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Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson vol. 9 (1799-1803) [1905]

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Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, Federal Edition (New York and London, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904-5). Vol. 9. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/757

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About this Title:

Volume 9 of the “Federal Edition” of Jefferson’s works in 12 volumes edited by Paul Leicester Ford in 1904-05. This volume contains various letters and papers as well as his “Inaugural Address” as President.

Copyright information:

The text is in the public domain.

Fair use statement:

This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [none] Edition: current; Page: [none] Edition: current; Page: [none]
The Works of Thomas Jefferson in Twelve Volumes Federal Edition
lf0054-09_figure_001.jpg
Edition: current; Page: [i]
The Works of Thomas Jefferson
Collected and Edited by Paul Leicester Ford
Volume IX
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
New York and London The Knickerbocker Press
1905
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

The Knickerbocker Press, New York

Edition: current; Page: [iii]

CONTENTS OF VOLUME IX

  • Itinerary and Chronology . . . . . page xix
  • 1799
  • To James Madison, January 3d . . . . . 3
  • President’s speech—Republican spirit gaining ground—Conciliatory attitude of France—Navy—Insurance—Elections—Bankruptcy of Knox—Petition in re Lyon.
  • To James Monroe, January 3d . . . . . 5
  • Lands—Knox’s bankruptcy—Logan—Lyon.
  • To James Madison, January 16th . . . . 6
  • Harper’s forgery—Logan—Gerry’s letters—Sincerity of France—Expenses—Taxes—Treaty commissioners—Bonaparte’s movements—Tobacco—Federal Convention debates.
  • To James Monroe, January 23d . . . . . 9
  • Expenses and income—Gerry’s correspondence—X. Y. Z. delusion disappearing—St. Domingo Bill—Elections.
  • To John Taylor, January 24th . . . . . 13
  • Death of Tazewell—Succession by Monroe.
  • To John Page, January 24th . . . . . 13
  • Gerry’s correspondence—Irritating measures towards France—Loans—Income and expenses—Infidelities of post-office.
  • To Elbridge Gerry, January 26th . . . . 15
  • Friendship—Logan’s mission—Jefferson’s relation thereto—Loyalty to Constitution—Relations with Europe—Well-wisher of French revolution—Facts as to Gerry—X. Y. Z. Fever—Abuse—Federalist dislike of Gerry.Edition: current; Page: [iv]
  • To Edmund Pendleton, January 29th . . . 27
  • Address of Pendleton—X. Y. Z. and Gerry—Urges Pendleton to write a recapitulation—Federalist measures restoring reason—“Logan” Bill.
  • To James Madison, January 30th . . . . 29
  • Congressional measures—Political changes in states—Petitions against Alien and Sedition bills—Bonaparte—Tobacco.
  • To James Madison, February 5th . . . . 32
  • Army Bill—Non-intercourse Bill—St. Domingo clause—Livermore—Political changes—Squib in Bache’s paper—Engine of the press.
  • To James Monroe, February 11th . . . . 35
  • Congressional bills—Loans—New diplomatic appointments—The Retaliation.
  • To Aaron Burr, February 11th . . . . 37
  • Private business—Navy and Army bills—St. Domingo and American slavery—System of alarm flags—German counties of Pennsylvania.
  • To James Madison, February 12th . . . . 39
  • Bills—French arrêt—Appointments—Coalition with Russia and Turkey.
  • To Archibald Stuart, February 13th . . . 40
  • Congressional measures—Excessive taxation—Gerry’s information as to France—The Retaliation—Diplomatic appointments—British depredations—Petitions against Alien and Sedition bills—Danger of extreme measures—Nails.
  • To Edmund Pendleton, February 14th . . . 45
  • Former request—Political changes—Danger of force—Gallatin’s speech—Article by Nicholas—The Retaliation—Diplomatic appointments—Conduct of France—Reception of ministers—Army Bill—Treaty Commission.
  • To James Madison, February 19th . . . . 50
  • Army Bill—The Retaliation—Negotiation with Murray.
  • To Edmund Pendleton, February 19th . . . 53
  • The Retaliation—Murray’s nomination—Consul to St. Domingo—French conduct.
  • To James Monroe, February 19th . . . . 55
  • Murray’s nomination—Surprise of Federalists.Edition: current; Page: [v]
  • To Robert R. Livingston, February 23d . . . 57
  • Steam engine—Pump—Politics—Tories.
  • To James Madison, February 26th . . . . 59
  • Murray’s nomination—Superseded by new envoys—Report on Alien and Sedition bills—Ill-treatment of opponents.
  • To Bishop James Madison, February 27th . . 61
  • Nomination of envoys to France—Petitions.
  • To Thomas Lomax, March 12th . . . . . 62
  • Spirit of 1776—War party—Political changes—French misconduct.
  • To Edmund Pendleton, April 22d . . . . 64
  • Newspaper article—Political changes—Hamilton the real general—Massachusetts—Commerce.
  • To Archibald Stuart, May 14th . . . . 66
  • Money affairs—Nails—McDowell—Congressional election—Henry’s apostasy.
  • To Tench Coxe, May 21st . . . . . . 68
  • New paper—Congressional elections—Fear of Henry.
  • To Harry Innes, June 20th . . . . . 71
  • Logan—Notes on Virginia—Volney.
  • To Edmund Randolph, August 18th . . . . 73
  • Common law in Federal courts—Encroachments of national government—Continuance of laws—Virginia’s example.
  • To James Madison, August 23d . . . . . 77
  • Nails—Plasterer—United action of Virginia and Kentucky.
  • To Wilson C. Nicholas, August 26th . . . 78
  • United action of Virginia and Kentucky.
  • To Wilson C. Nicholas, September 5th . . . 79
  • Proposed answer in re Kentucky resolutions—Common law in Federal courts.
  • To James Thomson Callender, September 6th . 81
  • Money—Richmond Association.
  • To James Thomson Callender, October 6th . . 83
  • Barbary negotiations—Method of choosing electoral college—Writings of Callender.Edition: current; Page: [vi]
  • To Stephen Thompson Mason, October 27th . . 85
  • Farming—Election of McKean—Republicanism growing.
  • To Charles Pinckney, October 29th . . . 86
  • Robbins’s case—Pennsylvania election—Common law in Federal courts—French misfortunes—Route of travel.
  • To James Madison, November 22d . . . . 89
  • Danger of consultation—Distrust of post-office—Jury system.
  • 1800
  • To James Monroe, January 12th . . . . 90
  • Presidential election—Conversation with Burr—Politics—Personal wishes.
  • To Mary Jefferson Eppes, January 17th . . . 92
  • Journey — Senate — Adjournment — J. Randolph insulted—Dupont—Lafayette—Return to Monticello—Anxiety of parent.
  • To Joseph Priestley, January 18th . . . . 95
  • Pamphlets — Persecution — Newspapers — Residence—Proposed college—Courses—Dupont—Visit.
  • To Martha Jefferson Randolph, January 21st . 99
  • Birth of grandchild—Children.
  • To Harry Innes, January 23d . . . . . 99
  • Logan’s murder—Western judicial district—Mississippi territory—European rumors—New French revolution—Plural executive.
  • To Joseph Priestley, January 27th . . . . 102
  • Courses of study—Languages—School Bill—Temporary American delirium.
  • To John Breckenridge, January 29th . . . 105
  • Kentucky resolutions—Western judicial district—Vivavoce testimony—Juries—French revolution—Bonaparte.
  • To Bishop James Madison, January 31st . . . 108
  • Illuminatism — Barruel — Wishaupt — Freemasons — Morse—Godwin—New French revolution.
  • To Thomas Mann Randolph, February 2d . . 110
  • French Revolution—Bonaparte—Federalist plans—Hamilton—Taxes—Robbins’s case—Disunion of States—Bankruptcies.Edition: current; Page: [vii]
  • To James Monroe, February 6th . . . . 113
  • Madison’s report.
  • To Samuel Adams, February 26th . . . . 114
  • Revolutionary principles—National debt—French republicans—Bonaparte.
  • To George Wythe, February 28th . . . . 115
  • Parliamentary rules—Congressional proceedings—Proposed manual.
  • To James Madison, March 4th . . . . . 118
  • Constitutional amendments—Loans—Bankruptcies—Robbins’s case—Envoys to France—Tobacco—Misuse of commercial powers—Presidency—Election.
  • To Benjamin Hawkins, March 14th . . . . 123
  • Change of condition from 1775—Indian languages—Mrs. Trist—Social news.
  • To James Madison, March 25th . . . . . 126
  • Nicholas’s amendment to Constitution—Judiciary law—Growth of republicanism.
  • To Philip Norborne Nicholas, April 7th . . 127
  • Cooper’s pamphlet—Declaratory act—Political changes.
  • To William Hamilton of Woodlands, April 22d . 129
  • Apparent neglect—Social discord—Political antipathies—Botany.
  • To Edward Livingston, April 30th . . . . 131
  • Election—Madness of Federalists—Judiciary Bill—Presidential election—Marshall’s manœuvre—Bill incorporating copper mine.
  • To Robert R. Livingston, April 30th . . . 133
  • Agricultural transactions — Mould-board — Vegetable paper—Constitutional construction.
  • To James Madison, May 12th . . . . . 135
  • Congressional proceedings—Federalist majority—Senate regardless of public opinion.
  • To James Monroe, May 26th . . . . . 135
  • Anti-unionists—Atheism—Calumnies—Chase—Callender—Movements.
  • To Pierce Butler, August 11th . . . . 137
  • Political changes—Scheme to elect Pinckney—Burr.Edition: current; Page: [viii]
  • To Gideon Granger, August 13th . . . . 138
  • Republican majority—New England—Common law—True theory of government—Credulity of people—Letter of M’Gregory.
  • To Jeremiah Moor, August 14th . . . . 142
  • Principles—Scheme of State constitution—Suffrage—Limit of election—Exclusion of clergy—Political changes.
  • To James Madison, September 17th . . . . 144
  • No news of envoys—Truxton—Prospects of election.
  • To James Monroe, September 20th . . . . 145
  • Lands—Negro insurrection.
  • To Doctor Benjamin Rush, September 23d . . 146
  • Yellow-fever—Recognition of merit—Possible aristocracy—Christianity—Religious freedom—Forgeries—Insurrection of slaves.
  • To James Monroe, November 8th . . . . 149
  • President’s speech—Lands—Negro insurrection.
  • To Robert R. Livingston, December 14th . . 150
  • Steam engine—“Big-bones”—Success of Republicans—Offer of Secretaryship of Navy—Expense of office.
  • To Aaron Burr, December 15th . . . . 154
  • Election news—Hope of Federalists—Regret over Burr not being available for Cabinet position.
  • To John Breckenridge, December 18th . . . 156
  • Letter-writing—Federalist schemes—French convention.
  • To James Madison, December 19th . . . . 157
  • Election news—Asks Madison to join him—French convention—Federalist plans.
  • To Cæsar Rodney, December 21st . . . . 160
  • Election—French treaty—Judiciary Bill—Public roads—Province of national government.
  • To James Madison, December 26th . . . . 161
  • Election—Federalist schemes—French convention—Territorial government—Lyons fine.
  • To Tench Coxe, December 31st . . . . 162
  • Writings of Coxe—Equality of votes—Election plans.
  • Services of Jefferson . . . . . . 163Edition: current; Page: [ix]
  • 1801
  • To Mary Jefferson Eppes, January 4th . . . 166
  • Letters—Visit to Mount Vernon—Election—Burr—Future movements.
  • To Dr. Hugh Williamson, January 10th . . . 167
  • Temperature—Origin of turkey—Strickland arms.
  • To William Dunbar, January 12th . . . . 170
  • Temperature—Cold—Rainbows—Indian vocabularies.
  • To Colonel John Hoomes, January 24th . . 172
  • Sedition Law—French convention.
  • To James Madison, February 1st . . . . 172
  • Refusal of Livingston—Samuel Smith—Election—Madison’s health.
  • To Aaron Burr, February 1st . . . . . 173
  • Sowing tares—Letter to Breckenridge—Slander.
  • To Thomas M’Kean, February 2d . . . . 174
  • Election—Free elections—Patronage and removals.
  • To Tench Coxe, February 11th . . . . 176
  • American Museum—Election—Federal desertion of offices—Defects of Constitution.
  • To Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton, February 14th . 177
  • Appointments—Removal from offices—Election—Constitutional convention.
  • To James Monroe, February 15th . . . . 178
  • Election—Federalist schemes—Constitutional convention—Refusal to make pledges.
  • To Robert R. Livingston, February 16th . . 180
  • Regrets at refusal—Election to Philosophical Society—Agricultural societies.
  • To James Madison, February 18th . . . . 182
  • Election—Obstinacy of Federalists—Federalist support—Adams’s conduct—Nominations.
  • To Lieutenant Henry Dearborn, February 18th . 184
  • Offer of Secretaryship of War—Meeting of new Cabinet.
  • To Thomas Mann Randolph, February 19th . . 185
  • Election—Federalist phalanx.Edition: current; Page: [x]
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury, February 20th . . . . . . . . . 186
  • Thanks for offer of service.
  • To the Secretary of the Navy, February 21st . 187
  • Thanks for offer of service.
  • To Robert R. Livingston, February 24th . . 187
  • Offer of French Mission.
  • To Thomas Lomax, February 25th . . . . 188
  • Federalists yielding—Dangers of dissolution of Union.
  • Speech to the Senate, February 28th . . . 189
  • Inaugural Address, March 4th . . . . 193
  • To Charles Pinckney, March 6th . . . . 200
  • Patronage of South Carolina.
  • To John Dickinson, March 6th . . . . . 201
  • Victory of Republicanism—Amelioration of mankind.
  • To James Monroe, February [March] 7th . . 202
  • Inaugural Address—Federalist devices—Union of honest men.
  • To Horatio Gates, March 8th . . . . . 205
  • Patronage—Conciliation of honest Federalists.
  • To Thomas M’Kean, March 9th . . . . . 206
  • Burr—Contest over Presidency—Virginia bristling—Communication of news.
  • To Samuel Smith, March 9th . . . . . 207
  • Offer of Naval portfolio—Geographical situation.
  • To the Secretary of State, March 12th . . 208
  • Condolences — Cabinet arrangements — S. Smith — T. Lear—R. Morris.
  • To Philip Mazzei, March 17th . . . . . 210
  • Health—Marriage of Mazzei—Plants—Financial affairs—Cabinet.
  • To Thomas Paine, March 18th . . . . . 212
  • Opposition to war—Offer of passage in public ship—R. R. Livingston.
  • To M. de Rayneval, March 20th . . . . 214
  • Gérard’s land claims—Pre-revolutionary land companies.Edition: current; Page: [xi]
  • To Doctor Joseph Priestley, March 21st . . 216
  • Value of life to public—Bigotry—Christianity—Alien Law—Recent political phrenzy—Proposed convention in case of non-election of President.
  • To Doctor George Logan, March 21st . . . 219
  • Freedom of ocean—Avoidance of European affairs.
  • To Nathaniel Niles, March 22d . . . . 220
  • Recent political scenes—Montesquieu’s error—Convention.
  • To William B. Giles, March 23d . . . . 222
  • Patronage and removals—Changed position of people—Federalist desperadoes.
  • To William Findley, March 24th . . . . 224
  • Safety of public opinion—Appointments—Removals.
  • To Samuel Smith, March 24th . . . . . 226
  • Naval portfolio—Addresses—Appointments.
  • To Robert R. Livingston, March 24th . . . 227
  • French convention—Secretary of Legation.
  • To Doctor Benjamin Rush, March 24th . . . 229
  • Patronage—Adams’s conduct.
  • To the Spanish Chargé, March 26th . . . 232
  • Relations with Spain—Personal views—Yrujo’s appointment.
  • To the Secretary of State, March 26th . . 234
  • Naval portfolio—Cabinet news.
  • To Mrs. Sarah Mease, March 26th . . . . 234
  • Appointments.
  • To Henry Knox, March 27th . . . . . 236
  • Inaugural Address — Federalism — Removals — Midnight appointments—Union.
  • To George Jefferson, March 27th . . . . 238
  • Nepotism.
  • To Samuel Adams, March 29th . . . . . 239
  • Regard for Adams—Hope of harmony—Removals.
  • To Elbridge Gerry, March 29th . . . . 240
  • Southern compared to Northern pulse—Union of sentiment—Removals—Clergy.Edition: current; Page: [xii]
  • To the Postmaster-General, March 29th . . 244
  • Postmasters — Removals — Midnight appointments—Goodrich’s case.
  • To Archibald Stuart, April 8th . . . . 247
  • Midnight judges—Federalization of courts.
  • To the Postmaster-General, May 3d . . . 249
  • Regeneration of Rhode Island and of New England—Federalism.
  • To Gouverneur Morris, May 8th . . . . 250
  • Public service of silver—Appointments—Naval portfolio.
  • To Theodore Foster, May 9th . . . . . 251
  • Phrenzy of ’98—Midnight appointments.
  • To Nathaniel Macon, May 14th . . . . 253
  • Appointment—Republican reforms.
  • To George Clinton, May 17th . . . . . 254
  • Appointments—New York patronage.
  • To William Duane, May 23d . . . . . 255
  • Pennsylvania split—Public stationery—Duane’s prosecution.
  • To James Monroe, May 26th . . . . . 259
  • Callender—Louisiana and the Floridas.
  • To James Monroe, May 29th . . . . . 260
  • Gosport navy-yard funds—Correspondence between general and state governments.
  • To James Monroe, May 29th . . . . . 262
  • Callender—Public correspondence—Louisiana and Florida—Barbary Powers.
  • To Wilson Cary Nicholas, June 11th . . . 264
  • Barbary Powers—Mediterranean trade—Missions—Removals.
  • To John D. Burke, June 21st . . . . . 267
  • Poetry—Patronage.
  • To the Attorney-General, July 11th . . . 268
  • Consolidation of people—Essex junto and Federalism—Removals.
  • To Elias Shipman and Others, a Committee of the Merchants of New Haven, July 12th . . 270
  • Case of Bishop and Goodrich.Edition: current; Page: [xiii]
  • To the Governor of the Mississippi Territory, July 13th . . . . . . . . . 274
  • Attitude towards Spain and Louisiana—Mississippi Territory—Clarke and Dunbar.
  • To the Secretary of State, July 15th . . . 277
  • Question and opinion as to prizes.
  • To Pierpont Edwards, July 21st . . . . 278
  • Removals—Future political movements—Connecticut clergy.
  • To John Dickinson, July 23d . . . . . 280
  • Vaughan—Appointment of marshal—Republican division—Federalism.
  • To Thomas McKean, July 24th . . . . . 282
  • Appointments and removals—Reply to New Haven remonstrance—Personal abuse—Republican discord.
  • To the Secretary of State, August 12th . . 285
  • Correspondence of Webster—Case of Bishop—Reply to Thornton.
  • To Pierce Butler, August 26th . . . . 287
  • Removals.
  • To the Attorney-General, August 26th . . 289
  • Answer to New Haven remonstrance—Personal abuse—Senatorships.
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury, August 28th . 291
  • Appointments—John Page—Prizes.
  • To the United States Minister to France, August 28th . . . . . . . . . 294
  • Treaty with France—Possible French minister.
  • To the United States Minister to France, September 9th . . . . . . . . 295
  • Maritime law—Free goods—Blockade—Treaties with European Powers.
  • To the Secretary of State, September 12th . . 302
  • French Treaty—Misuse of public funds.
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury, September 18th . . . . . . . . . 304
  • Office seekers—Amendment of Constitution—Livingston—Health—Absence from Washington.Edition: current; Page: [xiv]
  • To William Short, October 3d . . . . . 306
  • Recall—Rule of diplomatic rotation—Republican accessions—Hatred of European coalitions—Neutral rights—Missions—Livingston.
  • Circular to the Heads of the Departments, November 6th . . . . . . . . 310
  • Method of conducting public business.
  • To James Monroe, November 14th . . . . 312
  • Whitney—Gun machine.
  • To Aaron Burr, November 18th . . . . 313
  • Appointments—Fortification of New York.
  • To the Governor of Virginia, November 24th . 315
  • Virginia resolution concerning penal colony for negroes.
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury, November 28th. 319
  • Slave ships.
  • To the Reverend Isaac Story, December 5th . 319
  • Transmigration—Ethics.
  • First Annual Message, December 8th . . . 321
  • To Doctor Benjamin Rush, December 20th . . 343
  • Vaccination—Opening of Congress—Health.
  • 1802
  • To the Attorney-General, January 1st . . . 346
  • Addresses—Church and State.
  • To James Cheetham, January 17th . . . . 347
  • Suppression of Wood’s History of John Adams—Callender.
  • To Wilson Cary Nicholas, January 26th . . 348
  • Informal appointments.
  • To John Page, February 20th . . . . . 350
  • Offer of office.
  • To the United States Minister to France, March 16th . . . . . . . . . 356
  • French relations.
  • To the Attorney-General, March 24th . . . 357
  • Abuse and libels.Edition: current; Page: [xv]
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury, April 1st . 358
  • Report on Sinking Fund—Hamilton’s financial plans—Simplification of public accounts.
  • To William Branch Giles, April 6th . . . 361
  • Case of the Berceau.
  • To the United States Minister to France, April 18th . . . . . . . . . 363
  • Cipher—Correspondence—Louisiana and Florida—New Orleans—Certainty of ill feeling.
  • To Cæsar A. Rodney, April 24th . . . . 368
  • Federalist leaders—Delaware politics.
  • To Joel Barlow, May 3d . . . . . . 370
  • Congress proceedings—Political events—Future residence and work—Marshall’s Washington.
  • To Charles Wilson Peale, May 5th . . . . 373
  • Mammoth.
  • To the Governor of Virginia, June 2d . . . 373
  • Insurgent negroes—Sierra Leone.
  • To Cæsar A. Rodney, June 14th . . . . 376
  • Removal of McLane.
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury, June 19th . 379
  • Bank of Pennsylvania.
  • To Dr. Joseph Priestley, June 19th . . . 380
  • Republicanism—Jefferson and the Constitution—Invitation—Climate.
  • To John Langdon, June 29th . . . . . 382
  • Appointments—Political changes in New England.
  • To the United States Minister to Great Britain, July 13th . . . . . . . . 383
  • Unrest among slaves—Colony for insurrectionary slaves—Sierra Leone—Emancipation.
  • To James Monroe, July 15th . . . . . 387
  • Callender.
  • To Elbridge Gerry, August 28th . . . . 390
  • Removal of brother—Patronage—Political changes.
  • To Gideon Granger, August 29th . . . . 393
  • Bishop’s pamphlets—Schism in New York.Edition: current; Page: [xvi]
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury, September 13th . 394
  • Effect of European peace on revenues.
  • To the Secretary of State, September 13th . . 395
  • Livingston’s course and Jefferson’s dissatisfaction.
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury, October 7th . 395
  • Bank of Baltimore—Danger from United States Bank.
  • To the United States Minister to France, October 10th . . . . . . . . . 396
  • Attitude towards France—Newspapers—Callender—Political changes.
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury, October 13th. 398
  • Piers in the Delaware—Constitutional question.
  • To the Attorney-General, October 25th . . 400
  • Sickness—Gain from elections—Slanders—Limit of official partisanship.
  • To Thomas Cooper, November 29th . . . . 402
  • Alexander of Russia—France’s retrogression—Republican policy.
  • To Dr. Joseph Priestley, November 29th . . 404
  • Alexander of Russia—Books on government—Republican policy—City of Washington.
  • Second Annual Message, December 15th . . 406
  • To Cæsar A. Rodney, December 31st . . . 415
  • Need of men of business in Congress—Message.
  • 1803
  • To James Monroe, January 10th . . . . 416
  • Ferment in west—Nomination of Monroe.
  • To Thomas Paine, January 13th . . . . 417
  • Alleged coolness of Jefferson—Demands on time.
  • To the Special Envoy to France, January 13th . 418
  • Ferment over New Orleans—Louisiana and the Floridas—Desires of United States—Conveyance in public ship.
  • Confidential Message on Expedition to the Pacific, January 18th . . . . . . 421
  • To the Governor of Kentucky, January 18th . 434
  • Memorial of Kentucky—Right of deposit—Mission of Monroe—Resolution of House.Edition: current; Page: [xvii]
  • To P. S. Dupont de Nemours, February 1st . . 436
  • Friction with France—Right of deposit—Monroe’s mission—Importance of crisis—Dupont’s good offices.
  • To the United States Minister to France, February 3d . . . . . . . . 441
  • Mission of Monroe.
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury, February 10th. 443
  • Documents relating to appointments.
  • To Benjamin Hawkins, February 18th . . . 445
  • Social discrimination—Removals—Civilization of Indians—Transfer of Indians—Personal views.
  • To Thomas McKean, February 19th . . . 449
  • Re-election of McKean—Republican gains—Louisiana—Poisoning influence of office-holding—Prosecutions for libel.
  • To Benjamin Rush, February 28th . . . . 452
  • Lewis and Clark’s expedition—Personal health.
  • To the Secretary of State, March 22d . . . 454
  • Barbary Powers—Kentucky news.
  • To the Secretary of the Treasury, March 28th . 455
  • Morris—Pennsylvania schism.
  • Syllabus of an Estimate of the Merit of the Doctrines of Jesus, Compared with those of Others. April . . . . . . 457
  • To John Bacon, April 30th . . . . . 463
  • Federalism—Redress at New Orleans—Possible cession.
  • To the Postmaster-General, May 8th . . . 465
  • Virginia elections—Irritation towards France.
  • To Christopher Ellery, May 19th . . . . 466
  • Slave-trade criminal.
  • To the Postmaster-General, May 20th . . . 468
  • “Priest-ridden” Connecticut—Virginia elections.
  • To Levi Lincoln, June 1st . . . . . 469
  • Newspaper article.
  • Answer to Gabriel Jones, June . . . . 471
Edition: current; Page: [xviii] Edition: current; Page: [xix]

ITINERARY AND CHRONOLOGY of THOMAS JEFFERSON 1799–1803

1799. —Mar. 1. Leaves Philadelphia.
8. Arrives at Monticello.
Sept. 6. Orders payment to Callender of $50.
Dec. 21. Leaves Monticello.
28. Arrives at Philadelphia.
1800. Body servant Jupiter dies.
Prints “Appendix” to Notes on Virginia.
Jan. 18. Plans University of Virginia.
Feb. Prepares Parliamentary Manual.
March 11. Has conversation with Adams.
May Republican Caucus Nominates Jefferson and Burr.
15. Leaves Philadelphia.
21. At Montblanco.
26. At Eppington.
29. At Edgehill.
29. Arrives at Monticello.
June Capital removed to Washington.
Oct. 22. Orders payment to Callender of $50.
Nov. 24. Leaves Monticello.
29. Arrives at Washington.
Dec. 14. Offers Secretaryship of Navy to Livingston.
1801. —Jan. 22. Pays visit to Mount Vernon.
Feb. 11. Congress begins to ballot for President.
17. Jefferson elected President.
18. Offers Secretaryship of War to Dearborn.
1801. —Feb. 24. Offers French Mission to Livingston.
28. Farewell Speech to Senate.
Mar. 4. At Washington.
Inaugurated as President.
5. Nominates Madison, Dearborn, and Lincoln to Cabinet.
Nominates R. R. Livingston Minister to France.
8. Cabinet decide on list of removals.
9. Cabinet remit fines under Sedition Law.
18. Offers Paine passage in public vessel.
Apr. 1. Leaves Washington.
5. At Monticello.
26. Leaves Monticello.
29. At Washington.
May 14. Appoints Gallatin Secretary of Treasury.
15. Gallatin arrives at Washington.
Cabinet discuss Barbary War.
Squadron ordered to Mediterranean.
16. Netherland, Portuguese, and Prussian Missions abolished.
Federalist Marshals and Attorneys to be removed.
June 30. Leaves Washington.
July 2. At Monticello.
11. At Washington.
12. Replies to New Haven remonstrance.
15. Appoints Robert Smith Secretary of Navy.
30. Leaves Washington.
Aug. 4. At Monticello.
Sept. 28. Leaves Monticello.
Oct. 3. At Washington.
22. Reduction of Naval officers.
Nov. 6. Outlines method of conducting Executive business.
12. Drafts Message on Duane, but suppresses it.
28. Appoints Granger Postmaster-General.
Dec. 8. Sends first Annual Message.
1802. —Jan. 6. Sends list of appointments to Senate.
11. Sends Message on Washington City.
18. Cabinet Decision in re Tripoli.
27. Sends Message on Indians.
Feb. 2. Sends Message on Military Affairs.
Mar. 8. Approves bill repealing Judiciary Act.
Apr. 6. Approves bill to repeal Internal taxes.
1802. —Apr. 26. Approves Judiciary Bill.
May 5. Leaves Washington.
8. At Monticello.
June 2. At Washington.
Attacked by Callender.
July 21. Leaves Washington.
25. At Monticello.
Oct. 7. At Washington.
16. Right of deposit suspended.
21. Cabinet Decision on Tripoline War.
Nov. 15. Replies to Connecticut Address.
Dec. 15. Sends second Annual Message.
22. Sends Special Message on proceedings at New Orleans.
1803. —Jan. 11. Nominates Monroe Joint Minister to France.
Sends Message on Spanish Spoliations.
18. Sends secret Message on Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Sends Message on Indians.
Mar. 17. At Monticello.
Apr. Prepares estimate of Christ.
9. At Washington.
11. Talleyrand offers to sell Louisiana.
May 2. Louisiana Treaty signed at Paris.
June Writes article signed “Fair Play.”
20. Draws instruction for Lewis.
Writes answer to Gabriel Jones.
Edition: current; Page: [xxii] Edition: current; Page: [1] Edition: current; Page: [2] Edition: current; Page: [3]

CORRESPONDENCE and MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS 1799–1801

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 3, 99
Philadelphia
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison.

mad. mss.

I have suffered the post hour to come so nearly on me, that I must huddle over what I have more than appears in the public papers. I arrived here on Christmas day, not a single bill or other article of business having yet been brought into Senate. The P’s speech, so unlike himself in point of moderation, is supposed to have been written by the military conclave, & particularly Hamilton. When the Senate gratuitously hint Logan to him, you see him in his reply come out in his genuine colors. The debates on that subject & Logan’s declaration you will see in the papers. The republican spirit is supposed to be gaining ground in this State & Massachusetts. The tax gatherer has already excited discontent. Gerry’s correspondence with Taleyrand, promised by the Presidt at the opening of the session, is still kept Edition: current; Page: [4] back. It is known to shew France in a very conciliatory attitude, and to contradict some executive assertions. Therefore, it is supposed they will get their war measures well taken before they will produce this damper. Vans Murray writes them, that the French government is sincere in their overtures for reconciliation, & have agreed, if these fail, to admit the mediation offered by the Dutch govnt. In the mean time the raising the army is to go on, & it is said they propose to build twelve 74’s. Insurance is now higher in all the commercial towns against British than French capture. The impressment of seamen from one of our armed vessels by a British man of war has occasioned mr. Pickering to bristle up it is said. But this cannot proceed to any effect. The capture by the French of the Retaliation (an armed vessel we had taken from them) will probably be played off to the best advantage. Lyon is re-elected. His majority is great. Reports vary from 600. to 900. Logan was elected into the Pensylva. legislature against F. A. Muhlenburg by 1256 to 769. Livermore has been re-elected in N. Hampshire by a majority of 1. in the lower & 2. in the upper house.

Genl Knox has become bankrupt for 400,000 D, & has resigned his military commission. He took in Genl Lincoln for 150,000 D, which breaks him. Colo Jackson also sunk with him. It seems generally admitted, that several cases of the yellow fever still exist in the city, and the apprehension is, that it will re-appear early in the spring. You promised me a copy of McGee’s bill of prices. Be so good as to send it on to me here. Tell mrs. Madison her friend Edition: current; Page: [5] Made d’Yrujo, is as well as one can be so near to a formidable crisis. Present my friendly respects to her, and accept yourself my sincere & affectionate salutations. Adieu.

I omitted to mention that a petition has been presented to the President, signed by several thousand persons in Vermont, praying a remitment of Lyon’s fine. He asked the bearer of the petition if Lyon himself had petitioned, and being answered in the negative, said, “penitence must precede pardon.”

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 3. 99
Philadelphia
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

mon. mss.

Dear Sir,

— Dr. Bache having determined to remove to our neighborhood, informs me he has written to you to purchase lands for him. A day or two before I left home mrs. Key sent me a message that the lands on which she lives & her son Walter’s were for sale. I therefore inclose you a letter to her, informg. her that I have communicated it to the gentleman here whom I had under contemplation when I spoke to her & that he has authorized me to act for him. The object of this is to prevent her supposing that your application will be in competition with mine. You know that Carter’s land adjoining Moore’s Creek is for sale. As it is not probable any body will sell & deliver instant possession, so as to enable Dr. Bache at once to seat himself on his own farm, I imagine the first object will be the procuring a house for him. The one in Charlotteville which Chiles is building is the only one which Edition: current; Page: [6] has occurred to me: & as Dr. Bache proposes moving next month, it may be well to leave the ultimate purchase of a farm to be fixed on by himself. If you could get Carter, Catlett & Key to fix each their lowest terms, they might offer in Competition against one another. I wish you could also provide for Baynham. Genl. Knox is broke for 400.000 D. and has resigned his military commission. He has broke also Genl. Lincoln and his friend Colo. Jackson. What has passed on the subject of Logan you see in the newspapers. The county of Philadelphia has chosen him their representative in assembly by 1256. against 769. in favor of Muhlenburg. Lyon is rechosen in Vermont by a vast majority. It seems agreed that the republican sentiment is gaining ground fast in this state & in Massachusetts. My respects to mrs. Monroe. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 16, 99
Philadelphia
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

mad. mss.

The forgery lately attempted to be plaid off by mr. H. on the house of representatives, of a pretended memorial presented by Logan to the French government, has been so palpably exposed, as to have thrown ridicule on the whole of the clamors they endeavored to raise as to that transaction. Still, however, their majority will pass the bill. The real views in the importance they have given to Logan’s enterprise are mistaken by nobody. Mr. Gerry’s communications relative to his transactions after the departure of his colleagues, tho’ he has now been Edition: current; Page: [7] returned 5. months, & they have been promised to the house 6. or 7. weeks, are still kept back. In the meantime, the paper of this morning promises them from the Paris papers. It is said, they leave not a possibility to doubt the sincerity & the anxiety of the French government to avoid the spectacle of a war with us. Notwithstanding this is well understood, the army & a great addition to our navy, are steadily intended. A loan of 5. millions is opened at 8. per cent. interest! In a rough way we may state future expences thus annually. Navy 5½ millions (exclusive of it’s outfit) army (14,000 men) 6½ millions, interest of national debt (I believe) about 4. millions, interest of the new loan 400,000. Which with the expences of government will make an aggregate of about 18,000,000. All our taxes this year have brought in about 10½ millions, to which the direct tax will add 2. millions, leaving a deficit of between 5 & 6. millions. Still no addition to the taxes will be ventured on at this session. It is pretty evident from the proceedings to get at the measure & number of windows in our houses that a tax on air & light is meditated, but I suppose not till the next session. The bankrupt bill was yesterday rejected by a majority of three. The determinations of the British commissioners under the treaty (who are 3. against 2. of ours) are so extravagant, that about 3. days ago ours protested & seceded. It was said yesterday they had come together again. The demands which will be allowed on the principles of the British majority will amount to from 15. to 20. millions of Dollars. It is not believed that our Edition: current; Page: [8] government will submit to it, & consequently that this must again become a subject for negociation. It is very evident the British are using that part of the treaty merely as a political engine. Notwithstanding the pretensions of the papers of the danger & destruction of Buonaparte, nothing of that is believed. It seems probable that he will establish himself in Egypt, & that that is, at present at least, his ultimate object. Ireland also is considered as more organized in her insurrection and stronger than she has been hitherto. As yet no tobacco has come to this market. At New York the new tobo is at 13. D. Georgia has sent on a greater quantity than had been imagined, & so improved in quality as to take the place of that of Maryland & the Carolines. It is at 11. D. while they are about 10. Immense sums of money now go to Virginia. Every stage is loaded. This is partly to pay for last year’s purchases, & partly for the new.

In a society of members, between whom & yourself is great mutual esteem & respect, a most anxious desire is expressed that you would publish your debates of the Convention. That these measures of the army, navy & direct tax will bring about a revulsion of public sentiment is thought certain, & that the constitution will then receive a different explanation. Could those debates be ready to appear critically, their effect would be decisive. I beg of you to turn this subject in your mind. The arguments against it will be personal; those in favor of it moral; and something is required from you as a set off against the sin of your retirement. Your favor of Edition: current; Page: [9] Dec 29 came to hand Jan 5; seal sound. I pray you always to examine the seals of mine to you, & the strength of the impression. The suspicions against the government on this subject are strong. I wrote you Jan 5. Accept for yourself & mrs. Madison my affectionate salutations. & Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan 23, 99
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

j. mss.

Dear Sir.

—The newspapers furnish you with the articles of common news as well as the Congressional. You observe the addition proposed to be made to our navy, and the loan of 5. millions, opened at 8. percent., to equip it The papers say that our agents abroad are purchasing vessels for this purpose. The following is as accurate a statement of our income & expence annual, as I can form, after divesting the treasury reports of such articles as are incidental & properly annual:

lf0054-09_figure_002.jpg
Edition: current; Page: [10]
lf0054-09_figure_003.jpg

By this you will perceive that our income for 1799, being 10. millions, and expences 9. millions, we have a surplus of 1. million, which, with the 5. millions to be borrowed, it is expected, will build the navy & raise the army. When they are complete, we shall have to raise by new taxes about 5. millions more, making in the whole 15. millions, which if our population be 5. millions, will be 3. dollars a head. But these additional taxes will not be wanting, till the session after next. The majority in Congress being as in the last session matters will go on now as then. I shall send you Gerry’s correspondence and Pickering’s report on it, by which you will perceive the Edition: current; Page: [11] unwillingness of France to break with us, and our determination not to believe it, & therefore to go to war with them. For in this light must be viewed our surrounding their islands with our armed vessels instead of their cruising on our coasts as the law directs.

According to information, there is real reason to believe that the X. Y. Z. delusion is wearing off, and the public mind beginning to take the same direction it was getting into before that maneuvre. Gerry’s dispatches will tend strongly to open the eyes of the people. Besides this several other impressive circumstances will all be bearing on the public mind. The alien & sedition laws as before, the direct tax, the additional army & navy, an usurious loan to set those follies on foot, a prospect of heavy additional taxes as soon as they are completed, still heavier taxes if the government forces on the war, recruiting officers lounging at every court-house and decoying the laborer from his plough. A clause in a bill now under debate for opening commerce with Toussaint & his black subjects now in open rebellion against France, will be a circumstance of high aggravation to that country, and in addition to our cruising round their islands will put their patience to a great proof. One fortunate circumstance is that, annihilated as they are on the ocean, they cannot get at us for some time, and this will give room for the popular sentiment to correct the imprudence. Nothing is believed of the stories about Buonaparte. Those about Ireland have a more serious aspect. I delivered the letter from you of which I was the bearer. No use was made of the paper, because that poor Edition: current; Page: [12] creature had already fallen too low even for contempt. It seems that the representative of our district is attached to his seat. Mr. Beckley tells me you have the collection of a sum of money for him, which is destined for me. What is the prospect of getting it, & how much. I do not know whether I have before informed you that mr. Madison paid to mr. Barnes 240. or 250. D in your name to be placed to your credit with mr. Short, I consequently squared that account, & debited you to myself for the balance. This with another article or two of account between us, stands therefore against the books for which I am indebted to you, & of which I know not the cost. A very important measure is under contemplation here, which, if adopted, will require a considerable sum of money on loan. The thing being beyond the abilities of those present, they will possibly be obliged to assess their friends also. I may perhaps be forced to score you for 50. or 100. D, to be paid at convenience, but as yet it is only talked of. I shall rest my justification on the importance of the measure, and the sentiments I know you entertain on such subjects. We consider the elections on the whole as rather in our favor, & particularly believe those of N Caroline will immediately come right. J. Nicholas & Brent, both offer again. My friendly respects to mrs. Monroe, & to yourself affectionate salutations & adieu.

P. S. I shall seldom write to you, on account of the strong suspicions of infidelity in the post offices. Always examine the seal before you open my letters, & note whether the impression is distinct.

Edition: current; Page: [13]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 24. 99
Philadelphia
John Taylor
Taylor, John

to john taylor

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Mr. Tazewell died about noon this day after an illness of about 36. hours. On this event, so melancholy for his family and friends, the loss to the public of so faithful and able a servant no reflections can be adequate.

The object of this letter (and which I beseech you to mention as from me to no mortal) is the replacement of him by the legislature. Many points in Monro’s character would render him the most valuable acquisition the republican interest in this legislature could make. There is no chance of bringing him into the other house as some had wished, because the present representative of his district will not retire. I salute you affectionately.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 24. 99
Philadelphia
John Page
Page, John

to john page

j. mss.

My dear friend,

—I enclose you a copy of Gerry’s correspondence after his companions left him, and of Mr. Pickering’s commentary on it. You will see reason to suspect (especially after what the papers say of a British alliance) that the Executive has taken some step on the presumption that France would declare war. To support which it is necessary to have it believed she will still make war. Yesterday they voted in the H. of R. by a majority of 20. to retain a clause in a bill opening commerce with Toussaint, now in rebellion against France. This circumstance with the stationing our armed vessels round the French islands will probably be more Edition: current; Page: [14] than the Directory will bear. In the meantime you observe that the raising the additional army, and building a great additional navy are steadily proposed; and as these will require a great immediate supply of money, a loan of 5. millions is opened at the usurious interest of 8. per cent for fear that an immediate addition of that to our taxes should blow up the whole object. The following is a statement (in round numbers) of our annual income & expenditure divested of those articles of the Treasury report which are accidentals.

lf0054-09_figure_004.jpg
Edition: current; Page: [15]

It is said however that the deficit of 5. millions, need not be added to our annual taxes for a year or two. These subjects compared with Gerry’s explicit assurance that France is sincere in wishing to avoid war with us, that she does not desire a breach of the British treaty but only to be put on an equal foot, and that a liberal treaty might have been had, I leave to your own reflections. I am told that if you will exert yourself you may be elected to the next Congress. Pray my dear Sir, leave nothing undone to effect it. We gain on the whole by the new elections, & if those of Virginia are uniform we shall have a majority. Two years more of such measures as we have had lately will ruin us beyond recovery. Never did so important a public duty rest on you before. For even a single vote will decide the majority. It is truly a case of moral duty, and I know your conscience will not be insensible to it, if you will indulge its suggestions. I write my friends seldom because of the suspected infidelity of the post office. Present me respectfully to mrs. Page & accept assurances of great and unaltered affection from dear Sir Yours sincerely.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan 26. 1799
Philadelphia
Elbridge Gerry
Gerry, Elbridge

to elbridge gerry

j. mss.

My Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Nov. 12 was safely delivered to me by mr. Binney, but not till Dec. 28, as I arrived here only three days before that date. It was received with great satisfaction. Our very long intimacy as fellow-laborers in the same cause, Edition: current; Page: [16] the recent expressions of mutual confidence which had preceded your mission, the interesting course which that had taken, & particularly & personally as it regarded yourself, made me anxious to hear from you on your return. I was the more so too, as I had myself during the whole of your absence, as well as since your return, been a constant butt for every shaft of calumny which malice & falsehood could form, & the presses, public speakers, or private letters disseminate. One of these, too, was of a nature to touch yourself; as if, wanting confidence in your efforts, I had been capable of usurping powers committed to you, & authorizing negociations private & collateral to yours. The real truth is, that though Dr Logan, the pretended missionary, about 4. or 5. days before he sailed for Hamburgh, told me he was going there, & thence to Paris, & asked & received from me a certificate of his citizenship, character, & circumstances of life, merely as a protection, should he be molested on his journey, in the present turbulent & suspicious state of Europe, yet I had been led to consider his object as relative to his private affairs; and tho’, from an intimacy of some standing, he knew well my wishes for peace and my political sentiments in general, he nevertheless received then no particular declaration of them, no authority to communicate them to any mortal, nor to speak to any one in my name, or in anybody’s name, on that, or on any other subject whatever; nor did I write by him a scrip of a pen to any person whatever. This he has himself honestly & publicly declared since his return; & from his well-known Edition: current; Page: [17] character & every other circumstance, every candid man must perceive that his enterprise was dictated by his own enthusiasm, without consultation or communication with any one; that he acted in Paris on his own ground, & made his own way. Yet to give some color to his proceedings, which might implicate the republicans in general, & myself particularly, they have not been ashamed to bring forward a suppositious paper, drawn by one of their own party in the name of Logan, and falsely pretended to have been presented by him to the government of France; counting that the bare mention of my name therein, would connect that in the eye of the public with this transaction. In confutation of these and all future calumnies, by way of anticipation, I shall make to you a profession of my political faith; in confidence that you will consider every future imputation on me of a contrary complexion, as bearing on its front the mark of falsehood & calumny.

I do then, with sincere zeal, wish an inviolable preservation of our present federal constitution, according to the true sense in which it was adopted by the States, that in which it was advocated by it’s friends, & not that which it’s enemies apprehended, who therefore became it’s enemies; and I am opposed to the monarchising it’s features by the forms of it’s administration, with a view to conciliate a first transition to a President & Senate for life, & from that to a hereditary tenure of these offices, & thus to worm out the elective principle. I am for preserving to the States the powers not yielded by them to the Union, & to the legislature of the Union it’s Edition: current; Page: [18] constitutional share in the division of powers; and I am not for transferring all the powers of the States to the general government, & all those of that government to the Executive branch. I am for a government rigorously frugal & simple, applying all the possible savings of the public revenue to the discharge of the national debt; and not for a multiplication of officers & salaries merely to make partisans, & for increasing, by every device, the public debt, on the principle of it’s being a public blessing. I am for relying, for internal defence, on our militia solely, till actual invasion, and for such a naval force only as may protect our coasts and harbors from such depredations as we have experienced; and not for a standing army in time of peace, which may overawe the public sentiment; nor for a navy, which, by it’s own expenses and the eternal wars in which it will implicate us, grind us with public burthens, & sink us under them. I am for free commerce with all nations; political connection with none; & little or no diplomatic establishment. And I am not for linking ourselves by new treaties with the quarrels of Europe; entering that field of slaughter to preserve their balance, or joining in the confederacy of kings to war against the principles of liberty. I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another: for freedom of the press, & against all violations of the constitution to silence by force & not by reason the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their agents. And I am for encouraging the progress of science in all it’s Edition: current; Page: [19] branches; and not for raising a hue and cry against the sacred name of philosophy; for awing the human mind by stories of raw-head & bloody bones to a distrust of its own vision, & to repose implicitly on that of others; to go backwards instead of forwards to look for improvement; to believe that government, religion, morality, & every other science were in the highest perfection in ages of the darkest ignorance, and that nothing can ever be devised more perfect than what was established by our forefathers. To these I will add, that I was a sincere well-wisher to the success of the French revolution, and still wish it may end in the establishment of a free & well-ordered republic; but I have not been insensible under the atrocious depredations they have committed on our commerce. The first object of my heart is my own country. In that is embarked my family, my fortune, & my own existence. I have not one farthing of interest, nor one fibre of attachment out of it, nor a single motive of preference of any one nation to another, but in proportion as they are more or less friendly to us. But though deeply feeling the injuries of France, I did not think war the surest means of redressing them. I did believe, that a mission sincerely disposed to preserve peace, would obtain for us a peaceable & honorable settlement & retribution; and I appeal to you to say, whether this might not have been obtained, if either of your colleagues had been of the same sentiment with yourself.

These, my friend, are my principles; they are unquestionably the principles of the great body of our fellow citizens, and I know there is not one of Edition: current; Page: [20] them which is not yours also. In truth, we never differed but on one ground, the funding system; and as, from the moment of it’s being adopted by the constituted authorities, I became religiously principled in the sacred discharge of it to the uttermost farthing, we are united now even on that single ground of difference.

I turn now to your inquiries. The enclosed paper1 will answer one of them. But you also ask for such political information as may be possessed by me, & interesting to yourself in regard to your embassy. As a proof of my entire confidence in you, I shall give it fully & candidly. When Pinckney, Marshall, Edition: current; Page: [21] and Dana, were nominated to settle our differences with France, it was suspected by many, from what was understood of their dispositions, that their mission would not result in a settlement of differences, but would produce circumstances tending to widen the breach, and to provoke our citizens to consent to a war with that nation, & union with England. Dana’s resignation & your appointment gave the first gleam of hope of a peaceable issue to the mission. For it was believed that you were sincerely disposed to accommodation; & it was not long after your arrival there, before symptoms were observed of that difference of views which had been suspected to exist. In the meantime, however, the aspect of our government towards the French republic had become so ardent, that the people of America generally took the alarm. To the southward their apprehensions were early excited. In the Eastern States also, they at length began to break out. Meetings were held in many of your towns, & addresses to the government agreed on in opposition to war. The example was spreading like a wildfire. Other meetings were called in other places, & a general concurrence of sentiment against the apparent inclinations of the government was imminent; when, most critically for the government, the despatches of Octr 22, prepared by your colleague Marshall, with a view to their being made public, dropped into their laps. It was truly a God-send to them, & they made the most of it. Many thousands of copies were printed & dispersed gratis, at the public expence; & the zealots for war co-operated so heartily, that there were instances of Edition: current; Page: [22] single individuals who printed & dispersed 10. or 12,000 copies at their own expence. The odiousness of the corruption supposed in those papers excited a general & high indignation among the people. Unexperienced in such maneuvres, they did not permit themselves even to suspect that the turpitude of private swindlers might mingle itself unobserved, & give it’s own hue to the communications of the French government, of whose participation there was neither proof nor probability. It served, however, for a time, the purpose intended. The people, in many places, gave a loose to the expressions of their warm indignation, & of their honest preference of war to dishonor. The fever was long & successfully kept up, and in the meantime, war measures as ardently crowded. Still, however, as it was known that your colleagues were coming away, and yourself to stay, though disclaiming a separate power to conclude a treaty, it was hoped by the lovers of peace, that a project of treaty would have been prepared, ad referendum, on principles which would have satisfied our citizens, & overawed any bias of the government towards a different policy. But the expedition of the Sophia, and, as was supposed, the suggestions of the person charged with your despatches, & his probable misrepresentations of the real wishes of the American people, prevented these hopes. They had then only to look forward to your return for such information. either through the Executive, or from yourself, as might present to our view the other side of the medal. The despatches of Oct 22, 97, had presented one face. That information, to a certain degree, is Edition: current; Page: [23] now received, & the public will see from your correspondence with Taleyrand, that France, as you testify, “was sincere and anxious to obtain a reconciliation, not wishing us to break the British treaty, but only to give her equivalent stipulations; and in general was disposed to a liberal treaty.” And they will judge whether mr. Pickering’s report shews an inflexible determination to believe no declarations the French government can make, nor any opinion which you, judging on the spot & from actual view, can give of their sincerity, and to meet their designs of peace with operations of war. The alien & sedition acts have already operated in the South as powerful sedatives of the X. Y. Z. inflammation. In your quarter, where violations of principle are either less regarded or more concealed, the direct tax is likely to have the same effect, & to excite inquiries into the object of the enormous expences & taxes we are bringing on. And your information supervening, that we might have a liberal accommodation if we would, there can be little doubt of the reproduction of that general movement, by the despatches of Oct. 22. And tho’ small checks & stops, like Logan’s pretended embassy, may be thrown in the way from time to time, & may a little retard it’s motion, yet the tide is already turned, and will sweep before it all the feeble obstacles of art. The unquestionable republicanism of the American mind will break through the mist under which it has been clouded, and will oblige it’s agents to reform the principles & practices of their administration.

You suppose that you have been abused by both Edition: current; Page: [24] parties. As far as has come to my knowledge, you are misinformed. I have never seen or heard a sentence of blame uttered against you by the republicans; unless we were so to construe their wishes that you had more boldly co-operated in a project of a treaty, and would more explicitly state, whether there was in your colleagues that flexibility, which persons earnest after peace would have practised? Whether, on the contrary, their demeanor was not cold, reserved, and distant, at least, if not backward? And whether, if they had yielded to those informal conferences which Taleyrand seems to have courted, the liberal accommodation you suppose might not have been effected, even with their agency? Your fellow-citizens think they have a right to full information, in a case of such great concern to them. It is their sweat which is to earn all the expences of the war, and their blood which is to flow in expiation of the causes of it. It may be in your power to save them from these miseries by full communications and unrestrained details, postponing motives of delicacy to those of duty. It rests for you to come forward independently; to take your stand on the high ground of your own character; to disregard calumny, and to be borne above it on the shoulders of your grateful fellow citizens; or to sink into the humble oblivion, to which the Federalists (self-called) have secretly condemned you; and even to be happy if they will indulge you with oblivion, while they have beamed on your colleagues meridian splendor. Pardon me, my dear Sir, if my expressions are strong. My feelings are so much more so, Edition: current; Page: [25] that it is with difficulty I reduce them even to the tone I use. If you doubt the dispositions towards you, look into the papers, on both sides, for the toasts which were given throughout the States on the 4th of July. You will there see whose hearts were with you, and whose were ulcerated against you. Indeed, as soon as it was known that you had consented to stay in Paris, there was no measure observed in the execrations of the war party. They openly wished you might be guillotined, or sent to Cayenne, or anything else. And these expressions were finally stifled from a principle of policy only, & to prevent you from being urged to a justification of yourself. From this principle alone proceed the silence and cold respect they observe towards you. Still, they cannot prevent at times the flames bursting from under the embers, as mr. Pickering’s letters, report, & conversations testify, as well as the indecent expressions respecting you, indulged by some of them in the debate on these despatches. These sufficiently show that you are never more to be honored or trusted by them, and that they await to crush you for ever, only till they can do it without danger to themselves.

When I sat down to answer your letter, but two courses presented themselves, either to say nothing or everything; for half confidences are not in my character. I could not hesitate which was due to you. I have unbosomed myself fully; & it will certainly be highly gratifying if I receive like confidence from you. For even if we differ in principle more than I believe we do, you & I know too well the Edition: current; Page: [26] texture of the human mind, & the slipperiness of human reason, to consider differences of opinion otherwise than differences of form or feature. Integrity of views more than their soundness, is the basis of esteem. I shall follow your direction in conveying this by a private hand; tho’ I know not as yet when one worthy of confidence will occur. And my trust in you leaves me without a fear that this letter, meant as a confidential communication of my impressions, will ever go out of your hand, or be suffered in anywise to commit my name. Indeed, besides the accidents which might happen to it even under your care, considering the accident of death to which you are liable, I think it safest to pray you, after reading it as often as you please, to destroy at least the 2d & 3d leaves. The 1st contains principles only, which I fear not to avow; but the 2d & 3d contain facts stated for your information, and which, though sacredly conformable to my firm belief, yet would be galling to some, & expose me to illiberal attacks. I therefore repeat my prayer to burn the 2d & 3d leaves. And did we ever expect to see the day, when, breathing nothing but sentiments of love to our country & it’s freedom & happiness, our correspondence must be as secret as if we were hatching it’s destruction! Adieu, my friend, and accept my sincere & affectionate salutations. I need not add my signature.

Edition: current; Page: [27]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 29, 99
Philadelphia
Edmund Pendleton
Pendleton, Edmund

to edmund pendleton

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your patriarchal address to your county is running through all the republican papers, and has a very great effect on the people. It is short, simple, and presents things in a view they readily comprehend. The character & circumstances too of the writer leave them without doubts of his motives. If, like the patriarch of old, you had but one blessing to give us, I should have wished it directed to a particular object. But I hope you have one for this also. You know what a wicked use has been made of the French negociation; and particularly the X. Y. Z. dish cooked up by Marshall, where the swindlers are made to appear as the French government. Art and industry combined, have certainly wrought out of this business a wonderful effect on the people. Yet they have been astonished more than they have understood it, and now that Gerry’s comes out, clearing the French government of that turpitude, & shewing them “sincere in their dispositions for peace, not wishing us to break the British treaty, and willing to arrange a liberal one with us,” the people will be disposed to suspect they have been duped. But these communications are too voluminous for them, and beyond their reach. A recapitulation is now wanting of the whole story, stating every thing according to what we may now suppose to have been the truth, short, simple, & levelled to every capacity. Nobody in America can do it so well as yourself, in the same character of the father of your county, or any form Edition: current; Page: [28] you like better, and so concise, as omitting nothing material, may yet be printed in hand bills, of which we could print & disperse 10. or 20,000. copies under letter covers, through all the U. S, by the members of Congress when they return home. If the understanding of the people could be rallied to the truth on this subject, by exposing the dupery practised on them, there are so many other things about to bear on them favorably for the resurrection of their republican spirit, that a reduction of the administration to constitutional principles cannot fail to be the effect. These are the Alien & Sedition laws, the vexations of the stamp act, the disgusting particularities of the direct tax, the additional army without an enemy, & recruiting officers lounging at every court house, a navy of 50. ships, 5. millions to be raised to build it, on the usurious interest of 8. per cent., the perseverance in war on our part, when the French government shows such an anxious desire to keep at peace with us, taxes of 10. millions now paid by 4. millions of people, and yet a necessity, in a year or two, of raising 5. millions more for annual expences. These things will immediately be bearing on the public mind, and if it remain not still blinded by a supposed necessity, for the purpose of maintaining our independence & defending our country, they will set things to rights, I hope you will undertake this statement. If anybody else had possessed your happy talent for this kind of recapitulation, I would have been the last to disturb you with the application; but it will really be rendering our country a service greater than it is in the power of Edition: current; Page: [29] any other individual to render. To save you the trouble of hunting the several documents from which this statement is to be taken, I have collected them here compleatly, and enclose them to you.

Logan’s bill has passed. On this subject, it is hardly necessary for me to declare to you, on everything sacred, that the part they ascribed to me was entirely a calumny. Logan called on me 4. or 5. days before his departure, & asked & received a certificate (in my private capacity) of his citizenship & circumstances of life, merely as a protection, should he be molested in the present turbulent state of Europe. I have given such to an hundred others, & they have been much more frequently asked & obtained by tories than whigs. I did not write a scrip of a pen by him to any person. From long acquaintance he knew my wishes for peace & my political sentiments generally, but he received no particular declaration of them then nor one word of authority to speak in my name, or anybody’s name on that or any other subject. It was an enterprise founded in the enthusiasm of his own character. He went on his own ground & made his own way. His object was virtuous, and the effect meritorious.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan 30, 99
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

mad. mss.

My last to you was of the 16th, since which yours of the 12th is received, and it’s contents disposed of properly. These met such approbation as to have occasioned an extraordinary impression of that day’s Edition: current; Page: [30] paper. Logan’s bill is passed. The lower house, by a majority of 20. passed yesterday a bill continuing the suspension of intercourse with France, with a new clause enabling the President to admit intercourse with the rebellious negroes under Toussaint, who has an agent here, and has thrown off dependence on France. The H of R have also voted 6. 74’s & 6. 18’s, in part of the additional navy, say 552 guns, which in England would cost 5,000 D, & here 10,000, consequently more than the whole 5. millions for which a loan is now opened at 8. per cent. The maintenance is estimated at £1,000 (lawful) a gun annually. A bill has been this day brought into the Senate for authorizing the Pt in case of a declaration of war or danger of invasion by any European power to raise an eventual army of 30. regiments, infantry, cavalry, & artillery in addition to the additional army, the provisional army, & the corps of volunteers, which last he is authorized to brigade, officer, exercise, & pay during the time of exercise. And all this notwithstanding Gerry’s correspondence recently received, & demonstrating the aversion of France to consider us as enemies. All depends on her patiently standing the measures of the present session, and the surrounding her islands with our cruisers, & capturing their armed vessels on her own coasts. If this is borne awhile, the public opinion is most manifestly wavering in the middle States, & was even before the publication of Gerry’s correspondence. In New York, Jersey, & Pennsylvania, every one attests them, and Genl Sumpter, just arrived, assures me that the republicans in S C Edition: current; Page: [31] have gained 50. per cent. in numbers since the election, which was in the moment of the X. Y. Z. fever. I believe there is no doubt the republican governor would be elected here now, & still less for next October. The gentlemen of N C seem to be satisfied that their new delegation will furnish but 3. perhaps only 2. anti-republicans; if so, we shall be gainers on the whole. But it is on the progress of public opinion we are to depend for rectifying the proceedings of the next Congress. The only question is whether this will not carry things beyond the reach of rectification. Petitions & remonstrances against the alien & sedition laws are coming from various parts of N Y, Jersey, & Pensyva: some of them very well drawn. I am in hopes Virginia will stand so countenanced by those States as to repress the wishes of the government to coerce her, which they might venture on if they supposed she would be left alone. Firmness on our part, but a passive firmness, is the true course. Anything rash or threatening might check the favorable dispositions of these middle States, & rally them again around the measures which are ruining us. Buonaparte appears to have settled Egypt peacefully, & with the consent of those inhabitants, & seems to be looking towards the E. Indies, where a most formidable co-operation has been prepared for demolishing the British power. I wish the affairs of Ireland were as hopeful, and the peace with the north of Europe. Nothing new here as to the price of tobo, the river not having yet admitted the bringing any to this market. Spain being entirely open to ours, & depending on it for her Edition: current; Page: [32] supplies during the cutting off of her intercourse with her own colonies by the superiority of the British at sea, is much in our favor. I forgot to add that the bill for the eventual army, authorizes the President to borrow 2. millions more. Present my best respects to mrs. Madison, health & affectionate salutations to yourself. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb 5, 99
Philadelphia
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

mad. mss.

I wrote you last on the 30th of Jan; since which yours of the 25th is received.

At the date of my letter I had only heard the bill for the eventual army read once. I conceived it additional to the Provisional army &c. I must correct the error. The bill for the provisional army (about 10,000 men) expires this session without having been carried into execution. The eventual army (about 30,000) is a substitute. I say about 30,000 because some calculate the new establishment of a regiment we are now passing to a little over, & some a little under 1,000 officers & privates. The whole land army contemplated is the existing army 5000. The additional army 9000. The eventual army 30,000. And the volunteer army, the amount of which is not known. But besides that it is 44,000 men, and nobody pretends to say that there is from any quarter the least real danger of invasion. These may surely be set down at 500 dollars per annum a man though they pretend that the existing army costs but 300. The reason of that is that there are Edition: current; Page: [33] not actually above 3000 of them, the 5,000 being merely on paper.

The bill for continuing the suspension of intercourse with France & her dependencies, is still before the Senate, but will pass by a very great vote. An attack is made on what is called Toussaint’s clause, the object of which, as is charged by the one party and admitted by the other, is to facilitate the separation of the island from France. The clause will pass however, by about 19. to 8., or perhaps 18. to 9. Rigaud, at the head of the people of color, maintains his allegiance. But they are only 25,000 souls, against 500,000, the number of the blacks. The treaty made with them by Maitland is (if they are to be separated from France) the best thing for us. They must get their provisions from us. It will indeed be in English bottoms, so that we shall lose the carriage. But the English will probably forbid them the ocean, confine them to their island, & thus prevent their becoming an American Algiers. It must be admitted too, that they may play them off on us when they please. Against this there is no remedy but timely measures on our part, to clear ourselves, by degrees, of the matter on which that lever can work.

The opposition to Livermore was not republican. I have however seen letters from New Hampshire from which it appears that the public sentiment there is no longer progressive in any direction, but that at present it is dead water. That during the whole of their late session not a word has been heard of Jacobinism, disorganization &c. No reproach of Edition: current; Page: [34] any kind cast on the republicans, that there has been a general complaint among the members that they could hear but one side of the question, and the great anxiety to obtain a paper or papers which would put them in possession of both sides. From Massachusetts & R. I. I have no information. Connecticut remains riveted in her political & religious bigotry. Baldwin is elected by the legislature of Georgia a Senator for 6. Years in the room of Tatnall, whose want of firmness had produced the effect of a change of sides. We have had no report of Yard’s being dead. He is certainly living.

A piece published in Bache’s paper on foreign influence, has had the greatest currency & effect. To an extraordinary first impression, they have been obliged to make a second, & of an extraordinary number. It is such things as these the public want. They say so from all quarters, and that they wish to hear reason instead of disgusting blackguardism. The public sentiment being now on the screen, and many heavy circumstances about to fall into the republican scale, we are sensible that this summer is the season for systematic energies & sacrifices. The engine is the press. Every man must lay his purse & his pen under contribution. As to the former, it is possible I may be obliged to assume something for you. As to the latter, let me pray & beseech you to set apart a certain portion of every post day to write what may be proper for the public. Send it to me while here, & when I go away I will let you know to whom you may send, so that your name shall be sacredly secret. You can render such incalculable Edition: current; Page: [35] services in this way, as to lessen the effect of our loss of your presence here. I shall see you on the 5th or 6th of March. Affectionate salutations to mrs. Madison & yourself. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 11, 99
Philadelphia
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

mon. mss.

I wrote you last on the 23d of Jan, since which yours of Jan 26 is received. A bill will pass the Senate to day for enabling the President to retaliate rigorously on any French citizens who are now or hereafter may be in our power, should they put to death any sailors of ours forced on board British vessels & taken by the French. This is founded expressly on their arret of Oct 29, 98, communicated by the President by message. It is known (from the Secretary of state himself) that he received, immediately after, a letter from Rufus King informing him the arret was suspended, and tho’ it has been known a week that we were passing a retaliating act founded expressly on that arret, yet the President has not communicated it, and the supporters of the bill, who themselves told the secret of the suspension in debate, (for it was otherwise unknown), will yet pass the bill. We have already an existing army of 5,000 men, & the additional army of 9,000 now going into execution. We have a bill on its progress through Senate for authorizing the presdt to raise 30. regiments (30,000 men) called an eventual army, in case of war with any European power, or of imminent danger of invasion from them in his opinion. And also to call Edition: current; Page: [36] out & exercise at times the volunteer army, the number of which we know not. 6. 74’s & 6. 18’s making up 550. guns (in part of the fleet of 12. 74’s, 12. frigates, and 20. or 30. smaller vessels proposed to be built or bought as soon as we can), are now to be begun. One million of dollars is voted. The government estimate of their cost is about 4,500. D (£1000 sterl) a gun. But there cannot be a doubt they will cost 10,000 D. a gun, & consequently the 550. guns will be 5½ millions. A loan is now opened for 5. millions at 8. per cent., & the eventual army bill authorizes another of 2. millions. King is appointed to negociate a treaty of commerce with Russia, in London. Phocion Smith is proposed to go to Constantinople to make a treaty with the Turks. Under two other covers you will receive a copy of the French originals of Gerry’s communicns for yourself, and a doz. of G. N’s pamphlets on the laws of the last session. I wish you to give these to the most influential characters among our country-men, who are only misled, are candid enough to be open to conviction, & who may have most effect on their neighbors. It would be useless to give them to persons already sound. Do not let my name be connected with the business. It is agreed on all hands that the British depredations have greatly exceeded the French during the last 6. months. The insurance companies at Boston, this place & Baltimore, prove this from their books. I have not heard how it is at N. Y. The Senate struck out the bill continuing the suspension of intercourse with France, the clauses which authorized the P to do it with certain other countries Edition: current; Page: [37] (say Spanish & Dutch), which clauses had passed the H of R by a majority of, I believe, 20. They agreed, however, to the amendment of the Senate. But Toussaint’s clause was retained by both Houses. Adieu affectionately.

Feb. 12th. The vessel called the Retaliation, formerly French property taken by us, armed & sent to cruise on them, retaken by them & carried into Guadaloupe, arrived here this morning with her own capt crew, &c. They say that new commissioners from France arrived at Guadaloupe, sent Victor Hughes home in irons, liberated this crew, said to the captn that they found him to be an officer bearing a regular commission from the U S, possessed of a vessel called the Retaliation, then in their port; that they should inquire into no preceding fact, and that he was free with his vessel & crew to depart; that as to differences with the U S, commrs were coming out from France to settle them; in the meantime, no injury should be done to us or our citizens. This was known to every Senator when we met. The Retaliation bill came on, on it’s passage, & was passed with only 2. dissenting voices, 2. or 3. who would have dissented happening to be absent.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 11. 99
Philadelphia
Aaron Burr
Burr, Aaron

to aaron burr

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

— Your favor of Feb. 3. came to hand two days ago. I am sorry to observe my friend Perry’s claim to be so unpromising. However I Edition: current; Page: [38] shall still hope for something under the wing of your judgment, which you say will be decided Mar. 14. & if that shall fail, that he may come in for his share under the general attachment. I have no conception how Morris’s conveyances to his sons & family can be good against the statutes on fraudulent conveyances, if those statutes be in force with you, as in their British form. Everybody must know that his sons could have no means of making such purchases on valuable considerations. However of all this you are a much better judge. I pray you to let no chance escape of effectuating Dr. Currie’s claim.

The public papers inform you of everything passing here. Of the proposed navy of 18. 74’s, 12. frigates & 20 or 30 smaller vessels, of which 6. 74’s & 6. 18’s are now to be begun; of our existing army of 5,000 men, additional army of 9,000, eventual army of 30,000 (now under manufacture) & volunteer army of we know not how many. As it is acknowledged at the same time that it is impossible the French should invade us since the annihilation of their power on the sea, our constituents will see in these preparations the utmost anxiety to guard them against even impossibilities. The southern states do not discover the same care however in the bill authorizing the President to admit Toussaint’s subjects to a free commerce with them, & free ingress & intercourse with their black brethren in these states. However if they are guarded against the cannibals of the terrible republic, they ought not to object to being eaten by a more civilized enemy. Shall we see you here this session? It would give me great Edition: current; Page: [39] pleasure. I am with sincere esteem dear sir, your friend & servant.

P. S. The system of alarm manifestly flags; & the supplementary event of ambassador Logan has not had the expected effect. The public opinion in this state is rapidly coming round. Even the German counties of York & Lancaster are changing sides.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 12. 99
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

mad. mss.

I wrote you last on the 5th. which acknoleged yours of Jan. 25. the last at had. Yesterday the bill for 6. 74’s and 6. 18’s passed the H. of R. by 54. against 42. And the bill for a new organization of the army (into regiments of about 1,000.) passed the Senate. The bill continuing the suspension of intercourse with France & her dependencies has passed both houses, but the Senate struck out the clauses permitting the President to extend it to other powers. Toussaint’s clause however was retained. Even South Carolinians in the H. of R. voted for it. We may expect therefore black crews, & supercargoes & missionaries thence into the southern states; & when that leven begins to work, I would gladly compound with a great part of our northern country, if they would honestly stand neuter. If this combustion can be introduced among us under any veil whatever, we have to fear it. We shall this day press the retaliation bill. It reaches & is expressly founded on the French arret of Oct, 29. 98, communicated to us by the President. It came out from Edition: current; Page: [40] Sedgwick and Stockton in debate that they had had it from the Secy. of state that he had received a letter from mr. King informing him of the suspension of that arret. Yet tho’ they knew we were legislating on it, the P. has not communicated it; & the retaliators insist on passing the bill. It is now acknoleged on all hands, denied on none, & declared by the insurance companies that during the last 6. months the British depredns. have far exceeded the French. King has been appointed to enter into a treaty with Russia at London & Phocion Smith was yesterday confirmed by the Senate as Envoy extry & M. P. to Constantinople to make a like treaty with the Turks. To change the moment of a coalition between the Turks, Russians & English against France to unite us by treaty with that body as openly as they intend to propose, cannot be misconstrued. I send you under a separate cover the French originals of Gerry’s communcns, one of G: N.’s pamphlets & the Treasury statements of exports & imports of the last year. Adieu.

P. S. No letter you could write after your receipt of this will find me here.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 13, 99
Philadelphia
Archibald Stuart
Stuart, Archibald

to archibald stuart1

Dear Sir,

—I avoid writing to my friends because the fidelity of the post office is very much doubted. I will give you briefly a statement of what we have Edition: current; Page: [41] done and are doing. The following is a view of our finances in round numbers. The impost brings in the last year 7½ millions of dollars, the excise, carriages, auctions, & licenses, ½ a million, the residuary small articles ⅛ of a million. It is expected that the stamp act may pay the expense of the direct tax, so that the two may be counted at 2. millions, making in the whole 10⅛ millions. Our expenses for the civil list ¾ of a million, foreign intercourse ½ a million (this includes Indian & Algerine expenses, the Spanish & British treaties), interest of the public debt 4. millions, the existing navy 2½ millions, the existing army, 5,000 men, 1½. millions, making 9¼. millions, so that we have a surplus of near a million. But the additional army, 9,000 men, now raising, will add 2½. millions annually, the additional navy proposed 3. millions, and the interest of the new loans ½ a million, making 6 millions more, so that as soon as the army and navy shall be ready, our whole expenses will be 15. millions; consequently, there will be 5. millions annually more to be raised by taxes. Our present taxes of 10. M. are 2. dollars a head on our present population, and the future 5. M. will make it 3. D. Our whole exports (native) this year are 28 M., so that our taxes are now ⅓ & will soon be ½ of our whole exports; & when you add the expenses of the State Governments we shall be found to have got to the plenum of taxation in 10. short years of peace. Great Britain, after centuries of wars & revolutions, had at the commencement of the present war taxed only to the amount of ⅔ of her exports. We have opened a loan for 5 M., @ 8. per Edition: current; Page: [42] cent. interest, & another is proposed of 2. M. These are to build 6. 74’s & 6. 18’s, in part of additional navy, for which a bill passed the H of R 2 days ago, by 54. against 42. Beside the existing army of 5,000 & additional army of 9,000, an eventual army of 30,000 is proposed to be raised by the President, in case of invasion by any European power, or danger of invasion, in his opinion, and the volunteer army, the amount of which we know not, is to be immediately called out & exercised at the public expense. For these purposes a bill has been twice read and committed in the Senate. You have seen by Gerry’s communication that France is sincerely anxious for reconciliation, willing to give us a liberal treaty, and does not wish us to break the British treaty, but only to put her on an equal footing. A further proof of her sincerity turned up yesterday. We had taken an armed vessel from her, had refitted and sent her to cruise against them, under the name of the Retaliation, and they re-captured & sent her into Guadaloupe. The new commissioners arriving there from France, sent Victor Hughes off in irons, and said to our captain, that as they found him bearing a regular commission as an officer of the Ud S, with his vessel in their port, & his crew, they would inquire into no fact respecting the vessel preceding their arrival, but that he, his vessel & crew, were free to depart. They arrived here yesterday. The federal papers call her a cartel. It is whispered that the Executive mean to return an equal number of the French prisoners, and this may give a color to call her a cartel, but she was liberated freely & without condition. The Edition: current; Page: [43] commissioners further said to the captain that, as to the differences with the Ud S, new commissioners were coming out from France to settle them, & in the meantime they should do us no injury. The President has appointed Rufus King to make a commercial treaty with the Russians in London, and Wm Smith, (of S C,) to go to Constantinople to make one with the Turks. Both appointments are confirmed by the Senate. A little dissatisfaction was expressed by some that we should never have treated with them till the moment when they had formed a coalition with the English against the French. You have seen that the Directory had published an arret declaring they would treat as pirates any neutrals they should take in the ships of their enemies. The President communicated this to Congress as soon as he received it. A bill was brought into Senate reciting that arret, and authorizing retaliation. Tho’ the P received information almost in the same instant that the Directory had suspended the arret (which fact was privately declared by the Secretary of state to two of the Senate), and, tho’ it was known we were passing an act founded on that arret, yet the P has never communicated the suspension. However the Senate, informed indirectly of the fact, still passed the act yesterday, an hour after we had heard of the return of our vessel & crew before mentioned. It is acknoleged on all hands, & declared by the insurance companies that the British depredations during the last 6. months have greatly exceeded the French, yet not a word is said about it officially. However, all these things Edition: current; Page: [44] are working on the public mind. They are getting back to the point where they were when the X. Y. Z. story was played off on them. A wonderful & rapid change is taking place in Pennsylvania, Jersey, & N York. Congress is daily plied with petitions against the alien & sedition laws & standing armies. Several parts of this State are so violent that we fear an insurrection. This will be brought about by some if they can. It is the only thing we have to fear. The appearance of an attack of force against the government would check the present current of the middle States, and rally them around the government; whereas, if suffered to go on, it will pass on to a reformation of abuses. The materials now bearing on the public mind will infallibly restore it to it’s republican soundness in the course of the present summer, if the knolege of facts can only be disseminated among the people. Under separate cover you will receive some pamphlets written by George Nicholas on the acts of the last session. These I wish you to distribute, not to sound men who have no occasion for them, but to such as have been misled, are candid & will be open to the conviction of truth, and are of influence among their neighbors. It is the sick who need medicine, & not the well. Do not let my name appear in the matter. Perhaps I shall forward you some other things to be distributed in the same way. Let me now trouble you with a small private matter. Mr. Clarke was tolerably punctual in his remittances as long as he continued in business. But when he quitted he had near £100. of mine for nails actually sold, in his hands. For so Edition: current; Page: [45] I had a right to consider it as I charged only ready money prices, & such was the condition settled between us. This money has now been a twelvemonth in his hands, and the intermediate applications ineffectual. In truth I am not able to carry on my manufactory but on ready sales. I have no money capital to enable me to make great advances & long winded debts. If you could mention the matter to mr. Clarke in any way that would best suit the footing on which you stand with him, & be the means of my receiving it immediately on my return home (about the 10th of March) it would be a very sensible relief to me. And indeed if he does not pay it soon I must use effectual means to obtain it, such delays being incompatible with the course or the necessities of my manufactory. Present me respectfully to mrs. Stuart, and accept assurances of the sincere esteem of, dear Sir, your affectionate friend and servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 14, 99
Philadelphia
Edmund Pendleton
Pendleton, Edmund

to edmund pendleton

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I wrote you a petition on the 29th of Jan. I know the extent of this trespass on your tranquillity, and how indiscreet it would have been under any other circumstances. But the fate of this country, whether it shall be irretrievably plunged into a form of government rejected by the makers of the constitution, or shall get back to the true principles of that instrument, depends on the turn which things may take within a short period of time ensuing the present moment. The violations of the Edition: current; Page: [46] constitution, propensities to war, to expense, & to a particular foreign connection, which we have lately seen, are becoming evident to the people, and are dispelling that mist which X. Y. Z. had spread before their eyes. This State is coming forward with a boldness not yet seen. Even the German counties of York & Lancaster, hitherto the most devoted, have come about, and by petitions with 4,000 signers remonstrate against the Alien & Sedition laws, standing armies, & discretionary powers in the President. New York & Jersey are also getting into great agitation. In this State, we fear that the ill designing may produce insurrection. Nothing could be so fatal. Anything like force would check the progress of the public opinion & rally them round the government. This is not the kind of opposition the American people will permit. But keep away all show of force, and they will bear down the evil propensities of the government, by the constitutional means of election & petition. If we can keep quiet, therefore, the tide now turning will take a steady & proper direction. Even in N Hampshire there are strong symptoms of a rising inquietude. In this state of things, my dear Sir, it is more in your power than any other man’s in the U S, to give the coup de grâce to the ruinous principles and practices we have seen. In hopes you have consented to it, I shall furnish to you some additional matter which has arisen since my last.

I enclose you a part of a speech of mr. Gallatin on the naval bill. The views he takes of our finances, & of the policy of our undertaking to establish a Edition: current; Page: [47] great navy, may furnish some hints. I am told something on the same subject from mr. J. Nicholas will appear in the Richmond & Fredksbg papers. I mention the real author, that you may respect it duly, for I presume it will be anonymous. The residue of Gallatin’s speech shall follow when published. A recent fact, proving the anxiety of France for a reconciliation with us, is the following. You know that one of the armed vessels which we took from her was refitted by us, sent to cruise on them, recaptured, & carried into Guadaloupe under the name of the Retaliation. On the arrival there of Desfourneaux, the new commissioner, he sent Victor Hughes home in irons; called up our captn: told him that he found he had a regular commission as an officer of the U S; that his vessel was then lying in harbor; that he should inquire into no fact preceding his own arrival (by this he avoided noticing that the vessel was really French property) and that therefore, himself & crew were free to depart with their vessel; that as to the differences between France & the U S, commissioners were coming out to settle them, & in the meantime, no injury should be done on their part. The captain insisted on being a prisoner; the other disclaimed; & so he arrived here with vessel & crew the day before yesterday. Within an hour after this was known to the Senate, they passed a retaliation bill, of which I enclose you a copy. This was the more remarkable, as the bill was founded expressly on the Arret of Oct 29, which had been communicated by the President as soon as received, and he remarked, “that it could not be too soon communicated to the two Edition: current; Page: [48] Houses & the public.” Yet he almost in the same instant received, through the same channel, mr. King, information that the Arret was suspended, & tho’ he knew we were making it the foundation of a retaliation bill, he has never yet communicated it. But the Senate knew the fact informally from the Secy of state, & knowing it, passed the bill.

The President has appointed, & the Senate approved Rufus King, to enter into a treaty of commerce with the Russians, at London, & Wm Smith, (Phocion) Envoy Extray & M. P., to go to Constantinople to make one with the Turks. So that as soon as there is a coalition of Turks, Russians & English, against France, we seize that moment to countenance it as openly as we dare, by treaties, which we never had with them before. All this helps to fill up the measure of provocation towards France, and to get from them a declaration of war, which we are afraid to be the first in making. It is certain the French have behaved atrociously towards neutral nations, & us particularly; and tho’ we might be disposed not to charge them with all the enormities committed in their name in the West Indies, yet they are to be blamed for not doing more to prevent them. A just and rational censure ought to be expressed on them, while we disapprove the constant billingsgate poured on them officially. It is at the same time true, that their enemies set the first example of violating neutral rights, & continue them to this day; insomuch that it is declared on all hands, & particularly by the insurance companies & denied by none, that the British spoliations have Edition: current; Page: [49] considerably exceeded the French during the last 6. months. Yet not a word of these things is said officially to the legislature.

Still further, to give the devil his due, (the French) it should be observed that it has been said without contradiction, and the people made to believe, that their refusal to receive our Envoys was contrary to the L. of Nations, and a sufficient cause of war; whereas, every one who ever read a book on the law of nations knows, that it is an unquestionable right in every power to refuse to receive any minister who is personally disagreeable. Martens, the latest and a very respected writer, has laid this down so clearly & shortly in his “summary of the law of nations,” B. 7. ch. 2. sec. 9, that I will transcribe the passage verbatim. “Section 9. Of choice in the person of the minister. The choice of the person to be sent as minister depends of right on the sovereign who sends him, leaving the right, however, of him to whom he sent, of refusing to acknolege any one, to whom he has a personal dislike, or who is inadmissible by the laws & usages of the country.” And he adds notes proving by instances, &c. This is the whole section.

Notwithstanding all these appearances of peace from France, we are, besides our existing army of 5.000 men, & additional army of 9.000 (now officered and levying), passing a bill for an eventual army of 30 regiments (30,000) and for regimenting, brigading, officering & exercising at the public expense our volunteer army, the amount of which we know not. I enclose you a copy of the bill, which has been twice read & committed in Senate. To meet this expence, Edition: current; Page: [50] & that of the 6. 72’s & 6. 18’s part of the proposed fleet, we have opened a loan of 5. millions at 8 per cent., & authorize another of 2 millions; and at the same time, every man voting for these measures acknoleges there is no probability of an invasion by France. While speaking of the restoration of our vessel, I omitted to add, that it is said that our government contemplate restoring the Frenchmen taken originally in the same vessel, and kept at Lancaster as prisoners. This has furnished the idea of calling her a cartel vessel, and pretending that she came as such for an exchange of prisoners, which is false. She was delivered free & without condition, but it does not suit to let any new evidence appear of the desire of conciliation in France. I believe it is now certain that the Commissioners on the British debts can proceed together no longer. I am told that our two have prepared a long report, which will perhaps be made public. The result will be, that we must recur again to negociation, to settle the principles of the British claims. You know that Congress rises on the 3d of March, and that if you have acceded to my prayers, I should hear from you at least a week before our rising. Accept my affectionate salutations & assurances of the sincere esteem with which I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb 19, 99
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

mad. mss.

I wrote to you last on the 11th; yesterday the bill for the eventual army of 30 regiments (30.000) & Edition: current; Page: [51] 75.000 volunteers, passed the Senate. By an amendment, the P was authorized to use the volunteers for every purpose for which he can use militia, so that the militia are rendered compleatly useless. The friends of the bill acknoleged that the volunteers are a militia, & agreed that they might properly be called the Presidential militia. They are not to go out of their state without their own consent. Consequently, all service out of the state is thrown on the constitutional militia, the Presidential militia being exempted from doing duty with them. Leblanc, an agent from Desfourneaux of Guadaloupe, came in the Retaliation. You will see in the papers Desfourneaux’s letter to the President, which will correct some immaterial circumstances of the statement in my last. You will see the truth of the main fact, that the vessel & crew were liberated without condition. Notwithstanding this, they have obliged Leblanc to receive the French prisoners, & to admit, in the papers, the terms, “in exchange for prisoners taken from us,” he denying at the same time that they consider them as prisoners, or had any idea of exchange. The object of his mission was not at all relative to that; but they chuse to keep up the idea of a cartel, to prevent the transaction from being used as evidence of the sincerity of the French govent towards a reconciliation. He came to assure us of a discontinuance of all irregularities in French privateers from Guadaloupe. He has been received very cavalierly. In the meantime, a consul general is named to St. Domingo; who may be considered as our minister to Toussaint.

Edition: current; Page: [52]

But the event of events was announced to the Senate yesterday. It is this: it seems that soon after Gerry’s departure, overtures must have been made by Pichon, French chargé d’affaires at the Hague, to Murray. They were so soon matured, that on the 28th of Sep, 98, Taleyrand writes to Pichon, approving what had been done, & particularly of his having assured Murray that whatever Plenipotentiary the govent of the U S should send to France to end our differences would undoubtedly be received with the respect due to the representative of a free, indepndt & powerful nation; declaring that the President’s instructions to his envoys at Paris, if they contain the whole of the American government’s intentions, announce dispositions which have been always entertained by the Directory; & desiring him to communicate these expressions to Murray, in order to convince him of the sincerity of the French government, & to prevail on him to transmit them to his government. This is dated Sep 28. & may have been received by Pichon Oct 1; and nearly 5. months elapse before it is communicated. Yesterday, the P nominated to the Senate W V Murray Mr Pl to the French republic, & adds, that he shall be instructed not to go to France, without direct & unequivocal assurances from the Fr government that he shall be received in character, enjoy the due privileges, and a minister of equal rank, title & power, be appointed to discuss & conclude our controversies by a new treaty. This had evidently been kept secret from the Feds of both Houses, as appeared by their dismay. The Senate have passed over this day without taking it Edition: current; Page: [53] up. It is said they are graveled & divided; some are for opposing, others do not know what to do. But in the meantime, they have been permitted to go on with all the measures of war & patronage, & when the close of the session is at hand it is made known. However, it silences all arguments against the sincerity of France, and renders desperate every further effort towards war. I enclose you a paper with more particulars. Be so good as to keep it till you see me, & then return it, as it is the copy of one I sent to another person, & is the only copy I have. Since I began my letter I have received yours of Feb 7 and 8, with it’s enclosures; that referred to my discretion is precious, and shall be used accordingly.

Affectionate salutations to mrs. M & yourself, & adieu

P. S. I have committed you & your friends for 100 D. I will justify it when I see you.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb 19, 99
Philadelphia
Edmund Pendleton
Pendleton, Edmund

to edmund pendleton

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Since my last, which was of the 14th, a Monsr Leblanc, agent from Desfourneaux, has come to town. He came in the Retaliation, and a letter of Desfourneaux, of which he was the bearer, now enclosed, will correct some circumstances in my statement relative to that vessel which were not very material. It shews, at the same time, that she was liberated without condition; still it is said but I have no particular authority for it, that he has been Edition: current; Page: [54] obliged to receive French prisoners here, and to admit in the paper that the terms “in exchange for prisoners taken from us,” should be used, he declaring, at the same time, that they had never considered ours as prisoners, nor had an idea of exchange. The object of his mission was to assure the government against any future irregularities by privateers from Guadaloupe, and to open a friendly intercourse. He has been treated very cavalierly. I enclose you the President’s message to the H of R relative to the suspension of the Arret, on which our retaliation bill is founded.

A great event was presented yesterday. The P communicated a letter from Taleyrand to Pichon, French chargé des affaires at the Hague, approving of some overtures which had passed between him & mr. Murray, and particularly of his having undertaken to assure Murray that whatever Plenipotentiary we might send to France to negotiate differences, should be received with the respect due to the representative of a “free, independt & powerful nation,” and directing him to prevail on Murray to transmit these assurances to his government. In consequence of this, a nomination of mr. Murray, M. P. to the French republic, was yesterday sent to the Senate. This renders their efforts for war desperate, & silences all further denials of the sincerity of the French government. I send you extracts from these proceedings for your more special information. I shall leave this the 2d day of March. Accept my affectionate salutations. Adieu.

P. S. I should have mentioned that a nomination Edition: current; Page: [55] is before the Senate of a consul general to St. Domingo. It is understood that he will present himself to Toussaint, and is, in fact, our minister to him.

The face they will put on this business is, that they have frightened France into a respectful treatment. Whereas, in truth, France has been sensible that her measures to prevent the scandalous spectacle of war between the two republics, from the known impossibility of our injuring her, would not be imputed to her as a humiliation.1

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 19. 99
Philadelphia
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

mon. mss.

I am so hard pressed for time that I can only announce to you a single event: but that is a great one. It seems that soon after Gerry’s departure from France, overtures must have been made by Pichon, French Chargé d’affaires at the Hague to Murray. These were so soon matured that on the 28th. of Sep. 98. Taleyrand writes to Pichon approving what had been done & particularly of his having assured Murray that whatever Plenipot. the Govmt. of the U. S. should send to France to end our differences, would undoubtedly be received with the respect due to the representative of a free, independent & powerful nation: declaring that the President’s instructions to his envoys at Paris, if they contain the whole of the American govmt’s intentions, announce dispositions which have been always entertained by the Directory, & desiring him to communicate Edition: current; Page: [56] these expressions to Murray in order to convince him of the sincerity of the French government, & to prevail on him to transmit them to his govmt. This is dated Sep. 28. & may have been received by Pichon Oct. 1. and near 5. months are elapsed before it is communicated. Yesterday the President nominated to the Senate W. V. Murray M. P. to the French republic, & adds that he shall be instructed not to go to France without direct & unequivocal assurances from the French govmt that he shall be received in character, enjoy the due privileges, & a minister of equal rank, title, & powers be appointed to discuss & conclude our Controversies by a new treaty. You will perceive that this measure has been taken as grudgingly as tardily, just as the close of the session is approaching, and the French are to go through the ceremony of a second submission. This had evidently been kept secret from the Feds of both houses, as appeared by their dismay. The Senate have passed over this day without taking it up. It is said they are gravelled & divided. Some are for opposing; others do not know what to do. But in the meantime they have been permitted to go on with all the measures of war & patronage. This silences all arguments against the sincerity of France, & renders desperate every further effort towards war. Communicate the general fact of this appointment & of it’s being the Consequence of overtures from France to whom you please; but the particulars of my statement only to our most discreet friends.—I have been obliged to lay you & your friends under contribution for a loan Edition: current; Page: [57] of 100. D. which I will justify when I see you. My most friendly salutations to mrs. Monroe & yourself. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb 23, 99
Philadelphia
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to robert r. livingston

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have received with great pleasure your favor on the subject of the Steam engine. Tho’ deterred by the complexity of that hitherto known, from making myself minutely acquainted with it, yet I am sufficiently acquainted with it to be sensible of the superior simplicity of yours, and it’s superior economy. I particularly thank you for the permission to communicate it to the Philosophical society; and though there will not be another session before I leave town, yet I have taken care, by putting it into the hands of one of the Vice-presidents to-day, to have it presented at the next meeting. I lament the not receiving it a fortnight sooner, that it might have been inserted in a volume now closed, and to be published in a few days, before it would be possible for this engraving to be ready. There is one object to which I have often wished a steam engine could be adapted. You know how desirable it is both in town & country to be able to have large reservoirs of water on the top of our houses, not only for use (by pipes) in the apartments, but as a resource against fire. This last is most especially a desideratum in the country. We might indeed have water carried from time to time in buckets to cisterns on the top of the house, but this is troublesome, & therefore we never do it,—consequently are without resource when Edition: current; Page: [58] a fire happens. Could any agent be employed which would be little or no additional expence or trouble except the first purchase, it would be done. Every family has such an agent, it’s kitchen fire. It is small indeed, but if it’s small but constant action could be accumulated so as to give a stroke from time to time which might throw ever so small a quantity of water from the bottom of a well to the top of the house (say 100. feet), it would furnish more than would waste by evaporation, or be used by the family. I know nobody who must better know the value of such a machine than yourself, nor more equal to the invention of it, and especially with your familiarity with the subject. I have imagined that the iron back of the chimney might be a cistern for holding the water, which should supply steam & would be constantly kept in a boiling state by the ordinary fire. I wish the subject may appear as interesting to you as it does to me, it would then engage your attention, and we might hope this desideratum would be supplied.

A want of confidence in the post office deters me from writing to my friends on the subject of politics. Indeed I am tired of writing Jeremiades on that subject. What person, who remembers the times and tempers we have seen, would have believed that within so short a period, not only the jealous spirit of liberty which shaped every operation of our revolution, but even the common principles of English whiggism would be scouted, and the tory principle of passive obedience under the new-fangled names of confidence & responsibility, become entirely triumphant? Edition: current; Page: [59] That the tories, whom in mercy we did not “crumble to dust & ashes,” could so have entwined us in their scorpion tails, that we cannot now move hand or foot. But the spell is dissolving. The public mind is recovering from the delirium into which it had been thrown, and we may still believe with security that the great body of the American people must for ages yet be substantially republican. You have heard of the nomination of mr. Murray. Not being in the secret of this juggle, I am not yet able to say how it is to be played off. Respectful & affectionate salutations from, dear Sir, your sincere friend & servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb 26, 99
Philadelphia
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

mad. mss.

My last to you was of the 19th; it acknoleged yours of the 8th. In mine, I informed you of the nomination of Murray. There is evidence that the letter of Taleyrand was known to one of the Secretaries, therefore probably to all; the nomination, however, is declared by one of them to have been kept secret from them all. He added, that he was glad of it, as, had they been consulted, the advice would have been against making the nomination. To the rest of the party, however, the whole was a secret till the nomination was announced. Never did a party shew a stronger mortification, & consequently, that war had been their object. Dana declared in debate (as I have from those who were present,) that we had done everything which might Edition: current; Page: [60] provoke France to war; that we had given her insults which no nation ought to have borne; & yet she would not declare war. The conjecture as to the Executive is, that they received Taleyrand’s letter before or about the meeting of Congress; that not meaning to meet the overture effectually, they kept it secret, & let all the war measures go on; but that just before the separation of the Senate, the P, not thinking he could justify the concealing such an overture, nor indeed that it could be concealed, made a nomination, hoping that his friends in the Senate would take on their own shoulders the odium of rejecting it; but they did not chuse it. The Hamiltonians would not, & the others could not, alone. The whole artillery of the phalanx, therefore, was plaid secretly on the Pt, and he was obliged himself to take a step which should parry the overture while it wears the face of acceding to it. (Mark that I state this as conjecture; but founded on workings & indications which have been under our eyes.) Yesterday, therefore, he sent in a nomination of Oliver Elsworth, Patrick Henry & W Vans Murray, Envoys Ext & M P to the French Republic, but declaring the two former should not leave this country till they should receive from the French Directory assurances that they should be received with the respect due by the law of nations to their character, &c. This, if not impossible, must at least keep off the day so hateful & so fatal to them, of reconciliation, & leave more time for new projects of provocation. Yesterday witnessed a scandalous scene in the H of R. It was the day for taking up the report of their Edition: current; Page: [61] commee against the Alien & Sedition laws, &c. They held a Caucus and determined that not a word should be spoken on their side, in answer to anything which should be said on the other. Gallatin took up the Alien, & Nicholas the Sedition law; but after a little while of common silence, they began to enter into loud conversations, laugh, cough, &c., so that for the last hour of these gentlemen’s speaking, they must have had the lungs of a vendue master to have been heard. Livingston, however, attempted to speak. But after a few sentences, the Speaker called him to order, & told him what he was saying was not to the question. It was impossible to proceed. The question was taken & carried in favor of the report, 52 to 48.; the real strength of the two parties is 56. to 50. But two of the latter have not attended this session. I send you the report of their committee. I still expect to leave this on the 1st, & be with you on the 7th of March. But it is possible I may not set out till the 4th, and then shall not be with you till the 10th. Affectionately adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb 27, 99
Philadelphia
Bishop James Madison
Madison, James Bishop

to bishop james madison

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Feb 10 came safely to hand. We were for a moment flattered with the hope of a friendly accommodation of our differences with France, by the President’s nomination of mr. Murray our minister at the Hague to proceed to Paris for that purpose. But our hopes have been entirely dashed by his revoking that and naming Edition: current; Page: [62] mr. Elsworth, mr. Patrick Henry & Murray; the two former not to embark from America till they shall receive assurances from the French Government, that they will be received with the respect due to their character by the Law of nations; and this too after the French Government had already given assurances that whatever Minister the President should send should be received with the respect due to the representative of a great, free & independent nation. The effect of the new nomination is compleatly to parry the advances made by France towards a reconciliation. A great change is taking place in the public mind in these middle states, and they are rapidly resuming the Republican ground which they had for a moment relinquished. The tables of Congress are loaded with petitions proving this. 13. of the 22. counties of this state have already petitioned against the proceedings of the late Congress. Many also from New York & New Jersey, and before the summer is over, these three states will be in unison with the Southern & Western. I take the liberty of putting under your cover a letter for a young gentleman known to you, & to whom I know not how otherwise to direct it. I am, with great esteem, dear Sir, your friend and servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar 12, 99
Monticello
Thomas Lomax
Lomax, Thomas

to thomas lomax

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your welcome favor of last month came to my hands in Philadelphia. So long a time has elapsed since we have been separated by events, Edition: current; Page: [63] that it was like a letter from the dead, and recalled to my memory very dear recollections. My subsequent journey through life has offered nothing which, in comparison with those, is not cheerless & dreary. It is a rich comfort sometimes to look back on them.

I take the liberty of enclosing a letter to mr. Baylor, open, because I solicit your perusal of it. It will, at the same time, furnish the apology for my not answering you from Philadelphia. You ask for any communication I may be able to make, which may administer comfort to you. I can give that which is solid. The spirit of 1776 is not dead. It has only been slumbering. The body of the American people is substantially republican. But their virtuous feelings have been played on by some fact with more fiction; they have been the dupes of artful manœuvres, & made for a moment to be willing instruments in forging chains for themselves. But time & truth have dissipated the delusion, & opened their eyes. They see now that France has sincerely wished peace, & their seducers have wished war, as well for the loaves & fishes which arise out of war expences, as for the chance of changing the constitution, while the people should have time to contemplate nothing but the levies of men and money. Pennsylvania, Jersey & N York are coming majestically round to the true principles. In Pensylva, 13. out of 22. counties had already petitioned on the alien & sedition laws. Jersey & N Y had begun the same movement, and tho’ the rising of Congress stops that channel for the expression of their sentiment, the sentiment is going on rapidly, & before Edition: current; Page: [64] their next meeting those three States will be solidly embodied in sentiment with the six Southern & Western ones. The atrocious proceedings of France towards this country, had well nigh destroyed its liberties. The Anglomen and monocrats had so artfully confounded the cause of France with that of freedom, that both went down in the same scale. I sincerely join you in abjuring all political connection with every foreign power; and tho I cordially wish well to the progress of liberty in all nations, and would forever give it the weight of our countenance, yet they are not to be touched without contamination from their other bad principles. Commerce with all nations, alliance with none, should be our motto.

Accept assurances of the constant & unaltered affection of, dear Sir, your sincere friend and servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 22. 99
Monticello
Edmund Pendleton
Pendleton, Edmund

to edmund pendleton

j. mss.

My respected Friend,

—Your letter of Feb. 24. which was intended to have reached me at Philadelphia, did not arrive there till I had left that place & then had to follow me to this, which must apologize for the delay in acknoleging it. In the meantime I had seen in our papers the one with your signature, & seen it with great satisfaction. Omitting one paragraph of it I may be permitted to give to the residue unqualified praise. The simplicity & candor with which it is written will procure it a candid reading with all, & nothing more is necessary to give Edition: current; Page: [65] their full effect to its statements & reasoning. I lament it had not got to Philadelphia a few days sooner that we might have sent it out in handbills by the members. I observe however that it is running through all the republican papers & with very great effect. The moment too is favourable, as the tide is evidently turning & the public men [faded] from Marshall’s [faded] romance. It is unfortunate that we have yet two years of mr. Adams to go through in the hands of a legislature [faded] under the impressions of that romance [faded] Presidential army or Presidential militia, it will leave me without a doubt that force on the Constitution is intended. It is already plain enough from the Secretary of War’s letter that Hamilton is to be the real general, the other to be used only by his name. Can such an army under Hamilton be disbanded? Even if a H. of Repr. can be got willing & wishing to disband them? I doubt it, & therefore rest my principal hope on their inability to raise anything but officers. I observe in the election of governor for Massachusetts that the vote for Heath (out of Boston) is much strengthened. Could the people of that state emerge from the deceptions under which they are kept by their clergy, lawyers & English presses, our salvation would be sure & easy. Without that, I believe it will be effected; but it will be uphill work. Nor can we expect ever their cordial cooperation, because they will not be satisfied longer than while we are sacrificing everything to navigation & a navy. What a glorious exchange would it be could we persuade our navigating fellow citizens to embark their Edition: current; Page: [66] capital in the internal commerce of our country, exclude foreigners from that & let them take the carrying trade in exchange: abolish the diplomatic establishments & never suffer an armed vessel of any nation to enter our ports. [faded] things can be thought of only in times of wisdom, not of party & Folly. May heaven still spare you to us for years to come & render them years of health, happiness, & the full enjoiment of your faculties. Affectionate salutations to yourself & mr. Taylor. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 14. 99
Monticello
Archibald Stuart
Stuart, Archibald

to archibald stuart1

Dear Sir,

—I received by the hands of Mr Coalter £13 from Mr Alexander. He is mistaken in supposing I had received £3-10-3 on his account from Gamble & Grattar, his letter now inclosed by you being the first and only mention to me that such a paiment had been expected. However this balance is not worth troubling you further with. I am sorry still to be troublesome with my nailery. Mr. McDowell writes me he cannot continue the sale of my nails. If he would have disposed of those remaining on his hands it would have been desireable; because they are hardly worth offering alone to another, and a long illness of my foreman, occasions our work to go on so poorly that I am able to do little more than supply this part of the country. He has for sometime past had symptoms of a dropsy supervening a Edition: current; Page: [67] decline of near a twelve month. He seems now to be getting better; but till he gets well, or till, that becoming desperate, I engage another manager, I hardly expect to be able to resume my supplies to Staunton. However if Mr McDowell will not consent to sell off what remains on his hands, I must ask the favor of you to engage some other to do it, as well as to dispose of future supplies as soon as I shall be able to furnish them. I am sensible of the difficulty of a person who sells other goods on credit, demanding ready money for nails; and therefore have found it necessary here to place them in the hands of grocers, or others dealing for ready money. The congressional elections, as far as I have heard them, are extremely to be regretted. I did expect Powel’s election; but that Lee should have been elected, & Nicholas hard run marks a taint in that part of the state which I had not expected. I have not yet heard the issue of the contest between Trigg & Hancock. Our federal candidate here cut a very poor figure. The state elections have generally gone well. Mr. Henry will have the mortification of encountering such a mass of talents as he has never met before; for from every thing I can learn, we never had an abler nor a sounder legislature. His apostacy must be unaccountable to those who do not know all the recesses of his heart. The cause of republicanism, triumphing in Europe, can never fail to do so here in the long run. Our citizens may be deceived for a while & have been deceived; but as long as the presses can be protected, we may trust to them for light; still more perhaps to the taxgatherers; for it Edition: current; Page: [68] is not worth the while of our antirepublicans to risk themselves on any change of government, but a very expensive one. Reduce every department to economy, & there will be no temptation to them to betray their constituents. Affectionate salutations & adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 21, 99
Monticello
Tench Coxe
Coxe, Tench

to tench coxe

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Apr. 29, came to hand by our last post. I have for some time been anxious to write to you on the subject mentioned therein, but a want of confidence in the post office, & a certain prospect of conveyance by Dr. Bache who has been with us for some time, & was to return to Philadelphia, induced me to await that occasion which now accordingly takes place. Immediately on my parting with you the evening before I left Philadelphia I went to Mr. Venable’s lodgings. He was not at home. I waited for him & at length he returned. I explained the subject to him & we went together to mr. Livingston’s. He was gone to the theatre; so no hope of an early return. On returning to my lodgings mr. Nicholas joined us, & it was there settled that mr. Venable should devote the next day to the reducing to a certainty (in black & white) what could be done, & as it was then a late hour & I had still much to prepare for my departure the next morning, instead of calling on you again mr. Venable promised to do it & to communicate to you the effect of his exertions. He promised moreover to write to me specially of his success. I had been at home a Edition: current; Page: [69] considerable time when I saw mr. Foreman’s proposals in some newspaper for the publication of a new gazette. I immediately wrote to Venable to inform me if that was the paper we had expected in order that I might prepare for the fulfillment of my engagements. I inclose you his answer, which will explain to you why you heard nothing further after I parted with you. The sum there, with the addition of two others, of 500 D. each, of which you were apprized (I believe there was a third also) fell far short of expectations. I sincerely regret the failure, & am thoroughly sensible of the importance of the undertaking, tho’ much has been lost by its not having taken place this summer. My situation exposes me to so much calumny that I am obliged to be cautious of appearing in any matter however justifiable & especially if it be of a nature to admit readily of misconception. A very short text will for a long time furnish matter for newspaper stricture. I am satisfied from what I have seen since my return that there would be scarcely any limits to the subscription for such a paper. I shall still hope that it will not be abandoned.

The Virginia congressional elections have astonished everyone. They gave five certain federalists. Three others however on whom also they count, Page, Gray, & [faded] are moderate men, & I am assured will not go with them on questions of importance. This result has proceeded from accidental combinations of circumstances, & not from an unfavorable change of sentiment. The change has unquestionably been the other way. The valley Edition: current; Page: [70] between the Blueridge & North Mountain, which had for sometime been much tainted, (and which had given me more serious uneasiness than any other appearance in this state) has come solidly round. They were represented by Homes & the two Triggs, who the last summer would have been left out by great majorities, but have now been re-elected by great majorities. The progress of the republican cause here is proved by the state elections made on the same day with those for Congress. They are more republican than those of last year; & particularly from all the upper country. How long we can hold our ground I do not know. We are not incorruptible; on the contrary, corruption is making sensible tho’ silent progress. Offices are as acceptable here as elsewhere, & whenever a man has cast a longing eye on them, a rottenness begins in his conduct. Mr. Henry has taken the field openly; but our legislature is filled with too great a mass of talents & principle to be now swayed by him. He will experience mortifications to which he has been hitherto a stranger. Still I fear something from his intriguing and cajoling talents, for which he is still more remarkable than for his eloquence. As to the effect of his name among the people, I have found it crumble like a dried leaf, the moment they become satisfied of his apostacy. With every wish for your health & happiness & sentiments of sincere esteem I am &c.

Edition: current; Page: [71]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 20. 99
Monticello
Harry Innes
Innes, Harry

to harry innes

j. mss.

I have to acknolege the receipt of your favor of March the 2d. & to return you many thanks for it. I am very desirous to collect all the information I can relative to the murder of Logan’s family, who were the perpetrators, & how far Cresap had counselled or ordered it; for tho’ there exists a very general belief that he was present, yet the information I have received seems rather that he ordered Greathouse & his party on that business & took another upon himself. Of the authenticity of Logan’s speech I have the evidence of General Gibson who received it from Logan’s hand, delivered it to Lord Dunmore & translated it. The speech proves that Logan considered Colo. Cresap as the murderer; and nothing can prove it more authentically than the copy of the note you have been so kind as to send me. My statement therefore, which has been attacked is nothing more than the universally received account of that transaction. If mankind have generally imputed that murder to Cresap, it was because his character led them to it, numerous murders of the Indians having drawn them to fix this on him. His character becomes an object of enquiry on this account. After letting this matter remain uncontradicted for upwards of twenty years it has now been raked up from party hatred, as furnishing some with the design of writing me down. I have left their calumnies unanswered; but in the meantime have asked the favor of gentlemen who have it in their power to procure me what information they can as I mean Edition: current; Page: [72] to prepare a correct statement of the facts respecting the murder of Logan’s family, to be inserted by way of amendment into the text of the Notes on Virginia. This I hope to be able to publish next winter when in Philadelphia, so I have asked from my friends to furnish me whatever they shall have collected by the month of December next. Material from the evidence will probably be published in support of the text as it will be amended. The information will mention [illegible] affidavits where convenient, or of certificate or letter where not so. Minute details will be most desirable. Any assistance you can give me in procuring this or any other material information on the subject will be very thankfully received. My distance from the evidence of persons acquainted with the transaction rendering it impracticable for me to obtain it otherwise than by the aid of my friends. I would also ask to receive it by or before the month of December. I should not have taken the liberty of troubling you, but as you have been so kind as to offer your aid. Mr. Volney on his return spoke with great acknolegements of your kind civilities, for which accept my thanks also. I am sure you found him entirely worthy of them. I receive with great sensibility the assurances of your esteem. These sentiments from men of worth, of reflection & of pure attachment to republican government are my consolation against the calumnies of which it has suited certain writers to make me the object. Under these I hope I shall never bend; & that man may at length find favor with heaven & his present struggles issue in the recovery & establishment of his moral & Edition: current; Page: [73] political rights will be the prayer of my latest breath. Accept assurances of the sincere esteem & respect of dear Sir of your most obedient & most humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 18, 99
Monticello
Edmund Randolph
Randolph, Edmund

to edmund randolph

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I received only two days ago your favor of the 12th, and as it was on the eve of the return of our post, it was not possible to make so prompt a despatch of the answer. Of all the doctrines which have ever been broached by the federal government, the novel one, of the common law being in force & cognizable as an existing law in their courts, is to me the most formidable. All their other assumptions of un-given powers have been in the detail. The bank law, the treaty doctrine, the sedition act, alien act, the undertaking to change the state laws of evidence in the state courts by certain parts of the stamp act, &c., &c., have been solitary, unconsequential, timid things, in comparison with the audacious, barefaced and sweeping pretension to a system of law for the U S, without the adoption of their legislature, and so infinitely beyond their power to adopt. If this assumption be yielded to, the state courts may be shut up, as there will then be nothing to hinder citizens of the same state suing each other in the federal courts in every case, as on a bond for instance, because the common law obliges payment of it, & the common law they say is their law. I am happy you have taken up the subject; & I have carefully perused & considered the notes you Edition: current; Page: [74] enclosed, and find but a single paragraph which I do not approve. It is that wherein (page 2.) you say, that laws being emanations from the legislative department, &, when once enacted, continuing in force from a presumption that their will so continues, that that presumption fails & the laws of course fall, on the destruction of that legislative department. I do not think this is the true bottom on which laws & the administering them rest. The whole body of the nation is the sovereign legislative, judiciary and executive power for itself. The inconvenience of meeting to exercise these powers in person, and their inaptitude to exercise them, induce them to appoint special organs to declare their legislative will, to judge & execute it. It is the will of the nation which makes the law obligatory; it is their will which creates or annihilates the organ which is to declare & announce it. They may do it by a single person, as an Emperor of Russia, (constituting his declarations evidence of their will,) or by a few persons, as the Aristocracy of Venice, or by a complication of councils, as in our former regal government, or our present republican one. The law being law because it is the will of the nation, is not changed by their changing the organ through which they chuse to announce their future will; no more than the acts I have done by one attorney lose their obligation by my changing or discontinuing that attorney. This doctrine has been, in a certain degree sanctioned by the federal executive. For it is precisely that on which the continuance of obligation from our treaty with France was established, and the doctrine was particularly Edition: current; Page: [75] developed in a letter to Gouverneur Morris, written with the approbation of President Washington and his cabinet. Mercer once prevailed on the Virginia Assembly to declare a different doctrine in some resolutions. These met universal disapprobation in this, as well as the other States, and if I mistake not, a subsequent Assembly did something to do away the authority of their former unguarded resolutions. In this case, as in all others, the true principle will be quite as effectual to establish the just deductions, for before the revolution, the nation of Virginia had, by the organs they then thought proper to constitute, established a system of laws, which they divided into three denominations of 1, common law; 2, statute law; 3, Chancery: or if you please, into two only, of 1, common law; 2, Chancery. When, by the declaration of Independence, they chose to abolish their former organs of declaring their will, the acts of will already formally & constitutionally declared, remained untouched. For the nation was not dissolved, was not annihilated; it’s will, therefore, remained in full vigor; and on the establishing the new organs, first of a convention, & afterwards a more complicated legislature, the old acts of national will continued in force, until the nation should, by its new organs, declare it’s will changed. The common law, therefore, which was not in force when we landed here, nor till we had formed ourselves into a nation, and had manifested by the organs we constituted that the common law was to be our law, continued to be our law, because the nation continued in being, & because though it Edition: current; Page: [76] changed the organs for the future declarations of its will, yet it did not change its former declarations that the common law was it’s law. Apply these principles to the present case. Before the revolution there existed no such nation as the U S; they then first associated as a nation, but for special purposes only. They had all their laws to make, as Virginia had on her first establishment as a nation. But they did not, as Virginia had done, proceed to adopt a whole system of laws ready made to their hand. As their association as a nation was only for special purposes, to wit, for the management of their concerns with one another & with foreign nations, and the states composing the association chose to give it powers for those purposes & no others, they could not adopt any general system, because it would have embraced objects on which this association had no right to form or declare a will. It was not the organ for declaring a national will in these cases. In the cases confided to them, they were free to declare the will of the nation, the law; but till it was declared there could be no law. So that the common law did not become, ipso facto, law on the new association; it could only become so by a positive adoption, & so far only as they were authorized to adopt.

I think it will be of great importance, when you come to the proper part, to portray at full length the consequences of this new doctrine, that the common law is the law of the U S, & that their courts have, of course, jurisdiction co-extensive with that law, that is to say, general over all cases & persons. But, great heavens! Who could have conceived in 1789 Edition: current; Page: [77] that within ten years we should have to combat such wind-mills. Adieu. Yours affectionately.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 23, 99
Monticello
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

j. mss.

With this you will receive the IVd nails desired in your memorandum, that is to say 25. lb weighing about to the lb. Probably they yield something more than a thousand to that weight, not being so uniform as they ought to be. We are now working up some remnants of hoops of different breadths till the arrival of a supply of proper size from Philadelphia. They are 1/3 per pound consequently come cheap. The error in the nails sent before was as I entered the memorandum in my book from his dictation and he saw them weighed out according to that.

Mrs. Madison will see that Lumsden your plasterer, lives about 10. or 15. miles from you & that an opportunity may perhaps be found of conveying him a letter. I trouble you with one, open, which when read be so good as to seal & forward by any opportunity you approve.

I inclose you a letter I received from Colo. Nicholas three days ago. It is so advantageous that Virginia & Kentucky should pursue the same track on this occasion & a difference of plan would give such advantage to the Consolidationers that I would immediately see you at your own house, but that we have a stranger [illegible] whose state has been very critical & who would suffer in spirits at least very Edition: current; Page: [78] substantially by my absence. I shall not answer [illegible] but the opportunity is certainly a valuable one for producing a concert of action. I will in the mean time give you my ideas on reflection. That the principles already advanced by Virginia & Kentucky are not to be yielded in silence I presume we all agree. I would propose a declaration or resolution by their legislatures on the plan. 1st. answer this reasoning: if such of the states as have ventured into the field of reason, & that of the comm [illegible].1

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 26, 99
Monticello
Wilson C. Nicholas
Nicholas, Wilson C.

to wilson c. nicholas

Dear Sir,

—I am deeply impressed with the importance of Virginia & Kentucky pursuing the same track at the ensuing sessions of their legislatures. Your going thither furnishes a valuable opportunity of effecting it, and as mr. Madison will be at our assembly as well as yourself, I thought it important to procure a meeting between you. I therefore wrote you to propose to him to ride to this place on Saturday or Sunday next; supposing that both he and yourself might perhaps have some matter of business at our court, which might render it less inconvenient for you to be here together on Sunday. I took for granted that you would not set off to Kentuckey pointedly at the time you first proposed, and hope and strongly urge your favoring us with a visit at the Edition: current; Page: [79] time proposed. Mrs. Madison, who was the bearer of my letter, assured me I might count on mr. M.’s being here. Not that I mentioned to her the object of my request, or that I should propose the same to you, because, I presume, the less said of such a meeting the better. I shall take care that Monroe shall dine with us. In hopes of seeing you, I bid you affectionately adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 5, 99
Monticello
Wilson C. Nicholas
Nicholas, Wilson C.

to wilson c. nicholas

Dear Sir,

—Yours of Aug. 30th 99 came duly to hand. It was with great regret we gave up the hope of seeing you here, but could not but consider the obstacle as legitimate. I had written to mr. M. as I had before informed you, and had stated to him some general ideas for consideration & consultation when we should meet. I thought something essentially necessary to be said, in order to avoid the inference of acquiescence; that a resolution or declaration should be passed, 1, answering the reasonings of such of the states as have ventured into the field of reason, & that of the Committee of Congress, taking some notice too of those states who have either not answered at all, or answered without reasoning. 2, making firm protestation against the precedent & principle, & reserving the right to make this palpable violation of the federal compact the ground of doing in future whatever we might now rightfully do, should repetitions of these and other violations of the Edition: current; Page: [80] compact render it expedient. 3, expressing in affectionate & conciliatory language our warm attachment to union with our sister states, & to the instrument & principles by which we are united; that we are willing to sacrifice to this everything but the rights of self-government in those important points which we have never yielded, & in which alone we see liberty, safety, & happiness; that not at all disposed to make every measure of error or of wrong, a cause of scission, we are willing to look on with indulgence, & to wait with patience till those passions & delusions shall have passed over, which the federal government have artfully excited to cover its own abuses & conceal it’s designs, fully confident that the good sense of the American people, and their attachment to those very rights which we are now vindicating, will, before it shall be too late, rally with us round the true principles of our federal compact. This was only meant to give a general idea of the complexion & topics of such an instrument. Mr. M. who came, as had been proposed, does not concur in the reservation proposed above; and from this I recede readily, not only in deference to his judgment, but because as we should never think of separation but for repeated and enormous violations, so these, when they occur, will be cause enough of themselves.

To these topics, however, should be added animadversions on the new pretensions to a common law of the U. S. I proposed to mr. M. to write to you, but he observed that you knew his sentiments so perfectly from a former conference, that it was unnecessary. Edition: current; Page: [81] As to the preparing anything, I must decline it, to avoid suspicions (which were pretty strong in some quarters on the last occasion), and because there remains still (after their late loss) a mass of talents in Kentucky sufficient for every purpose. The only object of the present communication is to procure a concert in the general plan of action, [as it is extremely desirable that Virginia and Kentucky should pursue the same track on this occasion.]1 Besides, how could you better while away the road from hence to Kentucky, than in meditating this very subject, and preparing something yourself, than whom nobody will do it better. The loss of your brother, and the visit of the apostle Marshal to Kentucky, excite anxiety. However, we doubt not that his poisons will be effectually counterworked. Wishing you a pleasant journey & happy return, I am with great and sincere esteem, dear Sir, your affectionate friend & servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sept. 6, 99
Monticello
James Thomson Callender
Callender, James Thomson

to james thomson callender2

Sir,

—By a want of arrangement in a neighbouring post-office during the absence of the postmaster, my letters and papers for two posts back were detained. I suppose it was owing to this that your letter tho’ dated Aug. 10. did not get to my hand till the last day of the month, since which this is the first day I can through the post office acknowledge the receipt Edition: current; Page: [82] of it. Mr. Jefferson happens to be here and directs his agent to call on you with this and pay you 50 dollars, on account of the book you are about to publish. When it shall be out be so good as to send me 2. or 3. copies, and the rest only when I shall ask for them.

The violence which was meditated against you lately has excited a very general indignation in this part of the country. Our state from it’s first plantation has been remarkable for it’s order and submission to the laws. But three instances are recollected in it’s history of an organized opposition to the laws. The first was Bacon’s Rebellion; the 2d. our revolution; the 3d. the Richmond association who, by their committee, have in the public papers avowed their purpose of taking out of the hands of the law the function of declaring who may or may not have free residence among us. But these gentlemen miscalculate the temper and force of this country extremely if they supposed there would have been a want of either to support the authority of the laws: and equally mistake their own interests in setting the example of club-law. Whether their self-organized election of a committee, and publication of their manifesto, be such overt acts as bring them within the pale of law; the law I presume is to decide: and there it is our duty to leave it. The delivery of Robbins to the British excites much feeling and enquiry here. With every wish for your welfare I am with great regard sir Your most obedient servt.

Edition: current; Page: [83]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 6, 99
Monticello
James Thomson Callender
Callender, Thomson James

to james thomson callender1

Sir,

—On receiving your favor of Sept. 29, I did believe it would be in my power to answer you satisfactorily on both points on which you asked information. I knew indeed that I had not made any particular memorandum of the sum which the C’ de Vergennes supposed a treaty with the Porte would cost; but I expect that I had mentioned it either in my letter on the subject to Mr. Jay, or in that to Mr. Adams my colleague in the Barbary negociations. After a very long search yesterday I found both letters, but in neither have I stated any particular sum. They are of May 1786, and only say generally that in a conversation with the Ct. de Vergennes on the subject, he said that a treaty with the Porte would cost us a great deal of money, as great presents are expected at that court, and a great many claim them; and that we should not buy a peace one penny the cheaper at Algiers; that the Algerines did indeed acknowledge a certain dependence on the Porte, and availed themselves of it whenever any thing was to be gained by it, but disregarded it when it subjected them to any demand: and that at Algiers there were but too [sic] agents, money and fear. This is the statement in those letters, and my memory does not enable me to fix any particular sum having been named by him; but only generally that it was very far beyond any thing then at our command.—All who were members of Congress in 1786. may be supposed to remember this information, and if it could be Edition: current; Page: [84] understood to come to you through some such channel, it would save the public from reading all the blackguardism which would be vented on me were I quoted; not that this would weigh an atom with me, on any occasion where my avowal of either facts or opinions would be of public use; but whenever it will not, I then think it useful to keep myself out of the way of calumny.

On the other point I can be more certain. Georgia, N. Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania choose their electors by the people directly. In Massachusetts the choice is, first by the people in districts: But if a candidate had not a majority of all the qualified voters of the district; it devolves on the legislature to appoint the elector for that district, besides, as they have but 14. districts (laid off for some state purpose) and are entitled to 16. electors, the legislature name the two extra ones in the first instance. Again, if any of those elected either by the people or legislature die, or decline to act, the residue of the electors fill up the vacancies themselves. In this way the people of Massachus. chose 7. electors on the last occasion, and the legislature 9. In New Hamp. Rho. Isld. Connec. Vermont, New-York, Jersey, Delaware and South Carolina, the legislature name electors. My information is good as to all these particulars except N. Hampshire and Connecticut: and as to them I think I am right; but speaking only from memory it should be further ascertained before asserted. I thank you for the proof sheets you inclosed me. Such papers cannot fail to produce the best effect. They inform Edition: current; Page: [85] the thinking part of the nation; and these again, supported by the taxgatherers as their vouchers, set the people to rights. You will know from whom this comes without a signature: the omission of which has rendered almost habitual with me by the curiosity of the post offices. Indeed a period is now approaching during which I shall discontinue writing letters as much as possible, knowing that every snare will be used to get hold of what may be perverted in the eyes of the public.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 27, 1799
Monticello
Stephen Thompson Mason
Mason, Stephen Thompson

to stephen thompson mason

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor by Mr. Craven has been duly received, and I am very thankful for your attention to the subject of my former letter. It is one I have very much at heart, for I find I am not fit to be a farmer with the kind of labour we have, & also subject to such long avocation. Mr. Craven had thought too much of the raspberry plains to be satisfied with our mountainous country; however, although we have not come to an absolute engagement, yet he departs under an expectation of deciding to return, & to decide others to come. I have shewn him 800. acres of enclosed & cultivated lands, which I release in such parcels as the tenants desire. Before he arrived, I had leased 160. acres to a very good man, being afraid to lose the offer under the uncertainty whether I might get others.

I sincerely congratulate you on the success of Edition: current; Page: [86] McKean’s election & I hope the Pennsylvania republicans have been as successful in the election of the members of their legislature. Such a state as that harmonizing by its public authorities with those to the south, would command respect to the Federal constitution. Still we must place at the distance of at least two years that reformation in the public proceedings which depends on the character of Congress. That now coming into the exercise of authority affords no hope. The misfortune of the French would probably produce at the next session still greater intolerance than we have hitherto experienced, did not the insolences of the English keep their votaries here in check for us. The public mind in the middle states, from every information I receive, has very much regenerated in principles of Whiggism. In this part of our state some symptoms of waivering which had appeared in certain places, have again become firm, or are fast returning to that state: always excepting however that gangrene which spreads from the public functionaries great & small, proceeding from the canker of interest. I am with great & sincere affection Dear Sir, your friend & servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 29. 99
Monticello
Charles Pinckney
Pinckney, Charles

to charles pinckney

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Sept. 12. came to hand on the 3d inst. I have delayed acknoledging it in hopes of receiving the longer one you mentioned to have written, but that has not yet reached me. I was Edition: current; Page: [87] both pleased & edified by the piece on Robbins case. It ought to be a very serious case to the judge. I think no one circumstance since the establishment of our government has affected the popular mind more. I learn that in Pennsylvania it had a great effect. I have no doubt the piece you enclosed will run through all the republican papers, & carry the question home to every man’s mind. The success of McKean’s election is a subject of real congratulation & hope. The majority by which he carried it is not yet known here, but it must have been very great. We have also to expect that the same spirit which prevailed & shewed itself so strongly on that vote, has been equally efficacious in the election of their legislature. Could a republican legislature in Pennsylvania be once added to those south of the Potomac, it would command more respect to our constitution. I consider all the encroachments made on that heretofore as nothing, as mere retail stuff compared with the wholesale doctrine, that there is a common law in force in the U. S. of which & of all the cases within its provisions their courts have cognizance. It is complete consolidation. Ellsworth & Iredell have openly recognized it. Washington has squinted at it, & I have no doubt it has been decided to cram it down our throats. In short it would seem that changes in the principles of our government are to be pushed till they accomplish a monarchy peaceably, or force a resistance which with the aid of an army may end in monarchy. Still I hope that this will be peaceably prevented by the eyes of the people being opened & the consequent effect of the elective Edition: current; Page: [88] principle. This is certainly taken place in the middle states. The late misfortunes of France would probably render the consolidationers more enterprising & more intolerant than ever at the next session of Congress, were they not held in check by the British aggressions. You flatter us with the possibility of coming on by land & taking this in your route. Nothing could be more pleasing to me as it will be to Colo. Monroe & mr. Madison. Our legislature meets on the same day with Congress consequently mr. Madison’s motions will be affected accordingly. I wish I knew enough of the roads to recommend the best route to you, but I am unacquainted with them, except so far as to observe that if you come by Halifax the direct line thence would be Brunswick, Amelia, Lile’s ford Appomatox & Columbia at the fork of James river, from whence the road hither is good, except the last 8. or 10. miles. Our friend Mason, from whom I lately recd a letter, is well. Wilson C. Nicholas will be his collegue Tazewell, & Monroe will probably be the governor. Notwithstanding the unaccountable event of some of the Congressional elections in April last those for the state legislature will have made that body still more republican than it was. I hope So. Carolina is recovering from the delusion which affected their last election. Accept assurances of the sincere esteem of dear sir, &c.

P. S. I shall not frank my letter lest it should awake the curiosity of the post offices.

Edition: current; Page: [89]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
November 22, 1799
Monticello
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

ed. of 1829.

Dear Sir,

—I have never answered your letter by Mr. Polk, because I expected to have paid you a visit. This has been prevented by various causes, till yesterday. That being the day fixed for the departure of my daughter Eppes, my horses were ready for me to have set out to see you: an accident postponed her departure to this day, and my visit also. But Colonel Monroe dined with me yesterday, and on my asking his commands for you, he entered into the subject of the visit and dissuaded it entirely, founding the motives on the espionage of the little * * * in * * * * who would make it a subject of some political slander, and perhaps of some political injury. I have yielded to his representations, and therefore shall not have the pleasure of seeing you till my return from Philadelphia. I regret it sincerely, not only on motives of attention but of affairs. Some late circumstances changing considerably the aspect of our situation, must affect the line of conduct to be observed. I regret it the more too, because from the commencement of the ensuing session, I shall trust the post offices with nothing confidential, persuaded that during the ensuing twelve months they will lend their inquisitorial aid to furnish matter for newspapers. I shall send you as usual printed communications, without saying anything confidential on them. You will of course understand the cause.

In your new station1 let me recommend to you the jury system: as also the restoration of juries in the Edition: current; Page: [90] court of chancery, which a law not long since repealed, because “the trial by jury is troublesome and expensive.” If the reason be good, they should abolish it at common law also. If Peter Carr is elected in the room of * * * he will undertake the proposing this business, and only need your support. If he is not elected, I hope you will get it done otherwise. My best respects to Mrs. Madison, and affectionate salutations to yourself.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 12, 1800
Philadelphia
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

j. mss.

Yours of Jan. 4. was received last night. I had then no expectation of any opportunity of communicating to you confidentially information of the state of opinions here; but I learn to-night that two mr. Randolphs will set out to-morrow morning for Richmond. If I can get this into their hands I shall send it, otherwise it may wait long. On the subject of an election by a general ticket, or by districts, most persons here seem to have made up their minds. All agree that an election by districts would be best, if it could be general; but while 10 states chuse either by their legislatures or by a general ticket, it is folly & worse than folly for the other 6. not to do it. In these 10. states the minority is entirely unrepresented; & their majorities not only have the weight of their whole state in their scale, but have the benefit of so much of our minorities as can succeed at a district election. This is, in fact, ensuring to our minorities the appointment of the government. To state it in another form; it is merely a question whether we will Edition: current; Page: [91] divide the U S into 16. or 137. districts. The latter being more chequered, & representing the people in smaller sections, would be more likely to be an exact representation of their diversified sentiments. But a representation of a part by great, & a part by small sections, would give a result very different from what would be the sentiment of the whole people of the U S, were they assembled together. I have today had a conversation with 113.1 who has taken a flying trip here from N Y. He says, they have really now a majority in the H of R, but for want of some skilful person to rally round, they are disjointed, & will lose every question. In the Senate there is a majority of 8. or 9. against us. But in the new election which is to come on in April, three or 4. in the Senate will be changed in our favor; & in the H of R the county elections will still be better than the last; but still all will depend on the city election, which is of 12. members. At present there would be no doubt of our carrying our ticket there; nor does there seem to be time for any events arising to change that disposition. There is therefore the best prospect possible of a great & decided majority on a joint vote of the two houses. They are so confident of this, that the republican party there will not consent to elect either by districts or a general ticket. They chuse to do it by their legislature. I am told the republicans of N J are equally confident, & equally anxious against an election either by districts or a general ticket. The contest in this State will end in a separation of the present legislature without passing any election law, Edition: current; Page: [92] (& their former one is expired), and in depending on the new one, which will be elected Oct 14. in which the republican majority will be more decided in the Representatives, & instead of a majority of 5. against us in the Senate, will be of 1. for us. They will, from the necessity of the case, chuse the electors themselves. Perhaps it will be thought I ought in delicacy to be silent on this subject. But you, who know me, know that my private gratifications would be most indulged by that issue, which should leave me most at home. If anything supersedes this propensity, it is merely the desire to see this government brought back to it’s republican principles. Consider this as written to mr. Madison as much as yourself; & communicate it, if you think it will do any good, to those possessing our joint confidence, or any others where it may be useful & safe. Health & affectionate salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 17th, 1800
Philadelphia
Mary Jefferson Eppes
Eppes, Mary Jefferson

to mary jefferson eppes1

My dear Maria,

—I received at Monticello two letters from you, and meant to have answered them a little before my departure for this place; but business so crowded upon me at that moment that it was not in my power. I left home on the 21st, and arrived here on the 28th of December, after a pleasant journey of fine weather and good roads, and without having experienced any inconvenience. The Senate had not yet entered into business, and I may say they Edition: current; Page: [93] have not yet entered into it; for we have not occupation for half an hour a day. Indeed, it is so apparent that we have nothing to do but to raise money to fill the deficit of five millions of dollars, that it is proposed we shall rise about the middle of March; and as the proposition comes from the Eastern members, who have always been for sitting permanently, while the Southern are constant for early adjournment, I presume we shall rise then. In the meanwhile, they are about to renew the bill suspending intercourse with France, which is in fact a bill to prohibit the exportation of tobacco, and to reduce the tobacco States to passive obedience by poverty.

