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Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The Papers Of Thomas Jefferson - Volume I
by Thomas Jefferson
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The British at Portsmouth lie close in their lines. The French squadron keep them in by water, and since their arrival, as they put it out of the power of the enemy to cut off our retreat by sending up Nansemond river, our force has been moved down close to their lines.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XLVI.—TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, March 8, 1781

TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, March 8, 1781.

Sir,

I had the pleasure of receiving a letter from General Greene, dated High-rock Ford, February 29th (probably March the 1st), who informs me, that, on the night of the 24th, Colonel M'Call surprised a subaltern's guard at Hart's Mill, killed eight, and wounded and took nine prisoners, and that on the 25th, General Pickens and Lieutenant Colonel Lee routed a body of near three hundred tories, on the Haw river, who were in arms to join the British army, killed upwards of one hundred, and wounded most of the rest; which had a very happy effect on the disaffected in that country.

By a letter from Major Magill, an officer of this State, whom I had sent to General Greene's head-quarters, for the purpose of giving us regular intelligence, dated Guilford County, March 2nd, I am informed that Lord Cornwallis, on his retreat, erected the British standard at Hillsborough; that numbers of disaffected, under the command of Colonel Piles, were resorting to it, when they were intercepted by General Pickens and Lieutenant Colonel Lee, as mentioned by General Greene; and that their commanding officer was among the slain: that Lord Cornwallis, after destroying every thing he could, moved down the Haw river from Hillsborough: that General Greene was within six miles of him: that our superiority in the goodness, though not in the number of our cavalry, prevented the enemy from moving with rapidity, or foraging. Having been particular in desiring Major Magill to inform me what corps of militia, from this State, joined General Greene, he accordingly mentioned, that seven hundred under General Stevens, and four hundred from Botetourt, had actually joined him; that Colonel Campbell was to join, him that day with six hundred, and that Colonel Lynch, with three hundred from Bedford, was shortly expected: the last three numbers being riflemen. Besides these mentioned by Major Magill, General Lawson must, before this, have crossed Roanoke with a body of militia, the number of which has not been stated to me. Report makes them a thousand, but I suppose the number to be exaggerated. Four hundred of our new levies left Chesterfield Court House on the 25th of February, and probably would cross the Roanoke about the 1st or 2nd of March.

I was honored with your Excellency's letter of February the 21st, within seven days after its date. We have, accordingly, been making every preparation on our part, which we are able to make. The militia proposed to co-operate, will be upwards of four thousand from this State, and one thousand or twelve hundred from Carolina, said to be under General Gregory. The enemy are, at this time, in a great measure blockaded by land, there being a force on the east side of Elizabeth river. They suffer for provisions, as they are afraid to venture far, lest the French squadron should be in the neighborhood, and come upon them. Were it possible to block up the river, a little time would suffice to reduce them by want and desertions, and would be more sure in its event than an attempt by storm. I shall be very happy to have it in my power to hand you a favorable account of these two armies in the South.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest esteem and respect,

your Excellency's most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XLVII.—TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, March 19,1781

TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, March 19,1781;

Sir,

I have the honor of enclosing to your Excellency a copy of a letter from General Greene, with some other intelligence received, not doubting your anxiety to know the movements in the South.

I find we have deceived ourselves not a little, by counting on the whole numbers of the militia which have been in motion, as if they had all remained with General Greene, when, in fact, they seem only to have visited and quitted him.

The Marquis Fayette arrived at New York on the 15th. His troops still remained at the head of the bay, till the appearance of some force which should render their passage down safe.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest esteem and respect, your Excellency's

most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER XLVIII.—TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, March 21, 1781

TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, March 21, 1781.

Sir,

The enclosed letter will inform you of the arrival of a British fleet in Chesapeake bay.

The extreme negligence of our stationed expresses is no doubt the cause why, as yet, no authentic account has reached us of a general action, which happened on the 15th instant, about a mile and a half from Guilford Court House, between General Greene and Lord Cornwallis. Captain Singleton, an intelligent officer of Harrison's artillery, who was in the action, has this moment arrived here, and gives the general information that both parties were prepared and desirous for action; the enemy were supposed about twenty-five hundred strong, our army about four thousand. That after a very warm and general engagement, of about an hour and a half, we retreated about a mile and a half from the field, in good order, having, as he supposed, between two and three hundred killed and wounded, the enemy between five and seven hundred killed and wounded: that we lost four pieces of artillery: that the militia, as well as regulars, behaved exceedingly well: that General Greene, he believes, would have renewed the action the next day, had it not proved rainy, and would renew it as soon as possible, as he supposes: that the whole of his troops, both regulars and militia, were in high spirits and wishing a second engagement: that the loss has fallen pretty equally on the militia and regulars: that General Stevens received a ball through the thigh.

Major Anderson, of Maryland, was killed, and Captain Barrett, of Washington's cavalry; Captain Fauntleroy, of the same cavalry, was shot through the thigh, and left in the field.

Captain Singleton, having left the camp the day after the battle, does, not speak from particular returns, none such having been then made. I must inform your Excellency from him, till more regular applications can reach you, that they are in extreme want of lead, cartridge-paper, and thread. I think it improper, however it might urge an instantaneous supply, to repeat to you his statement of the extent of their stock of these articles. In a former letter, I mentioned to you the failure of the vein of our lead mines, which has left the army here in a state of equal distress and danger.

I have the honor to be, with very high respect and esteem,

your Excellency's most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.

P. S. Look-out boats have been ordered from the sea-board of the eastern shore, to apprise the Commander of the French fleet, on its approach, of the British being in the Chesapeake. T. J.



LETTER XLIX.—TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, March 26,1781

TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

In Council, Richmond, March 26,1781.

Sir,

The appointment of commissioner to the war-office of this State having lately become vacant, the Executive are desirous to place Colonel William Davies, of the Virginia Continentals, in that office. This gentleman, however, declines undertaking it, unless his rank in the army, half pay for life and allowance for depreciation of pay, can be reserved to him; observing with justice, that these emoluments, distant as they are, are important to a person who has spent the most valuable part of his youth in the service of his country. As this indulgence rests in the power of Congress alone, I am induced to request it of them on behalf of the State, to whom it is very interesting that the office be properly filled, and I may say, on behalf of the Continent also, to whom the same circumstance is interesting, in proportion to its reliance upon this State for supplies to the southern war. We should not have given Congress the trouble of this application, had we found it easy to call any other to the office, who was likely to answer our wishes in the exercise of it.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect,

your Excellency's most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER L.—TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, March 28, 1781

TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, March 28, 1781.

Sir,

I forward to your Excellency, under cover with this, copies of letters received from Major General Greene and Baron Steuben, which will give you the latest account of the situation of things with us and in North Carolina.

I observe a late resolve of Congress, for furnishing a number of arms to the southern states; and I lately wrote you on the subject of ammunition and cartridge-paper. How much of this State, the enemy thus reinforced, may think proper to possess themselves of, must depend on their own moderation and caution, till these supplies arrive. We had hoped to receive, by the French squadron under Monsieur Destouches, eleven hundred stand of arms, which we had at Rhode Island, but were disappointed. The necessity of hurrying forward the troops intended for the southern operations will be doubtless apparent from this letter.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect,

your Excellency's most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LI.—TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, March 31, 1781

TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, March 31, 1781.

Sir,

The letters and papers accompanying this, will inform your Excellency of the arrival of a British flag vessel with clothing, refreshments, money, &c. for their prisoners under the Convention of Saratoga. The gentlemen conducting them have, on supposition that the prisoners, or a part of them, still remained in this State, applied to me by letters, copies of which I transmit your Excellency, for leave to allow water transportation as far as possible, and then, for themselves to attend them to the post where they are to be issued. These indulgencies were usually granted them here, but the prisoners being removed, it becomes necessary to transmit the application to Congress for their direction. In the mean time the flag will wait in James river.

Our intelligence from General Greene's camp as late as the 24th, is, that Lord Cornwallis's march of the day before had decided his route to Cross creek.

The amount of the reinforcements to the enemy, arrived at Portsmouth, is not yet known with certainty. Accounts differ from fifteen hundred to much larger numbers. We are informed they have a considerable number of horse. The affliction of the people for want of arms is great; that of ammunition is not yet known to them. An apprehension is added, that, the enterprise on Portsmouth being laid aside, the troops under the Marquis Fayette will not come on. An enemy three thousand strong, not a regular in the State, nor arms to put in the hands of the militia, are, indeed, discouraging circumstances.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of the highest respect,

your Excellency's most obedient

and most humble servant

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LII.—TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, April 7, 1781

TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

Richmond, April 7, 1781.

Sir,

Hearing that our arms from Rhode Island have arrived at Philadelphia, I have begged the favor of our Delegates to send them on in wagons immediately, and, for the conveyance of my letter, have taken the liberty of setting the Continental line of expresses in motion, which I hope our distress for arms will justify, though the errand be not purely Continental.

I have nothing from General Greene later than the 27th of March; our accounts from Portsmouth vary the reinforcements which came under General Phillips, from twenty-five hundred to three thousand. Arnold's strength before, was, I think, reduced to eleven hundred. They have made no movement yet. Their preparation of boats is considerable; whether they mean to go southwardly or up the river, no leading circumstance has yet decided.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect,

your Excellency's most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson,



LETTER LIII.—TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, April 18, 1781

TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

In Council, April 18, 1781.

