Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1795 - TO JAMES MADISON J. MSS. - The Works, vol. 8 (Correspondence 1793-1798)
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1795 - TO JAMES MADISON J. MSS. - 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 JAMES MADISONJ. MSS.
Monticello, Feb. 5, 95.
* * * We have had about 4. weeks of winter weather, rather hard for our climate—many little snows which did not lay 24. hours & one 9.I. deep which remained several days. We have had but few thawing days during the time.—It is generally feared here that your collegue F. Walker will be in great danger of losing his election. His competitor is indefatigable attending courts &c., and wherever he is, there is a general drunkenness observed, tho’ we do not know that it proceeds from his purse.—Wilson Nicholas is attacked also in his election. The ground on which the attack is made is that he is a speculator. The explanations which this has produced, prove it a serious crime in the eyes of the people. But as far as I hear he is only investing the profits of a first & only speculation.—Almost every carriage-owner has been taken in for a double tax: information through the newspapers not being actual, tho’ legal, in a country where they are little read. This circumstance has made almost every man, so taken in, a personal enemy to the tax. I escaped the penalty only by sending an express over the country to search out the officer the day before the forfeiture would have been incurred.—We presume you will return to Orange after the close of the session & hope the pleasure of seeing mrs. Madison & yourself here. I have past my winter almost alone, mr & mrs Randolph being at Varina. Present my best respects to mrs Madison, & accept them affectionately yourself.
TO M. D’IVERNOISJ. MSS.
Monticello, in Virginia, Feb. 6, 1795.
Your several favors on the affairs of Geneva found me here, in the month of December last. It is now more than a year that I have withdrawn myself from public affairs, which I never liked in my life, but was drawn into by emergencies which threatened our country with slavery, but ended in establishing it free. I have returned, with infinite appetite, to the enjoyment of my farm, my family & my books, and had determined to meddle in nothing beyond their limits. Your proposition, however, for transplanting the college of Geneva to my own country, was too analogous to all my attachments to science, & freedom, the first-born daughter of science, not to excite a lively interest in my mind, and the essays which were necessary to try it’s practicability. This depended altogether on the opinions & dispositions of our State legislature, which was then in session. I immediately communicated your papers to a member of the legislature, whose abilities & zeal pointed him out as proper for it, urging him to sound as many of the leading members of the legislature as he could, & if he found their opinions favorable, to bring forward the proposition; but if he should find it desperate, not to hazard it; because I thought it best not to commit the honor either of our State or of your college, by an useless act of eclat. It was not till within these three days that I have had an interview with him, and an account of his proceedings. He communicated the papers to a great number of the members, and discussed them maturely, but privately, with them. They were generally well-disposed to the proposition, and some of them warmly; however, there was no difference of opinion in the conclusion, that it could not be effected. The reasons which they thought would with certainty prevail against it, were 1. that our youth, not familiarized but with their mother tongue, were not prepared to receive instructions in any other; 2d. that the expence of the institution would excite uneasiness in their constituents, & endanger it’s permanence; & 3. that it’s extent was disproportioned to the narrow state of the population with us. Whatever might be urged on these several subjects, yet as the decision rested with others, there remained to us only to regret that circumstances were such, or were thought to be such, as to disappoint your & our wishes. I should have seen with peculiar satisfaction the establishment of such a mass of science in my country, and should probably have been tempted to approach myself to it, by procuring a residence in it’s neighborhood, at those seasons of the year at least when the operations of agriculture are less active and interesting. I sincerely lament the circumstances which have suggested this emigration. I had hoped that Geneva was familiarized to such a degree of liberty, that they might without difficulty or danger fill up the measure to its maximum; a term, which, though in the insulated man, bounded only by his natural powers, must, in society, be so far restricted as to protect himself against the evil passions of his associates, & consequently, them against him. I suspect that the doctrine, that small States alone are fitted to be republics, will be exploded by experience, with some other brilliant fallacies accredited by Montesquieu & other political writers. Perhaps it will be found, that to obtain a just republic (and it is to secure our just rights that we resort to government at all) it must be so extensive as that local egoisms may never reach it’s greater part; that on every particular question, a majority may be found in it’s councils free from particular interests, and giving, therefore, an uniform prevalence to the principles of justice. The smaller the societies, the more violent & more convulsive their schisms. We have chanced to live in an age which will probably be distinguished in history, for it’s experiments in government on a larger scale than has yet taken place. But we shall not live to see the result. The grosser absurdities, such as hereditary magistracies, we shall see exploded in our day, long experience having already pronounced condemnation against them. But what is to be the substitute? This our children or grand children will answer. We may be satisfied with the certain knowledge that none can ever be tried, so stupid, so unrighteous, so oppressive, so destructive of every end for which honest men enter into government, as that which their forefathers had established, & their fathers alone venture to tumble headlong from the stations they have so long abused. It is unfortunate, that the efforts of mankind to recover the freedom of which they have been so long deprived, will be accompanied with violence, with errors, & even with crimes. But while we weep over the means, we must pray for the end.—But I have been insensibly led by the general complexion of the times, from the particular case of Geneva, to those to which it bears no similitude. Of that we hope good things. Its inhabitants must be too much enlightened, too well experienced in the blessings of freedom and undisturbed industry, to tolerate long a contrary state of things. I shall be happy to hear that their government perfects itself, and leaves room for the honest, the industrious & wise; in which case, your own talents, & those of the persons for whom you have interested yourself, will, I am sure, find welcome & distinction. My good wishes will always attend you, as a consequence of the esteem & regard with which I am, Dear Sir, your most obedient & most humble servant.
TO JAMES BROWN1
Monticello Apl 18. 95.
I received a few days ago your kind favor of Mar 14. The object of my letter had been not at all a retardation of the paiment I had promised you during the present & ensuing month, but as my crop of tobo was much short of what was usual, it was merely to see how far my next best article of produce, to wit, nails, could take its place with you. I have had 9 hammers at work for you for some time past. We have of nails on hand & credits to go to your benefit about £80. and some time in the next month shall have enough for the balance. If I cannot sell them for cash here, I will send them to Richmond to be converted into cash there so as to be in time for my engagement.
TO ARCHIBALD STUART1
Monticello Apl. 18. 95
I did not receive your favor of the 7th. till the 17th. inst. consequently you had then passed on to New London. I could not learn that your brother was in the neighborhood. I inclose you a copy of an advertisement I had thought some time ago of putting in the public papers, but did not do it. You will see by that the books I have to dispose of. The last two or three lines of it are not for you, for you may take such of the books as you chuse, and what time of paiment you please. If you meet with any body who will take the whole of the residue I shall be glad of it. I have stated that at the price I offer the whole would be at about 6 Doll average a volume. But if they are separated, being of very unequal values, their respective prices can be proportioned to that sum total, by Worral’s catalogue. Hargrave’s Coke Littleton for instance cost as much as any 3 or 4 of the other volumes—When I spoke of meeting you on your way to the Bedford court, I did not know that our own district court was exactly at the same time at which I was obliged to attend. This put it out of my power to be in Bedford this month.—With respect to the gentleman whom we expected to see there, satisfy him if you please that there is no remain of disagreeable sentiment towards him on my part.2 I was once sincerely affectioned towards him and it accords with my philosophy to encourage the tranquillizing passions. Adieu.
TO JAMES MADISONMAD. MSS.
Monticello, Apr 27, 1795.
Your letter of Mar 23. came to hand the 7th of April, and notwithstanding the urgent reasons for answering a part of it immediately, yet as it mentioned that you would leave Philadelphia within a few days, I feared that the answer might pass you on the road. A letter from Philadelphia by the last post having announced to me your leaving that place the day preceding it’s date, I am in hopes this will find you in Orange. In mine, to which yours of Mar 23. was an answer, I expressed my hope of the only change of position I ever wished to see you make, and I expressed it with entire sincerity, because there is not another person in the U S. who being placed at the helm of our affairs, my mind would be so completely at rest for the fortune of our political bark. The wish too was pure, & unmixed with anything respecting myself personally. For as to myself, the subject had been thoroughly weighed & decided on, & my retirement from office had been meant from all office high or low, without exception. I can say, too, with truth, that the subject had not been presented to my mind by any vanity of my own. I know myself & my fellow citizens too well to have ever thought of it. But the idea was forced upon me by continual insinuations in the public papers; while I was in office. As all these came from a hostile quarter, I knew that their object was to poison the public mind as to my motives, when they were not able to charge me with facts. But the idea being once presented to me, my own quiet required that I should face it & examine it. I did so thoroughly, & had no difficulty to see that every reason which had determined me to retire from the office I then held, operated more strongly against that which was insinuated to be my object. I decided then on those general grounds which could alone be present to my mind at the time, that is to say, reputation, tranquillity, labor; for as to public duty, it could not be a topic of consideration in my case. If these general considerations were sufficient to ground a firm resolution never to permit myself to think of the office, or to be thought of for it, the special ones which have supervened on my retirement, still more insuperably bar the door to it. My health is entirely broken down within the last eight months; my age requires that I should place my affairs in a clear state; these are sound if taken care of, but capable of considerable dangers if longer neglected; and above all things, the delights I feel in the society of my family, and the agricultural pursuits in which I am so eagerly engaged. The little spice of ambition which I had in my younger days has long since evaporated, and I set still less store by a posthumous than present name. In stating to you the heads of reasons which have produced my determination, I do not mean an opening for future discussion, or that I may be reasoned out of it. The question is forever closed with me; my sole object is to avail myself of the first opening ever given me from a friendly quarter (and I could not with decency do it before), of preventing any division or loss of votes, which might be fatal to the Republican interest. If that has any chance of prevailing, it must be by avoiding the loss of a single vote, and by concentrating all its strength on one object. Who this should be, is a question I can more freely discuss with anybody than yourself. In this I painfully feel the loss of Monroe. Had he been here, I should have been at no loss for a channel through which to make myself understood; if I have been misunderstood by anybody through the instrumentality of mr. Fenno & his abettors.—I long to see you. I am proceeding in my agricultural plans with a slow but sure step. To get under full way will require 4. or 5. years. But patience & perseverence will accomplish it. My little essay in red clover, the last year, has had the most encouraging success. I sowed then about 40. acres. I have sowed this year about 120. which the rain now falling comes very opportunely on. From 160. to 200. acres, will be my yearly sowing. The seed-box described in the agricultural transactions of New York, reduces the expense of seeding from 6/ to 2/3 the acre, and does the business better than is possible to be done by the human hand. May we hope a visit from you? If we may, let it be after the middle of May, by which time I hope to be returned from Bedford. I had had a proposition to meet mr. Henry there this month, to confer on the subject of a convention, to the calling of which he is now become a convert. The session of our district court furnished me a just excuse for the time; but the impropriety of my entering into consultation on a measure in which I would take no part, is a permanent one.
Present my most respectful compliments to mrs. Madison, & be assured of the warm attachment of, Dear Sir, yours affectionately.
TO WILLIAM BRANCH GILESJ. MSS.
Monticello, Apr 27, 1795.
Your favor of the 16th came to hand by the last post. * * * I sincerely congratulate you on the great prosperities of our two first allies, the French & Dutch. If I could but see them now at peace with the rest of their continent, I should have little doubt of dining with Pichegru in London, next autumn; for I believe I should be tempted to leave my clover for awhile, to go and hail the dawn of liberty & republicanism in that island. I shall be rendered very happy by the visit you promise me. The only thing wanting to make me completely so, is the more frequent society with my friends. It is the more wanting, as I am become more firmly fixt to the glebe. If you visit me as a farmer it must be as a condisciple: for I am but a learner; an eager one indeed, but yet desperate, being too old now to learn a new art. However, I am as much delighted & occupied with it, as if I was the greatest adept. I shall talk with you about it from morning till night, and put you on very short allowance as to political aliment. Now and then a pious ejaculation for the French & Dutch republicans, returning with due despatch to clover, potatoes, wheat, &c. That I may not lose the pleasure promised me, let it not be till the middle of May, by which time I shall be returned from a trip I meditate to Bedford. Yours affectionately.
TO M. DE MEUSNIER1J. MSS.
Monticello, Virginia, Apr. 29, 95.
Your favor of Mar. 30. from Philadelphia came to my hands a few days ago. That which you mention to have written from London has never been received; nor had I been able to discover what has been your fortune during the troubles of France after the death of the King. Being thoroughly persuaded that under all circumstances your conduct had been entirely innocent & friendly to the freedom of your country, I had hopes that you had not been obliged to quit your own country. Being myself a warm zealot for the attainment & enjoiment by all mankind of as much liberty, as each may exercise without injury to the equal liberty of his fellow citizens, I have lamented that in France the endeavours to obtain this should have been attended with the effusion of so much blood. I was intimate with the leading characters of the year 1789. So I was with those of the Brissotine party who succeeded them: & have always been persuaded that their views were upright. Those who have followed have been less known to me: but I have been willing to hope that they also meant the establishment of a free government in their country, excepting perhaps the party which has lately been suppressed. The government of those now at the head of affairs appears to hold out many indications of good sense, moderation & virtue; & I cannot but presume from their character as well as your own that you would find a perfect safety in the bosom of your own country. I think it fortunate for the United States to have become the asylum for so many virtuous patriots of different denominations: but their circumstances, with which you were so well acquainted before, enabled them to be but a bare asylum, & to offer nothing for them but an entire freedom to use their own means & faculties as they please. There is no such thing in this country as what would be called wealth in Europe. The richest are but a little at ease, & obliged to pay the most rigorous attention to their affairs to keep them together. I do not mean to speak here of the Beaujons of America. For we have some of these tho’ happily they are but ephemeral. Our public œconomy also is such as to offer drudgery and subsistence only to those entrusted with its administration, a wise & necessary precaution against the degeneracy of the public servants. In our private pursuits it is a great advantage that every honest employment is deemed honorable. I am myself a nail-maker. On returning home after an absence of ten years, I found my farms so much deranged that I saw evidently they would be a burden to me instead of a support till I could regenerate them; & consequently that it was necessary for me to find some other resource in the meantime. I thought for awhile of taking up the manufacture of pot-ash, which requires but small advances of money. I concluded at length however to begin a manufacture of nails, which needs little or no capital, & I now employ a dozen little boys from 10. to 16. years of age, overlooking all the details of their business myself & drawing from it a profit on which I can get along till I can put my farms into a course of yielding profit. My new trade of nail-making is to me in this country what an additional title of nobility or the ensigns of a new order are in Europe. In the commercial line, the grocers business is that which requires the least capital in this country. The grocer generally obtains a credit of three months, & sells for ready money so as to be able to make his paiments & obtain a new supply. But I think I have observed that your countrymen who have been obliged to work out their own fortunes here, have succeeded best with a small farm. Labour indeed is dear here, but rents are low & on the whole a reasonable profit & comfortable subsistence results. It is at the same time the most tranquil, healthy, & independent. And since you have been pleased to ask my opinion as to the best way of employing yourself till you can draw funds from France or return there yourself, I do presume that this is the business which would yield the most happiness & contentment to one of your philosophic turn. But at the distance I am from New York, where you seem disposed to fix yourself, & little acquainted with the circumstances of that place I am much less qualified than disposed to suggest to you emploiments analogous to your turn of mind & at the same time to the circumstances of your present situation. Be assured that it will always give me lively pleasure to learn that your pursuits, whatever they may be may lead you to contentment & success, being with very sincere esteem & respect, dear sir, your most obedient servant.
