Dear Sir,I dropped you a line on the 10th, informing you of a nomination I had made of you to the Senate, and yesterday I enclosed you their approbation, not then having time to write. The agitation of the public mind on occasion of the late suspension of our right of deposit at New Orleans is extreme. In the western country it is natural, and grounded on honest motives. In the sea ports it proceeds from a desire for war, which increases the mercantile lottery: in the federalists, generally, and especially those of Congress, the object is to force us into war if possible, in order to derange our finances, or if this cannot be done, to attach the western country to them, as their best friends, and thus get again into power. Remonstrances, memorials, etc., are now circulating through the whole of the western country, and signed by the body of the people. The measures we have been pursuing, being invisible, do not satisfy their minds. Something sensible, therefore, has become necessary ; and indeed our object of purchasing New Orleans and the Floridas is a measure liable to assume so many shapes, that no instructions could be squared to fit them. It was essential then, to send a minister extraordinary, to be joined with the ordinary one, with discretionary powers; first, however, well impressed with all our views, and therefore qualified to meet and modify to these every form of proposition which could come from the other party. This could be done only in full and frequent oral communications. Having determined on this, there could not be two opinions among the republicans as to the person. You possessed the unlimited confidence of the administration and of the western people ; and generally of the republicans everywhere ; and were you to refuse to go, no other man can be found who does this. The measure has already silenced the federalists here. Congress will no longer be agitated by them; and the country will become calm fast as the information extends over it. All eyes, all hopes are now fixed on you; and were you to decline, the chagrin would be universal, and would shake under your feet the high ground on which you stand with the public. Indeed, I know nothing which would produce such a shock. For on the event of this mission depend the future destinies of this republic. If we cannot by a purchase of the country, insure to ourselves a course of perpetual peace and friendship with all nations, then as war cannot be distant, it behooves us immediately to be preparing for that course, without, however, hastening it; and it may be necessary (on your failure on the continent) to cross the channel. We shall get entangled in European politics, and figuring more, be much less happy and prosperous. This can only be prevented by a successful issue to your present mission. I am sensible after the measures you have taken for getting into a different line of business, that it will be a great sacrifice on your part, and presents from the season and other circumstances serious difficulties. But some men are born for the public. Nature by fitting them for the service of the human race on a broad scale, has stamped them with the evidences of her destination and their duty.
But I am particularly concerned, that, in the present case, you have more than one sacrifice to make. To reform the prodigalities of our predecessors is understood to be peculiarly our duty, and to bring the government to a simple and economical course. They, in order to increase expense, debt, taxation and patronage, tried always how much they could give. The outfit given to ministers resident to enable them to furnish their house, but given by no nation to a temporary minister, who is never expected to take a house or to entertain, but considered on the footing of a voyageur, they gave to their extraordinary ministers by wholesale. In the beginning of our administration, among other articles of reformation in expense, it was determined not to give an outfit to ministers extraordinary, and not to incur the expense with any minister of sending a frigate to carry or bring him. The Boston happened to be going to the Mediterranean, and was permitted, therefore, to take up Mr. Livingston, and touch in a port of France. A frigate was denied to Charles Pinckney, and has been refused to Mr. King for his return. Mr. Madisons friendship and mine to you being so well known, the public will have eagle eyes to watch if we grant you any indulgences out of the general rule; and on the other hand, the example set in your case will be more cogent on future ones and produce greater approbation to our conduct. The allowance, therefore, will be in this, and all similar cases, all the expenses of your journey and voyage, taking a ships cabin to yourself, nine thousand dollars a year from your leaving home till the proceedings of your mission are terminated, and then the quarters salary for the expenses of your return, as prescribed by law. As to the time of your going, you cannot too much hasten it, as the moment in France is critical. St. Domingo delays their taking possession of Louisiana, and they are in the last distress for money for current purposes. You should arrange your affairs for an absence of a year at least, perhaps for a long one. It will be necessary for you to stay here some days on your way to New York. You will receive here what advance you choose. Accept assurances of my constant and affectionate attachment.
I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of August the 16th and October the 4th. The latter I received with peculiar satisfaction; because, while it holds up terms which cannot be entirely yielded, it proposes such as a mutual spirit of accommodation and sacrifice of opinion may bring to some point of union. While we were preparing on this subject such modifications of the propositions of your letter of October the 4th, as we could assent to, an event happened which obliged us to adopt measures of urgency. The suspension of the right of deposit at New Orleans, ceded to us by our treaty with Spain, threw our whole country into such a ferment as imminently threatened its peace. This, however, was believed to be the act of the Intendant, unauthorized by his government. But it showed the necessity of making effectual arrangements to secure the peace of the two countries against the indiscreet acts of subordinate agents. The urgency of the case, as well as the public spirit, therefore induced us to make a more solemn appeal to the justice and judgment of our neighbors, by sending a minister extraordinary to impress them with the necessity of some arrangement. Mr. Monroe has been selected. His good dispositions cannot be doubted. Multiplied conversations with him, and views of the subject taken in all the shapes in which it can present itself, have possessed him with our estimates of everything relating to it, with a minuteness which no written communication to Mr. Livingston could ever have attained. These will prepare them to meet and decide on every form of proposition which can occur, without awaiting new instructions from hence, which might draw to an indefinite length a discussion where circumstances imperiously oblige us to a prompt decision. For the occlusion of the Mississippi is a state of things in which we can not exist. He goes, therefore, joined with Chancellor Livingston, to aid in the issue of a crisis the most important the United States have ever met since their independence, and which is to decide their future character and career. The confidence which the government of France reposes in you, will undoubtedly give great weight to your information. An equal confidence on our part, founded on your knowledge of the subject, your just views of it, your good dispositions towards this country, and my long experience of your personal faith and friendship, assures me that you will render between us all the good offices in your power. The interests of the two countries being absolutely the same as to this matter, your aid may be conscientiously given. It will often perhaps, be possible for you, having a freedom of communication, omnibus horis, which diplomatic gentlemen will be excluded from by forms, to smooth difficulties by representations and reasonings, which would be received with more suspicion from them. You will thereby render great good to both countries. For our circumstances are so imperious as to admit of no delay as to our course ; and the use of the Mississippi so indispensable, that we cannot hesitate one moment to hazard our existence for its maintenance. If we fail in this effort to put it beyond the reach of accident, we see the destinies we have to run, and prepare at once for them. Not but that we shall still endeavor to go on in peace and friendship with our neighbors as long as we can, if our rights of navigation and deposit are respected; but as we foresee that the caprices of the local officers, and the abuse of those rights by our boatmen and navigators, which neither government can prevent, will keep up a state of irritation which cannot long be kept inactive, we should be criminally improvident not to take at once eventual measures for strengthening ourselves for the contest. It may be said, if this object be so all-important to us, why do we not offer such a sum so as to insure its purchase ? The answer is simple. We are an agricultural people, poor in money, and owing great debts. These will be falling due by instalments for fifteen years to come, and require from us the practice of a rigorous economy to accomplish their payment; and it is our principle to pay to a moment whatever we have engaged, and never to engage what we cannot, and mean not faithfully to pay. We have calculated our resources, and find the sum to be moderate which they would enable us to pay, and we know from late trials that little can be added to it by borrowing. The country, too, which we wish to purchase, except the portion already granted, and which must be confirmed to the private holders, is a barren sand, six hundred miles from east to west, and from thirty to forty and fifty miles from north to south, formed by deposition of the sands by the Gulf Stream in its circular course round the Mexican Gulf, and which being spent after performing a semicircle, has made from its last depositions the sand bank of East Florida. In West Florida, indeed, there are on the borders of the rivers some rich bottoms, formed by the mud brought from the upper country. These bottoms are all possessed by individuals. But the spaces between river and river are mere banks of sand; and in East Florida there are neither rivers, nor consequently any bottoms. We cannot then make anything by a sale of the lands to individuals. So that it is peace alone which makes it an object with us, and which ought to make the cession of it desirable to France. Whatever power, other than ourselves, holds the country east of the Mississippi, becomes our natural enemy. Will such a possession do France as much good, as such an enemy may do her harm ? And how long would it be hers, were such an enemy, situated at its door, added to Great Britain ? I confess, it appears to me as essential to France to keep at peace with us, as it is to us to keep at peace with her; and that, if this cannot be secured without some compromise as to the territory in question, it will be useful for both to make some sacrifices to effect the compromise.
You see, my good friend, with what frankness I communicate with you on this subject; that I hide nothing from you, and that I am endeavoring to turn our private friendship to the good of our respective countries. And can private friendship ever answer a nobler end than by keeping two nations at peace, who if this new position which one of them is taking were rendered innocent, have more points of common interest, and fewer of collision, than any two on Earth, who become natural friends, instead of natural enemies, which this change of position would make them. My letters of April the 25th, May the 5th, and this present one have been written, without any disguise, in this view; and while safe in your hands they can never do anything but good. But you and I are now at that time of life when our call to another state of being cannot be distant, and may be near. Besides, your government is in the habit of seizing papers without notice. These letters might thus get into hands, which, like the hornet which extracts poison from the same flower that yields honey to the bee, might make them the ground of blowing up a flame between our two countries, and make our friendship and confidence in each other effect exactly the reverse of what we are aiming at. Being yourself thoroughly possessed of every idea in them, let me ask from your friendship an immediate consignment of them to the flames. That alone can make all safe, and ourselves secure.
I intended to have answered you here, on the subject of your agency in the transacting what money matters we may have at Paris, and for that purpose meant to have conferred with Mr. Gallatin. But he has, for two or three days, been confined to his room, and is not yet able to do business. If he is out before Mr. Monroes departure, I will write an additional letter on that subject. Be assured that it will be a great additional satisfaction to me to render services to yourself and sons by the same acts which shall at the same time promote the public service. Be so good as to present my respectful salutations to Madame Dupont, and to accept yourself assurances of my constant and affectionate friendship and great respect.
My last to you was by Mr. Dupont. Since that I received yours of May 22d. Mr. Madison supposes you have written a subsequent one which has never come to hand. A late suspension by the Intendant of New Orleans of our right of deposit there, without which the right of navigation is impracticable, has thrown this country into such a flame of hostile disposition as can scarcely be described. The Western country was peculiarly sensible to it as you may suppose. Our business was to take the most effectual pacific measures in our power to remove the suspension, and at the same time to persuade our countrymen that pacific measures would be the most effectual and the most speedily so. The opposition caught it as a plank in a shipwreck, hoping it would enable them to tack the Western people to them. They raised the cry of war, were intriguing in all quarters to exasperate the Western inhabitants to arm and go down on their own authority and possess themselves of New Orleans, and in the meantime were daily reiterating, in new shapes, inflammatory resolutions for the adoption of the House. As a remedy to all this we determined to name a minister extraordinary to go immediately to Paris and Madrid to settle this matter. This measure being a visible one, and the person named peculiarly proper with the Western country, crushed at once and put an end to all further attempts on the Legislature. From that moment all has become quiet; and the more readily in the Western country, as the sudden alliance of these new federal friends had of itself already began to make them suspect the wisdom of their own course. The measure was moreover proposed from another cause. We must know at once whether we can acquire New Orleans or not. We are satisfied nothing else will secure us against a war at no distant period; and we cannot press this reason without beginning those arrangements which will be necessary if war is hereafter to result. For this purpose it was necessary that the negotiators should be fully possessed of every idea we have on the subject, so as to meet the propositions of the opposite party, in whatever form they may be offered; and give them a shape admissible by us without being obliged to await new instructions hence. With this view, we have joined Mr. Monroe with yourself at Paris, and to Mr. Pintency at Madrid, although we believe it will be hardly necessary for him to go to this last place. Should we fail in this object of the mission, a further one will be superadded for the other side of the channel. On this subject you will be informed by the Secretary of State, and Mr. Monroe will be able also to inform you of all our views and purposes. By him I send another letter to Dupont, whose aid may be of the greatest service, as it will be divested of the shackles of form. The letter is left open for your perusal, after which I wish a wafer stuck in it before it be delivered. The official and the verbal communications to you by Mr. Monroe will be so full and minute, that I need not trouble you with an inofficial repetition of them. The future destinies of our country hang on the event of this negotiation, and I am sure they could not be placed in more able or more zealous hands. On our parts we shall be satisfied that what you do not effect, cannot be effected. Accept therefore assurances of my sincere and constant affection and high respect.
It is long since I might have acknowledged your favor of May 20, 1801, which, however, I did not receive till January, 1802. My incessant occupations on matters which will not bear delay, occasion those which can be put off to lie often for a considerable time. I rejoice that the opinion which I gave you on the removal hither proved useful. I knew it was not safe for you to take such a step until it would be done on sure ground. I hoped at that time that some canal shares, which were at the disposal of General Washington, might have been applied towards the establishment of a good seminary of learning ; but he had already proceeded too far on another plan to change their direction. I have still had constantly in view to propose to the legislature of Virginia the establishment of one on as large a scale as our present circumstances would require or bear. But as yet no favorable moment has occurred. In the meanwhile I am endeavoring to procure materials for a good plan. With this view I am to ask the favor of you to give me a sketch of the branches of science taught in your college, how they are distributed among the professors, that is to say, how many professors there are, and what branches of science are allotted to each professor, and the days and hours assigned to each branch. Your successful experience in the distribution of business will be a valuable guide to us, who are without experience. I am sensible I am imposing on your goodness a troublesome task ; but I believe every son of science feels a strong and disinterested desire of promoting it in every part of the earth, and it is the consciousness as well as confidence in this which emboldens me to make the present request.
In the line of science we have little new here. Our citizens almost all follow some industrious occupation, and, therefore, have little time to devote to abstract science. In the arts, and especially in the mechanical arts, many ingenious improvements are made in consequence of the patent-right giving exclusive use of them for fourteen years. But the great mass of our people are agricultural; and the commercial cities, though, by the commend of newspapers, they make a great deal of noise, have little effect in the direction of the government. They are as different in sentiment and character from the country people as any two distinct nations, and are clamorous against the order of things established by the agricultural interest. Under this order, our citizens generally are enjoying a very great degree of liberty and security in the most temperate manner. Every man being at his ease, feels an interest in the preservation of order, and comes forth to preserve it at the first call of the magistrate. We are endeavoring, too, to reduce the government to the practice of a rigorous economy, to avoid burdening the people, and arming the magistrate with a patronage of money, which might be used to corrupt and undermine the principles of our government. I state these general outlines to you, because I believe you take some interest in our fortune, and because our newspapers, for the most part, present only the caricatures of disaffected minds. Indeed, the abuses of the freedom of the press here have been carried to a length never before known or borne by any civilized nation. But it is so difficult to draw a clear line of separation between the abuse and the wholesome use of the press, that as yet we have found it better to trust the public judgment, rather than the magistrate, with the discrimination between truth and falsehood. And hitherto the public judgment has performed that office with wonderful correctness. Should you favor me with a letter, the safest channel of conveyance will be the American minister at Paris or London. I pray you to accept assurances of my great esteem, and high respect and consideration.