Sir,

I was honored, yesterday, with your Excellency's favor enclosing the resolutions of Congress of the 8th instant, for removing stores and provisions from the counties of Accomack and Northampton. We have there no military stores, except a few muskets in the hands of the militia. There are some collections of forage and provisions belonging to the Continent, and some to the State, and the country there, generally, furnishes an abundance of forage. But such is the present condition of Chesapeake bay, that we cannot even get an advice-boat across it, with any certainty, much less adventure on transportation. Should, however, any interval happen, in which these articles may be withdrawn, we shall certainly avail ourselves of it, and bring thence whatever we can.

If I have been rightly informed, the horses there are by no means such, as that the enemy could apply them to the purposes of cavalry. Some, large enough for the draught, may, perhaps, be found, but of these not many.

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect,

your Excellency's most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LIV.—TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, April 23,1781

TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON

Richmond, April 23,1781.

Sir,

On the 18th instant, the enemy came from Portsmouth up James river, in considerable force, though their numbers are not yet precisely known to us. They landed at Burwell's Ferry, below Williamsburg, and also a short distance above the mouth of Chickahominy. This latter circumstance obliged Colonel Innis, who commanded a body of militia, stationed on that side the river to cover the country from depredation, to retire upwards, lest he should be placed between their two bodies. One of these entered Williamsburg on the 20th, and the other proceeded to a ship-yard we had on Chickahominy. What injury they did there, I am not yet informed. I take for granted, they have burned an unfinished twenty-gun ship we had there. Such of the stores belonging to the yard as were moveable, had been carried some miles higher up the river. Two small galleys also retired up the river. Whether by this, either the stores or galleys were saved, is yet unknown. I am just informed from a private hand, that they left Williamsburg early yesterday morning. If this sudden departure was not in consequence of some circumstance of alarm unknown to us, their expedition to Williamsburg has been unaccountable. There were no public stores at that place, but those which were necessary for the daily subsistence of the men there. Where they mean to descend next, the event alone can determine. Besides harassing our militia with this kind of war, the taking them from their farms at the interesting season of planting their corn, will have an unfortunate effect on the crop of the ensuing year.

I have heard nothing certain of General Greene since the 6th instant, except that his head-quarters were on Little river on the 11th.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem,

your Excellency's most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LV.—TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, May 9, 1781

TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Richmond, May 9, 1781.

Sir,

Since the last letter which I had the honor of addressing to your Excellency, the military movements in this State, except a very late one, have scarcely merited communication.

The enemy, after leaving Williamsburg, came directly up James river and landed at City Point, being the point of land on the southern side of the confluence of Appomatox and James rivers. They marched up to Petersburg, where they were received by Baron Steuben with a body of militia somewhat under one thousand, who, though the enemy were two thousand and three hundred strong, disputed the ground very handsomely, two hours, during which time the enemy gained only one mile, and that by inches. Our troops were then ordered to retire over a bridge, which they did in perfectly good order. Our loss was between sixty and seventy, killed, wounded, and taken. The enemy's is unknown, but it must be equal to ours; for their own honor they must confess this, as they broke twice and run like sheep, till supported by fresh troops. An inferiority in number obliged our force to withdraw about twelve miles upwards, till more militia should be assembled. The enemy burned all the tobacco in the warehouses at Petersburg, and its, neighborhood. They afterwards proceeded to Osborne's, where they did the same, and also destroyed the residue of the public armed vessels, and several of private property, and then came to Manchester, which is on the hill opposite this place.

By this time, Major General Marquis Fayette, having been advised of our danger, had, by forced marches, got here with his detachment of Continental troops; and reinforcements of militia having also come in, the enemy finding we were able to meet them on equal footing, thought proper to burn the warehouses and tobacco at Manchester, and retire to Warwick, where they did the same. Ill armed and untried militia, who never before saw the face of an enemy, have, at times, during the course of this war, given occasions of exultation to our enemies; but they afforded us, while at Warwick, a little satisfaction in the same way. Six or eight hundred of their picked men of light-infantry, with General Arnold at their head, having crossed the river from Warwick, fled from a patrole of sixteen horse, every man into his boat as he could, some pushing north, some south, as their fears drove them. Their whole force then proceeded to the Hundred, being the point of land within the confluence of the two rivers, embarked, and fell down the river. Their foremost vessels had got below Burwell's Ferry on the 6th instant, when on the arrival of a boat from Portsmouth, and a signal given, the whole crowded sail up the river again with a fair wind and tide, and came to anchor at Brandon; there six days' provision was dealt out to every man; they landed, and had orders to march an hour before day the next morning. We have not yet heard which way they went, or whether they have gone; but having, about the same time, received authentic information that Lord Cornwallis had, on the 1st instant, advanced from Wilmington half way to Halifax, we have no doubt, putting all circumstances together, that these two armies are forming a junction.

We are strengthening our hands with militia, as far as arms, either public or private, can be collected, but cannot arm a force which may face the combined armies of the enemy. It will, therefore, be of very great importance that General Wayne's forces be pressed on with the utmost despatch. Arms and a naval force, however, are what must ultimately save us. This movement of our enemies we consider as most perilous in its consequences.

Our latest advices from General Greene were of the 26th ult., when he was lying before Camden, the works and garrison of which were much stronger than he had expected to find them.

I have the honor to be, with great respect,

your Excellency's most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson,



LETTER LVI.—TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS, May 10, 1781

TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS.

In Council, May 10, 1781.

Gentlemen,

A small affair has taken place between the British commanding officer in this state, General Phillips, and the Executive, of which, as he may endeavor to get rid of it through the medium of Congress, I think it necessary previously to apprise you.

General Scott obtained permission from the Commandant at Charleston, for vessels with necessary supplies to go from hence to them, but instead of sending the original, sent only a copy of the permission taken by his brigade-major. I applied to General Phillips to supply this omission by furnishing a passport for the vessel. Having just before taken great offence at a threat of retaliation in the treatment of prisoners, he enclosed his answer to my letter under this address, 'To Thomas Jefferson Esq., American Governor of Virginia.' I paused on receiving the letter, and for some time would not open it; however, when the miserable condition of our brethren in Charleston occurred to me, I could not determine that they should be left without the necessaries of life, while a punctilio should be discussing between the British General and myself; and knowing that I had an opportunity of returning the compliment to Mr. Phillips in a case perfectly corresponding, I opened the letter.

Very shortly after, I received, as I expected, the permission of the board of war, for the British flag-vessel, then in Hampton Roads with clothing and refreshments, to proceed to Alexandria. I enclosed and addressed it, 'To William Phillips Esq., commanding the British forces in the Commonwealth of Virginia.' Personally knowing Phillips to be the proudest man of the proudest nation on earth, I well know he will not open this letter; but having occasion at the same time to write to Captain Gerlach, the flag-master, I informed him that the Convention troops in this state should perish-for want of necessaries, before any should be carried to them through this state, till General Phillips either swallowed this pill of retaliation, or made an apology for his rudeness. And in this, should the matter come ultimately to Congress, we hope for their support.

He has the less right to insist on the expedition of his flag, because his letter, instead of enclosing a passport to expedite ours, contained only an evasion of the application, by saying he had referred it to Sir Henry Clinton, and in the mean time, he has come up the river, and taken the vessel with her loading, which we had chartered and prepared to send to Charleston, and which wanted nothing but the passport to enable her to depart.

I would further observe to you, that this gentleman's letters to the Baron Steuben first, and afterwards to the Marquis Fayette, have been in a style so intolerably insolent and haughty, that both these gentlemen have, been obliged to inform him, that if he thinks proper to address them again in the same spirit, all intercourse shall be discontinued.

I am, with great respect and esteem,

Gentlemen, your most obedient servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LVII.—TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, May 28,1781

TO HIS EXCELLENCY GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Charlottesville, May 28,1781.

Sir,

I make no doubt you will have heard, before this shall have the honor of being presented to your Excellency, of the junction of Lord Cornwallis with the force at Petersburg under Arnold, who had succeeded to the command on the death of Major General Phillips. I am now advised that they have evacuated Petersburg, joined at Westover a reinforcement of two thousand men just arrived from New York, crossed James river, and on the 26th instant were three miles advanced on their way towards Richmond; at which place Major General the Marquis Fayette lay with three thousand men, regulars and militia: these being the whole number we could arm, until the arrival of the eleven hundred arms from Rhode Island, which are, about this time, at the place where our public stores are deposited, The whole force of the enemy within this State, from the best intelligence I have been able to get, is, I think, about seven thousand men, infantry and cavalry, including also the small garrison left at Portsmouth. A number of privateers, which are constantly ravaging the shores of our rivers, prevent us from receiving any aid from the counties lying on navigable waters: and powerful operations meditated against our western frontier, by a joint force of British and Indian savages, have, as your Excellency before knew, obliged us to embody between two and three thousand men in that quarter. Your Excellency will judge from this state of things, and from what you know of our country, what it may probably suffer during the present campaign. Should the enemy be able to produce no opportunity of annihilating the Marquis's army, a small proportion of their force may yet restrain his movements effectually, while the greater part are employed, in detachment, to waste an unarmed country, and lead the minds of the people to acquiescence under those events, which they see no human power prepared to ward off. We are too far removed from the other scenes of war to say, whether the main force of the enemy be within this state. But I suppose they cannot any where spare so great an army for the operations of the field. Were it possible for this circumstance to justify in your Excellency a determination to lend us your personal aid, it is evident from the universal voice, that the presence of their beloved countryman, whose talents have so long been successfully employed in establishing the freedom of kindred States, to whose person they have still flattered themselves they retained some right, and have ever looked up, as their dernier resort in distress, would restore full confidence of salvation to our citizens, and would render them equal to whatever is not impossible. I cannot undertake to foresee and obviate the difficulties which lie in the way of such a resolution. The whole subject is before you, of which I see only detached parts: and your judgment will be formed on a view of the whole. Should the danger of this State, and its consequence to the Union, be such, as to render it best for the whole that you should repair to its assistance, the difficulty would then be, how to keep men out of the field. I have undertaken to hint this matter to your Excellency, not only on my own sense of its importance to us, but at the solicitations of many members of weight in our legislature, which has not yet assembled to speak their own desires.

