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Thomas Jefferson, The Works of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 5 (Correspondence 1786-1789) [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. 5. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/802

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About this Title:

Volume 5 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 from the years 1786-1789.

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The text is in the public domain.

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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]

property of The Ball Teachers’ College Eastern Division, Indiana State Normal School MUNCIE, INDIANA

Number.........................

Edition: current; Page: [none]
lf0054-05_figure_001.jpg
Edition: current; Page: [none]
The Works of Thomas Jefferson
in Twelve Volumes
Federal Edition
Edition: current; Page: [none] Edition: current; Page: [i]
The Works of Thomas Jefferson
Collected and Edited by Paul Leicester Ford
Volume V
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
New York and London The Knickerbocker Press
1904
Edition: current; Page: [ii]

The Knickerbocker Press, New York

Edition: current; Page: [iii]

CONTENTS OF VOLUME V

  • Itinerary and Chronology . . . . . page xiii
  • 1786
  • Answers to Meusnier, January 24th . . . 3
  • American codes—American constitutions—Debts—Emigration—Vermont—Maine—Land cessions—Loyalists—Articles of Confederation—Paper money—American bankruptcy—National forces—Slaves—Constitution of Virginia—Office-holding—Quarrels between States—Coercive power under confederation—British property.
  • Additional Answers to Meusnier . . . . 18
  • Voting in Congress—Federal debts—Paper money—British debts of Virginia—Pay of Congressmen—Secession of States—New States—Violation of Virginia Constitution by Assembly.
  • Observations on Meusnier’s Article, June 22d, . 32
  • Convicts in America—Indented servants—Settlement of the colonies—Impost—Commerce—Annapolis convention—Kentucky—Mutiny of troops—Paper money—Public lands—Virginia’s contribution— Bankruptcy—Debts of soldiers—Alien land-holding—Revisal—Slavery amendment—Pardon—Manslaughter—Bill for crimes and punishments—Society of Cincinnati—Population of America—Extent of territory—Vote on slavery clause of government for Western territory—Rate of interest—Treaty with Portugal—Cruelty of British—Slave law of Virginia.
  • To John Jay, January 25th . . . . . 72
  • Littlepage.
  • To Archibald Stuart, January 25th . . . 73
  • Desire for local news—European news—American credit—Kentucky—Spanish colonies—Specimens of animals.Edition: current; Page: [iv]
  • To C. W. F. Dumas, February 2d . . . . 76
  • U. S. funds—Notes on Virginia.
  • To James Madison, February 8th . . . . 78
  • Assessment in Virginia—Commerce—Notes on Virginia—Books and watch—Houdon—Inscription for statue of Washington—Gifts to French officers—Copying invention.
  • To the Marquis de Lafayette, February 10th . 84
  • Tobacco.
  • To Secretary for Foreign Affairs, March 12th . 85
  • Trip to London—Negotiations with Tripoli and Algiers—Treaty with Portugal—Questions under treaty with France.
  • To Alexander McCaul, April 19th . . . . 88
  • British treaty—Virginian debts—Jefferson’s debts.
  • To Richard Henry Lee, April 22d . . . . 92
  • New lamps—British hostility.
  • To Miss A. S. R. Jefferson, April 22d . . . 94
  • Gifts.
  • To Secretary for Foreign Affairs, April 23d . 95
  • Commercial relations with Great Britain—Infractions of treaty—British debts.
  • To John Page, May 4th . . . . . . 98
  • Notes on Virginia—Trip to England—Hostility to America—Steam-engine.
  • To James Ross, May 8th . . . . . . 101
  • Morris’s tobacco contract—Trip to England—British hatred of America—British debts.
  • To James Monroe, May 10th . . . . . 105
  • Courtship of Monroe—Books—Treaties—British debts—Commercial negotiations—Humphreys—Dumas.
  • To Secretary for Foreign Affairs, May 23d . . 112
  • Barbary powers—Friction with England.
  • To Secretary for Foreign Affairs, May 27th . 116
  • Fish oils—Fur trade—Tobacco—Rice.
  • To La Morliene, June 3d . . . . . . 123
  • Paper money.
  • To the Swedish Ambassador, June 12th . . . 123
  • St. Bartholomew—West Indian islands—Free ports—Smuggling.Edition: current; Page: [v]
  • To William Carmichael, June 20th . . . . 129
  • Impost—Kentucky—Franklin’s letter.
  • To James Monroe, July 9th . . . . . 131
  • King of Prussia—Cherbourg—New states—French arrets—Marriage of Monroe.
  • To John Adams, July 9th . . . . . . 136
  • Treaty with Portugal—Impost—Tobacco monopoly.
  • To Hector St. John Crevecœur, July 11th . . 138
  • American debts—Paper money.
  • To the Marquis de Lafayette, July 17th . . 140
  • Imports and exports of United States.
  • To St. Lambert, August 8th . . . . . 144
  • Translation of Virginia Act for Religious Freedom.
  • To Mrs. John Adams, August 9th . . . . 145
  • Commissions—George III.—Love of Louis XVI.
  • To James Monroe, August 11th . . . . 147
  • Navigation of Mississippi—Western state—European politics—Lambe—Naval force—Correspondence.
  • To George Wythe, August 13th . . . . 151
  • Notes on Virginia—Tagliaferros—Virginia Revisal—Comparison of Europe and America—Necessity of education—Cherbourg.
  • To Francis Hopkinson, August 14th . . . 155
  • “Essence of Orient”—Notes on Virginia—Rittenhouse—Trumbull.
  • To the French Minister of Foreign Relations, August 15th . . . . . . . 157
  • American commerce with France.
  • To J. P. Brissot de Warville, August 16th . . 165
  • Book on American commerce—Corrections—Manufactures of America—Intemperance.
  • To Mirabeau, August 20th . . . . . 167
  • Virginia Act of Religious Freedom.
  • To Count van Hogendorp, August 25th . . . 168
  • Information on America—Impost—Bank of North America.
  • To Mrs. Paradise, August 27th . . . . . 172
  • Tobacco mortgages.Edition: current; Page: [vi]
  • To Thomas Mann Randolph, August 27th . . 174
  • Studies—Exercise.
  • To John Adams, August 27th . . . . . 179
  • Mediterranean affairs—Article from Encyclopædie.
  • To Ezra Stiles, September 1 . . . . . 181
  • Indian monuments—Ledyard—Scientific News.
  • Answers to Soulés, September 13th . . . 184
  • Bunker’s Hill—Quebec—Powers of Parliament—Cedars affair—Independence—Battle of Long Island—British inhumanity—Conciliatory propositions—Franklin’s Articles of Confederation.
  • To Mrs. Maria Cosway, October 12th . . . 201
  • Parting—Dialogue of Head and Heart.
  • To Mrs. Maria Cosway, October 13th . . . 217
  • Letter-writing.
  • To William Stephens Smith, October 22d . . 218
  • Errands—Pictures.
  • To George Washington, November 14th . . . 220
  • Fur company—Article from Encyclopædie—Society of Cincinnati.
  • To Mrs. Elizabeth Trist December 15th . . 223
  • Travels—French character—Wrist.
  • To James Madison, December 16th . . . . 225
  • Wrist—Proposed journey—American commerce—Annapolis convention—Revision of Articles of Confederation—Revisal—Physical science—Borrowing of money.
  • To Charles Thomson, December 17th . . . 231
  • Steam—Creation of the earth.
  • To Nicholas Lewis, December 19th . . . . 234
  • Accounts—Debts—Management of estates.
  • To William Carmichael, December 26th . . . 238
  • Notes on Virginia—Natural bridge—Riots in America.
  • 1787
  • To Alexander McCaul, January 4th . . . 241
  • Debts.
  • To William Jones, January 5th . . . . 244
  • Debts.Edition: current; Page: [vii]
  • To Edward Carrington, January 16th . . . 251
  • Letters and errands—Lafayette—Vergennes—American riots—Popular government.
  • To James Madison, January 30th . . . . 254
  • American riots—Political organization of society—Navigation of Mississippi—Luzerne—Carmichael—Franks — Bingham — Lafayette—Vergennes—Travels—Reyneval—Hennin—W. S. Smith—Copying press.
  • To Mrs. John Adams, February 22d . . . . 262
  • Shay’s Rebellion—Assembly of Notables.
  • To Martha Jefferson, March 28th . . . . 264
  • Travels—Idleness—Sewing—Card-playing.
  • To Martha Jefferson, April 7th . . . . 268
  • Mary Jefferson.
  • To the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, May 4th . 269
  • Cabinet changes—Travels—Rice—South American affairs.
  • To Martha Jefferson, May 5th. . . . . 280
  • Travels—Idleness.
  • To Martha Jefferson, May 21st . . . . 281
  • Travels—Nightingale.
  • To James Madison, June 20th . . . . . 283
  • Divisions of government — Veto power — National Judiciary—Western lands—Negotiations with Spain—Cabinet changes—Dislike of business affairs—Dumas—Barclay—Jefferson’s appointment.
  • To John Adams, July 1st . . . . . . 289
  • Travels—Rice—Tobacco—Oils—Debt to France.
  • Observations on Letter of Calonnes, July 5th 292
  • Harbor dues and duties—Oils—Rice—Potash—Turpentine.
  • To Clavière, July 6th . . . . . . 297
  • Absence of robbers in America.
  • To Thomas Mann Randolph, July 6th . . . 298
  • Politics as a profession—Studies—Law—Languages.
  • To Edward Rutledge, July 14th . . . . 302
  • Rice.
  • To Mrs. John Bolling, July 23d . . . . 305
  • Mary Jefferson—Convent.Edition: current; Page: [viii]
  • To A. Donald, July 28th . . . . . . 307
  • Tobacco—Character of Americans—Misuse of credit.
  • To Nicholas Lewis, July 29th . . . . . 309
  • Debts—Slaves—Loans.
  • To James Madison, August 2d . . . . . 314
  • Books—Payment of French debts—French gossip.
  • To Edward Carrington, August 4th . . . 318
  • Federal convention—Division of governmental functions.
  • To Benjamin Hawkins, August 4th . . . . 320
  • Federal convention—Suggestions of monarchy—Wrongs in Europe.
  • To Peter Carr, August 10th . . . . . 322
  • Studies—Religion—Travelling.
  • To George Gilmer, August 12th . . . . 328
  • Opinion on wills—Possible return to America—Wrist.
  • To Joseph Jones, August 14th . . . . . 331
  • Reformation of Articles of Confederation—Europe compared with America—European occurrences.
  • To the Editor of the Journal de Paris, August 29th 333
  • Declaration of Independence.
  • To George Wythe, September 16th . . . . 338
  • Travels—Books—European news—Greek kingdom.
  • To Charles Thomson, September 20th . . . 342
  • Indian antiquities—Origin of red man—Ledyard—Stratification—Steam mills.
  • To William Carmichael, September 25th . . . 345
  • Draft—Barbary states—American and European news.
  • To John Adams, September 28th . . . . 349
  • Defense of American Constitutions—Divisions of government—Holland—Cabinet changes.
  • To Comte de Buffon, October 1 . . . . 352
  • Specimens of natural history.
  • To the Governor of South Carolina, October 4th . 354
  • Frigate South Carolina.
  • To James Madison, October 8th . . . . 355
  • Moustier—Madame de Brehan.Edition: current; Page: [ix]
  • To John Jay, November 3d . . . . . 357
  • French affairs.
  • To William Stephens Smith, November 13th . . 360
  • English lies—Value of rebellions—Federal convention.
  • To William Carmichael, December 15th . . . 363
  • Cipher—Conversation with Eden—New constitution—Defects—Probable course of states—Sale of western lands—French translation of Notes on Virginia—Panama canal.
  • To James Madison, December 20th . . . . 368
  • New constitution—Instability of laws.
  • To Edward Carrington, December 21st . . . 375
  • American debts—New constitution—European condition—Prize money.
  • To Colonel Forrest, December 31st . . . 379
  • New constitution.
  • 1788
  • To the Comte de Grasse, January 19th . . . 383
  • The Society of the Cincinnati.
  • To William Stephens Smith, February 2d . . 384
  • Adams’s portrait—New constitution—Change in Americans.
  • To William Rutledge, February 2d . . . 385
  • Trial of Hastings—New constitution—Protestant edict.
  • To James Madison, February 6th . . . . 387
  • New constitution—Declaration of Rights—French brandies.
  • To J. P. Brissot de Warville, February 11th . 388
  • Refusing membership in abolition society.
  • To George Washington, May 2d . . . . 388
  • Canals—New constitution—Monarchy.
  • To Mrs. William Bingham, May 11th . . . 390
  • Paris gossip—Political discussion—Contrast between America and France.Edition: current; Page: [x]
  • To the Comte de Moustier, May 17th . . . 392
  • Etiquette—New government—French reforms.
  • To James Madison, May 25th . . . . . 394
  • Foreign ministers’ rent and outfit—Jay—Adams—Franklin—Jefferson.
  • To John Brown, May 26th . . . . . 397
  • Western states—Navigation of Mississippi—Foreign politics.
  • To Edward Carrington, May 27th . . . . 400
  • Constitution—Foreign news—English finances—John Paul Jones.
  • To William Carmichael, June 3d . . . . 403
  • Panama Canal—American views toward South America—Kentucky—Moustier—State conventions—Constitution—Doctors’ riot.
  • To Thomas Digges, June 19th . . . . . 408
  • Cotton manufactures—Manufacturing in America—American hospitality.
  • To Nicholas Lewis, July 11th . . . . . 410
  • Business affairs—Leasing estates—Debts—Cotton.
  • To Dr. William Gordon, July 16th . . . . 417
  • History of the Revolution—Ramsay’s terms—Jefferson’s losses in Revolution.
  • To Edward Rutledge, July 18th . . . . 422
  • American Indians—New constitution.
  • To James Madison, July 31st . . . . . 424
  • Lafayette—French cabinet—Littlepage—Mazzei—Luzerne—Pamphlets—New constitution.
  • To William Short, September 20th . . . . 429
  • American news—Virginia convention—Virgil’s tomb—French affairs.
  • To James Madison, November 18th . . . . 433
  • Federalist—New constitution—French news—Return to America—Foreign debt.
  • To George Washington, December 4th . . . 437
  • Constitution—Neutrality of United States—Future of American Commerce—West Indies—Navy—Leave of absence—Lafayette.Edition: current; Page: [xi]
  • 1789
  • To John Jay, January . . . . . . 441
  • Character of Prince of Wales—Duke of York.
  • To James Madison, January 12th . . . . 444
  • Indian vocabularies—Navigation of Mississippi—Lafayette—French affairs—Algiers—New books.
  • To Dr. Edward Bancroft, January 26th . . . 447
  • American slavery—Manumission—Affairs of Paradise.
  • To William Short, February 9th . . . . 450
  • American news.
  • To William Carmichael, March 4th . . . . 452
  • American news—French Revolution—John Paul Jones—Ledyard.
  • To Francis Hopkinson, March 13th . . . . 456
  • Opinions on new constitution.
  • To Madame de Brehan, March 14th . . . . 459
  • Impressions of America—Paris—Opera.
  • To James Madison, March 15th . . . . . 461
  • Amendments to Constitution—Supreme Court—Proposed Virginian constitution—European news.
  • To David Humphreys, March 18th . . . . 467
  • Great change in France—French Revolution—New constitution—Majority—Washington.
  • To the Marquis de Lafayette, May 6th . . . 472
  • Political advice.
  • To George Washington, May 10th . . . . 473
  • Canals—New Congress—Leave of absence—Lafayette.
  • To the Comte de Moustier, May 20th . . . 477
  • French Revolution—European news.
  • To the Marquis de Lafayette, June 3d . . . 479
  • Charter of rights.
  • To M. de St. Etienne, June 3d . . . . . 479
  • Charter of rights.
  • Proposed Charter for France, June 3d . . . 481
  • To Abbé Arnond, July 19th . . . . . 483
  • Juries—Representative government.Edition: current; Page: [xii]
  • To James Madison, July 29th . . . . . 485
  • Titles—Adams.
  • To James Swan, August 4th . . . . . 485
  • American debts.
  • To James Madison, August 28th . . . . 487
  • French news—American example to France—Amendments to Constitution—Deane—Return to America.
Edition: current; Page: [xiii]

ITINERARY AND CHRONOLOGY OF THOMAS JEFFERSON
1786–1789

1786.—Jan. 24. At Paris.
Prepares notes for Meusnier.
Feb. Aids John Ledyard.
Mch. 5. Leaves Paris.
At Calais.
11. At London.
22. Presented to King, Windsor.
Has interview with Tripolitan Ambassador.
Negotiates treaty with Portugal.
26. Prepares with Adams projet of treaty with Great Britain.
Apl. 1–9. At Chiswick, Richmond, Twickenham, Woburn, Hampton Court, Paynes Hill, Cobham, Weybridge, Woburn, Cavorsham, Reading, Wotton, Buckingham, Banbury, Stowe, Buckingham, Stratford, Hockley, Birmingham, Stourbridge, Bromsgrove, Worcester, Winchcomb, Moreton, Eynston, Woodstock, Oxford, High Wycombe.
10. At London.
Signs treaty with Portugal.
Portrait painted by Mather Brown.
26. Leaves London.
At Dartford, Rochester, Canterbury, Dover.
29. At Calais, St. Omer, Royes, Bourgel.
May 1. At Paris.
23. Suggests treaty against Barbary states.
June 22. Corrects article of Meusnier.
Sept. Rents hotel corner Champs Élysées and rue Neuve de Berry.
4. Fractures wrist.
13. Answers queries of Soulé’s.
1786.—Oct. 22. Prepares map of Virginia.
Made an LL.D. (Yale).
Dec. 16. Act for Religious Freedom passed by Virginia Assembly.
Dec. 26. Notes on Virginia translated into French by Morellet.
1787.—Jan. 4. Makes proposition to British creditors.
Feb. 27. Attends audience of Montmorin.
Mch. 3. At Sens and Vermanton.
4. At Lucy le Bois, Cussy les Forges, Rouvray, Maisonneuve, Vitteaux, La Chalieure, Pont de Paris, and Dijon.
7–8. At La Boraque and Chagny.
9. At Chalons, Sennecy, Tournus, St. Albin, and Macon.
At Maison blanche, St. George, Château de Laye-Epinaye, and Lyons.
15–18. At St. Fond and Mornas.
19–23. At Pont St. Esprit, Bagnols, Connault, Valignières, Remoulins, St. Gervasy, and Nismes.
24. At Nismes, Arles, Terrasson, and St. Remis.
25. At Orgon, Portroyal, and St. Cannat.
25–28. At Aix.
29. At Marseilles.
Apl. 6. At Marseilles, Aubagne, Cuges, Beausset, Toulon, Hieres, Cuers, Pignans, and Luc.
9. At Vidauban, Muy, Frejus, Antibes, and Nice.
13. At Scarena and Sospello.
14. At Ciandola and Tende.
15. At Limone and Coni.
16. At Centale, Savigliano, Racconigi, Poerino, and Turin.
19. At Setimo, Chivasco, Ciliano, St. Germans, and Vercelli.
20. At Novara, Buffalora, Sedriano, and Milan.
23. At Casino, Rozzano, Binasco, and Pavia.
24. At Voghera, Tortona, and Nevi.
25. At Voltaggio, Campo-Marone, and Genoa.
28. At Noli.
29. At Albenga.
30. At Oneglia.
May 1. At Ventimiglia, Menton, Monaco, and Nice.
3. At Luc, Brignolles, Tourves, Poucieux, and La Galinière.
1787.—May 8. At Orgon, Avignon, and Vaucluse.
10. At Nismes and Lunel.
11. At Montpelier.
12. At Frontignan and Cette.
13. At Agde.
14. At Bézieres.
15. At Argilies and Saumal.
16. At Marseillette and Carcassone.
18. At Castelnaudari.
19. At St. Feriol, Escauraze, and Lampy.
20. At Narouze, Villefranche, and Baziege.
21. At Toulouse.
23. At Agen.
24. At Castres and Bourdeaux.
29. At Blaye.
30. At Rochefort and Le Rochex.
31. At St. Hermines and Nantes.
June 2. At L’Orient.
3–5. At L’Orient, Rennes, and Nantes.
6–8. At Ancenis, Angers, and Tours.
9–11. At Blois and Orleans.
11. At Paris.
Sends Piedmont rice and olive tree to America.
Mary Jefferson arrives from America.
July Conducts commercial negotiations with new ministry.
Aug. 29. Writes letter to Journal de Paris.
Sept. Map of Virginia finished.
Oct. 1. Sends natural-history specimens to Buffon.
Dec. Advises transfer of French debts.
English edition of Notes on Virginia printed.
1788.—Jan. 13. Sends Egyptian rice to America.
Feb. 4. Leaves Paris.
11. Declines membership in society for abolition of slave trade.
13. At Amsterdam.
Negotiations over U. S. debt.
Mar. 31. Leaves Amsterdam.
At Utrecht and Nimeguen.
Apr. 1. At Cranenburg, Cleve, Santen, Reynberg, Hoogstrakt.
2. At Essenberg, Duysberg, and Dusseldorf.
3. At Cologne.
4. At Bonne, Andernach, and Coblentz.
5. At Nassau.
1788.—Apr. 6. At Schwelbach, Wisbaden, Hochheim.
7. At Frankfort.
8. At Hanau.
10. At Hochheim and Mayence.
11. At Rudesheim, Johannesberg, Markebrom.
12. At Mayence, Oppenheim, and Dorms.
13. At Mannheim.
14. At Dossenheim, Heidelberg, and Schwetzingen Mannheim.
15. At Spire and Carlsruhe.
16. At Rastadt, Scholhoven, Bischofheim, Kehl, and Strasburg.
17–18. At Strasburg, Saverne, and Phalsbourg.
19. At Fenestrange, Moyenvic, and Nancy.
20. At Toule, Void, Ligney en Barrois, Bar le Duc, and St. Dizier.
21. At Vitry le Français, Chalons sur Marne, and Epernay.
22. At Aij, Auvillaij, Cumieres, and Pierrij.
23. At Château-Thierry, St. Jean, Meaux, Vergalant, Paris.
June 20. Opens negotiation for new Consular Convention.
Made an LL.D. by Harvard.
July Buys Deane’s letter books.
Aug. 10. At Versailles attending audience to East Indians.
Sept. 16. Submits draft of Consular Convention.
Oct. 23. Protests against French arrêt respecting whale oil.
Nov. 14. Signs Consular Convention.
Writes and prints Observations on whale fisheries.
16. Secures special privileges for American whale oil.
19. Applies to Congress for leave of absence.
Dec. Sickness of daughter.
1789.—Feb. 4. Secures recall of Moustier.
May 8. At Versailles attending opening of the States General.
June 3. Prepares Charter for France.
12. Visits Versailles.
18. President grants leave of absence.
24. Visits Versailles.
July 17. Visits ruins of Bastille.
18. At Versailles.
Edition: current; Page: [1]

CORRESPONDENCE
1786–1787

Edition: current; Page: [2] Edition: current; Page: [3]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 24, 1786
Monsieur de Meusnier
Meusnier, Monsieur de

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS PROPOUNDED BY M. DE MEUSNIER1

j. mss.

1. On the original establishment of the several states, The civil code of England, from whence they had emigrated, was adopted. This, of course, could extend only to general laws, and not to those which were particular to certain places in England only. The circumstances of the new states oblige them to add some new laws which their special situation required, and even to change some of the general laws of England in cases which did not suit their circumstances or ways of thinking. The law of descents for instance, was changed in several states. On the late revolution, the changes which their new form of government rendered necessary were easily made. It was only necessary to say that the powers of legislation, the judiciary & the executive powers, heretofore exercised by persons of such and Edition: current; Page: [4] such descriptions shall henceforth be exercised by persons to be appointed in such and such manners. This was what their constitutions did. Virginia thought it might be necessary to examine the whole code of law, to reform such parts of it as had been calculated to produce a devotion to monarchy, and to reduce into smaller volumes such useful parts as had become too diffuse. A Committee was appointed to execute this work; they did it; and the assembly began in Octob. 1785, the examination of it, in order to change such parts of the report as might not meet with their approbation and to establish what they should approve. We may expect to hear the result of their deliberations about the last of February next.

I have heard that Connecticut undertook a like work: but I am not sure of this, nor do I know whether any other of the states have or have not done the same.

2. The Constitution of New Hampshire established in 1776, having been expressly made to continue only during the contest with Great Britain, they proceeded, after the close of that, to form and establish a permanent one, which they did. The Convention of Virginia which organized their new government had been chosen before a separation from Gr Britain had been thought of in their state. They had therefore none but the ordinary powers of legislation. This leaves their act for organizing the government subject to be altered by every legislative assembly, and tho no general change in it has been made, yet it’s effect has been controulled Edition: current; Page: [5] in several special cases. It is therefore thought that that state will appoint a Convention for the special purpose of forming a stable constitution. I think no change has been made in any other of the states.

3. The following is a rough estimate of the particular debts of some of the states as they existed in the year 1784:

Dollars.
New Hampshire    500,000
Rhode island    430,000
Massachusetts 5,000,000
Connecticut 3,439,086⅔
Virginia 2,500,000

  

United States’ principal of Foreign debt nearly $  7,000,000.
The principal of the domestic debt is somewhere between 27½ millions & 35½ millions, call it therefore   31,500,000.
  ——————
$38,500,000.

The other states not named here are probably indebted in the same proportion to their abilities. If so, & we estimate their abilities by the rule of quotaing them those 8 states will owe about 14 millions, & consequently the particular debts of all the states will amount to 25 or 26 millions of dollars.

5. A particular answer to this question would lead to very minute details. One general idea however may be applied to all the states. Each having their separate debt, and a determinate proportion of the federal debt, they endeavour to lay taxes sufficient to pay the interest of both of these, and to support their own & the federal government. These taxes are generally about one or one & a half per cent. on the value of property, & from 2½ to 5 Edition: current; Page: [6] per cent. on foreign merchandise imported. But the paiment of this interest regularly is not accomplished in many of the states. The people are as yet not recovered from the depredations of the war. When that ended, their houses were in ruin, their farms waste, themselves distressed for clothing and necessaries for their household. They cannot as yet therefore bear heavy taxes. For the paiment of the principal no final measures are yet taken. Some states will have land for sale, the produce of which may pay the principal debt. Some will endeavor to have an exceeding of their taxes to be applied as a sinking fund, and all of them look forward to the increase of population, & of course an increase of productiveness in their present taxes to enable them to be sinking their debt. This is a general view. Some of the states have not yet made even just efforts for satisfying either the principal or interest of their public debt.

6. By the close of the year 1785 there had probably passed over about 50,000 emigrants. Most of these were Irish. The greatest number of the residue were Germans. Philadelphia receives most of them, and next to that, Baltimore & New York.

7. Nothing is decided as to Vermont. The four northernmost states wish it to be received into the Union. The middle & Southern states are rather opposed to it. But the great difficulty arises with New York which claims that territory. In the beginning every individual of that state revolted at the idea of giving them up. Congress therefore only interfered from time to time to prevent the Edition: current; Page: [7] two parties from coming to an open rupture. In the meanwhile the minds of the New Yorkers have been familiarizing to the idea of a separation & I think it will not be long before they will consent to it. In that case the Southern & Middle states will doubtless acquiesce, and Vermont will be received into the Union.

LeMaine, a part of the government of Massachusetts, but detached from it (the state of N Hampshire lying between) begins to desire to be separated. They are very weak in numbers as yet; but whenever they shall obtain a certain degree of population, there are circumstances which render it highly probable they will be allowed to become a separate member of the Union.

8. It is believed that the state of Virginia has by this time made a second cession of lands to Congress, comprehending all those between the meridian of the mouth of the great Kanhaway, the Ohio, Mississippi & Carolina boundary. Within this lies Kentucky. I believe that their numbers are sufficient already to entitle them to come into Congress, and that their reception there will only incur the delay necessary for taking the consent of the several assemblies. There is no other new state as yet approaching the time of it’s reception.

10. The number of Royalists which left New York, South Carolina & Georgia when they were evacuated by the British army was considerable, but I am absolutely unable to conjecture their numbers. From all the other states I suppose perhaps two thousand may have gone.

Edition: current; Page: [8]

11. The Confederation is a wonderfully perfect instrument, considering the circumstances under which it was formed. There are however some alterations which experience proves to be wanting. These are principally three. 1. To establish a general rule for the admission of new states into the Union. By the Confederation no new state, except Canada, can be permitted to have a vote in Congress without first obtaining the consent of all the thirteen legislatures. It becomes necessary to agree what districts may be established into separate states, and at what period of their population they may come into Congress. The act of Congress of April 23, 1784, has pointed out what ought to be agreed on, to say also what number of votes must concur when the number of voters shall be thus enlarged. 2. The Confederation in it’s eighth article decides that the quota of money to be contributed by the several states shall be proportioned to the value of landed property in the state. Experience has shown it impracticable to come at this value. Congress have therefore recommended to the states to agree that their quotas shall be in proportion to the number of their inhabitants, counting 5 slaves however but as equal to 3 free inhabitants. I believe all the states have agreed to this alteration except Rhode island. 3. The Confederation forbids the states individually to enter into treaties of commerce, or of any other nature, with foreign nations: and it authorizes Congress to establish such treaties, with two reservations however, viz., that they shall agree to no treaty which would 1. restrain the Edition: current; Page: [9] legislatures from imposing such duties on foreigners, as natives are subjected to; or 2. from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of commodities. Congress may therefore be said to have a power to regulate commerce, so far as it can be effected by conventions with other nations, & by conventions which do not infringe the two fundamental reservations before mentioned. But this is too imperfect. Because till a convention be made with any particular nation, the commerce of any one of our states with that nation may be regulated by the State itself, and even when a convention is made, the regulation of the commerce is taken out of the hands of the several states only so far as it is covered or provided for by that convention or treaty. But treaties are made in such general terms, that the greater part of the regulations would still result to the legislatures. Let us illustrate these observations by observing how far the commerce of France & of England can be affected by the state legislatures. As to England, any one of the legislatures may impose on her goods double the duties which are paid other nations; may prohibit their goods altogether; may refuse them the usual facilities for recovering their debts or withdrawing their property, may refuse to receive their Consuls or to give those Consuls any jurisdiction. But with France, whose commerce is protected by a treaty, no state can give any molestation to that commerce which is defended by the treaty. Thus, tho’ a state may exclude the importation of all wines (because one of the reservations aforesaid is that Edition: current; Page: [10] they may prohibit the importation of any species of commodities) yet they cannot prohibit the importation of French wines particularly while they allow wines to be brought in from other countries. They cannot impose heavier duties on French commodities than on those of other nations. They cannot throw peculiar obstacles in the way of their recovery of debts due them &c. &c. because those things are provided for by treaty. Treaties however are very imperfect machines for regulating commerce in the detail. The principal objects in the regulation of our commerce would be: 1. to lay such duties, restrictions, or prohibitions on the goods of any particular nation as might oblige that nation to concur in just & equal arrangements of commerce. 2. To lay such uniform duties on the articles of commerce throughout all the states, as may avail them of that fund for assisting to bear the burthen of public expenses. Now this cannot be done by the states separately; because they will not separately pursue the same plan. New Hampshire cannot lay a given duty on a particular article, unless Massachusetts will do the same; because it will turn the importation of that article from her ports into those of Massachusetts, from whence they will be smuggled into New Hampshire by land. But tho Massachusetts were willing to concur with N Hampshire in laying the same duty, yet she cannot do it, for the same reason, unless Rhode island will also, nor can Rhode island without Connecticut, nor Connecticut without N York, nor N York without N Jersey, & so on quite to Georgia. It is visible Edition: current; Page: [11] therefore that the commerce of the states cannot be regulated to the best advantage but by a single body, and no body so proper as Congress. Many of the states have agreed to add an article to the Confederation for allowing to Congress the regulation of their commerce, only providing that the revenues to be raised on it, shall belong to the state in which they are levied. Yet it is believed that Rhode island will prevent this also. An everlasting recurrence to this same obstacle will occasion a question to be asked. How happens it that Rhode island is opposed to every useful proposition? Her geography accounts for it, with the aid of one or two observations. The cultivators of the earth are the most virtuous citizens, and possess most of the amor patriæ. Merchants are the least virtuous, and possess the least of the amor patriæ. The latter reside principally in the seaport towns, the former in the interior country. Now it happened that of the territory constituting Rhode island & Connecticut, the part containing the seaports was erected into a state by itself & called Rhode island, & that containing the interior country was erected into another state called Connecticut. For tho it has a little seacoast, there are no good ports in it. Hence it happens that there is scarcely one merchant in the whole state of Connecticut, while there is not a single man in Rhode island who is not a merchant of some sort. Their whole territory is but a thousand square miles, and what of that is in use is laid out in grass farms almost entirely. Hence they have scarcely any body employed in agriculture. All Edition: current; Page: [12] exercise some species of commerce. This circumstance has decided the characters of these two states. The remedies to this evil are hazardous. One would be to consolidate the two states into one. Another would be to banish Rhode island from the union. A third to compel her submission to the will of the other twelve. A fourth for the other twelve to govern themselves according to the new propositions and to let Rhode island go on by herself according to the antient articles. But the dangers & difficulties attending all these remedies are obvious.

These are the only alterations proposed to the confederation, and the last of them is the only additional power which Congress is thought to need.

12. Congress have not yet ultimately decided at what rates they will redeem the paper money in the hands of the holders, but a resolution of 1784, has established the principal, so that there can be little doubt but that the holders of paper money shall receive as much real money as the paper was actually worth at the time they received it, and an interest of 6 per cent from the time they received it. It’s worth will be found in the depreciation table of the state wherein it was received; these depreciation tables having been formed according to the market prices of the paper money at different epochs.

13. Those who talk of the bankruptcy of the U. S. are of two descriptions. 1. Strangers who do not understand the nature & history of our paper money. 2. Holders of that paper-money who do not wish that the world should understand it. Thus when, Edition: current; Page: [13] in March 1780. the paper money being so far depreciated that 40 dollars of it would purchase only 1. silver dollar, Congress endeavored to arrest the progress of that depreciation by declaring they would emit no more, and would redeem what was in circulation at the rate of one dollar of silver for 40 of paper; this was called by the brokers in paper money, a bankruptcy. Yet these very people had only given one dollar’s worth of provisions, of manufactures, or perhaps of silver for their forty dollars, & were displeased that they could not in a moment multiply their silver into 40. If it were decided that the U. S. should pay a silver dollar for every paper dollar they emitted, I am of opinion (conjecturing from loose data of my memory only as to the amount & true worth of the sums emitted by Congress and by the several states) that a debt, which in it’s just amount is not more perhaps than 6 millions of dollars, would amount up to 400 millions; and instead of assessing every inhabitant with a debt of about 2 dollars, would fix on him thirty guineas which is considerably more than the national debt of England affixes on each of its inhabitants, and would make a bankruptcy where there is none. The real just debts of the U. S., which were stated under the 3d query, will be easily paid by the sale of their lands, which were ceded on the fundamental condition of being applied as a sinking fund for this purpose.

14. La canne à sucre est un erreur du traducteur de M. Filson. Le mot Anglois ‘cane’ vent dire ‘arundo’ en latin, et ‘roseau’ ou ‘canne’ en François Edition: current; Page: [14] le traducteur en a fait la ‘canne du sucre,’ probablement que le ‘caffier’ est une erreur semblable.

15. The whole army of the United States was disbanded at the close of the war. A few guards only were engaged for their magazines. Lately they have enlisted some two or three regiments to garrison the posts along the Northern boundary of the U. S.

16. 17. The U. S. do not own at present a single vessel of war; nor has Congress entered into any resolution on that subject.

18. I conjecture there are 650,000 negroes in the five Southernmost states, and not 50,000 in the rest. In most of these latter effectual measures have been taken for their future emancipation. In the former, nothing is done towards that. The disposition to emancipate them is strongest in Virginia. Those who desire it, form, as yet, the minority of the whole state, but it bears a respectable proportion to the whole in numbers & weight of character & it is continually recruiting by the addition of nearly the whole of the young men as fast as they come into public life. I flatter myself it will take place there at some period of time not very distant. In Maryland & N. Carolina a very few are disposed to emancipate. In S. Carolina & Georgia not the smallest symptoms of it, but, on the contrary these two states & N. Carolina continue importations of negroes. These have been long prohibited in all the other states.

19. In Virginia, where a great proportion of the legislature consider the constitution but as other acts of legislation, laws have been frequently passed Edition: current; Page: [15] which controulled it’s effects. I have not heard that in the other states they have ever infringed their constitution; & I suppose they have not done it; as the judges would consider any law as void which was contrary to the constitution. Pennsylvania is divided into two parties, very nearly equal, the one desiring to change the constitution, the other opposing a change. In Virginia there is a part of the state which considers the act for organizing their government as a constitution, & are content to let it remain; there is another part which considers it only as an ordinary act of the legislature, who therefore wish to form a real constitution, amending some defects which have been observed in the acts now in force. Most of the young people as they come into office arrange themselves on this side, and I think they will prevail ere long. But there are no heats on this account. I do not know that any of the other states propose to change their constitution.

20. I have heard of no malversations in office which have been of any consequence; unless we consider as such some factious transactions in the Pennsylvania assembly; or some acts of the Virginia assembly which have been contrary to their constitution. The causes of these were explained in the preceding article.

21. Broils among the states may happen in the following way: 1. A state may be embroiled with the other twelve by not complying with the lawful requisitions of Congress. 2. Two states may differ about their boundaries. But the method of settling these is fixed by the Confederation, and most of the Edition: current; Page: [16] states which have any differences of this kind are submitting them to this mode of determination; and there is no danger of opposition to the decree by any state. The individuals interested may complain, but this can produce no difficulty. 3. Other contestations may arise between two states, such as pecuniary demands, affrays among their citizens, & whatever else may arise between any two nations. With respect to these, there are two opinions. One that they are to be decided according to the 9th article of the Confederation, which says that “Congress shall be the last resort in all differences between two or more states, concerning boundary jurisdiction, or any other cause whatever”; and prescribes the mode of decision, and the weight of reason is undoubtedly in favor of this opinion, yet there are some who question it.

It has been often said that the decisions of Congress are impotent because the Confederation provides no compulsory power. But when two or more nations enter into compact, it is not usual for them to say what shall be done to the party who infringes it. Decency forbids this, and it is unnecessary as indecent, because the right of compulsion naturally results to the party injured by the breach. When any one state in the American Union refuses obedience to the Confederation by which they have bound themselves, the rest have a natural right to compel them to obedience. Congress would probably exercise long patience before they would recur to force; but if the case ultimately required it, they would use that recurrence. Should this case ever arise, Edition: current; Page: [17] they will probably coerce by a naval force, as being more easy, less dangerous to liberty, & less likely to produce much bloodshed.

It has been said too that our governments both federal and particular want energy; that it is difficult to restrain both individuals & states from committing wrong. This is true, & it is an inconvenience. On the other hand that energy which absolute governments derive from an armed force, which is the effect of the bayonet constantly held at the breast of every citizen, and which resembles very much the stillness of the grave, must be admitted also to have it’s inconveniences. We weigh the two together, and like best to submit to the former. Compare the number of wrongs committed with impunity by citizens among us, with those committed by the sovereign in other countries, and the last will be found most numerous, most oppressive on the mind, and most degrading of the dignity of man.

22. The states differed very much in their proceedings as to British property; and I am unable to give the details. In Virginia, the sums sequestered in the treasury remain precisely as they did at the conclusion of the peace. The British having refused to make satisfaction for the slaves they carried away, contrary to the treaty of peace, and to deliver up the posts within our limits, the execution of that treaty is in some degree suspended. Individuals however are paying off their debts to British subjects, and the laws even permit the latter to recover them judicially. But as the amount of Edition: current; Page: [18] these debts are 20 or 30 times the amount of all the money in circulation in that state, the same laws permit the debtor to pay his debts in seven equal & annual payments.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Monsieur de Meusnier
Meusnier, Monsieur de

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS OF M. DE MEUSNIER, AND ANSWERS

j. mss.

1. What has led Congress to determine that the concurrence of seven votes is requisite in questions which by the Confederation are submitted to the decision of a Majority of the U. S. in Congress assembled?

The IXth article of Confederation § 6. evidently establishes three orders of questions in Congress. 1. The greater ones, which relate to making peace or war, alliances, coinage, requisitions for money, raising military force, or appointing it’s commander-in-chief. 2. The lesser ones, which comprehend all other matters submitted by the Confederation to the federal head. 3. The single question of adjourning from day to day. This graduation of questions is distinctly characterized by the article.

In proportion to the magnitude of these questions, a greater concurrence of the voices composing the Union was thought necessary. Three degrees of concurrence, well distinguished by substantial circumstances, offered themselves to notice. 1. A concurrence of a majority of the people of the Union. It was thought that this would be ensured by requiring the voices of nine states; because according to the loose estimates which had been made of the inhabitants, & the proportion of them which were free, it was believed that even the nine smallest Edition: current; Page: [19] would include a majority of the free citizens of the Union. The voices therefore of nine states were required in the greater questions. 2. A concurrence of the majority of the states. Seven constitute that majority. This number therefore was required in the lesser questions. 3. A concurrence of the majority of Congress, that is to say, of the states actually present in it. As there is no Congress when there are not seven states present, this concurrence could never be of less than four states. But these might happen to be the four smallest, which would not include one ninth part of the free citizens of the Union. This kind of majority therefore was intrusted with nothing but the power of adjourning themselves from day to day.

Here then are three kind of majorities. 1. Of the people. 2. Of the states. 3. Of the Congress: each of which is entrusted to a certain length.

Tho the paragraph in question be clumsily expressed, yet it strictly ennounces it’s own intentions. It defines with precision the greater questions for which nine votes shall be requisite. To the lesser questions it then requires a majority of the U. S. in Congress assembled: a term indeed which will apply either to the number seven, as being a majority of the states; or to the number four, as being a majority of Congress. Which of the two kinds of majority was meant? Clearly that which would leave a still smaller kind for the decision of the question of adjournment. The contrary would be absurd.

This paragraph therefore should be understood as if it had been expressed in the following terms: Edition: current; Page: [20] “The United States in Congress assembled shall never engage in war &c. but with the consent of nine states: nor determine any other question but with the consent of a majority of the whole states; except the question of adjournment from day to day, which may be determined by a majority of the states actually present in Congress.”

2. How far is it permitted to bring on the reconsideration of a question which Congress has once determined?

The first Congress which met being composed mostly of persons who had been members of the legislatures of their respective states, it was natural for them to adopt those rules in their proceedings to which they had been accustomed in their legislative houses; and the more so as these happened to be nearly the same, as having been copied from the same original, the British parliament. One of those rules of proceeding was, that “a question once determined cannot be proposed a second time in the same session.” Congress, during their first session, in the autumn of 1774, observed this rule strictly. But before their meeting in the spring of the following year, the war had broke out. They found themselves at the head of that war in an Executive as well as Legislative capacity. They found that a rule, wise and necessary for a Legislative body, did not suit an Executive one, which, being governed by events, must change their purposes, as those change. Besides their session was likely then to become of equal duration with the war; and a rule which should render their legislation immutable during Edition: current; Page: [21] all that period could not be submitted to. They therefore renounced it in practice, and have ever since continued to reconsider their questions freely. The only restraint as yet provided against the abuse of this permission to reconsider, is that when a question has been decided, it cannot be proposed for reconsideration but by some one who voted in favor of the former decision, & declares that he has since changed his opinion. I do not recollect accurately enough whether it be necessary that his vote should have decided that of his state, and the vote of his state have decided that of Congress.

Perhaps it might have been better when they were forming the federal constitution, to have assimilated it as much as possible to the particular constitutions of the states. All of these have distributed the Legislative, executive & judiciary powers into different departments. In the federal constitution the judiciary powers are separated from the others: but the legislative and executive are both exercised by Congress. A means of amending this defect has been thought of. Congress having a power to establish what committees of their own body they please, and to arrange among them the distribution of their business, they might on the first day of their annual meeting appoint an executive committee, consisting of a member from each state, and refer to them all executive business which should occur during their session; confining themselves to what is of a legislative nature, that is to say to the heads described in the 9th article as of the competence of 9 states only, and to such other questions as should lead to Edition: current; Page: [22] the establishment of general rules. The journal of this committee of the preceding day might be read the next morning in Congress, & considered as approved, unless a vote was demanded on a particular article, & that article changed. The sessions of Congress would then be short, & when they separated, the Confederation authorizes the appointment of a committee of the states, which would naturally succeed to the business of the Executive committee. The legislative business would be better done, because the attention of the members would not be interrupted by the details of execution; and the executive business would be better done, because business of this nature is better adapted to small than great bodies. A monarchical head should confide the execution of it’s will to departments consisting each of a plurality of hands, who would warp that will as much as possible towards wisdom & moderation, the two qualities it generally wants. But a republican head founding it’s decrees originally in these two qualities should commit them to a single hand for execution, giving them thereby a promptitude which republican proceedings generally want. Congress could not indeed confide their executive business to a smaller number than a committee consisting of a member from each state. This is necessary to ensure the confidence of the Union. But it would be gaining a great deal to reduce the executive head to thirteen, and to debarrass themselves of those details. This however has as yet been the subject of private conversations only.

3. Calculating the federal debts by the interest Edition: current; Page: [23] they pay, their principal would be much more than is stated under the 3d. of the former queries. The reason for this is that there is a part of the money put into the loan office which was borrowed under a special contract that whatever depreciation might take place on the principal, the interest should be paid in hard money on the nominal amount, Congress only reserving to itself the right, whenever they should pay off the principal, to pay it according to it’s true value, without regard to it’s nominal one. The amount of this part of the debt is 3,459.200 dollars. From the best documents in my possession I estimate the capital of the federal debt as follows.

Dollars
Spanish loan
       ♯
Farmers general of France   846,710-5        156.798
Individuals in France        250.000
       ♯
Crown of France, in it’s own right 24.000.000     4.444.444
To Holland, guarantied by France 10.000.000     1.851.851
Dutch loan of 5 million of florins     2.020.207
Dutch loan of 2 million of florins        808.080
  ——————
    9.705.375

Domestic debt as stated in Apr. 1783, since which there is no better state.

Loan office debt 11.463.802
Credits in the treasury books      638.042
Army debt   5.635.618
Unliquidated debt estimated at   8.000.000
Commutation to the Army   5.000.000
Bounty due to Privates      500.000
Deficiencies of this estimate supposed   2.000.000
   ——————
33.237.462
     
Whole debt foreign and domestic 42.942.837
Edition: current; Page: [24]

The result as to the foreign debt is considerably more than in the estimate I made before. That was taken on the state of the Dutch loans as known to Congress in 1784. The new estimate of 1785 however (lately come to hand) shews those loans to be completed up to 7 millions of florins, which is much more than their amount in the preceding statements. The domestic debt too is made somewhat higher than in the preceding answer to the 3d. query. I had in that taken the statement of 1783 for my basis, and had endeavored to correct that by the subsequent liquidation of 1784. & 1785. On considering more maturely those means of correction, I apprehend they will be more likely to lead to error; and that, upon the whole, the statement of 1783, is the surest we can have recourse to. I have therefore adopted it literally.

3. A succinct account of paper money.

Previous to the late revolution, most of the states were in the habit, whenever they had occasion for more money than could be raised immediately by taxes, to issue paper notes or bills in the name of the state, wherein they promised to pay the bearer the sum named in the note or bill. In some of the states no time of paiment was fixed, nor tax laid to enable paiment. In these the bills depreciated. But others of the states named in the bill the day when it should be paid, laid taxes to bring in money enough for that purpose, & paid the bills punctually on or before the day named. In these states, paper money was in as high estimation as gold & silver. On the Edition: current; Page: [25] commencement of the late revolution, Congress had no money. The external commerce of the states being suppressed, the farmer could not sell his produce, & of course could not pay a tax. Congress had no resource then but in paper money. Not being able to lay a tax for it’s redemption they could only promise that taxes should be laid for that purpose so as to redeem the bills by a certain day. They did not foresee the long continuance of the war, the almost total suppression of their exports, and other events, which rendered the performance of their engagement impossible. The paper money continued for a twelvemonth equal to gold & silver. But the quantities which they were obliged to emit for the purpose of the war exceeded what had been the usual quantity of the circulating medium. It began therefore to become cheaper, or as we expressed it, it depreciated, as gold & silver would have done, had they been thrown into circulation in equal quantities. But not having, like them, an intrinsic value, it’s depreciation was more rapid & greater than could ever have happened with them. In two years it had fallen to two dollars of paper for one of silver, in three years to 4 for 1. in 9 months more it fell to 10 for 1. and in the six months following, that is to say, by Sep. 1779, it had fallen to 20 for 1. Congress, alarmed at the consequences which were to be apprehended should they lose this resource altogether, thought it necessary to make a vigorous effort to stop its further depreciation. They therefore determined in the first place, that their emissions should not exceed Edition: current; Page: [26] 200 millions of dollars, to which term they were then nearly arrived; and tho’ they knew that twenty dollars of what they were then issuing would buy no more for their army than one silver dollar would buy, yet they thought it would be worth while to submit to the sacrifice of 19. out of 20. dollars, if they could thereby stop further depreciation. They therefore published an address to their constituents in which they renewed their original declarations that this paper money should be redeemed at dollar for dollar. They proved the ability of the states to do this, and that their liberty would be cheaply bought at that price. The declaration was ineffectual. No man received the money at a better rate; on the contrary in 6. months more that is by March, 1780 it had fallen to 40 for 1. Congress then tried an experiment of a different kind. Considering their former offers to redeem this money at par, as relinquished by the general refusal to take it but in progressive depreciation, they required the whole to be brought in, declared it should be redeemed at it’s present value of 40 for 1. and that they would give to the holders new bills reduced in their denomination to the sum of gold or silver which was actually to be paid for them. This would reduce the nominal sum of the mass in circulation to the present worth of that mass, which was 5. millions, a sum not too great for the circulation of the states, and which they therefore hoped would not depreciate further, as they continued firm in their purpose of emitting no more. This effort was as unavailing as the former. Very little of the money was Edition: current; Page: [27] brought in. It continued to circulate & to depreciate till the end of 1780, when it had fallen to 75 for one, and the money circulated from the French army being by that time sensible in all the states north of the Patowmac, the paper ceased it’s circulation altogether, in those states. In Virginia & N. Carolina it continued a year longer, within which time it fell to 1000 for 1. and then expired, as it had done in the other states, without a single groan. Not a murmur was heard on this occasion among the people. On the contrary universal congratulations took place on their seeing this gigantic mass whose dissolution had threatened convulsions which should shake their infant confederacy to it’s centre, quietly interred in it’s grave. Foreigners indeed who do not, like the natives, feel indulgence for it’s memory, as of a being which has vindicated their liberties and fallen in the moment of victory, have been loud & still are loud. A few of them have reason but the most noisy are not the best of them. They are persons who have become bankrupt by unskilful attempts at commerce with America. That they may have some pretext to offer to their creditors, they have bought up great masses of this dead money in America, where it is to be had at 5000 for 1, & they show the certificates of their paper possessions as if they had all died in their hands, and had been the cause of their bankruptcy. Justice will be done to all, by paying to all persons what this money actually cost them, with an interest of 6. per cent from the time they received it. If difficulties present themselves in the ascertaining Edition: current; Page: [28] the epoch of the receipt, it has been thought better that the state should lose by admitting easy proofs, than that individuals & especially foreigners should, by being held to such as would be difficult, perhaps impossible.

5. Virginia certainly owed two millions sterling to Great Britain at the conclusion of the war. Some have conjectured the debt as high as three millions. I think that state owed near as much as all the rest put together. This is to be ascribed to peculiarities in the tobacco trade. The advantages made by the British merchants on the tobaccos consigned to them were so enormous that they spared no means of increasing those consignments. A powerful engine for this purpose was the giving good prices & credit to the planter till they got him more immersed in debt than he could pay without selling his lands or slaves. They then reduced the prices given for his tobacco, so that, let his shipments be ever so great, and his demand of necessaries ever so economical, they never permitted him to clear off his debt. These debts had become hereditary from father to son for many generations, so that the planters were a species of property annexed to certain mercantile houses in London.

6. The members of Congress are differently paid by different states. Some are on fixed allowances, from 4. to 8. dollars a day. Others have their expenses paid & a surplus for their time. This surplus is of two, three, or four dollars a day.

7. I do not believe there has ever been a moment when a single whig in any one state would not have Edition: current; Page: [29] shuddered at the very idea of a separation of their state from the Confederacy. The tories would at all times have been glad to see the Confederacy dissolved even by particles at a time, in hopes of their attaching themselves again to Great Britain.

8. The 11th article of Confederation admits Canada to accede to the Confederation at its own will; but adds that “no other colony shall be admitted to the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine states.” When the plan of April, 1784, for establishing new states was on the carpet, the committee who framed the report of that plan, had inserted this clause, “provided nine states agree to such admission, according to the reservation of the 11th of the articles of Confederation.” It was objected 1. That the words of the confederation “no other colony” could only refer to the residuary possessions of Gr. Britain, as the two Floridas, Nova Scotia, &c. not being already parts of the Union; that the law for “admitting” a new member into the union could not be applied to a territory which was already in the Union, as making part of a state which was a member of it. 2. That it would be improper to allow “nine” states to receive a new member, because the same reasons which rendered that number proper now would render a greater one proper when the number composing the Union should be increased. They therefore struck out this paragraph, and inserted a proviso that “the consent of so many states, in Congress, shall be first obtained as may at the time be competent,” thus leaving the question whether the 11th article applies Edition: current; Page: [30] to the admission of new states? to be decided when that admission shall be asked. See the Journ of Congress of Apr 20, 1784. Another doubt was started in this debate, viz.: whether the agreement of the nine states required by the Confederation was to be made by their legislatures or by their delegates in Congress? The expression adopted viz.: “so many states in Congress is first obtained” shew what was their sense in this matter. If it be agreed that the 11th article of the Confederation is not to be applied to the admission of these new states, then it is contended that their admission comes within the 13th article, which forbids “any alteration unless agreed to in a Congress of the U S, and afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every state. The independence of the new states of Kentucké and Frankland will soon bring on the ultimate decision of all these questions.

9. Particular instances whereby the General assembly of Virginia have shewn that they considered the ordinance, called their Constitution as every other ordinance or act of the legislature, subject to be altered by the legislature for the time being. The convention which formed that Constitution declared themselves to be the house of delegates during the term for which they were originally elected, and in the autumn of the year, met the Senate elected under the new constitution, & did legislative business with them. At this time there were malefactors in the public jail, and there was as yet no court established for their trial. They passed a law appointing certain members by name, Edition: current; Page: [31] who were then members of the Executive council, to be a court for the trial of these malefactors, tho’ the constitution had said, in it’s first clause, that “no person should exercise the powers of more than one of the three departments, legislative, executive & judiciary, at the same time.” This proves that the very men who had made that constitution understood that it would be alterable by the General assembly. This court was only for that occasion. When the next general assembly met after the election of the ensuing year, there was a new set of malefactors in the jail, & no court to try them. This assembly passed a similar law to the former, appointing certain members of the Executive council to be an occasional court for this particular case. Not having the journals of assembly by me, I am unable to say whether this measure was repealed afterwards. However they are instances of executive & judiciary powers exercised by the same persons under the authority of a law, made in contradiction to the Constitution. 2. There was a process depending in the ordinary courts of justice, between two individuals of the name of Robinson & Fauntleroy, who were relations, of different descriptions, to one Robinson a British subject lately dead. Each party claimed a right to inherit the lands of the decedent according to the laws. Their right should, by the constitution, have been decided by the judiciary courts; and it was actually depending before them. One of the parties petitioned the assembly (I think it was in the year 1782) who passed a law deciding the right in his favor. In the Edition: current; Page: [32] following year, a Frenchman, master of a vessel, entered into port without complying with the laws established in such cases, whereby he incurred the forfeitures of the law to any person who would sue for them. An individual instituted a legal process to recover these forfeitures according to the law of the land. The Frenchman petitioned the assembly, who passed a law deciding the question of forfeiture in his favor. These acts are occasional repeals of that part of the constitution which forbids the same person to exercise legislative & judiciary powers at the same time. 3. The assembly is in the habitual exercise during their sessions of directing the Executive what to do. There are few pages of their journals which do not show proofs of this, & consequently instances of the legislative & executive powers exercised by the same persons at the same time. These things prove that it has been the uninterrupted opinion of every assembly, from that which passed the ordinance called the Constitution down to the present day, that their acts may controul that ordinance, & of course that the state of Virginia has no fixed Constitution at all.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 22, 1786
M. Meusnier
Meusnier, M.

OBSERVATIONS ON THE ARTICLE ÉTATS-UNIS PREPARED FOR THE ENCYCLOPÉDIE1

j. mss.

1. II. 17. 29. Pa 8. The Malefactors sent to America were not sufficient in number to merit Edition: current; Page: [33] enumeration as one class out of three which peopled America. It was at a late period of their history that this practice began. I have no book by me which enables me to point out the date of it’s commencement. But I do not think the whole number sent would amount to 2000 & being principally men, eaten up with disease, they married seldom & propagated little. I do not suppose that themselves & their descendants are at present 4000, which is little more than one thousandth part of the whole inhabitants.

Indented servants formed a considerable supply. These were poor Europeans who went to America to settle themselves. If they could pay their passage it was well. If not, they must find means of paying it. They were at liberty therefore to make an agreement with any person they chose, to serve him such a length of time as they agreed on, on condition that he would repay to the master of the vessel the expenses of their passage. If being foreigners unable to speak the language, they did not know how to make a bargain for themselves the captain of the vessel contracted for them with such persons as he could. This contract was by deed indented, which occasioned them to be called indented servants. Sometimes they were called Redemptioners, because by their agreement with the master of the vessel they could redeem themselves from his power by paying their passage, which they frequently Edition: current; Page: [34] effected by hiring themselves on their arrival as is before mentioned. In some states I know that these people had a right of marrying themselves without their master’s leave, & I did suppose they had that right everywhere. I did not know that in any of the states they demanded so much as a week for every day’s absence without leave. I suspect this must have been at a very early period while the governments were in the hands of the first emigrants, who being mostly labourers, were narrow-minded and severe. I know that in Virginia the laws allowed their servitude to be protracted only two days for every one they were absent without leave. So mild was this kind of servitude, that it was very frequent for foreigners who carried to America money enough, not only to pay their passage, but to buy themselves a farm, it was common I say for them to indent themselves to a master for three years, for a certain sum of money, with a view to learn the husbandry of the country. I will here make a general observation. So desirous are the poor of Europe to get to America where they may better their condition, that, being unable to pay their passage, they will agree to serve two or three years on their arrival there, rather than not go. During the time of that service they are better fed, better clothed, and have lighter labour than while in Europe. Continuing to work for hire a few years longer, they buy a farm, marry, and enjoy all the sweets of a domestic society of their own. The American governments are censured for permitting this species of servitude which lays the Edition: current; Page: [35] foundation of the happiness of these people. But what should these governments do? Pay the passage of all those who chuse to go into their country? They are not able; nor, were they able, do they think the purchase worth the price? Should they exclude these people from their shores? Those who know their situations in Europe & America, would not say that this is the alternative which humanity dictates. It is said that these people are deceived by those who carry them over. But this is done in Europe. How can the American governments prevent it? Should they punish the deceiver? It seems more incumbent on the European government, where the act is done, and where a public injury is sustained from it. However it is only in Europe that this deception is heard of. The individuals are generally satisfied in America with their adventure, and very few of them wish not to have made it. I must add that the Congress have nothing to do with this matter. It belongs to the legislatures of the several states.

P 26.1 “Une puissance, en effet, devoit statuer, en dernier resort, sur les relations que pouvoient suvire ou servir au sien general,” &c. The account of the settlement of the colonies, which precedes this paragraph, shows that that settlement was not made by public authority, or at the public expence of England; but by the exertions & at the expence of individuals. Hence it happened that their constitutions were not formed systematically but according Edition: current; Page: [36] to the circumstances which happened to exist in each. Hence too, the principles of the political connection between the old & new countries were never settled. That it would have been advantageous to have settled them is certain; and particularly to have provided a body which should decide in the last resort all cases wherein both parties were interested. But it is not certain that that right would have been given, or ought to have been given to the parliament; much less that it resulted to the parliament without having been given to it expressly. Why was it necessary that there should have been a body to decide in the last resort? Because, it would have been for the good of both parties. But this reason shews it ought not to have been the parliament, because that would have exercised it for the good of one party only.

Page 105. As to the change of the 8th article of Confederation for quotaing requisitions of money on the states.

By a report of the Secretary of Congress dated Jan 4, 1786, eight states had then acceded to the proposition, to wit, Massachus., Connect., N. York, N. Jersey, Pennsylva, Maryland, Virginia, & N. Carolina.

Congress, on the 18th of Apr, 1783, recommended to the states to invest them with a power, for 25 years to levy an impost of 5 per cent, on all articles imported from abroad. N Hamp. Mass. Conn. N Jer. Pensa, Delaware, Virga. N Cara. S Cara. had complied with this before the 4th of Jan, 1786. Maryland had passed an act for the same purpose; Edition: current; Page: [37] but by a mistake in referring to the date of the recommendation of Congress, the act failed of it’s effect. This was therefore to be rectified. Since the 4th of January, the public papers tell us that Rhode island has complied fully with this recommendation. It remains still for N York & Georgia to do it. The exportations of America, which are tolerably well known, are the best measure for estimating the importations. These are probably worth about 20 millions of dollars annually. Of course this impost will pay the interest of a debt to that amount. If confined to the foreign debt, it will pay the whole interest of that, and sink half a million of the capital, annually. The expenses of collecting this impost will probably be 6. per cent on it’s amount, this being the usual expense of collection in the U S. This will be 60.000 dollars.

On the 30th of April 1784 Congress recommended to the states to invest them with a power for 15 years to exclude from their ports the vessels of all nations not having a treaty of commerce with them; and to pass as to all nations an act on the principles of the British navigation act. Not that they were disposed to carry these powers into execution with such as would meet them in fair and equal arrangements of commerce; but that they might be able to do it against those who should not. On the 4th of Jan, 1786, N Hamp. Mass. Rho. isld. Connect. N York, Pensa. Maryld. Virga. & N. Carola had done it. It remained for N Jers, Delaware, S Carola, & Georgia to do the same.

In the meantime the general idea has advanced Edition: current; Page: [38] before the demands of Congress, and several states have passed acts for vesting Congress with the whole regulation of their commerce, reserving the revenue arising from these regulations to the disposal of the state in which it is levied. The states which, according to the public papers have passed such acts, are N. Hamp. Mass. Rho. isld. N Jers. Del. and Virga: but, the assembly of Virga, apprehensive that this disjointed method of proceeding may fail in it’s effect, or be much retarded, passed a resolution on the 21st of Jan. 1786, appointing commissioners to meet others from the other states whom they invite into the same measure, to digest the form of an act for investing Congress with such powers over their commerce as shall be thought expedient, which act is to be reported to their several assemblies for their adoption. This was the state of the several propositions relative to the impost, & regulation of commerce at the date of our latest advices from America.

Pa 125. The General assembly of Virginia, at their session in 1785, have passed an act declaring that the District, called Kentucky shall be a separate & independent state, on these conditions. 1. That the people of that district shall consent to it. 2. That Congress shall consent to it & shall receive them into the federal union. 3. That they shall take on themselves a proportionable part of the public debt of Virginia. 4. That they shall confirm all titles to lands within their district made by the state of Virginia, before their separation.

Page 131. “Et sur six assemblées à peine trouvet-on” Edition: current; Page: [39] &c. Jusques à’elles feront un meilleur choix. Page 132. I think it will be better to omit the whole of this passage for reasons which shall be explained in conversation.

Page 139. It was in 1783, & not in 1781, that Congress quitted Philadelphia.

Page 140. “Le Congres qui se trouvoit à la portée des rebelles fut effrayé.” I was not present on this occasion, but I have had relations of the transaction from several who were. The conduct of Congress was marked with indignation & firmness. They received no propositions from the mutineers. They came to the resolutions which may be seen in the journals of June 21, 1783, then adjourned regularly and went through the body of the mutineers to their respective lodgings. The measures taken by Dickinson, the president of Pennsylvania, for punishing this insult, not being satisfactory to Congress, they assembled 9. days after at Princeton in Jersey. The people of Pennsylvania sent petitions declaring their indignation at what had past, their devotion to the federal head, and their dispositions to protect it, & praying them to return; the legislature, as soon as assembled, did the same thing; the Executive whose irresolution had been so exceptionable made apologies. But Congress were now removed; and to the opinion that this example was proper, other causes were now added sufficient to prevent their return to Philadelphia.

Pa. 153. l. 8. ‘400,000 millions,’ should be, ‘400, millions.’

Edition: current; Page: [40]

Pa 154. l. 3. From the bottom omettez ‘plus de,’ and l. 2. c’est a dire plus d’un milliard.’

Pa 155. l. 2. Omit “la dette actuelle, &c.

And also, “Les details de cette espece,” &c., &c., &c., to the end of the paragraph “celle des Etats Unis,” page 156. The reason is that these passages seem to suppose that the several sums emitted by Congress at different times, amounted nominally to 200 millions of dollars, had been actually worth that at the time of emission, & of course, that the souldiers & others had received that sum from Congress. But nothing is further from the truth. The souldier, victualler or other persons who received 40 dollars for a service at the close of the year 1779, received in fact no more than he who received one dollar for the same service in the year 1775 or 1776; because in those years the paper money was at par with silver; whereas by the close of 1779 forty paper dollars were worth but one of silver, & would buy no more of the necessaries of life. To know what the monies emitted by Congress were worth to the people at the time they received them, we will state the date & amount of every several emission, the depreciation of paper money at the time, and the real worth of the emission in silver or gold. [See page 41.]

Thus it appears that the 200 millions of Dollars emitted by Congress were worth to those who received them but about 36 millions of silver dollars. If we estimate at the same value the like sum of 200 millions, supposed to have been emitted by the states, and state the Federal debt, foreign & domestic,

Edition: current; Page: [41]
Emission. Sum emitted. Depreciation. Worth of the sum emitted, in silver dollars.
1The sum actually voted was 50,000,400, but part of it was for exchange of old bills, without saying how much. It is presumed that these exchanges absorbed $25,552,780, because the remainder, 24,447,620, with all the other emissions preceding Sep. 2, 1779, will amount to 159,948,880, the sum which Congress declared to be then in circulation.—T. J.
1775. June 23     2,000,000      - -   2,000,000
1775. Nov. 29     3,000,000      - -   3,000,000
1776. Feb. 17     4,000,000      - -   4,000,000
1776. Aug. 13     5,000,000      - -   5,000,000
1777. May 20     5,000,000       2⅔   1,877,273
1777. Aug. 15     1,000,000       3      333,333⅓
1777. Nov. 7     1,000,000       4      250,000
1777. Dec. 3     1,000,000       4      250,000
1778. Jan. 8     1,000,000       4      250,000
1778. Jan. 22     2,000,000       4      500,000
1778. Feb. 16     2,000,000       5      400,000
1778. Mar. 5     2,000,000       5      400,000
1778. Apr. 4     1,000,000       6      166,666⅔
1778. Apr. 11     5,000,000       6      833,333⅓
1778. Apr. 18        500,000       6        83,333⅓
1778. May 22     5,000,000       5   1,000,000
1778. June 20     5,000,000       4   1,250,000
1778. July 30     5,000,000       4½   1,111,111
1778. Sep. 5     5,000,000       5   1,000,000
1778. Sep. 26   10,000,000       5   2,000,020
1778. Nov. 4   10,000,100       6   1,666,683⅓
1778. Dec. 14   10,000,100       6   1,666,683⅓
1779. Jan. 14   24,447,6201       8   3,055,952½
1779. Feb. 3     5,000,160     10      500,016
1779. Feb. 12     5,000,160     10      500,016
1779. Apr. 2     5,000,160     17      294,127
1779. May 5   10,000,100     24      416,670⅚
1779. June 4   10,000,100     20      500,005
1779. July 17   15,000,280     20      750,014
1779. Sep. 17   15,000,260     24      625,010⅚
1779. Oct. 14     5,000,180     30      166,672⅔
1779. Nov. 17   10,050,540     38½      261,053
1779. Nov. 29   10,000,140     38½      259,743
——————— ——————
200,000,000      36,367,719⅚

at about 43 millions, and the state debts, at about 25 millions, it will form an amount of 140. Edition: current; Page: [42] millions of Dollars, or 735 millions of livres Tournois, the total sum which the war has cost the inhabitants of the U. S. It continued 8. years from the battle of Lexington to the cessation of hostilities in America. The annual expense then was about 17,500,000 Dollars, while that of our enemies was a greater number of guineas.

It will be asked How will the two masses of Continental & of State money have cost the people of the U. S. 72 millions of dollars, when they are to be redeemed now with about six millions? I answer that the difference, being 66. millions has been lost on the paper bills separately by the successive holders of them. Every one, thro whose hands a bill passed, lost on that bill what it lost in value, during the time it was in his hands. This was a real tax on him; & in this way the people of the United States actually contributed those 66 millions of dollars during the war, and by a mode of taxation the most oppressive of all, because the most unequal of all.

Pa. 157. l. 2. from bottom, ‘cinquantieme,’ this should be ‘dixieme.’

Pa. 158. l. 8. Elles ont fait des reductions,’ they have not reduced the debt, but instead of expressing it in paper money, as formerly, they express it by the equivalent sum in silver or gold, being the true sum it has cost the present creditor, and what therefore they are bound in justice to pay him. For the same reason strike out the words ‘ainsi reduites’ second line from the bottom.

Pa. 161. l. 8. ‘Point de remboursements en 1784,’ except the interest.

Edition: current; Page: [43]

Pa 166, bottom line. “Et c’est une autre economie,” &c. The reason of this is that in 1784, purchases of land were to be made of the Indians which were accordingly made. But in 1785. they did not propose to make any purchase. The money desired in 1785, 5000 dollars was probably to pay agents residing among the Indians, or balances of the purchase of 1784. These purchases will not be made every year; but only at distant intervals as our settlements are extended; and it may be taken for a certainty that not a foot of land will ever be taken from the Indians without their own consent. The sacredness of their right, is felt by all thinking persons in America as much as in Europe.

Pa 170. Virginia was quotaed the highest of any state in the Union. But during the war, several states appear to have paid more, because they were free from the enemy, whilst Virginia was cruelly ravaged. The requisition of 1784, was so quotaed on the several states, as to bring up their arrearages so that when they should have paid the sums then demanded all would be on equal footing. It is necessary to give a further explanation of this requisition. The requisitions of 1.200,000 Dollars, of 8. millions & 2 millions had been made during the war as an experiment to see whether in that situation the states could furnish the necessary supplies. It was found they could not. The money was thereupon obtained by loans in Europe; & Congress meant by their requisition of 1784, to abandon the requisitions of 1.200.000 & of 2. millions, and also one half of the 8. millions. But as all the states Edition: current; Page: [44] almost had made some paiments in part of that requisition, they were obliged to retain such a proportion of it, as would enable them to call for equal contributions from all the others.

Pa 170. I cannot say how it has happened that the debt of Connecticut is greater than that of Virginia. The latter is the richest in productions, and perhaps made greater exertions to pay for her supplies in the course of the war.

172. “Les Americains si vantés apres une banqueroute, &c. The objections made to the U. S. being here condensed together in a short compass, perhaps it would not be improper to condense the answers in as small a compass, in some such form as follows. That is, after the words “aucun espoir,” add, “but to these charges it may be justly answered that those are no bankrupts who acknoledge the sacredness of their debts in their just & real amount, who are able within a reasonable time to pay them, & who are actually proceeding in that paiment; that they furnish actually the supplies necessary for the support of their government; that their officers & souldiers are satisfied, as the interest of their debt is paid regularly, and the principals are in a course of paiment; that the question whether they fought ill, should be asked of those who met them at Bunker’s hill, Bennington, Stillwater, King’s mountain, the Cowpens, Guilford and the Eutaw. And that the charges of ingratitude, madness, infidelity, and corruption are easily made by those to whom falsehoods cost nothing; but that no instances in support of them have been produced or can be produced.”

Edition: current; Page: [45]

Pa 187. “Les officiérs et les soldats ont eté payés” &c. The balances due to the officers & souldiers have been ascertained, & a certificate of the sum given to each; on these the interest is regularly paid; and every occasion is seized of paying the principals by receiving these certificates as money, whenever public property is sold, till a more regular & effectual method can be taken, for paying the whole.

