Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1803 - DRAFTS OF AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. 1 - The Works, vol. 10 (Correspondence and Papers 1803-1807)
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1803 - DRAFTS OF AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. 1 - Thomas Jefferson, The Works, vol. 10 (Correspondence and Papers 1803-1807) 
The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 10.
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DRAFTS OF AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION.1
The province of Louisiana is incorporated with the U. S. and made part thereof. The rights of occupancy in the soil, and of self government, are confirmed to the Indian inhabitants, as they now exist. Pre-emption only of the portions rightfully occupied by them, & a succession to the occupancy of such as they may abandon, with the full rights of possession as well as of property & sovereignty in whatever is not or shall cease to be so rightfully occupied by them shall belong to the U. S.
The legislature of the Union shall have authority to exchange the right of occupancy in portions where the U. S. have full right for lands possessed by Indians within the U. S. on the East side of the Missisipi: to exchange lands on the East side of the river for those of the white inhabitants on the West side thereof and above the latitude of 31 degrees: to maintain in any part of the province such military posts as may be requisite for peace or safety: to exercise police over all persons therein, not being Indian inhabitants: to work salt springs, or mines of coal, metals and other minerals within the possession of the U. S. or in any others with the consent of the possessors; to regulate trade & intercourse between the Indian inhabitants and all other persons; to explore and ascertain the geography of the province, its productions and other interesting circumstances; to open roads and navigation therein where necessary for beneficial communication; & to establish agencies and factories therein for the cultivation of commerce, peace & good understanding with the Indians residing there.
The legislature shall have no authority to dispose of the lands of the province otherwise than as hereinbefore permitted, until a new Amendment of the constitution shall give that authority. Except as to that portion thereof which lies South of the latitude of 31 degrees; which whenever they deem expedient, they may erect into a territorial Government, either separate or as making part with one on the eastern side of the river, vesting the inhabitants thereof with all the rights possessed by other territorial citizens of the U. S.1
Louisiana, as ceded by France to the U S. is made a part of the U S. Its white inhabitants shall be citizens, and stand, as to their rights & obligations, on the same footing with other citizens of the U S. in analogous situations. Save only that as to the portion thereof lying North of an East & West line drawn through the mouth of Arkansa river, no new State shall be established, nor any grants of land made, other than to Indians in exchange for equivalent portions of land occupied by them, until authorised by further subsequent amendment to the Constitution shall be made for these purposes.
Florida also, whenever it may be rightfully obtained, shall become a part of the U S. Its white inhabitants shall thereupon be Citizens & shall stand, as to their rights & obligations, on the same footing with other citizens of the U S. in analogous situations.
TO HORATIO GATES2
Washington July 11, ’03.
—I accept with pleasure, and with pleasure reciprocate your congratulations on the acquisition of Louisiana: for it is a subject of mutual congratulations as it interests every man of the nation. The territory acquired, as it includes all the waters of the Missouri & Mississippi, has more than doubled the area of the U. S. and the new part is not inferior to the old in soil, climate, productions & important communications. If our legislature dispose of it with the wisdom we have a right to expect, they may make it the means of tempting all our Indians on the East side of the Mississippi to remove to the West, and of condensing instead of scattering our population. I find our opposition is very willing to pluck feathers from Monroe, although not fond of sticking them into Livingston’s coat. The truth is both have a just portion of merit and were it necessary or proper it could be shewn that each has rendered peculiar service, & of important value. These grumblers too are very uneasy lest the administration should share some little credit for the acquisition, the whole of which they ascribe to the accident of war. They would be cruelly mortified could they see our files from April 1801, the first organization of the administration, but more especially from April 1802. They would see that tho’ we could not say when war would arise, yet we said with energy what would take place when it should arise. We did not, by our intrigues, produce the war: but we availed ourselves of it when it happened. The other party saw the case now existing on which our representations were predicted, and the wisdom of timely sacrifice. But when these people make the war give us everything, they authorize us to ask what the war gave us in their day? They had a war. What did they make it bring us? Instead of making our neutrality the grounds of gain to their country, they were for plunging into the war. And if they were now in place, they would not be at war against the Alliests & disorganizers of France. They were for making their country an appendage to England. We are friendly, cordially and conscientiously friendly to England, but we are not hostile to France. We will be rigorously just and sincerely friendly to both. I do not believe we shall have as much to swallow from them as our predecessors had.
With respect to the territory acquired, I do not think it will be a separate government as you imagine. I presume the island of N. Orleans and the settled country on the opposite bank, will be annexed to the Mississippi territory. We shall certainly endeavor to introduce the American laws there & that cannot be done but by amalgamating the people with such a body of Americans as may take the lead in legislation & government. Of course they will be under the Governor of Mississippi. The rest of the territory will probably be locked up from American settlement, and under the self-government of the native occupants.
You know that every sentence from me is put on the rack by our opponents, to be tortured into something they can make use of. No caution therefore I am sure is necessary against letting my letter go out of your hands. I am always happy to hear from you, and to know that you preserve your health. Present me respectfully to Mrs. Gates, and accept yourself my affectionate salutations and assurances of great respect & esteem.
TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
|The attorney||Dallas||Naval officer|
|Collector||Muhlenberg||Commisr of Loans|
|Superintdt Mily Stores||Irving|
In the hands of the former is the appointment of every subordinate officer, not a single one (but their clerks) being appointable by the latter. Taking a view of this subject in the only year I can now come at, the clerk hire of the naval officer & surveyor is only 2196 D. that of the commr of loans 2500–4696. The compensation of the nav. off. & surveyor were 7651 D. in that year. The residue of custom house expenses were 46268 D. constituting the compensation and patronage of the collector, except about 1500 D. to the officers of the revenue cutter who are republican. The emoluments & patronage of the 5 other republican officers I have no materials for estimating; but they are not small. Considering numbers therefore as the ratio of participation, it stands at 5 to 3. But taking emolument and patronage as the measure, our actual share is much greater. I cannot therefore suppose that our friends had sufficiently examined the fact when they alleged that, in “Philadelphia public employment under the general government, in all it’s grades, with scarcely an exception, is confined not to federalists merely, but to apostates, persecutors and enemies of representative government.”
I give full credit to the wisdom of the measures persued by the gov’r. of Pennsylvania in removals from office. I have no doubt he followed the wish of the state: and he had no other to consult. But in the general government each state is to be administered not on it’s local principles, but on the principles of all the states formed into a general result. That I should administer the affairs of Massachusetts & Connecticut, for example, on federal principles, could not be approved. I dare say too that the extensive removals from office in Pennsylva. may have contributed to the great conversion which has been manifested among it’s citizens. But I respect them too much to believe it has been the exclusive or even the principle motive. I presume the sound measures of their government, & of the general one, have weighed more in their estimation and conversion, than the consideration of the particular agents employed.
