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1794 - TO ARCHIBALD STUART 1 - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 8 (Correspondence 1793-1798) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 8
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TO ARCHIBALD STUART1
Monticello Jan. 26. 1794.
Your favor of the 22d has been duly received, and, in consequence of it, my manager Mr. Biddle now sets out for the sheep, as the approach of yearning season leaves no time to spare as to them. I could have wished to have made one trip serve for them & the potatoes, but I am advised that the latter would be in danger of freezing on the road. I must therefore, as to them wait for milder weather. I arrived at home on the 15th. inst. When I left Philadelphia there was a great dearth of foreign news. Since my arrival here there are rumors favorable to France; but I know nothing particular. The Federal house of Representatives had given some pleasing expectations of their dispositions, by one or two leading votes. However, Mr. Madison’s propositions, set for the 13th. inst. would be a better proof of the character of the majority. I think the next week’s post may bring us some vote or votes on them which may indicate what we are to expect.—Now settled at home as a farmer I shall hope you will never pass without calling, and that you will make this your head quarters whenever you visit the neighborhood. Accept sincere assurances of my friendship & respect.
TO EDMUND RANDOLPHJ. MSS.
Monticello, Feb. 3, 1794.
I have to thank you for the transmission of the letters from Genl Gates, La Motte, & Hauterive. I perceive by the latter, that the partisans of the one or the other principle (perhaps of both) have thought my name a convenient cover for declarations of their own sentiments. What those are to which Hauterive alludes, I know not, having never seen a newspaper since I left Philadelphia (except those of Richmond) and no circumstances authorize him to expect that I should inquire into them, or answer him. I think it is Montaigne who has said, that ignorance is the softest pillow on which a man can rest his head. I am sure it is true as to everything political, and shall endeavor to estrange myself to everything of that character. I indulge myself on one political topic only, that is, in declaring to my countrymen the shameless corruption of a portion of the representatives to the 1st. & 2d. Congresses and their implicit devotion to the treasury. I think I do good in this, because it may produce exertions to reform the evil, on the success of which the form of the government is to depend. * * *
At Richmond, our market, no property of any form, would command money even before the interruption of business by the smallpox. Produce might be bartered at a low price for goods at a high one. One house alone bought wheat at all, & that on credit. I take this to be the habitual state of the markets on James river, to which shortlived exceptions have existed when some particular cash commission for purchases has been received from abroad. I know not how it is on the other rivers, & therefore say nothing as to them.
This is the first letter I have written to Philadelphia since my arrival at home, & yours the only ones I have received.
TO JAMES MADISONJ. MSS.
Monticello, Feb. 15, 1794.
We are here in a state of great quiet, having no public news to agitate us. I have never seen a Philadelphia paper since I left that place, nor learnt anything of later date except some successes of the French the account of which seemed to have come by our vessel from Havre. It was said yesterday at our court that Genet was to be recalled: however nobody could tell how the information came. We have been told that mr. Smith’s speech & your’s also on your propositions have got into Davis’s papers, but none of them have reached us. I could not have supposed, when at Philadelphia, that so little of what was passing there could be known even at Kentucky, as is the case here. Judging from this of the rest of the Union, it is evident to me that the people are not in a condition either to approve or disapprove of their government, nor consequently influence it. * * *
TO JAMES MONROEJ. MSS.
Monticello Mar. 11, 1794.
The small pox at Richmond has cut off the communication by post to or through that place. I should have thought it NA duty to have removed his office a little way out of town, that the communication might not have been interrupted, instead of that it is said the inhabitants of the country are to be prosecuted because they thought it better to refuse a passage to his postriders than take the smallpox from them. Straggling travellers who have ventured into Richmd. now and then leave a newspaper with Colo. Bell. Two days ago we got that with the debates on the postponement of mr. Madison’s propositions. I have never received a letter from Philadelphia since I left it except a line or two from E. R. There is much enquiry for the printed correspondence with Hammond, of which no copy had come to Richmond some days ago. We have heard of one at Staunton.
Our winter was mild till the middle of January, but since the 22d. of that month (when my observations begun) it has been 23. mornings out of 49. below the freezing point, and once as low as 14°. It has also been very wet. Once a snow of 6. I. which lay 5. days, and lately a snow of 4. I. which laid on the plains 4. days. There have been very few ploughing days since the middle of January, so that the farmers were never backwarder in their preparations. Wheat we are told is from 5/6 to 6/ at Richmond, but whether cash can be got for it I have not heard. At Milton it is 4/6 payable in goods only at from 50. to 100. per cent above the Philadelphia prices, which renders the wheat worth in fact half a dollar. I do not believe that 1000 bushels of wheat could be sold at Milton & Charlottesville for 1/ a bushel cash. Such is the present scarcity of cash here, & the general wretched situation of commerce in this country. We are told that the market for wheat at Richmond will cease on the departure of the French fleet. * * *
TO JAMES MADISONMAD. MSS.
Monticello, Apr. 3, 1794.
Our post having ceased to ride ever since the inoculation began in Richmond, till now, I received three days ago, & all together, your friendly favors of March the 2d. 9. 12. 14. and Colo. Monroe’s of Mar. the 3. & 16. I have been particularly gratified by the receipt of the papers containing yours & Smith’s discussion of your regulating propositions. These debates had not been seen here but in a very short & mutilated form. I am at no loss to ascribe Smith’s speech to it’s true father. Every tittle of it is Hamilton’s except the introduction. There is scarcely anything there which I have not heard from him in our various private tho’ official discussions. The very turn of the arguments is the same, and others will see as well as myself that the style is Hamilton’s. The sophistry is too fine, too ingenious, even to have been comprehended by Smith, much less devised by him. His reply shews he did not understand his first speech, as its general inferiority proves it’s legitimacy, as evidently as it does the bastardy of the original. You know we had understood that Hamilton had prepared a counter report, & that some of his humble servants in the Senate were to move a reference to him in order to produce it. But I suppose they thought it would have a better effect if fired off in the H. of Representatives. I find the Report, however, so fully justified, that the anxieties with which I left it are perfectly quieted. In this quarter, all espouse your propositions with ardor, & without a dissenting voice. The rumor of a declaration of war has given an opportunity of seeing, that the people here, tho’ attentive to the loss of value of their produce in such an event, yet find in it a gratification of some other passions, & particularly of their ancient hatred to Gr. Britain. Still, I hope it will not come to that: but that the proposition will be carried, and justice be done ourselves in a peaceable way. As to the guarantee of the French islands, whatever doubts may be entertained of the moment at which we ought to interpose, yet I have no doubt but that we ought to interpose at a proper time, and declare both to England & France that these islands are to rest with France, and that we will make a common cause with the latter for that object.—As to the naval armament, the land armament, & the Marine fortifications which are in question with you, I have no doubt they will all be carried. Not that the monocrats & paper men in Congress want war; but they want armies & debts: and tho’ we may hope that the sound part of Congress is now so augmented as to insure a majority in cases of general interest merely, yet I have always observed that in questions of expense, where members may hope either for offices or jobs for themselves or their friends, some few will be debauched, & that is sufficient to turn the decision where a majority is, at most, but small. I have never seen a Philadelphia paper since I left it, till those you enclosed me; and I feel myself so thoroughly weaned from the interest I took in the proceedings there, while there, that I have never had a wish to see one, and believe that I never shall take another newspaper of any sort. I find my mind totally absorbed in my rural occupations. * * *
TO JAMES MONROEMON. MSS.
Monticello Apr. 24. 94.
I wrote to Mr. Madison on the 3d. inst. Since that I have received his of Mar. 24. 26. 31. & Apr. 14. and yours of Mar. 26. 31 & Apr. 2. which had been accumulating in the post office of Richmond. The spirit of war has grown much stronger in this part of the country, as I can judge of myself, and in other parts along the mountains from N. E. to S. W. as I have had opportunities of learning by enquiry. Some few very quiet people, not suffering themselves to be inflamed as others are by kicks & cuffs Gt. Britain has been giving us, express a wish to remain in peace. But the mass of thinking men seem to be of opinion that we have borne as much as to invite eternal insults in future should not a very spirited conduct be now assumed. For myself, I wish for peace, if it can be preserved, salvê fide et honore. I learn by your letters & mr. Madison’s that a special mission to England is meditated, & H. the missionary. A more degrading measure could not have been proposed: and why is Pinckney to be recalled? For it is impossible he should remain there after such a testimony that he is not confided in. I suppose they think him not thorough fraud enough: I suspect too the mission, besides the object of placing the aristocracy of this country under the patronage of that government, has in view that of withdrawing H. from the disgrace & the public execrations which sooner or later must fall on the man who partly by erecting fictitious debt, partly by volunteering in the payment of the debts of others, who could have paid them so much more conveniently themselves, has alienated for ever all our ordinary & easy resources, & will oblige us hereafter to extraordinary ones for every little contingency out of the common line: and who has lately brought the P. forward with manifestations that the business of the treasury had got beyond the limits of his comprehension:—Let us turn to more pleasing themes.