TO JAMES MONROEJ. MSS.
Monticello May 26, 1795.
I have received your favor of Sep. 7th from Paris, which gave us the only news we have had from you since your arrival there. On my part it would be difficult to say why this is the first time I have written to you. Revising the case myself I am sensible it has proceeded from that sort of procrastination which so often takes place when no circumstance fixes a business to a particular time. I have never thought it possible through the whole time that I should be ten days longer without writing to you & thus more than a year has run off.
I am too much withdrawn from the scene of politics to give you anything in that line worth your notice. The servile copyist of Mr. Pitt, thought he too must have his alarms, his insurrections and plots against the Constitution. Hence the incredible fact that the freedom of association, of conversation, & of the press, should in the 5th year of our government have been attacked under the form of a denunciation of the democratic societies, a measure which even England, as boldly as she is advancing to the establishment of an absolute monarchy has not yet been bold enough to attempt. Hence too the example of employing military force for civil purposes, when it has been impossible to produce a single fact of insurrection unless that term be entirely confounded with occasional riots, & when the ordinary process of law had been resisted indeed in a few special cases but by no means generally, nor had its effect been duly tried. But it answered the favorite purposes of strengthening government and increasing public debt; & therefore an insurrection was announced & proclaimed & armed against, but could never be found. & all this under the sanction of a name which has done too much good not to be sufficient to cover harm also. & what is equally astonishing is that by the pomp of reports, proclamations, armies &c. the mind of the legislature itself was so fascinated as never to have asked where, when, & by whom this insurrection has been produced? The original of this scene in another country was calculated to excite the indignation of those whom it could not impose on: the mimicry of it here is too humiliating to excite any feeling but shame. Our comfort is that the public sense is coming right on the general principles of republicanism & that its success in France puts it out of danger here. We are still uninformed what is Mr. Jay’s treaty: but we see that the British piracies have multiplied upon us lately more than ever. They had at one time been suspended. We will quit the subject for our own business.
The valuation by Mr. Lewis & Mr. Divers which had been set on foot before your departure, took place Sep. 19, 1794. It was £173. currency & exchange being then at 40. per cent, it was equivalent to £123-11-5 sterling. On the 19th of Nov. I drew on James Maury for £37-10 sterling in favor of Wm. B. Giles, & shall now immediately draw for the balance. Mr. Madison & myself examined your different situations for a house. We did not think it admitted any sort of question but that that on the east side of the road, in the wood, was the best. There is a valley not far from it to the southwest & on the western side of the road which would be a fine situation for an orchard. Mr. Jones having purchased in Loudon we shall hardly see him here, & indeed have hardly seen him. If I can get proper orders from him I will have the ground above mentioned planted in fruit trees from my own nursery, where I have made an extra provision on your account. Indeed I wish you would determine to save 500. or 1000£ a year from your present salary, which you ought to do as a compensation for your time, & send us a plan of the house & let us be building it, drawing on you for a fixed sum annually till it be done. I would undertake to employ people in the most economical way, to superintend them & the work & have the place in a comfortable state for your reception. If you think proper to authorize me to do this I shall begin immediately on receiving your permission. I am so confident that you ought to do it & will do it that I have ventured to send a small claim or two to you as explained in the two inclosed letters to LaMotte & Froullé, with an expectation that you will give me an opportunity of replacing it here to those who shall be employed for you. Should you however not conclude to let us do anything for you here, I would wish you to suppress both these letters. While speaking of Froullé, Libraire, au quai des Augustins, I can assure you that after having run a severe gauntlet under the Paris book-sellers I rested at last on this old gentleman, whom I found in a long & intimate course of after dealings to be one of the most conscientiously honest men I ever had dealings with. I commend him to you strongly, should you purchase books. I think LaMotte at Havre a very good & friendly man, & wish your forming more than an official intimacy with him. Should you have occasion for wines from Burgundy, apply to Monsr. Parent Connelie à Beaume; who will furnish you with the genuine wines you may call for, & at honest prices. I found him indeed very faithful in a long course of employment. He can particularly send you of the best crops of Meursalt & Cotte d’or. For fine Champagne non mousseux, apply to Monsr. Dorsai, or to his homme-d’affaires Monsr. Louis if still in place at his Chateau at Aij near Epernay in Champagne. While recommending good subjects to you I must ask you to see for me the following persons, present my affectionate remembrance to them and let me hear how they have weathered the storm. These are L’Abbe Ammon, place Vendome, chez M Daville, an excellent mentor and much affectioned to the Americans. Monsr. la Vieillard of Passy whom Dr. Franklin presented to me as the honestest man in France, & a very honest & friendly one I found him. Monsr. & Madame Grand at Passy vastly good & friendly people also. Dr. Gem an old English physician in the Faubourg St. Germains, who practiced only for his friends & would take nothing, one of the most sensible & worthy men I have ever known. But I reckon he has gone to England. Many others I could name of great worth but they would be too many, & have perhaps changed their scene. If Mr. Balbatre the musical preceptor of my daughters of the Faubourg St. Honore or its neighborhood can be found, be so good as to deliver him the affectionate compliments of my family, & if he can send them anything new & good in the musical line, I will ask you to pay him for it & let it be packed with the books from Froullé. These, if they come at all, must come before the winter, as a winter pasage is inevitable ruin to books. I have bought for Mr. Short the land between yours & Blenheim 1334 acres @ 23/6 ready money. Three out of seven shares (of 50 as each) of Carter’s land over the mountain will be for sale soon. It is not known where these lands will lie as the partition is not yet made. Should anyone join you on the mountain it would be worth your purchase. Collé is lately sold for £375. to a Mr. Catlet, a farmer, whom I do not know. It is very possible it will be for sale again. Should you conclude to build a house, you must decide whether of brick or stone. The latter costs about one-half of the former, to wit about 8/ a perch of 25 cubic feet. I hope Mr. Jones will change the system of corn & wheat alternately on your land till the fields are entirely worn out, abandoned, & the new ones treated in the same manner. This is the way my lands have been ruined. Yours are yet in a saveable state. But a very little time will put some of them beyond recovery. The best plan would be to divide the open grounds into 5. fields, and tend them in this order. 