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unbrace a single nerve for any treaty France could offer; such was their entire want of faith, morality, &c.”
The bill from the Senate for capturing French armed vessels found hovering on our coast was passed in two days by the lower House, without a single alteration; and the Ganges, a twenty gun sloop, fell down the river instantly to go on a cruise. She has since been ordered to New York, to convoy a vessel from that to this port. The alien bill will be ready to day, probably, for its third reading in the Senate. It has been considerably mollified, particularly by a proviso saving the rights of treaties. Still, it is a most detestable thing. I was glad, in yesterday's discussion, to hear it admitted on all hands, that laws of the United States, subsequent to a treaty, control its operation, and that the Legislature is the only power which can control a treaty. Both points are sound beyond doubt. This bill will unquestionably pass the House of Representatives, the majority there being very decisive, consolidated, and bold enough to do anything. I have no doubt from the hints dropped, they will pass a bill to declare the French treaty void. I question if they will think a declaration of war prudent, as it might alarm, and all its effects are answered by the act authorizing captures. A bill is brought in for suspending all communication with the dominions of France, which will no doubt pass. It is suspected that they mean to borrow money of individuals in London, on the credit of our land tax, and perhaps the guarantee of Great Britain. The land tax was yesterday debated, and a majority of six struck out the thirteenth section of the classification of houses, and taxed them by a different scale from the lands. Instead of this, is to be proposed a valuation of the houses and lands together. Macon yesterday laid a motion on the table for adjourning on the 14th. Some think they do not mean to adjourn ; others, that they wait first the return of the Envoys, for whom it is now avowed the brig Sophia was sent. It is expected she would bring them off about the middle of this month. They may, therefore, be expected here about the second week of July. Whatever be their decision as to adjournment I think it probable my next letter
will convey orders for my horses, and that I shall leave this place from the 20th to the 25th of June; for I have no expectation they will actually adjourn sooner. Volney and a ship-load of others sail on Sunday next. Another ship-load will go off in about three weeks. It is natural to expect they go under irritations calculated to fan the flame. Not so Volney. He is most thoroughly impressed with the importance of preventing war, whether considered with reference to the interests of the two countries, of the cause of republicanism, or of man on the broad scale. But an eagerness to render this prevention impossible, leaves me without any hope. Some of those who have insisted that it was long since war on the part of France, are candid enough to admit that it is now begun on our part also. I enclose for your perusal a poem on the alien bill, written by Mr. Marshall. I do this, as well for your amusement, as to get you to take care of this copy for me till I return; for it will be lost in lending it, if I retain it here, as the publication was suppressed after the sale of a few copies, of which I was fortunate enough to get one. Your locks, hinges, &c., shall be immediately attended to.
My respectful salutations and friendship to Mrs. Madison, to the family, and to yourself. Adieu.
P.S. The President, it is said, has refused an Exequatur to the consul general of France, Dupont.
TO JOHN TAYLOR.
PHILADELPHIA, June 1, 1798.
Mr. New showed me your letter on the subject of the patent, which gave me an opportunity of observing what you said as to the effect, with you, of public proceedings, and that it was not unwise now to estimate the separate mass of Virginia and North Carolina, with a view to their separate existence. It is true that we are completely under the saddle of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and that they ride us very hard, cruelly insulting our feelings, as well as exhausting our strength and subsistence. Their natural friends, the three other eastern States, join them from a sort of family pride, and they have the art to divide certain other parts of the Union, so as to make use of them to govern the whole. This is not new, it is the old practice of despots; to use a part of the people to keep the rest in order. And those who have once got an ascendancy, and possessed themselves of all the resources of the nation, their revenues and offices, have immense means for retaining their advantage. But our present situation is not a natural one. The republicans, through every part of the Union, say, that it was the irresistible influence and popularity of General Washington played off by the cunning of Hamilton, which turned the government over to anti-republican hands, or turned the republicans chosen by the people into anti-republicans. He delivered it over to his successor in this state, and very untoward events since, improved with great artifice, have produced on the public mind the impressions we see. But still I repeat it, this is not the natural state. Time alone would bring round an order of things more correspondent to the sentiments of our constituents. But are there no events impending, which will do it within a few months? The crisis with England, the public and authentic avowal of sentiments hostile to the leading principles of our Constitution, the prospect of a war, in which we shall stand alone, land tax, stamp tax, increase of public debt, &c. Be this as it
Be this as it may, in every free and deliberating society, there must, from the nature of man, be opposite parties, and violent dissensions and discords; and one of these, for the most part, must prevail over the other for a longer or shorter time. ( Perhaps this party division is necessary to induce each to watch and delate to the people the proceedings of the other. But if on a temporary superiority of the one party, the other is to resort to a scission of the Union, no federal government can ever exist. If to rid ourselves of the present rule of Massachusetts and Connecticut, we break the Union, will the evil stop there? Suppose the New England States alone cut off,
will our nature be changed? Are we not men still to the south of that, and with all the passions of men? Immediately, we shall see a Pennsylvania and a Virginia party arise in the resirluary confederacy, and the public mind will be distracted with the same party spirit.) What a game too will the one party have in their hands, by eternally threatening the other that unless they do so und so, they will join their northern neighbors. If we reduce our Union to Virginia and North Carolina, immediately the conflict will be established between the representatives of these two States, and they will end by breaking into their simple units. Seeing, therefore, that an association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry; seeing that we must have somebody to quarrel with, I had rather keep our New England associates for that purpose, than to see our bickerings transferred to others. They are circumscribed within such narrow limits, and their population so full, that their numbers will ever be the minority, and they are marked, like the Tews, with such a perversity of character, as to constitute, from that circumstance, the natural division of our parties. , A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolved, and the people recovering their true sight, restoring their government to its true principles. It is true, that in the meantime, we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war, and long oppressions of enormous public debt. But who can say what would be the evils of a scission, and when and where they would end? Better keep together as we are, haul off from Europe as soon as we can, and from all attachments to any portions of it; and if they show their power just sufficiently to hoop us together, it will be the happiest situation in which we can exist. If the game runs sometimes against us at home, we must have patience till luck turns, and then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost. For this is a game where principles are the stake. Better luck, therefore, to us all, and health, happiness and friendly salutations to yourself. Adieu.
P. S. It is hardly necessary to caution you to let nothing of mine get before the public; a single sentence got hold of by the Porcupines, will suffice to abuse and persecute me in their papers for months.
TO GENERAL KOSCIUSKO.
PHILADELPHIA, June 1, 1798. DEAR SIR,—Mr. Volney's departure for France gives me an opportunity of writing to you. I was happy in observing, for many days after your departure, that our winds were favorable for you. I hope, therefore, you quickly passed the cruising grounds on our coast, and have safely arrived at the term of your journey. Your departure is not yet known, or even suspected.* Niemsevioz was much affected. He is now at the federal city. He desired me to have some things taken care of for you. There were some kitchen furniture, backgammon table and chess men, and a pelise of fine fur. The latter I have taken to my own apartment and had packed in hops, and sewed up; the former are put into a warehouse of Mr. Barnes; all subject to your future orders. Some letters came for you soon after your departure : the person who delivered them said there were enclosed in them some for your friend whom you left here, and desired I would open them. I did so in his presence, found only one letter for your friend, took it out and sealed the letters again in the presence of the same person, without reading a word or look
[* Shortly before, Mr. Jefferson had obtained passports for General Kosciusko, under an assumed name, from the foreign ministers in this country. The annexed is the note addressed to Mr. Liston, soliciting one from him.
“ Thomas Jefferson presents his respects to Mr. Liston, and asks the favor of the passport for his friend Thomas Kanberg, of whom he spoke to him yesterday. He is a native of the north of Europe, (perhaps of Germany,) has been known to Thomas Jefferson these twenty years in America, is of a most excellent character, stands in no relation whatever to any of the belligerent powers, as to whom Thomas Jefferson is not afraid to be responsible for his political innocence, as he goes merely for his private affairs. He will sail from Baltimore, if he finds there a good opportunity for France; and if not, he will come on here. March 27, 1798."]