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made a majority, as to produce very serious embarrassment to the public operations; and very much do I dread the submitting to them, at the next session, any treaty which can be made with either England or Spain, when I consider that five joining the federalists, can defeat a friendly settlement of our affairs. The House of Representatives is as well disposed as I ever saw one.
The defection of so prominent a leader threw them into dismay · and confusion for a moment; but they soon rallied to their own
principles, and let him go off with five or six followers only. One half of these are from Virginia. His late declaration of perpetual opposition to this administration, drew off a few others, who at first had joined him, supposing his opposition occasional only, and not systematic. The alarm the House has had from this schism, has produced a rallying together, and a harmony, which carelessness and security had begun to endanger. On the whole, this little trial of the firmness of our representatives in their principles, and that of the people also, which is declaring itself in support of their public functionaries, has added much to my confidence in the stability of our government; and to my conviction, that should things go wrong at any time, the people will set them to rights by the peaceable exercise of their elective rights. To explain to you the character of this schism, its objects and combinations, can only be done in conversation ; and must be deferred till I see you at Monticello, where I shall probably be about the 10th or 12th of May, to pass the rest of the month there. Congress has agreed to rise on Monday the 21st. Accept my affectionate salutations.
TO MR. HARRIS.
Washington, April 18, 1806. Sir, It is now some time since I received from you, through the house of Smith and Buchanan, at Baltimore, a bust of the Emperor Alexander, for which I have to return you my thanks. These are the more cordial, because of the value the bust derives from the great estimation in which its original is held by the world, and by none more than by myself. It will consitute one of the most valued ornaments of the retreat I am preparing for myself at my native home. Accept, at the same time, my acknowledgments for the elegant work of Atkinson and Walker on the customs of the Russians. I had laid it down as a law for my conduct while in office, and hitherto scrupulously observed, to accept of no present beyond a book, a pamphlet, or other curiosity of minor value; as well to avoid imputations on my motives of action, as to shut out a practice susceptible of such abuse. But my particular esteem for the character of the Emperor places his image in my mind above the scope of law. I receive it, therefore, and shall cherish it with affection. It nourishes the contemplation of all the good placed in his power, and of his disposition to do it.
A little before Dr. Priestley's death, he informed me that he had received intiinations, through a channel he confided in, that the Emperor entertained a wish to know something of our constitution. I have therefore selected the two best works we have on that subject, for which I pray you to ask a place in his library. They are too much in detail to occupy his time ; but they will furnish materials for an abstract, to be made by others, on such a scale as may bring the matter within the compass of the time which his higher callings can yield to such an object.
At a very early period of my life, contemplating the history of the aboriginal inhabitants of America, I was led to believe that if there had ever been a relation between them and the men of color in Asia, traces of it would be found in their several languages. I have therefore availed myself of every opportunity which has offered, to obtain vocabularies of such tribes as have been within my reach, corresponding to a list then formed of about two hundred and fifty words. In this I have made such progress, that within a year or two more I think to give to the public what I then shall have acquired. I have lately seen a report of Mr. Volney's to the Celtic Academy, on a work of Mr. Pallas, entitled Vocabulaires Comparés des Langues de toute la Terre ; with a list of one hundred and thirty words, to which the vocabulary is limited. I find that seventy-three of these words are common to that and to my vocabulary, and therefore will enable us, by a comparison of language, to make the inquiry so long desired, as to the probability of a common origin between the people of color of the two continents. I have to ask the favor of you to procure me a copy of the above work of Pallas, to inform me of the cost, and permit me to pay it here to your use ; for I presume you have some mercantile correspondent here, to whom a payment can be made for you. A want of knowledge what the book may cost, as well as of the means of making so small a remittance, obliges me to
make this proposition, and to restrain it to the sole condition that I be permitted to reimburse it here.
I enclose you a letter for the Emperor, which be pleased to delier or have delivered : it has some relation to a subject which the Secretary of State will explain to you.
Accept my salutations, and assurances of esteem and consideration.
TO THE EMPEROR OF RUSSIA.
Washington, April 19, 1806.
I owe an acknowledgment to your Imperial Majesty, of the great satisfaction I have received from your letter of August the 20th, 1805, and sincere expressions of the respect and veneration I entertain for your character. It will be among the latest and most soothing comforts of my life, to have seen advanced to the government of so extensive a portion of the earth, and at so early a period of his life, a sovereign, whose ruling passion is the advancement of the happiness and prosperity of his people ; and not of his own people only, but who can extend his eye and his good will to a distant and infant nation, unoffending in its course, unambitious in its views.
