Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1791 - TO JAMES MONROE - The Works, vol. 6 (Correspondence 1789-1792)
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1791 - TO JAMES MONROE - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 6 (Correspondence 1789-1792) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 6.
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TO JAMES MONROE
Philadelphia Jan. 18. 1791.
My dear Sir,
—I have been so constantly afflicted at my inability to acknowledge the receipt of Dr. Mortimer’s letters & of those of my friends Mr. Fitzhugh & Mr. Page; but I have for some weeks past been forced by other business to suspend answering any letters whatever, unless indeed of indispensable magnitude and even now must beg you to make the answer for me. When I came into office I found the clerkships all filled by gentlemen who had been in them several years, and who to the title of possession added that of irreproachable conduct. I have therefore not had a single appointment to make. This answer has been given to near an hundred letters which I have had to write in reply to applications of this nature. I wish with all my soul I could have obliged my friends on this occasion.
REPORT ON TONNAGE LAW1
[Jan 18, 1791.]
The Secretary of State having received from the Chargé des Affaires of France a note on the Tonnage payable by french vessels in the ports of the United States has had the same under his consideration, and thereupon makes the following Report to the President of the United States:
The Chargé des Affaires of France, by a note of the 13th. of December represents, by order of his Court, that they consider so much of the acts of Congress of July 20th. 1789 and 1790 as imposes an extraordinary Tonnage on foreign vessels, without excepting those of France, to be in contravention of the 5th. Article of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the two nations; that this would have authorised on their part a proportional modification in the favours granted to the American navigation: but that his sovereign had thought it more conformable to his principles of friendship and attachment to the United States to order him to make representations thereon, and to ask, in favour of french Vessels, a modification of the acts which impose an extraordinary Tonnage on foreign vessels.
The Secretary of State in giving this paper to the President of the United States, thinks it his duty to accompany it with the following observations:
The 3d. and 4th. Articles of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between France and the United States, subject the vessels of each nation to pay, in the ports of the other, only such duties as are paid by the most favoured nation: and give them reciprocally all the privileges and exemptions, in navigation and commerce, which are given by either to the most favoured nations. Had the contracting parties stopped here, they would have been free to raise or lower their Tonnage as they should find it expedient; only taking care to keep the other on the footing of the most favoured nation.
The question then is whether the 5th. Article, cited in the note, is anything more than an application of the principle comprised in the 3d. and 4th. to a particular object? or whether it is an additional stipulation of something not so comprised?
I. That it is merely an application of a principle comprised in the preceding articles, is declared by the express words of the article, to wit, “Dans l’exemption cidessus est nommément compris” &c, “in the above exemption is particularly comprised the imposition of 100. sols per Ton established in France on foreign vessels.” Here then is at once an express declaration that the exemption from the duty of 100. sols, is comprised in the 3d, and 4th. articles; that is to say, it was one of the exemptions, enjoyed by the most favoured nations, and, as such, extended to us by those articles. If the exemption spoken of in this 1st. member of the 5th. article was comprised in the 3d. and 4th. articles, as is expressly declared, then the reservation by France out of that exemption (which makes the 2d. member of the same article) was also comprised: that is to say, if the whole was comprised, the part was comprised. And if this reservation of France in the 2d. member was comprised in the 3d. and 4th. Articles, then the counter reservation by the United States (which constitutes the 3d. and last member of the same article) was also comprised. Because it is but a corresponding portion of a similar whole on our part, which had been comprised by the same terms with theirs.
In short the whole article relates to a particular duty of 100 sols laid by some antecedent law of France on the vessels of foreign nations, relinquished as to the most favoured, and consequently to us. It is not a new and additional stipulation then, but a declared application of the stipulations comprised in the preceding Articles to a particular case, by way of greater caution.
The doctrine laid down generally in the 3d. and 4th. Articles, and exemplified specially in the 5th. amounts to this: “The vessels of the most favoured nations, coming from foreign ports, are exempted from the duty of 100. sols: therefore you are exempted from it by the 3d. and 4th. Articles. The vessels of the most favoured nations, coming coastwise, pay that duty: therefore you are to pay it by the 3d. and 4th. Articles: we shall not think it unfriendly in you to lay a like duty on coasters, because it will be no more than we have done ourselves. You are free also to lay that or any other duty on vessels coming from foreign ports: provided they apply to all other nations, even the most favoured. We are free to do the same, under the same restriction. Our exempting you from a duty which the most favoured nations do not pay, does not exempt you from one which they do pay.”
In this view it is evident that the 5th. Article neither enlarges, nor abridges the stipulations of the 3d. and 4th. The effect of the Treaty would have been precisely the same had it been omitted altogether; consequently it may be truly said that the reservation by the United States in this Article is completely useless. And it may be added with equal truth that the equivalent reservation by France is completely useless: as well as her previous abandonment of the same duty: and in short the whole article. Each party then remains free to raise or lower its Tonnage, provided the change operates on all nations, even the most favoured.
Without undertaking to affirm, we may obviously conjecture, that this Article has been inserted on the part of the United States from an over-caution to guard, nommément, by name, against a particular aggrievance; which they thought they could never be too well secured against: and that has happened, which generally happens; doubts have been produced by the two great number of words used to prevent doubt.
II. The Court of France however understands this article as intended to introduce something to which the preceding articles had not reached; and not merely as an application of them to a particular case. Their opinion seems to be founded on the general rule, in the construction of instruments, to leave no words merely useless, for which any rational meaning can be found. They say that the reservation by the United States of a right to lay a duty equivalent to that of the 100 sols, reserved by France, would have been completely useless, if they were not left free, by the preceding articles, to lay a Tonnage to any extent whatever. Consequently that the reservation of a part proves a relinquishment of the residue.
If some meaning, and such a one, is to be given to the last member of the Article, some meaning, and a similar one, must be given to the corresponding member. If the reservation by the United States of a right to lay an equivalent duty, implies a relinquishment of their right to lay any other, the reservation by France of a right to continue the specified duty to which it is an equivalent, must imply a relinquishment of the right on her part to lay or continue any other. Equivalent reservations by both, must imply equivalent restrictions on both. The exact reciprocity stipulated in the preceding articles, and which pervades every part of the Treaty, insures a counter-right to each party for every right ceded to the other.
Let it be further considered that the duty called tonnage in the United States is in lieu of the duties for anchorage, for the support of Bouys, Beacons, and Light-houses, to guide the mariner into harbour, and along the coast, which are provided and supported at the expence of the United States, and for fees to measurers, weighers, gaugers &c. who are paid by the United States; for which articles, among many others (light excepted) duties are paid by us in the ports of France under their specific names. The government has hitherto thought these duties consistent with the Treaty; and consequently the same duties under a general, instead of specific names, with us, must be equally consistent with it; it is not the name, but the thing which is essential. If we have renounced the right to lay any port duties, they must be understood to have equally renounced that of either laying new or continuing the old. If we ought to refund the port duties received from their vessels since the date of the act of Congress, they should refund the port duties they have received from our vessels since the date of the Treaty; for nothing short of this is the reciprocity of the Treaty.
If this construction be adopted then, each party has forever renounced the right of laying any duties on the vessels of the other coming from any foreign port, or more than 100 sols on those coming coastwise. Could this relinquishment be confined to the two contracting parties alone, the United States would be the gainers, for it is well known that a much1 greater number of American than of French vessels are employed in the commerce between the two countries: but the exemption once conceded by the one nation to the other, becomes immediately the property of all others, who are on the footing of the most favoured nations. It is true that those others would be obliged to yield the same compensation, that is to say, to receive our vessels duty free. Whether we should gain or lose in the exchange of the measure with them, is not easy to say.
Another consequence of this construction will be that the vessels of the most favoured nations, paying no duties, will be on a better footing than those of nations, which pay a moderate duty, consequently either the duty on these also must be given up, or they will be supplanted by foreign vessels in our own ports.
The resource then of duty on vessels for the purposes either of revenue or regulation, will be forever lost to both. It is hardly conceivable that either party, looking forward to all these consequences, would see their interest in them.
III. But if France persists in claiming this exemption, what is to be done? The claim indeed is couched in mild and friendly terms; but the idea leaks out that a refusal would authorize them to modify proportionally the favours granted, by the same article, to our navigation. Perhaps they may do what we should feel much more severely; they may turn their eyes to the favours granted us by their arrets of December 29th. 1787 and December 7th. 1788. which hang on their will alone, unconnected with the Treaty. Those arrets, among other advantages, admit our whale oils to the exclusion of that of all other foreigners. And this monopoly procures a vent for seven twelfths of the produce of that Fishery, which experience has taught us could find no other market. Near two thirds of the produce of our cod fisheries too have lately found a free vent in the colonies of France.1 This indeed has been an irregularity growing out of the anarchy reigning in those Colonies. Yet the demands of the Colonists, even of the Government party among them, (if an auxiliary disposition can be excited by some marks of friendship and distinction on our part) may perhaps produce a Constitutional concession to them to procure their provisions at the cheapest market; that is to say, at ours.
Considering the value of the interests we have at stake, and considering the smallness of difference between foreign and native Tonnage, on french vessels alone, it might perhaps be thought advisable to make the sacrifice asked; and especially if it can be so done as to give no title to other the most favoured nations to claim it. If the act should put french vessels on the footing of those of natives, and declare it to be in consideration of the favours granted us by the arrets of Decr. 29th. 1787, and December 7th. 1788, (and perhaps this would satisfy them). No nation could then demand the same favour, without offering an equivalent compensation. It might strengthen too the tenure by which those arrets are held, which must be precarious, so long as they are gratuitous.
It is desirable, in many instances, to exchange mutual advantages by Legislative Acts rather than by Treaty: because the former, though understood to be in consideration of each other, and therefore greatly respected, yet when they become too inconvenient, can be dropped at the will of either party: whereas stipulations by Treaty are forever irrevocable but by joint consent, let a change of circumstances render them ever so burthensome.
1. On the whole, if it be the opinion, that the 1st. construction is to be insisted on, as ours, in opposition to the 2d. urged by the Court of France, and that no relaxation is to be admitted, an answer shall be given to that Court defending that construction, and explaining in as friendly terms as possible, the difficulties opposed to the exemption they claim.
2. If it be the opinion that it is advantageous for us to close with France in her interpretation of a reciprocal and perpetual exemption from Tonnage; a repeal of so much of the Tonnage law will be the answer.
3. If it be thought better to waive rigorous and nice discussions of right, and to make the modification an act of friendship and of compensation for favours received, the passage of such a bill will then be the answer.
DRAFT OF SENATE RESOLUTION1
In Senate Feb. 1. 1791.
The Commee. to whom was referred that part of the Speech of the President of the U. S. at the opening of the session which relates to the commerce of the Mediterranean, & also the letter from the Secy. of State dated 20th Jany. 1791. with the papers accompanying the same reported, whereupon
Resolved that the Senate do advise & consent that the President of the U. S. take such measures as he may think necessary for the redemption of the citizens of the U. S. now in captivity at Algiers, provided the expence shall not exceed 40,000 Doll: & also that measures be taken to confirm the treaty now existing between the U. S. & the emperor of Morocco.
TO GEORGE MASON
Philadelphia Feb. 4. 1791.
—I am to make you my acknowledgments for your favor of Jan. 10, & the information from France which it contained. It confirmed what I had heard more loosely before, and accounts still more recent are to the same effect. I look with great anxiety for the firm establishment of the new government in France, being perfectly convinced that if it takes place there, it will spread sooner or later all over Europe. On the contrary a check there would retard the revival of liberty in other countries. I consider the establishment and success of their government as necessary to stay up our own, and to prevent it from falling back to that kind of Half-way house, the English constitution. It cannot be denied that we have among us a sect who believe that to contain whatever is perfect in human institutions; that the members of this sect have, many of them, names & offices which stand high in the estimation of our countrymen. I still rely that the great mass of our community is untainted with these heresies, as is it’s head. On this I build my hope that we have not laboured in vain, and that our experiment will still prove that men can be governed by reason. You have excited my curiosity in saying “there is a particular circumstance, little attended to, which is continually sapping the republicanism of the United States.” What is it? What is said in our country of the fiscal arrangements now going on? I really fear their effect when I consider the present temper of the Southern states. Whether these measures be right or wrong abstractedly, more attention should be paid to the general opinion. However, all will pass—the excise will pass—the bank will pass. The only corrective of what is corrupt in our present form of government will be the augmentation of the numbers in the lower house, so as to get a more agricultural representation, which may put that interest above that of the stock-jobbers.
I had no occasion to sound Mr. Madison on your fears expressed in your letter. I knew before, as possessing his sentiments fully on that subject, that his value for you was undiminished. I have always heard him say that though you and he appeared to differ in your systems, yet you were in truth nearer together than most persons who were classed under the same appellation. You may quiet yourself in the assurance of possessing his complete esteem. I have been endeavoring to obtain some little distinction for our useful customers, the French. But there is a particular interest opposed to it, which I fear will prove too strong. We shall soon see. I will send you a copy of a report I have given in, as soon as it is printed. I know there is one part of it contrary to your sentiments; yet I am not sure you will not become sensible that a change should be slowly preparing. Certainly, whenever I pass your road, I shall do myself the pleasure of turning into it. Our last year’s experiment, however, is much in favor of that by Newgate.
TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON
Philadelphia Feb. 4. 1791.
—Unremitting business since the meeting of Congress has obliged me to a rigorous suspension of my correspondencies, & this is the first day I find myself at liberty to resume them, & to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of Dec. 10. The drawings &c were immediately laid before the board of arts, who, adhering to a general rule, desire a model of your invention and a more ample description, as also more complete drawings. In the mean time a bill is prepared for altering the whole train of business & putting it on a more easy footing; this has rendered me the less uneasy under the delay of my answer. I am glad that the experiment you have tried has verified your calculations. The diminution of friction is certainly one of the most desirable reformations in mechanics. Could we get rid of it altogether we should have perpetual motion. I was afraid that using a fluid for a fulcrum, the pivot (for so we may call them) must be of such a diameter as to lose what had been gained. I shall be glad to hear the event of any other experiments you may make on this subject. On that of weights and measures I shall certainly be glad to have a communication of your ideas, & the rather as you suggest they would be so totally different from what has been proposed. It may seem as imprudent as improper to provoke letters from you, when I am obliged to ask such indulgences as to the time of answering. But the truth is I shall always be glad to hear from you & to have your ideas, which are always valuable, & I will answer you when I can. You have too much experience of the obstacles to an exact correspondance in such an office as I hold, to refuse me this indulgence. Are the people in your quarter as well contented with the proceedings of our government, as their representatives say they are? There is a vast mass of discontent gathered in the South, and how & when it will break God knows. I look forward to it with some anxiety. Adieu my dear Sir.
DRAFT OF A BILL TO PROMOTE THE PROGRESS OF THE USEFUL ARTS1
[Feb. 7 1791.]
Be it enacted by the Senate and Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that when any person shall have invented any new and useful art, machine, or composition of matter or any new and useful improvement on any art, machine, or composition of matter, and shall desire to have an exclusive property in the same, he shall pay into the Treasury of the United States the sum of dollars, whereof he shall take a receipt from the Treasurer indorsed on the warrant of the Secretary of the Treasury in the usual form, and shall produce the same to the Secretary of State, in whose office he shall then deposit a description of the said inventions in writing and of the manner of using or process of compounding the same in such full, clear, and exact terms, as to distinguish the same from other things before known and to enable any person skilled in the art or science of which it is a branch, or with which it is most nearly connected to make, compound and use the same; and he shall accompany it with drawings and written references and also with exact models made in a strong and workmanlike manner where the nature of the case admits of drawings or models, and with specimens of the ingredients, and of the composition of matter, sufficient in quantity for the purpose of experiment, where the invention is of a composition of matter; and he shall be entitled to receive from the Secretary of State a certificate thereof under the seal of his office wherein shall be inserted a shorter and more general description of the thing invented to be furnished by the applicant himself, in terms sufficient to point out the general nature thereof, and to warn others against an interference therewith, a copy of which certificate as also of the warrant of the Secretary of the Treasury and Treasurer’s receipt he shall file of record in the clerk’s office of every District Court of the United States, and shall publish three times in some one Gazette of each of the said Districts. After which it shall not be lawful for any person without the permission of the owner of the said invention or of his agents to make or sell the thing so invented or discovered, for a term of fourteen years from the date of the Treasurer’s receipt.
And be it further Enacted that it shall be lawful for the said inventor to assign his title and interest in the said invention at any time before or after the date of the Treasurer’s receipt, and the assignee, having recorded the said assignment in the offices of the Secretary of State and of the Clerks of the District Courts, and published the same three times in some one Gazette of each District, shall thereafter stand in the place of the original inventor, both as to right and responsibility, and so the assignees of assignees to any degree. And any person making or selling the thing so invented without permission as aforesaid shall be liable to an action at law, and to such damages as a jury shall assess, unless he can show that the same thing was known to others before the date of the Treasurer’s receipt, and can shew such probable grounds as the nature of a negative proof will admit that that knowledge was not derived from any party from, through or in whom the right is claimed, or unless he can shew on like grounds that he did not know that there existed an exclusive right to the said invention, or can prove that (the same is so unimportant and obvious that it ought not to be the subject of an exclusive right, or that) the description, model, specimen or ingredients deposited in the office of the Secretary of State do not contain the whole matter necessary to possess the public of the full benefit thereof after the expiration of the exclusive right, or that they contain superfluous matters intended to mislead the public, or that the effect pretended to cannot be produced by the means described. Provided that where any State before it’s accession to the present form of Government, or the adoption of the said form by nine States, shall have granted an exclusive right to any invention, the party claiming that right shall not be capable of obtaining an exclusive right under this act, but on relinquishing his right in and under such particular State, so as that obtaining equal benefits he may be subject to equal restrictions with the other Citizens of the United States, and of such relinquishment his obtaining an exclusive right under this act shall be sufficient evidence.
Provided also that the person whose applications for Patents were on the 1st. day of February in this present year depending before the Secretary of State, Secretary at War, and Attorney General, according to the Act of 1790 for promoting the progress of useful Arts, on complying with all the conditions of this Act except the payment to the Treasurer herein before required, and instead of that payment obtaining from the said Secretary of State, Secretary at War and Attorney General, or any two of them, a certificate of the date of his application, and recording and publishing the said certificate instead of the warrant and receipt of Treasury shall be within the purview of this Act as if he had made such payment and his term of fourteen years shall be counted from the said date of his application.
And be it further Enacted, that after the expiration of any exclusive right to an invention, the public shall have reasonable and sufficient access to the descriptions, drawings, models, and specimens, of the same, so as to be enabled to copy them; and moreover that the Secretary of State shall cause the said descriptions and drawings to be printed, engraved and published, on the best terms he can, to the expences of which the Monies paid as before directed in to the Treasury shall be appropriated in the first place, and the balance to the purchase of books to form a public library at the seat of Government, under the direction of such persons as the President of the United States for the time being shall appoint.
And be it Enacted that the act passed in the year 1790 intitled “an act to promote the progress of the useful arts,” be and is hereby repealed.
TO NICHOLAS LEWIS
Philadelphia Feb. 9. 1791.
—I have been so closely engaged ever since the meeting of Congress as never to have had a moment to write to you.
I think it might be well to advertize my lands at Elkhill for sale, and therefore inclose you the form of an advertisement, in which you will observe I have omitted the name of the proprietor, which as long as I am in public I would wish to keep out of view in every thing of a private nature. If you think any thing in the advertisement had better be omitted, or any thing else inserted, be so good as to make it what you think it should be.1
Understanding that tobo. is still low in Virginia, and the price here, for such as mine being from 26/ to 30/ Virginia money I have concluded to try an experiment of bringing part of it here, & if it suits the market the rest may come also. Not being able to wait till the order could go through you, I have written to Mr. Hylton to send me immediately 20. hhds of it, as they are now in want here, & the river now opening they will soon have their supply. I am in hopes it may come in time to order on the residue, if the experiment succeeds. However I would not have the shipment of the rest to Mr. Maury delayed on that account, as perhaps I may find the bringing it here not to answer. The proceeds of these 20. hhds shall be immediately remitted to Mr. Lyle or Hanson. Wheat is here at a French crown: tho’ in truth there is little brought to market. I have no doubt it will fall as soon as the farmers come in.
Congress will rise on the 3d of March. They have passed an excise bill, which, considering the present circumstances of the Union, is not without objection, and a bill for establishing a bank to which it is objected that they have transcended their powers. There are certainly persons in all the departments who are for driving too fast. Government being founded on opinion, the opinion of the public, even when it is wrong, ought to be respected to a certain degree. The prudence of the President is an anchor of safety to us. I received Mrs. Lewis’s letter of Jan. 23. and return her many thanks for it, as well as for her kind attention to my daughter, who expresses great sensibility for her goodness.
P.S. I must pray you to get the contract with Ronald completely executed, & particularly as to the mortgage of his Beverdam lands. I observe part of my Cumberland lands advertised for the taxes of 1789, which I mention lest the advertisement should have escaped you.
DRAFT FOR PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE CONCERNING NEGOTIATIONS WITH GREAT BRITAIN1
[Feb. 14, 1791.]
Gentlemen of the Senate & of the House of representatives.
Soon after I was called to the administration of the government, I found it important to come to an understanding with the court of London on several points interesting to the U. S. and particularly to know whether they were disposed to enter into arrangements, by mutual consent, which might fix the commerce between the two nations on principles of reciprocal advantage. For this purpose I authorized informal conferences with their Ministers; and from these I do not infer any disposition on their part to enter into any arrangements merely commercial. I have thought it proper to give you this information, as it might at some time have influence on matters under your consideration.2
Gentlemen of the Senate:
Conceiving that in the possible event of a refusal of justice on the part of Gr. Britain, we should stand less committed should it be made to a private rather than to a public person, I employed Mr. Gouv. Morris, who was on the spot, & without giving him any definite character, to enter informally into the conferences before mentioned. For your more particular information I lay before you the instructions I gave him, and those parts of his communications wherein the British Ministers appear either in conversation or by letter. These are, two letters from the D. of Leeds to Mr. Morris, and three letters of Mr. Morris giving an account of two conferences with the D. of Leeds, & one with him & Mr. Pitt. The sum of these is that they declare without scruple they do not mean to fulfil what remains of the treaty of peace to be fulfilled on their part, (by which we are to understand the delivery of the posts & payment for property carried off,) till performance on our part, & compensation where the delay has rendered performance now impracticable: that on the subject of a treaty of commerce they avoided direct answers so as to satisfy Mr. Morris they did not mean to enter into one unless it could be extended to a treaty of Alliance offensive & defensive, or unless in the event of a rupture with Spain.
As to the sending a Minister here, they made excuses in the first conference, seem disposed to it in the second, and in the last express an intention of so doing.
Their views being thus sufficiently ascertained, I have directed Mr. Morris to discontinue his communications with them.
OPINION ON THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF A NATIONAL BANK
February 15, 1791.
The bill for establishing a National Bank undertakes among other things:—
1. To form the subscribers into a corporation.
2. To enable them in their corporate capacities to receive grants of land; and so far is against the laws of Mortmain.1
3. To make alien subscribers capable of holding land; and so far is against the laws of Alienage.
4. To transmit these lands, on the death of a proprietor, to a certain line of successors; and so far changes the course of Descents.
5. To put the lands out of the reach of forfeiture or escheat; and so far is against the laws of Forfeiture and Escheat.
6. To transmit personal chattels to successors in a certain line; and so far is against the laws of Distribution.
7. To give them the sole and exclusive right of banking under the national authority; and so far is against the laws of Monopoly.
8. To communicate to them a power to make laws paramount to the laws of the States: for so they must be construed, to protect the institution from the control of the State legislatures; and so, probably, they will be construed.
I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That “all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.” [XIIth amendment.] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.
The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill, have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States, by the Constitution.
I. They are not among the powers specially enumerated: for these are: 1st. A power to lay taxes for the purpose of paying the debts of the United States; but no debt is paid by this bill, nor any tax laid. Were it a bill to raise money, its origination in the Senate would condemn it by the Constitution.
2d. “To borrow money.” But this bill neither borrows money nor ensures the borrowing it. The proprietors of the bank will be just as free as any other money holders, to lend or not to lend their money to the public. The operation proposed in the bill, first, to lend them two millions, and then to borrow them back again, cannot change the nature of the latter act, which will still be a payment, and not a loan, call it by what name you please.
3. To “regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the States, and with the Indian tribes.” To erect a bank, and to regulate commerce, are very different acts. He who erects a bank, creates a subject of commerce in its bills; so does he who makes a bushel of wheat, or digs a dollar out of the mines; yet neither of these persons regulates commerce thereby. To make a thing which may be bought and sold, is not to prescribe regulations for buying and selling. Besides, if this was an exercise of the power of regulating commerce, it would be void, as extending as much to the internal commerce of every State, as to its external. For the power given to Congress by the Constitution does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State, (that is to say of the commerce between citizen and citizen,) which remain exclusively with its own legislature; but to its external commerce only, that is to say, its commerce with another State, or with foreign nations, or with the Indian tribes. Accordingly the bill does not propose the measure as a regulation of trade, but as “productive of considerable advantages to trade.” Still less are these powers covered by any other of the special enumerations.
