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1794. - George Washington, The Writings of George Washington, vol. XII (1790-1794) 
The Writings of George Washington, collected and edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford (New York and London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1890). Vol. XII (1790-1794).
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TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
Philadelphia, 1 January, 1794.
I yesterday received, with sincere regret, your resignation of the office of Secretary of State.1 Since it has been impossible to prevail upon you to forego any longer the indulgence of your desire for private life, the event, however anxious I am to avert it, must be submitted to.
But I cannot suffer you to leave your station without assuring you, that the opinion, which I had formed of your integrity and talents, and which dictated your original nomination, has been confirmed by the fullest experience; and that both have been eminently displayed in the discharge of your duty.
Let a conviction of my most earnest prayers for your happiness accompany you in your retirement; and while I accept, with the warmest thanks, your solicitude for my welfare, I beg you to believe that I always am, dear Sir, &c.
TO JOHN ADAMS.
Wednesday 8 January, 1794.
I would thank you for giving the papers herewith enclosed a perusal—and for the result of it.
I am now deliberating on the measure proper and necessary to be taken with respect to Mr. G—t and wish for aid in so doing; The critical State of things making me more than usually anxious to decide right in the present case.
None but the heads of Departments are privy to these papers, which I pray may be returned this evening, or in the morning—
With very sincere esteem &c.1
MESSAGE TO BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS, 20 JANUARY 1794.
Having already laid before you a letter of the 16th of August, 1793, from the Secretary of State to our Minister at Paris, stating the conduct, and urging the recall of the Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of France, I now communicate to you, that his conduct has been unequivocally disapproved, and that the strongest assurances have been given that his recall should be expedited without delay.1
TO CHARLES COTESWORTH PINCKNEY.
Philadelphia, 22 January, 1794.
My Dear Sir,
Although I am not encouraged by the joint letter, which I had the honor to receive from you and our friend Mr. E. Rutledge, (under date of the 12th of June, 1791,) yet, in a measure to which I am strongly prompted both by judgment and inclination, I am unable to restrain myself from making a second application to you, similar to the former one.
I have cause to believe, that the private concerns of the gentleman, who is now at the head of the department of war, will occasion his resignation of that office, unless imperious circumstances (which Heaven avert) should force us into a war with any of the belligerent powers, and, under such circumstances, he should hold it dishonorable to retreat from his post.
Towards or at the close of the present session of Congress, (which is hardly to be expected before April, if then,) this event, if it takes place, is likely to happen. Will you, upon this hypothesis, allow me to indulge a hope, that you would fill his place? It is not for the mere detail duties of the office I am in pursuit of a character. These might be well executed by a less important one than yours; but, as the officer, who is at the head of that department, is a branch of the executive, and called to its councils upon interesting questions of national importance, he ought to be a man, not only of competent skill in the science of war, but possessing a general knowledge of political subjects of known attachment to the government we have chosen, and of proved integrity. To whom, then, can I turn my eyes with more propriety than to you? I mean not to compliment, but to express the real sentiments of my heart.1
The intention of writing this letter, and the purport of it, are unknown to any one but myself. The result may be equally so, since it is placed upon an hypothetical basis, and declared to be confidential. No more, therefore, than you choose, need be disclosed, until the event which has given rise to the application shall have taken place, although it is essential I should know, in the mean time, on what ground I rest; without which, inconveniences might result from the vacancy of the office. With much truth and sincerity, I am, &c.
TO THOMAS JOHNSON.
Philadelphia, 23 January, 1794.
Your letter of the 23d ult. came duly to hand. With regret I perceive your determination to withdraw from the Commission under which you have acted for executing the plan of the Federal City.—My wish was, and still is, if it could be made to comport with your convenience and inclination, that it should be changed, or at least suspended; for I should be sorry to see others (coming in at the eleventh hour as it were) reap the fruits of your difficult labors; but if this cannot be, I would thank you for naming (which may be in confidence) such persons as you shall think best qualified to succeed you in this interesting and important business.—My limited acquaintance with convenient characters does not enable me to do it to my own satisfaction; and even among those, which might happen to present themselves to my view, there might be local circumstances in the way, unknown to me which would render them ineligible in the opinion of the public; for the impartial execution of the trust reposed. Were it not for this I presume proper characters might be had in Georgetown, or among the Proprietors of the City, but how far their connections or jarring interests therein, may be a let to such appointments is worthy of that consideration which you can so well appreciate for my information.
With respect to Mr. Blodget I have not hesitated on former occasions to declare and I think to the Commisioners themselves from the moment his conduct began to unfold itself, that his appointment did not in my judgment answer the end which had been contemplated.—At first I was at a loss how to account for a conduct so distant from any of the ideas I had entertained of the duties of a Superintendent, but it appears evidently enough now, that speculation has been his primary object from the beginning.
My letters (if not to the Commissioners, to an individual member I am sure) when compared with the conduct of Mr. Blodget, will shew that he has in no wise answered my expectations as Superintendent for my ideas of these (in the exercise of a competent character, always on the spot with sufficient powers, and fully instructed) were, that it would render a meeting of the Commissioners oftener than quarterly, or half yearly, unnecessary in the ordinary course of the business; cases it is true might occur requiring occasional ones, but these, after the stated meetings were sufficiently promulgated, would very rarely happen. According to these ideas, fixing on a plan, giving the outlines of it, receiving the reports, inspecting the proceedings, examining the accounts, revising the instructions or furnishing new ones at the periodical meetings is all that appeared to me necessary for the Commissioners to do; leaving to the Superintendent, who ought to be competent thereto and responsible, the execution in detail.
I wish you may have yet seen the worst feature in Mr. Blodget’s conduct. Finding that he was determined to proceed in his second Lottery, notwithstanding the admonition that had been given him by the Commissioners;—that he had actually sold tickets in it—and for Georgia land;1 I directed the Secretary of State to inform him in explicit terms, that if he did not instantly suspend all further proceeding therein until the sanction of the Commissioners should be unequivocally obtained, I would cause the unauthorised mode in which he was acting to be announced to the public, to guard it against imposition. In consequence he has set out, it is said, to wait upon them. If this be true, the result you must know. Little confidence, I fear, is placed in Mr. Blodget and least where he is best known.
With much truth, I remain.
TO GEORGE CLINTON, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK.
Philadelphia, 31 March, 1794.
Your favor of the 20th instant, with its enclosures, came duly to hand, for which you have my particular thanks. As there are those, who affect to believe, that Great Britain has no hostile intention towards this country, it is not surprising that there should be found among them characters who pronounce the speech of Lord Dorchester to the Indians to be spurious. No doubt, however, remains in my mind of its authenticity. But, as it is important to be satisfied (so far as the nature of the thing will admit,) of the fact, I would thank you for such information as you are enabled to give of this matter.1
How far the disappointments, experienced by the combined powers in Europe, may have wrought a change in the political conduct of Great Britain towards this country, I shall not take upon me to decide. That it has worn a very hostile appearance latterly, if it has not been so uniformly, no one, I conceive, will be hardy enough to deny; and that Lord Dorchester has spoken the sentiments of the British cabinet, at the period he was instructed, I am as ready to believe. But, foiled as that ministry has been, whether it may not have changed its tone, as it respects us, is problematical. This, however, ought not to relax such inquiries, on our part, into the existing state of things, as might enable us, if matters should come to extremities, to act promptly and with vigor.
Among these inquiries it appears important to me to know the present state of things in Upper and Lower Canada, that is, the composition of the inhabitants, especially in Upper Canada, how they stand affected to their government, and what part they would be disposed to act, if a rupture between this country and Great Britain should take place; the proximity of our settlements, from the northwestern to the northeastern part of the State of New York, with the Lake Ontario and the River St. Lawrence, the strength thereof, and of their neighbors on the other side of the line, regulars and militia, especially about Niagara and Oswego.
As you have, I am certain, a pretty accurate knowledge of many of these matters yourself, and have the means, from your acquaintance with characters, on whose adroitness and integrity you can rely, bordering on the British settlements, to obtain information from others, you would oblige me very much by such communications as relate to the above, or any other points that you may conceive worthy of attention. With great esteem and regard, I am, dear Sir, &c.
TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
Philadelphia, 8 April, 1794.
I cannot charge my memory with all the particulars which have passed between us relative to the disposition of the money borrowed. Your letters, however, and my answer, which you refer to in the foregoing statement, and have lately reminded me of, speak for themselves, and stand in need of no explanation.
As to verbal communications, I am satisfied that many were made by you to me on this subject; and, from my general recollection of the course of proceedings, I do not doubt, that it was substantially as you have stated it in the annexed paper, that I have approved of the measures, which you from time to time proposed to me for disposing of the loans, upon the condition that what was to be done by you should be agreeable to the laws. I am, &c.1
TO JAMES McHENRY.
Philadelphia, 8 April, 1794.
Your private letters of the 31st of March and 3d instant have been duly received. Although it is a rare, if not an entire new thing with me, to answer letters applying for appointments, yet, from motives of esteem and regard, and our former connexion in public life, I shall acknowledge the receipt of yours on this head; although I can say nothing more on the subject, than to explain the motives, which have imposed silence upon me on these occasions. They are,
First, because letters of this sort are so numerous, that to give them a civil answer would employ too much of my time.
Secondly, because civil answers might be construed to mean more than was intended; and,
Thirdly, because coeval with my inauguration I resolved firmly, that no man should ever charge me justly with deception. Abundant reason I have had to rejoice at this determination; for I have experienced the necessity, in a variety of instances, of hardening my heart against indulgences of my warmest inclination and friendship, and, from a combination of causes, as well as mere fitness of character, to depart from first impressions and first intentions with regard to nominations; which has proved most unequivocally the propriety of the maxim I had adopted, of never committing myself, until the moment the appointment is to be made, when, from the best information I can obtain, and a full view of circumstances, my judgment is formed.
With respect to your second letter of the 3d of April, I have only to add, and that in confidence, that every thing which friendship requires, and which I could do without committing my public character, or involving this country in embarrassments, is and has been for some time in train, though the result is as yet unknown.1 I am very sorry to hear of your bad state of health, but hope the approaching pleasant season will restore you. With very great esteem, I am, &c.
TO JAMES MONROE.1
Philadelphia, 9 April, 1794.
In reply to your letter of yesterday, I can assure you, with the utmost truth, that I have no other object in nominating men to offices, than to fill them with such characters as, in my judgment, or, when they are unknown to me, from such information as I can obtain from others, are best qualified to answer the purposes of their appointment.
Having given you this assurance, I request, if you are possessed of any facts or information, which would disqualify Colonel Hamilton for the mission to which you refer, that you would be so obliging as to communicate them to me in writing, I pledge myself, that they shall meet the most deliberate, impartial, and candid consideration I am able to give them.
Colonel Hamilton and others have been mentioned, and have occurred to me, as an envoy, for endeavoring by negotiation to avert the horrors of war. No one, if the measure should be adopted, is yet absolutely decided on in my mind. But, as much will depend, among other things, upon the abilities of the person sent, and his knowledge of the affairs of this country, and as I alone am responsible for a proper nomination, it certainly behoves me to name such an one, as, in my judgment, combines the requisites for a mission so peculiarly interesting to the peace and happiness of this country. With great esteem and regard, I am, &c.
TO RICHARD HENRY LEE.
Philadelphia, 15 April, 1794.
* * * * * *
The manners of M. Fauchet and of M. Genet, the present and former ministers from France, appear to have been cast in very different moulds.1 The former has been temperate and placid in all his movements hitherto. The latter was the reverse of it in all respects. The declarations made by the former, of the friendly dispositions of his nation towards this country, and of his own inclinations to carry them into effect, are strong and apparently sincere. The conduct of the latter is disapproved in toto by the governments of both. Yet it is time only, that will enable us to form a decisive judgment of each, and of the objects of their pursuit.
The British ministry (as you will have perceived by Mr. Pinckney’s letter to the Secretary of State, which is just published) disclaim any hostile intention towards this country, in the agency they had in bringing about a truce between Portugal and Algiers; yet the tenor of their conduct, in this business, has been such, added to their manœuvres with our Indian neighbors, but more especially with respect to the late orders of the King in council, as to leave very unfavorable impressions of their friendship, and little to expect from their justice, whatever may result from that of the interest of their nation.
The debates on what are commonly called Mr. Madison’s Resolutions, which no doubt you have seen, (they having been published in all the gazettes,) will give you the pro and con of that business more in detail, than I could do it, if my leisure were greater than it is. But these resolutions, like many other matters, are slumbering in Congress; and what may be the final result of them, no mortal I believe can tell.
I learn with regret that your health has continued bad ever since I had the pleasure of seeing you at Shuter’s Hill. Warm weather, I hope, will restore it. If my wishes could be of any avail, you assuredly would have them. With best respects to Mrs. Lee, and the rest of your family, in which Mrs. Washington unites, I am, with very great esteem and regard, dear Sir, &c.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH, SECRETARY OF STATE.
Tuesday Morning, 15 April, 1794.
Let me know whether the message (which in the evening of yesterday) I requested you to draw, will be ready by eleven o’clock this forenoon? If you answer in the affirmative, I shall require the gentlemen, with whom I usually advise on these occasions, to attend me at that hour; for I consider that message, (both as to matter and form,) of such importance as to make it necessary, that every word of it should undergo due consideration.
My objects are, to prevent a war, if justice can be obtained by fair and strong representations (to be made by a special envoy) of the injuries which this country has sustained from Great Britain in various ways, to put it into a complete state of military defence, and to provide eventually for such measures, as seem to be now pending in Congress for execution, if negotiation in a reasonable time proves unsuccessful.
Such is the train of my thoughts; but how far all, or any of them, except the first, ought to be introduced into the message, in the present stage of the business in Congress, deserves, as I have said before, due consideration. Yours, &c.1
TO JOHN FITZGERALD.
Philadelphia, 27 April, 1794.
Your letter of the 14th instant came to hand in due course of post, and would have received an earlier acknowledgement had I not been pressed with other business.
I have no hesitation in declaring that the conduct of Mr. Thomas Digges towards the United States during the War (in which they were engaged with Great Britain) and since as far as the same has come to my knowledge, has not been only friendly, but I might add zealous.
When I conversed with you on this subject in Alexandria, I thought I recollected a special and pointed instance of beneficial service he had rendered this Country in sending me between the leather and pasteboard cover of a book, some important intelligence; but upon reflecting more maturely on the matter since, I am unable to decide positively whether it was from him, or another gentleman this expedient was adopted to elude the consequences of a search.1 —Be this however as it may, it is in my recollection that various verbal communications came to me, as from him, by our captives, who had escaped from confinement in England; and I think I have recd. written ones also: but the latter (if at all) must have been rare on account of the extreme hazard of discovery, and the consequences which would follow, both to the writer and bearer of such correspondences.
Since the War, abundant evidence might be adduced of his activity and zeal (with considerable risque) in sending artizans and machines of public utility to this Country—I mean by encouraging and facilitating their transportation, as also of useful information to the Secretary of State, to put him on his guard against nefarious attempts to make Paper, &c.—for the purpose of counterfeiting our money. Until you mentioned the doubts which were entertained of Mr. Digges’ attachment to this country, I had no idea of its being questioned. With esteem and regard I am, &c.
P. S. Since writing the foregoing letter, I have seen and conversed with Mr. John Trumbull respecting Mr. T. Digges. The former, before he was committed to the Tower of London, was well acquainted with the latter in England, and much in his company. To him Mr. Digges always appeared well attached to the rights and interests of the United States; knows that he was active in aiding our citizens to escape from their confinement in England; and believes he was employed to do so by Doctor Franklin. Mr. Trumbull has never seen Mr. Digges since he left the Tower, but has heard that a difference arose between him and the Doctor not from any distrust entertained by the latter of disaffection in the former, but on the settlement of their accounts.
The preceding statement is made from the best recollection I have of the subject.—The expression might (if I had had more leisure) be more correct, but not more consonant with truth—Such as it is you are welcome to make what use you please of it.1
TO JOHN JAY.
Philadelphia, 29 April, 1794.
My Dear Sir,
Receive, I pray you, the suggestion I am going to impart, with the friendship and caution the delicacy of it requires.
