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he should commission to serve the United States in foreign parts, and all the expenses incident to the business in which they may be employed. The grade consequently or character in which they should be employed, their allowance, &c. Thus Governor Morris was appointed by General Washington informally and without a commission to confer with the British ministers, and was allowed for eight months (I think) $1,000. Colonel Humphreys was appointed in 1790, to go as an agent to Madrid, and was allowed at the rate of $2,250 per annum. Dumas was kept at the Hague many years as an agent at $1,300 a year. Mr. Cutting was allowed disbursements for sailors in London in 1791, $233 33. Presents were made to the Chevalier Luzerne, on taking leave, worth $1,062. Van Berhel $697. Du Moustier $555, in 1791. Mr. Short was sent to Amsterdam as an agent in 1792, and allowed $444 43. James Blake was sent as agent to Madrid in 1793, and received an advance of $800. I know not how much afterwards, as I left the office of Secretary of State at the close of that year. In 1794, Mr. Jay was appointed Envoy Extraordinary, a grade not particularly named in the Constitution, or any law, yet General Washington fixed his allowance. During the present administration Mr. Dawson and Lieutenant Leonard have been sent on special agencies. From the beginning of the government it has been the rule when one of our ministers is ordered to another place on a special business, to allow his expenses on that special mission, his salary going on at his residence where his family remains. Mr. Short's mission from Paris to Amsterdam, from Paris to Madrid; Mr. Pinckney from London to Madrid; Mr. Murray's from the Hague to Paris, and others not recollected by me, are instances of this. These facts are stated to show that it has been the uniform opinion and practice that the whole foreign fund was placed by the Legislature on the footing of a contingent fund, in which they undertake no specifications, but leave the whole to the discretion of the President. The whole is but from forty to sixty or seventy thousand dollars. After the establishment of the general fund for foreign intercourse, Congress found it necessary to make a

separate branch for the Barbary powers. This was done covertly in the beginning, to wit, in 1792, they gave $50,000 additional to the foreign fund, in 1794, $1,000,000 additional without limiting it to Barbary. Yet it was secretly understood by the President, and his discretion was trusted. In 1796, they gave $260,000 for treaties with the Mediterranean powers, in 1797, $280,259 03, for the expenses of negotiation with Algiers. They did not undertake a more minute analysis or specification, but left it to the President. The laws of 1796, May 6, 1797, March 3, 1799, March 2, give sums for specific purposes because these purposes were simple and understood by the Legislature. But in general, in this branch of the foreign expenses, as in the former one, the Legislature has thought that to cramp the public service by too minute specifications in cases which they could not foresee, might do more evil than a temporary trust to the President, which could be put an end to if abused.

In our western governments, heretofore established, they were so well understood by Congress, that they could and did specify every item of expense, except a very small residuum for which they made contingent appropriations. But when they came to provide at this session for the Louisiana government, with which they were not acquainted, they gave twenty thousand dollars for compensation to the officers of the government employed by the President, and for other civil expenses under the direction of the President. And their first step towards the acquisition of that country was to confide to the President two millions of dollars under the general appropriation for foreign intercourse. These facts show that so far from having experienced evil from confiding the forty thousand dollars foreign fund to the discretion of the executive without a specific analysis of its application, they have continued it on that footing, and in many other great cases where analysis was difficult or inexpedient they have given the sums in mass, and left the analysis to him, only requiring an account to be rendered.

This statement has been made in order to place on its true ground the case of Doctor Stevens. He was employed by Mr.

