Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO PORTUGAL (DAVID HUMPHREYS) - The Works, vol. 6 (Correspondence 1789-1792)
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TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO PORTUGAL (DAVID HUMPHREYS) - 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 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
DRAFT OF PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE ON DIPLOMATIC NOMINATIONS2
[Jan. 1–4, 1792.]
Gentlemen of the Senate,—
Your house has been pleased to communicate to me their resolutions, purporting a decision by them that it is expedient from whence an implication arises that in their opinion they might have decided that no such appointments were expedient.
After mature consideration & consultation, I am of opinion that the constitution has made the President the sole competent judge to what places circumstances render it expedient that Ambassadors or other public ministers should be sent, & of what grade they should be: and that it has ascribed to the Senate no executive act but the single one of giving or withholding their consent to the person nominated.
I think it my duty therefore to protest, & do protest against the validity of any resolutions of the Senate asserting or implying any right in that house to exercise any executive authority, but the single one before mentioned.
It is scarcely necessary to add that nothing herein is meant to question their right to concur in making treaties: this being considered not as a branch of Executive, but of Legislative powers, placed by the constitution under peculiar modifications.
TO THOMAS MANN RANDOLPH
Philadelphia, Jan. 1, 1792.
—Your favor of Nov. 28 came to hand on the 22d ult. The length of time it was on the way shews that our post was not yet become exact. The post-office bill now before the legislature will place on the regular establishment, as it directs a cross post from Richmond to Columbia, Charlottesville, Staunton, and thence along that valley southwest and to the southwestern government & so on to Kentuckey. I urged strenuously to our representatives the impropriety of sending a post destined for the Southwestern government & Kentuckey, by the way of Charlottesville & Staunton, as it was palpable to me from my own knowlege of the country that it ought from Columbia to pass up James river to Lynchburg and by the peaks of Otter & to have left Charlottesville and Staunton still to take care of themselves. They decided otherwise however, which so far as my own interest is concerned is a convenience to me and so far as my neighbors & friends are benefited might by them be favorably imputed to me, but I had rather withdraw my claim to their favor in this instance, than found it in what I think would have been wrong.—You will have heard that the representation bill is lost, & might have been saved had R. H. Lee been here at any moment during it’s dependance. Nothing more is yet done on the subject. The measures to be taken for the defence of the Western country are not yet brought forward. Half a dozen Cherokees arrived here two days ago. They have not yet explained their business.—I thank you for your experiment on the Peach tree. It proves my speculation practicable, as it shews that 5. acres of peach trees at 21. feet apart will furnish dead wood enough to supply a fireplace through the winter, & may be kept up at the trouble of only planting about 70. peach stones a year. Suppose this extended to 10. fireplaces, it comes to 50. acres of ground, 5000 trees, and the replacing about 700 of them annually by planting so many stones. If it be disposed at some little distance, say in a circular annulus from 100. to 300 yards from the house, it would render a cart almost useless.—When I indulge myself in these speculations, I feel with redoubled ardor my desire to return home to the pursuit of them, & to the bosom of my family, in whose love alone I live or wish to live, & in that of my neighbors.—But I must yet a little while bear up against my weariness of public office.
Maria says she is writing to her sister. My next week’s letter will inclose a bank bill for the £35.—Present my tender affections to my daughter & accept assurances of the same to yourself.
TO WILLIAM SHORT1
January 3, 1792.
You are nominated to the Senate, Minister Resident to the Hague; Thomas Pinckney, Minister Plenipotentiary to London. Gouverneur Morris, Minister Plenipotentiary to France. A party in the Senate against Morris has joined with another party which is against all permanent foreign establishments, and neither being strong enough to carry their point separately, they have been now twelve days in suspense, looking for the result as to what compromise they will form together. Whatever you may hear otherwise, be assured that no mortal, not even their own body, can at this moment guess the result. You shall know it by the first vessel after it is known to me.
TO THE CHAIRMAN OF SENATE COMMITTEE ON NOMINATIONS
Philadelphia, Jan. 4. 1792.
—I am just now made to recollect a mistake in one of the answers I gave last night to the committee of the Senate, and which therefore I beg leave to correct.2 After calling to their minds the footing on which Mr. Morris had left matters at the court of London, & informing them of what had passed between the British ministers here & myself, I was asked whether this was all that had taken place, whether there had been no other or further engagement. I paused, you may remember, to recollect; I knew nothing more had passed on the other side of the water because Mr. Morris’s powers there had been determined, & I endeavoured to recollect whether anything else had passed with Mr. Hammond & myself. I answered that this was all, & added in proof that I was sure nothing had passed between the President & Mr. Hammond personally, & so I might safely say this was all.—It escaped me that there had been an informal agent here (Col. Beckwith) & so informal that it was thought proper that I should never speak on business with him, and that on a particular occasion, the question having been asked whether if a British minister should be sent here, we would send one in exchange, it was said, thro’ another channel, that one would doubtless be sent. Having only been present when it was concluded to give this answer, and not having been myself the person who communicated it, nor having otherwise had any conversation with Col. Beckwith on the subject it absolutely escaped my recollection at the moment the committee put the question, and I now correct the error I committed in my answer with the same good faith with which I committed the error in the first moment. Permit me to ask the favor of you, Sir, to communicate this to the other members of the Committee and to consider this as a part of the information I had the honor of giving the Committee on the subject.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
d. s. mss.
Philadelphia January 4, 1792.
—Having been in Conversation today with Monsr. Payan, one of the St. Domingo deputies, I took occasion to inquire of him the footing on which our commerce there stands at present, and particularly whether the colonial Arret of 1789, permitting a free importation of our Flour till 1793, was still in force. He answered that, that Arret was revoked in France on the clamours of the merchants there; and that a like permission to carry Flour to the three usual ports, and he thinks to bring away Coffee and Sugar, was immediately renewed by the Governor. Whether this has been regularly kept up by renewed Arrets during the present troubles he cannot say, but is sure that in practice it has never been discontinued, and that not by contraband, but openly and legally, as is understood. The public application to us to send Flour there is a proof of it. Instead therefore of resting this permission on a colonial Arret till 1793, it should be rested on temporary Arrets renewed from time to time as heretofore. This correction of the notes I took the liberty of laying before you, with the table containing a comparative view of our commerce with France and England, I thought it my duty to make.
TO PLUMARD DE RIEUX
Philadelphia, Jan. 6. 1792.
—Your favor of Nov. 15. was a month getting to me. Since my receipt of it, I have taken such opportunities as my business & acquaintance here would allow me, to try whether I could obtain money for you, on the ground explained in your letter, either from the bank, or any other persons. The bank gives money in exchange only for merchants’ notes, & on application to merchants I find that nothing will induce them to lend either their money or their credit to an individual. In fact they strain both to their utmost limits for their own purposes. The rage of gambling in the stocks, of various descriptions is such, and the profits sometimes made, & therefore always hoped in that line are so far beyond any interest which an individual can give, that all their money & credit is centered in their own views. The bank has just now notified it’s proprietors that they may call for a dividend of 10. per cent on their capital for the last 6. months. This makes a profit of 26. per cent per annum. Agriculture, commerce, & every thing useful must be neglected, when the useless employment of money is so much more lucrative.
I inclose you a letter from Mr. Mazzei open as it came to me. Finding that you could not receive your legacy till a certificate of your being alive at the time of the testator’s death should be sent there, I have [illegible] your life as on the 11th of Octob. last, under his seal of my office, which I have indorsed to Mr. Short to be delivered to Mr. de Bellonger to be used for you. This may save time. But lest it should be disputed, I would advise you to go before a magistrate, and get your personal appearance certified by him, & let it be certified under the seal of the commonwealth that he is a magistrate duly qualified. I inclose you a copy of the certificate I have sent. I have said nothing to Mr. Mazzei on this subject.
TO WILLIAM SHORT1
January 10, 1792, 8 a. m.
Tho’ the Senate has been constantly on the subject of my cyphered letter, there is no decision as yet. We have been constantly in expectation that each day they would finish it.
REPORT ON COMMERCIAL RESTRICTIONS OF DENMARK
[Jan 10 1792]
The Secretary of State having received information that the Merchants and Merchandize of the United States are subject in Copenhagen and other ports of Denmark to considerable extra duties, from which they might probably be relieved by the presence of a Consul there; Reports to the President of the United States:
That it would be expedient to name a Consul, to be resident in the port of Copenhagen: That he has not been able to find that there is any citizen of the United States residing there: That there is a certain Hans Rodolph Saabye, a Danish subject and merchant of that place of good character, of wealth and distinction, and well qualified and disposed to act there for the United States, who would probably accept of the commission of Consul; but that that of Vice-Consul, hitherto given by the President to foreigners in ports where there was no proper American citizen, would probably not be accepted, because in this as in some other ports of Europe, usage has established it as a subordinate grade.—
And that he is therefore of opinion, that the said Hans Rodolph Saabye should be nominated Consul of the United States of America for the port of Copenhagen, and such other places within the allegiance of his Danish Majesty as shall be nearer to the said port than to the residence of any other Consul or Vice-Consul of the United States within the same allegiance.
TO MARTHA JEFFERSON RANDOLPH1
Philadelphia, January 15th, 1792.
My Dear Martha,
—Having no particular subject for a letter, I find none more soothing to my mind than to indulge itself in expressions of the love I bear you, and the delight with which I recall the various scenes through which we have passed together in our wanderings over the world. These reveries alleviate the toils and inquietudes of my present situation, and leave me always impressed with the desire of being at home once more, and of exchanging labor, envy, and malice for ease, domestic occupation, and domestic love and society; where I may once more be happy with you, with Mr. Randolph and dear little Anne, with whom even Socrates might ride on a stick without being ridiculous. Indeed it is with difficulty that my resolution will bear me through what yet lies between the present day and that which, on mature consideration of all circumstances respecting myself and others, my mind has determined to be the proper one for relinquishing my office. Though not very distant, it is not near enough for my wishes. The ardor of these, however, would be abated if I thought that, on coming home, I should be left alone. On the contrary, I hope that Mr. Randolph will find a convenience in making only leisurely preparations for a settlement, and that I shall be able to make you both happier than you have been at Monticello, and relieve you of désagrémens to which I have been sensible you were exposed, without the power in myself to prevent it, but by my own presence. Remember me affectionately to Mr. Randolph, and be assured of the tender love of yours.
TO THOMAS PINCKNEY
Philadelphia, Jan 17. 1792.
—Your favors of Nov 29, 30, & Dec 1, came duly to hand and gave sincere pleasure by announcing your disposition to accept the appointment to London. The nominations to Paris & the Hague having been detained till yours could be made, they were all immediately sent into the Senate, to wit, yourself for London, Mr. G. Morris for Paris; Mr. Short for the Hague. Some members of the Senate apprehending they had a right of determining on the expediency of foreign missions, as well as on the persons named, took that occasion to bring forward the discussion of that question, by which the nominations were delayed two or three weeks. I am happy to be able to assure you that not a single personal motive with respect to yourself entered into the objections to these appointments. On the contrary I believe that your nomination gave general satisfaction. Your commission will be immediately made out, but as the opportunities of conveyance at this season are precarious, & you propose coming to this place, I think it better to retain it.
As to the delay proposed in your letter, it was to be expected: indeed a winter passage from Charleston to this place or across the Atlantic is so disagreeable, that if either that circumstance or the arrangement of your affairs should render it in the smallest degree eligible to you to remain at home until the temperate season comes on to stay till after the Vernal equinox, there will be no inconvenience to the public, attending it. On the contrary, as we are just opening certain negotiations with the British minister here, which have not yet assumed any determinate complexion, a delay till that time will enable us to form some judgment of the issue they may take, and to know exactly in what way your cooperation at the place of your destination may aid us. On this and other accounts it will be highly useful that you take this place in your way, where, or at New York, you will always be sure of finding a convenient passage to England.
REPORT ON RUSSELL
d. s. mss.
Jan. 22, 1792.
The Secretary of State, to whom was referred by the President of the United States, the letter of the Governor of Virginia of January 7th, 1792, with the Report of a Committee of the House of Delegates of that Commonwealth of December 12th, 1791, and Resolution of the General Assembly thereon of December 17th on the case of Charles Russell, late an Officer in the service of the said Commonwealth, stating that a considerable part of the Tract of Country allotted for the Officers and Soldiers having fallen into the State of North Carolina on the extention of their common boundary, the Legislature of the said State had in 1781 passed an Act substituting in lieu thereof the Tract of Country between the said boundary and the Rivers Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennissee, and subjecting the same to the claims of their officers and Soldiers: that the said Charles Russell had in consequence thereof directed warrants for 2666⅔ Acres of Land to be located within the said Tract of Country; but the same belonging to the Chickasaws, he is unable to obtain a right thereto, and that there are other officers and Soldiers of the said Commonwealth under like circumstances: Reports.
That the Tract of Country before described, is within the boundaries of the Chickasaw Nation as established by the Treaty of Hopewell the 10th day of January 1786.
That the right of occupancy of the said Lands therefore being vested in the said nation, the case of the said Charles Russell and other Officers and Soldiers of the said Commonwealth becomes proper to be referred to the Legislature of the United States for their consideration.
TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO THE HAGUE
Philadelphia January 23d, 1792.
—I have the pleasure to inform you that the President of the United States has appointed you Minister Resident for the United States at the Hague, which was approved by the Senate on the 16th inst. This new mark of the President’s confidence will be more pleasing to you, as it imports an approbation of your former conduct, whereon be pleased to accept my congratulations. You will receive herewith a letter from myself to Monsr. de Montmorin closing your former mission, your new Commission, letters of Credence from the President for the States general and Stadtholder sealed, and copies of them open for your own satisfaction. You will keep the cypher we have heretofore used.
Your past experience in the same line renders it unnecessary for me to particularize your duties on closing your present, or conducting your future mission. Harmony with our friends being our object, you are sensible how much it will be promoted by attention to the manner, as well as the matter of your communications with the Government of the United Netherlands.
I feel myself particularly bound to recommend, as the most important of your charges, the patronage of our Commerce and the extension of it’s privileges, both in the United Netherlands and their Colonies, but most especially the latter.
The allowance to a Minister resident of the United States is 4500 dollars a year for all his personal services and other expences, a year’s salary for his outfit, and a quarter’s salary for his return. It is understood that the personal services and other expences here meant, do not extend to the cost of gazettes and pamphlets transmitted to the Secretary of State’s Office, to translating or printing necessary papers, postage, couriers, and necessary aids to poor American sailors. These additional charges therefore may be inserted in your accounts; but no other of any description, unless where they are expressly directed to be incurred. The salary of your new grade being the same as of your former one, and your services continued tho’ the scene of them is changed, there will be no intermission of salary; the new one beginning where the former ends, and ending when you shall receive notice of your permission to return. For the same reason there can be but one allowance of outfit and return, the former to take place now, the latter only on your final return. The funds appropriated to the support of the foreign establishment, do not admit the allowance of a Secretary to a Minister resident. I have thought it best to state these things to you minutely, that you may be relieved from all doubt as to the matter of your accounts. I will beg leave to add a most earnest request, that on the 1st day of July next, and on the same day annually afterwards, you make out your account to that day, and send it by the first vessel and by duplicates. In this I must be very urgent and particular, because at the meeting of the ensuing Congress always it is expected that I prepare for them a statement of the disbursements from this fund from July to June inclusive. I shall give orders by the first opportunity to our Bankers in Amsterdam to answer your draughts for the allowances herein before mentioned, recruiting them at the same time by an adequate remitment; as I expect that by the time you receive this they will not have remaining on hand of this fund more than 7 or 8000 dollars.
You shall receive from me from time to time the laws and journals of Congress, gazettes and other interesting papers; for whatever information is in possession of the public I shall leave you generally to the gazettes, and only undertake to communicate by letter such, relative to the business of your mission, as the gazetteers cannot give. From you I shall ask, once or twice a month, regularly, a communication of interesting occurrences in Holland, of the general affairs in Europe, and the regular transmission of the Leyden gazette by every British packet, in the way it now comes, which proves to be very regular. Send also such other publications as may be important enough to be read by one who can spare little time to read anything, or which may contain matter proper to be turned to on interesting subjects and occasions. The English packet is the most certain channel for such epistolatory communications as are not very secret, and by those packets I would wish always to receive a letter from you by way of corrective to the farrago of news they generally bring. Intermediate letters, secret communications, gazettes and other printed papers had better come by private vessels from Amsterdam, which channel I shall use generally for my letters, and always for gazettes and other printed papers.
The President has also joined you in a special and temporary commission with Mr. Carmichael to repair to Madrid, and there negotiate certain matters respecting the navigation of the Missisipi, and other points of common interest between Spain and us. As some time will be necessary to make out the instructions and transcripts necessary in this business, they can only be forwarded by some future occasion; but they shall be soon forwarded, as we wish not to lose a moment in advancing negotiations so essential to our peace. For this reason I must urge you to repair to the Hague at the earliest day the settlement of your affairs in Paris will admit, that your reception may be over, and the idea of your being established there strengthened before you receive the new orders.
TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO FRANCE
Philadelphia January 23, 1792.
—I have the pleasure to inform you that the President of the United States has appointed you Minister Plenipotentiary for the United States at the court of France, which was approved by the Senate on the 12th instant, on which be pleased to accept my congratulations. You will receive herewith your Commission, a Letter of Credence for the King sealed and a copy of it open for your own satisfaction, as also a Cypher to be used on proper occasions in the correspondence between us.
To you it would be more than unnecessary for me to undertake a general delineation of the functions of the Office to which you are appointed. I shall therefore only express our desire, that they be constantly exercised in that spirit of sincere friendship and attachment which we bear to the French Nation; and that in all transactions with the Minister, his good dispositions be conciliated by whatever in language or attentions may tend to that effect. With respect to their Government, we are under no call to express opinions which might please or offend any party, and therefore it will be best to avoid them on all occasions, public or private. Could any circumstances require unavoidably such expressions, they would naturally be in conformity with the sentiments of the great mass of our countrymen, who having first, in modern times, taken the ground of Government founded on the will of the people, cannot but be delighted on seeing so distinguished and so esteemed a Nation arrive on the same ground, and plant their standard by our side.
I feel myself particularly bound to recommend, as the most important of your charges, the patronage of our Commerce and the extension of it’s privileges, both in France and her Colonies but most especially the latter. Our Consuls in France are under general instructions to correspond with the Minister of the United States at Paris; from them you may often receive interesting information. Joseph Fenwick is Consul at Bordeaux and Burwell Carnes at Nantz; M de la Motte Vice Consul at Havre and M Cathalan fils at Marseilles.