You are already informed, that I am under the necessity of recalling Mr. Gouverneur Morris from France, and you can readily conceive the difficulty which occurs in finding a successor, that would be agreeable to that nation, and who, at the same time, would meet the approbation of the friends of that country in this.
These considerations have induced me to ask you, if it could be made to comport with your inclination, after you shall have finished your business as envoy, and not before, to become the resident minister plenipotentiary at London, that Mr. Pinckney, by that means, might be sent to Paris? I mean no more, than simply to ask the question, not intending, although the measure would remove the above difficulty, to press it in the smallest degree.
If you answer in the affirmative, be so good as to return the enclosed letter1 to me, and correspondent arrangements shall be made. If in the negative, I pray you to forward it through the penny post, or otherwise, according to circumstances, to the gentleman to whom it is directed without delay; and, in either case, to let the transaction be confined entirely to ourselves. With much truth and regard, I am sincerely and affectionately yours.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH, SECRETARY OF STATE.
Philadelphia, 29 April, 1794.
I have read the draft of your letter, intended as an answer to the British minister’s reply to Mr. Pinckney’s memorial, on the instructions of the 8th of June, 1793. Those of the 6th of November following stand unconnected with the subject.
It is essential, that all the cited cases should be correct, and that the general statement should be placed on uncontrovertible ground; otherwise the argument will recoil with redoubled force.
Close attention being given to these matters, and the ideas expressed without warmth or asperity, if upon a revision such should be found to have intermingled, I see no objection to the particular answer which is prepared. I am, &c.1
TO TOBIAS LEAR.
Philadelphia, 6 May, 1794.
* * * * * *
To tell you that the order of his Britannic Majesty in council, of the 8th of June last, respecting neutral vessels, had given much discontent in the United States, and that that of the 6th of November and its result had thrown them into a flame, will hardly be news to you when you shall have received this letter. The subsequent order of the 8th of January has in a degree allayed the violence of the heat, but will by no means satisfy them without reparation for the spoliations on our trade, and the injuries we sustain from the non-performance of the treaty of peace. To effect these if possible by temperate means, by fair and firm negotiation, an envoy extraordinary is appointed, and will, I expect, sail in a few days. Mr. Jay is chosen for this trust. Mr. John Trumbull goes as his private secretary.
Many measures have been moved in Congress, in consequence of the aforementioned orders of the British cabinet. Some have passed into acts, and others are yet pending. Those, which have become laws, are, one for fortifying our principal seaports (which is now in vigorous execution), and for raising an additional corps of eight hundred artillerymen for the defence of them and for other purposes. The bills, which are pending, are to complete our present military establishment; to raise an army of twenty-five thousand in addition thereto; and to organize, put in training, and to hold in readiness at a minute’s warning a select corps of eighty thousand militia. Of the passing of the first and last of these, no doubt seems to be entertained on either side of the House; but those, who are fearful of what they call a standing army, will give all the opposition they can to the other. The result therefore none will predict in the present stage of the business.
Besides these, a bill passed the House of Representatives by a large majority, founded on the following preamble and resolution:—
“Whereas, the injuries which have been suffered, and may be suffered by the United States, from violations committed by Great Britain on their neutral rights and commercial interests, as well as from the failure to execute the seventh article of the treaty of peace, render it expedient for the interests of the United States, that the commercial intercourse between the two countries should not continue to be carried on in the extent at present allowed;
“Resolved, that from and after the 1st day of November next all commercial intercourse between the citizens of the United States and the subjects of the King of Great Britain, or the citizens or subjects of any other nation, as far as the same respects articles of the growth or manufacture of Great Britain or Ireland, shall be prohibited.”
This measure was arrested in the Senate at the third reading by the casting vote of the Vice-President; not, as it is said and generally believed, from a disinclination to the ulterior expedience of the measure, but from a desire to try the effect of negotiation previous thereto. Sequestration of British property, exclusive of that in the funds, and other expedients of a similar kind, have been agitated in the House of Representatives, but seem, I think, to be talked off the stage.
I wish most sincerely, that some inducement could be offered Professor Anderson, which would bring him to this country. His labors are, certainly, ingenious and worthy of encouragement; but I fear it will not be in my power to avail these States of them. His communications, however, are under consideration. * * *
Often through the medium of Mr. Langdon we hear of your son Lincoln and with pleasure that he continues to be the healthy and sprightly child he always was. He declared if his ticket should turn up a prize he would go and live in the Federal City. He did not consider, poor little fellow, that some of the prizes would hardly build him a baby house, nor foresee that one of these was to fall to his lot, having drawn ten dolls. only. Mr. Bl—t’s agency in this lottery will it is feared, be more productive of thorns than roses; the matter is not yet wound up and the Commissioners appear to be uneasy. In all other respects matters, as far as the accounts of them have come to my knowledge, are going on well.
My public avocations will not at any rate admit of more than a flying trip to Mount Vernon for a few days this summer. This not suiting Mrs. Washington, I have taken a house in Germantown to avoid the heat of this city in the month of July and August. She, Nelly, and the rest of the family, unite with me in every good wish for your health, prosperity, and safe return, than whom none you may be assured offers them with more sincerity. With affection and regard, I am and always shall be yours.
TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
6 May, 1794.
In answering your note of yesterday respecting M. Talleyrand-Périgord, I do not hesitate to declare, that I find it difficult to hit upon a line of conduct towards characters, under the description that gentleman is, (emigrants,) that is satisfactory to my own mind, or, more properly, that is free from exception, by avoiding what might seem to be incivility on one hand, or unpleasant political consequences on the other. I can perceive very clearly, that the consequences of receiving these characters into the public rooms will be driving of the French minister from them. His visits are much less frequent than they were; and an occurrence on Tuesday last, which shall be mentioned when you call here, has left no doubt as to the cause.
A particular introduction of these characters (out of the usual course) would I presume be more noticed, than the reception of them in public. It has become expedient, therefore, in my opinion, that principles should be adopted in these cases, (not only for the President, but the executive officers also,) by which evils may be avoided, and uniformity observed. What these had best be, deserves consideration.
My wish is, and it is not less my duty as an officer of the republic, to avoid offence to powers with which we are in friendship, by conduct towards their proscribed citizens, which would be disagreeable to them; whilst at the same time these emigrants, if people of a good character, ought to understand, that they will be protected in their persons and property, and will be entitled to all the benefits of our laws. For the rest, they must depend upon their own behavior and the civilities of the citizens at large, who are less restrained by political considerations, than the officers of government must be.
TO ROBERT LEWIS.
Philadelphia, 18 May, 1794.
Your letter of the 7th instant came duly to hand, with the Rental enclosed.
As there are no houses or anything standing on my lots in the Town and Common of Winchester, it is of no great moment what is done with them. I am not disposed to sell them, nor to part with them on lease for a long term; but if you could obtain an annual rent for either, or both, without running me to any expense, it would, however small, be clear. With respect to my Lots in Bath, something ought to be done with them. The buildings thereon, together with the Lots stand me in at least £200,—but whether common interest can be obtained in a rent for them, you who know the state of things in that quarter can judge better of than I am able to do; and therefore I leave it to you to act for me as you would for yourself. If they were even let to some one who would keep the buildings in repair it would be more desirable by far than without a tenant, or some people to take care of them, to suffer them to fall to ruin.
I do not know whether I clearly understand your proposition of an exchange of the Land on Potomac for a Lot in Berkeley County. The first contains 240 acres instead of 140 as mentioned in your letter; 200 of which is rich river bottom, which must, as the navigation of the river improves, become extremely valuable from the produce it is capable of; besides the fine black walnuts which grow thereon, and would fetch a good sum at the federal City, if others can be restrained from pilfering them. On the other hand I know of no land I hold at the mouth of Bull-skin, nor any lease that was ever given to a person of the name of Dimmitt. No such name I am pretty sure, is to be found in the original list of my tenants; and equally sure I am no leases have been given of late years (with my consent) for three lives. When you explain this matter more fully, it will be more in my power than it is at present to speak to you on this particular point. Speaking of leases for lives, I am led to observe to you, that the lives will never decrease, nor the leases fall in, unless the occupants, where they are not the lessees, are put to the proof of the existence of those who were originally inserted. I do not recollect any instance of my changing names where the leases have been transferred, and but few of my consenting to transfers; which makes me more desirous of knowing how a person of the name of Dimmitt (which I do not recollect at all) should be possessed of a lease for three lives. I hope Muse has not abused my confidence in putting blank leases into his hands, signed, in order to be filled up thereafter by doing it improperly.
Altho’ I can very illy spare the money arising from the rents you have collected; yet if the lots are susceptible of such augmentation in the annual income, by purchasing in the Leases as you think of I consent to your applying the money in your hands to this purpose, in cases where there is a moral certainty of a considerable increase of rent; and that the purchases are made by the first of next November. You will ascertain precisely before you attempt these purchases—1st, what lives are certainly existing in them, and 2dly, whether the covenants in them have been complied with on the part of the tenants,—for in the first case I may be purchasing that which belongs to me of right—and in the second case that which they have forfeited by a non-compliance with the conditions on which the Leases were granted. You will recollect also, that by the terms of all or most of the Leases, the Tenant is not at liberty to sell to any one without my consent.
I am sorry you should meet with any difficulty about the land I gave you about the Accoceek old Iron Works. I am not possessed of any papers belonging to it, nor is it in my power to point you to any office where they are to be found; but I should conceive that the tract is so well known that all the adjoining landholders are able to shew you the bounds of it. There was one John Honey that knew it well; and I believe Colo. Charles Carter of Ludlow, has some knowledge of it. I have been told that some person in Falmouth (whose name I do not recollect) had pillaged the lands of the most valuable pines thereon; and that either he, or some other, talked of escheating it; but I never supposed injustice would prompt any one to such a measure. Perhaps this, or some such mode might be adviseable for you, as the title papers are not to be found nor the manner in which my mother came by it, to be traced with precision. By will (I have understood) it was left to her by her father (Ball), but what his Christian name was I am not able to tell you, nor the county he lived in with certainty, but presume it was Lancaster.—This will seems to me to be the only clue by which the title can be traced; the bequest probably may as usual contain some description of the Land.1
Your aunt and the family join me in best regards for Mrs. Lewis. I am, &c.
TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
Philadelphia, 29 May, 1794.
The communication, which you made to me some time ago, of your intention to resign, and to which you refer in your letter of the 27th instant, (received yesterday afternoon,) I always considered as depending upon events.
Of course nothing has been done by me to render your continuance in office inconvenient or ineligible. On the contrary, I am pleased that you have determined to remain at your post until the clouds over our affairs, which have come on so fast of late, shall be dispersed. I am, &c.1
TO GOUVERNEUR MORRIS.
Mount Vernon, 25 June, 1794.
My dear Sir:
The sole object of the enclosed letter2 was to evince to you, that, notwithstanding your recall, you held the same place in my estimation that you did before it happened. I expected to get the letter into Colonel Monroe’s hands before the vessel, in which he was, had left the Petapsco River; but a fresh and fair wind coming up prevented its reaching him.
Since my arrival at this place I have been favored with your private latter of the 12th of March, enclosing duplicate of the 5th of February. For both I thank you. To common accidents, or to the interception of letters, for purposes to be guessed, are to be ascribed those disappointments of which you complain; for I am almost certain, information of what was going forward in this country was regularly transmitted to you; possibly, and probably, not by duplicates, which ought to have been the case, for the greater certainty of getting it to you.1
The uncertainty (when letters are not intrusted to confidential persons, or sent by special messengers,) of their coming to hand, will restrain me from going into detail at this time. I shall only add, therefore, to the acknowledgment of the receipt of the above letters, that I am entirely ignorant of the source from whence, or the foundation on which, Major Jackson has erected the fabrics of your recall and your successor. Directly nor indirectly could he have derived them from me, for the best of all reasons, namely, that not until some considerable time after M. Fauchet had arrived in this country did I entertain an idea of the first, or contemplate the latter; for until then I had supposed you stood well with the powers that were.1 Sure I am, nothing short of evidence to the contrary, (with the request that accompanied it,) would have induced the measure. To Major Jackson I have never written a line since he left this country, nor received one from him.
The prospective you have drawn is not very pleasing; but it serves to make one more anxious for a nearer view.
The affairs of this country cannot go amiss. There are so many watchful guardians of them, and such infallible guides, that one is at no loss for a director at every turn. But of these matters I shall say little; if you are disposed to return to it, [I] leave you to judge of them from your own observation. My primary objects, to which I have steadily adhered, have been to preserve the country in peace if I can, and to be prepared for war if I cannot; to effect the first, upon terms consistent with the respect which is due to ourselves, and with honor, justice, and good faith to all the world.
Mr. Jay (and not Mr. Jefferson) as has been suggested to you, embarked as envoy extraordinary for England about the middle of May, If he succeeds, well; if he does not, why, knowing the worst, we must take measures accordingly. I am yours affectionately.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH, SECRETARY OF STATE.
Mount Vernon, 25 June, 1794.
Monday’s post brought me your letter of the 18th instant with its enclosures. The minister of his Britannic Majesty seems more disposed to be captious than conciliatory. Whether it proceeds from his ideas of policy, the advice of his counsellors, or a natural petulance of temper, remains to be developed.1
The enclosed letter from Mr. Reuben Harvey is similar to one I received from him some time ago, and which I either gave or intended to give to you. Do as shall appear to you right with them. I shall endeavor to be back by the time I allotted before I left Philadelpia, if I am able; but an exertion to save myself and horse from falling among the rocks at the Lower Falls of the Potomac (whither I went on Sunday morning to see the canal and locks), has wrenched my back in such a manner as to prevent my riding; and hitherto has defeated the purposes for which I came home. My stay here will only be until I can ride with ease and safety, whether I accomplish my own business or not. I am, &c.
TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
Mount Vernon, 2 July, 1794.
Your private letter of the 22d of June came duly to hand, and for the opinion contained in it I thank you. I always feel sincere gratification from the frank and unreserved advice of my friends, whether it coincides with my own sentiments or not.1
As Congress, to whom the matter was referred, did not (from causes unknown to me) think proper to take up the subject of compensation for British vessels captured by the proscribed privateers of France, and as this [is] one of the subjects committed to Mr. Jay’s negotiation, or at least within his powers, I do not feel disposed to make any further or more pointed declaration to Mr. Hammond on this head at this time.1
My understanding of the original communication of this business differs very widely from your interpretation of it. It is well known to the late Secretary of State, that more than once I pointedly desired, that the expression be so guarded, as to convey nothing more than an opinion of the executive. This, (it may be said and I think,) ought to have been confirmed by the legislature; but the fact is otherwise. And, although the usage of other nations may be opposed to this practice, this difference may result from the difference between their constitutions and ours, and from the prerogatives of their executives.
The powers of the executive of this country are more definite, and better understood, perhaps, than those of any other country; and my aim has been, and will continue to be, neither to stretch nor relax from them in any instance whatever, unless compelled to it by imperious circumstances.
Under this view of the subject, unless the case was more pressing than I think the matter is as it respects Mr. Hammond, it had better, I conceive, remain on the footing it now stands on; although I have no objection, as I had written to the Secretary of State before I received your letter, that he might be informed, informally and verbally, that the negotiation of this as well as other matters was transmitted to his own court.1 I am, with sincere esteem and regard, your affectionate, &c.
TO SIR JOHN SINCLAIR.
Philadelphia, 20 July, 1794.
I am indebted to you for your several favours, of the 15th of August and 4 of September of the last, and for that of the 6th of February in the present year; for which, and the pamphlets accompanying them, my thanks are particularly due.—To say this, and to have suffered them to remain so long unacknowledged needs explanation. The truth is they came to hand, the first of them about the opening, and the second set towards the close, of a long and interesting session of Congress, during which my time was very much occupied, and at the end thereof I had a pressing call to my estate in Virginia from whence I have not been returned more than ten or twelve days.
I have read with peculiar pleasure and approbation the work you patronize, so much to your own honor and the utility of the public. Such a general view of the Agriculture in the several counties of Great Britain, is extremely interesting, and cannot fail of being very beneficial to the agricultural concerns of your country; and to those of every other wherein they are read; and must entitle you to their warmest thanks, for having set such a plan on foot and for prosecuting it with the zeal and intelligence you do.—I am so much pleased with the plan and execution myself as to pray you to have the goodness to direct your book-seller to continue them accompanied with the [charge], which shall be paid to his order, or remitted so soon as the amount is made known to me. When the whole are received I will promote, as far as in me lies, the reprinting of them here.
