網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

we had better information than he could possess. His opinion was no more than that of any other sensible man; and his letter was proper to be communicated with the English papers, and with them only. That the executive did not hold it up on account of any bearing on Spanish affairs, is evident from the fact, that it was communicated when the Senate had not yet entered on the Spanish affairs, and had not yet received the papers relating to them from the other House. The moment the Representatives were ready to enter on the British affairs, Monroe's letter, which peculiarly related to them, and was official solely as to them, was communicated to both Houses, the Senate being then about entering on the Spanish affairs.

These, my dear Sir, are the principal facts worth correction. Make any use of them you think best, without letting your source of information be known. Can you send me some cones or seeds of the cucumber-tree ? Accept affectionate salutations, and assurances of great esteem and respect.

Th: JEFFERSON.

LETTER XXXVII.

TO ALBERT GALLATIN.

Washington, October 12, 1806. DEAR Sır, You witnessed, in the earlier part of the administration, the malignant and long continued efforts which the federalists exerted in their newspapers, to produce misunderstanding between Mr. Madison and myself. These failed completely. A like attempt was afterwards made, through other channels, to effect a similar purpose between General Dearborn and myself, but with no more success. The machinations of the last session to put you at cross questions with us all, were so obvious as to be seen at the first glance of every eye. In order to destroy one member of the administration, the whole were to be set to loggerheads to destroy one another. I observe in the papers lately, new attempts to revive this stale artifice, and that they squint more directly towards you and myself. I cannot, therefore, be satisfied, till I declare to you explicitly, that my affections and confidence in you are nothing impaired, and that they cannot be impaired by means so unworthy the notice of candid and honorable minds. I make the declaration, that no doubts or jealousies, which often beget the facts they fear, may find a moment's harbor in either of our minds. I have so much reliance on the superior good sense and candor of all those associated with me, as to be satisfied ther will not suffer either friend or foe to sow tares among us. Our administration now drawing towards a close, I have a sublime pleasure in believing it will be distinguished as much by having placed itself above all the passions which could disturb its harmony, as by the great operations by which it will have advanced the well-being of the nation.

Accept my affectionate salutations, and assurances of my constant and unalterable respect and attachment.

Th: JEFFERSON.

· LETTER XXXVIII.

TO JOHN DICKINSON.

· Washington, January 13, 1807. MY DEAR AND Ancient Friend, I have duly received your favor of the 1st instant, and am ever thankful for communications which may guide me in the duties which I wish to perform as well as I am able. It is but too true, that great discontents exist in the territory of Orleans. Those of the French inhabitants bave for their sources, 1. the prohibition of importing slaves. This may be partly removed by Congress permitting them to receive slaves from the other States, which, by dividing that evil, would lessen its danger. 2. The administration of justice in our forms, principles, and language, with all of which they are unacquainted, and are the more abhorrent, because of the enormous expense, greatly exaggerated by the corruption of bankrupt and greedy lawyers, who have gone there from the United States and engrossed the practice. 3. The call on them by the land commissioners to produce the titles of their lands. The object of this is really to record and secure their rights. But as many of them hold on rights so ancient that the title papers are lost, they expect the land is to be taken from them wherever they cannot produce a regular deduction of title in writing. In this they will be undeceived by the final result, which will evince to them a liberal disposition of the government towards them. Among

the American inhabitants it is the old division of federalists and republicans. The former are as hostile there as they are every where, and are the most numerous and wealthy. They have been long endeavoring to batter down the Governor, who has always been a firm republican. There were characters superior to him, whom I wished to appoint, but they refused the office: I know no better man who would accept of it, and it would not be right to turn him out for one not better. But it is the second cause, above mentioned, which is deep seated and permanent. The French members of the legislature, being the majority in both Houses, lately passed an act, declaring that the civil, or French laws, should be the laws of their land, and enumerated about fifty folio volumes, in Latin, as the depositories of these laws. The Governor negatived the act. One of the Houses thereupon passed a vote for self-dissolution of the legislature as a useless body, which failed in the other House by a single vote only. They separated, however, and have disseminated all the discontent they could. I propose to the members of Congress in conversation, the enlisting thirty thousand volunteers, Americans by birth, to be carried at the public expense, and settled immediately on a bounty of one hundred and sixty acres of land each, on the west side of the Mississippi, on the condition of giving two years of military service, if that country should be attacked within seven years. The defence of the country would thus be placed on the spot, and the additional number would entitle the territory to become a State, would make the majority American, and make it an American instead of a French State. This would not sweeten the pill to the French ; but in making that acquisition we had some view to our own good as well as theirs, and I believe the greatest good of both will be promoted by whatever will amalgamate us together.