I read with extreme gratification the approbation expressed of the general measures of the present administration. I verily believe our friends have not differed with us on a single measure of importance. It is only as to the distribution of office that some difference of opinion has appeared. But that difference will I think be lessened when facts & principles are more accurately scanned, and it’s impression still more so when justice is done to motives, and to the duty of pursuing that which on mature consideration is deemed to be right.
I hope you will pardon the trouble which this communication proposes to give you, when you attend to the considerations urging it. And that you will accept my respectful salutations & assurances of great esteem.1
TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Monticello July 31, 03.
—I return you the petition of Samuel Miller with the pardon signed. Mr. Kelty had spoken to me on this subject and told me that he and Mr. Craunch should join in a recommendation. I wish Mr. Wagner would obtain this before he delivers the pardon. I return also Mr. King’s letter which has really important matter, especially what respects the mare clausum, the abandonment of the colonial system, & emancipation of S. America. On the subject of our seamen as both parties were agreed against impressments at sea, and concealments in port, I suppose we may practice on those two articles as things understood, altho’ no convention was signed. I see that the principle of free bottoms, free goods must be left to make its way by treaty with particular nations. Great Britain will never yield to it willingly and she cannot be forced.
I think I have selected a governor for Louisiana, as perfect in all points as we can expect. Sound judgment, standing in society, knolege of the world, wealth, liberality, familiarity with the French language, and having a French wife. You will perceive I am describing Sumpter. I do not know a more proper character for the place. I wish we could find a diplomatist or two equally eligible, for Europe. Accept my affectionate salutations.
TO JOHN DICKINSON
Monticello Aug. 9, 1803.
—Your friendly favor of the 1st inst. is received with that welcome which always accompanies the approbation of the wise & good. The acquisition of New Orleans would of itself have been a great thing, as it would have ensured to our western brethren the means of exporting their produce: but that of Louisiana is inappreciable, because, giving us the sole dominion of the Mississippi, it excludes those bickerings with foreign powers, which we know of a certainty would have put us at war with France immediately: and it secures to us the course of a peaceable nation.
The unquestioned bounds of Louisiana are the Iberville & Mississippi on the east, the Mexicana, or the Highlands east of it, on the west; then from the head of the Mexicana gaining the highlands which include the waters of the Mississippi, and following those highlands round the head springs of the western waters of the Mississippi to its source where we join the English or perhaps to the Lake of the Woods. This may be considered as a triangle, one leg of which is the length of the Missouri, the other of the Mississippi, and the hypothenuse running from the source of the Missouri to the mouth of the Mississippi. I should be averse to exchanging any part of this for the Floridas, because it would let Spain into the Mississippi on the principle of natural right, we have always urged & are now urging to her, that a nation inhabiting the upper part of a stream has a right of innocent passage down that stream to the ocean: and because the Floridas will fall to us peaceably the first war Spain is engaged in. We have some pretensions to extend the western territory of Louisiana to the Rio Norte, or Bravo; and still stronger the eastern boundary to the Rio Perdido between the rivers Mobile & Pensacola. These last are so strong that France had not relinquished them & our negotiator expressly declared we should claim them, by properly availing ourselves of these with offers of a price, and our peace, we shall get the Floridas in good time. But in the meantime we shall enter on the exercise of the right of passing down all the rivers which rising in our territory, run thro’ the Floridas. Spain will not oppose it by force. But there is a difficulty in this acquisition which presents a handle to the malcontents among us, though they have not yet discovered it. Our confederation is certainly confined to the limits established by the revolution. The general government has no powers but such as the constitution has given it; and it has not given it a power of holding foreign territory, & still less of incorporating it into the Union. An amendment of the Constitution seems necessary for this. In the meantime we must ratify & pay our money, as we have treated, for a thing beyond the constitution, and rely on the nation to sanction an act done for its great good, without its previous authority. With respect to the disposal of the country, we must take the island of New Orleans and west side of the river as high up as Point Coupee, containing nearly the whole inhabitants, say about 50,000, and erect it into a state, or annex it to the Mississippi territory: and shut up all the rest from settlement for a long time to come, endeavoring to exchange some of the country there unoccupied by Indians for the lands held by the Indians on this side the Mississippi, who will be glad to cede us their country here for an equivalent there: and we may sell out our lands here & pay the whole debt contracted before it comes due. The impost which will be paid by the inhabitants ceded will pay half the interest of the price we give: so that we really add only half the price to our debt. I have indulged myself in these details because the subject being new, it is advantageous to interchange ideas on it and to get our notions all corrected before we are obliged to act on them. In this idea I receive & shall receive with pleasure anything which may occur to you. Accept my affectionate salutations & assurances of my constant & great esteem & respect.
TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE
Monticello Sept. 14, 03.
—I now return you the several papers received by the last post, except those soliciting office, which as usual, are put into my bundle of like papers. I think it possible that Spain, recollecting our former eagerness for the island of N. Orleans, may imagine she can, by a free delivery of that, redeem the residue of Louisiana: and that she may withhold the peaceable cession of it. In that case no doubt force must be used. However the importance of this measure, the time & the means, will be for discussion at our meeting on the 25th. In the meantime I think Clarke might be trusted with a general hint of the possibility of opposition from Spain, & an instruction to sound in every direction, but with so much caution as to avoid suspicion, and to inform us whether he discovers any symptoms of doubt as to the delivery, to let us know the force Spain has there, where posted, how the inhabitants are likely to act, if we march a force there, and what numbers of them could be armed & brought to act in opposition to us. We have time to receive this information before the day of ratification, and it would guide us in our provision of force for the object. Accept my affectionate salutations & respects.
TO DOCTOR BENJAMIN RUSH
Washington Octr 4, 03.
—No one would more willingly than myself pay the just tribute due to the services of Capt. Barry, by writing a letter of condolence to his widow, as you suggest. But when one undertakes to administer justice, it must be with an even hand, & by rule; what is done for one, must be done for every one in equal degree. To what a train of attentions would this draw a President? How difficult would it be to draw the line between that degree of merit entitled to such a testimonial of it, & that not so entitled? If drawn in a particular case differently from what the friends of the deceased would judge right, what offence would it give, & of the most tender kind? How much offence would be given by accidental inattentions, or want of information? The first step into such an undertaking ought to be well weighed. On the death of Dr. Franklin, the King & Convention of France went into mourning. So did the House of Reps. of the U. S.: the Senate refused. I proposed to General Washington that the executive department should wear mourning; he declined it, because he said he should not know where to draw the line, if he once began that ceremony. Mr. Adams was then Vice President, & I thought Genl. W. had his eye on him, whom he certainly did not love. I told him the world had drawn so broad a line between himself & Dr. Franklin, on the one side, and the residue of mankind, on the other, that we might wear mourning for them, and the question still remain new & undecided as to all others. He thought it best, however, to avoid it. On these considerations alone, however well affected to the merit of Commodore Barry, I think it prudent not to engage myself in a practice which may become embarrassing.