J. Randolph has entered into debate with great splendor and approbation. He used an unguarded word in his first speech, applying the word “ragmuffin” to the common soldiery. He took it back of his own accord, and very handsomely, the next day, when he had occasion to reply. Still, in the evening of the second day, he was jostled, and his coat pulled at the theatre by two officers of the Navy, who repeated the word “ragmuffin.” His friends present supported him spiritedly, so that nothing further followed. Conceiving, and, as I think, justly, that the House of Representatives (not having passed a law on the subject) could not punish the offenders, he wrote a letter to the President, who laid it before the House, where it is still depending. He has conducted himself with great propriety, and I have no doubt will come out with increase of reputation, being determined himself to oppose the interposition of the House when they have no law for it.

Edition: current; Page: [94]

M. du Pont, his wife and family, are arrived at New York, after a voyage of three months and five days. I suppose after he is a little recruited from his voyage we shall see him here. His son is with him, as is also his son-in-law Bureau Pusy, the companion and fellow sufferer of Lafayette. I have a letter from Lafayette of April; he then expected to sail for America in July, but I suspect he awaits the effect of the mission of our ministers. I presume that Madame de Lafayette is to come with them, and that they mean to settle in America.

The prospect of returning early to Monticello is to me a most charming one. I hope the fishery will not prevent your joining us early in the spring. However, on this subject we can speak together, as I will endeavor, if possible, to take Mont Blanco and Eppington in my way.

A letter from Dr. Carr, of December 27, informed me he has just left you well. I become daily more anxious to hear from you, and to know that you continue well, your present state being one which is most interesting to a parent; and its issue, I hope, will be such as to give you experience what a parent’s anxiety may be. I employ my leisure moments in repassing often in my mind our happy domestic society when together at Monticello, and looking forward to the renewal of it. No other society gives me now any satisfaction, as no other is founded in sincere affection. Take care of yourself, my dear Maria, for my sake, and cherish your affections for me, as my happiness rests solely on yours, and on that of your sister’s and your dear connections. Present me Edition: current; Page: [95] affectionately to Mr. Eppes, to whom I enclosed some pamphlets some time ago without any letter; as I shall write no letters the ensuing year for political reasons which I explained to him. Present my affections also to Mrs. and Mr. Eppes, Senior, and all the family, for whom I feel every interest that I do for my own. Be assured yourself, my dear, of my most tender and constant love. Adieu. Yours affectionately and forever.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 18, 1800
Philadelphia
Joseph Priestley
Priestley, Joseph

to joseph priestley

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have to thank you for the pamphlets you were so kind as to send me. You will know what I thought of them by my having before sent a dozen sets to Virginia to distribute among my friends. Yet I thank you not the less for these, which I value the more as they came from yourself. The stock of them which Campbell had was, I believe, exhausted the first or second day of advertising them. The Papers of political arithmetic, both in your & Mr. Cooper’s pamphlets, are the most precious gifts that can be made to us; for we are running navigation mad, & commerce mad, & navy mad, which is worst of all. How desirable is it that you could pursue that subject for us. From the Porcupines of our country you will receive no thanks; but the great mass of our nation will edify & thank you. How deeply have I been chagrined & mortified at the persecutions which fanaticism & monarchy have excited against you, even here! At first I believed it was merely a continuance Edition: current; Page: [96] of the English persecution. But I observe that on the demise of Porcupine & division of his inheritance between Fenno & Brown, the latter (tho’ succeeding only to the federal portion of Porcupinism, not the Anglican, which is Fenno’s part) serves up for the palate of his sect, dishes of abuse against you as high seasoned as Porcupine’s were. You have sinned against church & king, & can therefore never be forgiven. How sincerely have I regretted that your friend, before he fixed his choice of a position, did not visit the vallies on each side of the blue ridge in Virginia, as Mr. Madison & myself so much wished. You would have found there equal soil, the finest climate & most healthy one on the earth, the homage of universal reverence & love, & the power of the country spread over you as a shield. But since you would not make it your country by adoption, you must now do it by your good offices. I have one to propose to you which will produce their good, & gratitude to you for ages, and in the way to which you have devoted a long life, that of spreading light among men.

We have in that state a college (Wm. & Mary) just well enough endowed to draw out the miserable existence to which a miserable constitution has doomed it. It is moreover eccentric in it’s position, exposed to bilious diseases as all the lower country is, & therefore abandoned by the public care, as that part of the country itself is in a considerable degree by it’s inhabitants. We wish to establish in the upper & healthier country, & more centrally for the state, an University on a plan so broad & liberal & modern, as Edition: current; Page: [97] to be worth patronizing with the public support, and be a temptation to the youth of other states to come and drink of the cup of knowledge & fraternize with us. The first step is to obtain a good plan; that is, a judicious selection of the sciences, & a practicable grouping of some of them together, & ramifying of others, so as to adapt the professorships to our uses & our means. In an institution meant chiefly for use, some branches of science, formerly esteemed, may be now omitted; so may others now valued in Europe, but useless to us for ages to come. As an example of the former, the oriental learning, and of the latter, almost the whole of the institution proposed to Congress by the Secretary of war’s report of the 5th inst. Now there is no one to whom this subject is so familiar as yourself. There is no one in the world who, equally with yourself, unites this full possession of the subject with such a knowledge of the state of our existence, as enables you to fit the garment to him who is to pay for it & to wear it. To you therefore we address our solicitations, and to lessen to you as much as possible the ambiguities of our object, I will venture even to sketch the sciences which seem useful & practicable for us, as they occur to me while holding my pen. Botany, Chemistry, Zoology, Anatomy, Surgery, Medicine, Natl Philosophy, Agriculture, Mathematics, Astronomy, Geology, Geography, Politics, Commerce, History, Ethics, Law, Arts, Fine arts. This list is imperfect because I make it hastily, and because I am unequal to the subject. It is evident that some of these articles are too much for one professor & must therefore be ramified; others Edition: current; Page: [98] may be ascribed in groups to a single professor. This is the difficult part of the work, & requires a head perfectly knowing the extent of each branch, & the limits within which it may be circumscribed, so as to bring the whole within the powers of the fewest professors possible, & consequently within the degree of expence practicable for us. We should propose that the professors follow no other calling, so that their whole time may be given to their academical functions; and we should propose to draw from Europe the first characters in science, by considerable temptations, which would not need to be repeated after the first set should have prepared fit successors & given reputation to the institution. From some splendid characters I have received offers most perfectly reasonable & practicable.

I do not propose to give you all this trouble merely of my own head, that would be arrogance. It has been the subject of consultation among the ablest and highest characters of our State, who only wait for a plan to make a joint & I hope successful effort to get the thing carried into effect. They will receive your ideas with the greatest deference & thankfulness. We shall be here certainly for two months to come; but should you not have leisure to think of it before Congress adjourns, it will come safely to me afterwards by post, the nearest post office being Milton.

Will not the arrival of Dupont tempt you to make a visit to this quarter? I have no doubt the alarmists are already whetting their shafts for him also, but their glass is nearly run out, and the day I believe is approaching when we shall be as free to pursue what Edition: current; Page: [99] is true wisdom as the effects of their follies will permit; for some of them we shall be forced to wade through because we are emerged in them.

Wishing you that pure happiness which your pursuits and circumstances offer, and which I am sure you are too wise to suffer a diminution of by the pigmy assaults made on you, and with every sentiment of affectionate esteem & respect, I am, dear Sir, your most humble, and most obedient servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 21st, 1800
Philadelphia
Martha Jefferson Randolph
Randolph, Martha Jefferson

to martha jefferson randolph1

I am made happy by a letter from Mr. Eppes, informing me that Maria was become a mother, and was well. It was written the day after the event. These circumstances are balm to the painful sensations of this place. I look forward with hope to the moment when we are all to be united again. I inclose a little tale for Annie. To Ellen you must make big promises, which I know a bit of ginger-bread will pay off. Kiss them all for me. My affectionate salutations to Mr. Randolph, and tender and increasing love to yourself. Adieu, my dear Martha. Affectionately yours, etc.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan 23, 1800
Philadelphia
Harry Innes
Innes, Harry

to harry innes

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Dec 6 I received here on the 30th of same month, and have to thank you Edition: current; Page: [100] for the papers it contained. They serve to prove that if Cressap was not of the party of Logan’s murderers, yet no injury was done his character by believing it. I shall, while here this winter, publish such material testimony on the subject as I have received; which by the kindness of my friends will be amply sufficient. It will appear that the deed was generally imputed to Cressap by both whites & Indians, that his character was justly stained with their blood, perhaps that he ordered this transaction, but that he was not himself present at the time. I shall consequently make a proper change in the text of the Notes on Virginia, to be adopted, if any future edition of that work should be printed.

With respect to the judiciary district to be established for the Western states, nothing can be wilder than to annex to them any state on the Eastern waters. I do not know what may be the dispositions of the House of Representatives on that subject, but I should hope from what I recollect of those manifested by the Senate on the same subject at the former session, that they may be induced to set off the Western country in a distinct district. And I expect that the reason of the thing must bring both houses into the measure.

The Mississippi territory has petitioned to be placed at once in what is called the second stage of government. Surely, such a government as the first form prescribed for the territories is a despotic oligarchy without one rational object.

I had addressed the enclosed letters to the care of the postmaster at Louisville; but not knowing Edition: current; Page: [101] him, I have concluded it better to ask the favor of you to avail them of any passage which may offer down the river. I presume the boats stop of course at those places.

We have wonderful rumors here at this time. One that the king of England is dead. As this would ensure a general peace, I do not know that it would be any misfortune to humanity. The other is that Buonaparte, Sieyes & Ducos have usurped the French government. This is West-India news, and shews that after killing Buonaparte a thousand times, they have still a variety of parts to be acted by him. Were it really true—. While I was writing the last word a gentleman enters my room and brings a confirmation that something has happened at Paris. This is arrived at New York by a ship from Corke. The particulars differ from the West India account. We are therefore only to believe that a revolution of some kind has taken place, & that Buonaparte is at the head of it, but what are the particulars & what the object, we must wait with patience to learn. In the meantime we may speak hypothetically. If Buonaparte declares for royalty, either in his own person, or of Louis XVIII., he has but a few days to live. In a nation of so much enthusiasm, there must be a million of Brutuses who will devote themselves to death to destroy him. But, without much faith in Buonaparte’s heart, I have so much in his head, as to indulge another train of reflection. The republican world has been long looking with anxiety on the two experiments going on of a single elective Executive here, & a plurality there. Opinions have been considerably Edition: current; Page: [102] divided on the event in both countries. The greater opinion there has seemed to be heretofore in favor of a plurality, here it has been very generally, tho not universally, in favor of a single elective Executive. After 8. or 9. years’ experience of perpetual broils & factions in their Directory, a standing division (under all changes) of 3. against 2., which results in a government by a single opinion, it is possible they may think the experiment decided in favor of our form, & that Buonaparte may be for a single executive, limited in time & power, & flatter himself with the election to that office; & that to this change the nation may rally itself; perhaps it is the only one to which all parties could be rallied. In every case it is to be feared & deplored that that nation has yet to wade through half a century of disorder & convulsions. These, however, are conjectures only, which you will take as such, and accept assurances of the great esteem & attachment of, dear Sir, your friend and servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan 27, 1800
Philadelphia
Joseph Priestley
Priestley, Joseph

to joseph priestley

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—In my letter of the 18th, I omitted to say any thing of the languages as part of our proposed university. It was not that I think, as some do, that they are useless. I am of a very different opinion. I do not think them essential to the obtaining eminent degrees of science; but I think them very useful towards it. I suppose there is a portion of life during which our faculties are ripe enough for Edition: current; Page: [103] this, & for nothing more useful. I think the Greeks & Romans have left us the present models which exist of fine composition, whether we examine them as works of reason, or of style & fancy; and to them we probably owe these characteristics of modern composition. I know of no composition of any other antient people, which merits the least regard as a model for it’s matter or style. To all this I add, that to read the Latin & Greek authors in their original, is a sublime luxury; and I deem luxury in science to be at least as justifiable as in architecture, painting, gardening, or the other arts. I enjoy Homer in his own language infinitely beyond Pope’s translation of him, & both beyond the dull narrative of the same events by Dares Phrygius; & it is an innocent enjoyment. I thank on my knees, him who directed my early education, for having put into my possession this rich source of delight; and I would not exchange it for anything which I could then have acquired, & have not since acquired. With this regard for those languages, you will acquit me of meaning to omit them. About 20. years ago, I drew a bill for our legislature, which proposed to lay off every county into hundreds or townships of 5. or 6. miles square, in the centre of each of which was to be a free English school; the whole state was further laid off into 10. districts, in each of which was to be a college for teaching the languages, geography, surveying, and other useful things of that grade; and then a single University for the sciences. It was received with enthusiasm; but as I had proposed that Wm & Mary, under an improved form, should be the University, & that was Edition: current; Page: [104] at that time pretty highly Episcopal, the dissenters after a while began to apprehend some secret design of a preference to that sect and nothing could then be done. About 3. years ago they enacted that part of my bill which related to English schools, except that instead of obliging, they left it optional in the court of every county to carry it into execution or not. I think it probable the part of the plan for the middle grade of education, may also be brought forward in due time. In the meanwhile, we are not without a sufficient number of good country schools, where the languages, geography, & the first elements of Mathematics, are taught. Having omitted this information in my former letter, I thought it necessary now to supply it, that you might know on what base your superstructure was to be reared. I have a letter from M. Dupont, since his arrival at N. York, dated the 20th, in which he says he will be in Philadelphia within about a fortnight from that time; but only on a visit. How much would it delight me if a visit from you at the same time, were to shew us two such illustrious foreigners embracing each other in my country, as the asylum for whatever is great & good. Pardon, I pray you, the temporary delirium which has been excited here, but which is fast passing away. The Gothic idea that we are to look backwards instead of forwards for the improvement of the human mind, and to recur to the annals of our ancestors for what is most perfect in government, in religion & in learning, is worthy of those bigots in religion & government, by whom it has been recommended, & whose purposes it would answer. But Edition: current; Page: [105] it is not an idea which this country will endure; and the moment of their showing it is fast ripening; and the signs of it will be their respect for you, & growing detestation of those who have dishonored our country by endeavors to disturb our tranquility in it. No one has felt this with more sensibility than, my dear Sir, your respectful & affectionate friend & servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan 29, 1800
Philadelphia
John Breckenridge
Breckenridge, John

to john breckenridge

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 13th has been duly received, as had been that containing the resolutions of your legislature on the subject of the former resolutions. I was glad to see the subject taken up, and done with so much temper, firmness and propriety. From the reason of the thing I cannot but hope that the Western country will be laid off into a separate Judiciary district. From what I recollect of the dispositions on the same subject at the last session, I should expect that the partiality to a general & uniform system would yield to geographical & physical impracticabilities. I was once a great advocate for introducing into chancery vivâ voce testimony, & trial by jury. I am still so as to the latter, but have retired from the former opinion on the information received from both your state & ours, that it worked inconveniently. I introduced it into the Virginia law, but did not return to the bar, so as to see how it answered. But I do not understand how the vivâ voce examination comes to be practiced in the Edition: current; Page: [106] Federal court with you, & not in your own courts; the Federal courts being decided by law to proceed & decide by the laws of the states.

A great revolution has taken place at Paris. The people of that country having never been in the habit of self-government, are not yet in the habit of acknoleging that fundamental law of nature, by which alone self government can be exercised by a society, I mean the lex majoris partis. Of the sacredness of this law, our countrymen are impressed from their cradle, so that with them it is almost innate. This single circumstance may possibly decide the fate of the two nations. One party appears to have been prevalent in the Directory & council of 500. the other in the council of antients. Sieyes & Ducos, the minority in the Directory, not being able to carry their points there seem to have gained over Buonaparte, & associating themselves with the majority of the Council of antients, have expelled1 120. odd members the most obnoxious of the minority of the Elders, & of the majority of the council of 500. so as to give themselves a majority in the latter council also. They have established Buonaparte, Sieyes & Ducos into an executive, or rather Dictatorial consulate, given them a committee of between 20. & 30. from each council, & have adjourned to the 20th of Feb. Thus the Constitution of the 3d year which was getting consistency & firmness from time is demolished in an instant, and nothing is said about a new one. How Edition: current; Page: [107] the nation will bear it is yet unknown. Had the Consuls been put to death in the first tumult & before the nation had time to take sides, the Directory & councils might have reestablished themselves on the spot. But that not being done, perhaps it is now to be wished that Buonaparte may be spared, as, according to his protestations, he is for liberty, equality & representative government, and he is more able to keep the nation together, & to ride out the storm than any other. Perhaps it may end in their establishing a single representative & that in his person. I hope it will not be for life, for fear of the influence of the example on our countrymen. It is very material for the latter to be made sensible that their own character & situation are materially different from the French; & that whatever may be the fate of republicanism there, we are able to preserve it inviolate here: we are sensible of the duty & expediency of submitting our opinions to the will of the majority and can wait with patience till they get right if they happen to be at any time wrong. Our vessel is moored at such a distance, that should theirs blow up, ours is still safe, if we will but think so.

I had recommended the enclosed letter to the care of the postmaster at Louisville; but have been advised it is better to get a friend to forward it by some of the boats. I will ask that favor of you. It is the duplicate of one with the same address which I inclosed last week to mr. Innes & should therefore go by a different conveyance. I am with great esteem dear sir your friend & servant.

Edition: current; Page: [108]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 31, 1800
Philadelphia
Bishop James Madison
Madison, James Bishop

to bishop james madison

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—* * * I have lately by accident got a sight of a single volume (the 3d.) of the Abbe Barruel’s Antisocial conspiracy, which gives me the first idea I have ever had of what is meant by the Illuminatism against which “illuminate Morse” as he is now called, & his ecclesiastical & monarchical associates have been making such a hue and cry. Barruel’s own parts of the book are perfectly the ravings of a Bedlamite. But he quotes largely from Wishaupt whom he considers as the founder of what he calls the order. As you may not have had an opportunity of forming a judgment of this cry of “mad dog” which has been raised against his doctrines, I will give you the idea I have formed from only an hour’s reading of Barruel’s quotations from him, which you may be sure are not the most favorable. Wishaupt seems to be an enthusiastic Philanthropist. He is among those (as you know the excellent Price and Priestley also are) who believe in the indefinite perfectibility of man. He thinks he may in time be rendered so perfect that he will be able to govern himself in every circumstance so as to injure none, to do all the good he can, to leave government no occasion to exercise their powers over him, & of course to render political government useless. This you know is Godwin’s doctrine, and this is what Robinson, Barruel & Morse had called a conspiracy against all government. Wishaupt believes that to promote this perfection of the human character was the object of Jesus Christ. That his Edition: current; Page: [109] intention was simply to reinstate natural religion, & by diffusing the light of his morality, to teach us to govern ourselves. His precepts are the love of god & love of our neighbor. And by teaching innocence of conduct, he expected to place men in their natural state of liberty & equality. He says, no one ever laid a surer foundation for liberty than our grand master, Jesus of Nazareth. He believes the Free masons were originally possessed of the true principles & objects of Christianity, & have still preserved some of them by tradition, but much disfigured. The means he proposes to effect this improvement of human nature are “to enlighten men, to correct their morals & inspire them with benevolence. Secure of our success, sais he, we abstain from violent commotions. To have foreseen the happiness of posterity & to have prepared it by irreproachable means, suffices for our felicity. The tranquility of our consciences is not troubled by the reproach of aiming at the ruin or overthrow of states or thrones.” As Wishaupt lived under the tyranny of a despot & priests, he knew that caution was necessary even in spreading information, & the principles of pure morality. He proposed therefore to lead the Free masons to adopt this object & to make the objects of their institution the diffusion of science & virtue. He proposed to initiate new members into his body by gradations proportioned to his fears of the thunderbolts of tyranny. This has given an air of mystery to his views, was the foundation of his banishment, the subversion of the masonic order, & is the colour for the ravings against Edition: current; Page: [110] him of Robinson, Barruel & Morse, whose real fears are that the craft would be endangered by the spreading of information, reason, & natural morality among men. This subject being new to me, I have imagined that if it be so to you also, you may receive the same satisfaction in seeing, which I have had in forming the analysis of it: & I believe you will think with me that if Wishaupt had written here, where no secrecy is necessary in our endeavors to render men wise & virtuous, he would not have thought of any secret machinery for that purpose. As Godwin, if he had written in Germany, might probably also have thought secrecy & mysticism prudent. I will say nothing to you on the late revolution of France, which is painfully interesting. Perhaps when we know more of the circumstances which gave rise to it, & the direction it will take, Buonaparte, its chief organ, may stand in a better light than at present. I am with great esteem, dear sir, your affectionate friend.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb 2, 1800
Philadelphia
Thomas Mann Randolph
Randolph, Thomas Mann

to thomas mann randolph

j. mss.

My letters to yourself and my dear Martha have been of Jan. 13, 21, & 28. I now enclose a letter lately received for her. You will see in the newspapers all the details we have of the proceedings of Paris. I observe that Lafayette is gone there. When we see him, Volney, Sieyes, Taleyrand, gathering round the new powers, we may conjecture from thence their views and principles. Should it be Edition: current; Page: [111] really true that Buonaparte has usurped the government with an intention of making it a free one, whatever his talents may be for war, we have no proofs that he is skilled in forming governments friendly to the people. Wherever he has meddled we have seen nothing but fragments of the old Roman government stuck into materials with which they can form no cohesion: we see the bigotry of an Italian to the antient splendour of his country, but nothing which bespeaks a luminous view of the organization of rational government. Perhaps however this may end better than we augur; and it certainly will if his head is equal to true & solid calculations of glory. It is generally hoped here that peace may take place. There was before no union of views between Austria & the members of the triple coalition; and the defeats of Suwarrow appear to have completely destroyed the confidence of Russia in that power, & the failure of the Dutch expedition to have weaned him from the plans of England. The withdrawing his armies we hope is the signal for the entire dissolution of the coalition, and for every one seeking his separate peace. We have great need of this event, that foreign affairs may no longer bear so heavily on ours. We have great need for the ensuing twelve months to be left to ourselves. The enemies of our constitution are preparing a fearful operation, and the dissensions in this state are too likely to bring things to the situation they wish, when our Buonaparte, surrounded by his comrades in arms, may step in to give us political salvation in his way. It behoves our citizens to be on their guard, to be Edition: current; Page: [112] firm in their principles, and full of confidence in themselves. We are able to preserve our self-government if we will but think so. I think the return of Lafayette to Paris ensures a reconciliation between them & us. He will so entwist himself with the envoys that they will not be able to draw off. Mr. C. Pinckney has brought into the Senate a bill for the uniform appointment of juries. A tax on public stock, bankstock. &c., is to be proposed. This would bring 150. millions into contribution with the lands, and levy a sensible proportion of the expences of a war on those who are so anxious to engage us in it. Robbins’ affair is perhaps to be inquired into. However, the majority against these things leave no hope of success. It is most unfortunate that while Virginia & N Carolina were steady, the middle states drew back: now that these are laying their shoulders to the draught, Virginia and N Carolina baulk; so that never drawing together, the Eastern states, steady & unbroken, draw all to themselves. I was mistaken last week in saying no more failures had happened. New ones have been declaring every day in Baltimore, others here and at New York. The last here have been Nottnagil, Montmollin & Co., & Peter Blight. These sums are enormous. I do not know the firms of the bankrupt houses in Baltimore, but the crush will be incalculable. In the present stagnation of commerce, & particularly that in tobo, it is difficult to transfer money from hence to Richmond. Government bills on their custom house at Bermuda can from time to time be had. I think it will be best for mr. Barnes always to keep them Edition: current; Page: [113] bespoke, and to remit in that way your instalments as fast as they are either due or within the discountable period. The 1st is due the middle of March, & so from 2. months to 2. months in 5. equal instalments. I am looking out to see whether such a difference of price here may be had as will warrant our bringing our tobo from N York here, rather than take 8. D. there. We have been very unfortunate in this whole business. First in our own miscalculation of the effect of the non-intercourse law; & when we had corrected our opinions, that our instructions were from good, but mistaken views, not executed. My constant love to my dear Martha, kisses to her young ones, and affectionate esteem to yourself.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 6. 1800
Philada
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

j. mss.

Nobody here has received mr. Madison’s report as it passed the house. The members of the different states are waiting to receive & forward a single copy to their states to be reprinted there. This would require half a dozen copies. But if you will send me one, we can have it reprinted here & sent out. Pray do it by the first post. If it was not printed there as amended in a separate pamphlet then send me those sheets of the journal in which it is contained. I expect Dupont the father at Philada every hour. Adieu affectionately.

Edition: current; Page: [114]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
February 26, 1800
Philadelphia
Samuel Adams
Adams, Samuel

to samuel adams

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Mr. Erving delivered me your favor of Jany. 31, and I thank you for making me acquainted with him. You will always do me a favor in giving me an opportunity of knowing gentlemen as estimable in their principles & talents as I find mr. Erving to be. I have not yet seen mr. Winthrop. A letter from you, my respectable friend, after three & twenty years of separation, has given me a pleasure I cannot express. It recalls to my mind the anxious days we then passed in struggling for the cause of mankind. Your principles have been tested in the crucible of time, & have come out pure. You have proved that it was monarchy, & not merely British monarchy, you opposed. A government by representatives, elected by the people at short periods, was our object; and our maxim at that day was, “where annual election ends, tyranny begins;” nor have our departures from it been sanctioned by the happiness of their effects. A debt of an hundred millions growing by usurious interest, and an artificial paper phalanx overruling the agricultural mass of our country, with other &c. &c. &c., have a portentous aspect.—I fear our friends on the other side of the water, laboring in the same cause, have yet a great deal of crime & misery to wade through. My confidence has been placed in the head, not in the heart of Buonaparte. I hoped he would calculate truly the difference between the fame of a Washington & a Cromwell. Whatever his views may be, he has at least transferred the destinies of the republic from Edition: current; Page: [115] the civil to the military arm. Some will use this as a lesson against the practicability of republican government. I read it as a lesson against the danger of standing armies. Adieu, my ever respected & venerable friend. May that kind & overruling providence which has so long spared you to our wishes, still foster your remaining years with whatever may make them comfortable to yourself & soothing to your friends. Accept the cordial salutations of your affectionate friend.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 28. 1800
Philadelphia
George Wythe
Wythe, George

to george wythe

j. mss.

My dear Sir,

—I know how precious your time is & how exclusively you devote it to the duties of your office. Yet I venture to ask a few hours or minutes of it on motives of public service, as well as private friendship. I will explain the occasion of the application. You recollect enough of the old Congress to remember that their mode of managing the business of the House was not only unparliamentary, but that the forms were so awkward & inconvenient that it was impossible sometimes to get at the true sense of the majority. The House of Repr. of the U. S. are now pretty much in the same situation. In the Senate it is in our power to get into a better way. Our ground is this. The Senate have established a few rules for their government, & have subjected the decisions on these & on all other points of order without debate, & without appeal, to the judgment of their President. He, for his own use, as well as Edition: current; Page: [116] theirs must prefer recurring to some system of rules ready formed, & there can be no question that the Parliamentary rules are the best known to us for managing the debates, & obtaining the sense of a deliberative body. I have therefore made them my rule of decision, rejecting those of the old Congress altogether; & it gives entire satisfaction to the Senate; in so much that we shall not only have a good system there, but probably, by the example of it’s effects, produce a conformity in the other branch. But in the course of this business I find perplexities, having for twenty years been out of deliberative bodies & become rusty as to many points of proceeding. And so little has the Parliamentary branch of the law been attended to, that I not only find no person here, but not even a book to aid me. I had, at an early period of life, read a good deal on the subject, & commonplaced what I read. This commonplace has been my pillow, but there are many questions of practice on which that is silent. Some of them are so minute indeed & belong so much to every day’s practice that they have never been thought worthy of being written down. Yet from desuetude they have slipped my memory. You will see by the inclosed paper what they are. I know with what pain you write. Therefore I have left a margin in which you can write a simple negative or affirmative opposite every position, or perhaps with as little trouble correct the text by striking out or interlining. This is what I have earnestly to solicit from you: & I would not have given you the trouble if I had had any other resource. But you Edition: current; Page: [117] are in fact the only spark of parliamentary science now remaining to us. I am the more anxious, because I have been forming a manual of Parliamentary law, which I mean to deposit with the Senate as the standard by which I judge & am willing to be judged. Though I should be opposed to it’s being printed, yet it may be done perhaps without my consent; & in that case I should be sorry indeed should it go out with errors that a Tyro should not have committed. And yet it is precisely those to which I am most exposed. I am less afraid as to important matters, because for them I have printed authorities. But it is those small matters of daily practice, which 20. years ago were familiar to me, but have in that time escaped my memory. I hope under these circumstances you will pardon the trouble I propose to you in the inclosed paper. I am not pressed in time, so that your leisure will be sufficient for me. Accept the salutations of grateful & sincere friendship & attachment & many prayers for your health & happiness from Dear Sir yours affectionately.1

Edition: current; Page: [118]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 4, 1800
Philadelphia
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

j. mss.

I have never written to you since my arrival here, for reasons which were explained. Your’s of Dec. 29, Jan. 4, 9, 12, 18, & Feb. 14, have therefore remained unacknoleged. I have at different times enclosed to you such papers as seemed interesting. To-day I forward Bingham’s amendment to the election bill formerly enclosed to you, mr. Pinckney’s proposed amendmnt to the const’n, & the report of the Ways & Means. B[ingham’s] amendmt was lost by the usual majority of 2. to 1. A very different one will be proposed, containing the true sense of the Edition: current; Page: [119] Minority, viz. that the two houses, voting by heads, shall decide such questions as the constitution authorizes to be raised. This may probably be taken up in the other house under better auspices, for tho’ the federalists have a great majority there, yet they are of a more moderate temper than for some time past. The Senate, however, seem determined to yield to nothing which shall give the other house greater weight in the decision on elections than they have. Mr. Pinckney’s motion has been supported, and is likely to have some votes which were not expected. I rather believe he will withdraw it, and propose the same thing in the form of a bill; Edition: current; Page: [120] it being the opinion of some that such a regulation is not against the present constitution. In this form it will stand a better chance to pass, as a majority only in both houses will be necessary. By putting off the building of the 74’s & stopping enlistments, the loan will be reduced to 3½ millions. But I think it cannot be obtained. For though no new bankruptcies have happened here for some weeks, or in New York, yet they continue to happen in Baltimore, & the whole commercial race are lying on their oars, and gathering in their affairs, not knowing what new failures may put their resources to the proof. In this state of things they cannot lend money. Some foreigners have taken asylum among us, with a good deal of money, who may perhaps chuse that deposit. Robbins’s affair has been under agitation for some days. Livingston made an able speech of 2½ hours yesterday. The advocates of the measure feel it’s pressure heavily; & tho’ they may be able to repel L[ivingston’s] motion of censure, I do not believe they can carry Bayard’s of approbation. The landing of our envoys at Lisbon will risk a very dangerous consequence, insomuch as the news of Truxton’s aggression will perhaps arrive at Paris before our commissioners will. Had they gone directly there, they might have been two months ahead of that news. We are entirely without further information from Paris. By letters from Bordeaux, of Dec. 7, tobo was then from 25 to 27 D. pr. cwt. Yet did Marshall maintain on the non-intercourse bill, that it’s price at other markets had never been affected by that law. While the navigating and provision Edition: current; Page: [121] states, who are the majority, can keep open all the markets, or at least sufficient ones for their objects, the cries of the tobacco makers, who are the minority, and not at all in favor, will hardly be listened to. It is truly the fable of the cat pulling the nuts out of the fire with the monkey’s paw; and it shows that G. Mason’s proposition in the convention was wise, that on laws regulating commerce, two-thirds of the votes should be requisite to pass them. However, it would have been trampled under foot by a triumphant majority.

Mar. 8. My letter has lain by me till now, waiting mr. Trist’s departure. The question has been decided to-day on Livingston’s motion respecting Robbins; 35. for it, about 60. against it. Livingston, Nicholas, & Gallatin distinguished themselves on one side, & J. Marshall greatly on the other. Still it is believed they will not push Bayard’s motion of approbation. We have this day also decided in Senate on the motion for overhauling the editor of the Aurora. It was carried, as usual, by about 2. to 1.; H. Marshall voting of course with them, as did, & frequently does Anderson of Tennessee, who is perfectly at market. It happens that the other party are so strong, that they do not think either him or Marshall worth buying. As the conveyance is confidential, I can say something on a subject which, to those who do not know my real dispositions respecting it, might seem indelicate. The feds begin to be very seriously alarmed about their election next fall. Their speeches in private, as well as their public & private demeanor to me, indicate it strongly. Edition: current; Page: [122] This seems to be the prospect. Keep out Pennsylva, Jersey, & N York, & the rest of the states are about equally divided; and in this estimate it is supposed that N Carolina & Maryland added together are equally divided. Then the event depends on the 3. middle states before mentd. As to them, Pennsylva passes no law for an election at the present session. They confide that the next election gives a decided majority in the two houses, when joined together. M’Kean, therefore, intends to call the legislature to meet immediately after the new election, to appoint electors themselves. Still you will be sensible there may arise a difficulty between the two houses about voting by heads or by houses. The republican members here from Jersey are entirely confident that their two houses, joined together, have a majority of republicans; their council being republican by 6. or 8. votes, & the lower house federal by only 1. or 2.; and they have no doubt the approaching election will be in favor of the republicans. They appoint electors by the two houses voting together. In N York all depends on the success of the city election, which is of 12. members, & of course makes a difference of 24., which is sufficient to make the two houses, joined together, republican in their vote. Gov Clinton, Gen Gates, & some other old revolutionary characters, have been put on the republican ticket. Burr, Livingston, &c., entertain no doubt on the event of that election. Still these are the ideas of the republicans only in these three States, & we must make great allowance for their sanguine views. Upon the whole, I consider Edition: current; Page: [123] it as rather more doubtful than the last election, in which I was not deceived in more than a vote or two. If Pennsylvania votes, then either Jersey or New York giving a republican vote, decides the election. If Pennsylva does not vote, then New York determines the election. In any event, we may say that if the city election of N York is in favor of the Republican ticket, the issue will be republican; if the federal ticket for the city of N York prevails, the probabilities will be in favor of a federal issue, because it would then require a republican vote both from Jersey & Pennsylva to preponderate against New York, on which we could not count with any confidence. The election of New York being in April, it becomes an early & interesting object. It is probable the landing of our envoys in Lisbon will add a month to our session; because all that the Eastern men are anxious about, is to get away before the possibility of a treaty’s coming in upon us. You must consider the money you have in mr. Barnes’ hands as wholly at your disposal. I have no note here of the amount of our nail account; but it is small and will be quite as convenient to me to receive after I go home.

Present my respectful salutations to mrs. Madison and be assured of my constant and affectionate esteem.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 14, 1800
Philadelphia
Benjamin Hawkins
Hawkins, Benjamin

to benjamin hawkins

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I had twice before attempted to open a correspondence by writing to you, but receiving no Edition: current; Page: [124] answer, I took for granted my letters did not reach you, & consequently that no communication could be found. Yesterday, however, your nephew put into my hands your favor of Jan 23, and informs me that a letter sent by post by way of fort Wilkinson, will be certain of getting safely to you. Still, I expect your long absence from this part of the states, has rendered occurrences here but little interesting to you. Indeed, things have so much changed their aspect, that it is like a new world. Those who know us only from 1775. to 1793. can form no better idea of us now than of the inhabitants of the moon; I mean as to political matters. Of these, therefore, I shall say not one word, because nothing I could say, would be any more intelligible to you, if said in English, than if said in Hebrew. On your part, however, you have interesting details to give us. I particularly take great interest in whatever respects the Indians, and the present state of the Creeks, mentioned in your letter, is very interesting. But you must not suppose that your official communications will ever be seen or known out of the offices. Reserve as to all their proceedings is the fundamental maxim of the executive department. I must, therefore, ask from you one communication to be made to me separately, & I am encouraged to it by that part of your letter which promises me something on the Creek language. I have long believed we can never get any information of the antient history of the Indians, of their descent & filiation, but from a knowledge & comparative view of their languages. I have, therefore, never failed to avail myself of any opportunity which Edition: current; Page: [125] offered of getting their vocabularies. I have now made up a large collection, and afraid to risk it any longer, lest by some accident it might be lost, I am about to print it. But I still want the great southern languages, Cherokee, Creeks, Choctaw, Chickasaw. For the Cherokee, I have written to another, but for the three others, I have no chance but through yourself. I have indeed an imperfect vocabulary of the Choctaw, but it wants all the words marked in the enclosed vocabulary1 with either this mark (*) or this (†). I therefore throw myself on you to procure me the Creek, Choctaw, & Chickasaw; and I enclose you a vocabulary of the particular words I want. You need not take the trouble of having others taken, because all my other vocabularies are confined to these words, and my object is only a comparative view. The Creek column I expect you will be able to fill up at once, and when done I should wish it to come on without waiting for the others. As to the Choctaw & Chickasaw, I know your relations are not very direct, but as I possess no means at all of getting at them, I am induced to pray your aid. All the despatch which can be conveniently used is desirable to me, because I propose this summer to arrange all my vocabularies for the press, and I wish to place every tongue in the column adjacent to it’s kindred tongues. Your letters, addressed by post to me at Monticello, near Charlottesville, will come safely, & more safely than if put under cover to any of the offices, where they may be mislaid & lost.

Edition: current; Page: [126]

Your old friend, mrs. Trist, is now settled at Charlottesville, within 2½ miles of me. She lives with her son, who married here, & removed there. She preserves her health & spirits fully, and is much beloved with us, as she deserves to be. As I know she is a favorite correspondent of yours, I shall observe that the same channel will be a good one to her as I have mentioned for myself. Indeed, if you find our correspondence worth having, it can now be as direct as if you were in one of these states. Mr. Madison is well. I presume you have long known of his marriage. He is not yet a father. Mr. Giles is happily & wealthily married to a Miss Tabb. This I presume is enough for a first dose; after hearing from you, & knowing how it agrees with you, it may be repeated. With sentiments of constant & sincere esteem, I am, dear Sir, your affectionate friend & servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 25, 1800
Philadelphia
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

j. mss.

Yours of the 15th is safely received. I perceive by that that I had by mistake sent you Ramsay’s Eulogy instead of Couper’s smaller pamphlet, which therefore I now inclose merely for the last paper in it, as the two first were in the copy I first sent you. I inclose also Mr. Nicholas’s amendment this day proposed to the bill concerning President & V. P. formerly sent you. We expect it will be rejected by 17. to 13. in Senate, but that it may be brought forward in the lower house with better prospects. We have nothing from Europe but what you will see in the Edition: current; Page: [127] newspapers. The Executive are sending off a frigate to France, but for what purposes we know not. The bankrupt law will pass. A complimentary vote of a medal to Truxton will pass. A judiciary law adding about 100,000 D. to the annual expense of that department is going through the H. of R. A loan of 3½ millions will pass. The money it is said will be furnished by some English houses. Bankruptcies continue at Baltimore, and great mercantile distress & stagnation here. The Republican spirit beginning to preponderate in Pennsa, Jersey & N. Y. & becoming respectable in Mass. N. Hampsh. & Connect. Of R. I. & Vermont I can say nothing. There are the strongest expectations that the Republican ticket will prevail in the city election of N. Y. Clinton, Gates & Burr are at the head of it. Its success decides the complexion of that legislature. We expect Gouvr. Morris to be chosen by the present legislature Senator of the U. S. in the room of Watson resigned. The legislature here parted in a state of distraction, their successors, as soon as chosen, will be convened: but it is very questionable if the Senate will not still be obstinate. We suppose Congress will rise in May. Respectful & affectionate salutations to mrs. Madison & yourself. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 7. 1800
Philadelphia
Philip Norborne Nicholas
Nicholas, Philip Norborne

to philip norborne nicholas

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Feb. 2. came to hand Feb. 11. and I put off the acnoleging it, till I could forward to you some pamphlets on a subject very interesting Edition: current; Page: [128] to all the states, and containing views which I am anxious should be generally exhibited. In a former collection of tracts published by Mr. Cooper were two papers on Political arithmetic. He was printing a 2d edition of the whole, & was prevailed on to strike off an extra number of the two on Political arithmetic, adding to it some principles of government from a former work of his. I have forwarded to you by a vessel going from hence to Richmond 8. dozen of these, with a view that one should be sent to every county commee in the state, either from yourself personally or from your central commee. Tho’ I know that this is not the immediate object of your institution, yet I consider it as a most valuable object, to which the institution may most usefully be applied. I trust yourself only with the secret that these pamphlets go from me. You will readily see what a handle would be made of my advocating their contents. I must leave to yourself therefore to say how they come to you. Very possibly they will have got to you before this does, as I shall retain it for a private conveyance & know of none as yet. I dare trust nothing this summer through the post offices. At other times they would not have such strong motives to infidelity.

It is too early to think of a declaratory act as yet, but the time is approaching & not distant. Two elections more will give us a solid majority in the H. of R. and a sufficient one in the Senate. As soon as it can be depended on, we must have “a Declaration of the principles of the constitution” in nature of a Declaration of rights, in all the points in which it has Edition: current; Page: [129] been violated. The people in the middle states are almost rallied to Virginia already; & the eastern states are recommencing the vibration which had been checked by X. Y. Z. North Carolina is at present in the most dangerous state. The lawyers all tories, the people substantially republican, but uninformed & deceived by the lawyers, who are elected of necessity because few other candidates. The medicine for that State must be very mild & secretly administered. But nothing should be spared to give them true information. I am, dear Sir, yours affectionately.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 22. 1800
Philadelphia
William Hamilton
Hamilton, William

to william hamilton of woodlands

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—A little reflection enables me to understand the appearances of neglect which you were kind enough to mention to me the other day. It was in March, 1797 you did me the honor of calling on me. I had then come up to Philadelphia only to take the oath of office. On that occasion I received the visits not only of every one in the city who had known me, but of great numbers who did not. The Senate adjourned finally the same day; so that being to return immediately, it was impossible to repay the numerous visits I had received. I counted therefore on finding my excuse in the impossibility of the thing. Your distance from the town prevented your knowlege of this circumstance, while those who were in the city saw & felt my justification in my departure. During the ensuing summer came on the war-fever. Those who caught it seemed to consider every man Edition: current; Page: [130] as their personal enemy who would not catch their disorder, and many suffered themselves to think it was a sufficient cause for breaking off society with them. I became sensible of this on my next arrival in town, on perceiving that many declined visiting me with whom I had been on terms of the greatest friendship & intimacy. I determined, for the first time in my life, to stand on the ceremony of the first visit, even with my friends; because it served to sift out those who chose a separation. I was happy to be informed by yourself that your declining to visit was on a different ground; a ground too, which while it might well appear otherwise to you then, you will now be sensible I hope was involuntary & unavoidable on my part. I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. During the whole of the last war, which was trying enough, I never deserted a friend because he had taken an opposite side; & those of my own state who joined the British government can attest my unremitting zeal in saving their property, & can point out the laws in our statute book which I drew, & carried through in their favor. However I have seen during the late political paroxysm here numbers whom I had highly esteemed; draw off from me, in so much as to cross the street to avoid meeting me. The fever is abating and doubtless some of them will correct the momentary wanderings of their heart, & return again. If they do, they will meet the constancy of my esteem, & the same oblivion of this as of any other delirium which might happen to them.

Edition: current; Page: [131]

I am happy to find you as clear of political antipathies as I am; & am particularly obliged by the frankness of your explanation. I owe to it the opportunity of placing myself justly before you, and of assuring you there was no person here to whom I had less disposition of shewing neglect than to yourself. The circumstances of our early acquaintance I have ever felt as binding me in morality as well as in affection, & there are so many agreeable points in which we are in perfect union that I am at no loss to find a justification of my constant esteem.

Among the many botanical curiosities you were so good as to shew me the other day, I forgot to ask if you had the Dionea muscipula, & whether it produces a seed with you. If it does, I should be very much disposed to trespass on your liberality so far as to ask a few seeds of that, as also of the Acacia Nilotica, or Farnesiana whichever you have. I pray you to accept assurances of the sincere attachment & respect of Dear Sir your most obedient humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 30, 1800
Philadelphia
Edward Livingston
Livingston, Edward

to edward livingston

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I received with great pleasure your favour of the 11th inst. By this time I presume the result of your labours is known with you, tho’ not here. Whatever it may be, & my experience of the art, industry, & resources of the other party has not permitted me to be prematurely confident, yet I am entirely confident that ultimately the great body of the people are passing over from them. This may Edition: current; Page: [132] require one or two elections more; but it will assuredly take place. The madness & extravagance of their career is what ensures it. The people through all the states are for republican forms, republican principles, simplicity, economy, religious & civil freedom.

I have nothing to offer you but Congressional news. The Judiciary bill is postponed to the next session; so is the militia bill; so the military academy. The bill for the election of the Prest and V P has undergone much revolution. Marshall made a dexterous manœuvre; he declares against the constitutionality of the Senate’s bill, and proposes that the right of decision of their grand committee should be controllable by the concurrent vote of the two houses of congress; but to stand good if not rejected by a concurrent vote. You will readily estimate the amount of this sort of controul. The Committee of the H. of R, however, took from the Committee the right of giving any opinion, requiring them to report facts only, and that the votes returned by the states should be counted, unless reported by a concurrent vote of both houses. In what form they will pass them or us, cannot be foreseen. Our Jury bill in Senate will pass so as merely to accommodate N. York & Vermont. The H. of R. sent us yesterday a bill for incorporating a company to work Roosevelt’s copper mines in N. Jersey. I do not know whether it is understood that the Legislature of Jersey was incompetent to this, or merely that we have concurrent legislation under the sweeping clause. Congress are authorized to defend the nation. Ships are necessary Edition: current; Page: [133] for defence; copper is necessary for ships; mines necessary for copper; a company necessary to work mines; and who can doubt this reasoning who has ever played at “This is the House that Jack Built”? Under such a process of filiation of necessities the sweeping clause makes clean work. We shall certainly rise on the 12th. There is nothing to do now but to pass the ways & means, and to settle some differences of opinion of the two houses on the Georgia bill, the bill for dividing the North-Western territory, & that for the sale of the Western lands. Salutations & affectionate esteem. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 30, 1800
Philadelphia
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to robert r. livingston

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favour of Feb. 28. never came to my hand till the 17th inst. This must account for the greater portion of the delay which has attended the acknolegment of it. I thank you for the volume of your agricultural transactions: & as I perceive you take a great interest in whatever relates to this first & most precious of all the arts, I have packed in a small box, a model of a mouldboard of a plough, of my invention, if that term may be used for a mere change of form. It is accompanied by a block, which will shew the form in which the block is to be got for making the mouldboard & the manner of making it. However as this would not explain it’s principles, alone, I accompany it by the late volume of our Philosophical transactions, in which there is a minute description of the principles & construction. The Edition: current; Page: [134] printer having (on his removal from the yellow fever) lost several of the plates belonging to this volume & among them that relating to the mouldboard, I have supplied this last by some sketches which may enable you to understand the description. I shall avail myself of the first person of my acquaintance whom I shall know to be passing in the stage to New York, to forward them to you. The printer will have the lost plates ready to replace shortly.

I had before heard of your discovery of the method of making paper from a vegetable & from the specimen sent have no doubt of it’s great importance. For this article, the creature of art, & but latterly so comparatively, is now interwoven so much into the conveniences & occupations of men as to have become one of the necessaries of civilized life.

We are here engaged in improving our constitution by construction, so as to make it what the majority thinks it should have been. The Senate received yesterday a bill from the Representatives incorporating a company for Roosevelt’s copper mines in Jersey. This is under the sweeping clause of the constitution, & supported by the following pedigree of necessities. Congress are authorized to defend the country: ships are necessary for that defence: copper is necessary for ships: mines are necessary to produce copper: companies are necessary to work mines: and “this is the house that Jack built.”

I shall be happy to receive from you, at your leisure, the long letter which you promised. I have been long in the habit of valuing whatever comes from your pen. And my taste, which in 1775. was Edition: current; Page: [135] like yours, in politics, is now passed over with yours to more tranquilizing studies. Accept assurances of my respectful & affectionate esteem.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 12, 1800
Philadelphia
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Congress will rise to-day or to-morrow. Mr. Nicholas proposing to call on you, you will get from him the Congressional news. On the whole, the federalists have not been able to carry a single strong measure in the lower house the whole session. When they met, it was believed they had a majority of 20; but many of these were new & moderate men, & soon saw the true character of the party to which they had been well disposed while at a distance. The tide, too, of public opinion sets so strongly against the federal proceedings, that this melted off their majority, & dismayed the heroes of the party. The Senate alone remained undismayed to the last. Firm to their purposes, regardless of public opinion, and more disposed to coerce than to court it, not a man of their majority gave way in the least; and on the electoral bill they adhered to John Marshal’s amendment, by their whole number: & if there had been a full Senate, there would have been but 11. votes against it, which includes H. Marshall, who has voted with the republicans this session. * * *

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 26, 1800
Eppington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

mon. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I am sorry your servant had such a chase to find me. I came to this place on Saturday. Edition: current; Page: [136] He got here in the night last night. Further reflection on the matter which had been proposed in conversation the evening before I left you, convinced me that it could not succeed, that obstacles must arise to it, and that these would give rise to disagreeable incidents. Could I have seen you therefore in the morning of my leaving Richmond I should have dissuaded the attempt. However, as it has been made it shews who are the Anti-Unionists in principle. My only anxiety is that the friends of our principle may take umbrage at my declining their proffered civility. I will thank you to express my particular respect to Doctr. Fancher, to whom it happened that I had not an opportunity of doing it sufficiently while we were together at your house. As to the calumny of Atheism, I am so broken to calumnies of every kind, from every department of government, Executive, Legislative, & Judiciary, & from every minion of theirs holding office or seeking it, that I entirely disregard it, and from Chace it will have less effect than from any other man in the United States. It has been so impossible to contradict all their lies, that I have determined to contradict none; for while I should be engaged with one, they would publish twenty new ones. Thirty years of public life have enabled most of those who read newspapers to judge of one for themselves.

I think it essentially just and necessary that Callender should be substantially defended. Whether in the first stages by publick interference, or private contributors, may be a question. Perhaps it might be as well that it should be left to the legislature, Edition: current; Page: [137] who will meet in time, & before whom you can lay the matter so as to bring it before them. It is become peculiarly their cause and may furnish them a fine opportunity of shewing their respect to the union & at the same time of doing justice in another way to those whom they cannot protect without committing the publick tranquility.

I leave this place tomorrow for Monticello, and shall be three days on the road. I think it possible that in the course of a month or two the Senate may be called to the Federal city by the arrival of a treaty with France. However I presume it will be a very short call. I shall give you notice when Dupont arrives at Monticello, as you may perhaps so time your visits of business to that quarter as to see him. Present my friendly respects to Mrs. Monroe, & accept yourself assurances of constant & affectionate attachment from, Dear Sir, your friend & servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 11. 1800
Pierce Butler
Butler, Pierce

to pierce butler

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of July 28. is safely received & received with great pleasure, it having been long since we have been without communication. You will have perceived, on your return to Philadelphia, a great change in the spirit of the place. “The arrogancy of the proud hath ceased, & the patient and meek look up.” I do not know how matters are in the quarter you have been in, but all north of the Roanoke has undergone a wonderful change. The state of the public mind in N. Carolina Edition: current; Page: [138] appears mysterious to us. Doubtless you know more of it than we do. What will be the effect, in that & the two other states south of that, of the new maneuvre of a third competitor proposed to be run at the ensuing election, & taken from among them? Will his personal interest or local politics derange the votes in that quarter which would otherwise have been given on principle alone? Nothing ever passed between the gentleman you mention and myself on the subject you mention. It is our mutual duty to leave those arrangements to others, & to acquiesce in their assignment. He has certainly greatly merited of his country, & the Republicans in particular, to whose efforts his have given a chance of success. Are we to see you at the Federal city, or will Philadelphia still monopolize the time you spare from S. Carolina? I shall be happy to meet you there and at all times to hear from you. Accept assurances of the high regard of dear sir your friend & servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug 13, 1800
Monticello
Gideon Granger
Granger, Gideon

to gideon granger

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I received with great pleasure your favor of June 4, and am much comforted by the appearance of a change of opinion in your state; for tho’ we may obtain, & I believe shall obtain, a majority in the legislature of the United States, attached to the preservation of the Federal constitution according to it’s obvious principles, & those on which it was known to be received; attached equally to the preservation to the states of those rights unquestionably Edition: current; Page: [139] remaining with them; friends to the freedom of religion, freedom of the press, trial by jury & to economical government; opposed to standing armies, paper systems, war, & all connection, other than commerce, with any foreign nation; in short, a majority firm in all those principles which we have espoused and the federalists have opposed uniformly; still, should the whole body of New England continue in opposition to these principles of government, either knowingly or through delusion, our government will be a very uneasy one. It can never be harmonious & solid, while so respectable a portion of it’s citizens support principles which go directly to a change of the federal constitution, to sink the state governments, consolidate them into one, and to monarchize that. Our country is too large to have all its affairs directed by a single government. Public servants at such a distance, & from under the eye of their constituents, must, from the circumstance of distance, be unable to administer & overlook all the details necessary for the good government of the citizens, and the same circumstance, by rendering detection impossible to their constituents, will invite the public agents to corruption, plunder & waste. And I do verily believe, that if the principle were to prevail, of a common law being in force in the U S, (which principle possesses the general government at once of all the powers of the state governments, and reduces us to a single consolidated government,) it would become the most corrupt government on the earth. You have seen the practises by which the public servants have been able to cover their conduct, Edition: current; Page: [140] or, where that could not be done, delusions by which they have varnished it for the eye of their constituents. What an augmentation of the field for jobbing, speculating, plundering, office-building & office-hunting would be produced by an assumption of all the state powers into the hands of the general government. The true theory of our constitution is surely the wisest & best, that the states are independent as to everything within themselves, & united as to everything respecting foreign nations. Let the general government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our general government may be reduced to a very simple organization, & a very unexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants. But I repeat, that this simple & economical mode of government can never be secured, if the New England States continue to support the contrary system. I rejoice, therefore, in every appearance of their returning to those principles which I had always imagined to be almost innate in them. In this State, a few persons were deluded by the X. Y. Z. duperies. You saw the effect of it in our last Congressional representatives, chosen under their influence. This experiment on their credulity is now seen into, and our next representation will be as republican as it has heretofore been. On the whole, we hope, that by a part of the Union having held on to the principles of the constitution, time has been Edition: current; Page: [141] given to the states to recover from the temporary frenzy into which they had been decoyed, to rally round the constitution, & to rescue it from the destruction with which it had been threatened even at their own hands. I see copied from the American Magazine two numbers of a paper signed Don Quixotte, most excellently adapted to introduce the real truth to the minds even of the most prejudiced.

I would, with great pleasure, have written the letter you desired in behalf of your friend, but there are existing circumstances which render a letter from me to that magistrate as improper as it would be unavailing. I shall be happy, on some more fortunate occasion, to prove to you my desire of serving your wishes.

I sometime ago received a letter from a Mr. M’Gregory of Derby, in your State; it is written with such a degree of good sense & appearance of candor, as entitles it to an answer. Yet the writer being entirely unknown to me, and the stratagems of the times very multifarious, I have thought it best to avail myself of your friendship, & enclose the answer to you. You will see it’s nature. If you find from the character of the person to whom it is addressed, that no improper use would probably be made of it, be so good as to seal & send it. Otherwise suppress it.

How will the vote of your State and R I be as to A. and P.?

I am, with great and sincere esteem, dear Sir, your friend and servant.

Edition: current; Page: [142]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 14. 1800
Monticello
Jeremiah Moor
Moor, Jeremiah

to jeremiah moor

j. mss.

Sir,

—I have to acknowlge the receipt of your favor of July 12. The times are certainly such as to justify anxiety on the subject of political principles, & particularly those of the public servants. I have been so long on the public theatres that I supposed mine to be generally known. I make no secret of them: on the contrary I wish them known to avoid the imputation of those which are not mine. You may remember perhaps that in the year 1783. after the close of the war there was a general idea that a convention would be called in this state to form a constitution. In that expectation I then prepared a scheme of constitution which I meant to have proposed. This is bound up at the end of the Notes on Virginia, which being in many hands, I may venture to refer to it as giving a general view of my principles of government. It particularly shews what I think on the question of the right of electing & being elected, which is principally the subject of your letter. I found it there on a year’s residence in the country; or the possession of property in it, or a year’s enrollment in it’s militia. When the constitution of Virginia was formed I was in attendance at Congress. Had I been here I should probably have proposed a general suffrage: because my opinion has always been in favor of it. Still I find very honest men who, thinking the possession of some property necessary to give due independence of mind, are for restraining the elective franchise to property. I believe we may lessen the danger of Edition: current; Page: [143] buying and selling votes, by making the number of voters too great for any means of purchase: I may further say that I have not observed men’s honesty to increase with their riches. I observe however in the same scheme of a constitution, an abridgment of the right of being elected, which after 17. years more of experience & reflection, I do not approve. It is the incapacitation of a clergyman from being elected. The clergy, by getting themselves established by law, & ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man. They are still so in many countries & even in some of these United States. Even in 1783, we doubted the stability of our recent measures for reducing them to the footing of other useful callings. It now appears that our means were effectual. The clergy here seem to have relinquished all pretension to privilege and to stand on a footing with lawyers, physicians &c. They ought therefore to possess the same rights.

I have with you wondered at the change of political principles which has taken place in many in this state however much less than in others. I am still more alarmed to see, in the other states, the general political dispositions of those to whom is confided the education of the rising generation. Nor are all the academies of this state free from grounds of uneasiness. I have great confidence in the common sense of mankind in general: but it requires a great deal to get the better of notions which our tutors have instilled into our minds while incapable Edition: current; Page: [144] of questioning them, & to rise superior to antipathies strongly rooted. However, I suppose when the evil rises to a certain height, a remedy will be found, if the case admits any other than the prudence of parents and guardians. The candour & good sense of your letter made it a duty in me to answer it, & to confide that no uncandid use will be made of the answer: & particularly that it be kept from the newspapers, a bear-garden field into which I do not chuse to enter. I am with esteem sir, your most obedient servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 17. 1800
Monticello
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I now send by Bp. Madison the balance which should have gone from our last court by mr. Barber: but not seeing him the first day of the court, & that breaking up on the first day, contrary to usage, & universal expectation, mr. Barber was gone before I knew that fact.—Is it not strange the public should have no information of the proceedings & prospects of our envoys in a case so vitally interesting to our commerce? that at a time when, as we suppose, all differences are in a course of amicable adjustment, Truxton should be fitted out with double diligence that he may get out of court before the arrival of a treaty, & shed more human blood merely for the pleasure of shedding it? — I have a letter from Mr. Butler in which he supposes that the Republican vote of N. Carolina will be but a bare majority. Georgia he thinks will be unanimous Edition: current; Page: [145] with the Republicans; S. C. unanimous either with them or against them. but not certainly which. Dr. Rush & Burr give favorable accounts of Jersey. Granger & Burr even count with confidence on Connecticut. But that is impossible. The revolution there indeed is working with very unexpected rapidity. Before another Congressional election it will probably be complete. There is good reason to believe Massachusetts will increase her republican vote in Congress, & that Levi Lincoln will be one. He will be a host in himself; being undoubtedly the ablest & most respectable man of the Eastern states. Health, respect & affection.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 20. 1800
Monticello
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

mon. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Mr. Craven, who was here at the receipt of your favor of the 15th & will probably be here a week longer, desires me to inform you that he communicates by this day’s post, your terms to Mr. Darrelle, and that he is thoroughly persuaded he will accede to them. He is very anxious you should retain the lands for Darrelle, who is his father in law, and whose removal into the neighborhood is therefore much wished for by him.

Where to stay the hand of the executioner is an important question. Those who have escaped from the immediate danger, must have feelings which would dispose them to extend the executions. Even here, where every thing has been perfectly tranquil, but where a familiarity with slavery, and a possibility of Edition: current; Page: [146] danger from that quarter prepare the general mind for some severities, there is a strong sentiment that there has been hanging enough. The other states & the world at large will forever condemn us if we indulge a principle of revenge, or go one step beyond absolute necessity. They cannot lose sight of the rights of the two parties, & the object of the unsuccessful one. Our situation is indeed a difficult one: for I doubt whether these people can ever be permitted to go at large among us with safety. To reprieve them and keep them in prison till the meeting of the legislature will encourage efforts for their release. Is there no fort & garrison of the state or of the Union, where they would be confined, & where the presence of the garrison would preclude all ideas of attempting a rescue. Surely the legislature would pass a law for their exportation, the proper measure on this & all similar occasions? I hazard these thoughts for your own consideration only, as I should be unwilling to be quoted in the case; you will doubtless hear the sentiments of other persons & places, and will thence be enabled to form a better judgment on the whole than any of us singly & in a solitary situation. Health, respect & affection.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 23, 1800
Monticello
Doctor Benjamin Rush
Rush, Doctor Benjamin

to doctor benjamin rush

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have to acknolege the receipt of your favor of Aug. 22, and to congratulate you on the healthiness of your city. Still Baltimore, Norfolk & Providence admonish us that we are not clear of Edition: current; Page: [147] our new scourge. When great evils happen, I am in the habit of looking out for what good may arise from them as consolations to us, and Providence has in fact so established the order of things, as that most evils are the means of producing some good. The yellow fever will discourage the growth of great cities in our nation, & I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man. True, they nourish some of the elegant arts, but the useful ones can thrive elsewhere, and less perfection in the others, with more health, virtue & freedom, would be my choice.

I agree with you entirely, in condemning the mania of giving names to objects of any kind after persons still living. Death alone can seal the title of any man to this honor, by putting it out of his power to forfeit it. There is one other mode of recording merit, which I have often thought might be introduced, so as to gratify the living by praising the dead. In giving, for instance, a commission of chief justice to Bushrod Washington, it should be in consideration of his integrity, and science in the laws, and of the services rendered to our country by his illustrious relation, &c. A commission to a descendant of Dr. Franklin, besides being in consideration of the proper qualifications of the person, should add that of the great services rendered by his illustrious ancestor, Bn Fr, by the advancement of science, by inventions useful to man, &c. I am not sure that we ought to change all our names. And during the regal government, sometimes, indeed, they were given through adulation; but often also as the Edition: current; Page: [148] reward of the merit of the times, sometimes for services rendered the colony. Perhaps, too, a name when given, should be deemed a sacred property.

I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten. On the contrary, it is because I have reflected on it, that I find much more time necessary for it than I can at present dispose of. I have a view of the subject which ought to displease neither the rational Christian nor Deists, and would reconcile many to a character they have too hastily rejected. I do not know that it would reconcile the genus irritabile vatum who are all in arms against me. Their hostility is on too interesting ground to be softened. The delusion into which the X. Y. Z. plot shewed it possible to push the people; the successful experiment made under the prevalence of that delusion on the clause of the constitution, which, while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro’ the U. S.; and as every sect believes its own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for his own, but especially the Episcopalians & Congregationalists. The returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any portion of power confided to me, will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. And they believe rightly; for I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. But this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion, & this is the cause of their printing Edition: current; Page: [149] lying pamphlets against me, forging conversations for me with Mazzei, Bishop Madison, &c., which are absolute falsehoods without a circumstance of truth to rest on; falsehoods, too, of which I acquit Mazzei & Bishop Madison, for they are men of truth.

But enough of this: it is more than I have before committed to paper on the subject of all the lies that has been preached and printed against me. I have not seen the work of Sonnoni which you mention, but I have seen another work on Africa, (Parke’s,) which I fear will throw cold water on the hopes of the friends of freedom. You will hear an account of an attempt at insurrection in this state. I am looking with anxiety to see what will be it’s effect on our state. We are truly to be pitied. I fear we have little chance to see you at the Federal city or in Virginia, and as little at Philadelphia. It would be a great treat to receive you here. But nothing but sickness could effect that; so I do not wish it. For I wish you health and happiness, and think of you with affection. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 8. 1800
Monticello
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

mon. mss.

Yours by your servant has been delivered as also that by Mr. Erwin. I think Skipwith’s letter contains some paragraphs which would do considerable good in the newspapers. I shall inclose that & the other by Mr. Erwin to Mr. Madison, to be returned to you. I shall set out for Washington so as to arrive there as soon as I suppose the answer to the speech Edition: current; Page: [150] is delivered. It is possible some silly things may be put into the latter on the hypothesis of it’s being valedictory, & that these may be zealously answered by the federal majority in our house. They shall deliver it themselves therefore. I have not heard from Craven since I wrote to you. I told him I should leave this on the 12th therefore I think it certain he will be here before that date, as we have some important arrangements to make together. I shall not fail to encourage the purchase of your lands.—I am sincerely sorry I was absent when you were in the neighborhood. I wished to learn something of the excitements, the expectations & extent of this negro conspiracy, not being satisfied with the popular reports. I learnt with concern in Bedford that the important deposit of arms near New London is without even a centinel to guard it. There is said to be much powder in it. We cannot suppose the federal administration takes this method of offering arms to insurgent negroes: yet some in the neighborhood of the place suspect it. Would it not be justifiable in you to suggest to them the importance of a guard there? In truth that deposit should be removed to the river. Health, respect & affection.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 14, 1800
Washington
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to robert r. livingston

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your former communications on the subject of the steam engine, I took the liberty of laying before the American Philosophical society, by whom they will be printed in their volume of the Edition: current; Page: [151] present year. I have heard of the discovery of some large bones, supposed to be of the mammoth, at about 30. or 40. miles distance from you; and among the bones found, are said to be some of which we have never yet been able to procure. The 1st interesting question is, whether they are the bones of the mammoth? The 2d, what are the particular bones, and could I possibly procure them? The bones I am most anxious to obtain, are those of the head & feet, which are said to be among those found in your State, as also the ossa innominata, and the scapula. Others would also be interesting, though similar ones may be possessed, because they would show by their similarity that the set belong to the mammoth. Could I so far venture to trouble you on this subject, as to engage some of your friends near the place, to procure for me the bones above mentioned? If they are to be bought I will gladly pay for them whatever you shall agree to as reasonable; and will place the money in N York as instantaneously after it is made known to me, as the post can carry it, as I will all expenses of package, transportation, &c, to New York and Philadelphia, where they may be addressed to John Barnes, whose agent (he not being on the spot) will take care of them for me.

