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Title: Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 1
Author: Jefferson, Thomas
Language: English
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[Illustration: Book Spines, 1829 set of Jefferson Papers]

MEMOIR, CORRESPONDENCE, AND MISCELLANIES, FROM THE PAPERS OF THOMAS
JEFFERSON.

Edited by Thomas Jefferson Randolph.


[Illustration: Steel engraving by Longacre from painting of G. Stuart]

[Illustration: Titlepage of Volume One (of four)]



     EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA, to wit:

     Be it remembered, that on the seventeenth day of January, in
     the fifty-third year of the Independence of the United
     States of America, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, of the said
     District, hath deposited in this office the title of a book,
     the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words
     following, to wit:

     “Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, from the Papers
     of Thomas Jefferson. Edited by Thomas Jefferson Randolph.”

     In conformity to the act of the Congress of the United
     States, entitled “An act for the encouragement of learning,
     by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books, to the
     authors and proprietors of such copies, during the times
     therein mentioned.”

     RD. JEFFRIES, Clerk of the Eastern District of Virginia.

     CAMBRIDGE: E. W. Metcalf & Company.



PREFACE.

The opinion universally entertained of the extraordinary abilities of
Thomas Jefferson, and the signal evidence given by his country, of a
profound sense of his patriotic services, and of veneration for his
memory, have induced the Editor, who is both his Executor and the
Legatee of his Manuscript Papers, to believe that an extensive
publication from them would be particularly acceptable to the American
people.

The Memoir, contained in the first volume, commences with circumstantial
notices of his earliest life; and is continued to his arrival in New
York, in March, 1790, when he entered on the duties of the Department of
State, of which he had been just appointed Secretary.

From the aspect of the Memoir, it may be presumed that parts of it, at
least, had been written for his own and his family’s use only; and in a
style without the finish of his revising pen. There is, however, no part
of it, minute and personal as it may be, which the Reader would wish
to have been passed over by the Editor; whilst not a few parts of that
description will, by some, be regarded with a particular interest.

The contents of the Memoir, succeeding the biographical pages, may be
designated as follows:

I. General facts and anecdotes relating to the origin and early stages
of the contest with Great Britain.

II. Historical circumstances relating to the Confederation of the
States.

III. Facts and anecdotes, local and general, preliminary to the
Declaration of Independence.

IV. An exact account of the circumstances attending that memorable act,
in its preparation and its progress through Congress; with a copy
from the original draught, _in the hand-writing of the Author;_ and a
parallel column, in the same hand, showing the alterations made in the
draught by Congress.

The Memoir will be considered not a little enriched by the Debates in
Congress, on the great question of Independence, as they were taken down
by Mr. Jefferson at the time, and which, though in a compressed form,
present the substance of what passed on that memorable occasion.
This portion of the work derives peculiar value from its perfect
authenticity, being all in the hand-writing of that distinguished member
of the body; from the certainty that this is the first disclosure to the
world of those Debates; and from the probability, or rather certainty,
that a like knowledge of them is not to be expected from any other
source. The same remarks are applicable to the Debates in the same
Congress, preserved in the same manner, on two of the original Articles
of Confederation. The first is the Article fixing the rate of assessing
the quotas of supply to the common Treasury: the second is the Article
which declares, “that in determining questions, each Colony shall have
one vote.” The Debates on both are not only interesting in themselves,
but curious, also, in relation to like discussions of the same subjects
on subsequent occasions.

V. Views of the connections and transactions of the United States with
foreign nations, at different periods; particularly, a narrative, with
many details, personal and political, of the causes and early course of
the French Revolution, as exhibited to the observation of the Author,
during his diplomatic residence at Paris. The narrative, with the
intermingled reflections on the character and consequences of that
Revolution, fills a considerable space in the Memoir, and forms a very
important part of it.

VI. Within the body of the Memoir, or referred to as an appendix, are
other papers which were thought well entitled to the place they occupy.
Among them, are, 1. A paper drawn up in the year 1774, as “Instructions
to our Delegates in Congress.” Though heretofore in print, it will be
new to most readers; and will be regarded by all, as the most ample and
precise enumeration of British violations that had then appeared, or,
perhaps, that has since been presented in a form at once so compact
and so complete. 2. A Penal Code, being part of a Revised Code of Laws,
prepared by appointment of the Legislature of Virginia, in 1776, with
reference to the Republican form of Government, and to the principles of
humanity congenial therewith, and with the improving spirit of the age.
Annexed to the several articles, are explanatory and other remarks of
the Author, worthy of being preserved by the aid of the press. 3. A
historical and critical review of the repeal of the laws establishing
the Church in Virginia; which was followed by the “Act for establishing
religious freedom.” This act, it is well known, was always held by Mr.
Jefferson to be one of his best efforts in the cause of liberty, to
which he was devoted: and it is certainly the strongest legal barrier
that could be erected against a connection between Church and State,
so fatal in its tendency to the purity of both. 4. An elaborate paper
concerning a Money Unit, prepared in the year 1784, and which laid the
foundation of the system adopted by Congress, for a coinage and money of
account. For other particulars, not here noted, the Reader is referred
to the volume itself.


The termination of the Memoir, at the date mentioned, by the Author, may
be explained by the laborious tasks assumed or not declined by him, on
his return to private life; which, with his great age, did not permit
him to reduce his materials into a state proper to be embodied in such a
work.

The other volumes contain, I. Letters from 1775, to his death, addressed
to a very great variety of individuals; and comprising a range of
information, and, in many instances, regular essays, on subjects of
History, Politics, Science, Morals, and Religion. The letters to him
are omitted, except in a very few instances, where it was supposed their
publication would be generally acceptable, from the important character
of the communication, or the general interest in the views of the
writer; or where the whole or a part of a letter had been filed for the
better understanding of the answer.

In these cases, such letters are inserted in the body of the work, or
in an appendix, as their importance, and connection with the subject
discussed by the author, rendered advisable. And where inferences from
the tenor of the answer, might in any way affect the correspondent,
his name does not appear in the copy filed. The historical parts of the
letters, and the entire publication, have the rare value of coming
from one of the chief actors himself, and of being written, not for the
public eye, but in the freedom and confidence of private friendship.

II. Notes of conversations, whilst Secretary of State, with President
Washington, and others high in office; and memoranda of Cabinet
Councils, committed to paper on the spot, and filed; the whole, with
the explanatory and miscellaneous additions, showing the views and
tendencies of parties, from the year 1789 to 1800.

Appended to the publication, is a ‘Facsimile’ of the rough draught of
the Declaration of Independence, in which will be seen the erasures,
interlineations, and additions of Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, two of the
appointed Committee, in the handwriting of each.

The Editor, though he cannot be insensible to the genius, the learning,
the philosophic inspiration, the generous devotion to virtue, and the
love of country, displayed in the writings now committed to the press,
is restrained, not less by his incompetency, than by his relation to the
Author, from dwelling on themes which belong to an eloquence that can do
justice to the names of illustrious benefactors to their country and to
their fellow men.

Albemarle, Va., January, 1829.


[Illustration: Page One of Jefferson’s Memoir, page001]



MEMOIR.

January 6, 1821. At the age of 77, I begin to make some memoranda, and
state some recollections of dates and facts concerning myself, for my
own more ready reference, and for the information of my family.

The tradition in my father’s family was, that their ancestor came to
this country from Wales, and from near the mountain of Snowden, the
highest in Great Britain. I noted once a case from Wales, in the law
reports, where a person of our name was either plaintiff or defendant;
and one of the same name was secretary to the Virginia Company. These
are the only instances in which I have met with the name in that
country. I have found it in our early records; but the first particular
information I have of any ancestor was of my grandfather, who lived
at the place in Chesterfield called Ozborne’s, and owned the lands
afterwards the glebe of the parish. He had three sons; Thomas who died
young, Field who settled on the waters of Roanoke and left numerous
descendants, and Peter, my father, who settled on the lands I still own,
called Shadwell, adjoining my present residence. He was born February
29, 1707-8, and intermarried 1739, with Jane Randolph, of the age of
19, daughter of Isham Randolph, one of the seven sons of that name and
family settled at Dungeoness in Goochland. They trace their pedigree far
back in England and Scotland, to which let every one ascribe the faith
and merit he chooses.

My father’s education had been quite neglected; but being of a strong
mind, sound judgment, and eager after information, he read much
and improved himself, insomuch that he was chosen, with Joshua Fry,
professor of Mathematics in William and Mary college, to continue the
boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina, which had been begun
by Colonel Byrd; and was afterwards employed with the same Mr. Fry, to
make the first map of Virginia which had ever been made, that of Captain
Smith being merely a conjectural sketch. They possessed excellent
materials for so much of the country as is below the Blue Ridge; little
being then known beyond that Ridge. He was the third or fourth settler,
about the year 1737, of the part of the country in which I live. He died
August 17th, 1757, leaving my mother a widow, who lived till 1776, with
six daughters and two sons, myself the elder. To my younger brother
he left his estate on James river, called Snowden, after the supposed
birth-place of the family: to myself, the lands on which I was born and
live. He placed me at the English school at five years of age; and at
the Latin at nine, where I continued until his death. My teacher, Mr.
Douglas, a clergyman from Scotland, with the rudiments of the Latin and
Greek languages, taught me the French; and on the death of my father, I
went to the Reverend Mr. Maury, a correct classical scholar, with whom
I continued two years; and then, to wit, in the spring of 1760, went to
William and Mary college, where I continued two years. It was my great
good fortune, and what probably fixed the destinies of my life, that
Dr. William Small of Scotland was then professor of Mathematics, a man
profound in most of the useful branches of science, with a happy talent
of communication, correct and gentlemanly manners, and an enlarged and
liberal mind. He, most happily for me, became soon attached to me, and
made me his daily companion when not engaged in the school; and from his
conversation I got my first views of the expansion of science, and
of the system of things in which we are placed. Fortunately, the
philosophical chair became vacant soon after my arrival at college, and
he was appointed to fill it per interim: and he was the first who ever
gave, in that college, regular lectures in Ethics, Rhetoric, and Belles
lettres. He returned to Europe in 1762, having previously filled up
the measure of his goodness to me, by procuring for me, from his most
intimate friend George Wythe, a reception as a student of Law, under his
direction, and introduced me to the acquaintance and familiar table of
Govenor Fauquier, the ablest man who had ever filled that office.
With him, and at his table, Dr. Small and Mr. Wythe, his _amici omnium
horarum,_ and myself, formed a _partie quarrée,_ and to the habitual
conversations on these occasions I owed much instruction. Mr. Wythe
continued to be my faithful and beloved Mentor in youth, and my most
affectionate friend through life. In 1767, he led me into the practice
of the law at the bar of the General Court, at which I continued until
the Revolution shut up the courts of justice.*

     * For a sketch of the life and character of Mr. Wythe, see
     my letter of August 31, 1820, to Mr. John Saunderson. [See
     Appendix, note A.]

In 1769, I became a member of the legislature by the choice of the
county in which I live, and so continued until it was closed by the
Revolution. I made one effort in that body for the permission of the
emancipation of slaves, which was rejected: and indeed, during the
regal government, nothing liberal could expect success. Our minds were
circumscribed within narrow limits, by an habitual belief that it was
our duty to be subordinate to the mother country in all matters of
government, to direct all our labors in subservience to her interests,
and even to observe a bigoted intolerance for all religions but hers.
The difficulties with our representatives were of habit and despair,
not of reflection and conviction. Experience soon proved that they could
bring their minds to rights, on the first summons of their attention.
But the King’s Council, which acted as another house of legislature,
held their places at will, and were in most humble obedience to that
will: the Governor too, who had a negative on our laws, held by the same
tenure, and with still greater devotedness to it: and, last of all, the
Royal negative closed the last door to every hope of melioration.

On the 1st of January, 1772, I was married to Martha Skelton, widow of
Bathurst Skelton, and daughter of John Wayles, then twenty-three
years old. Mr. Wayles was a lawyer of much practice, to which he
was introduced more by his great industry, punctuality and practical
readiness, than by eminence in the science of his profession. He was
a most agreeable companion, full of pleasantry and good humor, and
welcomed in every society. He acquired a handsome fortune, and died in
May, 1773, leaving three daughters: the portion which came on that
event to Mrs. Jefferson, after the debts should be paid, which were
very considerable, was about equal to my own patrimony, and consequently
doubled the ease of our circumstances.

When the famous Resolutions of 1765, against the Stamp-act, were
proposed, I was yet a student of law in Williamsburg. I attended the
debate, however, at the door of the lobby of the House of Burgesses, and
heard the splendid display of Mr. Henry’s talents as a popular orator.
They were great indeed; such as I have never heard from any other man.
He appeared to me, to speak as Homer wrote. Mr. Johnson, a lawyer, and
member from the Northern Neck, seconded the resolutions, and by him the
learning and logic of the case were chiefly maintained. My recollections
of these transactions may be seen page 60 of the “Life of Patrick
Henry,” by Wirt, to whom I furnished them.

In May, 1769, a meeting of the General Assembly was called by the
Governor, Lord Botetourt. I had then become a member; and to that
meeting became known the joint resolutions and address of the Lords
and Commons of 1768-9, on the proceedings in Massachusetts.
Counter-resolutions, and an address to the King by the House of
Burgesses, were agreed to with little opposition, and a spirit
manifestly displayed itself of considering the cause of Massachusetts as
a common one. The Governor dissolved us: but we met the next day in
the Apollo* of the Raleigh tavern, formed ourselves into a voluntary
convention, drew up articles of association against the use of any
merchandise imported from Great Britain, signed and recommended them
to the people, repaired to our several counties, and were re-elected
without any other exception than of the very few who had declined assent
to our proceedings.

     * The name of a public room in the Raleigh.

Nothing of particular excitement occurring for a considerable time,
our countrymen seemed to fall into a state of insensibility to our
situation; the duty on tea, not yet repealed, and the declaratory act of
a right in the British Parliament, to bind us by their laws in all cases
whatsoever, still suspended over us. But a court of inquiry held in
Rhode Island in 1762, with a power to send persons to England to be
tried for offences committed here, was considered, at our session of the
spring of 1773, as demanding attention. Not thinking our old and
leading members up to the point of forwardness and zeal which the times
required, Mr. Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Francis L. Lee, Mr. Carr, and
myself agreed to meet in the evening, in a private room of the Raleigh,
to consult on the state of things. There may have been a member or two
more whom I do not recollect. We were all sensible that the most urgent
of all measures was that of coming to an understanding with all the
other colonies, to consider the British claims as a common cause to all,
and to produce a unity of action: and for this purpose that a committee
of correspondence in each colony would be the best instrument for
intercommunication: and that their first measure would probably be, to
propose a meeting of deputies from every colony, at some central place,
who should be charged with the direction of the measures which should be
taken by all. We therefore drew up the resolutions which may be seen in
Wirt, page 87. The consulting members proposed to me to move them, but I
urged that it should be done by Mr. Carr, my friend and brother-in-law,
then a new member, to whom I wished an opportunity should be given of
making known to the house his great worth and talents. It was so agreed;
he moved them, they were agreed to _nem. con._ and a committee of
correspondence appointed, of whom Peyton Randolph, the speaker, was
chairman.

The Governor (then Lord Dunmore) dissolved us, but the committee met
the next day, prepared a circular letter to the speakers, of the other
colonies, inclosing to each a copy of the resolutions, and left it in
charge with their chairman to forward them by expresses.

The origination of these committees of correspondence between the
colonies, has been since claimed for Massachusetts, and Marshall * has
given in to this error, although the very note of his appendix to which
he refers, shows that their establishment was confined to their own
towns. This matter will be seen clearly stated in a letter of Samuel
Adams Wells to me of April 2nd, 1819, and my answer of May 12th. I was
corrected by the letter of Mr. Wells in the information I had given
Mr. Wirt, as stated in his note, page 87, that the messengers of
Massachusetts and Virginia crossed each other on the way, bearing
similar propositions; for Mr. Wells shows that Massachusetts did not
adopt the measure, but on the receipt of our proposition, delivered at
their next session. Their message, therefore, which passed ours, must
have related to something else, for I well remember Peyton Randolph’s
informing me of the crossing of our messengers. **

     * Life of Washington, vol. ii. p. 151.
     ** See Appendix, note B.

The next event which excited our sympathies for Massachusetts, was the
Boston port bill, by which that port was to be shut up on the 1st of
June, 1774. This arrived while we were in session in the spring of that
year. The lead in the House, on these subjects, being no longer left to
the old members, Mr. Henry, R. H. Lee, Fr. L. Lee, three or four other
members, whom I do not recollect, and myself, agreeing that we must
boldly take an unequivocal stand in the line with Massachusetts,
determined to meet and consult on the proper measures, in the council
chamber, for the benefit of the library in that room. We were under
conviction of the necessity of arousing our people from the lethargy
into which they had fallen, as to passing events; and thought that the
appointment of a day of general fasting and prayer, would be most likely
to call up and alarm their attention. No example of such a solemnity had
existed since the days of our distress in the war of ‘55, since which
a new generation had grown up. With the help, therefore, of Rushworth,
whom we rummaged over for the revolutionary precedents and forms of
the Puritans of that day, preserved by him, we cooked up a resolution,
somewhat modernizing their phrases, for appointing the 1st day of
June, on which the port bill was to commence, for a day of fasting,
humiliation, and prayer, to implore Heaven to avert from us the evils of
civil war, to inspire us with firmness in support of our rights, and to
turn the hearts of the King and Parliament to moderation and justice.
To give greater emphasis to our proposition, we agreed to wait the next
morning on Mr. Nicholas, whose grave and religious character was more in
unison with the tone of our resolution, and to solicit him to move it.
We accordingly went to him in the morning. He moved it the same day; the
1st of June was proposed; and it passed without opposition. The Governor
dissolved us, as usual. We retired to the Apollo, as before, agreed
to an association, and instructed the committee of correspondence
to propose to the corresponding committees of the other colonies, to
appoint deputies to meet in Congress at such place, annually, as should
be convenient, to direct, from time to time, the measures required by
the general interest: and we declared that an attack on any one colony
should be considered as an attack on the whole. This was in May. We
further recommended to the several counties to elect deputies to meet
at Williamsburg, the 1st of August ensuing, to consider the state of
the colony, and particularly to appoint delegates to a general Congress,
should that measure be acceded to by the committees of correspondence
generally. It was acceded to; Philadelphia was appointed for the place,
and the 5th of September for the time of meeting. We returned home, and
in our several counties invited the clergy to meet assemblies of the
people on the 1st of June, to perform the ceremonies of the day, and
to address to them discourses suited to the occasion. The people met
generally, with anxiety and alarm in their countenances, and the effect
of the day, through the whole colony, was like a shock of electricity,
arousing every man and placing him erect and solidly on his centre. They
chose, universally, delegates for the convention. Being elected one for
my own county, I prepared a draught of instructions to be given to the
delegates whom we should send to the Congress, which I meant to propose
at our meeting. [See Appendix, note C.] In this I took the ground that,
from the beginning, I had thought the only one orthodox or tenable,
which was, that the relation between Great Britain and these colonies
was exactly the same as that of England and Scotland, after the
accession of James and until the union, and the same as her present
relations with Hanover, having the same executive chief, but no other
necessary political connection; and that our emigration from England to
this country gave her no more rights over us, than the emigrations
of the Danes and Saxons gave to the present authorities of the mother
country, over England. In this doctrine, however, I had never been able
to get any one to agree with me but Mr. Wythe. He concurred in it from
the first dawn of the question, What was the political relation between
us and England? Our other patriots, Randolph, the Lees, Nicholas,
Pendleton, stopped at the half-way house of John Dickinson, who admitted
that England had a right to regulate our commerce, and to lay duties on
it for the purposes of regulation, but not of raising revenue. But for
this ground there was no foundation in compact, in any acknowledged
principles of colonization, nor in reason: expatriation being a natural
right, and acted on as such, by all nations, in all ages. I set out for
Williamsburg some days before that appointed for the meeting, but taken
ill of a dysentery on the road, and was unable to proceed, I sent on,
therefore, to Williamsburg two copies of my draught, the one under cover
to Peyton Randolph, who I knew would be in the of the convention, the
other to Patrick Henry. Whether Mr. Henry disapproved the ground taken,
or was too lazy to read it (for he was the laziest man in reading I ever
knew) I never learned: but he communicated it to nobody. Peyton Randolph
informed the convention he had received such a paper from a member,
prevented by sickness from offering it in his place, and he laid it on
the table for perusal. It was read generally by the members, approved by
many, though thought too bold for the present state of things; but they
printed it in pamphlet form, under the title of ‘A Summary View of the
Rights of British America.’ It found its way to England, was taken up
by the opposition, interpolated a little by Mr. Burke so as to make it
answer opposition purposes, and in that form ran rapidly through several
editions. This information I had from Parson Hurt, who happened at the
time to be in London, whither he had gone to receive clerical orders;
and I was informed afterwards by Peyton Randolph, that it had procured
me the honor of having my name inserted in a long list of proscriptions,
enrolled in a bill of attainder commenced in one of the Houses of
Parliament, but suppressed in embryo by the hasty step of events, which
warned them to be a little cautious. Montague, agent of the House of
Burgesses in England, made extracts from the bill, copied the names, and
sent them to Peyton Randolph. The names I think were about twenty,
which he repeated to me, but I recollect those only of Hancock, the
two Adamses, Peyton Randolph himself, Patrick Henry, and myself.*
The convention met on the 1st of August, renewed their association,
appointed delegates to the Congress, gave them instructions very
temperately and properly expressed, both as to style and matter; **
and they repaired to Philadelphia at the time appointed. The splendid
proceedings of that Congress, at their first session, belong to general
history, are known to every one, and need not therefore be noted here.
They terminated their session on the 26th of October, to meet again on
the 10th of May ensuing. The convention, at their ensuing session
of March ‘75, approved of the proceedings of Congress, thanked their
delegates, and reappointed the same persons to represent the colony
at the meeting to be held in May: and foreseeing the probability that
Peyton Randolph, their president, and speaker also of the House of
Burgesses, might be called off, they added me, in that event, to the
delegation.

     * See Girardin’s History of Virginia, Appendix No. 12. note.
     ** See Appendix, note D.

Mr. Randolph was according to expectation obliged the chair of Congress,
to attend the General Assembly summoned by Lord Dunmore, to meet on the
1st day of June,1775. Lord North’s conciliatory propositions, as they
were called received by the Governor, and furnished the subject for
which this assembly was convened. Mr. Randolph accordingly attended, and
the tenor of these propositions being generally known, as having been
addressed to all the governors, he was anxious that the answer of our
Assembly, likely to be the first, should harmonise with what he knew to
be the sentiments and wishes of the body he had recently left. He feared
that Mr. Nicholas, whose mind was not yet up to the mark of the times,
would undertake the answer, and therefore pressed me to prepare it. I
did so, and, with his aid, carried it through the House, with long and
doubtful scruples from Mr. Nicholas and James Mercer, and a dash of cold
water on it here and there, enfeebling it somewhat, but finally with
unanimity, or a vote approaching it. This being passed, I repaired
immediately to Philadelphia, and conveyed to Congress the first notice
they had of it. It was entirely approved there. I took my seat with them
on the 21st of June. On the 24th, a committee which had been appointed
to prepare a declaration of the causes of taking up arms, brought in
their report (drawn, I believe, by J. Rutledge) which, not being liked,
the House recommitted it, on the 26th, and added Mr. Dickinson and
myself to the committee. On the rising of the House, the committee
having not yet met, I happened to find myself near Governor W.
Livingston, and proposed to him to draw the paper. He excused himself
and proposed that I should draw it. On my pressing him with urgency, ‘We
are as yet but new acquaintances, sir,’ said he, ‘why are you so earnest
for my doing it?’ ‘Because,’ said I, ‘I have been informed that you drew
the Address to the people of Great Britain, a production, certainly, of
the finest pen in America.’ ‘On that,’ says he, ‘perhaps, sir, you may
not have been correctly informed.’ I had received the information in
Virginia from Colonel Harrison on his return from that Congress. Lee,
Livingston, and Jay had been the committee for the draught. The first,
prepared by Lee, had been disapproved and recommitted. The second
was drawn by Jay, but being presented by Governor Livingston, had led
Colonel Harrison into the error. The next morning, walking in the hall
of Congress, many members being assembled, but the House formed, I
observed Mr. Jay speaking to R. H. Lee, and leading him by the button of
his coat to me. ‘I understand, sir,’ said he to me, ‘that this gentleman
informed you, that Governor Livingston drew the Address to the people
of Great Britain.’ I assured him at once that I had not received that
information from Mr. Lee and that not a word had ever passed on the
subject between Mr. Lee and myself; and after some explanations the
subject was dropped. These gentlemen had had some sparrings in debate
before, and continued ever very hostile to each other.

I prepared a draught of the declaration committed to us. It was too
strong for Mr. Dickinson. He still retained the hope of reconciliation
with the mother country, and was unwilling it should be lessened by
offensive statements. He was so honest a man, and so able a one, that he
was greatly indulged even by those who could not feel his scruples. We
therefore requested him to take the paper, and put it into a form
he could approve. He did so, preparing an entire new statement, and
preserving of the former only the last four paragraphs and half of the
preceding one. We approved and reported it to Congress, who accepted it.
Congress gave a signal proof of their indulgence to Mr. Dickinson, and
of their great desire not to go too fast for any respectable part of
our body, in permitting him to draw their second petition to the King
according to his own ideas, and passing it with scarcely any amendment.
The disgust against its humility was general; and Mr. Dickinson’s
delight at its passage was the only circumstance which reconciled them
to it. The vote being passed, although further observation on it was
out of order, he could not refrain from rising and expressing his
satisfaction, and concluded by saying, ‘There is but one word, Mr.
President, in the paper which I disapprove, and that is the word
Congress;’ on which Ben Harrison rose and said, ‘There is but one word
in the paper, Mr. President, of which I approve, and that is the word
Congress?’

On the 22nd of July, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Adams, R. H. Lee, and myself
were appointed a committee to consider and report on Lord North’s
conciliatory resolution. The answer of the Virginia Assembly on that
subject having been approved, I was requested by the committee to
prepare this report, which will account for the similarity of feature in
the two instruments.

On the 15th of May, 1776, the convention of Virginia instructed their
delegates in Congress, to propose to that body to declare the colonies
independent of Great Britain, and appointed a committee to prepare a
declaration of rights and plan of government.

     Here, in the original manuscript, commence the ‘two
     preceding sheets’ referred to by Mr. Jefferson, page 21, as
     containing ‘notes’ taken by him ‘whilst these things were
     going on.’ They are easily distinguished from the body of
     the MS. in which they were inserted by him, being of a paper
     very different in size, quality, and color, from that on
     which the latter is written:

In Congress, Friday, June 7, 1776. The delegates from Virginia moved,
in obedience to instructions from their constituents, that the Congress
should declare that these United Colonies and of right ought to be, free
and independent states, that they are absolved from all allegiance to
the British crown, and that all political connection between them and
the state of Great Britain is and ought to be, totally dissolved; that
measures should be immediately taken for procuring the assistance of
foreign powers and a confederation be formed to bind the colonial more
closely together.

The House being obliged to attend at that time to some other business,
the proposition was referred to the next day, when the members were
ordered to attend punctually at ten o’clock.

Saturday, June 8. They proceeded to take it into consideration, and
referred it to a committee of the whole, into which they immediately
resolved themselves, and passed that day and Monday the 10th in debating
on the subject.

It was argued by Wilson, Robert R. Livingston, E. Rutledge, Dickinson,
and others--

That, though they were friends to the measures themselves, and saw the
impossibility that we should ever again be united with Great Britain,
yet they were against adopting them at this time:

That the conduct we had formerly observed was wise and proper now, of
deferring to take any capital step till the voice of the people drove us
into it:

That they were our power, and without them our declarations could not be
carried into effect:

That the people of the middle colonies (Maryland, Delaware,
Pennsylvania, the Jerseys, and New York) were not yet ripe for bidding
adieu to British connection, but that they were fast ripening, and, in a
short time, would join in the general voice of America:

That the resolution, entered into by this House on the 15th of May,
for suppressing the exercise of all powers derived from the crown, had
shown, by the ferment into which it had thrown these middle colonies,
that they had not yet accommodated their minds to a separation from the
mother country:

That some of them had expressly forbidden their delegates to consent
to such a declaration, and others had given no instructions, and
consequently no powers to give such consent:

That if the delegates of any particular colony had no power to declare
such colony independent, certain they were, the others could not declare
it for them; the colonies being as yet perfectly independent of each
other:

That the assembly of Pennsylvania was now sitting above stairs, their
convention would sit within a few days, the convention of New York was
now sitting, and those of the Jerseys and Delaware counties would meet
on the Monday following, and it was probable these bodies would take up
the question of Independence, and would declare to their delegates the
voice of their state:

That if such a declaration should now be agreed to, these delegates must
retire, and possibly their colonies might secede from the Union:

That such a secession would weaken us more than could be compensated by
any foreign alliance:

That in the event of such a division, foreign powers would either refuse
to join themselves to our fortunes, or, having us so much in their power
as that desperate declaration would place us, they would insist on terms
proportionably more hard and prejudicial:

That we had little reason to expect an alliance with those to whom
alone, as yet, we had cast our eyes:

That France and Spain had reason to be jealous of that rising power,
which would one day certainly strip them of all their American
possessions:

That it was more likely they should form a connection with the British
Court, who, if they should find themselves unable otherwise to extricate
themselves from their difficulties, would agree to a partition of our
territories, restoring Canada to France, and the Floridas to Spain, to
accomplish for themselves a recovery of these colonies:

That it would not be long before we should receive certain information
of the disposition of the French court, from the agent whom we had sent
to Paris for that purpose:

That if this disposition should be favorable, by waiting the event of
the present campaign, which we all hoped would be successful, we should
have reason to expect an alliance on better terms:

That this would in fact work no delay of any effectual aid from such
ally, as, from the advance of the season and distance of our situation,
it was impossible we could receive any assistance during this campaign:

That it was prudent to fix among ourselves the terms on which we would
form alliance, before we declared we would form one at all events:

And that if these were agreed on, and our Declaration of Independence
ready by the time our Ambassador should be prepared to sail, it would be
as well, as to go into that Declaration at this day.

On the other side, it was urged by J. Adams, Lee, Wythe and others, that
no gentleman had argued against the policy or the right of separation
from Britain, nor had supposed it possible we should ever renew our
connection; that they had only opposed its being now declared:

That the question was not whether, by a Declaration of Independence, we
should make ourselves what we are not; but whether we should declare a
fact which already exists:

That, as to the people or parliament of England, we had always been
independent of them, their restraints on our trade deriving efficacy
from our acquiescence only, and not from any rights they possessed of
imposing them, and that so far, our connection had been federal only,
and was now dissolved by the commencement of hostilities:

That, as to the King, we had been bound to him by allegiance, but that
this bond was now dissolved by his assent to the late act of parliament,
by which he declares us out of his protection, and by his levying war on
us, a fact which had long ago proved us out of his protection; it
being a certain position in law, that allegiance and protection are
reciprocal, the one ceasing when the other is withdrawn:

That James the II. never declared the people of England out of his
protection, yet his actions proved it and the parliament declared it:

No delegates then can be denied, or ever want, a power of declaring an
existent truth:

That the delegates from the Delaware counties having declared their
constituents ready to join, there are only two colonies, Pennsylvania
and Maryland, whose delegates are absolutely tied up, and that these
had, by their instructions, only reserved a right of confirming or
rejecting the measure:

That the instructions from Pennsylvania might be accounted for from the
times in which they were drawn, near a twelvemonth ago, since which the
face of affairs has totally changed:

That within that time, it had become apparent that Britain was
determined to accept nothing less than a _carte-blanche,_ and that the
King’s answer to the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council of London,
which had come to hand four days ago, must have satisfied every one of
this point:

That the people wait for us to lead the way:

That they are in favor of the measure, though the instructions given by
some of their representatives are not:

That the voice of the representatives is not always consonant with
the voice of the people, and that this is remarkably the case in these
middle colonies:

That the effect of the resolution of the 15th of May has proved this,
which, raising the murmurs of some in the colonies of Pennsylvania
and Maryland, called forth the opposing voice of the freer part of the
people, and proved them to be the majority even in these colonies:

That the backwardness of these two colonies might be ascribed, partly to
the influence of proprietary power and connections, and partly, to their
having not yet been attacked by the enemy:

That these causes were not likely to be soon removed, as there seemed no
probability that the enemy would make either of these the seat of this
summer’s war:

That it would be vain to wait either weeks or months for perfect
unanimity, since it was impossible that all men should ever become of
one sentiment on any question:

That the conduct of some colonies, from the beginning of this contest,
had given reason to suspect it was their settled policy to keep in the
rear of the confederacy, that their particular prospect might be better,
even in the worst event:

That, therefore, it was necessary for those colonies who had thrown
themselves forward and hazarded all from the beginning, to come forward
now also, and put all again to their own hazard:

That the history of the Dutch revolution, of whom three states only
confederated at first, proved that a secession of some colonies would
not be so dangerous as some apprehended:

That a declaration of Independence alone could render it consistent
with European delicacy, for European powers to treat with us, or even to
receive an Ambassador from us:

That till this, they would not receive our vessels into their ports,
nor acknowledge the adjudications of our courts of admiralty to be
legitimate, in cases of capture of British vessels:

That though France and Spain may be jealous of our rising power, they
must think it will be much more formidable with the addition of
Great Britain; and will therefore see it their interest to prevent a
coalition; but should they refuse, we shall be but where we are; whereas
without trying, we shall never know whether they will aid us or not:

That the present campaign may be unsuccessful, and therefore we had
better propose an alliance while our affairs wear a hopeful aspect:

That to wait the event of this campaign will certainly work delay,
because, during this summer, France may assist us effectually, by
cutting off those supplies of provisions from England and Ireland, on
which the enemy’s armies here are to depend; or by setting in motion
the great power they have collected in the West Indies, and calling our
enemy to the defence of the possessions they have there:

That it would be idle to lose time in settling the terms of alliance,
till we had first determined we would enter into alliance:

That it is necessary to lose no time in opening a trade for our people,
who will want clothes, and will want money too, for the payment of
taxes:

And that the only misfortune is, that we did not enter into alliance
with France six months sooner, as, besides opening her ports for the
vent of our last year’s produce, she might have marched an army into
Germany, and prevented the petty princes there, from selling their
unhappy subjects to subdue us.


It appearing in the course of these debates, that the colonies of New
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and South Carolina
were not yet matured for falling from the parent stem, but that they
were fast advancing to that state, it was thought most prudent to wait
awhile for them, and to postpone the final decision to July 1st: but,
that this might occasion as little delay as possible, a committee was
appointed to prepare a Declaration of Independence. The committee were
John Adams, Dr. Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, and
myself. Committees were also appointed, at the same time, to prepare a
plan of confederation for the colonies, and to state the terms proper
to be proposed for foreign alliance. The committee for drawing the
Declaration of Independence, desired me to do it. It was accordingly
done, and being approved by them, I reported it to the House on Friday,
the 28th of June, when it was read and ordered to lie on the table. On
Monday, the 1st of July, the House resolved itself into a committee of
the whole, and resumed the consideration of the original motion made by
the delegates of Virginia, which, being again debated through the
day, was carried in the affirmative by the votes of New Hampshire,
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland,
Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. South Carolina and Pennsylvania
voted against it. Delaware had but two members present, and they
were divided. The delegates from New York declared they were for it
themselves, and were assured their constituents were for it; but that
their instructions having been drawn near a twelvemonth before, when
reconciliation was still the general object, they were enjoined by them
to do nothing which should impede that object. They therefore thought
themselves not justifiable in voting on either side, and asked leave to
withdraw from the question; which was given them. The committee rose and
reported their resolution to the House. Mr. Edward Rutledge, of South
Carolina, then requested the determination might be put off to the
next day, as he believed his colleagues, though they disapproved of
the resolution, would then join in it for the sake of unanimity. The
ultimate question, whether the House would agree to the resolution of
the committee, was accordingly postponed to the next day, when it was
again moved, and South Carolina concurred in voting for it. In the
mean time, a third member had come post from the Delaware counties, and
turned the vote of that colony in favor of the resolution. Members of a
different sentiment attending that morning from Pennsylvania also, her
vote was changed, so that the whole twelve colonies, who were authorized
to vote at all, gave their voices for it; and, within a few days, [July
9.] the convention of New York approved of it, and thus supplied the
void occasioned by the withdrawing of her delegates from the vote.

Congress proceeded the same day to consider the Declaration of
Independence, which had been reported and laid on the table the Friday
preceding, and on Monday referred to a committee of the whole. The
pusillanimous idea that we had friends in England worth keeping terms
with, still haunted the minds of many. For this reason, those passages
which conveyed censures on the people of England were struck out, lest
they should give them offence. The clause too, reprobating the enslaving
the inhabitants of Africa, was struck out in complaisance to South
Carolina and Georgia, who had never attempted to restrain the
importation of slaves, and who, on the contrary, still wished to
continue it. Our northern brethren also, I believe, felt a little
tender under those censures; for though their people had very few slaves
themselves, yet they had been pretty considerable carriers of them to
others. The debates having taken up the greater parts of the 2nd, 3rd,
and 4th days of July, were, on the evening of the last, closed; the
Declaration was reported by the committee, agreed to by the House, and
signed by every member present, except Mr. Dickinson. As the sentiments
of men are known, not only by what they receive, but what they reject
also, I will state the form of the Declaration as originally reported.
The parts struck out by Congress shall be distinguished by a black line
drawn under them; * and those inserted by them shall be placed in the
margin, or in a concurrent column.


[Illustration: Draft of Declaration of Independence, page016]

[Illustration: Draft of Declaration of Independence, page017]

[Illustration: Draft of Declaration of Independence, page018]

[Illustration: Draft of Declaration of Independence, page019]

[Illustration: Draft of Declaration of Independence, page020]

[Illustration: Draft of Declaration of Independence, page021]


     * In this publication, the parts struck out are printed in
     Italics and inclosed in brackets--and those inserted are
     inclosed in parenthesis.


A DECLARATION BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN
_GENERAL_ CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people
to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another,
and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal
station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them,
a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should
declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal;
that they are endowed by their creator with [_inherent and_] (certain)
inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted
among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed;
that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends,
it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute
new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing
its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect
their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that
governments long established should not be changed for light and
transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind
are more disposed to suffer while evils are sufferable, than to right
themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But
when a long train of abuses and usurpations [_begun at a distinguished
period and_] pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to
reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their
duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their
future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies;
and such is now the necessity which constrains them to [_expunge_]
(alter) their former systems of government. The history of the present
king of Great Britain is a history of [_unremitting_] (repeated)
injuries and usurpations, [_among which appears no solitary act to
contradict the uniform tenor of the rest, but all have_] (all having)
in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these
states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world [_for
the truth of which we pledge a faith yet unsullied by falsehood._]

He has refused his assent to laws the most wholesome and necessary for
the public good.

He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing
importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should
be obtained; and, when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend
to them.

He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large
districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right
of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them, and
formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual,
uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records,
for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his
measures.

He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly [_and continually_]
for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the
people.

He has refused for a long time after such dissolutions to cause
others to be elected, whereby the legislative powers, incapable of
annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise,
the state remaining, in the mean time, exposed to all the dangers of
invasion from without and convulsions within.

He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that
purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners, refusing
to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the
conditions of new appropriations of lands.

He has [_suffered_] (obstructed) the administration of justice [_totally
to cease in some of these states_] (by) refusing his assent to laws for
establishing judiciary powers.

He has made [_our_] judges dependant on his will alone for the tenure of
their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, [_by a self-assumed power_]
and sent hither swarms of new officers to harass our people and eat out
their substance.

He has kept among us in times of peace standing armies [_and ships of
war_] without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the military independent of, and superior to,
the civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to
our constitutions and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to
their acts of pretended legislation for quartering large bodies of armed
troops among us; for protecting them by a mock trial from punishment for
any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states;
for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world; for imposing
taxes on us without our consent; for depriving us [ ] in many cases of
the benefits of trial by jury; for transporting us beyond seas to be
tried for pretended offences; for abolishing the free system of English
laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary
government, and enlarging its boundaries, so as to render it at once an
example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into
these [_states_] (colonies); for taking away our charters, abolishing
our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of
our governments; for suspending our own legislatures, and declaring
themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases
whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here [_withdrawing his governors, and
declaring us out of his allegiance and protection._] (by declaring us
out of his protection and waging war against us.)

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and
destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to
complete the works of death, desolation, and tyranny already begun with
circumstances of cruelty and perfidy [ ] (scarcely paralleled in the
most barbarous ages and totally) unworthy the head of a civilized
nation.

He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas
to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their
friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.

He has [ ] (excited domestic insurrections amoungst us and has)
endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless
Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished
destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions [_of existence._]

[_He has incited treasonable insurrections of our fellow citizens, with
the allurements of forfeiture and confiscation of our property.

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most
sacred rights of life and, liberty in the persons of a distant people
who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in
another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation
thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is
the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep
open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted
his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or
to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors
might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very
people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which
he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded
them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the liberties of
one people with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives
of another._]

In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in
the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by
repeated injuries.

A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a
tyrant is unfit to be the ruler of a [ ] (free) people [_who mean to be
free. Future ages will scarcely believe that the hardiness of one man
adventured, within the short compass of twelve years only, to lay
a foundation so broad and so undisguised for tyranny over a people
fostered and fixed in principles of freedom._]

Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have
warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend
[_a_] (an unwarrantable) jurisdiction over [_these our states_] (us). We
have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement
here, [_no one of which could warrant so strange a pretension: that
these were effected at the expense of our own blood and treasure,
unassisted by the wealth or the strength of Great Britain: that in
constituting indeed our several forms of government, we had adopted one
common king, thereby laying a foundation for perpetual league and amity
with them: but that submission to their parliament was no part of our
constitution, nor ever in idea, if history may be credited: and,_] we [
] (have) appealed to their native justice and magnanimity [_as well as
to_] (and we have conjured them by) the ties of our common kindred to
disavow these usurpations which [_were likely to_] (would inevitably)
interrupt our connection and correspondence. They too have been deaf
to the voice of justice and of consanguinity, [_and when occasions have
been given them, by the regular course of their laws, of removing from
their councils the disturbers of our harmony, they have, by their free
election, re-established, them in power. At this very time too, they are
permitting their chief magistrate to send over not only soldiers of our
common blood, but Scotch and foreign mercenaries to invade and destroy
us. These facts have given the last stab to agonizing affection, and
manly spirit bids us to renounce for ever these unfeeling brethren. We
must endeavor to forget our former love for them, and hold them as we
hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends. We might
have been a free and a great people together; but a communication of
grandeur and of freedom, it seems, is below their dignity. Be it so,
since they will have it. The road to happiness and to glory is open
to us too. We will tread it apart from them, and_] (We must therefore)
acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our [eternal] separation [ ]!
(and hold them as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace
friends.)

[_We therefore the representatives of the United States of America in
General Congress assembled, do in the name, and by the authority of
the good people of these states reject and renounce all allegiance
and subjection to the kings of Great Britain and all others who may
hereafter claim by, through, or under them; we utterly dissolve all
political connection which may heretofore have subsisted between us and,
the people or parliament of Great Britain: and finally we do assert and
declare these colonies to be free and independent states, and that as
free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude
peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts
and things which independent states may of right do.

And for the support of this declaration, we mutually pledge to each
other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor._]

(We therefore the representatives of the United States of America in
General Congress assembled, appealing to the supreme judge of the
world for the rectitude of our intentions, do in the name, and by the
authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and
declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free
and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to
the British crown, and that all political connection between them and
the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and
that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war,
conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all
other acts and things which independent states may of right do.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the
protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our
lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.)


The declaration thus signed on the 4th, on paper, was engrossed on
parchment, and signed again on the 2nd of August.

[* Some erroneous statements of the proceedings on the Declaration of
Independence having got before the public in latter times, Mr. Samuel A.
Wells asked explanations of me, which are given in my letter to him of
May 12, ‘19, before and now again referred to. (See Appendix, note B.)
I took notes in my place while these things were going on, and at their
close wrote them out in form and with correctness, and from 1 to 7 of
the two preceding sheets, are the originals then written; as the two
following are of the earlier debates on the Confederation, which I took
in like manner.]

     * The above note of the author is on a slip of paper, pasted
     in at the end of the Declaration. Here is also sewed into
     the MS. a slip of newspaper containing, under the head
     ‘Declaration of Independence,’ a letter from Thomas Mc’Kean
     to Messrs. William M’Corkle & Son, dated ‘Philadelphia,
     June 16 1817.’ This letter is to be found in the Port Folio,
     Sept. 1817, p. 249.



[Illustration: Facsimile of Declaration in Jefferson’s Handwriting--p1]

[Illustration: Facsimile of Declaration in Jefferson’s Handwriting--p2]

[Illustration: Facsimile of Declaration in Jefferson’s Handwriting--p3]

[Illustration: Facsimile of Declaration in Jefferson’s Handwriting--p4]


On Friday, July 12, the committee appointed to draw the articles
of Confederation reported them, and on the 22nd, the House resolved
themselves into a committee to take them into consideration. On the
30th and 31st of that month, and 1st of the ensuing, those articles were
debated which determined the proportion, or quota, of money which each
state should furnish to the common treasury, and the manner of voting
in Congress. The first of these articles was expressed in the original
draught in these words. ‘Art. XI. All charges of war and all other
expenses that shall be incurred for the common defence, or general
welfare, and allowed by the United States assembled, shall be defrayed
out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several
colonies in proportion to the number of inhabitants of every age, sex,
and quality, except Indians not paying taxes, in each colony, a true
account-of which, distinguishing the white inhabitants, shall be
triennially taken and transmitted to the Assembly of the United States.’

Mr. Chase moved that the quotas should be fixed, not by the number of
inhabitants of every condition, but by that of the ‘white inhabitants.’
He admitted that taxation should be always in proportion to property;
that this was, in theory, the true rule; but that, from a variety of
difficulties, it was a rule which could never be adopted in practice.
The value of the property in every state, could never be estimated
justly and equally. Some other measures for the wealth of the state must
therefore be devised, some standard referred to, which would be more
simple. He considered the number of inhabitants as a tolerably good
criterion of property, and that this might always be obtained. He
therefore thought it the best mode which we could adopt, with one
exception only: he observed that negroes are property, and as such,
cannot be distinguished from the lands or personalities held in those
states where there are few slaves; that the surplus of profit which a
Northern farmer is able to lay by, he invests in cattle, horses, &c.
whereas a Southern farmer lays out the same surplus in slaves. There is
no more reason therefore for taxing the Southern states on the farmer’s
head, and on his slave’s head, than the Northern ones on their farmers’
heads and the heads of their cattle: that the method proposed would,
therefore, tax the Southern states according to their numbers and their
wealth conjunctly, while the Northern would be taxed on numbers only;
that negroes, in fact, should not be considered as members of the state,
more than cattle, and that they have no more interest in it.

Mr. John Adams observed, that the numbers of people were taken by this
article, as an index of the wealth of the state, and not as subjects of
taxation; that, as to this matter, it was of no consequence by what name
you called your people, whether by that of freemen or of slaves; that
in some countries the laboring poor were called freemen, in others
they were called slaves; but that the difference as to the state
was imaginary only. What matters it whether a landlord employing ten
laborers on his farm, give them annually as much money as will buy them
the necessaries of life, or gives them those necessaries at short hand?
The ten laborers add as much wealth annually to the state, increase its
exports as much, in the one case as the other. Certainly five hundred
freemen produce no more profits, no greater surplus for the payment of
taxes, than five hundred slaves. Therefore the state in which are the
laborers called freemen, should be taxed no more than that in which are
those called slaves. Suppose, by an extraordinary operation of nature
or of law, one half the laborers of a state could in the course of one
night be transformed into slaves; would the state be made the poorer or
the less able to pay taxes? That the condition of the laboring poor
in most countries, that of the fishermen particularly of the Northern
states, is as abject as that of slaves. It is the number of laborers
which produces the surplus for taxation, and numbers, therefore,
indiscriminately, are the fair index of wealth; that it is the use of
the word ‘property’ here, and its application to some of the people
of the state, which produces the fallacy. How does the Southern farmer
procure slaves? Either by importation or by purchase from his neighbor.
If he imports a slave, he adds one to the number of laborers in his
country, and proportionably to its profits and abilities to pay-taxes;
if he buys from his neighbor, it is only a transfer of a laborer from
one farm to another, which does not change the annual produce of the
state, and therefore should not change its tax: that if a Northern
farmer works ten laborers on his farm, he can, it is true, invest the
surplus of ten men’s labor in cattle; but so may the Southern farmer,
working ten slaves; that a state of one hundred thousand freemen can
maintain no more cattle, than one of one hundred thousand slaves.
Therefore, they have no more of that kind of property; that a slave may,
indeed, from the custom of speech, be more properly called the wealth
of his master, than the free laborer might be called the wealth of his
employer: but as to the state, both were equally its wealth, and should
therefore equally add to the quota of its tax.

Mr. Harrison proposed, as a compromise, that two slaves should be
counted as one freeman. He affirmed that slaves did not do as much work
as freemen, and doubted if two effected more than one; that this was
proved by the price of labor; the hire of a laborer in the Southern
colonies being from £8 to £12, while in the Northern it was generally
£24.

Mr. Wilson said, that if this amendment should take place, the Southern
colonies would have all the benefit of slaves, whilst the Northern ones
would bear the burthen: that slaves increase the profits of a state,
which the Southern states mean to take to themselves; that they also
increase the burthen of defence, which would of course fall so much the
heavier on the Northern: that slaves occupy the places of freemen and
eat their food. Dismiss your slaves, and freemen will take their places.
It is our duty to lay every discouragement on the importation of slaves;
but this amendment would give the _jus trium liberorum_ to him who
would import slaves: that other kinds of property were pretty equally
distributed through all the colonies: there were as many cattle, horses,
and sheep, in the North as the South, and South as the North; but not so
as to slaves: that experience has shown that those colonies have, been
always able to pay most, which have the most inhabitants, whether they
be black or white: and the practice of the Southern colonies has always
been to make every farmer pay poll taxes upon all his laborers, whether
they be black or white. He acknowledges indeed, that freemen work the
most; but they consume the most also. They do not produce a greater
surplus for taxation. The slave is neither fed nor clothed so
expensively as a freeman. Again, white women are exempted from labor
generally, but negro women are not. In this then the Southern states
have an advantage as the article now stands. It has sometimes been said
that slavery is necessary, because the commodities they raise would be
too dear for market if cultivated by freemen: but now it is said that
the labor of the slave is the dearest.

Mr. Payne urged the original resolution of Congress, to proportion the
quotas of the states to the number of souls.

Dr. Witherspoon was of opinion, that the value of lands and houses was
the best estimate of the wealth of a nation, and that it was practicable
to obtain such a valuation. This is the true barometer of wealth. The
one now proposed is imperfect in itself, and unequal between the states.
It has been objected that negroes eat the food of freemen, and therefore
should be taxed; horses also eat the food of freemen; therefore they
also should be taxed. It has been said too, that in carrying slaves into
the estimate of the taxes the state is to pay, we do no more than those
states themselves do, who always take slaves into the estimate of the
taxes the individual is to pay. But the cases are not parallel. In
the Southern colonies slaves pervade the whole colony; but they do
not pervade the whole continent. That as to the original resolution
of Congress, to proportion the quotas according to the souls, it was
temporary only, and related to the monies heretofore emitted; whereas
we are now entering into a new compact, and therefore stand on original
ground.

August 1. The question being put, the amendment proposed was rejected
by the votes of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut,
New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, against those of Delaware,
Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina. Georgia was divided.

The other article was in these words. ‘Art. XVII. In determining
questions, each colony shall have one vote.’

July 30, 31, August 1. Present forty-one members. Mr. Chase observed
that this article was the most likely to divide us, of any one proposed
in the draught then under consideration: that the larger colonies
had threatened they would not confederate at all, if their weight in
Congress should not be equal to the numbers of people they added to the
confederacy; while the smaller ones declared against a union, if they
did not retain an equal vote for the protection of their rights. That it
was of the utmost consequence to bring the parties together, as, should
we sever from each other, either no foreign power will ally with us at
all, or the different states will form different alliances, and thus
increase the horrors of those scenes of civil war and bloodshed, which
in such a state of separation and independence, would render us a
miserable people. That our importance, our interests, our peace required
that we should confederate, and that mutual sacrifices should be made to
effect a compromise of this difficult question. He was of opinion,
the smaller colonies would lose their rights, if they were not in some
instances allowed an equal vote; and, therefore, that a discrimination
should take place among the questions which would come before Congress.
That the smaller states should be secured in all questions concerning
life or liberty, and the greater ones, in all respecting property. He
therefore proposed, that in votes relating to money, the voice of each
colony should be proportioned to the number of its inhabitants.

Dr. Franklin thought, that the votes should be so proportioned in all
cases. He took notice that the Delaware counties had bound up
their delegates to disagree to this article. He thought it a very
extraordinary language to be held by any state, that they would not
confederate with us, unless we would let them dispose of our money.
Certainly, if we vote equally, we ought to pay equally; but the smaller
states will hardly purchase the privilege at this price. That had he
lived in a state where the representation, originally equal, had become
unequal by time and accident, he might have submitted rather than
disturb government: but that we should be very wrong to set out in this
practice, when it is in our power to establish what is right. That at
the time of the Union between England and Scotland, the latter had made
the objection which the smaller states now do; but experience had proved
that no unfairness had ever been shown them: that their advocates had
prognosticated that it would again happen, as in times of old, that the
whale would swallow Jonas, but he thought the prediction reversed in
event, and that Jonas had swallowed the whale; for the Scotch had in
fact got possession of the government, and gave laws to the English. He
reprobated the original agreement of Congress to vote by colonies, and,
therefore, was for their voting, in all cases, according to the number
of taxables.

Dr. Witherspoon opposed every alteration of the article. All men admit
that a confederacy is necessary. Should the idea get abroad that there
is likely to be no union among us, it will damp the minds of the people,
diminish the glory of our struggle, and lessen its importance; because
it will open to our view future prospects of war and dissension among
ourselves. If an equal vote be refused, the smaller states will become
vassals to the larger; and all experience has shown that the vassals and
subjects of free states are the most enslaved. He instanced the Helots
of Sparta, and the provinces of Rome. He observed that foreign powers,
discovering this blemish, would make it a handle for disengaging the
smaller states from so unequal a confederacy. That the colonies
should in fact be considered as individuals; and that, as such, in all
disputes, they should have an equal vote; that they are now collected
as individuals making a bargain with each other, and, of course, had a
right to vote as individuals. That in the East India Company they
voted by persons, and not by their proportion of stock. That the Belgic
confederacy voted by provinces. That in questions of war the smaller
states were as much interested as the larger, and therefore, should vote
equally; and indeed, that the larger states were more likely to bring
war on the confederacy, in proportion as their frontier was more
extensive. He admitted that equality of representation was an excellent
principle, but then it must be of things which are co-ordinate; that
is of things similar, and of the same nature: that nothing relating
to individuals could ever come before Congress; nothing but what would
respect colonies. He distinguished between an incorporating and a
federal union. The union of England was an incorporating one; yet
Scotland had suffered by that union; for that its inhabitants were drawn
from it by the hopes of places and employments; nor was it an instance
of equality of representation; because, while Scotland was allowed
nearly a thirteenth of representation, they were to pay only one
fortieth of the land tax. He expressed his hopes, that in the present
enlightened state of men’s minds, we might expect a lasting confederacy,
if it was founded on fair principles.

John Adams advocated the voting in proportion to numbers. He said, that
we stand here as the representatives of the people; that in some states
the people are many, in others they are few; that therefore their vote
here should be proportioned to the numbers from whom it comes. Reason,
justice, and equity never had weight enough on the face of the earth, to
govern the councils of men. It is interest alone which does it, and it
is interest alone which can be trusted; that therefore the interests,
within doors, should be the mathematical representatives of the
interests without doors; that the individuality of the colonies is a
mere sound. Does the individuality of a colony increase its wealth or
numbers? If it does, pay equally. If it does not add weight in the
scale of the confederacy, it cannot add to their rights, nor weigh in
argument. A. has £50, B. £500, C. £1000, in partnership. Is it just they
should equally dispose of the monies of the partnership? It has been
said, we are independent individuals, making a bargain together. The
question is not, what we are now, but what we ought to be, when our
bargain shall be made. The confederacy is to make us one individual
only; it is to form us, like separate parcels of metal, into one common
mass. We shall no longer retain our separate individuality, but become
a single individual as to all questions submitted to the confederacy.
Therefore all those reasons, which prove the justice and expediency of
equal representation in other assemblies, hold good here. It has been
objected, that a proportional vote will endanger the smaller states.
We answer, that an equal vote will endanger the larger. Virginia,
Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, are the three greater colonies.
Consider their distance, their difference of produce, of interests,
and of manners, and it is apparent they can never have an interest
or inclination to combine for the oppression of the smaller; that the
smaller will naturally divide on all questions with the larger. Rhode
Island, from its relation, similarity, and intercourse, will generally
pursue the same objects with Massachusetts; Jersey, Delaware, and
Maryland, with Pennsylvania.

Dr. Rush took notice, that the decay of the liberties of the Dutch
republic proceeded from three causes. 1. The perfect unanimity requisite
on all occasions. 2. Their obligation to consult their constituents.
3. Their voting by provinces. This last destroyed the equality of
representation, and the liberties of Great Britain also are sinking from
the same defect. That a part of our rights is deposited in the hands of
our legislatures. There, it was admitted, there should be an equality of
representation. Another part of our rights is deposited in the hands
of Congress; why is it not equally necessary, there should be an equal
representation there? Were it possible to collect the whole body of the
people together, they would determine the questions submitted to them
by their majority. Why should not the same majority decide, when
voting here, by their representatives? The larger colonies are so
providentially divided in situation, as to render every fear of
their combining visionary. Their interests are different, and their
circumstances dissimilar. It is more probable they will become rivals,
and leave it in the power of the smaller states to give preponderance
to any scale they please. The voting by the number of free inhabitants,
will have one excellent effect, that of inducing the colonies to
discourage slavery, and to encourage the increase of their free
inhabitants.

Mr. Hopkins observed, there were four larger, four smaller, and four
middle-sized colonies. That the four largest would contain more than
half the inhabitants of the confederating states, and therefore would
govern the others as they should please. That history affords no
instance of such a thing as equal representation. The Germanic body
votes by states. The Helvetic body does the same; and so does the Belgic
confederacy. That too little is known of the ancient confederations, to
say what was their practice.

Mr. Wilson thought, that taxation should be in proportion to wealth,
but that representation should accord with the number of freemen. That
government is a collection or result of the wills of all: that if any
government could speak the will of all, it would be perfect; and that,
so far as it departs from this, it becomes imperfect. It has been said,
that Congress is a representation of states, not of individuals. I say,
that the objects of its care are all the individuals of the states.
It is strange, that annexing the name of ‘State’ to ten thousand men,
should give them an equal right with forty thousand. This must be the
effect of magic, not of reason. As to those matters which are referred
to Congress, we are not so many states; we are one large state. We lay
aside our individuality, whenever we come here. The Germanic body is
a burlesque on government: and their practice on any point, is
a sufficient authority and proof that it is wrong. The greatest
imperfection in the constitution of the Belgic confederacy is their
voting by provinces. The interest of the whole is constantly sacrificed
to that of the small, states. The history of the war in the reign of
Queen Anne, sufficiently proves this. It is asked, shall nine colonies
put it into the power of four, to govern them as they please? I invert
the question, and ask, shall two millions of people put it into the
power of one million, to govern them as they please? It is pretended,
too, that the smaller colonies will be in danger from the greater. Speak
in honest language and say, the minority will be in danger from the
majority. And is there an assembly on earth, where this danger may not
be equally pretended? The truth is, that our proceedings will then be
consentaneous with the interests of the majority, and so they ought
to be. The probability is much greater, that the larger states will
disagree, than that they will combine. I defy the wit of man to invent a
possible case, or to suggest any one thing on earth, which shall be for
the interests of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, and which
will not also be for the interest of the other states.*

     * Here terminate the author’s notes of the ‘earlier debates
     on the confederation,’ and recommences the MS. begun by him
     in 1821.

These articles, reported July 12, ‘76, were debated from day to day, and
time to time, for two years, were ratified July 9, ‘78, by ten states,
by New-Jersey on the 26th of November of the same year, and by Delaware
on the 23rd of February following. Maryland alone held off two years
more, acceding to them March 1, ‘81, and thus closing the obligation.

Our delegation had been renewed for the ensuing year, commencing
August 11; but the new government was now organized, a meeting of the
legislature was to be held in October, and I had been elected a member
by my county. I knew that our legislation, under the regal government,
had many very vicious points which urgently required reformation, and
I thought I could be of more use in forwarding that work. I therefore
retired from my seat in Congress on the 2nd of September, resigned it,
and took my place in the legislature of my state, on the 7th of October.

On the 11th, I moved for leave to bring in a bill for the establishment
of courts of justice, the organization of which was of importance. I
drew the bill; it was approved by the committee, reported and passed,
after going through its due course.

On the 12th, I obtained leave to bring in a bill declaring tenants in
tail to hold their lands in fee simple. In the earlier times of the
colony, when lands were to be obtained for little or nothing, some
provident individuals procured large grants; and, desirous of founding
great families for themselves, settled them on their descendants in fee
tail. The transmission of this property from generation to generation,
in the same name, raised up a distinct set of families, who, being
privileged by law in the perpetuation of their wealth, were thus formed
into a Patrician order, distinguished by the splendor and luxury of
their establishments. From this order, too, the king habitually selected
his Counsellors of state; the hope of which distinction devoted the
whole corps to the interests and will of the crown. To annul this
privilege, and instead of an aristocracy of wealth, of more harm and
danger, than benefit, to society, to make an opening for the aristocracy
of virtue and talent, which nature has wisely provided for the direction
of the interests of society, and scattered with equal hand through all
its conditions, was deemed essential to a well ordered republic. To
effect it, no violence was necessary, no deprivation of natural right,
but rather an enlargement of it by a repeal of the law. For this would
authorize the present holder to divide the property among his children
equally, as his affections were divided; and would place them, by
natural generation, on the level of their fellow citizens. But this
repeal was strongly opposed by Mr. Pendleton, who was zealously attached
to ancient establishments; and who, taken all in all, was the ablest man
in debate I have ever met with. He had not indeed the poetical fancy of
Mr. Henry, his sublime imagination, his lofty and overwhelming diction;
but he was cool, smooth, and persuasive; his language flowing, chaste,
and embellished; his conceptions quick, acute, and full of resource;
never vanquished; for if he lost the main battle, he returned upon
you, and regained so much of it as to make it a drawn one, by dexterous
manoeuvres, skirmishes in detail, and the recovery of small advantages
which, little singly, were important all together. You never knew when
you were clear of him, but were harassed by his perseverance, until the
patience was worn down of all who had less of it than himself. Add to
this, that he was one of the most virtuous and benevolent of men, the
kindest friend, the most amiable and pleasant of companions, which
ensured a favorable reception to whatever came from him. Finding that
the general principle of entails could not be maintained, he took
his stand on an amendment which he proposed, instead of an absolute
abolition, to permit the tenant in tail to convey in fee simple, if he
chose it: and he was within a few votes of saving so much of the old
law. But the bill passed finally for entire abolition.

In that one of the bills for organizing our judiciary system, which
proposed a court of Chancery, I had provided for a trial by jury of all
matters of fact, in that as well as in the courts of law. He defeated
it by the introduction of four words only, ‘if either party choose?’ The
consequence has been, that as no suitor will say to his judge, ‘Sir, I
distrust you, give me a jury,’ juries are rarely, I might say perhaps
never, seen in that court, but when called for by the Chancellor of his
own accord.

The first establishment in Virginia, which became permanent, was made in
1607. I have found no mention of negroes in the colony until about 1650.
The first brought here as slaves were by a Dutch ship; after which the
English commenced the trade, and continued it until the revolutionary
war. That suspended, _ipso facto,_ their further importation for
the present, and the business of the war pressing constantly on the
legislature, this subject was not acted on finally until the year ‘78,
when I brought in a bill to prevent their further importation. This
passed without opposition, and stopped the increase of the evil by
importation, leaving to future efforts its final eradication.

The first settlers of this colony were Englishmen, loyal subjects to
their king and church; and the grant to Sir Walter Raleigh contained
an express proviso, that their laws should not be against the true
Christian faith, now professed in the church of England.’ As soon as the
state of the colony admitted, it was divided into parishes, in each of
which was established a minister of the Anglican church, endowed with
a fixed salary, in tobacco, a glebe house and land, with the other
necessary appendages. To meet these expenses, all the inhabitants of
the parishes were assessed, whether they were or not members of the
established church. Towards Quakers, who came here, they were most
cruelly intolerant, driving them from the colony by the severest
penalties. In process of time, however, other sectarisms were
introduced, chiefly of the Presbyterian family; and the established
clergy, secure for life in their glebes and salaries, adding to these,
generally, the emoluments of a classical school, found employment enough
in their farms and school-rooms, for the rest of the week, and devoted
Sunday only to the edification of their flock, by service, and a sermon
at their parish church. Their other pastoral functions were little
attended to. Against this inactivity, the zeal and industry of sectarian
preachers had an open and undisputed field; and by the time of the
revolution, a majority of the inhabitants had become dissenters from
the established church, but were still obliged to pay contributions to
support the pastors of the minority. This unrighteous compulsion, to
maintain teachers of what they deemed religious errors, was grievously
felt during the regal government, and without a hope of relief. But
the first republican legislature, which met in ‘76, was crowded with
petitions to abolish, this spiritual tyranny. These brought on the
severest contests in which I have ever been engaged. Our great opponents
were Mr. Pendleton and Robert Carter Nicholas; honest men, but zealous
churchmen. The petitions were referred to the committee of the whole
House on the state of the country; and, after desperate contests in
that committee, almost daily, from the 11th of October to the 5th
of December, we prevailed so far only, as to repeal the laws, which
rendered criminal the maintenance of any religious opinions, the
forbearance of repairing to church, or the exercise of any mode of
worship: and further, to exempt dissenters from contributions to the
support of the established church; and to suspend, only until the next
session, levies on the members of the church for the salaries of
their own incumbents. For although the majority of our citizens were
dissenters, as has been observed, a majority of the legislature were
churchmen. Among these, however, were some reasonable and liberal men,
who enabled us, on some points, to obtain feeble majorities. But our
opponents carried, in the general resolutions of the committee of
November 19, a declaration, that religious assemblies ought to be
regulated, and that provision ought to be made for continuing the
succession of the clergy, and superintending their conduct. And in the
bill now passed, was inserted an express reservation of the question,
Whether a general assessment should not be established by law, on every
one, to the support of the pastor of his choice; or whether all should
be left to voluntary contributions: and on this question, debated at
every session from ‘76 to ‘79 (some of our dissenting allies, having
now secured their particular object, going over to the advocates of a
general assessment), we could only obtain a suspension from session to
session until ‘79, when the question against a general assessment was
finally carried, and the establishment of the Anglican church entirely
put down. In justice to the two honest but zealous opponents, who have
been named, I must add, that although, from their natural temperaments,
they were more disposed generally to acquiesce in things as they
are, than to risk innovations; yet, whenever the public will had once
decided, none were more faithful or exact in their obedience to it.

The seat of our government had been originally fixed in the peninsula
of Jamestown, the first settlement of the colonists; and had been
afterwards removed a few miles inland to Williamsburg. But this was at
a time when our settlements had not extended beyond the tide waters. Now
they had crossed the Allegany; and the centre of population was very far
removed from what it had been. Yet Williamsburg was still the depository
of our archives, the habitual residence of the Governor, and many other
of the public functionaries, the established place for the sessions
of the legislature, and the magazine of our military stores: and its
situation was so exposed, that it might be taken at any time in war,
and, at this time particularly, an enemy might in the night run up
either of the rivers, between which it lies, land a force above, and
take possession of the place, without the possibility of saving either
persons or things. I had proposed its removal so early as October, ‘76;
but it did not prevail until the session of May, ‘79.

Early in the session of May, ‘79, I prepared, and obtained leave to
bring in a bill, declaring who should be deemed citizens, asserting the
natural right of expatriation, and prescribing the mode of exercising
it. This, when I withdrew from the house on the 1st of June following, I
left in the hands of George Mason, and it was passed on the 26th of that
month.

In giving this account of the laws, of which I was myself the mover
and draughtsman, I by no means mean to claim to myself the merit of
obtaining their passage. I had many occasional and strenuous coadjutors
in debate, and one, most steadfast, able, and zealous; who was himself
a host. This was George Mason, a man of the first order of wisdom among
those who acted on the theatre of the revolution, of expansive mind,
profound judgment, cogent in argument, learned in the lore of our former
constitution, and earnest for the republican change, on democratic
principles. His elocution was neither flowing nor smooth; but his
language was strong, his manner most impressive, and strengthened by a
dash of biting cynicism, when provocation made it seasonable.

Mr. Wythe, while speaker in the two sessions of 1777, between his return
from Congress and his appointment to the Chancery, was an able and
constant associate in whatever was before a committee of the whole. His
pure integrity, judgment, and reasoning powers gave him great weight. Of
him, see more in some notes inclosed in my letter of August 31, 1821, to
Mr. John Saunderson. [See Appendix, note A.]

Mr. Madison came into the House in 1776, a new member, and young;
which circumstances, concurring with his extreme modesty, prevented his
venturing himself in debate before his removal to the Council of State,
in November, ‘77. From thence he went to Congress, then consisting of
few members. Trained in these successive schools, he acquired a habit of
self-possession, which placed at ready command the rich resources of his
luminous and discriminating mind, and of his extensive information, and
rendered him the first of every assembly afterwards, of which he became
a member. Never wandering from his subject into vain declamation, but
pursuing it closely, in language pure, classical, and copious, soothing
always the feelings of his adversaries by civilities and softness of
expression, he rose to the eminent station which he held in the great
National Convention of 1787; and in that of Virginia, which followed,
he sustained the new constitution in all its parts, bearing off the palm
against the logic of George Mason, and the fervid declamation of Mr.
Henry. With these consummate powers, was united a pure and spotless
virtue, which no calumny has ever attempted to sully. Of the powers
and polish of his pen, and of the wisdom of his administration in the
highest office of the nation, I need say nothing. They have spoken, and
will for ever speak for themselves.

So far we were proceeding in the details of reformation only; selecting
points of legislation, prominent in character and principle, urgent, and
indicative of the strength of the general pulse of reformation. When I
left Congress in ‘76, it was in the persuasion, that our whole code must
be reviewed, adapted to our republican form of government, and, now that
we had no negatives of Councils, Governors, and Kings to restrain us
from doing right, that it should be corrected, in all its parts, with a
single eye to reason, and the good of those for whose government it was
framed. Early, therefore, in the session of ‘76, to which I returned,
I moved and presented a bill for the revision of the laws; which
was passed on the 24th of October, and on the 5th of November, Mr.
Pendleton, Mr. Wythe, George Mason, Thomas L. Lee, and myself, were
appointed a committee to execute the work. We agreed to meet at
Fredericksburg to settle the plan of operation, and to distribute the
work. We met there accordingly, on the 13th of January, 1777. The first
question was, whether we should propose to abolish the whole existing
system of laws, and prepare a new and complete Institute, or preserve
the general system, and only modify it to the present state of things.
Mr. Pendleton, contrary to his usual disposition in favor of ancient
things, was for the former proposition, in which he was joined by Mr.
Lee. To this it was objected, that to abrogate our whole system would
be a bold measure, and probably far beyond the views of the legislature;
that they had been in the practice of revising, from time to time,
the laws of the colony, omitting the expired, the repealed, and the
obsolete, amending only those retained, and probably meant we should
now do the same, only including the British statutes as well as our own:
that to compose a new Institute, like those of Justinian and Bracton, or
that of Blackstone, which was the model proposed by Mr. Pendleton, would
be an arduous undertaking, of vast research, of great consideration and
judgment; and when reduced to a text, every word of that text, from
the imperfection of human language, and its incompetence to express
distinctly every shade of idea, would become a subject of question and
chicanery, until settled by repeated adjudications; that this would
involve us for ages in litigation, and render property uncertain, until,
like the statutes of old, every word had been tried and settled by
numerous decisions, and by new volumes of reports and commentaries; and
that no one of us, probably, would undertake such a work, which, to be
systematical, must be the work of one hand. This last was the opinion of
Mr. Wythe, Mr. Mason, and myself. When we proceeded to the distribution
of the work, Mr. Mason excused himself, as, being no lawyer, he felt
himself unqualified for the work, and he resigned soon after. Mr. Lee
excused himself on the same ground, and died indeed in a short time. The
other two gentlemen, therefore, and myself, divided the work among
us. The common law and statutes to the 4 James I. (when our separate
legislature was established) were assigned to me; the British statutes,
from that period to the present day, to Mr. Wythe; and the Virginia laws
to Mr. Pendleton. As the law of Descents, and the Criminal law, fell of
course within my portion, I wished the committee to settle the leading
principles of these, as a guide for me in framing them; and, with
respect to the first, I proposed to abolish the law of primogeniture,
and to make real estate descendible in parcenery to the next of kin,
as personal property is, by the statute of distribution. Mr. Pendleton
wished to preserve the right of primogeniture; but seeing at once
that that could not prevail, he proposed we should adopt the Hebrew
principle, and give a double portion to the elder son. I observed, that
if the elder son could eat twice as much, or do double work, it might be
a natural evidence of his right to a double portion; but being on a par,
in his powers and wants, with his brothers and sisters, he should be on
a par also in the partition of the patrimony; and such was the decision
of the other members.

On the subject of the Criminal law, all were agreed, that the punishment
of death should be abolished, except for treason and murder; and that,
for other felonies, should be substituted hard labor in the public
works, and, in some cases, the _Lex talionis_. How this last revolting
principle came to obtain our approbation, I do not remember. There
remained, indeed, in our laws, a vestige of it in a single case of a
slave; it was the English law, in the time of the Anglo-Saxons, copied
probably from the Hebrew law of an ‘eye for an eye, a tooth for a
tooth,’ and it was the law of several ancient people; but the modern
mind had left it far in the rear of its advances. These points, however,
being settled, we repaired to our respective homes for the preparation
of the work.

In the execution of my part, I thought it material not to vary the
diction of the ancient statutes by modernizing it, nor to give rise to
new questions by new expressions. The text of these statutes had been so
fully explained and defined, by numerous adjudications, as scarcely ever
now to produce a question in our courts. I thought it would be useful,
also, in all new draughts, to reform the style of the later British
statutes, and of our own acts of Assembly; which, from their verbosity,
their endless tautologies, their involutions of case within case,
and parenthesis within parenthesis, and their multiplied efforts at
certainty, by saids and afore-saids, by ors and by ands, to make them
more plain, are really rendered more perplexed and incomprehensible, not
only to common readers, but to the lawyers themselves. We were
employed in this work from that time to February, 1779, when we met at
Williamsburg; that is to say, Mr. Pendleton, Mr. Wythe, and myself; and
meeting day by day, we examined critically our several parts, sentence
by sentence, scrutinizing and amending, until we had agreed on the
whole. We then returned home, had fair copies made of our several parts,
which were reported to the General Assembly, June 18, 1779, by Mr.
Wythe and myself, Mr. Pendleton’s residence being distant, and he having
authorized us by letter to declare his approbation. We had, in this
work, brought so much of the Common law as it was thought necessary to
alter, all the British statutes from _Magna Charta_ to the present day,
and all the laws of Virginia, from the establishment of our legislature
in the 4th Jac. I. to the present time, which we thought should be
retained, within the compass of one hundred and twenty-six bills,
making a printed folio of ninety pages only. Some bills were taken out,
occasionally, from time to time, and passed; but the main body of the
work was not entered on by the legislature, until after the general
peace, in 1785, when, by the unwearied exertions of Mr. Madison, in
opposition to the endless quibbles, chicaneries, perversions, vexations,
and delays of lawyers and demi-lawyers, most of the bills were passed by
the legislature, with little alteration.

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which
had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the
latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with
some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular
proposition proved, that its protection of opinion was meant to be
universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from
the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed,
by inserting the words ‘Jesus Christ,’ so that it should read, ‘a
departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our
religion;’ the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that
they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew
and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of
every denomination.

Beccaria, and other writers on crimes and punishments, had satisfied the
reasonable world of the unrightfulness and inefficacy of the punishment
of crimes by death; and hard labor on roads, canals, and other public
works, had been suggested as a proper substitute. The Revisors had
adopted these opinions; but the general idea of our country had not yet
advanced to that point. The bill, therefore, for proportioning crimes
and punishments, was lost in the House of Delegates by a majority of a
single vote. I learned afterwards, that the substitute of hard labor in
public, was tried (I believe it was in Pennsylvania) without success.
Exhibited as a public spectacle, with shaved heads, and mean clothing,
working on the high roads, produced in the criminals such a prostration
of character, such an abandonment of self-respect, as, instead of
reforming, plunged them into the most desperate and hardened depravity
of morals and character. To pursue the subject of this law.--I was
written to in 1785 (being then in Paris) by Directors appointed to
superintend the building of a Capitol in Richmond, to advise them as
to a plan, and to add to it one of a Prison. Thinking it a favorable
opportunity of introducing into the state an example of architecture, in
the classic style of antiquity, and the _Maison Quarrée_ of Nismes,
an ancient Roman temple, being considered as the most perfect model
existing of what may be called Cubic architecture, I applied to M.
Clerissault, who had published drawings of the antiquities of Nismes, to
have me a model of the building made in stucco, only changing the order
from Corinthian to Ionic, on account of the difficulty of the Corinthian
capitals. I yielded, with reluctance, to the taste of Clerissault,
in his preference of the modern capital of Scamozzi to the more noble
capital of antiquity. This was executed by the artist whom Choiseul
Gouffier had carried with him to Constantinople, and employed, while
Ambassador there, in making those beautiful models of the remains
of Grecian architecture, which are to be seen at Paris. To adapt the
exterior to our use, I drew a plan for the interior, with the apartments
necessary for legislative, executive, and judiciary purposes; and
accommodated in their size and distribution to the form and dimensions
of the building. These were forwarded to the Directors, in 1786, and
were carried into execution, with some variations, not for the better,
the most important of which, however, admit of future correction. With
respect to the plan of a Prison, requested at the same time, I had heard
of a benevolent society, in England, which had been indulged by the
government, in an experiment of the effect of labor, in solitary
confinement, on some of their criminals; which experiment had succeeded
beyond expectation. The same idea had been suggested in France, and an
Architect of Lyons had proposed a plan of a well contrived edifice, on
the principle of solitary confinement. I procured a copy, and as it was
too large for our purposes, I drew one on a scale less extensive, but
susceptible of additions as they should be wanting. This I sent to the
Directors, instead of a plan of a common prison, in the hope that it
would suggest the idea of labor in solitary confinement, instead of
that on the public works, which we had adopted in our Revised Code. Its
principle, accordingly, but not its exact form, was adopted by Latrobe
in carrying the plan into execution, by the erection of what is now
called the Penitentiary, built under his direction. In the mean while,
the public opinion was ripening, by time, by reflection, and by the
example of Pennsylvania, where labor on the highways had been tried,
without approbation, from 1786 to ‘89, and had been followed by their
Penitentiary system on the principle of confinement and labor, which was
proceeding auspiciously. In 1796, our legislature resumed the subject,
and passed the law for amending the Penal laws of the commonwealth. They
adopted solitary, instead of public, labor, established a gradation in
the duration of the confinement, approximated the style of the law more
to the modern usage, and, instead of the settled distinctions of murder
and manslaughter, preserved in my bill, they introduced the new terms of
murder in the first and second degree. Whether these have produced more
or fewer questions of definition, I am not sufficiently informed of our
judiciary transactions, to say. I will here, however, insert the text of
my bill, with the notes I made in the course of my researches into the
subject. [See Appendix, Note E.]

The acts of Assembly concerning the College of William and Mary, were
properly within Mr. Pendleton’s portion of the work; but these related
chiefly to its revenue, while its constitution, organization, and scope
of science, were derived from its charter. We thought that on this
subject, a systematical plan of general education should be proposed,
and I was requested to undertake it. I accordingly prepared three bills
for the Revisal, proposing three distinct grades of education, reaching
all classes. 1st. Elementary schools, for all children generally, rich
and poor. 2nd. Colleges, for a middle degree of instruction, calculated
for the common purposes of life, and such as would be desirable for
all who were in easy circumstances. And, 3rd., an ultimate grade for
teaching the sciences generally, and in their highest degree. The first
bill proposed to lay off every county into Hundreds, or Wards, of a
proper size and population for a school, in which reading, writing, and
common arithmetic should be taught; and that the whole state should be
divided into twenty-four districts, in each of which should be a school
for classical learning, grammar, geography, and the higher branches of
numerical arithmetic. The second bill proposed to amend the constitution
of William and Mary college, to enlarge its sphere of science, and to
make it in fact a University. The third was for the establishment of
a library. These bills were not acted on until the same year, ‘96, and
then only so much of the first as provided for elementary schools. The
College of William and Mary was an establishment purely of the Church
of England; the Visitors were required to be all of that Church; the
Professors to subscribe its Thirty-nine Articles; its Students to learn
its Catechism; and one of its fundamental objects was declared to be, to
raise up Ministers for that Church. The religious jealousies, therefore,
of all the dissenters, took alarm lest this might give an ascendancy
to the Anglican sect, and refused acting on that bill. Its local
eccentricity, too, and unhealthy autumnal climate, lessened the general
inclination towards it. And in the Elementary bill, they inserted a
provision which completely defeated it; for they left it to the court
of each county to determine for itself, when this act should be carried
into execution, within their county. One provision of the bill was, that
the expenses of these schools should be borne by the inhabitants of
the county, every one in proportion to his general tax rate. This would
throw on wealth the education of the poor; and the justices, being
generally of the more wealthy class, were unwilling to incur that
burthen, and I believe it was not suffered to commence in a single
county. I shall recur again to this subject, towards the close of my
story, if I should have life and resolution enough to reach that term;
for I am already tired of talking about myself.

The bill on the subject of slaves, was a mere digest of the existing
laws respecting them, without any intimation of a plan for a future and
general emancipation. It was thought better that this should be kept
back, and attempted only by way of amendment, whenever the bill should
be brought on. The principles of the amendment, however, were agreed
on, that is to say, the freedom of all born after a certain day, and
deportation at a proper age. But it was found that the public mind would
not yet bear the proposition, nor will it bear it even at this day. Yet
the day is not distant when it must bear and adopt it, or worse will
follow. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate, than that
these people are to be free; nor is it less certain that the two
races, equally free, cannot live in the same government. Nature, habit,
opinion, have drawn indelible lines of distinction between them. It
is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation and
deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degree, as that the evil will
wear off insensibly, and their place be, _pari passu_, filled up by
free white laborers. If, on the contrary, it is left to force itself
on, human nature must shudder at the prospect held up. We should in vain
look for an example in the Spanish deportation or deletion of the Moors.
This precedent would fall far short of our case.

I considered four of these bills, passed or reported, as forming a
system by which every fibre would be eradicated of ancient or future
aristocracy; and a foundation laid for a government truly republican.
The repeal of the laws of entail would prevent the accumulation and
perpetuation of wealth, in select families, and preserve the soil of
the country from being daily more and more absorbed in mortmain. The
abolition of primogeniture, and equal partition of inheritances, removed
the feudal and unnatural distinctions which made one member of every
family rich, and all the rest poor, substituting equal partition, the
best of all Agrarian laws. The restoration of the rights of conscience
relieved the people from taxation for the support of a religion not
theirs; for the establishment was truly of the religion of the rich, the
dissenting sects being entirely composed of the less wealthy people;
and these, by the bill for a general education, would be qualified
to understand their rights, to maintain them, and to exercise with
intelligence their parts in self-government: and all this would be
effected, without the violation of a single natural right of any
one individual citizen. To these, too, might be added, as a further
security, the introduction of the trial by jury into the Chancery
courts, which have already ingulphed, and continue to ingulph, so great
a proportion of the jurisdiction over our property.

On the 1st of June, 1779, I was appointed Governor of the Commonwealth,
and retired from the legislature. Being elected, also, one of the
Visitors of William and Mary college, a self-electing body, I effected,
during my residence in Williamsburg that year, a change in the
organization of that institution, by abolishing the Grammar school,
and the two professorships of Divinity and Oriental languages, and
substituting a professorship of Law and Police, one of Anatomy,
Medicine, and Chemistry, and one of Modern Languages; and the charter
confining us to six professorships, We added the Law of Nature and
Nations, and the Fine Arts, to the duties of the Moral professor, and
Natural History to those of the professor of Mathematics and Natural
Philosophy.

Being now, as it were, identified with the Commonwealth itself, to write
my own history, during the two years of my administration, would be to
write the public history of that portion of the revolution within this
state. This has been done by others, and particularly by Mr. Girardin,
who wrote his Continuation of Burke’s History of Virginia, while at
Milton in this neighborhood, had free access to all my papers while
composing it, and has given as faithful an account as I could myself.
For this portion, therefore, of my own life, I refer altogether to his
history. From a belief that, under the pressure of the invasion under
which we were then laboring, the public would have more confidence in a
military chief, and that the military commander, being invested with the
civil power also, both might be wielded with more energy, promptitude,
and effect for the defence of the state, I resigned the administration
at the end of my second year, and General Nelson was appointed to
succeed me.

Soon after my leaving Congress, in September, ‘76, to wit, on the last
day of that month, I had been appointed, with Dr. Franklin, to go to
France, as a Commissioner to negotiate treaties of alliance and commerce
with that government. Silas Deane, then in France, acting as agent for
procuring military stores,* was joined with us in commission. But such
was the state of my family that I could not leave it, nor could I expose
it to the dangers of the sea, and of capture by the British ships, then
covering the ocean. I saw, too, that the laboring oar was really at
home, where much was to be done, of the most permanent interest,
in new-modelling our governments, and much to defend our fanes and
fire-sides from the desolations of an invading enemy, pressing on our
country in every point. I declined, therefore, and Dr. Lee was appointed
in my place. On the 15th of June, 1781, I had been appointed, with
Mr. Adams, Dr. Franklin, Mr. Jay, and Mr. Laurens, a Minister
Plenipotentiary for negotiating peace, then expected to be effected
through the mediation of the Empress of Russia. The same reasons obliged
me still to decline; and the negotiation was in fact never entered on.
But, in the autumn of the next year, 1782, Congress receiving assurances
that a general peace would be concluded in the winter and spring, they
renewed my appointment on the 13th of November of that year. I had, two
months before that, lost the cherished companion of my life, in whose
affections, unabated on both sides, I had lived the last ten years in
unchequered happiness. With the public interests, the state of my mind
concurred in recommending the change of scene proposed; and I accepted
the appointment, and left Monticello on the 19th of December, 1782,
for Philadelphia, where I arrived on the 27th. The Minister of France,
Luzerne, offered me a passage in the Romulus frigate, which I accepted;
but she was then lying a few miles below Baltimore, blocked up in the
ice. I remained, therefore, a month in Philadelphia, looking over the
papers in the office of State, in order to possess myself of the general
state of our foreign relations, and then went to Baltimore, to await
the liberation of the frigate from the ice. After waiting there nearly
a month, we received information that a Provisional treaty of peace
had been signed by our Commissioners on the 3rd of September, 1782, to
become absolute, on the conclusion of peace between France and Great
Britain. Considering my proceeding to Europe as now of no utility to the
public, I returned immediately to Philadelphia, to take the orders of
Congress, and was excused by them from further proceeding. I therefore
returned home, where I arrived on the 15th of May, 1783.

     * His ostensible character was to be that of a merchant, his
     real one that of agent for military supplies, and also for
     sounding the dispositions of the government of France, and
     seeing how far they would favor us, either secretly or
     openly. His appointment had been by the Committee of Foreign
     Correspondence, March, 1776.

On the 6th of the following month, I was appointed by the legislature
a delegate to Congress, the appointment to take place on the 1st of
November ensuing, when that of the existing delegation would expire. I
accordingly left home on the 16th of October, arrived at Trenton, where
Congress was sitting, on the 3rd of November, and took my seat on the
4th, on which day Congress adjourned, to meet at Annapolis on the 26th.

Congress had now become a very small body, and the members very remiss
in their attendance on its duties, insomuch that a majority of the
states, necessary by the Confederation to constitute a House, even for
minor business, did not assemble until the 13th of December.

They, as early as January 7, 1782, had turned their attention to the
monies current in the several states, and had directed the Financier,
Robert Morris, to report to them a table of rates, at which the foreign
coins should be received at the treasury. That officer, or rather his
assistant, Gouverneur Morris, answered them on the 15th, in an able and
elaborate statement of the denominations of money current in the several
states, and of the comparative value of the foreign coins chiefly in
circulation with us, He went into the consideration of the necessity of
establishing a standard of value with us, and of the adoption of a money
unit. He proposed for that unit, such a fraction of pure silver as
would be a common measure of the penny of every state, without leaving
a fraction. This common divisor he found to be 1/1440 of a dollar, or
1/1600 the crown sterling. The value of a dollar was, therefore, to be
expressed by 1440 units, and of a crown by 1600; each unit containing
a quarter of a grain of fine silver. Congress turning again their
attention to this subject the following year, the Financier, by a letter
of April 30,1783, further explained and urged the unit he had proposed:
but nothing more was done on it until the ensuing year, when it was
again taken up, and referred to a committee, of which I was a member.
The general views of the Financier were sound, and the principle was
ingenious, on which he proposed to found his unit; but it was too minute
for ordinary use, too laborious for computation, either by the head or
in figures. The price of a loaf of bread, 1/20 of a dollar, would be
72 units. A pound of butter, 1/5 of a dollar, 288 units. A horse, or
bullock, of eighty dollars’ value, would require a notation of six
figures, to wit, 115,200, and the public debt, suppose of eighty
millions, would require twelve figures, to wit, 115,200,000,000 units.
Such a system of money-arithmetic would be entirely unmanageable for the
common purposes of society. I proposed, therefore, instead of this,
to adopt the Dollar as our unit of account and payment, and that its
divisions and subdivisions should be in the decimal ratio. I wrote some
Notes on the subject, which I submitted to the consideration of the
Financier. I received his answer and adherence to his general system,
only agreeing to take for his unit one hundred of those he first
proposed, so that a Dollar should be 14 40/100 and a crown 16 units. I
replied to this, and printed my Notes and Reply on a flying sheet, which
I put into the hands of the members of Congress for consideration, and
the Committee agreed to report on my principle. This was adopted the
ensuing year, and is the system which now prevails. I insert, here, the
Notes and Reply, as showing the different views on which the adoption of
our money system hung. [See Appendix, note F.]The divisions into dismes,
cents, and mills is now so well understood, that it would be easy of
introduction into the kindred branches of weights and measures. I use,
when I travel, an Odometer of Clarke’s invention, which divides the mile
into cents, and I find every one comprehends a distance readily, when
stated to him in miles and cents; so he would in feet and cents, pounds
and cents, &c.

The remissness of Congress, and their permanent session began to be a
subject of uneasiness; and even some of the legislatures had recommended
to them intermissions, and periodical sessions. As the Confederation had
made no provision for a visible head of the government, during vacations
of Congress, and such a one was necessary to superintend the executive
business, to receive and communicate with foreign ministers and nations,
and to assemble Congress on sudden and extraordinary emergencies, I
proposed, early in April, the appointment of a committee, to be called
the ‘Committee of the States,’ to consist of a member from each state,
who should remain in session during the recess of Congress: that the
functions of Congress should be divided into executive and legislative,
the latter to be reserved, and the former, by a general resolution, to
be delegated to that Committee. This proposition was afterwards
agreed to; a Committee appointed who entered on duty on the subsequent
adjournment of Congress, quarrelled very soon, split into two parties,
abandoned their post, and left the government without any visible head,
until the next meeting of Congress. We have since seen the same thing
take place, in the Directory of France; and I believe it will for ever
take place in any Executive consisting of a plurality. Our plan, best, I
believe, combines wisdom and practicability, by providing a plurality of
Counsellors, but a single Arbiter for ultimate decision. I was in France
when we heard of this schism and separation of our Committee, and,
speaking with Dr. Franklin of this singular disposition of men to
quarrel, and divide into parties, he gave his sentiments, as usual, by
way of Apologue. He mentioned the Eddystone light-house, in the
British channel, as being built on a rock, in the mid-channel, totally
inaccessible in winter, from the boisterous character of that sea, in
that season; that, therefore, for the two keepers employed to keep up
the lights, all provisions for the winter were necessarily carried to
them in autumn, as they could never be visited again till the return of
the milder season; that, on the first practicable day in the spring, a
boat put off to them with fresh supplies. The boatmen met at the door
one of the keepers, and accosted him with a ‘How goes it, friend?’ ‘Very
well.’ ‘How is your companion?’ ‘I do not know.’ ‘Don’t know? Is not he
here?’ ‘I can’t tell.’ ‘Have not you seen him to-day?’ ‘No.’ ‘When did
you see him?’ ‘Not since last fall.’ ‘You have killed him?’ ‘Not
I, indeed.’ They were about to lay hold of him, as having certainly
murdered his companion; but he desired them to go up stairs and examine
for themselves. They went up, and there found the other keeper. They had
quarrelled, it seems, soon after being left there, had divided into two
parties, assigned the cares below to one, and those above to the other,
and had never spoken to, or seen, one another since.

But to return to our Congress at Annapolis. The definitive treaty of
peace which had been signed at Paris on the 3rd of September, 1783, and
received here, could not be ratified without a House of nine states.
On the 23rd of December, therefore, we addressed letters to the several
Governors, stating the receipt of the definitive treaty; that seven
states only were in attendance, while nine were necessary to its
ratification; and urging them to press on their delegates the necessity
of their immediate attendance. And on the 26th, to save time, I moved
that the Agent of Marine (Robert Morris) should be instructed to have
ready a vessel at this place, at New York, and at some Eastern port,
to carry over the ratification of the treaty when agreed to. It met the
general sense of the House, but was opposed by Dr. Lee, on the ground
of expense, which it would authorize the Agent to incur for us; and,
he said, it would be better to ratify at once, and send on the
ratification. Some members had before suggested, that seven states were
competent to the ratification. My motion was therefore postponed, and
another brought forward by Mr. Read, of South Carolina, for an immediate
ratification. This was debated the 26th and 27th. Read, Lee, Williamson,
and Jeremiah Chase urged that ratification was a mere matter of form;
that the treaty was conclusive from the moment it was signed by the
ministers; that, although the Confederation requires the assent of nine
states to enter into a treaty, yet, that its conclusion could not be
called the entrance into it; that supposing nine states requisite, it
would be in the power of five states to keep us always at war; that nine
states had virtually authorized the ratification, having ratified
the provisional treaty, and instructed their ministers to agree to a
definitive one in the same terms, and the present one was, in fact,
substantially, and almost verbatim, the same; that there now remain
but sixty-seven days for the ratification, for its passage across the
Atlantic, and its exchange; that there was no hope of our soon having
nine states present in fact, that this was the ultimate point of time
to which we could venture to wait; that if the ratification was not
in Paris by the time stipulated, the treaty would become void; that if
ratified by seven states, it would go under our seal, without its being
known to Great Britain that only seven had concurred; that it was a
question of which they had no right to take cognizance, and we were only
answerable for it to our constituents; that it was like the ratification
which Great Britain had received from the Dutch, by the negotiations of
Sir William Temple.

On the contrary, it was argued by Monroe, Gerry, Howel, Ellery, and
myself, that by the modern usage of Europe, the ratification was
considered as the act which gave validity to a treaty, until which, it
was not obligatory.* That the commission to the ministers, reserved the
ratification to Congress; that the treaty itself stipulated, that it
should be ratified; that it became a second question, who were competent
to the ratification? That the Confederation expressly required nine
states to enter into any treaty; that, by this, that instrument must
have intended, that the assent of nine states should be necessary, as
well to the completion as to the commencement of the treaty, its object
having been to guard the rights of the Union in all those important
cases, where nine states are called for; that by the contrary
construction, seven states, containing less than one third of our whole
citizens, might rivet on us a treaty, commenced indeed under commission
and instructions from nine states, but formed by the minister in express
contradiction to such instructions, and in direct sacrifice of the
interests of so great a majority; that the definitive treaty was
admitted not to be a verbal copy of the provisional one, and whether the
departures from it were of substance, or not, was a question on which
nine states alone were competent to decide; that the circumstances
of the ratification of the provisional articles by nine states, the
instructions to our ministers to form a definitive one by them, and
their actual agreement in substance, do not render us competent to
ratify in the present instance; if these circumstances are in themselves
a ratification, nothing further is requisite than to give attested
copies of them, in exchange for the British ratification; if they are
not, we remain where we were, without a ratification by nine states,
and incompetent ourselves to ratify; that it was but four days since the
seven states, now present, unanimously concurred in a resolution to be
forwarded to the Governors of the absent states, in which they stated,
as a cause for urging on their delegates, that nine states were
necessary to ratify the treaty; that in the case of the Dutch
ratification, Great Britain had courted it, and therefore was glad to
accept it as it was; that they knew our Constitution, and would object
to a ratification by seven; that, if that circumstance was kept back,
it would be known hereafter, and would give them ground to deny the
validity of a ratification, into which they should have been surprised
and cheated, and it would be a dishonorable prostitution of our seal;
that there is a hope of nine states; that if the treaty would become
null, if not ratified in time, it would not be saved by an imperfect
ratification; but that, in fact, it would not be null, and would be
placed on better ground, going in unexceptionable form, though a few
days too late, and rested on the small importance of this circumstance,
and the physical impossibilities which had prevented a punctual
compliance in point of time; that this would be approved by all nations,
and by Great Britain herself, if not determined to renew the war, and if
so determined, she would never want excuses, were this out of the way.
Mr. Read gave notice, he should call for the yeas and nays; whereon
those in opposition, prepared a resolution, expressing pointedly the
reasons of their dissent from his motion. It appearing, however, that
his proposition could not be carried, it was thought better to make no
entry at all. Massachusetts alone would have been for it; Rhode Island,
Pennsylvania, and Virginia against it, Delaware, Maryland, and North
Carolina, would have been divided.

