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shone on man,-endeavored to crush your well-earnt & welldeserved fame. But it was the Lilliputians upon Gulliver. Our countrymen have recovered from the alarm into which art & industry had thrown them ; science & honesty are replaced on their high ground ; and you, my dear Sir, as their great apostle, are on it's pinnacle. It is with heartfelt satisfaction that, in the first moments of my public action, I can hail you with welcome to our land, tender to you the homage of it's respect & esteem, cover you under the protection of those laws which were made for the wise and good like you, and disdain the legitimacy of that libel on legislation, which, under the form of a law, was for some time placed among them.'
As the storm is now subsiding, and the horizon becoming serene, it is pleasant to consider the phenomenon with attention. We can no longer say there is nothing new under the sun. For this whole chapter in the history of man is new. The great extent of our Republic is new. Its sparse habitation is new. The mighty wave of public opinion which has rolled over it is new. But the most pleasing novelty is, it's so quickly subsiding over such an extent of surface to it's true level again. The order & good sense displayed in this recovery from delusion, and in the momentous crisis which lately arose, really bespeak a strength of character in our nation which augurs well for the duration of our Republic ; & I am much better satisfied now of it's stability than I was before it was tried. I have been, above all things, solaced by the prospect which opened on us, in the event of a non-election of a President ; in which case, the federal government would have been in the situation of a clock or watch run down. There was no idea of force, nor of any occasion for it. A convention, invited by the Republican members of Congress, with the virtual President & Vice President, would have been on the ground in 8. weeks, would have repaired the Constitution where it was defective, & wound it up again. This peaceable & legitimate resource, to which we are in the habit of implicit obedience, superseding all appeal to force, and being always within our reach, shows a precious principle of self-preservation in our composi
1 In the margin is written by Jefferson
" Alien law."
tion, till a change of circumstances shall take place, which is not within prospect at any definite period.
But I have got into a long disquisition on politics, when I only meant to express my sympathy in the state of your health, and to tender you all the affections of public & private hospitality. I should be very happy indeed to see you here. I leave this about the 30th inst., to return about the twenty-fifth of April. If you do not leave Philadelphia before that, a little excursion hither would help your health. I should be much gratifled with the possession of a guest I so much esteem, and should claim a right to lodge you, should you make such an excursion.
TO DOCTOR GEORGE LOGAN.
WASHINGTON, Mar. 21, 1801. DEAR SIR, -An immense press of business has prevented me sooner acknowleging your favors of Feb. 20. and 27. I join you in congratulations on the return of republican ascendancy; and also in a sense of the necessity of restoring freedom to the ocean. But I doubt, with you, whether the U. S. ought to join in an armed confederacy for that purpose ; or rather I am satisfied they ought not. It ought to be the very first object of our pursuits to have nothing to do with the European interests and politics. Let them be free or slaves at will, navigators or agricultural, swallowed into one government or divided into a thousand, we have nothing to fear from them in any form. If therefore to take a part in their conflicts would be to divert our energies from creation to destruction. Our commerce is so valuable to them that they will be glad to purchase it when the only price we ask is to do us justice. I believe we have in our own hands the means of peaceable coercion ; and that the moment they see our government so united as that they can make use of it, they will for their own interest be disposed to do us justice. In this way you shall not be obliged by any treaty of confederation to go to war for injuries done to others.
I will pray you to make my affectionate respects acceptable to Mrs. Logan and to receive yourself assurances of my constant esteem & attachment.
TO NATHANIEL NILES.
WASHINGTON, Mar 22, 1801. DEAR SIR,—Your favor of Feb 12, which did not get to my hands till Mar 2, is entitled to my acknowledgments. It was the more agreeable as it proved that the esteem I had entertained for you while we were acting together on the public stage, had not been without reciprocated effect. What wonderful scenes have passed since that time! The late chapter of our history furnishes a lesson to man perfectly new. The times have been awful, but they have proved an useful truth, that the good citizen must never despair of the commonwealth. How many good men abandoned the deck, & gave up the vessel as lost. It furnishes a new proof of the falsehood of Montesquieu's doctrine, that a republic can be preserved only in a small territory. The reverse is the truth. Had our territory been even a third only of what it is, we were gone. But while frenzy & delusion like an epidemic, gained certain parts, the residue remained sound & untouched, and held on till their brethren could recover from the temporary delusion; and that circumstance has given me great comfort. There was general alarm during the pending of the election in Congress, lest no President should be chosen, the government be dissolved and anarchy ensue.
But the cool determination of the really patriotic to call a convention in that case, which might be on the ground in 8. weeks, and wind up the machine again which had only run down, pointed out to my mind a perpetual & peaceable resource against [faded] force (?) [faded] in whatever extremity might befall us ; and I am certain a convention would have commanded immediate and universal obedience. How happy that our army had been disbanded! What might have happened otherwise seems rather a subject of reflection than explanation. You have seen your recommendation of Mr. Willard duly respected. As to yourself, I hope we shall see you again in Congress. Accept assurances of my high respect and attachment.
TO WILLIAM B. GILES.
WASHINGTON, Mar. 23, 1801. DEAR SIR,—I received two days ago your favor of the 16th, and thank you for your kind felicitations on my election ; but whether it will be a subject of felicitation, permanently, will be for the chapters of future history to say. The important subjects of the government I meet with some degree of courage and confidence, because I do believe the talents to be associated with me, the honest line of conduct we will religiously pursue at home and abroad, and the confidence of my fellow citizens dawning on us, will be equal to these objects. But there is another branch of duty which I must meet with
이 courage too, though I cannot without pain; that is, the appointments & disappointments as to offices. Madison & Gallatin being still absent, we have not yet decided on our rules of conduct as to these. That some ought to be removed from office, & that all ought not, all mankind will agree. But where to draw the line, perhaps no two will agree.. Consequently, nothing! like a general approbation on this subject can be looked for. Some principles have been the subject of conversation, but not of determination ; e. g. 1, all appointments to civil offices during pleasure, made after the event of the election was certainly known to Mr. A, are considered as nullities. I do not view the persons appointed as even candidates for the office, but make others without noticing or notifying them. Mr. A's best friends have agreed this is right. 2. Officers who have been guilty of oficial malconduct are proper subjects of removal. 3. Good men, to whom there is no objection but a difference of political principle, practised on only as far as the right of a private citizen will justify, are not proper subjects of removal, except in the case of attorneys & marshals. The courts being so decidedly federal & irremovable, it is believed that republican attorneys & marshals, being the doors of entrance into the courts, are indispensably necessary as a shield to the republican part of our fellow citizens, which, I believe, is the main body of the people.
These principles are yet to be considered of, and I sketch them to you in confidence. Not that there is objection to your moot
ing them as subjects of conversation, and as proceeding from yourself, but not as matters of executive determination. Nay, farther, I will thank you for your own sentiments and those of others on them. If received before the 20th of April, they will be in time for our deliberation on the subject. You know that it was in the year X. Y. Z. that so great a transition from us to the other side took place, & with as real republicans as we were ourselves ; that these, after getting over that delusion, have been returning to us, and that it is to that return we owe a triumph in 1800, which in 1799 would have been the other way.
The week's suspension of the election before Congress, seems almost to have completed that business, and to have brought over nearly the whole remaining mass. They now find themselves with us, & separated from their quondam leaders. If we can but avoid shocking their feelings by unnecessary acts of severity against their late friends, they will in a little time cement & form one mass with us, & by these means harmony & union be restored to our country, which would be the greatest good we could effect. It was a conviction that these people did not differ from us in principle, which induced me to define the principles which I deemed orthodox, & to urge a reunion on those principles; and I am induced to hope it has conciliated many. I do not speak of the desperadoes of the quondam faction in & out of Congress. These I consider as incurables, on whom all attentions would be lost, & therefore will not be wasted. But my wish is, to keep their flock from returning to them.
On the subject of the marshal of Virginia, I refer you confidentially to Majr Egglestone for information. I leave this about this day se’nnight, to make some arrangements at home preparatory to my final removal to this place, from which I shall be absent about three weeks.
TO WILLIAM FINDLEY.
WASHINGTON, Mar. 24, 1801. DEAR SIR,--I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favors of Feb. 28 & Mar. 5. I thank you for the information they contain, and will always be