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Anderson's bill. I think I shall be able finally to settle the affair of Colle on my return home, and to remit the amount of both to our friends V. Staphorsts. I meant to have solicited his amount for Derieux and his wife, who are reduced to the most abject poverty. They have 8. or 10. children, who often need the first necessaries of life. He is living on a small farm in one of the western counties, which some of us joined in buying a lease of for 20. years, and a horse &c. to stock it. He had before exhausted us in the article of contributions, so that this was the last he could expect. How far the change in your own situation renders this aid reasonably to be expected, is now questionable. You will have time to say yourself. Both the James Madisons, to wit, of Williamsbg and of Orange are living and well. The latter is now Secretary of State, but not yet come on. His father [faded] He with Gallatin as Secretary of the Treasury, Genl. Dearborn, Secretary at War and Mr. Lincoln Attorney Genl compose the new administration of the U. S. The person proposed as Secretary of the Navy has not yet accepted. I add no signature because of the perils by land and sea to which this may be exposed, but you can be at no loss from whom it comes. I shall be happy to hear from you often. Accept assurances of my constant & affectionate friendship. Adieu.
VOL. VIII.- 2
TO THOMAS PAINE.'
WASHINGTON, March 18, 1801. DEAR SIR,—Your letters of Oct. ist, 4th, 6th 16th, came duly to hand, and the papers which they covered were according to your permission, published in the newspapers and in a pamphlet, and under your own name. These papers
contain precisely our principles, and I hope they will be generally recognized here. Determined as we are to avoid, if possible, wasting the energies of our people in war and destruction, we shall avoid implicating ourselves with the powers of Europe, even in support of principles which we mean to pursue. They have so many other interests different from ours that we must avoid being entangled in them. We believe that we can enforce those principles as to ourselves by peaceful means, now that we are likely to have our public councils detached from foreign views. The return of our citizens from the phrenzy into which they have been wrought, partly by ill conduct in France, partly by artifices practised upon them, is almost extinct, and will, I believe become quite so. But these details, too minute and long for a letter, will be better developed by Mr. Dawson the bearer of this a member of the late congress, to whom I refer you for them.
He goes in the Maryland sloop of war, which will wait a few days at Havre to receive his letters to be written on his arrival at Paris. You expressed a wish to get a passage to this country in a public vessel. Mr. Dawson is charged with orders to the captain of the Maryland to receive and accommodate you back if you can be ready to depart at such short warning. Rob. R. Livingston is appointed minister plenipotentiary to the republic of France, but will not leave this, till we receive the ratification of the convention by Mr. Dawson. I am in hopes you will find us returned generally to sentiments worthy of former times. In these it will be your glory to have steadily laboured and with as much effect as any man living. That you may long live to continue your useful labours and to reap the reward in the thankfulness of nations is my sincere prayer. Accept assurance of my high esteem and affectionate attachment.
1 From The Balance, 11., p. 162, 1803.
TO JOSEPH MATHIAS GÉRARD DE RAYNEVAL, J. Mss.
WASHINGTON, Mar 20, 1801. DEAR SIR, -Mr. Pichon, who arrived two days ago, delivered me your favor of Jan 1, and I had before received one by Mr. Dupont, dated Aug 24, 99, both on the subject of lands, claimed on behalf of your brother, Mr. Gerard, and that of Aug 24, containing a statement of the case. I had verbally explained to Mr. Dupont, at the time, what I presumed to have been the case, which must, I believe, be very much mistaken in the statement sent with that letter; and I expected he had communicated it to you.
During the regal government, two companies, called the Loyal & the Ohio companies, had obtained grants from the crown for 800,000, or 1,000,000 of acres of land, each, on the Ohio, on condition of settling them in a given number of years. They surveyed some, & settled them ; but the war of 1755 came on, & broke up the settlements. After it was over, they petitioned for a renewal. Four other large companies then formed themselves, called the Mississippi, the Illinois, the Wabash, & the Indiana companies, each praying for immense quantities of land, some amounting to 200 miles square ; so that they proposed to cover the whole country north between the Ohio & Mississippi, & a great portion of what is south. All these petitions were depending, without any answer whatever from the crown, when the Revolution war broke out. The petitioners had associated to themselves some of the nobility of England, & most of the characters in America of great influence. When Congress assumed the government, they took some of their body in as partners, to obtain their influence; and I remembered to have heard, at the time, that one of them took Mr. Gerard as a partner, expecting by that to obtain the influence of the French court, to obtain grants of those lands which they had not been able to obtain from the British government. All these lands were within the limits of Virginia and that State determined, peremptorily, that they never should be granted to large companies, but left open equally to all ; and when they passed their land law, (which I think was in 1778,) they confirmed only so much of the lands of the Loyal company as they had actually surveyed, which was a very small proportion, and annulled every other pretension. And when that State conveyed the lands to Congress, (which was not till 1784,) so determined were they to prevent their being granted to these or any other large companies, that they made it an express condition of the cession, that they should be applied first towards the soldiers' bounties, and the residue sold for the paiment of the national debt and for no other purpose. This disposition has been, accordingly, rigorously made, and is still going on; and Congress considers itself as having no authority to dispose of them otherwise.
I will particularly note the errors in the statement of Aug 99. It says the Congress granted to the Wabash company the lands on that river dividing them into 82 lots. Congress never meddled with them (much less granted them) till after the cession of Virginia. The company consisted perhaps of 80. persons, and of course the lands if they had been obtained, would have been divided into so many lots. It says ‘again made this grant direct as a proof of their esteem &c. Mr. Gerard left this country in 1779. The cession of lands by Virginia to Congress was not till 1784. It says that this intention of Congress was submitted to Lewis XVI. who [faded] his minister to accept it. I believe the fact was that when the Wabash company proposed to associate Mr. Gerard as a partner, he thought it necessary first to ask leave from his sovereign who gave his assent. But in all this transaction Congress had nothing to do & meddled not.
I sincerely wish, Sir, it had been in my power to have given you a more agreeable account of this claim. But as the case actually is, the most substantial service is to state it exactly, and not to foster false expectations. I remember with great sensibility all the attentions you were so good as to render me while I resided in Paris, and shall be made happy by every occasion which can be given me of acknowledging them; and the expressions of your friendly recollection are particularly soothing to me.
TO DOCTOR JOSEPH PRIESTLEY.
WASHINGTON, Mar 21, 1801. DEAR SIR, -I learnt some time ago that you were in Philadelphia, but that it was only for a fortnight ; & supposed you were gone. It was not till yesterday I received information that you were still there, had been very ill, but were on the recovery. I sincerely rejoice that you are so.
Yours is one of the few lives precious to mankind, & for the continuance of which every thinking man is solicitous. Bigots may be an exception. What an effort, my dear Sir, of bigotry in Politics & Religion have we gone through! The barbarians really flattered themselves they should be able to bring back the times of Vandalism, when ignorance put everything into the hands of power & priestcraft. All advances in science were proscribed as innovations. They pretended to praise and encourage education, but it was to be the education of our ancestors. We were to look backwards, not forwards, for improvement; the President himself declaring, in one of his answers to addresses, that we were never to expect to go beyond them in real science. This was the real ground of all the attacks on you. Those who live by mystery & charlatanerie, fearing you would render them useless by simplifying the Christian philosophy,—the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever