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would come and dine with our mess to-morrow, if convenient to you, or the next day, and if you could come half an hour before dinner, I would be alone that we might have some conversation; say at half after two.
Or if this should not suit you any other time will be acceptable to me, but that I might be absent or engaged. Accept assurances of sincere esteem and respect from &c.
TO JOHN DICKINSON.
WASHINGTON, Mar. 6, 1801. DEAR SIR,— No pleasure can exceed that which I received from reading your letter of the 21st ult. It was like the joy we expect in the mansions of the blessed, when received with the embraces of our fathers, we shall be welcomed with their blessing as having done our part not unworthily of them. The storm through which we have passed, has been tremendous indeed. The tough sides of our Argosie have been thoroughly tried. Her strength has stood the waves into which she was steered, with a view to sink her. We shall put her on her republican tack, & she will now show by the beauty of her motion the skill of her builders. Figure apart, our fellow citizens have been led hood-winked from their principles, by a most extraordinary combination of circumstances. But the band is removed, and they now see for themselves. I hope to see shortly a perfect consolidation, to effect which, nothing shall be spared on my part, short of the abandonment of the principles of our revolution. A just and solid republican government maintained here, will be a standing monument & example for the aim & imitation of the people of other countries; and I join with you in the hope and belief that they will see, from our example, that a free government is of all others the most energetic; that the inquiry which has been excited among the mass of mankind by our revolution & it's consequences, will ameliorate the condition of man over a great portion of the globe. What a sat. . isfaction have we in the contemplation of the benevolent effects of our efforts, compared with those of the leaders on the other side, who have discountenanced all advances in science as dangerous innovations, have endeavored to render philosophy and republicanism terms of reproach, to persuade us that man cannot be governed but by the rod, &c. I shall have the happiness of living & dying in the contrary hope. Accept assurances of my constant & sincere respect and attachment, and my affectionate salutations.
WASHINGTON, Feb [i. e. Mar.] 7, 1801. DEAR SIR, I had written the enclosed letter to Mrs. Trist, and was just proceeding to begin one to you, when your favor of the 6th was put into my hands. . I thank you sincerely for it, and consider the views of it so sound, that I have communicated it to my coadjutors as one of our important evidences of the public sentiment, according to which we must shape our
I suspect, partly from this, but more from a letter of J. Taylor's which had been put into my hands, that an incorrect idea of my views had got abroad. I am in hopes my inaugural address will in some measure set this to rights, as it will present the leading objects to be conciliation and adherence to sound principle. This I know is impracticable with the leaders of the late faction, whom I abandon as incurables, & will never turn an inch out of my way to reconcile them. But with the main body of the federalists, I believe it very practicable. You know that the manœuvres of the year X. Y. Z. carried over from us a great body of the people, real republicans, & honest men under virtuous motives. The delusion lasted a while. At length the poor arts of tub plots, &c. were repeated till the designs of the party became suspected. From that moment those who had left us began to come back. It was by their return to us that we gained the victory in Nov, 1800, which we should not have gained in Nov, 1799. But during the suspension of the public mind from the uth to the 17th of Feb, and the anxiety & alarm lest there should be no election, & anarchy ensue, a wonderful effect was produced on the mass of federalists who had not before come over. Those who had before become sensible of their error in the former change, & only wanted a decent excuse for coming back, seized that occasion for doing so. Another body, and a large one it is, who from timidity of constitution had gone with those who wished for a strong executive, were induced by the same timidity to come over
to us rather than risk anarchy: so that, according to the evidence we receive from every direction, we may say that the whole of that portion of the people which were called federalists, were made to desire anxiously the very event they had just before opposed with all their energies, and to receive the election which was made, as an object of their earnest wishes, a child of their own.
These people (I always exclude their leaders) are now aggregated with us, they look with a certain degree of affection and confidence to the administration, ready to become attached to it, if it avoids in the outset acts which might revolt and throw them off. To give time for a perfect consolidation seems prudent. I have firmly refused to follow the counsels of those who have advised the giving offices to some of their leaders, in order to reconcile. I have given, and will give only to republicans, under existing circumstances. But I believe with others, that deprivations of office, if made on the ground of political principles alone, would revolt our new converts, and give a body to leaders who now stand alone. Some, I know, must be made. They must be as few as possible, done gradually, and bottomed on some malversation or inherent disqualification. Where we shall draw the line between retaining all & none, is not yet settled, and will not be till we get our administration together; and perhaps even then, we shall proceed à talons, balancing our measures according to the impression we perceive them to make.
This may give you a general view of our plan. Should
be in Albemarle the first week in April,
I shall have the pleasure of seeing you there, and of developing things more particularly, and of profiting by an intercommunication of views. Dawson sails for France about the fifteenth, as the bearer only of the treaty to Elsworth & Murray. He has probably asked your commands, and your introductory letters.
Present my respects to Mrs. Monroe, and accept assurances of my high and affectionate consideration and attachment.
WASHINGTON, Mar. 8, 1801. DEAR GENERAL,—I have to acknowledge your friendly letter of Feb. 9 as well as a former one. Before that came to hand an arrangement had been settled ; and in our country you know, talents alone are not to be the determining circumstance, but a geographical equilibrium is to a certain degree expected. The different parts in the union expect to share the public appointments. The character you point out was known to me & valued of old. On the whole I hope we shall make up an administration which will unite a great mass of confidence, and bid defiance to the plans of opposition meditated by leaders who are now almost destitute of followers. If we can hit
1 on the true line of conduct which may conciliate the honest part of those who were called federalists, & do justice to those who have so long been excluded from it, I shall hope to be able to obliterate, or rather to
From the original in the possession of Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet of New