An act of Congress of July 1st, 1790, has limited the allowance of a Minister plenipotentiary to 9000 dollars a year for all his personal services and other expences, a year’s salary for his outfit, and a quarter’s salary for his return. It is understood that the personal services and other expences here meant, do not extend to the cost of gazettes and pamphlets transmitted to the Secretary of State’s Office, to translating or printing necessary papers, postage, couriers, and necessary aids to poor American sailors. These additional charges therefore may be inserted in your accounts; but no other of any description, unless where they are expressly directed to be incurred. By an ancient rule of Congress, your salary will commence from the day you receive this Letter, if you be then at Paris, or from the day you set out for Paris from any other place at which it may find you; it ceases on receiving notice or permission to return, after which the additional quarter’s allowance takes place. You are free to name your own private Secretary, who will receive from the public a salary of 1350 dollars a year, without allowance for any extras. I have thought it best to state these things to you minutely, that you may be relieved from all doubt as to the matter of your accounts. I will beg leave to add a most earnest request, that on the 1st day of July next and on the same day annually afterwards, you make out your account to that day, and send it by the first vessel and by duplicates. In this I must be very urgent and particular, because at the meeting of the ensuring Congress always it is expected that I prepare for them a statement of the disbursements from this fund from July to June inclusive. I shall give orders by the first opportunity to our Bankers in Amsterdam to answer your drafts for the allowances herein before mentioned, recruiting them at the same time by an adequate remitment, as I expect that by the time you receive this they will not have remaining on hand of this fund more than 7. or 8000 dollars.
You shall receive from me from time to time the laws and journals of Congress, gazettes and other interesting papers; for whatever information is in possession of the public I shall leave you generally to the gazettes, and only undertake to communicate by letter such, relative to the business of your mission, as the gazettes cannot give.
From you I shall ask, once or twice a month regularly, a communication of interesting occurrences in France, of the general affairs of Europe, and a transmission of the Leyden gazette, the Journal logographe, and the best paper of Paris for their Colonial affairs, with such other publications as may be important enough to be read by one who can spare little time to read anything, or which may contain matter proper to be turned to on interesting subjects and occasions. The English packet is the most certain channel for such epistolary communications as are not very secret, and by those packets I would wish always to receive a letter from you by way of corrective to the farrago of news they generally bring. Intermediate letters, secret communications, gazettes and other printed papers, had better come through the channel of M de la Motte at Havre, to whom I shall also generally address my letters to you, and always the gazettes and other printed papers.
Mr. Short will receive by the same conveyance, his appointment as Minister resident at the Hague.
DRAFT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR1
[Jan 25, 1792.]
—As the circumstances which has engaged the U. S. in the present Indian war, may some of them be out of the public recollection, & others perhaps be unknown, I shall be glad if you will prepare & publish from authentic documents, a statement of these circumstances, as well as of the measures which have been taken from time to time for the establishment of peace & friendship.
When our constituents are called on for considerable exertions to relieve a part of their fellow-citizens suffering under the hand of an enemy, it is desireable for those interested with the administration of their affairs to communicate without reserve what they have done to ward off the evil.
TO THE SPANISH COMMISSIONERS
Philadelphia Jan 25, 1792.
—Don Joseph Jaudenes having communicated to me verbally that his Catholic majesty had been apprised of our sollicitude to have some arrangements made respecting our free navigation of the Missisipi, & a port thereon convenient for the deposit of merchandize of export & import for lading & unlading the sea and river vessels, and that his majesty would be ready to enter into treaty thereon directly with us, whensoever we should send to Madrid a proper & acceptable person authorized to treat on our part, I laid the communication before the President of the United States. I am authorized by him to assure you that our government has nothing more at heart than to meet the friendly advances of his Catholic majesty with cordiality, and to concur in such arrangements on the subject proposed, as may tend best to secure peace and friendship between the two nations on a permanent footing. The President has therefore, with the approbation of the Senate, appointed Mr. Short, our present Minister resident at the Hague, to proceed to Madrid as a joint Commissioner with Mr. Carmichael, with full powers to treat on the subject before mentioned, and I have no doubt that these gentlemen will so conduct themselves as to give entire satisfaction. Mr. Short’s business at the Hague will occasion a short delay of his departure from that place, for Madrid, but he will be duly urged to make it as short as possible.
TO THE SPANISH COMMISSIONERS
Philadelphia Jan 26, 1792.
—By your letter of yesterday evening in answer to mine of the morning, I perceive that Don Joseph Jaudenes’s communication verbally had not been understood in the same way by him & myself. How this has happened I cannot conceive. Monsr. de Jaudenes will do me the justice to recollect that when he had made the verbal communication to me I asked his permission to commit it to writing. I did so, read it to him, corrected a phrase or two at his desire to render it exact to his expression, read it to him again, & he approved it. I inclose you a verbal copy of it, being the one dated Dec. 6. This I laid before the President, & it was the basis of our subsequent proceedings. On the 27th of Dec. Don Joseph de Jaudenes, at the city tavern, spoke to me again on the same subject. When I came home in the evening I committed to writing the substance of what he had said, as far as my memory enabled me.
I send you a copy under the date of Dec. 27. but for the exactness of this I cannot undertake with as much certainty as the first. Accordingly you will find my letter of yesterday morning strictly conformable to the note of the first communication. Thus much has been said for my own justification. It remains now that the error be corrected, and that I may set out again on sure ground, I must ask the favor of you to give me in writing the communication intended to be made. Whatever it be, you may be assured that our dispositions to preserve friendship & perfect understanding with his Catholic majesty, as well as to render the exercise of your functions here as pleasing to yourselves as possible, will induce us to receive with great partiality the intimations of your court, and to proceed on them accordingly. I shall suspend doing any thing more on this subject till you favor me with your answer.1
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Jan 28, 1792.
Th: Jefferson presents his respects to the President and returns him the draught of the letter with proofs of his confidence in the indulgence of the President, having freely used the liberty he gave him in softening some expressions lest they should be too much felt by Mr. Morris. The changes are made with a pencil only, and can therefore be easily restored where disapproved.2
TO WILLIAM SHORT
Philadelphia, January 28th, 1792.
The present will be very confidential, and will go I do not know how, as I can not take time to cypher it all. What has lately occurred here will convince you that I have been right in not raising your expectations as to an appointment. The President proposed at first the nomination of Mr. T. Pinckney to the Court of London, but would not name him till we could have an assurance from him that he would accept; nor did he indicate what the other appointments would be till Mr. P’s answer came. Then he nominated to the Senate Mr. Morris, M. P. for France, Pinckney, M. P., for London, and yourself, M. R., for the Hague. The first of these appointments was so extremely unpopular, and so little relished by several of the Senate, that every effort was used to negative it. Those whose personal objections to Mr. Morris over weighed their deference to the President, finding themselves in the minority, joined with another small party who were against all foreign appointments, and endeavored with them to put down the whole system rather than let this article pass. This plan was defeated, and Mr. Morris passed by vote of 16 against 11. When your nomination came on it was consented to by 15 against 11; every man of the latter, however, rising and declaring as to yourself they had no personal objection, but only meant by their vote to declare their opinion against keeping any person at the Hague. Those who voted in the negative, were not exactly the same in both cases. When the biannual bill, furnishing money for the support of the foreign establishments shall come on at the next session, to be continued, the same contest will arise again, and I think it very possible that, if the opponents of Mr. M. can not remove him otherwise, they will join again with those who are against the whole establishment, and try to discontinue the whole. If they fail in this, I still see no security in their continuing the mission to the Hague, because to do this they must enlarge the fund from $40,000 to $50,000. The President afterward proceeded to join you to Carmichael on a special mission to Spain, to which their was no opposition except from three gentlemen who were against opening the Mississippi. I told the President that, as I expected the Hague mission would be discontinued after the next session, I should advise you to ask permission to return. He told me not to do this, for that as Carmichael had asked leave to return, and he meant to give it as soon as he should get thro’ the business jointly confided to you, and to appoint you his successor as Minister Resident. Therefore do in this what you chuse; only inform me of your wishes, that I may co-operate with them, and taking into consideration the determination I have unalterably fixed for retiring from my office at the close of our first Federal cycle, which will be first of March, 1793. All this is confided sacredly to your secrecy, being known to no living mortal but the President, Madison, and yourself.1
PLAN OF POSTS
It is proposed that there shall be one post a week passing along the main post road from North to South, at the rate of 100 miles a day. All intermediate post & all cross posts to remain as at present, unless it should be thought well to put the post towards Kentuckey, as far as practicable, on the quick establishment.
Let this road be divided into stages of 25 miles each, as nearly as may be, and let there be a postman to each stage. For some stages from the seat of government & the great towns, a light cart drawn by two horses, as used in Europe, will probably be found necessary, after which we may expect a horse & portmenteau will suffice. Let the hours for post riding be from 3. oclock in the morning to 11 oclock at night, which gives 20. hours, allowing to every rider 5 hours to perform his stage of 25. miles. If he rides at the rate of 6. miles an hour, he will have near an hour for crossing ferries, other delays & accidents.—There may be a saving near the seat of government by sending the postman & his mail by the stages to Baltimore & New York, when that is performed by the stages in one day.
Let every rider take a way bill from the postmaster of the stage he leaves, expressing the day, hour & minute of his departure, and have entered on the same bill by the postmaster at the next stage, the hour & minute of his arrival, & let the way-bill be returned by the same post to the postmaster general at the seat of government, that delays may be traced by him whenever any circumstance shall call for it.
TO THE BRITISH MINISTER
Philadelphia February 2d, 1792.
—On the receipt of your letter of the 14th of December I communicated it to the President of the United States, and under the sanction of his authority the principal members of the executive department made it their duty to make known in conversations, generally, the explicit disclaimer, in the name of your court, which you had been pleased to give us, that the Government of Canada had supported or encouraged the hostilities of our indian neighbours in the western country. Your favor of January the 30th. to the same purpose has been in like manner communicated to the President, and I am authorized to assure you, that he is duly sensible of this additional proof of the disposition of the court of London to confine the proceedings of their officers in our vicinage within the limits of friendship and good neighbourhood, and that a conduct so friendly and just will furnish us a motive the more for those duties and good offices which neighbour nations owe each other.
You have seen too much, Sir, of the conduct of the press in countries where it is free, to consider the gazettes as evidence of the sentiments of any part of the government: you have seen them bestow on the government itself, in all it’s parts it’s full share of inculpation. Of the sentiments of our government on the subject of your letter, I cannot give you better evidence than the statement of the causes of the indian war, made by the Secretary of War on the 26th of the last month, by order of the President, and inserted in the public papers. No interference on the part of your nation is therein stated among the causes of the war. I am happy however in the hope, that a due execution of the treaty will shortly silence those expressions of public feeling by removing their cause, and I have the honor to be with great respect and esteem Sir Your most obedient & most humble servant.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Philadelphia, February 4th, 1792.
—The late appointment of a Minister Resident to the Hague, has brought under consideration the condition of Mr. Dumas, and the question whether he is, or is not, at present in the service of the U. S.?
Mr. Dumas, very early in the war, was employed first by Dr. Franklin, afterwards by Mr. Adams, to transact the affairs of the U. S. in Holland. congress never passed any express vote of confirmation, but they opened a direct correspondence with Mr. Dumas, sent him orders to be executed, confirmed and augmented his salary, made that augmentation retrospective, directed him to take up his residence in their hotel at the Hague, and passed such other votes from time to time as established him de facto their Agent at the Hague. On the change in the organization of our government in 1789, no commission nor new appointment took place with respect to him, tho’ it did in most other cases; yet the correspondence with him from the Office of foreign affairs has been continued, and he has regularly received his salary. A doubt has been suggested whether this be legal? I have myself no doubt but that it is legal. I consider the source of authority with us to be the Nation.—Their will declared through its proper organ, is valid, till revoked by their will declared through it’s proper organ again also. Between 1776 & 1789 the proper organ for pronouncing their will, whether legislative or executive, was a Congress formed in a particular manner. Since 1789 it is a Congress formed in a different manner for laws, and a President, elected in a particular way, for making appointments & doing other Executive acts. The laws and appointments of the antient Congress were as valid & permanent in their nature, as the laws of the new Congress, or appointments of the new Executive; these laws & appointments in both cases deriving equally their source from the will of the Nation; and when a question arises, whether any particular law or appointment is still in force? we are to examine, not whether it was pronounced by the antient or present organ, but whether it has been at any time revoked by the authority of the Nation expressed by the organ competent at the time. The Nation by the act of their federal convention, established some new principles & some new organizations of the government. This was a valid declaration of their will, and ipso facto revoked some laws before passed, and discontinued some offices & officers before appointed. Wherever by this instrument, an old office was suspended by a new one, a new appointment became necessary; but where the new Constitution did not demolish an office, either expressly or virtually, nor the President remove the officer, both the office and officer remained. This was the case of several: in many of them indeed an excess of caution dictated the superaddition of a new appointment; but where there was no such superaddition, as in the instance of Mr. Dumas, both the office and officer still remained: for the will of the nation, validly pronounced by the proper organ of the day, had constituted him their agent, and that will has not through any of it’s successive organs revoked its appointment. I think, therefore, there is no room to doubt it’s continuance, and that the receipt of salary by him has been lawful.
However I would not wish to take on myself alone the decision of a question so important, whether considered in a legal or constitutional view; and therefore submit it to you, Sir, whether it is not a proper question whereon to take the opinion of the Attorney General?
Another question then arises. Ought Mr. Dumas to be discontinued?
I am of opinion he ought not.
1. Not at this time; because Mr. Short’s mission to Madrid will occasion an immediate vacancy at the Hague again; and because by the time that will be over, his appointment at the Hague must be discontinued altogether, unless Congress should enlarge the foreign fund.
2. Not at any time; because when, after the peace, Mr. Dumas’s agency became of less importance, Congress under various views of his sacrifices & services, manifested that their continuance of him was in consideration of these, and of his advanced years & infirm state, which render it impossible for him to launch into a new line of gaining a livelihood; and they thought the continuance of moderate competence to him for moderate services, was more honorable to the U. S. than to abandon him, in the face of Europe, after & under such circumstances.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Philadelphia February 7th, 1792.
—An account presented to me by Mr. John B. Cutting, for expenditures incurred by him in liberating the seamen of the United States in British ports during the impressments which took place under that government in the year 1790, obliges me to recall some former transactions to your mind.
You will be pleased to recollect the numerous instances of complaint or information to us, about that time, of the violences committed on our seafaring citizens in British ports by their press-gangs and officers; and that not having even a Consul there at that time, it was thought fortunate that a private citizen, who happened to be on the spot, stept forward for their protection; that it was obvious that these exertions on his part must be attended with expence, and that a particular demand of £50 sterling for this purpose coming incidentally to my knowledge, it was immediately remitted to Mr. Cutting, with a request to account for it in convenient time. He now presents an account of all his expenditures in this business, which I have the honor to communicate herewith. According to this the oppression extends to a much greater number of our citizens, & their relief is more costly than had been contemplated. It will be necessary to lay the account before the legislature; because the expenditures being of a description which had not occurred before, no appropriation heretofore made would authorize payment at the treasury; because too the nature of the transactions may in some instances require justly, that the ordinary rules of evidence which the auditor is bound to apply to ordinary cases, should suffer relaxations, which he probably will not think himself authorized to admit, without the orders of the legislature.
The practice in Great Britain of impressing seamen whenever War is apprehended, will fall more heavily on ours, than on those of any other foreign nation, on account of the sameness of language. Our minister at that court therefore will on these occasions, be under the necessity of interfering for their protection, in a way which will call for expence. It is desireable that these expences should be reduced to certain rules, as far as the nature of the case will admit, and the sooner they are so reduced the better. This may be done however on surer grounds after the government of Great Britain shall have entered with us into those arrangements on this particular subject, which the seriousness of the case calls for on our part, and it’s difficulty may admit on theirs. This done, it will be desirable that legislative rules be framed which may equally guide and justify the proceedings of our Minister, or other agent, at that court, and at the same time extend to our seafaring citizens, the protection of which they have so much need.
Mr. Cutting, being on the spot, will himself furnish the explanations and documents of his case, either to the legislature, or a committee of it, or to the Auditor, as he shall be required.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
d. s. mss.
Mar. 2, 1792.
Th: Jefferson presents his respectful compliments to the President and returns him the letter of Genl. St. Clair. He finds nothing in it about which he has any doubt except the following passage. “Nor do I see from any information in my possession that your exertions were wanting for any preparatory measures previous to the action, nor in the time of the action.”
Th: J. never had a statement of the matter himself from Genl. St. Clair in conversation, but he has heard from those who have, that it appears from his own account that he was so confident he should not meet an enemy, that he did not take sufficient precautions to be advised of one previous to the action, & his manner of conducting the action itself has been generally censured; if these criticisms be founded, the only question is whether the above expressions will be so understood as to be exposed to them.
Th: J. does not pretend to judge of the facts, and perhaps the expressions may bear another meaning.1
REPORT ON MATTERS OF NEGOTIATION WITH SPAIN1
d. s. mss.
[Mar 7 1792]
The Secretary of State having understood from communications with the Commissioners of his Catholic Majesty, subsequent to that which he reported to the President on the 22d of December last, that though they considered the navigation of the Mississippi as the principal object of negociation between the two countries, yet it was expected by their Court that the conferences would extend to all the matters which were under negociation on the former occasion with Mr. Gardoqui, and particularly to some arrangements of commerce—is of opinion that to renew the conferences on this subject also, since they desire it, will be but friendly and respectful, & can lead to nothing without our own consent, and that to refuse it, might obstruct the settlement of the questions of navigation and boundary: and therefore Reports:
To the President of the United States, the following:
Observations and Instructions to the Commissioners of the United States, appointed to negociate with the Court of Spain a treaty or convention relative to the navigation of the Missisippi; which observations and instructions he is of opinion should be laid before the Senate of the United States, and their decision be desired, whether they will advise and consent that a treaty be entered into by the Commissioners of the United States with Spain conformable thereto.
After stating to our Commissioners the foundation of our rights to navigate the Missisippi, & to hold our Southern boundary at the 31st degree of latitude, and that each of these is to be a sine qua non, it is proposed to add as follows:
On the former conferences on the navigation of the Missisippi, Spain choose to blend with it the subject of commerce; and accordingly specific propositions thereon passed between the negociators. Her object then was to obtain our renunciation of the navigation, and to hold out commercial arrangements, perhaps as a lure to us. Perhaps however she might then, & may now really set a value on commercial arrangements with us, and may receive them as a consideration for accommodating us in the navigation, or may wish for them to have the appearance of receiving a consideration. Commercial arrangements, if acceptable in themselves, will not be the less so if coupled with those relating to navigation & boundary. We have only to take care that they be acceptable in themselves.