But I have still a more important subject whereon to address you. Tho’ our information of the votes of the several states be not official, yet they are stated on such evidence as to satisfy both parties that the Republican vote has been successful. We may, therefore, venture to hazard propositions on that hypothesis without being justly subjected to raillery Edition: current; Page: [152] or ridicule. The constitution to which we are all attached was meant to be republican, and we believe to be republican according to every candid interpretation. Yet we have seen it so interpreted and administered, as to be truly what the French have called, a monarchie masquée. Yet so long has the vessel run on this way and been trimmed to it, that to put her on her republican track will require all the skill, the firmness & the zeal of her ablest & best friends. It is a crisis which calls on them, to sacrifice all other objects, and repair to her aid in this momentous operation. Not only their skill is wanting, but their names also. It is essential to assemble in the outset persons to compose our administration, whose talents integrity and revolutionary name and principles may inspire the nation at once, with unbounded confidence, and impose an awful silence on all the maligners of republicanism; as may suppress in embryo the purpose avowed by one of their most daring & effective chiefs, of beating down the administration. These names do not abound at this day. So few are they, that yours, my friend, cannot be spared among them without leaving a blank which cannot be filled. If I can obtain for the public the aid of those I have contemplated, I fear nothing. If this cannot be done, then are we unfortunate indeed! We shall be unable to realize the prospects which have been held out to the people, and we must fall back into monarchism, for want of heads, not hands to help us out of it. This is a common cause, my dear Sir, common to all republicans. Tho’ I have been too honorably placed in front of those who are to enter the breach Edition: current; Page: [153] so happily made, yet the energies of every individual are necessary, & in the very place where his energies can most serve the enterprise. I can assure you that your colleagues will be most acceptable to you; one of them, whom you cannot mistake, peculiarly so. The part which circumstances constrain us to propose to you is, the secretaryship of the navy. These circumstances cannot be explained by letter. Republicanism is so rare in those parts which possess nautical skill, that I cannot find it allied there to the other qualifications. Tho’ you are not nautical by profession, yet your residence and your mechanical science qualify you as well as a gentleman can possibly be, and sufficiently to enable you to choose under-agents perfectly qualified, and to superintend their conduct. Come forward then, my dear Sir, and give us the aid of your talents & the weight of your character towards the new establishment of republicanism: I say, for it’s new establishment; for hitherto we have only seen it’s travestie. I have urged thus far, on the belief that your present office would not be an obstacle to this proposition. I was informed, and I think it was by your brother, that you wished to retire from it, & were only restrained by the fear that a successor of different principles might be appointed. The late change in your council of appointment will remove this fear. It will not be improper to say a word on the subject of expence. The gentlemen who composed Genl Washington’s first administration took up, too universally, a practice of general entertainment, which was unnecessary, obstructive of business, & so oppressive to Edition: current; Page: [154] themselves, that it was among the motives for their retirement. Their successors profited by the experiment, & lived altogether as private individuals, & so have ever continued to do. Here, indeed, it cannot be otherwise, our situation being so rural, that during the vacations of the Legislature we shall have no society but of the officers of the government, and in time of sessions the Legislature is become & becoming so numerous, that for the last half dozen years nobody but the President has pretended to entertain them. I have been led to make the application before official knowledge of the result of our election, because the return of Mr. Van Benthuysen, one of your electors & neighbors, offers me a safe conveyance at a moment when the post offices will be peculiarly suspicious & prying. Your answer may come by post without danger, if directed in some other hand writing than your own; and I will pray you to give me an answer as soon as you can make up your mind.

Accept assurances of cordial esteem & respect, & my friendly salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec 15, 1800
Washington
Aaron Burr
Burr, Aaron

to aaron burr

j. mass.

Dear Sir,

—Although we have not official information of the votes for President & Vice President, and cannot have until the first week in Feb, yet the state of the votes is given on such evidence, as satisfies both parties that the two republican candidates stand highest. From S Carolina we have not even Edition: current; Page: [155] heard of the actual vote; but we have learnt who were appointed electors, and with sufficient certainty how they would vote. It is said they would withdraw from yourself one vote. It has also been said that a General Smith, of Tennessee, had declared that he would give his 2d. vote to Mr. Gallatin, not from any indisposition towards you, but extreme reverence to the character of Mr. G. It is also surmised that the vote of Georgia will not be entire. Yet nobody pretends to know these things of a certainty, and we know enough to be certain that what it is surmised will be withheld, will still leave you 4. or 5. votes at least above Mr. A. However, it was badly managed not to have arranged with certainty what seems to have been left to hazard. It was the more material, because I understand several of the high-flying federalists have expressed their hope that the two republican tickets may be equal, & their determination in that case to prevent a choice by the H of R, (which they are strong enough to do,) and let the government devolve on a President of the Senate. Decency required that I should be so entirely passive during the late contest that I never once asked whether arrangements had been made to prevent so many from dropping votes intentionally, as might frustrate half the republican wish; nor did I doubt, till lately, that such had been made.

While I must congratulate you, my dear Sir, on the issue of this contest, because it is more honorable, and doubtless more grateful to you than any station within the competence of the chief magistrate, yet for myself, and for the substantial service Edition: current; Page: [156] of the public, I feel most sensibly the loss we sustain of your aid in our new administration. It leaves a chasm in my arrangements, which cannot be adequately filled up. I had endeavored to compose an administration whose talents, integrity, names, and dispositions should at once inspire unbounded confidence in the public mind, and insure a perfect harmony in the conduct of the public business. I lose you from the list, & am not sure of all the others. Should the gentlemen who possess the public confidence decline taking a part in their affairs, and force us to take persons unknown to the people, the evil genius of this country may realize his avowal that “he will beat down the administration.” The return of Mr. Van Benthuysen, one of your electors, furnishes me a confidential opportunity of writing this much to you, which I should not have ventured through the post office at this prying season. We shall of course see you before the 4th of March. Accept my respectful and affectionate salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec 18, 1800
Washington
John Breckenridge
Breckenridge, John

to john breckenridge

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I received, while at home, the letter you were so kind as to write me. The employments of the country have such irresistible attractions for me, that while I am at home, I am very unpunctual in acknoleging the letters of my friends. Having no refuge here from my room & writing-table, it is my regular season for fetching up the lee-way of my correspondence.

Edition: current; Page: [157]

Before you receive this, you will have understood that the State of S Carolina (the only one about which there was uncertainty) has given a republican vote, and saved us from the consequences of the annihilation of Pennsylvania. But we are brought into dilemma by the probable equality of the two republican candidates. The federalists in Congress mean to take advantage of this, and either to prevent an election altogether, or reverse what has been understood to have been the wishes of the people, as to the President & Vice-president; wishes which the constitution did not permit them specially to designate. The latter alternative still gives us a republican administration. The former, a suspension of the federal government, for want of a head. This opens upon us an abyss, at which every sincere patriot must shudder. General Davie has arrived here with the treaty formed (under the name of a convention) with France. It is now before the Senate for ratification, and will encounter objections. He believes firmly that a continental peace in Europe will take place, and that England also may be comprehended.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 19, 1800
Washington
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Mrs. Brown’s departure for Virginia enables me to write confidentially what I could not have ventured by the post at this prying season. The election in S. Carolina has in some measure decided the great contest. Tho’ as yet we do not Edition: current; Page: [158] know the actual votes of Tennessee, Kentucky, & Vermont, yet we believe the votes to be on the whole, J. 73, B. 73, A. 65, P. 64. Rhode isld withdrew one from P. There is a possibility that Tennessee may withdraw one from B., and Burr writes that there may be one vote in Vermont for J. But I hold the latter impossible, and the former not probable; and that there will be an absolute parity between the two republican candidates. This has produced great dismay and gloom on the republican gentlemen here, and equal exultation on the federalists, who openly declare they will prevent an election, and will name a President of the Senate, pro tem. by what they say would only be a stretch of the constitution. The prospect of preventing this, is as follows, G, N C, T, K, V, P, & N Y, can be counted on for their vote in the H of R, & it is thought by some that Baer of Maryland, & Linn of N J will come over. Some even count on Morris of Vermont. But you must know the uncertainty of such a dependence under the operation of caucuses and other federal engines. The month of February, therefore, will present us storms of a new character. Should they have a particular issue, I hope you will be here a day or two, at least, before the 4th of March. I know that your appearance on the scene before the departure of Congress, would assuage the minority, and inspire in the majority confidence and joy unbounded, which they would spread far & wide on their journey home. Let me beseech you then to come with a view of staying perhaps a couple of weeks, within which time things might be put into Edition: current; Page: [159] such a train, as would permit us both to go home for a short time, for removal. I wrote to R. R. L. by a confidential hand three days ago. The person proposed for the T has not come yet.

Davie is here with the Convention, as it is called; but it is a real treaty, and without limitation of time. It has some disagreeable features, and will endanger the compromising us with G B. I am not at liberty to mention it’s contents, but I believe it will meet with opposition from both sides of the house. It has been a bungling negotiation. Elsworth remains in France for the benefit of his health. He has resigned his office of C J. Putting these two things together, we cannot misconstrue his views. He must have had great confidence in Mr. A’s continuance to risk such a certainty as he held. Jay was yesterday nominated Chief Justice. We were afraid of something worse. A scheme of government for the territory is cooking by a committee of each house, under separate authorities, but probably a voluntary harmony. They let out no hints. It is believed that the judiciary system will not be pushed, as the appointments, if made by the present administration, could not fall on those who create them. But I very much fear the road system will be urged. The mines of Peru would not supply the monies which would be wasted on this object, nor the patience of any people stand the abuses which would be incontrolably committed under it. I propose, as soon as the state of the election is perfectly ascertained, to aim at a candid understanding with Mr. A. I do not expect that either his feelings or his views of interest will oppose Edition: current; Page: [160] it. I hope to induce in him dispositions liberal and accommodating. Accept my affectionate salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 21. 1800
Washington
Cæsar Rodney
Rodney, Cæsar

to cæsar rodney

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I received in due time your favor of Oct. 12. and, as it did not require a particular answer I have postponed the acknolegement of it to this time & place. It seems tolerable well ascertained (though not officially) that the two republican candidates on the late election have a decided majority. Probably of 73. to 65. but equally probable that they are even between themselves & that the Federalists are disposed to make the most of the embarrassment this occasions, by preventing any election by the H. of Representatives. It is far from certain that 9. representatives in that House can be got to vote for any candidate. What the issue of such a dilemma may be cannot be estimated. The French treaty is before the Senate. It is not agreeable in all its parts to anybody, but it is to be hoped it will be ratified with a limitation of time which cannot produce difficulty with the other party. Congress seemed hardly disposed to do anything this session. The Judiciary bill, the territorial government, & the taking into their hands the making roads through the union are the subjects talked of. The last will be a bottomless abyss for money, the most fruitful field for [illegible] and the richest provision for jobs to favorites that has ever yet been proposed. We have been 12. years grasping at all the expenses of the union. A shorter Edition: current; Page: [161] time will suffice to restore them to whom they belong & who would manage them with so much more correctness & raise them in ways so much less burthensome to the people than we can. Foreign relations are our province: domestic regulations & institutions belong, in every state, to itself. I pray you to accept the assurances of my high regard & esteem, & to present my affectionate veneration to mr. Dickinson. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 26, 1800
Washington
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—All the votes have now come in, except of Vermont & Kentuckey, and there is no doubt that the result is a perfect parity between the two republican characters. The Feds appear determined to prevent an election, & to pass a bill giving the government to Mr. Jay, appointed Chief Justice, or to Marshall as Secy of state. Yet I am rather of opinion that Maryland & Jersey will give the 7 republican majorities. The French treaty will be violently opposed by the Feds; the giving up the vessels is the article they cannot swallow. They have got their judiciary bill forwarded to commitment. I dread this above all the measures meditated, because appointments in the nature of freehold render it difficult to undo what is done. We expect a report for a territorial government which is to pay little respect to the rights of man.—Your’s of the 20th came safely to hand. I am almost certain that you sent money by me to Lyon, which he sent to me for Edition: current; Page: [162] & received as soon as he heard I was arrived. As I was merely the bearer I did not take a receipt. I will inquire into it, and do what is necessary. No answer yet from R. R. L.

Cordial and affectionate salutations. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
December 31, 1800
Tench Coxe
Coxe, Tench

to tench coxe

j. mss.

I shall neither frank nor subscribe my letter, because I do not chuse to commit myself to the fidelity of the post-office. For the same reason, I have avoided putting pen to paper through the whole summer, except on mere business, because I knew it was a prying season. I received from time to time papers under your superscription, which shewed that our friends were not inattentive to the great operation which was agitating the nation. You are by this time apprised of the embarrassment produced by the equality of votes between the two republican candidates. The contrivance in the Constitution for marking the votes works badly, because it does not enounce precisely the true expression of the public will. We do not see what is to be the issue of the present difficulty. The federalists, among whom those of the republican section are not the strongest, propose to prevent an election in Congress, and to transfer the government by an act to the C. J. (Jay) or Secretary of State, or to let it devolve on the Pres pro tem. of the Senate, till next December, which gives them another year’s predominance, and the chances of future events. The republicans propose Edition: current; Page: [163] to press forward to an election. If they fail in this, a concert between the two higher candidates may prevent the dissolution of the government and danger of anarchy, by an operation, bungling indeed & imperfect, but better than letting the Legislature take the nomination of the Executive entirely from the people. Excuse the infrequency of my acknowledgments of your kind attentions. The danger of interruption makes it prudent for me not to indulge my personal wishes in that way. I pray you to accept assurances of my great esteem.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
1800?

services of jefferson

I have sometimes asked myself whether my country is the better for my having lived at all? I do not know that it is. I have been the instrument of doing the following things; but they would have been done by others; some of them, perhaps, a little better.

The Rivanna had never been used for navigation; scarcely an empty canoe had ever passed down it. Soon after I came of age, I examined its obstructions, set on foot a subscription for removing them, got an Act of Assembly passed, and the thing effected, so as to be used completely and fully for carrying down all our produce.

The Declaration of Independence.

I proposed the demolition of the church establishment, and the freedom of religion. It could only be done by degrees; to wit, the Act of 1776, c. 2, exempted dissenters from contributions to the church, Edition: current; Page: [164] and left the church clergy to be supported by voluntary contributions of their own sect; was continued from year to year, and made perpetual 1779, c. 36. I prepared the act for religious freedom in 1777, as part of the revisal, which was not reported to the Assembly till 1779, and that particular law not passed till 1785, and then by the efforts of Mr. Madison.

The act putting an end to entails.

The act prohibiting the importation of slaves.

The act concerning citizens, and establishing the natural right of man to expatriate himself, at will.

The act changing the course of descents, and giving the inheritance to all the children, &c., equally, I drew as part of the revisal.

The act for apportioning crimes and punishments, part of the same work, I drew. When proposed to the legislature, by Mr. Madison, in 1785, it failed by a single vote. G. K. Taylor afterwards, in 1796, proposed the same subject; avoiding the adoption of any part of the diction of mine, the text of which had been studiously drawn in the technical terms of the law, so as to give no occasion for new questions by new expressions. When I drew mine, public labor was thought the best punishment to be substituted for death. But, while I was in France, I heard of a society in England, who had successfully introduced solitary confinement, and saw the drawing of a prison at Lyons, in France, formed on the idea of solitary confinement. And, being applied to by the Governor of Virginia for the plan of a Capitol and Prison, I sent him the Lyons plan, accompanying it with a Edition: current; Page: [165] drawing on a smaller scale, better adapted to our use. This was in June, 1786. Mr. Taylor very judiciously adopted this idea, (which had now been acted on in Philadelphia, probably from the English model) and substituted labor in confinement, to the public labor proposed by the Committee of revisal; which themselves would have done, had they been to act on the subject again. The public mind was ripe for this in 1796, when Mr. Taylor proposed it, and ripened chiefly by the experiment in Philadelphia; whereas, in 1785, when it had been proposed to our assembly, they were not quite ripe for it.

In 1789 and 1790, I had a great number of olive plants, of the best kind, sent from Marseilles to Charleston, for South Carolina and Georgia. They were planted, and are flourishing; and, though not yet multiplied, they will be the germ of that cultivation in those States.

In 1790, I got a cask of heavy upland rice, from the river Denbigh, in Africa, about lat. 9° 30′ North, which I sent to Charleston, in hopes it might supersede the culture of the wet rice, which renders South Carolina and Georgia so pestilential through the summer. It was divided, and a part sent to Georgia. I know not whether it has been attended to in South Carolina; but it has spread in the upper parts of Georgia, so as to have become almost general, and is highly prized. Perhaps it may answer in Tennessee and Kentucky. The greatest service which can be rendered any country is, to add an useful plant to its culture; especially, a bread grain; next in value to bread is oil.

Edition: current; Page: [166]

Whether the act for the more general diffusion of knowledge will ever be carried into complete effect, I know not. It was received by the legislature with great enthusiasm at first; and a small effort was made in 1796, by the act to establish public schools, to carry a part of it into effect, viz., that for the establishment of free English schools; but the option given to the courts has defeated the intention of the act.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan 4th, 1801
Washington
Mary Jefferson Eppes
Eppes, Mary Jefferson

to mary jefferson eppes1

Your letter, my dear Maria, of Dec. 28, is just now received, and shall be immediately answered, as shall all others received from yourself or Mr. Eppes. This will keep our accounts even, and show, by the comparative promptness of reply, which is most anxious to hear from the other. I wrote to Mr. Eppes, December 23d, but directed it to Petersburg; hereafter it shall be to City Point. I went yesterday to Mount Vernon, where Mrs. Washington and Mrs. Lewis asked very kindly after you. Mrs. Lewis looks thin, and thinks herself not healthy; but it seems to be more in opinion than any thing else. She has a child of very uncertain health.

The election is understood to stand 73, 73, 65, 64. The Federalists were confident, at first, they could debauch Col. B [urr]. from his good faith by offering him their vote to be President, and having seriously proposed it to him. His conduct has been honorable and decisive, and greatly embarrasses Edition: current; Page: [167] them. Time seems to familiarize them more and more to acquiescence, and to render it daily more probable they will yield to the known will of the people, and that some one State will join the eight already decided as to their vote. The victory of the Republicans in New Jersey, lately obtained by carrying their whole Congressional members on an election by general ticket, has had weight on their spirits.

Should I be destined to remain here, I shall count on meeting you and Mr. Eppes at Monticello the first week in April, where I shall not have above three weeks to stay. We shall then be able to consider how far it will be practicable to prevent this new destination from shortening the time of our being together, for be assured that no considerations in this world would compensate to me a separation from yourself and your sister. But the distance is so moderate that I should hope a journey to this place would be scarcely more inconvenient than one to Monticello. But of this we will talk when we meet there, which will be to me a joyful moment. Remember me affectionately to Mr. Eppes, and accept yourself the effusion of my tenderest love. Adieu, my dearest Maria.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan 10, 1801
Washington
Dr. Hugh Williamson
Williamson, Dr. Hugh

to dr. hugh williamson

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I should sooner have acknoledged your favor of December 8th, but for a growing and pressing correspondence which I can scarcely manage. I was particularly happy to receive the diary of Quebec, as about the same time I happened to receive Edition: current; Page: [168] one from the Natchez, so as to be able to make a comparison of them. The result was a wonder that any human being should remain in a cold country who could find room in a warm one, should prefer —32° to —55°. Harry Hill has told me that the temperature of Madeira is generally from 55° to 65°, it’s extreme about 50° to 70°. If I ever change my climate for health, it should be for that island. I do not know that the coincidence has ever been remarked between the new moon and greater degrees of cold, or the full moon and the lesser degrees; or that the reflected beams of the moon attemper the weather at all. On the contrary, I think I have understood that the most powerful concave mirror presented to the moon, and throwing its focus on the bulb of a thermometer, does not in the least affect it. I suppose the opinion to be universal that the turkey is a native of America. Nobody, as far as I know, has ever contradicted it but Daines Barrington; and the arguments he produces are such as none but a head, entangled & kinked as his is, would ever have urged. Before the discovery of America, no such bird is mentioned in a single author, all those quoted by Barrington, by description referring to the crane, hen, pheasant or peacock; but the book of every traveller, who came to America soon after it’s discovery, is full of accounts of the turkey and it’s abundance; and immediately after that discovery we find the turkey served up at the feasts of Europe, as their most extraordinary rarity. Mr. William Strickland, the eldest son of St. George Strickland, of York, in England, told me the anecdote. Some ancestor of his Edition: current; Page: [169] commanded a vessel in the navigations of Cabot. Having occasion to consult the Herald’s office concerning his family, he found a petition from that ancestor to the crown, stating that Cabot’s circumstances being slender, he had been rewarded by the bounties he needed from the crown; that as to himself, he asked nothing in that way, but that as a consideration for his services in the same way, he might be permitted to assume for the crest of his family arms, the turkey, an American bird; and Mr. Strickland observed that their crest is actually a turkey. You ask whether we may be quoted. In the first place, I now state the thing from memory, and may be inexact in some small circumstances. Mr. Strickland too, stated it to me in a conversation, and not considering it of importance, might be inexact too. We should both dislike to be questioned before the public for any little inaccuracy of style or recollection. I think if you were to say that the Herald’s office may be referred to in proof of the fact, it would be authority sufficient, without naming us. I have at home a note of Mr. Strickland’s information, which I then committed to paper. My situation does not allow me to refresh my memory from this. I shall be glad to see your book make its appearance; and I am sure it will be well received by the Philosophical part of the world, for I still dare to use the word philosophy, notwithstanding the war waged against it by bigotry & despotism. Health, respect and friendly salutations.

Edition: current; Page: [170]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan 12, 1801
Washington
William Dunbar
Dunbar, William

to william dunbar

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of July 14, with the papers accompanying it, came safely to hand about the last of October. That containing remarks on the line of demarcation I perused according to your permission, and with great satisfaction, and then enclosed to a friend in Philadelphia, to be forwarded to it’s address. The papers addressed to me, I took the liberty of communicating to the Philosophical society. That on the language by signs is quite new. Soon after receiving your meteorological diary, I received one of Quebec; and was struck with the comparison between - 32 & + 19¾ the lowest depression of the thermometer at Quebec & the Natchez. I have often wondered that any human being should live in a cold country who can find room in a warm one. I have no doubt but that cold is the source of more sufferance to all animal nature than hunger, thirst, sickness, & all the other pains of life & of death itself put together. I live in a temperate climate, and under circumstances which do not expose me often to cold. Yet when I recollect on one hand all the sufferings I have had from cold, & on the other all my other pains, the former preponderate greatly. What then must be the sum of that evil if we take in the vast proportion of men who are obliged to be out in all weather, by land & by sea, all the families of beasts, birds, reptiles, & even the vegetable kingdom! for that too has life, and where there is life there may be sensation. I remark a rainbow of a great portion of the circle observed by you when on the line of Edition: current; Page: [171] demarcation. I live in a situation which has given me an opportunity of seeing more than the semicircle often. I am on a hill 500 f. perpendicularly high. On the east side it breaks down abruptly to the base, where a river passes through. A rainbow, therefore, about sunset, plunges one of it’s legs down to the river, 500 f. below the level of the eye on the top of the hill. I have twice seen bows formed by the moon. They were of the color of the common circle round the moon, and were very near, being within a few paces of me in both instances. I thank you for the little vocabularies of Bedais, Jankawis and Teghas. I have it much at heart to make as extensive a collection as possible of the Indian tongues. I have at present about 30. tolerably full, among which the number radically different, is truly wonderful. It is curious to consider how such handfuls of men came by different languages, & how they have preserved them so distinct. I at first thought of reducing them all to one orthography, but I soon become sensible that this would occasion two sources of error instead of one. I therefore think it best to keep them in the form of orthography in which they were taken, only noting whether that were English, French, German, or what. I have never been a very punctual correspondent, and it is possible that new duties may make me less so. I hope I shall not on that account lose the benefit of your communications. Philosophical vedette at the distance of one thousand miles, and on the verge of the terra incognita of our continent, is precious to us here. I pray you to accept assurances of my high consideration & esteem, and friendly salutations.

Edition: current; Page: [172]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 24, 1801
Washington
Colonel John Hoomes
Hoomes, Colonel John

to colonel john hoomes

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—* * * There is no change in our prospects as to the election, the party opposed to the public sentiment, keeping their purposes very much to themselves. A vote passed the H. of R. yesterday for the continuance of the Sedition law. It was by the casting voice of the Speaker, and not in it’s final stage. The Senate had annexed several modifications to the Convention with France. Yesterday came on the final question, which being divided into as many parts as there were modifications, the whole of them were struck out except one limiting it’s duration to 8. years. And on the question to ratify with this single modification it was rejected by 14. out of 30. votes. Tho’, according to former usage this would close the proceedings, I am told there will be a proposition to ratify it without any modification, as being a question which has not yet been decided. It’s success may be doubted. Some say the President will not on this rejection send back the treaty, but will call the new Senate to meet after the 3d of March and reconsider it. Of those who voted against it, 4. will then go out, and would leave them only 10. But we must have a Senate of 30. at least convened to overweigh them, which we can hardly count upon.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 1, 1801
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

j. mss.

I have not written to you since the letter by Mrs. B. Yours of Jan. 10 is received, and your own Edition: current; Page: [173] wishes are entirely acquiesced in as to time. Clermont has refused.1 I think to adopt your idea at Baltimore.2 I dare not through the channel of the post hazard a word to you on the subject of the election. Indeed the interception and publication of my letters exposes the republican cause as well as myself personally to so much obloquy that I have come to a resolution never to write another sentence of politics in a letter. The enclosed came under a blank cover to me, and I broke it open and read it through. Until I was folding it up to put away, I did not discover your name on the back of it, and consequently that it was destined for you. I hope your health is getting better. I think nothing more possible than that a change of climate, even from a better to a worse, and a change in the habits and mode of life, might have a favorable effect on your system. I shall be happy to hear that your father is rallying. The approaching season will be favorable for that. Present my respectful attachments to Mrs. Madison & accept affectionate assurances of friendship to yourself. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 1, 1801
Washington
Aaron Burr
Burr, Aaron

to aaron burr

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—It was to be expected that the enemy would endeavor to sow tares between us, that they might divide us and our friends. Every consideration satisfies me you will be on your guard against this, as I assure you I am strongly. I hear of one

Edition: current; Page: [174]

stratagem so imposing & so base that it is proper I should notice it to you. Mr. Munford, who is here, says he saw at N York before he left it, an original letter of mine to Judge Breckenridge, in which are sentiments highly injurious to you. He knows my hand writing, and did not doubt that to be genuine. I enclose you a copy taken from the press copy of the only letter I ever wrote to Judge Breckenridge in my life: the press copy itself has been shown to several of our mutual friends here. Of consequence, the letter seen by Mr. Munford must be a forgery, and if it contains a sentiment unfriendly or disrespectful to you, I affirm it solemnly to be a forgery; as also if it varies from the copy enclosed. With the common trash of slander I should not think of troubling you; but the forgery of one’s handwriting is too imposing to be neglected. A mutual knowledge of each other furnishes us with the best test of the contrivances which will be practised by the enemies of both.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 2, 1801
Washington
Thomas M’kean
M’kean, Thomas

to thomas m’kean

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have long waited for an opportunity to acknoledge the receipt of your favor of Dec 15, as well as that by Doctr. Mendenhall. None occurring, I shall either deliver the present to Genl Muhlenburg or put it under cover to Doctr Wistar, to whom I happen to be writing, to be sent to your house in Philadelphia, or forwarded confidentially to Lancaster.

Edition: current; Page: [175]

The event of the election is still in dubio. A strong portion in the House of Representatives will prevent an election if they can. I rather believe they will not be able to do it, as there are six individuals of moderate character, any one of whom coming over to the republican vote will make a ninth State. Till this is known, it is too soon for me to say what should be done in such atrocious cases as those you mention of federal officers obstructing the operation of the State governments. One thing I will say, that as to the future, interferences with elections, whether of the State or General Government, by officers of the latter, should be deemed cause of removal; because the constitutional remedy by the elective principle becomes nothing, if it may be smothered by the enormous patronage of the General govmet. How far it may be practicable, prudent or proper, to look back, is too great a question to be decided but by the united wisdom of the whole administration when formed. Our situation is so different from yours, that it may render proper some differences in the practice. Your State is a single body, the majority clearly one way. Ours is of sixteen integral parts, some of them all one way, some all the other, some divided. Whatever may be decided as to the past, they shall give no trouble to the State governments in future, if it shall depend on me; and be assured, particularly as to yourself, that I should consider the most perfect harmony & interchange of accommodations & good offices with those governments as among the first objects.

Edition: current; Page: [176]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 11, 1801
Washington
Tench Coxe
Coxe, Tench

to tench coxe

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Jan 25 came to hand some days ago, and yesterday a gentleman put into my hand, at the door of the Senate chamber, the volume of the Amer. Museum for 1798. As no letter accompanied it, I took it for granted it was to bring under my eye some of its contents. I have gone over it with satisfaction.

This is the morning of the election by the H of R. For some time past a single individual had declared he would by his vote make up the ninth State. On Saturday last he changed, and it stands at present 8. one way, 6. the other, & 2. divided. Which of the two will be elected, & whether either, I deem perfectly problematical: and my mind has long been equally made up for either of the three events. If I can find out the person who brought me the volume from you, I shall return it by him, because I presume it makes one of a set. If not by him, I will find some other person who may convey it to Philadelphia if not to Lancaster. Very possibly it may go by a different conveyance from this letter. Very probably you will learn before the receipt of either, the result, or progress at least, of the election. We see already at the threshold, that if it falls on me, I shall be embarrassed by finding the offices vacant, which cannot be even temporarily filled but with advice of Senate, and that body is called on the fourth of March, when it is impossible for the new members of Kentucky, Georgia and S. Carolina to receive notice in time to be here. The Edition: current; Page: [177] summons for Kentucky, dated, as all were, Jan 31, could not go hence till the 5th, & that for Georgia did not go till the 6th. If the difficulties of the election, therefore, are got over, there are more & more behind, until new elections shall have regenerated the constituted authorities. The defects of our Constitution under circumstances like the present, appear very great. Accept assurances of the esteem and respect of, dear Sir, your most obedient servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 14, 1801
Washington
Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton
Barton, Dr. Benjamin Smith

to dr. benjamin smith barton1

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Jan. 18 is duly received. The subject of it did not need apology. On the contrary, should I be placed in office, nothing would be more desirable to me than the recommendations of those in whom I have confidence, of persons fit for office; for if the good withhold their testimony, we shall be at the mercy of the bad. If the question relative to Mr. Zantzinger had been merely that of remaining in office, your letter would have placed him on very safe ground. Besides that, no man who has conducted himself according to his duties would have anything to fear from me, as those who have done ill would have nothing to hope, be their political principles what they might. The obtaining an appointment presents more difficulties. The republicans have been excluded from all offices from the Edition: current; Page: [178] first origin of the division into Republican and Federalist. They have a reasonable claim to vacancies till they occupy their due share. My hope however is that the distinction will be soon lost, or at most that it will be only of republican & monarchist: that the body of the nation, even that part which French excesses forced over to the federal side, will rejoin the republicans, leaving only those who were pure monarchists, and who will be too few to form a sect. This is the fourth day of the ballot, and nothing done; nor do I see any reason to suppose the six and a half States here will be less firm, as they call it, than your 13. Senators; if so, and the government should expire on the 3d of March by the loss of it’s head, there is no regular provision for reorganizing it, nor any authority but in the people themselves. They may authorize a convention to reorganize & even to amend the machine. There are 10. individuals in the H of R, any one of whom changing his vote may save us this troublesome operation. Be pleased to present my friendly respects to Mrs. Barton, Mrs. Sarjeant, and Mrs. Waters, and to accept yourself my affectionate salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb 15, 1801
Washington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have received several letters from you which have not been acknowledged. By the post I dare not, and one or two confidential opportunities have passed me by surprise. I have regretted Edition: current; Page: [179] it the less, because I know you could be more safely and fully informed by others. Mr. Tyler, the bearer of this, will give you a great deal more information personally than can be done by letter. Four days of balloting have produced not a single change of a vote. Yet it is confidently believed by most that to-morrow there is to be a coalition. I know of no foundation for this belief. However, as Mr. Tyler waits the event of it, he will communicate it to you. If they could have been permitted to pass a law for putting the government into the hands of an officer, they would certainly have prevented an election. But we thought it best to declare openly and firmly, one & all, that the day such an act passed, the middle States would arm, & that no such usurpation, even for a single day, should be submitted to. This first shook them; and they were completely alarmed at the resource for which we declared, to wit, a convention to re-organize the government, & to amend it. The very word convention gives them the horrors, as in the present democratical spirit of America, they fear they should lose some of the favorite morsels of the constitution. Many attempts have been made to obtain terms & promises from me. I have declared to them unequivocally, that I would not receive the government on capitulation, that I would not go into it with my hands tied. Should they yield the election, I have reason to expect in the outset the greatest difficulties as to nominations. The late incumbents running away from their offices & leaving them vacant, will prevent my filling them without the previous advice of Senate. How this Edition: current; Page: [180] difficulty is to be got over I know not. Accept for Mrs. Monroe and yourself my affectionate salutations. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 16, 1801
Washington
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to robert r. livingston

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Jan. 7 came duly to hand. A part of it gave me that kind of concern which I fear I am destined often to meet. Men possessing minds of the first order, and who have had opportunities of being known & of acquiring the general confidence, do not abound in any country beyond the wants of the country. In your case however it is a subject of regret rather than of complaint, as you are in fact serving the public in a very important station.

It is some two or three or four years since I inquired of the members of the A. Phil. society whether you were a member. The answer was that they were pretty sure you were, & had been for a long time. After acquiescing awhile in that authority I expressed a wish to the secretaries that they would ascertain the fact, which they promised. My absence from Philadelphia prevented a repetition of the inquiry as often as I wished, and the members’ names being to be sought through the whole minutes of our proceedings, obstructed the wish. At length I nominated you, and at the next election you were chosen a member. Whether you were one before you probably know: and if already of the elect, you are now doubly so. I inclose the diploma.

Edition: current; Page: [181]

I have on several occasions been led to think on some means of uniting the state agricultural societies into a central society: and lately it has been pressed from England with a view to a cooperation with their board of agriculture. You know some have proposed to Congress to incorporate such a society. I am against that, because I think Congress cannot find in all the enumerated powers any one which authorizes the act, much less the giving the public money to that use. I believe too if they had the power, it would soon be used for no other purpose than to buy with sinecures useful partisans. I believe it will thrive best if left to itself as the Philosophical societies are. There is certainly a much greater abundance of material for Agricultural societies than Philosophical. But what should be the plan of union? Would it do for the state societies to agree to meet in a central society by a special deputation of members? If this should present difficulties, might they not be lessened by their adopting into their society some one or more of their delegates in Congress or of the members of the Executive residing here, who assembling necessarily for other purposes, could occasionally meet on the business of their societies? Your Agricultural society standing undoubtedly on the highest ground might set the thing agoing by writing to such state societies as already exist, and these once meeting centrally might induce the other states to establish societies & thus compleat the institution. This is a mere idea of mine, not sufficiently considered or digested, & hazarded merely to set you to thinking Edition: current; Page: [182] on the subject, and propose something better or to improve this. Will you be so good as to consider it at your leisure, and give me your thoughts on the subject? Accept my affectionate salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb 18, 1801
Washington
James Madison
Madison, James

to james madison

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Notwithstanding the suspected infidelity of the post, I must hazard this communication. The minority in the H of R, after seeing the impossibility of electing B, the certainty that a legislative usurpation would be resisted by arms, and a recourse to a convention to re-organize and amend the government, held a consultation on this dilemma, whether it would be better for them to come over in a body and go with the tide of the times, or by a negative conduct suffer the election to be made by a bare majority, keeping their body entire & unbroken, to act in phalanx on such ground of opposition as circumstances shall offer; and I know their determination on this question only by their vote of yesterday. Morris of V withdrew, which made Lyon’s vote that of his State. The Maryland federalists put in 4. blanks, which made the positive ticket of their colleagues the vote of the State. S Carolina & Delaware put in 6. blanks. So there were 10. States for one candidate, 4. for another, & 2. blanks. We consider this, therefore, as a declaration of war, on the part of this band. But their conduct appears to have brought over to us the whole body of the Edition: current; Page: [183] federalists, who, being alarmed with the danger of a dissolution of the government, had been made most anxiously to wish the very administration they had opposed, & to view it when obtained, as a child of their own. They [illegible] too their quondam leaders separated fairly from them, and themselves relegated under other banners. Even Hamilton & Higginson have been partisans for us. This circumstance, with the unbounded confidence which will attach to the new ministry as soon as known, will start us on right ground. Mr. A. embarrasses us. He keeps the offices of State and War vacant, but has named Bayard M P to France, and has called an unorganized Senate to meet the fourth of March. As you do not like to be here on that day, I wish you would come within a day or two after. I think that between that & the middle of the month we can so far put things under way, as that we may go home to make arrangements for our final removal. Come to Conrad’s, where I will bespeak lodgings for you. Yesterday Mr. A. nominated Bayard to be M P of the U S to the French republic; to-day, Theophilus Parsons Atty Gen of the U S in the room of C. Lee, who, with Keith Taylor cum multis aliis, are appointed judges under the new system. H. G. Otis is nominated a district attorney. A vessel has been waiting for some time in readiness to carry the new minister to France. My affectionate salutations to Mrs. Madison & yourself. Adieu.

Edition: current; Page: [184]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 18, 1801
Washington
Lieutenant Henry Dearborn
Dearborn, Lieutenant Henry

to lieutenant henry dearborn

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—The House of Representatives having yesterday concluded their choice of a person for the chair of the U S and willed me that office, it now becomes necessary to provide an administration composed of persons whose qualifications and standing have possessed them of the public confidence, and whose wisdom may ensure to our fellow-citizens the advantages they sanguinely expect. On a review of the characters in the different States proper for the different departments, I have had no hesitation in considering you as the person to whom it would be most advantageous to the public to confide the Department of War. May I therefore hope, Sir, that you will give your country the aid of your talents as Secretary of War? The delay which has attended the election has very much abridged our time, and rendered the call more sudden and pressing than I could have wished. I am in hopes our administration may be assembled during the first week of March, except yourself, and that you can be with us in a few days after. Indeed it is probable we shall be but a few days together (perhaps to the middle of the month) to make some general & pressing arrangements, & then go home, for a short time, to make our final removal hither. I mention these circumstances that you may see the urgency of setting out for this place with the shortest delay possible, which may be the shorter as you can return again to your family, as we shall, to make your final arrangements for removal. I hope we shall not be Edition: current; Page: [185] disappointed in counting on your aid, and that you will favor us with an answer by return of post. Accept assurances of sincere esteem and high respect from, dear Sir, your most obedient, and most humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 19, 1801
Washington
Thomas Mann Randolph
Randolph, Thomas Mann

to thomas mann randolph

j. mss.

After exactly a week’s balloting there at length appeared 10. States for me, 4. for Burr, & 2. voted blanks. This was done without a single vote coming over. Morris of Vermont withdrew, so that Lyon’s vote became that of the State. The 4. Maryland federalists put in blanks, so that the vote of the 4. Republicans became that of their State. Mr. Huger of Sh Carolina (who had constantly voted for me) withdrew by agreement, his colleagues agreeing in that case to put in blanks. Bayard, the sole member of Delaware, voted blank. They had before deliberated whether they would come over in a body, when they saw they could not force Burr on the republicans, or keep their body entire & unbroken to act in phalanx on such ground of opposition as they shall hereafter be able to conjure up. Their vote shewed what they had decided on, and is considered as a declaration of perpetual war; but their conduct has completely left them without support. Our information from all quarters is that the whole body of federalists concurred with the republicans in the last elections, & with equal anxiety. They had been made to interest themselves so warmly for the very Edition: current; Page: [186] choice, which while before the people they opposed, that when obtained it came as a thing of their own wishes, and they find themselves embodied with the republicans, & their quondam leaders separated from them, and I verily believe they will remain embodied with us, so that this conduct of the minority has done in one week what very probably could hardly have been effected by years of mild and impartial administration. A letter from Mr. Eppes informs me that Maria is in a situation which induces them not to risk a journey to Monticello, so we shall not have the pleasure of meeting them here. I begin to hope I may be able to leave this place by the middle of March. My tenderest love to my ever dear Martha, and kisses to the little ones. Accept yourself sincere and affectionate salutation. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 20, 1801
Washington
Samuel Dexter
Dexter, Samuel

to the secretary of the treasury (samuel dexter.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—The liberality of the conversation you honored me with yesterday evening has given me great satisfaction, & demands my sincere thanks. It is certain that those of the Cabinet Council of the President should be of his bosom confidence. Our geographical position has been an impediment to that, while I can with candor declare that the imperfect opportunities I have had of acquaintance with you, have inspired an entire esteem for your character, and that you will carry with you that esteem and sincere wish to be useful to you. The Edition: current; Page: [187] accommodation you have been so kind as to offer as to the particular date of retiring from office, is thankfully accepted, and shall be the subject of a particular letter to you, as soon as circumstances shall enable me to speak with certainty. In the meantime accept assurances of my high respect & consideration.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 21, 1801
Washington
Benjamin Stoddert
Stoddert, Benjamin

to the secretary of the navy (benjamin stoddert.)

j. mss.

Sir,

—Your favor of the 18th did not get to my hand till yesterday. I thank you for the accommodation in point of time therein offered. Circumstances may render it a convenience; in which case I will avail myself of it, without too far encroaching on your wishes. At this instant it is not in my power to say anything certain on the subject of time. The declarations of support to the administration of our government are such as were to be expected from your character and attachment to our Constitution. I wish support from no quarter longer than my object candidly scanned, shall merit it; & especially, not longer than I shall rigorously adhere to the Constitution. I am with respect, Sir your most obedient humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 24, 1801
Washington
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to robert r. livingston

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—It has occurred to me that possibly you might be willing to undertake the mission as Edition: current; Page: [188] Minister Plenipotentiary to France. If so, I shall most gladly avail the public of your services in that office. Though I am sensible of the advantages derived from your talent to your particular State, yet I cannot suppress the desire of adding them to the mass to be employed on the broader scale of the nation at large. I will ask the favor of an immediate answer, that I may give in the nomination to the Senate, observing at the same time, that the period of your departure can’t be settled until we get our administration together, and may perhaps be delayed till we receive the ratification of the Senate, which would probably be 4. months; consequently, the commission would not be made out before then. This will give you ample time to make your departure convenient. In hopes of hearing from you as speedily as you can form your resolution, and hoping it will be favorable, I tender you my respectful and affectionate salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 25, 1801
Washington
Thomas Lomax
Lomax, Thomas

to thomas lomax

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 5th came to hand on the 20th, and I have but time to acknoledge it under the present pressure of business. I recognize in it those sentiments of virtue & patriotism which you have ever manifested. The suspension of public opinion from the 11th to the 17th, the alarm into which it threw all the patriotic part of the federalists, the danger of the dissolution of our Union, and unknown consequences of that, brought over the Edition: current; Page: [189] great body of them to wish with anxiety & solicitude for a choice to which they had before been strenuously opposed. In this state of mind they separated from their congressional leaders, and came over to us; and the manner in which the last ballot was given, has drawn a fixed line of separation between them and their leaders. When the election took effect, it was as the most desirable of events to them. This made it a thing of their choice, and finding themselves aggregated with us accordingly, they are in a state of mind to be consolidated with us, if no intemperate measures on our part revolt them again. I am persuaded that weeks of ill-judged conduct here, has strengthened us more than years of prudent and conciliatory administration could have done. If we can once more get social intercourse restored to it’s pristine harmony, I shall believe we have not lived in vain; and that it may, by rallying them to true republican principles, which few of them had thrown off, I sanguinely hope. Accept assurances of the high esteem & respect of, dear Sir, your friend and servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 28, 1801

speech to the senate

j. mss.

Gentlemen of the Senate:

To give the usual opportunity of appointing a President pro tempore I now propose to retire from the chair of the Senate; and as the time is near at hand, when the relations will cease which have for some time subsisted between this honorable house Edition: current; Page: [190] & myself, I beg leave, before I withdraw, to return them my grateful thanks for all the instances of attention & respect with which they have been pleased to honor me. In the discharge of my functions here, it has been my conscientious endeavor to observe impartial justice, without regard to persons or subjects: & if I have failed in impressing this on the mind of the Senate, it will be to me a circumstance of the deepest regret. I may have erred at times. No doubt I have erred. This is the law of human nature. For honest errors, however, indulgence may be hoped. I owe to truth & justice at the same time to declare that the habits of order and decorum, which so strongly characterize the proceedings of the Senate, have rendered the umpirage of their President an office of little difficulty; that in times & on questions which have severely tried the sensibilities of the House, calm & temperate discussion has rarely been disturbed by departures from order.

Should the support which I have received from the Senate, in the performance of my duties here, attend me into the new station to which the public will has transferred me, I shall consider it as commencing under the happiest auspices.

With these expressions of my dutiful regard to the Senate as a body, I ask leave to mingle my particular wishes for the health & happiness of the individuals who compose it, and to tender them my cordial and respectful adieux.

Edition: current; Page: [191] Edition: current; Page: [192] Edition: current; Page: [193]

CORRESPONDENCE and OFFICIAL PAPERS 1801–1803

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 4, 1801

inaugural address1

Friends & fellow citizens

Called upon to undertake the duties of the first Executive office of our country, I avail myself of the Edition: current; Page: [194] presence of that portion of my fellow citizens which is here assembled to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look towards me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, & that I approach it wth yos anxs & awfl presenttms, wch ye greatns of ye charge, & ye weakns of my powrs so justly inspire.

A rising nation spread over a wide & fruitful land, traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry, engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right, advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye; when I contemplate these transcendt objects, & see the honor, the happins, & the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue & the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation, & humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking.

Utterly indeed should I despair, did not the presence of many whom I here see, remind me, yt in the othr high authorties providd by our constñ, I shll find resources of wsdm, of virt. & of zeal, on wch to rely undr all difficulties.

To you then, gent. who are chargd with the sovern functions of legisn. & to those associated with you, I look wth encorgmt for yt guidce & supprt wch m enable us to steer wth safety, ye vessl in wch w’r all mbkd amdst ye conflctg elemts of a troubld sea.

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed, the animation of discussions and of exertions, has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely, & to speak & to write what they think.

Edition: current; Page: [195]

But this being now decided by the voice of the nation, enounced according to the rules of the constitution, all will of course arrange themselves under the will of the law, & unite in common efforts for the common good. All too wll bear in mind ys sacrd principle yt yo ye will of ye Majorty is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable: that the Minorty possess yr equal rights, wch equal laws must protect, & to violate would be oppression.

Let us then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart & one mind; let us restore to social intercourse that harmony & affection, without which Liberty, & even Life itself, are but dreary things.

And let us reflect that havg banishd frm our land yt religious intolce undr wch mankind so long bled & suffered we hve yet gaind little, if we countence a politicl intolrce, as despotc as wickd & capable of as bitter & bloody persecution.

During the throes and convulsions of the antient world, durg the agonisd spasms of infuriatd man, seeking through blood & slaughter his long lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant & peaceful shore: that ys shd be more felt & feard by some, & less by others, & shd divide opinions as to measures of safety.

But every difference of opinion, is not a difference of principle. We have called, by different names, brethren of the same principle. We are all republicans: we are all federalists.

If there be any among us who wish to dissolve this union, or to change its republican form, let them Edition: current; Page: [196] stand undisturbed, as monuments of the safety wth wch error of opinn m b toleratd whre reasn is left free to combat it.

I know indd yt some honest men hve feard yt a republican govmt cannt be strong; yt this govmt is not strong enough. But wd the honest patriot, in the full tide of successfl experiment abandon a govmt wch hs so far kept us free & firm on ye theoretic & visionary fear yt ys govmt, the world’s best hope m, by possibilty, want energy to preserve itself?

I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest government on earth.

I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law; would meet invasions of public order, as his own personal concern.

Some times it is said yt Man cannt be trustd wth ye govmt of himself.—Can he yn be trustd wth ye govmt of others? Or have we found angels in ye form of kings to govern him?—Let History answr this question.

Let us yn pursue wth courge & confidce our own federl & republ princ. our attamt to Union and Representative govmt.

Kindly separated by nature, & a wide ocean, from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe,

Too high-minded to endure the degradations of the others;

Possessing a chosen country, with room enough for all descendts to the 1,000th & 1,000th generation;

Entertaining a due sense of our equal right, to ye use of our own faculties, to ye acqusitns of our Edition: current; Page: [197] own industry, to honr & confidce frm our fel. cit. resultg nt from birth, but frm our actions & their sense of them, enlightnd by a benign religion, professd indeed & practiced in various forms, yet all of ym inculcatg honesty, truth, temperce gratitude, & the love of man, acknolegg & adoring an overruling providence, which by all it’s dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here, & his greater happiness hereafter:

With all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fel. cit. a wise & frugl govmt, wch shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry & improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.

This is the sum of good govmt, & this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.

About to enter fel. cit. on the exercise of duties, which comprehend everything dear & valuable to you, it is proper you should understand what I deem the essential principle of this govmt and consequently those which ought to shape it’s administration.

I will compress them in ye narrowst compass y wll bear, statg the genl principle, but not all it’s limitations.

Equal & exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political:

Peace, commerce, & honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none:

The support of the State govmts in all their Edition: current; Page: [198] rights, as ye most competent admns for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti republican tendencies:

The preservn of the Genl govmt, in it’s whole constnal vigor, as ye sheet anchor of our peace at home, & safety abroad.

A jealous care of the right of election by the people, a mild & safe corrective of abuses, wch r loppd by ye sword of revoln, where peaceable remedies are unprovided.

Absolute acquiescence in ye decisns of ye Majorty ye vitl princip. of republics, frm wch is no appeal bt to force, ye vitl princip. & mmedte part of despotism.

A well discipld militia, our best reliance in peace, & for ye first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them: The Supremacy of the Civil over the Military authority:

Economy in public expense, that labor may be lightly burthened:

The honest paiment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith:

Encouragement of Agriculture, & of Commerce as it’s handmaid:

The diffusion of information, & arraignmt of all abuses at the bar of the public reason:

Freedom of Religion, freedom of the press, & freedom of Person under the protection of the Hab. corpus: And trial by juries, impartially selected.

These Principles form ye bright constelln wch hs gone before us, & guidd our steps, thro’ an age of Revoln and Reformn: The wisdom of our Sages, & blood of our Heroes, have been devoted to their Edition: current; Page: [199] attainment: they should be the Creed of our political faith, the Text of civic instruction, the Touchstone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them, in moments of error or alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps and to regain the road which alone leads to Peace, Liberty & Safety.

I repair then, fellow citizens to the post which you have assigned me.

With experience enough in subordinate stations to know the difficulties of this the greatest of all, I have learnt to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man to retire from this station with the reputation & the favor which bring him into it.

Without pretensions to that high confidce you reposed in our first & greatest revolutiony character whose preeminent services had entitled him to the first place in his country’s love, and had destined for him the fairest page in the volume of faithful history, I ask so much confidence only as may give firmness & effect to the legal admn of your affairs.

I shall often go wrong thro’ defect of judgment: when right, I shall often be thought wrong by yos whse positns wll nt command a view of the whole ground.

I ask your indulgence for my own errors, which will never be intentional: & your support agnst the errors of others who may condemn wt they wd nt if seen in all it’s parts.

The approbation implied by your suffrage, is a great consolation to me for the past; and my future solicitude will be to retain the good opinion of yos Edition: current; Page: [200] who hve bestowed it in advance, to conciliate that of others, by doing them all the good in my power, and to be instrumental to the happiness & freedom of all.

Relying then on the patronage of your good will, I advance with obedience to the work, ready to retire frm it whenevr you become sensible how mch better choice it is in your power to make.

And may that infinite power which rules the destinies of the universe lead our councils to what is best, and give ym a favorable issue for your peace & prosperity.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 6, 1801
Washington
Charles Pinckney
Pinckney, Charles

to charles pinckney

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of yesterday is just now put into my hands. It is so far from being improper to receive the communications you had in contemplation as to arrangements in your state, that I have been in the constant expectation you would find time to do me the favor of calling and making them, when we could in conversation explain them better than by writing, and I should with frankness & thankfulness enter into the explanations. The most valuable source of information we have is that of the members of the legislature, and it is one to which I have resorted & shall resort with great freedom. I expect Mr. Madison daily, and shall with pleasure join in conferences with yourself & him. But this ought not to prevent previous conversations between us. If you can be contented with a bad tavern dinner, I should be happy if you would come and dine Edition: current; Page: [201] with our mess to-morrow, if convenient to you, or the next day, and if you could come half an hour before dinner, I would be alone that we might have some conversation; say at half after two. Or if this should not suit you any other time will be acceptable to me, but that I might be absent or engaged. Accept assurances of sincere esteem and respect from &c.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 6, 1801
Washington
John Dickinson
Dickinson, John

to john dickinson

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—No pleasure can exceed that which I received from reading your letter of the 21st ult. It was like the joy we expect in the mansions of the blessed, when received with the embraces of our fathers, we shall be welcomed with their blessing as having done our part not unworthily of them. The storm through which we have passed, has been tremendous indeed. The tough sides of our Argosie have been thoroughly tried. Her strength has stood the waves into which she was steered, with a view to sink her. We shall put her on her republican tack, & she will now show by the beauty of her motion the skill of her builders. Figure apart, our fellow citizens have been led hood-winked from their principles, by a most extraordinary combination of circumstances. But the band is removed, and they now see for themselves. I hope to see shortly a perfect consolidation, to effect which, nothing shall be spared on my part, short of the abandonment of the principles of our revolution. A just and solid Edition: current; Page: [202] republican government maintained here, will be a standing monument & example for the aim & imitation of the people of other countries; and I join with you in the hope and belief that they will see, from our example, that a free government is of all others the most energetic; that the inquiry which has been excited among the mass of mankind by our revolution & it’s consequences, will ameliorate the condition of man over a great portion of the globe. What a satisfaction have we in the contemplation of the benevolent effects of our efforts, compared with those of the leaders on the other side, who have discountenanced all advances in science as dangerous innovations, have endeavored to render philosophy and republicanism terms of reproach, to persuade us that man cannot be governed but by the rod, &c. I shall have the happiness of living & dying in the contrary hope. Accept assurances of my constant and sincere respect and attachment, and my affectionate salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb 7, 1801
Washington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I had written the enclosed letter to Mrs. Trist, and was just proceeding to begin one to you, when your favor of the 6th was put into my hands. I thank you sincerely for it, and consider the views of it so sound, that I have communicated it to my coadjutors as one of our important evidences of the public sentiment, according to which we must shape our course. I suspect, partly from this, but Edition: current; Page: [203] more from a letter of J. Taylor’s which had been put into my hands, that an incorrect idea of my views had got abroad. I am in hopes my inaugural address will in some measure set this to rights, as it will present the leading objects to be conciliation and adherence to sound principle. This I know is impracticable with the leaders of the late faction, whom I abandon as incurables, & will never turn an inch out of my way to reconcile them. But with the main body of the federalists, I believe it very practicable. You know that the manœuvres of the year X. Y. Z. carried over from us a great body of the people, real republicans, & honest men under virtuous motives. The delusion lasted a while. At length the poor arts of tub plots, &c. were repeated till the designs of the party became suspected. From that moment those who had left us began to come back. It was by their return to us that we gained the victory in Nov, 1800, which we should not have gained in Nov, 1799. But during the suspension of the public mind from the 11th to the 17th of Feb, and the anxiety & alarm lest there should be no election, & anarchy ensue, a wonderful effect was produced on the mass of federalists who had not before come over. Those who had before become sensible of their error in the former change, & only wanted a decent excuse for coming back, seized that occasion for doing so. Another body, and a large one it is, who from timidity of constitution had gone with those who wished for a strong executive, were induced by the same timidity to come over to us rather than risk anarchy: so that, according to the Edition: current; Page: [204] evidence we receive from every direction, we may say that the whole of that portion of the people which were called federalists, were made to desire anxiously the very event they had just before opposed with all their energies, and to receive the election which was made, as an object of their earnest wishes, a child of their own. These people (I always exclude their leaders) are now aggregated with us, they look with a certain degree of affection and confidence to the administration, ready to become attached to it, if it avoids in the outset acts which might revolt and throw them off. To give time for a perfect consolidation seems prudent. I have firmly refused to follow the counsels of those who have advised the giving offices to some of their leaders, in order to reconcile. I have given, and will give only to republicans, under existing circumstances. But I believe with others, that deprivations of office, if made on the ground of political principles alone, would revolt our new converts, and give a body to leaders who now stand alone. Some, I know, must be made. They must be as few as possible, done gradually, and bottomed on some malversation or inherent disqualification. Where we shall draw the line between retaining all & none, is not yet settled, and will not be till we get our administration together; and perhaps even then, we shall proceed à talons, balancing our measures according to the impression we perceive them to make.

This may give you a general view of our plan. Should you be in Albemarle the first week in April, I shall have the pleasure of seeing you there, and of Edition: current; Page: [205] developing things more particularly, and of profiting by an intercommunication of views. Dawson sails for France about the fifteenth, as the bearer only of the treaty to Elsworth & Murray. He has probably asked your commands, and your introductory letters.

Present my respects to Mrs. Monroe, and accept assurances of my high and affectionate consideration and attachment.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 8, 1801
Washington
Horatio Gates
Gates, Horatio

to horatio gates1

Dear General,

—I have to acknowledge your friendly letter of Feb. 9 as well as a former one. Before that came to hand an arrangement had been settled; and in our country you know, talents alone are not to be the determining circumstance, but a geographical equilibrium is to a certain degree expected. The different parts in the union expect to share the public appointments. The character you point out was known to me & valued of old. On the whole I hope we shall make up an administration which will unite a great mass of confidence, and bid defiance to the plans of opposition meditated by leaders who are now almost destitute of followers. If we can hit on the true line of conduct which may conciliate the honest part of those who were called federalists, & do justice to those who have so long been excluded from it, I shall hope to be able to obliterate, or rather to unite the names of federalists Edition: current; Page: [206] & republicans. The way to effect it is to preserve principle, but to treat tenderly those who have been estranged from us, & dispose their minds to view our proceedings with candour. This will end in approbation.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 9, 1801
Washington
Thomas M’Kean
M’Kean, Thomas

to thomas m’kean

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have to acknolege the receipt of your favor of Feb. 20, and to thank you for your congratulations on the event of the election. Had it terminated in the elevation of Mr. Burr, every republican would, I am sure, have acquiesced in a moment; because, however it might have been variant from the intentions of the voters, yet it would have been agreeable to the Constitution. No man would more cheerfully have submitted than myself, because I am sure the administration would have been republican, and the chair of the Senate permitting me to be at home 8. months in the year, would, on that account, have been much more consonant to my real satisfaction. But in the event of an usurpation, I was decidedly with those who were determined not to permit it. Because that precedent once set, would be artificially reproduced, and end soon in a dictator. Virginia was bristling up I believe. I shall know the particulars from Gov. Monroe, whom I expect to meet in a short visit I must make home, to select some books, &c. necessary here, & make other domestic arrangements.

I am sorry you committed to the flames the communication Edition: current; Page: [207] of details you mention to have been preparing for me. They would have been highly acceptable, and would now be very encouraging, if [?] shouldered on two such massive columns as Pena. & Virga., nothing is to be feared. If it were not too troublesome I would still [faded] the communication at some leisure moment. I am sorry to see the germ of [rest of letter missing].

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 9, 1801
Washington
Samuel Smith
Smith, Samuel

to samuel smith

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—By the time you receive this, you will have been at home long enough I hope to take a view of the possibilities, and of the arrangements which may enable you so to dispose of your private affairs, as to take a share in those of the public, and give your aid as Secretary of the Navy. If you can be added to the administration I am forming it will constitute a magistracy entirely possessed of the public confidence, that I shall [faded]. There is nothing to which a nation is not equal when it pours all its energies & zeal into the hands of those to whom they confide the direction of their force. You will bring us the benefit of adding in a considerable degree the acquiescence at least of the leaders who have hitherto opposed. Your geographical situation too is peculiarly advantageous, and will favor the policy of drawing our naval resources towards the states from which their benefits and production may be extended equally to all parts. But what renders Edition: current; Page: [208] it a matter not only of desire to us, but permit me to say, of moral duty in you, is that if you refuse where are we to find a substitute? You know that the knowledge of naval matters in this country is confined entirely to persons who are under other absolutely disqualifying circumstances. Let me then, dear sir, entreat you to join in conducting the affairs of our country, and to prove by consequences that the views they entertain in the change of their servants are not to be without effect. In short if you refuse I must abandon from necessity, what I have been so falsely charged with doing from choice, the expectation of procuring to our country such benefits as may compensate the expenses of their navy. I hope therefore you will accede to the proposition. Everything shall be yielded which may accommodate it to your affairs. Let me hear from you favorably & soon. Accept assurances of my high & friendly consideration and esteem.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 12, 1801
Washington
James Madison
Madison, James

to the secretary of state (james madison.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I offer you my sincere condolences on the melancholy loss which has detained you at home: and am entirely sensible of the necessities it will have imposed on you for further delay. Mr. Lincoln has undertaken the duties of your office per interim, and will continue till you can come. General Dearborn is in the War Department. Mr. Gallatin, though Edition: current; Page: [209] unappointed, has stayed till now to give us the benefit of his counsel. He cannot enter into office till my return, and he leaves us tomorrow. In the meantime Dexter continues. Stoddart also accommodated me by staying till I could provide a successor. This I find next to impossible. R. R. L. first refused. Then Genl. Smith refused. Next Langdon. I am now returning on Genl. Smith, but with little confidence of success. If he will undertake 6. months or even 12. months hence I will appoint Lear in the meantime. He promised, if Langdon would take it for six months, he would in that time so dispose of his business as to come in. This makes me hope he may now accept in that way. If he does not, there is no remedy but to appoint Lear permanently. He is equal to the office if he possessed equally the confidence of the public. What a misfortune to the public that R. Morris has fallen from his height of character. If he could get from confinement, and the public give him confidence, he would be a most valuable officer in that station & in our council. But these are two impossibilities in the way. I have ordered my chair and horses to meet me at Heron’s on the 22d inst. not that I count on being there punctually on that day, but as near it as I can. I shall be at home a fortnight. I hope you will find it convenient to come on when I do or very soon after. Doctor Thornton means to propose to rent his house to you. It will be some two or three hundred yards distant from your office, but also that much nearer towards the Capitol. We shall have an agreeable society here, and not too much of it. Present my Edition: current; Page: [210] esteem to Mrs. Madison and accept yourself assurances of my constant and sincere attachment.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 17, 1801
Washington
Phillip Mazzei
Mazzei, Phillip

to phillip mazzei

j. mss.

My Dear Sir,

—Your letter of Dec. 6. is just received, and a person leaving this place tomorrow morning for Paris, gives me a safe conveyance for this letter to that place. I shall depend on Mr. Short’s finding a conveyance from thence. Yet as I know not what that conveyance may be, I shall hazard nothing but small and familiar matters. My health, which wore a very threatening aspect at the date of the letter alluded to in yours, became soon reestablished and has been very perfect ever since. My only fear now is that I may live too long. This would be a subject of dread to me. It is customary here to “wish joy” to a new married couple, and this is generally done by those present in the moment after the ceremony. A friend of mine however always delayed the wish of joy till one year after the ceremony, because he observed they had by that time need of it. I am entitled fully then to express the wish to you as you must now have been married at least three years. I have no doubt however that you have found real joy in the possession of a good wife, and the endearments of a child. The vetches you were so good as to send by Baltimore came safely to hand; and being by that time withdrawn from my farm into public life again, I consigned them to a Edition: current; Page: [211] friend. The seeds which I sent you were of the Cymbling (cucurbita vermeosa) & squash (cucurbita melopipo) the latter grows with erect stems; the former trails on the ground altogether. The squash is the best tasted. But if you will plant the cymbling and pumpkin near together, you will produce the perfect equivalent of the squash, and I am persuaded the squash was originally so produced and that it is a hybridal plant. I perceive by these inquiries in your letter as well as by your express mention, that my latter letters have not reached you. I have regularly written to you once a year, and in one of these I answered these same inquiries fully. Should you be able to send me any plants of good fruit, and especially of peaches and eating grapes, they will be thankfully received and will be forwarded to me from any custom house of the United States. They should leave your continent as early in autumn as they can be taken up. You mention that E. Randolph expected to recover from Alexander the value of certificates left in the hands of Webb. Webb, Alexander & E. R. are all bankrupt, the first dead. That is desperate therefore; nor do I know of any thing unsettled of yours in this country, from which anything is to be expected but the price of Colle and Anderson’s bill. I think I shall be able finally to settle the affair of Colle on my return home, and to remit the amount of both to our friends V. Staphorsts. I meant to have solicited his amount for Derieux and his wife, who are reduced to the most abject poverty. They have 8. or 10. children, who often need the first necessaries of life. He is living on a small farm in Edition: current; Page: [212] one of the western counties, which some of us joined in buying a lease of for 20. years, and a horse &c. to stock it. He had before exhausted us in the article of contributions, so that this was the last he could expect. How far the change in your own situation renders this aid reasonably to be expected, is now questionable. You will have time to say yourself. Both the James Madisons, to wit, of Williamsbg and of Orange are living and well. The latter is now Secretary of State, but not yet come on. His father [faded]. He with Gallatin as Secretary of the Treasury, Genl. Dearborn, Secretary at War and Mr. Lincoln Attorney Genl compose the new administration of the U. S. The person proposed as Secretary of the Navy has not yet accepted. I add no signature because of the perils by land and sea to which this may be exposed, but you can be at no loss from whom it comes. I shall be happy to hear from you often. Accept assurances of my constant & affectionate friendship. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 18, 1801
Washington
Thomas Paine
Paine, Thomas

to thomas paine1

Dear Sir,

—Your letters of Oct. 1st, 4th, 6th 16th, came duly to hand, and the papers which they covered were according to your permission, published in the newspapers and in a pamphlet, and under your own name. These papers contain precisely our principles, and I hope they will be generally recognized here. Determined as we are to avoid, if possible, wasting Edition: current; Page: [213] the energies of our people in war and destruction, we shall avoid implicating ourselves with the powers of Europe, even in support of principles which we mean to pursue. They have so many other interests different from ours that we must avoid being entangled in them.—We believe that we can enforce those principles as to ourselves by peaceful means, now that we are likely to have our public councils detached from foreign views. The return of our citizens from the phrenzy into which they have been wrought, partly by ill conduct in France, partly by artifices practised upon them, is almost extinct, and will, I believe become quite so. But these details, too minute and long for a letter, will be better developed by Mr. Dawson the bearer of this a member of the late congress, to whom I refer you for them. He goes in the Maryland sloop of war, which will wait a few days at Harve to receive his letters to be written on his arrival at Paris. You expressed a wish to get a passage to this country in a public vessel. Mr. Dawson is charged with orders to the captain of the Maryland to receive and accommodate you back if you can be ready to depart at such short warning. Rob. R. Livingston is appointed minister plenipotentiary to the republic of France, but will not leave this, till we receive the ratification of the convention by Mr. Dawson. I am in hopes you will find us returned generally to sentiments worthy of former times. In these it will be your glory to have steadily laboured and with as much effect as any man living. That you may long live to continue your useful labours and to reap the reward in the thankfulness of nations is my Edition: current; Page: [214] sincere prayer. Accept assurance of my high esteem and affectionate attachment.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar 20, 1801
Washington
Joseph Mathias Gérard de Rayneval
Rayneval, Joseph Mathias Gérard de

to joseph mathias gérard de rayneval

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Mr. Pichon, who arrived two days ago, delivered me your favor of Jan 1, and I had before received one by Mr. Dupont, dated Aug 24, 99, both on the subject of lands, claimed on behalf of your brother, Mr. Gerard, and that of Aug 24, containing a statement of the case. I had verbally explained to Mr. Dupont, at the time, what I presumed to have been the case, which must, I believe, be very much mistaken in the statement sent with that letter; and I expected he had communicated it to you.