II. Nor are they within either of the general phrases, which are the two following:—
1. To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States, that is to say, “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.” For the laying of taxes is the power, and the general welfare the purpose for which the power is to be exercised. They are not to lay taxes ad libitum for any purpose they please; but only to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of the Union. In like manner, they are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase, not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please, which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless.
It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please.
It is an established rule of construction where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect. It is known that the very power now proposed as a means was rejected as an end by the Convention which formed the Constitution. A proposition was made to them to authorize Congress to open canals, and an amendatory one to empower them to incorporate. But the whole was rejected, and one of the reasons for rejection urged in debate was, that then they would have a power to erect a bank, which would render the great cities, where there were prejudices and jealousies on the subject, adverse to the reception of the Constitution.
2. The second general phrase is, “to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers.” But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank therefore is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase.
It has been urged that a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes. Suppose this were true: yet the Constitution allows only the means which are “necessary,” not those which are merely “convenient” for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to every one, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers. It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power, as before observed. Therefore it was that the Constitution restrained them to the necessary means, that is to say, to those means without which the grant of power would be nugatory.
But let us examine this convenience and see what it is. The report on this subject, page 3, states the only general convenience to be, the preventing the transportation and re-transportation of money between the States and the treasury, (for I pass over the increase of circulating medium, ascribed to it as a want, and which, according to my ideas of paper money, is clearly a demerit.) Every State will have to pay a sum of tax money into the treasury; and the treasury will have to pay, in every State, a part of the interest on the public debt, and salaries to the officers of government resident in that State. In most of the States there will still be a surplus of tax money to come up to the seat of government for the officers residing there. The payments of interest and salary in each State may be made by treasury orders on the State collector. This will take up the greater part of the money he has collected in his State, and consequently prevent the great mass of it from being drawn out of the State. If there be a balance of commerce in favor of that State against the one in which the government resides, the surplus of taxes will be remitted by the bills of exchange drawn for that commercial balance. And so it must be if there was a bank. But if there be no balance of commerce, either direct or circuitous, all the banks in the world could not bring up the surplus of taxes but in the form of money. Treasury orders then, and bills of exchange may prevent the displacement of the main mass of the money collected, without the aid of any bank; and where these fail, it cannot be prevented even with that aid.
Perhaps, indeed, bank bills may be a more convenient vehicle than treasury orders. But a little difference in the degree of convenience, cannot constitute the necessity which the constitution makes the ground for assuming any non-enumerated power.
Besides; the existing banks will, without a doubt, enter into arrangements for lending their agency, and the more favorable, as there will be a competition among them for it; whereas the bill delivers us up bound to the national bank, who are free to refuse all arrangement, but on their own terms, and the public not free, on such refusal, to employ any other bank. That of Philadelphia, I believe, now does this business, by their post-notes, which, by an arrangement with the treasury, are paid by any State collector to whom they are presented. This expedient alone suffices to prevent the existence of that necessity which may justify the assumption of a non-enumerated power as a means for carrying into effect an enumerated one. The thing may be done, and has been done, and well done, without this assumption; therefore, it does not stand on that degree of necessity which can honestly justify it.
It may be said that a bank whose bills would have a currency all over the States, would be more convenient than one whose currency is limited to a single State. So it would be still more convenient that there should be a bank, whose bills should have a currency all over the world. But it does not follow from this superior conveniency, that there exists anywhere a power to establish such a bank; or that the world may not go on very well without it.
Can it be thought that the Constitution intended that for a shade or two of convenience, more or less, Congress should be authorized to break down the most ancient and fundamental laws of the several States; such as those against Mortmain, the laws of alienage, the rules of descent, the acts of distribution, the laws of escheat and forfeiture, the laws of monopoly? Nothing but a necessity invincible by any other means, can justify such a prostitution of laws, which constitute the pillars of our whole system of jurisprudence. Will Congress be too straight-laced to carry the constitution into honest effect, unless they may pass over the foundation-laws of the State government for the slightest convenience of theirs?
The negative of the President is the shield provided by the constitution to protect against the invasions of the legislature: 1. The right of the Executive. 2. Of the Judiciary. 3. Of the States and State legislatures. The present is the case of a right remaining exclusively with the States, and consequently one of those intended by the Constitution to be placed under its protection.
It must be added, however, that unless the President’s mind on a view of everything which is urged for and against this bill, is tolerably clear that it is unauthorised by the Constitution; if the pro and the con hang so even as to balance his judgment, a just respect for the wisdom of the legislature would naturally decide the balance in favor of their opinion. It is chiefly for cases where they are clearly misled by error, ambition, or interest, that the Constitution has placed a check in the negative of the President.
REPORT ON ADMISSION OF VERMONT
[Feb. 19, 1791]
The Secretary of state having received from the commissioners for the state of Vermont a letter proposing these Questions 1. Whether as that state will not be a distinct member of the union till the 4th. day of March next, the President can, before that day, nominate officers for it? and 2. if he can not, whether he can nominate them, after the recess of the Senate? makes thereon to the President of the U. S. the following Report:
He is of opinion the President cannot, before the 4th. of March, make nominations which will be good in law: because, till that day, it will not be a separate & integral member of the U. S. and it is only to integral members of the union that his right of nomination is given by the Constitution.
But that nomination may be made on the 4th. of March, and, if the Senate will meet on that day, may be reported to them for their approbation. It is true that the two or three new members will be absent, unless they chuse to come in for this purpose; but as the occasion of consulting an imperfect Senate will not be produced by any act of the President, and as it is in the power of the new Senators to render the body perfect, by coming on if they chuse it, this difficulty appears smaller, than that of making original nominations without the concurrence of the Senate. This therefore is what the Secretary of State thinks best to be done.
TO THE REV. WILLIAM SMITH1
Philadelphia, Feb. 19. 1791.
—I feel both the wish & the duty to communicate, in compliance with your request, whatever, within my knowledge, might render justice to the memory of our great countryman, Dr. Franklin, in whom Philosophy has to deplore one of it’s principal luminaries extinguished. But my opportunities of knowing the interesting facts of his life have not been equal to my desire of making them known. I could indeed relate a number of those bon mots, with which he used to charm every society, as having heard many of them. But these are not your object. Particulars of greater dignity happened not to occur during his stay of nine months, after my arrival in France.
A little before that, Argand had invented his celebrated lamp, in which the flame is spread into a hollow cylinder, & thus brought into contact with the air within as well as without. Doctr Franklin had been on the point of the same discovery. The idea had occurred to him; but he had tried a bull-rush as a wick, which did not succeed. His occupations did not permit him to repeat & extend his trials to the introduction of a larger column of air than could pass through the stem of a bull-rush.
The animal magnetism too of the maniac Mesmer, had just received its death wound from his hand in conjunction with his brethren of the learned committee appointed to unveil that compound of fraud & folly. But, after this, nothing very interesting was before the public, either in philosophy or politics, during his stay; & he was principally occupied in winding up his affairs there.
I can only therefore testify in general that there appeared to me more respect & veneration attached to the character of Doctor Franklin in France, than to that of any other person in the same country, foreign or native. I had opportunities of knowing particularly how far these sentiments were felt by the foreign ambassadors & ministers at the court of Versailles. The fable of his capture by the Algerines, propagated by the English newspapers, excited no uneasiness; as it was seen at once to be a dish cooked up to the palate of their readers. But nothing could exceed the anxiety of his diplomatic brethren, on a subsequent report of his death, which, tho’ premature, bore some marks of authenticity.
I found the ministers of France equally impressed with the talents & integrity of Doctr Franklin. The Ct de Vergennes particularly gave me repeated and unequivocal demonstrations of his entire confidence in him.
When he left Passy, it seemed as if the village had lost its patriarch. On taking leave of the court, which he did by letter, the king ordered him to be handsomely complimented, & furnished him with a litter & mules of his own, the only kind of conveyance the state of his health could bear.
No greater proof of his estimation in France can be given than the late letters of condolence on his death, from the National Assembly of that country, & the Community of Paris, to the President of the United States, & to Congress, and their public mourning on that event. It is, I believe, the first instance of that homage having been paid by a public body of one nation to a private citizen of another.
His death was an affliction which was to happen to us at some time or other. We have reason to be thankful he was so long spared; that the most useful life should be the longest also; that it was protracted so far beyond the ordinary span allotted to man, as to avail us of his wisdom in the establishment of our own freedom, & to bless him with a view of its dawn in the east, where they seemed, till now, to have learned everything, but how to be free.
The succession to Dr Franklin, at the court of France, was an excellent school of humility. On being presented to any one as the minister of America, the commonplace question used in such cases was “c’est vous, Monsieur, qui remplace le Docteur Franklin?” “it is you, Sir, who replace Doctor Franklin?” I generally answered, “no one can replace him, Sir: I am only his successor.”
These small offerings to the memory of our great & dear friend, whom time will be making greater while it is spunging us from it’s records, must be accepted by you, Sir, in that spirit of love & veneration for him, in which they are made; and not according to their insignificance in the eyes of a world, who did not want this mite to fill up the measure of his worth.
DRAFT OF PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE TRANSMITTING VERMONT APPOINTMENTS1
[Mar. 4, 1791.]
Gentlemen of the Senate:
The ‘act for the admission of the state of Vermont into this Union’ having fixed on this, as the day of it’s admission, it was thought that this would also be the first day on which any officer of the Union might legally perform any act of authority relating to that state. I therefore required your attendance to receive nominations of the several officers necessary to put the federal government into motion in that state.
For this purpose I nominate &c.
TO HARRY INNES
Philadelphia, Mar. 7, 1791.
—Your favor of July 8. came to my hands Nov. 30. The infrequency of conveyances, is an apology for this late answer. I receive with pleasure this recognition & renewal of your former acquaintance, and shall be happy to continue it by an exchange of epistolary communications. Yours to me will be always welcome. Your first gives me information in the line of Natural history, & the second (not yet received) promises political news. The first is my passion, the last is my duty, and therefore both desireable. I believe entirely with you, that the remains of fortifications found in the Western country have been the works of the natives. Nothing I have ever yet heard of proves the existence of a nation here who knew the use of iron. I have never heard even of burnt bricks, though they might be made without iron. The statue you have been so kind as to send me, and for which I beg you to accept my thanks, would, because of the hardness of the stone, be a better proof of the use of iron, than I ever yet saw; but as it is a solitary fact, and possible to have been made with implements of stone, and great patience, for which the Indians are remarkable, I consider it to have been so made. It is certainly the best piece of workmanship I ever saw from their hands. If the artist did not intend it, he has very happily hit on the representation of a woman in the first moments of parturition.
Mr. Brown, the bearer of this, will give you the Congressional news, some good, some so so, like everything else in this world. Our endeavors the last year to punish your enemies have had an unfortunate issue. The federal council has yet to learn by experience, what experience has long ago taught us in Virginia, that rank and file fighting will not do against Indians. I hope this year’s experiment will be made in a more auspicious form. Will it not be possible for you to bring General Clark forward? I know the greatness of his mind & am the more mortified at the cause which obscures it. Had not this unhappily taken place, there was nothing he might not have hoped: could it be surmounted, his lost ground might yet be recovered. No man alive rated him higher than I did, & would again, were he to become again what I knew him. We are made to hope he is engaged in writing the account of his expeditions north of Ohio. They will be valuable morsels of history, and will justify to the world those who have told them how great he was.
Mr. Brown will tell you also that we are not inattentive to the interests of your navigation. Nothing short of actual rupture is omitted. What it’s effect will be, we cannot yet foretell; but we should not stop even here, were a favorable conjuncture to arise. The move we have now made must bring the matter to issue. I can assure you of the most determined zeal of our chief magistrate in this business, and I trust mine will not be doubted so far as it can be of any avail. The nail will be driven as far as it will go peaceably, and farther the moment that circumstances become favorable.
TO THE U. S. CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES IN FRANCE1
Philadelphia Mar. 8, 1791.
— * * * No decision yet with respect to the missions, either of France or Holland. The less they are pressed the better for your wishes, as the President will know you more and more himself. To overdo a thing with him is to undo it. I am steering the best I can for you. The excessive unpopularity of the excise and bank bills in the South I apprehend will produce a stand against the Federal Government. In this case the public paper will tumble precipitately. I wish there were some one here authorized to read [sell?] out yours, because if the danger does not take place, or passes easily, he could buy in again to advantage. Indeed you could not do better than subscribe it into the bank, where you can not receive less than six per cent, and may perhaps receive ten. Very particular reasons prohibit me from acting for you in this way. By no means appoint any body of the Treasury.
TO THE GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA
Philadelphia, March 10, 1791.
—We have received with great satisfaction, notification of the orders of his Catholic Majesty, not to permit that persons, held in slavery within the United States, introduce themselves as free persons into the Province of Florida. The known justice of his Majesty and his Government was a certain dependence to us, that such would be his will. The assurances your Excellency has been pleased to give us of your friendly dispositions, leave us no doubt you will have faithfully executed a regulation so essential to harmony and good neighborhood. As a consequence of the same principles of justice and friendship, we trust that your Excellency will permit, and aid the recovery of persons of the same description, who have heretofore taken refuge within your Government. The bearer hereof is authorized to wait on your Excellency to confer on this subject, and to concur in such arrangements as you shall approve for the recovery of such fugitives.
I beg you to be assured that no occasion shall be neglected of proving our dispositions to reciprocate these principles of justice and friendship, with the subjects of his Catholic Majesty, and that you will be pleased to accept the homage of those sentiments of respect and esteem, with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.
TO THE U. S. CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES IN SPAIN
Philadelphia March 12th, 1791.
—I enclose you a statement of the case of Joseph St. Marie a citizen of the United States of America, whose clerk Mr. Swimmer was, in the latter part of the year 1787, seized on the Eastern side of the Mississippi, in latitude 34°-40′, together with his goods, of the value of 1980 dollars, by a party of Spanish soldiers. They justified themselves under the order of a Mr. Valliere their officer, who avowed authority from the Governor of New Orleans, requiring him to seize and confiscate all property found on either side of the Mississippi below the mouth of the Ohio. The matter being then carried by Ste. Marie before the Governor of New Orleans, instead of correcting the injury, he avowed the Act and it’s principle, and pretended orders from his Court for this and more. We have so much confidence however in the moderation and friendship of the Court of Madrid, that we are more than ready to ascribe this outrage to Officers acting at a distance, than to orders from a just sovereign. We have hitherto considered the delivery of the post of the Natchez on the part of Spain, as only awaiting the result of those arrangements which have been under amicable discussion between us; but the remaining in possession of a Post, which is so near our limit of 31° as to admit some colour of doubt whether it be on our side or theirs, is one thing, while it is a very different one to launch 250 miles further, and to seize the persons and property of our citizens; and that too in the very moment that a friendly accommodation of all differences is under discussion. Our respect for their candour and good faith does not permit us to doubt that proper notice will be taken of the presumption of their Officer, who has thus put to hazard the peace of both Nations; and we particularly expect that indemnification will be made to the individual injured. On this you are desired to insist in the most friendly terms, but with that earnestness and perseverance which the complexion of this wrong requires. The papers enclosed will explain the reasons of the delay which has intervened. It is but lately they have been put in the hands of our Government.
We cannot omit this occasion of urging on the Court of Madrid the necessity of hastening a final acknowledgment of our right to navigate the Mississippi: a right which has been long suspended in exercise, with extreme inconvenience on our part, merely with a desire of reconciling Spain to what it is impossible for us to relinquish. An accident at this day, like that now complained of, would put further parley beyond our power; yet to such accidents we are every day exposed by the irregularities of their officers, and the impatience of our citizens. Should any spark kindle these dispositions of our borderers into a flame, we are involved beyond recall by the eternal principles of justice to our citizens, which we will never abandon. In such an event, Spain cannot possibly gain, what may she not lose?—
The boldness of this act of the Governor of New Orleans and of his avowal of it, renders it essential to us to understand the Court of Spain on this subject. You will therefore avail yourself of the earliest occasions of obtaining their sentiments, and of communicating them to us.
TO THE U. S. CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES IN FRANCE
Philadelphia, March 12, 1791.
—The enclosed papers will explain to you a case which imminently endangers the peace of the United States with Spain. It is not, indeed, of recent date, but it has been recently laid before government, and is of so bold a feature as to render dangerous to our rights a further acquiescence in their suspension. The middle ground held by France between us and Spain, both in friendship and interest, requires that we should communicate with her with the fullest confidence on this occasion. I therefore enclose you a copy of my letter to Mr. Carmichael, and of the papers it refers to, to be communicated to Monsieur de Montmorin, whose efficacious interference with the court of Madrid you are desired to ask. We rely with great confidence on his friendship, justice and influence.
A cession of the navigation of the Mississippi, with such privileges as to make it useful, and free from future chicane, can be no longer dispensed with on our part; and perhaps while I am writing, something may have already happened to cut off this appeal to friendly accommodation. To what consequences such an event would lead, cannot be calculated. To such, very possibly, as we should lament, without being able to control. Your earnestness with Monsieur de Montmorin, and with the court of Spain, cannot be more pressing than the present situation and temper of this country requires. The case of St. Marie happens to be the incident presenting itself in the moment, when the general question must otherwise have been brought forward. We rely, on this occasion, on the good offices of the Marquis de La Fayette, whom you are desired to interest in it.
TO HARRY INNES
Philadelphia, March 13, 1791.
—Your favour of Feb 20 came to my hands only four days ago, and I have taken the first moment in my power to prepare my answer, which I now enclose. It is in fact a copy of what I had prepared while in Virginia, when I had the subject under contemplation, except that some useless asperities are rubbed off. I am in hopes either Mr. G. Carr, or Mr Anderson of Richmond has given you a copy of my Opinions of June 20, 1783. and Sept 28, 1790, wherein I have cited the cases upon which I ground my defence for my nephew. I consider that of Pouri & Corbet 3 Fr. Atk, 556. as establishing a rule of construction peculiarly applicable to our case & decisive of it.
What is said with you of the most prominent proceedings of the last Congress? The disapprobation of the assumption with you leads us naturally to attend to your reception of laws for carrying it into effect, which have been thought to present themselves in an unfavorable view. What will be thought of measures taken to force Gr Britain by a navigation act, to come forward in fair treaty, and let us substantially into her islands, as a price for the advantages in navigation and commerce which she now derives from us? This is interesting to our agriculture, provided the means adopted be sufficiently gradual. I wish you would come forward to the federal legislature and give your assistance on a larger scale than that on which you are acting at present. I am satisfied you could render essential service, and I have such confidence in the purity of your republicanism, that I know your efforts would go in a right direction. Zeal and talents added to the republican scale will do no harm in Congress. It is fortunate that our first executive magistrate is purely and zealously republican. We cannot expect all his successors to be so, and therefore should avail ourselves the present day to establish principles and examples which may fence us against future heresies preached now, to be practised hereafter. I repeat my wish that I could see you come into the federal councils; no man living joining more confidence in your principles and talents to higher personal esteem than, dear Sir, your most obedient humble servant.
TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO PORTUGAL
Philadelphia Mar. 15, 1791.
—Your letters No. 1. to 6. from England, No. 7. 8. from Lisbon & No. 9. from Madrid are all received.
The President has nominated you minister Resident for the U. S. of America at the Court of Lisbon, which was approved by the Senate. You will consequently receive herewith your Commission, a letter of credence to the Queen, sealed, and an open copy of it for your own information, & a letter to Monsr. de Pinto her Secretary for foreign affairs. Your salary is fixed at four thousand five hundred dollars a year, and an Outfit equal to a year’s salary. Besides this you will be allowed your disbursements for any gazettes you think proper to be transmitted here, translating & printing papers where that shall be necessary, postage, couriers, & necessary Aids to poor American sailors, unless the latter article should be provided for by the consulage fees allowed by the laws of Portugal as has been said. I state these things particularly that you may be under no doubt as to what you may charge & what you may not charge to the public. I expect from the Secretary of the treasury, in time to go with this letter, information how you are to be furnished with these sums of money. You will be pleased annually to state your account on the 1st. day of July, to the end of the preceding day, & to send it to me by the first conveyance afterwards, to enable me to make up a general account of the foreign fund in time to be laid before Congress at their meeting. We shall name a Consul for the port of Lisbon as soon as a proper native shall occur.
The title of the book you desired is “the Privileges of an Englishman in the Kingdoms & dominions of Portugal contained in the treaty of Oliver Cromwell &c. in Portuguese & English. Sold at the Portugal Coffee house in Smithin’s Alley 1736. 8vo.”
I inclose you the copy of a navigation act proposed in the late Congress, but which lies over to the next, as their time being up on the 3d. of March they were obliged to postpone everything which would admit of it. It will be taken up at the meeting of the next which will be on the 4th. Monday of October. This Act is perfectly innocent as to other nations, is strictly just as to the English, cannot be parried by them, & if adopted by other nations would inevitably defeat their navigation act & reduce their power on the sea within safer limits. It is indeed extremely to be desired that other nations would adopt it. I send copies of it to Mr. Short & Mr. Carmichael. Could those three countries agree to concur in such a measure it would soon be fatally felt by the navy of England. No body can better judge of its effect than Mr. Pinto, to whom I would wish you to communicate it, & see whether he would not think it expedient for Portugal.
I inclose you a letter for Mr. Carmichael, which being of importance, I wish you could find a safe private conveyance for it. We have no letter from him since you left this. You will also receive by this conveyance the newspapers to the present date. The President sets out within a day or two for the Southern states, and will probably not return till June. We are in hourly hope of receiving another letter from you dated from Madrid. * * *
TO THE U. S. CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES IN SPAIN.
Philadelphia. Mar. 17, 1791.
—The term of the first Congress having expired on the 3d inst. they separated on that day, much important business being necessarily postponed. New elections have taken place for the most part, & very few changes made. This is one of many proofs that the proceedings of the new government have given general satisfaction. Some acts indeed have produced local discontents; but these can never be avoided. The new Congress will meet on the 4th Monday of October. Inclosed is the copy of an act reported by a committee of the late Congress, who not having time to go through the subject, referred it to me, to be examined & reported to the next Congress. This measure therefore will be proposed to them as a first & immediate step, and perhaps something further at a more distant day. I have sent copies of this Act to Mr. Short & Colo. Humphreys & I inclose this to you, that you may communicate it to the court of Madrid as a measure in contemplation with us. How far such an one may be politic to be adopted by Spain, France & Portugal is for them to consider. The measure is perfectly innocent as to all nations except those, or rather that, which has a navigation act; and to that it retorts only it’s own principles. Being founded in universal reciprocity, it is impossible it should excite a single complaint. It’s consequences on that nation are such as they cannot avoid; for either they must repeal their navigation act, in order to be let in to a share of foreign carriage, or the shipping they now employ in foreign carriage will be out of employ, and this act frustrated on which their naval power is built. Consequently that power will be reduced within safer limits, and the freedom of the ocean be better secured to all the world. The more extensive the adoption of this measure is, the more irritable will be it’s effect. We would not wish to be declared the excitors of such a concert of measures, but we have thought it expedient to suggest informally to the courts of France, Spain & Portugal the measure we propose to take, and to leave with them to decide, on the motives of their own interest, how far it may be expedient for them to adopt a similar measure. Their concurrence will more completely ensure the object of our Act, and therefore I leave it to yourself to insinuate it with all the discretion and effect you can.
Your letter of May 6. 1789. is still the last we have received, & that is now near two years old. A letter from Colo. Humphreys written within 24. hours after his arrival at Madrid reached us within two months & 10. days after it’s date. A full explanation of the causes of this suspension of all information from you, is expected in answer to my letter of Aug. 6. It will be waited for yet a reasonable time, & in the mean while a final opinion suspended. By the first vessel to Cadiz the laws & gazettes shall be forwarded.
TO THE U. S. CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES IN FRANCE
Philadelphia, March 19, 1791.
—Your letter of November the 6th, No. 46, by Mr. Osmont, came to hand yesterday, and I have just time, before the departure of Mr. Terrasson, the bearer of my letter of the 15th instant, and despatches accompanying it, to acknowledge the receipt, and inform you that it has been laid before the President. On consideration of the circumstances stated in the second page of your letter, he is of opinion, that it is expedient to press at this moment a settlement of our difference with Spain. You are therefore desired, instead of confining your application for the interference of the court of France, to the simple case of St. Marie, mentioned in my letter of the 12th, to ask it on the broad bottom of general necessity, that our right of navigating the Mississippi be at length ceded by the court of Madrid, and be ceded in such form, as to render the exercise of it efficacious and free from chicane. This cannot be without an entrepôt in some convenient port of the river, where the river and sea craft may meet and exchange loads, without any control from the laws of the Spanish government. This subject was so fully developed to you in my letter of August the 10th, 1790, that I shall at present only refer to that. We wish you to communicate this matter fully to the Marquis de La Fayette, to ask his influence and assistance, assuring him that a settlement of this matter is become indispensable to us; any further delay exposing our peace, both at home and abroad, to accidents, the result of which are incalculable, and must no longer be hazarded. His friendly interposition on this occasion, as well as that of his nation, will be most sensibly felt by us. To his discretion, therefore, and yours, we confide this matter, trusting that you will so conduct it as to obtain our right in an efficacious form, and at the same time to preserve to us the friendship of France and Spain, the latter of which we value much, and the former infinitely.
