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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;
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8861. WABASH PROPHET, Pretensions of.—

The Wabash Prophet is more rogue than fool, if to be a rogue is not the
greatest of all follies. He arose to notice
while I was in the administration, and became,
of course, a proper subject of inquiry for me.
* * * His declared object was the reformation
of his red brethern, and their return to
their pristine manner of living. He pretended
to be in constant communication with the
Great Spirit; that he was instructed by Him
to make known to the Indians that they were
created by Him distinct from the whites, of
different natures, for different purposes, and
placed under different circumstances, adapted
to their nature and destinies; that they must
return from all the ways of the whites to the
habits and opinions of their forefathers; they
must not eat the flesh of hogs, of bullocks, of
sheep, &c., the deer and buffalo having been
created for their food; they must not make
bread of wheat but of Indian corn; they must
not wear linen nor woollen, but dress like their
fathers in the skins and furs of animals; they
must not drink ardent spirits, and I do not remember
whether he extended his inhibitions to
the gun and gunpowder, in favor of the bow and
arrow. I concluded from all this that he was
a visionary, enveloped in the clouds of their
antiquities, and vainly endeavoring to lead back
his brethren to the fancied beatitudes of their
golden age. I thought there was little danger
of his making many proselytes from the habits
and comfort they had learned from the whites,
to the habits and privations of savageism, and
no great harm if he did. We let him go
on, therefore, unmolested. But his followers
increased till the English thought him worth
corruption and found him corruptible. I suppose
his views were then changed; but his proceedings
in consequence of them were after I
left the administration, and are, therefore, unknown
to me.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 49. Ford ed., ix, 346.
(M. 1812)

8862. WALSH (Robert), English critics and.—

The malevolence and impertinence of
Great Britain's critics and writers really called
for the rod, and I rejoiced when I heard it was
in hands so able to wield it with strength and
correctness. Your work will furnish the first
volume of every future American history; the
Anti-Revolutionary part especially.—
To Robert Walsh. Ford ed., x, 155.
(M. 1820)

8863. WALSH (Robert), English critics and.—[continued].

After the severe chastisement
given by Mr. Walsh in his American
Register to English Scribblers, which they well
deserved and I was delighted to see, I hoped
there would be an end of this inter-crimination,
and that both parties would prefer the course
of courtesy and conciliation, and I think their
considerate writers have since shown that disposition,
and that it would prevail if equally cultivated
by us.—
To C. J. Ingersoll. Ford ed., x, 325.
(M. 1824)

8864. WAR, Abhorrent.—

I abhor war
and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 173. Ford ed., vii, 122.
(Pa., 1797)

8865. WAR, America and.—

The insulated
state in which nature has placed the
American continent should so far avail it that
no spark of war kindled in the other quarters
of the globe should be wafted across the wide
oceans which separate us from them.—
To Baron Humboldt. Washington ed. vi, 268. Ford ed., ix, 431.
(M. 1813)


Page 916

8866. WAR, Americans in.—

an appeal to force shall take place, I feel a
perfect confidence that the energy and enterprise
displayed by my fellow citizens in the
pursuits of peace, will be equally eminent in
those of war.—
To General Shee. Washington ed. v, 33.
(W. 1807)

8867. WAR, Avoidance of.—

To remove
as much as possible the occasions of making
war, it might be better for us to abandon the
ocean altogether, that being the element
whereon we shall be principally exposed to
jostle with other nations; to leave to others
to bring what we shall want, and to carry
what we can spare. This would make us
invulnerable to Europe, by offering none of
our property to their prize, and would turn
all our citizens to the cultivation of the earth.
It might be time enough to seek employment
for them at sea, when the land no longer
offers it.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 413. Ford ed., iii, 279.

8868. WAR, Avoidance of.—[continued].

How much better is it
for neighbors to help than to hurt one another;
how much happier must it make them.
If you will cease to make war on one another,
if you will live in friendship with all mankind,
you can employ all your time in providing
food and clothing for yourselves and your
families. Your men will not be destroyed in
war, your women and children will lie down
to sleep in their cabins without fear of being
surprised by their enemies and killed or carried
away. Your numbers will be increased
instead of diminished, and you will live in
plenty and in quiet.—
Address to Mandar Nation. Washington ed. viii, 201.

8869. WAR, Avoidance of.—[further continued].

To cherish and maintain
the rights and liberties of our citizens, and
to ward from them the burthens, the miseries,
and the crimes of war, by a just and friendly
conduct towards all nations * * * [are] among the most obvious and important duties
of those to whom the management of their
public interests * * * [are] confided.—
Reply to Baptist Address. Washington ed. viii, 119.

8870. WAR, Avoidance of.—[further continued] .

It is much to be desired
that war may be avoided, if circumstances will
admit. Nor in the present maniac state of
Europe, should I estimate the point of honor
by the ordinary scale. I believe we shall on
the contrary, have credit with the world, for
having made the avoidance of being engaged
in the present unexampled war, our first object.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 438.
(M. March. 1809)

8871. WAR, Bankruptcy and.—

is a terrible foundation to begin a
war on against the conquerors of the universe.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 241.
(Pa., 1798)

8872. WAR, Bribery vs.—

I hope we shall
drub the Indians well this summer, and then
change our plan from war to bribery. We
must do as the Spaniards and English do.
keep them in peace by liberal and constant
presents. They find it the cheapest plan, and
so shall we. The expense of this summer's
expedition would have served for presents for
half a century. In this way, hostilities being
suspended for some length of time, a real
affection may succeed on our frontiers to that
hatred now existing there. Another powerful
motive is that in this way we may leave
no pretext for raising or continuing an army.
Every rag of an Indian depredation will,
otherwise, serve as a ground to raise troops
with those who think a standing army and a
public debt necessary for the happiness of the
United States, and we shall never be permitted
to get rid of either.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., v, 319.
(Pa., 1791)

8873. WAR, Bribery vs.—[continued].

I hope we shall give the Indians a good drubbing this summer, and
then change our tomahawk into a golden
chain of friendship. The most economical as
well as the most humane conduct towards
them is to bribe them into peace, and to retain
them in peace by eternal bribes. The
expedition this year would have served for
presents on the most liberal scale for one
hundred years; nor shall we otherwise ever
get rid of an army, or of our debt. The least
rag of Indian depredation will be an excuse
to raise troops for those who love to have
troops, and for those who think that a public
debt is a good thing.—
To Charles Carroll. Washington ed. iii, 246.
(Pa., 1791)

8874. WAR, Commerce and.—

This exuberant
commerce * * * brings us into
collision with other powers in every sea, and
will force us into every war of the European
To Benjamin Stoddert. Washington ed. v, 426. Ford ed., ix, 245.
(W. 1809)

8875. WAR, Commerce vs.—

War is not
the best engine for us to resort to; nature has
given us one in our commerce, which, if
properly managed, will be a better instrument
for obliging the interested nations of Europe
to treat us with justice.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iv, 177. Ford ed., vii, 129.
(Pa., May. 1797)

8876. WAR, Contracts in.—

I have the
highest idea of the sacredness of those contracts
which take place between nation and
nation at war, and would be the last on earth
to do anything in violation of them.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. i, 228. Ford ed., ii, 247.

8877. WAR, Debt and.—

We wish to
avoid the necessity of going to war, till our
revenue shall be entirely liberated from debt.
Then it will suffice for war, without creating
new debt or taxes.—
To Governor Claiborne. Washington ed. v, 381. Ford ed., ix, 213.
(W. Oct. 1808)

8878. WAR, Deprecated.—

Wars with any
European powers are devoutly to be deprecated.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 412. Ford ed., iii, 278.

8879. WAR, Distresses of.—

I desire to
see the necessary distresses of war alleviated
in every possible instance.—
To Baron de Riedesel. Washington ed. i, 240. Ford ed., ii, 302.
(R. 1780)


Page 917

8880. WAR, Embargo vs.—

I have ever
been anxious to avoid a war with England,
unless forced by a situation more losing than
war itself. But I did believe we could coerce
her to justice by peaceable means, and the
Embargo, evaded as it was, proved it would
have coerced her had it been honestly executed.—
To Henry Dearborn. Washington ed. v, 529. Ford ed., ix, 278.
(M. July. 1810)

8881. WAR, Evils of.—

The evils of war
are great in their endurance, and have a
long reckoning for ages to come.—
R. to A. Pittsburg Republicans. Washington ed. viii, 142.

8882. WAR, Executives and.—

We have
received a report that the French Directory
has proposed a declaration of war against the
United States to the Council of Ancients, who
have rejected it. Thus we see two nations,
who love one another affectionately, brought
by the ill temper of their executive administrations,
to the very brink of a necessity to
imbrue their hands in the blood of each other.—
To Aaron Burr. Washington ed. iv, 187. Ford ed., vii, 148.
(Pa., June. 1797)

8883. WAR, Genius for.—

I see the difficulties
and defects we have to encounter in
war, and should expect disasters if we had
an enemy on land capable of inflicting them.
But the weakness of our enemy there will
make our first errors innocuous, and the seeds
of genius which nature sows with even hand
through every age and country, and which
need only soil and season to germinate, will
develop themselves among our military men.
Some of them will become prominent, and
seconded by the native energy of our citizens,
will soon, I hope, to our force add the
benefits of skill.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. vi, 75. Ford ed., ix, 365.
(M. Aug. 1812)

8884. WAR, Holy.—

If ever there was a
holy war, it was that which saved our liberties
and gave us independence.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 246. Ford ed., ix, 416.
(M. 1813)

8885. WAR, Holy.—[continued].

The war of the Revolution
will be sanctioned by the approbation of
posterity through all future ages.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 194. Ford ed., ix, 395.
Sep. 1813)

8886. WAR, Honor and.—

We are
alarmed here [Virginia] with the apprehensions
of war, and sincerely anxious that it
may be avoided; but not at the expense either
of our faith or honor.—
To Tench Coxe. Washington ed. iv, 105. Ford ed., vi, 508.
(M. May. 1794)

8887. WAR, Indian allies in.—

[I argued
in cabinet] against employing Indians in war.
[It was] a dishonorable policy.—
The Anas. Ford ed., i, 183.

8888. WAR, Injury.—

If nations go to
war for every degree of injury, there would
never be peace on earth.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. v, 133.
(W. 1807)

8889. WAR, Insult and.—

I think it to
our interest to punish the first insult; because
an insult unpunished is the parent of many
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 405. Ford ed., iv, 89.
(P. 1785)


——. It is an eternal truth
that acquiescence under insult is not the way
to escape war.—
To H. Tazewell. Washington ed. iv, 121. Ford ed., vii, 31.
(M. 1795)

8891. WAR, Interest and.—

Never was
so much false arithmetic employed on any
subject, as that which has been employed to
persuade nations that it is their interest to go
to war. Were the money which it has cost
to gain, at the close of a long war, a little
town, or a little territory, the right to cut
wood here, or to catch fish there, expended
in improving what they already possess, in
making roads, opening rivers, building ports,
improving the arts, and finding employment
for their idle poor, it would render them
much stronger, much wealthier and happier.
This I hope will be our wisdom.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 413. Ford ed., iii, 279.

8892. WAR, Justifiable.—

On the final
and formal declarations of England, that she
never would repeal her Orders of Council as
to us, until those of France should be repealed
as to other nations as well as us, and that no
practicable arrangement against her impressment
of our seamen could be proposed or
devised, war was justly declared, and ought
to have been declared.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 196. Ford ed., ix, 396.
Sep. 1813)

8893. WAR, Losses in Revolutionary.—

I think that upon the whole [our loss during
the war] has been about one-half the number
lost by the British; in some instances more,
but in others less. This difference is ascribed
to our superiority in taking aim when we
fire; every soldier in our army having been
intimate with his gun from his infancy.—
To——. Washington ed. i, 208. Ford ed., ii, 157.
(Wg. 1778)

8894. WAR, Markets and.—

To keep open
sufficient markets is the very first object towards
maintaining the popularity of the war.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. vi, 78.
(M. Aug. 1812)

8895. WAR, Monarchies and.—

War is
not the most favorable moment for divesting
the monarchy of power. On the contrary, it
is the moment when the energy of a single
hand shows itself in the most seducing form.—
To H. S. Crevecœur. Washington ed. ii, 458.
(P. 1788)

8896. WAR, Moral duty.—

When wrongs are pressed because it is believed they will
be borne, resistance becomes morality.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. v, 133.
(W. 1807)

8897. WAR, One enough.—

I have seen
enough of one war never to wish to see another.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. iv, 104. Ford ed., vi, 505.
(M. 1794)

8898. WAR, One enough.—[continued].

I think one war enough
for the life of one man; and you and I have
gone through one which at least may lessen
our impatience to embark in another. Still,
if it becomes necessary, we must meet it like
men, old men indeed, but yet good for something.—
To John Langdon. Ford ed., ix, 201.
(M. 1808)


Page 918

8899. WAR, One enough.—[further continued].

One war, such as that
of our Revolution, is enough for one life.—
To M. Correa. Washington ed. vi, 407.
(M. 1814)

8900. WAR, Opposition to.—

No country,
perhaps, was ever so thoroughly against war
as ours. These dispositions pervade every
description of its citizens, whether in or out
of office.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Ford ed., vi, 217.
(Pa., April. 1793)

8901. WAR, Paroles.—

By the law of nations,
a breach of parole can only be punished
by strict confinement. No usage has permitted
the putting to death a prisoner for this
cause. I would willingly suppose that no
British officer had ever expressed a contrary
purpose. It has, however, become my duty
to declare that should such a threat be carried
into execution, it will be deemed as putting
prisoners to death in cold blood, and shall be
followed by the execution of so many British
prisoners in our possession. I trust, however,
that this horrid necessity will not be introduced
by you, and that you will, on the contrary,
concur with us in endeavoring, as far
as possible, to alleviate the inevitable miseries
of war by treating captives as humanity and
natural honor require. The event of this contest
will hardly be affected by the fate of a
few miserable captives in war. [507]
Ford ed., ii, 511.
(R. March. 1781)


Addressed “To the Commanding Officer of the
British Force at Portsmouth”. That officer was
Major-General Benedict Arnold.—Editor.

8902. WAR, Peace vs.—

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.—
Address to Indians. Washington ed. viii, 185.

8903. WAR, Peace vs.—[continued].

The cannibals of Europe are going to eating one another again. A
war between Russia and Turkey is like the
battle of the kite and snake. Whichever destroys
the other, leaves a destroyer the less
for the world. This pugnacious humor of
mankind seems to be the law of his nature,
one of the obstacles to too great multiplication
provided in the mechanism of the Universe.
The cocks of the henyard kill one another
up. Bears, bulls, rams, do the same.
And the horse, in his wild state, kills all the
young males, until worn down with age and
war, some vigorous youth kills him, and takes
to himself the harem of females. I hope we
shall prove how much happier for man the
Quaker policy is, and that the life of the
feeder is better than that of the fighter; and
it is some consolation that the desolation by
these maniacs of one part of the earth is the
means of improving it in other parts. Let
the latter be our office, and let us milk the
cow, while the Russian holds her by the horns,
and the Turk by the tail.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 244. Ford ed., x, 217.
(M. 1822)

8904. WAR, Power to declare.—

The Administrator
[of Virginia] shall not possess
the prerogative * * * of declaring war or
concluding peace.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 19.
(June. 1776)

8905. WAR, Power to declare.—[continued].

We have already given, in example, one effectual check to the dog of
war, by transferring the power of declaring
war from the Executive to the legislative
body, from those who are to spend to those
who are to pay. I should be pleased to see
this second obstacle [that no generation shall
contract debts greater than may be paid during
the course of its own existence], held out
by us also, in the first instance.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 108. Ford ed., v, 123.
(P. 1789)

See Generations.

8906. WAR, Power to declare.—[further continued].

The States of America
before their present Union possessed completely,
each within its own limits, the exclusive
right to * * * [make war and] by their act of Union, they have as completely
ceded [it] to the General Government. Art.
1st. Section 8th, “The Congress shall have
power to declare war, to raise and support
armies”. Section 10th, * * * “No State shall without the consent of
Congress, keep troops or ships of war in
time of peace, enter into any argreement
or compact with another State or with
a foreign power, or engage in war, unless
actually invaded or in such danger as will
not admit of delay”. These paragraphs of
the Constitution, declaring that the General
Government shall have, and that the particular
ones shall not have, the right of war
* * * are so explicit that no commentary
can explain them further, nor can any explain
them away.—
Opinion on Georgian Land Grants. Washington ed. vii, 468. Ford ed., v, 166.

8907. WAR, Power to declare.—[further continued] .

The question of declaring
war is the function equally of both
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 123. Ford ed., i, 206.

8908. WAR, Power to declare.—[further continued].

I thought [the paper] should be laid before both houses [of Congress],
because it concerned the question of
declaring war, which was the function equally
of both houses.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 123. Ford ed., i, 206.

8909. WAR, Power to declare.—[further continued] .

The question of war, being
placed by the Constitution with the Legislature
alone, respect to that made it my duty
to restrain the operations of our militia to
those merely defensive; and considerations involving
the public satisfaction, and peculiarly
my own, require that the decision of that
question, whichever way it be, should be pronounced
definitely by the Legislature themselves.
Paragraph for President's Message. Ford ed., vi, 144.


This is not dated, but was probably written in
December, 1792. The message was entrely different.—Note in Ford edition.

8910. WAR, Power to declare.—[further continued].

I opposed the right of the President to declare anything future on
the question. Shall there or shall there not
be war?—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 178. Ford ed., i, 266.


Page 919

8911. WAR, Power to declare.—[further continued] .

As the Executive cannot
decide the question of war on the affirmative
side, neither ought it to do so on the negative
side, by preventing the competent body from
deliberating on the question. [509]
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 519. Ford ed., vi, 192.


Not to convene Congress in special session would
be, in Jefferson's opinion, to “prevent” deliberation.—Editor.

8912. WAR, Power to declare.—[further continued]..

If Congress are to act
on the question of war, they have a right to
information [from the Executive.]—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 221.
(Pa., March. 1798)

8913. WAR, Power to declare.—[further continued] .

We had reposed great
confidence in that provision of the Constitution
which requires two-thirds of the Legislature
to declare war. Yet it can be entirely
eluded by a majority's taking such measures
as will bring on war.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 222.
(Pa., March. 1798)

8914. WAR, Power to declare.—[further continued]..

We see a new instance
of the inefficiency of constitutional guards.
We had relied with great security on that
provision which requires two-thirds of the
Legislature to declare war. But this is completely
eluded by a majority's taking such
measures as will be sure to produce war.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 222. Ford ed., vii, 220.
(Pa., 1798)

8915. WAR, Power to declare.—[further continued]

The power of declaring
war being with the Legislature, the Executive
should do nothing necessarily committing
them to decide for war. [510]
To Vice-President Clinton. Washington ed. v, 116. Ford ed., ix, 100.
(W. 1807)


This extract, Jefferson explained to Clinton, defined
one of the principles that controlled his action
in the issuance of his proclamation after the attack
on the Chesapeake.—Editor.

8916. WAR, Preferable.—

War may become
a less losing business than unresisted
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 438.
(M. March. 1809)

8917. WAR, Premeditated.—

That war
with us had been predetermined may be fairly
inferred from the diction of Berkley's order,
the Jesuitism of which proves it ministerial
from its being so timed as to find us in the
midst of Burr's rebellion as they expected,
from the contemporaneousness of the Indian
excitements, and of the wide and sudden
spread of their maritime spoliations.—
To Thomas Paine. Washington ed. v, 189. Ford ed., ix, 137.
(M. Sep. 1807)

8918. WAR, Preparations for.—

war as one of the alternatives which
Congress may adopt on the failure of proper
satisfaction for the outrages committed on us
by Great Britain, I have thought it my duty
to put into train every preparation for that
which the executive powers * * * will
admit of.—
To John Nicholas. Washington ed. v, 168.
(M. 1807)

8919. WAR, Prevention of.—

The power
of making war often prevents it, and in our
case would give efficacy to our desire of peace.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 533. Ford ed., v, 57.
(P. 1788)

8920. WAR, Principles and.—

I do not
believe war the most certain means of enforcing
principles. Those peaceable coercions
which are in the power of every nation, if
undertaken in concert and in time of peace,
are more likely to produce the desired effect.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 411. Ford ed., viii, 91.
(M. 1801)

— WAR, Prisoners of.—

See 8966.

8921. WAR, Punishment by.—

War is as
much a punishment to the punisher as to the
To Tench Coxe. Washington ed. iv, 105. Ford ed., vi, 508.
(M. May. 1794)

8922. WAR, Quixotic.—

War against
Bedlam would be just as rational as against
Europe, in its present condition of total demoralization.
When peace becomes more
losing than war, we may prefer the latter on
principles of pecuniary calculation. But for
us to attempt, by war, to reform all Europe,
and bring them back to principles of morality,
and a respect for the equal rights of nations,
would show us to be only maniacs of another
character. We should, indeed, have the merit
of the good intentions as well as of the folly
of the hero of La Mancha.—
To William Wirt. Washington ed. v, 595. Ford ed., ix, 319.
(M. May. 1811)

8923. WAR, Readiness for.—

enables us to go to war, secures our peace.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., v, 198.
(N.Y, 1790)

8924. WAR, Reason and.—

The large
strides of late taken by the legislature of Great
Britain towards establishing over these Colonies
their absolute rule, and the hardiness of
the present attempt to effect by force of arms
what by law or right they could never effect,
render it necessary for us also to change
the ground of opposition, and to close with
their last appeal from reason to arms.—
Declaration on Taking up Arms. Ford ed., i, 462.
(July. 1775)

8925. WAR, Redress of wrongs by.—

The answer to the question: “Is it common
for a nation to obtain a redress of wrongs by
war”? you will, of course, draw from history.
In the meantime, reason will answer it on
grounds of probability, that where the wrong
has been done by a weaker nation, the
stronger one has generally been able to enforce
redress; but where by a stronger nation,
redress by war has been neither obtained nor
expected by the weaker. On the contrary,
the loss has been increased by the expenses
of the war in blood and treasure. Yet it
may have obtained another object equally securing
itself from future wrong. It May
have retaliated on the aggressor losses of
blood and treasure far beyond the value to
him of the wrong he has committed, and thus
have made the advantage of that too dear a
purchase to leave him in a disposition to renew
the wrong in future.—
To Rev. Mr. Worcester. Washington ed. vi, 539.
(M. 1816)

8926. WAR, Resort to.—

The lamentable resource of war is not authorized for evils of


Page 920
imagination, but for those actual injuries only,
which would be more destructive of our wellbeing
than war itself.—
Reply to Address. Washington ed. iv, 388.
(W. 1801)

8927. WAR, Retaliation in.—

may burn New York by her ships and congreve
rockets, in which case we must burn the
city of London by hired incendiaries, of which
her starving manufacturers will furnish
abudance. A people in such desperation as
to demand of their government aut panem,
aut furcam,
either bread or the gallows, will
not reject the same alternative when offered
by a foreign hand. Hunger will make them
brave every risk for bread.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. vi, 68. Ford ed., ix, 362.
(M. June. 1812)

8928. WAR, Revolutionary.—

The circumstances
of our [Revolutionary] war were
without example. Excluded from all commerce,
even with neutral nations, without
arms, money or the means of getting them
abroad, we were obliged to avail ourselves of
such resources as we found at home. Great
Britain, too, did not consider it as an ordinary
war, but a rebellion; she did not conduct it
according to the rules of war, established by
the law of nations, but according to her acts
of parliament, made from time to time, to
suit circumstances. She would not admit our
title even to the strict rights of ordinary war.—
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 369. Ford ed., vi, 16.
(Pa., May. 1792)

See REvolution (American).

8929. WAR, Secretaryship of.—

I much
regretted your acceptance of the War Department.
Not that I know a person who I think
would better conduct it. But conduct it ever
so wisely, it will be a sacrifice of yourself.
Were an angel from heaven to undertake that
office, all our miscarriages would be ascribed
to him. Raw troops, no troops, insubordinate
militia, want of arms, want of money, want
of provisions all will be charged to want of
management in you. * * * Not that I
have seen the least disposition to censure you.
On the contrary, your conduct on the attack
of Washington has met the praises of every
one, and your plan for regulars and militia,
their approbation. But no campaign is as yet
opened. No generals have yet an interest in
shifting their own incompetence on you, no
army agents their rogueries.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 410. Ford ed., ix, 498.
(M. 1815)

8930. WAR, Security against.—

The justest dispositions possible in ourselves, will
not secure us against war. It would be necessary
that all other nations were just also.
Justice, indeed, on our part, will save us from
those wars which would have been produced
by a contrary disposition. But how can we
prevent those produced by the wrongs of other
nations? By putting ourselves in a position
to punish them. Weakness provokes insult
and injury, while a condition to punish often
prevents them. This reasoning leads to the
necessity of some naval force; that being the
only weapon by which we can reach an enemy.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 404. Ford ed., iv, 89.
(P. 1785)

8931. WAR, Taxation and.—

War requires
every resource of taxation and credit.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 533. Ford ed., v, 57.
(P. 1788)

8932. WAR, Taxation for.—

Sound principles
will not justify our taxing the industry of our fellow citizens to accumulate treasure
for wars to happen we know not when and
which might not perhaps happen but from
the temptations offered by that treasure.—
First Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 9. Ford ed., viii, 119.