During the regal government, two companies, called the Loyal & the Ohio companies, had obtained grants from the crown for 800,000, or 1,000,000 of acres of land, each, on the Ohio, on condition of settling them in a given number of years. They surveyed some, & settled them; but the war of 1755 came on, & broke up the settlements. After it was over, they petitioned for a renewal. Four other large companies then formed themselves, called the Mississippi, the Illinois, the Wabash, & the Indiana companies, each praying for immense quantities of land, some amounting to 200 miles square; so that they proposed to cover the whole country north between the Ohio & Mississippi, & a great portion of what is south. All these petitions were depending, without any answer whatever from the crown, when Edition: current; Page: [215] the Revolution war broke out. The petitioners had associated to themselves some of the nobility of England, & most of the characters in America of great influence. When Congress assumed the government, they took some of their body in as partners, to obtain their influence; and I remembered to have heard, at the time, that one of them took Mr. Gerard as a partner, expecting by that to obtain the influence of the French court, to obtain grants of those lands which they had not been able to obtain from the British government. All these lands were within the limits of Virginia and that State determined, peremptorily, that they never should be granted to large companies, but left open equally to all; and when they passed their land law, (which I think was in 1778,) they confirmed only so much of the lands of the Loyal company as they had actually surveyed, which was a very small proportion, and annulled every other pretension. And when that State conveyed the lands to Congress, (which was not till 1784,) so determined were they to prevent their being granted to these or any other large companies, that they made it an express condition of the cession, that they should be applied first towards the soldiers’ bounties, and the residue sold for the paiment of the national debt and for no other purpose. This disposition has been, accordingly, rigorously made, and is still going on; and Congress considers itself as having no authority to dispose of them otherwise.

I will particularly note the errors in the statement of Aug 99. It says the Congress granted to the Wabash company the lands on that river dividing Edition: current; Page: [216] them into 82 lots. Congress never meddled with them (much less granted them) till after the cession of Virginia. The company consisted perhaps of 80. persons, and of course the lands if they had been obtained, would have been divided into so many lots. It says “again made this grant direct as a proof of their esteem &c.” Mr. Gerard left this country in 1779. The cession of lands by Virginia to Congress was not till 1784. It says that this intention of Congress was submitted to Lewis XVI. who [faded] his minister to accept it. I believe the fact was that when the Wabash company proposed to associate Mr. Gerard as a partner, he thought it necessary first to ask leave from his sovereign who gave his assent. But in all this transaction Congress had nothing to do & meddled not.

I sincerely wish, Sir, it had been in my power to have given you a more agreeable account of this claim. But as the case actually is, the most substantial service is to state it exactly, and not to foster false expectations. I remember with great sensibility all the attentions you were so good as to render me while I resided in Paris, and shall be made happy by every occasion which can be given me of acknowledging them; and the expressions of your friendly recollection are particularly soothing to me.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar 21, 1801
Washington
Doctor Joseph Priestley
Priestley, Doctor Joseph

to doctor joseph priestley

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I learnt some time ago that you were in Philadelphia, but that it was only for a fortnight; Edition: current; Page: [217] & supposed you were gone. It was not till yesterday I received information that you were still there, had been very ill, but were on the recovery. I sincerely rejoice that you are so. Yours is one of the few lives precious to mankind, & for the continuance of which every thinking man is solicitous. Bigots may be an exception. What an effort, my dear Sir, of bigotry in Politics & Religion have we gone through! The barbarians really flattered themselves they should be able to bring back the times of Vandalism, when ignorance put everything into the hands of power & priestcraft. All advances in science were proscribed as innovations. They pretended to praise and encourage education, but it was to be the education of our ancestors. We were to look backwards, not forwards, for improvement; the President himself declaring, in one of his answers to addresses, that we were never to expect to go beyond them in real science. This was the real ground of all the attacks on you. Those who live by mystery & charlatanerie, fearing you would render them useless by simplifying the Christian philosophy,—the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever shone on man,—endeavored to crush your well-earnt & well-deserved fame. But it was the Lilliputians upon Gulliver. Our countrymen have recovered from the alarm into which art & industry had thrown them; science & honesty are replaced on their high ground; and you, my dear Sir, as their great apostle, are on it’s pinnacle. It is with heartfelt satisfaction that, in the first moments of my public action, I can hail you with welcome to our land, tender to Edition: current; Page: [218] you the homage of it’s respect & esteem, cover you under the protection of those laws which were made for the wise and good like you, and disdain the legitimacy of that libel on legislation, which, under the form of a law, was for some time placed among them.1

As the storm is now subsiding, and the horizon becoming serene, it is pleasant to consider the phenomenon with attention. We can no longer say there is nothing new under the sun. For this whole chapter in the history of man is new. The great extent of our Republic is new. Its sparse habitation is new. The mighty wave of public opinion which has rolled over it is new. But the most pleasing novelty is, it’s so quickly subsiding over such an extent of surface to it’s true level again. The order & good sense displayed in this recovery from delusion, and in the momentous crisis which lately arose, really bespeak a strength of character in our nation which augurs well for the duration of our Republic; & I am much better satisfied now of it’s stability than I was before it was tried. I have been, above all things, solaced by the prospect which opened on us, in the event of a non-election of a President; in which case, the federal government would have been in the situation of a clock or watch run down. There was no idea of force, nor of any occasion for it. A convention, invited by the Republican members of Congress, with the virtual President & Vice President, would have been on the ground in 8. weeks, would have repaired the Constitution where it was Edition: current; Page: [219] defective, & wound it up again. This peaceable & legitimate resource, to which we are in the habit of implicit obedience, superseding all appeal to force, and being always within our reach, shows a precious principle of self-preservation in our composition, till a change of circumstances shall take place, which is not within prospect at any definite period.

But I have got into a long disquisition on politics, when I only meant to express my sympathy in the state of your health, and to tender you all the affections of public & private hospitality. I should be very happy indeed to see you here. I leave this about the 30th inst., to return about the twenty-fifth of April. If you do not leave Philadelphia before that, a little excursion hither would help your health. I should be much gratified with the possession of a guest I so much esteem, and should claim a right to lodge you, should you make such an excursion.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 21, 1801
Washington
Doctor George Logan
Doctor Logan, George

to doctor george logan

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—An immense press of business has prevented me sooner acknowleging your favors of Feb. 20. and 27. I join you in congratulations on the return of republican ascendancy; and also in a sense of the necessity of restoring freedom to the ocean. But I doubt, with you, whether the U. S. ought to join in an armed confederacy for that purpose; or rather I am satisfied they ought not. It ought to Edition: current; Page: [220] be the very first object of our pursuits to have nothing to do with the European interests and politics. Let them be free or slaves at will, navigators or agricultural, swallowed into one government or divided into a thousand, we have nothing to fear from them in any form. If therefore to take a part in their conflicts would be to divert our energies from creation to destruction. Our commerce is so valuable to them that they will be glad to purchase it when the only price we ask is to do us justice. I believe we have in our own hands the means of peaceable coercion; and that the moment they see our government so united as that they can make use of it, they will for their own interest be disposed to do us justice. In this way you shall not be obliged by any treaty of confederation to go to war for injuries done to others.

I will pray you to make my affectionate respects acceptable to Mrs. Logan and to receive yourself assurances of my constant esteem & attachment.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar 22, 1801
Washington
Nathaniel Niles
Niles, Nathaniel

to nathaniel niles

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Feb 12, which did not get to my hands till Mar 2, is entitled to my acknowledgments. It was the more agreeable as it proved that the esteem I had entertained for you while we were acting together on the public stage, had not been without reciprocated effect. What wonderful scenes have passed since that time! The late chapter Edition: current; Page: [221] of our history furnishes a lesson to man perfectly new. The times have been awful, but they have proved an useful truth, that the good citizen must never despair of the commonwealth. How many good men abandoned the deck, & gave up the vessel as lost. It furnishes a new proof of the falsehood of Montesquieu’s doctrine, that a republic can be preserved only in a small territory. The reverse is the truth. Had our territory been even a third only of what it is, we were gone. But while frenzy & delusion like an epidemic, gained certain parts, the residue remained sound & untouched, and held on till their brethren could recover from the temporary delusion; and that circumstance has given me great comfort. There was general alarm during the pending of the election in Congress, lest no President should be chosen, the government be dissolved and anarchy ensue. But the cool determination of the really patriotic to call a convention in that case, which might be on the ground in 8. weeks, and wind up the machine again which had only run down, pointed out to my mind a perpetual & peaceable resource against [faded] force (?) [faded] in whatever extremity might befall us; and I am certain a convention would have commanded immediate and universal obedience. How happy that our army had been disbanded! What might have happened otherwise seems rather a subject of reflection than explanation. You have seen your recommendation of Mr. Willard duly respected. As to yourself, I hope we shall see you again in Congress. Accept assurances of my high respect and attachment.

Edition: current; Page: [222]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 23, 1801
Washington
William B. Giles
Giles, William B.

to william b. giles

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I received two days ago your favor of the 16th, and thank you for your kind felicitations on my election; but whether it will be a subject of felicitation, permanently, will be for the chapters of future history to say. The important subjects of the government I meet with some degree of courage and confidence, because I do believe the talents to be associated with me, the honest line of conduct we will religiously pursue at home and abroad, and the confidence of my fellow citizens dawning on us, will be equal to these objects.

But there is another branch of duty which I must meet with courage too, though I cannot without pain; that is, the appointments & disappointments as to offices. Madison & Gallatin being still absent, we have not yet decided on our rules of conduct as to these. That some ought to be removed from office, & that all ought not, all mankind will agree. But where to draw the line, perhaps no two will agree. Consequently, nothing like a general approbation on this subject can be looked for. Some principles have been the subject of conversation, but not of determination; e. g., 1, all appointments to civil offices during pleasure, made after the event of the election was certainly known to Mr. A, are considered as nullities. I do not view the persons appointed as even candidates for the office, but make others without noticing or notifying them. Mr. A’s best friends have agreed this is right. 2. Officers who have been guilty of official malconduct are proper Edition: current; Page: [223] subjects of removal. 3. Good men, to whom there is no objection but a difference of political principle, practised on only as far as the right of a private citizen will justify, are not proper subjects of removal, except in the case of attorneys & marshals. The courts being so decidedly federal & irremovable, it is believed that republican attorneys & marshals, being the doors of entrance into the courts, are indispensably necessary as a shield to the republican part of our fellow citizens, which, I believe, is the main body of the people.

These principles are yet to be considered of, and I sketch them to you in confidence. Not that there is objection to your mooting them as subjects of conversation, and as proceeding from yourself, but not as matters of executive determination. Nay, farther, I will thank you for your own sentiments and those of others on them. If received before the 20th of April, they will be in time for our deliberation on the subject. You know that it was in the year X. Y. Z. that so great a transition from us to the other side took place, & with as real republicans as we were ourselves; that these, after getting over that delusion, have been returning to us, and that it is to that return we owe a triumph in 1800, which in 1799 would have been the other way. The week’s suspension of the election before Congress, seems almost to have completed that business, and to have brought over nearly the whole remaining mass. They now find themselves with us, & separated from their quondam leaders. If we can but avoid shocking their feelings by unnecessary acts of severity Edition: current; Page: [224] against their late friends, they will in a little time cement & form one mass with us, & by these means harmony & union be restored to our country, which would be the greatest good we could effect. It was a conviction that these people did not differ from us in principle, which induced me to define the principles which I deemed orthodox, & to urge a reunion on those principles; and I am induced to hope it has conciliated many. I do not speak of the desperadoes of the quondam faction in & out of Congress. These I consider as incurables, on whom all attentions would be lost, & therefore will not be wasted. But my wish is, to keep their flock from returning to them.

On the subject of the marshal of Virginia, I refer you confidentially to Majr Egglestone for information. I leave this about this day se’nnight, to make some arrangements at home preparatory to my final removal to this place, from which I shall be absent about three weeks.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 24, 1801
Washington
William Findley
Findley, William

to william findley

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of Feb. 28 & Mar. 5. I thank you for the information they contain, and will always be thankful to you for information in the same line. It will always be interesting to me to know the impression made by any particular thing on the public mind. My idea is that where two measures are equally right, it is a duty to the people to adopt that Edition: current; Page: [225] one which is most agreeable to them; and where a measure not agreeable to them has been adopted, it is desirable to know it, because it is an admonition to a review of that measure to see if it has been really right, and to correct it if mistaken. It is rare that the public sentiment decides immorally or unwisely, and the individual who differs from it ought to distrust and examine well his own opinion. As to the character of the appointments which have been, & will be made, I have less fear as to the satisfaction they will give, provided the real appointments only be attended to, and not the lying ones of which the papers are daily full. The paper which probably will be correct in that article will be Smith’s, who is at hand to get his information from the offices. But as to removals from office, great differences of opinion exist. That some ought to be removed all will agree. That all should, nobody will say: And no two will probably draw the same line between these two extremes; consequently nothing like general approbation can be expected. Malconduct is a just ground of removal: mere difference of political opinion is not. The temper of some states requires a stronger procedure, that of others would be more alienated even by a milder course. Taking into consideration all circumstances we can only do in every case what to us seems best, and trust to the indulgence of our fellow-citizens who may see the same matter in a different point of view. The nominations crowded in by Mr. Adams after he knew he was not appointing for himself, I treat as mere nullities. His best friends do not disapprove of this. Time, Edition: current; Page: [226] prudence and patience will perhaps get us over this whole difficulty. Accept assurances of my high esteem & best wishes; & let me hear from you frequently, tho’ it will be impossible for me to reciprocate frequently.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 24, 1801
Washington
Samuel Smith
Smith, Samuel

to samuel smith

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 20th. The appointment of Secy. of the Navy, was immediately in receipt of your letter declining it, proposed to Mr. Jones of Philadelphia. I cannot have an answer from him till the night of the 26th. But I have great reason to expect a negative. In that case I will gladly for the public accept your offer to undertake it for a time. Besides that it will comprehend important questions to be immediately carried into effect; it will give us time to look for a successor. I mention it now in hopes that in the moment you receive notice from me of Mr. Jones’ refusal, if it takes place, you may be so good as to be in readiness to come here for a few days. If I receive Jones’ refusal on Thursday night you shall hear from me Friday night, & may be here I hope yourself on Saturday night. Sunday & Monday will probably suffice for the first decisions necessary, so that I may get away on Tuesday, which now becomes very urgent.

I inclose you the answer to the address you forwarded me. Though the expressions of good will from my fellow-citizens cannot but be grateful to Edition: current; Page: [227] me, yet I would rather relinquish the gratification, and see republican self-respect prevail over movements of the heart too capable of misleading the person to whom they are addressed. However, their will, not mine, be done.

Mr. Kelty is appointed judge in the room of Mr. Duval. Mr. Nicholas’s being a Virginian is a bar. It is essential that I be on my guard in appointing persons from that state. I sincerely wish Genl. Wilkinson could be appointed as you propose. But besides the objection from principle that no military commander should be so placed as to have no civil superior, his residence at the Natchez is entirely inconsistent with his superintendence of the military posts. This would then devolve on Hamtranck, who is represented as unequal to it. We must help Wilkinson in some other way. Be pleased to present my respects to Mrs. Smith & to accept yourself assurances of my high consideration & esteem.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 24, 1801
Washington
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to robert r. livingston

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 12th is just now at hand. With respect to the time of your departure it will depend on the return of Mr. Dawson with the ratification of the Convention. We may expect this in 4. months: so that you may have time enough to prepare for your departure soon after his arrival. We shall join with you a Secretary of Legation, to guard against any accident happening to yourself: Edition: current; Page: [228] and as we consider it advantageous to the public to make these apprenticeships to prepare subjects for principal duties hereafter, such a character has been sought out as will form a proper subject of future expectation. The elder son of General Sumpter from his rank in life & fortune, from an extraordinary degree of sound understanding & discretion, and the amiability of his temper & gentlemanly manners, has attracted our attention; it is proposed therefore to give him a commission of Secretary of Legation to accompany you, but it is not known that he will accept.1 If he does, he will probably meet you there, Edition: current; Page: [229] or more likely precede you. Accept assurances of my constant esteem, & high consideration & respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 24, 1801
Washington
Doctor Benjamin Rush
Rush, Doctor Benjamin

to doctor benjamin rush

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have to acknolege the receipt of your friendly favor of the 12th, and the pleasing Edition: current; Page: [230] sensations produced in my mind by it’s affectionate contents. I am made very happy by learning that the sentiments expressed in my inaugural address gave general satisfaction, and holds out a ground on which our fellow citizens can once more unite. I am the more pleased, because these sentiments have been long and radically mine, and therefore will be pursued honestly and conscientiously. I know there is an obstacle which very possibly may check the confidence which would otherwise have been more generally reposed in my observance of these principles. This obstacle does not arise from the measures to be pursued, as to which I am in no fear of giving satisfaction, but from appointments & disappointments as to office. With regard to appointments, I have so much confidence in the justice and good sense of the federalists, that I have no doubt they will concur in the fairness of the position, that after they have been in the exclusive possession of all offices from the very first origin of party among us, to the 3d of March, at 9. o’clock in the night, no republican ever admitted, & this doctrine newly avowed, it is now perfectly just that the republicans should come in for the vacancies which may fall in, until something like an equilibrium in office be restored; after which “Tros Tyriusque nullo discrimine habetur.” But the great stumbling block will be removals, which tho’ made on those just principles only on which my predecessor ought to have removed the same persons, will nevertheless be ascribed to removal on party principles. Imprimis. I will expunge the effects of Mr. A.’s indecent conduct, Edition: current; Page: [231] in crowding nominations after he knew they were not for himself, till 9 o’clock of the night, at 12. o’clock of which he was to go out of office. So far as they are during pleasure, I shall not consider the persons named, even as candidates for the office, nor pay the respect of notifying them that I consider what was done as a nullity. 2d. Some removals must be made for misconduct. One of these is of the marshal in your city, who being an officer of justice, intrusted with the function of choosing impartial judges for the trial of his fellow citizens, placed at the awful tribunal of God & their country, selected judges who either avowed, or were known to him to be predetermined to condemn; and if the lives of the unfortunate persons were not cut short by the sword of the law, it was not for want of his good-will. In another State I have to perform the same act of justice on the dearest connection of my dearest friend, for similar conduct, in a case not capital. The same practice of packing juries, & prosecuting their fellow citizens with the bitterness of party hatred, will probably involve several other marshals & attornies. Out of this line I see but very few instances where past misconduct has been in a degree to call for notice. Of the thousand of officers therefore, in the U S, a very few individuals only, probably not 20., will be removed; & these only for doing what they ought not to have done. 2. or 3. instances indeed where Mr. A. removed men because they would not sign addresses, &c., to him, will be rectified—the persons restored. The whole world will say this is just. I know that in stopping thus Edition: current; Page: [232] short in the career of removal, I shall give great offence to many of my friends. That torrent has been pressing me heavily, & will require all my force to bear up against; but my maxim is “fiat justitia, ruat cœlum.” After the first unfavorable impressions of doing too much in the opinion of some, & too little in that of others, shall be got over, I should hope a steady line of conciliation very practicable, and that without yielding a single republican principle. A certainty that these principles prevailed in the breasts of the main body of federalists, was my motive for stating them as the ground of reunion. I have said thus much for your private satisfaction, to be used even in private conversation, as the presumptive principles on which we shall act, but not as proceeding from myself declaredly. Information lately received from France gives a high idea of the progress of science there; it seems to keep pace with their victories. I have just received from the A. P. Society, two volumes of Comparative Anatomy, by Cuvier, probably the greatest work in that line that has ever appeared. His comparisons embrace every organ of the animal carcass; and from man to the rotifer. Accept assurances of my sincere friendship, & high consideration & respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar 26, 1801
Washington
Don Joseph Yznardi
Yznardi, Don Joseph

to the spanish chargé (don joseph yznardi.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—The Secretary of State is proceeding in the consideration of the several matters which Edition: current; Page: [233] have been proposed to us by you, and will prepare answers to them, and particularly as to our vessels taken by French cruisers, & carried into the ports of Spain, contrary, as we suppose, to the tenor of the convention with France. Tho’ ordinary business will be regularly transacted with you by the Secretary of State, yet considering what you mentioned as to our minister at Madrid to have been private and confidential, I take it out of the official course, and observe to you myself that under an intimate conviction of long standing in my mind, of the importance of an honest friendship with Spain, and one which shall identify her American interests with our own, I see in a strong point of view the necessity that the organ of communication which we establish near the King should possess the favor & confidence of that government. I have therefore destined for that mission a person whose accommodating & reasonable conduct, which will be still more fortified by instructions, will render him agreeable there, & an useful channel of communication between us. I have no doubt the new appointment by that government to this, in the room of the Chevalr d’Yrujo, has been made under the influence of the same motives; but still, the Chevalr d’Yrujo being intimately known to us, the integrity, sincerity, & reasonableness of his conduct having established in us a perfect confidence, in nowise diminished by the bickerings which took place between him and a former Secretary of State, whose irritable temper drew on more than one affair of the same kind, it will be a subject of regret if we lose him. However, if Edition: current; Page: [234] the interests of Spain require that his services should be employed elsewhere, it is the duty of a friend to acquiesce; and we shall certainly receive any successor the King may chuse to send, with every possible degree of favor & friendship. Our administration will not be collected till the end of the ensuing month; and consequently, till then, no other of the mutual interests of the two nations will be under our view, except those general assurances of friendship which I have before given you verbally, & now repeat. Accept, I pray you, assurances of my high consideration and respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 26, 1801
Washington
James Madison
Madison, James

to the secretary of state (James Madison.)

j. mss.

I am still here. Three refusals of the naval secretaryship have been received, and I am afraid of receiving a 4th this evening from Mr. Jones of Phila. In that case Genl. Smith has agreed to take it pro tempore so as to give me time; and I hope the moment it is in either his or Jones’s hands, to get away; but this may be yet three four or five days. Lincoln is doing the duties of your office. He and Dearborn will remain here. Health, respect & affectionate attachment.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 26, 1801
Washington
Mrs. Sarah Mease
Mease, Mrs. Sarah

to mrs. sarah mease

j. mss.

Dear Madam,

—I am honored with your favor of the 20th inst. on the subject of Mr. Hall, & I readily Edition: current; Page: [235] ascribe honor to the motives from which it proceeds. The probable sufferings of a wife & numerous family are considerations which may lawfully weigh in the minds of the good, and ought to prevail when unopposed by others more weighty. It has not been the custom, nor would it be expedient for the Executive to enter into details of justification for the rejection of candidates for offices or removal of those who possess them. Your good sense will readily perceive to what such contests would lead. Yet my respect for your understanding and the value I set on your esteem, induce me, for your own private & personal satisfaction confidentially to say that an officer who is entrusted by the law with the sacred duty of naming judges of life and death for his fellow-citizens, and who selects them exclusively from among his political & party enemies, ought never to have in his power a second abuse of that tremendous magnitude. How many widows & orphans would have been this day weeping in the bitterness of their losses had not a milder sense of duty in another stayed the hand of the executioner. I mean no reflection on the conduct of the jurors. They acted according to their conscientious principles. I only condemn an officer, important in the administration of justice, who select judges for principles which lead necessarily to condemnation. He might as well lead his culprits to the scaffold at once without the mockery of trial. The sword of the law could never fall but on those whose guilt is so apparent as to be pronounced by their friends as well as foes. Pardon, my dear Madam, these rigorous justifications of a Edition: current; Page: [236] duty which has been a painful one to me, & which has yet to be repeated in some cases of greater feeling. You will see in them proofs of my desire to preserve your esteem, & accept assurances of my highest consideration and respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 27, 1801
Washington
Henry Knox
Knox, Henry

to henry knox

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I received with great pleasure your favor of the 16. & it is with the greatest satisfaction I learn from all quarters that my inaugural address is considered as holding out a ground for conciliation & union. I am the more pleased with this, because the opinion therein stated as to the real ground of difference among us (to wit, the measures rendered most expedient by French enormities) is that which I have long entertained. I was always satisfied that the great body of those called Federalists were real republicans as well as Federalists. I know indeed that there are monarchists among us. One character of these is in theory only, & perfectly acquiescent in our form of government as it is, and not entertaining a thought of disturbing it merely on their theoretic opinions. A second class, at the head of which is our quondam colleague, are ardent for the introduction of monarchy, eager for armies, making more noise for a great naval establishment than better patriots who wish it on a national scale only, commensurate to our wants and to our means. This last class ought to be tolerated but not trusted. Edition: current; Page: [237] Believing that (excepting the ardent monarchists) all our citizens agreed in antient Whig principles, I thought it advisable to define & declare them, and let them see the ground on which we could rally: and the fact proving to be so that they agree in these principles I shall pursue them with more encouragement. I am aware that the necessity of a few removals for legal oppressions, delinquencies & other official malversations, may be misconstrued as done for political opinions, & produce hesitation in the coalition so much to be desired; but the extent of these will be too limited to make permanent impressions. In the class of removals however I do not rank the new appointments which Mr. A crowded in with whip & spur from the 12th of Dec. when the event of the election was known, (and consequently that he was making appointments, not for himself but his successor) until 9. o’clock of the night at 12. o’clock of which he was to go out of office. This outrage on decency should not have its effect, except in the life appointments which are irremovable. But as to the others I consider the nominations as nullities and will not view the persons appionted as even candidates for their office, much less as possessing it by any title meriting respect. I mention these things that the grounds and extent of the removals may be understood, & may not disturb the tendency to union. Indeed that union is already affected from N. York southwardly almost completely. In the N. England states it will be slower than elsewhere from peculiar circumstances better known to yourself than me. But we will go on attending with the utmost Edition: current; Page: [238] solicitude to their interests, & doing them impartial justice, and I have no doubt they will in time do justice to us. I have opened myself frankly because I wish to be understood by those who mean well, and are disposed to be just towards me, as you are. I know you will use it for good purposes only and for none unfriendly to me. I leave this place in a few days to make a short excursion home where some domestic arrangements are necessary previous to my final removal here, which will be about the latter end of April. Be so good as to present my respects to Mrs. Knox, & accept yourself assurances of my high consideration & esteem.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 27, 1801
Washington
George Jefferson
Jefferson, George

to george jefferson

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have to acknoledge the receipt of yours of Mar. 4, and to express to you the delight with which I found the just, disinterested, & honorable point of view in which you saw the proposition it covered. The resolution you so properly approved had long been formed in my mind. The public will never be made to believe that an appointment of a relative is made on the ground of merit alone, uninfluenced by family views; nor can they ever see with approbation offices, the disposal of which they entrust to their Presidents for public purposes, divided out as family property. Mr. Adams degraded himself infinitely by his conduct on this subject, as Genl. Washington had done himself the greatest honor. With two such examples to proceed Edition: current; Page: [239] by, I should be doubly inexcusable to err. It is true that this places the relations of the President in a worse situation than if he were a stranger, but the public good, which cannot be affected if it’s confidence be lost, requires this sacrifice. Perhaps, too, it is compensated by sharing in the public esteem. I could not be satisfied till I assured you of the increased esteem with which this transaction fills me for you. Accept my affectionate expressions of it.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 29, 1801
Washington
Samuel Adams
Adams, Samuel

to samuel adams

j. mss.

I addressed a letter to you, my very dear & antient friend, on the 4th of March: not indeed to you by name, but through the medium of some of my fellow citizens, whom occasion called on me to address. In meditating the matter of that address, I often asked myself, is this exactly in the spirit of the patriarch of liberty, Samuel Adams? Is it as he would express it? Will he approve of it? I have felt a great deal for our country in the times we have seen. But individually for no one so much as yourself. When I have been told that you were avoided, insulted, frowned on, I could but ejaculate, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I confess I felt an indignation for you, which for myself I have been able, under every trial, to keep entirely passive. However, the storm is over, and we are in port. The ship was not rigged for the service she was put on. We will show the smoothness of her motions on her Edition: current; Page: [240] republican tack. I hope we shall once more see harmony restored among our citizens, & an entire oblivion of past feuds. Some of the leaders who have most committed themselves cannot come into this. But I hope the great body of our fellow citizens will do it. I will sacrifice everything but principle to procure it. A few examples of justice on officers who have perverted their functions to the oppression of their fellow citizens, must, in justice to those citizens, be made. But opinion, & the just maintenance of it, shall never be a crime in my view: nor bring injury on the individual. Those whose misconduct in office ought to have produced their removal even by my predecessor, must not be protected by the delicacy due only to honest men. How much I lament that time has deprived me of your aid. It would have been a day of glory which should have called you to the first office of the administration. But give us your counsel my friend, and give us your blessing; and be assured that there exists not in the heart of man a more faithful esteem than mine to you, & that I shall ever bear you the most affectionate veneration and respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 29, 1801
Washington
Elbridge Gerry
Gerry, Elbridge

to elbridge gerry

j. mss.

My Dear Sir,

—Your two letters of Jan. 15 and Feb. 24, came safely to hand, and I thank you for the history of a transaction which will ever be interesting in our affairs. It has been very precisely as I had Edition: current; Page: [241] imagined. I thought, on your return, that if you had come forward boldly, and appealed to the public by a full statement, it would have had a great effect in your favor personally, & that of the republican cause then oppressed almost unto death. But I judged from a tact of the southern pulse. I suspect that of the north was different and decided your conduct; and perhaps it has been as well. If the revolution of sentiment has been later, it has perhaps been not less sure. At length it is arrived. What with the natural current of opinion which has been setting over to us for 18. months, and the immense impetus which was given it from the 11th to the 17th of Feb., we may now say that the U. S. from N. Y. southwardly, are as unanimous in the principles of ’76, as they were in ’76. The only difference is, that the leaders who remain behind are more numerous & bolder than the apostles of toryism in ’76. The reason is, that we are now justly more tolerant than we could safely have been then, circumstanced as we were. Your part of the Union tho’ as absolutely republican as ours, had drunk deeper of the delusion, & is therefore slower in recovering from it. The ægis of government, & the temples of religion & of justice, have all been prostituted there to toll us back to the times when we burnt witches. But your people will rise again. They will awake like Sampson from his sleep, & carry away the gates & posts of the city. You, my friend, are destined to rally them again under their former banner, and when called to the post, exercise it with firmness & with inflexible adherence to your own principles. The people will support you, notwithstanding the Edition: current; Page: [242] howlings of the ravenous crew from whose jaws they are escaping. It will be a great blessing to our country if we can once more restore harmony and social love among its citizens. I confess, as to myself, it is almost the first object of my heart, and one to which I would sacrifice everything but principle. With the people I have hopes of effecting it. But their Coryphæi are incurables. I expect little from them.

I was not deluded by the eulogiums of the public papers in the first moments of change. If they could have continued to get all the loaves & fishes, that is, if I would have gone over to them, they would continue to eulogise. But I well knew that the moment that such removals should take place, as the justice of the preceding administration ought to have executed, their hue and cry would be set up, and they would take their old stand. I shall disregard that also. Mr. Adams’ last appointments, when he knew he was naming counsellors & aids for me & not for himself, I set aside as far as depends on me. Officers who have been guilty of gross abuses of office, such as marshals packing juries, &c., I shall now remove, as my predecessor ought in justice to have done. The instances will be few, and governed by strict rule, & not party passion. The right of opinion shall suffer no invasion from me. Those who have acted well have nothing to fear, however they may have differed from me in opinion: those who have done ill, however, have nothing to hope; nor shall I fail to do justice lest it should be ascribed to that difference of opinion. A coalition of sentiments is not for the interest of Edition: current; Page: [243] printers. They, like the clergy, live by the zeal they can kindle, and the schisms they can create. It is contest of opinion in politics as well as religion which makes us take great interest in them, and bestow our money liberally on those who furnish aliment to our appetite. The mild and simple principles of the Christian philosophy would produce too much calm, too much regularity of good, to extract from it’s disciples a support for a numerous priesthood, were they not to sophisticate it, ramify it, split it into hairs, and twist it’s texts till they cover the divine morality of it’s author with mysteries, and require a priesthood to explain them. The Quakers seem to have discovered this. They have no priests, therefore no schisms. They judge of the text by the dictates of common sense & common morality. So the printers can never leave us in a state of perfect rest and union of opinion. They would be no longer useful, and would have to go to the plough. In the first moments of quietude which have succeeded the election, they seem to have aroused their lying faculties beyond their ordinary state, to re-agitate the public mind. What appointments to office have they detailed which had never been thought of, merely to found a text for their calumniating commentaries. However, the steady character of our countrymen is a rock to which we may safely moor; and notwithstanding the efforts of the papers to disseminate early discontents, I expect that a just, dispassionate and steady conduct, will at length rally to a proper system the great body of our country. Unequivocal in principle, reasonable in manner, we shall be able I Edition: current; Page: [244] hope to do a great deal of good to the cause of freedom & harmony. I shall be happy to hear from you often, to know your own sentiments & those of others on the course of things, and to concur with you in efforts for the common good. Your letters through the post will now come safely. Present my best respects to Mrs. Gerry, & accept yourself assurances of my constant esteem and high consideration.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 29. 1801
Washington
Gideon Granger
Granger, Gideon

to the postmaster-general (gideon granger.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have long been indebted to you a letter; but it has been because you desired me to write by Mr. Ervin the bearer of yours, who is not yet gone back. But in the meantime I trust that the post is become a safe channel to and from me. I have heard indeed of some extraordinary licenses practiced in the post offices of your state, & there is nothing I desire so much as information of facts on that subject, to rectify the office. If you can be the means of furnishing them to me they will be thankfully & usefully esteemed. Nothing presents such difficulties of administration as offices. About appointments to them the rule is simple enough. The federalists having been in exclusive possession of them from the first origin of the party among us, to the 3d of Mar. 9. o’clock p.m. of the evening, at 12 of which Mr. A. was to go out of office, their reason will acknolege the justice of giving vacancies as they Edition: current; Page: [245] happen to those who have been so long excluded, till the same general proportion prevails in office which exist out of it. But removals are more difficult. No one will say that all should be removed, or that none should. Yet no two scarcely draw the same lines. I consider as nullities all the appointments (of a removable character) crowded in by Mr. Adams when he knew he was appointing counsellors and agents for his successor and not for himself. Persons who have perverted their offices to the oppression of their fellow citizens, as marshals packing juries, attorneys grinding their legal victims, intolerants removing those under them for opinion’s sake, substitutes for honest men removed for their republican principles, will probably find few advocates even among their quondam party. But the freedom of opinion, and the reasonable maintenance of it, is not a crime, and ought not to occasion injury. These are as yet matters under consideration, our administration having never yet been assembled to decide finally on them. However some of them have in the meantime been acted on in cases which pressed. There is one in your state which calls for decision, and on which Judge Lincoln will ask yourself and some others to consult & advise us. It is the case of Mr. Goodrich,1 whose being a recent appointment, Edition: current; Page: [246] made a few days only before Mr. Adams went out of office, is liable to the general nullification I affix to them. Yet there might be reason for continuing him: or if that would do more harm than good, we should inquire who is the person in the state who, superseding Mr. Goodrich, would from his character & standing in society, most effectually silence clamor, and justify the executive in a comparison of the two characters. For though I consider Mr. G’s appointment as a nullity in effect, yet others may view it as a possession and removal, and ask if that removal has been made to put in a better man? I pray you to take a broad view of this subject, consider it in all its bearings, local and general, and communicate to me your opinion. And on all subjects and at all times I shall highly prize your own communications to me, Edition: current; Page: [247] and solicit them earnestly. The immense pressure of my other duties will not allow me to write letter for letter; but you must excuse that, and consider a sacrifice you ought to make to the public service; especially assured, as you may be, that your letters, though not acknowledged, will not be unattended to in their effect. I particularly ask your opinion of characters suitable for any office which becomes vacant in your knolege, and would rather receive your voluntary and spontaneous information, than that which is extorted by solicitation of parties interested. Accept assurances of my perfect esteem & high consideration & respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr 8. 1801
Monticello
Archibald Stuart
Stuart, Archibald

to archibald stuart1

Dear Sir,

—I arrived here on the 4th. and expect to stay a fortnight in order to make some arrangements preparatory to my final removal to Washington—you know that the last Congress established a Western judiciary district in Virginia, comprehending chiefly the Western counties. Mr. Adams, who continued filling all the offices till 9 oclock of the night, at 12 of which he was to go out of office himself, took care to appoint for this district also. The judge of course stands till the law shall be repealed, which we trust will be at the next Congress. But as to all others, I made it immediately known, that I should Edition: current; Page: [248] consider them as nullities, and appoint others: as I think I have a preferable right to name agents for my own administration, at least to the vacancies falling after it was known that Mr. Adams was not naming for himself. Consequently we want an Attorney & Marshal for the Western district. I had thought of Mr. Coalter, but I am told he has a clerkship incompatible with it by our laws. I thought also of Hugh Holmes; but I fear he is so far off he could not attend the court, which is to be in Rockbridge. I believe this is the extent of my personal knowledge. Pray recommend one to me, as also a marshal; and let them be the most respectable & unexceptionable possible; and especially let them be republican. The only shield for our Republican citizens against the federalism of the courts is to have the Attornies & Marshals republicans. There is nothing I am so anxious about as good nominations, conscious that the merit as well as reputation of an administration depends as much on that as on it’s measures. Accept assurances of my constant esteem & high consideration & respect.1

Edition: current; Page: [249]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 3, 1801
Washington
Gideon Granger
Granger, Gideon

to the postmaster-general (gideon granger.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I wrote you on the 29th of March. Yours of the 25th of that month, with the address it covered, had not reached this place on the 1st of April, when I set out on a short visit to my residence in Virginia, where some arrngements were necessary previous to my settlement here. In fact, your letter came to me at Monticello only the 24th of April, two days before my departure from thence. This, I hope, will sufficiently apologize for the delay of the answer, which those unapprised of these circumstances will have thought extraordinary.

A new subject of congratulation has arisen. I mean the regeneration of Rhode island. I hope it is the beginning of that resurrection of the genuine spirit of New England which arises for life eternal. According to natural order, Vermont will emerge next, because least, after Rhode island, under the yoke of hierocracy. I have never dreamt that all opposition was to cease. The clergy, who have missed their union with the State, the Anglomen, who have missed their union with England, and the political adventurers, who have lost the chance of swindling & plunder in the waste of public money, will never cease to bawl, on the breaking up of their sanctuary. But among the people, the schism is healed, and with tender treatment the wound will not re-open. Their quondam leaders have been astounded with the suddenness of the desertion; and their silence & appearance of acquiescence has Edition: current; Page: [250] proceeded not from a thought of joining us, but the uncertainty what ground to take. The very first acts of the administration, the nominations, have accordingly furnished something to yelp on; and all our subsequent acts will furnish them fresh matter, because there is nothing against which human ingenuity will not be able to find something to say.

Accept assurances of my sincere attachment & high respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 8. 1801
Washington
Gouverneur Morris
Morris, Gouverneur

to gouverneur morris

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 8th Apr. found me at Monticello on a short visit to make some arrangements preparatory to my removal here. I returned on the 30th & have taken time to examine into the state of our furniture funds. After procuring all other more essential articles I think there will be about 4,000 D. which might be better invested in plate than in more perishable articles. If therefore it would answer your views to divide the set we could take that amount. Tureens, dishes &c. are the articles most desirable. Forks & spoons the least so, because we have enough of them. It is not impossible but that our fund may by good management go to the whole; but I do not think it would be safe to count on it. If you are disposed to divide the set it would depend on what you would propose to do with what we do not take, whether the whole had as well come here or not. Because if the residue is destined for the mint, it might go to it from here, & that would embrace the Edition: current; Page: [251] chance of our funds proving competent to take the whole. On this view of the subject you will be so good as to decide whether to send hither all, a part, or none. It should be insured, & come by a known captain, addressed to John Barnes, Georgetown, or to myself here. It should come also without delay, as we propose to absent ourselves from this place during the two sickly months, viz., August & September.

We have nothing interesting from abroad more than you see in the papers. Dr. Stevens having desired to return, I have appointed mr. Lear to take his place. It is a difficult, tho’ only a smaller mission, & the person ought to possess the confidence of the English, French [faded] & ourselves—I believe I shall have to advertise for a Secretary of the Navy. Genl. Smith is performing the duties gratis, as he refuses both commission & salary even his expenses, lest it should affect his seat in the H. of R. He will probably have everything completely disposed according to the directions of the law by the last of June. Accept assurances of my friendly consideration & respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 9, 1801
Washington
Theodore Foster
Foster, Theodore

to theodore foster

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Apr. 28 has been duly received, & I sincerely rejoice with you in the regeneration of your state, and the evidence they have given of a return from the phrenzy of 98. I confidently hope the mass of our countrymen everywhere will be shortly united, with the exception of a few Edition: current; Page: [252] too far committed to retreat. I am sure the measures I mean to pursue are such as would in their nature be approved by every American who can emerge from preconceived prejudices; as for those who cannot we must take care of them as of the sick in our hospitals. The medicine of time and fact may cure some of them.

You will have seen that your recommendation in favor of Mr. Barnes, has been more than respected, as he has been offered a judge’s commission, in the place which Mr. Greene had expected. Though I had observed Mr. Greene to be very decidedly in the principles called federal, yet he was gentlemanly and liberal in his manners, and had inspired me with a degree of estimation which I did not feel for some others. But you know the measure which was practiced on the 4th of Mar. to prepare a negative for one of the most important nominations it was expected I should make. They meant by crippling my rigging to leave me an unwielded hulk, at the mercy of the elements. To this manœuvre Mr. Greene lent himself, going out of the line of conscientious duty to put himself in the way of this operation. When, therefore his commission proved to have been a nullity, and it fell on me to fill the place, I could not in prudence put into power one who had given such a proof of the use he would make of it to obstruct and embarrass my administration.

I shall always be happy to receive your letters, and information of all interesting occurrences, as well as reflecting fit characters for public offices, about the proper filling of which I am most anxious of all Edition: current; Page: [253] things. Accept assurance of my friendly esteem & high respect and consideration.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 14, 1801
Washington
Nathaniel Macon
Macon, Nathaniel

to nathaniel macon

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favors of Apr. 20th and 23d had been received, and the commission made out for Mr. Potts, before I received the letter of the 1st inst. I have still thought it better to forward the commission, in the hope that reconsideration, or the influence of yourself and friends, might induce an acceptance of it. Should it be otherwise, you must recommend some other good person, as I had rather be guided by your opinion than that of the person you refer me to. Perhaps Mr. Potts may be willing to stop the gap till you meet and repeal the law. If he does not, let me receive a recommendation from you as quickly as possible. And in all cases, when an office becomes vacant in your State, as the distance would occasion a great delay were you to wait to be regularly consulted, I shall be much obliged to you to recommend the best characters. There is nothing I am so anxious about as making the best possible appointments, and no case in which the best men are more liable to mislead us, by yielding to the solicitations of applications. For this reason your own spontaneous recommendation would be desirable. Now to answer your particulars, seriatim,

Levees are done away.

The first communication to the next Congress will Edition: current; Page: [254] be, like all subsequent ones, by message, to which no answer will be expected.

The diplomatic establishment in Europe will be reduced to three ministers.

The compensations to collectors depend on you, and not on me.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 17, 1801
Washington
George Clinton
Clinton, George

to george clinton

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—To you I need not make the observation that of all the duties imposed on the executive head of a government, appointment to office is the most difficult & most irksome. You have had long experience of it, and are, I hope, by this time ascertained of being in the way of experiencing it again, on which accept my sincere congratulations. Disposed myself to make as few changes in office as possible, to endeavor to restore harmony by avoiding everything harsh, and to remove only for malconduct, I have nevertheless been persuaded that circumstances in your state, and still more in the neighboring states on both sides, require something more. It is represented that the Collector, Naval officer, & Supervisor ought all to be removed for the violence of their characters & conduct. The following arrangement was agreed on by Colo. Burr & some of your Senators & representatives. David Gelston, collector, Theodorus Bailey, Naval officer, & M. L. Davis, Supervisor. Yet all did not agree in all the particulars, & I have since received letters expressly stating that Mr. Bailey has not readiness & habit enough of business Edition: current; Page: [255] for the office of Naval officer, & some suggestions that Mr. Davis’s standing in society, & other circumstances will render his not a respectable appointment to the important office of Supervisor. Unacquainted myself with these & the other characters in the state which might be proper for these offices, & forced to decide on the opinions of others, there is no one whose opinion would command with me greater respect than yours, if you would be so good as to advise me, which of these characters & what others would be fittest for these offices. Not only competent talents, but respectability in the public estimation are to be considered. You may be assured that your information to me shall be confidential & used only to inform my own judgment. We also want a marshall for the Albany district. S. Southwick had been thought of but he will not accept. Will you be so good as to propose one? Hoping for your friendly aid in these appointments, I pray you to accept assurances of my perfect esteem & high consideration & respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 23, 1801
William Duane
Duane, William

to william duane

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have duly received your favor of the 10th & shall always be thankful for any information you will favor me with, interesting to our affairs, & particularly which may enable me to understand the differences of opinion and interest which seem to be springing up in Pensva. & to be subjects of uneasiness. If that state splits it will let us down into the Edition: current; Page: [256] abyss. I hope so much from the patriotism of all, that they will make all smaller interests give way to the greater importance of the general welfare.

I now write to Mr. Boudinot, forwarding the specimens of Mr. Reich’s talents as an engraver and recommending to him to consider whether he may not be usefully employed for the public. Will you be so good as to mention this to Reich & to desire him to present himself to Mr. Boudinot two or three days after you shall have received this.

As to your proposition on the subject of stationery I believe you may be assured of the favor of every department here. You have no doubt contemplated placing your supplies here. My custom is inconsiderable & will only shew my desire to be useful to you.

From a paragraph in your letter to Mr. Gallatin I think you must have forgotten the particulars of what passed here on the subject of the prosecution against you. To recall it to your mind I will just recapitulate that I asked if you could give me an exact list of the prosecutions of a public nature against you, & over which I might have a controul; observing that whenever in the line of my functions I should be met by the Sedition law, I should treat it as a nullity. That therefore, even in the prosecution recommended by the Senate, if founded on that law I would order a nolle prosequi; but out of respect to that body should be obliged to refer to the attorney of the district to consider whether there was ground of prosecution in any court and under any law acknowledged of force. I thought you expressed some dislike to a change of judicature and you could Edition: current; Page: [257] not furnish then a correct statement of the prosecutions, but would do it after your return to this city. This at least was the impression left on my mind, and I ascribed your not having furnished so specific a list of the prosecutions as would enable me to interpose with due accuracy either to the distance of the trials or perhaps a willingness to meet the investigation before a jury summoned by an impartial officer. The trial on behalf of the Senate being postponed, you have time to explain your wishes to me, and if it be done on a consultation with Mr. Dallas, it may abridge the operations which shall be thought proper.1

Edition: current; Page: [258]

I accept with acknoledgment Mrs. Bache’s compliments, & beg leave to tender her my sincere respect, & to yourselves salutations & my best wishes.

Edition: current; Page: [259]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 26th, 1801
Washington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

j. mss.

Dear Sir.

—In mine of the 22d I forgot to write on the subject of Callender, tho’ I had reserved that, for some time, to make a part of the letter. D. M. R. Edition: current; Page: [260] has contrived to put the money in such a situation that I find we could not lay our hands on it without giving room for specious criticisms. That would be a gratification to which he is not entitled. It will moreover strengthen the reasons for laying the whole subject before Congress that they may not only refund but indemnify the sufferers under the sedition act. To take from Callender particularly all room for complaint I think with you we had better refund his fine by private contributions. I enclose you an order on Gibson & Jefferson for 50. D. which I believe is one fourth of the whole sum.

There is considerable reason to apprehend that Spain cedes Louisiana and the Floridas to France. It is a policy very unwise in both, and very ominous to us. Accept assurances of my affectionate respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 29, 1801
Washington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I am late in answering your favor of the 4th because the navy department from an extraordinary press of business, could not till within this day or two furnish me the enclosed papers. You will see by them that the money for Gosport (12,000 D.) has been placed in Norfolk at Mr. Hopkins’s command ever since the last week in January. Why it should have been withheld so long he will probably explain to you.

As to the mode of correspondence between the General and particular executives, I do not think Edition: current; Page: [261] myself a good judge. Not because my position gives me any prejudice on the occasion; for if it be possible to be certainly conscious of anything, I am conscious of feeling no difference between writing to the highest or lowest being on earth, but because I have ever thought that forms should yield to whatever should facilitate business. Comparing the two governments together it is observable that in all those cases where the independent or reserved rights of the states are in question, the two executives if they are to act together, must be exactly coordinate; they are, in those cases, each the supreme head of an independent government. Such is the case in the beginning of this letter where the two executives were to treat de pair en pair. In other cases, to wit, those transferred by the constitution to the general government, the general executive is certainly preordinate—e. g. in a question respecting the militia, and others easily to be recollected. Were there therefore to be a stiff adherence to etiquette, I should say that in the former cases the correspondence should be between the two heads, and that in the latter the governor must be subject to receive orders from the War Department as any other subordinate officer would. And were it observed that either party set up unjustifiable pretensions, perhaps the other might be right in opposing them by a tenaciousness of his own rigorous right. But I think the practice in Genl. Washington’s administration was most friendly to business and was absolutely equal. Sometimes he wrote to the governors, and sometimes the heads of departments wrote. If Edition: current; Page: [262] a letter is to be on a general subject, I see no reason why the President should not write: but if it is to go into details, these being known only to the head of the department, it is better he should write directly, otherwise the correspondence must involve circuities. If this be practised promiscuously in both classes of cases, each party setting examples of neglecting etiquette, both will stand on equal ground, and convenience alone will dictate through whom any particular communication is to be made. All the governors have freely corresponded with the heads of departments, except Hancock who refused it. But his legislature took advantage of a particular case which justified them in interfering, and they obliged him to correspond with the head of a department. Genl. Washington sometimes wrote to them. I presume Mr. Adams did, as you mention his having written to you. On the whole I think a free correspondence best and shall never hesitate to write myself to the governors, even in a federal case, where the occasion presents itself to me particularly.

Accept assurances of my sincere & constant affection & respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 29, 1801
Washington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Since mine of the 26th Callender is arrived here. He did not call on me; but understanding he was in distress I sent Captain Lewis to him with 50. D. to inform him we were making some inquiries as to his fine which would take a little time, Edition: current; Page: [263] and lest he should suffer in the meantime I had sent him &c. His language to Captain Lewis was very high-toned. He intimated that he was in possession of things which he could and would make use of in a certain case: that he received the 50. D. not as a charity but a due, in fact as hush money; that I knew what he expected, viz. a certain office, and more to this effect. Such a misconstruction of my charities puts an end to them forever. You will therefore be so good as to make no use of the order I enclosed you. He knows nothing of me which I am not willing to declare to the world myself. I knew him first as the author of the Political Progress of Britain, a work I had read with great satisfaction, and as a fugitive from persecution for this very work. I gave to him from time to time such aids as I could afford, merely as a man of genius suffering under persecution, and not as a writer in our politics. It is long since I wished he would cease writing on them, as doing more harm than good.

Your two letters of May 23 have come to hand. You would afterwards receive mine of the 22d as to the mode of correspondence. I still think the mode therein proposed would place it on the footing most easy and advantageous to the public. We have great reason to fear that Spain is to cede Louisiana and the Floridas to France. Tripoli has probably commenced depredations on us. This is totally without cause. Algiers threatens and has a right, there being 3. years arrears of tribute due to her, while our Treasury has been overflowing with money. Accept my affectionate & respectful salutations.

Edition: current; Page: [264]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 11, 1801
Washington
Wilson Cary Nicholas
Nicholas, Wilson Cary

to wilson cary nicholas

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—A moment of leisure permits me to think of my friends. You will have seen an alarm in the newspapers on the subject of the Tripolitans and Algerines. The former about May a twelvemonth demanded a sum of money for keeping the peace, pretending that the sum paid as the price of the treaty was only for making peace. This demand was reiterated through the last year, but a promise made to Cathcart by the bey, that he would not permit any hostility until an answer should be actually received from the President. However, I think there is reason to apprehend he sent his cruisers out against us in March. Great notice had been given our vessels in the Mediterranean, so that they might have come off at leisure if they would. In March, finding we might with propriety call in our cruisers from the W. Indies, this was done; and as 2 were to be kept armed, it was thought best by Stoddert & Genl. Smith that we should send three with a tender into the Mediterranean to protect our commerce against Tripoli. But as this might lead to war, I wished to have the approbation of the new administration. In the meantime the squadron was to be prepared and to rendezvous at Norfolk ready to receive our orders. It was the 15th of May before Mr. Gallatin’s arrival enabled us to decide definitely. It was then decided unanimously; but it was not until the 25th of May that the Philadelphia reached the rendezvous. On the 1st of June they sailed. With respect to Algiers they are in extreme ill humour. We find 3. years arrears of Edition: current; Page: [265] tribute due to them. This you know has not proceeded from any want of the treasury. Our tribute to them is nominally 20,000 D. to be delivered in stores, but so stated that they cost us 80,000 D. A negotiation had been set on foot by our predecessors to commute the stores for 30,000 D. cash. It would be an excellent bargain, but we know nothing of the result. We have however sent them 30,000 D. by our frigates as one year’s tribute, and have a vessel ready to sail with the stores for another year. Letters from the Mediterranean to the last of April give us no reason to think they will commit hostilities. The loose articles in the newspapers have probably arisen by confounding them with the Tripolitans. We have taken these steps towards supplying the deficiencies of our predecessors merely in obedience to the law; being convinced it is money thrown away, and that there is no end to the demand of these powers, nor any security in their promises. The real alternative before us is whether to abandon the Mediterranean or to keep up a cruise in it, perhaps in rotation with other powers who would join us as soon as there is peace. But this Congress must decide. There are no news from Egypt to be relied on later than the 15th of March. We have discontinued the missions to the Hague, Lisbon and Berlin. Humphreys is recalled. Livingston awaits Dawson’s return. F. A. Muhlenburg is dead: and fortunately as he was planning against McKean. From this state southwardly all are quiet, not a single wish is even expressed on the subject of removals. In Delaware & Jersey they are Edition: current; Page: [266] moderately importunate. In Pennsylvania there is a strong pressure on me, & some discontent. But in N. York a section of the republicans is furious on this subject. There are there 3. distinct sections of republicans. You know them without my venturing a specification of them through the post. I have the confidential sentiments of the most respectable persons of each. Two of these sections disapprove of removal but on a very small scale indeed. The other has opened a battery on us as you will see by the inclosed paper. You will be at no loss for the source of this. We shall yield a little to their pressure, but no more than appears absolutely necessary to keep them together. And if that would be as much as to disgust other parts of the union, we must prefer the greater to the lesser part. In Connecticut alone a general sweep seems to be called for on principles of justice and policy. Their legislature now sitting are removing every republican even from the commissions of the peace and the lowest offices. There then we will retaliate. Whilst the Feds. are taking possession of all the state offices, exclusively, they ought not to expect we will leave them the exclusive possession of those at our disposal. The republicans have some rights: and must be protected. General Smith is well. I expect Langdon will now accept that office. Present my respects to Mrs. Nicholas and accept assurances of my affectionate esteem.

Edition: current; Page: [267]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 21, 1801
Washington
John D. Burke
Burke, John D.

to john d. burke

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have safely received your favor from Amelia, with the [faded] of the Columbiad which it covered, and have given to them the hasty persual which my less agreeable but more indispensable occupations have permitted. Rarely indeed do they permit me one moment’s reflection from the volumes of official papers which every day presents. The few moments I now spare to this object, I will say, were agreeably employed on your sheets with much satisfaction. To my own mortification however [faded] that of all men living I am the last who should undertake to decide as to the merits of poetry. In earlier life I was fond of it, and easily pleased. But as age and cares advanced the powers of fancy have declined. Every year seems to have plucked a feather from her wings till she can no longer waft one to those sublime heights to which it is necessary to accompany the poet. So much has my relish for poetry deserted me that at present I cannot read even Virgil with pleasure. I am consequently utterly incapable to decide on the merits of poetry. The very feelings to which it is addressed are among those I have lost. So that the blind man might as well undertake to [faded] a painting or the deaf a musical composition.

On the subject of office my principles and those constantly asserted by the republicans, that no one should be removed for mere difference of political opinion, has given little to do in this way. It is moreover only the offices of the first grade which are at my disposal; those of the 2d being subordinated Edition: current; Page: [268] to them; [faded] the office of each grade being thus in the gift of the one next above. I will with pleasure mention you to the heads of departments: but not to do you an injury by nourishing expectations which might not be fulfilled, I am bound to observe that I know there has been a vast redundancy of applications, so that it is not likely that any vacancy exists. Indeed among the [faded] there are many supernumeraries who will be to be dismissed, or the numbers [faded] recruited till reduced to a mere sufficiency by ordinary accidents. Accept my respectful salutations & good wishes.

P. S. the sheets are herein returned.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 11, 1801
Washington
Levi Lincoln
Lincoln, Levi

to the attorney-general (levi lincoln.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 15th came to hand on the 25th of June, and conveyed a great deal of that information which I am anxious to receive. The consolidation of our fellow citizens in general is the great object we ought to keep in view, and that being once obtained, while we associate with us in affairs, to a certain degree, the federal sect of republicans, we must strip of all the means of influence the Essex junto, & their associate monocrats in every part of the Union. The former differ from us only in the shades of power to be given to the executive, being, with us, attached to republican government. The latter wish to sap the republic by fraud, if they Edition: current; Page: [269] cannot destroy it by force, & to erect an English monarchy in it’s place; some of them (as Mr. Adams) thinking it’s corrupt parts should be cleansed away, others (as Hamilton) thinking that it would make it an impracticable machine. We are proceeding gradually in the regeneracy of offices, and introducing republicans to some share in them. I do not know that it will be pushed further than was settled before you went away, except as to Essex men. I must ask you to make out a list of those in office in yours and in neighboring States, & to furnish me with it. There is little of this spirit south of the Hudson. I understand that Jackson is a very determined one, tho’ in private life amiable & honorable. But amiable monarchists are not safe subjects of republican confidence. What will be the effect of his removal? How should it be timed? Who his successor? What place can Genl Lyman properly occupy? Our gradual reformations seem to produce good effects everywhere except in Connecticut. Their late session of legislature has been more intolerant than all others. We must meet them with equal intolerance. When they will give a share in the State offices, they shall be replaced in a share of the General offices. Till then we must follow their example. Mr. Goodrich’s removal has produced a bitter remonstrance, with much personality against the two Bishops. I am sincerely sorry to see the inflexibility of the federal spirit there, for I cannot believe they are all monarchists. * * *

Edition: current; Page: [270]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 12, 1801
Washington
Elias Shipman
Shipman, Elias

to elias shipman and others, a committee of the merchants of new haven

j. mss.

Gentlemen,

—I have received the remonstrance you were pleased to address to me, on the appointment of Samuel Bishop to the office of collector of New Haven, lately vacated by the death of David Austin. The right of our fellow citizens to represent to the public functionaries their opinion on proceedings interesting to them, is unquestionably a constitutional right, often useful, sometimes necessary, and will always be respectfully acknoleged by me.

Of the various executive duties, no one excites more anxious concern than that of placing the interests of our fellow citizens in the hands of honest men, with understandings sufficient for their station. No duty, at the same time, is more difficult to fulfill. The knolege of characters possessed by a single individual is, of necessity, limited. To seek out the best through the whole Union, we must resort to other information, which, from the best of men, acting disinterestedly and with the purest motives, is sometimes incorrect. In the case of Samuel Bishop, however, the subject of your remonstrance, time was taken, information was sought, & such obtained as could leave no room for doubt of his fitness. From private sources it was learnt that his understanding was sound, his integrity pure, his character unstained. And the offices confided to him within his own State, are public evidences of the estimation in which he is held by the State in general, and the city & township particularly in which he lives. He is Edition: current; Page: [271] said to be the town clerk, a justice of the peace, mayor of the city of New Haven, an office held at the will of the legislature, chief judge of the court of common pleas for New Haven county, a court of high criminal and civil jurisdiction wherein most causes are decided without the right of appeal or review, and sole judge of the court of probates, wherein he singly decides all questions of wills, settlement of estates, testate and intestate, appoints guardians, settles their accounts, and in fact has under his jurisdiction and care all the property real and personal of persons dying. The two last offices, in the annual gift of the legislature, were given to him in May last. Is it possible that the man to whom the legislature of Connecticut has so recently committed trusts of such difficulty & magnitude, is “unfit to be the collector of the district of New Haven,” tho’ acknoleged in the same writing, to have obtained all this confidence “by a long life of usefulness?” It is objected, indeed, in the remonstrance, that he is 77. years of age; but at a much more advanced age, our Franklin was the ornament of human nature.1 He may not be able to perform in person, all the details of his office; but if he gives us the benefit of his understanding, his integrity, his watchfulness, and takes care that all the details are well performed by himself or his necessary assistants, all public purposes will be answered. The remonstrance, indeed, does Edition: current; Page: [272] not allege that the office has been illy conducted, but only apprehends that it will be so. Should this happen in event, be assured I will do in it what shall be just and necessary for the public service. In the meantime, he should be tried without being prejudged.

The removal, as it is called, of Mr. Goodrich, forms another subject of complaint. Declarations by myself in favor of political tolerance, exhortations to harmony and affection in social intercourse, and to respect for the equal rights of the minority, have, on certain occasions, been quoted & misconstrued into assurances that the tenure of offices was to be undisturbed. But could candor apply such a construction? It is not indeed in the remonstrance that we find it; but it leads to the explanations which that calls for. When it is considered, that during the late administration, those who were not of a particular sect of politics were excluded from all office; when, by a steady pursuit of this measure, nearly the whole offices of the U S were monopolized by that sect; when the public sentiment at length declared itself, and burst open the doors of honor and confidence to those whose opinions they more approved, was it to be imagined that this monopoly of office was still to be continued in the hands of the minority? Does it violate their equal rights, to assert some rights in the majority also? Is it political intolerance to claim a proportionate share in the direction of the public affairs? Can they not harmonize in society unless they have everything in their own hands? If the will of the nation, manifested Edition: current; Page: [273] by their various elections, calls for an administration of government according with the opinions of those elected; if, for the fulfilment of that will, displacements are necessary, with whom can they so justly begin as with persons appointed in the last moments of an administration, not for its own aid, but to begin a career at the same time with their successors, by whom they had never been approved, and who could scarcely expect from them a cordial co-operation? Mr. Goodrich was one of these. Was it proper for him to place himself in office, without knowing whether those whose agents he was to be would have confidence in his agency? Can the preference of another, as the successor to Mr. Austin, be candidly called a removal of Mr. Goodrich? If a due participation of office is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be obtained? Those by death are few; by resignation, none. Can any other mode than that of removal be proposed? This is a painful office; but it is made my duty, and I meet it as such. I proceed in the operation with deliberation & inquiry, that it may injure the best men least, and effect the purposes of justice & public utility with the least private distress; that it may be thrown, as much as possible, on delinquency, on oppression, on intolerance, on incompetence, on ante-revolutionary adherence to our enemies.

The remonstrance laments “that a change in the administration must produce a change in the subordinate officers;” in other words, that it should be deemed necessary for all officers to think with their principal. But on whom does this imputation bear? Edition: current; Page: [274] On those who have excluded from office every shade of opinion which was not theirs? Or on those who have been so excluded? I lament sincerely that unessential differences of political opinion should ever have been deemed sufficient to interdict half the society from the rights and blessings of self-government, to proscribe them as characters unworthy of every trust. It would have been to me a circumstance of great relief, had I found a moderate participation of office in the hands of the majority. I would gladly have left to time and accident to raise them to their just share. But their total exclusion calls for prompter correctives. I shall correct the procedure; but that done, disdain to follow it, shall return with joy to that state of things, when the only questions concerning a candidate shall be, is he honest? Is he capable? Is he faithful to the Constitution?

I tender you the homage of my high respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 13, 1801
Washington
William C. Claiborne
Claiborne, William C.

to the governor of the mississippi territory (william c. claiborne.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—You will receive from the Secretary of State a commission as governor of the Mississippi territory, an office which I consider of primary importance, in as much as that country is the principal point of contact between Spain and us, & also as it is the embryo of a very great state. Independent of the official communications, which the Secretary Edition: current; Page: [275] of State will make to you from time to time, I cannot deny myself a few words, private & confidential, the object of which will be to contribute to the shaping your course to the greatest benefit, of the people you are to govern, and of the U. S. and to your own best satisfaction. With respect to Spain our dispositions are sincerely amiable and even affectionate. We consider her possession of the adjacent country as most favorable to our interests, & should see, with extreme pain any other nation substituted for them. In all communications therefore with their officers, conciliation and mutual accommodation are to be mainly attended to. Everything irritating to be avoided, everything friendly to be done for them. The most fruitful source of misunderstanding will be the conduct of their and our people at New Orleans. Temper and justice will be the best guides through those intricacies. Should France get possession of that country, it will be more to be lamented than remedied by us, as it will furnish ground for profound consideration on our part, how best to conduct ourselves in that case. It would of course be the subject of fresh communications to you.

