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are nothing but revivals of these half-informed opinions. Mr. George Nicholas, then a very young man, but always a very honest one, was prompted by these persons to bring specific charges against Mr. Jefferson. The heads of these, in writing, were communicated through a mutual friend to Mr. Jefferson, who committed to writing also the heads of justification on each of them. I well remember this paper, and believe the original of it still exists; and though framed when every real fact was fresh in the knowledge of every one, this fabricated flight from Richmond was not among the charges stated in this paper, nor any charge against Mr. Jefferson for not fighting, singly, the troop of horse. Mr. Nicholas candidly relinquished further proceeding. The House of Representatives of Virginia pronounced an honorable sentence of entire approbation of Mr. Jefferson's conduct, and so much the more honorable, as themselves had been witnesses to it. And Mr. George Nicholas took a conspicuous occasion afterwards, of his own free will, and when the matter was entirely at rest, to retract publicly the erroneous opinions he had been led into on that occasion, and to make just reparation by a candid acknowledgment of them.



Washington, March 2, 1806. GENTLEMEN, I have received the favor of your letter of February the 2nd, and read with thankfulness its obliging expressions respecting myself. I regret that the object of a letter from persons whom I so much esteem, and patronized by so many other respectable names, should be beyond the law which a mature consideration of circumstances has prescribed for my conduct. I deem it the duty of every man to devote a certain portion of his income for charitable purposes; and that it is his further duty to see it so applied as to do the most good of which it is capable. This I believe to be best insured, by keeping within the circle of his own inquiry and information, the subjects of distress to whose relief his contributions shall be applied. If this rule be reasonable in private lite, it becomes so necessary in my situation, that to relinquish it would leave me without rule or compass. The applications of this kind from different parts of our own, and from foreign countries, are far beyond any resources within my command. The mission of Serampore, in the East Indies, the object of the present application, is but one of many items. However disposed the mind may feel to unlimited good, our means having limits, we are necessarily circumscribed by them. They are too narrow to relieve even the distresses under our own eye: and to desert these for others which we neither see nor know, is to omit doing a certain good for one which is uncertain. I know, indeed, there have been splendid associations for effecting benevolent purposes in remote regions of the earth. But no experience of their effect has proved that more good would not have been done by the same means employed nearer home. In explaining, however, my own motives of action, I must not be understood as impeaching those of others. Their views are those of an expanded liberality. Mine may be too much restrained by the law of usefulness. But it is a law to me, and with minds like yours, will be felt as a justification. With this apology, I pray you to accept my salutations, and assurances of high esteem and respect.




Washington, March 22, 1806. I thank you, my good Sir, cordially, for your letter of the 12th; which, however, I did not receive till the 20th. It is a proof of sincerity, which I value above all things; as, between those who practise it, falsehood and malice work their efforts in vain. There is an enemy somewhere endeavoring to sow discord among us. Instead of listening first, then doubting, and lastly believing anile tales handed round without an atom of evidence, if my friends will address themselves to me directly, as you have done, they shall be informed with frankness and thankfulness. There is not a truth on earth which I fear or would disguise. But secret slanders cannot be disarmed, because they are secret. Although you desire no answer, I shall give you one to those articles admitting a short answer, reserving those which require more explanation than the compass of a letter admits, to conversation on your arrival here. And as I write this for your personal satisfaction, I rely that my letter will, under no circumstances, be communicated to any mortal, because you well know how every syllable from me is distorted by the ingenuity of political enemies.

In the first place, then, I have had less communication, directly or indirectly, with the republicans of the east, this session, than I ever had before. This has proceeded from accidental circumstances, not from design. And if there be any coolness between those of the south and myself, it has not been from me towards them. Certainly there has been no other reserve, than to avoid taking part in the divisions among our friends. That Mr. R. has openly attacked the administration is sufficiently known. We were not disposed to join in league with Britain, under any belief that she is fighting for the liberties of mankind, and to enter into war with Spain, and consequently France. The House of Representatives were in the same sentiment, when they rejected Mr. R.'s resolutions for raising a body of regular troops for the western service. We are for a peaceable accommodation with all those nations, if it can be effected honorably. This, perhaps, is not the only ground of his alienation; but which side retains its orthodoxy, the vote of eighty-seven to eleven republicans may satisfy you: but you will better satisfy yourself on coming here, where alone the true state of things can be known, and where you will see republicanism as solidly embodied on all essential points, as you ever saw it on any occasion.

