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such ministers as Vergennes and Calonne, and opposed, for the most part, by all the men of influence who thought that their interests might be compromised or endangered. Among the principal benefits then obtained, and continued to the United States until the period of the French revolution, were the abolition of several monopolies, and the free admission into France of tobacco, rice, whale oil, salted fish, and flour; and of the two latter articles into the French West India islands.
During his residence in Europe, Mr. Jefferson also visited Holland, and his Memoir embraces a brief but clear account of the fatal revolution, by which the Prince of Orange made himself sovereign of that republick, so long and honourably independent. He also crossed the Alps, and travelled through Lombardy, though he did not extend his journey to the southern part of the peninsula. In returning to Paris, he visited all the principal seaports of the southern and western coasts of France, and made many and interesting observations with regard to the culture of the vine, olive, and rice, which were carefully communicated to his friends across the Atlantick; and he had reason to believe, afterwards, that they had not failed to produce benefits, which, in time, will be of wide-extended utility.
When Mr. Jefferson reached Paris, he found that eity in high fermentation from the early events of the revolution ; and during the remainder of his stay in Europe, his attention was well and fully occupied in observing, as an eye witness, the progress of the extraordinary occurrences which from that time took place in rapid succession.
Bimply as the representative of a foreign people, he might be expected to do this; but his situation as the minister of a nation which was supposed to have given the example, and by many, even in this very example, to have lain a train for the subsequent changes, not only caused him to be more curious and anxious him. self, but made him an object of interest and attention to the actors in these new scenes. He was, from circumstances, much acquainted with the leading patriots of the National Assembly; and as he came from a country which had passed successfully through a similar reformation, they were naturally disposed to seek his advice and place confidence in his opinions. It would have been affectation to deny that he looked with pleasure on a successful and beneficial change of the French government, not merely from the advantages it would bring to an oppressed nation, but as ensuring a general improvement in the condition of the people of Europe, ground to the dust as they were by the tyranny of their rulers. But beyond these wishes he did not deem it just or proper to go; and on receiving, upon one occasion, an official invitation of the Archbishop of Bordeaux to attend and assist at the deliberations of an important committee, he excused himself immediately, for the obvious reason, that his duties, as a publick functionary, forbade him to interfere in the internal transactions of the country. He did not, however, consider himself restrained from urging upon his friends of the patriotick party, and especially upon his intimate and influential companion, Lafayette, the propriety, on repeated occasions, of immediate and seasonable compromise-of securing what was offered by the govern
ment—and thus, by degrees, gaining peaceably, what might be lost by grasping too much at once, or be won, as proved to be the case, if as much ever was afterwards won, at sacrifices dreadful beyond calculation The following anecdote is a striking instance taken in Mr. Jefferson's opinions, to which we have alluded.
" I received one morning," he says, “ a note from the Marquis de Lafayette, informing me, that he should bring a party of six or eight friends, to ask a dinner of me the next day. I assured them of their welcome. When they arrived, they were Lafayette himself, Duport, Barnave, Alexander Lameth, Blacon, Mounier, Maubourg, and Dagout. These were leading patriots, of honest but differing opinions, sensible of the necessity of effecting a coalition by mutual sacrifices, knowing each other, and not afraid, therefore, to unbosom themselves mutually. This last was a material principle in the selection. With this view, the Marquis had invited the conference, and had fixed the time and place inadvertently, as to the embarrassment under which it might place one. The cloth being removed, and wine set on the table, after the American manner, the Marquis introduced the objects of the conference, by summarily reminding them of the state of things in the Assembly, the course which the principles of the constitution were taking, and the inevitable result, unless checked by more concord among the patriots themselves. He observed that although he also had his opinion, he was ready to sacrifice it to that of his brethren of the same cause; but that a common opinion must now be formed, or the aristocracy would carry every thing, and that, whatever they should now agree on, he, at
the head of the national force, would maintain. The discussions began at the hour of four, and were continned till ten o'clock in the evening; during which time, I was a silent witness to a coolness and candour of argument, unusual in the conflicts of political opinions; to a logical reasoning, and chaste eloquence, disfigured by no gaudy tinsel of rhetorick or declamation, and truly worthy of being placed in parallel with the finest dialogues of antiquity as handed to us by Xenophon, by Plato, and Cicero. But duties of exculpation were now incumbent on me. I waited on Count Montmoa rin the next morning, and explained to him, with truth and candour, how it had happened that my house had been made the scene of conferences of such a characı ter. He told me, he already knew every thing which had passed: that so far from taking umbrage at the use made of my house on that occasion, he earnestly wished I would habitually assist at such conferences, being sure I should be useful in moderating the warmer spirits, and promoting a wholesome and practicable reformation only. I told him, I knew too well the duties I owed to the King, the nation, and to my own country, to take any part in councils concerning their internal government, and that I should persevere, with care, in the character of a neutral and passive spectator, with wishes only, and very sincere ones, that those measures might prevail which would be for the greatest good of the nation. I have no doubt, indeed, that this con, ference was previously known and approved by this honest minister, who was in confidence and communication with the patriots, and wished for a reasonable ron form of the constitution,
On Mr. Jefferson's first arrival in France, (says a discerning writer,) he had not failed to perceive, in the situation of the government, and the conduct of the thinking part of the community, strong indications of the necessity of a change, and a desire to arouse the nation from the sleep of despotism into which it was sunk. Through the medium of the tion and the intercourse of fashionable life; by the power and singular influence of men of letters then prevailing; these sentiments were disseminated with new and unheard of freedom. In all societies, male and female, politicks had become the universal theme; the witty, the rich, the noble, and the gay, indulged in them, perhaps, as much from fashion as reflection; the young women joined the patriotick party as the mode; the young men naturally followed in their train. The excessive dissipation of the Queen and the court, the corrupt and exclusive power of a small portion of the nobility who controlled it, the abuses of the pension list, the incredible confusion of the finances, the exhausted treasury amid a load of taxes, had so alarmed and paralyzed the ministers, that they had no resource, but themselves to make the first step in the revolution, by calling in at once the assistance of a popular assembly. From this period, the tide swelled on irresistibly, bringing by degrees one improvement after another, and washing away successively the long established mounds, which ages of submission on one hand, and tyranny on the other, had erected against liberty and right; but at last, unfortunately, overwhelming, for a time, the landmarks which justice and reason had formed, as the necessary protection of human and so