1. wheat. 2. corn & potatoes. 3. rye. 4. clover. 5. clover. And then begin wheat &c. over again. By this means they would go into corn but once in five years. It would be still better to have four or five men for a twelve months to clear the whole body of your tenable lands at once, that you may at once come into the use of the whole, & allow more relief to the old, & an easier service to all of it in general, instead of wearing out one half while clearing the other by little & little as we have generally done in this neighborhood. I am going to have Short’s all cleared in this way. But of all this there can be no better judge than Mr. Jones. I have divided my farms into seven fields on this rotation. 1. wheat. 2. peas & potatoes. 3. corn & potatoes. 4. peas & potatoes till I can get the vetch from Europe. 5. rye. 6. clover. 7. clover. My lands were so worn that they required this gentle treatment to recover them. Some of yours are as far gone. There are two or three objects which you should endeavour to enrich our country with. 1. the Alpine strawberry. 2. The skylark. 3. The red legged Partridge. I despair too much of the nightingale to add that. We should associate Mrs. Monroe to you in these concerns. Present to her our most affectionate esteem, not forgetting Eliza. We are all well except Mr. Randolph, whose health is very frail indeed. It is the more discouraging as there seems to have been no founded conjecture what is the matter with him. Your brother is well, but Mrs. Monroe rather sickly. The death of Dr. Walker is the only event of that kind which has taken place in our neighborhood since you left us. Dr. Gilmer still lives. His eldest daughter is to be married to a Mr. Wirt the day after to-morrow. Frank Walker has succeeded to the whole of Dr. Walker’s estate, said to be worth £20,000. Sam Carr married to a daughter of Overton Carr in Maryland & probably will remove there. His mother (my sister) living at his place a little above Dr. Gilmer’s. My budget is out. Adieu. God Almighty bless you all.
P. S. If you can send us with Froullé’s books a supply of 20. or 30 lb. of maccaroni, they will be an agreeable addition to his bill.
TO TENCH COXEJ. MSS.
Monticello June 1, 1795.
I received a few days ago only your favor of Mar. 20. accompanied by the collection of your papers lately printed, for which I cordially thank you. It will enable me to turn with more convenience to pieces which I consult with pleasure & instruction.
I congratulate you on the successes of our two allies. Those of the Hollanders are new and therefore pleasing. It proves that there is a god in heaven, & that he will not slumber without end on the iniquities of tyrants, or their Stadtholder. This ball of liberty, I believe most piously, is now so well in motion that it will roll round the globe. At least the enlightened part of it, for light & liberty go together. It is our glory that we first put it into motion, & our happiness that being foremost we had no bad examples to follow. What a tremendous obstacle to the future attempts at liberty will be the atrocities of Robespierre! We are enjoying a most seasonable sowing after a winter which had greatly injured our small grain. Nothing can give us a great crop. I doubt if it can be made even a good one. Our first hay-cutting (clover) begins to-day. This may mark to you the difference of your seasons & ours. My clover in common upland fields which were never manured will yield 1500 lb. to the acre at this cutting, which I consider as an encouraging beginning. I take the liberty of asking your care of two letters, both of them of importance. I have not enclosed Monroe’s either to our office of foreign affairs or the Minister of France, because I thought you might possibly find a safer channel than either. It requires safety and secrecy. But adopt either of those channels if you think them the best. I am with much affection, dear sir, your friend & servant.
TO JAMES MADISONMAD. MSS.
Aug. 3, 95.
You will perceive by the inclosed that Hamilton has taken up his pen in support of the treaty (return it to me). He spoke on it’s behalf in the meeting at New York, and his party carried a decision in favor of it by a small majority. But the Livingstonians appealed to stones & clubs & beat him & his party off the ground. This from a gentleman just from Philadelphia. Adieu.
P. S. Richmond has decided against the treaty. It is said that not even Carrington undertakes to defend it.
TO MANN PAGEJ. MSS.
Monticello, Aug 30, 1795.
It was not in my power to attend at Fredericksburg according to the kind invitation in your letter, and in that of mr. Ogilvie. The heat of the weather, the business of the farm, to which I have made myself necessary, forbade it; and to give one round reason for all, mature sanus, I have laid up my Rosinante in his stall, before his unfitness for the road shall expose him faultering to the world. But why did not I answer you in time? Because, in truth, I am encouraging myself to grow lazy, and I was sure you would ascribe the delay to anything sooner than a want of affection or respect to you, for this was not among the possible causes. In truth, if anything could ever induce me to sleep another night out of my own house, it would have been your friendly invitation and my sollicitude for the subject of it, the education of our youth. I do most anxiously wish to see the highest degrees of education given to the higher degrees of genius, and to all degrees of it, so much as may enable them to read & understand what is going on in the world, and to keep their part of it going on right: for nothing can keep it right but their own vigilant & distrustful superintendence. I do not believe with the Rochefoucaults & Montaignes, that fourteen out of fifteen men are rogues: I believe a great abatement from that proportion may be made in favor of general honesty. But I have always found that rogues would be uppermost, and I do not know that the proportion is too strong for the higher orders, and for those who, rising above the swinish multitude, always contrive to nestle themselves into the places of power & profit. These rogues set out with stealing the people’s good opinion, and then steal from them the right of withdrawing it, by contriving laws and associations against the power of the people themselves. Our part of the country is in considerable fermentation, on what they suspect to be a recent roguery of this kind. They say that while all hands were below deck mending sails, splicing ropes, and every one at his own business, & the captain in his cabbin attending to his log book & chart, a rogue of a pilot has run them into an enemy’s port. But metaphor apart, there is much dissatisfaction with mr. Jay & his treaty. For my part, I consider myself now but as a passenger, leaving the world, & it’s government to those who are likely to live longer in it. That you may be among the longest of these, is my sincere prayer. After begging you to be the bearer of my compliments & apologies to mr. Ogilvie, I bid you an affectionate farewell, always wishing to hear from you.
TO JAMES MONROEMON. MSS.
Monticello. Sep. 6, 95.
