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ever, my desire of friendship with their enemy also. During the administration of Mr. Addington, I thought I discovered some friendly symptoms on the part of that government; at least, we received some marks of respect from the administration, and some of regret at the wrongs we were suffering from their country. So, also, during the short interval of Mr. Fox's power. But every other administration since our Revolution has been equally wanton in their injuries and insults, and has manifested equal hatred and aversion. Instead, too, of cultivating the government itself, whose principles are those of the great mass of the nation, they have adopted the miserable policy of teazing and embarrassing it, by allying themselves with a faction here, not a tenth of the people, noisy and unprincipled, and which never can come into power while republicanism is the spirit of the nation, and that must continue to be so, until such a condensation of population shall have taken place as will require centuries. Whereas, the good will of the government itself would give them, and immediately, every benefit which reason or justice would permit it to give. With respect to myself, I saw great reason to believe their ministers were weak enough to credit the newspaper trash about a supposed personal enmity in myself towards England. This wretched party imputation was beneath the notice of wise men. England never did me a personal injury, other than in open war; and for numerous individuals there, I have great esteem and friendship. And I must have had a mind far below the duties of my station, to have felt either national partialities or antipathies in conducting the affairs confided to me. My affections were first for my own country, and then, generally, for all mankind; and nothing but minds placing themselves above the passions, in the functionaries of this country, could have preserved us from the war to which their provocations have been constantly urging us. The war interests in England include a numerous and wealthy part of their population; and their influence is deemed worth courting by ministers wishing to keep their places. Continually endangered by a powerful opposition, they find it convenient to humor the popular passions at the expense of the public good. The shipping interest, commercial interest, and their janizaries of the navy, all fattening on war, will not be neglected by ministers of ordinary minds. Their tenure of office is so infirm that they dare not follow the dictates of wisdom, justice, and the well calculated interests of their country. This vice, in the English constitution, renders a dependance on that government very unsafe. The feelings of their King, too, fundamentally averse to us, have added another motive for unfriendliness in his ministers. This obstacle to friendship, however,
seems likely to be soon removed ; and I verily believe the successor will come in with fairer and wiser dispositions towards us ; perhaps on that event their conduct may be changed. But what England is to become on the crush of her internal structure, now seeming to be begun, I cannot foresee. Her monied interest, created by her paper system, and now constituting a baseless mass of wealth equal to that of the owners of the soil, must disappear with that system, and the medium for paying great taxes thus failing, her navy must be without support. That it shall be supported by permitting her to claim dominion of the ocean, and to levy tribute on every flag traversing that, as lately attempted and not yet relinquished, every nation must contest, even ad internecionem. And yet, that, retiring from this enormity, she should continue able to take a fair share in the necessary equilibrium of power on that element, would be the desire of every nation.
I feel happy in withdrawing my mind from these anxieties, and resigning myself, for the remnant of life, to the care and guardianship of others. Good wishes are all an old man has to offer to his country or friends. Mine attend yourself, with sincere assurances of esteem and respect, which, however, I should be better pleased to tender you in person, should your rambles ever lead you into the vicinage of Monticello.
TO DOCTOR BENJAMIN RUSH.
Monticello, January 16, 1811. DEAR SJR, I had been considering for some days, whether it was not time by a letter, 10 bring myself to your recollection, when I received your welcome favor of the 2nd instant. I had before heard of the heart-rending calamity you mention, and had sincerely sympathized with your afflictions. But I had not made it the subject of a letter, because I knew that condolences were but renewals of grief. Yet I thought, and still think, this is one of the cases wherein we should not sorrow, even as others who have no hope.'
grief. Yet I those hl knew that "cond had not made
You ask if I have read Hartley? I have not. My present course of life admits less reading than I wish. From breakfast, or noon at latest, to dinner, I am mostly on horseback, attending to my farms or other concerns, which I find healthful to my body, mind, and affairs; and the few hours I can pass in my cabinet, are devoured by correspondences; not those with my intimate friends, with whom I delight to interchange sentiments, but with others, who, writing to me on concerns of their own in which I have had an agency, or from motives of mere respect and approbation, are entitled to be answered with respect and a return of good will. My hope is that this obstacle to the delights of retirement will wear away with the oblivion which follows that, and that I may at length be indulged in those studious pursuits, from which nothing but revolutionary duties would ever have called me.
I shall receive your proposed publication, and read it with the pleasure which every thing gives me from your pen. Although much of a sceptic in the practice of medicine, I read with pleasure its ingenious theories.
I receive with sensibility your observations on the discontinuance of friendly correspondence between Mr. Adams and myself, and the concern you take in its restoration. This discontinuance has not proceeded from me, nor from the want of sincere desire, and of effort on my part, to renew our intercourse. You know the perfect coincidence of principle and of action, in the early part of the Revolution, which produced a high degree of mutual respect and esteem between Mr. Adams and myself. Certainly no man was ever truer than he was, in that day, to those principles of rational republicanism, which, after the necessity of throwing off our monarchy, dictated all our efforts in the establishment of a new government. And although he swerved, afterwards, towards the principles of the English constitution, our friendship did not abate on that account. While he was Vice-President, and I Secretary of State, I received a letter from President Washington, then at Mount Vernon, desiring me to call together the Heads of departments, and to invite Mr. Adams to join us (which, by the bye, was the only instance of that being done) in order to determine on some measure which required despatch ; and he desired me to act on it, as decided, without again recurring to him. I invited them to dine with me, and after dinner, sitting at our wine, having settled our question, other conversation came on, in which a collision of opinion arose between Mr. Adams and Colonel Hamilton, on the merits of the British Constitution, Mr. Adams giving it as his opinion, that, if some of its defects and abuses were corrected, it would be the most perfect constitution of government ever devised by man. Hamilton, on the contrary, asserted, that with its existing vices, it was the most perfect model of government that could be formed ; and that the correction of
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its vices would render it an impracticable government. And this you may be assured was the real line of difference between the political principles of these two gentlemen. Another incident took place on the same occasion, which will further delineate Hamilton's political principles. The room being hung around with a collection of the portraits of remarkable men, among them were those of Bacon, Newton, and Locke. Hamilton asked me who they were. I told him they were my trinity of the three greatest men the world had ever produced, naming them. He paused for some time : « The greatest man,' said he, that ever lived, was Julius Cæsar. Mr. Adams was honest as a politician, as well as a man; Hamilton honest as a man, but, as a politician, believing in the necessity of either force or corruption to govern men.
You remember the machinery which the federalists played off, about that time, to beat down the friends to the real principles of our constitution, to silence by terror every expression in their favor, to bring us into war with France and alliance with England, and finally to homologize our constitution with that of England. Mr. Adams, you know, was overwhelmed with feverish addresses, dictated by the fear, and often by the pen of the bloody buoy, and was seduced by them into some open indications of his new principles of government, and in fact, was so elated as to mix with his kindness a little superciliousness towards me. ' Even Mrs. Adams, with all her good sense and prudence, was sensibly flushed. And you recollect the short suspension of our intercourse, and the circumstance which gave rise to it, which you were so good as to bring to an early explanation, and have set to rights, to the cordial satisfaction of us all. The nation at length passed condemnation on the political principles of the federalists, by refusing to continue Mr. Adams in the Presidency. On the day on which we learned in Philadelphia the vote of the city of New York, which it was well known would decide the vote of the State, and that, again, the vote of the Union, I called on Mr. Adams on some official business. He was very sensibly affected, and accosted me with these words. “Well, I understand that you are to beat me in this contest, and I will only say that I will be as faithful a subject as any you will have. Mr. Adams,' said I, this is no personal contest between you and me. Two systems of principles on the subject of government divide our fellow-citizens into two parties. With one of these you concur, and I with the other. As we have been longer on the public stage than most of those now living, our names happen to be more generally known. One of these parties, therefore, has put your name at its head, the
other mine. Were we both to die to-day, to-morrow two other names would be in the place of ours, without any change in the motion of the machine. Its motion is from its principle, not from you or myself.' 'I believe you are right,' said he, that we are but passive instruments, and should not suffer this matter to affect our personal dispositions. But he did not long retain this just view of the subject. I have always believed that the thousand calumnies which the federalists, in bitterness of heart, and mortification at their ejection, daily invented against me, were carried to him by their busy intriguers, and made some impression. When the election between Burr and myself was kept in suspense by the federalists, and they were meditating to place the President of the Senale at the head of the governinent, I called on Mr. Adams with a view to have this desperate measure prevented by his negative. He grew warm in an instant, and said with a vehemence he had not used towards me before, “Sir, the event of the election is within your own power. You have only to say you will do justice to the public creditors, maintain the navy, and not disturb those holding offices, and the government will instantly be put into your hands. We know it is the wish of the people it should be so. Mr. Adams,' said I, • I know not what part of my conduct, in either public or private lise, can have authorized a doubt of my fidelity to the public engagements. I say, however, I will not come into the government by capitulation. I will not enter on it, but in perfect freedom to follow the dictates of my own judgment.' I had before given the same answer to the same intimation from Gouverneur Morris. • Then,' said he, things must take their course.' I turned the conversation to something else, and soon took my leave. It was the first time in our lives we had ever parted with any thing like dissatisfaction. And then followed those scenes of midnight appointment, which have been condemned by all men. The last day of his political power, the last hours, and even beyond the midnight, were employed in filling all offices and especially permanent ones, with the bitterest federalists, and providing for me the alternative, either to execute the government by my enemies, whose study it would be to thwart and defeat all my measures, or to incur the odium of such numerous removals from office, as might bear me down. A little time and reflection effaced in my mind this temporary dissatisfaction with Mr. Adams, and restored me to that just estimate of his virtues and passions, which a long acquaintance had enabled me to fix. And my first wish became that of making his retirement easy by any means in my power; for it was understood he was not rich. I suggested to some republican members of the delegation from his State, the