Mr. Carmichael is instructed to press this matter at Madrid; yet if the Marquis and yourself think it could be better effected at Paris, with the Count de Nunnez, it is left to you to endeavor to try it there. Indeed, we believe it would be more likely to be settled there, than at Madrid or here. Observe always, that to accept the navigation of the river without an entrepôt would be perfectly useless, and that an entrepôt, if tramelled, would be a certain instrument for bringing on war instead of preventing it.
TO THE ATTORNEY OF THE DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
Philadelphia, Mar. 22. 1791.
—A certain James O’Fallon is, as we are informed, undertaking to raise, organize & commission an army, of his own authority, & independant of that of the government, the object of which is to go and possess themselves of lands which have never yet been granted by any authority which the government admits to be legal, and with an avowed design to hold them by force against any power, foreign or domestic. As this will inevitably commit our whole nation in war with the Indian nations and perhaps others, it cannot be permitted that all the inhabitants of the U. S. shall be involved in the calamities of war, and the blood of thousands of them be poured out, merely that a few adventurers may possess themselves of lands: nor can a well ordered government tolerate such an assumption of it’s sovereignty by unauthorized individuals. I send you herein the attorney general’s opinion of what may legally be done, with a desire that you proceed against the said O’Fallon according to law. It is not the wish, to extend the prosecution to other individuals, who may have given thoughtlessly into this unlawful proceeding. I enclose you a proclamation to this effect. But they may be assured, that if this undertaking be prosecuted, the whole force of the U. S. will be displayed to punish the transgression. I enclose you one of O’Fallon’s commissions, signed, as is said, by himself.
TO MARTHA JEFFERSON RANDOLPH1
Philadelphia, March 24th, 1791.
My Dear Daughter,
—The badness of the roads retards the posts, so that I have received no letter this week from Monticello. I shall hope soon to have one from yourself; to know from that that you are perfectly re-established, that the little Anne is becoming a big one, that you have received Dr. Gregory’s book and are daily profiting from it. This will hardly reach you in time to put you on the watch for the annular eclipse of the sun, which is to happen on Sunday se’nnight to begin about sunrise. It will be such a one as is rarely to be seen twice in one life. I have lately received a letter from Fulwar Skipwith, who is counsul for us in Martinique and Guadaloupe. He fixed himself first in the former, but has removed to the latter. Are many of your acquaintances in either of these islands? If they are I wish you would write to them and recommend him to their acquaintance. He will be a sure medium through which you may exchange souvenirs with your friends of a more useful kind than those of the convent. He sent me half a dozen pots of very fine sweatmeats. Apples and cider are the greatest presents which can be sent to those islands. I can make those presents for you whenever you choose to write a letter to accompany them, only observing the season for apples. They had better deliver their letters for you to F. S. Skipwith. Things are going on well in France, the Revolution being past all danger. The National Assembly being to separate soon, that event will seal the whole with security. Their islands, but more particularly St. Domingo and Martinique, are involved in a horrid civil war. Nothing can be more distressing than the situation of their inhabitants, as their slaves have been called into action, and are a terrible engine, absolutely ungovernable. It is worse in Martinique, which was the reason Mr. Skipwith left it. An army and fleet from France are expected every hour to quell the disorders. I suppose you are busily engaged in your garden. I expect full details on that subject as well as from Poll, that I may judge what sort of a gardener you make. Present me affectionately to all around you, and be assured of the tender and unalterable love of yours.
TO THE GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA1
Philadelphia, Mar. 26, 1791.
—Your favor of the 2d of January was received the 4th instant. The dispositions expressed by the Governour of Florida give reason to hope he will execute with good faith the orders of his Sovereign to prevent the future reception within his province of slaves flying from the United States. How far he may think himself authorized to give up those who have taken refuge there heretofore is another question. I observe that the orders he announces to have received say nothing of the past. It is probable therefore that an application from us to give them retrospective effect, may require his asking new orders from his Court. The delay which will necessarily attend the answer, the doubts what that answer may be, & if what we wish, the facility of evading the execution if there be a disposition to evade it, are circumstances to be weighed beforehand, as well as the probable amount of the interest it would be possible to recover. If this last be small, it may be questionable how far the government ought in prudence to commit itself by a demand of such dilatory & doubtful effect. As the President will be at Augusta in the course of the tour in which he is now engaged, you will have an opportunity of explaining to him the extent of the losses complained of, & how far they could probably be recovered, even were the dispositions of your neighbours favourable to the recovery, & what those dispositions may actually be.
TO THE FRENCH CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES1
March 29, 1791.
—The note of December 13th. which you did me the honor to address to me on the acts of Congress of the 20th. of July 1789 and 1790, fixing the tonnage payable by foreign vessels arriving from a foreign port without excepting those of France, has been submitted to the Government of the United States. They consider the conduct of his most Christian Majesty in making this the subject of fair discussion and explanation as a new proof of his justice and friendship and they have entered on the consideration with all the respect due to whatever comes from his Majesty or his Ministers, and with all the dispositions to find grounds for an union of opinion which a sincere attachment to your nation and a desire to meet their wishes on every occasion could inspire. But the 5th Article of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce is not seen here exactly in the point of view in which your note places it.
The 3d. and 4th. Articles subject the vessels of each nation to pay in the ports of the other, only such duties as are paid by the most favoured nation: and give them reciprocally all the privileges and exemptions in navigation and commerce, which are given by either to the most favoured nations. Had the contracting parties stopped here, they would have been free to raise or lower their tonnage as they should find it expedient; only taking care to keep the other on the footing of the most favoured nation.
The question then is whether the 5th Article, cited in the note, is anything more than an application of the principle comprised in the 3d. and 4th. to a particular object? or whether it is an additional stipulation of some thing not so comprised?
I. That it is merely an application of a principle comprised in the preceding Articles, is declared by the express words of the Article, to wit, “Dans l’exemption cidessus est nommément compris &c.” in the above exemption is particularly comprised the imposition of 100. sols per ton established in France on foreign vessels. Here then is at once an express declaration that the exemption from the duty of 100 sols, is comprised in the 3d. and 4th. Articles; that is to say, it was one of the exemptions enjoyed by the most favoured nations, and, as such, extended to us by those Articles. If the exemption spoken of in this 1st. member of the 5th. Article was comprised in the 3d. and 4th. Articles, as is expressly declared, then the reservation by France out of that exemption (which makes the 2d member of the same Article) was also comprised: that is to say, if the whole was comprised the part was comprised. And if this reservation of France in the 2d. member was comprised in the 3d. and 4th. Articles, then the counter reservation by the United States (which constitutes the 3d. and last member of the same Article) was also comprised. Because it is but a corresponding portion of a similar whole on our part, which had been comprised by the same terms with theirs.
In short the whole article relates to a particular duty of 100. sols laid by some antecedent law of France on the vessels of foreign nations, relinquished as to the most favoured, and consequently to us. It is not a new and additional stipulation then, but a declared application of the stipulations comprised in the preceding articles to a particular case, by way of greater caution.
The doctrine laid down generally in the 3d and 4th Articles, and exemplified specially in the 5th amounts to this. “The vessels of the most favoured nations, coming from foreign ports, are exempted from the duty of 100. sols: therefore you are exempted from it by the 3d and 4th Articles. The vessels of the most favoured nations, coming coastwise, pay that duty; therefore you are to pay it by the 3d and 4th Articles. We shall not think it unfriendly in you to lay a like duty on coasters, because it will be no more than we have done ourselves. You are free also to lay that or any other duty on vessels coming from foreign ports, provided they apply to all other nations, even the most favoured. We are free to do the same, under the same restriction: but exempting you from a duty which the most favoured nations do not pay, does not exempt you from one which they do pay.”
In this view it is evident that the 5th Article neither enlarges, nor abridges the stipulations of the 3d and 4th. The effect of the Treaty would have been precisely the same had it been omitted altogether; consequently it may be truly said that the reservation by the United States in this Article is completely useless. And it may be added with equal truth that the equivalent reservation by France is completely useless: as well as her previous abandonment of the same duty; and in short the whole article. Each party then remains free to raise or lower it’s tonnage, provided the change operates on all nations, even the most favoured.
Without undertaking to affirm, we may obviously conjecture, that this Article has been inserted on the part of the United States from an over caution to guard, nommement, by name, against a particular aggrievance, which they thought they could never be too well secured against: and that has happened, which generally happens; doubts have been produced by the too great number of words used to prevent doubt.
II. The Court of France however understands this Article as intended to introduce something to which the preceding Articles had not reached; and not merely as an application of them to a particular case. This opinion seems to be founded on the general rule, in the construction of instruments, to leave no words merely useless, for which any rational meaning can be found. They say that the reservation by the United States of a right to lay a duty equivalent to that of the 100. sols, reserved by France, would have been completely useless, if they were left free, by the preceding Articles, to lay a tonnage to any extent whatever. Consequently that the reservation of a part proves a relinquishment of the residue.
If some meaning, and such a one, is to be given to the last member of the Article, some meaning, and a similar one, must be given to the corresponding member. If the reservation by the United States of a right to lay an equivalent duty, implies a relinquishment of their right to lay any other, the reservation by France of a right to continue the specified duty to which it is an equivalent, must imply a relinquishment of the right, on her part to lay or continue any other. Equivalent reservations by both, must imply equivalent restrictions on both. The exact reciprocity stipulated in the preceding Articles, and which pervades every part of the Treaty, ensures a counter right to each party for every right ceded to the other.
Let it be further considered—that the duty called tonnage in the United States is in lieu of the duties for Anchorage, for the support of Buoys, Beacons, and Light-houses, to guide the Mariner into harbour, and along the coast, which are provided and supported at the expence of the United States, and for fees to measurers, weighers, gaugers, &c., who are paid by the United States; for which articles, among many others (light excepted) duties are paid by us in the ports of France under their specific names. That Government has hitherto thought these duties consistent with the Treaty; and consequently the same duties under a general instead of specific monies, with us, must be equally consistent with it; it is not the name, but the thing which is essential. If we have renounced the right to lay any port duties, they must be understood to have equally renounced that of either laying new or continuing the old. If we ought to refund the port duties received from their vessels since the date of the Act of Congress, they should refund the port duties they have received from our vessels since the date of the Treaty, for nothing short of this is the reciprocity of the Treaty.
If this construction be adopted then, each party has forever renounced the right of laying any duties on the vessels of the other coming from any foreign port, or more than 100 sols on those coming coastwise. Could this relinquishment be confined to the two contracting parties alone it’s effect would be calculable. But the exemption once conceded by the one nation to the other, becomes immediately the property of all others, who are on the footing of the most favoured nations. It is true that those others would be obliged to yield the same compensation, that is to say, to receive our vessels duty free. Whether France and the United States would gain or lose in the exchange of the measure with them, is not easy to say.
Another consequence of this construction will be that the vessels of the most favoured nations, paying no duties will be on a better footing than those of nations, which pay a moderate duty, consequently either the duty on these also must be given up, or they will be supplanted by foreign vessels in our own ports.
The resource then of duty on vessels for the purposes either of revenue or regulation, will be forever lost to both. It is hardly conceivable that either party, looking forward to all these consequences, would see their interest in them. So that on the whole, Sir, we consider the 5th article of the Treaty merely as an illustration of the 3d and 4th articles, by an application of the principles comprised in them to the case stated in that, and that a contrary construction would exceedingly embarrass and injure both the contracting parties. We feel every disposition on our part to make considerable sacrifices where they would result to the sole benefit of your nation: but where they would excite from other nations corresponding claims, it becomes necessary to proceed with caution. You probably know, Sir, that the general subject of navigation was before our Legislature at their last Session, and was postponed merely for the want of time to go through it before the period arrived to which the Constitution had limited their existence. It will be resumed at the meeting of the new Legislature, and from a knowledge of the sincere attachment of my Countrymen to the prosperity of your nation, and to the increase of our intercourse with it, I may safely say for the new Legislature that the encouragement of that intercourse for the advantage of both parties will be considered as among the most interesting branches of the general subject submitted to them. From a perfect conviction of the coincidence of our interests nobody wishes more sincerely to cultivate the habit of mutual good offices and favours than he who has the honor to be with sentiments of the greatest respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedient and most humble Servant.
TO MARY JEFFERSON1
Philadelphia, March 31st, 1791.
My dear Maria,
—I am happy to have a letter of yours to answer. That of March 6th came to my hands on the 24th. By-the-by, you never acknowledged the receipt of my letters, nor tell me what on day they came to hand. I presume that by this time you have received the two dressing tables with marble tops. I give one of them to your sister, and the other to you: mine is here with the top broken in two. Mr. Randolph’s letter, referring to me the name of your niece, was very long on the road. I answered it as soon as I received it, and hope the answer got duly to hand. Lest it should have been delayed, I repeated last week to your sister the name of Anne, which I had recommended as belonging to both families. I wrote you in my last that the frogs had begun their songs on the 7th; since that the blue-birds saluted us on the 17th; the weeping-willow began to leaf on the 18th; the lilac and gooseberry on the 25th; and the golden-willow on the 26th. I inclose for your sister three kinds of flowering beans, very beautiful and very rare. She must plant and nourish them with her own hand this year, in order to save enough seeds for herself and me. Tell Mr. Randolph I have sold my tobacco for five dollars per c., and the rise between this and September. Warehouse and shipping expenses in Virginia, freight and storage here, come to 2s. 9d. a hundred, so that it is as if I had sold it in Richmond for 27s. 3d. credit till September, or half per cent. per month discount for the ready money. If he chooses it, his Bedford tobacco may be included in the sale. Kiss everybody for me. Yours affectionately.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
d. s. mss.
Philadelphia Apr. 2. 1791.
—I had the honor of addressing you on the 27th. Ult. since which letters are received of Jan. 24., from Mr. Carmichael, and of Jan. 3 & 15, Madrid, and Feb. 6., and 12., Lisbon, from Colonel Humphreys. As these are interesting and may tend to settle suspense of mind to a certain degree, I shall trouble you with quotations from some parts & the substance of others.
Colo. H. says,
“I learn from other good authority, as well as from Mr. Carmichael, that all the representations of Gardoqui (when minister in America), tended to excite a belief that the most respectable & influential people throughout the U. S. did not wish to have the navigation of the Mississippi opened for years to come, from an apprehension such an event would weaken the government & impoverish the Atlantic states by emigrations. It was even pretended that none but a handful of settlers on the Western waters, & a few inhabitants of the Southern states would acquiesce in the measure.”
This is the state of mind to which they have reverted since the crisis with England is passed, for during that, the Count de Florida Blanca threw out general assertions that we should have no reason to complain of their conduct with respect to the Mississippi; which gave rise to the report it’s navigation was opened. The following passages will be astonishing to you who recollect that there was not a syllable in your letters to Mr. G. M. which looked in the most distant manner to Spain. Mr. Carmichael says,
“Something however might have been done in a moment of projects and apprehension, had not a certain negotiation, carried on on our part at London, transpired, & which I think was known here rather from British policy than from the vigilance of the Marquis del Campo. Entirely unacquainted with this manœuvre, although in correspondence with the person employed, I was suspected to be in the secret. This suspicion banished confidence, which returns by slow degrees. This circumstance induced me to drop entirely my correspondence with G. M. To continue it would have done harm, & certainly could do no good. I have seen extracts of the President’s letter communicated to the Duke of Leeds, perhaps mutilated or forged to serve here the views of the British cabinet. I do not yet despair of obtaining copies of those letters through the same channel that I procured the first account of the demands of G. B. and the signature of the late convention.”
Colo. Humphreys says,
“The minister had intimations from del Campo of the conferences between Mr. Morris & the Duke of Leeds, which occasioned him to say with warmth to Mr. Carmichael, ‘Now is your time to make a treaty with England.’ Fitzherbert availed himself of these conferences to create apprehensions that the Americans would aid his nation in case of war.”
Your genuine letter could have made no such impression. The British court then must have forged one, to suit their purpose, and I think it will not be amiss to send a genuine copy to Carmichael, to place our faith on it’s just ground. The principal hope of doing anything now, is founded, either on an expected removal of the Count de F. B. from the ministry, in which case persons will be employed who are more friendly to America, or to the bursting out of that fire which both gentlemen think but superficially covered. Mr. Carmichael justifies himself by the interception of his letters. He has shown the originals to Colonel H. He concludes his present letter with these words,
“Relying on the good opinion of me, that you have been pleased to express on many occasions, I entreat you to engage the President to permit me to return to my native country.”
Colo. Humphreys, on the subjects of his justification and return says, (after speaking of the persons likely to come into power),
“Mr. Carmichael being on terms of intimacy with the characters here, is certainly capable of effecting more at this court than any other American. He is heartily desirous of accomplishing the object in view at all events, & fully determined to return to America in 12. or 18. months at farthest. He has expressed that intention repeatedly. To be invested with full powers, perhaps he would be able to do something before his departure from the continent.”
In his letter of Jan. 15. he says,
“Mr. Carmichael’s ideas are just: his exertions will be powerful & unremitting to obtain the accomplishment of our desires before his departure from this country. The task will now be difficult if not impracticable.”
In that of Feb. 6. he says,
“Mr. Carmichael is much mortified that so many of his despatches have miscarried. By the original documents, which I have seen in his hands, I am convinced he has been extremely assiduous and successful in procuring early & authentic intelligence. It is difficult for a person at a distance to form an adequate judgment of the embarrassments to which a public man, situated as he was, is subjected, in making written communications, from such an inland place, & under such a jealous government. He appears disgusted with the country & the mode of life he is compelled to lead. He desires ardently to return to his native land; but he wishes to distinguish himself first by rendering some essential service to it if possible.”
I propose to write to Mr. Carmichael that your absence prevents my asking the permission he desires, that as it is natural he should wish to do something which may make favorable impressions here before his return & an opportunity is now offered him, I will suspend asking his recall till I hear further from him.
Governor Quesada, by order of his court, is inviting foreigners to go and settle in Florida. This is meant for our people. Debtors take advantage of it, & go off with their property. Our citizens have a right to go where they please. It is the business of the states to take measures to stop them till their debts are paid. This done, I wish a hundred thousand of our inhabitants would accept the invitation. It will be the means of delivering to us peaceably, what may otherwise cost us a war. In the meantime we may complain of this seduction of our inhabitants just enough to make them believe we think it very wise policy for them, & confirm them in it. This is my idea of it.
TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO PORTUGAL
Philadelphia, Apr. 11. 1791.
—I wrote you Mar. 15. with postscripts of the 18th. & 19th. since that yours of Jan. 3. No. 10. Jan. 15. No. 11. from Madrid, and Feb. 6. No. 12. & Feb. 12. No. 13. from Lisbon are received. They covered a letter from Mr. Carmichael, the only one we have from him of later date than May 1789. You know that my letter to him, of which you were the bearer, took notice of the intermission of his correspondence, and the one inclosed to him in my letter to you of Mar. 15. being written when this intermission was felt still stronger, as having continued so much longer, conveyed stronger marks of dissatisfaction. Tho’ his letter now received convinces us he has been active in procuring intelligence, yet it does not appear that he has been equally assiduous in procuring means of correspondence which was the more incumbent on him in proportion as the government was more jealous & watchful. Still however I wish him to receive the letter now inclosed for him herein, as it softens what had been harder said, and shews a disposition rather to look forward than backward. I hope you will receive it in time to forward with the other. It contains important matter, pressing on him, as I wish to do on you, & have done on Mr Short, to engage your respective courts in a co-operation in our navigation act. Procure for us all the information possible as to the strength, riches, resources, lights and dispositions of Brazil. The jealousy of the court of Lisbon on this subject will of course inspire you with due caution in making and communicating these inquiries.1
TO JAMES MONROE
Philadelphia Apr. 17. 1791.
—Your favor of Mar. 29. 1791. came to hand last night. I sincerely sympathize with you on the step which your brother has taken without consulting you, and wonder indeed how it could be done, with any attention in the agents, to the laws of the land. I fear he will hardly persevere in the second plan of life adopted for him, as matrimony illy agrees with study, especially in the first stages of both. However you will readily perceive that, the thing being done, there is now but one question, that is what is to be done to make the best of it, in respect both to his & your happiness? A step of this kind indicates no vice, nor other foible than of following too hastily the movements of a warm heart. It admits therefore of the continuance of cordial affection, & calls perhaps more indispensably for your care & protection. To conciliate the affection of all parties, and to banish all suspicion of discontent, will conduce most to your own happiness also. I am sorry to hear that your daughter has been unwell, & hope she is recovered ere this, and that Mrs. Monroe enjoys good health. Affairs in France are still going on well. The late pacification between Spain & England has not been a reconciliation. It is thought the fire is but slightly covered, & may burst out should the Northern war spread as is expected. Great Britain is still endeavoring to plunder us of our carrying business. The parliament have a bill before them to admit wheat brought in British bottoms to be warehoused rent free, so that the merchants are already giving a preference to British bottoms for that commodity. Should we lose the transportation of our own wheat, it will put down a great proportion of our shipping, already pushed by British vessels out of some of the best branches of business. In order further to circumscribe our carrying, the Commissioners of the Treasury have lately determined to admit no vessel as American, unless built here. This takes from us the right of prescribing by our own laws the conditions of naturalizing vessels in our own country, and in the event of a war in which we should be neutral, prevents our increasing, by purchase, the quantity of our shipping, so as to avail ourselves of the full benefit of the neutrality of our flag. If we are to add to our own stock of shipping only as much as we can build, a war will be over before we shall be the better of it. We hear of continual murders in the Westward. I hope we shall drub the Indians well this summer & then change our plan from war to bribery. We must do as the Spaniards & English do, keep them in peace by liberal & constant presents. They find it the cheapest plan, & so shall we. The expence of this summers expedition would have served for presents for half a century. In this way hostilities being suspended for some length of time, a real affection may succeed on our frontiers to that hatred now existing there. Another powerful motive is that in this way we may leave no pretext for raising or continuing an army. Every rag of an Indian depredation will otherwise serve as a ground to raise troops with those who think a standing army and a public debt necessary for the happiness of the U. S. and we shall never be permitted to get rid of either. Our treasury still thinks that these new encroachments of Gr. Brit. on our carrying trade must be met by passive obedience and non-resistance, lest any misunderstanding with them should affect our credit, or the prices of our public paper. New schemes are on foot for bringing more paper to market by encouraging great manufacturing companies to form, and their actions, or paper-shares, to be transferrable as bank-stock. We are ruined, Sir, if we do not over rule the principles that ‘the more we owe, the more prosperous we shall be,’ ‘that a public debt furnishes the means of enterprise,’ ‘that if ours should be once paid off, we should incur another by any means however extravagant’ &c. &c.—Colo. Eveleigh died yesterday morng.—Present me affectionately & most affectionately to Mrs. Monroe. I cannot be with you till September. Adieu, my dear Sir.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Philadelphia, Apr. 17. 1791.
—I had the honor of addressing you on the 2d, which I supposed would find you at Richmond, and again on the 10th, which I thought would overtake you at Wilmington. The present will probably find you at Charleston.
According to what I mentioned in my letter of the 10th, the Vice-president, Secretaries of the Treasury & War & myself, met on the 11th. Colo Hamilton presented a letter from Mr. Short in which he mentioned that the month of February being one of the periodical months in Amsterdam, when from the receipt of interest and refunding of capitals, there is much money coming in there, & free to be disposed of, he had put off the opening his loan till then, that it might fill the more rapidly, a circumstance which would excite the presumption of our credit; that he had every reason to hope it would be filled before it would be possible for him, after his then communication of the conditions, to receive your approbation of them, & orders to open a second; which however should be awaited, according to his instructions; but he pressed the expediting the order, that the stoppage of the current in our favor might be as short as possible. We saw that if, under present circumstances, your orders should be awaited, it would add a month to the delay, and we were satisfied, were you present, you would approve the conditions, & order a second loan to be opened. We unanimously therefore advised an immediate order, on condition the terms of the 2d. loan should not be worse than those of the 1st.. Genl. Knox expressed an apprehension that the 6. nations might be induced to join our enemies; there being some suspicious circumstances; and he wished to send Colo. Pickering to confirm them in their neutrality. This he observed would occasion an expense of about two thousand dollars, as the Indians were never to be met empty-handed. We thought the mission adviseable. As to myself, I hope we shall give the Indians a thorough drubbing this summer, and I should think it better afterwards to take up the plan of liberal & repeated presents to them. This would be much the cheapest in the end, & would save all the blood which is now split: in time too it would produce a spirit of peace & friendship between us. The expense of a single expedition would last very long for presents. I mentioned to the gentlemen, the idea of suggesting thro’ Colo. Beckwith our knowledge of the conduct of the British officers in furnishing the Indians with arms & ammunition, and our dissatisfaction. Colo. Hamilton said that Beckwith had been with him on the subject, and had assured him they had given the Indians nothing more than the annual present, & at the annual period. It was thought proper however that he should be made sensible that this had attracted the notice of government. I thought it the more material, lest, having been himself the first to speak of it, he might suppose his excuses satisfactory, & that therefore they might repeat the annual present this year. As Beckwith lodges in the same house with Mr. Madison, I have desired the latter to find some occasion of representing to Beckwith that tho’ an annual present of arms & ammunition be an innocent thing in time of peace, it is not so in time of war: that it is contrary to the laws of neutrality for a neutral power to furnish military implements to either party at war, & that if their subjects should do it on private account, such furniture might be seized as contraband: to reason with him on the subject, as from himself, but so as to let him see that government thought as himself did.