Pa 191. “Quoique la loi dont nous parlons, ne s’observe plus en Angleterre.” Blackstone B. 1. c. 10. pa. 372. “An alien born may purchase lands or other estates; but not for his own use; for the king is thereupon entitled to them.” “Yet an alien may acquire a property in goods, money & other personal estate, or may hire a house for his habitation for this is necessary for the advancement of trade.”—“Also an alien may bring an action concerning personal property, & may make a will & dispose of his personal estate.” “When I mention these rights of an alien, I must be understood of alien friends only, or such whose countries are in peace with ours; for alien enemies have no rights, no privileges, unless by the king’s special favour, during the time of war.” “An alien friend may have personal actions, but not real; an alien enemy shall have neither real, personal, or mixt actions. The reason why an alien friend is allowed to maintain a personal action is, because he would otherwise be incapacitated to merchandise, which may be as much to our prejudice as his.” Cunningham’s law dict. voce, aliens. The above is the clear law of England, practiced from the earliest Edition: current; Page: [46] ages to this day, & never denied. The passage quoted by M. de Meusnier from 2 Blackstone, ch. 26, is from his chapter “of title to things personal by occupancy.” The word “personal,” shews that nothing in this chapter relates to lands, which are real estate, and therefore this passage does not contradict the one before quoted from the same author B. 1 c. 10 which sais that the lands of an alien belong to the king. The words “of title by occupancy” shew that it does not relate to debts, which being a moral existence only, cannot be the subject of occupancy. Blackstone in this passage B. 2. c. 26. speaks only of personal goods of an alien which another may find and seize as prime occupant.

Pa 193. “Le remboursement presentera des difficultés des sommes considerables” &c. There is no difficulty nor doubt on this subject. Every one is sensible how this is to be ultimately settled. Neither the British creditor, nor the state will be permitted to lose by these paiments. The debtor will be credited with what he paid according to what it was really worth at the time he paid it, and he must pay the balance. Nor does he lose by this: for if a man, who owed 1000 dollars to a British merchant, paid 800 paper dollars into the treasury when the depreciation was at 8 for 1. it is clear he paid but 100 real dollars, & must now pay 900. It is probable he received those 800 dollars for 100 bushels of wheat, which were never worth more than 100 silver dollars. He is credited therefore the full worth of his wheat. The equivoque is in the use of the word “dollar.”

Edition: current; Page: [47]

Pa. 223. l. 6. ‘Le comité charge de cette revision a publée son travail.’ Rather say ‘the committee charged with this work reported it in the year 1779 to the assembly, who ordered it to be printed for consideration in the year 1781—and who in their session of 1785–6: passed between 30. & 40. of the bills, meaning to resume it at their successive sessions till they shall have gone thro’ the whole.’

Pa 225. ‘Mais elle y acté insereé depuis.’ Rather say ‘but they prepared an amendment with an intention of having it proposed at the time the bill should be under discussion before the assembly. Selon cette amendment les enfans des esclaves demeurevoient’ &c.

Page 226. l. 11. “Qu’on abolisse les privileges du clergé.” This privilege originally allowed to the clergy, is now extended to every man, & even to women. It is a right of exemption from capital punishment for the first offence in most cases. It is then a pardon by the law. In other cases the Executive gives the pardon. But when laws are made as mild as they should be, both those pardons are absurd. The principle of Beccaria is sound. Let the legislators be merciful but the executors of the law inexorable. As the term “privileges du clergé” may be understood by foreigners, perhaps, it will be better to strike it out here, & to substitute the word “pardon.”

Pa. 238. ‘Plongés dans la mer. . .’ The English word ‘ducked’ means to ‘plunge the party into water’ no matter whether of the sea, a river, or pond.

Pa 239. “Les commissaries veulent &c. Manslaughter Edition: current; Page: [48] is the killing a man with design, but in a sudden gust of passion, and where the killer has not had time to cool. The first offence is not punished capitally, but the second is. This is the law of England & of all the American states; & is not a new proposition. Those laws have supposed that a man whose passions have so much dominion over him as to lead him to repeated acts of murder, is unsafe to society: that it is better he should be put to death by the law, than others more innocent than himself on the movements of his impetuous passions.

Ib. l. 12. “Mal-aisé d’ indiquer la nuance precise &c. In forming a scale of crimes & punishments, two considerations have principal weight. 1. The atrocity of the crime. 2. The peculiar circumstances of a country which furnish greater temptations to commit it, or greater facilities for escaping detection. The punishment must be heavier to counterbalance this. Was the first the only consideration, all nations would form the same scale. But as the circumstances of a country have influence on the punishment, and no two countries exist precisely under the same circumstances, no two countries will form the same scale of crimes & punishments. For example in America, the inhabitants let their horses go at large in the uninclosed lands which are so extensive as to maintain them altogether. It is easy therefore to steal them & easy to escape. Therefore the laws are obliged to oppose these temptations with a heavier degree of punishment. For this reason the stealing of a horse in America is punished more severely than stealing the Edition: current; Page: [49] same value in any other form. In Europe where horses are confined so securely that it is impossible to steal them, that species of theft need not be punished more severely than any other. In some countries of Europe, stealing fruit from trees is punished capitally. The reason is that it being impossible to lock fruit trees up in coffers, as we do our money, it is impossible to oppose physical bars to this species of theft. Moral ones are therefore opposed by the laws. This to an unreflecting American, appears the most enormous of all the abuses of power; because he has been used to see fruits hanging in such quantities that if not taken by men they would rot: he has been used to consider it therefore of no value, as not furnishing materials for the commission of a crime. This must serve as an apology for the arrangements of crimes & punishments in the scale under our consideration. A different one would be formed here; & still different ones in Italy, Turkey, China, &c.

Pa. 240. “Les officiers Americains &c. to pa 264. “qui le meritoient.” I would propose to new-model this Section in the following manner. 1. Give a succinct history of the origin & establishment of the Cincinnati. 2. Examine whether in its present form it threatens any dangers to the state. 3. Propose the most practicable method of preventing them.

Having been in America during the period in which this institution was formed, and being then in a situation which gave me opportunities of seeing it in all it’s stages, I may venture to give M. de Edition: current; Page: [50] Meusnier materials for the 1st branch of the preceding distribution of the subject. The 2d and 3d he will best execute himself. I should write it’s history in the following form.

When, on the close of that war which established the independance of America, it’s army was about to be disbanded, the officers, who during the course of it had gone thro the most trying scenes together, who by mutual aids & good offices had become dear to one another, felt with great oppression of mind the approach of that moment which was to separate them never perhaps to meet again. They were from different states & from distant parts of the same state. Hazard alone could therefore give them but rare & partial occasions of seeing each other. They were of course to abandon altogether the hope of ever meeting again, or to devise some occasion which might bring them together. And why not come together on purpose at stated times? Would not the trouble of such a journey be greatly over-paid by the pleasure of seeing each other again, by the sweetest of all consolations, the talking over the scenes of difficulty & of endearment they had gone through? This too would enable them to know who of them should succeed in the world, who should be unsuccessful, and to open the purses of all to every labouring brother. This idea was too soothing not to be cherished in conversation. It was improved into that of a regular association with an organized administration, with periodical meetings general & particular, fixed contributions for those who should be in distress, & a badge by Edition: current; Page: [51] which not only those who had not had occasion to become personally known should be able to recognize one another, but which should be worn by their descendants to perpetuate among them the friendships which had bound their ancestors together. Genl. Washington was at that moment oppressed with the operation of disbanding an army which was not paid, and the difficulty of this operation was increased by some two or three of the states having expressed sentiments which did not indicate a sufficient attention to their paiment. He was sometimes present when his officers were fashioning in their conversations their newly proposed society. He saw the innocence of it’s origin, & foresaw no effects less innocent. He was at that time writing his valedictory letter to the states, which has been so deservedly applauded by the world. Far from thinking it a moment to multiply the causes of irritation, by thwarting a proposition which had absolutely no other basis but of benevolence & friendship, he was rather satisfied to find himself aided in his difficulties by this new incident, which occupied, &, at the time soothed the minds of the officers. He thought too that this institution would be one instrument the more for strengthening the federal bond, & for promoting federal ideas. The institution was formed. They incorporated into it the officers of the French army & navy by whose sides they had fought, and with whose aid they had finally prevailed, extending it to such grades as they were told might be permitted to enter into it. They sent an officer to France to make the proposition to them Edition: current; Page: [52] & to procure the badges which they had devised for their order. The moment of disbanding the army having come on before they could have a full meeting to appoint their president, the General was prayed to act in that office till their first general meeting which was to be held at Philadelphia in the month of May following. The laws of the society were published. Men who read them in their closets, unwarmed by those sentiments of friendship which had produced them, inattentive to those pains which an approaching separation had excited in the minds of the institutors, Politicians, who see in everything only the dangers with which it threatens civil society, in fine the labouring people, who, shielded by equal laws, had never seen any difference between man and man, but had read of terrible oppressions which people of their description experience in other countries from those who are distinguished by titles & badges, began to be alarmed at this new institution. A remarkable silence however was observed. Their sollicitudes were long confined within the circles of private conversation. At length however a Mr. Burke, chief justice of South Carolina, broke that silence. He wrote against the new institution; foreboding it’s dangers very imperfectly indeed, because he had nothing but his imagination to aid him. An American could do no more: for to detail the real evils of aristocracy they must be seen in Europe. Burke’s fears were thought exaggerations in America; while in Europe it is known that even Mirabeau has but faintly sketched the curses of hereditary aristocracy as they are experienced Edition: current; Page: [53] here, and as they would have followed in America had this institution remained. The epigraph of Burke’s pamphlet was “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion.” It’s effect corresponded with it’s epigraph. This institution became first the subject of general conversation. Next it was made the subject of deliberation in the legislative assemblies of some of the States. The governor of South Carolina censured it in an address to his Assembly. The assemblies of Massachusetts, Rhode island and Pennsylvania condemned it’s principles. No circumstance indeed brought the consideration of it expressly before Congress, yet it had sunk deep into their minds. An offer having been made to them on the part of the Polish order of divine providence to receive some of their distinguished citizens into that order, they made that an occasion to declare that these distinctions were contrary to the principles of their confederation. The uneasiness excited by this institution had very early caught the notice of General Washington. Still recollecting all the purity of the motives which gave it birth, he became sensible that it might produce political evils which the warmth of these motives had masked. Add to this that it was disapproved by the mass of citizens of the Union. This alone was reason strong enough in a country where the will of the majority is the law, & ought to be the law. He saw that the objects of the institution were too light to be opposed to considerations as serious as these; and that it was become necessary to annihilate it absolutely. On this therefore he was decided. The first annual Edition: current; Page: [54] meeting at Philadelphia was now at hand. He went to that, determined to exert all his influence for it’s suppression. He proposed it to his fellow officers, and urged it with all his powers. It met an opposition which was observed to cloud his face with an anxiety that the most distressful scenes of the war had scarcely ever produced. It was canvassed for several days, & at length it was no more a doubt what would be it’s ultimate fate. The order was on the point of receiving it’s annihilation by the vote of a very great majority of it’s members. In this moment their envoy arrived from France, charged with letters from the French officers accepting with cordiality the proposed badges of union, with sollicitations from others to be received into the order, & with notice that their respectable sovereign had been pleased to recognize it, & permit his officers to wear it’s badges. The prospect now changed. The question assumed a new form. After the offer made by them, & accepted by their friends, in what words could they clothe a proposition to retract it which would not cover themselves with the reproaches of levity & ingratitude? which would not appear an insult to those whom they loved? Federal principles, popular discontent, were considerations whose weight was known & felt by themselves. But would foreigners know & feel them equally? Would they so far acknowledge their cogency as to permit without any indignation the eagle & ribbon to be torn from their breasts by the very hands which had placed them there? The idea revolted the whole society. They found it necessary then to preserve Edition: current; Page: [55] so much of their institution as might continue to support this foreign branch, while they should prune off every other which would give offence to their fellow citizens; thus sacrificing on each hand to their friends & to their country. The society was to retain it’s existence, it’s name, it’s meetings, & it’s charitable funds: but these last were to be deposited with their respective legislatures; the order was to be no longer hereditary; a reformation which had been pressed even from this side of the Atlantic; it was to be communicated to no new members; the general meetings instead of annual were to be triennial only. The eagle & ribbon indeed were retained; because they were worn, & they wished them to be worn, by their friends who were in a country where they would not be objects of offence; but themselves never wore them. They laid them up in their bureaus with the medals of American Independance, with those of the trophies they had taken & the battles they had won. But through all the United States no officer is seen to offend the public eye with the display of this badge. These changes have tranquillized the American states. Their citizens do justice to the circumstances which prevented a total annihilation of the order. They feel too much interest in the reputation of their officers, and value too much whatever may serve to recall to the memory of their allies the moments wherein they formed but one people. Tho they are obliged by a prudent foresight to keep out everything from among themselves which might pretend to divide them into orders, and to degrade one description of Edition: current; Page: [56] men below another, yet they hear with pleasure that their allies whom circumstances have already placed under these distinctions, are willing to consider it as one to have aided them in the establishment of their liberties & to wear a badge which may recall to their remembrance; and it would be an extreme affliction to them if the domestic reformation which has been found necessary, if the censures of individual writers, or if any other circumstance should discourage the wearing their badge, or lessen it’s reputation.

This short but true history of the order of the Cincinnati, taken from the mouths of persons on the spot who were privy to it’s origin & progress, & who knew it’s present state, is the best apology which can be made for an institution which appeared to be, & was really, so heterogeneous to the governments in which it was erected.

It should be further considered that, in America, no other distinction between man & man had ever been known, but that of persons in office exercising powers by authority of the laws, and private individuals. Among these last the poorest labourer stood on equal ground with the wealthiest millionnaire, & generally on a more favoured one whenever their rights seem to jar. It has been seen that a shoemaker, or other artisan, removed by the voice of his country from his work bench into a chair of office, has instantly commanded all the respect and obedience which the laws ascribe to his office. But of distinction by birth or badge they had no more idea than they had of the mode of existence in the Edition: current; Page: [57] moon or planets. They had heard only that there were such, & knew that they must be wrong. A due horror of the evils which flow from these distinctions could be excited in Europe only, where the dignity of man is lost in arbitrary distinctions, where the human species is classed into several stages of degradation, where the many are crushed under the weight of the few, & where the order established can present to the contemplation of a thinking being no other picture than that of God almighty & his angels trampling under foot the hosts of the damned. No wonder then that the institution of the Cincinnati should be innocently conceived by one order of American citizens, could raise in the other orders only a slow, temperate, & rational opposition, and could be viewed in Europe as a detestable parricide

The 2d & 3d branches of this subject, no body can better execute than M. de. Meusnier. Perhaps it may be curious to him to see how they strike an American mind at present. He shall therefore have the ideas of one who was an enemy to the institution from the first moment of it’s conception, but who was always sensible that the officers neither foresaw, nor intended the injury they were doing to their country.

As to the question then, whether any evil can proceed from the institution as it stands at present, I am of opinion there may. 1. From the meetings. These will keep the officers formed into a body; will continue a distinction between the civil & military which it would be for the good of the whole to Edition: current; Page: [58] obliterate as soon as possible; & the military assemblies will not only keep alive the jealousies & the fears of the civil government, but give ground for these fears & jealousies. For when men meet together, they will make business if they have none; they will collate their grievances, some real, some imaginary, all highly painted; they will communicate to each other the sparks of discontent; & this may engender a flame which will consume their particular, as well as the general, happiness. 2. The charitable part of the institution is still more likely to do mischief, as it perpetuates the dangers apprehended in the preceding clause. For here is a fund provided of permanent existence. To whom will it belong? To the descendants of American officers of a certain description. These descendants then will form a body, having sufficient interest to keep up an attention to their description, to continue meetings, & perhaps, in some moment, when the political eye shall be slumbering, or the firmness of their fellow-citizens realized, to replace the insignia of the order & revive all its pretensions. What good can the officers propose which may weigh against these possible evils? The securing their descendants against want? Why afraid to trust them to the same fertile soil, & the same genial climate which will secure from want the descendants of their other fellow citizens? Are they afraid they will be reduced to labour the earth for their sustenance? They will be rendered thereby both honester and happier. An industrious farmer occupies a more dignified place in the scale of beings, whether moral or political, Edition: current; Page: [59] than a lazy lounger, valuing himself on his family, too proud to work, & drawing out a miserable existence by eating on that surplus of other men’s labour which is the sacred fund of the helpless poor. A pitiful annuity will only prevent them from exerting that industry & those talents which would soon lead them to better fortune.

How are these evils to be prevented? 1. At their first general meeting let them distribute the funds on hand to the existing objects of their destination, & discontinue all further contributions. 2. Let them declare at the same time that their meetings general & particular shall henceforth cease. 3. Let them melt up their eagles & add the mass to the distributable fund that their descendants may have no temptation to hang them in their button holes.

These reflections are not proposed as worthy the notice of M. de Meusnier. He will be so good as to treat the subject in his own way, & no body has a better. I will only pray him to avail us of his forcible manner to evince that there is evil to be apprehended even from the ashes of this institution, & to exhort the society in America to make their reformation complete; bearing in mind that we must keep the passions of men on our side even when we are persuading them to do what they ought to do.

Pa. 268. “Et en effet la population” &c. 270. “Plus de confiance.”

To this we answer that no such census of the numbers was ever given out by Congress nor ever presented to them: and further that Congress never has at any time declared by their vote the number Edition: current; Page: [60] of inhabitants in their respective states. On the 22d of June 1775 they first resolved to remit paper money. The sum resolved on was 2. millions of dollars. They declared then that the 12 confederate colonies (for Georgia had not yet joined them) should be pledged for the redemption of these bills. To ascertain in what proportion each state should be bound, the members from each were desired to say as nearly as they could what was the number of the inhabitants of their respective states. They were very much unprepared for such a declaration. They guessed however as well as they could. The following are the numbers, as they conjectured them, & the subsequent apportionment of the 2. millions of dollars.

Inhabitants.
New Hampshire,      100,000        82,713
Massachusetts,      350,000      189,496
Rhode island,        58,000        47,973
Connecticut,      200,000      165,426
New York,      200,000      165,426
New Jersey,      130,000      107,527
Pennsylvania,      300,000      248,139
Delaware,        30,000        24,813
Maryland,      250,000      206,783
Virginia,      400,000      330,852
North Carolina,      200,000      165,426
South Carolina,      200,000      165,426
—————— ——————
  2,418,000   2,000,000

Georgia having not yet acceded to the measures of the other states, was not quotaed; but their numbers were generally estimated at about 30,000 & so would have made the whole 2,448,000 persons of every condition. But it is to be observed that Edition: current; Page: [61] tho Congress made this census the basis of their apportionment, yet they did not even give it a place on their journals; much less publish it to the world with their sanction. The way it got abroad was this. As the members declared from their seats the number of inhabitants which they conjectured to be in their state, the secretary of Congress wrote them on a piece of paper, calculated the portion of 2 millions of dollars accordingly & entered the sum only in the journals. The members however for their own satisfaction and the information of their states, took copies of this enumeration & sent them to their states. From thence they got into the public papers: and when the English newswriters found it answered their purpose to compare this with the numeration of 1783, as their principle is “to lie boldly that they may not be suspected of lying” they made it amount to 3,137,809 and ascribed it’s publication to Congress itself.

In April 1785, Congress being to call on the states to raise a million & a half of dollars annually for 25 years, it was necessary to apportion this among them. The states had never furnished them with their exact numbers. It was agreed too that in this apportionment 5 slaves should be counted as 3 freemen only. The preparation of this business was in the hands of a Committee. They applied to the members for the best information they could give them of the numbers of their states. Some of the states had taken pains to discover their numbers. Others had done nothing in that way, & of course were now where they were in 1775 when their Edition: current; Page: [62] members were first called on to declare their numbers. Under these circumstances, & on the principle of counting three-fifths only of the slaves, the Committee apportioned the money among the states & reported their work to Congress. In this they had assessed S. Carolina as having 170,000 inhabitants. The delegate for that state however prevailed on Congress to assess them on the footing of 150,000 only, in consideration of the state of total devastation in which the enemy had left their country. The difference was then laid on the other states, and the following was the result.

inhabitants. Dollars.
New Hampshire,        82,200        52,708
Massachusetts,      350,000      224,427
Rhode island,        50,400        32,318
Connecticut,      206,000      132,091
New York,      200,000      128,243
New Jersey,      130,000        83,358
Pennsylvania,      320,000      205,189
Delaware,        35,000        22,443
Maryland,      220,700      141,517
Virginia,      400,000      256,487
N. Carolina,      170,000      109,006
S. Carolina,      150,000        96,183
Georgia,        25,000        16,030
—————— ——————
  2,339,300   1,500,000

Still however Congress refused to give the numeration the sanction of a place on their journals, because it was not formed on such evidence as a strict attention to accuracy & truth required. They used it from necessity, because they could get no better rule, and they entered on their journals only the apportionment of money. The members, however, Edition: current; Page: [63] as before, took copies of the numeration which was the groundwork of the apportionment, sent them to their states, & thus this second numeration got into the public papers, & was by the English ascribed to Congress, as their declaration of the present numbers. To get at the real numbers which this numeration supposes, we must add 20.000 to the number on which S. Carolina was quotæed; we must consider that 700.000 slaves are counted but as 420.000 persons, & add on that account 280.000. This will give us a total of 2.639.300 inhabitants of every condition in the 13 states, being 221.300 more than the numeration of 1775, instead of 798.509 loss, which the English papers asserted to be the diminution of numbers in the United States according to the confession of Congress itself.

Pa. 272. “Comportera peut etre une population de thirty millions.”

The territories of the United States contain about a million of square miles, English. There is in them a greater proportion of fertile lands than in the British dominions in Europe. Suppose the territory of the U. S. then to attain an equal degree of population with the British European dominions, they will have an hundred millions of inhabitants. Let us extend our views to what may be the population of the two continents of North & South America supposing them divided at the narrowest part of the isthmus of Panama. Between this line and that of 50° of north latitude the northern continent contains about 5 millions of square miles, and South of this line of division the Southern continent Edition: current; Page: [64] contains about 7 millions of square miles. I do not pass the 50th degree of northern latitude in my reckoning, because we must draw a line somewhere, & considering the soil & climate beyond that, I would only avail my calculation of it, as a make weight, to make good what the colder regions within that line may be supposed to fall short in their future population. Here are 12 millions of square miles then, which at the rate of population before assumed, will nourish 1200 millions of inhabitants, a number greater than the present population of the whole globe is supposed to amount to. If those who propose medals for the resolution of questions, about which nobody makes any question, those who have invited discussions on the pretended problem Whether the discovery of America was for the good of mankind? if they, I say, would have viewed it only as doubling the numbers of mankind, & of course the quantum of existence & happiness, they might have saved the money & the reputation which their proposition has cost them. The present population of the inhabited parts of the U. S. is of about 10. to the square mile; & experience has shown us, that wherever we reach that the inhabitants become uneasy, as too much compressed, and go off in great numbers to search for vacant country. Within 40 years the whole territory will be peopled at that rate. We may fix that then as the term beyond which the people of those states will not be restrained within their present limits; we may fix it too as the term of population, which they will not exceed till the whole of those two continents are Edition: current; Page: [65] filled up to that mark, that is to say, till they shall contain 120 millions of inhabitants. The soil of the country on the western side of the Mississippi, it’s climate, & it’s vicinity to the U. S. point it out as the first which will receive population from that nest. The present occupiers will just have force enough to repress & restrain the emigrations to a certain degree of consistence. We have seen lately a single person go & decide on a settlement in Kentucky, many hundred miles from any white inhabitant, remove thither with his family and a few neighbors, & though perpetually harassed by the Indians, that settlement in the course of 10 years has acquired 30.000 inhabitants, it’s numbers are increasing while we are writing, and the state of which it formerly made a part has offered it independance.

Pa. 280. line five. “Huit des onze etats” &c. Say “there were ten states present. 6. voted unanimously for it, 3 against it, and one was divided: and seven votes being requisite to decide the proposition affirmatively, it was lost. The voice of a single individual of the state which was divided, or of one of those which were of the negative, would have prevented this abominable crime from spreading itself over the new country. Thus we see the fate of millions unborn hanging on the tongue of one man, & heaven was silent in that awful moment! But it is to be hoped it will not always be silent & that the friends to the rights of human nature will in the end prevail. On the 16th of March 1785 it was moved in Congress that the same proposition should be referred to a Committee, & it was referred by the Edition: current; Page: [66] votes of 8 states against 3. We do not hear that anything further is yet done on it.”

Pa. 280. Note (a). I would wish this note to be omitted.

Pa. 281. “L’ acte federatif lui donne le droit de prononcer sur tout ce qui a rapport, au bien general de l’union, & line 6 the word ’ainsi.” It is better to omit these words, the passage stands right without them, & they would give a false idea not only of the principle on which Congress proceeded, but of their general powers.

Pa. 283. line 4. from bottom. “8 per cent, excepté en Virginie ou il etoit de 6 per cent” say “5 per cent in most, if not in all the states & still continues the same.”

Pa. 286. “L’autorité du Congrés etoit necessaire.” The substance of the passage alluded to in the Journ of Congr., May 26th. 1784, is, “that the authority of Congress to make requisitions of troops during peace is questioned, that such an authority would be dangerous, combined with the acknoledged one of emitting or borrowing money, and that a few troops only being wanted to guard magazines & garrison the frontier posts, it would be more proper at present to recommend than to require.”

Pa. 287. ‘Nous n’osons nous permettre &c.—ce n’est pas tout’ in the fourth line of the next page. I think all this passage had better be left out. It will alarm the states & damp their dispositions to strengthen the hands of Congress.

Pa. 291. l. 8. from the bottom. ‘Tous les terreins Edition: current; Page: [67] qui se trouvent en deca.’ Say ‘toute la territoire de Kentucky qui est en deca.’

Pa. 291. l. 6 from bottom. After ‘appartenoient’ add ‘au celle des Montagnes Alleghanies.’

Pa. 296. ‘Consentement unanimé,’ the words in the original are the ‘joint consent of Congress & of the particular state’ on the part of Congress the vote need not be unanimous. Seven states will suffice. This observation shews that the passage ‘on sera peutetre surpris’—to ‘dont nous parlous’ should be omitted.

Pa. 301. ‘Environ’ the word ‘probablement’ might be better, because it is probable that the cessions of Georgia will be such as will make up the number of new states 16.

Pa. 301, l. 3 from bottom. ‘Huit ou dix ans.’ It would be safer to say ‘peu d’années.

Pa, 302. ‘40.000’ should not this be ‘32.000’? Also pa. 304.

Pa. 304. ‘Canne à sucre’ is a mistaken translation of the English word ‘cane,’ which means a reed i.e. canne, ou roseau. It is the Arundo phragmitis of the botanists. By ‘Coffee tree’ the author must mean some tree bearing berries which are used as coffee. There can certainly be no coffee tree in that latitude.

Pa. 307. Omit the note (a). It has been before observed that Virginia has consented to the independance of Kentucky, but the consent of Kentucky itself & of Congress are still wanting.

Pa. 323. Between line 7. & 8. I can make a communication to M. de Meusnier which I dare say he will be glad to give an account of at this place.

Edition: current; Page: [68]

Pa. 334. ‘150.000.’ I am of opinion that the proportion of persons to warriors among the Indians may be greatly estimated at about 10 to 3. Consequently we must not reckon that nations of Indians containing 25.000 warriors have more than about 80.000 persons.

Pa. 334. line 2. from bottom. ‘11 degrees,’ say 12 or 15 degrees.’

Finished June 22. 1786.

Mr. Jefferson presents his compliments to M. de Meusnier & sends him copies of the 13th, 23d, & 24th articles of the treaty between the K. of Prussia & the United States.

In the negociation with the Minister of Portugal at London, the latter objected to the 13th article. The observations which were made in answer to his objections Mr. Jefferson incloses. They are a commentary on the 13th article. Mr. de Meusnier will be so good as to return the sheet on which these observations are as Mr. Jefferson does not retain a copy of it.

If M. de Meusnier proposes to mention the facts of cruelty of which he & Mr. Jefferson spoke yesterday, the 24th article will introduce them properly, because they produced a sense of the necessity of that article. These facts are 1. The death of upwards of 11,000 Americans in one prison ship (the Jersey) and in the space of 3. years. 2. General Howe’s permitting our prisoners taken at the battle of Germantown and placed under a guard in the Edition: current; Page: [69] yard of the Statehouse of Philadelphia to be so long without any food furnished them that many perished with hunger. Where the bodies laid, it was seen that they had eaten all the grass round them within their reach, after they had lost the power of rising, or moving from their place. 3. The 2d fact was the act of a commandg officer; the 1st of several commanding officers, & for so long a time as must suppose the approbation of government. But the following was the act of government itself. During the periods that our affairs seemed unfavourable & theirs successful, that is to say, after the evacuation of New York, and again after the taking of Charlestown in South Carolina, they regularly sent our prisoners taken on the seas & carried to England to the E. Indies. This is so certain, that in the month of Novemb. or Decemb. 1785, Mr. Adams having officially demanded a delivery of the American prisoners sent to the East Indies, Ld. Cærmarthen answered officially “that orders were issued immediately for their discharge.” M. de Meusnier is at liberty to quote this fact. 4. A fact not only of the government, but of the parliament, who passed an act for that purpose in the beginning of the war, was the obliging our prisoners taken at sea to join them and fight against their countrymen. This they effected by starving & whipping them. The insult on Capt. Stanhope, which happened at Boston last year, was a consequence of this. Two persons, Dunbar & Lorthrope, whom Stanhope had treated in this manner (having particularly inflicted 24 lashes on Dunbar), Edition: current; Page: [70] meeting him at Boston, attempted to beat him. But the people interposed & saved him. The fact is referred to in that paragraph of the declaration of independence which sais “he has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas, to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends & brethern, or to fall themselves by their hands.” This was the most afflicting to our prisoners of all the cruelties exercised on them. The others affected the body only, but this the mind—they were haunted by the horror of having perhaps themselves shot the ball by which a father or a brother fell. Some of them had constancy enough to hold out against half allowance of food & repeated whippings. These were generally sent to England & from thence to the East Indies. One of these escaped from the East Indies and got back to Paris, where he gave an account of his sufferings to Mr. Adams, who happened to be then at Paris.

M. de Meusnier, where he mentions that the slave-law has been passed in Virginia, without the clause of emancipation, is pleased to mention that neither Mr. Wythe nor Mr. Jefferson were present to make the proposition they had meditated; from which people, who do not give themselves the trouble to reflect or enquire, might conclude hastily that their absence was the cause why the proposition was not made; & of course that there were not in the assembly persons of virtue & firmness enough to propose the clause for emancipation. This supposition would not be true. There were persons Edition: current; Page: [71] there who wanted neither the virtue to propose, nor talents to enforce the proposition had they seen that the disposition of the legislature was ripe for it. These worthy characters would feel themselves wounded, degraded, & discouraged by this idea. Mr. Jefferson would therefore be obliged to M. de Meusnier to mention it in some such manner as this. “Of the two commissioners who had concerted the amendatory clause for the gradual emancipation of slaves Mr. Wythe could not be present as being a member of the judiciary department, and Mr. Jefferson was absent on the legation to France. But there wanted not in that assembly men of virtue enough to propose, & talents to vindicate this clause. But they saw that the moment of doing it with success was not yet arrived, and that an unsuccessful effort, as often happens, would only rivet still closer the claims of bondage, and retard the moment of delivery to this oppressed description of men. What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment be deaf to all those motives whose power supported him thro’ his trial, and inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose. But we must await with patience the workings of an overruling providence, & hope that that is preparing the deliverance of these, our suffering brethren. When the measure of their tears shall be full, when their groans shall have Edition: current; Page: [72] involved heaven itself in darkness, doubtless a god of justice will awaken to their distress, and by diffusing light & liberality among their oppressors, or at length by his exterminating thunder, manifest his attention to the things of this world, and that they are not left to the guidance of a blind fatality.”

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 25, 1786
Paris
John Jay
Jay, John

TO JOHN JAY

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I received on the 18th instant your private favor of Dec. 9. and thank you for the confidence you are so good as to repose in me, of which that communication is a proof. As such it is a gratification to me, because it meets the esteem I have ever borne you. But nothing was needed to keep my mind right on that subject, and I believe I may say the public mind here. The sentiments entertained of you in this place are too respectful to be easily shaken. The person of whom you speak in your letter arrived here on the 19th and departed for Warsaw1 on the 22d. It is really to be lamented that after a public servant has passed a life in important and faithful services, after having given the most plenary satisfaction in every station, it should yet be in the power of every individual to disturb his quiet, by arraigning him in a gazette and by obliging him to act as if he needed a defence, an obligation imposed on him by unthinking minds which never give themselves the trouble of seeking a reflection Edition: current; Page: [73] unless it be presented to them. However it is a part of the price we pay for our liberty, which cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it. To the loss of time, of labour, of money, then, must be added that of quiet, to which those must offer themselves who are capable of serving the public, and all this is better than European bondage. Your quiet may have suffered for a moment on this occasion, but you have the strongest of all supports that of the public esteem. It is unnecessary to add assurances of that with which I have the honor to be dear Sir,

Your most obedient and most humble Servt.
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 25, 1786
Paris
Archibald Stuart
Stuart, Archibald

TO ARCHIBALD STUART1

Dear Sir,

—I have received your favor of the 17th of October, which though you mention as the third you have written me, is the first which has come to hand. I sincerely thank you for the communications it contains. Nothing is so grateful to me at this distance as details both great & small of what is passing in my own country. Of the latter we receive little here, because they either escape my correspondents or are thought unworthy notice. This however is a very mistaken opinion, as every one may observe by recollecting that when he has been long absent from his neighborhood the small news of that is the Edition: current; Page: [74] most pleasing and occupies his first attention either when he meets with a person from thence, or returns thither himself. I shall hope therefore that the letter in which you have been so good as to give me the minute occurrences in the neighborhood of Monticello may yet come to hand. And I venture to rely on the many proofs of friendship I have received from you, for a continuance of your favors. This will be the most meritorious as I have nothing to give you in exchange. The quiet of Europe at this moment furnishes little which can attract your notice. Nor will that quiet be soon disturbed, at least for the current year. Perhaps it hangs on the life of the K. of Prussia, and that hangs by a very slender thread. American reputation in Europe is not such as to be flattering to its citizens. Two circumstances are particularly objected to us, the nonpaiment of our debts, and the want of energy in our government. These discourage a connection with us. I own it to be my opinion that good will arise from the destruction of our credit. I see nothing else which can restrain our disposition to luxury, and the loss of those manners which alone can preserve republican government. As it is impossible to prevent credit, the best way would be to cure it’s ill effects by giving an instantaneous recovery to the creditor; this would be reducing purchases on credit to purchases for ready money. A man would then see a poison painted on everything he wished but had not ready money to pay for. I fear from an expression in your letter that the people of Kentucké think of separating not only from Virginia (in which they are right) but also from Edition: current; Page: [75] the confederacy. I own I should think this a most calametous event, and such an one as every good citizen on both sides should set himself against. Our present federal limits are not too large for good government, nor will the increase of votes in Congress produce any ill effect. On the contrary it will drown the little divisions at present existing there. Our confederacy must be viewed as the nest from which all America, North & South is to be peopled. We should take care too, not to think it for the interests of that great continent to press too soon on the Spaniards. Those countries cannot be in better hands. My fear is that they are too feeble to hold them till our population can be sufficiently advanced to gain it from them piece by piece. The navigation of the Mississippi we must have. This is all we are as yet ready to receive. I have made acquaintance with a very sensible candid gentleman here who was in South America during the revolt which took place there while our revolution was working. He says that those disturbances (of which we scarcely heard anything) cost on both sides an hundred thousand lives.—I have made a particular acquaintance here with Monsieur de Buffon, and have a great desire to give him the best idea I can of our elk. Perhaps your situation may enable you to aid me in this. Were it possible, you could not oblige me more than by sending me the horns, skeleton, & skin of an elk. The most desirable form of receiving them would be to have the skin slit from the under paw along the belly to the tail, & down the thighs to the knee, to take the animal out, leaving the legs and hoofs, the Edition: current; Page: [76] bones of the head, & the horns attached to the skin by sewing up the belly & shipping the skin it would present the form of the animal. However as an opportunity of doing this is scarcely expected I shall be glad to receive them detached, packed in a box, & sent to Richmond to the care of Doctor Currie. Every thing of this kind is precious here, and to prevent my adding to your trouble I must close my letter with assurances of the esteem & attachment with which I am Dr Sir Your friend & servt.

P. S. I must add a prayer for some Peccan nuts, 100, if possible, to be packed in a box of sand and sent me. They might come either directly or via N. York.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 2, 1786
Paris
C. W. F. Dumas
Dumas, C. W. F.

TO C. W. F. DUMAS1

Sir,

—I was honoured some time ago with a letter from you of Dec. 6 inclosing two for America which I forwarded by the first occasion. On the 18th of this month I received a letter from his Excellency the Count de Vergennes expressing the interest which he takes in your welfare and recommending you to Congress. This I had an opportunity of forwarding from hence on the 27th of Jan. under cover to Mr. Jay. Yesterday I was gratified with the receipt of your favor of Jan. 27 containing a copy of the resolution. of Congress of Oct. 14 in your favor, and which I Edition: current; Page: [77] wish had been more so. With respect to the paiment of the arrearages, two things are necessary, first an order from the treasury and secondly money to comply with it. Mr. Grand wrote to me this morning that he had not now as much left to pay a bill of Mr. Carmichael’s for 4500 livres just presented. I shall forward your letter to Mr. Jay the next week with a request that the necessary measures may be taken for the paiment of your arrearages and interest. In the mean time I think you would do well to write a line for the same purpose to Mr. Jay, or to the Commissioners of the Treasury. I do not mean that what I have said above should prevent your drawing in due time for the salary of the current quarter. I will honour that draught from a private fund with which I can take that liberty. I thank you for what you say of the Notes on Virginia. It is much more than they deserve: tho the various matters they touch on would have been beyond the information of any one person whatever to have treated fully, and infinitely beyond mine, yet had I, at the time of writing them, had anything more in view than the satisfying a single individual, they should have been more attended to both in form and matter. Poor as they are, they have been thought worthy of a surreptitious translation here, with the appearance of which very soon I have been threatened. This has induced me to yield to a friendly proposition from the Abbé Morellet to translate and publish them himself submitting the sheets previously to my inspection. As a translation by so able a hand will lessen the faults of the original instead of their being multiplied by a Edition: current; Page: [78] hireling translator, I shall add to it a map, and such other advantages as may prevent the mortification of my seeing it appear in the injurious form threatened. I shall with great pleasure send a copy of the original to you by the first opportunity, praying your acceptance of it.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 8, 1786
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—My last letters have been of the 1st & 20th of Sept. and the 28th of Oct. Yours unacknowledged are of Aug. 20, Oct. 3, & Nov. 15. I take this the first safe opportunity of enclosing to you the bills of lading for your books, & two others for your namesake of Williamsburgh & for the attorney which I will pray you to forward. I thank you for the communication of the remonstrance against the assessment. Mazzei who is now in Holland promised me to have it published in the Leyden gazette. It will do us great honour. I wish it may be as much approved by our assembly as by the wisest part of Europe. I have heard with great pleasure that our assembly have come to the resolution of giving the regulation of their commerce to the federal head. I will venture to assert that there is not one of it’s opposers who, placed on this ground, would not see the wisdom of this measure. The politics of Europe render it indispensably necessary that with respect to everything external we be one nation only, firmly hooped together. Interior government is what each Edition: current; Page: [79] state should keep to itself. If it could be seen in Europe that all our states could be brought to concur in what the Virginia assembly has done, it would produce a total revolution in their opinion of us, and respect for us. And it should ever be held in mind that insult & war are the consequences of a want of respectability in the national character. As long as the states exercise separately those acts of power which respect foreign nations, so long will there continue to be irregularities committing by some one or other of them which will constantly keep us on an ill footing with foreign nations.

I thank you for your information as to my Notes. The copies I have remaining shall be sent over to be given to some of my friends and to select subjects in the college. I have been unfortunate here with this trifle. I gave out a few copies only, & to confidential persons, writing in every copy a restraint against it’s publication. Among others I gave a copy to a Mr. Williamos. He died. I immediately took every precaution I could to recover this copy. But by some means or other a bookseller had got hold of it. He employed a hireling translator and was about publishing it in the most injurious form possible. An Abbé Morellet, a man of letters here to whom I had given a copy, got notice of this. He had translated some passages for a particular purpose: and he compounded with the bookseller to translate & give him the whole, on his declining the first publication. I found it necessary to confirm this, and it will be published in French, still mutilated however in it’s freest parts. I am now at a loss what to do as to Edition: current; Page: [80] England. Everything, good or bad, is thought worth publishing there; and I apprehend a translation back from the French, and a publication there. I rather believe it will be most eligible to let the original come out in that country; but am not yet decided.

I have purchased little for you in the book way, since I sent the catalogue of my former purchases. I wish first to have your answer to that, and your information what parts of those purchases went out of your plan. You can easily say buy more of this kind, less of that &c. My wish is to conform myself to yours. I can get for you the original Paris edition in folio of the Encyclopedie for 620 livres, 35. vols.; a good edn in 39 vols, 4to, for 380; and a good one in 39 vols 8vo, for 280. The new one will be superior in far the greater number of articles: but not in all. And the possession of the ancient one has moreover the advantage of supplying present use. I have bought one for myself, but wait your orders as to you. I remember your purchase of a watch in Philadelphia. If it should not have proved good, you can probably sell her. In that case I can get for you here, one made as perfect as human art can make it for about 24 louis. I have had such a one made by the best & most faithful hand in Paris. It has a second hand, but no repeating, no day of the month, nor other useless thing to impede and injure the movements which are necessary. For 12 louis more you can have in the same cover, but on the back side & absolutely unconnected with the movements of the watch, a pedometer which shall render you an exact Edition: current; Page: [81] account of the distances you walk. Your pleasure hereon shall be awaited.

Houdon is returned. He called on me the other day to remonstrate against the inscription proposed for Genl W.’s statue. He says it is too long to be put on the pedestal. I told him I was not at liberty to permit any alteration, but I would represent his objection to a friend who could judge of it’s validity, and whether a change could be authorized. This has been the subject of conversations here, and various devices & inscriptions have been suggested. The one which has appeared best to me may be translated as follows: “Behold, Reader, the form of George Washington. For his worth, ask History: that will tell it, when this stone shall have yielded to the decays of time. His country erects this monument: Houdon makes it.” This for one side. On the 2d represent the evacuation of Boston with the motto “Hostibus primum fugatis.” On the 3d the capture of the Hessians with “Hostibus iterum devictis.” On the 4th the surrender of York, with “Hostibus ultimum debellatis.” This is seizing the three most brilliant actions of his military life. By giving out here a wish of receiving mottos for this statue, we might have thousands offered, of which still better might be chosen. The artist made the same objection of length to the inscription for the bust of the M. de la Fayette. An alteration of that might come in time still, if an alteration was wished. However I am not certain that it is desirable in either case. The state of Georgia has given 20.000 acres of land to the Count d’ Estaing. This gift is considered Edition: current; Page: [82] here as very honourable to him, and it has gratified him much. I am persuaded that a gift of lands by the state of Virginia to the Marquis de la Fayette would give a good opinion here of our character, and would reflect honour on the Marquis. Nor am I sure that the day will not come when it might be an useful asylum to him. The time of life at which he visited America was too well adapted to receive good & lasting impressions to permit him ever to accommodate himself to the principles of monarchical government; and it will need all his own prudence & that of his friends to make this country a safe residence for him. How glorious, how comfortable in reflection will it be to have prepared a refuge for him in case of a reverse. In the meantime he could settle it with tenants from the freest part of this country, Bretagny. I have never suggested the smallest idea of this kind to him: because the execution of it should convey the first notice. If the state has not a right to give him lands with their own officers, they could buy up at cheap prices the shares of others. I am not certain however whether in the public or private opinion, a similar gift to Count Rochambeau could be dispensed with. If the state could give to both, it would be better: but in any event, I think they should to the Marquis. C. Rochambeau too has really deserved more attention than he has received. Why not set up his bust, that of Gates, Green, Franklin in your new capitol? A propos of the Capitol. Do my dear friend exert yourself to get the plan begun on set aside, & that adopted which was drawn here. It was taken from a model which has been the admiration of Edition: current; Page: [83] 16. centuries, which has been the object of as many pilgrimages as the tomb of Mahomet: which will give unrivalled honour to our state, and furnish a model whereon to form the taste of our young men. It will cost much less too than the one begun, because it does not cover one half the Area. Ask if you please, a sight of my letter of Jan. 26 to Messrs. Buchanan & Hay, which will spare me repeating its substance here.

Everything is quiet in Europe. I recollect but one new invention in the arts which is worth mentioning. It is a mixture of the arts of engraving & printing, rendering both cheaper. Write or draw anything on a plate of brass with the ink of the inventor, and in half an hour he gives you engraved copies of it so perfectly like the original that they could not be suspected to be copies. His types for printing a whole page are all in one solid piece. An author therefore only prints a few copies of his work from time to time as they are called for. This saves the loss of printing more copies than may possibly be sold, and prevents an edition from being ever exhausted.

I am with a lively esteem Dear Sir, your sincere friend & servant.

P. S. Could you procure & send me an hundred or two nuts of the peccan? they would enable me to oblige some characters here whom I should be much gratified to oblige. They should come packed in sand. The seeds of the sugar maple too would be a great present.

Edition: current; Page: [84]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 10, 1786
Paris
Marquis De La Fayette
Fayette, Marquis De La

TO THE MARQUIS DE LA FAYETTE

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I forgot last night a very Material circumstance in my calculation. The Farmers general are, by their bail, obliged to keep a certain provision of tobacco and snuff always on hand. I believe it is three years’ consumption. However for fear of error I will call it two years; because were the bail silent on this head they would certainly have always on hand one year’s stock ready for manufacture, and one year’s stock manufactured. There is no extensive manufacture which does not find that it has on hand generally two years’ stock of goods. As the Farmers buy their tobacco for ready money (and I know they even advance money) they lay out of their money two years. This interest must therefore be added, and the estimate will stand thus

           ♯
22 millions of pounds weight of tobacco at 6 sous cost 11.600.000
the cost of manufacture is 1 sou the pound,      692.500
guards &c. to prevent contraband   5.000.000
revenue paid annually to the king 28.000.000
interest on the whole for 2. years @ 5. pr. cent   4.529.500
——————
Whole cost of annual purchase of tobacco then is 49.822.000
they sell annually but lbsover13850000 which at shrover3italsover10 brings them 45.705.000
——————
they lose annually then by the farm of tobacco   4.117.000

thus, according to their own shewing, the King should in favor to them, discontinue the bail; and they cannot ask it’s continuance without acknowledging they have given in a false state of quantities & sums.

Edition: current; Page: [85]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 12, 1786
London
John Jay
Jay, John

TO THE SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
(JOHN JAY)

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—The date of a letter from London will doubtless be as unexpected to you as it was unforeseen by myself a few days ago. On the 27th of the last month Colo. Smith arrived in Paris with a letter from Mr. Adams informing me that there was at this place a minister from Tripoli having general powers to enter into treaties on behalf of his state, and with whom it was possible we might do something in our Commission to that power and that he gave reason to believe he could also take arrangements with us for Tunis: he further added that the minister of Portugal here had received ultimate instructions from his court, and that probably that treaty might be concluded in the space of three weeks were we all on the spot together. He therefore pressed me to come over immediately. The first of these objects had some weight in my mind, because as we had sent no person to Tripoli or Tunis I thought if we could meet a minister from them on this ground our arrangements would be settled much sooner & at less expence. But what principally decided with me was the desire of bringing matters to a conclusion with Portugal before the term of our commission should expire or any new turn in the negotiations of France & England should abate their willingness to fix a connection with us. A third motive had also it’s weight. I hoped that my attendance here, and the necessity of shortening it, might be made use of to force a Edition: current; Page: [86] decisive answer from this court. I therefore concluded to comply with Mr. Adams’s request. I went immediately to Versailles and apprised the Count de Vergennes that circumstances of public duty called me hither for three or four weeks, arranged with him some matters, and set out with Colo. Smith for this place where we arrived last night, which was as early as the excessive rigour of the weather admitted. I saw Mr. Adams immediately, & again to-day. He informs me that the minister of Portugal was taken ill five or six days ago, has been very much so, but is now somewhat better. It would be very mortifying indeed should this accident, with the shortness of the term to which I limit my stay here, defeat what was the principal object of my journey, and that without which I should hardly have undertaken it. With respect to this country, I had no doubt but that every consideration had been urged by Mr. Adams which was proper to be urged. Nothing remains undone in this way. But we shall avail ourselves of our journey here as if made on purpose, just before the expiration of our commission, to form our report to Congress on the execution, of that Commission, which report they may be given to know cannot be formed without decisive information of the ultimate determination of their court. There is no doubt what that determination will be; but it will be useful to have it: as it may put an end to all further expectations on our side of the water, and shew that the time is come for doing whatever is to be done by us for counteracting the unjust & greedy designs of this country. We shall have the honour, before I leave this place to Edition: current; Page: [87] inform you of the result of the several matters which have brought me to it.

A day or two before my departure from Paris I received your letter of Jan. The question therein proposed How far France considers herself as bound to insist on the delivery of the posts, would infallibly produce another, How far we consider ourselves as guarantees of their American possessions & bound to enter into any future war in which these may be attacked? The words of the treaty of alliance seems to be without ambiguity on either head, yet I should be afraid to commit Congress by answering without authority. I will endeavor on my return to sound the opinion of the minister if possible without exposing myself to the other question. Should anything forcible be meditated on those posts, it would possibly be thought prudent previously to ask the good offices of France to obtain their delivery. In this case they would probably say we must first execute the treaty on our part by repealing all acts which have contravened it. Now this measure, if there be any candour in the court of London, would suffice to obtain a delivery of the posts from them, without the mediation of any third power. However if this mediation should be finally needed I see no reason to doubt our obtaining it, and still less to question its omnipotent influence on the British court.

Edition: current; Page: [88]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 19, 1786
London
Alexander McCaul
McCaul, Alexander

TO ALEXANDER McCAUL

Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Mar. 30 came to hand some days ago, and renewed the recollection of a friendship among the earliest I formed in life, and which neither time nor events have weakened at any moment since. I wish it were in my power to inform you that arrangements were at length taken between the two nations for carrying into complete execution the late treaty of peace, and for settling those conditions which are essential to the continuance of a commerce between them. I suppose all arrangement is thought unnecessary here, as the subject has not been deemed worthy of a conference. Both nations are left to pursue their own measures and it is not easy to foresee what these will be. Each has complaints on the subject of the late treaty. We, that but one post out of six or eight within our limits has yet been evacuated by the British troops; and that a great number slaves were brought away contrary to stipulation, on the other part it is urged that we have thrown obstructions in the way of the recovery of the debts due to the merchants of this country. There are two circumstances of difficulty in the paiment of these debts. To speak of the particular state with which you & I are best acquainted, we know that it’s debt is ten times the amount of it’s circulating cash. To pay that debt at once then is a physical impossibility. Time is requisite. Were all the creditors to rush to judgment together, a mass of two millions of property would be brought to market where there is but the tenth of that sum of money in Edition: current; Page: [89] circulation to purchase it. Both debtor and creditor would be ruined, as debts would be thus rendered desperate which are in themselves good. Of this truth I find the merchants here sufficiently sensible, & I have no doubt we should have arranged the article of time to mutual satisfaction, allowing judgment to pass immediately, & dividing the execution into instalments. There was another point on which we should have differed. It is a general sentiment in America that the principal of these debts should be paid, & that that alone is stipulated by the treaty. But they think the interest also which arose before & since the war, is justly due. They think it would be as unjust to demand interest during the war. They urge that during that time they could not pay the debt, for that of the remittances attempted, two thirds on an average were taken by the nation to whom they were due: that during that period they had no use of the money, as from the same circumstance of capturing their produce on the sea, tobacco sold at 5/ the hundred, which was not sufficient to bear the expences of the estate, that they paid the taxes and other charges on the property during that period, and stood it’s insurers in the ultimate event of the war. They admit indeed that such individual creditors as were not engaged in privateering against them have lost this interest; but that it was the fault of their own nation and that this is the case where both parties having lost, each may justifiably endeavor to save himself. Setting aside this portion of the interest I am persuaded the debts in America are generally good, and that there is an Edition: current; Page: [90] honest intention to pay them. The improvident and indolent may delay the commencement of that duty, but they do not think certainly to avoid it. After the war ceased the first profits of their plantations would be applied to get supplies of clothing, to rebuild their houses, fences, barns, &c. where they were burned, or decayed, and to repair the other ravages of the war. This might reasonably take two or three years: but it is now time that they should begin the paiment of their old debts.

With respect to myself I acknowledge to you that I do not think an interest justly demandeable during the war. Whatever I owed, with interest previous & subsequent to the war, I have taken measures for paying as speedily as possible. My chief debts are to yourself & to Mr. Jones of Bristol. In the year 1776 before there was a shilling of paper money issued, I sold land for £4200 to pay these two debts. I did not receive the money till it was not worth Oak leaves. I have lost the principal and interest of these debts once then in attempting to pay them. Besides this Ld. Cornwallis’ army took off 30 of my slaves, burnt one year’s crop of tobacco in my houses & destroyed another in the fields with other damages to the amount of three or four thousand pounds. Still I am renewing my efforts to pay what I justly ought; and I hope these will be more successful. My whole estate is left in the hands of Mr. Lewis of Albemarle and Mr. Eppes of Chesterfield to apply it’s whole profits to the paiment of my debts. Some had been necessarily contracted during the war. They write me word that these will be cleared off this year. Edition: current; Page: [91] There will remain then only yours & Mr. Jones’s, toward which the labour of 100 slaves will be annually applied till the paiment is effected, for till that I shall not draw one shilling from the estate nor resume it’s possession. I do not know the exact amount of either of these debts, but I propose that the profits of my estate shall be annually divided in proportion to them. I think it very possible that you will not concur with me in opinion as to the intermediate interest: and that so far I shall meet your censure. Both parties are liable to feel too strongly the arguments which tend to justify their endeavors to avoid this loss. Yet after making allowances for this prejudice, it seems to me impossible but that the hardships are infinitely greater on our side than on yours. You have lost the interest but it is not we who have gained it. We deem your nation the aggressors. They took those profits which arose from your property in our hands, and inflicted on us immeasurable losses besides. I urge these considerations because while they decide my own opinion, I wish them to weigh so much as to preserve me yours, which I highly esteem, and should be afflicted were I to lose it. I have thus stated to you my views of things both public & private, according to the wish expressed in your letters, and I rely on your justice that you make use of the information for your own purposes only, without committing me. I shall at all times be happy to hear from you, being with sincere esteem, Dear Sir, Your friend and servt.

Edition: current; Page: [92]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 22, 1786
London
Richard Henry Lee
Lee, Richard Henry

TO RICHARD HENRY LEE

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—In your letter of October the 29th, you desired me to send you one of the new lamps. I tried at every probable place in Paris, and could not get a tolerable one. I have been glad of it since I came here, as I find them much better made here. I now deliver one with this letter into the hands of Mr. Fulwar Skipwith, a merchant from Virginia settled here, who promises to send it to you, with one for Mr. C. Thomson. Of this be pleased to accept from me. It is now found that they may be used with almost any oil,

I expect to leave this place in about three days. Our public letters, joint and separate, will inform you what has been done, and what could not be done here. With respect to a commercial treaty with this country, be assured that the government not only has it not in contemplation at present to make any, but that they do not conceive that any circumstances will arise which shall render it expedient for them to have any political connection with us. They think we shall be glad of their commerce on their own terms. There is no party in our favor here, either in power or out of power. Even the opposition concur with the ministry & the nation in this. I can scarcely consider as a party the Marquis of Lansdowne, and a half dozen characters about him, such as Dr. Price &c. who are impressed with the utility of a friendly connection with us. The former does not venture this sentiment in parliament, and the latter are not in situations to be heard. The Marquis of Lansdowne Edition: current; Page: [93] spoke to me affectionately of your brother, Doctr. Lee, and desired his respects to him, which I beg leave to communicate through you. Were he to come into the ministry (of which there is not the most distant prospect) he must adopt the King’s system, or go out again, as he did before, for daring to depart from it. When we see that through all the changes of ministry which have taken place during the present reign, there has never been a change of system with respect to America, we cannot reasonably doubt that this is the system of the King himself. His obstinacy of character we know; his hostility we have known, and it is embittered by ill success. If ever this nation, during his life, enters into arrangements with us, it must be in consequence of events of which they do not at present see a possibility. The object of the present ministry is to buoy up the nation with flattering calculations of their present prosperity, and to make them believe they are better without us than with us. This they seriously believe; for what is it men cannot be made to believe! I dined the other day in a company of the ministerial party. A General Clark sat next to me, a Scotchman & ministerialist. He introduced the subject of American affairs, and in the course of the conversation told me that were America to petition Parliament to be again received on their former footing, the petition would be very generally rejected. He was serious in this, & I think it was the sentiment of the company, and is the sentiment perhaps of the nation. In this they are wise, but for a foolish reason. They think they lost more by suffering us to participate Edition: current; Page: [94] of their commercial privileges at home & abroad, than they lose by our political severance. The true reason however why such an application should be rejected, is that in a very short time we should oblige them to add another hundred millions to their debt in unsuccessful attempts to retain the subjection offered to them. They are at present in a frenzy, and will not be recovered from it till they shall have leaped the precipice they are now so boldly advancing to. Writing from England, I write you nothing but English news. The continent at present furnishes nothing interesting. I shall hope the favor of your letters at times. The proceedings & views of Congress, & of the assemblies, the opinions and dispositions of our people in general, which in governments like ours must be the foundation of measures, will always be interesting to me, as will whatever respects your own health & happiness, being with great esteem Dear Sir your most obedient, and most humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 22, 1786
London
Anna Scott
Scott, Anna
Randolph Jefferson
Jefferson, Randolph

TO ANNA SCOTT RANDOLPH JEFFERSON1

My Dear Nancy,

—Being called here for a short time, and finding that I could get some articles on terms here of which I thought you might be in want, I have purchased them for you. They are two pieces of linen, three gowns, and some ribbon. They are done up in paper, sealed, and packed in a trunk, in Edition: current; Page: [95] which I have put some other things for Colonel Nicholas Lewis. They will of course go to him, and he will contrive them to you. I heard from Patsy a few days ago; she is well. I left her in France, as my stay here was to be short. I hope my dear Polly is on her way to me. I desired you always to apply to Mr. Lewis for what you should want; but should you at any time wish anything particular from France, write to me and I will send it to you. Doctor Currie can always forward your letters. Pray remember me to my sisters Carr and Bolling, to Mr. Bolling and their families, and be assured of the sincerity with which I am, my dear Nancy, your affectionate brother.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Apr. 23, 1786
London
John Jay
Jay, John

TO THE SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
(JOHN JAY)

j. mss.
Sir,

—In another letter of this day I stated to you what had passed with public characters, since my arrival here. Conversations with private individuals I thought it best not to mingle with the contents of that letter. Yet as some have taken place which relate to matters within our instructions, and with persons whose opinions deserve to have some weight, I will take the liberty of stating them. In a conversation with an antient and respectable merchant of this place such a view of the true state of the commercial connection of America & Great Britain was presented to him, as induced him to acknolege they had been mistaken in their opinions, and to ask that Edition: current; Page: [96] Mr. Adams and myself would permit the chairman of the committee of American merchants to call on us. He observed that the same person happened to be chairman of the committee of the whole body of British merchants; and that such was the respect paid to his person & office that we might consider what came from him as coming from the committees themselves. He called on us at an appointed hour. He was a Mr. Duncan Campbell, formerly much concerned in the American trade. We entered on the subject of the non-execution of the late treaty of peace alleged on both sides. We observed that the refusal to deliver the Western posts, and the withdrawing American property contrary to express stipulation, having preceded what they considered as breaches on our part, were to be considered as the causes of our proceedings. The obstructions thrown by our legislatures in the way of recovery of their debts were insisted on by him. We observed to him that the great amount of the debt from America to Great Britain, and the little circulating coin in the former country, rendered an immediate paiment impossible, that time was necessary, that we had been authorized to enter into explanatory arrangements on this subject; that we had made overtures for the purpose which had not been attended to, and that the states had therefore been obliged to modify the article for themselves. He acknowledged the impossibility of immediate paiment, the propriety of an explanatory convention, and said that they were disposed to allow a reasonable time. We mentioned the term of five years, including the present, but that Edition: current; Page: [97] judgments might be allowed immediately, only dividing the execution into equal & annual parts so that the last should be levied by the close of the year 1790. This seemed to be quite agreeable to him, and to be as short a term as would be insisted on by them. Proceeding to the sum to be demanded, we agreed that the principal with the interest incurring before and after the war should be paid; but as to that incurring during the war, we differed from him. He urged it’s justice with respect to themselves who had laid out of the use of their money during that period. This was his only topic. We opposed to it all those which circumstances both public & private gave rise to. He appeared to feel their weight but said the renunciation of this interest was a bitter pill, and such an one as the merchants here could not swallow. He wished that no declaration should be made as to this article: but we observed that if we entered into explanatory declarations of the points unfavourable to us, we should expect, as a consideration for this, corresponding declarations on the parts in our favour. In fact we supposed his view to be to leave this part of the interest to stand on the general expressions of the treaty, that they might avail themselves in individual cases of the favourable dispositions of debtors or of juries. We proceeded to the necessity of arrangements of our future commerce, were it only as a means of enabling our country to pay it’s debts. That they had been contracted while certain modes of remittance had existed here, and had been an inducement to us to contract these debts. He said he was not authorized Edition: current; Page: [98] to speak on the subject of the future commerce. He appeared really & feelingly anxious that arrangements should be stipulated as to the paiment of the old debts; said he would proceed in that moment to Lord Caermarthen’s, and discuss the subject with him, and that we might expect to hear from him. He took leave; and we never since heard from him or any other person on the subject. Congress will judge how far these conversations should influence their future proceedings, or those of the states.

I have the honour to be with the highest respect & esteem, Sir, your most obedient humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 4, 1786
Paris
John Page
Page, John

TO JOHN PAGE

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—Your two favours of Mar 15 and Aug 23, 1785, by Monsieur de la Croix came to hand on the 15th of November. His return gives me an opportunity of sending you a copy of the nautical almanacs for 1786, 7, 8, 9. There is no late and interesting publication here, or I would send it by the same conveiance. With these almanacs I pack a copy of some Notes I wrote for Monsr de Marbois in the year 1781, of which I had a few printed here. They were written in haste & for his private inspection. A few friends having asked copies I found it cheaper to print than to write them. They will offer nothing new to you, not even as an oblation of my friendship for you which is as old almost as we are ourselves. Mazzei brought me your favor of Apr 28. I thank you much for your communications. Nothing Edition: current; Page: [99] can be more grateful at such a distance. It is unfortunate that most people think the occurrences passing daily under their eyes, are either known to all the world, or not worth being known. They therefore do not give them place in their letters. I hope you will be so good as to continue your friendly information. The proceedings of our public bodies, the progress of the public mind on interesting questions, the casualties which happen among our private friends, and whatever is interesting to yourself and family will always be anxiously received by me. There is one circumstance in the work you were concerned in which has not yet come to my knowledge, to wit how far Westward from Fort Pitt does the Western boundary of Pennsylvania pass, and where does it strike the Ohio? The proposition you mention from Mr. Anderson on the purchase of tobacco, I would have made use of, but that I have engaged the abuses of the tobacco trade on a more general scale. I confess their redress does not appear with any certainty: but till I see all hope of removing the evil by the roots, I cannot propose to prune it’s branches.

I returned but three or four days ago from a two months trip to England. I traversed that country much, and own both town & country fell short of my expectations. Comparing it with this, I found a much greater proportion of barrens, a soil in other parts not naturally so good as this, not better cultivated, but better manured, & therefore more productive. This proceeds from the practice of long leases there, and short ones here. The labouring people Edition: current; Page: [100] here are poorer than in England. They pay about one half their produce in rent, the English in general about a third. The gardening in that country is the article in which it surpasses all the earth. I mean their pleasure gardening. This indeed went far beyond my ideas. The city of London, tho’ handsomer than Paris, is not so handsome as Philadelphia. Their architecture is in the most wretched stile I ever saw, not meaning to except America where it is bad, nor even Virginia where it is worse than in any other part of America, which I have seen. The mechanical arts in London are carried to a wonderful perfection. But of these I need not speak, because of them my countrymen have unfortunately too many samples before their eyes. I consider the extravagance which has seized them as a more baneful evil than toryism was during the war. It is the more so as the example is set by the best and most amiable characters among us. Would that a missionary appear who would make frugality the basis of his religious system, and go thro the land preaching it up as the only road to salvation, I would join his school tho’ not generally disposed to seek my religion out of the dictates of my own reason & feelings of my own heart. These things have been more deeply impressed on my mind by what I have heard & seen in England. That nation hates us, their ministers hate us, and their King more than all other men. They have the impudence to avow this, tho’ they acknolege our trade important to them. But they say we cannot prevent our countrymen from bringing that into their laps. A conviction of this determines them to make no Edition: current; Page: [101] terms of commerce with us. They say they will pocket our carrying trade as well as their own. Our overtures of commercial arrangement have been treated with a derision which shows their firm persuasion that we shall never unite to suppress their commerce or even to impede it. I think their hostility towards us is much more deeply rooted at present than during the war. In the arts the most striking thing I saw there, new, was the application of the principle of the steam-engine to grist mills. I saw 8 pr. of stones which are worked by steam, and they are to set up 30 pair in the same house. A hundred bushels of coal a day are consumed at present. I do not know in what proportion the consumption will be increased by the additional geer.

Be so good as to present my respects to Mrs. Page & your family, to W. Lewis, F. Willis & their families and to accept yourself assurances of the sincere regard with which I am Dr Sir your affectionate friend & servt.

P. S. Mazzei is still here and will publish soon a book on the subject of America.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 8, 1786
Paris
James Ross
Ross, James

TO JAMES ROSS

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I have duly received your favor of Octob 22, and am much gratified by the communications therein made. It has given me details which do not enter into the views of my ordinary correspondents, and which are very entertaining. I experience great satisfaction at seeing my country Edition: current; Page: [102] proceed to facilitate the intercommunications of it’s several parts by opening rivers, canals & roads. How much more rational is this disposal of public money, than that of waging war.

Before the receipt of your letter, Morris’s contract for 60,000 hhds of tob was concluded with the Farmers general. I have been for some time occupied in endeavouring to destroy the root of the evils which the tobacco trade encounters in this country; by making the ministers sensible that merchants will not bring a commodity to a market where but one person is allowed to buy it: and that so long as that single purchaser is obliged to go to foreign markets for it, he must pay for it in coin & not in commodities. These truths have made their way to the minds of the ministry, insomuch as to have delayed the execution of the new lease of the farms six months. It is renewed however for three years, but so as not to render impossible a reformation of this great evil. They are sensible of the evil, but it is so interwoven with their fiscal system that they find it hazardous to disentangle. The temporary distress too of the revenue they are not prepared to meet. My hopes therefore are weak, though not quite desperate. When they become so, it will remain to look about for the best palliative this monopoly can bear. My present idea is that it will be found in a prohibition to the farmers general to purchase tobacco anywhere but in France. You will perceive by this that my object is to strengthen the connection between this country & my own in all useful points. I am of opinion that 23,000 hhds of tobacco, the annual consumption of Edition: current; Page: [103] this country, do not exceed the amount of those commodities which it is more advantageous to us to buy here than in England, or elsewhere, and such a commerce would powerfully reinforce the motives for a friendship from this country towards ours. This friendship we ought to cultivate closely, considering the present dispositions of England towards us. I am lately returned from a visit to that country. It appears to me to be more hostile than during the war; this spirit of hostility has always existed in the mind of the King, but it has now extended itself thro’ the whole mass of people, and the majority in the public councils. In a country where the voice of the people influences so much the measures of administration and where it coincides with the private temper of the King, there is no pronouncing on future events. It is true they have nothing to gain & much to lose by a war with us. But interest is not the strongest passion in the human breast. There are difficult points too still unsettled between us. They have not withdrawn their armies out of our country nor given satisfaction for the property they brought off. On our part we have not paid our debts, and it will take time to pay them. In conferences with some distinguished mercantile characters, I found them sensible of the impossibility of our paying these debts at once, and that an endeavor to force universal & immediate paiment would render debts desperate, which are good in themselves. I think we should not have differed in the term necessary. We differed essentially in the article of interest. For while the principal and interest preceding & Edition: current; Page: [104] subsequent to the war seems justly due from us, that which incurred during the war does not. Interest is a compensation for the use of money. Their money in our hands was in the form of lands & negroes. Tobacco, the produce of these lands and negroes (or as I may call it, the interest of them) being almost impossible of conveyance to the markets of consumption, because taken by themselves in it’s way there, sold during the war at 5/ or 6/ the hundred. This did not pay tools, taxes, & other plantation charges. A man who should have attempted to remit to his creditor tobacco for either principal or interest, must have remitted it three times before one would have arrived safe: and this from the depredations of their own nation, and often of the creditor himself, for some of the merchants entered deeply into the privateering business. The individuals who did not, say they have lost this interest: the debtor replies that he has not gained, & that it is a case where a loss having incurred, every one tries to shift it from himself. The known bias of the human mind from motives of interest, should lessen the confidence of each party in the justice of their reasoning; but it is difficult to say which of them should make the sacrifice both of reason & interest. Our conferences were intended as preparatory to some arrangement. It is incertain how far we should have been able to accommodate our opinions. But the absolute aversion of the government to enter into any arrangement prevented the object from being pursued. Each country is left to do justice to itself & to the other according to its own ideas, as to what is past, and to Edition: current; Page: [105] scramble for the future as well as they can: to regulate their commerce by duties and prohibitions, and perhaps by cannons & mortars; in which event we must abandon the ocean where we are weak, leaving to neutral nations the carriage of our commodities: & measure with them on land where they alone can lose. Farewell then all our useful improvements of canals, roads, reformations of laws & other rational emploiments. I really doubt whether there is temper enough on either side to prevent this issue of our present hatred. Europe is at this moment without the appearance of a cloud. The death of the K of Prussia, daily expected, may raise one. My paper admonishes me that after asking a continuance of your favors, it is time for me to conclude with assurances of the esteem with which I am Dr Sir, your friend & servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 10, 1786
Paris
James Monroe
Monroe, James

TO JAMES MONROE

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—My last to you was of Jan. 27. Since that I have received yours of Jan. 19. Information from other quarters gives me reasons to suspect you have in negotiation a very important change in your situation. You will carry into the execution all my wishes for your happiness. I hope it will not detach you from a settlement in your own country. I had even entertained hopes of your settling in my neighborhood: but these were determined by your desiring a plan of a house for Richmond. However reluctantly I relinquish this prospect, I shall not the Edition: current; Page: [106] less readily obey your commands by sending you a plan. Having been much engaged since my return from England in answering the letters & despatching other business which had accumulated during my absence & being still much engaged, perhaps I may not be able to send the plan by this conveyance. If I do not send it now, I will surely by the first conveiance after this. Your Encyclopedie, containing 18 livraisons, went off last night for Havre, from whence it will go in a vessel bound to N. York. It will be under the care of M. la Croix a passenger, who, if he does not find you in N. York will carry it to Virginia. I send it to Richmond. Another copy in a separate box, goes for Currie. I pay here all charges to N. York. What may occur afterwards I desire him to ask either of you or Currie, as either will pay for the other, or to draw on me for them. My letters to Mr. Jay will inform you of the objects which carried me to England: and that the principal one, the treaty with Portugal has been accomplished. Tho’ we were unable to procure any special advantages in that, yet we thought it of consequence to insure our trade against those particular checks and discouragements which it has heretofore met with there. The information as to the Barbary states, which we obtained from Abdrahaman the Tripoline ambassador was also given to Mr. Jay. If it be right, & the scale of proportion between those nations which we had settled be also right, eight times the sum required by Tripoli will be necessary to accomplish a peace with the whole, that is to say about two hundred and fifty thousand guineas. The continuance of this peace Edition: current; Page: [107] will depend on their idea of our power to enforce it, and on the life of the particular Dey or other head of the government, with whom it is contracted. Congress will no doubt weigh these circumstances against the expense & probable success of compelling a peace by arms. Count d’Estaing having communicated to me verbally some information as to an experiment formerly made by this country, I shall get him to put it into writing and I will forward it to Congress, as it will aid them in their choice of measures. According to this a force, which after the first outfit, might cost about three thousand guineas a month sufficed in a short time. However, which plan is eligible can only be known to ourselves who are on the spot & have under your view all the difficulties of both. There is a third measure: that of abandoning the Mediterranean carriage to other nations. With respect to England no arrangements can be taken. The merchants were certainly disposed to have consented to accommodation as to the article of debts. I was not certain when I left England that they would relinquish the interest during the war. A letter received since from the first character among the American merchants in Scotland satisfies me they would have relinquished it to insure the capital & residue of interest. Would to heaven all the states therefore would settle on a uniform plan. To open the courts to them so that they might obtain judgments, to divide the executions into so many equal annual instalments as that the last might be paid in the year 1790, to have the paiments in actual money, and to include the capital & interest preceding Edition: current; Page: [108] & subsequent to the war, would give satisfaction to the world, and to the merchants in general. Since it is left for each nation to pursue their own measures in the execution of the late treaty, may not Congress with propriety recommend a mode of executing that article respecting the debts, and send it to each state to be passed into law. Whether England gives up the posts or not, these debts must be paid, or our character stained with infamy among all nations & to all times. As to the satisfaction for slaves carried off, it is a bagatelle which if not made good before the last instalment becomes due, may be secured out of that.

