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Will not the arrival of Dupont tempt you to make a visit to this quarter ? I have no doubt the alarmists are already whetting their shafts for him also, but their gass is nearly run out, and the day I believe is approaching when we shall be as free to pursue what is true wisdom as the effects of their follies will permit; for some of them we shall be forced to wade through because we are emerged in them.
Wishing you that pure happiness which your pursuits and circumstances offer, and which I am sure you are too wise to suffer a diminution of by the pigmy assaults made on you, and with every sentiment of affectionate esteem and respect, I am, dear
I Sir, your most humble, and most obedient servant.
TO HENRY INNIS, ESQ.
PHILADELPHIA, January 23, 1800. DEAR SIR, Your favor of December 6th I received here on the 30th of same month, and have to thank you for the papers it contained. They serve to prove that if Cressap was not of the party of Logan's murderers, yet no injury was done his character by believing it. I shall, while here this winter, publish such material testimony on the subject as I have received; which by the kindness of my friends will be amply sufficient. It will appear that the deed was generally imputed to Cressap by both whites and Indians, that his character was justly stained with their blood, perhaps that he ordered this transaction, but that he was not himself present at the time. I shall consequently make a proper change in the text of the Notes on Virginia, to be adopted, if any future edition of that work should be printed.
With respect to the judiciary district to be established for the Western States, nothing can be wilder than to annex to them any State on the Eastern waters. I do not know what may be the dispositions of the House of Representatives on that subject, but I should hope from what I recollect of those manifested by the Senate on the same subject at the former session, that they may be induced to set off the Western country in a district. And I expect that the reason of the thing must bring both Houses into the measure.
The Mississippi Territory has petitioned to be placed at once in what is called the second stage of government. Surely, such a government as the first form prescribed for the Territories is a despotic oligarchy without one rational object.
I had addressed the enclosed letters to the care of the postmaster at Louisville ; but not knowing him, I have concluded it better to ask the favor of you to avail them of any passage which may offer down the river. I presume the boats stop of course at those places.
We have wonderful rumors here at this time. One that the King of England is dead. As this would ensure a general peace,
a I do not know that it would be any misfortune to humanity. The other is that Bonaparte, Sieyes and Ducos have usurped the French government. This is West India news, and shows that after killing Bonaparte a thousand times, they have still a variety of parts to be acted by him. Were it really true
While I was writing the last word a gentleman enters my room and brings a confirmation that something has happened at Paris. This is arrived at New York by a ship from Cork. The particulars differ from the West India account. We are therefore only to believe that a revolution of some kind has taken place, and that Bonaparte is at the head of it, but what are the particulars and what the object, we must wait with patience to learn. In the meantime we may speak hypothetically. If Bonaparte declares for Royalty, either in his own person, or of Louis XVIII., he has but a few days to live. In a nation of so much enthusiasm, there must be a million of Brutuses who will devote themselves to death to destroy him. But, without much faith in Bonaparte's heart, I have so much in his head, as to indulge another train of reflection. The republican world has been long looking with anxiety on the two experiments going on of a single elective Executive here, and a plurality there. Opinions have been considerably divided on the event in both countries. The greater
opinion there has seemed to be heretofore in favor of a plurality, here it has been very generally, though not universally, in favor of a single elective Executive. After eight or nine years experience of perpetual broils and factions in their Directory, a standing division (under all changes) of three against two, which results in a government by a single opinion, it is possible they may think the experiment decided in favor of our form, and that Bonaparte may be for a single executive, limited in time and power, and flatter himself with the election to that office; and that to this change the nation may rally itself; perhaps it is the only one to which all parties could be rallied. In every case it
. is to be feared and deplored that, that nation has yet to wade through half a century of disorder and convulsions. These, however, are conjectures only, which you will take as such, and accept assurances of the great esteem and attachment of, dear Sir, your friend and servant.
TO DR. PRIESTLY.
PHILADELPHIA, January 27, 1800. DEAR SIR,-In my last letter of the 18th, I omitted to say any thing of the languages as part of our proposed University. It was not that I think, as some do, that they are useless. I am of a very different opinion. I do not think them very essential to the obtaining eminent degrees of science; but I think them very useful towards it. I suppose there is a portion of life during which our faculties are ripe enough for this, and for nothing more useful. I think the Greeks and Romans have left us the present models which exist of fine composition, whether we examine them as works of reason, or of style and fancy; and to them we probably owe these characteristics of modern composition. I know of no composition of any other ancient people, which merits the least regard as a model for its matter or style. To all this I add, that to read the Latin and Greek authors in their original, is a sublime luxury; and I deem luxury in science
to be at least as justifiable as in architecture, painting, gardening, or the other arts. I enjoy Homer in his own language infinitely beyond Pope's translation of him, and both beyond the dull narrative of the same events by Dares Phrygius; and it is an innocent enjoyment. I thank on my knees, Him who directed my early education, for having put into my possession this rich source of delight; and I would not exchange it for anything which ] could then have acquired, and have not since acquired. With this regard for those languages, you will acquit me of meaning to omit them. About twenty years ago, I drew a bill for our legislature, which proposed to lay off every county into hundreds or townships of five or six miles square, in the centre of each of them was to be a free English school; the whole State was further laid off into ten districts, in each of which was to be a college for teaching the languages, geography, surveying, and other useful things of that grade; and then a single University for the sciences. It was received with enthusiasm ; but as I had proposed that William and Mary, under an improved from, should be the University, and that was at that time pretty highly Episcopal, the dissenters after awhile began to apprehend some secret design of a preference to that sect. About three years ago they enacted that part of my bill which related to English schools, except that instead of obliging, they left it optional in the court of every county to carry it into execution or not. I think it probable the part of the plan for the middle grade of education, may also be brought forward in due time. In the meanwhile, we are not without a sufficient number of good country schools, where the languages, geography, and the first elements of mathematics, are taught. Having omitted this information in my former letter, I thought it necessary now to supply it, that you might know on what base your superstructure was to be reared. I have a letter from Mr. Dupont, since his arrival at New York, dated the 20th, in which he says he will be in Philadelphia within about a fortnight from that time; but only on a visit. How much would it delight me if a visit from you at the same time, were to show us two such illustrious foreigners embracing each other in my country, as the asylum for whatever is great and good. Pardon, I pray yo:1, the temporary delirium which has been excited here, but which is fast passing away. The Gothic idea that we are to look backwards instead of forwards for the improvement of the human mind, and to recur to the annals of our ancestors for what is most perfect in government, in religion and in learning, is worthy of those bigots in religion and government, by whom it has been recommended, and whose purposes it would answer. But it is not an idea which this country will endure; and the moment of their showing it is fast ripening; and the signs of it will be their respect for you, and growing detestation of those who have dishonored our country by endeavors to disturb our tranquillity in it. No one has felt this with more sensibility than, my dear Sir, your respecifui and affectionate friend and servant.
TO JOHN BRACKENRIDGE.
PHILADELPHIA, January 29. 1800. DEAR SIR,— Your favor of the 13th has been duly received, as had been that containing the resolutions of your legislature on the subject of the former resolutions. I was glad to see the subject taken up, and done with so much temper, firmness and propriety. From the reason of the thing I cannot but hope that the western country will be laid off into a separate judiciary district. From what I recollect of the dispositions on the same subject at the last session, I should expect that the partiality to a general and uniform system would yield to geographical and physical impracticabilities. I was once a great advocate for introducing into chancery viva voce testimony, and trial by jury. I am still so as to the latter, but have retired from the former opinion on the information received from both your State and ours, that it worked inconveniently. I introduced it into the Virginia law, but did not return to the bar, so as to see how it answered. But I do not understand how the vivâ voce examination comes to be