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though I know not as yet when one worthy of confidence will occur. And my trust in you
leaves me without a fear that this letter, meant as a confidential communication of my impressions, will ever go out of your own hand, or be suffered in anywise to commit my name. Indeed, besides the accidents which might happen to it even under your care, considering the accident of death to which you are liable, I think it safest to pray you, after reading it as often as you please, to destroy at least the second and third leaves. The first contains principles only, which I fear not to avow; but the second and third contain facts stated for your information, and which, though sacredly conformable to my firm belief, yet would be galling to some, and expose me to illiberal attacks. I therefore repeat my prayer to burn the second and third leaves. And did we ever expect to see the day, when, breathing nothing but sentiments of love to our country and its freedom and happiness, our correspondence must be as secret as if we were hatching its destruction! Adieu, my friend, and accept my sincere and affectionate salutations. I need not add my signature.
TO EDMUND PENDLETON.
PHILADELPHIA, January 29, 1799. DEAR SIR,—Your patriarchal address to your country is running through all the republican papers, and has a very great effect on the people. It is short, simple, and presents things in a view they readily comprehend. The character and circumstances too of the writer leave them without doubts of his motives. If, like the patriarch of old, you had but one blessing to give us, I should have wished it directed to a particular object. But I hope you have one for this also. You know what a wicked use has been made of the French negotiation; and particularly the X. Y. Z. dish cooked up by
where the swindlers are made to appear as the French government. Art and industry com
bined, have certainly wrought out of this business a wonderful effect on the people. Yet they have been astonished more than they have understood it, and now that Gerry's correspondence comes out, clearing the French government of that turpitude, and showing them “sincere in their dispositions for peace, not wishing us to break the British treaty, and willing to arrange a liberal one with us," the people will be disposed to suspect they have been duped. But these communications are too voluminous for them, and beyond their reach. A recapitulation is now wanting of the whole story, stating every thing according to what we may now suppose to have been the truth, short, simple and levelled to every capacity. Nobody in America can do it so well as yourself, in the same character of the father of your country, or any form you like better, and so concise, as omitting nothing material, may yet be printed in hand bills, of which we could print and disperse ten or twelve thousand copies under letter covers, through all the United States, by the members of Congress when they return home. If the understanding of the people could be rallied to the truth on this subject, by exposing the dupery practised on them, there are so many other things about to bear on them favorably for the resurrection of their republican spirit, that a reduction of the administration to constitutional principles cannot fail to be the effect. These are the alien and sedition laws, the vexations of the stamp act, the disgusting particularities of the direct tax, the additional army without an enemy, and recruiting officers lounging at every Court House to decoy the laborer from his plough, a navy of fifty ships, five millions to be raised to build it, on the usurious interest of eight per cent., the perseverance in war on our part, when the French government shows such an anxious desire to keep at peace with us, taxes of ten millions now paid by four millions of people, and yet a necessity, in a year or two, of raising five millions more for annual expenses.
These things will immediately be bearing on the public mind, and if it remain not still blinded by a supposed necessity, for the purposes of maintaining our independence and defending our country, they will set things to rights
I hope you will undertake this statement. If anybody else had possessed your happy talent for this kind of recapitulation, I would have been the last to disturb you with the application ; but it will really be rendering our country a service greater than it is in the power of any other individual to render. To save you the trouble of hunting the several documents from which this statement is to be taken, I have collected them here completely, and enclose them to you.
Logan's bill has passed. On this subject, it is hardly necessary for me to declare to you, on everything sacred, that the part they ascribed to me was entirely a calumny. Logan called on me, four or five days before his departure, and asked and received a certificate (in my private capacity) of his citizenship and circum. stances of life, merely as a protection, should he be molested in the present turbulent state of Europe. I have given such to an hundred others, and they have been much more frequently asked and obtained by tories than whigs.
Accept my sincere prayers for long and happy years to you still, and my affectionate salutations and adieu.
TO COLONEL N. LEWIS.
DEAR SIR,—Believing that the letters of Messrs. Gerry and Talleyrand, will give you pleasure to peruse, I send you a copy; you will perceive by them the anxiety of the Government of France for a reconciliation with us, and Mr. Gerry's belief of their sincerity, and that they were ready to have made a liberal treaty with us. You will also see by Mr. Pickering's report that we are determined to believe no declarations they can make, but to meet their peaceable professions with acts of war. An act has passed the House of Representatives by a majority of twenty, for continuing the law cutting off intercourse with France, but allowing the President by proclamation, to except out of this such parts
of their dominions as disavow the depredations committed on us. This is intended for St. Domingo, where Toussaint has thrown off dependence on France. He has an agent here on this busi
Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted six ships of
and six of 18, making 552 guns. These would cost in England $5,000 a gun. They would cost here $10,000, so the whole will cost five and a half millions of dollars. Their annual expense is stated at £1,000 Virginia money a gun, being a little short of two millions of dollars. And this is only a part of what is proposed; the whole contemplated being twelve 74's, 12 frigates and about 25 smaller vessels. The state of our income and expence is (in round numbers) nearly as follows:
Imports seven and a half millions of dollars; excise, auctions, licenses, carriages half a million; postage, patents, and bank stock, one-eighth of a million, making eight and one-eighth millions. To these the direct tax and stamp tax will add two millions clear of expence, making in the whole ten and one-eight millions. The expences on the civil list, three-fourths of a million, foreign intercourse half a million, interest on the public debt four millions, the present navy two and a half millions, the present army one and a half millions, making nine and one-quarter millions. The additional army will be two and a half millions, the additional navy three millions, and interest on the new loan near one-half a million, in all, fifteen and one-quarter millions; so in about a year or two there will be five millions annually to be raised by taxes in addition to the ten millions we now pay. Suppose our population is now five millions, this would be three dollars a head. This is exclusive of the outfit of the navy, for which a loan is opened to borrow five millions at eight per cent. If we can remain at peace, we have this in our favor, that these projects will require time to execute; that in the meantime, the sentiments of the people in the middle States are visibly turning back to their former direction, the X. Y. Z. delusion being abated, and their minds become sensible to the circumstances surrounding them, to wit: the alien and sedition acts, the vexations of the stamp act, the direct tax, the follies of the additional army and navy
money borrowed for these at the usurious interest of eight per cent., and Mr. Gerry's communications showing that peace is ours unless we throw it away. But if the joining the revolted subjects (negroes) of France, and surrounding their islands with our armed vessels, instead of their merely cruising on our own coasts to protect our own commerce, should provoke France to a declaration of war, these measures will become irremediable.
The English and German papers are killing and eating Bonaparte every day. He is, however, safe ; has effected a peaceable establishment of government in Egypt, the inhabitants of which have preferred him to their mameluke Governors, and the expectation is renewed of his march to India.
In that country great preparations are made for the overthrow of the English power.
The insurrection of Ireland seems to be reduced low. The peace between France and the Empire seems also to be doubtful. Very little is apprehended for them from anything which the Turks and Russians can do against them. I wish I could have presented you with a more comfortable view of our affairs. However, that will come if the friends of reform, while they remain firm, avoid every act and threat against the peace of the Union, that would check the favorable sentiments of the Middle States, and rally them again around the measures which are ruining us. Reason, not rashness, is the only means of bring. ing our fellow citizens to their true minds. Present my best complements to Mrs. Lewis, and accept yourself assurances of the sincere and affectionate esteem with which I am, dear Sir, your friend and servant.
TO MR. MADISON.
PHILADELPHIA, January 30, 1799. My last to you was of the 16th, since which yours of the 12th is received, and its contents disposed of properly. These met such approbation as to have occasioned an extraordinary impression of that day's paper. Logan's bill is passed. The lower