Our body was little numerous, but very contentious. Day after day
was wasted on the most unimportant questions. A member, one of those
afflicted with the morbid rage of debate, of an ardent mind, prompt
imagination, and copious flow of words, who heard with impatience any
logic which was not his own, sitting near me on some occasion of a
trifling but wordy debate, asked me how I could sit in silence, hearing
so much false reasoning, which a word should refute? I observed to
him, that to refute indeed was easy, but to silence impossible; that
in measures brought forward by myself, I took the laboring oar, as was
incumbent on me; but that in general, I was willing to listen; that if
every sound argument or objection was used by some one or other of the
numerous debaters, it was enough; if not, I thought it sufficient to
suggest the omission, without going into a repetition of what had been
already said by others: that this was a waste and abuse of the time and
patience of the House, which could not be justified. And I believe,
that if the members of deliberate bodies were to observe this course
generally, they would do in a day, what takes them a week; and it
is really more questionable, than may at first be thought, whether
Bonaparte’s dumb legislature, which said nothing, and did much, may not
be preferable to one which talks much, and does nothing. I served
with General Washington in the legislature of Virginia, before the
revolution, and, during it, with Dr. Franklin in Congress. I never heard
either of them speak ten minutes at a time, nor to any but the main
point, which was to decide the question. They laid their shoulders
to the great points, knowing that the little ones would follow of
themselves. If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it
be otherwise, in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty
lawyers, whose trade it is, to question every thing, yield nothing, and
talk by the hour? That one hundred and fifty lawyers should do business
together, ought not to be expected. But to return again to our subject.

Those, who thought seven states competent to the ratification, being
very restless under the loss of their motion, I proposed, on the
third of January, to meet them on middle ground, and therefore moved a
resolution, which premised, that there were but seven states present,
who were unanimous for the ratification, but that they differed in
opinion on the question of competency; that those however in the
negative, were unwilling, that any powers which it might be supposed
they possessed, should remain unexercised for the restoration of
peace, provided it could be done, saving their good faith, and without
importing any opinion of Congress, that seven states were competent, and
resolving that the treaty be ratified so far as they had power; that
it should be transmitted to our ministers, with instructions to keep it
uncommunicated; to endeavor to obtain three months longer for exchange
of ratifications; that they should be informed, that so soon as nine
states shall be present, a ratification by nine shall be sent them: if
this should get to them before the ultimate point of time for exchange,
they were to use it, and not the other; if not, they were to offer the
act of the seven states in exchange, informing them the treaty had come
to hand while Congress was not in session, that but seven states were as
yet assembled, and these had unanimously concurred in the ratification.
This was debated on the third and fourth; and on the fifth, a vessel
being to sail for England, from this port, (Annapolis), the House
directed the President to write to our ministers accordingly.

January 14. Delegates from Connecticut having attended yesterday, and
another from South Carolina coming in this day, the treaty was ratified
without a dissenting voice; and three instruments of ratification were
ordered to be made out, one of which was sent by Colonel Harmer, another
by Colonel Franks, and the third transmitted to the Agent of Marine, to
be forwarded by any good opportunity.

Congress soon took up the consideration of their foreign relations. They
deemed it necessary to get their commerce placed, with every nation, on
a footing as favorable as that of other nations; and for this purpose,
to propose to each a distinct treaty of commerce. This act too would
amount to an acknowledgment, by each, of our independence, and of our
reception into the fraternity of nations; which, although as possessing
our station of right, and, in fact, we would not condescend to ask, we
were not unwilling to furnish opportunities for receiving their friendly
salutations and welcome. With France, the United Netherlands, and
Sweden, we had already treaties of commerce; but commissions were given
for those countries also, should any amendments be thought necessary.
The other states to which treaties were to be proposed, were England,
Hamburg, Saxony, Prussia, Denmark, Russia, Austria, Venice, Rome,
Naples, Tuscany, Sardinia, Genoa, Spain, Portugal, the Porte, Algiers,
Tripoli, Tunis, and Morocco.

On the 7th of May, Congress resolved that a Minister Plenipotentiary
should be appointed, in addition to Mr. Adams and Dr. Franklin, for
negotiating treaties of commerce with foreign nations, and I was elected
to that duty. I accordingly left Annapolis on the 11th, took with me my
eldest daughter; then at Philadelphia (the two others being too young
for the voyage), and proceeded to Boston, in quest of a passage. While
passing through the different states, I made a point of informing myself
of the state of the commerce of each, went on to New Hampshire with the
same view, and returned to Boston. Thence I sailed on the 5th of July,
in the Ceres, a merchant ship of Mr. Nathaniel Tracy, bound to Cowes. He
was himself a passenger, and, after a pleasant voyage of nineteen days,
from land to land, we arrived at Cowes on the 26th. I was detained there
a few days by the indisposition of my daughter. On the 30th we embarked
for Havre, arrived there on the 31st, left it on the 3rd of August, and
arrived at Paris on the 6th. I called immediately on Dr. Franklin, at
Passy, communicated to him our charge, and we wrote to Mr. Adams, then
at the Hague, to join us at Paris.

Before I had left America, that is to say, in the year 1781, 1 had
received a letter from M. de Marbois, of the French legation in
Philadelphia, informing me, he had been instructed by his government to
obtain such statistical accounts of the different states of our Union,
as might be useful for their information; and addressing to me a number
of queries relative to the state of Virginia. I had always made it a
practice, whenever an opportunity occurred of obtaining any information
of our country, which might be of use to me in any station, public or
private, to commit it to writing. These memoranda were on loose papers,
bundled up without order, and difficult of recurrence, when I had
occasion for a particular one. I thought this a good occasion to embody
their substance, which I did in the order of Mr. Marbois’ queries, so as
to answer his wish, and to arrange them for my own use. Some friends, to
whom they were occasionally communicated, wished for copies; but their
volume rendering this too laborious by hand, I proposed to get a few
printed for their gratification. I was asked such a price however, as
exceeded the importance of the object. On my arrival at Paris, I found
it could be done for a fourth of what I had been asked here. I therefore
corrected and enlarged them, and had two hundred copies printed, under
the title of ‘Notes on Virginia.’ I gave a very few copies to some
particular friends in Europe, and sent the rest to my friends in
America. An European copy, by the death of the owner, got into the hands
of a bookseller, who engaged its translation, and when ready for the
press, communicated his intentions and manuscript to me, suggesting
that I should correct it, without asking any other permission for the
publication. I never had seen so wretched an attempt at translation.
Interverted, abridged, mutilated, and often reversing the sense of
the original, I found it a blotch of errors from beginning to end. I
corrected some of the most material, and, in that form, it was printed
in French. A London bookseller, on seeing the translation, requested me
to permit him to print the English original. I thought it best to do
so, to let the world see that it was not really so bad as the French
translation had made it appear. And this is the true history of that
publication.

Mr. Adams soon joined us at Paris, and our first employment was to
prepare a general form, to be proposed to such nations as were disposed
to treat with us. During the negotiations for peace with the British
Commissioner, David Hartley, our Commissioners had proposed, on the
suggestion of Dr. Franklin, to insert an article, exempting from capture
by the public or private armed ships, of either belligerent, when at
war, all merchant vessels and their cargoes, employed merely in
carrying on the commerce between nations. It was refused by England,
and unwisely, in my opinion. For, in the case of a war with us, their
superior commerce places infinitely more at hazard on the ocean, than
ours; and, as hawks abound in proportion to game, so our privateers
would swarm, in proportion to the wealth exposed to their prize, while
theirs would be few, for want of subjects of capture. We inserted
this article in our form, with a provision against the molestation of
fishermen, husbandmen, citizens unarmed, and following their occupations
in unfortified places, for the humane treatment of prisoners of war, the
abolition of contraband of war, which exposes merchant vessels to such
vexatious and ruinous detentions and abuses; and for the principle of
free bottoms, free goods.

In a conference with the Count de Vergennes, it was thought better to
leave to legislative regulation, on both sides, such modifications of
our commercial intercourse, as would voluntarily flow from amicable
dispositions. Without urging, we sounded the ministers of the several
European nations, at the court of Versailles, on their dispositions
towards mutual commerce, and the expediency of encouraging it by the
protection of a treaty. Old Frederic, of Prussia, met us cordially, and
without hesitation, and appointing the Baron de Thulemeyer, his minister
at the Hague, to negotiate with us, we communicated to him our Projet,
which, with little alteration by the King, was soon concluded. Denmark
and Tuscany entered also into negotiations with us. Other powers
appearing indifferent, we did not think it proper to press them. They
seemed, in fact, to know little about us, but as rebels, who had been
successful in throwing off the yoke of the mother country. They were
ignorant of our commerce, which had been always monopolized by England,
and of the exchange of articles it might offer advantageously to both
parties. They were inclined, therefore, to stand aloof, until they could
see better what relations might be usefully instituted with us. The
negotiations, therefore, begun with Denmark and Tuscany, we protracted
designedly, until our powers had expired; and abstained from making new
propositions to others having no colonies; because our commerce being
an exchange of raw for wrought materials, is a competent price for
admission into the colonies of those possessing them; but were we to
give it, without price, to others, all would claim it, without price, on
the ordinary ground of _gentis amicissimæ_.

Mr. Adams, being appointed Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States
to London, left us in June, and in July, 1785, Dr. Franklin returned to
America, and I was appointed his successor at Paris. In February, 1786,
Mr. Adams wrote to me, pressingly, to join him in London immediately,
as he thought he discovered there some symptoms of better disposition
towards us. Colonel Smith, his secretary of legation, was the bearer of
his urgencies for my immediate attendance. I, accordingly, left Paris
on the 1st of March, and, on my arrival in London, we agreed on a very
summary form of treaty, proposing an exchange of citizenship for our
citizens, our ships, and our productions generally, except as to office.
On my presentation, as usual, to the King and Queen, at their levees, it
was impossible for any thing to be more ungracious, than their notice
of Mr. Adams and myself. I saw, at once, that the ulcerations of mind
in that quarter left nothing to be expected on the subject of
my attendance; and, on the first conference with the Marquis of
Caermarthen, the Minister for foreign affairs, the distance and
disinclination which he betrayed in his conversation, the vagueness
and evasions of his answers to us, confirmed me in the belief of their
aversion to have any thing to do with us. We delivered him, however, our
_Projet_, Mr. Adams not despairing as much as I did of its effect.
We afterwards, by one or more, notes, requested his appointment of an
interview and conference, which, without directly declining, he evaded,
by pretence of other pressing occupations for the moment. After staying
there seven weeks, till within a few days of the expiration of our
commission, I informed the minister, by note, that my duties at Paris
required my return to that place, and that I should, with pleasure, be
the bearer of any commands to his Ambassador there. He answered, that
he had none, and, wishing me a pleasant journey, I left London the 26th,
and arrived at Paris the 30th of April.

While in London, we entered into negotiations with the Chevalier Pinto,
Ambassador of Portugal, at that place. The only article of difficulty
between us was, a stipulation that our bread-stuff should be received
in Portugal, in the form of flour as well as of grain. He approved of it
himself, but observed that several nobles, of great influence at their
court, were the owners of windmills in the neighborhood of Lisbon, which
depended much for their profits on manufacturing our wheat, and that
this stipulation would endanger the whole treaty. He signed it, however,
and its fate was what he had candidly portended.

My duties, at Paris, were confined to a few objects; the receipt of
our whale-oils, salted fish, and salted meats, on favorable terms; the
admission of our rice on equal terms with that of Piedmont, Egypt,
and the Levant; a mitigation of the monopolies of our tobacco by the
farmers-general, and a free admission of our productions into their
islands, were the principal commercial objects which required attention;
and on these occasions, I was powerfully aided by all the influence and
the energies of the Marquis de la Fayette, who proved himself equally
zealous for the friendship and welfare of both nations; and, in justice,
I must also say, that I found the government entirely disposed to
befriend us on all occasions, and to yield us every indulgence, not
absolutely injurious to themselves. The Count de Vergennes had the
reputation with the diplomatic corps, of being wary and slippery in his
diplomatic intercourse; and so he might be, with those whom he knew
to be slippery, and double-faced themselves. As he saw that I had
no indirect views, practised no subtleties, meddled in no intrigues,
pursued no concealed object, I found him as frank, as honorable, as easy
of access to reason, as any man with whom I had ever done business; and
I must say the same for his successor, Montmorin, one of the most honest
and worthy of human beings.

Our commerce, in the Mediterranean, was placed under early alarm, by the
capture of two of our vessels and crews by the Barbary cruisers. I was
very unwilling that we should acquiesce in the European humiliation,
of paying a tribute to those lawless pirates, and endeavored to form an
association of the powers subject to habitual depredations from them.
I accordingly prepared, and proposed to their Ministers at Paris,
for consultation with their governments, articles of a special
confederation, in the following form.


‘Proposals for concerted operation among the powers at war with the
piratical States of Barbary.

‘1. It is proposed, that the several powers at war with the piratical
States of Barbary, or any two or more of them who shall be willing,
shall enter into a convention to carry on their operations against those
States, in concert, beginning with the Algerines.

‘2. This convention shall remain open to any other power, who shall, at
any future time, wish to accede to it; the parties reserving the
right to prescribe the conditions of such accession, according to the
circumstances existing at the time it shall be proposed.

‘3. The object of the convention shall be to compel the piratical States
to perpetual peace, without price, and to guaranty that peace to each
other.

‘4. The operations for obtaining this peace shall be constant cruises on
their coast, with a naval force now to be agreed on. It is not proposed,
that this force shall be so considerable, as to be inconvenient to any
party. It is believed, that half a dozen frigates, with as many tenders
or xebecs, one half of which shall be in cruise, while the other half is
at rest, will suffice.

‘5. The force agreed to be necessary, shall be furnished by the parties,
in certain quotas, now to be fixed; it being expected, that each will
be willing to contribute, in such proportion as circumstances may render
reasonable.

‘6. As miscarriages often proceed from the want of harmony among
officers of different nations, the parties shall now consider and
decide, whether it will not be better to contribute their quotas in
money, to be employed in fitting out and keeping on duty a single fleet
of the force agreed on.

‘7. The difficulties and delays, too, which will attend the management
of these operations, if conducted by the parties themselves separately,
distant as their courts may be from one another, and incapable of
meeting in consultation, suggest a question, whether it will not
be better for them to give full powers, for that purpose, to their
Ambassadors, or other Ministers resident at some one court of Europe,
who shall form a Committee, or Council, for carrying this convention
into effect; wherein, the vote of each member shall be computed in
proportion to the quota of his sovereign, and the majority so computed,
shall prevail in all questions within the view of this convention. The
court of Versailles is proposed, on account of its neighborhood to the
Mediterranean, and because all those powers are represented there, who
are likely to become parties to this convention.

‘8. To save to that Council the embarrassment of personal solicitations
for office, and to assure the parties, that their contributions will be
applied solely to the object for which they are destined, there shall
be no establishment of officers for the said Council, such as
Commissioners, Secretaries, or any other kind, with either salaries
or perquisites, nor any other lucrative appointments, but such whose
functions are to be exercised on board the said vessels.

‘9. Should war arise between any two of the parties to this convention,
it shall not extend to this enterprise, nor interrupt it; but as to
this, they shall be reputed at peace.

‘10. When Algiers shall be reduced to peace, the other piratical States,
if they refuse to discontinue their piracies, shall become the objects
of this convention, either successively or together, as shall seem best.

‘11. Where this convention would interfere with treaties actually
existing between any of the parties and the said States of Barbary, the
treaty shall prevail, and such party shall be allowed to withdraw from
the operations against that state.’


Spain had just concluded a treaty with Algiers, at the expense of three
millions of dollars, and did not like to relinquish the benefit of that,
until the other party should fail in their observance of it. Portugal,
Naples, the Two Sicilies, Venice, Malta, Denmark, and Sweden were
favorably disposed to such an association; but their representatives at
Paris expressed apprehensions that France would interfere, and, either
openly or secretly, support the Barbary powers; and they required, that
I should ascertain the dispositions of the Count de Vergennes on the
subject. I had before taken occasion to inform him of what we were
proposing, and, therefore, did not think it proper to insinuate
any doubt of the fair conduct of his government; but stating our
propositions, I mentioned the apprehensions entertained by us that
England would interfere in behalf of those piratical governments. ‘She
dares not do it,’ said he. I pressed it no further. The other Agents
were satisfied with this indication of his sentiments, and nothing was
now wanting to bring it into direct and formal consideration, but
the assent of our government, and their authority to make the formal
proposition. I communicated to them the favorable prospect of protecting
our commerce from the Barbary depredations, and for such a continuance
of time, as, by an exclusion of them from the sea, to change their
habits and characters, from a predatory to an agricultural people:
towards which, however, it was expected they would contribute a
frigate, and its expenses, to be in constant cruise. But they were in no
condition to make any such engagement. Their recommendatory powers for
obtaining contributions, were so openly neglected by the several states,
that they declined an engagement, which they were conscious they could
not fulfil with punctuality; and so it fell through.

     [In the original MS., the paragraph ending with ‘fell
     through,’ terminates page 81; between this page and the
     next, there is stitched in a leaf of old writing,
     constituting a memorandum, whereof note G, in the Appendix,
     is a copy.]

In 1786, while at Paris, I became acquainted with John Ledyard, of
Connecticut, a man of genius, of some science, and of fearless courage
and enterprise. He had accompanied Captain Cook in his voyage to the
Pacific, had distinguished himself on several occasions by an unrivalled
intrepidity, and published an account of that voyage, with details
unfavorable to Cook’s deportment towards the savages, and lessening our
regrets at his fate; Ledyard had come to Paris, in the hope of forming
a company to engage in the fur-trade of the Western coast of America. He
was disappointed in this, and being out of business, and of a roaming,
restless character, I suggested to him the enterprise of exploring the
Western part of our continent, by passing through St. Petersburg to
Kamtschatka, and procuring a passage thence in some of the Russian
vessels to Nootka sound, whence he might make his way across the
continent to the United States; and I undertook to have the permission
of the Empress of Russia solicited. He eagerly embraced the proposition,
and M. de Semoulin, the Russian Ambassador, and more particularly
Baron Grimm, the special correspondent of the Empress, solicited her
permission for him to pass through her dominions, to the Western coast
of America. And here I must correct a material error, which I have
committed in another place, to the prejudice of the Empress. In writing
some notes of the life of Captain Lewis, prefixed to his ‘Expedition to
the Pacific,’ I stated, that the Empress gave the permission asked, and
afterwards retracted it. This idea, after a lapse of twenty-six years,
had so insinuated itself into my mind, that I committed it to paper,
without the least suspicion of error. Yet I find, on returning to my
letters of that date, that the Empress refused permission at once,
considering the enterprise as entirely chimerical. But Ledyard would
not relinquish it, persuading himself, that, by proceeding to St.
Petersburg, he could satisfy the Empress of its practicability, and
obtain her permission. He went accordingly, but she was absent on a
visit to some distant part of her dominions, and he pursued his course
to within two hundred miles of Kamtschatka, where he was overtaken by an
arrest from the Empress, brought back to Poland, and there dismissed.
I must, therefore, in justice, acquit the Empress of ever having for
a moment countenanced, even by the indulgence of an innocent passage
through her territories, this interesting enterprise.

The pecuniary distresses of France produced this year a measure,
of which there had been no example for near two centuries; and the
consequences of which, good and evil, are not yet calculable. For its
remote causes, we must go a little back.

Celebrated writers of France and England had already sketched good
principles on the subject of government: yet the American Revolution
seems first to have awakened the thinking part of the French nation
in general from the sleep of despotism in which they were sunk. The
officers, too, who had been to America, were mostly young men, less
shackled by habit and prejudice, and more ready to assent to the
suggestions of common sense, and feeling of common rights, than
others. They came back with new ideas and impressions. The press,
notwithstanding its shackles, began to disseminate them; conversation
assumed new freedoms; politics became the theme of all societies, male
and female, and a very extensive and zealous party was formed, which
acquired the appellation of the Patriotic party, who, sensible of the
abusive government under which they lived, sighed for occasions for
reforming it. This party comprehended all the honesty of the kingdom,
sufficiently at leisure to think, the men of letters, the easy
Bourgeois, the young nobility, partly from reflection, partly from mode;
for these sentiments became matter of mode, and, as such, united most
of the young women to the party. Happily for the nation, it happened,
at the same moment, that the dissipations of the queen and court, the
abuses of the pension-list, and dilapidations in the administration of
every branch of the finances, had exhausted the treasures and credit of
the nation, insomuch, that its most necessary functions were paralyzed.
To reform these abuses would have overset the Minister; to impose new
taxes by the authority of the king, was known to be impossible, from the
determined opposition of the Parliament to their enregistry. No resource
remained, then, but to appeal to the nation. He advised, therefore, the
call of an Assembly of the most distinguished characters of the nation,
in the hope, that, by promises of various and valuable improvements in
the organization and regimen of the government, they would be induced to
authorize new taxes, to control the opposition of the Parliament, and
to raise the annual revenue to the level of expenditures. An Assembly of
Notables, therefore, about one hundred and fifty in number, named by the
King, convened on the 22nd of February. The Minister (Calonne) stated to
them, that the annual excess of expenses beyond the revenue, when Louis
XVI. came to the throne, was thirty-seven millions of livres; that four
hundred and forty millions had been borrowed to re-establish the navy;
that the American war had cost them fourteen hundred and forty millions
(two hundred and fifty-six millions of dollars), and that the interest
of these sums, with other increased expenses, had added forty millions
more to the annual deficit. (But a subsequent and more candid estimate
made it fifty-six millions.) He proffered them an universal redress
of grievances, laid open those grievances fully, pointed out sound
remedies, and, covering his canvass with objects of this magnitude, the
deficit dwindled to a little accessory, scarcely attracting attention.
The persons chosen, were the most able and independent characters in the
kingdom, and their support, if it could be obtained, would be enough
for him. They improved the occasion for redressing their grievances,
and agreed that the public wants should be relieved; but went into an
examination of the causes of them. It was supposed that Calonne was
conscious that his accounts could not bear examination; and it was said,
and believed, that he asked of the King, to send four members to the
Bastile, of whom the Marquis de la Fayette was one, to banish twenty
others, and two of his Ministers. The King found it shorter to banish
him. His successor went on in full concert with the Assembly. The
result was an augmentation of the revenue, a promise of economies in
its expenditure, of an annual settlement of the public accounts before a
council, which the Comptroller, having been heretofore obliged to
settle only with the King in person, of course never settled at all; an
acknowledgment that the King could not lay a new tax, a reformation
of the Criminal laws, abolition of torture, suppression of _corvees_,
reformation of the _gabelles_, removal of the interior custom-houses,
free commerce of grain, internal and external, and the establishment of
Provincial Assemblies; which, altogether, constituted a great mass of
improvement in the condition of the nation. The establishment of the
Provincial Assemblies was, in itself, a fundamental improvement. They
would be, of the choice of the people, one third renewed every year, in
those provinces where there are no states, that is to say, over
about three fourths of the kingdom. They would be partly an Executive
themselves, and partly an Executive Council to the Intendant, to whom
the executive power, in his province, had been heretofore entirely
delegated. Chosen by the people, they would soften the execution of
hard laws, and, having a right of representation to the King, they
would censure bad laws, suggest good ones, expose abuses, and their
representations, when united, would command respect. To the other
advantages, might be added the precedent itself of calling the Assemblée
des Notables, which would perhaps grow into habit. The hope was, that
the improvements thus promised would be carried into effect; that they
would be maintained during the present reign, and that that would be
long enough for them to take some root in the constitution, so that they
might come to be considered as a part of that, and be protected by time,
and the attachment of the nation.

The Count de Vergennes had died a few days before the meeting of the
Assembly, and the Count de Montmorin had been named Minister of foreign
affairs, in his place. Villedeuil succeeded Calonne, as Comptroller
General, and Lomenie de Brienne, Archbishop of Toulouse, afterwards of
Sens, and ultimately Cardinal Lomenie, was named Minister principal,
with whom the other Ministers were to transact the business of their
departments, heretofore done with the King in person; and the Duke de
Nivernois, and M. de Malesherbes, were called to the Council. On the
nomination of the Minister principal, the Marshals de Segur and de
Castries retired from the departments of War and Marine, unwilling to
act subordinately, or to share the blame of proceedings taken out of
their direction. They were succeeded by the Count de Brienne, brother
of the Prime Minister, and the Marquis de la Luzerne, brother to him who
had been Minister in the United States.

A dislocated wrist, unsuccessfully set, occasioned advice from
my surgeon, to try the mineral waters of Aix, in Provence, as a
corroborant. I left Paris for that place therefore, on the 28th of
February, and proceeded up the Seine, through Champagne and Burgundy,
and down the Rhone through the Beaujolais by Lyons, Avignon, Nismes, to
Aix; where, finding on trial no benefit from the waters, I concluded to
visit the rice country of Piedmont, to see if any thing might be learned
there, to benefit the rivalship of our Carolina rice with that, and
thence to make a tour of the seaport towns of France, along its Southern
and Western coast, to inform myself, if any thing could be done to
favor our commerce with them. From Aix, therefore, I took my route by
Marseilles, Toulon, Hieres, Nice, across the Col de Tende, by Coni,
Turin, Vercelli, Novara, Milan, Pavia, Novi, Genoa. Thence, returning
along the coast by Savona. Noli, Albenga, Oneglia, Monaco, Nice,
Antibes, Frejus, Aix, Marseilles, Avignon, Nismes, Montpellier,
Frontignan, Sette, Agde, and along the canal of Languedoc, by Beziers,
Narbonne, Carcassonne, Castelnaudari, through the Souterrain of St.
Feriol, and back by Castelnaudari, to Toulouse; thence to Montauban,
and down the Garonne by Langon to Bordeaux. Thence to Rochefort, la
Rochelle, Nantes, L’Orient; then back by Rennes to Nantes, and up the
Loire by Angers, Tours, Amboise, Blois, to Orleans, thence direct to
Paris, where I arrived on the 10th of June. Soon after my return from
this journey, to wit, about the latter part of July, I received my
younger daughter, Maria, from Virginia, by the way of London, the
youngest having died some time before.

The treasonable perfidy of the Prince of Orange, Stadtholder and Captain
General of the United Netherlands, in the war which England waged
against them, for entering into a treaty of commerce with the United
States, is known to all. As their Executive officer, charged with the
conduct of the war, he contrived to baffle all the measures of the
States General, to dislocate all their military plans, and played false
into the hands of England against his own country, on every possible
occasion, confident in her protection, and in that of the King of
Prussia, brother to his Princess. The States General, indignant at
this patricidal conduct, applied to France for aid, according to the
stipulations of the treaty, concluded with her in ‘85. It was assured
to them readily, and in cordial terms, in a letter from the Count de
Vergennes, to the Marquis de Verac, Ambassador of France at the Hague,
of which the following is an extract.

‘_Extrait de la dépêche de Monsieur le Comte de Vergennes à Monsieur le
Marquis de Verac, Ambassadeurde France à la Haye, du ler Mars, 1786.

‘Le Roi concourrera, autant qu’il sera en son pouvoir, au succès de la
chose, et vous inviterez, de sa part, les Patriotes de lui communiquer
leurs vues, leurs plans, et leurs envies. Vous les assurerez, que le
roi prend un interêt véritable à leurs personnes cornme à leur cause, et
qu’ils peuvent compter sur sa protection. Us doivent y compter d’autant
plus, Monsieur, que nous ne dissimulons pas, que si Monsieur le
Stadtholder reprend son ancienne influence, le système Anglois ne
tardera pas de prévaloir, et que notre alliance deviendroit un être de
raison. Les Patriotes sentiront facilement, que cette position seroit
incompatible avec la dignité, comme avec la considération de sa Majesté.
Mais dans le cas, Monsieur, ou les chefs des Patriotes auroient à
craindre une scission, ils auroient le temps suffisant peur ramener ceux
de leurs amis, que les Anglomanes ont égarés, et préparer les choses,
de maniere que la question de nouveau mise en délibération, soit decidée
selon leurs desirs. Dans cette hypothèse, le roi vous autorise à agir
de concert avec eux, de suivre la direction qu’ils jugeront devoir
vous donner, et d’employer tous les moyens pour augmenter le nombre des
partisans de la bonne cause. Il me reste, Monsieur, de vous parler de la
sureté personelle des Patriotes. Vous les assurerez, que dans tout état
de cause, le roi les prend sous sa protection immédiate, et vous
ferez connoître, partout où vous le jugerez nécessaire, que sa Majesté
regarderoit comme une offense personelle, tout ce qu’on entreprenderoit
contre leur liberté. Il est á presumer que ce langage, tenu avec
énergie, en imposera á l’audace des Anglomanes, et que Monsieur
le Prince de Nassau croira courir quelque risque en provoquant le
ressentiment de sa Majesté.’_ *

     [*Extract from the despatch of the Count de Vergennes, to
     the Marquis de Verac, Ambassador from France, at the Hague,
     dated March 1, 1788.

     ‘The King will give his aid, as far as may be in his power,
     towards the success of the affair, and you will, on his
     part, invite the Patriots to communicate to him their views,
     their plans, and their discontents. You may assure them,
     that the King takes a real interest in themselves, as well
     as their cause, and that they may rely upon his protection.
     On this they may place the greater dependence, as we do not
     conceal, that if the Stadtholder resumes his former
     influence, the English system will soon prevail, and our
     alliance become a mere affair of the imagination. The
     Patriots will readily feel, that this position would be
     incompatible both with the dignity and consideration of his
     Majesty. But in case the chief of the Patriots should have
     to fear a division, they would have time sufficient to
     reclaim those whom the Anglomaniacs had misled, and to
     prepare matters in such a manner, that the question when
     again agitated, might be decided according to their wishes.
     In such a hypothetical case, the King authorizes you to act
     in concert with them, to pursue the direction which they may
     think proper to give you, and to employ every means to
     augment the number of the partisans of the good cause. It
     remains for me to speak of the personal security of the
     Patriots. You may assure them, that under every
     circumstance, the King will take them under his immediate
     protection, and you will make known wherever you may judge
     necessary, that his Majesty will regard, as a personal
     offence, every undertaking against their libeity. It is to
     be presumed that this language, energetically maintained,
     may have some effect on the audacity of the Anglomaniacs,
     and that the Prince de Nassau will feel that he runs some
     risk in provoking the resentment of his Majesty.’]

This letter was communicated by the Patriots to me, when at Amsterdam,
in 1788, and a copy sent by me to Mr. Jay, in my letter to him of March
16, 1788.

The object of the Patriots was, to establish a representative and
republican government. The majority of the States General were with
them, but the majority of the populace of the towns was with the Prince
of Orange; and that populace was played off with great effect by the
triumvirate of * * * Harris, the English Ambassador, afterwards Lord
Malmesbury, the Prince of Orange, a stupid man, and the Princess, as
much a man as either of her colleagues, in audaciousness, in enterprise,
and in the thirst of domination. By these, the mobs of the Hague were
excited against the members of the States General; their persons were
insulted, and endangered in the streets; the sanctuary of their houses
was violated; and the Prince, whose function and duty it was to repress
and punish these violations of order, took no steps for that purpose.
The States General, for their own protection, were therefore obliged to
place their militia under the command of a Committee. The Prince filled
the courts of London and Berlin with complaints at this usurpation of
his prerogatives, and, forgetting that he was but the first servant of a
Republic, marched his regular troops against the city of Utrecht, where
the States were in session. They were repulsed by the militia. His
interests now became marshaled with those of the public enemy, and
against his own country. The States, therefore, exercising their rights
of sovereignty, deprived him of all his powers. The great Frederic
had died in August, ‘86. He had never intended to break with France in
support of the Prince of Orange. During the illness of which he died,
he had, through the Duke of Brunswick, declared to the Marquis de
la Fayette, who was then at Berlin, that he meant not to support the
English interest in Holland: that he might assure the government of
France, his only wish was, that some honorable place in the Constitution
should be reserved for the Stadtholder and his children, and that he
would take no part in the quarrel, unless an entire abolition of the
Stadtholderate should be attempted. But his place was now occupied by
Frederic William, his great nephew, a man of little understanding, much
caprice, and very inconsiderate: and the Princess, his sister, although
her husband was in arms against the legitimate authorities of the
country, attempting to go to Amsterdam, for the purpose of exciting the
mobs of that place, and being refused permission to pass a military post
on the way, he put the Duke of Brunswick at the head of twenty thousand
men, and made demonstrations of marching on Holland. The King of France
hereupon declared, by his Chargé des Affaires in Holland, that if
the Prussian troops continued to menace Holland with an invasion, his
Majesty, in quality of Ally, was determined to succor that province. In
answer to this, Eden gave official information to Count Montmorin, that
England must consider as at an end, its convention with France relative
to giving notice of its naval armaments, and that she was arming
generally. War being now imminent, Eden, since Lord Aukland, questioned
me on the effect of our treaty with France, in the case of a war,
and what might be our dispositions. I told him frankly, and without
hesitation, that our dispositions would be neutral, and that I thought
it would be the interest of both these powers that we should be so;
because, it would relieve both from all anxiety as to feeding their West
India islands; that, England, too, by suffering us to remain so, would
avoid a heavy land war on our Continent, which might very much cripple
her proceedings elsewhere; that our treaty, indeed, obliged us to
receive into our ports the armed vessels of France, with their prizes,
and to refuse admission to the prizes made on her by her enemies: that
there was a clause, also, by which we guaranteed to France her American
possessions, which might perhaps force us into the war, if these were
attacked. ‘Then it will be war,’ said he, ‘for they will assuredly
be attacked.’ Liston, at Madrid, about the same time, made the same
enquiries of Carmichael. The government of France then declared a
determination to form a camp of observation at Givet, commenced arming
her marine, and named the Bailli de Suffrein their Generalissimo on the
Ocean. She secretly engaged, also, in negotiations with Russia, Austria,
and Spain, to form a quadruple alliance. The Duke of Brunswick having
advanced to the confines of Holland, sent some of his officers to Givet,
to reconnoitre the state of things there, and report them to him. He
said afterwards, that ‘if there, had been only a few tents at that
place, he should not have advanced further, for that the king would not,
merely for the interest of his sister, engage in a war with France.’
But, finding that there was not a single company there, he boldly
entered the country, took their towns as fast as he presented himself
before them, and advanced on Utrecht. The States had appointed the
Rhingrave of Salm their Commander in chief; a Prince without talents,
without courage, and without principle. He might have held out in
Utrecht, for a considerable time, but he surrendered the place without
firing a gun, literally ran away and hid himself, so that for months it
was not known what was become of him. Amsterdam was then attacked,
and capitulated. In the mean time, the negotiations for the quadruple
alliance were proceeding favorably; but the secrecy with which they were
attempted to be conducted, was penetrated by Fraser, Chargé des Affaires
of England at St. Petersburg, who instantly notified his court, and gave
the alarm to Prussia. The King saw at once what would be his situation,
between the jaws of France, Austria, and Russia. In great dismay, he
besought the court of London not to abandon him, sent Alvensleben to
Paris to explain and soothe; and England, through the Duke of Dorset
and Eden, renewed her conferences for accommodation. The Archbishop,
who shuddered at the idea of war, and preferred a peaceful surrender
of right, to an armed vindication of it, received them with open
arms, entered into cordial conferences, and a declaration, and
counter-declaration, were cooked up at Versailles, and sent to London
for approbation. They were approved there, reached Paris at one o’clock
of the 27th, and were signed that night at Versailles. It was said and
believed at Paris, that M. de Montrnorin, literally ‘pleuroit cotnrae
un enfant,’ when obliged to sign this counter-declaration; so distressed
was he by the dishonor of sacrificing the Patriots, after assurances so
solemn of protection, and absolute encouragement to proceed. The Prince
of Orange was reinstated in all his powers, now become regal. A great
emigration of the Patriots took place; all were deprived of office, many
exiled, and their property confiscated. They were received in France,
and subsisted, for some time, on her bounty. Thus fell Holland, by the
treachery of her Chief, from her honorable independence, to become
a province of England; and so, also, her Stadtholder, from the high
station of the first citizen of a free Republic, to be the servile
Viceroy of a foreign Sovereign. And this was effected by a mere scene of
bullying and demonstration; not one of the parties, France, England,
or Prussia, having ever really meant to encounter actual war for the
interest of the Prince of Orange. But it had all the effect of a real
and decisive war.


Our first essay, in America, to establish a federative government
had fallen, on trial, very short of its object. During the war of
Independence, while the pressure of an external enemy hooped us
together, and their enterprises kept us necessarily on the alert,
the spirit of the people, excited by danger, was a supplement to the
Confederation, and urged them to zealous exertions, whether claimed by
that instrument or not; but, when peace and safety were restored, and
every man became engaged in useful and profitable occupation, less
attention was paid to the calls of Congress. The fundamental defect
of the Confederation was, that Congress was not authorized to act
immediately on the people, and by its own officers. Their power was
only requisitory, and these requisitions were addressed to the several
Legislatures, to be by them carried into execution, without other
coercion than the moral principle of duty. This allowed, in fact, a
negative to every legislature, on every measure proposed by Congress; a
negative so frequently exercised in practice, as to benumb the action
of the Federal government, and to render it inefficient in its general
objects, and more especially in pecuniary and foreign concerns. The
want, too, of a separation of the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary
functions, worked disadvantageously in practice. Yet this state of
things afforded a happy augury of the future march of our Confederacy,
when it was seen that the good sense and good dispositions of the
people, as soon as they perceived the incompetence of their first
compact, instead of leaving its correction to insurrection and civil
war, agreed, with one voice, to elect deputies to a general Convention,
who should peaceably meet and agree on such a Constitution as ‘would
ensure peace, justice, liberty, the common defence, and general
welfare.’

This Convention met at Philadelphia on the 25th of May, ‘87. It sat with
closed doors, and kept all its proceedings secret, until its dissolution
on the 17th of September, when the results of its labors were published
all together. I received a copy, early in November, and read and
contemplated its provisions with great satisfaction. As not a member of
the Convention, however, nor probably a single citizen of the Union, had
approved it in all its parts, so I, too, found articles which I thought
objectionable. The absence of express declarations ensuring freedom
of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of the person under the
uninterrupted protection of the _habeas corpus_ and trial by jury
in civil, as well as in criminal cases, excited my jealousy; and
the re-eligibility of the President for life, I quite disapproved. I
expressed freely, in letters to my friends, and most particularly to Mr.
Madison and General Washington, my approbations and objections. How
the good should be secured, and the ill brought to rights, was the
difficulty. To refer it back to a new Convention, might endanger the
loss of the whole. My first idea was, that the nine states first acting,
should accept it unconditionally, and thus secure what in it was good,
and that the four last should accept on the previous condition, that
certain amendments should be agreed to; but a better course was devised,
of accepting the whole, and trusting that the good sense and honest
intentions of our citizens would make the alterations which should be
deemed necessary. Accordingly, all accepted, six without objection, and
seven with recommendations of specified amendments. Those respecting the
press, religion, and juries, with several others, of great value, were
accordingly made; but the _habeas corpus_ was left to the discretion of
Congress, and the amendment against the re-eligibility of the President
was not proposed. My fears of that feature were founded on the
importance of the office, on the fierce contentions it might
excite among ourselves, if continuable for life, and the dangers of
interference, either with money or arms, by foreign nations, to whom the
choice of an American President might become interesting. Examples
of this abounded in history; in the case of the Roman Emperors, for
instance; of the Popes, while of any significance; of the German
Emperors; the Kings of Poland, and the Deys of Barbary. I had observed,
too, in the feudal history, and in the recent instance, particularly,
of the Stadtholder of Holland, how easily offices, or tenures for life,
slide into inheritances. My wish, therefore, was that the President
should be elected for seven years, and be ineligible afterwards. This
term I thought sufficient to enable him, with the concurrence of the
Legislature, to carry though and establish any system of improvement he
should propose for the general good. But the practice adopted, I think,
is better, allowing his continuance for eight years, with a liability to
be dropped at half way of the term, making that a period of probation.
That his continuance should be restrained to seven years, was the
opinion of the Convention at an earlier stage of its session, when it
voted that term, by a majority of eight against two, and by a simple
majority, that he should be ineligible a second time. This opinion was
confirmed by the House so late as July 26, referred to the Committee of
detail, reported favorably by them, and changed to the present form by
final vote, on the last day, but one only, of their session. Of this
change, three states expressed their disapprobation; New York, by
recommending an amendment, that the President should not be eligible
a third time, and Virginia and North Carolina, that he should not be
capable of serving more than eight, in any term of sixteen years; and
although this amendment has not been made in form, yet practice seems
to have established it. The example of four Presidents, voluntarily
retiring at the end of their eighth year, and the progress of public
opinion, that the principle is salutary, have given it in practice the
force of precedent and usage; insomuch, that should a President consent
to be a candidate for a third election, I trust he would be rejected, on
this demonstration of ambitious views.

But there was another amendment, of which none of us thought at the
time, and in the omission of which, lurks the germ that is to destroy
this happy combination of National powers, in the general government,
for matters of National concern, and independent powers in the States,
for what concerns the States severally. In England, it was a great point
gained at the Revolution, that the commissions of the Judges, which had
hitherto been during pleasure, should thenceforth be made during good
behavior. A Judiciary, dependant on the will of the King, had proved
itself the most oppressive of all tools in the hands of that magistrate.
Nothing, then, could be more salutary, than a change there, to the
tenure of good behavior; and the question of good behavior, left to the
vote of a simple majority in the two Houses of Parliament. Before
the Revolution, we were all good English Whigs, cordial in their free
principles, and in their jealousies of their Executive magistrate. These
jealousies are very apparent, in all our state Constitutions; and, in
the General government in this instance, we have gone even beyond
the English caution, by requiring a vote of two thirds, in one of the
Houses, for removing a Judge; a vote so impossible, where * any defence
is made, before men of ordinary prejudices and passions, that our Judges
are effectually independent of the nation. But this ought not to be. I
would not, indeed, make them dependant on the Executive authority,
as they formerly were in England; but I deem it indispensable to the
continuance of this government, that they should be submitted to some
practical and impartial control; and that this, to be impartial, must
be compounded of a mixture of State and Federal authorities. It is not
enough, that honest men are appointed Judges. All know the influence
of interest on the mind of man, and how unconsciously his judgment
is warped by that influence. To this bias add that of the _esprit de
corps_, of their peculiar maxim and creed, that ‘it is the office of
a good Judge to enlarge his jurisdiction,’ and the absence of
responsibility; and how can we expect impartial decision between the
General government, of which they are themselves so eminent a part, and
an individual state, from which they have nothing to hope or fear? We
have seen, too, that, contrary to all correct example, they are in
the habit of going out of the question before them, to throw an anchor
ahead, and grapple further hold for future advances of power. They are
then, in fact, the corps of sappers and miners, steadily working to
undermine the independent rights of the states, and to consolidate all
power in the hands of that government, in which they have so important a
freehold estate. But it is not by the consolidation, or concentration
of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected.
Were not this great country already divided into states, that division
must be made, that each might do for itself what concerns itself
directly, and what it can so much better do than a distant authority.
Every state again is divided into counties, each to take care of what
lies within its local bounds; each county again into townships or wards,
to manage minuter details; and every ward into farms, to be governed
each by its individual proprietor. Were we directed from Washington
when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread. It is by this
partition of cares, descending in gradation from general to particular,
that the mass of human affairs may be best managed, for the good and
prosperity of all. I repeat, that I do not charge the judges with wilful
and ill-intentioned error; but honest error must be arrested, where
its toleration leads to public ruin. As, for the safety of society,
we commit honest maniacs to Bedlam, so judges should be withdrawn from
their bench, whose erroneous biases are leading us to dissolution.
It may, indeed, injure them in fame or in fortune; but it saves the
Republic, which is the first and supreme law.

     * In the impeachment of Judge Pickering, of New Hampshire, a
     habitual and maniac drunkard, no defence was made. Had there
     been, the party vote of more than one third of the Senate
     would have acquitted him.

Among the debilities of the government of the Confederation, no one was
more distinguished or more distressing, than the utter impossibility
of obtaining, from the States, the monies necessary for the payment
of debts, or even for the ordinary expenses of the government. Some
contributed a little, some less, and some nothing; and the last,
furnished at length an excuse for the first, to do nothing also. Mr.
Adams, while residing at the Hague, had a general authority to borrow
what sums might be requisite, for ordinary and necessary expenses.
Interest on the public debt, and the maintenance of the diplomatic
establishment in Europe, had been habitually provided in this way. He
was now elected Vice-President of the United States, was soon to return
to America, and had referred our bankers to me for future counsel, on
our affairs in their hands. But I had no powers, no instructions,
no means, and no familiarity with the subject. It had always been
exclusively under his management, except as to occasional and partial
deposites in the hands of Mr. Grand, banker in Paris, for special and
local purposes. These last had been exhausted for some time, and I
had fervently pressed the Treasury board to replenish this particular
deposite, as Mr. Grand now refused to make further advances. They
answered candidly, that no funds could be obtained until the
new government should get into action, and have time to make its
arrangements. Mr. Adams had received his appointment to the court of
London, while engaged at Paris, with Dr. Franklin and myself, in the
negotiations under our joint commissions. He had repaired thence
to London, without returning to the Hague, to take leave of that
government. He thought it necessary, however, to do so now, before he
should leave Europe, and accordingly went there. I learned his departure
from London, by a letter from Mrs. Adams, received on the very day on
which he would arrive at the Hague. A consultation with him, and some
provision for the future, was indispensable, while we could yet avail
ourselves of his powers; for when they would be gone, we should be
without resource. I was daily dunned by a Company who had formerly made
a small loan to the United States, the principal of which was now become
due; and our bankers in Amsterdam had notified me, that the interest on
our general debt would be expected in June; that if we failed to pay it,
it would be deemed an act of bankruptcy, and would effectually destroy
the credit of the Upited States, and all future prospects of obtaining
money there; that the loan they had been authorized to open, of which
a third only was filled, had now ceased to get forward, and rendered
desperate that hope of resource. I saw that there was not a moment to
lose, and set out for the Hague on the 2nd morning after receiving the
information of Mr. Adams’s journey. I went the direct road by Louvres,
Senlis, Roye, Pont St. Maxence, Bois le Due, Gournay, Peronne, Cambray,
Bouchain, Valenciennes, Mons, Bruxelles, Malines, Antwerp, Mordick, and
Rotterdam, to the Hague, where I happily found Mr. Adams. He concurred
with me at once in opinion, that something must be done, and that we
ought to risk ourselves on doing it without instructions, to save the
credit of the United States. We foresaw, that before the new government
could be adopted, assembled, establish its financial system, get the
money into the Treasury, and place it in Europe, considerable time would
elapse; that, therefore, we had better provide at once for the years
‘88, ‘89, and ‘90, in order to place our government at its ease, and our
credit in security, during that trying interval. We set out, therefore,
by the way of Leyden, for Amsterdam, where we arrived on the 10th, I had
prepared an estimate, showing, that

[Illustration: Financial Projection, American Embassy Paris, page068]


Florins.

There would be necessary for the year ‘88--531,937-10 ‘89--538,540
‘90--473,540 -------------------- Total, 1,544,017-10

Florins.

To meet this, the bankers had in hand, 79,268-2-8 and the unsold bonds
would yield, 542,800

622,068-2-8

Leaving a deficit of 921,949-7-4

We proposed then to borrow a million, yielding 920,000

Which would leave a small deficiency of 1,949-7-4


Mr. Adams accordingly executed 1000 bonds, for 1000 florins each, and
deposited them in the hands of our bankers, with instructions, however,
not to issue them until Congress should ratify the measure. This done,
he returned to London, and I set out for Paris; and, as nothing urgent
forbade it, I determined to return along the banks of the Rhine, to
Strasburg, and thence strike off to Paris. I accordingly left Amsterdam
on the 30th of March, and proceeded by Utrecht, Nimegnen, Cleves,
Duysberg, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Bonne, Coblentz, Nassau, Hocheim,
Frankfort, and made an excursion to Hanau, then to Mayence, and another
excursion to Rudesheim, and Johansberg; then by Oppenheim, Worms, and
Manheim, making an excursion to Heidelberg, then by Spire, Carlsruhe,
Rastadt, and Kelh, to Sfrasburg, where I arrived April the 16th,
and proceeded again on the 18th, by Phalsbourg, Fenestrange, Dieuze,
Moyenvie, Nancy, Toul, Ligny, Barleduc, St. Diziers, Vitry, Chalons sur
Marne, Epernay, Chateau Thierri, Meaux, to Paris, where I arrived on
the 23d of April: and I had the satisfaction to reflect, that by this
journey, our credit was secured, the new government was placed at ease
for two years to come, and that, as well as myself, relieved from the
torment of incessant duns, whose just complaints could not be silenced
by any means within our power.

A Consular Convention had been agreed on in ‘84, between Dr. Franklin
and the French government, containing several articles, so entirely
inconsistent with the laws of the several states, and the general spirit
of our citizens, that Congress withheld their ratification, and sent
it back to me, with instructions to get those articles expunged, or
modified, so as to render them compatible with our laws. The Minister
unwillingly released us from these concessions, which, indeed,
authorized the exercise of powers very offensive in a free state. After
much discussion, the Convention was reformed in a considerable degree,
and was signed by the Count Montmorin and myself, on the 14th of
November, ‘88; not indeed, such as I would have wished; but such as
could be obtained with good humor and friendship.

On my return from Holland, I found Paris as I had left it, still in
high fermentation. Had the Archbishop, on the close of the Assembly of
Notables, immediately carried into operation the measures contemplated,
it was believed they would all have been registered by the Parliament;
but he was slow, presented his edicts, one after another, and at
considerable intervals, which gave time for the feelings excited by the
proceedings of the Notables to cool off, new claims to be advanced, and
a pressure to arise for a fixed constitution, not subject to changes
at the will of the King. Nor should we wonder at this pressure, when
we consider the monstrous abuses of power under which this people were
ground to powder; when we pass in review the weight of their taxes, and
the inequality of their distribution; the oppressions of the tythes,
the failles, the corvees, the gabelles, the farms and the barriers;
the shackles on commerce by monopolies; on industry by guilds and
corporations; on the freedom of conscience, of thought, and of speech;
on the freedom of the press by the censure; and of the person by lettres
de cachet; the cruelty of the criminal code generally; the atrocities
of the rack; the venality of Judges, and their partialities to the rich;
the monopoly of military honors by the noblesse; the enormous expenses
of the Queen, the Princes, and the Court; the prodigalities of pensions;
and the riches, luxury, indolence, and immorality of the Clergy. Surely
under such a mass of misrule and oppression, a people might justly
press for thorough reformation, and might even dismount their roughshod
riders, and leave them to walk, on their own legs. The edicts, relative
to the corvees and free circulation of grain, were first presented to
the Parliament and registered; but those for the impot territorial,
and stamp tax, offered some time after, were refused by the Parliament,
which proposed a call of the States General, as alone competent to their
authorization. Their refusal produced a bed of justice, and their exile
to Troyes. The Advocates, however, refusing to attend them, a suspension
in the administration of justice took place. The Parliament held out for
awhile, but the ennui of their exile and absence from Paris, began at
length to be felt, and some dispositions for compromise to appear. On
their consent, therefore, to prolong some of the former taxes, they were
recalled from exile. The King met them in session, November 19, ‘87,
promised to call the States General in the year ‘92, and a majority
expressed their assent to register an edict for successive and annual
loans from 1788 to ‘92; but a protest being entered by the Duke of
Orleans, and this encouraging others in a disposition to retract,
the King ordered peremptorily the registry of the edict, and left the
assembly abruptly. The Parliament immediately protested, that the votes
for the enregistry had not been legally taken, and that they gave no
sanction to the loans proposed. This was enough to discredit and defeat
them. Hereupon issued another edict, for the establishment of a _cour
plenière_ and the suspension of all the Parliaments in the kingdom.
This being opposed, as might be expected, by reclamations from all the
Parliaments and Provinces, the King gave way, and by an edict of July
5th, ’88, renounced his _cour plenière_, and promised the States General
for the first of May, of the ensuing year: and the Archbishop, finding
the times beyond his faculties, accepted the promise of a Cardinal’s
hat, was removed (September ‘88) from the Ministry, and Mr. Necker was
called to the department of finance. The innocent rejoicings of the
people of Paris on this change, provoked the interference of an officer
of the city guards, whose order for their dispersion not being obeyed,
he charged them with fixed bayonets, killed two or three, and wounded
many. This dispersed them for the moment, but they collected the next
day in great numbers, burnt ten or twelve guardhouses, killed two or
three of the guards, and lost six or eight more of their own number. The
city was hereupon put under martial law, and after a while the tumult
subsided. The effect of this change of ministers, and the promise of the
States General at an early day tranquillized the nation. But two
great questions now occurred. 1st. What proportion shall the number of
deputies of the _Tiers Etat_ bear to those of the Nobles and Clergy?
And, 2nd. Shall they sit in the same or in distinct apartments? Mr.
Necker, desirous of avoiding himself these knotty questions, proposed a
second call of the same Notables, and that their advice should be asked
on the subject. They met, November 9, ‘88, and, by five bureaux against
one, they recommended the forms of the States General of 1614; wherein
the Houses were separate, and voted by orders, not by persons. But the
whole nation declaring at once against this, and that the _Tiers
Etat_ should be, in numbers, equal to both the other orders, and the
Parliament deciding for the same proportion, it was determined so to be,
by a declaration of December 27th, ‘88. A Report of Mr. Necker, to
the King, of about the same date, contained other very important
concessions. 1. That the King could neither lay a new tax, nor prolong
an old one. 2. It expressed a readiness to agree on the periodical
meeting of the States. 3. To consult on the necessary restriction on
_lettres de cachet_; and 4. How far the press might be made free. 5. It
admits that the States are to appropriate the public money; and 6.
That Ministers shall be responsible for public expenditures. And these
concessions came from the very heart of the King. He had not a wish but
for the good of the nation; and for that object, no personal sacrifice
would ever have cost him a moment’s regret; but his mind was weakness
itself, his constitution timid, his judgment null, and without
sufficient firmness even to stand by the faith of his word. His Queen,
too, haughty and bearing no contradiction, had an absolute ascendancy
over him; and around her were rallied the King’s brother D’Artois,
the court generally, and the aristocratic part of his Ministers,
particularly Breteuil, Broglio, Vauguyon, Foulon, Luzerne, men whose
principles of government were those of the age of Louis XIV. Against
this host, the good counsels of Necker, Montmorin, St. Priest, although
in unison with the wishes of the King himself, were of little avail. The
resolutions of the morning, formed under their advice, would be reversed
in the evening, by the influence of the Queen and court. But the hand
of Heaven weighed heavily indeed on the machinations of this junto;
producing collateral incidents, not arising out of the case, yet
powerfully co-exciting the nation to force a regeneration of its
government, and overwhelming, with accumulated difficulties, this
liberticide resistance. For, while laboring under the want of money
for even ordinary purposes, in a government which required a million
of livres a day, and driven to the last ditch by the universal call
for liberty, there came on a winter of such severe cold, as was without
example in the memory of man, or in the written records of history. The
Mercury was at times 50° below the freezing point of Farenheit, and 22°
below that of Reaumur. All out-door labor was suspended, and the poor,
without the wages of labor, were, of course, without either bread
or fuel. The government found its necessities aggravated by that of
procuring immense quantities of firewood, and of keeping great fires at
all the cross streets, around which the people gathered in crowds, to
avoid perishing with cold. Bread, too, was to be bought, and distributed
daily, _gratis_, until a relaxation of the season should enable the
people to work: and the slender stock of bread-stuff had for some time
threatened famine, and had raised that article to an enormous price. So
great, indeed, was the scarcity of bread, that, from the highest to the
lowest citizen, the bakers were permitted to deal but a scanty allowance
per head, even to those who paid for it; and, in cards of invitation
to dine in the richest houses, the guest was notified to bring his own
bread. To eke out the existence of the people, every person who had
the means, was called on for a weekly subscription, which the Cures
collected, and employed in providing messes for the nourishment of the
poor, and vied with each other in devising such economical compositions
of food, as would subsist the greatest number with the smallest means.
This want of bread had been foreseen for some time past, and M. de
Montmorin had desired me to notify it in America, and that, in addition
to the market price, a premium should be given on what should be brought
from the United States. Notice was accordingly given, and produced
considerable supplies. Subsequent information made the importations from
America, during the months of March, April, and May, into the Atlantic
ports of France, amount to about twenty-one thousand barrels of flour,
besides what went to other ports, and in other months; while our
supplies to their West Indian islands relieved them also from that
drain. This distress for bread continued till July.

Hitherto no acts of popular violence had been produced by the struggle
for political reformation. Little riots, on ordinary incidents, had
taken place at other times, in different parts of the kingdom, in which
some lives, perhaps a dozen or twenty, had been lost; but in the month
of April, a more serious one occurred in Paris, unconnected, indeed,
with the Revolutionary principle, but making part of the history of
the day. The Fauxbourg St. Antoine, is a quarter of the city inhabited
entirely by the class of day-laborers and journeymen in every line. A
rumor was spread among them, that a great paper-manufacturer, of the
name of Reveillon, had proposed, on some occasion, that their wages
should be lowered to fifteen sous a day. Inflamed at once into rage,
and without inquiring into its truth, they flew to his house in
vast numbers, destroyed every thing in it, and in his magazines and
work-shops, without secreting, however, a pin’s worth to themselves, and
were continuing this work of devastation, when the regular troops were
called in. Admonitions being disregarded, they were of necessity fired
on, and a regular action ensued, in which about one hundred of them were
killed, before the rest would disperse. There had rarely passed a year
without such a riot, in some part or other of the kingdom; and this
is distinguished only as cotemporary with the Revolution, although not
produced by it.

The States General were opened on the 5th of May, ‘89, by speeches from
the King, the Garde des Sceaux, Lamoignon, and Mr. Necker. The last was
thought to trip too lightly over the constitutional reformations which
were expected. His notices of them in this speech, were not as full
as in his previous _Rapport au Roi_. This was observed, to his
disadvantage: but much allowance should have been made for the situation
in which he was placed, between his own counsels and those of the
ministers and party of the court. Overruled in his own opinions,
compelled to deliver, and to gloss over those of his opponents, and even
to keep their secrets, he could not come forward in his own attitude.

The composition of the Assembly, although equivalent, on the whole, to
what had been expected, was something different in its elements. It had
been supposed, that a superior education would carry into the scale
of the Commons, a respectable portion of the Noblesse. It did so as to
those of Paris, of its vicinity, and of the other considerable cities,
whose greater intercourse with enlightened society had liberalized their
minds, and prepared them to advance up to the measure of the times. But
the Noblesse of the country, which constituted two thirds of that body,
were far in their rear. Residing constantly on their patrimonial feuds,
and familiarized, by daily habit, with Seigneurial powers and practices,
they had not yet learned to suspect their inconsistence with reason and
right. They were willing to submit to equality of taxation, but not to
descend from their rank and prerogatives to be incorporated in session
with the _Tiers Etat_. Among the Clergy, on the other hand, it had been
apprehended that the higher orders of the Hierarchy, by their wealth and
connections, would have carried the elections generally; but it turned
out, that in most cases, the lower clergy had obtained the popular
majorities. These consisted of the Cureés sons of the peasantry, who
had been employed to do all the drudgery of parochial services for ten,
twenty, or thirty louis a year; while their superiors were consuming
their princely revenues in palaces of luxury and indolence. The
objects for which this body was convened, being of the first order of
importance, I felt it very interesting to understand the views of the
parties of which it was composed, and especially the ideas prevalent,
as to the organization contemplated for their government. I went,
therefore, daily from Paris to Versailles, and attended their debates,
generally till the hour of adjournment. Those of the Noblesse were
impassioned and tempestuous. They had some able men on both sides,
actuated by equal zeal. The debates of the Commons were temperate,
rational, and inflexibly firm. As preliminary to all other business,
the awful questions came on: Shall the States sit in one, or in distinct
apartments? And shall they vote by heads or houses? The opposition was
soon found to consist of the Episcopal order among the clergy, and two
thirds of the _Noblesse_; while the _Tiers Etat_ were, to a man, united
and determined. After various propositions of compromise had failed,
the Commons undertook to cut the Gordian knot. The Abbe Sieyes, the most
logical head of the nation, (author of the pamphlet ‘_Qu’est ce que le
Tiers Etat?_’ which had electrified that country, as Paine’s ‘Common
Sense’ did us,) after an impressive speech on the 10th of June, moved
that a last invitation should be sent to the Nobles and Clergy, to
attend in the hall of the States, collectively or individually, for the
verification of powers, to which the Commons would proceed immediately,
either in their presence or absence. This verification being finished,
a motion was made, on the 15th, that they should constitute themselves a
National Assembly; which was decided on the 17th, by a majority of four
fifths. During the debates on this question, about twenty of the Curés
had joined them, and a proposition was made, in the chamber of the
Clergy, that their whole body should join. This was rejected, at first,
by a small majority only; but, being afterwards somewhat modified, it
was decided affirmatively, by a majority of eleven. While this was under
debate, and unknown to the court, to wit, on the 19th, a council was
held in the afternoon, at Marly, wherein it was proposed that the King
should interpose, by a declaration of his sentiments, in a _séance
royale_. A form of declaration was proposed by Necker, which, while it
censured, in general, the preceedings, both of the Nobles and Commons,
announced the King’s views, such as substantially to coincide with the
Commons. It was agreed to in Council, the _séance_ was fixed for the
22nd, the meetings of the States were till then to be suspended, and
every thing, in the mean time, kept secret. The members, the next
morning (the 20th) repairing to their house, as usual, found the doors
shut and guarded, a proclamation posted up for a séance, royale on the
22nd, and a suspension of their meetings in the mean, time. Concluding
that their dissolution was now to take place, they repaired to a
building called the _Jeu de paume_ (or Tennis court), and there bound
themselves by oath to each other, never to separate, of their own
accord, till they had settled a constitution for the nation, on a solid
basis, and, if separated by force, that they would reassemble in some
other place. The next day they met in the church of St. Louis, and were
joined by a majority of the clergy. The heads of the aristocracy saw
that all was lost without some bold exertion. The King was still at
Marly. Nobody was permitted to approach him but their friends. He was
assailed by falsehoods in all shapes. He was made to believe that the
Commons were about to absolve the army from their oath of fidelity
to him, and to raise their pay. The court party were now all rage and
desperation. They procured a committee to be held, consisting of the
King and his Ministers, to which Monsieur and the Count d’Artois
should be admitted. At this committee, the latter attacked Mr. Necker
personally, arraigned his declaration, and proposed one which some of
his prompters had put into his hands. Mr. Necker was browbeaten and
intimidated, and the King shaken. He determined that the two plans
should be deliberated on the next day, and the _séance royale_ put off a
day longer. This encouraged a fiercer attack on Mr. Necker the next day.
His draught of a declaration was entirely broken up, and that of the
Count d’Artois inserted into it. Himself and Montmorin offered their
resignation, which was refused; the Count d’Artois saying to Mr. Necker,
‘No, sir, you must be kept as the hostage; we hold you responsible for
all the ill which shall happen.’ This change of plan was immediately
whispered without doors. The _Noblesse_ were in triumph; the people in
consternation. I was quite alarmed at this state of things. The soldiery
had not yet indicated which side they should take, and that which they
should support would be sure to prevail. I considered a successful
reformation of government in France as insuring a general reformation
through Europe, and the resurrection to a new life of their people,
now ground to dust by the abuses of the governing powers. I was much
acquainted with the leading patriots of the Assembly. Being from a
country which had successfully passed through a similar reformation,
they were disposed to my acquaintance, and had some confidence in me.
I urged, most strenuously, an immediate compromise; to secure what the
government was now ready to yield, and trust to future occasions for
what might still be wanting. It was well understood that the King would
grant, at this time, 1. Freedom of the person by _habeas corpus_. 2.
Freedom of conscience: 3. Freedom of the press: 4. Trial by jury: 5. A
representative legislature: 6. Annual meetings: 7. The origination of
laws: 8. The exclusive right of taxation and appropriation: and 9. The
responsibility of ministers: and with the exercise of these powers they
could obtain, in future, whatever might be further necessary to improve
and preserve their constitution. They thought otherwise, however, and
events have proved their lamentable error. For, after thirty years
of war, foreign and domestic, the loss of millions of lives, the
prostration of private happiness, and the foreign subjugation of their
own country for a time, they have obtained no more, nor even that
securely. They were unconscious of (for who could foresee?) the
melancholy sequel of their well-meant perseverance; that their physical
force would be usurped by a first tyrant to trample on the independence,
and even the existence, of other nations: that this would afford a fatal
example for the atrocious conspiracy of kings against their people;
would generate their unholy and homicide alliance to make common cause
among themselves, and to crush, by the power of the whole, the efforts
of any part, to moderate their abuses and oppressions. When the King
passed, the next day, through the lane formed from the Chateau to the
_Hotel des Etats_, there was a dead silence. He was about an hour in
the House, delivering his speech and declaration. On his coming out, a
feeble cry of _Vive le Roy_ was raised by some children, but the people
remained silent and sullen. In the close of his speech, he had ordered
that the members should follow him, and resume their deliberations the
next day. The _Noblesse_ followed him, and so did the clergy, except
about thirty, who, with the _Tiers_, remained in the room, and entered
into deliberation. They protested against what the King had done,
adhered to all their former proceedings, and resolved the inviolability
of their own persons. An officer came to order them out of the room
in the King’s name. ‘Tell those who sent you,’ said Mirabeau, ‘that we
shall not move hence but at our own will, or the point of the bayonet.’
In the afternoon, the people, uneasy, began to assemble in great numbers
in the courts and vicinities of the palace. This produced alarm. The
Queen sent for Mr. Necker. He was conducted, amidst the shouts and
acclamations of the multitude, who filled all the apartments of the
palace. He was a few minutes only with the Queen, and what passed
between them did not transpire. The King went out to ride. He passed
through the crowd to his carriage, and into it, without being in the
least noticed. As Mr. Necker followed him, universal acclamations
were raised of ‘_Vive Monsieur Necker, vive le sauveur de la France
opprimée_.’ He was conducted back to his house, with the same
demonstrations of affection and anxiety. About two hundred deputies of
the _Tiers_, catching the enthusiasm of the moment, went to his house,
and extorted from him a promise that he would not resign. On the 25th,
forty-eight of the Nobles joined the _Tiers_, and among them the Duke of
Orleans. There were then with them one hundred and sixty-four members
of the clergy, although the minority of that body still sat apart, and
called themselves the Chamber of the Clergy. On the 26th, the Archbishop
of Paris joined the Tiers, as did some others of the clergy and of the
_Noblesse_.

These proceedings had thrown the people into violent ferment. It gained
the soldiery, first of the French guards, extended to those of every
other denomination, except the Swiss, and even to the body guards of
the King. They began to quit their barracks, to assemble in squads, to
declare they would defend the life of the King, but would not be the
murderers of their fellow-citizens. They called themselves the soldiers
of the nation, and left now no doubt on which side they would be, in
case of a rupture. Similar accounts came in from the troops in other
parts of the kingdom, giving good reason to believe they would side
with their fathers and brothers, rather than with their officers.
The operation of this medicine at Versailles, was as sudden as it was
powerful. The alarm there was so complete, that in the afternoon of the
27th, the King wrote with his own hand letters to the Presidents of the
Clergy and Nobles, engaging them immediately to join the _Tiers_. These
two bodies were debating, and hesitating, when notes from the Count
d’Artois decided their compliance. They went in a body, and took their
seats with the Tiers, and thus rendered the union of the orders in one
chamber complete.

The Assembly now entered on the business of their mission, and first
proceeded to arrange the order in which they would take up the heads of
their constitution, as follows:

First, and as preliminary to the whole, a general declaration of the
rights of man. Then, specifically, the principles of the monarchy;
rights of the nation; rights of the king; rights of the citizens;
organization and rights of the National Assembly; forms necessary for
the enactment of laws; organization and functions of the Provincial
and Municipal Assemblies; duties and limits of the Judiciary power;
functions and duties of the Military power.

A declaration of the rights of man, as the preliminary of their work,
was accordingly prepared and proposed by the Marquis de la Fayette.

But the quiet of their march was soon disturbed by information that
troops, and particularly the foreign troops, were advancing on Paris
from various quarters. The King had probably been advised to this on the
pretext of preserving peace in Paris. But his advisers were believed to
have other things in contemplation. The Marshal de Broglio was appointed
to their command, a highflying aristocrat, cool and capable of every
thing. Some of the French guards were soon arrested, under other
pretexts, but really on account of their dispositions in favor of the
national cause. The people of Paris forced their prison, liberated them,
and sent a deputation to the Assembly to solicit a pardon. The Assembly
recommended peace and order to the people of Paris, the prisoners to
the King, and asked from him the removal of the troops. His answer was
negative and dry, saying they might remove themselves, if they pleased,
to Noyon or Soissons. In the mean time, these troops, to the number of
twenty or thirty thousand, had arrived, and were posted in and between
Paris and Versailles. The bridges and passes were guarded. At three
o’clock in the afternoon of the 11th of July, the Count de la Luzerne
was sent to notify Mr. Necker of his dismission, and to enjoin him to
retire instantly, without saying a word of it to any body. He went home,
dined, and proposed to his wife a visit to a friend, but went in fact
to his country-house at St. Ouen, and at midnight set out for Brussels.
This was not known till the next day (the 12th), when the whole
ministry was changed, except Villedeuil, of the domestic department, and
Barenton, _Garde des Sceaux_. The changes were as follows.

The Baron de Breteuil, President of the Council of Finance; de la
Galasiere, Comptroller General, in the room of Mr. Necker; the Marshal
de Broglio, Minister of War, and Foulon under him, in the room of
Puy-Segur; the Duke de la Vauguyon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, instead
of the Count de Montmorin; de la Porte, Minister of Marine, in place of
the Count de la Luzerne; St. Priest was also removed from the Council.
Lucerne and Puy Segur had been strongly of the aristocratic party in
the Council but they were not considered as equal to the work now to
be done. The King was now completely in the hands of men, the principal
among whom had been noted through their lives for the Turkish despotism
of their characters, and who were associated around the King as proper
instruments for what was to be executed. The news of this change began
to be known at Paris about one or two o’clock. In the afternoon, a body
of about one hundred German cavalry were advanced, and drawn up in the
Place Louis XV., and about two hundred Swiss posted at a little distance
in their rear. This drew people to the spot, who thus accidentally found
themselves in front of the troops, merely at first as spectators; but,
as their numbers increased, their indignation rose. They retired a few
steps, and posted themselves on and behind large piles of stones, large
and small, collected in that place for a bridge, which was to be built
adjacent to it. In this position, happening to be in my carriage on a
visit, I passed through the lane they had formed, without interruption.
But the moment after I had passed, the people attacked the cavalry with
stones. They charged, but the advantageous position of the people, and
the showers of stones, obliged the horse to retire, and quit the field
altogether, leaving one of their number on the ground, and the Swiss in
their rear, not moving to their aid. This was the signal for universal
insurrection, and this body of cavalry, to avoid being massacred,
retired towards Versailles. The people now armed themselves with such
weapons as they could find in armorers’ shops, and private houses, and
with bludgeons; and were roaming all night, through all parts of the
city, without any decided object. The next day (the 13th), the Assembly
pressed on the king to send away the troops, to permit the Bourgeoisie
of Paris, to arm for the preservation of order in the city, and offered
to send a deputation from their body to tranquillize them: but their
propositions were refused. A committee of magistrates and electors
of the city were appointed by those bodies, to take upon them its
government. The people, now openly joined by the French guards, forced
the prison of St. Lazare, released all the prisoners, and took a great
store of corn, which they carried to the corn market. Here they got
some arms, and the French guards began to form and train; them. The
city-committee determined to raise forty-eight thousand _Bourgeois_, or
rather to restrain their numbers to forty-eight thousand. On the 14th,
they sent one of their members (Monsieur de Corny) to the _Hotel des
Invalides_, to ask arms for their _Garde Bourgeoise_. He was followed
by, and he found there, a great collection of people. The Governor
of the Invalids came out, and represented the impossibility of his
delivering arms, without the orders of those from whom he received them.
De Corny advised the people then to retire, and retired himself; but the
people took possession of the arms, it was remarkable, that not only the
Invalids themselves made no opposition, but that a body of five thousand
foreign troops, within four hundred yards, never stirred. M. de Corny,
and five others, were then sent to ask arms of M. de Launay, Governor of
the Bastile. They found a great collection of people already before the
place, and they immediately planted a flag of truce, which was answered
by a like flag hoisted on the parapet. The deputation prevailed on the
people to fall back a little, advanced themselves to make their demand
of the Governor, and in that instant, a discharge from the Bastile
killed four persons, of those nearest to the deputies. The deputies
retired. I happened to be at the house of M. de Corny, when he returned
to it, and received from him a narrative of these transactions. On the
retirement of the deputies, the people rushed forward, and almost in an
instant, were in possession of a fortification, of infinite strength,
defended by one hundred men, which in other times, had stood several
regular sieges, and had never been taken. How they forced their entrance
has never been explained. They took all the arms, discharged the
prisoners, and such of the garrison as were not killed in the first
moment of fury; carried the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to the
Place de Greve (the place of public execution), cut off their heads, and
sent them through the city, in triumph, to the Palais Royal. About the
same instant, a treacherous correspondence having been discovered in M.
de Flesselles, _Prévôt des Marchands_, they seized him in the _Hotel
de Ville_, where he was in the execution of his office, and cut off his
head. These events, carried imperfectly to Versailles, were the subject
of two successive deputations from the Assembly to the King, to both of
which he gave dry and hard answers; for nobody had as yet been permitted
to inform him, truly and fully, of what had passed at Paris. But at
night, the Duke de Liancourt forced his way into the King’s bed-chamber,
and obliged him to hear a full and animated detail of the disasters of
the day in Paris. He went to bed fearfully impressed. The decapitation
of De Launay worked powerfully, through the night, on the whole
Aristocratical party; insomuch, that in the morning, those of the
greatest influence on the Count d’Artois, represented to him the
absolute necessity, that the King should give up every thing to the
Assembly. This according with the dispositions of the King, he went
about eleven o’clock, accompanied only by his brothers, to the Assembly,
and there read to them a speech, in which he asked their interposition
to re-establish order. Although couched in terms of some caution, yet
the manner in which it was delivered made it evident, that it was
meant as a surrender at discretion. He returned to the Chateau afoot,
accompanied by the Assembly. They sent off a deputation to quiet Paris,
at the head of which was the Marquis de la Fayette, who had, the same
morning, been named _Commandant en Chef_ of the _Milice Bourgeoise_; and
Monsieur Bailly, former President of the States General, was called for
as _Prévôt des Marchands_. The demolition of the Bastile was now ordered
and begun. A body of the Swiss guards, of the regiment of Ventimille,
and the city horse-guards joined the people. The alarm at Versailles
increased. The foreign troops were ordered off instantly. Every Minister
resigned. The King confirmed Bailly as Prévôt des Marchands, wrote to
Mr. Necker, to recall him, sent his letter open to the Assembly, to be
forwarded by them, and invited them to go with him to Paris the next
day, to satisfy the city of his dispositions; and that night, and
the next morning, the Count d’Artois, and M. de Montesson, a deputy
connected with him, Madame de Polignac, Madame de Guiche, and the Count
de Vaudreuil, favorites of the Queen, the Abbe de Vermont her confessor,
the Prince of Conde. and Duke of Bourbon fled. The King came to Paris,
leaving the Queen in consternation for his return. Omitting the less
important figures of the procession, the King’s carriage was in the
centre; on each side of it, the Assembly, in two ranks afoot; at their
head the Marquis de la Fayette, as commander-in-chief, on horse-back,
and _Bourgeois_ guards before and behind. About sixty thousand citizens,
of all forms and conditions, armed with the conquests of the Bastile and
Invalids, as far as they would go, the rest with pistols, swords, pikes,
pruning hooks, scythes, &c. lined all the streets through which the
procession passed, and with the crowds of people in the streets,
doors, and windows, saluted them everywhere with the cries of ‘_Vive la
Nation_,’ but not a single ‘_Vive le Roi_’ was heard. The King stopped
at the _Hotel de Ville_. There M. Bailly presented, and put into his
hat, the popular cockade, and addressed him. The King being unprepared,
and unable to answer, Bailly went to him, gathered from him some
scraps of sentences, and made out an answer, which he delivered to the
audience, as from the King. On their return, the popular cries were
‘_Vive le Roi et la Nation_.’ He was conducted by a _garde Bourgeoise_,
to his palace at Versailles, and thus concluded such an ‘_amende
honorable_,’ as no sovereign ever made, and no people ever received.

And here, again, was lost another precious occasion of sparing to France
the crimes and cruelties through which she has since passed, and to
Europe, and finally America, the evils which flowed on them also from
this mortal source. The King was now become a passive machine in the
hands of the National Assembly, and had he been left to himself, he
would have willingly acquiesced in whatever they should devise as best
for the nation. A wise constitution would have been formed, hereditary
in his line, himself placed at its head, with powers so large, as to
enable him to do all the good of his station, and so limited, as to
restrain him from its abuse. This he would have faithfully administered,
and more than this, I do not believe, he ever wished. But he had a Queen
of absolute sway over his weak mind and timid virtue, and of a character
the reverse of his in all points. This angel, as gaudily painted in the
rhapsodies of Burke, with some smartness of fancy, but no sound sense,
was proud, disdainful of restraint, indignant at all obstacles to her
will, eager in the pursuit of pleasure, and firm enough to hold to
her desires, or perish in their wreck. Her inordinate gambling and
dissipations, with those of the Count d’Artois, and others of her
clique, had been a sensible item in the exhaustion of the treasury,
which called into action the reforming hand of the nation; and her
opposition to it, her inflexible perverseness, and dauntless spirit, led
herself to the Guillotine, drew the King on with her, and plunged the
world into crimes and calamities which will for ever stain the pages
of modern history. I have ever believed, that had there been no Queen,
there would have been no revolution. No force would have been provoked,
nor exercised. The King would have gone hand in hand with the wisdom of
his sounder counsellors, who, guided by the increased lights of the
age, wished only, with the same pace, to advance the principles of their
social constitution. The deed which closed the mortal course of these
sovereigns, I shall neither approve nor condemn. I am not prepared to
say, that the first magistrate of a nation cannot commit treason against
his country, or is unamenable to its punishment: nor yet, that where
there is no written law, no regulated tribunal, there is not a law in
our hearts, and a power in our hands, given for righteous employment in
maintaining right, and redressing wrong. Of those who judged the King,
many thought him wilfully criminal; many, that his existence would keep
the nation in perpetual conflict with the horde of Kings, who would war
against a regeneration which might come home to themselves, and that it
were better that one should die than all. I should not have voted with
this portion of the legislature. I should have shut up the Queen in
a convent, putting harm out of her power, and placed the King in his
station, investing him with limited powers, which, I verily believe,
he would have honestly exercised, according to the measure of his
understanding. In this way, no void would have been created, courting
the usurpation of a military adventurer, nor occasion given for those
enormities which demoralized the nations of the world, and destroyed,
and is yet to destroy, millions and millions of its inhabitants. There
are three epochs in history, signalized by the total extinction of
national morality. The first was of the successors of Alexander, not
omitting himself: the next, the successors of the first Cæsar: the
third, our own age. This was begun by the partition of Poland, followed
by that of the treaty of Pilnitz; next the conflagration of Copenhagen;
then the enormities of Bonaparte, partitioning the earth at his will,
and devastating it with fire and sword; now the conspiracy of Kings,
the successors of Bonaparte, blasphemously calling themselves ‘The Holy
Alliance,’ and treading in the footsteps of their incarcerated leader;
not yet, indeed, usurping the government of other nations, avowedly and
in detail, but controlling by their armies the forms in which they will
permit them to be governed; and reserving, _in petto_, the order and
extent of the usurpations further meditated. But I will return from a
digression, anticipated, too, in time, into which I have been led
by reflection on the criminal passions which refused to the world
a favorable occasion of saving it from the afflictions it has since
suffered.

Mr. Necker had reached Basle before he was overtaken by the letter of
the King, inviting him back to resume the office he had recently left.
He returned immediately, and all the other ministers having resigned,
a new administration was named, to wit: St. Priest and Montmorin were
restored; the Archbishop of Bordeaux was appointed _Garde des Sceaux_;
La Tour du Pin, Minister of War; La Luzerne, Minister of Marine. This
last was believed to have been effected by the friendship of Montmorin;
for although differing in politics, they continued firm in friendship,
and Luzerne, although not an able man, was thought an honest one. And
the Prince of Bauvau was taken into the Council.

Seven Princes of the blood royal, six ex-ministers, and many of the
high _Noblesse_, having fled, and the present ministers, except Luzerne,
being all of the popular party, all the functionaries of government
moved, for the present, in perfect harmony.

In the evening of August the 4th, and on the motion of the Viscount
de Noailles, brother-in-law of La Fayette, the Assembly abolished all
titles of rank, all the abusive privileges of feudalism, the tythes
and casuals of the clergy, all provincial privileges, and, in fine, the
feudal regimen generally. To the suppression of tythes, the Abbe Sieyes
was vehemently opposed; but his learned and logical arguments were
unheeded, and his estimation lessened by a contrast of his egoism (for
he was beneficed on them) with the generous abandonment of rights by the
other members of the Assembly. Many days were employed in putting into
the form of laws the numerous demolitions of ancient abuses; which done,
they proceeded to the preliminary work of a declaration of rights. There
being much concord of sentiment on the elements of this instrument, it
was liberally framed, and passed with a very general approbation.
They then appointed a committee for the ‘reduction of a _projet_’ of
a constitution, at the head of which was the Archbishop of Bordeaux. I
received from him, as chairman of the committee, a letter of July the
20th, requesting me to attend and assist at their deliberations; but I
excused myself, on the obvious considerations, that my mission was to
the King as Chief Magistrate of the nation, that my duties were limited
to the concerns of my own country, and forbade me to intermeddle with
the internal transactions of that in which I had been received under a
specific character only. Their plan of a constitution was discussed
in sections, and so reported from time to time, as agreed to by the
committee. The first respected the general frame of the government;
and that this should be formed into three departments, executive,
legislative, and judiciary, was generally agreed. But when they
proceeded to subordinate developments, many and various shades of
opinion came into conflict, and schism, strongly marked, broke the
Patriots into fragments of very discordant principles. The first
question, Whether there should be a King? met with no open opposition;
and it was readily agreed, that the government of France should be
monarchical and hereditary. Shall the King have a negative on the laws?
Shall that negative be absolute, or suspensive only? Shall there be
two Chambers of Legislation, or one only? If two, shall one of them be
hereditary? or for life? or for a fixed term? and named by the King?
or elected by the people? These questions found strong differences of
opinion, and produced repulsive combinations among the Patriots. The
aristocracy was cemented by a common principle of preserving the ancient
regime or whatever should be nearest to it. Making this their polar
star, they moved in phalanx, gave preponderance on every question to the
minorities of the Patriots, and always to those who advocated the
least change. The features of the new constitution were thus assuming a
fearful aspect, and great alarm was produced among the honest Patriots
by these dissensions in their ranks. In this uneasy state of things, I
received one day a note from the Marquis de la Fayette, informing me,
that he should bring a party of six or eight friends, to ask a dinner of
me the next day. I assured him of their welcome. When they arrived, they
were La Fayette himself, Duport, Barnave, Alexander la Meth, Blacon,
Mounier, Maubourg, and Dagout. These were leading Patriots, of honest
but differing opinions, sensible of the necessity of effecting a
coalition by mutual sacrifices, knowing each other, and not afraid,
therefore, to unbosom themselves mutually. This last was a material
principle in the selection. With this view, the Marquis had invited the
conference, and had fixed the time and place inadvertently, as to the
embarrassment under which it might place me. The cloth being removed,
and wine set on the table, after the American manner, the Marquis
introduced the objects of the conference, by summarily reminding them of
the state of things in the Assembly, the course which the principles of
the constitution were taking, and the inevitable result, unless checked
by more concord among the Patriots themselves. He observed, that
although he also had his opinion, he was ready to sacrifice it to that
of his brethren of the same cause; but that a common opinion must now be
formed, or the aristocracy would carry every thing, and that, whatever
they should now agree on, he, at the head of the national force, would
maintain. The discussions began at the hour of four, and were continued
till ten o’clock in the evening; during which time I was a silent
witness to a coolness and candor of argument unusual in the conflicts
of political opinion; to a logical reasoning, and chaste eloquence,
disfigured by no gaudy tinsel of rhetoric or declamation, and truly
worthy of being placed in parallel with the finest dialogues of
antiquity, as handed to us by Xenophon, by Plato, and Cicero. The result
was, that the King should have a suspensive veto on the laws, that the
legislature should be composed of a single body only, and that to
be chosen by the people. This Concordat decided the fate of the
constitution. The Patriots all rallied to the principles thus settled,
carried every question agreeably to them, and reduced the aristocracy
to insignificance and impotence. But duties of exculpation were now
incumbent on me. I waited on Count Montmorin the next morning, and
explained to him, with truth and candor, how it happened that my house
had been made the scene of conferences of such a character. He told me
he already knew every thing which had passed, that so far from taking
umbrage at the use made of my house on that occasion, he earnestly
wished I would habitually assist at such conferences, being sure I
should be useful in moderating the warmer spirits, and promoting a
wholesome and practicable reformation only. I told him I knew too well
the duties I owed to the King, to the nation, and to my own country, to
take any part in councils concerning their internal government, and that
I should persevere, with care, in the character of a neutral and passive
spectator, with wishes only, and very sincere ones, that those measures
might prevail which would be for the greatest good of the nation. I have
no doubt, indeed, that this conference was previously known and approved
by this honest minister, who was in confidence and communication with
the Patriots, and wished for a reasonable reform of the constitution.

Here I discontinue my relation of the French Revolution. The minuteness
with which I have so far given its details, is disproportioned to the
general scale of my narrative. But I have thought it justified by the
interest which the whole world must take in this Revolution. As yet, we
are but in the first chapter of its history. The appeal to the rights of
man, which had been made in the United States, was taken up by France,
first of the European nations. From her the spirit has spread over those
of the South. The tyrants of the North have allied indeed against it;
but it is irresistible. Their opposition will only multiply its millions
of human victims; their own satellites will catch it, and the condition
of man through the civilized world, will be finally and greatly
meliorated. This is a wonderful instance of great events from small
causes. So inscrutable is the arrangement of causes and consequences
in this world, that a two-penny duty on tea, unjustly imposed in a
sequestered part of it, changes the condition of all its inhabitants.
I have been more minute in relating the early transactions of this
regeneration, because I was in circumstances peculiarly favorable for
a knowledge of the truth. Possessing the confidence and intimacy of the
leading Patriots, and more than all, of the Marquis Fayette, their head
and Atlas, who had no secrets from me, I learned with correctness the
views and proceedings of that party; while my intercourse with the
diplomatic missionaries of Europe at Paris, all of them with the
court, and eager in prying into its councils and proceedings, gave me
a knowledge of these also. My information was always, and immediately
committed to writing, in letters to Mr. Jay, and often to my friends,
and a recurrence to these letters now insures me against errors of
memory. These opportunities of information ceased at this period, with
my retirement from this interesting scene of action. I had been more
than a year soliciting leave to go home, with a view to place my
daughters in the society and care of their friends, and to return for a
short time to my station at Paris. But the metamorphosis through which
our government was then passing from its chrysalid to its organic form,
suspended its action in a great degree; and it was not till the last
of August that I received the permission I had asked. And here I cannot
leave this great and good country, without expressing my sense of
its pre-eminence of character among the nations of the earth. A more
benevolent people I have never known, nor greater warmth and devotedness
in their select friendships. Their kindness and accommodation to
strangers is unparalleled, and the hospitality of Paris is beyond any
thing I had conceived to be practicable in a large city. Their eminence,
too, in science, the communicative dispositions of their scientific men,
the politeness of the general manners, the ease and vivacity of their
conversation, give a charm to their society, to be found nowhere else.
In a comparison of this with other countries, we have the proof of
primacy, which was given to Themistocles after the battle of Salamis.
Every general voted to himself the first reward of valor, and the second
to Themistocles. So, ask the traveled inhabitant of any nation, In what
country on earth would you rather live?--Certainly, in my own, where are
all my friends, my relations, and the earliest and sweetest affections
and recollections of my life. Which would be your second choice? France.

On the 26th of September, I left Paris for Havre, where I was detained
by contrary winds, until the 8th of October. On that day, and the 9th,
I crossed over to Cowes, where I had engaged the Clermont, Capt. Colley,
to touch for me. She did so; but here again we were detained by contrary
winds, until the 22nd, when we embarked, and landed at Norfolk on the
23rd of November. On my way home, I passed some days at Eppington, in
Chesterfield, the residence of my friend and connection, Mr. Eppes; and,
while there, I received a letter from the President, General Washington,
by express, covering an appointment to be Secretary of State. [See
Appendix, note H.] I received it with real regret. My wish had been
to return to Paris, where I had left my household establishment, as
if there myself, and to see the end of the Revolution, which, I then
thought, would be certainly and happily closed in less than a year. I
then meant to return home, to withdraw from political life, into which
I had been impressed by the circumstances of the times, to sink into
the bosom of my family and friends, and devote myself to studies more
congenial to my mind. In my answer of December 15th, I expressed these
dispositions candidly to the President, and my preference of a return to
Paris; but assured him, that if it was believed I could be more useful
in the administration of the government, I would sacrifice my own
inclinations without hesitation, and repair to that destination: this I
left to his decision. I arrived at Monticello on the 23rd of December,
where I received a second letter from the President, expressing his
continued wish, that I should take my station there, but leaving
me still at liberty to continue in my former office, if I could not
reconcile myself to that now proposed. This silenced my reluctance, and
I accepted the new appointment.

In the interval of my stay at home, my eldest daughter had been happily
married to the eldest son of the Tuckahoe branch of Randolphs, a young
gentleman of genius, science, and honorable mind, who afterwards filled
a dignified station in the General Government, and the most dignified
in his own State. I left Monticello on the 1st of March, 1790, for New
York. At Philadelphia I called on the venerable and beloved Franklin.
He was then on the bed of sickness from which he never rose. My recent
return from a country in which he had left so many friends, and the
perilous convulsions to which they had been exposed, revived all his
anxieties to know what part they had taken, what had been their course,
and what their fate. He went over all in succession, with a rapidity and
animation, almost too much for his strength. When all his inquiries were
satisfied, and a pause took place, I told him I had learned with much
pleasure that, since his return to America, he had been occupied in
preparing for the world, the history of his own life. ‘I cannot say much
of that,’ said he; ‘but I will give you a sample of what I shall leave:’
and he directed his little grandson (William Bache) who was standing by
the bedside, to hand him a paper from the table, to which he pointed. He
did so; and the Doctor putting it into my hands, desired me to take it,
and read it at my leisure. It was about a quire of folio paper, written
in a large and running hand, very like his own. I looked into it
slightly, then shut it, and said I would accept his permission to read
it, and would carefully return it. He said, ‘No, keep it.’ Not certain
of his meaning, I again looked into it, folded it for my pocket, and
said again, I would certainly return it. ‘No,’ said he, ‘keep it.’ I put
it into my pocket, and shortly after, took leave of him. He died on
the 17th of the ensuing month of April; and as I understood that he had
bequeathed all his papers to his grandson, William Temple Franklin, I
immediately wrote to Mr. Franklin, to inform him I possessed this paper,
which I should consider as his property, and would deliver to his order.
He came on immediately to New York, called on me for it, and I delivered
it to him. As he put it into his pocket, he said carelessly, he had
either the original, or another copy of it, I do not recollect which.
This last expression struck my attention forcibly, and for the first
time suggested to me the thought, that Dr. Franklin had meant it as a
confidential deposite in my hands, and that I had done wrong in
parting from it. I have not yet seen the collection he published of Dr.
Franklin’s works, and therefore know not if this is among them. I
have been told it is not. It contained a narrative of the negotiations
between Dr. Franklin and the British Ministry, when he was endeavoring
to prevent the contest of arms which followed. The negotiation was
brought about by the intervention of Lord Howe and his sister, who, I
believe, was called Lady Howe, but I may misremember her title. Lord
Howe seems to have been friendly to America, and exceedingly anxious to
prevent a rupture. His intimacy with Dr. Franklin, and his position
with the Ministry, induced him to undertake a mediation between them; in
which his sister seemed to have been associated. They carried from
one to the other, backwards and forwards, the several propositions and
answers which passed, and seconded with their own intercessions, the
importance of mutual sacrifices, to preserve the peace and connection
of the two countries. I remember that Lord North’s answers were dry,
unyielding, in the spirit of unconditional submission, and betrayed an
absolute indifference to the occurrence of a rupture; and he said to
the mediators distinctly, at last, that ‘a rebellion was not to be
deprecated on the part of Great Britain; that the confiscations it would
produce, would provide for many of their friends.’ This expression was
reported by the mediators to Dr. Franklin, and indicated so cool and
calculated a purpose in the Ministry, as to render compromise hopeless,
and the negotiation was discontinued. If this is not among the papers
published, we ask, what has become of it? I delivered it with my own
hands, into those of Temple Franklin. It certainly established views
so atrocious in the British government, that its suppression would, to
them, be worth a great price. But could the grandson of Dr. Franklin
be, in such degree, an accomplice in the parricide of the memory of his
immortal grandfather? The suspension, for more than twenty years, of
the general publication, bequeathed and confided to him, produced for
a while hard suspicions against him: and if, at last, all are not
published, a part of these suspicions may remain with some.

I arrived at New York on the 21st of March, where Congress was in
session.



APPENDIX TO THE MEMOIR.



[NOTE A.] Letter to John Saunderson, Esq.


Sir,

Monticello, August 31, 1820.

Your letter of the 19th was received in due time, and I wish it were
in my power to furnish you more fully, than in the enclosed paper,
with materials for the biography of George Wythe; but I possess none in
writing, am very distant from the place of his birth and early life,
and know not a single person in that quarter from whom inquiry could
be made, with the expectation of collecting any thing material. Add
to this, that feeble health disables me, almost, from writing; and,
entirely, from the labor of going into difficult research. I became
acquainted with Mr. Wythe when he was about thirty-five years of age.
He directed my studies in the law, led me into business, and continued,
until death, my most affectionate friend. A close intimacy with him,
during that period of forty odd years, the most important of his life,
enables me to state its leading facts, which, being of my own knowledge,
I vouch their truth. Of what precedes that period, I speak from hearsay
only, in which there may be error, but of little account, as the
character of the facts will themselves manifest. In the epoch of his
birth I may err a little, stating that from the recollection of a
particular incident, the date of which, within a year or two, I do not
distinctly remember. These scanty outlines, you will be able, I hope,
to fill up from other information, and they may serve you, sometimes, as
landmarks to distinguish truth from error, in what you hear from others.
The exalted virtue of the man will also be a polar star to guide you in
all matters which may touch that element of his character. But on that
you will receive imputation from no man; for, as far as I know, he never
had an enemy. Little as I am able to contribute to the just reputation
of this excellent man, it is the act of my life most gratifying to my
heart: and leaves me only to regret that a waning memory can do no more.

Of Mr. Hancock I can say nothing, having known him only in the chair of
Congress. Having myself been the youngest man but one in that body, the
disparity of age prevented any particular intimacy. But of him there can
be no difficulty in obtaining full information in the North.

I salute you, Sir, with sentiments of great respect.

Th: Jefferson.



_Notes for the Biography of George Wythe_.