You knew, I think, before you left us, that the British Parliament had a bill before them for allowing wheat, imported in British bottoms, to be warehoused rent free. In order further to circumscribe the carrying business of the U. S., they now refuse to consider as an American bottom, any vessel not built here. By this construction they take from us the right of defining by our own laws what vessels shall be deemed ours & naturalized here; and in the event of a war, in which we should be neutral, they put it out of our power to benefit ourselves of our neutrality, by increasing suddenly by purchase & naturalization our means of carriage. If we are permitted to do this by building only, the war will be over before we can be prepared to take advantage of it. This has been decided by the Lords Commissioners of the treasury, in the case of one Green a merchant of New York; from whom I have received a regular complaint on the subject. I enclose you the copy of a note from Mr. King to Colonel Hamilton, on the subject of the appointment of a British minister to come here. I suspect it, however, to be without foundation.
Colonel Eveleigh died yesterday. Supposing it possible you might desire to appoint his successor as soon as you could decide on one, I enclose you a blank commission; which, when you shall be pleased to fill it up and sign, can be returned for the seal and counter-signature. I enclose you a letter from Mr. Coxe to yourself, on the subject of this appointment, and so much of one to me as related to the same, having torn off a leaf of compliment to lighten and lessen my enclosures to you. Should distributive justice give preference to a successor of the same state with the deceased, I take the liberty of suggesting to you Mr. Hayward, of South Carolina, whom I think you told me you did not know, and of whom you are now on the spot of inquiry. I enclose you also a continuation of the Pennsylvania debates on the bill for federal buildings. After the postponement by the Senate, it was intended to bring on the reconsideration of that vote; but the hurry at winding up their session prevented it. They have not chosen a federal Senator.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Philadelphia, April 24, 1791.
—I had the honor of addressing you on the 17th. Since which I have received yours of the 13th.—I inclose you extracts from letters received from Mr. Short. In one of the 7th of Feb., Mr. Short informs me that he has received a letter from M. de Montmorin, announcing to him that the King has named Ternant his minister here. The questions on our tobacco & oil have taken unfavorable turns. The former will pay 50 livres the thousand weight less when carried in French than foreign bottoms. Oil is to pay twelve livres a kental, which amounts to a prohibition of the common oils, the only kind carried there. Tobacco will not feel the effect of these measures till time will be given to bring it to rights. They had only 20,000 hhds. in the kingdom in Novemb. last, & they consume 2000 hhds. a month; so that they must immediately come forward & make great purchases, & not having, as yet, vessels of their own to carry it, they must pay the extra duties on ours. I have been puzzled about the delays required by Mr. Barclay’s affairs. He gives me reason to be tolerably assured, that he will go in the first vessel which shall sail after the last day of May. There is no vessel at present whose destination would suit. Believing that even with this, we shall get the business done sooner than thro’ any other channel, I have thought it best not to change the plan.—The last Leyden gazettes give us what would have been the first object of the British arms had the rupture with Spain taken place. You know that Admiral Cornish had sailed on an unknown destination before the Convention was received in London. Immediately on it’s receipt, they sent an express after him to Madeira, in hopes of finding him there. He was gone, & had so short a passage that in 23 days he had arrived in Barbadoes, the general rendezvous. All the troops of the islands were collecting there, and Genl. Matthews was on his way from Antigua to take command of the land operations, when he met with the packet boat which carried the counter-orders. Trinidad was the object of the expedition. Matthews returned to Antigua, & Cornish is arrived in England. This island, at the mouth of the Oronoko, is admirably situated for a lodgment from which all the country up that river, & all the Northern coast of South America, Spanish, French, Dutch, & Portuguese, may be suddenly assailed.
Colo. Pickering is now here, & will set out in two or three days to meet the Indians, as mentioned in my last.—The intimation to Colo. Beckwith has been given by Mr. Madison. He met it on very different ground from that on which he had placed it with Colo. Hamilton. He pretended ignorance & even disbelief of the fact; when told that it was out of doubt, he said he was positively sure the distribution of arms had been without the knowlege and against the orders of Lo. Dorchester, & of the government. He endeavored to induce a formal communication from me. When he found that could not be effected, he let Mr. Madison perceive that he thought however informal his character, he had not been sufficiently noticed: said he was in N. York before I came into office, and that tho’ he had not been regularly turned over to me, yet I knew his character. In fine he promised to write to Lo. Dorchester the general information we had received & our sense of it; and he saw that his former apologies to Colo. Hamilton had not been satisfactory to the government.—Nothing further from Moose island nor the posts on the Northern border of New-York, nor anything of the last week from the Western country.
Arthur Campbell has been here. He is the enemy of P. Henry. He says the Yazoo bargain is like to drop with the consent of the purchasers. He explains it thus. They expected to pay for the lands in public paper at par, which they had bought at half a crown the pound. Since the rise in the value of the public paper, they have gained as much on that, as they would have done by investing it in the Yazoo lands; perhaps more, as it puts a large sum of specie at their command which they can turn to better account. They are therefore likely to acquiesce under the determination of the government of Georgia to consider the contract as forfeited by non-payment.—I direct this letter to be forwarded from Charleston to Cambden. The next will be from Petersburg to Taylor’s ferry; and after that I shall direct to you at Mount Vernon.
TO THOMAS MANN RANDOLPH
Philadelphia May 1. 1791.
—I have to acknowlege the receipt of your favour of Apr. 7. which came to hand on the 20th. I hope my letters on the subject of my tobo. have got to hand in time to prevent any contract there interfering with the sale I made here. I learn that 4 hhds more are coming on. Being entitled to the highest price given before payment, I believe I shall be sure of 5⅓ dollars which will net me 29/3 Virginia money. Your shipment to London & Mr. Madison’s to Liverpool will give us a fair trial of the markets. We are still sitting before fires here. The fruit in this country is untouched. I thank you for having replaced my dead trees. It is exactly what I would have wished. I shall be glad to hear how the white wheat, mountain-rice, Paccan & Sugar Maples have succeeded. Evidence grows upon us that the U. S. may not only supply themselves sugar for their own consumption but be great exporters. I have received a cargo of olive trees from Marseilles, which I am ordering on to Charleston, so that the U. S. has a certain prospect that sugar & oil will be added to their productions, no mean addition. I shall be glad to have a pair of puppies of the Shepherd’s dog selected for the President. A committee of the Philosophical society is charged with collecting materials for the natural history of the Hessian fly. I do not think that of the weavil of Virginia has been yet sufficiently detailed. What do you think of beginning to turn your attention to this insect, in order to give its history to the Phil. society? It would require some summers’ observations.—Bartram here tells me that it is one & the same insect which by depositing it’s egg in the young plumbs, apricots, nectarines & peaches renders them gummy & good for nothing. He promises to shew me the insect this summer.—I long to be free for pursuits of this kind instead of the detestable ones in which I am now labouring without pleasure to myself, or profit to others. In short I long to be with you at Monticello. Greet all the family tenderly for me.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
d. s. mss.
Philadelphia May 1. 1791.
—I had the honour of addressing you on the 24th. Ult. which I presume you will have received at Cambden. The present is ordered to go from Petersburg to Taylor’s ferry. I think it better my letters should be even some days ahead of you, knowing that if they ever get into your rear they will never overtake you. I write to-day indeed merely as the watchman cries, to prove himself awake, & that all is well, for the last week has scarcely furnished anything foreign or domestic worthy your notice. Truxton is arrived from the E. Indies and confirms the check by Tippou Saib on the detachment of Colo. Floyd, which consisted of between 3. & 4000 men. The latter lost most of his baggage & artillery, and retreated under the pursuit of the enemy. The loss of men is pretended by their own papers to have been 2, or 300 only. But the loss and character of the officers killed, makes one suspect that the situation has been such as to force the best officers to expose themselves the most, & consequently that more men must have fallen. The main body with General Meedons at their head are pretended to be going on boldly, yet Ld. Cornwallis is going to take the field in person. This shews that affairs are in such a situation as to give anxiety. Upon the whole the account received thro’ Paris proves true notwithstanding the minister had declared to the house of Commons, in his place, that the public accounts were without foundation, & that nothing amiss had happened.
Our loan in Amsterdam for 2½ million of florins filled in two hours & a half after it was opened.
The Vice-president leaves us to-morrow. We are told that Mr. Morris gets £70.000 sterl. for the lands he has sold.
A Mr. Noble has been here, from the country where they are busied with the sugar maple tree. He thinks Mr. Cooper will bring 3000 £’s worth to market this season, and gives the most flattering calculations of what may be done in that way. He informs me of another very satisfactory fact, that less profit is made by converting the juice into spirit than into sugar. He gave me specimens of the spirit, which is exactly whiskey.
I have arrived at Baltimore from Marseilles 40. olive trees of the best kind from Marseilles, & a box of the seed. The latter to raise stocks, & the former cuttings to engraft on the stocks. I am ordering them on instantly to Charleston, where if they arrive in the course of this month they will be in time. Another cargo is on it’s way from Bordeaux, so that I hope to secure the commencement of this culture, and from the best species. Sugar & oil will be no mean addition to the articles of our culture. I have the honour to be with the greatest respect and esteem, Sir, your most obedt. & most humble servt.
TO MARY JEFFERSON1
Philadelphia, May 8th, 1791.
My dear Maria,
—Your letter of April 18th came to hand on the 30th; that of May 1st I received last night. By the stage which carries this letter I send you twelve yards of striped nankeen of the pattern inclosed. It is addressed to the care of Mr. Brown, merchant in Richmond, and will arrive there with this letter. There are no stuffs here of the kind you sent. April 30th the lilac blossomed. May 4th the gelder-rose, dogwood, redbud, azalea were in blossom. We have still pretty constant fires here. I shall answer Mr. Randolph’s letter a week hence. It will be the last I shall write to Monticello for some weeks, because about this day se’nnight I set out to join Mr. Madison at New York, from whence we shall go up to Albany and Lake George, then cross over to Bennington, and so through Vermont to the Connecticut River, down Connecticut River, by Hartford, to New Haven, then to New York and Philadelphia. Take a map and trace this route. I expect to be back in Philadelphia about the middle of June. I am glad you are to learn to ride, but hope that your horse is very gentle, and that you will never be venturesome. A lady should never ride a horse which she might not safely ride without a bridle. I long to be with you all. Kiss the little one every morning for me, and learn her to run about before I come. Adieu, my dear. Yours affectionately.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
d. s. mss.
Philadelphia, May 8, 1791.
—The last week does not furnish one single public event worthy communicating to you: so that I have only to say “all is well.” Paine’s answer to Burke’s pamphlet begins to produce some squibs in our public papers. In Fenno’s paper they are Burkites, in the others, Painites. One of Fenno’s was evidently from the author of the discourses on Davila. I am afraid the indiscretion of a printer has committed me with my friend Mr. Adams, for whom, as one of the most honest & disinterested men alive, I have a cordial esteem, increased by long habits of concurrence in opinion in the days of his republicanism; and even since his apostacy to hereditary monarchy & nobility, tho’ we differ, we differ as friends should do. Beckley had the only copy of Paine’s pamphlet, & lent it to me, desiring when I should have read it, that I would send it to a Mr. J. B. Smith, who had asked it for his brother to reprint it. Being an utter stranger to J. B. Smith, both by sight & character I wrote a note to explain to him why I (a stranger to him) sent him a pamphlet, to wit, that Mr. Beckley had desired it; & to take off a little of the dryness of the note, I added that I was glad to find it was to be reprinted, that something would at length be publicly said against the political heresies which had lately sprung up among us, & that I did not doubt our citizens would rally again round the standard of common sense. That I had in my view the Discourses on Davila, which have filled Fenno’s papers, for a twelve-month, without contradiction, is certain, but nothing was ever further from my thoughts than to become myself the contradictor before the public. To my great astonishment however, when the pamphlet came out, the printer had prefixed my note to it, without having given me the most distant hint of it. Mr. Adams will unquestionably take to himself the charge of political heresy, as conscious of his own views of drawing the present government to the form of the English constitution, and, I fear will consider me as meaning to injure him in the public eye. I learn that some Anglo men have censured it in another point of view, as a sanction of Paine’s principles tends to give offence to the British government. Their real fear however is that this popular & republican pamphlet, taking wonderfully, is likely at a single stroke to wipe out all the unconstitutional doctrines which their bell-weather Davila has been preaching for a twelvemonth. I certainly never made a secret of my being anti-monarchical, & anti-aristocratical; but I am sincerely mortified to be thus brought forward on the public stage, where to remain, to advance or to retire, will be equally against my love of silence & quiet, & my abhorrence of dispute.—I do not know whether you recollect that the records of Virginia were destroyed by the British in the year 1781. Particularly the transactions of the revolution before that time. I am collecting here all the letters I wrote to Congress while I was in the administration there, and this being done I shall then extend my views to the transactions of my predecessors, in order to replace the whole in the public offices in Virginia. I think that during my administration, say between June 1. 1779. & June 1. 1781. I had the honor of writing frequent letters to you on public affairs, which perhaps may be among your papers at Mount Vernon. Would it be consistent with any general resolution you have formed as to your papers, to let my letters of the above period come here to be copied, in order to make them a part of the records I am endeavoring to restore for the state? or would their selection be too troublesome? if not, I would beg the loan of them, under an assurance that they shall be taken the utmost care of, & safely returned to their present deposit.
The quiet & regular movements of our political affairs leaves nothing to add but constant prayers for your health & welfare and assurances of the sincere respect & attachment of Sir Your most obedient, & most humble servt.
TO JAMES MADISON
Philadelphia May 9. 1791.
—Your favor of the 1st came to hand on the 3d. Mr. Freneau has not followed it: I suppose therefore he has changed his mind back again, for which I am really sorry. I have now before me a huge bundle of letters, the only business between me & my departure. I think I can be through them by the end of the week, in which case I will be with you by Tuesday or Wednesday, if nothing new comes in to delay me. Rittenhouse will probably not go. He says he cannot find a good horse. I shall propose to you when we back about from the extremity of our journey, instead of coming back the same way, to cross over through Vermont to Connecticut river & down that to New-haven, then through Long-island to N. Y. & so to Philade. Be this however as you will. Our news from Virginia is principally of deaths, to wit, Colo. B. Harrison of Barclay, Turner Southall, Dixon the printer, Colo. Overton of Hanover, Walker Gilmer son of the Doctor. A Peter Randolph of Chatsworth has had a fit of madness, which he has recovered from. Wheat has suffered by drought: yet it is tolerably good. The fruit not entirely killed.—At this place little new. F. Hopkinson lies at extremities with regular epileptic fits, from which they think he cannot recover. Colo. Hamilton set out to-day for Bethlehem. Have you seen the Philadelphia edn. of Paine’s pamphlet? You know you left Beckley’s copy in my hands. He called on me for it, before I had quite finished it & desired me when done to send it to J. B. Smith whose brother was to reprint it. When I was proceeding to send it, I found it necessary to write a note to Mr. Smith to explain why I, a perfect stranger to him, sent him the pamphlet. I mentioned it to be by the desire of Mr. Beckley, & to take off a little of the dryness of the note, added, currente calamo, that I was pleased to find it was to be reprinted here, that something was at length to be publicly said against the political heresies which had of late sprung up among us, not doubting but that our citizens would rally again round the standard of Common Sense. I thought no more of this & heard no more till the pamphlet appeared, to my astonishment with my note at the head of it. I never saw J. B. Smith or the printer either before or since. I had in view certainly the doctrines of Davila. I tell the writer freely that he is a heretic, but certainly never meant to step into a public newspaper with that in my mouth. I have just reason therefore to think he will be displeased. Colo. Hamilton & Colo. Beckwith are open-mouthed against me, taking it in another view, as likely to give offence to the court of London. H. adds further that it makes my opposition to the government. Thus endeavoring to turn [upon] the government itself those censures I meant for the enemies of the government, to wit those who want to change it into a monarchy. I have reason to think he has been unreserved in uttering these sentiments. I send you some letters received for you. Adieu.
TO BENJAMIN VAUGHAN
Philadelphia May 11. 1791.
—It is rare that my public occupations will permit me to take up the pen for my private correspondencies however desirable to me. This must be my apology for being so late in acknowleging the receipt of your favors of Sep. 21. Oct. 21. Dec. 2. & 16. & Jan. 6. The parcels of mountain rice from Timor came to hand too late in the last season to produce seed. I have sowed this spring some of the same, but it has not yet come up. I was fortunate in receiving from the coast of Africa last fall a cask of mountain rice of the last year’s growth. This I have dispersed into many hands, having sent the mass of it to S. Carolina. The information which accompanied this cask was that they have there (on the coast of Africa) 3. kinds of mountain rice, which sowed at the same time, comes to harvest a month distant from each other. They did not say of which kind that is which was sent to me. The kind which ripens quickest will surely find sun enough to ripen it in our middle states.
I thank you, my dear Sir, for the Sacontalá, and for Smeeton’s book: but the latter is of a value which obliged me to request you to put more reasonable bounds to your liberalities; neither the state of the sciences nor of the arts here putting it in my power to fulfil that reciprocity which my wishes would lead me to. The Revolution of France does not astonish me so much, as the Revolution of Mr. Burke. I wish I could believe the latter proceeded from as pure motives as the former. But what demonstration could scarcely have established before, less than the hints of Dr. Priestly & Mr. Paine establish firmly now. How mortifying that this evidence of the rottenness of his mind must oblige us now to ascribe to wicked motives those actions of his life which wore the mark of virtue & patriotism. To judge from what we see published, we must believe that the spirit of toryism has gained nearly the whole of the nation: that the whig principles are utterly extinguished except in the breasts of certain descriptions of dissenters. This sudden change in the principles of a nation would be a curious morsel in the history of man.—We have some names of note here who have apostatised from the true faith: but they are few indeed, and the body of our citizens pure & insusceptible of taint in their republicanism. Mr. Paine’s answer to Burke will be a refreshing shower to their minds. It would bring England itself to reason & revolution if it was permitted to be read there. However the same things will be said in milder forms, will make their way among the people, & you must reform at last.
We have great reason to be satisfied with the train of our affairs. Our government is going on with a firm & steady pace. Our taxes, increasing with our population, are always ahead of our calculations, favorable seasons for several years past have given great crops of produce, and the increase of industry, economy, & domestic manufacture are very sensible. Our credit both at home & abroad equal to our wishes. So that on the whole we are in as prosperous a way as a nation can well be. This shews the advantage of the changeableness of a constitution. Had our former one been unalterable (pardon the absurdity of the hypothesis) we must have gone to ruin with our eyes open.—We are in hopes the operations of this summer will bring our savage neighbors to accept our peace, friendship & good offices, which is all we desire of them. If you see Ld. Wycombe sometimes present my esteem to him; so also & ever to Dr. Price. I am Dear Sir with sincere attachment your most obdt. & most humble servt.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
d. s. mss.
Philadelphia, May 15. 1791.
— We are still without any occurrence foreign or domestic worth mentioning to you. It is sometime since any news has been received from Europe of the political kind, and I have been longer than common without any letters from Mr. Short.
Colo. Hamilton has taken a trip to Bethlehem. I think to avail myself also of the present interval of quiet to get rid of a head ach which is very trouble some, by giving more exercise to the body & less to the mind. I shall set out tomorrow for New York, where Mr. Madison is waiting for me, to go up the North river, & return down Connecticut river, and through Long-island. My progress up the North river will be limited by the time I allot for my whole journey, which is a month. So that I shall turn about when ever that renders it necessary. I leave orders, in case a letter should come from you covering the commission for Colo. Eveleigh’s successor, that it should be opened, the great seal put to it, and then given out. My countersign may be added on my return. I presume I shall be back here about the time of your arrival at Mount Vernon, where you will receive this letter. The death of Judge Hopkinson has made a vacancy for you to fill. Should I pick up any thing in my journey, I will write it to you from time to time. I have the honour to be with sincere respect & attachment, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servt.
TO THOMAS MANN RANDOLPH
Philadelphia, May 15, 1791.
— * * * I hope my tobo. will all come on now as soon as possible, except that which was fired. One of those hhds Stratton brought was of this kind, and cannot be sold here at all. I will thank you to desire Mr Lewis to take effectual measures to retain there the fired tobo. as, should it come here, I shall be obliged to send it back again to Richmond, which will cost a dollar a hundred, the coming & going. I am afraid my letter of Feb. 9. to Mr. Lewis never got to hand. The objects of it were to inform him of the sale of my tobo. here, to press a final settlement of my bargain with Ronald, and to advertise the Elk-hill lands for sale. Not having seen the advertisement in Davies’s paper, has excited my fear that the letter miscarried. Perhaps it may have been put into some other paper. For fear it should have miscarried I will add the same form for the advertisement at the end of this letter. That of Feb. 9. was important for the other two objects also. It certainly ought to have got to hand before the date of your letter of Apr. 4. wherein you say he was still waiting my directions, relative to the tobo.. I set out tomorrow on a journey to lakes George & Champlain, down Connecticut river & through Long island back to N. York & this place, so that you will not hear from me for a month to come. I inclose you Bache’s as well as Fenno’s papers. You will have perceived that the latter is a paper of pure Toryism, disseminating the doctrines of monarchy, aristocracy, & the exclusion of the influence of the people. We have been trying to get another weekly or half weekly paper set up excluding advertisements, so that it might go through the states, & furnish a whig vehicle of intelligence. We hoped at one time to have persuaded Freneau to set up here, but failed. In the mean time Bache’s paper, the principles of which were always republican, improves in it’s matter. If we can persuade him to throw all his advertisements on one leaf, by tearing that off, the leaf containing intelligence may be sent without over-charging the post, & be generally taken instead of Fenno’s. I will continue to send it to you, as it may not only amuse yourself, but wish you to oblige your neighbours with the perusal. My love to Martha & Maria, & be assured yourself of the sincere attachment of Dear Sir Your’s Affectionately.
TO MARTHA JEFFERSON RANDOLPH1
Lake Champlain, May 31st, 1791.
My dear Martha,
—I wrote to Maria while sailing on Lake George, and the same kind of leisure is afforded me today to write to you. Lake George is, without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw; formed by a contour of mountains into a basin thirty five miles long, and from two or four miles broad, finely interspersed with islands, its water limpid as crystal, and the mountain sides covered with rich groves of thuja, silver fir, white pine, aspen, and paper birch down to the water-edge; here and there precipices of rock to checker the scene and save it from monotony. An abundance of speckled trout, salmon trout, bass, and other fish, with which it is stored, have added, to our other amusements, the sport of taking them. Lake Champlain, though much larger, is a far less pleasant water. It is muddy, turbulent, and yields little game. After penetrating into it about twenty-five miles, we have been obliged, by a head wind and a high sea, to return, having spent a day and a half in sailing on it. We shall take our route again through Lake George, pass through Vermont, down Connecticut River through Long Island to New York and Philadelphia. Our journey has hitherto been prosperous and pleasant, except as to the weather, which has been as sultry and hot through the whole as could be found in Carolina or Georgia. I suspect, indeed, that the heats of the Northern climates may be more powerful than those of Southern ones in proportion as they are shorter. Perhaps vegetation required this. There is as much fever and ague, too, and other bilious complaints on Lake Champlain as on the swamps of Carolina. Strawberries here are in the blossom, or just formed. With you, I suppose the season is over. On the whole, I find nothing anywhere else, in point of climate, which Virginia need envy to any part of the world. Here they are locked up in snow and ice for six months. Spring and autumn, which make a paradise of our country, are rigorous winter with them; and a tropical summer breaks on them all at once. When we consider how much climate contributes to the happiness of our condition, by the fine sensations it excites, and the productions it is the parent of, we have reason to value highly the accident of birth in such a one as that of Virginia.
From this distance I can have little domestic to write to you about. I must always repeat how much I love you. Kiss the little Anne for me. I hope she grows lustily, enjoys good health, and will make us all, and long, happy as the centre of our common love. Adieu, my dear.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
d. s. mss.
Bennington June 5. 1791.
—In my last letter from Philadelphia, I mentioned that Mr. Madison & myself were about to take a trip up the North river as far as circumstances should permit. The levelness of the roads led us quite on to Lake George, where taking boat we went through that, and about 25 miles into Lake Champlain. Returning then to Saratoga, we concluded to cross over thro’ Vermont to Connecticut river and go down that instead of the North river which we had already seen, and we are so far on that rout. In the course of our journey we have had opportunities of visiting Stillwater, Saratoga, Forts Wm. Henry & George, Ticonderoga, Crown point, & the scene of Genl. Starke’s victory.
I have availed myself of such opportunities as occurred to enquire into the grounds of the report that something disagreeable had taken place in the vicinities of the British posts. It seems to have been the following incident. They had held a small post at a block house on the North Hero, an island on the Vermont side of Lake Champlain, & something further South than their principal post at the Point au fer. The Maria hitherto stationed at the latter, for Custom-house purposes, was sent to the Block-house, & there exercised her usual visits on boats passing to & from Canada. This being an exercise of power further within our jurisdiction became the subject of notice & clamour with our citizens in that quarter. The vessel has been since recalled to the Point au fer, & being unfit for service, a new one is to be built to perform her functions. This she has usually done at the Point au fer with a good deal of vigour, bringing all vessels to at that place, & some times under such circumstances of wind & weather as to have occasioned the loss of two vessels & cargoes. These circumstances produce strong sensations in that quarter, & not friendly to the character of our government. The establishment of a custom-house at Albany, nearly opposite to Point au fer, has given the British considerable alarm. A groundless story of 200 Americans seen in arms near Point au fer, has been the cause, or the pretext of their reinforcing that place a few days ago with a company of men from St. John’s. It is said here they have called in their guard from the Blockhouse, but the information is not direct enough to command entire belief.
