University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
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.;

expand sectionA. 
expand sectionB. 
expand sectionC. 
expand sectionD. 
expand sectionE. 
collapse sectionF. 
3158. FRANCE, Peace with.—
expand sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
expand sectionL. 
expand sectionM. 
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
expand sectionP. 
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
expand sectionS. 
expand sectionT. 
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
expand sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 

3158. FRANCE, Peace with.—

It was
with infinite joy to me, that you [Elbridge
Gerry] were yesterday announced to the Senate,
as Envoy Extraordinary, jointly with
General [Charles Cotesworth] Pinckney and
Mr. [John] Marshall, to the French Republic.
It gave me certain assurance that there would
be a preponderance in the mission, sincerely
disposed to be at peace with the French government
and nation. Peace is undoubtedly at
present the first object of our nation. Interest
and honor are also national considerations.
But interest, duly weighed, is in favor of peace
even at the expense of spoliations past and
future; and honor cannot now be an object.
The insults and injuries committed on us by
both the belligerent parties, from the beginning
of 1793 to this day and still continuing,
cannot now be wiped off by engaging in war
with one of them. As there is great reason to
expect this is the last campaign in Europe, it
would certainly be better for us to rub through
this year, as we have done through the four
proceding ones, and hope that on the restoration
of peace, we may be able to establish
some plan for our foreign connections more
likely to secure our peace, interest and honor
in future. Our countrymen have divided
themselves by such strong affections, to the
French and the English, that nothing will
secure us internally but a divorce from both
nations; and this must be the object of every
real American, and its attainment is practicable
without much self-denial. But for this,
peace is necessary. Be assured of this, that
if we engage in a war during our present passions,
and our present weakness in some quarters,
our Union runs the greatest risk of
not coming out of that war in the shape in
which it enters it. My reliance for our preservation
is in your acceptance of this mission.
I know the tender circumstances which
will oppose themselves to it. But its duration
will be short, and its reward long. You
have it in your power, by accepting and determining
the character of the mission, to secure
the present peace and eternal union of
your country. If you decline, on motives of
private pain, a substitute may be named who
has enlisted his passions in the present contest,
and by the preponderance of his vote in
the mission may entail on us calamities, your
share in which, and your feelings, will far
outweigh whatever pain a temporary absence
from your family could give you. The sacrifice
will be short, the remorse would be neverending.


Page 352
Let me, then, conjure your acceptance,
and that you will, by this act, seal the
mission with the confidence of all parties.
Your nomination has given a spring to hope,
which was dead before.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 187. Ford ed., vii, 149.
(Pa., June 21, 1797)