« PreviousContinue »
to you at Rose Hill, and am not without hope of meeting you here some time.
Here, there, and everywhere else, I am with great and sincere attachment and respect, your friend and servant.
TO JAMES MADISON.
PuladeLPHIA. June 1, 1797. DEAR SIR,—I wrote you on the 18th of May. The address of the Senate was soon after that. The first draught was responsive to the speech, and higher toned. Mr. Henry arrived the day it was reported; the addressers had not yet their strength around them. They listened therefore to his objections, recommitted the papers, added him and Tazewell to the committee, and it was reported with considerable alterations ; but one great attack was made on it, which was to strike out the clause approving everything heretofore done by the executive. This clause was retained by a majority of four. They received a new accession of members, held a caucus, took up
all the points recommended in the speech, except the raising money, agreed the list of every committee, and on Monday passed the resolutions and appointed the committees, by an uniform vote of seventeen to eleven. (Mr. Henry was accidentally absent; Ross not then come.) Yesterday they took up the nomination of John Quincy Adams to Berlin, which had been objected to as extending our diplomatic establishment. It was approved by eighteen to fourteen. (Mr. Tatnall accidentally absent.) From the proceedings we are able to see, that eighteen on the one side and ten on the other, with two wavering votes, will decide every question. Schuyler is too ill to come this session, and Gunn has not yet come. Pinckney (the General), John Marshall and Dana are nominated Envoys Extraordinary to France. Chas. Lee consulted a member from Virginia to know whether Marshall would be agreeable. He named you, as more likely to
give satisfaction. The answer was, “ Nobody of Mr. Madison's way of thinking will be appointed.”
The representatives have not yet got through their addresses. An amendment of Mr. Nicholas', which you will have seen in the papers, was lost by a division of forty-six to fifty-two. A clause by Mr. Dayton, expressing a wish that France might be put on an equal footing with other nations, was inserted by fiftytwo against forty-seven. This vote is most worthy of notice, because the moderation and justice of the proposition being unquestionable, it shows that there are forty-seven decided to go to all lengths to* They have received a new orator from the district of Mr. Ames. He is the son of the Secretary of the Senate. They have an accession from South Carolina also, that State being exactly divided. In the House of Representatives I learned the following facts, which give me real concern. When the British treaty arrived at Charleston, a meeting, as you know, was called, and a committee of seventeen appointed, of whom General Pinckney
He did not attend. They waited for him, sent for him; he treated the mission with great hauteur, and disapproved of their meddling. In the course of the subsequent altercations, he declared that his brother, T. Pinckney, approved of every article of the treaty, under the existing circumstances, and since that time, the politics of Charleston have been assuming a different hue. Young Rutledge joining Smith and Harper, is an ominous fact as to that whole interest.
Tobacco is at nine dollars, and flour very dull of sale. A great stagnation in commerce generally. During the present bankruptcy in England, the merchants seem disposed to lie on their
It is impossible to conjecture the rising of Congress, as it will depend on the system they decide on; whether of prepara
; tion for war, or inaction. In the vote of forty-six to fifty-two, Morgan, Machir and Evans were of the majority, and Clay kept his seat, refusing to vote with either. In that of forty-seven to fifty-two, Evans was the only one of our delegation who
[* A few lines are here illegible.)
voted against putting France on an equal footing with other nations.
P. M. So far, I had written in the morning. I ww take up my pen to add, that the addresses having been reported to the House, it was moved to disagree to so much of the amendment as went to the putting France on an equal footing with other nations, and Morgan and Machir turning tail, (in consequence, as is said, of having been closeted last night by Charles Lee,) the vote was forty-nine to fifty. So the principle was saved by a single vote. They then proposed that compensations for spoliations shall be a sine qua non, and this will be decided on to-morrow. Yours affectionately.
TO FRENCH STROKER, ESQ.
