Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]




President's Correspondence during late Session of Congress-His Reasons for not proclaiming Fast and Thanksgiving Days-Indian Delegations at the Capital-President's Address to them-Letters to his Daughter-News of Cession of Louisiana by Spain to France-President's decisive Letter thereon to American Minister in France-He incloses it open to Dupont de Nemours-Its Contents intended for French GovernmentMorality of President's Attitude-Compared with Miranda Scheme-Hamilton's Plan in 1802 " The Christian Constitutional Society"-Bayard's Answer to Hamilton-Jefferson's View of Object of Marshall's forthcoming Life of Washington-His Letter to Priestley-Letters to his Daughter-To King in Respect to colonizing insurgent Blacks of Virginia-His Explanation of his Gratuities to Callendar-Misapprehensions on this Subject corrected-Account of Career and Fate of Callendar-The President at Home -Table of his Expenses for a Year-Another Letter to Livingston-No Retreat from former Views-To Gallatin on Constitutionality of Appropriations-The State Elections To Lincoln on Removals of Federalists from Office-American Right of Deposit at New Orleans abrogated by Spanish Intendant-The Violation of our Treaty with Spain-Meeting of Congress-The President's Message-Comments on it, and on the State of Public Affairs, by Hamilton, Pinckney, Sedgwick, Morris, and John AdamsDiscussion of Spanish Aggression at New Orleans opened in Congress-Party Skirmishing-Attempts of Federalists to make the Debate public-Randolph's and Griswold's Resolutions-Action of the House-Monroe nominated Minister Extraordinary-Ross's Conduct and Resolutions in the Senate-Breckenridge's Amendment-De Witt Clinton's Speech-Federalist Appeal to Example of Washington examined by him and Wright-Positions of Federalists in 1795 and 1803 in regard to calling on the President for Diplomatic Papers-Their Positions at same periods in regard to Rights of Treaty-making Power-Their Overaction on the Spanish Question-The ex-Judges' Petition denied-Topographical Explorations authorized-Resolution for submitting Amendment of the Constitution in Regard to Manner of electing President and VicePresident Ohio admitted into the Union-Importation of colored Persons prohibited -Navy augmented-Yazoo Claims-Georgia presses President to buy out IndiansPresident's Action-His general Course in Respect to the Indians-His Speech to "Handsome Lake"-His Speech to Miamies and Delawares-A Dream of Philanthropy-Indian Treaties-Congressional Measures-Dry Docks-Mitchell's Report"He laughs best that laughs latest"-The Adjournment Jefferson to his Daughters.

SOME of the President's correspondence during the late session of Congress demands notice.


In a letter to Attorney-General Lincoln, January 1st, 1802, he hinted his reasons for omitting to proclaim fast and thanksgiving days, after the custom of his predecessors; and also his views on the expediency of the prevailing custom of sending addresses to the President:

"Averse to receive addresses, yet unable to prevent them, I have generally endeavored to turn them to some account, by making them the occasion, by way of answer, of sowing useful truths and principles among the people, which might germinate and become rooted among their political tenets. The Baptist address, now inclosed, admits of a condemnation of the alliance between Church and State, under the authority of the Constitution. It furnishes an occasion, too, which I have long wished to find, of saying why I do not proclaim fastings and thanksgivings, as my predecessors did. The address, to be sure, does not point at this, and its introduction is awkward. But I foresee no opportunity of doing it more pertinently. I know it will give great offence to the New England clergy; but the advocate of religious freedom is to expect neither peace nor forgiveness from them. Will you be so good as to examine the answer, and suggest any alterations which might prevent an ill effect, or promote a good one, among the people? You understand the temper of those in the North, and can weaken it, therefore, to their stomachs: it is at present seasoned to the Southern taste only. I would ask the favor of you to return it, with the address, in the course of the day or evening. Health and affection."

The answer to the "Baptist Address," as it was afterwards published, contained a most emphatical " condemnation of the alliance between Church and State," but no direct allusion to his reasons for not proclaiming fast days. Whether Mr. Lincoln advised the suppression of the paragraph, or whether the "awkwardness" of its introduction induced the President, on second thought, to wait for a better "opportunity," we are not informed.

A delegation from various Indian tribes visited Washington during the winter, and were addressed by the President on the 7th of January. We transcribe his remarks as a specimen of his style on such occasions; and the reader will judge whether its plain, direct, and unpretending diction-giving these wanderers of the forest some downright good advice, in a manner only bearing sufficient resemblance to their own to avoid

1 "Southern taste" on this subject derives an illustration from the fact that Governor Johnson, of Virginia, as late as 1855, in proclaiming a thanksgiving for the cessation of the recent tremendous ravages of the yellow fever in that State, used this formula: "I, Joseph Johnson, Governor of Virginia, expressly disclaiming authority to require or control, do hereby, on behalf of the people, earnestly recommend that all, without distinction of creed or party, with one accord, unite in rendering homage and thanksgiving to God"--and to this end he "suggested" the 15th day of November be set apart for that purpose.

