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say this is just. I know that in stopping thus short in the career of removal, I shall give great offence to many of my friends. That torrent has been pressing me heavily, and will require all my force to bear up against; but my maxim is "fiat justitia, ruat cælum.” After the first unfavorable impressions of doing too much in the opinion of some, and too little in that of others, shall be got over, I should hope a steady line of conciliation very practicable, and that without yielding a single republican principle. A certainty that these principles prevailed in the breasts of the main body of federalists, was my motive for stating them as the ground of reunion. I have said thus much for your private satisfaction, to be used even in private conversation, as the presumptive principles on which we shall act, but not as proceeding from myself declaredly. Information lately received from France gives a high idea of the progress of science there; it seems to keep pace with their * *. I have* just received from the A. P. Society, two volumes of Comparative Anatomy, by Cuvier, probably the greatest work in that line that has ever appeared. His comparisons embrace every organ of the animal carcass; and from man to the
Accept assurances of my sincere friendship, and high consideration and respect.
TO DON JOSEPH YZNARDI.
WASHINGTON, March 26, 1801. DEAR SIR,— The Secretary of State is proceeding in the consideration of the several matters which have been proposed to us by you, and will prepare answers to them, and particularly as to our vessels taken by French cruisers, and carried into the ports of Spain, contrary, as we suppose, to the tenor of the convention with France. Though ordinary business will be regularly transacted with you by the Secretary of State, yet considering what you mentioned as to our minister at Madrid to have been private and confidential, I take it out of the official course, and observe to you myself that under an intimate conviction of long standing in my mind, of the importance of an honest friendship with Spain, and one which shall identify her American interests with our own, I see in a strong point of view the necessity that the organ of communication which we establish near the King should possess the favor and confidence of that government. I have therefore destined for that mission a person whose accommodating and reasonable conduct, which will be still more fortified by instructions, will render him agreeable there, and an useful channel of communication between us. I have no doubt the new appointment by that government to this, in the room of the Chevalier d'Yrujo, has been made under the influence of the same motives; but still, the Chevalier d’Yrujo being intimately known to us, the integrity, sincerity, and reasonableness of his conduct having established in us a perfect confidence, in nowise diminished by the bickerings which took place between him and a former Secretary of State, whose irritable temper drew on more than one affair of the same kind, it will be a subject of regret if we lose him. However, if the interests of Spain require that his services should be employed elsewhere, it is the duty of a friend to acquiesce; and we shall certainly receive any successor the King may choose to send, with every possible degree of favor and friendship. Our administration will not be collected till the end of the ensuing month ; and consequently, till then, no other of the mutual interests of the two nations will be under our views, except those general assurances of friendship which I have before given you verbally, and now repeat. Accept, I pray you, assurances of my high consideration and respect.
* The manuscript here is illegible.
TO GENERAL KNOX,
WASHINGTON, March 27, 1801. DEAR SIR, I received with great pleasure your favor of the 16th, and it is with the greatest satisfaction I learn from all quarters that my inaugural address is considered as holding out
a ground for conciliation and union. I am the more pleased with this, because the opinion therein stated as to the real ground of difference among us (to wit: the measures rendered most expedient by French enormities), is that which I have long entertained. I was always satisfied that the great body of those called federalists were real republicans as well as federalists. I know, indeed, there are monarchists among us. One character of these is in theory only, and perfectly acquiescent in our form of government as it is, and not entertaining a thought of destroying it merely on their theoretical opinions. A second class, at the
. head of which is our quondam colleague, are ardent for introduction of monarchy, eager for armies, making more noise for a great naval establishment than better patriots, who wish it on a rational scale only, commensurate to our wants and our means. This last class ought to be tolerated, but not trusted. Believing that (excepting the ardent monarchists) all our citizens agreed in ancient whig principles, I thought it advisable to define and declare them, and let them see the ground on which we could rally. And the fact proving to be so, that they agree in these principles, I shall pursue them with more encouragement. I am aware that the necessity of a few removals for legal oppressions, delinquencies, and other official malversations, may be misconstrued as done for political opinions, and produce hesitation in the coalition so much to be desired; but the extent of these will be too limited to make permanent impressions. In the class of removals, however, I do not rank the new appointments which Mr. A. crowded in with whip and spur from the 12th of December, when the event of the election was known, and, consequently, that he was making appointments, not for himself, but his successor, until 9 o'clock of the night, at 12 o'clock of which he was to go out of office. This outrage on decency should not have its effect, except in the life appointments which are irremovable ; but as to the others I consider the nominations as nullities, and will not view the persons appointed as even candidates for their office, much less as possessing it by any title meriting respect. I mention these things that the grounds and extent of the removals
may be understood, and may not disturb the tendency to union. Indeed that union is already effected, from New York southwardly, almost completely. In the New England States it will be slower than elsewhere, from particular circumstances better known to yourself than me. But we will go on attending with the utmost solicitude to their interests, doing them impartial justice, and I have no doubt they will in time do justice to us. I have opened myself frankly, because I wish to be understood by those who mean well, and are disposed to be just towards me, as you are, and because I know you will use it for good purposes only, and for none unfriendly to me. I leave this place in a few days to make a short excursion home, but some domestic arrangements are necessary previous to my final removal here, which will be about the latter end of April. Be so good as to present my respects to Mrs. Knox, and accept yourself assurances of my high consideration and esteem.
TO MESSRS. EDDY, RUSSEL, THURBER, WHEATON, AND SMITH.
WASHINGTON, March 27, 1801. GENTLEMEN,–return my sincere thanks for your kind congratulations on my elevation to the first magistracy of the United States. I see with pleasure every evidence of the attachment of my fellow citizens to elective government, calculated to promote their happiness, peculiarly adapted to their genius, habits, and situation, and the best permanent corrective of the errors or abuses of those interests with power. The Constitution on which our union rests, shall be administered by me according to the safe and honest meaning contemplated by the plain understanding of the people of the United States, at the time of its adoption,-a meaning to be found in the explanations of those who advocated, not those who opposed it, and who opposed it merely least the constructions should be applied which they denounced as possible. These explanations are preserved in the publications of the time, and are too recent in the memories of most men to admit of question. The energies of the nation, as depends on me, shall be reserved for improvement of the condition of man, not wasted in his distinction. The lamentable resource of war is not authorized for evils of imagination, but for those actual injuries only, which would be more destructive of our well-being than war itself. Peace, justice, and liberal intercourse with all the nations of the world, will, I hope, with all nations, characterize this commonwealth. Accept for yourselves, gentlemen, and the respectable citizens of the town of Providence, assurances of my high consideration and respect.
TO MR. GEORGE JEFFERSON.
WASHINGTON, March 27, 1801. DEAR SIR-I have to acknowledge the receipt of yours of March 4th, and to express to you the delight with which I found the just, disinterested, and honorable point of view in which you saw the proposition it covered. The resolution you so properly approved had long been formed in my mind. The public will never be made to believe that an appointment of a relative is made on the ground of merit alone, uninfluenced by family views; nor can they ever see with approbation offices, the disposal of which they entrust to their Presidents for public purposes, divided out as family property. Mr. Adams degraded himself infinitely by his conduct on this subject, as General Washington had done himself the greatest honor. With two such examples to proceed by, I should be doubly inexcusable to err. It is true that this places the relations of the President in a worse situation than if he were a stranger, but the public good, which cannot be affected if its confidence be lost, requires this sacrifice. Perhaps, too, it is compensated by sharing in the public esteem. I could not be satisfied till I assured you of the increased esteem with which this transaction fills me for you. Accept my affectionate expressions of it.