A few days will bring to me that relief which the constitution has prepared for those oppressed with the labors of my office, and a long declared resolution of relinquishing it to abler hands, has prepared my way for retirement to a private station: still, as an individual, I should feel the comfortable effects of your presence, and have (what I thought could not have been) an additional motive for that gratitude, esteem, and respect, with which

I have the honor to be,

your Excellency's most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.

[An interval of near three years here occurs in the Author's correspondence, during which he preserved only memoranda of the contents of the letters written by him.]



*****



LETTER, LVIII.—TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, April 16, 1784

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Annapolis, April 16, 1784.

Dear Sir,

I received your favor of April the 8th, by Colonel Harrison, The subject of it is interesting, and, so far as you have stood connected with it, has been matter of anxiety to me; because, whatever may be the ultimate fate of the institution of the Cincinnati, as, in its course, it draws to it some degree of disapprobation, I have wished to see you standing on ground separated from it, and that the character which will be handed to future ages at the head of our Revolution, may, in no instance, be compromitted in subordinate altercations. The subject has been at the point of my pen in every letter I have written to you, but has been still restrained by the reflection that you had among your friends more able counsellors, and, in yourself, one abler than them all. Your letter has now rendered a duty what was before a desire, and I cannot better merit your confidence than by a full and free communication of facts and sentiments, as far as they have come within my observation. When the army was about to be disbanded, and the officers to take final leave, perhaps never again to meet, it was natural for men who had accompanied each other through so many scenes of hardship, of difficulty and danger, who, in a variety of instances, must have been rendered mutually dear by those aids and good offices, to which their situations had given occasion, it was natural, I say, for these to seize with fondness any proposition which promised to bring them together again, at certain and regular periods. And this, I take for granted, was the origin and object of this institution: and I have no suspicion that they foresaw, much less intended, those mischiefs which exist perhaps in the forebodings of politicians only. I doubt, however, whether in its execution, it would be found to answer the wishes of those who framed it, and to foster those friendships it was intended to preserve. The members would be brought together at their annual assemblies no longer to encounter a common enemy, but to encounter one another in debate and sentiment. For something, I suppose, is to be done at these meetings, and, however unimportant, it will suffice to produce difference of opinion, contradiction, and irritation. The way to make friends quarrel is to put them in disputation under the public eye. An experience of near twenty years has taught me, that few friendships stand this test, and that public assemblies where every one is free to act and speak, are the most powerful looseners of the bands of private friendship. I think, therefore, that this institution would fail in its principal object, the perpetuation of the personal friendships contracted through the war.

The objections of those who are opposed to the institution shall be briefly sketched. You will readily fill them up. They urge that it is against the Confederation—against the letter of some of our constitutions—against the spirit of all of them;—that the foundation on which all these are built, is the natural equality of man, the denial of every pre-eminence but that annexed to legal office, and, particularly, the denial of a pre-eminence by birth; that however, in their present dispositions, citizens might decline accepting honorary instalments[sp.]into the order; but a time, may come, when a change of dispositions would render these flattering, when a well directed distribution of them might draw into the order all the men of talents, of office, and wealth, and in this case, would probably procure an ingraftment into the government; that in this, they will be supported by their foreign members, and the wishes and influence of foreign courts; that experience has shown that the hereditary branches of modern governments are the patrons of privilege and prerogative, and not of the natural rights of the people, whose oppressors they generally are: that besides these evils, which are remote, others may take place more immediately; that a distinction is kept up between the civil and military, which it is for the happiness of both to obliterate; that when the members assemble the, will be proposing to do something, and what that something may be, will depend on actual circumstances; that being an organized body, under habits of subordination, the first obstruction to enterprise will be already surmounted; that the moderation and virtue of a single character have probably prevented this Revolution from being closed as most others have been, by a subversion of that liberty it was intended to establish; that he is not immortal, and his successor, or some of his successors, may be led by false calculation into a less certain road to glory.

What are the sentiments of Congress on this subject, and what line they will pursue, can only be stated, conjecturally. Congress as a body, if left to themselves, will in my opinion say nothing on the subject. They may, however, be forced into a declaration by instructions from some of the States, or by other incidents. Their sentiments, if forced from them, will be unfriendly to the institution. If permitted to pursue their own path, they will check it by side-blows whenever it comes in their way, and in competitions for office, on equal or nearly equal ground, will give silent preferences to those who are not of the fraternity. My reasons for thinking this are, 1. The grounds on which they lately declined the foreign order proposed to be conferred on some of our citizens. 2. The fourth of the fundamental articles of constitution for the new States. I enclose you the report; it has been considered by Congress, recommitted and reformed by a committee, according to sentiments expressed on other parts of it, but the principle referred to, having not been controverted at all, stands in this as in the original report; it is not yet confirmed by Congress. 3. Private conversations on this subject with the members. Since the receipt of your letter I have taken occasion to extend these; not, indeed, to the military members, because, being of the order, delicacy forbade it, but to the others pretty generally; and, among these, I have as yet found but one who is not opposed to the institution, and that with an anguish of mind, though covered under a guarded silence which I have not seen produced by any circumstance before. I arrived at Philadelphia before the separation of the last Congress, and saw there and at Princeton some of its members not now in delegation. Burke's piece happened to come out at that time, which occasioned this institution to be the subject of conversation. I found the same impressions made on them which their successors have received. I hear from other quarters that it is disagreeable, generally, to such citizens as have attended to it, and, therefore, will probably be so to all, when any circumstance shall present it to the notice of all.

This, Sir, is as faithful an account of sentiments and facts as I am able to give you. You know the extent of the circle within which my observations are at present circumscribed, and can estimate how far, as forming a part of the general opinion, it may merit notice, or ought to influence your particular conduct.

It now remains to pay obedience to that part of your letter, which requests sentiments on the most eligible measures to be pursued by the society, at their next meeting. I must be far from pretending to be a judge of what would, in fact, be the most, eligible measures for the society. I can only give you the opinions of those with whom I have conversed, and who, as I have before observed, are unfriendly to it. They lead to these conclusions. 1. If the society proceed according to its institution, it will be better to make no applications to Congress on that subject, or any other, in their associated character. 2. If they should propose to modify it, so as to render it unobjectionable, I think it would not be effected without such a modification as would amount almost to annihilation: for such would it be to part with its inheritability, its organization, and its assemblies. 3. If they shall be disposed to discontinue the whole, it would remain with them to determine whether they would choose it to be done by their own act only, or by a reference of the matter to Congress, which would infallibly produce a recommendation of total discontinuance.

You will be sensible, Sir, that these communications are without reserve. I supposed such to be your wish, and mean them but as materials, with such others as you may collect, for your better judgment to work on. I consider the whole matter as between ourselves alone, having determined to take no active part in this or any thing else, which may lead to altercation, or disturb that quiet and tranquillity of mind, to which I consign the remaining portion of my life. I have been thrown back by events, on a stage where I had never more thought to appear. It is but for a time, however, and as a day-laborer, free to withdraw, or be withdrawn at will. While I remain, I shall pursue in silence the path of right, but in every situation, public or private, I shall be gratified by all occasions of rendering you service, and of convincing you there is no one, to whom your reputation and happiness are dearer than to, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LIX.—TO COLONEL URIAH FORREST, October 20, 1784

TO COLONEL URIAH FORREST.

Paris, Cul-de-Sac Tetebout,

October 20, 1784.

Sir,

I received yesterday your favor of the 8th instant, and this morning went to Auteuil and Passy, to consult with Mr. Adams and Dr. Franklin on the subject of it. We conferred together, and think it is a case in which we could not interpose (were there as yet cause for interposition) without express instructions from Congress. It is, however, our private opinion, which we give as individuals, only, that Mr. McLanahan, while in England, is subject to the laws of England; that, therefore, he must employ counsel, and be guided in his defence by their advice. The law of nations and the treaty of peace, as making a part of the law of the land, will undoubtedly be under the consideration of the judges who pronounce on Mr. McLanahan's case; and we are willing to hope that, in their knowledge and integrity, he will find certain resources against injustice, and a reparation of all injury to which he may have been groundlessly exposed. A final and palpable failure on their part, which we have no reason to apprehend, might make the case proper for the consideration of Congress.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of great respect and esteem, for Mr. McLanahan, as well as yourself.

Sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LX.—TO JOHN JAY, May 11, 1785

TO JOHN JAY.

Paris, May 11, 1785.

Sir,

I was honored on the 2nd instant with the receipt of your favor of March the 15th, enclosing the resolution of Congress of the 10th of the same month, appointing me their Minister Plenipotentiary at this court, and also of your second letter of March 22nd, covering the commission and letter of credence for that appointment. I beg permission through you, Sir, to testify to Congress my gratitude for this new mark of their favor, and my assurances of endeavoring to merit it by a faithful attention to the discharge of the duties annexed to it. Fervent zeal is all which I can be sure of carrying into their service; and where I fail through a want of those powers which nature and circumstances deny me, I shall rely on their indulgence, and much also on that candor with which your Goodness will present my proceedings to their eye. The kind terms in which you are pleased to notify this honor to me, require mv sincere thanks. I beg you to accept them, and to be assured of the perfect esteem, with which I have the honor to be, Sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXI.—TO GENERAL CHASTELLUX, June 7,1785

TO GENERAL CHASTELLUX.