8933. WAR, Unfeared.—

We love and we
value peace; we know its blessings from experience.
We abhor the follies of war, and
are not untried in its distresses and calamities.
Unmeddling with the affairs of other nations,
we had hoped that our distance and our dispositions
would have left us free, in the example
and indulgence of peace with all the
world. We had, with sincere and particular
dispositions, courted and cultivated the
friendship of Spain. We have made to it
great sacrifices of time and interest, and were
disposed to believe she would see her interests
also in a perfect coalition and good understanding
with us. Cherishing still the same
sentiments, we have chosen, in the present
instance, to ascribe the intimations in this
letter [of the Spanish Commissioners] to the
particular character of the writers, displayed
in the peculiarity of the style of their communications,
and therefore, we have removed
the cause from them to their sovereign, in
whose justice and love of peace we have confidence.
If we are disappointed in this appeal,
if we are to be forced into a contrary order of
things, our mind is made up. We shall meet
it with firmness. The necessity of our position
will supersede all appeal to calculation
now, as it has done heretofore. We confide
in our strength, without boasting of it;
we respect that of others without fearing it.
If we cannot otherwise prevail on the Creeks
to discontinue their depredations, we will
attack them in force. If Spain chooses to
consider our defence against savage butchery
as a cause of war to her, we must meet her
also in war, with regret, but without fear; and
we shall be happier to the last moment, to
repair with her to the tribunal of peace and
reason. The President charges you to communicate
the contents of this letter to the
Court at Madrid, with all the temperance and
delicacy which the dignity and character of
that Court render proper; but with all the
firmness and self-respect which befit a nation
conscious of its rectitude, and settled in its
To Carmichael and Short. Washington ed. iv, 16. Ford ed., vi, 337.
(Pa., June. 1793)

8934. WAR, Unfeared.—[continued].

Should the lawless violences
of the belligerent powers render it
necessary to return their hostilities, no nation
has less to fear from a foreign enemy.—
R. to A. Virginia Republicans. Washington ed. viii, 168.


Page 921

8935. WAR, Unity in.—

It is our duty
still to endeavor to avoid war; but if it shall
actually take place, no matter by whom
brought on, we must defend ourselves. If our
house be on fire, without inquiring whether
it was fired from within or without, we must
try to extinguish it. In that, I have no doubt,
we shall act as one man.—
To James Lewis, Jr. Washington ed. iv, 241. Ford ed., vii, 250.
(Pa., May. 1798)

8936. WAR, Unity in.—[continued].

If we are forced into
war [with France], we must give up political
differences of opinion, and unite as one man
to defend our country. But whether at the
close of such a war, we should be as free as
we are now, God knows.—
To Gen. Kosciusko. Washington ed. iv, 295.
(Pa., 1799)

8937. WAR, Unprepared for.—

We are now at the close of our second campaign with
England. During the first we suffered several
checks, from the want of capable and tried
officers; all the higher ones of the Revolution
having died off during an interval of thirty
years of peace. But this second campaign
has been more successful, having given us
all the Lakes and country of Upper Canada,
except the single post of Kingston, at its lower
To Don V. Toronda Coruna. Washington ed. vi, 275.
(M. Dec. 1813)

8938. WAR, Unprofitable.—

The most
successful war seldom pays for its losses.—
To Edmund Randolph. Washington ed. i, 435.
(P. 1785)

8939. WAR, Weakness provokes.—

should ever be held in mind that insult and
war are the consequences of a want of respectability
in the national character.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. i, 531. Ford ed., iv, 192.
(P. 1786)

See Army, Generals and Revolution.

8940. WARDS, Advantages of.—

partiality for the division of counties into
wards is not founded in views of education
solely, but infinitely more as the means of a
better administration of our government, and
the eternal preservation of its republican principles.
The example of this most admirable
of all human contrivances in government, is
to be seen in our Eastern States; and its
powerful effect in the order and economy of
their internal affairs, and the momentum it
gives them as a nation, is the single circumstance
which distinguishes them so remarkably
from every other national association.—
To Governor Nicholas. Washington ed. vi, 566.
(M. 1816)

8941. WARDS, Good government and.

—I have long contemplated a division of our
own State into hundreds or wards, as the
most fundamental measure for securing good
government, and for instilling the principles
and exercise of good government into every
fibre of every member of our commonwealth.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vi, 301.
(M. 1814)

8942. WARDS, Primary schools and.—

One of the principal objects in my endeavors to get our counties divided into wards, is
the establishment of a primary school in each
[of them].—
To John Taylor. Washington ed. vii, 17. Ford ed., x, 51.
(M. 1816)

8943. WARDS, Size of.—

I hope [the convention
to amend the Virginia Constitution] will adopt the subdivision of our counties into
wards. The former may be estimated at an
average of twenty-four miles square; the
latter should be about six miles square each,
and would answer to the hundreds of your
Saxon Alfred. * * * The wit of men cannot
devise a more solid basis for a free, durable,
and well-administered republic.—
To John Cartwright. Washington ed. vii, 357.
(M. 1824)

8944. WARDS, Vital principle.—

wards, called townships in New England, are
the vital principles of their governments, and
have proved themselves the wisest invention
ever devised by the wit of man for the
perfect exercise of self-government, and for
its preservation.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 13. Ford ed., x, 41.
(M. 1816)

See Counties.

8945. WAR OF 1812, Acrimonious.—

The exasperation produced * * * by the
late war * * * is great with you [Great
Britain], as I judge from your newspapers; and
greater with us, as I see myself. The reason
lies in the different degrees in which the war
has acted on us. To your people it has been a
matter of distant history only, a mere war in
the carnatic; with us it has reached the bosom
of every man, woman and child. The maritime
ports have felt it in the conflagration of their
houses and towns, and desolation of their
farms; the borderers in the massacres and
scalpings of their husbands, wives and children;
and the middle parts in their personal labors
and losses in defence of both frontiers, and the
revolting scenes they have there witnessed. It
is not wonderful, then, if their irritations are
extreme. Yet time and prudence on the part
of the two governments may get over these.—
To Sir John Sinclair. Washington ed. vii, 23.
(M. 1816)

8946. WAR OF 1812, Benefits of.—

The British war has left us in debt; but that is a
cheap price for the good it has done us. The
establishment of the necessary manufactures
among ourselves, the proof that our government
is solid and can stand the shock of war,
and is superior even to civil schism, are precious
facts for us; and of these the strongest
proofs were furnished, when, with four Eastern
States tied to us, as dead to living bodies, all
doubt was removed as to the achievements of
the war, had it continued. But its best effect
has been the complete suppression of party.
The federalists who were truly American, and
their great mass was so, have separated from
their brethren who were mere Anglomen, and
are received with cordiality into the republican ranks.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 66. Ford ed., x, 83.
(M. 1817)

8947. WAR OF 1812, Benefits of.—[continued].

The war [of 1812] has
done us * * * the further [good] of assuring
the world, that although attached to
peace from a sense of its blessings, we will meet
war when it is made necessary.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 67. Ford ed., x, 84.
(M. 1817)

8948. WAR OF 1812, British expectations in.—

Earl Bathhurst [in his speech in
Parliament] shuffles together chaotic ideas
merely to darken and cover the views of the
ministers in protracting the war; the truth being,
that they expected to give us an exemplary
scourging, to separate us from the States east
of the Hudson, take for their Indian allies those


Page 922
west of the Ohio, placing three hundred thousand
American citizens under the government
of the savages, and to leave the residuum a
powerless enemy, if not submissive subjects. I
cannot conceive what is the use of your Bedlam
when such men are out of it. And yet that
such were their views we have in evidence,
under the hand of their Secretary of State in
Henry's case, and of their Commissioners at
To Mr. Maury. Washington ed. vi, 471.
(M. June. 1815)

8949. WAR OF 1812, Causes of.—

It is
incomprehensible to me that the Marquis of
Wellesley * * * [should] say that “the
aggression which led to the war, was from the
United States, not from England”. Is there a
person in the world who, knowing the circumstances,
thinks this? The acts which produced
the war were, 1st, the impressment of our citizens
by their ships of war, and, 2d, the Orders of
Council forbidding our vessels to trade with any
country but England, without going to England
to obtain a special license. On the first subject
the British minister declared to our Charge,
Mr. Russel, that this practice of their ships
of war would not be discontinued, and that no
admissible arrangement could be proposed; and
as to the second, the Prince Regent, by his
proclamation of April 21st, 1812, declared in
effect solemnly that he would not revoke the
Orders of Council as to us, on the ground that
Bonaparte had revoked his decrees as to us: that, on the contrary, we should continue under
them until Bonaparte should revoke as to all
the world.
These categorical and definite answers
put an end to negotiation, and were a
declaration of a continuance of the war in
which they had already taken from us one thousand
ships and six thousand seamen. We determined
then to defend ourselves, and to oppose
further hostilities by war on our side also.
Now, had we taken one thousand British ships
and six thousand of her seamen without any
declaration of war, would the Marquis of Wellesley
have considered a declaration of war by
Great Britain as an aggression on her part?
They say we denied their maritime rights. We
never denied a single one. It was their taking
our citizens, native as well as naturalized, for
which we went into war, and because they forbade
us to trade with any nation without entering
and paying duties in their ports on both the
outward and inward cargo. Thus, to carry a
cargo of cotton from Savannah to St. Mary's,
and take returns in fruits, for example, our
vessel was to go to England, enter and pay a
duty on her cottons there, return to St. Mary's,
then go back to England to enter and pay a duty
on her fruits, and then return to Savannah,
after crossing the Atlantic four times, and paying
tributes on both cargoes to England, instead
of the direct passage of a few hours.
And the taking ships for not doing this, the
Marquis says, is no aggression.—
To Mr. Maury. Washington ed. vi, 470.
(M. June. 1815)

8950. WAR OF 1812, Conquest and.—

The war, undertaken, on both sides, to settle the questions of impressment, and the Orders
of Council, now that these are done away by
events, is declared by Great Britain to have
changed its object, and to have become a war
of conquest, to be waged until she conquers
from us our fisheries, the province of Maine,
the Lakes, States and territories north of the
Ohio, and the navigation of the Mississippi; in
other words, till she reduces us to unconditional
submission. On our part, then, we ought to
propose, as a counterchange of object, the establishment
of the meridian of the mouth of the
Sorel northwardly, as the western boundary of
all her possessions.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. vi, 391. Ford ed., ix, 489.
(M. Oct. 1814)

8951. WAR OF 1812, Declaration of.—

War was declared on June 18th, thirty years
after the signature of our peace in 1782.
* * * It is not ten years since Great Britain
began a series of insults and injuries which
would have been met with war in the threshold
by any European power. This course has been
unremittingly followed up by increased wrongs,
with glimmerings, indeed, of peaceable redress,
just sufficient to keep us in quiet, till she has
had the impudence at length to extinguish even
these glimmerings by open avowal. This would
not have been borne so long, but that France
has kept pace with England in iniquity of principle,
although not in the power of inflicting
wrongs on us. The difficulty of selecting a foe
between them has spared us many years of war,
and enabled us to enter into it with less debt,
more strength and preparation.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. vi, 67. Ford ed., ix, 361.
(M. June. 1812)

8952. WAR OF 1812, Declaration of.—[continued].

[The declaration of war
was] accompanied with immediate offers of
peace on simply doing us justice. These offers
were made through Russel, through Admiral
Warren, through the government of Canada,
and the mediation proposed by her best friend
Alexander, and the greatest enemy of Bonaparte,
was accepted without hesitation.—
To Dr. George Logan. Washington ed. vi, 216. Ford ed., ix, 422.
(M. Oct. 1813)

8953. WAR OF 1812, Grounds of.—

essential grounds of the war were, first, the
Orders of Council; and, secondly, the impressment
of our citizens (for I put out of sight
from the love of peace the multiplied insults
on our government and aggressions on our commerce,
with which our pouch, like the Indian's,
had long been filled to the mouth). What immediately
produced the declaration was, 1st, the
proclamation of the Prince Regent that he
would never repeal the Orders of Council as to
us, until Bonaparte should have revoked his
decrees as to all other nations as well as ours;
and 2d, the declaration of his minister to ours
that no arrangement whatever could be devised,
admissible in lieu of impressment. It was certainly
a misfortune that they did not know
themselves at the date of this silly and insolent
proclamation, that within one month they would
repeal the Orders, and that we, at the date of
our declaration, could not know of the repeal
which was then going on one thousand leagues
distant. Their determinations, as declared by
themselves, could alone guide us, and they shut
the door on all further negotiation, throwing
down to us the gauntlet of war or submission
as the only alternatives. We cannot blame the
government for choosing that of war, because
certainly the great majority of the nation
thought it ought to be chosen.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vi, 398.
(M. Nov. 1814)

8954. WAR OF 1812, Hartford convention and.—

The negotiators at Ghent are
agreed now on every point save one, the demand
and cession of a portion of Maine. This,
it is well known, cannot be yielded by us, nor
deemed by them an object for continuing a war
so expensive, so injurious to their commerce
and manufactures, and so odious in the eyes of
the world. But it is a thread to hold by until
they can hear the result, not of the Congress
of Vienna, but of Hartford. When they shall
know as they will know, that nothing will be
done there, they will let go their hold, and


Page 923
complete the peace of the world, by agreeing
to the status ante bellum. Indemnity for the
past, and security for the future, which was
our motto at the beginning of this war, must be
adjourned to another, when, disarmed and bankrupt,
our enemy shall be less able to insult and
plunder the world with impunity.—
To M. Correa. Washington ed. vi, 407.
(M. 1814)

See Hartford Convention.

8955. WAR OF 1812, Justifiable.—

[Great Britain threw] down to us the gauntlet
of war or submission as the only alternatives.
We cannot blame the government for choosing
that of war, because certainly the great majority
of the nation thought it ought to be chosen, not
that they were to gain by it in dollars and
cents; all men know that war is a losing game
to both parties. But they know, also, that if
they did not resist encroachment at some point,
all will be taken from them, and that more
would then be lost even in dollars and cents by
submission than resistance. It is the case of
giving a part to save the whole, a limb to save
life. It is the melancholy law of human societies
to be compelled sometimes to choose a great
evil in order to ward off a greater; to deter their
neighbors from rapine by making it cost them
more than honest gains. * * * Had we
adopted the other alternative of submission,
no mortal can tell what the cost would have
been. I consider the war then as entirely justifiable
on our part, although I am still sensible
it is a deplorable misfortune to us.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vi, 399.
(M. Nov. 1814)

8956. WAR OF 1812, Lessons of.—

I consider the war as made * * * for just
causes, and its dispensation as providential, inasmuch
as it has exercised our patriotism and
submission to order, has planted and invigorated
among us arts of urgent necessity, has
manifested the strong and the weak parts of our
republican institutions, and the excellence of a
representative democracy compared with the
misrule of kings, has rallied the opinions of
mankind to the natural rights of expatriation,
and of a common property in the ocean, and
raised us to that grade in the scale of nations
which the bravery and liberality of our citizen
soldiers, by land and by sea, the wisdom of our
institutions and their observance of justice,
entitled us to in the eyes of the world.—
To Mr. Wendover. Washington ed. vi, 444.
(M. 1815)

8957. WAR OF 1812, Markets and.—

To keep the war popular, we must keep open the
markets. As long as good prices can be had,
the people will support the war cheerfully.—
To James Ronaldson. Washington ed. vi, 93. Ford ed., ix, 372.
(M. Jan. 1813)

8958. WAR OF 1812, Misrepresented.—

England has misrepresented to all Europe this
ground of the war [of 1812]. She has called
it a new pretension, set up since the repeal of
her Orders of Council. She knows there has
never been a moment of suspension of our reclamation
against it, from General Washington's
time inclusive, to the present day; and that it
is distinctly stated in our declaration of war,
as one of its principal causes.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. vi, 118.
(M. May. 1813)

8959. WAR OF 1812, Misrepresented.—[continued].

She has pretended we
have entered into the war to establish the principle
of “free bottoms, free goods”, or to protect
her seamen against her own rights over
them. We contend for neither of these.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. vi, 118.
(May. 1813)

8960. WAR OF 1812, Misrepresented.—[further continued].

She pretends we are partial to France; that we have observed a
fraudulent and unfaithful neutrality between
her and her enemy. She knows this to be false,
and that if there has been any inequality in
our proceedings towards the belligerents, it has
been in her favor. Her ministers are in possession
of full proofs of this. Our accepting
at once, and sincerely, the mediation of the
virtuous Alexander, their greatest friend, and
the most aggravated enemy of Bonaparte, sufficiently
proves whether we have partialities on
the side of her enemy. I sincerely pray that
this mediation may produce a just peace.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. vi, 119.
(May. 1813)

8961. WAR OF 1812, Prolongation of.

—As soon as we heard of her partial repeal of
her Orders of Council, we offered instantly to
suspend hostilities by an armistice, if she would
suspend her impressments, and meet us in arrangements
for securing our citizens against
them. She refused to do it, because impracticable
by any arrangement, as she pretends; but,
in truth, because a body of sixty to eighty thousand
of the finest seamen in the world, which
we possess, is too great a resource for manning
her exaggerated navy, to be relinquished, as
long as she can keep it open. Peace is in her
hand, whenever she will renounce the practice
of aggression on the persons of our citizens.
If she thinks it worth eternal war, eternal war
we must have. She alleges that the sameness
of language, of manners, of appearance, renders
it impossible to distinguish us from her subjects.
But because we speak English, and look
like them, are we to be punished? Are free
and independent men to be submitted to their
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. vi, 118.
(May. 1813)

8962. WAR OF 1812, Provocation.—

Nothing but the total prostration of all moral
principle could have produced the enormities
which have forced us at length into the war.
On one hand, a ruthless tyrant, drenching Europe
in blood to obtain through future time the
character of the destroyer of mankind; on the
other, a nation of buccaneers, urged by sordid
avarice, and embarked in the flagitious enterprise
of seizing to itself the maritime resources
and rights of all other nations, have left no
means of peace to reason and moderation. And
yet there are beings among us who think we
ought still to have acquiesced. As if while
full war was waging on one side, we could
lose by making some reprisal on the other.—
To Henry Middleton. Washington ed. vi, 91.
(M. Jan. 1813)

8963. WAR OF 1812, Reparation and.

—The sword once drawn, full justice must be
done. “Indemnification for the past and security
for the future” should be painted on
our banners. For one thousand ships taken,
and six thousand seamen impressed, give us
Canada for indemnification, and the only security
they can give us against their Henrys,
and the savages, and agree that the American
flag shall protect the persons of those sailing
under it, both parties exchanging engagements
that neither will receive the seamen of the other
on board their vessels. This done, I should be
for peace with England, and then war with
France. One at a time is enough, and in fighting
the one we need the harbors of the other
for our prizes.—
To Mr. Wright. Washington ed. vi, 78.
(M. Aug. 1812)

8964. WAR OF 1812, Victory and defeat.—

Perhaps this Russian mediation May
cut short the history of the present war, and
leave to us the laurels of the sea, while our
enemies are bedecked with those of the land.


Page 924
This would be the reverse of what has been expected,
and perhaps of what was to be wished.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. vi, 110.
(M. April. 1813)

8965. WAR OF 1812, Victory and defeat.—[continued].

I rejoice exceedingly
that our war with England was single-handed.
In that of the Revolution, we had France,
Spain, and Holland on our side, and the credit
of its success was given to them. On the late
occasion, unprepared, and unexpecting war, we
were compelled to declare it, and to receive the
attack of England, just issuing from a general
war, fully armed, and freed from all other enemies,
and have not only made her sick of it,
but glad to prevent by peace, the capture of her
adjacent possessions, which one or two campaigns
more would infallibly have made ours.
She has found that we can do her more injury
than any other enemy on earth, and henceforward
will better estimate the value of our peace.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 466. Ford ed., ix, 521.
(M. 1815)

See Impressment.

8966. WAR (Prisoners of), Comfort of.

—Is an enemy so execrable, that, though in
captivity, his wishes and comforts are to be
disregarded and even crossed? I think not.
It is for the benefit of mankind to mitigate the
horrors of war as much as possible. The practice,
therefore, of modern nations, of treating
captive enemies with politeness and generosity,
is not only delightful in contemplation, but really
interesting to all the world, friends, foes and
To Governor Henry. Washington ed. i, 218. Ford ed., ii, 176.
(Alb. 1779)

8967. WAR (Prisoners of), Exchange of.—

I am sorry to learn that the negotiations
for the exchange of prisoners have proved abortive,
as well from a desire to see the necessary
distresses of war alleviated in every possible
instance, as that I am sensible how far yourself
and family are interested in it. Against this,
however, is to be weighed the possibility that we
may again have a pleasure we should otherwise,
perhaps, never have had—that of seeing you
again. [511]
To General de Riedesel. Washington ed. i, 241. Ford ed., ii, 303.
(R. 1780)


General Riedesel, commander of the Hessian
troops, captured at Saratoga, was among the prisoners
sent to Albemarle, in 1779, and, with many of
his fellow officers, was a frequent guest at Monticello.
They all expressed their deep obligations to
Jefferson for the courtesies extended to them and
the efforts made by him to lighten the hardships of
their captivity.—Editor.

8968. WAR (Prisoners of), Health of.—

The health [of the British prisoners] is also
of importance. I would not endeavor to show
that their lives are valuable to us, because it
would suppose a possibility, that humanity was
kicked out of doors in America, and interest
only attended to.—
To Governor Henry. Washington ed. i, 218. Ford ed., ii, 175.
(Alb. 1779)

8969. WAR (Prisoners of), Relief of.—

Be assured there is nothing consistent with the
honor of your country which we shall not, at all
times, be ready to do for the relief of yourself
and companions in captivity. We know that
ardent spirit and hatred for tyranny, which
brought you into your present situation, will
enable you to bear up against it with the firmness
which has distinguished you as a soldier,
and to look forward with pleasure to the day
when events shall take place against which the
wounded spirits of your enemies will find no
comfort, even from reflections on the most refined
of the cruelties with which they have
glutted themselves. [512]
To Colonel George Matthews. Washington ed. i, 235. Ford ed., ii, 264.
(Wg. 1779)


Colonel Matthews was an American officer in the
hands of the British. Jefferson was Governor of

8970. WAR (Prisoners of), Treatment of.—

We think ourselves justified in Governor
Hamilton's strict confinement on the general
principle of national retaliation. * * * Governor
Hamilton's conduct has been such as to
call for exemplary punishment on him personally.
In saying this I have not so much in view
his particular cruelties to our citizens, prisoners
with him, * * * as the general nature of
the service he undertook at Detroit, and the
extensive exercise of cruelties which it involved.
Those who act together in war are
answerable for each other. No distinction can
be made between principal and ally by those
against whom the war is waged. He who employs
another to do a deed makes the deed
his own. If he calls in the hand of the assassin
or murderer, himself becomes the assassin or
murderer. The known rule of warfare of the
Indian savages is an indiscriminate butchery of
men, women and children. These savages,
under this well known character, are employed
by the British nation as allies in the war
against the Americans. Governor Hamilton
undertakes to be the conductor of the war. In
the execution of that undertaking, he associates
small parties of the whites under his immediate
command with large parties of the savages, and
sends them to act, sometimes jointly, and sometimes
separately, not against our forts or
armies in the field, but the farming settlements
on our frontiers. Governor Hamilton is himself
the butcher of men, women and children.
I will not say to what length the fair rules of
war would extend the right of punishment
against him; but I am sure that confinement
under its strictest circumstances, for Indian
devastation and massacre must be deemed
To Sir Guy Carleton. Ford ed., ii, 249.

8971. WASHINGTON (City), Appropriations.—

We cannot suppose Congress intended
to tax the people of the United States
at large, for all the avenues in Washington
and roads in Columbia.—
To Robert Brent. Washington ed. v, 50. Ford ed., ix, 33.
(W. 1807)

8972. WASHINGTON (City), Attachment to.—

It is with sincere regret that I part
with the society in which I have lived here. It
has been the source of much happiness to me
during my residence at the seat of government,
and I owe it much for its kind dispositions. I
shall ever feel a high interest in the prosperity
of the city, and an affectionate attachment to its
R. to A. Citizens of Washington. Washington ed. viii, 158.
(March 4, 1809)

8973. WASHINGTON (City), British capture of.—

In the late events at Washington
I have felt so much for you that I cannot withhold the expression of my sympathies.
For although every reasonable man must be
sensible that all you can do is to order, that
execution must depend on others, and failures
be imputed to them alone; yet I know that
when such failures happen they afflict even
those who have done everything they could to
prevent them. Had General Washington himself
been now at the head of our affairs, the
same event would probably have happened.
We all remember the disgraces which befell us
in his time in a trifling war with one or two
petty tribes of Indians, in which two armies


Page 925
were cut off by not half their numbers. Every
one knew, and I personally knew, because I was
then of his council, that no blame was imputable
to him, and that his officers alone were
the cause of the disasters. They must now do
the same justice.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. vi, 385.
(M. Sep. 1814)

8974. WASHINGTON (City), British capture of.—[continued].

[The incendiarism at
Washington] enlists the feelings of the world
on our side; and the advantage of public opinion
is like that of the weather-gauge in a naval
action. In Europe, the transient possession of
our capital can be no disgrace. Nearly every
capital there was in possession of its enemy;
some often and long. But diabolical as they
paint that enemy, he burned neither public
edifices nor private dwellings. It was reserved
for England to show that Bonaparte, in atrocity,
was an infant to their ministers and their
generals. They are taking his place in the eyes
of Europe, and have turned into our channel
all its good will. This will be worth the million
of dollars their conflagration will cost us.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 408. Ford ed., ix, 496.
(M. Jan. 1815)

8975. WASHINGTON (City), British capture of.—[further continued].

The embarrassments at
Washington in August last, I expected would
be great in any state of things; but they proved
greater than expected. I never doubted that
the plans of the President were wise and sufficient.
Their failure we all impute, 1, to the
insubordinate temper of Armstrong; and 2, to
the indecision of Winder. However, it ends
well. It mortifies ourselves and so may check,
perhaps, the silly boasting spirit of our newspapers.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 408. Ford ed., ix, 496.
(M. Jan. 1815)

8976. WASHINGTON (City), British capture of.—[further continued] .

I set down the coup de
at Washington as more disgraceful to
England than to us.—
To W. H. Crawford. Washington ed. vi, 418. Ford ed., ix, 502.
(M. 1815)

8977. WASHINGTON (City), British capture of.—[further continued].

The transaction has
helped rather than hurt us, by arousing the
general indignation of our country, and by
marking to the world of Europe, the Vandalism
and brutal character of the English government.
It has merely served to immortalize
their infamy.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vi, 424. Ford ed., ix, 508.
(M. 1815)

See Capitol.

8978. WASHINGTON (City), Building line.—

I doubt much whether the obligation to
build the houses at a given distance from the
street, contributes to its beauty. It produces a
disgusting monotony; all persons make this
complaint against Philadelphia. The contrary
practice varies the appearance, and is much
more convenient to the inhabitants.—
Federal Capital Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 513. Ford ed., v, 253.

8979. WASHINGTON (City), Foundation of.—

As to the future residence of Congress,
I can give you an account only from the
information of others, all this having taken
place before my arrival [in Philadelphia].
Congress, it seems, thought it best to generalize
their first determination by putting questions
on the several rivers on which it had been proposed
that they should fix their residence. The
Hudson river, the Delaware, and the Potomac,
were accordingly offered to the vote. The first
obtained scarcely any votes; the Delaware obtained
seven. This, of course, put the Potomac
out of the way; and the Delaware being once
determined on, there was scarcely any difference
of opinion as to the particular spot. The
Falls met the approbation of all the States pres
ent, except Pennsylvania, which was for Germantown,
and Delaware, which was for Wilmington.
As to the latter, it appeared that she
had been induced to vote for the Delaware on
the single idea of getting Congress to Wilmington,
and that being disappointed in this, they
would not wish them on that river at all, but
would prefer Georgetown to any other place.
This being discovered, the Southern delegates,
at a subsequent day, brought on a reconsideration
of the question, and obtained a determination
that Congress should sit one-half of their
time at Georgetown, and that till all accommodations
should be provided there, Annapolis
should be substituted in its place. This was
considered by some as a compromise; by others
as only unhinging the first determination and
leaving the whole matter open for discussion
at some future day. It was in fact a rally, and
making a drawn battle of what had at first appeared
to be decided against us.—
To Governor Benjamin Harrison. Ford ed., iii, 340.
(Pa., Nov. 1783)

8980. WASHINGTON (City), Foundation of.—[continued].

I take the following to
be the disposition of the several States: The
four Eastern States are for any place in preference
to Philadelphia, the more northern it is,
however, the more agreeable to them. New
York and New Hampshire are for the Falls of
Delaware. Pennsylvania is for Germantown
first, and next for the Falls of Delaware. It
is to be noted that Philadelphia had no attention
as a permanent seat. Delaware is for Wilmington;
but for Georgetown in preference to the
Falls of Delaware, or any other situation which
[may] attract the trade of their river. Maryland
is for Annapolis, and the smallest hope for
this will sacrifice a certainty for Georgetown.
Virginia, every place southward of Potomac
being disregarded by the States as every place
north of the Delaware, saw it would be useless
to consider her interests as to more southern
positions. The Falls of Potomac will probably,
therefore, unite the wishes of the whole State.
If this fails, Annapolis and the Falls of Delaware
are then the candidates. Were the convenience
of the delegates alone to be considered,
or the general convenience to government in
their transaction of business with Congress,
Annapolis would be preferred without hesitation.
But those who respect commercial advantages
more than the convenience of individuals,
will probably think that every position
on the bay of Chesapeake, or any of its waters,
is to be dreaded by Virginia, as it may attract
the trade of that bay and make us, with respect
to Maryland, what Delaware State is to Pennsylvania.
Considering the residence of Congress,
therefore, as it may influence trade, if
we cannot obtain it on the Potomac, it seems
to be our interest to bring it past all the
waters of the Chesapeake bay. The three
Southern States are for the most southern situation.
It should be noted that New Hampshire
and Georgia were absent on the decisions of
these questions, but considering their interests
would be directly opposite, it was thought their
joint presence or absence would not change the
result. From the preceding state of the views
of the several members of our Union, your
Excellency will be enabled to judge what will
be the probable determination on any future revision
of the present plan. The establishment
of new States will be friendly or adverse to
Georgetown according to their situation. If a
State be first laid off on the Lakes, it will add a
vote to the northern scale; if on the Ohio, it
will add one to the southern.—
To Governor Benjamin Harrison. Ford ed., iii, 342.
(Pa., Nov. 1783)


Page 926

8981. WASHINGTON (City), Foundation of.—[further continued].

The General Assembly
shall have power * * * to cede to Comgress
one hundred square miles of territory in
any other part of this State, exempted from the
jurisdiction and government of this State, so
long as Congress shall hold their sessions therein,
or in any territory adjacent thereto, which
may be tendered to them by any other State.—
Proposed Constitution for Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 446. Ford ed., iii, 325.

8982. WASHINGTON (City), Foundation of.—[further continued] .

Georgetown languishes.
The smile is hardly covered now when the
federal towns are spoken of. I fear that our
chance is at this time desperate. Our object,
therefore, must be, if we fail in an effort to
remove to Georgetown, to endeavor then to get
to some place off the waters of the Chesapeake
where we may be ensured against Congress considering
themselves as fixed.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iii, 400.
(A. Feb. 1784)

8983. WASHINGTON (City), Foundation of.—[further continued].

The remoteness of the Falls of Potomac from the influence of any
overgrown commercial city recommends [that
place for the] permanent seat of Congress.—
Notes on Permanent Seat of Congress. Ford ed., iii, 458.
(April. 1784)

8984. WASHINGTON (City), Foundation of.—[further continued] .

Philadelphia. In favor
of it. 1. Its unrivalled conveniency for transacting
the public business, and accommodating
Congress. 2. Its being the only place where
all the public offices, particularly that of Finance
could be kept under the inspection and
control of, and proper intercourse with Congress.
3. Its conveniency for foreign ministers,
to which, ceteris paribus, some regard would
be expected. 4. The circumstances which produced
a removal from Philadelphia; which rendered
a return, as soon as the insult had been
expiated, expedient for supporting in the eyes
of foreign nations the appearance of internal
harmony, and preventing an appearance of
resentment in Congress against the State of
Pennsylvania, or city of Philadelphia, an appearance
which was very much strengthened by
some of their proceedings at Princeton—particularly
by an unneccessary and irregular declaration
not to return to Philadelphia. In addition
to these overt reasons, it was concluded
by sundry of the members, who were most anxious
to fix Congress permanently at the Falls
of the Potomac, that a temporary residence in
Philadelphia would be most likely to prepare
a sufficient number of votes for that place in
preference to the Falls of Delaware, and to
produce a reconsideration of the vote in favor
of the latter. Against Philadelphia were alleged.
1. The difficulty and uncertainty of
getting away from it at the time limited. 2.
The influence of a large commercial and wealthy
city on the public councils. In addition to
these objections, the hatred against Mr. Morris,
and the hope of accelerating his final resignation
were latent motives with some, as perhaps
envy of the prosperity of Philadelphia, and dislike
of the support of Pennsylvania to obnoxious
recommendations of Congress were with
Notes on Permanent Seat of Congress. Ford ed., iii, 459.
(April. 1784)

8985. WASHINGTON (City), Foundation of.—[further continued].

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 in members of Congress, or the admission
of new States, would remove them
somewhere else. It is evident that when a
sufficient number of the Western States come
in, they will remove it to Georgetown. In the
meantime, it is our interest that it should re
main where it is, and give no new pretensions
to any other place.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 347. Ford ed., iv, 52.
(P. 1785)

8986. WASHINGTON (City), Foundation of.—[further continued] .

Philadelphia was first
proposed, and had six and a half votes. The
half vote was Delaware, one of whose members
wanted to take a vote on Wilmington. Then
Baltimore was proposed and carried, and afterwards
rescinded, so that the matter stood open
as ever on the 10th of August; but it was allowed
the dispute lay only between New York
and Philadelphia, and rather thought in favor
of the last.—
To William Short. Washington ed. ii, 480. Ford ed., v, 49.
(P. Sep. 1788)

8987. WASHINGTON (City), Foundation of.—[further continued]..

On the question of residence,
the compromise proposed is to give it to
Philadelphia for fifteen years, and then permanently
to Georgetown by the same act. This is
the best arrangement we have now any prospect
of, and therefore the one to which all our
wishes are at present pointed. If this does not
take place, something much worse will; to wit,
an unqualified assumption [of the State debts],
and the permanent seat on the Delaware.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 186.
(N.Y., 17901790)gt;

8988. WASHINGTON (City), Future of.—

That the improvement of this city must
proceed with sure and steady steps, follows
from its many obvious advantages, and from
the enterprising spirit of its inhabitants, which
promises to render it the fairest seat of wealth
and science.—
R. to A. Citizens of Washington. Washington ed. viii, 158.

8989. WASHINGTON (City), Houses.—

In Paris it is forbidden to build a house beyond a given height, and it is admitted to be a good
restriction. It keeps down the price of ground,
keeps the houses low and convenient, and the
streets light and airy. Fires are much more
manageable where houses are low.—
Federal Capitol Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 513. Ford ed., v, 253.

8990. WASHINGTON (City), Houses.—[continued].

I cannot help again suggesting
one regulation formerly suggested, to
wit: To provide for the extinguishment of
fires, and the openness and convenience of the
town, by prohibiting houses of excessive height;
and making it unlawful to build on any one's
purchase any house with more than two floors
between the common level of the earth and the
Federal Capital Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 561.
(March. 1791)

8991. WASHINGTON (City), Lots.—

The lots [should] be sold in breadths of fifty
feet; their depths to extend to the diagonal of
the square.—
Federal Capital Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 513. Ford ed., v, 253.

8992. WASHINGTON (City), Plans of.

—I shall send you * * * two dozen plans
of the city of Washington, which you are desired
to display, not for sale, but for public inspection,
wherever they may be most seen by
those descriptions of people worthy and likely
to be attracted to it, dividing the plans among
the cities of London and Edinburgh chiefly,
but sending them also to Glasgow, Bristol, and
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 500.
(Pa., 1792)

8993. WASHINGTON (City), Plans of. [continued].

I sent you * * * a
dozen plans of the city of Washington in the
Federal territory, hoping you would have them
displayed to public view where they would be
most seen by those descriptions of men worthy


Page 927
and likely to be attracted to it. Paris, Lyons,
Rouen, and the seaport towns of Havre, Nantes,
Bourdeaux and Marseilles would be proper
places to send some of them.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 523. Ford ed., vi, 201.
(Pa., 17931793)gt;

8994. WASHINGTON (City), Residence in.—

On the subject of your location for the
winter, it is impossible in my view of it, to
doubt on the preference which should be given
to this place. Under any circumstances it
could not but be satisfactory to you to acquire
an intimate knowledge of our political machine,
not merely of its organization, but the individuals
and characters composing it, their general
mode of thinking, and of acting openly and secretly.
Of all this you can learn no more at
Philadelphia than of a diet of the empire.
None but an eyewitness can really understand
it, and it is quite as important to be known to
them, and to obtain a certain degree of their
confidence in your own right. In a government
like ours, the standing of a man well with
this portion of the public must weigh against a
considerable difference of other qualifications.—
To William Short. Washington ed. v, 210.
(W. Nov. 1807)

8995. WASHINGTON (City), Streets.—

I should propose the streets [of the Federal
capital] to be at right angles, as in Philadelphia,
and that no street be narrower than one hundred
feet with footways of fifteen feet. Where a
street is long and level, it might be one hundred
and twenty feet wide. I should prefer squares
of at least two hundred yards every way.—
Federal Capital Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 512. Ford ed., v, 253.

8996. WASHINGTON (George), Advice and.—

His mind has been so long used to unlimited
applause that it could not brook contradiction,
or even advice offered unasked. To advice, when asked, he is very open.—
To Archibald Stuart. Ford ed., vii, 101.
(M. Jan. 1797)

8997. WASHINGTON (George), Attacks on.—

The President is extremely affected by
the attacks made and kept up on him in the public
papers. I think he feels those things more
than any person I ever yet met with. I am
sincerely sorry to see them.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 579. Ford ed., vi, 293.
(June. 1793)

8998. WASHINGTON (George), Attacks on.—[continued].

[At a cabinet meeting] [Secretary] Knox in a foolish, incoherent sort
of a speech, introduced the pasquinade lately
printed, called the funeral of George Washington
and James Wilson [Associate Justice of the
Supreme Court]; King and Judge, &c., where
the President was much inflamed; got into one of
those passions when he cannot command himself;
ran on much on the personal abuse which
had been bestowed on him; defied any man on
earth to produce one single act of his since he
had been in the government, which was not done
on the purest motives; that he had never repented
but once the having slipped the moment
of resigning his office, and that was every moment
since, that by God he had rather be in his
grave than in his present situation; that he
had rather be on his farm than to be made
Emperor of the world, and yet they were charging
him with wanting to be a King. That that
rascal Freneau sent him three of his papers
every day, as if he thought he would become
the distributor of his papers; that he could see
in this, nothing but an impudent design to in
sult him: he ended in this high tone. [513]
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 164. Ford ed., i, 254.
(Aug. 1793)


Genet's case was under consideration at the
meeting of the cabinet.—Editor.

8999. WASHINGTON (George), Ceremony and.—

I remember an observation of
yours, made when I first went to New York,
that the satellites and sycophants that surrounded
him [Washington] had wound up the ceremonials
of the government to a pitch of stateliness
which nothing but his personal character
could have supported, and which no character
after him could ever maintain. It appears now
that even his will be insufficient to justify them
in the appeal of the times to common sense as
the arbiter of everything. Naked, he would
have been sanctimoniously reverenced; but enveloped
in the rags of royalty, they can hardly
be torn off without laceration. It is the more
unfortunate that this attack is planted on popular
ground, on the love of the people to France
and its cause, which is universal.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 579. Ford ed., vi, 293.
(June. 1793)

9000. WASHINGTON (George), Cincinnati and.—

I have wished to see you standing
on ground separated from it [the Society of
the Cincinnati]; 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.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. i, 333. Ford ed., iii, 465.

See Cincinnati Society.

9001. WASHINGTON (George), Confidence in.—

Without pretensions to that high
confidence you reposed in our first and greatest
revolutionary character, whose preeminent services
had entitled him to the first place in his
country's love, and destined for him the fairest
page in the volume of faithful history, I ask
so much confidence only as may give firmness
and effect to the legal administration of your
First Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 5. Ford ed., viii, 5.

9002. WASHINGTON (George), Crown refused.—

The alliance between the States
under the old Articles of Confederation, for
the purpose of joint defence against the aggressions
of Great Britain, was found insufficient,
as treaties of alliance generally are, to enforce
compliance with their mutual stipulations; and
these, once fulfilled, that bond was to expire of
itself, and each State to become sovereign and
independent in all things. Yet it could not but
occur to every one, that these separate independencies,
like the petty States of Greece, would
be eternally at war with each other, and would
become at length the mere partisans and satellites
of the leading powers of Europe. All then
must have looked to some further bond of union,
which would insure internal peace, and a political
system of our own, independent of that of
Europe. Whether all should be consolidated
into a single government, or each remain independent
as to internal matters, and the whole
form a single nation as to what was foreign
only, and whether that national government
should be a monarchy or a republic, would of
course divide opinions according to the constitutions,
the habits, and the circumstances of
each individual. Some officers of the army,
as it has always been said and believed (and
Steuben and Knox have ever been named as
the leading agents), trained to monarchy by
military habits, are understood to have proposed
to General Washington to decide this great question
by the army before its disbandment, and


Page 928
to assume himself the crown, on the assurance
of their support. The indignation with which
he is said to have scouted this parricide proposition
was equally worthy of his virtue and his
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 88. Ford ed., i, 157.

9003. WASHINGTON (George), Errors of.—

He errs as other men do, but errs with
To W. B. Giles. Washington ed. iv, 125. Ford ed., vii, 41.
(M. 1795)

9004. WASHINGTON (George), Errors of.—[continued].

I wish that his honesty
and his political errors may not furnish a second
occasion to exclaim “curse on his virtues, they
have undone his country”.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 136. Ford ed., vii, 69.
(M. 1796)

9005. WASHINGTON (George), Errors of.—[further continued].

The President [Washington] is fortunate to get off just as the
[bank and paper] bubble is bursting, leaving
others to hold the bag. Yet, as his departure
will mark the moment when the difficulties begin
to work, you will see that they will be ascribed
to the new administration, and that he will have
his usual good fortune of reaping credit from
the good acts of others, and leaving to them that
of his errors.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 104.
(M. Jan. 1797)

9006. WASHINGTON (George), Estimate of.—

His mind was great and powerful,
without being of the very first order; his penetration
strong, though not so acute as that of
a Newton, Bacon, or Locke; and as far as he
saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was
slow in operation, being little aided by invention
or imagination, but sure in conclusion. Hence
the common remark of his officers, of the advantage
he derived from councils of war, where,
hearing all suggestions, he selected whatever
was best; and certainly no general ever planned
his battles more judiciously. But if deranged
during the course of the action, if any member
of his plan was dislocated by sudden circumstances,
he was slow in readjustment. The
consequence was that he often failed in the field,
and rarely against an enemy in station, as at
Boston and York. He was incapable of fear,
meeting personal dangers with the calmest unconcern.
Perhaps the strongest feature in his
character was prudence, never acting until every
circumstance, every consideration, was maturely
weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but,
when once decided, going through with his purpose,
whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity
was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I
have ever known, no motives of interest or
consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being
able to bias his decision. He was, indeed, in
every sense of the words, a wise, a good, and a
great man. His temper was naturally irritable
and high toned; but reflection and resolution
had obtained a firm and habitual ascendency
over it. If ever, however, it broke its bonds,
he was most tremendous in his wrath. In his
expenses he was honorable, but exact; liberal
in contributions to whatever promised utility;
but frowning and unyielding on all visionary
projects, and all unworthy calls on his charity.
His heart was not warm in its affections; but
he exactly calculated every man's value, and
gave him a solid esteem proportioned to it. His
person was fine, his stature exactly what one
would wish, his deportment easy, erect and
noble; the best horseman of his age, and the
most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback.
Although in the circle of his friends,
where he might be unreserved with safety, he
took a free share in conversation, his colloquial
talents were not above mediocrity, possessing
neither copiousness of ideas, nor fluency of
words. In public, when called on for a sudden
opinion, he was unready, short and embarrassed.
Yet he wrote readily, rather diffusely, in an
easy and correct style. This he had acquired
by conversation with the world, for his education
was merely reading, writing, and common
arithmetic, to which he added surveying at a
later day. His time was employed in action
chiefly, reading little, and that only in agriculture
and English history. His correspondence
became necessarily extensive, and, with journalizing
his agricultural proceedings, occupied most
of his leisure hours within doors. On the
whole, his character was, in its mass, perfect,
in nothing bad, in few points indifferent; and
it may truly be said, that never did nature and
fortune combine more perfectly to make a man
great, and to place him in the same constellation
with whatever worthies have merited from man
an everlasting remembrance. For his was the
singular destiny and merit, of leading the armies
of his country successfully through an arduous
war for the establishment of its independence;
of conducting its councils through the birth of a
government, new in its forms and principles,
until it had settled down into a quiet and orderly
train; and of scrupulously obeying the laws
through the whole of his career, civil and military,
of which the history of the world furnishes
no other example. How, then, can it be
perilous for you to take such a man on your
shoulders? I am satisfied the great body of
republicans think of him as I do. We were,
indeed, dissatisfied with him on his ratification
of the British treaty. But this was short-lived.
We knew his honesty, the wiles with which he
was encompassed, and that age had already
begun to relax the firmness of his purposes; and
I am convinced he is more deeply seated in the
love and gratitude of the republicans, than in
the Pharisaical homage of the federal monarchists.
For he was no monarchist from preference
of his judgment. The soundness of that gave
him correct views of the rights of man, and his
severe justice devoted him to them. He has
often declared to me that he considered our
new Constitution as an experiment on the practicability
of republican government, and with
what dose of liberty man could be trusted for
his own good; that he was determined the experiment
should have a fair trial, and would lose
the last drop of his blood in support of it.
* * * I felt on his death with my countrymen,
that verily a great man hath fallen this
day in Israel.—
To Dr. Walter Jones. Washington ed. vi, 286. Ford ed., ix, 448.
(M. Jan. 1814)

9007. WASHINGTON (George), Fame of.—

Washington's fame will go on increasing
until the brightest constellation in yonder heavens
shall be called by his name.—
Domestic Life of Jefferson.358.

9008. WASHINGTON (George), Fame of.—[continued].

Our first and greatest
revolutionary character, whose preeminent services
have entitled him to the first place in his
country's love, and destined for him the fairest
page in the volume of faithful history.—
First Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 5. Ford ed., viii, 5.