George Wythe was born about the year 1727 or 1728, of a respectable
family in the county of Elizabeth City, on the shores of the Chesapeake.
He inherited, from his father, a fortune sufficient for independence and
ease. He had not the benefit of a regular education in the schools, but
acquired a good one of himself, and without assistance; insomuch, as to
become the best Latin and Greek scholar in the state. It is said, that
while reading the Greek Testament, his mother held an English one,
to aid him in rendering the Greek text conformably with that. He also
acquired, by his own reading, a good knowledge of Mathematics, and of
Natural and Moral Philosophy. He engaged in the study of the law under
the direction of a Mr. Lewis, of that profession, and went early to
the bar of the General Court, then occupied by men of great ability,
learning, and dignity in their profession. He soon became eminent
among them, and, in process of time, the first at the bar, taking into
consideration his superior learning, correct elocution, and logical
style of reasoning; for in pleading he never indulged himself with an
useless or declamatory thought or word; and became as distinguished by
correctness and purity of conduct in his profession, as he was by his
industry and fidelity to those who employed him. He was early elected
to the House of Representatives, then called the House of Burgesses, and
continued in it until the Revolution. On the first dawn of that, instead
of higgling on half-way principles, as others did who feared to follow
their reason, he took his stand on the solid ground, that the only link
of political union between us and Great Britain, was the identity of
our Executive; that that nation and its Parliament had no more authority
over us, than we had over them, and that we were co-ordinate nations
with Great Britain and Hanover.

In 1774, he was a member of a Committee of the House of Burgesses,
appointed to prepare a Petition to the King, a Memorial to the House of
Lords, and a Remonstrance to the House of Commons, on the subject of the
proposed Stamp Act. He was made draughtsman of the last, and, following
his own principles, he so far overwent the timid hesitations of
his colleagues, that his draught was subjected by them to material
modifications; and, when the famous Resolutions of Mr. Henry, in 1775,
were proposed, it was not on any difference of principle that they
were opposed by Wythe. Randolph, Pendleton, Nicholas, Bland, and other
worthies, who had long been the habitual leaders of the House; but
because those papers of the preceding session had already expressed the
same sentiments and assertions of right, and that an answer to them was
yet to be expected.

In August, 1775, he was appointed a member of Congress, and in 1776,
signed the Declaration of Independence, of which he had, in debate,
been an eminent supporter. And subsequently, in the same year, he was
appointed by the Legislature of Virginia, one of a committee to revise
the laws of the state, as well of British, as of Colonial enactment,
and to prepare bills for re-enacting them, with such alterations as
the change in the form and principles of the government, and other
circumstances, required: and of this work, he executed the period
commencing with the revolution in England, and ending with the
establishment of the new government here; excepting the Acts for
regulating descents, for religious freedom, and for proportioning
crimes and punishments. In 1777, he was chosen speaker of the House
of Delegates, being of distinguished learning in parliamentary law and
proceedings; and towards the end of the same year, he was appointed one
of the three Chancellors, to whom that department of the Judiciary
was confided, on the first organization of the new government. On a
subsequent change of the form of that court, he was appointed sole
Chancellor, in which office he continued to act until his death, which
happened in June, 1806, about the seventy-eighth or seventy-ninth year
of his age.

Mr. Wythe had been twice married; first, I believe, to a daughter of
Mr. Lewis, with whom he had studied law, and afterwards, to a Miss
Taliaferro, of a wealthy and respectable family in the neighborhood of
Williamsburg; by neither of whom did he leave issue.

No man ever left behind him a character more venerated than George
Wythe. His virtue was of the purest tint; his integrity inflexible,
and his justice exact; of warm patriotism, and, devoted as he was to
liberty, and the natural and equal rights of man, he might truly be
called the Cato of his country, without the avarice of the Roman; for a
more disinterested person never lived. Temperance and regularity in all
his habits, gave him general good health, and his unaffected modesty and
suavity of manners endeared him to every one. He was of easy elocution,
his language chaste, methodical in the arrangement of his matter,
learned and logical in the use of it, and of great urbanity in debate;
not quick of apprehension, but, with a little time, profound in
penetration, and sound in conclusion. In his philosophy he was firm,
and neither troubling, nor perhaps trusting, any one with his religious
creed, he left the world to the conclusion, that that religion must be
good which could produce a life of exemplary virtue.

His stature was of the middle size, well formed and proportioned, and
the features of his face were manly, comely, and engaging. Such was
George Wythe, the honor of his own, and the model of future times.



[NOTE B.]--Letter to Samuel A. Wells, Esq.


Sir,

Monticello, May 12, 1829.

An absence, of sometime, at an occasional and distant residence, must
apologize for the delay in acknowledging the receipt of your favor of
April 12th; and candor obliges me to add, that it has been somewhat
extended by an aversion to writing, as well as to calls on my memory
for facts so much obliterated from it by time, as to lessen my own
confidence in the traces which seem to remain. One of the enquiries in
your letter, however, may be answered without an appeal to the memory.
It is that respecting the question, Whether committees of correspondence
originated in Virginia, or Massachusetts? on which you suppose me to
have claimed it for Virginia; but certainly I have never made such
a claim. The idea, I suppose, has been taken up from what is said in
Wirt’s history of Mr. Henry, page 87, and from an inexact attention
to its precise terms. It is there said, ‘This House [of Burgesses,
of Virginia] had the merit of originating that powerful engine of
resistance, corresponding committees between the legislatures of the
different colonies.’ That the fact, as here expressed, is true, your
letter bears witness, when it says, that the resolutions of Virginia,
for this purpose, were transmitted to the speakers of the different
assemblies, and by that of Massachusetts was laid, at the next session,
before that body, who appointed a committee for the specified
object: adding, ‘Thus, in Massachusetts, there were two committees of
correspondence, one chosen by the people, the other appointed by the
House of Assembly; in the former, Massachusetts preceded Virginia; in
the latter, Virginia preceded Massachusetts.’ To the origination of
committees for the interior correspondence between the counties and
towns of a state, I know of no claim on the part of Virginia; and
certainly none was ever made by myself. I perceive, however, one error,
into which memory had led me. Our committee for national correspondence
was appointed in March, ‘73, and I well remember, that going to
Williamsburg in the month of June following, Peyton Randolph, our
chairman, told me that messengers bearing despatches between the two
states had crossed each other by the way, that of Virginia carrying our
propositions for a committee of national correspondence, and that of
Massachusetts, bringing, as my memory suggested, a similar proposition.
But here I must have misremembered; and the resolutions brought us from
Massachusetts were probably those you mention of the town-meeting of
Boston, on the motion of Mr. Samuel Adams, appointing a committee ‘to
state the rights of the colonists, and of that province in particular,
and the infringements of them; to communicate them to the several towns,
as the sense of the town of Boston, and to request, of each town, a
free, communication of its sentiments on this subject.’ I suppose,
therefore, that these resolutions were not received, as you think, while
the House of Burgesses was in session in March, 1773, but a few days
after we rose, and were probably what was sent by the messenger, who
crossed ours by the way. They may, however, have been still different.
I must, therefore, have been mistaken in supposing, and stating to Mr.
Wirt, that the proposition of a committee for national correspondence
was nearly simultaneous in Virginia and Massachusetts.

A similar misapprehension of another passage in Mr. Wirt’s book, for
which I am also quoted, has produced a similar reclamation on the
part of Massachusetts, by some of her most distinguished and estimable
citizens. I had been applied to by Mr. Wirt, for such facts respecting
Mr. Henry, as my intimacy with him and participation in the transactions
of the day, might have placed within my knowledge. I accordingly
committed them to paper; and Virginia being the theatre of his action,
was the only subject within my contemplation. While speaking of him,
of the resolutions and measures here, in which he had the acknowledged
lead, I used the expression that ‘Mr. Henry certainly gave the first
impulse to the ball of revolution.’ [Wirt, page 41.] The expression is
indeed general, and in all its extension would comprehend all the sister
states; but indulgent construction would restrain it, as was really
meant, to the subject matter under contemplation, which was Virginia
alone; according to the rule of the lawyers, and a fair canon of general
criticism, that every expression should be construed _secundum subjectam
materiam_. Where the first attack was made, there must have been of
course, the first act of resistance, and that was in Massachusetts. Our
first overt act of war, was Mr. Henry’s embodying a force of militia
from several counties, regularly armed and organized, marching them in
military array, and making reprisal on the King’s treasury at the seat
of government, for the public powder taken away by his Governor. This
was on the last days of April, 1775. Your formal battle of Lexington was
ten or twelve days before that, and greatly overshadowed in importance,
as it preceded in time, our little affray, which merely amounted to
a levying of arms against the King; and very possibly, you had had
military affrays before the regular battle of Lexington.

These explanations will, I hope, assure you, Sir, that so far as either
facts or opinions have been truly quoted from me, they have never been
meant to intercept the just fame of Massachusetts, for the promptitude
and perseverance of her early resistance. We willingly cede to her the
laud of having been (although not exclusively) ‘the cradle of sound
principles,’ and, if some of us believe she has deflected from them in
her course, we retain full confidence in her ultimate return to them.

I will now proceed to your quotation from Mr. Galloway’s statement of
what passed in Congress, on their Declaration of Independence; in
which statement there is not one word of truth, and where bearing some
resemblance to truth, it is an entire perversion of it. I do not charge
this on Mr. Galloway himself; his desertion having taken place long
before these measures, he doubtless received his information from some
of the loyal friends whom he left behind him. But as yourself, as
well as others, appear embarrassed by inconsistent accounts of the
proceedings on that memorable occasion, and as those who have endeavored
to restore the truth, have themselves committed some errors, I will give
you some extracts from a written document on that subject; for the
truth of which, I pledge myself to heaven and earth; having, while the
question of Independence was under consideration before Congress, taken
written notes, in my seat, of what was passing, and reduced them to form
on the final conclusion. I have now before me that paper, from which
the following are extracts. ‘Friday, June 7th, 1776. The delegates from
Virginia moved, in obedience to instructions from their constituents,
that the Congress should declare that these United Colonies are, and of
right ought to be, free and independent states; that they are absolved
from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political
connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought
to be, totally dissolved; that measures should be immediately taken
for procuring the assistance of foreign powers, and a Confederation
be formed to bind the colonies more closely together. The House being
obliged to attend at that time to some other business, the proposition
was referred to the next day, when the members were ordered to attend
punctually at ten o’clock. Saturday, June 8th. They proceeded to take
it into consideration, and referred it to a committee of the whole,
into which they immediately resolved themselves, and passed that day and
Monday, the 10th, in debating on the subject.

‘It appearing, in the course of these debates, that the colonies of New
York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delware, Maryland, and South Carolina,
were not yet matured for falling from the parent stem, but that they
were fast advancing to that state, it was thought most prudent to wait
a while for them, and to postpone the final decision to July 1st. But,
that this might occasion as little delay as possible, a Committee was
appointed to prepare a Declaration of Independence. The Committee were
John Adams, Dr. Franklin, Roger Sherman, Robert R. Livingston, and
myself. This was reported to the House on Friday the 28th of June, when
it was read and ordered to lie on the table. On Monday, the 1st of July,
the House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole, and resumed the
consideration of the original motion made by the delegates of Virginia,
which, being again debated through the day, was carried in the
affirmative by the votes of New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and
Georgia. South Carolina and Pennsylvania voted against it. Delaware had
but two members present, and they were divided. The delegates from
New York declared they were for it themselves, and were assured their
constituents were for it; but that their instructions having been drawn
near a twelvemonth before, when reconciliation was still the general
object, they were enjoined by them, to do nothing which should impede
that object. They, therefore, thought themselves not justifiable in
voting on either side, and asked leave to withdraw from the question,
which was given them. The Committee rose, and reported their resolution
to the House. Mr. Rutledge, of South Carolina, then requested the
determination might be put off to the next day, as he believed his
colleagues, though they disapproved of the resolution, would then join
in it for the sake of unanimity. The ultimate question, whether the
House would agree to the resolution of the Committee, was accordingly
postponed to the next day, when it was again moved, and South Carolina
concurred in voting for it. In the mean time, a third member had come
post from the Delaware counties, and turned the vote of that colony in
favor of the resolution. Members of a different sentiment attending that
morning from Pennsylvania also, her vote was changed; so that the whole
twelve colonies, who were authorized to vote at all, gave their votes
for it; and within a few days [July 9th] the convention of New York
approved of it, and thus supplied the void occasioned by the withdrawing
of their delegates from the vote.’ [Be careful to observe, that this
vacillation and vote were on the original motion of the 7th of June,
by the Virginia delegates, that Congress should declare the colonies
independent.] ‘Congress proceeded, the same day, to consider the
Declaration of Independence, which had been reported and laid on the
table the Friday preceding, and on Monday referred to a Committee of
the whole. The pusillanimous idea, that we had friends in England worth
keeping terms with, still haunted the minds of many. For this reason,
those passages which conveyed censures on the people of England were
struck out, lest they should give them offence. The debates having taken
up the greater parts of the second, third, and fourth days of July,
were, in the evening of the last, closed: the Declaration was reported
by the Committee, agreed to by the House, and signed by every member
present except Mr. Dickinson.’ So far my notes.

Governor M’Kean, in his letter to M’Corkle of July 16th, 1817, has
thrown some lights on the transactions of that day: but, trusting to his
memory chiefly, at an age when our memories are not to be trusted, he
has confounded two questions, and ascribed proceedings to one which
belonged to the other. These two questions were, 1st, the Virginia
motion of June the 7th, to declare Independence; and 2nd, the actual
Declaration, its matter and form. Thus he states the question on the
Declaration itself, as decided on the 1st of July; but it was the
Virginia motion which was voted on that day in committee of the whole;
South Carolina, as well as Pennsylvania, then voting against it. But the
ultimate decision in the House, on the report of the Committee, being,
by request, postponed to the next morning, all the states voted for it,
except New York, whose vote was delayed for the reason before stated. It
was not till the 2nd of July, that the Declaration itself was taken up;
nor till the 4th, that it was decided, and it was signed by every member
present, except Mr. Dickinson.

The subsequent signatures of members who were not then present, and some
of them not yet in office, is easily explained, if we observe who they
were; to wit, that they were of New York and Pennsylvania. New York
did not sign till the 15th, because it was not till the 9th, (five days
after the general signature,) that their Convention authorized them to
do so. The Convention of Pennsylvania, learning that it had been signed
by a majority only of their delegates, named a new delegation on the
20th, leaving out Mr. Dickinson, who had refused to sign, Willing and
Humphreys, who had withdrawn, reappointing the three members who had
signed, Morris, who had not been present, and five new ones, to wit,
Rush, Clymer, Smith, Taylor, and Ross: and Morris and the five new
members were permitted to sign, because it manifested the assent of
their full delegation, and the express will of their Convention, which
might have been doubted on the former signature of a minority only. Why
the signature of Thornton, of New Hampshire, was permitted so late
as the 4th of November, I cannot now say; but undoubtedly for some
particular reason, which we should find to have been good, had it been
expressed. These were the only post-signers, and you see, sir,
that there were solid reasons for receiving those of New York and
Pennsylvania, and that this circumstance in no wise affects the faith of
this Declaratory Charter of our rights, and of the rights of man.

With a view to correct errors of fact before they become inveterate by
repetition, I have stated what I find essentially material in my papers,
but with that brevity which the labor of writing constrains me to use.

On the four particular articles of inquiry in your letter, respecting
your grandfather, the venerable Samuel Adams, neither memory nor
memorandums enable me to give any information. I can say that he was
truly a great man, wise in council, fertile in resources, immovable in
his purposes, and had, I think, a greater share than any other member,
in advising and directing our measures in the Northern war. As a
speaker, he could not be compared with his living colleague and
namesake, whose deep conceptions, nervous style, and undaunted firmness,
made him truly our bulwark in debate. But Mr. Samuel Adams, although not
of fluent elocution, was so rigorously logical, so clear in his views,
abundant in good sense, and master always of his subject, that he
commanded the most profound attention whenever he rose in an assembly,
by which the froth of declamation was heard with the most sovereign
contempt. I sincerely rejoice that the record of his worth is to be
undertaken by one so much disposed as you will be, to hand him down
fairly to that posterity, for whose liberty and happiness he was so
zealous a laborer.

With sentiments of sincere veneration for his memory, accept yourself
this tribute to it, with the assurances of my great respect.

Th: Jefferson.

P. S. August 6th, 1822. Since the date of this letter, to wit, this
day, August 6, ‘22, I have received the new publication of the Secret
Journals of Congress, wherein is stated a resolution of July 19th,
1776, that the Declaration passed on the 4th, be fairly engrossed on
parchment, and when engrossed, be signed by every member; and another
of August 2nd, that being engrossed and compared at the table, it was
signed by the members; that is to say, the copy engrossed on parchment
(for durability) was signed by the members, after being compared at the
table with the original one signed on paper, as before stated. I add
this P. S. to the copy of my letter to Mr. Wells, to prevent confounding
the signature of the original with that of the copy engrossed on
parchment.



[NOTE C]--August, 1774, Instructions to the first Delegation

On the Instructions given to the first Delegation of Virginia to
Congress, in August, 1774.


The Legislature of Virginia happened to be in session in Williamsburg,
when news was received of the passage, by the British Parliament, of the
Boston Port Bill, which was to take effect on the first day of June
then ensuing. The House of Burgesses, thereupon, passed a resolution,
recommending to their fellow-citizens that that day should be set apart
for fasting and prayer to the Supreme Being, imploring him to avert the
calamities then threatening us, and to give us one heart and one mind
to oppose every invasion of our liberties. The next day, May the 20th,
1774, the Governor dissolved us. We immediately repaired to a room in
the Raleigh tavern, about one hundred paces distant from the Capitol,
formed ourselves into a meeting, Peyton Randolph in the chair, and
came to resolutions, declaring, that an attack on one colony to enforce
arbitrary acts, ought to be considered as an attack on all, and to
be opposed by the united wisdom of all. We, therefore, appointed a
Committee of Correspondence, to address letters to the Speakers of
the several Houses of Representatives of the colonies, proposing
the appointment of deputies from each, to meet annually in a general
Congress, to deliberate on their common interests, and on the measures
to be pursued in common. The members then separated to their several
homes, except those of the Committee, who met the next day, prepared
letters according to instructions, and despatched them by messengers
express, to their several destinations. It had been agreed, also by the
meeting, that the Burgesses, who should be elected under the writs then
issuing, should be requested to meet in Convention on a certain day in
August, to learn the result of these letters, and to appoint delegates
to a Congress, should that measure be approved by the other colonies. At
the election, the people re-elected every man of the former Assembly, as
a proof of their approbation of what they had done. Before I left home
to attend the Convention, I prepared what I thought might be given,
in instruction, to the Delegates who should be appointed to attend the
General Congress proposed. They were drawn in haste, with a number of
blanks, with some uncertainties and inaccuracies of historical facts,
which I neglected at the moment, knowing they could be readily corrected
at the meeting. I set out on my journey, but was taken sick on the road,
and was unable to proceed. I therefore sent on, by express, two copies,
one under cover to Patrick Henry, the other to Peyton Randolph, who I
knew would be in the chair of the Convention. Of the former no more was
ever heard or known. Mr. Henry probably thought it too bold, as a first
measure, as the majority of the members did. On the other copy being
laid on the table of the Convention, by Peyton Randolph, as the
proposition of a member who was prevented from attendance by sickness
on the road, tamer sentiments were preferred, and, I believe, wisely
preferred; the leap I proposed being too long, as yet, for the mass of
our citizens. The distance between these, and the instructions actually
adopted, is of some curiosity, however, as it shows the inequality of
pace with which we moved, and the prudence required to keep front and
rear together. My creed had been formed on unsheathing the sword at
Lexington. They printed the paper, however, and gave it the title of ‘A
Summary View of the Rights of British America.’ In this form it got to
London, where the opposition took it up, shaped it to opposition views,
and, in that form, it ran rapidly through several editions.

Mr. Marshall, in his history of General Washington, chapter 3, speaking
of this proposition for Committees of correspondence and for a General
Congress, says, ‘this measure had already been proposed in town meeting
in Boston,’ and some pages before he had said, that ‘at a session of
the General Court of Massachusetts, in September, 1770, that Court, in
pursuance of a favorite idea of uniting all the colonies in one system
of measures, elected a Committee of correspondence, to communicate with
such Committees as might be appointed by the other colonies.’ This is an
error. The Committees of correspondence, elected by Massachusetts, were
expressly for a correspondence among the several towns of that province
only. Besides the text of their proceedings, his own note X, proves
this. The first proposition for a general correspondence between the
several states, and for a General Congress, was made by our meeting of
May, 1774. Botta, copying Marshall, has repeated his error, and so it
will be handed on from copyist to copyist, _ad infinitum_. Here follow
my proposition, and the more prudent one which was adopted.

‘Resolved, That it be an instruction to the said deputies, when
assembled in General Congress, with the deputies from the other states
of British America, to propose to the said Congress that an humble and
dutiful address be presented to his Majesty, begging leave to lay before
him, as Chief Magistrate of the British empire, the united complaints of
his Majesty’s subjects in America; complaints which are excited by many
unwarrantable encroachments and usurpations, attempted to be made by the
legislature of one part of the empire upon the rights which God and the
laws have given equally and independently to all. To represent to his
Majesty that, these, his States, have often individually made humble
application to his imperial throne, to obtain, through its intervention,
some redress of their injured rights; to none of which was ever even
an answer condescended. Humbly to hope that this, their joint address,
penned in the language of truth, and divested of those expressions of
servility which would persuade his Majesty that we are asking favors,
and not rights, shall obtain from his Majesty a more respectful
acceptance; and this his Majesty will think we have reason to expect,
when he reflects that he is no more than the chief officer of the
people, appointed by the laws, and circumscribed with definite powers,
to assist in working the great machine of government, erected for their
use, and, consequently, subject to their superintendence; and in order
that these, our rights, as well as the invasions of them, may be laid
more fully before his Majesty, to take a view of them from the origin
and first settlement of these countries.

‘To remind him that our ancestors, before their emigration to America,
were the free inhabitants of the British dominions in Europe, and
possessed a right, which nature has given to all men, of departing from
the country in which chance, not choice, has placed them, of going in
quest of new habitations, and of there establishing new societies, under
such laws and regulations, as to them shall seem most likely to promote
public happiness. That their Saxon ancestors had, under this universal
law, in like manner left their native wilds and woods in the North of
Europe, had possessed themselves of the island of Britain, then less
charged with inhabitants, and had established there that system of laws
which has so long been the glory and protection of that country. Nor was
ever any claim of superiority or dependence asserted over them, by that
mother country from which they had migrated: and were such a claim made,
it is believed his Majesty’s subjects in Great Britain have too firm a
feeling of the rights derived to them from their ancestors, to bow down
the sovereignty of their state before such visionary pretensions. And it
is thought that no circumstance has occurred to distinguish, materially,
the British from the Saxon emigration. America was conquered, and her
settlements made and firmly established, at the expense of individuals,
and not of the British public. Their own blood was spilt in acquiring
lands for their settlement, their own fortunes expended in making that
settlement effectual. For themselves they fought, for themselves they
conquered, and for themselves alone they have right to hold. No shilling
was ever issued from the public treasures of his Majesty, or his
ancestors, for their assistance, till of very late times, after the
colonies had become established on a firm and permanent fooling. That
then, indeed, having become valuable to Great Britain for her commercial
purposes, his Parliament was pleased to lend them assistance, against
an enemy who would fain have drawn to herself the benefits of their
commerce, to the great aggrandizement of herself, and danger of Great
Britain. Such assistance, and in such circumstances, they had often
before given to Portugal and other allied states, with whom they carry
on a commercial intercourse. Yet these states never supposed, that
by calling in her aid, they thereby submitted themselves to her
sovereignty. Had such terms been proposed, they would have rejected them
with disdain, and trusted for better to the moderation of their enemies,
or to a vigorous exertion of their own force. We do not, however, mean
to underrate those aids, which, to us, were doubtless valuable, on
whatever principles granted: but we would show that they cannot give a
title to that authority which the British Parliament would arrogate over
us; and that they may amply be repaid, by our giving to the inhabitants
of Great Britain such exclusive privileges in trade as may be
advantageous to them, and, at the same time, not too restrictive to
ourselves. That settlement having been thus effected in the wilds of
America, the emigrants thought proper to adopt that system of laws,
under which they had hitherto lived in the mother country, and to
continue their union with her, by submitting themselves to the same
common sovereign, who was thereby made the central link, connecting the
several parts of the empire thus newly multiplied.

‘But that not long were they permitted, however far they thought
themselves removed from the hand of oppression, to hold undisturbed,
the rights thus acquired at the hazard of their lives and loss of their
fortunes. A family of Princes was then on the British throne, whose
treasonable crimes against their people brought on them, afterwards, the
exertion of those sacred and sovereign rights of punishment, reserved
in the hands of the people for cases of extreme necessity, and judged by
the constitution unsafe to be delegated to any other judicature. While
every day brought forth some new and unjustifiable exertion of power
over their subjects on that side the water, it, was not to be expected
that those here, much less able at that time to oppose the designs of
despotism, should be exempted from injury. Accordingly, this country,
which had been acquired by the lives, the labors, and fortunes of
individual adventurers, was by these Princes, at several times, parted
out and distributed among the favorites and followers of their fortunes;
and, by an assumed right of the crown alone, were erected into distinct
and independent governments; a measure, which, it is believed, his
Majesty’s prudence and understanding would prevent him from imitating at
this day; as no exercise of such power, of dividing and dismembering a
country, has ever occurred in his Majesty’s realm of England, though now
of very ancient standing; nor could it be justified or acquiesced under
there, or in any other part of his Majesty’s empire.

‘That the exercise of a free trade with all parts of the world,
possessed by the American colonists, as of natural right, and which
no law of their own had taken away or abridged, was next the object
of unjust encroachment. Some of the colonies having thought proper to
continue the administration of their government in the name and
under the authority of his Majesty, King Charles the First, whom,
notwithstanding his late deposition by the Commonwealth of England, they
continued in the sovereignty of their State, the Parliament, for the
Commonwealth, took the same in high offence, and assumed upon themselves
the power of prohibiting their trade with all other parts of the world,
except the Island of Great Britain. This arbitrary act, however, they
soon recalled, and by solemn treaty entered into on the 12th day of
March, 1651, between the said Commonwealth by their Commissioners, and
the colony of Virginia by their House of Burgesses, it was expressly
stipulated by the eighth article of the said treaty, that they should
have “free trade as the people of England do enjoy to all places and
with all nations, according to the laws of that Commonwealth.” But that,
upon the restoration of his Majesty, King Charles the Second, their
rights of free commerce fell once more a victim to arbitrary power: and
by several acts of his reign, as well as of some of his successors, the
trade of the colonies was laid under such restrictions, as show what
hopes they might form from the justice of a British Parliament, were its
uncontrolled power admitted over these States.*

     *12. C.2. c. 18.  15. C.2. c.11. 25. C.2. c.7. 7. 8. W. M.
     c.22. 11. W.34. Anne. 6. C.2. c.13.

History has informed us, that bodies of men, as well as individuals, are
susceptible of the spirit of tyranny. A view of these acts of Parliament
for regulation, as it has been affectedly called, of the American trade,
if all other evidences were removed out of the case, would undeniably
evince the truth of this observation. Besides the duties they impose
on our articles of export and import, they prohibit our going to any
markets northward of Cape Finisterra, in the kingdom of Spain, for the
sale of commodities which Great Britian will not take from us, and for
the purchase of others, with which she cannot supply us; and that, for
no other than the arbitrary purpose of purchasing for themselves, by
a sacrifice of our rights and interests, certain privileges in their
commerce with an allied state, who, in confidence that their exclusive
trade with America will be continued, while the principles and power of
the British Parliament be the same, have indulged themselves in every
exorbitance which their avarice could dictate, or our necessities
extort; have raised their commodities called for in America, to
the double and treble of what they sold for, before such exclusive
privileges were given them, and of what better commodities of the same
kind would cost us elsewhere; and, at the same time, give us much less
for what we carry thither, than might be had at more convenient ports.
That these acts prohibit us from carrying, in quest of other purchasers,
the surplus of our tobaccos, remaining after the consumption of Great
Britain is supplied: so that we must leave them with the British
merchant, for whatever he will please to allow us, to be by him
re-shipped to foreign markets, where he will reap the benefits of
making sale of them for full value. That, to heighten still the idea of
Parliamentary justice, and to show with what moderation they are like to
exercise power, where themselves are to feel no part of its weight, we
take leave to mention to his Majesty certain other acts of the British
Parliament, by which they would prohibit us from manufacturing, for our
own use, the articles we raise on our own lands, with our own labor. By
an act passed in the fifth year of the reign of his late Majesty, King
George the Second, an American subject is forbidden to make a hat for
himself, of the fur which he has taken, perhaps on his own soil; an
instance of despotism, to which no parallel can be produced in the
most arbitrary ages of British history. By one other act, passed in
the twenty-third year of the same reign, the iron which we make, we are
forbidden to manufacture; and, heavy as that article is, and necessary
in every branch of husbandry, besides commission and insurance, we are
to pay freight for it to Great Britain, and freight for it back again,
for the purpose of supporting, not men, but machines, in the island of
Great Britain. In the same spirit of equal and impartial legislation, is
to be viewed the act of Parliament, passed in the fifth year of the
same reign, by which American lands are made subject to the demands
of British creditors, while their own lands were still continued
unanswerable for their debts; from which one of these conclusions must
necessarily follow, either that justice is not the same thing in America
as in Britain, or else that the British Parliament pay less regard to
it here than there. But, that we do not point out to his Majesty the
injustice of these acts, with intent to rest on that principle the cause
of their nullity; but to show that experience confirms the propriety of
those political principles, which exempt us from the jurisdiction of the
British Parliament. The true ground on which we declare these acts void,
is, that the British Parliament has no right to exercise authority over
us.

‘That these exercises of usurped power have not been confined to
instances alone, in which themselves were interested; but they have
also intermeddled with the regulation of the internal affairs of the
colonies. The act of the 9th of Anne for establishing a post-office in
America seems to have had little connection with British convenience,
except that of accommodating his Majesty’s ministers and favorites with
the sale of a lucrative and easy office.

‘That thus have we hastened through the reigns which preceded his
Majesty’s, during which the violations of our rights were less alarming,
because repeated at more distant intervals, than that rapid and bold
succession of injuries, which is likely to distinguish the present from
all other periods of American story. Scarcely have our minds been able
to emerge from the astonishment, into which one stroke of Parliamentary
thunder has involved us, before another more heavy and more alarming is
fallen on us. Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental
opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished
period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too
plainly prove a deliberate, systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.

[Illustration: Acts of King George and Parliament, page107]

‘That the act passed in the fourth year of his Majesty’s reign, entitled
“an act [ Act for granting certain duties.]

‘One other act passed in the fifth year of his reign, entitled “an act
[Stamp Act.]

‘One other act passed in the sixth year of his reign, entitled “an act
[Act declaring the right of Parliament over the colonies.]

‘And one other act passed in the seventh year of his reign, entitled an
act [ Act for granting duties on paper, tea, &c.

‘Form that connected chain of parliamentary usurpation, which has
already been the subject of frequent applications to his Majesty, and
the Houses of Lords and Commons of Great Britain; and, no answers having
yet been condescended to any of these, we shall not trouble his Majesty
with a repetition of the matters they contained.

‘But that one other act passed in the same seventh year of his reign,
having been a peculiar attempt, must ever require peculiar mention. It
is entitled “an act [Act suspending Legislature of New York.]

‘One free and independent legislature hereby takes upon itself to
suspend the powers of another, free and independent as itself. Thus
exhibiting a phenomenon unknown in nature, the creator and creature of
its own power. Not only the principles of common sense, but the common
feelings of human nature must be surrendered up, before his Majesty’s
subjects here can be persuaded to believe, that they hold their
political existence at the will of a British Parliament. Shall these
governments be dissolved, their property annihilated, and their people
reduced to a state of nature, at the imperious breath of a body of men
whom they never saw, in whom they never confided, and over whom they
have no powers of punishment or removal, let their crimes against the
American public be ever so great? Can any one reason be assigned, why
one hundred and sixty thousand electors in the island of Great Britain
should give law to four millions in the states of America, every
individual of whom is equal to every individual of them in virtue, in
understanding, and in bodily strength? Were this to be admitted, instead
of being a free people, as we have hitherto supposed, and mean to
continue ourselves, we should suddenly be found the slaves, not of one,
but of one hundred and sixty thousand tyrants; distinguished, too, from
all others, by this singular circumstance, that they are removed from
the reach of fear, the only restraining motive which may hold the hand
of a tyrant.

‘That, by “an act to discontinue in such manner, and for such time as
are therein mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading or shipping
of goods, wares, and merchandise, at the town and within the harbor of
Boston, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America,” [14
G.3.] which was passed at the last session of the British Parliament,
a large and populous town, whose trade was their sole subsistence, was
deprived of that trade, and involved in utter ruin. Let us for a while,
suppose the question of right suspended, in order to examine this act
on principles of justice. An act of Parliament had been passed, imposing
duties on teas, to be paid in America, against which act the Americans
had protested, as inauthoritative. The East India Company, who till that
time had never sent a pound of tea to America on their own account, step
forth on that occasion, the asserters of Parliamentary right, and send
hither many ship-loads of that obnoxious commodity. The masters of their
several vessels, however, on their arrival in America, wisely attended
to admonition, and returned with their cargoes. In the province of New
England alone, the remonstrances of the people were disregarded, and
a compliance, after being many days waited for, was flatly refused.
Whether in this, the master of the vessel was governed by his obstinacy,
or his instructions, let those who know, say. There are extraordinary
situations which require extraordinary interposition. An exasperated
people, who feel that they possess power, are not easily restrained
within limits strictly regular. A number of them assembled in the town
of Boston, threw the tea into the ocean, and dispersed without doing any
other act of violence. If in this they did wrong, they were known, and
were amenable to the laws of the land; against which, it could not
be objected that they had ever, in any instance, been obstructed or
diverted from their regular course, in favor of popular offenders. They
should, therefore, not have been distrusted on this occasion. But that
ill-fated colony had formerly been bold in their enmities against the
House of Stuart, and were now devoted to ruin, by that unseen hand
which governs the momentous affairs of this great empire. On the
partial representations of a few worthless ministerial dependants, whose
constant office it has been to keep that government embroiled, and who,
by their treacheries, hope to obtain the dignity of British knighthood,
without calling for a party accused, without asking a proof, without
attempting a distinction between the guilty and the innocent, the whole
of that ancient and wealthy town, is in a moment reduced from opulence
to beggary. Men who had spent their lives in extending the British
commerce, who had invested in that place, the wealth their honest
endeavors had merited, found themselves and their families, thrown at
once on the world, for subsistence by its charities. Not the hundredth
part of the inhabitants of that town had been concerned in the act
complained of; many of them were in Great Britain, and in other parts
beyond sea; yet all were involved in one indiscriminate ruin, by a new
executive power, unheard of till then, that of a British Parliament.
A property of the value of many millions of money was sacrificed
to revenge, not to repay, the loss of a few thousands. This is
administering justice with a heavy hand indeed! And when is this tempest
to be arrested in its course? Two wharves are to be opened again when
his Majesty shall think proper: the residue which lined the extensive
shores of the bay of Boston, are for ever interdicted the exercise of
commerce. This little exception seems to have been thrown in for no
other purpose, than that of setting a precedent for investing his
Majesty with legislative powers. If the pulse of his people shall beat
calmly under this experiment, another and another will be tried, till
the measure of despotism be filled up. It would be an insult on common
sense, to pretend that this exception was made in order to restore its
commerce to that great town. The trade which cannot be received at two
wharves alone, must of necessity be transferred to some other place; to
which it will soon be followed by that of the two wharves. Considered
in this light, it would be an insolent and cruel mockery at the
annihilation of the town of Boston. By the act for the suppression of
riots and tumults in the town of Boston, [14 G.3.] passed also in
the last session of Parliament, a murder committed there, is, if the
Governor pleases, to be tried in the court of King’s Bench, in the
island of Great Britain, by a jury of Middlesex. The witnesses, too, on
receipt of such a sum as the Governor shall think it reasonable for them
to expend, are to enter into recognisance to appear at the trial. This
is, in other words, taxing them to the amount of their recognisance; and
that amount may be whatever a Governor pleases. For who does his Majesty
think can be prevailed on to cross the Atlantic, for the sole purpose
of bearing evidence to a fact? His expenses are to be borne, indeed, as
they shall be estimated by a Governor; but who are to feed the wife and
children whom he leaves behind, and who have had no other subsistence
but his daily labor? Those epidemical disorders, too, so terrible in a
foreign climate, is the cure of them to be estimated among the articles
of expense, and their danger to be warded off by the almighty power of a
Parliament? And the wretched criminal, if he happen to have offended on
the American side, stripped of his privilege of trial by peers of his
vicinage, removed from the place where alone full evidence could be
obtained, without money, without counsel, without friends, without
exculpatory proof, is tried before Judges predetermined to condemn. The
cowards who would suffer a countryman to be torn from the bowelss of
their society, in order to be thus offered a sacrifice to Parliamentary
tyranny, would merit that everlasting infamy now fixed on the authors
of the act! A clause, for a similar purpose, had been introduced into an
act passed in the twelfth year of his Majesty’s reign, entitled, “an
act for the better securing and preserving his Majesty’s dock-yards,
magazines, ships, ammunition, and stores;” against which, as meriting
the same censures, the several colonies have already protested.

‘That these are the acts of power, assumed by a body of men foreign to
our constitutions, and unacknowledged by our laws; against which we do,
on behalf of the inhabitants of British America, enter this our solemn
and determined protest. And we do earnestly entreat his Majesty, as
yet the only mediatory power between the several states of the British
empire, to recommend to his Parliament of Great Britain, the total
revocation of these acts, which, however nugatory they be, may yet prove
the cause of further discontents and jealousies among us.

‘That we next proceed to consider the conduct of his Majesty, as holding
the Executive powers of the laws of these states, and mark out his
deviations from the line of duty. By the constitution of Great Britain,
as well as of the several American States, his Majesty possesses the
power of refusing to pass into a law, any bill which has already passed
the other two branches of the legislature. His Majesty, however, and his
ancestors, conscious of the impropriety of opposing their single
opinion to the united wisdom of two Houses of Parliament, while their
proceedings were unbiased by interested principles, for several ages
past, have modestly declined the exercise of this power, in that part of
his empire called Great Britain. But, by change of circumstances, other
principles than those of justice simply, have obtained an influence on
their determinations. The addition of new states to the British empire,
has produced an addition of new, and sometimes, opposite interests.
It is now, therefore, the great office of his Majesty, to resume the
exercise of his negative power, and to prevent the passage of laws by
any one legislature of the empire, which might bear injuriously on the
rights and interests of another. Yet this will not excuse the wanton
exercise of this power, which we have seen his Majesty practise on the
laws of the American legislatures. For the most trifling reasons, and
sometimes for no conceivable reason at all, his Majesty has rejected
laws of the most salutary tendency. The abolition of domestic slavery is
the great object of desire in those colonies, where it was, unhappily,
introduced in their infant state. But previous to the enfranchisement of
the slaves we have, it is necessary to exclude all further importations
from Africa. Yet our repeated attempts to effect this, by prohibitions,
and by imposing duties which might amount to a prohibition, have
been hitherto defeated by his Majesty’s negative: thus preferring the
immediate advantages of a few British corsairs to the lasting interests
of the American States, and to the rights of human nature, deeply
wounded by this infamous practice. Nay, the single interposition of an
interested individual against a law, was scarcely ever known to fail
of success, though in the opposite scale were placed the interests of
a whole country. That this is so shameful an abuse of a power, trusted
with his Majesty for other purposes, as if, not reformed, would call for
some legal restrictions.

‘With equal inattention to the necessities of his people here, has
his Majesty permitted our laws to lie neglected in England for years,
neither confirming them by his assent, nor annulling them by his
negative: so that such of them as have no suspending clause, we hold on
the most precarious of all tenures, his Majesty’s will; and such of them
as suspend themselves till his Majesty’s assent be obtained, we have
feared might be called into existence at some future and distant
period, when time and change of circumstances shall have rendered them
destructive to his people here. And, to render this grievance still more
oppressive, his Majesty, by his instructions, has laid his Governors
under such restrictions, that they can pass no law of any moment, unless
it have such suspending clause: so that, however immediate may be the
call for legislative interposition, the law cannot be executed till it
has twice crossed the Atlantic, by which time the evil may have spent
its whole force.

‘But in what terms reconcilable to Majesty, and,at the same time to
truth, shall we speak of a late instruction to his Majesty’s Governor
of the colony of Virginia, by which he is forbidden to assent to any law
for the division of a county, unless the new county will consent to
have no representative in Assembly? That colony has as yet affixed no
boundary to the westward. Their Western counties, therefore, are of
indefinite extent. Some of them are actually seated many hundred miles
from their Eastern limits. Is it possible, then that his Majesty can
have bestowed a single thought on the situation of those people, who, in
order to obtain justice for injuries, however great or small, must, by
the laws of that colony, attend their county court at such a distance,
with all their witnesses, monthly, till their litigation be determined?
Or does his Majesty seriously wish, and publish it to the world, that
his subjects should give up the glorious right of representation, with
all the benefits derived from that, and submit themselves to be absolute
slaves of his sovereign will? Or is it rather meant to confine the
legislative body to their present numbers, that they may be the cheaper
bargain, whenever they shall become worth a purchase?

‘One of the articles of impeachment against Tresilian and the other
Judges of Westminster Hall, in the reign of Richard the Second, for
which they suffered death, as traitors to their country, was, that they
had advised the King that he might dissolve his Parliament at any time:
and succeeding Kings have adopted the opinion of these unjust Judges.
Since the establishment, however, of the British constitution, at the
glorious Revolution, on its free and ancient principles, neither his
Majesty nor his ancestors have exercised such a power of dissolution in
the island of Great Britain;* and, when his Majesty was petitioned by
the united voice of his people there to dissolve the present Parliament,
who had become obnoxious to them, his Ministers were heard to declare,
in open Parliament, that his Majesty possessed no such power by the
constitution. But how different their language, and his practice, here!
To declare, as their duty required, the known rights of their country,
to oppose the usurpation of every foreign judicature, to disregard
the imperious mandates of a Minister or Governor, have been the avowed
causes of dissolving Houses of Representatives in America. But if such
powers be really vested in his Majesty, can he suppose they are
there placed to awe the members from such purposes as these? When the
representative body have lost the confidence of their constituents, when
they have notoriously made sale of their most valuable rights, when they
have assumed to themselves powers which the people never put into their
hands, then, indeed, their continuing in office becomes dangerous to the
state, and calls for an exercise of the power of dissolution. Such being
the causes for which the representative body should, and should not, be
dissolved, will it not appear strange, to an unbiassed observer, that
that of Great Britain was not dissolved, while those of the colonies
have repeatedly incurred that sentence?

     * On further inquiry, I find two instances of dissolutions
     before the Parliament would, of itself, have been at an end:
     viz. the Parliament called to meet August 24, 1698, was
     dissolved by King William, December 19, 1700, and a new one
     called, to meet February 6, 1701, which was also dissolved
     November 11, 1701, and a new one met December 30, 1701.

But your Majesty or your Governors have carried this power beyond every
limit known or provided for by the laws. After dissolving one House of
Representatives, they have refused to call another, so that, for a great
length of time, the legislature provided by the laws has been out of
existence. From the nature of things, every society must at all times
possess within itself the sovereign powers of legislation. The feelings
of human nature revolt against the supposition of a state so situated,
as that it may not, in any emergency, provide against dangers which
perhaps threaten immediate ruin. While those bodies are in existence
to whom the people have delegated the powers of legislation, they alone
possess, and may exercise, those powers. But when they are dissolved, by
the lopping off one or more of their branches, the power reverts to the
people, who may use it to unlimited extent, either assembling together
in person, sending deputies, or in any other way they may think proper.
We forbear to trace consequences further; the dangers are conspicuous
with which this practice is replete.

‘That we shall, at this time also, take notice of an error in the nature
of our land-holdings, which crept in at a very early period of our
settlement. The introduction of the feudal tenures into the kingdom of
England, though ancient, is well enough understood to set this matter
in a proper light. In the earlier ages of the Saxon settlement, feudal
holdings were certainly altogether unknown, and very few, if any, had
been introduced at the time of the Norman conquest. Our Saxon ancestors
held their lands, as they did their personal property, in absolute
dominion, disencumbered with any superior, answering nearly to the
nature of those possessions which the Feudalists term Allodial. William
the Norman first introduced that system generally. The lands which
had belonged to those who fell in the battle of Hastings, and in the
subsequent insurrections of his reign, formed a considerable proportion
of the lands of the whole kingdom. These he granted out, subject
to feudal duties, as did he also those of a great number of his new
subjects, who, by persuasions or threats, were induced to surrender
them for that purpose. But still much was left in the hands of his Saxon
subjects, held of no superior, and not subject to feudal conditions.
These, therefore, by express laws, enacted to render uniform the system
of military defence, were made liable to the same military duties as if
they had been feuds: and the Norman lawyers soon found means to saddle
them, also, with all the other feudal burthens. But still they had not
been surrendered to the King, they were not derived from his grant, and
therefore they were not holden of him. A general principle, indeed, was
introduced, that “all lands in England were held either mediately or
immediately of the Crown:” but this was borrowed from those holdings
which were truly feudal, and only applied to others for the purposes of
illustration. Feudal holdings were, therefore, but exceptions out of the
Saxon laws of possession, under which all lands were held in absolute
right. These, therefore, still form the basis or groundwork of the
common law, to prevail wheresoever the exceptions have not taken
place. America was not conquered by William the Norman, nor its lands
surrendered to him or any of his successors. Possessions there are,
undoubtedly, of the Allodial nature. Our ancestors, however, who
migrated hither, were laborers, not lawyers. The fictitious principle,
that all lands belong originally to the King, they were early persuaded
to believe real, and accordingly took grants of their own lands from
the Crown. And while the Crown continued to grant for small sums and on
reasonable rents, there was no inducement to arrest the error, and
lay it open to public view. But his Majesty has lately taken on him to
advance the terms of purchase and of holding to the double of what they
were; by which means the acquisition of lands being rendered difficult,
the population of our country is likely to be checked. It is time,
therefore, for us to lay this matter before his Majesty, and to declare
that he has no right to grant lands of himself. From the nature and
purpose of civil institutions, all the lands within the limits which any
particular society has circumscribed around itself, are assumed by that
society, and subject to their allotment; this may be done by themselves
assembled collectively, or by their legislature, to whom they may have
delegated sovereign authority: and, if they are allotted in neither of
these ways, each individual of the society may appropriate to himself
such lands as he finds vacant, and occupancy will give him title.

‘That, in order to enforce the arbitrary measures before complained of,
his Majesty has, from time to time, sent among us large bodies of armed
forces, not made up of the people here, nor raised by the authority of
our laws. Did his Majesty possess such a right as this, it might swallow
up all our other rights whenever he should think proper. But his Majesty
has no right to land a single armed man on our shores; and those whom he
sends here are liable to our laws for the suppression and punishment of
riots, routs, and unlawful assemblies, or are hostile bodies invading
us in defiance of law. When, in the course of the late war, it became
expedient that a body of Hanoverian troops should be brought over
for the defence of Great Britain, his Majesty’s grandfather, our late
sovereign, did not pretend to introduce them under any authority he
possessed. Such a measure would have given just alarm to his subjects of
Great Britain, whose liberties would not be safe if armed men of another
country, and of another spirit, might be brought into the realm at any
time, without the consent, of their legislature. He, therefore, applied
to Parliament, who passed an act for that purpose, limiting the number
to be brought in, and the time they were to continue. In like manner is
his Majesty restrained in every part of the empire. He possesses indeed
the executive power of the laws in every state; but they are the laws of
the particular state, which he is to administer within that state, and
not those of any one within the limits of another. Every state must
judge for itself, the number of armed men which they may safely trust
among them, of whom they are to consist, and under what restrictions
they are to be laid. To render these proceedings still more criminal
against our laws, instead of subjecting the military to the civil power,
his Majesty has expressly made the civil subordinate to the military.
But can his Majesty thus put down all law under his feet? Can he erect
a power superior to that which erected himself? He has done it indeed by
force; but let him remember that force cannot give right.

‘That these are our grievances, which we have thus laid before his
Majesty, with that freedom of language and sentiment which becomes a
free people, claiming their rights as derived from the laws of nature,
and not as the gift of their Chief Magistrate. Let those flatter, who
fear: it is not an American art. To give praise where it is not due,
might be well from the venal, but would ill beseem those who are
asserting the rights of human nature. They know, and will, therefore,
say, that Kings are the servants, not the proprietors of the people.
Open your breast, Sire, to liberal and expanded thought. Let not the
name of George the Third be a blot on the page of history. You are
surrounded by British counsellors, but remember that they are parties.
You have no ministers for American affairs, because you have none taken
from among us, nor amenable to the laws on which they are to give you
advice. It behoves you, therefore, to think and to act for yourself
and your people. The great principles of right and wrong are legible to
every reader: to pursue them, requires not the aid of many counsellors.
The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. Only
aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail. No
longer persevere in sacrificing the rights of one part of the empire,
to the inordinate desires of another: but deal out to all, equal and
impartial right. Let no act be passed by any one legislature, which may
infringe on the rights and liberties of another. This is the important
post in which fortune has placed you, holding the balance of a great, if
a well poised empire. This, Sire, is the advice of your great American
council, on the observance of which may, perhaps, depend your felicity
and future fame, and the preservation of that harmony which alone can
continue, both to Great Britain and America, the reciprocal advantages
of their connection. It is neither our wish nor our interest to separate
from her. We are willing, on our part, to sacrifice every thing which
reason can ask, to the restoration of that tranquillity for which all
must wish. On their part, let them be ready to establish union on a
generous plan. Let them name their terms, but let them be just. Accept
of every commercial preference it is in our power to give, for such
things as we can raise for their use, or they make for ours. But let
them not think to exclude us from going to other markets, to dispose of
those commodities which they cannot use, nor to supply those wants which
they cannot supply. Still less, let it be proposed, that our properties,
within our own territories, shall be taxed or regulated by any power
on earth, but our own. The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the
same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.
This, Sire, is our last, our determined resolution. And that you will
be pleased to interpose, with that efficacy which your earnest endeavors
may insure, to procure redress of these our great grievances, to quiet
the minds of your subjects in British America against any apprehensions
of future encroachment, to establish fraternal love and harmony through
the whole empire, and that that may continue to the latest ages of time,
is the fervent prayer of all British America,’



[NOTE D.]--August, 1774., Instructions for the Deputies


Instructions for the Deputies appointed to meet in General Congress on
the Part of this Colony.

The unhappy disputes between Great Britain and her American colonies,
which began about the third year of the reign of his present Majesty,
and since, continually increasing, have proceeded to lengths so
dangerous and alarming, as to excite just apprehensions in the minds of
his Majesty’s faithful subjects of this colony, that they are in
danger of being deprived of their natural, ancient, constitutional, and
chartered rights, have compelled them to take the same into their most
serious consideration; and, being deprived of their usual and accustomed
mode of making known their grievances, have appointed us their
representatives, to consider what is proper to be done in this dangerous
crisis of American affairs. It being our opinion that the united wisdom
of North America should be collected in a general congress of all the
colonies, we have appointed the Honorable Peyton Randolph, Richard Henry
Lee, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison,
and Edmund Pendleton, Esquires, deputies to represent this colony in
the said Congress, to be held at Philadelphia, on the first Monday in
September next.

And that they may be the better informed of our sentiments, touching the
conduct we wish them to observe on this important occasion, we
desire that they will express, in the first place, our faith and
true allegiance to his Majesty, King George the Third, our lawful and
rightful sovereign; and that we are determined, with our lives and
fortunes, to support him in the legal exercise of all his just rights
and prerogatives. And, however misrepresented, we sincerely approve of a
constitutional connection with Great Britain, and wish, most ardently, a
return of that intercourse of affection and commercial connection, that
formerly united both countries, which can only be effected by a removal
of those causes of discontent, which have of late unhappily divided us.

It cannot admit of a doubt, but that British subjects in America are
entitled to the same rights and privileges, as their fellow subjects
possess in Britain; and therefore, that the power assumed by the British
Parliament, to bind America by their statutes, in all cases whatsoever,
is unconstitutional, and the source of these unhappy differences.

The end of government would be defeated by the British Parliament
exercising a power over the lives, the property, and the liberty of
American subjects; who are not, and, from their local circumstances,
cannot be, there represented. Of this nature, we consider the several
acts of Parliament, for raising a revenue in America, for extending the
jurisdiction of the courts of Admiralty, for seizing American subjects,
and transporting them to Britain, to be tried for crimes committed in
America, and the several late oppressive acts respecting the town of
Boston and Province of the Massachusetts Bay.

The original constitution of the American colonies possessing their
assemblies with the sole right of directing their internal polity, it
is absolutely destructive of the end of their institution, that their
legislatures should be suspended, or prevented, by hasty dissolutions,
from exercising their legislative powers.

Wanting the protection of Britain, we have long acquiesced in their
acts of navigation, restrictive of our commerce, which we consider as
an ample recompense for such protection; but as those acts derive their
efficacy from that foundation alone, we have reason to expect they will
be restrained, so as to produce the reasonable purposes of Britain, and
not injurious to us.

To obtain redress of these grievances, without which the people of
America can neither be safe, free, nor happy, they are willing to
undergo the great inconvenience that will be derived to them, from
stopping all imports whatsoever, from Great Britain, after the first day
of November next, and also to cease exporting any commodity whatsoever,
to the same place, after the tenth day of August, 1775. The earnest
desire we have to make as quick and full payment as possible of our
debts to Great Britain, and to avoid the heavy injury that would arise
to this country from an earlier adoption of the non-exportation plan,
after the people have already applied so much of their labor to the
perfecting of the present crop, by which means they have been prevented
from pursuing other methods of clothing and supporting their families,
have rendered it necessary to restrain you in this article of
non-exportation; but it is our desire, that you cordially co-operate
with our sister colonies in General Congress, in such other just and
proper methods as they, or the majority, shall deem necessary for the
accomplishment of these valuable ends.

The proclamation issued by General Gage, in the government of the
Province of the Massachusetts Bay, declaring it treason for the
inhabitants of that province to assemble themselves to consider of
their grievances, and form associations for their common conduct on the
occasion, and requiring the civil magistrates and officers to apprehend
all such persons, to be tried for their supposed offences, is the most
alarming process that ever appeared in a British government; that the
said General Gage hath, thereby, assumed, and taken upon himself, powers
denied by the constitution to our legal sovereign; that he, not having
condescended to disclose by what authority he exercises such extensive
and unheard-of powers, we are at a loss to determine, whether he
intends to justify himself as the representative of the King, or as the
Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s forces in America. If he considers
himself as acting in the character of his Majesty’s representative, we
would remind him that the statute 25 Edward the Third has expressed
and defined all treasonable offences, and that the legislature of Great
Britain hath declared, that no offence shall be construed to be treason,
but such as is pointed out by that statute, and that this was done
to take out of the hands of tyrannical Kings, and of weak and wicked
Ministers, that deadly weapon, which constructive treason had furnished
them with, and which had drawn the blood of the best and honestest men
in the kingdom; and that the King of Great Britain hath no right by
his proclamation to subject his people to imprisonment, pains, and
penalties.

That if the said General Gage conceives he is empowered to act in this
manner, as the Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s forces in America,
this odious and illegal proclamation must be considered as a plain and
full declaration, that this despotic Viceroy will be bound by no law,
nor regard the constitutional rights of his Majesty’s subjects, whenever
they interfere with the plan he has formed for oppressing the good
people of the Massachusetts Bay; and, therefore, that the executing, or
attempting to execute, such proclamation, will justify resistance and
reprisal.



[NOTE E.]--Monticello, November 1, 1778.--[Re: Crimes and Punishment]


Dear Sir,

I have got through the bill ‘for proportioning crimes and punishments in
cases heretofore capital,’ and now enclose it to you with a request that
you will be so good, as scrupulously to examine and correct it, that it
may be presented to our committee, with as few defects as possible.
In its style, I have aimed at accuracy, brevity, and simplicity,
preserving, however, the very words of the established law, wherever
their meaning had been sanctioned by judicial decisions, or rendered
technical by usage. The same matter, if couched in the modern statutory
language, with all its tautologies, redundancies, and circumlocutions,
would have spread itself over many pages, and been unintelligible to
those whom it most concerns. Indeed, I wished to exhibit a sample of
reformation in the barbarous style, into which modern statutes have
degenerated from their ancient simplicity. And I must pray you to be as
watchful over what I have not said, as what is said; for the omissions
of this bill have all their positive meaning. I have thought it better
to drop, in silence, the laws we mean to discontinue, and let them be
swept away by the general negative words of this, than to detail them
in clauses of express repeal. By the side of the text I have written the
note? I made, as I went along, for the benefit of my own memory. They
may serve to draw your attention to questions, to which the expressions
or the omissions of the text may give rise. The extracts from the
Anglo-Saxon laws, the sources of the Common law, I wrote in their
original, for my own satisfaction;* but I have added Latin, or liberal
English translations. From the time of Canute to that of the Magna
Charta, you know, the text of our statutes is preserved to us in Latin
only, and some old French.

     * In this publication, the original Saxon words are given,
     but, owing to the want of Saxon letter, they are printed in
     common type.

I have strictly observed the scale of punishments settled by the
Committee, without being entirely satisfied with it. The _Lex talionis_,
although a restitution of the Common law, to the simplicity of which we
have generally found it so advantageous to return, will be revolting to
the humanized feelings of modern times. An eye for an eye, and a hand
for a hand, will exhibit spectacles in execution, whose moral effect
would be questionable; and even the _membrum pro membro_ of Bracton, or
the punishment of the offending member, although long authorized by our
law, for the same offence in a slave, has, you know, been not long
since repealed, in conformity with public sentiment. This needs
reconsideration.

I have heard little of the proceedings of the Assembly, and do not
expect to be with you till about the close of the month. In the mean
time, present me respectfully to Mrs. Wythe, and accept assurances
of the affectionate esteem and respect of, Dear Sir, Your friend and
servant,

Th: Jefferson.

George Wythe, Esq.


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_Bill for proportioning Crimes and Punishments, in Cases heretofore
Capital_.

Whereas, it frequently happens that wicked and dissolute men, resigning
themselves to the dominion of inordinate passions, commit violations on
the lives, liberties, and property of others, and, the secure enjoyment
of these having principally induced men to enter into society,
government would be defective in its principal purpose, were it not to
restrain such criminal acts, by inflicting due punishments on those who
perpetrate them; but it appears, at the same time, equally deducible
from the purposes of society, that a member thereof, committing
an inferior injury, does not wholly forfeit the protection of his
fellow-citizens, but, after suffering a punishment in proportion to his
offence, is entitled to their protection from all greater pain, so that
it becomes a duty in the legislature to arrange, in a proper scale,
the crimes which it may be necessary for them to repress, and to adjust
thereto a corresponding gradation of punishments.

And whereas, the reformation of offenders, though an object worthy the
attention of the laws, is not effected at all by capital punishments,
which exterminate, instead of reforming, and should be the last
melancholy resource against those whose existence is become inconsistent
with the safety of their fellow-citizens, which also weaken the State,
by cutting off so many who, if reformed, might be restored sound members
to society, who, even under a course of correction, might be rendered
useful in various labors for the public, and would be living and long
continued spectacles to deter others from committing the like offences.

And forasmuch as the experience of all ages and countries hath shown,
that cruel and sanguinary laws defeat their own purpose, by engaging the
benevolence of mankind to withhold prosecutions, to smother testimony,
or to listen to it with bias, when, if the punishment were only
proportioned to the injury, men would feel it their inclination, as well
as their duty, to see the laws observed.

For rendering crimes and punishments, therefore, more proportionate to
each other.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly, that no crime shall be henceforth
punished by deprivation of life or limb,* except those hereinafter
ordained to be so punished.

     * This takes away the punishment of cutting off the hand of
     a person striking another, or drawing his sword in one of
     the superior courts of justice. Stamf. P. C. 38; 33 H. 8. c.
     12. In an earlier stage of the Common law, it was death.
     _‘Gif hwa gefeohte on Cyninges huse sy he scyldig ealles his
     yrfes, and sy on Cyninges dome hwsether he lif age de nage:
     si quis in regis domo pugnet, perdat omnem suam
     ha; reditatem, et in regis sit arbitrio, possideat vitarn an
     non possideat.’_ LI. Inae. 6. &c.

*If a man do levy war** against the Commonwealth [_in the same_], or
be adherent to the enemies of the Commonwealth [_within the same_],***
giving to them aid or comfort in the Commonwealth, or elsewhere, and
thereof be convicted of open deed, by the evidence of two sufficient
witnesses, or his own voluntary confession, the said cases, and no
others,**** shall be adjudged treasons which extend to the Commonwealth,
and the person so convicted shall suffer death by hanging,***** and
shall forfeit his lands and goods to the Commonwealth.

     * 25 E 3. st. 5. c. 2; 7 W. 3. c. 3, § 2.

     ** Though the crime of an accomplice in treason is not here
     described yet Lord Coke says, the partaking and maintaining
     a treason herein described makes him a principal in that
     treason. It being a rule that in treason all are principals.
     3 inst. 138; 2 Inst. 590;  H. 6. c. 5.

     *** These words in the English statute narrow its operation.
     A man adhering to the enemies of the Commonwealth, in a
     foreign country, would certainly not be guilty of treason
     with us, if these words be retained. The convictions of
     treason of that kind in England, have been under that branch
     of the statute which makes the compassing the king’s death
     treason. Foster, 196, 197. But as we omit that branch, we
     must by other means reach this flagrant case.


     **** The stat. 25 E. 3. directs all other cases of treason
     to await the opinion of Parliament. This has the effect of
     negative words, excluding all other treasons. As we drop
     that part of the statute, we must, by negative words,
     prevent an inundation of common law treasons. I strike out
     the word ‘it,’ therefore, and insert ‘the said cases and no
     others.’ Quaere, how far those negative words may affect the
     case of accomplices above mentioned? Though if their case
     was within the statute, so as that it needed not await the
     opinion of Parliament, it should seem to be also within our
     act, so as not to be ousted by the negative words.

     ***** This implies ‘by the neck.’ See 2 Hawk. 444, notes _n.o._

If any person commit petty treason, or a husband murder his wife, a
parent his child,* or a child his parent, he shall suffer death by
hanging, and his body be delivered to anatomists to be dissected.

     * By the stat. 21.Tac. 1. c. 27. and Act Ass. 1710, c. 12.
     concealment by the mother of the death of a bastard child is
     made murder. In justification of this, it is said, that
     shame is a feeling which operates so strongly on the mind,
     as frequently to induce the mother of such a child to murder
     it, in order to conceal her disgrace. The act of
     concealment, therefore, proves she was influenced by shame,
     and that influence produces a presumption that she murdered
     the child. The effect of this law, then, is, to make what,
     in its nature, is only presumptive evidence of a murder,
     conclusive of that fact. To this I answer, 1. So many
     children die before, or soon after birth, that to presume
     all those murdered who are found dead, is a presumption
     which will lead us oftener wrong than right, and
     consequently would shed more blood than it would save. 2. If
     the child were born dead, the mother would naturally choose
     rather to conceal it, in hopes of still keeping a good
     character in the neighborhood. So that the act of
     concealment is far from proving the guilt of murder on the
     mother. 3. If shame be a powerful affection of the mind, is
     not parental love also? Is it not the strongest affection
     known? Is it not greater than even that of self-
     preservation? While we draw presumptions from shame, one
     affection of the mind, against the life of the prisoner,
     should we not give some weight to presumptions from parental
     love, an affection at least as strong in favor of life? If
     concealment of the fact is a presumptive evidence of murder,
     so strong as to overbalance all other evidence that may
     possibly be produced to take away the presumption, why not
     trust the force of this incontestable presumption to the
     jury, who are, in a regular course, to hear presumptive, as
     well as positive testimony? If the presumption, arising from
     the act of concealment, may be destroyed by proof positive
     or circumstantial to the contrary, why should the
     legislature preclude that contrary proof? Objection. The
     crime is difficult to prove, being usually committed in
     secret. Answer. But circumstantial proof will do; for
     example, marks of violence, the behavior, countenance, &c.
     of the prisoner, &c. And if conclusive proof be difficult to
     be obtained, shall we therefore fasten irremovably upon
     equivocal proof? Can we change the nature of what is
     contestable, and make it incontestable? Can we make that
     conclusive which God and nature have made inconclusive?
     Solon made no law against, parricide, supposing it
     impossible any one could be guilty of it; and the Persians,
     from the same opinion, adjudged all who killed their reputed
     parents to be bastards: and although parental, be yet
     stronger than filial affection, we admit saticide proved on
     the most equivocal testimony, whilst they rejected all proof
     of an act, certainly not more repugnant to nature, as of a
     thing impossible, improvable. See Beccaria, § 31.

Whosoever committeth murder by poisoning, shall suffer death by poison.

Whosoever committeth murder by way of duel, shall suffer death by
hanging; and if he were the challenger, his body, after death, shall
be gibbeted.* He who removeth it from the gibbet, shall be guilty of a
misdemeanor; and the officer shall see that it be replaced.

     * 25 G. 2. c. 37.

Whosoever shall commit murder in any other way, shall suffer death by
hanging.

And in all cases of petty treason and murder, one half of the lands
and goods of the offender shall be forfeited to the next of kin to
the person killed, and the other half descend and go to his own
representatives. Save only, where one shall slay the challenger in a
duel,* in which case, no part of his lands or goods shall be forfeited
to the kindred of the party slain, but, instead thereof, a moiety shall
go to the Commonwealth.

     * Quære, if the estates of both parties in a duel should not
     be forfeited? The deceased is equally guilty with a suicide.

The same evidence* shall suffice, and order and course** of trial be
observed in cases of petty treason, as in those of other*** murders.

     * Quære, if these words may not be omitted? By the Common
     law, one witness in treason was sufficient. Foster, 233.
     Plowd. 8. a. Mirror, c. 3. § 34. Waterhouse on Fortesc de
     Laud. 252. Carth. 144 per Holt. But Lord Coke, contra, 3
     Inst 26. The stat. 1 E. 6. c 12. &5E.6. c. 11. first
     required two witnesses in treason. The clause against high
     treason supra, does the same as to high treason; but it
     seems if 1st and 5th E. 6. are dropped, petty treason will
     be tried and proved, as at Common law, by one witness. But
     quære, Lord Coke being contra, whose opinion it is ever
     dangerous to neglect.

     ** These words are intended to take away the peremptory
     challenge of thirty-five jurors. The same words being used 1
     & 2 Ph. k. M. c. 10. are deemed to have restored the
     peremptory challenge in high treason; and consequently are
     sufficient to take it away. Foster, 237.

     *** Petty treason is considered in law only as an aggravated
     murder. Foster, 107,323. A pardon of all murders, pardons
     petty treason. 1 Hale P. C. 378. See 2 H. P. C. 340, 342. It
     is also included in the word ‘felony,’ so that a pardon of
     all felonies, pardons petty treason.

Whosoever shall be guilty of manslaughter,* shall, for the first
offence, be condemned to hard labor** for seven years, in the public
works, shall forfeit one half of his lands and goods to the next of kin
to the person slain; the other half to be sequestered during such term,
in the hands and to the use of the Commonwealth, allowing a reasonable
part of the profits for the support of his family. The second offence
shall be deemed murder.

     * Manslaughter is punishable at law, by burning in the hand,
     and forfeiture of chattels.

     ** It is best, in this act, to lay down principles only, in
     order that it may not for ever be undergoing change: and, to
     carry into effect the minuter parts of it; frame a bill ‘for
     the employment and government of felons, or male-factors,
     condemned to labor for the Commonwealth,’ which may serve as
     an Appendix to this, and in which all the particulars
     requisite may be directed: and as experience will, from time
     to time, be pointing out amendments, these may be made
     without touching this fundamental act. See More’s Utopia pa.
     50, for some good hints. Fugitives might, in such a bill, be
     obliged to work two days for every one they absent
     themselves.

And where persons, meaning to commit a trespass* only, or larceny, or
other unlawful deed, and doing an act from which involuntary homicide
hath ensued, have heretofore been adjudged guilty of manslaughter, or
of murder, by transferring such their unlawful intention to an act much
more penal than they could have in probable contemplation; no such
case shall hereafter be deemed manslaughter, unless manslaughter was
intended, nor murder, unless murder was intended.

     * The shooting at a wild fowl, and killing a man, is
     homicide by misadventure. Shooting at a pullet, without any
     design to take it away, is manslaughter; and with a design
     to take it away, is murder. 6 Sta. tr. 222. To shoot at the
     poultry of another, and thereby set fire to his house, is
     arson, in the opinion of some. Dalt. c. 116 1 Hale’s P. C.
     569, contra.

In other cases of homicide, the law will not add to the miseries of the
party, by punishments or forfeitures.*

     * Beccaria, § 32. Suicide. Homicides are, 1. Justifiable. 2.
     Excusable. 3. Felonious. For the last, punishments have been
     already provided. The first are held to be totally without
     guilt, or rather commendable. The second are, in some cases,
     not quite unblamable. These should subject the party to
     marks of contrition; viz. the killing of a man in defence of
     property; so also in defence of one’s person, which is a
     species of excusable homicide; because, although cases may
     happen where these also are commendable, yet most frequently
     they are done on too slight appearance of danger; as in
     return for a blow, kick, fillip, &c; or on a person’s
     getting into a house, not _anirno furandi_, but perhaps
     _veneris causa_, &c. Bracton says, ‘_Si quis furem noctupnum
     occiderit, ita demum impune foret, si parcere ei sine
     periculo suo non potuit; si autem potuit, aliter erit.’
     ‘Item erit si quis hamsokne qua; dicitur invasio domus
     contra pacem domini regis in domo sua se defenderit, et
     invasor occisus fuerit; impersecutus et inultus ramanebit,
     si ille quem invasit aliter se defendere non potuit; dicitur
     enim quod non est dignus habere pacem qui non vult observare
     earn.’ L.3. c.23. § 3. ‘Qui latronetn Occident, non tenetur,
     nocturnum vel diurnnm, si aliter periculum evadere non
     possit; tenetur ta-men, si possit. Item non tenetur si per
     inforlunium, et non anitno et voluntate occidendi, nee
     dolus, nec culpa ejus inveniatur_.’ L.3. c.36. § 1. The stat.
     24 H. 8. c. 5 is therefore merely declaratory of the Common
     law. See on the general subject, Puffend. 2. 5. § 10, 11,
     12, 16, 17. Excusable homicides are by misadventure, or in
     self-defence. It is the opinion of some lawyers, that the
     Common law punished these with death, and that the statute
     of Marlbridge, c. 26. and Gloucester, c. 9. first took away
     this by giving them title to a pardon, as matter of right,
     and a writ of restitution of their goods. See 2 Inst, 148.
     315; 3 Inst. 55. Bracton, L. 3. c. 4. § 2. Fleta L, 1. c.
     23. § 14, 15; 21 E. 3. 23. But it is believed never to have
     been capital. 1 H. P. C. 425; 1 Hawk. 75; Foster, 282; 4 Bl.
     188. It seems doubtful also, whether at Common law, the
     party forfeited all his chattels in this case, or only paid
     a weregild. Foster, _ubi supra_, doubts, and thinks it of no
     consequence, as the statute of Gloucester entitles the party
     to Royal grace, which goes as well to forfeiture as life. To
     me, there seems no reason for calling these excusable
     homicides, and the killing a man in defence of property, a
     justifiable homicide. The latter is less guiltless than
     misadventure or self defence.

     Suicide is by law punishable by forfeiture of chattels. This
     bill exempts it from forfeiture. The suicide injures the
     state less than he who leaves it with his effects. If the
     latter then be not punished, the former should not. As to
     the example, we need not fear its influence. Men are too
     much attached to life, to exhibit frequent instances of
     depriving themselves of it. At any rate, the quasi-
     punishment of confiscation will not prevent it. For if one
     be found who can calmly determine to renounce life, who is
     so weary of his existence here, as rather to make experiment
     of what is beyond the grave, can we suppose him, in such a
     state of mind, susceptible of influence from the losses to
     his family by confiscation? That men in general, too,
     disapprove of this severity, is apparent from the constant
     practice of juries finding the suicide in a state of
     insanity; because they have no other way of saving the
     forfeiture. Let it then be done away.

Whenever sentence of death shall have been pronounced against any person
for treason or murder, execution shall be done on the next day but
one after such sentence, unless it be Sunday, and then on the Monday
following.*

     * Beccaria, § 19; 25 G. 2. c. 37.

Whosoever shall be guilty of Rape,* Polygamy,** or Sodomy,*** with man
or woman, shall be punished, if a man, by castration,**** if a woman,
by cutting through the cartilage of her nose, a hole of one half inch in
diameter at the least.

     * 13 E. 1. c. 34. Forcible abduction of a woman having
     substance, is felony by 3 H. 7, c 2; 3. Inst. 61; 4 Bl. 208.
     If goods be taken, it will be felony as to them, without
     this statute: and as to the abduction of the woman, quære if
     not better to leave that, and also kidnapping, 4 Bl. 219. to
     the Common law remedies, viz. fine, imprisonment, and
     pillory, Raym. 474; 2 Show. 221; Skin. 47; Comb. 10. the
     writs of _Homine replegiando_, Capias in Withernam, Habeas
     corpus, and the action of trespass? Rape was felony at the
     Common law. 3 Inst. 60 but see 2 Inst. 181. Further--for its
     definition see 2 Inst. 180. Bracton L.3. 28. § 1. says, the
     punishment of rape is ‘_amissio membrorum, ut sit membrumpro
     membra, quia virgo, cum corrumpitur, membrum amittit, et
     ideo corruptor puniatur in eo in quo deliquit; oculos igitur
     amittat propter aspectum decoris quo virginem concupivit;
     amittat et testiculos qui calorem stupri induxerunt. Olim
     quidem corruptores virginitatis et castitatis suspendebantur
     et eorum fautores, &c. Modernis tamen temporibus aliter
     observatur_,’ &.c. And Fleta, ‘_Solet justiciarius pro
     quolibet mahemio ad amissionem testiculorum vel oculorum
     convictum coudemnare, sed non sine errore, eo quod id
     judicium nisi in corruptione virginum lantum competebat; nam
     pro virginitatis corruptione solebant abscidi et merito
     judicari, ut sic pro membro quod abstulit, membrum per quod
     deliquit amitteret, viz. lesticulos, qui calorem stupri
     induxerunt_,’ &c. Fleta. L. 1. c. 40. § 4. ‘Gif theow man
     theowne to nydhffimed genyde, gabete mid his eowende: Si
     servus servam ad sfuprum coegerit, compenset hoc virga sua
     virili. Si quis pnellam,’ &c. Ll.Æliridi. 25. ‘Hi purgst
     femme per forze forfait ad les membres.’ LI. Gul. Conq. 19.

     ** 1 Jac. 1. c. 11. Polygamy was not penal till the statute
     of 1 Jac. The law contented itself with the nullity of the
     act. 4 Bl. 163. 3 Inst. 88.

     *** 25. H. 8. c. 6. Buggery is twofold. 1. With mankind, 2.
     with beasts. Buggery is the genus, of which Sodomy and
     Bestiality are the species. 12 Co. 37. says, In Dyer, 304. a
     man was indicted, and found guilty of a rape on a girl of
     seven years old. The court doubted of the rape of so tender
     a girl; but if she had been nine years old, it would have
     been otherwise.’ 14 Eliz. Therefore the statute 18 Eliz. c.
     6, says, ‘For plain declaration of law, be it enacted, that
     if any person shall unlawfully and carnally know and abuse
     any woman child, under the age of ten years, &c. he shall
     suffer as a felon, without allowance of clergy.’ Lord Hale,
     however, 1 P. C. 630. thinks it rape independent of that
     statute, to know carnally a girl under twelve, the age of
     consent. Yet, 4 Bl. 212. seems to neglect this opinion; and
     as it was founded on the words of 3 E. 1. c. 13. and this is
     with us omitted, the offence of carnally knowing a girl
     under twelve, or ten years of age, will not be distinguished
     from that of any other. Co. 37. says ‘note that Sodomy is
     with mankind.’ But Finch’s L. B. 3. c. 24. ‘Sodomitry is a
     carnal copulation against nature, to wit, of man or woman in
     the same sex, or of either of them with beasts.’ 12 Co 36.
     says, ‘It appears by the ancient authorities of the law
     that this was felony.’ Yet the 25 H. 8. declares it felony,
     as if supposed not to be so. Britton, c, 9. says, that
     Sodomites are to be burnt. F. N. B. 269. b. Fleta, L 1. c.
     37. says, ‘Pecorantes et Sodomise in terra, vivi
     confodiantur.’ The Mirror makes it treason. Bestiality can
     never make any progress; it cannot therefore be injurious to
     society in any great degree, which is the true measure of
     criminality _in foro cirili_, and will ever be properly and
     severely punished, by universal derision. It may, therefore,
     be omitted. It was anciently punished with death, as it has
     been latterly. LI Ælfrid. 31. and 25 H. 8. c. 6. see
     Beccaria, § 31. Montesq.

     ****Bracton, Fleta, &c.

But no one shall be punished for Polygamy, who shall have married after
probable information of the death of his or her husband or wife, or
after his or her husband or wife hath absented him or herself, so that
no notice of his or her being alive hath reached such person for seven
years together, or hath suffered the punishments before prescribed for
rape, polygamy, or sodomy.

Whosoever, on purpose, and of malice forethought, shall maim* another,
or shall disfigure him by cutting out or disabling the tongue, slitting
or cutting off a nose, lip, or ear, branding, or otherwise, shall be
maimed, or disfigured in like** sort: or if that cannot be for want of
the same part, then as nearly as may be, in some other part of at least
equal value and estimation, in the opinion of a jury, and moreover,
shall forfeit one half of his lands and goods to the sufferer.

     * 22 &l 23 Car. 2, c. 1. Maiming was felony at the Common
     law. Britton, c 95.  Mehemiurn autem dici poterit, ubi
     aliquis in aliqua. parte sui corporis la sionern acceperit,
     per quam affectus sit inutilis ad pugnandum: ut sirnanus
     ampuletur, vel pes, octilus privetur, vel scerda de osse
     capitis lavetnr, vel si quis dentes praer. isores amiserit,
     vel castratus fuerit, et talis pro mahemiato poterit
     adjudicari.’ Flela, L. 1. c. 40. ‘Et volons que nul maheme
     nesoit tenus forsque de membre toilet dount home est plus
     feble a combatre, sicome, del oyl, on de la mayn, ou del
     pie, on de la tete debruse, ou de les dentz devant.’
     Britton, c. 25. For further definitions, see Braclon, L. 3.
     c. 24 § 3. 4. Finch, L. B. 3. c. 12; Co. L. 126. a b 288. a;
     3 Bl. 121; 4 Bl 205; Stamf. P C. L. 1. c. 41. I do not find
     any of these definitions confine the offence to wilful and
     malicious perpetrations of it. 22&23 Car. 2. c. 1, called
     the Coventry act, has the words ‘on purpose and of malice
     forethought.’ or does the Common law-prescribe the same
     punishment for disfiguring, as for maiming.

     ** The punishment was by retaliation. ‘Et come ascun appele
     serra de tele felonie atteint et attende jugement, si soit
     le jugement tiel que il perde autriel membre come il avera
     toilet al pleintyre. El sy la pleynte soit faite de femme
     que avera toilet a home ses membres, en tiei cas perdra la
     femmela une meyn par jugement, come le membre dount ele
     avera trespasse.’ Britton, c 25. Flela, B 1. c. 40; LI.
     Ælfr. 19. 40.

Whosoever shall counterfeit* any coin, current by law within this
Commonwealth, or any paper bills issued in the nature of money, or of
certificates of loan on the credit of this Commonwealth, or of all
or any of the United States of America, or any Inspectors’ notes for
tobacco, or shall pass any such counterfeited coin, paper, bills, or
notes, knowing them to be counterfeit; or, for the sake of lucre shall
diminish,** case, or wash any such coin, shall be condemned to hard
labor six years in the public works, and shall forfeit all his lands and
goods to the Commonwealth.

     * 25E.3. st 5. c. 2; 5 El c. 11; 18 El. c. 1; 8 and 9 W. 3.
     c. 26; 15. and 16 G 2. c. 28; 7 Ann. q. 25. By the laws of
     Æthelstan and Canute, this was punished by cutting off the
     hand. ‘Gifse mynetereful wurthe sleaman tha hand of, the he
     that fil mid worthe and sette iippon tha rnynet smithlhan.’
     In English characters and words ‘if the minler foul
     [Criminal] wert, slay the hand off, that he the foul [crime]
     with wrought, and set upon the mint-smithery.’ LI,iEthelst.
     14. ‘And selhe ofer this false wyrce, tholige thaera handa
     the he thaet false mid worhte.’ ‘Et si quis prater hanc,
     falsam fecerit, perdat manum quacum falsam confecit.’ LI.
     Cnuti, 8. It had been death by the LI. Æihelredi, sub fine.
     By those of H. 1. ‘Si quis cum falso deuario inventus
     fueril--fiat justitia mea, saltern de dextro pugno et de
     testiculis.’ Anno 1108. ‘Opera prelium vero est audire quam
     severus rex fuerit in pravos. Monetarios enim fere omnes
     totius Angliee fecit ementulari, et manus dextras abscindi,
     quia monetam furtive corruperant.’ Wilkins ib. et anno 1125.
     When the Common law became settled, it appears to have been
     punishable by death. ‘Est aliud genus crirninis quod sub
     nomine falsi continetur, et tangit coronam domini regis, et
     nlfimum indncit supplicium, sicut de illis qui falsam
     fabricant monetasn, et qui de re non reproba, faciunt
     reprobam; sicut sunt retonsores deriarinruno’ Bract. L. 3. c
     3. § 2. Fleta, L. 1. c. 22 § 4 Lord Hale thinks it was
     deemed petty treason at common law. 1 H. P. C. 220, 224. The
     bringing in false money with intent to merchandise, and make
     payment of it is treason, by 25 E. 3. But the best proof of
     the intention, is the act of passing it, and why not leave
     room for repentance here, as in other cases of felonies
     intended? I H P. C. 229.

     ** Clipping, filing, rounding, impairing, scaling,
     lightening, (the words in the statutes) are included in
     ‘diminishing;’ gilding, in the word ‘casing;’ coloring in
     the word ‘washing;’ and falsifying or marking, is
     counterfeiting.’

Whosoever committeth Arson,* shall be condemned to hard labor five
years in the public works, and shall make good the loss of the sufferers
threefold.**

     *43 El. c. 13. confined to four counties. 22 ^ 23 Car. 2. c.
     7; 9 G. 1. c. 22, 9 G. 3. c. 29.

     ** Arson was a felony at Common law--3 Inst. 66; punished by
     a fine, Ll. Æthelst. 6. But LI. Cnuti, 61. make it a ‘scetus
     inexpiable.’ ‘Hus brec and baernet and open thyfth and
     asbereniorth and hlaford swice after woruld laga is
     boileds.’ Word for word, ‘House break and burnt, and open
     theft, and manifest murdher, and lord-treachery, after
     world’s law is bootless.’ Bracton says, it was punished by
     death. ‘Si quis turbida seditione iricendium fecerit
     nequiter et in felonia, vel ob inimicitias, vel praedandi
     causa, capital puniatur pcena vel sententia.’ Bract. L. 3.
     c. 27. He defines it as commissible by burning ‘cedes alien
     as.’ Ib. Britton, c. 9. ‘Ausi soitenquis de ceux que
     felonise-ment en temps de pees eient a litre blees ou autre
     messons ars, et ceux que ser-rount de ceo alteyniz, soient
     ars issint que eux soient punys par mesme cele chose dount
     ils pecherent.’ Fleia, L. I. c. 37. is a copy of Bracton.
     The Mirror, c. 1. § 8. says, ‘Ardours sont que ardent cilie,
     ville, maison home, maison beast, ou auters chatelx, de lour
     felonie en temps de pace pour haine ou vengeance.’ Again, c.
     2. § II., pointing oul the words of the appellor ‘jeo dise
     que Sebright, &c. entiel meas. on ou hiens mist de feu.’
     Coke, 3 Inst. 67. says, ‘The ancient authors extended this
     felony further than houses, viz. to stacks of corn, waynes
     or carts of coal, wood, or other goods.’ He defines it as
     commissibie, not only on the inset houses, parcel of the
     mansion-house, but the outset also, as barn, stable, cow-
     house, sheep-house, dairy-house, mill-house, and the like,
     parcel of the mansion house.’ But ‘burning of a barn, being
     no parcel of a mansion-house, is no felony,’ unless there be
     corn or hay within it. Ib. The 22 k. 23 Car. 2. and 9 G. 1.
     are the principal statutes against arson. They extend the
     offence beyond the Common law.

If any person shall, within this Commonwealth, or, being a citizen
thereof, shall without the same, wilfully destroy,* or run** away with
any sea-vessel, or goods laden on board thereof, or plunder or pilfer
any wreck, he shall be condemned to hard labor five years in the public
works, and shall make good the loss of the sufferers threefold.

     * Ann. st. 2. c. 9. 12 Ann. c. 18. 4 G. 1. c. 12. 26 G. 2.
     c. 19.

     ** 11 h 12 W.3. c.7.

Whosoever committeth Robbery,* shall be condemned to hard labor four
years in the public works, and shall make double reparation to the
persons injured.

     * Robbery was a felony at Common law. 3 Inst. 68. ‘Scelus
     inexpiable,’ by the LI. Cnuti. 61. [See before in Arson.] It
     was punished with death. Briit c. 15, ‘De robbours et de
     larouns et de semblables mesfesours, soitaussi
     ententivernent enquis--et tauntost soient ceux robbours
     juges a la morl.’ Fleta says, ‘Si quis conviclus fuerit de
     bonis viri robbatis vel asportatis ad sectam regis judicium
     capitale subibit.’ L. 1. c. 39. See also Bract. L. 3. c. 32
     § I.


Whatsoever act, if committed on any mansion-house, would be deemed
Burglary,* shall be Burglary, if committed on any other house; and he
who is guilty of Burglary, shall be condemned to hard labor four years
in the public works, and shall make double reparation to the persons
injured.

     * Burglary was felony at the Common law. 3 Inst. 63 It was
     not distinguished by ancient authors, except the Mirror,
     from simple House-breaking, ib. 65. Burglary and House-
     breaking were called ‘Hamsockne.’ ‘Diximus etiam de pacis
     violatione et de immunitatibus domus, si quis hoc in
     posterum fecetit ut perdat ornne quod habet, et sit in regis
     arbitro utrum vitam habeat.’ ‘Eac we quasdon be mundbryce
     and be ham socnum,sethe hit ofer this do tha:t he dolie
     enlles thces the age, and sy on Cyninges Jome hwsether be
     life age: and we quoth of mound-breach, and of home-seeking
     he who it after this do, that he dole all that he owe
     [owns], and is in kings doom whether he life owes [owns].’
     LI. Eadmundi, c. 6 and see LI. Cnuti. 61. ‘bus btec,’ in
     notesion Arson, ante. A Burglar was also called a Burgessor.
     ‘Et soit enquis de Burgessours et sunt tenus Burgessours
     trestous ceux que felonisement en temps de pees debrusornt
     esglises ou auter mesons, ou murs ou portes de nos cytes, ou
     de nos Burghes.’ Britt. c. 10. ‘Burglaria est nocturna
     diruptio habitaculi alicujus, vel ecclesise, etiam murorum,
     portarurnve civitatis aut burgi, ad feloniam aliquam
     perpetrandam. Noclanter dico, recentiores se-cutus; veteres
     enim hoc non adjungunt.’ Spelm. Gloss, verb. Burglaria. It
     was punished with death. Ib. citn. from the office of a
     Coroner. It may be committed in the outset houses, as well
     as inset, 3 Inst. 65. though not under the same roof or
     contiguous, provided they be within the Curtilage or Home-
     stall. 4 BI. 225. As by the Common law all felonies were
     clergiable, the stat. 23 H. 8. c. 1; 5 E. 6. c. 9. and 18
     El. c. 7. first distinguished tfiem, by taking the clerical
     privilege of impunity from the principals, and 3 & 4 W. M.
     c. 9. from accessories before the fact. No statute defines
     what Burglary is. The 12 Ann. c. 7. decides the doubt
     whether, where breaking is subsequent to entry, it is
     Burglary. Bacon’s Elements had affirmed, and T. H. P. C.
     554. had denied it. Our bill must distinguish them by
     different degrees of punishment.

Whatsoever act, if committed in the night time, shall constitute
the crime of Burglary, shall, if committed in the day, be deemed
House-breaking;* and whosoever is guilty thereof, shall be condemned to
hard labor three years in the public works, and shall make reparation to
the persons injured.

     * At the Common law, the offence of House-breaking was not
     distinguished from Burglary, and neither of them from any
     other larceny. The statutes at first took away clergy from
     Burglary, which made a leading distinction between the two
     offences. Later statutes, however, have taken clergy from so
     many cases of House-breaking, as nearly to bring the
     offences together again. These are 23 H. 8. c. 1; 1 E. 6. c.
     12; 5 k 6 E. 6. c. 9; 3 & 4 W. M. c. 9; 39 El. c. 15; 10&11
     W. 3. c.23; 12 Ann. c. 7. See Burr. 428; 4 Bl. 240. The
     circumstances, which in these statutes characterize the
     offence, seem to have been occasional and unsystematical.
     The houses on which Burglary may be committed, and the
     circumstances which constitute that crime, being
     ascertained, it will be better to define House-breoking by
     the same subjects and circumstances, and let the crimes be
     distinguished only by the hour at which they are committed,
     and the degree of punishment.

Whosoever shall be guilty of Horse-stealing,* shall be condemned to hard
labor three years in the public works, and shall make reparation to the
person injured.

     * The offence of Horse-stealing seems properly
     distinguishable from other larcenies, here, where these
     animals generally run at large, the temptation being so
     great and frequent, and the facility of commission so
     remarkable. See 1 E. 6. c. 12; 23 E. 6. c. 33; 31 El. c. 12.

Grand Larceny* shall be where the goods stolen are of the value of five
dollars; and whosoever shall be guilty thereof, shall be forthwith put
in the pillory for one half hour, shall be condemned to hard labor**
two years in the public works, and shall make reparation to the person
injured.

     * The distinction between grand and petty larceny is very
     ancient. At first 8d. was the sum which constituted grand
     larceny. LI. Ælhelst. c. 1. ‘Ne parcatur ulli furi, qui
     furtum manutenens captus sit, supra 12 annos nafo, et supra
     8 denarios.’ Afterwards, in the same king’s reign, it was
     raised to 12d. ‘Non parcaturalicui furi ultra 12 denarios,
     et ultra 12 annos nato--ut occide-mus ilium et capiamus omne
     quod possidet, et inprimis sumamus rei furto ablatse pretium
     ab hserede, ac dividatur postea reliquum in duas partes, una
     pars uxori, si munda, et facinoris conscia non sit; et
     residuum in duo, dimi-dium capiat rex, dimidium societas.’
     LI. Æthelst. Wilkins, p. 65. VOL. I. 17

     ** LI. Inse, c. 7. ‘Si quis furetur ita ut uxor ejus et
     infans ipsius nesciani, solvat 60. solidos pcenae loco. Si
     autem furetur testantibus omuibus haere-dibus suis, abeant
     omnes in servilutem.’ Ina was King of the West Saxons, and
     began to reign A. C. 688. After the union of the Heptarchy,
     i. e. temp. Æthelst. inter 924 and 940, we find it
     punishable with death as above. So it was inter 1017 and
     1035, i. e. temp. Cnuti. LI. Cnuti 61. cited in notes on
     Arson. In the time of William the Conqueror, it seems lo
     have been made punishable by fine only. LI. Gul. Cohq. apud
     Wilk. p. 218. 220. This commutation, however, was taken away
     by LI. H. 1. anno 1108. ‘Si quis in furto vel latro-cinio
     deprehensus fuisset, suspenderetur: sublata wirgildorum, id
     est, pecu-niarse redemptions lege.’ Larceny is the felonious
     taking and carrying away of the personal goods of another.
     1. As to the taking, the 3 & 4 VV. M. c. 9. § 5, is not
     additional to the Common law, but declaratory of it; because
     where only the care or use, and not the possession, of
     things is delivered, to take them was larceny at the Common
     law. The 33 H. 6. c. 1 and 21 11. 8. c. 7., indeed., have
     added to the Common law by making it larceny in a servant to
     convert things of his master’s. But quære, if they should be
     imitated more than as to other breaches of trust in general.
     2. As to the subject of larceny, 4 G. 2. c.32; 6 G. 3. c. 36
     48; 43 El. c. 7; 15 Car. 2. c. 2; 23 G. 2 c. 26; 31 G. 2. c.
     35; 9 G. 3. c. 41; 25 G. 2. c. 10. have extended larceny to
     things of various sorts, either real, or fixed to the
     realty. But the enumeration is unsystematical, and in this
     country, where the produce of the earth is so spontaneous as
     to have rendered things of this kind scarcely a breach of
     civility or good manners in the eyes of the people, quære,
     if it would not too much enlarge the field of Criminal law?
     The same may be questioned of 9 G. J. c. 22; 13 Car. 2. c.
     10; 10 G. 2. c. 32; 5 G. 3. c. 14; 22 h 23 Car. 2. c. 25; 37
     E. 3. c. 19. making it felony to steal animals ferte
     natures.

Petty Larceny shall be, where the goods stolen are of less value than
five dollars; and whosoever shall be guilty thereof, shall be forthwith
put in the pillory for a quarter of an hour, shall be condemned to hard
labor one year in the public works, and shall make reparation to the
person injured.

Robbery* or larceny of bonds, bills obligatory, bills of exchange, or
promissory notes for the payment of money or tobacco, lottery tickets,
paper bills issued in the nature of money, or of certificates of loan on
the credit of this Commonwealth, or of all or any of the United States
of America, or Inspectors’ notes for tobacco, shall be punished in the
same manner as robbery,or larceny of the money or tobacco due on or
     represented by such papers.* 2 G. 2. c. 25 §3; 7 G 3. c. 50.

Buyers* and receivers of goods taken by way of robbery or larceny,
knowing them to have been so taken, shall be deemed accessaries to such
robbery or larceny after the fact.

     * 3 &. 4 W. & M. c. 9. § 4; 5 Ann. c. 31. § 5; 4 G. 1. c.
     11. § 1.

Prison breakers,* also, shall be deemed accessaries after the fact, to
traitors or felons whom they enlarge from prison.**

     * 1 E. 2.

     ** Breach of prison at the Common law was capital, without
     regard to the crime for which the party was committed. ‘Cum
     pro criminis qualitate in carcerem recepti fuerint,
     conspiraverint (ut ruptis vinculis aut fracto carcere)
     evadant, atnplius (quam causa pro qua recepti sunt exposuit)
     puniendi sunt, videlicet ultimo supplicio, quamvis ex eo
     crimine innocentes inveniantur, propter quod inducti sunt in
     carcerem et imparcati.’ Bracton L. 3, c. 9. § 4. Britt. c.
     11. Fleta, L. 1. c. 26. § 4. Yet in the Y. B. Hill. 1 H. 7.
     2. Hussey says, that, by the opinion of Billing and Choke,
     and all the Justices, it was a felony in strangers only, but
     not in the prisoner himself. S. C. Fitz. Abr. Co-ron. 48.
     They are principal felons, not accessaries, ib. Whether it
     was felony in the prisoner at Common law, is doubted. Stam.
     P. C. 30. b. The Mirror c. 5. § 1. says, ‘Abusion est a
     tener escape de prisoner, ou de bruserie del gaole pur peche
     mortal 1, car eel usage nest garrant per nul ley, ne in nul
     part est use forsque in cest realme, et en France, ems
     [mais] est leu garrantie de ceo faire per la ley de nature’
     2 Inst. 589. The stat. 1 E. 2, ‘de fragentibus priso-nam,’
     ‘restrained the judgment of life and limb for prison-
     breaking, to cases where the offence of the prisoner
     required such judgment.’

     It is not only vain but wicked, in a legislator to frame
     laws in opposition to the laws of nature, and to arm them
     with the terrors of death. This is truly creating crimes in
     order to punish them. The law of nature impels every one to
     escape from confinement; it should not, therefore, be
     subjected to punishment. Let the legislator restrain his
     criminal by walls, not by parchment. As to strangers
     breaking prison to enlarge an offender, they should, and may
     be fairly considered as accessaries after the fact. This
     bill saying nothing of the prisoner releasing himself by
     breach of jail, he will have the benefit of the first
     section of the bill, which repeals the judgment of life and
     death at the Common law.

All attempts to delude the people, or to abuse their understanding by
exercise of the pretended arts of witchcraft, conjuration, enchantment,
or sorcery, or by pretended prophecies, shall be punished by ducking and
whipping, at the discretion of a jury, not, exceeding fifteen stripes.*

     * ‘Gifwiecan owwe wigleras mansworan, owwe morthwyrhtan owwe
     fule afylede eebere horcwenan ahwhar on lande wurthan
     agytene, thonne fyrsie man of earde, and claensie lha.
     theode, owwe on earde forfare hi mid ealle, buton hi
     geswican and the deoper gebetan:’ ‘if witches, or weirds,
     man-swearers, or murther-wroughters, or foul, defiled, open
     whore-queens, ay--where in the land were gotten, then force
     them off earth, and cleanse the nation, or in earth forth-
     fare them withal, buton they beseech, and deeply better.’
     LI. Ed. et Guthr. c. 11. ‘Saga; mulieres barbara
     factitantes sacrificia, aut pestiferi, si cui mortem
     intulerint, neque id inficiari poterint, capitis pcena
     esto.’ LI. Aethelst. c. 6. apud Lambard. LI. Aelfr. 30. LI.
     Cnuti. c. 4. ‘Mesmo eel jugement (d’etrears) eyent
     sorcers, et sorceresses,’ &c. ut supra. Fleta tit et ubi
     supra. 3 Inst. 44. Trial of witches before Hale, in 1664.
     The statutes 33 H. 8. c. 8. 5. El. c. 16 and 1. Jac. 1. c.
     12. seem to be only in confirmation of the Common law. 9 G.
     2. c. 25. punishes them with pillory and a year’s
     imprisonment 3 E. 6 c 15. 5 El. c. 15. punish fond,
     fantastical, and false prophecies, by fine and imprisonment.

If the principal offenders be fled,* or secreted from justice, in any
case not touching life or member, the accessaries may, notwithstanding,
be prosecuted as if their principal were convicted.**

     * 1 Ann. c. 9. § 2.

     **As every treason includes within it a misprision of
     treason, so every felony includes a misprision, or
     misdemeanor. 1 Hale P. C. 652. 75S. ‘Licet fuerit felonia,
     tamen in eo continetur misprisio.’ 2 R. 3.10. Both principal
     and accessary, therefore, may be proceeded against in any
     case, either for felony, or misprision, at the Common law.
     Capital cases not being mentioned here, accessaries to them
     will of course be triable for misprisions, if the offender
     flies.

If any offender stand mute of obstinacy,* or challenge preremp-torily
more of the jurors than by law he may, being first warned of the
consequence thereof, the court shall proceed as if he had confessed the
charge,**

     * 3E. I.e. 12.

     ** Whether the judgment of penance lay at Common law. See 2
     Inst. 178.2. H. P. C. 321. 4 Bl. 322. It was given on
     standing mute: but on challenging more than the legal
     number, whether that sentence, or sentence of death is to be
     given, seems doubtful. 2 H. P. C. 316. Quære, whether it
     would not be better to consider the supernumerary challenge
     as merely void, and to proceed in the trial. Quære too, in
     case of silence.

Pardon and privilege of clergy shall henceforth be abolished, that none
may be induced to injure through hope of impunity. But if the verdict be
against the defendant, and the court, before whom the offence is
heard and determined, shall doubt that it may be untrue for defect of
testimony, or other cause, they may direct a new trial to be had.*

     * ‘Cum Clericus sic de crimine convictus degradetur, non
     sequitur aliapoe-na pro uno delicto, vel pluribus ante
     degradationem perpetratis. Satis enim sufficit ei pro pcena
     degradatio, quse est magna capitis diminutio, nisi forte
     convictus fuerit de apostatia, quia hinc primo degradetur,
     et postea per manum laicalem comburetur, secundum quod
     accidit in concilio Oxoni celebrato a bonas memoriae S.
     Cantuaren. Archiepiscopo de quodam diacono, qui seapos-
     tatavit pro quadam Judaea; qui cum esset per episcopum
     degradatus, statim fuit igni traditus per manum laicalem.’
     Bract. L. 3. c. 9. § 2. ‘Et mesme eel jugement (i. e. qui
     ils soient ars) eye n’t sorcers et sorceresses, et sodomites
     et mescreauntz apertement atteyntz.’ Britt. c. 9.
     ‘Christiani autem Apostatae, sortilegii, et hujusmodi
     detractari debent et comburi.’ Fleta, L. 1. c. 37. § 2. see
     3 Inst. 39; 12 Rep. 92; 1 H. P. C. 393. The extent of the
     clerical privilege at the Common law, 1. As to the crimes,
     seems very obscure and uncertain. It extended to no case
     where the judgment was not of life or limb. Note in 2. H. P.
     C. 326. This, therefore, excluded it in trespass, petty
     larceny, or killing _se defendendo_. In high treason against
     the person of the King, it seems not to have been allowed.
     Note 1 H. P. C. 185. Treasons, therefore, not against the
     King’s person immediately, petty treasons and felonies, seem
     to have been the cases where it was allowed; and even of
     those, not for _insidiatio viarum, depopulatio agrorum, or
     combustio domorum_. The statute de Clero, 25 E. 3. st. 3. c.
     4. settled the law on this head. 2. As to the persons, it
     extended to all clerks, always, and toties quoiies. 2 H. P.
     C. 374. To nuns also. Fitz. Abr. Coron. 461. 22 E. 3. The
     clerical habit and tonsure were considered as evidence of
     the person being clerical. 26 Assiz. 19 & 20 E. 2. Fitz.
     Coron. 233. By the 9 E. 4. 28. b. 34 H. 6. 49. a. b. simple
     reading became the evidence. This extended impunity to a
     great number of laymen, and toties quoties. The stat. 4 H.
     7. c. 13. directed that real clerks should upon a second
     arraignment, produce their orders, and all others to be
     burnt in the hand with M. or T. on the first allowance of
     clergy, and not to be admitted to it a second time. A
     heretic, Jew, or Turk, (as being incapable of orders) could
     not have clergy. H Co. Rep. 29. b. But a Greek, or other
     alien, reading in a book of his own country, might. Bro.
     Clergie. 20. So a blind man, if he could speak Latin. Ib.
     21. qu, 11. Rep. 29. b. The orders entitling the party were
     bishops, priests, deacons, and sub-deacons, the inferior
     being reckoned Clerici in minoribus. 2 H. P. C. 373. Quære,
     however, if this distinction is not founded on the stat. 23.
     H. 8. c. 1; 25. H. 8. c. 32. By merely dropping all the
     statutes, it should seem that none but clerks would be
     entitled to this privilege, and that they would, toties
     quoties.

No attainder shall work corruption of blood in any case.

In all cases of forfeiture, the widow’s dower shall be saved to her,
during her title thereto; after which it shall be disposed of as if no
such saving had been.

The aid of Counsel,* and examination of their witnesses on oath, shall
be allowed to defendants in criminal prosecutions.

     * 1 Ann. c. 9.

Slaves guilty of any offence* punishable in others by labor in the
public works, shall be transported to such parts in the West Indies,
South America, or Africa, as the Governor shall direct, there to be
continued in slavery.

     * Manslaghter, counterfeiting, arson, asportation of
     vessels, robbery, burglary, house-breaking, horse-stealing,
     larceny.



[NOTE F.]--Coinage for the United States


_On the Establishment of a Money Unit, and of a Coinage for the
United States_.

In fixing the Unit of Money, these circumstances are of principal
importance.

I. That it be of _convenient_ size to be applied as a measure to the
common money transactions of life.

II. That its parts and multiplies be in an _easy proportion_ to each
other, so as to facilitate the money arithmetic;

III. That the Unit and its parts, or divisions, be _so nearly of the
value of some of the known coins_, as that they may be of easy adoption
for the people.

The Spanish Dollar seems to fulfil all these conditions.

I. Taking into our view all money transactions, great and small, I
question if a common measure of more _convenient size_ than the Dollar
could be proposed. The value of 100, 1000, 10,000 dollars is well
estimated by the mind; so is that of the tenth or the hundredth of a
dollar. Few transactions are above or below these limits. The expediency
of attending to the size of the Money Unit will be evident to any one
who will consider how inconvenient it would be to a manufacturer or
merchant, if instead of the yard for measuring cloth, either the inch or
the mile had been made the Unit of Measure.

II. The most _easy ratio_ of multiplication and division is that by ten.
Every one knows the facility of Decimal Arithmetic. Every one remembers,
that, when learning Money-Arithmetic, he used to be puzzled with adding
the farthings, taking out the fours and carrying them on; adding
the pence, taking out the twelves and carrying them on; adding the
shillings, taking out the twenties and carrying them on; but when he
came to the pounds, where he had only tens to carry forward, it was easy
and free from error. The bulk of mankind are school-boys through
life. These little perplexities are always great to them. And even
mathematical heads feel the relief of an easier, substituted for a more
difficult process. Foreigners, too, who trade or travel among us, will
find a great facility in understanding our coins and accounts from this
ratio of subdivision. Those who have had occasion to convert the Livres,
sols, and deniers of the French; the Gilders, stivers, and frenings of
the Dutch; the Pounds, shillings, pence, and farthings of these several
States, into each other, can judge how much they would have been aided,
had their several subdivisions been in a decimal ratio. Certainly, in
all cases, where we are free to choose between easy and difficult modes
of operation, it is most rational to choose the easy. The Financier,
therefore, in his report, well proposes that our Coins should be in
decimal proportions to one another. If we adopt the Dollar for our Unit,
we should strike four coins, one of gold, two of silver, and one of
copper, viz.

1. A golden piece, equal in value to ten dollars:

2. The Unit or Dollar itself, of silver:

3. The tenth of a Dollar, of silver also:

4. The hundreth of a Dollar, of copper.

Compare the arithmetical operations, on the same sum of money expressed
in this form, and expressed in the pound sterling and its divisions.

A bare inspection of the above operations, will evince the labor which
is occasioned by subdividing the Unit into 20ths, 240ths, and 960ths,
as the English do, and as we have done; and the ease of subdivision in
a decimal ratio. The same difference arises in making payment. An
Englishman, to pay £8 13s. 11d. 1/2qrs. must find, by calculation,
what combination of the coins of his country will pay this sum; but an
American, having the same sum to pay, thus expressed $38.65, will know,
by inspection only, that three golden pieces, eight units or dollars,
six tenths, and five coppers, pay it precisely.

III. The third condition required is, that the Unit, its multiples, and
subdivisions, coincide in value with some of the known coins so nearly,
that the people may, by a quick reference in the mind, estimate their
value. If this be not attended to, they will be very long in adopting
the innovation, if ever they adopt it. Let us examine, in this point of
view, each of the four coins proposed.

1. The golden piece will be 1/5 more than a half joe and 1/15 more than
a double guinea. It will be readily estimated, then, by reference to
either of them; but more readily and accurately as equal to ten dollars.

2. The Unit, or Dollar, is a known coin, and the most familiar of all to
the minds of the people. It is already adopted from South to North; has
identified our currency, and therefore happily offers itself as a
Unit already introduced. Our public debt, our requisitions, and their
apportionments, have given it actual and long possession of the place of
Unit. The course of our commerce, too, will bring us more of this than
of any other foreign coin, and therefore renders it more worthy of
attention. I know of no Unit which can be proposed in competition with
the Dollar, but the Pound. But what is the Pound? 1547 grains of fine
silver in Georgia; 1289 grains in Virginia, Connecticut, Rhode Island,
Massachusetts, and New Hampshire; 1031 grains in Maryland, Delaware,
Pennsylvania, and New Jersey; 966 grains in North Carolina and New York.
Which of these shall we adopt? To which State give that pre-eminence of
which all are so jealous? And on which impose the difficulties of a new
estimate of their corn, their cattle, and other commodities? Or shall we
hang the pound sterling, as a common badge, about all their necks? This
contains 1718 grains of pure silver. It is difficult to familiarize a
new coin to the people; it is more difficult to familiarize them to a
new coin with an old name. Happily, the Dollar is familiar to them all,
and is already as much referred to for a measure of value, as their
respective provincial pounds.

3. The tenth will be precisely the Spanish bit, or half pistereen. This
is a coin perfectly familiar to us all. When we shall make a new coin,
then, equal in value to this, it will be of ready estimate with the
people.

4. The hundredth, or copper, will differ little from the copper of the
four Eastern States, which is 1/108 of a dollar; still less from the
penny of New York and North Carolina, which is 1/96 of a dollar;
and somewhat more from the penny or copper of Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, and Maryland, which is 1/90 of a dollar. It will be about the
medium between the old and the new coppers of these States, and will
therefore soon be substituted for them both. In Virginia, coppers have
never been in use. It will be as easy, therefore, to introduce them
there of one value as of another. The copper coin proposed, will be
nearly equal to three fourths of their penny, which is the same with the
penny lawful of the Eastern States.

A great deal of small change is useful in a State, and tends to reduce
the price of small articles. Perhaps it would not be amiss to coin
three, more pieces of silver, one of the value of five tenths, or half
a dollar, one of the value of two tenths, which would be equal to the
Spanish pistereen, and one of the value of five coppers, which would be
equal to the Spanish half-bit. We should then have five silver coins,
viz.

1. The Unit or Dollar:

2. The half dollar or five tenths:

3. The double tenth, equal to 2/10, or one fifth of a dollar, or to the
pistereen:

4. The tenth, equal to a Spanish bit:

5. The five copper piece, equal to 5/100 or one twentieth of a dollar,
or the half-bit.

The plan reported by the Financier is worthy of his sound judgment. It
admits, however, of objection, in the size of the Unit. He proposes that
this shall be the 1440th part of a dollar; so that it will require 1440
of his units to make the one before proposed. He was led to adopt this
by a mathematical attention to our old currencies, all of which this
Unit will measure without leaving a fraction. But as our object is to
get rid of those currencies, the advantage derived from this coincidence
will soon be past, whereas the inconveniences of this Unit will for
ever remain, if they do not altogether prevent its introduction. It
is defective in two of the three requisites of a Money Unit. 1. It is
inconvenient in its application to the ordinary money transactions.
10,000 dollars will require eight figures to express them, to wit,
14,400,000 units. A horse or bullock of eighty dollars’ value, will
require a notation of six figures, to wit, 115,200 units. As a money
of account, this will be laborious, even when facilitated by the aid
of decimal arithmetic: as a common measure of the value of property,
it will be too minute to be comprehended by the people. The French are
subjected to very laborious calculations, the Livre being their ordinary
money of account, and this but between 1/5 and 1/6 of a dollar; but what
will be our labors, should our money of account be 1/1440 of a dollar
only? 2. It is neither equal, nor near to any of the known coins in
value.

If we determine that a Dollar shall be our Unit, we must then say with
precision what a Dollar is. This coin, struck at different times,
of different weights and fineness, is of different values. Sir Isaac
Newton’s assay and representation to the Lords of the Treasury, in 1717,
of those which he examined, make their values as follows:

[Illustration: Sir Isaac Newton’s Assay, page137]

     The Seville piece of eight . . . . 387     grains of pure silver
     The Mexico piece of eight  . . . . 385 1/2       ”
      The Pillar piece of eight  . . . . 385 3/4       ”
      The new Seville piece of eight . . 308 7/10      ”

The Financier states the old Dollar as containing 376 grains of fine
silver, and the new 365 grains. If the Dollars circulating among us be
of every date equally, we should examine the quantity of pure metal in
each, and from them form an average for our Unit. This is a work proper
to be committed to mathematicians as well as merchants, and which should
be decided on actual and accurate experiment.

The quantum of alloy is also to be decided. Some is necessary, to
prevent the coin from wearing too fast; too much, fills our pockets with
copper, instead of silver. The silver coin assayed by Sir Isaac Newton,
varied from 1 1/2 to 76 pennyweights alloy, in the pound troy of mixed
metal. The British standard has 18 dwt.; the Spanish coins assayed by
Sir Isaac Newton, have from 18 to 19 1/2 dwt.; the new French crown has
in fact 19 1/2, though by edict it should have 20 dwt., that is 1/12.

The taste of our countrymen will require, that their furniture plate
should be as good as the British standard. Taste cannot be controlled
by law. Let it then give the law, in a point which is indifferent to a
certain degree. Let the Legislatures fix the alloy of furniture plate
at 18 dwt., the British standard, and Congress that of their coin at one
ounce in the pound, the French standard. This proportion has been found
convenient for the alloy of gold coin, and it will simplify the system
of our mint to alloy both metals in the same degree. The coin too, being
the least pure, will be the less easily melted into plate. These reasons
are light, indeed, and, of course, will only weigh, if no heavier ones
can be opposed to them.

The proportion between the values of gold and silver is a mercantile
problem altogether. It would be inaccurate to fix it by the popular
exchanges of a half Joe for eight dollars, a Louis for four French
crowns, or five Louis for twenty-three dollars. The first of these,
would be to adopt the Spanish proportion between gold and silver;
the second, the French; the third, a mere popular barter, wherein
convenience is consulted more than accuracy. The legal proportion in
Spain is 16 for 1; in England, 15 1/2 for 1; in France, 15 for 1.
The Spaniards and English are found, in experience, to retain an over
proportion of gold coins, and to lose their silver. The French have a
greater proportion of silver. The difference at market has been on the
decrease. The Financier states it at present, as at 141/2 for one. Just
principles will lead us to disregard legal proportions altogether; to
inquire into the market price of gold, in the several countries with
which we shall principally be connected in commerce, and to take an
average from them. Perhaps we might, with safety, lean to a proportion
somewhat above par for gold, considering our neighborhood and commerce
with the sources of the coins, and the tendency which the high price
of gold in Spain has, to draw thither all that of their mines, leaving
silver principally for our and other markets. It is not impossible that
15 for 1, may be found an eligible proportion. I state it, however, as a
conjecture only.

As to the alloy for gold coin, the British is an ounce in the pound; the
French, Spanish, and Portuguese differ from that, only from a quarter of
a grain, to a grain and a half. I should, therefore, prefer the
British, merely because its fraction stands in a more simple form, and
facilitates the calculations into which it enters.

Should the Unit be fixed at 365 grains of pure silver, gold at 15 for 1,
and the alloy of both be one twelfth, the weights of the coins will be
as follows:

[Illustration: Projected Coin Weights, page138]

The quantity of fine silver which shall constitute the Unit,
being-settled, and the proportion of the value of gold, to that of
silver; a table should be formed from the assay before suggested,
classing the several foreign coins according to their fineness,
declaring the worth of a pennyweight or grain in each class, and that
they shall be lawful tenders at those rates, if not clipped or otherwise
diminished; and where diminished, offering their value for them at the
mint, deducting the expense of re-coinage. Here the Legislatures should
co-operate with Congress, in providing that no money be received or paid
at their treasuries, or by any of their officers, or any bank, but on
actual weight; in making it criminal, in a high degree, to diminish
their own coins, and, in some smaller degree, to offer them in payment
when diminished.

That this subject may be properly prepared and in readiness for Congress
to take up at their meeting in November, something must now be done. The
present session drawing to a close, they probably would not choose to
enter far into this undertaking themselves. The Committee of the States,
however, during the recess, will have time to digest it thoroughly, if
Congress will fix some general principles for their government. Suppose
they be instructed,--

To appoint proper persons to assay and examine, with the utmost
accuracy practicable, the Spanish milled dollars of different dates in
circulation with us.

To assay and examine, in like manner, the fineness of all the other
coins which may be found in circulation within these states.

To report to the Committee the result of these assays, by them to be
laid before Congress.

To appoint, also, proper persons to inquire what are the proportions
between the values of fine gold and fine silver, at the markets of the
several countries with which we are, or probably may be, connected in
commerce; and what would be a proper proportion here, having regard
to the average of their values at those markets, and to other
circumstances, and to report the same to the Committee, by them to be
laid before Congress.

To prepare an Ordinance for establishing the Unit of Money within these
States; for subdividing it; and for striking coins of gold, silver, and
copper, on the following principles.

That the Money Unit of these States shall be equal in value to a Spanish
milled dollar containing so much fine silver as the assay, before
directed, shall show to be contained, on an average, in dollars of the
several dates in circulation with us.

That this Unit shall be divided into tenths and hundredths; that there
shall be a coin of silver of the value of a Unit; one other of the same
metal, of the value of one tenth of a Unit; one other of copper, of the
value of the hundredth of a Unit.

That there shall be a coin of gold of the value of ten units, according
to the report before directed, and the judgment of the Committee
thereon.

That the alloy of the said coins of gold and silver shall be equal in
weight to one eleventh part of the fine metal.

That there be proper devices for these coins.

That measures be proposed for preventing their diminution, and also
their currency, and that of any others, when diminished.

That the several foreign coins be described and classed in the said
Ordinance, the fineness of each class stated, and its value by weight
estimated in Units and decimal parts of Units.

And that the said draught of an Ordinance be reported to Congress at
their next meeting, for their consideration and determination.


Supplementary Explanations.

The preceding notes having been submitted to the consideration of the
Financier, he favored me with his opinion and observations on them,
which render necessary the following supplementary explanations.

I observed in the preceding notes, that the true proportion of value
between gold and silver was a mercantile problem altogether, and that,
perhaps, fifteen for one, might be found an eligible proportion. The
Financier is so good as to inform me, that this would be higher than
the market would justify. Confident of his better information on this
subject, I recede from that idea.*

* In a Newspaper, which frequently gives good details in political
economy, I find, under the Hamburg head, that the present market
price of Gold and Silver is, in England, 15.5 for 1: in Russia, 15: in
Holland, 14.75: in Savoy, 14.96: in Fiance, 14.42: in Spain, 14.3: in
Germany, 14.155: the average of which is 14.615 or 14 1/2. I would still
incline to give a little more than the market price for gold, because of
its superior convenience in transportation.

He also informs me, that the several coins in circulation among us, have
already been assayed with accuracy, and the result published in a work
on that subject. The assay of Sir Isaac Newton had superseded, in my
mind, the necessity of this operation as to the older coins, which were
the subject of his examination. This later work, with equal reason, may
be considered as saving the same trouble as to the latter coins.

So far, then, I accede to the opinions of the Financier. On the other
hand, he seems to concur with me, in thinking his smallest fractional
division too minute for a Unit, and, therefore, proposes to transfer
that denomination to his largest silver coin, containing 1000 of the
units first proposed, and worth about 4s. 2d. lawful, or 25/36 of a
dollar. The only question then remaining between us is, whether the
Dollar, or this coin, be best for the Unit. We both agree that the ease
of adoption with the people, is the thing to be aimed at.

1. As to the Dollar, events have overtaken and superseded the question.
It is no longer a doubt whether the people can adopt it with ease; they
have adopted it, and will have to be turned out of that, into another
track of calculation, if another Unit be assumed. They have now two
Units, which they use with equal facility, viz. the Pound of their
respective state, and the Dollar. The first of these is peculiar to each
state; the second, happily, common to all. In each state, the people
have an easy rule for converting the pound of their state into dollars,
or dollars into pounds; and this is enough for them, without knowing how
this may be done in every state of the Union. Such of them as live near
enough the borders of their state to have dealings with their neighbors,
learn also the rule of their neighbors: Thus, in Virginia and the
Eastern States, where the dollar is 6s. or 3/10 of a pound, to turn
pounds into dollars, they multiply by 10, and divide by 3. To turn
dollars into pounds, they multiply by 3, and divide by 10. Those in
Virginia who live near to Carolina, where the dollar is 8s. or 4/10 of
a pound, learn the operation of that state, which is a multiplication
by 4, and division by 10, _et e converso_. Those who live near Maryland,
where the dollar is 7s. 6d. or 3/8 of a pound, multiply by 3, and divide
by 8, _et e converso_. All these operations are easy, and have been
found by experience, not too much for the arithmetic of the people,
when they have occasion to convert their old Unit into dollars, or the
reverse.

2. As to the Unit of the Financier; in the States where the dollar is
3/10 of a pound, this Unit will be 5/24. Its conversion into the pound
then, will be by a multiplication by 5, and a division by 24. In the
States where the dollar is 3/8 of a pound, this Unit will be 25/96 of
a pound, and the operation must be to multiply by 25, and divide by 96,
_et e converso_. Where the dollar is 4/10 of a pound, this Unit will
be 5/18. The simplicity of the fraction, and of course the facility
of conversion and reconversion, is therefore against this Unit, and in
favor of the dollar, in every instance. The only advantage it has over
the dollar, is, that it will in every case express our farthing without
a remainder; whereas, though the dollar and its decimals will do this
in many cases, it will not in all. But, even in these, by extending your
notation one figure farther, to wit, to thousands, you approximate a
perfect accuracy within less than the two thousandth part of a dollar;
an atom in money which every one would neglect. Against this single
inconvenience, the other advantages of the dollar are more than
sufficient to preponderate. This Unit will present to the people a new
coin, and whether they endeavor to estimate its value by comparing it
with a Pound, or with a Dollar, the Units they now possess, they will
find the fraction very compound, and of course less accommodated to
their comprehension and habits than the dollar. Indeed the probability
is, that they could never be led to compute in it generally.

The Financier supposes that the 1/100 of a dollar is not sufficiently
small, where the poor are purchasers or vendors. If it is not, make
a smaller coin. But I suspect that it is small enough. Let us examine
facts, in countries where we are acquainted with them. In Virginia,
where our towns are few, small, and of course their demand for
necessaries very limited, we have never yet been able to introduce a
copper coin at all. The smallest coin which any body will receive there,
is the half-bit, or 1/20 of a dollar. In those states where the towns
are larger and more populous, a more habitual barter for small wants,
has called for a copper coin of 1/90 or 1/96 or 1/108 of a dollar.
In England, where the towns are many and pouplous, and where ages of
experience have matured the conveniences of intercourse, they have found
that some wants may be supplied for a farthing, or 1/208 of a dollar,
and they have accommodated a coin to this want. This business is
evidently progressive. In Virginia we are far behind. In some other
states, they are farther advanced, to wit, to the appreciation of
1/90, 1/96 or 1/108 of a dollar. To this most advanced state, then, I
accommodated my smartest coin in the decimal arrangement, as a money of
payment, corresponding with the money of account. I have no doubt the
time will come when a smaller coin will be called for. When that comes,
let it be made. It will probably be the half of the copper I propose,
that is to say 5/1000 or.005 of a dollar, this being very nearly the
farthing of England. But it will be time enough to make it, when the
people shall be ready to receive it.

My proposition then, is, that our notation of money shall be decimal,
descending _ad libitum_ of the person noting; that the Unit of this
notation shall be a Dollar; that coins shall be accommodated to it from
ten dollars to the hundredth of a dollar; and that, to set this on
foot, the resolutions be adopted which were proposed in the notes, only
substituting an inquiry into the fineness of the coins in lieu of an
assay of them.



[NOTE G.]

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

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

The Declaration of Independence.

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

The act putting an end to entails.

The act prohibiting the importation of slaves.

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

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

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

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

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

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

     * It appears, from a blank space at the bottom of this
     paper, that a continuation had been intended. Indeed, from
     the loose manner in which the above notes are written, it
     may be inferred that they were originally intended as
     memoranda only, to be used in some more permanent form.



[NOTE H.]


Sir,

New York, October 13, 1789.

In the selection of characters to fill the important offices of
Government in the United States, I was naturally led to contemplate the
talents and dispositions which I knew you to possess and entertain for
the service of your country; and without being able to consult your
inclination, or to derive any knowledge of your intentions from your
letters, either to myself or to any other of your friends, I was
determined, as well by motives of private regard, as a conviction of
public propriety, to nominate you for the Department of State, which,
under its present organization, involves many of the most interesting
objects of the Executive authority.

But grateful as your acceptance of this commission would be to me, I
am, at the same time, desirous to accommodate your wishes, and I
have, therefore, forborne to nominate your successor at the court of
Versailles until I should be informed of your determination.

Being on the eve of a journey through the Eastern States, with a view
to observe the situation of the country, and in a hope of perfectly
re-establishing my health, which a series of indispositions has much
impaired, I have deemed it proper to make this communication of your
appointment, in order that you might lose no time, should it be your
wish to visit Virginia during the recess of Congress, which will
probably be the most convenient season, both as it may respect your
private concerns, and the public service.

Unwilling, as I am, to interfere in the direction of your choice of
assistants, I shall only take the liberty of observing to you, that,
from warm recommendations which I have received in behalf of Roger
Alden, Esq., Assistant Secretary to the late Congress, I have placed all
the papers thereunto belonging under his care. Those papers which more
properly appertain to the office of Foreign Affairs, are under the
superintendence of Mr. Jay, who has been so obliging as to continue his
good offices, and they are in the immediate charge of Mr. Remsen.

With sentiments of very great esteem and regard, I have the honor to be,
Sir,

Your most obedient servant,

George Washington.

The Honorable Thomas Jefferson.

I take the occasion to acknowledge the receipt of your several favors of
the 4th and 5th of December of the last, and 10th of May of the present
year, and to thank you for the communications therein. G. W.



New York, November 30, 1789.

Dear Sir,

You will perceive by the inclosed letter (which was left for you at the
office of Foreign Affairs when I made a journey to the Eastern States),
the motives, on which I acted with regard to yourself, and the occasion
of my explaining them at that early period.

Having now reason to hope, from Mr. Trumbull’s report, that you will
be arrived at Norfolk before this time (on which event I would most
cordially congratulate you), and having a safe conveyance by Mr.
Griffin, I forward your commission to Virginia; with a request to
be made acquainted with your sentiments as soon as you shall find it
convenient to communicate them to me. With sentiments of very great
esteem and regard,

I am, dear Sir,

Your most obedient, humble servant,

George Washington.


The Honorable Thomas Jefferson.



*****



CORRESPONDENCE



LETTER I.--TO DR. WILLIAM SMALL, May 7, 1775


TO DR. WILLIAM SMALL.

May 7, 1775.

Dear Sir,

Within this week we have received the unhappy news of an action of
considerable magnitude, between the King’s troops and our brethren of
Boston, in which, it is said, five hundred of the former, with the Earl
of Percy, are slain. That such an action has occurred, is undoubted,
though perhaps the circumstances may not have reached us with truth.
This accident has cut off our last hope of reconciliation, and a phrenzy
of revenge seems to have seized all ranks of people. It is a lamentable
circumstance, that the only mediatory power, acknowledged by both
parties, instead of leading to a reconciliation his divided people,
should pursue the incendiary purpose of still blowing up the flames, as
we find him constantly doing, in every speech and public declaration.
This may, perhaps, be intended to intimidate into acquiescence, but the
effect has been most unfortunately otherwise. A little knowledge
of human nature, and attention to its ordinary workings, might have
foreseen that the spirits of the people here were in a state, in which
they were more likely to be provoked, than frightened, by haughty
deportment. And to fill up the measure of irritation, a proscription of
individuals has been substituted in the room of just trial. Can it be
believed, that a grateful people will suffer those to be consigned to
execution, whose sole crime has been the developing and asserting their
rights? Had the Parliament possessed the power of reflection, they would
have avoided a measure as impotent, as it was inflammatory. When I saw
Lord Chatham’s bill, I entertained high hope that a reconciliation could
have been brought about. The difference between his terms, and those
offered by our Congress, might have been accommodated, if entered on,
by both parties, with a disposition to accommodate. But the dignity of
Parliament, it seems, can brook no opposition to its power. Strange,
that a set of men, who have made sale of their virtue to the minister,
should yet talk of retaining dignity. But I am getting into politics,
though I sat down only to ask your acceptance of the wine: and express
my constant wishes for your happiness.

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER II.--TO JOHN RANDOLPH, August 25,1775


TO JOHN RANDOLPH, ESQ.,

Monticello,

August 25,1775.

Dear Sir,

I am sorry the situation of our country should render it not eligible to
you to remain longer in it. I hope the returning wisdom of Great Britain
will, ere long, put an end to this unnatural contest. There may be
people to whose tempers and dispositions contention is pleasing, and
who, therefore, wish a continuance of confusion; but to me it is of all
states but one, the most horrid: My first wish is a restoration of our
just rights; my second, a return of the happy period, when, consistently
with duty, I may withdraw myself totally from the public stage, and pass
the rest of my days in domestic ease and tranquillity, banishing every
desire of ever hearing what passes in the world. Perhaps, (for the
latter adds considerably to the warmth of the former wish,) looking
with fondness towards a reconciliation with Great Britain, I cannot help
hoping you may be able to contribute towards expediting this good work.
I think it must be evident to yourself, that the Ministry have been
deceived by their officers on this side of the water, who (for what
purpose, I cannot tell) have constantly represented the American
opposition as that of a small faction, in which the body of the people
took little part. This, you can inform them, of your own knowledge, is
untrue. They have taken it into their heads, too, that we are cowards,
and shall surrender at discretion to an armed force. The past and future
operations of the war must confirm or undeceive them on that head.
I wish they were thoroughly and minutely acquainted with every
circumstance relative to America, as it exists in truth. I am persuaded,
this would go far towards disposing them to reconciliation. Even those
in Parliament who are called friends to America, seem to know nothing
of our real determinations. I observe, they pronounced in the last
Parliament, that the Congress of 1774 did not mean to insist rigorously
on the terms they held out, but kept something in reserve, to give up:
and, in fact, that they would give up every thing but the article of
taxation. Now, the truth is far from this, as I can affirm, and put
my honor to the assertion. Their continuance in this error may perhaps
produce very ill consequences. The Congress stated the lowest terms they
thought possible to be accepted, in order to convince the world they
were not unreasonable. They gave up the monopoly and regulation of
trade, and all acts of Parliament prior to 1764, leaving to British
generosity to render these, at some future time, as easy to America
as the interest of Britain would admit. But this was before blood was
spilt. I cannot affirm, but have reason to think, these terms would not
now be accepted. I wish no false sense of honor, no ignorance of our
real intentions, no vain hope that partial concessions of right will be
accepted, may induce the Ministry to trifle with accommodation, till
it shall be out of their power ever to accommodate. If, indeed, Great
Britain, disjoined from her colonies, be a match for the most potent
nations of Europe, with the colonies thrown into their scale, they
may go on securely. But if they are not assured of this, it would be
certainly unwise, by trying the event of another campaign, to risk our
accepting a foreign aid, which perhaps may not be obtainable but on
condition of everlasting avulsion from Great Britain. This would be
thought a hard condition to those who still wish for reunion with their
parent country. I am sincerely one of those, and would rather be in
dependence on Great Britain, properly limited, than on any nation upon
earth, or than on no nation. But I am one of those, too, who, rather
than submit to the rights of legislating for us, assumed by the British
Parliament, and which late experience has shown they will so cruelly
exercise, would lend my hand to sink the whole island in the ocean.

If undeceiving the Minister, as to matters of fact, may change his
disposition, it will perhaps be in your power, by assisting to do
this, to render service to the whole empire at the most critical time,
certainly, that it has ever seen. Whether Britain shall continue the
head of the greatest empire on earth, or shall return to her original
station in the political scale of Europe, depends perhaps on the
resolutions of the succeeding winter. God send they may be wise and
salutary for us all. I shall be glad to hear from you as often as
you may be disposed to think of things here. You may be at liberty, I
expect; to communicate some things, consistently with your honor and the
duties you will owe to a protecting nation. Such a communication among
individuals may be mutually beneficial to the contending parties.
On this or any future occasion, if I affirm to you any facts, your
knowledge of me will enable you to decide on their credibility; if I
hazard opinions on the dispositions of men or other speculative points,
you can only know they are my opinions. My best wishes for your felicity
attend you wherever you go; and believe me to be, assuredly,

Your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER III.--TO JOHN RANDOLPH, November 29, 1775


TO JOHN RANDOLPH, ESQ..

Philadelphia,

November 29, 1775.

Dear Sir,

I am to give you the melancholy intelligence of the death of our most
worthy Speaker, which happened here on the 22nd of the last month. He
was struck with an apoplexy, and expired within five hours.

I have it in my power to acquaint you that the success of our arms has
corresponded with the justness of our cause. Chambly and St. Johns were
taken some weeks ago, and in them the whole regular army in Canada,
except about forty or fifty men. This day certain intelligence has
reached us that our General, Montgomery, is received into Montreal: and
we expect every hour to be informed that Quebec has opened its arms to
Colonel Arnold, who, with eleven hundred men, was sent from Boston up
the Kennebec, and down the Chaudiere river to that place. He expected
to be there early this month. Montreal acceded to us on the 13th, and
Carleton set out, with the shattered remains of his little army, for
Quebec, where we hope he will be taken up by Arnold. In a short time, we
have reason to hope, the delegates of Canada will join us in Congress,
and complete the American union as far as we wish to have it completed.
We hear that one of the British transports has arrived at Boston; the
rest are beating off the coast, in very bad weather. You will have
heard, before this reaches you, that Lord Dunmore has commenced
hostilities in Virginia. That people bore with every thing, till he
attempted to burn the town of Hampton. They opposed and repelled him,
with considerable loss on his side, and none on ours. It has raised our
countrymen into a perfect phrenzy. It is an immense misfortune to the
whole empire to have a King of such a disposition at such a time. We are
told, and every thing proves it true, that he is the bitterest enemy
we have. His Minister is able, and that satisfies me that ignorance, or
wickedness, somewhere, controls him. In an earlier part of this contest,
our petitions told him, that from our King there was but one appeal.
The admonition was despised, and that appeal forced on us. To undo his
empire, he has but one truth more to learn; that, after colonies have
drawn the sword, there is but one step more they can take. That step is
now pressed upon us by the measures adopted, as if they were afraid we
would not take it. Believe me, dear Sir, there is not in the British
empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I
do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield
to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose; and
in this, I think I speak the sentiments of America. We want neither
inducement nor power to declare and assert a separation. It is will
alone which is wanting, and that is growing apace under the fostering
hand of our King. One bloody campaign will probably decide everlastingly
our future course; I am sorry to find a bloody campaign is decided on.
If our winds and waters should not combine to rescue their shores from
slavery, and General Howe’s reinforcement should arrive in safety, we
have hopes he will be inspirited to come out of Boston and take another
drubbing: and we must drub him soundly before the sceptred tyrant will
know we are not mere brutes, to crouch under his hand, and kiss the rod
with which he deigns to scourge us.

Yours, &c.

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER IV.--TO BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, August 13, 1777


TO DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, PARIS.

Virginia,

August 13, 1777.

Honorable Sir,

I forbear to write you news, as the time of Mr. Shore’s departure being
uncertain, it might be old before you receive it, and he can, in person,
possess you of all we have. With respect to the State of Virginia in
particular, the people seem to have laid aside the monarchical, and
taken up the republican government, with as much ease as would have
attended their throwing off an old and putting on a new suit of clothes.
Not a single throe has attended this important transformation. A
half dozen aristocratical gentlemen, agonizing under the loss of
pre-eminence, have sometimes ventured their sarcasms on our political
metamorphosis. They have been thought fitter objects of pity than of
punishment. We are at present in the complete and quiet exercise of well
organized government, save only that our courts of justice do not open
till the fall. I think nothing can bring the security of our continent
and its cause into danger, if we can support the credit of our paper. To
do that, I apprehend one of two steps must be taken. Either to procure
free trade by alliance with some naval power able to protect it; or, if
we find there is no prospect of that, to shut our ports totally to all
the world, and turn our colonies into manufactories. The former would be
most eligible, because most conformable to the habits and wishes of
our people. Were the British Court to return to their senses in time to
seize the little advantage which still remains within their reach from
this quarter, I judge that, on acknowledging our absolute independence
and sovereignty, a commercial treaty beneficial to them, and perhaps
even a league of mutual offence and defence, might, not seeing the
expense or consequences of such a measure, be approved by our people, if
nothing in the mean time, done on your part, should prevent it. But
they will continue to grasp at their desperate sovereignty, till every
benefit short of that is for ever out of their reach. I wish my domestic
situation had rendered it possible for me to join you in the very
honorable charge confided to you. Residence in a polite Court, society
of literati of the first order, a just cause and an approving God, will
add length to a life for which all men pray, and none more than

Your most obedient

and humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER V.--TO PATRICK HENRY, March 27, 1779


TO HIS EXCELLENCY PATRICK HENRY.

Albemarle,

March 27, 1779.

Sir,

A report prevailing here, that in consequence of some powers from
Congress, the Governor and Council have it in contemplation to
remove the Convention troops, [The troops under Burgoyne, captured at
Saratoga.] either wholly or in part, from their present situation,
I take the liberty of troubling you with some observations on that
subject. The reputation and interest of our country, in general, may
be affected by such a measure; it would, therefore, hardly be deemed an
indecent liberty, in the most private citizen, to offer his thoughts
to the consideration of the Executive. The locality of my situation,
particularly, in the neighborhood of the present barracks, and the
public relation in which I stand to the people among whom they are
situated, together with a confidence, which a personal knowledge of the
members of the Executive gives me, that they Will be glad of information
from any quarter, on a subject interesting to the public, induce me
to hope that they will acquit me of impropriety in the present
representation.

By an article in the Convention of Saratoga, it is stipulated, on the
part of the United States, that the officers shall not be separated
from their men. I suppose the term officers, includes general as well as
regimental officers. As there are general officers who command all the
troops, no part of them can be separated from these officers without a
violation of the article: they cannot, of course, be separated from one
another, unless the same general officer could be in different places
at the same time. It is true, the article adds the words, ‘as far as
circumstances will admit.’ This was a necessary qualification; because,
in no place in America, I suppose, could there have been found quarters
for both officers and men together; those for the officers to be
according to their rank. So far, then, as the circumstances of the place
where they should be quartered, should render a separation necessary, in
order to procure quarters for the officers, according to their rank, the
article admits that separation. And these are the circumstances which
must have been under the contemplation of the parties; both of whom, and
all the world beside (who are ultimate judges in the case), would still
understand that they were to be as near in the environs of the camp, as
convenient quarters could be procured; and not that the qualification
of the article destroyed the article itself and laid it wholly at our
discretion. Congress, indeed, have admitted of this separation; but
are they so far lords of right and wrong as that our consciences may
be quiet with their dispensation? Or is the case amended by saying they
leave it optional in the Governor and Council to separate the troops
or not? At the same time that it exculpates not them, it is drawing the
Governor and Council into a participation in the breach of faith. If
indeed it is only proposed, that a separation of the troops shall be
referred to the consent of their officers; that is a very different
matter. Having carefully avoided conversation with them on public
subjects, I cannot say, of my own knowledge, how they would relish
such a proposition. I have heard from others, that they will choose to
undergo any thing together, rather than to be separated, and that they
will remonstrate against it in the strongest terms. The Executive,
therefore, if voluntary agents in this measure, must be drawn into a
paper war with them, the more disagreeable, as it seems that faith and
reason will be on the other side. As an American, I cannot help feeling
a thorough mortification, that our Congress should have permitted an
infraction of our public honor; as a citizen of Virginia, I cannot help
hoping and confiding, that our supreme Executive, whose acts will be
considered as the acts of the Commonwealth, estimate that honor too
highly to make its infraction their own act. I may be permitted to hope,
then, that if any removal takes place, it will be a general one: and, as
it is said to be left to the Governor and Council to determine on
this, I am satisfied, that, suppressing every other consideration, and
weighing the matter dispassionately, they will determine upon this sole
question, Is it for the benefit of those for whom they act, that, the
Convention troops should be removed from among them? Under the head of
interest, these circumstances, viz. the expense of building barracks,
said to have been £25,000, and of removing the troops backwards and
forwards, amounting to I know not how much, are not to be pre-termitted,
merely because they are Continental expenses; for we are a part of the
Continent; we must pay a shilling of every dollar wasted. But the sums
of money, which, by these troops, or on their account, are brought into,
and expended in this State, are a great and local advantage. This can
require no proof. If, at the conclusion of the war, for instance, our
share of the Continental debt should be twenty millions of dollars, or
say that we are called on to furnish an annual quota of two millions
four hundred thousand dollars, to Congress, to be raised by tax, it is
obvious that we should raise these given sums with greater or less
ease, in proportion to the greater or less quantity of money found in
circulation among us. I expect that our circulating money is, by the
presence of these troops, at the rate of $30,000 a week, at the least. I
have heard, indeed, that an objection arises to their being kept within
this state, from the information of the commissary that they cannot
be subsisted here. In attending to the information of that officer,
it should be borne in mind that the county of King William and its
vicinities are one thing, the territory of Virginia another. If the
troops could be fed upon long letters, I believe the gentleman at the
head of that department in this country would be the best commissary
upon earth. But till I see him determined to act, not to write; to
sacrifice his domestic ease to the duties of his appointment, and apply
to the resources of this country, wheresoever they are to be had, I must
entertain a different opinion of him. I am mistaken, if, for the animal
sub-sistence of the troops hitherto, we are not principally indebted to
the genius and exertions of Hawkins, during the very short time he
lived after his appointment to that department, by your board. His
eye immediately pervaded the whole state; it was reduced at once to
a regular machine, to a system, and the whole put into movement and
animation by the _fiat_ of a comprehensive mind. If the Commonwealth
of Virginia cannot furnish these troops with bread, I would ask of the
commissariat, which of the thirteen is now become the grain colony? If
we are in danger of famine from the addition of four thousand mouths,
what is become of that surplus of bread, the exportation of which used
to feed the West Indies and Eastern States, and fill the colony with
hard money? When I urge the sufficiency of this State, however, to
subsist these troops, I beg to be understood, as having in contemplation
the quantity of provisions necessary for their real use, and not as
calculating what is to be lost by the wanton waste, mismanagement, and
carelessness of those employed about it. If magazines of beef and
pork are suffered to rot by slovenly butchering, or for want of
timely provision and sale; if quantities of flour are exposed by the
commissaries entrusted with the keeping it, to pillage and destruction;
and if, when laid up in the Continental stores, it is still to be
embezzled and sold, the land of Egypt itself would be insufficient
for their supply, and their removal would be necessary, not to a more
plentiful country, but to more able and honest commissaries. Perhaps,
the magnitude of this question, and its relation to the whole state,
may render it worth while to await, the opinion of the National Council,
which is now to meet within a few weeks. There is no danger of
distress in the mean time, as the commissaries affirm they have a great
sufficiency of provisions for some time to come. Should the measure of
removing them into another State be adopted, and carried into execution,
before the meeting of Assembly, no disapprobation of theirs will bring
them back, because they will then be in the power of others, who will
hardly give them up.

Want of information as to what may be the precise measure proposed by
the Governor and Council, obliges me to shift my ground, and take up the
subject in every possible form. Perhaps they have not thought to remove
the troops out of this State altogether, but to some other part of
it. Here, the objections arising from the expenses of removal, and of
building new barracks, recur. As to animal food, it may be driven to
one part of the country as easily as to another: that circumstance,
therefore, may be thrown out of the question. As to bread, I suppose
they will require about forty or forty-five thousand bushels of grain
a year. The place to which it is to be brought to them, is about the
centre of the State. Besides that the country round about is fertile,
all the grain made in the counties adjacent to any kind of navigation,
may be brought by water to within twelve miles of the spot. For these
twelve miles, wagons must be employed; I suppose half a dozen will be a
plenty. Perhaps this part of the expense might have been saved, had the
barracks been built on the water; but it is not sufficient to justify
their being abandoned now they are built. Wagonage, indeed, seems to
the commissariat, an article not worth economizing. The most wanton and
studied circuity of transportation has been practised: to mention
only one act, they have bought quantities of flour for these troops
in Cumberland, have ordered it to be wagoned down to Manchester, and
wagoned thence up to the barracks. This fact happened to fall within my
own knowledge. I doubt not there are many more such, in order either to
produce their total removal, or to run up the expenses of the present
situation, and satisfy Congress that the nearer they are brought to the
commissary’s own bed, the cheaper they will be subsisted. The grain made
in the Western counties may be brought partly in wagons, as conveniently
to this as to any other place; perhaps more so, on account of its
vicinity to one of the best passes through the Blue Ridge; and partly
by water, as it is near to James river, to the navigation of which, ten
counties are adjacent above the falls. When I said that the grain
might be brought hither from all the counties of the State, adjacent to
navigation, I did not mean to say it would be proper to bring it from
all. On the contrary, I think the commissary should be instructed, after
the next harvest, not to send one bushel of grain to the barracks
from below the falls of the rivers, or from the northern counties. The
counties on tide water are accessible to the calls for our own army.
Their supplies ought, therefore, to be husbanded for them. The counties
in the northwestern parts of the State are not only within reach for our
own grand army, but peculiarly necessary for the support of Macintosh’s
army; or for the support of any other northwestern expedition, which the
uncertain conduct of the Indians should render necessary; insomuch
that if the supplies of that quarter should be misapplied to any
other purpose, it would destroy in embryo every exertion, either for
particular or general safety there. The counties above tide water,
in the middle and southern and western parts of the country, are not
accessible to calls for either of those purposes, but at such an expense
of transportation as the article would not bear. Here, then, is a
great field, whose supplies of bread cannot be carried to our army, or,
rather, which will raise no supplies of bread, because there is no body
to eat them. Was it not, then, wise in Congress to remove to that field
four thousand idle mouths, who must otherwise have interfered with the
pasture of our own troops? And, if they are removed to any other part
of the country, will it not defeat this wise purpose? The mills on the
waters of James river, above the falls, open to canoe navigation,
are very many. Some of them are of great note, as manufacturers. The
barracks are surrounded by mills. There are five or six round about
Charlottesville. Any two or three of the whole might, in the course of
the winter, manufacture flour sufficient for the year. To say the worst,
then, of this situation, it is but twelve miles wrong. The safe custody
of these troops is another circumstance worthy consideration. Equally
removed from the access of an eastern or western enemy; central to the
whole State, so that, should they attempt an irruption in any direction,
they must pass through a great extent of hostile country; in a
neighborhood thickly inhabited by a robust and hardy people, zealous in
the American cause, acquainted with the use of arms, and the defiles and
passes by which they must issue: it would seem, that in this point of
view, no place could have been better chosen.

Their health is also of importance. I would not endeavor to show that
their lives are valuable to us, because it would suppose a possibility,
that humanity was kicked out of doors in America, and interest only
attended to. The barracks occupy the top and brow of a very high hill,
(you have been untruly told they were in a bottom.) They are free from
fog, have four springs which seem to be plentiful, one within twenty
yards of the piquet, two within fifty yards, and another within two
hundred and fifty, and they propose to sink wells within the piquet. Of
four thousand people, it should be expected, according to the ordinary
calculations, that one should die every day. Yet, in the space of near
three months, there have been but four deaths among them; two infants
under three weeks old, and two others by apoplexy. The officers tell me,
the troops were never before so healthy since they were embodied.

But is an enemy so execrable, that, though in captivity, his wishes and
comforts are to be disregarded and even crossed? I think not. It is
for the benefit of mankind to mitigate the horrors of war as much
as possible. The practice, therefore, of modern nations, of treating
captive enemies with politeness and generosity, is not only delightful
in contemplation, but really interesting to all the world, friends,
foes, and neutrals. Let us apply this: the officers, after considerable
hardships, have all procured quarters comfortable and satisfactory to
them. In order to do this, they were obliged, in many instances, to
hire houses for a year certain, and at such exorbitant rents, as were
sufficient to tempt independent owners to go out of them, and shift as
they could. These houses, in most cases, were much out of repair.
They have repaired them at a considerable expense. One of the general
officers has taken a place for two years, advanced the rent for the
whole time, and been obliged, moreover, to erect additional buildings
for the accommodation of part of his family, for which there was
not room in the house rented. Independent of the brick work, for the
carpentry of these additional buildings, I know he is to pay fifteen
hundred dollars. The same gentleman, to my knowledge, has-paid to one
person, three thousand six hundred, and seventy dollars, for different
articles to fix himself commodiously. They have generally laid in their
stocks of grain and other provisions, for it is well known that officers
do not live on their rations. They have purchased cows, sheep, &c, set
in to farming, prepared their gardens, and have a prospect of comfort
and quiet before them. To turn to the soldiers: the environs of the
barracks are delightful, the ground cleared, laid off in hundreds of
gardens, each enclosed in its separate paling; these well prepared, and
exhibiting, a fine appearance. General Riedesel, alone, laid out upwards
of two hundred pounds in garden seeds, for the German troops only. Judge
what an extent of ground these seeds would cover. There is little doubt
that their own gardens will furnish them a great abundance of vegetables
through the year. Their poultry, pigeons, and other preparations of that
kind, present to the mind the idea of a company of farmers, rather than
a camp of soldiers. In addition to the barracks built for them by the
public, and now very comfortable, they have built great numbers for
themselves, in such messes as fancied each other: and the whole
corps, both officers and men, seem now, happy and satisfied with their
situation. Having thus found the art of rendering captivity itself
comfortable, and carried it into execution, at their own great expense
and labor, their spirit sustained by the prospect of gratifications
rising before their eyes, does not every sentiment of humanity revolt
against the proposition of stripping them of all this, and removing
them into new situations, where from the advanced season of the year, no
preparations can be made for carrying themselves comfortably through the
heats of summer; and when it is known that the necessary advances for
the conveniences already provided, have exhausted their funds and left
them unable to make the like exertions anew. Again; review this
matter as it may regard appearances. A body of troops, after staying
a twelvemonth at Boston, are ordered to take a march of seven hundred
miles to Virginia, where, it is said, they may be plentifully subsisted.
As soon as they are there, they are ordered on some other march,
because, in Virginia, it is said, they cannot be subsisted. Indifferent
nations will charge this either to ignorance, or to whim and caprice;
the parties interested, to cruelty. They now view the proposition in
that light, and it is said, there is a general and firm persuasion among
them, that they were marched from Boston with no other purpose than to
harass and destroy them with eternal marches. Perseverance in object,
though not by the most direct way, is often more laudable than perpetual
changes, as often as the object shifts light. A character of steadiness
in our councils is worth more than the subsistence of four thousand
people.

There could not have been a more unlucky concurrence of circumstances
than when these troops first came. The barracks were unfinished for want
of laborers, the spell of weather the worst ever known within the memory
of man, no stores of bread laid in, the roads, by the weather and number
of wagons, soon rendered impassable: not only the troops themselves were
greatly disappointed, but the people in the neighborhood were alarmed at
the consequences which a total failure of provisions might produce.
In this worst state of things, their situation was seen by many
and disseminated through the country, so as to occasion a general
dissatisfaction, which even seized the minds of reasonable men, who, if
not infected with the contagion, must have foreseen that the prospect
must brighten, and that great advantages to the people must necessarily
arise. It has, accordingly, so happened. The planters, being more
generally sellers than buyers, have felt the benefit of their presence
in the most vital part about them, their purses, and are now sensible
of its source. I have too good an opinion of their love of order, to
believe that a removal of these troops would produce any irregular
proofs of their disapprobation, but I am well assured it would be
extremely odious to them.

To conclude. The separation of these troops would be a breach of public
faith; therefore suppose it impossible. If they are removed to another
State, it is the fault of the commissaries; if they are removed to any
other part of the State, it is the fault of the commissaries; and
in both cases, the public interest and public security suffer, the
comfortable and plentiful subsistence of our own army is lessened, the
health of the troops neglected, their wishes crossed, and their comforts
torn from them, the character of whim and caprice, or, what is worse,
of cruelty, fixed on us as a nation, and, to crown the whole, our own
people disgusted with such a proceeding.

I have thus taken the liberty of representing to you the facts and the
reasons, which seem to militate against the separation or removal of
these troops. I am sensible, however, that the same subject may appear
to different persons in very different lights. What I have urged as
reasons, may, to sounder minds, be apparent fallacies. I hope they will
appear, at least, so plausible, as to excuse the interposition of

your Excellency’s

most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER VI.--TO JOHN PAGE, January 22, 1779


TO JOHN PAGE.

Williamsburg,

January 22, 1779.

Dear Page,

I received your letter by Mr. Jamieson. It had given me much pain, that
the zeal of our respective friends should ever have placed you and me
in the situation of competitors. I was comforted, however, with the
reflection, that it was their competition, not ours, and that
the difference of the numbers which decided between us, was too
insignificant to give you a pain, or me a pleasure, had our dispositions
towards each other been such as to admit those sensations. I know you
too well to need an apology for any thing you do, and hope you will for
ever be assured of this; and as to the constructions of the world, they
would only have added one to the many sins for which they are to go to
the devil. As this is the first, I hope it will be the last, instance
of ceremony between us. A desire to see my family, which is in Charles
City, carries me thither to-morrow, and I shall not return till Monday.
Be pleased to present my compliments to Mrs. Page, and add this to the
assurances I have ever given you, that I am, dear Page,

your affectionate friend,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER VII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, June 23, 1779


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Williamsburg,

June 23, 1779.

Sir,

I have the pleasure to enclose you the particulars of Colonel Clarke’s
success against St. Vincennes, as stated in his letter but lately
received; the messenger, with his first letter, having been killed. I
fear it will be impossible for Colonel Clarke to be so strengthened,
as to enable him to do what he desires. Indeed, the express who brought
this letter, gives us reason to fear, St. Vincennes is in danger from
a large body of Indians, collected to attack it, and said, when he
came from Kaskaskias, to be within thirty leagues of the place. I also
enclose you a letter from Colonel Shelby, stating the effect of his
success against the seceding Cherokees and Chuccamogga. The damage done
them, was killing half a dozen, burning eleven towns, twenty thousand
bushels of corn, collected probably to forward the expeditions which
were to have been planned at the council which was to meet Governor
Hamilton at the mouth of Tennessee, and taking as many goods as sold for
twenty-five thousand pounds. I hope these two blows coming together,
and the depriving them of their head, will, in some measure, effect the
quiet of our frontiers this summer. We have intelligence, also, that
Colonel Bowman, from Kentucky, is in the midst of the Shawnee country,
with three hundred men, and hope to hear a good account of him. The
enclosed order being in its nature important, and generally interesting,
I think it proper to transmit it to you, with the reasons supporting
it.* It will add much to our satisfaction, to know it meets your
approbation.

I have the honor to be, with every sentiment of private respect and
public gratitude,

Sir, your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.


P. S. The distance of our northern and western counties from the scene
of southern service, and the necessity of strengthening our western
quarter, have induced the Council to direct the new levies from the
counties of Yohogania, Ohio, Monongalia, Frederick, Hampshire, Berkeley,
Rockingham, and Greenbrier, amounting to somewhat less than three
hundred men, to enter into the ninth regiment at Pittsburg. The aid they
may give there, will be so immediate and important, and what they could
do to the southward, would be so late, as, I hope, will apologize for
their interference. T. J.

     * For the letter of Colonel Clarke, and the order referred
     to, see Appendix A.



LETTER VIII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, July 17, 1779


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON

Williamsburg,

July 17, 1779.

Sir,

I some time ago enclosed to you a printed copy of an order of Council,
by which Governor Hamilton was to be confined in irons, in close jail,
which has occasioned a letter from General Phillips, of which the
enclosed is a copy. The General seems to think that a prisoner on
capitulation cannot be put in close confinement, though his capitulation
should not have provided against it. My idea was, that all persons taken
in war, were to be deemed prisoners of war. That those who surrender on
capitulation (or convention) are prisoners of war also, subject to the
same treatment with those who surrender at discretion, except only so
far as the terms of their capitulation or convention shall have guarded
them. In the capitulation of Governor Hamilton (a copy of which I
enclose), no stipulation is made as to the treatment of himself, or
those taken with him. The Governor, indeed, when he signs, adds a
flourish of reasons inducing him to capitulate, one of which is the
generosity of his enemy. Generosity, on a large and comprehensive scale,
seems to dictate the making a signal example of this gentleman;
but waving that, these are only the private motives inducing him to
surrender, and do not enter into the contract of Colonel Clarke. I have
the highest idea of those contracts which take place between nation
and nation, at war, and would be the last on earth to do any thing in
violation of them. I can find nothing in those books usually recurred
to as testimonials of the laws and usages of nature and nations, which
convicts the opinions I have above expressed of error. Yet there may
be such an usage as General Phillips seems to suppose, though not taken
notice of by these writers. I am obliged to trouble your Excellency on
this occasion, by asking of you information on this point. There is no
other person, whose decision will so authoritatively decide this doubt
in the public mind, and none with which I am disposed so implicitly
to comply. If you shall be of opinion that the bare existence of a
capitulation, in the case of Governor Hamilton, privileges him
from confinement, though there be no article to that effect in the
capitulation, justice shall most assuredly be done him. The importance
of this point, in a public view, and my own anxiety under a charge of
violation of national faith by the Executive of this Commonwealth, will,
I hope, apologize for my adding this to the many troubles with which I
know you to be burdened. I have the honor to be, with the most profound
respect, your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.


P. S. I have just received a letter from Colonel Bland, containing
information of numerous desertions from the Convention troops, not less
than four hundred in the last fortnight. He thinks he has reason to
believe it is with the connivance of some of their officers. Some
of these have been retaken, all of them going northwardly. They had
provided themselves with forged passports, and with certificates of
having taken the oath of fidelity to the State; some of them forged,
others really given by weak magistrates. I give this information to
your Excellency, as perhaps it may be in your power to have such of them
intercepted as shall be passing through Pennsylvania and Jersey.

Your letter enclosing the opinion of the board of war in the case of
Allison and Lee, has come safe to hand, after a long passage. It shall
be answered by next post. T. J.



LETTER IX.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, October 1, 1779


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Williamsburg,

October 1, 1779.

Sir,

On receipt of your letter of August 6th, during my absence, the Council
had the irons taken off the prisoners of war. When your advice was
asked, we meant it should decide with us; and upon my return to
Williamsburg, the matter was taken up and the enclosed advice given.
[See Appendix, note B.] A parole was formed, of which the enclosed is
a copy, and tendered to the prisoners. They objected to that part of it
which restrained them from _saying_ any thing to the prejudice of
the United States, and insisted on ‘freedom of speech.’ They were, in
consequence, remanded to their confinement in the jail, which must be
considered as a voluntary one, until they can determine with themselves
to be inoffensive in word as well as deed. A flag sails hence to-morrow
to New York, to negotiate the exchange of some prisoners. By her I have
written to General Phillips on this subject, and enclosed to him copies
of the within; intending it as an answer to a letter I received from him
on the subject of Governor Hamilton.

I have the honor to be, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER X.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, October 2, 1779


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Williamsburg,

October 2, 1779.

Sir,

Just as the letter accompanying this was going off, Colonel Mathews
arrived on parole from New York, by the way of headquarters, bringing
your Excellency’s letter on this subject, with that of the British
commissary of prisoners. The subject is of great importance, and I must,
therefore, reserve myself to answer after further consideration. Were
I to speak from present impressions, I should say it was happy for
Governor Hamilton that a final determination of his fate was formed
before this new information. As the enemy have released Captain Willing
from his irons, the Executive of this State will be induced perhaps not
to alter their former opinion. But it is impossible they can be serious
in attempting to bully us in this manner. We have too many of their
subjects in our power, and too much iron to clothe them with, and, I
will add, too much resolution to avail ourselves of both, to fear their
pretended retaliation. However, I will do myself the honor of forwarding
to your Excellency the ultimate result of Council on this subject.

In consequence of the information in the letter from the British
commissary of prisoners, that no officers of the Virginia line should
be exchanged till Governor Hamilton’s affair should be settled, we have
stopped our flag, which was just hoisting anchor with a load of privates
for New York. I must, therefore, ask the favor of your Excellency to
forward the enclosed by flag, when an opportunity offers, as I suppose
General Phillips will be in New York before it reaches you.

I have the honor to be, Sir, with the greatest esteem,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XI.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 1779


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

In Council, Oct. 8, 1779.

Sir,

In mine of the second of the present month, written in the instant of
Colonel Mathews’ delivery of your letter, I informed you what had been
done on the subject of Governor Hamilton and his companions previous to
that moment. I now enclose you an advice of Council, [See Appendix, note
C.] in consequence of the letter you were pleased to enclose me, from
the British commissary of prisoners, with one from Lord Rawdon; also
a copy of my letter to Colonel Mathews, enclosing, also, the papers
therein named. The advice of Council to allow the enlargement of
prisoners, on their giving a proper parole, has not been recalled, nor
will be, I suppose, unless something on the part of the enemy should
render it necessary. I rather expect, however, that they will see it
their interest to discontinue this kind of conduct. I am afraid I shall
hereafter, perhaps be obliged to give your Excellency some trouble in
aiding me to obtain information of the future usage of our prisoners. I
shall give immediate orders for having in readiness every engine which
the enemy have contrived for the destruction of our unhappy citizens,
captivated by them. The presentiment of these operations is shocking
beyond expression. I pray Heaven to avert them: but nothing in this
world will do it, but a proper conduct in the enemy. In every event, I
shall resign myself to the hard necessity under which I shall act.

I have the honor to be, with great regard and esteem,

your Excellency’s

most obedient and

most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XII.--TO COLONEL MATHEWS, October, 1779


TO COLONEL MATHEWS.

In Council, October, 1779.

Sir,

The proceedings respecting Governor Hamilton and his companions,
previous to your arrival here, you are acquainted with. For your more
precise information, I enclose you the advice of Council, of June the
16th, of that of August the 28th, another of September the 19th, on the
parole tendered them the 1st instant, and Governor Hamilton’s letter of
the same day, stating his objections, in which he persevered: from that
time his confinement has become a voluntary one. You delivered us
your letters the next day, when, the post being just setting out, much
business prevented the Council from taking them into consideration. They
have this day attended to them, and found their resolution expressed in
the enclosed advice bearing date this day. It gives us great pain
that any of our countrymen should be cut off from the society of their
friends and tenderest connections, while it seems as if it was in
our power, to administer relief. But we trust to their good sense for
discerning, and their spirit for bearing up against the fallacy of this
appearance. Governor Hamilton and his companions were imprisoned and
ironed, 1st. In retaliation for cruel treatment of our captive citizens
by the enemy in general. 2nd. For the barbarous species of warfare which
himself and his savage allies carried on in our western frontier. 3d.
For particular acts of barbarity, of which he himself was personally
guilty, to some of our citizens in his power. Any one of these charges
was sufficient to justify the measures we took. Of the truth of the
first, yourselves are witnesses. Your situation, indeed, seems to have
been better since you were sent to New York; but reflect on what you
suffered before that, and knew others of our countrymen to suffer, and
what you know is now suffered by that more unhappy part of them, who
are still confined on board the prison-ships of the enemy. Proofs of the
second charge, we have under Hamilton’s own hand: and of the third,
as sacred assurances as human testimony is capable of giving. Humane
conduct on our part, was found to produce no effect; the contrary,
therefore, was to be tried. If it produces a proper lenity to our
citizens in captivity, it will have the effect we meant; if it does not,
we shall return a severity as terrible as universal. If the causes of
our rigor against Hamilton were founded in truth, that rigor was just,
and would not give right to the enemy to commence any new hostilities
on their part: and all such new severities are to be considered, not as
retaliation, but as original and unprovoked. If those causes were,
not founded in truth, they should have denied them. If, declining the
tribunal of truth and reason, they choose to pervert this into a contest
of cruelty and destruction, we will contend with them in that line, and
measure out misery to those in our power, in that multiplied proportion
which the advantage of superior numbers enables us to do. We shall think
it our particular duty, after the information we gather from the papers
which have been laid before us, to pay very constant attention to your
situation, and that of your fellow prisoners. We hope that the prudence
of the enemy will be your protection from injury; and we are assured
that your regard for the honor of your country would not permit you
to wish we should suffer ourselves to be bullied into an acquiescence,
under every insult and cruelty they may choose to practise, and a
fear to retaliate, lest you should be made to experience additional
sufferings. Their officers and soldiers in our hands are pledges
for your safety: we are determined to use them as such. Iron will be
retaliated by iron, but a great multiplication on distinguished objects;
prison-ships by prison-ships, and like for like in general. I do
not mean by this to cover any officer who has acted, or shall act,
improperly. They say Captain Willing was guilty of great cruelties at
the Natchez; if so, they do right in punishing him. I would use any
powers I have, for the punishment of any officer of our own, who should
be guilty of excesses unjustifiable under the usages of civilized
nations. However, I do not find myself obliged to believe the charge
against Captain Willing to be true, on the affirmation of the British
commissary, because, in the next breath, he affirms no cruelties have as
yet been inflicted on him. Captain Willing has been in irons.

I beg you to be assured, there is nothing consistent with the honor of
your country, which we shall not, at all times, be ready to do for the
relief of yourself and companions in captivity. We know, that ardent
spirit and hatred for tyranny, which brought you into your present
situation, will enable you to bear up against it with the firmness,
which has distinguished you as a soldier, and to look forward with
pleasure to the day, when events shall take place, against which
the wounded spirits of your enemies will find no comfort, even from
reflections on the most refined of the cruelties with which they have
glutted themselves.

I am, with great respect,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XIII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, November 28, 1779


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Willlamsburg, November 28, 1779.

Sir,

Your Excellency’s letter on the discriminations which have been
heretofore made, between the troops raised within this state, and
considered as part of our quota, and those not so considered, was
delivered me four days ago. I immediately laid it before the Assembly,
who thereupon came to the resolution I now do myself the honor of
enclosing you. The resolution of Congress, of March 15th, 1779, which
you were so kind as to enclose, was never known in this state till a few
weeks ago, when we received printed copies of the Journals of Congress.
It would be a great satisfaction to us, to receive an exact return
of all the men we have in Continental service, who come within the
description of the resolution, together with our state troops in
Continental service. Colonel Cabell was so kind as to send me a return
of the Continental regiments, commanded by Lord Sterling, of the first
and second Virginia State regiments, and of Colonel Gist’s regiment.
Besides these are the following, viz. Colonel Harrison’s regiment
of artillery, Colonel Bayler’s horse, Colonel Eland’s horse, General
Scott’s new levies, part of which are gone to Carolina, and part are
here, Colonel Gibson’s regiment stationed on the Ohio, Heath and Ohara’s
independent companies at the same stations. Colonel Taylor’s regiment of
guards to the Convention troops: of these, we have a return. There may,
possibly, be others not occurring to me. A return of all these would
enable us to see what proportion of the Continental army is contributed
by us. We have, at present, very pressing calls to send additional
numbers of men to the southward. No inclination is wanting in either the
Legislature or Executive, to aid them or strengthen you: but we find it
very difficult to procure men. I herewith transmit to your Excellency
some recruiting commissions, to be put into such hands as you may think
proper, for re-enlisting such of our soldiery as are not already
engaged for the war. The Act of Assembly authorizing these instructions,
requires that the men enlisted should be reviewed and received by an
officer to be appointed for that purpose; a caution, less necessary
in the case of men now actually in Service, therefore, doubtless
able-bodied, than in the raising new recruits. The direction, however,
goes to all cases, and, therefore, we must trouble your Excellency with
the appointment of one or more officers of review. Mr. Moss, our agent,
receives orders, which accompany this, to pay the bounty money and
recruiting money, and to deliver the clothing. We have, however, certain
reason to fear he has not any great sum of money on hand; and it is
absolutely out of our power, at this time, to supply him, or to say,
with certainty, when we shall be able to do it. He is instructed to note
his acceptances under the draughts, and to assure payment as soon as we
shall have it in our power to furnish him, as the only substitute for
money. Your Excellency’s directions to the officer of review, will
probably procure us the satisfaction of being informed, from time to
time, how many men shall be re-enlisted.

By Colonel Mathews I informed your Excellency fully of the situation
of Governor Hamilton and his companions. Lamothe and Dejean have given
their paroles, and are at Hanover Court-House: Hamilton, Hay, and
others, are still obstinate; therefore, still in close confinement,
though their irons have never been on, since your second letter on the
subject. I wrote full information of this matter to General Phillips
also, from whom I had received letters on the subject. I cannot, in
reason, believe that the enemy, on receiving this information either
from yourself or General Phillips, will venture to impose any new
cruelties on our officers in captivity with them. Yet their conduct,
hitherto, has been most successfully prognosticated by reversing the
conclusions of right reason. It is, therefore, my duty, as well as
it was my promise to the Virginia captives, to take measures for
discovering any change which may be made in their situation. For this
purpose, I must apply for your Excellency’s interposition. I doubt not
but you have an established mode of knowing, at all times, through your
commissary of prisoners, the precise state of those in the power of the
enemy. I must, therefore, pray you to put into motion any such means you
have, for obtaining knowledge of the situation of Virginia officers in
captivity. If you should think proper, as I could wish, to take upon
yourself to retaliate any new sufferings which may be imposed on them,
it will be more likely to have-due weight, and to restore the unhappy on
both sides, to that benevolent treatment for which all should wish.

I have the honor to be, &c. &c.

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XIV.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, December 10,1779


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Williamsburg, December 10,1779.

Sir,

I take the liberty of putting under cover to your Excellency some
letters to Generals Phillips and Reidesel, uninformed whether they are
gone into New York or not, and knowing that you can best forward them in
either case.

I also trouble you with a letter from the master of the flag in this
State, to the British commissary of prisoners in New York, trusting it
will thus be more certainly conveyed than if sent to Mr. Adams. It is
my wish the British commissary should return his answer through your
Excellency, or your commissary of prisoners, and that they should not
propose, under this pretext, to send another flag, as the mission of the
present flag is not unattended with circumstances of suspicion; and a
certain information of the situation of ourselves and our allies here,
might influence the measures of the enemy.

Perhaps your commissary of prisoners can effect the former method of
answer.

I enclose to you part of an Act of Assembly ascertaining the quantity of
land, which shall be allowed to the officers and soldiers at the close
of the war, and providing means of keeping that country vacant which has
been allotted for them.

I am advised to ask your Excellency’s attention to the case of Colonel
Bland, late commander of the barracks in Albemarle. When that gentleman
was appointed to that command, he attended the Executive here and
informed them he must either decline it, or be supported in such a
way as would keep up that respect which was essential to his command;
without, at the same time, ruining his private fortune.

The Executive were sensible he would be exposed to great and unavoidable
expense: they observed, his command would be in a department separate
from any other, and that he actually relieved a Major General from
the same service. They did not think themselves authorized to say what
should be done in this case, but undertook to represent the matter to
Congress, and, in the mean time, gave it as their opinion that he ought
to be allowed a decent table. On this, he undertook the office, and
in the course of it incurred expenses which seemed to have been
unavoidable, unless he would have lived in such a way as is hardly
reconcileable to the spirit of an officer, or the reputation of those
in whose service he is. Governor Henry wrote on the subject to Congress;
Colonel Bland did the same; but we learn they have concluded the
allowance to be unprecedented, and inadmissible in the case of an
officer of his rank. The commissaries, on this, have called on Colonel
Bland for reimbursement. A sale of his estate was about to take place,
when we undertook to recommend to them to suspend their demand, till we
could ask the favor of you to advocate this matter so far with Congress,
as you may think it right; otherwise the ruin of a very worthy officer
must inevitably follow. I have the honor to be, with the greatest
respect and esteem,

your Excellency’s

most obedient servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XV.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, February 10, 1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Williamsburg, February 10, 1780.

Sir,

It is possible you may have heard, that in the course of last summer an
expedition was meditated, by our Colonel Clarke, against Detroit: that
he had proceeded so far as to rendezvous a considerable body of
Indians, I believe four or five thousand, at St. Vincennes; but, being
disappointed in the number of whites he expected, and not choosing to
rely principally on the Indians, he was obliged to decline it. We have
a tolerable prospect of reinforcing him this spring, to the number which
he thinks sufficient for the enterprise. We have informed him of this,
and left him to decide between this object, and that of giving vigorous
chastisement to those tribes of Indians, whose eternal hostilities have
proved them incapable of living on friendly terms with us. It is our
opinion, his inclination will lead him to determine on the former. The
reason of my laying before your Excellency this matter, is, that it
has been intimated to me that Colonel Broadhead is meditating a similar
expedition. I wished, therefore, to make you acquainted with what we had
in contemplation. The enterprising and energetic genius of Clarke is not
altogether unknown to you. You also know (what I am a stranger to) the
abilities of Broadhead, and the particular force with which you will be
able to arm him for such an expedition. We wish the most hopeful
means should be used for removing so uneasy a thorn from our side. As
yourself, alone, are acquainted with all the circumstances necessary for
well informed decision, I am to ask the favor of your Excellency, if you
should think Broadhead’s undertaking it most likely to produce success,
that you will be so kind as to intimate to us to divert Clarke to the
other object, which is also important to this State. It will, of course,
have weight with you in forming your determination, that our prospect of
strengthening Clarke’s hands, sufficiently, is not absolutely certain.
It may be necessary, perhaps, to inform you, that these two officers
cannot act together, which excludes the hopes of ensuring success by a
joint expedition.

I have the honor to be, with the most sincere esteem,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XVI.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, June 11, 1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, June 11, 1780.

Sir,

Major Galvan, as recommended by your Excellency, was despatched to
his station without delay, and has been furnished with every thing he
desired, as far as we were able. The line of expresses formed between
us is such, as will communicate intelligence from one to the other in
twenty-three hours. I have forwarded to him information of our disasters
in the South, as they have come to me.

Our intelligence from the southward is most lamentably defective. Though
Charleston has been in the hands of the enemy a month, we hear nothing
of their movements which can be relied on. Rumors are, that they are
penetrating northward. To remedy this defect, I shall immediately
establish a line of expresses from hence to the neighborhood of
their army, and send thither a sensible, judicious person, to give
us information of their movements. This intelligence will, I hope,
be conveyed to us at the rate of one hundred and twenty miles in the
twenty-four hours. They set out to their stations to-morrow. I wish it
were possible, that a like speedy line of communication could be formed
from hence to your Excellency’s head-quarters. Perfect and speedy
information of what is passing in the South, might put it in your power,
perhaps, to frame your measures by theirs. There is really nothing to
oppose the progress of the enemy northward, but the cautious principles
of the military art. North Carolina is without arms. We do not abound.
Those we have, are freely imparted to them; but such is the state of
their resources, that they have not been able to move a single musket
from this State to theirs. All the wagons we can collect, have been
furnished to the Marquis de Kalb, and are assembled for the march of
twenty-five hundred men, under General Stevens, of Culpeper, who will
move on the 19th instant. I have written to Congress to hasten supplies
of arms and military stores for the southern states, and particularly to
aid us with cartridge paper and boxes, the want of which articles, small
as they are, renders our stores useless. The want of money cramps
every effort. This will be supplied by the most unpalatable of all
substitutes, force. Your Excellency will readily conceive, that after
the loss of one arm, our eyes are turned towards the other, and that
we comfort ourselves, if any aids can be furnished by you, without
defeating the operations more beneficial to the general union, they will
be furnished. At the same time, I am happy to find that the wishes of
the people go no further, as far as I have an opportunity of learning
their sentiments. Could arms be furnished, I think this State and North
Carolina would embody from ten to fifteen thousand militia immediately,
and more if necessary.

I hope, ere long, to be able to give you a more certain statement of
the enemy’s as well as our situation, which I shall not fail to do.
I enclose you a letter from Major Galvan, being the second I have
forwarded to you.

With sentiments of the most perfect esteem and respect,

I have the honor to be

your Excellency’s

most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XVII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, July 2, 1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, July 2, 1780.

Sir,

I have received from the Committee of Congress, at headquarters, three
letters calling for aids of men and provisions. I beg leave to refer
you to my letter to them, of this date, on those subjects. I thought it
necessary, however, to suggest to you the preparing an arrangement of
officers for the men; for, though they are to supply our battalions,
yet, as our whole line officers, almost, are in captivity, I suppose
some temporary provision must be made. We cheerfully transfer to you
every power which the Executive might exercise on this occasion. As it
is possible you may cast your eye on the unemployed officers now within
the State, I write to General Muhlenburg, to send you a return of them.
I think the men will be rendezvoused within the present month. The bill,
indeed, for raising them is not actually passed, but it is in its last
stage, and no opposition to any essential parts of it. I will take care
to notify you of its passage.

I have, with great pain, perceived your situation; and, the more so, as
being situated between two fires, a division of sentiment has arisen,
both in Congress and here, as to which the resources of this country
should be sent. The removal of General Clinton to the northward, must,
of course, have great influence on the determination of this question;
and I have no doubt but considerable aids may be drawn hence for your
army, unless a larger one should be embodied in the South, than the
force of the enemy there seems to call for. I have the honor to be, with
every sentiment of respect and esteem,

your Excellency’s

most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.

[See Appendix, Note D.]



LETTER XVIII.--TO GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS, August 4, 1780


TO GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS.

Richmond, August 4, 1780.

Sir,

Your several favors of July the 16th, 21st, and 22nd, are now before me.
Our smiths are engaged in making five hundred axes and some tomahawks
for General Gates. About one hundred of these will go by the wagons now
taking in their loads. As these are for the army in general, no doubt
but you will participate of them. A chest of medicine was made up for
you in Williamsburg, and by a strange kind of forgetfulness, the vessel
ordered to bring that, left it and brought the rest of the shop. It is
sent for again, and I am not without hopes will be here in time to go
by the present wagons. They will carry some ammunition and the axes, and
will make up their load with spirits. Tents, I fear, cannot be got in
this country; we have, however, sent out powers to all the trading towns
here, to take it wherever they can find it. I write to General Gates,
to try whether the duck in North Carolina cannot be procured by the
Executive of that State on Continental account; for, surely, the whole
army, as well our militia as the rest, is Continental. The arms you
have to spare may be delivered to General Gates’s order, taking and
furnishing us with proper vouchers. We shall endeavor to send our drafts
armed. I cannot conceive how the arms before sent could have got into
so very bad order; they certainly went from hence in good condition. You
wish to know how far the property of this State in your hands is meant
to be subject to the orders of the commander in chief. Arms and military
stores we mean to be perfectly subject to him. The provisions going from
this country will be for the whole army. If we can get any tents,
they must be appropriated to the use of our own troops. Medicine, sick
stores, spirits, and such things, we expect shall be on the same footing
as with the northern army. There, you know, each State furnishes its own
troops with these articles, and, of course, has an exclusive right
to what is furnished. The money put into your hands, was meant as a
particular resource for any extra wants of our own troops, yet in case
of great distress, you would probably not see the others suffer without
communicating part of it for their use. We debit Congress with this
whole sum. There can be nothing but what is right in your paying
Major Mazaret’s troops out of it. I wish the plan you have adopted for
securing a return of the arms from the militia, may answer. I apprehend
any man, who has a good gun on his shoulder, would agree to keep it, and
have the worth of it deducted out of his pay, more especially when
the receipt of the pay is at some distance. What would you think of
notifying to them, further, that a proper certificate that they are
discharged, and have _returned their arms_, will be required before
any pay is issued to them. A roll, kept and forwarded, of those
so discharged, and who have delivered up their arms, would supply
accidental losses of their certificates. We are endeavoring to get
bayonet belts made. The State quarter-master affirms the cartouch boxes
sent from this place, (nine hundred and fifty-nine in number,) were all
in good condition. I therefore suppose the three hundred you received in
such very bad order, must have gone from the continental quarter-master
at Petersburg, or, perhaps, have been pillaged, on the road, of their
flaps, to mend shoes, &c. I must still press the return of as many
wagons as possible. All you will send, shall be loaded with spirits or
something else for the army. By their next return, we shall have a good
deal of bacon collected. The enclosed is a copy of what was reported to
me, as heretofore sent by the wagons.

I am. Sir, with the greatest esteem,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XIX.--TO MAJOR GENERAL GATES, August 15, 1780


TO MAJOR GENERAL GATES.

Richmond, August 15, 1780.

Sir,

Your favor of August 3rd is just now put into my hand. Those formerly
received have been duly answered, and my replies will, no doubt, have
reached you before this date. My last letter to you was by Colonel
Drayton.

I spoke fully with you on the difficulty of procuring wagons here,
when I had the pleasure of seeing you, and for that reason pressed
the sending back as many as possible. One brigade of twelve has since
returned, and is again on its way with medicine, military stores,
and spirit. Any others which come, and as fast as they come, shall be
returned to you with spirit and bacon. I have ever been informed,
that the very plentiful harvests of North Carolina would render the
transportation of flour from this State, as unnecessary as it would be
tedious, and that, in this point of view, the wagons should carry hence
only the articles before mentioned, which are equally wanting with you.
Finding that no great number of wagons is likely to return to us, we
will immediately order as many more to be bought and sent on, as we
possibly can. But to prevent too great expectations, I must again
repeat, that I fear no great number can be got. I do assure you,
however, that neither attention nor expense shall be spared, to forward
to you every support for which we can obtain means of transportation.
You have, probably, received our order on Colonel Lewis to deliver you
any of the beeves he may have purchased.

Tents, I fear, it is in vain to expect, because there is not in this
country stuff to make them. We have agents and commissioners in constant
pursuit of stuff, but hitherto researches have been fruitless. Your
order to Colonel Carrington shall be immediately communicated. A
hundred copies of the proclamation shall also be immediately printed
and forwarded to you. General Muhlenburg is come to this place, which
he will now make his headquarters. I think he will be able to set into
motion, within a very few days, five hundred regulars, who are now
equipped for their march, except some blankets still wanting, but I hope
nearly procured and ready to be delivered.

I sincerely congratulate you on your successful advances on the enemy,
and wish to do every thing to second your enterprises, which the
situation of this country, and the means and powers put into my hands,
enable me to do.

I am, Sir, with sincere respect and esteem,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XX.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, September 8, 1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, September 8, 1780.

Sir,

As I know the anxieties you must have felt, since the late misfortune to
the South, and our latter accounts have not been quite so unfavorable
as the first, I take the liberty of enclosing you a statement of this
unlucky affair, taken from letters from General Gates, General Stevens,
and Governor Nash, and, as to some circumstances, from an officer who
was in the action.* Another army is collecting; this amounted, on the
23rd ultimo, to between four and five thousand men, consisting of about
five hundred Maryland regulars, a few of Hamilton’s artillery, and
Porterfield’s corps, Armand’s legion, such of the Virginia militia as
had been reclaimed, and about three thousand North Carolina militia,
newly embodied. We are told they will increase these to eight thousand.
Our new recruits will rendezvous in this State between the 10th and 25th
instant. We are calling out two thousand militia, who, I think, however,
will not be got to Hillsborough till the 25th of October. About three
hundred and fifty regulars marched from Chesterfield a week ago. Fifty
march to-morrow, and there will be one hundred or one hundred and fifty
more from that post, when they can be cleared of the hospital. This
is as good a view as I can give you of the force we are endeavoring to
collect; but they are unarmed. Almost the whole small arms seem to have
been lost in the late rout. There are here, on their way southwardly,
three thousand stand of arms, sent by Congress, and we have still a
few in our magazine. I have written pressingly, as the subject well
deserves, to Congress, to send immediate supplies, and to think of
forming a magazine here, that in case of another disaster, we may not be
left without all means of opposition.

     [* The circumstances of the defeat of General Gates’s army,
     near Camden in August, 1780, being of historical notoriety,
     this statement is omitted.]

I enclosed to your Excellency, some time ago, a resolution of the
Assembly, instructing us to send a quantity of tobacco to New York for
the relief of our officers there, and asking the favor of you to obtain
permission. Having received no answer, I fear my letter or your answer
has miscarried. I therefore take the liberty of repeating my application
to you.

I have the honor to be, with the most profound respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXI.--TO GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS, September 12,1780


TO GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS.

Richmond, September 12,1780.

Sir,

Your letters of August 27th and 30th are now before me. The subsequent
desertions of your militia have taken away the necessity of answering
the question, how they shall be armed. On the contrary, as there must
now be a surplus of arms, I am in hopes you will endeavor to reserve
them, as we have not here a sufficient number by fifteen hundred or two
thousand, for the men who will march hence, if they march in numbers
equal to our expectations. I have sent expresses into all the counties
from which those militia went, requiring the county lieutenants to exert
themselves in taking them; and such is the detestation with which they
have been received, that I have heard from many counties they were going
back of themselves. You will of course, hold courts martial on them, and
make them soldiers for eight months. If you will be so good as to inform
me, from time to time, how many you have, we may, perhaps, get the
supernumerary officers in the State, to take command of them. By the
same opportunities, I desired notice to be given to the friends of the
few remaining with you, that they had lost their clothes and blankets,
and recommended, that they should avail themselves of any good
opportunity to send them supplies.

We approve of your accommodating the hospital with medicines, and the
Maryland troops with spirits. They really deserve the whole, and I wish
we had means of transportation for much greater quantities, which
we have on hand and cannot convey. This article we could furnish
plentifully to you and them. What is to be done for wagons, I do not
know. We have not now one shilling in the treasury to purchase them.
We have ordered an active quarter-master to go to the westward, and
endeavor to purchase on credit, or impress a hundred wagons and teams.
But I really see no prospect of sending you additional supplies, till
the same wagons return from you, which we sent on with the last. I
informed you in my last letter, we had ordered two thousand militia
more, to rendezvous at Hillsborough on the 25th of October. You will
judge yourself, whether in the mean time you can be more useful by
remaining where you are, with the few militia left and coming in, or by
returning home, where, besides again accommodating yourself after your
losses, you may also aid us in getting those men into motion, and in
pointing out such things as are within our power, and may be useful to
the service. And you will act accordingly. I am with great friendship
and esteem, dear Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXII.--TO GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS, September 15, 1780


TO GENERAL EDWARD STEVENS.

Richmond, September 15, 1780.

Sir,

I beg leave to trouble you with a private letter, on a little matter
of my own, having no acquaintance at camp, with whom I can take that,
liberty. Among the wagons impressed, for the use of your militia, were
two of mine. One of these, I know is safe, having been on its way from
hence to Hillsborough, at the time of the late engagement. The other,
I have reason to believe, was on the field. A wagon-master, who says
he was near it, informs me the brigade quarter-master cut out one of
my best horses, and made his escape on him, and that he saw my wagoner
loosening his own horse to come off, but the enemy’s horse were then
coming up, and he knows nothing further. He was a negro man, named
Phill, lame in one arm and leg. If you will do me the favor to inquire
what is become of him, what horses are saved, and to send them to me,
I shall be much obliged to you. The horses were not public property, as
they were only impressed and not sold. Perhaps your certificate of what
is lost, may be necessary for me. The wagon-master told me, that the
public money was in my wagon, a circumstance, which, perhaps, may aid
your inquiries. After apologizing for the trouble, I beg leave to assure
you, that I am, with great sincerity,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXIII.--TO MAJOR GENERAL GATES, September 23, 1780


TO MAJOR GENERAL GATES.

Richmond, September 23, 1780.

Sir,

I have empowered Colonel Carrington to have twelve boats, scows, or
batteaux, built at Taylor’s Ferry, and to draw on me for the cost. I
recommended the constructing them so as to answer the transportation of
provisions along that river, as a change of position of the two armies
may render them unnecessary at Taylor’s Ferry, and I am thoroughly
persuaded, that, unless we can find out some channel of transportation
by water, no supplies of bread, of any consequence can be sent you
from this State for a long time to come. The want of wagons is a bar
insuperable, at least in any reasonable time. I have given orders to
have Fry and Jefferson’s map, and Henry’s map of Virginia, sought for
and purchased. As soon as they can be got, I will forward them. I have
also written to General Washington on the subject of wintering the
French fleet in the Chesapeake. Our new levies rendezvous in large
numbers. As General Washington had constituted them in eight battalions,
and allotted none to Colonel Harrison, we think to deliver him about
four hundred drafts of another kind, who are to serve eighteen months
also. Unless Congress furnish small arms, we cannot arm more than half
the men who will go from this State. The prize you mention of tents and
blankets is very fortunate. It is absolutely out of our power to get
these articles, to any amount, in this country, nor have we clothing for
our new levies. They must, therefore, go to you clothed as militia,
till we can procure and send on supplies. They will be as warm in their
present clothing at Hillsborough, as at Chesterfield Court House.

We have an agent collecting all the beeves which can be got from the
counties round about Portsmouth, to send off to you.

They have there also plentiful crops of corn growing. We have instructed
him to try whether means of conveying it down into the Sounds, and up
some of the rivers of North Carolina, or by land to Meherrin river, and
thence down Chowan, and up Roanoke, cannot be rendered practicable.

I am, with every sentiment of esteem and respect,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.


P.S. I enclose a certificate, acknowledging satisfaction for the money
furnished Colonel Kosciusko. T. J.



LETTER XXIV.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, September 23, 1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, September 23, 1780.

Sir,

I yesterday forwarded to you a letter from Colonel Wood, informing
you of his situation. That post has, for some time past, been pretty
regularly supplied, and I hope will continue to be for some time to
come. A person whose punctuality can be relied on, offers to contract
for victualling it. If we can agree on terms, and the Assembly will
strengthen our hands sufficiently, we think to adopt that method, as
the only one to be relied on with certainty. I have heard it hinted
that Colonel Wood thinks of quitting that post. I should be exceedingly
sorry, indeed, were he to do it. He has given to those under his charge,
the most perfect satisfaction, and, at the same time, used all the
cautions which the nature of his charge has required. It is principally
owing to his prudence and good temper that the late difficulties have
been passed over, almost without a murmur. Any influence which your
Excellency shall think proper to me, for retaining him in his present
situation, will promote the public good, and have a great tendency to
keep up a desirable harmony with the officers of that corps. Our new
recruits are rendezvousing very generally. Colonel Harrison was uneasy
at having none of them assigned to his corps of artillery, who have very
much distinguished themselves in the late unfortunate action, and
are reduced almost to nothing. We happened to have about four hundred
drafts, raised in the last year, and never called out and sent on duty
by their county lieutenants, whom we have collected and are collecting.
We think to deliver these to Colonel Harrison: they are to serve
eighteen months from the time of rendezvous. The numbers of regulars
and militia ordered from this State into the southern service, are
about seven thousand. I trust we may count that fifty-five hundred
will actually proceed: but we have arms for three thousand only. If,
therefore, we do not speedily receive a supply from Congress, we must
countermand a proper number of these troops. Besides this supply,
there should certainly be a magazine laid in here, to provide against
a general loss as well as daily waste. When we deliver out those now in
our magazine, we shall have sent seven thousand stand of our own into
the southern service, in the course of this summer. We are still more
destitute of clothing, tents, and wagons for our troops. The southern
army suffers for provisions, which we could plentifully supply, were
it possible to find means of transportation. Despairing of this, we
directed very considerable quantities, collected on the navigable
waters, to be sent northwardly by the quarter-master. This he is now
doing; slowly, however. Unapprized what may be proposed by our allies
to be done with their fleet in the course of the ensuing winter, I would
beg leave to intimate to you, that if it should appear to them eligible
that it should winter in the Chesapeake, they can be well supplied with
provisions, taking their necessary measures in due time. The waters
communicating with that bay furnish easy, and (in that case) safe
transportation, and their money will call forth what is denied to ours.

I am, with all possible esteem and respect, your Excellency’s

most obedient and humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXV.--TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON, September 26,1780

TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, September 26,1780.

Sir,

The enclosed copy of a letter from Lord Cornwallis [See Appendix, note
E.] to Colonel Balfour, was sent me by Governor Rutledge: lest you
should not have seen it, I do myself the pleasure of transmitting
it, with a letter from General Harrington to General Gates giving
information of some late movements of the enemy.

I was honored yesterday with your favor of the 5th instant, on the
subject of prisoners, and particularly Lieutenant Governor Hamilton. You
are not unapprized of the influence of this officer with the Indians,
his activity and embittered zeal against us. You also, perhaps, know how
precarious is our tenure of the Illinois country, and how critical
is the situation of the new counties on the Ohio. These circumstances
determined us to detain Governor Hamilton and Major Hay within
our power, when we delivered up the other prisoners. On a late
representation from the people of Kentucky, by a person sent here from
that country, and expressions of what they had reason to apprehend from
these two prisoners, in the event of their liberation, we assured
them they would not be parted with, though we were giving up our other
prisoners. Lieutenant Colonel Dabusson, aid to Baron de Kalb, lately
came here on his parole, with an offer from Lord Rawdon, to exchange
him for Hamilton. Colonel Towles is now here with a like proposition
for himself, from General Phillips, very strongly urged by the General.
These, and other overtures, do not lessen our opinion of the importance
of retaining him; and they have been, and will be, uniformly rejected.
Should the settlement, indeed, of a cartel become impracticable, without
the consent of the States to submit their separate prisoners to its
obligation, we will give up these two prisoners, as we would any thing,
rather than be an obstacle to a general good. But no other circumstance
would, I believe, extract them from us. These two gentlemen, with a
Lieutenant Colonel Elligood, are the only separate prisoners we have
retained, and the last, only on his own request, and not because we set
any store by him. There is, indeed, a Lieutenant Governor Rocheblawe of
Kaskaskia, who has broken his parole and gone to New York, whom we must
shortly trouble your Excellency to demand for us, as soon as we can
forward to you the proper documents. Since the forty prisoners sent
to Winchester, as mentioned in my letter of the 9th ultimo, about one
hundred and fifty more have been sent thither, some of them taken by us
at sea, others sent on by General Gates.

The exposed and weak state of our western settlements, and the danger
to which they are subject from the northern Indians, acting under the
influence of the British post at Detroit, render it necessary for us to
keep from five to eight hundred men on duty for their defence. This is a
great and perpetual expense. Could that post be reduced and retained,
it would cover all the States to the southeast of it. We have long
meditated the attempt under the direction of Colonel Clarke, but the
expense would be so great, that whenever we have wished to take it up,
this circumstance has obliged us to decline it. Two different estimates
make it amount to two millions of pounds, present money. We could
furnish the men, provisions, and every necessary, except powder, had
we the money, or could the demand from us be so far supplied from
other quarters, as to leave it in our power to apply such a sum to that
purpose; and, when once done, it would save annual expenditures to a
great amount. When I speak of furnishing the men, I mean they should be
militia; such being the popularity of Colonel Clarke, and the confidence
of the western people in him, that he could raise the requisite number
at any time. We, therefore, beg leave to refer this matter to yourself,
to determine whether such an enterprise would not be for the general
good, and if you think it would, to authorize it at the general
expense. This is become the more reasonable, if, as I understand, the
ratification of the Confederation has been rested on our cession of a
part of our western claim; a cession which (speaking my private opinion)
I verily believe will be agreed to, if the quantity demanded is not
unreasonably great. Should this proposition be approved of, it should be
immediately made known to us, as the season is now coming on, at which
some of the preparations must be made. The time of execution, I think,
should be at the time of the breaking up of the ice in the Wabash, and
before the lakes open. The interval, I am told, is considerable.

I have the honor to be, &c.

your most obedient and humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXVI.--TO MAJOR GENERAL GATES, October 4, 1780


TO MAJOR GENERAL GATES.

Richmond, October 4, 1780.

Sir,

My letter of September 23rd answered your favors received before that
date, and the present serves to acknowledge the receipt of those of
September 24th and 27th. I retain in mind, and recur, almost daily, to
your requisitions of August; we have, as yet, no prospect of more than
one hundred tents. Flour is ordered to be manufactured, as soon as the
season will render it safe; out of which, I trust, we can furnish not
only your requisition of August, but that of Congress of September 11th.
The corn you desire, we could furnish when the new crops come in, fully,
if water transportation can be found; if not, we shall be able only
to send you what lies convenient to the southern boundary, in which
neighborhood the crops have been much abridged by a flood in Roanoke. We
have no rice. Rum and other spirits, we can furnish to a greater amount
than you require, as soon as our wagons are in readiness, and shall
be glad to commute into that article some others which we have not,
particularly sugar, coffee, and salt. The vinegar is provided. Colonel
Finnie promised to furnish to Colonel Muter, a list of the shades, hoes,
&c. which could be furnished from the Continental stores. This list has
never yet come to hand. It is believed the Continental stores here will
fall little short of your requisition, except in the article of axes,
which our shops are proceeding on. Your information of September 24th,
as to the quality of the axes, has been notified to the workmen, and
will, I hope, have a proper effect on those made hereafter. Application
has been made to the courts, to have the bridges put in a proper state,
which they have promised to do. We are endeavoring again to collect
wagons. About twenty are nearly finished at this place. We employed,
about three weeks ago, agents to purchase, in the western counties, a
hundred wagons and teams. Till these can be got, it will be impossible
to furnish any thing from this place. I am exceedingly pleased to hear
of your regulation for stopping our wagons at Roanoke. This will put
it in our power to repair and replace them, to calculate their returns,
provide loads, and will be a great encouragement to increase their
number, if possible, as their departure hence will no longer produce the
idea of a final adieu to them.

Colonel Senf arrived here the evening before the last. He was employed
yesterday and to-day, in copying some actual and accurate surveys, which
we had had made of the country round about Portsmouth, as far as Cape
Henry to the eastward, Nansemond river to the westward, the Dismal Swamp
to the southward, and northwardly, the line of country from Portsmouth
by Hampton and York to Williamsburg, and including the vicinities of
these three last posts. This will leave him nothing to do, but to take
drawings of particular places, and the soundings of such waters as he
thinks material. He will proceed on this business to-morrow, with a
letter to General Nelson, and powers to call for the attendance of a
proper vessel.

I suppose that your drafts in favor of the quarter-master, if attended
with sixty days’ grace, may be complied with to a certain amount. We
will certainly use our best endeavors to answer them. I have only to
desire that they may be made payable to the quarter-master alone, and
not to the bearer. This is to prevent the mortification of seeing an
unapprized individual taken in by an assignment of them, as if they
were ready money. Your letter to Colonel Finnie will go to Williamsburg
immediately. Those to Congress, with a copy of the papers enclosed to
me, went yesterday by express. I will take order as to the bacon you
mention. I fear there is little of it, and that not capable of being
long kept. You are surely not uninformed, that Congress required the
greater part of this article to be sent northward, which has been
done. I hope, by this time, you receive supplies of beeves from our
commissary, Mr. Eaton, who was sent three weeks or a month ago, to
exhaust of that article the counties below, and in the neighborhood of
Portsmouth; and from thence, was to proceed to other counties, in order,
as they stood exposed to an enemy.

The arrival of the French West India fleet (which, though not
authentically communicated, seems supported by so many concurring
accounts from individuals, as to leave scarcely room for doubt,) will,
I hope, prevent the enemy from carrying into effect the embarkation they
had certainly intended from New York, though they are strengthened by
the arrival of Admiral Rodney, at that place, with twelve sail of the
line and four frigates, as announced by General Washington to Congress,
on the 19th ultimo. The accounts of the additional French fleet are
varied from sixteen to nineteen ships of the line, besides frigates. The
number of the latter has never been mentioned. The extracts of
letters, which you will see in our paper of this day, are from General
Washington, President Huntington, and our Delegates in Congress to me.
That from Bladensburg is from a particular acquaintance of mine, whose
credit cannot be doubted. The distress we are experiencing from want
of leather to make shoes, is great. I am sure you have thought of
preventing it in future, by the appointment of a commissary of hides, or
some other good regulation for saving and tanning the hides, which the
consumption of your army will afford.

I have the honor to be, with all possible esteem and respect, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXVII.--TO GENERAL GATES, October 15, 1780


TO GENERAL GATES.

Richmond, October 15, 1780.

Sir,

I am rendered not a little anxious by the paragraph of yours of the
7th instant, wherein you say, ‘It is near a month since I received any
letter from your Excellency; indeed, the receipt of most that I have
written to you, remains unacknowledged.’ You ought, within that time, to
have received my letter of September the 3rd, written immediately on my
return to this place, after a fortnight’s absence; that of September the
11th, acknowledging the receipt of yours which covered drafts for money;
that of September the 23rd, on the subject of batteaux at Taylor’s
Ferry, wagons, maps of Virginia, wintering the French fleet in the
Chesapeake, our new levies, and provisions from our lower counties; and
that of October the 4th, in answer to yours of September the 24th
and 27th. I begin to apprehend treachery in some part of our chain of
expresses, and beg the favor of you, in your next, to mention whether
any, and which of these letters have come to hand. This acknowledges the
receipt of yours of September the 28th, and October the 3rd, 5th, and
7th. The first of these was delivered four or five days ago by Captain
Drew. He will be permitted to return as you desire, as we would fulfil
your wishes in every point in our power, as well as indulge the ardor of
a good officer. Our militia from the western counties are now on their
march to join you. They are fond of the kind of service in which Colonel
Morgan is generally engaged, and are made very happy by being informed
you intend to put them under him. Such as pass by this place, take
muskets in their hands. Those from the,southern counties, beyond the
Blue Ridge, were advised to carry their rifles. For those who carry
neither rifles nor muskets, as well as for our eighteen months men, we
shall send on arms as soon as wagons can be procured. In the mean time,
I had hoped that there were arms for those who should first arrive at
Hillsborough, as by General Steven’s return, dated at his departure
thence, there were somewhere between five and eight hundred muskets (I
speak from memory, not having present access to the return) belonging
to this State, either in the hands of the few militia who were there,
or stored. Captain Fauntleroy, of the cavalry, gives me hopes he shall
immediately forward a very considerable supply of accoutrements, for
White’s and Washington’s cavalry. He told me yesterday he had received
one hundred and thirteen horses for that service, from us. Besides
these, he had rejected sixty odd, after we had purchased them, at £3000
apiece. Nelson’s two troops were returned to me, deficient only twelve
horses, since which, ten have been sent to him by Lieutenant Armstead.
I am not a little disappointed, therefore, in the number of cavalry fit
for duty, as mentioned in the letter you enclosed me. Your request (as
stated in your letter of the 7th) that we will send no men into the
field, or even to your camp, that are not well furnished with shoes,
blankets, and every necessary for immediate service, would amount to a
stoppage of every man; as we have it not in our power to furnish them
with real necessaries completely. I hope they will be all shod. What
proportion will have blankets I cannot say: we purchase every one which
can be found out; and now I begin to have a prospect of furnishing about
half of them with tents, as soon as they can be made and forwarded. As
to provisions, our agent, Eaton, of whom I before wrote, informs me in
a letter of the 5th instant, he shall immediately get supplies of beef
into motion, and shall send some corn by a circuitous navigation. But
till we receive our wagons from the western country, I cannot hope to
aid you in bread. I expect daily to see wagons coming in to us. The
militia were ordered to rendezvous at Hillsborough, expecting they would
thence be ordered by you into service. I send you herewith a copy of
Henry’s map of Virginia. It is a mere _cento_ of blunders. It may serve
to give you a general idea of the courses of rivers, and positions of
counties. We are endeavoring to get you a copy of Fry and Jefferson’s;
but they are now very scarce. I also enclose you some newspapers, in
which you will find a detail of Arnold’s apostacy and villany.

I am, with all sentiments of sincere respect and esteem, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.

P. S. Just as I was closing my letter, yours of the 9th instant was
put into my hands. I enclose by this express, a power to Mr. Lambe,
quarter-master, to impress, for a month, ten wagons from each of the
counties of Brunswick, Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, Charlotte, and Halifax,
and direct him to take your orders, whether they shall go first to you,
or come here. If the latter, we can load them with arms and spirits.
Before their month is out, I hope the hundred wagons from the westward
will have come in. We will otherwise provide a relief for these. I am
perfectly astonished at your not having yet received my letters before
mentioned. I send you a copy of that of the 4th of October, as being
most material. I learn, from one of General Muhlenburg’s family, that
five wagons have set out from hence, with three hundred stand of arms,
&c. However, the General writes to you himself. T.J.



LETTER XXVIII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, October 22, 1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, October 22, 1780.

Sir,

I have this morning received certain information of the arrival of a
hostile fleet in our bay, of about sixty sail. The debarkation of some
light-horse, in the neighborhood of Portsmouth, seems to indicate that
as the first scene of action. We are endeavoring to collect as large a
body to oppose them as we can arm: this will be lamentably inadequate,
if the enemy be in any force. It is mortifying to suppose that a people,
able and zealous to contend with their enemy, should be reduced to fold
their arms for want of the means of defence. Yet no resources, that we
know of, ensure us against this event. It has become necessary to divert
to this new object, a considerable part of the aids we had destined
for General Gates. We are still, however, sensible of the necessity
of supporting him, and have left that part of our country nearest him
uncalled on, at present, that they may reinforce him as soon as arms
can be received. We have called to the command of our forces, Generals
Weeden and Muhlenburg, of the line, and Nelson and Stevens of the
militia. You will be pleased to make to these such additions as you may
think proper. As to the aids of men, I ask for none, knowing that if the
late detachment of the enemy shall have left it safe for you to spare
aids of that kind, you will not await my application. Of the troops
we shall raise, there is not a single man who ever saw the face of an
enemy. Whether the Convention troops will be removed or not, is yet
undetermined. This must depend on the force of the enemy, and the aspect
of their movements.

I have the honor to be

your Excellency’s most obedient,

humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXIX.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, October 25,1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, October 25,1780.

Sir,

I take the liberty of enclosing to you letters from Governor Hamilton,
for New York. On some representations received by Colonel Towles, that
an indulgence to Governor Hamilton and his companions to go to New York,
on parole, would produce the happiest,effect on the situation of our
officers in Long Island, we have given him, Major Hay, and some of the
same party at Winchester, leave to go there on parole. The two former go
by water, the latter by land.

By this express I hand on, from General Gates to Congress, intelligence
of the capture of Augusta, in Georgia, with considerable quantities of
goods; and information, which carries a fair appearance, of the taking
of Georgetown, in South Carolina, by a party of ours, and that an army
of six thousand French and Spaniards had landed at Sunbury. This is
the more credible, as Cornwallis retreated from Charlotte on the 12th
instant, with great marks of precipitation. Since my last to you,
informing you of an enemy’s fleet, they have landed eight hundred men
in the neighborhood of Portsmouth, and some more on the bay side of
Princess Anne. One thousand infantry landed at New-ports-news, on the
morning of the 23rd, and immediately took possession of Hampton. The
horse were proceeding up the road. Such a corps as Major Lee’s would be
of infinite service to us. Next to a naval force, horse seems to be the
most capable of protecting a country so intersected by waters.

I am, with the most sincere esteem,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXX.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, October 26, 1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, October 26, 1780.

Sir,

The Executive of this State think it expedient, under our present
circumstances, that the prisoners of war under the Convention
of Saratoga, be removed from their present situation. It will be
impossible, as long as they remain with us, to prevent the hostile army
from being reinforced by numerous desertions from this corps; and this
expectation may be one among the probable causes of this movement of the
enemy. Should, moreover, a rescue of them be attempted, the extensive
disaffection which has of late been discovered, and the almost total
want of arms in the hands of our good people, render the success of such
an enterprise by no means desperate. The fear of this, and the dangerous
convulsions to which such an attempt would expose us, divert the
attention of a very considerable part of our militia, from an opposition
to an invading enemy. An order has been, therefore, this day issued to
Colonel Wood, to take immediate measures for their removal; and every
aid has been and will be given him, for transporting, guarding, and
subsisting them on the road, which our powers can accomplish. Notice
hereof is sent to his Excellency Governor Lee, on whose part, I doubt
not, necessary preparations will be made.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem and respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXXI.--TO GENERAL GATES, October 28, 1780


TO GENERAL GATES.

Richmond, October 28, 1780.

Sir,

Your letters of the 14th, 20th, and 21st have come to hand, and your
despatches to Congress have been regularly forwarded. I shall attend
to the caveat against Mr. Ochiltree’s bill. Your letter to Colonel Senf
remains still in my hands, as it did not come till the enemy had taken
possession of the ground, on which I knew him to have been, and I have
since no certain information where a letter might surely find him. My
proposition as to your bills in favor of the quarter-master, referred
to yours of September 27th. I have notified to the Continental
quarter-master, your advance of nine hundred dollars to Cooper. As yet,
we have received no wagons. I wish Mr. Lambe may have supplied you.
Should those from the western quarter not come in, we will authorize him
or some other, to procure a relief, in time, for those first impressed.
We are upon the eve of a new arrangement as to our commissary’s and
quarter-master’s departments, as the want of money, introducing its
substitute, force, requires the establishment of a different kind of
system.

Since my first information to you of the arrival of an enemy, they have
landed about eight hundred men near Portsmouth, some on the bay side of
Princess Anne, one thousand at Hampton, and still retained considerable
part on board their ships. Those at Hampton, after committing horrid
depredations, have again retired to their ships, which, on the evening
of the 26th, were strung along the Road from New-ports-news, to the
mouth of Nansemond, which seems to indicate an intention of coming
up James river. Our information is, that they have from four to five
thousand men, commanded by General Leslie, and that they have come under
convoy of one forty-gun ship, and some frigates (how many, has never
been said), commanded by Commodore Rodney. Would it not be worth while
to send out a swift boat from some of the inlets of Carolina, to notify
the French Admiral that his enemies are in a net, if he has leisure to
close the mouth of it? Generals Muhlenburg and Nelson are assembling a
force to be ready for them, and General Weeden has come to this place,
where he is at present employed in some arrangements. We have ordered
the removal of the Saratoga prisoners, that we may have our hands clear
for these new guests.

I have the honor to be, with the most perfect esteem and respect, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXXII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, November 3,1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, November 3,1780.

Sir,

Since I had the honor of writing to your Excellency, on the 25th ultimo,
the enemy have withdrawn their forces from the north side of James
river, and have taken post at Portsmouth, which, we learn, they are
fortifying. Their highest post is Suffolk, where there is a very narrow
and defensible pass between Nansemond river and the Dismal Swamp,
which covers the country below, from being entered by us. More accurate
information of their force, than we at first had, gives us reason to
suppose them to be from twenty-five hundred to three thousand strong,
of which, between sixty and seventy are cavalry. They are commanded by
General Leslie, and were convoyed by the Romulus, of forty guns, the
Blonde, of thirty-two guns, the Delight sloop, of sixteen, a twenty-gun
ship of John Goodwick’s, and two row-galleys, commanded by Commodore
Grayton. We are not assured, as yet, that they have landed their whole
force. Indeed, they give out themselves, that after drawing the force
of this State to Suffolk, they mean, to go to Baltimore. Their movements
had induced me to think they came with an expectation of meeting with
Lord Cornwallis in this country, that his precipitate retreat has left
them without a concerted object, and that they were waiting further
orders. Information of this morning says, that being informed of Lord
Cornwallis’s retreat, and a public paper having been procured by
them, wherein were printed the several despatches which brought this
intelligence from General Gates, they unladed a vessel and sent, her off
to Charleston immediately. The fate of this army of theirs hangs on a
very slender naval force, indeed.

The want of barracks at Fort Frederick, as represented by Colonel Wood,
the difficulty of getting wagons sufficient to move the whole Convention
troops, and the state of uneasiness in which the regiment of guards is,
have induced me to think it would be better to move these troops in
two divisions; and as the whole danger of desertion to the enemy, and
correspondence with the disaffected in our southern counties, is from
the British only (for from the Germans we have no apprehensions on
either head), we have advised Colonel Wood to move on the British in the
first division, and to leave the Germans in their present situation, to
form a second division, when barracks may be erected at Fort Frederick.
By these means, the British may march immediately under the guard of
Colonel Crochet’s battalion, while Colonel Taylor’s regiment of guards
remains with the Germans. I cannot suppose this will be deemed such
a separation as is provided against by the Convention, nor that their
officers will wish to have the whole troops crowded into barracks,
probably not sufficient for half of them. Should they, however, insist
on their being kept together, I suppose it would be the opinion that the
second division should follow the first as soon as possible, and that
their being exposed, in that case, to a want of covering, would be
justly imputable to themselves only. The delay of the second division
will lessen the distress for provisions, which may, perhaps, take
place on their first going to the new post, before matters are properly
arranged.

I have the honor to be, with great esteem and respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXXIII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, November 10, 1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, November 10, 1780.

Sir,

I enclose your Excellency a copy of an intercepted letter from Major
General Leslie to Lord Cornwallis. [See Appendix, note F.] It was taken
from a person endeavoring to pass through the country from Portsmouth
towards Carolina. When apprehended, and a proposal made to search him,
he readily consented to be searched, but, at the same time, was observed
to put his hand into his pocket and carry something towards his mouth,
as if it were a quid of tobacco: it was examined, and found to be a
letter, of which the enclosed is a copy, written on silk paper, rolled
up in gold-beater’s skin, and nicely tied at each end, so as not to be
larger than a goose quill. As this is the first authentic disclosure of
their purpose in coming here, and may serve to found, with somewhat more
of certainty, conjectures respecting their future movements, while their
disappointment in not meeting with Lord Cornwallis may occasion
new plans at New York, I thought it worthy of communication to your
Excellency.

Some deserters were taken yesterday, said to be of the British
Convention troops, who had found means to get to the enemy at
Portsmouth, and were seventy or eighty miles on their way back to the
barracks, when they were taken. They were passing under the guise of
deserters from Portsmouth.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem and respect,

your Exellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXXIV.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, November 26, 1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, November 26, 1780.

Sir,

I have been honored with your Excellency’s letter of the 8th instant.
Having found it impracticable to move, suddenly, the whole Convention
troops, British and German, and it being represented that there could
not, immediately, be covering provided for them all at Fort Frederick,
we concluded to march off the British first, from whom was the principal
danger of desertion, and to permit the Germans, who show little
disposition to join the enemy, to remain in their present quarters till
something further be done. The British, accordingly, marched the 20th
instant. They cross the Blue Ridge at Rock Fish gap, and proceed along
that valley. I am to apprize your Excellency, that the officers of
every rank, both British and German, but particularly the former, have
purchased within this State some of the finest horses in it. You will be
pleased to determine, whether it be proper that they carry them within
their lines. I believe the Convention of Saratoga entitles them to keep
the horses they then had. But I presume none of the line below the rank
of field-officers, had a horse. Considering the British will be now at
Fort Frederick, and the Germans in Albemarle, Alexandria seems to be
the most central point to which there is navigation. Would it not,
therefore, be better that the flag-vessel, solicited by General
Phillips, should go to that place? It is about equally distant from the
two posts. The roads to Albemarle are good. I know not how those are
which lead to Fort Frederick. Your letter referring me to General Green,
for the mode of constructing light, portable boats, unfortunately did
not come to hand till he had left us. We had before determined to have
something done in that way, and as they are still unexecuted, we should
be greatly obliged by any draughts or hints, which could be given by any
person within the reach of your Excellency.

I received advice, that on the 22nd instant, the enemy’s fleet got all
under way, and were standing toward the Capes: as it still remained
undecided, whether they would leave the bay, or turn up it, I waited the
next stage of information, that you might so far be enabled to judge of
their destination. This I hourly expected, but it did not come till this
evening, when I am informed they all got out to sea in the night of the
22nd. What course they steered afterwards, is not known. I must do their
General and Commander the justice to say, that in every case to which
their attention and influence could reach, as far as I have been
well-informed, their conduct was such as does them the greatest honor.
In the few instances of wanton and unnecessary devastation, they
punished the aggressors.

I have the honor to be,

your Excellency’s

most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXXV.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, December 15,1780


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, December 15,1780.

Sir,

I had the honor of writing to your Excellency on the subject of an
expedition contemplated by this State, against the British post at
Detroit, and of receiving your answer of October the 10th. Since the
date of my letter, the face of things has so far changed, as to leave
it no longer optional in us to attempt or decline the expedition, but
compels us to decide in the affirmative, and to begin our preparations
immediately. The army the enemy at present have in the South, the
reinforcements still expected there, and their determination to direct
their future exertions to that quarter, are not unknown to you. The
regular force proposed on our part to counteract those exertions, is
such, either from the real or supposed inability of this State, as by no
means to allow a hope that it may be effectual. It is, therefore, to
be expected that the scene of war will either be within our country, or
very nearly advanced to it; and that our principal dependence is to be
on militia, for which reason it becomes incumbent to keep as great a
proportion of our people as possible, free to act in that quarter. In
the mean time, a combination is forming in the westward, which, if not
diverted, will call thither a principal and most valuable part of our
militia. From intelligence received, we have reason to expect that a
confederacy of British and Indians, to the amount of two thousand men,
is formed for the purpose of spreading destruction and dismay through
the whole extent of our frontier, in the ensuing spring. Should this
take place, we shall certainly lose in the South all aids of militia
beyond the Blue Ridge, besides the inhabitants who must fall a sacrifice
in the course of the savage irruptions.

There seems to be but one method of preventing this, which is to give
the western enemy employment in their own country. The regular force
Colonel Clarke already has, with a proper draft from the militia beyond
the Allegany, and that of three or four of our most northern counties,
will be adequate to the reduction of Fort Detroit, in the opinion
of Colonel Clarke; and he assigns the most probable reasons for that
opinion. We have, therefore, determined to undertake it, and commit
it to his direction. Whether the expense of the enterprise shall
be defrayed by the Continent or State, we will leave to be decided
hereafter by Congress, in whose justice we can confide as to the
determination. In the mean time, we only ask the loan of such
necessaries as, being already at Fort Pitt, will save time and an
immense expense of transportation. These articles shall either be
identically or specifically returned; should we prove successful, it is
not improbable they may be where Congress would choose to keep them. I
am, therefore, to solicit your Excellency’s order to the commandant at
Fort Pitt, for the articles contained on the annexed list, which shall
not be called for until every thing is in readiness; after which, there
can be no danger of their being wanted for the post at which they are:
indeed, there are few of the articles essential for the defence of the
post.

I hope your Excellency will think yourself justified in lending us this
aid without awaiting the effect of an application elsewhere, as such
a delay would render the undertaking abortive, by postponing it to the
breaking up of the ice in the lake. Independent of the favorable effects
which a successful enterprise against Detroit must produce to the United
States in general, by keeping in quiet the frontier of the northern
ones, and leaving our western militia at liberty to aid those of the
South, we think the like friendly offices performed by us to the Sates,
whenever desired, and almost to the absolute exhausture of our own
magazines, give well founded hopes that we may be accommodated on this
occasion. The supplies of military stores which have been furnished by
us to Fort Pitt itself, to the northern army, and, most of all, to the
southern, are not altogether unknown to you. I am the more urgent for
an immediate order, because Colonel Clarke awaits here your Excellency’s
answer by the express, though his presence in the western country to
make preparations for the expedition is so very necessary, if you enable
him to undertake it. To the above, I must add a request to you to send
for us to Pittsburg, persons proper to work the mortars, &c, as Colonel
Clarke has none such, nor is there one in this State. They shall be in
the pay of this State from the time they leave you. Any money necessary
for their journey, shall be repaid at Pittsburg, without fail, by the
first of March.

At the desire of the General Assembly, I take the liberty of
transmitting to you the enclosed resolution; and have the honor to be,
with the most perfect esteem and regard,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXXVI.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, January 10, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, January 10, 1781.

Sir,

It may seem odd, considering the important events which have taken place
in this State within the course of ten days, that I should not have
transmitted an account of them to your Excellency; but such has been
their extraordinary rapidity, and such the unremitted attention they
have required from all concerned in government, that I do not recollect
the portion of time which I could have taken to commit them to paper.

On the 31st of December, a letter from a private gentleman to General
Nelson came to my hands, notifying, that in the morning of the preceding
day, twenty-seven sail of vessels had entered the Capes; and from
the tenor of the letter, we had reason to expect, within a few hours,
further intelligence; whether they were friends or foes, their force,
and other circumstances. We immediately despatched General Nelson to the
lower country, with powers to call on the militia in that quarter,
or act otherwise as exigencies should require; but waited further
intelligence, before we would call for militia from the middle or upper
country. No further intelligence came till the 2nd instant, when the
former was confirmed; it was ascertained they had advanced up James
river to Wanasqueak bay. All arrangements were immediately taken for
calling in a sufficient body of militia for opposition. In the night of
the 3rd, we received advice that they were at anchor opposite Jamestown;
we then supposed Williamsburg to be their object. The wind, however,
which had hitherto been unfavorable, shifted fair, and the tide being
also in their favor, they ascended the river to Kennons’ that evening,
and, with the next tide, came up to Westover, having, on their way,
taken possession of some works we had at Hood’s, by which two or three
of their vessels received some damage, but which were of necessity
abandoned by the small garrison of fifty men placed there, on the
enemy’s landing to invest the works. Intelligence of their having
quitted the station at Jamestown, from which we supposed they meant
to land for Williamsburg, and of their having got in the evening to
Kennon’s, reached us the next morning at five o’clock, and was the
first indication of their meaning to penetrate towards this place or
Petersburg. As the order for drawing miliatia here had been given but
two days, no opposition was in readiness. Every effort was therefore
necessary, to withdraw the arms and other military stores, records, &c.
from this place. Every effort was, accordingly, exerted to convey them
to the foundery five miles, and to a laboratory six miles, above this
place, till about sunset of that day, when we learned the enemy had come
to an anchor at Westover that morning. We then knew that this, and not
Petersburg was their object, and began to carry across the river every
thing remaining here, and to remove what had been transported to the
foundery and laboratory to Westham, the nearest crossing, seven miles
above this place, which operation was continued till they had approached
very near. They marched from Westover, at two o’clock in the afternoon
of the 4th, and entered Richmond at one o’clock in the afternoon of
the 5th. A regiment of infantry and about thirty horse continued on,
without halting, to the foundery. They burnt that, the boring mill, the
magazine, and two other houses, and proceeded to Westharn; but nothing
being in their power there, they retired to Richmond. The next morning
they burned some buildings of public and private property, with what
stores remained in them, destroyed a great quantity of private stores,
and about twelve o’clock, retired towards Westover, where they encamped
within the Neck, the next day.

The loss sustained is not yet accurately known. As far as I have been
able to discover, it consisted, at this place, of about three
hundred muskets, some soldiers’ clothing to a small amount, some
quarter-master’s stores, of which one hundred and twenty sides of
leather was the principal article, part of the artificers’ tools, and
three wagons. Besides which, five brass four-pounders, which we had sunk
in the river, were discovered to them, raised and carried off. At
the foundery, we lost the greater part of the papers belonging to the
Auditor’s office, and of the books and papers of the Council office.
About five or six tons of powder, as we conjecture, was thrown into the
canal, of which there will be a considerable saving by re-manufacturing
it. The roof of the foundery was burned, but the stacks of chimneys and
furnaces not at all injured. The boring mill was consumed. Within less
than forty-eight hours from the time of their landing, and nineteen from
our knowing their destination, they had penetrated thirty-three miles,
done the whole injury, and retired. Their numbers, from the best
intelligence I have had, are about fifteen hundred infantry, and as to
their cavalry, accounts vary from fifty to one hundred and twenty; and
the whole commanded by the parricide Arnold. Our militia, dispersed over
a large tract of country, can be called in but slowly. On the day the
enemy advanced to this place, two hundred only were embodied. They were
of this town and its neighborhood, and were too few to do any thing.
At this time, they are assembled in pretty considerable numbers on the
south side of James river, but are not yet brought to a point. On the
north side are two or three small bodies, amounting in the whole to
about nine hundred men. The enemy were, at four o’clock yesterday
evening, still remaining in their encampment at Westover and Berkeley
Neck. In the mean while, Baron Steuben, a zealous friend, has descended
from the dignity of his proper command, to direct our smallest
movements. His vigilance has in a great measure supplied the want of
force in preventing the enemy from crossing the river, which might
have been very fatal. He has been assiduously employed in preparing
equipments for the militia, as they should assemble, in pointing them to
a proper object, and in other offices of a good commander. Should they
loiter a little longer, and he be able to have a sufficient force, I
still flatter myself they will not escape with total impunity. To what
place they will point their next exertions, we cannot even conjecture.
The whole country on the tide waters and some distance from them, is
equally open to similar insult.

I have the honor to be, with every sentiment of respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXXVII.--TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, Jan. 15, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, January 15,1781.

Sir,

As the dangers which threaten our western frontiers, the ensuing spring,
render it necessary that we should send thither Colonel Crocket’s
battalion, at present on guard at Fredericktown, but raised for the
western service, I thought it necessary to give your Excellency previous
information thereof, that other forces may be provided in time to
succeed to their duties. Captain Read’s troop of horse, if necessary,
may be continued a while longer on guard.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXXVIII.--TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, Jan. 15, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Sir,

Richmond, January 15, 1781.

I received some time ago from Major Forsyth, and afterwards from you,
a requisition to furnish one half the supplies of provision for the
Convention troops, removed into Maryland. I should sooner have done
myself the honor of writing to you on this subject, but that I hoped to
have laid it before you more fully than could be done in writing, by a
gentleman who was to pass on other public business to Philadelphia. The
late events in this State having retarded his setting out, I think it my
duty no longer to postpone explanation on this head.

You cannot be unapprized of the powerful armies of our enemy, at this
time in this and the southern States, and that their future plan is
to push their successes in the same quarter, by still larger
reinforcements. The forces to be opposed to these must be proportionably
great, and these forces must be fed. By whom are they to be fed?
Georgia and South Carolina are annihilated, at least, as to us. By the
requisition to us to send provisions into Maryland, it is to be supposed
that none are to come to the southern army, from any State north of
this; for it would seem inconsistent, that while we should be sending
north, Maryland, and other states beyond that, should be sending their
provisions south. Upon North Carolina, then, already exhausted by the
ravages of two armies, and on this State, are to depend for subsistence
those bodies of men, who are to oppose the greater part of the enemy’s
force in the United States, the subsistence of the German, and of
half the British Conventioners. To take a view of this matter on the
Continental requisitions of November the 4th, 1780, for specific quotas
of provisions, it is observable that North Carolina and Virginia are to
furnish 10,475,740 pounds of animal food, and 13,529 barrels of flour,
while the States north of these will yield 25,293,810 pounds of animal
food, and 106,471 barrels of flour.

If the greater part of the British armies be employed in the South, it
is to be supposed that the greater part of the American force will
be sent there to oppose them. But should this be the case, while the
distribution of the provisions is so very unequal, would it be proper to
render it still more so, by withdrawing a part of our contributions
to the support of posts northward of us? It would certainly be a
great convenience to us, to deliver a portion of our specifics at
Fredericktown, rather than in Carolina: but I leave it to you to judge,
whether this would be consistent with the general good or safety.
Instead of sending aids of any kind to the northward, it seems but too
certain that unless very timely and substantial assistance be received
from thence, our enemies are yet far short of the ultimate term of
their successes. I beg leave, therefore, to refer to you, whether the
specifics of Maryland, as far as shall be necessary, had not better be
applied to the support of the posts within it, for which its quota is
much more than sufficient, or, were it otherwise, whether those of the
States north of Maryland had not better be called on, than to detract
any thing from the resources of the southern opposition, already much
too small for the encounter to which it is left. I am far from wishing
to count or measure our contributions by the requisitions of Congress.
Were they ever so much beyond these. I should readily strain them in aid
of any one of our sister States. But while they are so short of those
calls to which they must be pointed in the first instance, it would
be great misapplication to divert them to any other purpose: and I am
persuaded you will think me perfectly within the line of duty, when I
ask a revisal of this requisition.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, Sir,

your most obedient and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XXXIX.--TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, Jan. 17, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, January 17, 1781.

Sir,

I do myself the honor of transmitting to your Excellency a resolution of
the General Assembly of this Commonwealth, entered into in consequence
of the resolution of Congress of September the 6th, 1780, on the subject
of the Confederation. I shall be rendered very happy if the other States
of the Union, equally impressed with the necessity of that important
convention, shall be willing to sacrifice equally to its completion.
This single event, could it take place shortly, would overweigh every
success which the enemy have hitherto obtained, and render desperate the
hopes to which those successes have given birth.

I have the honor to be, with the most real esteem and respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XL.--TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS, Jan. 18, 1781


TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS.

Richmond, January 18, 1781.

Gentlemen,

I enclose you a Resolution of Assembly, directing your conduct as to the
navigation of the Mississippi.

The loss of powder lately sustained by us (about five tons), together
with the quantities sent on to the southward, have reduced our stock
very low indeed. We lent to Congress, in the course of the last year
(previous to our issues for the southern army), about ten tons of
powder. I shall be obliged to you to procure an order from the board of
war, for any quantity from five to ten tons, to be sent us immediately
from Philadelphia or Baltimore, and to inquire into and hasten, from
time to time, the execution of it. The stock of cartridge-paper is
nearly exhausted. I do not know whether Captain Irish, or what other
officer, should apply for this. It is essential that a good stock should
be forwarded, and without a moment’s delay. If there be a rock on
which we are to split, it is the want of muskets, bayonets, and
cartouch-boxes.

The occurrences, since my last to the President, are not of any
magnitude. Three little rencounters have happened with the enemy. In the
first, General Smallwood led on a party of two or three hundred militia,
and obliged some armed vessels of the enemy to retire from a prize they
had taken at Broadway’s, and renewing his attack the next day with
a four-pounder or two (for on the first day he had only muskets), he
obliged some of their vessels to fall down from City Point to their
main fleet at Westover. The enemy’s loss is not known; ours was four men
wounded. One of the evenings, during their encampment at Westover and
Berkeley, their light-horse surprised a party of about one hundred or
one hundred and fifty militia at Charles City Court House, killed and
wounded four, and took, as has been generally said, about seven or
eight. On Baron Steuben’s approach towards Hood’s, they embarked at
Westover; the wind, which, till then, had set directly up the river
from the time of their leaving Jamestown, shifted in the moment to the
opposite point. Baron Steuben had not reached Hood’s by eight or ten
miles, when they arrived there. They landed their whole army in the
night, Arnold attending in person. Colonel Clarke (of Kaskaskias) had
been sent on with two hundred and forty men by Baron Steuben, and having
properly disposed of them in ambuscade, gave them a deliberate fire,
which killed seventeen on the spot, and wounded thirteen. They returned
it in confusion, by which we had three or four wounded, and our party
being so small and without bayonets, were obliged to retire on the
enemy’s charging with bayonets. They fell down to Cobham, whence they
carried all the tobacco there (about sixty hogsheads); and the
last intelligence was, that on the 16th they were standing for
New-ports-news. Baron Steuben is of opinion, they are proceeding to fix
a post in some of the lower counties. Later information has given
no reason to believe their force more considerable than we at first
supposed. I think, since the arrival of the three transports which had
been separated in a storm, they may be considered as about two thousand
strong. Their naval force, according to the best intelligence, is the
Charon, of forty-four guns, Commodore Symmonds, the Amphitrite, Iris,
Thames, and Charlestown frigates, the Forvey, of twenty guns, two sloops
of war, a privateer ship, and two brigs. We have about thirty-seven
hundred militia embodied, but at present they are divided into three
distant encampments: one under General Weeden, at Fredericksburg, for
the protection of the important works there; another under General
Nelson, at and near Williamsburg; and a third under Baron Steuben, at
Cabin Point. As soon as the enemy fix themselves, these will be brought
to a point.

I have the honor to be, with very great respect, gentlemen,

your most obedient servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XLI.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, February 8, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, February 8, 1781.

Sir,

I have just received intelligence, which, though from a private hand,
I believe is to be relied on, that a fleet of the enemy’s ships have
entered Cape Fear river, that eight of them had got over the bar,
and many others were lying off; and that it was supposed to be a
reinforcement to Lord Cornwallis, under the command of General Prevost.
This account, which had come through another channel, is confirmed by a
letter from General Parsons at Halifax, to the gentleman who forwards it
to me. I thought it of sufficient importance to be communicated to your
Excellency by the stationed expresses. The fatal want of arms puts it
out of our power to bring a greater force into the field, than will
barely suffice to restrain the adventures of the pitiful body of men
they have at Portsmouth. Should any more be added to them, this country
will be perfectly open to them, by land as well as water.

I have the honor to be, with all possible respect,

Your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XLII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, February 12, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, February 12, 1781.

Sir,

The enclosed extract from a letter from Governor Nash, which I received
this day, being a confirmation of the intelligence I transmitted in a
former letter, I take the liberty of transmitting it to your Excellency.
I am informed, through a private channel, on which I have considerable
reliance, that the enemy had landed five hundred troops under the
command of a Major Craig, who were joined by a number of disaffected;
that they had penetrated forty miles; that their aim appeared to be
the magazine at Kingston, from which place they were about twenty miles
distant.

Baron Steuben transmits to your Excellency a letter from General Greene,
by which you will learn the events which have taken place in that
quarter since the defeat of Colonel Tarleton, by General Morgan. These
events speak best for themselves, and no doubt will suggest what is
necessary to be done to prevent the successive losses of State after
State, to which the want of arms, and of a regular soldiery, seem more
especially to expose those in the South.

I have the honor to be, with every sentiment of respect, your
Excellency’s most obedient and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XLIII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, February 17, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, February 17, 1781.

Sir,

By a letter from General Greene, dated Guilford Court House, February
10th, we are informed that Lord Cornwallis had burned his own wagons in
order to enable himself to move with greater facility, and had pressed
immediately on. The prisoners taken at the Cow-pens, were happily saved
by the accidental rise of a water-course, which gave so much time as to
withdraw them from the reach of the enemy. Lord Cornwallis had advanced
to the vicinities of the Moravian towns, and was still moving on
rapidly. His object was supposed to be to compel General Greene to an
action, which, under the difference of force they had, would probably
be ruinous to the latter. General Greene meant to retire by the way of
Boyd’s Ferry, on the Roanoke. As yet he had lost little or no stores or
baggage, but they were far from being safe. In the instant of receiving
this intelligence, we ordered a reinforcement of militia to him, from
the most convenient counties in which there was a hope of finding any
arms. Some great event must arise from the present situation of things,
which, for a long time, will determine the condition of southern
affairs.

Arnold lies close in his quarters. Two days ago, I received information
of the arrival of a sixty-four gun ship and two frigates in our bay,
being part of the fleet of our good ally at Rhode Island. Could they
get at the British fleet here, they are sufficient to destroy them; but
these being drawn up into Elizabeth river, into which the sixty-four
cannot enter, I apprehend they could do nothing more than block up the
river. This, indeed, would reduce the enemy, as we could cut off their
supplies by land; but the operation being tedious, would probably be
too dangerous for the auxiliary force. Not having yet had any particular
information of the designs of the French Commander, I cannot pretend to
say what measures this aid will lead to.

Our proposition to the Cherokee Chiefs, to visit Congress, for the
purpose of preventing or delaying a rupture with that nation, was too
late. Their distresses had too much ripened their alienation from us,
and the storm had gathered to a head, when Major Martin got back. It was
determined to carry the war into their country, rather than await it
in ours, and thus disagreeably circumstanced, the issue has been
successful.

The militia’ of this State and North Corolina penetrated into their
country, burned almost every town they had, amounting to about one
thousand houses in the whole, destroyed fifty thousand bushels of grain,
killed twenty-nine, and took seventeen prisoners. The latter are mostly
women and children.

I have the honor to be, &c. your Excellency’s

most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.


P.S. Since writing the above, I have received information which, though
not authentic, deserves attention: that Lord Cornwallis had got to
Boyd’s Ferry on the 14th. I am issuing orders, in consequence, to other
counties, to embody and march all the men they can arm. In this fatal
situation, without arms, there will be no safety for the Convention
troops but in their removal, which I shall accordingly order. The
prisoners of the Cowpens were at New London (Bedford Court House) on the
14th. T. J.



LETTER XLIV.--TO GENERAL GATES, February 17, 1781


TO GENERAL GATES.

Richmond, February 17, 1781.

Dear General,

The situation of affairs here and in Carolina is such as must shortly
turn up important events, one way orihe other. By letter from General
Greene, dated Guilford Court House, February the 10th, I learn that
Lord Cornwallis, rendered furious by the affair of the Cowpens and the
surprise of Georgetown, had burned his own wagons, to enable himself
to move with facility, had pressed on to the vicinity of the Moravian
towns, and was still advancing: The prisoners taken at the Cowpens
were saved by a hair’s-breadth accident, and Greene was retreating.
His force, two thousand regulars, and no militia; Cornwallis, three
thousand. General Davidson was killed in a skirmish. Arnold lies still
at Portsmouth with fifteen hundred men. A French sixty-four gun ship
and two frigates, of thirty-six each, arrived in our bay three days ago.
They would suffice to destroy the British shipping here (a forty, four
frigates, and a twenty), could they get at them. But these are withdrawn
up Elizabeth river, which the sixty-four cannot enter. We have ordered
about seven hundred riflemen from Washington, Montgomery, and Bedford,
and five hundred common militia from Pittsylvania and Henry, to
reinforce General Greene; and five hundred new levies will march from
Chesterfield Court House in a few days. I have no doubt, however, that
the southwestern counties will have turned out in greater numbers before
our orders reach them.

I have been knocking at the door of Congress for aids of all kinds,
but especially of arms, ever since the middle of summer. The speaker,
Harrison, is gone to be heard on that subject. Justice, indeed, requires
that we should be aided powerfully. Yet if they would repay us the arms
we have lent them, we should give the enemy trouble, though abandoned to
ourselves.

After repeated applications, I have obtained a warrant for your advance
money, £18,000, which I have put into the hands of Mr. McAlister, to
receive the money from the Treasurer, and carry it to you.

I am, with very sincere esteem,

Dear Sir, your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XLV.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, February 26,1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, February 26,1781.

Sir,

I gave you information in my last letter, that General Greene had
crossed the Dan, at Boyd’s Ferry, and that Lord Cornwallis had arrived
at the opposite shore. Large reinforcements of militia having embodied
both in front and rear of the enemy, he is retreating with as much
rapidity as he advanced; his route is towards Hillsborough. General
Greene re-crossed the Dan on the 21st, in pursuit of him. I have the
pleasure to inform you, that the spirit of opposition was as universal,
as could have been wished for. There was no restraint on the numbers
that embodied, but the want of arms.

The British at Portsmouth lie close in their lines. The French squadron
keep them in by water, and since their arrival, as they put it out of
the power of the enemy to cut off our retreat by sending up Nansemond
river, our force has been moved down close to their lines.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XLVI.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, March 8, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, March 8, 1781.

Sir,

I had the pleasure of receiving a letter from General Greene, dated
High-rock Ford, February 29th (probably March the 1st), who informs me,
that, on the night of the 24th, Colonel M’Call surprised a subaltern’s
guard at Hart’s Mill, killed eight, and wounded and took nine prisoners,
and that on the 25th, General Pickens and Lieutenant Colonel Lee routed
a body of near three hundred tories, on the Haw river, who were in arms
to join the British army, killed upwards of one hundred, and wounded
most of the rest; which had a very happy effect on the disaffected in
that country.

By a letter from Major Magill, an officer of this State, whom I had sent
to General Greene’s head-quarters, for the purpose of giving us regular
intelligence, dated Guilford County, March 2nd, I am informed that
Lord Cornwallis, on his retreat, erected the British standard at
Hillsborough; that numbers of disaffected, under the command of Colonel
Piles, were resorting to it, when they were intercepted by General
Pickens and Lieutenant Colonel Lee, as mentioned by General Greene; and
that their commanding officer was among the slain: that Lord Cornwallis,
after destroying every thing he could, moved down the Haw river from
Hillsborough: that General Greene was within six miles of him: that our
superiority in the goodness, though not in the number of our cavalry,
prevented the enemy from moving with rapidity, or foraging. Having been
particular in desiring Major Magill to inform me what corps of militia,
from this State, joined General Greene, he accordingly mentioned, that
seven hundred under General Stevens, and four hundred from Botetourt,
had actually joined him; that Colonel Campbell was to join, him that
day with six hundred, and that Colonel Lynch, with three hundred from
Bedford, was shortly expected: the last three numbers being riflemen.
Besides these mentioned by Major Magill, General Lawson must, before
this, have crossed Roanoke with a body of militia, the number of which
has not been stated to me. Report makes them a thousand, but I suppose
the number to be exaggerated. Four hundred of our new levies left
Chesterfield Court House on the 25th of February, and probably would
cross the Roanoke about the 1st or 2nd of March.

I was honored with your Excellency’s letter of February the 21st, within
seven days after its date. We have, accordingly, been making every
preparation on our part, which we are able to make. The militia proposed
to co-operate, will be upwards of four thousand from this State, and
one thousand or twelve hundred from Carolina, said to be under General
Gregory. The enemy are, at this time, in a great measure blockaded by
land, there being a force on the east side of Elizabeth river. They
suffer for provisions, as they are afraid to venture far, lest the
French squadron should be in the neighborhood, and come upon them. Were
it possible to block up the river, a little time would suffice to reduce
them by want and desertions, and would be more sure in its event than an
attempt by storm. I shall be very happy to have it in my power to hand
you a favorable account of these two armies in the South.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem and respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XLVII.--TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, March 19,1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, March 19,1781;

Sir,

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a copy of a letter from
General Greene, with some other intelligence received, not doubting your
anxiety to know the movements in the South.

I find we have deceived ourselves not a little, by counting on the whole
numbers of the militia which have been in motion, as if they had all
remained with General Greene, when, in fact, they seem only to have
visited and quitted him.

The Marquis Fayette arrived at New York on the 15th. His troops still
remained at the head of the bay, till the appearance of some force which
should render their passage down safe.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest esteem and
respect, your Excellency’s

most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XLVIII.--TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, March 21, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, March 21, 1781.

Sir,

The enclosed letter will inform you of the arrival of a British fleet in
Chesapeake bay.

The extreme negligence of our stationed expresses is no doubt the cause
why, as yet, no authentic account has reached us of a general action,
which happened on the 15th instant, about a mile and a half from
Guilford Court House, between General Greene and Lord Cornwallis.
Captain Singleton, an intelligent officer of Harrison’s artillery, who
was in the action, has this moment arrived here, and gives the general
information that both parties were prepared and desirous for action;
the enemy were supposed about twenty-five hundred strong, our army about
four thousand. That after a very warm and general engagement, of about
an hour and a half, we retreated about a mile and a half from the field,
in good order, having, as he supposed, between two and three hundred
killed and wounded, the enemy between five and seven hundred killed and
wounded: that we lost four pieces of artillery: that the militia, as
well as regulars, behaved exceedingly well: that General Greene, he
believes, would have renewed the action the next day, had it not proved
rainy, and would renew it as soon as possible, as he supposes: that the
whole of his troops, both regulars and militia, were in high spirits and
wishing a second engagement: that the loss has fallen pretty equally on
the militia and regulars: that General Stevens received a ball through
the thigh.

Major Anderson, of Maryland, was killed, and Captain Barrett, of
Washington’s cavalry; Captain Fauntleroy, of the same cavalry, was shot
through the thigh, and left in the field.

Captain Singleton, having left the camp the day after the battle, does,
not speak from particular returns, none such having been then made. I
must inform your Excellency from him, till more regular applications can
reach you, that they are in extreme want of lead, cartridge-paper, and
thread. I think it improper, however it might urge an instantaneous
supply, to repeat to you his statement of the extent of their stock of
these articles. In a former letter, I mentioned to you the failure of
the vein of our lead mines, which has left the army here in a state of
equal distress and danger.

I have the honor to be, with very high respect and esteem,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.


P. S. Look-out boats have been ordered from the sea-board of the eastern
shore, to apprise the Commander of the French fleet, on its approach, of
the British being in the Chesapeake. T. J.



LETTER XLIX.--TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, March 26,1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

In Council, Richmond, March 26,1781.

Sir,

The appointment of commissioner to the war-office of this State having
lately become vacant, the Executive are desirous to place Colonel
William Davies, of the Virginia Continentals, in that office. This
gentleman, however, declines undertaking it, unless his rank in the
army, half pay for life and allowance for depreciation of pay, can be
reserved to him; observing with justice, that these emoluments, distant
as they are, are important to a person who has spent the most valuable
part of his youth in the service of his country. As this indulgence
rests in the power of Congress alone, I am induced to request it of them
on behalf of the State, to whom it is very interesting that the office
be properly filled, and I may say, on behalf of the Continent also, to
whom the same circumstance is interesting, in proportion to its reliance
upon this State for supplies to the southern war. We should not have
given Congress the trouble of this application, had we found it easy to
call any other to the office, who was likely to answer our wishes in the
exercise of it.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER L.--TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, March 28, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, March 28, 1781.

Sir,

I forward to your Excellency, under cover with this, copies of letters
received from Major General Greene and Baron Steuben, which will give
you the latest account of the situation of things with us and in North
Carolina.

I observe a late resolve of Congress, for furnishing a number of arms to
the southern states; and I lately wrote you on the subject of ammunition
and cartridge-paper. How much of this State, the enemy thus reinforced,
may think proper to possess themselves of, must depend on their own
moderation and caution, till these supplies arrive. We had hoped to
receive, by the French squadron under Monsieur Destouches, eleven
hundred stand of arms, which we had at Rhode Island, but were
disappointed. The necessity of hurrying forward the troops intended for
the southern operations will be doubtless apparent from this letter.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LI.--TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, March 31, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, March 31, 1781.

Sir,

The letters and papers accompanying this, will inform your Excellency of
the arrival of a British flag vessel with clothing, refreshments, money,
&c. for their prisoners under the Convention of Saratoga. The gentlemen
conducting them have, on supposition that the prisoners, or a part of
them, still remained in this State, applied to me by letters, copies
of which I transmit your Excellency, for leave to allow water
transportation as far as possible, and then, for themselves to attend
them to the post where they are to be issued. These indulgencies were
usually granted them here, but the prisoners being removed, it becomes
necessary to transmit the application to Congress for their direction.
In the mean time the flag will wait in James river.

Our intelligence from General Greene’s camp as late as the 24th, is,
that Lord Cornwallis’s march of the day before had decided his route to
Cross creek.

The amount of the reinforcements to the enemy, arrived at Portsmouth,
is not yet known with certainty. Accounts differ from fifteen hundred to
much larger numbers. We are informed they have a considerable number of
horse. The affliction of the people for want of arms is great; that of
ammunition is not yet known to them. An apprehension is added, that, the
enterprise on Portsmouth being laid aside, the troops under the Marquis
Fayette will not come on. An enemy three thousand strong, not a regular
in the State, nor arms to put in the hands of the militia, are, indeed,
discouraging circumstances.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LII.--TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, April 7, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, April 7, 1781.

Sir,

Hearing that our arms from Rhode Island have arrived at Philadelphia,
I have begged the favor of our Delegates to send them on in wagons
immediately, and, for the conveyance of my letter, have taken the
liberty of setting the Continental line of expresses in motion, which I
hope our distress for arms will justify, though the errand be not purely
Continental.

I have nothing from General Greene later than the 27th of March; our
accounts from Portsmouth vary the reinforcements which came under
General Phillips, from twenty-five hundred to three thousand. Arnold’s
strength before, was, I think, reduced to eleven hundred. They have made
no movement yet. Their preparation of boats is considerable; whether
they mean to go southwardly or up the river, no leading circumstance has
yet decided.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson,



LETTER LIII.--TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, April 18, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

In Council, April 18, 1781.

Sir,

I was honored, yesterday, with your Excellency’s favor enclosing the
resolutions of Congress of the 8th instant, for removing stores and
provisions from the counties of Accomack and Northampton. We have there
no military stores, except a few muskets in the hands of the militia.
There are some collections of forage and provisions belonging to the
Continent, and some to the State, and the country there, generally,
furnishes an abundance of forage. But such is the present condition of
Chesapeake bay, that we cannot even get an advice-boat across it, with
any certainty, much less adventure on transportation. Should, however,
any interval happen, in which these articles may be withdrawn, we shall
certainly avail ourselves of it, and bring thence whatever we can.

If I have been rightly informed, the horses there are by no means such,
as that the enemy could apply them to the purposes of cavalry. Some,
large enough for the draught, may, perhaps, be found, but of these not
many.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LIV.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, April 23,1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON

Richmond, April 23,1781.

Sir,

On the 18th instant, the enemy came from Portsmouth up James river, in
considerable force, though their numbers are not yet precisely known to
us. They landed at Burwell’s Ferry, below Williamsburg, and also a
short distance above the mouth of Chickahominy. This latter circumstance
obliged Colonel Innis, who commanded a body of militia, stationed on
that side the river to cover the country from depredation, to retire
upwards, lest he should be placed between their two bodies. One of these
entered Williamsburg on the 20th, and the other proceeded to a ship-yard
we had on Chickahominy. What injury they did there, I am not yet
informed. I take for granted, they have burned an unfinished twenty-gun
ship we had there. Such of the stores belonging to the yard as were
moveable, had been carried some miles higher up the river. Two small
galleys also retired up the river. Whether by this, either the stores
or galleys were saved, is yet unknown. I am just informed from a private
hand, that they left Williamsburg early yesterday morning. If this
sudden departure was not in consequence of some circumstance of alarm
unknown to us, their expedition to Williamsburg has been unaccountable.
There were no public stores at that place, but those which were
necessary for the daily subsistence of the men there. Where they mean
to descend next, the event alone can determine. Besides harassing our
militia with this kind of war, the taking them from their farms at the
interesting season of planting their corn, will have an unfortunate
effect on the crop of the ensuing year.

I have heard nothing certain of General Greene since the 6th instant,
except that his head-quarters were on Little river on the 11th.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LV.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, May 9, 1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, May 9, 1781.

Sir,

Since the last letter which I had the honor of addressing to your
Excellency, the military movements in this State, except a very late
one, have scarcely merited communication.

The enemy, after leaving Williamsburg, came directly up James river and
landed at City Point, being the point of land on the southern side
of the confluence of Appomatox and James rivers. They marched up to
Petersburg, where they were received by Baron Steuben with a body of
militia somewhat under one thousand, who, though the enemy were two
thousand and three hundred strong, disputed the ground very handsomely,
two hours, during which time the enemy gained only one mile, and that by
inches. Our troops were then ordered to retire over a bridge, which they
did in perfectly good order. Our loss was between sixty and seventy,
killed, wounded, and taken. The enemy’s is unknown, but it must be equal
to ours; for their own honor they must confess this, as they broke twice
and run like sheep, till supported by fresh troops. An inferiority in
number obliged our force to withdraw about twelve miles upwards, till
more militia should be assembled. The enemy burned all the tobacco in
the warehouses at Petersburg, and its, neighborhood. They afterwards
proceeded to Osborne’s, where they did the same, and also destroyed the
residue of the public armed vessels, and several of private property,
and then came to Manchester, which is on the hill opposite this place.

By this time, Major General Marquis Fayette, having been advised of
our danger, had, by forced marches, got here with his detachment of
Continental troops; and reinforcements of militia having also come in,
the enemy finding we were able to meet them on equal footing, thought
proper to burn the warehouses and tobacco at Manchester, and retire to
Warwick, where they did the same. Ill armed and untried militia, who
never before saw the face of an enemy, have, at times, during the course
of this war, given occasions of exultation to our enemies; but they
afforded us, while at Warwick, a little satisfaction in the same way.
Six or eight hundred of their picked men of light-infantry, with General
Arnold at their head, having crossed the river from Warwick, fled from
a patrole of sixteen horse, every man into his boat as he could, some
pushing north, some south, as their fears drove them. Their whole
force then proceeded to the Hundred, being the point of land within the
confluence of the two rivers, embarked, and fell down the river. Their
foremost vessels had got below Burwell’s Ferry on the 6th instant, when
on the arrival of a boat from Portsmouth, and a signal given, the whole
crowded sail up the river again with a fair wind and tide, and came to
anchor at Brandon; there six days’ provision was dealt out to every
man; they landed, and had orders to march an hour before day the next
morning. We have not yet heard which way they went, or whether they have
gone; but having, about the same time, received authentic information
that Lord Cornwallis had, on the 1st instant, advanced from Wilmington
half way to Halifax, we have no doubt, putting all circumstances
together, that these two armies are forming a junction.

We are strengthening our hands with militia, as far as arms, either
public or private, can be collected, but cannot arm a force which may
face the combined armies of the enemy. It will, therefore, be of very
great importance that General Wayne’s forces be pressed on with
the utmost despatch. Arms and a naval force, however, are what must
ultimately save us. This movement of our enemies we consider as most
perilous in its consequences.

Our latest advices from General Greene were of the 26th ult., when
he was lying before Camden, the works and garrison of which were much
stronger than he had expected to find them.

I have the honor to be, with great respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson,



LETTER LVI.--TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS, May 10, 1781


TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS.

In Council, May 10, 1781.

Gentlemen,

A small affair has taken place between the British commanding officer
in this state, General Phillips, and the Executive, of which, as he may
endeavor to get rid of it through the medium of Congress, I think it
necessary previously to apprise you.

General Scott obtained permission from the Commandant at Charleston, for
vessels with necessary supplies to go from hence to them, but instead
of sending the original, sent only a copy of the permission taken by his
brigade-major. I applied to General Phillips to supply this omission
by furnishing a passport for the vessel. Having just before taken great
offence at a threat of retaliation in the treatment of prisoners,
he enclosed his answer to my letter under this address, ‘To Thomas
Jefferson Esq., American Governor of Virginia.’ I paused on receiving
the letter, and for some time would not open it; however, when the
miserable condition of our brethren in Charleston occurred to me, I
could not determine that they should be left without the necessaries of
life, while a punctilio should be discussing between the British General
and myself; and knowing that I had an opportunity of returning the
compliment to Mr. Phillips in a case perfectly corresponding, I opened
the letter.

Very shortly after, I received, as I expected, the permission of the
board of war, for the British flag-vessel, then in Hampton Roads with
clothing and refreshments, to proceed to Alexandria. I enclosed and
addressed it, ‘To William Phillips Esq., commanding the British forces
in the Commonwealth of Virginia.’ Personally knowing Phillips to be the
proudest man of the proudest nation on earth, I well know he will not
open this letter; but having occasion at the same time to write to
Captain Gerlach, the flag-master, I informed him that the Convention
troops in this state should perish-for want of necessaries, before any
should be carried to them through this state, till General Phillips
either swallowed this pill of retaliation, or made an apology for his
rudeness. And in this, should the matter come ultimately to Congress, we
hope for their support.

He has the less right to insist on the expedition of his flag, because
his letter, instead of enclosing a passport to expedite ours, contained
only an evasion of the application, by saying he had referred it to Sir
Henry Clinton, and in the mean time, he has come up the river, and taken
the vessel with her loading, which we had chartered and prepared to send
to Charleston, and which wanted nothing but the passport to enable her
to depart.

I would further observe to you, that this gentleman’s letters to the
Baron Steuben first, and afterwards to the Marquis Fayette, have been in
a style so intolerably insolent and haughty, that both these gentlemen
have, been obliged to inform him, that if he thinks proper to address
them again in the same spirit, all intercourse shall be discontinued.

I am, with great respect and esteem,

Gentlemen, your most obedient servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LVII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, May 28,1781


TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Charlottesville, May 28,1781.

Sir,

I make no doubt you will have heard, before this shall have the honor of
being presented to your Excellency, of the junction of Lord Cornwallis
with the force at Petersburg under Arnold, who had succeeded to the
command on the death of Major General Phillips. I am now advised that
they have evacuated Petersburg, joined at Westover a reinforcement of
two thousand men just arrived from New York, crossed James river, and
on the 26th instant were three miles advanced on their way towards
Richmond; at which place Major General the Marquis Fayette lay with
three thousand men, regulars and militia: these being the whole number
we could arm, until the arrival of the eleven hundred arms from Rhode
Island, which are, about this time, at the place where our public stores
are deposited, The whole force of the enemy within this State, from
the best intelligence I have been able to get, is, I think, about seven
thousand men, infantry and cavalry, including also the small garrison
left at Portsmouth. A number of privateers, which are constantly
ravaging the shores of our rivers, prevent us from receiving any aid
from the counties lying on navigable waters: and powerful operations
meditated against our western frontier, by a joint force of British
and Indian savages, have, as your Excellency before knew, obliged us
to embody between two and three thousand men in that quarter. Your
Excellency will judge from this state of things, and from what you know
of our country, what it may probably suffer during the present campaign.
Should the enemy be able to produce no opportunity of annihilating the
Marquis’s army, a small proportion of their force may yet restrain
his movements effectually, while the greater part are employed, in
detachment, to waste an unarmed country, and lead the minds of the
people to acquiescence under those events, which they see no human power
prepared to ward off. We are too far removed from the other scenes of
war to say, whether the main force of the enemy be within this state.
But I suppose they cannot any where spare so great an army for the
operations of the field. Were it possible for this circumstance to
justify in your Excellency a determination to lend us your personal
aid, it is evident from the universal voice, that the presence of
their beloved countryman, whose talents have so long been successfully
employed in establishing the freedom of kindred States, to whose person
they have still flattered themselves they retained some right, and have
ever looked up, as their dernier resort in distress, would restore full
confidence of salvation to our citizens, and would render them equal to
whatever is not impossible. I cannot undertake to foresee and obviate
the difficulties which lie in the way of such a resolution. The whole
subject is before you, of which I see only detached parts: and your
judgment will be formed on a view of the whole. Should the danger of
this State, and its consequence to the Union, be such, as to render
it best for the whole that you should repair to its assistance, the
difficulty would then be, how to keep men out of the field. I have
undertaken to hint this matter to your Excellency, not only on my own
sense of its importance to us, but at the solicitations of many members
of weight in our legislature, which has not yet assembled to speak their
own desires.

A few days will bring to me that relief which the constitution has
prepared for those oppressed with the labors of my office, and a long
declared resolution of relinquishing it to abler hands, has prepared
my way for retirement to a private station: still, as an individual, I
should feel the comfortable effects of your presence, and have (what I
thought could not have been) an additional motive for that gratitude,
esteem, and respect, with which

I have the honor to be,

your Excellency’s most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.

     [An interval of near three years here occurs in the
     Author’s correspondence, during which he preserved only
     memoranda of the contents of the letters written by him.]



*****



LETTER, LVIII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, April 16, 1784


TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Annapolis, April 16, 1784.

Dear Sir,

I received your favor of April the 8th, by Colonel Harrison, The subject
of it is interesting, and, so far as you have stood connected with it,
has been matter of anxiety to me; because, whatever may be the ultimate
fate of the institution of the Cincinnati, as, in its course, it draws
to it some degree of disapprobation, I have wished to see you standing
on ground separated from it, and that the character which will be handed
to future ages at the head of our Revolution, may, in no instance, be
compromitted in subordinate altercations. The subject has been at the
point of my pen in every letter I have written to you, but has been
still restrained by the reflection that you had among your friends more
able counsellors, and, in yourself, one abler than them all. Your letter
has now rendered a duty what was before a desire, and I cannot better
merit your confidence than by a full and free communication of facts
and sentiments, as far as they have come within my observation. When the
army was about to be disbanded, and the officers to take final leave,
perhaps never again to meet, it was natural for men who had accompanied
each other through so many scenes of hardship, of difficulty and danger,
who, in a variety of instances, must have been rendered mutually dear
by those aids and good offices, to which their situations had given
occasion, it was natural, I say, for these to seize with fondness any
proposition which promised to bring them together again, at certain and
regular periods. And this, I take for granted, was the origin and object
of this institution: and I have no suspicion that they foresaw, much
less intended, those mischiefs which exist perhaps in the forebodings of
politicians only. I doubt, however, whether in its execution, it would
be found to answer the wishes of those who framed it, and to foster
those friendships it was intended to preserve. The members would be
brought together at their annual assemblies no longer to encounter a
common enemy, but to encounter one another in debate and sentiment.
For something, I suppose, is to be done at these meetings, and,
however unimportant, it will suffice to produce difference of opinion,
contradiction, and irritation. The way to make friends quarrel is to put
them in disputation under the public eye. An experience of near twenty
years has taught me, that few friendships stand this test, and that
public assemblies where every one is free to act and speak, are the
most powerful looseners of the bands of private friendship. I think,
therefore, that this institution would fail in its principal object, the
perpetuation of the personal friendships contracted through the war.

The objections of those who are opposed to the institution shall be
briefly sketched. You will readily fill them up. They urge that it
is against the Confederation--against the letter of some of our
constitutions--against the spirit of all of them;--that the foundation
on which all these are built, is the natural equality of man, the
denial of every pre-eminence but that annexed to legal office, and,
particularly, the denial of a pre-eminence by birth; that however, in
their present dispositions, citizens might decline accepting honorary
instalments[sp.]into the order; but a time, may come, when a change
of dispositions would render these flattering, when a well directed
distribution of them might draw into the order all the men of talents,
of office, and wealth, and in this case, would probably procure an
ingraftment into the government; that in this, they will be supported by
their foreign members, and the wishes and influence of foreign courts;
that experience has shown that the hereditary branches of modern
governments are the patrons of privilege and prerogative, and not of the
natural rights of the people, whose oppressors they generally are:
that besides these evils, which are remote, others may take place
more immediately; that a distinction is kept up between the civil and
military, which it is for the happiness of both to obliterate; that when
the members assemble the, will be proposing to do something, and what
that something may be, will depend on actual circumstances; that being
an organized body, under habits of subordination, the first obstruction
to enterprise will be already surmounted; that the moderation and virtue
of a single character have probably prevented this Revolution from being
closed as most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty it was
intended to establish; that he is not immortal, and his successor, or
some of his successors, may be led by false calculation into a less
certain road to glory.

What are the sentiments of Congress on this subject, and what line they
will pursue, can only be stated, conjecturally. Congress as a body, if
left to themselves, will in my opinion say nothing on the subject. They
may, however, be forced into a declaration by instructions from some
of the States, or by other incidents. Their sentiments, if forced from
them, will be unfriendly to the institution. If permitted to pursue
their own path, they will check it by side-blows whenever it comes in
their way, and in competitions for office, on equal or nearly equal
ground, will give silent preferences to those who are not of the
fraternity. My reasons for thinking this are, 1. The grounds on which
they lately declined the foreign order proposed to be conferred on
some of our citizens. 2. The fourth of the fundamental articles of
constitution for the new States. I enclose you the report; it has
been considered by Congress, recommitted and reformed by a committee,
according to sentiments expressed on other parts of it, but the
principle referred to, having not been controverted at all, stands in
this as in the original report; it is not yet confirmed by Congress.
3. Private conversations on this subject with the members. Since the
receipt of your letter I have taken occasion to extend these; not,
indeed, to the military members, because, being of the order, delicacy
forbade it, but to the others pretty generally; and, among these, I have
as yet found but one who is not opposed to the institution, and that
with an anguish of mind, though covered under a guarded silence which
I have not seen produced by any circumstance before. I arrived at
Philadelphia before the separation of the last Congress, and saw there
and at Princeton some of its members not now in delegation. Burke’s
piece happened to come out at that time, which occasioned this
institution to be the subject of conversation. I found the same
impressions made on them which their successors have received. I hear
from other quarters that it is disagreeable, generally, to such citizens
as have attended to it, and, therefore, will probably be so to all, when
any circumstance shall present it to the notice of all.

This, Sir, is as faithful an account of sentiments and facts as I am
able to give you. You know the extent of the circle within which my
observations are at present circumscribed, and can estimate how far, as
forming a part of the general opinion, it may merit notice, or ought to
influence your particular conduct.

It now remains to pay obedience to that part of your letter, which
requests sentiments on the most eligible measures to be pursued by the
society, at their next meeting. I must be far from pretending to be a
judge of what would, in fact, be the most, eligible measures for the
society. I can only give you the opinions of those with whom I have
conversed, and who, as I have before observed, are unfriendly to it.
They lead to these conclusions. 1. If the society proceed according to
its institution, it will be better to make no applications to Congress
on that subject, or any other, in their associated character. 2. If they
should propose to modify it, so as to render it unobjectionable, I think
it would not be effected without such a modification as would
amount almost to annihilation: for such would it be to part with its
inheritability, its organization, and its assemblies. 3. If they shall
be disposed to discontinue the whole, it would remain with them to
determine whether they would choose it to be done by their own act only,
or by a reference of the matter to Congress, which would infallibly
produce a recommendation of total discontinuance.

You will be sensible, Sir, that these communications are without
reserve. I supposed such to be your wish, and mean them but as
materials, with such others as you may collect, for your better judgment
to work on. I consider the whole matter as between ourselves alone,
having determined to take no active part in this or any thing else,
which may lead to altercation, or disturb that quiet and tranquillity of
mind, to which I consign the remaining portion of my life. I have been
thrown back by events, on a stage where I had never more thought to
appear. It is but for a time, however, and as a day-laborer, free to
withdraw, or be withdrawn at will. While I remain, I shall pursue in
silence the path of right, but in every situation, public or private,
I shall be gratified by all occasions of rendering you service, and of
convincing you there is no one, to whom your reputation and happiness
are dearer than to, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LIX.--TO COLONEL URIAH FORREST, October 20, 1784


TO COLONEL URIAH FORREST.

Paris, Cul-de-Sac Tetebout,

October 20, 1784.

Sir,

I received yesterday your favor of the 8th instant, and this morning
went to Auteuil and Passy, to consult with Mr. Adams and Dr. Franklin
on the subject of it. We conferred together, and think it is a case in
which we could not interpose (were there as yet cause for interposition)
without express instructions from Congress. It is, however, our private
opinion, which we give as individuals, only, that Mr. McLanahan, while
in England, is subject to the laws of England; that, therefore, he must
employ counsel, and be guided in his defence by their advice. The law
of nations and the treaty of peace, as making a part of the law of the
land, will undoubtedly be under the consideration of the judges who
pronounce on Mr. McLanahan’s case; and we are willing to hope that, in
their knowledge and integrity, he will find certain resources against
injustice, and a reparation of all injury to which he may have been
groundlessly exposed. A final and palpable failure on their part, which
we have no reason to apprehend, might make the case proper for the
consideration of Congress.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of great respect and esteem, for
Mr. McLanahan, as well as yourself.

Sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LX.--TO JOHN JAY, May 11, 1785


TO JOHN JAY.

Paris, May 11, 1785.

Sir,

I was honored on the 2nd instant with the receipt of your favor of March
the 15th, enclosing the resolution of Congress of the 10th of the same
month, appointing me their Minister Plenipotentiary at this court, and
also of your second letter of March 22nd, covering the commission and
letter of credence for that appointment. I beg permission through you,
Sir, to testify to Congress my gratitude for this new mark of their
favor, and my assurances of endeavoring to merit it by a faithful
attention to the discharge of the duties annexed to it. Fervent zeal is
all which I can be sure of carrying into their service; and where I fail
through a want of those powers which nature and circumstances deny me, I
shall rely on their indulgence, and much also on that candor with which
your Goodness will present my proceedings to their eye. The kind terms
in which you are pleased to notify this honor to me, require mv sincere
thanks. I beg you to accept them, and to be assured of the perfect
esteem, with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient and
most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXI.--TO GENERAL CHASTELLUX, June 7,1785


TO GENERAL CHASTELLUX.

Paris, June 7,1785.

Dear Sir,

I have been honored with the receipt of your letter of the 2nd instant,
and am to thank you, as I do sincerely, for the partiality with which
you receive the copy of the Notes on my country. As I can answer for the
facts therein reported on my own observation, and have admitted none on
the report of others, which were not supported by evidence sufficient to
command my own assent, I am not afraid that you should make any extracts
you please for the Journal de Physique, which come within their plan
of publication. The strictures on slavery and on the constitution of
Virginia, are not of that kind, and they are the parts which I do
not wish to have made public, at least, till I know whether their
publication would do most harm or good. It is possible, that in my
own country, these strictures might produce an irritation, which would
indispose the people towards the two great objects I have in view,
that is, the emancipation of their slaves, and the settlement of their
constitution on a firmer and more permanent basis. If I learn from
thence, that they will not produce that effect, I have printed and
reserved just copies enough to be able to give one to every young man at
the College. It is to them I look, to the rising generation, and not
to the one now in power, for these great reformations. The other copy,
delivered at your hotel, was for Monsieur de Buffon. I meant to ask the
favor of you to have it sent to him, as I was ignorant how to do it. I
have one also for Monsieur Daubenton, but being utterly unknown to him,
I cannot take the liberty of presenting it, till I can do it through
some common acquaintance.

I will beg leave to say here a few words on the general question of the
degeneracy of animals in America. 1. As to the degeneracy of the man of
Europe transplanted to America, it is no part of Monsieur de Buffon’s
system. He goes, indeed, within one step of it, but he stops there. The
Abbe Raynal alone has taken that step. Your knowledge of America enables
you to judge this question; to say, whether the lower class of people
in America, are less informed, and less susceptible of information,
than the lower class in Europe: and whether those in America who have
received such an education as that country can give, are less improved
by it than Europeans of the same degree of education. 2. As to the
aboriginal man of America, I know of no respectable evidence on which
the opinion of his inferiority of genius has been founded, but that of
Don Ulloa. As to Robertson, he never was in America; he relates nothing
on his own knowledge; he is a compiler only of the relations of others,
and a mere translator of the opinions of Monsieur de Buffon. I should
as soon, therefore, add the translators of Robertson to the witnesses of
this fact, as himself. Paw, the beginner of this charge, was a compiler
from the works of others; and of the most unlucky description; for
he seems to have read the writings of travellers, only to collect and
republish their lies. It is really remarkable, that in three volumes
12mo, of small print, it is scarcely possible to find one truth, and
yet, that the author should be able to produce authority for every
fact he states, as he says he can. Don Ulloa’s testimony is of the most
respectable. He wrote of what he saw, but he saw the Indian of South
America only, and that, after he had passed through ten generations of
slavery. It is very unfair, from this sample, to judge of the natural
genius of this race of men; and after supposing that Don Ulloa had not
sufficiently calculated the allowance which should be made for this
circumstance, we do him no injury in considering the picture he draws
of the present Indians of South America, as no picture of what their
ancestors were, three hundred years ago. It is in North America we are
to seek their original character. And I am safe in affirming that the
proofs of genius given by the Indians of North America, place them on
a level with whites in the same uncultivated state. The North of Europe
furnishes subjects enough for comparison with them, and for a proof of
their equality. I have seen some thousands myself, and conversed much
with them, and have found in them a masculine, sound understanding. I
have had much information from men who had lived among them, and whose
veracity and good sense were so far known to me, as to establish a
reliance on their information. They have all agreed in bearing witness
in favor of the genius of this a people. As to their bodily strength,
their manners rendering it disgraceful to labor, those muscles employed
in labor will be weaker with them, than with the European laborer; but
those which are exerted in the chase, and those faculties which
are employed in the tracing an enemy or a wild beast, in contriving
ambuscades for him, and in carrying them through their execution, are
much stronger than with us, because they are more exercised. I believe
the Indian, then, to be, in body and mind, equal to the white man. I
have supposed the black man, in his present state, might not be so; but
it would be hazardous to affirm, that, equally cultivated for a few
generations, he would not become so. 3. As to the inferiority of the
other animals of America, without more facts, I can add nothing to what
I have said in my Notes.

As to the theory of Monsieur de Buffon, that heat is friendly, and
moisture adverse to the production of large animals, I am lately
furnished with a fact by Dr. Franklin, which proves the air of London
and of Paris to be more humid than that of Philadelphia, and so creates
a suspicion that the opinion of the superior humidity of America,
may, perhaps, have been too hastily adopted. And supposing that fact
admitted, I think the physical reasonings urged to show, that in a moist
country animals must be small, and that in a hot one they must be large,
are not built on the basis of experiment. These questions, however,
cannot be decided ultimately, at this day. More facts must be collected,
and more time flow off, before the world will be ripe for decision. In
the mean time, doubt is wisdom.

I have been fully sensible of the anxieties of your situation, and that
your attentions were wholly consecrated, where alone they were wholly
due, to the succor of friendship and worth. However much I prize your
society, I wait with patience the moment when I can have it without
taking what is due to another. In the mean time, I am solaced with the
hope of possessing your friendship, and that it is not ungrateful to
you to receive the assurances of that with which I have the honor to be,
Dear Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXII.--TO JOHN ADAMS, June 15, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Passy, June 15, 1785.

Sir,

Among the instructions given to the ministers of the United States for
treating with foreign powers, was one of the 11th of May, 1784, relative
to an individual of the name of John Baptist Picquet. It contains an
acknowledgement, on the part of Congress, of his merits and sufferings
by friendly services rendered to great numbers of American seamen
carried prisoners into Lisbon, and refers to us the delivering him
these acknowledgements in honorable terms, and the making him such
gratification, as may indemnify his losses, and properly reward his
zeal. This person is now is Paris, and asks whatever return is intended
for him. Being in immediate want of money, he has been furnished with
ten guineas. He expressed, desires of some appointment either for
himself or son at Lisbon, but has been told that none such are in our
gift, and that nothing more could be done for him in that line, than to
mention to Congress that his services will merit their recollection, if
they should make any appointment there analogous to his talents. He says
his expenses in the relief of our prisoners have been upwards of fifty
moidores. Supposing that, as he is poor, a pecuniary gratification will
be most useful to him, we propose, in addition to what he has received,
to give him a hundred and fifty guineas, or perhaps four thousand
livres, and to write a joint letter to him expressing the sense Congress
entertain of his services. We pray you to give us your sentiments on
this subject by return of the first post, as he is waiting here, and we
wish the aid of your counsels therein.

We are to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of June 3rd, informing
us of your reception at the court of London.

I am, with sentiments of great respect and esteem, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXIII.--TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA, June 16, 1785


TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA.

Paris,

June 16, 1785.

Sir,

I had the honor of receiving, the day before yesterday, the resolution
of Council, of March the 10th, and your letter of March the 30th, and
shall, with great pleasure, unite my endeavors with those of the Marquis
de la Fayette and Mr. Barclay, for the purpose of procuring the arms
desired. Nothing can be more wise than this determination to arm our
people, as it is impossible to say when our neighbors may think proper
to give them exercise. I suppose that the establishing a manufacture
of arms, to go hand in hand with the purchase of them from hence, is at
present opposed by good reasons. This alone would make us independent
for an article essential to our preservation; and workmen could probably
be either got here, or drawn from England, to be embarked hence.

In a letter of January the 12th, to Governor Harrison, I informed him of
the necessity that the statuary should see General Washington; that we
should accordingly send him over unless the Executive disapproved of it,
in which case I prayed to receive their pleasure. Mr. Houdon being new
re-established in his health, and no countermand received, I hope this
measure met the approbation of the Executive: Mr. Houdon will therefore
go over with Dr. Franklin, some time in the next month.

I have the honor of enclosing you the substance of propositions which
have been made from London to the Farmers General of this country,
to furnish them with the tobacco of Virginia and Maryland, which
propositions were procured for me by the Marquis de la Fayette. I take
the liberty of troubling you with them, on a supposition that it may be
possible to have this article furnished from those two States to this
country, immediately, without its passing through the _entrepot_
of London, and the returns for it being made, of course, in London
merchandise. Twenty thousand hogsheads of tobacco a year, delivered here
in exchange for the produce and manufactures of this country, many
of which are as good, some better, and most of them cheaper than in
England, would establish a rivalship for our commerce, which would have
happy effects in all the three countries. Whether this end will be best
effected by giving out these propositions to our merchants, and exciting
them to become candidates with the Farmers General for this contract, or
by any other means, your Excellency will best judge on the spot.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of due respect, your
Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.


P.S. I have written on the last subject to the Governor of Maryland
also.



LETTER LXIV.--TO COLONEL MONROE, June 17, 1785


TO COLONEL MONROE.

Paris, June 17, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I received three days ago your favor of April the 12th. You therein
speak of a former letter to me, but it has not come to hand, nor any
other of later date than the 14th of December. My last to you was of the
11th of May, by Mr. Adams, who went in the packet of that month. These
conveyances are now becoming deranged. We have had expectations of their
coming to Havre, which would infinitely facilitate the communication
between Paris and Congress; but their deliberations on the subject seem
to be taking another turn. They complain of the expense, and that their
commerce with us is too small to justify it. They therefore talk of
sending a packet every six weeks only. The present one, therefore, which
should have sailed about this time, will not sail till the 1st of July.
However, the whole matter is as yet undecided. I have hopes that when
Mr. St. John arrives from New York, he will get them replaced on
their monthly system. By the bye, what is the meaning of a very
angry resolution of Congress on his subject? I have it not by me, and
therefore cannot cite it by date, but you will remember it, and oblige
me by explaining its foundation. This will be handed you by Mr.
Otto, who comes to America as Charge, des Affaires, in the room of Mr.
Marbois, promoted to the Intendancy of Hispaniola, which office is next
to that of Governor. He becomes the head of the civil, as the Governor
is of the military department.

I am much pleased with Otto’s appointment; he is good-humored,
affectionate to America, will see things in a friendly light when they
admit of it, in a rational one always, and will not pique himself on
writing every trifling circumstance of irritation to his court. I
wish you to be acquainted with him, as a friendly intercourse between
individuals who do business together, produces a mutual spirit of
accommodation useful to both parties. It is very much our interest to
keep up the affection of this country for us, which is considerable.
A court has no affections; but those of the people whom they govern,
influence their decisions even in the most arbitrary governments.

The negotiations between the Emperor and Dutch are spun out to an
amazing length. At present there is no apprehension but that they will
terminate in peace. This court seems to press it with ardor, and the
Dutch are averse, considering the terms cruel and unjust, as they
evidently are. The present delays, therefore, are imputed to their
coldness and to their forms. In the mean time, the Turk is delaying the
demarcation of limits between him and the Emperor, is making the most
vigorous preparations for war, and has composed his ministry of warlike
characters, deemed personally hostile, to the Emperor. Thus time seems
to be spinning out, both by the Dutch and Turks, and time is wanting
for France. Every year’s delay is a great thing for her. It is not
impossible, therefore, but that she may secretly encourage the delays
of the Dutch, and hasten the preparations of the Porte, while she is
recovering vigor herself also, in order to be able to present such a
combination to the Emperor as may dictate to him to be quiet. But the
designs of these courts are unsearchable. It is our interest to pray
that this country may have no continental war, till our peace with
England is perfectly settled. The. merchants of this country continue as
loud and furious as ever against the _Arrêt_ of August, 1784, permitting
our commerce with their islands to a certain degree. Many of them have
actually abandoned their trade. The ministry are disposed to be firm;
but there is a point at which they will give way: that is, if the
clamors should become such as to endanger their places. It is evident
that nothing can be done by us, at this time, if we may hope it
hereafter. I like your removal to New York, and hope Congress will
continue there, and never execute the idea of building their Federal
town. Before it could be finished, a change of members in Congress, or
the admission of new States, would remove them some where else. It is
evident that when a sufficient number of the western states come in,
they will remove it to Georgetown. In the mean time, it is our interest
that it should remain where it is, and give no new pretensions to any
other place. I am also much pleased with the proposition to the States
to invest Congress with the regulation of their trade, reserving its
revenue to the States. I think it a happy idea, removing the only
objection which could have been justly made to the proposition. The time
too is the present, before the admission of the western States. I am
very differently affected towards the new plan of opening our land
office, by dividing the lands among the States, and selling them at
vendue. It separates still more the interests of the States, which ought
to be made joint in every possible instance, in order to cultivate the
idea of our being one nation, and to multiply the instances in which the
people should look up to Congress as their head. And when the States get
their portions they will either fool them away, or make a job of it to
serve individuals. Proofs of both these practices have been furnished,
and by either of them that invaluable fund is lost, which ought to pay
our public debt. To sell them at vendue, is to give them to the bidders
of the day, be they many or few. It is ripping up the hen which lays
golden eggs. If sold in lots at a fixed price, as first proposed, the
best lots will be sold first; as these become occupied, it gives a value
to the interjacent ones, and raises them, though of inferior quality, to
the price of the first. I send you by Mr. Otto, a copy of my book. Be so
good as to apologize to Mr. Thomson for my not sending him one by this
conveyance. I could not burthen Mr. Otto with more, on so long a road as
that from here to L’Orient. I will send him one by a Mr. Williams, who
will go ere long. I have taken measures to prevent its publication. My
reason is, that I fear the terms in which I speak of slavery, and of our
constitution, may produce an irritation which will revolt the minds of
our countrymen against reformation in these two articles, and thus do
more harm than good. I have asked of Mr. Madison to sound this matter as
far as he can, and if he thinks it will not produce that effect, I have
then copies enough printed to give one to each of the young men at the
College, and to my friends in the country.

I am sorry to see a possibility of * * being put into the Treasury.
He has no talents for the office, and what he has, will be employed in
rummaging old accounts to involve you in eternal war with * *, and he
will, in a short time, introduce such dissensions into the commission,
as to break it up. If he goes on the other appointment to Kaskaskia, he
will produce a revolt of that settlement from the United States. I
thank you for your attention to my outfit. For the articles of household
furniture, clothes, and a carriage, I have already paid twenty-eight
thousand livres, and have still more to pay. For the greatest part of
this, I have been obliged to anticipate my salary, from which, however,
I shall never be able to repay it. I find, that by a rigid economy,
bordering however on meanness, I can save perhaps, five hundred livres a
month, at least in the summer. The residue goes for expenses so much of
course and of necessity, that I cannot avoid them without abandoning
all respect to my public character. Yet I will pray you to touch this
string, which I know to be a tender one with Congress, with the utmost
delicacy. I had rather be ruined in my fortune, than in their esteem.
If they allow me half a year’s salary as an outfit, I can get through my
debts in time. If they raise the salary to what it was, or even pay our
house rent and taxes, I can live with more decency. I trust that Mr.
Adams’s house at the Hague, and Dr. Franklin’s at Passy,--the rent of
which has been always allowed him, will give just expectations of the
same allowance to me. Mr. Jay, however, did not charge it, but he lived
economically and laid up money.

I will take the liberty of hazarding to you some thoughts on the policy
of entering into treaties with the European nations, and the nature of
them. I am not wedded to these ideas, and, therefore, shall relinquish
them cheerfully when Congress shall adopt others, and zealously endeavor
to carry theirs into effect. First, as to the policy of making treaties.
Congress, by the Confederation, have no original and inherent power over
the commerce of the States. But by the 9th article, they are authorized
to enter into treaties of commerce. The moment these treaties are
concluded, the jurisdiction of Congress over the commerce of the States,
springs into existence, and that of the particular States is superseded
so far as the articles of the treaty may have taken up the subject.
There are two restrictions only, on the exercise of the power of treaty
by Congress. 1st. That they shall not, by such treaty, restrain the
legislatures of the States from imposing such duties on foreigners,
as their own people are subject to: nor 2ndly, from prohibiting the
exportation or importation of any particular species of goods. Leaving
these two points free, Congress may, by treaty, establish any system of
commerce they please; but, as I before observed, it is by treaty
alone they can do it. Though they may exercise their other powers by
resolution or ordinance, those over commerce can only be exercised by
forming a treaty, and this, probably, by an accidental wording of our
Confederation. If, therefore, it is better for the States that Congress
should regulate their commerce, it is proper that they should form
treaties with all nations with whom we may possibly trade. You see that
my primary object in the formation of treaties, is to take the commerce
of the States out of the hands of the States, and to place it under the
superintendence of Congress, so far as the imperfect provisions of our
constitution will admit, and until the States shall, by new compact,
make them more perfect. I would say then to every nation on earth,
by treaty, your people shall trade freely with us, and ours with you,
paying no more than the most favored nation in order to put an end to
the right of individual States, acting by fits and starts, to interrupt
our commerce or to embroil us with any nation. As to the terms of these
treaties, the question becomes more difficult. I will mention three
different plans. 1. That no duties shall be laid by either party on
the productions of the other. 2. That each may be permitted to equalize
their duties to those laid by the other. 3. That each shall pay in the
ports of the other, such duties only as the most favored nations pay.

1. Were the nations of Europe as free and unembarrassed of established
systems as we are, I do verily believe they would concur with us in the
first plan. But it is impossible. These establishments are fixed
upon them; they are interwoven with the body of their laws and the
organization of their government, and they make a great part of their
revenue; they cannot then get rid of them.

2. The plan of equal imposts presents difficulties insurmountable. For
how are the equal imposts to be effected? Is it by laying in the ports
of A, an equal per cent, on the goods of B, with that which B has laid
in his ports on the goods of A? But how are we to find what is that per
cent.? For this is not the usual form of imposts. They generally pay by
the-ton, by the measure, by the weight, and not by the value. Besides,
if A sends a million’s worth of goods to B, and takes back but the half
of that, and each pays the same per cent., it is evident that A pays
the double of what he recovers in the same way from B: this would be our
case with Spain. Shall we endeavor to effect equality, then, by saying
A may levy so much on the sum of B’s importations into his ports, as B
does on the sum of A’s importations into the ports of B.? But how
find out that sum? Will either party lay open their custom-house books
candidly to evince this sum? Does either keep their books so exactly as
to be able to do it? This proposition was started in Congress when our
instructions were formed, as you may remember, and the impossibility of
executing it occasioned it to be disapproved. Besides, who should have
a right of deciding when the imposts were equal. A would say to B, My
imposts do not raise so much as yours; I raise them therefore. B would
then say, You have made them greater than mine, I will raise mine; and
thus a kind of auction would be carried on between them, and a mutual
irritation, which would end in any thing, sooner than equality and
right.

3. I confess then to you, that I see no alternative left but that which
Congress adopted, of each party placing the other on the footing of
the most favored nation. If the nations of Europe, from their actual
establishments, are not at liberty to say to America, that she shall
trade in their ports duty free, they may say she may trade there paying
no higher duties than the most favored nation; and this is valuable in
many of these countries, where a very great difference is made between
different nations. There is no difficulty in the execution of this
contract, because there is not a merchant who does not know, or may not
know, the duty paid by every nation on every article. This stipulation
leaves each party at liberty to regulate their own commerce by
general rules, while it secures the other from partial and oppressive
discriminations. The difficulty which arises in our case is with
the nations having American territory. Access to the West Indies
is indispensably necessary to us. Yet how to gain it when it is the
established system of these nations to exclude all foreigners from their
colonies? The only chance seems to be this: our commerce to the mother
countries is valuable to them. We must indeavor, then, to make this the
price of an admission into their West Indies, and to those who refuse
the admission, we must refuse our commerce, or load theirs by odious
discriminations in our ports. We have this circumstance in our favor
too, that what one grants us in their islands, the others will not
find it worth their while to refuse. The misfortune is, that with this
country we gave this price for their aid in the war, and we have now
nothing more to offer. She being withdrawn from the competition, leaves
Great Britain much more at liberty to hold out against us. This is the
difficult part of the business of treaty, and I own it does not hold out
the most flattering prospects.

I wish you would consider this subject, and write me your thoughts on
it. Mr. Gerry wrote me on the same subject. Will you give me leave to
impose on you the trouble of communicating this to him? It is long, and
will save me much labor in copying. I hope he will be so indulgent as
to consider it as an answer to that part of his letter, and will give
me his further thoughts on it. Shall I send you so much of the
_Encyclopédie_ as is already published, or reserve it here till you
come? It is about forty volumes which is probably about half the work.
Give yourself no uneasiness about the money; perhaps I may find it
convenient to ask you to pay trifles occasionally for me in America. I
sincerely wish you may find it convenient to come here; the pleasure of
the trip will be less than you expect, but the utility greater. It will
make you adore your own country, its soil, its climate, its equality,
liberty, laws, people, and manners. My God! how little do my countrymen
know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no
other people on earth enjoy. I confess I had no idea of it myself. While
we shall see multiplied instances of Europeans going to live in America,
I will venture to say no man now living, will ever see an instance of
an American removing to settle in Europe, and continuing there. Come
then and see the proofs of this, and on your return add your testimony
to that of every thinking American, in order to satisfy our countrymen
how much it is their interest to preserve, uninfected by contagion,
those peculiarities in their governments and manners, to which they
are indebted for those blessings. Adieu, my dear friend; present me
affectionately to your colleagues. If any of them think me worth writing
to, they may be assured that in the epistolary account I will keep the
debit side against them. Once more, adieu.

Yours affectionately,

Th: Jefferson.


P.S. June 19. Since writing the above we have received the following
account: Monsieur Pilatre de Roziere, who had been waiting for some
months at Boulogne for a fair wind to cross the channel, at length took
his ascent with a companion. The wind changed after a while, and brought
him back on the French coast. Being at a height of about six thousand
feet, some accident happened to his balloon of inflammable air; it
burst, they fell from that height, and were crushed to atoms. There
was a montgolfier combined with the balloon of inflammable air. It is
suspected the heat of the montgolfier rarefied too much the inflammable
air of the other, and occasioned it to burst. The montgolfier came down
in good order.

T.J.



LETTER LXV.--TO CHARLES THOMSON, June 21, 1785


TO CHARLES THOMSON.

Paris, June 21, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of March the 6th has come duly to hand. You therein
acknowledge the receipt of mine of November the 11th; at that time you
could not have received my last, of February the 8th. At present there
is so little new in politics, literature, or the arts, that I write
rather to prove to you my desire of nourishing your correspondence
than of being able to give you any thing interesting at this time. The
political world is almost lulled to sleep by the lethargic state of the
Dutch negotiation, which will probably end in peace. Nor does this court
profess to apprehend, that the Emperor will involve this hemisphere
in war by his schemes on Bavaria and Turkey. The arts, instead of
advancing, have lately received a check, which will probably render
stationary for a while, that branch of them which had promised to
elevate us to the skies. Pilatre de Roziere, who had first ventured into
that region, has fallen a sacrifice to it. In an attempt to pass from
Boulogne over to England, a change in the wind having brought him
back on the coast of France, some accident happened to his balloon of
inflammable air, which occasioned it to burst, and that of rarefied
air combined with it being then unequal to the weight, they fell to the
earth from a height, which the first reports made six thousand feet, but
later ones have reduced to sixteen hundred. Pilatre de Roziere was dead
when a peasant, distant one hundred yards only, run to him; but Romain,
his companion, lived about ten minutes, though speechless, and without
his senses. In literature there is nothing new. For I do not consider as
having added any thing to that field, my own Notes, of which I have
had a few copies printed. I will send you a copy by the first safe
conveyance. Having troubled Mr. Otto with one for Colonel Monroe, I
could not charge him with one for you. Pray ask the favor of Colonel
Monroe, in page 5, line 17, to strike out the words ‘above the mouth of
Appamatox,’ which make nonsense of the passage; and I forgot to correct
it before I had enclosed and sent off the copy to him. I am desirous of
preventing the reprinting this, should any book-merchant think it worth
it, till I hear from my friends, whether the terms in which I have
spoken of slavery and the constitution of our State, will not, by
producing an irritation, retard that reformation which I wish, instead
of promoting it. Dr. Franklin proposes to sail for America about the
first or second week of July. He does not yet know, however, by what
conveyance he can go. Unable to travel by land, he must descend the
Seine in a boat to Havre. He has sent to England to get some vessel
bound for Philadelphia, to touch at Havre for him. But he receives
information that this cannot be done. He has been on the lookout ever
since he received his permission to return; but, as yet, no possible
means of getting a passage have offered, and I fear it is very uncertain
when any will offer. I am with very great esteem, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXVI.--TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL, June 22, 1785


TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

Paris, June 22, 1785.

Sir,

Your letter of April the 4th came to my hands on the 16th of that month,
and was acknowledged by mine of May the 3rd. That which you did me the
honor to write me on the 5th of April, never came to hand until the 19th
of May, upwards of a month after the one of the day before. I have hopes
of sending the present by a Mr. Jarvis, who went from hence to Holland
some time ago. About this date, I suppose him to be at Brussels, and
that from thence he will inform me, whether, in his way to Madrid, he
will pass by this place. If he does, this shall be accompanied by a
cipher for our future use; if he does not, I must still await a safe
opportunity. Mr. Jarvis is a citizen of the United States from New-York,
a gentleman of intelligence, in the mercantile line, from whom you will
be able to get considerable information of American affairs. I think
he left America in January. He informed us that Congress were about to
appoint a Mr. Lambe, of Connecticut, their consul to Morocco, and to
send him to their ministers, commissioned to treat with the Barbary
powers, for instructions. Since that, Mr. Jay enclosed to Mr. Adams,
in London, a resolution of Congress deciding definitively on amicable
treaties with the Barbary States, in the usual way, and informing him
that he had sent a letter and instructions to us, by Mr. Lambe. Though
it is near three weeks since we received a communication of this from
Mr. Adams, yet we hear nothing further of Mr. Lambe. Our powers of
treating with the Barbary States are full, but in the amount of the
expense we are limited. I believe you may safely assure them, that they
will soon receive propositions from us, if you find such an assurance
necessary to keep them quiet. Turning at this instant to your letter
dated April 5th, and considering it attentively, I am persuaded it must
have been written on the 5th of May: of this little mistake I ought to
have been sooner sensible. Our latest letters from America are of the
middle of April, and are extremely barren of news. Congress had not yet
proposed a time for their recess, though it was thought a recess would
take place. Mr. Morris had retired, and the treasury was actually
administered by commissioners. Their land-office was not yet opened.
The settlements at Kaskaskia, within the territory ceded to them by
Virginia, had prayed the establishment of a regular government, and they
were about sending a commissioner to them. General Knox was appointed
their secretary of the war-office. These, I think, are the only facts
we have learned which are worth communicating to you. The inhabitants
of Canada have sent a sensible petition to their King, praying the
establishment of an Assembly, the benefits of the _habeas corpus_
laws, and other privileges of British subjects. The establishment of an
Assembly is denied, but most of their other desires granted. We are now
in hourly expectation of the arrival of the packet which should have
sailed from New York in May. Perhaps that may bring us matter which may
furnish the subject of a more interesting letter.

In the mean time, I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.


P.S. July 14. I have thus long waited, day after day, hoping to hear
from Mr. Jarvis, that I might send a cipher with this: but now give up
the hope. No news yet of Mr. Lambe. The packet has arrived, but brings
no intelligence, except that it is doubtful whether Congress will
adjourn this summer. The Assembly of Pennsylvania propose to suppress
their bank on principles of policy. T.J.



LETTER LXVII.--TO JOHN ADAMS, June 23, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, June 23, 1785.

Dear Sir,

My last to you was of the 2nd instant, since which I have received
yours of the 3rd and 7th. I informed you in mine of the substance of our
letter to Baron Thulemeyer: last night came to hand his acknowledgment
of the receipt of it. He accedes to the method proposed for signing,
and has forwarded our despatch to the King. I enclose you a copy of
our letter to Mr. Jay, to go by the packet of this month. It contains a
statement of our proceedings since the preceding letter, which you
had signed with us. This statement contains nothing but what you had
concurred with us in; and, as Dr. Franklin expects to go early in July
to America, it is probable that the future letters must be written by
you and myself. I shall therefore take care that you be furnished with
copies of every thing which comes to hand on the joint business.

What is become of this Mr. Lambe? I am uneasy at the delay of that
business, since we know the ultimate decision of Congress. Dr. Franklin,
having a copy of the _Corps Diplomatique_, has promised to prepare a
draught of a treaty to be offered to the Barbary States: as soon as he
has done so, we will send it to you for your corrections. We think it
will be best to have it in readiness against the arrival of Mr. Lambe,
on the supposition that he may be addressed to the joint ministers for
instructions.

I asked the favor of you in my last, to choose two of the best London
papers for me; one of each party. The Duke of Dorset has given me leave
to have them put under his address, and sent to the office from which
his despatches come. I think he called it Cleveland office, or Cleveland
lane, or by some such name; however, I suppose it can easily be known
there. Will Mr. Stockdale undertake to have these papers sent regularly,
or is this out of the line of his business? Pray order me also any
really good pamphlets that come out from time to time, which he will
charge to me.

I am, with great esteem, dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXVIII.--TO COLONEL MONROE, July 5, 1785


TO COLONEL MONROE.

Paris, July 5, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I wrote you, by Mr. Adams, May the 11th, and by Mr. Otto, June the 17th.
The latter acknowledged the receipt of yours of April the 12th, which is
the only one come to hand of later date than December the 14th. Little
has occurred since my last. Peace seems to show herself under a more
decided form. The Emperor is now on a journey to Italy, and the two
Dutch Plenipotentiaries have set out for Vienna; there to make an
apology for their State having dared to fire a gun in defence of her
invaded rights: this is insisted on as a preliminary condition. The
Emperor seems to prefer the glory of terror to that of justice; and,
to satisfy this tinsel passion, plants a dagger in the heart of every
Dutchman which no time will extract. I inquired lately of a gentleman
who lived long at Constantinople, in a public character, and enjoyed the
confidence of that government, insomuch, as to become well acquainted
with its spirit and its powers, what he thought might be the issue of
the present affair between the Emperor and the Porte. He thinks the
latter will not push matters to a war; and, if they do, they must fail
under it. They have lost their warlike spirit, and their troops cannot
be induced to adopt the European arms. We have no news yet of Mr. Lambe;
of course our Barbary proceedings are still at a stand.*

[* The remainder of this letter is in cipher, to which there is no key
in the Editor’s possession.]

Yours affectionately,

Th: Jefferson



LETTER LXIX.--TO MRS. SPROWLE, July 5,1785


TO MRS. SPROWLE.

Paris, July 5,1785.

Madam,

Your letter of the 21st of June, has come safely to hand. That which you
had done me the honor of writing before, has not yet been received. It
having gone by Dr. Witherspoon to America, which I had left before his
return to it, the delay is easily accounted for.

I wish you may be rightly informed that the property of Mr. Sprowle is
yet unsold. It was advertised so long ago, as to found a presumption
that the sale has taken place. In any event, you may safely go to
Virginia. It is in the London newspapers only, that exist those mobs and
riots, which are fabricated to deter strangers from going to America.
Your person will be sacredly safe, and free from insult. You can best
judge from the character and qualities of your son, whether he may be
an useful co-adjutor to you there. I suppose him to have taken side with
the British, before our Declaration of Independence; and, if this was
the case, I respect the candor of the measure, though I do not its
wisdom. A right to take the side which every man’s conscience approves
in a civil contest, is too precious a right, and too favorable to the
preservation of liberty, not to be protected by all its well informed
friends. The Assembly of Virginia have given sanction to this right
in several of their laws, discriminating honorably those who took
side against us before the Declaration of Independence, from those
who remained among us, and strove to injure us by their treacheries.
I sincerely wish that you, and every other to whom this distinction
applies favorably, may find, in the Assembly of Virginia, the good
effects of that justice and generosity, which have dictated to them
this discrimination. It is a sentiment which will gain strength in their
breasts, in proportion as they can forget the savage cruelties committed
on them, and will, I hope, in the end, reduce them to restore the
property itself, wherever it is unsold, and the price received for it,
where it has been actually sold.

I am, Madam,

your very humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXX.--TO JOHN ADAMS, July 7, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, July 7, 1785.

Dear Sir,

This will accompany a joint letter enclosing the draft of a treaty? and
my private letter of June 23rd, which has waited so long for a private
conveyance. We daily expect from the Baron Thulemeyer the French column
for our treaty with his sovereign. In the mean while, two copies are
preparing with the English column, which Dr. Franklin wishes to sign
before his departure, which will be within four or five days. The
French, when received, will be inserted in the blank columns of each
copy. As the measure of signing at separate times and places is new, we
think it necessary to omit no other circumstance of ceremony which can
be observed. That of sending it by a person of confidence, and invested
with a character relative to the object, who shall attest our signature,
yours in London, and Baron Thulemeyer’s at the Hague, and who shall make
the actual exchanges, we think will contribute to supply the departure
from the original form, in other instances. For this reason, we have
agreed to send Mr. Short on this business, to make him a secretary _pro
hac vice_, and to join Mr. Dumas for the operations of exchange, &c. As
Dr. Franklin will have left us before Mr. Short’s mission will commence,
and I have never been concerned in the ceremonials of a treaty, I will
thank you for your immediate information as to the papers he should be
furnished with from hence. He will repair first to you in London, thence
to the Hague, and then return to Paris.

What has become of Mr. Lambe? Supposing he was to call on the
commissioners for instructions, and thinking it best these should be in
readiness, Dr. Franklin undertook to consult well the Barbary treaties
with other nations, and to prepare a sketch which we should have sent
for your correction. He tells me he has consulted those treaties, and
made references to the articles proper for us, which, however, he will
not have time to put into form, but will leave them with me to reduce.
As soon as I see them, you shall hear from me. A late conversation with
an English gentleman here, makes me believe, what I did not believe
before; that his nation thinks seriously that Congress have no power to
form a treaty of commerce. As the explanations of this matter, which you
and I may separately give, may be handed to their minister, it would be
well that they should agree. For this reason, as well as for the hope of
your showing me wherein I am wrong, and confirming me where I am right,
I will give you my creed on the subject. It is contained in these four
principles. By the Confederation, Congress have no power given them,
in the first instance, over the commerce of the States. But they have
a power given them of entering into treaties of commerce, and these
treaties may cover the whole field of commerce, with two restrictions
only. 1. That the States may impose equal duties on foreigners as
natives: and 2. That they may prohibit the exportation or importation of
any species of goods whatsoever. When they shall have entered into such
treaty, the superintendence of it results to them; all the operations
of commerce, which are protected by its stipulations, come under their
jurisdiction, and the power of the States to thwart them by their
separate acts, ceases. If Great Britain asks, then, why she should enter
into treaty with us? why not carry on her commerce without treaty? I
answer; because till a treaty is made, no consul of hers can be received
(his functions being called into existence by a convention only, and the
States having abandoned the right of separate agreements and treaties);
no protection to her commerce can be given by Congress; no cover to
it from those checks and discouragements, with which the States will
oppress it, acting separately, and by fits and starts. That they will
act so till a treaty is made, Great Britain has had several proofs; and
I am convinced those proofs will become general. It is then to put her
commerce with us on systematical ground, and under safe cover, that it
behoves Great Britain to enter into treaty. And I own to you, that my
wish to enter into treaties with the other powers of Europe, arises more
from a desire of bringing all our commerce under the jurisdiction of
Congress, than from any other views. Because, according to my idea, the
commerce of the United States with those countries not under treaty with
us, is under the jurisdiction of each State separately; but that of
the countries which have treated with us, is under the jurisdiction of
Congress, with the two fundamental restraints only, which I have before
noted.

I shall be happy to receive your corrections of these ideas, as I have
found, in the course of our joint services, that I think right when I
think with you.

I am, with sincere affection, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.


P.S. Monsieur Houdon has agreed to go to America to take the figure of
General Washington. In the case of his death, between his departure from
Paris and his return to it, we may lose twenty thousand livres. I ask
the favor of you to inquire what it will cost to ensure that sum on his
life, in London, and to give me as early an answer as possible, that
I may order the ensurance, if I think the terms easy enough. He is, I
believe, between thirty and thirty-five years of age, healthy enough,
and will be absent about six months. T.J.



LETTER LXXI.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, July 10, 1785


TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Paris, July 10, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Mr. Houdon would much sooner have had the honor of attending you,
but for a spell of sickness, which long induced us to despair of his
recovery, and from which he is but recently recovered. He comes now, for
the purpose of lending the aid of his art to transmit you to posterity.
He is without rivalship in it, being employed from all parts of Europe
in whatever is capital. He has had a difficulty to withdraw himself from
an order of the Empress of Russia; a difficulty, however, that arose
from a desire to show her respect, but which never gave him a moment’s
hesitation about his present voyage, which he considers as promising
the brightest chapter of his history. I have spoken of him as an artist
only; but I can assure you also, that, as a man, he is disinterested,
generous, candid, and panting after glory: in every circumstance
meriting your good opinion. He will have need to see you much while he
shall have the honor of being with you; which you can the more freely
admit, as his eminence and merit give him admission into genteel
societies here. He will need an interpreter. I suppose you could procure
some person from Alexandria, who might be agreeable to yourself, to
perform this office. He brings with him one or two subordinate workmen,
who of course will associate with their own class only.

On receiving the favor of your letter of February the 25th, I
communicated the plan for clearing the Potomac, with the act of
Assembly, and an explanation of its probable advantages, to Mr. Grand,
whose acquaintance and connection with the monied men here, enabled him
best to try its success. He has done so; but to no end. I enclose
you his letter. I am pleased to hear in the mean time, that the
subscriptions are likely to be filled up at home. This is infinitely
better, and will render the proceedings of the company much more
harmonious. I place an immense importance to my own country, on this
channel of connection with the new western States. I shall continue
uneasy till I know that Virginia has assumed her ultimate boundary to
the westward. The late example of the State of Franklin separating from
North Carolina, increases my anxieties for Virginia.

The confidence you are so good as to place in me, on the subject of the
interest lately given you by Virginia in the Potomac company, is very
flattering to me. But it is distressing also, inasmuch as, to deserve
it, it obliges me to give my whole opinion. My wishes to see you made
perfectly easy, by receiving, those just returns of gratitude from our
country to which you are entitled, would induce me to be contented with
saying, what is a certain truth, that the world would be pleased with
seeing them heaped on you, and would consider your receiving them as no
derogation from your reputation. But I must own that the declining them
will add to that reputation, as it will show that your motives have
been pure and without any alloy. This testimony, however, is not wanting
either to those who know you, or who do not. I must therefore repeat,
that I think the receiving them will not, in the least, lessen the
respect of the world, if from any circumstances they would be convenient
to you. The candor of my communication will find its justification, I
know, with you.

A tolerable certainty of peace leaves little interesting in the way of
intelligence. Holland and the emperor will be quiet. If any thing is
brewing, it is between the latter and the Porte. Nothing in prospect as
yet from England. We shall bring them, however, to a decision, now that
Mr. Adams is received there. I wish much to hear that the canal through
the Dismal Swamp is resumed.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem,

Dear Sir, your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXII.--TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA, July 11, 1785


TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA.

Paris, July 11, 1785.

Sir,

Mr. Houdon’s long and desperate illness has retarded, till now, his
departure for Virginia. We had hoped, from our first conversations with
him, that it would be easy to make our terms, and that the cost of
the statue and expense of sending him, would be but about a thousand
guineas. But when we came to settle this precisely, he thought himself
obliged to ask vastly more insomuch, that, at one moment, we thought
our treaty at an end. But unwilling to commit such a work to an inferior
hand, we made nim an ultimate proposition on our part. He was as much
mortified at the prospect of not being the executor of such a work, as
we were, not to have it done by such a hand. He therefore acceded to our
terms; though we are satisfied he will be a considerable loser. We were
led to insist on them, because, in a former letter to the Governor,
I had given the hope we entertained of bringing the whole within one
thousand guineas. The terms are twenty-five thousand livres, or one
thousand English guineas (the English guinea being worth twenty-five
livres) for the statue and pedestal. Besides this, we pay his expenses
going and returning, which we expect will be between four and five
thousand livres: and if he dies on the voyage, we pay his family ten
thousand livres. This latter proposition was disagreeable to us; but
he has a father, mother, and sisters, who have no resource but in his
labor: and he is himself one of the best men in the world. He therefore
made it a _sine qua non_, without which all would have been off. We have
reconciled it to ourselves, by determining to get insurance on his life
made in London, which we expect can be done for five per cent.; so that
it becomes an additional sum of five hundred livres. I have written
to Mr. Adams to know, for what per cent, the insurance can be had. I
enclose you, for a more particular detail, a copy of the agreement.
Dr. Franklin, being on his departure, did not become a party to the
instrument, though it has been concluded with his approbation. He was
disposed to give two hundred and fifty guineas more, which would have
split the difference between the actual terms and Mr Houdon’s demand.
I wish the State, at the conclusion of the work, may agree to give him
this much more; because I am persuaded he will be a loser, which I
am sure their generosity would not wish. But I have not given him the
smallest expectation of it, choosing the proposition should come from
the State, which will be more honorable. You will perceive by the
agreement, that I pay him immediately 8333 1/3 livres, which is to be
employed in getting the marble in Italy, its transportation, he. The
package and transportation of his stucco to make the moulds, will
be about five hundred livres. I shall furnish him with money for his
expenses in France, and I have authorized Dr. Franklin, when he arrives
in Philadelphia, to draw on me for money for his other expenses, going,
staying, and returning. These drafts will have been made probably,
and will be on their way to me, before you receive this, and with the
payments made here, will amount to about five thousand livres more than
the amount of the bill remitted me. Another third, of 8333 1/3 livres,
will become due at the end of the ensuing year.

Dr. Franklin leaves Passy this morning. As he travels in a litter, Mr.
Houdon will follow him some days hence, and will embark with him for
Philadelphia. I am in hopes he need not stay in America more than a
month.

I have the honor to be, with due respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.


[Illustration: Suggested Packet Project, page251]



LETTER LXXIII.--TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, July 12, 1785


TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

(Private.) Paris, July 12, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I was honored, two days ago, with yours of May the 16th, and thank you
for the intelligence it contained, much of which was new to me. It
was the only letter I received by this packet, except one from Mr.
Hopkinson, on philosophical subjects. I generally write about a dozen
by every packet, and receive sometimes one, sometimes two, and sometimes
ne’er a one. You are right in supposing all letters opened which come
either through the French or English channel, unless trusted to a
passenger. Yours had evidently been opened, and I think I never
received one through the post office which had not been. It is
generally discoverable by the smokiness of the wax, and faintness of
the re-impression. Once they sent me a letter open, having forgotten
to re-seal it. I should be happy to hear that Congress thought of
establishing packets of their own between New York and Havre; to send a
packet from each port once in two months. The business might possibly be
done by two packets, as will be seen by the following scheme, wherein we
will call the two packets A and B.

January, A sails from New York, B from Havre. February. March. B sails
from New York, A from Havre. April. May. A sails from New York, B
from Havre. June. July. B sails from New York, A from Havre. August.
September. A sails from New York, B from Havre. October. November. B
sails from New York, A from Havre. December.

I am persuaded that government would gladly arrange this method with us,
and send their packets in the intermediate months, as they are tired of
the expense. We should then have a safe conveyance every two months, and
one for common matters every month. A courier would pass between this
and Havre in twenty-four hours. Could not the surplus of the post office
revenue be applied to this? This establishment would look like the
commencement of a little navy; the only kind of force we ought to
possess. You mention that Congress is on the subject of requisition. No
subject is more interesting to the honor of the States. It is an opinion
which prevails much in Europe, that our government wants authority to
draw money from the States, and that the States want faith to pay their
debts. I shall wish much to hear how far the requisitions on the States
are productive of actual cash. Mr. Grand informed me, the other day,
that the commissioners were dissatisfied with his having paid to this
country but two hundred thousand livres, of the four hundred thousand
for which Mr. Adams drew on Holland; reserving the residue to replace
his advances and furnish current expenses. They observed that these last
objects might have been effected by the residue of the money in Holland,
which was lying dead. Mr. Grand’s observation to me was, that Mr.
Adams did not like to draw for these purposes, that he himself had
no authority, and that the commissioners had not accompanied their
complaints with any draft on that fund; so that the debt still remains
unpaid, while the money is lying dead in Holland. He did not desire me
to mention this circumstance; but should you see the commissioners, it
might not be amiss to communicate it to them, that they may take any
measures they please, if they think it proper to do any thing in it. I
am anxious to hear what is done with the States of Vermont and Franklin.
I think that the former is the only innovation on the system of April
23rd, 1784, which ought ever possibly to be admitted. If Congress are
not firm on that head, our several States will crumble to atoms by the
spirit of establishing every little canton into a separate State. I hope
Virginia will concur in that plan as to her territory south of the Ohio;
and not leave to the western country to withdraw themselves by force,
and become our worst enemies instead of our best friends.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of great respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXIV.--TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS, July 12,1785


TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS.

Paris, July 12,1785.

Gentlemen,

In consequence of the orders of the legislative and executive bodies of
Virginia, I have engaged Monsieur Houdon to make the statue of General
Washington. For this purpose it is necessary for him to see the General.
He therefore goes with Doctor Franklin, and will have the honor of
delivering you this himself. As his journey is at the expense of the
State, according to our contract, I will pray you to favor him with your
patronage and counsels, and to protect him as much as possible, from
those impositions to which strangers are but too much exposed. I have
advised him to proceed in the stages to the General’s. I have also
agreed, if he can see Generals Greene and Gates, whose busts he has
a desire to execute, that he may make a moderate deviation for this
purpose, after he has done with General Washington.

But the most important object with him, is to be employed to make
General Washington’s equestrian statue for Congress. Nothing but the
expectation of this, could have engaged him to have undertaken this
voyage; as the pedestrian statue for Virginia will not make it worth
the business he loses by absenting himself. I was therefore obliged to
assure him of my recommendations for this greater work. Having acted in
this for the State, you will, I hope, think yourselves in some measure
bound to patronize and urge his being employed by Congress. I would not
have done this myself, nor asked you to do it, did I not see that it
would be better for Congress to put this business into his hands, than
into those of any other person living, for these reasons: 1. He is,
without rivalship, the first statuary of this age; as a proof of which,
he receives orders from every other country for things intended to
be capital. 2. He will have seen General Washington, have taken his
measures in every part, and, of course, whatever he does of him will
have the merit of being original, from which other workmen can only
furnish copies. 3. He is in possession of the house, the furnaces, and
all the apparatus provided for making the statue of Louis XV. If any
other workman be employed, this will all have to be provided anew, and
of course, to be added to the price of the statue; for no man can ever
expect to make two equestrian statues. The addition which this would be
to the price, will much exceed the expectation of any person who has
not seen that apparatus. In truth it is immense. As to the price of the
work, it will be much greater than Congress is probably aware of. I have
inquired somewhat into this circumstance, and find the prices of those
made for two centuries past, have been from one hundred and twenty
thousand guineas, down to sixteen thousand guineas, according to
the size. And as far as I have seen, the smaller they are, the more
agreeable. The smallest yet made, is infinitely above the size of
life, and they all appear outrees and monstrous. That of Louis XV., is
probably the best in the world, and it is the smallest here. Yet it
is impossible to find a point of view, from which it does not appear
a monster, unless you go so far as to lose sight of the features, and
finer lineaments of the face and body. A statue is not made like a
mountain, to be seen at a great distance. To perceive those minuter
circumstances which constitute its beauty, you must be near it, and,
in that case, it should be so little above the size of the life, as to
appear actually of that size, from your point of view. I should not,
therefore, fear to propose, that the one intended by Congress should be
considerably smaller than any of those to be seen here; as I think it
will be more beautiful, and also cheaper. I have troubled you with these
observations, as they have been suggested to me from an actual sight of
works of this kind, and I supposed they might assist you in making up
your minds on this subject. In making a contract with Monsieur Houdon it
would not be proper to advance money, but as his disbursements and labor
advance. As it is a work of many years, this will render the expense
insensible. The pedestrian statue of marble, is to take three years; the
equestrian, of course, would take much more. Therefore the sooner it is
begun, the better.

I am, with sentiments of the highest respect, Gentlemen,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXV.--TO JOHN JAY, July 12,1785


TO JOHN JAY.

Paris, July 12,1785.

Sir,

My last letter to you was dated the 17th of June. The present serves to
cover some papers put into my hands by Captain Paul Jones. They respect
an ancient matter, which is shortly this.

While Captain Jones was hovering on the coast of England, in the
year 1779, a British pilot, John Jackson by name, came on board him,
supposing him to be British. Captain Jones found it convenient to detain
him as a pilot, and, in the action with the Serapis, which ensued, this
man lost his arm. It is thought that this gives him a just claim to the
same allowance with others, who have met with the like misfortune in
the service of the United States. Congress alone being competent to this
application, it is my duty to present the case to their consideration;
which I beg leave to do through you.

Dr. Franklin will be able to give you so perfect a state of all
transactions relative to his particular office in France, as well as to
the subjects included in our general commission, that it is unnecessary
for me to enter on them. His departure, with the separate situation of
Mr. Adams and myself, will render it difficult to communicate to you
the future proceedings of the commission, as regularly as they have
been heretofore. We shall do it, however, with all the punctuality
practicable, either separately or jointly, as circumstances may require
and admit.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXVI.--TO MONSIEUR BRIET, July 13, 1785

TO MONSIEUR BRIET.

Paris, July 13, 1785.

Sir,

I am glad to hear that the Council have ordered restitution of the
merchandise seized at L’Orient, contrary to the freedom of the place.
When a court of justice has taken cognizance of a complaint, and has
given restitution of the principal subject, if it refuses some of
the accessories, we are to presume that some circumstance of evidence
appeared to them, unknown to us, and which rendered its refusal just and
proper. So, in the present case, if any circumstances in the conduct of
the owner, or relative to the merchandise itself, gave probable grounds
of suspicion that they were not entitled to the freedom of the port,
damages for the detention might be properly denied. Respect for the
integrity of courts of justice, and especially of so high a one as that
of the King’s Council, obliges us to presume that circumstances arose
which justified this part of their order. It is only in cases where
justice is palpably denied, that one nation, or its ministers, are
authorized to complain of the courts of another. I hope you will see,
therefore, that an application from me as to the damages for detention,
would be improper.

I have the honor to be, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXVII.--TO MESSRS. FRENCH AND NEPHEW, July 13,1785


TO MESSRS. FRENCH AND NEPHEW.

Paris, July 13,1785.

Gentlemen,

I had the honor of receiving your letter of June the 21st, enclosing one
from Mr. Alexander of June the 17th, and a copy of his application to
Monsieur de Calonne. I am very sensible that no trade can be on a more
desperate footing than that of tobacco, in this country; and that our
merchants must abandon the French markets, if they are not permitted to
sell the productions they bring, on such terms as will enable them to
purchase reasonable returns in the manufactures of France. I know but
one remedy to the evil; that of allowing a free vent: and I should be
very happy in being instrumental to the obtaining this. But while the
purchase of tobacco is monopolized by a company, and they pay for that
monopoly a heavy price to the government, they doubtless are at liberty
to fix such places and terms of purchase, as may enable them to make
good their engagements with government. I see no more reason for
obliging them to give a greater price for tobacco than they think they
can afford, than to do the same between two individuals treating for
a horse, a house, or any thing else. Could this be effected by
applications to the minister, it would only be a palliative which would
retard the ultimate cure, so much to be wished for and aimed at by every
friend to this country, as well as to America.

I have the honor to be, Gentlemen,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson



LETTER LXXVIII.--TO DR. STILES, July 17,1785

TO DR. STILES.

Sir,

Paris, July 17,1785.

I have long deferred doing myself the honor of writing to you,
wishing for an opportunity to accompany my letter with a copy of the
_Bibliothèque Physico-oeconomique_, a book published here lately in
four small volumes, and which gives an account of all the improvements
in the arts which have been made for some years past. I flatter myself
you will find in it many things agreeable and useful. I accompany it
with the volumes of the _Connoissance des Terns_ for the years 1781,
1784, 1785, 1786, 1787. But why, you will ask, do I send you old
almanacs, which are proverbially useless? Because, in these publications
have appeared, from time to time, some of the most precious things in
astronomy. I have searched out those particular volumes which might be
valuable to you on this account. That of 1781 contains De la Caillie’s
catalogue of fixed stars reduced to the commencement of that year, and
a table of the aberrations and nutations of the principal stars. 1784
contains the same catalogue with the _nébuleuses_ of Messier. 1785
contains the famous catalogue of Flamsteed, with the positions of the
stars reduced to the beginning of the year 1784, and which supersedes
the use of that immense book. 1786 gives you Euler’s lunar tables
corrected; and 1787, the tables for the planet Herschel. The two last
needed not an apology, as not being within the description of old
almanacs. It is fixed on grounds which scarcely admit a doubt, that the
planet Herschel was seen by Mayer in the year 1756, and was considered
by him as one of the zodiacal stars, and, as such, arranged in his
catalogue, being the 964th which he describes. This 964th of Mayer has
been since missing, and the calculations for the planet Herschel show
that, it should have been, at the time of Mayer’s observation, where he
places his 964th star. The volume of 1787 gives you Mayer’s catalogue of
the zodiacal stars. The researches of the natural philosophers of Europe
seem mostly in the field of chemistry, and here, principally, on the
subjects of air and fire. The analysis of these two subjects presents
to us very new ideas. When speaking of the _Bibliothèque
Physico-oeconomique_, T should have observed, that since its
publication, a man in this city has invented a method of moving a vessel
on the water, by a machine worked within the vessel. I went to see it.
He did not know himself the principle of his own invention. It is a
screw with a very broad, thin worm, or rather it is a thin plate with
its edge applied spirally round an axis. This being turned, operates on
the air, as a screw does, and may be literally said to screw the vessel
along: the thinness of the medium, and its want of resistance,
occasion a loss of much of the force. The screw, I think, would be more
effectual, if placed below the surface of the water. I very much suspect
that a countrymen of ours, Mr. Bushnel of Connecticut, is entitled to
the merit of a prior discovery of this use of the screw. I remember to
have heard of his submarine navigation during the war, and, from what
Colonel Humphreys now tells me, I conjecture that the screw was the
power he used. He joined to this a machine for exploding under water
at a given moment. If it were not too great a liberty for a stranger to
take, I would ask from him a narration of his actual experiments, with
or without a communication of his principle, as he should choose. If he
thought proper to communicate it, I would engage never to disclose it,
unless I could find an opportunity of doing it for his benefit. I thank
you for your information as to the greatest bones found on the Hudson
river. I suspect that they must have been of the same animal with those
found on the Ohio: and if so, they could not have belonged to any human
figure, because they are accompanied with tusks of the size, form, and
substance of those of the elephant. I have seen a part of the ivory,
which was very good. The animal itself must have been much larger
than an elephant. Mrs. Adams gives me an account of a flower found in
Connecticut, which vegetates when suspended in the air. She brought one
to Europe. What can be this flower? It would be a curious present to
this continent.

The accommodation likely to take place between the Dutch and the
Emperor, leaves us without that unfortunate resource for news, which
wars give us. The Emperor has certainly had in view the Bavarian
exchange of which you have heard; but so formidable an opposition
presented itself, that he has thought proper to disavow it. The Turks
show a disposition to go to war with him; but if this country can
prevail on them to remain in peace, they will do so. It has been thought
that the two Imperial courts have a plan of expelling the Turks from
Europe. It is really a pity, so charming a country should remain in the
hands of a people, whose religion forbids the admission of science and
the arts among them. We should wish success to the object of the two
empires, if they meant to leave the country in possession of the Greek
inhabitants. We might then expect, once more, to see the language of
Homer and Demosthenes a living language. For I am persuaded the modern
Greek would easily get back to its classical models. But this is not
intended. They only propose to put the Greeks under other masters; to
substitute one set of barbarians for another.

Colonel Humphreys having satisfied you that all attempts would be
fruitless here, to obtain money or other advantages for your college, I
need add nothing on that head. It is a method of supporting colleges
of which they have no idea, though they practise it for the support of
their lazy monkish institutions.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXIX.--TO JOHN ADAMS, July 28, 1785

TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, July 28, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Your favors of Jury the 16th and 18th came to hand the same day on which
I had received Baron Thulemeyer’s, enclosing the ultimate draught for
the treaty. As this draught, which was in French, was to be copied into
the two instruments which Dr. Franklin had signed, it is finished this
day only. Mr. Short sets out immediately. I have put into his hands
a letter of instructions how to conduct himself, which I have signed,
leaving a space above for your signature. The two treaties I have signed
at the left hand, Dr. Franklin having informed me that the signatures
are read backwards. Besides the instructions to Mr. Short, I signed
also a letter to. Mr. Dumas, associating him with Mr. Short. These
two letters I made out as nearly conformably as I could, to your ideas
expressed in your letter of the 18th. If any thing more be necessary, be
so good as to make a separate instruction for them, signed by yourself,
to which I will accede. I have not directed Mr. Dumas’s letter. I
have heretofore directed to him as ‘Agent for the United States at the
Hague,’ that being the description under which the journals of Congress
speak of him. In his last letter to me, is a paragraph, from which I
conclude that the address I have used is not agreeable, and perhaps may
be wrong. Will you be so good as to address the letter to him, and to
inform me how to address him hereafter. Mr. Short carries also the other
papers necessary. His equipment for his journey requiring expenses which
cannot come into the account of ordinary expenses, such as clothes, &,c.
what allowance should be made him? I have supposed somewhere between a
guinea a day, and one thousand dollars a year, which I believe is
the salary of a private secretary. This I mean as over and above his
travelling expenses. Be so good as to say, and I will give him an order
on his return. The danger of robbery has induced me to furnish him with
only money enough to carry him to London. You will be so good as to
procure him enough to carry him to the Hague and back to Paris. The
confederation of the King of Prussia with some members of the Germanic
body, for the preservation of their constitution, is, I think, beyond
a doubt. The Emperor has certainly complained of it in formal
communications at several courts. By what can be collected from
diplomatic conversation here, I also conclude it tolerably certain, that
the Elector of Hanover has been invited to accede to the confederation,
and has done or is doing so. You will have better circumstances however,
on the spot, to form a just judgment. Our matters with the first of
these powers being now in conclusion, I wish it was so with the Elector
of Hanover. I conclude, from the general expressions in your letter,
that little may be expected. Mr. Short furnishing so safe a conveyance
that the trouble of the cipher may me dispensed with, I will thank you
for such details of what has passed, as may not be too troublesome to
you.

The difficulties of getting books into Paris, delayed for some time my
receipt of the _Corps Diplomatique_ left by Dr. Franklin. Since that, we
have been engaged with expediting Mr. Short. A huge packet also, brought
by Mr. Mazzei, has added to the causes which have as yet prevented me
from examining Dr. Franklin’s notes on the Barbary treaty. It shall be
one of my first occupations. Still the possibility is too obvious that
we may run counter to the instructions of Congress, of which Mr. Lambe
is said to be the bearer. There is a great impatience in America for
these treaties. I am much distressed between this impatience and the
known will of Congress, on the one hand, and the uncertainty of the
details committed to this tardy servant.

The Duke of Dorset sets out for London to-morrow. He says he shall be
absent two months. There is some whisper that he will not return, and
that, Lord Carmarthen wishes to come here. I am sorry to lose so
honest a man as the Duke. I take the liberty to ask an answer about the
insurance of Houdon’s life.

Congress is not likely to adjourn this summer. They have passed an
ordinance for selling their lands. I have not received it.

What would you think of the enclosed draught to be proposed to the
courts of London and Versailles? I would add Madrid and Lisbon, but that
they are still more desperate than the others. I know it goes beyond our
powers; and beyond the powers of Congress too; but it is so evidently
for the good of all the States, that I should not be afraid to risk
myself on it, if you are of the same opinion. Consider it, if you
please, and give me your thoughts on it by Mr. Short: but I do not
communicate it to him, nor any other mortal living but yourself.

Be pleased to present me in the most friendly terms to the ladies, and
believe me to be, with great esteem,

Dear Sir, your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXX.--TO HOGENDORP, July 29, 1785


TO HOGENDORP.

Paris, July 29, 1785.

Dear Sir,

By an American gentleman who went to the Hague, about a month ago, I
sent you a copy of my Notes on Virginia. Having since that received some
copies of the revisal of our laws, of which you had desired one, I now
send it to you. I congratulate you sincerely on the prospect of your
country’s being freed from the menace of war, which, however just, is
always expensive and calamitous, and sometimes unsuccessful.

Congress, having made a very considerable purchase of land from the
Indians, have established a land office, and settled the mode of selling
the lands. Their plan is judicious. I apprehend some inconveniences in
some parts of it; but if such should be found to exist, they will amend
them. They receive in payment their own certificates, at par with actual
money. We have a proof the last year, that the failure of the States
to bring money into the treasury, has proceeded, not from any
unwillingness, but from the distresses of their situation. Heretofore,
Massachusetts and Pennsylvania had brought in the most money, and
Virginia was among the least. The last year, Virgjnia has paid in more
than all the rest together. The reason is, that she is at liberty to
avail herself of her natural resources and has free markets for them;
whereas the others which, while they were sure of a sale for their
commodities, brought more into the treasury; now, that that sale is, by
circumstances, rendered more precarious, they bring in but little.

The impost is not yet granted. Rhode Island and New York hold off.
Congress have it in contemplation to propose to the States, that
the direction of all their commerce shall be committed to Congress,
reserving to the States, respectively, the revenue which shall be laid
on it. The operations of our good friends, the English, are calculated
as precisely to bring the States into this measure as if we directed
them ourselves, and as they were, through the whole war, to produce
that union which was so necessary for us. I doubt whether Congress will
adjourn this summer.

Should you be at the Hague, I will beg leave to make known to you bearer
hereof, M, William Short. He of Virginia, has come to stay some time
with me at Paris being among my most particular friends. Though young,
his talents and merit are such as to have placed him in the Council of
State of Virginia; an office which he relinquished to make a visit to
Europe.

I have the honor to be, with very high esteem, Dear Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXXI.--TO MESSRS. N. AND J. VAN STAPHORST, July 30, 1785

TO MESSRS. N. AND J. VAN STAPHORST, Amsterdam.

Paris, July 30, 1785.

Gentlemen,

I received yesterday your favor of the 25th. Supposing that the funds,
which are the object of your inquiry, are those which constitute what
we call our domestic debt, it is my opinion that they are absolutely
secure: I have no doubt at all but that they will be paid, with their
interest at six per cent. But I cannot say that they are as secure and
solid as the funds which constitute our foreign debt: because no man
in America ever entertained a doubt that our foreign debt is to be paid
fully; but some people in America have seriously contended, that the
certificates and other evidences of our domestic debt, ought to be
redeemed only at what they have cost the holder; for I must observe
to you, that these certificates of domestic debt, having as yet no
provision for the payment of principal or interest, and the original
holders being mostly needy, have been sold at a very great discount.
When I left America (July, 1784,) they sold in different States at from
15s. to 2s. 6d. in the pound; and any amount of them might, then have
been purchased. Hence some thought that full justice would be done, if
the public paid the purchasers of them what they actually paid for them,
and interest on that. But this is very far from being a general opinion;
a very great majority being firmly decided that they shall be paid
fully. Were I the holder of any of them, I should not have the least
fear of their full payment. There is also a difference between different
species of certificates; some of them being receivable in taxes, others
having the benefit of particular assurances, &c. Again, some of these
certificates are for paper-money debts. A deception here must be guarded
against. Congress ordered all such to be re-settled by the depreciation
tables, and a new certificate to be given in exchange for them,
expressing their value in real money. But all have not yet been
re-settled. In short, this is a science in which few in America are
expert, and no person in a foreign country can be so. Foreigners should
therefore be sure that they are well advised, before they meddle with
them, or they may suffer. If you will reflect with what degree of
success persons actually in America could speculate in the European
funds, which rise and fall daily, you may judge how far those in Europe
may do it in the American funds, which are more variable from a variety
of causes.

I am not at all acquainted with Mr. Daniel Parker, farther than having
once seen him in Philadelphia. He is of Massachusetts, I believe, and
I am of Virginia. His circumstances are utterly unknown to me. I think
there are few men in America, if there is a single one, who could
command a hundred thousand pounds’ sterling worth of these notes, at
their real value. At their nominal amount, this might be done perhaps
with twenty-five thousand pounds sterling, if the market price of
them be as low as when I left America. I am with very great respect,
Gentlemen,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXXII.--TO JOHN ADAMS, July 31, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, July 31, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I was honored yesterday with yours of the 24th instant. When the first
article of our instructions of May 7th, 1784, was under debate in
Congress, it was proposed that neither party should make the other
pay, in their ports, greater duties, than they paid in the ports of the
other. One objection to this was, its impracticability; another, that it
would put it out of our power to lay such duties on alien importation as
might encourage importation by natives. Some members, much attached
to English policy, thought such a distinction should actually be
established. Some thought the power to do it should be reserved, in case
any peculiar circumstances should call for it, though under the present,
or perhaps, any probable circumstances, they did not think it would be
good policy ever to exercise it. The footing _gentis amicissimæ_ was
therefore adopted, as you see in the instruction. As far as my inquiries
enable me to judge, France and Holland make no distinction of duties
between aliens and natives. I also rather believe that the other states
of Europe make none, England excepted, to whom this policy, as that
of her navigation act, seems peculiar. The question then is, should
we disarm ourselves of the power to make this distinction against all
nations, in order to purchase an exemption from the alien duties in
England only; for if we put her importations on the footing of native,
all other nations with whom we treat will have a right to claim the
same. I think we should, because against other nations, who make no
distinction in their ports between us and their own subjects, we ought
not to make a distinction in ours. And if the English will agree, in
like manner, to make none, we should, with equal reason, abandon the
right as against them. I think all the world would gain, by setting
commerce at perfect liberty. I remember that when we were digesting
the general form of our treaty, this proposition to put foreigners and
natives on the same footing, was considered: and we were all three, Dr.
Franklin as well as you and myself, in favor of it. We finally, however,
did not admit it, partly from the objection you mention, but more still
on account of our instructions. But though the English proclamation had
appeared in America at the time of framing these instructions, I think
its effect, as to alien duties, had not yet been experienced, and
therefore was not attended to. If it had been noted in the debate, I am
sure that the annihilation of our whole trade would have been thought
too great a price to pay for the reservation of a barren power, which
a majority of the members did not propose ever to exercise, though they
were willing to retain it. Stipulating for equal rights to foreigners
and natives, we obtain more in foreign ports than our instructions
required, and we only part with, in our own ports, a power, of which
sound policy would probably for ever forbid the exercise. Add to this,
that our treaty will be for a very short term, and if any evil be
experienced under it, a reformation will soon be in our power. I am,
therefore, for putting this among our original propositions to the court
of London.

If it should prove an insuperable obstacle with them, or if it should
stand in the way of a greater advantage, we can but abandon it in the
course of the negotiation.

In my copy of the cipher, on the alphabetical side, numbers are wanting
from ‘Denmark’ to ‘disc’ inclusive, and from ‘gone’ to ‘governor’
inclusive. I suppose them to have been omitted in copying; will you be
so good as to send them to me from yours, by the first safe conveyance.

With compliments to the ladies and to Colonel Smith,

I am, dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.*

[* The original of this letter was in cipher. But annexed to the copy in
cipher, is the above literal copy by the author.]



LETTER LXXXIII.--TO M. DE CASTRIES, August 3,1785


TO M. DE CASTRIES.

Paris, August 3,1785.

Sir,

The enclosed copy of a letter from Captain John Paul Jones, on the
subject on which your Excellency did me the honor to write me, on
the day of July, will inform you that there is still occasion to be
troublesome to you. A Mr. Puchilburg, a merchant of L’Orient, who seems
to have kept himself unknown till money was to be received, now presents
powers to receive it, signed by the American officers and crews:
and this produces a hesitation in the person to whom your order was
directed. Congress, however, having substituted Captain Jones, as agent,
to solicit and receive this money, he having given them security to
forward it, when received, to their treasury, to be thence distributed
to the claimants, and having at a considerable expense of time, trouble,
and money, attended it to a conclusion, are circumstances of weight,
against which Mr. Puchilburg seems to have nothing to oppose, but a
nomination by individuals of the crew, under which he has declined
to act, and permitted the business to be done by another without
contradiction from him. Against him, too, it is urged that he fomented
the sedition which took place among them, that he obtained this
nomination from them while their minds were under ferment; and that he
has given no security for the faithful payment of the money to those
entitled to it.

I will add to these, one more circumstance which appears to render it
impossible that he should execute this trust. It is now several years
since the right to this money arose. The persons in whom it originally
vested, were probably from different States in America. Many of them
must be now dead; and their rights passed on to their representatives.
But who are their representatives? The laws of some States prefer one
degree of relations, those of others prefer another, there being no
uniformity among the States on this point. Mr. Puchilberg, therefore,
should know which of the parties are dead; in what order the laws of
their respective States call their relations to the succession; and,
in every case, which of those orders are actually in existence, and
entitled to the share of the deceased. With the Atlantic ocean between
the principals and their substitute, your Excellency will perceive what
an inexhaustible source of difficulties, of chicanery, and delay, this
might furnish to a person who should find an interest in keeping this
money, as long as possible, in his own hands. Whereas, if it be lodged
in the treasury of Congress, they, by an easy reference to the tribunals
of the different States, can have every one’s portion immediately
rendered to himself, if living; and if dead, to such of his relations as
the laws of his particular State prefer, and as shall be found actually
living. I the rather urge this course, as I foresee that it will
relieve your Excellency from numberless appeals which these people will
continually be making from the decisions of Mr. Puchilberg; appeals
likely to perpetuate that trouble of which you have already had
too much, and to which I am sorry to be obliged to add, by asking a
peremptory order for the execution of what you were before pleased to
decide, on this subject.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXXIV.--TO CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES, August 3,1785


TO CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES.

Paris, August 3,1785.

Sir,

I received yesterday your favor of the 29th, and have written on the
subject of it to the Maréchal de Castries this morning. You shall have
an answer as soon as I receive one. Will you be so good as to make an
inquiry into all the circumstances relative to Peyrouse’s expedition,
which seem to ascertain his destination. Particularly what number
of men, and of what conditions and vocations, had he on board? What
animals, their species and number? What trees, plants, or seeds? What
utensils? What merchandise or other necessaries? This inquiry should be
made with as little appearance of interest in it as possible. Should you
not be able to get satisfactory information without going to Brest, and
it be inconvenient for you to go there, I will have the expenses, this
shall occasion you, paid. Commit all the circumstances to writing, and
bring them when you come yourself, or send them by a safe hand.

I am, with much respect, Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXXV.--TO JOHN ADAMS, August 6, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, August 6, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I now enclose you a draught of a treaty for the Barbary States, together
with the notes Dr. Franklin left me. I have retained a press copy of
this draught, so that by referring to any article, line, and word, in
it, you can propose amendments and send them by the post, without any
body’s being able to make much of the main subject. I shall be glad to
receive any alterations you may think necessary, as soon as convenient,
that this matter may be in readiness. I enclose also a letter containing
intelligence from Algiers. I know not how far it is to be relied on. My
anxiety is extreme indeed, as to these treaties. We know that Congress
have decided ultimately to treat. We know how far they will go. But
unfortunately we know also, that a particular person has been charged
with instructions for us, these five months, who neither comes nor
writes to us. What are we to do? It is my opinion that if Mr. Lambe does
not come in either of the packets (English or French) now expected, we
ought to proceed. I therefore propose to you this term, as the end of
our expectations of him, and that if he does not come, we send some
other person. Dr. Bancroft or Captain Jones occurs to me as the fittest.
If we consider the present object only, I think the former would be the
most proper: but if we look forward to the very probable event of war
with those pirates, an important object would be obtained by Captain
Jones’s becoming acquainted with their ports, force, tactics, &c. Let
me know your opinion on this. I have never mentioned it to either, but I
suppose either might be induced to go. Present me affectionately to the
ladies and Colonel Smith, and be assured of the sincerity with which I
am,

Dear Sir, your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXXVI.--TO DR. PRICE, August 7,1785


TO DR. PRICE.

Paris, August 7,1785.

Sir,

Your favor of July the 2nd came duly to hand. The concern you therein
express as to the effect of your pamphlet in America, induces me to
trouble you with some observations on that subject. From my acquaintance
with that country, I think I am able to judge, with some degree of
certainty, of the manner in which it will have been received. Southward
of the Chesapeake it will find but few readers concurring with it in
sentiment, on the subject of slavery. From the mouth to the head of the
Chesapeake, the bulk of the people will approve it in theory, and
it will find a respectable minority ready to adopt it in practice;
a minority, which, for weight and worth of character, preponderates
against the greater number, who have not the courage to divest their
families of a property, which, however, keeps their consciences unquiet.
Northward of the Chesapeake, you may find here and there an opponent to
your doctrine, as you may find here and there a robber and murderer;
but in no greater number. In that part of America, there being but few
slaves, they can easily disencumber themselves of them; and emancipation
is put into such a train, that in a few years there will be no slaves
northward of Maryland. In Maryland, I do not find such a disposition
to begin the redress of this enormity, as in Virginia. This is the next
State to which we may turn our eyes for the interesting spectacle of
justice, in conflict with avarice and oppression: a conflict wherein the
sacred side is gaining daily recruits, from the influx into office of
young men grown and growing up. These have sucked in the principles of
liberty, as it were, with their mothers’ milk; and it is to them I
look with anxiety to turn the fate of this question. Be not therefore
discouraged. What you have written will do a great deal of good: and
could you still trouble yourself with our welfare, no man is more able
to give aid to the laboring side. The College of William and Mary in
Williamsburg, since the re-modelling of its plan, is the place where are
collected together all the young men of Virginia, under preparation for
public life. They are there under the direction (most of them) of a Mr.
Wythe, one of the most virtuous of characters, and whose sentiments on
the subject of slavery are unequivocal. I am satisfied, if you could
resolve to address an exhortation to those young men, with all that
eloquence of which you are master, that its influence on the future
decision of this important question would be great, perhaps decisive.
Thus you see, that, so far from thinking you have cause to repent of
what you have done, I wish you to do more, and wish it on an assurance
of its effect. The information I have received from America, of the
reception of your pamphlet in the different States, agrees with the
expectations I had formed.

Our country is getting into a ferment against yours, or rather has
caught it from yours. God knows how this will end; but assuredly in
one extreme or the other. There can be no medium between those who have
loved so much. I think the decision is in your power as yet, but will
not be so long.

I pray you to be assured of the sincerity of the esteem and respect,
with which I have the honor to be, Sir,

your most obedient,

humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXXVII.--TO JOHN ADAMS, August 10,1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, August 10,1785.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 4th instant came to hand yesterday. I now enclose you
the two _Arrêts_ against the importation of foreign manufactures into
this kingdom. The cause of the balance against this country in favor of
England, as well as its amount, is not agreed on. No doubt, the rage
for English manufactures must be a principal cause. The speculators in
exchange say, also, that those of the circumjacent countries, who have
a balance in their favor against France, remit that balance to England
from France. If so, it is possible that the English may count this
balance twice: that is, in summing their exports to one of these States,
and their imports from it, they count the difference once in their
favor; then a second time, when they sum the remittances of cash they
receive from France. There has been no _Arrêt_ relative to our commerce,
since that of August, 1784. And all the late advices from the French
West Indies are, that they have now in their ports always three times
as many vessels as there ever were before, and that the increase
is principally from our States. I have now no further fears of that
_Arrêts_ standing its ground. When it shall become firm, I do not think
its extension desperate. But whether the placing it on the firm basis
of treaty be practicable, is a very different question. As far as it is
possible to judge from appearances, I conjecture that Crawford will do
nothing. I infer this from some things in his conversation, and from
an expression of the Count de Vergennes, in a conversation with me
yesterday. I pressed upon him the importance of opening their
ports freely to us, in the moment of the oppressions of the English
regulations against us, and perhaps of the suspension of their commerce.
He admitted it; but said we had free ingress with our productions. I
enumerated them to him, and showed him on what footing they were, and
how they might be improved. We are to have further conversations on the
subject. I am afraid the voyage to Fontainebleau will interrupt them.
From the inquiries I have made, I find I cannot get a very small and
indifferent house there, for the season, (that is, for a month) for less
than one hundred or one hundred and fifty guineas. This is nearly the
whole salary for the time, and would leave nothing to eat. I therefore
cannot accompany the court thither, but I will endeavor to go there
occasionally from Paris.

They tell me it is the most favorable scene for business with the Count
de Vergennes, because he is then more abstracted from the domestic
applications. Count d’Aranda is not yet returned from the waters of
Vichy. As soon as he returns, I will apply to him in the case of Mr.
Watson. I will pray you to insure Houdon’s life from the 27th of last
month till his return to Paris. As he was to stay in America a month
or two, he will probably be about six months absent; but the three per
cent, for the voyage being once paid, I suppose they will insure his
life by the month, whether his absence be longer or shorter. The sum to
be insured is fifteen thousand livres tournois. If it be not necessary
to pay the money immediately, there is a prospect of exchange becoming
more favorable. But whenever it is necessary, be so good as to procure
it by selling a draft on Mr. Grand, which I will take care shall be
honored. With compliments to the ladies,

I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXXVIII.--TO MRS. SPROWLE, August 10, 1785


TO MRS. SPROWLE.

Paris, August 10, 1785.

Madam,

In your letter of June the 21st, you asked my opinion whether yourself
or your son might venture to go to Virginia, to claim your possessions
there? I had the honor of writing you, on the 5th of July, that you
might safely go there; that your person would be sacredly safe, and free
from insult. I expressed my hopes, too, that the Assembly of Virginia
would, in the end, adopt the just and useful measure of restoring
property unsold, and the price of that actually sold. In yours of July
the 30th, you entreat my influence with the Assembly for retribution,
and that, if I think your personal presence in Virginia would facilitate
that end, you were willing and ready to go. This seems to propose to me
to take on myself the solicitation of your cause, and that you will go,
if I think your personal presence will be auxiliary to my applications.
I feel myself obliged to inform you frankly, that it is improper for me
to solicit your case with the Assembly of Virginia. The application can
only go with propriety from yourself, or the minister of your court
to America, whenever there shall be one. If you think the sentiments
expressed in my former letter will serve you, you are free to exhibit it
to members individually; but I wish the letter not to be offered to the
Assembly as a body, or referred to in any petition or memorial to them.

I am, with much respect, Madam,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXXIX.--TO CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES, August 13, 1785


TO CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES.

Paris, August 13, 1785.

Sir,

Supposing you may be anxious to hear from hence, though there should
be nothing interesting to communicate, I write by Mr. Cairnes merely to
inform you, that I have, as yet, received no answer from the Marechal
de Castries. I am in daily expectation of one. Should it not be received
soon, I shall urge it again, which I wish to avoid however, if possible;
because I think it better to await with patience a favorable decision,
than by becoming importunate, to produce unfavorable dispositions,
and, perhaps, a final determination of the same complexion. Should my
occupations prevent my writing awhile, be assured that it will only be
as long as I have nothing to communicate, and that as soon as I receive
any answer, it shall be forwarded to you.

I am, with much esteem, Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XC.--TO MESSRS. BUCHANAN AND HAY, August 13, 1785


TO MESSRS. BUCHANAN AND HAY.

Paris, August 13, 1785.

Gentlemen,

Your favor of March the 20th came to hand the 14th of June, and the next
day I wrote to you, acknowledging the receipt, and apprizing you, that
between that date and the 1st of August, it would be impossible to
procure, and get to your hands, the drafts you desired. I did hope,
indeed, to have had them prepared before this, but it will yet be some
time before they will be in readiness. I flatter myself, however, they
will give you satisfaction when you receive them, and that you will
think the object will not have lost by the delay. It was a considerable
time before I could find an architect whose taste had been formed on
a study of the ancient models of his art: the style of architecture in
this capital being far from chaste. I at length heard of one, to whom
I immediately addressed myself, and who perfectly fulfils my wishes. He
has studied twenty years in Rome, and has given proofs of his skill
and taste, by a publication of some antiquities of this country. You
intimate that you should be willing to have a workman sent to you to
superintend the execution of this work. Were I to send one on this
errand from hence, he would consider himself as the superintendant of
the Directors themselves, and probably, of the government of the State
also. I will give you my ideas on this subject. The columns of the
building, and the external architraves of the doors and windows, should
be of stone. Whether these are made here or there, you will need one
good stone-cutter; and one will be enough; because, under his direction,
negroes, who never saw a tool, will be able to prepare the work for him
to finish. I will therefore send you such a one, in time to begin
work in the spring. All the internal cornices, and other ornaments
not exposed to the weather, will be much handsomer, cheaper, and more
durable in plaister, than in wood. I will therefore employ a good
workman in this way, and send him to you. But he will have no employment
till the house is covered; of course he need not be sent till next
summer. I will take him on wages so long before hand, as that he may
draw all the ornaments in detail, under the eye of the architect, which
he will have to execute when he comes to you. It will be the cheapest
way of getting them drawn, and the most certain of putting him in
possession of his precise duty. Plaister will not answer for your
external cornice, and stone will be too dear. You will probably find
yourselves obliged to be contented with wood. For this, therefore, and
for your window sashes, doors, frames, wainscoting, &c. you will need
a capital house-joiner; and a capital one he ought to be, capable of
directing all the circumstances in the construction of the walls, which
the execution of the plan will require. Such a workman cannot be got
here. Nothing can be worse done than the house-joinery of Paris. Besides
that his speaking the language perfectly would be essential, I think
this character must be got from England. There are no workmen in wood,
in Europe, comparable to those of England. I submit to you, therefore,
the following proposition: to wit, I will get a correspondent in England
to engage a workman of this kind. I will direct him to come here, which
will cost five guineas. We will make proof of his execution. He shall
also make, under the eye of the architect, all the drawings for the
building, which he is to execute himself: and if we find him sober and
capable, he shall be forwarded to you. I expect that in the article of
the drawings, and the cheapness of passage from France, you will save
the expense of his coming here. But as to this workman, I shall do
nothing unless I receive your commands. With respect to your stone work,
it may be got much cheaper here than in England. The stone of Paris is
very white and beautiful; but it always remains soft, and suffers from
the weather. The cliffs of the Seine, from hence to Havre, are all
of stone. I am not yet informed whether it is all liable to the same
objections. At Lyons, and all along the Rhone, is a stone as beautiful
as that of Paris, soft when it comes out of the quarry, but very soon
becoming hard in the open air, and very durable. I doubt, however,
whether the commerce between Virginia and Marseilles would afford
opportunities of conveyance sufficient. It remains to be inquired, what
addition to the original cost would be made by the short land carriage
from Lyons to the Loire, and the water transportation down that to
Bordeaux;, and also, whether a stone of the same quality may not be
found on the Loire. In this, and all other matters relative to your
charge, you may command my services freely.

Having heard high commendations of a plan of a prison, drawn by an
architect at Lyons, I sent there for it. The architect furnished me with
it. It is certainly the best plan I ever saw. It unites, in the most
perfect manner, the objects of security and health, and has, moreover,
the advantage, valuable to us, of being capable of being adjusted to
any number of prisoners, small or great, and admitting an execution from
time to time, as it may be convenient. The plan is under preparation as
for forty prisoners. Will you have any occasion for slate? It may be got
very good and ready prepared at Havre; and a workman or more might be
sent on easy terms. Perhaps the quarry at Tuckahoe would leave you no
other want than that of a workman.

I shall be glad to receive your sentiments on the several matters herein
mentioned, that I may know how far you approve of them, as I shall with
pleasure pursue strictly whatever you desire. I have the honor to be,
with great respect and esteem, Gentlemen,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XCI.--TO JOHN JAY, August 14, 1785


TO JOHN JAY.

Paris, August 14, 1785.

Sir,

I was honored, on the 22nd ultimo, with the receipt of your letter
of June the 15th; and delivered the letter therein enclosed, from the
President of Congress to the King. I took an opportunity of asking the
Count de Vergennes, whether the Chevalier Luzerne proposed to return to
America. He answered me that he did; and that he was here, for a
time only, to arrange his private affairs. Of course, this stopped my
proceeding further in compliance with the hint in your letter. I knew
that the Chevalier Luzerne still retained the character of minister
to Congress, which occasioned my premising the question I did. But,
notwithstanding the answer, which indeed was the only one the Count de
Vergennes could give me, I believe it is not expected that the Chevalier
will return to America: that he is waiting an appointment here, to some
of their embassies, or some other promotion, and in the mean time, as a
favor, is permitted to retain his former character. Knowing the esteem
borne him in America, I did not suppose it would be wished, that I
should add any thing which might occasion an injury to him; and the
rather, as I presumed that, at this time, there did not exist the same
reason for wishing the arrival of a minister in America, which perhaps
existed there at the date of your letter. Count Adhemar is just arrived
from London, on account of a paralytic disease with which he has been
struck. It does not seem improbable, that his place will be supplied,
and perhaps by the Chevalier de la Luzerne.

A French vessel has lately refused the salute to a British armed vessel
in the channel. The _Chargé des Affaires_ of Great Britain at this court
(their ambassador having gone to London a few days ago) made this the
subject of a conference with the Count de Vergennes, on Tuesday last.
He told me that the Count explained the transaction as the act of
the individual master of the French vessel, not founded in any public
orders. His earnestness, and his endeavors to find terms sufficiently
soft to express the Count’s explanation, had no tendency to lessen any
doubts I might have entertained on this subject. I think it possible the
refusal may have been by order: nor can I believe that Great Britain is
in a condition to resent it, if it was so. In this case, we shall see it
repeated by France and her example will then be soon followed by other
nations. The news-writers bring together this circumstance with
the departure of the French ambassador from London, and the English
ambassador from Paris, the manoeuvring of the French fleet just off the
channel, the collecting some English vessels of war in the channel, the
failure of a commercial treaty between the two countries, and a severe
_Arrêt_ here against English manufacturers, as foreboding war. It is
possible that the fleet of manoeuvre, the refusal of the salute, and the
English fleet of observation, may have a connexion with one another. But
I am persuaded the other facts are totally independent of these, and
of one another, and are accidentally brought together in point of time.
Neither nation is in a condition to go to war: Great Britain, indeed,
the least so of the two. The latter power, or rather its monarch, as
Elector of Hanover, has lately confederated with the King of Prussia and
others of the Germanic body, evidently in opposition to the Emperor’s
designs on Bavaria. An alliance, too, between the Empress of Russia
and the Republic of Venice, seems to have had him in view, as he had
meditated some exchange of territory with that republic. This desertion
of the powers heretofore thought friendly to him, seems to leave no
issue for his ambition, but on the side of Turkey. His demarkation
with that country is still unsettled. His difference with the Dutch
is certainly agreed. The articles are not yet made public; perhaps not
quite adjusted. Upon the whole, we may count on another year’s peace in
Europe, and that our friends will not, within that time, be brought into
any embarrassments, which might encourage Great Britain to be difficult
in settling the points still unsettled between us.

You have, doubtless, seen in the papers, that this court was sending
two vessels into the south sea, under the conduct of a Captain Peyrouse.
They give out, that the object is merely for the improvement of our
knowledge of the geography of that part of the globe. And certain it is,
that they carry men of eminence in different branches of science.
Their loading, however, as detailed in conversations, and some other
circumstances, appeared to me to indicate some other design: perhaps
that of colonizing on the western coast of America; or, it may be, only
to establish one or more factories there, for the fur-trade. Perhaps
we may be little interested in either of these objects. But we are
interested in another, that is, to know whether they are perfectly
weaned from the desire of possessing continental colonies in America.
Events might arise, which would render it very desirable for Congress
to be satisfied they have no such wish. If they would desire a colony on
the western side of America, I should not be quite satisfied that they
would refuse one which should offer itself on the eastern side. Captain
Paul Jones being at L’Orient, within a day’s journey of Brest, where
Captain Peyrouse’s vessels lay, I desired him, if he could not satisfy
himself at L’Orient of the nature of this equipment, to go to Brest for
that purpose: conducting himself so as to excite no suspicion that we
attended at all to this expedition. His discretion can be relied on,
and his expenses for so short a journey will be a trifling price for
satisfaction on this point. I hope, therefore, that my undertaking
that the expenses of his journey shall be reimbursed him, will not be
disapproved.

A gentleman lately arrived from New York tells me, he thinks it will be
satisfactory to Congress, to be informed of the effect produced here by
the insult of Longchamps on Monsieur de Marbois. Soon after my arrival
in France last summer, it was the matter of a conversation between the
Count de Vergennes and myself. I explained to him the effect of the
judgment against Longchamps. He did not say that it was satisfactory,
but neither did he say a word from which I could collect that it was not
so. The conversation was not official, because foreign to the character
in which I then was. He has never mentioned a word on the subject to me
since, and it was not for me to introduce it at any time. I have never
once heard it mentioned in conversation, by any person of this country,
and have no reason to suppose that there remains any uneasiness on the
subject. I have indeed been told, that they had sent orders to make
a formal demand of Longchamps from Congress, and had immediately
countermanded these orders. You know whether this be true. If it be, I
should suspect the first orders to have been surprised from them by some
exaggeration, and that the latter was a correction of their error,
in the moment of further reflection. Upon the whole, there certainly
appears to me no reason to urge the State, in which the fact happened,
to any violation of their laws, nor to set a precedent which might
hereafter be used in cases more interesting to us than the late one.

In a late conversation with the Count de Vergennes, he asked me if the
condition of our finances was improving. He did not make an application
of the question to the arrearages of their interest, though perhaps
he meant that I should apply it. I told him the impost still found
obstacles, and explained to him the effects which I hoped from our land
office. Your letter of the 15th of April did not come to hand till
the 27th ultimo. I enclose a letter from Mr. Dumas to the President of
Congress, and accompany the present with the Leyden Gazette and Gazette
of France, from the date last sent you to the present time. I have the
honor to be, with high esteem, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XCII.--TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES, August 15, 1785


TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

Paris, August 15, 1785.

Sir,

In the conversation which I had the honor of having with your
Excellency, a few days ago, on the importance of placing, at this time,
the commerce between France and America on the best footing possible,
among other objects of this commerce, that of tobacco was mentioned, as
susceptible of greater encouragement and advantage to the two nations.
Always distrusting what I say in a language I speak so imperfectly, I
will beg your permission to state, in English, the substance of what I
had then the honor to observe, adding some more particular details for
your consideration.

I find the consumption of tobacco in France estimated at from fifteen to
thirty millions of pounds. The most probable estimate, however, places
it at twenty-four millions.

This costing eight sous the pound, delivered in

a port of France, amounts to...............9,600,000 livres.

Allow six sous a pound, as the average cost of the

different manufactures.....................7,200,000

The revenue which the King derives from this, is

something less than.......................30,000,000

Which would make the cost of the whole... 46,800,000

But it is sold to the consumers at an average of

three livres the pound....................72,000,000

There remain then for the expenses

of collection............................ 25,200,000 livres.

This is within a sixth as much as the King receives, and so gives nearly
one half for collecting the other. It would be presumption in me, a
stranger, to suppose my numbers perfectly accurate. I have taken them
from the best and most disinterested authorities I could find. Your
Excellency will know how far they are wrong; and should you find them
considerably wrong, yet I am persuaded you will find, after strictly
correcting them, that the collection of this branch of the revenue still
absorbs too much.

My apology for making these remarks will, I hope, be found in my wishes
to improve the commerce between the two nations, and the interest which
my own country will derive from this improvement. The monopoly of the
purchase of tobacco in France, discourages both the French and American
merchant from bringing it here, and from taking in exchange the
manufactures and productions of France. It is contrary to the spirit of
trade, and to the dispositions of merchants, to carry a commodity to any
market where but one person is allowed to buy it, and where, of course,
that person fixes its price, which the seller must receive, or reexport
his commodity, at the loss of his voyage thither. Experience accordingly
shows, that they carry it to other markets, and that they take in
exchange the merchandise of the place where they deliver it. I am
misinformed, if France has not been furnished from a neighboring nation
with considerable quantities of tobacco, since the peace, and been
obliged to pay there in coin, what might have been paid here in
manufactures, had the French and American merchants bought the tobacco
originally here. I suppose, too, that the purchases made by the Farmers
General, in America, are paid for chiefly in coin, which coin is also
remitted directly hence to England, and makes an important part of the
balance supposed to be in favor of that nation against this. Should
the Farmers General, by themselves, or by the company to whom they
may commit the procuring these tobaccos from America, require, for the
satisfaction of government on this head, the exportation of a proportion
of merchandise in exchange for them, it would be an unpromising
expedient. It would only commit the exports, as well as imports, between
France and America, to a monopoly, which, being secure against rivals
in the sale of the merchandise of France, would not be likely to sell
at such moderate prices as might encourage its consumption there,
and enable it to bear a competition with similar articles from other
countries. I am persuaded this exportation of coin may be prevented, and
that of commodities effected, by leaving both operations to the French
and American merchants, instead of the Farmers General. They will import
a sufficient quantity of tobacco, if they are allowed a perfect freedom
in the sale; and they will receive in payment, wines, oils, brandies,
and manufactures, instead of coin; forcing each other, by their
competition, to bring tobaccos of the best quality; to give to the
French manufacturer the full worth of his merchandise; and to sell
to the American consumer at the lowest price they can afford; thus
encouraging him to use, in preference, the merchandise of this country.

It is not necessary that this exchange should be favored by any loss of
revenue to the King. I do not mean to urge any thing which shall injure
either his Majesty or his people. On the contrary, the measure I have
the honor of proposing, will increase his revenue, while it places both
the seller and buyer on a better footing. It is not for me to say, what
system of collection may be best adapted to the organization of this
government; nor whether any useful hints may be taken from the practice
of that country, which has heretofore been the principal entrepot
for this commodity. Their system is simple and little expensive. The
importer there, pays the whole duty to the King: and as this would
be inconvenient for him to do before he has sold his tobacco, he is
permitted, on arrival, to deposite it in the King’s warehouse, under the
locks of the King’s officer. As soon as he has sold it, he goes with the
purchaser to the warehouse; the money is there divided between the
King and him, to each his proportion, and the purchaser takes out the
tobacco. The payment of the King’s duty is thus ensured in ready money.
What is the expense of its collection, I cannot say; but it certainly
need not exceed six livres a hogshead of one thousand pounds. That
government levies a higher duty on tobacco than is levied here. Yet
so tempting and so valuable is the perfect liberty of sale, that the
merchant carries it there and finds his account in doing so.

If, by a simplification of the collection of the King’s duty on tobacco,
the cost of that collection can be reduced even to five per cent., or
a million and a half, instead of twenty-five millions; the price to the
consumer will be reduced from three to two livres the pound. For thus I
calculate.

The cost, manufacture, and revenue, on twenty-four million pounds

of tobacco being (as before stated)................46,800,000 livres.

Five per cent, on thirty millions of livres,

expenses of collection .............................1,500,000

Give what the consumers would pay, being

about two livres a pound...........................48,300,000

But they pay at present three livres a pound...... 72,000,000

The difference is..................................23,700,000

The price being thus reduced one third, would be brought within the
reach of a new and numerous circle of the people, who cannot, at
present, afford themselves this luxury. The consumption, then, would
probably increase, and perhaps in the same if not a greater proportion,
with the reduction of the price; that is to say, from twenty-four to
thirty-sis millions of pounds: and the King, continuing to receive
twenty-five sous on the pound, as at present, would receive forty-fire
instead of thirty millions of livres, while his subjects would pay but
two livres for an object which has heretofore cost them three. Or if,
in event, the consumption were not to be increased, he would levy only
forty-eight millions on his people, where seventy-two millions are now
levied, and would leave twenty-four millions in their pockets, either
to remain there, or to be levied in some other form, should the state
of revenue require it. It will enable his subjects, also, to dispose of
between nine and ten millions’ worth of their produce and manufactures,
instead of sending nearly that sum annually, in coin, to enrich a
neighboring nation.

I have heard two objections made to the suppression of this monopoly. 1.
That it might increase the importation of tobacco in contraband. 2. That
it would lessen the abilities of the Farmers General to make occasional
loans of money to the public treasury. These objections will surely be
better answered by those who are better acquainted than I am with the
details and circumstances of the country. With respect to the first,
however, I may observe, that contraband does not increase on lessening
the temptations to it. It is now encouraged, by those who engage in it
being able to sell for sixty sous what cost but fourteen, leaving a gain
of forty-six sous. When the price shall be reduced from sixty to forty
sous, the gain will be but twenty-six, that is to say, a little more
than one half of what it is at present. It does not seem a natural
consequence, then, that contraband should be increased by reducing its
gain nearly one half. As to the second objection, if we suppose (for
elucidation and without presuming to fix) the proportion of the farm on
tobacco, at one eighth of the whole mass farmed, the abilities of the
Farmers General to lend will be reduced one eighth, that is, they can
hereafter lend only seven millions, where heretofore they have lent
eight. It is to be considered, then, whether this eighth (or other
proportion, whatever it be) is worth the annual sacrifice of twenty-four
millions, or if a much smaller sacrifice to other monied men, will not
produce the same loans of money in the ordinary way.

While the advantages of an increase of revenue to the crown, a
diminution of impost on the people, and a payment in merchandise
instead of money, are conjectured as likely to result to France from a
suppression of the monopoly on tobacco, we have also reason to hope some
advantages on our part; and this hope alone could justify my entering
into the present details. I do not expect this advantage will be by
an augmentation of price. The other markets of Europe have too much
influence on this article, to admit any sensible augmentation of price
to take place. But the advantage I principally expect, is an increase
of consumption. This will give us a vent for so much more, and, of
consequence, find employment for so many more cultivators of the earth:
and in whatever proportion it increases this production for us, in the
same proportion will it procure additional vent for the merchandise of
France, and employment for the hands which produce it. I expect too,
that by bringing our merchants here, they would procure a number of
commodities in exchange, better in kind, and cheaper in price. It is
with sincerity I add, that warm feelings are indulged in my breast by
the further hope, that it would bind the two nations still closer in
friendship, by binding them in interest. In truth, no two countries
are better calculated for the exchanges of commerce. France wants rice,
tobacco, potash, furs, and ship timber. We want wines, brandies, oils,
and manufactures. There is an affection, too, between the two people,
which disposes them to favor one another. They do not come together,
then, to make the exchange in their own ports, it shows there is some
substantial obstruction in the way. We have had the benefit of too many
proofs of his Majesty’s friendly disposition towards the United States,
and know too well his affectionate care of his own subjects, to
doubt his willingness to remove these obstructions, if they can be
unequivocally pointed out. It is for his wisdom to decide, whether the
monopoly, which is the subject of this letter, be deservedly classed
with the principal of these. It is a great comfort to me too, that in
presenting this to the mind of his Majesty, your Excellency will correct
my ideas where an insufficient knowledge of facts may have led me into
error; and that while the interests of the King and of his people are
the first object of your attention, an additional one will be presented
by those dispositions towards us, which have heretofore so often
befriended our nation.

I avail myself of this occasion to repeat the assurance of that high
respect and esteem, with which I have the honor to be

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XCIII.--TO CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES, August 17, 1785


TO CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES.

Sir,

Paris, August 17, 1785.

Mine of the 13th informed you that I had written to the M. de Castries
on the subject of Puchilberg’s interference. Yesterday I received his
answer dated the 12th. In that, he says that he is informed by the
_Ordonnateur_, that he has not been able to get an authentic roll of
the crew of the Alliance, and that, in the probable case of there having
been some French subjects among them, it will be just that you should
give security to repay their portions. I wrote to him this morning, that
as you have obliged yourself to transmit the money to the treasury of
the United States, it does not seem just to require you to be answerable
for money which will be no longer within your power; that the repayment
of such portions will be incumbent on Congress; that I will immediately
solicit their orders to have all such claims paid by their banker here:
and that should any be presented before I receive their orders, I will
undertake to direct the banker of the United States to pay them, that
there may be no delay. I trust that this will remove the difficulty, and
that it is the last which will be offered. The ultimate answer shall
be communicated the moment I receive it. Having pledged myself for the
claims which may be offered, before I receive the orders of Congress,
it is necessary to arm myself with the proper checks. Can you give me
a roll of the crew, pointing out the French subjects? If not, can you
recollect personally the French subjects, and name them to me, and the
sums they are entitled to? it there were none such, yet the roll will
be material, because I have no doubt that Puchilberg will excite claims
upon me, either true or false,

I am, with much respect, Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XCIV.--TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL, August 18, 1785


TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

Pads, August 18, 1785.

Dear Sir,

My last to you was of June the 22nd, with a postscript of July the 14th.
Yours of June the 27th came to hand the 23rd of July, and that of July
the 28th came to hand the 10th instant. The papers enclosed in the last
shall be communicated to Mr. Adams. I see with extreme satisfaction and
gratitude, the friendly interposition of the court of Spain with the
Emperor of Morocco, on the subject of the brig Betsy, and I am persuaded
it will produce the happiest effects in America. Those who are entrusted
with the public affairs there, are sufficiently sensible how essentially
it is for our interest to cultivate peace with Spain, and they will be
pleased to see a corresponding disposition in that court. The late
good office of emancipating a number of our countrymen from slavery is
peculiarly calculated to produce a sensation among our people, and to
dispose them to relish and adopt the pacific and friendly views of
their leaders towards Spain. We hear nothing yet of Mr. Lambe. I have
therefore lately proposed to Mr. Adams, that if he does not come in the
French or English packet of this month, we will wait no longer. If he
accedes to the proposition, you will be sure of hearing of, and perhaps
of seeing, some agent proceeding on that business. The immense sum
said to have been proposed, on the part of Spain, to Algiers, leaves us
little hope of satisfying their avarice. It may happen then, that the
interests of Spain and America may call for a concert of proceedings
against that State. The dispositions of the Emperor of Morocco give us
better hopes there. May not the affairs of the Musquito coast, and our
western ports, produce another instance of a common interest? Indeed,
I meet this correspondence of interest in so many quarters, that I look
with anxiety to the issue of Mr. Gardoqui’s mission; hoping it will be
a removal of the only difficulty at present subsisting between the two
nations, or which is likely to arise.

Congress are not likely to adjourn this summer. They have purchased the
Indian right of soil to about fifty millions of acres of land, between
the Ohio and lakes, and expected to make another purchase of an equal
quantity. They have, in consequence, passed an ordinance for disposing
of their lands, and I think a very judicious one. They propose to sell
them at auction for not less than a dollar an acre, receiving their own
certificates of debt as money. I am of opinion all the certificates of
our domestic debt will immediately be exchanged for land, Our foreign
debt, in that case, will soon be discharged. New York and Rhode Island
still refuse the impost. A general disposition is taking place to commit
the whole management of our commerce to Congress. This has been much
promoted by the interested policy of England, which, it was apparent,
could not be counter-worked by the States separately. In the mean time,
the other great towns are acceding to the proceedings of Boston for
annihilating, in a great measure, their commercial connections with
Great Britain. I will send the cipher by a gentleman who goes from here
to Madrid about a month hence. It shall be a copy of the one I gave Mr.
Adams. The letter of Don Gomez has been delivered at the hotel of the
Portuguese ambassador, who is, however, in the country. I am with much
respect, Dear Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XCV.--TO PETER CARR--Advice to a young man, Aug. 19, 1785


TO PETER CARR.

Paris, August 19, 1785.

Dear Peter,

I received, by Mr. Mazzei, your letter of April the 20th. I am much
mortified to hear that you have lost so much time; and that when you
arrived in Williamsburg, you were not at all advanced from what you were
when you left Monticello. Time now begins to be precious to you. Every
day you lose, will retard a day your entrance on that public stage
whereon you may begin to be useful to yourself. However, the way to
repair the loss is to improve the future time. I trust, that with your
dispositions, even the acquisition of science is a pleasing employment.
I can assure you, that the possession of it is, what (next to an honest
heart) will above all things render you dear to your friends, and give
you fame and promotion in your own country. When your mind shall be well
improved with science, nothing will be necessary to place you in the
highest points of view, but to pursue the interests of your country, the
interests of your friends and your own interests also, with the purest
integrity, the most chaste honor. The defect of these virtues can never
be made up by all the other acquirements of body and mind. Make these
then your first object. Give up money, give up fame, give up science,
give the earth itself and all it contains, rather than do an immoral
act. And never suppose, that in any possible situation, or under any
circumstances, it is best for you to do a dishonorable thing, however
slightly so it may appear to you. Whenever you are to do a thing, though
it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act
were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly. Encourage all
your virtuous dispositions, and exercise them whenever an opportunity
arises; being assured that they will gain strength by exercise, as a
limb of the body does, and that exercise will make them habitual. From
the practice of the purest virtue, you may be assured you will derive
the most sublime comforts in every moment of life, and in the moment
of death. If ever you find yourself environed with difficulties
and perplexing circumstances, out of which you are at a loss how to
extricate yourself, do what is right, and be assured that that will
extricate you the best out of the worst situations. Though you cannot
see, when you take one step, what will be the next, yet follow truth,
justice, and plain dealing, and never fear their leading you out of the
labyrinth, in the easiest manner possible. The knot which you thought a
Gordian one, will untie itself before you. Nothing is so mistaken as the
supposition, that a person is to extricate himself from a difficulty by
intrigue, by chicanery, by dissimulation, by trimming, by an untruth,
by an injustice. This increases the difficulties ten fold; and those who
pursue these methods, get themselves so involved at length, that they
can turn no way but their infamy becomes more exposed. It is of great
importance to set a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an
untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible; and he
who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a
second and third time, till a length it becomes habitual; he tells lies
without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him.
This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time
depraves all its good dispositions.

An honest heart being the first blessing, a knowing head is the second.
It is time for you now to begin to be choice in your reading; to begin
to pursue a regular course in it; and not to suffer yourself to be
turned to the right or left by reading any thing out of that course. 1
have long ago digested a plan for you, suited to the circumstances in
which you will be placed. This I will detail to you, from time to time,
as you advance. For the present, I advise you to begin a course
of ancient history, reading every thing in the original and not in
translations. First read Goldsmith’s History of Greece. This will give
you a digested view of that field. Then take up ancient history in the
detail, reading the following books in the following order: Herodotus,
Thucydides, Xenophontis Hellenica, Xenophontis Anabasis, Arrian, Quintus
Curtius, Diodorus Siculus, Justin. This shall form the first stage of
your historical reading, and is all I need mention to you now. The
next, will be of Roman history.* From that we will come down to modern
history. In Greek and Latin poetry, you have read or will read at
school, Virgil, Terence, Horace, Anacreon, Theocritus, Homer, Euripides,
Sophocles. Read also Milton’s Paradise Lost, Shakspeare, Ossian, Pope’s
and Swift’s works, in order to form your style in your own language.
In morality, read Epictetus, Xenophontis Memorabilia, Plato’s Socratic
dialogues, Cicero’s philosophies, Antoninus, and Seneca.

     * Livy, Sullust, Cæsar, Cicero’s Epistles, Suetonius,
     Tacitus, Gibbon.

In order to assure a certain progress in this reading, consider what
hours you have free from the school and the exercises of the school.
Give about two of them every day to exercise; for health must not be
sacrificed to learning. A strong body makes the mind strong. As to
the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives a moderate
exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to
the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too
violent for the body, and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun
therefore be the constant companion of your walks. Never think of taking
a book with you. The object of walking is to relax the mind. You should
therefore not permit yourself even to think while you walk; but divert
your attention by the objects surrounding you. Walking is the best
possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. The Europeans
value themselves on having subdued the horse to the uses of man; but I
doubt whether we have not lost more than we have gained, by the use of
this animal. No one has occasioned so much the degeneracy of the human
body. An Indian goes on foot nearly as far in a day, for a long journey,
as an enfeebled white does on his horse; and he will tire the best
horses. There is no habit you will value so much as that of walking
far without fatigue. I would advise you to take your,exercise in the
afternoon: not because it is the best time for exercise, for certainly
it is not; but because it is the best time to spare from your studies;
and habit will soon reconcile it to health, and render it nearly as
useful as if you gave to that the more precious hours of the day. A
little walk of half an hour in the morning, when you first rise, is
advisable also. It shakes off sleep, and produces other good effects in
the animal economy. Rise at a fixed and an early hour, and go to bed at
a fixed and early hour also. Sitting up late at night is injurious to
the health, and not useful to the mind. Having ascribed proper hours to
exercise, divide what remain (I mean of your vacant hours) into three
portions. Give the principal to History, the other two, which should be
shorter, to Philosophy and Poetry. Write to me once every month or two,
and let me know the progress you make. Tell me in what manner you employ
every hour in the day. The plan I have proposed for you is adapted to
your present situation only. When that is changed, I shall propose a
corresponding change of plan. I have ordered the following books to be
sent you from London, to the care of Mr. Madison. Herodotus, Thucydides,
Xenophon’s Hellenics, Anabasis, and Memorabilia, Cicero’s works,
Baretti’s Spanish and English Dictionary, Martin’s Philosophical
Grammar, and Martin’s Philosophia Britannica. I will send you the
following from hence. Bezout’s Mathematics, De la Lande’s Astronomy,
Muschenbroeck’s Physics, Quintus Curtius, Justin, a Spanish Grammar, and
some Spanish books, You will observe that Martin, Bezout, De la Lande,
and Muschenbroeck are not in the preceding plan. They are not to be
opened till you go to the University. You are now, I expect, learning
French. You must push this; because the books which will be put into
your hands when you advance into Mathematics, Natural Philosophy,
Natural History, &c. will be mostly French, these sciences being better
treated by the French than the English writers. Our future connection
with Spain renders that the most necessary of the modern languages,
after the French. When you become a public man, you may have occasion
for it, and the circumstance of your possessing that language may give
you a preference over other candidates. I have nothing further to add
for the present, but husband well your time, cherish your instructors,
strive to make every body your friend; and be assured that nothing will
be so pleasing, as your success, to, Dear Peter,

Your’s affectionately,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XCVI.--TO JOHN PAGE, August 20 1785


TO JOHN PAGE.

Paris, August 20 1785.

Dear Page,

I received your friendly letter of April the 28th, by Mr. Mazzei, on the
22nd of July. That of the month before, by Monsieur La Croix, has not
come to hand. This correspondence is grateful to some of my warmest
feelings, as the friendships of my youth are those which adhere closest
to me, and in which I most confide. My principal happiness is now in the
retrospect of life.

I thank you for your notes of your operations on the Pennsylvania
boundary. I am in hopes that from yourself, Madison, Rittenhouse, or
Hutchings, I shall receive a chart of the line as actually run. It will
be a great present to me. I think Hutchings promised to send it to me. I
have been much pleased to hear you had it in contemplation, to endeavor
to establish Rittenhouse in our college. This would be an immense
acquisition, and would draw youth to it from every part of the
continent. You will do much more honor to our society, on reviving it,
by placing him at its head, than so useless a member as I should be. I
have been so long diverted from this my favorite line, and that, too,
without acquiring an attachment to my adopted one, that I am become a
mongrel, of no decided order, unowned by any, and incapable of serving
any. I should feel myself out of my true place too, to stand before
McLurg. But why withdraw yourself? You have more zeal, more application,
and more constant attention to the subjects proper to the society, and
can, therefore, serve them best.

The affair of the Emperor and Dutch is settled, though not signed. The
particulars have not yet transpired. That of the Bavarian exchange is
dropped, and his views on Venice defeated. The alliance of Russia
with Venice, to prevent his designs in that quarter, and that of the
Hanoverian Elector with the King of Prussia and other members of the
Germanic body, to prevent his acquisition of Bavaria, leave him in a
solitary situation. In truth, he has lost much reputation by his late
manoeuvres. He is a restless, ambitious character, aiming at every
thing, persevering in nothing, taking up designs without calculating the
force which will be opposed to him, and dropping them on the appearance
of firm opposition. He has some just views and much activity. The only
quarter in which the peace of Europe seems at present capable of being
disturbed, is on that of the Porte. It is believed that the Emperor
and Empress have schemes in contemplation for driving the Turks out of
Europe. Were this with a view to re-establish the native Greeks in the
sovereignty of their own country, I could wish them success, and to see
driven from that delightful country, a set of barbarians, with whom an
opposition to all science is an article of religion. The modern Greek is
not yet so far departed from its ancient model, but that we might still
hope to see the language of Homer and Demosthenes flow with purity from
the lips of a free and ingenious people. But these powers have in object
to divide the country between themselves. This is only to substitute one
set of barbarians for another, breaking, at the same time, the balance
among the European powers. You have been told with truth, that the
Emperor of Morocco has shown a disposition to enter into treaty with
us: but not truly, that Congress has not attended to his advances, and
thereby disgusted him. It is long since they took measures to meet his
advances. But some unlucky incidents have delayed their effect. His
dispositions continue good. As a proof of this, he has lately released
freely, and clothed well, the crew of an American brig he took last
winter; the only vessel ever taken from us by any of the States of
Barbary. But what is the English of these good dispositions? Plainly
this; he is ready to receive us into the number of his tributaries. What
will be the amount of tribute, remains yet to be known, but it probably
will not be as small as you may have conjectured. It will surely be
more than a free people ought to pay to a power owning only four or five
frigates, under twenty-two guns: he has not a port into which a larger
vessel can enter. The Algerines possess fifteen or twenty frigates,
from that size up to fifty guns. Disinclination on their part has lately
broken off a treaty between Spain and them, whereon they were to have
received a million of dollars, besides great presents in naval stores.
What sum they intend we shall pay, I cannot say. Then follow Tunis and
Tripoli. You will probably find the tribute to all these powers make
such a proportion of the federal taxes, as that every man will feel them
sensibly, when he pays those taxes. The question is whether their peace
or war will be cheapest. But it is a question which should be addressed
to our honor, as well as our avarice. Nor does it respect us as to these
pirates only, but as to the nations of Europe. If we wish our commerce
to be free and uninsuked, we must let these nations see that we have an
energy which at present they disbelieve. The low opinion they entertain
of our powers, cannot fail to involve us soon in a naval war.

I shall send you with this, if I can., and if not, then by the first
good conveyance, the _Connoissance des Tems_ for the years 1786 and
1787, being all as yet published. You will find in these the tables for
the planet Herschel, as far as the observations, hitherto made, admit
them to be calculated. You will see, also, that Herschel was only the
first astronomer who discovered it to be a planet, and not the first who
saw it. Mayer saw it in the year 1756, and placed it in the catalogue of
his zodiacal stars, supposing it to be such. A Prussian astronomer, in
the year 1781, observed that the 964th star of Mayer’s catalogue was
missing: and the calculations now prove that at the time Mayer saw his
964th star, the planet Herschel should have been precisely in the place
where he noted that star. I shall send you also a little publication
here, called the _Bibliothèque Physico-oeconomique_. It will communicate
all the improvements and new discoveries in the arts and sciences, made
in Europe for some years past. I shall be happy to hear from you often.
Details, political and literary, and even of the small history of our
country, are the most pleasing communications possible. Present me
affectionately to Mrs. Page, and to your family, in the members of
which, though unknown to me, I feel an interest on account of their
parents. Believe me to be with warm esteem, dear Page, your sincere
friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XCVII.--TO JOHN JAY, August 23, 1785


TO JOHN JAY.

(Private.) Paris, August 23, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I shall sometimes ask your permission to write you letters, not
official, but private. The present is of this kind, and is occasioned
by the question proposed in yours of June the 14th; ‘Whether it would be
useful to us, to carry all our own productions, or none?’

Were we perfectly free to decide this question, I should reason as
follows. We have now lands enough to employ an infinite number of people
in their cultivation. Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable
citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most
virtuous, and they are tied to their country, and wedded to its liberty
and interests, by the most lasting bonds. As long, therefore, as
they can find employment in this line, I would not convert them into
mariners, artisans, or any thing else. But our citizens will find
employment in this line, till their numbers, and of course their
productions, become too great for the demand, both internal and foreign.
This is not the case as yet, and probably will not be for a considerable
time. As soon as it is, the surplus of hands must be turned to something
else. I should then, perhaps, wish to turn them to the sea in preference
to manufactures; because, comparing the characters of the two classes,
I find the former the most valuable citizens. I consider the class of
artificers as the panders of vice, and the instruments by which the
liberties of a country are generally overturned. However, we are not
free to decide this question on principles of theory only. Our people
are decided in the opinion, that it is necessary for us to take a share
in the occupation of the ocean, and their established habits induce
them to require that the sea be kept open to them, and that that line of
policy be pursued, which will render the use of that element to them
as great as possible. I think it a duty in those entrusted with the
administration of their affairs, to conform themselves to the decided
choice of their constituents: and that therefore, we should, in every
instance, preserve an equality of right to them in the transportation of
commodities, in the right of fishing, and in the other uses of the sea.

But what will be the consequence? Frequent wars without a doubt. Their
property will be violated on the sea and in foreign ports, their persons
will be insulted, imprisoned, &c. for pretended debts, contracts,
crimes, contraband, &c. &c. These insults must be resented, even if we
had no feelings, yet to prevent their eternal repetition; or, in other
words, our commerce on the ocean and in other countries must be paid for
by frequent war. The justest dispositions possible in ourselves will not
secure us against it. It would be necessary that all other nations were
just also. Justice indeed, on our part, will save us from those wars
which would have been produced by a contrary disposition. But how can
we prevent those produced by the wrongs of other nations? By putting
ourselves in a condition to punish them. Weakness provokes insult and
injury, while a condition to punish, often prevents them. This reasoning
leads to the necessity of some naval force; that being the only weapon
with which we can reach an enemy. I think it to our interest to punish
the first insult: because an insult unpunished is the parent of many
others. We are not, at this moment, in a condition to do it, but we
should put ourselves into it, as soon as possible. If a war with England
should take place, it seems to me that the first thing necessary, would
be a resolution to abandon the carrying trade, because we cannot protect
it. Foreign nations must, in that case, be invited to bring us what we
want, and to take our productions in their own bottoms. This alone could
prevent the loss of those productions to us, and the acquisition of
them to our enemy. Our seamen might be employed in depredations on their
trade. But how dreadfully we shall suffer on our coasts, if we have
no force on the water, former experience has taught us. Indeed, I look
forward with horror to the very possible case of war with an European
power, and think there is no protection against them, but from the
possession of some force on the sea. Our vicinity to their West India
possessions, and to the fisheries, is a bridle which a small naval
force, on our part, would hold in the mouths of the most powerful of
these countries. I hope our land office will rid us of our debts, and
that our first attention then will be, to the beginning a naval force,
of some sort. This alone can countenance our people as carriers on the
water, and I suppose them to be determined to continue such.

I wrote you two public letters on the 14th instant, since which I have
received yours of July the 13th. I shall always be pleased to receive
from you, in a private way, such communications as you might not choose
to put into a public letter.

I have the honor to be, with very sincere esteem, Dear Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XCVIII.--TO COLONEL MONROE, August 28, 1735

TO COLONEL MONROE.

Paris, August 28, 1735.

Dear Sir,

I wrote you on the 5th of July by Mr. Franklin, and on the 12th of the
same month by Monsieur Houdon. Since that date, yours of June the 16th,
by Mr. Mazzei, has been received. Every thing looks like peace here. The
settlement between the Emperor and Dutch is not yet published, but it is
believed to be agreed on. Nothing is done, as yet, between him and
the Porte. He is much wounded by the confederation of several of the
Germanic body, at the head of which is the King of Prussia, and to which
the King of England, as Elector of Hanover, is believed to accede. The
object is to preserve the constitution of that empire. It shows that
these princes entertain serious jealousies of the ambition of the
Emperor, and this will very much endanger the election of his nephew as
King of the Romans. A late _Arrêt_ of this court against the admission
of British manufactures produces a great sensation in England. I wish
it may produce a disposition there to receive our commerce in all their
dominions, on advantageous terms. This is the only balm which can heal
the wounds that it has received. It is but too true, that that country
furnished markets for three fourths of the exports of the eight
northernmost states. A truth not proper to be spoken of, but which
should influence our proceedings with them.

The July French packet having arrived without bringing any news of Mr.
Lambe, if the English one of the same month be also arrived, without
news of him, I expect Mr. Adams will concur with me in sending some
other person to treat with the Barbary States. Mr. Barclay is willing to
go, and I have proposed him to Mr. Adams, but have not yet received his
answer. The peace expected between Spain and Algiers will probably
not take place. It is said the former was to have given a million of
dollars. Would it not be prudent to send a minister to Portugal? Our
commerce with that country is very important; perhaps more so than with
any other country in Europe. It is possible too, that they might permit
our whaling vessels to refresh in Brazil, or give some other indulgences
in America. The lethargic character of their ambassador here, gives a
very unhopeful aspect to a treaty on this ground. I lately spoke with
him on the subject, and he has promised to interest himself in obtaining
an answer from his court.

I have waited to see what was the pleasure of Congress, as to the
secretaryship of my office here; that is, to see whether they proposed
to appoint a secretary of legation, or leave me to appoint a private
secretary. Colonel Humphreys’ occupation in the despatches and records
of the matters which relate to the general commissions, does not afford
him leisure to aid me in my office, were I entitled to ask that aid. In
the mean time, the long papers which often accompany the communications
between the ministers here and myself, and the other business of the
office, absolutely require a scribe. I shall, therefore, on Mr. Short’s
return from the Hague, appoint him my private secretary, ‘til congress
shall think proper to signify their pleasure. The salary allowed Mr.
Franklin, in the same office, was one thousand dollars a year. I shall
presume that Mr Short may draw the same allowance from the funds of the
United States here. As soon as I shall have made this appointment, I
shall give official notice of it to Mr. Jay, that Congress may, if they
disapprove it, say so.

I am much pleased with your land ordinance, and think it improved from
the first, in the most material circumstances. I had mistaken the object
of the division of the lands among the States. I am sanguine in my
expectations of lessening our debts by this fund, and have expressed
my expectations to the minister and others here. I see by the public
papers, you have adopted the dollar as your money unit. In the
arrangement of coins, I proposed, I ought to have inserted a gold coin
of five dollars, which, being within two shillings of the value of a
guinea, would be very convenient.

The English papers are so incessantly repeating their lies, about the
tumults, the anarchy, the bankruptcies, and distresses of America, that
these ideas prevail very generally in Europe. At a large table where
I dined the other day, a gentleman from Switzerland expressed his
apprehensions for the fate of Dr. Franklin, as he said he had been
informed, that he would be received with stones by the people, who were
generally dissatisfied with the Revolution, and incensed against
all those who had assisted in bringing it about. I told him his
apprehensions were just, and that the people of America would probably
salute Dr. Franklin with the same stones they had thrown at the Marquis
Fayette. The reception of the Doctor is an object of very general
attention, and will weigh in Europe, as an evidence of the satisfaction
or dissatisfaction of America with their Revolution. As you are to be
in Williamsburg early in November, this is the last letter I shall write
you till about that time.

I am, with very sincere esteem, dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XCIX.--TO CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES, August 29,1785


TO CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES.

Paris, August 29,1785.