TO JOHN ADAMSJ. MSS.
Monticello, Apr. 25, 1794.
I am to thank you for the book you were so good as to transmit me, as well as the letter covering it, and your felicitations on my present quiet. The difference of my present & past situation is such as to leave me nothing to regret, but that my retirement has been postponed four years too long. The principles on which I calculate the value of life, are entirely in favor of my present course. I return to farming with an ardor which I scarcely knew in my youth, and which has got the better entirely of my love of study. Instead of writing 10. or 12. letters a day, which I have been in the habit of doing as a thing of course, I put off answering my letters now, farmer-like, till a rainy day, & then find it sometimes postponed by other necessary occupations. The case of the Pays de Vaud is new to me. The claims of both parties are on grounds which, I fancy, we have taught the world to set little store by. The rights of one generation will scarcely be considered hereafter as depending on the paper transactions of another. My countrymen are groaning under the insults of Gr Britain. I hope some means will turn up of reconciling our faith & honor with peace. I confess to you I have seen enough of one war never to wish to see another. With wishes of every degree of happiness to you, both public & private, and with my best respects to mrs. Adams, I am, your affectionate & humble servant.
TO JOHN TAYLORJ. MSS.
Monticello May 1, 1794.
In my new occupation of a farmer I find a good drilling machine indispensably necessary. I remember your recommendation of one invented by one of your neighbors; & your recommendation suffices to satisfy me with it. I must therefore beg of you to desire one to be made for me, & if you will give me some idea of it’s bulk, & whether it could travel here on it’s own legs, I will decide whether to send express for it, or get it sent around by Richmond. Mention at the same time the price of it & I will have it put in your hands.—I remember I showed you, for your advice, a plan of a rotation of crops which I had contemplated to introduce into my own lands. On a more minute examination of my lands than I had before been able to take since my return from Europe, I find their degradation by ill-usage much beyond what I had expected, & at the same time much more open land than I had calculated on. One of these circumstances forces a milder course of cropping on me, & the other enables me to adopt it. I drop therefore two crops in my rotation, & instead of 5. crops in 8. years take 3. in 6. years, in the following order. 1. wheat. 2. corn & potatoes in the strongest moiety, potatoes alone or peas alone in the other moiety according to it’s strength. 3. wheat or rye. 4. clover. 5. clover. 6. folding & buckwheat dressing. In such of my fields as are too much worn for clover, I propose to try Stfoin, which I know will grow in the poorest land, bring plentiful crops, & is a great ameliorator. It is for this chiefly I want the drilling machine as well as for Lucerne. My neighbors to whom I had distributed some seed of the Succory critybus, bro’t from France by Young, & sent to the President, are much pleased with it. I am trying a patch of it this year.—This drops from the tip of Lazarus’ finger to cool your tongue. I have thought even father Abraham would approve. He refused it to Dives in the common hall, but in yours he could not do it. Pray let me have a copy of the pamphlet published on the subject of the bank. Not even the title of it has ever been seen by my neighbors. My best affections to the sound part of our representation in both houses, which I calculate to be 19/20th. Adieu. Your’s affectionately.
TO TENCH COXEJ. MSS.
Monticello, May 1, 1794.