I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country, than by improving its agriculture,—its breed of useful animals—and other branches of a husbandman’s cares:—nor can I conceive any plan more conducive to this end than the one you have introduced for bringing to view the actual state of them in all parts of the Kingdom—by which good and bad habits are exhibited in a manner too plain to be misconceived; for the accounts given to the British board of Agriculture appear in general to be drawn up in a masterly manner, so as fully to answer the expectations formed in the excellent plan which produced them, affording at the same time a fund of information useful in political œconomy—serviceable in all countries.
Commons, Tithes, Tenantry (of which we feel nothing in this country) are in the list of impediments, I perceive, to perfection in English farming, and taxes are heavy deductions from the net profit thereof. Of these we have none, or so light as hardly to be felt. Your system of Agriculture, it must be confessed, is in a stile superior and of course much more expensive than ours; but when the balance at the end of the year is struck by deducting the taxes, poor rates, and incidental charges of every kind from the produce of the land, in the two countries no doubt can remain in which scale it is to be found. It will be some time I fear before an Agricultural society, with congressional aids, will be established in this country. We must walk as other countries have done before we can run. Smaller societies must prepare the way for greater; but with the lights before us I hope we shall not be so slow in maturation as older nations have been. An attempt, as you will perceive by the enclosed outlines of a plan, is making to establish a State society in Pennsylvania for agricultural improvements. If it succeeds it will be a step in the ladder—at present it is too much in embryo to decide on the result.
Our domestic animals (as well as our agriculture) are inferior to yours in point of size, but this does not proceed from any defect in the stamina of them; but to deficient care in providing for their support; experience having abundantly evinced that where our pastures are as well improved as the soil and climate will admit,—where a competent store of wholesome provender is laid up and proper care used in serving it—that our horses, black cattle, sheep, &c.—are not inferior to the best of their respective kinds which have been imported from England. Nor is the wool of our sheep inferior to that of the common sort with you.—As a proof—after the peace of Paris in 1783, and my return to the occupation of a farmer, I paid particular attention to my breed of sheep (of which I usually kept about seven or eight hundred). By this attention, at the shearing of 1789, the fleeces yielded me the average quantity of 5¼ of wool—a fleece of which promiscuously taken, I sent to Mr. Arthur Young, who put it for examination into the hands of manufacturers. These pronounced it to be equal in quality to the Kentish wool. In this same year (i.e. 1789) I was again called from home, and have not had it in my power since to pay any attention to my farms. The consequence of which is, that my sheep at the last shearing, yielded me not more than 2½.
This is not a single instance of the difference between care and neglect. Nor is the difference between good and bad management confined to that species of stock, for we find that good pastures and proper attention can, and does fill our markets with beef of seven, eight and more hundred weight the four quarters; whereas from 450 to 500 (especially in the States south of this, where less attention hitherto has been paid to grass) may be found about the average weight.—In this market some bullocks were killed in the months of March and April last, the weights of which as taken from the accounts which were published at the time, you will find in a paper enclosed. These were pampered steers, but from 800 to 1000, the four quarters, is no uncommon weight.
Your general history of sheep with observations thereon, and the proper mode of managing them will be an interesting work when compleated; and with the information and accuracy with which I am persuaded it will be executed, under your auspices, must be extremely desirable. The climate of this country, particularly that of the middle States, is congenial to this species of animal; but want of attention to them in most farmers, added to the obstacles which prevent the importation of those of a better kind by men who would be at the expense, contributes not a little to the present inferiority we experience.
Mr. Edwards would have it as much in his power as most of our farmers, to solve the queries you propounded to him, in addition to which a gentleman of my acquaintance (who is also among the best farmers of this country and to whom I gave the perusal of your propositions) has favor’d me with some ideas on the subject, as you will find on paper herewith enclosed.
The sample you were so obliging as to put into the hands of Mr. Lear for me, of a scotch fabric, is extremely elegant, and I pray you to accept my thanks for it as I entreat you to do also for the civilities shewn to that Gentleman, who has a grateful sense of them.
Both Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson had the perusal of the papers which accompanied your note of the 11 of September.
With great respect & esteem, I am, &c.
PROCLAMATION WARNING THE INSURGENTS IN THE WESTERN PARTS OF PENNSYLVANIA TO DESIST FROM THEIR OPPOSITION TO THE LAWS.
Whereas combinations to defeat the execution of the laws laying duties upon spirits distilled within the United States and upon stills, have from the time of the commencement of those laws existed in some of the western parts of Pennsylvania;
And whereas the said combinations, proceeding in a manner subversive equally of the just authority of government and of the rights of individuals, have hitherto effected their dangerous and criminal purpose, by the influence of certain irregular meetings, whose proceedings have tended to encourage and uphold the spirit of opposition; by misrepresentations of the laws calculated to render them odious; by endeavors to deter those, who might be so disposed, from accepting offices under them, through fear of public resentment and of injury to person and property, and to compel those, who had accepted such offices, by actual violence to surrender or forbear the execution of them; by circulating vindictive menaces against all those, who should otherwise directly or indirectly aid in the execution of the said laws, or who, yielding to the dictates of conscience and to a sense of obligation, should themselves comply therewith; by actually injuring and destroying the property of persons who were understood to have so complied; by inflicting cruel and humiliating punishments upon private citizens for no other cause, than that of appearing to be friends of the laws; by intercepting the public officers on the highways, abusing, assaulting, and otherwise illtreating them; by going to their houses in the night, gaining admittance by force, taking away their papers, and committing other outrages, employing for these unwarrantable purposes the agency of armed banditti disguised in such manner, as for the most part to escape discovery;
And whereas the endeavors of the legislature to obviate objections to the said laws by lowering the duties and by other alterations conducive to the convenience of those, whom they immediately affect (though they have given satisfaction in other quarters), and the endeavors of the executive officers to conciliate a compliance with the laws, by explanations, by forbearance, and even by particular accommodations founded on the suggestion of local considerations, have been disappointed of their effect by the machinations of persons, whose industry to excite resistance has increased with every appearance of a disposition among the people to relax in their opposition, and to acquiesce in the laws; insomuch that many persons, in the said western parts of Pennsylvania have at length been hardy enough to perpetrate acts, which I am advised amount to treason, being overt acts of levying war against the United States, the said persons having on the 16th and 17th of July last proceeded in arms (on the second day amounting to several hundreds) to the house of John Neville, inspector of the revenue for the fourth survey of the district of Pennsylvania; having repeatedly attacked the said house with the persons therein, wounding some of them; having seized David Lenox, marshal of the district of Pennsylvania, who previous thereto had been fired upon, while in the execution of his duty, by a party of armed men, detaining him for some time prisoner, till, for the preservation of his life and the obtaining of his liberty, he found it necessary to enter into stipulations to forbear the execution of certain official duties touching processes issuing out of a court of the United States; and having finally obliged the said inspector of the revenue, and the said marshal, from considerations of personal safety to fly from that part of the country, in order by a circuitous route to proceed to the seat of government; avowing as the motives of these outrageous proceedings an intention to prevent by force of arms the execution of the said laws, to oblige the said inspector of the revenue to renounce his said office, to withstand by open violence the lawful authority of the government of the United States, and to compel thereby an alteration in the measures of the legislature and a repeal of the laws aforesaid;
And whereas, by a law of the United States, entitled “An act to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions,” it is enacted, “that, whenever the laws of the United States shall be opposed, or the execution of them obstructed in any State by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by that act, the same being notified by an associate justice or the district judge, it shall be lawful for the President of the United States to call forth the militia of such State to suppress such combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed; and, if the militia of a State, when such combinations may happen, shall refuse or be insufficient to suppress the same, it shall be lawful for the President, if the legislature of the United States shall not be in session, to call forth and employ such numbers of the militia of any other State, or States, most convenient thereto, as may be necessary, and the use of the militia so to be called forth may be continued, if necessary, until the expiration of thirty days after the commencement of the ensuing session; provided always, that, whenever it may be necessary in the judgment of the President to use the military force hereby directed to be called forth, the President shall forthwith and previous thereto, by proclamation, command such insurgents to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within a limited time;”
And whereas James Wilson, an associate justice, on the fourth instant, by writing under his hand did, from evidence which had been laid before him, notify to me, that, “in the counties of Washington and Allegany in Pennsylvania, laws of the United States are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshal of the district;”
And whereas it is in my judgment necessary under the circumstances of the case to take measures for calling forth the militia in order to suppress the combinations aforesaid, and to cause the laws to be duly executed, and I have accordingly determined so to do, feeling the deepest regret for the occasion, but withal the most solemn conviction, that the essential interests of the Union demand it, that the very existence of government and the fundamental principles of social order are materially involved in the issue, and that the patriotism and firmness of all good citizens are seriously called upon, as occasion may require, to aid in the effectual suppression of so fatal a spirit;
Therefore, and in pursuance of the proviso above recited, I, George Washington, President of the United States, do hereby command all persons, being insurgents as aforesaid, and all others whom it may concern, on or before the first day of September next to disperse, and retire peaceably to their respective abodes. And I do moreover warn all persons whomsoever against aiding, abetting, or comforting the perpetrators of the aforesaid treasonable acts; and do require all officers and other citizens, according to their respective duties and the law of the land, to exert their utmost endeavors to prevent and suppress such dangerous proceedings.
In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with my hand. Done at the city of Philadelphia, this seventh day of August, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, and of the independence of the United States of America the nineteenth.
TO BURGES BALL.
Germantown, 10 August, 1794.
We removed to this place about twelve days ago to avoid the heat of Philada., and probably may remain at it until the middle of next month. It was here I received your letter of the 5th instant which came to my hands yesterday.
The business of establishing arsenals, and providing proper places for them, is within the Department of War; the Secretary of which (Genl. Knox) set out on Friday last for the Province of Maine, and will not be returned in less than six weeks—But as I am persuaded he has no idea (nor are there indeed funds provided equal thereto) of giving 25,000 Dollars for the site of one only I would not have you by any means avoid sewing Wheat; or doing any thing else which you might have had in contemplation to do, on account of what I mentioned to you in my last on this subject.
What (under the rose I ask it) is said or thought, as far as it has appeared to you, of the conduct of the People of the Western Counties of this State (Pennsylvania) towards the excise officers?—and does there seem to be a disposition among those with whom you converse to bring them to a sense of their duty, and obedience to law, by coercion, if, after they are fully notified by Proclamation and other expedients of the consequences of such outrageous proceedings, they do not submit to the Laws of the United States, and suffer the collection of the duties upon spirituous liquors and stills to be made as in other places? In a word, would there be any difficulty, as far as the matter has passed under your observation, in drawing out a part of the Militia of Loudoun, Berkeley and Frederick—to quell this rebellious spirit and to support order and good government? You will readily perceive that questions of this sort from me to you and your answers, are for my private information, and to go no farther than ourselves.
I am sorry to hear that your bad state of health requires the waters of Bath, and hope they will restore you. My love (in which Mrs. Washington unites) is offered to Mrs. Ball and the family. I am, &c.
TO CHARLES M. THRUSTON.
Philadelphia, 10 August, 1794.
Your favor of the 21st of June came duly to hand. For the communications contained in it I thank you, as I shall do for any other that is interesting to the community, and necessary for me to be informed of. That there should exist in this country such a spirit as you say pervades the people of Kentucky, (and which I have also learnt through other channels,) is to me matter of great wonder; and that it should prevail there, more than in any other part of the Union, is not less surprising to those, who are acquainted with the exertions of the general government in their favor. But it will serve to evince, whensoever and to whomsoever facts are developed (and they are not unknown at this moment to many of the principal characters in that State), that there must exist a predisposition among them to be dissatisfied, under any circumstances and under every exertion of government (short of a war with Spain, which must eventually involve one with Great Britain,) to promote their welfare.
The protection they receive, and the unwearied endeavors of the general government to accomplish, (by repeated and ardent remonstrances,) what they seem to have most at heart, namely, the navigation of the Mississippi, obtain no credit with them, or, what is full as likely, may be concealed from them or misrepresented by those Societies, who, under specious colorings, are spreading mischief far and wide, either from real ignorance of the measures pursuing by the government, or from a wish to bring it, as much as they are able, into discredit; for what purposes, every man is left to his own conjectures.1
That similar attempts to discontent the public mind have been practised with too much success in some of the western counties in this State, you are, I am certain, not to learn.2 Actual rebellion against the laws of the United States exists at this moment, notwithstanding every lenient measure, which could comport with the duties of the public officers, has been exercised to reconcile them to the collection of the taxes upon spirituous liquors and stills. What may be the consequences of such violent and outrageous proceedings is painful in a high degree even in contemplation. But, if the laws are to be so trampled upon with impunity, and a minority, (a small one too,) is to dictate to the majority, there is an end put, at one stroke, to republican government; and nothing but anarchy and confusion is to be expected hereafter. Some other man or society may dislike another law, and oppose it with equal propriety, until all laws are prostrate, and every one, (the strongest I presume,) will carve for himself. Yet there will be found persons, I have no doubt, who, although they may not be hardy enough to justify such open opposition to the laws, will nevertheless be opposed to coercion, even if the proclamation and the other temperate measures, which are in train by the executive to avert the dire necessity of a resort to arms, should fail. How far such people may extend their influence, and what may be the consequences thereof, is not easy to decide; but this we know, that it is not difficult by concealment of some facts and the exaggeration of others, (where there is an influence,) to bias a well-meaning mind, although we allow truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.
I have a great regard for General Morgan, and respect his military talents, and am persuaded, if a fit occasion should occur, no one would exert them with more zeal in the service of his country than he would. It is my ardent wish, however, that this country should remain in peace as long as the interest, honor, and dignity of it will permit, and its laws, enacted by the representatives of the people freely chosen, shall obtain. With much esteem, I am, dear Sir, &c.
TO HENRY LEE, GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA.
Germantown, 26 August, 1794.
Your favor of the 17th came duly to hand, and I thank you for its communications. As the insurgents in the western counties of this State are resolved, (as far as we have yet been able to learn from the commissioners,1 who have been sent among them,) to persevere in their rebellious conduct until what they call the excise law is repealed, and acts of oblivion and amnesty are passed, it gives me sincere consolation amidst the regrets, with which I am filled by such lawless and outrageous conduct, to find by your letter above mentioned, that it is held in general detestation by the good people of Virginia, and that you are disposed to lend your personal aid to subdue this spirit, and to bring those people to a proper sense of their duty.
On this latter point I shall refer you to letters from the war office, and to a private one from Colonel Hamilton, (who, in the absence of the Secretary of War, superintends the military duties of that department,) for my sentiments on this occasion.
It is with equal pride and satisfaction I add, that, as far as my information extends, this insurrection is viewed with universal indignation and abhorrence, except by those, who have never missed an opportunity by side blows or otherwise to aim their shafts at the general government; and even among these there is not a spirit hardy enough yet openly to justify the daring infractions of law and order; but by palliatives are attempting to suspend all proceedings against the insurgents, until Congress shall have decided on the case, thereby intending to gain time, and if possible to make the evil more extensive, more formidable, and of course more difficult to counteract and subdue.
I consider this insurrection as the first formidable fruit of the Democratic Societies, brought forth, I believe, too prematurely for their own views, which may contribute to the annihilation of them.
That these societies were instituted by the artful and designing members (many of their body I have no doubt mean well, but know little of the real plan,) primarily to sow the seeds of jealousy and distrust among the people of the government, by destroying all confidence in the administration of it, and that these doctrines have been budding and blowing ever since, is not new to any one, who is acquainted with the character of their leaders, and has been attentive to their manœuvres. I early gave it as my opinion to the confidential characters around me, that, if these societies were not counteracted, (not by prosecutions, the ready way to make them grow stronger,) or did not fall into disesteem from the knowledge of their origin, and the views with which they had been instituted by their father, Genet, for purposes well known to the government, that they would shake the government to its foundation. Time and circumstances have confirmed me in this opinion; and I deeply regret the probable consequences; not as they will affect me personally, for I have not long to act on this theatre, and sure I am that not a man amongst them can be more anxious to put me aside, than I am to sink into the profoundest retirement, but because I see, under a display of popular and fascinating guises, the most diabolical attempts to destroy the best fabric of human government and happiness, that has ever been presented for the acceptance of mankind.