9009. WASHINGTON (George), Fame of.—[further continued].

The moderation of his
desires, and the strength of his judgment, enabled
him to calculate correctly, that the right
to that glory which never dies is to use power
for the support of the laws and liberties of our
country, not for its destruction; and his will
accordingly survive the wreck of everything
now living.—
To Earl of Buchan. Washington ed. iv, 494.
(W. 1803)


Page 929

9010. WASHINGTON (George), Farewell address of.—

With respect to his [President
Washington's] Farewell Address, to the
authorship of which, it seems, there are conflicting
claims, I can state to you some facts. He
had determined to decline reelection at the end
of his first term, and so far determined, that he
had requested Mr. Madison to prepare for him
something valedictory, to be addressed to his
constituents on his retirement. This was done,
but he was finally persuaded to acquiesce in a
second election, to which no one more strenuously
pressed him than myself, from a conviction
of the importance of strengthening, by
longer habit, the respect necessary for that office,
which the weight of his character only
could effect. When, at the end of this second
term, his Valedictory came out, Mr. Madison
recognized in it several passages of his draft;
several others, we were both satisfied, were from
the pen of Hamilton, and others from that of
the President himself. These he probably put
into the hands of Hamilton to form into a
whole, and hence it may all appear in Hamilton's
handwriting, as if it were all of his composition.—
To William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 292. Ford ed., x, 228.
(M. 1823)

9011. WASHINGTON (George), Federalists and.—

General Washington, after the
retirement of his first cabinet, and the composition
of his second, entirely federal, * * * had no opportunity of hearing both sides of
any question. His measures, consequently,
took the hue of the party in whose hands he
was. These measures were certainly not approved
by the republicans; yet they were not
imputed to him but to the counsellors around
him; and his prudence so far restrained their
impassioned course and bias, that no act of
strong mark, during the remainder of his administration,
excited much dissatisfaction. He
lived too short a time after, and too much withdrawn
from information, to correct the views
into which he had been deluded; and the continued
assiduities of the party drew him into the
vortex of their intemperate career; separated
him still farther from his real friends, and excited
him to actions and expressions of dissatisfaction,
which grieved them, but could not
loosen their affections from him. They would
not suffer the temporary aberration to weigh
against the immeasurable merits of his life; and
although they tumbled his seducers from their
places, they preserved his memory embalmed
in their hearts with undiminished love and devotion;
and there it will forever remain embalmed,
in entire oblivion of every temporary
thing which might cloud the glories of his
splendid life. It is vain, then, for Mr. Pickering
and his friends to endeavor to falsify
his character, by representing him as an enemy
to republicans and republican principles, and
as exclusively the friend of those who were so;
and had he lived longer, he would have returned
to his ancient and unbiased opinions,
would have replaced his confidence in those
whom the people approved and supported, and
would have seen that they were only restoring
and acting on the principles of his own first
To Martin Van Buren. Washington ed. vii, 371. Ford ed., x, 314.
(M. 1824)

9012. WASHINGTON (George), Federalists and.—[continued].

The federalists, pretending
to be the exclusive friends of General Washington,
have ever done what they could to sink
his character, by hanging theirs on it, and by
representing as the enemy of republicans him,
who, of all men, is best entitled to the appellation
of the father of that republic which they
were endeavoring to subvert, and the repub
licans to maintain. They cannot deny, because
the elections proclaimed the truth, that the great
body of the nation approved the republican
To Martin Van Buren. Washington ed. vii, 371. Ford ed., x, 314.
(M. 1824)

9013. WASHINGTON (George), Federalists and.—[further continued].

From the moment * * * of my retiring from the administration, the
federalists got unchecked hold of General Washington.
His memory was already sensibly impaired
by age, the firm tone of mind for which
he had been remarkable, was beginning to relax,
its energy was abated; a listlessness of labor, a
desire for tranquillity had crept on him, and a
willingness to let others act, and even think
for him. Like the rest of mankind, he was disgusted
with the atrocities of the French Revolution,
and was not sufficiently aware of the
difference between the rabble who were used as
instruments of their perpetration, and the steady
and rational character of the American people,
in which he had not sufficient confidence. The
opposition too of the republicans to the British
treaty, and zealous support of the federalists in
that unpopular, but favorite measure of theirs,
had made him all their own. Understanding,
moreover, that I disapproved of that treaty, and
copiously nourished with falsehoods by a malignant
neighbor of mine [Henry Lee, “ LightHorse
Harry”], who ambitioned to be his correspondent,
he had become alienated from myself
personally, as from the republican body
generally of his fellow citizens; and he wrote
the letters to Mr. Adams and Mr. Carroll, over
which, in devotion to his imperishable fame,
we must forever weep as monuments of mortal
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 99. Ford ed., i, 168.

9014. WASHINGTON (George), Influence of.—

You will have seen by the proceedings
of Congress the truth of what I always observed
to you, that one man outweighs them all
in influence over the people, who have supported
his judgment against their own and that of their
representatives. Republicanism must lie on its
oars, resign the vessel to its pilot, and themselves
to the course he thinks best for them.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 140. Ford ed., vii, 80
(M. June. 1796)

9015. WASHINGTON (George), Jefferson and.—

I learn that he [General H. Lee] has thought it worth his while to try to sow
tares between you and me, by representing me
as still engaged in the bustle of politics, and in
turbulence and intrigue against the government.
I never believed for a moment that this could
make any impression on you, or that your
knowledge of me would not overweigh the slander
of an intriguer, dirtily employed in sifting
the conversations of my table, where alone he
could hear of me; and seeking to atone for his
sins against you by sins against another, who
had never done him any other injury than that
of declining his confidences. Political conversations
I really dislike, and therefore avoid where
I can without affectation. But when urged by
others, I have never conceived that having been
in public life requires me to belie my sentiments,
or even to conceal them. When I am led by
conversation to express them, I do it with the
same independence here which I have practiced
everywhere, and which is inseparable from my
nature. But enough of this miserable tergiversator,
who ought, indeed, either to have been
of more truth, or less trusted by his country.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iv, 142. Ford ed., vii, 82.
(M. 1796)

9016. WASHINGTON (George), Just.—

General Washington was always just in ascri


Page 930
bing to every officer the merit of his own
Notes on M. Soules's Work. Washington ed. ix, 301. Ford ed., iv, 309.
(P. 1786)

9017. WASHINGTON (George), Loved and venerated.—

He possessed the love, the
veneration, and confidence of all.—
The Anas. Ford ed., i, 155.

9018. WASHINGTON (George), Marshall's life of.—

The party feelings of General
Washington's biographer [Marshall] to
whom after his death the collection of [Washington's
papers] was confided, have culled from
it a composition as different from what General
Washington would have offered, as was the
candor of the two characters during the period
of the war. The partiality of this pen is displayed
in lavishments of praise on certain
military characters, who had done nothing military,
but who afterwards, and before he wrote,
had become heroes in party, although not in
war; and in his reserve on the merits of others,
who rendered signal services indeed, but did not
earn his praise by apostatizing in peace from the
republican principles for which they had fought
in war. It shows itself too in the cold indifference
with which a struggle for the most animating
of human objects is narrated. No act of
heroism ever kindles in the mind of this writer
a single aspiration in favor of the holy cause
which inspired the bosom, and nerved the arm
of the patriot warrior. No gloom of events, no
lowering of prospects ever excites a fear for the
issue of a contest which was to change the condition
of man over the civilized globe. The
sufferings inflicted on endeavors to vindicate
the rights of humanity are related with all the
frigid insensibility with which a monk would
have contemplated the victims of an auto da fé.
Let no man believe that General Washington
ever intended that his papers should be used for
the suicide of the cause for which he had lived,
and for which there never was a moment in
which he would not have died. The abuse of
these materials is chiefly, however, manifested
in the history of the period immediately following
the establishment of the present Constitution.
* * * Were a reader of this period
to form his idea of it from this history alone,
he would suppose the republican party (who
were, in truth, endeavoring to keep the government
within the line of the Constitution, and
prevent its being monarchized in practice) were
a mere set of grumblers, and disorganizers,
satisfied with no government, without fixed principles
of any, and, like a British parliamentary
opposition, gaping after loaves and fishes, and
ready to change principles, as well as position,
at any time, with their adversaries. But a
short review of facts omitted, or uncandidly
stated in this history will show that the contests
of that day were contests of principle between
the advocates of republican and those of kingly
government, and that had not the former made
the efforts they did, our government would
have been, even at this early day, a very different
thing from what the successful issue of
those efforts have made it. [514]
The Anas. Ford ed., i, 155.


In the Congressional edition this extract is
omitted except the last sentence.—Editor.

9019. WASHINGTON (George), Medallion of.—

That our own nation should entertain
sentiments of gratitude and reverence for
the great character who is the subject of your
medallion, is a matter of duty. His disinterested
and valuable services to them have rendered
it so; but such a monument to his memory by
the member of another community, proves a zeal
for virtue in the abstract, honorable to him
who inscribes it, as to him whom it commemorates.
* * * This testimonial in favor of
the first worthy of our country will be grateful
to the feelings of our citizens generally.—
To Daniel Eccleston. Washington ed. v, 213.
(W. 1807)

9020. WASHINGTON (George), Memory of.—

His memory will be adored while
liberty shall have votaries, his name will triumph
over time and will in future ages assume
its just station among the most celebrated
worthies of the world.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 312. Ford ed., iii, 168.

9021. WASHINGTON (George), National monument to.—

In a former letter I
enclosed you an idea of Mr. Lee's for an immediate
appropriation of a number of lots to raise
a sum of money for erecting a national monument
in the city of Washington. It was scarcely
to be doubted but that you would avoid appropriations
for matters of ornament till a sufficient
sum should be secured out of the proceeds
of your sales to accomplish the public
buildings, bridges and such other objects as are
essential. Mr. Caracchi, the artist, who had
proposed to execute the monument, has had
hopes that a subscription set on foot for that
purpose, would have sufficed to effect it. That
hope is now over, and he is about to return to
Europe. He is unquestionably an artist of
the first class. He has had the advantage of
taking the President's person in plaster, equal
to every wish in resemblance and spirit. It is
pretty certain that the equestrian statue of the
President can never be executed by an equal
workman, who has had equal advantages, and
the question is whether a prudent caution will
permit you to enter into any engagement now,
taking time enough before the term of payment
to have accomplished the more material objects
of the public buildings, &c. He says to execute
the equestrian statue, with the cost of the materials,
in marble, will be worth twenty thousand
guineas; that he would begin it on his return,
if four or five years hence you can engage to
pay him twenty thousand dollars, and the same
sum annually afterwards, till the whole is paid,
before which time the statue will be ready. It
is rather probable that within some time Congress
would take it off your hands, in compliance
with an ancient vote of that body. The
questions for your consideration are, whether,
supposing no difficulty as to the means, you
think such a work might be undertaken by you?
Whether you can have so much confidence in the
productiveness of your funds as to engage for a
residuum of this amount, all the more necessary
objects being first secured, and that this May
be within the time first proposed? And, in
fine, which will preponderate in your minds,
the hazard of undertaking this now, or that of
losing the aid of the artist? The nature of this
proposition will satisfy you that it has not been
communicated to the President, and of course
would not be, unless a previous acceptance on
your part, should render it necessary to obtain
his sanction. Your answer is necessary for the
satisfaction of Mr. Caracchi, at whose instance
I submit the proposal to you, and who, I believe,
will only wait here the return of that
To the Commissioners of Washington. Washington ed. iii, 346.

9022. WASHINGTON (George), Oath of office.—

Knox, Randolph and myself met at Knox's where Hamilton was also to have met,
to consider the time manner and place of the
President's swearing in. [515] Hamilton had been


Page 931
there before [us] and had left his opinion with
Knox, to wit, that the President should ask a
judge to attend him in his own house to administer
the oath, in the presence of the heads of
Departments, which oath should be deposited
in the Secretary of State's office. I concurred
in this opinion. E. Randolph was for the President's
going to the Senate chamber to take the
oath, attended by the Marshal of the United
States who should then make proclamation, &c.
Knox was for this and for adding the House of
Representatives to the presence, as they would
not yet be departed. Our individual opinions
were written to be communicated to the President
out of which he might form one.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 139. Ford ed., i, 221.
(Feb. 1793)


On the occasion of Washington's second inauguration.—Editor.

9023. WASHINGTON (George), Opinions of.—

His opinions merit veneration and
respect; for few men have lived whose opinions
were more unbiased and correct. Not that it
is pretended he never felt bias. His passions
were naturally strong; but his reason, generally
The Anas. Ford ed., i, 155.

9024. WASHINGTON (George), Opposition to administration.—

I told the President
[Washington] that in my opinion there was
only a single source of the discontents [with the
administration]. Though they had indeed appeared
to spread themselves over the War Department
also, yet I considered that as an overflowing
only from their real channel, which
would never have taken place, if they had not
first been generated in another Department, to
wit, that of the Treasury. That a system had
there been contrived, for deluging the States
with paper money instead of gold and silver,
for withdrawing our citizens from the pursuits
of commerce, manufactures, buildings, and other
branches of useful industry, to occupy themselves
and their capitals in a species of gambling
destructive of morality, and which had introduced
its poison into the government itself.
That it was a fact, as certainly known as that
he and I were then conversing, that particular
members of the Legislature, while those laws
were on the carpet, had feathered their nests
with paper, had then voted for the laws, and
constantly since lent all the energy of their
talents, and instrumentality of their offices to
the establishment and enlargement of this system;
that they had chained it about our necks
for a great length of time, and in order to keep
the game in their hands had, from time to time,
aided in making such legislative constructions
of the Constitution, as made it a very different
thing from what the people thought they had
submitted to; that they had now brought forward
a proposition, far beyond every one yet
advanced, and to which the eyes of many were
turned, as the decision which was to let us
know, whether we live under a limited or an
unlimited government. He asked me to what
proposition I alluded? I answered to that in
the Report on Manufactures, which, under color
of giving bounties for the encouragement of
particular manufactures, meant to establish the
doctrine, that the power given by the Constitution
to collect taxes to provide for the general
of the United States, permitted Congress
to take everything under their management
which they should deem for the public
and which is susceptible of the application
of money; consequently, that the subsequent
enumeration of their powers was not the
description to which resort must be had, and
did not at all constitute the limits of their authority;
that this was a very different question
from that of the bank, which was thought an
incident to an enumerated power; that, therefore,
this decision was expected with great
anxiety; that, indeed, I hoped the proposition
would be rejected, believing there was a majority
in both Houses against it, and that if it
should be, it would be considered as a proof that
things were returning into their true channel;
and that, at any rate, I looked forward to the
broad representation which would shortly take
place, for keeping the general Constitution on
its true ground; and that this would remove a
great deal of the discontent which had shown
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 104. Ford ed., i, 176.
(Feb. 29, 1792)

9025. WASHINGTON (George), Opposition to administration.—[continued].

The President said Governor
Lee had that day informed him of the general
discontent prevailing in Virginia, of which
he never had had any conception, much less
sound information; that it appeared to him
very alarming. * * * I confirmed him in
the fact of the great discontents in the South;
that they were grounded on seeing that their
judgments and interests were sacrificed to those
of the Eastern States on every occasion, and
their belief that it was the effect of a corrupt
squadron of voters in Congress, at the command
of the Treasury; and they see that if the votes
of those members who had an interest distinct
from, and contrary to the general interest of
their constituents, had been withdrawn, as in
decency and honesty they should have been, the
laws would have been the reverse of what they
are on all the great questions. I instanced the
new Assumption carried in the House of Representatives
by the Speaker's vote. On this
subject he made no reply.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 130. Ford ed., i, 215.
(Feb. 7, 1793)

9026. WASHINGTON (George), Opposition to administration.—[further continued].

The object of the opposition
which was made to the course of administration
was to preserve the Legislature pure and
independent of the Executive, to restrain the
Administration to republican forms and principles,
and not permit the Constitution to be construed
into a monarchy, and to be warped, in
practice, into all the principles and pollutions of
their favorite English model. Nor was this an
opposition to General Washington. He was
true to the republican charge confided to him;
and has solemnly and repeatedly protested to
me, in our conversations that he would lose the
last drop of his blood in support of it; and he
did this the oftener and with the more earnestness,
because he knew my suspicions of Hamilton's
designs against it, and wished to quiet
them. For he was not aware of the drift or
of the effect of Hamilton's schemes. Unversed
in financial projects and calculations and budgets,
his approbation of them was bottomed on
his confidence in the man.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 95. Ford ed., i, 165.

9027. WASHINGTON (George), Popularity of.—

Such is the popularity of President
Washington that the people will support
him in whatever he will do or will not do, without
appealing to their own reason, or to anything
but their feelings towards him.—
To Archibald Stuart. Ford ed., vii, 101.
(M. Jan. 1797)

9028. WASHINGTON (George), President.—

Though we [in Paris] have not heard
of the actual opening of the new Congress, and
consequently have not official information of
your election as President of the United States.
yet, as there never could be a doubt entertained
of it, permit me to express here my felicitations,
not to yourself, but to my country. Nobody
who has tried both public and private life, can


Page 932
doubt that you were much happier on the banks
of the Potomac than you will be at New York.
But there was nobody so well qualified as yourself
to put our new machine into a regular
course of action; nobody, the authority of whose
name could have so effectually crushed opposition
at home, and produced respect abroad. I
am sensible of the immensity of the sacrifice
on your part. Your measure of fame was full
to the brim; and, therefore, you have nothing
to gain. But there are cases where it is a duty
to risk all against nothing, and I believe this was
exactly the case. We may presume, too, according
to every rule of probability, that after doing
a great deal of good, you will be found to
have lost nothing but private repose.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. iii, 30. Ford ed., v, 94.
(P. May. 1789)

9029. WASHINGTON (George), Presidential reeligibility and.—

The perpetual
reeligibility of the same President will probably
not be cured during the life of General Washington.
His merit has blinded our countrymen
to the danger of making so important an officer
reeligible. I presume there will not be a vote
against him in the United States.—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. ii, 465.
(P. Aug. 1788)

9030. WASHINGTON (George), Prudent.—

The prudence of the President is an
anchor of safety to us.—
To Nicholas Lewis. Ford ed., v, 282.
(Pa., 1791)

9031. WASHINGTON (George), Republicanism of.—

It is fortunate that our first
Executive Magistrate is purely and zealously
republican. We cannot expect all his successors
to be so, and therefore, should avail ourselves
the present day to establish principles and examples
which may fence us against future heresies
preached now, to be practiced hereafter.—
To Harry Innes. Washington ed. iii, 224. Ford ed., v, 300.
(Pa., 1791)

9032. WASHINGTON (George), Republicanism of.—[continued].

General Washington was
himself sincerely a friend to the republican principles
of our Constitution. His faith perhaps
in its duration, might not have been as confident
as mine; but he repeatedly declared to me, that
he was determined it should have a fair chance
for success, and that he would lose the last drop
of his blood in its support, against any attempt
which might be made to change it from its republican
form. He made these declarations the
oftener, because he knew my suspicions that
Hamilton had other views, and he wished to
quiet my jealousies on this subject.—
To Martin Van Buren. Washington ed. vii, 371. Ford ed., x, 314.
(M. 1824)

9033. WASHINGTON (George), Republicans and.—

I have long thought it was best
for the republican interest to soothe him by
flattering where they could approve his measures,
and to be silent where they disapprove,
that they may not render him desperate as to
their affections, and entirely indifferent to their
wishes, in short to lie on their oars while he
remains at the helm, and let the bark drift as
his will and a superintending Providence shall
To Archibald Stuart. Ford ed., vii, 102.
(M. Jan. 1797)

9034. WASHINGTON (George), Second term.—

When you first mentioned to me your
purpose of retiring from the government, though
I felt all the magnitude of the event, I was in a
considerable degree silent. I knew that, to
such a mind as yours, persuasion was idle and
impertinent; that before forming your decision
you had weighed all the reasons for and against
the measure, had made up your mind on full
view of them, and that there could be little hope
of changing the result. Pursuing my reflections,
too, I knew we were some day to try to
walk alone, and if the essay should be made
while you should be alive and looking on, we
should derive confidence from that circumstance,
and resource, if it failed. The public mind,
too, was calm and confident, and therefore in
a favorable state for making the experiment.
Had no change of circumstances intervened, I
should not, with any hopes of success, have now
ventured to propose to you a change of purpose.
But the public mind is no longer confident and
serene; and that from causes in which you are
no ways personally mixed. Though these
causes have been hackneyed in the public papers
in detail, it may not be amiss, in order to calculate
the effect they are capable of producing, to
take a view of them in the mass, giving to each
the form, real or imaginary, under which they
have been presented. It has been urged, then,
that the public debt, greater than we can possibly
pay before other causes of adding new debt
to it will occur, has been artificially created by
adding together the whole amount of the debtor
and creditor sides of accounts, instead of only
taking their balances, which could have been
paid off in a short time; that this accumulation
of debt has taken forever out of our power
those easy sources of revenue which, applied to
the ordinary necessities and exigencies of government,
would have answered them habitually,
and covered us from habitual murmurings
against taxes and taxgatherers, reserving extraordinary
calls for those extraordinary occasions
which would animate the people to meet
them; that though the calls for money have been
no greater than we must expect generally, for
the same or equivalent exigencies, yet we are
already obliged to strain the impost till it produces
clamor, and will produce evasion and
war on our own citizens to collect it, and even
to resort to an excise law of most odious character
with the people, partial in its operation,
unproductive unless enforced by arbitrary and
vexatious means, and committing the authority
of the government in parts where resistance is
most probable and coercion least practicable.
They cite propositions in Congress, and suspect
other projects on foot still to increase the mass
of debt. They say, that by borrowing at two-thirds
of the interest, we might have paid off
the principal in two-thirds of the time; but that
from this we are precluded by its being made
irredeemable but in small portions and long
terms; that this irredeemable quality was given
it for the avowed purpose of inviting its transfer
to foreign countries. They predict that this
transfer of the principal, when completed, will
occasion an exportation of three millions of
dollars annually for the interest, a drain of
coin, of which as there have been no examples,
no calculation can be made of its consequences:
that the banishment of our coin will be complicated
by the creation of ten millions of paper
money, in the form of bank bills now issuing
into circulation. They think that the ten or
twelve per cent annual profit paid to the lenders
of this paper medium taken out of the pockets
of the people, who would have had without interest
the coin it is banishing; that all the capital
employed in paper speculation is barren
and useless, producing, like that on a gaming
table, no accession to itself, and is withdrawn
from commerce and agriculture, where it
would have produced addition to the common
mass: that it nourishes in our citizens habits of
vice and idleness, instead of industry and morality;
that it has furnished effectual means of


Page 933
corrupting such a portion of the Legislature as
turns the balance between the honest voters,
whichever way it is directed: that this corrupt
squadron, deciding the voice of the Legislature,
have manifested their dispositions to get rid of
the limitations imposed by the Constitution on
the general Legislature, limitations, on the faith
of which, the States acceded to that instrument:
that the ultimate object of all this is to
prepare the way for a change from the present
republican form of government to that of a
monarchy, of which the English constitution is
to be the model: that this was contemplated by
the convention is no secret, because its partisans
have made none of it. To effect it then
was impracticable, but they are still eager after
their object, and are predisposing everything
for its ultimate attainment. So many of them
have got into the Legislature, that, aided by the
corrupt squadron of paper dealers, who are at
their devotion, they make a majority in both
houses. The republican party, who wish to preserve
the government in its present form, are
fewer in number; they are fewer even when
joined by the two, three, or half dozen anti-federalists,
who, though they dare not avow it, are
still opposed to any general government; but,
being less so to a republican than a monarchical
one, they naturally join those whom they think
pursuing the lesser evil. Of all the mischiefs
objected to the system of measures before mentioned,
none is so afflicting and fatal to every
honest hope, as the corruption of the Legislature.
As it was the earliest of these measures,
it became the instrument for producing the rest,
and will be the instrument for producing in future
a king, lords and commons, or whatever
else those who direct it may choose. Withdrawn
such a distance from the eye of their
constituents, and these so disposed as to be
inaccessible to public information, and particularly
to that of the conduct of their own representatives,
they will form the most corrupt government
on earth, if the means of their corruption
be not prevented. The only hope of safety
now hangs on the numerous representation
which is to come forward the ensuing year.
Some of the new members will be, probably,
either in principle or interest, with the present
majority; but it is expected that the great mass
will form an accession to the republican party.
They will not be able to undo all which the two
preceding Legislatures, and especially the first,
have done. Public faith and right will oppose
this. But some parts of the system may be
rightfully reformed, a liberation from the rest
unremittingly pursued as fast as right will permit,
and the door shut against similar commitments
of the nation. Should the next Legislature
take this course, it will draw upon them
the whole monarchical and paper interest; but
the latter, I think, will not go all lengths with
the former, because creditors will never, of their
own accord, fly off entirely from their debtors;
therefore, this is the alternative least likely to
produce convulsion. But should the majority of
the new members be still in the same principles
with the present, and show that we have nothing
to expect but a continuance of the same practices,
it is not easy to conjecture what would be
the result, nor what means would be resorted to
for correction of the evil. True wisdom would
direct that they should be temperate and peaceable;
but the division of sentiment and interest
happens unfortunately to be so geographical,
that no mortal man can say that what is most
wise and temperate would prevail against what
is most easy and obvious? I can scarcely contemplate
a more incalculable evil than the breaking
of the Union into two or more parts. Yet
when we consider the mass which opposed
the original coalescence; when we consider that
it lay chiefly in the Southern quarter; that the
Legislature have availed themselves of no occasion
of allaying it, but on the contrary whenever
Northern and Southern prejudices have
come into conflict, the latter have been sacrificed
and the former soothed; that the owers
of the debt are in the Southern, and the holders
of it in the Northern division: that the antifederal
champions are now strengthened in argument
by the fulfillment of their predictions;
that this has been brought about by the monarchical
federalists themselves, who, having
been for the new government merely as a stepping
stone to monarchy, have themselves adopted
the very constructions of the Constitution,
of which, when advocating its acceptance before
the tribunal of the people, they declared it
unsusceptible; that the republican federalists
who espoused the same government for its intrinsic
merits, are disarmed of their weapons;
that which they denied as prophecy, having now
become true history, who can be sure that these
things may not proselyte the small number
which was wanting to place the majority on the
other side? And this is the event at which I
tremble, and to prevent which I consider your
continuance at the head of affairs as of the last
importance. The confidence of the whole
Union is centered in you. Your being at the
helm will be more than an answer to every argument
which can be used to alarm and lead the
people in any quarter, into violence and secession.
North and South will hang together if
they have you to hang on; and if the first correction
of a numerous representation should fail
in its effect, your presence will give time for
trying others, not inconsistent with the Union
and peace of the States. I am perfectly aware
of the oppression under which your present
office lays your mind, and of the ardor with
which you pant for domestic life. But there is
sometimes an eminence of character on which
society have such peculiar claims as to control
the predilections of the individual for a particular
walk of happiness, and restrain him to
that alone arising from the present and future
benedictions of mankind. This seems to be
your condition, and the law imposed on you by
Providence in forming your character, and fashioning
the events on which it was to operate;
and it is to motives like these, and not to personal
anxieties of mine or others who have no
right to call on you for sacrifices, that I appeal,
and urge a revisal of it, on the ground of change
in the aspect of things. Should an honest majority
result from the new and enlarged representation;
should those acquiesce whose principles
or interest they may control, your wishes
for retirement would be gratified with less
danger as soon as that shall be manifest, without
awaiting the completion of the second period
of four years. One or two sessions will determine
the crisis; and I cannot but hope that you
can resolve to add more to the many years you
have already sacrificed to the good of mankind.
The fear of suspicion that any selfish motive
of continuance in office may enter into this solicitation
on my part, obliges me to declare that
no such motive exists. It is a thing of mere
indifference to the public whether I retain or
relinquish my purpose of closing my tour with
the first political renovation of the government.
I know my own measure too well to suppose that
my services contribute anything to the public
confidence, or the public utility. Multitudes
can fill the office in which you have been pleased
to place me, as much to their advantage and satisfaction.
I have, therefore, no motive to consult
but my own inclination, which is bent irresistibly
on the tranquil enjoyment of my family,


Page 934
my farm and my books. I should repose among them, it is true, in far greater security,
if I were to know that you remained at the
watch; and I hope it will be so. To the inducements
urged from a view of our domestic affairs,
I will add a bare mention, of what indeed need
only to be mentioned, that weighty motives for
your consideration are to be found in our foreign
affairs. I think it probable that both the
Spanish and English negotiations, if not completed
before your purpose is known, will be suspended
from the moment it is known, and that
the latter nation will then use double diligence
in fomenting the Indian war.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 360. Ford ed., vi, 1.
(Pa., May. 1792)

9035. WASHINGTON (George), Second term.—[continued].

My letter to the President
[May 23, 1792], directed to him at Mount
Vernon, came to him here [Philadelphia]. He
told me of this, and that he would take occasion
of speaking with me on the subject. He did
so this day [July 10]. He began by observing
that he had put it off from day to day, because
the subject was painful, to wit, his remaining
in office, which that letter solicited. He said
that the declaration he had made when he
quitted his military command, of never again
acting in public life, was sincere. That, however,
when he was called on to come forward
to set the present government in motion, it
appeared to him that circumstances were so
changed, as to justify a change in his resolution;
he was made to believe that in two years
all would be well in motion, and he might retire.
At the end of two years he found some
things still to be done. At the end of the third
year, he thought it was not worth while to disturb
the course of things, as in one year more
his office would expire, and he was decided then
to retire. Now he was told there would still
be danger in it. Certainly, if he thought so,
he would conquer his longing for retirement.
But he feared it would be said his former professions
of retirement had been mere affectation,
and that he was like other men, when
once in office he could not quit it. He was sensible,
too, of a decay of his hearing; perhaps
his other faculties might fall off, and he not
be sensible of it. That with respect to the existing
causes of uneasiness, he thought there
were suspicions against a particular party, which
had been carried a great deal too far; there
might be desires, but he did not believe there
were designs to change the form of government
into a monarchy; that there might be a few who
wished it in the higher walks of life, particularly
in the great cities, but that the main body
of the people in the eastern States were as
steadily for republicanism as in the southern.
That the pieces lately published, and particularly
in Freneau's paper, seemed to have in
view the exciting opposition to the government.
That this had taken place in Pennsylvania as
to the Excise law, according to information he
had received from General Hand. That they
tended to produce a separation of the Union,
the most dreadful of all calamities, and that
whatever tended to produce anarchy, tended,
of course, to produce a resort to monarchical
government. He considered those papers as
attacking him directly, for he must be a fool
indeed to swallow the little sugar plums here
and there thrown out to him. That in condemning
the administration of the government,
they condemned him. for if they thought there
were measures pursued contrary to his sentiment,
they must conceive him too careless to
attend to them, or too stupid to understand
them. That though, indeed, he had signed
many acts which he did not approve in all their
parts, yet he had never put his name to one
which he did not think, on the whole, was
eligible. That as to the Bank, which had been
an act of so much complaint, until there was
some infallible criterion of reason, a difference
of opinion must be tolerated. He did not believe
the discontents extended far from the seat
of government. He had seen and spoken with
many people in Maryland and Virginia in his
late journey. He found the people contented
and happy. He wished, however, to be better
informed on this head. If the discontent were
more extensive than he supposed, it might be
that the desire that he should remain in the government
was not general.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 116. Ford ed., i, 198.
(July. 1792)

9036. WASHINGTON (George), Second term.—[further continued].

President Washington
said [in conversation with me] that as yet he
was quite undecided whether to retire in March
or not. His inclinations led him strongly to
do it. Nobody disliked more the ceremonies of
his office, and he had not the least taste or gratification
in the execution of its functions. That
he was happy at home alone, and that his presence
there was now peculiarly called for by
the situation of Major Washington, whom he
thought irrecoverable, and should he get well,
he would remove into another part of the country,
which might better agree with him. That
he did not believe his presence necessary; that
there were other characters who would do the
business as well or better. Still, however, if
his aid was thought necessary to save the cause
to which he had devoted his life principally,
he would make the sacrifice of a longer continuance.
That he, therefore, reserved himself
for future decision, as his declaration would be
in time if made a month before the day of
election. He had desired Mr. Lear to find
out from conversation, without appearing to
make the inquiry, whether any other person
would be desired by anybody. He had informed
him, he judged from conversations that
it was the universal desire he should continue,
and he believed that those who expressed a
doubt of his continuance, did it in the language
of apprehension, and not of desire. But this,
says he, is only from the north; it may be very
different in the south. I thought this meant
as an opening to me to say what was the sentiment
in the south, from which quarter I come.
I told him, that as far as I knew, there was but
one voice there, which was for his continuance.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 120. Ford ed., i, 202.
(Oct. 1792)

9037. WASHINGTON (George), Statue of.—

There could be no question raised as to
the sculptor who should be employed [to execute
Washington's statue]; the reputation of
Monsieur Houdon of this city [Paris] being
unrivalled in Europe. He is resorted to for
the statues of most of the sovereigns in Europe.
On conversing with him, Doctor Franklin and
myself became satisfied that no statue could be
executed so as to obtain the approbation of
those to whom the figure of the original is
known, but on an actual view by the artist. Of
course no statue of General Washington, which
might be a true evidence of his figure to posterity,
could be made from his picture. Statues
are made every day from portraits; but if the
person be living, they are always condemned
by those who know him for a want of resemblance,
and this furnishes a conclusive presumption
that similar representations of the dead are
equally unfaithful. Monsr. Houdon, whose reputation
is such as to make it his principal object,
was so anxious to be the person who
should hand down the figure of the General to
future ages, that without hesitating a moment.


Page 935
he offered to abandon his business here, to leave
the statues of Kings unfinished, and to go to
America to take the true figure by actual inspection
and mensuration. We believe, from
his character, that he will not propose any very
considerable sum for making this journey;
probably two or three hundred guineas, as he
must necessarily be absent three or four months,
and his expenses will make at least a hundred
guineas of the money. When the whole merit
of the piece was to depend on this previous
expenditure, we could not doubt your approbation
of the measure; and that you would
think with us that things which are just or
handsome should never be done by halves. We
shall regulate the article of expense as economically
as we can with justice to the wishes of
the world. This article, together with the habit,
attitude, devices, &c., are now under consideration,
and till they be decided on, we cannot
ultimately contract with Monsr. Houdon. We
are agreed in one circumstance, that the size
shall be precisely that of life. Were we to have
executed a statue in any other case, we should
have preferred making it somewhat larger than
life; because as they are generally a little elevated
they appear smaller, but we think it important
that some one monument should be
preserved of the true size as well as figure, from
which all other countries (and our own at
any future day when they shall desire it), May
take copies, varying them in their dimensions
as may suit the particular situation in which
they wish to place them. The duty as well as
the glory of this presentation we think belongs
peculiarly to Virginia. We are sensible that the
eye alone considered will not be quite as well
satisfied; but connecting the consideration that
the whole, and every part of it presents the true
size of the life, we suppose the beholders will
receive a greater pleasure on the whole.—
To the Governor of Virginia. Ford ed., iv, 26.
(P. 1785)

9038. WASHINGTON (George), Statue of.—[continued].

I am happy to find * * * that the modern dress for your statue would
meet your approbation. I found it strongly
the sentiment of West, Copley, Trumbull, and
Brown, in London; after which, it would be
ridiculous to add, that it was my own. I think
a modern in an antique dress as just an object
of ridicule as a Hercules or Marius with a
periwig and a chapeau bras.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 250.
(P. 1787)

9039. WASHINGTON (George), Statue of.—[further continued].

The marble statue of
General Washington in the Capitol at Richmond,
with its pedestal, cost in Paris 24,000
livres or 1,000 Louis d'ors. It is of the size of
life, and made by Houdon, reckoned one of
the first statuaries in Europe. Besides this,
we paid Houdon's expenses coming to and returning
from Virginia to take the General's likeness,
which, as well as I recollect, were about
500 guineas, and the transportation of the statue
to Virginia with a workman to put it up, the
amount of which I never heard.—
To Mr. Parker. Washington ed. iv, 309.
(Pa., 1800)

See Houdon.

9040. WATERHOUSE (Dr.), Marine hospital appointment.—

When the appointment
of Dr. Waterhouse to the care of the marine
hospital was decided on, no other candidate
had been named to me as desiring the place.
The respectable recommendations I had received,
and his station as professor of medicine
in a college of high reputation, sufficiently
warranted his abilities as a physician, and to
these was added a fact well known, that, to his
zeal, the United States were indebted for the
introduction of a great blessing,—vaccination,
which has extirpated one of the most loathsome
and mortal diseases which has afflicted humanity
some years, probably, sooner than would
otherwise have taken place. It was a pleasure,
therefore, as well as a duty, in dispensing the
public favors, to make this small return for the
great service rendered our country by Dr.
To Joseph B. Varnum. Washington ed. v, 222.
(W. 1807)

9041. WATERHOUSE (Dr.), Marine hospital appointment.—[continued].

Dr. Waterhouse has been
appointed to the Marine Hospital of Boston, as
you wished. It was a just though small return
for his merit, in introducing the vaccination
earlier than we should have had it. His appointment
makes some noise there and here,
being unacceptable to some; but I believe that
schismatic divisions in the medical fraternity
are at the bottom of it.—
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. v, 225.
(W. 1808)

9042. WATERHOUSE (Dr.), Marine hospital appointment.—[further continued].

You have the blessings
of all the friends of human happiness for the
great peril from which they are rescued.—
To Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse. Ford ed., ix, 532.
(M. 1815)

9043. WEAKNESS, National.—

provokes insult and injury, while a condition
to punish often prevents them.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 404. Ford ed., iv, 89.
(P. 1785)

9044. WEALTH, Acquirement of.—

Wealth acquired by speculation and plunder
is fugacious in its nature, and fills society
with the spirit of gambling.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 252.
(P. 1787)

9045. WEALTH, Aristocracy of.—

aristocracy of wealth [is] of more harm and
danger than benefit to society.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 36. Ford ed., i, 49.

9046. WEALTH, Checks on.—

Our young Republic * * * should prevent its citizens
from becoming so established in wealth and
power, as to be thought worthy of alliance by
marriage with the nieces, sisters, &c., of
To David Humphreys. Washington ed. ii, 253.
(P. 1787)

9047. WEALTH, Croakings of.—

Do not
be frightened into the surrender of [true principles] by the alarms of the timid, or the
croakings of wealth against the ascendency
of the people.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 11. Ford ed., x, 39.
(M. 1816)

9048. WEALTH, Dominion of.—

Our experience
so far, has satisfactorily manifested
the competence of a republican government to
maintain and promote the best interests of its
citizens; and every future year, I doubt not,
will contribute to settle a question on which
reason, and a knowledge of the character and
circumstances of our fellow citizens, could
never admit a doubt, and much less condemn
them as fit subjects to be consigned to the
dominion of wealth and force.—
R. to A. Connecticut Republicans. Washington ed. viii, 140.

9049. WEALTH, Freedom vs.—

there is less wealth in America [than there is
in Europe], there is more freedom, more ease,
and less misery.—
To Baron Geismer. Washington ed. i, 427.
(P. 1785)

9050. WEALTH, Freedom vs.—[continued].

There is no such thing
in this country as what would be called wealth


Page 936
in Europe. The richest are but a little at
ease, and obliged to pay the most rigorous
attention to their affairs to keep them together.
I do not mean to speak here of the
Beaujons of America; for we have some of
those though happily they are but ephemeral.—
To M. de Meunier. Ford ed., vii, 13.
(M. 1795)

9051. WEALTH, Greediness for.—

greediness for wealth, and fantastical expense,
have degraded, and will degrade, the minds
of our maritime citizens. These are the peculiar
vices of commerce.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 104. Ford ed., x, 107.
(M. 1818)

9052. WEALTH, Liberty and.—

What a
cruel reflection that a rich country cannot
long be a free one.—
Travels in France. Washington ed. ix, 319.

9053. WEALTH, Overgrown.—

If the
overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed
dangerous to the State, the best corrective is
the law of equal inheritance to all in equal
degree; and the better, as this enforces a law
of nature, while extra-taxation violates it.—
Note in Tracy's Political Economy. Washington ed. vi, 575.

9054. WEALTH, Protection of.—

wealthy men will find their way into every
branch of the legislature to protect themselves.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 224. Ford ed., ix, 426.
(M. 1813)

9055. WEALTH, Public office and.—

For promoting the public happiness those persons,
whom nature has endowed with genius
and virtue, should be rendered by liberal
education worthy to receive, and able to guard
the sacred deposit of the rights and liberties
of their fellow citizens; and they should be
called to that charge without regard to wealth
* * * or other accidental condition or circumstance.—
Diffusion of Knowledge Bill. Ford ed., ii, 221.

9056. WEATHER, Contemporary observations.—

As soon as I get into the house [in
New York] I have hired, * * * I will propose
to you to keep a diary of the weather here,
and wherever you shall be, exchanging observations.
from time to time. I should like to
compare the two climates by cotemporary observations.
My method is to make two observations
a day, the one as early as possible in the
morning, the other from 3 to 4 o'clock, because
I have found 4 o'clock the hottest and daylight
the coldest point of the 24 hours. I state them
in an ivory pocket book in the following form,
and copy them out once a week. * * * The
first column is the day of the month, and the
second the thermometer in the morning. The
fourth do. in the evening. The third the weather
in the morning. The fifth do. in the afternoon.
The sixth is for miscellanies, such as
the appearance of birds, leafing and flowering
of trees, frosts remarkably late or early, Aurora
Borealis, &c. * * * I distinguish weather
into fair or cloudy, according as the sky is more
or less than half covered with clouds.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 159.
(N.Y., 1790)

9057. WEATHER, Daily observations.

—I make my daily observations as early as
possible in the morning, and again about four
o'clock in the afternoon, these generally showing
the maxima of cold and heat in the course of 24
To——. Washington ed. i, 208. Ford ed., ii, 158.
(Wg. 1778)

9058. WEATHER, Extreme cold.—

It is
so cold that the ink freezes in my pen, so that
my letter will scarcely be legible. * * * In
the winter of 1779-80, the mercury in Fahrenheit's
thermometer fell at Williamsburg once to
six degrees above zero. In 1783-84, I was at
Annapolis without a thermometer, and I do
not know that there was one in that State; I
heard from Virginia, that the mercury was
again down to six degrees. In 1789-90, I was
at Paris. The mercury here was as low as
eighteen degrees below zero, of Fahrenheit.
These have been the most remarkable cold
winters ever known in America. We are told,
however, that in 1762, at Philadelphia, it was
twenty-two degrees below zero; in December,
1793, it was three degrees below zero there by
my thermometer. On the 31st of January, 1796,
it was one and three-fourth degrees above zero
at Monticello. I shall, therefore, have to
change the maximum of our cold, if ever I
revise the Notes on Virginia; as six degrees
above zero was the greatest which had ever
been observed.—
To Mr. Volney. Washington ed. iv, 157.
(M. Jan. 1797)

9059. WEATHER, Moon and.—

I do not
know that the coincidence has ever been remarked
between the new moon and the greater
degrees of cold, or the full moon and the lesser
degrees; or that the reflected beams of the moon
attemper the weather at all. On the contrary,
I think I have understood that the most powerful
concave mirror presented to the moon, and
throwing its focus on the bulb of a thermometer,
does not in the least affect it.—
To Dr. Hugh Williamson. Washington ed. iv, 346. Ford ed., vii, 479.
(W. 1801)

9060. WEATHER, Parisian.—

From my
observations (I guess, because I have not calculated
their result carefully) the sun does not
shine here [Paris] more than five hours of the
twenty-four through the whole year.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., v, 105.
(P. 1789)

9061. WEBSTER (Daniel), Future of.—

I am much gratified by the acquaintance made
with Mr. Webster. He is likely to become of
great weight in our government.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., x, 327.
(M. 1824)

9062. WEBSTER (Noah), Estimate of.

—Though I view Webster as a mere pedagogue,
of very limited understanding and very
strong prejudices and party passions, yet as
editor of a paper and as of the New Haven
association, he may be worth striking.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 80.
(M. Aug. 1801)

— WEIGHTS, Standard of.—

See Standard

9063. WELFARE, Public.—

To preserve
the peace of our fellow citizens, promote their
prosperity and happiness, reunite opinion, cultivate
a spirit of candor, moderation, charity
and forbearance toward one another, are objects
calling for the efforts and sacrifices of
every good man and patriot. Our religion enjoins
it; our happiness demands it; and no
sacrifice is requisite but of passions hostile to
To the Rhode Island Assembly. Washington ed. iv, 397.
(W. 1801)


See General Welfare Clause.


Page 937

9064. WEST AND SOUTH, Free government in.—

It seems to me that in proportion
as commercial avarice and corruption advance
on us from the north and east, the principles
of free government are to retire to the
agricultural States of the south and west, as
their last asylum and bulwark. With honesty
and self-government for her portion, agriculture
may abandon contentedly to others the
fruits of commerce and corruption.—
To Henry Middleton. Washington ed. vi, 91.
(M. Jan. 1813)

9065. WEST AND SOUTH, Free government in.—[continued].

I fear, with you, all the
evils which the present lowering aspect of our
political horizon so ominously portends. That
at some future day, which I hoped to be very
distant, the free principles of our government
might change with the change of circumstances
was to be expected. But I certainly
did not expect that they would not
over-live the generation which established
them. And what I still less expected was,
that my favorite Western country was to be
made the instrument of change. I had ever
and fondly cherished the interests of that
country, relying on it as a barrier against
the degeneracy of public opinion from our
original and free principles. But the bait of
local interests, artfully prepared for their
palate, has decoyed them from their kindred
attachments, to alliances alien to them.—
To Claiborne W. Gooch. Washington ed. vii, 430.
(M. Jan. 1826)

9066. WEST INDIES, British.—

I think
that the trade with Great Britain is a ruinous
one to ourselves; and that nothing would be
an inducement to tolerate it, but a free commerce
with their West Indies; and that this being
denied to us, we should put a stop to the
losing branch. The question is, whether they
are right in their prognostications that we have
neither resolution nor union enough for this.—
To T. Pleasants. Washington ed. i, 563.
(P. 1786)

9067. WEST INDIES, Coalition with French.—

In policy, if not in justice, the
National Assembly [of France] should be disposed
to avoid oppression, which, falling on us,
as well as on their colonies, might tempt us to
act together.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 276. Ford ed., v, 364.
(Pa., 1791)

9068. WEST INDIES, Commerce with.

—The commerce with the English West Indies
is valuable and would be worth a sacrifice
to us. But the commerce with the British dominion
in Europe is a losing one and deserves
no sacrifice. Our tobacco they must have from
whatever place we make its deposit, because
they can get no other whose quality so well
suits the habits of their people. It is not a
commodity like wheat which will not bear a
double voyage. Were it so, the privilege of
carrying it directly to England might be worth
To James Madison. Ford ed., iv, 37.
(P. 1785)

9069. WEST INDIES, Commerce with. [continued].

Our commerce is in
agonies at present, and these would be relieved
by opening the British ports in the West
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 436.
(P. 1785)

9070. WEST INDIES, Commerce with. [further continued].

The merchants of this country [France] are very clamorous against
our admission into the West Indies, and ministers
are afraid for their places.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 31.
(P. 1785)

9071. WEST INDIES, Commerce with. [further continued].

——. The effecting treaties
with the powers holding positions in the West
Indies, I consider as the important part of our
business. It is not of great consequence
whether the others treat or not. Perhaps trade
may go on with them well enough without.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 31.

9072. WEST INDIES, Commerce with [further continued].

Access to the West Indies
is indispensably necessary to us. Yet how gain it, when it is the established system of
these nations [France and England] 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
endeavor, 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.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 351. Ford ed., iv, 58.
(P. 1785)

9073. WEST INDIES, Commerce with. [further continued] .

To nations with which
we have not yet treated, and who have possessions
in America, we may offer a free vent of
their manufactures in the United States, for a
full or modified admittance into those possessions.
But to France, we are obliged to give
that freedom for a different compensation: to
wit, for her aid in effecting our independence.
It is difficult, therefore, to say what we have
now to offer her, for an admission into her West
Indies. Doubtless, it has its price; but the
question is what this would be, and whether
worth our while to give it. Were we to propose
to give to each other's citizens all the rights
of natives, they would of course count what
they should gain by this enlargement of right,
and examine whether it would be worth to them
as much as their monopoly of their West India
commerce. If not, that commercial freedom
which we wish to preserve, and which
indeed is so valuable, leaves us little to offer.
An expression in my letter to the Count de
Vergennes * * * wherein I hinted that both
nations might, perhaps, come into the opinion
that the condition of natives might be a better
ground of intercourse for their citizens, than
that of the most favored nation, was intended
to furnish an opportunity to the minister of
parleying on that subject, if he was so disposed,
and to myself, of seeing whereabouts they
would begin, that I might communicate it to
Congress, and leave them to judge of the expediency
of pursuing the subject. But no overtures
have followed. [516]
Report to Congress. Washington ed. ix, 243. Ford ed., iv, 129.
(P. 1785)


Report of a Conference with Count de Vergennes,
Foreign Minister of France, on the question of Commerce.—Editor.

9074. WEST INDIES, Commerce with. [further continued].

Our commerce with the
West Indies had never admitted amelioration
during my stay in France. The temper of that
period did not allow even the essay, and it was
as much as we could do to hold the ground
given us by the Marshal de Castries' Arret, admitting
us to their colonies with salted provisions,
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 448. Ford ed., vi, 80.
(Pa., 1792)

9075. WEST INDIES, Confederation of.—

Could Napoleon obtain, at the close of
the present war, the independence of all the
West India islands, and their establishment in
a separate confederacy, our quarter of the globe
would exhibit an enrapturing prospect into
futurity. You will live to see much of this. I
shall follow, however cheerfully my fellow laborers,
contented with having borne a part in
beginning this beatific reformation.—
To Baron Humboldt. Washington ed. v, 581.
(M. April. 1811)


Page 938

9076. WEST INDIES, Dominion of.—

Whenever jealousies are expressed as to any
supposed views of ours on the dominion of the
West Indies, you cannot go farther than the
truth in asserting we have none. If there be
one principle more deeply rooted than any other
in the mind of every American, it is that we
should have nothing to do with conquest. As to
commerce, indeed, we have strong sensations.
In casting our eyes over the earth, we see no
instance of a nation forbidden, as we are, by
foreign powers, to deal with our neighbors, and
obliged with them to carry into another hemisphere,
the mutual supplies necessary to relieve
mutual wants. * * * An exchange of surpluses
and wants between neighbor nations, is both a
right and a duty under the moral law, and
measures against right should be mollified in
their exercise, if it be wished to lengthen them
to the greatest term possible.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 275. Ford ed., v, 363.
(Pa., 1791)

9077. WEST INDIES, French.—

A jealousy
of our taking away the French carrying
trade is the principal reason which obstructs
our admission into their West India Islands.—
To M. Limozin. Washington ed. ii, 339.
(P. 1787)

9078. WEST INDIES, French concession.—

France gives us an access to her West Indies, which, though not all we wish, is yet
extremely valuable to us.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 487.
(P. 1785)

9079. WEST INDIES, French concession.—[continued].

France has explained
herself generously. She does not mean to interrupt
our prosperity by calling for our guarantee.
On the contrary, she wishes to promote
it by giving us, in all her possessions, all the
rights of her native citizens, and to receive
our vessels as her vessels.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vi, 281.
(Pa., 1793)

9080. WEST INDIES, Interposition in.

—As to the guarantee of the French Islands,
whatever doubts may be entertained of the moment
at which we ought to interpose, yet I
have no doubt but that we ought to interpose at
a proper time, and declare both to England and
France, that these Islands are to rest with
France, and that we will make a common cause
with the latter for that object.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 103. Ford ed., vi, 502.
(M. April. 1794)

9081. WEST INDIES, Liberty in French.—

The emancipation of their islands
is an idea prevailing in the minds of several
members of the National Assembly, particularly
those most enlightened and most liberal in their
views. Such a step by this country would lead
to other emancipations or revolutions in the
same quarter.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 96.
(P. 1789)

9082. WEST INDIES, Monopoly of.—

observed [to the Count de Montmorin] that it
would be much against our interest that any
one power should monopolize all the West India
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 96.
(P. 1789)

9083. WEST INDIES, Negroes in.—

What are you doing for your colonies? They will be lost if not more effectually succored.
Indeed, no future efforts you can make will
ever be able to reduce the blacks. All that can
be done, in my opinion, will be to compound
with them, as has been done formerly in Jamaica.
We have been less zealous in aiding
them, lest your government should feel any
jealousy on our account. But, in truth, we as
sincerely wish their restoration and their connection
with you, as you do yourselves. We
are satisfied that neither your justice nor their
distresses will ever again permit their being
forced to seek at dear and distant markets those
first necessaries of life which they may have at
cheaper markets, placed by nature at their door,
and formed by her for their support.—
To General Lafayette. Washington ed. iii, 450. Ford ed., vi, 78.
(Pa., 1792)

9084. WEST INDIES, Negroes in.—[continued].

I become daily more
convinced that all the West India Islands will
remain in the hands of the people of color, and
a total expulsion of the whites sooner or later
take place. It is high time we should foresee
the bloody scenes which our children certainly,
and possibly ourselves (south of the Potomac),
have to wade through, and try to avert them.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 20. Ford ed., vi, 349.
(P. July. 1793)

9085. WEST INDIES, Negroes in.—[further continued].

Inhabited already by a
people of their own race and color; climates
congenial with their natural constitution; insulated
from the other descriptions of men;
nature seems to have formed these islands to
become the receptacle of the blacks transplanted
into this hemisphere.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 421. Ford ed., viii, 105.
(W. 1801)

9086. WEST INDIES, Opening the.—

Your communications to the Count de Moustier, whatever they may have been, cannot have done
injury to my endeavors here [Paris], to open
the West Indies to us. On this head, the ministers
are invincibly mute, though I have often
tried to draw them into the subject. I have,
therefore, found it necessary to let it lie, till
war, or other circumstance, may force it on.
Whenever they are at war with England, they
must open the Islands to us, and perhaps during
that war they may see some price which might
make them agree to keep them always open.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 536. Ford ed., v, 57.
(P. 1788)

9087. WEST INDIES, Portuguese.—

Portugal [in making a commercial treaty with
us] will probably restrain us to their dominions
in Europe. We must expressly include the
Azores, Madeiras and Cape de Verde islands,
some of which are deemed to be in Africa. We
should also contend for an access to their possessions
in America * * *.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 495.
(P. 1785)

9088. WEST INDIES, Prosperity of.—

Our wishes are cordial for the reestablishment
of peace and commerce in those colonies, and
to give such proofs of our good faith both to
them and the mother country [France] as to
suppress all that jealousy which might oppose
itself to the free exchange of our mutual productions,
so essential to the prosperity of those
colonies, and to the preservation of our agricultural
interest. This is our true interest and
our true object, and we have no reason to conceal
views so justifiable, though the expression
of them may require that the occasions be
proper, and the terms chosen with delicacy.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 339. Ford ed., v, 450.
(Pa., 1792)

9089. WEST INDIES, Proximity.—

vicinity to their West India possessions, and to
the fisheries is a bridle which a small naval
force, on our part, would hold in the mouths
of the most powerful of * * * the [European] countries.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 405. Ford ed., iv, 90.
(P. 1785)

9090. WEST INDIES, San Domingo.—

expressed to [the San Domingo deputies] freely
my opinion * * * that as to ourselves


Page 939
there was one case which would be peculiarly
alarming to us, to wit, were there a danger of
their falling under any other power [than
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 304. Ford ed., v, 395.
(Pa., Nov. 1791)

— WEST POINT, Academy.—

See Academy

9091. WESTERN EXPLORATION, Michaux expedition.—

The chief objects of
your journey are to find the shortest and most
convenient route of communication between the
United States and the Pacific ocean, within the
temperate latitudes, and to learn such particulars
as can be obtained of the country through
which the Missouri passes, its productions, inhabitants,
and other interestign circumstances.
As a channel of communication between these
States and the Pacific ocean, the Missouri, so
far as it extends, presents itself under circumstances
of unquestioned preference. * * * It would seem by the latest maps as if a, river
called the Oregon interlocked with the Missouri
for a considerable distance, and entered the
Pacific ocean not far southward from Nootka
Sound. But the [Philosophical] Society are
aware that these maps are not to be trusted,
so far as to be the ground of any positive instruction
to you. * * * You will in the
course of your journey, take notice of the country
you pass through, its general face, soil, rivers,
mountains, its productions—animal, vegetable,
and mineral—so far as they may be new
to us, and may also be useful or very curious. [517]
To Andre Michaux. Washington ed. ix, 434. Ford ed., vi, 159.
(Jan. 1793)


This expedition was started by private subscriptions
under the patronage of the American Philosophical
Society. Jefferson was a large subscriber
to the fund.—Editor.

9092. WESTERN POSTS, British retention of.—

I had a good deal of conversation
with the Count de Vergennes on the situation
of affairs between England and the United
States, and particularly on their refusal to deliver
up our posts. I observed to him that the
obstructions thrown in the way of the recovery
of their debts were the effect and not the cause,
as they pretended, of their refusal to deliver
up the posts; that the merchants interested
in these debts showed a great disposition to
make arrangements with us; that the article
of time we could certainly have settled, and
probably that of the interest during the war,
but that the minister, showing no disposition
to have these matters arranged, I thought it a
sufficient proof that this was not the true cause
of their retaining the posts. He concurred as
to the justice of our requiring time for the
payment of our debts; said nothing which
showed a difference of opinion as to the article
of interest, and seemed to believe fully that
their object was to divert the channel of the
fur trade before they delivered up the posts,
and expressed a strong sense of the importance
of that commerce to us. I told him I really
could not foresee what would be the event of
this detention; that the situation of the British
funds, and desire of their minister to begin to
reduce the national debt, seemed to indicate
that they could not wish a war. He thought
so, but that neither were we in a condition to
go to war. I told him I was yet uninformed
what Congress proposed to do on this subject,
but that we should certainly always count on
the good offices of France, and I was sure that
the offer of them would suffice to induce Great
Britain to do us justice. He said that surely
we might always count on the friendship of
France. I added that, by the treaty of alliance,
she was bound to guarantee our limits to us
as they should be established at the moment of
peace. He said they were so, “mais qu'il nous
etoit necessaire de les constater”.
I told him
there was no question what our boundaries
were; that the English themselves admitted
they were clear beyond all question. I feared,
however, to press this any further, lest a reciprocal
question should be put to me.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 575. Ford ed., iv, 228.
(P. 1786)

9093. WESTERN POSTS, Demand for surrender.—

The President * * * authorized
Mr. Gouverneur Morris to enter into conference
with the British ministers in order to
discover their sentiments on their * * * retention of the western posts contrary to the
treaty of peace. * * * The letters of Mr.
Morris * * * [to the President] state the
communications, oral and written, which have
passed between him and the ministers; and
from these the Secretary of State draws the
following inference: That the British court
is decided not to surrender the posts in any
event; and that they will urge as a pretext that
though our courts of justice are now open to
British subjects, they were so long shut after
the peace as to have defeated irremediably the
recovery of debts in many cases. They suggest,
indeed, the idea of an indemnification on our
part. But, probably, were we disposed to admit
their right to indemnification, they would
take care to set it so high as to insure a disagreement.
* * * The Secretary of State
is of opinion * * * that the demands of the
posts * * * should not be again made till
we are in readiness to do ourselves the justice
which may be refused.—
Official Report. Washington ed. vii, 517. Ford ed., v, 261.
(Dec. 1790)

9094. WESTERN TERRITORY, Acceptance of cession.—

On receiving the act
of Assembly for the Western cession, our delegation
agreed on the form of a deed; we then
delivered to Congress a copy of the act, and the
form of the deed we were ready to execute
whenever they should think proper to declare
they would accept it. They referred the act
and deed to a committee, who reported the act
of Assembly to comport perfectly with the propositions
of Congress, and that the deed was
proper in its form, and that Congress ought to
accept the same. On the question to agree to
the report of the Committee, eight States being
present, Jersey was in the negative, and South
Carolina and Pennsylvania divided (being represented
each by two members). Of course
there were five ayes only and the report fell.
We determined on consultation that our proper
duty was to be still, having declared we were
ready to execute, we would leave it to them to
come forward and tell us they were ready to
accept. We meddled not at all, therefore, and
showed a perfect indifference. New Hampshire
came to town which made us nine States. A
member proposed that we should execute the
deed and lay it on the table, which after what
had been done by Congress would be final. urging
the example of New York which had executed
their deed, laid it on the table, where it
remained eighteen months before Congress accepted
it. We replied, “No”, if the lands are
not offered for sale the ensuing spring, they
will be taken from us all by adventures; we
will, therefore, put it out of our power, by the
execution of a deed, to sell them ourselves, if
Congress will not. A member from Rhode
Island then moved that Congress should accept.
Another from Jersey proposed as an amendment
a proviso that it should not amount to an


Page 940
acknowledgment of our right. We told them
we were not authorized to admit any conditions
or provisions; that their acceptance must be
simple, absolute and unqualified, or we could
not execute. On the question there were six
ayes; Jersey, “No”; South Carolina and Pennsylvania
divided. The motion dropped, and the
House proceeded to other business. About an
hour after, the dissenting Pennsylvanian asked
and obtained leave to change his “no” into
“aye”; the vote then passed and we executed
the deed. We have desired an exemplification
of it under the Seal of the States. * * * This shows the wisdom of the Assembly in
not taking any new conditions, which would certainly
have defeated their accommodating intentions.—
To Governor Benj. Harrison. Ford ed., iii, 411.
(A. March. 1784)

9095. WESTERN TERRITORY, Deed of cession.—

To all who shall see these presents
we [here name the delegates] the underwritten
delegates for the Commonwealth of Virginia
in the Congress of the United States of
America send greeting:

Whereas the General Assembly of the Commonwealth
of Virginia at their sessions begun
on the 20th day of October, 1783, passed an
“Act entituled `An Act to authorize the delegates,
&c.'—in these words following to wit,
`Whereas the Congress, &c.' [reciting the act

And whereas the said General Assembly by
their Resolution of June 6th, 1783, had constituted
and appointed us the said A. B. C. &c.,
delegates to represent the said Commonwealth
in Congress for one year from the first Monday
in November then next following, which resolution
remains in full force.

Now, therefore, know ye that we the said
A. B. C. &c., by virtue of the power and authority,
committed to us by the act of the said
General Assembly of Virginia before recited,
and in the name and for and on behalf of the
said Commonwealth, do by these presents convey,
transfer, assign, and make over unto the
United States in Congress assembled, for the
benefit of the said States, Virginia inclusive, all
right, title and claim as well of soil as of jurisdiction
which the said Commonwealth hath to
the territory or tract of country within the
limits of the Virginia charter, situate, lying,
and being to the Northwest of the river Ohio,
to and for the uses and purposes and on the
conditions of the said recited act. In testimony
whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names
and affixed our seals in Congress the—day
of—in the year of our Lord 1784, and of
the Independence of the United States the
Deed of Cession. Ford ed., iii, 406.
(March 1, 1784)

9096. WESTERN TERRITORY, Division into States.—

With respect to the new
States, were the question to stand simply in this
form: How may the ultramontane territory
be disposed of, so as to produce the greatest
and most immediate benefit to the inhabitants
of the maritime States of the Union? The plan
would be more plausible, of laying it off into
two or more States only. Even on this view,
however, there would still be something to be
said against it, which might render it at least
doubtful. But that is a question which good
faith forbids us to receive into discussion. This
requires us to state the question in its just
form: How may the territories of the Union
be disposed of, so as to produce the greatest
degree of happiness to their inhabitants? With
respect to the maritime States, little or nothing
remains to be done. With respect, then, to the
ultramontane States, will their inhabitants be
happiest, divided into States of thirty thousand
square miles, not quite as large as Pennsylvania,
or into States of one hundred and sixty thousand
square miles, each, that is to say, three
times as large as Virginia within the Alleghany?
They will not only be happier in States
of a moderate size, but it is the only way in
which they can exist as a regular Society. Considering
the American character in general,
that of those people particularly, and the energetic
nature of our governments, a State of
such extent as one hundred and sixty thousand
square miles, would soon crumble into little
ones. These are the circumstances which reduce
the Indians to such small societies. They
would produce an effect on our people, similar
to this. They would not be broken into such
small pieces, because they are more habituated
to subordination, and value more a government
of regular law. But you would surely reverse
the nature of things, in making small States
on the ocean, and large ones beyond the mountains.
If we could, in our consciences, say, that
great States beyond the mountains will make
the people happiest, we must still ask, whether
they will be contented to be laid off into large
States? They certainly will not: and, if they
decide to divide themselves, we are not able to
restrain them. They will end by separating
from our confederacy, and becoming its enemies.
We had better, then, look forward, and
see what will be the probable course of things.
This will surely be a division of that country
into States of a small, or, at most, of a moderate
size. If we lay them off into such, they will acquiesce;
and we shall have the advantage of
arranging them so as to produce the best combinations
of interest. What Congress has already
done in this matter is an argument the
more in favor of the revolt of those States
against a different arrangement, and of their
acquiescence under a continuance of that,
Upon this plan, we treat them as fellow citizens;
they will have a just share in their own
government; they will love us, and pride themselves
in an union with us. Upon the other,
we treat them as subjects; we govern them,
and not they themselves; they will abhor us as
masters, and break off from us in defiance. I
confess to you, that I can see no other turn that
these two plans would take. But I respect your
opinion, and your knowledge of the country
too much, to be ever confident in my own.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 587. Ford ed., iv, 246.
(P. 1786)

9097. WESTERN TERRITORY, Division into States.—[continued].

I find Congress have reversed
their division of the Western States and
proposed to make them fewer and larger. This
is reversing the natural order of things. A
tractable people may be governed in large bodies;
but, in proportion as they depart from this
character, the extent of their government must
be less. We see into what small divisions the
Indians are obliged to reduce their societies.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 66. Ford ed., iv, 333.
(P. 1786)

9098. WESTERN TERRITORY, Government for.—

The Committee appointed to
prepare a plan for the temporary Government
of the Western Territory have agreed to the
following resolutions: Resolved, that the territory
ceded or to be ceded by individual States
to the United States whensoever the same shall
have been purchased of the Indian inhabitants
and offered for sale by the United States shall
be formed into distinct States bounded in the
following manner as nearly as such cessions
will admit, that is to say: Northwardly and


Page 941
Southwardly by parallels of latitude so that
each State shall comprehend from South to
North two degrees of latitude beginning to
count from the completion of thirty-one degrees
North of the equator, but any territory Northwardly
of the 47th degree shall make part of the
State next below, and Eastwardly and Westwardly
they shall be bounded, those on the
Mississippi by that river on one side and the
meridian of the lowest point of the rapids of
Ohio on the other; and those adjoining on the
East by the same meridian on their Western
side, and on their Eastern by the meridian of
the Western cape of the mouth of the Great
Kanawha. And the territory eastward of this
last meridian between the Ohio, Lake Erie and
Pennsylvania shall be one State. That the
settlers within the territory so to be purchased
and offered for sale shall, either on their own
petition or on the order of Congress, receive
authority from them, with appointments of
time and place for their free males of full age
to meet together for the purpose of establishing
a temporary government, to adopt the constitution
and laws of any one of these States, so
that such laws nevertheless shall be subject to
alteration by their ordinary legislature, and to
erect, subject to a like alteration counties or
townships for the election of members for their
legislature. That such temporary government
shall only continue in force in any State until
it shall have acquired 20,000 free inhabitants,
when, giving due proof thereof to Congress,
they shall receive from them authority with appointments
of time and place to call a convention
of representatives to establish a permanent
Constitution and Government for themselves.
Provided, that both the temporary and
permanent Governments be established on these
principles as their basis. 1. That they shall
forever remain a part of the United States of
America. 2. That in their persons, property
and territory, they shall be subject to the Government
of the United States in Congress assembled,
and to the Articles of Confederation
in all those cases in which the original States
shall be so subject. 3. That they shall be subject
to pay a part of the federal debts contracted
or to be contracted, to be apportioned on them
by Congress, according to the same common rule
and measure by which apportionments thereof
shall be made on the other States. 4. That
their respective Governments shall be in republican
forms, and shall admit no person to be
a citizen, who holds any hereditary title. 5.
That after the year 1800 of the Christian era,
there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary
servitude in any of the said States, otherwise
than in punishment of crimes, whereof the party
shall have been duly convicted to have been
personally guilty. That whenever any of the
said States shall have of free inhabitants as
many as shall then be in any one the least numerous
of the thirteen original States, such
State shall be admitted by its delegates into the
Congress of the United States, on an equal
footing with the said original States: After
which the assent of two-thirds of the United
States in Congress assembled shall be requisite
in all those cases, wherein by the Confederation
the assent of nine States is now required.
Provided the consent of nine States to such
admission may be obtained according to the
eleventh of the Articles of Confederation. Until
such admission by their delegates into Congress,
any of the said States, after the establishment
of their temporary Government, shall have
authority to keep a sitting Member in Congress,
with a right of debating, but not of voting.
That the territory Northward of the 45th degree,
that is to say of the completion of 45°
from the Equator and extending to the Lake of
the Woods, shall be called
Sylvania. That of
the territory under the 45th and 44th degrees,
that which lies Westward of Lake Michigan
shall be called
Michigania, and that which is
Eastward thereof, within the peninsula formed
by the lakes and waters of Michigan, Huron,
St. Clair and Erie, shall be called
Cherronesus, and shall include any part of the peninsula
which may extend above the 45th degree. Of
the territory under the 43d and 42d degrees,
that to the Westward through which the Assenisipi
or Rock river runs shall be called
Assenisipia, and that to the Eastward in which
are the fountains of the Muskingum, the two
Miamis of Ohio, the Wabash, the Illinois, the
Miami of the lake and Sandusky rivers, shall
be called Metropotamia. Of the territory
which lies under the 41st and 40th degrees the
Western, through which the river Illinois runs,
shall be called
Illinoia; that the next adjoining
to the Eastward
Saratoga, and that between
this last and Pennsylvania and extending from
the Ohio to Lake Erie shall be called
Washington. Of the territory which lies under the 39th
and 38th degrees to which shall be added so
much of the point of land within the fork of the
Ohio and Mississippi as lies under the 37th
degree, that to the Westward within and adjacent
to which are the confluences of the rivers
Wabash, Shawanee, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois,
Mississippi and Missouri, shall be called
Polypotamia, and that to the Eastward, farther up
the Ohio, otherwise called the Pelisipi, shall be
Pelisipia. That the preceding articles
shall be formed into a charter of Compact, shall
be duly executed by the President of the United
States in Congress assembled, under his hand
and the seal of the United States, shall be promulgated,
and shall stand as fundamental constitutions
between the thirteen original States,
and those now newly described, unalterable but
by the joint consent of the United States in
Congress assembled, and of the particular State
within which such alteration is proposed to be
Report on Government for Western Territory. Ford ed., iii, 407.
(March 1, 1784)

9099. WESTERN TERRITORY, Government for.—[continued].

The committee to whom
was recommitted the report of a plan for a
temporary government of the Western Territory
have agreed to the following resolutions: Resolved.
That so much of the territory ceded or
to be ceded by individual States to the United
States as is already purchased or shall be purchased
of the Indian inhabitants and offered
for sale by Congress, shall be divided into distinct
States, in the following manner, as nearly
as such cessions will admit; that is to say, by
parallels of latitude, so that each State shall
comprehend from South to North two degrees
of latitude beginning to count from the completion
of thirty-one degrees North of the
Equator; and the meridian of longitude, one of
which shall pass through the lowest point of the
rapids of Ohio, and the other through the Western
Cape of the mouth of the Great Kanawha,
but the territory Eastward of this last meridian,
between the Ohio, Lake Erie, and Pennsylvania
shall be one State, whatsoever may be its comprehension
of latitude. That which may lie
beyond the completion of the 45th degree between
the sd. meridians shall make part of the
State adjoining it on the South, and that part
of the Ohio which is between the same meridians
coinciding nearly with the parallel of 39°
shall be substituted so far in lieu of that parallel
as a boundary line. That the settlers on any
territory so purchased and offered for sale,
either on their own petition, or on the order of
Congress, receive authority from them, with appointments


Page 942
of time and place for their free males of full age, within the limits of their State
to meet together for the purpose of establishing
a temporary government, to adopt the constitution
and laws of any one of the original States,
so that such laws nevertheless shall be subject
to alteration by their ordinary legislature; and
to erect, subject to a like alteration, counties
or townships for the election of members for
their legislature. That such temporary government
shall only continue in force in any State
until it shall have acquired 20,000 free inhabitants,
when giving due proof thereof to Congress,
they shall receive from them authority
with appointment of time and place to call a
convention of representatives to establish a
permanent Constitution and Government for
themselves. Provided that both the temporary
and permanent governments be established on
these principles as their basis. 1. They shall
forever remain a part of this confederacy of the
United States of America. 2. That in their
persons, property, and territory, they shall be
subject to the Government of the United States
in Congress assembled, and to the articles of
Confederation in all those cases in which the
original States shall be so subject. 3. That they
shall be subject to pay a part of the federal
debts contracted or to be contracted, to be apportioned
on them by Congress, according to
the same common rule and measure, by which
apportionments thereof shall be made on the
other States. 4. That their respective Governments
shall be in republican forms and shall admit
no person to be a citizen who holds any
hereditary title. 5. That after the year 1800 of
the Christian era, there shall be neither slavery
nor involuntary servitude in any of the sd
States, otherwise than in punishment of crimes
whereof the party shall have been convicted to
have been personally guilty. That whensoever
any of the sd States shall have, of free inhabitants,
as many as shall be in any one the least
numerous, of the thirteen original States, such
State shall be admitted by its delegates into the
Congress of the United States on an equal footing
with the said original States: provided
nine States agree to such admission according
to the reservation of the 11th of the Articles of
Confederation, and in order to adapt the sd
Articles of Confederation to the State of Congress
when its numbers shall be thus increased,
it shall be proposed to the Legislatures of the
States originally parties thereto, to require the
assent of two-thirds of the United States in
Congress assembled in all those cases wherein
by the said Articles the assent of nine States is
now required; which being agreed to by them
shall be binding on the new States. Until such
admission by their delegates into Congress, any
of the said States after the establishment of
their temporary government shall have authority
to keep a sitting member in Congress, with a
right of debating, but not of voting. That the
preceding articles shall be duly executed by
the President of the United States in Congress
assembled, under his hand and the seal of the
United States, shall be promulgated and shall
stand as fundamental constitutions between the
thirteen original States and each of the several
States now newly described, unalterable but by
the joint consent of the United States in Congress
assembled, and of the particular State
within which such alteration is proposed to be
made. That measures not inconsistent with the
principles of the Confederation, and necessary
for the preservation of peace and good order
among the settlers in any of the said new
States until they shall assume a temporary government
as aforesaid, may from time to time
be taken by the United States in Congress as
Western Territory Report. Ford ed., iii, 429.
(March 22, 1784)

9100. WESTERN TERRITORY, Inhabitants.—

I wish to see the Western country
in the hands of people well disposed, who
know the value of the connection between that
and the maritime States and who wish to cultivate
it. I consider their happiness as bound
up together, and that every measure should be
taken which may draw the bands of union tighter.
It will be an efficacious one to receive
them into Congress, as I perceive they are about
to desire. If to this be added an honest and
disinterested conduct in Congress, as to everything
relating to them, we may hope for a perfect
To John Brown. Washington ed. ii, 395. Ford ed., v, 16.
(P. 1788)

9101. WESTERN TERRITORY, Inhabitants.—[continued].

In availing our western
brethren of those circumstances which occur
for promoting their interests, we only perform
that duty which we owe to every portion of our
Union, under circumstances equally favorable;
and, impressed with the inconveniences to
which the citizens of Tennessee are subjected
by a want of contiguity in the portions composing
their State, I shall be ready to do for
their relief, whatever the general Legislature
may authorize, and justice to our neighbors
R. to A. Tennessee Legislature. Washington ed. viii, 115.

9102. WESTERN TERRITORY, Separation from Virginia.—

I suppose some people
on the western waters who are ambitious to
be governors, &c., will urge a separation by
authority of Congress. But the bulk of the
people westward are already thrown into great
ferment by the report of what is proposed, to
which I think they will not submit. This separation
is unacceptable to us in form only, and
not in substance. On the contrary, I may safely
say it is desired by the eastern part of our country
whenever their western brethren shall think
themselves able to stand alone. In the meantime,
on the petition of the western counties, a
plan is digesting for rendering their access to
government more easy.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. i, 316. Ford ed., iii, 53.
(M. 1782)

9103. WESTERN TERRITORY, Separation from Virginia.—[continued].

I hope our country will
of herself determine to cede still further to the
meridian of the mouth of the Great Kanawha.
Further she cannot govern; so far is necessary
for her own well being.—
To George Washington. Ford ed., iii, 421.
(A. 1784)

9104. WESTERN TERRITORY, Slavery in.—

I am glad to find we have 4,000,000 acres west of Chafalaya. How much better to
have every 160 acres settled by an able-bodied
militiaman, than by purchasers with their
hordes of negroes, to add weakness instead of
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 222.
(Dec. 1807)


—See Monopoly.

9105. WHALE OIL, Candles.—

A Mr.
Barrett has arrived here [Paris] from Boston
with letters of recommondation from Governor
Bowdoin, Cushing and others, * * * to get
the whale business put on a general bottom, instead
of the particular one which had been settled,
the last year, for a special company. * * * I propose to Mr. Barrett that he should induce
either his State, or individuals, to send a sufficient
number of boxes of the spermaceti candle
to give one to every leading house in Paris;
I mean to those who lead the ton; and, at the


Page 943
same time to deposit a quantity for sale here
and advertise them in the petites affiches.
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 498.
(P. 1785)

9106. WHALE OIL, Duties on.—

result [of applications to the French government] was to put us on the footing of the
Hanseatic towns, as to whale oil, and to reduce
the duties to * * * about a guinea and a
half the ton. But the oil must be brought in
American or French ships, and the indulgence
is limited to one year. However, as to this, I
expressed to Count de Vergennes my hopes
that it would be continued; and should a doubt
arise, I should propose at the proper time, to
claim it under the treaty on the footing gentis

To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 498.
(P. 1785)

9107. WHALE OIL, Duties on.—[continued].

It being material that
the reduction of the duties on whale oil, which
would expire with the close of this year, should
be revised in time for the whalemen to take
measures in consequence, we have applied for a
continuance of the reduction, and even for an
abolition of all duties.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 584.
(P. 1786)

9108. WHALE OIL, England and.—

hope that England will, within a year or two,
be obliged to come here [France] to buy whale
oil for her lamps.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 502.
(P. 1785)

9109. WHALE OIL, Lafayette and.—

The importation of our whale oil is, by the successful
endeavors of M. de Lafayette, put on a
good footing for this year.—
To Mr. Otto. Washington ed. i, 559.
(P. 1786)

9110. WHALE OIL, Markets for.—

am trying here [Paris] to get contracts for the
supplying the cities of France with whale oil
by the Boston merchants. It would be the
greatest relief possible to that State, whose
commerce is in agonies, in consequence of being
subjected to alien duties on their oil, in Great
Britain, which has, heretofore, been their only
market. Can anything be done in this way in
Spain? Or do they light their streets there in
the night?—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. i, 475.
(P. 1785)

9111. WHALING, Encouragement of.

—To obtain leave for our whaling vessels to
refit and refresh on the coast of the Brazils
[is] an object of immense importance to that
class of our vessels. We must acquiesce under
such modifications as they [Portugal] May
think necessary for regulating this indulgence,
in hopes to lessen them in time, and to get a
pied a terre in that country.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 495.
(P. 1785)

9112. WHEAT, British prohibition of.

—The prohibition of our wheat in England
would, of itself, be of no great moment, because
I do not know that it is much sent there.
But it is the publishing a libel on our wheat,
sanctioned with the name of Parliament, and
which can have no object but to do us injury,
by spreading a groundless alarm in those countries
of Europe where our wheat is constantly
and kindly received. It is a mere assassination.
If the insect they pretend to fear be the Hessian
fly, it never existed in the grain. If it be the
weevil, our grain always had that; and the experience
of a century has proved that either the
climate of England is not warm enough to hatch
the egg and continue the race, or that some
other unknown cause prevents any evil from it.—
To Mr. Vaughan. Washington ed. iii, 38.
(P. 1789)

9113. WHEAT, Cultivation of.—

The cultivation of wheat is the reverse in every
circumstance of that of tobacco. Besides clothing
the earth with herbage, and preserving its
fertility, it feeds the laborers plentifully. requires
from them only a moderate toil, except
in the season of harvest, raises great numbers
of animals for food and service, and diffuses
plenty and happiness among the whole. We
find it easier to make a hundred bushels of
wheat than a thousand weight of tobacco, and
they are worth more when made.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 407. Ford ed., iii, 271.

9114. WHEAT, Weevils and.—

weevil is a formidable obstacle to the cultivation
of wheat with us. But principles are already
known which must lead to a remedy.
Thus a certain degree of heat, to wit, that of
the common air in summer, is necessary to
hatch the eggs. If subterranean granaries, or
others, therefore, can be contrived below that
temperature, the evil will be cured by cold. A
degree of heat bevond that which hatches the
egg we know will kill it. But in aiming at this
we easily run into that which produced putrefaction.
To produce putrefaction, however,
three agents are requisite, heat, moisture, and
the external air. If the absence of any one of
these be secured, the other two may safely be
admitted. Heat is the one we want. Moisture
then, or external air, must be excluded. The
former has been done by exposing the grain in
kilns to the action of fire, which produces heat,
and extracts moisture at the same time; the
latter, by putting the grain into hogsheads, covering
it with a coating of lime, and heading it
up. In this situation its bulk produced a heat
sufficient to kill the egg; the moisture is suffered
to remain indeed, but the external air is
excluded. A nicer operation yet has been attempted;
that is, to produce an intermediate
temperature of heat between that which kills
the egg, and that which produces putrefaction.
The threshing the grain as soon as it is cut,
and laying it in its chaff in large heaps, has
been found very nearly to hit this temperature,
though not perfectly, nor always. The heap
generates heat sufficient to kill most of the eggs,
whilst the chaff commonly restrains it from
rising into putrefaction. But all these methods
abridge too much the quantity which the farmer
can manage, and enable other countries to undersell
him, which are not infested with this
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 407. Ford ed., iii, 271.

— WHEATLEY (Phyllis).—

See Ne
groes, Literary.

— WHEELS (Wooden).—

See Inventions.

9115. WHIGS, Loyalty of.—

I do not believe
there has ever been a moment, when a
single whig in any one State, would not have
shuddered at the very idea of a separation of
their State from the Confederacy.—
Answers to M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 251. Ford ed., iv, 155.
(P. 1786)

9116. WHIGS, Principles of.—

Before the
Revolution we were all good English Whigs,
cordial in their free principles, and in their
jealousies of their executive magistrate.
These jealousies are very apparent in all our
State constitutions.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 81. Ford ed., i, 112.


Page 944

9117. WHIGS, Tories and.—

It has ever
appeared to me, that the difference between
the whig and tory of England is, that the
whig deduces his rights from the Anglo-Saxon
source, and the tory from the Norman.—
To John Cartwright. Washington ed. vii, 355.
(M. 1824)

9118. WHISKY, Commutation.—

and other spirits we [Virginia] can furnish to
a greater amount than you require * * * and shall be glad to commute into that article
some others which we have not, particularly
sugar, coffee and salt.—
To General Gates. Washington ed. i, 260.
(R. 1780)

9119. WHISKY, Commutation.—[continued].

[As to] your application
for spirits, there is not a hogshead belonging to
the State, but very great quantities are in the
hands of the Continental commissaries. I have
special returns of upwards of twenty thousand
gallons delivered them by the Commissioners
* * * and [there are] no doubt great quantities
of which there is no return. * * * I
would observe to you that Baron Steuben informed
me in conversation that spirit would
be allowed as a part of the daily ration, but only
on particular occasions.—
To General Nelson. Ford ed., ii, 436.
(R. 1781)

9120. WHISKY, Indians and.—

I am
happy to hear that you have been so favored
by the Divine Spirit as to be made sensible of
those things which are for your good and that
of your people, and of those which are hurtful
to you; and particularly that you and they see
the ruinous effects which the abuse of spirituous
liquors has produced upon them. It has
weakened their bodies, enervated their minds,
exposed them to hunger, cold, nakedness, and
poverty, kept them in perpetual broils, and reduced
their population. I do not wonder, then,
brother, at your censures, not only on your
own people, who have voluntarily gone into
these fatal habits, but on all the nations of
white people who have supplied their calls for
this article. But these nations have done to
you only what they do among themselves.
They have sold what individuals wish to buy,
leaving to every one to be the guardian of his
own health and happiness. Spirituous liquors
are not in themselves bad; they are often found
to be an excellent medicine for the sick; it is
the improper and intemperate use of them, by
those in health, which makes them injurious.
But as you find that your people cannot refrain
from an ill use of them, I greatly applaud
your resolution not to use them at all. We
have too affectionate a concern for your happiness
to place the paltry gain on the sale of
these articles in competition with the injury they
do you. And as it is the desire of your nation,
that no spirits should be sent among them, I
am authorized by the great council of the
United States to prohibit them. I will sincerely
cooperate with your wise men in any
proper measures for this purpose, which shall
be agreeable to them.—
To Brother Handsome Lake. Washington ed. viii, 187.

9121. WHISKY, Loathsome effects.—

The loathsome and fatal effects of whisky,
destroying the fortunes, the bodies, the minds,
and morals of our citizens.—
To William H. Crawford. Ford ed., x, 113.
(M. 1818)

9122. WHISKY, Military supplies.—

We approve of your accommodating * * * the Maryland troops with spirits. They really
deserve the whole, and I wish we had means
of transportation for much greater quantities
which we have on hand and cannot convey.
This article we could furnish plentifully to
you and them.—
To General Edward Stevens. Washington ed. i, 253. Ford ed., ii, 339.
(R. 1780)

9123. WHISKY, Sale to Indians.—

Indians are becoming very sensible of the baneful
effects produced on their morals, their
health and existence, by the abuse of ardent
spirits, and some of them earnestly desire a
prohibition of that article from being carried
among them. The Legislature will consider
whether the effectuating that desire would not
be in the spirit of benevolence and liberality
which they have hitherto practiced toward these
our neighbors, and which has had so happy an
effect toward conciliating their friendship.—
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 22.
(Jan. 1802)

9124. WHISKY, Sale to Indians.—[continued].

We have taken measures
to prevent spirituous liquors being carried into
your country, and we sincerely rejoice at this
proof of your wisdom. Instead of spending
the produce of your hunting in purchasing this
pernicious drink, which produces poverty, broils
and murders, it will be now employed in procuring
food and clothing for your families, and
increasing instead of diminishing your numbers.—
Address to Miamis and Delawares. Washington ed. viii, 191.

9125. WHISKY, Sale to Indians.—[further continued].

Perceiving the injurious
effects produced by the Indians' inordinate use
of spirituous liquors, Congress passed laws authorizing
measures against the vending or distributing
such liquors among them. Their introduction
by traders was accordingly prohibited,
and for some time was attended with the
best effects. I am informed, however, that
latterly the Indians have got into the practice
of purchasing such liquors themselves in the
neighboring settlements of whites, and of carrying
them into their towns, and that in this way
our regulations so salutary to them, are now
defeated. I must, therefore, request your Excellency
to submit this matter to the consideration
of your Legislature. I persuade myself
that in addition to the moral inducements which
will readily occur, they will find it not indifferent
to their own interests to give us their aid
in removing, for their neighbors, this great
obstacle to their acquiring industrious habits,
and attaching themselves to the regular and
useful pursuits of life; for this purpose it is
much desired that they should pass effectual
laws to restrain their citizens from vending,
and distributing liquors to the Indians.—
To——. Washington ed. v, 407.
(W. Dec. 1808)

9126. WHISKY, Sale to Indians.—[further continued] .

The French and afterwards
the English kept the hatchet always in
your hand, exposing you to be killed in their
quarrels, and then gave you whisky that you
might quarrel and kill one another.—
Indian Address. Washington ed. viii, 235.

9127. WHISKY, Sale to Indians.—[further continued].

I have not filled you
with whisky, as the English do, to make you
promise, or give up what is against your interest,
when out of your senses.—
Indian Address. Washington ed. viii, 240.

9128. WHISKY, Sale to Indians.—[further continued] .

What do the English for you? They furnish you with plenty of whisky,
to keep you in idleness, drunkenness and poverty.—
Indian Address. Washington ed. viii, 233.

9129. WHISKY, Sale to Indians.—[further continued].

If we feared you, if we were your enemies, we should have furnished
you plentifully with whisky.—
Indian Address. Washington ed. viii, 233.


Page 945

9130. WHISKY, Tax on.—

I shall be
glad if an additional tax of one-fourth of a
dollar a gallon on whisky shall enable us to
meet all our engagements with punctuality.
Viewing that tax as an article in a system of
excise, I was once glad to see it fall with the
rest of the system, which I considered as prematurely
and unnecessarily introduced. It was
evident that our existing taxes were then equal
to our existing debts. It was clearly foreseen,
also, that the surplus from excise would only become
aliment for useless offices, and would be
swallowed in idleness by those whom it would
withdraw from useful industry. Considering
it only as a fiscal measure, this was right. But
the prostration of body and mind which the
cheapness of this liquor is spreading through
the mass of our citizens, now calls the attention
of the legislator on a very different principle.
One of his important duties is as guardian of
those who, from causes susceptible of precise
definition, cannot take care of themselves.
Such are infants, maniacs, gamblers, drunkards.
The last, as much as the maniac, requires restrictive
measures to save him from the fatal
infatuation under which he is destroying his
health, his morals, his family, and his usefulness
to society. One powerful obstacle to his
ruinous self-indulgence would be a price beyond
his competence. As a sanitary measure,
therefore, it becomes one of duty in the public
guardians. Yet I do not think it follows necessarily
that imported spirits should be subjected
to similar enhancement, until they become as
cheap as those made at home. A tax on whisky
is to discourage its consumption; a tax on
foreign spirits encourages whisky by removing
its rival from competition. The price and present
duty throw foreign spirits already out of
competition with whisky, and accordingly they
are used but to a salutary extent. You see no
persons besotting themselves with imported
spirits, wines, liquors, cordials, &c. Whisky
claims to itself alone the exclusive office of sotmaking.
Foreign spirits, wines, teas, coffee,
cigars, salt, are articles of as innocent consumption
as broadcloths and silks; and ought,
like them, to pay but the average ad valorem duty of other imported comforts. All of them
are ingredients in our happiness, and the government
which steps out of the ranks of the
ordinary articles of consumption to select and
lay under disproportionate burdens a particular
one, because it is a comfort, pleasing to the
taste, or necessary to health, and will therefore,
be bought, is, in that particular, a tyranny.—
To Samuel Smith. Washington ed. vii, 284. Ford ed., x, 251.
(M. 1823)

9131. WHISKY INSURRECTION, Commencement.—

The people in the western
parts of Pennsylvania have been to the excise
officer, and threatened to burn his house, &c.
They were blackened and otherwise disguised,
so as to be unknown. He has resigned, and
Hamilton says there is no possibliity of getting
the law executed, and that probably the evil
will spread. A proclamation is to be issued,
and another instance of my being forced to
appear to approve what I have condemned uniformly
from its first conception.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 563. Ford ed., vi, 261.
(Pa., May. 1793)

9132. WHISKY INSURRECTION, Hamilton and.—

The servile copyist of Mr.
Pitt [Alexander Hamilton] thought he, too,
must have his alarms, his insurrections and
plots against the Constitution. * * * Hence
the example of employing military force for
civil purposes, when it has been impossible to
produce a single fact of insurrection, unless
that term be entirely confounded with occasional
riots, and when ordinary process of law
had been resisted indeed in a few special cases
but by no means generally, nor had its effect
been duly tried. But it answered the favorite
purposes of strengthening government and increasing
public debt; and, therefore, an insurrection
was announced and proclaimed, and
armed against, but could never be found. And
all this under the sanction of a name which has
done too much good not to be sufficient to cover
harm also. What is equally astonishing is that
by the pomp of reports, proclamations, armies,
&c., the mind of the Legislature itself was so
fascinated as never to have asked where, when,
and by whom this insurrection has been produced?
The original of this scene in another
country was calculated to excite the indignation
of those whom it could not impose on; the
mimicry of it here is too humiliating to excite
any feeling but shame.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 16.
(M. May. 1795)

9133. WHISKY INSURRECTION, Military and.—

The information of our [Virginia's] militia, returned from the westward,
is uniform, that though the people there let
them pass quietly, they were objects of their
laughter, not of their fear; that one thousand
men could have cut off their whole force in a
thousand places of the Alleghany; that their
detestation of the excise law is universal, and
has now associated to it a detestation of the
government; and that a separation which was
perhaps a very distant and problematical event,
is now near, and certain, and determined in the
mind of every man.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 112. Ford ed., vi, 518.
(M. Dec. 1794)

9134. WHISKY INSURRECTION, Proclamation against.—

The proclamation
on the proceedings against the laws for raising
a revenue on distilled spirits, I return with my
signature. I think if, instead of the words,
“to render laws dictated by weighty reasons
of public exigency and policy as acceptable as
possible”, it stood, “to render the laws as acceptable
as possible”, it would be better. I see
no other particular expressions which need alteration.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 471. Ford ed., vi, 113.
(M. Sep. 1792)

9135. WHISKY INSURRECTION, Proclamation against.—[continued].

I am sincerely sorry to
learn that such proceedings have taken place;
and I hope the proclamation will lead the persons
concerned into a regular line of application
which may end either in an amendment of
the law, if it needs it, or in their conviction that
it is right.—
To President. Washington. Washington ed. iii, 471. Ford ed., vi, 114.
(M. Sep. 1792)

9136. WILKINSON (James), Burr's conspiracy.—

I have ever and carefully restrained
myself from the expression of any
opinion respecting General Wilkinson, except
in the case of Burr's conspiracy, wherein, after
he had got over his first agitations, we believed
his decision firm, and his conduct zealous for
the defeat of the conspiracy, and although injudicious,
yet meriting, from sound intentions,
the support of the nation. As to the rest of his
life, I have left it to his friends and his enemies,
to whom it furnishes matter enough for
disputation. I classed myself with neither.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 35. Ford ed., ix, 332.
(M. Jan. 1812)

9137. WILKINSON (James), Commended.—

I sincerely congratulate you on
your safe arrival at Richmond, against the impudent
surmises and hopes of the band of conspirators,


Page 946
who, because they are as yet permitted
to walk abroad, and even to be in the
character of witnesses until such a measure of
evidence shall be collected as will place them
securely at the bar of justice, attempt to cover
their crimes under noise and insolence. You
have indeed had a fiery trial at New Orleans,
but it was soon apparent that the clamorous
were only the criminal, endeavoring to turn the
public attention from themselves and their
leader upon any other object.—
To General Wilkinson. Washington ed. v, 109. Ford ed., ix, 5.
(W. June. 1807)

9138. WILKINSON (James), Confidence in.—

I am thoroughly sensible of the
painful difficulties of your situation, expecting
an attack from an overwhelming force, unversed
in law, surrounded by suspected persons,
and in a nation tender as to everything infringing
liberty, and especially from the military.
You have doubtless seen a good deal of malicious
insinuation in the papers against you.
This, of course, begot suspicion and distrust
in those unacquainted with the line of your
conduct. We, who knew it, have not failed to
strengthen the public confidence in you; and
I can assure you that your conduct, as now
known, has placed you on ground extremely
favorable with the public. Burr and his emissaries
found it convenient to sow a distrust in
your mind of our dispositions towards you;
but be assured that you will be cordially supported
in the line of your duties.—
To General Wilkinson. Washington ed. v, 39. Ford ed., ix, 4.
(W. Feb. 1807)

9139. WILKINSON (James), Injustice for.—

Your enemies have filled the public ear
with slanders, and your mind with trouble on
that account. The establishment of their guilt
will let the world see what they ought to think
of their clamors; it will dissipate the doubts of
those who doubted for want of knowledge, and
will place you on higher ground in the public
estimate and public confidence. No one is
more sensible than myself of the injustice
which has been aimed at you.—
To General Wilkinson. Washington ed. v, 110. Ford ed., ix, 6.
(W. June. 1807)

9140. WILKINSON (James), Plans against Burr.—

Although we at no time believed
Burr could carry any formidable force
out of the Ohio, yet we thought it safest that
you should be prepared to receive him with all
the force which could be assembled, and with
that view our orders were given; and we were
pleased to see that without waiting for them,
you adopted nearly the same plan yourself,
and acted on it with promptitude; the difference
between yours and ours proceeding from
your expecting an attack by sea, which we knew
was impossible, either by England or by a fleet
under Truxtun, who was at home; or by our
own navy, which was under our eye. Your
belief that Burr would really descend with six
or seven thousand men, was no doubt founded
on what you knew of the numbers which could
be raised in the western country for an expedition
to Mexico, under the authority of the
but you probably did not calculate
that the want of that authority would take
from him every honest man, and leave him only
the desperadoes of his party, which in no part
of the United States can ever be a numerous
To General Wilkinson. Washington ed. v, 39. Ford ed., ix, 4.
(W. Feb. 1807)

9141. WILKINSON (James), Suspicions.—

General Wilkinson, being expressly
declared by Burr to General Eaton, to be en
gaged with him in his design as his Lieutenant,
or first in command, and suspicions of infidelity
in Wilkinson being now become very general, a
question is proposed [in cabinet] what is
proper to be done as to him on this account,
as well as for his disobedience of orders received
by him June 11, at St. Louis, to descend
with all practicable dispatch to New Orleans,
to mark out the site of certain defensive works
there, and then repair to take command at
Natchitoches, on which business he did not
leave St. Louis till September.—
The Anas. Ford ed., i, 319.
(Oct. 1806)


The late change in the
form of our government, as well as the contest
of arms in which we are at present engaged,
calling for extraordinary abilities both in council
and field, it becomes the peculiar duty of the
Legislature, at this time, to aid and improve
[William and Mary] Seminary, in which those
who are to be the future guardians of the rights
and liberties of their country may be endowed
with science and virtue, to watch and preserve
the sacred deposit.—
William and Mary College Bill. Ford ed., ii, 233.

9143. WILLIAM AND MARY COLLEGE, Attachment for.—

To William and Mary, as my alma mater, my attachment has
been ever sincere, although not exclusive.—
To Patrick K. Rodgers. Washington ed. vii, 328.
(M. 1824)


Being elected, in 1779,
one of the Visitors of William and Mary College,
a self-electing body, I effected, during
my residence in Williamsburg [as Governor of
the State] that year, a change in the organization
of that institution, by abolishing the Grammar
school, and the two professorships of Divinity
and Oriental languages, and substituting
a professorship of Law and Police, one of Anatomy,
Medicine and Chemistry, and one of
Modern Languages; and the charter confining
us to six professorships, we added the Law of
Nature and Nations, and the Fine Arts to the
duties of the Moral professor, and Natural History
to those of the professor of Mathematics
and Natural Philosophy.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 50. Ford ed., i, 69.

9145. WILLIAM AND MARY COLLEGE, Church establishment.—

The College
of William and Mary was an establishment
purely of the Church of England; the Visitors
were required to be all of that Church; the professors
to subscribe its Thirty-nine Articles; its
students to learn its catechism; and one of its
fundamental objects was declared to be to
raise up ministers for that Church. The religious
jealousies, therefore, of all the dissenters
took alarm lest this might give an ascendancy
to the Anglican sect, and refused acting on that
bill. Its local eccentricity, too, and unhealthy
autumnal climate, lessened the general inclination
towards it.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 48. Ford ed., i, 67.
(M. 1821)


When the college [of
William and Mary] was located at the middle
plantation in 1693, Charles City was a frontier
county, and there were no inhabitants above the
falls of the rivers, sixty miles only higher up.
It was, therefore, a position nearly central to
the population, as it then was; but when the
frontier became extended to the Sandy river,
three hundred miles west of Williamsburg, the
public convenience called, first for a removal


Page 947
of the seat of government, and latterly, not for
a removal of the college, but for the establishment
of a new one in a more central and
healthy location; not disturbing the old one in
its possessions or functions, but leaving them
unimpaired for the benefit of those to whom it
is convenient. And indeed, I do not foresee
that the number of its students is likely to be
much affected; because I presume that, at present,
its distance and autumnal climate prevent
its receiving many students from above the tide-waters,
and especially from above the mountains.
This is, therefore, one of the cases
where the lawyers say there is damnum absque
and they instance, as in point, the settlement
of a new schoolmaster in the neighborhood
of an old one. At any rate, it is one of
those cases wherein the public interest rightfully
prevails, and the justice of which will be
yielded by none, I am sure, with more dutiful
and candid acquiescence than the enlightened
friends of our ancient and venerable institution.
The only rivalship, I hope, between the old and
the new (the University of Virginia) will be in
doing the most good possible in their respective
sections of country.—
To Patrick K. Rodgers. Washington ed. vii, 328.
(M. 1824)

9147. WILLIAM AND MARY COLLEGE, Unfavorable location.—

We have in
Virginia a college (William and Mary) just
well enough endowed to draw out the miserable
existence to which a miserable constitution has
doomed it. It is moreover eccentric in its position,
exposed to all bilious diseases as all the
lower country is, and. therefore, abandoned by
the public care, as that part of the country itself
is in a considerable degree by its inhabitants.—
To Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 312. Ford ed., vii, 407.
(Pa., 1800)

See University of Virginia.

9148. WINDS, Systematic observations on.—

I am sorry you have received so
little information on the subject of our winds.
I had once (before our Revolution-war) a
project on the same subject. As I had then an
extensive acquaintance over this State [Virginia],
I meant to have engaged some person in
every county of it, giving them each a thermometer,
to observe that and the winds twice
a day, for one year, to wit, at sunrise and at
four p. m. (the coldest and the warmest point
of the twenty-four hours), and to communicate
their observations to me at the end of the year.
I should then have selected the days in which
it appeared that the winds blew to a centre
within the State, and have made a map of them,
and seen how far they had analogy with the
temperature of the air. I meant this to be
merely a specimen to be communicated to the
Philosophical Society at Philadelphia, in order
to engage them, by means of their correspondents,
to have the same thing done in every
State, and through a series of years. By seizing
the days when the winds centred in any
part of the United States, we might, in time,
have come to some of the causes which determine
the direction of the winds, which I suspect
to be very various. But this long-winded
project was prevented by the war * * * and since that I have been far otherwise engaged.
I am sure you will have viewed the
subject from much higher ground, and I shall
be glad to learn your views in some of the hours
of delassement, which I hope we are yet to pass
To Mr. Volney. Washington ed. iv, 159.
(M. 1797)

9149. WINES, Making.—

The culture of
the vine is not desirable in lands capable of
producing anything else. It is a species of
gambling, and desperate gambling, too, wherein,
whether you make much or nothing, you are
equally ruined. The middling crop alone is the
saving point, and that the seasons seldom hit.
Accordingly, we see much wretchedness among
this class of cultivators. Wine, too, is so cheap
in these countries [of Europe], that a laborer
with us, employed in the culture of any other
article, may exchange it for wine, more and
better than he could raise himself. It is a resource
for a country the whole of whose good
soil is otherwise employed, and which still has
some barren spots, and surplus of population to
employ on them. There the vine is good, because
it is something in the place of nothing.
It may become a resource to us at a still later
period; when the increase of population shall
increase our productions beyond the demand
for them, both at home and abroad. Instead of
going on to make an useless surplus of them,
we may employ our supernumerary hands on the
To William Drayton. Washington ed. ii, 198.
(P. 1787)

9150. WINES, Making.—[continued].

An experiment was made
in Virginia by a Mr. Mazzei, for the raising
vines and making wines. He was an Italian,
and brought over with him about a dozen laborers
of his own country, bound to serve him
four or five years. We had made up a subscription
for him of £2,000 sterling, and he
began his experiment on a piece of land adjoining
mine. His intention was, before the
time of his people should expire, to import
more from Italy. He planted a considerable
vineyard, and attended to it with great diligence
for three years. The war then came on, the
time of his people soon expired, some of them
enlisted, others chose to settle on other lands
and labor for themselves; some were taken
away by the gentlemen of the country for gardeners,
so that there did not remain a single one
with him, and the interruption of navigation
prevented his importing others. In this state
of things he was himself employed by the State
of Virginia to go to Europe as their agent to do
some particular business. He rented his place
to General Riedesel, whose horses in one week
destroyed the whole labor of three or four
years; and thus ended an experiment which,
from every appearance, would in a year or
two more have established the practicability of
that branch of culture in America.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iii, 505.
(Pa., 1793)

9151. WINES, Making.—[further continued].

We could, in the United
States, make as great a variety of wines as are
made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds,
but doubtless as good. Yet I have ever observed
to my countrymen, who think its introduction
important, that a laborer cultivating
wheat, rice, tobacco, or cotton here, will be
able with the proceeds, to purchase double the
quantity of the wine he could make.—
To M. Lasteyrie. Washington ed. v, 314.
(W. 1808)

9152. WINES, Sobriety and.—

I am
persuaded that were the duty on cheap wines
put on the same ratio with the dear, it would
wonderfully enlarge the field of those who use
wine, to the expulsion of whisky. The introduction
of a very cheap wine into my neighborhood,
within two years past, has quadrupled
in that time the number of those who keep
wine, and will ere long increase them tenfold.
This would be a great gain to the treasury, and
to the sobriety of our country.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 86. Ford ed., ix, 69.
(W. June. 1807)

9153. WINES, Tax on.—

I rejoice, as a
moralist, at the prospect of a reduction of the


Page 948
duties on wine, by our national Legislature.
It is an error to view a tax on that liquor as
merely a tax on the rich. It is a prohibition of
its use to the middling class of our citizens, and
a condemnation of them to the poison of
whisky, which is desolating their houses. No
nation is drunken where wine is cheap; and
none sober, where the dearness of wine substitutes
ardent spirits as the common beverage.
It is, in truth, the only antidote to the bane of
whisky. Fix but the duty at the rate of other
merchandise, and we can drink wine here as
cheap as we do grog; and who will not prefer
it? Its extended use will carry health and
comfort to a much enlarged circle. Every one
in easy circumstances (as the bulk of our citizens
are) will prefer it to the poison to which
they are now driven by their government.
And the treasury itself will find that a penny
apiece from a dozen, is more than a groat from
a single one. This reformation, however, will
require time.—
To M. de Neuville. Washington ed. vii, 110.
(M. 1818)

9154. WINES, Tax on.—[continued].

I think it a great error
to consider a heavy tax on wines, as a tax on
luxury. On the contrary, it is a tax on the
health of our citizens. It is a legislative declaration
that none but the richest of them shall
be permitted to drink wine, and, in effect, a
condemnation of all the middling and lower
conditions of society to the poison of whisky.
* * * Surely it is not from the necessities
of our treasury that we thus undertake to debar
the mass of our citizens the use of not only an
innocent gratification, but a healthy substitute
instead of a bewitching poison. This aggression
on the public taste and comfort has been
ever deemed among the most arbitrary and oppressive
abuses of the English government. It
is one which, I hope, we shall never copy.—
To William H. Crawford. Ford ed., x, 112.
(M. 1818)

See Life, Jefferson's Habits of.

9155. WIRT (William), Seat in Congress.—

I pray you that this letter may be
sacredly secret, because it meddles in a line
wherein I should myself think it wrong to
intermeddle, were it not that it looks to a
period when I shall be out of office, but others
might think it wrong notwithstanding that
circumstance. I suspected, from your desire
to go into the army, that you disliked your profession,
notwithstanding that your prospects in
it were inferior to none in the State. Still, I
know that no profession is open to stronger
antipathies than that of the law. The object
of this letter, then, is to propose to you to come
into Congress. That is the great commanding
theatre of this nation, and the threshold to
whatever department of office a man is qualified
to enter. With your reputation, talents,
and correct views, used with the necessary
prudence, you will at once be placed at the head
of the republican body in the House of Representatives;
and after obtaining the standing
which a little time will ensure you, you May
look, at your own will, into the military, the
judiciary, diplomatic, or other civil departments,
with a certainty of being in either whatever
you please. And in the present state of what
may be called the eminent talents of our country,
you may be assured of being engaged
through life in the most honorable employments.
If you come in at the next election,
you will begin your course with a new administration.
That administration will be opposed
by a faction, small in numbers, but governed
by no principle but the most envenomed malignity.
They will endeavor to batter down the
Executive before it will have time, by its purity
and correctness, to build up a confidence with
the people, founded on experiment. By supporting
them you will lay for yourself a broad
foundation in the public confidence, and indeed
you will become the Colossus of the republican
government of your country. * * * Perhaps I ought to apologize for the frankness
of this communication. It proceeds from an
ardent zeal to see this government (the idol of
my soul) continue in good hands, and from a
sincere desire to see you whatever you wish to
To William Wirt. Washington ed. v, 233.
(W. Jan. 1808)

9156. WISDOM, Hereditary.—

is not hereditary.—
To William Johnson. Washington ed. vii, 291. Ford ed., x, 227.
(M. 1823)

9157. WISDOM, Honesty and.—

A wise
man, if nature has not formed him honest,
will yet act as if he were honest; because he
will find it the most advantageous and wise
part in the long run.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 40.
(P. 1785)

9158. WISTAR (Caspar), Philosophical society and.—

I rejoice in the election of Dr.
Wistar [to the presidency of the Philosophical
Society], and trust that his senior standing in
the Society will have been considered as a fair
motive of preference of those whose merits,
standing alone, would have justly entitled them
to the honor, and who, as juniors, according to
the course of nature, may still expect their
To John Vaughan. Washington ed. vi, 417.
(M. 1815)

— WOMEN, Appointment to office.—

See Offices.

9159. WOMEN, Barbarism and.—

[Indian] women are submitted to unjust
drudgery. This, I believe, is the case with
every barbarous people. With such, force is
law. The stronger sex, therefore, imposes on
the weaker. * * * Were we in equal barbarism,
our females would be equal drudges.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 305. Ford ed., iii, 153.

9160. WOMEN, Civilization and.—

It is
an honorable circumstance for man, that the
first moment he is at his ease, he allots the
internal employments to his female partner,
and takes the external on himself. And this
circumstance, or its reverse, is a pretty good
indication that a people are, or are not at their
ease. Among the Indians, this indication
fails from a particular cause; every Indian
man is a soldier or warrior, and the whole
body of warriors constitute a standing army,
always employed in war or hunting. To support
that army, there remain no laborers but
the women. Here, then, is so heavy a military
establishment, that the civil part of the nation
is reduced to women only. But this is a
barbarous perversion of the natural destination
of the two sexes—
Travels in Lorraine. Washington ed. ix, 396.

9161. WOMEN, Domestic life.—

think that the pleasures of Paris more than
supply its want of domestic happiness; in
other words, that a Parisian is happier than
an American. You will change your opinion,
and come over to mine in the end. Recollect
the women of this capital [Paris], some on


Page 949
foot, some on horses, and some in carriages,
hunting pleasure in the streets, in routs and
assemblies, and forgetting that they have left
it behind them in their nurseries; compare
them with our own countrywomen occupied
in the tender and tranquil amusements of
domestic life, and confess that it is a comparison
of Americans and angels.—
To Mrs. William Bingham. Ford ed., v, 9.
(P. 1788)

9162. WOMEN, Domestic life.—[continued].

American women have
the good sense to value domestic happiness
above all other, and the art to cultivate it
beyond all other. There is no part of the
earth where so much of this is enjoyed as in
To Mrs. William Bingham. Ford ed., v, 9.
(P. 1788)

— WOMEN, Education.—

See Education,

9163. WOMEN, Government and.—

However nature may by mental or physical
disqualifications have marked infants and the
weaker sex for the protection, rather than the
direction of government, yet among the men
who either pay or fight for their country, no
line of right can be drawn.—
To John H. Pleasants. Washington ed. vii, 345. Ford ed., x, 303.
(M. 1824)

9164. WOMEN, Horseback riding.—

lady should never ride a horse which she
might not safely ride without a bridle.—
To Mary Jefferson. Ford ed., v, 328.
(Pa., 17911791)gt;

9165. WOMEN, Labor and.—

I observe
women and children carrying heavy burdens,
and laboring with the hoe. This is an unequivocal
indication of extreme poverty.
Men, in a civilized country, never expose their
wives and children to labor above their force
and sex, as long as their own labor can protect
them from it.—
Travels in France. Washington ed. ix, 313.

9166. WOMEN, Labor and.—[continued].

The women here [Lorraine] as in Germany, do all sorts of work.
While one considers them as useful and
rational companions, one cannot forget that
they are also objects of our pleasures; nor can
they ever forget it. While employed in dirt and
drudgery, some tag of a ribbon, some ring,
or bit of bracelet, earbob or necklace, or something
of that kind, will show that the desire
of pleasing is never suspended in them.—
Travels in Lorraine. Washington ed. ix, 396.

9167. WOMEN, Natural equality of.—

It is civilization alone which replaces women in the enjoyment of their natural equality.
That first teaches us to subdue the selfish
passions, and to respect those rights in others
which we value in ourselves.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 305. Ford ed., iii, 153.

9168. WOMEN, Needlework.—

In the country life of America, there are many moments
when a woman can have recourse to
nothing but her needle for employment. In
a dull company, and in dull weather, for instance,
it is ill-mannered to read, ill manners
to leave them; no card-playing there among
genteel people—that is abandoned to black
guards. The needle is, then, a valuable resource.
Besides, without knowing how to use
it herself, how can the mistress of a family
direct the work of her servants?—
To Martha Jefferson. Ford ed., iv, 373.

9169. WOMEN, Politics and.—

All the
world is now politically mad. Men, women,
children talk nothing else, and you know that
naturally they talk much, loud and warm. Society
is spoiled by it, at least for those who,
like myself, are but lookers on. You, too,
[in America] have had your political fever.
But our good ladies, I trust, have been too
wise to wrinkle their foreheads with politics.
They are contented to soothe and calm the
minds of their husbands returning ruffled
from political debate.—
To Mrs. William Bingham. Ford ed., v, 9.
(P. 1788)

9170. WOMEN, Tenderness for.—

Women are formed by nature for attentions,
not for hard labor. A woman never forgets
one of the numerous train of little offices
which belong to her. A man forgets often.—
Travels in France. Washington ed. ix, 397.

9171. WORDS, Use of.—

I am not scrupulous
about words when they are once explained.—
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 515. Ford ed., vi, 187.
(Pa., 1793)

9172. WORLD, End of.—

I hope you will
have good sense enough to disregard those foolish
predictions that the world is to be at an end
soon. The Almighty has never made known to
anybody at what time He created it; nor will He
tell anybody when He will put an end to it, if
He ever means to do it. As to preparations
for that event, the best way for you is to be
always prepared for it. The only way to be so
is, never to say or do a bad thing. If ever you
are about to say anything amiss, or to do anything
wrong, consider beforehand you will feel
something within you which will tell you it is
wrong, and ought not to be said or done. This
is your conscience, and be sure and obey it.
Our Maker has given us all this faithful internal
monitor, and if you always obey it you
will always be prepared for the end of the
world; or for a much more certain event, which is death. This must happen to all; it puts an
end to the world as to us; and the way to be
ready for it is never to do a wrong act.—
To Martha Jefferson. D. L. J.70.

9173. WORTH, American appreciation of.—

I know no country where * * * public
esteem is so attached to worth, regardless
of wealth [as it is in America].—
To Mrs. Church. Ford ed., vi, 455.
(G. 1793)

9174. WORTH, Esteem for moral.—

anxieties on this subject will never carry me
beyond the use of fair and honorable means,
of truth and reason; nor have they ever lessened
my esteem for moral worth, nor alienated
my affections from a single friend, who
did not first withdraw himself. Whenever
this happened, I confess I have not been insensible
to it; yet have ever kept myself open
to a return of their justice.—
To Mrs. John Adams. Washington ed. iv, 562. Ford ed., viii, 312.
(M. 1804)

9175. WRETCHEDNESS, Life and.—

The Giver of life gave it for happiness and


Page 950
not for wretchedness.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 319. Ford ed., iii, 59.
(M. 1782)

9176. WRIGHT (Frances), Works of.—

Miss Wright had before favored me with the
first edition of her American work; but her
“Few Days in Athens”, was entirely new, and
has been a treat to me of the highest order.
The matter and manner of the dialogue is
strictly ancient; and the principles of the sects
are beautifully and candidly explained and contrasted;
and the scenery and portraiture of the
interlocutors are of higher finish than anything
in that line left us by the ancients; and like
Ossian, if not ancient, it is equal to the best
morsels of antiquity. I augur, from this instance,
that Herculaneum is likely to furnish
better specimens of modern than of ancient
genius; and may we not hope more from the
same pen?—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 326. Ford ed., x, 282.
(M. 1823)

9177. WRITING, For newspapers.—

have preserved through life a resolution, set
in a very early part of it, never to write in a
public paper without subscribing my name to it,
and to engage openly an adversary who does
not let himself be seen, is staking all against
To Edward Randolph. Washington ed. iii, 470.

9178. WRITING, Illegible.—

I return
you Mr. Coxe's letter which has cost me much
time at two or three different attempts to decipher
it. Had I such a correspondent, I
should certainly admonish him that, if he would
not so far respect my time as to write to me
legibly, I should so far respect it myself as
not to waste it in decomposing and recomposing
his hieroglyphics.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., x, 275.
(M. 1823)

9179. WRONG, Correction of.—

A conviction
that we are right accomplishes half
the difficulty of correcting wrong.—
To Archibald Thweat. Washington ed. vii, 199. Ford ed., x, 184.
(M. 1821)

9180. WRONG, Opposition to foreign.—

I doubt not your aid * * * towards carrying
into effect the measures of your country,
and enforcing the sacred principle, that in
opposing foreign wrong there must be but one
R. to A. N. Y. Tammany Society. Washington ed. viii, 127.
(Feb. 1808)

9181. WRONG, Resistance to.—

We have
borne patiently a great deal of wrong, on
the consideration that if nations go to war
for every degree of injury, there would never
be peace on earth. But when patience has
begotten false estimates of its motives, when
wrongs are pressed because it is believed they
will be borne, resistance becomes morality.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. v, 133.
(W. 1807)

9182. WRONG, Restrain.—

We * * * owe it to mankind, as well as to ourselves,
to restrain wrong by resistance, and to defeat
those calculations of which justice is not the
Seventh Annual Message. Washington ed. viii. Ford ed., ix, 146.

9183. WRONG, Submission to.—

love peace, yet spurn a tame submission to
R. to A. N. Y. Tammany Society. Washington ed. viii, 127.

9184. WRONGS, Republican vs. Monarchical.—

Compare the number of wrongs
committed with impunity by citizens among
us, with those committed by the sovereigns in
other countries, and the last will be found
most numerous, most oppressive on the mind,
and most degrading to the dignity of man.—
Answers to M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 292. Ford ed., iv, 147.
(P. 1786)

9185. WYTHE (George), Ability of.—

The pride of William and Mary College is Mr.
Wythe, one of the Chancellors of the State, and
Professor of Law. He is one of the greatest
men of the age, having held without competition
the first place at the bar of our General
Court for twenty-five years, and always distinguished
by the most spotless virtue.—
To Ralph Izard. Washington ed. ii, 428.
(P. 1788)

9186. WYTHE (George), American Revolution and.—

George Wythe was one of
the very few (for I can barely speak of them
in the plural number) * * * who from the
commencement of the [Revolutionary] contest,
hung our connection with Great Britain on its
true hook, that of a common king. His unassuming
character, however, made him appear
as a follower, while his sound judgment kept
him in a line with the freest spirit.—
To William Wirt. Washington ed. vi, 368. Ford ed., ix, 469.
(M. 1814)

9187. WYTHE (George), American Revolution and.—[continued].

On the dawn of the
Revolution, instead of higgling on half-way
principles, as others did who feared to follow
their reason, he took his stand on the solid
ground that the only link of political union between
us and Great Britain, was the identity
of our Executive; that that nation and its
Parliament had no more authority over us than
we had over them, and that we were coordinate
nations with Great Britain and Hanover.—
To John Saunderson. Washington ed. i, 113.
(M. 1820)

9188. WYTHE (George), Cato of America.—

No man ever left behind him a character
more venerated than George Wythe. His
virtue was of the purest tint; his integrity inflexible
and his justice exact; of warm patriotism,
and, devoted as he was to liberty and the
natural and equal rights of man, he might truly
be called the Cato of his country, without the
avarice of the Roman, for a more disinterested
person never lived. [518]
To John Saunderson. Washington ed. i, 114.
(M. 1820)


George Wythe was one of the signers of the
Declaration, Jefferson, Chief Justice Marshall and
Henry Clay were among his law pupils.—Editor.

9189. WYTHE (George), Honor of his age.—

The honor of his own, and the model
of future times.—
To John Saunderson. Washington ed. i, 114.
(M. 1820)

9190. WYTHE (George), Lectures of.—

Your favor gave me the first information that
the lectures of my late master and friend exist
in MS. * * * His mind was too accurate,
his reasoning powers too strong, to have committed
anything to paper materially incorrect.
It is unfortunate that there should be lacuna in
them. But you are mistaken in supposing I
could supply them. It is now thirty-seven
years since I left the bar, and have ceased to
think on subjects of law; and the constant
occupation of my mind by other concerns has
obliterated from it all but the strongest traces
of the science. Others, I am sure, can be
found equal to it, and none more so than Judge
Roane. It is not my time or trouble which I
wish to spare on this occasion. They are due,
in any extent, to the memory of one who was


Page 951
my second father. My incompetence is the
real obstacle; and in any other circumstance
connected with the publication, in which I can
be useful to his fame, and the public instruction,
I shall be most ready to do my duty.—
To John Tyler. Ford ed., ix, 288.
(M. 1810)

9191. WYTHE (George), Mentor and friend.—

Mr. Wythe continued to be my
faithful and beloved mentor in youth, and my
most affectionate friend through life. In 1767,
he led me into the practice of the law at the
bar of the General Court, at which I continued
until the Revolution shut up the courts of justice.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 3. Ford ed., i, 4.

9192. WYTHE (George), Supporter of Jefferson.—

Mr. Wythe, while speaker [of
the Virginia Legislature] in the two sessions
of 1777, * * * was an able and constant
associate [of mine] in whatever was before a
committee of the whole. His pure integrity,
judgment and reasoning powers, gave him great
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 41. Ford ed., i, 56.

9193. WYTHE (George), Virtuous.—

One of the most virtuous of characters, and
whose sentiments on the subject of slavery are
To Dr. Price. Washington ed. i, 377. Ford ed., iv, 83.
(P. 1785)

9194. WYTHE (George), Virtuous.—[continued].

The exalted virtue of
the man will be a polar star to guide you in all
matters which may touch that element of his
character. But on that you will receive imputation
from no man; for, as far as I know, he
never had an enemy.—
To John Saunderson. Washington ed. i, 112.
(M. 1820)


See Philosophy.