Tremendous times in Europe! How mighty this battle of lions & tygers! With what sensations should the common herd of cattle look on it? With no partialities, certainly. If they can so far worry one another as to destroy their power of tyrannizing, the one over the earth, the other the waters, the world may perhaps enjoy peace, till they recruit again.
Affectionate & respectful salutations.
THIRD ANNUAL MESSAGE1
October 17, 1803.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
In calling you together, fellow citizens, at an earlier day than was contemplated by the act of the last session of Congress, I have not been insensible to the personal inconveniences necessarily resulting from an unexpected change in your arrangements. But matters of great public concernment have rendered this call necessary, and the interest you feel in these will supersede in your minds all private considerations.
Congress witnessed, at their last session, the extraordinary agitation produced in the public mind by the suspension of our right of deposit at the port of New Orleans, no assignment of another place having been made according to treaty. They were sensible that the continuance of that privation would be more injurious to our nation than any consequences which could flow from any mode of redress, but reposing just confidence in the good faith of the government whose officer had committed the wrong, friendly and reasonable representations were resorted to, and the right of deposit was restored.
Previous, however, to this period, we had not been unaware of the danger to which our peace would be perpetually exposed while so important a key to the commerce of the western country remained under foreign power. Difficulties, too, were presenting themselves as to the navigation of other streams, which, arising within our territories, pass through those adjacent. Propositions had, therefore, been authorized for obtaining, on fair conditions, the sovereignty of New Orleans, and of other possessions in that quarter interesting to our quiet, to such extent as was deemed practicable; and the provisional appropriation of two millions of dollars, to be applied and accounted for by the president of the United States, intended as part of the price, was considered as conveying the sanction of Congress to the acquisition proposed. The enlightened government of France saw, with just discernment, the importance to both nations of such liberal arrangements as might best and permanently promote the peace, friendship, and interests of both; and the property and sovereignty of all Louisiana, which had been restored to them, have on certain conditions been transferred to the United States by instruments bearing date the 30th of April last. When these shall have received the constitutional sanction of the senate, they will without delay be communicated to the representatives also, for the exercise of their functions, as to those conditions which are within the powers vested by the constitution in Congress. While the property and sovereignty of the Mississippi and its waters secure an independent outlet for the produce of the western States, and an uncontrolled navigation through their whole course, free from collision with other powers and the dangers to our peace from that source, the fertility of the country, its climate and extent, promise in due season important aids to our treasury, an ample provision for our posterity, and a wide-spread field for the blessings of freedom and equal laws.
With the wisdom of Congress it will rest to take those ulterior measures which may be necessary for the immediate occupation and temporary government of the country; for its incorporation into our Union; for rendering the change of government a blessing to our newly-adopted brethren; for securing to them the rights of conscience and of property: for confirming to the Indian inhabitants their occupancy and self-government, establishing friendly and commercial relations with them, and for ascertaining the geography of the country acquired. Such materials for your information, relative to its affairs in general, as the short space of time has permitted me to collect, will be laid before you when the subject shall be in a state for your consideration.
Another important acquisition of territory has also been made since the last session of Congress. The friendly tribe of Kaskaskia Indians with which we have never had a difference, reduced by the wars and wants of savage life to a few individuals unable to defend themselves against the neighboring tribes, has transferred its country to the United States, reserving only for its members what is sufficient to maintain them in an agricultural way. The considerations stipulated are, that we shall extend to them our patronage and protection, and give them certain annual aids in money, in implements of agriculture, and other articles of their choice. This country, among the most fertile within our limits, extending along the Mississippi from the mouth of the Illinois to and up the Ohio, though not so necessary as a barrier since the acquisition of the other bank, may yet be well worthy of being laid open to immediate settlement, as its inhabitants may descend with rapidity in support of the lower country should future circumstances expose that to a foreign enterprise. As the stipulations in this treaty also involve matters within the competence of both houses only, it will be laid before Congress as soon as the senate shall have advised its ratification.
With many other Indian tribes, improvements in agriculture and household manufacture are advancing, and with all our peace and friendship are established on grounds much firmer than heretofore. The measure adopted of establishing trading houses among them, and of furnishing them necessaries in exchange for their commodities, at such moderated prices as leave no gain, but cover us from loss, has the most conciliatory and useful effect upon them, and is that which will best secure their peace and good will.
The small vessels authorized by Congress with a view to the Mediterranean service, have been sent into that sea, and will be able more effectually to confine the Tripoline cruisers within their harbors, and supersede the necessity of convoy to our commerce in that quarter. They will sensibly lessen the expenses of that service the ensuing year.
A further knowledge of the ground in the north-eastern and north-western angles of the United States has evinced that the boundaries established by the treaty of Paris, between the British territories and ours in those parts, were too imperfectly described to be susceptible of execution. It has therefore been thought worthy of attention, for preserving and cherishing the harmony and useful intercourse subsisting between the two nations, to remove by timely arrangements what unfavorable incidents might otherwise render a ground of future misunderstanding. A convention has therefore been entered into, which provides for a practicable demarkation of those limits to the satisfaction of both parties.
An account of the receipts and expenditures of the year ending 30th September last, with the estimates for the service of the ensuing year, will be laid before you by the secretary of the treasury so soon as the receipts of the last quarter shall be returned from the more distant states. It is already ascertained that the amount paid into the treasury for that year has been between eleven and twelve millions of dollars, and that the revenue accrued during the same term exceeds the sum counted on as sufficient for our current expenses, and to extinguish the public debt within the period heretofore proposed.
The amount of debt paid for the same year is about three millions one hundred thousand dollars, exclusive of interest, and making, with the payment of the preceding year, a discharge of more than eight millions and a half of dollars of the principal of that debt, besides the accruing interest; and there remain in the treasury nearly six millions of dollars. Of these, eight hundred and eighty thousand have been reserved for payment of the first instalment due under the British convention of January 8th, 1802, and two millions are what have been before mentioned as placed by Congress under the power and accountability of the president, toward the price of New Orleans and other territories acquired, which, remaining untouched, are still applicable to that object, and go in diminution of the sum to be funded for it.
Should the acquisition of Louisiana be constitutionally confirmed and carried into effect, a sum of nearly thirteen millions of dollars will then be added to our public debt, most of which is payable after fifteen years; before which term the present existing debts will all be discharged by the established operation of the sinking fund. When we contemplate the ordinary annual augmentation of imposts from increasing population and wealth, the augmentation of the same revenue by its extension to the new acquisition, and the economies which may still be introduced into our public expenditures, I cannot but hope that Congress in reviewing their resources will find means to meet the intermediate interests of this additional debt without recurring to new taxes, and applying to this object only the ordinary progression of our revenue. Its extraordinary increase in times of foreign war will be the proper and sufficient fund for any measures of safety or precaution which that state of things may render necessary in our neutral position.