I formerly communicated the overtures for a treaty which had been made by the Imperial ambassador. The instructions from Congress being in their favor, and Mr. Adams’s opinion also, I encouraged them. He expected his full powers when I went to England. Yet I did not think, nor did Mr. Adams, that this was of importance enough to weigh against the objects of that journey. He received them soon after my departure, & communicated it to me on my return, asking a copy of our propositions. I gave him one, but observed our commission had then but a few days to run. He desired I would propose to Congress the giving new powers to go on with this, and said that in the meantime he would arrange with us the plan. In a commercial view, no great good is to be gained by this, but in a political one it may be expedient. Our national respect needs strengthening in Europe. It will certainly receive reinforcement by our being received into alliance by Edition: current; Page: [109] the second power & what will shortly be the first character in Europe. He is at the head too of the other great European confederacy, and may serve us with all the powers in that scale. As the treaty would of course be in the terms of those of Prussia & Portugal, it will give us but little additional embarrasment in any commercial regulations we may wish to establish. The exceptions from these which the other treaties will require, may take in the treaty with the Emperor. I should be glad to communicate some answer as soon as Congress shall have made up their minds on it. My information to Congress on the subject of our commercial articles with this country has only come down to Jan 27. Whether I shall say anything on it in my letter to Mr. Jay by this conveiance, depends on it’s not being too early for an appointment. I expect hourly word from the Count de Vergennes to meet him on this & other subjects. My last information was that the lease was too far advanced to withdraw from it the article of tobacco, but that a clause is inserted in it empowering the King to discontinue it at any time. A discontinuance is therefore the only remaining object, and as even this cannot be effected till the expiration of the old lease, which is about the end of the present year, I have wished only to stir the subject from time to time so as to keep it alive. This idea led me into a measure proposed by the M. de la Fayette whose return from Berlin found the matter in that point to which my former report to Congress had conducted it. I communicated to him what I had been engaged on, what were my prospects, and my Edition: current; Page: [110] purpose of keeping the subject just open. He offered his services with that zeal which commands them on every occasion respecting America. He suggested to me the meeting two or three gentlemen well acquainted with this business. We met. They urged me to propose to the Ct de Vergennes the appointing a committee to take this matter into consideration. I told them that decency would not permit me to point out to the Ct de Vergennes the mode by which he should conduct a negotiation, but that I would press again the necessity of an arrangement, if whilst that should be operating on his mind they would suggest the appointment of a committee. The Marquis offered his service for this purpose. The consequence was the appointment of a committee, & the Marquis as a member of it. I communicated to him my papers. He collected other lights wherever he could, & particularly from the gentlemen with whom he had before concerted, and who had a good acquaintance with the subject. The Marquis became our champion in the committee and two of it’s members, who were of the corps of Farmers general entered the lists on the other side. Each gave in memorials. The lease indeed was signed while I was gone to England, but the discussions were & still are continued in the Committee from which we derive two advantages, 1, that of shewing that the object is not to be relinquished and 2, to enlighten government as to it’s true interest. The Ct de Vergennes is absolutely for it; but it is not in his department. Calonnes is his friend, and in this instance his principle seems so be America veritas, Edition: current; Page: [111] sed magis amicus Plato. An additional hope is founded in the expectation of a change of the minister of finance. The present one is under the absolute controul of the farmers general. The committee’s views have been somewhat different from mine. They despair of a suppression of the farm, and therefore wish to obtain palliatives which would coincide with the particular good of this country. I think that so long as the monopoly in the sale is kept up, it is of no consequence to us how they modify the pill for their own internal relief: but on the contrary the worse it remains, the more necessary it will render a reformation. Any palliative would take from us all those arguments & friends who would be satisfied with accommodation. The Marquis, tho differing in opinion from me in this point, has however adhered to my principle of absolute liberty or nothing. In this condition is the matter at this moment. Whether I say anything on the subject to Mr. Jay will depend on my interview with Ct de Vergennes. I doubt whether that will furnish anything worth communicating & whether it will be in time. I therefore state this much to you, that you may see the matter is not laid aside.

I must beg leave to recommend Colo Humphreys to your acquaintance & good offices. He is an excellent man, an able one, & in need of some provision. Besides former applications to me in favor of Dumas, the Rhingrave of Salm (the effective minister of the government of Holland, while their two ambassadors here are ostensible, and) who is conducting secret arrangements for them with this Edition: current; Page: [112] court, presses his interests on us. It is evident the two governments make a point of it. You ask why they do not provide for him themselves? I am not able to answer the question but by a conjecture that Dumas’s particular ambition prefers an appointment from us. I know all the difficulty about this application which Congress has to encounter. I see the reasons against giving him the primary appointment at that court, and the difficulty of his accommodating himself to a subordinate one. Yet I think something must be done in it to gratify this court, of which we must be always asking favours. In these countries personal favours weigh more than public interest. The minister who has asked a gratification for Dumas, has embarked his own feelings & reputation in that demand. I do not think it was discreet by any means. But this reflection might perhaps aggravate a disappointment. I know not really what you can do: but yet hope something will be done. Adieu my dear Sir & believe me to be yours affectionately.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 23, 1786
Paris
John Jay
Jay, John

TO THE SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
(JOHN JAY)

j. mss.
Sir,

—Letters received from both Madrid & Algiers while I was in London having suggested that treaties with the states of Barbary would be much facilitated by a previous one with the Ottoman porte, it was agreed between Mr. Adams and myself Edition: current; Page: [113] that on my return I should consult on this subject the Count de Vergennes, whose long residence at Constantinople rendered him the best judge of it’s expediency. Various circumstances have put it out of my power to consult him till to-day. I stated to him the difficulties we were likely to meet with at Algiers and asked his opinion what would be the probable expense of a diplomatic mission to Constantinople, & what it’s effect at Algiers. He said that the expense would be very great, for that presents must be made at that court, and every one would be gaping after them; and that it would not procure us a peace at Algiers one penny the cheaper. He observed that the Barbary states acknoleged a sort of vassalage to the Porte, & availed themselves of that relation when anything was to be gained by it: but that whenever it subjected them to a demand from the Porte they totally disregarded it: that money was the sole agent at Algiers, except so far as fear could be induced also. He cited the present example of Spain, which tho’ having a treaty with the Porte, would probably be obliged to buy a peace at Algiers at the expense of upwards of six millions of livres. I told him we had calculated from the demands & information of the Tripoline ambassador at London that to make peace with the four Barbary states would cost us between two & three hundred thousand guineas, if bought with money. The sum did not seem to exceed his expectations. I mentioned to him that, considering the incertainty of a peace when bought, perhaps Congress might think it more eligible to establish a cruise of frigates in the Edition: current; Page: [114] Mediterranean & even to blockade Algiers. He supposed it would require ten vessels great & small. I observed to him that Monsr. de Massiac had formerly done it with five; he said it was true, but that vessels of relief would be necessary. I hinted to him that I thought the English capable of administering aid to the Algerines. He seemed to think it impossible, on account of the scandal it would bring on them. I asked him what had occasioned the blockade by Mr. de Massiac: he said, an infraction of their treaty by the Algerines. I had a good deal of conversation with him also on the situation of affairs between England & the United States: & particularly on their refusal to deliver up our posts. I observed to him that the obstructions thrown in the way of the recovery of their debts were the effect & not the cause, as they pretended, of their refusal to deliver up the posts: that the merchants interested in these debts shewed a great disposition to make arrangements with us, that the article of time we could certainly have settled, & probably that of the interest during the war: but that the minister shewing no disposition to have these matters arranged, I thought it a sufficient proof that this was not the true cause of their retaining the posts. He concurred as to the justice of our requiring time for the paiment of our debts; said nothing which shewed a difference of opinion as to the article of interest, and seemed to believe fully that their object was to divert the channel of the fur trade before they delivered up the posts, and expressed a strong sense of the importance of that commerce to us. I told him I Edition: current; Page: [115] really could not foresee what would be the event of this detention, that the situation of the British funds, & desire of their minister to begin to reduce the national debt seemed to indicate that they could not wish a war. He thought so, but that neither were we in a condition to go to war. I told him I was yet uninformed what Congress proposed to do on this subject, but that we should certainly always count on the good offices of France, and I was sure that the offer of them would suffice to induce Gr. Britain to do us justice. He said that surely we might always count on the friendship of France. I added that by the treaty of alliance, she was bound to guarantee our limits to us, as they should be established at the moment of peace. He said they were so mais qu’il nous etoit necessaire de les constater. I told him there was no question what our boundaries were, that the English themselves admitted they were clear beyond all question. I feared however to press this any further lest a reciprocal question should be put to me, & therefore diverted the conversation to another object. This is a sketch only of a conference which was lengthy. I have endeavored to give the substance, & sometimes the expressions where they were material. I supposed it would be agreeable to Congress to have it communicated to them, in the present undecided state in which these subjects are. I should add that an explanation of the transaction of Monsieur de Massaic with the Algerines, before hinted at, will be found in the enclosed letter from the Count d’Estaing to me, wherein he gives also his own opinion. Edition: current; Page: [116] The whole is submitted to Congress, as I conceive it my duty to furnish them with whatever information I can gather which may throw any light on the subjects depending before them. I have the honour to be with the most perfect esteem & respect Sir your most obedient and most humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 27, 1786
Paris
John Jay
Jay, John

TO THE SECRETARY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
(JOHN JAY)

j. mss.
Sir,

—In my letter of January 2, I had the honour of stating to you what had passed here on the subject of the commerciable articles between this country & the United States. I beg leave now to resume that subject. I therein informed you that this government had agreed to receive our fish oils on the footing on which they receive those of the Hanseatic towns, which gave us a reduction of duty from shrover36sptover15 on the barrique to shrover11sptover5 amounting to about shrover42 on the English ton, according to a statement by Monsr. Sangrain inclosed in that letter. This was true, but there was another truth which neither that statement, nor any other evidence I then had, enabled me to discover, and which it is but lately I could be ascertained of; which is that there is another duty called the Droit des huiles et savons to which the Hans towns are subject, as we are also of consequence. This is of 6. deniers on the nett pound, and 10. sous per livre on that, amounting to shrover3sptover15 on the nett hundred, French weight, or to shrover60sptover13dptover6 Edition: current; Page: [117] the English ton. This with the reduced duty makes about shrover102sptover13dptover6, or very nearly four guineas according to the present exchange, on the English ton. Tho this be still advantageous when compared with the English duty of 18 guineas, yet it is less so than we had expected, and it will remain, when we apply for a renewal of the indulgence, to see whether we can obtain further reduction.

The fur trade is an object of desire in this country. London is at present their market for furs. They pay for them there in ready money. Could they draw their furs into their own ports from the U. S. they would pay us for them in productions. Nor should we lose by the change of market, since, tho the French pay the London merchants in cash, those merchants pay us with manufactures. A very wealthy & well connected company is proposing here to associate themselves with an American company, each to possess half the interest, & to carry on the fur trade between the two countries. The company here expect to make the principal part of the advances; they also are solliciting considerable indulgencies from this government from which the part of the company on our side of the water will reap half the advantage. As no exclusive idea enters into this scheme, it appears to me worthy of encouragement. It is hoped the government here will interest themselves for it’s success. If they do, one of two things may happen: either the English will be afraid to stop the vessels of a company consisting partly of French subjects & patronized by the Court; in which case the commerce will be laid open generally; or if they Edition: current; Page: [118] stop the vessels, the French company, which is strongly connected with men in power, will complain in form to their government, who may thus be interested as principals in the rectification of this abuse. As yet, however, the proposition has not taken such a form, as to assure us that it will be prosecuted to this length.

As to the article of tobacco, which had become an important branch of remittance to almost all the states, I had the honour of communicating to you my proposition to the court to abolish the monopoly of it in their farm; that the Ct. de Vergennes was, I thought, thoroughly sensible of the expediency of this proposition, and disposed to befriend it, that the renewal of the lease of the farms had been consequently suspended six months and was still in suspence, but that so powerful were the Farmers general and so tottering the tenure of the Minister of finance in his office that I despaired of preventing the renewal of the farm at that time. Things were in this state when the M. de la Fayette returned from Berlin. On communicating to him what was on the carpet, he proposed to me a conference with some persons well acquainted with the commercial system of this country. We met. They proposed the endeavoring to have a committee appointed to enquire into the subject. The proposition was made to the Ct. de Vergennes who befriended it & had the M. de la Fayette named a member of the committee. He became of course the active and truly zealous member for the liberty of commerce, others, tho’ well disposed, not chusing to oppose the farm openly. Edition: current; Page: [119] This committee has met from time to time. It shewed an early and decisive conviction that the measure taken by the farm to put the purchase of their tobaccoes into monopoly on that side the water, as the sale of them was on this, tended to the annihilation of commerce between the two countries. Various palliatives were proposed from time to time. I confess that I met them all with indifference; my object being a radical cure of the evils by discontinuing the farm, and not a mere assuagement of it for the present moment, which rendering it more bearable, might lessen the necessity of removing it totally, & perhaps prevent that removal. In the mean time the other branches of the farm rendered the renewal of the lease necessary and it being said to be too far advanced to have the article of tobacco separated from it & suspended, it was signed in the month of March while I was in England, with a clause, which is usual, that the King may discontinue when he pleases on certain conditions. When I returned I found here a Memorial from the merchants of l’Orient complaining of their having 6000 hhds of tobo on hand, and of the distresses they were under from the loss of this medium of remittance. I enclosed it to the Count de Vergennes and asked his interference. I saw him on the 23d inst and spoke to him on the subject. He told me there was to be a committee held the next day at Berni, the seat of the Comptroller general & that he would attend it himself to have something done. I asked him if I was to consider the expunging that article from the farm as desperate. He said that the difficulty Edition: current; Page: [120] of changing so antient an institution was immense. That the King draws from it a revenue of 29 millions of livres. That the interruption of this revenue at least, if not a diminution, would attend a change, that their finances were not in a condition to bear even an interruption, and in short that no minister could venture to take upon himself so hazardous an operation. This was only saying explicitly, what I had long been sensible of, that the comptroller general’s continuance in office was too much on a poise to permit him to shift this weight out of his own scale into that of his adversaries; and that we must be contented to await the completion of the public expectation that there will be a change in this office, which change may give us another chance for effecting this desirable reformation. Incidents enough will arise to keep this object in our view, and to direct the attention to it as the only point on which the interests & harmony of the two countries (so far as this article of their commerce may influence) will ultimately find repose. The committee met the next day. The only question agitated was how best to relieve the trade under its double monopoly. The committee found themselves supported by the presence and sentiments of the Count de Vergennes. They therefore resolved that the contract with Mr. Morris, if executed on his part, ought not to be annulled here, but that no similar one should ever be made hereafter: that, so long as it continued, the farmers should be obliged to purchase from twelve to 15,000 hhds. of tobacco a year, over and above what they should receive Edition: current; Page: [121] from Mr. Morris, from such merchants as should bring it in French or American vessels, on the same conditions contracted with Mr. Morris; providing however that where the cargo shall not be assorted, the prices shall be 38. 36 & 34 for the 1st. 2d. & 3d qualities of whichsoever the cargo may consist. In case of dispute about the quality, specimens are to be sent to the council, who will appoint persons to examine and decide on it. This is indeed the least bad of all the palliatives which have been proposed: but it contains the seeds of perpetual trouble: it is easy to foresee that the farmers will multiply difficulties and vexations on those who shall propose to sell to them by force and that these will be making perpetual complaints, so that both parties will be kept on the fret. If, without fatiguing the friendly dispositions of the ministry, this should give them just so much trouble as may induce them to look to the demolition of the monopoly as a desirable point of rest, it may produce a permanent as well as temporary good. This determination of the committee needs the Kings order to be carried into effect. I have been in hourly expectation of receiving official information that it is ultimately confirmed by him. But as yet it is not come, and the post will set out to-day. Should it arrive in time I will enclose it. Should it not arrive as I do not apprehend any danger of its being rejected. or even altered materially (seeing that M. de Vergennes approved of it & M. de Calonne acquiesced) I have supposed you would wish to be apprized of its substance for a communication of which I am indebted to the M. de la Fayette. Edition: current; Page: [122] Tho’ you cannot publish it formally till you know it is confirmed by the King yet an authoritative kind of notice may be given to the merchants to put them on their guard. Otherwise the merchants here, having first knowledge of it, may by their agents purchase up all the tabaccoes they have on hand, at a low price & thus engross to themselves all the benefit.

In the same letter of January 2d I mentioned that the rice of Carolina compared with that of the Mediterranean was better & dearer. This was my own observation, having examined both in the shops here where they are retailed. Further enquiries gave me reason to believe that the rice of Carolina, on it’s arrival is fouler & cheaper; and that it is obliged to be cleaned here before it is saleable. That this advances the price, but at the same time the quality also, beyond that of the Mediterranean. Whether the trouble of this operation discourages the merchant, or the price the consumer, or whether the merchants of Carolina have not yet learnt the way to this market, I cannot tell. I find in fact that but a small proportion of the rice consumed here is from the American market, but the consumption of this article here is immense. If the makers of American rice would endeavour to adapt the preparation of it to the taste of this country so as to give it over the mediterranean rice the advantage of which it seems susceptible, it would very much increase the quantity for which they may find sale. As far as I have been able to find it is received here on a favourable footing. I shall reserve my letter open to the last moment in hopes of being able to put into it the Edition: current; Page: [123] order of the King to the Farmers general. I have the honor of enclosing a copy of their contract with Mr. Morris to which the resolution of the Committee refers & to be with sentiments &c. &c., &c.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 3, 1786
Paris
M. La Morleine
Morleine, M. La

TO M. LA MORLEINE

j. mss.
Sir,

—It is six years since the paper money of New England has ceased to circulate as money. It is considered at present as making a part of the national debt, and that the holders of it will be entitled to receive from the public as much gold or silver as the paper money could have brought at the time it was received by the holder with an interest of 6 per cent. per annum. But as yet no precise arrangements have been taken for the paiment either of principal or interest. Most of the subjects of France, having paper money, have deposited it in the hands of the French Minister or Consul at New York, that paiment may be demanded whenever it shall be provided by Congress. There are even speculators in America who will purchase it. But they will give much less than it is worth. As for myself I do not deal in it. I am Sir your very humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 12, 1786
Paris
Baron Stahe
Stahe, Baron

TO THE SWEDISH AMBASSADOR AT PARIS
(BARON STAHE)

j. mss.
Sir,

—In compliance with your Excellency’s desire I will throw on paper such considerations as occur to Edition: current; Page: [124] me on the question “How may the island of St. Bartholomews be rendered instrumental for promoting commerce between Sweden and the United States.” They will be rapid, undigested & incomplete: but a desire of contributing to bind the two Countries together in interest, and a respect for your commands will induce me to hazard them. I shall make the interests of Sweden the basis of my theory because we have no right to expect her to depart from them in order to promote ours.

Antient nations considered Colonies principally as Receptacles for a too numerous population, and as natural & useful allies in times of war: but modern nations, viewing commerce as an object of first importance, value Colonies chiefly as Instruments for the increase of that. This is principally effected by their taking commodities from the mother State, whether raised within herself, or obtained elsewhere in the course of her trade & furnishing in return Colonial productions necessary for her consumption or for her commerce of exchange with other nations. In this way the colonies of Spain, Portugal, France and England have been chiefly subservient to the advantages of their Mother Country. In this way too in a smaller degree has Denmark derived utility from her American Colonies and so also Holland, except as to the Island of St. Eustatius. This is by nature a rock, barren and unproductive in itself, but its owners became sensible that what Nature had denied it, Policy could more than supply. It was conveniently situated for carrying on contraband trade with both the continents & with the islands of Edition: current; Page: [125] America. They made it therefore an entrepot for all nations. Hither are brought the productions of every other part of America and the Dutch give in exchange such articles as in the course of their commerce they can most advantageously gather up. And it is a question, on which they will not enable us to decide, whether by furnishing American productions to the commerce of Holland & by finding vent for such productions of the old world as the Dutch merchants obtain to advantage, the barren rock of saint Eustatius does not give more activity to their commerce & leave with them greater profits, than their more fertile possessions on the continent of South America. The Danes finding that their islands were capable of yielding but moderate advantages by their native productions, have also laid them open to foreign commerce, in order to draw thro’ them articles which they do not produce in themselves, or not in great quantities. But these nations, only half emancipated from the fetters of commercial prejudicies, have taken only half a step towards placing these institutions on their best footing. Both the Dutch & Danish free ports are under restrictions which discourage very much the operations of exchange in them.

The island of St. Bartholomew, lately ceded to Sweden, is, if I am rightly informed, capable of furnishing little of its own productions to that country. It remains then to make it the instrument for obtaining through its intermediation such American productions as Sweden can consume or dispose of, and for finding in return a vent for the native productions Edition: current; Page: [126] of Sweden. Let us suppose it then made a free port without a single restriction. These consequences will follow: 1. It will draw to itself that tide of commerce which at present sets towards the Dutch and Danish islands, because vessels going to these are often obliged to negotiate a part of their cargoes at saint Eustatius, and to go to saint Thomas’s to negotiate the residue, whereas when they shall know that there is a port where all articles are free both for importation and exportation, they will go to that port which enables them to perform by one voiage the exchanges which hitherto they could only effect by two. 2. Every species of American produce, whether of the precious metals or commodities, which Sweden may want for its own consumption or as aliment for its own commerce with other nations, will be collected either fairly or by contraband into the magazines of Saint Bartholomew. 3. All the productions which Sweden can furnish from within itself or obtain to advantage from other nations, will in like manner be deposited in the magazines of St. Bartholomew, and will be carried to the several ports of America in paiment for what shall be taken from them.

If it be objected that this unrestrained license will give opportunity to the subjects of other nations to carry on exchanges there in which Sweden will be no ways interested: I say, 1. That there will be few of these operations into which the Swedish merchants will not be taken in the beginning or in the long run. 2. That there will be few of these exchanges into which Swedish productions will not enter, when productions of that nature are wanted in return. 3. But Edition: current; Page: [127] suppose neither Swedish merchants nor productions enter into the operation, what objections can Sweden have to other people’s meeting in one of her ports to carry on their commercial exchanges? On the contrary, would not every enlightened nation be glad if all others would come to her as a common center for commercial operations? If all the merchants who make the exchanges of commerce in Amsterdam, London, Lisbon, Leghorn, etc would go by common consent to perform these operations in Stockholm, would that wise Government obstruct such an assembly? If all the exchanges now made in the several parts of the two continents, & of the islands, of America, in Philadelphia for instance, Charlestown, St. Eustatius, Porto-bello, Rio Janeiro, were proposed to be transferred to the island of St. Bartholomew would that island be rendered thereby less able to promote the commerce of the mother country?

These general observations have anticipated the answer to our question, How may the island of St. Bartholomew be rendered instrumental to the particular commerce between Sweden and the United States? The United States have much occasion for the productions of Sweden, particularly for it’s iron. For a part of this they can furnish indigo, rice, tobacco: and so far the exchange may be effected by the merchants of the two countries in the ports of the United States or of Sweden. The surplus of the want they cannot take at all unless Sweden will administer to them the means of paying for it. This she may do by receiving at St. Bartholomew whatever productions they will bring. They will of Edition: current; Page: [128] course send there flour, saltfish, & other things wanting in the other ports of America, which by the Swedish merchants at St. Bartholomew, will run into those ports and exchanged for precious metals or commercial commodities: or the American merchant taking on himself those operations will run his flour or salt fish into those ports himself, take cash or such commercial articles as suit Sweden, & go with these to St. Bartholomew to pay for the iron he wants.

The interest of the United States then is that St. Bartholomew be made a port of unlimited freedom, & such too is evidently the interest of Sweden. If it be freed by halves, the freeports of other nations, at present in possession of the commerce, will retain it against any new port offering no superior advantages. The situation of St. Bartholomew is very favorable to these views, as it is among the most Windward, and therefore the most accessible, of the West Indian Islands. How far they may be seconded by the character of its port, the government of Sweden will best know, as they have taken the necessary informations on that point.

Unacquainted with the details of commerce I am able to present only general views of this subject, they are such however as experience seems to have approved. They may appear founded on a want of attention to the laws of society, inconsistent with sound morality—but first let the line be drawn between the just and equal regulations of associated states, and the partial and oppressive rescripts of Metropolitan cupidity, & we shall see whether the Interloper, or the Legislator of Chili & Peru is on the Edition: current; Page: [129] right side of that line. They will need apology for another cause where it will be more difficult to be found; that is as they offer nothing but what would have occurred, & in a better form, to yourself. Nobody is more sensible of this than myself: and I can expect your indulgence only by praying you to consider them, not as pretending to any information which you do not already possess, but as the offerings of that perfect esteem & respect with which I have the honor to be your hble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 20 1786
Paris
William Carmichael
Carmichael, William

TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—* * * I find that all the states had come into the impost except N. York whose assembly were then sitting & it was thought would adopt it. N. Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rho. isld. New Jersey, Delaware & Virginia have agreed to confer on Congress the regulation of their trade, & lest this disjointed method of proceeding should fail of it’s effect, the latter has appointed commissioners & invited the other states to do the same to meet & settle an article of Confederation for this purpose. Virginia has declared Kentucky an independent state, provided it’s inhabitants consent to it, & Congress will receive them into a union. Massachusetts has repealed so much of her navigation act as respected any foreign nation except Gr. Britain. Contributions of money come slowly to the public treasury. A committee of Congress have drawn Edition: current; Page: [130] a strong report on that subject, which has produced a good effect in the states.

In a letter of Mar. 20, from Dr. Franklin to me is this passage: “As to public affairs the Congress has not been able to assemble more than 7 or 8 states during the whole winter, so the treaty with Prussia remains still unratified, tho’ there is no doubt of its being done so soon as a full Congress assembles which is expected next month. The disposition to furnish Congress with ample powers augments daily, as people become more enlightened, & I do not remember ever to have seen, during my long life, more signs of public felicity than appear at present throughout these states; the cultivators of the earth who make the bulk of our nation, have made good crops, which are paid for at high prices, with ready money; the artisans too receive high wages, & the value of all real estates is augmented greatly. Merchants & shopkeepers indeed complain that there is not business enough. But this is evidently not owing to the fewness of buyers, but to the too great number of sellers; for the consumption of goods was never greater, as appears by the dress, furniture & manner of living of all ranks of the people.” His health is good, except as to the stone which does not grow worse. I thank you for your attention to my request about the books which Mr. Barclay writes me he has forwarded from Cadiz.

Edition: current; Page: [131]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 9, 1786
Paris
James Monroe
Monroe, James

TO JAMES MONROE

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I wrote you last on the 10th of May, since which your favor of May 11 has come to hand. The political world enjoys great quiet here. The King of Prussia is still living, but like the snuff of a candle which sometimes seems out, & then blazes up again. Some think that his death will not produce any immediate effect in Europe. His kingdom, like a machine will go on for some time with the winding up he has given it. The King’s visit to Cherbourg has made a great sensation in England & here. It proves to the world that it is a serious object to this country, and that the King commits himself for the accomplishment of it. Indeed so many cones have been sunk that no doubt remains of the practicability of it. It will contain, as is said, 80 ships of the line, be one of the best harbours in the world, & by means of two entrances on different sides will admit vessels to come in and go out with every wind. The effect of this in another war with England defies calculation. Having no news to communicate I will recur to the subjects of your letter of May 11.

With respect to the new states were the question to stand simply in this form: How may the ultramontane territory be disposed of so as to produce the greatest & most immediate benefit to the inhabitants of the maritime states of the union? the plan would be more plausible of laying it off into two or three states only. Even on this view however there would still be something to be said against it which might render it at least doubtful. But it is a question Edition: current; Page: [132] which good faith forbids us to receive into discussion. This requires us to state the question in its just form, How may the territories of the Union be disposed of so as to produce the greatest degree of happiness to their inhabitants? With respect to the maritime states nothing or little remains to be done. With respect then to the ultramontane states, will their inhabitants be happiest divided into states of 30,000 square miles, not quite as large as Pennsylvania, or into states of 160,000 square miles each, that is to say three times as large as Virginia within the Alleghany? They will not only be happier in states of a moderate size, but it is the only way in which they can exist as a regular society. Considering the American character in general, that of those people particularly, and the energetic nature of our governments, a state of such extent as 160,000 square miles would soon crumble into little ones. These are the circumstances which reduce the Indians to such small societies. They would produce an effect on our people similar to this. They would not be broken into such small pieces because they are more habituated to subordination, & value more a government of regular law. But you would surely reverse the nature of things in making small states on the ocean & large ones beyond the mountains. If we could in our consciences say that great states beyond the mountains will make the people happiest, we must still ask whether they will be contented to be laid off into large states? They certainly will not; and if they decide to divide themselves, we are not able to restrain them. They will end by separating from our Edition: current; Page: [133] confederacy & becoming it’s enemies. We had better then look forward & see what will be the probable course of things. This will surely be a division of that country into states of a small, or at most of a moderate size. If we lay them off into such, they will acquiesce, and we shall have the advantage of arranging them so as to produce the best combinations of interest. What Congress has already done in this matter is an argument the more in favour of the revolt of those states against a different arrangement, and of their acquiescence under a continuance of that. Upon this plan, we treat them as fellow citizens, they will have a just share in their own government, they will love us, & pride themselves in an union with us. Upon the other we treat them as subjects, we govern them, & not they themselves, they will abhor us as masters, & break off from us in defiance. I confess to you that I can see no other turn that these two plans would take. But I respect your opinion, and your knowledge of the country too much, to be ever confident in my own.

I thank you sincerely for your communication, that my not having sooner given notice of the Arrets relative to fish gave discontent to some persons. These are the most friendly offices you can do me, because they enable me to justify myself if I am right, or correct myself if wrong. If those who thought I might have been remiss would have written to me on the subject, I should have loved them for their candour & thanked them for it: for I have no jealousies nor resentments at things of this kind where I have no reason to believe they have been excited Edition: current; Page: [134] by a hostile spirit, & I suspect no such spirit in a single member of Congress. You know there were two Arrets the first of Aug. 30, 1784, the 2d. of the 18th & 25th of September, 1785. As to the first it would be a sufficient justification of myself to say that it was in the time of my predecessor, nine months before I came into office, & that there was no more reason for my giving information of it when I did come into office than of all the other transactions which preceded that period. But this would seem to lay a blame on Dr. Franklin for not communicating it which I am conscious he did not deserve. This government affects a secrecy in all its transactions whatsoever, tho they be of a nature not to admit a perfect secrecy. Their Arrets respecting the islands go to those islands and are unpublished & unknown in France except in the bureau where they are formed. That of Aug. 1784, would probably be communicated to the merchants of the seaport towns also But Paris having no commercial connections with them, if anything makes it’s way from a seaport town to Paris, it must be by accident. We have indeed agents in these seaports: but they value their offices so little that they do not trouble themselves to inform us of what is passing there. As a proof that these things do not transpire here, nor are easily got at, recollect that Mr. Adams, Dr Franklin and myself were all here on the spot together from Aug. 1784. to June 1785. that is to say 10. months, and yet not one of us knew of the Arret of Aug. 1784. September 18 & 25 1785. the second was passed. & Edition: current; Page: [135] here alone I became responsible. I think it was about 6 weeks before I got notice of it, that is in November. On the 20th of that month writing to Count de Vergennes on another subject I took occasion to remonstrate to him on that. But from early in November when the Fitzhughs went to America, I had never a confidential opportunity of writing to Mr. Jay from hence directly for several months. In a letter of Dec. 14 to Mr. Jay I mentioned to him the want of opportunity to write to him confidentially, which obliged me at that moment to write by post via London & on such things only as both post offices were welcome to see. On the 2d January Mr. Bingham setting out for London, I wrote to Mr. Jay, sending him a copy of my letter to Ct. de Vergennes, and stating something which had passed in conversation on the same subject. I prayed Mr. Bingham to take charge of the letter, & either to send it by a safe hand or carry it himself as circumstances should render most advisable. I believe he kept it to carry himself. He did not sail from London till about the 12th of March, nor arrived in America till about the middle of May. Thus you see what causes had prevented a letter which I had written on the 20th of November from getting to America till the month of May. No wonder then if notice of this Arret came first to you by way of the W. Indies; and in general, I am confident that you will receive notice of the regulations of this country respecting their islands by the way of those islands before you will from hence. Nor can this be remedied but by a system of bribery which would end in the corruption of your Edition: current; Page: [136] own ministers, & produce no good adequate to the expense. Be so good as to communicate these circumstances to the persons who you think may have supposed me guilty of remissness on this occasion.

I will turn to a subject more pleasing to both, and give you my sincere congratulations on your marriage. Your own dispositions and the inherent comforts of that state will insure you a great addition of happiness. Long may you live to enjoy it, & enjoy it in full measure. The interest I feel in every one connected with you will justify my presenting my earliest respects to the lady, and of tendering her the homage of my friendship. I shall be happy at all times to be useful to either of you & to receive your commands. I inclose you the bill of lading of your Encyclopedie. With respect to the remittance for it, of which you make mention, I beg you not to think of it. I know by experience that proceeding to make a settlement in life, a man has need of all his resources, and I should be unhappy were you to lessen them by an attention to this trifle. Let it lie till you have nothing else to do with your money. Adieu my dear Sir and be assured of the esteem with which I am, your friend & servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 9. 1786
Paris
John Adams
Adams, John

TO JOHN ADAMS

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—* * * Have you no news yet of the treaty with Portugal? does it hang with that court? My letters from N York of the 11th of May Edition: current; Page: [137] inform me that there were then 11. states present & that they should ratify the Prussian treaty immediately. As the time for exchange of ratifications is drawing to a close, tell me what is to be done, and how this exchange is to be made. We may as well have this settled between us before the arrival of the ratification, that no time may be lost after that. I learn through the Marechal de Castries that he has information of New York’s having ceded the impost in the form desired by Congress, so as to close this business. Corrections in the acts of Maryland, Pennsylvania &c. will come of course. We have taken up again the affair of whale oil, that they may know in time in America what is to be done in it. I fear we shall not obtain any farther abatement of duties; but the last abatement will be continued for three years. The whole duties payable here are nearly 102 livres on the English ton, which is an atom more than four guineas according to the present exchange.

The monopoly of the purchase of tobacco for this country which had been obtained by Robert Morris had thrown the commerce of that article in agonies. He had been able to reduce the price in America from 40/ to 22/6. lawful the hundred weight, and all other merchants being deprived of that medium of remittance the commerce between America & that country, so far as it depended on that article, which was very capitally too, was absolutely ceasing. An order has been obtained obliging the farmers general to purchase from such other merchants as shall offer, 15,000 hogsheads of tobacco at 34. 36. & 38. livres Edition: current; Page: [138] the hundred according to the quality, and to grant to the sellers in other respects the same terms as they had granted to Robert Morris. As this agreement with Morris is the basis of this order I send you some copies of it which I will thank you to give to any American (not British) merchants in London who may be in that line. During the year this contract has subsisted, Virginia & Maryland have lost 400,000£ by the reduction of the price of their tobacco.

I am meditating what step to take to provoke a letter from Mrs. Adams, from whom my files inform me I have not received one these hundred years. In the meantime present my affectionate respects to her, and be assured of the friendship & esteem with which I have the honour to be Dear Sir your most obedient, and most humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 11. 1786
Paris
St. John CrevecŒur
CrevecŒur, St. John

TO HECTOR ST. JOHN CREVECŒUR

j. mss.
Sir,

—I have been honored with a letter from M. Delisle Lt. Gl. au bailliage de laën, to which is annexed a postscript from yourself. Being unable to write in French so as to be sure of conveying my true meaning, or perhaps any meaning at all, I will beg of you to interpret what I have now the honor to write.

It is time that the United States, generally, & most of the separate states in particular, are endeavoring to establish means to pay the interest of their public debts regularly, & to sink it’s principal by degrees. Edition: current; Page: [139] But as yet their efforts have been confined to that part of their debts which is evidenced by certificates. I do not think that any state has yet taken measures for paying their paper money debt. The principle on which it shall be paid I take to be settled, tho’ not directly yet virtually, by the resolution of Congress of June 3d. 1784. that is that they will pay the holder or his representatives what the money was worth at the time he received it, with an interest from that time of 6. per cent. per annum. It is not said in the letter whether the money received by Barboutin was Continental money or Virginia money; nor is it said at what time it was received. But that M. Delisle may be enabled to judge what the 5398 dollars were worth in hard money when Barboutin received them, I will state to you what was the worth of one hard dollar both in Continental & Virginia money through the whole of the year 1779 & 1780. within some part of which it was probably received.

continental money.                 virginia money.
1779—Jan.      9, 772/100 1779—Jan.,      8 1780—Jan.,   42
          Jan.    24, 834/100           Feb.,    10           Feb.,   45
          Feb.    11, 913/100           Mar.,    10           Mar.,   50
          Mar.      2, 10           Apr.,     16           Apr.,    60
          Apr.      2, 1112/100           May,     20           May,    60
          May    10, 1251/100           June,    20           June,   65
          June    21, 143/10           July,     21           July,    65
          Aug.      8, 1560/100           Aug.,    22           Aug.,   70
          Sept.   28, 20           Sept.,   26           Sept.,  72
          Nov.    22, 256/100           Oct.,     28           Oct.,    73
1780—Feb.      2, 3344/100           Nov.,    36           Nov.,   74
          Mar.    18, 40           Dec.,    40           Dec.,   75

Thus you see that in Jan. 1779, 7 dollars & 72. hundreths of a dollar of Continental money were worth Edition: current; Page: [140] one dollar of silver, & at the same time 8 dollars of Virginia paper were worth one dollar of silver &c. After Mar. 18, 1780, Continental paper received in Virginia will be estimated by the table of Virginia paper. I advise all the foreign holders of paper money to lodge it in the office of their consul for the state where it was received, that he may dispose of it for their benefit the first moment that paiment shall be provided by the state or Continent. I had lately the pleasure of seeing the Countess d’Houditot well at Sanois, & have now that of assuring you of the perfect esteem & respect with which I have the honor to be Dear Sir your most obedient humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 17, 1786
Paris
Marquis De La Fayette
Fayette, Marquis De La

TO THE MARQUIS DE LA FAYETTE

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I have now the honour of inclosing to you an estimate of the Exports & Imports of the United States. Calculations of this kind cannot pretend to accuracy, where inattention and fraud combine to suppress their objects. Approximation is all that they can aim at. Neither care nor candour have been wanting on my part to bring them as near the truth as my skill and materials would enable me to do. I have availed myself of the best documents from the custom houses which have been given to the public: and have been able to rectify these in many instances by information collected by myself on the spot in many of the states. Still remember however that I call them but approximations and Edition: current; Page: [141] that they must present some errors as considerable as they were unavoidable.

Our commerce divides itself into European & West Indian. I have conformed my statement to this division.

On running over the Catalogue of American imports, France will naturally mark out those articles with which she could supply us to advantage: & she may safely calculate that after a little time shall have enabled us to get rid of our present incumbrances, and of some remains of attachment to the particular forms of manufacture to which we have been habituated we shall take those articles which she can furnish on as good terms as other nations, to whatever extent she will enable us to pay for them. It is her interest therefore, as well as ours, to multiply the means of paiment. These must be found in the catalogue of our Exports, & among these will be seen neither gold nor silver. We have no mines of either of these metals. Produce therefore is all we can offer. Some articles of our produce will be found very convenient to this country for her own consumption. Others will be convenient, as being more commerciable in her hands than those she will give in exchange for them. If there be any which she can neither consume, nor dispose of by exchange, she will not buy them of us, and of course we shall not bring them to her. If American produce can be brought into the ports of France, the articles of exchange for it will be taken in those ports: & the only means of drawing it hither is to let the merchant see that he can dispose of it on better terms here than anywhere Edition: current; Page: [142] else. If the market price of this country does not in itself offer this superiority, it may be worthy of consideration whether it should be obtained by such abatements of duties, and even by such other encouragements as the importance of the article may justify. Should some loss attend this in the beginning, it can be discontinued when the trade shall be well established in this channel.

With respect to the West India commerce, I must apprise you that this estimate does not present it’s present face. No materials have enabled us to say how it stands since the war. We can only shew what it was before that period. New regulations have changed our situation there much for the worse. This is most sensibly felt in the Exports of fish, and flour. The surplus of the former, which these regulations throw back on us, is forced to Europe, where, by increasing the quantity, it lessens the price: the surplus of the latter is sunk: and to what other objects this portion of industry is turned, or turning, I am not able to discover. The Imports too of Sugar & Coffee are thrown under great difficulties. These increase the price: and being articles of food for the poorer class (as you may be sensible on observing the quantities consumed) a small increase of price places them above the reach of this class, which being very numerous, must occasion a great diminution of consumption. It remains to see whether the American will endeavour to baffle these new restrictions in order to indulge his habits; or will adapt his habits to other objects which may furnish emploiment to the surplus of industry formerly occupied in raising Edition: current; Page: [143] that bread which no longer finds a vent in the West Indian market. If, instead of either of these measures, he should resolve to come to Europe for coffee & sugar, he must lessen equivalently his consumption of some other European articles in order to pay for his coffee & sugar, the bread with which he formerly paid for them in the West Indies not being demanded in the European market. In fact the catalogue of Imports offers several articles more dispensable than coffee & sugar. Of all these subjects, the committee and yourself are the more competent judges. To you therefore I trust them with every wish for their improvement, & with sentiments of that perfect esteem & respect with which I have the honour to be, Dear Sir, your most obedient, & most humble servt.1

Edition: current; Page: [144]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 8, 1786
Marquis De St. Lambert
St. Lambert, Marquis De

TO THE MARQUIS DE ST. LAMBERT.

j. mss.

Mr. Jefferson has the honour of presenting his compliments to Monsieur le Marquis de St. Lambert, and of thanking him for his very excellent Edition: current; Page: [145] translation of the act of the Virginia Assembly.1 An opportunity having occurred, before the receipt of it of forwarding the act to some foreign courts where it was thought it would be well received Mr. Jefferson had been obliged to print copies from a translation prepared for the Encyclopedie. He shall endeavour as soon as possible to avail the public of the better one of M. de St. Lambert. He begs leave to present to him and also through him to Madame la Comtesse d’Houditat the homage of his respects.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 9, 1786
Paris
Mrs. John (Abigail) Adams
Adams, Mrs. John (Abigail)

TO MRS. JOHN (ABIGAIL) ADAMS

j. mss.
Dear Madam,

—It is an age since I have had the honor of a letter from you, and an age and a half since I presumed to address one to you. I think my last was dated in the reign of King Amri, but under which of his successors you wrote, I cannot recollect, Ocharias Zoachar, Manahem or some such hard name. At length it is resumed; I am honoured with your favor of July 23, and I am at this moment writing an answer to it. And first we will despatch business. The shoes you ordered, will be ready this day and will accompany the present letter, but why send money for them? You know the balance of trade was always against me. You will observe by the inclosed account that it is I who am to export cash always, tho’ the sum has been lessened by the bad bargains I have made for you & the good ones you Edition: current; Page: [146] have made for me. This is a gaining trade, and therefore I shall continue it, begging you will send no more money here. Be so good as to correct the inclosed that the errors of that may not add to your losses in this commerce.—You were right in conjecturing that both the gentlemen might forget to communicate to me the intelligence about Captn. Stanhope. Mr. Adams’ head was full of whale oil, and Colo. Smith’s of German politics. (—but don’t tell them this—) so they left it to you to give me the news. De tout mon coeur, I had rather receive it from you than them. This proposition about the exchange of a son for my daughter puzzles me. I should be very glad to have your son, but I cannot part with my daughter. Thus you see I have such a habit of gaining in trade with you that I always expect it. We have a blind story here of somebody attempting to assassinate your King. No man upon earth has my prayers for his continuance in life more sincerely than him. He is truly the American Messias, the most precious life that ever god gave. And may god continue it. Twenty long years has he been labouring to drive us to our good and he labours and will labour still for it if he can be spared. We shall have need of him for twenty more. The Prince of Wales on the Throne, Lansdown & Fox in the Ministry & we are undone! We become chained by our habits to the tails of those who hate & dispise us. I repeat it then that my anxieties are all alive for the health and long life of the King. He has not a friend on earth who would lament his loss as much & so long as I should.—Here we have singing, dancing, Edition: current; Page: [147] laugh & merriment, no assassinations, no treasons, rebellions nor other dark deeds. When our King goes out, they fall down and kiss the earth where he has trodden; and then they go to kissing one another, and this is the truest wisdom, they have as much happiness in one year as an Englishman in ten. The presence of the Queen’s Sister enlivens the Court, still more the birth of the princess, there are some little bickerings between the King & his parliament, but they end with a sic volo, sic jubes. The bottom of my page tells me it is time for me to end with assurances of the affectionate esteem with which I have the honor to be, Dear Madam, Your most obedient & most humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 11, 1786
Paris
James Monroe
Monroe, James

TO JAMES MONROE1

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I wrote you last on the 9th of July & since that have received yours of the 16th of June with the interesting intelligence it contained. I was entirely in the dark as to the progress of that negotiation, and concur entirely in the views you have taken of it.2 The difficulty on which it hangs is a sine qua non with us. It would be to deceive them & ourselves to suppose that an amity can be preserved while this right is withheld. Such a supposition would argue not only an ignorance of the people to whom this is most interesting, but an ignorance of Edition: current; Page: [148] the nature of man, or an inattention to it. Those who see but half way into our true interest will think that that concurs with the views of the other party. But those who see it in all it’s extent will be sensible that our true interest will be best promoted by making all the just claims of our fellow citizens, wherever situated, our own, by urging & enforcing them with the weight of our whole influence, & by exercising in this as in every other instance a just government in their concerns & making common cause even where our separate interest would seem opposed to theirs. No other conduct can attach us together; & on this attachment depends our happiness. The King of Prussia still lives, and is even said to be better. Europe is very quiet at present. The only germ of dissension which shews itself at present is in the quarter of Turkey. The Emperor, the Empress, & the Venetians seem all to be pecking at the Turks. It is not probable however that either of the two first will do anything to bring on an open rupture while the K of Prussia lives. You will perceive, by the letters I inclose to Mr. Jay that Lambe, under the pretext of ill health, declines returning either to Congress, Mr. Adams or myself. This circumstance makes me fear some malversation. The money appropriated to this object being in Holland, & having been always under the care of Mr. Adams, it was concerted between us that all the draughts should be on him. I know not therefore what sums may have been advanced to Lambe. I hope however nothing great. I am persuaded that an angel sent on this business, & so much limited in his terms, Edition: current; Page: [149] could have done nothing. But should Congress propose to try the line of negotiation again, I think they will perceive that Lambe is not a proper agent. I have written to Mr. Adams on the subject of a settlement with Lambe. There is little prospect of accommodation between the Algerines & the Portuguese & Neapolitans. A very valuable capture too, lately made by them on the Empress of Russia, bids fair to draw her on them. The probability is therefore that these three nations will be at war with them, & the possibility that could we furnish a couple of frigates, a convention might be formed with those powers, establishing a perpetual cruise on the coast of Algiers which would bring them to reason.1 Such a convention being left open to all powers willing to come into it, should have for it’s object a general peace, to be guaranteed to each by the whole. Were only two or three to begin a confederacy of this kind, I think every power in Europe would soon fall into it except France, England, & perhaps Spain & Holland. Of these, there is only England who would give any real aid to the Algerines. Morocco, you perceive, will be at peace with us. Were the honour & advantage of establishing such a confederacy out of the question, yet the necessity that the U S should have some marine force, & the happiness of this as the ostensible cause for beginning it, would decide on it’s propriety. It will be said there is no money in the treasury. There never will be money in the treasury till the confederacy shows it’s teeth. The states must see the rod; perhaps it must be felt by Edition: current; Page: [150] some one of them. I am persuaded all of them would rejoice to see every one obliged to furnish it’s contributions. It is not the difficulty of furnishing them which beggars the treasury, but the fear that others will not furnish as much. Every rational citizen must wish to see an effective instrument of coercion, & should fear to see it on any other element but the water. A naval force can never endanger our liberties, nor occasion bloodshed: a land force would do both. It is not in the choice of the states whether they will pay money to cover their trade against the Algerines. If they obtain a peace by negotiation they must pay a great sum of money for it; if they do nothing they must pay a great sum of money in the form of insurance; and in either way as great a one & probably less effectual than in the way of force. I look forward with anxiety to the approaching moment of your departure from Congress. Besides the interest of the Confederacy & of the State I have a personal interest in it. I know not to whom I may venture confidential communications after you are gone. Lee I scarcely know. Grayson is lazy. Carrington is industrious but not always as discreet as well-meaning, yet on the whole I believe he would be the best if you find him disposed to the correspondence. Engage him to begin it. I take the liberty of placing here my respects to Mrs. Monroe and assurances of the sincere esteem with which I am Dear Sir your friend & servant.

Edition: current; Page: [151]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 13, 1786
Paris
George Wythe
Wythe, George

TO GEORGE WYTHE

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—Your favors of Jan. 10 & Feb. 10, came to hand on the 20th & 2d of May. I availed myself of the first opportunity which occurred, by a gentleman going to England, of sending to Mr. Joddrel a copy of the Notes on our country, with a line informing him that it was you who had emboldened me to take that liberty. Madison, no doubt, informed you of the reason why I had sent only a single copy to Virginia. Being assured by him that they will not do the harm I had apprehended, but on the contrary may do some good, I propose to send thither the copies remaining on hand, which are fewer than I had intended. But of the numerous corrections they need, there are one or two so essential that I must have them made, by printing a few new leaves & substituting them for the old. This will be done while they are engraving a map which I have constructed of the country from Albemarle sound to Lake Erie, & which will be inserted in the book. A bad French translation which is getting out here, will probably oblige me to publish the original more freely, which it neither deserved nor was ever intended. Your wishes, which are laws to me, will justify my destining a copy for you, otherwise I should as soon have thought of sending you a hornbook; for there is no truth there that which is not familiar to you, and it’s errors I should hardly have proposed to treat you with.

Immediately on the receipt of your letter, I wrote to a correspondent at Florence to inquire after the Edition: current; Page: [152] family of Tagliaferro as you desired. I received his answer two days ago, a copy of which I now inclose. The original shall be sent by some other occasion. I will have the copper-plate immediately engraved. This may be ready within a few days, but the probability is that I shall be long getting an opportunity of sending it to you, as these rarely occur. You do not mention the size of the plate but, presuming it is intended for labels for the inside of books, I shall have it made of a proper size for that. I shall omit the word agisos, according to the license you allow me, because I think the beauty of a motto is to condense much matter in as few words as possible. The word omitted will be supplied by every reader. The European papers have announced that the assembly of Virginia were occupied on the revisal of their code of laws. This, with some other similar intelligence, has contributed much to convince the people of Europe, that what the English papers are constantly publishing of our anarchy, is false; as they are sensible that such a work is that of a people only who are in perfect tranquillity. Our act for freedom of religion is extremely applauded. The ambassadors & ministers of the several nations of Europe resident at this court have asked of me copies of it to send to their sovereigns, and it is inserted at full length in several books now in the press; among others, in the new Encyclopedie. I think it will produce considerable good even in these countries where ignorance, superstition, poverty, & oppression of body & mind in every form, are so firmly settled on the mass of the people, that their redemption from Edition: current; Page: [153] them can never be hoped. If the Almighty had begotten a thousand sons, instead of one, they would not have sufficed for this task. If all the sovereigns of Europe were to set themselves to work to emancipate the minds of their subjects from their present ignorance & prejudices, & that as zealously as they now endeavor the contrary, a thousand years would not place them on that high ground on which our common people are now setting out. Ours could not have been so fairly put into the hands of their own common sense had they not been separated from their parent stock & kept from contamination, either from them, or the other people of the old world, by the intervention of so wide an ocean. To know the worth of this, one must see the want of it here. I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowlege among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness. If anybody thinks that kings, nobles, or priests are good conservators of the public happiness send them here. It is the best school in the universe to cure them of that folly. They will see here with their own eyes that these descriptions of men are an abandoned confederacy against the happiness of the mass of the people. The omnipotence of their effect cannot be better proved than in this country particularly, where notwithstanding the finest soil upon earth, the finest climate under heaven, and a people of the most benevolent, the most gay and amiable character of which the human form is susceptible, where such a people I say, surrounded by so many Edition: current; Page: [154] blessings from nature, are yet loaded with misery by kings, nobles and priests, and by them alone. Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils, and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests & nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance. The people of England, I think, are less oppressed than here. But it needs but half an eye to see, when among them, that the foundation is laid in their dispositions for the establishment of a despotism. Nobility, wealth & pomp are the objects of their adoration. They are by no means the free-minded people we suppose them in America. Their learned men too are few in number, and are less learned and infinitely less emancipated from prejudice than those of this country. An event too seems to be preparing, in the order of things, which will probably decide the fate of that country. It is no longer doubtful that the harbour of Cherburg will be complete, that it will be a most excellent one, & capacious enough to hold the whole navy of France. Nothing has ever been wanting to enable this country to invade that, but a naval force conveniently stationed to protect the transports. This change of situation must oblige the English to keep up a great standing army, and there is no King, who, with sufficient force, is not always ready to make himself absolute. My paper warns me it is time to recommend myself to the Edition: current; Page: [155] friendly recollection of Mrs. Wythe, of Colo. Tagliaferro & his family & particularly of Mr. R. T.; and to assure you of the affectionate esteem with which I am Dear Sir your friend and servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 14, 1786
Paris
Francis Hopkinson
Hopkinson, Francis

TO FRANCIS HOPKINSON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

* * * After the present then I shall still be a letter in your debt. One would think that this balance did not justify a scold. The manner of curing the Essence d’Orient is, as you are apprised, kept secret here. There is no getting at it therefore openly. A friend has undertaken to try whether it can be obtained either by proposing the partnership you mention, or by finding out the process. You shall have the result of these endeavors. I think I sent you in January the 5th & 6th volumes of the Bibliotheque physico-eccononique, which are the last published. I have for yourself and Dr. Franklin the 17th & 18th livraisons of the Encyclopedie, & expect the 19th will come out very soon. These will form a respectable package & shall then be forwarded.

I will send as you propose, copies of my Notes to the Philosophical society and the City library as soon as I shall have received a map which I have constructed for them, & which is now engraving. This will be a map of the Country from Albemarle sound to Lake Erie, as exact as the materials hitherto published would enable me to make it, & brought into a Edition: current; Page: [156] single sheet. I have with great impatience hoped to receive from some of my friends a particular description of the Southern & Western limits of Pennsylvania. Perhaps it might still come in time, if you could send it to me in the moment almost of your receiving this. Indeed it would be very desirable if you could only write me an answer to these two queries, viz. How far Westward of F. Pitt does the Western line of Pennsylvania pass? At what point of the river Ohio does that line strike it? Should this arrive even after they shall have begun to strike off the map, I can have the plate altered so as that the latter copies shall give that line right. Mr. Rittenhouse will have the goodness to furnish you answers to these queries. Could you prevail on him to answer this also. When will the Lunarium be done?—I envy your Wednesday evenings entertainments with him & Dr. Franklin. They would be more valued by me than the whole week at Paris.—Will you be so good as to send me a copy of a Botanical book1 published by some person in the Country not far from Philadelphia, whose name I have not heard? It is a description of the plants of Pennsylvania. I have nothing new to Communicate to you either in the Arts or sciences. Our countryman Trumbul is here, a young painter of the most promising talents. He brought with him his Battle of Bunker’s hill & Death of Montgomery to have them engraved here, & we may add, to have them sold; for like Dr. Ramsey’s history, they are too true to suit the English palate. He returned last night from examining the Edition: current; Page: [157] king’s collection of paintings at Versailles, and acknoleges it surpassed not only every thing he had seen, but every idea he had ever formed of this art. I persuade him to fix himself here awhile, & then proceed to Rome. My daughter is well and joins me in respects to her & your common mother, to your lady & family also, as well as to our friends of the other house, meaning Mr. Rittenhouse’s. Be assured yourself of the perfect esteem with which I am, Dear Sir, your friend and servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 15, 1786
Paris
Charles Gravier
Gravier, Charles
Comte de Vergennes
Vergennes, Comte de

TO THE FRENCH MINISTER OF FOREIGN RELATIONS
(CHARLES GRAVIER, COMTE DE VERGENNES)

j. mss.
Monsieur,

—Dans l’entretien dont Votre Excellence m’honora il y a quelques jours sur l’importance d’établir dés à present le commerce entre la France et l’Amérique sur le meillure pied possible, entr’ autres objets de ce commerce le tabac fut cité comme susceptible d’un plus grand encouragement & advantage pour les deux nations. Continuellement dans la necessité de rectifier ce que je dis dans une langue que je parle si imparfaitement, je prierai V. E. de me permettre d’établir en Anglais la substance de ce que j’eus l’honneur de lui observer, en ajoutant quelques détails plus particuliers digne de son attention.

Je trouve que la consommation du tabac en France est evaluée de 15. à 30. millions pésant; l’estimation la plus probable la fixe cependant à 24. millions, qui à raison de 8. sols la livre, rendu dans un port de

Edition: current; Page: [158]
France, s’elevent à   9,600,000
J’evalue a 6s. par livre le prix de main d’œuvre des differents manufactures,   7,200,000 
Le revenu qu’en retire S. M. s’eleve à peu moins de 30,000,000 
——————
Ce qui en porte le prix total 46,800,000 
Mais il est vendu aux consommateurs à raison de 3. la livre, faisant 72,000,000 
——————
Il reste donc pour les frais de levée 25,200,000
——————

Ce qui fait à un sixième près, autant que le Roi reçoit, & porté à près d’une moitié les frais de levée de l’autre.

Ce serait une presumption de ma part, ètant etranger, de supposer mes calculs parfaitement exacts; je les ai tirés des meilleurs autorités & les plus désintéressées que j’ai pu trouver. V. E. verra jusqu’a quel point ils peuvent être erronés, & quelque considerable que soit l’erreur, je suis persuadé, qu’après la plus stricte ratification, elle trouvera que la levée de cette branche de revenu absorbe encore trop.

J’espere que V. E. trouvera ma justification de faire ces remarques dans le desir que j’ai, d’améliorer le commerce entre les deux nations, & dans les avantages que mon pays retirera de cette amélioration.

Le monopole de l’echat du tabac en France décourage également les négocians Français & Américains de l’y apporter & de prendre en échange des objèts de manufactures & productions de France. Il n’est pas moins contraire à l’esprit du commerce Edition: current; Page: [159] qu’aux dispositions des négocians, de porter une denrée à un marché ou une seule personne a le droit de l’acheter, & y fixe consequemment un prix dont le vendeur est obligé de se contenter, ou bien de remporter sa denrée en perdant son voyage. D’après cela l’experience fait voir qu’ils la portent à d’autres marchés & qu’ils reçoivent en échange des marchandises du pays ou ils la vendent. Je ne sais pas trop si la France n’a pas eté fournie par une nation voisine de quantités considerables de tabac depuis la paix, & obligée de payer en argent ce qui auroit pu l’être en objèts de manufactures, si les negocians François et Américains avoient apporté le tabac directement ici, je suppose aussi que les achats faits par les fermiers généraux en Amérique sont payés pour la plupart grande partie en argent: que cet argent est remis directement d’ici en Angleterre & fait une partie essentielle de la balance de ce que a fourni par cette nation contra celle-ci. Quand mème pour satisfaire le gouvernement à cet égard, les fermiers généraux, soit par eux mêmes soit par la compagnie qu’ils chargeraient de l’emplette de ces tabacs en Amérique, exiguant l’exportation proportionnée de marchandises de France pour donner en échange, ce serait un expedient inutile, & qui ne ferait que livrer au monopole les exportations ainsi que les importations entre la France & l’Amérique; car assurés de ne point avoir de rivaux dans la vente des marchandises de France, ils ne les vendraient vraisemblablement pas à des prix assez moderés pour en encourager la consommation & les mettres à même de soutenir la concurrence avec des articles semblables venant Edition: current; Page: [160] d’autres pays. Je suis persuadé qu’on peut éviter cette exportation d’argent & y substituer celle des denrées, en laissant les deux opérations aux negocians Français & Américains au lieu des Fermiers généraux. Ils importeront une quantité suffisante de tabac, si on leur accorde une parfaite liberté pour la vente; & ils recevront en payement des vins, des huiles, des eaux de vie & des produits des manufactures au lieu d’argent. Ils se forceront l’un l’autre, par la concurrence à porter des tabacs de la meilleure qualité, à donner aux manufacturiers Français en entier equivalent de leurs marchandises, & à les vendre aux consommateurs Américains au plus bas prix qu’ils pourront accorder, en les encourageant ainsi à les consommer de préférence aux marchandises des autres pays. Il n’est pas necessaire d’encourager cet échange par aucun sacrifice des revenus du Roi. Je n’entends point avancer ici rien qui puisse nuire soit a S. M. soit à son peuple: au contraire, le moyen que j’ai l’honneur de proposer augmentera le revenu du Roi en rendant meilleure la condition des vendeurs & des acheteurs. Il ne m’ apportient point de dire quel système de levée serait plus analogue à l’organisation de ce Gouvernement, ou si l’on ne pourrait pas tirer quelques lumières utiles de la practique du pays qui à eté jusqu’ici le principal entrepôt de cette denrée. Son système est simple & peu dispendieux. Celui qui importe y paye en entier le droit dû au Roi; & comme il serait incommode pour lui de le faire avant d’avoir vendu son tabac, il lui est permis de le déposer dans les magasins du Roi, sous la garde des Officers Royaux, aussitôt qu’il a vendu, il va avec Edition: current; Page: [161] l’acheteur au magasin & l’argent est divisé entre le Roi & lui, chacun ce qui lui revient, & l’acheteur enleve le tabac. Le payement des droits du Roi est ainsi assuré en argent comptant. Je ne scaurais dire quels çont les frais de levée, mais certainement ils ne doivent pas exceder 6 par tonneau de 1000 peasant. Le Gouvernement y leve un plus fort droit sur le tabac qu’ici; cependant tel est l’attrait et l’avantage d’une entière liberté, pour la vente, que le negociant porte lá son tabac & trouve son compte à l’y porter. Si par une simplification de la levée des droits du Roi sur le tabac, on pouvait en reduire les frais même à 5 p % ou à un million & demi au lieu de 25 millions, le prix pour le consommateur serait reduit de 3 à 2 la livre, car voici, comme je calcule:

Prix, frais de manufacture & revenu sur 24 millions pesant de tabac (fixé comme ci-dessus), 46,800,000
5 p % sur 30,000,000 frais de levée   1,500,000
——————
Produit que payerait le consommateur à raison d’environ 2 la livre 48,300,000
Mais il paye maintenant, à 3 la livre 72,000,000
——————
La difference est de 23,700,000

Au moyen de cette réduction d’un tiers du prix, il serait à la portée d’une nouvelle & nombreuse classe du peuple qui ne peut maintenant se procurer cet objet de luxe, & la consommation augmenterait probablement dans une proportion égale à la réduction du prix, si non dans une plus grande, c’est à dire de 24 à 36 millions de livres: et le Roi continuant à recevoir 25s par lb comme à présent, recevrait 45 millions au lieu de 30, tandis que ses sujets ne payeraient Edition: current; Page: [162] que 2 ce qui jusqu’ici leur en a coûté 3. Cu si, par évenément, la consommation n’augmentait pas, il ne leverait sur ses peuples que 48 millions au lieu de 72. & laisserait dans leur bourses 24. millions soit pour y rester, soit pour être levés d’une autre manière; si l’état de ses revenus l’exigeait. Il mettrait en même tems ses sujets à même de placer pour 9. à 10. millions de plus de leurs denrées & manufactures, au lieu d’envoyer annuellement à peu près cette somme en argent pour enrichir une nation voisine.

J’ai entendu faire deux objections à la suppression de ce monopole.

1°. Que cela pourrait augmenter l’importation de tabac en contrebande. 2°. Que cela diminuerait les moyens des Fermiers-généraux pour les prêts d’argent qu’ils font occasionellement au trésor public. Ceux qui connoissent mieux que moi les détails & les circonstances de ce pays, répondront sûrement mieux que je ne scaurais le faire à ces deux objections. Quant à la première je remarquerai cependant que la contrebande ne peut pas augmenter par la diminution de ses appas. Elle est presentement encouragée, en ce que pouvant vendre 60s ce qui n’en coûte que 14. elle offre un bénéfice de 46s lorsque le prix sera reduit de 60s. à 40s. ce bénéfice ne sera plus que de 26s. c’est à dire peu plus de la moitié de ce qu’il est actuellement. La conséquence ne paroit donc pas naturelle, que la contrebande doive augmenter par la réduction de près de moitié de ses profits. Quant à la seconde objection, en supposant (pour éclaircissement, & sans prétendre la fixer) la proportion Edition: current; Page: [163] de la ferme sur le tabac à un huitième de la masse entière des fermes, les moyens des fermiers généraux pour prêter seront reduits d’un 8me. c’est à dire qu’ils ne pourront par la suite prêter que sept millions, tandis que par le passé ils en prêtaient huit. Or il reste à considérer si ce 8me. (ou telle autre proportion que ce soit) mérite le sacrifice annuel de 24. millions, ou si un sacrifice beaucoup moindre en faveur de quelqu’ autre capitaliste ne procurerait pas les mêmes prêts d’argent par la voie ordinaire.

Tandis qu’une augmentation de revenu pour la couronne, une diminution d’impôt sur le peuple & un paiement en marchandises au lieu d’argent sont les avantages que doivent vraisemblablement résulter pour la France de la suppression du monopole sur le tabac, nous avons aussi lieu d’en espérer quelques avantages de nôtre côté; & ce n’est que cet espoir seul que pourroit me justifier d’entrer dans les présents détails. Je ne m’attends point qu’au nombre de ces avantages soit celui d’une augmentation de prix; les autres marchés d’Europe ont trop d’influence sur cet article, pour pouvoir se flater d’aucune augmentation sensible de prix. Mais le principal avantage que j’en attends est une augmentation de consommation qui, en nous ouvrant un plus grand débouché, procurera en conséquence de l’emploi à un plus grand nombre de cultivateurs; & la même proportion d’augmentation, en notre faveur, de cette denrée, sera infailliblement celle du débouché additionel qui s’ouvrira aux marchandises de France & à l’emploi des bras qui les produisent. J’espère aussi qu’en attirant ici nos negocians, ils pourront prendre Edition: current; Page: [164] en échange plusieurs marchandises de meilleure qualité & a meilleur prix. J’ajoute avec sincérité que mon cœur est vivement touché de l’espoir ultérieur qu’en liant les deux nations d’intérêts ce sera les lier plus étroitement encore d’amitié. Dans le vrai, il n’existe pas deux pays plus propres aux échanges de commerce. La France a besoin de riz, de tabac, de potasse, de fourrures, & de bois de construction. Nous avons besoin de vins, d’huiles, des eaux-de-vie, & d’objets de manufactures. Il règne entre les deux peuples une affection qui les porter à se favoriser l’un l’autre. S’ ils ne se rejoignent donc pas dans leurs propres ports pour faire ces échanges, cela prouve qu’il y a quelque obstacle essentiel dans les moyens. Nous avons reçu trop de preuves des dispositions amicales de S. M. envers les Etats-Unis, & nous connoissons trop bien son zèle affectueux pour ses sujéts, pour douter de sa bonne volonté d’ecarter ces obstacles lorsqu’ils seront clairement démontrés. C’est à sa sagesse à decider si le monopole qui fait le sujèt de cette lettre peut a juste titre être mis au nombre des principaux. C’est une grande consolation pour moi, qu’en soumettant ces observations aux lumieres de S. M. Votre Exce. rectifiera mes idées la, ou une connoissance insuffisante des faits peut m’avoir induit en erreur, & qu’en même tems que les intérêts du Roi & de son peuple soit le principal objet de votre attention, vous en trouverez un de plus dans ces dispositions envers nous qui ont si souvent favorisé notre nation. Nous invoquons ardemment le ciel pour qu’il veille avec un soin particulier sur la vie & le bonheur de S. M. & pour qu’elle soit longtems Edition: current; Page: [165] soulagée par vos sages conseils dans le fardeau du Gouvernement. Permettez moi d’ajouter l’assurance du profond respect & de la considération distinguée avec lesquels j’ai l’honneur d’etre de votre Excellence, le tres humble & tres obeissant serviteur.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 16, 1786
Paris
Jean Pierre Brissot De Warville
De Warville, Jean Pierre Brissot

TO JEAN PIERRE BRISSOT DE WARVILLE

j. mss.
Sir,

—I have read with very great satisfaction the sheets of your work on the commerce of France & the United States which you were so good as to put into my hands. I think you treat the subject, as far as these sheets go, in an excellent manner. Were I to select any particular passages as giving me particular satisfaction, it would be those wherein you prove to the United States that they will be more virtuous, more free & more happy, emploied in agriculture, than as carriers or manufacturers. It is a truth, and a precious one for them, if they could be persuaded of it. I am also particularly pleased with your introduction. You have properly observed that we can no longer be called Anglo-Americans. That appellation now describes only the inhabitants of Nova Scotia, Canada, &c. I had applied that of Federo-Americans to our citizens, as it would not be so decent for us to assume to ourselves the flattering appellation of Free-Americans. There are two passages in this work on which I am able to give information. The first is in page 62; “ils auront le coton quand ils voudront se livrer à ce genre de culture,” Edition: current; Page: [166] and in the note “l’on voit dans la baie de Massachusetts, &c.” The four Southernmost states make a great deal of cotton. Their poor are almost entirely clothed in it in winter & summer. In winter they wear shirts of it, & outer clothing of cotton & wool mixed. In Summer their shirts are linnen but the outer clothing cotton. The dress of the women is almost entirely of cotton manufactured by themselves, except the richer class, and even many of these wear a good deal of home-spun cotton. It is as well manufactured as the calicoes of Europe. These 4 states furnish a great deal of cotton to the states north of them, who cannot make it, as being too cold. There is no neighborhood in any part of the United States without a water-grist-mill for grinding the corn of the neighborhood. Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, abound with large manufacturing mills for the exportation of flour. There are abundance of saw-mills in all the states. Furnaces and forges of iron, I believe, in every state, I know they are in the nine Northernmost. There are many mills for plating & slitting iron. And I think there are many distilleries of rum from Norfolk in Virginia to Portsmouth in New Hampshire. I mention these circumstances because your note seems to imply that these things are only in the particular states you mention.

The second passage is pages 101 & 102 where you speak of the “ravages causés par l’ abus des eaux de vie,” which seems, by the note in page 101, to be taken on authority of Smith. Nothing can be less true than what that author says on this subject; and Edition: current; Page: [167] we may say in general that there are as many falsehoods as facts in his work. I think drunkenness is much more common in all the American States than in France. But it is less common there than in England. You may form an idea from this of the state of it in America. Smith saw everything thro’ the medium of strong prejudice. Besides this, he does not hesitate to write palpable lies, which he was conscious were such. When you proceed to form your table of American exports & imports, I make no doubt you will consult the American traveller,1 the estimates in which are nearer the truth than those of Ld Sheffield & Deane, as far as my knowlege of the facts enables me to judge. I must beg your pardon for having so long detained these sheets. I did not finish my American dispatches till the night before last, & was obliged yesterday to go to Versailles. I have the honour to be with very great respect, Sir, your most obedient & most humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 20, 1786
HonorÉ Gabriel Requetti
Requetti, HonorÉ Gabriel

TO HONORÉ GABRIEL REQUETTI, COMTE DE MIRABEAU

j. mss.

“Il n’est pas un pays sur la terre, je n’en excepte pas les nouvelles republiques Americaines, on il suffix á un homme de pratiquer les vertus sociales pour participer a tous les avantages de la société.” Lettre de M. le comte de Mirabeau sur M. de Cagliostro, pa. 48.

