of the United States, "He (the President) shall from time to time give to Congress, information of the State of the Union and recommend to their consideration, such measures as he shall gauge necessary and expedient. He may in Extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses or either of them" &c.
As no extraordinary occasion, has as yet occurred since the establishment of this government, there can be few precedents to guide [undecipherable], and as it is not impossible or improbable, that such an extraordinary occasion as is intended in the Constitution may soon occur, the President [undecipherable] has thought it in Peace [undecipherable] may be foremost, which will hereafter require no attention.
The President therefore requests the Gentlemen to consider 1st. Whether the Members of Congress can be convened by Proclamation only without Writ 2) Whether by writ only without proclamation, 3 Whether by Proclamation & writ both 4. The [undecipherable] of the writ and Proclamation.
The President wishes the practice of [undecipherable] to be examined, both in England and in the [undecipherable]. Colonies before the Revolution and all the good accepted and all the bad if any Expunged
March 20.1797
The President of the United States, requests the Secretary of State, The Secretary of the Treasury, The Secretary of War, and the Attorney General of the United States to take into their consideration and Make reports of their [undecipherable] in writing.
1st. Whether the request to [undecipherable] Mr Pinckney and the [undecipherable] orders to genl [undecipherable], and the Territory of the Republic with at each. A second [undecipherable] of Indigity. indeed & Hostility are as be Y have to been informed of are Bard to all further measures of negotiation. [undecipherable] to Powers be the great [undecipherable] of the American People... these [undecipherable] and that of the [undecipherable]
2. If articles of the Treaty of Comity and Commerce with Great Britain be offered to France, or alternately to that Power of reciprocity if by her?
3. What articles of the Treaty of Alliance and of the Treaty of Commerce with France should be proposed to be abolished.
4. Whether it needs be [undecipherable] any thing concerning, the [undecipherable] with that Power, and if on with what attractions that should in proposed &
5. Whether any new articles such as are not contained in either of our Treaties with France or England be proposed or can be agreed to if proposed by the French government.
6. What be prepared to send to France. is Evidence of Insults and Injuries committed against the Commerce of the United States by French Ships of War, or Privateers or by French Commissioned agents, Officials or [undecipherable]
7 In what terms shall [undecipherable] against [undecipherable] of Property, Capture of Vessels, Imprisonment of Masters and Mariners [undecipherable], Insults and abuses of every kind to our Citizens be made?