There are two principles which may be proposed as the basis of a commercial treaty, 1st that of exchanging the privileges of native citizens, or 2d those of the most favoured nation.
1st. With the nations holding important possessions in America, we are ready to exchange the rights of native citizens, provided they be extended through the whole possessions of both parties; but the propositions of Spain made on the former occasion (a copy of which accompanies this) were, that we should give their merchants, vessels and productions the privileges of native merchants, vessels & productions, thro’ the whole of our possessions, and they give the same to our’s only in Spain & the Canaries. This is inadmissible, because unequal; and as we believe that Spain is not ripe for an equal exchange on this basis, we avoid proposing it.
2d. Though treaties which merely exchange the rights of the most favoured nations are not without all inconvenience, yet they have their conveniences also. It is an important one that they leave each party free to make what internal regulations they please, and to give what preferences they find expedient to native merchants, vessels & productions. And as we already have treaties on this basis with France, Holland, Sweden & Prussia, the two former of which are perpetual, it will be but small additional embarrassment to extend it to Spain.—On the contrary we are sensible it is right to place that nation on the most favoured footing, whether we have a treaty with them or not, & it can do us no harm to secure by treaty a reciprocation of the right.
Of the four treaties before mentioned, either the French or the Prussian might be taken as a model; but it would be useless to propose the Prussian, because we have already supposed that Spain would never consent to those articles which give to each party access to all the dominions of the other; and without this equivalent, we would not agree to tie our own hands so materially in war as would be done by the 23d article, which renounces the right of fitting out privateers, or of capturing merchant vessels. The French treaty therefore is proposed as the model. In this however, the following changes are to be made.
We should be admitted to all the dominions of Spain to which any other foreign nation is, or may be admitted.—
Art. 5 being an exemption from a particular duty in France, will of course be omitted as inapplicable to Spain.—
Art. 8: to be omitted as unnecessary with Morocco, and inefficacious & little honorable with any of the Barbary powers; but it may furnish occasion to sound Spain on the project of a convention of the powers at war with the Barbary states, to keep up by rotation, a constant cruise of a given force on their coasts, ’till they shall be compelled to renounce forever, and against all nations, their predatory practices. Perhaps the infidelities of the Algerines to their treaty of peace with Spain, tho’ the latter does not chuse to break openly, may induce her to subsidize us to cruise against them with a given force.—
Art: 9 & 10. Concerning fisheries to be omitted as inapplicable.
Art: 11. The first paragraph of this article respecting the Droit d’Aubaine to be omitted, that law being supposed peculiar to France.
Art: 17. Giving asylum in the ports of either to the armed vessels of the other with the prizes taken from the enemies of that other, must be qualified as it is in the 19th article of the Prussian treaty, as the stipulation in the latter part of the article “that no shelter or refuge shall be given in the ports of the one to such as shall have made prize on the subjects of the other of the parties,” would forbid us in case of a war between France & Spain, to give shelter in our ports to prizes made by the latter on the former, while the first part of the article would oblige us to shelter those made by the former on the latter: a very dangerous covenant, and which ought never to be repeated in any other instance.
Art: 29. Consent should be received at all the ports at which the vessels of either party may be received.
Art: 30. Concerning free ports in Europe & America. Free ports in the Spanish possessions in America, & particularly at the Havanna, are more to be desired than expected. It can therefore only be recommended to the best endeavours of the Commissioners to obtain them. It will be something to obtain for our vessels, flour, &c. admission to those ports during their pleasure. In like manner if they could be prevailed on to re-establish our right of cutting log wood in the bay of Campeachy, on the footing on which it stood before the treaty of 1763, it would be desireable, and not endanger to us any contest with the English, who by the revolution treaty are restrained to the South Eastern parts of Yucatan.
Art: 31. The act of ratification on our part may require a twelve-month from the date of the treaty, as the Senate meets regularly but once a year, and to return it to Madrid for exchange may require four months more.
The treaty must not exceed years duration, except the clauses relating to boundary & the navigation of the Missisippi, —which must be perpetual & final. Indeed these two subjects had better be in a separate instrument.
There might have been mentioned a third species of arrangement, that of making special agreements on every special subject of commerce, and of settling a tariff to be paid, on each side, on every particular article; but this would require in our Commissioners a very minute knowledge of our commerce, as it is impossible to foresee every proposition of this kind which might be brought into discussion, and to prepare them for it by information & instruction from hence. Our commerce too is as yet rather in a course of experiment, and the channels in which it will ultimately flow are not sufficiently known to enable us to provide for it by special agreement; nor have the exigencies of our new government as yet so far developed themselves, as that we can know to what degree we may or must have recourse to commerce, for the purposes of revenue. No common consideration therefore ought to induce us as yet to arrangements of this kind. Perhaps nothing should do it, with any nation, short of the privileges of natives in all their possessions, foreign and domestic.
It were to be wished indeed that some positively favourable stipulations respecting our grain, flour, & fish could be obtained, even on our giving reciprocal advantages to some of the commodities of Spain, say her wines & brandies. But
1st. If we quit the ground of the most favoured nation as to certain articles for our convenience, Spain may insist on doing the same for other articles for her convenience, and thus our commissioners will get themselves on the ground of a treaty of detail, for which they will not be prepared.
2d. If we grant favour to the wines & brandies of Spain, then Portugal & France will demand the same; and in order to create an equivalent, Portugal may lay a duty on our fish & grain, and France a prohibition on our whale oil, the removal of which will be proposed as an equivalent.
Thus much however as to grain & flour may be attempted. There has not long since been a considerable duty laid on them in Spain. This was while a treaty on the subject of commerce was pending between us and Spain, as that court considers the matter. It is not generally thought right to change the state of things pending a treaty concerning them. On this consideration, and on the motive of cultivating our friendship, perhaps the Commissioners may induce them to restore this commodity to the footing on which it was on opening the conferences with Mr. Gardoqui on the 26th day of July 1785. If Spain says, “do the same by your tonnage on our vessels,” the answer may be, “that our foreign tonnage affects Spain very little, and other nations very much, whereas the duty on flour in Spain affects us very much, and other nations very little; consequently there would be no equality in reciprocal relinquishment, as there had been none in the reciprocal innovation; and Spain by insisting on this, would in fact only be aiding the interests of her rival nations, to whom we should be forced to extend the same indulgence.”
At the time of opening the conferences too, we had as yet not erected any system. Our government itself being not yet erected; innovation then was unavoidable on our part, if it be innovation to establish a system: We did it on fair & general ground, on ground favorable to Spain; but they had a system, and therefore innovation was avoidable on their part.
TO THE MINISTER TO FRANCE
Philadelphia Mar. 10, 1792.
—My letter of Jan. 23. put under cover to Mr. Johnson in London & sent by a passenger in the British packet of February will have conveyed to you your appointment as Min. Plen. to the U. S. at the court of France. By the Pennsylvania, Capt. Harding, bound to Havre de Grace, & plying pretty regularly between this place & that, you will receive the present letter, with the laws of the U. S. journals of Congress, & gazettes to this day, addressed to the care of M. de la Motte. You will also receive a letter from the President to the King of France in answer to his announcing the acceptance of the constitution, which came to hand only a week ago. A copy of this letter is sent for your own use. You will be pleased to deliver the sealed one (to the Minister I presume according to the antient etiquette of the court) accompanying it with the assurances of friendship which the occasion may permit you to express, and which are cordially felt by the President & the great body of our nation. We wish no occasion to be omitted of impressing the national assembly with this truth. We had expected ere this, that in consequence of the recommendation of their predecessors, some overtures would have been made to us on the subject of a treaty of commerce. An authentic copy of the recommendation was delivered, but nothing said about carrying it into effect. Perhaps they expect that we should declare our readiness to meet them on the ground of treaty. If they do, we have no hesitation to declare it. In the mean time, if the present communications produce any sensation, perhaps it may furnish a good occasion to endeavour to have matters replaced in statu quo, by repealing the late innovations as to our ships, tobo. & whale oil. It is right that things should be on their antient footing, at opening the treaty.—M. Ternant has applied here for 400,000 dollars for the succour of the French colonies. The Secretary of the Treasury has reason to believe that the late loan at Antwerp has paid up all our arrearages to France both of principal & interest, & consequently that there is no part of our debt exigible at this time. However the legislature having authorized the President to proceed in borrowing to pay off the residue, provided it can be done to the advantage of the U. S. it is thought the law will be satisfied with avoiding loss to the U. S. This has obliged the Secretary of the Treasury to require some conditions which may remove from us that loss which we encountered, from an unfavorable exchange, to pay what was exigible, and transfer it to France as to payments not exigible. These shall be fully detailed to you when settled. In the meantime the money will be furnished as far as it can be done. Indeed our wishes are cordial for the reestablishment of peace & commerce in those colonies, and to give such proofs of our good faith both to them & the mother country, as to suppress all that jealousy which might oppose itself to the free exchange of our mutual productions, so essential to the prosperity of those colonies and to the preservation of our Agricultural interest. This is our true interest & our true object, and we have no reason to conceal views so justifiable, tho’ the expression of them may require that the occasions be proper & the terms chosen with delicacy.—The gazettes will inform you of the proceedings of Congress, the laws passed & proposed, & generally speaking of all public transactions. You will perceive that the Indian war calls for sensible exertions. It would have been a trifle had we only avowed enemies to contend with. The British court have disavowed all aid to the Indians. Whatever may have been their orders in that direction, the Indians are fully & notoriously supplied by their agents with everything necessary to carry on the war.—Time will shew how all this is to end.—Besides the laws, journals & newspapers before mentioned, you will receive herewith the State Constitutions, the Census, an almanac, and an answer to Ld. Sheffield on our commerce. A cypher is ready for you, but cannot be sent till we can find a trusty passenger going to Paris.
NOTES ON COMMERCIAL POLICY TOWARDS GREAT BRITAIN
[Mar. 12? 1792.]
Two facts affirmed. viz
1 yt we have not capital enough for commerce
2 that the capitals of persons residg in Britain necessary
1 Perhaps true
But not so much necessary as may be imagd
Commerce may be overstrained
Phila. N. Y. Boston very wealthy
But be it so. I am not prepared to deny so I will admt y’re may be such an opn
2 British capitals are necessary
Not more so than Dutch & French
The latter will come in if made their int.
What are the remedies to this embarrassmt?
I The S. of T. proposes
1. to submt with resignn without any oppos’n
2. in mean time raise manufactures
1 other passions besides averice—resentmt
Man disposed to sacrifice much of his other passions to resentment
Our countrymen shd do so for commerce
2 the Eng will keep the start y have in manuf
Stern chase is a long chase
II My proposns
1 to prevent diversion of our own capital
2 to induce British capitalist to transport himself here with his capital—viz
embarrassing his employment of it while he resides in Britain
There being no employment or less advgeous in Europe, induces him to employ here. Same cause will induce him to come here if necessary
3 the few that refuse to come will lend their money, or give credit for goods
This necessary for a short time only. We can soon do without this class of Brit. capitalists.
TO ARCHIBALD STUART1
Philadelphia March 14. 1792.
—Your favor was recd. lately. It gave me pleasure to hear you were well and that yr. lady was so likewise as I presume to be the case from the chearful style in which it was expressed. The fate of the bill to which you allude has not even yet been decided. The ground of the opposition has been founded on the discovery that the ratio of 30,000 gave smaller fractions to the southern than to the eastern states, and to prevent this a variety of propositions have been made, among which is the following now depending: To supply the ratio of 30,000 to the aggregate population of the union (not that of the individual states) which will give 120 members, & then apportion those members among the several states by as many different ratios as there are states, or to the population of each state giving them one for every 30,000 as far as it will go making 112 & then distribute the remaining 8 members among those states having the highest fractions of which five will be given to the states east of this. The bill was once lost by the adherence of the two houses and is now depending before the house of Rep. upon an amendment to this effect from the senate which passed by a majority of one vote only. The effect of this principle must be deemed a very pernicious one, and in my opinion subversion of that contained in the constitution, which in the 3rd. paragraph of the 2nd. sect: 1st. article founds the representation on the population of each state, in terms as explicit as it could well have been done. Besides it takes the fractions of some states to supply the deficiency of others, & thus makes the people of Georgia the instrument of giving a member to N. Hampshire. What will be the fate of the bill is altogether incertain. On our part, the principle will never be yielded, for when such obvious encroachments are made on the plain meaning of the constitution the bond of union ceases to be the equal measure of justice to all its parts. On theirs a very persevering firmness is likewise observed. They appear to me to play a hazardous game. The government secures them many important blessings, all those which it gives to us & many more, and yet with these they seem not to be satisfied. An act has passed for raising upon the regular establishment for the war 3000 additional troops and a corps of 300 more, making in the whole about five thousand men. To this I was opposed from a conviction they were useless and that 12, or 1500 woods men wod soon end the war, and at a trifling expence. We had once carried a proposition to this effect by 1 vote in the Senate—but one of the members in favor of it afterwards shifted his ground and established the regular force. The foreign arrangements you have seen in the publick papers. Incident to these only one circumstance has perhaps not reached you: the opposition to that of Govr Morris upon the following principles 1. His general character, being such that we would not confide in it. 2. His known attachment to monarchy & contempt of republican government & 3d his present employment abroad being a news vender of back lands & certificates. We took the yaes and naes on his appointment & 11 voted against it. This is submitted to yr discretion. The militia bill is still depending. I hope a bill will be past but that is questionable. Anything is preferable to nothing, as it takes away one of the arguments for a standing army. I shall not be able to attend the court this term, as I fear congress will not adjourn till the last of April. My brother will take charge of my business. As he is just commencing ’tis probable he will want assistance. May I request of you to give him every aid & countenance in your power. His prospects & those of his family depend on his profession: support therefore at present will be of lasting importance to him.
TO THOMAS MANN RANDOLPH
Philadelphia, Mar. 16th. 1792.
—I here duly received your favor of the 22d of Feb. and thank you for the information it conveyed respecting my sale. The weather having been so long & severe has I imagine committed sad havoc on our stocks & the more so as it succeeded an unfavorable summer. Here the unmonied farmer, as he is termed, his cattle & corps are no more thought of than if they did not feed us. Scrip & stock are food & raiment here. Duer, the king of the alley, is under a sort of check. The stocksellers say he will rise again. The stock-buyers count him out, and the credit & fate of the nation seem to hang on the desperate throws & plunges of gambling scoundrels. The fate of the representation bill is still undecided. I look for our safety to the broad representation of the people which that shall bring forward. It will be more difficult for corrupt views to lay hold of so large a mass.
You will perceive by the papers that France is arming on her frontier. I do not apprehend that the emperor will meddle at all. Knowing that your post leaves Richmond on the Thursday or Friday, I shall change the day of my writing from Sunday to Thursday or Friday, so that you may have the papers fresher. I am now on a plan with the postmaster general to make the posts go from hence to Richmond in two days & a half instead of six, which I hope to persuade him is practicable. My love to my dear Martha.
TO JAMES MADISON
March 16, 1792.
I inclose you my thoughts on a subject extremely difficult, and one which I would thank you for any observations. The exchange of criminals is so difficult between a free & an arbitrary government, that England never would consent to make a convention with any state on the subject. It has accordingly been hitherto the asylum of all fugitives from the oppressions of other governments. The subject is forced on us by the importunities of Govr. Pinkney, & in a day or two I must report on it to the President.
I will call for you a little before 4. to-day.
TO THE COMMISSIONERS TO SPAIN
Philadelphia Mar. 18, 1792.
—The President having thought proper to appoint you joint Commissioners Plenipotentiary, on the part of the U. S. to treat with the Court of Madrid on the subjects of the navigation of the Missisipi, arrangements on our limits, & commerce, you will herewith receive your commission; as also Observations on these several subjects reported to the President & approved by him, which will therefore serve as instructions for you. These expressing minutely the sense of our government, & what they wish to have done, it is unnecessary for me to do more here than desire you to pursue these objects unremittingly, and endeavor to bring them to an issue in the course of the ensuing summer. It is desirable that you should keep an exact journal of what shall pass between yourselves & the court or their negotiator, & communicate it from time to time to me, that your progress & prospects may be known. You will be the best judges whether to send your letters by Lisbon, Cadiz, or what other route: but we shall be anxious to hear from you as often as possible. If no safe conveyance occurs from Madrid to Lisbon, and your matter should be of importance sufficient to justify the expence, a courier must be sent: but do not incur the expence unless it be to answer some good end.
TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO THE HAGUE
Philadelphia Mar 18, 1792.
—You will receive herewith a commission appointing Mr. Carmichael & yourself joint Commissioners plenipotentiary for treating on the subjects therein expressed with the court of Madrid, to which place it is necessary of course that you repair. The instructions & other papers accompanying the commission (and of which no duplicate is hazarded) leave nothing to be added here but to express the desire that this object be pursued immediately. It is hoped that in consequence of my former letter you will have made the necessary arrangements for an immediate departure on your receipt of this. You will of course apprise the court at the Hague in the most respectful and friendly manner that matters of high moment committed to you, oblige you to a temporary absence. You will then be pleased to proceed by such route as you think best to Madrid, taking care to furnish yourself from the representative of Spain at the Hague, or Paris, with such letters or passports as may ensure your papers from being taken out of your possession, or searched. You will judge from existing circumstances whether, when you approach the limits of Spain, it may not be prudent for you to ascertain previously that you will be permitted to pass unsearched. When arrived at Madrid, the other papers before mentioned mark out the line to be pursued. I am with great & sincere esteem, Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.
TO WILLIAM SHORT
Philadelphia, March 18, 1792.
My Dear Sir,
—I shall not repeat in this private dispatch anything said in the public ones sent herewith. I have avoided saying in them what you are to do, when the business you go on shall be finished or become desperate, because I hope to hear what you wish. It is decided that Carmichael will be permitted to come away at that precise epoch, so you need have no delicacy on that subject, if you choose to remain there in your present grade. I become more and more satisfied that the Legislature will refuse the money for continuing any diplomatic character at the Hague. I hope you will consider success in the object you go on, as the most important one of your life; that you will meditate the matter day and night, and make yourself thoroughly master of it, in every possible form they may force you to discuss it. A former letter has apprised you of my private intentions at the close of the present federal cycle. My successor and his dispositions are equally unknown. The administration may change then in other of its parts. It is essential that this business be completed before any idea of these things get abroad. Otherwise Spain may delay in hopes of a change of counsels here. It will be a great comfort to leave this business safely and amicably settled, which has so long and immediately threatened our peace. Gardoqui will probably be the negotiator on their part. No attentions should be spared towards him, or the Count Florida Blanca. Let what will be said or done, preserve your sang froid immovably, and to every obstacle, oppose patience, perseverance, and soothing language. Pardon my sermonizing; it proceeds from the interest I feel in this business, and in your success. It will be well that you examine with the most minute attention all the circumstances which may enable you to judge and communicate to us whether the situation of Spain admits her to go to war.
The failure of some stock gamblers and some other circumstances, have brought the public paper low. The 6 per cents have fallen from 26 to 21 1–4, and bank stock from 115 or 120 to 73 or 74, within two or three weeks. This nefarious business is becoming more and more the public detestation, and cannot fail, when the knowledge of it shall be sufficiently extended, to tumble its authors headlong from their heights. Money is leaving the remoter parts of the Union, and flowing to this place to purchase paper; and here, a paper medium supplying its place, it is shipped off in exchange for luxuries. The value of property is necessarily falling in the places left bare of money. In Virginia, for instance, property has fallen 25 per cent. in the last twelve months. I wish to God you had some person who could dispose of your paper at a judicious moment for you, and invest it in good lands. I would do anything my duty would permit, but were I to advise your agent (who is himself a stock dealer) to sell out yours at this or that moment, it would be used as a signal to guide speculations. There can never be a fear but that the paper which represents the public debt will be ever sacredly good. The public faith is bound for this, and no change of system will ever be permitted to touch this; but no other paper stands on ground equally sure. I am glad therefore that yours is all of this kind.
Some bishop of Spain, who was for some time in Mexico, found there copies of Cortez’s correspondence, and on his return to Spain, published them. I have made many efforts to get this book, but in vain. I must beg you to procure it for me while there. It is not many years since it was published. I am, with constant and sincere attachment, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and servant.
REPORT ON NEGOTIATION WITH SPAIN1
[Mar 18, 1792]
The appointment of Mr. Carmichael & Mr. Short as Commissioners to Negociate with the court of Spain a treaty or convention relative to the navigation of the Missisipi, & which perhaps may be extended to other interests rendering it necessary that the subjects to be treated of should be developed, & the conditions of arrangement explained, the Secretary of State Reports to the President of the United States the following:
Observations on the subjects of negociation between the U. S. of America & the court of Spain, to be communicated by way of instruction to the Commissioners of the U. S. appointed as before mentioned to manage that negociation.
These subjects are
II: The Navigation of the Missisipi.
I. As to Boundary, that between Georgia and Florida, is the only one which will need any explanation.—Spain sets up the claim to possessions within the state of Georgia, founded on her having rescued them by force from the British, during the late war. The following view of that subject seems to admit no reply.
The several states, now composing the U. S. of America, were, from their first establishment, separate & distinct societies, dependant on no other society of men whatever. They continued at the head of their respective governments the executive Magistrate who presided over the one they had left, & thereby secured in effect a constant amity with that nation. In this stage of their government, their several boundaries were fixed, & particularly the Southern boundary of Georgia, the only one now in question, was established at the 31st. degree of latitude from the Apalachicola Westwardly: & the Western boundary, originally the Pacific ocean, was, by the treaty of Paris, reduced to the middle of the Missisipi. The part which our chief magistrate took in a war waged against us by the nation among whom he resided, obliged us to discontinue him, & to name one within every state. In the course of this war, we were joined by France as an ally, & by Spain & Holland as associates having a common enemy. Each sought that common enemy wherever they could find him. France, on our invitation, landed a large army within our territories, continued it with us two years, & aided us in recovering sundry places from the possession of the enemy. But she did not pretend to keep possession of the places rescued. Spain entered into the remote Western part of our territory, dislodged the common enemy from several posts they held therein, to the annoyance of Spain, & perhaps thought it necessary to remain in some of them, as the only means of preventing their return. We in like manner dislodged them from several posts in the same Western territory, to wit Vincennes, Cahokia, Kaskaskia &c. rescued the inhabitants, & retained constantly afterwards both them & the territory under our possession & government. At the conclusion of the war, Great Britain, on the 30th of Nov. 1782. by treaty acknowleged our independance & our boundary, to wit, the Missisipi to the West, & the completion of the 31st degree &c. to the South. In her treaty with Spain, concluded seven weeks afterwards, to wit, Jan. 20. 1783, she ceded to her the two Floridas (which had been defined in the Proclamation of 1763.) and Minorca: & by the 8th article of the treaty, Spain agreed to restore without compensation, all the territories conquered by her, & not included in the treaty either under the head of cessions or restitutions, that is to say, all except Minorca & the Floridas. According to this stipulation, Spain was expressly bound to have delivered up the possession she had taken within the limits of Georgia to Great Britain, if they were conquests on Great Britain, who was to deliver them over to the U. S. or rather she should have delivered them to the U. S. themselves, as standing, quoad hoc, in the place of Gr. Britain: and she was bound by natural right to deliver them to the same U. S. on a much stronger ground, as the real and only proprietors of those places which she had taken possession of, in a moment of danger, without having had any cause of war with the U. S. to whom they belonged, & without having declared any: but on the contrary, conducting herself in other respects as a friend & associate. Vattel. L. 3. 122.
It is an established principle that conquest gives only an inchoate right, which does not become perfect till confirmed by the treaty of peace, & by a renunciation or abandonment by the former proprietor. Had G. Britain been that former proprietor, she was so far from confirming to Spain the right to the territory of Georgia invaded by Spain, that she expressly relinquished to the U. S. any right that might remain in her, & afterwards completed that relinquishment by procuring & consolidating with it the agreement of Spain herself to restore such territory without compensation.—It is still more palpable that a war existing between two nations, as Spain & Gr. Britain, could give to neither the right to seize & appropriate the territory of a third, which is even neutral, much less which is an associate in the war, as the U. S. were with Spain. See on this subject Grotius L. 3. c. 6. §. 26. Puffend L. 8. c. 6. §. 17. 23. Vattel L. 3. §. 197. 198. On the conclusion of the general peace the U. S. lost no time in requiring from Spain an evacuation of their territory. This has been hitherto delayed by means which we need not explain to that court, but which have been equally contrary to our right & to our consent.
Should Spain pretend, as has been intimated, that there was a secret article of treaty between the U. S. and Gr. Britain, agreeing if, at the close of the war, the latter should retain the Floridas, that then the Southern boundary of Georgia should be the completion of the 32d degree of North latitude, the Commissioners may safely deny all knolege of the fact, & refuse conference on any such postulatum. Or should they find it necessary to enter into argument on the subject, they will of course do it hypothetically; and in that way may justly say on the part of the U. S. ‘Suppose that the U. S. exhausted by a bloody & expensive war with G. Britain, might have been willing to have purchased peace by relinquishing, under a particular contingency, a small part of their territory, it does not follow that the same U. S. recruited & better organised, must relinquish the same territory to Spain, without striking a blow. The U. S. too have irrevocably put it out of their power to do it by a new constitution, which guarantees every state against the invasion of it’s territory. A disastrous war indeed might, by necessity, supercede this stipulation, (as necessity is above all law) & oblige them to abandon a part of a state. But nothing short of this can justify, or obtain such an abandonment.’
The Southern limits of Georgia depend chiefly on
1. The charter of Carolina to the Lords proprietors in 1663 extending Southwardly to the river Matheo, now called St. John’s, supposed in the charter to be in Lat. 31° and 50 West in a direct line as far as the South sea. See the charter in 4.1 Mémoires de l’Amerique. 554.
2. On the Proclamation of the British King in 1763. establishing the boundary between Georgia & the two Floridas, to begin in the Missisipi in 31° of lat north of the equator, & running Eastwardly to the Apalachicola; thence along the sd. river to the mouth of the Flint, thence, in a direct line, to the source of St. Mary’s river, & down the same to the ocean. This Proclamation will be found in Postlethwayte, voce ‘British America.’
3. On the treaties, between the U. S. and Gr. Britain, of Nov. 30. 1782. & Sep. 1783. repeating & confirming these antient boundaries.
There was an intermediate transaction, to wit, a Convention concluded at the Prado in 1739. whereby it was agreed that Ministers plenipotentiary should be immediately appointed by Spain & Gr. Britain for settling the limits of Florida & Carolina. The Convention is to be found in the collections of treaties; but the proceedings of the Plenipotentiaries are unknown here. Qu. if it was on that occasion that the Southern boundary of Carolina was transferred from the latitude of Matheo or St. John’s river, further north to the St. Mary’s? or was it the Proclamation of 1763. which first removed this boundary? [if the Commissioners can procure in Spain, a copy of whatever was agreed on in consequence of the Convention of the Prado, it is a desireable State-paper here.]
To this demonstration of our rights, may be added the explicit declaration of the court of Spain that she would accede to them. This took place in conversations & correspondence thereon between Mr. Jay, M. P. for the U. S. at the court of Madrid, the Marquis de la Fayette, & the Count de Florida Blanca. Monsr. de la Fayette, in his letter of Feb. 19. 1783. to the Count de Florida Blanca, states the result of their conversations on limits in these words. ‘With respect to limits, his Catholic Majesty has adopted those that are determined by the preliminaries of the 30th of Nov. between the U. S. & the court of London.’—The Ct. de Florida Blanca, in his answer of Feb. 22. to M. de la Fayette, says, ‘Altho’ it is his Majesty’s intentions to abide for the present by the limits established by the treaty of the 30th of Nov. 1782. between the English & the Americans, the King intends to inform himself particularly whether it can be in any ways inconvenient or prejudicial to settle that affair amicably with the U. S.’ And M. de la Fayette in his letter of the same day to Mr. Jay, wherein he had inserted the preceding, says, ‘on receiving the answer of the Count de Florida Blanca (to wit, his answer before-mentioned to M. de la Fayette), I desired an explanation respecting the addition that relates to the limits. I was answered that it was a fixed principle to abide by the limits established by the treaty between the English & the Americans: that his remark related only to more unimportant details, which he wished to receive from the Spanish Commandants, which would be amicably regulated, & would by no means oppose the general principle. I asked him before the Ambassador of France [M. de Montmorin] whether he would give me his word of honor for it? He assured me he would, & that I might engage it to the U. S.’ See the Report sent herewith.
II. The Navigation of the Missisipi.
Our right to navigate that river, from it’s source to where our Southern boundary strikes it, is not questioned. It is from that point downwards only, that the exclusive navigation is claimed by Spain; that is to say, where she holds the country on both sides, to wit, Louisiana on the West, & Florida on the East.
Our right to participate in the navigation of that part of the river also, is to be considered under
1. The Treaty of Paris of 1763.
2. The Revolution treaty of 1782.-3.
3. The law of Nature and Nations.
1. The war of 1759–1763. was carried on jointly by Gr. Britain & the 13 colonies, now the U. S. of America, against France & Spain. At the peace which was negociated by our Common Magistrate, a right was secured to ‘the subject of Gr. Britain (the common designation of all those under his government) to navigate the Missisipi, in it’s whole breadth & length from it’s source to the sea; & expressly that part which is between the island of New Orleans, & the right bank of that river; as well as the passage both in & out of it’s mouth, & that the vessels should not be stopped, visited or subjected to the payment of any duty whatsoever.’ These are the words of the treaty article VII. Florida was at the same time ceded by Spain, & it’s extent Westwardly was fixed to the lakes Pontchartrain & Maurepas, & the river Missisipi; & Spain received soon after from France a cession of the island of New Orleans, & all the country she held Westward of the Missisipi: subject of course to our right of navigating between that country and the island, previously granted to us by France. This right was not parcelled out to us in severalty, that is to say, to each the exclusive navigation of so much of the river as was adjacent to our several shores, in which way it would have been useless to all; but it was placed on that footing, on which alone it could be worth anything, to wit, as a right to all to navigate the whole length of the river in common. The import of the terms, & the reason of the thing, prove it was a right of common in the whole, & not a several right to each, of a particular part. To which may be added the evidence of the stipulation itself, that we should navigate between New Orleans & the Western bank, which being adjacent to none of our states, could be held by us only as a right of common.—Such was the nature of our right to navigate the Missisipi, as far as established by the treaty of Paris.
2. In the course of the Revolution-war, in which the thirteen colonies, Spain & France were opposed to Great Britain, Spain took possession of several posts held by the British in Florida. It is unnecessary to enquire whether the possession of half a dozen posts scattered thro’ a country of seven or eight hundred miles extent, could be considered as the possession & conquest of that country. If it was, it gave still but an inchoate right, as was before explained, which could not be perfected but by the relinquishment of the former possessor at the close of the war. But certainly it could not be considered as a conquest of the river, even against Gr. Britain, since the possession of the shores, to wit of the island of New Orleans on the one side, & Louisiana on the other, having undergone no change, the right in the water would remain the same, if considered only in it’s relation to them: & if considered as a distinct right, independant of the shores, then no naval victories obtained by Spain over Gr. Britain in the course of the war, gave her the colour of conquest over any water which the British fleet could enter, still less can she be considered as having conquered the river as against the U. S. with whom she was not at war. We had a common right of navigation in the part of the river between Florida, the island of New Orleans & the Western bank, & nothing which passed between Spain & Gr. Britain, either during the war, or at it’s conclusion, could lessen that right. Accordingly at the treaty of Nov. 1782. Gr. Britain confirmed the rights of the U. S. to the navigation of the river, from it’s source to it’s mouth, & in Jan. 1783. compleated the right of Spain to the territory of Florida, by an absolute relinquishment of all her rights in it. This relinquishment could not include the navigation held by the U. S. in their own right, because this right existed in themselves only, & was not in Gr. Britain. If it added anything to the rights of Spain respecting the river between the Eastern & Western banks, it could only be that portion of right which Gr. Britain had retained to herself in the treaty with the U. S. held seven weeks before, to wit, a right of using it in common with the U. S. So that as by the treaty of 1763. the U. S. had obtained a common right of navigating the whole river, from it’s source to it’s mouth; so by the treaty of 1782. that common right was confirmed to them by the only power who could pretend claims against them founded on the state of war, nor has that common right been transferred to Spain by either conquest or cession.
But our right is built on ground still broader, & more unquestionable, to wit,
3. On the law of Nature & Nations.
If we appeal to this, as we feel it written in the heart of man, what sentiment is written in deeper characters, than that the Ocean is free to all men, & the Rivers to all their inhabitants? Is there a man, savage or civilized, unbiassed by habit, who does not feel & attest this truth? Accordingly, in all tracts of country united under the same political society, we find this natural right universally acknoleged & protected by laying the navigable rivers open to all their inhabitants. When their rivers enter the limits of another society, if the right of the upper inhabitants to descend the stream is in any case obstructed, it is an act of force by a stronger society against a weaker, condemned by the judgment of mankind. The late case of Antwerp and the Scheld was a striking proof of a general union of sentiment on this point: as it is believed that Amsterdam had scarcely an advocate out of Holland, and even there its pretensions were advocated on the ground of treaties, & not of natural right. [The Commissioners would do well to examine thoroughly what was written on this occasion.]—The Commissioners will be able perhaps to find either in the practice or the pretensions of Spain as to the Douro, Tagus & Guadiana, some acnolegements of this principle on the part of that nation.—This sentiment of right in favor of the upper inhabitants must become stronger in the proportion which their extent of country bears to the lower. The U. S. hold 600.000 square miles of habitable territory on the Missisipi & it’s branches, & this river and it’s branches affords many thousands of miles of navigable waters, penetrating this territory in all it’s parts. The inhabitable grounds of Spain below our boundary, & bordering on the river, which alone can pretend any fear of being incommoded by our use of the river, are not the thousandth part of that extent. This vast portion of the territory of the U. S. has no other outlet for it’s productions, & these productions are of the bulkiest kind. And in truth their passage down the river, may not only be innocent as to the Spanish subjects on the river, but cannot fail to enrich them far beyond their present condition. The real interests then of all the inhabitants upper & lower, concur in fact with their rights.
If we appeal to the law of nature & nations, as expressed by writers on the subject, it is agreed by them that, were the river, where it passes between Florida & Louisiana, the exclusive right of Spain, still an innocent passage along it is a natural right in those inhabiting it’s borders above. It would indeed be what those writers call an imperfect right, because the modification of it’s exercise depends in considerable degree on the conveniency of the nation thro’ which they are to pass. But it is still a right as real as any other right however well defined: & were it to be refused, or to be so shackled by regulations not necessary for the peace or safety of it’s inhabitants, as to render it’s use impracticable to us, it would then be an injury of which we should be entitled to demand redress. The right of the upper inhabitants to use this navigation is the counterpart to that of those possessing the shores below, & founded on the same natural relations with the soil & water, & the line on which their rights meet is to be advanced or withdrawn, so as to equalize the inconveniencies resulting to each party from the exercise of the right by the other. This estimate is to be fairly made, with a mutual disposition to make equal sacrifices, & the numbers on each side are to have their due weight in the estimate. Spain holds so very small a tract of habitable land on either side below our boundary, that it may in fact be considered as a streight of the sea. For tho’ it is 80. leagues from our boundary to the mouth of the river, yet it is only here & there, in spots & slips, that the land rises above the level of the water in times of inundation. There are then, & ever must be so few inhabitants on her part of the river, that the freest use of it’s navigation may be admitted to us without their annoyance. For authorities on this subject see Grot. ch. 12. c. 2. §. 11. 12. 13. c. 3. §. 7. 8. 12. Puffend. L. 3. c. 3. §. 3. 4. 5. 6. Wolffs inst. §. 310. 311. 312. Vattel. L. 1. §. 292. L. 2. §. 123 to 139.
It is essential to the interests of both parties that the navigation of the river be free to both on the footing on which it was defined by the treaty of Paris. viz. thro’ it’s whole breadth. The channel of the Missisipi is remarkably winding, crossing & recrossing perpetually from one side to the other of the general bed of the river. Within the elbows thus made by the channel, there is generally an eddy setting upwards, and it is by taking advantage of these eddies & constantly crossing from one to another of them that boats are enabled to ascend the river. Without this right, the whole river would be impracticable both to the Americans & Spaniards.
It is a principle that the right to a thing gives a right to the means without which it could not be used, that is to say, that the means follow their end. Thus a right to navigate a river, draws to it a right to moor vessels to it’s shores, to land on them in cases of distress or for other necessary purposes &c. This principle is founded in natural reasons, is evidenced by the common sense of mankind, and declared by the writers before quoted. See Grot. L. 2. c. 2. §. 15. Puffend. L. 3. c. 3. §. 8. Vattel L. 2, §. 129. The Roman law, which, like other municipal laws, placed the navigation of their rivers on the footing of nature, as to their own citizens, by declaring them public (‘flumina publica sunt pax est, populi Romani.’ Inst. 2. T. 1. §. 2.) declared also that the right to the use of the shores was incident to that of the water. Ib. §. 1. 3. 4. 5. The laws of every country probably do the same. This must have been so understood between France & Gr. Britain at the treaty of Paris, when a right was ceded to British subjects to navigate the whole river, & expressly that part between the island of New Orleans, & the Western bank, without stipulating a word about the use of the shores, tho’ both of them belonged to France, & were to belong immediately to Spain. Had not the use of the shores been considered as incident to that of the water, it would have been expressly stipulated; since it’s necessity was too obvious to have escaped either party. Accordingly, all British subjects used the shores habitually for the purposes necessary to the navigation of the river: and when a Spanish governor undertook, at one time, to forbid this, & even cut loose the vessels fastening to the shores, a British frigate went immediately, moored itself to the shore opposite the town of New Orleans, & set out guards with orders to fire on such as might attempt to disturb her moorings. The Governor acquiesced; the right was constantly exercised afterwards, & no interruption ever offered.
This incidental right extends even beyond the shores when circumstances render it necessary to the exercise of the principal right, as in the case of a vessel damaged, where the mere shore would not be a safe deposit for her cargo till she could be repaired, she may remove it into safe ground off the river. The Roman law shall be quoted here too, because it gives a good idea both of the extent, & the limitations of this right. Inst. L. 2. T. 1. §. 4.‘Riparum quoque usus publicus est, ut volunt jura gentium sicut et ipsius fluminis usus publicus est. Itaque et navigium ad ripas appellere et funes de arboribus ibi natis religare, et navis onera in his locis reponere, liberum cuique est: sicuti nec per flumen ipsum navigare quisquam prohibetur.’ And again §. 5. ‘Litorum quoque usus publicus, sive juris gentium, est, ut et ipsius maris: et obid data est facultas volentibus, casas ibi sibi componere, in quas se recipere possint &c.’ Again §. 1. ‘Nemo igitur ad litora maris accedere prohibetur: veluti deambulare, aut navem appellere, sic tamen ut a villis, id est domiciliis, monumentisque ibi positis, et ab ædificiis abstineat, nec iis damnum inferat.’1
Among incidental rights, are those of having pilots, buoys, beacons, landmarks, lighthouses, &c. to guide the navigators. The establishment of these at joint expence, & under joint regulations, may be the subject of a future convention. In the meantime both should be free to have their own, & refuse those of the other, both as to use & expence.
Very peculiar circumstances attending the river Missisipi require that the incidental right of accomodation on the shore, which needs only occasional exercise on other rivers, should be habitual & constant on this. Sea vessels cannot navigate that river, nor the river vessels go to sea. The navigation would be useless then, without an entrepot where these vessels might safely deposit their own cargoes, & take those left by the others, & where warehouses & keepers might be constantly established for the safeguard of the cargoes. It is admitted indeed that the incidental right thus extended into the territory of the bordering inhabitants, is liable to stricter modifications in proportion as it interferes with their territorial right. But the inconveniences of both parties are still to have their weight, & reason & moderation on both sides are to draw the lines between them. As to this, we count much on the liberality of Spain, on her concurrence in opinion with us that it is for the interest of both parties to remove completely this germ of discord from between us, & draw our friendship as close as circumstances proclaim that it should be, & on the considerations which make it palpable that a convenient spot placed under our exclusive occupation, & exempted from the jurisdiction & police of their government, is far more likely to preserve peace, than a mere free-port, where eternal altercations would keep us in eternal ill humour with each other. The policy of this measure, & indeed of a much larger concession, having been formerly sketched in a paper of July 12. 1790. sent to the Commissioners severally, they are now referred to that.
If this be agreed to, the manner of fixing on that extra territorial spot, becomes highly interesting. The most desireable to us would be a permission to send Commissioners to chuse such spot, below the town of New Orleans, as they should find most convenient.
If this be refused, it would be better now to fix on the spot. Our information is, that the whole country below the town, & for 60. miles above it, on the Western shore, is low, marshy, & subject to such deep inundation, for many miles from the rivers, that, if capable of being reclaimed at all by banking, it would still never afford an entrepot sufficiently safe: that, on the Eastern side, the only lands below the town, not subject to inundation, are at the Detour aux Anglois, or English turn, the highest part of which is that whereon the fort Ste. Marie formerly stood. Even this is said to have been raised by art, & to be very little above the inundations. This spot then is what we would fix on, if obliged now to decide, with from one to as many square miles of the circumjacent lands as can be obtained, & comprehending expressly the shores above & below the site of the fort as far as possible.—But as to the spot itself, the limits, & even whether it shall be extra territorial, or only a free port, & what regulations it shall be laid under, the convenience of that government is entitled to so much respect & attention, on our part, that the arrangement must be left to the management of the Commissioners, who will doubtless use their best efforts to obtain all they can for us.
The worst footing on which the determination of the ground could be placed, would be a reference to joint Commissioners: because their disagreement, a very probable, nay a certain event, would undo the whole convention, & leave us exactly where we now are. Unless indeed they will engage to us, in case of such disagreement, the highest grounds at the Detour aux Anglois, of convenient extent, including the landings & harbour thereto adjacent. This would ensure us that ground, unless better could be found, & mutually preferred, & close the delay of right under which we have so long laboured, for peace sake.
It will probably be urged, because it was urged on the former occasion, that if Spain grants to us the right of navigating the Missisipi, other nations will become entitled to it, by virtue of treaties giving them the rights of the most favored nations.
Two answers may be given to this. 1. When those treaties were made, no nations could be under contemplation but those then existing, or those, at most, who might exist under similar circumstances. America did not then exist as a nation: & the circumstances of her position & commerce are so totally dissimiliar to everything then known, that the treaties of that day were not adapted to any such being. They would better fit even China than America, because, as a manufacturing nation, China resembles Europe more. When we sollicited France to admit our whale oils into her ports, tho’ she had excluded all foreign whale oils, her minister made the objection now under consideration, & the foregoing answer was given. It was found to be solid, & the whale oils of the U. S. are, in consequence, admitted, tho’ those of Portugal & the Hanse Towns, & of all other nations are excluded. Again, when France & England were negociating their late treaty of commerce, the great dissimilitude of our commerce (which furnishes raw materials to employ the industry of others, in exchange for articles whereon industry has been exhausted) from the commerce of the European nations (which furnished things ready wrought only) was suggested to the attention of both negotiators, & that they should keep their nations free to make particular arrangements with ours, by communicating to each other only the rights of the most favored European nation. Each was separately sensible of the importance of the distinction; & as soon as it was proposed by the one, it was acceded to by the other, & the word European was inserted in their treaty. It may fairly be considered then as the rational and received interpretation of the diplomatic term ‘gentis amicissimæ’ that it has not in view a nation, unknown in many cases at the time of using the term, & so dissimilar in all cases, as to furnish no ground of just reclamation to any other nation.
2. But the decisive answer is that Spain does not grant us the navigation of the river. We have an inherent right to it: & she may repel the demand of any other nation, by candidly stating her act to have been, what in truth it is, a recognition only, & not a grant.
If Spain apprehends that other nations may claim access to our ports in the Missisipi, under their treaties with us, giving them a right to come & trade in all our ports, tho’ we would not chuse to insist on express stipulation against them, yet we shall think ourselves justified to acquiesce in fact under any regulations, Spain may, from time to time, establish against their admission.
Should Spain renew another objection which she relied much on before, that the English, at the revolution treaty, could not cede to us what Spain had taken from them by conquest, & what of course they did not possess themselves, the preceding observations furnish sufficient matter for refutation.
To conclude the subjects of boundary & navigation, each of the following conditions is to be considered by the Commissioners as a sine qua non.
1. That our Southern boundary remains established at the completion of 31. degrees of latitude on the Missisipi, & so on to the Ocean as has been before described; & our Western one along the middle of the channel of the Missisipi, however that channel may vary, as it is constantly varying, & that Spain cease to occupy, or to exercise jurisdiction in any part Northward or Eastward of these boundaries.
2. That our right be acknolged of navigating the Missisipi, ‘in it’s whole breadth & length, from it’s source to the sea,’ as established by the treaty of 1763.
3. That neither ‘vessels,’ cargoes, or the persons on board ‘be stopped, visited or subjected to the payment of any duty whatsoever.’ Or if a visit must be permitted, that it be under such restrictions as to produce the least possible inconvenience. But it should be altogether avoided, if possible, as the parent of perpetual broils.
4. That such conveniences be allowed us ashore, as may render our right of navigation practicable, & under such regulations as may bonâ fide respect the preservation of peace & order alone, & may not have in object to embarras our navigation, or raise a revenue on it. While the substance of this article is made a sine quâ non, the modifications of it are left altogether to the discretion & management of the Commissioners.
We might add, as a fifth sine quâ non, that no phrase should be admitted in the treaty, which would express or imply that we take the navigation of the Missisipi as a grant from Spain. But, however disagreeable it would be to subscribe to such a sentiment, yet were the conclusion of a treaty to hang on that single objection, it would be expedient to waive it, & to meet, at a future day, the consequences of any resumption they may pretend to make, rather than at present those of a separation without coming to any agreement.
We know not whether Spain has it in idea to ask a compensation for the ascertainment of our right.
1. In the first place, she cannot in reason ask a compensation for yielding what we have a right to, that is to say, the navigation of the river, & the conveniences incident to it of natural right.
2. In the second place, we have a claim on Spain for indemnification for nine years exclusion from that navigation, & a reimbursement of the heavy duties (not less for the most part, than 15. per cent on extravagant valuations) levied on the commodities she has permitted to pass to N. Orleans. The relinquishment of this will be no unworthy equivalent for any accomodations she may indulge us with beyond the line of our strict right. And this claim is to be brought into view in proper time & manner merely to be abandoned in consideration of such accomodations.—We have nothing else to give in exchange. For as to territory, we have neither the right, nor the disposition to alienate an inch of what belongs to any member of our Union. Such a proposition therefore is totally inadmissible, & not to be treated of for a moment.
III. On the former conferences on the navigation of the Missisipi, Spain chose to blend with it the subject of Commerce, & accordingly specific propositions thereon passed between the negociators. Her object then was to obtain our renunciation of the navigation, & to hold out commercial arrangements, perhaps, as a lure to us, perhaps however she might then, & may now, really set a value on commercial arrangements with us, & may receive them as a consideration for accomodating us in the navigation, or may wish for them, to have the appearance of receiving a consideration. Commercial arrangements, if acceptable in themselves, will not be the less so, if coupled with those relating to navigation & boundary. We have only to take care that they be acceptable in themselves.
There are two principles which may be proposed as the basis of a commercial treaty. 1. That of exchanging the privileges of native citizens: or 2. those of the most favored nation.
1. With the nations holding important possessions in America, we are ready to exchange the rights of native citizens; provided they be extended thro’ the whole possessions of both parties. But the propositions of Spain, made on the former occasion, (a copy of which accompanies this) were, that we should give their merchants, vessels, & productions the privilege of native merchants, vessels & productions, thro’ the whole of our possessions; & they give the same to ours, only in Spain & the Canaries. This is inadmissible because unequal: and as we believe that Spain is not ripe for an equal exchange on this basis, we avoid proposing it.
2. Tho’ treaties, which merely exchange the rights of the most favored nations, are not without all inconveniences, yet they have their conveniences also. It is an important one that they leave each party free to make what internal regulations they please, & to give what preferences they find expedient to native merchants, vessels & productions and as we already have treaties on this basis with France, Holland, Sweden & Prussia, the two former of which are perpetual, it will be but small additional embarrassment to extend it to Spain. On the contrary, we are sensible it is right to place that nation on the most favored footing whether we have a treaty with them or not: & it can do us no harm to secure, by treaty, a reciprocation of the right.
Of the four treaties before mentioned, either the French or the Prussian, might be taken as a model. But it would be useless to propose the Prussians; because we have already supposed that Spain would never consent to those articles which give to each party access to all the dominions of the other: and without this equivalent, we would not agree to tie our own hands so materially in war as would be done by the 23d. article, which renounces the right of fitting out privateers, or of capturing merchant vessels.—The French treaty therefore is proposed as the model. In this however the following changes are to be made.
We should be admitted to all the dominions of Spain, to which any other foreign nation is, or may be, admitted.
Art. 5. Being an exception from a particular duty in France will of course be omitted, as inapplicable to Spain.
Art. 8. To be omitted as unnecessary with Morocco, & inefficacious & little honorable, with any of the Barbary powers. But it may furnish occasion to sound Spain on the project of a Convention of the powers at war with the Barbary states, to keep up, by rotation, a constant cruize, of a given force, on their coasts, till they shall be compelled to renounce for ever, and against all nations, their predatory practices. Perhaps the infidelities of the Algerines to their treaty of peace with Spain, tho’ the latter does not chuse to break openly, may induce her to subsidize us, to cruize against them with a given force.
Art. 9. & 10. Concerning fisheries, to be omitted as inapplicable.
Art. 11. The first paragraph of this article, respecting the Droit d’aubaine, to be omitted: that law being supposed peculiar to France.
Art. 12. Giving asylum in the ports of either to the armed vessels of the other, with the prizes taken from the enemies of that other, must be qualified as it is in the 19th Art. of the Prussian treaty, as the stipulation in the latter part of the article ‘that no shelter or refuge shall be given in the ports of the one, to such as shall have made prize on the subjects of the other of the parties’ would forbide us, in case of a war between France & Spain, to give shelter in our ports to prizes made by the latter on the former, while the first part of the article would oblige us to shelter those made by the former on the latter; a very dangerous convenant & which ought never to be repeated in any other instance.
Art. 29. Consuls should be received at all the ports at which the vessels of either party may be received.
Art. 30. Concerning Free ports in Europe & America. Free ports in the Spanish possessions in America, & particularly at the Havanna, San Domingo in the island of that name, and St. John of Porto Rico, are more to be desired, than expected. It can therefore only be recommended to the best endeavors of the Commissioners to obtain them. It will be something to obtain for our vessels, flour &c. admission to those ports, during their pleasure. In like manner, if they could be prevailed on to establish our right of cutting logwood in the bay of Campeachy on the footing on which it stood before the treaty of 1763. it would be desireable, and not endanger to us any contest with the English, who, by the revolution treaty, are restrained to the South Eastern parts of Yucatan.
Art. 31. The act of ratification on our part may require a twelvemonth from the date of the treaty, as the Senate meets, regularly, but once a year, & to return it to Madrid for exchange may require four months more. It would be better indeed if Spain would send her ratification to be exchanged by her representative here.
The Treaty must not exceed 12. or 15. years duration, except the clauses relating to boundary & the navigation of the Missipi, which must be perpetual & final. Indeed these two subjects had better be in a separate instrument.
There might have been mentioned a Third species of arrangement, that of making special agreements, on every special subject of commerce, & of settling a tariff of duty to be paid on each side, on every particular article. But this would require for our Commissioners, a very minute knowledge of our commerce; as it is impossible to foresee every proposition, of this kind, which might be brought into discussion, & to prepare them for it by information & instruction from hence. Our commerce too is, as yet, rather in a course of experiment & the channels in which it will ultimately flow are not sufficiently known to enable us to provide for it, by special agreement. Nor have the exigencies of our new government, as yet, so far developed themselves, as that we can tell to what degree we may, or must have recourse to commerce, for the purposes of revenue. No common consideration therefore ought to induce us, as yet, to arrangements of this kind. Perhaps nothing should do it, with any nation, short of the privileges of natives, in all their possessions, foreign & domestic.
It were to be wished indeed that some positively favorable stipulations respecting our grain, flour, & fish, could be obtained, even on our giving reciprocal advantages to some other commodities of Spain, say her wines and brandies. But 1. If we quit the ground of the most favored nation as to certain articles for our convenience, Spain may insist on doing the same for other articles for her convenience; & thus our Commissioners will get themselves on the ground of a treaty of detail, for which they will not be prepared. 2. If we grant favor to the wines & brandies of Spain, then Portugal & France will demand the same: & in order to create an equivalent, Portugal may lay a duty on our fish & grain, & France a prohibition on our whale oils, the removal of which will be proposed as an equivalent.
Thus much however, as to grain and flour, may be attempted. There has, not long since, been a considerable duty laid on them in Spain. This was while a treaty on the subject of commerce was pending between us & Spain, as that court considers the matter. It is not generally thought right to change the state of things, pending a treaty concerning them. On this consideration, & on the motive of cultivating our friendship, perhaps the Commissioners may induce them to restore this commodity to the footing on which it was on opening the conferences with Mr. Gardoqui on the 26th day of July 1785.—If Spain says ‘do the same by your tonnage on our vessels, the answer may be that our foreign tonnage affects Spain very little, & other nations very much: whereas the duty on flour in Spain affects us very much, & other nations very little. Consequently there would be no equality in reciprocal relinquishment, as there had been none in the reciprocal innovation: & Spain by insisting on this, would in fact only be aiding the interests of her rival nations, to whom we should be forced to extend the same indulgence. At the time of opening the conferences too, we had as yet not erected any system, our government itself being not yet erected. Innovation then was unavoidable on our part, if it be innovation to establish a system. We did it on fair & general grounds: on ground favorable to Spain; but they had a system, & therefore innovation was avoidable on their part.
It is known to the Commissioners that we found it expedient to ask the interposition of France lately to bring on this settlement of our boundary, & the navigation of the Missisipi. How far that interposition has contributed to produce it, is uncertain. But we have reason to believe that her further interference would not produce an agreeable effect on Spain. The Commissioners therefore are to avoid all further communications on the subject with the Ministers of France, giving to them such explanations as may preserve their good dispositions. But if ultimately they shall find themselves unable to bring Spain to agreement on the subject of navigation & boundary, the interposition of France, as a mutual friend, & the guarantee of our limits, is then to be asked, in whatever light Spain may chuse to consider it.
Should the negociations, on the subject of the navigation & boundary, assume, at any time, an unhopeful aspect, it may be proper that Spain should be given to understand that, if they are discontinued, without coming to an agreement, the government of the U. S. cannot be responsible for the longer forbearance of their Western inhabitants. At the same time the abandonment of the negociation should be so managed, as that, without engaging us to a further suspension of the exercise of our rights, we may not be committed to resume them in the instant. The present turbid situation of Europe cannot leave us long without a safe occasion of resuming our territory & navigation, & of carving for ourselves those conveniences on the shores which may facilitate & protect the latter effectually & permanently.
We had a right to expect that, pending a negociation, all things would have remained in statu quo, & that Spain would not have proceeded to possess herself of other parts of our territory. But she has lately taken & fortified a new post at the Walnut Hills above the mouth of the Yazoo river, & far above the 31st degree. This garrison ought to have been instantly dislodged, but for our for wish to be in friendship with Spain, & our confidence in her assurances ‘to abide by the limits established in our treaty with England.’ Complaints of this unfriendly & uncandid procedure, may be brought forward, or not, as the Commissioners shall see expedient.
REPORT ON CONVENTION WITH SPAIN1
[Mar 22 1792]
Heads of consideration on the establishment of Conventions between the United States and their neighbors for the mutual delivery of Fugitives from Justice.
Has a nation a right to punish a person who has not offended itself?
Writers on the law of nature agree that it has not.
That on the contrary, Exiles and Fugitives are to them as other strangers. And have a right of residence, unless their presence would be noxious. e. g. infectious persons.
One writer extends the exception to atrocious criminals, too imminently dangerous to Society.
Namely to Pirates, Murderers and Incendiaries. Vattel. L. 1. § 233.
The punishment of Piracy, being provided for by our law, need not be so by Convention.
Murder. Agreed that this is one of the extreme crimes justifying a denial of habitation, arrest, and redelivery.
It should be carefully restrained by definition to Homicide of malice prepense, and not of the nature of Treason.
Incendiaries, or those guilty of Arson. This crime so rare, as not to call for extraordinary provision by a convention. The only Rightful subject then of arrest and delivery, of which we have Need, is Murder.
Ought we to wish to strain the natural right of arresting and redelivering fugitives, to other cases?
The punishment of all real crimes is certainly desirable as a security to society.
The security is greater in proportion as the chances of avoiding punishment are less.
But does the Fugitive from his Country avoid punishment?
He incurs Exile, not voluntary, but under a Moral necessity, as strong as Physical.
Exile, in some countries, has been the Highest punishment allowed by the laws.
To most minds it is next to death: to many beyond it.
The Fugitive indeed is not of the latter: he must estimate it some what less than death.
It may be said that to some, as Foreigners, it is no punishment.
Arson: These cases are few. Laws are to be made for the mass of cases.
The object of a Convention then in other cases would be that the Fugitive might not avoid the difference between Exile, and the legal punishment of the Case.
Now, in what cases would this Difference be so important as to over weigh even the simple Inconvenience of multiplying compacts?
1st. Treason. This, when real, merits the highest punishment.
But most Codes extend their definitions of treason to acts not really against one’s country.
They do not distinguish between acts against the government, and acts against the Oppressions of the Government.
The latter are virtues: yet have furnished more victims to the Executioner than the former.
Because real Treasons are rare: Oppressions frequent.
The unsuccessful Struggles against Tyranny have been the chief Martyrs of Treason laws in all countries.
Reformation of government with our neighbors, as much wanting now as Reformation of religion is, or ever was anywhere.
We should not wish then to give up to the Executioner the Patriot who fails, and flees to us.
Treasons then, taking the simulated with the real, are sufficiently punished by Exile.
2. Crimes against Property. The punishment, in most countries immensely disproportionate to the crime.
In England, and probably in Canada, to steal a Hare, is death the 1st. offence: to steal above the value of 12d. death the 2d. offence.
All Excess of punishment is a Crime. To remit a fugitive to Excessive punishment, is to be accessory to the crime.
Ought we to wish for the obligation, or the right to do it?
Better, on the whole, to consider these crimes as sufficiently punished by the Exile.
There is one crime, however, against property, pressed by it’s consequences into more particular notice, to wit:
Forgery, whether of coin, or paper; and whether Paper, of public, or private obligation.
But the Fugitive for forgery, is punished by Exile and Confiscation of the property he leaves.
To which, add by Convention a civil action against the property he carries or acquires, to the amount of the special damage done by his forgery.
The carrying away of the property of another may also be reasonably made to found a civil action.
A Convention, then, may include Forgery and the carrying away the property of others under the head of
3. Flight from Debts.
To remit the fugitive in this case, would be to remit him in every case.
For in the present state of things, it is next to impossible not to owe something.
But I see neither injustice nor inconvenience in permitting the fugitive to be sued in our courts.
The laws of some countries punishing the unfortunate debtor by perpetual imprisonment, he is right to liberate himself by flight, and it would be wrong to re-imprison him in the country to which he flies. Let all process therefore be confined to his property.
Murder, not amounting to treason, being the only case in which the Fugitive is to be delivered,
On what evidence, and by whom shall he be delivered?
In this country, let any justice of the Supreme court of the United States, or their Judge of the district where the Fugitive is found, use the same proceedings as for a murder committed on the high seas. Until the finding of the “True bill” by the Grand jury; but
Evidence on oath from the country demanding him; though in writing and ex parte should have the same effect as if delivered orally at the examination.
A True bill being found by the Grand jury, let the officer in whose custody the fugitive is, deliver him to the person charged to demand and receive him.
In the British provinces adjoining us the same proceedings will do.
In the Spanish provinces a proceeding adapted to the course of their laws should be agreed on.
PROJECT OF A CONVENTION WITH THE SPANISH PROVINCES1
[March 22, 1792.]
Any person having committed murder or malice prepense, not of the nature of treason, within the United States or the Spanish provinces adjoining thereto, and fleeing from the justice of the country, shall be delivered up by the government where he shall be found, to that from which he fled, whenever demanded by the same.
The manner of the demand by the Spanish government, and of the compliance by that of the United States, shall be as follows. The person authorized by the Spanish government, where the murder was committed to pursue the fugitive, may apply to any justice of the supreme court of the United States, or to the district Judge of the place where the fugitive is, exhibiting proof on oath that a murder has been committed by the said fugitive within the said government, who shall thereon issue his warrant to the marshal or deputy marshal of the same place to arrest the fugitive and have him before the said district Judge; or the said pursuer may apply to such Marshal or Deputy marshal directly, who, on exhibition of proof as aforesaid, shall thereupon arrest the fugitive, and carry him before the said district judge, and when before him in either way, he shall, within not less than days nor more than hold a special court of inquiry, causing a grand jury to be summoned thereto, and charging them to inquire whether the fugitive hath committed a murder, not of the nature of treason, within the province demanding him, and on their finding a true bill, the judge shall order the officer in whose custody the fugitive is, to deliver him over to the person authorized as aforesaid to receive him, and shall give such further authorities to aid the said person in safe keeping and conveying the said fugitive to the limits of the United States as shall be necessary and within his powers; and his powers shall expressly extend to command the aid of posse of every district through which the said fugitive is to be carried. And the said justices, judges, and other officers shall use in the premises the same process and proceedings, mutatis mutandis, and govern themselves by the same principles and rules of law as in cases of murder committed on the high Seas.
And the manner of demand by the United States and of compliance by the Spanish government, shall be as follows. The person authorized by a justice of the Supreme court of the United States, or by the district judge where the murder was committed, to pursue the fugitive, may apply to
Evidence on oath, though written, and ex parte, shall have the same weight with the Judge and grand jury in the preceding cases, as if the same had been given before them orally, and in presence of the prisoner.
The courts of Justice of the said States, and provinces shall be reciprocally open for the demand and recovery of debts due to any person inhabiting the one, from any person fled therefrom and found in the other, in like manner as they are open to their own Citizens: likewise for the recovery of the property, or the value thereof carried away from any person inhabiting the one, by any person fled therefrom and found in the other, which carrying away shall give a right of civil action, whether the fugitive came to the original possession lawfully or unlawfully, even feloniously; likewise for the recovery of damages sustained by any forgery committed by such fugitive. And the same provision shall hold in favor of the representatives of the original creditor or sufferer, and against the representatives of the original debtor, carrier away, or forger: also in favor of either government or of corporations as of natural persons. But in no case shall the person of the defendant be imprisoned for the debt, tho’ the process, whether original, mesne, or final be, for the form sake, directed against his person. If the time between the flight and the commencement of the action exceed not years it shall be counted but as one day under any act of limitations.
This Convention shall continue in force years from the exchange of ratifications, and shall not extend to anything happening previous to such exchange.
TO MARTHA JEFFERSON RANDOLPH1
Philadelphia, March 22d, 1792.
My dear Martha,
—Yours of February 20th came to me with that welcome which everything brings from you. It is a relief to be withdrawn from the torment of the scenes amidst which we are. Spectators of the heats and tumults of conflicting parties, we cannot help participating of their feelings. I should envy you the tranquil occupations of your situation, were it not that I value your happiness more than my own, but I too shall have my turn. The ensuing year will be the longest of my life, and the last of such hateful labors; the next we will sow our cabbages together. Maria is well. Having changed my day of writing from Sunday to Thursday or Friday, she will oftener miss writing, as not being with me at the time. I believe you knew Otchakitz, the Indian who lived with the Marquis de Lafayette. He came here lately with some deputies from his nation, and died here of pleurisy. I was at his funeral yesterday; he was buried standing up, according to their manner. I think it will still be a month before your neighbor, Mrs. Monroe, will leave us. She will probably do it with more pleasure than heretofore, as I think she begins to tire of the town and feel a relish for scenes of more tranquillity. Kiss dear Anne for her aunt, and twice for her grandpapa. Give my best affections to Mr. Randolph, and accept yourself all my tenderness.
TO DAVID CAMPBELL
Philadelphia, Mar. 27. 1792.
—Your favor of Feb. 25 by Mr. Allison has been duly received. Having been now 17 years out of the practice of the law, and my mind too constantly occupied in a different line to permit my keeping up my law reading; those subjects are now too little familiar to me to venture a law opinion on the question discussed in the charge you were so kind as to send me. I am much pleased with the mention therein made that the people are happy under the general government. That it is calculated to produce general happiness, when administered in it’s true republican spirit, I am thoroughly persuaded. I hope too that your admonitions against encroachments on the Indian lands will have a beneficial effect. The U. S. find an Indian war too serious a thing to risk incurring one merely to gratify a few intruders with settlements which are to cost the other inhabitants of the U. S. a thousand times their value in taxes for carrying on the war they produce. I am satisfied it will ever be preferred to send an armed force and make war against the intruders as being more just & less expensive. A new post extended to the south western territory will I hope soon open a more regular communication with that country.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Philadelphia, Mar. 28, 1792.
—I have the honor to inclose you two letters from Judge Symmes of Jan. 25th. & 27th. His letter of Sep. 17. mentioned in the first of these was received by me Nov. 23. and after being laid before you, was answered Dec. 4. The part of the answer respecting his leave from you to come to Philadelphia was in these words: “The President does not conceive that the Constitution has given him any controul over the proceedings of the Judges, and therefore considers that his permission or refusal of absence from your district would be merely rogatory.”
With respect to the escort for the judges on their circuits, you will be pleased to determine whether the good of the service will permit them to have one from the military, or whether that part of the letter shall be laid before the legislature to make regular provision for an escort. That part of the letter respecting jails must, as I apprehend, be laid before the legislature.
The complaint against Capt. Armstrong in the letter of Jan. 27. coming formally from a judge, will require notice. A civil prosecution in the courts of the Territory appears to me most proper. Perhaps a formal instruction to the Governor as Commander in chief to put his officers on their guard against any resistance to civil process might have the effect of preventing future disputes. I shall have the honor of waiting on you to take your pleasure on these several subjects, & have now that of being with sentiments of profound respect & sincere attachment Sir &c
TO JACOB BLACKWELL
Philadelphia, Apr. 1. 1792.
—Mr. Remsen having now decided definitively to resign his Office of Chief-clerk, I have considered, with all the impartiality in my power, the different grounds on which yourself & Mr. Taylor stand in competition for the succession. I understand that he was appointed about a month before you, and that you came into actual service about a month before him. These circumstances place you so equally, that I cannot derive from them any ground of preference. Yet obliged to decide one way or the other, I find in a comparison of your conditions a circumstance of considerable equity in his favor. He is a married man, with a family; yourself single. There can be no doubt but that 500. dollars place a single man as much at his ease as 800. to a married one. On this single circumstance then I have thought myself bound to appoint Mr. Taylor Chief-clerk, and I beg you to be assured that it is the only motive which has decided in my mind. That it has given me more pain to make the decision, than to you to learn it, having had every reason to be entirely satisfied as well with your conduct as with his since I have been in the office & being with real esteem Sir your friend & servt.
TO WILLIAM BARTON
Philadelphia, Apr. 1. 1792.
—I did not sooner answer your favor of the 19th because I have had reason till now to doubt whether Mr. Remsen was decided to resign his office of Chief-clerk with me. In the mean time too I found there would be real difficulties from the other clerks the senior of whom thought himself entitled to succeed, & the juniors to approach so much nearer to the succession, and that if cut off from this prospect I should lose them all. This would be to me an irreparable loss, because the two seniors have been very long in the office, are perfectly intimate with all the papers & proceedings for years back, to all of which I am an utter stranger, & to which consequently they serve me as an index. I had mentioned this difficulty to Mr. Rittenhouse & further that I thought you would not entertain a moment’s wish for the Office if you knew that it offers nothing but one continued scene of drudgery in copying papers & close attendance from morning till night. I could not myself conceive you could submit to such an uninteresting & unimproving labour, and therefore can only hope now, that conceiving myself bound in justice to give it to the present senior clerk, some other occasion may occur more worthy of you, & towards which I may be of some use to you, being with real esteem Sir your most obedt. humble servt.
TO HUGH WILLIAMSON
April 1st. 1792.
Th: Jefferson presents his compliments to Dr. Williamson & returns him the draught of the bill of projects, with the alterations he proposes to it. These will certainly put the business into a more steady channel, and one more likely by the establishment of fixed rules, to deal out justice without partiality or favouratism. Above all things he prays to be relieved from it, as being, of everything that ever was imposed on him, that which cuts up his time into the most useless fragments and gives him from time to time the most poignant mortification. The subjects are such as would require a great deal of time to understand & do justice by them, and not having that time to bestow on them, he has been oppressed beyond measure by the circumstances under which he has been obliged to give undue & uninformed opinions on rights often valuable, & always deemed so by the authors.
TO THE GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Philadelphia April 1, 1792.
—Your letter of Jan. 8 to the President of the U. S. having been referred to me, I have given the subject of it as mature consideration as I am able. Two neighboring and free governments, with laws equally mild & just, would find no difficulty in forming a convention for the interchange of fugitive criminals. Nor would two neighboring despotic governments, with laws of equal severity. The latter wish that no door should be open to their subjects flying from the oppression of their laws. The fact is that most of the governments on the continent of Europe have such conventions: but England, the only free one, till lately, has never yet consented either to enter into a convention for this purpose or to give up a fugitive. The difficulty between a free government and despotic one is indeed great. I have the honor to inclose to your Excellency a sketch of the Considerations which occurred to me on the subject, & which I laid before the President. He has in consequence instructed me to prepare a project of a convention to be proposed to the court of Madrid; which I have accordingly done, & now inclose a copy of it. I wish it may appear to you satisfactory. Against property we may hope it would be effectual; whilst it leaves a door open to life & liberty except in a single unquestionable case. Messrs. Carmichael & Short will be instructed to make this one of the subjects of their negotiation with the court of Spain.
OPINION ON THE BILL APPORTIONING REPRESENTATION1
April 4. 1792.
The Constitution has declared that representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers. That the number of representatives shall not exceed one for every 30,000, but each State shall have at least one representative, and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to choose 3, Massachusetts 2. &c.
The bill for apportioning representatives among the several States, without explaining any principle at all, which may show its conformity with the constitution, to guide future apportionments, says, that New Hampshire shall have 3 members, Massachusetts 16, &c. We are, therefore, to find by experiment what has been the principle of the bill; to do which, it is proper to state the federal or representable numbers of each State, and the numbers allotted to them by the bill. They are as follows:—
It happens that this representation, whether tried as between great and small States, or as between north and south, yields, in the present instance, a tolerably just result; and, consequently, could not be objected to on that ground, if it were obtained by the process prescribed in the Constitution; but if obtained by any process out of that, it becomes arbitrary and inadmissible.
The 1st member of the clause of the Constitution above cited is express, that representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers. That is to say, they shall be apportioned by some common ratio—for proportion, and ratio, are equivalent words; and, in the definition of proportion among numbers, that they have a ratio common to all, or in other words, a common divisor. Now, trial will show that there is no common ratio, or divisor, which, applied to the numbers of each State, will give to them the number of representatives allotted in this bill. For trying the several ratios of 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, the allottments would be as follows:—
Then the bill reverses the constitutional precept, because, by it, representatives are not apportioned among the several States, according to their respective numbers.
It will be said that, though, for taxes, there may always be found a divisor which will apportion them among the States according to numbers exactly, without leaving any remainder, yet, for representatives, there can be no such common ratio, or divisor which, applied to the several numbers, will divide them exactly, without a remainder or fraction. I answer, then, that taxes must be divided exactly, and representatives as nearly as the nearest, ratio will admit; and the fractions must be neglected, because the Constitution calls absolutely that there be an apportionment or common ratio, and if any fractions result from the operation, it has left them unprovided for. In fact it could not but foresee that such fractions would result, and it meant to submit to them. It knew they would be in favor of one part of the Union at one time, and of another at another, so as, in the end, to balance occasional irregularities. But instead of such a single common ratio, or uniform divisor, as prescribed by the Constitution, the bill has applied two ratios, at least, to the different States, to wit, that of 30.026 to the seven following: Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia; and that of 27,770 to the eight others, namely: Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, North Carolina, and South Carolina, as follows:—
And if two ratios be applied, then fifteen may, and the distribution become arbitrary, instead of being apportioned to numbers. Another member of the clause of the Constitution which has been cited, says “the number of representatives shall not exceed one for every 30,000, but each State shall have at least one representative.” This last phrase proves that it had no contemplation that all fractions, or numbers below the common ratio were to be unrepresented; and it provides especially that in the case of a State whose whole number shall be below the common ratio, one representative shall be given to it. This is the single instance where it allows representation to any smaller number than the common ratio, and by providing especially for it in this, shews it was understood that, without special provision, the smaller number would in this case, be involved in the general principle. The first phrase of the above citations, that “the number of representatives shall not exceed one for every 30,000, is violated by this bill which has given to eight States a number exceeding one for every 30,000, to wit, one for every 27,770.
In answer to this, it is said that this phrase may mean either the 30,000 in each State, or the 30,000 in the whole Union, and that in the latter case it serves only to find the amount of the whole representation; which, in the present state of population, is 120 members. Suppose the phrase might bear both meanings, which will common sense apply to it? Which did the universal understanding of our country apply to it? Which did the Senate and Representatives apply to it during the pendency of the first bill, and even till an advanced stage of this second bill, when an ingenious gentleman found out the doctrine of fractions, a doctrine so difficult and inobvious, as to be rejected at first sight by the very persons who afterwards became its most zealous advocates?
The phrase stands in the midst of a number of others, every one of which relates to States in their separate capacity. Will not plain common sense then, understand it, like the rest of its context, to relate to States in their separate capacities?
But if the phrase of one for 30,000 is only meant to give the aggregate of representatives, and not at all to influence their apportionment among the States, then the 120 being once found, in order to apportion them, we must recur to the former rule which does it according to the numbers of the respective States; and we must take the nearest common divisor, as the ratio of distribution, that is to say, that divisor which, applied to every State, gives to them such numbers as, added together, come nearest to 120. This nearest common ratio will be found to be 28,058, and will distribute 119 of the 120 members, leaving only a single residuary one. It will be found too to place 96,648 fractional numbers in the eight northernmost States, and 105,582 in the seven southernmost. The following table shows it:
Whatever may have been the intention, the effect of neglecting the nearest divisor, (which leaves but one residuary member,) and adopting a distant one (which leaves eight), is merely to take a member from New York and Pennsylvania, each, and give them to Vermont and New Hampshire. But it will be said, this is giving more than one for 30,000. True, but has it not been just said that the one for 30,000 is prescribed only to fix the aggregate number, and that we are not to mind it when we come to apportion them among the States? That for this we must recur to the former rule which distributes them according to the numbers in each State? Besides does not the bill itself apportion among seven of the States by the ratio of 27,770? which is much more than one for 30,000.
Where a phrase is susceptible of two meanings, we ought certainly to adopt that which will bring upon us the fewest inconveniences. Let us weigh those resulting from both constructions.
From that giving to each State a member for every 30,000 in that State results the single inconvenience that there may be large portions unrepresented, but it being a mere hazard on which State this will fall, hazard will equalize it in the long run. From the others result exactly the same inconvenience. A thousand cases may be imagined to prove it. Take one. Suppose eight of the States had 45,000 inhabitants each, and the other seven 44,999 each, that is to say each one less than each of the others. The aggregate would be 674,993, and the number of representatives at one for 30,000 of the aggregate, would be 22. Then, after giving one member to each State, distribute the seven residuary members among the seven highest fractions, and though the difference of population be only an unit, the representation would be the double.
Here a single inhabitant the more would count as 30,000. Nor is the case imaginable, only it will resemble the real one whenever the fractions happen to be pretty equal through the whole States. The numbers of our census happen by accident to give the fractions all very small, or very great, so as to produce the strongest case of inequality that could possibly have occurred, and which may never occur again. The probability is that the fractions will generally descend gradually from 29,999 to 1. The inconvenience then of large unrepresented fractions attends both constructions; and while the most obvious construction is liable to no other, that of the bill incurs many and grievous ones.
1. If you permit the large fraction in one State to choose a representative for one of the small fractions in another State, you take from the latter its election, which constitutes real representation, and substitute a virtual representation of the disfranchised fractions, and the tendency of the doctrine of virtual representation has been too well discussed and appreciated by reasoning and resistance on a former great occasion to need development now.
2. The bill does not say that it has given the residuary representatives to the greatest fraction; though in fact it has done so. It seems to have avoided establishing that into a rule, lest it might not suit on another occasion. Perhaps it may be found the next time more convenient to distribute them among the smaller States; at another time among the larger States; at other times according to any other crotchet which ingenuity may invent, and the combinations of the day give strength to carry; or they may do it arbitrarily by open bargains and cabal. In short this construction introduces into Congress a scramble, or a vendue for the surplus members. It generates waste of time, hot blood, and may at some time, when the passions are high, extend a disagreement between the two Houses, to the perpetual loss of the thing, as happens now in the Pennsylvania assembly; whereas the other construction reduces the apportionment always to an arithmetical operation, about which no two men can ever possibly differ.
3. It leaves in full force the violation of the precept which declares that representatives shall be apportioned among the States according to their numbers, i. e., by some common ratio.
Viewing this bill either as a violation of the constitution, or as giving an inconvenient exposition of its words, is it a case wherein the President ought to interpose his negative? I think it is.
1. The non-user of his negative begins already to excite a belief that no President will ever venture to use it; and has, consequently, begotten a desire to raise up barriers in the State legislatures against Congress, throwing off the control of the constitution.
2. It can never be used more pleasingly to the public, than in the protection of the constitution.
3. No invasions of the constitution are fundamentally so dangerous as the tricks played on their own numbers, apportionment, and other circumstances respecting themselves, and affecting their legal qualifications to legislate for the union.
4. The majorities by which this bill has been passed (to wit: of one in the Senate and two in the Representatives) show how divided the opinions were there.
5. The whole of both houses admit the constitution will bear the other exposition, whereas the minorities in both deny it will bear that of the bill.
6. The application of any one ratio is intelligible to the people, and will, therefore be approved, whereas the complex operations of this bill may never be comprehended by them, and though they may acquiesce, they cannot approve what they do not understand.
DRAFT OF PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE VETOING APPORTIONMENT BILL
April 5, 1792.
Gentlemen of the H. of Representatives,
—I have maturely considered the bill passed by the two houses for and I return it to your house, wherein it originated, with the following objections. 1. The Constitution has prescribed that Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective members: and there is no one proportion or division which, applied to the respective numbers of the states will yield the number and allotment of representatives proposed by the bill. 2. The Constitution has also provided that the number of representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, which restriction is by the contract, & by fair and obvious construction, to be applied to the separate & respective numbers of the states: and the bill has allotted to eight of the states more than one for thirty thousand.
TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO PORTUGAL
Philadelphia, Apr. 9. 1792.
—My last to you were of the 29th. of Nov. & 13th. of Dec. I have now to acknowledge the receipt of your Nos. 34 to 44—inclusive. The river here & at New York having remained longer blocked with ice than has been usual, has occasioned a longer interval than usual between my letters. I am particularly to acknolege that Mr. Barclay’s receipt of draughts from you on our bankers in Holland for 32,175 florins has come safely to my hands & is deposited in my office where it will be found wrapped in the letter in which it came. You have been before informed of the failure of our arms against the Indians the last year. Genl. St. Clair has now resigned that command. We are raising our Western force to 5000 men.—The stock-jobbing speculations have occupied some of our countrymen to such a degree as to give sincere uneasiness to those who would rather see their capitals employed in commerce, manufactures, buildings, & agriculture. The failure of Mr. Duer, the chief of that description of people, has already produced some other bankruptcies & more are apprehended. He had obtained money from great numbers of small tradesmen & farmers, tempting them by usurious interest, which has made the distress very extensive. Congress will adjourn within a fortnight. The President negatived their representation bill, as framed on principles contrary to the constitution. I suppose another will be passed allowing simply a representative for every thirty or thirty-three thousand in each state. The troubles in the French island continue extreme. We have as yet heard of the arrival but of a few troops. There begins to be a reason to apprehend the negroes will perhaps never be entirely reduced.—A commission is issued to Mr. Carmichael & Mr. Short to treat with the court of Madrid on the subjects heretofore in negociation between us. I suppose Mr. Short will be in Madrid by the last of May. We expect Majr. Pinkney here hourly on his way to London as our Minister Plenipotentiary to that court. For a state of our transactions in general, I refer you to the newspapers which accompany this. I put under your cover letters & newspapers for Mr. Carmichael & Mr. Barclay, which I pray you to contrive by some sure conveyances. We must make you for some time the common center of our correspondence.
QUESTIONS TO SENATE COMMITTEE1
[April 10, 1792.]
If the President should enter into a Provisional convention with the government of Algiers for a sum not exceeding 40.000 dollars, will the Senate advise & consent to it’s ratification, the government of Algiers being made clearly to understand that we are not to be bound by the treaty until it shall be ratified?
If this sum appears too high, what lower limit would the Senate approve?
If the President should enter into a Provisional treaty of peace with the government of Algiers at an expence not exceeding dollars to be paid on the ratification, & dollars payable annually afterwards, during it’s continuance, will the Senate advise and consent to the ratification, the government of Algiers being made clearly to understand that we are not to be bound by the treaty until it shall be ratified?
If these sums appears too high, what lower limits would the Senate approve.
TO JAMES MONROE
Philadelphia, April 11. 1792.
My Dear Sir,
—I think I told you at the time I spoke to you on the nomination that the President had desired me to enquire if there could be any opposition to Wayne.1 I told him that you were of opinion there would be none, that you had not thought of making any yourself, for that tho’ you did not like the appointment, yet you knew the difficulty of finding one which would be without objections. I take for granted this weighed with the President, because he had said he would not appoint one in whom he could foresee any material opposition. The only persons in the nomination, who were then mentioned, were Wayne, Morgan & Wilkenson; consequently my information could not have been understood as going to any others. Yours affectionately.
TO THE BRITISH MINISTER
Philadelphia, April 12th. 1792.
—I am this moment favored with the letter you did me the honor of writing yesterday, covering the extract of a British Statute forbidding the admission of foreign Vessels into any Ports of the British Dominions with goods or commodities of the growth, production or manufacture of America. The effect of this appears to me so extensive as to induce a doubt whether I understand rightly the determination to inforce it, which you justify, and to oblige me to ask of you whether we are to consider it as so far a revocation of the Proclamation of your Government regulating the commerce between the two Countries, and that hence forth no articles of the growth, production, or manufacture of the United States are to be received in the Ports of Great Britain or Ireland in vessels belonging to the Citizens of the United States?
TO NICHOLAS LEWIS
Philadelphia, Apr 12, 1792.
—Unremitting business must be my apology, as it is really the true one, for my having been longer without writing to you than my affections dictated. I am never a day without wishing myself with you, and more and more as the fine sunshine comes on, which seems made for all the world but me. Congress will rise about the 21st. They have passed the Representation bill at one for 35.000. which gives to Virginia 19. members. They have voted an army of 5.000. men, & the President has given the command to Wayne, with 4. brigadiers, to wit Morgan, Brooks, Willet & Wilkinson. Congress is now engaged on the ways & means of raising money to pay this army. A further assumption of State debts has been proposed by the Secretary of the Treasury, which has been rejected by a small majority: but the chickens of the treasury have so many contrivances & are so indefatigable within doors & without, that we all fear they will get it in some way or other. As the doctrine is that a public debt is a public blessing, so they think a perpetual one is a perpetual blessing, & therefore wish to make it so large that we can never pay it off.
I must ask the favor of you to send the bonds taken at my sale, to Mr. Eppes, who will deliver them to Hanson, and take a proper receipt, so as to clear me of the paiments of July next & July twelve month. I imagine Mr Randolph may be going to Richmond soon, in which case he can take charge of them so far, and find means of sending them over to Mr. Eppes. Should he not be going soon, then I must ask you to send them by such other safe means as can be procured. In every case I shall be obliged to you to keep a copy of one of the bonds, & a list of the whole, naming the sums, times of paiment, purchaser, security & the negroes for which each bond was given. I have written to Mr. Randolph on the subject of contriving the bonds to Mr. Eppes.—I am not certain whether I gave you power to dispose of Mary according to her desire to Colo. Ball with such of her younger children as she chose. If I did not, I now do it, and will thank you to settle the price as you think best. The 1st. day of July in every year being near my days of payment his might be fixed to that day of the present year & the next, just as you can agree. The bonds to be sent in like manner to Hanson. Be pleased to present my affectionate respects to Mrs. Lewis, and to accept yourself assurances of the sincere esteem with which I am Dear Sir Your friend & sert.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Philadelphia Apr 13 1792.
—I have the honor to lay before you a communication from Mr. Hammond Minister Plenipotentiary of his Britannic Majesty, covering a clause of a statute of that country relative to it’s commerce with this, and notifying a determination to carry it into execution henceforward. Conceiving that the determination announced could not be really meant as extensively as the words import, I asked and received an explanation from the Minister, as expressed in the letter & answer herein inclosed: and, on consideration of all circumstances, I cannot but confide in the opinion expressed by him, that it’s sole object is to exclude foreign vessels from the islands of Jersey & Guernsey. The want of proportion between the motives expressed & the measure, it’s magnitude & consequences, total silence as to the Proclamation on which the intercourse between the two countries has hitherto hung, & of which, in this broad sense, it would be a revocation, & the recent manifestations of the disposition of that government to concur with this in mutual offices of friendship & good will, support his construction. The Minister moreover assured me verbally that he would immediately write to his court for an explanation & in the meantime is of opinion that the usual intercourse of commerce between the two countries (Jersey & Guernsey excepted) need not be suspended.
TO FRANCIS EPPES
Philadelphia April 14, 1792.
—I duly received your favor of the 11th. with the pamphlet it inclosed, for which be pleased to accept my thanks. On accepting the office I am in, I knew I was to set myself up as a butt of reproach not only for my own errors, but for the errors of those who would undertake to judge me—it was the objection which longest delayed my acquiescence in the President’s appointment. I have therefore to console myself that obloquy has begun upon me so late as to spare me a longer interval of satisfaction than expected: & that however ardently my retirement to my own home & my own affairs, may be wished for by others as the author sais there is no one of them who feels the wish once where I do a thousand times. The pamphlet was written & printed here. It’s author has given so many points where by to try him, that he cannot be mistaken by one who will attend to all his opinions & who knows the characters here.
I learn with real concern the calamities which are fallen on New York & which must fall on this place also. No man of reflection who had ever attended to the south sea bubble, in England, or that of Law in France, and who applied the lessons of the past to the present time, could fail to foresee the issue tho’ he might not calculate the moment at which it would happen. The evidences of the public debt are solid & sacred. I presume there is not a man in the U. S. who would not part with his last shilling to pay them. But all that stuff called scrip, of whatever description, was folly or roguery and under a resemblance to genuine public paper, it buoyed itself up to a par with that—it has given a severe lesson: yet such is the public gullability in the hands of cunning & unprincipled men, that it is doomed by nature to receive these lessons once in an age at least. Happy if they now come about & get back into the tract of plain unsophisticated common sense which they ought never to have been decoyed from. It was reported here last night that there had been a collection of people round the place of Duer’s confinement of so threatening an appearance as to call out the Governor & Militia, & to be fired on by them: and that several of them were killed. I hope it is not true. Nothing was wanting to fill up the criminality of this paper system, but to shed the blood of those whom it had cheated of their substance.
TO THOMAS MANN RANDOLPH
Philadelphia, April 19th. 1792.
—Yours of Mar. 27. & Martha’s of Mar. 28. come to hand on the 14th. with one of April. 2. to Maria. I am sorry to hear my sugar maples have failed. I shall be able however to get here any number I may desire, as two nurserymen have promised to make provision for me. It is too hopeful an object to be abandoned.
Your account of Clarkson’s conduct gives me great pleasure. My first wish is that the labourers may be well treated, the second that they may enable me to have that treatment continued by making as much as will admit it. The man who can effect both objects is rarely to be found. I wish you would take occasion to express to him the satisfaction I receive from this communication. If it would not be too much trouble for you to inform me how much wheat, rye & corn constitutes the growing crop in Albemarle, I shall be obliged to you. I am glad to hear that Clark was about getting his tobacco down. At length our paper bubble is burst. The failure of Duer, in New York, soon brought on others, & these still more, like nine pins knocking one another down, till at that place the bankruptcy is become general, every man concerned in paper being broke, and most of the tradesmen & farmers, who had been laying down money, having been tempted by these speculators to lend it to them at an interest of from 3. to 6. pr cent a month, have lost the whole. It is computed there is a dead loss at New York of about 5 millions of dollars, which is reckoned the value of all the buildings of the city: so that if the whole town had been burnt to the ground it would have been just the measure of the present calamity, supposing goods to have been saved. In Boston the dead loss is about a million of dollars. The crisis here was the day before yesterday, which was a great day for payments. The effect will not be public in two or three days more. It is conjectured that their loss will be about equal to that of Boston. In the mean time, buildings & other improvements are suspended. Workmen turned adrift. Country produce not to be sold at any price: because even substantial merchants, who never medelled with paper, cannot tell how many of their debtors have medelled & may fail: consequently they are afraid to make any new money arrangements till they shall know how they stand. As much of the demand from Virginia, & especially for wheat, & indeed tobacco, is from this place, I imagine the stagnation of purchases, & trouble of prices will reach you immediately. Notwithstanding the magnitude of this calamity, every newspaper almost is silent on it, Freneau’s excepted, in whom you will see it mentioned. Give my love to my dear Martha, & accept assurances of sincere esteem from, Dear Sir, yours affectionately.
TO WILLIAM SHORT
Philadelphia, Apr. 24. 1792.
—In my private letter of Mar. 18. I gave you notice that I should lodge subsequent ones perhaps at Bordeaux, after which I know no prospect of writing to you again till you leave Spain with any hope of your getting the letter. I mentioned to you the failure of some of the primary speculators, in New York. The crash has been tremendous & far beyond our expectation at that time. The dead loss at New York has been equal to the value of all the buildings of the city, say between 4. & 5. millions of dollars. Boston has lost about a million. This place something less. Paper of the debt of the U. S. is scarcely at par. Bank stock is at 25. per cent—it was once upwards of 300. per cent.—What a loss you would have suffered if we had laid out your paper for bank-stock. The losses on this occasion would support a war such as we now have on hand, five or six years. Thus you will see that the calamity has been greater in proportion than that of the south sea in England, or Law in France. Tho’ it would have been improper for me to have given at any time, an opinion on the subject of stocks to Mr. Brown or any man dealing in them, yet I have been unable to refrain from interposing for you on the present occasion. I found that your stock stood so as not to charge Donald and Co. I know Brown to be a good man, but to have dealt in paper. I did not know how far he was engaged; I knew that good men might sometimes avail themselves of the property of others in their power, to help themselves out of a present difficulty in an honest but delusive confidence that they will be able to repay, that the best men & those whose transactions stand all in an advantageous form, may fail by the failure of others. Under the impulse therefore of the general panic, I ventured to enter a caveat in the treasury office against permitting the transfer of any stock standing in your name or in any other for your use. This was on the 19th of April. I knew your stock had not been transferred before Mar. 31. and that from that time to this Mr. Brown had not been in Virginia, so as to give me a reasonable confidence that it had not been transferred between the 1st. & 19th. inst. If so it is safe. But it would be still safer invested in Ned Carter’s lands at 5. dollars the acre, at which price I believe they could be bought. If you think so, & will send some authority, I am going to Virginia in July or August & will execute the commission for you. * * *
The letter of Sep. 1. covered a bill of exchange of John Vaughan on Le Coulteaux for 1000.— and another for £40. s - - to be negotiated & remitted to Mr. Fenwick at Bordeaux to buy me a stock of wines & I inclosed a letter for him as to the disposal of the money. In my letter of Nov. 25. I desired you to engage and send forward 30 dozen bottles of M. Dorsai’s best still champagne for the President. Having no acknolgement of these letters I begin to fear they have miscarried. If they have come to hand since Dec. 30, I hope you will have executed the commissions before your departure for Spain. We expect Mr. Pinkney here everyday on his way to England, where he will probably be by the beginning of July. Congress will rise in about ten days. Adieu my dear Sir.