A person who esteems highly the writings and talents of the Count de Mirabeau, and his disposition to exert them for the good of mankind, takes the Edition: current; Page: [168] liberty of inclosing him the original and a translation of an act1 of one of the legislatures of the American republics, with which the Count de Mirabeau was probably not acquainted when he wrote the above paragraph. It is part of that general reformation of their laws on which those republics have been occupied since the establishment of peace and independance among them. The Count de Mirabeau will perhaps be able on some occasion to avail mankind of this example of emancipating human reason.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 25, 1786
Paris
Charles Gysbert
Gysbert, Charles

TO CHARLES GYSBERT, COUNT VAN HOGENDORP

j. mss.
Sir,

—Your favour of the 2d instant has been duly received, and I employ the first moment which has been at my disposal to answer it. The author of the part of the new Encyclopedie which relates to Political economy having asked of me materials for the article Etat Unis, stating a number of questions relative to them, I answered them as minutely & exactly as was in my power. He has from these compiled the greater part of that article. I take the liberty of inclosing you one of them, which will give you all the details to which your letter refers. I can even refer you to the pages which answer your several questions.

  • Qu.—What is the extent of the Congress power in managing the affairs of the U. States?

  • The 6th & 9th articles of the confederation will Edition: current; Page: [169] explain these powers. Those which it is thought they still need you will find indicated in this pamphlet, pa. 29, 30, and in page 31–6, their powers of coercion.

  • Qu.—What are the expenses of Congress?

  • Ans.—Pages 42–6, and 43–6.

  • Qu.—Which the revenues?

  • Ans.—As yet they have no standing revenues; they have asked standing revenues as shall be noted under a subsequent question. In the meantime they call annually for the sums necessary for the federal government. See pages 43, 44.

  • Qu.—In which way do the particular states contribute to the general expenses?

  • Ans.—Congress once a year calculate the sum necessary the succeeding year to pay the interest of their debt, and to defray the expenses of the federal government. This sum they then apportion on the several states according to the table page 44.a. And the states then raise each its part by such taxes as they think proper.

  • Qu.—Are general duties, to be levied by Congress, still expected to be acquiesced to by the states?

  • Ans.—See page 30, a. New York, the only state which had not granted the impost of 5. per cent, has done it at a late session; but has reserved to herself the appointment of the collectors. Congress will not receive it upon that condition. It is believed that New York will recede from this condition. Still a Edition: current; Page: [170] difficulty will remain, the impost of 5. per cent not being deemed sufficient to pay the interest of our whole debt, foreign & domestic, Congress asked at the same time (that is in 1783) supplementary funds to make good the deficiency. Several of the states have not yet provided those supplementary funds. Some of those which have provided them have declared that the Impost & supplementary fund shall commence only when all the states have granted both. Congress have desired those states to uncouple the grants, so that each may come into force separately as soon as it is given by all the states. Pennsylvania has declined this, saying that if the impost be granted alone, as that will do little more than pay the interest of the foreign debt, the other states will be less urgent to provide for the interest of the domestic debt. She wishes therefore to avail herself of the general desire to provide for foreign creditors in order to enforce a just attention to the domestic ones. The question is whether it will be more easy to prevail on Pennsylvania to recede from this condition or the other states to comply with it. The treaties with the Indians have experienced a greater delay than was expected. They are however completed, and the Surveyors are gone into that country to lay out the land in lots. As soon as some progress is made in this, the sale of lands will commence, and I have a firm faith that they will in a short time absorb the whole of the certificates of the domestic debt.

The Philadelphia bank was incorporated by Congress. This is perhaps the only instance of their having done that, which they had no power to do. Edition: current; Page: [171] Necessity obliged them to give this institution the appearance of their countenance, because in that moment they were without any other resource for money. The legislature of Pennsylvania however passed an act of incorporation for the bank, & declared that the holders of stock should be responsible only to the amount of their stock. Lately that legislature has repealed their act. The consequence is that the bank is now altogether a private institution and every holder is liable for it’s engagements in his whole property. This has had a curious effect. It has given those who deposit money in the bank a greater faith in it, while it has rendered the holders very discontented, as being more exposed to risk, and has induced many to sell out, so that I have heard (I know not how truly) that bank stock sells somewhat below par, it has been said 7½ per cent; but as the publication was from the enemies of the bank, I do not give implicit faith to it. With respect to the article “Etats Unis” of the Encyclopedie now inclosed, I am far from making myself responsible for the whole of the article. The two first sections are taken chiefly from the Abbé Raynal & they are therefore wrong exactly in the same proportion; the other sections are generally right. Even in them however there is here & there an error. But on the whole it is good; and the only thing as yet printed which gives a just idea of the American constitutions. There will be another good work, a very good one, published here soon by Mr. Mazzei who has been many years a resident of Virginia, is well informed, and possessed of a masculine understanding. Edition: current; Page: [172] I should rather have said it will be published in Holland, for I believe it cannot be printed here. I should be happy indeed in an opportunity of visiting Holland; but I know not when it will occur. In the mean time it would give me great pleasure to see you here. I think you would find both pleasure & use in such a trip. I feel a sincere interest in the fate of your country, and am disposed to wish well to either party only as I can see in their measures a tendency to bring on an amelioration of the condition of the people, an increase in the mass of happiness. But this is a subject for conversation. My paper warns me that it is time to assure you of the esteem & respect with which I have the honour to be Dear Sir your most obedient humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 27, 1786
Paris
Mrs. Paradise
Mrs. Paradise

TO MRS. PARADISE

j. mss.
Dear Madam,

—I am honored with your letter of the 15th inst. by Mr. Voss. I concur with you in opinion that it is for Mr. Paradise’s interest to go as soon as possible to America and also to turn all his debts into one, which may be to Mr. Gist or any other: upon condition that the person giving him this credit shall be satisfied to receive annually his interest in money, and shall not require consignments of tobacco. This is the usual condition of the tobacco merchants. No other law can be more oppressive to the mind or fortune, and long experience has proved to us that there never was an instance Edition: current; Page: [173] of a man’s getting out of debt who was once in the hands of a tobacco merchant & bound to consign his tobacco to him. It is the most delusive of all snares. The merchant feeds the inclination of his customer to be credited till he gets the burthen of debt so increased that he cannot throw it off at once, he then begins to give him less for his tobacco & ends with giving him what he pleases for it, which is always so little that though the demands of the customer for necessaries be reduced ever so low in order to get himself out of debt, the merchant lowers his price in the same proportion so as always to keep such a balance against his customer as will oblige him to continue his consignments of tobacco. Tobacco always sells better in Virginia than in the hands of a London merchant. The confidence which you have been pleased to place in me induces me to take the liberty of advising you to submit to any thing rather than to an obligation to ship your tobacco. A mortgage of property, the most usurious interest, or any thing else will be preferable to this. If Mr. Paradise can get no single money lender to pay his debts, perhaps those to whom he owes might be willing to wait, on his placing in the hands of trustees in London whom they should approve, certain parts of his property, the profits of which should suffice to pay them within a reasonable time. Mr. Voss gives me hopes of seeing Mr. Paradise here. I shall not fail to give him such information as my knowledge of the country to which he is going may render useful: nor of availing myself of every occasion of rendering him, yourself & family every service Edition: current; Page: [174] in my power, having the honour to be with sentiments of the most perfect esteem & respect, Madam, &c.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 27, 1786
Paris
Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr.
Randolph, Thomas Mann, Jr.

TO THOMAS MANN RANDOLPH, JR.

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I am honoured with your favour of the 16th instant, and desirous, without delay, of manifesting my wishes to be useful to you I shall venture to you some thoughts on the course of your studies, which must be submitted to the better choice with which you are surrounded. A longer race through life may have entitled me to seize some truths which have not yet been presented to your observation & more intimate knowledge of the country in which you are to live & of the circumstances in which you will be placed, may enable me to point your attention to the branches of science which will administer the most to your happiness there. The foundations which you have laid in languages and mathematics are proper for every superstructure. The former exercises our memory while that and no other faculty is yet matured & prevents our acquiring habits of idleness. The latter gives exercise to our reason, as soon as that has acquired a certain degree of strength, and stores the mind with truths which are useful in other branches of science. At this moment then a second order of preparation is to commence. I shall propose to you that it be extensive, comprehending Astronomy, Natural Philosophy (or Physics), Natural Edition: current; Page: [175] History, Anatomy, Botany & Chemistry. No inquisitive mind will be content to be ignorant of any of these branches. But I would advise you to be contented with a course of lectures in most of them, without attempting to make yourself master of the whole. This is more than any genius joined to any length of life is equal to. You will find among them some one study to which your mind will more particularly attach itself. This then I would pursue & propose to attain eminence in. Your own country furnishes the most aliment for Natural History, Botany & Physics & as you express a fondness for the former you might make it your principal object, endeavoring however to make yourself more acquainted with the two latter than with other branches likely to be less useful. In fact you will find botany offering it’s charms to you at every step—during summer & Physics in every season. All these branches of science will be better attained by attending courses of lectures in them. You are now in a place where the best courses upon earth are within your reach and being delivered in your native language—you lose no part of their benefit. Such an opportunity you will never again have. I would therefore strongly press on you to fix no other limit to your stay in Edinborough than your having got thro this whole course. The omission of any one part of it will be an affliction & loss to you as long as you live. Beside the comfort of knowledge, every science is auxiliary to every other. While you are attending these courses you can proceed by yourself in a regular series of historical reading. It would Edition: current; Page: [176] be a waste of time to attend a professor of this. It is to be acquired from books and if you pursue it by yourself you can accommodate it to your other reading so as to fill up those chasms of time not otherwise appropriated. There are portions of the day too when the mind should be eased, particularly after dinner it should be applied to lighter occupation: history is of this kind. It exercises principally the memory. Reflection also indeed is necessary but not generally in a laborious degree. To conduct yourself in this branch of science you have only to consider what æras of it merit a grasp & what a particular attention, & in each æra also to distinguish between the countries the knowledge of whose history will be useful & those where it suffices only to be not altogether ignorant. Having laid down your plan as to the branches of history you would pursue, the order of time will be your sufficient guide. After what you have read in antient history I should suppose Millot’s digest would be useful & sufficient. The histories of Greece and Rome are worthy a good degree of attention, they should be read in the original authors. The transition from antient to modern history will be best effected by reading Gibbon’s. Then a general history of the principal states of Europe, but particular ones of England. Here too the original writers are to be preferred. Kennet published a considerable collection of these in 3 vols. folio, but there are some others not in his collection well worth being read. After the history of England that of America will claim your attention. Here too original authors & not compilers are best. An Edition: current; Page: [177] author who writes of his own times or of times near his own presents in his own ideas & manner the best picture of the moment of which he writes. History need not be hurried but may give way to the other sciences because history can be pursued after you shall have left your present situation as well as while you remain in it. When you shall have got thro this second order of preparation the study of the law is to be begun. This like history is to be acquired from books. All the aid you will want will be a catalogue of the books to be read & the order in which they are to be read. It being absolutely indifferent in what place you carry on this reading I should propose your doing it in France. The advantages of this will be that you will at the same time acquire the habit of speaking French which is the object of a year or two. You may be giving attention to such of the fine arts as your turn may lead you to & you will be forming an acquaintance with the individuals & characters of a nation with whom we must long remain in the closest intimacy & to whom we are bound by the strong ties of gratitude and policy. A nation in short of the most amiable dispositions on earth, the whole mass of which is penetrated with an affection for us. You might before you return to your own country make a visit to Italy also.

I should have performed the office of but half a friend were I to confine myself to the improvement of the mind only. Knowledge indeed is a desirable, a lovely possession, but I do not scruple to say that health is more so. It is of little consequence to store Edition: current; Page: [178] the mind with science if the body be permitted to become debilitated. If the body be feeble, the mind will not be strong—the sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all exercises walking is best. A horse gives but a kind of half exercise, and a carriage is no better than a cradle. No one knows, till he tries, how easily a habit of walking is acquired. A person who never walked three miles will in the course of a month become able to walk 15 or 20 without fatigue. I have known some great walkers & had particular accounts of many more: and I never knew or heard of one who was not healthy & long lived. This species of exercise therefore is much to be advised. Should you be disposed to try it, as your health has been feeble, it will be necessary for you to begin with a little, & to increase it by degrees. For the same reason you must probably at first ascribe to it the hours most precious for study, I mean those about the middle of the day. But when you shall find yourself strong you may venture to take your walks in the evening after the digestion of the dinner is pretty well over. This is making a compromise between health & study. The latter would be too much interrupted were you to take from it the early hours of the day and habit will soon render the evening’s exercise as salutary as that of the morning. I speak this from my own experience having, from an attachment to study, very early in life, made this arrangement of my time, having ever observed it, & still observing it, & always with perfect success. Not less than two hours a day should be devoted to exercise, and the weather should be little Edition: current; Page: [179] regarded. A person not sick will not be injured by getting wet. It is but taking a cold bath which never gives a cold to any one. Brute animals are the most healthy, & they are exposed to all weather and, of men, those are healthiest who are the most exposed. The recipe of those two descriptions of beings is simple diet, exercise and the open air, be it’s state what it will; and we may venture to say that this recipe will give health & vigor to every other description.—By this time I am sure you will think I have sermonized enough. I have given you indeed a lengthy lecture. I have been led through it by my zeal to serve you; if in the whole you find one useful counsel, that will be my reward, & a sufficient one. Few persons in your own country have started from as advantageous ground as that whereon you will be placed. Nature and fortune have been liberal to you. Every thing honourable or profitable there is placed within your own reach, and will depend on your own efforts. If these are exerted with assiduity, and guided by unswerving honesty, your success is infallible: and that it may be as great as you wish is the sincere desire of Dear Sir, your most affectionate humble servant.

P. S. Be so good as to present me affectionately to your brother & cousin.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 27, 1786
Paris
John Adams
Adams, John

TO JOHN ADAMS

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—Your favour of July 31. was lately delivered me. The papers inform me you are at the Edition: current; Page: [180] Hague, and, incertain what stay you may make there I send this by Mr. Voss who is returned to London by the way of Amsterdam. I inclose you the last letters from Mr. Barclay & Mr. Carmichael by which we may hope our Peace with Morocco is signed, thanks to the good offices of a nation which is honest if it is not wise. This event with the naval cruises of Portugal will I hope quiet the Atlantic for us. I am informed by authority to be depended on, that insurance is made at L’Orient, on American vessels sailing under their own flag, against every event at the price usually paid for risks of the sea alone. Still however the most important of our Marts, the Mediterranean, is shut. I wrote you a proposition to accept Mr. Barclay’s offer of going to Algiers. I have no hope of it’s making peace; but it may add to our information, abate the ardor of those pyrates against us, and shut the mouths of those who might impute our success at Morocco & failure at Algiers to a judicious appointment to the one place & an injudicious one at the other. Let me hear from you as soon as possible on this & if you accede to it send me all the necessary papers ready signed. I inclose you the article “Etats Unis” of one of the volumes of the Encyclopedie, lately published. The author, M. de Meusnier, was introduced to me by the D. de la Rochefoucault. He asked of me information on the subject of our states, & left with me a number of queries to answer. Knowing the importance of setting to rights a book so universally diffused & which will go down to late ages, I answered his queries as fully as I was able, went Edition: current; Page: [181] into a great many calculations for him, and offered to give further explanations when necessary. He then put his work into my hands. I read it, and was led by that into a still greater number of details by way of correcting what he had at first written, which was indeed a mass of errors and misconceptions from beginning to end. I returned him his work & dry details, but he did not communicate it to me after he had corrected it. It has therefore come out with many errors which I would have advised him to correct, & the rather as he was very well disposed. He has still left in a great deal of the Abbé Raynal, that is to say a great deal of falsehood, and he has stated other things on bad information. I am sorry I had not another correction of it. He has paid me for my trouble in the true coin of the country, most unmerciful compliment. This, with his other errors I should surely have struck out had he sent me the work, as I expected, before it went to the press. I find in fact that he is happiest of whom the world sais least, good or bad.—I think if I had had a little more warning, my desire to see Holland, as well as to meet again Mrs. Adams & yourself, would have tempted me to take a flying trip there. I wish you may be tempted to take Paris in your return. You will find many very happy to see you here, & none more so than, Dear Sir, your friend and servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 1, 1786
Paris
Ezra Stiles
Stiles, Ezra

TO EZRA STILES

j. mss.
Sir,

—I am honoured with your letter of May 8. That which you mention to have written in the Edition: current; Page: [182] winter preceding never came to hand. I return you my thanks for the communications relative to the Western country. When we reflect how long we have inhabited those parts of America which lie between the Alleghaney & the ocean, that no monument has ever been found in them which indicated the use of iron among its’ aboriginal inhabitants, that they were as far advanced in arts, at least, as the inhabitants on the other side the Alleghaney, a good degree of infidelity may be excused as to the new discoveries which suppose regular fortifications of brickwork to have been in use among the Indians on the waters of the Ohio. Intrenchments of earth they might indeed make: but brick is more difficult. The art of making it may have preceded the use of iron, but it would suppose a greater degree of industry than men in the hunter state usually possess. I should like to know whether General Parsons himself saw actual bricks among the remains of fortifications. I suppose the settlement of our continent is of the most remote antiquity. The similitude between its’ inhabitants & those of Eastern parts of Asia renders it probable that ours are descended from them or they from ours. The latter is my opinion, founded on this single fact. Among the red inhabitants of Asia there are but a few languages radically different, but among our Indians the number of languages is infinite which are so radically different as to exhibit at present no appearance of their having been derived from a common source. The time necessary for the generation of so many Edition: current; Page: [183] languages must be immense. A countryman of yours, a Mr. Lediard, who was with Capt. Cook on his last voiage, proposes either to go to Kamschatka, cross from thence to the Western side of America, and penetrate through the Continent to our side of it, or to go to Kentucke, & thence penetrate Westwardly to the South sea, the vent from hence lately to London, where if he finds a passage to Kamschatka or the Western coast of America he would avail himself of it: otherwise he proposes to return to our side of America to attempt that route. I think him well calculated for such an enterprise, & wish he may undertake it. Another countryman of yours Mr. Trumbul has paid us a visit here & brought with him two pictures which are the admiration of the Connoisseurs. His natural talents for this art seem almost unparalleled. I send you the 5th & 6th vols. of the Bibliotheque physico ecconomie erroneously lettered as the 7th & 8th, which are not yet come out. I enclose with them the article “Etats Unis” of the new Encyclopedie. This article is recently published, & a few copies have been printed separate. For this twelvemonth past little new & excellent has appeared either in literature or the arts. An Abbé Rochon has applied the metal called platina to the telescope instead of the mixed metal of which the specula were formerly composed. It is insusceptible of rust, as gold is, and he thinks it’s reflective power equal to that of the mixed metal. He has observed a very curious effect of the natural chrystals, & especially of those of Iceland; which is that lenses made of them have two distinct Edition: current; Page: [184] focuses, and present you the object distinctly at two different distances. This I have seen myself. A new method of copying has been invented here. I called on the inventor, & he presented me a plate of copper, a pen & ink. I wrote a note on the plate, and in about three quarters of an hour he brought me an hundred copies, as perfect as the imagination can conceive. Had I written my name, he could have put it to so many bonds, so that I should have acknoleged the Signature to be my own. The copying of paintings in England is very conceivable. Any number may be taken, which shall give you the true lineaments & colouring of the original without injuring that. This is so like creation, that had I not seen it, I should have doubted it.—The death of the K. of Prussia, which happened on the 17th inst. will probably employ the pens, if not the swords of politicians. We had exchanged the ratifications of our treaty with him. The articles of this which were intended to prevent or miticate wars, by lessening their aliment are so much applauded in Europe that I think the example will be followed. I have the honour to be with very sincere esteem, Dear Sir, your most obedt. humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
François Soulés
Soulés, François

ANSWERS TO THE QUERIES OF M. SOULÉS1

I am unable to say what was the number of Americans engaged in the affair of Bunker’s Hill. I am Edition: current; Page: [185] able however to set right a gross falsehood of Andrews. He says that the Americans there engaged were constantly relieved by fresh hands. This is entirely untrue. Bunker Hill, or rather Breed’s hill, whereon the action was, is a peninsular joined to the main land by a neck of land almost level with the water, a few paces wide, & between one & two hundred toises long. On one side of this neck lay a vessel of war, & on the other several gun boats. The body of our army was on the main land; & only a detachment had been sent into the peninsular. When the enemy determined to make the attack, they sent the vessel of war & gun boats to take the position before mentioned to cut off all reinforcements, which they effectually did. Not so much as a company could venture into the relief of the men engaged, who therefore fought thro’ the whole action & at length were obliged to retire across the neck thro’ the cross fire of the vessels before mentioned. Single persons passed along the neck during the engagement, particularly General Putnam.

Edition: current; Page: [186]

On the fall of Montgomery & his aids at Quebec, there were present Colo. Campbell & Major Dubois. Campbell, tho’ having the rank of Colo. was only of the staff; Dubois was of the line. The usage of all nations therefore authorized the latter to take the command. But it was a case for which Congress had not yet provided. Campbell availed himself of this, & believing, on the sight of blood, that all was lost, ordered a retreat.

The speech to the Indians, in Andrews page 357 is a little altered & abridged. You will find the genuine one in the Journal of Congress of July 1775.

I do not distinctly enough recollect the anecdote of the Old man’s company related by Andrews, to affirm it in all it’s parts. I think I recollect in general that there was such a company.

The questions relative to General Thomas I could only have answered indistinctly from my own memory; but fortunately there came to Paris a few days ago, & will yet continue there a few days, a Colonel Blackden, an American officer of good understanding & of truth, & who was at the latter part of the affair of Quebec. He was at the surprise of Ticonderoga by Allen, & continued with the army until 1781. I have spoken with him on this subject, and find he possesses treasures of details which will be precious to M. Soulés. Any day that M. Soulés will do me the honour to come & take a famille soupe with me (after the 16th inst.) if he will give me notice in the morning, I will ask Colo. Blackden to meet him here, & will make them acquainted. He is perfectly disposed to give all the information in his power to M. Edition: current; Page: [187] Soulés, & whatever he gives may be relied on. To him then I shall refer M. Soulés for answers to his military questions, & will wait his orders, recommending despatch, as Colo. Blackden has not long to stay.

The Stamp act was passed in Feb, 1765.

What powers the Parliament might rightly exercise over us, & whether any, had never been declared either by them or us. They had very early taken the gigantic step of passing the navigation act. The colonies remonstrated violently against it, and one of them, Virginia, when she capitulated to the Commonwealth of England, expressly capitulated for a free trade. See the articles in the Notes on Virginia, p. 201. This capitulation however was as little regarded as the original right, restored by it, had been. The navigation act was re-enacted by Charles 2 & was enforced. And we had been so long in the habit of seeing them consider us merely as objects for the extension of their commerce, & of submitting to every duty or regulation imposed with that view, that we had ceased to complain of them. But when they proposed to consider us as objects of taxation, all the states took the alarm. Yet so little had we attended to this subject, that our advocates did not at first know on what ground to take their stand. Mr. Dickenson, a lawyer of more ingenuity than sound judgment, and still more timid than ingenious, not daring to question the authority to regulate commerce so as best to answer their own purpose, to which we had so long submitted, admitted that authority in its utmost extent. He Edition: current; Page: [188] acknoledged in his Farmer’s to Manufacture [illegible] that they could levy duties internal or external, paiable in Great Britain or in the States. He only required that these duties should be bonâ fide for the regulation of commerce, & not to raise a solid revenue. He admitted therefore that they might controul our commerce, but not tax us. This mysterious system took for a moment in America as well as in Europe. But sounder heads saw in the first moment that he who could put down the loom, could stop the spinning wheel, and he who could stop the spinning wheel could tie the hands which turned it. They saw that this flimsey fabric could not be supported. Who were to be judges whether duties were imposed with a view to burthen & suppress a branch of manufacture or to raise a revenue? If either party, exclusively of the other, it was plain where that would end. If both parties, it was plain where that would end also. They saw therefore no sure clue to lead them out of their difficulties but reason & right. They dared to follow them, assured that they alone could lead them to defensible ground. The first elements of reason showed that the members of Parliament could have no power which the people of the several counties had not. That these had naturally a power over their own farms, and collectively over all England. That if they had any power over counties out of England it must be founded on compact or force. No compact could be shown, & neither party chose to bottom their pretensions on force. It was objected that this annihilated the navigation act. True, it does. The Edition: current; Page: [189] navigation act therefore becomes a proper subject of treaty between the two nations. Or if Gr. Britain does not chuse to have it’s basis questioned let us go on as we have done. Let no new shackles be imposed, & we will continue to submit to the old. We will consider the restrictions on our commerce now actually existing as compensations yielded by us for the protections & privileges we actually enjoy, only trusting that if Great Britain on a revisal of these restrictions, is sensible that some of them are useless to her & oppressive to us, she will repeal them. But on this she shall be free. Place us in the condition we were when the king came to the throne, let us rest so, & we will be satisfied. This was the ground on which all the states very soon found themselves rallied, and that there was no other which could be defended.

I will now proceed with remarks on the history.

I do not find that M. Soulés mentioned the affair of the Cedars which happened in April, 1776. This was an affair of no small importance. A committee was appointed by Congress to institute inquiries concerning it, as may be seen by the journal of June 14, 1776. The report of that committee is inserted in the journal of July 10. and I can assure M. Soulés that the facts therein stated were proved incontestably to the committee by witnesses present at the transactions, & who were on watch. I have the originals of that inquiry in my possession in America. The Capt. Foster therein mentioned was afterwards taken with Burgoyne’s army, tho permitted to go at large on his parole, he was not received into any Edition: current; Page: [190] American company, nor did the British officers, his fellow prisoners, chuse to be seen in company with him—so detestable had been the transaction &c.

Vol. i., pa. 324. I have been very well informed, that during all the latter part of the defence, the garrison was obliged to return the cannon balls of the enemy, with which indeed the ground was covered, having none of their own left.

Pa. 325. “Il y eut un Serjent” &c. This particular truly related in Andrews.

Vol. 2. pa. 5. “Ils en vinrent le 10. de Juin à cette resolution que ces Colonies” &c. See the Journ of Congr that it was on that day put off to the 1st of July. This was done at the instance of the members opposed to it. The friends of the resolution objected that if it were not agreed to till the 1st of July they would after that have to frame a Declaration of Independance, & that more time would then be lost. It was therefore agreed between the two that the resolution should be put off till the 1st of July, & that a committee should be immediately appointed to draw a declaration of Independance conformable to the resolution, should it be adopted. A committee was accordingly appointed the next day. On the 1st of July the resolution was proposed, & when ready for a vote, a state required it to be put off till the next day. It was done, and was passed the next day, 2d of July. The declaration of Independance was debated during the 2d, 3d & 4th days of July & on the last of these was passed & signed.

Pa. 6. A “se retirerent ensuite du Congres.” I do not remember that the delegates of Maryland Edition: current; Page: [191] retired from Congress, & I think I could not have forgotten such a fact. On the contrary I find by the Journals of Congress that they were present & acting on the 11th, 12th, 17th, 18th & 24th of June.

Pa. 7. A “la plus grande partie.” It should rather be the most important parts.

Pa. 7, 6. “Les etats unis ferrient encore aujourdhui partie de l’empire Britannique.” M. Soulés may be assured that the submission of the states could not have been effected but by a long course of disasters, & such too as were irreparable in their nature. Their resources were great, & their determination so rooted that they would have tried the last of them. I am as satisfied, as I can be of anything, that the conjecture here stated would not have been verified by the event.

Pa. 14. “Provinces unis” should not this always be “etats-unis”?

Pa. 15. “Mais qu’on pouvoir aussi les interpreter” &c. His exact answer was that it was true the &c might include anything, but that might also include nothing.

Pa. 16. “Tant de confiance” &c. Their main confidence was in their own resources. They considered foreign aid as probable & desirable, but not essential. I believe myself, from the whole of what I have seen of our resources & perseverance. 1. That had we never received any foreign aid, we should not have obtained our independance, but that we should have made a peace with Great Britain on any terms we pleased, short of that, which would have been a subjection to the same king, an union of Edition: current; Page: [192] force in war &c. 2. That had France supplied us plentifully with money, suppose about 4 millions of guineas a year, without entering into the war herself at all, we should have established our Independance, but it would have cost more time, & blood, but less money. 3. That France, aiding us as she did, with money & forces, shortened much the time, lessened the expense of blood, but at a greater expense of money to her than would have otherwise been requisite.

Pa. 18. “L’extremité septentrional” &c. I think the word “çoté” would be better adapted than “extremité” to the form of the island.

Pa. 21. “3000 hommes,” inquire of Colo. Blackden.

Perhaps the proposition of Congress to the Hessians may be worth mentioning. See their Journals, 1776, Aug. 14.

I will make a general observation here on the events of Long Island, New York &c. at this time. The maxim laid down by Congress to their generals was that not a foot of territory was to be ceded to their enemies where there was a possibility of defending it. In consequence of these views, and against his own judgment, Genl. Washington was obliged to fortify & attempt to defend the city of New York. But that could not be defended without occupying the heights on Long Island which commanded the city of New York. He was therefore obliged to establish a strong detachment in Long island to defend those heights. The moment that detachment was routed, which he had much expected, Edition: current; Page: [193] his first object was to withdraw them, & his second to evacuate New York—he did this therefore immediately, and without waiting any movement of the enemy. He brought off his whole baggage, stores, & other implements, without leaving a single article except the very heaviest of his cannon & things of little value. I well remember his letter to Congress wherein he expresses his wonder that the enemy had given him this leisure, as, from the heights they had got possession of, they might have compelled him to a very precipitate retreat. This was one of the instances where our commanding officers were obliged to conform to popular views tho’ they foresaw certain loss from it. Had he proposed at first to abandon New York, he might have been abandoned himself. An obedience to popular will cost us an army in Charlestown in the year 1779.

Pa. 30. “Une fuite precipitée.” It was a leisurely retreat as I have before observed.

Pa. 41. “Que je n’ai prie obtener que d’un anglais.” Colo. Blackden can probably give M. Soulés good intelligence on this affair. I think I recollect the slaughter on Kniphausen’s side to have been very great.

Aug. 3, 1786.

Vo [lume] 3. “Si dans son institution chaque individue avoit droit au gouvernement de l’etat, a seulement ceux qui possedoient une certaine etendue de terre.”

This is a luminous idea and worthy of being a little more developed. It places the question between Gr Britain & America in the simplest form Edition: current; Page: [194] possible. No Englishman will pretend that a right to participate in government can be derived from any other source than a personal right, or a right of property. The conclusion is inevitable that he who had neither his person nor property in America could not rightfully assume a participation in it’s government.

Pa. 17. The seeds of the war are here traced to their true source. The tory education of the King was the first preparation for that change in the British government which that party never ceases to wish. This naturally ensured tory administrations during his life. At the moment he came to the throne and cleared his hands of his enemies by the peace of Paris, the assumptions of unwarrantable right over America commenced; they were so signal, and followed one another so close as to prove they were part of a system, either to reduce it under absolute subjection, & thereby make it an instrument for attempts on Britain itself, or to sever it from Britain, so that it might not be a weight in the whig scale. This latter alternative however was not considered as the one which would take place. They knew so little of America that they thought it unable to encounter the little finger of Great Britain. M. de Soulés has well developed this subject. He is best judge whether anything more need be said on this subject.

Pa. 43. “Se le ministere anglais avoit eu la patience d’attendre que ces merchandises fussent consommé” &c. Having seen and intimately known the positions of the Americans at that moment, I am certain that this conjecture would not have been Edition: current; Page: [195] verified. The determined resolution with which they met every effort of the ministry, whether made in the form of force, fraud, or persuasion, gives us a moral certainty they would have been equally immoveable, if tried in the way of privation here proposed.

Pa. 51. “Pour accorder quelque chose” &c. The substitution of Gage for Hutchinson was not intended as a favor, but by putting the civil government into military hands was meant to shew they would enforce their measures by arms. See pa 109, where Congress makes it one of their grievances.

Pa. 78. A grand jury cannot be fewer than 12. nor more than 24. Some authors say it cannot be fewer than 13 nor more than 23.

Pa 102. “Plusieurs criminels” &c. Notwithstanding the laws the English made, I think they never ventured to carry a single person to be tried in England. They knew that reprisals would be made and probably on the person of the governor who ventured on the measure.

Pa. 145. The fact that the English commenced hostilities at Lexington being proved beyond question by us, & even acknowledged by the English, justice requires it should be plainly asserted, & left clear of doubt. Few of the facts which history asserts & relies on, have been so well established.

Pa. 150. “L’humanité des Britons.” I doubt whether this is the character of the nation in general. But this history, and every one which is impartial must in it’s relation of this war shew in such repeated instances, that they conducted it, both in theory & Edition: current; Page: [196] practice, on the most barbarous principles, that the expression here cited will stand in contradiction to the rest of the work. As examples of their Theory recollect the act of parliament for constraining our prisoners taken on the sea to bear arms against their fathers, brothers &c. For their practice, recollect their exciting the savages against us, insurrections of our slaves, sending our prisoners to the East Indies, killing them in prison ships, keeping them on half rations and of the most unwholesome qualities, cruel murders of unarmed individuals of every sex, massacres of those in arms after they had asked quarters &c., &c.

Pa. 150. “A cé que l’on dit à 20,000 hommes.” It was of 22,000 men. I was in a situation to know the fact from genl. Washington’s own information.

158. l. 8. Strike out “ét probablement” & insert “mais veritablement.” I remember the fact well and the leading persons of Connecticut, and particularly their delegates in Congress made no secret that their object was to overawe N York into it’s duty.

159. “Il fut resolu de la reduire (i. e., nouvelle York) en cendre.” This was proposed and considered in Congress; but they refused to come to this resolution, nor do I recollect that any other body resolved it.

163. Doctor Franklin has been called by that title as early as 1760, within my own knowledge: I do not know how much longer.

His quality in France was that of Minister plenipotentiary, and not as ambassador. We have never Edition: current; Page: [197] appointed an ambassador. France offered to receive one.

Pa. 166. The English set fire to Charleston. Qu as to the number of their killed.

Pa. 180. 181. Gates was & still is an inhabitant of Virginia. He never lived in any other state.

Pa. 190. “M. Arnold avoit formé une enterprise” &c. I never understood that he formed this enterprise, nor do I believe he did. I heard and saw all General Washington’s letters on this subject. I do not think he mentioned Arnold as author of the proposition; yet he was always just in ascribing to every officer the merit of his own works; and he was disposed particularly in favor of Arnold. This officer is entitled to great merit in the execution, but to ascribe to him that of having formed the enterprise is probably to ascribe to him what belongs to Genl. Washington or some other person.

209. “Et qu’ il ne leur fut plus permis de lever la milice,” &c. They had formerly had a law on the subject of invasions & insurrections which was of a perpetual tenor. They altered this law by one which was to be in force for a certain term of years only. That term of years effluxed at this time, the altering law expired, & therefore the old one resumed it’s vigor. It was very imperfect; yet they chose to act under the colour of that rather than without any colour of law.

216. “Dont elles se plaignerent.” This seems to be the proper place to rectify a small error in the arrangement of facts, and to state the answer to the conciliatory proposition which was in truth the Edition: current; Page: [198] first work of the assembly. I have not here the journals of the assembly, but there are certain circumstances which render it impossible for my memory to lead me astray. I was under appointment to attend the General congress: but knowing the importance of the answer to be given to the conciliatory proposition, and that our leading whig characters were then with Congress, I determined to attend on the assembly, & tho’ a young member, to take on myself the carrying thro’ an answer to the proposition. The assembly met the 1st of June. I drew, and proposed the answer & carried it through the house with very little alteration, against the opposition of our timid members who wish to speak a different language. This was finished before the 11th of June, because on that day I set out from Williamsburg to Philadelphia, and was the bearer of an authenticated copy of this instrument to Congress. The effect it had in fortifying their minds, & in deciding their measures renders it’s true date important; because only Pennsylvania had as yet answered the proposition. Virginia was the second. It was known how Massachusetts would answer it; and the example of these three principal colonies would determine the measures of all the others, & of course the fate of the proposition. Congress received it therefore with much satisfaction. The assembly of Virginia did not deliver the answer to Ld. Dunmore till late in the session. They supposed it would bring on a dissolution of their body whenever they should deliver it to him, and they wished previously to get some important acts passed. For Edition: current; Page: [199] this reason they kept it up. I think that Ld. Dunmore did not quit the metropolis till he knew that the answer framed by the house was a rejection of the proposition, tho’ that answer was not yet communicated to him regularly.

Pa. 231. “Quelques certaines de blancs.” These were composed principally of Scotch merchants & factors, & some few English, who had settled in the country. I doubt whether there was a single native among them. If M. Soulés could therefore characterise more particularly who they were who joined Ld. Dunmore, it would be an agreeable act of justice to the natives.

Pa. 233. “Les Americains qui avoit joint Milord Dunmore.” The same observation applies to this.

Pa. 245. “Pendant l’eté le Congres general avoit eté occupé à dresser un plan pour former une confederation.” It is necessary to set to rights here a fact which has been mistaken by every person who has written on this subject. I will do it from a perfect recollection of facts, but my memory does not enable me to state the date exactly. I was absent from Congress from the beginning of January, 1776, to the middle of May. Either just before I left Congress, or immediately on my return to it (I rather think it was the former) Doctor Franklin put into my hands the draught of a plan of confederation, desiring me to read it & tell him what I thought of it. I approved it highly. He shewed it to others. Some thought as I did; others were revolted at it. We found it could not be passed, and the proposing it to Congress as the subject for any vote whatever Edition: current; Page: [200] would startle many members so much that they would suspect we had lost sight of reconciliation with Great Britain, & that we should lose much more ground than we should gain by the proposition. Yet that the idea that a more firm bond of union than the undefined one under which we then acted might be suggested & permitted to grow, Dr. Franklin informed Congress that he had sketched the outlines of an instrument which might become necessary at a future day, if the ministry continued pertinacious, and would ask leave for it to lay on the table of Congress, that the members might in the meantime be turning the subject in their minds, and have something more perfect prepared by the time it should become necessary. This was agreed to by the timid members, only on condition that no entry whatever should be made in the journals of Congress relative to this instrument. This was to continue in force only till a reconciliation with Great Britain. This was all that ever was done or proposed in Congress on the subject of a Confederation before June 1776, when the proposition was regularly made to Congress, a committee appointed to draw an instrument of Confederation, who accordingly drew one, very considerably differing from the sketch of Doctor Franklin.

Pa. 294. “Il est á croire qu’il y avoit quelque convention.” It is well known there was such a convention. It was never made a secret of on our part. I do not exactly recollect its terms, but I believe they were what M. Soulés states.

Pa. 301. “La petite verole.” I have been informed Edition: current; Page: [201] by officers who were on the spot, & whom I believe myself, that this disorder was sent into our army designedly by the commanding officer at Quebec. It conserved his purpose effectually.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 12, 1786
Paris
Maria Cosway
Cosway, Maria

TO MRS. MARIA COSWAY

j. mss.
My Dear Madam,

—Having performed the last sad office of handing you into your carriage at the pavillon de St. Denis, and seen the wheels get actually into motion, I turned on my heel & walked, more dead than alive, to the opposite door, where my own was awaiting me. Mr. Danquerville was missing. He was sought for, found, & dragged down stairs. We were crammed into the carriage, like recruits for the Bastille, & not having soul enough to give orders to the coachman, he presumed Paris our destination, & drove off. After a considerable interval, silence was broke with a Je suis vraiment afflige du depart de ces bons gens. This was a signal for a mutual confession of distress. We began immediately to talk of Mr. & Mrs. Cosway, of their goodness, their talents, their amiability; & tho we spoke of nothing else, we seemed hardly to have entered into matter when the coachman announced the rue St. Denis, & that we were opposite Mr. Danquerville’s. He insisted on descending there & traversing a short passage to his lodgings. I was carried home. Seated by my fireside, solitary & sad, the following dialogue took place between my Head & my Heart:

Edition: current; Page: [202]
Head.

Well, friend, you seem to be in a pretty trim.

Heart.

I am indeed the most wretched of all earthly beings. Overwhelmed with grief, every fibre of my frame distended beyond its natural powers to bear, I would willingly meet whatever catastrophe should leave me no more to feel or to fear.

Head.

These are the eternal consequences of your warmth & precipitation. This is one of the scrapes into which you are ever leading us. You confess your follies indeed; but still you hug & cherish them; & no reformation can be hoped, where there is no repentance.

Heart.

Oh, my friend! this is no moment to upbraid my foibles. I am rent into fragments by the force of my grief! If you have any balm, pour it into my wounds; if none, do not harrow them by new torments. Spare me in this awful moment! At any other I will attend with patience to your admonitions.

Head.

On the contrary I never found that the moment of triumph with you was the moment of attention to my admonitions. While suffering under your follies, you may perhaps be made sensible of them, but, the paroxysm over, you fancy it can never return. Harsh therefore as the medicine may be, it is my office to administer it. You will be pleased to remember that when our friend Trumbull used to be telling us of the merits & talents of these good people, I never ceased whispering to you that we had no occasion for new acquaintance; that the greater their merits & talents, the more dangerous their Edition: current; Page: [203] friendship to our tranquillity, because the regret at parting would be greater.

Heart.

Accordingly, Sir, this acquaintance was not the consequence of my doings. It was one of your projects which threw us in the way of it. It was you, remember, & not I, who desired the meeting at Legrand & Molinos. I never trouble myself with domes nor arches. The Halle aux bleds might have rotted down before I should have gone to see it. But you, forsooth, who are eternally getting us to sleep with your diagrams & crotchets, must go & examine this wonderful piece of architecture. And when you had seen it, oh! it was the most superb thing on earth! What you had seen there was worth all you had yet seen in Paris! I thought so too. But I meant it of the lady & gentleman to whom we had been presented; & not of a parcel of sticks & chips put together in pens. You then, Sir, & not I, have been the cause of the present distress.

Head.

It would have been happy for you if my diagrams & crotchets had gotten you to sleep on that day, as you are pleased to say they eternally do. My visit to Legrand & Molinos had public utility for it’s object. A market is to be built in Richmond. What a commodious plan is that of Legrand & Molinos; especially if we put on it the noble dome of the Halle aux bleds. If such a bridge as they shewed us can be thrown across the Schuylkill at Philadelphia, the floating bridges taken up & the navigation of that river opened, what a copious resource will be added, of wood & provisions, to warm & feed the poor of that city? While I was occupied Edition: current; Page: [204] with these objects, you were dilating with your new acquaintances, & contriving how to prevent a separation from them. Every soul of you had an engagement for the day. Yet all these were to be sacrificed, that you might dine together. Lying messengers were to be despatched into every quarter of the city, with apologies for your breach of engagement. You particularly had the effrontery to send word to the Dutchess Danville that, on the moment we were setting out to dine with her, despatches came to hand which required immediate attention. You wanted me to invent a more ingenious excuse; but I knew you were getting into a scrape, & I would have nothing to do with it. Well, after dinner to St. Cloud, from St. Cloud to Ruggieri’s, from Ruggieri to Krumfoltz, & if the day had been as long as a Lapland summer day, you would still have contrived means among you to have filled it.

Heart.

Oh! my dear friend, how you have revived me by recalling to my mind the transactions of that day! How well I remember them all, & that when I came home at night & looked back to the morning, it seemed to have been a month agone. Go on then, like a kind comforter & paint to me the day we went to St. Germains. How beautiful was every object! the Port de Reuilly, the hills along the Seine, the rainbows of the machine of Marly, the terrace of St. Germains, the chateaux, the gardens, the statues of Marly, the pavillon of Lucienne. Recollect too Madrid, Bagatelle, the King’s garden, the Dessert. How grand the idea excited by the remains of such a column! The spiral staircase too Edition: current; Page: [205] was beautiful. Every moment was filled with something agreeable. The wheels of time moved on with a rapidity of which those of our carriage gave but a faint idea. And yet in the evening when one took a retrospect of the day, what a mass of happiness had we travelled over! Retrace all those scenes to me, my good companion, & I will forgive the unkindness with which you were chiding me. The day we went to St. Germains was a little too warm, I think; was it not?

Head.

Thou art the most incorrigible of all the beings that ever sinned! I reminded you of the follies of the first day, intending to deduce from thence some useful lessons for you, but instead of listening to these, you kindle at the recollection, you retrace the whole series with a fondness which shews you want nothing but the opportunity to act it over again. I often told you during its course that you were imprudently engaging your affections under circumstances that must have cost you a great deal of pain: that the persons indeed were of the greatest merit, possessing good sense, good humour, honest hearts, honest manners, & eminence in a lovely art; that the lady had moreover qualities & accomplishments belonging to her sex, which might form a chapter apart for her: such as music, modesty, beauty, & that softness of disposition which is the ornament of her sex & charm of ours, but that all these considerations would increase the pang of separation: that their stay here was to be short: that you rack our whole system when you are parted from those you love, complaining that such a separation Edition: current; Page: [206] is worse than death, inasmuch as this ends our sufferings, whereas that only begins them: & that the separation would in this instance be the more severe as you would probably never see them again.

Heart.

But they told me they would come back again the next year.

Head.

But in the meantime see what you suffer: & their return too depends on so many circumstances that if you had a grain of prudence you would not count upon it. Upon the whole it is improbable & therefore you should abandon the idea of ever seeing them again.

Heart.

May heaven abandon me if I do!

Head.

Very well. Suppose then they come back. They are to stay two months, & when these are expired, what is to follow? Perhaps you flatter yourself they may come to America?

Heart.

God only knows what is to happen. I see nothing impossible in that supposition. And I see things wonderfully contrived sometimes to make us happy. Where could they find such objects as in America for the exercise of their enchanting art? especially the lady, who paints landscapes so inimitably. She wants only subjects worthy of immortality to render her pencil immortal. The Falling Spring, the Cascade of Niagara, the Passage of the Potowmac through the Blue Mountains, the Natural bridge. It is worth a voyage across the Atlantic to see these objects; much more to paint, and make them, & thereby ourselves, known to all ages. And our own dear Monticello, where has nature spread so rich a mantle under the eye? mountains, forests, Edition: current; Page: [207] rocks, rivers. With what majesty do we there ride above the storms! How sublime to look down into the workhouse of nature, to see her clouds, hail, snow, rain, thunder, all fabricated at our feet! and the glorious sun when rising as if out of a distant water, just gilding the tops of the mountains, & giving life to all nature! I hope in God no circumstance may ever make either seek an asylum from grief! With what sincere sympathy I would open every cell of my composition to receive the effusion of their woes! I would pour my tears into their wounds: & if a drop of balm could be found on the top of the Cordilleras, or at the remotest sources of the Missouri, I would go thither myself to seek & to bring it. Deeply practised in the school of affliction, the human heart knows no joy which I have not lost, no sorrow of which I have not drunk! Fortune can present no grief of unknown form to me! Who then can so softly bind up the wound of another as he who has felt the same wound himself? But Heaven forbid they should ever know a sorrow! Let us turn over another leaf, for this has distracted me.

Head.

Well. Let us put this possibility to trial then on another point. When you consider the character which is given of our country by the lying newspapers of London, & their credulous copyers in other countries; when you reflect that all Europe is made to believe we are a lawless banditti, in a state of absolute anarchy, cutting one another’s throats, & plundering without distinction, how can you expect that any reasonable creature would venture among us?

Edition: current; Page: [208]
Heart.

But you & I know that all this is false: that there is not a country on earth where there is greater tranquillity, where the laws are milder, or better obeyed: where every one is more attentive to his own business, or meddles less with that of others: where strangers are better received, more hospitably treated, & with a more sacred respect.

Head.

True, you & I know this, but your friends do not know it.

Heart.

But they are sensible people who think for themselves. They will ask of impartial foreigners who have been among us, whether they saw or heard on the spot any instances of anarchy. They will judge too that a people occupied as we are in opening rivers, digging navigable canals, making roads, building public schools, establishing academies, erecting busts & statues to our great men, protecting religious freedom, abolishing sanguinary punishments, reforming & improving our laws in general, they will judge I say for themselves whether these are not the occupations of a people at their ease, whether this is not better evidence of our true state than a London newspaper, hired to lie, & from which no truth can ever be extracted but by reversing everything it says.

Head.

I did not begin this lecture my friend with a view to learn from you what America is doing. Let us return then to our point. I wished to make you sensible how imprudent it is to place your affections, without reserve, on objects you must so soon lose, & whose loss when it comes must cost you such severe pangs. Remember the last night. You knew your Edition: current; Page: [209] friends were to leave Paris to-day. This was enough to throw you into agonies. All night you tossed us from one side of the bed to the other. No sleep, no rest. The poor crippled wrist too, never left one moment in the same position, now up, now down, now here, now there; was it to be wondered at if it’s pains returned? The Surgeon then was to be called, & to be rated as an ignoramus because he could not divine the cause of this extraordinary change. In fine, my friend, you must mend your manners. This is not a world to live at random in as you do. To avoid those eternal distresses, to which you are forever exposing us, you must learn to look forward before you take a step which may interest our peace. Everything in this world is a matter of calculation. Advance then with caution, the balance in your hand. Put into one scale the pleasures which any object may offer; but put fairly into the other the pains which are to follow, & see which preponderates. The making an acquaintance is not a matter of indifference. When a new one is proposed to you, view it all round. Consider what advantages it presents, & to what inconveniences it may expose you. Do not bite at the bait of pleasure till you know there is no hook beneath it. The art of life is the art of avoiding pain: & he is the best pilot who steers clearest of the rocks & shoals with which he is beset. Pleasure is always before us; but misfortune is at our side: while running after that, this arrests us. The most effectual means of being secure against pain is to retire within ourselves, & to suffice for our own happiness. Those, which depend on ourselves, Edition: current; Page: [210] are the only pleasures a wise man will count on: for nothing is ours which another may deprive us of. Hence the inestimable value of intellectual pleasures. Even in our power, always leading us to something new, never cloying, we ride serene & sublime above the concerns of this mortal world, contemplating truth & nature, matter & motion, the laws which bind up their existence, & that eternal being who made & bound them up by those laws. Let this be our employ. Leave the bustle & tumult of society to those who have not talents to occupy themselves without them. Friendship is but another name for an alliance with the follies & the misfortunes of others. Our own share of miseries is sufficient: why enter then as volunteers into those of another? Is there so little gall poured into our cup that we must needs help to drink that of our neighbor? A friend dies or leaves us: we feel as if a limb was cut off. He is sick: we must watch over him, & participate of his pains. His fortune is shipwrecked; ours must be laid under contribution. He loses a child, a parent, or a partner: we must mourn the loss as if it were our own.

Heart.

And what more sublime delight than to mingle tears with one whom the hand of heaven hath smitten! to watch over the bed of sickness, & to beguile it’s tedious & it’s painful moments! to share our bread with one to whom misfortune has left none! This world abounds indeed with misery: to lighten it’s burthen we must divide it with one another. But let us now try the virtues of your mathematical balance, & as you have put into one scale the burthen Edition: current; Page: [211] of friendship, let me put it’s comforts into the other. When languishing then under disease, how grateful is the solace of our friends! how are we penetrated with their assiduities & attentions! how much are we supported by their encouragements & kind offices! When heaven has taken from us some object of our love, how sweet is it to have a bosom whereon to recline our heads, & into which we may pour the torrent of our tears! Grief, with such a comfort, is almost a luxury! In a life where we are perpetually exposed to want & accident, yours is a wonderful proposition, to insulate ourselves, to retire from all aid, & to wrap ourselves in the mantle of self-sufficiency! For assuredly nobody will care for him who cares for nobody. But friendship is precious, not only in the shade but in the sunshine of life; & thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine. I will recur for proof to the days we have lately passed. On these indeed the sun shone brightly. How gay did the face of nature appear! Hills, valleys, chateaux, gardens, rivers, every object wore it’s liveliest hue! Whence did they borrow it? From the presence of our charming companion. They were pleasing, because she seemed pleased. Alone, the scene would have been dull & insipid: the participation of it with her gave it relish. Let the gloomy monk, sequestered from the world, seek unsocial pleasures in the bottom of his cell! Let the sublimated philosopher grasp visionary happiness while pursuing phantoms dressed in the garb of truth! Their supreme wisdom is supreme folly; & they mistake for happiness the Edition: current; Page: [212] mere absence of pain. Had they ever felt the solid pleasure of one generous spasm of the heart, they would exchange for it all the frigid speculations of their lives, which you have been vaunting in such elevated terms. Believe me then my friend, that there is a miserable arithmetic which could estimate friendship at nothing, or at less than nothing. Respect for you has induced me to enter into this discussion, & to hear principles uttered which I detest & abjure. Respect for myself now obliges me to recall you into the proper limits of your office. When nature assigned us the same habitation, she gave us over it a divided empire. To you she allotted the field of science; to me that of morals. When the circle is to be squared, or the orbit of a comet to be traced; when the arch of greatest strength, or the solid of least resistance is to be investigated, take up the problem; it is yours; nature has given me no cognizance of it. In like manner, in denying to you the feelings of sympathy, of benevolence, of gratitude, of justice, of love, of friendship, she has excluded you from their controul. To these she has adapted the mechanism of the heart. Morals were too essential to the happiness of man to be risked on the incertain combinations of the head. She laid their foundation therefore in sentiment, not in science. That she gave to all, as necessary to all: this to a few only, as sufficing with a few. I know indeed that you pretend authority to the sovereign controul of our conduct in all its parts: & a respect for your grave saws & maxims, a desire to do what is right, has sometimes induced me to conform to Edition: current; Page: [213] your counsels. A few facts however which I can readily recall to your memory, will suffice to prove to you that nature has not organized you for our moral direction. When the poor wearied souldier whom we overtook at Chickahomony with his pack on his back, begged us to let him get up behind our chariot, you began to calculate that the road was full of souldiers, & that if all should be taken up our horses would fail in their journey. We drove on therefore. But soon becoming sensible you had made me do wrong, that tho we cannot relieve all the distressed we should relieve as many as we can, I turned about to take up the souldier; but he had entered a bye path, & was no more to be found; & from that moment to this I could never find him out to ask his forgiveness. Again, when the poor woman came to ask a charity in Philadelphia, you whispered that she looked like a drunkard, & that half a dollar was enough to give her for the ale-house. Those who want the dispositions to give, easily find reasons why they ought not to give. When I sought her out afterwards, & did what I should have done at first, you know that she employed the money immediately towards placing her child at school. If our country, when pressed with wrongs at the point of the bayonet, had been governed by it’s heads instead of it’s hearts, where should we have been now? Hanging on a gallows as high as Haman’s. You began to calculate & to compare wealth and numbers: we threw up a few pulsations of our warmest blood; we supplied enthusiasm against wealth and numbers; we put our existence to the hazard when the hazard Edition: current; Page: [214] seemed against us, and we saved our country: justifying at the same time the ways of Providence, whose precept is to do always what is right, and leave the issue to him. In short, my friend, as far as my recollection serves me, I do not know that I ever did a good thing on your suggestion, or a dirty one without it. I do forever then disclaim your interference in my province. Fill papers as you please with triangles & squares: try how many ways you can hang & combine them together. I shall never envy nor controul your sublime delights. But leave me to decide when & where friendships are to be contracted. You say I contract them at random. So you said the woman at Philadelphia was a drunkard. I receive no one into my esteem till I know they are worthy of it. Wealth, title, office, are no recommendations to my friendship. On the contrary great good qualities are requisite to make amends for their having wealth, title, & office. You confess that in the present case I could not have made a worthier choice. You only object that I was so soon to lose them. We are not immortal ourselves, my friend; how can we expect our enjoyments to be so? We have no rose without it’s thorn; no pleasure without alloy. It is the law of our existence; & we must acquiesce. It is the condition annexed to all our pleasures, not by us who receive, but by him who gives them. True, this condition is pressing cruelly on me at this moment. I feel more fit for death than life. But when I look back on the pleasures of which it is the consequence, I am conscious they were worth the price I am paying. Notwithstanding Edition: current; Page: [215] your endeavours too to damp my hopes, I comfort myself with expectations of their promised return. Hope is sweeter than despair, & they were too good to mean to deceive me. In the summer, said the gentleman; but in the spring, said the lady: & I should love her forever, were it only for that! Know then, my friend, that I have taken these good people into my bosom; that I have lodged them in the warmest cell I could find: that I love them, & will continue to love them through life: that if fortune should dispose them on one side the globe, & me on the other, my affections shall pervade it’s whole mass to reach them. Knowing then my determination, attempt not to disturb it. If you can at any time furnish matter for their amusement, it will be the office of a good neighbor to do it. I will in like manner seize any occasion which may offer to do the like good turn for you with Condorcet, Rittenhouse, Madison, La Cretelle, or any other of those worthy sons of science whom you so justly prize.

I thought this a favorable proposition whereon to rest the issue of the dialogue. So I put an end to it by calling for my night-cap. Methinks I hear you wish to heaven I had called a little sooner, & so spared you the ennui of such a sermon. I did not interrupt them sooner because I was in a mood for hearing sermons. You too were the subject; & on such a thesis I never think the theme long; not even if I am to write it, and that slowly & awkwardly, as now, with the left hand. But that you may not be discouraged from a correspondence which begins so Edition: current; Page: [216] formidably, I promise you on my honour that my future letters shall be of a reasonable length. I will even agree to express but half my esteem for you, for fear of cloying you with too full a dose. But, on your part, no curtailing. If your letters are as long as the bible, they will appear short to me. Only let them be brimful of affection. I shall read them with the dispositions with which Arlequin, in Les deux billets spelt the words je t’aime, and wished that the whole alphabet had entered into their composition.

We have had incessant rains since your departure. These make me fear for your health, as well as that you had an uncomfortable journey. The same cause has prevented me from being able to give you any account of your friends here. This voyage to Fontainebleau will probably send the Count de Moustier & the Marquise de Brehan to America. Danquerville promised to visit me, but has not done it as yet. De la Tude comes sometimes to take family soup with me, & entertains me with anecdotes of his five & thirty years imprisonment. How fertile is the mind of man which can make the Bastile & Dungeon of Vincennes yield interesting anecdotes! You know this was for making four verses on Mme de Pompadour. But I think you told me you did not know the verses. They were these: Sans esprit, sans sentiment, Sans etre belle, ni neuve, En France on peut avoir le premier amant: Pompadour en est l’ epreuve. I have read the memoir of his three escapes. As to myself my health is good, except my wrist which mends slowly, & my mind which mends not at all, Edition: current; Page: [217] but broods constantly over your departure. The lateness of the season obliges me to decline my journey into the south of France. Present me in the most friendly terms to Mr. Cosway, & receive me into your own recollection with a partiality & a warmth, proportioned, not to my own poor merit, but to the sentiments of sincere affection & esteem with which I have the honour to be, my dear Madam, your most obedient humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 13, 1786
Paris
Mrs. Maria Cosway
Cosway, Mrs. Maria

TO MRS. MARIA COSWAY

j. mss.
My Dear Madam,

—Just as I had sealed the enclosed I received a letter of a good length, dated Antwerp with your name at the bottom. I prepared myself for a feast. I read two or three sentences; looked again at the signature to see if I had not mistaken it. It was visibly yours. Read a sentence or two more. Diable! Spelt your name distinctly. There was not a letter of it omitted. Began to read again. In fine after reading a little & examining the signature, alternately, half a dozen times, I found that your name was to four lines only, instead of four pages. I thank you for the four lines however because they prove you think of me little indeed, but better a little than none. To shew how much I think of you I send you the enclosed letter of three sheets of paper, being a history of the evening I parted with you. But how expect you should read a letter of three mortal sheets of paper? I will tell Edition: current; Page: [218] you. Divide it into six doses of half a sheet each, and every day, when the toilette begins, take a dose, that is to say, read half a sheet. By this means it will have the only merit it’s length & dulness can aspire to, that of assisting your coiffeuse to procure you six good naps of sleep. I will even allow you twelve days to get through it, holding you rigorously to one condition only, that is, that at whatever hour you receive this, you do not break the seal of the enclosed till the next toilette. Of this injunction I require a sacred execution. I rest it on your friendship, & that in your first letter you tell me honestly whether you have honestly performed it. I send you the song I promised. Bring me in return it’s subject, Jours heureux! Were I a songster I should sing it all to these words Dans ces lieux qu’elle tarde a se rendre! Learn it I pray you, & sing it with feeling. My right hand presents it’s devoirs to, and sees with great indignation the left supplanting it in a correspondence so much valued. You will know the first moment it can resume it’s rights. The first exercise of them shall be addressed to you, as you had the first essay of it’s rival. It will yet, however, be many a day. Present my esteem to Mr. Cosway, & believe me to be yours very affectionately.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 22, 1786
Paris
William Stephens Smith
Smith, William Stephens

TO WILLIAM STEPHENS SMITH

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—How the right hand became disabled would be a long story for the left to tell. It was by one of those follies from which good cannot come, Edition: current; Page: [219] but ill may. As yet I have no use of that hand, & as the other is an awkward scribe, I must be sententious & not waste words. Yours of Sep. 18. & 22. & Oct. 1. & 4. have been duly received, as have been also the books from Lackington & Stockdale, & the second parcel from Dilly. The harness is at the Douane of Paris, not yet delivered to me. Dilly’s first parcel of books, & the first copying press are arrived at Rouen. You see how much reason I have to say ‘well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ With Chastellux’s voiages & Latré’s map I took a great deal more trouble than was necessary, such as going myself to the book shop when a servant might as well have gone etc. merely from a desire to do something in return for you, & that I might feel as if I have done something. You desire to know whether the 2d. order for copying paper & ink was meant to be additional to the former? It was, but I had now rather not receive the paper because I have found a better kind here. The ink I shall be glad of. The twelve sheet map I shall send by the first good opportunity, & hope ere long to receive the plate of mine from Mr. Neele. I will trouble you to have the inclosed note to Jones delivered. Will you undertake to prevail on Mr. Adams to set for his picture & on Mr. Brown to draw it for me? I wish to add to those of other principal American characters which I have or shall have: & I had rather it should be original than a copy. We saw a picture of Sr. W. Raleigh at Birmingham, & I do not know whether it was of Mr. Adams or yourself I asked the favor to get it for me. I must pray your taylor to send me a buff casimir Edition: current; Page: [220] waistcoat & breeches with those of cotton, & of my shoemaker to send me two pr. of thin waxed leather slippers. Things of this kind come better by private hands if any such should be coming within any reasonable time. The accident to my wrist has defected my views of visiting the South of France this fall. Present me very affectionately to Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Smith. I hope the former is very well, & that the latter is, or has been very sick, otherwise I would observe to you that it is high time. Adieu.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 14, 1786
Paris
George Washington
Washington, George

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON

j. mss.
Sir,

—The house of Le Coulteux, which for some centuries has been the wealthiest of this place, has it in contemplation to establish a great company for the fur trade. They propose that partners interested one half in the establishment should be American citizens, born & residing in the U. S. Yet if I understood them rightly they expect that half of the company which resides here should make the greatest part, or perhaps the whole of the advances, while those on our side of the water should superintend the details. They had at first thought of Baltimore as the center of their American transactions. I pointed out to them the advantages of Alexandria for this purpose. They have concluded to take information as to Baltimore, Philadelphia, & N. York for a principal deposit, & having no correspondent at Alexandria have asked me to procure a state of the Edition: current; Page: [221] advantages of that place, as also to get a recommendation of the best merchant there to be adopted as partner & head of the business there. Skill, punctuality & integrity are the requisites in such a character. They will decide on their whole information as to the place for their principal factory. Being unwilling that Alexandria should lose it’s pretensions, I have undertaken to procure them information as to that place. If they undertake this trade at all, it will be on so great a scale as to decide the current of the Indian trade to the place they adopt. I have no acquaintance at Alexandria or in it’s neighborhood, but believing you would feel an interest in it, from the same motives which I do, I venture to ask the favor of you to recommend to me a proper merchant for their purpose, & to engage some well-informed person to send to me a representation of the advantages of Alexandria as the principal deposit of the fur trade.

The author of the Political part of the Encyclopedie Methodique desired me to examine his article “Etats unis.” I did so. I found it a tissue of errors, for in truth they know nothing about us here. Particularly however the article “Cincinnati” was a mere Philippic against that institution; in which it appears that there was an utter ignorance of facts & motives. I gave him notes on it. He reformed it as he supposed & sent it again to me to revise. In this reformed state Colo. Humphreys saw it. I found it necessary to write that article for him. Before I gave it to him I showed it to the Marq. de la Fayette who made a correction or two. I then Edition: current; Page: [222] sent it to the author. He used the materials, mixing a great deal of his own with them. In a work which is sure of going down to the latest posterity I thought it material to set facts to rights as much as possible. The author was well disposed: but could not entirely get the better of his original bias. I send you the article as ultimately published. If you find any material errors in it & will be so good as to inform me of them, I shall probably have opportunities of setting this author to rights. What has heretofore passed between us on this institution, makes it my duty to mention to you that I have never heard a person in Europe, learned or unlearned, express his thoughts on this institution, who did not consider it as dishonorable & destructive to our governments, and that every writing which has come out since my arrival here, in which it is mentioned, considers it, even as now reformed, as the germ whose development is one day to destroy the fabric we have reared. I did not apprehend this while I had American ideas only. But I confess that what I have seen in Europe has brought me over to that opinion; & that tho’ the day may be at some distance, beyond the reach of our lives perhaps, yet it will certainly come, when a single fibre left of this institution will produce an hereditary aristocracy which will change the form of our governments from the best to the worst in the world. To know the mass of evil which flows from this fatal source, a person must be in France, he must see the finest soil, the finest climate, the most compact state, the most benevolent character of people, & every earthly advantage combined, insufficient Edition: current; Page: [223] to prevent this scourge from rendering existence a curse to 24 out of 25 parts of the inhabitants of this country. With us the branches of this institution cover all the states. The Southern ones at this time are aristocratical in their disposition; and that that spirit should grow & extend itself, is within the natural order of things. I do not flatter myself with the immortality of our governments: but I shall think little also of their longevity unless this germ of destruction be taken out. When the society themselves shall weigh the possibility of evil against the impossibility of any good to proceed from this institution, I cannot help hoping they will eradicate it. I know they wish the permanence of our governments as much as any individuals composing them. An interruption here & the departure of the gentleman by whom I send this obliges me to conclude it, with assurances of the sincere respect & esteem with which I have the honor to be Dear Sir your most obedt. & most humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 15, 1786
Paris
Mrs. Elizabeth Trist
Trist, Mrs. Elizabeth

TO MRS. ELIZABETH TRIST1

Dear Madam,

—I have duly received your friendly letter of July 24 & received it with great pleasure as I do all those you do me the favor to write me. If I have been long in acknowledging the receipt, the last cause to which it should be ascribed would be Edition: current; Page: [224] want of inclination. Unable to converse with my friends in person, I am happy when I do it in black & white. The true cause of the delay has been an unlucky dislocation of my wrist which has disabled me from writing three months. I only begin to write a little now, but with pain. I wish, while in Virginia, your curiosity had led you on to James river. At Richmond you would have seen your old friends mr. & mrs. Randolph, and a little further you would have become acquainted with my friend, mrs. Eppes, whom you would have found among the most amiable women on earth. I doubt whether you would ever have got away from her. This trip would have made you better acquainted too with my lazy & hospitable countrymen, & you would have found that their character has some good traits mixed with some feeble ones. I often wish myself among them, as I am here burning the candle of life without present pleasure, or future object. A dozen or twenty years ago this scene would have amused me, but I am past the age for changing habits. I take all the fault on myself, and it is impossible to be among a people who wish more to make one happy, a people of the very best character it is possible for one to have. We have no idea in America of the real French character, with some true samples we have had many false ones. I am very, very sorry I did not receive your letter three or four months sooner. It would have been absolutely convenient for me while in England to have seen Browse’s relations, and I should have done it with infinite pleasure. At present I have no particular Edition: current; Page: [225] expectation of returning there yet it is among possible events, and the desire of being useful to him would render it a pleasing one. The former journey thither was made at a week’s warning, without the least previous expectation. Living from day to day, without a plan for four & twenty hours to come, I form no catalogue of impossible events. Laid up in port, for life, as I thought myself at one time, I am thrown out to sea, and an unknown one to me. By so slender a thread do all our plans of life hang.—My hand itself further, every letter admonishing me, by a pain, that it is time to finish, but my heart would go on in expressing to you all its friendship. The happiest moments it knows are those in which it is pouring forth its affections to a few esteemed characters. I will pray you to write me often. I wish to know that you enjoy health and that you are happy. Present me in the most friendly terms to your mother & brother, & be assured of the sincerity of the esteem with which I am, dear Madam, your affectionate friend & humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 16, 1786
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—After a very long silence, I am at length able to write to you. An unlucky dislocation of my right wrist has disabled me from using my pen for three months. I now begin to use it a little, but with great pain; so that this letter must be taken up at such intervals as the state of my hand will permit, Edition: current; Page: [226] & will probably be the work of some days. Tho’ the joint seems to well set, the swelling does not abate, nor the use of it return. I am now therefore on the point of setting out to the South of France to try the use of some mineral waters there, by immersion. This journey will be of 2 or 3 months. My last letters to you were of Apr. 25. & May 20. the latter only a letter of recommendation. Yours of Jan. 22. Mar. 18. May 12. June 19. & Aug. 12. remain unacknowledged.

I enclose you herein a copy of the letter from the minister of finance to me making several advantageous regulations for our commerce. The obtaining this has occupied us a twelvemonth. I say us because I find the M. de la Fayette so useful an auxiliary that acknowledgments for his cooperation are always due. There remains still something to do for the articles of rice, turpentine, & ship duties. What can be done for tobacco when the late regulation expires is very uncertain. The commerce between the U. S. and this country being put on a good footing, we may afterwards proceed to try if anything can be done to favour our intercourse with their colonies. Admission into them for our fish & flour, is very desirable: but unfortunately those articles would raise a competition against their own.

I find by the public papers that your Commercial Convention failed in point of representation. If it should produce a full meeting in May and a broader reformation, it will still be well. To make us one nation as to foreign concerns, & keep us distinct in Domestic ones, gives the outline of the proper division Edition: current; Page: [227] of power between the general & particular governments. But to enable the Federal head to exercise the power given it, to best advantage, it should be organized, as the particular ones are into Legislative Executive & Judiciary. The 1st & last are already separated. The 2d should also be. When last with Congress I often proposed to members to do this by making of the Committee of the states, an Executive committee during the recess of Congress and during its sessions to appoint a Committee to receive & despatch all executive business, so that Congress itself should meddle only with what should be legislative. But I question if any Congress (much less all successively) can have self denial enough to go through with this distribution. The distribution should be imposed on them then. I find Congress have reversed their division of the Western states & proposed to make them fewer & larger. This is reversing the natural order of things. A tractable people may be governed in large bodies but in proportion as they depart from this character the extent of their government must be less. We see into what small divisions the Indians are obliged to reduce their societies. This measure, with the disposition to shut up the Mississippi give me serious apprehensions of the severance of the Eastern & Western parts of our confederacy. It might have been made the interest of the Western states to remain united with us, by managing their interests honestly & for their own good. But the moment we sacrifice their interests to our own, they will see it is better to govern themselves. The moment Edition: current; Page: [228] they resolve to do this, the point is settled. A forced connection is neither our interest nor within our power. The Virginia act for religious freedom has been received with infinite approbation in Europe & propagated with enthusiasm. I do not mean by the governments, but by the individuals which compose them. It has been translated into French & Italian, has been sent to most of the courts of Europe, & has been the best evidence of the falsehood of those reports which stated us to be in anarchy. It is inserted in the new Encyclopedie, & is appearing in most of the publications respecting America. In fact it is comfortable to see the standard of reason at length erected, after so many ages during which the human mind has been held in vassalage by kings, priests & nobles: and it is honorable for us to have produced the first legislature who had the courage to declare that the reason of man may be trusted with the formation of his own opinions.

I shall be glad when the revisal shall be got thro’. In the criminal law, the principle of retaliation is much criticised here, particularly in the case of Rape. They think the punishment indecent & unjustifiable. I should be for altering it, but for a different reason: that is on account of the temptation women would be under to make it the instrument of vengeance against an inconstant lord, & of disappointment to a rival. Are our courts of justice open for the recovery of British debts according to the Septennial Act? the principles of that act can be justified: but the total stoppage of justice cannot. The removal of the negroes from New York would duly give cause for Edition: current; Page: [229] stopping some of the last paiments, if the British government should refuse satisfaction, which however I think they will not do.

I thank you for your communications in Natural history. The several instances of trees &c found far below the surface of the earth, as in the case of Mr. Hay’s well, seem to set the reason of man at defiance.