Paris, June 7,1785.

Dear Sir,

I have been honored with the receipt of your letter of the 2nd instant, and am to thank you, as I do sincerely, for the partiality with which you receive the copy of the Notes on my country. As I can answer for the facts therein reported on my own observation, and have admitted none on the report of others, which were not supported by evidence sufficient to command my own assent, I am not afraid that you should make any extracts you please for the Journal de Physique, which come within their plan of publication. The strictures on slavery and on the constitution of Virginia, are not of that kind, and they are the parts which I do not wish to have made public, at least, till I know whether their publication would do most harm or good. It is possible, that in my own country, these strictures might produce an irritation, which would indispose the people towards the two great objects I have in view, that is, the emancipation of their slaves, and the settlement of their constitution on a firmer and more permanent basis. If I learn from thence, that they will not produce that effect, I have printed and reserved just copies enough to be able to give one to every young man at the College. It is to them I look, to the rising generation, and not to the one now in power, for these great reformations. The other copy, delivered at your hotel, was for Monsieur de Buffon. I meant to ask the favor of you to have it sent to him, as I was ignorant how to do it. I have one also for Monsieur Daubenton, but being utterly unknown to him, I cannot take the liberty of presenting it, till I can do it through some common acquaintance.

I will beg leave to say here a few words on the general question of the degeneracy of animals in America. 1. As to the degeneracy of the man of Europe transplanted to America, it is no part of Monsieur de Buffon's system. He goes, indeed, within one step of it, but he stops there. The Abbe Raynal alone has taken that step. Your knowledge of America enables you to judge this question; to say, whether the lower class of people in America, are less informed, and less susceptible of information, than the lower class in Europe: and whether those in America who have received such an education as that country can give, are less improved by it than Europeans of the same degree of education. 2. As to the aboriginal man of America, I know of no respectable evidence on which the opinion of his inferiority of genius has been founded, but that of Don Ulloa. As to Robertson, he never was in America; he relates nothing on his own knowledge; he is a compiler only of the relations of others, and a mere translator of the opinions of Monsieur de Buffon. I should as soon, therefore, add the translators of Robertson to the witnesses of this fact, as himself. Paw, the beginner of this charge, was a compiler from the works of others; and of the most unlucky description; for he seems to have read the writings of travellers, only to collect and republish their lies. It is really remarkable, that in three volumes 12mo, of small print, it is scarcely possible to find one truth, and yet, that the author should be able to produce authority for every fact he states, as he says he can. Don Ulloa's testimony is of the most respectable. He wrote of what he saw, but he saw the Indian of South America only, and that, after he had passed through ten generations of slavery. It is very unfair, from this sample, to judge of the natural genius of this race of men; and after supposing that Don Ulloa had not sufficiently calculated the allowance which should be made for this circumstance, we do him no injury in considering the picture he draws of the present Indians of South America, as no picture of what their ancestors were, three hundred years ago. It is in North America we are to seek their original character. And I am safe in affirming that the proofs of genius given by the Indians of North America, place them on a level with whites in the same uncultivated state. The North of Europe furnishes subjects enough for comparison with them, and for a proof of their equality. I have seen some thousands myself, and conversed much with them, and have found in them a masculine, sound understanding. I have had much information from men who had lived among them, and whose veracity and good sense were so far known to me, as to establish a reliance on their information. They have all agreed in bearing witness in favor of the genius of this a people. As to their bodily strength, their manners rendering it disgraceful to labor, those muscles employed in labor will be weaker with them, than with the European laborer; but those which are exerted in the chase, and those faculties which are employed in the tracing an enemy or a wild beast, in contriving ambuscades for him, and in carrying them through their execution, are much stronger than with us, because they are more exercised. I believe the Indian, then, to be, in body and mind, equal to the white man. I have supposed the black man, in his present state, might not be so; but it would be hazardous to affirm, that, equally cultivated for a few generations, he would not become so. 3. As to the inferiority of the other animals of America, without more facts, I can add nothing to what I have said in my Notes.

As to the theory of Monsieur de Buffon, that heat is friendly, and moisture adverse to the production of large animals, I am lately furnished with a fact by Dr. Franklin, which proves the air of London and of Paris to be more humid than that of Philadelphia, and so creates a suspicion that the opinion of the superior humidity of America, may, perhaps, have been too hastily adopted. And supposing that fact admitted, I think the physical reasonings urged to show, that in a moist country animals must be small, and that in a hot one they must be large, are not built on the basis of experiment. These questions, however, cannot be decided ultimately, at this day. More facts must be collected, and more time flow off, before the world will be ripe for decision. In the mean time, doubt is wisdom.

I have been fully sensible of the anxieties of your situation, and that your attentions were wholly consecrated, where alone they were wholly due, to the succor of friendship and worth. However much I prize your society, I wait with patience the moment when I can have it without taking what is due to another. In the mean time, I am solaced with the hope of possessing your friendship, and that it is not ungrateful to you to receive the assurances of that with which I have the honor to be, Dear Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXII.—TO JOHN ADAMS, June 15, 1785

TO JOHN ADAMS.

Passy, June 15, 1785.

Sir,

Among the instructions given to the ministers of the United States for treating with foreign powers, was one of the 11th of May, 1784, relative to an individual of the name of John Baptist Picquet. It contains an acknowledgement, on the part of Congress, of his merits and sufferings by friendly services rendered to great numbers of American seamen carried prisoners into Lisbon, and refers to us the delivering him these acknowledgements in honorable terms, and the making him such gratification, as may indemnify his losses, and properly reward his zeal. This person is now is Paris, and asks whatever return is intended for him. Being in immediate want of money, he has been furnished with ten guineas. He expressed, desires of some appointment either for himself or son at Lisbon, but has been told that none such are in our gift, and that nothing more could be done for him in that line, than to mention to Congress that his services will merit their recollection, if they should make any appointment there analogous to his talents. He says his expenses in the relief of our prisoners have been upwards of fifty moidores. Supposing that, as he is poor, a pecuniary gratification will be most useful to him, we propose, in addition to what he has received, to give him a hundred and fifty guineas, or perhaps four thousand livres, and to write a joint letter to him expressing the sense Congress entertain of his services. We pray you to give us your sentiments on this subject by return of the first post, as he is waiting here, and we wish the aid of your counsels therein.

We are to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of June 3rd, informing us of your reception at the court of London.

I am, with sentiments of great respect and esteem, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXIII.—TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA, June 16, 1785

TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA.

Paris,

June 16, 1785.

Sir,

I had the honor of receiving, the day before yesterday, the resolution of Council, of March the 10th, and your letter of March the 30th, and shall, with great pleasure, unite my endeavors with those of the Marquis de la Fayette and Mr. Barclay, for the purpose of procuring the arms desired. Nothing can be more wise than this determination to arm our people, as it is impossible to say when our neighbors may think proper to give them exercise. I suppose that the establishing a manufacture of arms, to go hand in hand with the purchase of them from hence, is at present opposed by good reasons. This alone would make us independent for an article essential to our preservation; and workmen could probably be either got here, or drawn from England, to be embarked hence.

In a letter of January the 12th, to Governor Harrison, I informed him of the necessity that the statuary should see General Washington; that we should accordingly send him over unless the Executive disapproved of it, in which case I prayed to receive their pleasure. Mr. Houdon being new re-established in his health, and no countermand received, I hope this measure met the approbation of the Executive: Mr. Houdon will therefore go over with Dr. Franklin, some time in the next month.

I have the honor of enclosing you the substance of propositions which have been made from London to the Farmers General of this country, to furnish them with the tobacco of Virginia and Maryland, which propositions were procured for me by the Marquis de la Fayette. I take the liberty of troubling you with them, on a supposition that it may be possible to have this article furnished from those two States to this country, immediately, without its passing through the entrepot of London, and the returns for it being made, of course, in London merchandise. Twenty thousand hogsheads of tobacco a year, delivered here in exchange for the produce and manufactures of this country, many of which are as good, some better, and most of them cheaper than in England, would establish a rivalship for our commerce, which would have happy effects in all the three countries. Whether this end will be best effected by giving out these propositions to our merchants, and exciting them to become candidates with the Farmers General for this contract, or by any other means, your Excellency will best judge on the spot.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of due respect, your Excellency's most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.

P.S. I have written on the last subject to the Governor of Maryland also.



LETTER LXIV.—TO COLONEL MONROE, June 17, 1785

TO COLONEL MONROE.

Paris, June 17, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I received three days ago your favor of April the 12th. You therein speak of a former letter to me, but it has not come to hand, nor any other of later date than the 14th of December. My last to you was of the 11th of May, by Mr. Adams, who went in the packet of that month. These conveyances are now becoming deranged. We have had expectations of their coming to Havre, which would infinitely facilitate the communication between Paris and Congress; but their deliberations on the subject seem to be taking another turn. They complain of the expense, and that their commerce with us is too small to justify it. They therefore talk of sending a packet every six weeks only. The present one, therefore, which should have sailed about this time, will not sail till the 1st of July. However, the whole matter is as yet undecided. I have hopes that when Mr. St. John arrives from New York, he will get them replaced on their monthly system. By the bye, what is the meaning of a very angry resolution of Congress on his subject? I have it not by me, and therefore cannot cite it by date, but you will remember it, and oblige me by explaining its foundation. This will be handed you by Mr. Otto, who comes to America as Charge, des Affaires, in the room of Mr. Marbois, promoted to the Intendancy of Hispaniola, which office is next to that of Governor. He becomes the head of the civil, as the Governor is of the military department.