Your several favors of Feb. 22, 27, & March 16. which had been accumulating in Richmond during the prevalence of the small pox in that place, were lately brought to me, on the permission given the post to resume his communication. I am particularly to thank you for your favor in forwarding the Bee. Your letters give a comfortable view of French affairs, and later events seem to confirm it. Over the foreign powers I am convinced they will triumph completely, & I cannot but hope that that triumph, & the consequent disgrace of the invading tyrants, is destined, in the order of events, to kindle the wrath of the people of Europe against those who have dared to embroil them in such wickedness, and to bring at length, kings, nobles, & priests to the scaffolds which they have been so long deluging with human blood. I am still warm whenever I think of these scoundrels, tho I do it as seldom as I can, preferring infinitely to contemplate the tranquil growth of my lucerne & potatoes. I have so completely withdrawn myself from these spectacles of usurpation & misrule, that I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month; & I feel myself infinitely the happier for it. We are alarmed here with the apprehensions of war; and sincerely anxious that it may be avoided; but not at the expense either of our faith or honor. It seems much the general opinion here, that the latter has been too much wounded not to require reparation, & to seek it even in war, if that be necessary. As to myself, I love peace, and I am anxious that we should give the world still another useful lesson, by showing to them other modes of punishing injuries than by war, which is as much a punishment to the punisher as to the sufferer. I love, therefore, mr. Clarke’s proposition of cutting off all communication with the nation which has conducted itself so atrociously. This, you will say, may bring on war. If it does, we will meet it like men; but it may not bring on war, & then the experiment will have been a happy one. I believe this war would be vastly more unanimously approved than any one we ever were engaged in; because the aggressions have been so wanton & bare-faced, and so unquestionably against our desire.—I am sorry mr. Cooper & Priestly did not take a more general survey of our country before they fixed themselves. I think they might have promoted their own advantage by it, and have aided the introduction of our improvement where it is more wanting. The prospect of wheat for the ensuing year is a bad one. This is all the sort of news you can expect from me. From you I shall be glad to hear all sort of news, & particularly any improvements in the arts applicable to husbandry or household manufacture.
TO GEORGE WASHINGTONJ. MSS.
Monticello, May 14, 1794.
I am honored with your favor of Apr. 24. and received, at the same time, mr. Bertrand’s agricultural Prospectus. Tho’ he mentions my having seen him at a particular place, yet I remember nothing of it, and observing that he intimates an application for lands in America, I conceive his letter meant for me as Secretary of state, & therefore I now send it to the Secretary of state. He has given only the heads of his demonstrations, so that nothing can be conjectured of their details. Ld Kaims once proposed an essence of dung, one pint of which should manure an acre. If he or mr. Bertrand could have rendered it so portable, I should have been one of those who would have been greatly obliged to them. I find on a more minute examination of my lands than the short visits heretofore made to them permitted, that a 10. years’ abandonment of them to the unprincipled ravages of overseers, has brought on a degree of degradation far beyond what I had expected. As this obliges me to adopt a milder course of cropping, so I find that they have enabled me to do it, by having opened a great deal of lands during my absence. I have therefore determined on a division of my farms into 6. fields, to be put under this rotation: 1st. year, wheat; 2d., corn, potatoes, peas; 3d., rye or wheat, according to circumstances; 4th. & 5th., clover where the fields will bring it, & buckwheat dressings where they will not; 6th, folding, and buckwheat dressings. But it will take me from 3. to. 6. years to get this plan underway. I am not yet satisfied that my acquisition of overseers from the head of Elk has been a happy one, or that much will be done this year towards rescuing my plantation from their wretched condition. Time, patience & perseverance must be the remedy; and the maxim of your letter, “slow & sure,” is not less a good one in agriculture than in politics. I sincerely wish it may extricate us from the event of a war, if this can be done saving our faith and our rights. My opinion of the British government is, that nothing will force them to do justice but the loud voice of their people, & that this can never be excited but by distressing their commerce. But I cherish tranquillity too much, to suffer political things to enter my mind at all. I do not forget that I owe you a letter for mr. Young; but I am waiting to get full information. With every wish for your health & happiness, & my most friendly respects for mrs. Washington, I have the honor to be, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.
TO JAMES MADISONJ. MSS.
Monticello, May 15. 1794.
I wrote you on the 3d. of April, and since that have received yours of Mar. 24. 26. 31. Apr. 14. & 28. and yesterday I received Colo Monroe’s of the 4th. inst, informing me of the failure of the Non-importation Bill in the Senate. This body was intended as a check on the will of the Representatives when too hasty. They are not only that, but completely so on the will of the people also; and in my opinion are heaping coals of fire, not only on their persons, but on their body, as a branch of the legislature. I have never known a measure more universally desired by the people than the passage of that bill. It is not from my own observation of the wishes of the people that I would decide what they are, but from that of the gentlemen of the bar, who move much with them, & by their intercommunications with each other, have, under their view, a greater portion of the country than any other description of men. It seems that the opinion is fairly launched into public that they should be placed under the control of a more frequent recurrence to the will of their constituents. This seems requisite to compleat the experiment, whether they do more harm or good? I wrote lately to mr. Taylor for the pamphlet on the bank. Since that I have seen the “Definition of parties,” and must pray you to bring it for me. It is one of those things which merits to be preserved.—The safe arrival of my books at Richmond, & some of them at home, has relieved me from anxiety, & will not be indifferent to you. It turns out that our fruit has not been as entirely killed as was at first apprehended; some latter blossoms have yielded a small supply of this precious refreshment. I was so improvident as never to have examined at Philadelphia whether negro cotton & oznabrigs can be had there; if you do not already possess the information, pray obtain it before you come away. Our spring has, on the whole, been seasonable; & the wheat has much recovered as it’s thinness would permit; but the crop must still be a miserable one. There would not have been seed made but for the extraordinary rains of the last month. Our highest heat as yet has been 83. this was on the 4th. inst. That Blake should not have arrived at the date of your letter surprises me; pray inquire into that fact before you leave Philadelphia. According to Colo Monroe’s letter this will find you on the point of departure. I hope we shall see you here soon after your return. Remember me affectionately to Colo & mrs. Monroe, and accept the sincere esteem of, dear Sir, your sincere friend and servant.
TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Monticello, Sep 7, 1794.
Your favor of Aug 28. finds me in bed, under a paroxysm of the Rheumatism which has now kept me for ten days in constant torment, & presents no hope of abatement. But the express & the nature of the case requiring immediate answer, I write to you under this situation. No circumstances, my dear Sir, will ever more tempt me to engage in anything public. I thought myself perfectly fixed in this determination when I left Philadelphia, but every day & hour since has added to it’s inflexibility. It is a great pleasure to me to retain the esteem & approbation of the President, and forms the only ground of any reluctance at being unable to comply with every wish of his. Pray convey these sentiments, & a thousand more to him, which my situation does not permit me to go into. But however suffering by the addition of every single word to this letter, I must add a solemn declaration that neither Mr. J.1 nor mr. — ever mentioned to me one word of any want of decorum in mr. Carmichael, nor anything stronger or more special than stated in my notes of the conversation. Excuse my brevity, my dear Sir, and accept assurances of the sincere esteem & respect with which I have the honor to be, your affectionate friend and servant.
TO WILSON CARY NICHOLASJ. MSS.
Monticello, Nov. 22, 1794.
I take the liberty of enclosing for your perusal & consideration a proposal from a mr. D’Ivernois, a Genevan, of considerable distinction for science and patriotism, & that, too, of the republican kind, tho you will see that he does not carry it so far as our friends of the National Assembly of France. While I was at Paris, I knew him as an exile from his democratic principles, the aristocracy having then the upper hand in Geneva. He is now obnoxious to the democratic party. The sum of his proposition is to translate the academy of Geneva in a body to this country. You know well that the colleges of Edinburgh & Geneva, as seminaries of science, are considered as the two eyes of Europe; While Great Britain & America give the preference to the former, all other countries give it to the latter. I am fully sensible that two powerful obstacles are in the way of this proposition. 1st. The expense: 2dly. The communication of science in foreign languages; that is to say, in French or Latin; but I have been so long absent from my own country as to be an incompetent judge either of the force of the objections, or of the dispositions of those who are to decide on them. The respectability of mr. D’Ivernois’ character, & that, too, of the proposition, require an answer from me, and that it should be given on due inquiry. He desires secrecy to a certain degree for the reasons which he explains. What I have to request of you, my dear Sir, is, that you will be so good as to consider his proposition, to consult on it’s expediency and practicability with such gentlemen of the Assembly as you think best, & take such other measures as you shall find eligible to discover what would be the sense of that body, were the proposition to be hazarded to them. If yourself & friends approve of it, and think there is hope that the Assembly would do so, your zeal for the good of our country in general, & the promotion of science, as an instrument towards that, will, of course, induce you and them to bring it forward in such a way as you shall judge best. If, on the contrary, you disapprove of it yourselves, or think it would be desperate with the Assembly, be so good as to return it to me with such information as I may hand forward to mr. D’Ivernois, to put him out of suspense. Keep the matter by all means out of the public papers, and particularly, if you please, do not couple my name with the proposition if brought forward, because it is much my wish to be in nowise implicated in public affairs. It is necessary for me to appeal to all my titles for giving you this trouble, whether founded in representation, patriotism or friendship. The last, however, as the broadest, is that on which I wish to rely, being with sentiments of very cordial esteem, dear Sir, your sincere friend and humble servant.