Another Theory of the earth has been contrived by one Whitford, not absolutely reasonable, but somewhat more so than any that has yet appeared. It is full of interesting facts, which however being inadequate to his theory, he is obliged to supply them from time to time by begging questions. It is worth your getting from London. If I can be useful to you in ordering books from London you know you may command me. You had better send me the duplicate volume of the Encyclopedie. I will take care to send you the proper one. I have many more livraisons for you, & have made some other inconsiderable purchases for you in this way. But I shall not send them till the spring, as a winter passage is bad for books.

I reserve myself till that time therefore to give you an account of the execution of your several commissions, only observing that the watch will not be finished till the spring & that it will be necessary for me to detain her some time on trial, because it often happens that a watch, looking well to the eye, & faithfully made, goes badly at first on account of some little circumstance which escapes the eye of the workman when he puts her together, & which he could easily rectify.—With respect to the proposition Edition: current; Page: [230] about the purchase of lands, I had just before made the experiment desired. It was to borrow money for aiding the opening of the Potowmac, which was proposed to me by Genl. Washington. I had the benefit of his name, & the foundation of a special Act of Assembly. I lodged the papers in the hands of Mr. Grand to try to obtain Money on loan at 6. per cent, assuring him that the securities should be made compleatly satisfactory to the lenders. After long trial he told me it could not be done. That this government has always occasion to borrow more money than can be lent in this country: that they pay 6. per cent per annum in quarterly paiments, & with a religious punctuality: that besides this they give very considerable douceurs to the lenders: that every one therefore would prefer having his money here rather than on the other side the Atlantic, where distance, want of punctuality, & a habitual protection of the debtor would be against them. There is therefore but one way in which I see any chance of executing your views. Monied men sometimes talk of investing money in American lands. Some such might be willing to ensure an advantageous investiture by interesting trust-worthy characters in the purchase, & to do this, might be willing to advance the whole Money, being properly secured. On this head no satisfaction should be wanting which I could give them: and as persons with these views sometimes advise with me, I shall be attentive to propose to them this plan. I consider it’s success however as only possible, not probable. * * *

Edition: current; Page: [231]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 17th, 1786
Paris
Charles Thomson
Thomson, Charles

TO CHARLES THOMSON1

Dear Sir,

—A dislocation of my right wrist has for three or four months past disabled me from writing except with my left hand, which was too slow and awkward to be employed but in cases of necessity. I begin to have so much use of my wrist as to be able to write, but it is slowly and in pain. I take the first moment I can, however, to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of Aug. 6, July 8, and 30. In one of these you say you have not been able to learn whether in the new mills in London, steam is the immediate mover of the machinery or raises water to move it. It is the immediate mover. The power of this agent, tho’ long known, is but now beginning to be applied to the various purposes of which it is susceptible. You observe that Whitford supposes it to have been the agent which, bursting the earth, threw it up into mountains and vallies. You ask me what I think of his book. I find in it many interesting facts brought together, and many ingenious commentaries on them, but there are great chasms in his facts, and consequently in his reasoning; these he fills up with suppositions which may be as reasonably denied as granted. A sceptical reader, therefore, like myself, is left in the lurch. I acknowledge, however, he makes more use of fact than any other writer of a theory of the earth. But I give one answer to all theorists—that is as follows: they all suppose the earth a created existence; they must Edition: current; Page: [232] suppose a Creator, then, and that he possessed power and wisdom to a great degree. As he intended the earth for the habitation of animals and vegetables, is it reasonable to suppose he made two jobs of his Creation? That he first made a chaotic lump and set it into motion, and then, waiting ages necessary to form itself—that when it had done this he stepped in a second time to create the animals and plants which were to inhabit it? As a hand of a Creator is to be called in it may as well be called in at one stage of the process as another. We may as well suppose he created the earth at once nearly in the state in which we see it—fit for the preservation of the beings he placed on it. But it is said we have a proof that he did not create it in its solid form, but in a state of fluidity, because its present shape of an oblate spheroid is precisely that which a fluid mass revolving on its axis would assume; but I suppose the same equilibrium between gravity and centrifugal force which would determine a fluid mass into the form of an oblate spheroid would determine the wise Creator of that mass if he made it in a solid state, to give it the same spherical form. A revolving fluid will continue to change its shape till it attains that in which its principles of contrary motion are balanced; for if you suppose them not balanced it will change its form. Now the balanced form is necessary for the preservation of a revolving solid. The Creator, therefore, of a revolving solid would make it an oblate spheroid, that figure alone admitting a perfect equilibrium. He would make it in that form for another reason; that is, to prevent a Edition: current; Page: [233] shifting of the axis of rotation. Had he created the earth perfectly spherical its axis might have been perpetually shifting by the influence of the other bodies of the system, and by placing the inhabitants of the earth successively under its poles it might have been depopulated; whereas being spheroidical it has but one axis on which it can revolve in equilibrio. Suppose the axis of the earth to shift 45°, then cut it into 180 slices, making every section in the plane of a circle of latitude perpendicular to the axis: every one of these slices except the equatorial one would be unbalanced, as there would be more matter on one side of its axis than on the other. There would be but one diameter drawn through such a slice which would divide it into two equal parts; on every other possible diameter the parts would hang unequal; this would produce an irregularity in the diurnal rotation. We may therefore conclude it impossible for the poles of the earth to shift if it was made spheroidically, and that it would be made spheroidal, tho’ solid to obtain this end. I use this reasoning only on the supposition that the earth has had a beginning. I am sure I shall read your conjectures on this subject with great pleasure, tho’ I bespeak before hand a right to indulge my natural incredulity and scepticism. The pain in which I write awakens me here from my reverie and obliges me to conclude with compliments to Mrs. Thomson and assurances to yourself of the esteem and affection with which I am, Dear Sir, your friend and servant.

P. S. Since writing the preceding I have had a Edition: current; Page: [234] conversation on the subject of the steam mills with the famous Boulton, to whom those of London belong, and who is here at this time. He compares the effect of steam with that of horses in the following manner: 6 horses, aided with the most advantageous combination of the mechanical powers hitherto tried will grind 6 bushels of flour in an hour, at the end of which time they are all in a foam and must rest. They can work thus 6 horses in the 24, grinding 36 bushels of flour which is six to each horse for the 24 hours. His steam mill in London consumes 120 bushels of coal in 24 hours, turns 10 prs of stones which grind 8 bushels of flour an hour each, which is 1920 bushels in the 24 hours. This makes a peck and a half of coal perform exactly as much as a horse in one day can perform.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 19, 1786
Paris
Nicholas Lewis
Lewis, Nicholas

TO NICHOLAS LEWIS

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I have duly received your favors of March 14 & July 16. My last to you was of Apr. 22, from London. I am obliged to you for the particular account you give me of my affairs, and the state of the cash account made out by the steward. His articles however were generally so shortly expressed as to be quite unintelligible to me. Of this kind are the following.

To James Foster & Benjamin Harris pr. Carter Braxton. £131.10.
To Richard James & Wm. Clark for cash.     20.
To Joseph Ashlin & C. Stone for cash at different times     74.10.2
To Vincent Markham & Richd. James pr. Doctr. Gilmer.   385.0
To Tandy Rice & Charles Rice for cash.     69.18.8½
To David Mullings & Henry Mullings for cash     31.15
To Carter Braxton pr settlemt by Colo Lewis   119.12.8
To do for cash     11.17.4

The steward intended this account for my information, but mentioning only names & sums without saying in some general way why those sums were paid to those names, leaves me uninformed. However the account having passed under your eye leaves me also without a doubt that the articles are right. I suppose, in the 1st article for instance, that Carter Braxton (to whom I was indebted for a doz. bottles of oil only) stands in the place of some person to whom I owed £131.10, and so of the rest, as you give me reason to hope that all other debts will now be paid off. I am in hopes the shoulder can be laid solidly to those of Farrell & Jones, & Kippen & Co. to these objects. I would wish to apply the whole profits of the estate, except the maintenance & education of my sister Carr’s two sons, & the interest of my sister Nancy’s debt. I shall propose therefore to Jones & McCaul the paying them an annual sum till their debts shall be discharged, & I have asked the favor of Mr. Eppes, to consult with you & let me know what sum you think I may engage to pay them on an average of one year with another? and that you will be so good as to let me know this as soon as possible that I may arrange the matter by agreement with them. You mention that the price of tobo. is at 22/6. I can always be sure of receiving for it delivered at Havre 36/ Virginia money for the Virginia hundred weight. Edition: current; Page: [236] Whenever therefore the price with you is less than this after deducting freight, insurance, commission & port charges, if a conveiance can be obtained for it to Havre it would be better to ship it to me. You may at the same time draw bills on me for the whole amount taking care that they shall not be presented till the tobacco is arrived at Havre, & that there be such an usence in them as will give me time to sell it & receive the money, or, for so much of the tobacco as can be destined to Jones & McCaul, no bills need be drawn, as I can remit them the proceeds. In all this however you will act according to your own judgment which is much better than mine. I cannot help thinking however that it might be worth the experiment to ship me at any rate a small adventure to see how it will turn out, but Havre is the only port at which I could manage it.

I observe in your letter of March 14. after stating the amount of the crop & deducting Overseer’s & steward’s parts, transportation, negroes clothes, tools, medicine & taxes, the profits of the whole estate would be no more than the hire of the few negroes hired out would amount to. Would it be better to hire more where good masters could be got? Would it be better to hire plantations & all, if proper assurance can be provided for the good usage of everything? I am miserable till I owe not a shilling: the moment that shall be the case I shall feel myself at liberty to do something for the comfort of my slaves. * * * I am much obliged to you for your attention to my trees & grass. The latter is one of the principal pillars on which I shall rely for Edition: current; Page: [237] subsistence when I shall be at liberty to try projects without injury to any body. The negro girl which I sent to Nancy Bolling was not sent as a gift from me. I understood she was claimed under a supposed gift from my mother, which tho’ I thought ill founded I did not chuse to enter into disagreeable discussions about. I meant therefore to abandon my right to her and I have no further pretensions to her. With my letter from London, I send under the care of Mr. Fulwar Skipwith a trunk containing some little matters for Mr. Lewis & my sister Nancy. I hope it got safe to hand. I have long had (as I once wrote you) a pretty little piece of furniture, a clock, which I meant for Mrs. Lewis. Tho it is so small that it might almost be put into a pocket, I have as yet found it impossible to get a safe conveiance for it. The case being of marble, & very slender, it cannot bear transportation but by water. I am obliged therefore to wait till some person shall be going from Havre to Richmond. Monsr. Doradour was to have carried it, but he was not able. He is safely returned to his family & in good humor with our country. He made a considerable tramontane purchase. His trip upon the whole turned out better than I had expected. I am glad on account of Madame de Doradour who is a lady of great merit. I have never seen her since the departure of her husband; but I suppose she will decline further views on America. I shall endeavor to send with this a packet of the seeds of trees which I would wish Anthony to sow in a large nursery noting well their names. There will be a little Spanish St. foin, Edition: current; Page: [238] represented to me as a very precious grass in a hot country. I would have it sowed in one of the vacant lots of my grass ground. I have but just room to render you a thousand thanks for your goodness, to make as many apologies for the details I trouble you with, to recommend myself to the friendly remembrance of Mrs. Lewis & to assure you of the sincere esteem with which I am, Sir &c.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 26, 1786
Paris
William Carmichael
Carmichael, William

TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—* * * My Notes on Virginia, having been hastily written, need abundance of corrections. Two or three of these are so material that I am reprinting a few leaves to substitute for the old. As soon as these shall be ready, I will beg your acceptance of a copy. I shall be proud to be permitted to send a copy, also, to the Count de Campomanes as a tribute to his science & his virtues. You will find in them that the Natural bridge had found an admirer in me also. I should be happy to make with you a tour of the curiosities you will find therein mentioned. That kind of pleasure surpasses much in my estimation whatever I find on this side the Atlantic. I sometimes think of building a little hermitage at the Natural bridge (for it is my property) and of passing there a part of the year at least. I have received American papers to the 1st of November. Some tumultuous meetings of the people have taken place in the Eastern states, i. e. one in Massachusetts, one Edition: current; Page: [239] in Connecticut, & one in N Hampsh. Their principal demand was a respite in the judiciary proceedings. No injury was done however in a single instance to the person or property of any one, nor did the tumult continue 24 hours in any one instance. In Massachusetts this was owing to the discretion which the malcontents still preserved, in Connecticut & N Hampshire, the body of the people rose in support of government & obliged the malcontents to go to their homes. In the last mentioned state they seized about 40, who were in jail for trial. It is believed this incident will strengthen our government. Those people are not entirely without excuse. Before the war those states depended on their whale oil & fish. The former was consumed in England, & much of the latter in the Mediterranean. The heavy duties on American whale oil now required in England exclude it from that market; & the Algerines exclude them from bringing their fish into the Mediterranean. France is opening her port for their oil, but in the meanwhile their antient debts are pressing them & they have nothing to pay with. The Massachusetts assembly too, in their zeal for paying their public debt had laid a tax too heavy to be paid in the circumstances of their state. The Indians seem disposed to make war on us. These complicated causes determined Congress to increase their force to 2000 men. The latter was the sole object avowed, yet the former entered for something into the measure. However I am satisfied the good sense of the people is the strongest army our government can ever have, & Edition: current; Page: [240] that it will not fail them. The Commercial convention at Annapolis was not full enough to do business. They found too their appointments too narrow, being confined to the article of commerce. They have proposed a meeting in Philadelphia in May, and that it may be authorized to propose amendments of whatever is defective in the federal constitution.

Congress have at length determined on a coinage. Their money unit is a dollar & the pieces above & below that are in decimal proportion. You will see their scheme in all the papers, except that the proportion they established between gold & silver is mistated at upwards of 20. to 1. instead of about 15¼ to 1.

It is believed that this court has patched up an accommodation for the moment between Russia & the Porte. In Holland they find greater difficulties. The present King of Prussia is zealous for the Stadholder, & the fear is of driving him into the Austrian scale of the European balance. Such a weight as this, shifted, would destroy all equilibriums and the preponderance once in favor of the restless powers of the north, the peace would soon be disturbed.

When I was in England I formed a portable copying press on the principle of the large one they make there for copying letters. I had a model made there & it has answered perfectly. A workman here has made several from that model. The itinerent temper of your court will, I think, render one of these useful to you. You must therefore do me the favor to accept of one. I have it now in readiness, & shall send Edition: current; Page: [241] it by the way of Bayonne to the care of Mr. Alexander there, unless Don Miguel de Lardizabal can carry it with him.

My hand admonishes me it is time to stop, & that I must defer writing to Mr. Barclay till to-morrow.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 4, 1787
Paris
Alexander Mccaul
Mccaul, Alexander

TO ALEXANDER McCAUL1

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—In the letter which I had the honor of addressing you from London on the 19th of April 1786, I informed you that I had left my estate in the hands of a Mr. Eppes & a Mr. Lewis, who were first to clear off some debts which had been necessarily contracted during the war, & afterwards to apply the whole profits to the paiment of my debt to you (by which I mean that to the several firms with which you were connected) and of my part of a debt due from Mr. Wayles’s estate to Farrell & Jones of Bristol. Being anxious to begin the paiment of these two debts, & finding that it would be too long postponed if the residuary one’s were to be paid merely from the annual profits of the estate, a number of slaves have been sold, & I have lately received information from Messrs. Eppes & Lewis that the proceeds of that sale with the profits of the estate to the end of 1786 would pay off the whole of the residuary debts. As we are now therefore clear of embarrasments to pursue our principal object, I am desirous of arranging with you such just & practicable conditions as will ascertain to Edition: current; Page: [242] you the receipt of your debt, & give me the satisfaction of knowing that you are contented. What the laws of Virginia are or may be, will in no wise influence my conduct. Substantial justice is my object, as decided by reason, & not by authority or compulsion.

The article of interest may make a difficulty. I had the honour of observing to you, in my former letter that I thought it just I should pay it for all the time preceding the war, & all the time subsequent to it, but that for the time during the war I did not consider myself as bound in justice to pay. This includes the period from the commencement of hostilities Apr. 19, 1775, to their cessation April 19, 1783, being exactly eight years. To the reasons against this paiment which apply in favor of the whole mass of American debtors, I added the peculiar circumstance of having already lost the debt, principal & interest, by endeavoring to pay it by the sale of lands, & by the depreciation of their price; & also a second loss of an equal sum by Ld. Cornwallis’s barbarous & useless depredations. I will therefore refer you to that letter, to save the repetition here of those reasons which absolve me in justice from the paiment of this portion of interest. In law, our courts have uniformly decided that the treaty of peace stipulates the paiment of the principal only & not of any interest whatever.

This article being once settled, I would propose to divide the clear proceeds of my estate (in which there are from 80 to 100 labouring slaves) between yourself & Farrell & Jones, one third to you and two thirds to them: & that the crop of this present year Edition: current; Page: [243] 1787 shall constitute the first payment. That crop you know cannot be got to the warehouse completely till May of the next year, & I presume, that three months more will be little enough to send it to Europe or to sell it in Virginia & remit the money. So that I could not safely answer for placing the proceeds in your hands till the month of August, & so annually every August afterwards till the debt shall be paid. It will always be both my interest and my wish to get it to you as much sooner as possible & probably a part of it may always be paid some months sooner. If the assigning the profits in general terms may seem to you too vague, I am willing to fix the annual paiment at a sum certain. But that I may not fall short of my engagement, I shall name it somewhat less than I suppose may be counted on. I shall fix your part at two hundred pounds sterling annually, and as you know our crops of tobacco to be incertain, I should reserve a right, if they should fall short one year, to make it up the ensuing one, without being supposed to have failed in my engagement, but I would be obliged every second year to pay any arrearages of the preceding one together with the full sum for the current year: so that once in every two years the annual paiment should be fully paid up.

I do not know what the balance is: having for a long time before the war had no settlement, yet there can be no difficulty in making that settlement, & in the mean while the paiments may proceed without affecting the right of either party to have a just settlement.

If you think proper to accede to these propositions, Edition: current; Page: [244] be so good as to say so at the foot of a copy of this letter, on my receipt of that, I will send you an acknowledgement of it, which shall render this present letter obligatory on me for the paiment of the debt before mentioned & interest at the epochs & in the proportions before mentioned excepting always the interest during the war. This done, you may count on my faithful execution of it.

I avail myself of this, as of every other occasion of recalling myself to your friendly recollection, & of assuring you of the sentiments of perfect esteem and attachment with which I am, &c.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 5, 1787
Paris
William Jones
Jones, William

TO WILLIAM JONES

j. mss.
Sir,

—When I had the pleasure of seeing you in London, I mentioned to you that the Affairs of Mr. Wayles’s estate were left to be ultimately settled by Mr. Eppes, the only acting executor; that I had left in his hands also & in those of a Mr. Lewis the part of Mr. Wayles’s estate which came to me, together with my own: that they were first to clear off some debts which had been necessarily contracted during the war, & would after that apply the whole profits to the paiment of my part of Mr. Wayles’s debt to you, & to a debt of mine to Kippen & Co., of Glasgow. Being anxious to begin the paiment of these two debts & finding that it would be too long postponed if the residuary ones were to be paid merely from the annual profits of the estate, a number Edition: current; Page: [245] of slaves have been sold, & I have lately received information from Messrs. Eppes & Lewis that the proceeds of that sale, with the profits of the estate to the end of 1786 would pay off the whole of the residuary debts. As we are now therefore clear of embarrassment to pursue our principal object, I am desirous of arranging with you, such just & practicable conditions as will ascertain to you the terms at which you will receive my part of your debt, & give me the satisfaction of knowing that you are contented. What the laws of Virginia are, or may be, will in no wise influence my conduct. Substantial justice is my object, as decided by reason, & not by authority or compulsion.

The first question which arises is as to the article of interest. For all the time preceding the war, & all subsequent to it, I think it reasonable that interest should be paid; but equally unreasonable during the war. Interest is a compensation for the use of money. Your money in my hands is in the form of lands & negroes, from these, during the war, no use, no profits could be derived, tobacco is the article they produce. That can only be turned into money at a foreign market. But the moment it went out of our ports for that purpose, it was captured either by the king’s ships or by those of individuals. The consequence was that tobacco, worth from twenty to thirty shillings the hundred, sold generally in Virginia during the War for five shillings. This price it is known will not maintain the labourer & pay his taxes. There was no surplus of profit then to pay an interest, in the mean while we stood insurers of Edition: current; Page: [246] the lives of the labourers & of the ultimate issue of the war. He who attempted during the war to remit either his principal or interest, must have expected to remit three times to make one paiment; because it is supposed that two out of three parts of the shipments were taken. It was not possible then for the debtor to derive any profit from the money which might enable him to pay an interest, nor yet to get rid of the principal by remitting it to his creditor. With respect to the Creditors in Great Britain they mostly turned their attention to privateering, and arming the vessels they had before emploied in trading with us. They captured on the seas, not only the produce of the farms of their debtors, but of those of the whole state. They thus paid themselves by capture more than their annual interest, and we lost more. Some merchants indeed did not engage in privateering. These lost their interest. But we did not gain it. It fell into the hands of their countrymen. It cannot therefore be demanded of us. As between these merchants & their debtors it is a case where, a loss being incurred, each party may justifiably endeavor to shift it from himself, each has an equal right to avoid it, one party can never expect the other to yield a thing to which he has as good a right as the demander, we even think he has a better right than the demander in the present instance. This loss has been occasioned by the fault of the nation which was Creditor. Our right to avoid it then stands on less exceptionable ground than theirs, but it will be said that each party thought the other the aggressor. In these disputes Edition: current; Page: [247] there is but one umpire & that has decided the question where the world in general thought the right laid.

Besides these reasons in favor of the general mass of debtors, I have some peculiar to my own case. In the year 1776, before a shilling of paper money was issued I sold lands to the amount of £4200. In order to pay these two debts I offered the bonds of the purchasers to your agent Mr. Evans, if he would acquit me, & accept of the purchasers as debtors in my place. They were as sure as myself had he done it. These debts, being turned over to you, would have been saved to you by the treaty of peace, but he declined it. Great sums of paper money were afterwards issued. This depreciated, and paiment was made me in this money when it was but a shadow. Our laws do not entitle their own citizens to require repaiment in these cases, tho’ the treaty authorizes the British creditor to do it. Here then I lost the principal and interest once. Again, Ld. Cornwallis encamped 10 days on an estate of mine at Elk island, having his headquarters in my house he burned all the tobacco houses and barns on the farm. With the produce of the former year in them, he burnt all the enclosures, & wasted the fields in which the crop of that year was growing: (it was the month of June) he killed or carried off every living animal, cutting the throats of those which were too young for service. Of the slaves he carried away thirty. The useless & barbarous injury he did me in that instance was more than would have paid your debt, principal & interest. Thus I lost it a second Edition: current; Page: [248] time. Still I lay my shoulder assiduously to the paiment of it a third time. In doing this however I think yourself will be of opinion I am authorized in justice to clear it of every article not demandable in strict right: of this nature I consider interest during the war.

Another question is, as to the paper money I deposited in the treasury of Virginia towards the discharge of this debt. I before observed that I had sold lands to the amount of £4200 before a shilling of paper money was emitted, with a view to pay this debt. I received this money in depreciated paper. The state was then calling on those who owed money to British subjects to bring it into the treasury engaging to pay a like sum to the creditor at the end of the war. I carried the identical money therefore to the Treasury, where it was applied, as all the money of the same description was, to the support of the war. Subsequent events have been such that the state cannot, & ought not to pay the same nominal sum in gold or silver which they received in paper, nor is it certain what they will do. My intention being & having always been, that, whatever the state decides, you shall receive my part of the debt fully, I am ready to remove all difficulty arising from this deposit, to take back to myself the demand against the state, & to consider the deposit as originally made for myself & not for you.

These two articles of interest & paper money being thus settled, I would propose to divide the clear proceeds of the estate (in which there are from 80 to 100 labouring slaves) between yourself & Kippen & Edition: current; Page: [249] Co, two thirds to you and one third to them, & that the crop of this present year 1787 shall constitute the first paiment. That crop you know cannot be got to the warehouse completely till May of the next year, & I suppose that three months more will be little enough to send it to Europe, or to sell it in Virginia & remit the money, so that I could not safely answer for placing the proceeds in your hands till the month of August, and so annually every August afterwards till the debt shall be paid. It will always be both my interest & my wish to get it to you as much sooner as possible, & probably a part of it may always be paid some months sooner. If the assigning of the profits in general terms may seem to you too vague, I am willing to fix the annual paiment at a sum certain, but that I may not fall short of my engagement, I shall name it somewhat less than I suppose may be counted on. I shall fix your part at four hundred pounds sterling annually, and as you know our crops of tobacco to be incertain, I should reserve a right if they fall short one year to make it up the ensuing one, without being supposed to have failed in my engagement. But every other year at least all arrearages shall be fully paid up.

My part of this debt of Mr. Wayles’s estate being one third, I should require that in proportion as I pay my third, I shall stand discharged as to the other two thirds. So that the paiment of every hundred pounds shall discharge me as to three hundred pounds of the undivided debt. The other gentlemen have equal means of paying, equal desires, and more skill in affairs. Their parts of the debt therefore are at Edition: current; Page: [250] least as sure as mine: & my great object is, in case of any accident to myself, to leave my family uninvolved with any matters whatever.

I do not know what the balance of this debt is. The last acct. current I saw was before the war, making the whole balance, principal & interest somewhere about nine thousand pounds: & after this there were upwards of four hundred hogshead of tobacco & some paiments in money to be credited. However this settlement can admit of no difficulty: & in the mean time the payments may proceed without affecting the right of either party to have a just settlement.

Upon the whole then I propose that on your part you relinquish the claim to interest during the war, say from the commencement of hostilities, April 19, 1775 to their cessation April 19, 1783. being exactly eight years; and that in proportion as I pay my third I shall be acquitted as to the other two thirds. On my part, I take on myself the loss of the paper money deposited in the Treasury, I agree to pay interest previous & subsequent to the war, and oblige myself to remit to you for that & the principal four hundred pounds sterling annually till my third of the whole debt shall be fully paid; & I will begin these paiments in August of the next year.

If you think proper to accede to these propositions, be so good as to say so at the foot of a copy of this letter. On my receipt of that I will send you an acknowledgement of it, which shall render this present letter obligatory on me. In which case you may count on my faithful execution of this undertaking.

Edition: current; Page: [251]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 16, 1787
Paris
Edward Carrington
Carrington, Edward

TO EDWARD CARRINGTON1

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—Uncertain whether you might be at New York at the moment of Colo. Franks’s arrival, I have inclosed my private letters for Virginia under cover to our delegation in general, which otherwise I would have taken the liberty to inclose particularly to you, as best acquainted with the situation of the persons to whom they are addressed. Should this find you at New York, I will still ask your attention to them. The two large packages addressed to Colo. N. Lewis contain seeds, not valuable enough to pay postage, but which I would wish to be sent by the stage, or any similar quick conveyance. The letters to Colo. Lewis & Mr. Eppes (who take care of my affairs) are particularly interesting to me. The package for Colo. Richd. Cary our judge of Admiralty near Hampton, contains seeds & roots, not to be sent by Post. Whether they had better go by the stage, or by water, you will be the best judge. I beg your pardon for giving you this trouble. But my situation & your goodness will I hope excuse it. In my letter to Mr. Jay, I have mentioned the meeting of the Notables appointed for the 29th inst. It is now put off to the 7th or 8th of next month. This event, which will hardly excite any attention in America, is deemed here the most important one which has taken place in their civil line during the present century. Some promise their country great things from it, some nothing. Our friend de La Fayette was placed on the list originally. Afterwards his name disappeared; Edition: current; Page: [252] but finally was reinstated. This shews that his character here is not considered as an indifferent one; and that it excites agitation. His education in our school has drawn on him a very jealous eye from a court whose principles are the most absolute despotism. But I hope he has nearly passed his crisis. The King, who is a good man, is favorably disposed towards him: & he is supported by powerful family connections, & by the public good will. He is the youngest man of the Notables except one whose office placed him on the list.

The Count de Vergennes has within these ten days had a very severe attack of what is deemed an unfixed gout. He has been well enough however to do business to-day. But anxieties for him are not yet quieted. He is a great & good minister, and an accident to him might endanger the peace of Europe.

The tumults in America, I expected would have produced in Europe an unfavorable opinion of our political state. But it has not. On the contrary, the small effect of these tumults seems to have given more confidence in the firmness of our governments. The interposition of the people themselves on the side of government has had a great effect on the opinion here. I am persuaded myself that the good sense of the people will always be found to be the best army. They may be led astray for a moment, but will soon correct themselves. The people are the only censors of their governors: and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public Edition: current; Page: [253] liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, & to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers & be capable of reading them. I am convinced that those societies (as the Indians) which live without government enjoy in their general mass an infinitely greater degree of happiness than those who live under the European governments. Among the former, public opinion is in the place of law, & restrains morals as powerfully as laws ever did anywhere. Among the latter, under pretence of governing they have divided their nations into two classes, wolves & sheep. I do not exaggerate. This is a true picture of Europe. Cherish therefore the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you & I, & Congress & Assemblies, judges & governors shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general nature, in spite of individual exceptions; and experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe, and Edition: current; Page: [254] to the general prey of the rich on the poor. The want of news has led me into disquisition instead of narration, forgetting you have every day enough of that. I shall be happy to hear from you sometimes, only observing that whatever passes thro’ the post is read, & that when you write what should be read by myself only, you must be so good as to confide your letter to some passenger or officer of the packet. I will ask your permission to write to you sometimes, and to assure you of the esteem & respect with which I have honour to be Dear Sir your most obedient & most humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan 30, 1787
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON1

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—My last to you was of the 16th of Dec, since which I have received yours of Nov 25, & Dec 4, which afforded me, as your letters always do, a treat on matters public, individual & œconomical. I am impatient to learn your sentiments on the late troubles in the Eastern states. So far as I have yet seen, they do not appear to threaten serious consequences. Those states have suffered by the stoppage of the channels of their commerce, which have not yet found other issues. This must render money scarce, and make the people uneasy. This uneasiness has produced acts absolutely unjustifiable; but Edition: current; Page: [255] I hope they will provoke no severities from their governments. A consciousness of those in power that their administration of the public affairs has been honest, may perhaps produce too great a degree of indignation: and those characters wherein fear predominates over hope may apprehend too much from these instances of irregularity. They may conclude too hastily that nature has formed man insusceptible of any other government but that of force, a conclusion not founded in truth, nor experience. Societies exist under three forms sufficiently distinguishable. 1. Without government, as among our Indians. 2. Under governments wherein the will of every one has a just influence, as is the case in England in a slight degree, and in our states, in a great one. 3. Under governments of force: as is the case in all other monarchies and in most of the other republics. To have an idea of the curse of existence under these last, they must be seen. It is a government of wolves over sheep. It is a problem, not clear in my mind, that the first condition is not the best. But I believe it to be inconsistent with any great degree of population. The second state has a great deal of good in it. The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty & happiness. It has it’s evils too: the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject. But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government, and nourishes a general attention to the Edition: current; Page: [256] public affairs. I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, & as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. Unsuccessful rebellions indeed generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them. An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions, as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government. If these transactions give me no uneasiness, I feel very differently at another piece of intelligence, to wit, the possibility that the navigation of the Mississippi may be abandoned to Spain. I never had any interest Westward of the Alleghaney; & I never will have any. But I have had great opportunities of knowing the character of the people who inhabit that country. And I will venture to say that the act which abandons the navigation of the Mississippi is an act of separation between the Eastern & Western country. It is a relinquishment of five parts out of eight of the territory of the United States, an abandonment of the fairest subject for the paiment of our public debts, & the chaining those debts on our own necks in perpetuum. I have the utmost confidence in the honest intentions of those who concur in this measure; but I lament their want of acquaintance with the character & physical advantages of the people who, right or wrong, will suppose their interests sacrificed on this occasion to the contrary interests of that part of the confederacy in possession of present power. If they declare themselves a separate people, we are Edition: current; Page: [257] incapable of a single effort to retain them. Our citizens can never be induced, either as militia or as souldiers, to go there to cut the throats of their own brothers & sons, or rather to be themselves the subjects instead of the perpetrators of the parricide. Nor would that country requite the cost of being retained against the will of it’s inhabitants, could it be done. But it cannot be done. They are able already to rescue the navigation of the Mississippi out of the hands of Spain, & to add New Orleans to their own territory. They will be joined by the inhabitants of Louisiana. This will bring on a war between them & Spain; and that will produce the question with us whether it will not be worth our while to become parties with them in the war, in order to reunite them with us, & thus correct our error? & were I to permit my forebodings to go one step further, I should predict that the inhabitants of the U S would force their rulers to take the affirmative of that question. I wish I may be mistaken in all these opinions.

We have for some time expected that the Chevalier de la Luzerne would obtain a promotion in the diplomatic line, by being appointed to some of the courts where this country keeps an ambassador. But none of the vacancies taking place which had been counted on, I think the present disposition is to require his return to his station in America. He told me himself lately, that he should return in the spring. I have never pressed this matter on the court, tho’ I knew it to be desirable and desired on our part; because if the compulsion on him to return had been Edition: current; Page: [258] the work of Congress, he would have returned in such ill temper with them, as to disappoint them in the good they expected from it. He would forever have laid at their door his failure of promotion. I did not press it for another reason, which is that I have great reason to believe that the character of the Count de Moustier, who would go were the Chevalier to be otherwise provided for, would give the most perfect satisfaction in America.

As you are now returned into Congress it will become of importance that you should form a just estimate of certain public characters: on which therefore I will give you such notes as my knolege of them has furnished me with. You will compare them with the materials you are otherwise possessed of, and decide on a view of the whole. Mr. Carmichael, is, I think, very little known in America. I never saw him, & while I was in Congress I formed rather a disadvantageous idea of him. His letters, received then, showed him vain, & more attentive to ceremony & etiquette than we suppose men of sense should be. I have now a constant correspondence with him, and find him a little hypochondriac and discontented. He possesses very good understanding, tho’ not of the first order. I have had great opportunities of searching into his character, and have availed myself of them. Many persons of different nations, coming from Madrid to Paris, all speak of him as in high esteem, & I think it certain that he has more of the Count de Florida Blanca’s friendship, than any diplomatic character at that court. As long as this minister is in office, Carmichael can do more Edition: current; Page: [259] than any other person who could be sent there. You will see Franks, and doubtless he will be asking some appointment. I wish there may be any one for which he is fit. He is light, indiscreet, active, honest, affectionate. Tho’ Bingham is not in diplomatic office, yet as he wishes to be so, I will mention such circumstances of him, as you might otherwise be deceived in. He will make you believe he was on the most intimate footing with the first characters in Europe, & versed in the secrets of every cabinet. Not a word of this is true. He had a rage for being presented to great men, & had no modesty in the methods by which he could if he attained acquaintance. Afterwards it was with such 90 who were susceptible of impression from the beauty of his wife. I must except the Marquis de Bonclearren who had been an old acquaintance.

The Marquis de La Fayette is a most valuable auxiliary to me. His zeal is unbounded, & his weight with those in power, great. His education having been merely military, commerce was an unknown field to him. But his good sense enabling him to comprehend perfectly whatever is explained to him, his agency has been very efficacious. He has a great deal of sound genius, is well remarked by the King, & rising in popularity. He has nothing against him, but the suspicion of republican principles. I think he will one day be of the ministry. His foible is, a canine appetite for popularity and fame; but he will get above this. The Count de Vergennes is ill. The possibility of his recovery, renders it dangerous for us to express a doubt of it: but he is in danger. He is a great minister in European affairs, but has very Edition: current; Page: [260] imperfect ideas of our institutions, and no confidence in them. His devotion to the principles of pure despotism, renders him unaffectionate to our governments. But his fear of England makes him value us as a make weight. He is cool, reserved in political conversations, but free and familiar on other subjects, and a very attentive, agreeable person to do business with. It is impossible to have a clearer, better organized head; but age has chilled his heart. Nothing should be spared, on our part, to attach this country to us. It is the only one on which we can rely for support, under every event. Its inhabitants love us more, I think, than they do any other nation on earth. This is very much the effect of the good dispositions with which the French officers returned. In a former letter, I mentioned to you the dislocation of my wrist. I can make not the least use of it, except for the single article of writing, though it is going on five months since the accident happened. I have great anxieties, lest I should never recover any considerable use of it. I shall, by the advice of my surgeons, set out in a fortnight for the waters of Aix, in Provence. I chose these out of several they proposed to me, because if they fail to be effectual, my journey will not be useless altogether. It will give me an opportunity of examining the canal of Languedoc, and of acquiring knowledge of that species of navigation, which may be useful hereafter; but more immediately, it will enable me to make the tour of the ports concerned in commerce with us, to examine, on the spot, the defects of the late regulations respecting our commerce, to learn the further improvements Edition: current; Page: [261] which may be made in it, and on my return, to get this business finished. I shall be absent between two and three months, unless anything happens to recall me here sooner, which may always be effected in ten days, in whatever part of my route I may be. In speaking of characters, I omitted those of Reyneval and Hennin, the two eyes of Count de Vergennes. The former is the most important character, because possessing the most of the confidence of the Count. He is rather cunning than wise, his views of things being neither great nor liberal. He governs himself by principles which he has learned by rote, and is fit only for the details of execution. His heart is susceptible of little passions but not of good ones. He is brother-in-law to M. Gerard, from whom he received disadvantageous impressions of us, which cannot be effaced. He has much duplicity. Hennin is a philosopher, sincere, friendly, liberal, learned, beloved by everybody; the other by nobody. I think it a great misfortune that the United States are in the department of the former. As particulars of this kind may be useful to you, in your present situation, I may hereafter continue the chapter. I know it will be safely lodged in your discretion.

Feb. 5. Since writing thus far, Franks is returned from England. I learn that Mr. Adams desires to be recalled, & that Smith should be appointed chargé des affaires there. It is not for me to decide whether any diplomatic character should be kept at a court, which keeps none with us. You can judge of Smith’s abilities by his letters. They are not of the first order, but they are good. For his honesty, he is like Edition: current; Page: [262] our friend Monroe; turn his soul wrong side outwards, and there is not a speck on it. He has one foible, an excessive inflammability of temper, but he feels it when it comes on, and has resolution enough to suppress it, and to remain silent till it passes over.

I send you by Colo. Franks, your pocket telescope, walking stick & chemical box. The two former could not be combined together. The latter could not be had in the form you referred to. Having a great desire to have a portable copying machine, & being satisfied from some experiments that the principle of the large machine might be applied in a small one, I planned one when in England & had it made. It answers perfectly. I have since set a workman to making them here, & they are in such demand that he has his hands full. Being assured that you will be pleased to have one, when you shall have tried it’s convenience, I send you one by Colo. Franks. The machine costs 96 livres, the appendages 24 livres, and I send you paper & ink for 12 livres; in all 132 livres. There is a printed paper of directions; but you must expect to make many essays before you succeed perfectly. A soft brush, like a shaving brush, is more convenient than the sponge. You can get as much ink & paper as you please from London. The paper costs a guinea a ream.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 22. 1787
Paris
Mrs. John (Abigail) Adams
Adams, Mrs. John (Abigail)

TO MRS. JOHN (ABIGAIL) ADAMS

j. mss.
Dear Madam,

—I am to acknowledge the honor of your letter of Jan. 29. and of the papers you were so Edition: current; Page: [263] good as to send me. They were the latest I had seen or have yet seen. They left off too in a critical moment; just at the point where the Malcontents make their submission on condition of pardon, & before the answer of government was known. I hope they pardoned them. The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now & then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere. It is wonderful that no letter or paper tells us who is president of Congress, tho’ there are letters in Paris to the beginning of January. I suppose I shall hear when I come back from my journey, which will be eight months after he will have been chosen, and yet they complain of us for not giving them intelligence. Our Notables assembled to-day, and I hope before the departure of Mr. Cairnes I shall have heard something of their proceedings worth communicating to Mr. Adams. The most remarkable effect of this convention as yet is the number of puns & bon mots it has generated. I think were they all collected it would make a more voluminous work than the Encyclopedie. This occasion, more than any thing I have seen, convinces me that this nation is incapable of any serious effort but under the word of command. The people at large view every object only as it may furnish puns and bon mots; and I pronounce that a good punster would disarm the whole nation were they ever so seriously disposed to revolt. Indeed, Madam, they are gone, when a measure so capable of Edition: current; Page: [264] doing good as the calling the Notables is treated with so much ridicule; we may conclude the nation desperate, & in charity pray that heaven may send them good kings.—The bridge at the place Louis XV is begun, the hotel dieu is to be abandoned & new ones to be built. The old houses on the bridges are in a course of demolition. This is all I know of Paris. We are about to lose the Count d’Arande, who has desired & obtained his recall. Fernand Nunner, before destined for London, is to come here. The Abbes’ Arnoux & Chalut are well. The Dutchess Danville somewhat recovered from the loss of her daughter. Mrs. Barrett very homesick and fancying herself otherwise sick. They will probably remove to Honfleur. This is all our news. I have only to add then that Mr. Cairnes has taken charge of 15 aunes of black lace for you at 9 livres the aune, purchased by Petit & therefore I hope better purchased than some things have been for you; and that I am, dear Madam, your affectionate & humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 28, 1787
Aix en Provence
Martha Jefferson
Jefferson, Martha

TO MARTHA JEFFERSON1

I was happy, my dear Patsey, to receive, on my arrival here, your letter, informing me of your good health and occupation. I have not written to you sooner because I have been almost constantly on the road. My journey hitherto had been a very pleasing one. It was undertaken with the hope that the Edition: current; Page: [265] mineral waters of this place might restore strength to my wrist. Other considerations also concurred—instruction, amusement, and abstraction from business, of which I had too much at Paris. I am glad to learn that you are employed in things new and good, in your music and drawing. You know what have been my fears for some time past—that you did not employ yourself so closely as I could wish. You have promised me a more assiduous attention, and I have great confidence in what you promise. It is your future happiness which interests me, and nothing can contribute more to it (moral rectitude always excepted) than the contracting a habit of industry and activity. Of all the cankers of human happiness none corrodes with so silent, yet so baneful an influence, as indolence. Body and mind both unemployed, our being becomes a burthen, and every object about us loathsome, even the dearest. Idleness begets ennui, ennui the hypochondriac, and that a diseased body. No laborious person was ever yet hysterical. Exercise and application produce order in our affairs, health of body and cheerfulness of mind, and these make us precious to our friends. It is while we are young that the habit of industry is formed. If not then, it never is afterwards. The fortune of our lives, therefore, depends on employing well the short period of youth. If at any moment, my dear, you catch yourself in idleness, start from it as you would from the precipice of a gulf. You are not, however, to consider yourself as unemployed while taking exercise. That is necessary for your health, and health is the first of all objects. For Edition: current; Page: [266] this reason, if you leave your dancing-master for the summer, you must increase your other exercises.

I do not like your saying that you are unable to read the ancient print of your Livy but with the aid of your master. We are always equal to what we undertake with resolution. A little degree of this will enable you to decipher your Livy. If you always lean on your master, you will never be able to proceed without him. It is part of the American character to consider nothing as desperate, to surmount every difficulty by resolution and contrivance. In Europe there are shops for every want; its inhabitants, therefore, have no idea that their wants can be supplied otherwise. Remote from all other aid, we are obliged to invent and to execute; to find means within ourselves, and not to lean on others. Consider, therefore, the conquering your Livy as an exercise in the habit of surmounting difficulties; a habit which will be necessary to you in the country where you are to live, and without which you will be thought a very helpless animal, and less esteemed. Music, drawing, books, invention, and exercise, will be so many resources to you against ennui. But there are others which, to this object, add that of utility. These are the needle and domestic economy. The latter you cannot learn here, but the former you may. In the country life of America there are many moments when a woman can have recourse to nothing but her needle for employment. In a dull company, and in dull weather, for instance, it is ill-manners to read, ill-manners to leave them; no card-playing there among genteel people—that Edition: current; Page: [267] is abandoned to blackguards. The needle is then a valuable resource. Besides, without knowing how to use it herself, how can the mistress of a family direct the work of her servants?

You ask me to write you long letters. I will do it, my dear, on condition you will read them from time to time, and practice what they inculcate. Their precepts will be dictated by experience, by a perfect knolege of the situation in which you will be placed, and by the fondest love for you. This it is which makes me wish to see you more qualified than common. My expectations from you are high, yet not higher than you may attain. Industry and resolution are all that are wanting. Nobody in this world can make me so happy, or so miserable, as you. Retirement from public life will ere long become necessary for me. To your sister and yourself I look to render the evening of my life serene and contented. Its morning has been clouded by loss after loss, till I have nothing left but you. I do not doubt either your affections or dispositions. But great exertions are necessary, and you have little time left to make them. Be industrious then, my child. Think nothing insurmountable by resolution and application, and you will be all that I wish you to be.

You ask if it is my desire that you should dine at the Abbess’s table? It is. Propose it as such to Madame de Frauleinheim, with my respectful compliments, and thanks for her care of you. Continue to love me with all the warmth with which you are beloved by, my dear Patsey, yours affectionately.

Edition: current; Page: [268]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
April 7, 1787
Toulon
Martha Jefferson
Jefferson, Martha

TO MARTHA JEFFERSON1

My Dear Patsey

—I received yesterday, at Marseilles, your letter of March 25th, and I received it with pleasure, because it announced to me that you are well. Experience learns us to be always anxious about the health of those whom we love. I have not been able to write to you as often as I expected, because I am generally on the road, and when I stop anywhere I am occupied in seeing what is to be seen. It will be some time now, perhaps, three weeks, before I shall be able to write you again. But this need not slacken your writing to me, because you have leisure and your letters come regularly to me. I have received letters which inform me that our dear Polly will certainly come to us this summer. By the time I return it will be time to expect her. When she arrives she will become a precious charge on your hands. The difference of your age and your common loss of a mother, will put that office on you. Teach her above all things to be good, because without that we can neither be valued by others nor set any value on ourselves. Teach her to be always true; no vice is so mean as the want of truth, and at the same time so useless. Teach her never to be angry; anger only serves to torment ourselves, to divert others, and alienate their esteem. And teach her industry, and application to useful pursuits. I will venture to assure you that if you inculcate this in her mind, you will make her a happy being herself, a most inestimable friend to you, and precious to all the world. Edition: current; Page: [269] In teaching her these dispositions of mind, you will be more fixed in them yourself, and render yourself dear to all your acquaintances. Practice them, then, my dear, without ceasing. If ever you find yourself in difficulty, and doubt how to extricate yourself, do what is right, and you will find it the easiest way of getting out of the difficulty. Do it for the additional incitement of increasing the happiness of him who loves you infinitely, and who is, my dear Patsey, yours affectionately.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 4, 1787
Marseilles
John Jay
Jay, John

TO THE SECRETARY FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS
(JOHN JAY)

j. mss.
Sir,

—I had the honour of receiving at Aix your letter of Feb. 9, and immediately wrote to the Count de Montmorin, explaining the delay of the answer of Congress to the King’s letter, and desired Mr. Short to deliver that answer with my letter to Monsieur de Montmorin, which he accordingly informs me he has done.

My absence prevented my noting to you in the first moment the revolution which has taken place at Paris in the department of Finance, by the substitution of Monsieur de Fourqueux in the place of Monsieur de Calonnes, so that you will have heard of it through other channels before this will have the honour of reaching you.

Having staid at Aix long enough to prove the inefficacy of the waters, I came on to this place for the purpose of informing myself here, as I mean to Edition: current; Page: [270] do at the other sea-port towns, of whatever may be interesting to our commerce. So far as carried on in our own bottoms, I find it almost nothing; & so it must probably remain till something can be done with the Algerines. Tho’ severely afflicted with the plague, they have come out within these few days, & shewed themselves in force along the coast of Genoa, cannonading a little town & taking several vessels.

Among other objects of inquiry, this was the place to learn something more certain on the subject of rice, as it is a great emporium for that of the Levant & of Italy. I wished particularly to know whether it was the use of a different machine for cleaning which brought European rice to market less broken than ours, as had been represented to me by those who deal in that article in Paris. I found several persons who had passed thro’ the rice country of Italy, but not one who could explain to me the nature of the machine. But I was given to believe that I might see it myself immediately on entering Piedmont. As this would require but about three weeks I determined to go & ascertain this point; as the chance only of placing our rice above all rivalship in quality as it is in colour, by the introduction of a better machine, if a better existed, seemed to justify the application of that much time to it. I found the rice country to be in truth Lombardy, 100 miles further than had been represented, & that tho’ called Piedmont rice, not a grain is made in the country of Piedmont. I passed thro the rice fields of the Venellese & Milanese, about 60 miles, & returned from thence last night, having found that the machine is Edition: current; Page: [271] absolutely the same as ours, and of course that we need not listen more to that suggestion. It is a difference in the species of grain, of which the government of Turin is so sensible, that, as I was informed, they prohibit the exportation of rough rice on pain of death. I have taken measures however for obtaining a quantity of it which I think will not fail & I bought on the spot a small parcel which I have with me. As further details on this subject to Congress would be misplaced, I propose on my return to Paris to communicate them, & send the rice to the society at Charlestown for promoting agriculture, supposing that they will be best able to try the experiment of cultivating the rice of this quality, and to communicate the species to the two states of S Carolina & Georgia if they find it answer. I thought the staple of these two states was entitled to this attention, and that it must be desirable to them to be able to furnish rice of the two qualities demanded in Europe, especially as the greater consumption is in the forms for which the Lombardy quality is preferred. The mass of our countrymen being interested in agriculture, I hope I do not err in supposing that in a time of profound peace as the present, to enable them to adapt their productions to the market, to point out markets for them, and endeavor to obtain favorable terms of reception, is within the line of my duty.

My journey into this part of the country has procured me information which I will take the liberty of communicating to Congress. In October last I received a letter dated Montpelier Octob 2. 1786. Edition: current; Page: [272] announcing to me that the writer was a foreigner who had a matter of very great consequence to communicate to me, and desired I would indicate the channel thro which it might pass safely. I did so.

I received soon after a letter in the following words, omitting only the formal parts.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
John Jay
Jay, John

“Je suis Bresilien et vous savez, que ma malheureuse patrie gemit dans un affreux esclavage, qui devient chaque plus insupportable, depuis l’epoque de votre glorieuse independance, puisque les barbares Portugais n’épargnent rien pour nous rendre malheureux, de crainte que nous suivire vos pat: et comme nous connaissons que ces usurpateurs contre la loi de la nature et de l’humanité ne songent que á nous accabler, nous nous sommes decidés a suivre le frappant exemple que vous venez de nous donner, et par consequence a briser nos chaines, et à faire revivre notre liberté, qui est tout-a-fait morte, et accablé par la force qui est le seul droit qu’ont les Europeans sur l’Amerique. Mais il s’agit d’avoir une puissance qui donne la main aux Bresiliens, attendu que l’Espagne ne manquera pas de se joindre a Portugal; et malgré les avantages que nous avons pour nous defendre, nous ne pourrons pas le faire, ou du moins il se serait pas prudent de nous hazarder sans etre sur d’y reussir. Cela posé, Monsieur, c’est votre nation que nous croyons plus propre pour donner du secours, non seulement parceque c’est elle, qui nous a donné l’exemple, mais aussi parceque la nature nous a fait habitants du meme continent, et par consequence en quelque façon compatriotes. De notre Edition: current; Page: [273] part nous sommes prets a donner tout l’argent qui sera necessaire, et á temoigner en tout temps notre reconnoissance envers nos bienfaisantes. Monsieur, voila á peu prés le precis de mes intentions, et c’est pour m’acquitter de cette commission, que je suis venu en France, puisque je se pourrois pas en Amerique sans donner des soupçons á ceux qui en sçussent. C’est a vous maintenant á juger si elles peuvent avoir lieu, et dans le cas que voulussiez en consulter votre nation, je suis en etat de vous donner toutes les informations que vous trouverez necessaire.

As by this time I had been advised to try the waters of Aix, I wrote to the gentleman my design, and that I would go off my road as far as Nismes, under the pretext of seeing the antiquities of that place, if he would meet me there. He met me, & the following is the sum of the information I received from him: “Brazil contains as many inhabitants as Portugal. They are 1. Portuguese. 2. Native whites. 3. Black & mulatto slaves. 4. Indians civilized & savage. 1. The Portuguese are few in number, mostly married there, have lost sight of their native country, as well as the prospect of returning to it, & are disposed to become independant. 2. The native whites form the body of their nation. 3. The slaves are as numerous as the free. 4. The civilized Indians have no energy, & the savage would not meddle. There are 20.000 regular troops. Originally these were Portuguese; but as they died off they were replaced by natives, so that these compose Edition: current; Page: [274] at present the mass of the troops & may be counted on by their native country. The officers are partly Portuguese partly Brazilians; their bravery is not doubted, & they understand the parade but not the science of their profession. They have no bias for Portugal, but no energy either for anything. The Priests are partly Portuguese, partly Brazilians, & will not interest themselves much. The Noblesse are scarcely known as such. They will in no manner be distinguished from the people. The men of letters are those most desirous of a revolution. The people are not much under the influence of their priests, most of them read & write, possess arms, & are in the habit of using them for hunting. The slaves will take the side of their masters. In short, as to the question of revolution, there is but one mind in that country. But there appears no person capable of conducting a revolution, or willing to venture himself at its head, without the aid of some powerful nation, as the people of their own might fail them. There is no printing press in Brazil. They consider the North American revolution as a precedent for theirs. They look to the United States as most likely to give them honest support, & from a variety of considerations have the strongest prejudices in our favor. This informant is a native & inhabitant of Rio Janeiro the present metropolis, which contains 50.000 inhabitants, knows well St. Salvador the former one, and the mines d’or which are in the center of the country. These are all for a revolution, &, constituting the body of the nation, the other parts will follow them. The King’s fifth Edition: current; Page: [275] of the mines yields annually 13 millions of crusadoes or half dollars. He has the sole right of searching for diamonds & other precious stones, which yields him about half as much. His income alone then from these two resources is about 10 millions of dollars annually: but the remaining part of the produce of the mines, being 26 millions, might be counted on for effecting a revolution. Besides the arms in the hands of the people, there are public magazines. They have abundance of horses, but only a part of their country would admit the service of horses. They would want cannon, ammunition, ships, sailors, souldiers & officers, for which they are disposed to look to the U. S. always understood that every service & furniture will be well paid. Corn costs about 20 livres the 100 lb. They have flesh in the greatest abundance, insomuch that in some parts they kill beeves for the skin only. The whale fishery is carried on by Brazilians altogether, & not by Portuguese; but in very small vessels, so that the fishermen know nothing of managing a large ship. They would want of us at all times shipping, corn & salt fish. The latter is a great article, & they are at present supplied with it from Portugal. Portugal being without either army or navy, could not attempt an invasion under a twelvemonth. Considering of what it would be composed it would not be much to be feared, and, if it failed, they would probably never attempt a second. Indeed, this source of their wealth being intercepted they are scarcely capable of a first effort. The thinking part of the nation are so sensible of this, that they consider an Edition: current; Page: [276] early separation inevitable. There is an implacable hatred between the Brazilians & Portuguese; to reconcile which a former minister adopted the policy of letting the Brazilians into a participation of public offices; but subsequent administrations have reverted to the antient policy of keeping the administration in the hands of native Portuguese. There is a mixture of natives of the old appointments still remaining in office. If Spain should invade them on their Southern extremities, these are so distant from the body of their settlements that they could not penetrate thence, and Spanish enterprise is not formidable. The mines d’or are among mountains, inaccessible to any army, and Rio Janeiro is considered as the strongest port in the world after Gibraltar. In case of a successful revolution, a republican government in a single body would probably be established.”

I took care to impress on him thro’ the whole of our conversation that I had neither instructions nor authority to say a word to anybody on this subject, and that I could only give him my own ideas as a single individual; which were that we were not in a condition to meddle nationally in any war; that we wished particularly to cultivate the friendship of Portugal, with whom we have an advantageous commerce. That yet a successful revolution in Brazil could not be uninteresting to us. That prospects of lucre might possibly draw numbers of individuals to their aid, and purer motives our officers, among whom are many excellent. That our citizens being free to leave their own country individually without Edition: current; Page: [277] the consent of their governments, are equally free to go to any other.

A little before I received the first letter of the Brazilian a gentleman informed me there was a Mexican in Paris, who wished to have some conversation with me. He accordingly called on me. The substance of the information I drew from him was as follows. He is himself a native of Mexico, where his relations are principally. He left it at about 17 years of age, & seems now to be about 33 or 34. He classes & characterizes the inhabitants of that country as follows: 1. The natives of Old Spain, possessed of most of the offices of government, & firmly attached to it. 2. The clergy equally attached to the government. 3. The natives of Mexico, generally disposed to revolt, but without instruction, without energy, & much under the dominion of their priests. 4. The slaves, mulatto & black; the former enterprising & intelligent, the latter brave & of very important weight, into whatever scale they throw themselves; but he thinks they will side with their masters. 5. The conquered Indians, cowardly, not likely to take any side, nor important which. 6. The free Indians, brave and formidable, should they interfere, but not likely to do so, as being at a great distance. I asked him the numbers of these several classes, but he could not give them. The first he thought very inconsiderable; that the 2d formed the body of the freemen: the 3d equal to the two first: the 4th to all the preceding: & as to the 5th he could form no idea of their proportion. Indeed it appeared to me that his conjectures as to the others were on Edition: current; Page: [278] loose grounds. He said he knew from good information there were 300.000 inhabitants in the city of Mexico. I was still more cautious with him than with the Brazilian, mentioning it as my private opinion (unauthorized to say a word on the subject otherwise) that a successful revolution was still at a distance with them; that I feared they must begin by enlightening & emancipating the minds of their people; that as to us, if Spain should give us advantageous terms of commerce, & remove other difficulties, it was not probable that we should relinquish certain & present advantages tho’ smaller, to incertain & future ones, however great. I was led into this caution by observing that this gentleman was intimate at the Spanish Ambassador’s, & that he was then at Paris, employed by Spain to settle her boundaries with France on the Pyrenees. He had much the air of candour but that can be borrowed; so that I was not able to decide about him in my own mind.

Led by a unity of subject, & a desire to give Congress as general a view of the dispositions of our Southern countrymen as my information enables me, I will add an article which, old & insulated, I did not think important enough to mention at the time I received it. You will remember, Sir, that during the late war, the British papers often gave details of a rebellion in Peru. The character of those papers discredited the information. But the truth was that the insurrections were so general, that the event was long on the poise. Had Commodore Johnson, then expected on that coast, touched & landed there 2,000 men, the dominion of Spain in that country was at Edition: current; Page: [279] an end. They only wanted a point of union which this body would have constituted. Not having this, they acted without concert, & were at length subdued separately. This conflagration was quenched in blood, 200,000 souls on both sides having perished; but the remaining matter is very capable of combustion. I have this information from a person who was on the spot at the time, and whose good faith, understanding, and means of information leave no doubt of the facts. He observed however that the numbers above supposed to have perished, were on such conjectures only as he could collect.

I trouble Congress with these details, because, however distant we may be both in condition & dispositions, from taking an active part in any commotions in that country, nature has placed it too near us to make it’s movements altogether indifferent to our interests or to our curiosity.

I hear of another Arret of this court increasing the duties on foreign stockfish, & the premiums on their own, imported into their islands; but not having yet seen it I can say nothing certain on it. I am in hopes the effect of this policy will be defeated by the practice which I am told takes place on the banks of Newfoundland of putting our fish into the French fishing-boats & the parties sharing the premium, instead of ours paying the duty.

I am in hopes Mr. Short will be able to send you the medals of General Gates, by this packet. I await a general instruction as to these medals. The academies of Europe will be much pleased to receive each a set.

Edition: current; Page: [280]

I propose to set out the day after to morrow for Bordeaux (by the canal of Languedoc) Nantes, L’Orient & Paris.

I have the honour to be with sentiments of the most perfect esteem & respect, Sir, your most obedient & most humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 5th, 1787
Marseilles
Martha Jefferson
Jefferson, Martha

TO MARTHA JEFFERSON1

My Dear Patsey,

—I got back to Aix the day before yesterday, and found there your letter of the 9th of April—from which I presume you to be well, though you do not say so. In order to exercise your geography, I will give you a detail of my journey. You must therefore take your map and trace out the following places: Dijon, Lyons, Pont St. Esprit, Nismes, Arles, St. Remis, Aix, Marseilles, Toulon, Hières, Fréjus, Antibes, Nice, Col de Tende, Coni, Turin, Vercelli, Milan, Pavia, Tortona, Novi, Genoa, by sea to Albenga, by land to Monaco, Nice, Antibes, Fréjus, Brignolles, Aix, and Marseilles. The day after morrow, I set out hence for Aix, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Nismes, Montpellier, Narbonne, along the canal of Languedoc to Toulouse, Bordeaux, Rochefort, Rochelle, Nantes, L’Orient, Nantes, Tours, Orleans, and Paris—where I shall arrive about the middle of June, after having travelled something upwards of a thousand leagues.

From Genoa to Aix was very fatiguing; the first Edition: current; Page: [281] two days having been at sea, and mortally sick—two more clambering the cliffs of the Apennines, sometimes on foot, sometimes on a mule, according as the path was more or less difficult—and two others travelling through the night as well as day without sleep. I am not yet rested, and shall therefore shortly give you rest by closing my letter, after mentioning that I have received a letter from your sister, which though a year old gave me great pleasure. I inclose for your perusal, as I think it will be pleasure for you also. But take care of it, and return it to me when I shall get back to Paris, for, trifling as it seems, it is precious to me.

When I left Paris I wrote to London to desire that your harpsicord might be sent during the months of April and May, so that I am in hopes it will arrive a little before I shall, and give me an opportunity of judging whether you have got the better of that want of industry which I began to fear would be the rock on which you would split. Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done if we are always doing. And that you may always be doing good, my dear, is the ardent prayer of, yours affectionately.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 21, 1787
Martha Jefferson
Jefferson, Martha

TO MARTHA JEFFERSON1

I write you, my dear Patsey, from the canal of Languedoc, on which I am at present sailing, as I Edition: current; Page: [282] have been for a week past, cloudless skies above, limpid waters below, and on each hand a row of nightingales in full chorus. This delightful bird had given me a rich treat before, at the fountain of Vaucluse. After visiting the tomb of Laura at Avignon, I went to see this fountain—a noble one of itself, and rendered famous forever by the songs of Petrarch, who lived near it. I arrived there somewhat fatigued and sat down by the fountain to repose myself. It gushes, of the size of a river, from a secluded valley of the mountains, the ruins of Petrarch’s chateau being perched on a rock two hundred feet perpendicular above. To add to the enchantment of the scene, every tree and bush was filled with nightingales in full song. I think you told me that you had not yet noticed this bird. As you have trees in the garden of the convent, there might be nightingales in them, and this is the season of their song. Endeavor, my dear, to make yourself acquainted with the music of this bird, that when you return to your own country, you may be able to estimate its merit in comparison with that of the mocking-bird. The latter has the advantage of singing through a great part of the year, whereas the nightingale sings about five or six weeks in the spring, and a still shorter term, and with a more feeble voice, in the fall.

I expect to be at Paris about the middle of the next month. By that time we may begin to expect our dear Polly. It will be a circumstance of inexpressible comfort to me to have you both with me once more. The object most interesting to me for the residue of my life, will be to see you both developing Edition: current; Page: [283] daily those principles of virtue and goodness, which will make you valuable to others and happy in yourselves, and acquiring those talents and that degree of science which will guard you at all times against ennui, the most dangerous poison of life. A mind always employed is always happy. This is the true secret, the grand recipe, for felicity. The idle are only the wretched. In a world which furnishes so many employments which are so useful, so many which are amusing, it is our own fault if we ever know what ennui is, or if we are ever driven to the miserable resources of gaming, which corrupts our dispositions, and teaching us a habit of hostility against all mankind. We are now entering the port of Toulouse, where I quit my bark, and of course must conclude my letter. Be good and be industrious, and you will be what I shall most love in the world. Adieu, my dear child. Yours affectionately.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 20, 1787
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON

j. mss.
Dear Sir

—I wrote you last on the 30th of Jan. with a postscript of Feb. 5. Having set out the last day of that month to try the waters of Aix, and been journeying since till the 10th inst. I have been unable to continue my correspondence with you. In the meantime I have received your several favors of Feb. 15, Mar. 18 19, & Apr. the 23. The last arrived here about the 25th of May, while those of Mar. 18 & 19, tho’ written five weeks earlier arrived three weeks Edition: current; Page: [284] later. I mention this to shew you how incertain is the conveyance thro’ England.

The idea of separating the executive business of the confederacy from Congress, as the judiciary is already in some degree, is just & necessary. I had frequently pressed on the members individually, while in Congress the doing this by a resolution of Congress for appointing an Executive committee to act during the sessions of Congress, as the Committee of the states was to act during their vacations. But the referring to this Committee all executive business as it should present itself, would require a more persevering self denial than I suppose Congress to possess. It will be much better to make that separation by a federal act. The negative proposed to be given them on all the acts of the several legislatures is now for the first time suggested to my mind. Primâ facie I do not like it. It fails in an essential character that the hole & the patch should be commensurate. But this proposes to mend a small hole by covering the whole garment. Not more than one out of 100 state acts concern the confederacy. This proposition then in order to give them 1. degree of power which they ought to have, gives them 99. more which they ought not to have, upon a presumption that they will not exercise the 99. But upon every act there will be a preliminary question Does this act concern the confederacy? And was there ever a proposition so plain as to pass Congress without a debate? Their decisions are almost always wise; they are like pure metal. But you know of how much dross this is the result. Would not an appeal from the state judicatures to a Edition: current; Page: [285] federal court in all cases where the act of Confederation controlled the question, be as effectual a remedy, & exactly commensurate to the defect? A British creditor, e.g., sues for his debt in Virginia; the defendant pleads an act of the state excluding him from their courts; the plaintiff urges the Confederation & the treaty made under that, as controulling the state law; the judges are weak enough to decide according to the views of their legislature. An appeal to a federal court sets all to rights. It will be said that this court may encroach on the jurisdiction of the state courts. It may. But there will be a power, to wit, Congress, to watch & restrain them. But place the same authority in Congress itself, and there will be no power above them to perform the same office. They will restrain within due bounds a jurisdiction exercised by others much more rigorously than if exercised by themselves. I am uneasy at seeing that the sale of our Western lands is not yet commenced. That precious fund for the immediate extinction of our debt will I fear be suffered to slip thro’ our fingers. Every delay exposes it to events which no human foresight can guard against. When we consider the temper of the people of that country, derived from the circumstances which surround them, we must suppose their separation impossible, at every moment. If they can be retained till their governments become settled & wise, they will remain with us always, and be a precious part of our strength & of our virtue. But this affair of the Mississippi, by shewing that Congress is capable of hesitating on a question, which proposes a clear sacrifice of the western Edition: current; Page: [286] to the maritime States, will with difficulty be obliterated. The proposition of my going to Madrid, to try to recover there the ground which has been lost at New York, by the concession of the vote of seven States, I should think desperate. With respect to myself, weighing the pleasure of the journey & bare possibility of success, in one scale, and the strong probability of failure and the public disappointment directed on me, in the other, the latter preponderates. Add to this that jealousy might be excited in the breast of a person, who could find occasions of making me uneasy.

The late changes in the ministry here excite considerable hopes. I think we gain in them all. I am particularly happy at the re-entry of Malesherbes into the Council. His knolege, his integrity render his value inappreciable, and the greater to me, because while he had no views of office, we had established together the most unreserved intimacy. So far too I am pleased with Montmorin. His honesty proceeds from the heart as well as the head, and therefore may be more surely counted on. The King loves business, economy, order, & justice, and wishes sincerely the good of his people; but he is irascible, rude, very limited in his understanding, and religious, bordering only on bigotry. He has no mistress, loves his queen, and is too much governed by her. She is capricious like her brother, and governed by him; devoted to pleasure and expense; and not remarkable for any other vices or virtues. Unhappily the King shews a propensity for the pleasures of the table, that for drink has increased lately, or at least it is become Edition: current; Page: [287] more known. For European news in general, I will refer you to my letter to Mr. Jay. Is it not possible that the occurrences in Holland may excite a desire in many of fleeing that country & transferring their effects out of it may make an opening for shifting into their hands the debts due to this country, to its officers and Farmers? It would be surely eligible. I believe Dumas, if put on the watch, might alone suffice; but surely, if Mr. Adams should go when the moment offers. Dumas has been in the habit of sending his letters open to me, to be forwarded to Mr. Jay. During my absence they passed through Mr. Short’s hands who made extracts from them by which I see he has been recommending himself and me for the money negotiations in Holland. It might be thought perhaps that I have encouraged him in this. Be assured my dear Sir, that no such idea ever entered my head. On the contrary it is a business which would be the most disagreeable to me of all others, & for which I am the most unfit person living. I do not understand bargaining, nor possess the dexterity requisite to them. On the other hand Mr. Adams, whom I expressly and sincerely recommend, stands already on ground for that business, which I could not gain in years. Pray set me to rights in the minds of those who may have supposed me privy to this proposition. En passant, I will observe with respect to Mr. Dumas, that the death of the Count de Vergennes places Congress more at their ease, how to dispose of him. Our credit has been ill treated here in public debate, and our debt deemed apocryphal. We should try to transfer this debt elsewhere, Edition: current; Page: [288] & leave nothing capable of exciting ill thoughts between us. I shall mention in my letter to Mr. Jay a disagreeable affair in which Mr. Barclay has been thrown into, at Bordeaux. An honester man cannot be found, nor a slower, nor more indecisive one. His affairs, too, are so embarrassed and desperate, that the public reputation is every moment in danger of being compromitted with him. He is perfectly amiable & honest, with all his embarrassments.

By the next packet I shall be able to send you some books as also your watch & pedometer. The two last are not yet done. To search for books and forward them to Havre will require more time than I had between my return & the departure of this packet. You did perfectly right as to the paiment by the Mr. Fitzhughs. Having been a witness heretofore to the divisions in Congress on the subject of their foreign ministers, it would be a weakness in me to suppose none with respect to myself, or to count with any confidence on the renewal of my commission, which expires on the 10th day of March next: and the more so as, instead of requiring the disapprobation of 7. states as formerly, that of one suffices for a recall when Congress consists of only 7. states, 2. when of 8. &c which I suppose to be habitually their numbers at present. Whenever I leave this place, it will be necessary to begin my arrangements 6. months before my departure; and these, once fairly begun and under way, and my mind set homewards, a change of purpose could hardly take place. If it should be the desire of Congress that I should continue still longer, I could wish to know it at Edition: current; Page: [289] farthest by the packet which will sail from New York in September. Because were I to put off longer the quitting my house, selling my furniture &c. I should not have time left to wind up my affairs; and having once quitted, and sold off my furniture, I could not think of establishing myself here again. I take the liberty of mentioning this matter to you not with a desire to change the purpose of Congress, but to know it in time. I have never fixed in my own mind the epoch of my return so far as shall depend on myself, but I never supposed it very distant. Probably I shall not risk a second vote on this subject. Such trifling things may draw on one the displeasure of one or two states & thus submit me to the disgrace of a recall.