Adams as Agent to St. Domingo, and was to be allowed his expenses, though these were not limited, yet the law limits them in such case to what were reasonable. Doubts have arisen at the treasury whether the executive had a right to make such a contract, and whether there be any fund out of which it can be paid? Some doubt has been expressed whether an appropriation law gives authority to pay for the purpose of the appropriation without some particular law authorizing it. If this be the case, the forty thousand dollar fund has been paid away without authority from its first establishment; for it never has been given but by a clause of appropriation. The executive believes this sufficient authority, and so we presume did the Legislature, or they would have given authority in some other sufficient form. And where is the rule of legal construction to be found which ascribes less effect to the words of an appropriation law, than of any other law? It is also doubted whether the estimate on which an appropriation is founded does not restrain the application to the specific articles, their number and amount as stated in the estimate? Were an appropriation law to come before a judge would he decide its meaning from its text, or would he call on the officer to produce their estimates as being a part of the law? On the whole, the following questions are to be determined: 1. Whether the laws do not justify the construction which has been uniformly given, either strictly, or at least so ambiguously, that, as in judiciary cases, the decisions which have taken place have fixed their meaning and made it law? 2. Whether they are so palpably against law that the practice must be arrested? 3. Whether it shall be arrested retrospectively as to moneys engaged but not yet actually paid, or only as to future contracts ? 4. Whether any circumstances take Dr. Stevens' case out of the conditions and rights of other foreign agencies?

March 23, 1804


WASHINGTON, February 28, 1804.

DEAR SIR.-I am sorry the explanations attempted between Dr. Thornton and yourself, on the manner of finishing the chamber of the House of Representatives, have not succeeded. At the original establishment of this place advertisements were published many months offering premiums for the best plans for a Capitol and a President's house. Many were sent in. A council was held by General Washington with the board of Commissioners, and after very mature examination two were preferred, and the premiums given to their authors, Doctor Thornton and Hobens, and the plans were decided on. Hobens' has been executed. On Doctor Thornton's plan of the Capitol the north wing has been extended, and the south raised one story. In order to get along with any public undertaking it is necessary that some stability of plan be observed-nothing impedes progress so much as perpetual changes of design. I yield to this principle in the present case more willingly because the plan begun for the Representative room will, in my opinion, be more handsome and commodious than anything which can now be proposed on the same area. And though the spheroidical dome psesents difficulties to the executor, yet they are not beyond his art; and it is to overcome difficulties that we employ men of genius. While however I express my opinion that we had better go through with this wing of the Capitol on the plan which has been settled, I would not be understood to suppose there does exist sufficient authority to control the original plan in any of its parts, and to accommodate it to changes of circumstances. I only mean that it is not advisable to change that of this wing in its present stage. Though I have spoken of a spheroidical roof, that will not be correct by the figure. Every rib will be a portion of a circle of which the radius will be determined by the span and rise of each rib. Would it not be best to make the internal colums of well-burnt brick, moulded in portions of circles adapted to the diminution of the columns? 2d. Burlington,

in his notes on Palladio, tells us that he found most of the buildings erected under Palladio's direction, and described in his architecture, to have their columns made of brick in this way and covered over with stucco. I know an instance of a range of six or eight columns in Virginia, twenty feet high, well proportioned and properly diminished, executed by a common bricklayer. The bases and capitols would of course be of hewn stone. I suggest this for your consideration, and tender you my friendly salutations.


WASHINGTON, March 3, 1804.

DEAR SIR,-Although it is long since I received your favor of October the 27th, yet I have not had leisure sooner to acknowledge it. In the middle and southern States, as great an union of sentiment has now taken place as is perhaps desirable. For as there will always be an opposition, I believe it had better be from avowed monarchists than republicans. New York seems to be in danger of republican division; Vermont is solidly with us; Rhode Island with us on anomalous grounds; New Hampshire on the verge of the republican shore; Connecticut advancing towards it very slowly, but with steady step; your State only uncertain of making port at all. I had forgotten Delaware, which will be always uncertain, from the divided character of her citizens. If the amendment of the Constitution passes Rhode Island, (and we expect to hear in a day or two,) the election for the ensuing four years seems to present nothing formidable. I sincerely regret that the unbounded calumnies of the federal party have obliged me to throw myself on the verdict of my country for trial, my great desire having been to retire, at the end of the present term, to a life of tranquillity; and it was my decided purpose when I entered into office. They force my continuance. If we can keep the vessel of State as steadily in her course for another four years, my earthly purposes will be accomplished, and I shall be free to enjoy, as you are doing, my

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