TO WILLIAM BRANCH GILESJ. MSS.
Monticello Dec. 17, 94.
I have made mr Bannisters’ affair the subject of a separate letter, containing a full explanation of it, because by giving in the letter it will give you no other trouble. I will only add here, what would have been too urging if expressed there that if any thing be said of early paiment, I would rather be allowed to draw on any one there for the money than have it sent here.
The attempt which has been made to restrain the liberty of our citizens meeting together, interchangeing sentiments on what subjects they please, & stating their sentiments in the public papers, has come upon us a full century earlier than I expected. To demand the censors of public measures to be given up for punishment is to renew the demand of the wolves in the fable that the sheep should give up their dogs as hostages of the peace & confidence established between them. The tide against our constitution is unquestionably strong, but it will turn. Every thing tells me so, and every day verifies the prediction. Hold on then like a good & faithful seaman till our brother-sailors can rouse from their intoxication & right the vessel.—Make friends with the trans-Alleganians. They are gone if you do not. Do not let false pride make a tea-act of your excise-law. Adieu. Yours affectionately.
TO JAMES MADISONMAD. MSS.
Monticello, Dec. 28, 1794.
I have kept mr. Jay’s letter a post or two, with an intention of considering attentively the observation it contains; but I have really now so little stomach for anything of that kind, that I have not resolution enough even to endeavor to understand the observations. I therefore return the letter, not to delay your answer to it, and beg you in answering for yourself to assure him of my respects and thankful acceptance of Chalmers’ Treaties, which I do not possess, and if you possess yourself of the scope of his reasoning, make any answer to it you please for me. If it had been on the rotation of my crops, I would have answered myself, lengthily perhaps, put certainly con gusto.
The denunciation of the democratic societies is one of the extraordinary acts of boldness of which we have seen so many from the fraction of monocrats. It is wonderful indeed, that the President should have permitted himself to be the organ of such an attack on the freedom of discussion, the freedom of writing, printing & publishing. It must be a matter of rare curiosity to get at the modifications of these rights proposed by them, and to see what line their ingenuity would draw between democratical societies, whose avowed object is the nourishment of the republican principles of our constitution, and the society of the Cincinnati, a self-created one, carving out for itself hereditary distinctions, lowering over our Constitution eternally, meeting together in all parts of the Union, periodically, with closed doors, accumulating a capital in their separate treasury, corresponding secretly & regularly, & of which society the very persons denouncing the democrats are themselves the fathers, founders, & high officers. Their sight must be perfectly dazzled by the glittering of crowns & coronets, not to see the extravagance of the proposition to suppress the friends of general freedom, while those who wish to confine that freedom to the few, are permitted to go on in their principles & practices. I here put out of sight the persons whose misbehavior has been taken advantage of to slander the friends of popular rights; and I am happy to observe, that as far as the circle of my observation & information extends, everybody has lost sight of them, and views the abstract attempt on their natural & constitutional rights in all it’s nakedness. I have never heard, or heard of, a single expression or opinion which did not condemn it as an inexcusable aggression. And with respect to the transactions against the excise law, it appears to me that you are all swept away in the torrent of governmental opinions, or that we do not know what these transactions have been. We know of none which, according to the definitions of the law, have been anything more than riotous. There was indeed a meeting to consult about a separation. But to consult on a question does not amount to a determination of that question in the affirmative, still less to the acting on such a determination; but we shall see, I suppose, what the court lawyers, & courtly judges, & would-be ambassadors will make of it. The excise law is an infernal one. The first error was to admit it by the Constitution; the 2d., to act on that admission; the 3d & last will be, to make it the instrument of dismembering the Union, & setting us all afloat to chuse which part of it we will adhere to. The information of our militia, returned from the Westward, is uniform, that tho the people there let them pass quietly, they were objects of their laughter, not of their fear; that 1000 men could have cut off their whole force in a thousand places of the Alleganey; that their detestation of the excise law is universal, and has now associated to it a detestation of the government; & that separation which perhaps was a very distant & problematical event, is now near, & certain, & determined in the mind of every man. I expected to have seen some justification of arming one part of the society against another; of declaring a civil war the moment before the meeting of that body which has the sole right of declaring war; of being so patient of the kicks & scoffs of our enemies, & rising at a feather against our friends; of adding a million to the public debt & deriding us with recommendations to pay it if we can &c., &c. But the part of the speech which was to be taken as a justification of the armament, reminded me of parson Saunder’s demonstration why minus into minus make plus. After a parcel of shreds of stuff from Æsop’s fables, and Tom Thumb, he jumps all at once into his Ergo, minus multiplied into minus make plus. Just so the 15,000 men enter after the fables, in the speech.