I thank you for the Paccan nuts which accompanied your letter of March. Could you procure me a copy of the bill for proportioning crimes & punishments in the form in which it was ultimately rejected by the house of delegates? Young Mr. Bannister desired me to send him regularly the Mercure de France. I will ask leave to do this thro’ you, & that you will adopt such method of forwarding them to him as will save him from being submitted to postage which they would not be worth. As a compensation for your trouble you will be free to keep them till you shall have read them.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July, 1, 1787
Paris
John Adams
Adams, John

TO JOHN ADAMS

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I returned about three weeks ago from a very useless voyage, useless, I mean, as to the Edition: current; Page: [290] object which first suggested it, that of trying the effect of the mineral waters of Aix en Provence on my hand. I tried these because recommended among six or eight others as equally beneficial, & because they would place me at the beginning of a tour to the seaports of Marseilles, Bordeaux, Nantes & L’Orient which I had long meditated, in hopes that a knolege of the places & persons concerned in our commerce & the information to be got from them might enable me sometimes to be useful. I had expected to satisfy myself at Marseilles of the causes of the difference of quality between the rice of Carolina & that of Piedmont which is brought in quantities to Marseilles. Not being able to do it I made an excursion of three weeks into the rice country beyond the Alps, going through it from Vercelli to Pavia, about 60 miles. I found the difference to be not in the management as had been supposed both here & in Carolina, but in the species of rice, & I hope to enable them in Carolina to begin the cultivation of the Piedmont rice & carry it on hand in hand with their own that they may supply both qualities, which is absolutely necessary at this market. I had before endeavored to lead the depôt of rice from Cowes to Honfleur, and hope to get it received there on such terms as may draw that branch of commerce from England to this country. It is an object of 250.000 guineas a year. While passing thro’ the towns of Turin, Milan & Genoa, I satisfied myself of the practicability of introducing our whale oil for their consumption & I suppose it would be equally so in the other great cities of that country. I was sorry that I Edition: current; Page: [291] was not authorized to set the matter on foot. The merchants with whom I chose to ask conferences, met me freely, and communicated fully, knowing I was in a public character. I could however only prepare a disposition to meet our oil merchants. On the article of tobacco I was more in possession of my ground, and put matters into a train for inducing their government to draw their tobaccos directly from the U. S. & not as heretofore from Gr. B. I am now occupied with the new ministry here to put the concluding hand to the new regulations for our commerce with this country, announced in the letter of M. de Calonnes which I sent you last fall. I am in hopes in addition to those, to obtain a suppression of the duties on Tar, pitch, & turpentine, and an extension of the privileges of American whale oil, to their fish oils in general. I find that the quantity of Codfish oil brought to L’Orient is considerable. This being got off hand (which will be in a few days) the chicaneries & vexations of the farmers on the article of tobacco, and their elusions of the order of Bernis, call for the next attention. I have reason to hope good dispositions in the new ministry towards our commerce with this country. Besides endeavoring on all occasions to multiply the points of contact & connection with this country, which I consider as our surest mainstay under every event, I have had it much at heart to remove from between us every subject of misunderstanding or irritation. Our debts to the King, to the officers, & to the farmers are of this description. The having complied with no part of our engagements in these draws on us a great deal of Edition: current; Page: [292] censure, & occasioned a language in the Assemblée des Notables very likely to produce dissatisfaction between us. Dumas being on the spot in Holland, I had asked of him sometime ago, in confidence, his opinion on the practicability of transferring these debts from France to Holland, & communicated his answer to Congress, pressing them to get you to go over to Holland & try to effect their business. Your knolege of the ground & former successes occasioned me to take this liberty without consulting you, because I was sure you would not weigh your personal trouble against public good. I have had no answer from Congress; but hearing of your journey to Holland have hoped that some money operation had led you there. If it related to the debts of this country I would ask a communication of what you think yourself at liberty to communicate, as it might change the form of my answers to the eternal applications I receive. The debt to the officers of France carries an interest of about 2000 guineas, so we may suppose its principle is between 30 & 40.000. This makes more noise against us than all our other debts put together. * * *

Monsieur de Calonnes
Calonnes, Monsieur de
July 5, 1787
Monsieur Jefferson
Jefferson, Monsieur

OBSERVATIONS ON THE LETTER OF MONSIEUR DE CALONNES TO MONSIEUR JEFFERSON, DATED FONTAINEBLEAU, OCTOB. 22, 1786

A committee was appointed, in the course of the last year to take a view of the subjects of commerce which might be brought from the United States of Edition: current; Page: [293] America, in exchange for those of France, and to consider what advantages and facilities might be offered to encourage that commerce. The letter of Monsieur de Calonnes was founded on their report. It was conclusive as to the articles on which satisfactory information had been then obtained, and reserved for future consideration certain others needing further enquiry. It is proposed now to review those unfinished articles, that they also may be comprehended in the Arrêt, and the regulations on this branch of commerce be rendered complete.

1. The letter promises to diminish the Droits du roi et d’ amirauté, paiable by an American vessel entering into a port of France, & to reduce what should remain into a single duty, which shall be regulated by the draught of the vessel, or her number of masts. It is doubted whether it will be expedient to regulate the duty in either of these ways. If by the draught of water, it will fall unequally on us as a Nation; because we build our vessels sharp-bottomed, for swift sailing, so that they draw more water than those of other nations, of the same burthen; if by the number of masts it will fall unequally on individuals, because we often see ships of 180 tons, & brigs of 360. This then would produce an inequality among individuals of 6. to 1. The present principle is the most just, to regulate by the burthen.

It is certainly desirable that these duties should be reduced to a single one. Their names and numbers perplex & harass the merchant more than their amount, subject him to imposition, & to the suspicion of it where there is none. An intention of Edition: current; Page: [294] general reformation in this article has been accordingly announced1 with augmentation as to foreigners. We are in hopes that this augmentation is not to respect us; because it is proposed as a measure of reciprocity; whereas in some of our states no such duties exist, & in the others they are extremely light; because we have been made to hope a diminution instead of augmentation; and because this distinction cannot draw on France any just claims from other nations, the Jura gentis amicissimæ conferred by her late treaties having reference expressly to the nations of Europe only, & those conferred by the more ancient ones not being susceptible of any other interpretation, nor admitting a pretension of reference to a nation which did not then exist, and which has come into existence under circumstances distinguishing its commerce from that of all other nations. Merchandise received from them take emploiment from the poor of France; ours give it; theirs is brought in the last stage of manufacture, ours in the first; we bring our tobaccoes to be manufactured into snuff, our flax & hemps into linen and cordage, our furs into hats, skins into saddlery, shoes & clothing; we take nothing till it has received the last hand.

2. Fish-oils. The Hanseatic treaty was the basis on which the diminution of duty on this article was asked & granted. It is expressly referred to as such in the letter of Monsieur de Calonnes. Instead however of the expression “huile et graisse de baleine & d’autres poissons” used in that treaty, the letter Edition: current; Page: [295] uses the terms “huiles de baleine, spermaceti, et tout ce qui est compris sous ces denominations.” And the farmers have availed themselves of this variation to refuse the diminution of duty on the oils of the vache marine, chien de mer, esturgeon & other fish. It is proposed therefore to re-establish in the Arrêt the expressions of the Hanseatic treaty, & to add from the same treaty the articles “baleine coupee et fanon de baleine.”

The letter states these regulations as finally made by the king. The merchants on this supposition entered into speculations. But they found themselves called on for the old duties, not only on other fish oils, but on the whale oil. Monsieur de Calonnes always promised that the Arrêt should be retrospective to the date of the letter, so as to refund to them the duties they had thus been obliged to pay. To this attention is prayed in forming the Arrêt. His majesty having been pleased as an encouragement to the importation of our fish oils, to abolish the Droits de fabrication, it is presumed that the purpose1 announced of continuing those duties on foreign oils will not be extended to us.

3. Rice. The duty on this is only 7½ deniers the Quintal, or about one quarter per cent on its first cost. While this serves to inform the government of the quantities imported, it cannot discourage that importation. Nothing further therefore is necessary on this article.

4. Potashe. This article is of principal utility to France in her bleacheries of linen, glass works, & Edition: current; Page: [296] soap-works; & the potash of America, being made of green wood, is known to be the best in the world. All duty on it was therefore abolished by the king. But the city of Rouen levies on it a duty of 20 sols the Quintal, which is very sensible in its price, brings it dearer to the bleacheries near Paris, to those of Beauvais, Laval &c., & to the glass works, and encourages them to give a preference to the potash or souda of other nations. This is a counteraction of the views of the king expressed in the letter which it is hoped will be prevented.

5. Turpentine, tar, & pitch, were not decided on on the former occasion. Turpentine (Terebenthine) pays 10. sols the Quintal and 10. sols the livre, making 15 sols the quintal; which is 10. per cent. on its prime cost. Tar, (goudron, braigras) pays 8 livres the leth of 12 barrels, & 10. sols the livre, amounting to 20 sols the barrel, which is 12½ per cent. on its prime cost. Pitch (brai sec) pays 10. sols the Quintal & 10 sols the livre, making 15 sols the Quintal, which is 20 per cent. on its prime cost. Duties of from 10 to 20 per cent. on articles of heavy carriage, prevent their importation. They eat up all the profits of the merchants, & often subject him to loss. This has been much the case with respect to turpentine, tar, & pitch, which are a principal article of remittance for the state of North Carolina. It is hoped that it will coincide with the views of government in making the present regulations, to suppress the duties on these articles, which of all others can bear them least.

Edition: current; Page: [297]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 6, 1787
Paris
M. ClaviÈre
ClaviÈre, M.

TO M. CLAVIÈRE

j. mss.
Sir,

—The load of business which has accumulated during my absence has put it out of my power to answer sooner the letter & observations with which you were pleased to honour me. I have perused those observations with attention, and think them judicious, and well calculated to remedy the evil of public robbers & unsafe highroads. But it is a happy truth for us, Sir, that these evils do not exist, & never did exist in our part of America. That Sieur de Perponcher has suffered himself to be misled probably by the English papers. I attended the bar of the Supreme Court of Virginia ten years as a student, & as a practitioner. There never was during that time a trial for robbery on the high road, nor do I remember ever to have heard of one in that or any other of the states, except in the cities of New York & Philadelphia immediately after the departure of the British army. Some deserters from that army infested those cities for a while; but as I have heard nothing of them for some time past, I suppose the vigilance of the civil magistrate has suppressed the evils.

Mr. Warville was so good as to give me a copy of the book written by himself & M. Clavière on France & the United States but I have not yet had time to read it. The talents & information of those gentlemen leave me without doubt that it is well written. I have the honour of inclosing you your observations with thanks for their perusal and assurances of the sentiments etc.

Edition: current; Page: [298]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 6, 1787
Paris
Thomas Mann Randolph
Randolph, Thomas Mann

TO THOMAS MANN RANDOLPH

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—Your favor of April 14, came here during my absence on a journey through the Southern parts of France and Northern of Italy, from which I am but lately returned. This cause alone has prevented your receiving a more early answer to it. I am glad to find that among the various branches of science presenting themselves to your mind you have fixed on that of Politics as your principal pursuit. Your country will derive from this a more immediate and sensible benefit. She has much for you to do. For tho’ we may say with confidence that the worst of the American constitutions is better than the best which ever existed before in any other country, & that they are wonderfully perfect for a first essay, yet every human essay must have defects. It will remain therefore to those now coming on the stage of public affairs to perfect what has been so well begun by those going off it. Mathematics, Natural philosophy, Natural history, Anatomy, Chemistry, Botany, will become amusements for your hours of relaxation, and auxiliaries to your principal studies. Precious and delightful ones they will be. As soon as such a foundation is laid in them as you may build on as you please hereafter, I suppose you will proceed to your main objects, Politics, Law, Rhetoric, & History. As to these, the place where you study them is absolutely indifferent. I should except Rhetoric, a very essential member of them and which I suppose must be taught to advantage where you are. You would do well therefore Edition: current; Page: [299] to attend the public exercises in this branch also, and to do it with every particular diligence. This being done, the question arises, where you shall fix yourself for studying Politics, Law, & History? I should not hesitate to decide in favor of France, because you will at the same time be learning to speak the language of that country, become absolutely essential under our present circumstances. The best method of doing this would be to fix yourself in some family where there are women & children, in Passey, Auteuil or some other of the little towns in reach of Paris. The principal hours of the day you will attend to your studies, & in those of relaxation associate with the family. You will learn to speak better from women & children in three months, than from men in a year. Such a situation too will render more easy a due attention to economy of time & money. Having pursued your main studies here about two years, & acquired a facility in speaking French, take a tour of 4 or 5 months through this country & Italy, return then to Virginia & pass a year in Williamsburg under the care of Mr. Wythe, and you will be ready to enter on the public stage, with superior advantages. I have proposed to you to carry on the study of the law with that of Politics & History. Every political measure will forever have an intimate connection with the laws of the land; and he who knows nothing of these will always be perplexed & often foiled by adversaries having the advantage of that knolege over him. Besides it is a source of infinite comfort to reflect that under every change of fortune we have a Edition: current; Page: [300] resource in ourselves from which we may be able to derive an honourable subsistence. I would therefore propose not only the study, but the practice of the law for some time, to possess yourself of the habit of public speaking. With respect to modern languages, French, as I have before observed, is indispensable. Next to this the Spanish is most important to an American. Our connection with Spain is already important & will become daily more so. Besides this the antient part of American history is written chiefly in Spanish. To a person who would make a point of reading & speaking French & Spanish, I should doubt the utility of learning Italian. These three languages, being all degeneracies from the Latin, resemble one another so much that I doubt the possibility of keeping in the head a distinct knolege of them all. I suppose that he who learns them all will speak a compound of the three, & neither perfectly. The journey which I propose to you need not be expensive, and would be very useful. With your talents & industry, with science, and that steadfast honesty which eternally pursues right, regardless of consequences, you may promise yourself everything—but health, without which there is no happiness. An attention to health then should take place of every other object. The time necessary to secure this by active exercises, should be devoted to it in preference to every other pursuit. I know the difficulty with which a studious man tears himself from his studies at any given moment of the day. But his happiness & that of his family depend on it. The most uninformed Edition: current; Page: [301] mind with a healthy body, is happier than the wisest valetudinarian. I need not tell you that if I can be useful to you in any part of this or any other plan you shall adopt, you will make me happy by commanding my services.

Will you be so good, Sir, as to return my most respectful thanks for the diploma with which I am honored by the society instituted with you for the encouragement of the study of Natural history? I am afraid it will never be in my power to contribute anything to the object of the institution. Circumstances have thrown me into a very different line of life; and not choice as I am happy to find in your case. In the year 1781, while confined to my room by a fall from my horse, I wrote some Notes in answer to the inquiries of M. de Marbois as to the natural & political state of Virginia. They were hasty & undigested; yet as some of these touch slightly on some objects of its natural history, I will take the liberty of asking the society to accept a copy of them. For the same reason, & because too they touch on the political condition of our country, I will beg leave to present you with a copy, and ask the favor of you to find a conveyance for them from London to Edinburgh. They are printed by Stockdale, bookseller Piccadilly, and will be ready in 3 or 4 weeks from this time. I will direct him to deliver two copies to your order. Repeating constantly the proffer of my services, I shall only add assurances of the esteem & attachment with which I am Dear Sir your friend & servt.

Edition: current; Page: [302]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 14, 1787
Paris
Edward Rutledge
Rutledge, Edward

TO EDWARD RUTLEDGE1

Dear Sir,

—I received your favor of the 14th of October in the moment I was setting out on a tour of the seaport towns of this country, from which I have been not long returned. I received it too with that kind of heartfelt pleasure which always attends the recollection of antient affections. I was glad to find that the adoption of your rice to this market was considered worth attention as I had supposed it. I set out from hence impressed with the idea the rice-dealers here had given me that the difference between your rice & that of Piedmont proceeded from a difference in the machine for cleaning it. At Marseilles I hoped to know what the Piedmont machine was: but I could find nobody who knew anything of it. I determined therefore to sift the matter to the bottom by crossing the Alps into the rice country. I found the machine exactly such a one as you had described to me in Congress in the year 1775. There was but one conclusion then to be drawn, to wit, that the rice was of a different species, & I determined to take enough to put you in seed:

They informed me however that it’s exportation in the husk was prohibited; so I could only bring off as much as my coat & surtout pockets would hold. I took measures with a muletier to run a couple of sacks across the Appenines to Genoa, but have not great dependance on it’s success. The little therefore which I brought myself must be relied on for fear we should get no more, and because also it is Edition: current; Page: [303] genuine from Vercelli where the best is made of all the Sardinian Lombardy, the whole of which is considered as producing a better rice than the Milanese. This is assigned as the reason of the strict prohibition. Piedmont rice sold at Nice (the port of its exportation) when I was there at 17 livres French, the French hundredweight. It varies from time to time as the price of wheat does with us. The price of Carolina rice at Bordeaux, Nantes, Lorient & Havre varies from 16 to 24 the French quintal, which is equal to 109 lb. our weight. The best ports to send it to are Bordeaux & Havre (or Rouen which is the same thing as Havre) but it is essential that it arrive here a month before the commencement of Lent, when the principal demand is made for it. Carolina rice after being sorted here into several qualities, sells from 6 sols to 10 sols the French pound, retail, according to the quality. Unsorted and wholesale about 30 the French quintal.

Piedmont rice is but of one quality, which sells retail at 10 sous the Fr. pound, & wholesale is about 3 or 4 dearer than yours. In order to induce your countrymen to ship their rice here directly, I have proposed to some merchants here to receive consignments allowing the consignor to draw on the moment of shipping for as much as he could sell for on the spot & the balance when it should be sold. But they say that is impossible. They are to consider & inform me what are the most favorable terms on which they can receive it. I am told that freight insurance & commission are about 4 the Fr. quintal, to a seaport town. I have written so long a letter on the Edition: current; Page: [304] subject of rice to Mr. Drayton for the society of agriculture, that I will trouble you with no farther particulars but refer you to that. Indeed I am sensible I have written too much on the subject. Being absolutely ignorant of it myself, it was impossible for me to know what particulars merited communication. I thought it best therefore to communicate everything. After writing that letter, I received one from Mr. Izard, by which I found that he had examined the rice-process in Lombardy. He was so much more capable than myself of giving the details that I had at one moment determined to suppress my letter. However observing that he considered the rice of Piedmont to be of the same species with yours, and suspecting myself certainly that it is not, I determinded to hazard my letter and all those criticisms which fall justly on an ignorant person writing on a subject to those much more learned in it than himself. A part of my letter too related to the olive tree & caper, the first of which would surely succeed in your country & would be an infinite blessing after some 15 or 20 years; the caper would also probably succeed & would offer a very great and immediate profit. I thank you for your obliging mention of my worthless Notes on Virginia. Worthless & bad as they are they have been rendered more so, as I am told, by a translation into French. That I may have neither merit nor demerit not my own, I have consented to their publication in England. I advised the bookseller to send 200 copies to Philadelphia & 200 to Richmond, supposing that number might be sold in the United States: but I do not Edition: current; Page: [305] know whether he will do it. If you give me leave I will send you a copy of the original impression.—I congratulate you, my dear friend, on the law of your state for suspending the importation of slaves, and for the glory you have justly acquired by endeavoring to prevent it forever. This abomination must have an end, and there is a superior bench reserved in heaven for those who hasten it. The distractions of Holland thicken apace. They begin to cut one another’s throats heartily. I apprehend the neighboring powers will interfere: but it is not yet clear whether in concert, or by taking opposite sides. It is a poor contest, whether they shall have one, or many masters. Your nephew is arrived here in good health. My first interview with him has impressed me much in his favor. Present me very respectfully to Mrs. Rutledge, as well as to your brother & his house. Accept yourself assurances of the sincere esteem & respect with which I am Dear Sir your most obedient & most humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 23, 1787
Paris
Mrs. John Bolling
Bolling, Mrs. John

TO MRS. JOHN BOLLING1

Dear Sister,

—I received with real pleasure your letter of May 3d, informing me of your health and of that of your family. Be assured it is, and ever has been, the most interesting thing to me. Letters of business claiming their rights before those of affection, we often write seldomest to whom we love Edition: current; Page: [306] most. The distance to which I am removed has given a new value to all I valued before in my own country, and the day of my return to it will be the happiest I expect to see in my life. When it will come is not yet decided, as far as depends on myself. My dear Polly is safely arrived here, and in good health. She had got so attached to Captain Ramsey that they were obliged to decoy her from him. She staid three weeks in London with Mrs. Adams, and had got up such an attachment to her, that she refused to come with the person I sent for her. After some days she was prevailed on to come. She did not know either her sister or myself, but soon renewed her acquaintance and attachment. She is now in the same convent with her sister, and will come to see me once or twice a week. It is a house of education altogether, the best in France, and at which the best masters attend. There are in it as many Protestants as Catholics, and not a word is ever spoken to them on the subject of religion. Patsey enjoys good health, and longs much to return to her friends. We shall doubtless find much change when we get back; many of our older friends withdrawn from the stage, and our younger ones grown out of our knolege. I suppose you are now fixed for life at Chestnut Grove. I take a part of the misfortune to myself, as it will prevent my seeing you as often as would be practicable at Lickinghole. It is still a greater loss to my sister Carr. We must look to Jack for indemnification, as I think it was the plan that he should live at Lickinghole. I suppose he is now become the father of a family, and Edition: current; Page: [307] that we may all hail you as grandmother. As we approach that term it becomes less fearful. You mention Mr. Bolling’s being unwell, so as not to write to me. He has just been sick enough all his life to prevent his writing to any body. My prayer is, therefore, only that he may never be any worse; were he to be so, nobody would feel it more sensibly than myself, as nobody has a more sincere esteem for him than myself. I find as I grow older, that I love those most whom I loved first. Present me to him in the most friendly terms; to Jack also, and my other nephews and nieces of your fireside, and be assured of the sincere love with which I am, dear sister, your affectionate brother.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 28, 1787
Paris
A. Donald
Donald, A.

TO A. DONALD

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I received with infinite satisfaction your letter of the 1st of March: it was the first information I had of your being in America. There is no person whom I shall see again with more cordial joy whenever it shall be my lot to return to my native country; nor any one whose prosperity in the meantime will be more interesting to me. I find as I grow older that I set a higher value on the intimacies of my youth, and am more afflicted by whatever loses one of them to me. Should it be in my power to render any service in your shipment of tobacco to Havre de Grace, I shall do it with great pleasure. The order of Berni has I believe been Edition: current; Page: [308] evaded by the farmers general as much as possible. At this moment I receive information from most of the seaports that they refuse taking any tobacco under pretext that they have purchased their whole quantity. From Havre I have heard nothing, and believe you will stand a better chance there than anywhere else. Being one of the ports of manufacture too it is entitled to a higher price. I have now desired that the farmers may make a distinct return of their purchases which are conformable to the order of Berni. If they have really bought their quantity on those terms, we must be satisfied: if they have not, I shall propose their being obliged to make it up instantly. There is a considerable accumulation of tobacco in the ports.

Among many good qualities which my countrymen possess some of a different character, unhappily mix themselves. The most remarkable are indolence, extravagance, & infidelity to their engagements. Cure the two first, and the last would disappear, because it is a consequence of them, and not proceeding from a want of morals. I know of no remedy against indolence & extravagance but a free course of justice. Everything else is merely palliative; but unhappily the evil has gained too generally the mass of the nation to leave the course of justice unobstructed. The maxim of buying nothing without the money in our pocket to pay for it, would make of our country one of the happiest upon earth. Experience during the war proved this; as I think every man will remember that under all the privations it obliged him to submit to during Edition: current; Page: [309] that period he slept sounder & awaked happier than he can do now. Desperate of finding relief from a free course of justice, I look forward to the abolition of all credit as the only other remedy which can take place. I have seen therefore with pleasure the exaggerations of our want of faith with which the London papers teem. It is indeed a strong medicine for sensible minds, but it is a medicine. It will prevent their crediting us abroad, in which case we cannot be credited at home. I have been much concerned at the losses produced by the fire at Richmond. I hope you have escaped them. It will give me much pleasure to hear from you as often as you can spare a moment to write. Be assured that nobody entertains for you sentiments of more perfect and sincere esteem than Dear Sir your friend & servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 29, 1787
Paris
Nicholas Lewis
Lewis, Nicholas

TO NICHOLAS LEWIS

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—In my letter of Dec. 19, 1786, I informed you that, as you had supposed in yours of March 14, that the balance of bonds & profits of the estate to that time would pay all the debts then known to you except my sister Nancy’s, I was desirous of laying our shoulder seriously to the paiment of Farrell & Jones’ & McCaul’s debts; & that I should make propositions to them on that subject. I did so. These propositions were, to pay to Jones 400 £ sterl. a year & to McCaul 200£ sterl., or to the former if he preferred it two thirds of the profits of my estate & Edition: current; Page: [310] to the latter one third. 2. That the crop of 1787, should commence these paiments. 3. That no interest should be allowed on their debts from Apr. 19. 1775 to Apr. 19, 1783 (being 8 years.) 4. That their accounts should remain perfectly open to settlement & rectification, notwithstanding the paiments which should be made. McCaul has acceded very contentedly to these proposals; I added some other conditions to Jones, not worth mentioning as he does not accede as yet, I think however he will accede. I consider myself as so much bound in honor to the sacred execution of this agreement that when the profits fall short of enabling us to pay at any time, I would chuse to have made up by a sale of something or another. I mentioned to you in my letter also that I could always get 30/ Virginia money for my tobacco delivered at Havre & proposed your having it sent there. Further reflection and information of the Virginia prices convince me it would be best to send them either to Havre or to Bordeaux, at either of which places I could have them attended to. I find that my old friend A. Donald is settled at Richmond, is concerned in the Tobacco trade, & particularly sends to Havre. I am confident he would take on himself the having my tobaccoes shipped to me. The earlier they would come in the season, the better alwais. So far I had settled in my own mind the plan for extinguishing as fast as we could these two great debts, when I received from Mr. Eppes a letter of May 1. 1787, wherein he tells me he had been with you in Sep. 1786. that you had computed together, all the former debts (except my sister Nancy’s) due from the estate, Edition: current; Page: [311] & all due to it; and that there was still a balance of 1200£ against it, to pay which there would be nothing but the crop of 1786, two thirds of which would be consumed by negroes clothing & taxes. This account threatens a total derangement of my plan for payment of my great debts. I had observed that by a statement in your letter of March 14. of the probable proceeds of the crop of 1785, (about 50 hogsheads of tobacco) that the profits of the few house servants & tradesmen hired out were as much as those of the whole estate, & therefore suggested to you the hiring out the whole estate. The torment of mind I endure till the moment shall arrive when I shall not owe a shilling on earth is such really as to render life of little value. I cannot decide to sell my lands. I have sold too much of them already, and they are the only sure provision for my children, nor would I willingly sell the slaves as long as there remains any prospect of paying my debts with their labor. In this I am governed solely by views to their happiness which will render it worth their while to use extraordinary exertions for some time to enable me to put them ultimately on an easier footing, which I will do the moment they have paid the debts due from the estate, two thirds of which have been contracted by purchasing them. I am therefore strengthened in the idea of renting out my whole estate; not to any one person, but in different parts to different persons, as experience proves that it is only small concerns that are gainful, & it would be my interest that the tenants should make a reasonable gain. The lease I made to Garth & Moseley would be a good model. I do not Edition: current; Page: [312] recollect whether in that there was reserved a right of distraining on the lands for the whole rent. If not, such a clause would be essential, especially in the present relaxed state of the laws, I know there was in that no provision against paper money. This is still more essential, the best way of stating the rent would be in ounces of silver. The rent in that lease, tho’ expressed in current money, was meant to be 11£. sterling a titheable. When we consider the rise in the price of tobacco, it should balance any difference for the worse which may have taken place in the lands in Albemarle, so as to entitle us there to equal terms. In Cumberland, Goochland, Bedford, where the lands are better, perhaps better terms might be expected. Calculating this on the number of working slaves, it holds up to us a clear revenue capable of working off the debts in a reasonable time. Think of it, my dear Sir, & if you do not find it disadvantageous be so good as to try to execute it, by leases of 3, 4 or 5 years; not more, because no dependence can be reposed in our laws continuing the same for any length of time. Indeed 3 years might be the most elegible term. The mill should be separate from the lease, finished, & rented by itself. All the lands reserved to my own use in Garth & Mosley’s lease should still be reserved, and the privileges of that lease in general. House negroes still to be hired separately. The old and infirm, who could not be hired, or whom it would be a pity to hire, could perhaps be employed in raising cotton, or some other easy culture on lands to be reserved; George still to be reserved to take care of my orchards, grasses &c. Edition: current; Page: [313] The lands in Albemarle should be relieved by drawing off a good number of the labourers to Bedford, where a better hire might be expected & more lands be opened there. I feel all the weight of the objection, that we cannot guard the negroes perfectly against the usuage, but in a question between hiring & selling them (one of which is necessary) the hiring will be temporary only, and will end in their happiness; whereas if we sell them, they will be subject to equal ill usuage, without a prospect of change. It is for their good therefore ultimately, and it appears to promise a relief to me within such a term as I would be willing to wait for. I do not mention the rate of hire with a view to tie you up to that, but merely to show that hiring presents a hopeful prospect. I should rely entirely on your judgment for that, for the choice of kind & helpful tenants, & for every other circumstance.

The bacon hams you were so kind as to send to Mr. Buchanan for me, I never heard of. The difficulty of getting them here renders it not worth attempting again. I will put into this letter some more seeds of the Spanish Sainfoin lest those formerly sent should have miscarried. The present situation of Europe threatens a war, which if it breaks out will probably be a very general one. France & England are so little in a condition for war that we may still expect they will do much to avoid it. Should it take place, I fear the scale against this country would be too heavy.

I must pray of you to make all the arrangements possible for enabling me to comply with the first years Edition: current; Page: [314] paiment of my debts, that is to say the paiment for this present year, which is to be made in the city of London the next spring. Apologies for all the trouble I give you would only show you how sensible I am of your goodness. I have proposed the extraordinary trouble of the leases with less reluctance, because it will be taken once for all, & will be a relief in the end. Be so good as to assure Mrs. Lewis of my attachment and my wishes for her health & happiness as well as that of your whole family.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 2, 1787
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—My last was of June 20. Your’s received since that date are May 15 and June 6. In mine I acknoleged the receipt of the Paccan nuts which came sealed up. I have reason to believe those in the box are arrived at L’Orient. By the Mary, Capt. Howland lately sailed from Havre to N York I shipped three boxes of books one marked J. M. for yourself, one marked B. F. for Doctr Franklin, & one marked W. H. for William Hay in Richmond. I have taken the liberty of addressing them all to you as you will see by the inclosed bill of lading, in hopes you would be so good as to forward the other two. You will have opportunities of calling on the gentlemen for freight &c. In yours you will find the books noted in the account inclosed herewith. You have now Mably’s works complete except that on Poland, which I have never been able to get, but shall not cease to search for. Some other volumes Edition: current; Page: [315] are wanting to compleat your collection of Chronologies. The 4th vol of D’Albon was lost by the bookbinder, & I have not yet been able to get one to replace it. I shall continue to try. The Memoires sur les droits et impositions en Europe (cited by Smith) was a scarce & excessively dear book. They are now reprinting it. I think it will be in three or four parts of from 9 to 12 a volume. When it is finished I shall take a copy for you. Amelot’s travels into China, I can learn nothing of. I put among the books sent you two somewhat voluminous, & the object of which will need explanation; these are the Tableau de Paris & L’espion Anglois. The former is truly a picture of private manners in Paris, but presented on the dark side & a little darkened moreover. But there is so much truth in it’s ground work that it will be well worth your reading. You will then know Paris (& probably the other large cities of Europe) as well as if you had been here years. L’espion Anglois is no caricature. It will give you a just idea of the wheels by which the machine of government is worked here. There are in it also many interesting details of the last war, which in general may be relied on. It may be considered as the small history of great events. I am in hopes when you shall have read them you will not think I have misspent your money for them. My method for making out this assortment was to revise the list of my own purchases since the invoice of 1785, and to select such as I had found worth your having. Besides this I have casually met with & purchased some few curious & cheap things. I have made out the Dr. side of the account, taking Edition: current; Page: [316] for my ground work yours of March 18. 1786. correcting two errors of computation in that which were to your prejudice. The account of Mr. Fitzhughs stood thus: 1785. Sep. 1. cash 600. Nov. 10. pd their bill of exchange in favor of Limozin 480. making 1080. The money they paid you was worth 1050. according to our mode of settling at 18 for 20/ Virginia money. The difference of 30 will never be worth notice unless you were to meet with them by chance, & hardly then. I must trouble you on behalf of a Mr. Thos Burke at Loughburke near Loughrea in Ireland, whose brother James Burke is supposed to have died in 1785 on his passage from Jamaica, or St. Eustatius to New York. His property on board the vessel is understood to have come to the hands of alderman Groom at New York. The inclosed copy of a letter to him will more fully explain it. A particular friend of mine here applies to me for information, which I must ask the favor of you to procure and forward to me.

Writing news to others, much pressed in time & making this letter one of private business, I did not intend to have said anything to you on political subjects. But I must press one subject. Mr. Adams informs me he has borrowed money in Holland, which if confirmed by Congress will enable them to pay not only the interest due here to the foreign officers but the principal. Let me beseech you to reflect on the expediency of transferring this debt to Holland. All our other debts in Europe do not injure our reputation so much as this. These gentlemen have connections both in & out of office, & these again their Edition: current; Page: [317] connections, so that our default on this article is further known, more blamed, & excites worse dispositions against us than you can conceive. If you think as I do, pray try to procure an order for paying off their capital. Mr. Adams adds that if any certain tax is provided for the paiment of interest, Congress may borrow enough in Holland to pay off their whole debts in France, both public & private, to the Crown, to the farmers & to Beaumarchais. Surely it will be better to transfer these debts to Holland. So critical is the state of that country that I imagine the monied men of it would be glad to place their money in foreign countries, & that Mr. Adams could borrow there for us without a certain tax for the interest, & saving our faith too by previous explanations on that subject. This country is really supposed on the eve of a bankruptcy. Such a spirit has risen within a few weeks as could not have been believed. They see the great deficit in their revenues, & the hopes of economy lessen daily. The parliament refuse to register any act for a new tax, & require an assembly of the states. The object of this assembly is evidently to give law to the King, to fix a constitution, to limit expenses. These views are said to gain upon the nation. The King’s passion for drink is diverting him of all respect, the Queen is detested and an explosion of some sort is not impossible. The ministry is alarmed, & the surest reliance at this moment for the public peace is on their two hundred thousand men. I cannot write these things in a public dispatch because they would get into a newspaper and be back here.

Edition: current; Page: [318]

A final decision of some sort should be made on Beaumarchais’ affairs.

I am with sentiments of the most perfect esteem Dear Sir your friend and servt.

P. S. The watch and pedometer are not done. In the box of books are some for the colleges of Philadelphia & Williamsburg & two vols of the Encyclopedie for Congress, presented by the author of that part.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug 4, 1787
Paris
Edward Carrington
Carrington, Edward

TO EDWARD CARRINGTON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—Since mine of the 16th of January I have been honoured by your favors of Ap 24 & June 9. I am happy to find that the states have come so generally into the scheme of the Federal convention, from which I am sure we shall see wise propositions. I confess I do not go as far in the reforms thought necessary as some of my correspondents in America; but if the convention should adopt such propositions I shall suppose them necessary. My general plan would be to make the states one as to every thing connected with foreign nations, & several as to everything purely domestic. But with all the imperfections of our present government, it is without comparison the best existing or that ever did exist. It’s greatest defect is the imperfect manner in which matters of commerce have been provided for. It has been so often said, as to be generally believed, that Congress have no power by the confederation to enforce anything, for e. g., contributions of money. Edition: current; Page: [319] It was not necessary to give them that power expressly; they have it by the law of nature. When two parties make a compact, there results to each a power of compelling the other to execute it. Compulsion was never so easy as in our case, where a single frigate would soon levy on the commerce of any state the deficiency of it’s contributions; nor more safe than in the hands of Congress which has always shown that it would wait, as it ought to do, to the last extremities before it would execute any of it’s powers which are disagreeable. I think it very material to separate in the hands of Congress the Executive & Legislative powers, as the Judiciary already are in some degree. This I hope will be done. The want of it has been the source of more evil than we have experienced from any other cause. Nothing is so embarrassing nor so mischievous in a great assembly as the details of execution. The smallest trifle of that kind occupies as long as the most important act of legislation, & takes place of everything else. Let any man recollect, or look over, the files of Congress, he will observe the most important propositions hanging over from week to week & month to month, till the occasions have past them, & the thing never done. I have ever viewed the executive details as the greatest cause of evil to us, because they in fact place us as if we had no federal head, by diverting the attention of that head from great to small objects; and should this division of power not be recommended by the Convention, it is my opinion Congress should make it itself by establishing an Executive committee.

Edition: current; Page: [320]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 4, 1787
Paris
Benjamin Hawkins
Hawkins, Benjamin

TO BENJAMIN HAWKINS

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I have to acknowlege the receipt of your favors of Mar. 8 & June 9. and to give you many thanks for the trouble you have taken with the Dionasa muscipula. I have not yet heard anything of them, which makes me fear they have perished by the way. I believe the most effectual means of conveying them hither will be by the seed. I must add my thanks too for the vocabularies. This is an object I mean to pursue, as I am persuaded that the only method of investigating the filiation of the Indian nations is by that of their languages.

I look up with you to the Federal convention for an amendment of our federal affairs. Yet I do not view them in so disadvantageous a light at present as some do. And above all things I am astonished at some people’s considering a kingly government as a refuge. Advise such to read the fable of the frogs who solicited Jupiter for a king. If that does not put them to rights, send them to Europe to see something of the trappings of monarchy, and I will undertake that every man shall go back thoroughly cured. If all the evils which can arise among us from the republican form of our government from this day to the day of judgment could be put into a scale against what this country suffers from its monarchical form in a week, or England in a month, the latter would preponderate. Consider the contents of the red book in England, or the Almanac royale of France, and say what a people gain by monarchy. No race of kings has ever presented above one man of common Edition: current; Page: [321] sense in twenty generations. The best they can do is to leave things to their ministers, & what are their ministers but a committee, badly chosen? If the king ever meddles it is to do harm. It is still undecided whether we shall have war or not. If war, I fear it will not be a successful one for our friends against England & Prussia. Such a war by sea, & such a one by land, are too much for this country at this time. Add to this that the condition of her finances threatens bankruptcy, & that the hope of mending them lessens daily. Good will result from other late operations of the government, but as to money matters they have lost more confidence than they have gained. Were it possible for us to borrow money in Holland to pay them the principal of our debt at this time, it would be felt by them with gratitude as if we had given them so much. I think it probable they would do something clever for us in our commerce; & would be very sure to help us again whenever our affairs would require it. Mr. Adams thinks the money could be borrowed in Holland if there was a tax laid to pay the interest. But I think it possible that the present storm in Holland may make the monied men wish to transfer their money any where else. I wish Mr. Adams put on this business before he leaves Europe. Adieu, my dear Sir, & be assured of the esteem of your friend & servt.

Edition: current; Page: [322]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 10, 1787
Paris
Peter Carr
Carr, Peter

TO PETER CARR1

j. mss.
Dear Peter,

—I have received your two letters of Decemb. 30 and April 18, and am very happy to find by them, as well as by letters from Mr. Wythe, that you have been so fortunate as to attract his notice & good will; I am sure you will find this to have been one of the most fortunate events of your life, as I have ever been sensible it was of mine. I inclose you a sketch of the sciences to which I would wish you to apply in such order as Mr. Wythe shall advise; I mention also the books in them worth your reading, which submit to his correction. Many of these are among your father’s books, which you should have brought to you. As I do not recollect those of them not in his library, you must write to me for them, making out a catalogue of such as you think you shall have occasion for in 18 months from the date of your letter, & consulting Mr. Wythe on the subject. To this sketch I will add a few particular observations.

1. Italian. I fear the learning this language will confound your French and Spanish. Being all of them degenerated dialects of the Latin, they are apt to mix in conversation. I have never seen a person speaking the three languages who did not mix them. It is a delightful language, but late events having rendered the Spanish more useful, lay it aside to prosecute that.

2. Spanish. Bestow great attention on this, & endeavor to acquire an accurate knowlege of it. Our future connections with Spain & Spanish America Edition: current; Page: [323] will render that language a valuable acquisition. The antient history of a great part of America, too, is written in that language. I send you a dictionary.

3. Moral philosophy. I think it lost time to attend lectures in this branch. He who made us would have been a pitiful bungler if he had made the rules of our moral conduct a matter of science. For one man of science, there are thousands who are not. What would have become of them? Man was destined for society. His morality therefore was to be formed to this object. He was endowed with a sense of right & wrong merely relative to this. This sense is as much a part of his nature as the sense of hearing, seeing, feeling; it is the true foundation of morality, & not the το καλον, truth, &c. as fanciful writers have imagined. The moral sense, or conscience, is as much a part of man as his leg or arm. It is given to all human beings in a stronger or weaker degree, as force of members is given them in a greater or less degree. It may be strengthened by exercise, as may any particular limb of the body. This sense is submitted indeed in some degree to the guidance of reason; but it is a small stock which is required for this: even a less one than what we call common sense. State a moral case to a ploughman & a professor. The former will decide it as well, & often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules. In this branch therefore read good books because they will encourage as well as direct your feelings. The writings of Sterne particularly form the best course of morality that ever was written. Besides these read the books Edition: current; Page: [324] mentioned in the enclosed paper; and above all things lose no occasion of exercising your dispositions to be grateful, to be generous, to be charitable, to be humane, to be true, just, firm, orderly, courageous &c. Consider every act of this kind as an exercise which will strengthen your moral faculties, & increase your worth.

4. Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place divest yourself of all bias in favour of novelty & singularity of opinion. Indulge them in any other subject rather than that of religion. It is too important, & the consequences of error may be too serious. On the other hand shake off all the fears & servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first the religion of your own country. Read the bible then, as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy & Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature does not weigh against them. But those facts in the bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from god. Examine upon what Edition: current; Page: [325] evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature in the case he relates. For example in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, &c. But it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine therefore candidly what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis as the earth does, should have stopped, should not by that sudden stoppage have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed its revolution, & that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth’s motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities? You will next read the new testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretensions 1. of those who say he was begotten by god, born of a virgin, suspended & reversed the laws of nature at will, & ascended bodily into heaven: and 2. of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, & was punished capitally for sedition by being gibbeted according to the Roman law which punished the first commission of that offence by whipping, & the second Edition: current; Page: [326] by exile or death in furcâ. See this law in the Digest Lib. 48. tit. 19. §. 28. 3. & Lipsius Lib. 2. de cruce. cap. 2. These questions are examined in the books I have mentioned under the head of religion, & several others. They will assist you in your inquiries, but keep your reason firmly on the watch in reading them all. Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of it’s consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort & pleasantness you feel in it’s exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you. If you find reason to believe there is a god, a consciousness that you are acting under his eye, & that he approves you, will be a vast additional incitement; if that there be a future state, the hope of a happy existence in that increases the appetite to deserve it; if that Jesus was also a god, you will be comforted by a belief of his aid and love. In fine, I repeat that you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, & neither believe nor reject anything because any other persons, or description of persons have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable not for the rightness but uprightness of the decision. I forgot to observe when speaking of the new testament that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, & not by the reason of those Edition: current; Page: [327] ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost. There are some however still extant, collected by Fabricius which I will endeavor to get & send you.

5. Travelling. This makes men wiser, but less happy. When men of sober age travel, they gather knolege which they may apply usefully for their country, but they are subject ever after to recollections mixed with regret, their affections are weakened by being extended over more objects, & they learn new habits which cannot be gratified when they return home. Young men who travel are exposed to all these inconveniences in a higher degree, to others still more serious, and do not acquire that wisdom for which a previous foundation is requisite by repeated & just observations at home. The glare of pomp & pleasure is analogous to the motion of their blood, it absorbs all their affection & attention, they are torn from it as from the only good in this world, and return to their home as to a place of exile & condemnation. Their eyes are for ever turned back to the object they have lost, & it’s recollection poisons the residue of their lives. Their first & most delicate passions are hackneyed on unworthy objects here, & they carry home only the dregs, insufficient to make themselves or anybody else happy. Add to this that a habit of idleness, an inability to apply themselves to business is acquired & renders them useless to themselves & their country. These observations are founded in experience. There is no place where your pursuit of knolege will be so little obstructed by foreign objects as in your own country, nor any wherein the virtues of the heart will be less exposed Edition: current; Page: [328] to be weakened. Be good, be learned, & be industrious, & you will not want the aid of travelling to render you precious to your country, dear to your friends, happy within yourself. I repeat my advice to take a great deal of exercise, & on foot. Health is the first requisite after morality. Write to me often & be assured of the interest I take in your success, as well as of the warmth of those sentiments of attachment with which I am, dear Peter, your affectionate friend.

P. S. Let me know your age in your next letter. Your cousins here are well & desire to be remembered to you.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 12, 1787
Paris
Dr. George Gilmer
Gilmer, Dr. George

TO DR. GEORGE GILMER

j. mss.
Dear Doctor,

—Your letter of Jan 9, 1787, came safely to hand in the month of June last. Unluckily you forgot to sign it, and your handwriting is so Protean that one cannot be sure it is yours. To increase the causes of incertitude it was dated Penpark, a name which I only know as the seat of John Harmer. The handwriting too being somewhat in his style made me ascribe it hastily to him, indorse it with his name, and let it lie in my bundle to be answered at leisure. That moment of leisure arriving, I set down to answer it to John Harmer, & now for the first time discover marks of its being yours, & particularly those expressions of friendship to myself and family which you have ever been so good as to entertain, and which are to me among the most Edition: current; Page: [329] precious possessions. I wish my sense of this, & my desires of seeing you rich & happy may not prevent my seeing any difficulty in the case you state of George Harmer’s wills; which as you state them are thus:

1. A will dated Dec 26, 1779, written in his own hand & devising to his brother the estates he had received from him.

2. Another will dated June 25, 1782, written also in his own hand, devising his estate to trustees to be conveyed to such of his relations. I. H. I. L. or H. L. as should become capable of acquiring property, or, on failure of that, to be sold & the money remitted them.

3. A third will dated Sep 12, 1786, devising all his estate at Marrowbone, & his tracts at Horsepasture & Poisonfield to you, which will is admitted to record & of course has been duly executed. You say the learned are divided on these wills. Yet I see no cause of division, as it requires little learning to decide that “the first deed, & last will must always prevail.” I am afraid therefore the difficulty may arise on the want of words of inheritance in the devise to you: for you state it as a devise to “George Gilmer” (without adding “& to his heirs”) of “all the estate called Marrowbone” “the tract called Horsepasture” and “the tract called Poisonfield.” If the question is on this point, and you have copied the words of the will exactly, I suppose you take an estate in fee simple in Marrowbone, & for life only in Horsepasture & Poisonfield, the want of words of inheritance in the two last cases being supplied as to Edition: current; Page: [330] the first by the word “estate” which has been repeatedly decided to be descriptive of the quantum of interest devised, as well as of its locality. I am in hopes however you have not copied the words exactly, that there are words of inheritance to all the devises, as the testator certainly knew their necessity, & that the conflict only will be between the different wills, in which case I see nothing which can be opposed to the last. I shall be very happy to eat at Pen-park some of the good mutton & beef of Marrowbone, Horse-pasture & Poisonfield, with yourself & Mrs. Gilmer & my good old neighbors. I am as happy nowhere else & in no other society, & all my wishes end, where I hope my days will end, at Monticello. Too many scenes of happiness mingle themselves with all the recollections of my native woods & fields, to suffer them to be supplanted in my affection by any other. I consider myself here as a traveller only, & not a resident. My commission expires next spring, & if not renewed, I shall of course return then. If renewed, I shall remain here some time longer. How much I cannot say; yet my wishes shorten the period. Among the strongest inducements will be that of your society & Mrs. Gilmer’s, which I am glad to find brought more within reach by your return to Pen-park. My daughters are importunate to return also. Patsy enjoys good health, & is growing to my stature. Polly arrived here about a month ago, after a favorable voyage, & in perfect health. My own health has been as good as ever, after the first year’s probation. The accident of a dislocated wrist, badly set, has I fear Edition: current; Page: [331] deprived me for ever of almost every use of my right hand. Nor is the extent of the evil as yet known, the hand withering, the fingers remaining swelled & crooked, & losing rather than gaining in point of suppleness. It is now eleven months since the accident. I am able to write, tho for a long time I was not so. This inability was succeeded by a journey into the Southern parts of France and Northern of of Italy, which added to the length of the chasm in my correspondence with my friends. If you knew how agreeable to me are the details of the small news of my neighborhood, your charity would induce you to write frequently. Your letters lodged in the post office at Richmond (to be forwarded to N York) come with certainty. We are doubtful yet whether there will be war or not. Present me with warm affection to Mrs. Gilmer & be assured yourself of the unvarying sentiments of esteem & attachment with which I am Dear Doctor your sincere friend & servant

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 14, 1787
Paris
Joseph Jones
Jones, Joseph

TO JOSEPH JONES

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I have never yet thanked you, but with the heart, for the act of assembly confirming the agreement with Maryland, the pamphlet & papers I received from you a twelve month ago. Very soon after their receipt I got my right wrist dislocated which prevented me long from writing & as soon as that was able to bear it I took a long journey from which I am but lately returned. I am anxious to Edition: current; Page: [332] hear what our federal convention recommends & what the states will do in consequence of their recommendation. I wish to see our states made one as to all foreign, & several as to all domestic matters, a peaceable mode of compulsion over the states given to Congress, & the powers of this body divided, as in the states, into three departments legislative, executive, & judiciary. It is my opinion the want of the latter organization has already done more harm than all the other federal defects put together, & that every evil almost may be traced to that source, but with all the defects of our constitutions, whether general or particular, the comparison of our governments with those of Europe, are like a comparison of heaven & hell. England, like the earth, may be allowed to take the intermediate station. And yet I hear there are people among you who think the experience of our governments has already proved that republican governments will not answer. Send those gentry here to count the blessings of monarchy. A king’s sister for instance stopped on the road, & on a hostile journey, is sufficient cause for him to march immediately 20,000 men to revenge this insult, when he had shewn himself little moved by the matter of right then in question.

I apprehend this hasty movement of the King of Prussia may perhaps decide the crisis of Europe to war, when it was before doubtful. The English squadron has sailed Westwardly: the French will doubtless do the same, & they are moving an army into the neighborhood of Holland. Still however the negociations are not broken off, and the desperate Edition: current; Page: [333] state of finances both in England & France give a hope they will yet arrange matters in this country. A great & sudden discontent has arisen, since the separation of the Assemblee des Notables. It is not easy to fix the causes, since it is certain that great improvements of their laws & constitution have actually taken place & others are promised, great reforms in expence have been effected & are effecting. But the investigation of the horrid depredation in the late administration of their finances, some new and inconsiderable expences of the court, and the new taxes have probably excited this discontent. The opposition of the parliament to the new taxes is carried to it’s last point, and their exile is a measure which may very possibly take place. The principal security against it is the mild & patriotic character of the new ministry.

From all these broils we are happily free, and that God may keep us long so, and yourself in health & happiness is the prayer of, dear Sir, your most obedient, & most humble servant.

P. S. Aug. 15. The Parliament is exiled to Troyes this morning.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Aug. 29, 1787
Paris

TO THE EDITOR OF THE JOURNAL DE PARIS

j. mss.
Sir,

—I am a citizen of the United States of America, and have passed in those states almost the whole of my life. When young, I was passionately fond of reading books of history & travels. Since the commencement of the late revolution which separated us from Great Britain, our country too has been Edition: current; Page: [334] thought worthy to employ the pens of historians & travellers. I cannot paint to you, Sir, the agonies which these have cost me, in obliging me to renounce these favorite branches of reading and in discovering to me at length that my whole life has been employed in nourishing my mind with fables & falsehoods. For thus I reason. If the histories of d’Auberteuil & of Longchamps, and the travels of the Abbé Robin can be published in the face of the world, can be read & believed by those who are cotemporary with the events they pretend to relate, how may we expect that future ages shall be better informed? Will those rise from their graves to bear witness to the truth, who would not, while living, lift their voices against falsehood? If cotemporary histories are thus false, what will future compilations be? And what are all those of preceding times? In your Journal of this day you announce & criticise a book under the title of “les ligues Acheenne, Suisse, & Hollandoise, et revolution des etats unis de l’Amerique par M. de Mayer.” I was no part of the Achaean Swiss or Dutch confederacies, & have therefore nothing to say against the facts related of them. And you cite only one fact from his account of the American revolution. It is in these words. “Monsieur Mayer assure qu’une seule voix, un seul homme, prononça l’independance des Etats unis. Ce fut, dit il, John Dickinson, un des Deputés de la Pensilvanie au Congrés. La veille, il avoit vôté pour la soumission, l’egalité des suffrages avoit suspendu la resolution; s’il eut persisté, le Congrés ne deliberoit point, il fut foible; il ceda aux instances de Edition: current; Page: [335] ceux qui avoient plus d’energie, plus d’eloquence, et plus de lumieres; il donna sa voix: l’Amerique lui doit une reconnaissance eternelle; c’est Dickinson qui l’a affranchie.” The modesty and candour of Mr. Dickinson himself, Sir, would disavow every word of this paragraph, except these—“il avoit voté pour la soumission.” These are true, every other tittle false. I was on the spot, & can relate to you this transaction with precision. On the 7th of June, 1776, the delegates from Virginia moved, in obedience to instructions from their constituents, that Congress should declare the 13 united colonies to be independant of Great Britain, that a Confederation should be formed to bind them together, and measures be taken for procuring the assistance of foreign powers. The house ordered a punctual attendance of all their members the next day at ten o’clock, & then resolved themselves into a Committee of the whole and entered on the discussion. It appeared in the course of the debates that 7. states. viz., N Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina & Georgia, were decided for a separation; but that 6. others still hesitated, to wit. New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, & South Carolina. Congress, desirous of unanimity, & seeing that the public mind was advancing rapidly to it, referred the further discussion to the 1st of July, appointing in the mean time a Committee to prepare a declaration of independance, a second to form Articles for the confederation of the states, and a third to propose measures for obtaining foreign aid. On the 28th of June, the Edition: current; Page: [336] Declaration of Independance was reported to the house, and was laid on the table for the consideration of the members. On the 1st day of July they resolved themselves into a committee of the whole, and resumed the consideration of the motion of June 7. It was debated through the day, and at length was decided in the affirmative by the vote of 9. states. viz New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode island, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, N. Carolina and Georgia. Pennsylvania and S. Carolina voted against it. Delaware, having but two members present, was divided. The delegates from New York declared they were for it, & their constituents also; but that the instructions against it which had been given them a twelvemonth before, were still unrepealed; that their convention was to meet in a few days, and they asked leave to suspend their vote till they could obtain a repeal of their instructions. Observe that all this was in a committee of the whole Congress, and that according to the mode of their proceedings, the Resolution of that Committee to declare themselves independant was to be put to the same persons reassuming their form as a Congress. It was now evening, the members exhausted by a debate of 9 hours, during which all the powers of the soul had been distended with the magnitude of the object, and the delegates of S. Carolina desired that the final decision might be put off to the next morning that they might still weigh in their own minds their ultimate vote. It was put off, and in the morning of the 2d of July they joined the other nine states in voting for it. The members of the Pennsylvania Edition: current; Page: [337] delegation too, who had been absent the day before, came in & turned the vote of their state in favor of independance, and a 3d member of the state of Delaware, who, hearing of the division in the sentiments of his two colleagues, had travelled post to arrive in time, now came in and decided the vote of that state also for the resolution. Thus twelve states voted for it at the time of its passage, and the delegates of New York, the 13th state, received instructions within a few days to add theirs to the general vote; so that, instead of the “egalité des suffrages” spoken of by M. Mayer, there was not a dissenting voice. Congress proceeded immediately to consider the Declaration of Independence which had been reported by their committee on the 28th of June. The several paragraphs of that were debated for three days, viz. the 2d, 3d, & 4th of July. In the evening of the 4th they were finally closed, and the instrument approved by an unanimous vote and signed by every member, except Mr. Dickinson. Look into the Journal of Congress of that day, Sir, and you will see the instrument, and the name of the signers, and that Mr. Dickinson’s name is not among them. Then read again those words of your paper. “Il (M. Mayer) assure qu’une seule voix, un seul homme, prononça l’independance des etats unis, ce fut John Dickinson.—l’Amerique lui doit une reconnoissance eternelle; c’est Dickinson qui l’a affranchie.” With my regrets, & my Adieus to History, to Travels, to Mayer, & to you, Sir, permit me to mingle assurances of the great respect with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient & most humble servant.

Edition: current; Page: [338]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 16, 1787
Paris
George Wythe
Wythe, George

TO GEORGE WYTHE

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I am now to acknowlege the receipt of your favors of Dec. 13 & 22 1786 & of Jan. 1787. These should not have been so long unanswered, but that they arrived during my absence on a journey of between 3 & 4 months through the Southern parts of France & northern of Italy. In the latter country my time allowed me to go no further than Turin, Milan, and Genoa: consequently I scarcely got into classical ground. I took with me some of the writings in which endeavors have been made to investigate the passage of Annibal over the Alps, and was just able to satisfy myself, from a view of the country, that the descriptions given of his march are not sufficiently particular to enable us at this day even to guess at his track across the Alps. In architecture, painting, sculpture, I found much amusement: but more than all in their agriculture, many objects of which might be adopted with us to great advantage. I am persuaded there are many parts of our lower country where the olive tree might be raised, which is assuredly the richest gift of heaven. I can scarcely except bread. I see this tree supporting thousands in among the Alps where there is not soil enough to make bread for a single family. The caper too might be cultivated with us. The fig we do raise. I do not speak of the vine, because it is the parent of misery. Those who cultivate it are always poor, and he who would employ himself with us in the culture of corn, cotton, &c. can procure in exchange much more wine, & better than he could Edition: current; Page: [339] raise by its direct culture. I sent you formerly copies of the documents on the Tagliaferro family which I had received from Mr. Febroni. I now send the originals. I have procured for you a copy of Polybius, the best edition; but the best edition of Vitruvius, which is with the commentaries of Ticinus, is not to be got here. I have sent to Holland for it. In the mean time the Polybius comes in a box containing books for Peter Carr & for some of my friends in Williamsburg & it’s vicinities. I have taken the liberty of addressing this box to you. It goes to New York in the packet boat which carries this letter, & will be forwarded to you by water, by Mr. Madison. Its freight to New York is paid here. The transportation from thence to Williamsburgh will be demanded of you, and shall stand as the equivalent to the cost of Polybius & Vitruvius if you please. The difference either way will not be worth the trouble of erecting & transmitting accounts. I send you herewith a state of the contents of the box, and for whom each article is. Among these are some as you will perceive, of which I ask your acceptance. It is a great comfort to me that while here I am able to furnish some amusement to my friends by sending them such productions of genius, antient & modern, as might otherwise escape them; and I hope they will permit me to avail myself of the occasion, while it lasts. This world is going all to war. I hope our’s will remain clear of it. It is already declared between the Turks & Russians, and, considering the present situation of Holland, it cannot fail to spread itself all over Europe. Perhaps it may Edition: current; Page: [340] not be till the next spring that the other powers will be engaged in it: nor is it as yet clear how they will arrange themselves. I think it not impossible that France & the two empires may join against all the rest. The Patriotic party in Holland will be saved by this, and the Turks sacrificed. The only thing which can prevent the union of France & the two empires, is the difficulty of agreeing about the partition of the spoils. Constantinople is the key of Asia. Who shall have it is the question? I cannot help looking forward to the reestablishment of the Greeks as a people, and the language of Homer becoming again a living language, as among possible events. You have now with you Mr. Paradise, who can tell you how easily the modern may be improved into the antient Greek. You ask me in your letter what ameliorations I think necessary in our federal constitution. It is now too late to answer the question, and it would always have been presumption in me to have done it. Your own ideas & those of the great characters who were to be concerned with you in these discussions will give the law, as they ought to do, to us all. My own general idea was that the states should severally preserve their sovereignty in whatever concerns themselves alone, & that whatever may concern another state, or any foreign nation, should be made a part of the federal sovereignty. That the exercise of the federal sovereignty should be divided among three several bodies, legislative, executive, & judiciary, as the state sovereignties are: and that some peaceable means should be contrived for the federal head to Edition: current; Page: [341] enforce compliance on the part of the states.—I have reflected on your idea of wooden or ivory diagrams for the geometrical demonstrations. I should think wood as good as ivory; & that in this case it might add to the improvement of the young gentlemen; that they should make the figures themselves. Being furnished by a workman with a piece of veneer, no other tool than a penknife & a wooden rule would be necessary. Perhaps pasteboards, or common cards might be still more convenient. The difficulty is, how to reconcile figures which must have a very sensible breadth, to our ideas of a mathematical line, which, having neither breadth nor thickness, will revolt more at these than at simple lines drawn on paper or slate. If after reflecting on this proposition you would prefer having them made here, lay your commands on me and they shall be executed.

I return you a thousand thousand thanks for your goodness to my nephew. After my debt to you for whatever I am myself, it is increasing it too much to interest yourself for his future fortune. But I know that, to you, a consciousness of doing good is a luxury ineffable. You have enjoyed it already beyond all human measure, and that you may long live to enjoy it and to bless your country & friends is the sincere prayer of him who is with every possible sentiment of esteem & respect, dear Sir, your most obedient & most humble servant.

Edition: current; Page: [342]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 20, 1787
Paris
Charles Thomson
Thomson, Charles

TO CHARLES THOMSON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—Your favor of April 28 did not come to my hands till the 1st inst. Unfortunately the boxes of plants, which were a day too late to come by the April packet, missed the packet of June 10 also, & only came by that of July 25. They are not yet arrived at Paris, but I expect them daily. I am sensible of your kind attention to them, and that as you were leaving New York you took the course which bade fair to be the best. That they were forgotten in the hands in which you placed them, was probably owing to too much business & more important. I have desired Mr. Madison to refund to you the money you were so kind as to advance for me. The delay of your letter will apologize for this delay of the repayment. I thank you also for the extract of the letter you were so kind as to communicate to me on the antiquities found in the Western country. I wish that the persons who go thither would make very exact descriptions of what they see of that kind, without forming any theories. The moment a person forms a theory his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory. But it is too early to form theories on those antiquities. We must wait with patience till more facts are collected. I wish your philosophical society would collect exact descriptions of the several monuments as yet known, and insert them naked in their Transactions, and continue their attention to those hereafter to be discovered. Patience & observation may enable us in time to solve the problem Edition: current; Page: [343] whether those who formed the scattering monuments in our Western country, were colonies sent off from Mexico, or the founders of Mexico itself? Whether both were the descendants or the progenitors of the Asiatic redmen. The Mexican tradition mentioned by Dr. Robertson, is an evidence, but a feeble one, in favor of the one opinion. The number of languages radically different, is a strong evidence in favor of the contrary one. There is an American of the name of Ledyard, he who was with Captain Cook on his last voyage & wrote an account of that voyage, who is gone to St. Petersburg, from thence he was to go to Kamschatka, to cross over thence to the northwest coast of America, & to penetrate through the main continent to our side of it. He is a person of ingenuity & information. Unfortunately he has too much imagination. However, if he escapes safely, he will give us new, curious, & useful information. I had a letter from him dated last March, when he was about to leave St. Petersburgh on his way to Kamschatka.

With respect to the information of the strata of rocks, I had observed them between the Blue Ridge & North Mountain in Virginia to be parallel with the pole of the earth. I observed the same thing in most instances in the Alps between Cette & Turin: but in returning along the precipices of the Pyrinees1 where they hang over the Mediterranean, their direction was totally different and various; and you mention that in our Western country they are horizontal. This variety proves they have not been formed by Edition: current; Page: [344] subsidence as some writers of theories of the earth have pretended, for then they should always have been in circular strata, & concentric. It proves too that they have not been formed by the rotation of the earth on its axis, as might have been suspected had all these strata been parallel with that axis. They may indeed have been thrown up by explosions, as Whitehurst supposes, or have been the effect of convulsions. But there can be no proof of the explosion, nor is it probable that convulsions have deformed every spot of the earth. It is now generally agreed that rock grows, and it seems that it grows in layers in every direction, as the branches of trees grow in all directions. Why seek further the solution of this phenomenon? Everything in nature decays. If it were not reproduced then by growth, there would be a chasm. I remember you asked me in a former letter whether the steam mill in London was turned by the steam immediately or by the intermediate agency of water raised by the steam. When I was in London Boulton made a secret of his mill. Therefore I was permitted to see it only superficially. I saw no water wheels, & therefore supposed none. I answered you accordingly that there were none. But when I was at Nismes, I went to see the steam mill there, & they showed it to me in all its parts. I saw that their steam raised water, & that this water turned a wheel. I expressed my doubts of the necessity of the inter-agency of water, & that the London mill was without it. But they supposed me mistaken; perhaps I was so; I have had no opportunity since of clearing up the doubt. * * *

Edition: current; Page: [345]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 25, 1787
Paris
William Carmichael
Carmichael, William

TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL1

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—The copy of your letter of July 9. and that of Aug. 22. came to hand together. The original of the former I never received. My last to you was dated June 14. I heard indirectly that Mr. Grand had refused to pay a bill of yours. But he never said a word to me on the subject, nor mentioned any letter of yours in consequence of it. I have stated the matter to the board of Treasury. I also wrote to Mr. Adams a state of the same fact. There are at Amsterdam 100.000 florins at his disposal. Colo. Smith will endeavor to get for you an order to draw on that fund. The subject of Smith’s mission to Portugal appeared to me so causeless as given out that I imagined it was only the ostensible one, the real cause remaining a secret between him and Congress, yet I never heard any other hinted. With respect to the reimbursement to the Count d’Expilly for the maintenance of our prisoners at Algiers, I wrote to Mr. Jay what you had formerly communicated to me, but am not authorized to give any answer. I think it important to destroy at Algiers every idea that Congress will redeem our captives there, perhaps at any price, much less at that paid by Spain. It seems to be the general opinion that the redeeming them would occasion the capture of greater numbers by increasing the incitements to cruise against us. We must never make it their interest to go out of the straights in quest of us, and we must avoid entering into the straights at least Edition: current; Page: [346] till we are rich enough to arm in that sea. The Spanish consul therefore cannot too soon withdraw himself from all responsibility for our prisoners. As to the affair of the frigate of South Carolina, I communicated to you every thing I knew on the subject, by inclosing you all the papers which had come to my hands. I have received letters & gazettes from America to the 25. of July. The federal convention was likely to sit to the month of October. A thin Congress was sitting at the same time. They had passed an Ordinance dividing the country North of Ohio into three states, & providing both a present and a future form of government for them. The sale of their lands commence this month. An idea had got abroad in the Western country that Congress was ceding to Spain the navigation of the Mississippi for a certain time. They had taken flame at it, & were assembling conventions on the subject, wherein the boldest & most dangerous propositions were to be made. They are said to be now 60.000 strong, and are more formidable from their spirit than numbers. This is the only bone of contention which can arise between Spain & us for ages. It is a pity it could not be settled amicably. When we consider that the Mississippi is the only issue to the ocean for five eights of the territory of the U. S. & how fast that territory peoples, the ultimate event cannot be mistaken. It would be wise then to take arrangements according to what must happen.

There had been a hope that the affairs of Holland might be accomodated without a war. But this hope has failed. The Prussian troops have entered the Edition: current; Page: [347] territories of the republick. The stadtholder is now at the Hague, and there seems to be no force capable of opposing him. England too has notified this court by her envoy, two days ago, that she is arming. In the meantime little provision has been made here against such an event. M. de Segur declares that six weeks ago he proposed in council to march 24,000 men into Holland. The archbp. is charged principally with having prevented this. He seems to have been duped by his strong desire for peace, and by calculating that the K. of Prussia would have acted on principles of common sense. To complicate the game still more, you know of the war which has arisen between Russia & the Turks. You know also that it was excited there, as well as at Berlin by the English. Former alliances thus broke, Prussia having thrown herself into the scale opposed to France, Turkey having abandoned her councils and followed the instigations of her enemies, what remains for this country to do? I know that Russia proposed a confederation with this court, that this court without committing itself wished 1481. 941. I know the final determination of the emperor was that he came into the proposition, has formed a line from the Russian to the Turkish confines by 4. camps of 30,000 men in one, & 50,000 in each of the others. Yet it does not seem that France has closed the proposal in favor of which every principle of common sense enlists itself. The queen, Breteuil and Montmorin have been for some time decidedly for this triple alliance which especially if aided by Spain would give law to the world. The premier is still Edition: current; Page: [348] accused with hesitation. They begin to say that tho’ he is a patriotic Minister and an able one for peace he has not energy enough for war. If this takes place the consequences to Prussia and the Stadtholder may be easily foreseen. Whether it does or not the Turks must quit Europe. Neutrality should be our plan: because no nation should without urgent necessity begin a second war while the debts of the former remain unpaid. The accumulation of debts is a most fearful evil. But ever since the accession of the present King of England, that court has unerringly done what common sense would have dictated not to do. Now common sense dictates that they should avoid forcing us to take part against them, because this brings on them a heavy land war. Therefore they will not avoid it: they will stop our ships, visit and harass them, seize them on the most frivolous pretexts and oblige us to take from them Canada & Nova Scotia, which it is not our interest to possess. Mr. Eden sets out in a few days for Madrid. You will have to oppose in him the most bitter enemy against our country which exists. His late and sudden elevation makes the remembrance of the contempt we shewed to his mission in America rankle the more in his breast. Whether his principle will restrain him to fair modes of opposition, I am not well enough acquainted with him to say. I know nothing of him but his parliamentary history, and that is not in his favor. As he wishes us every possible ill, all the lies of the London papers are true history in his creed, and will be propagated as such, to prejudice against us the mind of the Court where Edition: current; Page: [349] you are. You will find it necessary to keep him well in your eye, and to trace all his foot-steps.—You know doubtless that M. de Brienne has been appointed Minister of War, & the Count de la Luzerne Minister of Marine. He is brother of the Chevalier, & at present in St. Domingo of which he is commandant. The Count de Moustier goes Minister to America, the Chevalier de la Luzerne preferring the promise of the first vacant embassy. Lambert is Comptrolleur general. De la Borde & Cabarus have successively refused the office of Directeur du tresor royale.—Having now got the maps for the Notes on Virginia, I will send by the Count d’Aranda two copies, one for yourself, & one for Monsr. de Campomenes. By the same conveyance I will forward the Ratification of the treaty with Morocco, & ask the favor of you to contrive it to that court. Mr. Barclay is gone to America.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 28, 1787
Paris
John Adams
Adams, John

TO JOHN ADAMS

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I received your favor by Mr. Cutting, and thank you sincerely for the copy of your book. The departure of a packet boat, which always gives me full emploiment for sometime before has only permitted me to look into it a little. I judge of it from the first volume which I thought formed to do a great deal of good. The first principle of a good government is certainly a distribution of it’s powers into executive, judiciary & legislative and a Edition: current; Page: [350] subdivision of the latter into two or three branches. It is a good step gained, when it is proved that the English constitution, acknowledged to be better than all which have preceded it, is only better in proportion as it has approached nearer to this distribution of powers. From this the last step is easy, to shew by a comparison of our constitutions with that of England, how much more perfect they are. The article of Confederations is surely worthy of your pen. It would form a most interesting addition to shew what have been the nature of the Confederations which have existed hitherto, what were their excellencies & what their defects. A comparison of ours with them would be to the advantage of ours, and would increase the veneration of our countrymen for it. It is a misfortune that they do not sufficiently know the value of their constitutions & how much happier they are rendered by them than any other people on earth by the governments under which they live.—You know all that has happened in the United Netherlands. You know also that our friends Van Staphorsts will be among the most likely to become objects of severity, if any severities should be exercised. Is the money in their hands entirely safe? If it is not, I am sure you have already thought of it. Are we to suppose the game already up, and that the Stadtholder is to be reestablished, perhaps erected into a monarch, without this country lifting a finger in opposition to it? If so, it is a lesson the more for us. In fact what a crowd of lessons do the present miseries of Holland teach us? Never to have an hereditary officer of any sort: Edition: current; Page: [351] never to let a citizen ally himself with kings: never to call in foreign nations to settle domestic differences, never to suppose that any nation will expose itself to war for us, &c. Still I am not without hopes that a good rod is in soak for Prussia, and that England will feel the end of it. It is known to some that Russia made propositions to the emperor & France for acting in concert, that the emperor consents and has disposed four camps of 180,000 men from the limits of Turkey to those of Prussia. This court hesitates, or rather it’s premier hesitates; for the queen, Montmorin & Breteuil are for the measure. Should it take place, all may yet come to rights, except for the Turks, who must retire from Europe, and this they must do were France Quixotic enough to undertake to support them. We I hope shall be left free to avail ourselves of the advantages of neutrality: and yet much I fear the English, or rather their stupid king, will force us out of it. For thus I reason. By forcing us into the war against them they will be engaged in an expensive land war as well as a sea war. Common sense dictates therefore that they should let us remain neuter: ergo they will not let us remain neuter. I never yet found any other general rule for foretelling what they will do, but that of examining what they ought not to do.

You will have heard doubtless that M. Lambert is Comptroller general, that the office of Directeur general du tresor royal, has been successively refused by Monsr. de la Borde & Monsr. Cabarrus; that the Conte de Brienne, brother of the Archbishop, is Edition: current; Page: [352] Minister of War, and the Count de la Luzerne Minister of Marine. They have sent for him from his government in the West Indies. The Chevalier de la Luzerne has a promise of the vacant Embassy. It will be that of London if Adhemar can be otherwise disposed of. The Chevalier might have had that of Holland if he would. The Count de Moustier will sail about the middle of next month. Count d’Aranda leaves us in a few days. His successor is hourly expected.

I have the honor to be with my best respects to Mrs. Adams, & sentiments of perfect esteem & regard to yourself dear Sir your most obedient & most humble servant.

