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restored, but whether he did that of his own accord, or after previous consultation with you or myself, I do not recollect. I set out for Monticello April the 1st. About that time Generai Smith sent new directions to put her precisely into the state in which she was before the capture. Do you recollect from what fund it was contemplated to do this? I had trusted for this to Stoddart, who was familiar with all the funds, being myself entirely new in office at that time. What will those repairs have cost ? Did we not leave to Le Tombe to make what allowance he thought proper to the officers, we only advancing money on his undertaking repayment? I shall hope to receive from you as full a statement as you can make. It may be useful to inquire into the time and circumstances of her being dismantled. When you shall have retraced the whole matter in your memory, would it not be well to make a summary statement of the important circumstances for insertion in the Chronicle, in order to set the minds of the candid part of the public to rights? Mr. Madison has had a slight bilious attack. I am advising him to get off by the middle of this month. We who have stronger constitutions shall stay to the end of it. But during August and September, we also must take refuge in climates rendered safer by our habits and confidence. The post will be so arranged as that letters will go hence to Monticello, and the answer return here in a week. I hope I shall continue to hear from you there.
Accept assurances of my affectionate esteem and high respect.
P. S. The French convention was laid before the Senate December the 16th. I think the Berceau arrived afterwards. If so, she was dismantled, wher it was known she was to be restored. When did she arrive? By whose orders was she dismantled ?
TO GOVERNOR MONROE.
WASHINGTON, July 11, 1801. DEAR SIR,—As to the mode of correspondence between the general and particular executives, I do not think myself a good judge. Not because my position gives me any prejudice on the occasion; for if it be possible to be certainly conscious of anything, I am conscious of feeling no difference between writing to the highest and lowest being on earth; but because I have ever thought that forms should yield to whatever should facilitate business. Comparing the two governments together, it is observable that in all those cases where the independent or reserved rights of the States are in question, the two executives, if they are to act together, must be exactly co-ordinate ; they are, in these cases, each the supreme head of an independent government. In other cases, to wit, those transferred by the Constitution to the General Government, the general executive is certainly pre-ordinate ; e. g. in a question respecting the militia, and others easily to be recollected. Were there, therefore, to be a stiff adherence to etiquette, I should say that in the former cases the correspondence should be between the two heads, and that in the iatter, the Governor must be subject to receive orders from the war department as any other subordinate officer would. And were it observed that either party set up unjustifiable pretensions, perhaps the other might be right in opposing them by a tenaciousness of his own rigorous rights. But I think the practice in General Washington's administration was most friendly to business, and was absolutely equal; sometimes he wrote to the Governors, and sometimes the heads of departments wrote. If a letter is to be on a general subject, I see no reason why the President should not write; but if it is to go into details, these being known only to the head of the department, it is better he should write directly. Otherwise, the correspondence must involve circuities.
If this be practised promiscuously in both classes of cases, each party setting examples of neglecting etiquette, both will stand on equal ground,
and convenience alone will dictate through whom any particu. lar communication is to be made. On the whole, I think a free correspondence best, and shall never hesitate to write myself to the Governors, in every federal case, where the occasion presents itself to me particularly. Accept assurances of my sincere and constant affection and respect.
TO ELIAS SHIPMAN AND OTHERS, A COMMITTEE OF THE MERCHANTS
OF NEW HAVEN.
WASHINGTON, July 12, 1801. GENTLEMEN, I have received the remonstrance you were pleased to address to me, on the appointment of Samuel Bishop to the office of collector of New Haven, lately vacated by the death of David Austin. The right of our fellow citizens to represent to the public functionaries their opinion on proceedings interesting to them, is unquestionably a constitutional right, often useful, sometimes necessary, and will always be respectfully acknowledged by me.