Sir,

I received this moment a letter from the Marechal de Castries, of which
the enclosed is a copy. Having engaged to him to solicit orders for
the payment of any part of this money due to French subjects to be made
here, and moreover engaged that, in the mean time, I will order payment,
should any such claimants offer themselves; I pray you to furnish
me with all the evidence you can, as to what French subjects may be
entitled to any part of the monies you will receive, and to how much,
each of them; and also to advise me by what means I can obtain a certain
roll of all such claimants.

I am, Sir, with great esteem,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER C.--TO JOHN JAY, August 30,1785

TO JOHN JAY.

Paris, August 30,1785.

Sir,

I had the honor of writing to you on the 14th instant, by a Mr. Cannon
of Connecticut, who was to sail in the packet. Since that date yours of
July the 13th has come to hand. The times for the sailing of the packets
being somewhat deranged, I avail myself of a conveyance for the present,
by the Mr. Fitzhugbs of Virginia, who expect to land at Philadelphia.

I enclose you a correspondence which has taken place between the
Marechal de Castries, minister of the Marine, and myself. It is on
the subject of the prize-money, due to the officers and crew of the
Alliance, for prizes taken in Europe, under the command of Captain
Jones. That officer has been here, under the direction of Congress,
near two years, soliciting the liquidation and payment of that money.
Infinite delays had retarded the liquidation till the month of June. It
was expected, when the liquidation was announced to be completed, that
the money was to be received. The M. de Castries doubted the authority
of Captain Jones to receive it, and wrote to me for information. I
wrote him a letter dated July the 10th, which seemed to clear away that
difficulty. Another arose. A Mr. Puchilberg presented powers to receive
the money. I wrote then the letter of August the 3rd, and received
that of the M. de Castries, of August the 12th, acknowledging he was
satisfied as to this difficulty, but announcing another; to wit, that
possibly some French subjects might have been on board the Alliance, and
therefore, that Captain Jones ought to give security for the repayment
of their portions. Captain Jones had before told me there was not a
Frenchman on board that vessel, but the captain. I inquired of Mr.
Barclay.. He told me he was satisfied there was not one. Here, then,
was a mere possibility, a shadow of right, opposed to a certain, to a
substantial one, which existed in the mass of the crew, and which was
likely to be delayed; for it was not to be expected that Captain
Jones could, in a strange country, find the security required. These
difficulties I suppose to have been conjured up, one after another, by
Mr. Puchilberg, who wanted to get hold of the money. I saw but one way
to cut short these everlasting delays, which were ruining the officer
soliciting the payment of the money, and keeping our seamen out of what
they had hardly fought for, years ago. This was, to undertake to ask an
order from Congress, for the payment of any French claimants by their
banker in Paris; and, in the mean time, to undertake to order such
payment, should any such claimant prove his title, before the pleasure
of Congress should be made known to me. I consulted with Mr. Barclay,
who seemed satisfied I might venture this undertaking, because no such
claim could be presented. I therefore wrote the letter of August the
17th, and received that of August the 26th, finally closing this tedious
business. Should what I have done, not meet the approbation of Congress,
I would pray their immediate sense, because it is not probable that the
whole of this money will be paid so hastily, but that their orders may
arrive in time to stop a sufficiency for any French claimants who may
possibly exist. The following paragraph of a letter from Captain Jones,
dated L’Orient, August the 25th, 1785, further satisfies me, that my
undertaking amounted to nothing in fact. He says, ‘It is impossible
that any legal demands should be made on you for French subjects, in
consequence of your engagement to the Marechal. The Alliance was manned
in America, and I never heard of any person’s having served on board
that frigate, who had been born in France, except the captain, who, as
I was informed, had, in America, abjured the church of Rome, and been
naturalized.’ Should Congress approve what I have done, I will then
ask their resolution for the payment, by their banker here, of any such
claims as may be properly authenticated, and will moreover pray of
you an authentic roll of the crew of the Alliance, with the sums to be
allowed to each person; on the subject of which roll, Captain Jones, in
the letter above mentioned, says, ‘I carried a set of the rolls with me
to America, and before I embarked in the French fleet at Boston, I put
them into the hands of Mr. Secretary Livingston, and they were sealed
up among the papers of his office, when I left America.’ I think it
possible that Mr. Puchilberg may excite claims. Should any name be
offered which shall not be found on the roll, it will be a sufficient
disproof of the pretension. Should it be found on the roll, it will
remain to prove the identity of person, and to inquire if payment
may not have been made in America. I conjecture from the journals of
Congress of June the 2nd, that Landais, who, I believe, was the captain,
may be in America. As his portion of prize-money may be considerable, I
hope it will be settled in America, where only it can be known whether
any advances have been made him.

The person at the head of the post office here, says, he proposed to Dr.
Franklin a convention to facilitate the passage of letters through
their office and ours, and that he delivered a draught of the convention
proposed, that it might be sent to Congress. I think it possible he may
be mistaken in this, as, on my mentioning it to Dr. Franklin, he did not
recollect any such draught having been put into his hands. An answer,
however, is expected by them. I mention it, that Congress may decide
whether they will make any convention on the subject, and on what
principle. The one proposed here was, that for letters passing
hence into America, the French postage should be collected by our
post-officers, and paid every six months, and for letters coming
from America here, the American postage should be collected by the
post-officers here, and paid to us in like manner. A second plan,
however, presents itself; that is, to suppose the sums to be thus
collected, on each side, will be equal, or so nearly equal, that the
balance will not pay for the trouble of keeping accounts, and for the
little bickerings that the settlement of accounts and demands of the
balances may occasion: and therefore, to make an exchange of postage.
This would better secure our harmony; but I do not know that it would be
agreed to here. If not, the other might then be agreed to.

I have waited hitherto, supposing that Congress might, possibly, appoint
a secretary to the legation here, or signify their pleasure that
I should appoint a private secretary, to aid me in my office. The
communications between the ministers and myself requiring often that
many and long papers should be copied, and that in a shorter time
than could be done by myself, were I otherwise unoccupied, other
correspondences and proceedings, of all which copies must be retained,
and still more the necessity of having some confidential person, who, in
case of any accident to myself, might be authorized to take possession
of the instructions, letters, and other papers of the office, have
rendered it absolutely necessary for me to appoint a private secretary.
Colonel Humphreys finds full occupation, and often more than he can do,
in writing and recording the despatches and proceedings of the general
commissions. I shall, therefore, appoint Mr. Short, on his return from
the Hague, with an express condition, that the appointment shall cease
whenever Congress shall think proper to make any other arrangement. He
will, of course, expect the allowance heretofore made to the private
secretaries of the ministers, which, I believe, has been a thousand
dollars a year.

An improvement is made here in the construction of muskets, which it may
be interesting to Congress to know, should they at any time propose to
procure any. It consists in the making every part of them so exactly
alike, that what belongs to any one, may be used for every other musket
in the magazine. The government here has examined and approved the
method, and is establishing a large manufactory for the purpose of
putting it into execution. As yet, the inventor has only completed the
lock of the musket, on this plan. He will proceed immediately to have
the barrel, stock, and other parts, executed in the same way. Supposing
it might be useful to the United States, I went to the workman. He
presented me the parts of fifty locks taken to pieces, and arranged in
compartments. I put several together myself, taking pieces at hazard
as they came to hand, and they fitted in the most perfect manner. The
advantages of this, when arms need repair, are evident. He effects it by
tools of his own contrivance, which, at the same time, abridge the work,
so that he thinks he shall be able to furnish the musket two livres
cheaper than the common price. But it will be two or three years before
he will be able to furnish any quantity. I mention it now, as it may
have an influence on the plan for furnishing our magazines with this
arm.

Every thing in Europe remains as when I wrote you last. The peace
between Spain and Algiers has the appearance of being broken off. The
French packet having arrived without Mr. Lambe, or any news of him, I
await Mr. Adams’s acceding to the proposition mentioned in my last. I
send you the Gazettes of Leyden and France to this date, and have the
honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem, Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CI.--TO JAMES MADISON, September 1,1785


TO JAMES MADISON.

Paris, September 1,1785.

Dear Sir,

My last to you by Monsieur de Doradour, was dated May the 11th. Since
that, I have received yours of January the 22nd with six copies of the
revisal, and that of April the 27th by Mr. Mazzei.

All is quiet here. The Emperor and Dutch have certainly agreed, though
they have not published their agreement. Most of his schemes in Germany
must be postponed, if they are not prevented by the confederacy of many
of the Germanic body, at the head of which is the King of Prussia, and
to which the Elector of Hanover is supposed to have acceded. The object
of the league is to preserve the members of the empire in their present
state. I doubt whether the jealousy entertained of this prince, and
which is so fully evidenced by this league, may not defeat the election
of his nephew to be King of the Romans, and thus produce an instance of
breaking the lineal succession. Nothing is as yet done between him and
the Turks. If any thing is produced in that quarter, it will not be for
this year. The court of Madrid has obtained the delivery of the crew
of the brig Betsey, taken by the Emperor of Morocco. The Emperor had
treated them kindly, new-clothed them, and delivered them to the Spanish
minister, who sent them to Cadiz. This is the only American vessel ever
taken by the Barbary States. The Emperor continues to give proofs of his
desire to be in friendship with us, or, in other words, of receiving us
into the number of his tributaries. Nothing further need be feared from
him. I wish the Algerines may be as easily dealt with. I fancy the peace
expected between them and Spain is not likely to take place. I am well
informed that the late proceedings in America have produced a wonderful
sensation in England in our favor. I mean the disposition, which seems
to be becoming general, to invest Congress with the regulation of
our commerce, and, in the mean time, the measures taken to defeat the
avidity of the British government, grasping at our carrying business.
I can add with truth, that it was not till these symptoms appeared in
America, that I have been able to discover the smallest token of
respect towards the United States, in any part of Europe. There was an
enthusiasm towards us, all over Europe, at the moment of the peace. The
torrent of lies published unremittingly, in every day’s London paper,
first made an impression, and produce a coolness. The republication of
these lies in most of the papers of Europe (done probably by authority
of the governments to discourage emigrations) carried them home to the
belief of every mind. They supposed every thing in America was anarchy,
tumult, and civil war. The reception of the Marquis Fayette gave a check
to these ideas. The late proceedings seem to be producing a decisive
vibration in our favor. I think it possible that England may ply before
them. It is a nation which nothing but views of interest can govern. If
they produce us good there, they will here also. The defeat of the Irish
propositions is also in our favor.

I have at length made up the purchase of books for you, as far as it can
be done at present. The objects which I have not yet been able to get, I
shall continue to seek for. Those purchased, are packed this morning in
two trunks, and you have the catalogue and prices herein inclosed. The
future charges of transportation shall be carried into the next bill.
The amount of the present is 1154 livres, 13 sous, which, reckoning the
French crown of six livres at six shillings and eight pence, Virginia
money, is £64. 3s., which sum you will be so good as to keep in your
hands, to be used occasionally in the education of my nephews, when the
regular resources disappoint you. To the same use I would pray you to
apply twenty-five guineas, which I have lent the two Mr. Fitz-hughs of
Marmion, and which I have desired them to repay into your hands. You
will of course deduct the price of the revisals, and of any other
articles you may have been so kind as to pay for me. Greek and Roman
authors are dearer here, than, I believe, any where in the world. Nobody
here reads them; wherefore they are not reprinted. Don Ulloa, in the
original, is not to be found. The collection of tracts on the economies
of different nations, we cannot find; nor Amelot’s Travels into China.
I shall send these two trunks of books to Havre, there to wait a
conveyance to America; for as to the fixing the packets there, it is as
uncertain as ever. The other articles you mention, shall be procured
as far as they can be. Knowing that some of them would be better got in
London, I commissioned Mr. Short, who was going there, to get them. He
has not yet returned. They will be of such a nature as that I can
get some gentleman who may be going to America, to take them in his
portmanteau. Le Maire being now able to stand on his own legs, there
will be no necessity for your advancing him the money I desired, if it
is not already done. I am anxious to hear from you on the subject of
my Notes on Virginia. I have been obliged to give so many of them here,
that I fear their getting published. I have received an application from
the Directors of the public buildings, to procure them a plan for their
capitol. I shall send them one taken from the best morsel of ancient
architecture now remaining. It has obtained the approbation of fifteen
or sixteen centuries, and is, therefore, preferable to any design which
might be newly contrived. It will give more room, be more convenient,
and cost less, than the plan they sent me. Pray encourage them to wait
for it, and to execute it. It will be superior in beauty to any thing in
America, and not inferior to any thing in the world. It is very simple.
Have you a copying press? If you have not, you should get one. Mine
(exclusive of paper, which costs a guinea a ream) has cost me about
fourteen guineas. I would give ten times that sum, to have had it from
the date of the stamp act. I hope you will be so good as to continue
your communications, both of the great and small kind, which are equally
useful to me. Be assured of the sincerity with which I am, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CII.--TO MESSRS. DUMAS AND SHORT, September 1, 1785


TO MESSRS. DUMAS AND SHORT.

Paris, September 1, 1785.

Gentlemen,

I have been duly honored with the receipt of your separate letters of
August 23rd, and should sooner have returned an answer, but that as you
had written also to Mr. Adams, I thought it possible I might receive his
sentiments on the subject, in time for the post. Not thinking it proper
to lose the occasion of the post, I have concluded to communicate to you
my separate sentiments, which you will of course pay attention to, only
so far as they may concur with what you shall receive from Mr. Adams.

On a review of our letters to the Baron de Thulemeyer, I do not find
that we had proposed that the treaty should be in two columns, the
one English, and the other what he should think proper. We certainly
intended to have proposed it. We had agreed together that it should be
an article of system with us, and the omission of it, in this instance,
has been accidental. My own opinion, therefore, is, that to avoid the
appearance of urging new propositions when every thing appeared to be
arranged, we should agree to consider the French column as the original,
if the Baron de Thulemeyer thinks himself bound to insist on it: but
if the practice of his court will admit of the execution in the two
languages, each to be considered as equally original, it would be very
pleasing to me, as it will accommodate it to our views, relieve us from
the embarrassment of this precedent, which may be urged against us on
other occasions, and be more agreeable to our country, where the French
language is spoken by very few. This method will be also attended with
the advantage, that if any expression in any part of the treaty is
equivocal in the one language, its true sense will be known by the
corresponding passage in the other.

The errors of the copyist, in the French column, you will correct of
course.

I have the honor to be, with very high esteem, Gentlemen,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CIII.--TO JOHN ADAMS, September 4, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, September 4, 1785.

Dear Sir,

On receipt of your favors of August the 18th and 23rd, I conferred with
Mr. Barclay on the measures necessary to be taken to set our treaty with
the piratical States into motion, through his agency. Supposing that we
should begin with the Emperor of Morocco, a letter to the Emperor and
instructions to Mr. Barclay, seemed necessary. I have therefore sketched
such outlines for these, as appear to me to be proper. You will be so
good as to detract, add to, or alter them as you please, to return such
as you approve under your signature, to which I will add mine. A
person understanding English, French, and Italian, and at the same
time meriting confidence, was not to be met with here. Colonel Franks,
understanding the two first languages perfectly, and a little Spanish
instead of Italian, occurred to Mr. Barclay as the fittest person he
could employ for a secretary. We think his allowance (exclusive of his
travelling expenses and his board, which will be paid by Mr. Barclay in
common with his own) should be between one hundred and one hundred and
fifty guineas a year. Fix it where you please, between these limits.
What is said in the instructions to Mr. Barclay, as to his own
allowance, was proposed by himself. My idea as to the partition of the
whole sum to which we are limited (eighty thousand dollars), was,
that one half of it should be kept in reserve for the Algerines. They
certainly possess more than half the whole power of the piratical
States. I thought then, that Morocco might claim the half of the
remainder, that is to say, one fourth of the whole. For this reason, in
the instructions, I propose twenty thousand dollars as the limit of the
expenses of the Morocco treaty. Be so good as to think of it, and make
it what you please. I should be more disposed to enlarge than abridge
it, on account of their neighborhood to our Atlantic trade. I did not
think that these papers should be trusted through the post office, and
therefore, as Colonel Franks is engaged in the business, he comes with
them. Passing by the diligence, the whole expense will not exceed twelve
or fourteen guineas. I suppose we are bound to avail ourselves of the
co-operation of France. I will join you, therefore, in any letter you
think proper to write to the Count de Vergennes. Would you think it
expedient to write to Mr. Carmichael, to interest the interposition of
the Spanish court? I will join you in any thing of this kind you will
originate. In short, be so good as to supply whatever you may think
necessary. With respect to the money, Mr. Jay’s information to you was,
that it was to be drawn from Holland. It will rest therefore with you,
to avail Mr. Barclay of that fund, either by your draft, or by a letter
of credit to the bankers in his favor, to the necessary amount. I
imagine the Dutch consul at Morocco may be rendered an useful character,
in the remittances of money to Mr. Barclay, while at Morocco.

You were apprised, by a letter from Mr. Short, of the delay which had
arisen in the execution of the treaty with Prussia. I wrote a separate
letter, of which I enclose you a copy, hoping it would meet one from
you, and set them again into motion.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, Dear Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



[The following are the sketches of the letter to the Emperor of Morocco,
and of the instructions to Mr. Barclay, referred to in the preceding
letter.]


HEADS FOR A LETTER TO THE EMPEROR OF MOROCCO.

That the United States of America, heretofore connected in government
with Great Britain, had found it necessary for their happiness to
separate from her, and to assume an independent station.

That, consisting of a number of separate States, they had confederated
together, and placed the sovereignty of the whole, in matters relating
to foreign nations, in a body consisting of delegates from every State,
and called the Congress of the United States.

That Great Britain had solemnly confirmed their separation and
acknowledged their independence.

That after the conclusion of the peace, which terminated the war in
which they had been engaged for the establishment of their independence,
the first attentions of Congress were necessarily engrossed by the
re-establishment of order and regular government.

That they had, as soon as possible, turned their attention to foreign
nations, and, desirous of entering into amity and commerce with them,
had been pleased to appoint us, with Dr. Benjamin Franklin, to execute
such treaties for this purpose, as should be agreed on by such nations,
with us, or any two of us.

That Dr. Franklin having found it, necessary to return to America, the
execution of these several commissions had devolved on us. That being
placed as Ministers Plenipotentiary for the United States at the courts
of England and France; this circumstance, with the commissions with
which we are charged for entering into treaties with various other
nations, puts it out of our power to attend at the other courts in
person, and obliges us to negotiate by the intervention of confidential
persons.

That, respecting the friendly dispositions shown by his Majesty, the
Emperor of Morocco, towards the United States, and indulging the desire
of forming a connection with a sovereign, so renowned for his power, his
wisdom, and his justice, we had embraced the first moment possible, of
assuring him of these the sentiments of our country and of ourselves,
and of expressing to him our wishes to enter into a connection of
friendship and commerce with him. That for this purpose, we had
commissioned the bearer hereof, Thomas Barclay, a person in the highest
confidence of the Congress of the United States, and as such, having
been several years, and still being, their consul general with our
great and good friend and ally, the King of France, to arrange with his
Majesty the Emperor, those conditions which it might be advantageous for
both nations to adopt, for the regulation of their commerce, and their
mutual conduct towards each other.

That we deliver to him a copy of the full powers with which we are
invested, to conclude a treaty with his Majesty, which copy he is
instructed to present to his Majesty.

That though by these, we are not authorized to delegate to him the
power of ultimately signing the treaty, yet such is our reliance on his
wisdom, his integrity, and his attention to the instructions with which
he is charged, that we assure his Majesty, the conditions which he shall
arrange and send to us, shall be returned with our signature, in order
to receive that of the person whom his Majesty shall commission for the
same purpose.


HEADS OF INSTRUCTION TO MR. BARCLAY.

Congress having been pleased to invest us with full powers for entering
into a treaty of amity and alliance with the Emperor of Morocco, and it
being impracticable for us to attend his court in person, and equally
impracticable, on account of our separate stations, to receive a
minister from him, we have concluded to effect our object by the
intervention of a confidential person. We concur in wishing to avail
the United States of your talents in the execution of this business, and
therefore furnish you with a letter to the Emperor of Morocco, to give
due credit to your transactions with him.

We advise you to proceed by the way of Madrid, where you will have
opportunities of deriving many lights from Mr. Carmichael, through whom
many communications with the court of Morocco have already passed.

From thence you will proceed, by such route as you shall think best, to
the court of the Emperor.

You will present to him our letter, with the copy of our full powers,
with which you are furnished, at such time or times, and in such manner,
as you shall find best.

You will proceed to negotiate with his minister the terms of a treaty
of amity and commerce, as nearly conformed as possible to the draught
we give you. Where alterations, which, in your opinion, shall not be of
great importance, shall be urged by the other party, you are at liberty
to agree to them. Where they shall be of great importance, and such as
you think should be rejected, you will reject them: but where they are
of great importance, and you think they may be accepted, you will ask
time to take our advice, and will advise with us accordingly, by letter
or by courier, as you shall think best. When the articles shall all
be agreed, you will send them to us by some proper person, for our
signature.

The whole expense of this treaty, including as well the expenses of
all persons employed about it, as the presents to the Emperor and his
servants, must not exceed twenty thousand dollars: and we urge you
to use your best endeavors, to bring it as much below that sum as you
possibly can. As custom may have rendered some presents necessary in the
beginning or progress of this business, and before it is concluded,
or even in a way to be concluded, we authorize you to conform to the
custom, confiding in your discretion to hazard as little as possible,
before a certainty of the event. We trust to you also to procure the
best information, as to what persons, and in what form, these presents
should be made, and to make them accordingly.

The difference between the customs of that and other courts, the
difficulty of obtaining knowledge of those customs, but on the spot, and
our great confidence in your discretion, induce us to leave to that, all
other circumstances relative to the object of your mission. It will
be necessary for you to take a secretary, well skilled in the French
language, to aid you in your business, and to take charge of your
papers in case of any accident to yourself. We think you may allow
him ¦---------guineas a year, besides his expenses for travelling and
subsistence. We engage to furnish your own expenses, according to the
respectability of the character with which you are invested, but as
to the allowance for your trouble, we wish to leave it to Congress. We
annex hereto sundry heads of inquiry which we wish you to make, and to
give us thereon the best information you shall be able to obtain. We
desire you to correspond with us by every opportunity which you think
should be trusted, giving us, from time to time, an account of your
proceedings and prospects.


HEADS OF INQUIRY FOR MR. BARCLAY, AS TO MOROCCO.

1. Commerce. What are the articles of their export and import? What
duties are levied by them on exports and imports? Do all nations pay
the same, or what nations are favored, and how far? Are they their own
carriers, or who carries for them? Do they trade themselves to other
countries, or are they merely passive?

2. Ports. What are their principal ports? What depth of water in them?
What works of defence protect these ports?

3. Naval force. How many armed vessels have they? Of what kind and
force? What is the constitution of their naval force? What resources for
increasing their navy? What number of seamen? Their cruising grounds,
and seasons of cruising?

4. Prisoners. What is their condition and treatment? At what price are
they ordinarily redeemed, and how?

Do they pay respect to the treaties they make?

Land forces. Their numbers, constitution, and respectability?

Revenues. Their amount.

Coins. What coins pass there, and at what rates?



LETTER CIV.--TO DAVID HARTLEY, September 5, 1785


TO DAVID HARTLEY.

Paris, September 5, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of April the 15th happened to be put into my hands at the
same time with a large parcel of letters from America, which contained
a variety of intelligence. It was then put where I usually place my
unanswered letters; and I, from time to time, put off acknowledging
the receipt of it, till I should be able to furnish you American
intelligence worth communicating. A favorable opportunity, by a courier,
of writing to you occurring this morning, what has been my astonishment
and chagrin on reading your letter again, to find there was a case in
it which required an immediate answer, but which, by the variety of
matters, which happened to be presented to my mind, at the same time,
had utterly escaped my recollection. I pray you to be assured, that
nothing but this slip of memory would have prevented my immediate
answer, and no other circumstance would have prevented its making such
an impression on my mind, as that it could not have escaped. I hope
you will therefore obliterate the imputation of want of respect, which,
under actual appearances, must have arisen in your mind, but which
would refer to an untrue cause the occasion of my silence. I am not
sufficiently acquainted with the proceedings of the New York Assembly,
to say, with certainty, in what predicament the lands of Mr. Upton may
stand. But on conferring with Colonel Humphreys, who, being from the
neighboring State, was more in the way of knowing what passed in New
York, he thinks that the descriptions in their confiscation laws were
such, as not to include a case of this nature. The first thing to be
done by Mr. Upton is, to state his case to some intelligent lawyer
of the country, that he may know with certainty whether they be
confiscated, or not; and if not confiscated, to know what measures are
necessary for completing and securing his grant. But if confiscated,
there is then no other tribunal of redress but their General Assembly.
If he is unacquainted there, I would advise him to apply to Colonel
Hamilton, who was aid to General Washington, and is now very eminent at
the bar, and much to be relied on. Your letter in his favor to Mr. Jay
will also procure him the benefit of his counsel.

With respect to America, I will rather give you a general view of
its situation, than merely relate recent events. The impost is still
unpassed by the two States of New York and Rhode Island: for the manner
in which the latter has passed it does not appear to me to answer the
principal object, of establishing a fund, which, by being subject to
Congress alone, may give such credit to the certificates of public debt,
as will make them negotiable. This matter, then, is still suspended.

Congress have lately purchased the Indian right to nearly the whole of
the land lying in the new State, bounded by lake Erie, Pennsylvania, and
the Ohio. The northwestern corner alone is reserved to the Delawares and
Wyandots. I expect a purchase is also concluded with other tribes, for a
considerable proportion of the State next to this, on the north side
of the Ohio. They have passed an ordinance establishing a land-office,
considerably improved, I think, on the plan, of which I had the honor of
giving you a copy. The lands are to be offered for sale to the highest
bidder. For this purpose, portions of them are to be proposed in each
State, that each may have the means of purchase carried equally to their
doors, and that the purchasers may be a proper mixture of the citizens
from all the different States. But such lots as cannot be sold for a
dollar an acre, are not to be parted with. They will receive as money
the certificates of public debt. I flatter myself that this arrangement
will very soon absorb the whole of these certificates, and thus rid
us of our domestic debt, which is four fifths of our whole debt. Our
foreign debt will be then a bagatelle.

I think it probable that Vermont will be made independent, as I am told
the State of New York is likely to agree to it. Maine will probably in
time be also permitted to separate from Massachusetts. As yet, they only
begin to think of it. Whenever the people of Kentucky shall have agreed
among themselves, my friends write me word, that Virginia will consent
to their separation. They will constitute the new State on the south
side of Ohio, joining Virginia. North Corolina, by an act of their
Assembly, ceded to Congress all their lands westward of the Allegany.
The people inhabiting that territory thereon declared themselves
independent, called their State by the name of Franklin, and solicited
Congress to be received into the Union. But before Congress met, North
Carolina (for what reasons I could never learn) resumed their session.
The people, however, persist; Congress recommend to the State to desist
from their opposition, and I have no doubt they will do it. It will,
therefore, result from the act of Congress laying off the western
country into new States, that these States will come into the Union
in the manner therein provided, and without any disputes as to their
boundaries.

I am told that some hostile transaction by our people at the Natchez,
against the Spaniards, has taken place. If it be a fact, Congress
will certainly not protect them, but leave them to be chastised by the
Spaniards, saving the right to the territory. A Spanish minister being
now with Congress, and both parties interested in keeping the peace, I
think, if such an event has happened, it will be easily arranged.

I told you when here, of the propositions made by Congress to the
States, to be authorized to make certain regulations in their commerce;
and, that from the disposition to strengthen the hands of Congress,
which was then growing fast, I thought they would consent to it. Most of
them did so, and I suppose all of them would have done it, if they have
not actually done it, but that events proved a much more extensive power
would be requisite. Congress have, therefore, desired to be invested
with the whole regulation of their trade, and for ever; and to prevent
all temptations to abuse the power, and all fears of it, they propose
that whatever monies shall be levied on commerce, either for the purpose
of revenue, or by way of forfeitures or penalty, shall go directly into
the coffers of the State wherein it is levied, without being touched
by Congress. From the present temper of the States, and the conviction
which your country has carried home to their minds, that there is no
other method of defeating the greedy attempts of other countries to
trade with them on unequal terms, I think they will add an article for
this purpose to their Confederation. But the present powers of Congress
over the commerce of the States, under the Confederation, seem not at
all understood by your ministry. They say that body has no power to
enter into a treaty of commerce; why then make one? This is a mistake.
By the sixth article of the Confederation, the States renounce,
individually, all power to make any treaty, of whatever nature, with
a foreign nation. By the ninth article, they give the power of making
treaties wholly to Congress with two reservations only. 1. That no
treaty of commerce shall be made, which shall restrain the legislatures
from making foreigners pay the same imposts with their own people: nor
2. from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of
merchandise, which they might think proper. Were any treaty to be made
which should violate either of these two reservations, it would be so
far void. In the treaties, therefore, made with France, Holland, &c.
this has been cautiously avoided. But are these treaties of no advantage
to these nations? Besides the advantages expressly given by them, there
results another, of great value. The commerce of those nations with
the United States is thereby under the protection of Congress, and no
particular State, acting by fits and starts, can harass the trade of
France, Holland, &c. by such measures as several of them have practised
against England, by loading her merchandise with partial imposts,
refusing admittance to it altogether, excluding her merchants, &c. &c.
For you will observe, that though, by the second reservation before
mentioned, they can prohibit the importation of any species of
merchandise, as, for instance, though they may prohibit the importation
of wines in general, yet they cannot prohibit that of French wines in
particular. Another advantage is, that the nations having treaties with
Congress, can and do provide in such treaties for the admission of
their consuls, a kind of officer very necessary for the regulation
and protection of commerce. You know that a consul is the creature of
treaty. No nation, without an agreement, can place an officer in another
country, with any powers or jurisdiction whatever. But as the States
have renounced the separate power of making treaties with foreign
nations, they cannot separately receive a consul: and as Congress have,
by the Confederation, no immediate jurisdiction over commerce, as
they have only a power of bringing that jurisdiction into existence
by entering into a treaty, till such treaty be entered into, Congress
themselves cannot receive a consul. Till a treaty then, there exists no
power in any part of our government, federal or particular, to admit
a consul among us: and if it be true, as the papers say, that you have
lately sent one over, he cannot be admitted by any power in existence
to an exercise of any function. Nothing less than a new article, to be
agreed to by all the States, would enable Congress, or the particular
States, to receive him. You must not be surprised then, if he be not
received.

I think I have by this time tired you with American politics, and will
therefore only add assurances of the sincere regard and esteem, with
which I have the honor to be, Dear Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CV.--TO BARON GEISMER, September 6, 1785


TO BARON GEISMER.

Paris, September 6, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Your letter of March the 28th, which I received about a month after its
date, gave me a very real pleasure, as it assured me of an existence
which I valued, and of which I had been led to doubt. You are now too
distant from America, to be much interested in what passes there. From
the London gazettes, and the papers copying them, you are led to suppose
that all there is anarchy, discontent, and civil war. Nothing, however,
is less true. There are not on the face of the earth, more tranquil
governments than ours, nor a happier and more contented people. Their
commerce has not as yet found the channels, which their new relations
with the world will offer to best advantage, and the old ones remain as
yet unopened by new conventions. This occasions a stagnation in the sale
of their produce, the only truth among all the circumstances published
about them. Their hatred against Great Britain, having lately received
from that nation new cause and new aliment, has taken a new spring.
Among the individuals of your acquaintance, nothing remarkable has
happened. No revolution in the happiness of any of them has taken place,
except that of the loss of their only child to Mr. and Mrs. Walker,
who, however, left them a grandchild for their solace, and that of your
humble servant, who remains with no other family than two daughters, the
elder here (who was of your acquaintance), the younger in Virginia,
but expected here the next summer. The character in which I am here,
at present, confines me to this place, and will confine me as long as I
continue in Europe. How long this will be, I cannot tell. I am now of
an age which does not easily accommodate itself to new manners and new
modes of living: and I am savage enough to prefer the woods, the wilds,
and the independence of Monticello, to all the brilliant pleasures
of this gay capital. I shall, therefore, rejoin myself to my native
country, with new attachments, and with exaggerated esteem for its
advantages; for though there is less wealth there, there is more
freedom, more ease, and less misery. I should like it better, however,
if it could tempt you once more to visit it: but that is not to be
expected. Be this as it may, and whether fortune means to allow or deny
me the pleasure of ever seeing you again, be assured that the worth
which gave birth to my attachment, and which still animates it, will
continue to keep it up while we both live, and that it is with sincerity
I subscribe myself, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CVI.--TO JOHN LANGDON, September 11, 1785


TO JOHN LANGDON.

Paris, September 11, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Your Captain Yeaton being here, furnishes me an opportunity of paying
the tribute of my congratulations on your appointment to the government
of your State, which I do sincerely. He gives me the grateful
intelligence of your health, and that of Mrs. Langdon. Anxious to
promote your service, and believing he could do it by getting himself
naturalized here, and authorized to command your vessel he came from
Havre to Paris. But on making the best inquiries I could, it seemed that
the time requisite to go through with this business, would be much more
than he could spare. He therefore declined it. I wish it were in my
power to give you a hope that our commerce, either with this country,
or its islands, was likely to be put on better footing. But if it be
altered at all, it will probably be for the worse. The regulations
respecting their commerce are by no means sufficiently stable to be
relied on.

Europe is in quiet, and likely to remain so. The affairs of the Emperor
and Dutch are as good as settled, and no other cloud portends any
immediate storm. You have heard much of American vessels taken by the
Barbary pirates. The Emperor of Morocco took one last winter (the brig
Betsey of Philadelphia); he did not however reduce the crew to slavery,
nor confiscate the vessel or cargo. He has lately delivered up the crew
on the solicitation of the Spanish court. No other has ever been taken
by them. There are, indeed, rumors of one having been lately taken by
the Algerines. The fact is possible, as there is nothing to hinder their
taking them, but it is not as yet confirmed. I have little doubt that
we shall be able to place our commerce on a popular footing with the
Barbary States this summer, and thus not only render our navigation
to Portugal and Spain safe, but open the Mediterranean as formerly. In
spite of treaties, England is still our enemy. Her hatred is deep-rooted
and cordial, and nothing is wanting with her but the power, to wipe us
and the land we live on out of existence. Her interest, however, is her
ruling passion! and the late American measures have struck at that so
vitally, and with an energy, too, of which she had thought us quite
incapable, that a possibility seems to open of forming some arrangement
with her. When they shall see decidedly, that, without it we shall
suppress their commerce with us, they will be agitated by their avarice
on the one hand, and their hatred and their fear of us on the other. The
result of this conflict of dirty passions is yet to be awaited. The
body of the people of this country love us cordially. But ministers and
merchants love nobody. The merchants here are endeavoring to exclude,
us from their islands. The ministers will be governed in it by political
motives, and will do it, or not do it, as these shall appear to dictate,
without love or hatred to any body. It were to be wished that they were
able to combine better the various circumstances, which prove, beyond a
doubt, that all the advantages of their colonies result, in the end, to
the mother country. I pray you to present me in the most friendly terms
to Mrs. Langdon, and be assured of the esteem with which I am

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson



LETTER CVII.--LISTER ASQUITH, September 14, 1785


TO LISTER ASQUITH.

Paris, September 14, 1785.

Sir,

Several of your letters have been received, and we have been occupied
in endeavors to have you discharged: but these have been ineffectual. If
our information be right, you are mistaken in supposing you are already
condemned. The Farmers General tell us, you are to be tried at Brest,
and this trial may perhaps be a month hence. From that court you
may appeal to the Parliament of Rennes, and from that to the King in
Council. They say, that from the depositions sent to them, there can be
no doubt you came to smuggle, and that in that case, the judgment of the
law is a forfeiture of the vessel and cargo, a fine of a thousand
livres on each of you, and six years’ condemnation to the galleys. These
several appeals will be attended with considerable expense. They offer
to discharge your persons and vessel (but not the cargo) on your paying
two thousand livres, and the costs already incurred; which are three or
four hundred more. You will therefore choose, whether to go through the
trial, or to compromise, and you are the best judge, what may be the
evidence for or against you. In either case, I shall render you all the
service I can. I will add, that if you are disposed to have the matter
tried, I am of opinion, that, if found against you, there will be no
danger of their sending you to the galleys; so that you may decide what
course you will take, without any bias from that fear. If you choose to
compromise, I will endeavor to have it done for you, on the best terms
we can. I fear they will abate little from the two thousand livres,
because Captain Deville, whom you sent here, fixed the matter by
offering that sum, and has done you more harm than good. I shall be glad
if you will desire your lawyer to make out a state of your case, (which
he may do in French,) and send it to me. Write me also yourself a plain
and full narration of your voyage, and the circumstances which have
brought so small a vessel, with so small a cargo, from America into
France. As far as we yet know them, they are not in your favor. Inform
me who you are, and what papers you have on board. But do not state to
me a single fact which is not true: for if I am led by your information
to advance any thing which they shall prove to be untrue, I will abandon
your case from that moment: whereas, sending me a true statement, I will
make the best of it I can. Mr. Barclay, the American consul, will be
here some few days yet. He will be, as he has already been, of much
service to you, if the information I ask both from yourself and your
lawyer, can come before his departure. I repeat my assurances of doing
whatever I can for you, and am, Sir,

your very humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CVIII.--TO JOHN ADAMS, September 19, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, September 19, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Lambe has arrived. He brings new full powers to us from Congress, to
appoint persons to negotiate with the Barbary States; but we are to sign
the treaties. Lambe has not even a recommendation from them to us, but
it seems clear that he would be approved by them. I told him of Mr.
Barclay’s appointment to Morocco, and proposed Algiers to him. He
agrees. A small alteration in the form of our despatches will be
necessary, and, of course, another courier shall be despatched to you on
the return of Colonel Franks, for your pleasure herein.

I am, with great esteem,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.*

     [* The original of the above was in cipher; though, as in
     the case of most of the Author’s letters in cipher, he
     prepared and preserved a literal copy of it.]



LETTER CIX.--TO JAMES MADISON, September 20, 1785


TO JAMES MADISON.

Paris, September 20, 1785.

Dear Sir,

By Mr. Fitzhugh, you will receive my letter of the first instant. He
is still here, and gives me an opportunity of again addressing you much
sooner than I should have done, but for the discovery of a great piece
of inattention. In that letter I send you a detail of the cost of your
books, and desire you to keep the amount in your hands, as if I had
forgot that a part of it was in fact your own, as being a balance of
what I had remained in your debt. I really did not attend to it in the
moment of writing, and when it occurred to me, I revised my memorandum
book from the time of our being in Philadelphia together, and stated our
account from the beginning, lest I should forget or mistake any part of
it. I enclose you this statement. You will always be so good as to let
me know, from time to time, your advances for me. Correct with freedom
all my proceedings for you, as, in what I do, I have no other desire
than that of doing exactly what will be most pleasing to you.

I received this summer a letter from Messrs. Buchanan and Hay, as
Directors of the public buildings desiring I would have drawn for them
plans of sundry buildings, and, in the first place, of a capital. They
fixed; for their receiving this plan, a day which Was within about
six weeks of that on which their letter came to my hand. I engaged
an architect of capital abilities in this business. Much time was
requisite, after the external form was agreed on, to make the internal
distribution convenient for the three branches of government. This time
was much lengthened by my avocations to other objects, which I had no
right to neglect. The plan however Was settled. The gentlemen had
sent me one which they had thought of. The one agreed on here is more
convenient, more beautiful, gives more room, and will not cost more than
two thirds of what that would. We took for our model what is called the
_Maison Quarrée_ (Nismes), one of the most beautiful, if not the most
beautiful and precious morsel of architecture left us by antiquity. It
was built by Caius and Lucius Cæsar, and repaired by Louis XIV., and
has the suffrage of all the judges of architecture who have seen it, as
yielding to no one of the beautiful monuments of Greece, Rome, Palmyra,
and Balbec, which late travellers have communicated to us. It is very
simple, but it is noble beyond expression, and would have done honor
to our country, as presenting to travellers a specimen of taste in our
infancy, promising much for our maturer age. I have been much mortified
with information, which I received two days ago from Virginia, that the
first brick of the Capitol would be laid within a few days. But surely,
the delay of this piece of a summer would have been repaired by
the savings in the plan preparing here, were we to value its other
superiorities as nothing. But how is a taste in this beautiful art to
be formed in our countrymen, unless we avail ourselves of every occasion
when public buildings are to be erected, of presenting to them models
for their study and imitation? Pray try if you can effect the slopping
of this work. I have written also to E. R. on the subject. The loss will
be only of the laying the bricks already laid, or a part of them. The
bricks themselves will do again for the interior walls, and one side
wall and one end wall may remain, as they will answer equally well for
our plan. This loss is not to be weighed against the saving of money
which will arise, against the comfort of laying out the public money for
something honorable, the satisfaction of seeing an object and proof
of national good taste, and the regret and mortification of erecting a
monument of our barbarism, which will be loaded with execrations as long
as it shall endure. The plans are in good forwardness, and I hope will
be ready within three or four weeks. They could not be stopped now,
but on paying their whole price, which will be considerable. If the
undertakers are afraid to undo what they have done, encourage them to it
by a recommendation from the Assembly. You see I am an enthusiast on the
subject of the arts. But it is an enthusiasm of which I am not ashamed,
as its object is to improve the taste of my countrymen, to increase
their reputation, to reconcile to them the respect of the world, and
procure them its praise.

I shall send off your books, in two trunks, to Havre, within two or
three days, to the care of Mr. Limozin, American agent there. I will
advise you, as soon as I know by what vessel he forwards them. Adieu.

Yours affectionately,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CX.--TO EDMUND RANDOLPH, September 20,1785


TO EDMUND RANDOLPH.

Paris, September 20,1785.

Dear Sir,

Being in your debt for ten volumes of Buffon, I have endeavored to
find something that would be agreeable to you to receive, in return. I
therefore send you, by way of Havre, a dictionary of law, natural and
municipal, in thirteen volumes 4to, called _Le Code de l’Humanité_. It
is published by Felice, but written by him and several other authors of
established reputation. It is an excellent work. I do not mean to say,
that it answers fully to its title. That would have required fifty times
the volume. It wants many articles which the title would induce us to
seek in it. But the articles which it contains are well written. It is
better than the voluminous _Dictionnaire Diplomatique_, and better also
than the same branch of the _Encyclopédie Méthodigue_. There has been
nothing published here, since I came, of extraordinary merit. The
_Encyclopédie Méthodique_, which is coming out from time to time, must
be excepted from this. It is to be had at two guineas less than the
subscription price. I shall be happy to send you any thing in this way
which you may desire. French books are to be bought here for two thirds
of what they can in England. English and Greek and Latin authors cost
from twenty-five to fifty per cent, more here than in England.

I received, some time ago, a letter from Messrs. Hay and Buchanan, as
Directors of the public buildings, desiring I would have plans drawn for
our public buildings, and in the first place for the capitol. I did not
receive their letter till within about six weeks of the time they
had fixed on for receiving the drawings. Nevertheless, I engaged an
excellent architect to comply with their desire. It has taken much
time to accommodate the external adopted, to the internal arrangement
necessary for the three branches of government. However, it is effected
on a plan, which, with a great deal of beauty and convenience within,
unites an external form on the most perfect model of antiquity now
existing. This is the _Maison Quarrée_ of Nismes, built by Caius and
Lucius Cæsar, and repaired by Louis XIV., which, in the opinion of all
who have seen it, yields, in beauty, to no piece of architecture on
earth. The gentlemen enclosed me a plan of which they had thought. The
one preparing here will be more convenient, give more room, and cost but
two thirds of that: and as a piece of architecture, doing honor to our
country, will leave nothing to be desired. The plans will be ready soon.
But, two days ago, I received a letter from Virginia, informing me
the first brick of the capitol would be laid within a few days. This
mortifies my extremely. The delay of this summer would have been amply
repaid by the superiority and economy of the plan preparing here. Is it
impossible to stop the work where it is? You will gain money by losing
what is done, and general approbation, instead of occasioning a regret,
which will endure as long as your building does. How is a taste for a
chaste and good style of building to be formed in our countrymen, unless
we seize all occasions which the erection of public buildings offers,
of presenting to them models for their imitation? Do, my dear Sir, exert
your influence to stay the further progress of the work, till you can
receive these plans. You will only lose the price of laying what bricks
are already laid, and of taking part of them asunder. They will do again
for the inner walls. A plan for a prison will be sent at the same time.

Mazzei is here, and in pressing distress for money. I have helped him as
far as I have been able, but particular circumstances put it out of my
power to do more. He is looking with anxiety to the arrival of every
vessel, in hopes of relief through your means. If he does not receive it
soon, it is difficult to foresee his fate.

The quiet which Europe enjoys at present, leaves nothing to communicate
to you in the political way. The Emperor and Dutch still differ about
the quantum of money to be paid by the latter; they know not for what.
Perhaps their internal convulsions will hasten them to a decision.
France is improving her navy, as if she were already in a naval war: yet
I see no immediate prospect of her having occasion for it. England is
not likely to offer war to any nation, unless, perhaps, to ours. This
would cost us our whole shipping: but in every other respect, we might
flatter ourselves with success. But the most successful war seldom pays
for its losses. I shall be glad to hear from you when convenient, and
am, with much esteem, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXI.--TO JOHN ADAMS, September 24, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, September 24, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I have received your favor of the 18th, enclosing your compliments on
your presentation. The sentiments you therein expressed, were such as
were entertained in America till the commercial proclamation, and such
as would again return, were a rational conduct to be adopted by Great
Britain. I think, therefore, you by no means compromitted yourself
or our country, nor expressed more than it would be our interest to
encourage, if they were disposed to meet us. I am pleased, however,
to see the answer of the King. It bears the marks of suddenness and
surprise, and as he seems not to have had time for reflection, we may
suppose he was obliged to find his answer in the real sentiments of his
heart if that heart has any sentiment. I have no doubt however that it
contains the real creed of an Englishman, and that the word which he
has let escape is the true word of the enigma. ‘The moment I see such
sentiments as yours prevail, and a disposition to give this country
the preference, I will,’ &c. All this I steadfastly believe. But the
condition is impossible. Our interest calls for a perfect equality in
our conduct towards these two nations; but no preferences any where.
If, however, circumstances should ever oblige us to show a preference,
a respect for our character, if we had no better motive, would decide to
which it should be given.

My letters from members of Congress render it doubtful, whether
they would not rather that full time should be given for the present
disposition of America to mature itself, and to produce a permanent
improvement in the federal constitution, rather than, by removing the
incentive, to prevent the improvement. It is certain that our commerce
is in agonies at present, and that these would be relieved by opening
the British ports in the West Indies. It remains to consider, whether a
temporary continuance under these sufferings would be paid for, by the
amendment it is likely to produce. However, I believe there is no fear
that Great Britain will puzzle us, by leaving it in our choice to hasten
or delay a treaty.

Is insurance made on Houdon’s life? I am uneasy about it, lest we should
hear of any accident. As yet there is no reason to doubt their safe
passage. If the insurance is not made, I will pray you to have it done
immediately.

As I have not received any London newspapers as yet, I am obliged to
ask you what is done as to them, lest the delay should proceed from some
obstacle to be removed.

There is a Mr. Thompson at Dover, who has proposed to me a method of
getting them post-free: but I have declined resorting to it, till I
should know in what train the matter is at present.

I have the honor to be, with the most perfect esteem, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXII.--TO JOHN ADAMS, September 24,1785

TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, September 24,1785.

Dear Sir,

My letter of September the 19th, written the morning after Mr. Lambe’s
arrival here, will inform you of that circumstance. I transmit you
herewith, copies of the papers he brought to us on the subject of the
Barbary treaties. You will see by them, that Congress have adopted the
very plan which we were proposing to pursue. It will now go on with less
danger of objection from the other parties. The receipt of these new
papers, therefore, has rendered necessary no change, in matter of
substance, in the despatches we had prepared. But they render some
formal changes necessary. For instance, in our letter of credence for
Mr. Barclay to the Emperor of Morocco, it becomes improper to enter
into those explanations which seemed proper when that letter was drawn;
because Congress in their letter enter into those explanations. In the
letter to the Count de Vergennes, it became proper to mention the new
full powers received from Congress, and which, in some measure, accord
with the idea communicated by him to us, from the Marechal de Castries.
These and other formal alterations, which appeared necessary to me,
I have made, leaving so much of the original draughts, approved and
amended by you, as were not inconsistent with these alterations. I have
therefore had these prepared fair, to save you the trouble of copying;
yet, wherever you choose to make alterations, you will be so good as to
make them; taking, in that case, the trouble of having new fair copies
made out.

You will perceive by Mr. Jay’s letter, that Congress had not thought
proper to give Mr. Lambe any appointment. I imagine they apprehended it
might interfere with measures actually taken by us. Notwithstanding the
perfect freedom which they are pleased to leave to us, on this subject,
I cannot feel myself clear of that bias, which a presumption of their
pleasure gives, and ought to give. I presume that Mr. Lambe met their
approbation, because of the recommendations he carried from the Governor
and State of Connecticut, because of his actual knowledge of the country
and people of the States of Barbary, because of the detention of these
letters from March to July, which, considering their pressing-nature,
would otherwise have been sent by other Americans, who, in the mean
time, have come from New York to Paris; and because, too, of the
information we received by Mr. Jarvis. These reasons are not strong
enough to set aside our appointment of Mr. Barclay to Morocco: that I
think should go on, as no man could be sent who would enjoy more the
confidence of Congress. But they are strong enough to induce me to
propose to you the appointment of Lambe to Algiers. He has followed for
many years the Barbary trade, and seems intimately acquainted with those
States. I have not seen enough of him to judge of his abilities. He
seems not deficient, as far as I can see, and the footing on which he
comes, must furnish a presumption for what we do not see. We must
say the same as to his integrity; we must rely for this on the
recommendations he brings, as it is impossible for us to judge of this
for ourselves. Yet it will be our duty to use such reasonable cautions
as are in our power. Two occur to me. 1. To give him a clerk capable of
assisting and attending to his proceedings, and who, in case he thought
any thing was going amiss, might give us information. 2. Not to give him
a credit on Van Staphorst and Willinck, but let his drafts be made on
yourself, which, with the knowledge you will have of his proceedings,
will enable you to check them, if you are sensible of any abuse
intended. This will give you trouble; but as I have never found you
declining trouble, when it is necessary, I venture to propose it. I
hope it will not expose you to inconvenience, as by instructing Lambe to
insert in his drafts a proper usance, you can, in the mean time, raise
the money for them by drawing on Holland. I must inform you that Mr.
Barclay wishes to be put on the same footing with Mr. Lambe, as to
this article, and therefore I return you your letter of credit on Van
Staphorst &, Co. As to the first article, there is great difficulty.
There is nobody at Paris fit for the undertaking, who would be likely to
accept it. I mean there is no American, for I should be anxious to place
a native in the trust. Perhaps you can send us one from London. There
is a Mr. Randall there, from New York, whom Mr. Barclay thinks might be
relied on very firmly for integrity and capacity. He is there for his
health; perhaps you can persuade him to go to Algiers in pursuit of it.
If you cannot, I really know not what will be done. It is impossible
to propose to Bancroft to go in a secondary capacity. Mr. Barclay and
myself have thought of Cairnes, at L’Ori-ent, as a _dernier ressort_.
But it is uncertain, or rather improbable, that he will undertake it.
You will be pleased in the first place, to consider of my proposition
to send Lambe to Algiers; and in the next, all the circumstances before
detailed, as consequences of that.

The enclosed letter from Richard O’Bryan furnishes powerful motives
for commencing, by some means or other, the treaty with Algiers,
more immediately than would be done, if left on Mr. Barclay. You will
perceive by that, that two of our vessels, with their crews and cargoes,
have been carried captive into that port. What is to be done as to those
poor people? I am for hazarding the supplementary instruction to Lambe,
which accompanies these papers. Alter it, or reject it, as you please.
You ask what I think of claiming the Dutch interposition. I doubt the
fidelity of any interposition too much to desire it sincerely. Our
letters to this court, heretofore, seemed to oblige us to communicate
with them on the subject. If you think the Dutch would take amiss our
not applying to them, I will join you in the application. Otherwise, the
fewer who are apprized of our proceedings, the better. To communicate
them to the States of Holland, is to communicate them to the whole
world.

Mr. Short returned last night, and brought the Prussian treaty, duly
executed in English and French. We may send it to Congress by the Mr.
Fitzhughs going from hence. Will you draw and sign a short letter for
that purpose? I send you a copy of a letter received from the Marquis
Fayette. In the present unsettled state of American commerce, I had as
lieve avoid all further treaties, except with American powers. If Count
Merci, therefore, does not propose the subject to me, I shall not to
him, nor do more than decency requires, if he does propose it. I am,
with great esteem, Dear Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXIII.--TO F. HOPKINSON, September 25, 1785


TO F. HOPKINSON.

Paris, September 25, 1785.

Dear Sir,

My last to you was of the 6th of July. Since that, I have received yours
of July the 23rd. I do not altogether despair of making something of
your method of quilling, though, as yet, the prospect is not favorable.
I applaud much your perseverance in improving this instrument, and
benefiting mankind almost in spite of their teeth. I mentioned to
Piccini the improvement with which I am entrusted. He plays on the
piano-forte, and therefore did not feel himself personally interested.
I hope some better opportunity will yet fall in my way of doing it
justice. I had almost decided, on his advice, to get a piano-forte for
my daughter; but your last letter may pause me, till I see its effect.

Arts and arms are alike asleep for the moment. Ballooning indeed goes
on. There are two artists in the neighborhood of Paris, who seem to be
advancing towards the _desideratum_ in this business. They are able
to rise and fall at will, without expending their gas, and to deflect
forty-five degrees from the course of the wind.

I desired you in my last to send the newspapers, notwithstanding the
expense. I had then no idea of it. Some late instances have made me
perfectly acquainted with it. I have therefore been obliged to adopt
the following plan. To have my newspapers, from the different States,
enclosed to the office for Foreign Affairs, and to desire Mr. Jay to
pack the whole in a box, and send it by the packet as merchandise,
directed to the American consul at L’Orient, who will forward it to
me by the periodical wagons. In this way they will only cost me livres
where they now cost me guineas, I must pray you, just before the
departure of every French packet, to send my papers on hand to Mr. Jay,
in this way. I do not know whether I am subject to American postage
or not, in general; but I think newspapers never are. I have sometimes
thought of sending a copy of my Notes to the Philosophical Society, as
a tribute due to them: but this would seem as if I considered them as
worth something, which I am conscious they are not. I will not ask you
for your advice on this occasion, because it is one of those on which no
man is authorized to ask a sincere opinion. I shall therefore refer it
to further thoughts.

I am, with very sincere esteem, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXIV.--TO LISTER ASQUITH, September 26,1785


TO LISTER ASQUITH.

Paris, September 26,1785.

Sir,

I have received your letter of September the 19th, with your log-book
and other papers. I now wait for the letter from your lawyer, as, till I
know the real nature and state of your process, it is impossible for me
to judge what can be done for you here. As soon as I receive them, you
shall hear from me. In the mean time, I supposed it would be a comfort
to you to know that your papers had come safe to hand, and that I shall
be attentive to do whatever circumstances will admit.

I am, Sir, your very humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXV.--TO R. IZARD, September 26,1783


TO R. IZARD.

Paris, September 26,1783.

Dear Sir,

I received, a few days ago, your favor of the 10th of June, and am
to thank you for the trouble you have given yourself, to procure me
information on the subject of the commerce of your State. I pray you,
also, to take the trouble of expressing my acknowledgments to the
Governor and Chamber of Commerce, as well as to Mr. Hall, for the very
precise details on this subject, with which they have been pleased to
honor me. Your letter of last January, of which you make mention, never
came to my hands. Of course, the papers now received are the first and
only ones which have come safe. The infidelities of the post-offices,
both of England and France, are not unknown to you. The former are the
most rascally, because they retain one’s letters, not choosing to take
the trouble of copying them. The latter, when they have taken copies,
are so civil as to send the originals, re-sealed clumsily with a
composition, on which they had previously taken the impression of the
seal. England shows no dispositions to enter into friendly connections
with us. On the contrary, her detention of our posts, seems to be the
speck which is to produce a storm. I judge that a war with America would
be a popular war in England. Perhaps the situation of Ireland may deter
the ministry from hastening it on. Peace is at length made between the
Emperor and Dutch. The terms are not published, but it is said he gets
ten millions of florins, the navigation of the Scheldt not quite to
Antwerp, and two forts. However, this is not to be absolutely relied on.
The league formed by the King of Prussia against the Emperor is a most
formidable obstacle to his ambitious designs. It certainly has defeated
his views on Bavaria, and will render doubtful the election of his
nephew to be King of the Romans. Matters are not yet settled between him
and the Turk. In truth, he undertakes too much. At home he has made some
good regulations.

Your present pursuit being (the wisest of all) agriculture, I am not in
a situation to be useful to it. You know that France is not the country
most celebrated for this art. I went the other day to see a plough which
was to be worked by a windlass, without horses or oxen. It was a poor
affair. With a very troublesome apparatus, applicable only to a
dead level, four men could do the work of two horses. There seems a
possibility that the great _desideratum_ in the use of the balloon may
be obtained. There are two persons at Javel (opposite to Auteuil) who
are pushing this matter. They are able to rise and fall at will, without
expending their gas, and they can deflect forty-five degrees from the
course of the wind.

I took the liberty of asking you to order me a Charleston newspaper.
The expense of French postage is so enormous that I have been obliged to
desire that my newspapers, from the different States, may be sent to the
office for Foreign Affairs at New York; and I have requested of Mr. Jay
to have them always packed in a box, and sent by the French packets as
merchandise to the care of the American consul at L’Orient, who will
send them on by the periodical wagons. Will you permit me to add this
to the trouble I have before given you, of ordering the printer to send
them under cover to Mr. Jay, by such opportunities by water, as occur
from time to time. This request must go to the acts of your Assembly
also. I shall be on the watch to send you any thing that may appear
here on the subjects of agriculture or the arts, which may be worth your
perusal, I sincerely congratulate Mrs. Izard and yourself on the double
accession to your family by marriage and a new birth. My daughter values
much your remembrance of her, and prays to have her respects presented
to the ladies and yourself. In this I join her, and shall embrace with
pleasure every opportunity of assuring you of the sincere esteem, with
which I have the honor to be, Dear Sir, your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXVI.--TO RICHARD O’BRYAN, September 29, 1785


TO RICHARD O’BRYAN.

Paris, September 29, 1785.

Sir,

I have received your letter, and shall exert myself for you. Be assured
of hearing from me soon: but say nothing to any body, except what may be
necessary to comfort your companions. I add no more, because the fate of
this letter is uncertain. I am, Sir,

your very humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXVII.--TO MR. BELLINI, September 30,1785


TO MR. BELLINI.

Paris, September 30,1785.

Dear Sir,

Your estimable favor, covering a letter to Mr. Mazzei, came to hand on
the 26th instant. The letter to Mr. Mazzei was put into his hands in the
same moment, as he happened to be present. I leave to him to convey to
you all his complaints, as it will be more agreeable to me to express
to you the satisfaction I received, on being informed of your perfect
health. Though I could not receive the same pleasing news of Mrs.
Bellini, yet the philosophy, with which I am told she bears the loss of
health, is a testimony the more, how much she deserved the esteem I
bear her. Behold me at length on the vaunted scene of Europe! It is
not necessary for your information, that I should enter into details
concerning it. But you are, perhaps, curious to know how this new scene
has struck a savage of the mountains of America. Not advantageously, I
assure you. I find the general fate of humanity here most deplorable.
The truth of Voltaire’s observation offers itself perpetually, that
every man here must be either the hammer or the anvil. It is a true
picture of that country to which they say we shall pass hereafter, and
where we are to see God and his angels in splendor, and crowds of the
damned trampled under their feet. While the great mass of the people are
thus suffering under physical and moral oppression, I have endeavored to
examine more nearly the condition of the great, to appreciate the true
value of the circumstances in their situation which dazzle the bulk of
spectators, and, especially, to compare it with that degree of happiness
which is enjoyed in America by every class of people. Intrigues of love
occupy the younger, and those of ambition the elder part of the great.
Conjugal love having no existence among them, domestic happiness,
of which that is the basis, is utterly unknown. In lieu of this, are
substituted pursuits which nourish and invigorate all our bad passions,
and which offer only moments of ecstacy, amidst days and months of
restlessness and torment. Much, very much inferior, this, to the
tranquil, permanent felicity, with which domestic society in America
blesses most of its inhabitants; leaving them to follow steadily those
pursuits which health and reason approve, and rendering truly delicious
the intervals of those pursuits.

In science, the mass of the people is two centuries behind ours; their
literati, half a dozen years before us. Books, really good, acquire just
reputation in that time, and so become known to us, and communicate to
us all their advances in knowledge. Is not this delay compensated,
by our being placed out of the reach of that swarm of nonsensical
publications, which issues daily from a thousand presses, and perishes
almost in issuing? With respect to what are termed polite manners,
without sacrificing too much the sincerity of language, I would wish my
countrymen to adopt just so much of European politeness, as to be
ready to make all those little sacrifices of self, which really render
European manners amiable, and relieve society from the disagreeable
scenes to which rudeness often subjects it. Here, it seems that a
man might pass a life without encountering a single rudeness. In the
pleasures of the table they are far before us, because with good taste
they unite temperance. They do not terminate the most sociable meals by
transforming themselves into brutes. I have never yet seen a man drunk
in France, even among the lowest of the people. Were I to proceed to
tell you how much I enjoy their architecture, sculpture, painting,
music, I should want words. It is in these arts they shine. The last of
them, particularly, is an enjoyment, the deprivation of which with us
cannot be calculated. I am almost ready to say, it is the only thing
which from my heart I envy them, and which, in spite of all the
authority of the Decalogue, I do covet. But I am running on in an
estimate of things infinitely better known to you than to me, and which
will only serve to convince you, that I have brought with me all the
prejudices of country, habit, and age. But whatever I may allow to
be charged to me as prejudice, in every other instance, I have one
sentiment at least founded on reality: it is that of the perfect esteem
which your merit and that of Mrs. Bellini have produced, and which will
for ever enable me to assure you of the sincere regard with which I am,
Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXVIII.--JAMES MADISON, October 2, 1785


JAMES MADISON, of William and Mary College.

Paris, October 2, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I have duly received your favor of April the 10th, by Mr. Mazzei. You
therein speak of a new method of raising water by steam, which you
suppose will come into general use. I know of no new method of that
kind, and suppose (as you say that the account you have received of it
is very imperfect) that some person has represented to you, as new, a
fire-engine erected at Paris, and which supplies the greater part of the
town with water. But this is nothing more than the fire-engine you
have seen described in the books of hydraulics, and particularly in the
Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, published in 8vo, by Owen, the idea of
which was first taken from Papin’s Digester. It would have been better
called the steam-engine. The force of the steam of water, you know, is
immense. In this-engine it is made to exert itself towards the working
of pumps. That of Paris is, I believe, the largest known, raising four
hundred thousand cubic feet (French) of water, in twenty-four hours; or
rather I should have said, those of Paris, for there are two under one
roof, each raising that quantity.

The Abbe Rochon not living at Paris, I have not had an opportunity of
seeing him, and of asking him the questions you desire, relative to
the crystal of which I wrote you. I shall avail myself of the earliest
opportunity I can, of doing it. I shall cheerfully execute your commands
as to the _Encyclopédie_, when I receive them. The price will be only
thirty guineas. About half the work is out. The volumes of your Buffon,
which are spoiled, can be replaced here.

I expect that this letter will be carried by the Mr. Fitzhughs, in
a ship from Havre to Portsmouth. I have therefore sent to Havre some
books, which I expected would be acceptable to you. These are the
_Bibliothèque Physico-oeconomique_, which will give you most of the
late improvements in the arts; the _Connoissance des Terns_ for 1786 and
1787, which is as late as they are published; and some pieces on air and
fire, wherein you will find all the discoveries hitherto made on these
subjects. These books are made into a packet, with your address on
them, and are put into a trunk wherein is a small packet for Mr. Wythe,
another for Mr. Page, and a parcel of books, without direction, for
Peter Carr. I have taken the liberty of directing the trunk to you, as
the surest means of its getting safe. I pay the freight of it here, so
that there will be no new demands, but for the transportation from the
ship’s side to Williamsburg, which I will pray you to pay; and as much
the greatest part is for my nephew, I will take care to repay it to you.

In the last volume of the _Connoissance des Terns_, you will find the
tables for the planet Herschel. It is a curious circumstance, that this
planet was seen thirty years ago by Mayer, and supposed by him to be a
fixed star. He accordingly determined a place for it, in his catalogue
of the zodiacal stars, making it the 964th of that catalogue. Bode,
of Berlin, observed in 1781, that this star was missing. Subsequent
calculations of the motion of the planet Herschel show, that it must
have been, at the time of Mayer’s observation, where he had placed his
964th star.

Herschel has pushed his discoveries of double stars, now, to upwards
of nine hundred, being twice the number of those communicated in the
Philosophical Transactions. You have probably seen, that a Mr. Pigott
had discovered periodical variations of light in the star Algol. He
has observed the same in the _n_ of Antinous, and makes the period of
variation seven days, four hours, and thirty minutes, the duration of
the increase sixty-three hours, and of the decrease thirty-six hours.
What are we to conclude from this? That there are suns which have their
orbits of revolution too? But this would suppose a wonderful harmony
in their planets, and present a new scene, where the attracting powers
should be without, and not within the orbit. The motion of our sun would
be a miniature of this. But this must be left to you astronomers.

I went some time ago to see a machine, which offers something new. A man
had applied to a light boat, a very large screw, the thread of which was
a thin plate, two feet broad, applied by its edge spirally round a small
axis. It somewhat resembled a bottle-brush, if you will suppose the
hairs of the bottle-brush joining together, and forming a spiral plane.
This, turned on its axis in the air, carried the vessel across the
Seine. It is, in fact, a screw which takes hold of the air and draws
itself along by it: losing, indeed, much of its effort by the yielding
nature of the body it lays hold of, to pull itself on by. I think it
may be applied in the water with much greater effect, and to very useful
purposes Perhaps it may be used also for the balloon.

It is impossible but you must have heard long ago of the machine for
copying letters at a single stroke, as we had received it in America
before I left there. I have written a long letter to my nephew, in whose
education I feel myself extremely interested. I shall rely much on your
friendship for conducting him in the plan I mark out for him, and for
guarding him against those shoals, on which youth sometimes shipwreck. I
trouble you to present to Mr. Wythe my affectionate remembrance of him,
and am with very great esteem, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXIX.--TO DR. FRANKLIN, October 5,1785


TO DR. FRANKLIN.

Paris, October 5,1785.

Dear Sir,

A vessel sailing from Havre to Philadelphia, furnishes the Messrs.
Fitzhughs with a passage to that place. To them, therefore, I confide a
number of letters and packets which I have received for you from sundry
quarters, and which, I doubt not, they will deliver safe. Among these is
one from M. Du Plessis. On receipt of your letter, in answer to the
one I had written you, on the subject of his memorial, I sent to M. La
Motte, M. Chaumont, and wherever else I thought there was a probability
of finding out Du Plessis’ address. But all in vain. I meant to examine
his memoir, as you desired, and to have it copied. Lately, he came and
brought it with him, copied by himself. He desired me to read it, and
enclose it to you, which I have done.

We have no public news worth communicating to you, but the signing of
preliminaries between the Emperor and Dutch. The question is, then, with
whom the Emperor will pick the next quarrel. Our treaty with Prussia
goes by this conveyance. But it is not to be spoken of till a convenient
time is allowed for exchanging ratifications.

Science offers nothing new since your departure, nor any new publication
worth your notice. All your friends here are well. Those in England
have carried you captive to Algiers. They have published a letter, as
if written by Truxen, the 20th of August, from Algiers, stating
the circumstances of the capture, and that you bore your slavery to
admiration. I happened to receive a letter from Algiers, dated August
the 24th, informing me that two vessels were then there, taken from us,
and naming the vessels and captains. This was a satisfactory proof to
us, that you were not there. The fact being so, we would have gladly
dispensed with the proof, as the situation of our countrymen there was
described as very distressing.

Were I to mention all those who make inquiries after you, there would be
no end to my letter. I cannot, however, pass over those of the good old
Countess d’Hoditot, with whom I dined on Saturday, at Sanois. They were
very affectionate. I hope you have had a good passage. Your essay in
crossing the channel gave us great hopes you would experience little
inconvenience on the rest of the voyage. My wishes place you in the
bosom of your friends, in good health, and with a well grounded prospect
of preserving it long, for your own sake, for theirs, and that of the
world.

I am, with the sincerest attachment and respect, Dear Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXX.--TO SAMUEL OSGOOD, October 5, 1785


TO SAMUEL OSGOOD.

Paris, October 5, 1785.

Dear Sir,

It was with very sincere pleasure I heard of your appointment to
the board of treasury, as well from the hope that it might not
be disagreeable to yourself, as from the confidence that your
administration would be wise. I heartily wish the States may, by their
contributions, enable you to re-establish a credit, which cannot be
lower than at present, to exist at all. This is partly owing to their
real deficiencies, and partly to the lies propagated by the London
papers, which are probably paid for by the minister, to reconcile the
people to the loss of us. Unluckily, it indisposes them, at the same
time, to form rational connections with us. Should this produce the
amendment of our federal constitution, of which your papers give us
hopes, we shall receive a permanent indemnification for a temporary
loss.

All things here promise an arrangement between the Emperor and Dutch.
Their ministers have signed preliminary articles, some of which,
however, leave room for further cavil. The Dutch pay ten millions of
florins, yield some forts and territory, and the navigation of the
Scheldt to Saftingen. Till our treaty with England be fully executed,
it is desirable to us, that all the world should be in peace. That done,
their wars would do us little harm.

I find myself under difficulties here, which I will take the liberty of
explaining to you as a friend. Mr. Carmichael lately drew a bill on
Mr. Grand for four thousand livres, I suppose for his salary. Mr.
Grand said, he was not used to accept drafts but by the desire of Dr.
Franklin, and rested it on me to say, whether this bill should be paid
or not. I thought it improper, that the credit of so confidential
a person, as Mr. Carmichael, should be affected by a refusal, and
therefore advised payment. Mr. Dumas has drawn on me for twenty-seven
hundred livres, his half year’s salary, informing me he always drew on
Dr. Franklin. I shall advise the payment. I have had loan-office bills,
drawn on the commissioners of the United States, presented to me. My
answer has been, ‘These are very old bills. Had they been presented
while those gentlemen were in Europe, they would have been paid. You
have kept them up till Dr. Franklin, the last of them, has returned to
America; you must therefore send them there, and they will be paid. I am
not the drawee described in the bill.’ It is impossible for me to meddle
with these bills. The gentlemen who had been familiar with them, from
the beginning, who kept books of them, and knew well the form of these
books, often paid bills twice. But how can I interfere with them,
who have not a scrip of a pen on their subject, who never saw a book
relating to them, and who, if I had the books, should much oftener be
bewildered in the labyrinth, than the gentlemen who have kept them? I
think it, therefore, most advisable, that what bills remain out, should
be sent back to America for payment, and therefore advise Mr. Barclay to
return thither all the books and papers relative to them. There, is the
proper and ultimate deposite of all records of this nature. All
these articles are very foreign to my talents, and foreign also, as I
conceive, to the nature of my duties. Dr. Franklin was obliged to meddle
with them, from the circumstances which existed. But, these having
ceased, I suppose it practicable for your board to direct the
administration of your monies here, in every circumstance. It is only
necessary for me to draw my own allowances, and to order payment for
services done by others, by my direction, and within the immediate line
of my office; such as paying couriers, postage, and other extraordinary
services, which must rest on my discretion, and at my risk, if
disapproved by Congress. I will thank you for your advice on this
subject, and if you think a resolution of your board necessary, I will
pray you to send me such a one, and that it may relieve me from all
concerns with the money of the United States, other than those I have
just spoken of. I do not mean by this to testify a disposition to render
no service but what is rigorously within my duty. I am the farthest in
the world from this; it is a question I shall never ask myself; nothing
making me more happy than to render any service in my power of whatever
description. But I wish only to be excused from intermeddling in
business, in which I have no skill, and should do more harm than good.

Congress were pleased to order me an advance of two quarters’ salary. At
that time, I supposed that I might refund it, or spare so much from my
expenses, by the time the third quarter became due. Probably, they might
expect the same. But it has been impossible. The expense of my outfit,
though I have taken it up on a scale as small as could be admitted, has
been very far beyond what I had conceived. I have, therefore, not only
been unable to refund the advance ordered, but been obliged to go beyond
it. I wished to have avoided so much, as was occasioned by the purchase
of furniture. But those who hire furniture, asked me forty per cent,
a year for the use of it. It was better to buy, therefore; and this
article, clothes, carriage, &c. have amounted to considerably more than
the advance ordered. Perhaps it may be thought reasonable to allow me an
outfit. The usage of every other nation has established this, and reason
really pleads for it. I do not wish to make a shilling; but only my
expenses to be defrayed, and in a moderate style. On the most moderate,
which the reputation or interest of those I serve would admit, it will
take me several years to liquidate the advances for my outfit. I mention
this, to enable you to understand the necessities which have obliged me
to call for more money than was probably expected, and, understanding
them, to explain them to others. Being perfectly disposed to conform
myself decisively to what shall be thought proper, you cannot oblige me
more, than by communicating to me your sentiments hereon, which I shall
receive as those of a friend, and govern myself accordingly.

I am, with the most perfect esteem, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXI.--TO JOHN JAY, October 6, 1785


TO JOHN JAY.

Paris, October 6, 1785.

Sir,

My letter of August the 30th acknowledged the receipt of yours of July
the 13th. Since that, I have received your letter of August the 13th,
enclosing a correspondence between the Marquis de la Fayette and
Monsieur de Calonne, and another of the same date, enclosing the papers
in Fortin’s case. I immediately wrote to M. Limozin, at Havre, desiring
he would send me a state of the case, and inform me what were the
difficulties which suspended its decision. He has promised me, by
letter, to do this as soon as possible, and I shall not fail in
attention to it.

The Emperor and Dutch have signed preliminaries, which are now made
public. You will see them in the papers which accompany this. They still
leave a good deal to discussion. However, it is probable they will end
in peace. The party in Holland, possessed actually of the sovereignty,
wish for peace, that they may push their designs on the Stadtholderate.
This country wishes for peace, because her finances need arrangement.
The Bavarian exchange has produced to public view that jealousy and.
rancor between the courts of Vienna and Berlin, which existed before,
though it was smothered. This will appear by the declarations of the two
courts. The demarcation between the Emperor and Turk does not advance.
Still, however, I suppose neither of those two germs of war likely to
open soon. I consider the conduct of France as the best evidence of
this. If she had apprehended a war from either of those quarters, she
would not have been so anxious to leave the Emperor one enemy the less,
by placing him at peace with the Dutch. While she is exerting all
her powers to preserve peace by land, and making no preparation which
indicates a fear of its being disturbed in that quarter, she is pushing
her naval preparations, with a spirit unexampled in time of peace.
By the opening of the next spring, she will have eighty ships, of
seventy-four guns and upwards, ready for sea at a moment’s warning; and
the further constructions proposed, will probably, within two years,
raise the number to an hundred. New regulations have been made, too,
for perfecting the classification of her seamen; an institution, which,
dividing all the seamen of the nation into classes, subjects them to
tours of duty by rotation and enables government, at all times, to man
their ships. Their works for rendering Cherbourg a harbor for their
vessels of war, and Dunkirk, for frigates and privateers, leave now
little doubt of success. It is impossible that these preparations can
have in view any other nation than the English. Of course, they show a
greater diffidence of their peace with them, than with any other power.

I mentioned to you, in my letter of August the 14th, that I had desired
Captain John Paul Jones to inquire into the circumstances of Peyrouse’s
expedition. I have now the honor of enclosing you copies of my letter to
him, and of his answer. He refuses to accept of any indemnification for
his expenses, which is an additional proof of his disinterested spirit,
and of his devotion to the service of America. The circumstances are
obvious, which indicate an intention to settle factories, and not
colonies, at least, for the present. However, nothing shows for what
place they are destined. The conjectures are divided between New
Holland, and the northwest coast of America.

According to what I mentioned in my letter of August the 30th, I have
appointed Mr. Short my secretary here. I enclose to you copies of my
letters to him and Mr. Grand, which will show to Congress that he stands
altogether at their pleasure. I mention this circumstance, that if what
I have done meets with their disapprobation, they may have the goodness
to signify it immediately, as I should otherwise conclude that they do
not disapprove it. I shall be ready to conform myself to what would be
most agreeable to them.

This will be accompanied by the gazettes of France and Ley-den, to the
present date.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest esteem and
respect, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXII.--TO ELBRIDGE GERRY, October 11, 1785


TO ELBRIDGE GERRY.

Paris, October 11, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I received, last night, the letter signed by yourself and the other
gentlemen, delegates of Massachusetts and Virginia, recommending Mr.
Sayre for the Barbary negotiations. As that was the first moment of its
suggestion to me, you will perceive by my letter of this day, to Mr Jay,
that the business was already established in other hands, as your letter
came at the same time with the papers actually signed by Mr. Adams, for
Messrs. Barclay and Lambe, according to arrangements previously taken
between us. I should, with great satisfaction, have acceded to the
recommendation in the letter: not indeed as to Morocco, because, no
better man than Mr. Barclay could have been substituted; but as to
Algiers, Mr. Lambe being less known to me. However, I hope well of him,
and rely considerably on the aid he will receive from his secretary, Mr.
Randall, who bears a very good character. I suppose Mr. Adams entitled
to the same just apology, as matters were settled otherwise, before he
probably received your letter. I pray you to communicate this to the
other gentlemen of your and our delegation as my justification.

The peace made between the Emperor and Dutch, leaves Europe quiet for
this campaign. As yet, we do not know where the storm, dissipated for
the moment, will gather again. Probably over Bavaria or Turkey. But this
will be for another year.

When our instructions were made out, they were conceived on a general
scale, and supposed that all the European nations would be disposed to
form commercial connections with us. It is evident, however, that a very
different degree of importance was annexed to these different states.
Spain, Portugal, England, and France, were most important. Holland,
Sweden, Denmark, in a middling degree. The others, still less so. Spain
treats in another line. Portugal is disposed to do the same. England
will not treat at all; nor will France, probably, add to her former
treaty. Failing in the execution of these our capital objects, it has
appeared to me, that the pushing the treaties with the lesser powers,
might do us more harm than good, by hampering the measures the States
may find it necessary to take, for securing those commercial interests,
by separate measures, which is refused to be done here, in concert. I
have understood through various channels, that the members of Congress
wished a change in our instructions. I have, in my letter to Mr. Jay, of
this date, mentioned the present situation and aspect of these treaties,
for their information.

My letter of the 6th instant to Mr. Jay, having communicated what little
there is new here, I have only to add assurances of the sincere esteem,
with which I have the honor to be, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXIII.--TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES, October 11, 1785


TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

Paris, October 11, 1785.

Sir,

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency, a report of the voyage
of an American ship, the first which has gone to China. The circumstance
which induces Congress to direct this communication, is the very
friendly conduct of the consul of his Majesty at Macao, and of the
commanders and other officers of the French vessels in those seas. It
has been with singular satisfaction, that Congress have seen these added
to the many other proofs of the cordiality of this nation towards our
citizens. It is the more pleasing, when it appears in the officers of
government, because it is then viewed as an emanation of the spirit of
the government. It would be an additional gratification to Congress, in
this particular instance, should any occasion arise of notifying
those officers, that their conduct has been justly represented to
your Excellency, on the part of the United States, and has met
your approbation. Nothing will be wanting, on our part, to foster
corresponding dispositions in our citizens, and we hope that proofs
of their actual existence have appeared, and will appear, whenever,
occasion shall offer. A sincere affection between the two people, is the
broadest basis on which their peace can be built.

It will always be among the most pleasing functions of my office, to
be made the channel of communicating the friendly sentiments of the two
governments. It is additionally so, as it gives me an opportunity of
assuring your Excellency of the high respect and esteem, with which I
have the honor to be,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXIV.--TO JOHN JAY, October 11,1785


TO JOHN JAY.

Paris, October 11,1785.

Sir,

In my letter of August the 14th, I had the honor of expressing to you
the uneasiness I felt at the delay of the instructions on the subject
of the Barbary treaties, of which Mr.. Lambe was the bearer, and of
informing you that I had proposed to Mr. Adams, that if he did not
arrive either in the French or English packets, then expected, we should
send some person to negotiate these treaties. As he did not arrive in
those packets, and I found Mr. Barclay was willing to undertake the
negotiations, I wrote to Mr. Adams (who had concurred in the proposition
made him), informing him that Mr. Barclay would go, and proposing papers
for our immediate signature. The day before the return of the courier,
Mr. Lambe arrived with our instructions, the letters of credence, he
enclosed in yours of March the 11th, 1785. Just about the same time,
came to hand the letter No. 1, informing me, that two American vessels
were actually taken and carried into Algiers, and leaving no further
doubt that that power was exercising hostilities against us in the
Atlantic. The conduct of the Emperor of Morocco had been such, as
forbade us to postpone his treaty to that with Algiers. But the
commencement of hostilities by the latter, and their known activity,
pressed the necessity of immediate propositions to them. It was
therefore thought best, while Mr. Barclay should be proceeding with the
Emperor of Morocco, that some other agent should go to Algiers. We had
few subjects to choose out of. Mr. Lambe’s knowledge of the country,
of its inhabitants, of their manner of transacting business, the
recommendations from his State to Congress, of his fitness for this
employment, and other information founding a presumption that he would
be approved, occasioned our concluding to send him to Algiers. The
giving him proper authorities, and new ones to Mr. Barclay conformable
to our own new powers, was the subject of a new courier between Mr.
Adams and myself. He returned last night, and I have the honor of
enclosing you copies of all the papers we furnish those gentlemen with;
which will possess Congress fully of our proceedings herein. They are
numbered from two to ten inclusive. The supplementary instruction to Mr.
Lambe, No. 5, must rest for justification on the emergency of the case.
The motives which led to it, must be found in the feelings of the human
heart, in a partiality for those sufferers who are of our own country,
and in the obligations of every government to yield protection to their
citizens, as the consideration for their obedience. It will be a comfort
to know, that Congress does not disapprove this step.

Considering the treaty with Portugal among the most interesting to the
United States, I some time ago, took occasion at Versailles, to ask
of the Portuguese ambassador, if he had yet received from his court an
answer to our letter. He told me he had not, but that he would make
it the subject of another letter. Two days ago, his _secrétaire
d’ambassade_ called on me, with a letter from his minister to the
ambassador, in which was the following paragraph, as he translated it to
me; and I committed it to writing from his mouth. ‘Your Excellency has
communicated to us the substance of your conversation with the American
minister. That power ought to have been already persuaded, by the manner
in which its vessels have been received here; and consequently that his
Majesty would have much satisfaction in maintaining perfect harmony and
good understanding with the same United States. But it would be proper
to begin with the reciprocal nomination, on both sides, of persons, who,
at least with the character of agents, might reciprocally inform their
constituents, of what might conduce to a knowledge of the interests of
the two nations, without prejudice to either. This first step appears
necessary to lead to the proposed object.’

By this, it would seem, that this power is more disposed to pursue a
track of negotiation, similar to that which Spain has done. I consider
this answer as definitive of all further measures, under our commission
to Portugal. That to Spain was superseded by proceedings in another
line. That to Prussia is concluded by actual treaty; to Tuscany will
probably be so; and perhaps to Denmark: and these, I believe, will
be the sum of the effects of our commissions for making treaties of
alliance. England shows no disposition to treat. France, should her
ministers be able to keep the ground of the _Arrêt_ of August, 1784,
against the clamors of her merchants, and should they be disposed,
hereafter, to give us more, very probably will not bind herself to it by
treaty, but keep her regulations dependent on her own will. Sweden will
establish a free port at St. Bartholomew’s, which, perhaps, will render
any new engagement, on our part, unnecessary. Holland is so immovable
in her system of colony administration, that, as propositions to her, on
that subject, would be desperate, they had better not be made. You will
perceive by the letter No. 11, from the Marquis de la Fayette, that
there is a possibility of an overture from the Emperor. A hint from
the _charge des affaires of Naples_, lately, has induced me to suppose
something of the same kind from thence. But the advanced period of our
commissions now offers good cause for avoiding to begin, what probably
cannot be terminated during their continuance; and with respect to these
two, and all other powers not before mentioned, I doubt whether the
advantages to be derived from treaties with them, will countervail the
additional embarrassments they may impose on the States, when they shall
proceed to make those commercial arrangements necessary to counteract
the designs of the British cabinet. I repeat it, therefore, that the
conclusion of the treaty with Prussia, and the probability of others
with Denmark, Tuscany and the Barbary States, may be expected to wind
up the proceedings of the general commissions. I think that, in possible
events, it may be advantageous to us, by treaties with Prussia, Denmark,
and Tuscany, to have secured ports in the Northern and Mediterranean
seas. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect and
esteem,

Sir, your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXV.--TO MESSRS. VAN STAPHORST, October 12, 1785


TO MESSRS. VAN STAPHORST.

Paris, October 12, 1785.

Gentlemen,

The receipt of your favor, of September the 19th, should not have been
so long unacknowledged, but that I have been peculiarly and very closely
engaged ever since it came to hand.

With respect to the expediency of the arrangement you propose to make
with Mr. Parker, I must observe to you, that it would be altogether out
of my province to give an official opinion, for your direction. These
transactions appertain altogether to the commissioners of the treasury,
to whom you have very properly written on the occasion. I shall always
be willing, however, to apprize you of any facts I may be acquainted
with, and which might enable you to proceed with more certainty; and
even to give my private opinion, where I am acquainted with the subject,
leaving you the most perfect liberty to give it what weight you may
think proper. In the present case, I cannot give even a private opinion,
because I am not told what are precisely the securities offered by Mr.
Parker. So various are the securities of the United States, that unless
they are precisely described by their dates, consideration, and other
material circumstances, no man on earth can say what they are worth.
One fact, however, is certain, that all debts of any considerable amount
contracted by the United States, while their paper money existed, are
subject to a deduction, and not payable at any fixed period. I think I
may venture to say, also, that there are no debts of the United States,
‘on the same footing with the money loaned by Holland,’ except those due
to the Kings of France and Spain. However, I hope you will soon receive
the answer of the commissioners, which alone can decide authoritatively
what can be done.

Congress have thought proper to entrust to Mr. Adams and myself a
certain business, which may eventually call for great advances of money:
perhaps four hundred thousand livres or upwards. They have authorized
us to draw for this on their funds in Holland. The separate situation of
Mr. Adams and myself rendering joint drafts inconvenient, we have agreed
that they shall be made by him alone. You will be pleased, therefore, to
give the same credit to these bills, drawn by him, as if they were also
subscribed by me.

I have the honor to be, with high respect, Gentlemen,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXVI.--TO MONSIEUR DESBORDES, October 12,1785


TO MONSIEUR DESBORDES.

Paris, October 12,1785.

Sir,

There are, in the prison of St. Pol de Léon, six or seven citizens of
the United States of America, charged with having attempted a contraband
of tobacco, but, as they say themselves, forced into that port by
stress of weather. I believe that they are innocent. Their situation
is described to me to be as deplorable, as should be that of men found
guilty of the worst of crimes. They are in close jail, allowed three
sous a day only, and unable to speak a word of the language of the
country. I hope their distress, which it is my duty to relieve, and the
recommendation of Mr. Barclay to address myself to you, will apologize
for the liberty I take, of asking you to advise them what to do for
their defence, to engage some good lawyer for them, and to pass to them
the pecuniary reliefs necessary. I write to Mr. Lister Asquith, the
owner of the vessel, that he may draw bills on me, from time to
time, for a livre a day for every person of them, and for what may be
necessary to engage a lawyer for him. I will pray the favor of you to
furnish him money for his bills drawn on me for these purposes, which I
will pay on sight. You will judge if he should go beyond this allowance,
and be so good as to reject the surplus. I must desire his lawyer to
send me immediately a state of their case, and let me know in what
court their process is, and when it is likely to be decided. I hope the
circumstances of the case will excuse the freedom I take; and I have the
honor to be, with great respect, Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXVII.--TO HOGENDORP, October 13,1785


TO HOGENDORP.

Paris, October 13,1785.

Dear Sir,

Having been much engaged lately, I have been unable sooner to
acknowledge the receipt of your favor of September the 8th. What you are
pleased to say on the subject of my Notes, is more than they deserve.
The condition in which you first saw them, would prove to you how
hastily they had been originally written; as you may remember the
numerous insertions I had made in them, from time to time, when I could
find a moment for turning to them from other occupations. I have never
yet seen Monsieur de Buffon. He has been in the country all the summer.
I sent him a copy of the book, and have only heard his sentiments on one
particular of it, that of the identity of the mammoth and elephant.
As to this, he retains his opinion that they are the same. If you had
formed any considerable expectations from our revised code of laws, you
will be much disappointed. It contains not more than three or four laws
which could strike the attention of a foreigner. Had it been a digest of
all our laws, it would not have been comprehensible or instructive, but
to a native. But it is still less so, as it digests only the British
statutes and our own acts of Assembly, which are but a supplementary
part of our law. The great basis of it is anterior to the date of the
Magna Charta, which is the oldest statute extant. The only merit of this
work is, that it may remove from our book-shelves about twenty folio
volumes of statutes, retaining all the parts of them, which either their
own merit or the established system of laws required.

You ask me what are those operations of the British nation, which
are likely to befriend us, and how they will produce this effect? The
British government, as you may naturally suppose, have it much at heart
to reconcile their nation to the loss of America. This is essential to
the repose, perhaps even to the safety of the King and his ministers.
The most effectual engines for this purpose are the public papers. You
know well, that that government always kept a kind of standing army of
news-writers, who, without any regard to truth, or to what should be
like truth, invented, and put into the papers, whatever might serve the
ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people, who have no means
of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.
When forced to acknowledge our independence, they were forced to
redouble their efforts to keep the nation quiet. Instead of a few of
the papers, formerly engaged, they now engaged every one. No paper,
therefore, comes out without a dose of paragraphs against America. These
are calculated for a secondary purpose also, that of preventing the
emigrations of their people to America. They dwell very much on American
bankruptcies. To explain these, would require a long detail; but would
show you that nine tenths of these bankruptcies are truly English
bankruptcies, in no wise chargeable on America. However, they have
produced effects the most desirable of all others for us. They have
destroyed our credit, and thus checked our disposition to luxury; and,
forcing our merchants to buy no more than they have ready money to pay
for, they force them to go to those markets where that ready money will
buy most. Thus you see, they check our luxury, they force us to connect
ourselves with all the world, and they prevent foreign emigrations to
our country, all of which I consider as advantageous to us. They are
doing us another good turn. They attempt, without disguise, to possess
themselves of the carriage of our produce, and to prohibit our own
vessels from participating of it. This has raised a general indignation
in America. The States see, however, that their constitutions have
provided no means of counteracting it. They are therefore beginning to
vest Congress with the absolute power of regulating their commerce,
only reserving all revenue arising from it, to the State in which it is
levied. This will consolidate our federal building very much, and for
this we shall be indebted to the British.

You ask what I think on the expediency of encouraging our States to
be commercial? Were I to indulge my own theory, I should wish them to
practise neither commerce nor navigation, but to stand, with respect to
Europe, precisely on the footing of China. We should thus avoid wars,
and all our citizens would be husbandmen. Whenever, indeed, our numbers
should so increase, as that our produce would overstock the markets of
those nations who should come to seek it, the farmers must either employ
the surplus of their time in manufactures, or the surplus of our hands
must be employed in manufactures, or in navigation. But that day would,
I think, be distant, and we should long keep our workmen in Europe,
while Europe should be drawing rough materials, and even subsistence,
from America. But this is theory only, and a theory which the servants
of America are not at liberty to follow. Our people have a decided taste
for navigation and commerce. They take this from their mother country;
and their servants are in duty bound to calculate all their measures on
this datum: we wish to do it by throwing open all the doors of commerce,
and knocking off its shackles. But as this cannot be done for others,
unless they will do it for us, and there is no great probability that
Europe will do this, I suppose we shall be obliged to adopt a system
which may shackle them in our ports, as they do us in theirs. With
respect to the sale of our lands, that cannot begin till a considerable
portion shall have been surveyed. They cannot begin to survey till the
fall of the leaf of this year, nor to sell probably till the ensuing
spring. So that it will be yet a twelvemonth, before we shall be able to
judge of the efficacy of our land-office, to sink our national debt. It
is made a fundamental, that the proceeds shall be solely and sacredly
applied as a sinking fund, to discharge the capital only of the debt.

It is true that the tobaccos of Virginia go almost entirely to England.
The reason is, the people of that State owe a great debt there, which
they are paying as fast as they can. I think I have now answered your
several queries, and shall be happy to receive your reflections on the
same subjects, and at all times to hear of your welfare, and to give you
assurances of the esteem, with which I have the honor to be, Dear Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXVIII.--TO J. BANNISTER, JUNIOR, October 15,1785


TO J. BANNISTER, JUNIOR.

Paris, October 15,1785.

Dear Sir,

I should sooner have answered the paragraph in your letter, of September
the 19th, respecting the best seminary for the education of youth,
in Europe, but that it was necessary for me to make inquiries on the
subject. The result of these has been, to consider the competition as
resting between Geneva and Rome. They are equally cheap, and probably
are equal in the course of education pursued. The advantage of Geneva
is, that students acquire there the habit of speaking French. The
advantages of Rome are, the acquiring a local knowledge of a spot so
classical and so celebrated; the acquiring the true pronunciation of the
Latin language; a just taste in the fine arts, more particularly those
of painting, sculpture, architecture, and music; a familiarity with
those objects and processes of agriculture, which experience has shown
best adapted to a climate like ours; and lastly, the advantage of a
fine climate for health. It is probable, too, that by being boarded in a
French family, the habit of speaking that language may be obtained. I
do not count on any advantage to be derived in Geneva from a familiar
acquaintance with the principles of that government. The late revolution
has rendered it a tyrannical aristocracy, more likely to give ill, than
good ideas to an American. I think the balance in favor of Rome. Pisa is
sometimes spoken of, as a place of education. But it does not offer
the first and third of the advantages of Rome. But why send an American
youth to Europe for education? What are the objects of an useful
American education? Classical knowledge, modern languages, chiefly
French, Spanish, and Italian; Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Natural
History, Civil History, and Ethics. In Natural Philosophy, I mean to
include Chemistry and Agriculture, and in Natural History, to include
Botany, as well as the other branches of those departments. It is
true, that the habit of speaking the modern languages cannot be so well
acquired in America; but every other article can be as well acquired
at William and Mary College, as at any place in Europe. When college
education is done with, and a young man is to prepare himself for public
life, he must cast his eyes (for America) either on Law or Physic. For
the former, where can he apply so advantageously as to Mr. Wythe? For
the latter, he must come to Europe: the medical class of students,
therefore, is the only one which need come to Europe. Let us view the
disadvantages of sending a youth to Europe. To enumerate them all, would
require a volume. I will select a few. If he goes to England, he learns
drinking, horse-racing, and boxing. These are the peculiarities of
English education. The following circumstances are common to education
in that, and the other countries of Europe. He acquires a fondness for
European luxury,and dissipation, and a contempt for the simplicity of
his own country; he is fascinated with the privileges of the European
aristocrats, and sees, with abhorrence, the lovely equality which the
poor enjoy with the rich in his own country; he contracts a partiality
for aristocracy or monarchy; he forms foreign friendships which will
never be useful to him, and loses the season of life for forming in
his own country those friendships, which, of all others, are the most
faithful and permanent; he is led by the strongest of all the human
passions into a spirit for female intrigue, destructive of his own and
others’ happiness, or a passion for whores, destructive of his health,
and in both cases, learns to consider fidelity to the marriage bed as an
ungentlemanly practice, and inconsistent with happiness; he recollects
the voluptuary dress and arts of the European women, and pities and
despises the chaste affections and simplicity of those of his own
country; he retains, through life, a fond recollection, and a hankering
after those places, which were the scenes of his first pleasures and
of his first connections; he returns to his own country a foreigner,
unacquainted with the practices of domestic economy necessary to
preserve him from ruin, speaking and writing his native tongue as a
foreigner, and therefore unqualified to obtain those distinctions, which
eloquence of the pen and tongue ensures in a free country; for, I would
observe to you, that what is called style in writing or speaking,
is formed very early in life, while the imagination is warm, and
impressions are permanent. I am of opinion, that there never was an
instance of a man’s writing or speaking his native tongue with elegance,
who passed from fifteen to twenty years of age out of the country
where it was spoken. Thus, no instance exists of a person’s writing two
languages perfectly. That will always appear to be his native language,
which was most familiar to him in his youth. It appears to me then, that
an American coming to Europe for education, loses in his knowledge, in
his morals, in his health, in his habits, and in his happiness. I had
entertained only doubts on this head, before I came to Europe: what I
see and hear, since I came here, proves more than I had even suspected.
Cast your eye over America: who are the men of most learning, of most
eloquence, most beloved by their countrymen, and most trusted and
promoted by them? They are those who have been educated among them, and
whose manners, morals, and habits, are perfectly homogeneous with those
of the country.

Did you expect by so short a question, to draw such a sermon on
yourself? I daresay you did not. But the consequences of foreign
education are alarming to me, as an American. I sin, therefore, through
zeal, whenever I enter on the subject. You are sufficiently American
to pardon me for it. Let me hear of your health, and be assured of the
esteem with which I am, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXIX.--TO MR. CARMICHAEL, October 18, 1785


TO MR. CARMICHAEL.

Paris, October 18, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 29th of September came safely to hand: the constant
expectation of the departure of the persons whom I formerly gave you
reason to expect, has prevented my writing, as it has done yours. They
will probably leave this in a week, but their route will be circuitous
and attended with delays. Between the middle and last of November, they
may be with you. By them, you will receive a cipher, by which you may
communicate with Mr. Adams and myself. I should have sent it by Baron
Dreyer, the Danish minister; but I then expected our own conveyance
would have been quicker. Having mentioned this gentleman, give me leave
to recommend him to your acquaintance. He is plain, sensible, and open:
he speaks English well, and had he been to remain here, I should have
cultivated his acquaintance much. Be so good as to present me very
respectfully to him.

This being to go by post, I shall only add the few articles of general
American news, by the last packet. Dr. Franklin arrived in good health
at Philadelphia, the 15th ult., and was received amidst the acclamations
of an immense crowd. No late event has produced greater demonstrations
of joy. It is doubted whether Congress will adjourn this summer; but
they are so thin, they do not undertake important business. Our western
posts are in statu quo.

I have the honor to be, with great esteem, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXX.--TO MESSRS. VAN STAPHORSTS, October 25,1785


TO MESSRS. VAN STAPHORSTS.

Paris, October 25,1785.

Gentlemen,

I received yesterday your favor of the 20th instant. In order to give
you the information you desire, on the subject of the liquidated debts
of the United States, and the comparative footing on which they stand,
I must observe to you, that the first and great division of our
federal debt, is, into 1. foreign; and 2. domestic. The foreign debt
comprehends, 1. the loan from the government of Spain; 2. the loans from
the government of France, and from the Farmers General; 3. the loans
negotiated in Holland, by order of Congress. This branch of our debt
stands absolutely singular: no man in the United States having ever
supposed that Congress, or their legislatures, can, in any wise, modify
or alter it. They justly view the United States as the one party,
and the lenders as the other, and that the consent of both would be
requisite, were any modification to be proposed. But with respect to the
domestic debt, they consider Congress as representing both the borrowers
and lenders, and that the modifications which have taken place in this,
have been necessary to do justice between the two parties, and that they
flowed properly from Congress as their mutual umpire. The domestic debt
comprehends 1. the army debt; 2. the loan-office debt; 3. the liquidated
debt; and 4. the unliquidated debt. The first term includes debts to the
officers and soldiers for pay, bounty, and subsistence. The second term
means monies put into the loan-office of the United States. The third
comprehends all debts contracted by quarter-masters, commissioners, and
others duly authorized to procure supplies for the army, and which have
been liquidated (that is, settled) by commissioners appointed under the
resolution of Congress, of June the 12th, 1780, or by the officer who
made the contract. The fourth comprehends the whole mass of debts,
described in the preceding article, which have not yet been liquidated.
These are in a course of liquidation, and are passing over daily into
the third class. The debts of this third class, that is, the liquidated
debt, is the object of your inquiry. No time is fixed for the payment of
it, no fund as yet determined, nor any firm provision for the interest
in the mean time. The consequence is, that the certificates of these
debts sell greatly below par. When I left America, they could be bought
for from two shillings and sixpence to fifteen shillings, in the pound:
this difference proceeding from the circumstance of some STates having
provided for paying the interest on those due in their own State, which
others had not. Hence, an opinion had arisen with some, and propositions
had even been made in the legislatures, for paying off the principal of
these debts with what they had cost the holder, and interest on that.
This opinion is far from being general, and I think will not prevail.
But it is among possible events.

I have been thus particular, that you might be able to judge, not only
in the present case, but also in others, should any attempts be made
to speculate in your city, on these papers. It is a business, in which
foreigners will be in great danger of being duped. It is a science which
bids defiance to the powers of reason. To understand it, a man must not
only be on the spot, and be perfectly possessed of all the circumstances
relative to every species of these papers, but he must have that
dexterity which the habit of buying and selling them alone gives. The
brokers of these certificates are few in number, and any other person
venturing to deal with them, engages in a very unequal contest.

i have the honor to be, with the highest respect, gentlemen,

your most obedient humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXXI.--TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL, November 4, 1785


TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

Paris, November 4, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I had the honor of writing you on the 18th of October, and again on
the 25th of the same month. Both letters, being to pass through the
post-offices, were confined to particular subjects. The first of them
acknowledged the receipt of yours of September the 29th.

At length a confidential opportunity arrives for conveying to you a
cipher; it will be handed you by the bearer, Mr, Lambe. Copies of it are
in the hands of Mr. Adams, at London, Mr. Barclay, who is proceeding to
Morocco, and Mr. Lambe, who is proceeding to Algiers. This enables us
to keep up such correspondences with each other, as maybe requisite.
Congress, in the spring of 1784, gave powers to Mr. Adams, Dr. Franklin,
and myself, to treat with the Barbary States. But they gave us no money
for them, and the other duties assigned us rendered it impossible for
us to proceed thither in person. These things having been represented to
them, they assigned to us a certain sum of money, and gave us powers
to delegate agents to treat with those States, and to form preliminary
articles, but confining to us the signing of them in a definitive form.
They did not restrain us in the appointment of the agents; but the
orders of Congress were brought to us by Mr. Lambe, they had waited for
him four months, and the recommendations he brought, pointed him out, in
our opinion, as a person who would meet the approbation of Congress. We
therefore appointed him to negotiate with the Algerines. His manners
and appearance are not promising. But he is a sensible man, and seems to
possess some talents which may be proper in a matter of bargain. We have
joined with him, as secretary, a Mr. Randall, from New York, in whose
prudence we hope he will find considerable aid. They now proceed to
Madrid, merely with the view of seeing you, as we are assured they
will receive from you lights which may be useful to them. I hear that
D’Expilly and the Algerine ministers have gone from Madrid. Letters
from Algiers, of August the 24th, inform me, that we had two vessels and
their crews in captivity there, at that time. I have never had reason to
believe certainly, that any others had been captured. Should Mr. Lambe
have occasion to draw bills, while in Spain, on Mr. Adams, you may
safely assure the purchasers that they will be paid.

An important matter detains Mr. Barclay some days longer, and his
journey to Madrid will be circuitous. Perhaps he may arrive there a
month later than Lambe. It would be well if the Emperor of Morocco
could, in the mean time, know that such a person is on the road. Perhaps
you may have an opportunity of notifying this to him officially, by
asking from him passports for Mr. Barclay and his suite. This would
be effecting too[sp.] good purposes at once, if you can find an
opportunity.

Your letter of September the 2d did not get to my hands till these
arrangements were all taken between Mr. Adams and myself, and the
persons appointed. That gave me the first hint that you would have acted
in this business. I mean no flattery when I assure you, that no person
would have better answered my wishes. At the same time, I doubt whether
Mr. Adams and myself should have thought ourselves justifiable in
withdrawing a servant of the United States from a post equally important
with those, which prevented our acting personally in the same business.
I am sure, that, remaining where you are, you will be able to forward
much the business, and that you will do it with the zeal you have
hitherto manifested on every occasion.

Your intercourse with America being less frequent than ours, from this
place, I will state to you, generally, such new occurrences there,
as may be interesting; some of which, perhaps, you will not have been
informed of. It was doubtful, at the date of my last letters, whether
Congress would adjourn this summer. They were too thin, however, to
undertake important business. They had begun arrangements for the
establishment of a mint. The Dollar was decided on as the money unit
of America. I believe, they proposed to have gold, silver, and copper
coins, descending and ascending decimally; viz. a gold coin of ten
dollars, a silver coin of one tenth of a dollar (equal to a Spanish
bit), and a copper, of one hundredth of a dollar. These parts of the
plan, however, were not ultimately decided on. They have adopted the
late improvement in the British post-office, of sending their mails by
the stages. I am told, this is done from New Hampshire to Georgia, and
from New York to Albany. Their treasury is administered by a board,
of which Mr. Walter Livingston, Mr. Osgood, and Dr. Arthur Lee, are
members. Governor Rutledge who had been appointed minister to the Hague,
on the refusal of Governor Livingston, declines coming. We are
uncertain whether the States will generally come into the proposition of
investing. Congress with the regulation of their commerce. Massachusetts
has passed an act, the first object of which seemed to be, to retaliate
on the British commercial measures, but in the close of it, they impose
double duties on all goods imported in bottoms not wholly owned by
citizens of our States. New Hampshire has followed the example. This
is much complained of here, and will probably draw retaliating measures
from the States of Europe, if generally adopted in America, or not
corrected by the States which have adopted it. It must be our endeavor
to keep them quiet on this side the water, under the hope that our
countrymen will correct this step; as I trust they will do. It is no
ways akin to their general system. I am trying here to get contracts
for the supplying the cities of France with whale-oil, by the Boston
merchants. It would be the greatest relief possible to that State,
whose commerce is in agonies, in consequence of being subjected to alien
duties on their oil in Great Britain, which has been heretofore their
only market. Can any thing be done, in this way, in Spain? Or do they
there light their streets in the night?

A fracas, which has lately happened in Boston, becoming a serious
matter, I will give you the details of it, as transmitted to Mr. Adams
in depositions. A Captain Stanhope, commanding the frigate Mercury,
was sent with a convoy of vessels from Nova Scotia to Boston, to get a
supply of provisions for that colony. It had happened, that two persons
living near Boston, of the names of Dunbar and Lowthorp, had been taken
prisoners during the war, and transferred from one vessel to another,
till they were placed on board Stanhope’s ship. He treated them most
cruelly, whipping them frequently, in order to make them do duty against
their country, as sailors, on board his ship. The ship going to Antigua
to refit, he put all his prisoners into jail, first giving Dunbar
twenty-four lashes. Peace took place, and the prisoners got home
under the general liberation. These men were quietly pursuing their
occupations at home, when they heard that Stanhope was in Boston.
Their indignation was kindled. They immediately went there, and meeting
Stanhope walking in the mall, Dunbar stepped up to him, and asked him
if he recollected him, and the whipping him on board his ship. Having
no weapon in his hand, he struck at Stanhope with his fist. Stanhope
stepped back, and drew his sword. The people interposed, and guarded him
to the door of a Mr. Morton, to which he retreated. There Dunbar again
attempted to seize him; but the high-sheriff had by this time arrived,
who interposed and protected him. The assailants withdrew, and here
ended all appearance of force. But Captain Stanhope thought proper to
write to the Governor, which brought on the correspondence published in
the papers of Europe. Lest you should not have seen it, I enclose it, as
cut from a London paper; though not perfectly exact, it is substantially
so. You will doubtless judge, that Governor Bowdoin referred him
properly to the laws for redress, as he was obliged to do, and as would
have been done in England, in a like case. Had he applied to the courts,
the question would have been whether they would have punished Dunbar.
This must be answered now by conjecture only; and, to form that
conjecture, every man must ask himself, whether he would not have done
as Dunbar did; and whether the people should not have permitted him to
return to Stanhope the twenty-four lashes. This affair has been stated
in the London papers, without mixing with it one circumstance of truth.

In your letter of the 27th of June, you were so good as to tell me that
you should shortly send off some of the books I had taken the liberty to
ask you to get for me, and that your correspondent at Bayonne would give
me notice of their arrival there. Not having heard from him, I mention
it to you, lest they should be stopped any where.

I am, with great respect, Dear Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXXII.--TO RICHARD O’BRYAN, November 4, 1785


TO RICHARD O’BRYAN.

Paris, November 4, 1785.

Sir,

I wrote you a short letter on the 29th of September, acknowledging the
receipt of yours of August the 24th, from Algiers, and promising that
you should hear further from me soon. Mr. Adams, the American minister
at London, and myself, have agreed to authorize the bearer hereof, Mr.
Lambe, to treat for your redemption, and that of your companions taken
in American vessels, and, if it can be obtained for sums within
our power, we shall have the money paid. But in this we act without
instruction from Congress, and are therefore obliged to take the
precaution of requiring, that you bind your owners for yourself and
crew, and the other captain, in like manner, his owners for himself and
crew, and that each person separately make himself answerable for his
own redemption, in case Congress requires it. I suppose Congress will
not require it: but we have no authority to decide that, but must leave
it to their own decision; which renders necessary the precautions I have
mentioned, in order to justify ourselves for undertaking to redeem you
without orders. Mr. Lambe is instructed to make no bargain without your
approbation, and that of the other prisoners, each for himself. We also
direct him to relieve your present necessities. I sincerely wish you
a speedy deliverance from your distresses, and a happy return to your
family.

I am, Sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXXIII.--TO W. W. SEWARD, November 12,1785


TO W. W. SEWARD.

Paris, November 12,1785.

Sir,

I received the honor of your letter, of the 25th ult., written by desire
of the associated company of Irish merchants, in London, and return you
thanks for the kind congratulations you express therein. The freedom of
commerce between Ireland and America is undoubtedly very interesting
to both countries. If fair play be given to the natural advantages of
Ireland, she must come in for a distinguished share of that commerce.
She is entitled to it, from the excellence of some of her manufactures,
the cheapness of most of them, their correspondence with the American
taste, a sameness of language, laws, and manners, a reciprocal affection
between the people, and the singular circumstance of her being the
nearest European land to the United States. I am not, at present, so
well acquainted with the trammels of Irish commerce, as to know what
they are, particularly, which obstruct the intercourse between Ireland
and America; nor, therefore, what can be the object of a fleet stationed
in the western ocean, to intercept that intercourse. Experience,
however, has taught us to infer that the fact is probable, because it
is impolitic. On the supposition that this interruption will take place,
you suggest Ostend as a convenient entrepot for the commerce between
America and Ireland. Here, too, I find myself, on account of the same
ignorance of your commercial regulations, at a loss to say why this is
preferable to L’Orient, which, you know, is a free port and in great
latitude, which is nearer to both parties, and accessible by a less
dangerous navigation. I make no doubt, however, that the reasons of the
preference are good. You find by this essay, that I am not likely to be
a very instructive correspondent: you shall find me, however, zealous in
whatever may concern the interests of the two countries. The system into
which the United States wished to go, was that of freeing commerce from
every shackle. A contrary conduct in Great Britain will occasion, them
to adopt the contrary system, at least as to that island. I am sure
they would be glad, if it should be, found practicable, to make that
discrimination between Great Britain and Ireland, which their commercial
principles, and their affection for the latter, would dictate.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect for yourself and the
company for whom you write, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Tm: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXXIV.--TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES, November 14,1785


TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

Paris, November 14,1785.

Sir,

I take the liberty of troubling your Excellency on behalf of six
citizens of the United States, who have been for some time confined in
the prison of St. Pol de Léon, and of referring for particulars to
the enclosed state of their case. Some of the material facts therein
mentioned, are founded on the bill of sale for the vessel, her clearance
from Baltimore, and her log-book. The originals of the two last, and
a copy of the first, are in my hands. I have, also, letters from a
merchant in Liverpool to Asquith, which render it really probable that
his vessel was bound to Liverpool. The other circumstances depend on
their affirmation, but I must say that in these facts they have been
uniform and steady. I have thus long avoided troubling your Excellency
with this case, in hopes it would receive its decision in the ordinary
course of law, and I relied, that that would indemnify the sufferers,
if they had been used unjustly: but though they have been in close
confinement now near three months, it has yet no appearance of
approaching to decision. In the mean time, the cold of the winter is
coming on, and to men in their situation, may produce events which
would render all indemnification too late. I must, therefore, pray the
assistance of your Excellency, for the liberation of their persons, if
the established order of things may possibly admit of it. As to their
property and their personal sufferings hitherto, I have full confidence
that the laws have provided some tribunal where justice will be done
them. I enclose the opinion of an advocate, forwarded to me by a
gentleman whom I had desired to obtain, from some judicious person of
that faculty, a state of their case. This may perhaps give a better idea
than I can, of the situation of their cause. His inquiries have led him
to believe they are innocent men, but that they must lose their vessel
under the edict, which forbids those under thirty tons to approach the
coast. Admitting their innocence, as he does, I should suppose them not
the objects on whom such an edict was meant to operate. The essential
papers, which he says they re-demanded from him, and did not return,
were sent to me, at my desire. I am, with sentiments of the highest
respect, your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.


_The case of Lister Asquith, owner of the schooner William and
Catharine, William M’Neil, captain, William Thomson, William Neily,
Robert Anderson, mariners, and William Fowler, passenger_.

Lister Asquith, citizen of the State of Maryland, having a lawsuit
depending in England which required his presence, as involving in its
issue nearly his whole fortune, determined to go thither in a small
schooner of his own, that he might, at the same time, take with him an
adventure of tobacco and flour to Liverpool, where he had commercial
connections. This schooner he purchased as of fifty-nine and a quarter
tons, as appears by his bill of sale, but she had been registered by
her owner at twenty-one tons, in order to evade the double duties in
England, to which American vessels are now subject. He cleared out from
Baltimore for Liverpool, the 11th of June, 1785, with eight hogsheads
of tobacco and sixty barrels of flour, but ran aground at Smith’s point,
sprung a leak, and was obliged to return to Baltimore to refit. Having
stopped his leak, he took his cargo on board again, and his health being
infirm, he engaged Captain William M’Neil* to go with him, and on the
20th of June sailed for Norfolk in Virginia, and, on the 22nd, came to
in Hampton road, at the mouth of the river on which Norfolk is. Learning
here, that tobacco would be better than flour for the English market, he
landed fifty barrels of his flour and one hogshead of tobacco, which
he found to be bad, meaning to take, instead thereof, nine hogsheads of
tobacco more. But the same night it began to blow very hard, with much
rain. The 23d, the storm became more heavy; they let go both their
anchors, but were driven, notwithstanding, from their anchorage, forced
to put to sea and to go before the wind. The occurrences of their voyage
will be best detailed by short extracts from the log-book.

     * This was the officer, who, on the evacuation of Fort
     Mifflin, after the British had passed the chevaux-de-frise
     on the Delaware, was left with fifteen men to destroy the
     works, which he did, and brought off his men successfully.
     He had, before that, been commander of the Rattlesnake sloop
     of war, and had much annoyed the British trade; Being bred a
     seaman, he has returned to that vocation.

June 24. The weather becomes worse. One of the fore shrouds and the
foremast, carried away.

June 25. Shifted their ballast, which threw them on their beam ends, and
shipped a very heavy sea. Held a consultation; the result of which
was, that seeing they were now driven so far to sea, and the weather
continuing still very bad, it was better to steer for Liverpool, their
port of destination, though they had not their cargo on board, and no
other clearance but that which they took from Baltimore.

June 29. The first observation they had been able to take N.lat. 38°
13’.

June 30. Winds begin to be light, but the sea still very heavy.

July 5. Light winds and a smooth sea for the first time, in lat. 43°
12’.

July 9. Spoke a French brig, Comte D’Artois, Captain Mieaux, from St.
Maloes, in distress for provisions. Relieved her with three barrels of
flour.

Aug. 6. Thick weather and strong wind. Made the Land’s End of England.

Aug. 7. Unable to fetch the land, therefore bore off for Scilly, and
came to with both anchors. Drove, notwithstanding, and obliged to get up
the anchors, and put to sea, running southwardly.

Aug. 8. Made the land of France, but did not know what part.

Here the log-book ends. At this time they had on board but ten gallons
of water, four or five barrels of bread, two or three pounds of candles,
no firewood. Their sails unfit to be trusted to any longer, and all
their materials for mending them exhausted by the constant repairs which
the violence of the weather had called for. They therefore took a pilot
aboard, who carried them into Pont Duval; but being informed by the
captain of a vessel there, that the schooner was too sharp built (as
the American vessels mostly are) to lie in that port, they put out
immediately, and the next morning the pilot brought them to anchor
in the road of the Isle de Bas. Asquith went immediately to Roscaff,
protested at the admiralty the true state of his case, and reported
his vessel and cargo at the custom-house. In making the report of his
vessel, he stated her as of twenty-one tons, according to his register.
The officer informed him that if she was no larger, she would be
confiscated by an edict, which forbids all vessels, under thirty tons,
to approach the coast. He told the officer what was the real truth as
to his register and his bill of sale, and was permitted to report her
according to the latter. He paid the usual fees of ten livres and
seven sols, and obtained a clearance. Notwithstanding this, he was soon
visited by other persons, whom he supposes to have been _commis_ of the
_Fermes_, who seized his vessel, carried her to the pier, and confined
the crew to the vessel and half the pier, putting centinels over them.
They brought a guager, who measured only her hold and part of her
steerage, allowing nothing for the cockpit, cabin, forecastle, and above
one half of the steerage, which is almost half the vessel, and thus made
her contents (if that had been of any importance) much below the truth.
The tobacco was weighed, and found to be six thousand four hundred and
eighty-seven pounds,* which was sent on the 18th to Landivisiau, and on
the 19th, they were committed to close prison at St. Pol de Léon, where
they have been confined ever since. They had, when they first landed,
some money, of which they were soon disembarrassed by different persons,
who, in various forms, undertook to serve them. Unable to speak or
understand a word of the language of the country, friendless, and left
without money, they have languished three months in a loathsome jail,
without any other sustenance, a great part of the time, than what could
be procured for three sous a day, which have been furnished them to
prevent their perishing.

     * A hogshead of tobacco weighs generally about one thousand
     pounds, English, equal to nine hundred and seventeen pounds
     French. The seven hogsheads he sailed with, would therefore
     weigh, according to this estimate, six thousand four hundred
     and twenty-three pounds. They actually weighed more on the
     first essay. When afterwards weighed at Landivisiau, they
     had lost eighty-four pounds on being carried into a drier
     air. Perhaps, too, a difference of weights may have entered
     into this apparent loss.

They have been made to understand that a criminal process is going on
against them under two heads. 1. As having sold tobacco in contraband;
and 2., as having entered a port of France in a vessel of less than
thirty tons’ burthen. In support of the first charge, they understand
that the circumstance is relied on, of their having been seen off the
coast by the _employés des Fermes_, one or two days. They acknowledge
they may have been so seen while beating off Pont Duval, till they could
get a pilot, while entering that port, and again going round from
thence to the road of the Isle de Bas. The reasons for this have been
explained. They further add, that all the time they were at Pont Duval
they had a King’s officer on board, from whom, as well as from their
pilot, and the captain, by whose advise they left that port for the
Isle de Bas, information can be obtained by their accusers (who are not
imprisoned) of the true motives for that measure. It is said to be
urged also, that there was found in their vessel some loose tobacco in
a blanket, which excites a suspicion that they had been selling tobacco.
When they were stowing their loading, they broke a hogshead, as is
always necessary, and is always done, to fill up the stowage, and to
consolidate and keep the whole mass firm and in place. The loose tobacco
which had come out of the broken hogshead, they re-packed in bags:
but in the course of the distress of their disastrous voyage, they
had employed these bags, as they had done every thing else of the same
nature, in mending their sails. The condition of their sails when they
came into port will prove this, and they were seen by witnesses enough,
to whom their accusers, being at their liberty, can have access.
Besides, the sale of a part of their tobacco is a fact, which, had it
taken place, might have been proved; but they deny that it has been
proved, or ever can be proved by true men, because it never existed. And
they hope the justice of this country does not permit strangers, seeking
in her ports an asylum from death, to be thrown into jail and continued
there indefinitely, on the possibility of a fact, without any proof.
More especially when, as in the present case, a demonstration to the
contrary is furnished by their clearance, which shows they never had
more than eight hogsheads of tobacco on board, of which one had been put
ashore at Hampton in Virginia, as has been before related, and the seven
others remained when they first entered port. If they had been smugglers
of tobacco, the opposite coast offered a much fairer field, because the
gain there is as great; because they understand the language and laws of
the country, they know its harbors and coasts, and have connections
in them. These circumstances are so important to smugglers, that it
is believed no instance has ever occurred of the contraband tobacco,
attempted on this side the channel, by a crew wholly American. Be this
as it may, they are not of that description of men.

As to the second charge, that they have entered a port of France in
a vessel of less than thirty tons’ burthen, they, in the first place,
observe, that they saw the guager measure the vessel, and affirm that
his method of measuring could render little more than half her true
contents: but they say, further, that were she below the size of thirty
tons, and, when entering the port, had they known of the alternative of
either forfeiting their vessel and cargo, or of perishing at sea; they
must still have entered the port: the loss of their vessel and cargo
being the lesser evil. But the character of the lawgiver assures
them, that the intention of his laws are perverted, when misapplied to
persons, who, under their circumstances, take refuge in his ports. They
have no occasion to recur from his clemency to his justice, by claiming
the benefit of that article in the treaty which binds the two nations
together, and which assures to the fugitives of either from the dangers
of the sea, a hospitable reception and necessary aids in the ports of
the other, and that, without measuring the size of their vessel.

Upon the whole, they protest themselves to have been as innocent as they
have been unfortunate. Instead of relief in a friendly port, they have
seen their misfortunes aggravated by the conduct of officers, who, in
their greediness for gain, can see in no circumstance any thing but
proofs of guilt. They have already long suffered and are still suffering
whatever scanty sustenance, an inclement season, and close confinement
can offer most distressing to men who have been used to neither, and who
have wives and children at home participating of their distresses; they
are utterly ignorant of the laws and language of the country, where
they are suffering; they are deprived of that property which would have
enabled them to procure counsel to place their injuries in a true light;
they are distant from the stations of those who are appointed by their
country to patronize their rights; they are not at liberty to go
to them, nor able to have communication through any other than the
uncertain medium of the posts; and they see themselves already ruined by
the losses and delays they have been made to incur, and by the
failure of the original object of their voyage. They throw themselves,
therefore, on the patronage of the government, and pray that its energy
may be interposed in aid of their poverty and ignorance, to restore them
to their liberty, and to extend to them that retribution which the laws
of every country mean to extend to those who suffer unjustly.



LETTER CXXXV.--TO JOHN ADAMS, November 19, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, November 19, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I wrote to you on the 11th of October, by Mr. Preston, and again on
the 18th of the same month, by post. Since that, yours of September
the 25th, by Mr. Boylston, of October the 24th, November the 1st, and
November the 4th, have come safe to hand. I will take up their several
subjects in order. Boylston’s object was, first, to dispose of a cargo
of spermaceti oil, which he brought to Havre. A secondary one, was to
obtain a contract for future supplies. I carried him to the Marquis
de la Fayette. As to his first object, we are in hopes of getting the
duties taken off, which will enable him to sell his cargo. This has led
to discussions with the ministers, which give us a hope that we may get
the duties taken off in perpetuum. This done, a most abundant market for
our oil will be opened by this country, and one which will be absolutely
dependant on us; for they have little expectation themselves of
establishing a successful whale-fishery. It is possible they may
only take the duties off of those oils, which shall be the produce
of associated companies of French and American merchants. But as yet,
nothing certain can be said.

I thank you for the trouble you have taken to obtain insurance on
Houdon’s life. I place the thirty-two pounds and eleven shillings to
your credit, and not being able, as yet, to determine precisely how our
accounts stand, I send a sum by Colonel Smith, which may draw the scales
towards a balance.

The determination of the British cabinet to make no equal treaty with
us, confirms me in the opinion expressed in your letter of October the
24th, that the United States must pass a navigation act against
Great Britain, and load her manufactures with duties, so as to give a
preference to those of other countries: and I hope our Assemblies will
wait no longer, but transfer such a power to Congress, at the sessions
of this fall. I suppose, however, it will only be against Great Britain,
and I think it will be right not to involve other nations in the
consequences of her injustice. I take for granted, that the commercial
system wished for by Congress, was such a one, as should leave commerce
on the freest footing possible. This was the plan on which we prepared
our general draught for treating with all nations. Of those with whom we
were to treat, I ever considered England, France, Spain, and Portugal
as capitally important; the first two, on account of their American
possessions, the last, for their European as well as American. Spain
is treating in America, and probably will give an advantageous treaty.
Portugal shows dispositions to do the same. France does not treat. It is
likely enough she will choose to keep the staff in her own hands. But,
in the mean time, she gives us an access to her West Indies, which,
though not all we wish, is yet extremely valuable to us: this access,
indeed, is much affected by the late _Arrêts_ of the 18th and 25th of
September, which I enclose to you. I consider these as a reprisal for
the navigation acts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The minister
has complained to me, officially, of these acts, as a departure from the
reciprocity stipulated for by the treaty. I have assured him that his
complaints shall be communicated to Congress, and in the mean time,
observed that the example of discriminating between foreigners and
natives had been set by the _Arrêt_ of August, 1784, and still more
remarkably by those of September the 18th and 25th, which, in effect,
are a prohibition of our fish in their islands. However, it is better
for us, that both sides should revise what they have done. I am in hopes
this country did not mean these as permanent regulations. Mr. Bingham,
lately from Holland, tells me that the Dutch are much dissatisfied with
these acts. In fact, I expect the European nations, in general, will
rise up against an attempt of this kind, and wage a general commercial
war against us. They can do well without all our commodities except
tobacco, and we cannot find, elsewhere, markets for them. The
selfishness of England alone will not justify our hazarding a contest of
this kind against all Europe. Spain, Portugal, and France, have not yet
shut their doors against us: it will be time enough, when they do, to
take up the commercial hatchet. I hope, therefore, those States will
repeal their navigation clauses, except as against Great Britain and
other nations not treating with us.

I have made the inquiries you desire, as to American ship-timber for
this country. You know they sent some person (whose name was not told
us) to America, to examine the quality of our masts, spars, &c. I think
this was young Chaumont’s business. They have, besides this, instructed
the officer who superintends their supplies of masts, spars, foe., to
procure good quantities from our northern States; but I think they have
made no contract: on the contrary, that they await the trials projected,
but with a determination to look to us for considerable supplies, if
they find our timber answer. They have on the carpet a contract for
live-oak from the southern States.

You ask why the Virginia merchants do not learn to sort their own
tobaccos? They can sort them as well as any other merchants whatever.
Nothing is better known than the quality of every hogshead of tobacco,
from the place of its growth. They know, too, the particular qualities
required in every market. They do not send their tobaccos, therefore, to
London to be sorted, but to pay their debts: and though they could send
them to other markets and remit the money to London, yet they find it
necessary to give their English merchant the benefit of the consignment
of the tobacco (which is enormously gainful), in order to induce him to
continue his indulgence for the balance due.

Is it impossible to persuade our countrymen to make peace with the Nova
Scotians? I am persuaded nothing is wanting but advances on our part;
and that it is in our power to draw off the greatest proportion of that
settlement, and thus to free ourselves from rivals who may become of
consequence. We are, at present, co-operating with Great Britain, whose
policy it is to give aliment to that bitter enmity between her States
and ours, which may secure her against their ever joining us. But would
not the existence of a cordial friendship between us and them, be the
best bridle we could possibly put into the mouth of England?

With respect to the Danish business, you will observe that the
instructions of Congress, article 3, of October the 29th, 1783, put it
entirely into the hands of the _Ministers Plenipotentiary of the United
States of America at the court of Versailles, empower to to negotiate
a peace, or to any one or more of them_. At that time, I did not come
under this description. I had received the permission of Congress to
decline coming, in the spring preceding that date. On the first day
of November, 1783, that is to say, two days after the date of the
instructions to the commissioners, Congress recommended John Paul Jones
to the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, at Versailles, as
agent, to solicit, under his direction, the payment of all prizes taken
in Europe under his command. But the object under their view, at that
time, was assuredly the money due from the court of Versailles, for the
prizes taken in the expedition by the Bon-homme Richard, the Alliance,
&c. In this business, I have aided him effectually, having obtained
a definitive order for paying the money to him, and a considerable
proportion being actually paid him. But they could not mean by their
resolution of November the 1st, to take from the commissioners, powers
which they had given them two days before. If there could remain a doubt
that this whole power has resulted to you, it would be cleared up by the
instructions of May the 7th, 1784, article 9, which declare, ‘that these
instructions be considered as supplementary to those of October the
29th, 1783, and not as revoking, except where they contradict them;’
which shows that they considered the instructions of October the 29th,
1783, as still in full force. I do not give you the trouble of this
discussion, to save myself the trouble of the negotiation. I should
have no objections to this part: but it is to avoid the impropriety of
meddling in a matter wherein I am unauthorized to act, and where any
thing I should pretend to conclude with the court of Denmark, might
have the appearance of a deception on them. Should it be in my power to
render any service in it, I shall do it with cheerfulness; but I repeat,
that I think you are the only person authorized.

I received, a few days ago, the _Nuova Minuta_ of Tuscany, which Colonel
Humphreys will deliver you. I have been so engaged that I have not been
able to go over it with any attention. I observe, in general, that the
order of the articles is entirely deranged, and their diction almost
totally changed. When you shall have examined it, if you will be so good
as to send me your observations by post, in cipher, I will communicate
with you in the same way, and try to mature this matter.

The deaths of the Dukes of Orleans and Praslin, will probably reach you
through the channel of the public papers, before this letter does. Your
friends the Abbes are well, and always speak of you with affection.
Colonel Humphreys comes to pass some time in London. My curiosity
would render a short trip thither agreeable to me also, but I see no
probability of taking it. I will trouble you with my respects to Dr.
Price. Those to Mrs. Adams, I witness in a letter to herself.

I am, with very great esteem, Dear Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXXVI.--TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES, November 20, 1785


TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

Paris, November 20, 1785.

Sir,

I found here, on my return from Fontainebleau, the letter of October the
30th, which your Excellency did me the honor there of informing me had
been addressed to me at this place; and I shall avail myself of the
first occasion of transmitting it to Congress, who will receive, with
great pleasure; these new assurances of the friendly sentiments, which
his Majesty is pleased to continue towards the United States.

I am equally persuaded they will pay the most serious attention to that
part of your Excellency’s letter, which mentions the information you
have received of certain acts or regulations of navigation and commerce,
passed in some of the United States, which are injurious to the
commerce of France. In the mean time, I wish to remove the unfavorable
impressions which those acts seem to have made, as if they were a
departure from the reciprocity of conduct, stipulated for by the treaty
of February the 6th, 1776. The effect of that treaty is, to place each
party with the other, always on the footing of the most favored nation.
But those who framed the acts, probably did not consider the treaty as
restraining either from discriminating between foreigners and natives.
Yet this is the sole effect of these acts. The same opinion, as to
the meaning of the treaty, seems to have been entertained by this
government, both before and since the date of these acts. For the
_Arrêt_ of the King’s Council, of August the 30th, 1784, furnished
an example of such a discrimination between foreigners and natives,
importing salted fish into his Majesty’s dominions in the West Indies;
by laying a duty on that imported, by foreigners, and giving out the
same, in bounty, to native importers. This opinion shows itself more
remarkably in the late _Arrêts_ of the 18th and 25th of September,
which, increasing to excess the duty on foreign importations of fish
into the West Indies, giving the double, in bounty, on those of
natives, and thereby rendering it impossible for the former to sell in
competition with the latter, have, in effect, prohibited the importation
of that article by the citizens of the United States.

Both nations, perhaps, may come into the opinion, that their friendship
and their interests may be better cemented, by approaching the condition
of their citizens, reciprocally, to that of natives, as a better ground
of intercourse than that of the most favored nation. I shall rest with
hopes of being authorized, in due time, to inform your Excellency that
nothing will be wanting, on our part, to evince a disposition to concur
in revising whatever regulations may, on either side, bear hard on
the commerce of the other nation. In the mean time I have the honor to
assure you of the profound respect and esteem, with which

I have the honor to be,

your Excellency’s

most obedient and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXXVII.--TO LISTER ASQUITH, November 23, 1785


TO LISTER ASQUITH.

Paris, November 23, 1785.

Sir,

I have received your letter of the 14th instant. It was not till the 8th
of this month, that I could obtain information from any quarter, of
the particular court in which your prosecution was instituted, and the
ground on which it was founded. I then received it through the hands of
Monsieur Desbordes, at Brest. I have sent to the Count de Vergennes
a statement of your case, of which the enclosed is a copy. I wish you
would read it over, and if there be any fact stated in it, which is
wrong, let me know it, that I may have it corrected. I at the same time
wrote him an urgent letter in your behalf. I have daily expected an
answer, which has occasioned my deferring writing to you. The moment I
receive one, you may be assured of my communicating it to you. My hopes
are, that I may obtain from the King a discharge of the persons of all
of you: but, probably, your vessel and cargo must go through a process.
I have sincerely sympathized with your misfortunes, and have taken every
step in my power to get into the right line for obtaining relief. If it
will add any comfort to your situation and that of your companions, to
be assured that I never lose sight of your sufferings, and leave nothing
undone to extricate you, you have that assurance. I am, Sir,

your very humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXXVIII.--TO JOHN ADAMS, November 27, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, November 27, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of the 5th came to hand yesterday, and Colonel Smith and
Colonel Humphreys (by whom you will receive one of the 19th from me)
being to set out to-morrow, I hasten to answer it. I sincerely rejoice
that Portugal is stepping forward in the business of treaty, and that
there is a probability that we may at length do something under our
commissions, which may produce a solid benefit to our constituents. I as
much rejoice, that it is not to be negotiated through the medium of the
torpid, uninformed machine, at first made use of. I conjecture, from
your relation of the conference with the Chevalier de Pinto, that he
is well informed and sensible. So much the better. It is one of those
cases, where the better the interests of the two parties are understood,
the broader will be the basis on which they will connect them.

To the very judicious observations on the subjects of the conference,
which were made by you, I have little to add.

Flour. It may be observed, that we can sell them the flour ready
manufactured, for much less than the wheat of which it is made. In
carrying to them wheat, we carry also the bran, which does not pay its
own freight. In attempting to save and transport wheat to them, much is
lost by the weavil, and much spoiled by heat in the hold of the vessel.
This loss must be laid on the wheat which gets safe to market, where
it is paid for by the consumer. Now, this is much more than the cost of
manufacturing it with us, which would prevent that loss. I suppose the
cost of manufacturing does not exceed seven per cent, on the value. But
the loss by the weavil, and other damage on ship-board, amount to much
more. Let them buy of us as much wheat as will make a hundred weight of
flour. They will find that they have paid more for the wheat, than we
should have asked for the flour, besides having lost the labor of their
mills in grinding it. The obliging us, therefore, to carry it to them in
the form of wheat, is a useless loss to both parties.

Iron. They will get none from us. We cannot make it in competition with
Sweden, or any other nation of Europe, where labor is so much cheaper.

Wines. The strength of the wines of Portugal will give them always an
almost exclusive possession of a country, where the summers are so
hot as in America. The present demand will be very great, if they will
enable us to pay for them; but if they consider the extent and rapid
population of the United States, they must see that the time is not
distant, when they will not be able to make enough for us, and that it
is of great importance to avail themselves of the prejudices already
established in favor of their wines, and to continue them, by
facilitating the purchase. Let them do this, and they need not care for
the decline of their use in England. They will be independent of that
country.

Salt. I do not know where the northern States supplied themselves with
salt, but the southern ones took great quantities from Portugal.

Cotton and Wool. The southern States will take manufactures, of both:
the northern, will take both the manufactures and raw materials.

East India goods of every kind. Philadelphia and New York have begun a
trade to the East Indies. Perhaps Boston may follow their example. But
their importations will be sold only to the country adjacent to them.
For a long time to come, the States south of the Delaware, will not
engage in a direct commerce with the East Indies. They neither have nor
will have ships or seamen for their other commerce: nor will they buy
East India goods of the northern States. Experience shows that the
States never bought foreign goods of one another. The reasons are, that
they would, in so doing, pay double freight and charges; and again,
that they would have to pay mostly in cash, what they could obtain for
commodities in Europe. I know that the American merchants have looked,
with some anxiety, to the arrangements to be taken with Portugual, in
expectation that they could, through her, get their East India articles
on better and more convenient terms; and I am of opinion, Portugal will
come in for a good share of this traffic with the southern States, if
they facilitate our payments.

Coffee. Can they not furnish us with this article from Brazil?

Sugar. The Brazil sugars are esteemed, with us, more than any other.

Chocolate. This article, when ready made, as also the cocoa, becomes
so soon rancid, and the difficulties of getting it fresh, have been
so great in America, that its use has spread but little. The way to
increase its consumption would be, to permit it to be brought to us
immediately from the country of its growth. By getting it good in
quality, and cheap in price, the superiority of the article, both for
health and nourishment, will soon give it the same preference over tea
and coffee in America, which it has in Spain, where they can get it by a
single voyage, and, of course, while it is sweet. The use of the sugars,
coffee, and cotton of Brazil, would also be much extended by a similar
indulgence.

Ginger and spices from the Brazils, if they had the advantage of a
direct transportation, might take place of the same articles from the
East Indies.

Ginseng. We can furnish them with enough to supply their whole demand
for the East Indies.

They should be prepared to expect, that in the beginning of this
commerce, more money will be taken by us than after a while. The reasons
are, that our heavy debt to Great Britain must be paid, before we
shall be masters of our own returns; and again, that habits of using
particular things are produced only by time and practice.

That as little time as possible may be lost in this negotiation, I will
communicate to you at once, my sentiments as to the alterations in the
draught sent them, which will probably be proposed by them, or which
ought to be proposed by us, noting only those articles.

Article 3. They will probably restrain us to their dominions in Europe.
We must expressly include the Azores, Madeiras, and Cape de Verde
Islands, some of which are deemed to be in Africa. We should also
contend for an access to their possessions in America, according to the
gradation in the 2nd article of our instructions, of May the 7th, 1784.
But if we can obtain it in no one of these forms, I am of opinion we
should give it up.

Article 4. This should be put into the form we gave it, in the draught
sent you by Dr. Franklin and myself, for Great Britain. I think we had
not reformed this article, when we sent our draught to Portugal. You
know, the Confederation renders the reformation absolutely necessary; a
circumstance which had escaped us at first.

Article 9. Add, from the British draught, the clause about wrecks.

Article 13. The passage ‘nevertheless,’ &c. to run as in the British
draught.

Article 18. After the word ‘accident,’ insert ‘or wanting supplies of
provisions or other refreshments.’ And again, instead of ‘take refuge,’
insert ‘come,’ and after ‘of the other,’ insert ‘in any part of the
world.’ The object of this is to obtain leave for our whaling vessels
to refit and refresh on the coast of the Brazils; an object of immense
importance to that class of our vessels. We must acquiesce under
such modifications as they may think necessary for regulating this
indulgence, in hopes to lessen them in time, and to get a pied a terre
in that country.

Article 19. Can we get this extended to the Brazils? It would be
precious in case of war with Spain.

Article 23. Between ‘places’ and ‘whose,’ insert ‘and in general, all
others,’ as in the British draught.

Article 24. For ‘necessaries,’ substitute ‘comforts.’

Article 25. Add ‘but if any such consuls shall exercise commerce,’ &c.
as in the British draught.

We should give to Congress as early notice as possible, of the
re-institution of this negotiation; because, in a letter by a gentleman
who sailed from Havre, the 10th instant, I communicated to them the
answer of the Portuguese minister, through the ambassador here, which
I sent to you. They may, in consequence, be making other arrangements,
which might do injury. The little time which now remains, of the
continuance of our commissions, should also be used with the Chevalier
de Pinto, to hasten the movements of his court.

But all these preparations for trade with Portugal will fail in their
effect, unless the depredations of the Algerines can be prevented. I am
far from confiding in the measures taken for this purpose. Very possibly
war must be recurred to. Portugal is at war with them. Suppose the
Chevalier de Pinto was to be sounded on the subject of an union of
force, and even a stipulation for contributing each a certain force,
to be kept in constant cruise. Such a league once begun, other nations
would drop into it, one by one. If he should seem to approve it, it
might then be suggested to Congress, who, if they should be forced to
try the measure of war, would doubtless be glad of such an ally. As the
Portuguese negotiation should be hastened, I suppose our communications
must often be trusted to the post, availing ourselves of the cover of
our cipher.

I am, with sincere esteem, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXXXIX.--TO COLONEL HUMPHREYS, December 4,1785


TO COLONEL HUMPHREYS.

Paris, December 4,1785.

Dear Sir,

I enclose you a letter from Gatteaux, observing that there will be
an anachronism, if, in making a medal to commemorate the victory of
Saratoga, he puts on General Gates the insignia of the Cincinnati, which
did not exist at that date. I wrote him, in answer, that I thought so
too, but that you had the direction of the business; that you were now
in London; that I would write to you, and probably should have an answer
within a fortnight; and that, in the mean time, he could be employed on
other parts of the die. I supposed you might not have observed on the
print of General Gates, the insignia of the Cincinnati, or did not mean
that that particular should be copied. Another reason against it strikes
me. Congress have studiously avoided giving to the public their sense of
this institution. Should medals be prepared, to be presented from them
to certain officers, and bearing on them the insignia of the order, as
the presenting them would involve an approbation of the institution, a
previous question would be forced on them, whether they would present
these medals. I am of opinion it would be very disagreeable to them to
be placed under the necessity of making this declaration. Be so good as
to let me know your wishes on this subject by the first post.

Mr. Short has been sick ever since you left us. Nothing new has occurred
here, since your departure. I imagine you have American news. If so,
pray give us some. Present me affectionately to Mr. Adams and the
ladies, and to Colonel Smith; and be assured of the esteem with which I
am, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXL.--TO JOHN ADAMS, December 10, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS,

Paris, December 10, 1785.

Dear Sir,

On the arrival of Mr. Boylston, I carried him to the Marquis de la
Fayette, who received from him communications of his object. This was to
get a remission of the duties on his cargo of oil, and he was willing to
propose a future contract. I suggested however to the Marquis, when
we were alone, that instead of wasting our efforts on individual
applications, we had better take up the subject on general ground, and
whatever could be obtained, let it be common to all. He concurred with
me. As the jealousy of office between ministers does not permit me to
apply immediately to the one in whose department this was, the Marquis’s
agency was used. The result was to put us on the footing of the
Hanseatic towns, as to whale-oil, and to reduce the duties to eleven
livres and five sols for five hundred and twenty pounds French, which is
very nearly two livres on the English hundred weight, or about a guinea
and a half the ton. But the oil must be brought in American or French
ships, and the indulgence is limited to one year. However, as to this, I
expressed to Count de Vergennes my hopes that it would be continued; and
should a doubt arise, I should propose, at the proper time, to claim
it under the treaty on the footing _gentis amicissimæ_. After all, I
believe Mr. Boylston has failed of selling to Sangrain, and from what I
learn, through a little too much hastiness of temper. Perhaps they may
yet come together, or he may sell to somebody else.

When the general matter was thus arranged, a Mr. Barrett arrived here
from Boston, with letters of recommendation from Governor Bowdoin,
Gushing, and others. His errand was to get the whale business here
put on a general bottom, instead of the particular one which had been
settled, you know, the last year, for a special company. We told him
what was done. He thinks it will answer, and proposes to settle at
L’Orient for conducting the sales of the oil and the returns. I hope,
therefore, that this matter is tolerably well fixed, as far as the
consumption of this country goes. I know not as yet to what amount that
is; but shall endeavor to find out how much they consume, and how much
they furnish themselves. I propose to Mr. Barrett, that he should induce
either his State, or individuals, to send a sufficient number of boxes
of the spermaceti candle to give one to every leading house in Paris;
I mean to those who lead the ton: and at the same time to deposite a
quantity for sale here, and advertise them in the _petites affiches_.
I have written to Mr. Carmichael to know on what footing the use and
introduction of the whale-oil is there, or can be placed.

I have the honor to be, with very sincere esteem, Dear Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXLI.--TO JOHN ADAMS, December 11, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, December 11, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Baron Polnitz not going off till to-day enables me to add some
information which I received from Mr. Barclay this morning. You know
the immense amount of Beaumarchais’ accounts with the United States,
and that Mr. Barclay was authorized to settle them. Beaumarchais had
pertinaciously insisted on settling them with Congress. Probably he
received from them a denial: for just as Mr. Barclay was about to
set out on the journey we destined him, Beaumarchais tendered him a
settlement. It was thought best not to refuse this, and that it would
produce a very short delay. However, it becomes long, and Mr. Barclay
thinks it will occupy him all this month. The importance of the account,
and a belief that nobody can settle it so well as Mr. Barclay, who is
intimately acquainted with most of the articles, induce me to think we
must yield to this delay. Be so good as to give me your opinion on this
subject.

I have the honor to be, with very great esteem, Dear Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXLII.--TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES, December 21, 1785


TO THE COUNT DE VERGENNES.

Paris, December 21, 1785.

Sir,

I have received this moment a letter, of which I have the honor to
enclose your Excellency a copy. It is on the case of Asquith and others,
citizens of the United States, in whose behalf I had taken the liberty
of asking your interference. I understand by this letter, that they have
been condemned to lose their vessel and cargo, and to pay six thousand
livres and the costs of the prosecution before the 25th instant, or
to go to the galleys. This payment being palpably impossible to men
in their situation, and the execution of the judgment pressing, I am
obliged to trouble your Excellency again, by praying, if the government
can admit any mitigation of their sentence, it may be extended to them
in time to save their persons from its effect.

I have the honor to be, with very great respect, your Excellency’s most
obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXLIII.--TO THE GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA, December 22, 1785


TO THE GOVERNOR OF GEORGIA.

Paris, December 22, 1785.

Sir,

The death of the late General Oglethorpe, who had considerable
possessions in Georgia, has given rise, as we understand, to questions
whether these possessions have become the property of the State, or have
been transferred by his will to his widow, or descended on the nearest
heir capable in law of taking them. In the latter case, the Chevalier de
Mezieres, a subject of France, stands foremost, as being made capable
of the inheritance by the treaty between this country and the United
States. Under the regal government, it was the practice with us, when
lands passed to the crown by escheat or forfeiture, to grant them to
such relation of the party as stood on the fairest ground. This was even
a chartered right in some of the States. The practice has been continued
among them, as deeming that the late Revolution should in no instance
abridge the rights of the people. Should this have been the practice
in the State of Georgia, or should they in any instance think proper
to admit it, I am persuaded none will arise in which it will be
more expedient to do it, than in the present, and that no person’s
expectations should be fairer than those of the Chevalier de Mezieres.
He is the nephew of General Oglethorpe, he is of singular personal
merit, an officer of rank, of high connections, and patronized by
the ministers. His case has drawn their attention, and seems to be
considered as protected by the treaty of alliance, and as presenting a
trial of our regard to that. Should these lands be considered as having
passed to the State, I take the liberty of recommending him to the
legislature of Georgia, as worthy of their generosity, and as presenting
an opportunity of proving the favorable dispositions which exist
throughout America towards the subjects of this country, and an
opportunity too, which will probably be known and noted here.

In the several views, therefore, of personal merit, justice, generosity
and policy, I presume to recommend the Chevalier de Mezieres, and his
interests, to the notice and patronage of your Excellency, whom the
choice of your country has sufficiently marked as possessing the
dispositions, while it has at the same time given you the power, to
befriend just claims. The Chevalier de Mezieres will pass over to
Georgia in the ensuing spring; but should he find an opportunity, he
will probably forward this letter sooner. I have the honor to be, with
sentiments of the most profound respect,

your Excellency’s most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXLIV.--TO THE GEORGIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS, Dec. 22, 1785

TO THE GEORGIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS.

Paris, December 22, 1785.

Gentlemen,

By my despatch to Mr. Jay which accompanies this, you will perceive
that the claims of the Chevalier de Mezieres, nephew to the late General
Oglethorpe, to his possessions within your State, have attracted the
attention of the ministry here; and that considering them as protected
by their treaty with us, they have viewed as derogatory of that, the
doubts which have been expressed on the subject. I have thought it best
to present to them those claims in the least favorable point of view,
to lessen as much as possible the ill effects of a disappointment: but
I think it my duty to ask your notice and patronage of this case, as
one whose decision will have an effect on the general interests of the
Union.

The Chevalier de Mezieres is nephew to General Oglethorpe; he is a
person of great estimation, powerfully related and protected. His
interests are espoused by those whom it is our interest to gratify. I
will take the liberty, therefore, of soliciting your recommendations of
him to the generosity of your legislature, and to the patronage and good
offices of your friends, whose efforts, though in a private case, will
do a public good. The pecuniary advantages of confiscation, in this
instance, cannot compensate its ill effects. It is difficult to make
foreigners understand those legal distinctions between the effects of
forfeiture of escheat, and of conveyance, on which the professors of
the law might build their opinions in this case. They can see only the
outlines of the case; to wit, the death of a possessor of lands lying
within the United States, leaving an heir in France, and the State
claiming those lands in opposition to the heir. An individual thinking
himself injured makes more noise than a State. Perhaps too, in every
case which either party to a treaty thinks to be within its provisions,
it is better not to weigh the syllables and letters of the treaty, but
to show that gratitude and affection render that appeal unnecessary. I
take the freedom, therefore, of submitting to your wisdom the motives
which present themselves in favor of a grant to the Chevalier de
Mezieres, and the expediency of urging them on your State as far as you
may think proper.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect,
Gentlemen,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXLV.--TO JOHN ADAMS, December 27, 1785


TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, December 27, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Your favors of the 13th and 20th were put into my hands today. This will
be delivered to you by Mr. Dalrymple, secretary to the legation of Mr.
Crawford. I do not know whether you were acquainted with him here. He
is a young man of learning and candor, and exhibits a phenomenon I never
before met with, that is, a republican born on the north side of the
Tweed.

You have been consulted in the case of the Chevalier de Mezieres, nephew
to General Oglethorpe, and are understood to have given an opinion
derogatory of our treaty with France. I was also consulted, and
understood in the same way. I was of opinion the Chevalier had no right
to the estate, and as he had determined the treaty gave him a right, I
suppose he made the inference for me, that the treaty was of no weight.
The Count de Vergennes mentioned it to me in such a manner, that I
found it was necessary to explain the case to him, and show him that
the treaty had nothing to do with it. I enclose you a copy of the
explanation I delivered him.

Mr. Boylston sold his cargo to an agent of Monsieur Sangrain. He got for
it fifty-five livres the hundred weight. I do not think that his being
joined to a company here would contribute to its success. His capital is
not wanting. Le Conteux has agreed that the merchants of Boston, sending
whale-oil here, may draw-on him for a certain proportion of money, only
giving such a time in their drafts, as will admit the actual arrival of
the oil into a port of France for his security. Upon these drafts, Mr.
Barrett is satisfied they will be able to raise money to make their
purchases in America. The duty is seven livres and ten sols on the
barrel of five hundred and twenty pounds French, and ten sous on
every livre, which raises it to eleven livres and five sols, the sum I
mentioned to you. France uses between five and six millions of pounds’
weight French, which is between three and four thousand tons English.
Their own fisheries do not furnish one million, and there is no
probability of their improving. Sangrain purchases himself upwards of
a million. He tells me our oil is better than the Dutch or English,
because we make it fresh; whereas they cut up the whale, and bring it
home to be made, so that it is by that time entered into fermentation.
Mr. Barrett says, that fifty livres the hundred weight will pay the
prime cost and duties, and leave a profit of sixteen per cent, to the
merchant. I hope that England will, within a year or two, be obliged to
come here to buy whale-oil for her lamps.

I like as little as you do, to have the gift of appointments. I hope
Congress will not transfer the appointment of their consuls to their
ministers. But if they do, Portugal is more naturally under the
superintendence of the minister at Madrid, and still more naturally
under that of the minister at Lisbon, where it is clear they ought to
have one. If all my hopes fail, the letters of Governor Bowdoin and
Gushing, in favor of young Mr. Warren, and your more detailed testimony
in his behalf, are not likely to be opposed by evidence of equal weight,
in favor of any other. I think with you, too, that it is for the public
interest to encourage sacrifices and services, by rewarding them, and
that they should weigh to a certain point, in the decision between
candidates.

I am sorry for the illness of the Chevalier Pinto. I think that treaty
important: and the moment to urge it, is that of a treaty between France
and England.

Lambe, who left this place the 6th of November, was at Madrid the 10th
of this month. Since his departure, Mr. Barclay has discovered that no
copies of the full powers were furnished to himself, nor of course to
Lambe. Colonel Franks has prepared copies, which I will endeavor to get,
to send by this conveyance for your attestation: which you will be so
good as to send back by the first safe conveyance, and I will forward
them. Mr. Barclay and Colonel Franks being at this moment at St.
Germain, I am not sure of getting the papers in time to go by Mr.
Dalrymple. In that case, I will send them by Mr. Bingham.

Be so good as to present me affectionately to Mrs. and Miss Adams, to
Colonels Smith and Humphreys, and accept assurances of the esteem with
which I am, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CXLVI.--TO JOHN JAY, January 2,1786


TO JOHN JAY.

Sir,

Paris, January 2,1786

Several conferences and letters having passed between the Count de
Vergennes and myself, on the subject of the commerce of this country
with the United States, I think them sufficiently interesting to be
communicated to Congress. They are stated in the form of a report,
and are herein enclosed. The length of this despatch, perhaps, needs
apology. Yet I have not been able to abridge it, without omitting
circumstances which I thought Congress would rather choose to know.
Some of the objects of these conferences present but small hopes for the
present, but they seem to admit a possibility of success at some future
moment.

*****

I am, Sir, your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.

     [The following is an extract from the report referred to in
     the preceding letter, embracing every thing interesting
     therein, not communicated to the reader in the previous
     correspondence.]

*****

The next levee day at Versailles, I meant to bring again under the
view of the Count de Vergennes, the whole subject of our commerce with
France; but the number of audiences of ambassadors and other ministers,
which take place, of course, before mine, and which seldom, indeed,
leave me an opportunity of audience at all, prevented me that day. I was
only able to ask of the Count de Vergennes, as a particular favor, that
he would permit me to wait on him some day that week. He did so, and I
went to Versailles the Friday following, (the 9th of December.) M.
de Reyneval was with the Count. Our conversation began with the usual
topic; that the trade of the United States had not yet learned the way
to France, but continued to centre in England, though no longer obliged
by law to go there. I observed, that the real cause of this was to
be found in the difference of the commercial arrangements in the two
countries; that merchants would not, and could not, trade but where
there was to be some gain; that the commerce between two countries could
not be kept up, but by an exchange of commodities; that, if an American
merchant was forced to carry his produce to London, it could not be
expected he would make a voyage from thence to France, with the money,
to lay it out here; and, in like manner, that if he could bring his
commodities with advantage to this country, he would not make another
voyage to England, with the money, to lay it out there, but would take
in exchange the merchandise of this country. The Count de Vergennes
agreed to this, and particularly, that where there was no exchange of
merchandise, there could be no durable commerce; and that it was natural
for merchants to take their returns in the port where they sold their
cargo. I desired his permission then, to take a summary view of the
productions of the United States, that we might see which of them could
be brought here to advantage.

1. Rice. France gets from the Mediterranean a rice not so good indeed,
but cheaper than ours. He said that they bought of our rice, but that
they got from Egypt, also, rice of a very fine quality. I observed that
such was the actual state of their commerce in that article, that
they take little from us. 2. Indigo. They make a plenty in their own
colonies. He observed that they did, and that they thought it better
than ours. 3. Flour, fish, and provisions of all sorts, they produce for
themselves. That these articles might, therefore, be considered as not
existing, for commerce, between the United States and the kingdom of
France.

I proceeded to those capable of becoming objects of exchange between
the two nations. 1. Peltry and furs. Our posts being in the hands of the
English, we are cut off from that article. I am not sure even, whether
we are not obliged to buy of them, for our own use. When these posts
are given up, if ever they are, we shall be able to furnish France with
skins and furs, to the amount of two millions of livres, in exchange for
her merchandise: but, at present, these articles are to be counted as
nothing. 2. Potash. An experiment is making whether this can be brought
here. We hope it may, but at present it stands for nothing. He observed
that it was much wanted in France, and he thought it would succeed. 3.
Naval stores. Trials are also making on these, as subjects of commerce
with France. They are heavy, and the voyage long. The result, therefore,
is doubtful. At present, they are as nothing in our commerce with this
country. 4. Whale-oil: I told him I had great hopes, that the late
diminution of duty would enable us to bring this article with advantage,
to France: that a merchant was just arrived (Mr. Barrett), who proposed
to settle at L’Orient, for the purpose of selling the cargoes of this
article, and choosing the returns. That he had informed me, that in the
first year, it would be necessary to take one third in money, and
the remainder only in merchandise; because the fishermen require,
indispensably, some money. But he thought that after the first year,
the merchandise of the preceding year would always produce money for
the ensuing one, and that the whole amount would continue to be taken
annually afterwards, in merchandise. I added, that though the diminution
of duty was expressed to be but for one year, yet I hoped they would
find their advantage in renewing and continuing it: for that if they
intended really to admit it for one year only, the fishermen would not
find it worth while to rebuild their vessels and to prepare themselves
for the business. The Count expressed satisfaction on the view of
commercial exchange held up by this article. He made no answer as to the
continuance of it; and I did not choose to tell him, at that time, that
we should claim its continuance under their treaty with the Hanseatic
towns, which fixes this duty for them, and our own treaty, which gives
us the rights of the most favored nation. 5. Tobacco. I recalled to the
memory of the Count de Vergennes the letter I had written to him on
this article; and the object of the present conversation being, how
to facilitate the exchange of commerciable articles between the two
countries, I pressed that of tobacco in this point of view; observed
that France, at present, paid us two millions of livres for this
article; that for such portions of it as were bought in London, they
sent the money directly there, and for what they bought in the United
States, the money was still remitted to London, by bills of exchange:
whereas, if thy would permit our merchants to sell this article
freely, they would bring it here, and take the returns on the spot,
in merchandise, not money. The Count observed, that my proposition
contained what was doubtless useful, but that the King received on this
article, at present, a revenue of twenty-eight millions, which was so
considerable, as to render them fearful of tampering with it; that the
collection of this revenue by way of Farm, was of very ancient date, and
that it was always hazardous to alter arrangements of long standing, and
of such infinite combinations with the fiscal system. I answered, that
the simplicity of the mode of collection proposed for this article,
withdrew it from all fear of deranging other parts of their system; that
I supposed they would confine the importation to some of their principal
ports, probably not more than five or six; that a single collector in
each of these, was the only new officer requisite; that he could get
rich himself on six livres a hogshead, and would receive the whole
revenue, and pay it into the treasury, at short hand. M. de Reyneval
entered particularly into this part of the conversation, and explained
to the Count, more in detail, the advantages and simplicity of it, and
concluded by observing to me, that it sometimes happened that useful
propositions, though not practicable at one time, might become so at
another. I told him that that consideration had induced me to press the
matter when I did, because I had understood the renewal of the Farm was
then on the carpet, and that it was the precise moment, when I supposed
that this portion might be detached from the mass of the Farms. I asked
the Count de Vergennes whether, if the renewal of the Farm was pressing,
this article might not be separated, merely in suspense, till government
should have time to satisfy themselves on the expediency of renewing it.
He said no promise could be made.

In the course of this conversation, he had mentioned the liberty we
enjoyed of carrying our fish to the French islands. I repeated to
him what I had hinted in my letter of November the 20th, 1785, that I
considered as a prohibition, the laying such duties on our fish, and
giving such premiums on theirs, as made a difference between their and
our fishermen of fifteen livres the quintal, in an article which sold
for but fifteen livres. He said it would not have that effect, for two
reasons. 1. That their fishermen could not furnish supplies sufficient
for their islands, and, of course, the inhabitants must, of necessity,
buy our fish. 2. That from the constancy of our fishery, and the short
season during which theirs continued, and also from the economy and
management of ours, compared with the expense of theirs, we had always
been able to sell our fish, in their islands, at twenty-five livres the
quintal, while they were obliged to ask thirty-six livres. (I suppose he
meant the livre of the French islands.) That thus, the duty and premium
had been a necessary operation on their side, to place the sale of their
fish on a level with ours, and, that without this, theirs could not bear
the competition.

I have here brought together the substance of what was said on the
preceding subjects, not pretending to give it verbatim, which my memory
does not enable me to do. I have, probably, omitted many things
which were spoken, but have mentioned nothing which was not. I was
interrupted, at times, with collateral matters. One of these was
important. The Count de Vergennes complained, and with a good deal of
stress, that they did not find a sufficient dependence on arrangements
taken with us. This was the third time, too, he had done it; first, in
a conversation at Fontainebleau, when he first complained to me of the
navigation acts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire; secondly, in his
letter of October the 30th, 1785, on the same subject; and now, in the
present conversation, wherein he added, as another instance, the case
of the Chevalier de Mezieres, heir of General Oglethorpe, who,
notwithstanding that the 11th article of the treaty provides, that the
subjects or citizens of either party shall succeed, _ab intestato_, to
the lands of their ancestors, within the dominions of the other,
had been informed from Mr. Adams, and by me also, that his right of
succession to the General’s estate in Georgia was doubtful. He observed
too, that the administration of justice with us was tardy, insomuch,
that their merchants, when they had money due to them within our States,
considered it as desperate; and, that our commercial regulations, in
general, were disgusting to them. These ideas were new, serious, and
delicate. I decided, therefore, not to enter into them at that moment,
and the rather, as we were speaking in French, in which language I
did not choose to hazard myself. I withdrew from the objections of the
tardiness of justice with us, and the disagreeableness of our commercial
regulations, by a general observation, that I was not sensible they were
well founded. With respect to the case of the Chevalier de Mezieres, I
was obliged to enter into some explanations. They related chiefly to
the legal operation of our Declaration of Independence, to the undecided
question whether our citizens and British subjects were thereby made
aliens to one another, to the general laws as to conveyances of land to
aliens, and the doubt, whether an act of the Assembly of Georgia might
not have been passed, to confiscate General Oglethorpe’s property,
which would of course prevent its devolution on any heir. M. Reyneval
observed, that in this case, it became a mere question of fact, whether
a confiscation of these lands had taken place before the death of
General Oglethorpe, which fact might be easily known by, inquiries in
Georgia, where the possessions lay. I thought it very material, that
the opinion of this court should be set to rights on these points. On
my return, therefore, I wrote the following observations on them,
which, the next time I went to Versailles (not having an opportunity
of speaking to the Count de Vergennes), I put into the hands of M.
Reyneval, praying him to read them, and to ask the favor of the Count to
do the same.


_Explanations on some of the subjects of the conversation, which I had
the honor of having with his Excellency, the Count de Vergennes, when I
was last at Versailles_.

The principal design of that conversation was, to discuss, those
articles of commerce which the United States could spare, which are
wanted in France, and, if received there on a convenient footing, would
be exchanged for the productions of France. But in the course of the
conversation, some circumstances were incidentally mentioned by
the Count de Vergennes, which induced me to suppose he had received
impressions, neither favorable to us, nor derived from perfect
information.

The case of the Chevalier de Mezieres was supposed to furnish an
instance of our disregard to treatises; and the event of that case was
inferred from opinions supposed to have been given by Mr. Adams and
myself. This is ascribing a weight to our opinions, to which they are
not entitled. They will have no influence on the decision of the case.
The judges in our courts would not suffer them to be read. Their guide
is the law of the land, of which law its treaties make a part. Indeed, I
know not what opinion Mr. Adams may have given on the case. And, if any
be imputed to him derogatory of our regard to the treaty with France,
I think his opinion has been misunderstood. With respect to myself, the
doubts which I expressed to the Chevalier de Mezieres, as to the success
of his claims, were not founded on any question whether the treaty
between France and the United States would be observed. On the contrary,
I venture to pronounce that it will be religiously observed, if his case
comes under it. But I doubted whether it would come under the treaty.
The case, as I understand it, is this. General Oglethorpe, a British
subject, had lands in Georgia. He died since the peace, having devised
these lands to his wife. His heirs are the Chevalier de Mezieres, son
of his eldest sister, and the Marquis de Bellegarde, son of his younger
sister. This case gives rise to legal questions, some of which have
not yet been decided, either in England or America, the laws of which
countries are nearly the same.

1. It is a question under the laws of those countries, whether persons
born before their separation, and once completely invested, in both,
with the character of natural subjects, can ever become aliens in
either? There are respectable opinions on both sides. If the negative be
right, then General Oglethorpe having never become an alien, and having
devised his lands to his wife, who, on this supposition, also, was not
an alien, the devise has transferred the lands to her, and there is
nothing left for the treaty to operate on.

2. If the affirmative opinion be right, and the inhabitants of Great
Britain and America, born before the Revolution, are become aliens to
each other, it follows by the laws of both, that the lands which either
possessed, within the jurisdiction of the other, became the property of
the State in which they are. But a question arises, whether the transfer
of the property took place on the Declaration of Independence, or not
till an office, or an act of Assembly, had declared the transfer. If the
property passed to the State on the Declaration of Independence, then it
did not remain in General Oglethorpe, and, of course, at the time of his
death, he having nothing, there was nothing to pass to his heirs, and so
nothing for the treaty to operate on.

3. If the property does not pass till declared by an office found by
jury, or an act passed by the Assembly, the question then is, whether
an office had been found, or an act of Assembly been passed for that
purpose, before the peace. If there was, the lands had passed to the
State during his life, and nothing being left in him, there is nothing
for his heirs to claim under the treaty.

4. If the property had not been transferred to the State, before the
peace, either by the Declaration of Independence, or an office or an act
of Assembly, then it remained in General Oglethorpe at the epoch of the
peace and it will be insisted, no doubt, that, by the sixth article of
the treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain, which
forbids future confiscations, General Oglethorpe acquired a capacity of
holding and of conveying his lands. He has conveyed them to his wife.
But, she being an alien, it will be decided by the laws of the land,
whether she took them for her own use, or for the use of the State. For
it is a general principle of our law, that conveyances to aliens pass
the lands to the State; and it may be urged, that though, by the treaty
of peace, General Oglethorpe could convey, yet that treaty did not mean
to give him a greater privilege of conveyance, than natives hold, to
wit, a privilege of transferring the property to persons incapable, by
law, of taking it. However, this would be a question between the State
of Georgia and the widow of General Oglethorpe, in the decision of which
the Chevalier de Mezieres is not interested, because, whether she takes
the land by the will, for her own use, or for that of the State, it is
equally prevented from descending to him: there is neither a conveyance
to him, nor a succession _ab intestato_ devolving on him, which are the
cases provided for by our treaty with France. To sum up the matter in
a few words; if the lands had passed to the State before the epoch of
peace, the heirs of General Oglethorpe cannot say they have descended
on them, and if they remained in the General at that epoch, the treaty
saving them to him, he could convey them away from his heirs, and he has
conveyed them to his widow, either for her own use, or for that of the
State.

Seeing no event, in which, according to the facts stated to me, the
treaty could be applied to this case, or could give any right, whatever,
to the heirs of General Oglethorpe, I advised the Chevalier de Mezieres
not to urge his pretensions on the footing of right, nor under the
treaty, but to petition the Assembly of Georgia for a grant of these
lands. If, in the question between the State and the widow of General
Oglethorpe, it should be decided that they were the property of the
State, I expected from their generosity, and the friendly dispositions
in America towards the subjects of France, that they would be favorable
to the Chevalier de Mezieres. There is nothing in the preceding
observations, which would not have applied against the heir of General
Ogiethorpe, had he been a native citizen of Georgia, as it now applies
against him, being a subject of France. The treaty has placed the
subjects of France on a footing with natives, as to conveyances and
descent of property. There was no occasion for the assemblies to pass
laws on this subject; the treaty being a law, as I conceive, superior to
those of particular Assemblies, and repealing them where they stand in
the way of its operations.

The supposition that the treaty was disregarded on our part, in the
instance of the acts of Assembly of Massachusetts and New Hampshire,
which made a distinction between natives and foreigners, as to the
duties to be paid on commerce, was taken notice of in the letter of
November the 20th, which I had the honor of addressing to the Count de
Vergennes. And while I express my hopes, that, on a revision of these
subjects, nothing will be found in them derogatory from either the
letter or spirit of our treaty, I will add assurances that the United
States will not be behind hand, in going beyond both, when occasions
shall ever offer of manifesting their sincere attachment to this
country.

I will pass on to the observation, that our commercial regulations
are difficult and repugnant to the French merchants. To detail these
regulations minutely, as they exist in every State, would be beyond my
information. A general view of them, however, will suffice because the
States differ little in their several regulations. On the arrival of a
ship in America, her cargo must be reported at the proper office. The
duties on it are to be paid. These are commonly from two and a half to
five per cent, on its value. On many articles, the value of which is
tolerably uniform, the precise sum is fixed by law. A tariff of these is
presented to the importer, and he can see what he has to pay, as well as
the officer. For other articles, the duty is such a per cent, on their
value. That value is either shown by the invoice, or by the oath of the
importer. This operation being once over, and it is a very short one,
the goods are considered as entered, and may then pass through the whole
thirteen States, without their being ever more subject to a question,
unless they be re-shipped. Exportation is still more simple: because,
as we prohibit the exportation of nothing, and very rarely lay a duty
on any article of export, the State is little interested in examining
outward bound vessels. The captain asks a clearance for his own
purposes. As to the operations of internal commerce, such as matters of
exchange, of buying, selling, bartering, &c, our laws are the same as
the English. If they have been altered in any instance, it has been
to render them more simple. Lastly, as to the tardiness of the
administration of justice with us, it would be equally tedious and
impracticable for me to give a precise account of it in every State. But
I think it probable, that it is much on the same footing through all
the States, and that an account of it in any one of them, may found a
general presumption of it in the others. Being best acquainted with its
administration in Virginia, I shall confine myself to that. Before the
Revolution, a judgment could not be obtained under eight years, in the
supreme court, where the suit was in the department of the common law,
which department embraces about nine tenths of the subjects of legal
contestation. In that of the chancery, from twelve to twenty years were
requisite. This did not proceed from any vice in the laws, but from the
indolence of the judges appointed by the King: and these judges holding
their offices during his will only, he could have reformed the evil at
any time. This reformation was among the first works of the legislature,
after our independence. A judgment can now be obtained in the supreme
court, in one year, at the common law, and in about three years, in the
chancery. But more particularly to protect the commerce of France, which
at that moment was considerable with us, a law was passed, giving
all suits wherein a foreigner was a party, a privilege to be tried
immediately, on the return of his process, without waiting till those
of natives, which stand before them, shall have been decided on. Out of
this act, however, the British stand excluded by a subsequent one. This,
with its causes, must be explained. The British army, after ravaging
the State of Virginia, had sent off a very great number of slaves to New
York. By the seventh article of the treaty of peace, they stipulated
not to carry away any of these. Notwithstanding this, it was known, when
they were evacuating New York, that they were carrying away the slaves.
General Washington made an official demand of Sir Guy Carleton, that he
should cease to send them away. He answered, that these people had come
to them under promise of the King’s protection, and that that promise
should be fulfilled, in preference to the stipulation in the treaty. The
State of Virginia, to which nearly the whole of these slaves belonged,
passed a law to forbid the recovery of debts due to British subjects.
They declared, at the same time, they would repeal the law, if Congress
were of opinion they ought to do it. But, desirous that their citizens
should be discharging their debts, they afterwards permitted British
creditors to prosecute their suits, and to receive their debts in seven
equal and annual payments; relying that the demand for the slaves would
either be admitted or denied, in time to lay their hands on some of
the latter payments for reimbursement. The immensity of this debt was
another reason for forbidding such a mass of property to be offered for
sale under execution at once, as, from the small quantity of circulating
money, it must have sold for little or nothing, whereby the creditor
would have failed to receive his money, and the debtor would have lost
his whole estate, without being discharged of his debt. This is the
history of the delay of justice in that country, in the case of British
creditors. As to all others, its administration is as speedy as justice
itself will admit. I presume it is equally so in all the other States,
and can add, that it is administered in them all with a purity and
integrity, of which few countries afford an example.

I cannot take leave, altogether, of the subjects of this conversation,
without recalling the attention of the Count de Vergennes to what had
been its principal drift. This was to endeavor to bring about a direct
exchange between France and the United States, (without the intervention
of a third nation) of those productions, with which each could furnish
the other. We can furnish to France (because we have heretofore
furnished to England) of whale-oil and spermaceti, of furs and peltry,
of ships and naval stores, and of potash, to the amount of fifteen
millions of livres; and the quantities will admit of increase. Of our
tobacco, France consumes the value of ten millions more. Twenty-five
millions of livres, then, mark the extent of that commerce of exchange,
which is, at present, practicable between us. We want, in return,
productions and manufactures, not money. If the duties on our produce
are light, and the sale free, we shall undoubtedly bring it here, and
lay out the proceeds on the spot, in the productions and manufactures
which we want. The merchants of France will, on their part, become
active in the same business. We shall no more think, when we shall have
sold our produce here, of making an useless voyage to another country,
to lay out the money, than we think, at present, when we have sold it
elsewhere, of coming here to lay out the money. The conclusion is, that
there are commodities which form a basis of exchange, to the extent of a
million of guineas annually: it is for the wisdom of those in power, to
contrive that the exchange shall be made.

Having put this paper into the hands of Monsieur Reyneval, we entered
into conversation again, on the subject of the Farms, which were now
understood to be approaching to a conclusion. He told me, that he was
decidedly of opinion, that the interest of the State required the Farm
of tobacco to be discontinued, and that he had, accordingly, given every
aid to my proposition, which lay within his sphere: that the Count de
Vergennes was very clearly of the same opinion, and had supported
it strongly with reasons of his own, when he transmitted it to the
Comptroller General; but that the Comptroller, in the discussions of
this subject which had taken place, besides the objections which the
Count de Vergennes had repeated to me, and which are before mentioned,
had added, that the contract with the Farmers General was now so far
advanced, that the article of tobacco could not be withdrawn from it,
without unraveling the whole transaction. Having understood, that,
in this contract, there was always reserved to the crown, a right to
discontinue it at any moment, making just reimbursements to the Farmers,
I asked M. Reyneval, if the contract should be concluded in its present
form, whether it might still be practicable to have it discontinued, as
to the article of tobacco, at some future moment. He said it might be
possible.

Upon the whole, the true obstacle to this proposition has penetrated,
in various ways, through the veil which covers it. The influence of the
Farmers General has been heretofore found sufficient to shake a minister
in his office. Monsieur de Calonne’s continuance or dismission has been
thought, for some time, to be on a poise. Were he to shift this great
weight, therefore, out of his own scale into that of his adversaries,
it would decide their preponderance. The joint interests of France and
America would be an insufficient counterpoise in his favor.

It will be observed, that these efforts to improve the commerce of the
United States have been confined to that branch only, which respects
France itself, and that nothing passed on the subject of our commerce
with the West Indies, except an incidental conversation as to our fish.
The reason of this was no want of a due sense of its importance. Of that
I am thoroughly sensible. But efforts in favor of this branch would, at
present, be desperate. To nations with which we have not yet treated,
and who have possessions in America, we may offer a free vent of their
manufactures in the United States, for a full, or a modified admittance
into those possessions. But to France, we are obliged to give that
freedom for a different compensation; to wit, for her aid in effecting
our independence. It is difficult, therefore, to say what we have now to
offer her, for an admission into her West Indies. Doubtless it has its
price. But the question is, what this would be, and whether worth our
while to give it. Were we to propose to give to each other’s citizens
all the rights of natives, they would, of course, count what they should
gain by this enlargement of right, and examine whether it would be worth
to them, as much as their monopoly of their West India commerce. If not,
that commercial freedom which we wish to preserve, and which, indeed, is
so valuable, leaves us little else to offer. An expression in my letter
to the Count de Vergennes, of November the 20th, wherein I hinted, that
both nations might, perhaps, come into the opinion, that the condition
of natives might be a better ground of intercourse for their citizens,
than that of the most favored nation, was intended to furnish an
opportunity to the minister, of parleying on that subject, if he was so
disposed, and to myself, of seeing whereabouts they would begin, that
I might communicate it to Congress, and leave them to judge of the
expediency of pursuing the subject. But no overtures have followed;
for I have no right to consider, as coming from the minister, certain
questions which were, very soon after, proposed to me by an individual.
It sufficiently accounts for these questions, that that individual
had written a memorial on the subject, for the consideration of the
minister, and might wish to know what we would be willing to do.
The idea that I should answer such questions to him, is equally
unaccountable, whether we suppose them originating with himself, or
coming from the minister. In fact, I must suppose them to be his own;
and I transmit them, only that Congress my see what one Frenchman,
at least, thinks on the subject. If we can obtain from Great Britain
reasonable conditions of commerce (which, in my idea, must for ever
include an admission into her islands), the freest ground between these
two nations would seem to be the best. But if we can obtain no equal
terms from her, perhaps Congress might think it prudent, as Holland has
done, to connect us unequivocally with France. Holland has purchased the
protection of France. The price she pays is, aid in time of war. It is
interesting for us to purchase a free commerce with the French islands.
But whether it is best to pay for it, by aids in war, or by privileges
in commerce; or not to purchase it at all, is the question.



LETTER CXLVII.--TO T. HOPKINSON, January 3, 1786


TO T. HOPKINSON.

Paris, January 3, 1786.

Dear Sir,

I wrote you last on the 25th of September. Since that I have received
yours of October the 25th, enclosing a duplicate of the last invented
tongue for the harpsichord. The letter enclosing another of them, and
accompanied by newspapers, which you mention in that of October the
25th, has never come to hand. I will embrace the first opportunity of
sending you the crayons. Perhaps they may come with this, which I think
to deliver to Mr. Bingham, who leaves us on Saturday, for London. If, on
consulting him, I find the conveyance from London uncertain, you shall
receive them by a Mr. Barrett, who goes from hence for New York, next
month. You have not authorized me to try to avail you of the new tongue.
Indeed, the ill success of my endeavors with the last does not promise
much with this. However, I shall try. Houdon only stopped a moment, to
deliver me your letter, so that I have not yet had an opportunity of
asking his opinion of the improvement. I am glad you are pleased with
his work. He is among the foremost, or, perhaps, the foremost artist in
the world.

Turning to your _Encyclopédie, Arts et Metiers_, tome 3, part 1, page
393, you will find mentioned an instrument, invented by a Monsieur
Renaudin, for determining the true time of the musical movements, largo,
adagio, &c. I went to see it. He showed me his first invention; the
price of the machine was twenty-five guineas: then his second, which
he had been able to make for about half that sum. Both of these had
a mainspring and a balance-wheel, for their mover and regulator. The
strokes are made by a small hammer. He then showed me his last, which is
moved by a weight and regulated by a pendulum, and which cost only-two
guineas and a half. It presents, in front, a dial-plate like that of
a clock, on which are arranged, in a circle, the words _largo, adagio,
andante, allegro, presto_. The circle is moreover divided into fifty-two
equal degrees. _Largo_ is at 1, _adagio_ at 11, _andante_ at 22,
_allegro_ at 36, and _presto_ at 46. Turning the index to any one of
these, the pendulum (which is a string, with a ball hanging to it)
shortens or lengthens, so that one of its vibrations gives you a crochet
for that movement. This instrument has been examined by the academy of
music here, who were so well satisfied of its utility, that they have
ordered all music which shall be printed here, in future, to have the
movements numbered in correspondence with this plexi-chronometer. I need
not tell you that the numbers between two movements, as between 22 and
36, give the quicker or slower degrees of the movements, such as the
quick _andante_, or moderate _allegro_. The instrument is useful, but
still it may be greatly simplified. I got him to make me one, and having
fixed a pendulum vibrating seconds, I tried by that the vibrations of
his pendulum, according to the several movements. I find the pendulum
regulated to Largo

[Illustration: The Plexi-Chronometer, page391]

Every one, therefore, may make a chronometer adapted to his instrument.

For a harpsichord, the following occurs to me:

In the wall of your chamber, over the instrument, drive five little
brads, as, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, in the following manner. Take a string with
a bob to it, of such length, as, that hung on No. 1, it shall vibrate
fifty-two times in a minute. Then proceed by trial to drive No. 2, at
such a distance, that drawing the loop of the string to that, the part
remaining between 1 and the bob, shall vibrate sixty times in a minute.
Fix the third for seventy vibrations, &c.; the cord always hanging over
No. 1, as the centre of vibration. A person playing on the violin may
fix this on his music-stand. A pendulum thrown into vibration will
continue in motion long enough to give you the time of your piece. I
have been thus particular, on the supposition that you would fix one of
these simple things for yourself.

You have heard often of the metal called platina, to be found only in
South America. It is insusceptible of rust, as gold and silver are, none
of the acids affecting it, excepting the _aqua regia_. It also admits
of as perfect a polish as the metal hitherto used for the specula of
telescopes. These two properties had suggested to the Spaniards the
substitution of it for that use. But the mines being closed up by the
government, it is difficult to get the metal. The experiment has been
lately tried here by the Abbe Rochon (whom I formerly mentioned to
Mr. Rittenhouse, as having discovered that lenses of certain natural
crystals have two different and uncombined magnifying powers), and he
thinks the polish as high as that of the metal heretofore used, and
that it will never be injured by the air, a touch of the finger, &c. I
examined it in a dull day, which did not admit a fair judgment of the
strength of its reflection.

Good qualities are sometimes misfortunes. I will prove it from your
own experience. You are punctual; and almost the only one of my
correspondents on whom I can firmly rely, for the execution of
commissions which combine a little trouble with more attention. I am
very sorry however that I have three commissions to charge you with,
which will give you more than a little trouble. Two of them are for
Monsieur de Buffon. Many, many years ago, Cadwallader Golden wrote a
very small pamphlet on the subjects of attraction and impulsion, a copy
of which he sent to Monsieur de Buffon. He was so charmed with it, that
he put it into the hands of a friend to translate, who lost it. It has
ever since weighed on his mind, and he has made repeated trials to have
it found in England. But in vain. He applied to me. I am in hopes, if
you will write a line to the booksellers of Philadelphia to rummage
their shops, that some of them may find it. Or, perhaps, some of the
careful old people of Pennsylvania or New Jersey may have preserved a
copy. In the King’s cabinet of Natural History, of which Monsieur de
Buffon has the superintendence, I observed that they had neither our
grouse nor our pheasant. These, I know, may be bought in the market of
Philadelphia, on any day while they are in season. Pray buy the male and
female of each, and employ some apothecary’s boys to prepare them, and
pack them. Methods may be seen in the preliminary discourse to the first
volume of Birds, in the _Encyclopédie_, or in the Natural History of
Buffon, where he describes the King’s cabinet. And this done, you will
be so good as to send them to me. The third commission is more distant.
It is to precure me two or three hundred paccan nuts from the western
country. I expect they can always be got at Pittsburgh and am in hopes,
that by yourself or your friends, some attentive person there may be
engaged to send them to you. They should come as fresh as possible,
and come best, I believe, in a box of sand. Of this, Barham could best
advise you. I imagine vessels are always coming from Philadelphia to
France. If there be a choice of ports, Havre would be the best. I must
beg you to direct them to the care of the American consul or agent at
the port, to be sent by the Diligence or Fourgon. A thousand apologies
would not suffice for this trouble, if I meant to pay you in apologies
only. But I sincerely ask, and will punctually execute, the appointment
of your _chargé des affaires_ in Europe generally. From the smallest
to the highest commission, I will execute with zeal and punctually, in
buying, or doing any thing you wish, on this side the water. And you may
judge from the preceding specimen, that I shall not be behind hand
in the trouble I shall impose on you. Make a note of all the expenses
attending my commissions, and favor me with it every now and then, and
I will replace them. My daughter is well, and retains an affectionate
remembrance of her ancient patroness, your mother, as well as of your
lady and family. She joins me in wishing to them, and to Mr. and Mrs.
Rittenhouse and family, every happiness. Accept, yourself, assurances of
the esteem with which I am, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.


P.S. What is become of the Lunarium for the King?



LETTER CXLVIII.--TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, January 4, 1786


TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Paris, January 4, 1786.

Dear Sir,

I have been honored with your letter of September the 26th, which was
delivered me by Mr. Houdon, who is safely returned. He has brought with
him the mould of the face only, having left the other parts of his work
with his workmen to come by some other conveyance. Doctor Franklin, who
was joined with me in the superintendence of this just monument, having
left us before what is called the costume of the statue was decided on,
I cannot so well satisfy myself, and I am persuaded I should not so well
satisfy the world, as by consulting your own wish or inclination as
to this article. Permit me, therefore, to ask you whether there is any
particular dress, or any particular attitude, which you would rather
wish to be adopted. I shall take a singular pleasure in having your own
idea executed, if you will be so good as to make it known to me.

I thank you for the trouble you have taken in answering my inquiries on
the subject of Bushnel’s machine. Colonel Humphreys could only give me
a general idea of it from the effects proposed, rather than the means
contrived to produce them.

I sincerely rejoice that three such works as the opening the Potomac and
James rivers, and a canal from the Dismal Swamp are likely to be carried
through. There is still a fourth, however, which I had the honor I
believe of mentioning to you in a letter of March the 15th, 1784, from
Annapolis. It is the cutting a canal which shall unite the heads of the
Cayahoga and Beaver Creek. The utility of this, and even the necessity
of it, if we mean to aim at the trade of the lakes, will be palpable
to you. The only question is its practicability. The best information I
could get as to this was from General Hand, who described the country as
champain, and these waters as heading in lagoons, which would be easily
united. Maryland and Pennsylvania are both interested to concur with us
in this work. The institutions you propose to establish by the shares
in the Potomac and James river companies, given you by the Assembly, and
the particular objects of those institutions, are most worthy. It occurs
to me, however, that if the bill ‘for the more general diffusion
of knowledge,’ which is in the revisal, should be passed, it would
supersede the use and obscure the existence of the charity schools you
have thought of. I suppose in fact, that that bill or some other like it
will be passed. I never saw one received with more enthusiasm than that
was in the year 1778, by the House of Delegates, who ordered it to be
printed. And it seemed afterwards, that nothing but the extreme distress
of our resources prevented its being carried into execution even during
the war. It is an axiom in my mind, that our liberty can never be safe
but in the hands of the people themselves, and that too of the people
with a certain degree of instruction. This it is the business of the
State to effect, and on a general plan. Should you see a probability
of this, however, you can never be at a loss for worthy objects of this
donation. Even the remitting that proportion of the toll on all articles
transported, would present itself under many favorable considerations,
and it would in effect be to make the State do in a certain proportion
what they ought to have done wholly: for I think they should clear
all the rivers, and lay them open and free to all. However, you are
infinitely the best judge, how the most good may be effected with these
shares.

All is quiet here. There are indeed two specks in the horizon: the
exchange of Bavaria, and the demarcation between the Emperor and Turks.
We may add as a third, the interference by the King of Prussia in the
domestic disputes of the Dutch. Great Britain, it is said, begins to
look towards us with a little more good humor. But how true this may
be, I cannot say with certainty. We are trying to render her commerce
as little necessary to us as possible, by finding other markets for our
produce. A most favorable reduction of duties on whale-oil has taken
place here, which will give us a vent for that article, paying a duty of
a guinea and a half a ton only.

I have the honor to be, with the highest esteem and respect, Dear Sir,

your most obedient and

most humble servant,

Tm: Jefferson.



LETTER CXLIX.--TO A. CARY, January 7, 1786

TO A. CARY.

Paris, January 7, 1786.

Dear Sir,

The very few of my countrymen who happen to be punctual, will find their
punctuality a misfortune to them. Of this I shall give you a proof by
the present application, which I should not make to you, if I did
not know you to be superior to the torpidity of our climate. In my
conversations with the Count de Buffon on the subjects of Natural
History, I find him absolutely unacquainted with our elk and our deer.
He has hitherto believed that our deer never had horns more than a foot
long; and has, therefore, classed them with the roe-buck, which I am
sure you know them to be different from. I have examined some of the red
deer of this country at the distance of about sixty yards, and I find
no other difference between them and ours, than a shade or two in the
color. Will you take the trouble to procure for me the largest pair of
buck’s horns you can, and a large skin of each color, that is to say,
a red and a blue? If it were possible to take these from a buck just
killed, to leave all the bones of the head in the skin with the horns
on, to leave the bones of the legs in the skin also, and the hoofs to
it, so that having only made an incision all along the belly and neck to
take the animal out at, we could by sewing up that incision and stuffing
the skin, present the true size and form of the animal, it would be
a most precious present. Our deer have been often sent to England and
Scotland. Do you know (with certainty) whether they have ever bred with
the red deer of those countries? With respect to the elk, I despair of
your being able to get for me any thing but the horns of it. David Ross
I know has a pair; perhaps he would give them to us. It is useless to
ask for the skin and skeleton, because I think it is not in your power
to get them, otherwise they would be most desirable. A gentleman,
fellow-passenger with me from Boston to England, promised to send to you
in my name some hares, rabbits, pheasants, and partridges, by the return
of the ship which was to go to Virginia, and the captain promised to
take great care of them. My friend procured the animals, and the ship
changing her destination, he kept them, in hopes of finding some other
conveyance, till they all perished. I do not despair, however, of
finding some opportunity still of sending a colony of useful animals.
I am making a collection of vines for wine, and for the table; also of
some trees, such as the cork-oak, &c. &c.

Every thing is absolutely quiet in Europe. There is not, therefore, a
word of news to communicate. I pray you to present me affectionately
to your family and that of Tuckahoe. Whatever expense is necessary for
procuring me the articles above-mentioned, I will instantly replace,
either in cash, or in any thing you may wish from hence.

I am with very sincere esteem, Dear Sir,

your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CL.--TO MAJOR GENERAL GREENE, January 12, 1786


TO MAJOR GENERAL GREENE.

Paris, January 12, 1786.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of June the 1st did not come to hand till the 3rd of
September. I immediately made inquiries on the subject of the frigate
you had authorized your relation to sell to this government, and I found
that he had long before that sold her to government, and sold her very
well, as I understood. I noted the price on the back of your letter,
which I have since unfortunately mislaid, so that I cannot at this
moment state to you the price. But the transaction is of so long
standing that you cannot fail to have received advice of it. I should
without delay have given you this information, but that I hoped to be
able to accompany it with information as to the live-oak, which
was another object of your letter. This matter, though it has been
constantly pressed by Mr. St. John, and also by the Marquis de la
Fayette, since his return from Berlin, has been spun to a great length,
and at last they have only decided to send to you for samples of the
wood. Letters on this subject from the Marquis de la Fayette accompany
this.

Every thing in Europe is quiet, and promises quiet for at least a year
to come. We do not find it easy to make commercial arrangements in
Europe. There is a want of confidence in us. This country has lately
reduced the duties on American whale-oil to about a guinea and a half
the ton, and I think they will take the greatest part of what we can
furnish. I hope, therefore, that this branch of our commerce will resume
its activity. Portugal shows a disposition to court our trade; but this
has for some time been discouraged by the hostilities of the piratical
states of Barbary. The Emperor of Morocco, who had taken one of our
vessels, immediately consented to suspend hostilities and ultimately
gave up the vessel, cargo, and crew. I think we shall be able to settle
matters with him. But I am not sanguine as to the Algerines. They have
taken two of our vessels, and I fear will ask such a tribute for a
forbearance of their piracies as the United States would be unwilling
to pay. When this idea comes across my mind, my faculties are absolutely
suspended between indignation and impatience. I think whatever sums
we are obliged to pay for freedom of navigation in the European seas,
should be levied on the European commerce with us by a separate impost,
that these powers may see that they protect these enormities for their
own loss. I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the most perfect
esteem and respect, Dear Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER CLI.--TO LISTER ASQUITH, January 13, 1786


TO LISTER ASQUITH.

Paris, January 13, 1786.

Sir,

I have duly received your letter of the 2nd instant. The delays, which
have attended your enlargement, have been much beyond my expectation.
The reason I have not written to you for some time, has been the
constant expectation of receiving an order for your discharge. I have
not received it however. I went to Versailles three days ago, and made
fresh applications on the subject. I received assurances which give me
reason to hope that the order for your discharge will soon be made out.
Be assured it shall not be delayed a moment after it comes to my hands,
and that I shall omit no opportunity of hastening it. In the mean time,
I think you may comfort yourself and companions with the certainty of
receiving it ere long.

I am, Sir, your most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



RE QUESTIONS FOR _ECONOMIE POLITIQUE ET DIPLOMATIQUE_

     [The following were answers by Mr. Jefferson to questions
     addressed to him by Monsieur de Meusnier, author of that
     part of the _Encylopédie Méthodique_, entitled _Economie
     Politique et Diplomatique_.]

1. What has led Congress to determine that the concurrence of seven
votes is requisite in questions, which by the Confederation are
submitted to the decision of a majority of the United States in Congress
assembled?

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

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

Here then are three kinds of majorities. 1. Of the people. 2. Of the
States. 3. Of the Congress. Each of which is entrusted to a certain
length.

Though the paragraph in question be clumsily expressed, yet it strictly
announces its own intentions. It defines with precision, the greater
questions, for which nine votes shall be requisite. In the lesser
questions, it then requires a majority of the United States in Congress
assembled: a term which will apply either to the number seven, as being
a majority of the States, or to the number four, as being a majority
of Congress. Which of the two kinds of majority was meant. Clearly that
which would leave a still smaller kind for the decision of the question
of adjournment. The contrary construction would be absurd.

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


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

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

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

3. A succinct account of paper money, in America?

Previous to the late revolution, most of the