That there is only one minister who is not opposed to me, is totally unfounded. There never was a more harmonious, a more cordial administration, nor ever a moment when it has been otherwise. And while differences of opinion have been always rare among us, I can affirm, that as to present matters, there was not a single paragraph in my message to Congress, or those supplementary to it, in which there was not a unanimity of concurrence in the members of the administration. The fact is, that in ordinary affairs every head of a department consults me on those of his department, and where any thing arises too difficult or important to be decided between us, the consultation becomes general.

That there is an ostensible cabinet and a concealed one, a public profession and concealed counteraction, is false.

That I have denounced republicans by the epithet of Jacobins, and declared I would appoint none but those called moderates of both parties, and that I have avowed or entertain any predilection for those called the third party, or Quids, is in every tittle of it false.

That the expedition of Miranda was countenanced by me is an absolute falsehood, let it have gone from whom it might; and I

am satified it is equally so as to Mr. Madison. To know as much of it as we could was our duty, but not to encourage it.

Our situation is difficult ; and whatever we do, is liable to the criticisms of those who wish to represent it awry. If we recommend measures in a public message, it may be said that members are not sent here to obey the mandates of the President, or to reigister the edicts of a sovereign. If we express opinions in conversation, we have then our Charles Jenkinsons, and back-door counsellors. If we say nothing, we have no opinions, no plans, no cabinet.' In truth, it is the fable of the old man, his son, and ass, over again.

These are short facts, which may suffice to inspire you with caution, until you can come here and examine for yourself. No other information can give you a true insight into the state of things; but you will have no difficulty in understanding them when on the spot. In the mean time, accept my friendly salutations and cordial good wishes.



TO Wilson C. NICHOLAS.—(Confidential.)

Washington, March 24, 1806. Dear Sir, A last effort at friendly settlement with Spain is proposed to be made at Paris, and under the auspices of France. For this purpose, General Armstrong and Mr. Bowdoin (both now at Paris) have been appointed joint commissioners : but such a cloud of dissatisfaction rests on General Armstrong in the minds of many persons, on account of a late occurrence stated in all the public papers, that we have in contemplation to add a third commissioner, in order to give the necessary measure of public confidence to the commission. Of these two gentlemen, one being of Massachusetts and one of new York, it is thought the third should be a southern man; and the rather, as the interests to be negotiated are almost entirely southern and western. This addition is not yet ultimately, decided on; but I am inclined to believe it will be adopted. Under this expectation, and my wish that you may be willing to undertake it, I give you the earliest possible intimation of it, that you may be preparing both your mind and your measures for the mis

sion. The departure would be required to be very prompt ; though the absence, I think, will not be long, Bonaparte not being in the practice of procrastination. This particular consideration will, I hope, reconcile the voyage to your affairs and your feelings. The allowance to an extra mission, is salary from the day of leaving home, and expenses to the place of destination, or in lieu of the latter, and to avoid settlements, a competent fixed sum may be given. For the return, a continuance of the salary for three months after fulfilment of the commission. Be so good as to make up your mind as quickly as possible, and to answer me as early as possible. Consider the measure as proposed provisionally only, and not to be communicated to any mortal until we see it proper.

Affectionate salutations.




Washington, April 13, 1806. Dear Sir, The situation of your affairs certainly furnishes good cause for your not acceding to my proposition of a special mission fo Europe. My only hope had been, that they could have gone on one summer without you. An unjust hostility against General Armstrong will, I am afraid, show itself whenever any treaty made by him shall be offered for ratification. I wished, therefore, to provide against this, by joining a person who would have united the confidence of the whole Senate. General Smith was so prominent in the opposition to Armstrong, that it would be impossible for them to act together. We conclude, therefore, to leave the matter with Armstrong and Bowdoin. Indeed, my dear Sir, I wish sincerely you were back in the Senate ; and that you would take the necessary measures to get yourself there. Perhaps, as a preliminary, you should go to our legislature. Giles's absence has been a most serious misfortune. A majority of the Senate means well. But Tracy and Bayard are too dexterous for them, and have very much influenced their proceedings. Tracy has been of nearly every committee during the session, and for the most part the chairman, and of course drawer of the reports. Seven federalists voting always in phalanx, and joined by some discontented republicans, some oblique ones, some capricious, have so often

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