Page images

over to Frederick of Prussia and Dr. Franklin, together with Mr. Jefferson and my father. See at the close of the 24th article of our first treaty with Prussia with what contempt those sound political moralists speak of the pretence that war dissolves all treaties.

This letter is but the membra disjecta poetae, the mere chaos of an argument, without order or method. I wait to see what Mr. Russell will make of his argument in his reply.' If he maintains his point with plausibility, I shall perhaps send you hereafter the paper signed "Richelieu" for republication as you have kindly offered. And extracts from Mr. Lloyd's letter, for which however I must first obtain his consent. My English authorities from the debate on the Peace of Amiens are furnished me by another learned and ingenious friend, also a Senator of the United States. Very faithfully yours.


WASHINGTON, 5th July, 1822.


I cannot refrain from thanking you for your letter of the 28th, which I esteem as one of the most precious proofs of your friendship for it tells me of my faults.

I will treat Jonathan Russell as mercifully as is possible consistently with the duty of exposing him in his true colors. If he had submitted with a good grace to my first castigation, or even had confined his reply to self-defence, I would have left him to the charity of the public. But he tries to

1 Duplicate Letters, 193.

2 It appeared in the Boston Statesman, June 22, 1822, and was included in the Duplicate Letters, 119. Adams, Memoirs, July 1, 17, 22, 1822.

make me appear such another as himself. I must put him down again a little deeper than before. As long as he pretends to maintain the accusatory style I must cover him with shame and confusion of face. If he wishes for peace with me he must hold out the white flag. I should be sorry to lose the friendship of Mr. Barney Smith,' and shall in no wise deserve to lose it. They who want a President with a cool head must vote for one. And so must they who want a President with an honest heart. If they can hit upon a man uniting both, so much the better for them.

Faithfully yours.



WASHINGTON, 15th July, 1822.

I duly received your favor of the 9th and sympathize cordially with you in the effects of that profuse distribution of caloric, as one of our worthy and learned friends here has it, which has been made during the present month. It has disqualified me as completely as you say it has you, of which you will have proof in the course of the week from the National Intelligencer. Your Southerners pretend that the nearer the sun, there is the more intellect. But if I judge of its effects upon myself I say it stupefies.

When I said I did not wish you to depart from your neutrality between Mr. Russell and me, I meant it only with reference to your editorial capacity and to the personal part of the controversy. Upon what the French call the procédé on both sides I think you have been entirely neutral, and I wish you to continue so as much as you possibly can con

1 Russell's father-in-law.

sistently with what is due to moral principle as affected by the conduct of public men. I want no other auxiliary to put down Mr. Russell as a man of candor than himself. Upon the political principles in discussion between him and me you have not been neutral. In acquitting me and my colleagues of the Ghent majority of all evil intentions, you did in the main take side with him on the principles asserted by him on the publication of his first letter. Now if you have not seen or do not see cause in the course of the discussion which has taken and will take place to revise your opinions, as they were expressed on the first perusal of his letter, I shall be very glad if you can conscientiously maintain your neutrality upon them hereafter, because we have yet great national interests at stake upon the correctness of the principle that the treaty of 1783 was not, or at least that none of the rights or liberties recognized in it were abrogated by the war. Nothing but that principle saved the fisheries after the last peace, and if we waver upon it we shall have the question up again the first war we may have with Great Britain. If on a thorough examination of what I have to say in support of my principle you remain unconvinced, I then ask your neutrality because it is our side of the question. If otherwise I should certainly be glad to have on a final editorial view of the whole discussion your support. For on these points I can truly say to you as Frederick the second said to Laudohn, "J'aime mieux vous avoir de mon côté que vis-à-vis."

As to what personally concerns myself in my letter of 21 ultimo I will thank you to take no notice of it in public whatever. I mentioned it to let you know I was aware of most of the machinery at work against me, as well under as above ground, and I am walking between burning ploughshares here. I take it however as philosophically as I can.

A man must fulfil his destiny. And let the will of the people be done. I will not stir a finger to direct it towards myself. I am, etc.



WASHINGTON, 22nd July, 1822.

We continue to be delighted almost daily with your journalizing letters which, together with our visits to the theatre, enliven the dulness of our half solitude. Scarcely a day passes indeed but I have new visitors at my office, but they are merely candidates for office and, though of course all persons of extraordinary merits, their conversation has no tendency to make or keep one cool in these dog days. On the progress of the feud between Colonel Cumming and Mr. McDuffie I marvel a little and meditate much.1 I marvel chiefly that with all the publicity that has for so long a time been given to it, the cause of the duel has never yet been made known. In my estimation of things this is a piece of preliminary information essential to the making up of an opinion upon what has followed and is like to follow. I regret that men so capable of better things as both these gentlemen appear to be should suffer their passions to lead their fortitude into this direction which it has taken. And there is an inflexibility in the conduct of Cumming which seems akin to bloodthirstiness. But it must be considered that he is as eager to expose his own life as to take that of his antagonist, and according to the code of single combat his course has at least the appearance of consistency. Yet if they are to fight again I cannot help wishing his adversary may be as successful at the second shot as he was at the first. 1 See Sabine, Notes on Duels and Duelling, 242, 326.

I have some curiosity to learn whether with a ball lodged in the small of his back he would be as earnest for another shot then and there, as he was for a chance against an adversary in that condition.1

From the explanation which Judge Johnson has given it would seem that he really did not intend to reflect upon the court of magistrates and freeholders. I have not seen his pamphlet, and do not know whether he has assigned the reason why he did just at that time publish anonymously the narrative which gave offence.

George and I and all the family here are well save gasping for breath from the heat. I am drudging like a slave in selfdefence against brother Jonathan, though I know very well that his character can never be put down much lower than he has put it himself by his reply to my remarks. But though he had no good defence to make of himself, he did turn upon me with a new quiver of Lilliputian arrows which I have thought it my duty to shake off. My present intention is if he writes again, to let him have the last word; but I have not done with his late publication yet. I see the public are getting weary of the controversy, but they are the first to show it who are afraid that I shall not leave even a nail in their hands to scratch me with.

On Saturday we had for a farce at the theatre, the Midnight hour, a translation 2 from the French of Ruse contre sense ou guerre ouverte. Do you remember seeing it at poor Coulaincourt's, and the comments to which it gave rise there? I believe it was his compliment de clôture at the court of Alexander. It was very amusing then and is now.

George is plunged head over ears in the Fortunes of Nigel. Yours affectionately.

1 Adams, Memoirs, October 5, 1822.

2 By Elizabeth Inchbald.

« PreviousContinue »