I am much pleased with Otto's appointment; he is good-humored, affectionate to America, will see things in a friendly light when they admit of it, in a rational one always, and will not pique himself on writing every trifling circumstance of irritation to his court. I wish you to be acquainted with him, as a friendly intercourse between individuals who do business together, produces a mutual spirit of accommodation useful to both parties. It is very much our interest to keep up the affection of this country for us, which is considerable. A court has no affections; but those of the people whom they govern, influence their decisions even in the most arbitrary governments.

The negotiations between the Emperor and Dutch are spun out to an amazing length. At present there is no apprehension but that they will terminate in peace. This court seems to press it with ardor, and the Dutch are averse, considering the terms cruel and unjust, as they evidently are. The present delays, therefore, are imputed to their coldness and to their forms. In the mean time, the Turk is delaying the demarcation of limits between him and the Emperor, is making the most vigorous preparations for war, and has composed his ministry of warlike characters, deemed personally hostile, to the Emperor. Thus time seems to be spinning out, both by the Dutch and Turks, and time is wanting for France. Every year's delay is a great thing for her. It is not impossible, therefore, but that she may secretly encourage the delays of the Dutch, and hasten the preparations of the Porte, while she is recovering vigor herself also, in order to be able to present such a combination to the Emperor as may dictate to him to be quiet. But the designs of these courts are unsearchable. It is our interest to pray that this country may have no continental war, till our peace with England is perfectly settled. The. merchants of this country continue as loud and furious as ever against the Arret of August, 1784, permitting our commerce with their islands to a certain degree. Many of them have actually abandoned their trade. The ministry are disposed to be firm; but there is a point at which they will give way: that is, if the clamors should become such as to endanger their places. It is evident that nothing can be done by us, at this time, if we may hope it hereafter. I like your removal to New York, and hope Congress will continue there, and never execute the idea of building their Federal town. Before it could be finished, a change of members in Congress, or the admission of new States, would remove them some where else. It is evident that when a sufficient number of the western states come in, they will remove it to Georgetown. In the mean time, it is our interest that it should remain where it is, and give no new pretensions to any other place. I am also much pleased with the proposition to the States to invest Congress with the regulation of their trade, reserving its revenue to the States. I think it a happy idea, removing the only objection which could have been justly made to the proposition. The time too is the present, before the admission of the western States. I am very differently affected towards the new plan of opening our land office, by dividing the lands among the States, and selling them at vendue. It separates still more the interests of the States, which ought to be made joint in every possible instance, in order to cultivate the idea of our being one nation, and to multiply the instances in which the people should look up to Congress as their head. And when the States get their portions they will either fool them away, or make a job of it to serve individuals. Proofs of both these practices have been furnished, and by either of them that invaluable fund is lost, which ought to pay our public debt. To sell them at vendue, is to give them to the bidders of the day, be they many or few. It is ripping up the hen which lays golden eggs. If sold in lots at a fixed price, as first proposed, the best lots will be sold first; as these become occupied, it gives a value to the interjacent ones, and raises them, though of inferior quality, to the price of the first. I send you by Mr. Otto, a copy of my book. Be so good as to apologize to Mr. Thomson for my not sending him one by this conveyance. I could not burthen Mr. Otto with more, on so long a road as that from here to L'Orient. I will send him one by a Mr. Williams, who will go ere long. I have taken measures to prevent its publication. My reason is, that I fear the terms in which I speak of slavery, and of our constitution, may produce an irritation which will revolt the minds of our countrymen against reformation in these two articles, and thus do more harm than good. I have asked of Mr. Madison to sound this matter as far as he can, and if he thinks it will not produce that effect, I have then copies enough printed to give one to each of the young men at the College, and to my friends in the country.

I am sorry to see a possibility of * * being put into the Treasury. He has no talents for the office, and what he has, will be employed in rummaging old accounts to involve you in eternal war with * *, and he will, in a short time, introduce such dissensions into the commission, as to break it up. If he goes on the other appointment to Kaskaskia, he will produce a revolt of that settlement from the United States. I thank you for your attention to my outfit. For the articles of household furniture, clothes, and a carriage, I have already paid twenty-eight thousand livres, and have still more to pay. For the greatest part of this, I have been obliged to anticipate my salary, from which, however, I shall never be able to repay it. I find, that by a rigid economy, bordering however on meanness, I can save perhaps, five hundred livres a month, at least in the summer. The residue goes for expenses so much of course and of necessity, that I cannot avoid them without abandoning all respect to my public character. Yet I will pray you to touch this string, which I know to be a tender one with Congress, with the utmost delicacy. I had rather be ruined in my fortune, than in their esteem. If they allow me half a year's salary as an outfit, I can get through my debts in time. If they raise the salary to what it was, or even pay our house rent and taxes, I can live with more decency. I trust that Mr. Adams's house at the Hague, and Dr. Franklin's at Passy,—the rent of which has been always allowed him, will give just expectations of the same allowance to me. Mr. Jay, however, did not charge it, but he lived economically and laid up money.

I will take the liberty of hazarding to you some thoughts on the policy of entering into treaties with the European nations, and the nature of them. I am not wedded to these ideas, and, therefore, shall relinquish them cheerfully when Congress shall adopt others, and zealously endeavor to carry theirs into effect. First, as to the policy of making treaties. Congress, by the Confederation, have no original and inherent power over the commerce of the States. But by the 9th article, they are authorized to enter into treaties of commerce. The moment these treaties are concluded, the jurisdiction of Congress over the commerce of the States, springs into existence, and that of the particular States is superseded so far as the articles of the treaty may have taken up the subject. There are two restrictions only, on the exercise of the power of treaty by Congress. 1st. That they shall not, by such treaty, restrain the legislatures of the States from imposing such duties on foreigners, as their own people are subject to: nor 2ndly, from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any particular species of goods. Leaving these two points free, Congress may, by treaty, establish any system of commerce they please; but, as I before observed, it is by treaty alone they can do it. Though they may exercise their other powers by resolution or ordinance, those over commerce can only be exercised by forming a treaty, and this, probably, by an accidental wording of our Confederation. If, therefore, it is better for the States that Congress should regulate their commerce, it is proper that they should form treaties with all nations with whom we may possibly trade. You see that my primary object in the formation of treaties, is to take the commerce of the States out of the hands of the States, and to place it under the superintendence of Congress, so far as the imperfect provisions of our constitution will admit, and until the States shall, by new compact, make them more perfect. I would say then to every nation on earth, by treaty, your people shall trade freely with us, and ours with you, paying no more than the most favored nation in order to put an end to the right of individual States, acting by fits and starts, to interrupt our commerce or to embroil us with any nation. As to the terms of these treaties, the question becomes more difficult. I will mention three different plans. 1. That no duties shall be laid by either party on the productions of the other. 2. That each may be permitted to equalize their duties to those laid by the other. 3. That each shall pay in the ports of the other, such duties only as the most favored nations pay.

1. Were the nations of Europe as free and unembarrassed of established systems as we are, I do verily believe they would concur with us in the first plan. But it is impossible. These establishments are fixed upon them; they are interwoven with the body of their laws and the organization of their government, and they make a great part of their revenue; they cannot then get rid of them.

2. The plan of equal imposts presents difficulties insurmountable. For how are the equal imposts to be effected? Is it by laying in the ports of A, an equal per cent, on the goods of B, with that which B has laid in his ports on the goods of A? But how are we to find what is that per cent.? For this is not the usual form of imposts. They generally pay by the-ton, by the measure, by the weight, and not by the value. Besides, if A sends a million's worth of goods to B, and takes back but the half of that, and each pays the same per cent., it is evident that A pays the double of what he recovers in the same way from B: this would be our case with Spain. Shall we endeavor to effect equality, then, by saying A may levy so much on the sum of B's importations into his ports, as B does on the sum of A's importations into the ports of B.? But how find out that sum? Will either party lay open their custom-house books candidly to evince this sum? Does either keep their books so exactly as to be able to do it? This proposition was started in Congress when our instructions were formed, as you may remember, and the impossibility of executing it occasioned it to be disapproved. Besides, who should have a right of deciding when the imposts were equal. A would say to B, My imposts do not raise so much as yours; I raise them therefore. B would then say, You have made them greater than mine, I will raise mine; and thus a kind of auction would be carried on between them, and a mutual irritation, which would end in any thing, sooner than equality and right.

3. I confess then to you, that I see no alternative left but that which Congress adopted, of each party placing the other on the footing of the most favored nation. If the nations of Europe, from their actual establishments, are not at liberty to say to America, that she shall trade in their ports duty free, they may say she may trade there paying no higher duties than the most favored nation; and this is valuable in many of these countries, where a very great difference is made between different nations. There is no difficulty in the execution of this contract, because there is not a merchant who does not know, or may not know, the duty paid by every nation on every article. This stipulation leaves each party at liberty to regulate their own commerce by general rules, while it secures the other from partial and oppressive discriminations. The difficulty which arises in our case is with the nations having American territory. Access to the West Indies is indispensably necessary to us. Yet how to gain it when it is the established system of these nations to exclude all foreigners from their colonies? The only chance seems to be this: our commerce to the mother countries is valuable to them. We must indeavor, then, to make this the price of an admission into their West Indies, and to those who refuse the admission, we must refuse our commerce, or load theirs by odious discriminations in our ports. We have this circumstance in our favor too, that what one grants us in their islands, the others will not find it worth their while to refuse. The misfortune is, that with this country we gave this price for their aid in the war, and we have now nothing more to offer. She being withdrawn from the competition, leaves Great Britain much more at liberty to hold out against us. This is the difficult part of the business of treaty, and I own it does not hold out the most flattering prospects.