Your favor of the 14th was received on the same day, and will be duly attended to in the course of our affairs with the Creeks. In keeping agents among the Indians, two objects are principally in view : 1. The preservation of peace ; 2. The obtaining lands. Towards effecting the latter object, we consider the leading the Indians to agriculture as the principal means from which we can expect much effect in future. When they shall cultivate small spots of earth, and see how useless their extensive forests are, they will sell, from time to time, to help out their personal labor in stocking their farms, and procuring clothes and comforts from our trading houses. Towards the attainment of our two objects of peace and lands, it is essential that our agent acquire that sort of influence over the Indians which rests on confidence. In this respect, I suppose that no man has ever obtained more influence than Colonel Hawkins. Towards the preservation of peace, he is omnipotent; in the encouragement of agriculture, he is indefatigable and successful. These are important portions of his duty. But doubts are entertained by some whether he is not more attached to the interests of the Indians than of the United States ; whether he is willing they should cede lands, when they are willing to do it. If his own solemn protestations can command any faith, he urges the ceding lands as far as he finds it practicable to induce them. He only refuses to urge what he knows cannot be obtained. He is not willing to destroy his own influence by pressing what he knows can not be obtained. This is his representation. Against this I should not be willing to substitute suspicion for proof; but I shall always be open to any proofs that he obstructs cessions of land which the Indians are willing to make ; and of this, Sir, you may be assured, that he shall be placed under as strong a pressure from the executive to obtain cessions as he can feel from any opposite quarter to obstruct. He shall be made sensible that his value will be estimated by us in proportion to the benefits he can obtain for us. I am myself alive to the obtaining lands from the Indians by all honest and peaceable means, and I believe that the honest and peaceable means adopted by us will obtain them as fast as the expansion of our settlements, with due regard to compactness, will require. The war department, charged with Indian affairs, is under the impression of these principles, and will second my views with sincerity. And, in the present case, besides the official directions which will go to Colonel Hawkins, immediately to spare no efforts from which any success can be hoped to obtain the residue of the Oconee and Oakmulgee fork, I shall myself write to Colonel Hawkins, and possess him fully of my views and expectations; and this with such explanations as I trust will bring him cordially into them, as they are unquestionably equally for the interest of the Indians and ourselves.
I have availed myself of the occasion furnished by your letter of explaining to you my views on this subject with candor, and of assuring you they shall be pursued unremittingly. When speaking of the Oakmulgee fork, I ought to have added, that we shall do whatever can be done properly in behalf of Waffords settlement; and that as to the South-Eastern road, it will be effected, as we consider ourselves entitled, on principles acknowledged by all men, to an innocent passage through the lands of a neighbor, and to admit no refusal of it. Accept assurances of my great esteem and high consideration.
Mr. Hills return to you offers so safe a conveyance for a letter, that I feel irresistibly disposed to write one, though there is but little to write about. You have been so long absent from this part of the world, and the state of society so changed in that time, that details respecting those who compose it are no longer interesting or intelligible to you. One source of great change in social intercourse arose while you Were with us, though its effects were as yet scarcely sensible on society or government. I mean the British treaty, which produced a schism that went on widening and rankling till the years 98, 99, when a final dissolution of all bonds, civil and social, appeared imminent. In that awful crisis, the people awaked from the frenzy into which they had been thrown, began to return to their sober and ancient principles, and have now become five-sixths of one sentiment, to wit, for peace, economy, and a government bottomed on popular election in its legislative and executive branches. In the public counsels the federal party hold still one-third. This, however, will lessen, but not exactly to the standard of the people ; because it will be forever seen that of bodies of men even elected by the people, there will always be a greater proportion aristocratic than among their constituents. The present administration had a task imposed on it which was unavoidable, and could not fail to exert the bitterest hostility in those opposed to it. The preceding administration left ninety-nine out of every hundred in public offices of the federal sect. Republicanism had been the mark on Cain which had rendered those who bore it exiles from all portion in the trusts and authorities of their country. This description of citizens called imperiously and justly for a restoration of right. It was intended, however, to have yielded to this in so moderate a degree as might conciliate those who had obtained exclusive possession; but as soon as they were touched, they endeavored to set fire to the four corners of the public fabric, and obliged us to deprive of the influence of office several who were using it with activity and vigilance to destroy the confidence of the people in their government, and thus to proceed in the drudgery of removal farther than would have been, had not their own hostile enterprises rendered it necessary in self-defence. But I think it will not be long before the whole nation will be consolidated in their ancient principles, excepting a few who have committed themselves beyond recall, and who will retire to obscurity and settled disaffection.
Although you will receive, through the official channel of the War Office, every communication necessary to develop to you our views respecting the Indians, and to direct your conduct, yet, supposing it will be satisfactory to you, and to those with whom you are placed, to understand my personal dispositions and opinions in this particular, I shall avail myself of this private letter to state them generally. I consider the business of hunting as already become insufficient to furnish clothing and subsistence to the Indians. The promotion of agriculture, therefore, and household manufacture, are essential in their preservation, and I am disposed to aid and encourage it liberally. This will enable them to live on much smaller portions of land, and, indeed, will render their vast forests useless but for the range of cattle; for which purpose, also, as they become better farmers, they will be found useless, and even disadvantageous. While they are learning to do better on less land, our increasing numbers will be calling for more land, and thus a coincidence of interests will be produced between those who have lands to spare, and want other necessaries, and those who have such necessaries to spare, and want lands. This commerce, then, will be for the good of both, and those who are friends to both ought to encourage it. You are in the station peculiarly charged with this interchange, and who have it peculiarly in your power to promote among the Indians a sense of the superior value of a little land, well cultivated, over a great deal, unimproved, and to encourage them to make this estimate truly. The wisdom of the animal which amputates and abandons to the hunter the parts for which he is pursued should be theirs, with this difference, that the former sacrifices what is useful, the latter what is not. In truth, the ultimate point of rest and happiness for them is to let our settlements and theirs meet and blend together, to intermix, and become one people. Incorporating themselves with us as citizens of the United States, this is what the natural progress of things will, of course, bring on, and it will be better to promote than to retard it. Surely it will be better for them to be identified with us, and preserved in the occupation of their lands, than be exposed to the many casualties which may endanger them while a separate people. I have little doubt but that your reflections must have led you to view the various ways in which their history may terminate, and to see that this is the one most for their happiness. And we have already had an application from a settlement of Indians to become citizens of the United States. It is possible, perhaps probable, that this idea may be so novel as that it might shock the Indians, were it even hinted to them. Of course, you will keep it for your own reflection; but, convinced of its soundness, I feel it consistent with pure morality to lead them towards it, to familiarize them to the idea that it is for their interest to cede lands at times to the United States, and for us thus to procure gratifications to our citizens, from time to time, by new acquisitions of land. From no quarter is there at present so strong a pressure on this subject as from Georgia for the residue of the fork of Oconee and Oakmulgee ; and, indeed, I believe it will be difficult to resist it. As it has been mentioned that the Creeks had at one time made up their minds to sell this, and were only checked in it by some indiscretion of an individual, I am in hopes you will be able to bring them to it again. I beseech you to use your most earnest endeavors ; for it will relieve us here from a great pressure, and yourself from the unreasonable suspicions of the Georgians which you notice, that you are more attached to the interests of the Indians than of the United States, and throw cold water on their willingness to part with lands. It is so easy to excite suspicion, that none are to be wondered at; but I am in hopes it will be in your power to quash them by effecting the object.
Mr. Madison enjoys better health since his removal to this place than he had done in Orange. Mr. Giles is in a state of health feared to be irrecoverable, although he may hold on for some time, and perhaps be re-established. Browze Trist is now in the Mississippi territory, forming an establishment for his family, which is still in Albemarle, and will remove to the Mississippi in the spring. Mrs. Trist, his mother, begins to yield a little to time. I retain myself very perfect health, having not had twenty hours of fever in forty-two years past. I have sometimes had a troublesome headache, and some slight rheumatic pains ; but now sixty years old nearly, I have had as little to complain of in point of health as most people, I learn you have the gout. I did not expect that Indian cookery or Indian fare would produce that; but it is considered as a security for good health otherwise. That it may be so with you, I sincerely pray, and tender you my friendly and respectful salutations.
I enclose to you a copy of two discourses sent you by Mr. Lalepida through the hands of Mr. Paine, who delivered them with some sent me. What follows in that letter is strictly confidential. You know we have been many years wishing to have the Missouri explored, and whatever river, heading with that, runs into the western ocean. Congress, in some secret proceedings, have yielded to a proposition I made them for permitting me to have it done. It is to be undertaken immediately, with a party of about ten, and I have appointed Captain Lewis, my Secretary, to conduct it. It was impossible to find a character who, to a complete science in Botany, Natural History, Mineralogy and Astronomy, joined the firmness of constitution and character, prudence, habits adapted to the woods, and familiarity with the Indian manners and character, requisite for this undertaking. All the latter qualifications Captain Lewis has. Although no regular botanist, etc., he possesses a remarkable store of accurate observation on all the subjects of the three kingdoms, and will, therefore, readily single out whatever presents itself new to him in either; and he has qualified himself for taking the observations of longitude and latitude necessary to fix the geography of the line he passes through. In order to draw his attention at once to the objects most desirable, I must ask the favor of you to prepare for him a note of those in the lines of botany, zoology, or of Indian history, which you think most worthy of enquiry and observation. He will be with you in Philadelphia in two or three weeks, and will wait on you, and receive thankfully on paper, and any verbal communications which you may be so good as to make to him. I make no apology for this trouble, because I know that the same wish to promote science which has induced me to bring forward this proposition, will induce you to aid in promoting it. Accept assurances of my friendly esteem and high respect.
While at Monticello in August last I received your favor of August 8th, and meant to have acknowledged it on my return to the seat of government at the close of the ensuing month, but on my return I found that you were expected to be on here in person, and this expectation continued till winter. I have since received your favor of December 30th.
In the former you mentioned the plan of the town which you had done me the honor to name after me, and to lay out according to an idea I had formerly expressed to you. I am thoroughly persuaded that it will be found handsome and pleasant, and I do believe it to be the best means of preserving the cities of America from the scourge of the yellow fever, which being peculiar to our country, must be derived from some peculiarity in it. That peculiarity I take to be our cloudless skies. In Europe, where the sun does not shine more than half the number of days in the year which it does in America, they can build their town in a solid block with impunity; but here a constant sun produces too great an accumulation of heat to admit that. Ventilation is indispensably necessary. Experience has taught us that in the open air of the country the yellow fever is not only not generated, but ceases to be infectious. I cannot decide from the drawing you sent me, whether you have laid off streets round the squares thus : or only the diagonal streets therein marked. The former was my idea, and is, I imagine, most convenient.
You will receive herewith an answer to your letter as President of the Convention ; and from the Secretary of War you receive from time to time information and instructions as to our Indian affairs. These communications being for the public records, are restrained always to particular objects and occasions ; but this letter being unofficial and private, I may with safety give you a more extensive view of our policy respecting the Indians, that you may the better comprehend the parts dealt out to you in detail through the official channel, and observing the system of which they make a part, conduct yourself in unison with it in cases where you are obliged to act without instruction. Our system is to live in perpetual peace with the Indians, to cultivate an affectionate attachment from them, by everything just and liberal which we can do for them within the bounds of reason, and by giving them effectual protection against wrongs from our own people. The decrease of game rendering their subsistence by hunting insufficient, we wish to draw them to agriculture, to spinning and weaving. The latter branches they take up with great readiness, because they fall to the women, who gain by quitting the labors of the field for those which are exercised within doors. When they withdraw themselves to the culture of a small piece of land, they will perceive how useless to them are their extensive forests, and will be willing to pare them off from time to time in exchange for necessaries for their farms and families. To promote this disposition to exchange lands, which they have to spare and we want, for necessaries, which we have to spare and they want, we shall push our trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands. At our trading houses, too, we mean to sell so low as merely to repay us cost and charges, so as neither to lessen nor enlarge our capital. This is what private traders cannot do, for they must gain ; they will consequently retire from the competition, and we shall thus get clear of this pest without giving offence or umbrage to the Indians. In this way our settlements will gradually circumscribe and approach the Indians, and they will in time either incorporate with us as citizens of the United States, or remove beyond the Mississippi. The former is certainly the termination of their history most happy for themselves ; but, in the whole course of this, it is essential to cultivate their love. As to their fear, we presume that our strength and their weakness is now so visible that they must see we have only to shut our hand to crush them, and that all our liberalities to them proceed from motives of pure humanity only. Should any tribe be foolhardy enough to take up the hatchet at any time, the seizing the whole country of that tribe, and driving them across the Mississippi, as the only condition of peace, would be an example to others, and a furtherance of our final consolidation.