Remittances for the instalments of our foreign debt having been found impracticable without loss, it has not been thought expedient to use the power given by a former act of Congress of continuing them by reloans, and of redeeming instead thereof equal sums of domestic debt, although no difficulty was found in obtaining that accommodation.
The sum of fifty thousand dollars appropriated by Congress for providing gun-boats, remains unexpended. The favorable and peaceful turn of affairs on the Mississippi rendered an immediate execution of that law unnecessary, and time was desirable in order that the institution of that branch of our force might begin on models the most approved by experience. The same issue of events dispensed with a resort to the appropriation of a million and a half of dollars contemplated for purposes which were effected by happier means.
We have seen with sincere concern the flames of war lighted up again in Europe, and nations with which we have the most friendly and useful relations engaged in mutual destruction. While we regret the miseries in which we see others involved let us bow with gratitude to that kind Providence which, inspiring with wisdom and moderation our late legislative councils while placed under the urgency of the greatest wrongs, guarded us from hastily entering into the sanguinary contest, and left us only to look on and to pity its ravages. These will be heaviest on those immediately engaged. Yet the nations pursuing peace will not be exempt from all evil. In the course of this conflict, let it be our endeavor, as it is our interest and desire, to cultivate the friendship of the belligerent nations by every act of justice and of incessant kindness; to receive their armed vessels with hospitality from the distresses of the sea, but to administer the means of annoyance to none; to establish in our harbors such a police as may maintain law and order; to restrain our citizens from embarking individually in a war in which their country takes no part; to punish severely those persons, citizen or alien, who shall usurp the cover of our flag for vessels not entitled to it, infecting thereby with suspicion those of real Americans, and committing us into controversies for the redress of wrongs not our own; to exact from every nation the observance, toward our vessels and citizens, of those principles and practices which all civilized people acknowledge; to merit the character of a just nation, and maintain that of an independent one, preferring every consequence to insult and habitual wrong. Congress will consider whether the existing laws enable us efficaciously to maintain this course with our citizens in all places, and with others while within the limits of our jurisdiction, and will give them the new modifications necessary for these objects. Some contraventions of right have already taken place, both within our jurisdictional limits and on the high seas. The friendly disposition of the governments from whose agents they have proceeded, as well as their wisdom and regard for justice, leave us in reasonable expectation that they will be rectified and prevented in future; and that no act will be countenanced by them which threatens to disturb our friendly intercourse. Separated by a wide ocean from the nations of Europe, and from the political interests which entangle them together, with productions and wants which render our commerce and friendship useful to them and theirs to us, it cannot be the interest of any to assail us, nor ours to disturb them. We should be most unwise, indeed, were we to cast away the singular blessings of the position in which nature has placed us, the opportunity she has endowed us with of pursuing, at a distance from foreign contentions, the paths of industry, peace, and happiness; of cultivating general friendship, and of bringing collisions of interest to the umpirage of reason rather than of force. How desirable then must it be, in a government like ours, to see its citizens adopt individually the views, the interests, and the conduct which their country should pursue, divesting themselves of those passions and partialities which tend to lessen useful friendships, and to embarrass and embroil us in the calamitous scenes of Europe. Confident, fellow citizens, that you will duly estimate the importance of neutral dispositions toward the observance of neutral conduct, that you will be sensible how much it is our duty to look on the bloody arena spread before us with commiseration indeed, but with no other wish than to see it closed, I am persuaded you will cordially cherish these dispositions in all discussions among yourselves, and in all communications with your constituents; and I anticipate with satisfaction the measures of wisdom which the great interests now committed to you will give you an opportunity of providing, and myself that of approving and carrying into execution with the fidelity I owe to my country.
SPECIAL MESSAGE ON LOUISIANA
October 21, 1803.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
In my communications to you of the 17th instant, I informed you that the conventions had been entered into with the government of France for the cession of Louisiana to the United States. These, with the advice and consent of the Senate, having now been ratified, and my ratification exchanged for that of the first consul of France in due form, they are communicated to you for consideration in your legislative capacity. You will observe that some important conditions cannot be carried into execution, but with the aid of the legislature; and that time presses a decision on them without delay.
The ulterior provisions, also suggested in the same communication, for the occupation and government of the country, will call for early attention. Such information relative to its government, as time and distance have enabled me to obtain, will be ready to be laid before you within a few days. But, as permanent arrangements for this object may require time and deliberation, it is for your consideration whether you will not, forthwith, make such temporary provisions for the preservation, in the meanwhile, of order and tranquillity in the country, as the case may require.
TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
October 29, 1803.
I must ask the favor of you to meet the heads of Departments here to-morrow at 12 o’clock and afterwards to dine with us. The object is to decide definitely on the arrangements which are to be despatched westwardly the next day. General Dearborn and myself had concluded to submit to the meeting a plan little different from that suggested in your letter of yesterday. To wit, to send orders to Claiborne and Wilkinson to march instantly five hundred regulars (which are prepared) from Fort Adams, and one thousand militia from the Mississippi Territory (if the information from Laussat to them shall indicate refusal from Spain). To send hence on the same day a call on the Governor of Tennessee for two thousand volunteers, and of Kentucky for four thousand, to be officered, organized, accoutred, and mustered on a day to be named, such as that Claiborne and Wilkinson might by that day send them information whether they would be wanted, and to march or do otherwise accordingly. I had since thought myself to propose that, on receiving information that there would be resistance, they should send sufficient parties of regulars and militia across the Mississippi to take by surprise New Madrid, St. Genevieve, St. Louis, and all the other small posts, and that all this should be made as much as possible the act of France, by including Laussat, with the aid of Clark, to raise an insurrectionary force of the inhabitants, to which ours might be only auxiliary. But all this, with much more, is to be considered to-morrow. Affectionate salutations.1
RULES OF ETIQUETTE1
[Nov. ? 1803.]
i. In order to bring the members of society together in the first instance, the custom of the country has established that residents shall pay the first visit to strangers, and, among strangers, first comers to later comers, foreign and domestic; the character of stranger ceasing after the first visits. To this rule there is a single exception. Foreign ministers, from the necessity of making themselves known, pay the first visit to the ministers of the nation, which is returned.
ii. When brought together in society, all are perfectly equal, whether foreign or domestic, titled or untitled, in or out of office.
All other observances are but exemplifications of these two principles.
I. 1st. The families of foreign ministers, arriving at the seat of government, receive the first visit from those of the national ministers, as from all other residents.
2d. Members of the Legislature and of the Judiciary, independent of their offices, have a right as strangers to receive the first visit.