I wrote you on the 26th of May last. Since that Mr. Jones has been here & Mr. Madison, and have communicated to me some of your letters. Mr. Jones is taking good measures for saving and improving your land but of all this he will inform you. I enclose you a letter for Mde. Bellanger, which I leave open for your perusal as its contents may suggest to you some service to Derieux. I also inclose you a letter from him, and a draft on his uncle’s executors for 4000# which we must trouble you to remit in some way or other without loss if possible: and if it cannot be received without too sensible a loss, I think it had better lie. Observe that the money is not to be remitted to Derieux, as he has conveyed it to Colo. Gamble & Colo. Bell to satisfy debts. I think it had better be sent to Colo. Bell, who will pay to Gamble his part of it. If you receive it, it may be a convenience and safety to all parties for you to apply a part of it to answer the little commissions I gave you for Froullé & La Motte, and to order me to pay their amount to Colo. Bell which I will do on sight of your order. But name the sum I am to pay in dollars to avoid all questions of depreciation. In this case I would be willing to extend my commission to the procuring me some wines from Bordeaux to be purchased & shipped for me by Mr. Fenwick to Richmond, consigned to Colo. Gamble. I will note the wines at the foot of my letter. When you shall have read the letter to Madame Bellanger, be so good as seal & send it to her.—I trouble you also with a letter to Madame de Tessé, whom I suppose to be in Switzerland: pray find a safe conveyance, and receive for me any letters she may send for me. She is a person for whom I have great friendship. Mr. Gautier, banker, successor to Grand, to whom I enclose another letter can probably inform you how to address & forward that to Madame de Tessé.—Nothing has happened in our neighborhood worth communication to you. Mr. Randolph’s health was at the lowest ebb, & he determined to go to the Sweet springs where he still is. His last letter informs me that his amendment is so great as to give him hopes of an entire recovery.—In political matters there is always something new. Yet at such a distance and with such uncertain conveyances it is best to say little of them. It may be necessary however to observe to you that in all countries where parties are strongly marked, as the monocrats and republicans here, there will always be desertions from the one side to the other: and to caution you therefore in your correspondence with Dawson,1 who is now closely connected in speculations as we are told with Harry Lee. With Steel become a consummate Tory, and even Innes, who has changed backwards and forwards two or three times lately.—Mr. Jay’s treaty has at length been made public. So general a burst of dissatisfaction never before appeared against any transaction. Those who understand the particular articles of it, condemn these articles. Those who do not understand them minutely, condemn it generally as wearing a hostile face to France. This last is the must numerous class, comprehending the whole body of the people, who have taken a greater interest in this transaction than they were ever known to do in any other. It has in my opinion completely demolished the monarchial party here. The Chamber of Commerce in New York, against the body of the town, the merchants in Philadelphia, against the body of their town, also, and our town of Alexandria have come forward in it’s support. Some individual champions also appear. Marshall, Carrington, Harvey, Bushrod Washington, Doctor Stewart. A more powerful one is Hamilton, under the signature of Camillus. Adams holds his tongue with an address above his character. We do not know whether the President has signed it or not. If he has it is much believed the H. of representatives will oppose it as constitutionally void, and thus bring on an embarrassing and critical state in our government.—If you should receive Derieux’ money and order the wines, Mr. Fenwick ought to ship them in the winter months. Present my affectionate respects to Mrs. Monroe, and accept them yourself. No signature is necessary.1
P.S. The day after writing the preceding letter, yours of June 23 & 27 came to hand. I open this therefore to acknowledge the receipt & thank you for the information given. Soon after that date you will have received mine of May 26, and perceive by that & this that I had taken the liberty of asking some services from you. Yes, the treaty is now known here, by a bold act of duty in one of our Senators, and what the sentiments upon it are, our public papers will tell you, for I take for granted they are forwarded to you from the Secretary of State’s office. The same post which brought your letter, brought also advice of the death of Bradford, Atty Genl., the resignation of E. Randolph (retiring perhaps from the storm he saw gathering), and of the resolutions of the Chamber of Commerce of Boston in opposition to those of the town of Boston in general. P. Marks is dead within these 24. hours. His wife had died some months before. I omitted in my letter to mention that J. Rutledge was appointed Chief Justice in the room of Mr. Jay, and that he, Govr. Pinckney & others of that Southern constellation had pronounced themselves more desperately than any others against the treaty.—Still deliver the letters to Made. Bellanger. A true state of the case, soothing and altering terms may perhaps produce the execution of her last promise.
TO TENCH COXEJ. MSS.
Monticello Sep. 10, 95.
I have to acknolege the receipt of your favor of July 30. The sentiments therein expressed on the subject of the treaty coincide perfectly with those of this country, which I believe were never more unanimous. 4. or 5. individuals of Richmond, distinguished however by their talents as by their devotion to all the sacred acts of the government, & the town of Alexandria constitute the whole support of that instrument here. Camillus may according to his custom write an Encyclopedia on the subject, but it is too obstinate to be twisted by all his sophisms into a tolerable shape. Having interdicted to myself the reading of newspapers, & thinking or saying anything on public matters beyond what the conversation of my neighbors draws me into, I leave such delights to those who, more rational than myself, prefer them to their tranquility, & to those whose stations keep them in that vortex, & make them better judges of what is passing around them. My situation putting it out of my power to find good conveyances for my foreign letters in these times of obstruction by sea & by land, I avail myself of your friendship to get them on: & now take the liberty of enclosing some. Our foreign ministers being entitled to charge their postages, & the risque of separating the 3d. letter, dispenses with apology on the subject of postage. That to Van Staphorst covers bills of exchange, the property of Mr. Mazzei which I am remitting as it is collected.
TO HENRY TAZEWELLJ. MSS.
Monticello, Sep 13, 1795.
I ought much sooner to have acknoleged your obliging attention in sending me a copy of the treaty. It was the first we received in this part of the country. Tho I have interdicted myself all serious attention to political matters, yet a very slight notice of that in question sufficed to decide my mind against it. I am not satisfied we should not be better without treaties with any nation. But I am satisfied we should be better without such as this. The public dissatisfaction too & dissension it is likely to produce, are serious evils. I am not without hopes that the operations on the 12th article may render a recurrence to the Senate yet necessary, and so give to the majority an opportunity of correcting the error into which their exclusion of public light has led them. I hope also that the recent results of the English will at length awaken in our Executive that sense of public honor & spirit, which they have not lost sight of in their proceedings with other nations, and will establish the eternal truth that acquiescence under insult is not the way to escape war. I am with great esteem, Dear Sir, your most obedient humble servant.
TO JAMES MADISONMAD. MSS.
Monticello, Sep 21, 1795.