As to the people you are to govern, we are apprised that they are divided into two adverse parties, the one composed of the richer and better informed attached to the 1st grade of government, the other of the body of the people not a very homogeneous mass, advocates for the 2d grade which they possess in fact. Our love of freedom and the value we set on self-government disposes us to prefer the principles of the 2d grade, and they are strengthened by knowing Edition: current; Page: [276] they are [faded] by the will of the majority. While cooperation with that plan therefore is essentially to be observed, your best endeavors should be exerted to bring over those opposed to it by every means soothing and conciliatory. The happiness of society depends so much on preventing party spirit from infecting the common intercourse of life, that nothing should be spared to harmonize and amalgamate the two parties in social circles. The great objection of the advocates for the 1st grade is the expense of the 2d. Everything should be done therefore to lessen that expense, and the legislative body the most expensive part of all our governments, should recommend themselves by making their particular expenses as light as possible. I shall consider it as the happiest proof that in our nomination I have done what was best for that state, if I should find that you shall have been able to reconcile parties to yourself and to one another. The only objection to you which has been strongly pressed, covers the allegation that you had taken your side too strongly with the one party to be able to become agreeable or just to the other. Had this been my opinion of you, the nomination would not have been made.

We have appointed Mr. Daniel Clarke at New Orleans our consul there. His worth and influence will aid you powerfully in the interfering interests of those who go, and who reside there. I take the liberty of recommending to your particular civilities & respect Mr. William Dunbar a person of great worth & wealth there, and one of the most distinguished citizens of the U. S. in point of science. He is a Edition: current; Page: [277] correspondent of mine in that line in whom I set great store. As a native of Britain he must have a predilection towards her; but as to every other nation he is purely American. I should think it fortunate could he be added to the friends of the 2d grade. I have hastily put together these few thoughts that you may understand our view and know what line of conduct on your part will be agreeable. I again repeat that they are meant to be private and confidential to yourself alone. I shall be glad to hear from you inofficially, when convenient, your official correspondence belonging to the Secretary of State. Accept assurances of my friendly esteem and great respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 15, 1801
James Madison
Madison, James

to the secretary of state (james madison.)

j. mss.

Whether prizes and the proceeds of them taken after the date of the treaty with France can be restored by the Executive, or need an act of the legislature?

The constitution has authorized the ordinary legislature alone to declare war against any foreign nation. If they may enact a perfect, they may a qualified war, as was done against France. In this state of things they may modify the acts of war, and appropriate the proceeds of it. The act authorizing the capture of French armed vessels and dividing and appropriating their proceeds, was of this kind.

The constitution has given to the President and Edition: current; Page: [278] Senate alone the power (with the consent of the foreign nation) of enacting peace. Their treaty for this purpose is an absolute repeal of the declaration of war, and of all laws authorizing or modifying war measures. The treaty with France had this effect. From the moment it was signed all the acts legalizing war measures ceased ipso facto; and all subsequent captures became unlawful. Property wrongfully taken from a friend on the high sea is not thereby transferred to the captor. In whatever hands it is found it remains the property of those from whom it was taken; and any person possessed of it private or public, has a right to restore it. If it comes to the hands of the executive they may restore it. If into those of the legislature (as by formal paiment into the Treasury) they may restore it. Whoever, private or public, undertakes to restore it, takes on themselves the risk of proving that the goods were taken without authority of law, and consequently that the captor had no right to them. The executive, charged with our exterior relations, seems bound, is satisfied of the fact, to do right to the foreign nation, and take on itself the risque of justification. Submitted to Mr. Madison’s consideration.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 21, 1801
Washington
Pierpont Edwards
Edwards, Pierpont

to pierpont edwards1

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I received in due time your friendly favor of June 18th and profited of the information Edition: current; Page: [279] it contained, as you will have seen by a certain paper inclosed from this place. I was glad the remonstrants of your state took the measure they did. Their attack was on that class of removals which every reasonable man of whatsoever party has approved; I mean those which were made by a preceding administration in their last moments, & with a view either to force their successors to work with thwarting co-operation, or to incur odium by removing them. An opportunity was also wanting to come forward and disavow the sophistical construction on what I had declared on the 4th of March, to declare the justice of some participation by the republicans in the management of public affairs, and the principles on which vacancies would be created. I verily believe there will be a general approbation of what has been avowed in answer to the remonstrance, and that we may now proceed in our duty with a firmer step. I certainly feel more confident since an opportunity has been furnished me of explaining my proceedings. I consider Rho. isl’d, Vermont, Massachusetts, & N. Hampshire as coming in the course of this year. In Congress R. I. is entirely republican, Vermont will probably be three fourths, Massachusetts a majority: N. H. coming fast up: but the nature of your government being a subordination of the civil to the ecclesiastical power, I consider it as desperate for long years to come. Their steady habits exclude the advances of information & they seem exactly where they were when they separated from the Saints of Oliver Cromwell. And there your clergy will always keep them if they can. You will Edition: current; Page: [280] follow the bark of liberty only by the help of a towrope. You will greatly oblige me by continuing your information as to the effects on them produced & to be produced by our measures, and I pray you to be assured of my friendly & high consideration & respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 23, 1801
Washington
John Dickinson
Dickinson, John

to john dickinson

j. mss.

My Dear & respected friend,

—I have duly received your favor of the 18th. Doctr Vaughan’s character had been before known to me in a certain degree, and advantageously known as a friend to republican government. Your letter in his favor strengthened my confidence in it. For your satisfaction as well as from a regard to truth I assure you that nothing could be more candid than his conduct here. It was at my request he undertook to consult the friends of republicanism on his return & to recommend a marshall. He declined doing it here & of himself, and until he should know that the person would accept. I am sorry the person recommended has not been agreeable to all the republicans, but I am more concerned to see in this disapprobation a germ of division which, if not smothered, will continue you under that rule from which union is relieving our fellow citizens in other states. It is disheartening to see, on the approaching crisis of election, a division of that description of Republicans, which has certainly no strength to spare. But, my dear friend, if we do not learn to sacrifice small Edition: current; Page: [281] differences of opinion, we can never act together. Every man cannot have his way in all things. If his own opinion prevails at some times, he should acquiesce on seeing that of others preponderate at others. Without this mutual disposition we are disjointed individuals, but not a society. My position is painful enough between federalists who cry out on the first touch of their monopoly, and republicans who clamor for universal removal. A subdivision of the latter will increase the perplexity. I am proceeding with deliberation and inquiry to do what I think just to both descriptions and conciliatory to both. The greatest good we can do our country is to heal it’s party divisions & make them one people. I do not speak of their leaders who are incurable, but of the honest and well-intentioned body of the people. I consider the pure federalist as a republican who would prefer a somewhat stronger executive; and the republican as one more willing to trust the legislature as a broader representation of the people, and a safer deposit of power for many reasons. But both sects are republican, entitled to the confidence of their fellow citizens. Not so their quondam leaders, covering under the mask of federalism hearts devoted to monarchy. The Hamiltonians, the Essex-men, the revolutionary tories &c. They have a right to tolerance, but neither to confidence nor power. It is very important that the pure federalist and republican should see in the opinion of each other but a shade of his own, which by a union of action will be lessened by one-half: that they should see & fear the monarchist as their Edition: current; Page: [282] common enemy, on whom they should keep their eyes, but keep off their hands. But in Delaware it seems we have a preliminary operation to reconcile dissenting republicans. For how can federalists coalesce with those who will not coalesce with each other. I know too well, my friend, your moderation, your justice, your affection to rational liberty, to doubt your best endeavours to heal this two-fold operation. The purity and perspicuity of your views are respected by all parties. I hope much then from their effect, & that operating on the good sense and patriotism of the friends of free government of every shade, they will spare us the painful, the deplorable spectacle of brethren sacrificing to small passions the great, the immortal and immutable rights of men. May heaven prosper you in your endeavours, & long preserve in health & life a consistent patriot, whose principles have stood unchanged by prosperous and adverse times, whom neither the “civium ardor prava jubentium, Nec vultus instante tyranni monte quatit solida.”

I tender you the homage of my constant & affectionate friendship & respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 24, 1801
Washington
Thomas Mckean
Mckean, Thomas

to thomas mckean

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 21st is duly received. It is on a subject the most difficult of all we have to act on. My idea is that the mass of our countrymen, even of those who call themselves Federalists, are republicans. They differ from us but in Edition: current; Page: [283] a shade of more or less power to be given to the Executive or Legislative organ. They were decoyed into the net of monarchists by the X. Y. Z. contrivance, but they are come or are coming back. So much moderation in our proceedings as not to revolt them while doubting or newly joined with us and they will coalesce and grow to us as one flesh. But any violence against their quondam leaders before they are thoroughly weaned from them, would carry them back again. Some states require a different regimen from others. What is done in one state very often shocks another, though where it is done it is wholesome. South of the Potomac not a single removal has been asked. On the contrary they are urgent that none shall be made. Accordingly only one has been made, which was for malversation. They censure much the removals north of this. You see, therefore, what various tempers we have to harmonize. Yet to restore that harmony which our predecessors so wickedly made it their object to break up, to render us again one people, acting as one nation, should be the object of every man really a patriot. I am satisfied it can be done, and I own that the day which should convince me of the contrary would be the bitterest of my life. By the time you receive this you will probably see in the public papers my answer to the Newhaven remonstrance. I gladly availed myself of the opportunity it furnished of correcting the misconstructions of what I said on the 4th of July [sic], and of explaining the course I am pursuing. I hope the ardent republicans will acquiesce in it. It will furnish new texts Edition: current; Page: [284] for the monarchists. But from them I ask nothing, I wish nothing but their eternal hatred. If that evidence of my conduct were to cease, I should become suspicious to myself. But between the Monarchist and the Federalist I draw a clear line. The latter is a sect of republicanism, the former it’s implacable enemy. I am persuaded that you will approve of the course of proceedings explained in my answer to Newhaven, and that our friends in general, seeing what our plan is, will be satisfied with it’s expediency. But there is a rock ahead, far more dangerous than that of monarchism. It is the discord showing itself among the republicans. In no place is it so threatening as in Delaware. The republicans there are fallen into open schism, & that at the approach of an all important election wherein their whole force united is not certainly known to be sufficient. You, my dear sir, can be instrumental to their reconciliation, you will save the republican cause in that state, which otherwise is lost. Some threatening symptoms show themselves in Pennsylvania also. I hope that mutual sacrifice will produce accommodations. I am much gratified by receiving your letter. Anxious as I am to harmonize my fellow citizens (do not suppose I mean the Hamiltonians, Essex-men, &c. incurable monocrats) I am rejoiced to receive information from every quarter, to know the opinion of every one. Your station enables you to take a broad view, and your communications therefore are always of the first value. Accept assurances of my friendly esteem and high consideration.

Edition: current; Page: [285]

P. S. I leave this the 30th instant to be absent during the months of August & Sep. which I am afraid to pass on the tidewaters. I hope the circumstances on which your visit to this place depends will admit of its being postponed till our return, as it would give me the greatest pleasure to receive you here.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 12, 1801
Monticello
James Madison
Madison, James

to the secretary of state (james madison.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Doctr. Rose delivered me last night the letter with which you charged him, and I have thought it better to attend to it’s contents at once before the arrival of the load of other business which this morning’s post will bring. Pinckney’s, Orr’s, Livermore’s, Howell’s, Webster’s, Murray’s, Otis’s, Graham’s & Thornton’s letters, with Wagner’s sketch of an answer to the latter are all returned herewith. Reed’s papers being voluminous have not been read. I thought a commission as District attorney had been forwarded to Howell: if so, his letter is not intelligible to me, where he says he is ready prepared to quit his office when a more deserving person shall be thought of. That he would have preferred himself to Barnes as judge is evident enough. Tho’ I view Webster as a mere pedagogue, of very limited understanding and very strong prejudices and party passions, yet as editor of a paper and as of the Newhaven association, he may be worth striking. His letter leaves two very fair points whereon to answer Edition: current; Page: [286] him. 1. the justice of making vacancies in order to introduce a participation of office. 2. That admitted, the propriety of preventing men indecently appointed & not yet warm in the seat of office from continuing, rather than to remove those fairly appointed and long in possession. As to Goodrich and Bishop it would be like talking to the deaf to say anything to a man as immovably biassed as he is. Thornton’s letter is the same I have seen before I left Washington. When we consider that our minister has to wait months & years for an answer to the most trifling or most urgent application to his government, there would be no indecency to decline answering so crude an application as this respecting the prize, which he does not know if it be prize or not, brought into Boston as the newspapers say. I think it better to avoid determining, with foreign ministers, hypothetical cases. They may by stating possible cases, so employ us as to leave no time for those which are actual. The actual furnish occupation enough for our whole time. Perhaps the case of giving or refusing asylum for prizes may never arise. Yet if we predetermine it, we shall be led into all the altercation & discussion which would be necessary were we obliged to decide it. I think therefore the answer to Thornton might be that his letter being hypothetical presents two questions, calling for very different considerations, both of which it cannot now be necessary to determine. That both are founded on newspaper information only, which is too uncertain ground for the government to act on: and that so soon as certain information shall Edition: current; Page: [287] be received that any such case has happened and what the exact nature of the case is, we will do on it what shall be right. I have been reading Schlegel’s pamphlet with great attention. It contains a great deal of sound information. He does not however prove that in cases uncontroulled by treaty, the nations of Europe (or a single one of them in a single case) have practised on the principle, as a principle of natural law, that free bottoms make free goods. His own facts shew that the principle practised on in the earliest times was that an enemy’s goods in a friend’s bottom are lawful prize: that on an attempt by the Dutch to introduce the other principle, it was overborne by Lewis XIV & by England, and the old principle adhered to. Still it does not follow but that a sound principle may have been smothered by powerful states acting on a temporary interest, and that we have always a right to correct ancient errors, & to establish what is more conformable to reason & convenience. This is the ground we must take.

I shall rejoice to see Mrs. Madison, yourself & the class heroine here. Observe that the governor is at Richmond every other Saturday. He goes down this day & will be back on Tuesday. Accept assurances of my affectionate friendship.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 26, 1801
Monticello
Pierce Butler
Butler, Pierce

to pierce butler

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 14th came to hand on the 20th. I thank you for the information it contained. It is of that kind which I am anxious to Edition: current; Page: [288] receive. After so long and complete an exclusion from office as republicans have suffered in so much that every place is filled with their opponents justice as well as principle requires that they should have some participation. I believe they will be contented with less than their just share for the sake of peace & conciliation. This latter motive has weighed powerfully with me to do as little in the way of removal as circumstances will admit: for after the bloody severance of the nation into two parts which our predecessors affected, the first duty of every patriot is to reunite and heal the severed parts. Exclusive possession [faded] one party; removal the other. Yet both must be brought together. The [faded] of the Southern republicans has been really magnanimous. In Maryland little has been asked, in Virginia N. Cara, Georgia, not one. As to S. Carol I do not think we are yet well enough informed to do anything, but I am extremely happy to find you disapprove of much removal. You say “there are perhaps two or three at most, who, it appears to you should be removed, that the citizens in particular whose continuance in office will disgust every republican in the state.” May I ask of you who is the one, who are the two or three? I do it under the seal of confidence & with no earthly wish than to use it for the best purpose of the common cause. Our views are to do little more in the way of removal. We shall get through it in the course of the year. After which the measures we shall pursue & propose will I hope have the effect of forming into one body all except the monarchical federalists who Edition: current; Page: [289] are incurable & hopeless. Accept assurances of my friendly attachment & high respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 26, 1801
Monticello
Levi Lincoln
Lincoln, Levi

to the attorney-general (levi lincoln.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

— * * * I am glad to learn from you that the answer to NewHaven had a good effect in Massachusetts on the republicans, & no ill effects on the sincere federalists. I had foreseen, years ago, that the first republican President who should come into office after all the places in the government had become exclusively occupied by federalists, would have a dreadful operation to perform. That the republicans would consent to a continuation of everything in federal hands, was not to be expected, because neither just nor politic. On him, then, was to devolve the office of an executioner, that of lopping off. I cannot say that it has worked harder than I expected. You know the moderation of our views in this business, and that we all concurred in them. We determined to proceed with deliberation. This produced impatience in the republicans, and a belief we meant to do nothing. Some occasion of public explanation was eagerly desired, when the NewHaven remonstrance offered us that occasion. The answer was meant as an explanation to our friends. It has had on them, everywhere, the most wholesome effect. Appearances of schismatizing from us have been entirely done away. I own I expected it Edition: current; Page: [290] would check the current with which the republican federalists were returning to their brethren, the republicans. I extremely lamented this effect; for the moment which should convince me that a healing of the nation into one is impracticable, would be the last moment of my wishing to remain where I am. (Of the monarchical federalists I have no expectations. They are incurables, to be taken care of in a mad house, if necessary, & on motives of charity.) I am much pleased, therefore, with your information that the republican federalists are still coming in to the desired union. The Eastern newspapers had given me a different impression, because I supposed the printers knew the taste of their customers, and cooked their dishes to their palates. The Palladium is understood to be the clerical paper, & from the clergy I expect no mercy. They crucified their Saviour, who preached that their kingdom was not of this world; and all who practise on that precept must expect the extreme of their wrath. The laws of the present day withhold their hands from blood; but lies and slander still remain to them.

I am satisfied that the heaping of abuse on me, personally, has been with the design & hope of provoking me to make a general sweep of all federalists out of office. But as I have carried no passion into the execution of this disagreeable duty, I shall suffer none to be excited. The clamor which has been raised will not provoke me to remove one more, nor deter me from removing one less, than if not a word had been said on the subject. In Massachusetts, you may be assured, great moderation will be used. Edition: current; Page: [291] Indeed, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania & Delaware, are the only States where anything considerable is desired. In the course of the summer all which is necessary will be done; and we may hope that this cause of offence being at an end, the measures we shall pursue & propose for the amelioration of the public affairs will be so confessedly salutary as to unite all men not monarchists in principle.

We have considerable hopes of republican senators from S. Carolina, Maryland & Delaware, & some as to Vermont. In any event, we are secure of a majority in the Senate; and consequently that there will be a concert of action between the Legislature & executive. The removal of excrescences from the judiciary is the universal demand. We propose to re-assemble at Washington on the last day of September. Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem & high respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
August 28, 1801
Monticello
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert

to the secretary of the treasury (albert gallatin.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favors of the 18th and 24th came by yesterday’s post. I am sorry Mr. Clay declines the consulship; it would have been very pleasing to us to replace our minister at Lisbon by such a consul as Clay. Perhaps reconsideration and inquiry into the advantages of the situation may reconcile it to him. I have not here my bundle of Edition: current; Page: [292] claims for office, and therefore cannot propose a successor for Colonel White in Jersey. Your acquaintance in the State will better enable you to do it. I have written to three gentlemen of great discretion, one at Norfolk, the others near Hampton, on the subject of Chisman. I have an answer from the one at Norfolk, who has never heard of him. I shall hear from the others before the next post. I have known Mr. Page from the time we were boys and classmates together and love him as a brother, but I have always known him the worst judge of man existing. He has fallen a sacrifice to the ease with which he gives his confidence to those who deserve it or not. Still, if we hear nothing against Chisman, we may venture to do what may be agreeable to Mr. Page. I am very anxious to do something useful for him; and so universally is he esteemed in this country, that no man’s promotion would be more generally approved. He has not an enemy in the world. But we have but one officer here whom the general voice, Whig and Tory, marks for removal; and I am not well enough acquainted with its duties to be certain that they are adapted to Mr. Page’s talent. The explanation you give of the nature of the office proposed for Jonas Clarke silences my doubts, and I agree to the appointment. I think we should do justice to Campbell and Gardner, and cannot suppose the Auditor will think hard of replacing them in their former berths. He has seen us restore officers where we thought their removal unjust, and cannot therefore view it in this case as meant to censure himself specially. Specific Edition: current; Page: [293] restitution is the particular measure of justice which the case calls for.

The doctrine as to the admission of prizes, maintained by the government from the commencement of the war between England, France, &c., to this day, has been this: the treaties give a right to armed vessels, with their prizes, to go where they please (consequently into our ports), and that these prizes shall not be detained, seized, nor adjudicted; but that the armed vessel may depart as speedily as may be, with her prize, to the place of her commission; and we are not to suffer their enemies to sell in our ports the prizes taken by their privateers. Before the British treaty, no stipulation stood in the way of permitting France to sell her prizes here; and we did permit it, but expressly as a favor, not as a right. See letter of August 16, 1793, to Gouverneur Morris, § 4, and other letters in that correspondence, which I cannot now turn to. These stipulations admit the prizes to put into our ports in cases of necessity, or perhaps of convenience, but no right to remain if disagreeable to us; and absolutely not to be sold. We have accordingly lately ordered away a British vessel brought in by a Spanish armed ship, and I have given it as my opinion to Mr. Madison that the British snow Windsor, lately brought in by the Prisoners she was carrying, ought to be sent away. My opinion is, that whatever we are free to do we ought to do to throw difficulties in the way of the depredations committed on commerce, and chiefly our own commerce. In the case of the Spanish privateer at Wilmington North Carolina, who Edition: current; Page: [294] wants to sell as much of his prize as will refit the privateer, it is absolutely forbidden. The directions you have already given as to the prize herself coincide perfectly with what I think right. No pardon has come to me from Mr. Wagner for Hopkins. I consent to the transfer you propose of the superintendent of the light-houses of Portsmouth and New York to the present collectors of those ports, and to the appointment of the collector for Savannah recommended by General Jackson, if you learn nothing to the contrary from the delegates. Accept assurance of my affectionate esteem and high respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 28, 1801
Monticello
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to the u. s. minister to france (robert r. livingston.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 10th instant came to hand yesterday, & I receive it with the respect & attention with which I do everything coming from you. Nothing can be done on the subject of it till after my return to Washington, which will probably be after your departure for France. Whatever may be determined by the gentlemen of the administration on the subject of Mr. Davis, other candidates have been brought forward on grounds so respectable that the prospects of any new candidate cannot but be very doubtful. On this view of the subject I could not undertake to recommend the change in the destination of Mr. Edward P. Livingston in his intended journey with you.

We are in hourly expectation of receiving information Edition: current; Page: [295] that the treaty with France is ratified. The only letter from Dawson supposes it unquestionable and that it will be without delay. I am afraid that government may have ideas of sending either La Forest or Otto here. I believe them both unprincipled men, and entirely anti-revolutionary, & so much in sympathy with the monarchical federalists here, that I should expect nothing less than their betraying to them every transaction which should pass with the Executive. Under this impression we could never say a word to either which we should not be willing to publish at once. Whether our suspicions are just or not, their office would [subvert (?)] whatever should depend on confidential communications. Should no appointment be made before your arrival at Paris, it would be important that that government should be apprised in some delicate way that however confidential these men might be with the opposition, they cannot be so with any administration here which shall be republican. I shall trouble you with another letter before your departure. Health & happiness.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 9, 1801
Monticello
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to the u. s. minister to france (robert r. livingston.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—You will receive, probably by this post, from the Secretary of State, his final instructions for your mission to France. We have not thought it necessary to say anything in them on the great question of the maritime law of nations, which Edition: current; Page: [296] at present agitates Europe; that is to say, whether free ships shall make free goods; because we do not mean to take any side in it during the war. But, as I had before communicated to you some loose thoughts on that subject, and have since considered it with somewhat more attention, I have thought it might not be unuseful that you should possess my ideas in a more matured form than that in which they were before given. Unforeseen circumstances may perhaps oblige you to hazard an opinion, on some occasion or other, on this subject, and it is better that it should not be at variance with ours. I write this, too, myself, that it may not be considered as official, but merely my individual opinion, unadvised by those official counsellors whose opinions I deem my safest guide, & should unquestionably take in form, were circumstances to call for a solemn decision of the question.

When Europe assumed the general form in which it is occupied by the nations now composing it, and turned its attention to maritime commerce, we found among its earliest practices, that of taking the goods of an enemy from the ship of a friend; and that into this practice every maritime State went sooner or later, as it appeared on the theatre of the ocean. If, therefore, we are to consider the practice of nations as the sole & sufficient evidence of the law of nature among nations, we should unquestionably place this principle among those of natural laws. But it’s inconveniences, as they affected neutral nations peaceably pursuing their commerce, and it’s tendency to embroil them with the powers happening Edition: current; Page: [297] to be at war, and thus to extend the flames of war, induced nations to introduce by special compacts, from time to time, a more convenient rule; that “free ships should make free goods”; and this latter principle has by every maritime nation of Europe been established, to a greater or less degree, in it’s treaties with other nations; insomuch, that all of them have, more or less frequently, assented to it, as a rule of action in particular cases. Indeed, it is now urged, and I think with great appearance of reason, that this is genuine principle dictated by national morality; & that the first practice arose from accident, and the particular convenience of the States1 which first figured on the water, rather than from well-digested reflections on the relations of friend and enemy, on the rights of territorial jurisdiction, & on the dictates of moral law applied to these. Thus it had never been supposed lawful, in the territory of a friend to seize the goods of an enemy. On an element which nature has not subjected to the jurisdiction of any particular nation, but has made common to all for the purposes to which it is fitted, it would seem that the particular portion of it which happens to be occupied by the vessel of any nation, in the course of it’s voyage, is for the moment, the exclusive property of that nation, and, with the vessel, is exempt from intrusion by any other, & from it’s jurisdiction, as much as if it were lying in the harbor of it’s sovereign. In no country, we believe, is the rule otherwise, as to the subjects of property common to all. Thus the place Edition: current; Page: [298] occupied by an individual in a highway, a church, a theatre, or other public assembly, cannot be intruded on, while it’s occupant holds it for the purposes of it’s institution. The persons on board a vessel traversing the ocean, carry with them the laws of their nation, have among themselves a jurisdiction, a police, not established by their individual will, but by the authority of their nation, of whose territory their vessel still seems to compose a part, so long as it does not enter the exclusive territory of another. No nation ever pretended a right to govern by their laws the ship of another nation navigating the ocean. By what law then can it enter that ship while in peaceable & orderly use of the common element? We recognize no natural precept for submission to such a right; & perceive no distinction between the movable & immovable jurisdiction of a friend, which would authorize the entering the one & not the other, to seize the property of an enemy.

It may be objected that this proves too much, as it proves you cannot enter the ship of a friend to search for contraband of war. But this is not proving too much. We believe the practice of seizing what is called contraband of war, is an abusive practice, not founded in natural right. War between two nations cannot diminish the rights of the rest of the world remaining at peace. The doctrine that the rights of nations remaining quietly under the exercise of moral & social duties, are to give way to the convenience of those who prefer plundering & murdering one another, is a monstrous doctrine; and Edition: current; Page: [299] ought to yield to the more rational law, that “the wrongs which two nations endeavor to inflict on each other, must not infringe on the rights or conveniences of those remaining at peace.” And what is contraband, by the law of nature? Either everything which may aid or comfort an enemy, or nothing. Either all commerce which would accommodate him is unlawful, or none is. The difference between articles of one or another description, is a difference in degree only. No line between them can be drawn. Either all intercourse must cease between neutrals & belligerents, or all be permitted. Can the world hesitate to say which shall be the rule? Shall two nations turning tigers, break up in one instant the peaceable relations of the whole world? Reason & nature clearly pronounce that the neutral is to go on in the enjoyment of all it’s rights, that it’s commerce remains free, not subject to the jurisdiction of another, nor consequently it’s vessels to search, or to enquiries whether their contents are the property of an enemy, or are of those which have been called contraband of war.

Nor does this doctrine contravene the right of preventing vessels from entering a blockaded port. This right stands on other ground. When the fleet of any nation actually beleaguers the port of its enemy, no other has a right to enter their line, any more than their line of battle in the open sea, or their lines of circumvallation, or of encampment, or of battle array on land. The space included within their lines in any of those cases, is either the property of their enemy, or it is common property assumed and Edition: current; Page: [300] possessed for the moment, which cannot be intruded on, even by a neutral, without committing the very trespass we are now considering, that of intruding into the lawful possession of a friend.

Although I consider the observance of these principles as of great importance to the interests of peaceable nations, among whom I hope the U S will ever place themselves, yet in the present state of things they are not worth a war. Nor do I believe war the most certain means of enforcing them. Those peaceable coercions which are in the power of every nation, if undertaken in concert & in time of peace, are more likely to produce the desired effect.

The opinions I have here given are those which have generally been sanctioned by our government. In our treaties with France, the United Netherlands, Sweden & Prussia, the principles of free bottom, free goods, was uniformly maintained. In the instructions of 1784, given by Congress to their ministers appointed to treat with the nations of Europe generally, the same principle, and the doing away contraband of war, were enjoined, and were acceded to in the treaty signed with Portugal. In the late treaty with England, indeed, that power perseveringly refused the principle of free bottoms, free goods; and it was avoided in the late treaty with Prussia, at the instance of our then administration, lest it should seem to take side in a question then threatening decision by the sword. At the commencement of the war between France & England, the representative of the French republic then residing in the U S, complaining that the British armed ships captured Edition: current; Page: [301] French property in American bottoms, insisted that the principle of “free bottoms, free goods,” was of the acknowledged law of nations; that the violation of that principle by the British was a wrong committed on us, and such an one as we ought to repel by joining in a war against that country. We denied his position, and appealed to the universal practice of Europe, in proof that the principle of “free bottoms, free goods,” was not acknowledged as of the natural law of nations, but only of it’s conventional law. And I believe we may safely affirm, that not a single instance can be produced where any nation of Europe, acting professedly under the law of nations alone, unrestrained by treaty, has, either by it’s executive or judiciary organs, decided on the principle of “free bottoms, free goods.” Judging of the law of nations by what has been practised among nations, we were authorized to say that the contrary principle was their rule, and this but an exception to it, introduced by special treaties in special cases only; that having no treaty with England substituting this instead of the ordinary rule, we had neither the right nor the disposition to go to war for it’s establishment. But though we would not then, nor will we now, engage in war to establish this principle, we are nevertheless sincerely friendly to it. We think that the nations of Europe have originally set out in error; that experience has proved the error oppressive to the rights and interests of the peaceable part of mankind; that every nation but one has acknoleged this, by consenting to the change, & that one has consented in particular cases; Edition: current; Page: [302] that nations have a right to correct an erroneous principle, & to establish that which is right as their rule of action; and if they should adopt measures for effecting this in a peaceable way, we shall wish them success, and not stand in their way to it. But should it become, at any time, expedient for us to cooperate in the establishment of this principle, the opinion of the executive, on the advice of it’s constitutional counsellors, must then be given; & that of the legislature, an independent & essential organ in the operation, must also be expressed; in forming which, they will be governed, every man by his own judgment, and may, very possibly, judge differently from the executive. With the same honest views, the most honest men often form different conclusions. As far, however, as we can judge, the principle of “free bottoms, free goods,” is that which would carry the wishes of our nation.

Wishing you smooth seas and prosperous gales, with the enjoyment of good health, I tender you the assurances of my constant friendship & high consideration and respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 12, 1801
Monticello
James Madison
Madison, James

to the secretary of state (james madison.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Yours of yesterday was delivered by your express about five o’clock in the evening. My occupations for the departing post have prevented my answering instantly.

No commission nor letter of credence was signed Edition: current; Page: [303] for Mr. Livingston before we left Washington. I think the Boston has not yet left Boston for New York. I presume therefore that we can sign those papers in time after our return to Washington. I suspect on view of Murray’s letters that the real obstacle to the ratification is nothing more than a desire to obtain an express renunciation of the demand of indemnities. If this be the case it will probably be ratified on that condition. On the established principle that everything is abandoned which is not provided for in a treaty of peace, the express abandonment would not be necessary if the 2d article is expunged. Suppose we were to instruct Livingston in case he finds on arrival in Paris that the ratification is withheld, that he propose the single article for the restitution of prizes, and say to them that with every disposition towards them of perfect friendliness and free commerce we are willing to trust, without a treaty to the mutual interests of the two countries for dictating the terms of our commercial relations, not doubting that each will give the best terms in practice to the other, that on the expiration of the British treaty we shall probably do the same with that nation and so with others. Unless indeed events should render it practicable to sign a short formula merely explanatory or amendatory of the L. of Nations in a few special articles. The being in freedom to refuse entrance in time of war to armed ships, or prizes, to refuse or send off ministers and consuls in time of war, is a most desirable situation in my judgment. I wonder to see such an arrearage from the Department of State to our bankers in Edition: current; Page: [304] Holland. Our predecessors seem to have levied immense sums from their constituents merely to feed favorites by large advances, and thus to purchase by corruption an extension of their influence and power. Their just debts appear to have been left in the background. I understood that the advance to Genl. Lloyd was to relieve his distress, and the contract a mere cover for letting him have the benefit of the 5,000 D. What would you think of agreeing to annul the contract on his previous actual reimbursement of the money? I think we may conclude with tolerable certainty that the Tripolitans had not taken any of our vessels before Dale’s arrival at Gibraltar. What a pity he did not know of the war, that he might have taken their admiral and his ship.

Mr. Church does not exactly ask for a restoration of his consulship at Lisbon: But I am inclined to think it the very best step we can take. However this may be a subject of conversation when we meet. I am happy to hear your complaint has been so slight. I hope the great change in the weather since last night will secure us against the return of any more very hot weather. My respects to the ladies, and sincere and affectionate esteem to yourself.

P. S. All the papers are returned except Davis’ letter recommending a collector for the Ohio district.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
September 18, 1801
Monticello
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert

to the secretary of the treasury (albert gallatin.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—* * * With respect to Gardner and Campbell, I must leave them to yourself. I Edition: current; Page: [305] think we are bound to take care of them. Could we not procure them as good births as their former at least, in some of the custom-houses? One part of the subject of one of your letters is of a nature which forbids my interference altogether. The amendment to the Constitution, of which you speak, would be a remedy to a certain degree. So will a different amendment which I know will be proposed, to wit, to have no electors, but let the people vote directly, and the ticket which has a plurality of the votes of any State to be considered as receiving thereby the whole vote of the State. Our motions with respect to Livingston are easily explained: it was impossible for him to go off in the instant he was named, or on shorter warning than two or three months. In the meantime Bingham and others, mercantile men, complained in Congress that we were losing so many thousand dollars every day till the ratification of the treaty. A vessel to carry it was prepared by our predecessors, and all the preparatory expenses of her mission incurred. This is the reason why Mr. L. did not go then. The reason why he must go now is that difficulties have arisen unexpectedly in the ratification of the treaty, which we believe him more capable of getting over than Mr. Murray. We think that the state of the treaty there calls for the presence of a person of talents and confidence; we would rather trust him than Murray in shaping any new modification.

I sincerely congratulate you on the better health of your son, as well as the new addition to your family, and Mrs. Gallatin’s convalescence. I consider Edition: current; Page: [306] it as a trying experiment for a person from the mountains to pass the two bilious months on the tide-water. I have not done it these forty-years, and nothing should induce me to do it. As it is not possible but that the Administration must take some portion of time for their own affairs, I think it best they should select that season for absence. General Washington set the example of those two months; Mr. Adams extended them to eight months. I should not suppose our bringing it back to two months a ground for grumbling, but, grumble who will, I will never pass those two months on tide-water. Accept assurances of my constant and sincere esteem and respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
October 3, 1801
Washington
William Short
Short, William

to william short

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—* * * I trusted to Mr. Dawson to give you a full explanation, verbally, on a subject which I find he has but slightly mentioned to you. I shall therefore now do it. When I returned from France, after an absence of 6. or 7. years, I was astonished at the change which I found had taken place in the U S in that time. No more like the same people; their notions, their habits & manners, the course of their commerce, so totally changed, that I, who stood in those of 1784, found myself not at all qualified to speak their sentiments, or forward their views in 1790. Very soon, therefore, after entering on the office of Sec. of State, I recommended to Gen. Washington to establish as a rule of practice, Edition: current; Page: [307] that no person should be continued on foreign mission beyond an absence of 6., 7., or 8. years. He approved it. On the only subsequent missions which took place in my time, the persons appointed were notified that they could not be continued beyond that period. All returned within it except Humphreys. His term was not quite out when Gen. Washington went out of office. The succeeding administration had no rule for anything; so he continued. Immediately on my coming to the administration, I wrote to him myself, reminded him of the rule I had communicated to him on his departure; that he had then been absent about 11. years, and consequently must return. On this ground solely he was superseded. Under these circumstances, your appointment was impossible after an absence of 17. years. Under any others, I should never fail to give to yourself & the world proofs of my friendship for you, & of my confidence in you. Whenever you shall return, you will be sensible in a greater, of what I was in a smaller degree, of the change in this nation from what it was when we both left it in 1784. We return like foreigners, &, like them, require a considerable residence here to become Americanized.

The state of political opinions continues to return steadily towards republicanism. To judge from the opposition papers, a stranger would suppose that a considerable check to it had been produced by certain removals of public officers. But this is not the case. All offices were in the hands of the federalists. The injustice of having totally excluded republicans was acknoleged by every man. To have removed one Edition: current; Page: [308] half, & to have placed republicans in their stead, would have been rigorously just, when it was known that these composed a very great majority of the nation. Yet such was their moderation in most of the States, that they did not desire it. In these, therefore, no removals took place but for malversation. In the middle States the contention had been higher, spirits were more sharpened & less accommodating. It was necessary in these two to practise a different treatment, and to make a few changes to tranquilize the injured party. A few have been made there, a very few still remain to be made. When this painful operation shall be over, I see nothing else ahead of us which can give uneasiness to any of our citizens, or retard that consolidation of sentiment so essential to our happiness & our strength. The tory papers will still find fault with everything. But these papers are sinking daily, from their dissonance with the sentiments of their subscribers, & very few will shortly remain to keep up a solitary & ineffectual barking.

There is no point in which an American, long absent from his country, wanders so widely from its sentiments as on the subject of its foreign affairs. We have a perfect horror at everything like connecting ourselves with the politics of Europe. It would indeed be advantageous to us to have neutral rights established on a broad ground; but no dependence can be placed in any European coalition for that. They have so many other bye-interests of greater weight, that some one or other will always be bought off. To be entangled with them would be a much Edition: current; Page: [309] greater evil than a temporary acquiescence in the false principles which have prevailed. Peace is our most important interest, and a recovery from debt. We feel ourselves strong, & daily growing stronger. The census just now concluded, shows we have added to our population a third of what it was 10. years ago. This will be a duplication in 23. or 24. years. If we can delay but for a few years the necessity of vindicating the laws of nature on the ocean, we shall be the more sure of doing it with effect. The day is within my time as well as yours, when we may say by what laws other nations shall treat us on the sea. And we will say it. In the meantime, we wish to let every treaty we have drop off without renewal. We call in our diplomatic missions, barely keeping up those to the most important nations. There is a strong disposition in our countrymen to discontinue even these; and very possibly it may be done. Consuls will be continued as usual. The interest which European nations feel, as well as ourselves, in the mutual patronage of commercial intercourse, is a sufficient stimulus on both sides to insure that patronage. A treaty, contrary to that interest, renders war necessary to get rid of it.

I send this by Chancellor Livingston, named to the Senate the day after I came into office, as our M.P. to France. I have taken care to impress him with the value of your society. You will find him an able and honorable man; unfortunately, so deaf that he will have to transact all his business by writing. You will have known long ago that Mr. Skipwith is reinstated in his consulship, as well as some others who Edition: current; Page: [310] had been set aside. I recollect no domestic news interesting to you. Your letters to your brother have been regularly transmitted, & I lately forwarded one from him, to be carried you by Mr. Livingston.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 6, 1801
Washington

circular to the heads of the departments

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Coming all of us into executive office, new, and unfamiliar with the course of business previously practised, it was not to be expected we should in the first outset, adopt in every part a line of proceeding so perfect as to admit no amendment. The mode & degrees of communication, particularly between the Presidents & heads of departments, have not been practised exactly on the same scale in all of them. Yet it would certainly be more safe & satisfactory for ourselves as well as the public, that not only the best, but also an uniform course of proceeding as to manner & degree, should be observed. Having been a member of the first administration under Gen Washington, I can state with exactness what our course then was. Letters of business came addressed sometimes to the President, but most frequently to the heads of departments. If addressed to himself, he referred them to the proper department to be acted on: if to one of the secretaries, the letter, if it required no answer, was communicated to the President, simply for his information. If an answer was requisite, the secretary of the department communicated the Edition: current; Page: [311] letter & his proposed answer to the President. Generally they were simply sent back after perusal, which signified his approbation. Sometimes he returned them with an informal note, suggesting an alteration or a query. If a doubt of any importance arose, he reserved it for conference. By this means, he was always in accurate possession of all facts and proceedings in every part of the Union, and to whatsoever department they related; he formed a central point for the different branches; preserved an unity of object and action among them; exercised that participation in the suggestion of affairs which his office made incumbent on him; and met himself the due responsibility for whatever was done. During Mr. Adams’ administration, his long and habitual absences from the seat of government, rendered this kind of communication impracticable, removed him from any share in the transaction of affairs, and parcelled out the government, in fact, among four independent heads, drawing sometimes in opposite directions. That the former is preferable to the latter course, cannot be doubted. It gave, indeed, to the heads of departments the trouble of making up, once a day, a packet of all their communications for the perusal of the President; it commonly also retarded one day their despatches by mail. But in pressing cases, this injury was prevented by presenting that case singly for immediate attention; and it produced us in return the benefit of his sanction for every act we did. Whether any change of circumstances may render a change in this procedure necessary, a little experience will show us. But I Edition: current; Page: [312] cannot withhold recommending to heads of departments, that we should adopt this course for the present, leaving any necessary modifications of it to time and trial. I am sure my conduct must have proved better, than a thousand declarations would, that my confidence in those whom I am so happy as to have associated with me, is unlimited, unqualified & unabated. I am well satisfied that everything goes on with a wisdom & rectitude which I could not improve. If I had the universe to choose from, I could not change one of my associates to my better satisfaction. My sole motives are those before expressed, as governing the first administration in chalking out the rules of their proceeding; adding to them only a sense of obligation imposed on me by the public will, to meet personally the duties to which they have appointed me. If this mode of proceeding shall meet the approbation of the heads of departments, it may go into execution without giving them the trouble of an answer; if any other can be suggested which would answer our views and add less to their labors, that will be a sufficient reason for my preferring it to my own proposition, to the substance of which only, & not the form, I attach any importance.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 14, 1801
Washington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—The bearer hereof is Mr. Whitney at Connecticut a mechanic of the first order of ingenuity, who invented the cotton gin now so much Edition: current; Page: [313] used in the South; he is at the head of a considerable gun manufactory in Connecticut, and furnishes the U. S. with muskets undoubtedly the best they receive. He has invented molds and machines for making all the pieces of his locks so exactly equal, that take 100 locks to pieces and mingle their parts and the hundred locks may be put together as well by taking the first pieces which come to hand. This is of importance in repairing, because out of 10 locks e.g. disabled for the want of different pieces, 9 good locks may be put together without employing a smith. Leblanc in France had invented a similar process in 1788 and had extended it to the barrel, mounting & stock. I endeavored to get the U. S. to bring him over, which he was ready for on moderate terms. I failed and I do not know what became of him, Mr. Whitney has not yet extended his improvements beyond the lock. I think it possible he might be engaged in our manufactory of Richmd. tho’ I have not asked him the question. I know nothing of his moral character. He is now on his way to S. Carola. on the subject of his gin. Health & happiness cum cæteris votis.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 18, 1801
Washington
Aaron Burr
Burr, Aaron

to aaron burr

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 10th has been received, as have been those also of Sep. 4, & 23. in due time. These letters all relating to office, fall within the general rule which even the very first week Edition: current; Page: [314] of my being engaged in the administration obliged me to establish, to wit, that of not answering letters on office specifically, but leaving the answer to be found in what is done or not done on them. You will readily conceive into what scrapes one would get by saying no, either with or without reason, by using a softer language which might excite false hope or by saying yes prematurely. And to take away all offence from this silent answer, it is necessary to adhere to it in every case rigidly, as well with bosom friends as strangers. Captain Sterritt is arrived here from the Mediterranean. Congress will have a question as to all the Barbary powers of some difficulty. We have had under consideration Mr. Pusy’s plans of fortification. They are scientifically done & expounded. He seems to prove that no works at either the Narrows or Governor’s Island can stop a vessel. But to stop them at the Hook by a fort of 8,000 men and protecting army of 29,000 is beyond our present ideas of the scale of defence which we can adopt for all our sea port towns. His estimate of 4,000,000 D. which experience teaches us to double always, in a case where the law allows but (I believe) half a million, ties our hands at once. We refer the case back to Govr. Clinton to select half a dozen persons of judgment, of Americans ideas, and to present such a plan, within our limits, as these shall agree on. In the meantime the general subject will be laid before Congress. Accept assurances of my high respect & consideration.

Edition: current; Page: [315]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 24, 1801
Washington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to the governor of virginia (james monroe.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I had not been unmindful of your letter of June 15, covering a resolution of the House of Representatives of Virginia, and referred to in yours of the 17th inst. The importance of the subject, and the belief that it gave us time for consideration till the next meeting of the Legislature, have induced me to defer the answer to this date. You will perceive that some circumstances connected with the subject, & necessarily presenting themselves to view, would be improper but for yours’ & the legislative ear. Their publication might have an ill effect in more than one quarter. In confidence of attention to this, I shall indulge greater freedom in writing.

Common malefactors, I presume, make no part of the object of that resolution. Neither their numbers, nor the nature of their offences, seem to require any provisions beyond those practised heretofore, & found adequate to the repression of ordinary crimes. Conspiracy, insurgency, treason, rebellion, among that description of persons who brought on us the alarm, and on themselves the tragedy, of 1800, were doubtless within the view of every one; but many perhaps contemplated, and one expression of the resolution might comprehend, a much larger scope. Respect to both opinions makes it my duty to understand the resolution in all the extent of which it is susceptible.

The idea seems to be to provide for these people Edition: current; Page: [316] by a purchase of lands; and it is asked whether such a purchase can be made of the U S in their western territory? A very great extent of country, north of the Ohio, has been laid off into townships, and is now at market, according to the provisions of the acts of Congress, with which you are acquainted. There is nothing which would restrain the State of Virginia either in the purchase or the application of these lands; but a purchase, by the acre, might perhaps be a more expensive provision than the H of Representatives contemplated. Questions would also arise whether the establishment of such a colony within our limits, and to become a part of our union, would be desirable to the State of Virginia itself, or to the other States—especially those who would be in its vicinity?

Could we procure lands beyond the limits of the U S to form a receptacle for these people? On our northern boundary, the country not occupied by British subjects, is the property of Indian nations, whose title would be to be extinguished, with the consent of Great Britain; & the new settlers would be British subjects. It is hardly to be believed that either Great Britian or the Indian proprietors have so disinterested a regard for us, as to be willing to relieve us, by receiving such a colony themselves; and as much to be doubted whether that race of men could long exist in so rigorous a climate. On our western & southern frontiers, Spain holds an immense country, the occupancy of which, however, is in the Indian natives, except a few insolated spots possessed by Spanish subjects. It is very questionable, Edition: current; Page: [317] indeed, whether the Indians would sell? whether Spain would be willing to receive these people? and nearly certain that she would not alienate the sovereignty. The same question to ourselves would recur here also, as did in the first case: should we be willing to have such a colony in contact with us? However our present interests may restrain us within our own limits, it is impossible not to look forward to distant times, when our rapid multiplication will expand itself beyond those limits, & cover the whole northern, if not the southern continent, with a people speaking the same language, governed in similar forms, & by similar laws; nor can we contemplate with satisfaction either blot or mixture on that surface. Spain, France, and Portugal hold possessions on the southern continent, as to which I am not well enough informed to say how far they might meet our views. But either there or in the northern continent, should the constituted authorities of Virginia fix their attention, of preference, I will have the dispositions of those powers sounded in the first instance.

The West Indies offer a more probable & practicable retreat for them. Inhabited already by a people of their own race & color; climates congenial with their natural constitution; insulated from the other descriptions of men; nature seems to have formed these islands to become the receptacle of the blacks transplanted into this hemisphere. Whether we could obtain from the European sovereigns of those islands leave to send thither the persons under consideration, I cannot say; but I think it more probable Edition: current; Page: [318] than the former propositions, because of their being already inhabited more or less by the same race. The most promising portion of them is the island of St. Domingo, where the blacks are established into a sovereignty de facto, & have organized themselves under regular laws & government. I should conjecture that their present ruler might be willing, on many considerations, to receive even that description which would be exiled for acts deemed criminal by us, but meritorious, perhaps, by him. The possibility that these exiles might stimulate & conduct vindicative or predatory descents on our coasts, & facilitate concert with their brethren remaining here, looks to a state of things between that island & us not probable on a contemplation of our relative strength, and of the disproportion daily growing; and it is overweighed by the humanity of the measures proposed, & the advantages of disembarrassing ourselves of such dangerous characters. Africa would offer a last & undoubted resort, if all others more desirable should fail us. Whenever the Legislature of Virginia shall have brought it’s mind to a point, so that I may know exactly what to propose to foreign authorities, I will execute their wishes with fidelity & zeal. I hope, however, they will pardon me for suggesting a single question for their own consideration. When we contemplate the variety of countries & of sovereigns towards which we may direct our views, the vast revolutions & changes of circumstances which are now in a course of progression, the possibilities that arrangements now to be made, with a view to any particular plan, may, at no Edition: current; Page: [319] great distance of time, be totally deranged by a change of sovereignty, of government, or of other circumstances, it will be for the Legislature to consider whether, after they shall have made all those general provisions which may be fixed by legislative authority, it would be reposing too much confidence in their Executive to leave the place of relegation to be decided on by them. They could accommodate their arrangements to the actual state of things, in which countries or powers may be found to exist at the day; and may prevent the effect of the law from being defeated by intervening changes. This, however, is for them to decide. Our duty will be to respect their decision.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
November 28, 1801
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert

to the secretary of the treasury (albert gallatin.)

j. mss.

Your own opinion and that of the Attorney-General are sufficient authorities to me to approve of prosecuting in the case of the schooner Sally. And I will candidly add that my judgment also concurs. The handcuffs and bolts are palpable testimonials of the intention of the voyage, and the concealment of them and their omission in the statement of the cargo, strengthens the proof. The traffic, too, is so odious that no indulgences can be claimed.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 5, 1801
Washington

to the reverend isaac story

j. mss.

Sir,

—Your favor of Oct 27 was received some time since, and read with pleasure. It is not for me to Edition: current; Page: [320] pronounce on the hypothesis you present of a transmigration of souls from one body to another in certain cases. The laws of nature have withheld from us the means of physical knowledge of the country of spirits, and revelation has, for reasons unknown to us, chosen to leave us in the dark as we were. When I was young I was fond of the speculations which seemed to promise some insight into that hidden country, but observing at length that they left me in the same ignorance in which they had found me, I have for very many years ceased to read or to think concerning them, and have reposed my head on that pillow of ignorance which a benevolent Creator has made so soft for us, knowing how much we should be forced to use it. I have thought it better, by nourishing the good passions & controlling the bad, to merit an inheritance in a state of being of which I can know so little, and to trust for the future to him who has been so good for the past. I perceive too that these speculations have with you been only the amusement of leisure hours; while your labors have been devoted to the education of your children, making them good members of society, to the instructing men in their duties, and performing the other offices of a large parish. I am happy in your approbation of the principles I avowed on entering on the government. Ingenius minds, availing themselves of the imperfection of language, have tortured the expressions out of their plain meaning in order to infer departures from them in practice. If revealed language has not been able to guard itself against misinterpretations, I could not expect it. But if an administration “quadrating with Edition: current; Page: [321] the obvious import of my language can conciliate the affections of my oppressers,” I will merit that conciliation. I pray you to accept assurances of my respect & best wishes.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
December 8, 1801
Madison
Madison

first annual message1

j. mss.

Fellow Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

It is a circumstance of sincere gratification to me that on meeting the great council of our nation, I am able to announce to them, on the grounds of reasonable certainty, that the wars and troubles which have Edition: current; Page: [322] for so many years afflicted our sister nations have at length come to an end, and that the communications of peace and commerce are once more opening among them. While we devoutly return thanks to the beneficent Being who has been pleased to breathe into them the spirit of conciliation and forgiveness, Edition: current; Page: [323] we are bound with peculiar gratitude to be thankful to him that our own peace has been preserved through so perilous a season, and ourselves permitted quietly to cultivate the earth and to practice and improve those arts which tend to increase our comforts. The assurances, indeed, of friendly disposition, received Edition: current; Page: [324] from all the powers with whom we have principal relations, had inspired a confidence that our peace with them would not have been disturbed. But a cessation of the irregularities which had effected the commerce of neutral nations, and of the irritations and injuries produced by them, cannot but add Edition: current; Page: [325] to this confidence; and strengthens, at the same time, the hope, that wrongs committed on offending friends, under a pressure of circumstances, will now be reviewed with candor, and will be considered as founding just claims of retribution for the past and new assurances for the future.

Edition: current; Page: [326]

Among our Indian neighbors, also, a spirit of peace and friendship generally prevails; and I am happy to inform you that the continued efforts to introduce among them the implements and the practice of husbandry, and of the household arts, have not been without success; that they are becoming more and Edition: current; Page: [327] more sensible of the superiority of this dependence for clothing and subsistence over the precarious resources of hunting and fishing; and already we are able to announce, that instead of that constant diminution of their numbers, produced by their wars and their wants, some of them begin to experience an increase of population.

Edition: current; Page: [328]

To this state of general peace with which we have been blessed, one only exception exists. Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary States, had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to denounce Edition: current; Page: [329] war, on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean, Edition: current; Page: [330] with assurances to that power of our sincere desire to remain in peace, but with orders to protect our commerce against the threatened attack. The Edition: current; Page: [331] measure was seasonable and salutary. The bey had already declared war in form. His cruisers were out. Two had arrived at Gibraltar. Our commerce Edition: current; Page: [332] in the Mediterranean was blockaded, and that of the Atlantic in peril. The arrival of our squadron dispelled the danger. One of the Tripolitan cruisers having fallen in with, and engaged the small schooner Enterprise, commanded by Lieutenant Sterret, which had gone as a tender to our larger vessels, was captured, after a heavy slaughter of her men, without the loss of a single one on our part. The bravery exhibited by our citizens on that element, will, I trust, be a testimony to the world that it is not the want of that virtue which makes us seek their peace, but a conscientious desire to direct the energies of our nation to the multiplication of the human race, and not to its destruction. Unauthorized by the constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go out beyond the line of defence, the vessel being disabled from committing further hostilities, was liberated with its crew. The legislature will doubtless consider whether, by authorizing measures of offence, also, they will place our force on an equal footing with that of its adversaries. I communicate all material information on this subject, that in the exercise of the important function considered by the constitution to the legislature exclusively, their judgment may form itself on a knowledge and consideration of every circumstance of weight.

I wish I could say that our situation with all the other Barbary states was entirely satisfactory. Discovering that some delays had taken place in the performance of certain articles stipulated by us, I thought it my duty, by immediate measures for fulfilling them, to vindicate to ourselves the right of Edition: current; Page: [333] considering the effect of departure from stipulation on their side. From the papers which will be laid before you, you will be enabled to judge whether our treaties are regarded by them as fixing at all the measure of their demands, or as guarding from the exercise of force our vessels within their power; and to consider how far it will be safe and expedient to leave our affairs with them in their present posture.

I lay before you the result of the census lately taken of our inhabitants, to a conformity with which we are to reduce the ensuing rates of representation and taxation. You will perceive that the increase of numbers during the last ten years, proceeding in geometrical ratio, promises a duplication in little more than twenty-two years. We contemplate this rapid growth, and the prospect it holds up to us, not with a view to the injuries it may enable us to do to others in some future day, but to the settlement of the extensive country still remaining vacant within our limits, to the multiplications of men susceptible of happiness, educated in the love of order, habituated to self-government, and value its blessings above all price.

Other circumstances, combined with the increase of numbers, have produced an augmentation of revenue arising from consumption, in a ratio far beyond that of population alone, and though the changes of foreign relations now taking place so desirably for the world, may for a season affect this branch of revenue, yet, weighing all probabilities of expense, as well as of income, there is reasonable ground of confidence that we may now safely dispense with all Edition: current; Page: [334] the internal taxes, comprehending excises, stamps, auctions, licenses, carriages, and refined sugars, to which the postage on newspapers may be added, to facilitate the progress of information, and that the remaining sources of revenue will be sufficient to provide for the support of government to pay the interest on the public debts, and to discharge the principals in shorter periods than the laws or the general expectations had contemplated. War, indeed, and untoward events, may change this prospect of things, and call for expenses which the imposts could not meet; but sound principles will not justify our taxing the industry of our fellow citizens to accumulate treasure for wars to happen we know not when, and which might not perhaps happen but from the temptations offered by that treasure.

These views, however, of reducing our burdens, are formed on the expectation that a sensible, and at the same time a salutary reduction, may take place in our habitual expenditures. For this purpose, those of the civil government, the army, and navy, will need revisal.

When we consider that this government is charged with the external and mutual relations only of these states; that the states themselves have principal care of our persons, our property, and our reputation, constituting the great field of human concerns, we may well doubt whether our organization is not too complicated, too expensive; whether offices or officers have not been multiplied unnecessarily, and sometimes injuriously to the service they were meant to promote. I will cause to be laid before you an Edition: current; Page: [335] essay toward a statement of those who, under public employment of various kinds, draw money from the treasury or from our citizens. Time has not permitted a perfect enumeration, the ramifications of office being too multiplied and remote to be completely traced in a first trial. Among those who are dependent on executive discretion, I have begun the reduction of what was deemed necessary. The expenses of diplomatic agency have been considerably diminished. The inspectors of internal revenue who were found to obstruct the accountability of the institution, have been discontinued. Several agencies created by executive authority, on salaries fixed by that also, have been suppressed, and should suggest the expediency of regulating that power by law, so as to subject its exercises to legislative inspection and sanction. Other reformations of the same kind will be pursued with that caution which is requisite in removing useless things, not to injure what is retained. But the great mass of public offices is established by law, and, therefore, by law alone can be abolished. Should the legislature think it expedient to pass this roll in review, and try all its parts by the test of public utility, they may be assured of every aid and light which executive information can yield. Considering the general tendency to multiply offices and dependencies, and to increase expense to the ultimate term of burden which the citizen can bear, it behooves us to avail ourselves of every occasion which presents itself for taking off the surcharge; that it may never be seen here that, after leaving to labor the smallest portion of its earnings on which Edition: current; Page: [336] it can subsist, government shall itself consume the residue of what it was instituted to guard.

In our care, too, of the public contributions intrusted to our direction, it would be prudent to multiply barriers against their dissipation, by appropriating specific sums to every specific purpose susceptible of definition; by disallowing applications of money varying from the appropriation in object, or transcending it in amount; by reducing the undefined field of contingencies, and thereby circumscribing discretionary powers over money; and by bringing back to a single department all accountabilities for money where the examination may be prompt, efficacious, and uniform.

An account of the receipts and expenditures of the last year, as prepared by the secretary of the treasury, will as usual be laid before you. The success which has attended the late sales of the public lands, shows that with attention they may be made an important source of receipt. Among the payments, those made in discharge of the principal and interest of the national debt, will show that the public faith has been exactly maintained. To these will be added an estimate of appropriations necessary for the ensuing year. This last will of course be effected by such modifications of the systems of expense, as you shall think proper to adopt.

A statement has been formed by the secretary of war, on mature consideration, of all the posts and stations where garrisons will be expedient, and of the number of men requisite for each garrison. The whole amount is considerably short of the present Edition: current; Page: [337] military establishment. For the surplus no particular use can be pointed out. For defence against invasion, their number is as nothing; nor is it conceived needful or safe that a standing army should be kept up in time of peace for that purpose. Uncertain as we must ever be of the particular point in our circumference where an enemy may choose to invade us, the only force which can be ready at every point and competent to oppose them, is the body of neighboring citizens as formed into a militia. On these, collected from the parts most convenient, in numbers proportioned to the invading foe, it is best to rely, not only to meet the first attack, but if it threatens to be permanent, to maintain the defence until regulars may be engaged to relieve them. These considerations render it important that we should at every session continue to amend the defects which from time to time show themselves in the laws for regulating the militia, until they are sufficiently perfect. Nor should we now or at any time separate, until we can say we have done everything for the militia which we could do were an enemy at our door.

The provisions of military stores on hand will be laid before you, that you may judge of the additions still requisite.

With respect to the extent to which our naval preparations should be carried, some difference of opinion may be expected to appear; but just attention to the circumstances of every part of the Union will doubtless reconcile all. A small force will probably continue to be wanted for actual service in the Edition: current; Page: [338] Mediterranean. Whatever annual sum beyond that you may think proper to appropriate to naval preparations, would perhaps be better employed in providing those articles which may be kept without waste or consumption, and be in readiness when any exigence calls them into use. Progress has been made, as will appear by papers now communicated, in providing materials for seventy-four gun ships as directed by law.

How far the authority given by the legislature for procuring and establishing sites for naval purposes has been perfectly understood and pursued in the execution, admits of some doubt. A statement of the expenses already incurred on that subject, shall be laid before you. I have in certain cases suspended or slackened these expenditures, that the legislature might determine whether so many yards are necessary as have been contemplated. The works at this place are among those permitted to go on; and five of the seven frigates directed to be laid up, have been brought and laid up here, where, besides the safety of their position, they are under the eye of the executive administration, as well as of its agents and where yourselves also will be guided by your own view in the legislative provisions respecting them which may from time to time be necessary. They are preserved in such condition, as well the vessels as whatever belongs to them, as to be at all times ready for sea on a short warning. Two others are yet to be laid up so soon as they shall have received the repairs requisite to put them also into sound condition. As a superintending Edition: current; Page: [339] officer will be necessary at each yard, his duties and emoluments, hitherto fixed by the executive, will be a more proper subject for legislation. A communication will also be made of our progress in the execution of the law respecting the vessels directed to be sold.

The fortifications of our harbors, more or less advanced, present considerations of great difficulty. While some of them are on a scale sufficiently proportioned to the advantages of their position, to the efficacy of their protection, and the importance of the points within it, others are so extensive, will cost so much in their first erection, so much in their maintenance, and require such a force to garrison them, as to make it questionable what is best now to be done. A statement of those commenced or projected, of the expenses already incurred, and estimates of their future cost, so far as can be foreseen, shall be laid before you, that you may be enabled to judge whether any attention is necessary in the laws respecting this subject.

Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise. Protection from casual embarrassments, however, may sometimes be seasonably interposed. If in the course of your observations or inquiries they should appear to need any aid within the limits of our constitutional powers, your sense of their importance is a sufficient assurance they will occupy your attention. We cannot, indeed, but all feel an anxious solicitude for the difficulties under which our carrying Edition: current; Page: [340] trade will soon be placed. How far it can be relieved, otherwise than by time, is a subject of important consideration.

The judiciary system of the United States, and especially that portion of it recently erected, will of course present itself to the contemplation of Congress; and that they may be able to judge of the proportion which the institution bears to the business it has to perform, I have caused to be procured from the several States, and now lay before Congress, an exact statement of all the causes decided since the first establishment of the courts, and of those which were depending when additional courts and judges were brought in to their aid.

And while on the judiciary organization, it will be worthy your consideration, whether the protection of the inestimable institution of juries has been extended to all the cases involving the security of our persons and property. Their impartial selection also being essential to their value, we ought further to consider whether that is sufficiently secured in those States where they are named by a marshal depending on executive will, or designated by the court or by officers dependent on them.

I cannot omit recommending a revisal of the laws on the subject of naturalization. Considering the ordinary chances of human life, a denial of citizenship under a residence of fourteen years is a denial to a great proportion of those who ask it, and controls a policy pursued from their first settlement by many of these States, and still believed of consequence to their prosperity. And shall we refuse the Edition: current; Page: [341] unhappy fugitives from distress that hospitality which the savages of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe? The constitution, indeed, has wisely provided that, for admission to certain offices of important trust, a residence shall be required sufficient to develop character and design. But might not the general character and capabilities of a citizen be safely communicated to every one manifesting a bona fide purpose of embarking his life and fortunes permanently with us? with restrictions, perhaps, to guard against the fraudulent usurpation of our flag; an abuse which brings so much embarrassment and loss on the genuine citizen, and so much danger to the nation of being involved in war, that no endeavor should be spared to detect and suppress it.1

These, fellow citizens, are the matters respecting the state of the nation, which I have thought of importance to be submitted to your consideration at this time. Some others of less moment, or not yet ready for communication, will be the subject of separate messages. I am happy in this opportunity of committing the arduous affairs of our government Edition: current; Page: [342] to the collected wisdom of the Union. Nothing shall be wanting on my part to inform, as far as in my power, the legislative judgment, nor to carry that judgment into faithful execution. The prudence and temperance of your discussions will promote, within your own walls, that conciliation which so much befriends national conclusion; and by its example will encourage among our constituents that progress of opinion which is tending to unite them in object and in will. That all should be satisfied with any one order of things is not to be expected, but I indulge the pleasing persuasion that the great body of our citizens will cordially concur in honest and disinterested efforts, which have for their object to preserve the general and State governments in their constitutional form and equilibrium; to maintain peace abroad, and order and obedience to the laws at home; to establish principles and practices of administration favorable to the security of liberty and prosperity, and to reduce expenses to what is necessary for the useful purposes of government.1

Edition: current; Page: [343]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 20, 1801
Washington
Doctor Benjamin Rush
Rush, Doctor Benjamin

to doctor benjamin rush

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have received your favor of Nov 27, with your introductory lecture, which I have read Edition: current; Page: [344] with the pleasure and edification I do everything from you. I am happy to see that vaccination is Edition: current; Page: [345] introduced, & likely to be kept up, in Philadelphia; but I shall not think it exhibits all it’s utility until experience shall have hit upon some mark or rule by which the popular eye may distinguish genuine from spurious virus. It was with this view that I wished to discover whether time could not be made the standard, and supposed, from the little experience I had, that matter, taken at 8. times 24. hours from the time of insertion, could always be in the proper state. As far as I went I found it so; but I shall be happy to learn what the immense field of experience in Philadelphia will teach us on that subject.

Our winter campaign has opened with more good humor than I expected. By sending a message, instead of making a speech at the opening of the session, I have prevented the bloody conflict to which the making an answer would have committed them. They consequently were able to set into real business at once, without losing 10. or 12. days in combating an answer. Hitherto there has been no disagreeable altercations. The suppression of useless offices, and lopping off the parasitical plant engrafted at the last session on the judiciary body, will probably produce some. Bitter men are not pleased with the suppression of taxes. Not daring to condemn the measure, they attack the motive; & too disingenuous to ascribe it to the honest one of freeing our citizens from unnecessary burthens and unnecessary systems of office, they ascribe it to a desire of popularity. But every honest man will suppose honest acts to flow from honest principles, & the rogues may rail without intermission.