II. 1st. No title being admitted here, those of foreigners give no precedence.
2d. Differences of grade among diplomatic members, give no precedence.
3d. At public ceremonies, to which the government invites the presence of foreign ministers and their families, a convenient seat or station will be provided for them, with any other strangers invited and the families of the national ministers, each taking place as they arrive, and without any precedence.
4th. To maintain the principle of equality, or of pêle mêle, and prevent the growth of precedence out of courtesy, the members of the Executive will practice at their own houses, and recommend an adherence to the ancient usage of the country, of gentlemen in mass giving precedence to the ladies in mass, in passing from one apartment where they are assembled into another.
TO THE U. S. MINISTER TO FRANCE
(ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.)
Washington Nov. 4, 1803.
—A report reaches us this day from Baltimore, (on probable, but not certain grounds,) that Mr. Jerome Bonaparte, brother of the First Consul, was yesterday1 married to Miss Patterson, of that city. The effect of this measure on the mind of the First Consul, is not for me to suppose; but as it might occur to him, prima facie, that the Executive of the U. S. ought to have prevented it, I have thought it advisable to mention the subject to you, that, if necessary, you may be explanations set that idea to rights. You know that by our laws, all persons are free to enter into marriage, if of 21 years of age, no one having a power to restrain it, not even their parents; and that under that age, no one can prevent it but the parent or guardian. The lady is under age, and the parents, placed between her affections, which were strongly fixed, and the considerations opposing the measure, yielded with pain & anxiety to the former. Mr. Patterson is the President of the Bank of Baltimore, the wealthiest man in Maryland, perhaps in the U. S., except Mr. Carroll; a man of great virtue & respectability; the mother is the sister of the lady of General Saml Smith; and, consequently, the station of the family in society is with the first of the U. S. These circumstances fix rank in a country where there are no hereditary titles.
Your treaty has obtained nearly a general approbation. The federalists spoke & voted against it, but they are now so reduced in their numbers as to be nothing. The question on its ratification in the Senate was decided by 24 against 7, which was 10 more than enough. The vote in the H. of R. for making provision for its execution was carried by 89 against 23, which was a majority of 66, and the necessary bills are going through the Houses by greater majorities. Mr. Pichon, according to instructions from his government, proposed to have added to the ratification a protestation against any failure in time or other circumstances of execution, on our part. He was told, that in that case we should annex a counter protestation, which would leave the thing exactly where it was. That this transaction had been conducted, from the commencement of the negociation to this stage of it, with a frankness & sincerity honorable to both nations, and comfortable to the heart of an honest man to review; that to annex to this last chapter of the transaction such an evidence of mutual distrust, was to change its aspect dishonorably for us both, and contrary to truth as to us; for that we had not the smallest doubt that France would punctually execute its part; & I assured Mr. Pichon that I had more confidence in the word of the First Consul than in all the parchment we could sign. He saw that we had ratified the treaty; that both branches had passed, by great majorities, one of the bills for execution, & would soon pass the other two; that no circumstance remained that could leave a doubt of our punctual performance; & like an able & an honest minister, (which he is in the highest degree,) he undertook to do what he knew his employers would do themselves, were they here spectators of all the existing circumstances, and exchanged the ratifications purely and simply: so that this instrument goes to the world as an evidence of the candor & confidence of the nations in each other, which will have the best effects. This was the more justifiable, as Mr. Pichon knew that Spain had entered with us a protestation against our ratification of the treaty, grounded 1st, on the assertion that the First Consul had not executed the conditions of the treaties of cession; &, 2ly, that he had broken a solemn promise not to alienate the country to any nation. We answered, that these were private questions between France & Spain, which they must settle together; that we derived our title from the First Consul, & did not doubt his guarantee of it; and we, four days ago, sent off orders to the Governor of the Mississippi territory & General Wilkinson to move down with the troops at hand to New Orleans, to receive the possession from Mr. Laussat. If he is heartily disposed to carry the order of the Consul into execution, he can probably command a voluntary force at New Orleans, and will have the aid of ours also, if he desires it, to take the possession, & deliver it to us. If he is not so disposed, we shall take the possession, & it will rest with the government of France, by adopting the act as their own, & obtaining the confirmation of Spain, to supply the non-execution of their stipulation to deliver, & to entitle themselves to the compleat execution of our part of the agreements. In the meantime, the Legislature is passing the bills, and we are preparing everything to be done on our part towards execution; and we shall not avail ourselves of the three months’ delay after possession of the province, allowed by the treaty for the delivery of the stock, but shall deliver it the moment that possession is known here, which will be on the 18th day after it has taken place.
TO JOHN BRECKENRIDGE
Washington Nov. 24, 03.
—I thought I perceived in you the other day a dread of the job of preparing a constitution for the new acquisition. With more boldness than wisdom I therefore determined to prepare a canvass, give it a few daubs of outline, and send it to you to fill up. I yesterday morning took up the subject and scribbled off the inclosed. In communicating it to you I must do it in confidence that you will never let any person know that I have put pen to paper on the subject and that if you think the inclosed can be of any aid to you you will take the trouble to copy it & return me the original. I am this particular, because you know with what bloody teeth & fangs the federalists will attack any sentiment or principle known to come from me, & what blackguardisms & personalities they make it the occasion of vomiting forth. My time does not permit me to go into explanation of the inclosed by letter. I will only observe therefore as to a single feature of the legislature, that the idea of an Assembly of Notables came into my head while writing, as a thing more familiar & pleasing to the French, than a legislation of judges. True it removes their dependence from the judges to the Executive: but this is what they are used to & would prefer. Should Congress reject the nomination of judges for 4 years & make them during good behavior, as is probable, then, should the judges take a kink in their heads in favor of leaving the present laws of Louisiana unaltered, that evil will continue for their lives, unamended by us, and become so inveterate that we may never be able to introduce the uniformity of law so desirable. The making the same persons so directly judges & legislators is more against principle, than to make the same persons Executive, and the elector of the legislative members. The former too are placed above all responsibility, the latter is under a perpetual control if he goes wrong. The judges have to act on 9. out of 10. of the laws which are made; the governor not on one in 10. But strike it out & insert the judges if you think it better, as it was a sudden conceit to which I am not attached; and make what alterations you please, as I had never [had] before time to think on the subject, or form the outlines of any plan, & probably shall not again. Accept my friendly salutations.
TO JOHN RANDOLPH
Washington Dec. 1, 03.