Combined with these views, and to be prepared against the occupation of Louisiana, by a powerful and enterprising people, it is important that, setting less value on interior extension of purchases from the Indians, we bend our whole views to the purchase and settlement of the country on the Mississippi, from its mouth to its northern regions, that we may be able to present as strong a front on our western as on our eastern border, and plant on the Mississippi itself the means of its own defence. We now own from 31° to the Yazoo, and hope this summer to purchase what belongs to the Choctaws from the Yazoo up to their boundary, supposed to be about opposite the mouth of Acanza. We wish at the same time to begin in your quarter, for which there is at present a favorable opening. The Cahokias extinct, we are entitled to their country by our paramount sovereignty. The Piorias, we understand, have all been driven off from their country, and we might claim it in the same way; but as we understand there is one chief remaining, who would, as the survivor of the tribe, sell the right, it is better to give him such terms as will make him easy for life, and take a conveyance from him. The Kaskaskias being reduced to a few families, I presume we may purchase their whole country for what would place every individual of them at his ease, and be a small price to us,say by laying off for each family, whenever they would choose it, as much rich land as they could cultivate, adjacent to each other, enclosing the whole in a single fence, and giving them such an annuity in money or goods forever as would place them in happiness ; and we might take them also under the protection of the United States. Thus possessed of the rights of these tribes, we should proceed to the settling their boundaries with the Poutewatamies and Kickapoos ; claiming all doubtful territory, but paying them a price for the relinquishment of their concurrent claim, and even prevailing on them, if possible, to cede, for, a price, such of their own unquestioned territory as would give us a convenient northern boundary. Before broaching this, and while we are bargaining with the Kaskaskies, the minds of the Poutewatamies and Kickapoos should be soothed and conciliated by liberalities and sincere assurances of friendship. Perhaps by sending a well-qualified character to stay some time in Decoignes village, as if on other business, and to sound him and introduce the subject by degrees to his mind and that of the other heads of families, inculcating in the way of conversation, all those considerations which prove the advantages they would receive by a cession on these terms, the object might be more easily and effectually obtained than by abruptly proposing it to them at a formal treaty. Of the means, however, of obtaining what we wish, you will be the best judge ; and I have given you this view of the system which we suppose will best promote the interests of the Indians and ourselves, and finally consolidate our whole country to one nation only ; that you may be enabled the better to adapt your means to the object, for this purpose we have given you a general commission for treating. The crisis is pressing; what ever can now be obtained must be obtained quickly, The occupation of New Orleans, hourly expected, by the French, is already felt like a light breeze by the Indians. You know the sentiments they entertain of that nation; under the hope of their protection they will immediately stiffen against cessions of lands to us. We had better, therefore, do at once what can now be done.
I must repeat that this letter is to be considered as private and friendly, and is not to control any particular instructions which you may receive through official channel. You will also perceive how sacredly it must be kept within your own breast, and especially how improper to be understood by the Indians. For their interests and their tranquillity it is best they should see only the present age of their history. I pray you to accept assurances of my esteem and high consideration.
While on a short visit lately to Monticello, I received from you a copy of your comparative view of Socrates and Jesus, and I avail myself of the first moment of leisure after my return to acknowledge the pleasure I had in the perusal of it, and the desire it excited to see you take up the subject on a more extended scale. In consequence of some conversation with Dr. Rush, in the year 1798-99, I had promised some day to write him a letter giving him my view of the Christian system. I have reflected often on it since, and even sketched the outlines in my own mind. I should first take a general view of the moral doctrines of the most remarkable of the ancient philosophers, of whose ethics we have sufficient information to make an estimate, say Pythagoras, Epicurus, Epictetus, Socrates, Cicero, Seneca, Antoninus. I should do justice to the branches of morality they have treated well ; but point out the importance of those in which they are deficient. I should then take a view of the deism and ethics of the Jews, and show in what a degraded state they were, and the necessity they presented of a reformation. I should proceed to a view of the life, character, and doctrines of Jesus, who sensible of incorrectness of their ideas of the Deity, and of morality, endeavored to bring them to the principles of a pure deism, and juster notions of the attributes of God, to reform their moral doctrines to the standard of reason, justice and philanthropy, and to inculcate the belief of a future state. This view would purposely omit the question of his divinity, and even his inspiration. To do him justice, it would be necessary to remark the disadvantages his doctrines had to encounter, not having been committed to writing by himself, but by the most unlettered of men, by memory, long after they had heard them from him ; when much was forgotten, much misunderstood, and presented in every paradoxical shape. Yet such are the fragments remaining as to show a master workman, and that his system of morality was the most benevolent and sublime probably that has been ever taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the ancient philosophers. His character and doctrines have received still greater injury from those who pretend to be his special disciples, and who have disfigured and sophisticated his actions and precepts, from views of personal interest, so as to induce the unthinking part of mankind to throw off the whole system in disgust, and to pass sentence as an impostor on the most innocent, the most benevolent, the most eloquent and sublime character that ever has been exhibited to man. This is the outline; but I have not the time, and still less the information which the subject needs. It will, therefore, rest with me in contemplation only. You are the person of all others would do it best, and most promptly. You have all the materials at hand, and you put together with ease. I wish you could be induced to extend your late work to the whole subject. I have not heard particularly what is the state of your health; but as it has been equal to the journey to Philadelphia, perhaps it might encourage the curiosity you must feel to see for once this place, which nature has formed on a beautiful scale, and circumstances destine for a great one. As yet we are but a cluster of villages ; we cannot offer you the learned society of Philadelphia ; but you will have that of a few characters whom you esteem, and a bed and hearty welcome with one who will rejoice in every opportunity of testifying to you his high veneration and affectionate attachment.
I now return the Sermon you were so kind as to enclose me, having perused it with attention. The reprinting it by me, as you have proposed, would very readily be ascribed to hypocritical affectation, by those who, when they cannot blame our acts, have recourse to the expedient of imputing them to bad motives. This is a resource which can never fail them, because there is no act, however virtuous, for which ingenuity may not find some bad motive. I must also add that though I concur with the author in considering the moral precepts of Jesus as more pure, correct, and sublime than those of the ancient philosophers, yet I do not concur with him in the mode of proving it. He thinks it necessary to libel and decry the doctrines of the philosophers ; but a man must be blinded, indeed, by prejudice, who can deny them a great degree of merit. I give them their just due, and yet maintain that the morality of Jesus, as taught by himself, and freed from the corruptions of latter times, is far superior. Their philosophy went chiefly to the government of our passions, so far as respected ourselves, and the procuring our own tranquillity. In our duties to others they were short and deficient. They extended their cares scarcely beyond our kindred and friends individually, and our country in the abstract. Jesus embraced with charity and philanthropy our neighbors, our countrymen, and the whole family of mankind. They confined themselves to actions ; he pressed his sentiments into the region of our thoughts, and called for purity at the fountain head. In a pamphlet lately published in Philadelphia by Dr. Priestley, he has treated, with more justice and skill than Mr. Bennet, a small portion of this subject. His is a comparative view of Socrates only with Jesus. I have urged him to take up the subject on a broader scale.
Every word which goes from me, whether verbally or in writing, becomes the subject of so much malignant distortion, and perverted construction, that I am obliged to caution my friends against admitting the possibility of my letters getting into the public papers, or a copy of them to be taken under any degree of confidence. The present one is perhaps of a tenor to silence some calumniators, but I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance, or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others. On the contrary we are bound, you, I, and every one, to make common cause, even with error itself, to maintain the common right of freedom of conscience. We ought with one heart and one hand to hew down the daring and dangerous efforts of those who would seduce the public opinion to substitute itself into that tyranny over religious faith which the laws have so justly abdicated. For this reason, were my opinions up to the standard of those who arrogate the right of questioning them, I would not countenance that arrogance by descending to an explanation. Accept my friendly salutations and high esteem.
The Act of Congress 1789, c. 9, assumes on the General Government the maintenance and repair of all lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and public piers then existing, and provides for the building a new lighthouse. This was done under the authority given by the Constitution "to regulate commerce," was contested at the time as not within the meaning of these terms, and yielded to only on the urgent necessity of the case. The Act of 1802, c. 20, f. 8, for repairing and erecting public piers in the Delaware, does not take any new groundit is in strict conformity with the Act of 1789. While we pursue, then, the construction of the Legislature, that the repairing and erecting lighthouses, beacons, buoys, and piers, is authorized as belonging to the regulation of commerce, we must take care not to go ahead of them, and strain the meaning of the terms still further to the clearing out the channels of all the rivers, etc., of the United States. The removing a sunken vessel is not the repairing of a pier.
How far the authority "to levy taxes to provide for the common defence," and that "for providing and maintaining a navy," may authorize the removing obstructions in a river or harbor, is a question not involved in the present case.
I thank you for the information on the subject of navigation of the Herville contained in yours of the 10th. In running the late line between the Choctaws and us, we found the Amite to be about thirty miles from the Mississippi where that line crossed it, which was but a little northward of our southern boundary. For the present we have a respite on that subject, Spain having without delay restored our infracted right, and assured us it is expressly saved by the instrument of her cession of Louisiana to France. Although I do not count with confidence on obtaining New Orleans from France for money, yet I am confident in the policy of putting off the day of contention for it till we have lessened the embarrassment of debt accumulated instead of being discharged by our predecessors, till we obtain more of that strength which is growing on us so rapidly, and especially till we have planted a population on the Mississippi itself sufficient to do its own work without marching men fifteen hundred miles from the Atlantic shores to perish by fatigue and unfriendly climates. This will soon take place. In the meantime we have obtained by a peaceable appeal to justice, in four months, what we should not have obtained under seven years of war, the loss of one hundred thousand lives, an hundred millions of additional debt, many hundred millions worth of produce and property lost for want of market, or in seeking it, and that demoralization which war superinduce on the human mind. To have seized New Orleans, as our federal maniacs wished, would only have changed the character and extent of the blockade of our western commerce. It would have produced a blockade, by superior naval force, of the navigation of the river as well as of the entrance into New Orleans, instead of a paper blockade from New Orleans alone while the river remained open; and I am persuaded that had not the deposit been so quickly rendered we should have found soon that it would be better now to ascend the river to Natchez, in order to be clear of the embarrassments, plunderings, and irritations at New Orleans, and to fatten by the benefits of the depôt a city and citizens of our own, rather than those of a foreign nation. Accept my friendly and respectful salutations.
P.S. Water line of the Herville, Amite, and to Ponchartrain, becoming a boundary between France and Spain, we have a double chance of an acknowledgment of our right to use it on the same ground of national right on which we claim the navigation of the Mobile and other rivers heading in our territory and running through the Floridas.
I return you the letter of Captain Jones, with thanks for the perusal. While it is well to have an eye on our enemys camp it is not amiss to keep one for the movements in our own. I have no doubt that the agitation of the public mind on the continuance of tories in office is excited in some degree by those who want to get in themselves. However, the mass of those affected by it can have no views of that kind. It is composed of such of our friends as have a warm sense of the former intolerance and present bitterness of our adversaries, and they are not without excuse. While it is best for our own tranquillity to see and hear with apathy the atrocious calumnies of the presses which our enemies support for the purpose of calumny, it is what we have no right to expect; nor can we consider the indignation they excite in others as unjust, or strongly censure those whose temperament is not proof against it. Nor are they protected in their places by any right they have to more than a just proportion of them, and still less by their own examples while in power ; but by considerations respecting the public mind. This tranquillity seems necessary to predispose the candid part of our fellowcitizens who have erred and strayed from their ways, to return again to them, and to consolidate once more that union of will, without which the nation will not stand firm against foreign force and intrigue. On the subject of the particular schism at Philadelphia, a well-informed friend says, "The fretful, turbulent disposition which has manifested itself in Philadelphia, originated, in some degree, from a sufficient cause, which I will explain when I see you. A reunion will take place, and in the issue it will be useful. Their resolves will be so tempered as to remove most of the unpleasant feelings which have been experienced." I shall certainly be glad to receive the explanation and modification of their proceedings; for they were taking a form which could not be approved on true principles. We laid down our line of proceedings on mature inquiry and consideration in 1801, and have not departed from it. Some removals, to wit, sixteen to the end of our first session of Congress were made on political principles alone, in very urgent cases ; and we determined to make no more but for delinquency, or active and bitter opposition to the order of things which the public will had established. On this last ground nine were removed from the end of the first to the end of the second session of Congress; and one since that. So that sixteen only have been removed in the whole for political principles, that is to say, to make room for some participation for the republicans. These were a mere fraud not suffered to go into effect. Pursuing our object of harmonizing all good people of whatever description, we shall steadily adhere to our rule; and it is with sincere pleasure I learn that it is approved by the more moderate part of our friends.
We have received official information that, in the instrument of cession of Louisiana to France, were these words, "Saving the rights acquired by other powers in virtue of treaties made with them by Spain;" and cordial acknowledgments from this power for our temperate forbearance under the misconduct of her officer. The French prefect too has assured Governor Claiborne that if the suspension is not removed before he takes his place he will remove it. But the Spanish Intendant has before this day received the positive order of his government to do it, sent here by a vessel of war, and forwarded by us to Natchez.
Although there is probably no truth in the stories of war actually commenced, yet I believe it inevitable. England insists on a remodification of the affairs of Europe, so much changed by Bonaparte since the treaty of Amiens. So that we may soon expect to hear of hostilities. You must have heard of the extraordinary charge of Chace to the Grand Jury at Baltimore. Ought this seditious and official attack on the principles of our Constitution, and on the proceedings of a State, to go unpunished ? and to whom so pointedly as yourself will the public look for the necessary measures ? I ask these questions for your consideration, for myself it is better that I should not interfere. Accept my friendly salutations and assurances of great esteem and respect.