—However, the time is coming when we shall fetch up the leeway of our vessel. The changes in your house, I see, are going on for the better, and even the Augean herd over your heads are slowly purging off their impurities. Hold on then, my dear friend, that we may not shipwreck in the meanwhile. I do not see, in the minds of those with whom I converse, a greater affliction than the fear of your retirement; but this must not be, unless to a more splendid & a more efficacious post. There I should rejoice to see you; I hope I may say, I shall rejoice to see you. I have long had much in my mind to say to you on that subject. But double delicacies have kept me silent. I ought perhaps to say, while I would not give up my own retirement for the empire of the universe, how I can justify wishing one whose happiness I have so much at heart as yours, to take the front of the battle which is fighting for my security. This would be easy enough to be done, but not at the heel of a lengthy epistle. * * *
NOTES FOR A CONSTITUTION1J. MSS.
Every male citizen of the commonwealth liable to taxes or to militia duty in any county shall have a right to vote for representatives for that county to the legislature. The legislature shall provide that returns be made to themselves periodically of the qualified voters in every county, by their name and qualification.2The legislature shall consist of notless than 150 nor more that 300 representatives, and from the whole number of qualified voters in the commonwealth such an Unit of representation shall from time to time be taken as will keep the number of representatives within the limits of 150 and 300 allowing to every county. Every county shall send a representative for every Unit & fraction exceeding of more than half an Unit as actually votes at the election so as not to exceed the number of representatives last allowed to it by the legislature it contains.
Every elector may vote for as many representatives as were allowed apportioned by the legislature to his county at the last establishment of the Unit. But to many representatives no person actually receiving fewer votes than the Unit shall be deemed elected, except that where more than half and less than the whole unit vote. But so many only shall be deemed elected as there are Units actually voting on that particular election, adding one for any fraction of votes exceeding the half Unit. Nor shall more be deemed elected than the number last apportioned. If a county has not a half unit of votes, the legislature shall incorporate its votes with those of some adjoining county.
Older electors presenting themselves shall be received to vote before younger one, & the legislature shall provide for the secure and convenient claim and exercise of this privilege of age.
The legislature shall consist of the representatives to be chosen as before provided. Their acts shall not be affected by any excess or defect of numbers taking place between two periodical settlements of the Unit.
The legislature shall form one house only for the verification of their credentials, or for what relates to their privileges. For all other business they shall be separated by lot into two chambers, which shall be called [a & w] on the first day of their session in every week; which separation shall be effected by presenting to the representatives from each county separately a number of lots equal to their own number, if it be an even one or to the next even number above, if their number be odd, one half of which lots shall be distinctively marked for the one chamber & the other half for the other, & each number shall be, for that week, of the chamber whose lot he draws. Members not present at the first drawing for the week shall draw on their first attendance after.
Each chamber shall appoint a speaker for the session & the two speakers it shall be weekly decided by lot between the two speakers, of which chamber each shall be for the ensuing week; and the chamber to which he is allotted shall have one the less in the lots presented to his colleagues for that week. Printing presses shall be free except as to false facts published maliciously either to injure the reputation of another, whether followed by pecuniary damage or not, or to expose him to the punishment of the law.
The legislature shall have power to establish by law the disqualification of representatives or other officers.
[1 ]From the original in the possession of the Virginia Historical Society.
[1 ]Probably an allusion to Jaudenes and Viar, the Commissioners from Spain.
[1 ]These rough notes are without date, but the paper is watermarked 1794.
[2 ]On the margin is written the following: