Bergh: Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Vol. 16


Definitive Edition






Jefferson is a pole star among political philosophers because he based his politics on the eternal, self-evident, fundamental truths that all men are created free and equal and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inherent and unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How are the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness primarily to be exercised? Not in the political field, but in the underlying social field. How shall a man get an independent living precedes how shall he participate in general government. He cannot exercise, or fully exercise, his political faculties until, without let or hindrance, he can get sustenance.

Hence Jefferson's political axiom involves as a prerequisite a social or economic axiom, without observance of which political institutions can be only as a house built upon the sand. This economic axiom is that men have equal rights to natural opportunities, to land. On land mankind must have its habitation and from it it must draw subsistence. Nowhere else, from no other source, can it live. Therefore, the rights of life, liberty and the {ii} pursuit of happiness carry with them the inherent, unalienable, equal right of all to land.

If this economic principle is not in the general mind associated with Jefferson's doctrine of democracy it is only because he did not give it prominence. When there was seeming need he set it forth explicitly and clearly, but this was rarely. Was there not in his day unappropriated land in superabundance? Why inject into the domain of war issues, into the intricate and difficult business of the founding of a nation and the construction of a radically new form of government, the abstract question of equal rights to land, when as a practical fact plenty could be had by anyone for the mere taking?

In Jefferson's day a small population lay scattered along the Atlantic seaboard. The great virgin, unappropriated, and for the most part unexplored, continent, three thousand miles broad, stretched west, open to the pioneer and the settler. Of land there appeared enough for scores of generations to come. The nation was agricultural, and whoever desired it could have a farm by moving into the trackless wilderness and making a clearing, which more and more were doing, thereby showing their freedom from dependence upon the established centers. They faced the sunset and moved out along the Ohio and the Mississippi.

Although a man of great and varied learning and polished culture, Jefferson was in spirit a frontiersman. He had a strong affinity for the rugged, {iii} independent pioneer and settler. He was a graduate of the oldest, and, at that time, richest institution of learning in America, the College of William and Mary, near Williamsburg, Virginia. By inheritance he was for that day a well-to-do man. By this and marriage and social connections he belonged to the wealthy planter class, which, relieved from toil for subsistence, could yield itself to the ease, graces and refinements of life. Jefferson's alert, powerful, acquisitive, analytical mind found this a most suitable soil for its development.

An. environment so stimulating to intellectual growth might also be expected to take a subtile, invisible hold on the mind and make of its beneficiary its votary and creature. But while fully conscious of the charms of its warm and tranquil atmosphere, Jefferson was early aware that the wealthy planter class was the bulwark in Virginia and the South of the British Crown tyranny and the buttress there of the Established Church, which falsely gave the sanction of religion to such tyranny and preached submission to the rulers God had raised over the people.

The resistance that early germinated in the free, bold mind against the usurpations and abuses of the British Crown thus came at length to include as a whole the planter class and their established priesthood. As Moses, adopted Prince in the house of Pharaoh, next in blood to Royalty-, struck dead the Egyptian taskmaster, and, turning his back {iv} upon pride and circumstance of power, led forth the Hebrew slaves into the desert toward the Promised Land, so Jefferson, moved by anger and scorn against the planter class for its fellowship and partnership in the tyranny of the Crown, threw off its allurements, so congenial to his tastes and habits, and allied himself absolutely, unreservedly, actively, permanently with the wronged masses. In the struggle in that agricultural community between the "planters," or large landowners, and the "settlers," or small landowners, Jefferson's heart was always with the latter.

It was the old fight in a new form-the antagonism between the silk stockings and the wool hats, between the red heels and the sabots. Jefferson, by fortune and culture, of the silk stockings and red heels, consciously, deliberately, with definite and fixed purpose, sided with the wool hats and sabots. It was in some degree as if a French seigneur under the ancient regime had rejected place and power to preach the destruction of privilege on the one side and the upraising of the trampled and despised on the other.

But this comparison of Jefferson with the French noble can be only in degree, and in slight degree. The social desparity, so extreme in the old world, was but faintly marked in the new. The rich men of America were of but moderate means beside the rich of Europe, while the poor were greatly better off here than there. "From Savannah [Georgia] {v} to Portsmouth [Maine]," said Jefferson in his "Notes on Virginia," "you will seldom meet a beggar. In the large towns, indeed, the sometimes present themselves. These are usually foreigners who have never obtained a settlement in any parish. I never yet saw a native American begging in the streets and highways. A subsistence is easily gained here." To Claviere he wrote: "I attended the bar of the Supreme Court of Virginia ten years as a student and practitioner. There never was during that time a trial for robbery on the highroad, nor do I remember ever to have heard of one in that or any other of the States, except in the cities of New York and Philadelphia immediately after the departure of the British army. Some deserters from that army infested those cities for awhile." In the "Notes on Virginia," Jefferson compared social conditions. "So desirous are the poor of Europe to get to America, where they may better their condition," he said, "that, being unable to pay their passage, they will agree to serve two or three years on their arrival there, rather than not go. During that time they are better fed, better clothed, and have lighter labor than while in Europe. Continuing teen work for hire; a few years longer, they buy a farm, marry and enjoy all the sweets of a domestic society of their own."

The fact that Jefferson always kept clearly in mind was that "a subsistence is easily gained here." He explained this by the first principles of political {vi} economy, namely, that men had easy access to natural opportunities. To John Jay he wrote: "We have now lands enough to employ an infinite number of people in their cultivation. Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty by the most lasting bonds." In the "Notes" he said: "In Europe the lands are either cultivated or locked up against the cultivator. Manufacture must, therefore, be resorted to, of necessity, not of choice, to support the surplus of their people. But we have an immensity of land courting the industry of husbandmen. * * * Those who labor the earth are the chosen people of God if ever He had a chosen people, whose breasts He has made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth. Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phenomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example."

And because manufacturing called for condensed population and seemingly more or less dependence for employment, and since "dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition," manufacturing was to be avoided. But as he explained later to J. Lithgow, concerning a revised edition of the "Notes," he did not {vii} intend an indiscriminate denunciation of manufacturing but had in mind the possible future repetition in this country of the conditions he beheld in Europe, where "the manufactures of the great cities * * * have begotten a depravity of morals, a dependence and corruption, which renders them an undesirable accession to a country whose morals are sound." "But," continued the philosopher, "as yet our manufactures are as much at their ease, independent and moral, as our agricultural habits, and they will continue so as long as there are vacant lands for them to resort to; because whenever it shall be attempted by the other classes to reduce them to the minimum of subsistence they will quit their trade and go to laboring the earth." And to James Madison, his closest friend, he wrote from Paris in this same line: "I think our governments [Federal and State] will remain virtuous for many centuries-as long as they are chiefly agricultural; and this will be as long as there are vacant [unappropriated] lands in any part of America. When they [our people) get piled upon one another in large cities, as in. Europe, they will become corrupt, as in Europe."

These were not accidental remarks or passing views of the great American. They were the conclusions of observation and thought-thought that was extraordinarily far reaching in its consequences. Writing to Madison from Paris, where, he said, they were immersed in a course of reflection "on elementary {viii} principles of society," he remarked that he was led to a consideration of the question "Whether one generation of men has a right to bind another" a question "that seems never to have been started either on this or on our side of the water." "I set out on this ground which I suppose to be self-evident," observes Jefferson, "that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living, that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. * * * On similar ground it may be proved that no society can make a perpetual constitution or even a perpetual law. * * * Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of nineteen years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force and not of right. * * * This principle that the earth belongs to the living and not to the dead is of very extensive application and consequences in every country, and most especially in France. It enters into the resolution of the questions: Whether the nation may change the descent of land holden in tail? Whether they may change the appropriation of lands given anciently to the church, colleges, orders of chivalry and otherwise in perpetuity? Whether they may abolish the charges and privileges attached on lands, including the whole catalogue ecclesiastical and feudal? It goes to hereditary offices, authorities and jurisdictions; to hereditary orders, distinctions and appellations; to perpetual-monopolies in commerce, the arts and sciences; and a long train of et ceteras; and it renders the question of {ix} reimbursement a question of generosity and not of right."

This argues that one generation has no right to make land laws, or any other kind of laws, for another generation. Far in advance of general thought as this was, Jefferson did not stop here, but pointed out the fundamental right to land of individuals composing any generation. This he wrote, also from Paris, to the father of Madison, the Rev. James Madison: "The property of this country [France] is absolutely concentrated in a very few hands, having revenues of from half a million guineas a year downward. These employ the flower of the country as servants, some of them having as many as two hundred domestics, not laboring. They employ also a great number of manufacturers and tradesmen, and lastly the class of laboring husbandmen. But after all there comes the most numerous of all the classes, that is, the poor who cannot find work. I asked myself what could be the reason that so many should be permitted to beg who are willing to work, in a country where there is a very considerable proportion of uncultivated lands? These lands are undisturbed only for the sake of game. * * * Whenever there is in any country uncultivated lands and unemployed poor it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural rights. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labor and live on. If for the encouragement of {x} industry we allow it to be appropriated we must take care that other employment be provided to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not, the fundamental right to labor the earth returns to the unemployed."

Could language be plainer or meaning clearer? "It is too soon yet," continued Jefferson, "in our country to say that every man who cannot find employment, but who can find uncultivated land shall be at liberty to cultivate it, paying a moderate rent. But it is not too soon to provide by every possible means that as few as possible shall be without a little portion of land. The landowners are the most precious part of a state."

Jefferson thought legislators could not "invent too many devices for subdividing" land holdings. Such a device was invented and eloquently advocated by the most learned men of France of that period, headed by Quesney, Turgot, Condorcet, Dupont and Mirabeau, with some of whom Jefferson was on terms of intimate acquaintance. This idea recognized common rights in land by appropriating ground rent through taxation. This rent of land they called the produit net -- the net, or surplus, product of land. Something of the same meaning the English political economist, John Stuart Mill, later gave to the term "the unearned increment of land." The French economists proposed in place of the many taxes falling upon production and upon wealth, one tax large enough to absorb the whole {xi} value of agricultural land. This tax, which they called the impot unique, and which Mirabeau, the elder, accounted a discovery equal in importance to the invention of writing or the displacement of barter by money, the Frenchmen wished to apply to agricultural land, which they regarded as the only productive land. To-day it is called the single tax, and would be applied to all land that has value, regardless of improvements, whether the land be agricultural, mineral, timber, grazing, urban or suburban. In 1774 Turgot had been appointed Minister of Finance by Louis XVI. , and at once commenced to clear the way for application of the impot unique, but the privileged nobility was yet dominant and overthrew him. Had he succeeded in applying it he would have shifted taxation from the backs of the impoverished and embruited masses to the game preserves and other great enclosures, would have forced the nobles to let go and would have opened to users vast quantities of idle land. But the nobles made successful resistance to this policy. Turgot stepped down and the social and political revolution was not long deferred.

In the United States a distant adaptation of this idea occurred under the Articles of Confederation, in the provision to obtain national revenue through a tax on real estate and slaves. Subsequently under the Constitution other sources of taxation were provided, and most of the revenue came to be raised through a tariff, which is a tax upon production.


Thus the idea of recognizing equal rights to land and of penalizing the holding of land out of use, by treating rent as common property and taking it through taxation, was abandoned. The appropriator went ahead of the settler. All of the gigantic area westward from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific has long since been appropriated, or at least all of the accessible and valuable land, and millions are deprived of their "fundamental right to labor the earth." Can it now be said that "from Savannah to Portsmouth you will seldom meet a beggar?" Is there any part of the country that does not reveal them? Our farming regions contain thousands of tramps, and what were they originally but laborers searching for work? Do not our cities contain multitudes out of employment or in fear of it, and thereby reduced to that "dependence" which "begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition." Indeed, are not our people "piled upon one another, * * * as in Europe," and have they not as a consequence "become corrupt, as in Europe?" Have we not one city with a larger population than the thirteen States contained at the time the "Notes on Virginia" were written (1781)? And so abjectly poor is a large part of that city's population that one in every ten who die each year in its principal and richest borough (Manhattan) is buried in Potter's Field at public expense!

Instead of our government remaining "virtuous {xiii} for many centuries," corruption like a worm has eaten its way to the core. Political bosses control wards, districts and States, and exert their baleful influences over national councils, as completely as English politicians in Jefferson's day ruled rotten boroughs and swayed the British Parliament. The mass of the people themselves were in the beginning virtuous. But they were reduced to dependence for subsistence, which corrupted them. They found difficulty in getting a living and sold or became neglectful of those priceless political rights for which the fathers of the republic fought so hard and gloriously, and established with such great labor.

Jefferson said, "Our governments will remain virtuous as long as there are vacant lands in any part of America." There are vacant lands, thousands upon tens and hundreds of thousands of acres, agricultural lands, grazing lands, timber lands, mineral lands, urban and suburban lands. These lands, if thrown open, would not only engage the multitudes of hands now idle or insufficiently occupied, but would support in comfort and luxury many times the eighty millions of population this nation now embraces. There is no difficulty about finding abundance of valuable vacant land; the difficulty is to find it unappropriated. All the great territory that is available for any use has been appropriated and made private property, although vastly the greater part of it lies idle and is held merely for speculation.


Obviously "the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right." And since by reason of this appropriation and non-use of land large numbers of men are prevented from finding their natural employment, and since "other employment" is not provided them, does not "the fundamental right to labor the earth" return to them as Jefferson said it must under such circumstances?

Yet how effect this fundamental right to-day with our complex civilization?

Not by dividing up the land and giving to each his share. The simple, easy, just way would be to divide the rent, or rather to take it for common uses, remitting all taxes that now fall upon production and various forms of wealth, and concentrating taxation on the value of land, regardless of improvements. This single tax would tax out the land grabber. It would tax idle lands into use. Millions upon millions of locked up acres of every kind would be thrown open to the unemployed, there would be a compliance with the "fundamental natural right to labor the earth," and our people would once again become, as Jefferson thought they would for centuries remain, virtuous and happy.

New York, May 1, 1904.



JEFFERSON AND THE LAND QUESTION. By Henry George . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i

LETTERS WRITTEN AFTER HIS RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES, 1789-1826 ......... ..... ..... 1-277

To Patrick K. Rodgers, January 29, 1824 . . . . . 1

To Joseph C. Cabell, February 3, 1824 . . . . . . . 4

To Jared Sparks, February 4, 1824..... ..... 8

To Robert J. Garnett, February 14, 1824. . . . . 14

To Isaac Engelbrecht, February 25, 1824. . . . . 16

To Augustus B. Woodward, March 24, 1824. . . . 17

To Edward Everett, March 27, 1824. . . . . . . . . 20

To Edward Livingston, April 4, 1824. . . . . . 22

To John Hambden Pleasants, April 19, 1824.. 26

To David Harding, April 20, 1824. . . . . . . 30

To Richard Rush, April 26, 1824. . . . . . . . . . 31

To Joseph C. Cabell, May 16, 1824. . . . . . . . . 35

To Major John Cartwright, June 5, 1824. . . . . 42

To Martin Van Buren, June 29, 1824 . . . . . . . . 52

To James Madison, July 14, 1824 . . . . . . . . 69

To Lewis E. Beck, July 16, 1824 . . . . . . . . . . . 71

To Henry Lee, August 10, 1824 . . . . . . . . . . . 73

To William Ludlow, September 6, 1824 . . . . . . 74

To the Marquis de Lafayette, October 9, 1824 . . . 76

To Richard Rush, October 13, 1824 . . . . . . . . . 78

To Edward Everett, October 15, 1824 . . . . . . . 80

To --, December 22, 1824 . . . . . . . . 84

To John Adams, January 8, 1825 . . . . . . . . . 89


To William Short, January 8, 1825....... .... 92

To Joseph C. Cabell, January 11, 1825........ 97

To General Alexander Smy,th, January 17, 1825 .... 100

John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, January 23, 1825 ........................... 102

To --, February 3, 1825 ............ 103

To --, February 20, 1825.... . .... 107

To Thomas Jefferson Smith, February 21, 1825 .... 110

To Edward Livingston, March 25, 1825.... . 112

To Augustus B. Woodward, April 3, 1825. . . 116

To Henry Lee, May 8, 1825..... .... .... .. 117

To Miss Frances Wright, August 7, 1825... .. 119

To John Vaughan, September 16, 1825........ 121

To Dr. James Mease, Sept. 26, 1825.... . ... 122

To --, Oct. 25, 1825 ..... .... ..... 124

To J. Evelyn Denison, Nov. 9, 1825 .... ... . 129

To Lewis M. Wiss, Nov. 27, 1825..... ... .. 135

To --, Dec. 18, 1825... . ..... ...139

To James Madison, Dec. 24, 1825.... ... .... 140

To William B. Giles, Dec.25, 1825...... .... 143

To William B. Giles, Dec.26, I825.. ... .... 146

To Claiborne W. Gooch, Jan. 9. 1826.... . 151.

To , Jan. 21, 1826.. .... ... . 153

To James Madison, Feb. 17, 1826..... .. ... 155

To John Adams, March 15, 1826..... ..... .. 159

To John Quincy Adams, March 30, 1826.. . . 160

To Edward Everett, April 8, 1826..... ... .. 162

To Dr. John P. Emmett, April 27, 1826... .. . 163

To Dr. John P. Emmett, May 2, 1826... ... 168

To --, May 15, 1526.. . . . .172

To Roger C. Weightman, June 24, 1826.... ... 181

To the British Minister (George Hammond), May 29, 1792......................... 183


REPLIES TO PUBLIC ADDRESSES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281-367

To Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, and Stephen S. Nelson, January 1, 1802. . . . . 281

To William Judd, Chairman, November 15, 1802 ..... 282

To the Legislature of the State of Tennessee, December 24, 1803 ........ . ..... . . . 284}

To the Two Branches of the Legislature of Massachusetts, February 14, 1807. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 285.

To the President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts, February 14, 1807.. ............ . ........ 287

To Messrs. Thomas, Ellicot, and Others, November 13, 1807 ............. .. . ...... .. 288

To Captain John Thomas, November 18, 1807. . 290

To Governor Israel Smith, December 1, 1807. . . . 291

To the Legislature of Vermont, December 10, 1807 293

To the Representatives of the People of New Jersey in their Legislature, December 10, 1807 .... 294

To the Tammany Society of the City of Washington, December 14, 1807 ............ ..... 297

To Messrs. Abner Watkins and Bernard Todd, December 21, 1807...... .... ....... . . 298

To the General Assembly of North Carolina, January 10, 1808...... ... ........ . .... 299

To the Society of Tammany, or Columbian Order, No. 1, of the City of New York, February 29, 1808. ........ . .. .... .. ........ .... 301

To the Delegates of the Democratic Republicans of the City of Philadelphia, May 25, 1808. . . . 303

To the Legislature, Council and House of Representatives of the Territory of Orleans, June 18, 1808. ............ . . ... . ....:.... .. 305

To the Legislature of New Hampshire, August 2, 1808. ... .... .. ... ... . . .. . . .. 307


To Governor John Langdon, August 2, 1808 . . . . 308

To Governor John Langdon. (Private.) August 2, 1808 ..... ...... . ....:..... ......... 309

To the Honorable Joseph Alston, Speaker of the House of Representatives of South Carolina, August 4, 1808. ........ .......... . .... 310

To the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, Newburyport and Providence, August 26, 1808. . . . 312

To a Portion of the Citizens of Boston, August 26, 1808 .. ..... . .. ....... ...... 314

To the Members of the Baltimore Baptist Association , October 17, 1808.......... ....... . 317

To the Members of the Ketocton Baptist Association, October 18, 1808. . . . . . . . . . . 319

To the General Meeting of Correspondence of the Six Baptist Associations represented at Chesterfield, Virginia, November 21, 1808. . . . . . . . 320

To Taber Fitch, Chairman, November 21, 1808. 321

To the Young Republicans of Pittsburg and its Vicinity, December 2, 1808. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 323

To the Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church at Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, December 9, 1808: 325

To the Electors of the County of Ontario, in the State of New York, December 13, 1808. . . . 326

To the Citizens of the City and County of Philadelphia, February 3, 1809........ . ....... 328

To the Legislature of the State of Georgia, February 3, 1809... ............ . . . . ..... 330

To the Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church at New London, Connecticut, February 4., 1809 ..... 331

To the General Assembly of Virginia, February 16, 1809. ..... ...... . 333

To the Citizens of Wilmington and its Vicinity, February 16, 1809...... . ... . .. ... ... 335


To John Gassaway, February 17, 1809..... .... 336

To Captain Joseph --, Jr:, February 17, 1809........................... 337

To the Republican Young Men of New London, Benjamin Hempstead, Chairman, February 24,1809 ...........................339

To the Republicans of Loudon County, Convened at Leesburg, February 24, 1809..... ... .. . 340

To Governor Daniel D. Tompkins, February 24, 1809.......... ............... 341

To General James Robertson, February 24, 1809. 342

To the Republicans of the County of Niagara, Convened at Clarence on the 28th of January, 1809. February 24, 1809.. .. .. ... ... . 343

To Captain Quin Morton, February 24, 1809.. . 345

To the Tammany Society or Columbian Order of the City of Washington, March 2, 1809... . 346

To the Citizens of Washington, March 4, 1809... 347

To the Republicans of Georgetown, March 8, 1809 .... 349

To Stephen Cross, Topsham, March 28, 1809.... 350

To the Republican Mechanics of the Town of Leesburg and its Vicinity, March 29, 1809.... 352

To the Friends of the Administration of the United States in Bristol County, Rhode Island, March 29, 1809 ....................... 354

To the Democratic Republican Delegates from the Townships of Washington County, in Pennsylvania, March 3I, 1809................ 355

To the Citizens of Alleghany County, in Maryland,March 31, 1809.... ... .. .. .... . . 357

To the Republican Citizens of Washington County Maryland, March 31, 1809..... ... .. .... 358

To James Hochie, President of the Ancient Plymouth Society of New London, April 2, 1809.. 359


To Governor Robert Wright, April 3, 1809...... 360

To the Legislature of the State of New York, April 12, 1809... ..... .. .. . .... .....361

To the Republicans of Queen Anne's County, April 13, 1809......... ..... . ... ... .. 362

To the Members of the Baptist Church of Buck Mountain in Albemarle, April 13, 1809... .... 363

To Jonathan Low, Hartford, Connecticut, April 13, 1809................. ........ 364

To the Tammany Society of the City of Baltimore, May 25, 1809.. .... .... . . ........ . . 366

INDIAN ADDRESSES.. ..... ..... .. ... . ...... 371-472

To Brother John Baptist de Coigne, June, 1781 .... 371

To Brothers and Friends of the Miamis, Powtewatamies, and Weeauks, January 7, 1802. . . . 390

To Brothers of the Delaware and Shawanee nations February 10, 1802....... ....... .... .... 391

To Brother Handsome Lake, November 3, 1802. 393

To Brothers Miamis and Delawares, January 8, 1803 ... .... ..... .. 396

To Brothers of the Choctaw Nation, December 17, 1803 ....... ..... ...... ...... . . ..... 400

To My Children, White-hairs, Chiefs, and Warriors of the Osage Nation, July 16, 1804. . . . . . . 405

To My Children, Chiefs of the Chickasaw Nation, Minghay, Mataha, and Tishohotana, March 7, 1805 .. ..... ... . .... ........ ..... .. 410

To the Wolf and People of the Mandar nation, December 30, 1806...... . .... .... .... 412

To the Chiefs of the Osage Nation, December 31, 1806 .. ... ... 417

To the Chiefs of the Shawanee Nation, February 19, 1807 .. .. ... ..... ....... . ... . .. 421


To Kitchao Geboway, February 27, 2808. . . . . . . . 425

To the Chiefs of the Ottawas, Chippewas, Powtewatamies, Wyandots, and Senecas of Sandusky, April 22, 1808 ................... .. . .... 428

To the Chiefs of the Upper Cherokees, May 4, 1808 .... 432

To Colonel Louis Cook and Jacob Francis of the St. Rigis Indians, May 5, 1808. . . . . . . . . . 436

To the Delaware Chief, Captain Armstrong, December, 1808............................ 437

To the Miamis, Powtewatamies, Delawares and Chippeways, December 21, 1808. . . . . . . . . . 438

To Little Turtle, Chief of the Miamis, December 21, 1808 ................. . .............. 440

To Manchot, the great War Chief of the Powtewatamies,December 21, 1808................ 443

To Beaver, the Head warrior of the Delawares, December 21, 1808 ....... ......... ...... 447

To Captain Hendrick, the Delawares, Mohiccons, and Munries, December 21, 1808. . . . . . . . . 450

To Kitchao Geboway, December 21, 1808. . . . . . 454

To the Deputies of the Cherokee Upper Towns, January 9, 1809...... .... ... ........... 455

To the Deputies of the Cherokees of the Upper and Lower Towns, January 9, 1809. . . . . . . . . . . . . 458

To the Chiefs of the Wyandots, Ottawas, Chippewas, Powtewatamies and Shawanese, January 10, 1809 ... .. . ........ ...... ...... . 461

To the Chiefs of the Ottawas, Chippewas, Powtewatamies, Shawanese and Wyandots, January 18, 1809 ................. ......... ... . 466

To the Chiefs of the Ottawas, Chippewas, Powtewatamies, Wyandots and Shawanese, January 31, 1809 ..... . ..... .......... .... ... 470


MONTICELLO, January 29, 1824.

SIR, -- I have duly received your favor of the 14th, with a copy of your mathematical principles of natural philosophy, which I have looked into with all the attention which the rust of age and long-continued avocations of a very different character permit me to exercise. I think them entirely worthy of approbation, both as to matter and method, and for their brevity as a text-book; and I remark particularly the clearness and precision with which the propositions are enounced, and, in the demonstrations, the easy form in which ideas are presented to the mind, so as to be almost intuitive and self-evident. Of Cavallo's book, which you say you are enjoined to teach, I have no knowledge, {2} having never seen it; but its character is, I think, that of mere mediocrity; and, from my personal acquaintance with the man, I should expect no more. He was heavy, capable enough of understanding what he read, and with memory to retain it, but without the talent of digestion or improvement. But, indeed, the English generally have been very stationary in latter times, and the French on the contrary, so active and successful, particularly in preparing elementary books, in the mathematical and natural sciences, that those who wish for instruction, without caring from what nation they get it, resort universally to the latter language. Besides the earlier and invaluable works of Euler and Bezont, we have latterly that of Lacroix in mathematics, of Legendre in geometry, Lavoisier in chemistry, the elementary works of Hauy in physics, Biot in experimental physics and physical astronomy, Dumeril in natural history, to say nothing of many detached essays of Monge and others and the transcendent labors of Laplace, and I am . informed, by a highly instructed person recently from Cambridge, that the mathematicians of that institution, sensible of being in the rear of those of the continent, and ascribing the cause much to their too long-continued preference of the geometrical over the analytical methods, which the French have so much cultivated and improved, have now adopted the latter; and that they have also given up the fluxionary, for the differential calculus. To {3} confine a school, therefore, to the obsolete work of Cavallo, is to shut out all advances in the physical sciences, which have been so great in latter times. I am glad, however, to learn from your work, and to expect from those it promised in succession, which will doubtless be of equal grade, that so good a course of instruction is pursued in William and Mary. It is very long since I have had any information of the state of education in that seminary, to which, as my alma mater, my attachment has been ever sincere, although not exclusive. When that college was located at the middle plantation in 1693, Charles City was a frontier county, and there were no inhabitants above the falls of the rivers, sixty miles only higher up. It was, therefore, a position, nearly central to the population, as it then was; but when the frontier became extended to the Sandy river, three hundred miles west of Williamsburg, the public convenience called, first for a removal of the seat of government, and latterly, not for a removal of the college, but, for the establishment of a new one, in a more central and healthy situation; not disturbing the old one in its possessions or functions, but leaving them unimpaired for the benefit of those to whom it is convenient. And indeed, I do not foresee that the number of its students is likely to be much affected; because I presume that, at present, its distance and autumnal climate prevent its receiving many students from above the tide-waters, and especially {4} from above the mountains. This is, therefore, one of the cases where the lawyers say there is damnum absque injuria; and they instance, as in point, the settlement of a new schoolmaster in the neighborhood of an old one. At any rate it is one of those cases wherein the public interest rightfully prevails, and the justice of which will be yielded to by none, I am sure, with more dutiful and candid acquiescence than the enlightened friends of our ancient and venerable institution. The only rivalship, I hope, between the old and the new, will be in doing the most good possible in their respective sections of country.

As the diagrams of your book have not been engraved, I return you the MS. of them, which must be of value to yourself. They furnish favorable specimens of the graphical talent of your former pupil. Permit me to add, that I shall always be ready and happy to receive with particular welcome the visit of which you flatter me with the hope, and to avail myself of the occasion of assuring you personally of my great respect and esteem.


MONTICELLO, February 3, 1824..

DEAR SIR, -- I am favored with your two letters of January the 26th and 29th, and I am glad that yourself and the friends of the University are so well satisfied, that the provisos amendatory of the {5} University Act are mere nullities. I had not been able to put out of my head the Algebraical equation, which was among the first of my college lessons, that a - a=0. Yet I cheerfully arrange myself to your opinions. I did not suppose, nor do I now suppose it possible, that both Houses of the legislature should ever consent, for an additional fifteen thousand dollars of revenue, to set all the professors and students of the University adrift; and if foreigners will have the same confidence which we have in our legislature, no harm will have been done by the provisos. You recollect that we had agreed that the Visitors who are of the legislature should fix on a certain day of meeting, after the rising of the Assembly, to put into immediate motion the measures which this act was expected to call for. You will of course remind the Governor that a re-appointment of Visitors is to be made on the day following Sunday, the 29th of this month; and as he is to appoint the day of their first meeting, it would be well to recommend to him that which our brethren there shall fix on. It may be designated by the Governor as the third. fourth, etc., day after the rising of the legislature, which will give it certainty enough.

You ask what sum would be desirable for the purchase of books and apparatus? Certainly the largest you can obtain. Forty or fifty thousand dollars would enable us to purchase the most essential books of texts and reference for the schools, and {6} such an apparatus for mathematics, astronomy and chemistry, as may enable us to set out with tolerable competence, if we can, through the banks and otherwise, anticipate the whole sum at once.

I remark what you say on the subject of committing ourselves to any one for the law appointment. Your caution is perfectly just. I hope, and am certain, that this will be the standing law of discretion and duty with every member of our board, in this and all cases. You know we have all, from the beginning, considered the high qualifications of our professors, as the only means by which we could give to our institution splendor and pre-eminence over all its sister seminaries. The only question, therefore, we can ever ask ourselves, as to any candidate, will be, is he the most highly qualified? The College of Philadelphia has lost its character of primacy by indulging motives of favoritism and nepotism, and by conferring the appointments as if the professorships were entrusted to them as provisions for their friends. And even that of Edinburgh, you know, is also much lowered from the same cause. We are next to observe, that a man is not qualified for a professor, knowing nothing but merely his own profession. He should be otherwise well educated as to the sciences generally; able to converse understandingly with the scientific men with whom he is associated, and to assist in the councils of the faculty on any subject of science on which they may have {7} occasion to deliberate. Without this, he will incur their contempt, and bring disreputation on the institution. With respect to the professorship you mention, I scarcely know any of our judges personally; but I will name, for example, the late Judge Roane, who, I believe, was generally admitted to be among the ablest of them. His knowledge was confined to the common law chiefly, which does not constitute one-half of the qualification of a really learned lawyer, much less that of a professor of law for an University. And as to any other branches of science, he must have stood mute in the presence of his literary associates, or of any learned strangers or others visiting the University. Would this constitute the splendid stand we propose to take? In the course of the trusts I have exercised through life with powers of appointment, I can say with truth, and with unspeakable comfort, that I never did appoint a relation to office, and that merely because I never saw the case in which some one did not offer, or occur, better qualified; and I have the most unlimited confidence, that in the appointment of Professors to our nursling institution, every individual of my associates will look with a single eye to the sublimation of its character, and adopt, as our sacred motto, "detur digniori." In this way it will honor us, and bless our country.

I perceive that I have permitted my reflections to run into generalities beyond the scope of the {8} particular intimation in your letter. I will let them go, however, as a general confession of faith, not belonging merely to the present case.

Name me affectionately to our brethren with you, and be assured yourself of my constant friendship and respect.


MONTICELLO, February 4, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- I duly received your favor of the 13th, and with it, the last number of the North American Review. This has anticipated the one I should receive in course, but have not yet received, under my subscription to the new series. The article on the African colonization of the people of color, to which you invite my attention, I have read with great consideration. It is, indeed, a fine one, and will do much good. I learn from it more, too, than I had before known, of the degree of success and promise of that colony.

In the disposition of these unfortunate people, there are two rational objects to be distinctly kept in view. First. The establishment of a colony on the coast of Africa, which may introduce among the aborigines the arts of cultivated life, and the blessings of civilization and science. By doing this, we may make to them some retribution for the long course of injuries we have been committing on their population. And considering that these {9} blessings will descend to the "nati natorum, et qui nascentur ab illis," we shall in the long run have rendered them perhaps more good than evil. To fulfil this object, the colony of Sierra Leone promises well, and that of Mesurado adds to our prospect of success. Under this view, the colonization society is to be considered as a missionary society, having in view, however, objects more humane, more justifiable, and less aggressive on the peace of other nations, than the others of that appellation. The second object, and the most interesting to us, as coming home to our physical and moral characters, to our happiness and safety, is to provide an asylum to which we can, by degrees, send the whole of that population from among us, and establish them under our patronage and protection, as a separate, free and independent people, in some country and climate friendly to human life and happiness. That any place on the coast of Africa should answer the latter purpose, I have ever deemed entirely impossible. And without repeating the other arguments which have been urged by others, I will appeal to figures only, which admit no controversy. I shall speak in round numbers, not absolutely accurate, yet not so wide from truth as to vary the result materially. There are in the United States a million and a half of people of color in slavery. To send off the whole of these at once, nobody conceives to be practicable for us, or expedient for them. Let us take twenty-five years {10} for its accomplishment, within which time they will be doubled. Their estimated value as property, in the first place, (for actual property has been lawfully vested in that form, and who can lawfully take it from the possessors?) at an average of two hundred dollars each; young and old, would amount to six hundred millions of dollars, which must be paid or lost by somebody. To this, add the cost of their transportation by land and sea to Mesurado, a year's provision of food and clothing, implements of husbandry and of their trades, which will amount to three hundred millions more, making thirty-six millions of dollars a year for twenty-five years, with insurance of peace all that time, and it is impossible to look at the question a second time. I am aware that at the end of about sixteen years, a gradual detraction from this sum will commence, from the gradual diminution of breeders, and go on during the remaining nine years. Calculate this deduction, and it is still impossible to look at the enterprise a second time. I do not say this to induce an inference that the getting rid of them is forever impossible. For that is neither my opinion nor my hope. But only that it cannot be done in this way. There is, I think, a way in which it can be done; that is, by emancipating the afterborn, leaving them, on due compensation, with their mothers, until their services are worth their maintenance, and then putting them to industrious occupations, until a proper age for deportation.


This was the result of my reflections on the subject five and forty years ago, and I have never yet been able to conceive any other practicable plan. It was sketched in the Notes on Virginia, under the fourteenth query. The estimated value of the new-born infant is so low, (say twelve dollars and fifty cents,) that it would probably be yielded by the owner gratis, and would thus reduce the six hundred millions of dollars, the first head of expense, to thirty-seven millions and a half; leaving only the expenses of nourishment while with the mother, and of transportation. And from what fund are these expenses to be furnished? Why not from that of the lands which have been ceded by the very States now needing this relief? And ceded on no consideration, for the most part, but that of the general good of the whole. These cessions already constitute one-fourth of the States of the Union. It may be said that these lands have been sold; are now the property of the citizens composing those States; and the money long ago received and expended. But an equivalent. of lands in the territories since acquired, may be appropriated to that object, or so much, at least, as may be sufficient; and the object, although more important to the slave States, is highly so to the others also, if they were serious in their arguments on the Missouri question. The slave States, too, if more interested, would also contribute more by their gratuitous liberation, thus taking {12} on themselves alone the first and heaviest item of expense.

In the plan sketched in the Notes on Virginia, no particular place of asylum was specified; because it was thought possible, that in the revolutionary state of America, then commenced, events might open to us some one within practicable distance. This has now happened. St. Domingo has become independent, and with a population of that color only; and if the public papers are to be credited, their Chief offers to pay their passage, to receive them as free citizens, and to provide them employment. This leaves, then, for the general confederacy, no expense but of nurture with the mother a few years, and would call, of course, for a very moderate appropriation of the vacant lands. Suppose the whole annual increase to be of sixty thousand effective births, fifty vessels, of four hundred tons burden each; constantly employed in that short run, would carry off the increase of every year, and the old stock would die off in the ordinary course of nature, lessening from the commencement until its final disappearance. In this way no violation of private right is proposed. Voluntary surrenders would probably come in as fast as the means to be provided for their care would be competent to it. Looking at my own State only, and I presume not to speak for the others, I verily believe that this surrender of property would not amount to more, annually, than half our present direct {13} taxes, to be continued fully about twenty or twenty-five years, and then gradually diminishing for as many more until their final extinction; and even this half tax would not be paid in cash, but by the delivery of an object which they have never yet known or counted as part of their property; and those not possessing the object will be called on for nothing. I do not go into all the details of the burdens and benefits of this operation. And who could estimate its blessed effects? I leave this to those who will live to see their accomplishment, and to enjoy a beatitude forbidden to my age. But I leave it with this admonition, to rise and be doing. A million and a half are within their control; but six millions, (which a majority of those now living will see them attain,) and one million of these fighting men; will say, "we will not go."

I am aware that this subject involves some constitutional scruples. But a liberal construction, justified by the object, may go far, and an amendment of the Constitution, the whole length necessary. The separation of infants from their mothers, too, would produce some scruples of humanity. But this would be straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel.

I am much pleased to see that you have taken up the subject of the duty on imported books. I hope a crusade will be kept up against it, until those in power shall become sensible of this stain on our legislation, and shall wipe it from their code, and from the remembrance of man, if possible.


I salute you with assurances of high respect and esteem.


MONTICELLO, February 14, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- I have to thank you for the copy of Colonel Taylor's New Views of the Constitution and shall read them with the satisfaction and edification which I have ever derived from whatever he has written. But I fear it is the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Those who formerly usurped the name of federalists, which, in fact, they never were, have now openly abandoned it, and are as openly marching by the road of construction, in a direct line to that consolidation which was always their real object. They, almost to a man, are in possession of one branch of the government, and appear to be very strong in yours. The three great questions of amendment now before you, will give the measure of their strength. I mean, 1st, the limitation of the term of the Presidential service; 2d, the placing the choice of President effectually in the hands of the people; 3d, the giving to Congress the power of internal improvement, on condition that each State's federal proportion of the moneys so expended, shall be employed within the State. The friends of consolidation would rather take these powers by construction than accept them by direct investiture from the States.


Yet, as to internal improvement particularly, there is probably not a State in the Union which would not grant the power on the condition proposed, or which would grant it without that. The best general key for the solution of questions of power between our governments, is the fact that "every foreign and federal power is given to the federal government, and to the States every power purely domestic." I recollect but one instance of control vested in the federal, over the State authorities, in a matter purely domestic, which is that of metallic tenders. The federal is, in truth, our foreign government, which department alone is taken from the sovereignty of the separate States.

The real friends of the Constitution in its federal form, if they wish it to be immortal, should be attentive, by amendments, to make it keep pace with the advance of the age in science and experience. Instead of this, the European governments have resisted reformation, until the people, seeing no other resource, undertake it themselves by force, their only weapon, and work it out through blood, desolation and long-continued anarchy. Here it will be by large fragments breaking off, and refusing re-union but on condition of amendment, or perhaps permanently. If I can see these three great amendments prevail, I shall consider it as a renewed extension of the term of our lease, shall live in more confidence, and die in more hope. And I do trust that the republican mass, which Colonel Taylor {16} justly says is the real federal one, is still strong enough to carry these truly federo-republican amendments. With my prayers for the issue, accept my friendly and respectful salutations.


MONTICELLO, February 25, 1824.

SIR, -- The kindness of the motive which led to the request of your letter of the 14th instant, and which would give some value to an article from me, renders compliance a duty of gratitude; knowing nothing more moral, more sublime, more worthy of your preservation than David's description of the good man, in his 15th Psalm, I will here transcribe it from Brady and Tate's version:

Lord, who's the happy man that may to Thy blest courts repair, Not stranger-like to visit them, but to inhabit there?
'Tis he whose every thought and deed by rules of virtue moves,
Whose generous tongue disdains to speak the thing his heart disproves.
Who never did a slander forge, his neighbor's fame to wound,
Nor hearken to a false report, by malice whispered round.
Who vice, in all its pomp and power, can treat with just neglect;
And piety, though clothed in rags, religiously respect.
Who to his plighted vows and trust has ever firmly stood,
And though he promise to his loss, he makes his promise good.
Whose soul in usury disdains his treasure to employ,
Whom no rewards can ever bribe the guiltless to destroy.
The man who, by this steady course, has happiness ensur'd,
When earth's foundations shake, shall stand, by Providence secur'd.

Accept this as a testimony of my respect for your request, an acknowledgment of a due sense of the {17} favor of your opinion, and an assurance of my good will and best wishes.


MONTICELLO, March 24, 1824.

I have to thank you, dear Sir, for the copy I have received of your System of Universal Science, for which, I presume, I am indebted to yourself. It will be a monument of the learning of the author and of the analyzing powers of his mind. Whether it may be adopted in general use is yet to be seen.. These analytical views indeed must always be ramified according to their object. Yours is on the great scale of a methodical encyclopedia of all human sciences, taking for the basis of their distribution, matter, mind, and the union of both. Lord Bacon founded his first great division on the faculties of the mind which have cognizance of these sciences. It does not seem to have been observed by any one that the origination of this division was not with him. It had been proposed by Charron more than twenty years before, in his book de la Sagesse, B. 1, c. 14, and an imperfect ascription of the sciences to these respective faculties was there attempted. This excellent moral work was published in 1600. Lord Bacon is said not to have entered on his great work until his retirement from public office in 1621. Where sciences are to be arranged in accommodation to the schools of an {18} university, they will be grouped to coincide with the kindred qualifications of Professors in ordinary. For a library, which was my object, their divisions and subdivisions will be made such as to throw convenient masses of books under each separate head. Thus, in the library of a physician, the books of that science,' of which he has many, will be subdivided under many heads; and those of law, of which he has few, will be placed under a single one. The lawyer, again, will distribute his law books under many subdivisions, his medical under a single one. Your idea of making the subject matter of the sciences the basis of their distribution, is certainly more reasonable than that of the faculties to which they are addressed. The materialists will perhaps criticise a basis, one-half of which they will say is a non-existence; adhering to the axiom of Aristotle, "nihil est in intellectu quod prius non fuerit in sensu," and affirming that we can have no evidence of any existence which impresses no sense. Of this opinion were most of the ancient philosophers, and several of the early and orthodox fathers of the Christian Church. Indeed, Jesus Himself, the Founder of our religion, was unquestionably a Materialist as to man. In all His doctrines of the resurrection, He teaches expressly that the body is to rise in substance. In the Apostles' Creed, we all declare that we believe in the "resurrection of the body." Jesus said that God is Spirit ( ) without defining it. Tertullian {19} supplies the definition, "quis negabit Deum esse corpus, etsi Deus Spiritus? spiritus etiam corporis sui generis in sua effigie." And Origen, "( ) accipi, docet, pro eo quod non est simile huic nostro crassiori et visibli corpori, sed quod est naturaliter subtile et velut aura tenue." The modern philosophers mostly consider thought as a function of our material organization; and Locke particularly among them, charges with blasphemy those who deny that Omnipotence could give the faculty of thinking to certain combinations of matter. Were I to re-compose my tabular view of the sciences, I should certainly transpose a particular branch. The naturalists, you know, distribute the history of nature into three kingdoms or departments: zoology, botany, mineralogy. Ideology or mind, however, occupies so much space in the field of science, that we might perhaps erect it into a fourth kingdom or department. But, inasmuch as it makes a part of the animal construction only, it would be more proper to subdivide zoology into physical and moral. The latter including ideology, ethics, and mental science generally, in my catalogue, considering ethics, as well as religion, as supplements to law in the government of man, I had placed them in that sequence. But certainly the faculty of thought belongs to animal history, is an important portion of it, and should there find its place. But these are speculations in which I do not now permit myself to labor. My mind unwillingly {20} engages in severe investigations. Its energies, indeed, are no longer equal to them. Being to thank you for your book, its subject has run away with me into a labyrinth of ideas no longer familiar, and writing also has become a slow and irksome operation with me. I have been obliged to avail myself of the pen of a granddaughter for this communication. I will here, therefore, close my task of thinking, hers of writing, and yours of reading, with assurances of my constant and high respect and esteem.


MONTICELLO, March 27, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- I have to thank you for your Greek Reader, which, for the use of

schools, is evidently preferable to the Collectanea Graeca. These have not arranged their selections so well in gradation from the easier to the more difficult styles.

On the subject of the Greek ablative, I dare say that your historical explanation is the true one. In the early stages of languages, the distinctions of cases may well be supposed so few as to be readily effected by changes of termination. The Greeks, in this way, seem to have formed five, the Latins six, and to have supplied their deficiences as they occurred in the progress of development, by prepositive words. In later times, the Italians, Spaniards, and French, have depended on prepositions


altogether, without any inflection of the primitive word to denote the change of case. What is singular as to the English is, that in its early form of Anglo-Saxon, having distinguished several cases by changes of termination, at later periods it has dropped these, retains but that of the genitive, and supplies all the others by prepositions. These subjects, with me, are neither favorites nor familiar; and your letter has occasioned me to look more into the particular one in question than I had ever done before. Turning, for satisfaction, to the work of Tracy, the most profound of our ideological writers, and to the volume particularly which treats of grammar, I find what I suppose to be the correct doctrine of the case. Omitting unnecessary words to abridge writing, I copy what he says: "Il y a des langues qui par certains changemens de desinence, appelles cas, indiquent quelques-uns des rapports des noms avec d'autres noms; mais beaucoup de langues n'ont point de cas; et celles qui en ont, n'en ont qu'un petit nombre, tandis que les divers rapports qu'une idee peut avoir avec une autre sont extremement multiplies: ainsi, les cas ne peuvent exprimer qu'en general, les principaux de ces rapports. Aussi dans toutes les langues, meme dans celles qui ont des cas, on a senti le besoin de mots distincts, separes des autres, et expressement destines a cet usage; ils ce qu'on appelle des prepositions." 2 Tracy Elemens d'Ideologie, c. 3, º 5, p. 114, and he names the Basque and Peruvian

{22 Jefferson's Works}

languages, whose nouns have such various changes of termination as to express all the relations which other languages express by prepositions, and therefore having no prepositions. On this ground, I suppose, then, we may rest the question of the Greek ablative. It leaves with me a single difficulty only, to wit: the instances where they have given the ablative signification to the dative termination, some of which I quoted in my former letter to you.

I have just received a letter from Coray, at Paris, of the 28th December, in

which he confirms the late naval success of the Greeks, but expresses a melancholy fear for his nation, "qui a montre jusqu'a ce moment des prodiges de valeur, mais qui, delivree d'un joug de Cannibass, ne peut encore posseder ni les lecons d'instruction, ni celles de l'experience." I confess I have the same fears for our South American brethren; the qualifications for self-government in society are not innate. They are the result of habit and long training, and for these they will require time and probably much suffering.

I salute you with assurances of great esteem and respect.


MONTICELLO, April 4, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- It was with great pleasure I learned that the good people of New

Orleans had restored


you again to the councils of our country. I did not doubt the aid it would bring to the remains of our old school in Congress, in which your early labors had been so useful. You will? find, I suppose, on revisiting our maritime States, the names of things more changed than the things themselves; that though our old opponents have given up their appellation, they have not, in assuming ours, abandoned their views, and that they are as strong nearly as they ever were. These cares, however, are no longer mine. I resign myself cheerfully to the managers of the ship, and the more contentedly as I am near the end of my voyage. I have learned to be less confident in the conclusions of human reason, and give more credit to the honesty of contrary opinions. The radical idea of the character of the constitution of our government, which I have adopted as a key in cases of doubtful construction, is, that the whole field of government is divided into two departments, domestic and foreign, (the States in their mutual relations being of the latter;) that the former department is reserved exclusively to the respective States within their own limits, and the latter assigned to a separate set of functionaries, constituting what may be called the foreign branch, which, instead of a federal basis, is established as a distinct government quoad hoc, acting as the domestic branch does on the citizens directly and coercively; that these departments have distinct directories, co-ordinate, and equally

{24 }

independent and supreme, each within its own sphere of action. Whenever a doubt arises to which of these branches a power belongs, I try it by this test. I recollect no case where a question simply between citizens of the same State, has been transferred to the foreign department, except that of inhibiting tenders but of metallic money, and ex post facto legislation. The causes of these singularities are well remembered.

I thank you for the copy of your speech on the question of national

improvement, which I have read with great pleasure, and recognize in it those powers of reasoning and persuasion of which I had formerly seen from you so many proofs. Yet, in candor, I must say it has not removed, in my mind, all the difficulties of the question. And I should really be alarmed at a difference of opinion with you, and suspicious of my own, were it not that I have, as companions in sentiments, the Madisons, the Monroes, the Randolphs, the Macons, all good men and true, of primitive principles. In one sentiment of the speech I particularly concur. "If we have a doubt relative to any power, we ought not to exercise it." When we consider the extensive and deep-seated opposition to this assumption, the conviction entertained by so many, that this deduction of powers by elaborate construction prostrates the rights reserved to the States, the difficulties with which it will rub along in the course of its exercise; that changes of majorities will be


changing the system backwards and forwards, so that no undertaking under it will be safe; that there is not a State in the Union which would not give the power willingly, by way of amendment, with some little guard, perhaps, against abuse; I cannot but think it would be the wisest course to ask an express grant of the power. A government held together by the bands of reason only, requires much compromise of opinion; that things even salutary should not be crammed down the throats of dissenting brethren, especially when they may be put into a form to be willingly swallowed, and that a great deal of indulgence is necessary to strengthen habits of harmony and fraternity. In such a case, it seems to me it would be safer and wiser to ask an express grant of the power. This would render its exercise smooth and acceptable to all, and insure to it all the facilities which the States could contribute, to prevent that kind of abuse which all will fear, because all know it is so much practised in public bodies, I mean the bartering of votes. It would reconcile every one, if limited by the proviso, that the federal proportion of each State should be expended within the State. With this single security against partiality and corrupt bargaining, I suppose there is not a State, perhaps not a man in the Union, who would not consent to add this to the powers of the General Government. But age has weaned me from questions of this kind. My delight is now in the passive occupation of reading;


and it is with great reluctance I permit my mind ever to encounter subjects of difficult investigation. You have many years yet to come of vigorous activity, and I confidently trust they will be employed in cherishing every measure which may foster our brotherly union, and perpetuate a constitution of government destined to be the primitive and precious model of what is to change the condition of man over the globe. With this confidence, equally strong in your powers and purposes, I pray you to accept the assurance of my cordial esteem and respect.


MONTICELLO, April 19, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- I received in due time your favor of the 12th., requesting my opinion on the proposition to call a convention for amending the constitution of the State. That this should not be perfect cannot be a subject of wonder, when it is considered that ours was not only the first of the American States, but the first nation in the world, at least within the records of history, which peaceably by its wise men, formed on free deliberation, a constitution of government for itself, and deposited it in writing, among their archives, always ready and open to the appeal of every citizen. The other States, who successively formed constitutions for them


selves also, had the benefit of our outline, and have made on it, doubtless, successive improvements. One in the very outset, and which has been adopted in every subsequent constitution, was to lay its foundation in the authority of the nation. To our convention no special authority had been delegated by the people to form a permanent constitution, over which their successors in legislation should have no powers of alteration. They had been elected for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, and at a time when the establishment of a new government had not been proposed or contemplated. Although, therefore, they gave to this act the title of a constitution, yet it could be no more than an act of legislation subject, as their other acts were, to alteration by their successors. It has been said, indeed, that the acquiescence of the people supplied the want of original power. But it is a dangerous lesson to say to them "whenever your functionaries exercise unlawful authority over you, if you do not go into actual resistance, it will be deemed acquiescence and confirmation. "How long had we acquiesced under usurpations of the British Parliament? Had that confirmed them in right, arid made our Revolution a wrong? Besides, no authority has yet decided whether. this resistance must be instantaneous; when the right to resist ceases, or whether it has yet ceased? Of the twenty-four States now organized, twenty-three have disapproved our doctrine and example,


and have deemed the authority of their people a necessary foundation for a constitution.

Another defect which has been corrected by most of the States is, that the

basis of our constitution is in opposition to the principle of equal. political rights, refusing to all but freeholders any participation in the natural right of self-government. It is believed, for example, that a very great majority of the militia, on whom the burden of military duty was imposed in the late war, were men unrepresented in the legislation which imposed this burden on them. However nature may by mental or physical disqualifications have marked infants and the weaker sex for the protection, rather than the direction of government, yet among the men who either pay or fight for their country, no line of right can be drawn. The exclusion of a majority of our freemen from the right of representation is merely arbitrary, and an usurpation of the minority over the majority; for it is believed that the non-freeholders compose the majority of our free and adult male citizens.

And even among our citizens who participate in the representative privilege,

the equality of political rights is entirely prostrated by our constitution. Upon which principle of right or reason can any one justify the giving to every citizen of Warwick as much weight in the government as to twenty-two equal citizens in Loudoun, and similar inequalities among the other counties? If these funda-


mental principles are of no importance in actual government, then no principles are important, and it is as well to rely on the dispositions of an administration, good or evil, as on the provisions of a constitution. I shall not enter into the details of smaller defects, although others there

doubtless are, the reformation of some of which might very much lessen the expenses of government, improve its organization, and add to the wisdom and purity of its administration in all its parts; but these things I leave to others, not permitting myself to take sides in the political questions of the day. I willingly acquiesce in the institutions of my country, perfect or imperfect; and think it a duty to leave their modifications to those who are to live under them, and are to participate of the good or evil they may produce. The present generation, has the same right of self-government which the past one has exercised for itself. And those in the full vigor of body and mind are more able to judge for themselves than those who are sinking under the wane of both. If the sense of our citizens on the question of a convention can be fairly and fully taken, its result will, I am sure, be wise and salutary; and far from arrogating the office of advice, no one will more passively acquiesce in it than myself. Retiring, therefore, to the tranquillity called for by increasing years and debility, I wish not to be understood as intermeddling in this question; and to my prayers for the general good,


I have only to add assurances to yourself of my great esteem.



MONTICELLO, Aprll 20, 1824.

SIR, -- I have duly received your favor of the 6th instant, informing me of the

institution of a debating society in Hingham, composed of adherents to the republican principles of the Revolution; and I am justly sensible of the honor done my name by associating it with the title of the society. The object of the society is laudable, and in a republican nation, whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion, and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance. In this line antiquity has left us the finest models for imitation; and he who studies and imitates them most nearly, will nearest approach the perfection of the art. Among these I should consider the speeches of Livy, Sallust, and Tacitus, as pre-eminent specimens of logic, taste, and that sententious brevity which, using not a word to spare,'leaves not a moment for inattention to the hearer. Amplification is the vice of modern oratory. It is an insult to an assembly of reasonable men, disgusting and revolting instead of persuading. Speeches measured by the hour, die with the hour. I will not, however, further indulge the disposition of the age to sermonize, and especially to those surrounded


by so much better advice. With my apologies, therefore, for hazarding even these observations, and my prayers for the success of your institution, be pleased to accept for the society and yourself the assurances of my high consideration. TO RICHARD RUSH.

MONTICELLO, April 26, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- I have heretofore informed you that our legislature had undertaken

the establishment of an University in Virginia; that it was placed in my neighborhood, and under the direction of a board of seven Visitors, of whom I am one, Mr. Madison another, and others equally worthy of confidence. We have been four or five years engaged in erecting our buildings, all of which are now ready to receive their tenants, one excepted, which the present season will put into a state for use. The last session of our legislature had by new donations liberated the revenue of fifteen thousand dollars a year, with which they had before endowed the institution, and we propose to open it the beginning of the next year. We require the intervening time for seeking out and engaging Professors. As to these we have determined to receive no one who is not of the first order of science in his line; and as such in every branch cannot be obtained with us, we propose to seek some of them at least in the countries ahead of us in science, and preferably in Great Britain, the land of


our own language, habits, and manners. But how to find out those who are of the first grade of science, of sober, correct habits and morals, harmonizing tempers, talents for communication, is the difficulty. Our first step is to send a special agent to the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh, to make the selection for us; and the person appointed for this office is the gentleman who will hand you this letter, -- Mr. Francis Walker Gilmer, -- the best educated subject we have raised since the Revolution, highly qualified in all the important branches of science, professing particularly that of the law, which he has practised some years at our Supreme Court with good success and flattering prospects. His morals, his amiable temper and discretion, will do justice to any confidence you may be willing to place in him, for I commit him to you as his mentor and guide in the business he goes on. We do not certainly expect to obtain such known characters as were the Cullens, the Robertsons and Porsons of Great Britain, men of the first eminence established. there in reputation and office, and with emoluments not to be bettered anywhere. But we know that there is another race treading on their heels, preparing to take their places, and as well and sometimes better qualified to fill them. These while unsettled, surrounded by a crowd of competitors, of equal claims and perhaps superior credit and interest, may prefer a comfortable certainty here for an uncertain hope there, and a lingering delay even of


that. From this description we expect we may draw professors equal to those of the highest name. The difficulty is to distinguish them; for we are told that so overcharged are all branches of business in that country, and such the difficulty of getting the means of living, that it is deemed allowable in ethics for even the most honorable minds to give highly exaggerated recommendations and certificates to enable a friend or protégé to get into a livelihood; and that the moment our agent should be known to be on such a mission, he would be overwhelmed by applications from numerous pretenders, all of whom, worthy or unworthy, would be supported by such recommendations and such names as would confound all discrimination. On this head our trust and hope is in you. Your knowledge of the state of things, your means of finding out a character or two at each place, truly trustworthy, and into whose hands you can commit our agent with entire safety, for information., caution, and co-operation, induces me to request your patronage and aid in our endeavors to obtain such men, and such only as will fulfil our views. An unlucky selection in the outset would forever blast our prospects. From our information of the character of the different Universities, we expect we should go to Oxford for our classical professor, to Cambridge for those of Mathematics, Natural Philosophy and Natural History, and to Edinburgh for a professor of Anatomy, and the elements or outlines only of Medicine. We have still VOL. XVI-j


our eye on Mr. Blaetterman for the professorship of modern languages, and Mr. Gilmer is instructed to engage him, if no very material objection to him may have arisen unknown to us. We can place in Mr. Gilmer's hands but a moderate sum at present for merely text-books to begin with, and for indispensable articles of apparatus, Mathematical, Astronomical, Physical, Chemical and Anatomical. We are in the hope of a sum of $50,000, as soon as we can get a settlement passed through the public offices. My experience in dealing with the bookseller Lackington, on your recommendation, has induced me to recommend him to Mr. Gilmer, and if we can engage his fidelity, we may put into his hands the larger supply of books when we are ready to call for it, and particularly what we shall propose to seek in England.

Although I have troubled you with many particulars, I yet leave abundance for

verbal explanation with Mr. Gilmer, who possesses a full knowledge of everything, and our full confidence in everything. He takes with him plans of our establishment, which we think it may be encouraging to show to the persons to whom he will make propositions, as well to let them see the comforts provided for themselves, as to show by the extensiveness and expense of the scale, that it is no ephemeral thing to which they are invited.

With my earnest solicitations that you will give us all your aid in an

undertaking on which we rest


the hopes and happiness of our country, accept the assurances of my sincere friendship, attachment and respect. TO JOSEPH C. CABELL.

MONTICELLO, May 16, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- Your favor of the 5th, from Williamsburg, has been duly received,

and presents to us a case of pregnant character, admitting important issues, and requiring serious consideration and conduct; yet I am more inclined to view it with hope than dismay. It involves two questions: First. Shall the College of William and Mary be removed? Second. To what place? As to the first, I never doubted the lawful authority of the legislature over the college, as being a public institution and endowed from the public property, by public agents for that function, and for public purposes. Some have doubted this authority without a relinquishment of what they call a vested right by the body corporate. But as their voluntary relinquishment is a circumstance of the case, it is relieved from that doubt. I certainly never wished that my venerable alma mater should be disturbed. I considered it as an actual possession of that ancient and earliest settlement of our forefathers, and was disposed to see it yielded as a courtesy, rather than taken as a right. They, however, are free to renounce a benefit, and we to receive it. Had we dissolved it on the prin


ciple of right, to give a direction to its funds more useful to the public, the professors, although their chartered tenure is during pleasure only, might have reasonably expected a vale of a year or two's salary, as an intermediate support,. until they could find other employment for their talents. And notwithstanding that their abandonment is voluntary, this should still be given them. On this first question I think we should be absolutely silent and passive, taking no part in it until the old institution is loosened from its foundation and fairly placed on its wheels.

2. On the second question, to what place shall it be moved? we may take the

field boldly. Richmond, it seems, claims it, but on what ground of advantage to the public? When the professors their charter and funds shall be translated to Richmond, will they become more enlightened there than at the old place? Will they possess more science? be more capable of communicating it? or more competent to raise it from the dead, in a new sect, than to keep it alive in the ancient one? Or has Richmond any peculiarities more favorable for the communication of the sciences generally than the place which the legislature has preferred and fixed on for that purpose? This will not be pretended. But it seems they possess advantages for a medical school. Let us scan them. Anatomy may be as competently taught at the University as at Richmond, the only subjects of discretion which either place can count on are equally acquirable at both. And as to medi-


cine, whatever can be learned from lectures or books, may be taught at the University of Virginia as well as at Richmond, or even at Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, or Boston, with the inestimable additional advantage of acquiring, at the same time, the kindred sciences by attending the other schools. But Richmond thinks it can have a hospital which will furnish subjects for the clinical branch of medicine. The classes of people which furnish subjects for the hospitals of Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, do not exist at Richmond. The shipping constantly present at those places, furnish many patients. Is there a ship at Richmond? The class of white servants in those cities which is numerous and penniless, and whose regular resource in sickness is always the hospital, constitutes the great body of their patients; this class does not exist at Richmond. The servants there are slaves, whose masters are by law obliged to take care of them in sickness as in health, and who could not be admitted into a hospital. These resources, then, being null, the free inhabitants alone remain for a hospital at Richmond. And I will ask how many families in Richmond would send their husbands, wives, or children to a hospital, in sickness, to be attended by nurses hardened by habit against the feelings of pity, to lie in public rooms harassed by the cries and sufferings of disease under every form, alarmed by the groans of the dying, exposed as a corpse to be lectured over by a clinical professor, to be crowded

{38 }

and handled by his students to hear their case learnedly explained to them, its threatening symptoms developed, and its probable termination foreboded? In vindication of Richmond, I may surely answer that there is not in the place a family so heartless, as, relinquishing their own tender cares of a child or parent, to abandon them in sickness to this last resource of poverty; for it is poverty alone which peoples hospitals, and those alone who are on the charities of their parish would go to their hospital. Have they paupers enough to fill a hospital? and sickness enough among these? One reason alleged for the removal of the college to Richmond is that Williamsburg is sickly, is happily little apt for the situation of a hospital. No, Sir; Richmond is no place to furnish subjects for clinical lectures. I have always had Norfolk in view for this purpose. The climate and pontine country around Norfolk render it truly sickly in itself. It is, moreover, the rendezvous not only of the shipping of commerce, but of the vessels of the public navy. The United States have there a hospital already established, and supplied with subjects from these local circumstances. I had thought and have mentioned to yourself and our colleagues, that when our medical school has got well under way, we should propose to the federal government the association with that establishment, and at our own expense, of the clinical branch of our medical school, so that our students, after qualifying themselves with the other branches of the science


here, might complete their course of preparation by attending clinical lectures for six or twelve months at Norfolk. But Richmond has another claim, as being the seat of government. The

indisposition of Richmond towards our University has not been unfelt. But would it not be wiser in them to rest satisfied with the government and their local academy? Can they afford, on the question of a change of the seat of government, by hostilizing the middle counties, to transfer them from the eastern to the western interest? To make it their interest to withdraw from the former that ground of claim, if used for adversary purposes? With things as they are, let both parties remain content and united.

If, then, William and Mary is to be removed, and not to Richmond, can there

be two opinions how its funds are to be directed to the best advantage for the public? When it was found that that seminary was entirely ineffectual towards the object of public education, and that one on a better plan, and in a better situation, must be provided, what was so obvious as to employ for that purpose the funds of the one abandoned, with what more would be necessary, to raise the new establishment? And what so obvious as to do now what might reasonably have been done then, by consolidating together the institutions and their funds? The plan sanctioned by the legislature required for our University ten professors, but the funds appropriated will maintain but


eight, and some of these are consequently overburdened with duties; the hundred thousand dollars of principal which you say still remains to William and Mary, by its interest of six thousand dollars, would give us the two deficient professors, with an annual surplus for the purchase of books; and certainly the legislature will see no public interest, after the expense incurred on the new establishment, in setting up a rival in the city of Richmond; they cannot think it better to have two institutions crippling one another, than one of healthy powers, competent to that highest grade of instruction which neither, with a divided support, could expect to attain.

Another argument may eventually arise in favor of consolidation. The

contingent gift at the late session, of fifty thousand dollars, for books and apparatus, shows a sense in the legislature that those objects are still to be provided. If we fail in obtaining that sum, they will feel an incumbency to provide it otherwise. What so ready as the derelict capital of William and Mary, and the large library they uselessly possess? Should that college then be removed, I cannot doubt that the legislature, keeping in view its original object, will consolidate it with the University.

But it will not be removed. Richmond is doubtless in earnest, but that the

Visitors should concur is impossible. The professors are the prime movers, and do not mean exactly what they propose. They hold up this raw-head and bloody-bones in terrorem


to us, to force us to receive them into our institution. Men who have degraded and foundered the vessel whose helm was entrusted to them, want now to force their incompetence on us. I know none of them personally, but judge of them from the fact and the opinion I hear from every one acquainted with the case, that it has been destroyed by their incompetence and mismanagement. Until the death of Bishop Madison, it kept at its usual stand of about eighty students. It is now dwindled to about twenty, and the professors acknowledge that on opening our doors, theirs may be shut. Their funds in that case, would certainly be acceptable and salutary to us. But not with the incubus of their faculty. When they find that their feint gives us no alarm, they will retract, will recall their grammar school, make their college useful as a sectional school of preparation for the University, and teach the languages, surveying, navigation, plane trigonometry, and such other elements of science as will be useful to many whose views do not call for a university education. I will only add to this long letter an opinion that we had better say as

little as we can on this whole subject; give them no alarm; let them petition for the removal; let them get the old structure completely on wheels, and not till then put in our claim to its reception. I shall communicate your letter, as you request, to Mr. Madison, and with it this answer. Why can you not call on us on your way


to Warminster, and make this a subject of conversation? With my devoted respects to Mrs. Cabell, assure her that she can be nowhere more cordially received than by the family of Monticello. And the deviation from your direct road is too small to merit consideration. Ever and affectionately your friend and servant.


MONTICELLO, June 5, 1824.

DEAR AND VENERABLE SIR, -- I am much indebted for your kind letter of February the 29th, and for your valuable volume on the English Constitution. I have read this with pleasure and much approbation, and think it has deduced the Constitution of the English nation from its rightful root, the Anglo-Saxon. It is really wonderful, that so many able and learned men should have failed in their attempts to define it with correctness. No wonder then, that Paine, who thought more than he read, should have credited the great authorities who have declared, that the will of Parliament is the Constitution of England. So Marbois, before the French Revolution, observed to me that the Almanac Royal was the Constitution of France. Your derivation of it from the Anglo-Saxons, seems to be made on legitimate principles. Having driven out the former inhabitants of that part of the island called England, they became aborigines as to you, and your lineal {43} ancestors. They doubtless had a constitution; and although they have not left it in a written formula, to the precise text of which you may always appeal, yet they have left fragments of their history and laws, from which it may be inferred with considerable certainty. Whatever their history and laws show to have been practised with approbation, we may presume was permitted by their constitution; whatever was not so practiced, was not permitted. And although this constitution was violated and set at naught by Norman force, yet force cannot change right. A perpetual claim was kept up by the nation, by their perpetual demand of a restoration of their Saxon laws; which shows they were never relinquished by the will of the nation. In the pullings and haulings for these ancient rights, between the nation, and its kings of the races of Plantagenets, Tudors and Stuarts, there was sometimes gain, and sometimes loss, until the final reconquest of their rights from the Stuarts. The destruction and expulsion of this race broke the thread of pretended inheritance, extinguished all regal usurpations, and the nation re-entered into all its rights; and although in their bill of rights they specifically reclaimed some only, yet the omission of the others was no renunciation of the right to assume their exercise also, whenever occasion should occur. The new King received no rights or powers, but those expressly granted to him. It has ever appeared to me, that the difference between the Whig and the {44} Tory of England is, that the Whig deduces his rights from the Anglo-Saxon source, and the Tory from the Norman. And Hume, the great apostle of Toryism, says, in so many words, note AA to chapter 42, that, in the reign of the Stuarts, "it was the people who encroached upon the sovereign, not the sovereign who attempted, as is pretended, to usurp upon the people." This supposes the Norman usurpations to be rights in his successors. And again, C, 159, "the commons established a principle, which is noble in itself, and seems specious, but is belied by all history and experience, that the people are the origin of all just power." And where else will this degenerate son of science, this traitor to his fellow men, find the origin of just powers, if not in the majority of the society? Will it be in the minority? Or in an individual of that minority?

Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground. It presented us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased. We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature, and found them engraved on our hearts. Yet we did not avail ourselves of all the advantages of our position. We had never been permitted to exercise self-government. When forced to assume it, we were novices in its science. Its principles and forms had entered little into our former education. We established, however, some, although {45} not all its important principles. The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press. In the structure of our legislatures, we think experience has proved the benefit of subjecting questions to two separate bodies of deliberants; but in constituting these, natural right has been mistaken, some making one of these bodies, and some both, the representatives of property instead of persons; whereas the double deliberation might be as well obtained without any violation of true principle, either by requiring a greater age in one of the bodies, or by electing a proper number of representatives of persons, dividing them by lots into two chambers, and renewing the division at frequent intervals, in order to break up all cabals. Virginia, of which I am myself a native and resident, was not only the first of the States, but, I believe I may say, the first of the nations of the earth, which assembled its wise men peaceably together to form a fundamental constitution, to commit it to writing, and place it among {46} their archives, where every one should be free to appeal to its text. But this act was very imperfect. The other States, as they proceeded successively to the same work, made successive improvements; and several of them, still further corrected by experience, have, by conventions, still further amended their first forms. My own State has gone on so far with its premiere ebauche; but it is now proposing to call a convention for amendment. Among other improvements, I hope they will adopt the subdivision of our counties into wards. The former may be estimated at an average of twenty-four miles square; the latter should be about six miles square each, and would answer to the hundreds of your Saxon Alfred. In each of these might be, 1st, an elementary school; ad, a company of militia, with its officers; 3d, a justice of the peace and constable; 4th, each ward should take care of their own poor; 5th, their own roads; 6th, their own police; 7th, elect within themselves one or more jurors to attend the courts of justice; and 8th, give in at their folk-house, their votes for all functionaries reserved to their election. Each ward would thus be a small republic within itself, and every man in the State would thus become an acting member of the common government, transacting in person a great portion of its rights and duties, subordinate indeed, yet important, and entirely within his competence. The wit of man cannot devise a more solid basis for a free, durable and well-administered republic.


With respect to our State and federal governments, I do not think their relations correctly understood by foreigners. They generally suppose the former subordinate to the latter. But this is not the case. They are co-ordinate departments of one simple and integral whole. To the State governments are reserved all legislation and administration, in affairs which concern their own citizens only, and to the federal government is given whatever concerns foreigners, or the citizens of other States; these functions alone being made federal. The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government; neither having control over the other, but within its own department. There are one or two exceptions only to this partition of power. But, you may ask, if the two departments should claim each the same subject of power, where is the common umpire to decide ultimately between them? In cases of little importance or urgency, the prudence of both parties will keep them aloof from the questionable ground; but if it can neither be avoided nor compromised, a convention of the States must be called, to ascribe the doubtful power to that department which they may think best. You will perceive by these details, that we have not yet so far perfected our constitutions as to venture to make them unchangeable. But still, in their present state, we consider them not otherwise changeable than by the authority of the people, on a special election of representatives for that purpose expressly: they are until then the lex legum, {48} But can they be made unchangeable? Can one generation bind another, and all others, in succession forever? I think not. The Creator has made the earth for the living, not the dead. Rights and powers can only belong to persons, not to things, not to mere matter, unendowed with will. The dead are not even things. The particles of matter which composed their bodies, make part now of the bodies of other animals, vegetables, or minerals, of a thousand forms. To what then are attached the rights and powers they held while in the form of men? A generation may bind itself as long as its majority continues in life; when that has disappeared, another majority is in place, holds all the rights and powers their predecessors once held, and may change their laws and institutions to suit themselves. Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.

I was glad to find in your book a formal contradiction, at length, of the judiciary usurpation of legislative powers; for such the judges have usurped in their repeated decisions, that Christianity is a part of the common law. The proof of the contrary, which you have adduced, is incontrovertible; to wit, that the common law existed while the Anglo-Saxons were yet pagans, at a time when they had never yet heard the name of Christ pronounced, or knew that such a character had ever existed. But it may amuse you, to show when, and by what means, they stole this law in upon us. In a case of quare impedit {49} in the Year-book 34, H. 6, folio 38, (anno 1458,) a question was made, how far the ecclesiastical law was to be respected in a common law court? And Prisot, Chief Justice, gives his opinion in these words: "A tiel leis qu' ils de seint eglise ont en ancien scripture, covient a nous a donner credence; car ceo common ley sur quels touts manners leis sont fondes. Et auxy, Monsieur, nous sumus obleges de conustre lour ley de saint eglise; et semblablement ils sont oblige de consustre nostre ley. Et, Monsieur, si poit apperer or a nous que l'evesque ad fait come un ordinary fera en tiel cas, adong nous devons cee adjuger bon, ou auterment nemy," etc. See S. C. Fitzh. Abr. Qu. imp. 89, Bro. Abr. Qu. imp. 12. Finch in his first book, c. 3, is the first afterwards who quotes this case and mistakes it thus: "To such laws of the church as have warrant in holy scripture, our law giveth credence." And cites Prisot; mistranslating "ancien scripture," into "holy scripture. "Whereas Prisot palpably says, "to such laws as those of holy church have in ancient writing, it is proper for us to give credence," to wit, to their ancient written laws. This was in 1613, a century and a half after the dictum of Prisot. Wingate, in 1658, erects this false translation into a maxim of the common law, copying the words of Finch, but citing Prisot, Wing. Max. 3. And Sheppard, title, "Religion," in 1675, copies the same mistranslation, quoting the Y. B. Finch and Wingate. Hale expresses it in these words: "Christianity is parcel of the laws of England." 1 Ventr. {50} 293, 3 Keb. 607. But he quotes no authority. By these echoings and re-echoings from one to another, it had become so established in 1728, that in the case of the King vs. Woolston, 2 Stra. 834, the court would not suffer it to be debated, whether to write against Christianity was punishable in the temporal court at common law? Wood, therefore, 409, ventures still to vary the phrase, and say, that all blasphemy and profaneness are offences by the common law; and cites 2 Stra. Then Blackstone, in 1763, IV. 59, repeats the words of Hale, that "Christianity is part of the laws of England," citing Ventris and Strange. And finally, Lord Mansfield, with a little qualification, in Evans' case, in 1767, says that "the essential principles of revealed religion are part of the common law." Thus ingulfing Bible, Testament and all into the common law, without citing any authority. And thus we find this chain of authorities hanging link by link, one upon another, and all ultimately on one and the same hook, and that a mistranslation of the words "ancien scripture," used by Prisot. Finch quotes Prisot; Wingate does the same. Sheppard quotes Prisot, Finch and Wingate. Hale cites nobody. The court in Woolston's case cites Hale. Wood cites Woolston's case. Blackstone quotes Woolston's case and Hale. And Lord Mansfield, like Hale, ventures it on his own authority. Here I might defy the best-read lawyer to produce another scrip of authority for this judiciary forgery; and I might go on further to show, how some of the {51} Anglo-Saxon priests interpolated into the text of Alfred's laws, the 20th, 21st, 22d, and 23d chapters of Exodus, and the 15th of the Acts of the Apostles, from the 23d to the 29th verses. But this would lead my pen and your patience too far. What a conspiracy this, between Church and State! Sing Tantarara, rogues all, rogues all, Sing Tantarara, rogues all ! I must still add to this long and rambling letter, my acknowledgments for your good wishes to the University we are now establishing in this State. There are some novelties in it. Of that of a professorship of the principles of government, you express your approbation. They will be founded in the rights of man. That of agriculture, I am sure, you will approve; and that also of Anglo-Saxon. As the histories and laws left us in that type and dialect, must be the text-books of the reading of the learners, they will imbibe with the language their free principles of government. The volumes you have been so kind as to send, shall be placed in the library of the University. Having at this time in England a person sent for the purpose of selecting some professors, a Mr. Gilmer of my neighborhood, I cannot but recommend him to your patronage, counsel and guardianship, against imposition, misinformation, and the deceptions of partial and false recommendations, in the selection of characters. He is a gentleman of great worth and correctness, my particular friend, well educated {52} in various branches of science, and worthy of entire confidence.

Your age of eighty-four and mine of eighty-one years, insure us a speedy meeting. We may then commune at leisure, and more fully, on the good and evil which, in the course of our long lives, we have both witnessed; and in the meantime, I pray you to accept assurances of my high veneration and esteem for your person and character.


MONTICELLO, June 29, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- I have to thank you for Mr. Pickering's elaborate philippic against Mr. Adams, Gerry, Smith, and myself; and I have delayed the acknowledgment until I could read it and make some observations on it.

I could not have believed, that for so many years, and to such a period of advanced age, he could have nourished passions so vehement and viperous. It appears, that for thirty years past, he has been industriously collecting materials for vituperating the characters he had marked for his hatred; some of whom, certainly, if enmities towards him had ever existed, had forgotten them all, or buried them in the grave with themselves. As to myself, there never had been anything personal between us, nothing but the general opposition of party sentiment; and our personal intercourse had been that of


urbanity, as himself says. But it seems he has been all this time brooding over an enmity which I had never felt, and that with respect to myself, as well as others, he has been writing far and near, and in every direction, to get hold of original letters, where he could, copies, where he could not, certificates and journals, catching at every gossiping story he could hear of in any quarter, supplying by suspicions what he could find nowhere else, and then arguing on this motley farrago, as if established on gospel evidence. And while expressing' his wonder, that "at the age of eighty-eight, the strong passions of Mr. Adams should not have cooled;" that on the contrary they had acquired the mastery of his soul," (p. 100;) that "where these were enlisted, no reliance could be placed on his statements," (p. 104;) the facility and little truth with which he could represent facts and occurrences, concerning persons who were the objects of his hatred, (p. 3;) that "he is capable of making the grossest misrepresentations, and, from detached facts, and often from bare suspicions, or drawing unwarrantable inferences, if suited to his purpose at the instant," (p. 174;) while making such charges, I say, on Mr. Adams, instead of his "ecce homo," (p. 100;) how justly might we say to him, "mutato nomine, de te fabula narratur." For the assiduity and industry he has employed in his benevolent researches after matter of crimination against us, I refer to his pages 13, 14, 34, 36, 46, 71, 79, 90,bis. 92, 93,bis. 101, ter. 104, 116, 118, 141, 143,


146, 150, 151, 153, 168, 171, 172. That Mr. Adams' strictures on him, written and printed, should have excited some notice on his part, was not perhaps to be wondered at. But the sufficiency of his motive for the large attack on me may be more questionable. He says (p. 4), "of Mr. Jefferson I should have said nothing, but for his letter to Mr. Adams, of October the 12th, 1823." Now the object of that letter was to soothe the feelings of a friend, wounded by a publication which I thought an "outrage on private confidence. Not a word or allusion in it respecting Mr. Pickering, nor was it suspected that it would draw forth his pen in justification of this infidelity, which he has, however undertaken in the course of his pamphlet, but more particularly in its conclusion. He arraigns me on two grounds, my actions and my motives. The very actions,

however which he arraigns, have been such as the great majority. of my fellow citizens have approved. The approbation of Mr. Pickering, and of those who thought with him, I had no right to expect. My motives he chooses to ascribe to hypocrisy, to ambition and a passion for popularity. Of these the world must judge between us. It is no office of his or mine. To that tribunal I have ever submitted my actions and motives, without ransacking the Union for certificates, letters, journals, and gossiping tales, to justify my self and weary them. Nor shall I do this on the present occasion, but leave still to them these anti-


quated party diatribes, now newly revamped and paraded, as if they had not been already a thousand times repeated, refuted, and adjudged against him, by the nation itself. If no action is to be deemed virtuous for which malice can imagine a sinister motive, then there never was a virtuous action; no, not even in the life of our Saviour Himself. But He has taught us to judge the tree by its fruit, and to leave motives to Him who can alone see into them. But whilst I leave to its fate the libel of Mr. Pickering, with the thousands

of others like it, to which I have given no other answer than a steady course of similar action, there are two facts or fancies of his which I must set to rights. The one respects Mr. Adams, the other myself. He observes that my letter of October the 12th, 1823, acknowledges the receipt of one from Mr. Adams, of September the 18th, which, having been written a few days after Cunningham's publication, he says was no doubt written to apologize to me for the pointed reproaches he had uttered against me in his confidential letters to Cunningham. And thus having no "doubt" of his conjecture, he considers it as proven, goes on to suppose the contents of the letter, ( 19, 22, ) makes it place Mr. Adams at my feet suing for pardon, and continues to rant upon it, as an undoubted fact. Now, I do most solemnly declare, that so far from being a letter of apology, as Mr. Pickering so undoubtedly assumes, there was not a word or allusion in it respecting Cunningham's publication.


The other allegation respecting myself, is equally false. In page 34, he quotes Doctor Stuart as having, twenty years ago, informed him that General Washington, "when he became a private citizen," called me to account for expressions in a letter to Mazzei, requiring, in a tone of unusual severity, an explanation of that letter. He adds of himself, "in what manner the latter humbled himself and appeased the just resentment of Washington, will never be made known, as some time after his death the correspondence was not to be found, and a diary for an important period of his Presidency was also missing." The diary being of transactions during his Presidency, the letter to Mazzei not known here until some time after he became a private citizen, and the pretended correspondence of course after that, I know not why this lost diary and supposed correspondence are brought together here, unless for insinuations worthy of the letter itself. The correspondence could not be found, indeed, because it had never existed. I do affirm that there never passed a word, written or verbal, directly or indirectly, between General Washington and myself on the subject of that letter. He would never have degraded himself so far as to take to himself the imputation in that letter on the "Samsons in combat." The whole story is a fabrication, and I defy the framers of it, and all mankind, to produce a scrip of a pen between General Washington and myself on the subject, or any other evidence more worthy


of credit than the suspicions, suppositions and presumptions of the two persons here quoting and quoted for it. With Doctor Stuart I had not much acquaintance. I supposed him to be an honest man, knew him to be a very weak one, and, like Mr. Pickering, very prone to antipathies, boiling with party passions, and under the dominion of these readily welcoming fancies for facts. But come the story from whomsoever it might, it is an unqualified falsehood.

This letter to Mazzei has been a precious theme of crimination for federal malice. It was a long letter of business, in which was inserted a single paragraph only of political information as to the state of our country. In this information there was not one word which would not then have been, or would not now be approved by every republican in the United States, looking back to those times, as you will see by a faithful copy now enclosed of the whole of what that letter said on the subject of the United States, or of its'government. This paragraph, extracted and translated, got into a Paris paper at a time when the persons in power there were laboring under very general disfavor, and their friends were eager to catch even at straws to buoy them up. To them, therefore, I have always imputed the interpolation of an entire paragraph additional to mine, which makes me charge my own country with ingratitude and injustice to France. There was not a word in my letter respecting France, or any of the proceed


ings or relations between this country and that. Yet this interpolated paragraph has been the burden of federal calumny, has been constantly quoted by them, made the subject of unceasing and virulent abuse, and is still quoted, as you see, by Mr. Pickering, page 33, as if it were genuine, and really written by me. And even Judge Marshall makes history descend from its dignity, and the ermine from its sanctity, to exaggerate, to record, and to sanction this forgery. In the very last note of his book, he says, "a letter from Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Mazzei, an Italian, was published in Florence, and re-published in the Moniteur, with very severe strictures on the conduct of the United States." And instead of the letter itself, he copies what he says are the remarks of the editor, which are an exaggerated commentary on the fabricated paragraph itself, and silently leaves to his reader to make the ready inference that these were the sentiments of the letter. Proof is the duty of the affirmative side. A negative cannot be positively proved. But, in defect of impossible proof of what was not in the original letter, I have its press-copy still in my possession. It has been shown to several, and is open to any one who wishes to see it. I have presumed only, that the interpolation was done in Paris. But I never saw the letter in either its Italian or French dress, and it may have been done here, with the commentary handed down to posterity by the Judge. The genuine paragraph, re-translated through Italian and French into Eng


lish, as it appeared here in a federal paper, besides the mutilated hue which these translations and retranslations of it produced generally, gave a mistranslation of a single word, which entirely perverted its meaning, and made it a pliant and fertile text of misrepresentation of my political principles. The original, speaking of an Anglican, monarchical and aristocratical party, which had sprung up since he had left us, states their object to be "to draw over us the substance, as they had already done the forms of the British Government." Now the "forms" here meant, were the levees, birthdays, the pompous cavalcade to the State House on the meeting of Congress, the formal speech from the throne, the procession of Congress in a body to reecho the speech in an answer, etc., etc. But the translator here, by substituting form in the singular number, for forms in the plural, made it mean the frame or organization of our government, or its form of legislative, executive, and judiciary authorities, coordinate and independent; to which form it was to be inferred that I was an enemy. In this sense they always quoted it, and in this sense Mr. Pickering still quotes it, pages 34, 35, 38, and countenances the inference. Now General Washington perfectly understood what I meant by these forms, as they were frequent subjects of conversation between us. When, on my return from Europe, I joined the government in March, 1790, at New York, I was much astonished, indeed, at the mimicry I found

{60 }

established of royal forms and ceremonies, and more alarmed at the unexpected phenomenon, by the monarchical sentiments I heard expressed and openly maintained in every company, and among others by the high members of the government, executive and judiciary, (General Washington alone excepted,) and by a great part of the legislature, save only some members who had been of the old Congress, and a very few of recent introduction. I took occasion, at various times, of expressing to General Washington my disappointment at these symptoms of a change of principle, and that I thought them encouraged by the forms and ceremonies which I found prevailing, not at all in character with the simplicity of republican government, and looking as if wishfully to those of European courts. His general explanations to me were, that when he arrived at New York to enter on the executive administration of the new government, he observed to those who were to assist him, that placed as he was in an office entirely new to him, unacquainted with the forms and ceremonies of other governments, still less apprized of those which might be properly established here, and himself perfectly indifferent to all forms, he wished them to consider and prescribe what they should be; and the task was assigned particularly to General Knox, a man of parade, and to Colonel Humphreys, who had resided some time at a foreign court. They, he said, were the authors of the present regulations, and that others


were proposed so highly strained that he absolutely rejected them. Attentive to the difference of opinion prevailing on this subject, when the term of his second election arrived, he called the Heads of departments together, observed to them the situation in which he had been at the commencement of the government, the advice he had taken and the course he had observed in compliance with it; that a proper occasion had now arrived of revising that course, of correcting it in any particulars not approved in experience; and he desired us to consult together, agree on any changes we should think for the better, and that he should willingly conform to what we should advise. We met at my office. Hamilton and myself agreed at once that there was too much ceremony for the character of our government, and particularly, that the parade of the installation at New York ought not to be copied on the present occasion, that the President should desire the Chief Justice to attend him at his chambers, that he should administer the oath of office to him in the presence of the higher officers of the government, and that the certificate of the fact should be delivered to the Secretary of State to be recorded. Randolph and Knox differed from us, the latter vehemently; they thought it not advisable to change any of the established forms, and we authorized Randolph to report our opinions to the President. As these opinions were divided, and no positive advice given as to any change, no change was made. Thus the forms

{62 }

which I had censured in my letter to Mazzei were perfectly understood by General Washington, and were those which he himself but barely tolerated. He had furnished me a proper occasion for proposing their reformation, and my opinion not prevailing, he knew I could not have meant any part of the censure for him.

Mr. Pickering quotes, too, (page 34) the expression in the letter, of "the

men who were Samsons in the field, and Solomons in the council, but who had had their heads shorn by the harlot England;" or, as expressed in their re-translation, "the men who were Solomons in council, and Samsons in combat, but whose hair had been cut off by the whore England." Now this expression also was perfectly understood by General Washington. He knew that I meant it for the Cincinnati generally, and that from what had passed between us at the commencement of that institution, I could not mean to include him. When the first meeting was called for its establishment, I was a member of the Congress then sitting at Annapolis. General Washington wrote to me, asking my opinion on that proposition, and the course, if any, which I thought Congress would observe respecting it. I wrote him frankly my own disapprobation of it; that I found the members of Congress generally in the same sentiment; that I thought they would take no express notice of it, but that in all appointments of trust, honor, or profit, they would silently pass by all candidates


of that order, and give an uniform preference to others. On his way to the first meeting in Philadelphia, which I think was in the spring of 1784, he called on me at Annapolis. It was a little after candle-light, and he sat with me till after midnight, conversing, almost exclusively, on that subject. While he was feelingly indulgent to the motives which might induce the officers to promote it, he concurred with me entirely in condemning it; and when I expressed an idea that if the hereditary quality were suppressed, the institution might perhaps be indulged during the lives of the officers now living, and who had actually served; "no," he said, "not a fibre of it ought to be left, to be an eye-sore to the public, a ground of dissatisfaction, and a line of separation between them and their country;" and he left me with a determination to use all his influence for its entire suppression. On his return from the meeting he called on me again, and related to me the course the thing had taken. He said that from the beginning, he had used every endeavor to prevail on the officers to renounce the project altogether, urging the many considerations which would render it odious to their fellow citizens, and disreputable and injurious to themselves; that he had at length prevailed on most of the old officers to reject it, although with great and warm opposition from others, and especially the younger ones, among whom he named Colonel W. S. Smith as particularly intemperate. But that in this state of things,


when he thought the question safe, and the meeting drawing to a close, Major L'Enfant arrived from France, with a bundle of eagles, for which he had been sent there, with letters from the French officers who had served in America, praying for admission into the order, and a solemn act of .their king permitting them to wear its ensign. This, he said, changed the face of matters at once, produced an entire revolution of sentiment, and turned the torrent so strongly in an opposite direction that it could be no longer withstood; all he could then obtain was a suppression of the hereditary quality. He added, that it was the French applications, and respect for the approbation of the king, which saved the establishment in its modified and temporary form. Disapproving thus of the institution as much as I did, and conscious that I knew him to do so, he could never suppose that I meant to include him among the Samsons in the field, whose object was to draw over us the form, as they made the letter say, of the British government, and especially its aristocratic member, an hereditary House of Lords. Add to this, that the letter saying "that two out of the three branches of legislature were against us," was an obvious exception of him; it being well known that the majorities in the two branches of Senate and Representatives, were the very instruments which carried, in opposition to the old and real republicans, the measures which were the subjects of condemnation in this letter. General Washington,


then, understanding perfectly what and whom I meant to designate, in both phrases, and that they could not have any application or view to himself, could find in neither any cause of offence to himself; and therefore neither needed, nor ever asked any explanation of them. from me. Had it even been otherwise, they must know very little of General Washington, who should believe to be within the laws of his character what Doctor Stuart is said to have imputed to him. Be this, however, as it may, the story is infamously false in every article of it. My last parting with General Washington was at the inauguration of Mr. Adams, in March, 1797, and was warmly affectionate; and I never had any reason to believe any change on his part, as there certainly was none on mine. But one session of Congress intervened between that and his death, the year following, in my passage to and from which, as it happened to be not convenient to call on him, I never had another opportunity; and as to the cessation of correspondence observed during that short interval, no particular circumstance occurred for epistolary communication, and both of us were too much oppressed with letter-writing, to trouble, either the other, with a letter about nothing. The truth is, that the federalists, pretending to be the exclusive friends of

General Washington, have ever done what they could to sink his character, by hanging theirs on it, and by representing as the enemy of republicans him, who, of all men, is best



entitled to the appellation of the father of that republic which they were endeavoring to subvert, and the republicans to maintain. They cannot deny, because the elections proclaimed the truth, that the great body of the nation approved the republican measures. General Washington was himself sincerely a friend to the republican principles of our Constitution. His faith, perhaps, in its duration, might not have been as confident as mine; but he repeatedly declared to me, that he was determined it should have a fair chance for success, and that he would lose the last drop of his blood in its support, against any attempt which might be made to change it from its republican form. He made these declarations the oftener, because he knew my suspicions that Hamilton had other views, and he wished to quiet my jealousies on this subject. For Hamilton frankly avowed that he considered the British Constitution, with all the corruptions of its administration, as the most perfect model of government which had ever been devised by the wit of man; professing however, at the same time, that the spirit of this country was so fundamentally republican, that it would be visionary to think of introducing monarchy here, and that, therefore, it was the duty of its administrators to conduct it on the principles their constituents had elected.

General Washington, after the retirement of his first Cabinet, and the

composition of his second, entirely federal, and at the head of which was Mr.


Pickering himself, had no; opportunity of hearing both sides of any question. His measures, consequently, took more the hue of the party in whose hands he was. These measures were certainly not approved by the republicans; yet were they not imputed to him, but to the counsellors around him; and his prudence so far restrained their impassioned course and bias, that no act of strong mark, during the remainder of his administration, excited much dissatisfaction. He lived too short a time after, and too much withdrawn from information, to correct the views into which he had been deluded; and the continued assiduities of the party drew him into the vortex of their intemperate career; separated him still farther from his real friends, and excited him to actions and expressions of dissatisfaction, which grieved them, but could not loosen their affections from him. They would not suffer the temporary aberration to weigh against the immeasurable merits of his life; and although they tumbled his seducers from their places, they preserved his memory embalmed in their hearts, with undiminished love and devotion; and there it forever will remain embalmed, in entire oblivion of every temporary thing which might cloud the glories of his splendid life. It is vain, then, for Mr. Pickering and his friends to endeavor to falsify his character, by representing him as an enemy to republicans and republican principles, and as exclusively the friend of those who were so; and had he lived longer, he


would have returned to his ancient and unbiased opinions, would have replaced his confidence in those whom the people approved and supported, and would have seen that they were only restoring and acting on the principles of his own first administration.

I find, my dear Sir, that I have written you a very long letter, or rather a

history. The civility of having sent me a copy of Mr. Pickering's diatribe, would scarcely justify its address to you. I do not publish these things, because my rule of life has been never to harass the public with fendings and provings of personal slanders; and least of all would I descend into the arena of slander with such a champion as Mr. Pickering. I have ever trusted to the justice and consideration of my fellow citizens, and have no reason to repent it, or to change my course. At this time of life too, tranquillity is the summum bonum. But although I decline all newspaper controversy, yet when falsehoods have been advanced, within the knowledge of no one so much as myself, I have sometimes deposited a contradiction in the hands of a friend, which, if worth preservation, may, when I am no more, nor those whom I might offend, throw light on history, and recall that into the path of truth. And if of no other value, the present communication may amuse you with anecdotes not known to every one.

I had meant to have added some views on the amalgamation of parties, to which

your favor of the


8th has some allusion; an amalgamation of name, but not of principle. Tories are Tories still, by whatever name they may be called. But my letter is already too unmercifully long, and I close it here with assurances of my great esteem and respectful consideration. TO JAMES MADISON.

MONTICELLO, July 14, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- I have attentively read your letter to Mr. Wheaton on the question

whether, at the date of the message to Congress recommending the embargo of 1807, we had knowledge of the order of council of November 11th; and according to your request I have resorted to my papers, as well as my memory, for the testimony these might afford additional to yours. There is no fact in the course of my life which I recollect more strongly, than that of my being at the date of the message in possession of an English newspaper containing a copy of the proclamation. I am almost certain, too, that it was under the ordinary authentication of the government; and between November 11th and December 17th, there was time enough (thirty-five days) to admit the receipt of such a paper, which I think came to me through a private channel, probably put on board some vessel about sailing, the moment it appeared.

Turning to my papers, I find that I had prepared a first draught of a message

in which was this para


graph: "The British regulations had before reduced us to a direct voyage, to

a single port of their enemies, and it is now believed they will interdict all commerce whatever with them. A proclamation; too, of that government of -(not officially indeed communicated to us, yet so given out to the public as to become a rule of action with them,) seems to have shut the door on all negotiation with us except as to the single aggression on the Chesapeake." You, however, suggested a substitute (which I have now before me, written with a pencil and) which, with some unimportant amendments, I preferred to my own, and was the one I sent to Congress. It was in these words, "the communications now made, showing the great and increasing dangers with which seamen, etc., ports of the United States." This shows that we communicated to them papers of information on the subject; and as it was our interest, and our duty, to give them the strongest information we possessed to justify our opinion and their action on it, there can be no doubt we sent them this identical paper. For what stronger could we send them? I am the more

strengthened in the belief that we did send it, from the fact, which the newspapers of the day will prove, that in the reprobations of the measure published in them by its enemies, they indulged themselves' in severe criticisms on our having considered a newspaper as a proper document to lay before Congress, and a sufficient foundation for so serious a measure; and considering this as no sufficient information of the fact,


they continued perseveringly to deny that we had knowledge of the order of council when we recommended the embargo; admitting, because they could not deny, the existence of the order, they insisted only on our supposed ignorance of it as furnishing them a ground of crimination. But I had no idea that this gratuitous charge was believed by any one at this day. In addition to our testimony, I am sure Mr. Gallatin, General Dearborn and Mr. Smith, will recollect that we possessed the newspaper, and acted on a view of the proclamation it contained. If you think this statement can add anything in corroboration of yours, make what use you please of it, and accept assurances of my constant affection and respect. TO LEWIS E. BECK.

MONTICELLO, July 16, 1824.

I thank you, Sir, for your pamphlet on the climate of the West, and have read

it with great satisfaction. Although it does not yet establish a satisfactory theory, it is an additional step towards it. Mine was perhaps the first attempt, not to form a theory, but to bring together the few facts then known, and suggest them to public attention. They were written between forty and fifty years ago, before the close of the Revolutionary war, when the western country was a wilderness, untrodden but by the foot of the savage or the hunter. It is now flourishing in popu-


lation and science, and after a few years more of observation and collection of facts, they will doubtless furnish a theory of solid foundation. Years are requisite for this, steady attention to the thermometer, to the plants growing there, the times of their leafing and flowering, its animal inhabitants, beasts, birds, reptiles and insects; its prevalent winds, quantities of rain and snow, temperature of fountains, and other indexes of climate. We want this indeed for all the States, and the work should be repeated once or twice in a century, to show the effect of clearing and culture towards changes of climate. My Notes give a very imperfect idea of what our climate was, half a century ago, at this place, which being nearly central to the State may be taken for its medium. Latterly, after seven years of close and exact observation, I have prepared an estimate of what it is now, which may some day be added to the former work; and I hope something like this is doing in the other States, which, when all shall be brought together, may produce theories meriting confidence. I trust that yourself will not be inattentive to this service, and that to that of the present epoch you may be able to add a second at the distance of another half century. With this wish accept the assurance of my respectful consideration.



MONTICELLO, August 10, 1824.

SIR, -- I have duly received your favor of the 14th, and with it the prospectus of a newspaper which it covered. If the style and spirit of that should be maintained in the paper itself, it will be truly worthy of the public patronage. As to myself, it is many years since I have ceased to read but a single paper. I am no longer, therefore, a general subscriber for any other. Yet, to encourage the hopeful in the outset, I have sometimes subscribed for the first year on condition of being discontinued at the end of it, without further warning. I do the same now with pleasure for yours; and unwilling to have outstanding accounts, which I am liable to forget, I now enclose the price of the tri-weekly paper. I am no believer in the amalgamation of parties, nor do I consider it as either desirable or useful for the public; but only that, like religious differences, a difference in politics should never be permitted to enter into social intercourse, or to disturb its friendships, its charities, or justice. In that form, they are censors of the conduct of each other, and useful watchmen for the public. Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the


most honest and safe, although not the most wise depository of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still, and pursue the same object. The last appellation of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all. A paper which shall be governed by the spirit of Mr. Madison's celebrated report, of which you express in your prospectus so just and high an approbation, cannot be false to the rights of all classes. The grandfathers of the present generation of your family I knew well. They were friends and fellow laborers with me in the same cause and principle. Their descendants cannot follow better guides. Accept the assurance of my best wishes and respectful consideration.


MONTICELLO, September 6, 1824.

SIR, -- The idea which you present in your letter of July 30th, of the progress

of society from its rudest state to that it has now attained, seems conformable to what may be probably conjectured. Indeed, we have under our eyes tolerable proofs of it. Let a

{7 5}

philosophic observer commence a journey from the savages of the Rocky Mountains, eastwardly towards our seacoast. These he would observe in the earliest stage of association living under no law but that of nature, subsisting and covering themselves with the flesh and skins of wild beasts. He would next find those on our frontiers in the pastoral state, raising domestic animals to supply the defects of hunting. Then succeed our own semi-barbarous citizens, the pioneers of the advance of civilization, and so in his progress he would meet the gradual shades of improving man until he would reach his, as yet, most improved state in our seaport towns. This, in fact, is equivalent to a survey, in time, of the progress of man from the infancy of creation to the present day. I am eighty-one years of age; born where I now live, in the first range of mountains in the interior of our country. And I have observed this march of civilization advancing from the seacoast, passing over us like a cloud of light, increasing our knowledge and improving our condition, insomuch as that we are at this time more advanced in civilization here than the seaports were when I was a boy. And where this progress will stop no one can say. Barbarism has, in the meantime, been receding before the steady step of amelioration; and will in time, I trust, disappear from the earth. You seem to think that this advance has brought on too complicated a state of society, and that we should gain in happiness by treading back our steps a little way.

{ 76}

I think, myself, that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious. I believe it might be much simplified to the relief of those who maintain it. Your experiment seems to have .this in view. A society of seventy families, the number you name, may very possibly be governed as a single family, subsisting on their common industry, and holding all things in common. Some regulators of the family you still must have, and it remains to be seen at what period of your increasing population your simple regulations will cease to be sufficient to preserve order, peace, and justice. The experiment is interesting; I shall not live to see its issue, but I wish it success equal to your hopes, and to yourself and society prosperity and happiness.


MONTICELLO, October 9, 1824.

I have duly received, my dear friend and General, your letter of the 1st from

Philadelphia, giving us the welcome assurance that you will visit the neighborhood which, during the march of our enemy near it, was covered by your shield from his robberies and ravages. In passing the line of your former march you will experience pleasing recollections of the good you have done. My neighbors, too, of our academical village, who well remember their obligations to you, have expressed to you, in a


letter from a committee appointed for that purpose, their hope that you will accept manifestations of their feelings, simple indeed, but as cordial as any you will have received. It will be an additional honor to the University of the State that you will have been its first guest. Gratify them, then, by this assurance to their committee, if it has not been done. But what recollections, dear friend, will this call up to you and me! What a history have we to run over from the evening that yourself, Mousnier, Bernau, and other patriots settled, in my house in Paris, the outlines of the constitution you wished! And to trace it through all the disastrous chapters of Robespierre, Barras, Bonaparte, and the Bourbons! These things, however, are for our meeting. You mention the return of Miss Wright to America, accompanied by her sister; but do not say what her stay is to be, nor what her course. Should it lead her to a visit of our University, which, in its architecture only, is as yet an object, herself and her companion will nowhere find a welcome more hearty than with Mrs. Randolph, and all the inhabitants of Monticello. This Athenaeum of our country, in embryo, is as yet but promise; and not in a state to recall the recollections of Athens. But everything has its beginning, its growth, and end; and who knows with what future delicious morsels of philosophy, and by what future Miss Wright raked from its ruins, the world may, some day, be gratified and instructed? Your son George we shall be very

{78 Jefferson's Works }

happy indeed to see, and to renew in him the recollections of your very dear family; and the Revolutionary merit of M. le Vasseur has that passport to the esteem of every American, and, to me, the additional one of having been your friend and co-operator, and he will, I hope, join you in making headquarters with us at Monticello. But all these things a revoir; in the meantime we are impatient that your ceremonies at York should be over, and. give you to the embraces of friendship.

P. S. Will you come by Mr. Madison's, or let him or me know on what day he

may meet you here, and join us in our greetings?


MONTICELLO, October 13, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- I must again beg the protection of your cover for a letter to Mr.

Gilmer; although a little doubtful whether he may not have left you.

You will have seen by our papers the delirium into which our citizens are

thrown by a visit from General La Fayette. He is making a triumphant progress through the States, from town to town, with acclamations of welcome, such as no crowned head ever received. It will have a good effect in favor of the General with the people in Europe, but probably a different one with their sovereigns. Its effect here, too, will be salutary as to ourselves, by


rallying us together and strengthening the habit of considering our country as one and indivisible, and I hope we shall close it with something more solid for him than dinners and balls. The eclat of this visit has almost merged the Presidential question, on which nothing scarcely is said in our papers. That question will lie ultimately between Crawford and Adams; but, at the same time, the vote of the people will be so distracted by subordinate candidates, that possibly they may make no election, and let it go to the House of Representatives. There, it is thought, Crawford's chance is best. We have nothing else interesting before the public. Of the two questions of the tariff and public improvements, the former, perhaps, is not yet at rest, and the latter will excite boisterous discussions. It happens that both these measures fall in with the Western interests, and it is their secession from the agricultural States which gives such strength to the manufacturing and consolidating parties, on these two questions. The latter is the most dreaded, because thought to amount to a determination in the federal government to assume all powers non-enumerated as well as enumerated in the Constitution, and by giving a loose to construction, make the text say whatever will relieve them from the bridle of the States. These are difficulties for your day; I shall give them the slip. Accept the assurance of my friendly attachment and great respect.



MONTICELLO, October 15, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- I have yet to thank you for your C. K. oration, delivered in

presence of General La Fayette. It is all excellent, much of it sublimely so, well worthy of its author and his subject, of whom we may truly say, as was said of Germanicus, "fruitur fama sui."

Your letter of September the 10th gave me the first information that mine to Major Cartwright had got into the newspapers; and the first notice, indeed, that he had received it. I was a stranger to his person, but not to his respectable and patriotic character. I received from him a long and interesting letter, and answered it with frankness, going without reserve into several subjects, to which his letter had led, but on which I did not suppose I was writing for the newspapers. The publication of a letter in such a case, without the consent of the writer, is not a fair practice.

The part which you quote, may draw on me the host of judges and divines. They

may cavil, but cannot refute it. Those who read Prisot's opinion with a candid view to understand, and not to chicane it, cannot mistake its meaning. The reports in the Year-books were taken very short. The opinions of the judges were written down sententiously, as notes or memoranda, and not with all the development which they probably used in delivering them.


Prisot's opinion, to be fully expressed, should be thus paraphrased: "To such laws as those of holy church have recorded, and preserved in their ancient books and writings, it is proper for us to give credence; for so is, or so says the common law, or law of the land, on which all manner of other laws rest for their authority, or are founded; that is to say, the common law, or the law of the land common to us all, and established by the authority of us all, is that from which is derived the authority of all other special and subordinate branches of law, such as the canon law, law merchant, law maritime, law of Gavelkind, Borough English, corporation laws, local customs and usages, to all of which the common law requires its judges to permit authority in the special or local cases belonging to them. The evidence of these laws is preserved in their ancient treatises, books and writings, in like manner as our own common law itself is known, the text of its original enactments having been long lost, and its substance only preserved in ancient and traditionary writings. And if it appears, from their ancient books, writings, and records, that the bishop, in this case, according to the rules prescribed by these authorities, has done what an ordinary would have done in such case, then we should adjudge it good, otherwise not." To decide this question, they would have to turn to the ancient writings and records of the canon law, in which they would find evidence of the laws of advowsons, quare impedit, the duties VOL. XVI-6

{82 }

of bishops and ordinaries, for which terms Prisot could never have meant to refer them to the Old or New Testament, les saincts scriptures, where surely they would not be found. A license which should permit "ancien scripture" to be translated "holy scripture," annihilates at once all the evidence of language. With such a license, we might reverse the sixth commandment into "thou shalt not omit murder." It would be the more extraordinary in this case, where the mistranslation was to effect the adoption of the whole code of the Jewish and Christian laws into the text of our statutes, to convert religious offences into temporal crimes, to make the breach of every religious precept a subject of indictment, submit the question of idolatry, for example, to the trial of a jury, and to a court, its punishment, to the third and fourth generation of the offender. Do we allow to our judges this lumping legislation?

The term "common law," although it has more than one meaning, is perfectly definite, secundum subjectam materiem. Its most probable origin was on the conquest of the Heptarchy by Alfred, and the amalgamation of their several codes of law into one, which became common to them all. The authentic text of these enactments has not been preserved; but their substance has been committed to many ancient books and writings, so faithfully as to have been deemed genuine from generation to generation, and obeyed as such by all. We have some fragments of them collected by Lambard,


Wilkins and others, but abounding with proofs of their spurious authenticity. Magna Charta is the earliest statute, the text of which has come down to us in an authentic form, and thence downward we have them entire. We do not know exactly when the common law and statute law, the lex scripta et non scripta, began to be eontra-distinguished, so as to give a second acceptation to the former term; whether before, or after Prisot's day, at which time we know that nearly two centuries and a half of statutes were in preservation. In later times, on the introduction of the chancery branch of law, the term common law began to be used in a third sense, as the correlative of chancery law. This, however, having been long after Prisot's time, could not have been the sense in which he used the term. He must have meant the ancient lex non scripta, because, had he used it as inclusive of the lex scripta, he would have put his finger on the statute which had enjoined on the judges a deference to the laws of holy church. But no such statute existing, he must have referred to the common law in the sense of a lex non scripta. Whenever, then, the term common law is used in either of these senses, and it is never employed in any other, it is readily known in which of them, by the context and subject matter under consideration; which, in the present case, leave no room for doubt. I do not remember the occasion which led me to take up this subject, while a

practitioner of the law.


But I know I went into it with all the research which a very copious law library enabled me to indulge; and I fear not for the accuracy of any of my quotations. The doctrine might be disproved by many other and different topics of reasoning; but having satisfied myself of the origin of the forgery, and found how, like a rolling snow-ball, it had gathered volume, I leave its further pursuit to those who need further proof, and perhaps I have already gone further than the feeble doubt you expressed might require.

I salute you with great esteem and respect.

{TO .}

MONTICELLO, December 22, 1824.

DEAR SIR, -- The proposition to remove William and Mary College to Richmond with

all its present funds, and to add to it a musical school, is nothing more nor less than to remove the University also to that place. Because, if both remain, there will not be students enough to make either worthy the acceptance of men of the first order of science. They must each fall down to the level of our present academies, under the direction of common teachers, and our state of education must stand exactly where it now is. Few of the States have been able to maintain one university, none two. Surely the legislature, after such an expense incurred for a real university, and just as it is prepared to go into action


under hopeful auspices, will not consent to destroy it by this side-wind. As to the best course to be taken with William and Mary, I am not so good a judge as our colleagues on the spot. They have under their eyes the workings of the enemies of the University, masked and unmasked, and the intrigues of Richmond, which, after failing to obtain it in the first instance, endeavors to steal its location at this late hour. And they can best see what measures are most likely to counteract these insidious designs. On the question of the removal, I think our particular friends had .better take no active part, but vote silently for or against it, according to their own judgment as to the public utility; and if they divide on the question, so much the better perhaps. I am glad the Visitors and professors have invoked the interference of the legislature, because it is an acknowledgment of its authority on behalf of the State to superintend and control it, of which I never had a doubt. It is an institution established for the public good, and not for the personal emolument of the professors, endowed from the public lands and organized by the executive functionary whose legal office it was. The acquiescence of both corporations under the authority of the legislature, removes what might otherwise have been a difficulty with some. If the question of removal be decided affirmatively, the next is, how shall their funds be disposed of most advantageously for the State in general? These are about one hundred thousand


dollars too much for a secondary or local institution.'The giving a part of them to a school at Winchester, and part to Hampden Sidney, is well, as far as it goes; but does not go far enough. Why should not every part of the State participate equally of the benefit of this reversion of right which accrues to the whole equally? This would be no more a violation of law than the giving it to a few. You know that the Rockfish report proposed an intermediate grade of schools between the primary and the university. In that report the objects of the middle schools are stated. See page 10 of the copy I now enclose you. In these schools should be taught Latin and Greek, to a good degree, French also, numerical arithmetic, the elements of geometry, surveying, navigation, geography, the use of the globes, the outlines of the solar system, and elements of natural philosophy. Two professors would suffice for these, to wit: one for languages, the other for so much of mathematics and natural philosophy as is here proposed. This degree of education would be adapted to the circumstances of a very great number of our citizens, who, being intended for lives of business, would not aim at an university education. It would give us a body of yeomanry, too, of substantial information, well. prepared to become a firm and steady support to the government; as schools of ancient languages, too, they would be preparatories for the University.

You have now a happy opportunity of carrying


this intermediate establishment into execution without laying a cent of tax on the people, or taking one from the treasury. Divide the State into college districts of about eighty miles square each. There would be about eight such districts below the Alleghany, and two beyond it, which would be necessarily of larger extent because of the sparseness of their population. The only advance these colleges would call for, would be for a dwelling-house for the teacher, of about one thousand two hundred dollars cost, and a boarding-house with four or five bedrooms, and a school-room for probably about twenty or thirty boys. The whole should not cost more than five thousand dollars, but the funds of William and Mary would enable you to give them ten thousand dollars each. The districts might be so laid off that the principal towns and the academies now existing might form convenient sites for their colleges; as, for example, Williamsburgh, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Hampden Sidney, Lynchburg or Lexington, Staunton, Winchester, etc. Thus, of William and Mary, you will make ten colleges, each as useful as she ever was, leaving one in Williamsburg by itself, placing as good a one within a day's ride of every man in the State, and get our whole scheme of education completely established. I have said that no advance is necessary but for the erection of the

buildings for these schools. Because the boys sent to them would be exclusively of a class of parents in competent circumstances to


pay teachers for the education of their own children. The ten thousand dollars given to each, would afford a surplus to maintain by its interest one or two persons duly selected for their genius, from the primary schools, of those too poor to proceed farther of their own means. You will remember that of the three bills I originally gave you, one was for these district colleges, and going into the necessary details. Will you not have every member in favor of this proposition, except those who are for gobbling up the whole funds themselves? The present professors might all be employed in the college of Richmond or Williamsburg, or any other they would prefer, with reasonable salaries in the meantime, until the system should get under way. This occasion of completing our system of education is a Godsend which ought not to pass away neglected. Many may be startled at the first idea. But reflection on the justice and advantage of the measure will produce converts daily and hourly to it. I certainly would not propose that the University should claim a cent of these funds in competition with the district colleges.

Would it not be better to say nothing about the last donation of fifty

thousand dollars, and endeavor to get the money from Congress, and to press for it immediately. I cannot doubt their allowing it, and it would be much better to get it from them than to revive the displeasure of our own legislature.

You are aware that we have yet two professors to appoint, to wit: of natural

history and moral


philosophy, and that we have no time to lose. I propose that such of our colleagues as are of the legislature, should name a day of meeting, convenient to themselves, and give notice of it by mail to Mr. Madison, General Cocke, and myself. But it should not be till the arrival of the three professors expected at Norfolk. On their arrival only can we publish the day of opening. Our Richmond mail-stage arrives here on Sunday and departs on Wednesday, and arrives again on Thursday and departs on Sunday. Each affording two spare intervening days, and requiring from here an absence of six days. Mr. Long, professor of ancient languages, is located in his apartments at the

University. He drew, by lot, pavilion No. 5. He appears to be a most amiable man, of fine understanding, well qualified for his department, and acquiring esteem as fast as he becomes known. Indeed, I have great hope that the whole selection will fulfil our wishes. Ever and affectionately yours.


MONTICELLO, January 8, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- It is long since I have written to you. This proceeds from the

difficulty of writing with my crippled wrist, and from an unwillingness to add to your inconveniences of either reading by the eyes, or writing by the hands of others. The account I receive of your physical situation afflicts me sin


cerely; but if body or mind was one of them to give way, it is a great comfort that it is the mind which remains whole, and that its vigor, and that of memory continues firm. Your hearing, too, is good, as I am told. In this you have the advantage of me. The dulness of mine makes me lose much of the conversation of the world, and much a stranger to what is passing in it. Acquiescence is the only pillow, although not always a soft one. I have had one advantage of you. This Presidential election has given me few anxieties. With you this must have been impossible, independently of the question, whether we are at last to end our days under a civil or a military government. I am comforted and protected from other solicitudes by the cares of our University. In some departments of science we believe Europe to be:n advance before us, and that it would advance ourselves were we to draw from thence instructors in these branches, and thus to improve our science, as we have done our manufactures, by borrowed skill. I have been much squibbed for this, perhaps by disappointed applicants for professorships to which they were deemed incompetent. We wait only the arrival of three of the professors engaged in England, to open our University.

I have lately been reading the most extraordinary of all books, and at the

same time the most demonstrative by numerous and unequivocal facts. It is Flourend's experiments on the functions of the nervous system, in vertebrated animals. He takes out


the cerebrum completely, leaving the cerebellum and other parts of the system uninjured. The animal loses all its senses of hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting, is totally deprived of will, intelligence, memory, perception, etc., yet lives for months in perfect health, with all its powers of motion, but without moving but on external excitement, starving even on a pile of grain, unless crammed down its throat; in short, in a state of the most absolute stupidity. He takes the cerebellum out of others, leaving the cerebrum untouched. The animal retains all its senses, faculties, and understanding, but loses the power of regulated motion, and exhibits all the symptoms of drunkenness. While he makes incisions in the cerebrum and cerebellum, lengthwise and crosswise, which heal and get well, a puncture in the medulla elongata is instant death; and many other most interesting things too long for a letter. Cabanis had proved by the anatomical structure of certain portions of the human frame, that they might be capable of receiving from the hand of the Creator the faculty of thinking; Flourend proves that they have received it; that the cerebrum is the thinking organ; and that life and health may continue, and the animal be entirely without thought, if deprived of that organ. I wish to see what the spiritualists will say to this. Whether in this state the soul remains in the body, deprived of its essence of thought? or whether it leaves it, as in death, and where it goes? His memoirs and ex

{92 Jefferson's Works}

periments have been reported on with approbation by a committee of the Institute, composed of Cuvier, Bertholet, Dumaril, Portal and Pinel. But all this, you and I shall know better when we meet again, in another place, and at no distant period. In the meantime, that the revived powers of your frame, and the anodyne of philosophy may preserve you from all suffering, is my sincere and affectionate prayer.


MONTICELLO, January 8, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- I returned the first volume of Hall by a mail of a week ago, and by

this, shall return the second. We have kept them long, but every member of the family wished to read his book, in which case, you know, it had a long gantlet to run. It is impossible to read thoroughly such writings as those of Harper and Otis, who take a page'to say what requires but a sentence, or rather, who give you whole pages of what is nothing to the purpose. A cursory race over the ground is as much as they can claim. It is easy for them, at this day, to endeavor to whitewash their party, when the greater part are dead of those who witnessed what passed, others old and become indifferent to the subject, and others indisposed to take the trouble of answering them. As to Otis, his attempt is to prove that the sun does not shine at mid-day; that that is not a fact which

{9 3}

every one saw. He merits no notice. It is well known that Harper had little scruple about facts where detection was not obvious. By placing in false lights whatever admits it, and passing over in silence what does not, a plausible aspect may be presented of anything. He takes great pains to prove, for instance, that Hamilton was no monarchist, by exaggerating his own intimacy with him, and the impossibility, if he was so, that he should not, at some time, have betrayed it to him. This may pass with uninformed readers, but not with those who have had it from Hamilton's own mouth. I am one of those, and but one of many. At my own table, in presence of Mr. Adams, Knox, Randolph, and myself, in a dispute between Mr. Adams and himself, he avowed his preference of monarchy over every other government, and his opinion that the English was the most perfect model of government ever devised by the wit of man, Mr. Adams agreeing "if its corruptions were done away." While Hamilton insisted that "with these corruptions it was perfect, and without them it would be an impracticable government." Can any one read Mr. Adams' defence of the American Constitutions without seeing that he was a monarchist? And J. Q. Adams, the son, was more explicit than the father, in his answer to Paine's Rights of Man. So much for leaders. Their followers were divided. Some went the same lengths; others, and I believe the greater part, only wished a stronger Executive. When I


arrived at New York in 1790, to take a part in the administration, being fresh from the French Revolution, while in its first and pure stage, and consequently somewhat whetted up in my own republican principles, I found a state of things, in the general society of the place, which I could not have supposed possible. Being a stranger there, I was feasted from table to table, at large set dinners, the parties generally from twenty to thirty. The revolution I had left, and that we had just gone through in the recent change of our own government, being the common topics of conversation, I was astonished to find the general prevalence of monarchical sentiments, insomuch that in maintaining those of republicanism, I had always the whole company on my hands, never scarcely finding among them a single co-advocate in that argument, unless some old member of Congress happened to be present. The furthest that any one would go, in support of the republican features of our new government, would be to say, "the present Constitution is well as a beginning, and may be allowed a fair trial; but it is, in fact, only a stepping-stone to something better. " Among their writers, Denny, the editor of the Portfolio, who was a kind of oracle with them, and styled the Addison of America, openly avowed his preference of monarchy over all other forms of government, prided himself on the avowal, and maintained it by argument freely and without reserve, in his publications. I do not, myself, know that the Essex junto


of Boston were monarchists, but I have always heard it so said, and never doubted. These, my dear Sir, are but detached items from a great mass of proofs then

fully before the public. They are unknown to you, because you were absent in Europe, and they are now disavowed by the party. But, had it not been for the firm and determined stand then made by a counter-party, no man can say what our government would have been at this day. Monarchy, to be sure, is now defeated, and they wish it should be forgotten that it was ever advocated. They see that it is desperate, and treat its imputation to them as a calumny; and I verily believe that none of them have it now in direct aim. Yet the spirit is not done away. The same party takes now what they deem the next best ground, the consolidation of the government; the giving to the federal member of the government, by unlimited constructions of the Constitution, a control ,over all the functions of the States, and the concentration of all power ultimately at Washington.

The true history or that conflict of parties will never be in possession of

the public, until, by the death of the actors in it, the hoards of their letters shall be broken up and given to the world. I should not fear to appeal to those of Harper himself, if he has kept copies of them, for abundant proof that he was himself a monarchist. I shall not live to see these unrevealed proofs, nor probably you; for time will be requisite. But time will, in the end, produce


the truth. And, after all, it is but a truth which exists in every country, where not suppressed by the rod of despotism. Men, according to their constitutions, and the circumstances in which they are placed, differ honestly in opinion. Some are Whigs, Liberals, Democrats, call them what you please. Others are Tories, Serviles, Aristocrats, etc. The latter fear the people, and wish to transfer all power to the higher classes of society; the former consider the people as the safest depository of power in the last resort; they cherish them therefore, and wish to leave in them all the powers to the exercise of which they are competent. This is the division of sentiment now existing in the United States. It is the common division of Whig and Tory, or according to our denominations of republican and federal'; and is the most salutary of all divisions, and ought, therefore, to be fostered, instead of being amalgamated. For, take away this, and some more dangerous principle of division will take its place. But there is really no amalgamation. The parties exist now as heretofore. The one, indeed, has thrown off its old name, and has not yet assumed a new one, although obviously consolidationists. And among those in the offices of every denomination I believe it to be a bare minority.

I have gone into these facts to show how one-sided a view of this case Harper

has presented. I do not recall these recollections with pleasure, but rather wish to forget them, nor did I ever permit them to


affect social intercourse. And now, least of all, am disposed to do so. Peace and good will with all mankind is my sincere wish. I willingly leave to the present generation to conduct their affairs as they please. And in my general affection to the whole human family, and my particular devotion to my friends, be assured of the high and special estimation in which yourself is cordially held. TO JOSEPH C. CABELL.

MONTICELLO, January 11, 182 5.

DEAR SIR, -- We are dreadfully nonplussed here by the non-arrival of our three

professors. We apprehend that the idea of our opening on the 1st of February prevails so much abroad, (although we have always mentioned it doubtfully,) as that the students will assemble on that day without awaiting the further notice which was promised. To send them away will be discouraging, and to open an University without Mathematics or Natural Philosophy would bring on us ridicule and disgrace. We therefore publish an advertisement, stating that on the arrival of these professors, notice will be given of the day of opening the institution.

Governor Barbour writes me hopefully of getting our fifty thousand dollars

from Congress. The proposition has been originated in the House of Representatives, referred to the committee of claims, the chairman of which has prepared a very favorable



report, and a bill conformable, assuming the repayment of all interest which the State has actually paid. The legislature will certainly owe to us the recovery of this money; for had they not given it in some measure the reverenced character of a donation for the promotion of learning, it would never have been paid. It is to be hoped, therefore, that the displeasure incurred by wringing it from them at the last session, will now give way to a contrary feeling, and even place us on a ground of some merit. Should this sentiment take place, and the arrival of our professors. and filling our dormitories with students on the 1st of February, encourage them to look more favorably towards us, perhaps it might dispose them to enlarge somewhat their order on the same fund. You observe the Proctor has stated in a letter accompanying our Report, that it will take about twenty-five thousand dollars more than we have to finish the Rotunda. Besides this, an anatomical theatre (costing about as much as one of our hotels, say about five thousand dollars,) is indispensable to the school of Anatomy. There cannot be a single dissection until a proper theatre is prepared, giving an advantageous view of the operation to those within, and effectually excluding observation from without. Either the additional sums, therefore, of twenty-five thousand and five thousand dollars will be wanting, or we must be permitted to appropriate a part of the fifty thousand to a theatre, leaving the Rotunda unfinished for the present. Yet I should think neither of these


objects an equivalent for renewing the displeasure of the legislature. Unless we can carry their hearty patronage with us, the institution can never flourish. I would not, therefore, hint at this additional aid, unless it were agreeable to our friends generally, and tolerably sure of being carried without irritation. In your letter of December the 31st, you say my "handwriting and my letters

have great effect there," I. e., at Richmond. I am sensible, my dear Sir, of the kindness with which this encouragement is held up to me. But my views of their effect are very different. When I retired from the administration of public affairs, I thought I saw some evidence that I retired with a good degree of public favor, and that my conduct in office had been considered, by the one party at least, with approbation, and with acquiescence by the other. But the attempt in which I have embarked so earnestly, to procure an improvement in the moral condition of my native State, although, perhaps, in other States it may have strengthened good dispositions, it has assuredly weakened them within our own. The attempt ran foul of so many local interests, of so many personal views, and so much ignorance, and I have been considered as so particularly its promoter, that I see evidently a great change of sentiment towards myself. I cannot doubt its having dissatisfied with myself a respectable minority, if not a majority, of the House of Delegates. I feel it deeply, and very discouragingly. Yet I shall not give way. I have ever found in my


progress through life, that, acting for the public, if we do always what is right, the approbation denied in the beginning will surely follow us in the end. It is from posterity we are to expect remuneration for the sacrifices we are making for their service, of time, quiet and good will. And I fear not the appeal. The multitude of fine young men whom we shall redeem from ignorance, who will feel that they owe to us the elevation of mind, of character and station they will be able to attain from the result of our efforts, will insure their remembering us with gratitude. We will not, then, be "weary in well-doing." Usque ad aras amicus tuus.


MONTICELLO, January 17, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- I have duly received four proof sheets of your explanation of the

Apocalypse, with your letters of December 29th and January 8th; in the last of which you request that, so soon as I shall be of opinion that the explanation you have given is correct, I would express it in a letter to you. From this you must be so good as to excuse me, because I make it an invariable rule to decline ever giving opinions on new publications in any case whatever. No man on earth has less taste or talent for criticism than myself, and least and last of all should I undertake to criticise works on the Apocalypse. It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it, and I


then considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams. I was, therefore, well pleased to see, in your first proof sheet, that it was said to be not the production of St. John, but of Cerinthus, a century after the death of that apostle. Yet the change of the author's name does not lessen the extravagances of the composition; and come they from whomsoever they may, I cannot so far respect them as to consider them as an allegorical narrative of events, past or subsequent. There is not coherence enough in them to countenance any suite of rational ideas. You will judge, therefore, from this how impossible I think it that either your explanation, or that of any man in "the heavens above, or on the earth beneath," can be a correct one. What has no meaning admits no explanation; and pardon me if I say, with the candor of friendship, that I think your time too valuable, and your understanding of too high an order, to be wasted on these paralogisms. You will perceive, I hope, also, that I do not consider them as revelations of the Supreme Being, whom I would not so far blaspheme as to impute to Him a pretension of revelation, couched at the same time in terms which, He would know, were never to be understood by those to whom they were addressed. In the candor of these observations, I hope you will see proofs of the confidence, esteem and respect which I truly entertain for you.

{102 Jefferson's Works }


QUINCY, January 23, 1825.

MY DEAR SIR, -- We think ourselves possessed, or at least we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact. There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny, or to doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In England itself, it is punished by boring through the tongue with a red-hot poker. In America it is not much better; even in our Massachusetts, which, I believe, upon the whole, is as temperate and moderate in religious zeal as most of the States, a law was made in the latter end of the last century, repealing the cruel punishments of the former laws, but substituting fine and imprisonment upon all those blasphemies upon any book of the Old Testament or New. Now, what free inquiry, when a writer must surely encounter the risk of fine or imprisonment for adducing any arguments for investigation into the divine authority of those books? Who would run the risk of translating Volney's Recherches Nouvelles? Who would run the risk of translating Dapin's? But I cannot enlarge upon

{' Correspondence 103}

this subject, though I have it much at heart. I think such laws a great embarrassment, great obstructions to the improvement of the human mind. Books that cannot bear examination, certainly ought not to be established as divine inspiration by penal laws. It is true, few persons appear desirous to put such laws in execution, and it is also true that some few persons are hardy enough to venture to depart from them; but as long as they continue in force as laws, the human mind must make an awkward and clumsy progress in its investigations. I wish they were repealed. The substance and essence of Christianity, as I understand it, is eternal and unchangeable, and will bear examination forever; but it has been mixed with extraneous ingredients, which, I think, will not bear examination, and they ought to be separated. Adieu. TO-

MONTICELLO, February 3, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- Although our professors were, on the 5th of December, still in an

English port, that they were safe raises me from the dead, for I was almost ready to give up the ship. That was eight weeks ago; they may therefore be daily expected.

In most public seminaries text-books are prescribed to each of the several

schools, as the norma docendi in that school; and this is generally done

1 Address lost.


by authority of the trustees. I should not propose this generally in our University, because I believe none of us are so much at the heights of science in the several branches, as to undertake this, and therefore that it will be better left to the professors until occasion of interference shall be given. But there is one branch in which we are the best judges, in which heresies may be taught, of so interesting a character to our own State and to the United States, as to make it a duty in us to lay down the principles which are to be taught. It is that of government. Mr. Gilmer being withdrawn, we know not who his successor may be. He may be a Richmond lawyer, or one of that school of quondam federalism, now consolidation. It is our duty to guard against such principles being disseminated among our youth, and the diffusion of that poison, by a previous prescription of the texts to be followed in their discourses. I therefore enclose you a resolution which I think of proposing at our next meeting, strictly confiding it to your own knowledge alone, and to that of Mr. Loyall, to whom you may communicate it, as I am sure it will harmonize with his principles. I wish it kept to ourselves, because I have always found that the less such things are spoken of beforehand, the less obstruction is contrived to be thrown in their way. I have communicated it to Mr. Madison.

Should the bill for district colleges pass in the end, our scheme of

education will be complete But the


branch of primary schools may need attention, and should be brought, like the rest, to the forum of the legislature. The Governor, in his annual message, gives a favorable account of them in the lump. But this is not sufficient. We should know the operation of the law establishing these schools more in detail. We should know how much money is furnished to each county every year, and how much education it distributes every year, and such a statement should be laid before the legislature every year. The sum of education rendered in each county in each year should be estimated by adding together the number of months which each scholar attended, and stating the sum total of the months which all of them together attended, e. g., if in any county one scholar attended two months, three others four months each, eight others six months each, then the sum of these added together will make sixty-two months of schooling afforded in the county that year; and the number of sixty-two months entered in a table opposite to the name of the county, gives a satisfactory idea of the sum or quantum of education it rendered in that year. This will enable us to take many interesting and important views of the sufficiency of the plan established, and of the amendments necessary to produce the greatest effect. I enclose a form of the table which would be required, in which you will of course be sensible that the numbers entered are at hap-hazard, and exempli gratia, as I know nothing of the sums furnished or quantum


of education rendered in each or any county. I send also the form of such a resolution as should be passed by the one or the other House, perhaps better in the lower one, and moved by some member nowise connected with us, for the less we appear before the House, the less we shall excite dissatisfaction.

I mentioned to you formerly our want of an anatomical hall for dissection.

But if we get the fifty

thousand dollars from Congress, we can charge to that, as the library fund, the six thousand dollars of the building fund which we have advanced for it in books and apparatus, and repaying from the former the six thousand dollars due to the latter, apply so much of it as is necessary for the anatomical building. No application on the subject need therefore be made to our legislature. But I hear nothing of our prospects before Congress. Yours affectionately.

Resolved, That the Governor be requested to have prepared and laid before the

legislature, at their next session, a statement in detail of the sum of education which, under the law establishing primary schools, has been rendered in the schools of each county respectively; that it be stated in a tabular form, in the first column of which table shall be the names of the counties alphabetically arranged, and then, for every year, two other columns, in the first of which shall be entered, opposite to the name of each county, the sum of money furnished it in that


year, and in the second shall be stated the sum of education rendered in the same county and year; which sum is to be estimated by adding together the number of months of schooling which the several individuals attending received. And that hence orward a similar statement be prepared and laid before the legislature every year for that year.

{Accomac. . . . . $400 216 months schooling. Albemarle . . . . 500 234 " Amelia....... 250 183 " Amherst. . . . . . 400 210 " Augusta. . . . . . 800 461 "}


TO - 1

MONTICELLO, February 20, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- I thank you for the copy of your Cherokee Grammar, which I have

gone over with attention and satisfaction. We generally learn languages for the benefit of reading the books written in them. But here our reward must be the addition made to the philosophy of language. In this point of view your analysis of the Cherokee adds valuable matter for reflection, and strengthens our desire to see more of these languages as scientifically elucidated. Their grammatical devices for the modification of their words by a syllable prefixed to, or

' Address lost,


inserted in the middle, or added to its end, and by other combinations so different from ours, prove that if man came from one stock, his languages did not. A late grammarian has said that all words were originally monosyllables. The Indian languages disprove this. I should conjecture that the Cherokees, for example, have formed their language not by single words, but by phrases. I have known some children learn to speak, not by a word at a time, but by whole phrases. Thus the Cherokee has no name for father in the abstract, but only as combined with some one of his relations. A complex idea being a fasciculus of simple ideas bundled together, it is rare that different languages make up their bundles alike, and hence the difficulty of translating from one language to another. European nations have so long had intercourse with one an other, as to have approximated their complex expressions much towards one another. But I believe we shall find it impossible to translate our language into any of the

{Indian, or any of theirs into ours. I hope you will pursue your undertaking, and that others will follow your example with other of their languages. It will open a wide field for reflection on the grammatical organization of languages, their structure and character. I am persuaded that among the tribes on our two continents a great number of languages, radically different, will be found. It will be curious to consider how so many so radically different}

will' be found. It will be curious to


consider how so many so radically different have been preserved by such small tribes in coterminous settlements of moderate extent. I had once collected about thirty vocabularies formed of the same English words, expressive of such simple objects only as must be present and familiar to every one under these circumstances. They were unfortunately lost. But I remember that on a trial to arrange them into families or dialects, I found in one instance that about half a dozen might be so classed, in another perhaps three or four. But I am sure that a third at least, if not more, were perfectly insulated from each other. Yet this is the only index by which we can trace their filiation. I had received your observations on the changes proposed in Harvard College,

without knowing from whom they came to me, and had been so much pleased with them as to have put them by for preservation. These observations, with the report and documents to which they relate, are a treasure of information to us; they give to our infant institution the experience of your ancient and eminent establishment. I hope that we shall be like cordial colleagues in office, acting in harmony and affection for the same object. Our European professors, five in number, are at length arrived, and excite strong presumptions that they have been judiciously selected. We have announced our opening on the 7th of the ensuing month of March. With sincere wishes for the prosperity of yours, as well as ours,


I pray you to accept assurances of my high esteem and respect.


MONTICELLO, February 21, 1825.

This letter will, to you, be as one from the dead. The writer will be in the grave before you. can weigh its counsels. Your affectionate and excellent father has requested that I would address to you something which might possibly have a favorable influence on the course of life you have to run, and I too, as a namesake, feel an interest in that course. Few words will be necessary, with good dispositions on your part. Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbor as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not at the ways of Providence. So shall the life into which vou have entered, be the portal to one of eternal and ineffable bliss. And if to the dead it is permitted to care for the things of this world, every action of your life will be under my regard. Farewell.

The portrait of a good man by the most sublime of poets,

for your imitation.

Lord, who's the happy man that may to Thy blest courts repair,

Not stranger-like to visit them, but to inhabit there?

'Tis he whose every thought and deed by rules of virtue moves,

Whose generous tongue disdains to speak the thing his heart dis-



Who never did a slander forge, his neighbor's fame to wound, Nor hearken to a false report, by malice whispered round. Who vice, in all its pomp and power, can treat with just neglect; And piety, though clothed in rags, religiously respect. Who to his plighted vows and trust has ever firmly stood, And though he promise to his loss, he makes his promise good. Whose soul in usury disdains his treasure to employ, Whom no rewards can ever bribe the guiltless to destroy. The man who, by this steady course, has happiness insur'd, When earth's foundations shake, shall stand, by Providence secur'd.

A Decalogue Of Canons for observation in practical


I. Never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day.

2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.

3. Never spend your money before you have it.

4. Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to


5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.

6. We never repent of having eaten too little.

7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.

8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.

9. Take things always by their smooth handle.

10. When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.



MONTICELLO, March 25, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- I know how apt we are to consider those Whom we knew long ago, and

have not since seen, to be exactly still what they were when we knew them; and to have been stationary in body and mind as they have been in our recollections. Have you not been under that illusion with respect to myself? When I had the pleasure of being a fellow laborer with you in the public service, age had ripened, but not yet impaired whatever of mind I had at any time possessed. But five and twenty chilling winters have since rolled over my head, and whitened every hair of it. Worn down by time in bodily strength, unable to walk even into my garden without too much fatigue, I cannot doubt that the mind has also suffered its portion of decay. If reason and experience had not taught me this law of nature, my own consciousness is a sufficient monitor, and warns me to keep in mind the golden precept of Horace,

"Solve senescentem, mature sanus, equum, ne

Peccet ad extremum ridendus."

I am not equal, dear Sir, to the task you have proposed to me. To examine a code of laws newly reduced to system and text, to weigh their bearings on each other in all their parts, their harmony with reason and nature, and their adaptation to the habits and sentiments of those for whom they are prepared,


and whom, in this case, I do not know, is a task far above what I am now, or perhaps ever was. I have attended to so much of your work as has been heretofore laid before the public, and have looked, with some attention also, into what you have now sent me. It will certainly arrange your name with the sages of antiquity. Time and changes in the condition and constitution of society may require occasional and corresponding modifications. One single object, if your provision attains it, will entitle you to the endless gratitude of society; that of restraining judges from usurping legislation. And with no body of men is this restraint more wanting than with the judges of what is commonly called our General Government, but what I call our foreign department. They are practising on the Constitution by inferences, analogies, and sophisms, as they would on an ordinary law. They do not seem aware that it is not even a Constitution, formed by a single authority, and subject to a single superintendence and control; but that it is a compact of many independent powers, every single one of which claims an equal right to understand it, and to require its observance. However strong the cord of compact may be, there is a point of tension at which it will break. A few such doctrinal decisions, as barefaced as that of the Cohens, happening to bear immediately on two or three of the large States, may induce them to join in arresting the march of government, and in arousing the co-States to pay some VOL. XVI-8

{114 }

attention to what is passing, to bring back the compact to its original principles, or to modify it legitimately by the express consent of the parties themselves, and not by the usurpation of their created agents. They imagine they can lead us into a consolidate government, while their road leads directly to its dissolution. This member of the government was at first considered as the most harmless and helpless of all its organs. But it has proved that the power of declaring what the law is, ad libitum, by sapping and mining, slyly, and without alarm, the foundations of the Constitution, can do what open force would not dare to attempt. I have not observed whether, in your code, you have provided against caucusing judicial decisions, and for requiring judges to give their opinions seriatim, every man for himself, with his reasons and authorities at large, to be entered of record in his own words. A regard for reputation, and the judgment of the world, may sometimes be felt where conscience is dormant, or indolence inexcitable. Experience has proved that impeachment in our forms is completely inefficient.

I am pleased with the style and diction of your laws. Plain and intelligible

as the ordinary writings of common sense, I hope it will produce imitation. Of all the countries on earth of which I have any knowledge, the style of the Acts of the British Parliament is the most barbarous, uncouth, and unintelligible. It can be understood by those alone who are in the daily habit of studying such tautologous,


involved and parenthetical jargon. Where they found their model, I know not. Neither ancient nor modern codes, nor even their own early statutes, furnish any such example. And, like faithful apes, we copy it faithfully. In declining the undertaking you so flatteringly propose to me, I trust you

will see but an approvable caution fur the age of fourscore and two, to avoid exposing itself before the public. The misfortune of a weakened mind is an insensibility of its weakness. Seven years ago, indeed, I embarked in an enterprise, the establishment of an University, which placed and keeps me still under the public eye. The call was imperious, the necessity most urgent, and the hazard of titubation less, by those seven years, than it now is. The institution is at length happily advanced to completion, and has commenced under auspices as favorable as I could expect. I hope it will prove a blessing to my own State, and not unuseful perhaps to some others. At all hazards, and secured by the aid of my able coadjutors, I shall continue, while I am in being, to contribute to it whatever my weakened and weakening powers can. But assuredly it is the last object for which I shall obtrude myself on the public observation.

Wishing anxiously that your great work may obtain complete success, and

become an example for the imitation and improvement of other States, I pray you to be assured of my unabated friendship and respect.



MONTICELLO, April 3, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- Your favor of March 25th has been duly received. The fact is unquestionable, that the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution of Virginia, were drawn originally by George Mason, one of our really great men, and of the first order of greatness. The history of the Preamble to the latter is this: I was then at Philadelphia with Congress; and knowing that the Convention of Virginia was engaged in forming a plan of government, I turned my mind to the same subject, and drew a sketch or outline of a Constitution, with a preamble, which I sent to Mr. Pendleton, president of the convention, on the mere possibility that it might suggest something worth incorporation into that before the convention. He informed me afterwards by letter, that he received it on the day on which the Committee of the Whole had reported to the House the plan they had agreed to; that that had been so long in hand, so disputed inch by inch, and the subject of so much altercation and debate; that they were worried with the contentions it had produced, and could not, from mere lassitude, have been induced to open the instrument again; but that, being pleased with the Preamble to mine, they adopted it in the House, by way of amendment to the Report of the Committee; and thus my_ Preamble became tacked to the work of George Mason. The Constitution, with the Pre


amble, was passed on the 29th of June, and the Committee of Congress had only the day before that reported to that body the draught of the Declaration of Independence. The fact is, that that Preamble was prior in composition to the Declaration; and both having the same object, of justifying our separation from Great Britain, they used necessarily the same materials of justification, and hence their similitude. Withdrawn by age from all other public services and attentions to public

things, I am closing the last scenes of life by fashioning and fostering an establishment for the instruction of those who are to come after us. I hope its influence on their virtue, freedom, fame and happiness, will be salutary and permanent. The form and distributions of its structure are original and unique, the architecture chaste and classical, and the whole well worthy of attracting the curiosity of a visit. Should it so prove to yourself at any time, it will be a great gratification to me to see you once more at Monticello; and I pray you to be assured of my continued and high respect and esteem.


MONTICELLO, May 8, 1825.

{DEAR SIR - * * * * * *}

That George Mason was author of the bill of rights and of the Constitution founded on it, the evidence


of the day established fully in my mind. Of the paper you mention, purporting to be instructions to the Virginia delegation in Congress, I have no recollection. If it were anything more than a project of some private hand, that is to say, had any such instructions been ever given by the convention, they would appear in the journals, which we possess entire. But with respect to our rights, and the acts of the British government contravening those rights, there was but one opinion on this side of the water. All American Whigs thought alike on these subjects. When forced, therefore, to resort to arms for redress, an appeal to the tribunal of the world was deemed proper for our justification. This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aris-


totle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, etc. The historical documents which you mention as in your possession, ought all to be found, and I am persuaded you will find, to be corroborative of the facts and principles advanced in that Declaration. Be pleased to accept assurances of my great esteem and respect. TO MISS FRANCES WRIGHT.

MONTICELLO, August 7, 1825.

I have duly received, dear Madam, your letter of July 26th, and learn from it

with much regret, that Miss Wright, your sister, is so much indisposed as to be obliged to visit our medicinal springs. I wish she may be fortunate in finding those which may be adapted to her case. We have taken too little pains to ascertain the properties of our different mineral water:, the cases in which they are respectively remedial, the proper process in their use, and other circumstances necessary to give us their full value. My own health is very low, not having been able to leave the house for three months, and suffering much at times. In this state of body and mind, your letter could not have found a more inefficient counsellor, one scarcely able to think or to write. At the age of eighty--two, with one foot in the grave, and the other uplifted to follow it, I do not permit myself to take part in any new enterprises, even for bettering the condition of man, not even in the great one which is the subject of your letter, and which


has been through life that of my greatest anxieties. The march of events has not been such as to render its completion practicable within the limits of time allotted to me; and I leave its accomplishment as the work of another generation. And I am cheered when I see that on which it is devolved, taking it up with so much good will; and such minds engaged in its encouragement. The abolition of the evil is not impossible; it ought never therefore to be despaired of. Every plan should be adopted, every experiment tried, which may do something towards the ultimate object. That which you propose is well worthy of trial. It has succeeded with certain portions of our white brethren, under the care of a Rapp and an Owen; and why may it not succeed with the man of color? An opinion is hazarded by some, but proved by none, that moral urgencies are not sufficient to induce him to labor; that nothing can do this but physical coercion. But this is a problem which the present age alone is prepared to solve by experiment. It would be a solecism to suppose a race of animals created, without sufficient foresight and energy to preserve their own existence. It is disproved, too, by the fact that they exist, and have existed through all the ages of history. We are not sufficiently acquainted with all the nations of Africa, to say that there may not be some in which habits of industry are established, and the arts practised which are necessary to render life comfortable. The experiment now in progress in St. Domingo, those


of Sierra Leone and Cape Mesurado, are but beginning. Your proposition has its aspects of promise also; and should it not answer fully to calculations in figures, it may yet, in its developments, lead to happy results. These, however, I must leave to another generation. The enterprise of a different, but yet important character, in which I have embarked too late in life, I find more than sufficient to occupy the enfeebled energies remaining to me, and that to divert them to other objects, would be a desertion of these. You are young, dear Madam, and have powers of mind which may do much in exciting others in this arduous task. I am confident they will be so exerted, and I pray to Heaven for their success, and that you may be rewarded with the blessings which such efforts merit. TO JOHN VAUGHAN.

MONTICELLO, September 16, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- I am not able to give you any particular account of the paper

handed you by Mr. Lee, as being either the original or a copy of the Declaration of Independence, sent by myself to his grandfather. The draught, when completed by myself, with a few verbal amendments by Dr. Franklin and Mr. Adams, two members of the committee, in their own handwriting, is now in my own possession, and a fair copy of this was reported to the committee, passed by them without amendment, and then


reported to Congress. This latter should be among the records of the old Congress; and whether this or the one from which it was copied and now in my hands, is to be called the original, is a question of definition. To that in my hands, if worth preserving, my relations with our University give irresistible claims. Whenever, in the course of the composition, a copy became overcharged, and difficult to be read with amendments, I copied it fair, and when that also was crowded with other amendments, another fair copy was made, etc. These rough draughts I sent to distant friends who were anxious to know what was passing. But how many, and to whom, I do not recollect. One sent to Mazzei was given by him to the Countess de Tesse (aunt of Madame de Lafayette) as the original, and is probably now in the hands of her family. Whether the paper sent to R. H. Lee was one of these, or whether, after the passage of the instrument, I made a copy for him, with the amendments of Congress, may, I think, be known from the face of the paper. The documents Mr. Lee has given you must be of great value, and until all these private hoards are made public, the real history of the Revolution will not be known. TO DR. JAMES MEASE. MONTICELLO, September 26, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- It is not for me to estimate the importance of the circumstances concerning which


your letter of the 8th makes inquiry. They prove, even in their minuteness, the sacred attachments of our fellow citizens to the event of which the paper of July 4th, 1776, was but the Declaration, the genuine effusion of the soul of our country at that time. Small things may, perhaps, like the relics of saints, help to nourish our devotion to this holy bond of our Union, and keep it longer alive and warm in our affections. This effect may give importance to circumstances, however small. At the time of writing that instrument, I lodged in the house of a Mr. Graaf, a new brick house, three stories high, of which I rented the second floor, consisting of a parlor and bed-room, ready furnished. In that parlor I wrote habitually, and in it wrote this paper, particularly. So far I state from written proofs in my possession. The proprietor, Graaf, was a young man, son of a German, and then newly married. I think he was a bricklayer, and that his house was on the south side of Market street, probably between Seventh and Eighth streets, and if not the only house on that part of the street, I am sure there were few others near it. I have some idea that it was a corner house, but no other recollections throwing light on the question, or worth communication. I am ill, therefore only add assurance of my great respect and esteem.


TO -.

MONTICELLO, October 25, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- I know not whether the professors to whom ancient and modern history are assigned in the University, have yet decided on the course of historical reading which they will recommend to their schools. If they have, I wish this letter to be considered as not written, as their course, the result of mature consideration, will be preferable to anything I could recommend. Under this uncertainty, and the rather as you are of neither of these schools, I may hazard some general ideas, to be corrected by what they may recommend hereafter.

In all cases'I prefer original authors to compilers. For a course of ancient

history, therefore, of Greece and Rome especially, I should advise the usual suite of Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Diodorus, Livy, Caesar, Suetonius, Tacitus, and Dion, in their originals if understood, and in translations if not. For its continuation to the final destruction of the empire we must then be content with Gibbon, a compiler, and with Segur, for a judicious recapitulation of the whole. After this general course, there are a number of particular histories filling up the chasms, which may be read at leisure in the progress of life. Such is Arrian, 2 Curtius, Polybius, Sallust, Plutarch, Dionysius, Halicarnassus, Micasi, etc. The ancient universal history should be on our shelves as a book of general refer


ence, the most learned and most faithful perhaps that ever was written. Its style is very plain but perspicuous. In modern history, there are but two nations with whose course it is

interesting to us to be intimately acquainted, to wit: France and England. For the former, Millot's General History of France may be sufficient to the period when 1 Davila commences. He should be followed by Perefixe, Sully, Voltaire's Louis XIV and XV, la Cretelles XVIII me siecle, Marmontel's Regence, Foulongion's French Revolution, and Madame de Stael's, making up by a succession of particular history, the general one which they want.

Of England there is as yet no general history so faithful as Rapin's. He may

be followed by Ludlow, Fox, Belsham, Hume, and Brodie. Hume s, were it faithful, would be the finest piece of history which has ever been written by man. Its unfortunate bias may be partly ascribed to the accident of his having written backwards. His maiden work was the History of the Stuarts. It was a first essay to try his strength before the public. And whether as a Scotchman he had really a partiality for that family, or thought that the lower their degradation, the more fame he should acquire by raising them up to some favor, the object of his work was an apology for them. He spared nothing, therefore, to wash them white, and to palliate their misgovernment. For this purpose he suppressed truths, ad-


vanced falsehoods, forged authorities, and falsified records. All this is proved on him unanswerably by Brodie. But so bewitching was his style and manner, that his readers were unwilling to doubt anything, swallowed everything, and all England became Tories by the magic of his art. His pen revolutionized the public sentiment of that country more completely than the standing armies could ever have done, which were so much dreaded and deprecated by the patriots of that day.

Having succeeded so eminently in the acquisition of fortune and fame by this

work, he undertook the history of the two preceding dynasties, the Plantagenets and Tudors. It was all-important in this second work, to maintain the thesis of the first, that "it was the people who encroached on the sovereign, not the sovereign who usurped on the rights of the people." And, again, chapter 53d, "the grievances under which the English labored [to wit: whipping, pillorying, cropping, imprisoning, fining, etc.,) when considered in themselves, without regard to the Constitution, scarcely deserve the name, nor were they either burdensome on the people's properties, or anywise shocking to the natural humanity of mankind." During the constant wars, civil and foreign, which prevailed while these two families occupied the throne, it was not difficult to find abundant instances of practices the most despotic, as are wont to occur in times of violence. To make this second epoch support the third, therefore, required but a


little garbling of authorities. And it then remained, by a third work, to make of the whole a complete history of England, on the principles on which he had advocated that of the Stuarts. This would comprehend the Saxon and Norman conquests, the former exhibiting the genuine form and political principles of the people constituting the nation, and founded in the rights of man; the latter built on conquest and physical force, not at all affecting moral rights, nor even assented to by the free will of the vanquished. The battle of Hastings, indeed, was lost, but the natural rights of the nation were not staked on the event of a single battle. Their will to recover the Saxon constitution continued unabated, and was at the bottom of all the unsuccessful insurrections which succeeded in subsequent times. The victors and vanquished continued in a state of living hostility, and the nation may still say, after losing the battle of Hastings, "What though the field is lost? All is not lost; the unconquerable will And study of revenge, immortal hate And courage never to submit or yield."

The government of a nation may be usurped by the forcible intrusion of an

individual into the throne. But to conquer its will, so as to rest the right on that, the only legitimate basis, requires long acquiescence and cessation of all opposition. The Whig historians of England, therefore, have always gone back to the Saxon period for the true principles


of their constitution, while the Tories and Hume, their Coryphaeus, date it from the Norman conquest, and hence conclude that the continual claim by the nation of the good old Saxon laws, and the struggles to recover them, were "encroachments of the people on the crown, and not usurpations of the crown on the people." Hume, with Brodie, should be the last histories of England to be read. If first read, Hume makes an English Tory, from whence it is an easy step to American Toryism. But there is a history, by Baxter, in which, abridging somewhat by leaving out some entire incidents as less interesting now than when Hume wrote, he has given the rest in the identical words of Hume, except that when he comes to a fact falsified, he states it truly, and when to a suppression of truth, he supplies it, never otherwise changing a word. It is, in fact, an editic expurgation of Hume. Those who shrink from the volume of Rapin, may read this first, and from this lay a first foundation in a basis of truth.

For modern continental history, a very general idea may be first aimed at, leaving for future and occasional reading the particular histories of such countries as may excite curiosity at the time. This may be obtained from Mollet's Northern Antiquities, Vol. Esprit et Moeurs des Nations, Millot's Modern History, Russel's Modern Europe, Hallam's Middle Ages, and Robertson's Charles V.

You ask what book I would recommend to be first read in law. I am very glad to find from a conversa-


tion with Mr. Gilmer, that he considers Coke Littleton, as methodized by Thomas, as unquestionably the best elementary work, and the one which will be the text-book of his school. It is now as agreeable reading as Blackstone, and much more profound. I pray you to consider this hasty and imperfect sketch as intended merely to prove my wish to be useful to you, and that with it you will accept the assurance of my esteem and respect. TO THE HONORABLE J. EVELYN DENISON, M. P.

{. MONTICELLO, November 9, 1825.}

DEAR SIR, -- Your favor of July 30th was duly received, and we have now at hand the books you have been so kind as to send to our University. They are truly acceptable in themselves, for we might have been years not knowing of their existence; but give the greater pleasure as evidence of the interest you have taken in our infant institution. It is going on as successfully as we could have expected; and I have no reason to regret the measure taken of procuring professors from abroad where science is so much ahead of us. You witnessed some of the puny squibs of which I was the butt on that account. They were probably from disappointed candidates, whose unworthiness had occasioned their applications to be passed over. The measure has been generally approved in the South and West; and by all liberal minds in the North. VOL. XVI-9

{130 }

It has been peculiarly fortunate, too, that the professors brought from abroad were as happy selections as could have been hoped, as well for their qualifications in science as correctness and amiableness of character. I think the example will be followed, and that it cannot fail to be one of the efficacious means of promoting that cordial good will, which it is so much the interest of both nations to cherish. These teachers can never utter an unfriendly sentiment towards their native country; and those into whom their instructions will be infused, are not of ordinary significance only; they are exactly the persons who are tn succeed to the government of our country, and to rule its future enmities, its friendships and fortunes. As it is our interest to receive instruction through this channel, so I think it is yours to furnish it; for these two nations holding cordially together, have nothing to fear from the united world. They will be the models for regenerating the condition of man, the sources from which representative government is to flow over the whole earth.

I learn from you with great pleasure, that a taste is reviving in England for

the recovery of the Anglo-Saxon dialect of our language; for a mere dialect it is, as much as those of Piers Plowman, Gower, Douglas, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, for even much of Milton is already antiquated. The Anglo-Saxon is only the earliest we possess of the many shades of mutation by which the language


has tapered down to its modern form. Vocabularies we need for each of these stages from Somner to Bailey, but not grammars for each or any of them. The grammar has changed so little, in the descent from the earliest, to the present form, that a little observation suffices to understand its variations. We are greatly indebted to the worthies who have preserved the Anglo-Saxon form, from Doctor Hickes down to Mr. Bosworth. Had they not given to the public what we possess through the press, that dialect would by this time have been irrecoverably lost. I think it, however, a misfortune that they have endeavored to give it too much of a learned form, to mount it on all the scaffolding of the Greek and Latin, to load it with their genders, numbers, cases, declensions, conjugations, etc. Strip it of these embarrassments, vest it in the Roman type which we have adopted instead of our English black letter, reform its uncouth orthography, and assimilate its pronunciation, as much as may be, to the present English, just as we do in reading Piers Plowman or Chaucer, and with the cotemporary vocabulary for the few lost words, we understand it as we do them. For example, the Anglo-Saxon text of the Lord's prayer, as given in 6th Matthew, ix, is spelt and written thus, in the equivalent Roman type: "Faeder ure thec the eart in heafenum, si thin nama ychalgod. To becume thin rice. Gerrurthe thin willa on eartham, swa swa on heafenum. Ume doeghw amli can hlaf syle us to doeg. And

{132 Jefferson's Works}

forgyfus ure gyltas, swa swa we forgifath urum gyltendum. And ne ge-loedde thu us on costnunge, ae alys us of yfele." I should spell and pronounce thus: "Father our, thou tha art in heavenum, si thine name y-hallowed. Come thin ric-y-wurth thine will on eartham, so so on heavenum: ourn daynhamlican loaf sell us to-day, and forgive us our guilts so so we forgiveth ourum guiltendum. And no y-lead thou us on costnunge, ac a-lease us of evil." And here it is to be observed by-the-bye, that there is but the single word "temptation" in our present version or this prayer that is not Anglo-Saxon; for the word "trespasses" taken from the French, ( ) in the original) might as well have been translated by the Anglo-Saxon "guilts."

The learned apparatus in which Dr. Hickes and his successors have muffled our Anglo-Saxon, is what has frightened us from encountering it. The simplification I propose may, on the contrary, make it a regular part of our common English education.

So little reading and writing was there among our Anglo-Saxon ancestors of

that day, that they had no fixed orthography. To produce a given sound, every one jumbled the letters together, according to his unlettered notion of their power, and all jumbled them differently, just as would be done at this day, were a dozen peasants, who have learnt the alphabet, but have never read, desired to write the Lord's prayer. Hence the varied modes of spelling by


which the Anglo-Saxons meant to express the same sound. The word many, for example, was spelt in twenty different ways; yet we cannot suppose they were twenty different words, or that they had twenty different ways of pronouncing the same word. The Anglo-Saxon orthography, then, is not an exact representation of the sounds meant to be conveyed. We must drop in pronunciation the superfluous consonants, and give to the remaining letters their present English sound; because, not knowing the true one, the present enunciation is as likely to be right as any other, and indeed more so, and facilitates the acquisition of the language. It is much to be wished that the publication of the present county dialects

of England should go on. It will restore to us our language in all its shades of variation. It will incorporate into the present one all the riches of our ancient dialects; and what a store this will be, may be seen by running the eye over the county glossaries, and observing the words we have lost by abandonment and disuse, which in sound and sense are inferior to nothing we have retained. When these local vocabularies are published and digested together into a single one, it is probable we shall find that there is not a word in Shakespeare which is not now in use in some of the counties in England, from whence we may obtain its true sense. And what an exchange will their recovery be for the volumes of idle commentaries and conjectures with which that divine poet has


been masked and metamorphosed. We shall find in him new sublimit es which we had never tasted before, and find beauties in our ancient poets which are lost to us now. It is not that I am merely an enthusiast for Palaeology. I set equal value on the beautiful engraftments we have borrowed from Greece and Rome, and I am equally a friend to the encouragement of a judicious neology; a language cannot be too rich. The more copious, the more susceptible of embellishment it will become. There are several things wanting to promote this improvement. To reprint the Saxon books in modern type; reform their orthography; publish in the same way the treasures still existing in manuscript. And, more than all things, we want a dictionary on the plan of Stephens or Scapula, in which the Saxon root, placed alphabetically, shall be followed by all its cognate modifications of nouns, verbs, etc., whether Anglo-Saxon, or found in the dialects of subsequent ages. We want, too, an elaborate history of the English language. In time our country may be able to co-operate with you in these labors, of common advantage, but as yet it is too much a blank, calling for other and more pressing attentions. We have too much to do in the improvements of which it is susceptible, and which are deemed more immediately useful. Literature is not yet a distinct profession with us. Now and then a strong mind arises, and at its intervals of leisure from business, emits a flash of light. But the first object of young societies


is bread and covering; science is but secondary and subsequent. I owe apology for this long letter. It must be found in the circumstance of

its subject having made an interesting part in the tenor of your letter, and in my attachment to it. It is a hobby which too often runs away with me where I meant not to give up the rein. Our youth seem disposed to mount it with me, and to begin their course where mine is ending.

Our family recollects with pleasure the visit with which you favored us; and

join me in assuring you of our friendly and respectful recollections, and of the gratification it will ever be to us to hear of your health and welfare.


MONTICELLO, November 27, 1825.

SIR, -- Disqualified by age and ill health from undertaking minute

investigations, I find it will be easier for me to state to you my proposition of a lock-dock, for laying up vessels, high and dry, than to investigate yours. You will then judge for yourself whether any part of mine has anticipated any part of yours.

While I was at Washington, in the administration of the government, Congress

was much divided in opinion on the subject of a navy, a part of them wishing to go extensively into preparation of a fleet,


another part opposed to it, on the objection that the repairs and preservation of a ship, even idle in harbor, in ten or twelve years, amount to her original cost. It has been estimated in England, that if they could be sure of peace a dozen years it would be cheaper for them to burn their fleet, and build a new one when wanting, than to keep the old one in repair during that term. I learnt that, in Venice, there were then ships, lying on their original stocks, ready for launching at any moment, which had been so for eighty years, and were still in a state of perfect preservation; and that this was effected by disposing of them in docks pumped dry, and kept so by constant pumping. It occurred to me that this expense of constant pumping might be saved by combining a lock with the common wet dock, wherever there was a running stream of water, the bed of which, within a reasonable distance, was of a sufficient height above the high-water level of the harbor. This was the case at the navy yard, on the eastern branch at Washington, the high-water line of which was seventy-eight feet lower than the ground on which the Capitol stands, and to which it was found that the water of the Tyber creek could be brought for watering the city. My proposition then was as follows: Let a b be the high-water level of the harbor, and the vessel to be laid up draw eighteen feet water. Make a chamber A twenty feet deep below high water and twenty feet


high above it, as c d e f, and at the upper end make another chamber, B,

{( )}

the bottom of which should be in the high-water level, and the tops twenty feet above that. g h is the water of the Tyber. When the vessel is to be introduced, open the gate at c b d. The tide-water rises in the chamber A to the level b I, and floats the vessel in with it. Shut the gate c b d and open that of f I. The water of the Tyber fills both chambers to the level c f g, and the vessel floats into the chamber B; then opening both gates c b d and f I, the water flows out, and the vessel settles down on the stays previously prepared at the bottom I h to receive her. The gate at g h must of course be closed, and the water of the feeding stream be diverted elsewhere. The chamber B is to have a roof over it of the construction of that over the meal market at Paris, except that that is hemispherical, this semi-cylindrical. For this construction see Delenne's architecture, whose invention it was. The diameter of the dome of the meal market is considerably over one hundred feet.

It will be seen at once, that instead of making the chamber B of sufficient

width and length for a single vessel only, it may be widened to whatever span


the semi-circular framing of the roof can be trusted, and to whatever length you please, so as to admit two or more vessels in breadth, and as many in length as the localities render expedient.

I had a model of this lock-dock made and exhibited in the President's house, during the session of Congress at which it was proposed. But the advocates for a navy did not fancy it, and those opposed to the building of ships altogether, were equally indisposed to provide protection for them. Ridicule was also resorted to, the ordinary substitute for reason, when that fails, and the proposition was passed over. I then thought and still think the measure wise, to have a proper number of vessels always ready to be launched, with nothing unfinished about them, except the planting their masts, which must of necessity be omitted, to be brought under a roof. Having no view in this proposition but to combine for the public a provision for defence, with economy in its preservation, I have thought no more of it since. And if any of my ideas anticipated yours, you are welcome to appropriate them to yourself, without objection on my part, and, with this assurance, I pray you to accept that of my best wishes and respects.


TO -.

MONTICELLO, December 18, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- Your letters are always welcome, the last more than all others, its

subject being one of the dearest to my heart. To my granddaughter your commendations cannot fail to be an object of high ambition, as a certain passport to the good opinion of the world. If she does not cultivate them with assiduity and affection, she will illy fulfil my parting injunctions. I trust she will merit a continuance of your favor, and find in her new situation the general esteem she so happily possessed in the society she left. You tell me she repeated to you an expression of mine, that I should be willing to go again over the scenes of past life. I should not be unwilling, without, however, wishing it; and why not? I have enjoyed a greater share of health than falls to the lot of most men; my spirits have never failed me except under those paroxysms of grief which you, as well as myself, have experienced in every form, and with good health and good spirits, the pleasures surely outweigh the pains of life. Why not, then, taste them again, fat and lean to ether Were I indeed permitted to cut off from the train the last seven years, the balance would be much in favor of treading the ground over again. Being at that period in the neighborhood of our warm springs, and well in health, I wished to be better,

1 Address lost.


and tried them. They destroyed, in a great degree, my internal organism, and I have never since had a moment of perfect health. I have now been eight months confined almost constantly to the house, with now and then intervals of a few days on which I could get on horseback.

I presume you have received a copy of the life of Richard H. Lee, from his

grandson of the same name, author of the work. You and I know that he merited much during the Revolution. Eloquent, bold, and ever watchful at his post, of which his biographer omits no proof. I am not certain whether the friends of George Mason, of Patrick Henry, yourself, and even of General Washington, may not reclaim some feathers of the plumage given him, noble as was his proper and original coat. But on this subject I will anticipate your own judgment.

I learn with sincere pleasure that you have experienced lately a great

renovation of your health. That it may continue to the ultimate period of your wishes is the sincere prayer of usque ad eras amicissimi tui.


MONTICELLO, December 24, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- I have for some time considered the question of internal

improvement as desperate. The torrent of general opinion sets so strongly in favor pf it as to be irresistible. And I suppose that even


the opposition in Congress will hereafter be feeble and formal, unless something can be done which may give a gleam of encouragement to our friends, or alarm their opponents in their fancied security. I learn from Richmond that those who think with us there are in a state of perfect dismay, not knowing what to do or what to propose. Mr. Gordon, our representative, particularly, has written to me in very desponding terms, not disposed to yield indeed, but pressing for opinions and advice on the subject. I have no doubt you are pressed in the same way, and I hope you have devised and recommended something to them. If you have, stop here and read no more, but consider all that follows as non-avenue. I shall be better satisfied to adopt implicitly anything which you may have advised, than anything occurring to myself. For I have long ceased to think on subjects of this kind, and pay little attention to public proceedings. But if you have done nothing in it, then I risk for your consideration what has occurred to me, and is expressed in the enclosed paper. 1 Bailey's propositions, which came to hand since I wrote the paper, and which I suppose to have come from the President himself, show a little hesitation in the purposes of his party; and in' that state of mind, a bolt shot critically may decide the contest by its effect on the less bold. The olive

1 See under head of "Miscellaneous Papers," the paper here alluded to, entitled, "The Solemn Declaration and Protest of the Commonwealth of Virginia on the principles of the Constitution of the United States of America, and on the violations of them."


branch held out to them at this moment may be accepted, and the Constitution thus saved at a moderate sacrifice. I say nothing of the paper, which will explain itself. The following heads of consideration, or some of them, may weigh in its favor:

It may intimidate the wavering. It may break the Western coalition, by offering the same thing in a different form. It will be viewed with favor in contrast with the Georgia opposition and fear of strengthening that. It will be an example of a temperate mode of opposition in future and similar cases. It will delay the measure a year at least. It will give us the chance of better times and of intervening accidents; and in no way place us in a worse than our present situation. I do not dwell on these topics; your mind will develop them.

The first question is, whether you approve of doing anything of the kind. If not, send it back to me, and it shall be suppressed; for I would not hazard so important a measure against your opinion, nor even without its support. If you think it may be a canvas on which to put something good, make what alterations you please, and I will forward it to Gordon, under the most sacred injunctions that it shall be so used as that not a shadow of suspicion shall fall on you or myself, that it has come from either of us. But what you do, do as promptly as your convenience will admit, lest it should be anticipated by something worse.

Ever and affectionately yours.



MONTICELLO, December 25, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- Your favor of the 15th was received four days ago. It found me

engaged in what I could not lay aside till this day.

Far advanced in my eighty-third year, worn down with infirmities which have

confined me almost entirely to the house for seven or eight months past, it afflicts me much to receive appeals to my memory for transactions so far back as that which is the subject of your letter. My memory is indeed become almost a blank, of which no better proof can probably be given you than by my solemn protestation, that I have not the least recollection of your intervention between Mr. John Q. Adams and myself, in what passed on the subject of the embargo. Not the slightest trace of it remains in my mind. Yet I have no doubt of the exactitude of the statement in your letter. And the less, as I recollect the interview with Mr. Adams, to which the previous communications which had passed between him and yourself were probably and naturally the preliminary. That interview I remember well; not indeed in the very words which passed between us, but in their substance, which was of a character too awful, too deeply engraved in my mind, and influencing too materially the course I had to pursue, ever to be forgotten. Mr. Adams called on me pending the embargo, and while


endeavors were making to obtain its repeal. He made some apologies for the call, on the ground of our not being then in the habit of confidential communications, but that that which he had then to make, involved too seriously the interest of our country not to overrule all other considerations with him, and make it his duty to reveal it to myself particularly. I assured him there was no occasion for any apology for his visit; that, on the contrary, his communications would be thankfully received, and would add a confirmation the more to my entire confidence in the rectitude and patriotism of his conduct and principles. He spoke then of the dissatisfaction of the eastern portion of our confederacy with the restraints of the embargo then existing, and their restlessness under it. That +here was nothing which might not be attempted, to rid themselves of it. That he had information of the most unquestionable certainty, that certain citizens of the Eastern States (I think he named Massachusetts particularly) were in negotiation with agents of the British government, the object of which was an agreement that the New England States should take no further part in the war then going on; that, without formally declaring their separation from the Union of the States, they should withdraw from all aid and obedience to them; that their navigation and commerce should be free from restraint and interruption by the British; that they should be considered and treated


by them as neutrals, and as such might conduct themselves towards both parties; and, at the close of the war, be at liberty to rejoin the confederacy. He assured me that there was eminent danger that the convention would take place; that the temptations were such as might debauch many from their fidelity to the Union; and that, to enable its friends to make head against it, the repeal of the embargo was absolutely necessary. I expressed a just sense of the merit of this information, and of the importance of the disclosure to the safety and even the salvation of our country; and however reluctant I was to abandon the measure, (a measure which persevered in a little longer, we had subsequent and satisfactory assurance would have effected its object completely,) from that moment, and influenced by that information, I saw the necessity of abandoning it, and instead of effecting our purpose by this peaceful weapon, we must fight it out, or break the Union. I then recommended to yield to the necessity of a repeal of the embargo, and to endeavor to supply its place by the best substitute, in which they could procure a general concurrence. I cannot too often repeat, that this statement is not pretended to be in the

very words which passed; that it only gives faithfully the impression remaining on my mind. The very words of a conversation are too transient and fugitive to be so long retained in remembrance. But the substance was



too important to be forgotten, not only from the revolution of measures it obliged me to adopt, but also from the renewals of it in my memory on the frequent occasions I have had of doing justice to Mr. Adams, by repeating this proof of his fidelity to his country, and of his superiority over all ordinary considerations when the safety of that was brought into question.

With this best exertion of a waning memory which I can command, accept assurances of my constant and affectionate friendship and respect.


MONTICELLO, December 26, 1825.

DEAR SIR, -- I wrote you a letter yesterday, of which you will be free to make what use you please. This will contain matters not intended for the public eye. I see, as you do, and with the deepest affliction, the rapid strides with which the federal branch of our government is advancing towards the usurpation of all the rights reserved to the States, and the consolidation in itself of all powers, foreign and domestic; and that too, by constructions which, if legitimate, leave no limits to their power. Take together the decisions of the federal court, the doctrines of the President, and the misconstructions of the constitutional Compact acted on by the legislature of the federal branch, and it is but


too evident, that the three ruling branches of that department are in combination to strip their colleagues, the State authorities; of the powers reserved by them, and to exercise themselves all functions foreign and domestic. Under the power to regulate commerce, they assume indefinitely that also over agriculture and manufactures, and call' it regulation to take the earnings of one of these branches of industry, and that, too, the most depressed, and put them into the pockets of the other, the most flourishing of all. Under the authority to establish post roads, they claim that of cutting down mountains for the construction of roads, of digging canals, and aided by a little sophistry on the words "general welfare," a right to do, not only the acts to effect that, which are specifically enumerated and permitted, but whatsoever they shall think, or pretend will be for the general welfare. And what is our resource for the preservation of the Constitution? Reason and argument? You might as well reason and argue with the marble columns encircling them. The representatives chosen by ourselves? They are joined in the combination, some from incorrect views of government, some from corrupt ones, sufficient voting together to outnumber the sound parts; and with majorities only of one, two, or three, bold enough to go forward in defiance. Are we then to stand to our arms, with the hot-headed Georgian? No. That must be the last resource, not to be thought of


until much longer and greater sufferings. If every infraction of a compact of so many parties is to be resisted at once, as a dissolution of it, none can ever be formed which would last one year. We must have patience and longer endurance then with our brethren while under delusion; give them time for reflection and experience of consequences; keep ourselves in a situation to profit by the chapter of accidents; and separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives left, are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of powers. Between these two evils, when we must make a choice, there can be no hesitation. But in the meanwhile, the States should be watchful to note every material usurpation on their rights; to denounce them as they occur in the most peremptory terms; to protest against them as wrongs to which our present submission shall be considered, not as acknowledgments or precedents of right, but as a temporary yielding to the lesser evil, until their accumulation shall overweigh that of separation. I would go still further, and give to the federal member, by a regular amendment of the Constitution, a right to make roads and canals of intercommunication between the States, providing sufficiently against corrupt practices in Congress, (log-rolling, etc.,) by declaring that the federal proportion of each State of the moneys so employed, shall be in works within the State, or elsewhere with its consent, and with


a due salvo of jurisdiction. This is the course which I think safest and best as yet. You ask my opinion of the propriety of giving publicity to what is stated in

your letter, as having passed between Mr. John Q. Adams and yourself. Of this no one can judge but yourself. It is one of those questions which belong to the forum of feeling. This alone can decide on the degree of confidence implied in the disclosure; whether under no circumstances it was to be communicated to others? It does not seem to be of that character, or at all to wear that aspect. They are historical facts which belong to the present, as well as future times. I doubt whether a single fact, known to the world, will carry as clear conviction to it, of the correctness of our knowledge of the treasonable views of the federal party of that day, as that disclosed by this, the most nefarious and daring attempt to dissever the Union, of which the Hartford convention was a subsequent chapter; and both of these having failed, consolidation becomes the fourth chapter of the next book of their history. But this opens with a vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who, having nothing in them of the feelings o'r principles of' 7 6, now look to a single and splendid government of an aristocracy, founded on banking institutions, and moneyed incorporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures, commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the


plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry. This will be to them a next best blessing to the monarchy of their first aim, and perhaps the surest steppingstone to it.

I learn with great satisfaction that your school is thriving well, and that

you have at its head a truly classical scholar. He is one of three or four whom I can hear of in the State. We were obliged the last year to receive shameful Latinists into the classical school of the University, such as we will certainly refuse as soon as we can get from better schools a sufficiency of those properly instructed to form a class. We must get rid of this Connecticut Latin, of this barbarous confusion of long and short syllables, which renders doubtful whether we are listening to a reader of Cherokee, Shawnee, Iroquois, or what. Our University has been most fortunate in the five professors procured from England. A finer selection could not have been made. Besides their being of a grade of science which has left little superior behind, the correctness of their moral character, their accommodating dispositions, and zeal for the prosperity of the institution, leave us nothing more to wish. I verily believe that as high a degree of education can now be obtained here, as in the country they left. And a finer set of youths I never saw assembled for instruction. They committed some irregularities at first, until they learned the lawful length of their tether; since which it has never been transgressed in the smallest


degree. A great proportion of them are severely devoted to study, and I fear not to say that within twelve or fifteen years from this time, a majority of the rulers of our State will have been educated here. They shall carry hence the correct principles of our day, and you may count assuredly that they will exhibit their country in a degree of sound respectability it has never known, either in our days, or those of our forefathers. I cannot live to see it. My joy must only be that of anticipation. But that you may see it in full fruition, is the probable consequence of the twenty years I am ahead of you in time, and is the sincere prayer of your affectionate and constant friend. TO CLAIBORNE W. GOOCH.

MONTICELLO, January 9, 1826.

DEAR SIR, -- I have duly received your favor of December the 31st, and fear,

with you, all the evils which the present lowering aspect of our political horizon so ominously portends. That at some future day, which I hoped to be very distant, the free principles of our government might change with the change of circumstances was to be expected. But I certainly did not expect that they would not over-live the generation which established them. And what I still less expected was, that my favorite western country was to be made the instrument of change. I had ever and fondly


cherished the interests of that country, relying on it as a barrier against the degeneracy of public opinion from our original and free principles. But the bait of local interests, artfully prepared for their palate, has decoyed them from their kindred attachments, to alliances alien to them. Yet although I have little hope that the torrent of consolidation can be withstood, I should not be for giving up the ship without efforts to save her. She lived well through the first squall, and may weather the present one. But, dear Sir, I am not the champion called for by our present dangers. "Non tali auxilio, nec defensoribus istis, tempus eget." A waning body, a waning mind, and. waning memory, with habitual ill health, warn me to withdraw and relinquish the arena to younger and abler athletes. I am sensible myself, if others are not, that this is my duty. If my distant friends know it not, those around me can inform them that they should not, in friendship, wish to call me into conflicts, exposing only the decays which nature has inscribed among her unalterable laws, and injuring the common cause by a senile and puny defence.

I will, however, say one word on the subject. The South Carolina resolutions,

Van Buren's motion, and above all Bayley's propositions, show that other States are coming forward on the subject, and better for any one to take the lead than Virginia, where opposition is considered as commonplace, and a mere matter of form and habit. We shall see what


our co-States propose, and before the close of the session we may shape our own course more understandingly. Accept the assurance of my great esteem and respect.

TO -1

MONTICELLO, January 21, 1826.

DEAR SIR, -- Your favor of January 15th is received, and I am entirely sensible

of the kindness of the motives which suggested the caution it recommended. But I believe what I have done is the only thing I could have done with honor or conscience. Mr. Giles requested me to state a fact which he knew himself, and of which he knew me to be possessed. What use he intended to make of it I knew not, nor had I a right to inquire, or to indicate any suspicion that he would make an unfair one. That was his concern, not mine, and his character was sufficient to sustain the responsibility for it. I knew, too, that if an uncandid use should be made of it, there would be found those who would so prove it. Independent of the terms of intimate friendship in which Mr. Giles and myself have ever lived together, the world's respect entitled him to the justice of my testimony to any truth he might call for; and how that testimony should connect me with whatever he may do or

' Address lost.


write hereafter, and with his whole career, as you apprehend, is not understood by me. With his personal controversies I have nothing to do. I never took any part in them, or in those of any other person. Add to this, that the statement I have given him on the subject of Mr. Adams, is entirely honorable to him in every sentiment and fact it contains. There is not a word in it which I would wish to recall. It is one which Mr. Adams himself might willingly quote, did he need to quote anything. It was simply that during the continuance of the embargo, Mr. Adams informed me of a combination (without naming any one concerned in it,) which had for its object a severance of the Union, for a time at least. That Mr. Adams and myself not being then in the habit of mutual consultation and confidence, I considered it as the stronger proof of the purity of his patriotism, which was able to lift him above all party passions when the safety of his country was endangered. Nor have I kept this honorable fact to myself. During the late canvass, particularly, I had more than one occasion to quote it to persons who were expressing opinions respecting him, of which this was a direct corrective. I have never entertained for Mr. Adams any but sentiments of esteem and respect; and if we have not thought alike on political subjects, I yet never doubted the honesty of his opinions, of which the letter in question, if published, will be an additional proof. Still, I recognize your


friendship in suggesting a review of it, and am glad of this, as of every other occasion of repeating to you the assurance of my constant attachment and respect. TO JAMES MADISON.

MONTICELLO, February 17, 1826.

{DEAR SIR --* * * * * * *}

Immediately on seeing the overwhelming vote of the House of Representatives

against giving us another dollar, I rode to the University and desired Mr. Brockenbrough to engage in nothing new, to stop everything on hand which could be done without, and to employ all his force and funds in finishing the circular room for the books, and the anatomical theatre. These cannot be done without; and for these and all our debts we have funds enough. But I think it prudent then to clear the decks thoroughly, to see how we shall stand, and what we may accomplish further. In the meantime, there have arrived for us in different ports of the United States, ten boxes of books from Paris, seven from London, and from Germany I know not how many; in all, perhaps, about twenty-five boxes. Not one of these can be opened until the book-room is completely finished, and all the shelves ready to receive their charge directly from the boxes as they shall be opened. This cannot be till May. I hear nothing definitive of the three



thousand dollars duty of which we are asking the remission from Congress. In the selection of our Law Professor, we must be rigorously attentive to his political principles. You will recollect that before the Revolution, Coke Littleton was the universal elementary book of law students, and a sounder Whig never wrote, nor of profounder learning in the orthodox doctrines of the British constitution, or in what were called English liberties. You remember also that our lawyers were then all Whigs. But when his black-letter text, and uncouth. but cunning learning got out of fashion, and the honeyed Mansfieldism of Blackstone became the students' hornbook, from that moment, that profession (the nursery of our Congress) began to slide into toryism, and nearly all the young brood of lawyers now are of that hue. They suppose themselves, indeed, to be Whigs, because they no longer know what Whigism or republicanism means. It is in our seminary that that vestal flame is to be kept alive; it is thence it is to spread anew over our own and the sister States. If we are true and vigilant in our trust, within a dozen or twenty years a majority of our own legislature will be from one school, and many disciples will have carried its doctrines home with them to their several States, and will have leavened thus the whole mass. New York has taken strong ground in vindication of the Constitution; South Carolina had already done the same. Although I was against our leading, I am equally


against omitting to follow in the same line, and backing them firmly; and I hope that yourself or some other will mark out the track to be pursued by us.

You will have seen in the newspapers some proceedings in the legislature, which have cost me much mortification. My own debts had become considerable, but not beyond the effect of some lopping of property, which would have been little felt, when our friend * * * * gave me the coup de grace. Ever since that I have been paying twelve hundred dollars a year interest on his debt, which, with my own, was absorbing so much of my annual income, as that the maintenance of my family was making deep and rapid inroads on my capital, and had already done it. Still, sales at a fair price would leave me competently provided. Had crops and prices for several years been such as to maintain a steady competition of substantial bidders at market, all would have been safe. But the long succession of years of stunted crops, of reduced. prices, the general prostration of the farming business, under levies for the support of manufacturers, etc., with the calamitous fluctuations of value in our paper medium, have kept agriculture in a state of abject depression, which has peopled the Western States by silently breaking up those on the Atlantic, and glutted the land market, while it drew off its bidders. In such a state of things, property has lost its character of being a resource


for debts. High land in Bedford, which, in the days of our plethory, sold readily for from fifty to one hundred dollars the acre, (and such sales were many then,) would not now sell for more than from ten to twenty dollars, or one-quarter or one-fifth of its former price. Reflecting on these things, the practice occurred to me, of selling, on fair valuation, and by way of lottery, often resorted to before the Revolution to effect large sales, and still in constant usage in every State for individual as well as corporation purposes. If it is permitted in my case, my lands here alone, with the mills, etc., will pay everything, and leave me Monticello and a farm free. If refused, I must sell everything here, perhaps considerably in Bedford, move thither with my family, where I have not even a log hut to put my head into, and whether ground for burial, will depend on the depredations which, under the form of sales, shall have been committed on my property. The question then with me was ultrum horum? But why afflict you with these details? Indeed, I cannot tell, unless pains are lessened by communication with a friend. The friendship which has subsisted between us, now half a century, and the harmony of our political principles and pursuits, have been sources of constant happiness to me through that long period. And if I remove beyond the reach of attentions to the University, or beyond the bourne of life itself, as I soon must, it is a comfort to leave that institution under your


care, and an assurance that it will not be wanting. It has also been a great solace to me, to believe that you are engaged in vindicating to posterity the course we have pursued for preserving to them, in all their purity, the blessings of self-government, which we had assisted too in acquiring for them. If ever the earth has beheld a system of administration conducted with a single and steadfast eye to the general interest and happiness of those committed to it, one which, protected by truth, can never know reproach, it is that to which our lives have been devoted. To myself you have been a pillar of support through life. Take care of me when dead, and be assured that I shall leave with you my last affections. TO JOHN ADAMS.

MONTICELLO, March 25, 1826.

DEAR SIR, -- My grandson, Thomas J. Randolph, the bearer of this letter, being

on a visit to Boston, would think he had seen nothing were he to leave without seeing you. Although I truly sympathize with you in the trouble these interruptions give, yet I must ask for him permission to pay to you his personal respects. Like other young people, he wishes to be able in the winter nights of old age, to recount to those around him, what he has heard and learnt of the heroic age preceding his birth,


and which of the Argonauts individually he was in time to have seen.

It was the lot of our early years to witness nothing but the dull monotony of a colonial subservience; and of our riper years, to breast the labors and perils of working out of it. Theirs are the Halcyon calms succeeding the storm which our Argosy had so stoutly weathered. Gratify his ambition then, by receiving his best bow; and my solicitude for your health, by enabling him to bring me a favorable account of it. Mine is but indifferent, but not so my friendship and respect for you.


MONTICELLO, March 30, 1826.

DEAR SIR, -- I am thankful for the very interesting message and documents of which you have been so kind as to send me a copy, and will state my recollections as to the particular passage of the message to which you ask my attention. On the conclusion of peace, Congress, sensible of their right to assume independence, would not condescend to ask its acknowledgment from other nations, yet were willing, by some of the ordinary international transactions, to receive what would imply that acknowledgment. They appointed commissioners, therefore, to propose treaties of commerce to the principal nations of Europe. I was then a member of Congress, was of the committee


appointed to prepare instructions for the commissioners, was as you suppose, the draughtsman of those actually agreed to, and was joined with your father and Dr. Franklin, to carry them into execution. But the stipulations making part of these instructions, which respected privateering, blockades, contraband, and freedom of the fisheries, were not original conceptions of mine. They had before been suggested by Dr. Franklin, in some of his papers in possession of the public, and had, I think, been recommended in some letter of his to Congress. I happen only to have been the inserter of them in the first public act which gave the formal sanction of a public authority. We accordingly proposed our treaties, containing these stipulations, to the principal governments of Europe. But we were then just emerged from a subordinate condition; the nations had as yet known nothing of us, and had not yet reflected on the relations which it might be their interest to establish with us. Most of them, therefore, listened to our propositions with coyness and reserve; old Frederick alone closing with us without hesitation. The negotiator of Portugal, indeed, signed a treaty with us, which his government did not ratify, and Tuscany was near a final agreement. Becoming sensible,. however, ourselves, that we should do nothing with the greater powers, we thought it better not to hamper our country with engagements to those of less significance, and suffered our powers to expire without VOL. XVI-1 I

{162 }

closing any other negotiations. Austria soon after became desirous of a treaty with us, and her ambassador pressed it often on me; but our commerce with her being no object, I evaded her repeated invitations. Had these governments been then apprized of the station we should so soon occupy among nation,., all, I believe, would have met us promptly and with frankness. These principles would then have been established with all, and from being the conventional law with us alone, would have slid into their engagements with one another, and become general.. These are the facts within my recollection. They have not yet got into written history; but their adoption by our southern brethren will bring them into observance, and make them,.what they should be, a part of the law of the world, and of the reformation of principles for which they will be indebted to us. I pray you to accept the homage of my friendly and high consideration.


MONTICELLO, April 8, 1826.

DEAR SIR, -- I thank you for the very able and eloquent speech you have been .so kind as to send me on the amendment of the Constitution, proposed by Mr. McDuffie. I have read it with pleasure and satisfaction, and concur with much of its contents. On the question of the lawfulness of slavery,


that is of the right of one man to appropriate to himself the faculties of another without his consent, I certainly retain my early opinions. On that, however, of third persons to interfere between the parties, and the effect of conventional modifications of that pretension, we are probably nearer together. I think with you, also, that the Constitution of the United States is a compact of independent nations subject to the rules acknowledged in similar cases, as well that of amendment provided within itself, as, in case of abuse, the justly dreaded but unavoidable ultimo ratio gentium. The report on the Panama question mentioned in your letter has, as I suppose, got separated by the way. It will probably come by another mail. In some of the letters you have been kind enough to write me, I have been made to hope the favor of a visit from Washington. It would be received with sincere welcome, and unwillingly relinquished if no circumstance should render it inconvenient to yourself. I repeat always with pleasure the assurances of my great esteem and respect.



MONTICELLO, April 27, 1826.

DEAR SIR, -- It is time to think of the introduction of the school of Botany

into our institution. Not that I suppose the lectures can be begun in


the present year, but that we may this year make the preparations necessary for commencing them the next. For that branch, I presume, can be taught advantageously only during the short season while nature is in general bloom, say during a certain portion of the months of April and May, when, suspending the other branches of your department, that of Botany may claim your exclusive attention. Of this, however, you are to be the judge, as well as of what I may now propose on the subject of preparation. I will do this in writing, while sitting at my table, and at ease, because I can rally there, for your consideration, with more composure than in extempore conversation, my thoughts on what we have to do in the present season.

I suppose you were well acquainted, by character, if not personally, with the

late Abbe Correa, who passed some time among us, first as a distinguished savant of Europe, and afterwards as ambassador of Portugal, resident with our government. Profoundly learned in several other branches of science, he was so, above all others, in that of Botany; in which he preferred an amalgamation of the methods of Linnaeus and of Jussieu, to either of them exclusively. Our institution being then on hand, in which that was of course to be one of the subjects of instruction, I availed myself of his presence and friendship to obtain from him a general idea of the extent of ground we should employ, and the number and character of the plants we should introduce


into it. He accordingly sketched for me a mere outline of the scale he would recommend, restrained altogether to objects of use, and indulging not at all in things of mere curiosity, and especially not yet thinking of a hot-house, or even of a green-house. I enclose you a copy of his paper, which was the more satisfactory to me, as it coincided with the moderate views to which our endowments as yet confine us. I am still the more satisfied, as it seemed to be confirmed by your own way of thinking, as I understood it in our conversation of the other day. To your judgment altogether his ideas will be submitted, as well as my own, now to be suggested as to the operations of the present year, preparatory to the commencement of the school in the next. 1. Our first operation must be the selection of a piece of ground of proper

soil and site, suppose of about six acres, as M. Correa proposes. In choosing this we are to regard the circumstances of soil, water, and distance. I have diligently examined all our grounds with this view, and think that that on the public road, at the upper corner of our possessions, where the stream issues from them, has more of the requisite qualities than any other spot we possess.' 170 yards square, taken at that angle, would make the six acres we want. But the angle at the road

1 To wit, 19,360 square yards -; acres for the garden of plants.

9,680 " " 2 acres for the plants of trees.

29,040 square yards=6 acres in the whole.


is acute, and the form of the ground will be trapezoid, nut square. I would take, therefore, for its breadth, all the ground between the road and the dam of the brick ponds, extending eastwardly up the hill, as far and as wide as our quantity would require. The bottom ground would suit for the garden plants; the hillsides for the trees.

2. Operation. Enclose the ground with a serpentine brick wall seven feet

high. This would take about 80,000 bricks, and cost $800, and it must depend on our finances'whether they will afford that immediately, or allow us, for awhile, but enclosure of posts and rails.

3. Operation. Form all the hillsides into level terrasses of convenient

breadth, curving with the hill, and the level ground into beds and alleys.

4. Operation. Make out a list of the plants thought necessary and sufficient

for botanical purposes, and of the trees we propose to introduce, and take measures in time for procuring them.

As to the seeds of plants, much may be obtained from the gardeners of our own

country. I have, moreover, a special resource. For three-and-twenty years of the last twenty-five, my good old friend Thonin, superintendent of the garden of plants at Paris, has regularly sent me a box of seeds, of such exotics, as to us, as would suit our climate, and containing nothing indigenous to our country. These I regularly sent to the public and private gardens of the other States, having as yet no employment


for them here. But during the last two years this envoi has been intermitted, I know not why. I will immediately write and request a re-commencement of that kind office, on the ground that we can now employ them ourselves. They can be here in early spring. The trees I should propose would be exotics of distinguished usefulness, and

accommodated to our climate; such as the Larch, Cedar of Libanus, Cork Oak, the Marronnier, Mahogany, the Catachu or Indian rubber tree of Napul, (30o) Teak tree, or Indian oak of Burman, (23o) the various woods of Brazil, etc.

The seed of the Larch can be obtained from a tree at Monticello. Cones of the

Cedar of Libanus are in most of our seed shops, but may be had fresh from the trees in the English gardens. The Marronnier and Cork Oak, I can obtain from France. There is a Marronnier at Mount Vernon, but it is a seedling, and not therefore select. The others may be got through the means of our ministers and consuls in the countries where they grow, or from the seed shops of England, where they may very possibly be found. Lastly, a gardener of sufficient skill must be obtained.

This, dear Sir, is the sum of what occurs to me at present; think of it, and

let us at once enter on the operations.

Accept my friendly and respectful salutations.



MONTICELLO, May 2, 1826.

DEAR SIR, -- The difficulties suggested in your favor of the 28th ult. , are those which must occur at the commencement of every undertaking. A full view of the subject however will, I think, solve them. In every meditated enterprise, the means we can employ are to be estimated, and to these must be proportioned our expectations of effect. If, for example, to the cultivation of a given field we can devote but one hundred dollars, we are not to expect the product which $1,000 would extract from it. Applying this principle to the present subject of education, from a revenue of $15,000, and with eight professors, we cannot expect to obtain that grade of instruction to our youth, which 15,000 guineas and thirty or forty instructors would give. Reviewing, then, the branches of science in which we wish our youth to obtain some instruction, we must distribute them into so many groups as we can employ professors, and as equally, too, as practicable. We must take into account also the time which our youths can generally afford to the whole circle of education, and proportion the extent of instruction in each branch to the quota of that time, and of the professor's attention which may fall to its share. In the smallest of our academies, two professors alone can be afforded, -- one of languages, another of sciences, or of Philosophy,


as he is generally styled. The degree of instruction which can be given in each branch, at these schools, must he very moderate. Yet there are youths whose means can afford no more, and who nevertheless are glad even of that. The most highly endowed of our Seminaries has a revenue of perhaps $25,000 or $30,000. They consequently may subdivide the sciences into twelve or fifteen schools, and give a proportionably more minute degree of instruction in each. It has enabled them, for example, to have five or six professors of Theology. In Europe, some of their literary institutions can afford to employ twenty, thirty, or forty professors. Our legislature, contemplating their means, took their stand at a revenue of. $15,000, meant for an establishment of ten professors, but equal in fact to eight only. Accommodating ourselves, therefore, to their views, we had to distribute into eight groups those sciences in which we wished our youth should receive instruction, and to content ourselves with the portion which that number could give. On the professors it would of course devolve to form their lectures on such a scale of extension only, as to give to each of the sciences allotted them its due share of their time. But another material question is, what is the whole term of time which the

students can give to the whole course of instruction? I should say that three years should be allowed to general education, and two, or rather three, to the particular profes-


sion for which they are destined. We receive our students at the age of sixteen, expected to be previously so far qualified in the languages, ancient and modern, as that one year in our schools shall suffice for their last polish. A student then with us may give his first year here to Languages and Mathematics; his second to Mathematics and Physics; his third to Physics and Chemistry, with the other objects of that school. I particularize this distribution merely for illustration, and not as that which either is, or perhaps ought to be established. This would ascribe one year to Languages, two to Mathematics, two to Physics, and one to Chemistry and its associates. Let us see next how the items of your school may be accommodated to this scale; but by way of illustration only, as before. The allotments to your school are Botany, Zoology, Mineralogy, Chemistry, Geology, and Rural Economy. This last, however, need not be considered as a distinct branch, but as one which may be sufficiently treated by seasonable alliances with the kindred subjects of Chemistry, Botany and Zoology. Suppose then you give twelve dozen lectures a year; say two dozen to Botany and Zoology, two dozen to Mineralogy and Geology, and eight dozen to Chemistry. Or I should think that Mineralogy, Geology and Chemistry might be advantageously blended in the same course. Then your year would be formed into two grand divisions; one-third to Botany and Zoology, and two-thirds to Chemistry


and its associates, Mineralogy and Geology. ,To the last, indeed, I would give the least possible time. To learn, as far as observation has informed us, the ordinary arrangement of the different strata of minerals in the earth, to know from their habitual collocations and proximities, where we find one mineral, whether another, for which we are seeking, may be expected to be in its neighborhood, is useful. But the dreams about the modes of creation, inquiries whether our globe has been formed by the agency of fire or water, how many millions of years it has cost Vulcan or Neptune to produce what the fiat of the Creator would effect by a single act of will, is too idle to be worth a single hour of any man's life. You will say that two-thirds of a year, or any better estimated partition of it, can give but an inadequate knowledge of the whole science of Chemistry. But consider that we do not expect our schools to turn out their alumni already enthroned on the pinnacles of their respective sciences; but only so far advanced in each as to be able to pursue them by themselves, and to become Newtons and Laplaces by energies and perseverances to be continued through life. I have said that our original plan comprehended ten professors, and we hope to be able ere long to supply the other two. One should relieve the Medical professor from Anatomy and Surgery, and a school for the other would be made up of the surcharges of yours, and that of Physics.

From these views of the subject, dear Sir, your


only difficulty appears to be so to proportion the time you can give to the different branches committed to you, as to bring, within the compass of a year, for example, that degree of instruction in each which the year will afford. This may require some experience, and continued efforts at condensation. But, once effected, it will place your mind at ease, and give to our country a result proportioned to the means it furnishes, and which ought to satisfy, and will satisfy, all reasonable men. I am certain it will those to whom the charge and direction of this institution have been particularly confided, and to none assuredly more than to him from whom your doubts have drawn this unauthoritative exposition of the public expectations. And, with this assurance, be pleased to accept that of my sincerely friendly esteem and respect.

DEAR SIR, -- After sealing the enclosed letter, it occurred to me that being on a general subject, and one equally applicable to the cases of your colleagues, the other professors, I should wish it to be read by them also. It may produce an union of views, and harmony of action, which may be useful to the Institution. Yours affectionately.

TO ----.

MONTICELLO, May 15, 1826.

DEAR SIR, -- The sentiments of justice which have dictated your letters of the 3d and 9th inst., are


worthy of all praise, and merit and meet my thankful acknowledgments. Were your father now living and proposing, as you are, to publish a second edition of his memoirs, I am satisfied he would give a very different aspect to the pages of that work which respect Arnold's invasion and surprise of Richmond, in the winter of 1780 -81. He ,was then, I believe, in South Carolina, too distant from the scene of those transactions to relate them on his own knowledge, or even to sift them from the chaff of the rumors then afloat, rumors which vanished soon before the real truth, as vapors before the sun, obliterated by their notoriety, from every candid mind, and by the voice of the many who, as actors or spectators, knew what had truly passed. The facts shall speak for themselves. General Washington had just given notice to all the Governors on the

sea-board, north and south, that an embarcation was taking place at New York, destined for the southward, as was given out there; and on Sunday the 31st of December, 1780, we received information that a fleet had entered our capes. It happened fortunately that our legislature was at that moment in session, and within two days of their rising, so that, during these two days, we had the benefit of their presence, and of the counsel and information of the members individually. On Monday the 1st of January, we were in suspense as to the destination of this fleet, whether up the bay, or up our river. On Tuesday at 10


o'clock, however, we received information that they had entered James river; and, on general advice, we instantly prepared orders for calling in the militia, one-half from the nearer counties, and a fourth from the more remote, which would constitute a force of between four and five thousand men, of which orders the members of the legislature, which adjourned that day, took charge, each to his respective county; and we began the removal of everything from Richmond. The wind being fair and strong, the enemy ascended the river as rapidly almost as the expresses could ride, who were dispatched to us from time to time, to notify their progress. At 5 P. M. on Thursday, we learnt that they had then been three hours landed at Westover. The whole militia of the adjacent counties were now called for, and to come on individually, without waiting any regular array. At 1 P. M. the next day, (Friday,) they entered Richmond, and on Saturday, after twenty-four hours' possession, burning some houses, destroying property, etc., they retreated, encamped. that evening ten miles below, and reached their shipping at Westover the next day, (Sunday).

By this time had assembled three hundred militia under Colonel Nicholas, six

miles above Westover, and two hundred under General Nelson, at Charles City Court House, eight miles below. Two or three hundred at Petersburg had put themselves under General Smallwood, of Maryland, accidentally there on his passage through the State; and Baron Steu-


ben with eight hundred, and Colonel Gibson with one thousand, were also on the south side of James river, aiming to reach Hood's before the enemy should have passed it, where they hoped they could arrest them. But the wind, having shifted, carried them down as prosperously as it had brought them up the river. Within the first five days, therefore, about twenty-five hundred men had collected at three or four different points, ready for junction. I was absent myself from Richmond (but always within observing distance of the enemy) three days only, during which I was never off my horse but to take food or rest, and was everywhere where my presence could be of any service; and I may with confidence challenge any one to put his finger on the point of time when I was in a state of remissness from any duty of my station. But I was not with the arm true; for first, where was it second, I was engaged in the more important function of taking measures to collect an army; and, without military education myself, instead of jeopardizing the public safety by pretending to take its command, of which I knew nothing, I had committed it to persons of the art, men who knew how to make the best use of it, to Steuben for instance, to Nelson and others, possessing that military skill and experience, of which I had none.

Let our condition, too, at that time be duly considered. Without arms, without money of effect, without a regular soldier in the State, or a regular


officer, except Steuben, a militia scattered over the country, and called at a moment's warning to leave their families and firesides, in the dead of winter, to meet an enemy ready marshalled, and prepared at all points to receive them. Yet had time been given them by the hasty retreat of that enemy, I have no doubt but the rush to arms, and to the protection of their country, would have been as rapid and universal as in the invasion during our late war, when, at the first moment of notice, our citizens rose in mass, from every part of the State, and without waiting to be marshalled by their officers, armed themselves, and marched off by ones and by twos, as quickly as they could equip themselves. Of the individuals of the same house one would start in the morning, a second at noon, a third in the evening, no one waiting an hour for the company of another. This I saw myself on the late occasion, and should have seen on the former, had wind, and tide, and a Howe, instead of an Arnold, slackened their pace ever so little.

And is the surprise of an open and unarmed place, although called a city, and

even a capital, so unprecedented as to be a matter of indelible reproach? " Which of our own capitals during the same war, was not in possession of the same enemy, not merely by surprise and for a day only, but permanently? That of Georgia? of South Carolina? North Carolina? Pennsylvania? New York? Connecticut? Rhode Island? Massachusetts? And if others were


not, it was because the enemy saw no object in taking possession of them. Add to the list in the late war, Washington, the metropolis of the Union, covered by a fort, with troops and a dense population. And what capital on the continent of Europe, (St. Petersburg and its regions of ice excepted,) did not Bonaparte take and hold at his pleasure? Is it then just that Richmond and its authorities alone should be placed under the reproach of history, because, in a moment of peculiar denudation of resources, by the coup de main of an enemy, led on by the hand of fortune directing the winds and weather to their wishes, it was surprised and held for twenty-four hours? Or strange that that enemy with such advantages, should be enabled then to get off, without risking the honors he had achieved by burnings and destructions of property peculiar to his principles of. warfare? We, at least, may leave these glories to their own trumpet. During this crisis of trial I was left alone, unassisted by the co-operation

of a single public functionary. For, with the legislature, every member of the council had departed to take care of his own family. Unaided even in my bodily labors, but by my horse, and he, exhausted at length by fatigue, sunk under me in the public road, where I had to leave him, and with my saddle and bridle on my shoulders, to walk afoot to the nearest farm, where I borrowed an unbroken colt, and proceeded to Man-



chester, opposite to Richmond, which the enemy had evacuated a few hours before.

Without further pursuing these minute details, I will here ask the favor of

you to turn to Girardin's History of Virginia, where such of them as are worthy the notice of history, are related in that scale of extension which its objects admit. That work was written at Milton, within two or three miles of Monticello ; and at the request of the author, I communicated to him every paper I possessed on the subject, of which he made the use he thought proper for his work. (See his pages 453, 460, and the appendix xi.-xv.) I can assure you of the truth of every fact he has drawn from these papers, and of the genuineness of such as he has taken the trouble of copying. It happened that during those eight days of incessant labor, for the benefit of my own memory, I carefully noted every circumstance worth it. These memorandums were often written on horseback, and on scraps of paper taken out of my pocket at the moment, fortunately preserved to this day, and now lying before me. I wish you could see them. But my papers of that period are stitched together in large masses, and so tattered and tender as not to admit removal further than from their shelves to a reading table. They bear an internal evidence of fidelity which must carry conviction to every one who sees them. We have nothing in our neighborhood which could compensate the trouble of a visit to it, unless perhaps our


University, which I believe you have not seen, and I can assure you is worth seeing. Should you think so, I would ask as much of your time at Monticello as would enable you to examine these papers at your ease. Many others too are interspersed among them, which have relation to your object, many letters from Generals Gates, Greene, Stephens and others engaged in the Southern war, and in the North also. All should be laid open to you without reserve, for there is not a truth existing which I fear, or would wish unknown to the whole world. During the invasions of Arnold, Phillips and Cornwallis, until my time of office had expired, I made it a point; once a week, by letters to the President of Congress, and to General Washington, to give them an exact narrative of the transactions of the week. These letters should still be in the Office of State in Washington, and in the presses at Mount Vernon. Or, if the former were destroyed by the conflagrations of the British, the latter are surely safe, and may be appealed to in corroboration of what I have now written. There is another transaction, very erroneously stated in the same work, which

although not concerning myself, is within my own knowledge, and I think it a duty to communicate it to you. I am sorry that not being in possession of a copy of the memoirs, I am not able to quote the page, and still less the facts themselves, verbatim from the text. But of the substance, as recollected, I am certain.


It is said there that, about the time of Tarleton's expedition up the north branch of James river to Charlottesville and Monticello, Simcoe was detached up the southern branch, and penetrated as far as New London, in Bedford, where he destroyed a depot of arms, etc., etc. I was with my family, at the time, at a possession I have within three miles of New London, and I can assure you of my own knowledge that he did not advance to within fifty miles of New London. Having reached the lower end of Buckingham, as I have understood, he heard of a deposit of arms, and a party of new recruits under Baron Steuben, somewhere in Prince Edward; he left the Buckingham road immediately, at or near Francisco's; pushed directly south at this new object, was disappointed, and returned to and down James river to headquarters. I had then returned to Monticello myself, and from thence saw the smokes of his conflagration of houses and property on that river, as they successively arose in the horizon at a distance of twenty-five or thirty miles. I must repeat that his excursion from Francisco's is not from my own knowledge, but as I have heard it from the inhabitants on the Buckingham road, which for many years I travelled six or eight times a year. The particulars of that, therefore, may need inquiry and correction.

These are all the recollections within the scope of your request, which I can

state with precision and certainty; and of these you are free to make what


use you think proper in the new edition of your father's work; and with which I pray you to accept the assurances of my great esteem and respect. TO ROGER C. WEIGHTMAN.

MONTICELLO, June 24, 1826.

RESPECTED SIR, -- The kind invitation I receive from you, on the part of the

citizens of the city of Washington, to be present with them at their celebration on the fiftieth anniversary of American Independence, as one of the surviving signers of an instrument pregnant with our own, and the fate of the world, is most flattering to myself, and heightened by the honorable accompaniment proposed for the comfort of such a journey. It adds sensibly to the sufferings of sickness, to be deprived by it of a personal participation in the rejoicings of that day. But acquiescence is a duty, under circumstances not placed among those we are permitted to control. I should, indeed, with peculiar delight, have met and exchanged there congratulations personally with the small band, the remnant of that host of worthies, who joined with us on that day, in the bold and doubtful election we were to make for our country, between submission or the sword; and to have enjoyed with them the consolatory fact, that our fellow citizens, after half a century of experience and prosperity, continue to approve the choice we made. May it be to the world,


what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.

I will ask permission here to express the pleasure with which I should have

met my ancient neighbors of the city of Washington and its vicinities, with whom I passed so many years of a pleasing social intercourse; an intercourse which so much relieved the anxieties of the public cares, and left impressions so deeply engraved in my affections, as never to be forgotten. With my regret that ill health forbids me the gratification of an acceptance, be pleased to receive for yourself and those for whom you write, the assurance of my highest respect and friendly attachments.




PHILADELPHIA, May 29, 1792.

SIR, -- Your favor of March 5th has been longer unanswered than consisted with my wishes, to forward as much as possible explanations of the several matters it contained. But these matters were very various, and the evidence of them not easily to be obtained, even where it could be obtained at all. It has been a work of time and trouble, to collect from the different States all the acts themselves, of which you had cited the titles, and to investigate the judiciary decisions which were classed with those acts as infractions of the treaty of peace. To these causes of delay may be added the daily duties of my office, necessarily multiplied during the sessions of the legislature.

SECTION 1. I can assure you with truth, that we meet you on this occasion

with the sincerest dispositions to remove from between the two countries those obstacles to a cordial friendship, which have arisen from an inexecution of some articles of the treaty of peace. The desire entertained by this country, to be on the best terms with yours, has been constant, and has manifested itself through its different forms of administration, by repeated overtures to enter into such explanations and arrangements as should be right and necessary to bring about a complete execution of the treaty.


The same dispositions lead us to wish, that the occasion now presented should not be defeated by useless recapitulations of what had taken place anterior to that instrument. It was with concern, therefore, I observed that you had thought it necessary to go back to the very commencement of the war, and in several parts of your letter to enumerate and comment on all the acts of our different legislatures, passed during the whole course of it, in order to deduce from thence, imputations which your justice would have suppressed, had the whole truth been presented to your view, instead of particular traits, detached from the ground on which they stood. However easy it would be to justify our country, by bringing into view the whole ground, on both sides, to show that legislative warfare began with the British Parliament; that when they levelled at persons or property, it was against entire towns or countries, without discrimination of cause or conduct, while we touched individuals only; naming them man by' man, after due consideration of each case, and careful attention not to confound the innocent with the guilty; however advantageously we might compare the distant and tranquil situation of their legislature with the scenes in the midst of which ours were obliged to legislate; and might then ask, whether the difference of circumstance and situation would not have justified a contrary difference of conduct, and whether the wonder ought to be, that our legislatures had done


so much, or so little? we will waive all this, because it would lead to recollections, as unprofitable as unconciliating. The titles of some of your acts, and a single clause of one of them only, shall be thrown among the documents at the end of this letter, No. 1, 2, and with this we will drop forever the curtain on this tragedy! SEC. 2. We now come together to consider that instrument which was to heal our wounds, and begin a new chapter in our history. The state in which that found things, is to be considered as rightful: so says the law of nations. 1 L'etat ou les choses se trouvent au moment du traite doit passer pour legitime; et si l'on veut y apporter du changement il faut que le traite en fasse une mention expresse. Par consequent toutes les choses dont le traite ne dit rien, doivent demeurer dans l'etat ou elles se trouvent lors de sa conclusion." Vattel, l. 4, s. 21. 2 "De quibus nihil dictum, ea manent quo sunt loco." Wolf, 1222. No alterations then are to be claimed on either side, but those which the treaty has provided. The moment, too, to which it refers, as a rule of conduct for this country at large, was the moment of its notification to the

1 "The state in which things are found at the moment of the treaty, should be considered as lawful; and if it is meant to make any change in it, the treaty must expressly mention it. Consequently, all things, about which the treaty is silent, must remain in the state in which they are found at its conclusion." Vattel, 1. 4, s. 21.

2 "Those things of which nothing is said, remain in the state in which they are." Wolf, 1222.


country at large. Vattel, l. 4, s. 24. 1 "Le traite de paix oblige les parties contractantes du moment qu'il est conclu aussitot qu'il a recu toute sa forme; et elles doivent procurer incessamment l'execution; mais ce traite n'oblige les sujets que du moment qu'il leur est notifie." And s. 25. "Le traite devient par la publication, une loi pour les sujets, et ils sont obliges de se conformer desormais aux dispositions dont on y est convenu." And another author as pointedly says, 2 "Pactio pacis paciscentes statim obligat quam primum perfecta, cum ex pacto veniat obligatio. Subditos vero et milites, quam primum iisdem fuerit publicata; cum de ea ante publicationem ipszs certo constare non possit." Wolf, s. 1229. It was stipulated, indeed, by the ninth article, that "if, before its arrival in America," any place or territory, belonging to either party, should be conquered by the arms of the other, it should be restored. This was the only case in which transactions, intervening between the signature and publication, were to be nullified.

Congress, on the 24th of March, 1783, received

1 Vattel, 1. 4, s. 24.-"The treaty of peace binds the contracting parties from the moment it is concluded, as soon as it has received its whole form, and they ought immediately to have it executed. But this treaty does not bind the subjects, but from the moment it is notified to them." And s. 25.-"The treaty becomes, by its publication, a law for the subjects, and they are obliged, thenceforward, to conform themselves to the stipulations therein agreed on."

2 "The paction of the peace binds the contractors immediately, as it is perfect, since the obligation is derived from the pact; but the subjects and soldiers, as soon as it is published to them; since they cannot have certain evidence of it before its publication." Wolf, s. 1229.


informal intelligence from the Marquis de la Fayette, that provisional articles were concluded; and, on the same day, they received a copy of the articles, in a letter of March 19th, from General Carleton and Admiral Digby. They immediately gave orders for recalling all armed vessels, and communicated the orders to those officers, who answered, on the 26th and 27th, that they were not authorized to concur in the recall of armed vessels, on their part. On the 11th of April, Congress received an official copy of these articles from Dr. Franklin, with notice that a preliminary treaty was now signed between France, Spain and England. The event having now taken place on which the provisional articles were to come into effect, on the usual footing of preliminaries, Congress immediately proclaim them, and, on the 19th of April, a cessation of hostilities is published by the commander-in-chief. These particulars place all acts preceding the 11th of April out of the present discussion, and confine it to the treaty itself, and the circumstances attending its execution. I have therefore taken the liberty of extracting from your list of American acts all of those preceding that epoch, and of throwing them together in the paper No. 6, as things out of question. The subsequent acts shall be distributed, according to their several subjects, of I. Exile and confiscation: II. Debts: and III. Interest on those debts:

Beginning, I. with those of exile and confiscation, which will be considered together, because blended


together in most of the acts, and blended also in the same article of the treaty.

SEC. 3. It cannot be denied that the state of war strictly permits a nation to seize the property of its enemies found within its own limits, or taken in war, and in whatever form it exists whether in action or possession. This is so perspicuously laid down by one of the most respectable writers on subjects of this kind, that I shall use his words, "Cum ea sit belli conditio, ut hostes sint omni jure spoliati, rationis est, quascunque res hostium apud hostes inventas dominum mutare, et fisco cedere. Solet praeterea in singulis fere belli indictionibus constitui, ut bona hostium, tam apud nos reperta, quam capta bello publicentur. Si merum jus belli sequamur, etiam immobilia possent vendi, et eorum pretium in fiscum redigi, ut in mobilibus obtinet. Sed in omni fere Europa sola fit annotatio, ut eorum fructus, durante bello, percipiat fiscus, finito autem bello, ipsa immobilia ex pactis restituuntur pristinis dominis." Bynkersh. Quest.

1 "Since it is a condition of war, that enemies may be deprived of all their rights, it is reasonable that everything of an enemy's, found among his enemies, should change its owner, and go to the treasury. It is, moreover, usually directed, in all declarations of war, that the goods of enemies, as well those found among us, as those taken in war, shall be confiscated. If we follow the mere right of war, even immovable property may be sold, and its price carried into the treasury, as is the custom with movable property. But in almost all Europe, it is only notified that their profits, during the war, shall be received by the treasury; and the war being ended, the immovable property itself is restored, by agreement, to the former owner." Bynk. Ques. Jur. Pub. 1. 1, c. 7.


Jur. Pub. l. 1, c. 7. Every nation, indeed, would wish to pursue the latter practice, if under circumstances leaving them their usual resources. But the circumstances of our war were without example; excluded from all commerce, even with neutral nations, without arms, money, or the means of getting them abroad, we were obliged to avail ourselves of such resources as we found at home. Great Britain, too, did not consider it as an ordinary war, but a rebellion; she did not conduct it according to the rules of war, established by the law of nations, but according to her acts of Parliament, made from time to time, to suit circumstances. She would not admit our title even to the strict rights of ordinary war; she cannot then claim from us its liberalities; yet the confiscations of property were by no means universal, and that of debts still less so. What effect was to be produced on them by the treaty, will be seen by the words of the fifth article, which are as follows:

SEC. 4. "ART. V. It is agreed, that the Congress shall earnestly recommend it to the legislatures of the respective States, to provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been confiscated, belonging to real British subjects, and also of the estates, rights, and properties, of persons resident in districts in the possession of his Majesty's arms, and who have not borne arms against the said United States; and that persons of any other description shall have free liberty to


go to any part or parts of the thirteen United States, and therein to remain twelve months, unmolested in their endeavors to obtain the restitution of such of their estates, rights, and properties, as may have been confiscated; and that Congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several States a reconsideration and revision of all acts or laws regarding the premises, so as to render the said laws or acts perfectly consistent, not only with justice and equity, but with that spirit of conciliation, which, on the return of the blessings of peace, should universally prevail; and that Congress shall also earnestly recommend to the several States, that the estates, rights, and properties, of such last-mentioned persons, shall be restored to them, they refunding to any persons, who may be now in possession, the bona fide price (where any has been given), which such persons may have paid on purchasing any of the said lands, rights, or properties, since the confiscation. And it is agreed, that all persons who have any interest in confiscated lands, either by debts, marriage, settlements, or otherwise, shall meet with no lawful impediment in the prosecution of their just rights."

"ART. VI. That there shall be no future confiscations made.

SEC. 5. Observe, that in every other article, the parties agree expressly, that such and such things shall be done; in this, they only agree to recommend that they shall be done. You are pleased to say


(page 7), "It cannot be presumed, that the Commissioners, who negotiated the treaty of peace, would engage, in behalf of Congress, to make recommendations to the legislatures of the respective States, which they did not expect to be effectual, or enter into direct stipulations which they had not the power to enforce." On the contrary, we may fairly presume that, if they had had the power to enforce, they would not merely have recommended. When, in every other article, they agree expressly to do, why in this do they change the style suddenly, and agree only to recommend? Because the things here proposed to be done were retrospective in their nature-would tear up the laws of the several States, and the contracts and transactions, private and public, which had taken place under them; and retrospective laws were forbidden by the constitutions of several of the States. Between persons whose native language is that of his treaty, it is unnecessary to explain the difference between enacting a thing to be done, and recommending it to be done; the words themselves being as well understood as any by which they could be explained. But it may not be unnecessary to observe, that recommendations to the people, instead of laws, had been introduced among us, and were rendered familiar in the interval between discontinuing the old, and establishing the new governments. The conventions and committees who then assembled, to guide the conduct of the People, having no


authority to oblige them by law, took up the practice of simply recommending measures to them. These recommendations they either complied with or not, at their pleasure. If they refused, there was complaint, but no compulsion. So, after organizing the Governments, if at any time it became expedient that a thing should be done, which Congress, or any other of the organized bodies, were not authorized to ordain, they simply recommended, and left to the People, or their legislatures, to comply, or not, as they pleased. It was impossible that the negotiators on either side should have been ignorant of the difference between agreeing to do a thing, and agreeing only to recommend it to be done. The import of the terms is so different, that no deception or surprise could be supposed, even if there were no evidence that the difference was attended to, explained, and understood.

SEC. 6. But the evidence on this occasion removes all question. It is well

known that the British court had it extremely at heart, to procure a restitution of the estates of the refugees who had gone over to their side; that they proposed it in the first inferences, and insisted on it to the last; that our commissioners, on the other hand, refused it from first to last, urging, 1st. That it was unreasonable to restore the confiscated property of the refugees, unless they would reimburse the destruction of the property of our citizens, committed on their part; and 2dly. That it was beyond the powers of the


commissions to stipulate, or of Congress to enforce. On this point, the treaty hung long. It was the subject of a special mission of a confidential agent of the British negotiator from Paris to London. It was still insisted on, on his return, and still protested against, by our commissioners; and when they were urged to agree only, that Congress should recommend to the State legislatures to restore the estates, etc., of the refugees, they were expressly told that the legislatures would not regard the recommendation. In proof of this, I subjoin extracts from the letters and journals of Mr. Adams and Dr. Franklin, two of our commissioners, the originals of which are among the records of the Department of State, and shall be open to you for a verification of the copies. These prove, beyond all question, that the difference between an express agreement ta do a thing, and to recommend it to be done, was well understood by both parties, and that the British negotiators were put on their guard by those on our part, not only that the legislature will be free to refuse, but that they probably would refuse. And it is evident from all circumstances, that Mr. Oswald accepted the recommendation merely to have something to oppose to the clamors of the refugees-to keep alive a hope in them, that they might yet get their property from the State legislatures; and that, if they should fail in this, they would have ground to demand indemnification from their own Government; and he might think it a circumstance VOL. XVI-13

{194 }

of present relief at least, that the question of indemnification by them should be kept out of sight, till time and events should open it upon the nation insensibly.

SEC. 7. The same was perfectly understood by the British ministry, and by the

members of both Houses in Parliament, as well those who advocated, as those who oppose the treaty; the latter of whom, being out of the secrets of the negotiation, must have formed their judgments on the mere import of the terms. That all parties concurred in this exposition, will appear by the following extracts from the Parliamentary Register; a work, which, without pretending to give what is spoken with verbal accuracy, may yet be relied on, we presume, for the general reasoning and opinions of the speakers.

HOUSE OF COMMONS.-The preliminary articles under

consideration; 1783, February 17th.

Mr. Thomas Pitt.-"That the interests of the sincere loyalists were as dear to

him, as to any man; but that he could never think it would have been promoted by carrying on that unfortunate war, which Parliament had in fact suspended before the beginning of the treaty; that it was impossible, after the part Congress was pleased to take in it, to conceive that their recommendation would not have its proper influence on the different legislatures; that he did not himself see what more could have been done on their behalf, except by renewing


the war for their sakes, and increasing our and their calamities."-9 Debrett's Parliamentary Register, 233.

Mr. Wilberforce.-"When he considered the case of the loyalists, he confessed he felt himself there conquered; there he saw his country humiliated; he saw her at the feet of America! Still he was induced to believe, that Congress would religiously comply with the article, and that the loyalists would obtain redress from America. Should they not, this country was bound to afford it them. They must be compensated. Ministers, he was persuaded, meant to keep the faith of the nation with them, and he verily believed, had obtained the best terms they possibly could for them." -- Ib. 236.

Mr. Secretary Townsend. -- "He was ready to admit that many of the loyalists

had the strongest claims upon this country; and he trusted, should the recommendation of Congress to the American States prove unsuccessful, which he flattered himself would not be the case, this country would feel itself bound in honor to make them full compensation for their losses." -- Ib. 262.

HOUSE OF LORDS.---February 17, 1783.

Lord Shelburne.-"A part must be wounded, that the whole of the empire may not

perish. If better terms could be had, think you, my lords, that I would not have embraced them? You all know my creed. You all know my steadiness. If it were possible to put aside the bitter cup the adver-


sities of this country presented to me, you know I would have done it; but you called for peace. I had ` but the alternative, either to accept the terms (said Congress) of our recommendation to the States in favor of the colonists, or continue the war. It is in our power to do no more than recommend.' Is there any man who hears me, who will clap his hand on his heart, and step forward and say, I ought to have broken off the treaty? If there be, I am sure he neither knows the state of the country, nor yet has he paid any attention to the wishes of it. But say the worst, and that, after all, this estimable set of men are not received and cherished in the bosom of their own country-is England so lost to gratitude, and all the feelings of humanity, as not to afford them an asylum? Who can be so base as to think she will refuse it to them? Surely it cannot be that noble-minded man, who would plunge his country again knee deep in blood, and saddle it with an expense of twenty millions, for the purpose of restoring them. Without one drop of blood spilt, and without one-fifth of the expense of one year's campaign, happiness and ease can be given the loyalists in as ample a manner as these blessings were ever in their enjoyment; therefore, let the outcry cease on this head." -- Ib. 70, 71.

Lord Hawke. -- "In America," said he, "Congress had engaged to recommend their

[the loyalists') cause to the Legislatures of the country. What other term could they adopt? He had searched the jour


nals of Congress on this subject; what other term did they, or do they ever adopt in their requisitions to the different provinces? It is an undertaking on the part of Congress; that body, like the King here, is the executive power in America. Can the crown undertake for the two Houses of Parliament? It can only recommend. He flattered himself that recommendation would be attended with success; but, said he, state the case, that it will not, the liberality of Great Britain is still open to them. Ministers had pledged themselves to indemnify them; not only in the address now moved for, but even in the last address, and in the speech from the throne."

Lord Walsingham.-"We had only the recommendation of Congress to trust to, and how often had their recommendations been fruitless? There were many cases in point in which provincial assemblies had peremptorily refused the recommendations of Congress. It was but the other day the States refused money on the recommendations of Congress. Rhode Island unanimously refused, when the Congress desired to be authorized to lay a duty of five per cent. because the funds had failed. Many other circumstances might be produced of the failure of the recommendations of Congress, and therefore we ought not, in negotiating for the loyalists, to have trusted to the recommendations of Congress. Nothing but the repeal of the acts existing against them ought to have sufficed, as nothing else could give


effect to the treaty; repeal was not mentioned. They had only stipulated to revise and reconsider them."-11 Debrett's Parliamentary Reg. 44.

Lord Sackville. -- "The King's ministers had weakly imagined that the recommendation of Congress was a sufficient security for these unhappy men. For his own part, so far from believing that this would be sufficient, or anything like sufficient, for their protection, he was of a direct contrary opinion; and if they entertained any notions of this sort, he would put an end to their idle hopes at once, by reading from a paper in his pocket, a resolution, which the assembly of Virginia had come to, so late as on the 17th of December last. The resolution was as follows: ` That all demands or requests of the British court for the restitution of property, confiscated by this State, being neither supported by law, equity, or policy, are wholly inadmissible; and that our delegates in Congress be instructed to move Congress that they may direct their deputies, who shall represent these States in the general Congress, for adjusting a peace or truce, neither to agree to any such restitution, or submit that the laws made by any independent State in this Union, be subjected to the adjudication of any power or powers on earth.'"-lb. pages 62, 63.

Some of the speakers seem to have had not very accurate ideas of our

government. All of them, however, have perfectly understood, that a recommendation was a matter, not of obligation or coer-


cion, but of persuasion and influence, merely. They appear to have entertained greater or less degrees of hope or doubt, as to its effect on the Legislatures, and though willing to see the result of this chance, yet, if it failed, they were prepared to take the work of indemnification on themselves. SEC. 8. The agreement then being only that Congress should recommend to the

State Legislatures a restitution of estates, and liberty to remain a twelvemonth for the purpose of soliciting the restitution, and to recommend a revision of all acts regarding the premises, Congress did, immediately on the receipt of the definitive articles, to wit, on the 14th of January, 1784, come to the following resolution, viz: "Resolved unanimously, nine States being present, that it be, and it is hereby, earnestly recommended to the Legislatures of the respective States, to provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been confiscated, belonging to real British subjects; and also, of the estates, rights, and properties, of persons resident in districts which were in the possession of his Britannic Majesty's arms, at any time between the 30th day of November, 1782, and the 14th day of January, 1784, and who have not borne arms against the said United States; and that persons of any other description shall have free liberty to go to any part or parts of any of the thirteen United States, and therein to remain twelve months, unmolested in their endeavors to obtain the restitution of such of their estates,


rights, and properties, as may have been confiscated; and it is also hereby earnestly recommended to the several States, to reconsider and revise all their acts or laws regarding the premises; so as to render the said laws or acts perfectly consistent, not only with justice and equity, but with that spirit of conciliation which, on the return of the blessings of peace, should universally prevail; and it is hereby also earnestly recommended to the several States, that the estates, rights, and properties, of such last-mentioned persons should be restored to them, they refunding to any persons who may be now in possession, the bona fide price (where any has been given) which such persons may have paid, on purchasing any of the said lands, rights or properties, since the confiscation.

"Ordered, That a copy of the proclamation of this date, together with the recommendation, be transmitted to the several States by the Secretary."

SEC. 9. The British negotiators had been told by ours, that all the States would refuse to comply with this recommendation; one only, however, refused altogether. The others complied in a greater or less degree, according to the circumstances and dispositions in which the events of the war had left them; but, had all of them refused, it would have been no violation of the 5th article, but an exercise of that freedom of will, which was reserved to them, and so understood by all parties.

The following are the acts of your catalogue


which belong to this head, with such short observations as are necessary to explain them; beginning at that end of the Union, where, the war having raged most, we shall meet with the most repugnance to favor:

SEC. 10. Georgia .- 1783, July 29. An act releasing certain persons from their bargains. A law had been passed during the war, to wit, in 1782, [A. 30.) confiscating the estates of persons therein named, and directing them to be sold; they were sold; but some misunderstanding happened to prevail among the purchasers, as to the mode of payment. This act of 1783, therefore, permits such persons to relinquish their bargains, and authorizes a new sale; the lands remaining confiscated under the law made previous to the peace.

1785, Feb. 22. An act to authorize the auditor to liquidate the demands of

such persons as have claims against the confiscated estates. In the same law of confiscations made during the war, it had been provided that the estates confiscated should be subject to pay the debts of their former owner. This law of 1785, gave authority to the auditor to settle with, and pay the creditors, and to sell the remaining part of the estate confiscated as before.

1787, Feb. 10. An act to compel the settlement of public accounts, for

inflicting penalties, and vesting the auditor with certain powers. This law also is founded on the same confiscation law of 1782, requiring the auditor to press the settlement with the creditors, etc.


1785, Feb. 7. An act for ascertaining the rights of aliens, and pointing out

the mode for the admission of citizens. It first describes what persons shall be free to become citizens, and then declares none shall be capable of that character who had been named in any confiscation law, or banished, or had borne arms against them. This act does not prohibit either the refugees, or real British subjects, from coming into the State to pursue their lawful affairs. It only excludes the former from the right of citizenship, and it is to be observed, that this recommendatory article does not say a word about giving them a right to become citizens. If the conduct of Georgia should appear to have been peculiarly uncomplying, it must be remembered that that State had peculiarly suffered; that the British army had entirely overrun it; had held possession of it for some years; and that all the inhabitants had been obliged either to abandon their estates and fly their country, or to remain in it under a military government.

SEC. 11. South Carolina.-1783, August 15th. An act to vest 180 acres of land,

late the property of James Holmes, in certain persons, in trust for the benefit of a public school. These lands had been confiscated and sold during the war. The present law prescribes certain proceedings as to the purchasers, and provides for paying the debts of the former proprietors.

1786, March 22. An act to amend the confiscation act, and for other purposes

therein mentioned.


This relates only to estates which had been confiscated before the peace. It makes some provision towards a final settlement, and relieves a number of persons from the amercements which had been imposed on them during the war, for the part they had taken.

1784, March 26. An act restoring to certain persons their estates, and permitting the said persons to return, and for other purposes. This act recites, that certain estates had been confiscated, and the owners, 124 in number, banished by former laws; that Congress had earnestly recommended in the terms of the treaty-it therefore distributes them into three lists or classes, restoring to all of them the lands themselves, where they remained unsold, and the price, where sold, requiring from those in lists No. 1 and 3, to pay 12 per cent. on the value of what was restored, and No.2, nothing; and it permits all of them to return, only disqualifying those of No. 1 and 3, who had borne military commissions against them, from holding any office for seven years.

Governor Moultrie's letter of June 21, 1786, informs us, that most of the confiscations had been restored; that the value of those not restored, was far less than that of the property of their citizens carried off by the British, and that fifteen, instead of twelve months, had been allowed to the persons for whom permission was recommended to come and solicit restitution.


SEC. 12. North Carolina.-1784., October. An act directing the sale of confiscated property.

1785, Dec. 29. An act to secure and quiet in their possessions, the

purchasers of lands, goods, etc., sold, or to be sold by the commissioners of forfeited estates. These two acts relate expressly to property "heretofore confiscated," and secure purchasers under those former confiscations.

1790. The case of Bayard v. Singleton, adjudged in a court of judicature in

North Carolina. Bayard was a purchaser of part of an estate confiscated during the war, and the court adjudged his title valid; and it is difficult to conceive on what principle that adjudication can be complained of, as an infraction of the treaty.

1785, Nov. 19. An act was passed to restore a confiscated estate to the former proprietor, Edward Bridgen.

1784, Oct. An act to describe and ascertain such persons as owed allegiance

to the State, and impose certain disqualifications on certain persons therein named.

1785, Nov. An act to amend the preceding act.

1788, April. An act of pardon and oblivion. The two first of these acts

exercised the right of the State to describe who should be its citizens, and who should be disqualified from holding offices. The last, entitled An act of pardon and oblivion, I have not been able to see; but, so far as it pardons, it is a compliance with the recommendation of Congress


under the treaty, and so far as it excepts persons out of the pardon, it is a refusal to comply with the recommendation, which it had a right to do. It does not appear that there has been any obstruction to the return of those persons who had claims to prosecute. SEC. 13. Virginia.-The catalogue under examination, presents no act of this

State subsequent to the treaty of peace, on the subject of confiscations. By one of October 18, 1784, they declared there should be no future confiscations. But they did not choose to comply with the recommendation of Congress, as to the restoration of property which had been already confiscated; with respect to persons, the first assembly which met after the peace, passed-

1783, October. The act prohibiting the migration of certain persons to this commonwealth, and for other purposes therein mentioned, which was afterwards amended by,

1786; October. An act to explain and amend the preceding. These acts, after declaring who shall not have a right to migrate to, or become citizens of, the State, have each an express proviso, that nothing contained in them shall be so construed as to contravene the treaty of peace with Great Britain; and a great number of the refugees having come into the State, under the protection of the first law, and it being understood that a party was forming in the State to ill-treat them, the Governor, July 26, 1784,


published the proclamation, No. 14, enjoining all magistrates and other civil officers, to protect them, and to secure to them the rights derived from the treaty, and acts of assembly aforesaid, and to bring to punishment all who should offend herein, in consequence of which, those persons remained quietly in the State; and many of them have remained to this day.

SEC. 14. Maryland.-1785, Nov. An act to vest certain powers in the Governor

and Council. Sec. 3.

1788, Nov. An act to empower the Governor and Council to compound with the

discoveries of British property and for other purposes. These acts relate purely to property which had been confiscated during the war; and the State not choosing to restore it, as recommended by Congress, passed them for bringing to a conclusion the settlement of all transactions relative to the confiscated property.

I do not find any law of this State, which could prohibit the free return of

their refugees, or the reception of the subjects of Great Britain, or of any other country. And I find that they passed, in

1786, Nov. An act to repeal that part of the act for the security of their government, which disqualified non-jurors from holding offices, and voting at elections.

1790. The case of Harrison's representatives in the court of chancery of

Maryland, is in the list of infractions., These representatives being British subjects, and the laws of this country, like those of


fiscation, except 1790, August. An order of the Executive Council to sell part of Harry Gordon's real estate, under the act of January 31, 1783. This person had been summoned by proclamation, by the name of Henry Gordon, to appear before the first day of November, 1781, and failing, his estate was seized by the commissioners of forfeitures, and most of it sold. The act of 1783, January 31, cured the misnomer, and directed what remained of his estate to be sold. The confiscation being complete, it was for them to say whether they would restore it, in compliance with the recommendation of Congress. They did not, and the executive completed the sale, as they were bound to do:, All persons were permitted to return to this State, and you see many of them living here to this day in quiet and esteem.

SEC. 17. New Jersey.-The only act alleged against this State, as to the

recommendatory article is,

1783, December 23. An act to appropriate certain forfeited estates. This was the estate of John Zabriski, which had been forfeited during the war, and the act gives it to Major-General Baron Steuben, in reward for his services. The confiscation being complete, the Legislature were free to do this. Governor Livingston's letter is an additional testimony of the moderation of this State, after the proclamation of peace, and from what we have a right to conclude, that no persons were prevented from returning and remaining indefinitely.


SEC. 18. New York.-This State had been among the first invaded; the greatest

part of it had been possessed by the enemy through the war; it was the last evacuated; its inhabitants had in great numbers been driven off their farms; their property wasted, and themselves living in exile and penury, and reduced from affluence to want, it is not to be wondered at, if their sensations were among the most lively; accordingly, they, in the very first moment; gave a flat refusal to the recommendation, as to the restoration of property. See document No. 17, containing their reasons. They passed, however, 1784, May 12, the act to preserve the freedom and independence of this State, and for other purposes therein mentioned, in which, after disqualifying refugees from offices, they permit them to come, and remain as long as may be absolutely necessary to defend their estates.

SEC. 19. Connecticut.-A single act only on the same subject is alleged

against this State, after the treaty of peace. This was

1790. An act directing certain confiscated estates to be sold. The title shows they were old confiscations, not new ones, and Governor Huntington's letter informs us, that all confiscations and prosecutions were stopped on the peace; that some restorations of property took place, and all persons were free to return.

SEC. 20. I Rhode Island.-The titles of four acts of this State are cited in

your Appendix, to wit:



1783, May 27. An act to send out of the State N. Spink and I. Underwood, who

had formerly joined the enemy, and were returned to Rhode Island.

1783, June 8. An act to send William Young, theretofore banished out of the

State, and forbidden to return at his peril.

1783, June 12. An act allowing William Brenton, late an absentee, to visit

his family for one week, then sent away, not to return.

1783, October. An act to banish S. Knowles (whose estate had been forfeited),

on pain of death if he return. Mr. Channing, the attorney of the United States for that district, says in his letter, he had sent me all the acts of that Legislature, that affect either the debts, or the persons of British subjects, or American refugees." The acts above cited are not among them. In the answer of April 6, which you are pleased to give to mine of March 30, desiring copies of these, among other papers, you say the book is no longer in your possession. These circumstances will, I hope, excuse my not answering or admitting these acts, and justify my proceeding to observe, that nothing is produced against this State on the subject, after the treaty; and the, district attorneys letter, before cited, informs us, that their courts considered the treaty as paramount to the laws of the State, and decided accordingly, both as to persons and property, and that the estates of all British subjects, seized by the State, had been restored, and the rents and profits accounted for.


Governor Collins' letter, No. 20, is a further evidence of the compliance of this State. SEC. 21. Massachusetts.-1784, March 24. This

State passed an act for repealing two laws of this State, and for asserting the right of this free and sovereign commonwealth to expel such aliens as may be dangerous to the peace and good order of government, the effect of which was to reject the recommendation of Congress, as to the return of persons, but to restore to them such of their lands as were not confiscated, unless they were pledged for debt; and by-

1784, November 10. An act in addition to an act for repealing two laws of this State, they allowed them to redeem their lands pledged for debt, by paying the debt.

SEC. 22. New Hampshire.-Against New Hampshire nothing is alleged; that State

having not been invaded at all, was not induced to exercise any acts of right against the subjects or adherents of their enemies.

The acts, then, which have been complained of as violations of the 5th

article, were such as the States were free to pass, notwithstanding the recommendation; such as it was well understood they would be free to pass without any imputation of infraction, and may therefore be put entirely out of question.

SEC. 23. And we may further observe, with respect to the same acts, that they

have been con


sidered as infractions not only of the 5th article, which recommended the restoration of the confiscations which had taken place during the war, but also of that part of the 6th article which forbade future confiscations. But not one of them touched an estate which had not been before confiscated; for you will observe, that an act of the Legislature, confiscating lands, stands in place of an office found in ordinary cases; and that, on the passage of the act, as on the finding of the office, the State stands, ipso facto, possessed of the lands, without a formal entry: The confiscation then is complete by the passage of the act. Both the title and possession being divested out of the former proprietor, and vested in the State, no subsequent proceedings relative to the lands are acts of confiscation, but are mere exercises of ownership, whether by levying profits, conveying for a time, by lease, or in perpetuo, by an absolute deed. I believe, therefore, it may be said with truth, that there was not a single confiscation made in any one of the United States, after notification of the treaty; and, consequently, it will not be necessary to notice again this part of the 6th article.

SEC. 24.. Before quitting the recommendatory article, two passages in the

letter are to be noted, which, applying to all the States in general, could not have been properly answered under any one of them in particular. In page 16 is the following passage: "The express provision in the treaty, for


the restitution of the estates and properties of persons of both these descriptions [British subjects and Americans who had stayed within the British lines, but had not borne arms) certainly comprehended a virtual acquiescence in their right to reside where their property was situated, and to be restored to the privileges of citizenship." Here seems to be a double error, first in supposing an express provision, whereas the words of the article, and the collateral testimony adduced, have shown that the provision was neither express, nor meant to be so. And secondly, in inferring, from a restitution of the estate, a virtual acquiescence in the right of the party to reside where the estate is. Nothing is more frequent than for a sovereign to banish the person, and leave him possessed of his estate. The inference in the present case, too, is contradicted, as to the refugees, by the recommendation to permit their residence twelve months; and as to British subjects, by the silence of the article, and the improbability that the British plenipotentiary meant to stipulate a right for British subjects to emigrate and become members of another community. SEC. 25. Again, in page 34, it is said, "The nation of Great Britain has

been involved in the payment to them of no less a sum than four millions sterling, as a partial compensation for the losses they had sustained." It has been before proved, that Mr. Oswald understood perfectly, that no indemnification was claimable from us; that, on the contrary,


we had a counter claim of indemnification to much larger amount. It has been supposed, and not without grounds, that the glimmering of hope, provided by the recommendatory article, was to quiet, for the present, the clamors of the sufferers, and to keep their weight out of the scale of opposition to the peace, trusting to time and events for an oblivion of these claims, or a gradual ripening of the public mind to meet and satisfy them at a moment of less embarrassment: the latter is the turn which the thing took. The claimants continued their importunities, and the Government determined at length to indemnify them for their losses; and, open-handedly as they went to work, it cost them less than to have settled with us the just account of mutual indemnification urged by our commissioners. It may be well doubted, whether there were not single States of our Union to which the four millions you have paid would have been no indemnification for the losses of property sustained contrary even to the laws of war; and what sum would have indemnified the whole thirteen, and, consequently, to what sum our whole losses of this description have amounted, would be difficult to say. However, though in nowise interested in the sums you thought proper to give to the refugees, we could not be inattentive to the measure in which they were dealt out. Those who were on the spot, and who knew intimately the state of affairs with the individuals of this description, who knew that their debts often

{Correspondence. 215}

exceeded their possessions, insomuch that the most faithful administration made them pay but a few shillings in the pound, heard with wonder of the sums given, and could not but conclude, that those largesses were meant for something more than loss of property-that services and other circumstances must have had great influence. The sum paid is therefore no imputation on us. We have borne our own losses. We have even lessened yours, by numerous restitutions, where circumstances admitted them; and we have much the worst of the bargain by the alternative you' choose to accept, of indemnifying your own sufferers, rather than ours. SEC. 26. II. The article of debts is next in order; but to place on their

true grounds our proceedings relative t.o them, it will be .necessary to take a view of the British proceedings, which are the subject of complaint in my letter of December 15.

In the 7th article, it was stipulated, that his Britannic Majesty should

withdraw his armies, garrisons, and fleets, without carrying away any negroes, or other property of the American inhabitants. This stipulation was known to the British commanding officers, before the 19th of March, 1783, as provisionally agreed; and on the 5th of April they received official notice from their court of the conclusion and ratification of the preliminary articles between France, Spain, and Great Britain, which gave activity to ours, as appears by the letter of Sir Guy Carleton to General Washington, dated April

216 Jefferson's Works

6, 1783. Document No. 21. From this time, then, surely, no negroes could be carried away without a violation of the treaty. Yet we find that, so early as May 6, a large number of them had already been embarked for Nova Scotia, of which, as contrary to an express stipulation in the treaty, General Washington declared to him his sense and surprise. In the letter of Sir Guy Carleton of May 12 (annexed to mine to you of the 15th of December), he admits the fact; palliates it by saying he had no right to deprive the negroes of that liberty he found them possessed of; that it was unfriendly to suppose that the King's minister could stipulate to be guilty of a notorious breach of the public faith towards the negroes; and that, if it was his intention, it must be adjusted by compensation, restoration being utterly impracticable, where inseparable from a breach of public faith. But surely, Sir, an officer of the King is not to question the validity of the King's engagements, nor violate his solemn treaties, on his own scruples about the public faith. Under this pretext, however, General Carleton went on in daily infractions, embarking, from time to time, between his notice of the treaty and the 5th of April, and the evacuation of New York, November a 5, 3,000 negroes, of whom our commissioners had inspection, and a very large number more, in public and private vessels, of whom they were not permitted to have inspection. Here, then, was a direct, unequivocal and avowed violation of this part of the 7th article,


in the first moments of its being known; an article which had been of extreme solicitude on our part, on the fulfilment of which depended the means of paying debts, in proportion to the number of laborers withdrawn; and when, in the very act of violation, we warn, and put the commanding officer on his guard, he says, directly, he will go through with the act, and leave it to his court to adjust it by compensation. SEC. 27. By the same article, his Britannic Majesty stipulates, that he will,

with all convenient speed, withdraw his garrisons from every post within the United States. "When no precise term," says a writer on the Law of Nations [Vattel, 1. 4. c. 26), "has been marked for the accomplishment of a treaty, and for the execution of each of its articles, good sense determines that every point should be executed as soon as possible. This is, without doubt, what was understood." 1 The term in the treaty, with all convenient speed, amounts to the same thing, and clearly excludes all unnecessary delay. The general pacification being signed on the 20th of January, some time would be requisite for the orders for evacuation to come over to America, for the removal of stores, property, and persons, and finally for the act of evacuation. The larger the post, the longer the time necessary to remove all its contents; the

1 "Lors qu'on n'a point marque de terme pour l'accomplissement du traite, et pour l'execution de chacun des articles, le bon sens dit que chaque point doit etre execute aussitot qu'il est possible. C'est sans doute ainsi qu'on l'a entendu."


smaller, the sooner done. Hence, though General Carleton received his orders to evacuate New York in the month of April, the evacuation was not completed till late in November. It had been the principal place of arms and stores; the seat, as it were, of their general government, and the asylum of those who had fled to them. A great quantity of shipping was necessary, therefore, for the removal, and the General was obliged to call for a part from foreign countries. These causes of delay were duly respected on our part. But the posts of Michillimackinac, l Detroit, Niagara, Oswego, Oswegatchie, Point-auFer, Dutchman's Point, were not of this magnitude. The orders for evacuation, which. reached General Carleton, in New York, early in April, might have gone, in one month more, to the most remote of these posts. Some of them might have been evacuated in a few days after, and the largest in a few weeks. Certainly they might all have been delivered, without any inconvenient speed in the operations, by the end of May, from the known facility furnished by the lakes, and the water connecting them; or by crossing immediately over into their own territory, and availing themselves of the season for making new establishments there, if that was intended. Or whatever time might, in event, have been necessary for their evacuation, certainly the order for it should have been given from England,

1 Instead of this, Fort Erie was, by error, inserted in my letter of December 15.


and might have been given as early as that from New York. Was any order ever given? Would not an unnecessary delay of the order, producing an equal delay in the evacuation, be an infraction of. the treaty? Let us investigate this matter.