The events of Europe come to us so late, and so suspiciously, that observations on them would certainly be stale, and possibly wide of their actual state. From their general aspect, however, I collect that your Majesty's interposition in them has been disinterested and generous, and having in view only the general good of the great European family. When you shall proceed to the pacification which is to re-establish peace and commerce, the same dispositions of mind will lead you to think of the general intercourse of nations, and to make that provision for its future maintenance, which, in times past, it has so much needed. The northern nations of Europe, at the head of which your Majesty is distinguished, are habitually peaceable. The United States of America, like them, are attached to peace. We have then with them a common interest in the neutral rights. Every nation, indeed, on the continent of Europe, belligerent as well as neutral, is interested in maintaining these rights, in liberalizing them progressively with the progress of science and refinement of morality, and in relieving them from restrictions which the extension of the arts has long since rendered unreasonable and vexatious.
Two personages in Europe, of which your Majesty is one, have it in their power, at the approaching pacification, to render eminent service to nations in general, by incorporating into the act of pacification, a correct definition of the rights of neutrals on the high seas. Such a definition, declared by all the powers lately or still belligerent, would give to those rights a precision and notoriety, and cover them with an authority, which would protect them in an important degree against future violation ; and should any further sanction be necessary, that of an exclusion of the violating nation from commercial intercourse with all the others, would be preferred to war, as more analogous to the offence, more easy and likely to be executed with good faith. The essential articles of these rights, too, are so few and simple as easily to be defined.
Having taken no part in the past or existing troubles of Europe, we have no part to act in its pacificaion. But as principles may then be settled in which we have a deep interest, it is a great happiness for us that they are placed under the protection of an umpire, who, looking beyond the narrow bounds of an individual nation, will take under the cover of his equity the rights of the absent and unrepresented. It is only by a happy concurrence of good characters and good occasions, that a step can now and then be taken to advance the well being of nations. If the present occasion be good, I am sure your Majesty's character will not be wanting to avail the world of it. By monuments of such good offices may your life become an epoch in the history of the condition of man, and may He who called it into being for the good of the human family, give it length of days and success, and have it always in his holy keeping.
TO COLONEL MONROE.
Washington, May 4, 1806. DEAR BIR, I wrote you on the 16th of March by a common vessel, and then expected to have had, on the rising of Congress, an opportunity of peculiar confidence to you. Mr. Beckley then supposed he should take a flying trip to London, on private business. But I believe he does not find it convenient. He could have let you into the arcana rerum, which you have interests in knowing. Mr. Pinckney's pursuits having been confined to his peculiar line, he has only that general knowledge of what has passed here, which the public possess. He has a just view of things so far as known to him. Our old friend, Mercer, broke off froin us some time ago, at first professing to disdain joining the federalists, yet from the habit of voting together, becoming soon identified with them. Without carrying over with him one single person, he is now in a state of as perfect obscurity as if his name had never been known. Mr. J. Randolph is in the same track, and will end in the same way. His course has excited considerable alarm. Timid men consider it as a proof of the weakness of our government, and that it is to be rent into pieces by demagogues and to end in anarchy. I survey the scene with a different eye, and draw a different augury from it. In a House of Representatives of a great mass of good sense, Mr. Randolph's popular eloquence gave him such advantages as to place hiin unrivalled as the leader of the House; and, although not conciliatory to those whom he led, principles of duty and patriotism induced many of them to swallow humiliations he subjected them to, and to vote as was right, as long as he kept the path of right himself. The sudden defection of such a man could not but produce a momentary astonishment, and even dismay; but for a moment only. The good sense of the House rallied around its principles, and, without any leader, pursued steadily the business of the session, did it well, and by a strength of vote which has never before been seen. Upon all trying questions, exclusive of the federalists, the minority of republicans voting with him, has been from four to six or eight, against from ninety to one hundred; and although he yet treats the federalists with ineffable contempt, yet having declared eternal opposition to this administration, and consequently associated with them in his votes, he will, like Mercer, end with them. The augury I draw from this is that there is a steady good sense in the legislature, and in the body of the nation, joined with good intentions, which will lead them to discern and to pursue the public good under all circumstances which can arise, and that no ignis fatuus will be able to lead them long astray. In the present case, the public sentiment, as far as declarations of it have yet come in, is, without a single exception, in firm adherence to the administration. One popular paper is endeavoring to maintain equivocal ground; approving the administration in all its proceedings, and Mr. Randolph in all those which have heretofore merited approbation, carefully