I received about three weeks ago, a box containing 6. doz. volumes, of 283. pages, 12 mo, with a letter from Lambert, Beckley’s clerk, that they came from mr. Beckley, & were to be divided between yourself, J. Walker, & myself. I have sent 2. doz to J. Walker, and shall be glad of a conveyance for yours. In the meantime, I send you by post, the title page, table of contents, and one of the pieces, Curtius,1 lest it should not have come to you otherwise. It is evidently written by Hamilton, giving a first & general view of the subject, that the public mind might be kept a little in check, till he could resume the subject more at large from the beginning, under his second signature of Camillus. The piece called The Features of the Treaty, I do not send, because you have seen it in the newspapers. It is said to be written by Coxe, but I should rather suspect, by Beckley. The antidote is certainly not strong enough for the poison of Curtius. If I had not been informed the present came from Beckley, I should have suspected it from Jay or Hamilton. I gave a copy or two, by way of experiment, to honest, sound-hearted men of common understanding, and they were not able to parry the sophistry of Curtius. I have ceased therefore, to give them. Hamilton is really a colossus to the anti-republican party. Without numbers, he is an host within himself. They have got themselves into a defile, where they might be finished; but too much security on the republican part will give time to his talents & indefatigableness to extricate them. We have had only middling performances to oppose to him. In truth, when he comes forward, there is nobody but yourself who can meet him. His adversaries having begun the attack, he has the advantage of answering them, & remains unanswered himself. A solid reply might yet completely demolish what was too feebly attacked, and has gathered strength from the weakness of the attack. The merchants were certainly (except those of them who are English) as open mouthed at first against the treaty as any. But the general expression of indignation has alarmed them for the strength of the government. They have feared the shock would be too great, and have chosen to tack about & support both treaty & government, rather than risk the government. Thus it is, that Hamilton, Jay, &c., in the boldest act they ever ventured on to undermine the government, have the address to screen themselves, & direct the hue & cry against those who wish to drag them into light. A bolder party-stroke was never struck. For it certainly is an attempt of a party, which finds they have lost their majority in one branch of the Legislature, to make a law by the aid of the other branch & of the executive, under color of a treaty, which shall bind up the hands of the adverse branch from ever restraining the commerce of their patron-nation. There appears a pause at present in the public sentiment, which may be followed by a revulsion. This is the effect of the desertion of the merchants, of the President’s chiding answer to Boston & Richmond, of the writings of Curtius & Camillus, and of the quietism into which people naturally fall after first sensations are over. For god’s sake take up your pen, and give a fundamental reply to Curtius & Camillus.
TO JAMES MADISON1
Fontainbleau Oct. 28. 1795
Seven o’clock, and retired to my fireside, I have determined to enter into conversation with you. This is a village of about 5000 inhabitants when the court is not here & 20,000 when they are, occupying a valley thro’ which runs a brook and on each side of it a ridge of small mountains most of which are naked rock. The King comes here, in the fall always, to hunt. His court attend him, as do also the foreign diplomatic corps. But as this is not indispensably required & my finances do not admit the expense of a continued residence here, I propose to come occasionally to attend the King’s levees, returning again to Paris, distant 40 miles. This being the first trip I set out yesterday morning to take a view of the place. For this purpose I shaped my course towards the highest of the mountains in sight, to the top of which was about a league. As soon as I had got clear of the town I fell in with a poor woman walking at the same rate with myself & going the same course. Wishing to know the condition of the laboring poor I entered into conversation with her, which I began by enquiries for the path which would lead me into the mountain: & thence proceeded to enquiries into her vocation, condition & circumstances. She told me she was a day labourer, at 8. sous or 4d sterling the day; that she had two children to maintain, & to pay a rent of 30 livres for her house, (which would consume the hire of 75 days) that often she could get no emploiment, and of course was without bread. As we had walked together near a mile & she had so far served me as a guide, I gave her, on parting, 24 sous. She burst into tears of a gratitude which I could perceive was unfeigned because she was unable to utter a word. She had probably never before received so great an aid. This little attendrissement, with the solitude of my walk led me into a train of reflections on that unequal division of property which occasions the numberless instances of wretchedness which I had observed in this country & is to be observed all over Europe. The property of this country is absolutely concentrated in a very few hands, having revenues of from half a million of guineas a year downward. These employ the flower of the country as servants, some of them having as many as 200 domestics, not labouring. They employ also a great number of manufacturers, & tradesmen, & lastly the class of labouring husbandmen. But after all there comes the most numerous of all the classes, that is, the poor who cannot find work. I asked myself what could be the reason that so many should be permitted to beg who are willing to work, in a country where there is a very considerable proportion of uncultivated lands? These lands are undisturbed only for the sake of game. It should seem then that it must be because of the enormous wealth of the proprietors which places them above attention to the encrease of their revenues by permitting these lands to be laboured. I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers & sisters, or other relations in equal degree is a politic measure, and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, & to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise. Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labour & live on. If for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be provided to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not the fundamental right to labour the earth returns to the unemployed. It is too soon yet in our country to say that every man who cannot find employment but who can find uncultivated land shall be at liberty to cultivate it, paying a moderate rent. But it is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land. The small land holders are the most precious part of a state. * * *
TO JAMES MADISONJ. MSS.
Nov. 26, 95.
Your favor from Fredericksburg came safe to hand. I enclose you the extract of a letter I received from Mr. R. now in Richmond.1 Tho’ you will have been informed of the fact before this reaches you, yet you will see more of the subject by having different views of it presented to you. Though Marshall will be able to embarras the republican party in the assembly a good deal, yet upon the whole, his having gone into it will be of service. He has been hitherto able to do more mischief acting under the mask of Republicanism than he will be able to do after throwing it plainly off. His lax lounging manners have made him popular with the bulk of the people of Richmond, & a profound hypocrisy with many thinking men of our country. But having come forth in the plenitude of his English principles the latter will see that it is high time to make him known. His doctrine that the whole commercial part of the treaty (& he might have added the whole unconstitutional part of it) rests in the power of the H. of R. is certainly the true doctrine; & as the articles which stipulate what requires the consent of the three branches of the legislature, must be referred to the H. of R. for their concurrence, so they, being free agents, may approve or reject them, either by a vote declaring that, or by refusing to pass acts. I should think the former mode the most safe & honorable. The people in this part of the country continue very firmly disposed against the treaty. I imagine the 50. negative votes comprehend the whole force of the Alexandrian party & the bigots & passive obedience men of the whole state who have got themselves into the legislature. I observe an expression in Randolph’s printed secret intimating that the President, tho’ an honest man himself, may be circumvented by snares & artifices, & is in fact surrounded by men who wish to clothe the Executive with more than constitutional powers. This when public, will make great impression. It is not only a truth, but a truth levelled to every capacity & will justify to themselves the most zealous votaries, for ceasing to repose the unlimited confidence they have done in the measures which have been pursued. Communicate the enclosed paper, if you please, to Mr. Giles. Our autumn is fine. The weather mild & intermixed with moderate rains at proper intervals. No ice yet, & not much frost. Adieu.
TO EDWARD RUTLEDGE1
Monticello Nov 30. 95.
My Dear Sir,—
I received your favor of Oct. 12 by your son, who has been kind enough to visit me here, and from whose visit I have received all that pleasure which I do from whatever comes from you, and especially from a subject so deservedly dear to you. He found me in a retirement I doat on, living like an Antediluvian patriarch among my children & grand children, and tilling my soil. As he had lately come from Philadelphia, Boston &c he was able to give me a great deal of information of what is passing in the world & I pestered him with questions pretty much as our friends Lynch, Nelson &c will us when we step across the Styx, for they will wish to hear what has been passing above ground since they left us. You hope I have not abandoned entirely the service of our country. After a five & twenty years continual employment in it, I trust it will be thought I have fulfilled my tour, like a punctual soldier, and may claim my discharge. But I am glad of the sentiment from you my friend, because it gives a hope you will practice what you preach, and come forward in aid of the public vessel. I will not admit your old excuse, that you are in public service tho’ at home. The campaigns which are fought in a man’s own house are not to be counted. The present situation of the President, unable to get the offices filled, really calls with uncommon obligation on those whom nature has fitted for them. I join with you in thinking the treaty an execrable thing. But both negotiators must have understood that as there were articles in it which could not be carried into execution without the aid of the legislatures on both sides, that therefore it must be referred to them, and that these legislatures being free agents would not give it their support if they disapproved of it. I trust the popular branch of our legislature will disapprove of it, and thus rid us of this infamous act, which is really nothing more than a treaty of alliance between England & the Anglomen of this country against the legislature & people of the United States.—I told your son I had long had it in contemplation to write to you for half a dozen sour orange trees, of a proper size for small boxes, as they abound with you. The only trouble they would give would be the putting them into boxes long enough before sending them for them to take root, & when rooted to put them into some vessel coming direct to Richmond to the care of mr Daniel Hylton there. Your son is kind enough to undertake the commission. With constant & unchanged affections I am my dear friend.
TO WILLIAM BRANCH GILES1
Monticello Dec. 31. 95.
Your favors of Dec. 15. & 20. came to hand by the last post. I am well pleased with the manner in which your house has testified their sense of the treaty. While their refusal to pass the original clause of the reported answer proved their condemnation of it, the contrivance to let it disappear silently respected appearances in favor of the President, who errs as other men do, but errs with integrity. Randolph seems to have hit upon the true theory of our constitution, that when a treaty is made, involving matters confided by the constitution to the three branches of the legislature conjointly, the representatives are as free as the President & Senate were to consider whether the national interest requires or forbids their giving the forms & force of law to the articles over which they have a power.—I thank you much for the pamphlet—his narrative is so straight & plain, that even those who did not know him will acquit him of the charge of bribery; those who knew him had done it from the first. Tho’ he mistakes his own political character in the aggregate, yet he gives it to you in the detail. Thus he supposes himself a man of no party (page 97,) that his opinions not containing any systematic adherence to party, fall sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other. (pa. 58.) Yet he gives you these facts, which shew that they fall generally on both sides, & are complete inconsistencies—1. He never gave an opinion in the Cabinet against the rights of the people (pa. 97.) yet he advised the denunciation of the popular societies. (67.) 2. He would not neglect the overtures of a commercial treaty with France (79) yet he always opposed it while atty-general, and never seems to have proposed it while Secretary of State. 3. He concurs in resorting to the militia to quell the pretended insurrection in the west (81.) and proposes an augmentation from 12.500 to 15.000 to march against men at their ploughs, (pa. 80.) yet on the 5th. of Aug. he is against their marching (83. 101.) and on the 25th. of Aug. he is for it. (84.) 4. He concurs in the measure of a mission extraordinary to London (as inferred from pa. 58.) but objects to the men, to wit Hamilton & Jay (58.) 5. He was against granting commercial powers to Mr. Jay (58.) yet he besieged the doors of the Senate to procure their advice to ratify.—6. He advises the President to a ratification on the merits of the treaty (—7.) but to a suspension till the provision order is repealed. (98.) The fact is that he has generally given his principles to the one party & his practice to the other; the oyster to one, the shell to the other. Unfortunately the shell was generally the lot of his friends the French and republicans, & the oyster of their antagonists. Had he been firm to the principles he professes in the year 1793. the President would have been kept from a habitual concert with the British & Antirepublican party, but at that time I do not know which R. feared most, a British fleet, or French disorganisers. Whether his conduct is to be ascribed to a superior view of things, an adherence to right without regard to party, as he pretends, or to an anxiety to trim between both, those who know his character and capacity will decide. Were parties here divided merely by a greediness for office, as in England, to take a part with either would be unworthy of a reasonable or moral man, but where the principle of difference is as substantial and as strongly pronounced as between the republicans & the Monocrats of our country, I hold it as honorable to take a firm & decided part, and as immoral to pursue a middle line, as between the parties of Honest men, & Rogues, into which every country is divided.
A copy of the pamphlet came by this post to Charlottesville. I suppose we shall be able to judge soon what kind of impression it is likely to make. It has been a great treat to me, as it is a continuation of that Cabinet history with the former part of which I was intimate. I remark in the reply of the President a small travestie of the sentiment contained in the answer of the Representatives. They acknowlege that he has contributed a great share to the national happiness by his services. He thanks them for ascribing to his agency a great share of those benefits. The former keeps in view the co-operation of others towards the public good, the latter presents to view his sole agency. At a time when there would have been less anxiety to publish to the people a strong approbation from your house, this strengthening of your expression would not have been noticed. Our attentions have been so absorbed by the first manifestations of the sentiments of your house, that we have lost sight of our own legislature: insomuch that I do not know whether they are sitting or not.
The rejection of Mr. Rutledge by the Senate is a bold thing, because they cannot pretend any objection to him but his disapprobation of the treaty. It is of course a declaration that they will receive none but tories hereafter into any department of the government. I should not wonder if Monroe were to be recalled under the idea of his being of the partisans of France, whom the President considers as the partisans of war & confusion in his letter of July 31, and as disposed to excite them to hostile measures, or at least to unfriendly sentiments. A most infatuated blindness to the true character of the sentiments entertained in favor of France. The bottom of my page warns me that it is time to end my commentaries on the facts you have furnished me. You would of course however wish to know the sensations here on those facts. My friendly respects to Mrs. Madison, to whom the next week’s dose will be directed. Adieu affectionately.
NOTES ON PROF. EBELING’S LETTER OF JULY 30, 951
Professor Ebeling mentioning the persons in America from whom he derives information for his work, it may be useful for him to know how far he may rely on their authority.
President Stiles, an excellent man, of very great learning, but remarkable for his credulity.
But South of that their information is worse than none at all, except as far as they quote good authorities. They both I believe took a single journey through the Southern parts, merely to acquire the right of being considered as eye-witnesses. But to pass once along a public road thro’ a country, & in one direction only, to put up at it’s taverns, and get into conversation with the idle, drunken individuals who pass their time lounging in these taverns, is not the way to know a country, it’s inhabitants, or manners. To generalize a whole nation from these specimens is not the sort of information which Professor Ebeling would wish to compose his work from.
