網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

LETTER LIII.

TO GOVERNOR SULLIVAN.

Washington, June 19, 1807. Dear Sir, In acknowledging the receipt of your favor of the 3rd instant, 1 avail myself of the occasion it offers of tendering to yourself, to Mr. Lincoln, and to your State, my sincere congratulations on the late happy event of the election of a republican executive to preside over its councils. The harmony it has introduced between the legislative and executive branches, between the people and both of them, and between all and the General Government, are so many steps towards securing that union of action and effort in all its parts, without which no nation can be happy or safe. The just respect, with which all the States have ever looked to Massachusetts, could leave none of them without anxiety while she was in a state of alienation from her family and friends. Your opinion of the propriety and advantage of a more intimate correspondence between the executives of the several States, and that of the Union, as a central point, is precisely that which I have ever entertained; and on coming into office I felt the advantages which would result from that harmony. I had it even in contemplation, after the annual recommendation to Congress of those measures called for by the times, which the constitution had placed under their power, to make communications in like manner to the executives of the States, as to any parts of them to which their legislatures might be alone competent. For many are the exercises of power reserved to the States, wherein an uniformity of proceeding would be advantageous to all. Such are quarantines, health laws, regulations of the press, banking institutions, training militia, &c. &c. But you know what was the state of the several governments when I came into office. That a great proportion of them were federal, and would have been delighted with such opportunities of proclaiming their contempt, and of opposing republican men and measures. Opportunities so furnished and used by some of the State governments, would have produced an ill effect, and would have insured the failure of the object of uniform proceeding. If it could be ventured even now (Connecticut and Delaware being still hostile) it must be on some greater occasion than is likely to arise within my time. I look to it, therefore, as a course which will probably be to be left to the consideration of my successor.

I consider, with you, the federalists as completely vanquished, and never more to take the field under their own banners. They will now reserve themselves to profit by the schisms among republicans, and to earn favors from minorities, whom they will enable to triumph over their more numerous antagonists. So long as republican minorities barely accept their votes, no great harm will be done; because it will only place in power one shade of republicanism, instead of another. But when they purchase the votes of the federalists, by giving them a participation of office, trust, and power, it is a proof that anti-monarchism is not their strongest passion. I do not think that the republican minority in Pennsylvania has fallen into this heresy, nor that there are in your State materials of which a minority can be made who will fall into it. ,

With respect to the tour my friends to the north have proposed that I should make in that quarter, I have not made up a final opinion. The course of life which General Washington had run, civil and military, the services he had rendered, and the space he therefore occupied in the affections of his fellow-citizens, take from his examples the weight of precedents for others, because no others can arrogate to themselves the claims which he had on the public homage. To myself, therefore, it comes as a new question, to be viewed under all the phases it may present. I confess, that I am not reconciled to the idea of a chief magistrate parading himself through the several States as an object of public gaze, and in quest of an applause, which, to be valuable, should be purely voluntary. I had rather acquire silent good will by a faithful discharge of my duties, than owe expressions of it to my putting myself in the way of receiving them. Were I to make such a tour to Portsmouth or Portland, I must do it to Savannah, perhaps to Orleans and Frankfort. As I have never yet seen the time when the public business would have permitted me to be so long in a situation in which I could not carry it on, so I have no reason to expect that such a time will come while I remain in office. A journey to Boston or Portsmouth, after I shall be a private citizen, would much better harmonize with my feelings, as well as duties; and, founded in curiosity, would give no claims to an extension of it. I should see my friends, too, more at our mutual ease, and be left more exclusively to their society. However, I end as I began, by declaring I have made up no opinion on the subject, and that I reserve it as a question for future consideration and advice.

In the mean time, and at all times, I salute you with great respect and esteem.

Th: JEFFERSOX. VOL. IV.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Washington, June 20, 1807. DEAR SIR, Mr. Latrobe now comes on as a witness against Burr. His presence here is with great inconvenience dispensed with, as one hundred and fifty workmen require his constant directions on various public works of pressing importance. I hope you will permit him to come away as soon as possible. How far his testimony will be important as to the prisoner, I know not; but I am desirous that those meetings of Yrujo with Burr and his principal accomplices should coine fully out, and judicially, as they will establish the just complaints we have against his nation.

I did not see till last night the opinion of the Judge on the subpæna duces tecum' against the President. Considering the question there as coram non judice, I did not read his argument with much attention. Yet I saw readily enough, that, as is usual, where an opinion is to be supported, right or wrong, he dwells much on smaller objections, and passes over those which are solid. Laying down the position generally, that all persons owe obedience to subpænas, he admits no exception unless it can be produced in his law books. But if the constitution enjoins on a particular officer to be always engaged in a particular set of duties imposed on him, does not this supersede the general law, subjecting him to minor duties inconsistent with these? The constitution enjoins his constant agency in the concerns of six millions of people. Is the law paramount to this, which calls on him on behalf of a single one? Let us apply the Judge's own doctrine to the case of himself and his brethren. The sheriff of Henrico summons him from the bench, to quell a riot somewhere in his county. The federal judge is, by the general law, a part of the posse of the State sheriff. Would the Judge abandon major duties to perform lesser ones? Again; the court of Orleans or Maine commands, by subpænas, the attendance of all the judges of the Supreme Court. Would they abandon their posts as judges, and the interests of millions committed to them, to serve the purposes, of a single individual? The leading principle of our constitution is the independence of the legislature, executive, and judiciary, of each other, and none are more jealous of this than the judiciary. But would the executive be independent of the judiciary, if he were subject to the commands of the latter, and to imprisonment

for disobedience; if the several courts could bandy him from pillar to post, keep him constantly trudging from north to south, and east to west, and withdraw him entirely from his constitutional duties? The intention of the constitution, that each branch should be independent of the others, is further manifested by the means it has furnished to each, to protect itself from enterprises of force attempted on them by the others, and to none has it given more effectual or diversified means than to the executive. Again ; because ministers can go into a court in London, as witnesses, without interruption to their executive duties, it is inferred that they would go to a court one thousand or one thousand five hundred miles off, and that ours are to be dragged from Maine to Orleans by every criminal who will swear that their testimony may be of use to him.' The Judge says, it is apparent that the President's duties, as chief magistrate, do not demand his whole time, and are not unremitting. If he alludes to our annual retirement from the seat of government, during the sickly season, he should be told that such arrangements are made for carrying on the public business, at and between the several stations we take, that it goes on as unremittingly there, as if we were at the seat of government. I pass more hours in public business at Monticello than I do here, every day; and it is much more laborious, because all must be done in writing. Our stations being known, all communications come to them regularly, as to fixed points. It would be very different were we always on the road, or placed in the noisy and crowded taverns where courts are held. Mr. Rodney is expected here every hour, having been kept away by a sick child. I salute you with friendship and respect.

TH: JEFFERSON.

LETTER LV.

TO DOCTOR WISTAR.

Washington, June 21, 1807. DEAR SIR, I have a grandson, the son of Mr. Randolph, now about fifteen years of age, in whose education I take a lively interest.

* * * * * * * * * I am not a friend to placing young men in populous cities, because they acquire there habits and partialities which do not contribute to the happiness of their after life. But there are particular branches of science, which are not so advantageously taught any where else in the United States as in Philadelphia. The garden at the Woodlands for Botany, Mr. Peale's Museum for Natural History, your Medical School for Anatomy, and the able professors in all of them, give advantages not to be found elsewhere. We propose, therefore, to send him to Philadelphia to attend the schools of Botany, Natural History, Anatomy, and perhaps Surgery; but not of Medicine. And why not of Medicine, you will ask? Being led to the subject, I will avail myself of the occasion to express my opinions on that science, and the extent of my medical creed. But, to finish first with respect to my grandson, I will state the favor I ask of you, and which is the object of this letter.

* * * * * * * * * This subject dismissed, I may now take up that which it led to, and further tax your patience with unlearned views of medicine; which, as in most cases, are, perhaps, the more confident in proportion as they are less enlightened.

We know, from what we see and feel, that the animal body is in its organs and functions subject to derangement, inducing pain, and tending to its destruction. In this disordered state, we observe nature providing for the re-establishment of order, by exciting some salutary evacuation of the morbific matter, or by some other operation which escapes our imperfect senses and researches. She brings on a crisis, by stools, vomiting, sweat, urine, expectoration, bleeding, &c., which, for the most part, ends in the restoration of healthy action. Experience has taught us also, that there are certain substances, by which, applied to the living body, internally or externally, we can at will produce these same evacuations, and thus do, in a short time, what nature would do but slowly, and do effectually, what perhaps she would not have strength to accomplish. Where, then, we have seen a disease, characterized by specific signs or phenomena, and relieved by a certain natural evacuation or process, whenever that disease recurs under the same appearances, we may reasonably count on producing a solution of it, by the use of such substances as we have found produce the same evacuation or movement. Thus, fulness of the stomach we can relieve by emetics; diseases of the bowels, by purgatives; inflammatory cases, by bleeding; intermittents, by the Peruvian bark; syphilis, by mercury; watchfulness, by opium ; &c. So far, I bow to the utility of medicine. It goes to the well defined forms of disease, and happily, to those the most frequent. But the disorders of the animal body, and the symptoms indicating them, are as various as the elements of which the body is

« 上一頁繼續 »