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St. Louis and the other Spanish forts, that your stores, &c, would thereby be spared for the winter, as your men would draw their military rations. All danger of Spanish opposition avoided, we are strongly of opinion here that you had better not enter the Missouri till the spring. But as you have a view of all circumstances on the spot, we do not pretend to enjoin it, but leave it to your own judgment in which we have entire confidence. One thing, however, we are decided in; that you must not undertake the winter excursion which you propose in yours of October 3d. Such an excursion will be more dangerous than the main expedition up the Missouri, and would by an accident to you, hazard our main object, which, since the acquisition of Louisiana, interests everybody in the highest degree. The object of your mission is single, the direct water communication from sea to sea formed by the bed of the Missouri, and perhaps the Oregon; by having Mr. Clarke with you we consider the expedition as double manned, and therefore the less liable to failure; for which reason neither of you should be exposed to risks by going off of your line. I have proposed in conversation, and it seems generally assented to, that Congress shall appropriate ten or twelve thousand dollars for exploring the principal waters of the Mississippi and Missouri. In that case, I should send a party up the Red river to its head, then to cross over to the head of the Arkansas, and come down that. A second party for the Pani and Padouca rivers, and a third, perhaps, for the Morsigona and St. Peter's. As the boundaries of interior Louisiana are the high lands enclosing all the waters which run into the Mississippi or Missouri directly or indirectly, with a quarter breadth on the Gulf of Mexico, it becomes interesting to fix with precision by celestial observations the longitude and latitude of the sources of these rivers, so providing points in the contour of our new limits. This will be attempted distinctly from your mission, which we consider as of major importance, and therefore, not to be delayed or hazarded by any episodes whatever.

The votes of both Houses on ratifying and carrying the treaties into execution, have been precisely party votes, except that Gen

eral Dayton has separated from his friends on these questions, and voted for the treaties. I will direct the Aurora National Intelligencer to be forwarded to you for six months at Cadokie or Kaskaskia, on the presumption you will be there. Your friends and acquaintances here, and in Albermarle, are all well, so far as I have heard; and I recollect no other small news worth communicating. Present my friendly salutations to Mr. Clarke, and accept them affectionately yourself.


WASHINGTON, December 1, 1803.

DEAR SIR,-The explanations in your letter of yesterday were quite unnecessary to me. I have had too satisfactory proofs of your friendly regard, to be disposed to suspect anything of a contrary aspect. I understood perfectly the expressions stated in the newspaper to which you allude, to mean, that "though the proposition came from the republican quarter of the House, yet you should not concur with it." I am aware that in parts of the Union, and even with persons to whom Mr. Eppes and Mr. Randolph are unknown, and myself little known, it will be presumed from their connection, that what comes from them comes from me. No men on earth are more independent in their sentiments than they are, nor any one less disposed than I am to influence the opinions of others. We rarely speak of politics, or of the proceedings of the House, but merely historically, and I carefully avoid expressing an opinion on them, in their presence, that we may all be at our ease. With other members, I have believed that more unreserved communications would be advantageous to the public. This has been, perhaps, prevented by mutual delicacy. I have been afraid to express opinions unasked, lest I should be suspected of wishing to direct the legislative action of members. They have avoided asking communications from me, probably, lest they should be suspected of wishing to fish out ex

ecutive secrets. I see too many proofs of the imperfection of human reason, to entertain wonder or intolerance at any difference of opinion on any subject; and acquiesce in that difference as easily as on a difference of feature or form; experience having long taught me the reasonableness of mutual sacrifices of opinion among those who are to act together for any common object, and the expediency of doing what good we can, when we cannot do all we would wish.

Accept my friendly salutations, and assurances of great esteem and respect.


WASHINGTON, December 13. 1803. The Attorney General having considered and decided that the prescription in the law for establishing a bank, that the officers in the subordinate offices of discount and deposit, shall be appointed "on the same terms and in the same manner practised in the principal bank," does not extend to them the principle of rotation, established by the Legislature in the body of directors in the principal bank, it follows that the extension of that principle has been merely a voluntary and prudential act of the principal bank, from which they are free to depart. I think the extension was wise and proper on their part, because the Legislature having deemed rotation useful in the principal bank constituted by them, there would be the same reason for it in the subordinate banks to be established by the principal. It breaks in upon the esprit du corps so apt to prevail in permanent bodies; it gives a chance for the public eye penetrating into the sanctuary of those proceedings and practices, which the avarice of the directors may introduce for their personal emolument, and which the resentments of excluded directors, or the honesty of those duly admitted, might betray to the public; and it gives an opportunity at the end of the year, or at other periods, of correcting a choice, which, on trial, proves to have been unfortunate; an

evil of which themselves complain in their distant institutions. Whether, however, they have a power to alter this, or not, the executive has no right to decide; and their consultation with you has been merely an act of complaisance, or from a desire to shield so important an innovation under the cover of executive sanction. But ought we to volunteer our sanction in such a case? Ought we to disarm ourselves of any fair right of animadversion, whenever that institution shall be a legitimate subject of consideration? I own, I think the most proper answer would be, that we do not think ourselves authorized to give an opinion on the question.

From a passage in the letter of the President, I observe an idea of establishing a branch bank of the United States in New Orleans. This institution is one of the most deadly hostility existing, against the principles and form of our Constitution. The nation is, at this time, so strong and united in its sentiments, that it cannot be shaken at this moment. But suppose a series of untoward events should occur, sufficient to bring into doubt the competency of a republican government to meet a crisis of great danger, or to unhinge the confidence of the people in the public functionaries; an institution like this, penetrating by its branches every part of the Union, acting by command and in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government. I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries. What an obstruction could not this bank of the United States, with all its branch banks, be in time of war? It might dictate to us the peace we should accept, or withdraw its aids. Ought we then to give further growth to an institution so powerful, so hostile? That it is so hostile we know, 1, from a knowledge of the principles of the persons composing the body of directors in every bank, principal or branch; and those of most of the stockholders: 2, from their opposition to the measures and principles of the government, and to the election of those friendly to them: and 3, from the sentiments of the newspapers they support. Now,

while we are strong, it is the greatest duty we owe to the safety of our Constitution, to bring this powerful enemy to a perfect subordination under its authorities. The first measure would be to reduce them to an equal footing only with other banks, as to the favors of the government. But, in order to be able to meet a general combination of the banks against us, in a critical emergency, could we not make a beginning towards an independent use of our own money, towards holding our own bank in all the deposits where it is received, and letting the treasurer give his draft or note, for payment at any particular place, which, in a well-conducted government, ought to have as much credit as any private draft, or bank note, or bill, and would give us the same facilities which we derive from the banks? I pray you to turn this subject in your mind, and to give it the benefit of your knowledge of details; whereas, I have only very general views of the subject. Affectionate salutations.


WASHINGTON, December 31, 1803.

DEAR SIR, I received last night your favor of the 22d, written on the occasion of the libellous pamphlet lately published with you. I began to read it, but the dulness of the first page made me give up the reading for a dip into here and there a passage, till I came to what respected myself. The falsehood of that gave me a test for the rest of the work, and considering it always useless to read lies, I threw it by. As to yourself, be assured no contradiction was necessary. The uniform tenor of a man's life furnishes better evidence of what he has said or done on any particular occasion than the word of an enemy, and of an enemy too who shows that he prefers the use of falsehoods which suit him to truths which do not. Little squibs in certain papers had long ago apprized me of a design to sow tares between particular republican characters, but to divide those by

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