—The explanation in your letter of yesterday was quite unnecessary to me. I have had too satisfactory proofs of your friendly regard, to be disposed to suspect anything of a contrary aspect. I understood perfectly the expressions stated in the newspaper to which you allude, to mean, that “tho’ the proposition came from the republican quarter of the House, yet you should not concur with it.” I am aware that in parts of the Union, & even with persons to whom Mr. Eppes and Mr. Randolph are unknown, & myself little known, it will be presumed from their connection, that what comes from them comes from me. No men on earth are more independent in their sentiments than they are, nor any one less disposed than I am to influence the opinions of others. We rarely speak of politics, or of the proceedings of the House, but merely historically, and I carefully avoid expressing an opinion on them, in their presence, that we may all be at our ease. With other members, I have believed that more unreserved communications would be advantageous to the public. This has been, perhaps, prevented by mutual delicacy. I have been afraid to express opinions unasked, lest I should be suspected of wishing to direct the legislative action of members. They have avoided asking communications from me, probably, lest they should be suspected of wishing to fish out executive secrets. I see too many proofs of the imperfection of human reason, to entertain wonder or intolerance at any difference of opinion on any subject; and acquiesce in that difference as easily as on a difference of feature or form; experience having long taught me the reasonableness of mutual sacrifices of opinion among those who are to act together for any common object, and the expediency of doing what good we can, when we cannot do all we would wish.
Accept my friendly salutations, and assurances of great esteem & respect.
TO DE WITT CLINTON
Washington Dec. 2, 03.
—Your favor of the 26th ult. has been received. Mr. Van Wyck’s appointment as commr. of bankruptcy only awaits Mr. Sandford’s resignation. The papers in the case of Lt. Wolstencroft shall be recommended to the inquiries & attentions of the Secretary at War. I should think it indeed a serious misfortune should a change in the administration of your government be hazarded before its present principles be well established through all its parts. Yet, on reflection, you will be sensible that the delicacy of my situation, considering who may be competitors, forbids my intermeddling, even so far as to write the letter you suggest. I can therefore only brood in silence over my secret wishes.
I am less able to give you the proceedings of Congress than your correspondents who are of that body. More difference of opinion seems to exist as to the manner of disposing of Louisiana, than I had imagined possible: and our leading friends are not yet sufficiently aware of the necessity of accommodation & mutual sacrifice of opinion for conducting a numerous assembly, where the opposition too is drilled to act in phalanx on every question. Altho’ it is acknoleged that our new fellow citizens are as yet as incapable of self government as children, yet some cannot bring themselves to suspend its principles for a single moment. The temporary or territorial government of that country therefore will encounter great difficulty. The question too whether the settlement of upper Louisiana shall be prohibited occasions a great division of our friends. Some are for prohibiting it till another amendment of the constn shall permit it; others for prohibiting by authority of the legislature only, a third set for permitting immediate settlement. Those of the first opinion apprehend that if the legislature may open a land office there, it will become the ruling principle of elections, & end in a yazoo scheme: those of the 2d opinion fear they may never get an amendment of the constitution permitting the settlement. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of great esteem & respect.
TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
Washington Dec. 13, 03.
The Attorney Genl having considered and decided that the prescription in the law for establishing a bank, that the officers in the subordinate offices of discount & deposit, shall be appointed “on the same terms and in the same manner practised in the principal bank,” does not extend to them the principle of rotation, established by the Legislature in the body of directors in the principal bank, it follows that the extension of that principle has been merely a voluntary & prudential act of the principal bank, from which they are free to depart. I think the extension was wise & proper on their part, because the Legislature having deemed rotation useful in the principal bank constituted by them, there would be the same reason for it in the subordinate banks to be established by the principal. It breaks in upon the esprit de corps so apt to prevail in permanent bodies; it gives a chance for the public eye penetrating into the sanctuary of those proceedings & practices, which the avarice of the directors may introduce for their personal emolument, & which the resentments of excluded directors, or the honesty of those duly admitted, might betray to the public; and it gives an opportunity at the end of the year, or at other periods, of correcting a choice, which, on trial, proves to have been unfortunate; an evil of which themselves complain in their distant institutions. Whether, however, they have a power to alter this, or not, the executive has no right to decide; & their consultation with you has been merely an act of complaisance, or a desire to shield so important an innovation under the cover of executive sanction. But ought we to volunteer our sanction in such a case? Ought we to disarm ourselves of any fair right of animadversion, whenever that institution shall be a legitimate subject of consideration? I own, I think the most proper answer would be, that we do not think ourselves authorized to give an opinion on the question.
From a passage in the letter of the President, I observe an idea of establishing a branch bank of the U. S. in New Orleans. This institution is one of the most deadly hostility existing, against the principles & form of our Constitution. The nation is, at this time, so strong & united in it’s sentiments, that it cannot be shaken at this moment. But suppose a series of untoward events should occur, sufficient to bring into doubt the competency of a republican government to meet a crisis of great danger, or to unhinge the confidence of the people in the public functionaries; an institution like this, penetrating by it’s branches every part of the Union, acting by command & in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government. I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or it’s regular functionaries. What an obstruction could not this bank of the U. S., with all it’s branch banks, be in time of war? It might dictate to us the peace we should accept, or withdraw it’s aids. Ought we then to give further growth to an institution so powerful, so hostile? That it is so hostile we know, 1, from a knowledge of the principles of the persons composing the body of directors in every bank, principal or branch; and those of most of the stockholders: 2, from their opposition to the measures & principles of the government, & to the election of those friendly to them: and 3, from the sentiments of the newspapers they support. Now, while we are strong, it is the greatest duty we owe to the safety of our Constitution, to bring this powerful enemy to a perfect subordination under it’s authorities. The first measure would be to reduce them to an equal footing only with other banks, as to the favors of the government. But, in order to be able to meet a general combination of the banks against us, in a critical emergency, could we not make a beginning towards an independent use of our own money, towards holding our own bank in all the deposits where it is received, and letting the treasurer give his draft or note, for payment at any particular place, which, in a well-conducted government, ought to have as much credit as any private draft, or bank note, or bill, and would give us the same facilities which we derive from the banks? I pray you to turn this subject in your mind, and to give it the benefit of your knowledge of details; whereas, I have only very general views of the subject. Affectionate salutations.
[1 ]As early as January of 1803, Jefferson had written to Gallatin:
. . . You are right, in my opinion, as to Mr. L’s proposition; there is no constitutional difficulty as to the acquisition of territory, and whether, when acquired, it may be taken into the Union by the Constitution as it now stands, will become a question of expediency. I think it will be safer not to permit the enlargement of the Union but by amendment of the Constitution. In pursuance of this view, upon receiving news of the cession, he drew up the first of the amendments in above printed papers, and sent it to the Secretary of the Navy. In reply, Smith wrote him:
—I am greatly pleased with the ideas suggested in the proposed amendment of the Constitution and I sincerely hope that they will be adopted by the Legislature of the Union. But I am rather inclined to think that they ought not all to be ingrafted upon the Constitution. Your great object is to prevent emigrations excepting to a certain portion of the ceded territory. This could be effectually accomplished by a Constitutional prohibition that Congress should not erect or establish in that portion of the ceded territory situated North of Lat. 32 degrees any new State or territorial government and that they should not grant to any people excepting Indians any right or title relative to any part of the said portion of the said territory. All other powers of making exchanges, working mines etc. would then remain in Congress to be exercised at discretion; and in the exercise of this discretion, subject as it would be to the three aforementioned restrictions I do not perceive that any thing could be done which would counteract your present intentions.