[ocr errors]


offending their untutored ears-is in better or worse taste than those sonorous imitations of Indian speeches, garnished profusely with buried and unburied hatchets, war-belts and peace-pipes, strings of white beads and black beads, and other metaphorical and allegorical accessories, by which "Indian" is so often overdone in official communications. The President said:



Brothers and friends of the Miamis, Pottawatomies, and Weeauks:

I receive with great satisfaction the visit you have been so kind as to make us at this place, and I thank the Great Spirit who has conducted you to us in health and safety. It is well that friends should sometimes meet, open their minds mutually, and renew the chain of affection. Made by the same Great Spirit, and living in the same land with our brothers, the red men, we consider ourselves as of the same family; we wish to live with them as one people, and to cherish their interests as our own. The evils which of necessity encompass the life of man are sufficiently numerous. Why should we add to them by voluntarily distressing and destroying one another? Peace, brothers, is better than war. In a long and bloody war, we lose many friends, and gain nothing. Let us then live in peace and friendship together, doing to each other all the good we can. The wise and good on both sides désire this, and we must take care that the foolish and wicked among us shall not prevent it. On our part, we shall endeavor in all things to be just and generous towards you, and to aid you in meeting those difficulties which a change of circumstances is bringing on. We shall, with great pleasure, see your people become disposed to cultivate the earth, to raise herds of the useful animals, and to spin and weave, for your food and clothing. These resources are certain; they will never disappoint you while those of hunting may fail, and expose your women and children to the miseries of hunger and cold. We will with pleasure furnish you with implements for the most necessary arts, and with persons who may instruct you how to make and use them.

I consider it as fortunate that you have made your visit at this time, when our wise men from the sixteen States are collected together in council, who being equally disposed to befriend you, can strengthen our hands in the good we all wish to render you.

The several matters you opened to us in your speech the other day, and those on which you have since conversed with the Secretary of War, have been duly considered by us. He will now deliver answers, and you are to consider what he says, as if said by myself, and that what we promise we shall faithfully perform.


WASHINGTON, Mar. 8, 1802.


I observed to you some time ago that, during the session of Congress, I should be able to write to you but seldom; and so it has turned out. Yours of Jan. 24 I received in due time, after which Mr. Eppes's letter of Feb. 1 and 2 confirmed to me the news, always welcome, of yours and Francis's health. Since this I have no news of you. I see with great concern that I am not to have the pleasure of meet

ing you in Albemarle in the spring. I had entertained the hope Mr. Eppes and yourself would have passed the summer there, and being there, that the two families could have come together on a visit here. I observe your reluctance at the idea of that visit, but for your own happiness must advise you to get the better of it. I think I discover in you a willingness to withdraw from society more than is prudent. I am convinced our own happiness requires that we should continue to mix with the world, and to keep pace with it as it goes; and that every person who retires from free communication with it is severely punished afterwards by the state of mind into which he gets, and which can only be prevented by feeding our sociable principles. I can speak from experience on this subject. From 1793 to 1797 I remained closely at home, saw none but those who came there, and at length became very sensible of the ill effect it had upon my own mind, and of its direct and irresistible tendency to render me unfit for society and uneasy when necessarily engaged in it. I felt enough of the effect of withdrawing from the world then, to see that it led to an anti-social and misanthropic state of mind, which severely punishes him who gives into it; and it will be a lesson I shall never forget as to myself. I am certain you would be pleased with the state of society here, and that after the first moments you would feel happy in having made the experiment. I take for granted your sister will come immediately after my spring visit to Monticello, and I should have thought it agreeable to both that your first visit should be made together. In that case, your best way would be to come direct from the Hundred, by New Castle and Todd's Bridge, to Port Royal, where I could send a light coachee to meet you, and crossing Potomac at Boyd's Hole, you would come up by Sam Carr's to this place. I suppose it 60 miles from Port Royal to this place by that route, whereas it would be 86 to come from Port Royal up the other side of the river by Fredericksburg and Alexandria. However, if the spring visit cannot be effected, then I shall not relinquish your promise to come in the fall; of course, at our meeting at Monticello in that season we can arrange it. In the meantime, should the settlement take place which I expect between Mr. Wayles's and Mr. Skelton's executors, and Eppington be the place, I shail rely on passing some time with you there. But in what month I know not; probably towards midsummer. I hardly think Congress will rise till late in April. My trip to Monticello will be about a fortnight after they rise, and I shall not be able to stay there more than a fortnight. I am anxious to hear from you, as during the period of your being a nurse I am always afraid of your continuing in health. I hope Mr. Eppes and yourself will so make your calculations as to leave the Hundred by the beginning of July at least. You should never trust yourselves in the lower country later than that. I shall pass the months of August and September at Monticello, where I hope we shall all be reunited. Continue to love me, my dear, as I do you, and be assured that my happiness depends on your affections and happiness. I embrace you with all my love.



WASHINGTON, Mar. 29, 1802.

I wrote, my ever dear Maria, to Mr. Eppes and yourself on the 3d instant, since which I have received Mr. Eppes's letter of the 11th, informing me all were well. I

« AnteriorContinuar »