P. S.—Not knowing how long you may remain in Spain, nor when I can get another letter to you, I am to desire that your public letters of the ensuing fall & winter may not be addressed to me by name, but to the Secretary of State for the U. S. at Philadelphia.
TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO FRANCE
Philadelphia Apr. 28. 1792.
—My last letter to you was of the 10th of March. The preceding one of Jan. 23 had conveyed to you your appointment as Minister Plenipotentiary to the court of France. The present will, I hope, find you there. I now inclose you the correspondence between the Secretary of the treasury & Minister of France on the subject of the monies furnished to the distresses of their colonies. You will perceive that the Minister chose to leave the adjustment of the terms to be settled at Paris between yourself and the king’s ministers. This you will therefore be pleased to do on this principle that we wish to avoid any loss by the mode of payment, but would not chuse to make a gain which should throw loss on them. But the letters of the Secretary of the treasury will sufficiently explain the desire of the government, & be a sufficient guide to you.—I now inclose you the act passed by Congress for facilitating the execution of the Consular Convention with France. In a bill which has passed the H. of Representatives for raising monies for the support of the Indian war, while the duties on every other species of wine are raised from one to three fourths more than they were, the best wines of France will pay little more than the worst of any other country, to wit between 6. & 7 cents a bottle and where this exceeds 40 per cent on their cost, they will pay but the 40 per cent. I consider this latter provision as likely to introduce in abundance the cheaper wines of France, and the more so as the tax on ardent spirits is considerably raised. I hope that these manifestations of friendly dispositions towards that country, will induce them to repeal the very obnoxious laws respecting our commerce, which were passed by the preceding National assembly. The present session of Congress will pass over without any other notice of them than the friendly preferences before mentioned. But if these should not produce a retaliation of good on their part, a retaliation of evil must follow on ours. It will be impossible to defer longer than the next session of Congress, some counter-regulations for the protection of our navigation & commerce. I must entreat you therefore to avail yourself of every occasion of friendly remonstrance on this subject. If they wish an equal & cordial treaty with us, we are ready to enter into it. We would wish that this could be the scene of negotiation, from considerations suggested by the nature of our government which will readily occur to you. Congress will rise on this day sennight.—I inclose you a letter from Mrs. Greene who asks your aid in getting her son forwarded by the Diligence to London on his way to America. The letter will explain to you the mode & the means, and the parentage and genius of the young gentleman will ensure your aid to him. As this goes by the French packet, I send no newspapers, laws or other articles of that kind, the postage of which would be high.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Philadelphia May 16, 1792.
—The day after your departure I received from a Mr. Green, a merchant now at N. York, through a third person, the following communication “that he had had very late advices from Spain, by way of the Spanish islands, to this effect, that war with France was inevitable, that troops were marching from all quarters of the kingdom to the frontiers, & that 50. sail of the line had been commissioned.” This was permitted to be mentioned to me, but, for particular reasons, to no other person. I suppose the particular reasons were some mercantile speculation founded on the intelligence: perhaps it may be to buy up all our flour. We have London news from the 1st of April, and nothing of this is mentioned. I have a letter from Colo. Humphreys of March 18. which says nothing of it. I am in hopes therefore the only effect will be to get us a good price for our flour or fish: this being our look out, while the success of the speculation is that of the adventurer.—You will recollect that we had learned the death of the emperor of Morocco after a battle in which he was victorious. The brother opposed to him it seems was killed in the same action, and the one Muley Islema, who had been so long in the sanctuary, is proclaimed Emperor. He was the best character of the three, and is likely to be peaceable. This information is from Colo. Humphreys. The Queen of Portugal is still in the same state. Wyllys does not pronounce her curable, tho’ he says there is nothing which indicates the contrary. He has removed from her all her former physicians. Mr. Madison has favored me with some corrections for my letter to Mr. H.1 It is now in the hands of the Attorney general, and shall then be submitted to Colo. Hamilton. I find that these examinations will retard the delivery of it considerably. However delay is preferable to error. Mr. Pinckney is engaged in going over such papers of my office as may put him in possession of whatever has passed between us & the court he is going to. I have 100 olive trees, and some caper plants arrived here from Marseilles, which I am sending on to Charleston, where Mr. Pinckney tells me they have already that number living of those I had before sent them. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect respect & attachment, Dear Sir, Your most obedt. & most humble servt.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Philadelphia May 23. 1792.
—I have determined to make the subject of a letter, what for some time past, has been a subject of inquietude to my mind without having found a good occasion of disburthening itself to you in conversation, during the busy scenes which occupied you here. Perhaps too you may be able, in your present situation, or on the road, to give it more time & reflection than you could do here at any moment.
When you first mentioned to me your purpose of retiring from the government, tho’ I felt all the magnitude of the event, I was in a considerable degree silent. I knew that, to such a mind as yours, persuasion was idle & impertinent: that before forming your decision, you had weighed all the reasons for & against the measure, had made up your mind on full view of them, & that there could be little hope of changing the result. Pursuing my reflections too I knew we were some day to try to walk alone; and if the essay should be made while you should be alive & looking on, we should derive confidence from that circumstance, & resource if it failed. The public mind too was calm & confident, and therefore in a favorable state for making the experiment. Had no change of circumstances intervened, I should not, with any hope of success, have now ventured to propose to you a change of purpose. But the public mind is no longer confident and serene; and that from causes in which you are in no ways personally mixed. Tho these causes have been hackneyed in the public papers in detail, it may not be amiss, in order to calculate the effect they are capable of producing, to take a view of them in the mass, giving to each the form, real or imaginary, under which they have been presented.1
It has been urged then that a public debt, greater than we can possibly pay before other causes of adding new debt to it will occur, has been artificially created, by adding together the whole amount of the debtor & creditor sides of accounts, instead of taking only their balances, which could have been paid off in a short time: That this accumulation of debt has taken for ever out of our power those easy sources of revenue, which, applied to the ordinary necessities and exigencies of government, would have answered them habitually, and covered us from habitual murmurings against taxes & tax-gatherers, reserving extraordinary calls, for those extraordinary occasions which would animate the people to meet them: That though the calls for money have been no greater than we must generally expect, for the same or equivalent exigencies, yet we are already obliged to strain the impost till it produces clamour, and will produce evasion, & war on our own citizens to collect it: and even to resort to an Excise law, of odious character with the people, partial in it’s operation, unproductive unless enforced by arbitrary & vexatious means, and committing the authority of the government in parts where resistance is most probable, & coercion least practicable. They cite propositions in Congress and suspect other projects on foot still to increase the mass of debt. They say that by borrowing at ⅔ of the interest, we might have paid off the principal in ⅔ of the time: but that from this we are precluded by it’s being made irredeemable but in small portions & long terms: That this irredeemable quality was given it for the avowed purpose of inviting it’s transfer to foreign countries. They predict that this transfer of the principal, when compleated, will occasion an exportation of 3. millions of dollars annually for the interest, a drain of coin, of which as there has been no example, no calculation can be made of it’s consequences: That the banishment of our coin will be compleated by the creation of 10. millions of paper money, in the form of bank bills, now issuing into circulation. They think the 10. or 12. percent annual profit paid to the lenders of this paper medium taken out of the pockets of the people, who would have had without interest the coin it is banishing: That all the capital employed in paper speculation is barren & useless, producing, like that on a gaming table, no accession to itself, and is withdrawn from commerce & agriculture where it would have produced addition to the common mass: That it nourishes in our citizens habits of vice and idleness instead of industry & morality: That it has furnished effectual means of corrupting such a portion of the legislature, as turns the balance between the honest voters which ever way it is directed: That this corrupt squadron, deciding the voice of the legislature, have manifested their dispositions to get rid of the limitations imposed by the constitution on the general legislature, limitations, on the faith of which, the states acceded to that instrument: That the ultimate object of all this is to prepare the way for a change, from the present republican form of government, to that of a monarchy, of which the English constitution is to be the model. That this was contemplated in the Convention is no secret, because it’s partisans have made none of it. To effect it then was impracticable, but they are still eager after their object, and are predisposing every thing for it’s ultimate attainment. So many of them have got into the legislature, that, aided by the corrupt squadron of paper dealers, who are at their devotion, they make a majority in both houses. The republican party, who wish to preserve the government in it’s present form, are fewer in number. They are fewer even when joined by the two, three, or half dozen anti-federalists, who, tho they dare not avow it, are still opposed to any general government: but being less so to a republican than a monarchical one, they naturally join those whom they think pursuing the lesser evil.
Of all the mischiefs objected to the system of measures before mentioned, none is so afflicting, and fatal to every honest hope, as the corruption of the legislature. As it was the earliest of these measures, it became the instrument for producing the rest, & will be the instrument for producing in future a king, lords & commons, or whatever else those who direct it may chuse. Withdrawn such a distance from the eye of their constituents, and these so dispersed as to be inaccessible to public information, & particularly to that of the conduct of their own representatives, they will form the most corrupt government on earth, if the means of their corruption be not prevented. The only hope of safety hangs now on the numerous representation which is to come forward the ensuing year. Some of the new members will probably be either in principle or interest, with the present majority, but it is expected that the great mass will form an accession to the republican party. They will not be able to undo all which the two preceding legislatures, & especially the first, have done. Public faith & right will oppose this. But some parts of the system may be rightfully reformed; a liberation from the rest unremittingly pursued as fast as right will permit, & the door shut in future against similar commitments of the nation. Should the next legislature take this course, it will draw upon them the whole monarchical & paper interest. But the latter I think will not go all lengths with the former, because creditors will never, of their own accord, fly off entirely from their debtors. Therefore this is the alternative least likely to produce convulsion. But should the majority of the new members be still in the same principles with the present, & shew that we have nothing to expect but a continuance of the same practices, it is not easy to conjecture what would be the result, nor what means would be resorted to for correction of the evil. True wisdom would direct that they should be temperate & peaceable, but the division of sentiment & interest happens unfortunately to be so geographical, that no mortal can say that what is most wise & temperate would prevail against what is most easy & obvious? I can scarcely contemplate a more incalculable evil than the breaking of the union into two or more parts. Yet when we review the mass which opposed the original coalescence, when we consider that it lay chiefly in the Southern quarter, that the legislature have availed themselves of no occasion of allaying it, but on the contrary whenever Northern & Southern prejudices have come into conflict, the latter have been sacrificed & the former soothed; that the owners of the debt are in the Southern & the holders of it in the Northern division; that the Anti-federal champions are now strengthened in argument by the fulfilment of their predictions; that this has been brought about by the Monarchical federalists themselves, who, having been for the new government merely as a stepping stone to monarchy, have themselves adopted the very constructions of the constitution, of which, when advocating it’s acceptance before the tribunal of the people, they declared it insusceptible; that the republican federalists, who espoused the same government for it’s intrinsic merits, are disarmed of their weapons, that which they denied as prophecy being now become true history: who can be sure that these things may not proselyte the small number which was wanting to place the majority on the other side? And this is the event at which I tremble, & to prevent which I consider your continuance at the head of affairs as of the last importance. The confidence of the whole union is centred in you. Your being at the helm, will be more than an answer to every argument which can be used to alarm & lead the people in any quarter into violence or secession. North & South will hang together, if they have you to hang on; and, if the first correction of a numerous representation should fail in it’s effect, your presence will give time for trying others not inconsistent with the union & peace of the states.
I am perfectly aware of the oppression under which your present office lays your mind, & of the ardor with which you pant for retirement to domestic life. But there is sometimes an eminence of character on which society have such peculiar claims as to controul the predelection of the individual for a particular walk of happiness, & restrain him to that alone arising from the present & future benedictions of mankind. This seems to be your condition, & the law imposed on you by providence in forming your character, & fashioning the events on which it was to operate; and it is to motives like these, & not to personal anxieties of mine or others who have no right to call on you for sacrifices, that I appeal from your former determination & urge a revisal of it, on the ground of change in the aspect of things. Should an honest majority result from the new & enlarged representation; should those acquiesce whose principles or interest they may controul, your wishes for retirement would be gratified with less danger, as soon as that shall be manifest, without awaiting the completion of the second period of four years. One or two sessions will determine the crisis; and I cannot but hope that you can resolve to add one or two more to the many years you have already sacrificed to the good of mankind.
[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.
[2 ]Endorsed “not sent.” There is a first or rough draft of this paper, also, which is somewhat fuller and quotes from the Constitution. The message was probably prepared in consequence of the Senate resolution of Dec. 30, 1791: “Resolved, That the Senate do not possess evidence sufficient to convince them that it will be for the interest of the United States to appoint Ministers Plenipotentiary to reside permanently at foreign Courts.” The contest led to an interview between a Senate Committee and Jefferson (see I, 186), after which the Senate rescinded their resolution, and confirmed the appointments. This message was in consequence unnecessary. Cf. with Opinion, ante, p. 49.
[1 ]All in cipher. From the Southern Bivouac, II, 433.
[2 ]See Vol. I, 186.
[1 ]From the Southern Bivouac, II, 434.
[1 ]From S. N. Randolph’s Domestic Life of Jefferson.
[1 ]Jefferson sent this to Washington, with a note:
“Jan. 25, 1792.
“Th: Jefferson presents his respects to the President of the U. S. and subjoins what he supposes might form a proper introduction to the statement prepared by the Secretary at War. The occasion is so new, that however short the letter proposed, he has no doubt it will need correction both as to the matter & manner.”
Washington submitted the draft to Hamilton, who commented as follows:
“Mr. Hamilton presents his respects to the President & submits the following Alterations in the letter— Instead of ‘I shall be glad’ to say ‘it is my desire’ or ‘it appears advisable’ that you prepare &c. Instead of ‘when our Constituents &c.’ say ‘When the Community are called upon for considerable exertions, to relieve a part, which is suffering under the hand of an enemy, it is desirable to manifest that due pains have been taken by those entrusted with the administration of their Affairs to avoid the evil.’ It is a doubt whether our Constituents be a proper phrase to be used by the President in addressing a subordinate officer.”
[1 ]See ante, pp. 342, 356.
[2 ]This refers to Washington’s private letter to Morris of Jan. 28, 1792, printed in Ford’s Writings of Washington, XII., 96.
[1 ]Italic in cipher translation.
[1 ]The above is verbatim, as nearly as I can recollect, the diction of a note I wrote to the President this morning, & I forgot to take a copy of it before it went out of my hands. But I think there will be found scarcely a word of difference, except perhaps in the quotation, the substance of which alone can be answered for. T. J.
[1 ]This is the copy submitted to the President, the perfected paper being printed under March 18, 1792. Jefferson submitted a rough draft of this to Hamilton, for suggestion, previously to sending it to the President, some time before March 5, and Hamilton made the following notes upon it, on which Jefferson commented as indicated:
[1 ]From the original in the Virginia Historical Society.
[1 ]Cf. with “Heads of Consideration” (ante, pp. 90, 123), and with the first state of this paper on page 391.
[1 ]Mr. Short is desired to purchase this book at Amsterdam, or Paris, as he may not find it at Madrid, & when it shall have answered the purposes of this Mission, let it be sent here for the use of the Secretary of State’s office. T. J.
[1 ]Translations of passages in the Instructions of Mar 18. 1792. to Carm. & Short. ‘Flumina publica &c.’ rivers belonging to the public, that is to say to the Roman people. ‘Riparum &c.’ ‘The use of the banks belongs also to the public, by the law of nations, as the use of the river itself does, therefore every one is free to moor his vessel to the bank, to fasten his cables to the trees growing on it, to deposit the cargo of his vessel in those places: in like manner as every one is free to navigate the river itself.’ ‘Litorum &c.’ ‘The use of the shores also belongs to the public, or is under the law of nations, as is that of the sea itself, therefore it is that those who chuse have a right to build huts there, into which they may betake themselves.’ ‘Nemo &c.’ ‘Nobody therefore is prohibited from landing on the sea-shore, walking there, or mooring their vessel there, so nevertheless that they keep out of the villas, that is, the habitations, monuments & public buildings erected there, and do them no injury.’ ‘Gentis amicissimæ.’ ‘The most favored nation.’ T. J.
[1 ]Transmitted to the President with the following note:
Mar 25, 1792
“The President of the United States has attentively considered the ‘Project of a Convention with the Spanish’ which was submitted to him by the Secretary of State, and informs the Secretary, that the same meets with his approbation. The President, however, thinks it proper to observe, that in perusing the before-mentioned Project, some doubts arose in his mind as to the expediency of two points mentioned therein,—the one relative to instituting a civil, instead of a criminal process against forgers, who generally, if not always, are possessed of little property; the other respecting the unlimited time in which a person may be liable to an action.
By expressing these queries, the President would not be understood as objecting to the points touched upon; he only wishes to draw the Secretary’s further attention to them; and if he upon reconsideration think it right for them to stand upon the present footing, the President acquiesces therein.”
[1 ]This is the completed project of the foregoing paper, and was sent to the U. S. Commissioners to Spain with the following letter:
Philadelphia April 24. 1792.
—My letter of Mar. 18, conveyed to you full powers for treating with Spain on the subjects therein expressed. Since that our attention has been drawn to the case of fugitive debtors & criminals whereon it is always well that coterminous states should understand one another as far as their ideas on the rightful powers of government can be made to go together. Where they separate the cases may be left unprovided for. The inclosed paper, approved by the President, will explain to you how far we can go in an agreement with Spain for her territories bordering on us; and the plan of a convention is there stated. You are desired to propose the matter to that court, and establish with them so much of it as they approve, filling up the blank for the manner of the demand by us & compliance by them, in such a way as their laws & the organization of their government may require. But recollect that they bound on us between two & three thousand miles, and consequently that they should authorize a delivery by some description of officers to be found on every inhabited part of their border. We have thought it best to agree specially the manner of proceeding in our country on a demand of theirs, because the convention will in that way execute itself, without the necessity of a new law for the purpose. Your general powers being comprehensive enough to take in this subject, no new ones are issued.”
[1 ]From S. N. Randolph’s Domestic Life of Jefferson.
[1 ]Hamilton’s and Randolph’s Opinions are printed in Hamilton’s Writings of Hamilton, IV., 207; as also a summary of the three by Jefferson.
[1 ]See Vol. I, 205, 216. By a curious error this is printed in Hamilton’s Works of Hamilton as a letter to Hamilton.
[1 ]For command of army: See Vol. I, 203.
[1 ]The letter to Hammond of May 29, 1792.
[1 ]Washington embodied the objections that follow in a letter to Hamilton (Ford’s Writings of Washington, XII., 147), and Hamilton commented upon them in a paper sent to Washington Aug. 18, 1792. Hamilton’s Writings of Hamilton, IV., 248.