The rights of occupancy in the soil ought to be secured to the Indians and Government ought, in my opinion, to endeavour to obtain for them the exclusive occupation of the Northern portion of Louisiana excepting such posts as may be necessary to our trade and intercourse with them. But ought not this to be a subject of legislative provision? If the Indian rights of occupancy be a part of the Constitution might not the Government be hereafter thereby much entangled? Under such a Constitutional guarantee the Indians might harass our military posts or our settlements in the Southern portion or elsewhere in the most wanton manner and we could not disturb their rights of occupancy without a formal alteration of the Constitution.
Under the idea that so many & such undefined restrictions as you have proposed to be engrafted upon the Constitution might in process of time embarress the government and might probably not be acceptable to Congress, I have respectfully submitted to your consideration the enclosed sketch.
The paper enclosed by Smith is as follows:
Amendment proposed to the Constitution to be added to S. 3. Art. 4. Louisiana being in virtue of the Treaty &c. incorporated with the United States and being thereby a part of the Territory thereof Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the same as fully and effectually as if the same had been at the time of the establishment of the Constitution a part of the Territory of the U. States: provided nevertheless that Congress shall not have power to erect or establish in that portion of Louisiana which is situated North of the Latitude of /32/ degrees any new State or territorial government nor to grant to any citizen or citizens or other individual or individuals excepting Indians any right or title whatever to any part of the said portion of Louisiana until a new Amendment of the Constitution shall give that authority. Jefferson further wrote to John C. Breckenridge:
—Your favor of the 3d was delivered me at court; but we were much disappointed at not seeing you here, Mr. Madison & the Gov. being here at the time. I enclose you a letter from Monroe on the subject of the late treaty. You will observe a hint in it, to do without delay what we are bound to do. There is reason, in the opinion of our ministers, to believe, that if the thing were to do over again, it could not be obtained, & that if we give the least opening, they will declare the treaty void. A warning amounting to that has been given to them, & an unusual kind of letter written by their minister to our Secretary of State, direct. Whatever Congress shall think it necessary to do, should be done with as little debate as possible, & particularly so far as respects the constitutional difficulty. I am aware of the force of the observations you make on the power given by the Constn to Congress, to admit new States into the Union, without restraining the subject to the territory then constituting the U S. But when I consider that the limits of the U S are precisely fixed by the treaty of 1783, that the Constitution expressly declares itself to be made for the U S, I cannot help believing the intention was to permit Congress to admit into the Union new States, which should be formed out of the territory for which, & under whose authority alone, they were then acting. I do not believe it was meant that they might receive England, Ireland, Holland, &c. into it, which would be the case on your construction. When an instrument admits two constructions, the one safe, the other dangerous, the one precise, the other indefinite, I prefer that which is safe & precise. I had rather ask an enlargement of power from the nation, where it is found necessary, than to assume it by a construction which would make our powers boundless. Our peculiar security is in possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction. I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of the treaty making power as boundless. If it is, then we have no Constitution. If it has bounds, they can be no others than the definitions of the powers which that instrument gives. It specifies & delineates the operations permitted to the federal government, and gives all the powers necessary to carry these into execution. Whatever of these enumerated objects is proper for a law, Congress may make the law; whatever is proper to be executed by way of a treaty, the President & Senate may enter into the treaty; whatever is to be done by a judicial sentence, the judges may pass the sentence. Nothing is more likely than that their enumeration of powers is defective. This is the ordinary case of all human works. Let us go on then perfecting it, by adding, by way of amendment to the Constitution, those powers which time & trial show are still wanting. But it has been taken too much for granted, that by this rigorous construction the treaty power would be reduced to nothing. I had occasion once to examine its effect on the French treaty, made by the old Congress, & found that out of thirty odd articles which that contained, there were one, two, or three only which could not now be stipulated under our present Constitution. I confess, then, I think it important, in the present case, to set an example against broad construction, by appealing for new power to the people. If, however, our friends shall think differently, certainly I shall acquiesce with satisfaction; confiding, that the good sense of our country will correct the evil of construction when it shall produce ill effects.
No apologies for writing or speaking to me freely are necessary. On the contrary, nothing my friends can do is so dear to me, & proves to me their friendship so clearly, as the information they give me of their sentiments & those of others on interesting points where I am to act, and where information & warning is so essential to excite in me that due reflection which ought to precede action. I leave this about the 21st, and shall hope the District Court will give me an opportunity of seeing you.
Accept my affectionate salutations, & assurances of cordial esteem & respect.
[1 ]The following is on a separate slip immediately following the above; but it is not in Jefferson’s handwriting: Together with such tract or tracts elsewhere, within the Province not exceeding in the whole, one million acres, as particular circumstances may in the Opinion of Congress render it expedient to dispose of.
[2 ]From the original in the possession of Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet of New York.
1. What are the settlements of citizens on the east side of Pearl river? Stating their geographical position, extent & numbers.
2. Are there good lands adjoining them to render them capable of enlargement?
3. Have they encroached on the Indians?
4. Are the settlements in a course of enlargement by persons setting down on lands without title?
5. The general character of the inhabitants & from whence they are?
6. A special list by name of all such individuals worthy of appointment to such offices as may be necessary among them, and characters so particularized as that we may know for what each is fit.
7. A general account of the Spanish settlements in the adjacent country, stating all material circumstances relative to them, particularly their geographical position & numbers. Those on the Chatahouchy, Excambier, Mobile, & Pascagoula rivers especially.
8. Their military posts, the position & strength of each, and especially on the Mobile.
[1 ]The purpose of these queries is told by Jefferson in a letter to William Dunbar:
—Your favor in answer to my queries came to hand a few days ago, and I thank you for the matter it contains & the promptness with which it has been furnished. Just on my departure from this place, where I habitually pass the sickly months of Aug. & Sep. I have time only to ask information on a particular point. It has been affirmed by respectable authority, that Spain on receiving the East & West Florida of the English, did not continue that distinction, but restored Louisiana to it’s antient boundary the Perdido, and that the country from the Perdido to the Iberville has been ever since considered as a part of Louisiana, & governed by the governor of Louisiana residing at New Orleans: While the country from the Perdido Eastwardly to the Atlantic has been called as antiently, by the simple name of Florida, & governed by the governor of Florida residing at St.Augustine. The terms of the treaty render this fact very interesting if true, inasmuch as it fills up the measure of reasoning which fixes the extent of the cession Eastwardly to the Perdido. I write the present to ask of you to ascertain this fact & to give the information as quickly as possible, as it may yet be received in time to determine our proceedings. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of great esteem & respect.
[1 ]Endorsed “Answer written but not sent.”
On the subject of this letter, Jefferson wrote to Gallatin:
[1 ]A draft of this message was submitted to Madison, who on Oct. 1st returned the following notes to the president:
(0) for ‘before’ is suggested ‘without,’ the former seeming to imply that after the suspension, an assignt had been made. (1) After or for ‘friendly’ insert ‘proper.’ Omit ‘without difficulty or delay.’ There was perhaps somewhat of both, and it may become expedient to say so to Spain. (2) The enlightened mind of the first consul of France saw in its true point of view the importance of an arrangement on this subject which might contribute most towards perpetuating the peace and friendship, and promoting the interest of both nations; and the property and sovereignty of all Louisiana, as it had been ceded to France by Spain, was conveyed to the U. States by instruments bearing date on the 30th day of April last. These stipulations (instruments) will be immediately laid before the Senate, and if sanctioned by its concurrence will without delay be communicated to the House of Reps. for the exercise of its constitutional functions thereon. Such a modification of the paragraph is meant to avoid the implication that the transfer made by France, was covered by the terms ‘territory adjacent to ours’ which describe our proposition. It will also avoid, what the theory of our constitution does not seem to have met, the influence of deliberations and anticipations of the H. of Reps. on a Treaty depending in the Senate. It is not conceived that the course here suggested can produce much delay, since the tenor of the treaty being sufficiently known, the mind of the house can be preparing itself for the requisite provisions. Delay would be more likely to arise from the novelty and doubtfulness of a communication in the first instance, of a treaty negotiated by the Executive, to both Houses for their respective deliberations. (3) After ‘assure’ are proposed ‘in due season, and under prudent arrangements, important aids to our Treasury, as well as,’ an ample &c. Query: If the two or three succeeding Ps. be not more adapted to the separate and subsequent communication if adopted as above suggested. (4) For the first sentence may be substituted ‘in the territory between the Mississippi and the Ohio, another valuable acquisition has been made by a treaty &c.’ As it stands, it does not sufficiently distinguish the nature of the one acquisition from that of the other, and seems to imply that the acquisition from France was wholly on the other side of the Mississippi. May it not be as well to omit the detail of the stipulated considerations, and particularly, that of the Roman Catholic Pastor. The jealousy of some may see in it a principle, not according with the exemption of Religion from civil power. In the Indian Treaty it will be less noticed than in a President’s message. ‘Tho’ not so indispensable since the acquisition of the other bank’ conveys an idea that an immediate settlement of the other bank is in view, and may thence strengthen objections in certain quarters to the treaty with France. With a tacit allusion to profit, ‘is yet well’ may be struck out and ‘may be the more worthy’ inserted. The last sentence in this P. may be omitted, if the reason applied to a former one be thought good. (5) ‘Must also be expected’ better perhaps ‘are also to be apprehended’ for ‘both’ ‘all’ or ‘the’ belligerent &c. Holland already makes more than two. After ‘cover of our flag’ substitute ‘for vessels not entitled to, infecting thereby with suspicion the property of the real American and committing us to the risk of war to redress wrongs not our own.’ Instead of ‘to expect from every nation,’ which does not follow well the antecedent ‘endeavor’ may be inserted ‘to exact, to draw.’ This member of the sentence may indeed be dispensed with, being comprehended in the ensuing member, viz. ‘maintain the character of an independent one &c.’ ‘Maintain’ being repeated several times within a small compass, ‘pursue this course,’ may be preferable. (6) For this conclusion, is offered for consideration the following ‘for the possibility of failure in these reasonable expectations, it will rest with the wisdom of Congress to consider how far and in what form, provision may be properly made, for suspensions of intercourse when it cannot be maintained on principles of justice and self-respect,’ or ‘and therewith prevented, the necessity of remedial provisions on the part of the U. States.’ (7) for ‘unconcerned in’—‘and from.’ On Oct. 3d, the President wrote to Gallatin:
Th. Jefferson asks the favor of Mr. Gallatin to examine with rigor the enclosed project of the message to Congress, and to note on a separate paper the alterations he thinks advantageous. As it is to go through the hands of the other gentlemen of the Cabinet, his immediate attention to it is desirable. He also asks the favor of Mr. Gallatin to meet the heads of Department here to-morrow at ten o’clock. He further wrote him on Oct. 17th: Will you be so good as to enable me this morning to fill up the blank in the following passage of the message. An account of the receipts & expenditures of the year ending the 30th of Sep. last, with the estimates for the ensuing year, will be laid before you by the Secy. of the Treasy so soon as the receipts of the last quarter shall be returned from the more distant states. It is already ascertained that the amount paid into the Treasury for that year will exceed & that the revenue accrued during the same term, exceeds the sum counted on as sufficient for our current expenses, and to extinguish the public debt within the period heretofore proposed.
[1 ]On the subject of Louisiana, Jefferson further wrote to Gallatin:
The memoranda you inclosed me from Mr. Clarke deserve great attention. Such articles of them as depend on the executive shall be arranged for the next post. The following articles belong to the legislature.
The administration of justice to be prompt. Perhaps the judges should be obliged to hold their courts weekly, at least for some time to come.
The ships of resident owners to be naturalized, and in general the laws of the U. S., respecting navigation, importation, exportation &c., to be extended to the ports of the ceded territory.
The hospital to be provided for.
Slaves not to be imported, except from such of the U. S. as prohibit importation.
Without looking at the old territorial ordinance, I had imagined it best to found a government for the territory or territories of lower Louisiana on that basis. But on examining it, I find it will not do at all; that it would turn all their laws topsy turvy. Still I believe it best to appoint a governor & three judges, with legislative powers; only providing that the judges shall form the laws, & the governor have a negative only, subject further to the negative of a national legislature. The existing laws of the country being now in force, the new legislature will of course introduce the trial by jury in criminal cases, first; the habeas corpus, the freedom of the press, freedom of religion, &c., as soon as can be, and in general draw their laws and organization to the mould of ours by degrees as they find practicable without exciting too much discontent. In proportion as we find the people there riper for receiving these first principles of freedom, congress may from session to session confirm their enjoyment of them.
As you have so many more opportunities than I have of free confidence with individual members, perhaps you may be able to give them these hints to make what use of them they please. Affectionate salutations.
P. S. My idea that upper Louisiana should be continued under its present form of government, only making it subordinate to the national government, and independent of lower Louisiana. No other government can protect it from intruders.
[1 ]Endorsed in Jefferson’s hand: “This rough paper contains what was agreed upon.”
[1 ]November 8. It is now said that it did not take place on the 3d, but will this day.—T. J.