Great Britain takes an active part with the mighty combination of Kings. Indeed it does not appear that she has yet made a demand on our confederate Republic to join the league. A demand which we are well informed she has made upon some of the neutral Republics of Europe. But, whilst we have preserved the most strict neutrality towards the belligerent powers of Europe, in observance of treaties made under the authority of the United States, which are the supreme law of the land, she, for the sake of aiding the cause in which she is so deeply engaged, has employed her naval force in committing depredations on our lawful and unprotected commerce. Thus in fact, she has commenced hostilities. The Federal Government, although very solicitous if possible, to prevent the calamities of war, have meditated measures preparatory for the event. The papers and communications which I have received on this subject, shall be laid before you.
It was a declared intention of the people of the United States, when they adopted our present constitution, “to form a more perfect union”—an important object indeed. The deliberate voice of the people is commonly the voice of reason—the voice of the people ought therefore to be attended to. Union, formed upon the genuine republican principles and views of our political institutions, by combining our strength, will have a powerful tendency in a time of war to reduce an unreasonable enemy to terms of Justice, and the re-establishment of tranquility; and in peace to secure the blessings of equal liberty to the present and future generations.
It is my sincere and ardent wish, and I have a strong persuasion in my own mind, that wisdom and public spirit will guide you in all your deliberations and decisions. I will endeavor seasonably to dispatch such business as you shall lay before me during this session, and at all times, to support the true dignity of this Commonwealth in the station in which I have the honor of being placed, by a vigilant attention to its essential duties.
June 4, 1794.
[Independent Chronicle, June 5, 1794; a text is in the Massachusetts Archives.]
House of representatives,
By an Act of the Legislature passed on the fourteenth of March, 1785, intitled “An Act1 providing a place of confinement for thieves, and other convicts to hard labor;” it is provided “that the Island within the harbor of Boston, commonly called Castle-Island, shall be a place for the reception, and secure confinement of all such persons as shall be sentenced for confinement and hard labor, for the term of their natural lives, or for any shorter space pursuant to the laws of the Commonwealth.”