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ing kept me from writing to you. At this moment, I presume, you will not be sorry to know my opinion as to the course of our public affairs. In Congress, a good spirit is gaining ground, and, though measures march slowly, there is reason to expect that almost every thing which the exigency requires will be done. The plan is, present defence against depredations by sea, and preparations for eventual danger by land. In the community, indignation against the French government, and a firm resolution to support our own, discover themselves daily by unequivocal symptoms. The appearances are thus far highly consoling. But, in this posture of things, how unfortunate is it, that the new instructions offered by Great Britain, which appear, according to the reports of the day, to be giving rise to many abusive captures of our vessels, are likely to produce a counter current; and to distract the public dissatisfaction between two powers, who, it will be said, are equally disposed to plunder and oppress. In vain will it be urged, that the British government cannot be so absurd as at such a juncture to intend us injury. The effects will be alone considered, and they will make the worst possible impression. By what fatality has the British cabinet been led to spring any new mine, by new regulations, at such a crisis of affairs? What can be gained to counteract the mischievous tendency of abuses? Why are weapons to be furnished to our Jacobins? It seems, the captured vessels are carried to the Mole, where there is a virtuous judge of the name of Cambault, disposed to give sanction to plunder in every shape! Events are not yet sufficiently unfolded to enable us to judge of the extent of the mischief, but nothing can be more unlucky than that the door has been opened. The recency of the thing may prevent your hearing any thing about it from the government by this opportunity.
"P. S.-It is said, privateers are fitting out at Antigua and St. Kitts."
Aggravated as these injuries were by past events, and peculiarly of a nature to offend the American mind, in which, obedience to law was a controlling principle, and abuse of judicial power, therefore, the more obnoxious; yet the efforts of the Democratic party to divert the attention of the people were vain. The popular indignation was now fixed on France. This rapid and earnest
change of public sentiment affrighted Jefferson. menaces were more felt than her wrongs. Unless a different temper could be produced, his aspirations must end. The only expedient to sustain his party, which remained, was to endeavor to influence the heated councils of their patron nation. In the mean time, to prevent decisive measures, an adjournment of Congress was strongly pressed.
Kosciusko had recently arrived in the United States, seeking compensation for his services during the Revolution. He had been at that period the intimate of Gates, and his intercourse was chiefly with the disaffected opponents of Washington. On his return to America, he was received with great cordiality by Jefferson, and was selected by him as an agent to proceed to Paris. To conceal this mission and protect him from capture, an application was made to the British Minister for a passport for him under an assumed name. It was granted, upon the assurance of the Vice President, that he would "be responsible for his political innocence, as he was going merely for his private affairs."* His departure was so secret, Jefferson wrote him, "that more than two months elapsed before his absence was known or even suspected." Kosciusko arrived at Paris before Gerry's departure, and the efforts of the Directory to induce that envoy to remain after his colleagues had departed, were probably increased by the communications of which he was the bearer.
After a short interval, a further despatch from the envoys was sent to Congress, embracing a full defence of the United States; and the copy of another decree, authorizing the capture and condemnation of all neutral
* Jefferson's Writings, iii. 395. Note to Liston.
vessels laden in part or in whole with the manufactures or productions of England or of her possessions. It has been seen, that the withholding the documents relating to this mission had been strongly censured by the Democratic leaders. But the moment they were read in the House of Representatives, a strenuous opposition was made to their being published. Findley urged, that they should be printed in confidence for the use of the members. Gallatin declared, that he was opposed to their publication, not on the ground of any effect they would produce on the citizens of this country; but from an idea that they ought not to be published before the final issue of the negotiation was known. These plausible suggestions prevailed in the House; and the motion for their being published was postponed, but the Senate ordered the publication.
The alarm which these disclosures excited was now seen. Giles, unwilling longer to breast the storm, retired from the House. Colonel Parker called a meeting of his friends, and resolved to sustain all necessary measures of preparation. But party discipline prevailed, and the seceders were few.
To intimidate the Cabinet, a meeting of the militia officers of Philadelphia was called, to declare their disapprobation of its conduct, and to incite them to enter into measures of opposition to the Government. A vain attempt was also made to perpetuate the delusion of the people by the circulation of a false summary of the voluminous correspondence. Jefferson openly declared, that the Directory were not implicated in the corruption displayed in these despatches, that there was no proof of their privity, that all may have been the mere contrivance of the Minister for Foreign Relations. The Aurora charged, that "Talleyrand was notoriously anti-republican