A part of the plan for creating discord is, I perceive, to make me say things of others, and others of me, which have no foundation in truth. The first, in many instances I know to be the case; and the second I believe to be so. But truth or falsehood is immaterial to them, provided the objects are promoted.
Under this head may be classed, I conceive, what it is reported I have said of Mr. Henry, and what Mr. Jefferson is reported to have said of me; on both of which, particularly the first, I mean to dilate a little.1 With solemn truth then I can declare, that I never expressed such sentiments of that gentleman, as from your letter he has been led to believe. I had heard, it is true, that he retained his enmity to the constitution; but with very peculiar pleasure I learnt from Colonel Coles, who I am sure will recollect it, that Mr. Henry was acquiescent in his conduct, and that, though he could not give up his opinion respecting the constitution, yet, unless he should be called upon by official duty, he would express no sentiment unfriendly to the exercise of the powers of a government, which had been chosen by a majority of the people, or words to this effect.
Except intimating in this conversation (which, to the best of my recollection, was introduced by Colonel Coles), that report had made Mr. Henry speak a different language; and afterwards at Prince Edward Court-House, where I saw Mr. Venable, and, finding I was within eight or ten miles of Mr. Henry’s seat, and expressing my regret at not seeing him, the conversation might be similar to that held with Colonel Coles; I say, except in these two instances, I do not recollect, nor do I believe, that in the course of the journey to and from the southward I ever mentioned Mr. Henry’s name in conjunction with the constitution or the government. It is evident, therefore, that these reports are propagated with evil intentions, to create personal differences. On the question of the constitution, Mr. Henry and myself, it is well known, have been of different opinions, but personally I have always respected and esteemed him; nay, more, I have conceived myself under obligations to him for the friendly manner in which he transmitted to me some insidious anonymous writings that were sent to him in the close of the year 1777, with a view to embark him in the opposition that was forming against me at that time.1
I well recollect the conversations you allude to in the winter preceding the last, and I recollect also, that difficulties occurred, which you, any more than myself, were not able to remove. First, though you believed, yet you would not undertake to assert, that Mr. Henry would be induced to accept any appointment under the general government; in which case, and supposing him to be inimical to it, the wound the government would receive by his refusal, and the charge of attempting to silence his opposition by a place, would be great. Secondly, because you were of opinion that no office, which would make a residence at the seat of government essential, would comport with his disposition or views. And, thirdly, because, if there was a vacancy in the supreme judiciary at that time, of which I am not at this time certain, it could not be filled from Virginia, without giving two judges to that State, which would have excited unpleasant sensations in other States. Any thing short of one of the great offices, it could not be presumed he would have accepted; nor would there, under any opinion he might entertain, have been propriety in [my offering such an office]. What is it, then, you have in contemplation, that you conceive would be relished? And ought there not to be a moral certainty of its acceptance? This being the case, there would not be wanting a disposition on my part, but strong inducements on public and private grounds, to invite Mr. Henry into any employment under the general government, to which his inclination might lead, and not opposed by those maxims, which have been the invariable rule of my conduct.
With respect to the words said to have been uttered by Mr. Jefferson, they would be enigmatical to those, who are acquainted with the characters about me, unless supposed to be spoken ironically; and in that case they are too injurious to me, and have too little foundation in truth, to be ascribed to him. There could not be the trace of doubt on his mind of predilection in mine towards Great Britain or her politics, unless, (which I do not believe,) he has set me down as one of the most deceitful and uncandid men living; because, not only in private conversations between ourselves on this subject, but in my meetings with the confidential servants of the public, he has heard me often, when occasions presented themselves, express very different sentiments, with an energy that could not be mistaken by any one present.1
Having determined, as far as lay within the power of the executive, to keep this country in a state of neutrality, I have made my public conduct accord with the system; and, whilst so acting as a public character, consistency and propriety as a private man forbid those intemperate expressions in favor of one nation, or to the prejudice of another, which many have indulged themselves in, and I will venture to add, to the embarrassment of government, without producing any good to the country. With very great esteem and regard, I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.
TO JOHN JAY.
Philadelphia, 30 August, 1794.
My dear Sir,
Your letter of the 23d of June from London, and the duplicate, have both been received; and your safe arrival after so short a passage gave sincere pleasure, as well on private as on public account, to all your friends in this country; and to none in a greater degree, I can venture to assure you, than it did to myself.
As you will receive letters from the Secretary of State’s office, giving an official account of the public occurrences as they have arisen and progressed, it is unnecessary for me to retouch any of them; and yet I cannot restrain myself from making some observations on the most recent of them, the communication of which was received this morning only. I mean the protest of the governor of Upper Canada, delivered by Lieutenant Sheaffe, against our occupying lands far from any of the posts, which long ago they ought to have surrendered, and far within the known and until now the acknowledged limits of the United States.
On this irregular and high-handed proceeding of Mr. Simcoe, which is no longer masked, I would rather hear what the ministry of Great Britain will say, than pronounce my own sentiments thereon.1 But can that government or will it attempt, after this official act of one of their governors, to hold out ideas of friendly intentions towards the United States, and suffer such conduct to pass with impunity?
This may be considered as the most open and daring act of the British agents in America, though it is not the most hostile or cruel; for there does not remain a doubt in the mind of any well-informed person in this country, not shut against conviction, that all the difficulties we encounter with the Indians, their hostilities, the murders of helpless women and innocent children along our frontiers, result from the conduct of the agents of Great Britain in this country. In vain is it then for its administration in Britain to disavow having given orders, which will warrant such conduct, whilst their agents go unpunished; whilst we have a thousand corroborating circumstances, and indeed almost as many evidences, some of which cannot be brought forward, to prove, that they are seducing from our alliance, and endeavoring to remove over the line, tribes that have hitherto been kept in peace and friendship with us at a heavy expense, and who have no causes of complaint, except pretended ones of their creating; whilst they keep in a state of irritation the tribes, who are hostile to us, and are instigating those, who know little of us or we of them, to unite in the war against us; and whilst it is an undeniable fact, that they are furnishing the whole with arms, ammunition, clothing, and even provisions, to carry on the war; I might go further, and, if they are not much belied, add men also in disguise.
Can it be expected, I ask, so long as these things are known in the United States, or at least firmly believed, and suffered with impunity by Great Britain, that there ever will or can be any cordiality between the two countries? I answer, No. And I will undertake, without the gift of prophecy, to predict, that it will be impossible to keep this country in a state of amity with Great Britain long, if the posts are not surrendered. A knowledge of these being my sentiments would have little weight, I am persuaded, with the British administration, nor perhaps with the nation, in effecting the measure; but both may rest satisfied, that, if they want to be in peace with this country, and to enjoy the benefits of its trade, to give up the posts is the only road to it. Withholding them, and the consequences we feel at present continuing, war will be inevitable.
This letter is written to you in extreme haste, whilst the papers respecting this subject I am writing on are copying at the Secretary of State’s office, to go by express to New York, for a vessel which we have just heard sails to-morrow. You will readily perceive, therefore, I had no time for digesting, and as little for correcting it. I shall only add, that you may be assured always of the sincere friendship and affection of yours, &c.
TO DAVID STUART.
Philadelphia, 21 September, 1794.
Your letter of the 14th inst. has been duly received. As it was, and is, my earnest wish to discharge my obligation to Mr. Lund Washington and all other debts, it will prove inconvenient to me to apply the money which you have lodged in the Bank of Alexandria, for my use, to the purpose of paying the debt due from my brother Samuel’s estate to that of Mr. Custis’, yet I cannot, whilst there are means at my command, see the estate of the former arrested from his representatives, and suffer them to be involved in difficulty—perhaps in distress and not apply them in prevention.
The estate of my Brother Samuel being involved, and left under wretched management, has already proved a heavy tax upon me.—Land which I sold twenty odd years ago to Colo. Phil. Pendleton, falling into his hands, and he thereby becoming paymaster to me, has (as I never intended, under the view I had of his affairs, to ask payment) sunk me more than £800.—For the board, education, and other expenses of his two sons I am in a further advance for it, upwards of £1,000 more, besides the support of his Daughter Harriot, since she was given over to me by Mrs. Fendall, without receiving a single sous towards it.
For the past I expected no return, but it will be hard (especially as I thought my advances, except for Harriot, was at an end) to launch out a thousand pounds more with as little prospect of a refund as for that which has gone before it.—Yet, and for the reason I have mentioned, I shall not suffer the remains of the estate to be sold without lending my aid to prevent it.—I must therefore leave the thousand pounds in the Bank of Alexandria, which you say is appropriated for my use, to your own disposal.
But it is my wish, and desire that the process against that estate may not be arrested short of its coming to actual sale, at which point I would stop it; without the least intimation of my intention previous thereto, to do so; for the following reasons—1st, because George and Lawrence Washington do not appear to me to be sufficiently impressed with the incumbrances on their estate; 2d, because both of them seem to entertain too high an opinion of the value of the property they are possessed; 3d, under this mistaken idea, or from proneness to show, they are not, nor will not be restrained from indulgencies until they either feel, or have a nearer view of the necessity, for imposing those restraints; 4th, because they are not sensible, I believe, of the inconveniency to me, of the advances I have made for their accommodation; and 5th, because the estate may (unknown to me) have made some provision to meet this demand—at least in part; and might slacken its exertions or divert its funds, if another source is contemplated, through which the debt is to be discharged.—If all, or any of these things can be effected by concealing my intention, until the period above mentioned, it may be serviceable to all, and injurious to none.
You will have found that as Doctr. Thornton’s Commission bears equal date with your letter, of course it was too late for the purpose mentioned in the latter.
With great esteem & regard, I am, &c.
TO BURGES BALL.
Philadelphia, 25 September, 1794.
Your letter of the 10th instant from the Sulphur Springs has been received. I hear with the greatest pleasure of the spirit, which so generally pervades the militia of every State, that has been called upon on the present occasion; and of the decided discountenance the incendiaries of public peace and order have met with in their attempts to spread their nefarious doctrines, with a view to poison and discontent the minds of the people against the government; particularly by endeavoring to have it believed, that their liberties were assailed, and that all the wicked and abominable measures that can be devised under specious guises are practised to sap the constitution, and lay the foundation of future slavery.
The insurrection in the western counties of this State is a striking evidence of this, and may be considered as the first ripe fruit of the Democratic Societies. I did not, I must confess, expect it would come to maturity so soon, though I never had a doubt that such conduct would produce some such issue, if it did not meet the frowns of those, who were well disposed to order and good government in time; for can any thing be more absurd, more arrogant, or more pernicious to the peace of society, than for self-created bodies, forming themselves into permanent censors, and under the shade of night in a conclave resolving that acts of Congress, which have undergone the most deliberate and solemn discussion by the representatives of the people, chosen for the express purpose and bringing with them from the different parts of the Union the sense of their constituents, endeavoring as far as the nature of the thing will admit to form their will into laws for the government of the whole; I say, under these circumstances, for a self-created permanent body (for no one denies the right of the people to meet occasionally to petition for, or remonstrate against, any act of the legislature) to declare that this act is unconstitutional, and that act is pregnant with mischiefs, and that all, who vote contrary to their dogmas, are actuated by selfish motives or under foreign influence, nay, are pronounced traitors to their country? Is such a stretch of arrogant presumption to be reconciled with laudable motives, especially when we see the same set of men endeavoring to destroy all confidence in the administration, by arraigning all its acts, without knowing on what ground or with what information it proceeds?
These things were evidently intended, and could not fail without counteraction, to disquiet the public mind; but I hope and trust this will work their own curse; especially when it is known more generally than it is, that the Democratic Society of this place, from which the others have emanated, was instituted by M. Genet for the express purpose of dissension, and to draw a line between the people and the government, after he found the officers of the latter would not yield to the hostile measures in which he wanted to embroil this country.
I hope this letter will find you, Mrs. Ball, and the family in better health, than when you wrote last. Remember me to them, and be assured that I remain your affectionate friend.1
PROCLAMATION CONCERNING THE WESTERN INSURRECTION.
Whereas, from a hope that the combinations against the constitution and laws of the United States, in certain of the western counties of Pennsylvania, would yield to time and reflection, I thought it sufficient, in the first instance, rather to take measures for calling forth the militia, than immediately to embody them; but the moment is now come, when the overtures of forgiveness, with no other condition than a submission to law, have been only partially accepted; when every form of conciliation, not inconsistent with the being of government, has been adopted without effect; when the well-disposed in those counties are unable, by their influence and example, to reclaim the wicked from their fury, and are compelled to associate in their own defence; when the proffered lenity has been perversely misinterpreted into an apprehension, that the citizens will march with reluctance; when the opportunity of examining the serious consequences of a treasonable opposition has been employed in propagating principles of anarchy, endeavoring through emissaries to alienate the friends of order from its support, and inviting enemies to perpetrate similar acts of insurrection; when it is manifest, that violence would continue to be exercised upon every attempt to enforce the laws; when, therefore, government is set at defiance, the contest being whether a small proportion of the United States shall dictate to the whole Union, and, at the expense of those, who desire peace, indulge a desperate ambition;
Now, therefore, I, George Washington, President of the United States, in obedience to that high and irresistible duty consigned to me by the constitution, “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed;” deploring that the American name should be sullied by the outrages of citizens on their own government; commiserating such as remain obstinate from delusion; but resolved, in perfect reliance on that gracious Providence, which so signally displays its goodness towards this country, to reduce the refractory to a due subordination to the laws; do hereby declare and make known, that, with a satisfaction, which can be equalled only by the merits of the militia summoned into service from the States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, I have received intelligence of their patriotic alacrity, in obeying the call of the present, though painful, yet commanding necessity; that a force, which, according to every reasonable expectation, is adequate to the exigency, is already in motion to the scene of disaffection; that those, who have confided or shall confide in the protection of government, shall meet full succor under the standard and from the arms of the United States; that those, who, having offended against the laws, have since entitled themselves to indemnity, will be treated with the most liberal good faith, if they shall not have forfeited their claim by any subsequent conduct, and that instructions are given accordingly.
And I do moreover exhort all individuals, officers, and bodies of men to contemplate with abhorrence the measures leading directly or indirectly to those crimes, which produce this resort to military coercion; to check, in their respective spheres, the efforts of misguided or designing men to substitute their misrepresentation in the place of truth, and their discontents in the place of stable government; and to call to mind, that, as the people of the United States have been permitted under the Divine favor, in perfect freedom, after solemn deliberation, in an enlightened age, to elect their own government, so will their gratitude for this inestimable blessing be best distinguished by firm exertions to maintain the constitution and the laws.
And lastly, I again warn all persons whomsoever and wheresoever not to abet, aid, or comfort the insurgents aforesaid, as they will answer the contrary at their peril; and I do also require all officers and other citizens, according to their several duties, as far as may be in their power, to bring under the cognizance of the law all offenders in the premises.
In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed to these presents, and signed the same with my hand. Done at the city of Philadelphia, this twenty-fifth day of September, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, and of the independence of the United States of America the nineteenth.
TO MAJOR-GENERAL DANIEL MORGAN.1
Carlisle, 8 October, 1794.
In the moment I was leaving the city of Philadelphia for this place, your letter of the 24th ultimo was put into my hands. Although I regret the occasion which has called you into the field, I rejoice to hear you are there; and it is probable I may meet you at Fort Cumberland, whither I shall proceed, so soon as I see the troops at this rendezvous in condition to advance. At that place, or at Bedford, my ulterior resolution must be taken, either to advance with the troops into the insurgent counties of this State, or to return to Philadelphia for the purpose of meeting Congress the 3d of next month.
Imperious circumstances alone can justify my absence from the seat of government, whilst Congress are in session; but if these, from the disposition of the people in the refractory counties, and the state of the information I expect to receive at the advanced posts, should appear to exist, the lesser must yield to the greater duties of my office, and I shall cross the mountains with the troops; if not, I shall place the command of the combined force under the orders of Governor Lee of Virginia, and repair to the seat of government.
I am perfectly in sentiment with you, that the business we are drawn out upon should be effectually executed, and that the daring and factious spirit, which has arisen (to overturn the laws and to subvert the constitution,) ought to be subdued. If this is not done, there is an end of, and we may bid adieu to, all government in this country, except mob and club government, from whence nothing but anarchy and confusion can ensue. If the minority, and a small one too, is suffered to dictate to the majority, after measures have undergone the most solemn discussions by the representatives of the people, and their will through this medium is enacted into a law, there can be no security for life, liberty, or property; nor, if the laws are not to govern, can any man know how to conduct himself in safety. There never was a law yet made, I conceive, that hit the taste exactly of every man, or every part of the community; of course, if this be a reason for opposition, no law can be executed at all without force, and every man or set of men will in that case cut and carve for themselves; the consequences of which must be deprecated by all classes of men, who are friends to order, and to the peace and happiness of the country. But how can things be otherwise than they are, when clubs and societies have been instituted for the express purpose, though clothed in another garb, by their diabolical leader Genet, whose object was to sow sedition, to poison the minds of the people of this country, and to make them discontented with the government of it, who have labored indefatigably to effect these purposes.
As arms have been sent on from Philadelphia, in aid of those from New London,1 I hope and trust your supplies have been ample. I shall add no more at present, but my best wishes and sincere regard for you, and that I am, dear Sir, yours, &c.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH, SECRETARY OF STATE.2
Carlisle, 11 October, 1794,
When I wrote to you yesterday I did not expect to be in this village at this hour. But finding it difficult to get even part of the troops off that were ordered to March yesterday, I resolved to see the residue in motion to-day, before I left this place myself. This dilatoriness does not proceed from any disinclination in the troops themselves to proceed, but for want of arrangement and system in some of the principal characters among the officers of this State, and the disjointed manner in which the former have arrived here. Those, however, which marched yesterday, with what have followed to-day will make a respectable corps. An officer of respectability will be left to organize the remaining detachments of this State’s troops as they shall arrive, and to forward them on. The Jersey troops came on in complete corps; but are badly clothed.
I had scarcely dispatched my letter to you yesterday, when the Commissioners or deputies (Findley and Riddick) from the insurgent counties arrived. My public letter written by Colo. Hamilton will inform you of the result, I believe they are scared.
All the papers which may be deemed necessary and proper to accompany my address to Congress, at the opening of the session I pray you to have ready; for there will not be time to do it between my arrival in the City and the meeting of that body. From present appearances it is not likely I shall proceed beyond Bedford. My return to Philadelphia even in that case can be but a day or two before the first Monday in next month. I am, &c.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH, SECRETARY OF STATE.
Fort Cumberland, 16 October, 1794.
Your letters of the 11th instant were received this morning at my stage fifteen miles short of this place. We arrived here in the afternoon of this day, and found a respectable force assembled from the States of Virginia and Maryland; and I am informed that about fifteen hundred more, (from the former State,) either are or will be at Frankfort, ten miles on our left, this evening or to-morrow at farthest. Nothing more precise, than you were informed of in my last from Carlisle, has been heard from the insurgent counties. All accounts agree, however, that they are much alarmed at the serious appearance of things; the truth of which I expect to be better informed of to-morrow or next day, by persons whom I have sent amongst them, and whose return may be looked for about that time.
I do not expect to be here more than two days; thence to Bedford, where, as soon as matters are arranged and a plan settled, I shall shape my course for Philadelphia; but not because the impertinence of Mr. Bache or his correspondent has undertaken to pronounce, that I cannot constitutionally command the army, whilst Congress are in session.
I believe the eyes of all the well-disposed people of this country will soon be opened, and that they will clearly [see] the tendency, if not the design, of the leader of these self-created societies. As far as I have heard them spoken of, it is with strong reprobation. I should be extremely sorry, therefore, if Mr. M—n, from any cause whatsoever, should get entangled with them or their politics.1
As the speech will be composed of several distinct subjects, my wish was that each of these should receive its final dress, subject however to revision; that part, especially, which relates to the insurrection and the proceedings thereupon. The subjects themselves will naturally point to the order in which they ought to follow each other; and the throwing them into it cannot, at any time, be more than the work of a few minutes, after the materials are all provided. It will appear evident, on a moment’s reflection, that the continual interruptions in a militia camp, where every thing is to be provided and arranged, will allow no time to clothe the speech in a correct or handsome garb; nor will there be time to do it after my return.
My mind is so perfectly convinced, that, if these self-created societies cannot be discountenanced, they will destroy the government of this country, that I have asked myself, whilst I have been revolving on the expense and inconvenience of drawing so many men from their families and occupations as I have seen on their march, where would be the impropriety of glancing at them in my speech, by some such idea as the following; “That, however distressing this expedition will have proved to individuals, and expensive to the country, the pleasing spirit, which it has drawn forth in support of law and government, will immortalize the American character, and is a happy presage, that future attempts of a certain description of people to disturb the public tranquillity will prove equally abortive.” I have formed no precise ideas of what is best to be done or said on this subject, nor have I time to express properly what has occurred to me, as I am now writing at an hour when I ought to be in bed, because all the day, from business or ceremonious introductions, I have been unable to do it sooner.1 I am, &c.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPH, SECRETARY OF STATE.
Fort Cumberland, 18 October, 1794.
I have directed Mr. Dandridge to acknowledge the receipt of your public despatches of the 13th instant, whilst I enclose those of our envoy to you, which came under cover to me in a letter from him, dated the 5th of August, with the following postscript: “I shall enclose with this my despatches for Mr. Randolph. If the William Penn should be stopped by a belligerent vessel, they will respect a letter to you, more than one directed to him.” On opening it, I find duplicates only.
His private letter to me of the date above, and which he wishes may be considered as confidential, (which, and the possible risk, prevent my sending it to you by the returning express,) is a very pleasing one; as it is more indicative of a hope and expectation of general good success in his mission, than any that had come from him before. He conceives, that there is no indisposition in the present ministry to settle the several matters in dispute upon what they conceive to be just and liberal terms. But what these may appear to be, when they come to close discussion, no one can prognosticate. To give and take, I presume, will be the result. I am led to draw more favorable inferences from this letter, however, than from any of his preceding ones. I am, &c.1
TO HENRY LEE, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE MILITIA ARMY.
Bedford, 20 October, 1794.
Being about to return to the seat of government, I cannot take my departure, without conveying through you to the army under your command, the very high sense I entertain of the enlightened and patriotic zeal for the constitution and the laws, which has led them cheerfully to quit their families, homes, and the comforts of private life, to undertake and thus far to perform a long and fatiguing march, and to encounter and endure the hardships and privations of a military life. Their conduct hitherto affords a full assurance, that their perseverance will be equal to their zeal, and that they will continue to perform with alacrity whatever the full accomplishment of the object of their march shall render necessary.
No citizens of the United States can ever be engaged in a service more important to their country. It is nothing less than to consolidate and to preserve the blessings of that revolution, which, at much expense of blood and treasure, constituted us a free and independent nation. It is to give the world an illustrious example, of the utmost consequence to the cause of mankind. I experience a heart-felt satisfaction in the conviction, that the conduct of the troops throughout will be in every respect answerable to the goodness of the cause and the magnitude of the stake.
There is but one other point on which I think it proper to add a special recommendation; it is, that every officer and soldier will constantly bear in mind, that he comes to support the laws, and that it would be peculiarly unbecoming in him to be in any way the infractor of them; that the essential principles of a free government confine the province of the military, when called forth on such occasions, to these two objects, first, to combat and subdue all who may be found in arms in opposition to the national will and authority, secondly, to aid and support the civil magistrates in bringing offenders to justice. The dispensation of this justice belongs to the civil magistrate; and let it ever be our pride and our glory to leave the sacred deposit there inviolate. Convey to my fellow-citizens in arms my warm acknowledgments for the readiness, with which they have hitherto seconded me in the most delicate and momentous duty the chief magistrate of a free people can have to perform, and add my affectionate wishes for their health, comfort, and success. Could my further presence with them have been necessary, or compatible with my civil duties at a period when the approaching commencement of a session of Congress particularly calls me to return to the seat of government, it would not have been withheld. In leaving them I have the less regret, as I know I commit them to an able and faithful direction, and that this direction will be ably and faithfully seconded by all. I am, &c.
TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
A little advanced of this, yesterday afternoon, I met an Express with the letters herewith enclosed for you, with others for the Army;—with which I have directed him to proceed.—
Thus far I have proceeded without accident to man horse or carriage, altho’ the latter has had wherewith to try its goodness; especially in ascending the North Mountain from Skinners by a wrong road; that is,—by the old road which never was good and is rendered next to impassible by neglect.
I heard great complaints of Gurney’s Corps (and some of the Artillery) along the road to Strasburgh.—There I parted from their Rout.—In some places, I was told they did not leave a plate, a spoon, a glass or a knife; and this owing, in a great measure, as I was informed, to their being left without Officers.—At most if not all the encampments, I found the fences in a manner burnt up.—I pray you to mention this to Govr. Mifflin, (and indeed to the Qr. Mr. General) with a request (to the former) that the most pointed orders may be given, and every precaution used, to prevent the like on the return of the Army. If the Officers from impatience to get home, should leave their respective commands;—in a word, if they do not march with, and keep the soldiers in their ranks, and from straggling or loitering behind, the borderers on the road will sustain inconceivable damage from the disorderly Troops; whose names will be execrated for, and the service disgraced by, such conduct.
There were some letters put into the hands of Govr. Lee which it would be well for you to repossess yourself of.—Among these were two to Messrs: Lynn, Mr. Ross’ to you—and Mesrs. Findley’s and Redick’s to me. Occasion may require them.
I rode yesterday afternoon thro’ the rain from York Town to this place, and got twice in the height of it hung (and delayed by that means) on the rocks in the middle of the Susquehanna, but I did not feel half as much for my own situation as I did on acct. of the Troops on the Mountains—and of the effect the rain might have on the Roads through the glades.
I do not intend further than Lancaster to-day.—But on Tuesday, if no accident happens I expect to be landed in the City of Philadelphia.—My best wishes attend you, and all with you.
P. S. I hope you will be enabled by Hook or by Crook to send B[radford] and H[usband]1 together with a certain Mr. Guthrie to Philadelphia for their Winter Quarters.
TO ALEXANDER HAMILTON, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
Philadelphia, 31 October, 1794.
By pushing through the rain, which fell more or less on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, I arrived in this city before noon on Tuesday, without encountering any accident on the road, or any thing more unpleasant than the badness of the ways, after the rains had softened the earth and made them susceptible of a deep impression of the wheels. How you passed through the glades, after the various accounts we had received of them, in such wet weather, I am at a loss to conjecture, but am extremely anxious to know; as I also am to learn the operations of the army, and the state and condition of it since.
Nothing important or new has been lately received from our ministers abroad; and, although accounts from London to the 1st of September, and from Ireland of still later date, have been inserted in the gazettes, they are not precise enough to be detailed in a letter. In general, however, the French continue to be successful by land; and, it may be added, by sea also, for they are capturing a great number of British merchantmen. Nor does the fate of Robespierre seem to have given more than a momentary stagnation to their affairs. The armies rejoice at it, and the people are congratulating one another on the occasion.
Mr. Monroe has arrived in France, and had his reception in the midst of the Convention at Paris; but no letters have been received from him.
Few members have yet come to town. To-morrow, I presume, will bring many. The papers say, that Mr. Trumbull is elected to the Senate, in the room of Mr. Mitchell, who has resigned; but who has, or will, supply his place in the other House, is not mentioned.
Husband and the other prisoners were safely lodged in this city on Wednesday afternoon. Press the governors to be pointed in ordering the officers under their respective commands to march back with their respective corps; and to see that the inhabitants meet with no disgraceful insults or injuries from them. The Secretary of War will, I expect, say something respecting the deposit of the arms and public stores in proper places. To him, therefore, I shall refer.
Mrs. Hamilton and your family were very well yesterday afternoon. Your letter of the 23d has been received. I am always and affectionately yours.
TO JOHN JAY.
Philadelphia, 1 November, 1794.
My dear Sir,
On Tuesday last I returned from my tour to the westward. On Monday Congress by adjournment are to meet, and on the day following Mr. Bayard, according to his present expectation, is to leave this city for London.
Thus circumstanced, (having so little time between my return and the opening of the session to examine papers and to prepare my communications for the legislature,) you will readily perceive, that my present address to you must be hurried. At the same time my friendship and regard for you would not let an opportunity so good as the one afforded by Mr. Bayard pass, without some testimony of my remembrance of you, and an acknowledgment of the receipt of your private letters to me, dated the 23d of June, 21st of July, and 5th and 11th of August. These comprehend all the letters I have received from you since your arrival in England to the present date.
That of the 5th of August dawns more favorably upon the success of your mission, than any that had preceded it; and for the honor, dignity, and interest of this country, for your own reputation and glory, and for the peculiar pleasure and satisfaction I should derive from it, as well on private as on public considerations, no man more ardently wishes you complete success than I do. But as you have observed in some of your letters, that it is hardly possible in the early stages of a negotiation to foresee all the results, so much depending upon fortuitous circumstances and incidents, which are not within our control; so, to deserve success by employing the means with which we are possessed to the best advantage, and trusting the rest to the All-Wise Disposer, is all that an enlightened public, and the virtuous and well-disposed part of the community, can reasonably expect; nor in which will they, I am sure, be disappointed. Against the malignancy of the discontented, the turbulent, and the vicious, no abilities, no exertions, nor the most unshaken integrity are any safeguard.
As far as depends upon the executive, measures preparatory for the worst, while it hopes for the best, will be pursued; and I shall endeavor to keep things in statu quo until your negotiation assumes a more decisive form, which I hope will soon be the case, as there are many hot heads and impetuous spirits among us, who with difficulty can be kept within bounds. This, however, ought not to precipitate your conduct; for, as it has been observed, “there is a tide in human affairs” that ought always to be watched; and because I believe all, who are acquainted with you, will readily concede, that considerations both public and private combine to urge you to bring your mission to a close with as much celerity as the nature of it will admit.
As you have been, and will continue to be, fully informed by the Secretary of State of all transactions of a public nature, which relate to, or may have an influence on, the points of your mission, it would be unnecessary for me to touch upon any of them in this letter, was it not for the presumption that the insurrection in the western counties of this State has excited much speculation, and a variety of opinions abroad, and will be represented differently according to the wishes of some and the prejudices of others, who may exhibit it as an evidence of what has been predicted, “that we are unable to govern ourselves.” Under this view of the subject, I am happy in giving it to you as the general opinion, that this event having happened at the time it did was fortunate, although it will be attended with considerable expense.
That the self-created societies, which have spread themselves over this country, have been laboring incessantly to sow the seeds of distrust, jealousy, and of course discontent, thereby hoping to effect some revolution in the government, is not unknown to you. That they have been the fomenters of the western disturbances admits of no doubt in the mind of any one, who will examine their conduct; but fortunately they have precipitated a crisis for which they were not prepared, and thereby have unfolded views, which will, I trust, effectuate their annihilation sooner than it might otherwise have happened; at the same time that it has afforded an occasion for the people of this country to show their abhorrence of the result, and their attachment to the constitution and the laws; for I believe that five times the number of militia, that was required, would have come forward, if it had been necessary, in support of them.
The spirit, which blazed out on this occasion, as soon as the object was fully understood, and the lenient measures of the government were made known to the people, deserves to be communicated. There are instances of general officers going at the head of a single troop, and of light companies; of field-officers, when they came to the places of rendezvous, and found no command for them in that grade, turning into the ranks and proceeding as private soldiers, under their own captains; and of numbers, possessing the first fortunes in the country, standing in the ranks as private men, and marching day by day with their knapsacks and haversacks at their backs, sleeping on straw with a single blanket in a soldier’s tent, during the frosty nights, which we have had, by way of example to others—nay more, many young Quakers, not discouraged by the elders, of the first families, character, and property, having turned into the ranks and are marching with the troops.
These things have terrified the insurgents, who had no conception that such a spirit prevailed, but, while the thunder only rumbled at a distance, were boasting of their strength, and wishing for and threatening the militia by turns; intimating that the arms they should take from them would soon become a magazine in their hands. Their language is much changed indeed, but their principles want correction.
I shall be more prolix in my speech to Congress on the commencement and progress of this insurrection, than is usual in such an instrument, or than I should have been on any other occasion; but, as numbers at home and abroad will hear of the insurrection, and will read the speech, that may know nothing of the documents to which it might refer, I conceived it would be better to encounter the charge of prolixity by giving a cursory detail of facts, that would show the prominent features of the thing, than to let it go naked into the world, to be dressed up according to the fancy or inclination of the readers, or the policy of our enemies.1
I write nothing in answer to the letter of Mr. Wangenheim, enclosed by you to me. Were I to enter into correspondences of that sort, admitting there was no impropriety in the measure, I should be unable to attend to my ordinary duties. I have established it as a maxim neither to invite nor to discourage emigrants. My opinion is, that they will come hither as fast as the true interest and policy of the United States will be benefited by foreign population. I believe many of these, as Mr. Wangenheim relates, have been, and I fear will continue to be, imposed on by speculators in land and other things; but I know of no prevention but caution, nor any remedy except the laws. Nor is military or other employment so easily obtained as foreigners conceive, in a country where offices bear no proportion to the seekers of them.
With sincere esteem, &c.
P. S. Nov. 5. Your correspondence with New York is, I have no doubt too frequent & regular to render any account of Mrs. Jay from me necessary; yet, as I was told yesterday by Mr. King that she and all your family were well, I choose to mention it. For want of a Senate, Congress cannot proceed to business.
TO JOHN ADAMS.
Saturday, 15 November, 1794.
I have not been able to give the papers herewith enclosed more than a hasty reading; returning them, without delay, that you may offer the perusal of them to whom soever you shall think proper.
The picture drawn in them, of the Genevese, is really interesting and affecting. The proposition of transplanting the members, entire, of the University of that place to America, with the requisition of means to establish the same, and to be accompanied by a considerable emigration is important; requiring more consideration, than, under the circumstances of the moment I am able to bestow on it.
That a National University in this country is a thing to be desired, has always been my decided opinion; and the appropriation of ground and funds for it in the Federal City, have long been contemplated and talked of; but how far matured, or how far the transplanting of an entire Seminary of Foreigners, who may not understand our Language, can be assimilated therein is more than I am prepared to give an opinion upon—or indeed how far funds in either case are attainable.
My opinion, with respect to emigration, is, that except of useful mechanics and some particular descriptions of men or professions, there is no need of encouragement, while the policy or advantage of its taking place in a body (I mean the settling of them in a body) may be much questioned; for, by so doing, they retain the Language, habits and principles (good or bad) which they bring with them—Whereas by an intermixture with our people, they, or their descendants, get assimilated to our customs, measures and laws:—in a word, soon become one people.
I shall at any leasure hour, after the Session is fairly opened, have pleasure in a full and free conversation with you on this subject—being, with much esteem and regard, &c.
SPEECH TO BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS, NOVEMBER 19, 1794.
FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
When we call to mind the gracious indulgence of Heaven, by which the American people became a nation; when we survey the general prosperity of our country, and look forward to the riches, power, and happiness to which it seems destined; with the deepest regret do I announce to you, that, during your recess, some of the citizens of the United States have been found capable of an insurrection. It is due, however, to the character of our government, and to its stability, which cannot be shaken by the enemies of order, freely to unfold the course of this event.
During the session of the year 1790, it was expedient to exercise the legislative power, granted by the constitution of the United States, “to lay and collect excises.” In a majority of the States, scarcely an objection was made to this mode of taxation. In some, indeed, alarms were at first conceived, until they were banished by reason and patriotism. In the four western counties of Pennsylvania, a prejudice, fostered and embittered by the artifice of men, who labored for an ascendency over the will of others by the guidance of their passions, produced symptoms of riot and violence. It is well known, that Congress did not hesitate to examine the complaints which were presented, and to relieve them, as far as justice dictated, or general convenience would permit, But the impression, which this moderation made on the discontented, did not correspond with what it deserved; the arts of delusion were no longer confined to the efforts of designing individuals.
The very forbearance to press prosecutions was misinterpreted into a fear of urging the execution of the laws; and associations of men began to denounce threats against the officers employed. From a belief, that, by a more formal concert, their operation might be defeated, certain self-created societies assumed the tone of condemnation. Hence, while the greater part of Pennsylvania itself were conforming themselves to the acts of excise, a few counties were resolved to frustrate them. It was now perceived, that every expectation from the tenderness, which had hitherto been pursued, was unavailing, and that further delay could only create an opinion of impotency or irresolution in the government. Legal process was, therefore, delivered to the marshal, against the rioters and delinquent distillers.
No sooner was he understood to be engaged in this duty, than the vengeance of armed men was aimed at his person, and the person and property of the inspector of the revenue. They fired upon the marshal, arrested him, and detained him for some time as a prisoner. He was obliged, by the jeopardy of his life, to renounce the service of other process on the west side of the Allegany Mountain; and a deputation was afterwards sent to him to demand a surrender of that which he had served. A numerous body repeatedly attacked the house of the inspector, seized his papers of office, and finally destroyed, by fire, his buildings, and whatsoever they contained. Both of these officers, from a just regard to their safety, fled to the seat of government; it being avowed, that the motives to such outrages were to compel the resignation of the inspector, to withstand, by force of arms, the authority of the United States, and thereby to extort a repeal of the laws of excise, and an alteration in the conduct of government.
Upon the testimony of these facts, an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States notified to me, that “in the counties of Washington and Allegany, in Pennsylvania, laws of the United States were opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshal of that district.” On this call, momentous in the extreme, I sought and weighed what might best subdue the crisis. On the one hand, the judiciary was pronounced to be stripped of its capacity to enforce the laws; crimes, which reached the very existence of social order, were perpetrated without control; the friends of government were insulted, abused, and overawed into silence or an apparent acquiescence; and to yield to the treasonable fury of so small a portion of the United States would be to violate the fundamental principle of our constitution, which enjoins, that the will of the majority shall prevail. On the other, to array citizen against citizen, to publish the dishonor of such excesses, to encounter the expense and other embarrassments of so distant an expedition, were steps too delicate, too closely interwoven with many affecting considerations, to be lightly adopted. I postponed, therefore, the summoning of the militia immediately into the field; but I required them to be held in readiness, that if my anxious endeavors to reclaim the deluded, and to convince the malignant of their danger, should be fruitless, military force might be prepared to act, before the season should be too far advanced.
My proclamation of the 7th of August last was accordingly issued, and accompanied by the appointment of commissioners, who were charged to repair to the scene of insurrection. They were authorized to confer with any bodies of men, or individuals. They were instructed to be candid and explicit, in stating the sensations which had been excited in the executive, and his earnest wish to avoid a resort to coercion; to represent, however, that, without submission, coercion must be the resort; but to invite them, at the same time, to return to the demeanor of faithful citizens, by such accommodations as lay within the sphere of the executive power. Pardon, too, was tendered to them by the government of the United States, and that of Pennsylvania, upon no other condition, than a satisfactory assurance of obedience to the laws.
Although the report of the commissioners marks their firmness and abilities, and must unite all virtuous men, by showing that the means of conciliation have been exhausted; all of those, who had committed or abetted the tumults, did not subscribe the mild form, which was proposed as the atonement; and the indications of a peaceable temper were neither sufficiently general nor conclusive to recommend or warrant a further suspension of the march of the militia.
Thus the painful alternative could not be discarded. I ordered the militia to march, after once more admonishing the insurgents, in my proclamation of the 25th of September last.
It was a task too difficult to ascertain, with precision, the lowest degree of force competent to the quelling of the insurrection. From a respect, indeed, to economy and the ease of my fellow-citizens belonging to the militia, it would have gratified me to accomplish such an estimate. My very reluctance to ascribe too much importance to the opposition, had its extent been accurately seen, would have been a decided inducement to the smallest efficient numbers. In this uncertainty, therefore, I put in motion fifteen thousand men, as being an army, which, according to all human calculation, would be prompt, and adequate in every view, and might perhaps, by rendering resistance desperate, prevent the effusion of blood. Quotas had been assigned to the States of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia; the governor of Pennsylvania having declared on this occasion an opinion which justified a requisition to the other States.
As Commander-in-chief of the militia, when called into the actual service of the United States, I have visited the places of general rendezvous, to obtain more exact information, and to direct a plan for ulterior movements. Had there been room for a persuasion, that the laws were secure from obstruction; that the civil magistrate was able to bring to justice such of the most culpable, as have not embraced the proffered terms of amnesty, and may be deemed fit objects of example; that the friends of peace and good government were not in need of that aid and countenance, which they ought always to receive, and I trust ever will receive, against the vicious and turbulent, I should have caught with avidity the opportunity of restoring the militia to their families and home. But succeeding intelligence has tended to manifest the necessity of what has been done; it being now confessed, by those who were not inclined to exaggerate the ill conduct of the insurgents, that their malevolence was not pointed merely to a particular law, but that a spirit inimical to all order has actuated many of the offenders. If the state of things had afforded reason for the continuance of my presence with the army, it would not have been withholden; but, every appearance assuring such an issue as will redound to the reputation and strength of the United States, I have judged it most proper to resume my duties at the seat of government, leaving the chief command with the governor of Virginia.
Still, however, as it is probable, that, in a commotion like the present, whatsoever may be the pretence, the purposes of mischief and revenge may not be laid aside; the stationing of a small force for a certain period, in the four western counties of Pennsylvania, will be indispensable, whether we contemplate the situation of those who are connected with the execution of the laws, or of others, who may have exposed themselves by an honorable attachment to them.
Thirty days from the commencement of this session being the legal limitation of the employment of the militia, Congress cannot be too early occupied with this subject.
Among the discussions, which may arise from this aspect of our affairs, and from the documents which will be submitted to Congress, it will not escape their observation, that not only the inspector of the revenue, but other officers of the United States in Pennsylvania, have, from their fidelity in the discharge of their functions, sustained material injuries to their property. The obligation and policy of indemnifying them are strong and obvious. It may also merit attention, whether policy will not enlarge this provision to the retribution of other citizens, who, though not under the ties of office, may have suffered damage by their generous exertions for upholding the constitution and the laws. The amount, even if all the injured were included, would not be great; and, on future emergencies, the government would be amply repaid by the influence of an example, that he who incurs a loss in its defence shall find a recompense in its liberality.
While there is cause to lament, that occurrences of this nature should have disgraced the name, or interrupted the tranquillity, of any part of our community, or should have diverted to a new application any portion of the public resources, there are not wanting real and substantial consolations for the misfortune. It has demonstrated, that our prosperity rests on solid foundations; by furnishing an additional proof, that my fellow-citizens understand the true principles of government and liberty; that they feel their inseparable union; that, notwithstanding all the devices, which have been used to sway them from their interest and duty, they are now as ready to maintain the authority of the laws against licentious invasions, as they were to defend their rights against usurpation. It has been a spectacle, displaying to the highest advantage the value of republican government, to behold the most and least wealthy of our citizens standing in the same ranks as private soldiers; preëminently distinguished by being the army of the constitution; undeterred by a march of three hundred miles over rugged mountains, by the approach of an inclement season, or by any other discouragement. Nor ought I to omit to acknowledge the efficacious and patriotic cooperation, which I have experienced from the chief magistrates of the States to which my requisitions have been addressed.
To every description, indeed, of citizens, let praise be given; but let them persevere in their affectionate vigilance over that precious depository of American happiness, the constitution of the United States. Let them cherish it, too, for the sake of those, who, from every clime, are daily seeking a dwelling in our land. And when, in the calm moments of reflection, they shall have retraced the origin and progress of the insurrection, let them determine, whether it has not been fomented by combinations of men, who, careless of consequences, and disregarding the unerring truth, that those who rouse, cannot always appease, a civil convulsion, have disseminated, from an ignorance or perversion of facts, suspicions, jealousies, and accusations of the whole government.
Having thus fulfilled the engagement, which I took, when I entered into office, “to the best of my ability to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the United States,” on you, Gentlemen, and the people by whom you are deputed, I rely for support.
In the arrangements, to which the possibility of a similar contingency will naturally draw your attention, it ought not to be forgotten, that the militia laws have exhibited such striking defects, as could not have been supplied but by the zeal of our citizens. Besides the extraordinary expense and waste, which are not the least of the defects, every appeal to those laws is attended with a doubt of its success.
The devising and establishing of a well-regulated militia would be a genuine source of legislative honor, and a perfect title to public gratitude. I therefore entertain a hope, that the present session will not pass, without carrying to its full energy the power of organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and thus providing, in the language of the constitution, for calling them forth to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.
As auxiliary to the state of our defence, to which Congress can never too frequently recur, they will not omit to inquire whether the fortifications, which have been already licensed by law, be commensurate with our exigences.
The intelligence from the army, under the command of General Wayne, is a happy presage to our military operations against the hostile Indians north of the Ohio. From the advices which have been forwarded, the advance which he has made must have damped the ardor of the savages, and weakened their obstinacy in waging war against the United States; and yet, even at this late hour, when our power to punish them cannot be questioned, we shall not be unwilling to cement a lasting peace, upon terms of candor, equity, and good neighborhood.
Towards none of the Indian tribes have overtures of friendship been spared. The Creeks in particular are covered from encroachment by the interposition of the general government, and that of Georgia. From a desire also to remove the discontents of the Six Nations, a settlement, meditated at Presque Isle, on Lake Erie, has been suspended; and an agent is now endeavoring to rectify any misconception into which they may have fallen. But I cannot refrain from again pressing upon your deliberations the plan, which I recommended at the last session, for the improvement of harmony with all the Indians within our limits, by the fixing and conducting of trading-houses, upon the principles then expressed.
GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The time, which has elapsed since the commencement of our fiscal measures, has developed our pecuniary resources, so as to open a way for a definitive plan for the redemption of the public debt. It is believed, that the result is such as to encourage Congress to consummate this work without delay. Nothing can more promote the permanent welfare of the nation, and nothing would be more grateful to our constituents. Indeed, whatsoever is unfinished of our system of public credit, cannot be benefited by procrastination; and, as far as may be practicable, we ought to place that credit on grounds which cannot be disturbed, and to prevent that progressive accumulation of debt, which must ultimately endanger all governments.
An estimate of the necessary appropriations, including the expenditures into which we have been driven by the insurrection, will be submitted to Congress.
GENTLEMEN OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
The mint of the United States has entered upon the coinage of the precious metals, and considerable sums of defective coins and bullion have been lodged with the director by individuals. There is a pleasing prospect, that the institution will, at no remote day, realize the expectation which was originally formed of its utility.
In subsequent communications, certain circumstances of our intercourse with foreign nations will be transmitted to Congress; however, it may not be unseasonable to announce, that my policy, in our foreign transactions, has been, to cultivate peace with all the world; to observe treaties with pure and absolute faith; to check every deviation from the line of impartiality; to explain what may have been misapprehended, and correct what may have been injurious to any nation; and, having thus acquired the right, to lose no time in acquiring the ability, to insist upon justice being done to ourselves.
Let us unite, therefore, in imploring the Supreme Ruler of nations, to spread his holy protection over these United States; to turn the machinations of the wicked to the confirming of our constitution; to enable us at all times to root out internal sedition, and put invasion to flight; to perpetuate to our country that prosperity, which his goodness has already conferred; and to verify the anticipations of this government being a safeguard to human rights.
TO ALEXANDER SPOTSWOOD.
Philadelphia, 23 November, 1794.
It has not been in my power to acknowledge, with convenience, the receipt of your letter of the 14th until now; first, because it did not get to my hands until my return from the Westward—2dly because my attention, ever since to the present moment, has been occupied in examining the various papers on which my communications to Congress were to be founded.
I do not see how any one can decide so well on the project you have in contemplation as yourself, who has a view of all the circumstances of the case, before you; and who know how far so important a change in the scene as that of transplanting yourself and family into a new Country, is reconcilable to your own feelings and dispositions—and because from the enquiries you have undoubtedly made, you must better know than any other who has not turned his thoughts to the subject, what you can sell for here, and buy at there.