P. S. Since writing the above, I learn thro a 1547. 1406. 610. 943. 708. 1111. 173. 1363. 1411. 1001. 1246. & is 1250. 501. 1418. 1339. with the 390. 758. 808. 830. Perhaps as a proof of this we may soon 1064. 520. 1506. 773. 1363, 1508. 1268. 1209. 1017. 1128. 1196. 70. 519. 1401.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 1, 1787
Paris
Comte De Buffon
Buffon, Comte De

TO COMTE DE BUFFON

j. mss.
Sir,

—I had the honour of informing you some time ago that I had written to some of my friends in America, desiring they would send me such of the spoils of the Moose, Caribou, Elk & deer as might throw light on that class of animals; but more particularly to send me the complete skeleton, skin, & horns of the Moose, in such condition as that the Edition: current; Page: [353] skin might be sewed up & stuffed on it’s arrival here. I am happy to be able to present to you at this moment the bones & skin of a Moose, the horns of the Caribou, the elk, the deer, the spiked horned buck, and the Roebuck of America. They all come from New Hampshire & Massachusetts. I give you their popular names, as it rests with yourself to decide their real names. The skin of the Moose was drest with the hair on, but a great deal of it has come off, and the rest is ready to drop off. The horns of the elk are remarkably small. I have certainly seen of them which would have weighed five or six times as much. This is the animal which we call elk in the Southern parts of America, and of which I have given some description in the Notes on Virginia, of which I had the honour of presenting you a copy. I really doubt whether the flat-horned elk exists in America; and I think this may be properly classed with the elk, the principal difference being in the horns. I have seen the Daim, the Cerf, the Chevreuil of Europe. But the animal we call Elk, and which may be distinguished as the Roundhorned elk, is very different from them. I have never seen the Brand-hirtz or Cerf d’Ardennes, nor the European elk. Could I get a sight of them I think I should be able to say to which of them the American elk resembles most, as I am tolerably well acquainted with that animal. I must observe also that the horns of the Deer, which accompany these spoils, are not of the fifth or sixth part of the weight of some that I have seen. This individual has been of age, according to our method of judging. I have Edition: current; Page: [354] taken measures particularly to be furnished with large horns of our elk & our deer, & therefore beg of you not to consider those now sent as furnishing a specimen of their ordinary size. I really suspect you will find that the Moose, the Round horned elk, & the American deer are species not existing in Europe. The Moose is perhaps of a new class. I wish these spoils, Sir, may have the merit of adding anything new to the treasures of nature which have so fortunately come under your observation, & of which she seems to have given you the key: they will in that case be some gratification to you, which it will always be pleasing to me to have procured, having the honor to be with sentiments of the most perfect esteem & respect, Sir, your most obedient, & most humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 4, 1787
John Rutledge
Rutledge, John

TO THE GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA
(JOHN RUTLEDGE)

j. mss.
Sir,

—I am informed that the persons having claims against the state of South Carolina on account of the frigate of the same name, have appointed Mr. Cutting their attorney for settling those claims with the state. It becomes my duty therefore to inform you that a claim of the state against the court of Spain for services performed by that frigate was transmitted to me the last spring by Mr. Jay, together with the papers on which it was founded, & that I was instructed to forward the same to Mr. Carmichael at Madrid to be sollicited by him, Edition: current; Page: [355] and at the same time to confer with the Prince of Luxemburg on the subject & engage the assistance of the French ambassador at Madrid in the sollicitation. All this was done, and I have lately received a letter from Mr. Carmichael inclosing the copy of one from the Count de Florida Blanca by which it appears that the court of Spain has referred the adjustment of your claim to Mr. Gardoqui & your delegates at New York, where perhaps the whole business may be most conveniently settled. In my conference with the Prince of Luxemburg I undertook to quiet his mind by assurances which I knew I might make with truth, that the state of South Carolina would settle his claim finally with justice & honor, & would take measures for paying it as soon as their situation would permit. A recent instance of arrangements taken in a like case by the state of Maryland has had a good effect in counteracting those calumnies against us which our enemies on the other side the channel disseminate industriously through all Europe.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Oct. 8, 1787
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON1

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—The bearer hereof the Count de Moustier, successor to Monsr de la Luzerne, would from his office need no letter of introduction to you or to anybody. Yet I take the liberty of recommending him to you to shorten those formal approaches which the same office would otherwise expose him Edition: current; Page: [356] to in making your acquaintance. He is a great enemy to formality, etiquette, ostentation & luxury. He goes with the best dispositions to cultivate society without poisoning it by ill example. He is sensible, disposed to view things favorably, & being well acquainted with the constitution of England, it’s manners & language, is the better prepared for his station with us. But I should have performed only the lesser, & least pleasing half of my task, were I not to add my recommendations of Madame de Brehan. She is goodness itself. You must be well acquainted with her. You will find her well disposed to meet your acquaintance & well worthy of it. The way to please her is to receive her as an acquaintance of a thousand years’ standing. She speaks little English. You must teach her more, and learn French from her. She hopes by accompanying Monsieur de Moustier to improve her health which is very feeble, & still more to improve her son in his education & to remove him to a distance from the seductions of this country. You will wonder to be told that there are no schools in this country to be compared to ours, in the sciences. The husband of Madame de Brehan is an officer, & obliged by the times to remain with the army. Monsieur de Moustier brings your watch. I have worn it two months and really find her a most incomparable one. She will not want the little redressing which new watches generally do after going about a year. She cost 600 livres. To open her in all her parts, press the little pin on the edge, with the point of your nail, that opens the chrystel, then open the dial plate in the Edition: current; Page: [357] usual way, then press the stem, at the end within the loop, & it opens the back for winding up or regulating.

De Moustier is remarkably communicative. With adroitness he may be pumped of anything. His openness is from character, not from affectation. An intimacy with him may, on this account be politically valuable.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov 3, 1787
Paris
John Jay
Jay, John

TO JOHN JAY

j. mss.
Sir,

—I shall take the liberty of confiding sometimes to a private letter such details of the small history of the court or cabinet as may be worthy of being known, and yet not proper to be publicly communicated. I doubt whether the administration is yet in a permanent form. The Count de Montmorin & Baron de Breteuil are I believe firm enough in their places. It was doubted whether they would wait for the count de la Lucerne, if the war had taken place; but at present I suppose they will. I wish it also; because M. de Hector, his only competitor, has on some occasions shewn little value for the connection with us. Lambert, the Comptroller general is thought to be very insecure. I should be sorry also to lose him. I have worked several days with him, the M. de la Fayette, and Monsr. du Pont (father of the young gentleman gone to America with the Count de Moustier) to reduce into one arret whatever concerned our commerce. I have found him a man of great judgment & application, possessing good general principles on subjects of Edition: current; Page: [358] commerce, & friendly dispositions towards us. He passed the arret in a very favorable form, but it has been opposed in the council, & will I fear suffer some alteration in the article of whale oil. That of tobacco, which was put into a separate instrument, experiences difficulties also, which do not come from him. Mr. du Pont has rendered us essential service on these occasions. I wish his son could be so well noticed as to make a favorable report to his father; he would I think be gratified by it, & his good dispositions be strengthened, & rendered further useful to us. Whether I shall be able to send you these regulations by the present packet, will depend on their getting thro’ the council in time. The Archbishop continues well with his patroness. Her object is, a close connection with her brother. I suppose he convinces her that peace will furnish the best occasions of cementing that connection. It may not be uninstructive to give you the origin & nature of his influence with the queen.—When the D. de Choiseul proposed the marriage of the dauphin with this lady, he thought it proper to send a person to Vienna to perfect her in the language. He asked his friend the Archbishop of Toulouse to recommend to him a proper person. He recommended a certain Abbé. The Abbé, from his first arrival at Vienna, either tutored by his patron, or prompted by gratitude, impressed on the queen’s mind the exalted talents and merit of the Archbishop, and continually represented him as the only man fit to be placed at the helm of affairs. On his return to Paris, being retained near the person of the queen, he kept him Edition: current; Page: [359] constantly in her view. The Archbishop was named of the assembly des notables, had occasion enough there to prove his talents, & count de Vergennes his great enemy, dying opportunely, the Queen got him into place. He uses the abbé even yet, for instilling all his notions into her mind. That he has imposing talents, and patriotic dispositions I think is certain. Good judges think him a theorist only, little acquainted with the details of business & spoiling all his plans by a bungled execution. He may perhaps undergo a severe trial. His best actions are exciting against him a host of enemies, particularly the reduction of the pensions & reforms in other branches of economy. Some think the ministers are willing he should stay in till he has effected this odious, yet necessary work, & that they will then make him the scape-goat of the transaction. The declarations too which I send you in my public letter, if they should become public, will probably raise an universal cry. It will all fall on him, because Montmorin & Breteuil say without reserve, that the sacrifice of the Dutch has been against their advice. He will perhaps not permit these declarations to appear in this country. They are absolutely unknown, they were communicated to me by the D. of Dorset, and I believe no other copy has been given here. They will be published, doubtless, in England, as a proof of their triumph, & may thence make their way into this country. If the premier can stem a few months, he may remain long in office & will never make war if he can help it. If he should be removed, the peace will probably be short. He is solely chargeable with Edition: current; Page: [360] the loss of Holland. True they could not have raised money by taxes to supply the necessities of war; but could they do it were their finances ever so well arranged? No nation makes war now-a-days but by the aid of loans: and it is probable that in a war for the liberties of Holland, all the treasures of that country would have been at their service. They have now lost the cow which furnishes the milk of war. She will be on the side of their enemies, whenever a rupture shall take place: & no arrangement of their finances can countervail this circumstance.

I have no doubt, you permit access to the letters of your foreign ministers by persons only of the most perfect trust. It is in the European system to bribe the clerks high in order to obtain copies of interesting papers.—I am sure you are equally attentive to the conveyance of your letters to us, as you know that all are opened that pass thro’ any post office of Europe. Your letters which come by the packet, if put into the mail at New York, or into the post office at Havre, wear proofs that they have been opened. The passenger to whom they are confided, should be cautioned always to keep them in his own hands till he can deliver them personally in Paris.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov 13, 1787
Paris
William Stephens Smith
Smith, William Stephens

TO WILLIAM STEPHENS SMITH

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I am now to acknoledge the receipt of your favors of October the 4th, 8th, & 26th. In the last you apologise for your letters of introduction to Edition: current; Page: [361] Americans coming here. It is so far from needing apology on your part, that it calls for thanks on mine. I endeavor to shew civilities to all the Americans who come here, & will give me opportunities of doing it: and it is a matter of comfort to know from a good quarter what they are, & how far I may go in my attentions to them. Can you send me Woodmason’s bills for the two copying presses for the M. de la Fayette, & the M. de Chastellux? The latter makes one article in a considerable account, of old standing, and which I cannot present for want of this article.—I do not know whether it is to yourself or Mr. Adams I am to give my thanks for the copy of the new constitution. I beg leave through you to place them where due. It will be yet three weeks before I shall receive them from America. There are very good articles in it: & very bad. I do not know which preponderate. What we have lately read in the history of Holland, in the chapter on the Stadtholder, would have sufficed to set me against a chief magistrate eligible for a long duration, if I had ever been disposed towards one: & what we have always read of the elections of Polish kings should have forever excluded the idea of one continuable for life. Wonderful is the effect of impudent & persevering lying. The British ministry have so long hired their gazetteers to repeat and model into every form lies about our being in anarchy, that the world has at length believed them, the English nation has believed them, the ministers themselves have come to believe them, & what is more wonderful, we have believed them ourselves. Yet where does this anarchy exist? Edition: current; Page: [362] Where did it ever exist, except in the single instance of Massachusetts? And can history produce an instance of rebellion so honourably conducted? I say nothing of it’s motives. They were founded in ignorance, not wickedness. God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, & always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13. states independent 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century & a half for each state. What country before ever existed a century & half without a rebellion? & what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusetts: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen-yard in order. I hope in God this article will be rectified before the new constitution is accepted.—You ask me if any thing transpires here on the subject of S. America? Not a word. I know that there are combustible materials there, and that they wait the torch only. But this country probably Edition: current; Page: [363] will join the extinguishers.—The want of facts worth communicating to you has occasioned me to give a little loose to dissertation. We must be contented to amuse, when we cannot inform.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 15, 1787
Paris
William Carmichael
Carmichael, William

TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I am later in acknoledging the receipt of your favors of Oct. 15, Nov. 5 & 15, because we have been long expecting a packet which I hoped would bring communications worth detailing to you, and she arrived only a few days ago, after a very long passage indeed. I am very sorry you have not been able to make out the cypher of my letter of Sept. 25, because it contained things which I wished you to know at that time. They have lost now a part of their merit; but still I wish you could decypher them, there remains a part which it might still be agreeable to you to understand. I have examined the cypher, from which it was written. It is precisely a copy of those given to Messieurs Barclay & Lamb. In order that you may examine whether yours corresponds I will now translate into cypher the three first lines of my letter of June 14.

1420. 1250. 1194. 1307. 1531. 458. 48. 1200. 134. 1140. 1469. 519. 563. 1129. 1057. 1201. 1199. 1531. 1571. 1040. 870. 423. 1001. 855. 521. 1173. 917. 1559. 505. 1196. 51. 1152. 698. 141. 1569. 996. 861. 804. 1337. 1199.

Edition: current; Page: [364]

This will serve to show whether your cypher corresponds with mine, as well as my manner of using it. But I shall not use it in future till I know from you the result of your re-examination of it. I have the honor now to return you the letter you had been so good as to enclose to me. About the same time of Liston’s conversation with you, similar ones were held with me by Mr. Eden. He particularly questioned me on the effect of our treaty with France in the case of a war, and what might be our dispositions. I told him without hesitation that our treaty obliged us to receive the armed vessels of France with their prizes into our ports, & to refuse admission to the prizes made on her by her enemies: that there was a clause by which we guaranteed to France her American possessions, and which might perhaps force us into the war if these were attacked. “And it is certain, said he, that they would have been attacked.” I added that our dispositions would have been to be neutral, & that I thought it the interest of both those powers that we should be so, because it would relieve both from all anxiety as to the feeding their West Indian islands, and England would moreover avoid a heavy land war on our continent which would cripple all her proceedings elsewhere. He expected these sentiments from me personally, and he knew them to be analogous to those of our country. We had often before had occasions of knowing each other: his peculiar bitterness towards us had sufficiently appeared, & I had never concealed from him that I considered the British as our natural enemies, and as the only nation on earth who wished us ill from the Edition: current; Page: [365] bottom of their souls. And I am satisfied that were our continent to be swallowed up by the ocean, Great Britain would be in a bonfire from one end to the other. Mr. Adams, as you know, has asked his recall. This has been granted, & Colonel Smith is to return too; Congress having determined to put an end to their commission at that court. I suspect, and hope they will make no new appointment.

Our new constitution is powerfully attacked in the American newspapers. The objections are, that its effect would be to form the 13 states into one; that proposing to melt all down into one general government they have fenced the people by no declaration of right, they have not renounced the power of keeping a standing army, they have not secured the liberty of the press, they have reserved a power of abolishing trials by jury in civil cases, they have proposed that the laws of the federal legislature shall be paramount the laws & constitutions of the states, they have abandoned rotation in office; & particularly their president may be re-elected from 4. years to 4 years for life, so as to render him a king for life, like a King of Poland, & have not given him either the check or aid of a council. To these they add calculations of expense &c. &c. to frighten people. You will perceive that these objections are serious, and some of them not without foundation. The constitution however has been received with a very general enthusiasm, and as far as can be judged from external demonstrations the bulk of the people are eager to adopt it. In the eastern states the printers will print nothing against it unless the writer Edition: current; Page: [366] subscribes his name. Massachusetts & Connecticut have called conventions in January to consider of it. In New York there is a division. The Governor (Clinton) is known to be hostile to it. Jersey it is thought will certainly accept it. Pennsylvania is divided, & all the bitterness of her factions has been kindled anew on it. But the party in favor of it is strongest both in & out of the legislature. This is the party antiently of Morris, Wilson &c. Delaware will do what Pennsylvania shall do. Maryland is thought favorable to it: yet it is supposed Chase & Paca will oppose it. As to Virginia two of her delegates in the first place refused to sign it. These were Randolph, the governor, & George Mason. Besides these, Henry, Harrison, Nelson, & the Lees are against it. Genl. Washington will be for it, but it is not in his character to exert himself much in the case. Madison will be it’s main pillar; but tho an immensely popular one, it is questionable whether he can bear the weight of such a host. So that the presumption is that Virginia will reject it. We know nothing of the disposition of the states South of this. Should it fall thro’, as is possible notwithstanding the enthusiasm with which it was received in the first moment, it is probable that Congress will propose that the objections which the people shall make to it being once known, another Convention shall be assembled to adopt the improvements generally acceptable, & omit those found disagreeable. In this way union may be produced under a happy constitution, and one which shall not be too energetic, as are the constitutions of Europe. I give you these Edition: current; Page: [367] details, because possibly you may not have received them all. The sale of our Western lands is immensely successful. 5. millions of acres had been sold at private sale for a dollar an acre in certificates, and at the public sales some of them had sold as high as 24/10 dollars the acre. The sale had not been begun two months. By these means, taxes, &c. our domestic debt, originally 28. millions of dollars was reduced by the 1st day of last October to 12. millions & they were then in treaty for 2. millions of acres more at a dollar private sale. Our domestic debt will thus be soon paid off, and that done, the sales will go on for money, at a cheaper rate no doubt, for the payment of our foreign debt. The petite guerre always waged by the Indian seems not to abate the ardor of purchase or emigration. Kentucky is now counted at 60.000. Frankland is also growing fast.

I inclose you a letter from Mr. Littlepage on the subject of money he owes you. The best thing you can do, I think, will be to desire your banker at Madrid to give orders to his correspondent here to receive the money and remit it to you. I shall chearfully lend my instrumentality as far as it can be useful to you. If any sum of money is delivered me for you before you write on the subject I shall place it in Mr. Grand’s hands subject to your order, & give you notice of it.—No money-news yet from our board of treasury.

You ask me if there is any French translation of my notes? There is one by the Abbé Morellet: but the whole order is changed and other differences Edition: current; Page: [368] made, which, with numerous typographical errors, render it a different book, in some respects perhaps a better one, but not mine. I am flattered by the Count de Campomane’s acceptance of the original. I wish I had thought to have sent one to Don Ulloa (for I suppose him to be living, tho’ I have not heard of him lately,) a person so well acquainted with the Southern part of our world, & who has given such excellent information on it, would perhaps be willing to know something of the Northern part.

I have been told that the cutting thro’ the isthmus of Panama, which the world has so often wished & supposed practicable, has at times been thought of by the government of Spain, & that they once proceeded so far as to have a survey & examination made of the ground; but that the result was either impracticability or too great difficulty. Probably the Count de Campomanes or Don Ulloa can give you information on this head. I should be exceedingly pleased to get as minute details as possible on it, and even copies of the survey, report, &c., if they could be obtained at a moderate expense. I take the liberty of asking your assistance in this.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 20, 1787
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON1

mad. mss.
Dear Sir,

—My last to you was of Oct. 8 by the Count de Moustier. Yours of July 18. Sep. 6. & Edition: current; Page: [369] Oct. 24. have been successively received, yesterday, the day before & three or four days before that. I have only had time to read the letters, the printed papers communicated with them, however interesting, being obliged to lie over till I finish my dispatches for the packet, which dispatches must go from hence the day after tomorrow. I have much to thank you for. First and most for the cyphered paragraph respecting myself. These little informations are very material towards forming my own decisions. I would be glad even to know when any individual member thinks I have gone wrong in any instance. If I know myself it would not excite ill blood in me, while it would assist to guide my conduct, perhaps to justify it, and to keep me to my duty, alert. I must thank you too for the information in Thos. Burke’s case, tho’ you will have found by a subsequent letter that I have asked of you a further investigation of that matter. It is to gratify the lady who is at the head of the Convent wherein my daughters are, & who, by her attachment & attention to them, lays me under great obligations. I shall hope therefore still to receive from you the result of the further enquiries my second letter had asked.—The parcel of rice which you informed me had miscarried accompanied my letter to the Delegates of S. Carolina. Mr. Bourgoin was to be the bearer of both & both were delivered together into the hands of his relation here who introduced him to me, and who at a subsequent moment undertook to convey them to Mr. Bourgoin. This person was an engraver particularly recommended to Dr. Franklin Edition: current; Page: [370] & Mr. Hopkinson. Perhaps he may have mislaid the little parcel of rice among his baggage.—I am much pleased that the sale of Western lands is so successful. I hope they will absorb all the Certificates of our Domestic debt speedily, in the first place, and that then offered for cash they will do the same by our foreign one.

The season admitting only of operations in the Cabinet, and these being in a great measure secret, I have little to fill a letter. I will therefore make up the deficiency by adding a few words on the Constitution proposed by our Convention. I like much the general idea of framing a government which should go on of itself peaceably, without needing continual recurrence to the state legislatures. I like the organization of the government into Legislative, Judiciary & Executive. I like the power given the Legislature to levy taxes, and for that reason solely approve of the greater house being chosen by the people directly. For tho’ I think a house chosen by them will be very illy qualified to legislate for the Union, for foreign nations &c. yet this evil does not weigh against the good of preserving inviolate the fundamental principle that the people are not to be taxed but by representatives chosen immediately by themselves. I am captivated by the compromise of the opposite claims of the great & little states, of the latter to equal, and the former to proportional influence. I am much pleased too with the substitution of the method of voting by persons, instead of that of voting by states: and I like the negative given to the Executive with a third of either house, Edition: current; Page: [371] though I should have liked it better had the Judiciary been associated for that purpose, or invested with a similar and separate power. There are other good things of less moment. I will now add what I do not like. First the omission of a bill of rights providing clearly & without the aid of sophisms for freedom of religion, freedom of the press, protection against standing armies, restriction against monopolies, the eternal & unremitting force of the habeas corpus laws, and trials by jury in all matters of fact triable by the laws of the land & not by the law of nations. To say, as Mr. Wilson does that a bill of rights was not necessary because all is reserved in the case of the general government which is not given, while in the particular ones all is given which is not reserved, might do for the audience to whom it was addressed, but is surely a gratis dictum, opposed by strong inferences from the body of the instrument, as well as from the omission of the clause of our present confederation which had declared that in express terms. It was a hard conclusion to say because there has been no uniformity among the states as to the cases triable by jury, because some have been so incautious as to abandon this mode of trial, therefore the more prudent states shall be reduced to the same level of calamity. It would have been much more just & wise to have concluded the other way that as most of the states had judiciously preserved this palladium, those who had wandered should be brought back to it, and to have established general right instead of general wrong. Let me add that a bill of rights is what the Edition: current; Page: [372] people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, & what no just government should refuse, or rest on inferences. The second feature I dislike, and greatly dislike, is the abandonment in every instance of the necessity of rotation in office, and most particularly in the case of the President. Experience concurs with reason in concluding that the first magistrate will always be re-elected if the Constitution permits it. He is then an officer for life. This once observed, it becomes of so much consequence to certain nations to have a friend or a foe at the head of our affairs that they will interfere with money & with arms. A Galloman or an Angloman will be supported by the nation he befriends. If once elected, and at a second or third election out voted by one or two votes, he will pretend false votes, foul play, hold possession of the reins of government, be supported by the States voting for him, especially if they are the central ones lying in a compact body themselves & separating their opponents: and they will be aided by one nation of Europe, while the majority are aided by another. The election of a President of America some years hence will be much more interesting to certain nations of Europe than ever the election of a king of Poland was. Reflect on all the instances in history antient & modern, of elective monarchies, and say if they do not give foundation for my fears. The Roman emperors, the popes, while they were of any importance, the German emperors till they became hereditary in practice, the kings of Poland, the Deys of the Ottoman dependances. It may be said Edition: current; Page: [373] that if elections are to be attended with these disorders, the seldomer they are renewed the better. But experience shews that the only way to prevent disorder is to render them uninteresting by frequent changes. An incapacity to be elected a second time would have been the only effectual preventative. The power of removing him every fourth year by the vote of the people is a power which will not be exercised. The king of Poland is removeable every day by the Diet, yet he is never removed.—Smaller objections are the Appeal in fact as well as law, and the binding all persons Legislative Executive & Judiciary by oath to maintain that constitution. I do not pretend to decide what would be the best method of procuring the establishment of the manifold good things in this constitution, and of getting rid of the bad. Whether by adopting it in hopes of future amendment, or, after it has been duly weighed & canvassed by the people, after seeing the parts they generally dislike, & those they generally approve, to say to them ‘We see now what you wish. Send together your deputies again, let them frame a constitution for you omitting what you have condemned, & establishing the powers you approve. Even these will be a great addition to the energy of your government.’—At all events I hope you will not be discouraged from other trials, if the present one should fail of its full effect.—I have thus told you freely what I like & dislike: merely as a matter of curiosity, for I know your own judgment has been formed on all these points after having heard everything which could be urged on them. I own I am Edition: current; Page: [374] not a friend to a very energetic government. It is always oppressive. The late rebellion in Massachusetts has given more alarm than I think it should have done. Calculate that one rebellion in 13 states in the course of 11 years, is but one for each state in a century & a half. No country should be so long without one. Nor will any degree of power in the hands of government prevent insurrections. France, with all it’s despotism, and two or three hundred thousand men always in arms has had three insurrections in the three years I have been here in every one of which greater numbers were engaged than in Massachusetts & a great deal more blood was spilt. In Turkey, which Montesquieu supposes more despotic, insurrections are the events of every day. In England, where the hand of power is lighter than here, but heavier than with us they happen every half dozen years. Compare again the ferocious depredations of their insurgents with the order, the moderation & the almost self extinguishment of ours. —After all, it is my principle that the will of the majority should always prevail. If they approve the proposed Convention in all it’s parts, I shall concur in it chearfully, in hopes that they will amend it whenever they shall find it work wrong. I think our governments will remain virtuous for many centuries; as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there shall be vacant lands in any part of America. When they get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, they will become corrupt as in Europe. Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be Edition: current; Page: [375] attended to; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty. I have tired you by this time with my disquisitions & will therefore only add assurances of the sincerity of those sentiments of esteem & attachment with which I am Dear Sir your affectionate friend & servant

P. S. The instability of our laws is really an immense evil. I think it would be well to provide in our constitutions that there shall always be a twelvemonth between the ingrossing a bill & passing it: that it should then be offered to it’s passage without changing a word: and that if circumstances should be thought to require a speedier passage, it should take two thirds of both houses instead of a bare majority.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 21, 1787
Paris
Edward Carrington
Carrington, Edward

TO EDWARD CARRINGTON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I have just received your two favors of October 23 and that of Nov. 10. I am much obliged to you for your hints in the Danish business. They are the only information I have on that subject except the resolution of Congress, & warn me of a rock on which I should most certainly have split. The vote plainly points out an Agent, only leaving it to my discretion to substitute another. My judgment concurs with that of Congress as to his fitness. But I shall enquire for the surest banker at Copenhagen to receive the money, not because I should have had any doubts, but because I am Edition: current; Page: [376] informed others would have had them. Against the failure of a banker, were such an accident or any similar one to happen, I cannot be held accountable in a case where I act without particular interest. My principal idea in proposing the transfer of the French debt was to obtain in the new loans a much longer day for the reimbursement of the principal, hoping that the resources of the U. S. could have been equal to the article of interest alone. But I shall endeavor to quiet, as well as I can, those interested. A part of them will probably sell at any rate: and one great claimant may be expected to make a bitter attack on our honor. I am very much pleased to hear that our Western lands sell so successfully. I turn to this precious resource as that which will in every event liberate us from our Domestic debt, and perhaps too from our foreign one: and this much sooner than I had expected. I do not think any thing could have been done with them in Europe. Individual speculators & sharpers had duped so many with their unlocated land warrants that every offer would have been suspected. As to the new Constitution I find myself nearly a Neutral. There is a great mass of good in it, in a very desirable form: but there is also to me a bitter pill or two. I have written somewhat lengthily to Mr. Madison on this subject and will take the liberty to refer you to that part of my letter to him. I will add one question to what I have said there. Would it not have been better to assign to Congress exclusively the article of imposts for federal purposes, & to have left direct taxation exclusively to the states? I Edition: current; Page: [377] should suppose the former fund sufficient for all probable events, aided by the land office.

The form which the affairs of Europe may assume is not yet decypherable by those out of the Cabinet. The Emperor gives himself at present the air of a Mediator. This is necessary to justify a breach with the Porte. He has his eye at the same time on Germany, and particularly on Bavaria, the elector of which has for a long time been hanging over the grave. Probably France would now consent to the exchange of the Austrian Netherlands to be created into a kingdom for the Duke de Deuxponts against the electorate of Bavaria. This will require a war. The Empress longs for Turkey; & viewing France as her principal obstacle would gladly negotiate her acquiescence. To spur on this she is coquetting it with England. The king of Prussia too is playing a double game between France & England. But I suppose the former incapable of forgiving him or of ever reposing confidence in him. Perhaps the spring may unfold to us the final arrangement which will take place among the powers of this continent.

I often doubt whether I should trouble Congress or my friends with these details of European politicks. I know they do not excite that interest in America of which it is impossible for one to divest himself here. I know too that it is a maxim with us, and I think it a wise one, not to entangle ourselves with the affairs of Europe. Still, I think, we should know them. The Turks have practiced the same maxim of not medling in the complicated wrangles of this continent. But they have unwisely Edition: current; Page: [378] chosen to be ignorant of them also, and it is this total ignorance of Europe, it’s combinations & it’s movements which exposes them to that annihilation possibly about taking place. While there are powers in Europe which fear our views, or have views on us, we should keep an eye on them, their connections & oppositions, that in a moment of need we may avail ourselves of their weakness with respect to others as well as ourselves, and calculate their designs & movements on all the circumstances under which they exist. Tho’ I am persuaded therefore that these details are read by many with great indifference, yet I think it my duty to enter into them, and to run the risk of giving too much, rather than too little information. I have the honour to be with perfect esteem & respect, Dear Sir, your most obedient & most humble servant.

P. S. The resolution of Congress relative to the prize money received here speaks of that money as paid to me. I hope this matter is properly understood. The treasury board desired me to receive it, and apply it to such & such federal purposes; & that they would pay the dividends of the claimants in America. This would save the expense of remittance. I declined however receiving the money, & ordered it into the hands of their banker, who paid it away for the purposes to which they had destined it. I should be sorry, an idea should get abroad that I had received the money of these poor fellows & applied it to other purposes. I shall in like manner order the Danish & Barbary money into the Edition: current; Page: [379] hands of bankers, carefully avoiding ever to touch a sou of it, or having any other account to make out than what the banker will furnish.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec. 31. 1787
Paris
Colonel Forrest
Forrest, Colonel

TO COLONEL FORREST

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—Just before I received your favor asking my opinion of our new proposed constitution, I had written my sentiments on the subject fully to my friend Mr. Madison, they concurred so exactly with yours that the communication of them could answer no end but that of showing my readiness to obey you. I therefore extracted that part from my letter to him, & have reserved it for a good private conveiance which has never offered till now by Mr. Parker. Tho I pretend to make no mystery of my opinion, yet my distance from the scene gives me too much diffidence in my views of it to detail them lengthily & publicly. This diffidence is increased by my high opinion of the abilities & honesty of the framers of the Constitution, yet we cannot help thinking for ourselves. I suppose I see much precious improvement in it, but some seeds of danger which might have been kept out of sight of the framers by a consciousness of their own honesty & a presumption that all succeeding rulers would be as honest as themselves. Make what use you please of the contents of the paper, but without quoting its author, who has no pretentions to see what is hidden from others.

Edition: current; Page: [380] Edition: current; Page: [381]

CORRESPONDENCE AND MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS
1788–1789

Edition: current; Page: [382] Edition: current; Page: [383]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 19, 1788
Paris
Comte De Grasse
Grasse, Comte De

TO THE COMTE DE GRASSE

j. mss.
Monsieur le Comte,

—Par les reglements de l’institution des Cincinnati je crois que ce soit les generaux Français qui ont servi en Amerique qui peuvent seuls donn l’ordre: c’est a dire M. le Comte d’Estaing, M. le Comte de Rochambeau, M. le Marquis de la Fayette. C’est aussi de mon devoir d’observer que le Congrés ayant toujours gardé soigneusement la silence sur cette ordre leurs ministres n’oseroient pas de s’y meler. J’aurois eté charmé, Monsieur, si j’aurois pu—vous etre utile dans cette occasion mais ce n’est pas le cas ou on peut s’adresser au Congrés, agreer donc je vous en prie mes regrets, et les assurances de l’estime et d’attachement avec lesquelles j’as l’honeur d’etre.

Monsieur le Comte votre tres humble et tres obeissant Servieteur.

Edition: current; Page: [384]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 2, 1788
Paris
William Stephens Smith
Smith, William Stephens

TO WILLIAM STEPHENS SMITH

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

— * * * With respect to Mr. Adams’s picture I must again press it to be done by Brown,1 because Trumbul does not paint of the size of the life & could not be asked to hazard himself on it. I have sent to Florence for those of Columbus (if it exists) of Americus Vesputius, Magellan &c., and I must not be disappointed of Mr. Adams’s when done. Mr. Trumbul will receive & forward it to me. Be so good also as to let me know who undertook the Map of S. America, & even to get from him some acknowledgment in writing, of what he is to do. I am glad to learn by letters which come down to the 20th of December that the new Constitution will undoubtedly be received by a sufficiency of the States to set it a going. Were I in America, I would advocate it warmly till nine should have adopted & then as warmly take the other side to convince the remaining four that they ought not to come into it till the declaration of rights is annexed to it. By this means we should secure all the good of it, & procure so respectable an opposition as would induce the accepting states to offer a bill of rights. This would be the happiest turn the thing could take. I fear much the effects of the perpetual re-eligibility of the President. But it is not thought of in America, & have therefore no prospect of a change of that article. But I own it Edition: current; Page: [385] astonishes me to find such a change wrought in the opinions of our countrymen since I left them, as that three fourths of them should be contented to live under a system which leaves to their governors the power of taking from them the trial by jury in civil cases, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of commerce, the habeas corpus laws, & of yoking them with a standing army. This is a degeneracy in the principles of liberty to which I had given four centuries instead of four years. But I hope it will all come about. We are now vibrating between too much and too little government, & the pendulum will rest finally in the middle. Adieu, yours affectionately.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 2, 1788
Paris
William Rutledge
Rutledge, William

TO WILLIAM RUTLEDGE

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I should sooner have answered your favor of Jan. 2. but that we have expected for some time to see you here. I beg you not to think of the trifle I furnished you with, nor to propose to return it till you shall have that sum more than you know what to do with. And on every other occasion of difficulty I hope you will make use of me freely. I presume you will now remain at London to see the trial of Hastings. Without suffering yourself to be imposed on by the pomp in which it will be inveloped, I would recommend to you to consider & decide for yourself these questions: If his offence is to be decided by the law of the land, why is he not tried in that court in which his fellow citizens are tried, i. e., Edition: current; Page: [386] the king’s bench? If he is cited before another court that he may be judged, not according to the law of the land, but by the discretion of his judges, is he not disfranchised of his most precious right, the benefit of the laws of his country in common with his other fellow citizens? I think you will find on investigating this subject that every solid argument is against the extraordinary court, & that every one in it’s favor is specious only. It is a transfer from a judicature of learning & integrity to one, the greatness of which is both illiterate & unprincipled. Yet such is the force of prejudice with some, & of the want of reflection in others, that many of our constitutions have copied this absurdity without suspecting it to be one. I am glad to hear that our new constitution is pretty sure of being accepted by states enough to secure the good it contains, & to meet such opposition in some others as to give us hopes it will be accommodated to them by the amendment of it’s most glaring faults, particularly the want of a declaration of rights.—The long expected edict for the protestants at length appears here. It’s analysis is this. It is an acknoledgment (hitherto withheld by the laws) that protestants can beget children and that they can die & be offensive unless buried. It does not give them permission to think, to speak, or to worship. It enumerates the humiliations to which they shall remain subject, & the burthens to which they shall continue to be unjustly exposed. What are we to think of the condition of the human mind in a country where such a wretched thing as this has thrown the state into convulsions, and how must we bless our own situation in Edition: current; Page: [387] a country the most illiterate peasant of which is a Solon compared with the authors of this law. There is modesty often which does itself injury. Our countrymen possess this. They do not know their own superiority. You see it; you are young, you have time & talents to correct them. Study the subject while in Europe in all the instances which will present themselves to you, and profit your countrymen of them by making them to know & value themselves.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 6. 1788
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

— * * * I am glad to hear that the New Constitution is received with favor. I sincerely wish that the 9 first conventions may receive & the 4 last reject it. The former will receive it finally, while the latter will oblige them to offer a declaration of rights in order to complete the union. We shall thus have all it’s good, and cure it’s principal defect. You will of course be so good as to continue to mark to me it’s progress. I will thank you also for as exact a data as you can procure me of the impression made on the sum of our domestic debt by the sale of lands, & by federal & state exertions in any other manner. I have not yet heard whether the law passed in Virginia for prohibiting the importn. of brandies. If it did, the late Arret for encouraging our commerce will be repealed. The Minister will be glad of such a pretext for pacifying the opposition.1 * * *

Edition: current; Page: [388]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 11. 1788
Paris
Jean Pierre Brissot De Warville
De Warville, Jean Pierre Brissot

TO JEAN PIERRE BRISSOT DE WARVILLE

j. mss.
Sir,

—I am very sensible of the honour you propose to me of becoming a member of the society for the abolition of the slave trade. You know that nobody wishes more ardently to see an abolition not only of the trade but of the condition of slavery: and certainly nobody will be more willing to encounter every sacrifice for that object. But the influence & information of the friends to this proposition in France will be far above the need of my association. I am here as a public servant; and those whom I serve having never yet been able to give their voice against this practice, it is decent for me to avoid too public a demonstration of my wishes to see it abolished. Without serving the cause here, it might render me less able to serve it beyond the water. I trust you will be sensible of the prudence of those motives therefore which govern my conduct on this occasion, & be assured of my wishes for the success of your undertaking, and the sentiments of esteem & respect with which I have the honour to be Sir your most obedt. humble servt.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 2, 1788
Paris
George Washington
Washington, George

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON

j. mss.
Sir,

—I am honoured with your Excellency’s letter by the last packet & thank you for the information it contains on the communication between the Cayahoga & Big beaver. I have ever considered the opening a canal between those two water courses as the Edition: current; Page: [389] most important work in that line which the state of Virginia could undertake. It will infallibly turn thro’ the Patowmack all the commerce of Lake Erie & the country West of that, except what may pass down the Mississippi, and it is important that it be soon done, lest that commerce should in the mean time get established in another channel. Having in the spring of last year taken a journey through the Southern parts of France, & particularly examined the canal of Languedoc through its whole course, I take the liberty of sending you the notes I made on the spot, as you may find in them something perhaps which may be turned to account some time or other in the prosecution of the Patowmack canal. Being merely a copy from my travelling notes they are undigested & imperfect, but may still perhaps give hints capable of improvement in your mind. * * *

I had intended to have written a word to your Excellency on the subject of the new constitution, but I have already spun out my letter to an immoderate length. I will just observe therefore that according to my ideas there is a great deal of good in it. There are two things however which I dislike strongly. 1. The want of a declaration of rights. I am in hopes the opposition of Virginia will remedy this, & produce such a declaration. 2. The perpetual re-eligibility of the President. This I fear will make an office for life first, & then hereditary. I was much an enemy to monarchy before I came to Europe. I am ten thousand times more so since I have seen what they are. There is scarcely an evil known in these countries which may not be traced to their Edition: current; Page: [390] king as it’s source, nor a good which is not derived from the small fibres of republicanism existing among them. I can further say with safety there is not a crowned head in Europe whose talents or merits would entitle him to be elected a vestryman by the people of any parish in America. However I shall hope that before there is danger of this change taking place in the office of President, the good sense & free spirit of our countrymen will make the changes necessary to prevent it. Under this hope I look forward to the general adoption of the new constitution with anxiety, as necessary for us under our present circumstances.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 11, 1788
Paris
Mrs. William Bingham
Bingham, Mrs. William

TO MRS. WILLIAM BINGHAM

j. mss.
Dear Madam,

—A gentleman going to Philadelphia furnishes me the occasion of sending you some numbers of the Cabinet des Modes & some new theatrical pieces. These last have had great success on the stage, where they have excited perpetual applause. We have now need of something to make us laugh, for the topics of the times are sad and eventful. The gay and thoughtless Paris is now become a furnace of Politics. All the world is now politically mad. Men, women, children talk nothing else, & you know that naturally they talk much, loud & warm. Society is spoilt by it, at least for those who, like myself, are but lookers on.—You too have had your political fever. But our good ladies, I trust, have been too wise to wrinkle their foreheads with politics. They are contented to soothe & calm the Edition: current; Page: [391] minds of their husbands returning ruffled from political debate. They have the good sense to value domestic happiness above all other, and the art to cultivate it beyond all others. There is no part of the earth where so much of this is enjoyed as in America. You agree with me in this; but you think that the pleasures of Paris more than supply its wants; in other words that a Parisian is happier than an American. You will change your opinion, my dear Madam, and come over to mine in the end. Recollect the women of this capital, some on foot, some on horses, & some in carriages hunting pleasure in the streets, in routs & assemblies, and forgetting that they have left it behind them in their nurseries; compare them with our own countrywomen occupied in the tender and tranquil amusements of domestic life, and confess that it is a comparison of Americans and Angels.—You will have known from the public papers that Monsieur de Buffon, the father, is dead & you have known long ago that the son and his wife are separated. They are pursuing pleasure in opposite directions. Madame de Rochambeau is well: so is Madame de la Fayette. I recollect no other Nouvelles de societé interesting to you. And as for political news of battles & sieges, Turks & Russians, I will not detail them to you, because you would be less handsome after reading them. I have only to add then, what I take a pleasure in repeating, tho’ it will be the thousandth time that I have the honour to be with sentiments of very sincere respect & attachment, dear Madam, your most obedient & most humble servant.

Edition: current; Page: [392]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 17, 1788
Paris
Comte De Moustier
De Moustier, Comte

TO THE COMTE DE MOUSTIER

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I have at length an opportunity of acknoledging the receipt of your favors of Feb. & Mar 14., and of congratulating you on your resurrection from the dead among whom you had been confidently entombed by the newsdealers of Paris. I am sorry that your first impressions have been disturbed by matters of etiquette, where surely they should least have been expected to occur. These disputes are the most insusceptible of determination, because they have no foundation in reason. Arbitrary & senseless in their nature, they are arbitrarily decided by every nation for itself. These decisions are meant to prevent disputes, but they produce ten where they prevent one. It would have been better therefore in a new country to have excluded etiquette altogether; or, if it must be admitted in some form or other, to have made it depend on some circumstance founded in nature, such as the age or stature of the parties. However you have got over all this, and I am in hopes have been able to make up a society suited to your own dispositions. Your situation will doubtless be improved by the adoption of the new constitution, which I hope will have taken place before you receive this. I see in this instrument a great deal of good. The consolidation of our government, a just representation, an administration of some permanence and other features of great value will be gained by it. There are indeed some faults which revolted me a good deal in the first moment; but we must be contented to travel on towards perfection, step by Edition: current; Page: [393] step. We must be contented with the ground which this constitution will gain for us, and hope that a favourable moment will come for correcting what is amiss in it. I view in the same light the innovations making here. The new organization of the judiciary department is undoubtedly for the better. The reformation of the criminal code is an immense step taken towards good. The composition of the Plenary court is indeed vicious in the extreme, but the basis of that court may be retained and it’s composition changed. Make of it a representative of the people, by composing it of members sent from the provincial assemblies, and it becomes a valuable member of the constitution. But it is said the court will not consent to do this. The court however has consented to call the States general, who will consider the plenary court but as a canvas for them to work on. The public mind is manifestly advancing on the abusive prerogatives of their governors, and bearing them down. No force in the government can withstand this in the long run. Courtiers had rather give up power than pleasures: they will barter therefore the usurped prerogatives of the king for the money of the people. This is the agent by which modern nations will recover their rights. I sincerely wish that in this country they may be contented with a peaceable & passive opposition. At this moment we are not sure of this, tho’ as yet it is difficult to say what form the opposition will take. It is a comfortable circumstance that their neighboring enemy is under the administration of a minister disposed to keep the peace. * * *

Edition: current; Page: [394]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 25. 1788
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON1

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—The inclosed letter for Mr. Jay being of a private nature, I have thought it better to put it under your cover lest it might be opened by some of his clerks in the case of his absence. But I inclose a press copy of it for yourself as you will perceive the subject of it referred to you as well as to him. I ask your aid in it so far as you think right, and to have done what you think right. If you will now be so good as to cast your eye over the copy inclosed, what follows the present sentence will be some details, supplementary to that only, necessary for your information, but not proper for me to state to Mr. Jay. Mr. Jay tho appointed a minister resident at the court of Madrid he never was received in that character. He was continually passing from Paris to Madrid and Madrid to Paris, so that he had no occasion to establish a household at either. Accordingly, he staid principally in furnished lodgings. Of all our ministers he had the least occasion for an outfit, and I suppose spent almost nothing on that article. He was of a disposition too to restrain himself within any limits of expence whatever, and it suited his recluse turn which is to avoid society. Should he judge of what others should do, by what he did, it would be an improper criterion. He was in Europe as a voyageur only, and it was while the salary was 500 guineas more than at present.

J. Adams. He came over when, instead of outfit & salary, all expences were paid. Of rigorous honesty, Edition: current; Page: [395] and careless of appearances he lived for a considerable time as an œconomical private individual. After he was fixed at the Hague and the salary at a sum certain, he continued his œconomical stile till out of the difference between his expences and his salary, he could purchase furniture for his house. This was the easier as the salary was at 2500 guineas then. He was obliged too to be passing between Paris and the Hague, so as to avoid any regular current of expence. When he established himself, his pecuniary affairs were under the direction of Mistress Adams, one of the most estimable characters on earth, and the most attentive & honourable œconomists. Neither had a wish to lay up a copper, but both wished to make both ends meet. I suspected however, from an expression dropped in conversation, that they were not able to do this, and that a deficit in their accounts appeared in their winding up. If this conjecture be true, it is a proof that the salary, so far from admitting savings, is unequal to a very plain stile of life, for such was theirs. I presume Congress will be asked to allow it, and it is evident to me, from what I saw while in London, that it ought to be done, as they did not expend a shilling which should have been avoided. Would it be more eligible to set the example of making good a deficit, or to give him an Outfit, which will cover it? The impossibility of living on the sum allowed, respectably, was the true cause of his insisting on his recall.

Doct. Franklin. He came over while all expences were paid. He rented a house with standing Edition: current; Page: [396] furniture, such as tables, chairs, presses &c. and bought all other necessaries. The latter were charged in his account, the former was included in the article of houserent and paid during the whole time of his stay here; and as the established rate of hire for furniture is from 30 to 40 per cent. per annum, the standing furniture must have been paid for three times over during the 8. years he stayed here. His salary too was 2500 guineas. When Congress reduced it to less than 2000. he refused to accede to it, asked his recall, and insisted that whenever they chose to alter the conditions on which he came out, if he did not approve of it, they ought to replace him in America on the old conditions. He lived plain, but as decently as his salary would allow. He saved nothing, but avoided debt. He knew he could not do this on the reduced salary & therefore asked his recall with decision.

To him I succeeded. He had established a certain stile of living. The same was expected from me and there were 500 guineas a year less to do it on. It has been aimed at however as far as was practicable. This rendered it constantly necessary to step neither to the right nor to the left to incur any expence which could possibly be avoided & it called for an almost womanly attention to the details of the household, equally perplexing, disgusting, & inconsistent with business. You will be sensible that in this situation no savings could be made for reimbursing the half year’s salary ordered to be advanced under the former commission & more than as much again which was unavoidably so applied, without Edition: current; Page: [397] order, for the purchase of the Outfit. The reason of the thing, the usage of all nations, the usage of our own by paying all expences of preceding ministers, which gave them the outfit as far as their circumstances appeared to them to render it necessary, have made me take for granted all along that it would not be refused to me; nor should I have mentioned it now but that the administration is passing into other hands, and more complicated forms. It would be disagreeable to me to be presented to them in the first instance as a suitor. Men come into business at first with visionary principles. It is practice alone which can correct & conform them to the actual current of affairs. In the meantime those to whom their errors were first applied have been their victims. The government may take up the project of appointing foreign ministers without outfits and they may ruin two or three individuals before they find that that article is just as indispensable as the salary. They must then fall into the current of general usage, which has become general only because experience has established it’s necessity.—Upon the whole, be so good as to reflect on it, and to do, not what your friendship to me, but your opinion of what is right will dictate. Accept, in all cases, assurances of the sincere esteem & respect with which I am Dear Sir your friend & servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 26, 1788
Paris
John Brown
Brown, John

TO JOHN BROWN

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—It was with great pleasure I saw your name on the roll of Delegates, but I did not know Edition: current; Page: [398] you had actually come on to New York, till Mr. Paradise informed me of it. Your removal from Carolina to Kentuckey was not an indifferent event to me. I wish to see that country in the hands of people well disposed, who know the value of the connection between that & the Maritime states, and who wish to cultivate it. I consider their happiness as bound up together, and that every measure should be taken which may draw the bands of union tighter. It will be an efficacious one to receive them into Congress, as I perceive they are about to desire. If to this be added an honest & disinterested conduct in Congress as to everything relating to them we may hope for a perfect harmony. The navigation of the Mississippi was perhaps the strongest trial to which the justice of the federal government could be put. If ever they thought wrong about it, I trust they have got to rights. I should think it proper for the Western country to defer pushing their right to that navigation to extremity as long as they can do without it tolerably; but that the moment it becomes absolutely necessary for them, it will become the duty of the maritime states to push it to every extremity to which they would their own right of navigating the Chesapeake, the Delaware, the Hudson or any other water. A time of peace will not be the surest for obtaining this object. Those therefore who have influence in the new country would act wisely to endeavor to keep things quiet till the western parts of Europe shall be engaged in war. Notwithstanding the aversion of the courts of London & Versailles to war, it is not certain that some incident Edition: current; Page: [399] may not engage them in it. England, France, Spain, Russia, Sweden & Denmark will all have fleets at sea, or ready to put to sea immediately. Who can answer for the prudence of all their officers? War is their interest. Even their courts are pacific from impotence only, not from disposition. I wish to heaven that our new government may see the importance of putting themselves immediately into a respectable position. To make provision for the speedy paiment of their foreign debts will be the first operation necessary. This will give them credit. A concomitant one should be magazines & manufactures of arms. This country is at present in a crisis of very uncertain issue. I am in hopes it will be a favourable one to the rights & happiness of the people; and that this will take place quietly. Small changes in the late regulations will render them wholly good. The campaign opens between the Turks & the two empires with an aspect rather favourable to the former. The Russians seem not yet thawed from the winter’s torpitude. They have no army yet in motion, and the Emperor has been worsted in two-thirds of the small actions which they have had as yet. He is said to be rather retiring. I do not think however that the success of the Turks in the partisan affairs which have taken place, can authorize us to presume that they will be superior also in great decisions. Their want of discipline and skill in military manœuvres is of little consequence in small engagements & of great in larger ones. Their grand army was at Adrianople by the last accounts, and to get from thence to Belgrade Edition: current; Page: [400] will require a month. It will be that time at least then before we can have any very interesting news from them. In the meantime the plague rages at Constantinople to a terrible degree. I cannot think but that it would be desireable to all commercial nations to have that nation & all it’s dependencies driven from the sea-coast into the interior parts of Asia & Africa. What a field would thus be restored to commerce! The finest parts of the old world are now dead in a great degree, to commerce, to arts, to science, & to society. Greece, Syria, Egypt & the northern coast of Africa constituted the whole world almost for the Romans, and to us they are scarcely known, scarcely accessible at all. The present summer will enable us to judge what turn this contest will take.—I am greatly anxious to hear that nine states accept our new constitution. We must be contented to accept of it’s good, and to cure what is evil in it hereafter. It seems necessary for our happiness at home; I am sure it is so for our respectability abroad. I shall at all times be glad to hear from you, from New York, from Kentucky or whatever region of the earth you inhabit being with sentiments of very sincere esteem & attachment Dear Sir Your friend & servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 27, 1788
Paris
Edward Carrington
Carrington, Edward

TO EDWARD CARRINGTON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I have received with great pleasure your friendly letter of Apr. 24. It has come to hand after I had written my letters for the present Edition: current; Page: [401] conveiance, and just in time to add this to them. I learn with great pleasure the progress of the new Constitution. Indeed I have presumed it would gain on the public mind, as I confess it has on my own. At first, tho’ I saw that the great mass & ground work was good, I disliked many appendages. Reflection and discussion have cleared off most of these. You have satisfied me as to the query I had put to you about the right of direct taxation. My first wish was that 9 States would adopt it in order to ensure what was good in it, & that the others might, by holding off, produce the necessary amendments. But the plan of Massachusetts is far preferable, and will I hope be followed by those who are yet to decide. There are two amendments only which I am anxious for. 1. A bill of rights, which it is so much the interest of all to have, that I conceive it must be yielded. The 1st amendment proposed by Massachusetts will in some degree answer this end, but not so well. It will do too much in some instances & too little in others. It will cripple the federal government in some cases where it ought to be free, and not restrain it in some others where restraint would be right. The 2d amendment which appears to me essential is the restoring the principle of necessary rotation, particularly to the Senate & Presidency: but most of all to the last. Re-eligibility makes him an officer for life, and the disastors inseparable from an elective monarchy, render it preferable, if we cannot tread back that step, that we should go forward & take refuge in an hereditary one. Of the correction of this Article however I Edition: current; Page: [402] entertain no present hope, because I find it has scarcely excited an objection in America. And if it does not take place ere long, it assuredly never will. The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, & government to gain ground. As yet our spirits are free. Our jealousy is only put to sleep by the unlimited confidence we all repose in the person to whom we all look as our president. After him inferior characters may perhaps succeed and awaken us to the danger which his merit has led us into. For the present however, the general adoption is to be prayed for; and I wait with great anxiety for the news from Maryland & S. Carolina which have decided before this, and with that Virginia, now in session, may give the 9th vote of approbation. There could then be no doubt of N. Carolina, N. York, & New Hampshire, but what do you propose to do with Rhode island? As long as there is hope, we should give her time. I cannot conceive but that she will come to rights in the long run. Force, in whatever form, would be a dangerous precedent.

There are rumours that the Austrian army is obliged to retire a little; that the Spanish squadron is gone to South America; that the English have excited a rebellion there, and some others equally unauthorized. I do not mention them in my letter to Mr. Jay, because they are unauthenticated. The bankruptcies in London have recommenced with new force. There is no saying where this fire will end. Perhaps in the general conflagration of all their paper. If not now, it must ere long. With only 20 millions of coin, & three or four hundred million of circulating Edition: current; Page: [403] paper, public & private, nothing is necessary but a general panic, produced either by failure, invasion or any other cause, and the whole residuary fabric vanishes into air & shews that paper is poverty, that it is only the ghost of money, & not money itself. 100 years ago they had 20. odd millions of coin. Since that they have brought in from Holland by borrowing 40. millions more. Yet they have but 20 millions left, and they talk of being rich and of having the balance of trade in their favor. Paul Jones is invited into the Empress’s service with the rank of rear-admiral, & to have a separate command. I wish it corresponded with the views of Congress to give him that rank from the taking of the Serapis. I look to this officer as our great future dependence on the sea, where alone we should think of ever having a force. He is young enough to see the day when we shall be more populous than the whole British dominions and able to fight them ship to ship. We should procure him then every possible opportunity of acquiring experience.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 3, 1788
Paris
William Carmichael
Carmichael, William

TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL1

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

— * * * With respect to the isthmus of Panama I am assured by Burgoyne (who would not chuse to be named however) that a survey was made, that a canal appeared very practicable, and that the idea was suppressed for political reasons altogether. He has seen & minutely examined the report. This report is to me a vast desideratum for Edition: current; Page: [404] reasons political & philosophical. I cannot help suspecting the Spanish squadron to be gone to S. America, and that some disturbances have been excited there by the British. The court of Madrid may suppose we would not see this with an unwilling eye. This may be true as to the uninformed part of our people: but those who look into futurity farther than the present moment or age, and who combine well what is, with what is to be, must see that our interests, well understood, & our wishes are that Spain shall (not forever, but) very long retain her possessions in that quarter. And that her views & ours must, in a good degree, & for a long time, concur. It is said in our gazettes that the Spaniards have sunk one of our boats on the Mississippi, and that our people retaliated on one of theirs. But my letters not mentioning this fact have made me hope it is not true, in which hope your letter confirms me. There are now 100,000 inhabitants at Kentucky. They have accepted the offer of independence on the terms proposed by Virginia and they have decided that their independent government shall begin on the 1st. day of the next year. In the meantime they claim admittance into Congress. Georgia has ceded her western territory to the U. S. to take place with the commencement of the new federal government. I do not know the boundaries. There has been some dispute of etiquette with the new French Minister which has disgusted him. The following is a state of the progress and prospect of the new plan of government. The Conventions of 6. states have accepted it, to wit,

Edition: current; Page: [405]
  1. Massachusetts by   187   Ayes     against     168    Noes.
  2. Connecticut   148     40.
  3. Pennsylvania     46     23.
  4. Delaware     22       0 
  5. New Jersey     39       0 
  6. Georgia     33       0 
———  ——— 
  475   231.

The other Conventions were to meet as follows.

  7. Maryland April 21.
  8. S. Carolina May 12.
  9. Virginia May 26.
10. New York June 17.
11. New Hampshire June 18.
12. North Carolina July

  13.   Rhode island  referred the question to their people. About one third of these gave their votes, & of these there were about nine tenths against accepting the Constitution.

In Maryland there was respectable opposition: yet it is thought they will accept. In S. Carolina there is scarcely any opposition. In Virginia the opposition is very formidable. Yet on the whole it is thought to have lessened and that that State will accede. New York is perhaps more doubtful: but if the 9. preceding states should have adopted it, this will surely induce her to do it. The New Hampshire convention met. Many of the Delegates came instructed & determined to vote against it. The discussions brought them over to the side of the Constitution. But they could not vote against their Edition: current; Page: [406] instructions. They therefore asked an adjournment that they might go back to their constituents and ask a repeal of their instructions. Little doubt is entertained that they will accede. The conduct of Massachusetts has been noble. She accepted the constitution, but voted that it should stand as a perpetual instruction to their delegates to endeavor to obtain such & such reformations; and the minority, tho’ very strong both in numbers & abilities, declared viritim & seriatim, that acknowleging the principle that the majority must give the law, they would now support the new constitution with their tongues & with their blood if necessary. I was much pleased with many & essential parts of this instrument from the beginning. But I thought I saw in it many faults, great & small. What I have read & reflected has brought me over from several of my objections of the first moment, and to acquiesce under some others. Two only remain, of essential consideration, to wit, the want of a bill of rights, & the expunging the principle of necessary rotation in the offices of President & Senate. At first I wished that when 9. states should have accepted the constitution, so as to ensure us what is good in it, the other 4. might hold off till the want of the bill of rights at least might be supplied. But I am now convinced that the plan of Massachusetts is the best. That is, to accept, and to amend afterwards. If the states which were to decide after her should all do the same, it is impossible but they must obtain the essential amendments. It will be more difficult if we lose this instrument, to recover what is good in it, than to correct what is Edition: current; Page: [407] bad after we shall have adopted it. It has therefore my hearty prayers, and I wait with anxiety for news of the votes of Maryland, S. Carolina, & Virginia. There is no doubt that Genl. Washington will accept the presidentship, tho’ he is silent on the subject. He will not be chosen to the Virginia convention. A riot has taken place in New York which I will state to you from an eye witness. It has long been a practice with the Surgeons of that city to steal from the grave, bodies recently buried. A citizen had lost his wife. He went the 1st or 2d evening after her burial, to pay a visit to her grave. He found that it had been disturbed and suspected from what quarter. He found means to be admitted to the anatomical lecture of that day, and on his entering the room saw the body of his wife, naked & under dissection. He raised the people immediately. The body in the mean time was secreted. They entered into & searched the houses of the physicians whom they most suspected, but found nothing. One of them however, more guilty or more timid than the rest, took asylum in the Prison. The mob considered this as an acknolegement of guilt. They attacked the prison. The governor ordered militia to protect the culprit & suppress the Mob. The Militia, thinking the mob had just provocation, refused to turn out. Hereupon the people of more reflection, thinking it more dangerous that even a guilty person should be punished without the forms of law, than that he should escape, armed themselves and went to protect the physician. They were received by the mob with a volley of stones, which wounded several Edition: current; Page: [408] of them. They thereupon fired on the mob & killed four. By this time they received reinforcement of other citizens, & of the militia horse, the appearance of which in the critical moment dispersed the mob. So ended this chapter of history, which I have detailed to you because it may be represented as a political riot, when politics had nothing to do with it. Mr. Jay & Baron Steuben were both grievously wounded in the head by stones. The former still kept his bed, & the latter his room when the packet sailed which was the 24th of April. * * *

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
June 19, 1788
Paris
Mr. Thomas Digges
Digges, Mr. Thomas

TO MR. THOMAS DIGGES

j. mss.
Sir,

—I have duly received your favor of May 12, as well as that of the person who desires information on the state of cotton manufactures in America, and for his interest & safety I beg leave to address to you the answers to his queries without naming him.

In general it is impossible that manufactures should succeed in America from the high price of labour. This is occasioned by the great demand of labour for agriculture. A manufacturer going from Europe will turn to labour of other kind if he find more to be got by it, & he finds some emploiment so profitable that he can soon lay up money enough to buy fifty acres of land, to the culture of which he is irresistibly tempted by the independence in which that places him, & the desire of having a wife & family around him. If any manufactures can succeed there, it will Edition: current; Page: [409] be that of cotton. I must observe for his information that this plant grows nowhere in the United States Northward of the Potowmack, and not in quantity till you get Southward as far as York & James rivers. I know nothing of the manufacture which is said to be set up at Richmond. It must have taken place since 1783, when I left Virginia. In that state (for it is the only one I am enabled to speak of with certainty) there is no manufacture of wire or of cotton cards: or if any, it is not worth notice. No manufacture of stocking-weaving, consequently none for making the machine: none of cotton cloths of any kind whatever for sale; tho in almost every family some is manufactured for the use of the family, which is always good in quality, & often tolerably fine. In the same way they make excellent knit stockings of cotton, weaving it in like manner carried on principally in the family way: among the poor, the wife weaves generally, & the rich either have a weaver among their servants or employ their poor neighbors. Cotton cost in Virginia from 12d. to 18d. sterling the pound before the war, probably it is a little raised since. Richmond is as good a place for a manufactory as any in that State, & perhaps the best as to it’s resources for this business. Cotton clothing is very much the taste of the country. A manufacturer on his landing should apply to the well informed farmers and gentlemen of the country. Their information will be more disinterested than that of merchants, and they can better put him into the way of disposing of his workmen in the cheapest manner till he has time to look about him & decide how & where he will Edition: current; Page: [410] establish himself. Such is the hospitality in that country, & their disposition to assist strangers, that he may boldly go to any good house he sees, and make the inquiry he needs. He will be sure to be kindly received, honestly informed, and accommodated in a hospitable way, without any other introduction than an information who he is & what are his views. It is not the policy of the government in that country to give any aid to works of any kind. They let things take their natural course without help or impediment, which is generally the best policy. More particularly as to myself I must add that I have not the authority nor the means of assisting any persons in their passage to that country.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 11, 1788
Paris
Nicholas Lewis
Lewis, Nicholas

TO NICHOLAS LEWIS

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Aug. 20. 1787 came to hand some time ago; that of Apr. 15. 1788 I received last night. I had just written to Mr. Eppes on the subject of my affairs, and intended writing to you to day. The opportune arrival of the last letter enables me to answer both at the same time. I am much pleased that you approve of my plan of hiring my estate. Besides that the profit will be greater, it will enable me to see a fixed term to my embarrassments. For the same reason I would prefer money to tobacco rents, because my engagements for annual paiments must be in money. Yet if you think the greater assurance of punctual paiments in tobacco overbalances the advantage of a fixed sum in money, I Edition: current; Page: [411] leave it to your discretion. One piece of information however I must give you, which is that there is no prospect that the European market for tobacco will improve. Our principal dependence is on this country, and the footing on which I have got that article placed here, is the best we can ever expect. In the leases therefore, tobacco of my own estate, or of the best warehouses cannot be counted on at more than from 20/ to 22/6 currency the utmost. But I am in hopes my dear Sir, that more can be obtained per hand than 12£ currency, which you mention. I found my hopes on these considerations. I rented to Garth & Mosley as well as I recollect for £11. sterling a hand, tobacco then from 18/ to 20/ the hundred and the legal exchange 25. per cent. Tobacco is now ten per cent. higher & legal exchange raised 5 per cent. This entitles us at present to ask £15. currency a hand. I never knew exactly what Garth & Mosley made. They only told me in general that they had made about a good overseer’s or steward’s lay each: suppose this 75£ each & calculate it on the number of workers they had, and it will prove how much more worth is a working hand with the lands and stock thrown in, than without them. Add to this that there is the addition of Hickman & Smith’s lands in Albemarle (about 1000 acres) and that the lands in Bedford are much better for tobacco than those of Albemarle were when Garth & Mosley rented them. I only mention these considerations to enable you to demonstrate to those who enter into conference on the subject that a higher sum than £12. currency may be reasonably asked; but not to tie you down, Edition: current; Page: [412] for certainty I had rather rent for £12. currency than not to rent at all. I think I suggested in my former letters the necessity of stipulating a right to distrain when the rent is not paid. It might be a still greater security to stipulate also that their tobaccos shall be delivered at certain warehouses in your name, so that you may receive the money from the purchaser when the tenant has failed to pay.—I come over to your advice, Sir, to sell my lands in Cumberland & Goochland, and have accordingly desired Mr. Eppes to join you in doing it. As to the prices, I leave it to your discretions. I never had a direct offer for those lands, because I never meant to sell them. But from overtures made before a shilling of paper money had issued, I suppose I could get 1500£ for Cumberland and the same for Elkhill. This was before I purchased Smith’s. I have promised to Jones three fifths of what these lands shall sell for, and even that the bonds shall be given in his name, if he will acquit me so far, and on condition he will make a final settlement with me on the terms I have promised. I shall immediately write to Mr. McCaul that he shall have the other two fifths, as well as two fifths annually of the rents & profits of my estate, the other three fifths of these being proposed to Jones. The check on the tenants against abusing my slaves was, by the former lease, that I might discontinue it on a reference to arbitrators. Would it not be well to retain an optional right to sue them for ill-usage of the slaves or to discontinue it by arbitration, whichever you should chuse at the time?

I will now proceed to take notice of some of the Edition: current; Page: [413] debts mentioned in your letters. As to Mr. Braxton’s I still think his memory has led him into error on the subject, and that my memorandum books of that date would correct it. You mention “a considerable debt due to Dr. Walker not enumerated in my list.” I settled with Doctr. Walker just before I left Virginia, and gave my acknowledgment of the balance I owed him which was £40–11–9¾. This is stated in the list of my debts which I left you, & which I presume escaped your notice, as I know of no other debt of money to Doctr. Walker, unless he should have taken an assignment from somebody. Be this as it will, I know his justice and honour so well that whatever he has demanded is right, & I would wish it to be paid of the first money possible, if it be no more than the balance I have named with it’s interest, rather than he should be incommoded. If you have not the money, be so good as to obtain it by drawing a bill on me at 60 days sight, which shall be honored. My friend, Mr. Donald, can dispose of this draft for you. ‘Coutt’s demand’ ‘Donald, Scott & Co.’ I doubt both. I do not even remember the name of such a house as the latter. My papers, will perhaps throw light on these. They were alphabetically arranged, so as that any paper may be found in a moment. But most of all my memorandum books will shew. ‘Doctor Read’s account’ is noted in my list £48–13–3 under the name of Colo. Bannister, because you will find among my papers Reid’s account & his order to pay the money to Bannister. Since I left Virginia Colo. Bannister is fallen in my debt. If therefore he has not relinquished to Reid Edition: current; Page: [414] his claim on me, you can get his receipt for the money, for which I will credit him in the account of what I have paid for him.

‘Boden of Norfolk £14.’ If this is for Phripp & Bowden for leather (I believe) it may be right, by possibility, but I doubt it.

Hierom Gaines for timber, work &c. £19. Frank Gaines owed me a certain number of days work. I agreed to take in exchange for it work from his father, whom I wished to employ in searching timber, searching the lines of my order of council &c. I think there is no other claim of Hierom’s against me, & of course that his services were to pay a debt. Before I left Monticello I made a point of settling every account I could get at, in order to state it in my list of debts. Where I could not settle the balance accurately, still I entered the name in the list I left you, as a note that there was something due. It is not probable that I could have over looked Hierom Gaines’ account & especially for such a sum. I have great confidence in Hierom’s integrity, and therefore hope that by the aid of these circumstances you will be able to settle this matter rightly.

‘Wm. Chisholm. £26.’ This is in my opinion impossible. He left my estate in Goochland when the British came there. He was in such distress afterwards that if I had owed him money, it was impossible I should not have raised it for him by some means or other, and much more so that I should have omitted it in my list, & lost every trace of it in my memory.

‘Johnson a carpenter thirty odd pounds for work Edition: current; Page: [415] many years ago.’ I have forgot that ever such a person worked for me: but, if he did, that he has been paid is certain. I made a point of paying my workmen in preference to all other claimants. I never parted with one without settling with him, and giving him either his money or my note. Every person that ever worked for me can attest this, and that I always paid their notes pretty soon. I am sure there did not exist one of these notes unpaid when I left Virginia, except to Watson & Orr who were still at work for me. The debts in Bedford to Robinson, Bennett & Calloway I suppose have been contracted since I came away. In general I will beg of you to refer to my memorandum books. They are small books which I used to carry in my pocket. They are 6. or 8. in number. There is an alphabetical index of names to every one, so that all the entries respecting any one person may be found in a moment in them. They are made with such scrupulous fidelity that I shall not be afraid to justify them on the bed of death, and so exact that in the course of 15 years which they comprehend, I never discovered that I had made but one omission of a payment. I do not mean to say that the accounts before questioned are not just decisively. I have not confidence enough in my memory to say that. But they should be examined under several points of view. They may be paper money accounts. They may have been transferred from some other person who has been paid. They may be due from some other person & the demand made on the without foundation. They may have been paid by me Edition: current; Page: [416] either directly or circuitously. The silence of my memorandum books as to a money paiment or receipt by me may be relied on as negative proof, and their entries of a paiment or receipt as a positive proof of that paiment or entry. Wherever credits have been transferred circuitously from one to another, and accounts discharged in that way, I did not always enter them, nor even generally, but as you know a great deal of business was done in this way, it should always be well enquired into as to any accounts presented since I came away, & not enumerated in my list. My omission there is a presumption that the account has been settled some way: tho’ I do not pretend it to be infallible. I only made out as exact a list as I could.

I am so desirable of proceeding to the hiring of my estate, that I would not detain my sawyers to finish my bill of scantling. Only be so good as to put what stuff is ready into perfect security. The bricks also which are ready made I would wish to have well taken care of, that I may not have occasion to make any on my return.

I shall continue to reflect on the debts before observed on and which are mentioned to me for the first time in your letter received last night. Probably my recollection will enable me to be more particular on their subject in my next letter. So that the settlement of them had better be a little delayed, if my memorandum books do not satisfy you.