Edition: current; Page: [346]

My health has been always so uniformly firm, that I have for some years dreaded nothing so much as the living too long. I think, however, that a flaw has appeared which ensures me against that, without cutting short any of the period during which I could expect to remain capable of being useful. It will probably give me as many years as I wish, and without pain or debility. Should this be the case, my most anxious prayers will have been fulfilled by Heaven.

I have said as much to no mortal breathing, and my florid health is calculated to keep my friends as well as foes quiet, as they should be. Accept assurances of my constant esteem & high respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan 1, 1802
Levi Lincoln
Lincoln, Levi

to the attorney general (levi lincoln)

j. mss.

Averse to receive addresses, yet unable to prevent them, I have generally endeavored to turn them to some account, by making them the occasion, by way of answer, of sowing useful truths & principles among the people, which might germinate and become rooted among their political tenets. The Baptist address, now enclosed, admits of a condemnation of the alliance between Church and State, under the authority of the Constitution. It furnishes an occasion, too, which I have long wished to find, of saying why I do not proclaim fastings & thanksgivings, as my predecessors did.

The address, to be sure, does not point at this, & Edition: current; Page: [347] it’s introduction is awkward. But I foresee no opportunity of doing it more pertinently. I know it will give great offence to the New England clergy; but the advocate of religious freedom is to expect neither peace nor forgiveness from them. Will you be so good as to examine the answer, and suggest any alterations which might prevent an ill effect, or promote a good one among the people? You understand the temper of those in the North, and can weaken it, therefore, to their stomachs: it is at present seasoned to the Southern taste only. I would ask the favor of you to return it, with the address, in the course of the day or evening. Health & affection.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 17, 1802
Washington
James Cheetham
Cheetham, James

to james cheetham

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Dec. 29 was received in due time. Although it is all important for public as well as personal considerations, that I should receive information of every interesting occurrence, yet it is little in my power to entitle myself to it by regular correspondence on my part. In fact it is rare I can answer a private letter at all, being for the most part obliged to leave even my best friends to read the answer in what is done, or not done, in consequence of their letters. This must account for my late answer to yours of the 29th ult. and for my failures to answer at all on other occasions. The fact of the suppression of a work mentioned by you is curious, and pregnant with considerations.1 Is it Edition: current; Page: [348] impossible to get a single copy of the work? A good history of the period it comprehended will doubtless be valuable. Should it be undertaken as you suggest, I should suppose it indispensable in you, rather to visit this place, at your own convenience, for the information you desire as to a particular document, and for such other as the work itself will suggest to you. In the meantime I can assure you that I have only read that document with the extracts from it, in Callender’s History of 1796. Pa. 172 to 181 & find the latter not only substantially, but almost verbally exact. With respect to the compensation to the negotiator, I think the printed public accounts show that he received his salary as C. J. and his actual expenses on the mission.

A certain description of persons are so industrious in misconstruing and misrepresenting every word from my pen, that I must pray you, after reading this, to destroy it, that no accident happening to it may furnish matter for new slanders. Accept my respects and best wishes.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 26, 1802
Washington
Wilson Cary Nicholas
Nicholas, Wilson Cary

to wilson cary nicholas

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—The enclosed paper was put into my hands by Mr. Madison to fill up some dates, but I have been so engaged as to do little to it; and supposing you will want it to-day I send it as it is. To that list may be added the appointment of Gouvr. Morris to negotiate with the court of London, by Edition: current; Page: [349] letter written and signed by Genl. Washington, and Dav. Humphreys to negotiate with Liston by letter. Commissions were not given in form because no ministers had yet been sent here by those courts. But all the powers were given them, and half the salary (as they were not to display the diplomatic ranks, half salary was thought sufficient) but they were compleatly officers on salaries, and no notice given the senate till afterwards.

The phrase in the constitution is: “to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate.” This may mean “vacancies that may happen to be” or “may happen to fall” it is certainly susceptible of both constructions, and we took the practice of our predecessors as the commentary established. This was done without deliberation; and we have not before taken an exact view of the precedents. They more than cover our cases, but I think some of them are not justifiable. We propose to take the subject into consideration, and to fix on such a rule of conduct, within the words of the constitution, as may save the government from serious injury, and yet restrain the executive within limits which might admit mischief. You will observe the cases of Reade & Putnam, where the persons nominated declining to accept the vacancy remained unfilled and had happened before the recess. It will be said these vacancies did not remain unfilled by the intention of the executive, who had, by nomination, endeavored to fill them. So in our cases, they were not unfilled by the intention of the successor, but by the omission of the predecessor. Chas. Lee informed me that wherever Edition: current; Page: [350] an office became vacant so short a time before congress rose, as not to give an opportunity of inquiring for a proper character, they let it lie always till recess. However this discussion is too long for a letter. We must establish a correct and well digested rule of practice, to bind up our successors as well as ourselves. If we find that any of our cases go beyond the limits of such a rule, we must consider what will be the best way of preventing their being considered authoritative examples. In the meantime I think it would be better to give the subject the go for the present, that we may have time to consider and to do what will be best for the general safety. Health & respect.

P. S.—When you are done with the enclosed paper I shall be very glad to receive it again to copy it for publication.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 20, 1802
Washington
John Page
Page, John

to john page

j. mss.

My dear friend,

—I pray you, in the first place, that the contents of this letter may be inviolably secret, until promulgated by some public act. In my letter of March 2d, I mentioned to you that the mint had been left at Philadelphia merely because taken up by the legislature too late to decide on it. The subject is now resumed, and there is no doubt the institution will be suppressed. This of course prevents the prospect of employing your talents worthily in that department. Another difficulty has occurred, of which at that time I was not apprized. Virginia is Edition: current; Page: [351] greatly over her due proportion of appointments in the general government; and tho’ this has not been done by me, it would be imputed as blamed to me to add to her proportion. So that for all general offices persons to fill them must for some time be sought from other states, and only offices which are to be exercised within the state can be given to its own citizens. This leaves but little scope for placing talents in offices to which they are analogous, and must apologize for what I am about to propose to you. Col. Heath, the collector of the customs at Petersburg must be removed on account of the irritability of his temper, and the fury of his Federalism. His office will probably be worth in future from 2. to 3. thousand D. a year as you will see by the inclosed paper. In proposing it to you, I am governed only by a desire to be useful to you, and at the same time to place the office in hands equal to its duties and acceptable to the public. What its labours are, I know not. Its responsibility is very great; as prodigious sums pass through it, which, where there is no bank to deposit them in for safe-keeping, lie at considerable risk. It requires too the utmost vigilance of the principal over his clerks, as we have seen the collectors of South Carolina, Pennsylva and N. York and some others, not only ruin themselves, but their securities also, and still great loss falling on the public; and this from the sole fraud of the clerk. I should suppose indeed that nothing could secure the principal but a vigorous refusal to let his clerks ever touch a dollar, and an inflexible reservation of the care and custody of the iron chest to himself. With Edition: current; Page: [352] this precaution, these officers are the best in the U. S. Although I know your character to be much inclined to indulgence, and confidence in others, yet I know also that when you are apprized that the safety of yourself and family, of your securities and of the public and your own reputation also would require you not to trust any body but yourself, your sense of duty is too strong to leave any hesitation. I mention these circumstances, because I wish you to be apprized of the dangers as well as the benefits of the office, and to make up your judgment on a view of the whole subject. It would require your removal to Petersburgh where the office is kept. Taking convenient time to consider of it, you will be so good as to inform me as soon as you can decide whether you will accept the office or not. There was for some time an expectation that Colonel Davies’s death would have produced a vacancy in that office, which is a better one than that of Petersburg. But I believe that expectation is over. Present me respectfully to Mrs. Page, and accept yourself assurances of my constant and affectionate esteem.1

Edition: current; Page: [353]

P. S. Mar. 9. I have withheld this letter some days on an expectation that Mr. Gallatin would be Edition: current; Page: [354] able to say something further on the subject of the emoluments of the office. He says that a committee Edition: current; Page: [355] are about to propose reductions of the emoluments of all the collectors. He is of opinion this will be Edition: current; Page: [356] reduced so as to stand somewhere between two & three thousand dollars. I thought it best to apprize you of everything. Gallatin mentions a very necessary caution against trusting the merchants beyond the time of their bonds so as to make yourself responsible. Mr. Gallatin says the office at Norfolk is not near so profitable as that of Petersburg.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 16, 1802
Washington
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to the u. s. minister to france (robert r. livingston)

j. mss.

Dear Sir

—Your favor of Dec. 26, was received the 5th inst. and one of a later date to the Secretary of state has been communicated to me. The present is intended as a commentary on my letter to you of Aug. 28. When I wrote that letter I did not harbor a doubt that the disposition on that side the water was as cordial, as I knew ours to be. I thought it important that the agents between us should be such as both parties would be willing to open themselves to freely. I ought to have expressed in that letter the distinction between the two characters therein named, which really existed in my mind. Of one of them I thought nothing good. As to the other (whom you mention to be the real one contemplated) I considered him well disposed to this country, but not towards its political principles. I had confidence in him to a certain extent; but that confidence had limits. I thought a slight hint of this might have had some effect on the choice of an agent. But the dispositions now understood to exist there, impose Edition: current; Page: [357] of themselves limits to the openness of our communications, and bring us within the extent of that reposed in the agent under consideration. Consequently it is adequate to all the purposes for which it will be used. I wish you therefore not only to suggest nothing against his mission, but on the contrary to impress him that it will be agreeable, and even desirable, which is the truth. For I firmly believe him well disposed to preserve amity between that country and this. Tho’ clouds may occasionally obscure the horizon between us yet there is a fund of friendship and attachment between the mass of the two nations which will always in time dispel those nebulosities. The present administration of this country have these feelings of their constituents, and will be true to them. We shall act steadily on the desire of cementing our interests and affections; and of this you cannot go too far in assuring them. In every event we will receive with satisfaction any missionary they chuse to send. Not being very sure of the channel of conveyance for this letter, I have explained the former one so that you will understand it: and reserve myself on other subjects to some future occasion. Accept assurances of my high esteem & consideration.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 24, 1802
Levi Lincoln
Lincoln, Levi

to the attorney general (levi lincoln.)

j. mss.

I had no conception there were persons enough to support a paper whose stomachs could bear such Edition: current; Page: [358] aliment as the enclosed papers contain. They are far beyond even the Washington Federalist. To punish however is impracticable until the body of the people, from whom juries are to be taken, get their minds to rights; and even then I doubt its expediency. While a full range is proper for actions by individuals, either private or public, for slanders affecting them, I would wish much to see the experiment tried of getting along without public prosecutions for libels. I believe we can do it. Patience and well doing, instead of punishment, if it can be found sufficiently efficacious, would be a happy change in the instruments of government.

Health & affectionate salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apl. 1, 1802
Washington
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert

to the secretary of the treasury (albert gallatin.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have read and considered your report on the operations of the sinking fund, and entirely approve of it, as the best plan on which we can set out. I think it an object of great importance, to be kept in view and to be undertaken at a fit season, to simplify our system of finance, and bring it within the comprehension of every member of Congress. Hamilton set out on a different plan. In order that he might have the entire government of his machine, he determined so to complicate it as that neither the President or Congress should be able to understand it, or to control him. He succeeded Edition: current; Page: [359] in doing this, not only beyond their reach, but so that he at length could not unravel it himself. He gave to the debt, in the first instance, in finding it, the most artificial and mysterious form he could devise. He then moulded up his appropriations of a number of scraps & remnants, many of which were nothing at all, and applied them to different objects in reversion and remainder, until the whole system was involved in impenetrable fog; and while he was giving himself the airs of providing for the payment of the debt, he left himself free to add to it continually, as he did in fact, instead of paying it. I like your idea of kneading all his little scraps & fragments into one batch, and adding to it a complementary sum, which, while it forms it into a single mass from which everything is to be paid, will enable us, should a breach of appropriation ever be charged on us, to prove that the sum appropriated, & more, has been applied to its specific object.

But there is a point beyond this on which I should wish to keep my eye, and to which I should aim to approach by every tack which previous arrangements force upon us. That is, to form into one consolidated mass all the moneys received into the treasury, and to the several expenditures, giving them a preference of payment according to the order in which they should be arranged. As for example. 1. The interest of the public debt. 2. Such portion of principal as are exigible. 3. The expenses of government. 4. Such other portions of principal as, thou’ not exigible, we are still free to pay when we please. The last object might be made to take up Edition: current; Page: [360] the residuum of money remaining in the treasury at the end of every year, after the three first objects were complied with, and would be the barometer whereby to test the economy of the administration. It would furnish a simple measure by which every one could mete their merit, and by which every one could decide when taxes were deficient or superabundant. If to this can be added a simplification of the form of accounts in the treasury department, and in the organization of its officers, so as to bring everything to a single centre, we might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books, so that every member of Congress, and every man of any mind in the Union, should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them. Our predecessors have endeavored by intricacies of system, and shuffling the investigator over from one officer to another, to cover everything from detection. I hope we shall go in the contrary direction, and that by your honest and judicious reformations, we may be able, within the limits of our time, to bring things back to that simple & intelligible system on which they should have been organized at first.

I have suggested only a single alteration in the report, which is merely verbal & of no consequence. We shall now get rid of the commissioner of the internal revenue, & superintendent of stamps. It remains to amalgamate the comptroller & auditor into one, and reduce the register to a clerk of accounts; and then the organization will consist, as it should at first, of a keeper of money, a keeper of accounts, & Edition: current; Page: [361] the head of the department. This constellation of great men in the treasury department was of a piece with the rest of Hamilton’s plans. He took his own stand as a Lieutenant General, surrounded by his Major Generals, and stationing his Brigadiers & Colonels under the name of Supervisors, Inspectors, &c., in the different States. Let us deserve well of our country by making their interests the end of all our plans, and not our own pomp, patronage and irresponsibility. I have hazarded these hasty & crude ideas, which occurred on contemplating your report. They may be the subject of future conversation and correction. Accept my affectionate salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 6, 1802
William Branch Giles
Giles, William Branch

to william branch giles

j. mss.

I enclose you an extract of a letter from Mr. Brown to Mr. Lincoln under whom acting as Secretary of State and Genl. Smith acting voluntarily for the department of secretary of the navy, but without appointment or reward, the latter part of what respected the Berceau was conducted. The other letter of Brown’s which I mentioned relates merely to the details of the repairs.

The question whether the Berceau was to be delivered up under the treaty was of executive cognizance entirely and without appeal. So was the question as to the condition in which she should be delivered. And it is as much an invasion of its Edition: current; Page: [362] independence for a coordinate branch to call for the reasons of the decision, as it would be to call on the Supreme Court for its reasons on any judiciary decision. If an appropriation were asked, the legislature would have a right to ask reasons. But in this case they had confided an appropriation (for naval contingencies) to the discretion of the Executive. Under this appropriation our predecessors bought the vessel (for there was no order of congress authorizing them to buy) and began her repairs: we completed them. I will not say that a very gross abuse of discretion in a past appropriation would not furnish ground to the legislature to take notice of it. In what form is not now necessary to decide. But so far from a gross abuse, the decision in this case was correct, honorable, and advantageous to the nation. I cannot see to what legitimate objects any resolution of the House on the subject can lead: and if one is passed on ground not legitimate, our duty will be to resist it. These gentlemen wish to abuse the liberality of the majority by harrassing the Executive with malicious inquiries, and sewing tares among their enemies. So far they ought not to be indulged. They wish also to create occasions for evacuation of their ill humor. They have no doubt had the evacuation. But after indulging them with that, to give them any sanction by a vote of the House yielding to their demands, is to give color to all the calumnies they have before uttered against the Executive. Be so good as to return me the enclosed paper when you shall have made your uses of it.

Edition: current; Page: [363]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 18, 1802
Washington
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to the u. s. minister to france (robert r. livingston.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir

—A favorable and a confidential opportunity offering by Mr. Dupont de Nemours, who is revisiting his native country gives me an opportunity of sending you a cipher to be used between us, which will give you some trouble to understand, but, once understood, is the easiest to use, the most indecipherable, and varied by a new key with the greatest facility of any one I have ever known. I am in hopes the explanation inclosed will be sufficient. Let our key of letters be [some figures which are illegible] and the key of lines be [figures illegible] and lest we should happen to lose our key or be absent from it, it is so formed as to be kept in the memory and put upon paper at pleasure; being produced by writing our names and residences at full length, each of which containing 27 letters is divided into two parts of 9. letters each; and each of the 9. letters is then numbered according to the place it would hold if the 9. were arranged alphabetically, thus [so blotted as to be illegible]. The numbers over the letters being then arranged as the letters to which they belong stand in our names, we can always construct our key. But why a cipher between us, when official things go naturally to the Secretary of State, and things not political need no cipher. 1. matters of a public nature, and proper to go on our records, should go to the secretary of state. 2. matters of a public nature not proper to be placed on our records may still go to the secretary of state, headed by the word “private.” Edition: current; Page: [364] But 3. there may be matters merely personal to ourselves, and which require the cover of a cipher more than those of any other character. This last purpose and others which we cannot foresee may render it convenient and advantageous to have at hand a mask for whatever may need it. But writing by Mr. Dupont I need no cipher. I require from him to put this into your own and no other hand, let the delay occasioned by that be what it will.

The cession of Louisiana and the Floridas by Spain to France works most sorely on the U. S. On this subject the Secretary of State has written to you fully. Yet I cannot forbear recurring to it personally, so deep is the impression it makes in my mind. It compleatly reverses all the political relations of the U. S. and will form a new epoch in our political course. Of all nations of any consideration France is the one which hitherto has offered the fewest points on which we could have any conflict of right, and the most points of a communion of interests. From these causes we have ever looked to her as our natural friend, as one with which we never could have an occasion of difference. Her growth therefore we viewed as our own, her misfortunes ours. There is on the globe one single spot, the possessor of which is our natural and habitual enemy. It is New Orleans, through which the produce of three-eighths of our territory must pass to market, and from its fertility it will ere long yield more than half of our whole produce and contain more than half our inhabitants. France placing herself in that door assumes to us the attitude of defiance. Spain might Edition: current; Page: [365] have retained it quietly for years. Her pacific dispositions, her feeble state, would induce her to increase our facilities there, so that her possession of the place would be hardly felt by us, and it would not perhaps be very long before some circumstance might arise which might make the cession of it to us the price of something of more worth to her. Not so can it ever be in the hands of France. The impetuosity of her temper, the energy and restlessness of her character, placed in a point of eternal friction with us, and our character, which though quiet, and loving peace and the pursuit of wealth, is high-minded, despising wealth in competition with insult or injury, enterprising and energetic as any nation on earth, these circumstances render it impossible that France and the U. S. can continue long friends when they meet in so irritable a position. They as well as we must be blind if they do not see this; and we must be very improvident if we do not begin to make arrangements on that hypothesis. The day that France takes possession of N. Orleans fixes the sentence which is to restrain her forever within her low water mark. It seals the union of two nations who in conjunction can maintain exclusive possession of the ocean. From that moment we must marry ourselves to the British fleet and nation. We must turn all our attentions to a maritime force, for which our resources place us on very high grounds: and having formed and cemented together a power which may render reinforcement of her settlements here impossible to France, make the first cannon, which shall be fired in Europe the signal for tearing up any Edition: current; Page: [366] settlement she may have made, and for holding the two continents of America in sequestration for the common purposes of the united British and American nations. This is not a state of things we seek or desire. It is one which this measure, if adopted by France, forces on us, as necessarily as any other cause, by the laws of nature, brings on its necessary effect. It is not from a fear of France that we deprecate this measure proposed by her. For however greater her force is than ours compared in the abstract, it is nothing in comparison of ours when to be exerted on our soil. But it is from a sincere love of peace, and a firm persuasion that bound to France by the interests and the strong sympathies still existing in the minds of our citizens, and holding relative positions which insure their continuance we are secure of a long course of peace. Whereas the change of friends, which will be rendered necessary if France changes that position, embarks us necessarily as a belligerent power in the first war of Europe. In that case France will have held possession of New Orleans during the interval of a peace, long or short, at the end of which it will be wrested from her. Will this short-lived possession have been an equivalent to her for the transfer of such a weight into the scale of her enemy? Will not the amalgamation of a young, thriving, nation continue to that enemy the health and force which are at present so evidently on the decline? And will a few years possession of N. Orleans add equally to the strength of France? She may say she needs Louisiana for the supply of her West Indies. She does not need it in time of peace. Edition: current; Page: [367] And in war she could not depend on them because they would be so easily intercepted. I should suppose that all these considerations might in some proper form be brought into view of the government of France. Tho’ stated by us, it ought not to give offence; because we do not bring them forward as a menace, but as consequences not controulable by us, but inevitable from the course of things. We mention them not as things which we desire by any means, but as things we deprecate; and we beseech a friend to look forward and to prevent them for our common interests.

If France considers Louisiana however as indispensable for her views she might perhaps be willing to look about for arrangements which might reconcile it to our interests. If anything could do this it would be the ceding to us the island of New Orleans and the Floridas. This would certainly in a great degree remove the causes of jarring and irritation between us, and perhaps for such a length of time as might produce other means of making the measure permanently conciliatory to our interests and friendships. It would at any rate relieve us from the necessity of taking immediate measures for countervailing such an operation by arrangements in another quarter. Still we should consider N. Orleans and the Floridas as equivalent for the risk of a quarrel with France produced by her vicinage. I have no doubt you have urged these considerations on every proper occasion with the government where you are. They are such as must have effect if you can find the means of producing thorough reflection on them by that Edition: current; Page: [368] government. The idea here is that the troops sent to St. Domingo, were to proceed to Louisiana after finishing their work in that island. If this were the arrangement, it will give you time to return again and again to the charge, for the conquest of St. Domingo will not be a short work. It will take considerable time to wear down a great number of souldiers. Every eye in the U. S. is now fixed on this affair of Louisiana. Perhaps nothing since the revolutionary war has produced more uneasy sensations through the body of the nation. Notwithstanding temporary bickerings have taken place with France, she has still a strong hold on the affections of our citizens generally. I have thought it not amiss, by way of supplement to the letters of the Secretary of State to write you this private one to impress you with the importance we affix to this transaction. I pray you to cherish Dupont. He has the best dispositions for the continuance of friendship between the two nations, and perhaps you may be able to make a good use of him. Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem and high consideration.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 24, 1802
Washington
Cæsar A. Rodney
Rodney, Cæsar A.

to cæsar a. rodney

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have yet to acknowledge your favor of Mar. 15. Recd the 25th. I had hoped that the proceedings of this session of Congress would have rallied the great body of our citizens at once to one opinion. But the inveteracy of their quondam leaders have been able by intermingling the grossest lies Edition: current; Page: [369] and misrepresentations to check the effect in some small degree until they shall be exposed. The great sources and authors of these are in Congress. Besides the slanders in their speeches, such letters have been written to their constituents as I shall forbear to qualify by the proper terms. I am glad to observe that you have been properly struck with these things: and that you confide in the progress of republicanism notwithstanding them. The vote for your governor shews the majority of your state was then republican, and I cannot but believe it will increase. I am told you are the only person who can unite the greatest portion of the republican votes, and the only one perhaps who can procure the dismission of your present representative to that obscurity of situation where his temper and principles may be disarmed of all effect. You are, then, my dear sir, bound to do this good office to the rest of America. You owe to your state to make her useful to her friends, instead of being an embarrassment and a burthen. Her long speeches and wicked workings at this session have added at least 30. days to its length, cost us 30,000 D. and filled the union with falsehoods and misrepresentations. Relieve us then, my dear sir, from this hostile procedure by undertaking that office which your fellow-citizens will gladly confide to your truth, candor and republicanism. A man standing under such circumstances owes himself to his country, because they can find no other in whom they can all agree to have confidence. Be so good as to answer me on this point and to be assured of my affectionate esteem & respect.

Edition: current; Page: [370]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 3, 1802
Washington
Joel Barlow
Barlow, Joel

to joel barlow1

Dear Sir,

—I have doubted whether to write to you, because yours of Aug. 25, received only March 27, gives me reason to expect you are now on the ocean. However, as I know voyages so important are often delayed, I shall venture a line with Mr. Dupont de Nemours. The Legislature rises this day. They have carried into execution steadily almost all the propositions submitted to them in my message at the opening of the session. Some few are laid over for want of time. The most material of which is the militia, the plan of which they cannot easily modify to the general approbation. Our majority in the House of Representatives has been about two to one—in the Senate, eighteen to fourteen. After another election it will be two to one in the Senate, and it would not be for the public good to have it greater, a respectable minority is useful as censors. The present one is not respectable; being the bitterest cup of the remains of Federalism rendered desperate and furious by despair. A small check in the tide of republicanism in Massachusetts, which has showed itself very unexpectedly at the late election, is not accounted for. Everywhere else we are becoming one. In Rhode Island the late election gave us two to one through the whole state. Vermont is decidedly with us. It is said and believed that New Hampshire has got a majority of republicans now in its Legislature; and wanted a few hundreds only of turning out their federal governor. He Edition: current; Page: [371] goes assuredly the next trial. Connecticut is supposed to have gained for us about fifteen or twenty per cent, since her last election; but the exact issue is not yet known here. Nor is it certainly known how we shall stand in the House of Representatives of Massachusetts. In the Senate there, we have lost ground. The candid federalists acknowledged that their party can never more raise its head. The operations of this session of Congress, when known among the people at large, will consolidate them. We shall now be so strong that we shall certainly split again; for freemen thinking differently and speaking and acting as they think, will form into classes of sentiment, but it must be under another name, that of federalism is to become so scouted that no party can rise under it. As the division between whig and tory is founded in the nature of men, the weakly and nerveless, the rich and the corrupt seeing more safety and accessibility in a strong executive; the healthy, firm and virtuous feeling confidence in their physical and moral resources, and willing to part with only so much power as is necessary for their good government, and therefore to retain the rest in the hands of the many, the division will substantially be into whig and tory, as in England, formerly. As yet no symptoms show themselves, nor will till after election.

I am extremely happy to learn that you are so much at your ease that you can devote the rest of your life to the information of others. The choice of a place of residence is material. I do not think you can do better than to fix here for a while, until you become Edition: current; Page: [372] Americanized and understand the map of the country. This may be considered as a pleasant country-residence, with a number of neat little villages scattered around within the distance of a mile and a half, and furnishing a plain and substantially good society. They have begun their buildings in about four or five different points, at each of which there are buildings enough to be considered as a village. The whole population is about six thousand. Mr. Madison and myself have cut out a piece of work for you, which is to write the history of the United States, from the close of the War downwards. We are rich ourselves in materials, and can open all the public archives to you; but your residence here is essential, because a great deal of the knowledge of things is not on paper, but only within ourselves for verbal communication. John Marshall is writing the life of Gen. Washington from his papers. It is intended to come out just in time to influence the next presidential election. It is written therefore principally with a view to electioneering purposes; but it will consequently be out in time to aid you with information as well as to point out the perversions of truth necessary to be rectified. Think of this, and agree to it, and be assured of my high esteem and attachment.

P. S. There is a most lovely seat adjoining this city on a hill commanding a most extensive view of the Potomac. On it there is a superb house, gardens &c., with thirty or forty acres of ground. It will be sold under circumstances of distress, and will probably go for half of what it cost. It was built by Gustavus Mott, who is dead, bankrupt, &c.

Edition: current; Page: [373]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 5, 1802
Washington
Charles Wilson Peale
Peale, Charles Wilson

to charles wilson peale

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I am this moment setting out on a short visit to Monticello, but a thought coming into my head which may be useful to your son who is carrying the mamoth to Europe, I take time to hint it to you. My knowledge of the scene he will be on enables me to suggest what might not occur to him a stranger. When in a great city, he will find persons of every degree of wealth. To jumble these all into a room together I know from experience is very painful to the decent part of them, who would be glad to see a thing often, and would not regard paying every time, but that they revolt at being next with pick-pockets, chimney sweeps &c. Set three different divisions of the day at three different prices, selecting for the highest when the beau monde can most conveniently attend; the 2d price when merchants and respectable citizens have most leisure, and the residue for the lower description. A few attending at the highest price will countervail many of the lowest, and be more agreeable to themselves and to him. I hope and believe you will make a fortune by the exhibition of that one, and that when tired of showing it you may sell it there for another fortune. Nobody wishes it more sincerely than I do. Accept my assurances of this and of my great esteem.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 2, 1802
Washington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to the governor of virginia (james monroe.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I observe that the resolution of the legislature of Virginia of Jan. 23 in desiring us to look Edition: current; Page: [374] out for some proper place to which insurgent negroes may be sent, expresses a preference of the continent of Africa, or some of the Spanish or Portuguese settlements in S. America: in which preference, and especially as to the former, I entirely concur. On looking towards Africa for our objects the British establishment at Sierra Leone at once presents itself. You know that that establishment was undertaken by a private company and was first suggested by the suffering state of the blacks, who were carried over to England during the revolutionary war, and who were perishing [illegible] and misery in the streets of London. A number of benevolent persons subscribed for the establishment of a company who might carry these people to the coast of Africa, and there employ them usefully for themselves, and indemnify the company by commercial operations: Sierre Leone was fixed on as the place, the blacks then in England were carried thither, and a vessel or vessels sent to Nova Scotia which carried to the same place the blacks who had gone to that country. The settlement is consequently composed of negroes formerly inhabitants of the southern states of our union. Having asked a conversation on this subject with Mr. Thornton the British chargé des affaires here, he informs me the establishment is prosperous, and he thinks there will be no objection on the part of the company to receive blacks from us, not of the character of common felons, but guilty of insurgency only, provided they are sent as free persons, the principles of their institution admitting no slavery among them. I propose therefore, if it meets your Edition: current; Page: [375] approbation, to write to Mr. King our minister in London to propose this matter to the Sierre Leone company who are resident in London; and if leave can be obtained to send black insurgents there, to inquire further whether the regulations of the place would permit us to carry or take there any mercantile objects which by affording some commercial profit, might defray the expenses of the transportation. As soon as I can be favored with your sentiments on this proposition and your approbation of it I will write to Mr. King that we may have the matter finally arranged. Should any mercantile operation be permitted to be combined with the transportation of these persons, so as to lessen or to pay the expense, it might then become eligible to make that the asylum for the other description also, to wit, the freed slaves and persons of color. If not permitted, so distant a colonization of them would perhaps be thought too expensive. But while we are ascertaining this point, we may be making inquiry what other suitable places may be found in the West Indies, or the southern continent of America, so as to have some other resource provided if the one most desirable should be unattainable. In looking out for another place we should prefer placing them with whatever power is least likely to become an enemy, and to use the knowledge of these exiles in predatory expeditions against us. Portugal and Holland would be of this character. But I wish to have your sentiments on both branches of the subject before I commit it by any actual step. Accept assurances of my affectionate and high esteem & respect.

Edition: current; Page: [376]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 14, 1802
Washington
Cæsar A. Rodney
Rodney, Cæsar A.

to cæsar a. rodney

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I am later in acknowledging the receipt of your favor of May 16 because it found me at Monticello just on my departure from that place. Since my arrival here I have been in the constant hope of seeing Mr. Beckley and endeavoring to procure from his office a copy of the journals of the H. of Rep. for you. I do not know that they can be had any where else. His confinement by the remains of a fit of the gout has hitherto prevented my object, but I shall keep it in view. I have received two addresses from meetings of democratic republicans at Dover, praying the removal of Allen McLane. One of them was forwarded by Govr. Hall. The grounds are stated so generally that I cannot judge from thence whether he has done anything deserving removal since his former trial and acquittal, certainly nothing beyond that should be brought up a second time. I write this to you confidentially and ask the favor of you to explain to me the real foundation of these applications. If he has been active in electioneering in favor of those who wish to subvert the present order of things, it would be a serious circumstance. I do not mean as to giving his personal vote, in which he ought not to be controuled; but as to using his influence (which necessarily includes his official influence) to sway the votes of others. I withold answering these applications till I hear from you, and may do it on ground which will not fail me. I hope you are fixed on as the republican candidate at the ensuing election for Edition: current; Page: [377] Congress. Accept assurances of my great esteem and respect.1

P. S. Will you also be so good as to recommend to me 4. commissioners of bankruptcy for Wilmington Edition: current; Page: [378] and Newcastle. Two should be lawyers and two merchants, all republicans. If one resides in Newcastle and three in Wilmington it would be desirable: but this circumstance must yield to respectability of character, which is essential.

Edition: current; Page: [379]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 19, 1802
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert

to the secretary of the treasury (albert gallatin.)

j. mss.

With respect to the bank of Penna, their difficulties proceed from excessive discounts. The 3,000,000 D. due to them comprehend doubtless all the desperate debts accumulated since their institution. Their buildings should only be counted at the value of the naked ground belonging to them; because, if brought to market, they are worth to private builders no more than their materials, which are known by experience to be worth no more than the cost of pulling down and removing them. Their situation then is

They owe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,200,000
They have of good money . . . . . . 710,000
250,000
Ground worth perhaps . . . . . . . . . 5,000 965,000
1,235,000

To pay which 1,235,000, they depend on 3,000,000 of debts due to them, the amount of which shows they are of long standing, a part desperate, a part not commandable. In this situation it does not seem safe to desposit public money with them, and the effect would only be to enable them to nourish their disease by continuing their excessive discounts, the checking of which is the only means of saving themselves from bankruptcy. The getting them to pay the Dutch debt, is but a deposit in another tho’ a safer form. If we can with propriety recommend indulgence to the bank of the U S, it would be attended Edition: current; Page: [380] with the least danger to us of any of the measures suggested, but it is in fact asking that bank to lend to the one of Pennsylvania, that they may be enabled to continue lending to others. The monopoly of a single bank is certainly an evil. The multiplication of them was intended to cure it; but it multiplied an influence of the same character with the first, and compleated the supplanting the precious metals by a paper circulation. Between such parties the less we meddle the better.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 19, 1802
Washington
Doctor Joseph Priestley
Priestley, Doctor Joseph

to doctor joseph priestley

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 12th has been duly received, and with that pleasure which the approbation of the good & the wise must ever give. The sentiments it expresses are far beyond my merits or pretensions; they are precious testimonies to me however, that my sincere desire to do what is right & just is viewed with candor. That it should be handed to the world under the authority of your name is securing it’s credit with posterity. In the great work which has been effected in America, no individual has a right to take any great share to himself. Our people in a body are wise, because they are under the unrestrained and unperverted operation of their own understandings. Those whom they have assigned to the direction of their affairs, have stood with a pretty even front. If any one of them was withdrawn, many others entirely equal, have been ready to fill his place with as good abilities. A nation, composed of such Edition: current; Page: [381] materials, and free in all it’s members from distressing wants, furnishes hopeful implements for the interesting experiment of self-government; and we feel that we are acting under obligations not confined to the limits of our own society. It is impossible not to be sensible that we are acting for all mankind; that circumstances denied to others, but indulged to us, have imposed on us the duty of proving what is the degree of freedom and self-government in which a society may venture to leave it’s individual members. One passage, in the paper you enclosed to me, must be corrected. It is the following, “and all say it was yourself more than any other individual, that planned & established it,” i. e. the Constitution. I was in Europe when the Constitution was planned, & established, & never saw it until after it was established. On receiving it I wrote strongly to Mr. Madison, urging the want of provision for the freedom of religion, freedom of the press, trial by jury, habeas corpus, the substitution of militia for a standing army, and an express reservation to the States of all rights not specifically granted to the Union. He accordingly moved in the first session of Congress for these amendments, which were agreed to & ratified by the States as they now stand. This is all the hand I had in what related to the Constitution. Our predecessors made it doubtful how far even these were of any value; for the very law which endangered your personal safety, as well as that which restrained the freedom of the press, were gross violations of them. However, it is still certain that tho’ written constitutions may be violated in Edition: current; Page: [382] moments of passion or delusion, yet they furnish a text to which those who are watchful may again rally & recall the people; they fix too for the people the principles of their political creed. We shall all absent ourselves from this place during the sickly season; say from about the 22d of July to the last of September. Should your curiosity lead you hither either before or after that interval, I shall be very happy to receive you, and shall claim you as my guest. I wish the advantages of a mild over a winter climate had been tried for you before you were located where you are. I have ever considered this as a public as well as personal misfortune. The choice you made of our country for your asylum was honorable to it; and I lament that for the sake of your happiness and health it’s most benign climates were not selected. Certainly it is a truth that climate is one of the sources of the greatest sensual enjoyment. I received in due time the letter of Apr 10 referred to in your last, with the pamphlet it enclosed, which I read with the pleasure I do everything from you. Accept assurances of my highest veneration and respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 29, 1802
Washington
John Langdon
Langdon, John

to john langdon

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your’s of the 19th was received last night. That of May 14. had arrived while I was on a short trip to Monticello from whence I returned on the 30th ult. Commissioners of bankruptcy made up from yours and some other recommendations were appointed on the 14th inst. And no doubt were Edition: current; Page: [383] received a few days after the date of your last. Nicholas Gilman, John Goddard, Henry S. Langdon and John McClintock were named. The three last were in your recommendation. Although we have not yet got a majority into the fold of republicanism in your state, yet one long pull more will affect it. We can hardly doubt that one twelve month more will give an executive and legislature in that state whose opinions may harmonize with their sister states. Unless it be true as is sometimes said that N. H. is but a satellite of Massachusetts. In this last state the public sentiment seems to be under some influence additional to that of the clergy and lawyers. I suspect there must be a leven of state pride at seeing itself deserted by the public opinion, and that their late popular song of Rule New England betrays one principle of their present variance from the union. But I am in hopes they will in time discover that the shortest road to rule is to join the majority. Adieu and accept assurances of my sincere affection & respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 13, 1802
Washington
Rufus King
King, Rufus

to the u. s. minister to great britain (rufus king)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—The course of things in the neighbouring islands of the West Indies appears to have given a considerable impulse to the minds of the slaves in different parts of the U. S. A great disposition to insurgency has manifested itself among them, which, in one instance, in the state of Virginia, broke out Edition: current; Page: [384] into actual insurrection. This was easily suppressed: but many of those concerned, (between 20. and 30. I believe) fell victims to the law. So extensive an execution could not but excite sensibility in the public mind, and beget a regret that the laws had not provided, for such cases, some alternative, combining more mildness with equal efficacy. The legislature of the state, at a subsequent meeting, took the subject into consideration, and have communicated to me through the governor of the state, their wish that some place could be provided, out of the limits of the U. S. to which slaves guilty of insurgency might be transported; and they have particularly looked to Africa as offering the most desirable receptacle. We might for this purpose, enter into negociations with the natives, on some part of the coast, to obtain a settlement, and, by establishing an African company, combine with it commercial operations, which might not only reimburse expenses but procure profit also. But there being already such an establishment on that coast by the English Sierre Leone Company, made for the express purpose of colonizing civilized blacks to that country, it would seem better, by incorporating our emigrants with theirs, to make one strong rather than two weak colonies. This would be the more desirable because the blacks settled at Sierre Leone, having chiefly gone from these states would often receive among those we should send, their acquaintances and relations. The object of this letter, therefore, is to ask the favor of you to enter into conference with such persons private and public as would be necessary to give us Edition: current; Page: [385] permission to send thither the persons under contemplation. It is material to observe that they are not felons, or common malefactors, but persons guilty of what the safety of society, under actual circumstances, obliges us to treat as a crime, but which their feelings may represent in a far different shape. They are such as will be a valuable acquisition to the settlement already existing there, and well calculated to cooperate in the plan of civilization.

As the expense of so distant a transportation would be very heavy, and might weigh unfavorable in deciding between the modes of punishment, it is very desirable that it should be lessened as much as is practicable. If the regulations of the place would permit these emigrants to dispose of themselves, as the Germans and others do who come to this country poor, by giving their labor for a certain term to some one who will pay their passage; and if the master of the vessel could be permitted to carry articles of commerce from this country and take back others from that which might yield him a mercantile profit sufficient to cover the expenses of the voyage, a serious difficulty would be removed. I will ask your attention therefore to arrangements necessary for this purpose.

The consequences of permitting emancipations to become extensive, unless a condition of emigration be annexed to them, furnish also matter of solicitude to the legislature of Virginia, as you will perceive by their resolution inclosed to you. Although provision for the settlement of emancipated negroes might perhaps be obtainable nearer home than Edition: current; Page: [386] Africa, yet it is desirable that we should be free to expatriate this description of people also to the colony of Sierre Leone, if considerations respecting either themselves or us should render it more expedient. I pray you therefore to get the same commission extended to the reception of these as well as those first mentioned. Nor will there be a selection of bad subjects; the emancipations for the most part being either of the whole slaves of the master, or of such individuals as have particularly deserved well. The latter is most frequent.

The request of the legislature of Virginia having produced to me this occasion of addressing you I avail myself of it to assure you of my perfect satisfaction with the manner in which you have conducted the several matters confided to you by us; and to express my hope that through your agency we may be able to remove everything inauspicious to a cordial friendship between this country and the one in which you are stationed: a friendship dictated by too many considerations not to be felt by the wise and the dispassionate of both nations. It is therefore with the sincerest pleasure I have observed on the part of the British government various manifestations of just and friendly disposition towards us.1 We wish to cultivate peace and Edition: current; Page: [387] friendship with all nations, believing that course most conducive to the welfare of our own. It is natural that these friendships should bear some proportion to the common interests of the parties. The interesting relations between Great Britain and the U. S. are certainly of the first order; and as such are estimated, and will be faithfully cultivated by us. These sentiments have been communicated to you from time to time in the official correspondence of the secretary of state: but I have thought it might not be unacceptable to be assured that they perfectly concur with my own personal conviction, both in relation to yourself and the country in which you are. I pray you to accept assurances of my high consideration and respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 15, 1802
Washington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 7th has been duly received. I am really mortified at the base ingratitude of Callender. It presents human nature in a hideous form. It gives me concern because I perceive that relief, which was afforded him on mere motives of charity, may be viewed under the aspect of employing him as a writer. When the political progress of Britain first appeared in this country it was in a periodical publication called the bee, where I saw it. I was speaking of it in terms of strong approbation to a friend in Philadelphia, when he asked me if I knew that the author was then in the city, a fugitive from prosecution on account of that Edition: current; Page: [388] work, and in want of employ for his subsistence. This was the first of my learning that Callender was author of the work. I considered him as a man of science fled from persecution, and assured my friend of my readiness to do whatever could serve him. It was long after this before I saw him, probably not till 1798. He had in the mean time written a 2nd part of the political progress much inferior to the first, and his history of the U. S. In 1798, I think I was applied to by Mr Leiper to contribute to his relief. I did so. In 1799, I think S. T. Mason applied for him. I contributed again. He had by this time paid me two or three personal visits. When he fled in a panic from Philadelphia to Genl Mason’s, he wrote to me that he was a fugitive, in want of employ, wished to know if he could get into a counting house, or a school in my neighborhood or in that of Richmond; that he had materials for a volume, and if he could get as much money as would buy the paper, the profit of the sale would be all his own. I availed myself of this pretext to cover a mere charity, by desiring him to consider me a subscriber for as many copies of his book as the money inclosed (50 D.) amounted to; but to send me two copies only, as the others might lie till called for. But I discouraged his coming into my neighborhood. His first writings here had fallen far short of his original political progress and the scurrilities of his subsequent ones began evidently to do mischief. As to myself no man wished more to see his pen stopped: but I considered him still as a proper object of benevolence. The succeeding year he again wanted money to buy paper for another Edition: current; Page: [389] volume. I made his letter, as before, the occasion of giving him another 50 D. He considers these as proofs of my approbation of his writings, when they were mere charities, yielded under a strong conviction that he was injuring us by his writings. It is known to many that the sums given to him were such and even smaller than I was in the habit of giving to others in distress of the federal as well as the republican party without attention to political principles. Soon after I was elected to the government, Callender came on here wishing to be made postmaster at Richmond. I knew him to be totally unfit for it: and however ready I was to aid him with my own charities (and I then gave him 50. D.) I did not think the public offices confided to me to give away as charities. He took it in mortal offence, and from that moment has been hauling off to his former enemies the federalists. Under the letter I wrote him in answer to the one from Genl. Mason, I wrote him another containing answers to two questions he addressed to me. 1. whether Mr. Jay received salary as chief justice and envoy at the same time; and 2. something relative to the expenses of an embassy to Constantinople. I think these were the only letters I ever wrote him in answer to volumes he was perpetually writing to me. This is the true state of what has passed between him and me. I do not know that it can be used without committing me in controversy as it were with one too little respected by the public to merit that notice. I leave to your judgment what use can be made of these facts. Perhaps it will be better judged of when Edition: current; Page: [390] we see what use the tories will endeavour to make of their new friend. I shall leave this on the 21st and be at Monticello probably on the 24th or between 2. or 3. days of that, and shall hope ere long to see you there. Accept assurances of my affectionate attachment.1

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 28, 1802
Monticello
Elbridge Gerry
Gerry, Elbridge

to elbridge gerry

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—You very justly suppose, in yours of the 9th inst., that the act of duty which removed Edition: current; Page: [391] your brother from office, was one of the most painful and unwilling which I have had to perform. Very soon after our administration was formed, the situation of his accounts was placed under the notice of the secretary of the Treasury, and consequently communicated to me. He was written to. The failure to render accounts periodically, the disagreement among those he did render, gave reason to believe he was imprudently indulging himself in the use of the public money. What were the circumstances which led him to this, was not an inquiry permitted to us. If the perquisites of his office were insufficient to support him, it was a case for the legislature not for us to remedy. Our duty was to see their will carried into execution. We could only give a little more or less time for the ratification of his proceedings, according to our hope of its being effected. Besides monitory letters which were unanswered, friends were relied on to give the necessary warning. The derangements of his accounts being known to you, and the deficiency, though ultimately to fall on you as his security, not being paid up, on which he would have been continued, was evidence to me that you probably thought that if he were relieved by such a [faded] on your part, he would relapse again, and that therefore you had made up your mind to let legal consequences take their course. It became then an indispensable duty to put an end to indulgences, which after being extended from quarter to quarter for nearly 18. months, gave no hope but of further deficiency. However afflicting this act of duty might be to you, I know you Edition: current; Page: [392] would see in it a proof of that justice which was the foundation of your esteem and confidence in the administration. Mr. Warren having declined accepting the place, another was appointed before the receipt of your letter. Although the performance of the same officer in other cases was cutting down the foes instead of the friends of republican government, yet like the office [illegible] it has excited the most revolting sensations. The safety of the government absolutely required that its direction in its higher departments should be taken into friendly hands. Its safety did not even admit that the whole of its immense patronage should be left at the command of its enemies to be exercised secretly or openly to reestablish the tyrannical and delapidating system of the preceding administration, and their deleterious principles of government. Rigorous justice too required that as they had filled every office with their friends to the avowed exclusion of republicans, that the latter should be admitted to a participation of office, by the removal of some of the former. This was done to the extent of about 20. only out of some thousands, and no more was intended. But instead of their acknowledging its moderation, it has been a ground for their more active enmity. After a twelve months trial I have at length been induced to remove three or four more of those most marked for their bitterness and active zeal in slandering and in electioneering. Whether we shall proceed any further will depend on themselves. Those who are quiet, and take no part against that order of things which the public will has established, will be safe. Edition: current; Page: [393] Those who continue to clamor against it, to slander and oppose it, shall not be armed with its wealth and power for its own destruction. The late removals have been intended merely as monitory, but such officers as shall afterwards continue to bid us defiance shall as certainly be removed, if the case shall become known. A neutral conduct is all I ever desired, and this the public have a right to expect. Our information from every quarter is that republican principles spread more and more. Indeed the body of the people may be considered as consolidated into one mass from the Delaware southwardly and westwardly. New Jersey is divided, and in New York a schism may render inefficacious what the great majority would be equal to. In your corner alone priestcraft and lawcraft are still able to throw dust into the eyes of the people. But, as the Indian says, they are clearing the dust out of their eyes there also. The republican portion will at length rise, and the sediment of monarchism be left as lees at the bottom. Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem and high consideration.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 29, 1802
Monticello
Gideon Granger
Granger, Gideon

to gideon granger

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Not knowing whether the postmasters from hence to and at Boston are all true, I inclose the within to you and ask the favor of your cover to the postmaster or any other person you can confide in at Boston to deliver it. Your favors of Aug. 23. Edition: current; Page: [394] and 24. are received. Pray forward me by post one of Mr. Bishop’s new pamphlets, and let it stand in account between us till we meet. I see with sincere grief that the schism at New York is setting good republicans by the ears, and is attacking characters which nobody doubts. It is not for me to meddle in this matter; but there can be no harm in wishing for forbearance. If the mortification arising from our division could be increased, it would be by the triumph and chucklings and fomentations of the Federalists. Accept assurances of my great esteem and respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
September 13, 1802
Monticello
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert

to the secretary of the treasury (albert gallatin.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

— * * * I have always forgotten to ask of you a general idea of the effect of the peace on our revenues so far as we have gone. It is of the utmost importance, if these diminish, to diminish our expenses; this may be done in the Naval Department. I wish it were possible to increase the impost on any articles affecting the rich chiefly, to the amount of the sugar tax, so that we might relinquish that at the next session. But this must depend on our receipts keeping up. As to the tea and coffee tax, the people do not regard it. The next tax which an increase of revenue should enable us to suppress should be the salt tax, perhaps; indeed, the production of that article at home is already undermining that tax. * * *

Edition: current; Page: [395]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sept. 13, 1802
Monticello
James Madison
Madison, James

to the secretary of state (james madison.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I now return you the papers which came in your letter of the 11th. I am not satisfied that the ground taken by the Chancellor Livingston is advantageous. For the French government and the Spanish have only to grant him all he asks (and they will in justice & policy do that at once) & his mouth must be shut: because after-sought objections would come from him to great disadvantage. Whereas the true and solid objection remains in full force after they shall have the merit of granting all he asks. * * *

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
October 7, 1802
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert

to the secretary of the treasury (albert gallatin.)

j. mss.

The application of the Bank of Baltimore is of great importance. The consideration is very weighty that it is held by citizens, while the stock of the United States Bank is held in so great a proportion by foreigners. Were the Bank of the United States to swallow up the others and monopolize the whole banking business of the United States, which the demands we furnish them with tend shortly to favor, we might, on a misunderstanding with a foreign power, be immensely embarrassed by any disaffection in that bank. It is certainly for the public good to keep all the banks competitors for our favors by a judicious distribution of them, and thus to engage Edition: current; Page: [396] the individuals who belong to them in the support of the reformed order of things, or at least in an acquiescence under it. I suppose that on the condition of participating in the deposits the banks would be willing to make such communications of their operations and the state of their affairs as might satisfy the Secretary of the Treasury of their stability. It is recommended to Mr. Gallatin to leave such an opening in his answer to this letter, as to leave us free to do hereafter what shall be advisable on a broad view of all the banks in the different parts of the Union. * * *

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 10, 1802
Washington
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to the u. s. minister to france (robert r. livingston.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—The departure of Made Brugnard for France furnishes me a safe conveyance of a letter, which I cannot avoid embracing, altho I have nothing particular for the subject of it. It is well, however, to be able to inform you, generally, through a safe channel, that we stand, completely corrected of the error, that either the government or the nation of France has any remains of friendship for us. The portion of that country which forms an exception, though respectable in weight, is weak in numbers. On the contrary, it appears evident, that an unfriendly spirit prevails in the most important individuals of the government, towards us. In this state of things, we shall so take our distance between Edition: current; Page: [397] the two rival nations, as, remaining disengaged till necessity compels us, we may haul finally to the enemy of that which shall make it necessary. We see all the disadvantageous consequences of taking a side, and shall be forced into it only by a more disagreeable alternative; in which event, we must countervail the disadvantages by measures which will give us splendor & power, but not as much happiness as our present system. We wish, therefore, to remain well with France. But we see that no consequences, however ruinous to them, can secure us with certainty against the extravagance of her present rulers. I think, therefore, that while we do nothing which the first nation on earth would deem crouching, we had better give to all our communications with them a very mild, complaisant, and even friendly complexion but always independent. Ask no favors, leave small & irritating things to be conducted by the individuals interested in them, interfere ourselves but in the greatest cases, & then not push them to irritation. No matter at present existing between them & us is important enough to risk a breach of peace; peace being indeed the most important of all things to us, except the preserving an erect & independent attitude. Although I know your own judgment leads you to pursue this line identically, yet I thought it just to strengthen it by the concurrence of my own. You will have seen by our newspapers, that with the aid of a lying renegado from republicanism, the federalists have opened all their sluices of calumny. They say we lied them out of power, and openly avow Edition: current; Page: [398] they will do the same by us. But it was not lies or argument on our part which dethroned them, but their own foolish acts, sedition laws, alien laws, taxes, extravagance & heresies. Porcupine, their friend, wrote them down. Callender, their new recruit, will do the same. Every decent man among them revolts at his filth; and there cannot be a doubt, that were a Presidential election to come on this day, they would have but three New England States, and about half a dozen votes from Maryland & North Carolina; these two States electing by districts. Were all the States to elect by a general ticket, they would have but 3 out of 16 States. And these 3 are coming up slowly. We do, indeed, consider Jersey & Delaware as rather doubtful. Elections which have lately taken place there, but their event not yet known here, will show the present point of their varying condition.

My letters to you being merely private, I leave all details of business to their official channel.

Accept assurances of my constant friendship and high respect.

P. S. We have received your letter announcing the arrival of M. Dupont.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 13, 1802
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert

to the secretary of the treasury (albert gallatin.)

j. mss.

You know my doubts, or rather convictions, about the unconstitutionality of the act for building piers Edition: current; Page: [399] in the Delaware, and the fears that it will lead to a bottomless expense, & to the greatest abuses. There is, however, one intention of which the act is susceptible, & which will bring it within the Constitution; and we ought always to presume that the real intention which is alone consistent with the Constitution. Altho’ the power to regulate commerce does not give a power to build piers, wharves, open ports, clear the beds of rivers, dig canals, build warehouses, build manufacturing machines, set up manufactories, cultivate the earth, to all of which the power would go if it went to the first, yet a power to provide and maintain a navy, is a power to provide receptacles for it, and places to cover & preserve it. In choosing the places where this money should be laid out, I should be much disposed, as far as contracts will permit, to confine it to such place or places as the ships of war may lie at, and be protected from ice; & I should be for stating this in a message to Congress, in order to prevent the effect of the present example. This act has been built on the exercise of the power of building light houses, as a regulation of commerce. But I well remember the opposition, on this very ground, to the first act for building a light house. The utility of the thing has sanctioned the infraction. But if on that infraction we build a 2d, on that 2d a 3d, &c., any one of the powers in the Constitution may be made to comprehend every power of government. Will you read the enclosed letters on the subject of New Orleans, and think what we can do or propose in the case?

Edition: current; Page: [400]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 25, 1802
Washington
Levi Lincoln
Lincoln, Levi

to the attorney-general (levi lincoln.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 16th is received, and that of July 24 had come to hand while I was at Monticello. I sincerely condole with you on the sickly state of your family, and hope this will find them re-established with the approach of the cold season. As yet, however, we have had no frost at this place, and it is believed the yellow fever still continues in Philadelphia, if not in Baltimore. We shall all be happy to see you here whenever the state of your family admits it. You will have seen by the newspapers that we have gained ground generally in the elections, that we have lost ground in not a single district of the U S, except Kent county in Delaware, where a religious dissension occasioned it. In Jersey the elections are always carried by small majorities, consequently the issue is affected by the smallest accidents. By the paper of the last night we have a majority of 3. in their Council, & 1. in their House of Representatives; another says it is only of 1. in each House: even the latter is sufficient for every purpose. The opinion I originally formed has never been changed, that such of the body of the people as thought themselves federalists, would find that they were in truth republicans, and would come over to us by degrees; but that their leaders had gone too far ever to change. Their bitterness increases with their desperation. They are trying slanders now which nothing could prompt but a gall which blinds their judgments as well as Edition: current; Page: [401] their consciences. I shall take no other revenge, than, by a steady pursuit of economy and peace, and by the establishment of republican principles in substance and in form, to sink federalism into an abyss from which there shall be no resurrection for it. I still think our original idea as to office is best; that is, to depend, for the obtaining a just participation, on deaths, resignations, & delinquencies. This will least affect the tranquillity of the people, and prevent their giving into the suggestion of our enemies, that ours has been a contest for office, not for principle. This is rather a slow operation, but it is sure if we pursue it steadily, which, however, has not been done with the undeviating resolution I could have wished. To these means of obtaining a just share in the transaction of the public business, shall be added one other, to wit, removal for electioneering activity, or open & industrious opposition to the principles of the present government, legislative & executive. Every officer of the government may vote at elections according to his conscience; but we should betray the cause committed to our care, were we to permit the influence of official patronage to be used to overthrow that cause. Your present situation will enable you to judge of prominent offenders in your State, in the case of the present election. I pray you to seek them, to mark them, to be quite sure of your ground, that we may commit no error or wrong, and leave the rest to me. I have been urged to remove Mr. Whittemore, the surveyor of Gloucester, on grounds of neglect of duty and industrious opposition. Yet no facts are Edition: current; Page: [402] so distinctly charged as to make the step sure which we should take in this. Will you take the trouble to satisfy yourself on this point? I think it not amiss that it should be known that we are determined to remove officers who are active or open mouthed against the government, by which I mean the legislature as well as the executive. Accept assurances of my sincere friendship & high respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 29, 1802
Washington
Thomas Cooper
Cooper, Thomas

to thomas cooper

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Oct 25 was received in due time, and I thank you for the long extract you took the trouble of making from Mr. Stone’s letter. Certainly the information it communicates as to Alexander kindles a great deal of interest in his existence, and strong spasms of the heart in his favor. Tho his means of doing good are great, yet the materials on which he is to work are refractory. Whether he engages in private correspondences abroad, as the King of Prussia did much, his grandmother sometimes, I know not; but certainly such a correspondence would be very interesting to those who are sincerely anxious to see mankind raised from their present abject condition. It delights me to find that there are persons who still think that all is not lost in France: that their retrogradation from a limited to an unlimited despotism, is but to give themselves a new impulse. But I see not how or when. The press, the only tocsin of a nation, is Edition: current; Page: [403] compleatly silenced there, and all means of a general effort taken away. However, I am willing to hope, as long as anybody will hope with me; and I am entirely persuaded that the agitations of the public mind advance its powers, and that at every vibration between the points of liberty and despotism, something will be gained for the former. As men become better informed, their rulers must respect them the more. I think you will be sensible that our citizens are fast returning, from the panic into which they were artfully thrown to the dictates of their own reason; and I believe the delusions they have seen themselves hurried into will be useful as a lesson under similar attempts on them in future. The good effects of our late fiscal arrangements will certainly tend to unite them in opinion, and in a confidence as to the views of their public functionaries, legislative & executive. The path we have to pursue is so quiet that we have nothing scarcely to propose to our Legislature. A noiseless course, not meddling with the affairs of others, unattractive of notice, is a mark that society is going on in happiness. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy. Their finances are now under such a course of application as nothing could derange but war or federalism. The gripe of the latter has shown itself as deadly as the jaws of the former. Our adversaries say we are indebted to their providence for the means of paying the public debt. We never charged them with the want of foresight in providing money, but Edition: current; Page: [404] with the misapplication of it after they had levied it. We say they raised not only enough, but too much; and that after giving back the surplus we do more with a part than they did with the whole.

Your letter of Nov 18 is also received. The places of midshipman are so much sought that (being limited) there is never a vacancy. Your son shall be set down for the 2d, which shall happen; the 1st being anticipated. We are not long generally without vacancies happening. As soon as he can be appointed you shall know it. I pray you to accept assurances of my great attachment and respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 29, 1802
Washington
Dr. Joseph Priestley
Priestley, Dr. Joseph

to dr. joseph priestley

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Oct. 29 was received in due time, and I am very thankful for the extract of Mr. Stone’s letter on the subject of Alexander. The apparition of such a man on a throne is one of the phænomena which will distinguish the present epoch so remarkable in the history of man. But he must have an herculean task to devise and establish the means of securing freedom and happiness to those who are not capable of taking care of themselves. Some preparation seems necessary to qualify the body of a nation for self-government. Who could have thought the French nation incapable of it? Alexander will doubtless begin at the right end, by taking means for diffusing instruction and a sense of their natural rights through the mass of his people, Edition: current; Page: [405] and for relieving them in the meantime from actual oppression. I should be puzzled to find a person capable of preparing for him the short analytical view of our constitution which you propose. It would be a short work, but a difficult one. Mr. Cooper’s Propositions respecting the foundation of civil government; your own piece on the First principles of government; Chipman’s Sketches on the principles of government, and the Federalist would furnish the principles of our constitution and their practical development in the several parts of that instrument. I question whether such a work can be so well executed for his purpose by any other, as by a Russian presenting exactly that view of it which that people would seize with advantage. It would be easy to name some persons who could give a perfect abstract view, adapted to an English or an American mind: But they would find it difficult to disengage themselves sufficiently from other pursuits. However, if we keep it in view we may perhaps get it done. Your letter to Mr. Stone shall be taken care of.

Our busy scene is now approaching. The quiet tract into which we are endeavoring to get, neither meddling with the affairs of other nations, nor with those of our fellow citizens, but letting them go on in their own way, will show itself in the statement of our affairs to Congress. We have almost nothing to propose to them but “to let things alone.” The effects of the fiscal arrangements of the last session will show themselves very satisfactorily. The only speck in our horizon which can threaten anything, is the cession of Louisiana to France. Tho’ probable, Edition: current; Page: [406] it is not yet entirely certain how far it will be carried into effect. I am sorry you cannot be absent this winter from the cold of the position in which you are. I have a great opinion of the favorable influence of genial climates in winter, and especially on old persons. Altho’ Washington does not offer the best, yet it is probably much milder than that in which you are. Otherwise it could offer little but the affectionate reception you should have experienced. The notice of me which you are so good as to prefix to your book, cannot but be consolatory, in as much as it testifies what one great and good man thinks of me. But in truth I have no pretensions but to have wished the good of mankind with very moderate talents for carrying it into effect. My chief object is to let the good sense of the nation have fair play, believing it will best take care of itself. Praying for you many days of life and health, and of leisure still to inform the understandings of man, I tender you the assurances of my sincere esteem and attachment and high respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 15, 1802
Gallatin
Gallatin

second annual message1

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:

When we assemble together, fellow-citizens, to consider the state of our beloved country, our just Edition: current; Page: [407] attentions are first drawn to those pleasing circumstances which mark the goodness of that Being from whose favor they flow, and the large measure of thankfulness we owe for his bounty. Another year has come around, and finds us still blessed with peace and friendship abroad; law, order, and religion, at home; good affection and harmony with our Indian neighbors; our burdens lightened, yet our income sufficient for the public wants, and the produce of the year great beyond example. These, fellow-citizens, are the circumstances under which we meet; and we remark with special satisfaction, those which, under the smiles of Providence, result from the skill, industry and order of our citizens, managing their own affairs in their own way and for their own use, unembarrassed by too much regulations, unoppressed by fiscal exactions.

On the restoration of peace in Europe, that portion Edition: current; Page: [408] of the general carrying trade which had fallen to our share during the war, was abridged by the returning competition of the belligerent powers. This was to be expected, and was just. But in addition we find in some parts of Europe monopolizing discriminations, which, in the form of duties, tend effectually to prohibit the carrying thither our own produce in our own vessels. From existing amities, and a spirit of justice, it is hoped that friendly discussion will produce a fair and adequate reciprocity. But should false calculations of interest defeat our hope, it rests with the legislature to decide whether they will meet inequalities abroad with countervailing inequalities at home, or provide for the evil in any other way.

It is with satisfaction I lay before you an act of the British parliament anticipating this subject so far as to authorize a mutual abolition of the duties and countervailing duties permitted under the treaty of 1794. It shows on their part a spirit of justice and friendly accommodation which it is our duty and our interest to cultivate with all nations. Whether this would produce a due equality in the navigation between the two countries, is a subject for your consideration.

Another circumstance which claims attention, as directly affecting the very source of our navigation, is the defect or the evasion of the law providing for the return of seamen, and particularly of those belonging to vessels sold abroad. Numbers of them, discharged in foreign ports, have been thrown on the hands of our consuls, who, to rescue them from Edition: current; Page: [409] the dangers into which their distresses might plunge them, and save them to their country, have found it necessary in some cases to return them at the public charge.

The cession of the Spanish province of Louisiana to France, which took place in the course of the late war, will, if carried into effect, make a change in the aspect of our foreign relations which will doubtless have just weight in any deliberations of the legislature connected with that subject.

There was reason, not long since, to apprehend that the warfare in which we were engaged with Tripoli might be taken up by some others of the Barbary powers. A reinforcement, therefore, was immediately ordered to the vessels already there. Subsequent information, however, has removed these apprehensions for the present. To secure our commerce in that sea with the smallest force competent, we have supposed it best to watch strictly the harbor of Tripoli. Still, however, the shallowness of their coast, and the want of smaller vessels on our part, has permitted some cruisers to escape unobserved; and to one of these an American vessel unfortunately fell a prey. The captain, one American seaman, and two others of color, remain prisoners with them unless exchanged under an agreement formerly made with the bashaw, to whom, on the faith of that, some of his captive subjects had been restored.

The convention with the State of Georgia has been ratified by their legislature, and a repurchase from the Creeks has been consequently made of a part of Edition: current; Page: [410] the Tallahassee county. In this purchase has also been comprehended part of the lands within the fork of Oconee and Oakmulgee rivers. The particulars of the contract will be laid before Congress so soon as they shall be in a state of communication.

In order to remove every ground of difference possible with our Indian neighbors, I have proceeded in the work of settling with them and marking the boundaries between us. That with the Choctaw nation is fixed in one part, and will be through the whole in a short time. The country to which their title had been extinguished before the revolution is sufficient to receive a very respectable population, which Congress will probably see the expediency of encouraging so soon as the limits shall be declared. We are to view this position as an outpost of the United States, surrounded by strong neighbors and distant from its support. And how far that monopoly which prevents population should be here guarded against, and actual habitation made a condition of the continuance of title, will be for your consideration. A prompt settlement, too, of all existing rights and claims within this territory, presents itself as a preliminary operation.

In that part of the Indian territory which includes Vincennes, the lines settled with the neighboring tribes fix the extinction of their title at a breadth of twenty-four leagues from east to west, and about the same length parallel with and including the Wabash. They have also ceded a tract of four miles square, including the salt springs near the mouth of the river.

Edition: current; Page: [411]

In the department of finance it is with pleasure I inform you that the receipts of external duties for the last twelve months have exceeded those of any former year, and that the ratio of increase has been also greater than usual. This has enabled us to answer all the regular exigencies of government, to pay from the treasury in one year upwards of eight millions of dollars, principal and interest, of the public debt, exclusive of upward of one million paid by the sale of bank stock, and making in the whole a reduction of nearly five millions and a half of principal; and to have now in the treasury four millions and a half of dollars, which are in a course of application to a further discharge of debt and current demands. Experience, too, so far, authorizes us to believe, if no extraordinary event supervenes, and the expenses which will be actually incurred shall not be greater than were contemplated by Congress at their last session, that we shall not be disappointed in the expectations then formed. But nevertheless, as the effect of peace on the amount of duties is not yet fully ascertained, it is the more necessary to practice every useful economy, and to incur no expense which may be avoided without prejudice.

The collection of the internal taxes having been completed in some of the States, the officers employed in it are of course out of commission. In others, they will be so shortly. But in a few, where the arrangement for the direct tax had been retarded, it will still be some time before the system is closed. It has not yet been thought necessary to Edition: current; Page: [412] employ the agent authorized by an act of the last session for transacting business in Europe relative to debts and loans. Nor have we used the power confided by the same act, of prolonging the foreign debts by reloans, and of redeeming, instead thereof, an equal sum of the domestic debt. Should, however, the difficulties of remittances on so large a scale render it necessary at any time, the power shall be executed, and the money thus unemployed abroad shall, in conformity with that law, be faithfully applied here in an equivalent extinction of domestic debt. When effects so salutary result from the plans you have already sanctioned, when merely by avoiding false objects of expense we are able, without a direct tax, without internal taxes, and without borrowing to make large and effectual payments toward the discharge of our public debt and the emancipation of our posterity from that moral canker, it is an encouragement, fellow-citizens, of the highest order, to proceed as we have begun, in substituting economy for taxation, and in pursuing what is useful for a nation placed as we are, rather than what is practiced by others under different circumstances. And whensoever we are destined to meet events which shall call forth all the energies of our countrymen, we have the firmest reliance on those energies, and the comfort of leaving for calls like these the extraordinary resources of loans and internal taxes. In the meantime, by payments of the principal of our debt, we are liberating, annually, portions of the external taxes, and forming from them a growing fund still further to Edition: current; Page: [413] lessen the necessity of recurring to extraordinary resources.

The usual accounts of receipts and expenditures for the last year, with an estimate of the expenses of the ensuing one, will be laid before you by the secretary of the treasury.

No change being deemed necessary in our military establishment, an estimate of its expenses for the ensuing year on its present footing, as also of the sums to be employed in fortifications and other objects within that department, has been prepared by the secretary of war, and will make a part of the general estimates which will be presented to you.

Considering that our regular troops are employed for local purposes, and that the militia is our general reliance for great and sudden emergencies, you will doubtless think this institution worthy of a review, and give it those improvements of which you find it susceptible.

Estimates for the naval department, prepared by the secretary of the navy for another year, will in like manner be communicated with the general estimates. A small force in the Mediterranean will still be necessary to restrain the Tripoline cruisers, and the uncertain tenure of peace with some other of the Barbary powers, may eventually require that force to be augmented. The necessity of procuring some smaller vessels for that service will raise the estimate, but the difference in their maintenance will soon make it a measure of economy.

Presuming it will be deemed expedient to expend annually a sum towards providing the naval defence Edition: current; Page: [414] which our situation may require, I cannot but recommend that the first appropriations for that purpose may go to the saving what we already possess. No cares, no attentions, can preserve vessels from rapid decay which lie in water and exposed to the sun. These decays require great and constant repairs, and will consume, if continued, a great portion of the money destined to naval purposes. To avoid this waste of our resources, it is proposed to add to our navy-yard here a dock, within which our vessels may be laid up dry and under cover from the sun. Under these circumstances experience proves that works of wood will remain scarcely at all affected by time. The great abundance of running water which this situation possesses, at heights far above the level of the tide, if employed as is practised for lock navigation, furnishes the means of raising and laying up our vessels on a dry and sheltered bed. And should the measure be found useful here, similar depositories for laying up as well as for building and repairing vessels may hereafter be undertaken at other navy-yards offering the same means. The plans and estimates of the work, prepared by a person of skill and experience, will be presented to you without delay; and from this it will be seen that scarcely more than has been the cost of one vessel is necessary to save the whole, and that the annual sum to be employed toward its completion may be adapted to the views of the legislature as to naval expenditure.

To cultivate peace and maintain commerce and navigation in all their lawful enterprises; to foster Edition: current; Page: [415] our fisheries and nurseries of navigation and for the nurture of man, and protect the manufactures adapted to our circumstances; to preserve the faith of the nation by an exact discharge of its debts and contracts, expend the public money with the same care and economy we would practise with our own, and impose on our citizens no unnecessary burden; to keep in all things within the pale of our constitutional powers, and cherish the federal union as the only rock of safety—these, fellow-citizens are the landmarks by which we are to guide ourselves in all our proceedings. By continuing to make these our rule of action, we shall endear to our countrymen the true principles of their constitution, and promote a union of sentiment and of action equally auspicious to their happiness and safety. On my part, you may count on a cordial concurrence in every measure for the public good, and on all the information I possess which may enable you to discharge to advantage the high functions with which you are invested by your country.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 31, 1802
Washington
Cæsar A. Rodney
Rodney, Cæsar A.

to cæsar a. rodney

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

— * * * Congress is not yet engaged in business of any note. We want men of business among them. I really wish you were here. I am convinced it is in the power of any man who understands business, and who will undertake to keep a file of the business before Congress and press it as he would his own docket in a court, to shorten the Edition: current; Page: [416] sessions a month one year with another and to save in that way 30,000 D. a year. An ill-judged modesty prevents those from undertaking it who are equal to it.

You will have seen by the message that there is little interesting proposed to be done. The settlement of the Mississippi territory is among the most important. So also, in my opinion, is the proposition for the preservation of our navy, which otherwise will either be entirely rotten in 6. or 8. years, or will cost us 3. or 4. millions in repairs. Whether the proposition will surmount the doubts of some, and false economy of others I know not. Accept assurances of my great esteem and respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 10, 1803
Washington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to james monroe

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have but a moment to inform you that the fever into which the western mind is thrown by the affair at N. Orleans stimulated by the mercantile, and generally the federal interest threatens to overbear our peace. In this situation we are obliged to call on you for a temporary sacrifice of yourself, to prevent this greatest of evils in the present prosperous tide of our affairs. I shall tomorrow nominate you to the Senate for an extraordinary mission to France, and the circumstances are such as to render it impossible to decline; because the whole public hope will be rested on you. I wish you to be either in Richmond or Albemarle Edition: current; Page: [417] till you receive another letter from me, which will be written two days hence if the Senate decide immediately or later according to the time they will take to decide. In the meantime pray work night and day to arrange your affairs for a temporary absence; perhaps for a long one. Accept affectionate salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 13, 1803
Thomas Paine
Paine, Thomas

to thomas paine

j. mss.

The bearer brings your models. You have certainly misconceived what you deem shyness. Of that I have not had a thought towards you, but on the contrary have openly maintained in conversation the duty of showing our respect to you and of defying federal calumny in this as in other cases, by doing what is right. As to fearing it, if I ever could have been weak enough for that, they have taken care to cure me of it thoroughly. The fact is that I am now so pressed with business till 1. or 2. o’clock and then to get a little exercise before I am engaged again with company to dine, from which I am not disengaged till night, that I have only the evening in which I can indulge in the society of my friends. And as to mechanics, mathematics, philosophy &c., I am obliged to give one answer to the many communications on those subjects, that I am obliged to abandon them entirely, as I have not a moment to give to them which would not be taken from some pressing duty. I thank you for the sight of the models. They are all interesting to the public; the one for planing is Edition: current; Page: [418] most so to me personally. I imagine somebody at your new establishment will set up the trade of making them; and when that is the case I will apply to him for a pair. Accept my friendly salutations and respects.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 13, 1803
Washington
James Monroe
Monroe, James

to the special envoy to france (james monroe.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I dropped you a line on the 10th informing you of a nomination I had made of you to the Senate, and yesterday I enclosed you their approbation not then having time to write. The agitation of the public mind on occasion of the late suspension of our right of deposit at N. Orleans is extreme. In the western country it is natural and grounded on honest motives. In the seaports it proceeds from a desire for war which increases the mercantile lottery; in the federalists generally and especially those of Congress the object is to force us into war if possible, in order to derange our finances, or if this cannot be done, to attach the western country to them, as their best friends, and thus get again into power. Remonstrances memorials &c. are now circulating through the whole western country and signing by the body of the people. The measures we have been pursuing being invisible, do not satisfy their minds. Something sensible therefore was become necessary; and indeed our object of purchasing N. Orleans and the Floridas is a measure liable to assume so many shapes, that no Edition: current; Page: [419] instructions could be squared to fit them, it was essential then to send a minister extraordinary to be joined with the ordinary one, with discretionary powers, first however well impressed with all our views and therefore qualified to meet and modify to these every form of proposition which could come from the other party. This could be done only in full and frequent oral communications. Having determined on this, there could not be two opinions among the republicans as to the person. You possess the unlimited confidence of the administration and of the western people; and generally of the republicans everywhere; and were you to refuse to go, no other man can be found who does this. The measure has already silenced the Feds. here. Congress will no longer be agitated by them: and the country will become calm as fast as the information extends over it. All eyes, all hopes, are now fixed on you; and were you to decline, the chagrin would be universal, and would shake under your feet the high ground on which you stand with the public. Indeed I know nothing which would produce such a shock, for on the event of this mission depends the future destinies of this republic. If we cannot by a purchase of the country insure to ourselves a course of perpetual peace and friendship with all nations, then as war cannot be distant, it behooves us immediately to be preparing for that course, without, however, hastening it, and it may be necessary (on your failure on the continent) to cross the channel.

We shall get entangled in European politics, and figuring more, be much less happy and prosperous. Edition: current; Page: [420] This can only be prevented by a successful issue to your present mission. I am sensible after the measures you have taken for getting into a different line of business, that it will be a great sacrifice on your part, and presents from the season and other circumstances serious difficulties. But some men are born for the public. Nature by fitting them for the service of the human race on a broad scale, has stamped with the evidences of her destination and their duty.

But I am particularly concerned that in the present case you have more than one sacrifice to make. To reform the prodigalities of our predecessors is understood to be peculiarly our duty, and to bring the government to a simple and economical course. They, in order to increase expense, debt, taxation, and patronage tried always how much they could give. The outfit given to ministers resident to enable them to furnish their house, but given by no nation to a temporary minister, who is never expected to take a house or to entertain, but considered on a footing of a voyageur, they gave to their extraordinary missionaries by wholesale. In the beginning of our administration, among other articles of reformation in expense, it was determined not to give an outfit to missionaries extraordinary, and not to incur the expense with any minister of sending a frigate to carry him or bring him. The Boston happened to be going to the Mediterranean, and was permitted therefore to take up Mr. Livingstone and touch in a port of France. A frigate was denied to Charles Pinckney and has been refused to Mr. King for his return. Mr. Madison’s friendship Edition: current; Page: [421] and mine to you being so well known, the public will have eagle eyes to watch if we grant you any indulgences of the general rule; and on the other hand, the example set in your case will be more cogent on future ones, and produce greater approbation to our conduct. The allowance therefore will be in this and all similar cases, all the expenses of your journey and voiage, taking a ship’s cabin to yourself, 9,000 D. a year from your leaving home till the proceedings of your mission are terminated, and then the quarter’s salary for the expenses of the return as prescribed by law. As to the time of your going you cannot too much hasten it, as the moment in France is critical. St. Domingo delays their taking possession of Louisiana, and they are in the last distress for money for current purposes. You should arrange your affairs for an absence of a year at least, perhaps for a long one. It will be necessary for you to stay here some days on your way to New York. You will receive here what advance you chuse. Accept assurances of my constant and affectionate attachment.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 18th, 1803
Casper Wistar
Wistar, Casper

confidential message on expedition to the pacific1

Gentlemen of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:

As the continuance of the act for establishing trading houses with the Indian tribes will be under Edition: current; Page: [422] the consideration of the Legislature at its present session, I think it my duty to communicate the views which have guided me in the execution of that act, in order that you may decide on the policy of Edition: current; Page: [423] continuing it, in the present or any other form, or discontinue it altogether, if that shall, on the whole, seem most for the public good.

The Indian tribes residing within the limits of the Edition: current; Page: [424] United States, have, for a considerable time, been growing more and more uneasy at the constant diminution of the territory they occupy, although effected by their own voluntary sales: and the Edition: current; Page: [425] policy has long been gaining strength with them, of refusing absolutely all further sale, on any conditions; insomuch that, at this time, it hazards their friendship, and excites dangerous jealousies and Edition: current; Page: [426] perturbations in their minds to make any overture for the purchase of the smallest portions of their land. A very few tribes only are not yet obstinately in these dispositions. In order peaceably to Edition: current; Page: [427] counteract this policy of theirs, and to provide an extension of territory which the rapid increase of our numbers will call for, two measures are deemed expedient. First: to encourage them to abandon Edition: current; Page: [428] hunting, to apply to the raising stock, to agriculture and domestic manufacture, and thereby prove to themselves that less land and labor will maintain them in this, better than in their former mode of living. The extensive forests necessary in the hunting Edition: current; Page: [429] life, will then become useless, and they will see advantage in exchanging them for the means of improving their farms, and of increasing their domestic comforts. Secondly: to multiply trading houses among them, and place within their reach those things Edition: current; Page: [430] which will contribute more to their domestic comfort, than the possession of extensive, but uncultivated wilds. Experience and reflection will Edition: current; Page: [431] develop to them the wisdom of exchanging what they can spare and we want, for what we can spare and they want. In leading them to agriculture, to manufactures, and civilization; in bringing together their and our settlements, and in preparing them ultimately to participate in the benefits of our governments, I trust and believe we are acting for their greatest good. At these trading houses we have pursued the principles of the act of Congress, which directs that the commerce shall be carried on liberally, and requires only that the capital stock shall not be diminished. We consequently undersell private traders, foreign and domestic, drive them from the competition; and thus, with the good will of the Indians, rid ourselves of a description of men who are constantly endeavoring to excite in the Indian mind suspicions, fears, and irritations towards us. A letter now enclosed, shows the effect of our competition on the operations of the traders, while the Indians, perceiving the advantage of purchasing from us, are soliciting generally, our establishment of trading houses among them. In one quarter this is particularly interesting. The Legislature, reflecting on the late occurrences on the Mississippi, must be sensible how desirable it is to possess a respectable breadth of country on that river, from our Southern limit to the Illinois at least; so that we may present as firm a front on that as on our Eastern border. We possess what is below the Yazoo, and can probably acquire a certain breadth from the Illinois and Wabash to the Ohio; but between the Ohio and Yazoo, the country all belongs to the Chickasaws, Edition: current; Page: [432] the most friendly tribe within our limits, but the most decided against the alienation of lands. The portion of their country most important for us is exactly that which they do not inhabit. Their settlements are not on the Mississippi, but in the interior country. They have lately shown a desire to become agricultural; and this leads to the desire of buying implements and comforts. In the strengthening and gratifying of these wants, I see the only prospect of planting on the Mississippi itself, the means of its own safety. Duty has required me to submit these views to the judgment of the Legislature; but as their disclosure might embarrass and defeat their effect, they are committed to the special confidence of the two Houses.

While the extension of the public commerce among the Indian tribes, may deprive of that source of profit such of our citizens as are engaged in it, it might be worthy the attention of Congress, in their care of individual as well as of the general interest, to point, in another direction, the enterprise of these citizens, as profitably for themselves, and more usefully for the public. The river Missouri, and the Indians inhabiting it, are not as well known as is rendered desirable by their connexion with the Mississippi, and consequently with us. It is, however, understood, that the country on that river is inhabited by numerous tribes, who furnish great supplies of furs and peltry to the trade of another nation, carried on in a high latitude, through an infinite number of portages and lakes, shut up by ice through a long season. The commerce on that Edition: current; Page: [433] line could bear no competition with that of the Missouri, traversing a moderate climate, offering according to the best accounts, a continued navigation from its source, and possibly with a single portage, from the Western Ocean, and finding to the Atlantic a choice of channels through the Illinois or Wabash, the lakes and Hudson, through the Ohio and Susquehanna, or Potomac or James rivers, and through the Tennessee and Savannah, rivers. An intelligent officer, with ten or twelve chosen men, fit for the enterprise, and willing to undertake it, taken from our posts, where they may be spared without inconvenience, might explore the whole line, even to the Western Ocean, have conferences with the natives on the subject of commercial intercourse, get admission among them for our traders, as others are admitted, agree on convenient deposits for an interchange of articles, and return with the information acquired, in the course of two summers. Their arms and accoutrements, some instruments of observation, and light and cheap presents for the Indians, would be all the apparatus they could carry, and with an expectation of a soldier’s portion of land on their return, would constitute the whole expense. Their pay would be going on, whether here or there. While other civilized nations have encountered great expense to enlarge the boundaries of knowledge by undertaking voyages of discovery, and for other literary purposes, in various parts and directions, our nation seems to owe to the same object, as well as to its own interests, to explore this, the only line of easy communication across the Edition: current; Page: [434] continent, and so directly traversing our own part of it. The interests of commerce place the principal object within the constitutional powers and care of Congress, and that it should incidentally advance the geographical knowledge of our own continent, cannot be but an additional gratification. The nation claiming the territory, regarding this as a literary pursuit, which is in the habit of permitting within its dominions, would not be disposed to view it with jealousy, even if the expiring state of its interests there did not render it a matter of indifference. The appropriation of two thousand five hundred dollars, “for the purpose of extending the external commerce of the United States,” while understood and considered by the Executive as giving the legislative sanction, would cover the undertaking from notice, and prevent the obstructions which interested individuals might otherwise previously prepare in its way.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 18, 1803
Washington
James Garrard
Garrard, James

to the governor of kentucky (james garrard.)

j. mss.

Sir,

—Soon after the date of my letter to you of Dec. 16th the memorial of the Senate and House of Representatives of Kentucky to the President of the U. S. and the Senate and House of Representatives of Congress came to hand. In that letter I informed you that we had reason to believe that the suspension of the right of deposit at New Orleans was an act Edition: current; Page: [435] merely of the intendant, unauthorized by his government; that immediately on information of it we had taken measures to have it rectified, and that we had been seconded in these by the cordial interposition of the minister of his catholic majesty residing here. Further information showing that this act of the intendant was unauthorized has strengthened our expectation that it will be corrected.

In order, however, to provide against the hazard which beset our interests & peace in that quarter, I have determined with the approbation of the Senate, to send James Monroe, late governor of Virginia, with full powers to him and our ministers in France and Spain to enter with those governments into such arrangements as may effectually secure our rights & interest in the Mississippi, and in the country eastward of that. He is now here and will depart immediately. In the meantime knowing how important it is that the obstructions shall be removed in time for the produce which will begin to descend the river in February, the Spanish minister, has, at our request, reiterated his interposition with the intendant of New Orleans.

I inclose you a resolution of the House of Representatives on this subject, which with the measures taken by the executive, will, I hope, furnish new grounds for the confidence which the legislature of Kentucky is pleased to express in the government of the U. S., and evince to them that that government is equally and impartially alive to the interests of every portion of the union.

Edition: current; Page: [436]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb 1, 1803
Washington
P. S. Dupont de Nemours
Nemours, P. S. Dupont de

to p. s. dupont de nemours

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have to acknolege the receipt of your favors of Aug 16 and Oct 4. And the latter I received with peculiar satisfaction; because, while it holds up terms which cannot be entirely yielded, it proposes such as a mutual spirit of accommodation and sacrifice of opinion may bring to some point of union. While we were preparing on this subject such modifications of the propositions of your letter of Oct 4, as we could assent to, an event happened which obliged us to adopt measures of urgency. The suspension of the right of deposit at New Orleans, ceded to us by our treaty with Spain, threw our whole country into such a ferment as imminently threatened its peace. This, however, was believed to be the act of the Intendant, unauthorized by his government. But it showed the necessity of making effectual arrangements to secure the peace of the two counties against the indiscreet acts of subordinate agents. The urgency of the case, as well as the public spirit, therefore induced us to make a more solemn appeal to the justice and judgment of our neighbors, by sending a minister extraordinary to impress them with the necessity of some arrangement. Mr. Monroe has been selected. His good dispositions cannot be doubted. Multiplied conversations with him, and views of the subject taken in all the shapes in which it can present itself, have possessed him with our estimates of everything relating to it, with a minuteness which no written communication to Mr. Livingston could ever have attained. These will prepare Edition: current; Page: [437] them to meet and decide on every form of proposition which can occur, without awaiting new instructions from hence, which might draw to an indefinite length a discussion where circumstances imperiously oblige us to a prompt decision. For the occlusion of the Mississippi is a state of things in which we cannot exist. He goes, therefore, joined with Chancellor Livingston, to aid in the issue of a crisis the most important the U S have ever met since their independence, and which is to decide their future character & career. The confidence which the government of France reposes in you will undoubtedly give great weight to your information. An equal confidence on our part, founded on your knowledge of the subject, your just views of it, your good dispositions towards this country, and my long experience of your personal faith and friendship, assures me that you will render between us all the good offices in your power. The interests of the two countries being absolutely the same as to this matter, your aid may be conscientiously given. It will often perhaps, be possible for you, having a freedom of communication, omnibus horis, which diplomatic gentlemen will be excluded from by forms, to smooth difficulties by respresentations & reasonings, which would be received with more suspicion from them. You will thereby render great good to both countries. For our circumstances are so imperious as to admit of no delay as to our course; and the use of the Mississippi so indispensable, that we cannot hesitate one moment to hazard our existence for its maintenance. If we fail in this effort to Edition: current; Page: [438] put it beyond the reach of accident, we see the destinies we have to run, and prepare at once for them. Not but that we shall still endeavor to go on in peace and friendship with our neighbors as long as we can, if our rights of navigation & deposit are respected; but as we foresee that the caprices of the local officers, and the abuse of those rights by our boatmen & navigators, which neither government can prevent, will keep up a state of irritation which cannot long be kept inactive, we should be criminally improvident not to take at once eventual measures for strengthening ourselves for the contest. It may be said, if this object be so all-important to us, why do we not offer such a sum as to insure its purchase? The answer is simple. We are an agricultural people, poor in money, and owing great debts. These will be falling due by instalments for 15. years to come, and require from us the practice of a rigorous economy to accomplish their payment; and it is our principle to pay to a moment whatever we have engaged, and never to engage what we cannot, and mean not faithfully to pay. We have calculated our resources, and find the sum to be moderate which they would enable us to pay, and we know from late trials that little can be added to it by borrowing. The country, too, which we wish to purchase, except the portion already granted, and which must be confirmed to the private holders, is a barren sand 600. miles from east to west, & from 30. to 40. & 50. miles from north to south, formed by deposition of the sands by the Gulf Stream in its circular course round the Mexican Gulf, and which being spent after performing a semicircle, Edition: current; Page: [439] has made from its last depositions the sand bank of East Florida. In West Florida, indeed, there are on the borders of the rivers some rich bottoms, formed by the mud brought from the upper country. These bottoms are all possessed by individuals. But the spaces between river and river are mere banks of sand; and in East Florida there are neither rivers, nor consequently any bottoms. We cannot then make anything by a sale of the lands to individuals. So that it is peace alone which makes it an object with us, and which ought to make the cession of it desirable to France. Whatever power, other than ourselves, holds the country east of the Mississippi becomes our natural enemy. Will such a possession do France as much good, as such an enemy may do her harm? And how long would it be hers, were such an enemy, situated at its door, added to G Britain? I confess, it appears to me as essential to France to keep at peace with us, as it is to us to keep at peace with her; and that, if this cannot be secured without some compromise as to the territory in question, it will be useful for both to make some sacrifices to effect the compromise.

You see, my good friend, with what frankness I communicate with you on this subject; that I hide nothing from you, and that I am endeavoring to turn our private friendship to the good of our respective countries. And can private friendship ever answer a nobler end than by keeping two nations at peace, who, if this new position which one of them is taking were rendered innocent, have more points of common interest, and fewer of collision, than any two Edition: current; Page: [440] on earth; who become natural friends, instead of natural enemies, which this change of position would make them. My letters of Apr. 25, May 5, and this present one have been written, without any disguise, in this view; and while safe in your hands they can never do anything but good. But you and I are now at that time of life when our call to another state of being cannot be distant, and may be near. Besides, your government is in the habit of seizing papers without notice. These letters might thus get into hands, which, like the hornet which extracts poison from the same flower that yields honey to the bee, might make them the ground of blowing up a flame between our two countries, and make our friendship and confidence in each other effect exactly the reverse of what we are aiming at. Being yourself thoroughly possessed of every idea in them, let me ask from your friendship an immediate consignment of them to the flames. That alone can make all safe and ourselves secure.

I intended to have answered you here, on the subject of your agency in transacting what money matters we may have at Paris, and for that purpose meant to have conferred with Mr. Gallatin. But he has, for 2. or 3. days, been confined to his room, and is not yet able to do business. If he is out before Mr. Monroe’s departure, I will write an additional letter on that subject. Be assured that it will be a great additional satisfaction to me to render services to yourself & sons by the same acts which shall at the same time promote the public service. Be so good as to present my respectful salutations to Made. Edition: current; Page: [441] Dupont, & to accept yourself assurances of my constant and affectionate friendship and great respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 3, 1803
Washington
Robert R. Livingston
Livingston, Robert R.

to the u. s. minister to france (robert r. livingston.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—My last to you was by Mr. Dupont. Since that I received yours of May 22. Mr. Madison supposes you have written a subsequent one which has never come to hand. A late suspension by the Intendant of N Orleans of our right of deposit there, without which the right of navigation is impracticable, has thrown this country into such a flame of hostile disposition as can scarcely be described. The western country was peculiarly sensible to it as you may suppose. Our business was to take the most effectual pacific measures in our power to remove the suspension, and at the same time to persuade our countrymen that pacific measures would be the most effectual and the most speedily so. The opposition caught it as a plank in a shipwreck, hoping it would enable them to tack the Western people to them. They raised the cry of war, were intriguing in all the quarters to exasperate the Western inhabitants to arm & go down on their own authority & possess themselves of New Orleans, and in the meantime were daily reiterating, in new shapes, inflammatory resolutions for the adoption of the House. As a remedy to all this we determined to name a minister extraordinary to go immediately to Paris & Madrid Edition: current; Page: [442] to settle this matter. This measure being a visible one, and the person named peculiarly proper with the Western country, crushed at once & put an end to all further attempts on the Legislature. From that moment all has become quiet; and the more readily in the Western country, as the sudden alliance of these new federal friends had of itself already began to make them suspect the wisdom of their own course. The measure was moreover proposed from another cause. We must know at once whether we can acquire N Orleans or not. We are satisfied nothing else will secure us against a war at no distant period; and we cannot press this season without beginning those arrangements which will be necessary if war is hereafter to result. For this purpose it was necessary that the negotiators should be fully possessed of every idea we have on the subject, so as to meet the propositions of the opposite party, in whatever form they may be offered; and give them a shape admissible by us without being obliged to await new instructions hence. With this view, we have joined Mr. Monroe to yourself at Paris, & to Mr. Pinkney at Madrid, altho’ we believe it will be hardly necessary for him to go to this last place. Should we fail in this object of the mission, a further one will be superadded for the other side of the channel. On this subject you will be informed by the Secretary of State, & Mr Monroe will be able also to inform you of all our views and purposes. By him I send another letter to Dupont, whose aid may be of the greatest service, as it will be divested of the shackles of form. The letter is left open for your perusal, after which I wish Edition: current; Page: [443] a wafer stuck in it before it be delivered. The official and the verbal communications to you by Mr. Monroe will be so full and minute, that I need not trouble you with an inofficial repetition of them. The future destinies of our country hang on the event of this negotiation, and I am sure they could not be placed in more able or more zealous hands. On our parts we shall be satisfied that what you do not effect, cannot be effected. Accept therefore assurances of my sincere & constant affection and high respect.

P. S. Feb. 10. your letters of May 4. & Oct. 28. never came to my hands till last night. I am sincerely sorry for the misunderstanding therein explained. As Mr. Sumpter has long since asked & received permission to retire from his office, it cannot be necessary for me to say anything on the subject but that I hope the dispositions to conciliate therein manifested, will be cherished and carried into effect by both.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 10, 1803
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert

to the secretary of the treasury (albert gallatin.)

j. mss.

I inclose you Crowninshield’s and Jibaut’s letters recommending Stevens and Storer. Storer was also recommended by Mr. Lincoln. Illsley by Genl. Dearborn. The circumstance of exhibiting our recommendations even to our friends, requires great consideration. Recommendations, when honestly written should detail the bad as well as good qualities of the person recommended. That gentlemen Edition: current; Page: [444] may do freely, if they know their letter is to be confined to the president or the head of a department. But if communicated further it may bring on them troublesome quarrels. In Gl. Washington’s time he resisted every effort to bring forth his recommendations. In Mr. Adams time I only know that the republicans knew nothing of them. I have always considered the controul of the Senate as meant to prevent any bias or favoritism in the President towards his own relations, his own religion, towards particular states &c. and perhaps to keep very obnoxious persons out of offices of the first grade. But in all subordinate cases I have ever thought that the selection made by the President ought to inspire a general confidence that it has been made on due inquiry and investigation of character, and that the Senate should interpose their negative only in those particular cases where something happens to be within their knowledge, against the character of the person and unfitting him for the appointment. To Mr. Tracy at any rate no exhibition or information of recommendations ought to be communicated. He may be told that the President does not think it regular to communicate the grounds or reasons of his decision. Friendly salutations and respect.

P. S. To exhibit recommendations would be to turn the Senate into a court of honor, or a court of slander, and to expose the character of every man nominated to an ordeal, without his own consent, subjecting the Senate to heats and waste of time, of which those who were present at the nomination of Colo. W. S. Smith, have seen an example. There a Edition: current; Page: [445] committee sat weeks in judgment upon scandal from every quarter.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 18, 1803
Washington
Benjamin Hawkins
Hawkins, Benjamin

to benjamin hawkins

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Mr. Hill’s return to you offers so safe a conveyance for a letter, that I feel irresistibly disposed to write one, tho’ there is but little to write about. You have been so long absent from this part of the world, and the state of society so changed in that time, that details respecting those who compose it are no longer interesting or intelligible to you. One source of great change in social intercourse arose while you were with us, tho’ it’s effects were as yet scarcely sensible on society or government. I mean the British treaty, which produced a schism that went on widening and rankling till the years ’98, ’99, when a final dissolution of all bonds, civil & social, appeared imminent. In that awful crisis, the people awaked from the phrenzy into which they had been thrown, began to return to their sober and ancient principles, & have now become five-sixths of one sentiment, to wit, for peace, economy, and a government bottomed on popular election in its legislative & executive branches. In the public counsels the federal party hold still one-third. This, however, will lessen, but not exactly to the standard of the people; because it will be forever seen that of bodies of men even elected by the people, there will always be a greater proportion aristocratic than among their constituents. The present administration had a task imposed on it which Edition: current; Page: [446] was unavoidable, and could not fail to exert the bitterest hostility in those opposed to it. The preceding administration left 99. out of every hundred in public offices of the federal sect. Republicanism had been the mark on Cain which had rendered those who bore it exiles from all portion in the trusts & authorities of their country. This description of citizens called imperiously & justly for a restoration of right. It was intended, however, to have yielded to this in so moderate a degree as might conciliate those who had obtained exclusive possession; but as soon as they were touched, they endeavored to set fire to the four corners of the public fabric, and obliged us to deprive of the influence of office several who were using it with activity and vigilance to destroy the confidence of the people in their government, and thus to proceed in the drudgery of removal farther than would have been, had not their own hostile enterprises rendered it necessary in self-defence. But I think it will not be long before the whole nation will be consolidated in their ancient principles, excepting a few who have committed themselves beyond recall, and who will retire to obscurity & settled disaffection.

Altho’ you will receive, thro’ the official channel of the War Office, every communication necessary to develop to you our views respecting the Indians, and to direct your conduct, yet, supposing it will be satisfactory to you, and to those with whom you are placed, to understand my personal dispositions and opinions in this particular, I shall avail myself of this private letter to state them generally. I consider the Edition: current; Page: [447] business of hunting as already become insufficient to furnish clothing and subsistence to the Indians. The promotion of agriculture, therefore, and household manufacture, are essential in their preservation, and I am disposed to aid and encourage it liberally. This will enable them to live on much smaller portions of land, and indeed will render their vast forests useless but for the range of cattle; for which purpose, also, as they become better farmers, they will be found useless, and even disadvantageous. While they are learning to do better on less land, our increasing numbers will be calling for more land, and thus a coincidence of interests will be produced between those who have lands to spare, and want other necessaries, and those who have such necessaries to spare, and want lands. This commerce, then, will be for the good of both, and those who are friends to both ought to encourage it. You are in the station peculiarly charged with this interchange, and who have it peculiarly in your power to promote among the Indians a sense of the superior value of a little land, well cultivated, over a great deal, unimproved, and to encourage them to make this estimate truly. The wisdom of the animal which amputates & abandons to the hunter the parts for which he is pursued should be theirs, with this difference, that the former sacrifices what is useful, the latter what is not. In truth, the ultimate point of rest & happiness for them is to let our settlements and theirs meet and blend together, to intermix, and become one people. Incorporating themselves with us as citizens of the U. S., this is what the natural progress of things will of course bring on, and it will Edition: current; Page: [448] be better to promote than to retard it. Surely it will be better for them to be identified with us, and preserved in the occupation of their lands, than be exposed to the many casualties which may endanger them while a separate people. I have little doubt but that your reflections must have led you to view the various ways in which their history may terminate, and to see that this is the one most for their happiness. And we have already had an application from a settlement of Indians to become citizens of the U. S. It is possible, perhaps probable, that this idea may be so novel as that it might shock the Indians, were it even hinted to them. Of course, you will keep it for your own reflection; but, convinced of its soundness, I feel it consistent with pure morality to lead them towards it, to familiarize them to the idea that it is for their interest to cede lands at times to the U S, and for us thus to procure gratifications to our citizens, from time to time, by new acquisitions of land. From no quarter is there at present so strong a pressure on this subject as from Georgia for the residue of the fork of Oconee & Ockmulgee; and indeed I believe it will be difficult to resist it. As it has been mentioned that the Creeks had at one time made up their minds to sell this, and were only checked in it by some indiscretions of an individual, I am in hopes you will be able to bring them to it again. I beseech you to use your most earnest endeavors; for it will relieve us here from a great pressure, and yourself from the unreasonable suspicions of the Georgians which you notice, that you are more attached to the interests of the Indians than of the U S, and throw cold water on Edition: current; Page: [449] their willingness to part with lands. It is so easy to excite suspicion, that none are to be wondered at; but I am in hopes it will be in your power to quash them by effecting the object.

Mr. Madison enjoys better health since his removal to this place than he had done in Orange. Mr. Giles is in a state of health feared to be irrecoverable, although he may hold on for some time, and perhaps be re-established. Browze Trist is now in the Mississippi territory, forming an establishment for his family, which is still in Albemarle, and will remove to the Mississippi in the spring. Mrs. Trist, his mother, begins to yield a little to time. I retain myself very perfect health, having not had 20. hours of fever in 42 years past. I have sometimes had a troublesome headache, and some slight rheumatic pains; but now sixty years old nearly, I have had as little to complain of in point of health as most people. I learn you have the gout. I did not expect that Indian cookery or Indian fare would produce that; but it is considered as a security for good health otherwise. That it may be so with you, I sincerely pray, and tender you my friendly and respectful salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 19, 1803
Washington
Thomas Mckean
Mckean, Thomas

to thomas mckean

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your’s of the 7th inst. has been duly received. The late election in Pennsylvania has to be sure been a triumphant proof of the progress of the Republican spirit: and must afford great consolation to yourself personally, as a mark of the public Edition: current; Page: [450] approbation of your administration. I believe we may consider the mass of the states south & west of Connecticut & Massachusetts as now a consolidated body of republicanism. In Connecticut, Massachusetts & N. Hampshire there is still a federal ascendancy, but it is near it’s last. If we can settle happily the difficulties of the Mississippi, I think we may promise ourselves smooth seas during our time. The Federal candidates for the general government I believe are certainly to be Mr. King & Genl. Pinckney. Of this I believe you may be assured. Mr. Ross so strongly marked by popular rejection in his late competition with you, and to retire from the Senate within a few days by a like rejection by the representatives of his state, is setting himself up by his war movements here as if he were their only friend & the only person who has their confidence. (I have been told he has declared the people of his quarter would go of their own authority & take N. Orleans, & that he would head them himself). But I rather suppose it sufficient, that a measure has his approbation, to produce their distrust of it. Mr. Harris has been informed that a consulship (I believe it is at Rotterdam) is vacant, if it will suit him. For Mr. T. Rodney I should certainly be glad to do any service; but really do not foresee any vacancy likely to happen where he could be employed. So also as to Mr. McLanachan. The fact is that we have put down the great mass of offices which gave such patronage to the President of the U. S. These had been so numerous, that presenting themselves to the public eye at all times & places, office began to be Edition: current; Page: [451] looked to as a resource for every man whose affairs were getting into derangement, or who was too indolent to pursue his profession, and for young men just entering into life. In short it was poisoning the very source of industry, by presenting an easier resource for a livelihood, and was corrupting the principles of the great mass of those who passed a wishful eye on office. The case is now quite changed. We have almost nothing to give, in such a state as Pennsylvania for instance, I recollect but 6. offices within my appointment, 3. of which are of the law, & 3. in the customs. For I do not count the commissioners of bankruptcy, who will so soon be put down with the law. While the habit of looking for office therefore continues, the means of gratifying it have been given up.

On the subject of prosecutions, what I say must be entirely confidential, for you know the passion for torturing every sentiment & word which comes from me. The federalists having failed in destroying the freedom of the press by their gag-law, seem to have attacked it in an opposite form, that is by pushing it’s licentiousness & it’s lying to such a degree of prostitution as to deprive it of all credit. And the fact is that so abandoned are the tory presses in this particular that even the least informed of the people have learnt that nothing in a newspaper is to be believed. This is a dangerous state of things, and the press ought to be restored to it’s credibility if possible. The restraints provided by the laws of the states are sufficient for this if applied. And I have therefore long thought that a few prosecutions Edition: current; Page: [452] of the most prominent offenders would have a wholesome effect in restoring the integrity of the presses. Not a general prosecution, for that would look like persecution: but a selected one. The paper I now inclose appears to me to offer as good an instance in every respect to make an example of, as can be selected. However of this you are the best judge. I inclose it lest you should not have it. If the same thing be done in some other of the states it will place the whole band more on their guard. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of my high respect & consideration.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 28, 1803
Washington
Benjamin Rush
Rush, Benjamin

to benjamin rush

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I wish to mention to you in confidence that I have obtained authority from Congress to undertake the long desired object of exploring the Missouri & whatever river, heading with that, leads into the western ocean. About 10. chosen woodsmen headed by Capt. Lewis my secretary will set out on it immediately & probably accomplish it in two seasons. Capt. Lewis is brave, prudent, habituated to the woods, & familiar with Indian manners and character. He is not regularly educated, but he possesses a great mass of accurate observation on all the subjects of nature which present themselves here, & will therefore readily select those only in his new route which shall be new. He has qualified himself for those observations of longitude & latitude necessary to fix the points of the line he will go over. It would be Edition: current; Page: [453] very useful to state for him those objects on which it is most desirable he should bring us information. For this purpose I ask the favor of you to prepare some notes of such particulars as may occur in his journey & which you think should draw his attention & enquiry. He will be in Philadelphia about 2. or 3. weeks hence & will wait on you.

I have owed, now a twelve month, an answer to your very friendly letter of Mar. 12, 1802. But when certain things press, & others will bear delay, we naturally take up the former, & the latter lie over. After all my life having enjoyed the benefit of well formed organs of digestion, and departation, I was 2 years ago taken with the diarrhœa, after having dined moderately on fish which had never affected me before. In the course of 2 or 3 weeks it wore me down by the frequency of calls, but then got so much better as to call on me but once a day, but still of watery consistence, and distressing me with troublesome barberygmi. For a twelve month past however these circumstances are more favorable and though they continue to a certain degree I enjoy good health. In the course of it I have made experiments of every kind of diet, & regimen: and I find that fish is the only article which affects me; & what is remarkable while fish & sturgeon affect me powerfully neither oysters nor crabs do. I find it important too to be moderate in the quantity of food. The stomach has never failed in the least, but performs its functions most perfectly: the bowels alone are weak and labor in their operations. I have troubled you with these details because your Edition: current; Page: [454] friendship called for them. I have found that riding is my remedy. A journey brings me to my antient habits for some days, and daily rides of an hour or two keep me free from the inconvenience from the visceral weakness. I see at present nothing more in it than a liability to a return whenever an unfavorable affection occurs in any part of my system. I doubt the effect of medicine in chronical cases of this kind at any period of life, and still more so at mine. The system however may perhaps gradually recover its strength. But these unlettered ideas are laid at your feet. Your information & experience will regard nothing but the facts; and certainly my confidence not only in your skill but your friendship will render truly valuable to me any ideas which you can without trouble throw on paper, for my government in the event of a return of the complaints to a troublesome degree; For at present it exists only in a perfectly innocent state. I pray you to accept assurances of my affectionate friendship & sincere respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 22, 1803
Monticello
James Madison
Madison, James

to the secretary of state (james madison.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Yours of the 17th is received. I concur in your ideas that the request from the Bey of Tunis of a frigate of 36. guns should be complacently refused. I think the greatest dispatch should be used in sending either the gun carriages or money to Simpson for the Emperor of Marocco, and the stores Edition: current; Page: [455] to Algiers; & if you approve it, the powder on account: or perhaps it would be better to authorize the purchase of it in Europe on the Dey’s agreeing to receive it on account. We must keep these two powers friendly by a steady course of justice aided occasionally with liberality. Mr. Smith has suggested the sending another frigate. But no new fact justifies a change of plan. Our misfortune has been that our vessels have been employed in particular convoys, instead of a close blockade equivalent to universal convoy. I suppose Murray may be for sending more ships there. Every officer in the navy, & every merchant in the U. S. would be for that: because they see but one object, themselves. I see the federalists find one paper in Kentucky into which they can get what they write either here or there. Bradford’s Guardian of freedom of Mar. 4 has a piece recommending immediate separation. A cool calculation of interest however would show that Eastern America would not be the greatest sufferer by that folly. Accept my affectionate salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 28, 1803
Monticello
Albert Gallatin
Gallatin, Albert

to the secretary of the treasury (albert gallatin.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Yours of the 21st came to hand on the 25th. I now return the letters of Thornton and Muhlenberg with entire approbation of your answers. I am in all cases for a liberal conduct towards other nations, believing that the practice of the same Edition: current; Page: [456] friendly feelings and generous dispositions which attach individuals in private life will attach societies on the large scale, which are composed of individuals. I have for some time believed that Commodore Morris’s conduct would require investigation. His progress from Gibralter has been astonishing. I know of but one supposition which can cover him; that is, that he has so far mistaken the object of his mission as to spend his time convoying. I do not know the fact; we gave great latitude to his discretion, believing he had an ambition to distinguish himself, and unwilling to check it by positive instructions.

I have for some time been satisfied a schism was taking place in Pennsylvania between the moderates and high-flyers. The same will take place in Congress whenever a proper head for the latter shall start up, and we must expect division of the same kind in other States as soon as the Republicans shall be so strong as to fear no other enemy. I hope those of Philadelphia will not address on the subject of removals; it would be a delicate operation indeed. Briggs reserved till my return to decide; but he will accept. I had hoped to be with you by the 1st of April, but I now apprehend it will be that date before I can leave this place without leaving the objects of my visits unaccomplished. The thermometer is at 29° with us this morning, the peach-trees in blossom for a week past. Accept affectionate salutations.

Edition: current; Page: [457]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April, 1803
Benjamin Rush
Rush, Benjamin

syllabus of an estimate of the merit of the doctrines of jesus, compared with those of others1

j. mss.

In a comparative view of the Ethics of the enlightened nations of antiquity, of the Jews and of Edition: current; Page: [458] Jesus, no notice should be taken of the corruptions of reason among the ancients, to wit, the idolatry & Edition: current; Page: [459] superstition of the vulgar, nor of the corruptions of Christianity by the learned among its professors.

Edition: current; Page: [460]

Let a just view be taken of the moral principles inculcated by the most esteemed of the sects of ancient philosophy, or of their individuals; particularly Pythagoras, Socrates, Epicurus, Cicero, Epictetus, Seneca, Antoninus.

I. Philosophers. 1. Their precepts related chiefly to ourselves, and the government of those passions which, unrestrained, would disturb our tranquillity of mind.1 In this branch of philosophy they were really great.

2. In developing our duties to others, they were short and defective. They embraced, indeed, the circles of kindred & friends, and inculcated patriotism or the love of our country in the aggregate, as a primary obligation: toward our neighbors & countrymen they taught justice, but scarcely viewed them as within the circle of benevolence. Still less have they inculcated peace, charity & love to our fellow men, or embraced with benevolence the whole family of mankind.

II. Jews. 1. Their system was Deism; that is, Edition: current; Page: [461] the belief of one only God. But their ideas of him & of his attributes were degrading & injurious.

2. Their Ethics were not only imperfect, but often irreconcilable with the sound dictates of reason & morality, as they respect intercourse with those around us; & repulsive & anti-social, as respecting other nations. They needed reformation, therefore, in an eminent degree.

III. Jesus. In this state of things among the Jews Jesus appeared. His parentage was obscure; his condition poor; his education null; his natural endowments great; his life correct and innocent: he was meek, benevolent, patient, firm, disinterested, & of the sublimest eloquence.

The disadvantages under which his doctrines appear are remarkable.

1. Like Socrates & Epictetus, he wrote nothing himself.

2. But he had not, like them, a Xenophon or an Arrian to write for him. On the contrary, all the learned of his country, entrenched in its power and riches, were opposed to him, lest his labors should undermine their advantages; and the committing to writing his life & doctrines fell on the most unlettered & ignorant men; who wrote, too, from memory, & not till long after the transactions had passed.

3. According to the ordinary fate of those who attempt to enlighten and reform mankind, he fell an early victim to the jealousy & combination of the altar and the throne, at about 33. years of age, his reason having not yet attained the maximum of its energy, nor the course of his preaching, which was Edition: current; Page: [462] but of 3. years at most, presented occasions for developing a complete system of morals.

4. Hence the doctrines which he really delivered were defective as a whole, and fragments only of what he did deliver have come to us mutilated, misstated, & often unintelligible.

5. They have been still more disfigured by the corruptions of schismatising followers, who have found an interest in sophisticating & perverting the simple doctrines he taught by engrafting on them the mysticisms of a Grecian sophist, frittering them into subtleties, & obscuring them with jargon, until they have caused good men to reject the whole in disgust, & to view Jesus himself as an impostor.

Notwithstanding these disadvantages, a system of morals is presented to us, which, if filled up in the true style and spirit of the rich fragments he left us, would be the most perfect and sublime that has ever been taught by man.

The question of his being a member of the God-head, or in direct communication with it, claimed for him by some of his followers, and denied by others is foreign to the present view, which is merely an estimate of the intrinsic merit of his doctrines.

1. He corrected the Deism of the Jews, confirming them in their belief of one only God, and giving them juster notions of his attributes and government.

2. His moral doctrines, relating to kindred & friends, were more pure & perfect than those of the most correct of the philosophers, and greatly more so than those of the Jews; and they went far beyond both in inculcating universal philanthropy, not only Edition: current; Page: [463] to kindred and friends, to neighbors and countrymen, but to all mankind, gathering all into one family, under the bonds of love, charity, peace, common wants and common aids. A development of this head will evince the peculiar superiority of the system of Jesus over all others.

3. The precepts of philosophy, & of the Hebrew code, laid hold of actions only. He pushed his scrutinies into the heart of man; erected his tribunal in the region of his thoughts, and purified the waters at the fountain head.

4. He taught, emphatically, the doctrines of a future state, which was either doubted, or disbelieved by the Jews; and wielded it with efficacy, as an important incentive, supplementary to the other motives to moral conduct.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 30, 1803
Washington
John Bacon
Bacon, John

to john bacon

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of the 11th has been received, & I thank you for the communication on Indian affairs. I observe what you say on the aspect of your elections. Although federalism appears to have boasted prematurely of it’s gains, yet it does not appear to have yielded as we might have expected to the evidence either of their reason or their senses. Two facts are certainly as true as irreconcileable. The people of Massachusetts love economy and freedom, civil & religious. The present legislative & executive functionaries endeavor to practice economy Edition: current; Page: [464] & to strengthen civil & religious freedom. Yet they are disapproved by the people of Massachusetts. It cannot be that these had rather give up principles than men. However the riddle is to be solved, our duty is plain, to administer their interests faithfully & to overcome evil with good.

You have seen that the government of Spain has instantly redressed the infraction of treaty by her intendant at New Orleans; and that, by a reasonable and peaceable process, we have obtained in 4. months what would have cost us 7. years of war, 100,000 human lives, 100 millions of additional debt, besides ten hundred millions lost by the want of market for our produce, or depredations on it in seeking markets, and the general demoralizing of our citizens which war occasions. I have the satisfaction to add that we have received official information that in the instrument cession of Louisiana by Spain to France, is this clause “saving the right acquired by other powers in virtue of treaties made with them by Spain.” Although I am not sanguine in obtaining a cession of New Orleans for money, yet I am confident in the policy of putting off the day of contention for it, till we are stronger in ourselves, & stronger in allies, but especially till we shall have planted such a population on the Mississippi as will be able to do their own business, without the necessity of marching men from the shores of the Atlantic 1500 or 2000 miles thither, to perish by fatigue & change of climate. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of high respect.

P. S. I enclose you a pamphlet.

Edition: current; Page: [465]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 8, 1803
Washington
Gideon Granger
Granger, Gideon

to the postmaster general (gideon granger.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I promised to inform you of the result of the Virginia elections. One only has issued differently from what I expected; that is the Eastern shore district. The 2. Eastern shore counties were almost in the [faded] a body of tories during the revolutionary war, among whom we were obliged to station a regiment or two to keep them in order. They have never lost that spirit. They have now given 735 federal votes & 33 republican. There being some division in the western shore counties of the residue of the district, the federal candidate has carried it by a majority of about 150. out of about 1920 votes given in the whole district, say 1000 against 900. Brent’s case you have [faded] a Fed., by a majority not yet known. [faded] He had been living in the state but one year, unfortunately had attached interest enough to him to be able to prevent Lawrence Washington (nephew of the General and) a good republican, who could otherwise have been elected with certainty. Holmes, where the Feds counted to carry their man, got 1000 against [faded] Jackson where they had been very sure also, carried his by about 200. We have therefore 2. black sheep in our flock of 22. Monroe’s appointment was known at Paris Feb. 24. He may be expected to have arrived there the middle of Apr. In the journal des [faded] (the special paper of Buonaparte, edited by his secretary) is a pretty long tirade against those, whom they call Anglo-men, in the U. S. for Edition: current; Page: [466] endeavoring to irritate our citizens against France by pretending that the act of the intendant of N. Orleans was dictated by France, and quoting with approbation the republican papers which proved that the body of our nation had seen through the wicked design de ces feuilles excitratices, (these inflammatory papers.) The ground of war between England and France is much deeper & more irremoveable than the public are aware. I consider it as next to impossible that they should compromise the real difference. Accept my affectionate & respectful salutations.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 19, 1803
Washington
Christopher Ellery
Ellery, Christopher

to christopher ellery1

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I have lately received a letter from Ingraham, who is in prison under a ca. sa. on a judgement of 14000 dollars & costs, one moiety (I presume) to the U. S. for having been the master of a vessel which brought from Africa a cargo of the natives of that country to be sold in slavery. He petitions for a pardon, as does his wife on behalf of herself, her children & his mother. His situation, as far as respects himself, merits no commiseration: that of his wife, children & mother, suffering for want of his aid, does: so also does the condition of the unhappy human beings whom he forcibly brought away from their native country, & whose wives, children & parents are now suffering for want of their aid & comfort. Between these two sets of suffering beings Edition: current; Page: [467] whom his crimes have placed in that condition, we are to apportion our commiseration. I presume his conviction was under the act of 1794, c. 11—which inflicts pecuniary punishment only, without imprisonment, as that punishment was sometimes evaded by the insolvency of the offenders, the legislature in 1800, added for subsequent cases, imprisonment not exceeding 2 years. Ingraham’s case is exactly such an one as the law of 1800 intended to meet; and tho’ it could not be retrospective, yet if its measure be just now, it would have been just then, and consequently we shall act according to the views of the legislature, by restricting his imprisonment to their maximum of 2 years, instead of letting it be perpetual as the law of ’94, under which he was convicted, would make it, in his case of insolvency. He must remain therefore the 2 years in prison: and at the end of that term I would wish a statement by the Judges & District attorney, who acted in the cause, of such facts as are material, & of their judgment on them, recommending him, or not, at their discretion, to pardon at the end of 2 years or any other term they think will be sufficient to operate as a terror to others meditating the same crime, without losing a just attention to the sufferings of his family. This of course can only respect the moiety of the U. S. The interest you took in this case during the last Congress has encouraged me to hope you would lend your instrumentality to the bringing it to a close, which would gratify me, so far as it could be done without abusing the power of pardon, confided to the discretion of the Executive to be used in cases, which tho’ within the words, are not Edition: current; Page: [468] within the intention of the law. The law certainly did not intend perpetual imprisonment. Accept my friendly salutations and high respect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 20, 1803
Washington
Gideon Granger
Granger, Gideon

to the postmaster general (gideon granger.)

j. mss.

Dear Sir,

—I received last night yours of the 13th and rejoice that in some forms, tho’ not in all, republicanism shews progress in Connecticut. As clerical bondage is the root of the evil, I have more hopes, from the petition you enclosed me, of seeing that loosened, than from any other agency. The lawyers, the other pillar of federalism, are from the nature of their calling so ready to take either side, that as soon as they see as much, or perhaps more money to be got on one side than the other, they will tack over. The clergy are unwilling to exchange the certain resource of legal compulsion for the uncertain one of their own merit & industry. Although the solidity & duration of republicanism in these states is so certain, that I would not give one dollar to ensure it’s ascendancy during our lives, yet the three federal states of New England withdraw from their affections to the constituted authorities, from a stock on which the feeble branches of federalism in the other states engraft themselves, nourish the malcontent habits, & keep open the bleeding wounds of society. Their recognition therefore of their own principles in those from whom they have been persuaded to separate is desirable as well to harmonize as to consolidate the Edition: current; Page: [469] strength of the union. It is possible my letter may have led you into an error in which I may have been myself. It is now said by the federalists that another tory Lewis is elected in opposition to Moore. And they make it probable by stating the fact that another republican candidate took from Moore 400. votes, which gave a majority of 200. to Lewis when Moore would otherwise have had a majority of 200. If this be true, we shall have 4. federalists out of 22. in Congress. This is the more curious as in our legislature we shall have but 15. out of 200. But the fact is that there is so little federalism in Virginia that it is not feared, nor attended to, nor a principle of voting. What little we have is in the string of Presbyterian counties in the valley between the blue ridge & North Mountain where the clergy are as bitter as they are in Connecticut. Our advices from Paris & London are to the last of March. War, tho’ deprecated by Buonaparte, will hardly be avoided. Accept my friendly salutations & respects.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 1, 1803
Levi Lincoln
Lincoln, Levi

to levi lincoln

j. mss.

On reading a paragraph in the N. Y. Evening Post, I took up my pen to write a squib on it; but the subject run away with me till I found I had written a treatise. It is one on which I have a great desire to reconcile the parties among the republicans, & the paragraph in the post seemed to offer an occasion of taking just ground & introducing a public discussion of it, on which I have do doubt the opinion of Edition: current; Page: [470] all candid men would settle together with that of the executive. The interest I take in the question made me willing to hazard a few lines for the press, altho’ I have thro’ life scrupulously refrained from it; inasmuch that this is but the second instance of my being willing to depart from my rule. I have written it under the character of a Massachusetts citizen, with a view to it’s appearing in a paper there. The Chronicle I suppose is most read, but how to get it there [faded] of the evidence of my handwriting. Think of this if you please; correct the paper also to make it what it should be, & we will talk of it the first time we meet. Friendly salutations, & religious silence about it.1

Edition: current; Page: [471]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June, 1803
Gabriel Jones
Jones, Gabriel

answer to gabriel jones1

j. mss.

Mr. Gabriel Jones has given to the public the statement of a pecuniary transaction of about 20. years ago, between the President & himself, with Edition: current; Page: [472] comments of so angry a complection as to excite at once doubts in the mind of a candid reader that there must have been something more in the case than is there presented to the view. In truth the history of Edition: current; Page: [473] the times is so necessary to the explanation of the money transactions of the day, that these cannot be understood without a recurrence to that, and with this recurrence alone, Mr. Jones own facts will enable Edition: current; Page: [474] us to judge whether, like many others, he has not suffered his political antipathies to distort his estimate of characters, whose “honour, honesty & integrityEdition: current; Page: [475] proved to him in more dispassionate times himself acknowledged to have “inspired him with the highest confidence.

Mr. Jefferson on some emergency borrowed £50 of Mr. Jones who was in the habit of lending money on interest, and gave his bond for repaiment. This, Mr. Jones says, was in the autumn 1773, consequently about the period of the destruction of the tea in Boston, which was followed by Genl. Gage’s arrival in Boston with an army, and by other events in rapid succession which brought on the Revolution, & suspended in a great degree the ordinary intercourse of business. This state of things, & the known habit of Mr. Jones of leaving his money at interest in good hands, may furnish the reasons why his £50 in this instance were not repaid so soon as contemplated. All the hard money of the U. S. was suddenly exported to procure arms, ammunition and other necessaries for the times, and it’s place was supplied by emissions of paper merely bottomed on the faith of the nation. Of this faith the Whigs had no doubt, and the money maintained it’s ground at par for a considerable time. And even when successive emissions, aided by the efforts of the disaffected, had begun to make an impression on it, the Whigs were still confident it would be redeemed dollar for dollar, & therefore continued to receive & pay it for par. In Jany. & May 1779 Congress by circular letters, encouraged their fellow citizens to maintain the credit of their paper; represented to them the false policy of asking “enormous prices for the product of their farms, when a little reflection might convince Edition: current; Page: [476] them that it was injurious to their interests, & to the general welfare;” and affirmed that the whole emissions (which as late as Sep. 3. 1779 they stated at less than 160 millions) might “without public inconvenience of private distress, be cancelled by taxes in a period so limited as must leave the possessor of the bills satisfied with his security.” Such was the Whig sentiment as late as Sep. 79. The offer of paiment by Mr. Jefferson had been in April preceding. It was the only one he could offer, for a paiment in hard money was then impossible. Mr. Jones, not chusing to receive it, sent it back to Mr. Jefferson, with his bond, under a blank cover; & Mr. Jefferson, not meaning to cancel the debt, returned the bond to Mr. Jones under a blank cover also; the inference from which was plainly that Mr. Jefferson was willing, as Mr. Jones seemed to be, to let the matter lie over till there should be hard money to pay it. But Mr. Jones finds ground of crimination even in the mode of conveying the letter. Yet he well knows that no cross posts existed at that day, & that indirect conveyances could alone be resorted to. The imputation he raises on this is as unjustifiable as it would be to impute to him a receipt of the letter in due time, & a willingness now to deny it. That he received it late is probable since he says so, and that the delay was accidental is much more probable than the [faded] one which his passions impute to Mr. Jefferson. To shew further the [faded] with respect to the revolutionary money, it may be noted that in the June following the date of this offer, Mr. Jefferson was chosen Governor of Virginia & continued till June, Edition: current; Page: [477] 1781, during the whole of which time he received his salary at the rate of £1000 a year of the same money, the rate at which it had been fixed by law before any emission [faded]. The legislature therefore considered the money as equivalent to what it called itself, for two years after the transaction in question. It may be remembered that a letter of Mr. Jefferson’s to the House of Farrell & Jones of England was published by their agent as an act of justice to him, from which it appeared that after this date he had received between 4 & 5,000£ for lands sold in 1773, to pay the debt of his father in [faded] Mr. Wales to that house. This fact, & the lands sold are known to many. They lie in the counties of Cumberland & Bedford. In Aug. 1780 Congress first had a table of depreciation established with reference to their new emission of 40 to 1. & in Aug. 1781 they extended it to specie. By the retrospective information of that table we are now enabled to say that in Apr. 1779 paper money was to specie as 1. to 11 not as 1. to 20 as Mr. Jones suggests. But this was neither known or believed at the time by persons well affected to the revolution. It was not till the close of 1781 or beginning of 1782 that the Virginia legislature formally acknowledged a depreciation by establishing a scale for it. Mr. Jefferson went to Europe immediately after the peace; and his agent is known to have declared that the instructions he left were that this debt to Mr. Jones, principal and interest should be the very first paid as soon as hard money could be obtained.

On the whole, if it was criminal in Mr. Jefferson to receive that kind of money on which the event of the Edition: current; Page: [478] revolution depended, & to support it’s credit, then let Mr. Jones arraign every Whig in the union at the bar of his country as a criminal. Few were more so, nor more to their own loss than Mr. Jefferson. If it was criminal for a Whig to pay this money to those who like himself were willing to receive it; then was every Whig a criminal. If it was just not to force it on those who were unwilling to receive it, Mr. Jefferson exercised that justice. He took back the money when refused; returned his obligation for the debt, & paid it with interest in hard money, so soon as hard money reappeared in circulation.

end of volume ix.
1

The paper was as follows:

“Yeas Nays
Langdon
Livermore N. H.
Goodhue
Sedgwick Mas
Bradford
Foster R. I.
Hillhouse Tracy Con.
Paine
Tichenor Verm.
Laurence N. Y.
Rutherford N. J.
Bingham Ross Pens.
Latimer Del.
Howard Mar.
Tazewell
Mason Va.
Bloodworth
Martin N. C.
Hunter Reade S. C.
Tatnell G.
Blount
Cocke Ten.
Brown Marshall Kentuck.”
1

From the original in the possession of the Virginia Historical Society.

1

On margin.

1

From the original in the possession of the Virginia Historical Society.

1

See page 79, for the evident text lacking here.

1

Part in brackets not in letterpress copy.

2

From the New York Evening Post, Oct. 11, 1802.

1

From the New York Evening Post, Oct. 11, 1802.

1

The Legislature of Virginia.

1

Burr.

1

From S. N. Randolph’s Domestic Life of Jefferson.

1

From S. N. Randolph’s Domestic Life of Jefferson.

1

60. were expelled from the 500, so as to change the majority there to the other side. It seems doubtful whether any were expelled from the Antients. The majority there was already with the Consular party. T. J.

1

In pursuance of this subject, Jefferson wrote Wythe:

Philadelphia, Apr. 7. 1800.

I received in due time your favor of Feb. 22. & shall with pleasure assist mr. Marshall in the negotiation with mr. Lowndes, whenever desired either by Mr. Marshall or our executive.

I wrote you a troublesome letter sometime ago, & now propose some additimenta to it. It is with vast reluctance I do it, & would not do it, if books could furnish the information I want. But there are minutiæ of practice, which are hardly to be met with in the books, & therefore can only be learned from practical men; & you know how destitute we are of such in Parliamentary reading at present. That science is so lost, & yet so important, that I am taking considerable pains, & shall pursue it through the ensuing summer to form a Parliamentary Manual, which I shall deposit with the Senate of the U. S. & may thence possibly get into the public possession. To this I shall not object, if I can be satisfied that what I shall prepare will be correct. On the contrary it may do good by presenting to the different legislative bodies a chaste Praxis to which they may by degrees conform their several inconsistent & embarrassing modes of proceeding. But there is but one person in America whose information & judgment I have sufficient confidence in, to be satisfied that what I may put together, would be rigorously correct: & he is so absorbed in other useful duties, more peculiarly his own, that I have no right to trouble him with helping me through mine. I can ask it only on the score of charity for which we are all bound to find time.—We shall probably rise the 1st or 2d week of May, after which I shall be at Monticello, where and everywhere it will give me the greatest pleasure to hear of the continuance of your health. May you enjoy it with many long years of life for the solace of your friends & service of your country. Adieu. Most affectionately.

Jefferson also wrote to Edmund Pendleton as follows:

Philadelphia, Apr. 19. 1800.

Dear Sir,—My duties here require me to possess exact knolege of Parliamentary proceedings. While a student I read a good deal, & commonplaced what I read, on this subject. But it is now 20. years since I was a member of a parliamentary body, so that I am grown rusty. So far indeed as books go, my commonplace has enabled me to retrieve. But there are many minute practices, which being in daily use in Parliament & therefore supposed known to everyone, were never noticed in their books. These practices were, I dare say, the same we used to follow in Virginia: but I have forgot even our practices. Besides these there are minute questions arising frequently as to the mode of amending, putting questions &c. which the books do not inform us of. I have from time to time noted these queries, &, keeping them in view, have been able to get some of them satisfied & struck them off my list. But I have a number of them still remaining unsatisfied. However unwilling to disturb your repose I am so anxious to perform the functions of my office with exact regularity that I have determined to throw myself on your friendship & to ask your aid in solving as many of my doubts as you can. I have written them down, leaving a broad margin in which I only ask the favour of you to write yea, or nay opposite to the proposition, which will satisfy me. Those which you do not recollect, do not give yourself any trouble about. Do it only at your leisure. If this should be before the 9th of May, your return of the papers may find me here till the 16th. If after that, be so good as to direct them to me at Monticello.

I have no foreign news but what you see in the papers. Duane’s and Cooper’s trials come on to-day. Such a selection of jurors has been made by the marshal as insures the event. The same may be said as to Fries &c. and also as to the sheriff & justices who in endeavoring to arrest Sweeny, the horse thief, got possession of his papers & sent them to the chief justice & governor, among which papers were mr. Liston’s letters to the Governor of Canada, printed we know not by whom. We have not yet heard the fate of Holt, editor of the Bee in Connecticut. A printer in Vermont is prosecuted for reprinting mr. McHenry’s letter to Genl. Darke. Be so good as to present my respects to mrs. Pendleton & friendly salutations to Mr. Taylor & accept yourself assurances of constant & affectionate esteem.

1

This vocabulary is missing.

1

From S. N. Randolph’s Domestic Life of Jefferson, 271.

1

Robert R. Livingston.

2

Samuel Smith.

1

From the original in the possession of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

1

This is the first draft, but it differs so little from the address as delivered that it does not seem necessary to print the latter also. In the Jefferson MSS. is the following, which I take to be a paragraph jotted down for the inaugural address, but for some reason not included.

“Wherever there are men there will be parties & wh