It has always been my opinion that new Countries (by this I mean the interior of our own) are the best to lay the foundation of wealth, in as much as lands which, comparatively speaking, are to be had there cheap, rise in a fourfold ratio to what they do in the Atlantic Sea—and it is to this circumstance, and the opportunities of acquiring them (by being in the scene) that the advantages consist.—As, until the navigation of the Mississippi can be obtained, or the communication between the Eastern, and Western Waters is made more easy, than is the case at present, the principal demand for the product of the land is found in the emigrants who resort to it.—To this cause also, is to be ascribed the rapidly increasing prices of those Lands.
In one part of your letter, you talk of removing to Kentucky; and in another, of vesting money in Lands West of the Ohio, which creates a doubt as to your principal view:—You are not uninformed, I presume, that there is no land office open at this time in the last mentioned District, and that there is no means by which land can be obtained there, at present, except by purchase of army rights, or from some of those Companies to whom Congress have sold large tracts;—and in the present stage of our disputes with the Indians, that no settlement is thought safe from the scalping knife, that is not under the protection of some fort.—The same indeed may be said of the frontiers of Kentucky, while the central lands in that state are, as I am informed, selling very high. But of these facts you must be better informed than I am.
I should think it perfectly expedient so soon as you shall have resolved to sell your land on Rappahannock—to advertize it in all the principal Gazettes from Richmond to New York inclusively; and not to be too hasty in disposing of it, except for a very good price; as there are reasons to believe that in the course of this winter, and the ensuing spring and summer, many men of property from Europe will remove to this country, or send over their property, with a view to invest it, either in our funds, or in Lands.
With respect to the other species of property, concerning which you ask my opinion, I shall frankly declare to you that I do not like even to think, much less talk of it. However, as you have put the question, I shall, in a few words, give you my ideas of it.—Were it not then, that I am principled against selling negroes, as you would do cattle at a market, I would not in twelve months from this date, be pos sessed of one, as a slave. I shall be happily mistaken, if they are not found to be very troublesome species of property ere many years pass over our heads—(but this by the bye). For this reason—and because there is but little sale for what is raised in the Western Country, it remains for you to consider whether their value would not be more productive in lands, reserving enough for necessary purposes, there. My love to Mrs. Spotswood and the family. I am, etc.
TO TOBIAS LEAR.1
Philadelphia, 14 December, 1794.
My dear Sir,
The day following the one on which I wrote to you last, your letter of the 10th instant came to hand.
It is to be regretted, exceedingly, that delegated powers are, oftentimes, so little regarded; and that trusts of an important nature, the neglect of which may be attended with serious consequences, should be suffered to sleep in the hands of those who ought to carry them into activity;—such, from your representation, appears to be the case of the petition which ought in behalf of the Potomac Company, to have been laid before the assembly of Virginia in due season.
The notice of the presentment of such petitions (which is required by law) cannot, I presume, be dispensed with; and if there be any dereliction to the measures prayed for, the limitation to and expiration of the time for the reception of them, will be urged as a plea for postponement.
The propriety of my writing to individual members, or even to the assembly itself on this subject, is, in my mind, a matter that may be questioned, but, supposing the case to be otherwise, I do not know who the members are and such indeed has been the change of things since I mixed in the Politics, or much with the people of that State (out of the neighborhood of Alexandria) that an entire new set, unknown to me personally, are in the exercise of the powers of Government. Tomorrow, however, I will communicate this matter to Mr. Randolph, and know if he has any acquaintance in that assembly to whom he could introduce the subject and thereby aid your personal exertions. It is to be lamented however, that in plain matters—a little ticklishly circumstanced—such hazards (at least of delay) should be unnecessarily encountered. We are all well, and join in best wishes for you, and I am, &c.
TO JOHN JAY.
Philadelphia, 18 December, 1794.
Since writing to you by Mr. Bayard about the 1st of November, I have been favored with your letters of the 13th of September,1 and 2d of October. As the sentiments contained in the first of these respecting the communications of Mr. M[onroe] to the National Convention of France, were also transmitted in a private letter from you to the Secretary of State, and replied to by him (both of which I have seen), I shall dwell no longer on that subject, than just to observe, 1st, that, considering the place in which they were delivered, and the neutral policy this country had resolved to pursue, it was a measure that does not appear to have been well devised by our Minister—2d, aware of this himself, and that his conduct would be criticized, he has assigned reasons for its adoption, a summary of which are, that the navy officers and privateersmen of France, who had resorted to our ports, and had been laid under such restrictions as neutral policy required from us, although disagreeable to them, had represented this country, (and not without effect,) as unfriendly to the French Revolution. To do away which, he found himself necessitated to counteract them, by strong assurances of the good dispositions we bore to the nation. And, 3d, although I think with you, that he stepped over the true line to accomplish it, yet, under the then existing circumstances, the expression of such reciprocal good will was susceptible of two views, one of which, even in the pending state of the negotiation, by alarming as well as offending the B. Ministry, might have no unfavorable operation in bringing matters to a happy and speedy result, than which nothing is more desirable, or can be more ardently wished for, by the friends of peace and good order in this country.1
As the Secretary of State has written to you several times since the receipt of your statement of the negotiation on the 13th of September, I shall add nothing to the observations, which are contained in his letters on the subject thereof.
The business of the session hitherto has been tranquil; and I perceive nothing at this time to make it otherwise, unless the result of the negotiation, (which is anxiously expected by all,) should produce divisions. As yet, no details have been handed to Congress on this subject. Indeed, no communication on that business has been made to anybody except those about me in the Executive Departments.
A paragraph, of which the enclosed is a copy, is running through all our gazettes, accompanied with a report that the United States are contemplated as mediator between France and England. To ascertain by what authority the first was inserted, Bache, in whose paper it first appeared, has been called upon by the Secretary of State; but no satisfaction has been obtained from him as yet.1 With respect to the other, it seems to have originated on the other side of the water, and is of a delicate nature; the very idea of which, under the present successes of the French arms, (admitting it should be agreeable to the other power,) would, it is conceived, convey unpleasant sensations, and be considered in an evil light by that nation, unless an intimation to the contrary should first come from them.
The Virginia escheats of British property do not, as I am informed, stand upon the ground as related to you; but, as I am not accurately enough read in the law respecting those escheats to be precise in my recital of it, I will request the Secretary of State to give you the principles thereof.
As I expected, and as you were informed the result would probably be, so it has happened; that the Western insurrection has terminated highly honorable for this country, which by the energy of its Laws, and the good disposition of its citizens, have brought the rioters to a perfect sense of their misconduct, without shedding a drop of blood. In the eyes of foreigners among us, this affair stands in a high point of view. With very great esteem, I am, dear Sir, &c.
OPINION OF THE GENERAL OFFICERS.1
The following list contain the names of all the General officers now living in this country, as low as actual Brigadiers inclusively.—Except those who it is conjectured would not, from age, want of health—& other circumstances, come forward by any inducements that could be offered to them—& such as ought not to be named for the important trust of Commander in Chief.
MAJOR GENERAL LINCOLN.
Sober, honest, brave and sensible, but infirm, past the vigor of life—& reluctantly (if offered to him) would accept the appointment.—
MAJR GENERAL BARON DE STEUBEN.
Sensible, sober & brave, well acquainted with Tactics & with the arrangement & discipline of an army.—High in his ideas of subordination—impetuous in his temper—ambitious—and a foreigner.—
MAJOR GENERAL MOULTRIE.
Brave, & it is believed accommodating in his temper—served the whole of last war; & has been an officer in the preceding one, at least had been engaged in an Expedition against the Cherokees; having defeated them in one or two considerable actions.—What the resources, or powers of his mind are—how active he may be, and whether temperate or not, are points I cannot speak to with decision, because I have had little or no opportunities to form an opinion of him.—
BRIGADIER (BUT BY BREVET MAJR GENERAL) McINTOSH.
Is old and inactive;—supposed to be honest and brave.—Not much known in the Union, and therefore would not obtain much confidence, or command much respect;—either in the community or the army.
MAJR GENERAL (BY BREVET) WAYNE.
More active & enterprising than Judicious & cautious.—No œconomist it is feared:—open to flattery—vain—easily imposed upon and liable to be drawn into scrapes. Too indulgent (the effect perhaps of some of the causes just mentioned) to his officers and men.—Whether sober—or a little addicted to the bottle, I know not.
MAJR GENERAL (BY BREVET) WEEDON.
Not supposed to be an Officer of much resource, though not deficient in a competent share of understanding—rather addicted to ease & pleasure—& no enemy it is said to the bottle—never has had his name brot. forward on this acct.
MAJOR GENERAL (BY BREVET) HAND.
A sensible & judicious man;—his integrity unimpeached;—and was esteemed a pretty good officer.—But if I recollect rightly, not a very active one.—He has never been charged with intemperance to my knowledge;—His name has rarely been mentioned under the present difficulty of chusing an officer to comm’d, but this may, in a great measure be owing to his being at a distance.—
MAJR GENERAL (BY BREVET) SCOTT.
Brave & means well; but is an officer of inadequate abilities for extensive command;—&, by report, is addicted to drinking.—
MAJR GENERAL (BY BREVET) HUNTINGTON.
Sober, sensible and very discreet.—Has never discover’d much enterprise; yet, no doubt has ever been entertained of his want of spirit, or firmness.
BRIGADIER GENERAL WILKENSON.
Is, by brevet Senr. to those whose names follow—but the appointment to this rank was merely honorary,—and as he was but a short time in service, little can be said of his abilities as an Officer.—He is lively, sensible, pompous and ambitious, but whether sober or not, is unknown to me.
BRIGADIER GENERAL GIST.
Little has been said of his qualifications as a General Officer—His activity & attention to duty is somewhat doubtful, tho’ his spirit, I believe, is unimpeached.—
BRIGADIER GENERAL IRVINE.
Is sober, tolerably sensible and prudent. It is said he is an œconomist; and supported his authority whilst he was entrusted with a seperate command; but I have no recollection of any circumstance that marks him as a decidedly good, or indifferent officr.
BRIGADIER GENERAL MORGAN.
Has been fortunate, & has met with eclat.—Yet there are different opinions with respect to his abilities as an officer.—He is accused of using improper means to obtain certificates from the soldiers—It is said he has been (if the case is not so now) intemperate: that he is troubled with a palpitation which often lays him up; and it is not denied that he is illiterate.
BRIGADIER GENERAL WILLIAMS.—
Is a sensible man, but not without vanity. No doubt, I believe, is entertained of his firmness:—and it is thought he does not want activity,—but it is not easy, where there is nothing conspicuous in a character, to pronounce decidedly upon a military man who has always acted under the immediate orders of a superior officer, unless he had been seen frequently in action.—The discipline, interior œconomy and police of his Corps is the best evidence one can have of his talents in this line, and of this, in the case of Genl. Williams I can say nothing; as he was appointed a Brigadier after he left the Northern to join the Southern army.—But a material objection to him is delicate health (if there has been no change in his constitution),—for he has gone to the Sweet Springs two or three years successively in such bad health as to afford little hope of his ever returning from them.
BRIGADIER GENERAL RUFUS PUTNAM.—
Possesses a strong mind—and is a discreet man.—No question has ever been made (that has come to my knowledge) of his want of firmness. In short, there is nothing conspicuous in his character—and he is but little known out of his own state, and a narrow circle.
BRIGADIER GENL (BY BREVENT) PINCKNEY.—
A Colonel since Septr. 16th, 1776; but appointed a Brigadr. by brevet at the close of the War, only.—In this Gentleman many valuable qualities are to be found.—He is of unquestionable bravery—Is a man of strict honor, erudition & good sense: and it is said has made Tactics a study—But what his spirit for enterprise is—whether active or indolent;—or fitted for arrangement, I am unable to say—never having had any opportunity to form a judgment of his talents as a military character.—The capture of Charleston put an end to his military services; but his Junr. Rank, and being little known in this part of the Union, are the two considerations most opposed to him,—particularly the latter, as it is more than probable his being a prisoner prevented his promotion: which ought not to be any bar to his ranking as a Brigadier from the time that others of his standing as a colonel, were promoted.
The above and foregoing closes the list of all the General Officers who as has been observed from age—want of health—disinclination, or peculiar circumstances, can be brought into view; from whom to chuse an officer to command the Troops of the U. S.
If from either of the three Major Generals, which have been mentioned;—or from those made so by brevet, the Commander of the Troops should be taken, no Junior Officer can decline serving on the score of Rank; although he may desire, and have had expectations of being—first in command—himself.
Under this idea, and upon the principle of distribution, the arrangement of the Commanding officer, and those next in grade to him, may be placed in the following points of view.
Lincoln * * * or Moultrie.
Under either of these Major Generals might serve as Brigadiers:
Wayne * * * unless by being a Majr. Genl. by brevet & seeking the command himself he should recoil at it.
Morgan * * * for one of the above reasons would also revolt viz.—command or Williams or Darke.
* If Lincoln commands Brooks cannot be appointed: and if Moultree commands the same will happen to Pickens.
If Pennsylvania gives the Commanding Officer and he is of the Rank (by brevet) of Majr. Generl.; the above arrangement is equally applicable on the principle of distribution, & as unexceptionable on the score of rank. But if, in the first case, Wayne, Morgan and Williams refuse to serve, and in the second, the two last do it, unless it be as Commander,—then some others Junr. in dates of Commission, or of inferior rank, must be resorted to.
If upon a full view of characters, and circumstances, General Pinckney should be deemed the most eligable for the command, it would be a fruitless attempt, & a waste of time to propose to those officers who have been his seniors, to engage again subordinately; especially if they have been his seniors in the line of Colonels: and here I would draw a line which I think is a just one—and that is—that his Colonel’s, & not his Brigad’rs Commission, ought to decide his Rank as a Generl. Officer, because it would be hard upon him to suffer in it, on acc’t of his captivity; when motives of policy and not demerit suspended (as may fairly be presumed) his promotion during that period:—but why, when it did take place, Rank was not (to a certain antecedent date) restor’d, I am unable to conceive.
If this be fair reasoning (and I really think it is), neither Morgan nor Williams would have ground to object against serving under Pinckney: but as it is more than probable they will look to what is, rather than to what ought to be; a difficulty would be made on the subject of Rank—especially if there is any dereliction in them to the service in any other character than that of commanding it—and therefore it would be expedient perhaps to look for officers of Junr. Rank—and in that case may come in as * * *
Wilkenson, whose rank is very questionable
If Governor Lee should be prefered to the command, then officers of lower grades than any that have been mentioned in the preceding pages must be sought after, as all of those are greatly his seniors—& their being, in my opinion but little ground to hope, that either the military talents which he has displayed in the course of the War, or his present dignified station, would reconcile any of them to act a subordinate part, except it be Wilkenson, who, as has been observed before, from having been but a short time in service, & quitting it at an early period of the war, would have but little or no cause to complain.—As also Pickins, who has never been in the Continental line.—The arrangement w’d then be, in this case.—
end of vol. xii.
[1 ]Mr. Jefferson’s Letter.—“Dear Sir: Having had the honor of communicating to you in my letter of the last of July my purpose of retiring from the office of Secretary of State, at the end of the month of September, you were pleased for particular reasons to wish its postponement to the close of the year. That time being now arrived, and my propensities to retirement daily more and more irresistible, I now take the liberty of resigning the office into your hands. Be pleased to accept with it my sincere thanks for all the indulgences, which you have been so good as to exercise towards me in the discharge of its duties. Conscious that my need of them has been great, I have still ever found them greater, without any other claim on my part than a firm pursuit of what has appeared to me to be right, and a thorough disdain of all means, which were not as open and honorable as their object was pure. I carry into my retirement a lively sense of your goodness, and shall continue gratefully to remember it.
[1 ]The President “made me a very friendly visit yesterday, which I returned today, and had two hours’ conversation with him alone in his cabinet. The conversation, which was extremely interesting, and equally affectionate, I cannot explain even by a hint. But his earnest desire to do right, and his close application to discover it, his deliberate and comprehensive view of our affairs with all the world, appeared in a very amiable and respectable light. The anti-federalists and the frenchified zealots have nothing now to do, that I can conceive of, but to ruin his character, destroy his peace and injure his health. He supports all their attacks with great firmness, and his health appears to be very good. The Jacobins would make a sortie upon him in all the force they could muster, if they dared.”—John Adams to his Wife, 9 January, 1794.
