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federacy will be as much our children and descendants as those of the eastern, and I feel myself as much identified with that country, in future time, as with this; and did I now foresee a separation at some future day, yet I should feel the duty and the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern, doing all the good for both portions of our future family which should fall within my power.
Have you seen the new work of Malthus on population? It is one of the ablest I have ever seen. Although his main object is to delineate the effects of redundancy of population, and to test the poor laws of England, and other palliations for that evil, several important questions in political economy, allied to his subject incidentally, are treated with a masterly hand. It is a single octavo volume, and I have been only able to read a borrowed copy, the only one I have yet heard of. Probably our friends in England will think of you, and give you an opportunity of reading it. Accept my affectionate salutations, and assurances of great esteem and respect.
TO MR. SAY.
Washington, February 1, 1804. DEAR SIR, I have to acknowledge the receipt of your obliging letter, and with it, of two very interesting volumes on Political Economy. These found me engaged in giving the leisure moments I rarely find, to the perusal of Malthus' work on population, a work of sound logic, in which some of the opinions of Adam Smith, as well as of the economists, are ably examined. I was pleased, on turning to some chapters where you treat the same questions, to find his opinions corroborated by yours. I shall proceed to the reading of your work with great pleasure. In the meantime, the present conveyance, by a gentlemen of my family going to Paris, is too safe to hazard a delay in making my acknowledgments for this mark of attention, and for having afforded to me a satisfaction, which the ordinary course of liter
ary communications could not have given me for a considerable time.
The differences of circumstance between this and the old countries of Europe, furnish differences of fact whereon to reason, in questions of political economy, and will consequently produce sometimes a difference of result. There, for instance, the quantity of food is fixed, or increasing in a slow and only arithmetical ratio, and the proportion is limited by the same ratio. Super. numerary births consequently add only to your mortality. Here the immense extent of uncultivated and fertile lands enables every one who will labor to marry young, and to raise a family of any size. Our food, then, may increase geometrically with our laborers, and our births, however multiplied, become effective. Again, there the best distribution of labor is supposed to be that which places the manufacturing hands alongside the agricultural; so that the one part shall feed both, and the other part furnish both with clothes and other comforts. Would that be best here? Egoism and first appearances say yes. Or would it be better that all our laborers should be employed in agriculture? In this case a double or treble portion of fertile lands would be brought into culture; a double or treble creation of food be produced, and its surplus go to nourish the now perishing births of Europe, who in return would manufacture and send us in exchange our clothes and other comforts. Morality listens to this, and so invariably do the laws of nature create our duties and interests, that when they seem to be at variance, we ought to suspect some fallacy in our reasonings. In solving this question, too, we should allow its just weight to the moral and physical preference of the agricultural, over the manufacturing, man. My occupations permit me only to ask questions. They deny me the time, if I had the information, to answer them. Perhaps, as worthy the attention of the author of the Traité d'Economie Politique, I shall find them answered in that work. If they are not, the reason will have been that you wrote for Europe; while I shall have asked them because I think for America. Accept, Sir, my respectful salutations, and assurances of great consideration.
TO RUFUS KING, ESQ.
WASHINGTON, February 17, 1804.
DEAR SIR,- now return you the manuscript history of Bacon's rebellion, with many thanks for the communication. It is really a valuable morsel in the history of Virginia. That transaction is the more marked, as it was the only rebellion or insurrection which had ever taken place in the colony before the American Revolution. Neither its cause nor course have been well understood, the public records containing little on the subject. It is very long since I read the several histories of Virginia, but the impression remaining on my mind was not at all that which the writer gives; and it is impossible to refuse assent to the candor and simplicity of history. I have taken the liberty of copying it, which has been the reason of the detention of it. I had an opportunity, too, of communicating it to a person who was just putting into the press a history of Virginia, but all in a situation to be corrected. I think it possible that among the ancient manuscripts I possess at Monticello, I may be able to trace the author. I shall endeavor to do it the first visit I make to that place, and if with success, I will do myself the pleasure of communicating it to you. From the public records there is no hope, as they were destroyed by the British, I believe, very completely, during their invasion of Virginia. Accept my salutations, and assurances of high consideration and respect.
TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
February 19, 1804.
Doctor Stevens having been sent by the preceding administration, in 1798, to St. Domingo, with the commission of consulgeneral, and also with authorities as an agent additional to the consular powers, under a stipulation that his expenses should be borne; an account of these is now exhibited to the Secretary of
State, and the questions arise whether the payment can be authorized by the Executive, and out of what fund?
The Constitution has made the Executive the organ for managing our intercourse with foreign nations. It authorizes him to appoint and receive ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls. The term minister being applicable to other agents as well as diplomatic, the constant practice of the government, considered as a commentary, established this broad meaning; and the public interest approves it; because it would be extravagant to employ a diplomatic minister for a business which a mere rider would execute. The Executive being thus charged with the foreign intercourse, no law has undertaken to prescribe its specific duties. The permanent act of 1801, however, first, where he uses the agency of a minister plenipotentiary, or chargé, restricts him in the sums to be allowed for outfit, salary, return, and a secretary; and second, when any law has appropriated a sum for the contingent expenses of foreign intercourse, leaves to his discretion to dispense with the exhibition of the vouchers of its expenditure in the public offices. Under these two standing provisions there is annually a sum appropriated for the expenses of intercourse with foreign nations. The purposes of the appropriation being expressed by the law, in terms as general as the duties are by the Constitution, the application of the money is left as much to the discretion of the Executive, as the performance of the duties, saving always the provisions of 1801.
It is true that this appropriation is usually made on an estimate, given by the Secretary of State to the Secretary of the Treasury, and by him reported to Congress. But Congress, aware that too minute a specification has its evil as well as a too general one, does not make the estimate a part of their law, but gives a sum in gross, trusting the Executive discretion for that year and that sum only; so in other departments, as of war for instance, the estimate of the Secretary specifies all the items of clothing, subsistence, pay, &c., of the army. And Congress throws this into such masses as they think best, to wit, a sum in gross for clothing, another for subsistence, a third for pay, &c., binding up the
Executive discretion only by the sum, and the object generalized to a certain degree. The minute details of the estimate are thus dispensed with in point of obligation, and the discretion of the officer is enlarged to the limits of the classification, which Congress thinks it best for the public interest to make. In the case before us, then, the sum appropriated may be applied to any agency with a foreign nation, which the Constitution has made a part of the duty of the President, as the organ of foreign inter
The sum appropriated is generally the exact amount of the estimate, but not always. In the present instance the estimate, being for 1803, was only of $62,550, (including two outfits,) and the appropriation was of $75,562, leaving a difference of $13,012. If indeed, there be not enough of this appropriation left to pay Dr. Stevens' just demands, they cannot be paid until Congress shall make some appropriation applicable to them. I say his just demands, because by the undertaking of the then administration to pay his expenses, justice as well as law will understand his reasonable expenses. These must be tried by the scale which law and usage have established, whereon the Minister, Chargé, and Secretary, are given as fixed terms of comparison. The undefined agency of Dr. Stevens must be placed opposite to that term of the scale, with which it may fairly be thought to correspond; and if he has gone beyond that, his expenses should be reduced to it. I think them beyond it, and suppose that Dr. Stevens, viewing himself as a merchant, as well as a public agent, found it answer his purposes as a merchant to apply a part of his receipts in that character in addition to what he might reasonably expect from the public, not then meaning to charge to his public character the extraordinary style of expense which he believed at the time he could afford out of his mercantile profits.
[Statement of Dr. Stevens' case, referred to in preceding letter.]
The Constitution having provided that the President should appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and all