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316 UNPUBLISHED LETTERS. [CHAP. v1.
citizen of the Republic—that citizen a native and resident o Virginia. Mr. Jefferson's vote, however, was in no point C view a triumph over the late President. It simply showed th; while Virginia yielded to no other State in the Union in her ver ration and affection for Washington, she now, as on all preorg and future occasions, also gave her full confidence to efferson. In both editions of Mr. Jefferson's Writings are to be found two important letters of this period, both declared in their captions to be statements from memory—copies of the originals having been omitted to be retained. The first is directed to John Adams under date of December 28, 1796, and the second to James Madison under date of January 1, 1797. In two letters which we will give in Appendix," written in 1827 and 1828, will be seen Mr. Madison's solicitation from the representatives of Mr. Jefferson of the return of his politicallet. ters addressed to the latter, his acknowledgment of having received them, his return of some extracts which had been requested, and his return of copies of two letters not asked, unless by implication, after having, however, reduced one of them to “an extract only, by lopping from it a paragraph irrelative to the subject.” We have received these letters from Mr. Jeffer. son's family, and shall give them in their place. The lopped letter was Mr. Madison's answer to Mr. Jefferson's of January 1, 1797, and has a curious bearing on the history of this period. Before giving it, we will present the original version of the two letters to which it forms the answer, published in Jefferson's Works “from memory.” That to Mr. Madison was lent by him to Mr. Trist with permission to copy; that inclosed in it, addressed and to be delivered to Mr. Adams (unless Mr. Madi. son should consider it “ineligible”), was presented to Mr. Trist." Apart from the historical importance of these letters, we have a good opportunity, by comparing them with the state. ments “from memory,” heretofore published, to test Mr. Jeffer. son's accuracy in this kind of recollections. In the previously published version of that to Madison, a line of asterisks marks a chasm between the two paragraphs of the letter. In the copy below that chasm will be found significantly filled. We give the letters in what seems the most natural order under the circumstances, though it does not accord with that of date:
* See ArpeNDIx, No. 14. * The original of this is and will remain in our possession.
schap. vi. vi.) THE UNPUBLISHED LETTER to MADisos. 317
d resident of
no point c
Thomas JEFFERson to JAMES MADison.
showed th Yours of Dec. 19 has come safely. The event of the election has never been a in her vehtter of doubt in my mind. I knew that the Eastern States were disciplined in the ||| pre- schools of their town meetings, to sacrifice differences of opinion to the great object
of operating in phalanx, and that the more free and moral agency practised in
Madison's letter to Jefferson of December 5th, o a momentary impression on the mind of the latter that there might possibly be a tie. But this immediately wore away; and, indeed, a subsequent communication of Mr. Madison would have dispelled all such o had they been retained. * Mr. Trist says: “The estimate here expressed of the office of Vice-President, Mr. Jefferson retained to the end of his life. In his latter days, he, on several occasions, expressed it to me, ointing out the advantages which it combined—high consideration —sufficient ... . ' etc. etc. These were familiar views of Mr. Jefferson, well known throughout his family circle. * Mr.Trist says: “On the – day of December, 1827, just before I left Montpellier, Mr. Madison and myself were reading over this letter together, which he had just found, after considerable search among his papers. When he came to the end of this paragraph. Mr. M. stopped, shook his head, and said: ‘Hamilton never could have got in.'”
3.18. THE UNPUBLISHED LETTER TO ADAMS. [CHAP. VI.
is disgusted indeed, with the ulcerated state which it presents of the human mind; but, to cure an ulcer, we must go to its bottom; and no writer has ever done this more radically than this one. The reflections into which he leads one are not flattering to our species. In truth, I do not recollect in all the animal kingdom a single species, but man, which is eternally and systematically engaged in the destruction of its own species. What is called civilization seems to have no other effect on him than to teach him to pursue the principle of bellum omnium in omnia, on a larger scale; and in place of the little contests of tribe against tribe, to engage all the quarters of the earth in the same work of destruction. When we add to this, that, as to the other species of animals, the lions and tigers are mere lambs compared with man as a destroyer, we must conclude that it is in man alone that nature has been able to find a sufficient barrier against the too great multiplication of other animals, and of man himself: an equilibrating power against the fecundity of generation. My situation points my views chiefly to his wars in the physical world; yours perhaps exhibits him as equally warring in the moral one. We both I believe, join in wishing to see him softened. Adieu. TH. JEFFERSox.
Thomas JEFFERSoN To John ADAMs.
(Inclosed in the preceding.)
Mosticello, Dec. 28th, 1796. DEAR SIR:
The public and the public papers have been much occupied lately in placing us in a point of opposition to each other. I trust with confidence that less of it has been felt by ourselves personally. In the retired canton where I am, I learn little of what is passing: pamphlets I see never; papers but a few ; and the fewer the happier. Our latest intelligence from Philadelphia at present is of the 16th inst. But tho' at that date your election to the first magistracy seems not to have been known as a fact, yet with me it has never been doubted. I knew it impossible you should lose a vote north of the Delaware, and even if that of Pennsylvania should be against you in the mass, yet that you would get enough south of that to place your succession out of danger. I have never one single moment expected a different issue; and tho' I know I shall not be believed, yet it is not the less true, that I have never wished it. My neighbors, as my compurgators, could aver that fact, because they see my occupations and my attachment to them. Indeed it is possible that you may be cheated out of your succession by a trick worthy the subtlety of your arch-friend of New York, who has been able to make of your real friends tools to defeat their and your just wishes. Most probably he will be disappointed as to you, and my inclinations place me out of his reach. I leave to others the sublime delight of riding in the storm, better pleased with sound sleep and a warm berth below, with the society of neighbors, friends, and fellow-laborers of the earth, than of spies and sycophants. No one, then, will congratulate you with purer disinterestedness than myself. The share indeed which I may have had in the late vote, I shall still value highly, as an evidence of the share I have in the esteem of my fellow-citizens. But still, in this point of view, a few votes less would be little sensible; the difference in the effect of a few more would be very sensible and oppressive to me. I have no ambition to govern men. It is a painful and thankless office. Since the day, too, on which you signed the treaty of Paris, our horizon
chap. VI.] MADISON'S REPLY TO JEFFERSON. 319
was never so overcast. I devoutly wish you may be able to shun for us this war, by which our agriculture, commerce, and credit will be destroyed. If you are, the glory will be all your own; and that your administration may be filled with glory and happiness to yourself and advantage to us, is the sincere wish of one who, tho', in the course of our voyage through life, various little incidents have happened or been contrived to separate us, retains still for you the solid esteem of the moments when we were working for our independence, and sentiments of respect and affec
JAMES MADIsoN To Thomas JEFFERSox.
320 JEFFERSON'S MOTIVES EXAMINED. scii AP. vi.
I have ventured to make these observations, because I am sure you will equally appreciate the motive and the matter of them ; and because I do not view them as inconsistent with the duty and policy of cultivating Mr. Adams's favorable disposition, and giving a fair start to his Executive career. As you have, no doubt, retained a copy of the letter, I do not send it back as you request. It occurs, however, that if the subject should not be changed in your view of it, by the reasons which influence mine, and the delivery of the letter be accordingly judged expedient, it may not be amiss to alter the date of it, either by writing the whole over again, or authorizing me to correct that part of it."
We return now to the question; what mean these avowals concerning, and to President Adams—suppressed by the greater and (as things resulted) more discreet caution of Madison : Was the nolo episcopart of the defeated candidate insincere? Was it an artifice to wheedle Mr. Adams? Or was Jefferson, partly from friendship, and partly from disinclination to encounter the storm, willing to resign the helm to the hand of a pilot who he knew would not “put our vessel on her Republican tack before she should be thrown too much to leeward of her true principles '''
None of these conclusions are necessarily deducible from the facts. Whatever Mr. Adams's theoretical opinions in politics, his practical line of action was already known to vary most essentially from Hamilton's. He was not suspected of any fondness for stupendous treasury schemes. He was known to have no real partialities for England. He was not an “exotic” by the accident of birth, or in his impressions of his own character and “genus.” “This American world” was “made for him;” he both loved and was proud of it. He was as widely separated from Hamilton in personal feelings as in political designs. The latter had never made a show of befriending him, except when it was necessary to attribute a criminal intent to Jefferson's J. B. Smith letter.” He had no hopes that he could render Mr. Adams a tool. He and his particular friends had submitted to Mr. Adams's nomination only as a matter of necessity.” He had recently attempted to procure his defeat for the
1. In regard to the “lopping” which this letter underwent, before it was returned by Mr. Madison, Mr. Trist says: “The paragraph lopped off related to the politics of the hour, in connection (so far as memory serves) with Colonel Hamilton. Whatever it was, it was not trivial or unimportant, but the reverse in a high degree." The last fact would be readily guessed. ...We venture to conjecture the lopped portion was a reply to the middle paragraph of Jefferson's letter of January 1st. * See ante, p. 4 and 72. * See Ames and Wolcott's declarations on this point. Gibbs's Memoirs, etc. vol. ii.