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President John Adams 4th Message to Congress – November 11th, 1800
|| 7/19/2010 || 1:16 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Below is the first part of President John Adams 4th State of the Union message to Congress. In the message he welcomes Congress to the new, permanent seat of government in the District of Columbia and warns them of their duty to provide for the citizens.

Lithograph of president John Adams derived from a Gilbert Stuart painting

Lithograph of president John Adams from the Library of Congress


Gentlemen of the Senate and Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:

Immediately after the adjournment of Congress at their last session in Philadelphia I gave directions, in compliance with the laws, for the removal of the public offices, records, and property. These directions have been executed, and the public officers have since resided and conducted the ordinary business of the Government in this place.

I congratulate the people of the United States on the assembling of Congress at the permanent seat of their Government, and I congratulate you, gentlemen, on the prospect of a residence not to be changed. Although there is cause to apprehend that accommodations are not now so complete as might be wished, yet there is great reason to believe that this inconvenience will cease with the present session.

It would be unbecoming the representatives of this nation to assemble for the first time in this solemn temple without looking up to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe and imploring His blessing.

May this territory be the residence of virtue and happiness! In this city may that piety and virtue, that wisdom and magnanimity, that constancy and self-government, which adorned the great character whose name it bears be forever held in veneration! Here and throughout our country may simple manners, pure morals, and true religion flourish forever!

It is with you, gentlemen, to consider whether the local powers over the District of Columbia vested by the Constitution in the Congress of the United States shall be immediately exercised. If in your opinion this important trust ought now to be executed, you can not fail while performing it to take into view the future probable situation of the territory for the happiness of which you are about to provide. You will consider it as the capital of a great nation advancing with unexampled rapidity in arts, in commerce, in wealth, and in population, and possessing within itself those energies and resources which, if not thrown away or lamentably misdirected, will secure to it a long course of prosperity and self-government.


Source: John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, The American Presidency Project [online]. Santa Barbara, CA. Available from World Wide Web: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=29442



My Response To Today’s Washington Post Letter To The Editor By Ann Wass
|| 11/24/2009 || 4:09 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Last night I found that there was a Letter To The Editor about the D.C. Colonist that was going to be published in today’s Washington Post. Below is the text of her letter in italics and my response in bold:


Nikolas Schiller seems to lack a clear understanding of the history of the District of Columbia [“Hats off to D.C. statehood,” the Reliable Source, Nov. 19].

Actually, I think I have a pretty decent understanding of the history of disenfranchisement in the District of Columbia.

He wears “Colonial” garb to make the point that, in his words, “the status of D.C. residents has not changed since Colonial times.” But there was, of course, no District of Columbia in colonial times.

You are correct. There was no District of Columbia in colonial times. However, the Seat of Government, now known as the District of Columbia, was the only territory explicitly defined in the United States Constitution. This important document happens to have been written in “Colonial times,” and needs to be updated, again.

Through the passage of “An Act for establishing the Temporary and Permanent seat of the Government of the United States” on July 16th, 1790, the “district of territory” became the permanent Seat of Government on December 1st, 1800, and Congressional representation was lost shortly thereafter.

Unlike the Maryland license plate, the license plate of the District of Columbia has a phrase that dates back to Colonial times, “Taxation Without Representation.” I don’t know if you’ve sat through a Congressional hearing, but signs are not allowed in hearing rooms. Fortunately, an elaborate costume is allowed. (Except hats, I guess?)

If you were to read my quote differently, “the [present day] status of D.C. residents has not changed since [the Americans in] Colonial times,” you might understand that the residents of the District of Columbia are present-day colonists who have the displeasure of “Taxation Without Representation” through the denial of federal representation, and I’m only dressing up as one to make the point you obviously missed.

There was a city of Georgetown, in Maryland.

In 1800, the year the Seat of government moved to the District of Columbia, this city was called George Town, Maryland. Two Words. You can look it up. The concatenation took place soon after and today those residents lack representation in Congress.

There was another city & county located in the Seat of Government that you left out: Alexandria, Virginia. In 1846 the residents voted to cede back into the Commonwealth of Virginia, but unlike the Georgetown residents of today, the citizens of Alexandria & present-day Alexandria County (Arlington County) have Congressional representation.

Mr. Schiller also needs a new costume consultant. His coat is cut incorrectly, and I hope he doesn’t really wear German lederhosen, as he said, but rather correctly cut knee breeches when he isn’t wearing blue jeans.

This ad hominem argument misses the entire point of my ongoing protest. While you might have “Taxation With Representation” in Riverdale, Maryland, I, a colonist of the District of Columbia, do not. No costume consultant is going to give me Congressional representation, are they? I don’t think so. I’d rather have Congressional representation so I can retire this colonial outfit for good.

But in the meantime, you could always attend the next hearing on the status of this federally administered city-state known as the District of Columbia. Maybe you could come dressed in period clothing as well? There have been suffragists since 1800 working to change this faux-pas of the Founding Fathers. Do you think a Senator or U.S. Representative would ask you to take off a bonnet or headscarf? You won’t know unless you try.

Colonially Yours,
Nikolas Schiller

ps.
The colonial attire was purchased from Backstage in the Barracks Row neighborhood on Capitol Hill. Feel free to contact their costume consultants for further inquiry.







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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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