I shall give orders at Havre relative to the bacon whenever it arrives. But in future it will not be worth while to send me any, because its importation Edition: current; Page: [417] is prohibited, and I have never yet been able to obtain any article of this kind from the Custom house. I thank Mrs. Lewis kindly for the ears of corn & the seeds accompanying them which are safely come to hand. The homony corn is a precious present. The corn of this country and of Italy, as far as I have seen it, cannot be eaten, either in the form of corn or of bread, by any person who has eaten that of America. I have planted some grains which may perhaps come to maturity as we have still 3 months & a half to frost.—One word more on my leases. I think the term should not exceed three years. The negroes too old to be hired, could they not make a good profit by cultivating cotton? Much enquiry is made of me here about the cultivation of cotton, & I would thank you to give me your opinion how much a hand would make cultivating that as his principal crop instead of tobacco. Great George, Ursula, Betty, Hennings not to be hired at all, nor Martin nor Bob otherwise than as they are now. I am sensible, my dear Sir, how much trouble & perplexity I am giving you with my affairs. The plan of leasing will in a great measure relieve you. I know Mrs. Lewis’s goodness too & her attentions to them.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 16, 1788
Paris
Dr. William Gordon
Gordon, Dr. William

TO DR. WILLIAM GORDON

j. mss.
Sir,

—In your favor of the 8th instant you mention that you had written to me in February last. This letter never came to hand. That of Apr. 24. Edition: current; Page: [418] came here during my absence on a journey thro’ Holland & Germany, and having been obliged to devote the first moments after my return to some very pressing matters, this must be my apology for not having been able to write to you till now. As soon as I knew that it would be agreeable to you to have such a disposal of your work for translation as I had made for Dr. Ramsay, I applied to the same bookseller with propositions on your behalf. He told me that he had lost so much by that work that he could hardly think of undertaking another, and at any rate not without first seeing & examining it. As he was the only bookseller I could induce to give anything on the former occasion, I went to no other with my proposals, meaning to ask you to send me immediately as much of the work as is printed. This you can do by the Diligence which comes three times a week from London to Paris. Furnished with this, I will renew my propositions and do the best for you I can, tho’ I fear that the ill success of the translation of Dr. Ramsay’s work, and of another work on the subject of America, will permit less to be done for you than I had hoped. I think Dr. Ramsay failed from the inelegance of the translation, & the translator’s having departed entirely from the Doctor’s instructions. I will be obliged to you to set me down as a subscriber for half a dozen copies, and to ask Mr. Trumbull (No. 2, North street, Rathbone place) to pay you the whole subscription price for me, which he will do on showing him this letter. These copies can be sent by the Diligence. I have not yet received the pictures Mr. Trumbull was to Edition: current; Page: [419] send me, nor consequently that of M. de La Fayette. I will take care of it when it arrives. His title is simply le Marquis de la Fayette. You ask, in your letter of Apr 24, details of my sufferings by Colo Tarleton. I did not suffer by him. On the contrary, he behaved very genteelly with me. On his approach to Charlottesville, which is within 3 miles of my house at Monticello he despatched a troop of horse under capt McLeod with the double object of taking me prisoner with the two Speakers of the Senate & delegates who then lodged with me and of remaining there in vedette, my house commanding a view of 10 or 12 counties round about. He gave strict orders to Capt McLeod to suffer nothing to be injured. The troops failed in one of their objects, as we had notice so that the two speakers had gone off about two hours before their arrival at Monticello, & myself with my family about five minutes. But Capt McLeod preserved everything with sacred care during about 18 hours that he remained there. Colo Tarleton was just so long at Charlottesville being hurried from thence by the news of the rising of the militia, and by a sudden fall of rain which threatened to swell the river and intercept his return. In general he did little injury to the inhabitants on that short & hasty excursion, which was about 60 miles from their main army then in Spotsylvania, & ours in Orange. It was early in June, 1781. Lord Cornwallis then proceeded to the point of fork, and encamped his army from thence all along the main James river to a seat of mine called Elk-hill, opposite to Elk island, & a little below the Edition: current; Page: [420] mouth of the Byrd creek. (You will see all these places exactly laid down in the map annexed to my Notes on Virginia printed by Stockdale.) He remained in this position ten days, his own headquarters being in my house at that place. I had had time to remove most of the effects out of the house. He destroyed all my growing crops of corn & tobacco, he burned all my barns containing the same articles of the last year, having first taken what he wanted, he used, as was to be expected, all my stocks of cattle, sheep & hogs for the sustenance of his army, and carried off all the horses capable of service: of those too young for service he cut the throats, and he burned all the fences on the plantation, so as to leave it an absolute waste. He carried off also about 30. slaves. Had this been to give them freedom he would have done right, but it was to consign them to inevitable death from the small pox & putrid fever then raging in his camp. This I knew afterwards to have been the fate of 27. of them. I never had news of the remaining three, but presume they shared the same fate. When I say that Lord Cornwallis did all this, I do not mean that he carried about the torch in his own hands, but that it was all done under his eye, the situation of the house in which he was, commanding a view of every part of the plantation, so that he must have seen every fire. I relate these things on my own knowledge in a great degree, as I was on the ground soon after he left it. He treated the rest of the neighborhood somewhat in the same stile but not with that spirit of total extermination with which he Edition: current; Page: [421] seemed to rage over my possessions. Wherever he went, the dwelling houses were plundered of everything that could be carried off. Lord Cornwallis’s character in England would forbid the belief that he shared in the plunder but that his table was served with the plate thus pillaged from private houses can be proved by many hundred eye witnesses. From an estimate I made at that time, on the best information I could collect, I supposed the state of Virginia lost under Ld Cornwallis’s hands that year about 30,000 slaves, and that of these about 27,000 died of the small pox and camp fever and the rest were partly sent to the West Indies & exchanged for rum, sugar, coffee & fruit, & partly sent to New York, from whence they went at the peace either to Nova Scotia or England. From this last place I believe they have been lately sent to Africa. History will never relate the horrors committed by the British army in the Southern states of America. They raged in Virginia 6 months only, from the middle of April to the middle of October, 1781. when they were all taken prisoners, & I give you a faithful specimen of their transactions for 10. days of that time & on one spot only. Ex pede Herculem. I suppose their whole devastations during those 6 months amounted to about three millions sterling. The copiousness of this subject has only left me space to assure you of the sentiments of esteem & respect with which I am, Sir, your most obedt. humble servt.

Edition: current; Page: [422]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 18, 1788
Paris
Edward Rutledge
Rutledge, Edward

TO EDWARD RUTLEDGE

j. mss.
My Dear Sir,

—* * * You promise, in your letter of Octob 23. 1787. to give me in your next, at large, the conjectures of your Philosopher on the descent of the Creek Indians from the Carthaginians, supposed to have been separated from Hanno’s fleet during his periplus. I shall be very glad to receive them, & see nothing impossible in his conjecture. I am glad he means to appeal to the similarity of language, which I consider as the strongest kind of proof it is possible to adduce. I have somewhere read that the language of the ancient Carthaginians is still spoken by their descendants inhabiting the mountainous interior parts of Barbary to which they were obliged to retire by the conquering Arabs. If so, a vocabulary of their tongue can still be got, and if your friend will get one of the Creek languages, the comparison will decide. He probably may have made progress in this business: but if he wishes any enquiries to be made on this side the Atlantic, I offer him my services cheerfully, my wish being, like his, to ascertain the history of the American aborigines.

I congratulate you on the accession of your state to the new federal constitution. This is the last I have yet heard of, but I expect daily that my own has followed the good example, & suppose it to be already established. Our government wanted bracing. Still we must take care not to run from one extreme to another; not to brace too high. I own I join those in opinion who think a bill of rights necessary. Edition: current; Page: [423] I apprehend too that the total abandonment of the principle of rotation in the offices of President & Senator will end in abuse. But my confidence is that there will for a long time be virtue & good sense enough in our countrymen to correct abuses. We can surely boast of having set the world a beautiful example of a government reformed by reason alone without bloodshed. But the world is too far oppressed to profit of the example. On this side of the Atlantic the blood of the people is become an inheritance, and those who fatten on it, will not relinquish it easily. The struggle in this country is as yet of doubtful issue. It is in fact between the monarchy and the parliaments. The nation is no otherwise concerned but as both parties may be induced to let go some of it’s abuses to court the public favor. The danger is that the people, deceived by a false cry of liberty may be led to take side with one party, & thus give the other a pretext for crushing them still more. If they can avoid the appeal to arms, the nation will be sure to gain much by this controversy. But if that appeal is made it will depend entirely on the dispositions of the army whether it issue in liberty or despotism. Those dispositions are not as yet known. In the mean time there is great probability that the war kindled in the east will spread from nation to nation & in the long run become general. * * *

Edition: current; Page: [424]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
July 31, 1788
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON1

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—My last letters to you were of the 3d. & 25th of May. Yours from Orange, of Apr 22, came to hand on the 10th inst.

My letter to Mr. Jay containing all the public news that is well authenticated, I will not repeat it here, but add some details in the smaller way which you may be glad to know. The disgrace of the Marquis de la Fayette, which at any other period of their history would have had the worst consequences for him, will on the contrary mark him favorably to the nation at present. During the present administration he can expect nothing, but perhaps it may serve him with their successors, whenever a change shall take place. No change of the Principal probably take place before the meeting of the States general though a change is to be wished, for his operations do not answer the expectations formed of him. These had been calculated on his brilliancy in society. He is very feebly aided, too. Montmorin is weak, though a most worthy character. He is indolent and inattentive, too, in the extreme. Luzerne is considerably inferior in abilities to his brother, whom you know. He is a good man, too, but so much out of his element, that he has the air of one huskanoyed. The Garde des sceaux is considered as the Principal’s bull dog, braving danger like that animal. His talents do not pass mediocrity. The Archbishop’s brother, and the new minister Villedeuil, and Lambert, have no will of their own. They cannot raise money for the Edition: current; Page: [425] peace establishment the next year, without the States General; much less if there be war; and their administration will probably end with the States General.

Littlepage, who was here as a secret agent for the King of Poland, rather overreached himself. He wanted more money. The King furnished it more than once. Still he wanted more and thought to obtain a high bid by saying he was called for in America, and asking leave to go there. Contrary to his expectation, he received leave; but he went to Warsaw instead of America, and from thence to join the Russian army. I do not know these facts certainly, but re-collect them, by putting several things together. The King then sent an ancient secretary here, in whom he had much confidence, to look out for a correspondent, a mere letter writer for him. A happy hazard threw Mazzei his way. He recommended him, and he is appointed. He has no diplomatic character whatever, but is to receive eight thousand livres a year, as an intelligencer. I hope this employment may have some permanence. The danger is, that he will overact his part.

The Marquis de la Luzerne had been for many years married to his brother’s wife’s sister, secretly. She was ugly and deformed, but sensible, amiable, and rather rich. When he was named ambassador to London, with ten thousand guineas a year, the marriage was avowed, and he relinquished his cross of Malta, from which he derived a handsome revenue for life, and which was very open to advancement. She staid here and not long after died. His real affection for her, which was great and unfeigned, and Edition: current; Page: [426] perhaps the loss of his order for so short-lived a satisfaction, has thrown him almost into a state of despondency. He is now here.

I send you a book of Dupont’s on the subject of the commercial treaty with England. Tho it’s general matter may not be interesting, yet you will pick up in various parts of it such excellent principles and observations as will richly repay the trouble of reading it. I send you also two little pamphlets of the Marquis de Condorcet, wherein is the most judicious statement I have seen of the great questions which agitate this nation at present. The new regulations present a preponderance of good over their evil, but they suppose that the King can model the constitution at will, or in other words that his government is a pure despotism. The question then arising is whether a pure despotism in a single head, or one which is divided among a king, nobles, priesthood, & numerous magistracy is the least bad. I should be puzzled to decide: but I hope they will have neither, and that they are advancing to a limited, moderate government, in which the people will have a good share.

I sincerely rejoice at the acceptance of our new constitution by nine states. It is a good canvass, on which some strokes only want retouching. What these are, I think are sufficiently manifested by the general voice from North to South, which calls for a bill of rights. It seems pretty generally understood that this should go to Juries, Habeas corpus, Standing armies, Printing, Religion & Monopolies. I conceive there may be difficulty in finding general Edition: current; Page: [427] modifications of these, suited to the habits of all the states. But if such cannot be found then it is better to establish trials by Jury, the right of Habeas corpus, freedom of press & freedom of religion, in all cases, and to abolish standing armies in time of peace, and Monopolies in all cases, than not do it in any. The few cases wherein these things may do evil, cannot be weighed against the multitude wherein the want of them will do evil. In disputes between a foreigner & a native, a trial by jury may be improper. But if this exception cannot be agreed to, the remedy will be to model the jury by giving the mediatas linguæ in civil as well as criminal cases. Why suspend the Hab. Corp. in insurrections & rebellions? The parties who may be arrested may be charged instantly with a well defined crime, of course the judge will remand them. If publick safety requires that the government should have a man imprisoned on less probable testimony in those than in other emergencies; let him be taken & tried, retaken & retried, while the necessity continues, only giving him redress against the government for damages. Examine the history of England. See how few of the cases of the suspension of the Habeas corpus law have been worthy of that suspension. They have been either real treasons wherein the parties might as well have been charged at once, or sham plots where it was shameful they should ever have been suspected. Yet for the few cases wherein the suspension of the hab. corp. has done real good, that operation is now become habitual, & the minds of the nation almost prepared to live under its Edition: current; Page: [428] constant suspension. A declaration that the federal government will never restrain the presses from printing anything they please, will not take away the liability of the printers for false facts printed. The declaration that religious faith shall be unpunished, does not give impunity to criminal acts dictated by religious error. The saying there shall be no monopolies lessens the incitements to ingenuity, which spurred on by the hope of a monopoly for a limited time, as of 14 years; but the benefit even of limited monopolies is too doubtful to be opposed to that of their general suppression. If no check can be found to keep the number of standing troops within safe bounds, while they are tolerated as far as necessary, abandon them altogether, discipline well the militia, & guard the magazines with them. More than magazine guards will be useless if few, & dangerous if many. No European nation can ever send against us such a regular army as we need fear, & it is hard if our militia are not equal to those of Canada or Florida. My idea then is, that tho’ proper exceptions to these general rules are desirable, & probably practicable, yet if the exceptions cannot be agreed on, the establishment of the rules in all cases will do ill in very few. I hope therefore a bill of rights will be formed to guard the people against the federal government, as they are already guarded against their state governments in most instances. The abandoning the principle of necessary rotation in the Senate, has I see been disapproved by many; in the case of the President, by none. I readily therefore suppose my opinion Edition: current; Page: [429] wrong, when opposed by the majority as in the former instance, & the totality as in the latter. In this however I should have done it with more complete satisfaction, had we all judged from the same position.

Solicitations, which cannot be directly refused, oblige me to trouble you often with letters recommending & introducing to you persons who go from hence to America. I will beg the favour of you to distinguish the letters wherein I appeal to recommendations from other persons, from those which I write on my own knoledge. In the former, it is never my intention to compromit myself, nor you. In both instances I must beg you to ascribe the trouble I give you to circumstances which do not leave me at liberty to decline it.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Sep. 20, 1788
Paris
William Short
Short, William

TO WILLIAM SHORT

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—The evening of your departure came a letter by the way of London & N. York, addressed to you, and probably from Virginia. I think you wished your American letters to remain here; I shall therefore keep it. The passport now enclosed came the day after your departure: so also did a mass of American letters for me, as low down as August 10. I shall give you their substance.—The convention of Virginia annexed to their ratification of the new Constitution a copy of the state Declaration of rights, not by way of Condition, but to announce Edition: current; Page: [430] their attachment to them. They added also propositions for specific alterations of the constitution. Among these was one for rendering the President incapable of serving more than 8. years in any term of 16. New York has followed the example of Virginia, expressing the substance of her bill of rights, (i.e. Virginia’s) & proposing amendments; these last differ much from those of Virginia, but they concur as to the President, only proposing that he shall be incapable of being elected more than twice. But I own I should like better than either of these, what Luther Martin tells us was repeatedly voted & adhered to by the federal convention, & only altered about 12. days before their rising when some members had gone off, to wit, that he should be elected for 7 years & incapable for ever after. But New York has taken another step which gives uneasiness, she has written a circular letter to all the legislatures, asking their concurrence in an immediate Convention for making amendments. No news yet from N. Carolina. Electors are to be chosen the 1st Wednesday in January, the President to be elected the 1st Wednesday in February, the new legislature to meet the 3d week in March, the place is not yet decided on. Philadelphia was first proposed & had 6½ votes, the half vote was Delaware, one of whose members wanted to take a vote on Wilmington, then Baltimore was proposed & carried, and afterwards rescinded, so that the matter stood open as ever on the 10th of August; but it was allowed the dispute lay only between N. York & Philadelphia, & rather thought in favor of the last. The R. island delegates had retired from Edition: current; Page: [431] Congress. Dr. Franklin was dangerously ill of the gout & stone on the 21st of July. My letters of Aug. 10 not mentioning him, I hope he was recovered. Warville, &c. were arrived. Congress had referred the decision as to the independance of Kentucké to to the new government. Brown ascribes this to the jealousy of the Northern states, who want Vermont to be received at the same time in order to preserve a balance of interests in Congress. He was just setting out for Kentucké disgusted, yet disposed to persuade to an acquiescence, tho’ doubting they would immediately separate from the Union. The principal obstacle to this, he thought, would be the Indian war.—The following is a quotation from a letter from Virginia dated July 12. “P[endleto]n, tho’ much impaired in health, & in every respect in the decline of life, shewed as much zeal to carry the new const, as if he had been a young man; perhaps more than he discovered in the commencement of the late revolution in his opposition to Great Britain. W[yth]e acted as chairman to the comee. of the whole & of course took but little part in the debate; but was for the adoption, relying on subsequent amendments. B[lai]r said nothing, but was for it. The G[overno]r exhibited a curious spectacle to view. Having refused to sign the paper, everybody supposed him against it, but he afterwards had written a letter; & having taken a part which might be called rather vehement, than active, he was constantly labouring to shew that his present conduct was consistent with that letter, & that letter with his refusal to sign. M[a]d[iso]n took the principal Edition: current; Page: [432] share in the debate for it, in which, together with the aid I have already mentioned, he was somewhat assisted by I-nn[e]s, Lee, M[arshal]l, C[orbi]n & G. N[ichola]s. M[a]s[o]n, H[enr]y & Gr[ayso]n were the principal supporters of the opposition. The discussion, as might be expected where the parties were so nearly on a balance, was conducted generally with great order, propriety & respect of either party to the other.”

The assembly of Virginia, hurried to their harvests, would not enter into a discussion of the District bill, but suspended it to the next session. E. Winston is appointed a judge, vice Gab. Jones resigned. R. Goode & Andrew Moore, counsellors, vice B. Starke dead, & Jos Egglestone resigned.—It is said Wilson, of Philadelphia, is talked of, to succeed Mr. A[dams] in London. Qu?

The dispute about Virgil’s tomb & the laurel seems to be at length settled by the testimony of two travellers, given separately & without a communication with each other. These both say, that attempting to pluck off a branch of the Laurel, it followed their hand, being in fact nothing more than a plant or bough recently cut & stuck in the ground for the occasion. The Cicerone acknowledged the roguery, & said they practised it with almost every traveller, to get money. You will of course tug well at the laurel which shall be shewn you, to see if this be the true solution.

The President Dupaty is dead. Monsr de Barentin, premier president de la cour des aides, is appointed Garde des sceaux. The stocks are rather Edition: current; Page: [433] lower than when you left this. Present me in the most friendly terms to Messrs. Shippen & Rutledge. I rely on your communicating to them the news, & therefore on their pardoning me for not repeating it in separate letters to them. You can satisfy them how necessary this economy of my time & labour is. This goes to Geneva, poste restante. I shall not write again till you tell me where to write to.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Nov. 18, 1788
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—My last to you was of the 31st July: since which I have received yours of July 24, Aug. 10 & 23. The first part of this long silence in me was occasioned by a knoledge that you were absent from N. York; the latter part by a want of opportunity, which has been longer than usual. Mr. Shippen being just arrived here, and to set out to-morrow for London, I avail myself of that channel of conveyance. Mr. Carrington was so kind as to send me the 2d vol. of the Amer. phil. transactions, the federalist, and some other interesting pamphlets; and I am to thank you for another copy of the federalist and the report of the instrns. to the ministers for negotiating peace. The latter unluckily omitted exactly the passage I wanted, which was what related to the navigation of the Mississippi. With respect to the Federalist, the three authors had been named to me. I read it with care, pleasure & improvement, and was satisfied there was nothing in it by one of those Edition: current; Page: [434] hands, & not a great deal by a second. It does the highest honor to the third, as being, in my opinion, the best commentary on the principles of government which ever was written. In some parts it is discoverable that the author means only to say what may be best said in defence of opinions in which he did not concur. But in general it establishes firmly the plan of government. I confess it has rectified me in several points. As to the bill of rights however I still think it should be added and I am to see that three states have at length considered the perpetual re-eligibility of the president as an article which should be amended. I should deprecate with you indeed the meeting of a new convention. I hope they will adopt the mode of amendment by Congress & the Assemblies, in which case I should not fear any dangerous innovation in the plan. But the minorities are too respectable not to be entitled to some sacrifice of opinion in the majority especially when a great proportion of them would be contented with a bill of rights. Here things internally are going on well. The Notables, now in session, have indeed passed one vote which augurs ill to the rights of the people, but if they do not obtain now so much as they have a right to, they will in the long run. The misfortune is that they are not yet ripe for receiving the blessings to which they are entitled. I doubt, for instance, whether the body of the nation, if they could be consulted, would accept of a Habeas corpus law, if offered them by the King. If the Etats generaux, when they assemble, do not aim at too much, they may begin a good constitution. Edition: current; Page: [435] There are three articles which they may easily obtain, 1, their own meeting periodically. 2, the exclusive right of taxation. 3, the right of registering laws & proposing amendments to them as exercised now by the parliaments. This last would be readily approved by the courts on account of their hostility against the parliaments, & would lead immediately to the origination of laws. The 2d has been already solemnly avowed by the King; and it is well understood there would be no opposition to the first. If they push at much more, all may fail. I shall not enter further into public details, because my letter to Mr. Jay will give them. That contains a request of permission to return to America the next spring, for the summer only. The reasons therein urged, drawn from my private affairs, are very cogent. But there is another more cogent on my mind, tho’ of a nature not to be explained in a public letter. It is the necessity of attending my daughters myself to their own country, and depositing them safely in the hands of those with whom I can safely leave them. I have deferred this request as long as circumstances would permit, and am in hopes it will meet with no difficulty. I have had too many proofs of your friendship not to rely on your patronage of it, as, in all probability, nothing can suffer by a short absence. But the immediate permission is what I am anxious about; as by going in April & returning in October I shall be sure of pleasant & short passages out & in. I must intreat your attention, my friend, to this matter, and that the answers may be sent me thro’ several channels.

Edition: current; Page: [436]

Mr. Limozin at Havre, sent you by mistake a package belonging to somebody else. I do not know what it contained, but he has written to you on the subject, & prayed me to do the same. He is likely to suffer if it be not returned.

Supposing that the funding their foreign debt will be among the first operations of the new government, I send you two estimates, the one by myself, the other by a gentleman infinitely better acquainted with the subject, shewing what fund will suffice to discharge the principal and interest as it shall become due, aided by occasional loans, which the same fund will repay. I inclose them to you, because collating them together, and with your own ideas, you will be able to devise something better than either. But something must be done. This government will expect, I fancy, a very satisfactory provision for the paiment of their debt, from the first session of the new Congress. Perhaps in this matter, as well as the arrangement of your foreign affairs, I may be able when on the spot with you, to give some information & suggest some hints, which may render my visit to my native country not altogether useless. I consider as no small advantage the resuming the tone of mind of my constituents, which is lost by long absence, and can only be recovered by mixing with them: and shall particularly hope for much profit & pleasure, by contriving to pass as much time as possible with you. Should you have a trip to Virginia in contemplation for that year, I hope you will time it so as that we may be there together. I will camp you at Monticello where, if illy entertained Edition: current; Page: [437] otherwise, you shall not want for books. In firm hope of a happy meeting with you in the spring or early in summer I conclude with assurances of the sincere esteem & attachment with which I am, Dear Sir, your affectionate friend & servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Dec., 4, 1788
Paris
George Washington
Washington, George

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON

j. mss.
Sir,

—Your favor of Aug. 31. came to hand yesterday; and a confidential conveiance offering, by the way of London, I avail myself of it to acknolege the receipt.

I have seen, with infinite pleasure, our new constitution accepted by 11. states, not rejected by the 12th. and that the 13th. happens to be a state of the least importance. It is true, that the minorities in most of the accepting states have been very respectable, so much so as to render it prudent, were it not otherwise reasonable, to make some sacrifice to them. I am in hopes that the annexation of the bill of rights to the constitution will alone draw over so great a proportion of the minorities, as to leave little danger in the opposition of the residue; and that this annexation may be made by Congress and the assemblies, without calling a convention which might endanger the most valuable parts of the system. Calculation has convinced me that circumstances may arise, and probably will arise, wherein all the resources of taxation will be necessary for the safety of the state. For tho’ I am decidedly of opinion we should take no part in European quarrels, Edition: current; Page: [438] but cultivate peace and commerce with all, yet who can avoid seeing the source of war, in the tyranny of those nations who deprive us of the natural right of trading with our neighbors? The products of the U. S. will soon exceed the European demand; what is to be done with the surplus, when there shall be one? It will be employed, without question, to open by force a market for itself with those placed on the same continent with us, and who wish nothing better. Other causes too are obvious, which may involve us in war; and war requires every resource of taxation & credit. The power of making war often prevents it, and in our case would give efficacy to our desire of peace. If the new government wears the front which I hope it will, I see no impossibility in the availing ourselves of the wars of others to open the other parts of America to our commerce, as the price of our neutrality. * * *

Your communications to the Count de Moustier, whatever they may have been, cannot have done injury to my endeavors here to open the W. Indies to us. On this head the ministers are invincibly mute, tho’ I have often tried to draw them into the subject. I have therefore found it necessary to let it lie till war or other circumstance may force it on. Whenever they are in war with England, they must open the islands to us, and perhaps during that war they may see some price which might make them agree to keep them always open. In the meantime I have laid my shoulder to the opening the markets of this country to our produce, and rendering it’s transportation a nursery for our seamen. A maritime Edition: current; Page: [439] force is the only one by which we can act on Europe. Our navigation law (if it be wise to have any) should be the reverse of that of England. Instead of confining importations to home-bottoms or those of the producing nations, I think we should confine exportations to home bottoms or to those of nations having treaties with us. Our exportations are heavy, and would nourish a great force of our own, or be a tempting price to the nation to whom we should offer a participation of it in exchange for free access to all their possessions. This is an object to which our government alone is adequate in the gross, but I have ventured to pursue it, here, so far as the consumption of productions by this country extends. Thus in our arrangements relative to tobacco, none can be received here but in French or American bottoms. This is emploiment for nearly 2000 seamen, and puts nearly that number of British out of employ. By the Arret of Dec. 1787, it was provided that our whale oils should not be received here but in French or American bottoms, and by later regulations all oils but those of France and America are excluded. This will put 100 English whale vessels immediately out of employ, and 150. ere long; and call so many of French & American into service. We have had 6000 seamen formerly in this business, the whole of whom we have been likely to lose. The consumption of rice is growing fast in this country, and that of Carolina gaining ground on every other kind. I am of opinion the whole of the Carolina rice can be consumed here. It’s transportation employs 2500 sailors, almost all Edition: current; Page: [440] of them English at present; the rice being deposited at Cowes & brought from thence here. It would be dangerous to confine this transportation to French & American bottoms the ensuing year, because they will be much engrossed by the transportation of wheat & flour hither, and the crop of rice might lie on hand for want of vessels; but I see no objections to the extensions of our principle to this article also, beginning with the year 1790. However, before there is a necessity of deciding on this I hope to be able to consult our new government in person, as I have asked of Congress a leave of absence for 6. months, that is to say from April to November next. It is necessary for me to pay a short visit to my native country, first to reconduct my family thither, and place them in the hands of their friends, & secondly to place my private affairs under certain arrangements. When I left my own house, I expected to be absent but 5 months, & I have been led by events to an absence of 5 years. I shall hope therefore for the pleasure of personal conferences with your Excellency on the subject of this letter and others interesting to our country, of getting my own ideas set to rights by a communication of yours, and of taking again the tone of sentiment of my own country which we lose in some degree after a certain absence. You know doubtless of the death of the Marquise de Chastellux. The Marquis de La Fayette is out of favor with the court, but high in favor with the nation. I once feared for his personal liberty, but I hope he is on safe ground at present. On the subject of the whale fishery I Edition: current; Page: [441] inclose you some observations I drew up for the ministry here, in order to obtain a correction of their Arret of Sepr last, whereby they had involved our oils with the English in a general exclusion from their ports. They will accordingly correct this, so that our oils will participate with theirs in the monopoly of their markets. There are several things incidentally introduced which do not seem pertinent to the general question. They were rendered necessary by particular circumstances the explanation of which would add to a letter already too long. I will trespass no further then than to assure you of the sentiments of sincere attachment and respect with which I have the honor to be your Excellency’s most obedt. humble servant.

P. S. The observations inclosed, tho’ printed, have been put into confidential hands only.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
January 1789
John Jay
Jay, John

TO JOHN JAY1

Dear Sir,

— * * * As the character of the Prince of Wales is becoming interesting, I have endeavored to learn what it truly is. This is less difficult in his case than it is in other persons of rank, because he has taken no pains to hide himself from the world. The information I most rely on is from a person here, with whom I am intimate, who divides his time between Paris and London—an Englishman by birth, of truth, sagacity, and science. He is of a circle, when in London, which has had good opportunities of knowing the Prince, but he has also, Edition: current; Page: [442] himself, had special occasions of verifying their information by his own personal observations. He happened, when last in London, to be invited to a dinner of three persons. The Prince came by chance, and made the fourth. He ate half a leg of mutton; and did not taste of small dishes, because small; drank Champagne and Burgundy as small beer during dinner, and Bourdeaux after dinner, as the rest of the company. Upon the whole, he ate as much as the other three, and drank about two bottles of wine without seeming to feel it.

My informant sat next him, and being until then unknown to the Prince personally (though not by character) and lately from France, the Prince confined his conversation to him almost entirely. Observing to the Prince that he spoke French, without the slightest foreign accent, the Prince told him that, when very young, his father had put only French servants about him, and it was to that circumstance he owed his pronunciation. He led him from this to give an account of his education, the total of which was the learning a little Latin. He has not a single element of mathematics, of natural or moral philosophy, or any other science on earth, nor has the society he has kept been such as to supply the void of education. It has been that of the lowest, the most illiterate and profligate persons of the kingdom, without choice of rank or mind, and with whom the subjects of conversation are only horses, drinking-matches, bawdy-houses, and in terms the most vulgar. The young nobility who begin by associating with him soon leave him Edition: current; Page: [443] disgusted by the insupportable profligacy of his society; and Mr. Fox, who has been supposed his favorite, and not over-nice in the choice of company, would never keep his company habitually. In fact, he never associated with a man of sense. He has not a single idea of justice, morality, religion, or of the rights of men, or any anxiety for the opinion of the world. He carries that indifference for fame so far, that he probably would not be hurt if he were to lose his throne, provided he could be assured of having always meat, horses and women. In the article of women, nevertheless, he has become more correct since his connection with Mrs. Fitzherbert, who is an honest and worthy woman; he is even less crapulous than he was.

He had a fine person, but it is becoming coarse. He possesses good native common sense, is affable, polite, and very good-humored—saying to my informant, on another occasion, “Your friend such a one dined with me yesterday, and I made him damned drunk”; he replied, “I am sorry for it. I had heard that your royal highness had left off drinking.” The Prince laughed, tapped him on the shoulder very good-naturedly, without saying a word, or ever after showing any displeasure.

The Duke of York, who was for some time cried up as the prodigy of the family, is as profligate and of less understanding. To these particular traits, from a man of sense and truth, it would be superfluous to add the general terms of praise or blame in which he is spoken of by other persons, in whose impartiality and penetration I have less confidence. Edition: current; Page: [444] A sample is better than a description. For the peace of Europe, it is best that the King should give such gleanings of recovery as would prevent the Regent or his ministry from thinking themselves firm, and yet that he should not recover. * * *

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 12. 1789
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—My last to you was of the 18th of Nov. since which I have received yours of Sep. 21 and Oct. 8. with the pamphlet on the Mohicon language, for which receive my thanks. I endeavor to collect all the vocabularies I can of the American Indians, as of those of Asia, persuaded that if they ever had a common parentage it will appear in their languages. I was pleased to see the vote of Congress, of Sep. 16, on the subject of the Mississippi, as I had before seen with great uneasiness the pursuits of other principles which I could never reconcile to my own ideas of probity or wisdom, and from which, and my knolege of the character of our Western settlers, I saw that the loss of that country was a necessary consequence. I wish this return to true policy may be in time to prevent evil. There has been little foundation for the reports and fears relative to the M. de la Fayette. He has from the beginning taken openly part with those who demand a constitution: and there was a moment that we apprehended the Bastile: but they venture on nothing more than to take from him a temporary service on Edition: current; Page: [445] which he had been ordered: and this more to save appearances for their own authority than anything else; for at the very time they pretended that they had put him into disgrace, they were constantly conferring & communicating with him. Since this he has stood on safe ground, and is viewed as among the foremost of the patriots. Everybody here is trying their hand at forming declarations of rights. As something of that kind is going on with you also, I send you two specimens from hence. The one is by our friend of whom I have just spoken. You will see that it contains the essential principle of ours accommodated as much as could be to the actual state of things here. The other is from a very sensible man, a pure theorist, of the sect called the œconomists, of which Turgot was considered as the head. The former is adapted to the existing abuses; the latter goes to those possible as well as to those existing. With respect to Doctr. Spence, supposed to have been taken by the Algerines, I think the report extremely [im]probable. O’bryan, one of our captives there, has constantly written to me, and given me information on every subject he thought interesting. He could not have failed to know if such a capture had been made, tho’ before his time, nor to inform me of it. I am under perpetual anxiety for our captives there. The money indeed is not yet ready at Amsterdam; but when it shall be, there are no orders from the board of Treasury to the bankers to furnish what may be necessary for the redemption of the captives: and it is so long since Congress approved the loan, that the orders of Edition: current; Page: [446] the Treasury for the application of the money would have come if they had intended to send any. I wrote to them early on the subject & pointedly. I mentioned it to Mr. Jay also merely that he might suggest it to them. The paiments to the foreign officers will await the same formality. I thank you for your attention to the case of Mrs. Burke.—We have no news of Dr. Franklin since July last when he was very ill. Tho’ the silence of our letters on that subject is a proof that he is well, yet there is an anxiety here among his friends. We have lately had three books published which are of great merit in different lines. The one is in 7. vols, 8.vo, by an Abbé Barthelemy, wherein he has collected every subject of Grecian literature, after a labour of 30. years. It is called Les voyages d’Anacharsis. I have taken a copy for you, because the whole impression was likely to be run off at once. The second is a work on government by the Marquis de Condorcet, 2. v. 8vo. I shall secure you a copy. The 3.d are the works of the K. of Prussia, in 16. vols, 8vo. These were a little garbled at Berlin, before printed. The government lais its hands on all which come here, and change some leaves. There is a genuine edition published at Basle, where even the garblings of Berlin are reestablished. I doubt the possibility of getting a copy, so vigilant is the government as to this work. I shall obtain you one if it be possible. As I write all the public news to Mr. Jay, I will not repeat it to you. I have just received the Flora Caroliniana of Walter; a very learned and good work.

Edition: current; Page: [447]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Jan. 26. 1789
Paris
Dr. Edward Bancroft
Bancroft, Dr. Edward

TO DR. EDWARD BANCROFT

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I have deferred answering your letter on the subject of slaves because you permitted me to do it till a moment of leisure, and that moment rarely comes, and because too I could not answer you with such a degree of certainty as to merit any notice. I do not recollect the conversation at Vincennes to which you allude but can repeat still on the same ground, on which I must have done then, that as far as I can judge from the experiments which have been made to give liberty to, or rather, to abandon persons whose habits have been formed in slavery is like abandoning children. Many quakers in Virginia seated their slaves on their lands as tenants. They were distant from me, and therefore I cannot be particular in the details, because I never had very particular information. I cannot say whether they were to pay a rent in money, or a share of the produce: but I remember that the landlord was obliged to plan their crops for them, to direct all their operations during every season & according to the weather. But what is more afflicting, he was obliged to watch them daily & almost constantly to make them work, & even to whip them. A man’s moral sense must be unusually strong, if slavery does not make him a thief. He who is permitted by law to have no property of his own, can with difficulty conceive that property is founded in anything but force. These slaves chose to steal from their neighbors rather than work; they became public nuisances and in most instances were reduced to Edition: current; Page: [448] slavery again. But I will beg of you to make no use of this imperfect information (unless in common conversation). I shall go to America in the Spring & return in the fall. During my stay in Virginia I shall be in the neighborhood where many of these trials were made. I will inform myself very particularly of them, & communicate the information to you. Besides these there is an instance since I came away of a young man (Mr. Mayo) who died and gave freedom to all his slaves, about 200. This is about 4 years ago. I shall know how they have turned out. Notwithstanding the discouraging result of these experiments, I am decided on my final return to America to try this one. I shall endeavor to import as many Germans as I have grown slaves. I will settle them and my slaves, on farms of 50 acres each, intermingled, and place all on the footing of the Metayers (Medietani) of Europe. Their children shall be brought up, as others are, in habits of property and foresight, & I have no doubt but that they will be good citizens. Some of their fathers will be so: others I suppose will need government. With these, all that can be done is to oblige them to labour as the labouring poor of Europe do, and to apply to their comfortable subsistence the produce of their labour, retaining such a moderate portion of it as may be a just equivalent for the use of the lands they labour and the stocks & other necessary advances.

A word now on Mr. Paradise’s affairs: you were informed at the time, of the arrangement they had established in their affairs, to wit. reserving 400 £ a Edition: current; Page: [449] year for their subsistence, abandoning the rest of their income about 400 £ more, all their credits (one of which is 800 £ from an individual and another is 1000 £ from the state) and the cutting of a valuable wood, to their creditors. Their whole debts amounting but to 2300 £, the term of paiment cannot be long, if this arrangement can be preserved. I had hope that the journey to Italy would have fixed Mrs. Paradise with her daughter and left him free to travel or tarry where he liked best. But this journey has been a burthen instead of a relief to their affairs. In fact it is evident to me that the society of England is necessary for the happiness of Mrs. Paradise, and is perhaps the most agreeable to Mr. Paradise also. It is become an object therefore to obtain the concurrence of their creditors in the arrangements taken. The inducement to be proposed to them is Mrs. Paradise’s joining in a deed in which these dispositions shall be stipulated (which by the laws of Virginia will bind her property there) so that the creditors will be secured of their debts in the event of Mr. Paradise’s death. The inducement to Mr. & Mrs. Paradise is that their persons & property shall be free from molestation & their substance not consumed at law. We suppose that the creditors will name one trustee & Mr. Paradise another (yourself) fully & solely authorized to receive all remittances from America, to pay to them first their subsistence money & the rest to the creditors till they are fully paid. Mrs. Paradise will set out in a few days for London to set her hand to this accommodation. In the mean time they hope you will Edition: current; Page: [450] prepare the ground by negociating the settlement with the creditors. As far as I have any influence with Mr. or Mrs. Paradise I have used it & shall use it for the joint interests of their creditors & themselves. For I view it as clearly their interest to reduce themselves to as moderate an expense as possible till their debts are paid. If this can be effected before my departure in April I will not only aid it here, but have any thing done which may be necessary in Virginia when I go there, such as the recording the deed &c. This journey of Mrs. Paradise will also be an experiment whether their distresses will not be lighter when separate than while together.—I shall always be glad to hear from you. Since Mr. Adams’s departure I have need of information from that country, and should rely much on yours. It will always therefore be acceptable.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Feb. 9, 1789
Paris
William Short
Short, William

TO WILLIAM SHORT

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I wrote you last on the 22d of Jan on which day I received yours of Dec 31, and since that the other of Jan 14. We have now received news from America down to the middle of December They had then had no cold weather. All things relative to our new constitution were going on well. Federal Senators are; N Hampshire Presidt. Langdon and Bartlett. Massach. Strong & Dalton. Connect. Dr. Johnson & Ellsworth. New Jersey Patterson & Ellmer. Pennyslva Rob Morris & McClay. Edition: current; Page: [451] Delaware Reed & Bassett. Virga. R. H. Lee & Grayson. Maryld. Charles Carrol of Carrolton & John Henry. All of these are federalists except those of Virga: so that a majority of federalists are secured in the Senate and expected in the H of representatives. Genl. Washington will be president and probably Mr. Adams vice president. So that the constitution will be put under way by those who will give it a fair trial. It does not seem probable that the attempt of N York to have another convention to make amendments will succeed, tho’ Virginia concurs in it. It is tolerably certain that Congress will propose amendments to the assemblies, as even the friends of the constitution are willing to make amendments, some from a conviction they are necessary, others from a spirit of conciliation. The addition of a bill of rights will probably be the most essential change. A vast majority of Antifederalists have got into the assembly of Virginia, so that Mr. Henry is omnipotent there. Mr. Madison was left out as a Senator by 8. or 9. votes and Henry has so modelled the districts for representatives as to tack Orange to counties where he himself has great influence that Madison may not be elected in the lower federal house, which was the place Madison had wished to serve in, & not the Senate. Henry pronounced a Philippic against Madison in open assembly, Madison being then at Philadelphia. Mifflin is Presidt. of Pennsylvania and Peters speaker. Colo Howard is Govr of Maryland. Beverly Randolph Govr of Virginia (this last is said by a passenger only & he seems not very sure). Colo Humphreys is attacked in the Edition: current; Page: [452] papers for his French airs, for bad poetry, bad prose, vanity, &c. It is said his dress in so gay a style gives general disgust against him. I have received a letter from him. He seems fixed with Genl Washington. Mayo’s bridge over Richmond was completed, & carried away in a few weeks. While up, it was so profitable that he had great offers for it. A turnpike is established at Alexandria & succeeds. Rhode island has again refused to call a Convention. Spain has granted to Colo Morgan of New Jersey a vast tract of land on the Western side of the Mississipi with the monopoly of the navigation of that river. He is inviting settlers & they swarm to him. Even the settlement of Kentuckey is likely to be much weakened by emigrations to Morgan’s grant. Warville is returned charmed with our country. He is going to carry his wife & children to settle there. Gouverneur Morris is just arrived here, deputed, as is supposed, to settle R. Morris’s affairs which continue still deranged. Dr. Franklin was well when he left America, which was about the middle of December. * * *

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 4. 1789
Paris
William Carmichael
Carmichael, William

TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—My last to you was of the 25th of December. Tho’ the establishment of packet boats with you, and suppression of them with us, puts it in your power perhaps to give me better details of American affairs than I can you, I shall nevertheless continue to communicate to you what I know, persuaded Edition: current; Page: [453] it is better you should hear a thing twice than not hear it at all.

I mentioned to you in my last that the Convention of Virginia had proposed to Congress the method of amending by Congress & the assemblies. Since that the assembly of that state, a much more anti-federal body, has proposed the other method of amendment by a federal convention. But this will not take. The elections for the new Congress are almost universally federal, which proves the people in general to be so. The following is a list of the federal Senate so far as Notice of the elections have reached me. 1. N. Hampshire Presidt. Langdon & Judge Bartlett. 2. Massachusetts, Strong & Dalton. 3. Connecticut Dr. Johnson & Elsworth. 4. N. Jersey. Patterson & Elmer. 5. Pennsylvania. R. H. Morris & McClurg. 6. Delaware. Reed & Basset. 7. Virginia. R. H. Lee & Grayson. 8. Maryland Chas. Carroll of Carrolton, & John Henry. It is thought Mr Izard will be one from S. Carolina. Genl. Schuyler is expected for N. York, but as late as the 10th. of January that assembly had not yet been able to agree on Senators. I hear nothing from Georgia. N. Carolina has fixed a day for another convention, but a very distant one. It is the anti-federalism of Virginia which levens the mass. Rhode island has again refused to call a convention. Genl. Washington, tho’ with vast reluctance, will undertake the presidency if called to it, & there was no doubt he would be so called. The only candidates for the vice presidency, with their own consent, are Mr. Hancock and Mr. J. Adams. The latter, it was thought, would be chosen. The friends Edition: current; Page: [454] of the new constitution agree pretty generally to add a declaration of rights to it, and the opposition becomes daily weaker, so that the government, confided generally to friendly hands, and gaining on the esteem of the nation, begins this very day, under the most auspicious appearances.

The revolution in this country seems to be going on well. In Burgundy & Franche compté indeed there is great stubbornness in the privileged orders, and in Bretagne they have proceeded to blows, which however are stopped for the present. In the west of the Kingdom it seems as if the rights of the tiers etat would be acknoleged and by a majority of the nobles. The circumstance from which I fear the worst is that the States general are too numerous. I see great difficulty in preventing 1200 people from becoming a mob. Should confusion be prevented from this circumstance, I suppose the states general, with the consent of the King, will establish some of the leading features of a good constitution. They have indeed a miserable old canvas to work on, covered with daubings which it will be difficult to efface. But some they will efface, & some soften, so as to make a tolerable thing of it, perhaps a good one. The war in the North is likely to spread: & the King of England seems recovering his senses. But time will be requisite to shew whether it be a lucid interval only, whether it be permanent, or whether it be anything more than a recovery from insanity to imbecility which is the most ordinary case. In either event, time is necessary to give such confidence in his state of mind, as that his Ministers may venture to Edition: current; Page: [455] take a part in the war; and that time will suffice to enable this nation to arrange it’s internal affairs so solidly as to put them more in condition, than ever they were at any period of their history, to act the part they may chuse in foreign affairs. How happy is it for us that we are beyond the reach of those storms which are eternally desolating Europe. We have indeed a neighbor with whom misunderstandings are possible: but they must be the effect of interests ill calculated. Nothing is more demonstrable than is the unity of their & our interest for ages to come.

I have had a letter from Admiral Paul Jones dated St. Petersburgh Jan. 31. He was well and just arrived there on the call of the Empress. He has commanded on the Black Sea during the last campaign, but does not know where he is to act the ensuing one.—My last accounts from Lediard (another bold countryman of ours) were from Grand Cairo. He was just then plunging into the unknown regions of Africa, probably never to emerge again. If he returns, he has promised me to go to America and penetrate from Kentucke to the Western side of the Continent. I do not know whether you are informed that in the years 1787–1788. he went from here bound for Kamschatka, to cross over thence to the Western coast of our continent & pass through to the Eastern one. He was arrested par ordre superieure within two or three days journey of Kamschatka, conveyed back to the confines of Poland, & there turned adrift. He arrived here last June, & immediately set out for Africa. I received some time ago a very interesting Edition: current; Page: [456] history del luxo de España, and the charming poems of M. Yriarte, tho’ they have not been mentioned in any of your letters I presume it is you I am to thank for them, which I do very cordially. I know nothing, since my last, more precise on the time of my departure, but I think it would be better you should address no letters to me at this place which may arrive between the middle of April & November. Mr. Short will transact the business of the legation during my absence, as I expect.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 13, 1789
Paris
Francis Hopkinson
Hopkinson, Francis

TO FRANCIS HOPKINSON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

— * * * You say that I have been dished up to you as an antifederalist, and ask me if it be just. My opinion was never worthy enough of notice to merit citing; but since you ask it I will tell it you. I am not a Federalist, because I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all. Therefore I protest to you I am not of the party of federalists. But I am much farther from that of the Antifederalists. I approved, from the first moment, of the great mass of what is in the new constitution, the consolidation of the government, the organization into Executive legislative & Edition: current; Page: [457] judiciary, the subdivision of the legislative, the happy compromise of interests between the great & little states by the different manner of voting in the different houses, the voting by persons instead of states, the qualified negative on laws given to the Executive which however I should have liked better if associated with the judiciary also as in New York, and the power of taxation. I thought at first that the latter might have been limited. A little reflection soon convinced me it ought not to be. What I disapproved from the first moment also was the want of a bill of rights to guard liberty against the legislative as well as executive branches of the government, that is to say to secure freedom in religion, freedom of the press, freedom from monopolies, freedom from unlawful imprisonment, freedom from a permanent military, and a trial by jury in all cases determinable by the laws of the land. I disapproved also the perpetual reeligibility of the President. To these points of disapprobation I adhere. My first wish was that the 9. first conventions might accept the constitution, as the means of securing to us the great mass of good it contained, and that the 4. last might reject it, as the means of obtaining amendments. But I was corrected in this wish the moment I saw the much better plan of Massachusetts and which had never occurred to me. With respect to the declaration of rights I suppose the majority of the United States are of my opinion: for I apprehend all the antifederalists, and a very respectable proportion of the federalists think that such a declaration should now be annexed. The enlightened part of Europe have Edition: current; Page: [458] given us the greatest credit for inventing this instrument of security for the rights of the people, and have been not a little surprised to see us so soon give it up. With respect to the re-eligibility of the president, I find myself differing from the majority of my countrymen, for I think there are but three states out of the 11. which have desired an alteration of this. And indeed, since the thing is established, I would wish it not to be altered during the life of our great leader, whose executive talents are superior to those I believe of any man in the world, and who alone by the authority of his name and the confidence reposed in his perfect integrity, is fully qualified to put the new government so under way as to secure it against the efforts of opposition. But having derived from our error all the good there was in it I hope we shall correct it the moment we can no longer have the same name at the helm. These, my dear friend, are my sentiments, by which you will see I was right in saying I am neither federalist nor antifederalist; that I am of neither party, nor yet a trimmer between parties. These my opinions I wrote within a few hours after I had read the constitution, to one or two friends in America. I had not then read one single word printed on the subject. I never had an opinion in politics or religion which I was afraid to own. A costive reserve on these subjects might have procured me more esteem from some people, but less from myself. My great wish is to go on in a strict but silent performance of my duty; to avoid attracting notice & to keep my name out of newspapers, because I find the pain of a little Edition: current; Page: [459] censure, even when it is unfounded, is more acute than the pleasure of much praise. The attaching circumstance of my present office is that I can do it’s duties unseen by those for whom they are done.—You did not think, by so short a phrase in your letter, to have drawn on yourself such an egotistical dissertation.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
March 14th, 1789
Paris
Madame De Brehan
De Brehan, Madame

TO MADAME DE BREHAN1

Dear Madam,

—I had the honor of writing to you on the 15th of February, soon after which I had that of receiving your favor of December the 29th. I have a thousand questions to ask you about your journey to the Indian treaty, how you like their persons, their manners, their customs, cuisine, etc. But this I must defer until I can do it personally in New York where I hope to see you for a moment in the summer, and to take your commands for France. I have little to communicate to you from this place. It is deserted; everybody being gone into the country to choose or to be chosen deputies to the States General. I hope to see that great meeting before my departure. It is to be on the 27th of next month. A great political revolution will take place in your country, and that without bloodshed. A king, with two hundred thousand men at his orders, is disarmed by force of public opinion and want of money. Among the economies becoming necessary, perhaps one may be the Opera. They say it has cost the public treasury Edition: current; Page: [460] a hundred thousand crown in the last year. A new theatre is established since your departure—that of the Opera Buffons, where Italian operas are given, and good music. Paris is every day enlarging and beautifying. I do not count among its beauties, however, the wall with which they have inclosed us. They have made some amends for this by making fine Boulevards within and without the walls. These are in considerable forwardness, and will afford beautiful rides around the city of between fifteen and twenty miles in circuit. We have had such a winter, Madame, as makes me shiver yet whenever I think of it. All communications, almost, were cut off. Dinners and suppers were suppressed, and the money laid out in feeding and warming the poor, whose labors were suspended by the rigors of the season. Loaded carriages passed the Seine on the ice, and it was covered with thousands of people from morning to night, skating and sliding. Such sights were never seen before, and they continued two months. We have nothing new and excellent in your charming art of painting. In fact, I do not feel an interest in any pencil but that of David. But I must not hazard details on a subject wherein I am so ignorant and you are such a connoisseur. Adieu, my dear Madam; permit me always the honor of esteeming and being esteemed by you, and of tendering you the homage of that respectful attachment, with which I am and ever shall be, dear Madam, your most obedient, humble servant.

Edition: current; Page: [461]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar 15. 1789
Paris
James Madison
Madison, James

TO JAMES MADISON

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—I wrote you last on the 12th of Jan. since which I have received yours of Octob 17, Dec 8 & 12. That of Oct. 17. came to hand only Feb 23. How it happened to be four months on the way, I cannot tell, as I never knew by what hand it came. Looking over my letter of Jan 12th, I remark an error of the word “probable” instead of “improbable,” which doubtless however you had been able to correct. Your thoughts on the subject of the Declaration of rights in the letter of Oct 17. I have weighed with great satisfaction. Some of them had not occurred to me before, but were acknoleged just in the moment they were presented to my mind. In the arguments in favor of a declaration of rights, you omit one which has great weight with me, the legal check which it puts into the hands of the judiciary. This is a body, which if rendered independent & kept strictly to their own department merits great confidence for their learning & integrity. In fact what degree of confidence would be too much for a body composed of such men as Wythe, Blair & Pendleton? On characters like these the civium ardor prava jubentium would make no impression. I am happy to find that on the whole you are a friend to this amendment. The Declaration of rights is like all other human blessings alloyed with some inconveniences, and not accomplishing fully it’s object. But the good in this instance vastly overweighs the evil. I cannot refrain from making short answers to the objections which your letter states to have Edition: current; Page: [462] been raised. 1. That the rights in question are reserved by the manner in which the federal powers are granted. Answer. A constitutive act may certainly be so formed as to need no declaration of rights. The act itself has the force of a declaration as far as it goes; and if it goes to all material points nothing more is wanting. In the draught of a constitution which I had once a thought of proposing in Virginia, & printed afterwards, I endeavored to reach all the great objects of public liberty, and did not mean to add a declaration of rights. Probably the object was imperfectly executed; but the deficiencies would have been supplied by others, in the course of discussion. But in a constitutive act which leaves some precious articles unnoticed, and raises implications against others, a declaration of rights becomes necessary by way of supplement. This is the case of our new federal constitution. This instrument forms us into one state as to certain objects, and gives us a legislative & executive body for these objects. It should therefore guard us against their abuses of power within the field submitted to them. 2. A positive declaration of some essential rights could not be obtained in the requisite latitude. Answer. Half a loaf is better than no bread. If we cannot secure all our rights, let us secure what we can. 3. The limited powers of the federal government & jealousy of the subordinate governments afford a security which exists in no other instance. Answer. The first member of this seems resolvable into the first objection before stated. The jealousy of the subordinate governments Edition: current; Page: [463] is a precious reliance. But observe that those governments are only agents. They must have principles furnished them whereon to found their opposition. The declaration of rights will be the text whereby they will try all the acts of the federal government. In this view it is necessary to the federal government also; as by the same text they may try the opposition of the subordinate governments. 4. Experience proves the inefficacy of a bill of rights. True. But tho it is not absolutely efficacious under all circumstances, it is of great potency always, and rarely inefficacious. A brace the more will often keep up the building which would have fallen with that brace the less. There is a remarkable difference between the characters of the Inconveniences which attend a Declaration of rights, & those which attend the want of it. The inconveniences of the Declaration are that it may cramp government in it’s useful exertions. But the evil of this is short-lived, trivial & reparable. The inconveniences of the want of a Declaration are permanent, afflicting & irreparable. They are in constant progression from bad to worse. The executive in our governments is not the sole, it is scarcely the principal object of my jealousy. The tyranny of the legislatures is the most formidable dread at present, and will be for long years. That of the executive will come in it’s turn, but it will be at a remote period. I know there are some among us who would now establish a monarchy. But they are inconsiderable in number and weight of character. The rising race are all republicans. We were educated in royalism; Edition: current; Page: [464] no wonder if some of us retain that idolatry still. Our young people are educated in republicanism, an apostasy from that to royalism is unprecedented & impossible. I am much pleased with the prospect that a declaration of rights will be added; and hope it will be done in that way which will not endanger the whole frame of the government, or any essential part of it.

I have hitherto avoided public news in my letters to you, because your situation insured you a communication of my letters to Mr. Jay. This circumstance being changed, I shall in future indulge myself in these details to you. There had been some slight hopes that an accommodation might be affected between the Turks & two empires but these hopes do not strengthen, and the season is approaching which will put an end to them for another campaign at least. The accident to the King of England has had great influence on the affairs of Europe. His mediation joined with that of Prussia, would certainly have kept Denmark quiet, and so have left the two empires in the hands of the Turks & Swedes. But the inactivity to which England is reduced, leaves Denmark more free, and she will probably go on in opposition to Sweden. The K. of Prussia too had advanced so far that he can scarcely retire. This is rendered the more difficult by the troubles he has excited in Poland. He cannot well abandon the party he had brought forward there so that it is very possible he may be engaged in the ensuing campaign. France will be quiet this year, because this year at least is necessary for Edition: current; Page: [465] settling her future constitution. The States will meet the 27th of April: and the public mind will I think by that time be ripe for a just decision of the Question whether they shall vote by orders or persons. I think there is a majority of the nobles already for the latter. If so, their affairs cannot but go on well. Besides settling for themselves a tolerably free constitution, perhaps as free a one as the nation is yet prepared to bear, they will fund their public debts. This will give them such a credit as will enable them to borrow any money they may want, & of course to take the field again when they think proper. And I believe they mean to take the field as soon as they can. The pride of every individual in the nation suffers under the ignominies they have lately been exposed to and I think the states general will give money for a war to wipe off the reproach. There have arisen new bickerings between this court & the Hague, and the papers which have passed shew the most bitter acrimony rankling at the heart of this ministry. They have recalled their ambassador from the Hague without appointing a successor. They have given a note to the Diet of Poland which shews a disapprobation of their measures. The insanity of the King of England has been fortunate for them as it gives them time to put their house in order. The English papers tell you the King is well: and even the English ministry say so. They will naturally set the best foot foremost: and they guard his person so well that it is difficult for the public to contradict them. The King is probably better, but not well by a great deal. Edition: current; Page: [466] 1. He has been bled, and judicious physicians say that in his exhausted state nothing could have induced a recurrence to bleeding but symptoms of relapse. 2. The Prince of Wales tells the Irish deputation he will give them a definitive answer in some days; but if the king had been well he could have given it at once. 3. They talk of passing a standing law for providing a regency in similar cases. They apprehend then they are not yet clear of the danger of wanting a regency. 4. They have carried the king to church; but it was his private chapel. If he be well why do not they shew him publicly to the nation, & raise them from that consternation into which they have been thrown by the prospect of being delivered over to the profligate hands of the prince of Wales. In short, judging from little facts which are known in spite of their teeth the King is better, but not well. Possibly he is getting well, but still, time will be wanting to satisfy even the ministry that it is not merely a lucid interval. Consequently they cannot interrupt France this year in the settlement of her affairs, & after this year it will be too late.

As you will be in a situation to know when the leave of absence will be granted me, which I have asked, will you be so good as to communicate it by a line to Mr. Lewis & Mr. Eppes? I hope to see you in the summer, and that if you are not otherwise engaged, you will encamp with me at Monticello for awhile.

Edition: current; Page: [467]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
Mar. 18, 1789
Paris
David Humphreys
Humphreys, David

TO DAVID HUMPHREYS

j. mss.
Dear Sir,

—Your favor of Nov. 29, 1788, came to hand the last month. How it happened that mine of Aug. 1787, was fourteen months on it’s way is inconceivable. I do not recollect by what conveyance I sent it. I had concluded however either that it had miscarried or that you had become indolent as most of our countrymen are in matters of correspondence.

The change in this country since you left it is such as you can form no idea of. The frivolities of conversation have given way entirely to politics. Men, women & children talk nothing else: and all you know talk a great deal. The press groans with daily productions, which in point of boldness make an Englishman stare, who hitherto has thought himself the boldest of men. A complete revolution in this government has, within the space of two years (for it began with the Notables of 1787) been effected merely by the force of public opinion, aided indeed by the want of money which the dissipations of the court had brought on. And this revolution has not cost a single life, unless we charge to it a little riot lately in Bretagne which began about the price of bread, became afterwards political and ended in the loss of 4. or 5. lives. The assembly of the states general begins the 27th of April. The representation of the people will be perfect. But they will be alloyed by an equal number of nobility & clergy. The first great question they will have to decide will be whether they shall vote by orders or persons, & I have hopes that the majority of the nobles are Edition: current; Page: [468] already disposed to join the tiers etat in deciding that the vote shall be by persons. This is the opinion à la mode at present, and mode has acted a wonderful part in the present instance. All the handsome young women, for example, are for the tiers etat, and this is an army more powerful in France than the 200,000 men of the king. Add to this that the court itself is for the tiers etat, as the only agent which can relieve their wants; not by giving money themselves (they are squeezed to the last drop) but by pressing it from the non-contributing orders. The king stands engaged to pretend no more to the power of laying, continuing or appropriating taxes, to call the States general periodically, to submit lettres de cachet to legal restrictions, to consent to freedom of the press, and that all this shall be fixed by a fundamental constitution which shall bind his successors. He has not offered a participation in the legislature, but it will surely be insisted on. The public mind is so ripened on all these subjects, that there seems to be now but one opinion. The clergy indeed think separately, & the old men among the Nobles. But their voice is suppressed by the general one of the nation. The writings published on this occasion are some of them very valuable: because, unfettered by the prejudices under which the English labour, they give a full scope to reason, and strike out truths as yet unperceived & unacknoleged on the other side the channel. An Englishman, dosing under a kind of half reformation, is not excited to think by such gross absurdities as stare a Frenchman in the face wherever he looks whether it be towards the throne Edition: current; Page: [469] or the altar. In fine I believe this nation will in the course of the present year have as full a portion of liberty dealt out to them as the nation can bear at present, considering how uninformed the mass of their people is. This circumstance will prevent their immediate establishment of the trial by jury. The palsied state of the executive in England is a fortunate circumstance for France, as it will give them time to arrange their affairs internally. The consolidation & funding their debts will give them a credit which will enable them to do what they please. For the present year the war will be confined to the two empires & Denmark, against Turkey & Sweden. It is not yet evident whether Prussia will be engaged. If the disturbances of Poland break out into overt acts, it will be a power divided in itself, & so of no weight. Perhaps by the next year England & France may be ready to take the field. It will depend on the former principally, for the latter, tho she may be then able, must wish still a little time to see her new arrangements well under way. The English papers & English ministry say the king is well. He is better, but not well: no malady requires a longer time to ensure against its return, than insanity. Time alone can distinguish accidental insanity from habitual lunacy.

The operations which have taken place in America lately, fill me with pleasure. In the first place they realize the confidence I had that whenever our affairs go obviously wrong the good sense of the people will interpose and set them to rights. The example of changing a constitution by assembling the wise men Edition: current; Page: [470] of the State, instead of assembling armies, will be worth as much to the world as the former examples we had given them. The constitution too which was the result of our deliberations, is unquestionably the wisest ever yet presented to men, and some of the accommodations of interest which it has adopted are greatly pleasing to me who have before had occasions of seeing how difficult those interests were to accommodate. A general concurrence of opinion seems to authorize us to say it has some defects. I am one of those who think it a defect that the important rights not placed in security by the frame of the constitution itself were not explicitly secured by a supplementary declaration. There are rights which it is useless to surrender to the government, and which governments have yet always been fond to invade. These are the rights of thinking, and publishing our thoughts by speaking or writing; the right of free commerce; the right of personal freedom. There are instruments for administering the government, so peculiarly trust-worthy, that we should never leave the legislature at liberty to change them. The new constitution has secured these in the executive & legislative departments; but not in the judiciary. It should have established trials by the people themselves, that is to say by jury. There are instruments so dangerous to the rights of the nation, and which place them so totally at the mercy of their governors, that those governors, whether legislative or executive, should be restrained from keeping such instruments on foot, but in well-defined cases. Such an instrument is a standing army. We are now allowed Edition: current; Page: [471] to say such a declaration of rights, as a supplement to the constitution where that is silent, is wanting to secure us in these points. The general voice has legitimated this objection. It has not however authorized me to consider as a real defect what I thought and still think one, the perpetual re-eligibility of the president. But three states out of 11. having declared against this, we must suppose we are wrong according to the fundamental law of every society, the lex majoris partis, to which we are bound to submit. And should the majority change their opinion, & become sensible that this trait in their constitution is wrong, I would wish it to remain uncorrected, as long as we can avail ourselves of the services of our great leader, whose talents and whose weight of character I consider as peculiarly necessary to get the government so under way as that it may afterwards be carried on by subordinate characters.

I must give you sincere thanks for the details of small news contained in your letter. You know how precious that kind of information is to a person absent from his country, and how difficult it is to be procured. I hope to receive soon permission to visit America this summer, and to possess myself anew, by conversation with my countrymen, of their spirits & their ideas. I know only the Americans of the year 1784. They tell me this is to be much a stranger to those of 1789. This renewal of acquaintance is no indifferent matter to one acting at such a distance as that instructions cannot be received hot and hot. One of my pleasures too will be that of talking over the old & new with you.

Edition: current; Page: [472]
Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 6, 1789
Paris
Marquis De La Fayette
De La Fayette, Marquis

TO THE MARQUIS DE LA FAYETTE

j. mss.
My Dear Friend,

—As it becomes more & more possible that the noblesse will go wrong, I become uneasy for you. Your principles are decidedly with the tiers etat, and your instructions against them. A complaisance to the latter on some occasions and an adherence to the former on others, may give an appearance of trimming between the two parties which may lose you both. You will in the end go over wholly to the tiers etat, because it will be impossible for you to live in a constant sacrifice of your own sentiments to the prejudices of the Noblesse. But you would be received by the tiers etat at any future day, coldly and without confidence. It appears to me the moment to take at once that honest and manly stand with them which your own principles dictate. This will win their hearts forever, be approved by the world which marks and honours you as the man of the people, and will be an eternal consolation to yourself. The Noblesse, & especially the Noblesse of Auvergne will always prefer men who will do their dirty work for them. You are not made for that. They will therefore soon drop you, and the people in that case will perhaps not take you up. Suppose a scission should take place. The priests and nobles will secede, the nation will remain in place and, with the King, will do it’s own business. If violence should be attempted, where will you be? You cannot then take side with the people in opposition to your own vote, that very vote which will have helped to produce the scission. Still less Edition: current; Page: [473] can you array yourself against the people. That is impossible. Your instructions are indeed a difficulty. But to state this at it’s worst, it is only a single difficulty, which a single effort surmounts. Your instructions can never embarass you a second time, whereas an acquiescence under them will reproduce greater difficulties every day & without end. Besides, a thousand circumstances offer as many justifications of your departure from your instructions. Will it be impossible to persuade all parties that (as for good legislation two Houses are necessary) the placing the privileged classes together in one house and the unprivileged in another, would be better for both than a scission? I own I think it would. People can never agree without some sacrifices: and it appears but a moderate sacrifice in each party to meet on this middle ground. The attempt to bring this about might satisfy your instructions, and a failure in it would justify your siding with the people, even to those who think instructions are laws of conduct. Forgive me, my dear friend, if my anxiety for you makes me talk of things I know nothing about. You must not consider this as advice. I know you and myself too well to presume to offer advice. Receive it merely as the expression of my uneasiness and the effusion of that sincere friendship with which I am, my dear Sir, your’s affectionately.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 10, 1789
Paris
George Washington
Washington, George

TO GEORGE WASHINGTON

j. mss.
Sir,

—I am now to acknolege the honor of your two letters of Nov. 27 and Feb. 13, both of which Edition: current; Page: [474] have come to hand since my last to you of Dec. 4 & 5. The details you are so good as to give me on the subject of the navigation of the waters of the Potowmac and Ohio are very pleasing to me, as I consider the union of these two rivers as among the strongest links of connection between the eastern & western sides of our confederacy. It will moreover add to the commerce of Virginia in particular all the upper parts of the Ohio & it’s waters. Another vast object and of much less difficulty is to add also all the country on the lakes & their waters. This would enlarge our field immensely and would certainly be effected by an union of the upper waters of the Ohio & lake Erie. The Big beaver & Cayahoga offer the most direct line and according to information I received from Genl Hand, and which I had the honor of writing you in the year 1783, the streams in that neighborhood head in lagoons, and the country is flat. With respect to the doubts which you say are entertained by some whether the upper waters of Potowmac can be rendered capable of navigation on account of the falls & rugged banks, they are answered by observing that it is reduced to a maxim that whenever there is water enough to float a batteau, there may be navigation for a batteau. Canals & locks may be necessary, & they are expensive; but I hardly know what expense would be too great for the object in question. Probably negotiations with the Indians, perhaps even settlement must precede the execution of the Cayahoga canal. The states of Maryland and Virginia should make a common object of it. The navigation again between Edition: current; Page: [475] Elizabeth river & the Sound is of vast importance and in my opinion it is much better that these should be done at public than private expense.

Tho’ we have not heard of the actual opening of the New Congress, & consequently have not official information of your election as President of the U. S. yet as there never could be a doubt entertained of it, permit me to express here my felicitations, not to yourself, but to my country. Nobody who has tried both public & private life can doubt but that you were much happier on the banks of the Potowmac than you will be at New York. But there was nobody so well qualified as yourself to put our new machine into a regular course of action, nobody the authority of whose name could have so effectually crushed opposition at home, and produced respect abroad. I am sensible of the immensity of the sacrifice on your part. Your measure of fame was full to the brim: and therefore you have nothing to gain. But there are cases wherein it is a duty to risk all against nothing, and I believe this was exactly the case. We may presume too, according to every rule of probability, that after doing a great deal of good you will be found to have lost nothing but private repose. In a letter to Mr. Jay of the 19 of November I asked a leave of absence to carry my children back to their own country, and to settle various matters of a private nature which were left unsettled because I had no idea of being absent so long. I expected that letter would have been received in time to be decided on by the government then existing. I know now that it would arrive when there Edition: current; Page: [476] was no Congress, and consequently that it must have awaited your arrival at New York. I hope you found the request not an unreasonable one. I am excessively anxious to receive the permission without delay, that I may be able to get back before the winter sets in. Nothing can be so dreadful to me as to be shivering at sea for two or three months in a winter passage. Besides there has never been a moment at which the presence of a minister here could be so well dispensed with, a certainty of no war this summer, and that the government will be so totally absorbed in domestic arrangements as to attend to nothing exterior. Mr. Jay will of course communicate to you some ciphered letters lately written, and one of this date. My public letter to him contains all the interesting public details. I inclose with the present some extracts of a letter from Mr. Payne which he desired me to communicate; your knolege of the writer will justify my giving you the trouble of these communications which their interesting nature and his respectability will jointly recommend to notice.—I am in great pain for the M. de la Fayette. His principles you know are clearly with the people, but having been elected for the Noblesse of Auvergne they have laid him under express instructions to vote for the decision by orders & not persons. This would ruin him with the tiers etat, and it is not possible he could continue long to give satisfaction to the noblesse. I have not hesitated to press on him to burn his instructions & follow his conscience as the only sure clue which will eternally guide a man clear of all doubts & inconsistencies. Edition: current; Page: [477] If he cannot effect a conciliatory plan, he will surely take his stand manfully at once with the tiers etat. He will in that case be what he pleases with them, and I am in hopes that base is now too solid to render it dangerous to be mounted on it.—In hopes of being able in the course of the summer to pay my respects to you personally in New York I have the honour to be with sentiments of the most perfect respect & attachment, Sir, Your most obedient & most humble servant.

Thomas Jefferson
Jefferson, Thomas
May 20. 1789
Paris
Comte De Moustier
De Moustier, Comte

TO COMTE DE MOUSTIER1

Dear Sir,

—I had the honor of writing to you on the 13th of March by the way of London, another conveiance the same way now occurring, I avail myself of it to send you a list of the deputies to the States general, which I presume will be interesting to you. You will already have received the speeches of the King, Garde des sceaux, & Mr. Necker, as I know that M. de Montmorin wrote to you the evening of the day on which they appeared, & sent his letter by the Bordeaux packet. You are doubtless informed that a difference among the orders as to the manner of voting suspends all their proceedings. They continue inactive, and many despair of their ever getting under way. The truth is that this revolution has gone on so happily till now, and met with so few obstacles, that your countrymen are frightened at seeing that the machine is stopped and that no way yet presents itself of getting over the difficulty.

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I see nothing to fear as yet, the nation is in a movement which cannot be stopped, their representatives, if they cannot get on one way, will try another.

The mind of man is full of expedients, and this is the case where all will be tried. I think that in the end the nobles will be obliged to yield to the vote by persons, because the Tiers are more unanimous, more inflexible, and more formidable. They have for them also a part of the Noblesse, the majority of the clergy (to wit, le bas-clergé) the nation, and the body of the army.

The officers of the army, the bishops, and about four fifths of the nobles which form the opposition, cannot make head against such a mass.—The Cardinal de Lomenie is reposing under the shadow of his new hat at Pisa, where he is greatly courted, his colleague M. de Lamoignon late garde de sceaux, shot himself four days ago, as the world says, but as his friends say was killed by the accidental discharge of his own fusil. The Grand Seignior is dead.

The Emperor will certainly soon follow him and the war will probably go on this year in the state in which it was at the close of the last campaign, that is to say, without any accession of other powers.

The present state of the K. of England promises a long and wholesome inactivity in that kingdom, and may perhaps bridle the King of Prussia from making any effort to change the succession of the empire, which he would be disposed to attempt.—I should have observed to you that your parliaments have been for some time past as quiet as if they were already entombed. It is a great presumption in me Edition: current; Page: [479] to write to you, because you will get so much better information from your friends: but it is to shew you how acceptable your communications are to me, and how willing I am to do something for them. Present me with great affection to Madame de Brehan. I am in hourly expectation of receiving my leave of absence, and shall leave Paris the instant I receive it, and flatter myself soon to assure you both in person of those sentiments of esteem & respect with which I have the honor to be, Dear Sir, your most obedt. humble servt.

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