The people of America, before the revolution-war, being attached to England, had taken up, without examination, the English ideas of the superiority of their constitution over every thing of the kind which ever had been or ever would be tried. The revolution forced them to consider the subject for themselves, and the result was an universal conversion to republicanism. Those who did not come over to this opinion, either left us, & were called Refugees, or staid with us under the name of tories; & some, preferring profit to principle took side with us and floated with the general tide. Our first federal constitution, or confederation as it was called, was framed in the first moments of our separation from England, in the highest point of our jealousies of independance as to her & as to each other. It formed therefore too weak a bond to produce an union of action as to foreign nations. This appeared at once on the establishment of peace, when the pressure of a common enemy which had hooped us together during the war, was taken away. Congress was found to be quite unable to point the action of the several states to a common object. A general desire therefore took place of amending the federal constitution. This was opposed by some of those who wished for monarchy to wit, the Refugees now returned, the old tories, & the timid whigs who prefer tranquility to freedom, hoping monarchy might be the remedy if a state of complete anarchy could be brought on. A Convention however being decided on, some of the monocrats got elected, with a hope of introducing an English constitution, when they found that the great body of the delegates were strongly for adhering to republicanism, & for giving due strength to their government under that form, they then directed their efforts to the assimilation of all the parts of the new government to the English constitution as nearly as was attainable. In this they were not altogether without success; insomuch that the monarchical features of the new constitution produced a violent opposition to it from the most zealous republicans in the several states. For this reason, & because they also thought it carried the principle of a consolidation of the states farther than was requisite for the purpose of producing an union of action as to foreign powers, it is still doubted by some whether a majority of the people of the U. S. were not against adopting it. However it was carried through all the assemblies of the states, tho’ by very small majorities in the largest states. The inconveniences of an inefficient government, driving the people as is usual, into the opposite extreme, the elections to the first Congress run very much in favor of those who were known to favor a very strong government. Hence the anti-republicans appeared a considerable majority in both houses of Congress. They pressed forward the plan therefore of strengthening all the features of the government which gave it resemblance to an English constitution, of adopting the English forms & principles of administration, and of forming like them a monied interest, by means of a funding system, not calculated to pay the public debt, but to render it perpetual, and to make it an engine in the hands of the executive branch of the government which, added to the great patronage it possessed in the disposal of public offices, might enable it to assume by degrees a kingly authority. The biennial period of Congress being too short to betray to the people, spread over this great continent, this train of things during the first Congress, little change was made in the members to the second. But in the mean time two very distinct parties had formed in Congress; and before the third election, the people in general became apprised of the game which was playing for drawing over them a kind of government which they never had in contemplation. At the 3d. election therefore a decided majority of Republicans were sent to the lower house of Congress; and as information spread still farther among the people after the 4th. election the anti-republicans have become a weak minority. But the members of the Senate being changed but once in 6. years, the completion of that body will be much slower in it’s assimilation to that of the people. This will account for the differences which may appear in the proceedings & spirit of the two houses. Still however it is inevitable that the Senate will at length be formed to the republican model of the people, & the two houses of the legislature, once brought to act on the true principles of the Constitution, backed by the people, will be able to defeat the plan of sliding us into monarchy, & to keep the Executive within Republican bounds, notwithstanding the immense patronage it possesses in the disposal of public offices, notwithstanding it has been able to draw into this vortex the judiciary branch of the government & by their expectancy of sharing the other offices in the Executive gift to make them auxiliary to the Executive in all it’s views instead of forming a balance between that & the legislature as it was originally intended and notwithstanding the funding phalanx which a respect for public faith must protect, tho it was engaged by false brethren. Two parties then do exist within the U. S. they embrace respectively the following descriptions of persons.
The Anti-republicans consist of
1. The old refugees & tories.
2. British merchants residing among us, & composing the main body of our merchants.
3. American merchants trading on British capital. Another great portion.
4. Speculators & Holders in the banks & public funds.
5. Officers of the federal government with some exceptions.
6. Office-hunters, willing to give up principles for places. A numerous & noisy tribe.
7. Nervous persons, whose languid fibres have more analogy with a passive than active state of things.
The Republican part of our Union comprehends
1. The entire body of landholders throughout the United States.
2. The body of labourers, not being landholders, whether in husbanding or the arts.
The latter is to the aggregate of the former party probably as 500 to one; but their wealth is not as disproportionate, tho’ it is also greatly superior, and is in truth the foundation of that of their antagonists. Trifling as are the numbers of the Anti-republican party, there are circumstances which give them an appearance of strength & numbers. They all live in cities, together, & can act in a body readily & at all times; they give chief employment to the newspapers, & therefore have most of them under their command. The Agricultural interest is dispersed over a great extent of country, have little means of intercommunication with each other, and feeling their own strength & will, are conscious that a single exertion of these will at any time crush the machinations against their government. As in the commerce of human life, there are commodities adapted to every demand, so there are newspapers adapted to the Antirepublican palate, and others to the Republican. Of the former class are the Columbian Centinel, the Hartford newspaper, Webster’s Minerva, Fenno’s Gazette of the U. S., Davies’s Richmond paper &c. Of the latter are Adams’s Boston paper, Greenleaf’s of New York, Freneau’s of New Jersey, Bache’s of Philadelphia, Pleasant’s of Virginia &c. Pleasant’s paper comes out twice a week, Greenleaf’s & Freneau’s one a week, Bache’s daily. I do not know how often Adam’s. I shall according to your desire endeavor to get Pleasant’s for you for 1794, & 95. and will have it forwarded through 96 from time to time to your correspondent at Baltimore.
While on the subject of authorities and information, the following works are recommended to Professor Ebeling.
Minot’s history of the insurrection in Massachusetts in 1786. 8vo.
Mazzei. Recherches historiques et politiques sur les E. U. de l’Amerique. 4 vol. 8vo. This is to be had from Paris. The author is an exact man.
The article ‘Etats Unis de l’Amerique’ in the Dictionnaire d’Economie politique et diplomatique, de l’Encyclopedie methodique. This article occupies about 90. pages, is by De Meusnier, and his materials were worthy of confidence, except so far as they were taken from the Abbé Raynal. Against these effusions of an imagination in delirio it is presumed Professor Ebeling needs not be put on his guard. The earlier editions of the Abbé Raynal’s work were equally bad as to both South & North America. A gentleman however of perfect information as to South America, undertook to reform that part of the work, and his changes & additions were for the most part adopted by the Abbé in his latter editions. But the North-American part remains in it’s original state of worthlessness.
[1 ]From a copy courteously furnished by Col. C. C. Jones, of Augusta, Ga.
[1 ]From the original in the possession of the Virginia Historical Society.
[2 ]Patrick Henry.
[1 ]See Vol. V., 3.
[1 ]Italics are cipher numbers in original.
[1 ]“Wines to be procured & shipped by Mr. Fenwick from Bordeaux if it should be found advantageous to remit mr. Derieux’ money in that way. They will come at my risk.
[1 ]The letters of “Curtius” were written by Noah Webster, except numbers 6-7, which were from the pen of James Kent.
[1 ]The true date of this letter is ten years previous to this, Jefferson having written 1795 in place of 1785, and owing to this error, it was not included in its correct place in the present work. As the letter is of singular interest, the editor has thought it best to include it, even though out of its proper place.
[1 ]“Extract of a lre. dated Richmd. Nov. 22. 1795.
[1 ]From the original in the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
[1 ]From a copy courteously furnished by Dr. J. S. H. Fogg, of Boston.
[1 ]Undated, but probably written late in 1795. Christoph Daniel Ebeling was at this time preparing his Biography and History of North America.