The within being for communication to your House of Representatives, when it meets, I enclose it in this which is of a private character. The former I think had better be kept up until the meeting of the Representatives, lest it should have any effect on the present critical state of things beyond the Atlantic. Although I have endeavored to make it as inoffensive there as was compatible with the giving an answer to the Representatives. Pending a negotiation, and with a jealous power, small matters may excite alarm, and repugnance to what we are claiming. I consider war between France and England as unavoidable. The former is much averse to it, but the latter sees her own existence to depend on a remodification of the face of Europe, over which France has extended its sway much farther since than before the treaty of Amiens. That instrument is therefore considered as insufficient for the general security; in fact, as virtually subverted, by the subsequent usurpations of Bonaparte on the powers of Europe. A remodification is therefore required by England, and evidently cannot be agreed to by Bonaparte, whose power; resting on the transcendent opinion entertained of him, would sink with that on any retrograde movement. In this conflict, our neutrality will be cheaply purchased by a cession of the Island of New Orleans and the Floridas; because taking part in the war, we could so certainly seize and securely hold them and more. And although it would be unwise in us to let such an opportunity pass by of obtaining the necessary accession to our territory even by force, if not obtainable otherwise, yet it is infinitely more desirable to obtain it with the blessing of neutrality rather than the curse of war. As a means of increasing the security, and providing a protection for our lower possessions on the Mississippi, I think it also all important to press on the Indians, as steadily and strenuously as they can bear, the extension of our purchases on the Mississippi from the Yazoo upwards; and to encourage a settlement along the whole length of that river, that it may possess on its own banks the means of defending itself, and presenting as strong a frontier on our western as we have on our eastern border. We have therefore recommended to Governor Dickinson taking on the Tombigbee only as much as will cover our actual settlements, to transfer the purchase from the Choctaws to their lands westward of the Big Black, rather than the fork of Tombigbee and Alabama, which has been offered by them in order to pay their debt to Ponton and Leslie. I have confident expectations of purchasing this summer a good breadth on the Mississippi, from the mouth of the Illinois down to the mouth of the Ohio, which would settle immediately and thickly; and we should then have between that settlement and the lower one, only the uninhabited lands of the Chickasaws on the Mississippi; on which we could be working at both ends. You will be sensible that the preceding views, as well those which respect the European powers as the Indians, are such as should not be formally declared, but be held as a rule of action to govern the conduct of those within whose agency they lie; and it is for this reason that instead of having it said to you in an official letter, committed to records which are open to many, I have thought it better that you should learn my views from a private and confidential letter, and be enabled to act upon them yourself, and guide others into them. The elections which have taken place this spring, prove that the spirit of republicanism has repossessed the whole mass of our country from Connecticut southwardly and westwardly. The three New England States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut, alone hold out. In these, though we have not gained the last year as much as we had expected, yet we are gaining steadily and sensibly. In Massachusetts we have gained three senators more than we had the last year, and it is believed our gain in the lower House will be in proportion. In Connecticut we have rather lost in their Legislature, but in the mass of the people, where we had on the election of Governor the last year, but twenty-nine republican out of every hundred votes, we this year have thirty-five out of every hundred; with the phalanx of priests and lawyers against us, republicanism works up slowly in that quarter; but in a year or two more we shall have a majority even there. In the next House of Representatives there will be about forty-two federal and a hundred republican members. Be assured that, excepting in this northeastern and your south-western corner of the Union, monarchism, which has been so falsely miscalled federalism, is dead and buried, and no day of resurrection will ever dawn upon that ; that it has retired to the two extreme and opposite angles of our land, from whence it will have ultimately and shortly to take its final flight. While speaking of the Indians, I omitted to mention that I think it would be good policy in us to take by the hand those of them who have emigrated from ours to the other side of the Mississippi, to furnish them generously with arms, ammunition, and other essentials, with a view to render a situation there desirable to those they have left behind, to toll them in this way across the Mississippi, and thus prepare in time an eligible retreat for the whole. We have not as yet however began to act on this. I believe a considerable number from all the four southern tribes have settled between the St. Francis and Akanza, but mostly from the Cherokees. I presume that with a view to this object we ought to establish a factory on the eastern bank of the Mississippi, where it would be most convenient for them to come and trade. We have an idea of running a path in a direct line from Knoxville to Natchez, believing it would save 200 miles in the carriage of our mail. The consent of the Indians will be necessary, and it will be very important to get individuals among them to take each a white man into partnership, and to establish at every nineteen miles a house of entertainment, and a farm for its support. The profits of this would soon reconcile the Indians to the practice, and extend it, and render the public use of the road as much an object of desire as it is now of fear ; and such a horse-path would soon, with their consent, become a wagon-road. I have appointed Isaac Briggs of Maryland, surveyor of the lands south of Tennessee. He is a Quaker, a sound republican, and of a pure and unspotted character. In point of science, in astronomy, geometry and mathematics, he stands in a line with Mr. Ellicot, and second to no man in the United States. He set out yesterday for his destination, and I recommend him to your particular patronage; the candor, modesty and simplicity of his manners cannot fail to gain your esteem. For the office of surveyor, men of the first order of science in astronomy and mathematics are essentially necessary. I am about appointing a similar character for the north-western department, and charging him with determining by celestial observations the longitude and latitude of several interesting points of lakes Michigan and Superior, and an accurate survey of the Mississippi, from St. Anthonys Falls to the mouth of the Ohio correcting his admeasurements by observations of longitude and latitude. From your quarter Mr. Briggs will be expected to take accurate observations of such interesting points as Mr. Ellicot has omitted, so that it will not be long before we shall possess an accurate map of the outlines of the United States. Your country is so, abundant in everything which is good, that one does not know what there is here of that description which you have not, and which could be offered in exchange for a barrel of fresh peccans every autumn. Yet I will venture to propose such an exchange, taking information of the article most acceptable from home, either from yourself or such others as can inform me. I pray you to accept my friendly salutations and assurances of great esteem and respect.
It is so long since I have had the pleasure of writing to you, that it would be vain to look back to dates to connect the old and the new. Yet I ought not to pass over my acknowledgments to you for various publications received from time to time, and with great satisfaction and thankfulness. I send you a small one in return, the work of a very unlettered farmer, yet valuable, as it relates plain facts of importance to farmers. You will discover that Mr. Binns is an enthusiast for the use of gypsum. But there are two facts which prove he has a right to be so : 1. He began poor, and has made himself tolerably rich by his farming alone. 2. The county of Loudon, in which he lives, had been so exhausted and wasted by bad husbandry, that it began to depopulate, the inhabitants going southwardly in quest of better lands. Binns success has stopped that emigration. It is now becoming one of the most productive counties of the State of Virginia, and the price given for the lands is multiplied manifold.
We are still uninformed here whether you are again at war. Bonaparte has produced such a state of things in Europe as it would seem difficult for him to relinquish in any sensible degree, and equally dangerous for Great Britain to suffer to go on, especially if accompanied by maritime preparations on his part. The events which have taken place in France have lessened in the American mind the motives of interest which it felt in that revolution, and its amity towards that country now rests on its love of peace and commerce. We see, at the same time, with great concern, the position in which Great Britain is placed, and should be sincerely afflicted were any disaster to deprive mankind of the benefit of such a bulwark against the torrent which has for some time been bearing down all before it. But her power and powers at sea seem to render everything safe in the end. Peace is our passion, and the wrongs might drive us from it. We prefer trying ever other just principles, right and safety, before we would recur to war.
I hope your agricultural institution goes on with success. I consider you as the author of all the good it shall do. A better idea has never been carried into practice. Our agricultural society has at length formed itself. Like our American Philosophical Society, it is voluntary, and unconnected with the public, and is precisely an execution of the plan I formerly sketched to you. Some State societies have been formed heretofore; the others will do the same. Each State society names two of its members of Congress to be their members in the Central society, which is of course together during the sessions of Congress. They are to select matter from the proceedings of the State societies, and to publish it; so that their publications may be called lesprit des sociétes dagriculture, etc. The Central society was formed the last winter only, so that it will be some time before they get under way. Mr. Madison, the Secretary of State, was elected their President.
Recollecting with great satisfaction our friendly intercourse while I was in Europe, I nourish the hope it still preserves a place in your mind; and with my salutations, I pray you to accept assurances of my constant attachment and high respect.
In the journey which you are about to undertake, for the discovery of the course and source of the Missouri, and of the most convenient water communication from thence to the Pacific Ocean, your party being small, it is to be expected that you will encounter considerable dangers from the Indian inhabitants. Should you escape those dangers, and reach the Pacific Ocean, you may find it imprudent to hazard a return the same way, and be forced to seek a passage round by sea, in such vessels as you may find on the Western coast; but you will be without money, without clothes, and other necessaries, as a sufficient supply cannot be carried from hence. Your resource, in that case, can only be in the credit of the United States ; for which purpose I hereby authorize you to draw on the Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, of War, and of the Navy of the United States, according as you may find your draughts will be most negotiable, for the purpose of obtaining money or necessaries for yourself and men; and I solemnly pledge the faith of the United States, that these draughts shall be paid punctually at the date at which they are made payable. I also ask of the consuls, agents, merchants, and citizens of any nation with which we have intercourse or amity, to furnish you with those supplies which your necessities may call for, assuring them of honorable and prompt retribution; and our own consuls in foreign parts, where you may happen to be, are hereby instructed and required to be aiding and assisting to you in whatsoever may be necessary for procuring your return back to the United States. And to give more entire satisfaction and confidence to those who may be disposed to aid you, I, Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States of America, have written this letter of general credit for you with my own hand, and signed it with my name.
I received, through the hands of Mr. Lenox, on his return to the United States, the valuable volume you were so good as to send me on the life and writings of Fletcher, of Saltoun. The political principles of that patriot were worthy the purest periods of the British Constitution; they are those which were in vigor at the epoch of the American emigration. Our ancestors brought them here, and they needed little strengthening to make us what we are. But in the weakened condition of English whigism at this day, it requires more firmness to publish and advocate them than it then did to act on them. This merit is peculiarly your Lordships; and no one honors it more than myself. While I freely admit the right of a nation to change its political principles and constitution at will, and the impropriety of any but its own citizens censuring that change, I expect your Lordship has been disappointed, as I acknowledge I have been, in the issue of the convulsions on the other side the channel. This has certainly lessened the interest which the philanthropist warmly felt in those struggles. Without befriending human liberty, a gigantic force has risen up which seems to threaten the world. But it hangs on the thread of opinion, which may break from one day to another. I feel real anxiety on the conflict to which imperious circumstances seem to call your attention, and bless the Almighty Being, who, in gathering together the waters under the heavens into one place, divided the dry land of your hemisphere from the dry lands of ours, and said, at least be there peace. I hope that peace and amity with all nations will long be the character of our land, and that its prosperity under the Charter will react on the mind of Europe, and profit her by the example. My hope of preserving peace for our country is not founded in the greater principles of non-resistance under every wrong, but in the belief that a just and friendly conduct on our part will procure justice and friendship from others. In the existing contest, each of the combatants will find an interest in our friendship. I cannot say we shall be unconcerned spectators of this combat. We feel for human sufferings, and we wish the good of all. We shall look on, therefore, with the sensations which these dispositions and the events of the war will produce.
I feel a pride in the justice which your Lordships sentiments render to the character of my illustrious countryman, Washington. The moderation of his desires, and the strength of his judgment, enabled him to calculate correctly, that the road to that glory which never dies is to use power for the support of the laws and liberties of our country, not for their destruction; and his will accordingly survives the wreck of everything now living.
Accept, my lord, the tribute of esteem, from one who renders it with warmth to the disinterested friend of mankind, and assurances of my high consideration and respect.
I accept with pleasure, and with pleasure reciprocate your congratulations on the acquisition of Louisiana : for it is a subject of mutual congratulations as it interests every man of the nation. The territory acquired, as it includes all the waters of the Missouri & Mississippi, has more than doubled the area of the U.S. and the new part is not inferior to the old in soil, climate, productions & important communications. If our legislature dispose of it with the wisdom we have a right to expect, they may make it the means of tempting all our Indians on the East side of the Mississippi to remove to the West, and of condensing instead of scattering our population. I find our opposition is very willing to pluck feathers from Monroe, although not fond of sticking them into Livingstons coat. The truth is both have a just portion of merit and were it necessary or proper it could be shewn that each has rendered peculiar service, & of important value. These grumblers too are very uneasy lest the administration should share some little credit for the acquisition, the whole of which they ascribe to the accident of war. They would be cruelly mortified could they see our files from April 1801, the first organization of the administration, but more especially from April 1802. They would see that tho we could not say when war would arise, yet we said with energy what would take place when it should arise. We did not, by our intrigues, produce the war : but we availed ourselves of it when it happened. The other party saw the case now existing on which our representations were predicted, and the wisdom of timely sacrifice. But when these people make the war give us everything, they authorize us to ask what the war gave us in their day ? They had a war. What did they make it bring us ? Instead of making our neutrality the grounds of gain to their country, they were for plunging into the war. And if they were now in place, they would not be at war against the Alliests & disorganizers of France. They were for making their country an appendage to England. We are friendly, cordially and conscientiously friendly to England, but we are not hostile to France. We will be rigorously just and sincerely friendly to both. I do not believe we shall have as much to swallow from them as our predecessors had.
With respect to the territory acquired, I do not think it will be a separate government as you imagine. I presume the island of N. Orleans and the settled country on the opposite bank, will be annexed to the Mississippi territory. We shall certainly endeavor to introduce the American laws there & that cannot be done but by amalgamating the people with such a body of Americans as may take the lead in legislation & government. Of course they will be under the Governor of Mississippi. The rest of the territory will probably be locked up from American settlement, and under the self-government of the native occupants.
You know that every sentence from me is put on the rack by our opponents, to be tortured into something they can make use of. No caution therefore I am sure is necessary against letting my letter go out of your hands. I am always happy to hear from you, and to know that you preserve your health. Present me respectfully to Mrs. Gates, and accept yourself my affectionate salutations and assurances of great respect & esteem.
It is difficult to see what Mr. Bond would be at. I suppose he aims at our citizen laws. There is a distinction which we ought to make ourselves, and with which the belligerent powers ought to be content. Where, after the commencement of a war, a merchant of either comes here and is naturalized, the purpose is probably fraudulent against the other, and intended to cloak their commerce under our flag. This we should honestly discountenance, and never reclaim their property when captured. But merchants from either, settled and made citizens before a war, are citizens to every purpose of commerce, and not to be distinguished in our proceedings from natives. Every attempt of Great Britain to enforce her principle of once a subject and always a subject beyond the case of her own subjects ought to be repelled. A copy of General Muhlenbergs letter, stating the fact of citizenship accurately, ought to satisfy Mr. Bond, unless he can disprove the fact: or unless, admitting the fact, he at once attacks our principle: on that ground we will meet his government.
As to the patronage of the Republican Bank at Providence, I am decidedly in favor of making all the banks Republican, by sharing deposits among them in proportion to the dispositions they show; if the law now forbids it, we should not permit another session of Congress to pass without amending it. It is material to the safety of Republicanism to detach the mercantile interests from its enemies and incorporate them into the body of its friends. A merchant is naturally a Republican, and can be otherwise only from a vitiated state of things. Affectionate salutations.
I lately received your friendly letter of 28 Vendem. an. 11, with the two volumes on the relations between the physical and moral faculties of man. This has ever been a subject of great interest to the inquisitive mind, and it could not have got into better hands for discussion than yours. That thought may be a faculty of our material organization, has been believed in the gross ; and though the "modus operandi" of nature, in this, as in most other cases, can never be developed and demonstrated to beings limited as we are, yet I feel confident you will have conducted us as far on the road as we can go, and have lodged us within reconnoitering distance of the citadel itself. While here, I have time to read nothing. But our annual recess for the months of August and September is now approaching, during which time I shall be at the Montrials, where I anticipate great satisfaction in the presence of these volumes. It is with great satisfaction, too, I recollect the agreeable hours I have passed with yourself and M. de La Roche, at the house of our late excellent friend, Madame Helvetius, and elsewhere; and I am happy to learn you continue your residence there. Antevil always appeared to me a delicious village, and Madame Helvetiuss the most delicious spot in it. In those days how sanguine we were ! and how soon were the virtuous hopes and confidence of every good man blasted ! and how many excellent friends have we lost in your efforts towards self-government, et cui bono ? But let us draw a veil over the dead, and hope the best for the living. If the hero who has saved you from a combination of enemies, shall also be the means of giving you as great a portion of liberty as the opinions, habits and character of the nation are prepared for, progressive preparation may fit you for progressive portions of that first of blessings, and you may in time attain what we erred in supposing could be hastily seized and maintained, in the present state of political information among your citizens at large. In this way all may end well.
You are again at war, I find. But we, I hope, shall be permitted to run the race of peace. Your government has wisely removed what certainly endangered collision between us. I now see nothing which need ever interrupt the friendship between France and this country. Twenty years of peace, and the prosperity so visibly flowing from it, have but strengthened our attachment to it, and the blessings it brings, and we do not despair of being always a peaceable nation. We think that peaceable means may be devised of keeping nations in the path of justice towards us, by making justice their interest, and injuries to react on themselves. Our distance enables us to pursue a course which the crowded situation of Europe renders perhaps impracticable there.
Be so good as to accept for yourself and M. de La Roche, my friendly salutations, and assurances of great consideration and respect.
Dear Sir,I yesterday signed a commission appointing you one of the commissioners to receive & determine the titles of lands held on the East side of Pearl river. The place of sessions will be Fort Stoddart. I am happy in having in that commission the name of a person already so well known to the public as to ensure their confidence. The other commissioner will be Mr. Robert Carter Nicholas of Kentucky, son of the late George Nicholas of that state. I am desirous of appointing to the registers office, some worthy inhabitant of that part of the country, but I have never been able to get a recommendation of anyone. He should be of perfect integrity, good understanding, and, if a lawyer, so much the better. Under these circumstances I have thought it best to ask you to take charge of a blank commission, to be filled up by yourself as soon after your arrival there, as you can acquire information of the best character. Your own judgment will suggest to you the advantage of keeping it entirely secret that you have such a power, in order that you may obtain disinterested information. But I am obliged to impose on you another task, quite out of the line of your official duty, yet within that of a citizen of the U.S. We have had no means of acquiring any knolege of the number, nature & extent of our settlements west of Pearl river: Yet it is extremely important that we should receive accurate information. I have therefore taken the liberty of stating some queries to which I will pray your attention, and that you will take all the pains you can to obtain for me full and faithful answers. I leave this place within a few days for Monticello to remain there through the months of August and September. I pray you to accept my friendly salutations & assurances of great esteem & respect.
You will be informed by a letter from the Secretary of State of the terms and the extent of the cession of Louisiana by France to the United States, a cession which I hope will give as much satisfaction to the inhabitants of that province as it does to us, and the more as the title being lawfully acquired and with consent of the power conveying, can never be hereafter reclaimed under any pretence of force. In order to procure a ratification in good time, I have found it necessary to convene Congress as early as the 17th of October. It is essential that before that period we should obtain all the information respecting the province which may be necessary to enable Congress to make the best arrangements for its tranquillity, security and government. It is only on the spot that this information can be obtained, and to obtain it there, I am obliged to ask your agency; for this purpose I have proposed a set of questions, now enclosed, answers to which in the most exact terms practicable, I am to ask you to procure. It is probable you may be able to answer some of them yourself ; however, it will doubtless be necessary for you to distribute them among the different persons best qualified to answer them respectively. As you will not have above six weeks, from the receipt of them till they should be sent off to be here by the meeting of Congress, it will be the more necessary to employ different persons on different parts of them. This is left to your own judgment, and your best exertions to obtain them in time are desired. You will be so good as to engage the persons who undertake them, to complete them in time, and to accept such recompense as you shall think reasonable, which shall be paid on your draft on the Secretary of State. We rely that the friendly dispositions of the Spanish government will give such access to the archives of the province as may facilitate information, equally desirable by Spain on parting with her ancient subjects, as by us on receiving them. This favor therefore will, I doubt not, be granted on your respectful application.
Accept my salutations and assurances of esteem and respect.
Dear Sir,Before you receive this, you will have heard, through the channel of the public papers, of the cession of Louisiana by France to the United States. The terms as stated in the National Intelligencer, are accurate. That the treaty may be ratified in time, I have found it necessary to convene Congress on the 17th of October; and it is very important for the happiness of the country that they should possess all the information which can be obtained respecting it, that they make the best arrangement practicable for its good government. It is the most necessary, because, they will be obliged to ask from the People an amendment of the Constitution, authorizing their receiving the province into the Union, and providing for its government; and the limitations of power which shall be given by that amendment, will be unalterable but by the same authority. I have, therefore, sent some queries to Mr. Clark of New Orleans, to be answered by such person as he shall think best qualified, and to be returned to me before the meeting of Congress; and knowing that you have turned your attention to many of the subjects, I enclose you a copy of them, and ask the favor of you to give me what information you can, in answer to such of them as you shall select as lying within the scope of your information. I am encouraged to propose thus to trouble you, by a thorough persuasion of your readiness and desire to serve the public cause by whatever shall be in your power; and by the belief that you are one of those who will sincerely rejoice at our success in relieving you, by peaceable means, from a powerful and enterprising neighbor; and establishing, on a permanent basis, the tranquility, security, and prosperity, of that interesting country. I tender you my friendly salutations and assurances of great esteem and respect.
P.S. July 18Since writing the preceding, your favor of June 10th has been received. The exchange of a peaceable for a warring neighbor at New Orleans, was, undoubtedly, ground of just and great disquietude on our part: and the necessity of acquiring the country could not be unperceived by any. The question which divided our Legislature (but not the nation) was, whether we should take it at once, and enter single handed into war with the most powerful nation on the earth, or place things on the best footing practicable for the present, and avail ourselves of the first war in Europe, which it was clear was at no great distance, to obtain the country as the price of our neutrality, or as a reprisal for wrongs which we were sure enough to receive. The war happened somewhat sooner than was expected: but our measures were previously taken, and the thing took the best turn for both parties. Those who were honest in their reasons for preferring immediate war, will, in their candor, rejoice that their opinion was not followed. They may, indeed, still believe it was the best opinion according to the probabilities. We, however believed otherwise, and they, I am sure, will be glad that we did. The letter of yesterday will show you my desire of receiving information from you, and I shall be always thankful for it. My wish is to have everything, compare all together, and to do what, on the whole, I conscientiously think for the best. I repeat my satisfaction and esteem.
Dear Sir,The address of the Ward committee of Philada on the subject of removals from office was received at Washington on the 17th inst. I cannot answer it, because I have given no answers to the many others I have received from other quarters. Your are sensible what use an unfriendly party would make of such answers by putting all their expressions to the torture; and altho no person wishes more than I do to learn the opinions of respected individuals, because they enable me to examine, and often to correct my own, yet I am not satisfied that I ought to admit the addresses even of those bodies of men which are organized by the Constitution (the houses of legislature for instance), to influence the appointment to office for which the Constitution has chosen to rely on the independence and integrity of the Executive, controlled by the Senate, chosen both of them by the whole union. Still less of those bodies whose organization is unknown to the Constitution. As revolutionary instruments (when nothing but revolution will cure the evils of the state) they are necessary and indispensable, and the right to use them is inalienable by the people; but to admit them as ordinary & habitual instruments as a part of the machinery of the Constitution, would be to change that machinery by introducing moving powers foreign to it, and to an extent depending solely on local views, and therefore incalculable. The opinions offered by individuals, and of right, are on a different ground; they are sanctioned by the constitution; which has also prescribed, when they chuse to act in bodies, the organization, objects & rights of those bodies. Altho this view of the subject forbids me, in my own judgment, to give answers to addresses of this kind, yet the one now under consideration is couched in terms so friendly and respectful, and from persons, many of whom I know to have been firm patriots, some of them in revolutionary times and others in those of terror, & doubt not that all are of the same valuable character, that I cannot restrain the desire they should individually understand the reasons why no formal answer is given: That they should see it proceeds from my view of the constitution and the judgment I form of my duties to it, and not from a want of respect & esteem for them, or their opinions, which given individually will ever be valued by me. I beg leave therefore to avail myself of my acquaintance with you, & of your friendly dispositions to communicate to them individually the considerations expressed in this letter, which is merely private and to yourself, and which I ask you not to put out of your own hands lest directly or by copy it should get into those of the common adversary, and become matter for those malignant perversions which no sentiments however just, no expressions however correct can escape.
It may perhaps at first view be thought that my answer to the Newhaven letter was not within my own rule. But that letter was expressed to be from the writers individually, & not as an organized body chosen to represent and express the public opinion. The occasion too which it furnished had for some time been wished for, of explaining to the republican part of the nation my sense of their just rights to participation to office, and the proceedings adopted for attaining it after due inquiry into the general sentiment of the several states. The purpose there explained was to remove some of the least deserving officers, but generally to prefer the milder measure of waiting till accidental vacancies should furnish opportunity of giving to republicans their due proportion of office. To this we have steadily adhered. Many vacancies have been made by death and resignation, many by removal for malversation in office and for open, active and virulent abuse of official influence in opposition to the order of things established by the will of the nation. Such removals continue to be made on sufficient proof. The places have been steadily filled with republican characters until of 316 offices in all the U.S. subject to appointment and removal by me, 130 only are held by federalists. I do not include in this estimate the judiciary & military because not removable but by established process, nor the officers of the Internal revenue because discontinued by law, nor postmasters or any others not named by me. And this has been effected in little more than two years by means so moderate and just as cannot fail to be approved in future. Whether a participation of office in proportion to numbers should be effected in each state separately or in the whole states taken together is difficult to decide, and has not yet been settled in my own mind. It is a question of vast complications. But suppose we were to apply the rule of Pennsylvania distinctly from the Union. In the state of Pennsylvania 8 offices only are subject to my nomination and informal removal. Of these 5 are in the hands of republicans, 3 of federalists, to wit
|The attorney||Dallas||Naval officer|
|Collector||Muhlenberg||Commisr of Loans|
|Superintdt Mily Stores||Irving|
In the hands of the former is the appointment of every subordinate officer, not a single one (but their clerks) being appointable by the latter. Taking a view of this subject in the only year I can now come at, the clerk hire of the naval officer & surveyor is only 2196 D. that of the commr of loans 25004696. The compensation of the nav. off. & surveyor were 7651 D. in that year. The residue of custom house expenses were 46268 D. constituting the compensation and patronage of the collector, except about 1500 D. to the officers of the revenue cutter who are republican. The emoluments & patronage of the 5 other republican officers I have no materials for estimating; but they are not small. Considering numbers therefore as the ratio of participation, it stands at 5 to 3. But taking emolument and patronage as the measure, our actual share is much greater. I cannot therefore suppose that our friends had sufficiently examined the fact when they alleged that, in Philadelphia public employment under the general government, in all its grades, with scarcely an exception, is confined not to federalists merely, but to apostates, persecutors and enemies of representative government.
I give full credit to the wisdom of the measures persued by the govr. of Pennsylvania in removals from office. I have no doubt he followed the wish of the state: and he had no other to consult. But in the general government each state is to be administered not on its local principles, but on the principles of all the states formed into a general result. That I should administer the affairs of Massachusetts & Connecticut, for example, on federal principles, could not be approved. I dare say too that the extensive removals from office in Pennsylva may have contributed to the great conversion which has been manifested among its citizens. But I respect them too much to believe it has been the exclusive or even the principle motive. I presume the sound measures of their government, & of the general one, have weighed more in their estimation and conversion, than the consideration of the particular agents employed.
I read with extreme gratification the approbation expressed of the general measures of the present administration. I verily believe our friends have not differed with us on a single measure of importance. It is only as to the distribution of office that some difference of opinion has appeared. But that difference will I think be lessened when facts & principles are more accurately scanned, and its impression still more so when justice is done to motives, and to the duty of pursuing that which on mature consideration is deemed to be right.
I hope you will pardon the trouble which this communication proposes to give you, when you attend to the considerations urging it. And that you will accept my respectful salutations & assurances of great esteem.
Dear Sir,I return you the petition of Samuel Miller with the pardon signed. Mr. Kelty had spoken to me on this subject and told me that he and Mr. Craunch should join in a recommendation. I wish Mr. Wagner would obtain this before he delivers the pardon. I return also Mr. Kings letter which has really important matter, especially what respects the mare clausum, the abandonment of the colonial system, & emancipation of S. America. On the subject of our seamen as both parties were agreed against impressments at sea, and concealments in port, I suppose we may practice on those two articles as things understood, altho no convention was signed. I see that the principle of free bottoms, free goods must be left to make its way by treaty with particular nations. Great Britain will never yield to it willingly and she cannot be forced.
I think I have selected a governor for Louisiana, as perfect in all points as we can expect. Sound judgment, standing in society, knolege of the world, wealth, liberality, familiarity with the French language, and having a French wife. You will perceive I am describing Sumpter. I do not know a more proper character for the place. I wish we could find a diplomatist or two equally eligible, for Europe. Accept my affectionate salutations.
Dear Sir,Your friendly favor of the 1st inst. is received with that welcome which always accompanies the approbation of the wise & good. The acquisition of New Orleans would of itself have been a great thing, as it would have ensured to our western brethren the means of exporting their produce: but that of Louisiana is inappreciable, because, giving us the sole dominion of the Mississippi, it excludes those bickerings with foreign powers, which we know of a certainty would have put us at war with France immediately: and it secures to us the course of a peaceable nation.
The unquestioned bounds of Louisiana are the Iberville & Mississippi on the east, the Mexicana, or the Highlands east of it, on the west; then from the head of the Mexicana gaining the highlands which include the waters of the Mississippi, and following those highlands round the head springs of the western waters of the Mississippi to its source where we join the English or perhaps to the Lake of the Woods. This may be considered as a triangle, one leg of which is the length of the Missouri, the other of the Mississippi, and the hypothenuse running from the source of the Missouri to the mouth of the Mississippi. I should be averse to exchanging any part of this for the Floridas, because it would let Spain into the Mississippi on the principle of natural right, we have always urged & are now urging to her, that a nation inhabiting the upper part of a stream has a right of innocent passage down that stream to the ocean: and because the Floridas will fall to us peaceably the first war Spain is engaged in. We have some pretensions to extend the western territory of Louisiana to the Rio Norte, or Bravo; and still stronger the eastern boundary to the Rio Perdido between the rivers Mobile & Pensacola. These last are so strong that France had not relinquished them & our negotiator expressly declared we should claim them, by properly availing ourselves of these with offers of a price, and our peace, we shall get the Floridas in good time. But in the meantime we shall enter on the exercise of the right of passing down all the rivers which rising in our territory, run thro the Floridas. Spain will not oppose it by force. But there is a difficulty in this acquisition which presents a handle to the malcontents among us, though they have not yet discovered it. Our confederation is certainly confined to the limits established by the revolution. The general government has no powers but such as the constitution has given it; and it has not given it a power of holding foreign territory, & still less of incorporating it into the Union. An amendment of the Constitution seems necessary for this. In the meantime we must ratify & pay our money, as we have treated, for a thing beyond the constitution, and rely on the nation to sanction an act done for its great good, without its previous authority. With respect to the disposal of the country, we must take the island of New Orleans and west side of the river as high up as Point Coupee, containing nearly the whole inhabitants, say about 50,000, and erect it into a state, or annex it to the Mississippi territory: and shut up all the rest from settlement for a long time to come, endeavoring to exchange some of the country there unoccupied by Indians for the lands held by the Indians on this side the Mississippi, who will be glad to cede us their country here for an equivalent there: and we may sell out our lands here & pay the whole debt contracted before it comes due. The impost which will be paid by the inhabitants ceded will pay half the interest of the price we give: so that we really add only half the price to our debt. I have indulged myself in these details because the subject being new, it is advantageous to interchange ideas on it and to get our notions all corrected before we are obliged to act on them. In this idea I receive & shall receive with pleasure anything which may occur to you. Accept my affectionate salutations & assurances of my constant & great esteem & respect.
The enclosed letter, tho directed to you, was intended to me also, and was left open with a request, that when perused, I would forward it to you. It gives me occasion to write a word to you on the subject of Louisiana, which being a new one, an interchange of sentiments may produce correct ideas before we are to act on them.
Our information as to the country is very incompleat; we have taken measures to obtain it in full as to the settled part, which I hope to receive in time for Congress. The boundaries, which I deem not admitting question, are the high lands on the western side of the Missisipi enclosing all its waters, the Missouri of course, and terminating in the line drawn from the northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods to the nearest source of the Missisipi, as lately settled between Gr Britain and the US. We have some claims, to extend on the sea coast Westwardly to the Rio Norte or Bravo, and better, to go Eastwardly to the Rio Perdido, between Mobile & Pensacola, the antient boundary of Louisiana. These claims will be a subject of negociation with Spain, and if, as soon as she is at war, we push them strongly with one hand, holding out a price in the other, we shall certainly obtain the Floridas, and all in good time. In the meanwhile, without waiting for permission, we shall enter into the exercise of the natural right we have always insisted on with Spain, to wit, that of a nation holding the upper part of streams, having a right of innocent passage thro them to the ocean. We shall prepare her to see us practise on this, & she will not oppose it by force.
Objections are raising to the Eastward against the vast extent of our boundaries, and propositions are made to exchange Louisiana, or a part of it, for the Floridas. But, as I have said, we shall get the Floridas without, and I would not give one inch of the waters of the Mississippi to any nation, because I see in a light very important to our peace the exclusive right to its navigation, & the admission of no nation into it, but as into the Potomak or Delaware, with our consent & under our police. These federalists see in this acquisition the formation of a new confederacy, embracing all the waters of the Missipi, on both sides of it, and a separation of its Eastern waters from us. These combinations depend on so many circumstances which we cannot foresee, that I place little reliance on them. We have seldom seen neighborhood produce affection among nations. The reverse is almost the universal truth. Besides, if it should become the great interest of those nations to separate from this, if their happiness should depend on it so strongly as to induce them to go through that convulsion, why should the Atlantic States dread it? But especially why should we, their present inhabitants, take side in such a question? When I view the Atlantic States, procuring for those on the Eastern waters of the Missipi friendly instead of hostile neighbors on its Western waters, I do not view it as an Englishman would the procuring future blessings for the French nation, with whom he has no relations of blood or affection. The future inhabitants of the Atlantic & Missipi States will be our sons. We leave them in distinct but bordering establishments. We think we see their happiness in their union, & we wish it. Events may prove it otherwise; and if they see their interest in separation, why should we take side with our Atlantic rather than our Missipi descendants ? It is the elder and the younger son differing. God bless them both, & keep them in union, if it be for their good, but separate them, if it be better. The inhabited part of Louisiana, from Point Coupée to the sea, will of course be immediately a territorial government, and soon a State. But above that, the best use we can make of the country for some time, will be to give establishments in it to the Indians on the East side of the Missipi, in exchange for their present country, and open land offices in the last, & thus make this acquisition the means of filling up the Eastern side, instead of drawing off its population. When we shall be full on this side, we may lay off a range of States on the Western bank from the head to the mouth, & so, range after range, advancing compactly as we multiply.
This treaty must of course be laid before both Houses, because both have important functions to exercise respecting it. They, I presume, will see their duty to their country in ratifying & paying for it, so as to secure a good which would otherwise probably be never again in their power. But I suppose they must then appeal to the nation for an additional article to the Constitution, approving & confirming an act which the nation had not previously authorized. The constitution has made no provision for our holding foreign territory, still less for incorporating foreign nations into our Union. The Executive in seizing the fugitive occurrence which so much advances the good of their country, have done an act beyond the Constitution. The Legislature in casting behind them metaphysical subtleties, and risking themselves like faithful servants, must ratify & pay for it, and throw themselves on their country for doing for them unauthorized what we know they would have done for themselves had they been in a situation to do it. It is the case of a guardian, investing the money of his ward in purchasing an important adjacent territory; & saying to him when of age, I did this for your good; I pretend to no right to bind you: you may disavow me, and I must get out of the scrape as I can: I thought it my duty to risk myself for you. But we shall not be disavowed by the nation, and their act of indemnity will confirm & not weaken the Constitution, by more strongly marking out its lines.
We have nothing later from Europe than the public papers give. I hope yourself and all the Western members will make a sacred point of being at the first day of the meeting of Congress; for vestra res agitur.
Accept my affectionate salutations & assurances of esteem & respect.
Your two favors of the 18th and 20th were received on the 21st. The letters of Livingston and Monroe were sent to Mr. Gallatin as you proposed. That of Simpson to Mr. Smith for the purpose of execution. All of them will be returned. Thorntons, Clarkes Charless, Picnaus, Appletons, Daviss, Newtons, and Dericures letters are now enclosed. With respect to the impressment of our seamen I think we had better propose to Great Britain to act on the stipulations which had been agreed to between that Government and Mr. King, as if they had been signed. I think they were, that they would forbid impressments at sea, and that we should acquiesce in the search in their harbors necessary to prevent concealments of their citizens. Mr. Thorntons attempt to justify his nation in using our ports as cruising stations on our friends and ourselves, renders the matter so serious as to call, I think, for answer. That we ought, in courtesy and friendship, to extend to them all the rights of hospitality is certain, that they should not use our hospitality to injure our friends or ourselves is equally enjoined by morality and honor. After the rigorous exertions we made in Genets time to prevent this abuse on his part, and the indulgencies extended by Mr. Adams to the British cruisers even after our pacification with France, by ourselves also from an unwillingness to change the course of things as the war was near its close, I did not expect to hear from that quarter charges of partiality. In the Mediterranean we need ask from no nation but the permission to refresh and repair in their ports. We do not wish our vessels to lounge in their ports. In the case at Gibraltar, if they had disapproved, our vessels ought to have left the port. Besides, although nations have treated with the piratical States, they have not, in malice, ever been considered as entitled to all the favors of the laws of nations. Thornton says they watch our trade only to prevent contraband. We say it is to plunder under pretext of contraband, for which, though so shamefully exercised, they have given us no satisfaction but by confessing the fact in new modifying their courts of admiralty. Certainly the evils we experience from it, and the just complaints which France may urge, render it indispensable that we restrain the English from abusing the rights of hospitality to their prejudice as well as our own.
Grahams letter manifests a degree of imprudence which I had not expected from him. His pride has probably been hurt at some of the regulations of that court, and has had its part in inspiring the ill temper he shows. If you understand him as serious in asking leave to return, I see no great objection to it. At the date of your letter you had not received mine on the subject of Dovieuxs claim. I still think the limits therein stated reasonable. I think a guinea a day till he leaves Washington would be as low an allowance as we could justify, and should not be opposed to anything not exceeding the allowance to Dawson. Fix between these as you please. I suppose Monroe will touch on the limits of Louisiana only incidentally, inasmuch as its extension to Perdido curtails Florida, and renders it of less worth. I have used my spare moments to investigate, by the help of my books here, the subject of the limits of Louisiana. I am satisfied our right to the Perdido is substantial, and can be opposed by a quibble on form only; and our right westwardly to the Bay of St. Bernard, may be strongly maintained. I will use the first leisure to make a statement of the facts and principles on which this depends. Further reflection on the amendment to the Constitution necessary in the case of Louisiana, satisfies me it will be better to give general powers, with specified exceptions, somewhat in the way stated below. Mrs. Madison promised us a visit about the last of this month. I wish you could have met with General Page here, whom, with his family, I expect in a day or two, and will pass a week with us. But in this consult your own convenience, as that will increase the pleasure with which I shall or may see you here. Accept my affectionate salutations and constant attachment.
P.S. Louisiana, as ceded by France to the United States, is made a part of the United States. Its white inhabitants shall be citizens, and stand, as to their rights and obligations, on the same footing with other citizens of the United States in analogous situations.
Save only that as to the portion thereof lying north of the latitude of the mouth of Oreansa river, no new State shall be established, nor any grants of land made therein, other than to Indians, in exchange for equivalent portions of land occupied by them, until amendment to the Constitution shall be made for these purposes.
Florida also, whensoever it may be rightfully obtained, shall become a part of the United States. Its white inhabitants shall thereupon be citizens, and shall stand, as to their rights and obligations, on the same footing with other citizens of the United States in analogous circumstances.
The enclosed letter came to hand by yesterdays post. You will be sensible of the circumstances which make it improper that I should hazard a formal answer, as well as of the desire its friendly aspect naturally excites, that those concerned in it should understand that the spirit they express is friendly viewed. You can judge also from your knowledge of the ground, whether it may be usefully encouraged. I take the liberty, therefore, of availing myself of your neighborhood to Boston, and of your friendship to me, to request you to say to the captain and others verbally whatever you think would be proper, as expressive of my sentiments on the subject. With respect to the day, on which they wish to fix their anniversary, they may be told, that disapproving myself of transferring the honors and veneration for the great birthday of our republic to any individual, or of dividing them with individuals, I have declined letting my own birthday be known, and have engaged my family not to communicate it. This has been the uniform answer to every application of the kind.
On further consideration as to the amendment to our Constitution respecting Louisiana, I have thought it better, instead of enumerating the powers which Congress may exercise, to give them the same powers they have as to other portions of the Union generally, and to enumerate the special exceptions, in some such form as the following :
"Louisiana, as ceded by France to the United States, is made a part of the United States, its white inhabitants shall be citizens, and stand, as to their rights and obligations, on the same footing with other citizens of the United States in analogous situations. Save only that as to the portion thereof lying north of an east and west line drawn through the mouth of Arkansas river, no new State shall be established, nor any grants of land made, other than to Indians, in exchange for equivalent portions of land occupied by them, until an amendment of the Constitution shall be made for these purposes.
"Florida also, whensoever it may be rightfully obtained, shall become a part of the United States, its white inhabitants shall thereupon be citizens, and shall stand, as to their rights and obligations, on the same footing with other citizens of the United States, in analogous situations."
I quote this for your consideration, observing that the less that is said about any constitutional difficulty, the better ; and that it will be desirable for Congress to do what is necessary, in silence. I find but one opinion as to the necessity of shutting up the country for some time. We meet in Washington the 25th of September to prepare for Congress. Accept my affectionate salutations, and great esteem and respect.
Your favor of the 3d was delivered me at court ; but we were much disappointed at not seeing you here, Mr. Madison and the Governor being here at the time. I enclose you a letter from Monroe on the subject of the late treaty. You will observe a hint in it, to do without delay what we are bound to do. There is reason, in the opinion of our ministers, to believe, that if the thing were to do over again, it could not be obtained, and that if we give the least opening, they will declare the treaty void. A warning amounting to that has been given to them, and an unusual kind of letter written by their minister to our Secretary of State, direct. Whatever Congress shall think it necessary to do, should be done with as little debate as possible, and particularly so far as respects the constitutional difficulty. I am aware of the force of the observations you make on the power given by the Constitution to Congress, to admit new States into the Union, without restraining the subject to the territory then constituting the United States. But when I consider that the limits of the United States are precisely fixed by the treaty of 1783, that the Constitution expressly declares itself to be made for the United States, I cannot help believing the intention was, not to permit Congress to admit into the Union new States, which should be formed out of the territory for which, and under whose authority alone; they were then acting. I do not believe it was meant that they might receive England, Ireland, Holland, &c. into it, which would be the case on your construction. When an instrument admits two constructions, the one safe, the other dangerous, the one precise, the other indefinite, I prefer that which is safe and precise. I had rather ask an enlargement of power from the nation, where it is found necessary, than to assume it by a construction which would make our powers boundless. Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written Constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction. I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of the treaty making power as boundless. If it is, then we have no Constitution. If it has bounds, they can be no others than the definitions of the powers which that instrument gives. It specifies and delineates the operations permitted to the federal government, and gives all the powers necessary to carry these into execution. Whatever of these enumerated objects is proper for a law, Congress may make the law; whatever is proper to be executed by way of a treaty, the President and Senate may enter into the treaty ; whatever is to be done by a judicial sentence, the judges may pass the sentence. Nothing is more likely than that their enumeration of powers is defective. This is the ordinary case of all human works. Let us go on then perfecting it, by adding, by way of amendment to the Constitution, those powers which time and trial show are still wanting. But it has been taken too much for granted, that by this rigorous construction the treaty power would be reduced to nothing. I had occasion once to examine its effect on the French treaty, made by the old Congress, and found that out of thirty odd articles which that contained, there were one, two, or three only which could not now be stipulated under our present Constitution. I confess, then, I think it important, in the present case, to set an example against broad construction, by appealing for new power to the people. If, however, our friends shall think differently, certainly I shall acquiesce with satisfaction ; confiding, that the good sense of our country will correct the evil of construction when it shall produce ill effects.
