Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/371

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CHAPTER XVI.

November 8 President Jefferson sent to Congress his last Annual Message, and with it the correspondence of Pinkney and Armstrong. Intent as the public was upon foreign affairs alone, the Message had no further interest than as it dealt with the question of embargo; but Jefferson showed that he had lost none of his old dexterity, for he succeeded in giving to his words the appearance of conveying no opinion:—

"Under a continuance of the belligerent measures which, in defiance of laws which consecrate the rights of neutrals, overspread the ocean with danger, it will rest with the wisdom of Congress to decide on the course best adapted to such a state of things; and bringing with them as they do from every part of the Union the sentiments of our constituents, my confidence is strengthened that in forming this decision they will, with an unerring regard to the rights and interests of the nation, weigh and compare the painful alternatives out of which a choice is to be made. Nor should I do justice to the virtues which on other occasions have marked the character of our fellow-citizens, if I did not cherish an equal confidence that the alternative chosen, whatever it may be,