On enquiring into the dispositions in Canada on the subject of the projected form of government there, we learn that they are divided into two parties; the English who desire something like an English constitution but so modelled as to oblige the French to chuse a certain proportion of English representatives, & the French who wish a continuance of the French laws, moderated by some engraftments from the English code. The judge of their Common pleas heads the former party, & Smith the chief justice secretly guides the latter.
We encounter the green Mountains to-morrow, with cavalry in part disabled, so as to render our progress a little uncertain. I presume however I shall be in Philadelphia in a fortnight.
TO THOMAS MANN RANDOLPH
Bennington, in Vermont, June 5, 1791.
—Mr. Madison & myself are so far on the tour we had projected. We have visited in the course of it the principal scenes of Genl. Burgoyne’s misfortunes to wit the grounds at Stillwater where the action of that name was fought, & particularly the breastworks which cost so much blood to both parties, the encampments at Saratoga & ground where the British piled their arms, the field of the battle of Bennington about 9 miles from this place. We have also visited Forts Wm. Henry & George, Ticonderoga, Crown point, &c. which have been scenes of blood from a very early part of our history. We were more pleased however with the botanical objects which continually presented themselves. Those either unknown or rare in Virgna were the Sugar maple in vast abundance, the Silver fir, White pine, Pitch pine, Spruce pine, a shrub with decumbent stems which they call Juniper, an azalea very different from the nudiflora, with very large clusters of flowers, more thickly set on the branches, of a deeper red, & high pink-fragrance. It is the richest shrub I have seen. The honeysuckle of the gardens growing wild on the banks’ of L. George, the paperbirch, an Aspen with a velvet leaf, a shrub-willow with downy catkins, a wild gooseberry, the wild cherry with single fruit (not the bunch cherry) strawberries in abundance. From the Highlands to the lakes it is a limestone country. It is in vast quantities on the Eastern sides of the lakes, but none on the Western sides. The Sandy hill falls & Wing’s falls, two very remarkable cataracts of the Hudson of about 35 f. or 40 f. each between F. Edward & F. George are of limestone, in horizontal strata. Those of the Cohoes, on the W. side of the Hudson, & of 70 f. height, we thought not of limestone. We have met with a small red squirrel of the color of our fox-squirrel, with a black stripe on each side, weighing about 6 oz. generally, and in such abundance on L. Champlain particularly as that twenty odd were killed at the house we lodged in opposite Crown point the morning we arrived there, without going 10 yards from the door. We killed 3 crossing the lakes, one of them just as he was getting ashore where it was 3 miles wide, & where with the high wind then blowing he must have made it 5 or 6 miles.
I think I asked the favr. of you to send for Anthony in the season for inoculn, as well as to do what is necessary in the orchard, as to pursue the object of inoculating all the Spontaneous cherry trees in the fields with good fruit.
We have now got over about 400 miles of our tour and have still about 450 more to go over. Arriving here on the Saturday evening, and the laws of the state not permitting us to travel on the Sunday, has given me time to write to you from hence. I expect to be at Philadelphia by the 20th or 21st. I am, with great & sincere esteem Dear Sir yours affectionately.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
d. s. mss.
Philadelphia June 20. 1791.
— * * * The papers from the free people of colour in Grenada, which you did me the honour to inclose, I apprehend it will be best to take no notice of. They are parties in a domestic quarrel, which I think we should leave to be settled among themselves. Nor should I think it desireable were it justifiable, to draw a body of sixty thousand free blacks & mulattoes into our country. The instructions from the government of the United Netherlands, by which Mr. Shaw has suffered, merit serious notice. The channel thro which application shall be made is the only difficulty; Dumas being personally disagreeable to that government. However, either thro’ him or some other it should certainly be conveyed.
Mr. Remsen had unluckily sent off to New York all my letters on the very day of my arrival here, which puts it out of my power to give you the state of things brought by the last packet. I expect they will be returned tomorrow, & that my next may communicate to you whatever they contain interesting.
I received yesterday a letter from Colo. Ternant informing me of his appointment & that he should sail about the latter end of May. The Court of Madrid has sent over a Don Joseph Jaudenes as a joint Commissioner with de Viar, till a charge shall be named. He presented me the letter of credence from the Count de Florida Blanca when I was at New York. He is a young man who was under Secretary to Mr. Gardoqui when here.
Our tour was performed in somewhat less time than I had calculated. I have great hopes it has rid me of my head ach having scarcely had any thing of it during my journey. Mr. Madison’s health is very visibly mended. I left him at New York, meditating a journey as far Eastward as Portsmouth.
TO JAMES MADISON
Philadelphia June 21. 1791.
—I arrived here on Sunday evening. Yesterday I sent your note to Leiper who immediately called and paid the 200 Dollars, which I have exchanged for a post note & now inclose. I mentioned to the Atty Gen. that I had a note on him, & afterwards sent it to him, saying nothing as to time. I inclose you also a post note for 35 Dollars to make up my deficit of expenses (25 94. D.) to pay Mr. Elsworth & the smith & also to get me from Rivington, Hamilton More’s practical navigator, if his be the 6th edn. as I believe it is. This is the best edn. revised & printed under the author’s eye. The later edn. are so incorrect as to be worth nothing.
The President will leave Mt. Vernon on the 27th. He will be stayed a little at Georgetown,—Colo. H. Lee is here. He gives a very different account from Carrington, of the disposition of the upper country of Virginia towards the Excise law—he thinks resistance possible. I am sorry we did not bring with us some leaves of the different plants which struck our attention, as it is the leaf which principally decides specific differences. You may still have it in your power to repair the omission in some degree. The Balsam tree at Govr. Robinson’s is the Balsam poplar, Populus Balsamifera of Linnæus. The Arolea I can only suspect to be the viscosa, because I find but two kinds the nudiflora viscosa acknoleged to grow with us. I am sure it is not the nudiflora. The white pine is the Pinus Strobus. I will thank you if in your journey northward you will continue the enquiries relative to the Hessian fly, & note them. The post is almost on it’s departure so Adieu.
TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO PORTUGAL
Philadelphia, June 23, 1791.
— * * * As yet no native candidate, such altogether as we would wish, has offered for the Consulate of Lisbon, and as it is a distinguished place in our commerce, we are somewhat more difficult in that than other appointments. Very considerable discouragements are recently established by France Spain & England with respect to our commerce: the first as to whale oil, tobacco & ships, the second as to corn, & the third as to corn & ships. Should these regulations not be permanent, still they add to the proofs that too little reliance is to be had on a steady & certain course of commerce with the countries of Europe to permit us to depend more on that than we cannot avoid. Our best interest would be to employ our principal labour in agriculture, because to the profits of labour which is dear this adds the profits of our lands which are cheap. But the risk of hanging our prosperity on the fluctuating counsels & caprices of others renders it wise in us to turn seriously to manufactures, and if Europe will not let us carry our provisions to their manufactures we must endeavor to bring their manufactures to our provisions. A very uncommon drought has prevailed thro most of the states, so that our crops of wheat will be considerably shorter than common. Our public paper continues high, and the proofs that our credit is now the first in Europe are unequivocal. The Indians North of the Ohio have hitherto continued their cattle depredations, but we are in daily expectation of hearing the success of a first excursion to their towns by a party of 7. or 800 mounted infantry under Genl. Scott. Two or three similar expeditions will follow successively under other officers, while a principal one is prepairing to take place at a later season.
I thank you for your communication from Mr. Carmichael. His letter of Jan. 24 is still the only one we have from him. Until some surer means of hearing from Madrid can be devised, I must beg of you to give us from time to time all the intelligence you can from that capital. The conveyance by the British packets is tolerably sure, when direct conveyances fail.
You will receive herewith a continuation of the newspapers, for yourself, as also a letter & newspapers for Mr. Carmichael which I must beg the favour of you to convey as safely as you can. The President is expected here the beginning of the ensuing month, being arrived at Mt. Vernon on his return from his Southern tour.
TO JAMES MADISON
Philadelphia June 28. 1791.
—Yours of the 23d. has been duly received. The parcel from the taylor will probably come safely by the stage. With respect to the edition of Hamilton More’s book I took pains to satisfy myself of the best edition when I was in a better situation than I now am, to do it with success. The result was that the 6th edn. was the last published under the examination of the author, & that the subsequent editions, in order to cheapen them, had been so carelessly supervised as to be full of typographical errors in the tables. I therefore prefer waiting till I can get the 6th. I learned further that after the 6th edn. the author abandoned all attention to the work himself. I inclose you the pamphlet on the banks, and must trouble you to procure a pamphlet for me which is only in a private hand in N. York. This is a description of the Genisee country, but more particularly of Mr. Morris’s purchase of Goreham & Phelps, in 4to, with a map.1 It was printed in London under the agency of W. T. Franklin to captivate purchasers. There is no name to it. Colo. Smith brought in 6 copies. If one of them can be drawn from him I should be very glad of it. Will you also be so good as to ask of him whether he can give me any information of the progress of the map of S. America, which he, at my request, put into the hands of an engraver. The French proceedings against our tobo. & ships are very eccentric & unwise. With respect to the former, however, which you consider as a commencement of hostilities against the Brit. Navign. Act, it is only a continuation of the decision of the council of Berni, since which the importn. of tobo. into France in any but American or French bottoms has been prohibited. The Spanish as well as English proceedings against our commerce are also serious. Nobody doubts here who is the author of Publicola, any more than of Davila. He is very indecently attacked in Brown’s & Bache’s papers. From my European letters I am inclined to think peace will take place between the Porte & Russia. The article which separates them is so minute that it will probably be got over, & the war is so unpopular in England that the ministers will probably make that an excuse to the K. of Prussia for not going all lengths with him. His only object is Thorn & Dantzic, & he has secretly intimated at Petersbg, that if he could be accommodated with this he would not be tenacious against their keeping Ozakoff. This has leaked out, & is working duly in Poland. I think the President will contrive to be on the road out of the reach of ceremony till after the 4th of July. Adieu, my dear sir.
TO RICHARD PETERS1
June 30, 1791.
I should sooner have answered your kind note, my dear Sir, but that I had hoped to meet you the day before yesterday, and to tell you vivâ voce that, even without that, I meant to be troublesome to you in my afternoon excursions: that being the part of the day which business and long habit have allotted to exercise with me. I shall certainly feel often enough the inducements to Belmont, among the chief of which will be your society and the desire of becoming acquainted with mrs. Peters. Call on me in your turn, whenever you come to town: and if it should be about the hour of three, I shall rejoice the more. You will find a bad dinner, a good glass of wine, and a host thankful for your favor, and desirous of encouraging repetitions of it without number, form or ceremony. When Madison returns you will often find him here without notice & always with it: and if you complain again of not seeing him, it will be that the place of rendesvous does not enjoy your favour. He is at present in New York, undecided as to his next movement. Adieu.
TO JAMES MADISON
Philadelphia July 6. 1791.
—I have duly received your favours of June 27. & July 1. The last came only this morning. I now return Colo. Smith’s map with my acknolegements for the pamphlet & sight of the map.—I inclose you a 60. Dollar bill, & beg the favor of you to remit 30. Dollars with the inclosed letter to Prince, also, as I see Maple sugar, grained, advertised for sale at New York in boxes of 400 lb. each, if they can be induced to sell 100 lb. only & to pack & send it to Richmond, I will thank you to get it done for me. The box to be directed to me ‘to the care of James Brown, Mercht. Richmd. to be forwarded to Monticello.’ You see I presume on your having got over your indisposition; if not, I beg you to let all this matter rest till you are. Colo. Harry Lee thinks of going on tomorrow, to accompany you to Portsmouth, but he was not quite decided when I saw him last. The President arrived about 10. minutes ago, but I have not yet seen him.—I received safely the packet by capt. Sims. The Guinea corn is new to me, & shall be taken care of. My African upland rice is flourishing. I inclose you a paper estimating the shares of the bank as far as was known three days before it opened. When it opened 24,600 subscriptions were offered, being 4,600 more than could be received, & many persons left in the lurch, among these Robt. Morris & Fitzsimmons. They accuse the Directors of a misdeal, & the former proposes to sue them, the latter to haul them up before Congress. Every 25 dollars actually deposited, sold yesterday from 40. to 50. dollars with the future rights & burthens annexed to the deposit.1 We have no authentic news from Europe since the last packet. Adieu my dear Sir, take care of yourself & let me hear soon that you are quite re-established.
P. S. If you leave N. York, will you leave directions with Mr. Elsworth to forward to me the two parcels of Maple buds, & that of the Birch bark respectively as they arrive. The last I think had better come by water.
TO JAMES MADISON
Philadelphia July 10. 1791.
My Dear Sir,
—Your indisposition at the date of your last, and hearing nothing from you since, make me fear it has continued. The object of the present is merely to know how you do, & from another hand if you are not well enough. We have little now but what you will see in the public papers—you see there the swarm of anti-publicolas. The disavowal by a Printer only does not appear to satisfy.1 We have no news yet of the event of Scott’s expedition. The Marquis Fayette has certainly resumed his command & on a ground which must strengthen him & also the public cause. The subscriptions to the bank from Virginia were almost none. Pickett, McClurg, & Dr. Lee are the only names I have heard mentioned. This gives so much uneasiness to Colo. H. that he thinks to propose to the President to sell some of the public shares to subscribers from Virge & N. Caroline, if any more should offer. This partiality would offend the other states without pleasing those two: for I presume they would rather the capitals of their citizens should be employed in commerce than be locked up in a strong box here: nor can sober thinkers prefer a paper medium at 13 per cent interest to gold & silver for nothing. Adieu my dear friend Yours affectionately,
P. S. Osgood is resigning the Postmaster’s place. I shall press Paine for it.
TO JAMES MONROE
Philadelphia, July 10, 1791.
—Your favor of June 17, has been duly received. I am endeavoring to get for you the lodgings Langdon had. But the landlord is doubtful whether he will let them at all. If he will not, I will endeavor to do the best I can. I can accommodate you myself with a stable & coach house without any expense, as I happen to have two on hand; and indeed, in my new one I have had stalls enough prepared for 6 horses, which are 2 more than I keep. Of my success in procuring rooms I shall bring you news myself, tho’ as yet the time of my visit to Albemarle is unfixed. Mr. Madison will both go & come with me. He is at present at New York. His journey with me to the lakes placed him in better health than I have seen him; but the late heats have brought on some bilious dispositions.
The papers which I send Mr. Randolph weekly, & which I presume you see, will have shown you what a dust Paine’s pamphlet has kicked up here. My last to Mr. Randolph will have given an explanation as to myself which I had not time to give when I sent you the pamphlet. A writer under the name of Publicola, in attacking all Paine’s principles, is very desirous of involving me in the same censure with the author. I certainly merit the same, for I profess the same principles; but it is equally certain I never meant to have entered as a volunteer into the cause. My occupations do not permit it. Some persons here are insinuating that I am Brutus, that I am Agricola, that I am Philodemus, &c., &c. I am none of them, being decided not to write a word on the subject, unless any printed imputation should call for a printed disavowal, to which I should put my name. A Boston paper has declared that Mr. Adams “has no more concern in the publication of the writings of Publicola than the author of the Rights of man himself.” If the equivoque here were not intended, the disavowal is not entirely credited, because not from Mr. Adams himself & because the stile & sentiments raise so strong a presumption. Besides to produce any effect he must disavow Davila & the Defence of the American constitutions. A host of writers have risen in favor of Paine & prove that in this quarter at least the spirit of republicanism is sound. The contrary spirit of the high officers of the government is more understood than I expected. Colo Hamilton, avowing that he never made a secret of his principles yet taxes the imprudence of Mr. Adams in having stirred the question and agrees that “his business is done.” Jay, covering the same principles under the vail of silence, is rising steadily on the ruins of his friends. The bank filled & overflowed in the moment it was opened. Instead of 20 thousand shares, 24 thousand were offered, & a great many unpresented who had not suspected that so much haste was necessary. Thus it is that we shall be paying 13 per cent. per ann. for 8 millions of paper money instead of having that circulation of gold & silver for nothing. Experience has proved to us that a dollar of silver disappears for every dollar of paper emitted: and for the paper emitted from the bank 7 per cent profits will be received by the subscribers for it as bank paper (according to the last division of profits by the Philadelphia bank) and 6 per cent on the public paper of which it is the representative. Nor is there any reason to believe, that either the 6 millions of public paper or the 2 millions of specie deposited will not be suffered to be withdrawn, and the paper thrown into circulation. The cash deposited by strangers for safe keeping will probably suffice for cash demands. Very few subscribers have offered from Virginia or N. Carolina, which gives uneasiness to H. It is impossible to say where the appetite for gambling will stop. The land-office, the federal town, certain schemes of manufacture, are all likely to be converted into aliment for that rage—but this subject is too copious for a letter and must be reserved for conversation.—The respite from occupation which my journey procured has entirely removed my headaches. Kiss and bless Mrs. Monroe & Eliza for Dear Sir yours affectionately.
TO JOHN ADAMS
Philadelphia, July 17, 1791.
—I have a dozen times taken up my pen to write to you & as often laid it down again, suspended between opposing considerations. I determine however to write from a conviction that truth, between candid minds, can never do harm. The first of Paine’s pamphlets on the Rights of Man, which came to hand here, belonged to Mr. Beckley. He lent it to Mr. Madison who lent it to me; and while I was reading it Mr. Beckley called on me for it, &, as I had not finished it, he desired me, as soon as I should have done so, to send it to Mr. Jonathan B. Smith, whose brother meant to reprint it. I finished reading it, and, as I had no acquaintance with Mr. Jonathan B. Smith, propriety required that I should explain to him why I, a stranger to him, sent him the pamphlet. I accordingly wrote a note of compliment informing him that I did it at the desire of Mr. Beckley, &, to take off a little of the dryness of the note, I added that I was glad it was to be reprinted here & that something was to be publicly said against the political heresies which had sprung up among us &c. I thought so little of this note that I did not even keep a copy of it: nor ever heard a title more of it till, the week following, I was thunderstruck with seeing it come out at the head of the pamphlet.1 I hoped however it would not attract notice. But I found on my return from a journey of a month that a writer came forward under the signature of Publicola, attacking not only the author & principles of the pamphlet, but myself as it’s sponsor, by name. Soon after came hosts of other writers defending the pamphlet & attacking you by name as the writer of Publicola. Thus were our names thrown on the public stage as public antagonists. That you & I differ in our ideas of the best form of government is well known to us both: but we have differed as friends should do, respecting the purity of each other’s motives, & confining our difference of opinion to private conversation. And I can declare with truth in the presence of the Almighty that nothing was further from my intention or expectation than to have either my own or your name brought before the public on this occasion. The friendship & confidence which has so long existed between us required this explanation from me, & I know you too well to fear any misconstruction of the motives of it. Some people here who would wish me to be, or to be thought, guilty of improprieties, have suggested that I was Agricola, that I was Brutus &c., &c. I never did in my life, either by myself or by any other, have a sentence of mine inserted in a newspaper without putting my name to it; & I believe I never shall.
While the empress is refusing peace under a mediation unless Crakow & it’s territory be ceded to her, she is offering peace on the perfect statu quo to the Porte, if they will conclude it without a mediation. France has struck a severe blow at our navigation by a difference of duty on tobo. carried in our & their ships, & by taking from foreign built ships the capability of naturalization. She has placed our whale oil on rather a better footing than ever by consolidating the duties into a single one of 6 livres. They amounted before to some sous over that sum. I am told (I know not how truly) that England has prohibited our spermaceti oil altogether, & will prohibit our wheat till the price there is 52/ the quarter, which it almost never is. We expect hourly to hear the true event of Genl Scott’s expedition. Reports give favorable hopes of it. Be so good as to present my respectful compliments to Mrs. Adams & to accept assurances of the sentiments of sincere esteem & respect with which I am Dear Sir Your friend & servant.
TO JAMES MADISON
Philadelphia July 24. 1791.
My Dear Sir,
—Yours of the 21st came to hand yesterday. I will keep my eye on the advertisements for Halifax. The time of my journey to Virginia is rendered doubtful by the uncertainty whether the President goes there or not. It is rather thought he will not. If so, I shall go later & stay a shorter time. I presume I may set out about the beginning of September, & shall hope your company going & coming. The President is indisposed with the same blind tumour, & in the same place, which he had the year before last in New York. As yet it does not promise either to suppurate or be discussed. He is obliged to lye constantly on his side, & has at times a little fever. The young grandson has had a long & dangerous fever. He is thought better today. No news yet from Genl. Scott, nor anything from Europe worth repeating. Several merchants from Richmond (Scotch, English &c.) were here lately. I suspect it was to dabble in federal filth. Let me hear of your health. Adieu.
TO EDMUND PENDLETON
Philadelphia July 24. 1791.
—I received duly your favour of the 13th and communicated it to the President. The titles of your relation were unquestionably strong of themselves & still strengthened by your recommendation. But the place was before proposed to another whose acceptance will probably fix it.
The President is indisposed with a tumour like what he had in New York the year before last. It does not as yet seem as if it would come to a head.
We are wonderfully slow in receiving news from Genl. Scott. The common accounts give reason to hope his expedition has succeeded well. You will have seen the rapidity with which the subscriptions to the bank were filled. As yet the delirium of speculation is too strong to admit sober reflection. It remains to be seen whether in a country whose capital is too small to carry on it’s own commerce, to establish manufactures, erect buildings, &c., such sums should have been withdrawn from these useful pursuits to be employed in gambling? Whether it was well judged to force on the public a paper circulation of so many millions for which they will be paying about 7. per cent per ann. & thereby banish as many millions of gold & silver for which they would have paid no interest? I am afraid it is the intention to nourish this spirit of gambling by throwing in from time to time new aliment.
The question of war & peace in Europe is still doubtful. The French revolution proceeds steadily, & is I think beyond the danger of accident of every kind. The success of that will ensure the progress of liberty in Europe, and it’s preservation here. The failure of that would have been a powerful argument with those who wish to introduce a king, lords & commons here, a sect which is all head and no body. Mr. Madison has had a little bilious touch at New York, from which he has recovered however. Adieu my dear Sir.
TO JAMES MADISON
Philadelphia July 27. 1791.
My Dear Sir,
—I inclose you the pamphlet desired in your’s of July 24. Also the one on weights & measures received through you, of which having another copy, be pleased to keep it. In turning over some papers I came across my journal through France, & Italy, and fancied you might be willing to acquire of that country a knowledge at second hand which you refuse to acquire at the first. It is written in the way you seemed to approve on our journey. I gave E. P.’s letter to Mr. Lear. I write to Mazzei by a vessel which sails on Monday, so shall hope to hear from you by that time. No body could know of T. C’s1 application but himself, H., you & myself. Which of the four was most likely to give it out at all, & especially in such a form? Which of the four would feel an inclination to excite an opinion that you & myself were hostile to everything not Southern?—The President is much better. An incision has been made, & a kind suppuration is brought on. If Colo. Lee be with you present my respects to him. Adieu.
P. S. Dispatches from Genl Scott confirm the newspaper accts. of his success, except that he was not wounded.
TO WILLIAM SHORT
Philadelphia July 28. 1791.
— * * * Young Osmont arrived here safely, & is living with Colo. Biddle in a mercantile line. He appears to be a young man of extraordinary prudence. I am endeavoring to help him in the case of his purchase of le Tonnelier, if the latter had any right to the lands he pretended to sell. Mazzei’s debt may rest between him & me, & I shall endeavor to arrange it here. He was certainly a good hand to employ with the Abbé Morellet, from whom I understand there is no hope, & but little from Barrois who is the real debtor. Perhaps Barrois would pay me in books.1 If he has a complete set of the Greek Byzantine historians this would balance the account. The wines from Champagne & Bordeaux, dress from Houdon, press from Charpentier, reveille & carriages are arrived. So is Petit. You have not informed me of the cost of the Champagne, & of it’s transportation to Paris, so that my account with the President remains still open. I inclose you a bill of exchange for £131–5 sterl. drawn by John Warder of this place on John Warder & co. Merchts. of London which I have indorsed to you. Be pleased to let me know what it yields in livres, specie, at Paris, that I may credit the President accordingly. You will be so good as to place it to my credit either with yourself, or Mr. Grand or the W. Staphorsts as you think best. I have received my private account with you to Dec. 30. 1790. but as there have been subsequent transactions, I defer looking into it till I receive them. Your public account to July 1. 1790. is also received. As soon as that to July 1. 1791. comes to hand, I will take up the whole so as to make one job of it. In your’s of May 2. you speak of your house rent, & expences to Amsterdam. As to the former you had better not charge it, because I think it will not be allowed, & because you charge it on the ground of abandoning any claim to an Outfit. If you continue in Europe an Outfit will certainly be allowed you; if you do not, still a partial allowance may be justly claimed. In whatever form I receive your account, I will take the liberty of modelling it so as to preserve to you every interest which justice and usage will admit. With respect to the expences of your journey to & from Amsterdam & your stay there; it has been the usage for those residing at a court when sent on any extraordinary mission out of the country of their residence to charge their expences. In my journies to London & Amsterdam I charged carriage hire, horse hire, & subsistence. The latter included my tavern expences, lodging do. servants &c., the whole time, but nothing for clothes, pocket money vales &c. I think you may do the same. If your account is come off before you receive this, send me immediately the necessary amendment & I will insert it.—No diplomatic appointment will be made to the next session of Congress. Nothing more is known on that subject now than when I wrote you last. Your brother is expected here daily. He is well, and is making a fortune in Kentucky.—They say R. H. Lee will resign his senatorial appointment on account of his health.—The following is the translation of the cyphered passage of my letter of Jan. 24. which the mistake of 1287. for 128. & 460. for 466. had confounded. ‘Humphries is gone to Lisbon, the grade not settled.’ It was since however settled to be Resident.—Paine’s pamphlet has been published & read with general applause here. It was attacked by a writer under the name of Publicola, and defended by a host of republican volunteers. None of the defenders are known. I have desired Mr. Remsen to make up a complete collection of these pieces from Bache’s papers, the tory-paper of Fenno rarely admitting any thing which defends the present form of government in opposition to his desire of subverting it to make way for a king, lords & commons. There are high names here1 in favour of this doctrine, but these publications have drawn forth pretty generally expressions of the public sentiment on this subject, & I thank God to find they are, to a man, firm as a rock in their republicanism. I much fear that the honestest man of the party will fall a victim to his imprudence on this occasion, while another of them, from the mere caution of holding his tongue & buttoning himself up, will gain what the other loses.
I trouble you with the care of the inclosed letters. That to Mr. G. Morris is important, as containing a bill of exchange.
P. S. Always be so good as to remember me to enquiring friends as if I had named them. Since writing the above, Petit informs me he has been all over the town in quest of Vanilla, & it is unknown here. I must pray you to send me a packet of 5a pods (batons) which may come very well in the middle of a packet of Newspapers. It costs about 24s. a baton when sold by the single baton. Petit says there is a great imposition in selling those which are bad; that Pictot generally sells good, but that still it will be safe to have them bought by some one used to them.
TO THE U. S. CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES IN FRANCE
Philadelphia, July 28, 1791.
— * * * The difference of 62#-10 the hogshead, established by the National Assembly on tobacco brought in their and our ships, is such an act of hostility against our navigation as was not to have been expected from the friendship of that Nation. It is as new in it’s nature as extravagant in its degree, since it is unexampled that any nation has endeavoured to wrest from another the carriage of it’s own produce, except in the case of their Colonies. The British navigation act, so much and so justly complained of, leaves to all nations the carriage of their own commodities free. This measure too is calculated expressly to take our own carriage from us, and give the equivalent to other nations: for it is well known that the shipping of France is not equal to the carriage of their whole commerce; but the freight in other branches of navigation being on an equal footing with only 40# the hogshead in ours, and this new arrangement giving them 62#.10 the hogshead in addition to their freight, that is to say, 102#-10 instead of 40, their vessels will leave every other branch of business to fill up this. They will consequently leave a void in those other branches, which will be occupied by English, Dutch and Swedes, on the spot. They complain of our Tonnage duty; but it is because it is not understood. In the ports of France we pay fees for anchorage, buoys and beacons, fees to measurers, weighers and guagers, and in some countries for light-houses. We have thought it better that the public here should pay all these, and reimburse itself by a consolidation of them into one fee, proportioned to the tonnage of the vessel, and therefore called by that name. They complain that the foreign tonnage is higher than the domestic. If this complaint had come from the English it would not have been wonderful, because the foreign tonnage operates really as a tax on their commerce, which, under this name, is found to pay 16½ dollars for every dollar paid by France. It was not conceived that the latter would have complained of a measure calculated to operate so unequally on her rival—and I still suppose she would not complain, if the thing were well understood. The refusing to our vessels the faculty of becoming national bottoms on sale to their citizens, was never before done by any nation but England. I cannot help hoping that these were wanderings of a moment, founded in misinformation, which reflection will have corrected before you receive this.
Whenever jealousies are expressed as to any supposed views of ours on the dominion of the West Indies, you cannot go farther than the truth in asserting we have none. If there be one principle more deeply rooted than any other in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest. As to commerce indeed we have strong sensations. In casting our eyes over the earth, we see no instance of a nation forbidden, as we are, by foreign powers, to deal with neighbours, and obliged with them to carry into another hemisphere, the mutual supplies necessary to relieve mutual wants. This is not merely a question between the foreign power and our neighbour. We are interested in it equally with the latter, and nothing but moderation, at least with respect to us, can render us indifferent to its continuance. An exchange of surplusses and wants between neighbour nations, is both a right and a duty under the moral law, and measures against right should be mollified in their exercise, if it be wished to lengthen them to the greatest term possible. Circumstances sometimes require, that rights the most unquestionable should be advanced with delicacy. It would seem that the one now spoken of, would need only a mention to be assented to by any unprejudiced mind: But with respect to America, Europeans in general, have been too long in the habit of confounding force with right. The Marquis de La Fayette stands in such a relation between the two countries, that I should think him perfectly capable of seizing what is just as to both. Perhaps on some occasion of free conversation, you might find an opportunity of impressing these truths on his mind, and that from him, they might be let out at a proper moment, as matters meriting consideration and weight, when they shall be engaged in the work of forming a Constitution for our neighbours. In policy, if not in justice, they should be disposed to avoid oppression, which, falling on us, as well as on their colonies, might tempt us to act together.1
The element of measure adopted by the National Assembly excludes, ipso facto, every nation on earth from a communion of measure with them; for they acknowledge themselves, that a due proportion for admeasurement of a meridian crossing the 45th degree of latitude, and terminating at both ends in the same level, can be found in no other country on earth but theirs. It would follow then, that other nations must trust to their admeasurement, or send persons into their country to make it themselves, not only in the first instance, but when ever afterwards they may wish to verify their measures. Instead of concurring, then, in a measure which, like the pendulum, may be found in every point of the 45th degree, and through both hemispheres, and consequently in all the countries of the earth lying under that parallel, either Northern or Southern, they adopt one which can be found but in a single point of the Northern parallel, and consequently only in one country, and that country is theirs.
I left with you a statement of the case of Schweighauser & Dobrée, with the original vouchers on which it depends. From these you will have known, that being authorized by Congress to settle this matter, I began by offering to them an arbitration before honest and judicious men of a neutral nation. They declined this, & had the modesty to propose an arbitration before merchants of their own town. I gave them warning then, that as the offer on the part of a sovereign nation to submit to a private arbitration was an unusual condescendence, if they did not accept it then, it would not be repeated, and that the United States would judge the case for themselves hereafter. They continued to decline it, and the case now stands thus. The territorial judge of France has undertaken to call the United States to its’ jurisdiction, and has arrested their property, in order to enforce appearance, and possess themselves of a matter whereon to found a decree: But no Court can have jurisdiction over a sovereign nation. This position was agreed to; but it was urged, that some act of Mr. Barclay’s had admitted the jurisdiction. It was denied that there had been any such act by Mr. Barclay, and disavowed if there was one, as without authority from the United States, the property on which the arrest was made, having been purchased by Dr. Franklin, and remaining in his possession till taken out of it by the arrest. On this disavowal it was agreed that there could be no further contest, and I received assurance that the property should be withdrawn from the possession of the court by an evocation of the cause before the King’s council, on which, without other proceedings, it should be delivered to the United States. Applications were repeated as often as dignity or even decency would permit, but it was never done. Thus the matter rests, and thus it is meant it should rest. No answer of any kind is to be given to Schweighauser & Dobrée. If they think proper to apply to their Sovereign, I presume there will be a communication either through you or their representative here, and we shall have no difficulty to show the character of the treatment we have experienced.
I will observe for your information that the sustenance of our captives at Algiers is committed to Col: Humphreys.
You will be so kind as to remember that your public account, from the 1st day of July 1790 to the last of June 1791 inclusive, is desired before the meeting of Congress, that I may be able to lay before them the general account of the foreign fund for that year.
General Scott has returned from a successful expedition against the Northern Indians, having killed 32. warriors, taken 58. women and children prisoners, and destroyed three towns and villages, with a great deal of corn in grain and growth. A similar expedition was to follow immediately, while preparation is making for measures of more permanent effect; so that we may reasonably hope the Indians will be induced to accept of peace, which is all we desire.
Our funds have risen nearly to par. The eight millions for the bank was subscribed as fast as it could be written, and that stock is now above par. Our crops of wheat have been rather abundant, and of excellent quality. Those of Tobacco are not very promising as yet. The Census is not yet completed, but from what we hear, we may expect our whole numbers will be nearer four than three millions. I inclose a sketch of the numbers as far as we yet know them.
TO THOMAS PAINE
Philadelphia, July 29, 1791.
—Your favor of Sep. 28, 1790. did not come to my hands till Feb. 11, and I have not answered it sooner because it said you would be here in the Spring. That expectation being past, I now acknowlege the receipt. Indeed I am glad you did not come away till you had written your Rights of man. That has been much read here, with avidity and pleasure. A writer under the signature of Publicola has attacked it. A host of champions entered the arena immediately in your defence. The discussion excited the public attention, recalled it to the Defence of the American constitutions and the Discourses on Davila, which it had kindly passed over without censure in the moment, and very general expressions of their sense have been now drawn forth; & I thank God that they appear firm in their republicanism, notwithstanding the contrary hopes & assertions of a sect here, high in names, but small in numbers. These had flattered themselves that the silence of the people under the Defence and Davila was a symptom of their conversion to the doctrine of king, lords, & commons. They are checked at least by your pamphlet, & the people confirmed in their good old faith.
Your observations on the subject of a copper coinage have satisfied my mind on that subject, which I confess had wavered before between difficulties. As a different plan is under consideration of Congress, & will be taken up at their meeting, I think to watch the proper moment, & publish your observations (except the Notes which contain facts relative to particular persons which I presume you would dislike to see published, & which are not necessary to establish the main object,) adding your name, because it will attract attention & give weight to the publication. As this cannot take place under four months, there is time for you to forbid me, if it should be disagreeable to you to have the observations published, which however I hope it will not be.
Genl Scott has just returned from a successful expedition against the Indians, having killed 32 warriors & taken 58 women and children & burnt several towns. I hope they will now consent to peace, which is all we ask. Our funds are near par; the crops of wheat remarkably fine; and a great degree of general prosperity arising from 4. years successive of plentiful crops, a great diffusion of domestic manufacture, a return to economy, & a reasonable faith in the new government.—I shall be happy to hear from you, & still more to see you, being with great & sincere esteem Dr. Sir your friend & servt.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
d. s. mss.
Philadelphia, July 30, 1791.
—I have the honour to inclose for your perusal a letter which I have prepared for Mr. Short.
The ill humour into which the French colonies are getting, and the little dependance on the troops sent thither, may produce a hesitation in the National Assembly as to the conditions they will impose in their constitution. In a moment of hesitation, small matters may influence their decision. They may see the impolicy of insisting on particular conditions which operating as grievances on us, as well as on their colonists, might produce a concert of action. I have thought it would not be amiss to trust to Mr. Short the sentiments in the cyphered part of the letter, leaving him to govern himself by circumstances whether to let them leak out at all or not, & whether so as that it may be known or remain unknown that they come from us. A perfect knowledge of his judgment & discretion leaves me entirely satisfied that they will be not used or so used, as events shall render proper. But if you think that the possibility that harm may be done, overweighs the chance of good, I would expunge them, as in the case of doubt it is better to say too little than too much.
TO JAMES SULLIVAN
Philadelphia, July 31. 1791.
Th. Jefferson presents his compliments to Mr. Sullivan & thanks him for the perusal of the pamphlet he was so kind as to send him.1 He sees with great pleasure every testimony to the principles of pure republicanism; and every effort to preserve untouched that partition of the sovereignty which our excellent constitution has made, between the general & particular governments. He is firmly persuaded that it is by giving due tone to the latter, that the former will be preserved in vigour also, the constitution having foreseen it’s incompetency to all the objects of government & therefore confined it to those specially described. When it shall become incompetent to these also, instead of flying to Monarchy or that semblance of tranquillity which it is the nature of slavery to hold forth, the true remedy would be a subdivision as Mr. Sullivan observes. But it is hoped that by a due poise & partition of powers between the general & particular governments we have found the secret of extending the benign blessings of republicanism over still greater tracts of country than we possess, and that a subdivision may be avoided by ages, if not for ever.
TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR
Philadelphia, August 10th 1791.
—I have now the honor to return you the Petition of Mr. Moultrie on behalf of the South Carolina Yazoo Company. Without noticing that some of the highest functions of sovereignty are assumed in the very papers which he annexes as his justification, I am of opinion that Government should firmly maintain this ground; that the Indians have a right to the occupation of their Lands independent of the States within whose chartered lines they happen to be; that until they cede them by Treaty or other transaction equivalent to a Treaty, no act of a State can give a right to such lands; that neither under the present Constitution, nor the antient Confederation, had any State or person a right to Treat with the Indians, without the consent of the General Government; that that consent has never been given to any Treaty for the cession of the Lands in question; that the Government is determined to exert all it’s energy for the patronage and protection of the rights of the Indians, and the preservation of peace between the United States and them; and that if any settlements are made on Lands not ceded by them, without the previous consent of the United States, the Government will think itself bound, not only to declare to the Indians that such settlements are without the authority or protection of the United States, but to remove them also by the public force.
It is in compliance with your request, my dear Sir, that I submit these ideas to you, to whom it belongs to give place to them, or such others as your better judgment shall prefer, in answer to Mr. Moultrie.
TO THE FRENCH MINISTER
Aug. 12. 1791.
The Secretary of state has the honour to inform the Minister of France that the President will receive his letters of credence to-day at half after two: that this will be done in a room of private audience, without any ceremony whatever, or other person present than the Secretary of state, this being the usage which will be observed.
As the Secretary of state will be with the President before that hour on business, the Minister will find him there.
TO JAMES MADISON
Philadelphia Aug. 18. 1791.
My dear Sir,
—I have just now received your favor of the 16th. and tho’ late at night I scribble a line that it may go by the morning’s post. I inclose you two letters which have been awaiting you here several days. Also a copy of the census which I had made out for you. What is in red ink is conjectural, the rest from the real returns. The return of Virginia is come in this day, seven hundred & forty odd thousand, of which 296,000 blacks, both exclusive of Kentucky.—Try to arrive here on Tuesday time enough (say by 4 o’clock) to come & dine with E. Randolph, Ross &c. half a dozen in all en petite comité. I have been much pleased with my acquaintance with the last. He is a sensible Merchant, an enemy to gambling & all tricks of finance. My horse will certainly die from all accounts. He is out at pasture to see what fresh air & grass will do. Yours will be a fortunate aid. I have written to Mr. Randolph to look out for one to bring me back. I set out on Monday fortnight at the latest; but will try to be off some days sooner. I shall be obliged to meet the President at the Sale at George Town Octob. 17. All your acquaintances are perpetually asking if you are arrived. It has been the first question from the President every time I have seen him for this fortnight. If you had arrived before dinner to-day, I had a strong charge to carry you there. Come on then & make us all happy. Adieu my dear friend yours affectionately.
TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO PORTUGAL
Philadelphia Aug. 23. 1791.
—I received yesterday your favors of June 7. No. 21. & June 17. No. 22. Mr. Barclay will have delivered you my two letters of May 13. & July 13.
Since his departure no remarkable events have taken place. He would convey to you the official information of General Scott’s success against the Indians. A second party somewhat stronger is now gone against them.
Nearly the whole of the states have now returned their census. I send you the result, which as far as founded on actual returns is written in black ink, & the numbers not actually returned, yet pretty well known, are written in red ink. Making a very small allowance for omissions, we are upwards of four millions; & we know in fact that the omissions have been very great.—Our crop of wheat is very abundant, & of the best quality ever known. There has been an extraordinary drought, prevailing most to the north of this. The crop of Hay here is short, & calamitously so further north. We have lately had the most copious rains, which will recover the Indian corn & tobacco. A spirit of gambling in the public paper has lately seized too many of our Citizens. Commerce, Manufactures, the Arts & agriculture will suffer from it if not checked. Many are ruined by it; but I fear that ruin will be no more a correction in this case than in common gaming. We cannot immediately foresee how it will terminate.
Colo. Ternant is arrived here, as Minister plenipotentiary from France.—I shall soon be able to send you another newspaper written in a contrary spirit to that of Fenno. Freneau is come here to set up a national gazette, to be published twice a week, and on whig principles. The two papers will shew you both sides of our politics.
Being about to set out for Virginia in a few days, it will probably be two months before I shall again have the pleasure of writing to you. The President will go to Mount Vernon within three or four weeks.
TO MR. PARADISE
Philadelphia Aug. 26. 1791.
—Tho’ the incessant drudgery of my office puts it out of my power to write letters of mere correspondence, yet I do not permit them to suspend the offices of friendship, where these may affect the interests of my friends. You have in the funds of Virginia in loan office certificates reduced to specie value £905. 17–6 2/4 and in final settlement £62–8. These are of the description allowed by the general government to be transferred to their funds, if subscribed to them before the last day of next month. If so transferred, four ninths of them would now sell for about 22/6 the pound, or would bear an interest of 6. per cent regularly: two ninths would bear an interest of 3. per cent paid regularly, & sell for 12/6 the pound: the other three ninths will bear an interest of 6 per cent after about 8. years hence, & would now sell for 12/6 the pound. I wrote to Mr. Burnell to know if any orders were given him on this subject, & he answers me in the negative. Supposing that this has proceeded from your being unable at such a distance to judge of the expediency of transferring the debt from the state to the general government, I have taken the liberty this day to advise him to do it, because if not done before the last day of next month it can never be done afterwards. Observe that since Congress had said it would assume all these debts, where the parties should chuse it, the states have repealed their provision for paiment, & the moment the time is out for transferring them, their value will sink to nothing almost. Tho’ I advise Mr. Burnell to transfer them to the funds of the United States, so as to secure them, yet I advise him also to let them lie there, & not to sell them till orders from England because I do not foresee any loss from waiting a while for orders. I would certainly advise powers to be given to him to sell the 6. per cents, when he finds a favorable occasion; I believe they may rise to 24/ the pound, which will be making them nearly as much sterling as they are currency. This might enable a remittance immediately to your creditors of about 500£. It might be well to authorize him also to do as to the 3. per cents, & the deferred part, what occurrences shall render expedient. It is impossible to foresee what may happen, & therefore power had better be given where there may be a full reliance in the discretion of the person.
Be so good as to present my respects to Mrs. Paradise, to convey to her my acknolegement of the receipt of her favor of Mar. 1. & to pray her to consider this as intended for her as well as yourself. I am with the greatest esteem of her & yourself Dear Sir your friend & servt.
TO EDWARD RUTLEDGE1
Philadelphia, Aug. 29, 1791.
My Dear Sir,
—I have received your favor of the 7th by mr Harper, & that also by mr Butler. I thank you for both, and shall duly respect both. I find by the last that, not your letter on the subject of British commerce, but mine in answer to it has miscarried. Yours was dated June 20. 1790 was received July 2. & answered July 4. I send you a copy of the answer, which will read now like an old almanac, but it will shew you I am incapable of neglecting any thing which comes from you. The measures therein spoken of as in contemplation for the purpose of bringing Gr. Brit. to reason, vanished in reference of the subject to me to report on our commerce and navigation, generally to the next session of Congress. I have little hope that the result will be any thing more than to turn the left cheek to him who has smitten the right; we have to encounter not only the prejudices in favor of England, but those against the Eastern states whose ships in the opinion of some will over run our land. I have been sorry to see that your state has been over-jealous of the measures proposed on this subject, & which really tend to relieve them from the effects of British broils. I wish you may be able to convert mr Barnwell, because you think him worth converting. Whether you do or not, your opinion of him will make me solicitous for his acquaintance, because I love the good, & respect freedom of opinion. What do you think of this scrip company? Ships are lying idle at the wharfs, buildings are stopped, capitals withdrawn from commerce, manufactures, arts & agriculture, to be employed in gambling, and the tide of public prosperity almost unparalelled in any country, is arrested in it’s course, and suppressed by the rage of getting rich in a day. No mortal can tell where this will stop for the spirit of gaming when once it has seized a subject, is incurable. The taylor who has made thousands in one day, tho’ he has lost them the next, can never again be content with the slow & moderate earnings of his needle. Nothing can exceed the public felicity, if our papers are to be believed, because our papers are under the orders of the scrip-men. I imagine however, we shall shortly hear that all the cash has quitted the extremities of the nation, & accumulated here. That produce, & property fall to half price there, & the same things rise to double price here. That the cash accumulated & stagnated here as soon as the bank paper gets out, will find it’s vent into foreign countries, and instead of this solid medium which we might have kept for nothing, we shall have a paper one for the use of which we are to pay these gamesters 15 per cent per annum as they say. Would to God yourself, Genl Pinkney, Maj. Pinkney would come forward and aid us with your efforts. You are all known, respected, wished for: but you refuse yourselves to every thing. What is to become of us, my dear friend, if the vine & the fig-tree withdraw & leave us to the bramble & thorn? You will have heard before this reaches you, of the peril into which the French revolution is brought by the flight of their king—such are the fruits of that form of government which heaps importance on Idiots, and of which the tories of the present day are trying to preach into our favour. I still hope the French revolution will issue happily. I feel that the permanence of our own leans in some degree on that, and that a failure there would be a powerful argument to prove that there must be a failure here. We have been told that a British minister would be sent out to us this summer. I suspect this depends on the event of peace or war. In the latter case they will probably send one. But they have no serious view of treating or fulfilling treaties. Adieu my dear Sir.
TO BENJAMIN BANNEKER1
Philadelphia Aug. 30. 1791.
—I thank you sincerely for your letter of the 19th instant and for the Almanac it contained. No body wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren, talents equal to those of the other colors of men, and that the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence, both in Africa & America. I can add with truth, that no body wishes more ardently to see a good system commenced for raising the condition both of their body & mind to what it ought to be, as fast as the imbecility of their present existence, and other circumstances which cannot be neglected, will admit. I have taken the liberty of sending your Almanac to Monsieur de Condorcet, Secretary of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, and member of the Philanthropic society, because I consider it as a document to which your whole colour had a right for their justification against the doubts which have been entertained of them. I am with great esteem, Sir Your most obedt humble servt.
TO THE MARQUIS DE CONDORCET
Philadelphia Aug. 30. 1791.
—I am to acknowledge the receipt of your favor on the subject of the element of measure adopted by France. Candor obliges me to confess that it is not what I would have approved. It is liable to the inexactitude of mensuration as to that part of the quadrant of the earth which is to be measured, that is to say as to one tenth of the quadrant, and as to the remaining nine tenths they are to be calculated on conjectural data, presuming the figure of the earth which has not yet been proved. It is liable too to the objection that no nation but your own can come at it; because yours is the only nation within which a meridian can be found of such extent crossing the 45th degree & terminating at both ends in a level. We may certainly say then that this measure is uncatholic, and I would rather have seen you depart from Catholicism in your religion than in your Philosophy.
I am happy to be able to inform you that we have now in the United States a negro, the son of a black man born in Africa, and of a black woman born in the United States, who is a very respectable mathematician. I procured him to be employed under one of our chief directors in laying out the new federal city on the Potowmac, & in the intervals of his leisure, while on that work, he made an Almanac for the next year, which he sent me in his own hand writing, & which I inclose to you. I have seen very elegant solutions of Geometrical problems by him. Add to this that he is a very worthy & respectable member of society. He is a free man. I shall be delighted to see these instances of moral eminence so multiplied as to prove that the want of talents observed in them is merely the effect of their degraded condition, and not proceeding from any difference in the structure of the parts on which intellect depends.
I am looking ardently to the completion of the glorious work in which your country is engaged. I view the general condition of Europe as hanging on the success or failure of France. Having set such an example of philosophical arrangement within, I hope it will be extended without your limits also, to your dependants and to your friends in every part of the earth.
Present my affectionate respects to Madame de Condorcet, and accept yourself assurances of the sentiments of esteem & attachment with which I have the honour to be Dear Sir your most obedt & most humble servt.
TO THE U. S. CONSUL AT BORDEAUX
Philadelphia Aug. 30. 1791.
—The object of the present is principally to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of Feb. 10. Mar. 22. 29. & Apr. 26. and the cases of wine forwarded for the President & myself, for your care of which be pleased to accept my thanks. I hope you have drawn on Mr. Short for the balance of 14#. 9s due to you.
The difference of 6# 5s duty on tobo. carried in French and American bottoms makes an extreme impression here. Notwithstanding the dispositions expressed by the National Assembly to treat on a friendly footing, I fear a retaliation will be thought indispensable, which if equivalent to their duty on our vessels will have the appearance of hostility. An additional tonnage of 12#. 10s the ton burthen on all French ships entering the ports of the U. S. would be but equivalent to an additional duty of 6#. 5s. the hogshead on all tobo. carried in American ships into the ports of France. I take for granted the National Assembly were surprised into the measure by persons whose avarice blinded them to the consequences, & hope it will be repealed before our legislature shall be obliged to act on it. Such an attack on our carriage of our own productions, & such a retaliation would illy prepare the minds of the two nations for a liberal treaty as wished for by the real friends of both.