[1 ]The newspapers of the day printed in February, 1794, an extract from a report of Robespierre to the National Convention on the political situation of France, in which he said of Genet’s mission:—
[1 ]“Of all the public offices in our country, the one you mention to me is that which I should like best to fill; except in case of a general war, when, if other matters should admit, I should prefer being in the field; and, though I am sensible I should appear to great disadvantage in an office, which had been so ably filled by General Knox, I should by close application and undeviating integrity endeavor to apologize to my country for your choice. Entertaining these sentiments, judge of my mortification when I am constrained to declare, that circumstances not in my power to control, will prevent my accepting the offer, which your partiality for me has induced you to make.”—Pinckney to Washington, 24 February, 1794.
[1 ]The Minerva, 23 December, 1793, contains a sharp attack on Blodget for his speculations.
[1 ]Although Chief-Justice Marshall regarded this speech of Lord Dorchester as fictitious or a forgery, Mr. Rives has established its authenticity. Life of Madison, iii., 418.
[1 ]Early in 1793 the charge was formally made on the floor of the house by Findley, that “the Secretary of the Treasury had acknowledged that he had not applied the money borrowed in Europe agreeably to the legal appropriations of the President. That he had acknowledged his having drawn to this country, and applied in Europe to uses for which other moneys were appropriated, three millions of dollars.” At the ensuing session of Congress Hamilton demanded an inquiry into his conduct, and these charges were among the matters to be investigated. The immediate act in question applied to the loans made in 1790-91, under authority of Congress, and the use of the money obtained from these loans was controlled by Hamilton acting under sanctions “for the most part verbal” of the President. Hamilton drew up a paper giving the “Principles and Course of Proceeding” with respect to this matter, but the Committee of Congress was not satisfied with it, and asked that it be submitted to the President, who added the “certificate” dated 8 April, 1794. In a dignified letter in reply, Hamilton directed Washington’s attention to the inadequacy of the certificate, as being better calculated to play into the hands of his enemies than to justify his official conduct. The letters that passed at the time on this subject were in brief:
[1 ]In explanation of this letter it is proper to state, that the object for which Mr. McHenry had applied for an appointment was the release of Lafayette, whose aid-de-camp he had formerly been.
[1 ]On 19 December, 1793, Jefferson’s elaborate report on the commercial relations of the United States with the different powers of Europe, was laid before Congress, after more than two years had been expended in its preparation. In it he preached the doctrine of reprisal. “Should any nation, contrary to our wishes, suppose it may better find its advantage by continuing its system of prohibitions, duties, and regulations, it behooves us to protect our citizens, their commerce, and navigation by counter prohibitions, duties, and regulations also.” On the basis of this report Madison prepared a series of resolutions which were offered to the House 3 January, 1794, proposing retaliatory duties and restrictions, and a discrimination in duties on imports from countries having no commercial treaties with the United States. After adopting the first resolution (3 February, 1794), the subject was postponed for a month, to await further information from England. The British order directing English vessels to seize and bring to British ports “all ships laden with goods the produce of any colony belonging to France, or carrying provisions or other supplies for the use of any such colony,” though dated 6 November, 1793, had not been published by the admiralty till late in December. Pinckney at once sought to have the order revoked, or at least modified so as not to apply to American trade. In this he was partially successful, and on 8 January, 1794, another instruction was issued limiting the application to ships laden with French produce coming direct from a French colony to any port in Europe; ships laden with French goods, the property of French subjects, wherever found; all vessels seeking to enter ports blockaded by the British; and vessels laden in whole or in part with military or naval stores, bound for the islands.
[1 ]“I am very happy to hear of Genet’s recall, and hope it may prove a lesson to others, however justified by instructions or seeming to be so, that they may not with impunity trample upon all the forms of decency and respect, that have hitherto been practised in the world.
[1 ]This message was the one in which Mr. Jay was nominated to the Senate as envoy extraordinary to England. The first object only, mentioned above, was introduced into the message, which was sent the next day as follows:
[1 ]It was Arthur Lee.
[1 ]I print this letter, because it gives a view of Digges quite different from that generally accepted. See Ford, Letters of William Lee, i., 340.
[1 ]The letter here alluded to is one making an offer of the appointment to France to Robert R. Livingston. Mr. Jay and Mr. Livingston both declined the offer, and Monroe was named. Livingston was governed by the fear that the council in New York would fill the place he should resign, with a man of contrary political principles, and so alter the relations of parties in the State. He was also opposed to the policy of Washington’s administration.
[1 ]Randolph had first submitted his letter to Hamilton, who had noticed a “tartness of language” that was not advisable. “Before I began to write, I asked Mr. Jay, whether he would prefer that the subject should be left as it is, or taken up by me in the way of refutation. He thought that it was better to enter upon a refutation of Mr. Hammond’s memorial. Mr. Jay will otherwise be obliged to do the same thing himself. And I cannot conceive that a foreign minister ought to press upon the Secretary of State doctrines of great prejudice to the U. S.—and that the Secretary should remain silent, as if he were afraid or could not answer them.”—Randolph to Washington, 28 April, 1794.
[1 ]Talleyrand had lately arrived in the United States, and was the bearer of a letter to President Washington from the Marquis of Lansdowne. The French minister, Fauchet, claimed that he had prevented any official recognition of Talleyrand and Beaumetz, his companion.
[1 ]The father of Mrs. Washington was Joseph Ball (second son of Colonel William Ball), who lived at Epping Forest, in Lancaster County, Virginia. He died in June, 1715. For an account of the Accokeek lands, see Ford Wills of George Washington and His Immediate Ancestors, 1891.
[1 ]“I some time since communicated an intention to withdraw from the office I hold, towards the close of the present session. This I should now put in execution but for the events which have lately accumulated, of a nature to render the prospect of a continuance of our peace in a considerable degree precarious. I do not perceive that I could voluntarily quit my post at such a juncture, consistently with considerations either of duty or character; and therefore I find myself reluctantly obliged to defer the offer of my resignation.
[2 ]“The difficulty, under existing circumstances, of knowing what to write to you, had determined me to write nothing, but to let the matter rest altogether upon the public communications from the Secretary of State.
[1 ]“I am sorry to find by his [Morris] private letters (two of which I send for your perusal, and to be returned), that he and our other ministers abroad are continually repeating and complaining of their want of information from the department of state. This, I am sensible, does not apply to you, because, among other reasons, there has not been time between your coming into office and the dates of their letters for ground of such complaints. Nor do I think it applicable to your predecessor, further than as it may have proceeded from miscarriages and the want of duplicates. As, however, the evil complained of may be attended with serious consequences if not remedied, I am led to take this notice of it, in order that duplicates always, and in certain cases triplicates, may be forwarded for the information and government of our agents in foreign countries.”—Washington to Randolph, 30 June, 1794.
[1 ]This was a slip of memory, for both Ternant and Genet had intimated dissatisfaction with Morris on the part of the Executive Council.—Jefferson to Washington, 11 December, 1793; Genet to Jefferson, 18 September, 1793.
[1 ]Congress had strengthened the hands of the Executive by passing a law for punishing and preventing practices contrary to neutrality, only rejecting a clause forbidding the sales of prizes.
[1 ]“The Secretary of State in referring to you the question of the answer to be given to Mr. Hammond, concerning compensation for certain captured vessels, will, I presume, transmit to you the opinions of the other gentlemen as well as his own. Besides the reasons hastily sketched in the memorandums given to the Secretary of State, there is one of a delicate nature, which I did not think fit to put on a paper which might become a public document, but which I think ought to be submitted to your consideration.
[1 ]“You know how Mr. Jay is restricted. And I must acknowledge to you that notwithstanding all the pompous expectations announced in the gazettes of compensation to the merchants, the prospect of it is, in my judgment, illusory; and I do not entertain the most distant hope of the surrender of the western posts. Thus the old exasperations continue, and new ones are daily added. Judge then how indispensable it is that you should keep the French republic in good humor with us.”—Randolph to Monroe, 25 September, 1794.
[1 ]“I am not disposed, under my present view of the case, to inform Mr. Hammond, that our envoy at the court of London shall be specially instructed on the point of compensation for British vessels, captured by French privateers, contrary to the rules which have been established by this government; as the general powers of the said envoy extend to and embrace this object. But would it be amiss to let him know informally and verbally, that Mr. Jay’s powers go to this as well as to other cases?
[1 ]In its last session Congress had requested the President to communicate to the people of Kentucky information on the negotiation concerning the Mississippi, but the expectation of receiving some decisive intelligence from Madrid, and the manifest impropriety of disclosing all the pending questions between Spain and the United States, had led to a postponement on the part of the Executive. Randolph, 7 August, 1794, advised the sending a discreet person to lay the matter before the legislature of Kentucky, and soothe the ferment prevailing in that quarter.
[2 ]Hamilton gave evidence of this connection in his letter to Fitzsimons, 27 November, 1794, Works, viii., 328.
[1 ]Senator Ross, Judge Yeates, and Attorney-General Bradford. Judge McKean and General Irvine represented the State of Pennsylvania, but “their functions were necessarily limited to the mere act of pardon, the great offences being against the United States, not the individual State of Pennsylvania.”
[1 ]“I plainly perceive that he [Henry] has credited some information which he has received (from whom I know not), which induces him to believe that you consider him a factious, seditious character. . . . He seems to be deeply and sorely affected. It is very much to be regretted, for he is a man of positive virtue as well as of transcendent talents; and were it not for his feelings above expressed, I verily believe he would be found among the most active supporters of your administration. . . .
[1 ]See Vol. VI., 452, 453.
[1 ]It was only two days after this letter was written that Randolph conveyed to Jefferson the wish of the President to appoint him (J.) an envoy to Madrid, to conduct the negotiations with Spain. “Motives, public and personal, induced the President to designate you for this distinction.” Jefferson replied that “no circumstances will ever more tempt me to engage in any thing public.”—September 7th. The offer was then made to Patrick Henry.
[1 ]American State Papers, Foreign Relations, i., 461.
[1 ]Shortly after writing this letter, the President left Philadelphia to join the army, which was then marching to suppress the insurrection in the western parts of Pennsylvania.
[1 ]Morgan was father-in-law of Presley Neville, whose property had been destroyed by the insurgents, and he himself banished from the county. Attorney-General Bradford (17 August, 1794) said that while the insurgents laughed at the Atlantic militia ordered out against them, they anticipated with serious apprehensions General Morgan and the Virginia woodsmen.
[1 ]In Virginia.
[2 ]“It would have given me pleasure to have had you with me, and advantages might have resulted from it, on my present tour, if your return in time would have allowed it. It is now too late, as we shall be in the act of crossing the mountains, or I shall be on my return to Philadelphia, (according to circumstances and the information I shall receive at the head of the line,) before you could arrive with any tolerable ease and convenience to proceed, and when the latter, from present appearances, is most likely to happen. . . .
[1 ]“Mr. Izard has returned; and his lady is prepared to go immediately to Charleston with the family. Mr. Izard will follow in the spring. I find him under very proper impressions of our public affairs. He mentioned to me that a society under the democratic garb has arisen in South Carolina with the name of Madisonian. It is a great grief to me, because it must place Mr. Madison under much embarrassment, either to seem to approve by silence what I am confident he must abhor, or to affront those who intended to evince their respect for him. I hope that he will not hesitate to adopt the latter expedient; for I shall with the freedom of friendship bring before him the genuine state of my mind concerning it. As I remarked to you in conversation, I never did see an opportunity of destroying these self-constituted bodies, until the fruit of their operations was disclosed in the insurrection of Pittsburg. Indeed I was, and am still persuaded, that the language, which was understood to be held by the officers of government in opposition to them, contributed to foster them. They may now, I believe, be crushed. The prospect ought not to be lost.”—Randolph to Washington, 11 October, 1794.
[1 ]This paragraph foreshadowed a public utterance against these societies that aroused a very strong resentment among republicans. The attack was characterized by Madison as “perhaps the greatest error” of Washington’s political life. Jefferson saw in it “one of the extraordinary acts of boldness of which we have seen so many from the faction of monocrats,” and wondered that the President should have “permitted himself to be the organ of such an attack on the freedom of discussion, the freedom of writing, printing and publishing.” How could complaint be made against these societies and not against the Cincinnati, “a self-created one, carving out for itself hereditary distinctions, lowering over our Constitution eternally, meeting together in all parts of the union, periodically, with closed doors, accumulating a capital in their separate treasury, corresponding secretly and regularly, and of which society the very persons denouncing the democrats are themselves the fathers, founders and high officers.”—Jefferson to Madison, 28 December, 1794.
[1 ]“I am this moment returned from a long conference with Lord Grenville. Our prospects become more and more promising as we advance in the business. The compensation cases (as described in the answer), and the amount of damages will, I have reason to hope, be referred to the decision of commissioners mutually to be appointed by the two governments, and the money paid without delay on their certificates, and the business closed as speedily as may be possible. The question of admitting our vessels into the Islands, under certain limitations, is under consideration, and will soon be decided. A treaty of commerce is on the carpet. All other things being agreed, the posts will be included. They contend, that the article about the negroes does not extend to those, who came in on their proclamations, to whom (being vested with the property in them by the right of war) they gave freedom, but only to those, who were bonâ fide the property of Americans when the war ceased. They will I think insist, that British debts, so far as injured by lawful impediments, should be repaired by the United States by decision of mutual commissioners. These things have passed in conversation, but no commitments on either side: and not to have any official weight or use whatever.
[1 ]Taken prisoners for supposed activity in fomenting the insurrection. Herman Husband had been a leader among the Regulators in North Carolina.
[1 ]“The servile copyist of Mr. Pitt, thought he too must have his alarms, his insurrections and plots against the Constitution. Hence the incredible fact that the freedom of association, of conversation and of the press, should in the 5th year of our government have been attacked under the form of a denunciation of the democratic societies, a measure which even England, as boldly as she is advancing to the establishment of an absolute monarchy, has not yet been bold enough to attempt. Hence too the example of employing military force for civil purposes, when it has been impossible to produce a single fact of insurrection, unless that term be entirely confounded with occasional riots, and when the ordinary process of law had been resisted indeed in a few special cases, but by no means generally, nor had its effect been duly tried. But it aroused the favorite purposes of strengthening government and increasing the public debt; and therefore an insurrection was announced and proclaimed and armed against and marched against, but could never be found. And all this under the sanction of a name which has done too much good not to be sufficient to cover harm also. And what is equally astonishing is that by the pomp of reports, proclamations, armies, &c, the mind of the legislature itself was so fascinated as never to have asked where, when and by whom has this insurrection been produced? The original of this scene in another country was calculated to excite the indignation of those whom it could not impose on: the mimicry of it here is too humiliating to excite any feeling but shame. Our comfort is that the public sense is coming right on the general principles of republicanism, and that its success in France puts it out of danger here.”—Jefferson to Monroe, 26 May, 1795.
[1 ]Now in Georgetown, having recently returned from Europe.
[1 ]See this letter in the Life of John Jay, vol. i. p. 338.
[1 ]“Your public letters of August 15th and 25th, have enabled me to place upon a proper footing the delicacy of your situation, and to efface any improper impressions which may have been entertained anywhere.”—Edmund Randolph to James Monroe, 5 December, 1794.
[1 ]“Since writing the above an unsatisfactory explanation has been given.”—Note by Washington.
[1 ]When it became necessary to select a successor to Arthur St. Clair, as the commander of the Western army, the President placed upon paper the rough notes printed above. These notes were submitted to his cabinet on 9 March, 1792, and in the new collection of Jefferson’s Writings, edited by Paul Leicester Ford, a summary of them is given among the so-called Anas. The original MS. of this opinion is in the State Library, Albany, New York. A single page was reproduced in fac-simile in the Magazine of American History, February, 1879. This opinion should be read in connection with the letters to St. Clair, printed on pp. 115 and 116 of this volume.
[1 ]Andrew Pickens.
[2 ]John Brooks.
[1 ]William Darke.
[2 ]John Eager Howard.
[3 ]Marinus Willett.
[4 ]William Stephens Smith.