No apologies for writing or speaking to me freely are necessary. On the contrary, nothing my friends can do is so dear to me, and proves to me their friendship so clearly, as the information they give me of their sentiments and those of others on interesting points where I am to act, and where information and warning is so essential to excite in me that due reflection which ought to precede action. I leave this about the 21st, and shall hope the District Court will give me an opportunity of seeing you.
Accept my affectionate salutations, and assurances of cordial esteem and respect.
Dear Sir,I now return you the several papers received by the last post, except those soliciting office, which as usual, are put into my bundle of like papers. I think it possible that Spain, recollecting our former eagerness for the island of New Orleans, may imagine she can, by a free delivery of that, redeem the residue of Louisiana : and that she may withhold the peaceable cession of it. In that case no doubt force must be used. However the importance of this measure, the time & the means, will be for discussion at our meeting on the 25th. In the meantime I think Clarke might be trusted with a general hint of the possibility of opposition from Spain, & an instruction to sound in every direction, but with so much caution as to avoid suspicion, and to inform us whether he discovers any symptoms of doubt as to the delivery, to let us know the force Spain has there, where posted, how the inhabitants are likely to act, if we march a force there, and what numbers of them could be armed & brought to act in opposition to us. We have time to receive this information before the day of ratification, and it would guide us in our provision of force for the object. Accept my affectionate salutations & respects.
Dear Sir,Your favor in answer to my queries came to hand a few days ago, and I thank you for the matter it contains & the promptness with which it has been furnished. Just on my departure from this place, where I habitually pass the sickly months of Aug. & Sep. I have time only to ask information on a particular point. It has been affirmed by respectable authority, that Spain on receiving the East & West Florida of the English, did not continue that distinction, but restored Louisiana to its antient boundary the Perdido, and that the country from the Perdido to the Iberville has been ever since considered as a part of Louisiana, & governed by the governor of Louisiana residing at New Orleans: While the country from the Perdido Eastwardly to the Atlantic has been called as antiently, by the simple name of Florida, & governed by the governor of Florida residing at St.Augustine. The terms of the treaty render this fact very interesting if true, inasmuch as it fills up the measure of reasoning which fixes the extent of the cession Eastwardly to the Perdido. I write the present to ask of you to ascertain this fact & to give the information as quickly as possible, as it may yet be received in time to determine our proceedings. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of great esteem & respect.
No one would more willingly than myself pay the just tribute due to the services of Capt. Barry, by writing a letter of condolence to his widow, as you suggest. But when one undertakes to administer justice, it must be with an even hand, & by rule; what is done for one, must be done for every one in equal degree. To what a train of attentions would this draw a President ? How difficult would it be to draw the line between that degree of merit entitled to such a testimonial of it, & that not so entitled ? If drawn in a particular case differently from what the friends of the deceased would judge right, what offence would it give, & of the most tender kind ? How much offence would be given by accidental inattentions, or want of information ? The first step into such an undertaking ought to be well weighed. On the death of Dr. Franklin, the King & Convention of France went into mourning. So did the House of Reps. of the U.S.: the Senate refused. I proposed to General Washington that the executive department should wear mourning; he declined it, because he said he should not know where to draw the line, if he once began that ceremony. Mr. Adams was then Vice President, & I thought Genl. Washington had his eye on him, whom he certainly did not love. I told him the world had drawn so broad a line between himself & Dr. Franklin, on the one side, and the residue of mankind, on the other, that we might wear mourning for them, and the question still remain new & undecided as to all others. He thought it best, however, to avoid it. On these considerations alone, however well affected to the merit of Commodore Barry, I think it prudent not to engage myself in a practice which may become embarrassing.
Tremendous times in Europe ! How mighty this battle of lions & tygers ! With what sensations should the common herd of cattle look on it ? With no partialities, certainly. If they can so far worry one another as to destroy their power of tyrannizing, the one over the earth, the other the waters, the world may perhaps enjoy peace, till they recruit again.
Affectionate & respectful salutations.
I must ask the favor of you to meet the heads of Departments here to-morrow at 12 oclock and afterwards to dine with us. The object is to decide definitely on the arrangements which are to be despatched westwardly the next day. General Dearborn and myself had concluded to submit to the meeting a plan little different from that suggested in your letter of yesterday. To wit, to send orders to Claiborne and Wilkinson to march instantly five hundred regulars (which are prepared) from Fort Adams, and one thousand militia from the Mississippi Territory (if the information from Laussat to them shall indicate refusal from Spain). To send hence on the same day a call on the Governor of Tennessee for two thousand volunteers, and of Kentucky for four thousand, to be officered, organized, accoutred, and mustered on a day to be named, such as that Claiborne and Wilkinson might by that day send them information whether they would be wanted, and to march or do otherwise accordingly. I had since thought myself to propose that, on receiving information that there would be resistance, they should send sufficient parties of regulars and militia across the Mississippi to take by surprise New Madrid, St. Genevieve, St. Louis, and all the other small posts, and that all this should be made as much as possible the act of France, by including Laussat, with the aid of Clark, to raise an insurrectionary force of the inhabitants, to which ours might be only auxiliary. But all this, with much more, is to be considered to-morrow. Affectionate salutations.
Your favors of April the 6th, and June the 27th, were duly received, and with the welcome which everything brings from you. The treaty which has so happily sealed the friendship of our two countries, has been received here with general acclamation. Some inflexible federalists have still ventured to brave the public opinion. It will fix their character with the world and with. posterity, who, not descending to the other points of difference between us, will judge them by this fact, so palpable as to speak for itself in all times and places. For myself and my country, I thank you for the aids you have given in it; and I congratulate you on having lived to give those aids in a transaction replete with blessings to unborn millions of men, and which will mark the face of a portion on the globe so extensive as that which now composes the United States of America. It is true that at this moment a little cloud hovers in the horizon. The government of Spain has protested against the right of France to transfer; and it is possible she may refuse possession, and that this may bring on acts of force. But against such neighbors as France there, and the United States here, what she can expect from so gross a compound of folly and false faith, is not to be sought in the book of wisdom. She is afraid of her enemies in Mexico; but not more than we are. Our policy will be, to form New Orleans, and the country on both sides of it on the Gulf of Mexico, into a State ; and, as to all above that, to transplant our Indians into it, constituting them a Marechaussee to prevent emigrants crossing the river, until we shall have filled up all the vacant country on this side. This will secure both Spain and us as to the mines of Mexico, for half a century, and we may safely trust the provisions for that time to the men who shall live in it.
I have communicated with Mr. Gallatin on the subject of using your house in any matters of consequence we may have to do at Paris. He is impressed with the same desire I feel to give this mark of our confidence in you, and the sense we entertain of your friendship and fidelity. Mr. Behring informs him that none of the money which will be due from us to him, as the assignee of France, will be wanting at Paris. Be assured that our dispositions are such as to let no occasion pass unimproved of serving you, where occurrences will permit it.
Present my respects to Madame Dupont, and accept yourself assurances of my constant and warm friendship.
A report reaches us this day from Baltimore, (on probable, but not certain grounds,) that Mr. Jerome Bonaparte, brother of the First Consul, was yesterday married to Miss Patterson, of that city. The effect of this measure on the mind of the First Consul, is not for me to suppose; but as it might occur to him, prima facie, that the Executive of the U.S. ought to have prevented it, I have thought it advisable to mention the subject to you, that, if necessary, you may be explanations set that idea to rights. You know that by our laws, all persons are free to enter into marriage, if of 21 years of age, no one having a power to restrain it, not even their parents; and that under that age, no one can prevent it but the parent or guardian. The lady is under age, and the parents, placed between her affections, which were strongly fixed, and the considerations opposing the measure, yielded with pain & anxiety to the former. Mr. Patterson is the President of the Bank of Baltimore, the wealthiest man in Maryland, perhaps in the U.S., except Mr. Carroll; a man of great virtue & respectability; the mother is the sister of the lady of General Saml Smith; and, consequently, the station of the family in society is with the first of the U.S. These circumstances fix rank in a country where there are no hereditary titles.
Your treaty has obtained nearly a general approbation. The federalists spoke & voted against it, but they are now so reduced in their numbers as to be nothing. The question on its ratification in the Senate was decided by 24 against 7, which was 10 more than enough. The vote in the House of Representatives for making provision for its execution was carried by 89 against 23, which was a majority of 66, and the necessary bills are going through the Houses by greater majorities. Mr. Pichon, according to instructions from his government, proposed to have added to the ratification a protestation against any failure in time or other circumstances of execution, on our part. He was told, that in that case we should annex a counter protestation, which would leave the thing exactly where it was. That this transaction had been conducted, from the commencement of the negociation to this stage of it, with a frankness & sincerity honorable to both nations, and comfortable to the heart of an honest man to review; that to annex to this last chapter of the transaction such an evidence of mutual distrust, was to change its aspect dishonorably for us both, and contrary to truth as to us; for that we had not the smallest doubt that France would punctually execute its part; & I assured Mr. Pichon that I had more confidence in the word of the First Consul than in all the parchment we could sign. He saw that we had ratified the treaty; that both branches had passed, by great majorities, one of the bills for execution, & would soon pass the other two; that no circumstance remained that could leave a doubt of our punctual performance; & like an able & an honest minister, (which he is in the highest degree,) he undertook to do what he knew his employers would do themselves, were they here spectators of all the existing circumstances, and exchanged the ratifications purely and simply : so that this instrument goes to the world as an evidence of the candor & confidence of the nations in each other, which will have the best effects. This was the more justifiable, as Mr. Pichon knew that Spain had entered with us a protestation against our ratification of the treaty, grounded 1st, on the assertion that the First Consul had not executed the conditions of the treaties of cession; &, 2ly, that he had broken a solemn promise not to alienate the country to any nation. We answered, that these were private questions between France & Spain, which they must settle together; that we derived our title from the First Consul, & did not doubt his guarantee of it; and we, four days ago, sent off orders to the Governor of the Mississippi territory & General Wilkinson to move down with the troops at hand to New Orleans, to receive the possession from Mr. Laussat. If he is heartily disposed to carry the order of the Consul into execution, he can probably command a voluntary force at New Orleans, and will have the aid of ours also, if he desires it, to take the possession, & deliver it to us. If he is not so disposed, we shall take the possession, & it will rest with the government of France, by adopting the act as their own, & obtaining the confirmation of Spain, to supply the non-execution of their stipulation to deliver, & to entitle themselves to the compleat execution of our part of the agreements. In the meantime, the Legislature is passing the bills, and we are preparing everything to be done on our part towards execution; and we shall not avail ourselves of the three months delay after possession of the province, allowed by the treaty for the delivery of the stock, but shall deliver it the moment that possession is known here, which will be on the 18th day after it has taken place.
* * * * * * * * *
Accept my affectionate salutations, and assurances of my constant esteem and respect.
The memoranda you inclosed me from Mr. Clarke deserve great attention. Such articles of them as depend on the executive shall be arranged for the next post. The following articles belong to the legislature.
The administration of justice to be prompt. Perhaps the judges should be obliged to hold their courts weekly, at least for some time to come.
The ships of resident owners to be naturalized, and in general the laws of the U.S., respecting navigation, importation, exportation &c., to be extended to the ports of the ceded territory.
The hospital to be provided for.
Slaves not to be imported, except from such of the U.S. as prohibit importation.
Without looking at the old territorial ordinance, I had imagined it best to found a government for the territory or territories of lower Louisiana on that basis. But on examining it, I find it will not do at all; that it would turn all their laws topsy turvy. Still I believe it best to appoint a governor & three judges, with legislative powers; only providing that the judges shall form the laws, & the governor have a negative only, subject further to the negative of a national legislature. The existing laws of the country being now in force, the new legislature will of course introduce the trial by jury in criminal cases, first; the habeas corpus, the freedom of the press, freedom of religion, &c., as soon as can be, and in general draw their laws and organization to the mould of ours by degrees as they find practicable without exciting too much discontent. In proportion as we find the people there riper for receiving these first principles of freedom, congress may from session to session confirm their enjoyment of them.
As you have so many more opportunities than I have of free confidence with individual members, perhaps you may be able to give them these hints to make what use of them they please. Affectionate salutations.
P.S. My idea that upper Louisiana should be continued under its present form of government, only making it subordinate to the national government, and independent of lower Louisiana. No other government can protect it from intruders.
I have duly received the volume on the claims of literature, which you did me the favor to send me through Mr. Monroe, and have read with satisfaction the many judicious reflections it contains, on the condition of the respectable class of literary men. The efforts for their relief, made by a society of private citizens, are truly laudable ; but they are, as you justly observe, but a palliation of an evil, the cure of which calls for all the wisdom and the means of the nation. The greatest evils of populous society have ever appeared to me to spring from the vicious distribution of its members among the occupations called for. I have no doubt that those nations are essentially right, which leave this to individual choice, as a better guide to an advantageous distribution than any other which could be devised. But when, by a blind concourse, particular occupations are ruinously overcharged, and others left in want of hands, the national authorities can do much towards restoring the equilibrium. On the revival of letters, learning became the universal favorite. And with reason, because there was not enough of it existing to manage the affairs of a nation to the best advantage, nor to advance its individuals to the happiness of which they were susceptible, by improvements in their minds, their morals, their health, and in those conveniences which contribute to the comfort and embellishment of life. All the efforts of the society, therefore, were directed to the increase of learning, and the inducements of respect, ease, and profit were held up for its encouragement. Even the charities of the nation forgot that misery was their object, and spent themselves in founding schools to transfer to science the hardy sons of the plough. To these incitements were added the powerful fascinations of great cities. These circumstances have long since produced an overcharge in the class of competitors for learned occupation, and great distress among the supernumerary candidates ; and the more, as their habits of life have disqualified them for reentering into the laborious class. The evil cannot be suddenly, nor perhaps ever entirely cured: nor should I presume to say by what means it may be cured. Doubtless there are many engines which the nation might bring to bear on this object. Public opinion, and public encouragement are among these. The class principally defective is that of agriculture. It is the first in utility, and ought to be the first in respect. The same artificial means which have been used to produce a competition in learning, may be equally successful in restoring agriculture to its primary dignity in the eyes of men. It is a science of the very first order. It counts among its handmaids the most respectable sciences, such as Chemistry, Natural Philosophy, Mechanics, Mathematics generally, Natural History, Botany. In every College and University, a professorship of agriculture, and the class of its students, might be honored as the first. Young men closing their academical education with this, as the crown of all other sciences, fascinated with its solid charms, and at a time when they are to choose an occupation, instead of crowding the other classes, would return to the farms of their fathers, their own, or those of others, and replenish and invigorate a calling, now languishing under contempt and oppression. The charitable schools, instead of storing their pupils with a lore which the present state of society does not call for, converted into schools of agriculture, might restore them to that branch qualified to enrich and honor themselves, and to increase the productions of the nation instead of consuming them. A gradual abolition of the useless offices, so much accumulated in all governments, might close this drain also from the labors of the field, and lessen the burdens imposed on them. By these, and the better means which will occur to others, the surcharge of the learned, might in time be drawn off to recruit the laboring class of citizens, the sum of industry be increased, and that of misery diminished.