PHILADELPHIA. June 8, 1797. DEAR SIR,—In compliance with the desire you expressed in the few short moments I had the pleasure of being with you at Fredericksburg, I shall give you some account of what is passing here. The President's speech you will have seen; and how far its aspects was turned towards war. Our opinion here is that the Executive had that in contemplation, and were not without expectation that the Legislature might catch the flame. A powerful part of that has shown a disposition to go all lengths with the Executive; and they have been able to persuade some of more moderate principles to go so far with them as to join them in a very sturdy address. They have voted the completing and manning the three frigates, and going on with the fortifications. The Senate have gone much further, they have brought in bills for buying more armed vessels, sending them and the frigates out as convoys to our trade, raising more cavalry, more artillerists, and providing a great army, to come into active service only, if necessary. They have not decided whether they will permit the merchants to arm. The hope and belief is that the Representatives will concur in none of these measures, thongh their divisions
hitherto have been so equal as to leave us under doubt and apprehension. The usual majorities have been from one to six votes, and these sometimes one way, sometimes the other. Three of the Virginia members dividing from their collegues occasion the whole difficulty. If they decline these measures, we shall rise about the 17th instant. It appears that the dispositions of
. the French government towards us wear a very angry cast indeed, and this before Pickering's letter to Pinckney was known to them. We do not know what effect that may produce. We expect Paine every day in a vessel from Havre, and Colonel Monroe in one from Bordeaux. Tobacco keeps up at a high price and will still rise ; flour is dull at $7 50. I am, with great esteem, dear Sir, your friend and servant.
TO MR. MADISON.
PHILADELPHIA, June 15, 1797.-A. M. My last was of the 8th instant. I had enclosed you separately a paper giving you an account of Bonaparte's last great victory. Since which, we receive information that the preliminaries of peace were signed between France and Austria. Mr. Hammond will have arrived at Vienna too late to influence terms. The victories lately obtained by the French on the Rhine, were as splendid as Bonaparte's. The mutiny on board the English fleet, though allayed for the present, has impressed that country with terror. King has written letters to his friends recommend ing a pacific conduct towards France, notwithstanding the continuance of her injustices ? Volney is convinced France will not make peace with England, because it is such an opportunity of sinking her as she never had and may not have again. Bonaparte's army would have to march seven hundred miles to Calais. Therefore, it is imagined that the armies of the Rhine will be destined for England. The Senate yesterday rejected on its second reading their own bill for raising four more companies of light dragoons, by a vote of 15 to 13. Their cost would have been about $120,000 a year. To-day the bill for manning the frigates and buying nine vessels (about $60,000 each,) comes to its third reading. Some flatter us we may throw it out. The trial will be in time to mention the issue herein. The bills for preventing our citizens from engaging in armed vessels of either party, and for prohibiting exportation of arms and ammunition, have passed both Houses. The fortification bill is before the Representatives still. It is thought by many that with all the mollifying clauses they can give it, it may perhaps be thrown out. They have a separate bill for manning the three frigates, but its fate is uncertain. These are probably the ultimate measures which will be adopted, if even these will be adopted. The folly of the convocation of Congress at so inconvenient a season and an expense of $60,000, is now palpable to everybody; or rather it is palpable that war was the object, since, that being out of the question, it is evident there is nothing else. However, nothing less than the miraculous string of events which have taken place, to wit, the victories of the Rhine and Italy, peace with Austria, bankruptcy of England, mutiny in her fleet, and King's writing letters recommending peace, could have cooled the fury of the British faction. Even all that will not prevent considerable efforts still in both parties to show our teeth to France. We had hoped to have risen this week. It is now talked of for the 24th, but it is impossible yet to affix a time. I think I cannot omit being at our court (July 3,) whether Congress rises or not. If so, I shall be with you on the Friday or Saturday
. preceding. I have a couple of pamphlets for you, (Utrum Horum, and Paine's Agrarian Justice,) being the only things since Erskine which have appeared worth notice. Besides Bache's paper
there are two others now accommodated to country circulation. Grile's (successor of Oswald) twice a week without advertisements at four dollars. His debates in Congress are the same with Claypole's. Also Smith proposes to issue a paper once a week, of news only, and an additional sheet while Congress shall be in session, price four dollars. The best daily pa