Front Page Titles (by Subject) Federalist Alarm - Liberty and Order: The First American Party Struggle
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Federalist Alarm - Lance Banning, Liberty and Order: The First American Party Struggle 
Liberty and Order: The First American Party Struggle, ed. and with a Preface by Lance Banning (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004).
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The discontents of northeastern Federalists with the Louisiana purchase are captured in these letters. Rufus King, a Massachusetts native and member of the Constitutional Convention, had gone on to become a senator from New York and ambassador to Britain; in 1816, he would be the last Federalist candidate for president. Timothy Pickering, the High-Federalist secretary of state dismissed by John Adams in 1800, was now a senator from Massachusetts.
Rufus King to Timothy Pickering (?) 4 November 1803
Congress may admit new states, but can the Executive by treaty admit them, or, what is equivalent, enter into engagements binding Congress to do so? As by the Louisiana Treaty, the ceded territory must be formed into states & admitted into the Union, is it understood that Congress can annex any condition to their admission? If not, as slavery is authorized & exists in Louisiana, and the treaty engages to protect the property of the inhabitants, will not the present inequality arising from the representation of slaves be increased?
As the provision of the Constitution on this subject may be regarded as one of its greatest blemishes, it would be with reluctance that one could consent to its being extended to the Louisiana states; and provided any act of Congress or of the several states should be deemed requisite to give validity to the stipulation of the treaty on this subject, ought not an effort to be made to limit the representation to the free inhabitants only? Had it been foreseen that we could raise revenue to the extent we have done from indirect taxes, the representation of slaves would never have been admitted; but going upon the maxim that taxation and representation are inseparable, and that the Genl. Govt. must resort to direct taxes, the states in which slavery does not exist were injudiciously led to concede to this unreasonable provision of the Constitution. On account of the effect upon the public opinion produced by alterations of the fundamental laws of a country, we should hesitate in proposing what may appear to be beneficial; but I know no one alteration of the Constitution of the U.S. which I would so readily propose as to confine representation and taxation to the free inhabitants… .
Timothy Pickering to Rufus King 3 March 1804
As long ago as the 4th of November last, you were so obliging as to notice my letter concerning Louisiana. The ruling party do not now pretend that the Louisianians are Citizens of the U. States. They do not venture to say—they have never said—that the government had a constitutional power to incorporate that new & immense country into the Union; yet they will not give themselves the trouble to alter the Constitution for that purpose. It appears very evident that in a few years, when their power shall be more confirmed and the implicit obedience of the people has been habitual, they will erect states in that territory and incorporate them into the Union. … It is further evident that the Constitution will henceforward be only a convenient instrument, to be shaped, by construction, into any form that will best promote the views of the operators. In the name of the Constitution they will commit every arbitrary act which their projects may require; or they will alter it to suit their purposes. I begin to think it would be better if we had none. The leaders of the populace wanting the sanction of a constitutional power might then be more cautious in their measures… .
Timothy Pickering to Rufus King 4 March 1804
I must request you to consider this as a continuation of my letter yesterday.
I am disgusted with the men who now rule us and with their measures. At some manifestations of their malignancy I am shocked. The coward wretch at the head, while, like a Parisian revolutionary monster, prating about humanity, could feel an infernal pleasure in the utter destruction of his opponents. We have too long witnessed his general turpitude—his cruel removals of faithful officers and the substitution of corruption and baseness for integrity and worth. We have now before the Senate a nomination of Meriweather Jones of Richmond, editor of the Examiner, a paper devoted to Jefferson and Jacobinism; and he is now to be rewarded. Mr. Hopkins, Commissioner of Loans, a man of property and integrity, is to give room to this Jones. The Commissioner may have at once in his hands thirty thousand dollars, to pay the public creditors in Virginia. He is required by law to give bond only in a sum of from five to ten thousand dollars; and Jones’ character is so notoriously bad that we have satisfactory evidence he could not now get credit at any store in Richmond for a suit of clothes! Yet I am far from thinking if this evidence were laid before the Senate that his nomination will be rejected! I am therefore ready to say “come out from among them and be separate.” Corruption is the object and instrument of the Chief and the tendency of his administration, for the purpose of maintaining himself in power & for the accomplishment of his infidel and visionary schemes. The corrupt portion of the people are the agents of his misrule; corruption is the recommendation to office; and many of some pretensions to character, but too feeble to resist temptation, become apostates. Virtue and worth are his enemies, and therefore he would overwhelm them.
The collision of democrats in your state promised some amendment. The administration of your government cannot possibly be worse. The Federalists here in general anxiously desire the election of Mr. Burr to the chair of New York; for they despair of a present ascendancy of the Federal party. Mr. Burr alone, we think, can break your democratic phalanx, and we anticipate much good from his success. Were New York detached (as under his administration it would be) from the Virginia influence, the whole Union should be benefited. Jefferson would then be forced to observe some caution and forbearance in his measures. And if a separation should be deemed proper, the five New England States, New York, and New Jersey would naturally be united. Among those seven states there is a sufficient congeniality of character to authorize the expectation of practicable harmony and a permanent union; New York the center. Without a separation, can those states ever rid themselves of Negro Presidents and Negro Congresses and regain their just weight in the political balance? At this moment the slaves of the middle and southern states have fifteen representatives in Congress; and they will appoint 15 Electors of the next President & Vice President; and the number of slaves is continually increasing. You know this evil. But will the slave states ever renounce this advantage? As population is in fact no rule of taxation, the Negro representation ought to be given up. If refused, it would be a strong ground of separation; tho’ perhaps an earlier occasion may occur to declare it. How many Indian wars, excited by the avidity of the western and southern states of Indian lands, shall we have to encounter? And who will pay the millions to support them? The Atlantic States. Yet the first moment we ourselves need assistance and call on the western states for taxes, they will declare off, or at any rate refuse to obey the call. Kentucky effectually resisted the collection of the excise; and of the $37,000 direct tax assessed upon her so many years ago, she has paid only $4,000, & probably will never pay the residue. In the mean time we are maintaining their representatives in Congress for governing us, who surely can much better govern ourselves. Whenever the western states detach themselves they will take Louisiana with them. In thirty years, the white population in the western states will equal that of the 13 States when they declared themselves independent of G. Britain. On the Census of 1790, Kentucky was entitled to two Representatives; under that of 1800 she sends six.
The facility with which we have seen an essential change in the Constitution proposed and generally adopted will perhaps remove your scruples about proposing what you intimate respecting Negro representation. But I begin to doubt whether that or any other change we could propose, with a chance of adoption, would be worth the breath, paper, and ink which would be expended in the acquisition. Some think Congress will rise in 15 or 20 days… .*