I have tired you, my friend, with a long letter. But your tedium will end in a few lines more. Mine has yet two years to endure. I am tired of an office where I can do no more good than many others, who would be glad to be employed in it. To myself, personally, it brings nothing but unceasing drudgery, and daily loss of friends. Every office becoming vacant, every appointment made, me donne un ingrat, et cent ennemis. My only consolation is in the belief, that my fellow-citizens at large give me credit for good intentions. I will certainly endeavor to merit the continuance of that good will which follows well intended actions, and their approbation will be the dearest reward I can carry into retirement.

God bless you, my excellent friend, and give you yet many healthy and happy years.

. TH: JEFFERSON. VOL. IV.

LETTER XXXIX.

TO WILSON C. NICHOLAS.

Washington, February 28, 1807. Dear Sir, Your letter of January the 20th was received in due time. But such has been the constant pressure of business, that it has been out of my power to answer it. Indeed, the subjects of it would be almost beyond the extent of a letter, and as I hope to see you ere long at Monticello, it can then be more effectually done verbally. Let me observe, however, generally, that it is impossible for my friends ever to render me so acceptable a favor, as by communicating to me, without reserve, facts and opinions. I have none of that sort of self-love which winces at it ; indeed, both self-love and the desire to do what is best strongly invite unreserved communication. There is one subject which will not adınit a delay till I see you. Mr. T. M. Randolph is, I believe, determined to retire from Congress, and it is strongly his wish, and that of all here, that you should take his place. Never did the calls of patriotism more loudly assail you than at this moment. After excepting the federalists, who will be twenty-seven, and the little band of schismatics, who will be three or four (all tongue), the residue of the House of Representatives is as well disposed a body of men as I ever saw collected. But there is no one whose talents and standing, taken together, have weight enough to give him the lead. The consequence is, that there is no one who will undertake to do the public business, and it remains undone. Were you here, the whole would rally round you in an instant, and willingly co-operate in whatever is for the public good. Nor would it require you to undertake drudgery in the House. There are enough, able and willing to do that. A rallying point is all that is wanting. Let me beseech you then to offer yourself. You never will have it so much in your power again to render such eminent service. Accept my affectionate salutations and high esteem.

Tu: JEFFERSON.

LETTER XL.

TO JAMES MONROE.

Washington, March 21, 1807. DEAR SIR, A copy of the treaty with Great Britain came to Mr. Erskine's hands on the last day of the session of Congress, which he immediately communicated to us; and since that, Mr. Purviance has arrived with an original. On the subject of it you will receive a letter from the Secretary of State, of about this date, and one more in detail hereafter. I should not have written, but that I perceive uncommon efforts, and with uncommon wickedness, are making by the federal papers to produce mischief between myself, personally, and our negotiators ; and also to irritate the British government, by putting a thousand speeches into my mouth, not one word of which I ever uttered. I have, therefore, thought it safe to guard you, by stating the view which we have given out on the subject of the treaty, in conversation and otherwise ; for ours, as you know, is a government which will not tolerate the being kept entirely in the dark, and especially on a subject so interesting as this treaty. We immediately stated in conversation, to the members of the legislature and others, that having, by a letter received in January, perceived that our ministers might sign a treaty not providing satisfactorily against the impressment of our seamen, we had, on the 3rd of February, informed you, that should such an one have been forwarded, it could not be ratified, and recommending, therefore, that you should resume negotiations for inserting an article to that effect ; that we should hold the treaty in suspense until we could learn from you the result of our instructions, which probably would not be till summer, and then decide on the question of calling the Senate. We observed, too, that a written declaration of the British commissioners, given in at the time of signature, would of itself, unless withdrawn, prevent the acceptance of any treaty, because its effect was to leave us bound by the treaty, and themselves totally unbound. This is the statement we have given out, and nothing more of the contents of the treaty has been made known. But depend on it, my dear Sir, that it will be considered as a hard treaty when it is known. The British commissioners appear to have screwed every article as far as it would bear, to have taken every thing, and yielded nothing. Take out the eleventh article, and the evil of all the others so much overweighs the good, that we should be glad to expunge the

« 上一頁繼續 »