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United States. But when I consider that the limits of the United States are precisely fixed by the treaty of 1783, that the constitution expressly declares itself to be made for the United States, I cannot help believing the intention was not to permit Congress to admit into the Union new States, which should be formed out of the territory for which, and under whose authority alone, they were then acting. I do not believe it was mcant that they might receive England, Ireland, Holland, &c. into it, which would be the case on your construction. When an instrument admits two constructions, the one safe, the other dangerous, the one precise, the other indefinite, I prefer that which is safe and precise. I had rather ask an enlargement of power from the nation, where it is found necessary, than to assume it by a construction which would make our powers boundless. Our peculiar security is in the possession of a written constitution. Let us not make it a blank paper by construction. I say the same as to the opinion of those who consider the grant of the treaty-inaking power as boundless. If it is, then we have no constitution. If it has bounds, they can be no others than the definitions of the powers which that instrument gives. It specifies and delineates the operations permitted to the federal government, and gives all the powers necessary to carry these into execution. Whatever of these enumerated objects is proper for a law, Congress may make the law ; whatever is proper to be executed by way of a treaty, the President and Senate may enter into the treaty; whatever is to be done by a judicial sentence, the judges may pass the sentence. Nothing is more likely than that their enumeration of powers is defective. This is the ordinary case of all human works. Let us go on then perfecting it, by adding, by way of amendment to the constitution, those powers which time and trial show are still wanting. But it has been taken too much for granted, that by this rigorous construction the treaty power would be reduced to nothing. I had occasion once to examine its effect on the French treaty, made by the old Congress, and found that out of thirty odd articles which that contained, there were one, two, or three only, which could not now be stipulated under our present constitution. I consess, then, I think it important, in the present case, to set an example against broad construction, by appealing for new power to the people. If, however, our friends shall think differently, certainly I shall acquiesce with satisfaction; considing, that the good sense of our country will correct the evil of construction when it shall produce ill effects.
No apologies for writing or speaking to me freely are necessary. On the contrary, nothing my friends can do is so dear to
me, and proves to me their friendship so clearly, as the information they give me of their sentiments and those of others on interesting points where I am to act, and where information and warning is so essential to excite in me that due reflection which ought to precede action. I leave this about the 21st, and shall hope the District Court will give me an opportunity of seeing you.
Accept my affectionate salutations, and assurances of cordial esteem and respect.
TO DOCTOR BENJAMIN RUSH.
Washington, October 4, 1803. Dear Sir, No one would more willingly than myself pay the just tribute due to the services of Captain Barry, by writing a letter of condolence to his widow, as you suggest. But when one undertakes to administer justice, it must be with an even hand, and by rule ; what is done for one, must be done for every one in equal degree. To what a train of attentions would this draw a President? How difficult would it be to draw the line between that degree of merit entitled to such a testimonial of it, and that not so entitled? If drawn in a particular case differently from what the friends of the deceased would judge right, what offence would it give, and of the most tender kind ? How much offence would be given by accidental inattentions, or want of information? The first step into such an undertaking ought to be well weighed. On the death of Dr. Franklin, the King and Convention of France went into mourning. So did the House of Representatives of the United States: the Senate refused. I proposed to General Washington that the executive departinents should wear mourning; he declined it, because he said he should not know where to draw the line, if he once began that ceremony. Mr. Adams was then Vice-President, and I thought General Washington had his eye on him, whom he certainly did not love. I told him the world had drawn so broad a line between himself and Dr. Franklin, on the one side, and the residue of mankind, on the other, that we might wear mourning for them, and the question still remain new and undecided as to all others. He thought it best, however, to avoid it. On these considerations alone, however well affected to the merit
of Commodore Barry, I think it prudent not to engage myself in a practice which may become embarrassing.
Tremendous times in Europe! How mighty this battle of lions and tigers? With what sensations should the common herd of cattle look on it? With no partialities certainly. If they can so far worry one another as to destroy their power of tyrannizing the one over the earth, the other the waters, the world may perhaps enjoy peace, till they recruit again. Affectionate and respectful salutations.
TO M. DUPONT DE NEMOURS.