On the 3d of August, 1783, Major-General Baron Steuben, by orders from General Washington, having repaired to Canada for this purpose, wrote the letter No. 22 to General Haldimand, Governor of the province, and received from him the answer of August 13, No. 23. Wherein he says, "The orders I have received, direct a discontinuance of every hostile measure only," etc. And in his conference with Baron Steuben, he says expressly, "That he had not received any orders for making the least arrangements for the evacuation of a single post." The orders, then, which might have been with him by the last of April, were unknown, if they existed, the middle of August. See Baron Steuben's letter, No. 24.

Again, on the 19th of March, 1784, Governor Clinton, of New York, within the

limits of which State some of these posts are, writes to General Haldimand, the letter No. 25; and that General, answering him, May 10, from Quebec, says, "Not having had the honor to receive orders and instructions relative to withdrawing the garrisons," etc.; fourteen months were now elapsed, and the orders not yet received, which might have been received in four.


Again, on the 12th of July, Colonel Hull, by order from General Knox, the Secretary of War, writes to General Haldimand, the letter No. 27; and General Haldimand gives the answer of the 13th, No. 28, wherein he says, "Though I am now informed, by his Majesty's ministers, of the ratification, etc., I remain, etc., not having received any orders to evacuate the posts which are without the limits," etc. And this is eighteen months after the signature of the general pacification! Now, is it not fair to conclude, if the order was not arrived on the 13th of August, 1783, if it was not arrived on the 10th of May, 1784, nor yet on the 13th of July, in the same year, that, in truth, the order had never been given? and if it had never been given, may we not conclude that it never had been intended to be given? From what moment is it we are to date this infraction? From that, at which, with convenient speed, the order to evacuate the upper posts might have been given. No legitimate reason can be assigned, why that order might not have been given as early, and at the same time, as the order to evacuate New York; and all delay, after this, was in contravention of the treaty.

SEC. 18. Was this delay merely innocent and unimportant to us, setting aside

all considerations but of interest and safety? 1. It cut us off from the fur-trade, which before the war had been always of great importance as a branch of commerce, and as a source of remittance for the payment of our


debts to Great Britain; for the injury of withholding our posts, they added the obstruction of. all passage along the lakes and their communications. 2. It secluded us from connection with the northwestern Indians, from all opportunity of keeping up with them friendly and neighborly intercourse, brought on us consequently, from their known dispositions, constant'and expensive war, in which numbers of men, women, and children, have been, and still are, daily falling victims to the scalping knife, and to which there will be no period, but in our possession of the posts which command their country. It may safely be said, then, that the treaty was violated in England, before

it was known in America, and in America, as soon as it was known, and that too, in points so essential, as that, without them, it would never have been concluded.

SEC. 29. And what was the effect of these infractions on the American mind?

On the breach of any article of a treaty by the one party, the other has its election to declare it dissolved in all its. articles, or to compensate itself by withholding execution of equivalent articles; or to waive notice of the breach altogether.

Congress being informed that the British commanding officer was carrying away

the negroes from New York, in avowed violation of the treaty, and against the repeated remonstrances of General Washington, they take up the subject on the 26th of May,


1783; they declare that it is contrary to the treaty; direct that the proper papers be sent to their ministers plenipotentiary in Europe to remonstrate, and demand reparation, and that, in the meantime, General Washington continue his remonstrances to the British commanding officer, and insist on the discontinuance of the measure. See document No. 29.

SEC. 30. The State of Virginia, materially affected by this infraction,

because the laborers thus carried away were chiefly from thence, while heavy debts were now to be paid to the very nation which was depriving them of the means, took up the subject in December, 1783, that is to say, seven months after that particular infraction, and four months after the first refusal to deliver up the posts, and instead of arresting the debts absolutely, in reprisal for their negroes carried away, they passed (D. 5] the act to revive and continue the several acts for suspending the issuing executions on certain judgments until December, 1783, that is to say, they revived, till their next meeting, two acts passed during the war, which suspended all voluntary and fraudulent assignments of debt, and as to others, allowed' real and personal estate to be tendered in discharge of executions; the effect of which was to relieve the body of the debtor from prison, by authorizing him to deliver property in discharge of the debt. In June following, thirteen months after the violation last mentioned, and after a second refusal by the British commanding officer to deliver up the


posts, they came to the resolution No. 30, reciting specially the infraction respecting their negroes, instructing their delegates in Congress to press for reparation; and resolving, that the courts shall be opened to British suits, as soon as reparation shall be made, or otherwise, as soon as Congress shall judge it indispensably necessary. And in 1787, they passed [C. 7.) the act to repeal so much of all and every act or acts of assembly, as prohibits the recovery of British debts; and, at the same time (E. 6.] the act to repeal part of an act for the protection and encouragement of the commerce of nations acknowledging the independence of the United States of America. The former was not to be in force till the evacuation of the posts, and reparation for the negroes carried away. The latter requires particular explanation. The small supplies of European goods, which reached us during the war, were frequently brought by captains of vessels and supercargoes, who, as soon as they had sold their goods, were to return to Europe with their vessels. To persons under such circumstances, it was necessary to give a summary remedy for the recovery of the proceeds of their sale. This had been done by the law for the protection and encouragement of the commerce of nations acknowledging the independence of the United States, which was meant but as a temporary thing, to continue while the same circumstances continued. On the return of peace, the supplies of foreign goods were made, as before the


war, by merchants resident here. There was no longer reason to continue to them the summary remedy, which had been provided for the transient vender of goods. And, indeed, it would have been unequal to have given the resident merchant instantaneous judgment against a farmer or tradesman, while the farmer or tradesman could pursue those who owed him money but in the ordinary way, and with the ordinary delay. The British creditor had no such unequal privilege while we were under British government, and had no title to it, in justice, or by the treaty, after the war. When the legislature proceeded, then, to repeal the law, as to other nations, it would have been extraordinary to have continued it for Great Britain.

SEC. 31. South Carolina was the second State which moved in consequence of the British infractions, urged thereto by the desolated condition in which their armies had left that country, by the debts they owed, and the almost entire destruction of the means of paying them. They passed [D. 7. 20.) 1784, March 26th, an ordinance respecting the recovery of debts, suspending the recovery of all actions, as well American as British, for nine months, and then allowing them to recover payment at four equal and annual instalments only, requiring the debtor in the meantime, to give good security for his debt, or otherwise refusing him the benefit of the act, by-

(D. 21. ) 1787, March 28. An act to regulate the


recovery and payment of debts, and prohibiting the importation of negroes, they extended the instalments, a year further in a very few cases. I have not been able to procure the two following acts [D. 14.) 1785, October 12th, An act for regulating sales under executions, and for other purposes therein mentioned; and

[D.22.] 1788, Nov. 4. An act to regulate the payment and recovery of debts, and to prohibit the importation of negroes for the time therein limited; and I know nothing of their effect, or their existence, but from your letter, which says, their effect was to deliver property in execution, in relief of the body of the debtor, and still further to postpone the instalments. If, during the existence of material infractions on the part of Great Britain, it were necessary to apologize for these modifications of the proceedings of the debtor, grounds might be found in the peculiar distresses of that State, and the liberality with which they had complied with the recommendatory articles, notwithstanding their sufferings might have inspired other dispositions, having pardoned everybody, received everybody, restored all confiscated lands not sold, and the prices of those sold.

SEC. 32. Rhode Island next acted on the British infractions, and imposed

modifications in favor of such debtors as should be pursued by their creditors, permitting them to relieve their bodies from execution by the payment of paper money, or delivery of



property. This was the effect of (D. 12.] 1786, March, An act to enable any debtor in jail, on execution at the suit of any creditor, to tender real, or certain specified articles of personal estate; and

[D. 16.] 1786, May, An act making paper money a legal tender. But observe, that this was not till three years after the infractions by Great Britain, and repeated and constant refusals of compliance on their part.

SEC. 33. New Jersey did the same thing, by-

[D. 13 .] 1786, March 23, An act to direct the modes of proceedings on writs on fieri facias, and for transferring lands and chattels for payment of debts; and

[D. 18.] 1786, May 26, An act for striking, and making current L100,000 in bills of credit, to be let out on loan; and

[D. 17. ) 1786, June 1, An act for making bills, emitted by the act for raising a revenue of L31, 259 5s. per annum, for twenty-five years, a legal tender; and

SEC. 34. Georgia, by [D. 19.] 1786; August 14, An act for emitting the sum of L50,000 in bills of credit, and for establishing a fund for the redemption, and for other purposes therein mentioned, made paper money also a legal tender.

These are the only States which appear, by the acts cited in your letter, to have modified the recovery of debts. But I believe that North Carolina also emitted a sum of paper money, and made it a tender in discharge of executions; though, not hav-


ing seen the act, I cannot affirm it with certainty. I have not mentioned, because I do not view the act of Maryland [D. 15. ] 1786, Nov. c. 19, for the settlement of public accounts, etc., as a modification of the recovery of debts. It obliged the British subject, before he could recover what was due to him within the State, to give bond for the payment of what he owed therein. It is reasonable that every one, who asks justice, should do justice; and it is usual to consider the property of a foreigner, in any country, as a fund appropriated to the payment of what he owes in that country, exclusively. It is a care which most nations take of their own citizens, not to let the property, which is to answer their demands, be withdrawn from its jurisdiction, and send them to seek it in foreign countries, and before foreign tribunals. SEC. 35. With respect to the obstacles thus opposed to the British creditor,

besides their general justification, as being produced by the previous infractions on the part of Great Britain, each of them admits of a special apology. They are, 1st. Delay of judgment; 2d. Liberating the body from execution, on the delivery of property; 3d. Admitting executions to be discharged in paper money. As to the 1st, let it be considered, that, from the nature of the commerce carried on between these States and Great Britain, they were generally kept in debt; that a great part of the country, and most particularly Georgia, South Carolina, North Caro


lina, Virginia, New York, and Rhode Island, had been ravaged by an enemy, movable property carried off, houses burnt, lands abandoned, the proprietors forced off into exile and poverty. When the peace permitted them to return again to their lands, naked and desolate as they were, was instant payment practicable? The contrary was so palpable, that, the British creditors themselves were sensible that were they to rush to judgment immediately against their debtors, it would involve the debtor in total ruin, without relieving the creditor. It is a fact, for which we may appeal to the knowledge of one member at least of the British administration of 1783, that the chairman of the North American merchants, conferring on behalf of those merchants with the American ministers then in London, was so sensible that time was necessary as well to save the creditor as debtor, that he declared there would not be a moment's hesitation, on the part of the creditors, to allow payment by instalments annually for seven years, and that this arrangement was not made, was neither his fault nor ours.

To the necessities for some delay in the payment of debts may be added the

British commercial regulations, lessening our means of payment, by prohibiting us from carrying in our own bottoms our own produce to their dominions in our neighborhood, and excluding valuable branches of it from their home markets by prohibitory duties. The means of payment constitute one of the motives to


purchase, at the moment of purchasing. If these means are taken away, by the creditor himself, he ought not in conscience to complain of a mere retardation of his debt, which is the effect of his own act, and the least injurious to those it is capable of producing. The instalment acts before enumerated have been much less general, and for a shorter term than what the chairman of the American merchants thought reasonable. Most of them required the debtor to give security, in the meantime, to his creditor, and provided complete indemnification of the delay by the payment of interest, which was enjoined in every case. SEC. 36. The second species of obstacle was the admitting the debtor to

relieve his body from imprisonment, by the delivery of lands or goods to his creditor. And is this idea original, and peculiar to us? or whence have we taken it? From England, from Europe, from natural right and reason. For it may be safely affirmed, that neither natural right nor reason subjects the body of a man to restraint for debt. It is one of the abuses introduced by commerce and credit, and which even the most commercial nations have been obliged to relax, in certain cases. The Roman law, the principles of which are the nearest to natural reason of those of any municipal code hitherto known, allowed imprisonment of the body in criminal cases only, or those wherein the party had expressly submitted himself to it. The French laws allow it only in criminal or com-


mercial cases. The laws of England, in certain descriptions of cases (as bankruptcy) release the body. Many of the United States do the same in all cases, on a cession of property by the debtor. The levari facias, an execution affording only the profits of lands, is the only one allowed in England, in certain cases. The elegit, another execution of that and this country, attaches first on a man's chattels, which are not to be sold, but to be delivered to the plaintiff, on a reasonable appraisement, in part of satisfaction for his debt, and if not sufficient, one-half only of his lands are then to be delivered to the plaintiff, till the profits shall have satisfied him. The tender laws of these States were generally more favorable than the execution by elegit, because they not only gave, as that does, the whole property in chattels, but also the whole property in the lands, and not merely the profits of them. It is, therefore, an execution framed on the model of the English elegit, or rather an amendment of that writ, taking away, indeed, the election of the party against the body of his debtor, but giving him, in exchange for it, much more complete remedy against his lands. Let it be observed, too, that this proceeding was allowed against citizens, as well as foreigners; and it may be questioned, whether the treaty is not satisfied, while the same measure is dealt out to British subjects, as to foreigners of all other nations, and to natives themselves. For it would seem, that all a friend can expect, is to be treated as a native citizen.


SEC. 3 7. The third obstacle was the allowing paper money to be paid for

goods sold under execution. The complaint on this head is only against Georgia, South Carolina, Jersey, and Rhode Island; and this obstruction, like the two others, sprung out of the peculiar nature of the war; for those will- form very false conclusions, who reason, as to this war, from the circumstances which have attended other wars, and other nations. When any nation of Europe is attacked by another, it has neighbors, with whom its accustomary commerce goes on, without interruption; and its commerce with more distant nations is carried on by sea, in foreign bottoms, at least under protection of the laws of neutrality. The produce of its soil can be exchanged for money, as usual, and the stock of that medium of circulation is not at all diminished by war; so that property sells as readily and as well, for real money, at the close, as at the commencement of the war. But how different was our case: on the north and south, were our enemies; on the west, deserts inhabited by savages in league with them; on the east, an ocean of one thousand leagues, beyond which, indeed were nations, who might have purchased the produce of our soil, and have given us real money in exchange, and thus kept up our stock of money, but who were deterred from coming to us by threats of war on the part of our enemies, if they should presume to consider us as a people, entitled to partake the benefit of that law of war,


which allows commerce with neutral nations. What were the consequences? The stock of hard money, which we possessed in an ample degree, at the beginning of the war, soon flowed into Europe for supplies of arms, ammunition, and other necessaries, which we were not in the habit of manufacturing for ourselves. The produce of our soil, attempted to be carried in our own bottoms to Europe, fell, two-thirds of it, into the hands of our enemies, who were masters of the sea; the other third illy sufficed to procure the necessary implements of war; so that no returns of money supplied the place of that which had gone off. We were reduced, then, to the resource of a paper medium, and that completed the exile of the hard money; so that, in the latter stages of the war, we were, for years together, without seeing a single coin of the precious metals in circulation. It was closed with a stipulation that we should pay a large mass of debt, in such coin. If the whole soil of the United States had been offered for sale for ready coin, it would not have raised as much as would have satisfied this stipulation. The thing, then, was impossible, and reason and authority declare, "Si l'empechement est reel, il faut donner du tems; car nul n'est tenu a l'impossible." 1 Vattel,1. 4, s. 51. We should, with confidence, have referred the case to the arbiter proposed by another jurist, who lays it down that a party, "Non ultra

1 "If the obstacle be real, time must be given, for no one is bound to an impossibility." Vattel 1. 4, s. 51.


obligari, quam in quantum facere potest; et an possit, permittendum alterius principis, quo boni viri arbitrio." Bynk. Q. J. P. 1. 2, c. 10. That four of the States should resort, under such circumstances, to very small emissions of paper money, is not wonderful; that all did not, proves their firmness under sufferance, and that they were disposed to bear whatever could be borne, rather than contravene, even by way of equivalent, stipulations which had been authoritatively entered into for them. And even in the four States, which emitted paper money, it was in such small sums, and so secured, as to suffer only a short-lived, and not great depreciation of value; nor did they continue its quality as a tender, after the first paroxysms of distress were over. Here, too, it is to be observed, that natives were to receive this species of payment, equally with British subjects. So that, when it is considered, that the other party had broken the treaty,

from the beginning, and that, too, in points which lessened our ability to pay their debts, it was a proof of the moderation of our nation, to make no other use of the opportunity of retaliation presented to them, than to indulge the debtors with that time for discharging their debts, which their distresses called for, and the interests and the reason of their creditors approved.

1 "No one is bound beyond what he can do, and whether he can, may be left to the decision of the other prince, as an honest man." Bynk. Q. J. P.1. 2, c. Io.


SEC. 38. It is to be observed, that, during all this time, Congress, who alone posesssed the power of peace and war, of making treaties, and, consequently, of declaring their infractions, had abstained from every public declaration, and had confined itself to the resolution of May 26th, 1783, and to repeated efforts, through their minister plenipotentiary at the court of London, to lead that court into a compliance on their part, and reparation of the breach they had committed. But the other party now laid hold of those very proceedings of our States, which their previous infractions had produced, as a ground for further refusal; and inverting the natural order of cause and effect, alleged that these proceedings of ours were the causes of the infractions, which they had committed months and years before. Thus the British minister for foreign affairs, in his answer of February 28th, 1786, to Mr. Adams' memorial, says, " The engagements entered into by treaty ought to be mutual, and equally binding on the respective contracting parties. It would, therefore, be the height of folly; as well as injustice, to suppose one party alone obliged to a strict observance of the public faith, while the other might remain free to deviate from its own engagements, as often as convenience might render such deviation necessary, though at the expense of its own national credit and importance; I flatter myself, however, Sir, that justice will speedily be done to British creditors; and I can assure you, Sir, that whenever America


shall manifest a real intention to fulfil her part of the treaty, Great Britain will not hesitate to prove her sincerity to co-operate in whatever points depend upon her, for carrying every article of it into real and complete effect." Facts will furnish the best commentary on this letter. Let us pursue them. The Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the United States, by order of Congress,

immediately wrote circular letters to the Governors of the several States, dated May 3, 1786, No. 31, to obtain information how far they had complied with the proclamation of January 14th, 1784., and the recommendation accompanying it ; and April 13, 1787, Congress, desirous of removing every pretext which might continue to cloak the inexecution of the treaty, wrote a circular letter to the several States, in which, in order to produce more surely the effect desired, they demonstrate that Congress alone possess the right of interpreting, restraining, impeding, or counteracting the operation and execution of treaties, which, on being constitutionally made, become, by the confederation, a part of the law of the land, and, as such, independent of the will and power of the legislatures; that, in this point of view, the State acts, establishing provisions relative to the same objects, and incompatible with it, must be improper; resolving that all such acts now existing ought to be forthwith repealed, as well to prevent their continuing to be regarded as violations of the treaty, as to avoid the disagreeable necessity of dis-


cussing their validity; recommending, in order to obviate all future disputes and questions, that every State, as well those which had passed no such acts as those which had, should pass an act, repealing, in general terms, all acts and parts of acts repugnant to the treaty; and encouraging them to do this, by informing them that they had the strongest assurances that an exact compliance with the treaty on our part, would be followed by a punctual performance of it on the part of Great Britain.

SEC. 39. In consequence of these letters, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode

Island, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, passed the acts Nos. 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40. New Jersey and Pennsylvania declared that no law existed with them repugnant to the treaty-see documents Nos. 41, 42, 43. Georgia had no law existing against the treaty. South Carolina, indeed, had a law existing, which subjected all persons, foreign or native, No. 44, to certain modifications of recovery and payment. But the liberality of her conduct on the other points is a proof she would have conformed in this also, had it appeared that the fullest conformity would have moved Great Britain to compliance, and had an express repeal been really necessary.

SEC. 40. For indeed all this was supererogation. It resulted from the

instrument of confederation among the States, that treaties made by Congress,


according to the confederation, were superior to the laws of the States. The circular letter of Congress had declared and demonstrated it, and the several States, by their acts and explanations before mentioned, had shown it to be their own sense, as we may safely affirm it to have been the general sense of those, at least, who were of the profession of the law. Besides the proof of this, drawn from the act of confederation itself, the declaration of Congress, and the acts of the States before mentioned, .the same principle will be found acknowledged in several of the documents hereto annexed for other purposes. Thus, in Rhode Island, Governor Collins, in his letter, No. 20, says, "The treaty, in all its absolute parts, has been fully complied with, and to those parts that are merely recommendatory and depend upon the legislative discretion, the most candid attention hath been paid." Plainly implying that the absolute parts did not depend upon the legislative discretion. Mr. Channing, the attorney for the United States in that State, No. 19, speaking of an act passed before the treaty, says, "This act was considered by our courts as annulled by the treaty of peace, and subsequent to the ratification thereof no proceedings have been had thereon." The Governor of Connecticut, in his letter, No. 18, says, "The sixth article of the treaty was immediately observed on receiving the same with the proclamation of Congress; the courts of justice adopted it as a principle of law. No further prose

{238 Jefferson's'Works}

cutions were instituted against any person who came within that article, and all such prosecutions as were then pending were discontinued." Thus, prosecutions going on, under the law of the State, were discontinued, by the treaty operating as a repeal of the law. In Pennsylvania, Mr. Lewis, attorney for the United States, says, in his letter, No. 60, "The judges have, uniformly and without hesitation, declared in favor of the treaty, on the ground of its being the supreme law of the land. On this ground, they have not only discharged attainted traitors from arrest, but have frequently declared that they were entitled by the treaty to protection." The case of the Commonwealth vs. Gordon, January, 1788, Dallas' Reports, 233, is a proof of this. In Maryland, in the case of Mildred vs. Dorsey, cited in your letter [E. 4.] a law of the State, made during the war, had compelled those who owed debts to British subjects to pay them into the treasury of that State. This had been done by Dorsey, before the date of the treaty; yet the judges of the State general court decided that the treaty not only repealed the law for the future, but for the past also, and decreed that the defendant should pay the money over again to the British creditor. In Virginia, Mr. Monroe, one of the Senators of that State in Congress, and a lawyer of eminence, tells us, No. 52, that both court and counsel there avowed the opinion, that the treaty would control any law of the State opposed to it. And the


legislature itself, in an act of October, 1787, c. 36, concerning moneys carried into the public loan office, in payment of British debts, use these expressions: "And whereas it belongs not to the legislature to decide particular questions, of which the judiciary have cognizance, and it is, therefore, unfit for them to determine whether the payments so made into the loan office be good or void between the creditor and debtor." In New York, Mr. Harrison, attorney for the United States in that district, assures us, No. .45, that the act of 1782, of that State, relative to the debts due to persons within the enemy's line, was, immediately after the treaty, restrained by the superior courts of the State from operating on British creditors, and that he did not know a single instance to the contrary-a full proof that they considered the treaty as a law of the land, paramount to the law of their State. SEC. 41. The very case of Rutgers vs. Waddington, (E. 8.) which is a subject

of complaint in your letter, is a proof that the courts consider the treaty as paramount to the laws of the States. Some parts of your information, as to that case, have been inexact. The State of New York had, during the war, passed an act (C. 16.) declaring that, in any action by the proprietor of a house or tenement against the occupant, for rent or damage, no military order should be a justification; and, May 4, 1784, after the refusal of the British to deliver up the posts in the State of New York, that legislature


revived the same act. [C. 19.] Waddington, a British subject, had occupied a brew-house in New York, belonging to Rutgers, an American, while the British were in possession of New York. During a part of the time he had only permission from the quartermaster general; for another part he had an order of the commanding officer to authorize his possession. After the evacuation of the city, Rutgers, under the authority of this law of the State, brought an action against Waddington for rent and damages, in the Mayor's court of New York. Waddington pleaded the treaty, and the court declared the treaty a justification, in opposition to the law of the State, for that portion of the time authorized by the commanding officer, his authority being competent, and gave judgment for that part in favor of the defendant; but, for the time he held the house under permission of the quartermaster general only, they gave judgment against the defendant, considering the permission of that officer incompetent, according to the regulations of the existing powers. From this part of the judgment the defendant appealed. The first part, however, was an unequivocal decision of the superior authority of the treaty over the law. The latter part could only have been founded in an opinion of the sense of the treaty in that part of the 6th article which declares, "There shall be no future prosecutions against any persons for the part he may have taken in the war, and that no person should, on that account, suffer any future loss or


damage in their property," etc. They must have understood this as only protecting actions which were conformable with the laws and authority existing at the time and place. The tenure of the defendant under the quartermaster general was not so conformable. That under the commanding officer was. Some may think that murders, and other crimes and offences, characterized as such by the authority of the time and place where committed, were meant to be protected by this paragraph of the treaty; and, perhaps, for peace sake, this construction may be the most convenient. The Mayor's court, however, seems to have revolted at it. The defendant appealed, and the question would have been authoritatively decided by the superior court, had not an amicable compromise taken place between the parties. See Mr. Hamilton's statement of this case, No. 46. SEC. 42. The same kind of doubt brought on the arrest of John Smith Hatfield

in New Jersey, whose case [E. 9.) is another ground of complaint in your letter. A refugee, sent out by the British as a spy, was taken within the American lines, regularly tried by a court martial, found guilty, and executed. There was one Ball, an inhabitant of the American part of Jersey, who, contrary to the laws of his country, was in the habit of secretly supplying the British camp in Staten Island with provisions. The first time Ball went over, after the execution of the spy, of which it does not appear he had any knowl-



edge, and certainly no agency in his prosecution, John Smith Hatfield, a refugee also from Jersey, and some others of the same description, seized him, against the express orders of the British commanding officer, brought him out of the British lines, and Hatfield hung him with his own hands. The British officer sent a message to the Americans, disavowing this act, declaring that the British had nothing to do with it, and that those who had perpetrated the crime ought alone to suffer for it. The right to punish the guilty individual seems to have been yielded by the one party, and accepted by the other, in exchange for that of retaliation on an innocent person; an exchange which humanity would wish to see habitual. The criminal came afterwards into the very neighborhood, a member of which he had murdered. Peace, indeed, had now been made; but the magistrate, thinking probably, that it was for the honest soldier and citizen only, and not for the murderer, and supposing, with the Mayor's court of New York, that the paragraph of the treaty against future prosecutions meant to cover authorized acts only, and not murders and other atrocities, disavowed by the existing authority, arrested Hatfield. At the court which met for his trial, the witnesses failed to attend. The court released the criminal from confinement, on his giving the security required by law for his appearance at another court. He fled; and you say that, "as his friends doubted the disposition of the court to


determine according to the terms of the treaty, they thought it more prudent to suffer the forfeiture of the recognizances, than to put his life again into jeopardy." But your information in this, Sir, has not been exact. The recognizances are not forfeited. His friends, confident in the opinion of their counsel, and the integrity of the judges, have determined to plead the treaty, and not even give themselves the trouble of asking a release from the legislature; and the case is now depending. See the letter of Mr. Boudinot, member of Congress for Jersey, No. 47. SEC. 43. In Georgia, Judge Walton, in a charge to a grand jury, says, "The

State of Rhode Island having acceded to the Federal Constitution, the Union and Government have become complete. To comprehend the extent of the General Government, and to discern the relation between that and those of the States, will be equally our interest and duty. The Constitution, laws, and treaties of the Union are paramount." And in the same State, in their last federal circuit court, we learn from the public papers, that, in a case wherein the plaintiffs were Brailsford and others, British subjects, whose debts had been sequestered (not confiscated) by an act of the State during the war, the judges declared the treaty of peace a repeal of the act of the State, and gave judgment for the plaintiffs.

SEC. 44. The integrity of those opinions and proceedings of the several

courts should have shielded


them from the insinuations hazarded against them. In pages ,g and 10, it is said, "That during the war, the legislatures passed laws to confiscate the estates of the loyalists, to enable debtors to pay into the State treasuries paper money, then exceedingly depreciated, in discharge of their debts." And page 24, "The dispensations of law by the State courts have been as unpropitious to the subjects of the crown, as the legislative acts of the different assemblies" Let us compare, if you please, Sir, these unpropitious opinions of our State courts with those of foreign lawyers writing on the same subject. 1 "Quod dixi de actionibus recto publicandis ita demum obtinet; si quod subditi nostri hostibus nostris debent, princeps a subditis suis revera exegerit. Si exegerit, recte solutum est, si non exegerit, pace facta, reviviscit jus pristinum creditoris; secundum, haec inter gentes fere convenit, ut nominibus bello publicatis, pace deinde facta, exacta censeantur persse, et maneant extincta; non autem exacta reviviscant et restiuantur veris creditoribus." Bynk. Q. J. P.1. 1, c. 7. But what said the judges of the State court of Maryland in the case of Mildred and

1 "What I have said of things in action being rightly confiscated hold thus: If the prince really exacts from his subjects what they owed to our enemies, if he shall have exacted it, it is rightfully paid, if he shall not have exacted it, peace being made, the former right of the creditor revives; accordingly, it is for the most part agreed among nations, that things in action being confiscated in war, the peace being made, those which were paid are deemed to have perished and remain extinct; but those not paid, revive, and are restored to their true creditors."-Bynk. Q. J. P. 1. I, c. 7.


Dorsey? That a debt forced from an American debtor into the treasury of his sovereign, is not extinct, but shall be paid over again to his British creditor. Which is most propitious, the unbiased foreign jurist, or the American judge, charged with dispensing justice with favor and partiality? But from this, you say, there is an appeal. Is that the fault of the judge, or the fault of anybody? Is there a country on earth, or ought there to be one, allowing no appeal from the first errors of their courts? and if allowed from errors, how will those from just judgments be prevented? In England, as in other countries, an appeal is admitted to the party thinking himself injured; and here, had the judgment been against the British creditor, and an appeal denied, there would have been better cause of complaint than for not having denied it to his adversary. If an illegal judgment be ultimately rendered on the appeal, then will arise the right to question its propriety. SEC. 45. Again it is said, page 34, "In one State the supreme federal court

has thought proper to suspend for many months the final judgment on an action of debt, brought by a British creditor." If by the supreme federal court be meant the supreme court of the United States, I have had their records examined, in order to know what may be the case here alluded to; and I am authorized to say, there neither does, nor ever did exist any cause before that court, between a British subject and a citizen


of the United States. See the certificate of the clerk of the court, No. 48. If by the supreme federal court be meant one of the circuit courts of the United States, then which circuit, in which State, and what case is meant? In the course of inquiries I have been obliged to make, to find whether there exists any case, in any district of any circuit court of the United States, which might have given rise to this complaint, I have learnt, that an action was brought to issue, and argued in the circuit court of the United States, in Virginia, at their last term, between Jones, a British subject, plaintiff, and Walker, an American, defendant; wherein the question was the same as in the case of Mildred and Dorsey, to wit: Whether a payment into the treasury, during the war, under a law of the State, discharged the debtor? One of the judges retiring from court, in the midst of the argument, on the accident of the death of an only son, and the case being primae impressionis in that court, it was adjourned, for consideration, till the ensuing term. Had the two remaining judges felt no motive but of predilection to one of the parties; had they considered only to which party their wishes were propitious or unpropitious; they possibly might have decided that question on the spot. But, learned enough in their science to see difficulties which escape others, and having characters and consciences to satisfy, they followed the example so habitually and so laudably set by the courts of your country, and of every country, where law, and


not favor, is the rule of decision, of taking time to consider. Time and consideration are favorable to the right cause, precipitation to the wrong one. SEC. 46. You say again, p. 29, "The few attempts to recover British debts,

in the courts of Virginia, have universally failed, and these are the courts wherein, from the smallness of the sum, a considerable number of debts can only be recovered." Again; p. 34, "In the same State, county courts (which alone can take cognizance of debts of limited amount) have uniformly rejected all suits instituted for the recovery of sums due to the subjects of the crown of Great Britain." In the first place, the county courts, till of late, have had exclusive jurisdiction only of sums below 10l., and it is known, that a very inconsiderable proportion of the British debt consists in demands below that sum. A late law, we are told, requires, that actions below 301. shall be cornmenced in those courts; but allows, at the same time, an appeal to correct any errors into which they may fall. In the second place, the evidence of gentlemen who are in the way of knowing the fact, No. 52, 53, is, that though there have been accidental checks in some of the subordinate courts, arising from the chicanery of the debtors, and sometimes, perhaps, a moment of error in the court itself, yet these particular instances have been immediately rectified, either in the same or the superior court, while the great mass of suits for the recovery of sums due to the subjects of the crown


of Great Britain, have been uniformly sustained to judgment and execution.

SEC. 47. A much broader assertion is hazarded, page 29. "In some of the

Southern States, there does not exist a single instance of the recovery of British debt in their courts, though many years have expired since the establishment of peace between the two countries." The particular States are not specified. I have therefore thought it my duty to extend my inquiries to all the' States which could be designated under the description of Southern, to wit: Maryland, and those to the south of that.

As to Maryland, the joint certificate of the Senators and delegates of the

State in Congress, the letter of Mr. Tilghman, a gentleman of the law in the same State, and that of'Mr. Gwinn, clerk of their general court, prove that British suits have been maintained in the superior and inferior courts throughout the State without any obstruction; that British claimants have, in every instance, enjoyed every facility in the tribunals of justice equally with their own citizens; and have recovered in due course of law, and remitted large debts, as well under contracts previous, as subsequent to the war.

In Virginia, the letters of Mr. Monroe and Mr. Giles, members of Congress

from that State, and lawyers of eminence in it, prove that the courts of law in that State have been open and freely resorted to by the British creditors, who have recovered and levied their moneys without obstruction; for we


have no right to consider as obstructions the dilatory pleas of here and there a debtor, distressed perhaps for time, or even an accidental error of opinion in a subordinate court, when such pleas have been overruled, and such errors corrected in a due course of proceeding marked out by the laws in such cases. The general fact suffices to show that the assertion under examination cannot be applied to this State. In North Carolina, Mr. Johnston, one of the Senators of that State, tells us

he has heard indeed but of few suits brought by British creditors in that State; but that he never heard that any one had failed of a recovery because he was a British subject; and he names a particular case, of Elmesly v. Lee's executors, "of the recovery of a British debt in the superior court at Edenton." See Mr. Johnston's letter, No. 54.

In South Carolina, we learn, from No: 55, of particular judgments rendered,

and prosecutions carried on, without obstacle, by British creditors, and that the courts are open to them there as elsewhere. As to the modifications of the execution heretofore made by the State law having been the same for foreigner and citizen, a court would decide whether the treaty is satisfied by this equal measure; and if the British creditor is privileged by that against even the same modifications to which citizens and foreigners of all other nations were equally subjected, then the law imposing them was a mere nullity.


In Georgia, the letter of the Senators and Representatives in Congress, No. 56, assures us that, though they do not know of any recovery of a British debt, in their State, neither do they know of a denial to recover since the ratification of the treaty, the creditors having mostly preferred amicable settlement; and that the federal court is as open and unobstructed to British creditors there, as in any other of the United States; and this is further proved by the late recovery of Brails