Among the ancients, the redundance of population was sometimes checked by exposing infants. To the moderns, America has offered a more humane resource. Many, who cannot find employment in Europe, accordingly come here. Those who can labor do well, for the most part. Of the learned class of emigrants, a small portion find employments analogous to their talents. But many fail, and return to complete their course of misery in the scenes where it began. Even here we find too strong a current from the country to the towns; and instances beginning to appear of that species of misery, which you are so humanely endeavoring to relieve with you. Although we have in the old countries of Europe the lesson of their experience to warn us, yet I am not satisfied we shall have the firmness and wisdom to profit by it. The general desire of men to live by their heads rather than their hands, and the strong allurements of great cities to those who have any turn for dissipation, threaten to make them here, as in Europe, the sinks of voluntary misery. I perceive, however, that I have suffered my pen to run into a disquisition, when I had taken it up only to thank you for the volume you had been so kind as to send me, and to express my approbation of it. After apologizing, therefore, for having touched on a subject so much more familiar to you, and better understood, I beg leave to assure you of my high consideration and respect.
I have not written to you since the 11th and 15th of July, since which yours of July 18, 22, 25, September 8, 13, and October 3, have been received. The present has been long delayed by an expectation daily of getting the enclosed account of Louisiana through the press. The materials are received from different persons, of good authority. I enclose you also copies of the treaties for Louisiana, the act for taking possession, a letter from Dr. Wistar, and some information obtained by myself from Truteaus journal in MS., all of which may be useful to you. The act for taking possession passed with only some small verbal variations from that enclosed, of no consequence. Orders went from hence signed by the King of Spain and the First Consul of France, so as to arrive at Natchez yesterday evening, and we expect the delivery of the province at New Orleans will take place about the close of the ensuing week, say about the 26th instant. Governor Claiborne is appointed to execute the powers of Commandant and Intendant, until a regular government shall be organized here. At the moment of delivering over the ports in the vicinity of New Orleans, orders will be despatched from thence to those in upper Louisiana to evacuate and deliver them immediately. You can judge better than I can when they may be expected to arrive at these ports, considering how much you have been detained by the low waters, how late it will be before you can leave Cahokia, how little progress up the Missouri you can make before the freezing of the river; that your winter might be passed in gaining much information, by making Cahokia or Caskaskia your headquarters, and going to St. Louis and the other Spanish forts, that your stores, etc., would thereby be spared for the winter, as your men would draw their military rations. All danger of Spanish opposition avoided, we are strongly of opinion here that you had better not enter the Missouri till the spring. But as you have a view of all circumstances on the spot, we do not pretend to enjoin it, but leave it to your own judgment in which we have entire confidence. One thing, however, we are decided in ; that you must not undertake the winter excursion which you propose in yours of October 3d. Such an excursion will be more dangerous than the main expedition up the Missouri, and would by an accident to you, hazard our main object, which, since the acquisition of Louisiana, interests everybody in the highest degree. The object of your mission is single, the direct water communication from sea to sea formed by the bed of the Missouri, and perhaps the Oregon ; by having Mr. Clarke with you we consider the expedition as double manned, and therefore the less liable to failure; for which reason neither of you should be exposed to risks by going off of your line. I have proposed in conversation, and it seems generally assented to, that Congress shall appropriate ten or twelve thousand dollars for exploring the principal waters of the Mississippi and Missouri. In that case, I should send a party up the Red river to its head, then to cross over to the head of the Arkansas, and come down that. A second party for the Pani and Padouca rivers, and a third, perhaps, for the Morsigona and St. Peters. As the boundaries of interior Louisiana are the high lands enclosing all the waters which run into the Mississippi or Missouri directly or indirectly, with a quarter breadth on the Gulf of Mexico, it becomes interesting to fix with precision by celestial observations the longitude and latitude of the sources of these rivers, so providing points in the contour of our new limits. This will be attempted distinctly from your mission, which we consider as of major importance, and therefore, not to be delayed or hazarded by any episodes whatever.
The votes of both Houses on ratifying and carrying the treaties into execution, have been precisely party votes, except that General Dayton has separated from his friends on these questions, and voted for the treaties. I will direct the Aurora National Intelligencer to be forwarded to you for six months at Cahokia or Caskaskia; on the presumption you will be there. Your friends and acquaintances here, and in Albemarle, are all well, so far as I have heard ; and I recollect no other small news worth communicating. Present my friendly salutations to Mr. Clarke, and accept them affectionately yourself.
Dear Sir,I thought I perceived in you the other day a dread of the job of preparing a constitution for the new acquisition. With more boldness than wisdom I therefore determined to prepare a canvass, give it a few daubs of outline, and send it to you to fill up. I yesterday morning took up the subject and scribbled off the inclosed. In communicating it to you I must do it in confidence that you will never let any person know that I have put pen to paper on the subject and that if you think the inclosed can be of any aid to you you will take the trouble to copy it & return me the original. I am this particular, because you know with what bloody teeth & fangs the federalists will attack any sentiment or principle known to come from me, & what blackguardisms & personalities they make it the occasion of vomiting forth. My time does not permit me to go into explanation of the inclosed by letter. I will only observe therefore as to a single feature of the legislature, that the idea of an Assembly of Notables came into my head while writing, as a thing more familiar & pleasing to the French, than a legislation of judges. True it removes their dependence from the judges to the Executive: but this is what they are used to & would prefer. Should Congress reject the nomination of judges for 4 years & make them during good behavior, as is probable, then, should the judges take a kink in their heads in favor of leaving the present laws of Louisiana unaltered, that evil will continue for their lives, unamended by us, and become so inveterate that we may never be able to introduce the uniformity of law so desirable. The making the same persons so directly judges & legislators is more against principle, than to make the same persons Executive, and the elector of the legislative members. The former too are placed above all responsibility, the latter is under a perpetual control if he goes wrong. The judges have to act on 9. out of 10. of the laws which are made; the governor not on one in 10. But strike it out & insert the judges if you think it better, as it was a sudden conceit to which I am not attached; and make what alterations you please, as I had never [had] before time to think on the subject, or form the outlines of any plan, & probably shall not again. Accept my friendly salutations.
The explanation in your letter of yesterday was quite unnecessary to me. I have had too satisfactory proofs of your friendly regard, to be disposed to suspect anything of a contrary aspect. I understood perfectly the expressions stated in the newspaper to which you allude, to mean, that tho the proposition came from the republican quarter of the House, yet you should not concur with it. I am aware that in parts of the Union, & even with persons to whom Mr. Eppes and Mr. Randolph are unknown, & myself little known, it will be presumed from their connection, that what comes from them comes from me. No men on earth are more independent in their sentiments than they are, nor any one less disposed than I am to influence the opinions of others. We rarely speak of politics, or of the proceedings of the House, but merely historically, and I carefully avoid expressing an opinion on them, in their presence, that we may all be at our ease. With other members, I have believed that more unreserved communications would be advantageous to the public. This has been, perhaps, prevented by mutual delicacy. I have been afraid to express opinions unasked, lest I should be suspected of wishing to direct the legislative action of members. They have avoided asking communications from me, probably, lest they should be suspected of wishing to fish out executive secrets. I see too many proofs of the imperfection of human reason, to entertain wonder or intolerance at any difference of opinion on any subject; and acquiesce in that difference as easily as on a difference of feature or form; experience having long taught me the reasonableness of mutual sacrifices of opinion among those who are to act together for any common object, and the expediency of doing what good we can, when we cannot do all we would wish.
Accept my friendly salutations, and assurances of great esteem & respect.
Dear Sir,Your favor of the 26th ult. has been received. Mr. Van Wycks appointment as commr. of bankruptcy only awaits Mr. Sandfords resignation. The papers in the case of Lt. Wolstencroft shall be recommended to the inquiries & attentions of the Secretary at War. I should think it indeed a serious misfortune should a change in the administration of your government be hazarded before its present principles be well established through all its parts. Yet, on reflection, you will be sensible that the delicacy of my situation, considering who may be competitors, forbids my intermeddling, even so far as to write the letter you suggest. I can therefore only brood in silence over my secret wishes.
I am less able to give you the proceedings of Congress than your correspondents who are of that body. More difference of opinion seems to exist as to the manner of disposing of Louisiana, than I had imagined possible : and our leading friends are not yet sufficiently aware of the necessity of accommodation & mutual sacrifice of opinion for conducting a numerous assembly, where the opposition too is drilled to act in phalanx on every question. Altho it is acknoleged that our new fellow citizens are as yet as incapable of self government as children, yet some cannot bring themselves to suspend its principles for a single moment. The temporary or territorial government of that country therefore will encounter great difficulty. The question too whether the settlement of upper Louisiana shall be prohibited occasions a great division of our friends. Some are for prohibiting it till another amendment of the constn shall permit it; others for prohibiting by authority of the legislature only, a third set for permitting immediate settlement. Those of the first opinion apprehend that if the legislature may open a land office there, it will become the ruling principle of elections, & end in a yazoo scheme : those of the 2d opinion fear they may never get an amendment of the constitution permitting the settlement. Accept my friendly salutations & assurances of great esteem & respect.
The Attorney General having considered and decided that the prescription in the law for establishing a bank, that the officers in the subordinate offices of discount and deposit, shall be appointed on the same terms and in the same manner practised in the principal bank, does not extend to them the principle of rotation, established by the Legislature in the body of directors in the principal bank, it follows that the extension of that principle has been merely a voluntary and prudential act of the principal bank, from which they are free to depart. I think the extension was wise and proper on their part, because the Legislature having deemed rotation useful in the principal bank constituted by them, there would be the same reason for it in the subordinate banks to be established by the principal. It breaks in upon the esprit du corps so apt to prevail in permanent bodies ; it gives a chance for the public eye penetrating into the sanctuary of those proceedings and practices, which the avarice of the directors may introduce for their personal emolument, and which the resentments of excluded directors, or the honesty of those duly admitted, might betray to the public; and it gives an opportunity at the end of the year, or at other periods, of correcting a choice, which, on trial, proves to have been unfortunate ; an evil of which themselves complain in their distant institutions. Whether, however, they have a power to alter this, or not, the executive has no right to decide ; and their consultation with you has been merely an act of complaisance, or from a desire to shield so important an innovation under the cover of executive sanction. But ought we to volunteer our sanction in such a case ? Ought we to disarm ourselves of any fair right of animadversion, whenever that institution shall be a legitimate subject of consideration ? I own, I think the most proper answer would be, that we do not think ourselves authorized to give an opinion on the question.
From a passage in the letter of the President, I observe an idea of establishing a branch bank of the United States in New Orleans. This institution is one of the most deadly hostility existing, against the principles and form of our Constitution. The nation is, at this time, so strong and united in its sentiments, that it cannot be shaken at this moment. But suppose a series of untoward events should occur, sufficient to bring into doubt the competency of a republican government to meet a crisis of great danger, or to unhinge the confidence of the people in the public functionaries; an institution like this, penetrating by its branches every part of the Union, acting by command and in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government. I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any selfconstituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries. What an obstruction could not this bank of the United States, with all its branch banks, be in time of war ! It might dictate to us the peace we should accept, or withdraw its aids. Ought we then to give further growth to an institution so powerful, so hostile ? That it is so hostile we know 1, from a knowledge of the principles of the persons composing the body of directors in every bank, principal or branch ; and those of most of the stockholders : 2, from their opposition to the measures and principles of the government, and to the election of those friendly to them : and 3, from the sentiments of the newspapers they support. Now, while we are strong, it is the greatest duty we owe to the safety of our Constitution, to bring this powerful enemy to a perfect subordination under its authorities. The first measure would be to reduce them to an equal footing only with other banks, as to the favors of the government. But, in order to be able to meet a general combination of the banks against us, in a critical emergency, could we not make a beginning towards an independent use of our own money, towards building our own bank in all the deposits where it is received, and letting the treasurer give his draft or note, for payment at any particular place, which, in a well-conducted government, ought to have as much credit as any private draft, or bank note, or bill, and would give us the same facilities which we derive from the banks ? I pray you to turn this subject in your mind, and to give it the benefit of your knowledge of details ; whereas, I have only very general views of the subject. Affectionate salutations.
I received last night your favor of the 22d, written on the occasion of the libellous pamphlet lately published with you. I began to read it, but the dullness of the first page made me give up the reading for a dip into here and there a passage, till I came to what respected myself. The falsehood of that gave me a test for the rest of the work, and considering it always useless to read lies, I threw it by. As to yourself, be assured no contradiction was necessary. The uniform tenor of a mans life furnishes better evidence of what he has said or done on any particular occasion than the word of an enemy, and of an enemy too who shows that he prefers the use of falsehoods which suit him to truths which do not. Little squibs in certain papers had long ago apprized me of a design to sow tares between particular republican characters, but to divide those by lying tales whom truths cannot divide, is the hackneyed policy of the gossips of every society. Our business is to march straight forward to the object which has occupied us for eight and twenty years, without either turning to the right or left. My opinion is that two or three years more will bring back to the fold of republicanism all our wandering brethren whom the cry of "wolf" scattered in 1798. Till that is done, let every man stand to his post, and hazard nothing by change. And when that is done, you and I may retire to the tranquillity which our years begin to call for, and revise with satisfaction the efforts of the age we happened to be born in, crowned with complete success. In the hour of death we shall have the consolation to see established in the land of our fathers the most wonderful work of wisdom and disinterested patriotism that has ever yet appeared on the globe.
In confidence that you will not be weary in well doing, I tender my wishes that your future days may be as happy as your past ones have been useful, and pray you to accept my friendly salutations and assurances of high consideration and respect.