Of the various executive duties, no one excites more anxious concern than that of placing the interests of our fellow citizens in the hands of honest men, with understandings sufficient for their stations. No duty, at the same time, is more difficult to fulfil. The knowledge of characters possessed by a single individual is, of necessity, limited. To seek out the best through the whole Union, we must resort to other information, which, from the best of men, acting disinterestedly and with the purest motives, is sometimes incorrect. In the case of Samuel Bishop, however, the subject of your remonstrance, time was taken, information was sought, and such obtained as could leave no room for doubt of his fitness. From private sources it was learned that his understanding was sound, his integrity pure, his character unstained. And the offices confided to him within his own State, are public evidences of the estimation in which he is held by the State in general, and the city and township particularly in which he lives. He is said to be the town clerk, a justice of the peace, mayor of the city of New Haven, an office held at the will of the legislature, chief judge of the court of common pleas for New Haven county, a court of high criminal and civil jurisdiction wherein most causes are decided without the right of appeal or review, and sole judge of the court of probates, wherein he singly decides all questions of wills, settlement of estates, testate and intestate, appoints guardians, settles their accounts, and in fact has under his jurisdiction and care all the property real and personal of persons dying. The two last offices, in the annual gift of the legislature, were given to him in May last.
Is it possible that the man to whom the legislature of Connecticut has so recently committed trusts of such difficulty and magnitude, is unfit to be the collector of the district of New Haven,' though acknowledged in the same writing, to have obtained all this confidence by a long life of usefulness ?' It is objected, indeed, in the remonstrance, that he is seventy-seven years of age; but at a much more advanced age, our Franklin was the ornament of human nature. He may not be able to perform in person, all the details of his office; but if he gives 118 the benefit of his understanding, his integrity, his watchfulness, and takes care that all the details are well performed by himself or his necessary assistants, all public purposes will be answered. The remonstrance, indeed, does not allege that the office has been illy conducted, but only apprehends that it will be so. Should this happen in event, be assured I will do in it what shall be just and necessary for the public service. In the meantime, he should be tried without being prejudged.
The removal, as it is called, of Mr. Goodrich, forms another subject of complaint. Declarations by myself in favor of political tolerance, exhortations to harmony and affection in social intercourse, and to respect for the equal rights of the minority, have, on certain occasions, been quoted and misconstrued into assurances that the tenure of offices was to be undisturbed. But could candor apply such a construction? It is not indeed in the remonstrance that we find it; but it leads to the explanations which that calls for. When it is considered, that during the late administration, those who were not of a particular sect of politics were excluded from all office; when, by a steady pursuit of this measure, nearly the whole offices of the United States were monopolized by that sect; when the public sentiment at length declared itself, and burst open the doors of honor and confidence to those whose opinions they more approved, was it to be imagined that this monopoly of office was still to be continued in the hands of the minority? Does it violate their equal rights, to assert some rights in the majority also? Is it political intolerance to claim a proportionate share in the direction of the public affairs ? Can they not harmonize in society unless they have everything in their own hands? If the will of the nation, manifested by their various elections, calls for an administration of government according with the opinions of those elected ; if, for
; the fulfilment of that will, displacements are necessary, with whom can they so justly begin as with persons appointed in the last moments of an administration, not for its own aid, but to begin a career at the same time with their successors, by whom they had never been approved, and who could scarcely expect from them a cordial co-operation ? Mr. Goodrich was one of these. Was it proper for him to place himself in office, without
. knowing whether those whose agent he was to be would have confidence in his agency? Can the preference of another, as the successor to Mr. Austin, be candidly called a removal of Mr. Goodrich ? If a due participation of office is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be obtained ? Those by death are few; by resignation, none. Can any other mode than that of removal be proposed ? This is a painful office; but it is made my duty, and I meet it as such. I proceed in the operation with deliberation and inquiry, that it may injure the best men least, and effect the purposes of justice and public utility with the least private distress; that it may be thrown, as much as possible, on delinquency, on oppression, on intolerance, on ante-revolutionary adherence to our enemies.