Washington, November 1, 1803. My Dear Sir, Your favors of April the 6th and June the 27th were duly received, and with the welcome which every thing brings from you. The treaty which has so happily sealed the friendship of our two countries, has been received here with general acclamation. Some inflexible federalists have still ventured to brave the public opinion. It will fix their character with the world and with posterity, who, not descending to the other points of difference between us, will judge them by this fact, so palpable as to speak for itself, in all times and places. For myself and my country I thank you for the aids you have given in it; and I congratulate you on having lived to give those aids in a transaction replete with blessings to unborn millions of men, and which will mark the face of a portion on the globe so extensive as that which now composes the United States of America. It is true that at this moment a little cloud hovers in the horizon. The governinent of Spain has protested against the right of France to transfer ; and it is possible she may refuse possession, and that this may bring on acts of force. But against such neighbors as France there, and the United States here, what she can expect froin so gross a compound of folly and false faith, is not to be sought in the book of wisdom. She is afraid of her enemies in Mexico. But not more than we are. Our policy will be to form New Orleans and the country on both sides of it on the Gulf of Mexico, into a State ; and, as to all above that, to transplant our Indians into it, constituting them a Maréchaussée to prevent emigrants crossing the river, until we shall have filled up
all the vacant country on this side. This will secure both Spain and us as to the mines of Mexico, for half a century, and we may safely trust the provisions for that time to the men who shall live in it. · I have communicated with Mr. Gallatin on the subject of using your house in any matters of consequence we may have to do at Paris. He is impressed with the same desire I feel to give this mark of our confidence in you, and the sense we entertain of your friendship and fidelity. Mr. Behring informs him that none of the money which will be due from us to him, as the assignee of France, will be wanting at Paris. Be assured that our dispositions are such as to let no occasion pass unimproved, of serving you, where occurrences will permit it.
Present my respects to Madame Dupont, and accept yourself assurances of my constant and warm friendship.
TO ROBERT R. LIVINGSTON.
Washington, November 4, 1803. Dear Sir, A report reaches us this day from Baltimore (on probable, but not certain grounds), that Mr. Jerome Bonaparte, brother of the First Consul, was yesterday* married to Miss Patterson of that city. The effect of this measure on the mind of the First Consul, is not for me to suppose; but as it might occur to him primâ facie, that the executive of the United States ought to have prevented it, I have thought it advisable to mention the subject to you, that if necessary, you may by explanations set that idea to rights. You know that by our laws, all persons are free to enter into marriage, if of twenty-one years of age, no one having a power to restrain it, not even their parents; and that under that age, no one can prevent it but the parent or guardian. The lady is under age, and the parents, placed between her affections which were strongly fixed, and the considerations opposing the measure, yielded with pain and anxiety to the former. Mr. Patterson is the President of the bank of Baltimore, the wealthiest man in Maryland, perhaps
* November 8. It is now said that it did not take place on the 3rd, but will this day.
in the United States, except Mr. Carroll; a man of great virtue and respectability ; the mother is the sister of the lady of General Samuel Smith; and, consequently, the station of the family in society is with the first of the United States. These circumstances fix rank in a country where there are no hereditary titles.
Your treaty has obtained nearly a general approbation. The federalists spoke and voted against it, but they are now so reduced in their numbers as to be nothing. The question on its ratification in the Senate was decided by twenty-four against seven, which was ten more than enough. The vote in the House of Representatives for making provision for its execution, was carried by eighty-nine against twenty-three, which was a majority of sixty-six, and the necessary bills are going through the Houses by greater majorities. Mr. Pichon, according to instructions from his government, proposed to have added to the ratification a protestation against any failure in time or other circumstances of execution, on our part. He was told, that in that case we should annex a counter protestation, which would leave the thing exactly where it was; that this transaction had been conducted from the commencement of the negotiation to this stage of it, with a frankness and sincerity honorable to both nations, and comfortable to the heart of an honest man to review ; that to annex to this last chapter of the transaction such an evidence of mutual distrust, was to change its aspect dishonorably for us both, and contrary to truth as to us; for that we had not the smallest doubt that France would punctually execute its part; and I assured Mr. Pichon that I had more confidence in the word of the First Consul than in all the parchment we could sign. He saw that we had ratified the treaty ; that both branches had passed by great majorities one of the bills for execution, and would soon pass the other two ; that no circumstances remained that could leave a doubt of our punctual performance; and like an able and an honest minister (which he is in the highest degree) he undertook to do, what he knew his employers would do themselves, were they here spectators of all the existing circumstances, and exchanged the ratifications purely and simply; so that this instrument goes to the world as an evidence of the candor and confidence of the nations in each other, which will have the best effects. This was the more justifiable, as Mr. Pichon knew that Spain had entered with us a protestation against our ratification of the treaty, grounded, first, on the assertion that the First Consul had not executed the conditions of the treaties of cession, and secondly, that he had broken a solemn promise not to alienate the country to any nation. We answered, that these were private questions between France and Spain, which they must