I wish you would consider this subject, and write me your thoughts on it. Mr. Gerry wrote me on the same subject. Will you give me leave to impose on you the trouble of communicating this to him? It is long, and will save me much labor in copying. I hope he will be so indulgent as to consider it as an answer to that part of his letter, and will give me his further thoughts on it. Shall I send you so much of the Encyclopedie as is already published, or reserve it here till you come? It is about forty volumes which is probably about half the work. Give yourself no uneasiness about the money; perhaps I may find it convenient to ask you to pay trifles occasionally for me in America. I sincerely wish you may find it convenient to come here; the pleasure of the trip will be less than you expect, but the utility greater. It will make you adore your own country, its soil, its climate, its equality, liberty, laws, people, and manners. My God! how little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy. I confess I had no idea of it myself. While we shall see multiplied instances of Europeans going to live in America, I will venture to say no man now living, will ever see an instance of an American removing to settle in Europe, and continuing there. Come then and see the proofs of this, and on your return add your testimony to that of every thinking American, in order to satisfy our countrymen how much it is their interest to preserve, uninfected by contagion, those peculiarities in their governments and manners, to which they are indebted for those blessings. Adieu, my dear friend; present me affectionately to your colleagues. If any of them think me worth writing to, they may be assured that in the epistolary account I will keep the debit side against them. Once more, adieu.

Yours affectionately,

Th: Jefferson.

P.S. June 19. Since writing the above we have received the following account: Monsieur Pilatre de Roziere, who had been waiting for some months at Boulogne for a fair wind to cross the channel, at length took his ascent with a companion. The wind changed after a while, and brought him back on the French coast. Being at a height of about six thousand feet, some accident happened to his balloon of inflammable air; it burst, they fell from that height, and were crushed to atoms. There was a montgolfier combined with the balloon of inflammable air. It is suspected the heat of the montgolfier rarefied too much the inflammable air of the other, and occasioned it to burst. The montgolfier came down in good order.

T.J.



LETTER LXV.—TO CHARLES THOMSON, June 21, 1785

TO CHARLES THOMSON.

Paris, June 21, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Your favor of March the 6th has come duly to hand. You therein acknowledge the receipt of mine of November the 11th; at that time you could not have received my last, of February the 8th. At present there is so little new in politics, literature, or the arts, that I write rather to prove to you my desire of nourishing your correspondence than of being able to give you any thing interesting at this time. The political world is almost lulled to sleep by the lethargic state of the Dutch negotiation, which will probably end in peace. Nor does this court profess to apprehend, that the Emperor will involve this hemisphere in war by his schemes on Bavaria and Turkey. The arts, instead of advancing, have lately received a check, which will probably render stationary for a while, that branch of them which had promised to elevate us to the skies. Pilatre de Roziere, who had first ventured into that region, has fallen a sacrifice to it. In an attempt to pass from Boulogne over to England, a change in the wind having brought him back on the coast of France, some accident happened to his balloon of inflammable air, which occasioned it to burst, and that of rarefied air combined with it being then unequal to the weight, they fell to the earth from a height, which the first reports made six thousand feet, but later ones have reduced to sixteen hundred. Pilatre de Roziere was dead when a peasant, distant one hundred yards only, run to him; but Romain, his companion, lived about ten minutes, though speechless, and without his senses. In literature there is nothing new. For I do not consider as having added any thing to that field, my own Notes, of which I have had a few copies printed. I will send you a copy by the first safe conveyance. Having troubled Mr. Otto with one for Colonel Monroe, I could not charge him with one for you. Pray ask the favor of Colonel Monroe, in page 5, line 17, to strike out the words 'above the mouth of Appamatox,' which make nonsense of the passage; and I forgot to correct it before I had enclosed and sent off the copy to him. I am desirous of preventing the reprinting this, should any book-merchant think it worth it, till I hear from my friends, whether the terms in which I have spoken of slavery and the constitution of our State, will not, by producing an irritation, retard that reformation which I wish, instead of promoting it. Dr. Franklin proposes to sail for America about the first or second week of July. He does not yet know, however, by what conveyance he can go. Unable to travel by land, he must descend the Seine in a boat to Havre. He has sent to England to get some vessel bound for Philadelphia, to touch at Havre for him. But he receives information that this cannot be done. He has been on the lookout ever since he received his permission to return; but, as yet, no possible means of getting a passage have offered, and I fear it is very uncertain when any will offer. I am with very great esteem, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXVI.—TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL, June 22, 1785

TO WILLIAM CARMICHAEL.

Paris, June 22, 1785.

Sir,

Your letter of April the 4th came to my hands on the 16th of that month, and was acknowledged by mine of May the 3rd. That which you did me the honor to write me on the 5th of April, never came to hand until the 19th of May, upwards of a month after the one of the day before. I have hopes of sending the present by a Mr. Jarvis, who went from hence to Holland some time ago. About this date, I suppose him to be at Brussels, and that from thence he will inform me, whether, in his way to Madrid, he will pass by this place. If he does, this shall be accompanied by a cipher for our future use; if he does not, I must still await a safe opportunity. Mr. Jarvis is a citizen of the United States from New-York, a gentleman of intelligence, in the mercantile line, from whom you will be able to get considerable information of American affairs. I think he left America in January. He informed us that Congress were about to appoint a Mr. Lambe, of Connecticut, their consul to Morocco, and to send him to their ministers, commissioned to treat with the Barbary powers, for instructions. Since that, Mr. Jay enclosed to Mr. Adams, in London, a resolution of Congress deciding definitively on amicable treaties with the Barbary States, in the usual way, and informing him that he had sent a letter and instructions to us, by Mr. Lambe. Though it is near three weeks since we received a communication of this from Mr. Adams, yet we hear nothing further of Mr. Lambe. Our powers of treating with the Barbary States are full, but in the amount of the expense we are limited. I believe you may safely assure them, that they will soon receive propositions from us, if you find such an assurance necessary to keep them quiet. Turning at this instant to your letter dated April 5th, and considering it attentively, I am persuaded it must have been written on the 5th of May: of this little mistake I ought to have been sooner sensible. Our latest letters from America are of the middle of April, and are extremely barren of news. Congress had not yet proposed a time for their recess, though it was thought a recess would take place. Mr. Morris had retired, and the treasury was actually administered by commissioners. Their land-office was not yet opened. The settlements at Kaskaskia, within the territory ceded to them by Virginia, had prayed the establishment of a regular government, and they were about sending a commissioner to them. General Knox was appointed their secretary of the war-office. These, I think, are the only facts we have learned which are worth communicating to you. The inhabitants of Canada have sent a sensible petition to their King, praying the establishment of an Assembly, the benefits of the habeas corpus laws, and other privileges of British subjects. The establishment of an Assembly is denied, but most of their other desires granted. We are now in hourly expectation of the arrival of the packet which should have sailed from New York in May. Perhaps that may bring us matter which may furnish the subject of a more interesting letter.

In the mean time, I have the honor to be, with the highest respect, Sir,

your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.

P.S. July 14. I have thus long waited, day after day, hoping to hear from Mr. Jarvis, that I might send a cipher with this: but now give up the hope. No news yet of Mr. Lambe. The packet has arrived, but brings no intelligence, except that it is doubtful whether Congress will adjourn this summer. The Assembly of Pennsylvania propose to suppress their bank on principles of policy. T.J.



LETTER LXVII.—TO JOHN ADAMS, June 23, 1785

TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, June 23, 1785.

Dear Sir,

My last to you was of the 2nd instant, since which I have received yours of the 3rd and 7th. I informed you in mine of the substance of our letter to Baron Thulemeyer: last night came to hand his acknowledgment of the receipt of it. He accedes to the method proposed for signing, and has forwarded our despatch to the King. I enclose you a copy of our letter to Mr. Jay, to go by the packet of this month. It contains a statement of our proceedings since the preceding letter, which you had signed with us. This statement contains nothing but what you had concurred with us in; and, as Dr. Franklin expects to go early in July to America, it is probable that the future letters must be written by you and myself. I shall therefore take care that you be furnished with copies of every thing which comes to hand on the joint business.

What is become of this Mr. Lambe? I am uneasy at the delay of that business, since we know the ultimate decision of Congress. Dr. Franklin, having a copy of the Corps Diplomatique, has promised to prepare a draught of a treaty to be offered to the Barbary States: as soon as he has done so, we will send it to you for your corrections. We think it will be best to have it in readiness against the arrival of Mr. Lambe, on the supposition that he may be addressed to the joint ministers for instructions.

I asked the favor of you in my last, to choose two of the best London papers for me; one of each party. The Duke of Dorset has given me leave to have them put under his address, and sent to the office from which his despatches come. I think he called it Cleveland office, or Cleveland lane, or by some such name; however, I suppose it can easily be known there. Will Mr. Stockdale undertake to have these papers sent regularly, or is this out of the line of his business? Pray order me also any really good pamphlets that come out from time to time, which he will charge to me.

I am, with great esteem, dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXVIII.—TO COLONEL MONROE, July 5, 1785

TO COLONEL MONROE.

Paris, July 5, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I wrote you, by Mr. Adams, May the 11th, and by Mr. Otto, June the 17th. The latter acknowledged the receipt of yours of April the 12th, which is the only one come to hand of later date than December the 14th. Little has occurred since my last. Peace seems to show herself under a more decided form. The Emperor is now on a journey to Italy, and the two Dutch Plenipotentiaries have set out for Vienna; there to make an apology for their State having dared to fire a gun in defence of her invaded rights: this is insisted on as a preliminary condition. The Emperor seems to prefer the glory of terror to that of justice; and, to satisfy this tinsel passion, plants a dagger in the heart of every Dutchman which no time will extract. I inquired lately of a gentleman who lived long at Constantinople, in a public character, and enjoyed the confidence of that government, insomuch, as to become well acquainted with its spirit and its powers, what he thought might be the issue of the present affair between the Emperor and the Porte. He thinks the latter will not push matters to a war; and, if they do, they must fail under it. They have lost their warlike spirit, and their troops cannot be induced to adopt the European arms. We have no news yet of Mr. Lambe; of course our Barbary proceedings are still at a stand.*

[* The remainder of this letter is in cipher, to which there is no key in the Editor's possession.]

Yours affectionately,

Th: Jefferson



LETTER LXIX.—TO MRS. SPROWLE, July 5,1785

TO MRS. SPROWLE.

Paris, July 5,1785.

Madam,

Your letter of the 21st of June, has come safely to hand. That which you had done me the honor of writing before, has not yet been received. It having gone by Dr. Witherspoon to America, which I had left before his return to it, the delay is easily accounted for.

I wish you may be rightly informed that the property of Mr. Sprowle is yet unsold. It was advertised so long ago, as to found a presumption that the sale has taken place. In any event, you may safely go to Virginia. It is in the London newspapers only, that exist those mobs and riots, which are fabricated to deter strangers from going to America. Your person will be sacredly safe, and free from insult. You can best judge from the character and qualities of your son, whether he may be an useful co-adjutor to you there. I suppose him to have taken side with the British, before our Declaration of Independence; and, if this was the case, I respect the candor of the measure, though I do not its wisdom. A right to take the side which every man's conscience approves in a civil contest, is too precious a right, and too favorable to the preservation of liberty, not to be protected by all its well informed friends. The Assembly of Virginia have given sanction to this right in several of their laws, discriminating honorably those who took side against us before the Declaration of Independence, from those who remained among us, and strove to injure us by their treacheries. I sincerely wish that you, and every other to whom this distinction applies favorably, may find, in the Assembly of Virginia, the good effects of that justice and generosity, which have dictated to them this discrimination. It is a sentiment which will gain strength in their breasts, in proportion as they can forget the savage cruelties committed on them, and will, I hope, in the end, reduce them to restore the property itself, wherever it is unsold, and the price received for it, where it has been actually sold.

I am, Madam,

your very humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXX.—TO JOHN ADAMS, July 7, 1785

TO JOHN ADAMS.

Paris, July 7, 1785.

Dear Sir,

This will accompany a joint letter enclosing the draft of a treaty? and my private letter of June 23rd, which has waited so long for a private conveyance. We daily expect from the Baron Thulemeyer the French column for our treaty with his sovereign. In the mean while, two copies are preparing with the English column, which Dr. Franklin wishes to sign before his departure, which will be within four or five days. The French, when received, will be inserted in the blank columns of each copy. As the measure of signing at separate times and places is new, we think it necessary to omit no other circumstance of ceremony which can be observed. That of sending it by a person of confidence, and invested with a character relative to the object, who shall attest our signature, yours in London, and Baron Thulemeyer's at the Hague, and who shall make the actual exchanges, we think will contribute to supply the departure from the original form, in other instances. For this reason, we have agreed to send Mr. Short on this business, to make him a secretary pro hac vice, and to join Mr. Dumas for the operations of exchange, &c. As Dr. Franklin will have left us before Mr. Short's mission will commence, and I have never been concerned in the ceremonials of a treaty, I will thank you for your immediate information as to the papers he should be furnished with from hence. He will repair first to you in London, thence to the Hague, and then return to Paris.

What has become of Mr. Lambe? Supposing he was to call on the commissioners for instructions, and thinking it best these should be in readiness, Dr. Franklin undertook to consult well the Barbary treaties with other nations, and to prepare a sketch which we should have sent for your correction. He tells me he has consulted those treaties, and made references to the articles proper for us, which, however, he will not have time to put into form, but will leave them with me to reduce. As soon as I see them, you shall hear from me. A late conversation with an English gentleman here, makes me believe, what I did not believe before; that his nation thinks seriously that Congress have no power to form a treaty of commerce. As the explanations of this matter, which you and I may separately give, may be handed to their minister, it would be well that they should agree. For this reason, as well as for the hope of your showing me wherein I am wrong, and confirming me where I am right, I will give you my creed on the subject. It is contained in these four principles. By the Confederation, Congress have no power given them, in the first instance, over the commerce of the States. But they have a power given them of entering into treaties of commerce, and these treaties may cover the whole field of commerce, with two restrictions only. 1. That the States may impose equal duties on foreigners as natives: and 2. That they may prohibit the exportation or importation of any species of goods whatsoever. When they shall have entered into such treaty, the superintendence of it results to them; all the operations of commerce, which are protected by its stipulations, come under their jurisdiction, and the power of the States to thwart them by their separate acts, ceases. If Great Britain asks, then, why she should enter into treaty with us? why not carry on her commerce without treaty? I answer; because till a treaty is made, no consul of hers can be received (his functions being called into existence by a convention only, and the States having abandoned the right of separate agreements and treaties); no protection to her commerce can be given by Congress; no cover to it from those checks and discouragements, with which the States will oppress it, acting separately, and by fits and starts. That they will act so till a treaty is made, Great Britain has had several proofs; and I am convinced those proofs will become general. It is then to put her commerce with us on systematical ground, and under safe cover, that it behoves Great Britain to enter into treaty. And I own to you, that my wish to enter into treaties with the other powers of Europe, arises more from a desire of bringing all our commerce under the jurisdiction of Congress, than from any other views. Because, according to my idea, the commerce of the United States with those countries not under treaty with us, is under the jurisdiction of each State separately; but that of the countries which have treated with us, is under the jurisdiction of Congress, with the two fundamental restraints only, which I have before noted.

I shall be happy to receive your corrections of these ideas, as I have found, in the course of our joint services, that I think right when I think with you.

I am, with sincere affection, Dear Sir,

your friend and servant,

Th: Jefferson.

P.S. Monsieur Houdon has agreed to go to America to take the figure of General Washington. In the case of his death, between his departure from Paris and his return to it, we may lose twenty thousand livres. I ask the favor of you to inquire what it will cost to ensure that sum on his life, in London, and to give me as early an answer as possible, that I may order the ensurance, if I think the terms easy enough. He is, I believe, between thirty and thirty-five years of age, healthy enough, and will be absent about six months. T.J.



LETTER LXXI.—TO GENERAL WASHINGTON, July 10, 1785

TO GENERAL WASHINGTON.

Paris, July 10, 1785.

Dear Sir,

Mr. Houdon would much sooner have had the honor of attending you, but for a spell of sickness, which long induced us to despair of his recovery, and from which he is but recently recovered. He comes now, for the purpose of lending the aid of his art to transmit you to posterity. He is without rivalship in it, being employed from all parts of Europe in whatever is capital. He has had a difficulty to withdraw himself from an order of the Empress of Russia; a difficulty, however, that arose from a desire to show her respect, but which never gave him a moment's hesitation about his present voyage, which he considers as promising the brightest chapter of his history. I have spoken of him as an artist only; but I can assure you also, that, as a man, he is disinterested, generous, candid, and panting after glory: in every circumstance meriting your good opinion. He will have need to see you much while he shall have the honor of being with you; which you can the more freely admit, as his eminence and merit give him admission into genteel societies here. He will need an interpreter. I suppose you could procure some person from Alexandria, who might be agreeable to yourself, to perform this office. He brings with him one or two subordinate workmen, who of course will associate with their own class only.

On receiving the favor of your letter of February the 25th, I communicated the plan for clearing the Potomac, with the act of Assembly, and an explanation of its probable advantages, to Mr. Grand, whose acquaintance and connection with the monied men here, enabled him best to try its success. He has done so; but to no end. I enclose you his letter. I am pleased to hear in the mean time, that the subscriptions are likely to be filled up at home. This is infinitely better, and will render the proceedings of the company much more harmonious. I place an immense importance to my own country, on this channel of connection with the new western States. I shall continue uneasy till I know that Virginia has assumed her ultimate boundary to the westward. The late example of the State of Franklin separating from North Carolina, increases my anxieties for Virginia.

The confidence you are so good as to place in me, on the subject of the interest lately given you by Virginia in the Potomac company, is very flattering to me. But it is distressing also, inasmuch as, to deserve it, it obliges me to give my whole opinion. My wishes to see you made perfectly easy, by receiving, those just returns of gratitude from our country to which you are entitled, would induce me to be contented with saying, what is a certain truth, that the world would be pleased with seeing them heaped on you, and would consider your receiving them as no derogation from your reputation. But I must own that the declining them will add to that reputation, as it will show that your motives have been pure and without any alloy. This testimony, however, is not wanting either to those who know you, or who do not. I must therefore repeat, that I think the receiving them will not, in the least, lessen the respect of the world, if from any circumstances they would be convenient to you. The candor of my communication will find its justification, I know, with you.

A tolerable certainty of peace leaves little interesting in the way of intelligence. Holland and the emperor will be quiet. If any thing is brewing, it is between the latter and the Porte. Nothing in prospect as yet from England. We shall bring them, however, to a decision, now that Mr. Adams is received there. I wish much to hear that the canal through the Dismal Swamp is resumed.

I have the honor to be, with the highest respect and esteem,

Dear Sir, your most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXII.—TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA, July 11, 1785

TO THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA.

Paris, July 11, 1785.

Sir,

Mr. Houdon's long and desperate illness has retarded, till now, his departure for Virginia. We had hoped, from our first conversations with him, that it would be easy to make our terms, and that the cost of the statue and expense of sending him, would be but about a thousand guineas. But when we came to settle this precisely, he thought himself obliged to ask vastly more insomuch, that, at one moment, we thought our treaty at an end. But unwilling to commit such a work to an inferior hand, we made nim an ultimate proposition on our part. He was as much mortified at the prospect of not being the executor of such a work, as we were, not to have it done by such a hand. He therefore acceded to our terms; though we are satisfied he will be a considerable loser. We were led to insist on them, because, in a former letter to the Governor, I had given the hope we entertained of bringing the whole within one thousand guineas. The terms are twenty-five thousand livres, or one thousand English guineas (the English guinea being worth twenty-five livres) for the statue and pedestal. Besides this, we pay his expenses going and returning, which we expect will be between four and five thousand livres: and if he dies on the voyage, we pay his family ten thousand livres. This latter proposition was disagreeable to us; but he has a father, mother, and sisters, who have no resource but in his labor: and he is himself one of the best men in the world. He therefore made it a sine qua non, without which all would have been off. We have reconciled it to ourselves, by determining to get insurance on his life made in London, which we expect can be done for five per cent.; so that it becomes an additional sum of five hundred livres. I have written to Mr. Adams to know, for what per cent, the insurance can be had. I enclose you, for a more particular detail, a copy of the agreement. Dr. Franklin, being on his departure, did not become a party to the instrument, though it has been concluded with his approbation. He was disposed to give two hundred and fifty guineas more, which would have split the difference between the actual terms and Mr Houdon's demand. I wish the State, at the conclusion of the work, may agree to give him this much more; because I am persuaded he will be a loser, which I am sure their generosity would not wish. But I have not given him the smallest expectation of it, choosing the proposition should come from the State, which will be more honorable. You will perceive by the agreement, that I pay him immediately 8333 1/3 livres, which is to be employed in getting the marble in Italy, its transportation, he. The package and transportation of his stucco to make the moulds, will be about five hundred livres. I shall furnish him with money for his expenses in France, and I have authorized Dr. Franklin, when he arrives in Philadelphia, to draw on me for money for his other expenses, going, staying, and returning. These drafts will have been made probably, and will be on their way to me, before you receive this, and with the payments made here, will amount to about five thousand livres more than the amount of the bill remitted me. Another third, of 8333 1/3 livres, will become due at the end of the ensuing year.

Dr. Franklin leaves Passy this morning. As he travels in a litter, Mr. Houdon will follow him some days hence, and will embark with him for Philadelphia. I am in hopes he need not stay in America more than a month.

I have the honor to be, with due respect,

your Excellency's most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXIII.—TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS, July 12, 1785

TO THE PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.

(Private.) Paris, July 12, 1785.

Dear Sir,

I was honored, two days ago, with yours of May the 16th, and thank you for the intelligence it contained, much of which was new to me. It was the only letter I received by this packet, except one from Mr. Hopkinson, on philosophical subjects. I generally write about a dozen by every packet, and receive sometimes one, sometimes two, and sometimes ne'er a one. You are right in supposing all letters opened which come either through the French or English channel, unless trusted to a passenger. Yours had evidently been opened, and I think I never received one through the post office which had not been. It is generally discoverable by the smokiness of the wax, and faintness of the re-impression. Once they sent me a letter open, having forgotten to re-seal it. I should be happy to hear that Congress thought of establishing packets of their own between New York and Havre; to send a packet from each port once in two months. The business might possibly be done by two packets, as will be seen by the following scheme, wherein we will call the two packets A and B.

January, A sails from New York, B from Havre. February. March. B sails from New York, A from Havre. April. May. A sails from New York, B from Havre. June. July. B sails from New York, A from Havre. August. September. A sails from New York, B from Havre. October. November. B sails from New York, A from Havre. December.

I am persuaded that government would gladly arrange this method with us, and send their packets in the intermediate months, as they are tired of the expense. We should then have a safe conveyance every two months, and one for common matters every month. A courier would pass between this and Havre in twenty-four hours. Could not the surplus of the post office revenue be applied to this? This establishment would look like the commencement of a little navy; the only kind of force we ought to possess. You mention that Congress is on the subject of requisition. No subject is more interesting to the honor of the States. It is an opinion which prevails much in Europe, that our government wants authority to draw money from the States, and that the States want faith to pay their debts. I shall wish much to hear how far the requisitions on the States are productive of actual cash. Mr. Grand informed me, the other day, that the commissioners were dissatisfied with his having paid to this country but two hundred thousand livres, of the four hundred thousand for which Mr. Adams drew on Holland; reserving the residue to replace his advances and furnish current expenses. They observed that these last objects might have been effected by the residue of the money in Holland, which was lying dead. Mr. Grand's observation to me was, that Mr. Adams did not like to draw for these purposes, that he himself had no authority, and that the commissioners had not accompanied their complaints with any draft on that fund; so that the debt still remains unpaid, while the money is lying dead in Holland. He did not desire me to mention this circumstance; but should you see the commissioners, it might not be amiss to communicate it to them, that they may take any measures they please, if they think it proper to do any thing in it. I am anxious to hear what is done with the States of Vermont and Franklin. I think that the former is the only innovation on the system of April 23rd, 1784, which ought ever possibly to be admitted. If Congress are not firm on that head, our several States will crumble to atoms by the spirit of establishing every little canton into a separate State. I hope Virginia will concur in that plan as to her territory south of the Ohio; and not leave to the western country to withdraw themselves by force, and become our worst enemies instead of our best friends.

I have the honor to be, with sentiments of great respect,

your Excellency's most obedient

and most humble servant,

Th: Jefferson.



LETTER LXXIV.—TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS, July 12,1785

TO THE VIRGINIA DELEGATES IN CONGRESS.

Paris, July 12,1785.

Gentlemen,

In consequence of the orders of the legislative and executive bodies of Virginia, I have engaged Monsieur Houdon to make the statue of General Washington. For this purpose it is necessary for him to see the General. He therefore goes with Doctor Franklin, and will have the honor of delivering you this himself. As his journey is at the expense of the State, according to our contract, I will pray you to favor him with your patronage and counsels, and to protect him as much as possible, from those impositions to which strangers are but too much exposed. I have advised him to proceed in the stages to the General's. I have also agreed, if he can see Generals Greene and Gates, whose busts he has a desire to execute, that he may make a moderate deviation for this purpose, after he has done with General Washington.

But the most important object with him, is to be employed to make General Washington's equestrian statue for Congress. Nothing but the expectation of this, could have engaged him to have undertaken this voyage; as the pedestrian statue for Virginia will not make it worth the business he loses by absenting himself. I was therefore obliged to assure him of my recommendations for this greater work. Having acted in this for the State, you will, I hope, think yourselves in some measure bound to patronize and urge his being employed by Congress. I would not have done this myself, nor asked you to do it, did I not see that it would be better for Congress to put this business into his hands, than into those of any other person living, for these reasons: 1. He is, without rivalship, the first statuary of this age; as a proof of which, he receives orders from every other country for things intended to be capital. 2. He will have seen General Washington, have taken his measures in every part, and, of course, whatever he does of him will have the merit of being original, from which other workmen can only furnish copies. 3. He is in possession of the house, the furnaces, and all the apparatus provided for making the statue of Louis XV. If any other workman be employed, this will all have to be provided anew, and of course, to be added to the price of the statue; for no man can ever expect to make two equestrian statues. The addition which this would be to the price, will much exceed the expectation of any person who has not seen that apparatus. In truth it is immense. As to the price of the work, it will be much greater than Congress is probably aware of. I have inquired somewhat into this circumstance, and find the prices of those made for two centuries past, have been from one hundred and twenty thousand guineas, down to sixteen thousand guineas, according to the size. And as far as I have seen, the smaller they are, the more agreeable. The smallest yet made, is infinitely above the size of life, and they all appear outrees and monstrous. That of Louis XV., is probably the best in the world, and it is the smallest here. Yet it is impossible to find a point of view, from which it does not appear a monster, unless you go so far as to lose sight of the features, and finer lineaments of the face and body. A statue is not made like a mountain, to be seen at a great distance. To perceive those minuter circumstances which constitute its beauty, you must be near it, and, in that case, it should be so little above the size of the life, as to appear actually of that size, from your point of view. I should not, therefore, fear to propose, that the one intended by Congress should be considerably smaller than any of those to be seen here; as I think it will be more beautiful, and also cheaper. I have troubled you with these observations, as they have been suggested to me from an actual sight of works of this kind, and I supposed they might assist you in making up your minds on this subject. In making a contract with Monsieur Houdon it would not be proper to advance money, but as his disbursements and labor advance. As it is a work of many years, this will render the expense insensible. The pedestrian statue of marble, is to take three years; the equestrian, of course, would take much more. Therefore the sooner it is begun, the better.

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