I trouble you again in the affairs of my neighbor M. de Rieux, whose letters I leave open for your perusal, as they will explain their object, together with the one addressed to yourself. I must ask the favor of you to advise Mr Plumand de Rieux of Nantes as to the best mode of remitting the money hither, as that will be much better known to you on the spot, than to me at this distance.
TO JOHN ADAMS
Philadelphia, Aug. 30. 1791.
My Dear Sir,
—I received some time ago your favor of July 29, and was happy to find that you saw in it’s true point of view the way in which I had been drawn into the scene which must have been so disagreeable to you. The importance which you still seem to allow to my note, & the effect you suppose it to have had, tho’ unintentional in me, induce me to show you that it really had no effect. Paine’s pamphlet, with my note, was published here about the 2d. week in May. Not a word ever appeared in the public papers here on the subject for more than a month; and I am certain not a word on the subject would ever have been said, had not a writer, under the name of Publicola, at length undertaken to attack Mr. Paine’s principles, which were the principles of the citizens of the U. S. Instantly a host of writers attacked Publicola in support of those principles. He had thought proper to misconstrue a figurative expression in my note; & these writers so far noticed me as to place the expression in it’s true light. But this was only an incidental skirmish preliminary to the general engagement, and they would not have thought me worth naming, had not he thought proper to bring me on the scene. His antagonists, very criminally, in my opinion, presumed you to be Publicola, and on that presumption hazarded a personal attack on you. No person saw with more uneasiness than I did, this unjustifiable assault; and the more so when I saw it continued after the printer had declared you were not the author. But you will perceive from all this, my dear Sir, that my note contributed nothing to the production of these disagreeable pieces. As long as Paine’s pamphlet stood on it’s own feet & on my note, it was unnoticed. As soon as Publicola attacked Paine, swarms appeared in his defence. To Publicola then & not in the least degree to my note, this whole contest is to be ascribed & all it’s consequences.
You speak of the execrable paragraph in the Connecticut papers. This it is true appeared before Publicola; but it had no more relation to Paine’s pamphlet and my note, than to the Alcoran. I am satisfied the writer of it had never seen either; for when I passed through Connecticut about the middle of June, not a copy had ever been seen by anybody, either in Hartford or New Haven, nor probably in that whole State: and that paragraph was so notoriously the reverse of the disinterestedness of character which you are known to possess by everybody who knows your name, that I never heard a person speak of the paragraph, but with an indignation in your behalf which did you entire justice. This paragraph then certainly did not flow from my note, any more than the publications which Publicola produced. Indeed it was impossible that my note should occasion your name to be brought into question; for so far from naming you, I had not even in view any writing which I might suppose to be yours, and the opinions I alluded to were principally those I had heard in common conversation from a sect aiming at the subversion of the present government to bring in their favorite form of a king, lords & commons.
Thus I hope, my dear Sir, that you will see me to have been as innocent in effect as I was in intention. I was brought before the public without my own consent, & from the first moment of seeing the effort of the real aggressor in this business to keep me before the public, I determined that nothing should induce me to put pen to paper in the controversy. The business is now over, & I hope it’s effects are over, and that our friendship will never be suffered to be committed, whatever use others may think proper to make of our names.
The event of the King’s flight from Paris & his recapture, will have struck you with its importance. It appears I think that the nation is firm within, and it only remains to see whether there will be any movement from without. I confess I have not changed my confidence in the favourable issue of that revolution, because it has always rested on my own ocular evidence of the unanimity of the nation, & wisdom of the Patriotic party in the National Assembly. The last advices render it probable that the Emperor will recommence hostilities against the Porte. It remains to see whether England and Prussia will take a part. Present me to Mrs. Adams with all the affections I feel for her, and be assured of those devoted to yourself by, my dear Sir, your sincere friend & servt.
TO THE FRENCH MINISTER
Philadelphia. Sept. 1. 1791.
—I have communicated to the President what passed between us the other day, on the subject of the payments made to France by the United States in the assignats of that country, since they have lost their par with gold & silver: and after conferences, by his instruction, with the Secretary of the Treasury, I am authorized to assure you, that the government of the United States have no idea of paying their debt in a depreciated medium, and that in the final liquidation of the payments which shall have been made, due regard will be had to an equitable allowance for the circumstance of depreciation.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
[Oct. 23, 1791.]
Th: Jefferson has the honour to subjoin the alternative he suggested in the last paragraph of the President’s speech.2
Having read Colo. Humphrey’s letters after Mr. Short’s he had been lead into an erroneous arrangement of the facts they state. Colo. Humphrey’s letter mentioning the King’s refusal of the constitution is of Aug. 22. while it appears by Mr. Short’s letter of Aug. 30. that it had not yet been presented to him, & that it was believed he would ratify it.
TO THE U. S. CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES IN SPAIN
Philadelphia. Nov. 6. 1791.
—My last letter to you was of the 24th of August. A gentleman going from home to Cadiz will be the bearer of this, and of the newspapers to the present date, and will take care that the letter be got safe to you if the papers cannot.
Mr. Mangnall, at length tired out with his useless solicitations at this office, to obtain redress from the court of Spain for the loss of the Doser cutter, has laid the matter before Congress, & the Senate have desired me to report thereon to them. I am sorry to know nothing more of the subject than that letter after letter has been written to you thereon, and that the office is in possession of nothing more than acknolegements of your receipt of some of them so long ago as Aug. 1786. and still to add that your letter of Jan. 24. 1791. is the only one received of later date than May 6. 1789. You certainly will not wonder if the receipt of but one letter in two years & an half inspires a considerable degree of impatience. I have learnt thro’ a circuitous channel that the court of Madrid is at length disposed to yield to our right of navigating the Missisipi. I sincerely wish it may be the case, and that this act of justice may be made known before the delay of it produces anything intemperate from our Western inhabitants.
Congress is now in session. You will see in the papers herewith sent the several weighty matters laid before them in the President’s speech. The session will probably continue through the winter. I shall sincerely rejoice to receive from you not only a satisfactory explanation of the reasons why we receive no letters, but grounds to hope that it will be otherwise in future.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Philadelphia, November 7th 1791.
—I have duly considered the letter you were pleased to refer to me, of the 18th of August from his Excellency Governor Pinckney, to yourself, together with the draught of one proposed to be written by him to the Governor of Florida, claiming the redelivery of certain fugitives from justice, who have been received in that Country. The inconveniences of such a receptacle for debtors and malefactors in the neighbourhood of the southern States are obvious and great; and I wish the remedy were as certain and short as the letter seems to suppose.
The delivery of fugitives from one Country to another, as practised by several Nations, is in consequence of conventions settled between them, defining precisely the cases wherein such deliveries shall take place. I know that such conventions exist between France and Spain, France and Sardinia, France and Germany, France and the United Netherlands; between the several sovereigns constituting the Germanic Body, and, I believe, very generally between co-terminous States on the Continent of Europe. England has no such Convention with any nation, and their laws have given no such power to their Executive to surrender fugitives of any description; they are accordingly constantly refused, and hence England has been the asylum of the Paolis, the La Mottes, the Calonnes, in short, of the most atrocious offenders as well as the most innocent victims, who have been able to get there.
The laws of the United States, like those of England, receive every fugitive, and no authority has been given to our Executives to deliver them up. In the case of Longechamp, a subject of France, a formal demand was made by the minister of France, and was refused. He had, indeed, committed an offence within the United States but he was not demanded as a criminal but as a subject.
The French Government has shown great anxiety to have such a convention with the United States, as might authorize them to demand their subjects coming here; they got a clause in the consular convention signed by Dr. Franklin and the Count de Vergennes, giving their Consuls a right to take and send back Captains of vessels, mariners and passengers. Congress saw the extent of the word passengers, and refused to ratify the Convention; a new one was therefore formed, omitting that word. In fact, however desirable it be that the perpetrators of crimes, acknowledged to be such by all mankind, should be delivered up to punishment, yet it is extremely difficult to draw the line between those and acts rendered criminal by tyrannical laws only; hence the first step always, is a convention defining the cases where a surrender shall take place.
If then the United States could not deliver up to Governor Quesada, a fugitive from the laws of his Government, we cannot claim as a right the delivery of fugitives from us: and it is worthy consideration, whether the demand proposed to be made in Governor Pinckney’s letter, should it be complied with by the other party, might not commit us disagreeably, perhaps dishonorably in event; for I do not think we can take for granted, that the legislature of the United States will establish a convention for the mutual delivery of fugitives; and without a reasonable certainty that they will, I think we ought not to give Governor Quesada any grounds to expect, that in a similar case, we would re-deliver fugitives from his Government.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Philadelphia Nov. 8. 1791.
—I have now the honour to inclose you a report on the lands of the U. S. within the North Western and South Western territories, unclaimed either by Indians, or by Citizens of these states.
In order to make the estimate of their quantity & situation, as desired by the legislature, it appeared necessary first to delineate the Indian boundaries which Circumscribe those territories, & then to present a statement of all claims of citizens within the same; from whence results the residuary unclaimed mass, whereon any land law the legislature may think proper to pass, may operate immediately, & without obstruction.
I have not presumed to decide on the merits of the several claims, nor consequently to investigate them minutely. This will only be proper, when such of them as may be thought doubtful, if there should be any such, shall be taken up for final decision.
REPORT ON INDIAN LANDS
Nov. 8. 1791.
The Secretary of State to whom was referred by the President of the U. S. the resolution of Congress requesting the President “ to cause an estimate to be laid before Congress at their next session of the quantity & situation of the lands not claimed by the Indians, nor granted to, nor claimed by, any citizens of the U. S. within the territory ceded to the U. S. by the state of North Carolina & within the territory of the U. S. north west of the river Ohio,” makes thereon the following Report.
South western Territory. The territory ceded by the State of North Carolina to the U. S. by deed bearing date the 25th. day of Feb. 1790 is bounded as follows to wit; beginning in the boundary between Virginia & N. Carolina, that is to say, in the parallel of latitude 36½ degrees North from the equator on the extreme height of the stone mountain, where the sd boundary or parallel intersects it, & running thence along the sd extreme height of the river Missisipi; thence up the middle of the sd. river to where it is intersected by the first mentioned parallel of 36½ degrees; then along the sd parallel to the beginning: which tract of Country is a degree & a half of latitude from North to South, & about 360 miles in general from East to West, as nearly as may be estimated from such maps as exist of that Country.
Indian Claims. The Indians having claims within the sd tract of country are the Cherokees & Chickasaws, whose boundaries are settled by the treaties of Hopewell, concluded with the Cherokees on the 28 day of Nov. 1785, & with the Chickasayos on the 10th. day of January 1786, and by the treaty of Holston concluded with the Cherokees July 2. 1791. These treaties acknowledge to the sd Indians all the lands Westward & Southward of the following lines, to wit, Beginning in the boundary between South & North Carolina where the South Carolina Indian boundary strikes the same; thence North to a point from which a line is to be extended to the river Clinch that shall pass the Holston at the ridge which divides the waters; and containing, as may be conjectured without pretending to accuracy, between seven and eight thousand square miles or about 5. millions of acres; And to one other parcel to the Westward, somewhat triangular also, comprehending parts of the counties of Sumner, Davidson & Tannissee, the base whereof extends about 150 miles also, from East to West on the same Virginia Line, & it’s height from North to South, about 55 miles, & so may comprehend about five thousand square miles, or upwards of two & an half millions of acres of land.
Claims of Citizens. Within these however are the following claims of citizens reserved by the deed of cession & consequently which furnish exceptions to the rights of the U. S.
I. Appropriations by the state of North Carolina for their Continental & State Officers & Souldiers.
II. Grants, & Titles to grants vested in individuals by the laws of the State.
III. Entries made in Armstrong’s office under an act of that State of 1783 for the redemption of specie & other certificates.
TO WILLIAM SHORT1
Philadelphia, Nov. 9, 1791.
T. Pinckney of S. C. has this day the offer of the Mission to London, as M. P. When we know whether he accepts or not, which will not be these 6. weeks, the Nomination of a M. P. for Par. & a Min. Resid. for the Hague will be made. The former is in suspense between yourself & another. If you do not have that, you will have the latter. There was never a symptom by which I could form a guess on this subject till 3 days ago. Nobody here will know a word of it these 6. weeks. Hearing a vessel in this port was just hoisting sail for Havre, I avail myself of it to give you the information which you are to keep secret, till it may be openly communicated.
REPORT ON MANGNALL
d. s. mss.
[Nov. 10, 1791.]
The Secretary of State, to whom was referred by the Senate of the United States, the petition of John Mangnall, has had the same under consideration, and thereupon makes the following Report.
He finds that Congress, on the application of the Petitioner, resolved on the 27th. day of Sep. 1780. that the profit of the capture of the Doser cutter should be divided among the captors, & that the honble Mr. Jay, their Minister Plenipotentiary at the court of Madrid should be instructed to endeavor to obtain for the sd captors the benefit by their resolve of Octob. 14. 1777.
That such instructions were accordingly sent by the Committee for foreign Affairs to Mr. Jay, who continued, during his residence there, to press the settlement of this claim, under very varying prospects as to the result.
That after he came to the direction of the office for foreign Affairs, he continued to press the same subject through our Chargé des Affaires at Madrid; and it has been since resumed & urged in the strongest terms by the Secretary of State.
That as yet no information is received of what has been done, or is likely to be done.
That the circumstances of the country where this business has been transacted, have rendered the transmission & receipt of letters at all times difficult & precarious, & latterly in a remarkable degree. But still that there will be no remission of endeavors to obtain justice for the Petitioner & his Associates.
As to so much of the petition as prays that a pension may be allowed him until the adjustment of his claim, it will rest with the wisdom of the Senate to decide on it’s reasonableness. The precedent will indeed be new, & may bring on other applications in similar cases to which the irregular conduct of officers military & civil, have given rise, & will perpetually give rise. But if they shall perceive that the measure is right, the consequence that it will lead to repetitions in other cases equally right ought to be met.1
As to so much of the said petition as prays that the petitioner may be allowed a pension from the Public until his claim shall be decided at the Court of Madrid, the Secretary of State observes, that in times of war questions are continually arising on the legitimacy of capture, on acts of piracy, on acts of violence at sea, and in times of peace on seizures for contraband, regular & irregular, which draw on discussions with foreign nations, always of long continuance, and often of results in which expedience rather than justice renders acquiescence adviseable; that some such cases are now depending between the Governments of the United States and of other countries; that a great number of Applications might be made for pensions on the same ground with the present, both now and hereafter; that it is not known that the claims are just ’till they are heard and decided on, and even when decided to be just, the Government from which it is due is alone responsible for the money: and He is therefore of opinion that such a pension ought not to be granted.
TO JAMES MADISON
Nov. 11. 1791.
In my report on How’s case, where I state that it should go to the President, it will become a question with the house whether they shall refer it to the President themselves, or give it back to the petitioner, & let him so address it, as he ought to have done at first. I think the latter proper, 1, because it is a case belonging purely to the Executive; 2, the legislature should never show itself in a matter with a foreign nation, but where the case is very serious and they mean to commit the nation on it’s issue; 3, because if they indulge individuals in handing through the legislature their applications to the Executive, all applicants will be glad to avail themselves of the weight of so powerful a solicitor. Similar attempts have been repeatedly made by individuals to get the President to hand in their petitions to the legislature, which he has constantly refused. It seems proper that every person should address himself directly to the department to which the constitution has allotted his case; and that the proper answer to such from any other department is, ‘that it is not to us that the constitution has assigned the transaction of this business.” I suggest these things to you, that if they may appear to you to be right, this kind of business may in the first instance be turned into it’s proper channel.
TO HUGH WILLIAMSON
Nov. 13. 1791.
—On considering the subject of the clause you wished to have introduced in the inclosed bill, I found it more difficult than I had on first view imagined. Will you make the first trial against the patentee conclusive against all others who might be interested to contest his patent? If you do he will always have a collusive suit brought against himself at once. Or will you give every one a right to bring actions separately? If you do, besides running him down with the expences & vexations of lawsuits, you will be sure to find some jury in the long run, who from motives of partiality or ignorance, will find a verdict against him, tho’ a hundred should have been before found in his favour. I really believe that less evil will follow from leaving him to bring suits against those who invade his right. If, however, you can get over the difficulty & will drop me a line, I will try to prepare a clause, tho’ I am sure you will put your own ideas into form better than any body else can.
REPORT ON HOWE
Nov. 14. 1791.
The Secretary of State, to whom was referred by the House of Representatives the Petition of William Howe, praying satisfaction from the United States, for a Debt due to him in Nova Scotia, and whereon Judgment has been rendered against him, contrary to existing Treaties, as he supposes, with Instructions to examine the same, and report his Opinions thereupon to the House, has had the same under consideration, and thereupon Reports:
That if the facts be justly stated in the Petition; Indemnification is to be sought from a foreign Nation, and, therefore, that the Case is a proper one to be addressed to the President of the United States.
That, when in that Channel, if it shall be found after advising with Counsel at Law, that the Verdict or Judgment rendered in the said Case is Inconsistent with Treaty, it will become a proper Subject of Representation to the Court of London, and of Indemnification from them to the Party.
That to this Interposition the Petitioner will, in that case, be entitled, but not to any Reimbursement from the United States directly.
TO THE CHARGÉ D’AFFAIRES IN FRANCE
Philadelphia Nov 24, 1791.
— * * * You mention that Drost wishes the devices of our money to be sent to him, that he may engrave them there. This cannot be done, because not yet decided on. The devices will be fixed by the law which shall establish the mint. M. de Ternant tells me he has no instructions to propose to us the negotiation of a commercial treaty, and that he does not expect any. I wish it were possible to draw that negotiation to this place.—In your letter of July 24, is the following paragraph.
“It is published in the English newspapers that war is inevitable between the U. S. & Spain, & that preparations are making for it on both sides. M. de Montmorin asked me how the business stood at present, & seemed somewhat surprised at my telling him that I knew nothing later than what I had formerly mentioned to him.—I have in more than one instance experienced the inconvenience of being without information. In this it is disagreeable, as it may have the appearance with M. de Montmorin, of my having something to conceal from him, which not being the case it would be wrong that he should be allowed to take up such an idea.—I observed that I did not suppose there was any new circumstance, as you had not informed me of it.”
Your observation was certainly just. It would be an Augean task for me to go through the London newspapers and formally contradict all their lies, even those relating to America. On our side, there have been certainly no preparations for war against Spain; nor have I heard of any on their part but in the London newspapers. As to the progress of the negotiation, I know nothing of it but from you; having never had a letter from Mr. Carmichael on the subject. Our best newspapers are sent you from my office, with scrupulous exactness, by every vessel sailing to Havre, or any other convenient port of France. On these I rely for giving you information of all the facts possessed by the public; and as to those not possessed by them, I think there has not been a single instance of my leaving you uninformed of any of them which related to the matters under your charge. In Freneau’s paper of the 21st inst. you will see a small essay on population & emigration, which I think it would be well if the news writers of Paris would translate & insert in their papers. The sentiments are too just not to make impression.
Some proceedings of the assembly of St. Domingo have lately taken place, which it is necessary for me to state to you exactly that you may be able to do the same to M. de Montmorin. When the insurrection of their negroes assumed a very threatening appearance the assembly sent a deputy here to ask assistance of military stores & provisions. He addressed himself to M. de Ternant, who (the President being then in Virginia, as I was also) applied to the Secretaries of the Treasury & War. They furnished 1000 stand of arms, other military stores, and placed 40,000 dollars in the Treasury subject to the order of M. de Ternant, to be laid out in provisions, or otherwise, as he should think best. He sent the arms & other military stores; but the want of provisions did not seem so instantaneous, as to render it necessary, in his opinion, to send any at that time. Before the vessel arrived in St. Domingo, the Assembly, further urged by the appearance of danger, sent two deputies more, with large demands; viz 8000 fusils & bayonets, 2000 mousquators, 3000 pistols, 3000 sabres, 24,000 barrels of flour, 400.000 worth of Indian meal, rice, peas & hay, & a large quantity of plank, &c. to repair the buildings destroyed. They applied to M. de Ternant, & then, with his consent to me; he & I having previously had a conversation on the subject. They proposed to me 1. that we should supply those wants from the money we owed France; or 2. for bills of exchange which they were authorized to draw on a particular fund in France; or 3. that we would guarantee their bills, in which case they could dispose of them to merchants, & buy the necessaries themselves. I convinced them the two latter alternatives were beyond the powers of the Executive, & the 1st could only be done with the consent of the Minister of France. In the course of our conversation, I expressed to them our sincere attachment to France & all it’s dominions, & most especially to them who were our neighbors, and whose interests had some common points of union with ours, in matters of commerce; that we wished therefore to render them every service they needed; but that we could not do it in any way disagreeable to France; that they must be sensible that M. de Ternant might apprehend that jealousy would be excited by their addressing themselves directly to foreign powers, & therefore that a concert with him in their applications to us was essential. The subject of independance & their views towards it having been stated in the public papers, this led our conversation to it & I must say they appeared as far from these views as any persons on earth. I expressed to them freely my opinion that such an object was neither desirable on their part nor attainable; that as to ourselves there was one case which would be peculiarly alarming to us, to wit, were there a danger of their falling under any other power; that we concieved it to be strongly our interests that they should retain their connection with the mother country; that we had a common interest with them in furnishing them the necessaries of life in exchange for sugar & coffee for our own consumption, but that I thought we might rely on the justice of the mother country towards them, for their obtaining this privilege; and on the whole let them see that nothing was to be done but with the consent of the minister of France. I am convinced myself that their views & their application to us are perfectly innocent; however M. de Ternant, & still more M. de La Forest are jealous. The deputies on the other hand think that M. de Ternant is not sensible enough of their wants. They delivered me sealed letters to the President, & to Congress. That to the President contained only a picture of their distresses & application for relief. That to Congress I know no otherwise than thro’ the public papers. The Senate read it & sent it to the Representatives, who read it and have taken no other notice of it. The line of conduct I pursue is to persuade these gentlemen to be contented with such moderate supplies from time to time as will keep them from real distress, & to wait with patience for what would be a surplus till M. de Ternant can receive instructions from France which he has reason to expect within a few weeks; and I encourage the latter gentleman even to go beyond their absolute wants of the moment, so far as to keep them in good humour. He is accordingly proposing to lay out 10.000 dollars for them for the present. It would be ridiculous in the present case to talk about forms. There are situations when form must be dispensed with. A man attacked by assassins will call for help to those nearest him, & will not think himself bound to silence till a magistrate may come to his aid. It would be unwise in the highest degree that the colonists should be disgusted with either France or us; for it might then be made to depend on the moderation of another power whether what appears a chimæra might not become a reality. I have thought it necessary to go thus fully into this transaction, & particularly as to the sentiments I have expressed to them, that you may be enabled to place our proceedings in their true light.
Our Indian expeditions have proved successful. As yet however they have not led to peace.—Mr. Hammond has lately arrived here as Minister Plenipotentiary from the court of London, and we propose to name one to that court in return.—Congress will probably establish the ratio of representation by a bill now before them at one representative for every 30.000 inhabitants. Besides the newspapers as usual, you will receive herewith the Census lately taken by towns & counties as well as by states.
CLAUSES FOR TREATY OF COMMERCE WITH FRANCE1
The citizens of the U. S. & of France & of their dominions, their vessels, productions & manufactures, as well those raised by their industry from the sea, as from the soil, shall be received and treated, each in all the dominions of the other, as if they were the native citizens, or the home built vessels, or the productions, or the manufactures of the other.
Saving that the duties payable on the productions or manufactures of either country or its dominions, imported into the other or it’s dominions, may remain as at present, where they do not exceed per cent. on the value of the article at the port of importation; in which case of excess they are hereby, ipso facto, reduced to that measure: and where they shall be hereafter reduced by either party, on any article, in favor of any other nation, they shall stand ipso facto reduced on the same article in favor of the other party, yielding the like equivalent only where the reduction has been for an equivalent. And that this beneficial restraint of duties on the industry of either may not be defeated by premiums on that of the other, it is agreed that every premium for any production or manufacture of either country shall be extended on ye same conditions by the party giving it to the like production or manufacture of the other.
Saving also to the persons of their citizens mutually that they shall continue under these incapacities of Office & suffrage, each with the other, which the constitution or laws of France or of the U. S. or any of them, or of any of their dominions, here or shall establish against foreigners of all nations without exception.
QUESTIONS TO BE CONSIDERED OF1
d. s. mss.
[Nov. 26, 1791.]
I. As to France.
Shall it be proposed to M. de Ternant, to form a treaty, ad referendum, to this effect.
“The citizens of the U. S. and of France, their vessels, productions & manufactures shall be received and considered, each in all the dominions of the other, as if they were the native citizens, or the ships, productions or manufactures of that other. And the productions of the sea shall be received in all the dominions of each as if they were the productions of the country by the industry of whose citizens they have been taken or produced from the sea.
“Saving only as to the persons of their citizens, that they shall continue under those incapacities for office, each with the other, which the Constitutions of France, or of the U. S. or any of them, have or shall establish against foreigners of all nations without exception.”
If not, shall a treaty be proposed to him, ad referendum, in which the conditions shall be detailed on which the persons, ships, productions & manufactures of each shall be received with the other, and the imposts to which they shall be liable be formed into a tariff?
Shall the Senate be consulted in the beginning, in the middle, or only at the close of this transaction? II. As to England.
Shall Mr. Hammond be now asked whether he is instructed to give us any explanations of the intentions of his court as to the detention of our Western posts, and other infringements of our treaty with them?
Shall he be now asked whether he is authorized to conclude, or to negotiate, any commercial arrangements with us?
TO THE BRITISH MINISTER
Philadelphia, Nov. 29. 1791.
—In recalling your attention to the Seventh Article of the Definitive Treaty of Peace between the United States of America and his Britannic Majesty, wherein it was stipulated that His Britannic Majesty should, with all convenient speed, and without causing any destruction, or carrying away any negroes or other property of the American inhabitants, withdraw all his armies, garrisons and fleets from the said United States, and from every post, place, and harbour within the same. I need not observe to you that this article still remains in a state of inexecution, nor recapitulate what, on other occasions, has past on this subject. Of all this I presume you are fully apprised. We consider the friendly movement lately made by the court of London, in sending a Minister to reside with us, as a favorable omen of it’s disposition to cultivate harmony and good will between the two nations; and we are perfectly persuaded that these views will be cordially seconded by yourself in the ministry which you are appointed to exercise between us. Permit me then, Sir, to ask whether you are instructed to give us explanations of the intentions of your court as to the execution of the article above quoted?
With respect to the Commerce of the two Countries, we have supposed that we saw in several instances, regulations on the part of your government, which if reciprocally adopted, would naturally injure the interests of both nations.
On this subject too, I must beg the favor of you to say whether you are authorized to conclude, or to negociate arrangements with us, which may fix the Commerce between the two Countries on principles of reciprocal advantage?
RESOLUTIONS CONCERNING ALGIERS1
[Dec. 2, 1791.]
Draught of a Secret resolution of the Senate.
Resolved by the Senate of the U.S. that if the President of the the U. S. shall think proper to enter into any treaty or convention for the purpose of ransoming the citizens of the U.S. now in captivity at Algiers at an expense not exceeding [40.000] dollars, or for the preservation of peace in future with that & with Tunis or Tripoli or both powers at an expence not exceeding [40.000] dollars to be annually paid for years the Senate will advise & consent to the ratification thereof.
Peace—The Dutch, Danes, Swedes, and Venetians pay from 24,000 to 30,000 @ annually.
France as is said, besides presents, from time to time pays 100,000 annually.
England it is supposed expends one year with another 280,000
Draught of a Secret resolution of both houses.
Resolved by the Senate & House of Representatives of the U. S. in Congress assembled, that if the President of the U. S. by & with the advise & consent of the Senate shall think proper to enter into any treaty or convention for the purpose of ransoming the citizens of the U. S. now in captivity at Algiers at an expence not exceeding [40.000] dollars or for the preservation of peace in future with that power & with Tunis or Tripoli or both at an expence not exceeding [40,000] to be annually paid for years, the Congress of the U. S. will provide for the expences of any measures which he shall take for accomplishing these objects, tho’ such measures should not succeed, provided such expences exceed not  dollars.
Then should follow a resolution for furnishing the money beforehand, &c.
TO THE BRITISH MINISTER
Philadelphia, Dec. 5, 1791.
—Your favor of Nov. 30, remains still unanswered because the clerks are employed in copying some documents on the subject of the treaty of peace which I wish to exhibit to you with the answer.
In the mean time, as to that part of your letter which respects matters of commerce, the fear of misunderstanding it induces me to mention my idea of it and to ask if it be right. Where you are pleased to say that you are “authorised to communicate to this government his majesty’s readiness to enter into a negociation for establishing that intercourse [of Commerce] upon principles of reciprocal benefit,” I understand that you are not furnished with any commission or express powers to arrange a treaty with us, or to make any specific propositions on the subject of commerce; but only to assure us that his Britanic majesty is ready to concur with us in appointing persons, times and places for commencing such a negociation. Be so good as to inform me if there be any misapprehension in this, as some steps on our part may be necessary in consequence of it.
NOTE ON SPANISH NEGOTIATIONS1
[Dec. 6, 1791.]
Don Joseph Jaudenes communicated verbally to the Secretary of State that his Catholic majesty has been apprized through the channel of the court of Versailles of our sollicitude to have some arrangements made respecting our free navigation of the Missisipi, & a port thereon convenient for the deposit of merchandise of export & import, for lading and unlading the sea and river vessels, & that his majesty will be ready to enter into treaty thereon directly with us, whenever we shall send to Madrid a proper & acceptable person duly authorized to treat on our part.
NOTES ON BRITISH NEGOTIATIONS
December 12th, 1791.
The discussions which are opening between Mr. Hammond and our government, have as yet looked towards no objects but those which depend on the treaty of peace. There are, however, other matters to be arranged between the two governments, some of which do not rest on that treaty. The following is a statement of the whole of them:
1st. The West posts.
2d. The negroes carried away.
3d. The debt of their bank in Maryland, and perhaps Rhode Island.
4th. Goods taken from the inhabitants of Boston, while the town was in their possession, and compensation promised.
5th. Prizes taken after the dates at which hostilities were to cease.
6th. Subsistence of prisoners.
7th. The Eastern boundary.
Which of these shall be taken into the present discussion?
Which of them shall be left to arrangement through the ordinary channels of our ministers, in order to avoid embarrassing the more important points with matters of less consequence?
On the subject of commerce shall Mr. Hammond be desired to produce his powers to treat, as is usual, before conferences are held on that subject?
TO THE BRITISH MINISTER
Philadelphia, Dec. 12, 1791.
—I take the liberty of enclosing you an extract of a letter from a respectable character, giving information of a Mr. Bowles1 lately come from England into the Creek country, endeavouring to excite that nation of Indians to war against the United States and pretending to be employed by the government of England. We have other testimony of these pretensions, & that he carries them much farther than there stated. We have too much confidence in the justice & wisdom of the British government to believe they can approve of the proceedings of this incendiary & impostor, or countenance for a moment a person who takes the liberty of using their name for such a purpose; and I make the communication merely that you may take that notice of the case which in your opinion shall be proper.
TO THE BRITISH MINISTER
Philadelphia, December 13, 1791.
—I have laid before the President of the United States the letters of Nov. 30, and Dec. 6. with which you honored me, and in consequence thereof, and particularly of that part of your letter of Dec. 6th where you say you are fully authorised to enter into a negociation for the purpose of arranging the commercial intercourse between the two countries, I have the honor to inform you that I am ready to receive a communication of your full powers for that purpose at any time you shall think proper, and to proceed immediately to their object.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
d. s. mss.
Dec. 13, 1791.
Th: Jefferson presents his respects to the President of the U. S. and sends him the letter he has prepared for Mr. Hammond relative to his Commercial commission.
He also includes the rough draught1 of the one he has prepared on the subject of the treaty of Peace, with the documents he proposes to communicate in support of the facts. The 1st of these (the Substance of the Conference &c) is communicated because Carleton was more explicit in that conversation, than in his letter of May 12. as to the magnitude of the first embarcation and that the negroes then embarked were the property of the U. S. Yet this piece of evidence does not seem essentially necessary, and Th. J. asks the opinion of the President on the subject. He will wait on him to-day a quarter before three on these subjects.
DRAFT FOR PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE ON INDIAN WAR1
[Dec. 16, 1791.]
— The pacific measures which were adopted for establishing peace between the United States & the North Western Indians having proved ineffectual, and the military operations which thereon became necessary, tho’ successful in the first instance, being otherwise in the last as was stated to you in my communication of instant, it behoves us to look forward in time to the further protection of our Western citizens.
I see no reason to doubt that operations of force must still be pursued. I have therefore instructed the Secretary at war, to prepare, for your information, a statement of the transactions of his department material to this object. These are now laid before you. While they serve to shew that the plan which was adopted for employing the public force & wealth was such as promised reasonably a more effectual issue, they will enable you also to judge of the provision which it may now be expedient to make for the ensuing year. An estimate of the Secretary at war on this subject is now laid before you.
OPINION RELATIVE TO CERTAIN LANDS ON LAKE ERIE, SOLD BY THE UNITED STATES TO PENNSYLVANIA
December 19, 1791.
The Secretary of State, to whom was referred, by the President of the United States, a letter from the Governor of Pennsylvania, with the documents therein mentioned, on the subject of certain lands on Lake Erie, having had the same under consideration, thereupon Reports:
That Congress, by their resolution of June 6th, 1788, directed the Geographer General of the United States to ascertain the quantity of land belonging to the United States between Pennsylvania and Lake Erie, and authorized a sale thereof.
That a sale was accordingly made to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
That Congress, by their resolution of September 4th, 1788, relinquished to the said commonwealth all their right to the government and jurisdiction of the said tract of land; but the right of soil was not transferred by the resolution.
That a survey of the said tract has been since made, and the amount of the purchase money been settled between the comptrollers of the United States and of the said Commonwealth, and that the Governor of Pennsylvania declares in the said letter, to the President of the United States, that he is ready to close the transaction on behalf of the said commonwealth.
That there is no person at present authorized, by law, to convey to the said commonwealth the right of soil, in the said tract of land.
And the Secretary of State is therefore of opinion that the said letter and documents should be laid before the legislature of the United States to make such provision by law for conveying the said right of soil, as they in their wisdom shall think fit.
REPORT ON NEGOTIATION WITH SPAIN1
[Dec. 22, 1791.]
The Secretary of State reports to the President of the United States, that one of the Commissioners of Spain, in the name of both, has lately communicated to him, verbally, by order of his Court, that his Catholic Majesty, apprized of your solicitude to have some arrangements made respecting our free navigation of the river Mississippi, and the use of a port thereon, is ready to enter into a treaty thereon at Madrid.
The Secretary of State is of opinion, that this overture should be attended to without delay, and that the proposal of treating at Madrid, though not what might have been desired, should yet be accepted, and a commission plenipotentiary made out for the purpose.
That Mr. Carmichael, the present Chargé des Affaires of the United States at Madrid, from the local acquaintance which he must have acquired with persons and circumstances, would be an useful and proper member of the commission: but that it would be useful, also, to join with him some person more particularly acquainted with the circumstances of the navigation to be treated of.
That the fund appropriated by the act providing the means of intercourse between the United States and foreign nations, will insufficiently furnish the ordinary and regular demands on it, and is, consequently, inadequate to the mission of an additional Commissioner express from hence.
That, therefore, it will be advisable, on this account, as well as for the sake of despatch, to constitute some one of the Ministers of the United States in Europe, jointly with Mr. Carmichael, Commissioners Plenipotentiary, for the special purpose of negotiating and concluding with any person or persons duly authorized by his Catholic Majesty, a convention or treaty for the free navigation of the river Mississippi by the citizens of the United States, under such accommodations with respect to a port, and other circumstances, as may render the said navigation practicable, useful, and free from dispute: saving to the President and Senate their respective rights as to the ratification of the same; and that the said negotiation be at Madrid, or such other place in Spain as shall be desired by his Catholic Majesty.
TO ARCHIBALD STUART
Philadelphia. Dec 23, 1791.
—I received duly your favor of Octob 22. and should have answered it by the gentleman who delivered it, but that he left town before I knew of it.
That it is really important to provide a constitution for our state cannot be doubted: as little can it be doubted that the ordinance called by that name has important defects. But before we attempt it, we should endeavor to be as certain as is practicable that in the attempt we should not make bad worse. I have understood that Mr. Henry has always been opposed to this undertaking: and I confess that I consider his talents and influence such as that, were it decided that we should call a Convention for the purpose of amending, I should fear he might induce that convention either to fix the thing as at present, or change it for the worse. Would it not therefore be well that means should be adopted for coming at his ideas of the changes he would agree to, & for communicating to him those which we should propose? Perhaps he might find ours not so distant from his but that some mutual sacrifices might bring them together.
I shall hazard my own ideas to you as hastily as my business obliges me. I wish to preserve the line drawn by the federal constitution between the general & particular governments as it stands at present, and to take every prudent means of preventing either from stepping over it. Tho’ the experiment has not yet had a long enough course to shew us from which quarter encroachments are most to be feared, yet it is easy to foresee from the nature of things that the encroachments of the state governments will tend to an excess of liberty which will correct itself (as in the late instance) while those of the general government will tend to monarchy, which will fortify itself from day to day, instead of working its own cure, as all experience shews. I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it. Then it is important to strengthen the state governments: and as this cannot be done by any change in the federal constitution, (for the preservation of that is all we need contend for,) it must be done by the states themselves, erecting such barriers at the constitutional line as cannot be surmounted either by themselves or by the general government. The only barrier in their power is a wise government. A weak one will lose ground in every contest. To obtain a wise & an able government, I consider the following changes as important. Render the legislature a desirable station by lessening the number of representatives (say to 100) and lengthening somewhat their term, and proportion them equally among the electors: adopt also a better mode of appointing Senators. Render the Executive a more desirable post to men of abilities by making it more independant of the legislature. To wit, let him be chosen by other electors, for a longer time, and ineligible for ever after. Responsibility is a tremendous engine in a free government. Let him feel the whole weight of it then by taking away the shelter of his executive council. Experience both ways has already established the superiority of this measure. Render the Judiciary respectable by every possible means, to wit, firm tenure in office, competent salaries, and reduction of their numbers. Men of high learning and abilities are few in every country; & by taking in those who are not so, the able part of the body have their hands tied by the unable. This branch of the government will have the weight of the conflict on their hands, because they will be the last appeal of reason.—These are my general ideas of amendments; but, preserving the ends, I should be flexible & conciliatory as to the means. You ask whether Mr. Madison and myself could attend on a convention which should be called? Mr. Madison’s engagements as a member of Congress will probably be from October to March or April in every year. Mine are constant while I hold my office, and my attendance would be very unimportant. Were it otherwise, my office should not stand in the way of it. I am with great & sincere esteem, Dr Sir, your friend & servt.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Philadelphia December 23, 1791.
—As the conditions of our commerce with the French and British Dominions, are important, and a moment seems to be approaching, when it may be useful that both should be accurately understood, I have thrown a representation of them into the form of a Table, shewing at one view, how the principal articles, interesting to our Agriculture and Navigation, stand in the European and American dominions of these two Powers. As to so much of it as respects France, I have cited under every article the law on which it depends: which laws, from 1784, downwards, are in my possession.
Port charges are so different; according to the size of the vessel, and the dexterity of the captain, that an examination of a greater number of Portbills might, perhaps, produce a different result. I can only say that, that expressed in the Table, is fairly drawn from such Bills as I could readily get access to, and that I have no reason to suppose it varies much from the truth, nor on which side the variation would lie. Still, I cannot make myself responsible for this article. The authorities cited will vouch the rest.1
TO THE SECRETARY OF THE U. S. TERRITORY SOUTH OF THE RIVER OHIO
Philadelphia, Dec. 24, 1791.
—I have to acknowlege the receipt of your favor of Sep. 1. and Octob. 4. together with the report of the Executive proceedings in the South Western Government from March 1. to July 26.
In answer to that part of yours of Sept. 1. on the subject of a seal for the use of that government, I think it extremely proper & necessary, & that one should be provided at public expense.
The opposition made by Governor Blount & yourself to all attempts by citizens of the U. S. to settle within the Indian lines without authority from the General government is approved, and should be continued.
There being a prospect that Congress, who have now the post Office bill before them, will establish a post from Richmond to Stanton, & continue it there towards the S. W. government a good distance, if not nearly to it, our future correspondence will be more easy, quick & certain.
NOTE ON SPANISH NEGOTIATIONS
[Dec. 27, 1791.]
Don Joseph Jaudenes (at a dinner at the city tavern) told me he had received new instructions from his court to express to us the king’s dispositions to settle everything on the most friendly footing and to express his uneasiness at having received the communication of our sentiments thro’ the chargé des affaires of France, while a direct communication was open between us, the matter having been only suspended, but not broken off since the departure of Mr. Gardoqui, and to express his pleasure also at the polite reception the President had given to his Commissioners here.1
[1 ]The original letter of Otto’s, as well as this report of Jefferson’s as transmitted to Congress, are in the State Papers (Foreign Relations, 1, 109). Jefferson submitted this report to Hamilton, with the following letter:
“January 1st, 1791.
—I inclose you copies of the printed papers you desired: also a letter I received last night. This paper I will thank you to return by the bearer when you shall have perused it, as it is yet to be translated & communicated to the President. It is evident that this matter will become serious, & tho’ I am pointedly against admitting the French construction of the treaty; yet I think it essential to work up some favour which may ensure the continuance of the good dispositions they have towards us. A nation which takes one third of our tobacco, more than half our fish oil & two thirds of our fish, say one half of the amount of these great staples and a great deal of rice, & from whom we take nothing in return but hard money to carry directly over and pour into the coffers of their enemies, such a customer, I say, deserves some menagemens. I would thank you sincerely to suggest any thing better than I had thought of. I am dear Sir your’s affectionately & respectfully.”
See two very interesting letters of Hamilton on this report in Hamilton’s Works, Federal edition, IV, 345, 347. The editor, Mr. Lodge, adds two foot-notes to them, stating:“This refers undoubtedly to our treaty with France. What the precise exemption was which was sought is not clear, although indicated in this and the next letter. There is no evidence that this ‘intended’ report was ever made; at least it is not found in Jefferson’s works nor in those of Washington. Although the precise point involved is lost, the general purport of this and the preceding letter is clear. Jefferson was considering whether to recommend some treaty construction favorable to France. Hamilton civilly disagreed on being consulted, and the matter appears to have been dropped.” Jefferson also consulted Madison concerning this, writing him:
“I intended to have called last night & left with you the enclosed draught of a lre to Otto but it was so cold I could not give up my hack. I received yours soon after I came home. Of the two constructions I observe you lean more to the 2d. and I more to the 1st. on account of the consequences to which the 2d may be pursued—My first idea was to write this lre to Otto and previously communicate it to the President & he perhaps to the Senate. But I have concluded to throw it into the form of a report to the President, to be submitted to the Senate. This will permit me to speak without reserve, to admit the force of 2d construction, & to enforce the proposition I suggest in the close, by showing what valuable branches of our commerce hang on the will of the French nation. I shall see you at dinner & be glad to exchange further thought on the subject which is an important one.”
[1 ]By an official paper from the Bureau of the balance of commerce of France, we find that of the ships which entered the ports of France from the U. S. in the year 1789. only 13. amounting to 2105. tons were French, & 163. making 24,173 tons were American.—T. J.
[1 ]Abstract of the produce of the Fisheries exported from the United States from August 20th. 1789 to August 14th. 1790. in which is omitted one quarter’s exportations from Boston, Plymouth, Dighton, Penobscot, Frenchman’s Bay, Machias, and New York, of which the returns are not received.—T. J.
[1 ]Cf. with Annals, ii., 1752, where this resolution, in slightly modified form, was introduced by Langdon.
[1 ]This proposed bill was drafted by Jefferson, and introduced into the House of Representatives Feb. 7, 1791, by White (Annals, ii, 1937). No further action was taken on it in this Congress. In the next Congress it was again introduced (Annals, iii, 741) and, after debate and amendment, was finally passed. The act as adopted is in the Statutes at Large, and varies considerably from Jefferson’s draft.
[1 ]“For Sale. The lands called Elk-hill on James river & the Byrd estate, adjacent to Elk-island in Goochland, containing 669 acres & consisting of two parcels, the one of 307 acres of low ground & highlands both of the first quality, the other of 362 acres of good grain land, mostly well timbered. The two parcels are 250 yards apart, a public road passing through that interval & are cultivated as one plantation. On the former and in a very handsome position is a commodious dwelling house, built by the late Reuben Skelton for his own residence, having 4 rooms below & 2 above, with good out houses erected since his time. The price is 40/ sterling the acre, payable by instalments in the years 17184.108.40.206. with interest from the delivery of the lands. Real security will be required. Capt. Henry Mullins, who lives adjoining to these lands will shew them to any person wishing to purchase, & the subscriber in Albemarle has full authority to conclude the sale.”
[1 ]The message as sent is in the Annals, ii, 1757.
[2 ]Here follows a paragraph that is struck out, as follows:
“Gentlemen of the Senate:
For your further and more particular information, I lay before you the instructions I gave to Mr. Gouverneur Morris (the person whom I employed as being on the spot, without giving him any public character) and those”
[1 ]Though the Constitution controls the laws of Mortmain so far as to permit Congress itself to hold land for certain purposes, yet not so far as to permit them to communicate a similar right to other corporate bodies.—T. J.
[1 ]The address of this letter is absolutely illegible, but Smith had been requested by Congress to deliver an oration on Franklin, and in the oration as published he includes some of these facts.
[1 ]See Journals of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate, I, 80.
[1 ]This is merely a cipher paragraph in an otherwise formal routine letter.
[1 ]From S. N. Randolph’s Domestic Life of Jefferson, p. 194.
[1 ]From a copy courteously furnished by Colonel C. C. Jones, of Augusta, Georgia.
[1 ]See ante, page 175 for the Report on this dispute.
[1 ]From S. N. Randolph’s Domestic Life of Jefferson, p. 196.
[1 ]Cipher numbers in original.
[1 ]From S. N. Randolph’s Domestic Life of Jefferson, p. 199.
[1 ]From S. N. Randolph’s Domestic Life of Jefferson.
[1 ]An Account of the . . . Lands . . . in North America and particularly the Lands . . . known by the name of the Genisee Tract. [n. p.]. 1791, written according to Ludewig by Dr. Myles Cooper, but more probably written by W. T. Franklin. The title is in Sabin, 26926.
[1 ]From the original in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
[1 ]Inclosed with this, is the following memorandum: “The capital stock of the bank, ten millions of dollars, divided into 25,000 shares.
[1 ]Publicola was generally supposed to be John Adams but the printer of the Centinel denied this. The letters under that name were written by John Quincy Adams.
[1 ]This note, which was printed in most of the American editions of the Age of Reason, was as follows: “After some prefatory remarks, the Secretary of State, Mr. Jefferson, in a note to a Printer in Philadelphia, accompanying a copy of this Pamphlet for republication, observes: ‘I am extremely pleased to find it will be reprinted here, and that something is at length to be publickly said against the political heresies which have sprung up among us. ‘I have no doubt our citizens will rally a second time round the standard of Common Sense.’ ”
[1 ]Tench Coxe, for Controller, the office made vacant by the death of Eveleigh.
[1 ]The printer of the French edition of the Notes on Virginia.
[1 ]At this point a series of cipher numbers is written on the margin, which, translated, reads: “Adams, Jay, Hamilton, Knox. Many of the Cincinnati. The second says nothing. The third is open. Both are dangerous. They pant after union with England as the power which is to support their projects, and are most determined Anti-gallicans. It is prognosticated that our republic is to end with the President’s life. But I believe they will find themselves all head and no body.”
[1 ]This paragraph is in cipher in original.
[1 ]Observations upon the Government of the United States . . . Boston: mdccxci.
[1 ]From the original in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
[1 ]Banneker’s letter, with this reply, was printed in pamphlet form, as follows:
[1 ]In the first draft of this letter, the conclusion read:
[2 ]“A provision for the sale of the vacant lands of the United States is particularly urged by the important considerations that they are pledged as a fund for reimbursing the public debt; that, if timely and judiciously applied they may save the necessity of burthening our citizens with new taxes for the extinguishment of the principal; and that being free to pay annually but a limited proportion of that principal, time lost in beginning the payments cannot be recovered however productive the resource may prove in event.”
[1 ]All but the date is in cipher in original.
[1 ]This whole paragraph struck out in original.
[1 ]See I, 207 and “Questions to be considered of” (page 337). A first draft of this paper is as follows:
[1 ]Endorsed: “From the Secretary of State, 26th Novr., 1791. Questions to be considered of, in the Negotiations with the French & British Ministers.”
[1 ]These were sent to Senator Butler with the following note:
“Dec. 2, 1791.
“Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to Mr. Butler, and incloses him the rough draughts of resolutions believing Mr. Butler can better settle according to his own mind the manner of furnishing the money either from his own reflection or on consultation with the Secy of the Treasury.”
The resolutions were not adopted, however, the only action the Senate took being recorded in the Executive Journal, I, 123.
[1 ]See post, pages 356, 381.
[1 ]A Maryland Loyalist who later styled himself a chief of the Creek Indians. See Ford’s Writings of Washington, XII, 159, and Maryland Loyalist, 33.
[1 ]See under May 29th, 1792, in this collection.
[1 ]This was enclosed to the President with the following note.
“Dec. 16. 1791.
“Th. Jefferson presents his respects to the President and sends a sketch of such a message as he thinks might accompany the statement from the Secretary at war. That an estimate of the next years operations should accompany it. But he thinks it a proper occasion to bring forward the preparations for the next year, and that it forms the safest ground for making the present communication.”
[1 ]From Senate Executive Journal, I., 95.
[1 ]See pages 361 and 362 for a correction to these tables.
[1 ]See letter of Jan. 26, 1792, and ante, p. 342.