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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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See Rebellion.

649. BADGES, Utilizing.—

Let them [Cincinnati society] melt up their eagles and
add the mass to the distributable fund, that


Page 66
their descendants may have no temptation
to hang them in their button holes.—
To M. de Meunier. Washington ed. ix, 271. Ford ed., iv., 176.
(P. 1786)

See Birthday.

650. BAINBRIDGE (William), Victory of.—

After the loss of the Philadelphia, Captain
Bainbridge had a character to redeem. He
has done it most honorably, and no one is more
gratified by it than myself.—
To Matthew Carr. Washington ed. vi, 132.
(M. 1813)

651. BALLOONS, Experiments with.—

There seems a possibility that the great desideratum
in the use of the balloon may be obtained.
There are two persons at Javel ( opposite
to Auteuil), who are pushing this matter.
They are able to rise and fall at will, without
expending their gas, and they can deflect forty-five
degrees from the course of the wind.—
To R. Izard. Washington ed. i, 443.
(P. 1785)

652. BALLOONS, Fall from.—

An accident
has happened here [France] which will
probably damp the ardor with which aërial
navigation has been pursued. Monsieur Pilatre
de Roziere had been waiting for many months
at Boulogne a fair wind to cross the channel in
a balloon which was compounded of one of
inflammable air, and another called a Montgolfier
with rarefied air only. He at length
thought the wind fair and with a companion,
Romain, ascended. After proceeding in a
proper direction about two leagues, the wind
changed and brought them again over the
French coast. Being at the height of about six
thousand feet, some accident, unknown, burst
the balloon of inflammable air, and the Montgolfier,
being unequal alone to sustain their
weight, they precipitated from that height to
the earth and were crushed to atoms.—
To Joseph Jones. Washington ed. i, 353.
(P. June. 1785)

653. BALLOONS, Fall from.—[continued].

The arts, instead of advancing,
have lately received a check which will
probably render stationary for awhile, that
branch of them which had promised to elevate
us to the skies. Pilatre de Roziere, who had
first ventured into that region, has fallen a sacrifice
to it. In an attempt to pass from Boulogne
over to England, a change in the wind
having brought him on the coast of France,
some accident happened to his balloon of inflammable
air, which occasioned it to burst,
and that of rarefied air combined with it being
then unequal to the weight, they fell to the
earth from a height, which the first reports
made six thousand feet, but later ones have
reduced to sixteen hundred. Pilatre de Roziere
was dead when a peasant distant one hundred
yards away, ran to him; but Romain, his companion,
lived about ten minutes, though speechless,
and without his senses.—
To Charles Thomson. Washington ed. i, 355.
(P. 1785)

654. BALLOONS, Peril of.—

navigation by water is attended with frequent
accidents, and in its infancy must have been
attended with more, yet these are now so
familiar that we think little of them, while that
which has signalized the two first martyrs to
the aëronautical art will probably deter very
many from the experiments they would have
been disposed to make.—
To Charles Thomson. Washington ed. i, 354.
(P. 1785)


See Suffrage.


See Exile.

655. BANK (National 1813), Charter of.—

The scheme is for Congress to establish
a national bank, suppose of thirty millions
capital, of which they shall contribute ten
millions in six per cent. stock, the States ten
millions, and individuals ten millions, one
half of the two last contributions to be of a
similar stock, for which the parties are to
give cash to Congress; the whole, however,
to be under the exclusive management of the
individual subscribers, who are to name all
the directors; neither Congress nor the States
having any power of interference in its administration.
Discounts are to be at five per
cent., but the profits are expected to be at seven
per cent. Congress then will be paying six
per cent. on twenty millions, and receiving
seven per cent. on ten millions, being its
third of the institution; so that on the ten
millions cash which they receive from the
States and individuals, they will, in fact, have
to pay but five per cent. interest. This is the
bait. The charter is proposed to be for forty
or fifty years, and if any future augmentations
should take place, the individual proprietors
are to have the privilege of being the
sole subscribers for that. Congress are further
allowed to issue to the amount of three
millions of notes, bearing interest, which they
are to receive back in payment for lands at a
premium of five or ten per cent., or as subscriptions
for canals, roads, and bridges, in
which undertakings they are, of course, to
be engaged. This is a summary of the case
as I understand it; but it is very possible I
may not understand it in all its parts, these
schemes being always made unintelligible for
the gulls who are to enter into them.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 228. Ford ed., ix, 403.
(M. Nov. 1813)

656. BANK (National 1813), Considerations on.—

The advantages and disadvantages
shall be noted promiscuously as they
occur; leaving out the speculation of canals
&c., which, being an episode only in the
scheme, may be omitted, to disentangle it as
much as we can. 1. Congress are to receive
five millions from the States (if they will enter
into this partnership, which few probably
will), and five millions from the individual
subscribers, in exchange for ten millions of
six per cent. stock, one per cent. of which,
however, they will make on their ten millions
of stock remaining in bank, and so reduce it,
in effect, to a loan of ten millions at five per
cent. interest. This is good; but, 2. They authorize
this bank to throw into circulation
ninety millions of dollars (three times the
capital), which increases our circulating medium
fifty per cent.; depreciates proportionably
the present value of a dollar, and raises
the price of all future purchases in the same
proportion. 3. This loan of ten millions at
five per cent., is to be once for all, only.
Neither the terms of the scheme, nor their
own prudence could ever permit them to
add to the circulation in the same, or any
other way, for the supplies of the succeeding
years of the war. These succeeding years
then are to be left unprovided for, and the
means of doing it in a great measure precluded.
4. The individual subscribers, on


Page 67
paying their own five millions of cash to Congress,
become the depositors of ten millions
of stock belonging to Congress, five millions
belonging to the States, and five millions to
themselves, say twenty millions, with which,
as no one has a right ever to see their books,
or to ask a question, they may choose their
time for running away, after adding to their
booty the proceeds of as much of their own
notes as they shall be able to throw into circulation.
5. The subscribers may be one,
two, or three, or more individuals (many
single individuals being able to pay in the five
millions), whereupon this bank oligarchy or
monarchy enters the field with ninety millions
of dollars, to direct and control the politics of
the nation; and of the influence of these institutions
on our politics, and into what scale
it will be thrown, we have had abundant experience.
Indeed, England herself may be
the real, while her friend and trustee here
shall be the nominal and sole subscriber.
6. This state of things is to be fastened on
us, without the power of relief, for forty or
fifty years. That is to say, the eight millions
of people now existing, for the sake of receiving
one dollar and twenty-five cents
apiece, at five per cent. interest, are to subject
the fifty millions of people who are to
succeed them within that term, to the payment
of forty-five millions of dollars, principal
and interest, which will be payable in the
course of the fifty years. 7. But the great
and national advantage is to be the relief of
the present scarcity of money, which is produced
and proved by, 1. The additional industry
created to supply a variety of articles
for the troops, ammunition, &c. 2. By the
cash sent to the frontiers, and the vacuum occasioned
in the trading towns by that. 3.
By the late loans. 4. By the necessity of
recurring to shavers with good paper, which
the existing banks are not able to take up;
and 5. By the numerous applications of bank
charters showing that an increase of circulating
medium is wanting.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 229. Ford ed., ix, 403.
(M. Nov. 1813)

657. BANK (National 1813), Increased Medium and.—

Let us examine these causes
and proofs of the want of our increase of medium,
one by one. 1. The additional industry
created to supply a variety of articles
for troops, ammunition, &c. Now, I had always
supposed that war produced a diminution
of industry, by the number of hands
it withdraws from industrious pursuits for
employment in arms, &c., which are totally
unproductive. And if it calls for new industry
in the articles of ammunition and other
military supplies, the hands are borrowed
from other branches on which the demand is
slackened by the war; so that it is but a shifting
of these hands from one pursuit to another.
2. The cash sent to the frontiers occasions a
vacuum in the trading towns, which requires
a new supply. Let us examine what
are the calls for money to the frontiers. Not
for clothing, tents, ammunition, arms, which
are all bought in the trading towns. Not for
provisions; for although these are bought
partly in the immediate country, bank bills
are more acceptable there than even in the
trading towns. The pay of the army calls
for some cash, but not a great deal, as bank
notes are as acceptable with the military men,
perhaps more so; and what cash is sent must
find its way back again in exchange for the
wants of the upper from the lower country.
For we are not to suppose that cash stays
accumulating there forever. 3. This scarcity
has been occasioned by the late loans. But
does the government borrow money to keep
it in their coffers? Is it not instantly restored
to circulation by payment for its necessary
supplies? And are we to restore a
vacuum of twenty millions of dollars by an
emission of ninety millions? 4. The want of
medium is proved by the recurrence of individuals
with good paper to brokers at exorbitant
interest; and 5. By the numerous applications
to the State governments for additional
banks; New York wanting eighteen
millions, Pennsylvania ten millions, &c. But
say more correctly, the speculators and spendthrifts
of New York and Pennsylvania, but
never consider them as being the States of
New York and Pennsylvania. These two
items shall be considered together.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 231. Ford ed., ix, 405.
(M. Nov. 1813)

658. BANK (National 1813), Paper, Specie and.—

It is a litigated question,
whether the circulation of paper, rather than
of specie, is a good or an evil. In the opinion
of England and of English writers it is a
good; in that of all other nations it is an
evil; and excepting England and her copyist,
the United States, there is not a nation existing,
I believe, which tolerates a paper circulation.
The experiment is going on, however,
desperately in England, pretty boldly
with us, and at the end of the chapter, we
shall see which opinion experience approves:
for I believe it to be one of those cases where
mercantile clamor will bear down reason, until
it is corrected by ruin.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 232. Ford ed., ix, 405.
(M. Nov. 1813)

659. BANK (National 1813), Unconstitutional.—

After the solemn decision of
Congress against the renewal of the charter of
the Bank of the United States, and the
grounds of that decision (the want of constitutional
power), I had imagined that question
at rest, and that no more applications
would be made to them for the incorporation
of banks. The opposition on that ground to
its first establishment, the small majority by
which it was overborne, and the means practiced
for obtaining it, cannot be already forgotten.
The law having passed, however, by
a majority, its opponents, true to the sacred
principle of submission to a majority, suffered
the law to flow through its term without obstruction.
During this, the nation had time
to consider the constitutional question, and
when the renewal was proposed, they condemned
it, not by their representatives in
Congress only, but by express instructions
from different organs of their will. Here


Page 68
then we might stop, and consider the memorial
as answered. But, setting authority
apart, we will examine whether the Legislature
ought to comply with it, even if they
had the power.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 232. Ford ed., ix, 406.
(M. Nov. 1813)

660. BANK (National 1813), Unconstitutional.—[continued].

The idea of creating a
national bank, I do not concur in, because it
seems now decided that Congress has not that
power (although I sincerely wish they had
it exclusively), and because I think there is
already a vast redundancy, rather than a
scarcity of paper medium. The rapid rise in
the nominal price of land and labor (while
war and blockade should produce a fall)
proves the progressive state of the depreciation
of our medium.—
To Thomas Law. Ford ed., ix, 433.
(M. 1813)

661. BANK OF NORTH AMERICA, Incorporation of.—

The Philadelphia Bank
was incorporated by Congress. This is,
perhaps, the only instance of their having
done that which they had no power to do.
Necessity obliged them to give this institution
the appearance of their countenance, because
in that moment they were without any other
resource for money.—
Count Van Hogendorp. Washington ed. ii, 24. Ford ed., iv, 286.
(P. 1786)

662. BANK OF NORTH AMERICA, Pennsylvania and.—

The Legislature of Pennsylvania passed an act of incorporation
for the bank, and declared that the holders of
stock should be responsible only to the
amount of their stock. Lately that Legislature
has repealed their act. The consequence
is, that the bank is now altogether a private
institution, and every holder is liable for its
engagements in his whole property. This
has had a curious effect. It has given those
who deposit money in the bank a greater
faith in it, while it has rendered the holders
very discontented, as being more exposed to
risk, and it has induced many to sell it, so
that I have heard (I know not how truly)
the bank stock sells somewhat below par.—
To Count Van Hogendorp. Washington ed. ii, 24. Ford ed., iv, 286.
(P. 1786)

663. BANK (U. S.), Beginning of.—

A division, not very unequal, had * * * taken place in the honest part of * * * [Congress
in 1791] between the parties styled republican
and federal. The latter, being monarchists
in principle, adhered to [Alexander] Hamilton of course, as their leader in
that principle, and this mercenary phalanx,
[39] added to them, ensured him always
a majority in both Houses; so that the
whole action of the Legislature was now under
the direction of the Treasury. Still the
machine was not complete. The effect of the
Funding system, and of the Assumption [of
the State debts], would be temporary. It
would be lost with the loss of the individual
members whom it had enriched, and some
engine of influence more permanent must be
contrived while these myrmidons were yet in
place to carry it through all opposition. This
engine was the Bank of the United States.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 95. Ford ed., i, 164.


Those members of Congress who, Jefferson believed
and charged, voted for the Assumption of the
State debts from corrupt motives. See Assumption.—Editor.

664. BANK (U. S.), Constitutionality of.—

The bill for establishing a National
Bank undertakes among other things:—1. To
form the subscribers into a corporation. 2.
To enable them in their corporate capacities
to receive grants of land; and so far is
against the laws of Mortmain. [40] 3. To make
alien subscribers capable of holding lands;
and so far is against the laws of Alienage. 4. To transmit these lands, on the death of
a proprietor, to a certain line of successors;
and so far changes the course of Descents.
5. To put the lands out of the reach of forfeiture
or escheat; and so far is against the
laws of Forfeiture and Escheat. 6. To transmit
personal chattels to successors in a certain
line; and so far is against the laws of
Distribution. 7. To give them the sole and
exclusive right of banking under the national
authority; and so far is against the laws of
Monopoly. 8. To communicate to them a
power to make laws paramount to the laws
of the States; for so they must be construed,
to protect the institution from the control of
the State Legislatures; and so, probably, they
will be construed.

I consider the foundation of the Constitution
as laid on this ground: [41] That “all
powers not delegated to the United States,
by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to
the States, are reserved to the States or to
the people.” (XIIth amendment.) To take
a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially
drawn around the powers of Congress,
is to take possession of a boundless field of
power, no longer susceptible of any definition.
The incorporators of a bank, and the powers
assumed by this bill, have not, in my opinion,
been delegated to the United States, by the
Constitution. I. They are not among the
powers specially enumerated: for these are:
1st. A power to lay taxes for the purpose of
paying the debts of the United States; but
no debt is paid by this bill, nor any tax laid.
Were it a bill to raise money, its origination
in the Senate would condemn it by the Constitution.
2nd “To borrow money.” But
this bill neither borrows money nor ensures
the borrowing it. The proprietors of the
bank will be just as free as any other money
holders, to lend or not to lend their money
to the public. The operation proposed in the
bill, first, to lend them two millions, and
then to borrow them back again, cannot


Page 69
change the nature of the latter act, which will
still be in a payment, and not a loan, call it
by what name you please. 3rd To “regulate
commerce with foreign nations, and among
the States, and with the Indian tribes.” To
erect a bank, and to regulate commerce, are
very different acts. He who erects a bank,
creates a subject of commerce in its bills; so
does he who makes a bushel of wheat, or
digs a dollar out of the mines; yet neither of
these persons regulates commerce thereby. To
make a thing which may be bought and sold,
is not to prescribe regulations for buying and
selling. Besides, if this was an exercise of
the power of regulating commerce, it would
be void, as extending as much to the internal
commerce of every State as to its external.
For the power given to Congress by the Constitution
does not extend to the internal regulation
of the commerce of a State (that is to
say of the commerce between citizen and
citizen), which remains exclusively with its
own legislature; but to its external commerce
only, that is to say, its commerce with another
State, or with foreign nations, or with
the Indian tribes. Accordingly the bill does
not propose the measure as a regulation of
trade, but as, “productive of considerable
advantages to trade.” Still less are these
powers covered by any other of the special

II. Nor are they within either of the general
phrases, which are the two following:—
1. To lay taxes to provide for the general
welfare of the United States, that is to say,
“to lay taxes for the purpose of providing
for the general welfare.” For the laying of
taxes is the power, and the general welfare
the purpose for which the power is to be exercised.
They are not to lay taxes ad libitum
for any purpose they please;
but only
to pay the debts or provide for the welfare of
the Union.
In like manner, they are not to
do anything they please
to provide for the
general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that
purpose. To consider the latter phrase, not
as describing the purpose of the first, but as
giving a distinct and independent power to do
any act they please, which might be for the
good of the Union, would render all the preceding
and subsequent enumerations of power
completely useless. It would reduce the whole
instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting
a Congress with power to do whatever
would be for the good of the United
States; and, as they would be the sole judges
of the good or evil, it would be also a power
to do whatever evil they please. It is an established
rule of construction where a phrase
will bear either of two meanings, to give to
it that which will allow some meaning to the
other parts of the instrument and not that
which would render all the others useless.
Certainly no such universal power was meant
to be given them. It was intended to lace them
up straitly within the enumerated powers, and
those without which, as means, these powers
could not be carried into effect. It is known
that the very power now proposed as a means was rejected as an end by the Convention
which formed the Constitution. A proposition
was made to them to authorize Congress
to open canals, and an amendatory one to empower
them to incorporate. But the whole
was rejected, and one of the reasons for rejection
urged in debate was, that then they
would have power to erect a bank, which
would render the great cities, where there
were prejudices and jealousies on the subject,
adverse to the reception of the Constitution.
2. The second general phrase is, “to make
all laws necessary and proper for carrying
into execution the enumerated powers.” But
they can all be carried into execution without
a bank. A bank-therefore is not necessary,
and consequently not authorized by this

It has been urged that a bank will give great
facility or convenience in the collection of
taxes. Suppose this were true: yet the Constitution
allows only the means which are
“necessary,” not those which are merely
“convenient” for effecting the enumerated
powers. If such a latitude of construction
be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated
power, it will go to every one,
for there is not one which ingenuity may not
torture into a convenience in some instance
or other, to some one of so long a list of
enumerated powers. It would swallow up
all the delegated powers, and reduce the
whole to one power, as before observed.
Therefore it was that the Constitution restrained
them to the necessary means, that
is to say, to those means without which the
grant of power would be nugatory. But let
us examine this convenience and see what it
is. The report on this subject, page 3, states
the only general convenience to be, the preventing
the transportation and retransportation
of money between the States and the
treasury (for I pass over the increase of
circulating medium, ascribed to it as a want,
and which, according to my ideas of paper
money, is clearly a demerit). Every State
will have to pay a sum of tax money into the
treasury; and the treasury will have to pay,
in every State, a part of the interest on the
public debt, and salaries to the officers of
government resident in that State. In most
of the States there will still be a surplus of
tax money to come up to the seat of government
for the officers residing there. The
payments of interest and salary in each State
may be made by treasury orders on the State
collector. This will take up the great export
of the money he has collected in his State,
and consequently prevent the great mass of it
from being drawn out of the State. If there
be a balance of commerce in favor of that
State against the one in which the government
resides, the surplus of taxes will be remitted
by the bills of exchange drawn for
that commercial balance. And so it must be
if there was a bank. But if there be no balance
of commerce, either direct or circuitous,
all the banks in the world could not bring up
the surplus of taxes, but in the form of
money. Treasury orders then, and bills of
exchange may prevent the displacement of the


Page 70
main mass of the money collected, without
the aid of any bank; and where these fail,
it cannot be prevented even with that aid.
Perhaps, indeed, bank bills may be a more
convenient vehicle than treasury orders. But
a little difference in the degree of conveniences,
cannot constitute the necessity which
the Constitution makes the ground for assuming
any non-enumerated power.

Besides; the existing banks will, without a
doubt, enter into arrangements for lending
their agency, and the more favorable, as there
will be a competition among them for it;
whereas the bill delivers us up bound to the
national bank, who are free to refuse all arrangement,
but on their own terms, and the
public not free, on such refusal, to employ
any other bank. That of Philadelphia, I believe,
now does this business, by their postnotes,
which, by an arrangement with the
treasury, are paid by any State collector to
whom they are presented. This expedient
alone suffices to prevent the existence of that
necessity which may justify the assumption
of a non-enumerated power as a means for
carrying into effect an enumerated one. The
thing may be done, and has been done, and
well done, without this assumption; therefore,
it does not stand on that degree of necessity which can honestly justify it. It may be said
that a bank whose bills would have a currency
all over the States, would be more convenient
than one whose currency is limited to a single
State. So it would be still more convenient
that there should be a bank, whose bills
should have a currency all over the world.
But it does not follow from this superior
conveniency, that there exists anywhere a
power to establish such a bank; or that the
world may not go on very well without it.
Can it be thought that the Constitution intended
that for a shade or two of convenience, more or less, Congress should be authorized
to break down the most ancient and fundamental
laws of the several States; such as
those against Mortmain, the laws of Alienage,
the rules of Descent, the acts of Distribution,
the laws of Escheat and Forfeiture, the
laws of Monopoly? Nothing but a necessity
invincible by any other means, can justify
such a prostitution of laws, which constitute
the pillars of our whole system of jurisprudence.
Will Congress be too straight-laced
to carry the Constitution into honest effect,
unless they may pass over the foundation
laws of the State government for the slightest
convenience of theirs?

The negative of the President is the shield
provided by the Constitution to protect
against the invasions of the Legislature: 1.
The right of the Executive. 2. Of the Judiciary.
3. Of the States and State Legislatures.
The present is the case of a right remaining
exclusively with the States, and consequently
one of those intended by the Constitution
to be placed under its protection.
It must be added, however, that unless the
President's mind on a view of everything
which is urged for and against this bill, is
tolerably clear that it is unauthorized by the
Constitution; if the pro and the con hang so
even as to balance his judgment, a just respect
for the wisdom of the Legislature would
naturally decide the balance in favor of their
opinion. It is chiefly for cases where they
are clearly misled by error, ambition, or interest,
that the Constitution has placed a
check in the negative of the President.—
National Bank Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 555. Ford ed., v, 284.
(Feb. 1791)


Though the Constitution controls the laws of
Mortmain so far as to permit Congress itself to hold
land for certain purposes, yet not so far as to permit
them to communicate a similar right to other corporate
bodies.—Note by Jefferson.


Washington requested the written opinions of
the Cabinet on the constitutionality of the bil.
Those of the Secretaries of the Treasury, and of
War, were in favor of the constitutionalty of the act.
Those of the Secretary of State, and Attorney General,
were against it. The opinion of Jefferson is an
unanswerable argument against the doctrine of implied
powers, and is justly considered the text of the
true republican faith, on the subject of constitutional
interpretation.—Rayner's Life of Jefferson, p. 304.

665. BANK (U. S.), Directors of.—

While the Government remained at Philadelphia,
a selection of members of both Houses
were constantly kept as directors, who, on
every question interesting to that institution,
or to the views of the federal head, voted at
the will of that head; and, together with the
stockholding members, could always make
the federal vote that of the majority. By
this combination, legislative expositions were
given to the Constitution, and all the administrative
laws were shaped on the model of
England, and so passed. And from this influence
we were not relieved, until the removal
from the precincts of the Bank, to
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 95. Ford ed., i, 164.

666. BANK (U. S.), Dividends of.—

bank has just notified its proprietors that
they may call for a dividend of ten per cent.
on their capital for the last six months. This
makes a profit of twenty-six per cent. per annum.
Agriculture, commerce, and everything
useful must be neglected, when the useless
employment of money is so much more
To Plumard de Rieux. Ford ed., v, 420.
(Pa., 1792)

667. BANK (U. S.), Fall in stock.—

failure of some stock gamblers and some
other circumstances, have brought the public
paper low. The 6 per cents have fallen from
26 to 211-4, and bank paper stock from 115
or 120 to 73 or 74, within two or three weeks.
This nefarious business is becoming more
and more the public detestation, and cannot
fail, when the knowledge of it shall be sufficiently
extended, to tumble its authors headlong
from their heights.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 342. Ford ed., v, 459.
(Pa., March. 1792)

668. BANK (U. S.), Hostility to U. S. Government.—

This institution is one of the
most deadly hostility existing, against the
principles and form of our Constitution. The
nation is, at this time, so strong and united
in its sentiments, that it cannot be shaken at
this moment. But suppose a series of untoward
events should occur, sufficient to bring
into doubt the competency of a republican
government to meet a crisis of great danger,
or to unhinge the confidence of the people in
the public functionaries: an institution like
this, penetrating by its branches every part of
the Union, acting by command and in
phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the
government. I deem no government safe
which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted
authorities, or any other authority
than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries.


Page 71
What an obstruction could not this Bank of the United States, with all its branch
banks, be in time of war? It might dictate
to us the peace we should accept, or withdraw
its aids. Ought we then to give further
growth to an institution so powerful, so
hostile? That it is so hostile we know: 1,
from a knowledge of the principles of the
persons composing the body of directors in
every bank, principal or branch; and those of
most of the stockholders; 2, from their opposition
to the measures and principles of the
government, and to the election of those
friendly to them; and 3, from the sentiments
of the newspapers they support. Now, while
we are strong, it is the greatest debt we owe
to the safety of our Constitution, to bring its
powerful enemy to a perfect subordination
under its authorities. The first measure
would be to reduce them to an equal footing
only with other banks, as to the favors of the
government. But, in order to be able to meet
a general combination of the banks against
us, in a critical emergency, could we not
make a beginning towards an independent use
of our own money, towards holding our own
bank in all the deposits where it is received,
and letting the treasurer give his draft or
note, for payment at any particular place,
which, in a well-conducted government, ought
to have as much credit as any private draft,
or bank note, or bill, and would give us the
same facilities which we derive from the
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 519. Ford ed., viii, 284.
(W. Dec. 1803)

669. BANK (U. S.), Inflation projects.—

The Bank is so firmly mounted on us that
we must go where they will guide. They
openly publish a resolution, that the national
property being increased in value, they must
by an increase of circulating medium furnish
an adequate representation of it, and by further
additions of active capital promote the
enterprises of our merchants. It is supposed
that the paper in circulation in and around
Philadelphia, amounts to twenty millions of
dollars, and that in the whole Union, to one
hundred millions.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 140. Ford ed., vii, 80.
(M. June. 1796)

670. BANK (U. S.), Regulation of.—

The Attorney General having considered and
decided that the prescription in the law for
establishing a bank, that the officers in the
subordinate offices of discount and deposit,
shall be appointed “on the same terms and
in the same manner practiced in the principal
bank,” does not extend to them the principle
of rotation, established by the Legislature in
the body of directors in the principal bank,
it follows that the extension of that principle
has been merely a voluntary and prudential
act of the principal bank, from which they
are free to depart. I think the extension was
wise and proper on their part, because the
Legislature having deemed rotation useful in
the principal bank constituted by them, there
would be the same reason for it in the subordinate
banks to be established by the principal.
It breaks in upon the esprit de corps so apt to prevail in permanent bodies: it
gives a chance for the public eye penetrating
into the sanctuary of those proceedings and
practices, which the avarice of the directors
may introduce for their personal emolument,
and which the resentments of excluded directors,
or the honesty of those duly admitted,
might betray to the public; and it gives an
opportunity at the end of the year, or at
other periods, of correcting a choice, which,
on trial, proves to have been unfortunate: an
evil of which themselves complain in their
distant institutions. Whether, however, they
have a power to alter this, or not, the Executive
has no right to decide: and their consultation
with you has been merely an act of
complaisance, or a desire to shield so important
an innovation under the cover of executive
sanction. But ought we to volunteer
our sanction in such a case? Ought we to
disarm ourselves of any fair right of animadversion,
whenever that institution shall
be a legitimate subject of consideration? I
own, I think the most proper answer would
be, that we do not think ourselves authorized
to give an opinion on the question.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 518. Ford ed., viii, 284.
(W. 1803)

671. BANK (U. S.), Richmond Branch.—

It seems nearly settled with the Treasurobankites
that a branch shall be established at
Richmond. Could not a counter-bank be set
up to befriend the agricultural man by letting
him have money on a deposit of tobacco
notes, or even wheat, for a short time, and
would not such a bank enlist the legislature in
its favor, and against the Treasury bank?—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vi, 98.
(Pa., 17921792)gt;

672. BANK (U. S.), Ruin by.—

It was
impossible the Bank and paper mania should
not produce great and extensive ruin. The
President is fortunate to get off just as the
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.
(Jan. 1797)

673. BANK (U. S.), Saddled by.—

are completely saddled and bridled, and the
bank is so firmly mounted on us that we must
go where they will guide.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 140. Ford ed., vii, 80.
(M. June. 1796)

674. BANK (U. S.), Subscriptions to.—

You will have seen the rapidity with which
the subscriptions to the bank were filled. As
yet the delirium of speculation is too strong
to admit sober reflection. It remains to be
seen whether in a country whose capital is
too small to carry on its own commerce, to
establish manufactures, erect buildings, &c.,
such sums should have been withdrawn from
these useful pursuits to be employed in gambling?
Whether it was well judged to force


Page 72
on the public a paper circulation of so many
millions for which they will be paying about
7 per cent. per ann. and thereby banish as
many millions of gold and silver for which
they would have paid no interest? I am afraid
it is the intention to nourish this spirit of
gambling by throwing in from time to time
new aliment.—
To Edmund Pendleton. Ford ed., v, 357.
(Pa., 1791)

675. BANK (U. S.), Subscriptions to.—[continued].

The subscriptions to the
Bank from Virginia were almost none. * * * This gives so much uneasiness to Colonel
Hamilton that he thinks to propose to the
President to sell some of the public shares to
subscribers from Virginia and North Carolina,
if any more should offer. This partiality
would offend the other States without
pleasing those two: for I presume they would
rather the capitals of their citizens should be
employed in commerce than be locked up in
a strong box here [Philadelphia]: nor can
sober thinkers prefer a paper medium at 13
per cent. interest to gold and silver for nothing.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., v, 350.
(Pa., 1791)

676. BANK (U. S.), Subscriptions to.—[further continued].

The bank filled and overflowed
in the moment it was opened. Instead
of twenty thousand shares, twenty-four
thousand were offered, and a great many were
presented, who had not suspected that so
much haste was necessary. Thus it is that we
shall be paying 13 per cent, per ann. for eight
millions of paper money, instead of having
that circulation of gold and silver for nothing.
Experience has proved to us that a
dollar of silver disappears for every dollar of
paper emitted; and, for the paper emitted
from the bank, seven per cent. profits will be
received by the subscribers for it as bank
paper (according to the last division of profits
by the Philadelphia bank), and six per cent.
on the public paper of which it is the representative.
Nor is there any reason to believe,
that either the six millions of public paper,
or the two millions of specie deposited, will
not be suffered to be withdrawn, and the
paper thrown into circulation. The cash deposited
by strangers for safe keeping will
probably suffice for cash demands.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iii, 268. Ford ed., v, 352.
(Pa., 1791)

677. BANKRUPTCY, Agriculture, Commerce and.—

I find you are to be harassed
again with a bankrupt law. Could you
not compromise between agriculture and commerce
by passing such a law which like the
by-laws of incorporate towns, should be binding
on the inhabitants of such towns only,
being the residence of commerce, leaving the
agriculturists, inhabitants of the country, in
undisturbed possession of the rights and
modes of proceedings to which their habits,
their interests and their partialities attach
them? This would be as uniform as other
laws of local obligation.—
To James Pleasants. Ford ed., x, 198.
(M. 1821)

678. BANKRUPTCY, Agriculturists and.—

A bankrupt bill is brought in in such a form as to render almost all the landholders
south of Pennsylvania liable to be declared
bankrupts. Hitherto we had imagined that the
General Government could not meddle with
the title to lands.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., vi, 149.
(Pa., 1792)

679. BANKRUPTCY, Agriculturists and.—[continued].

The bankrupt bill is brought on with some very threatening features
to landed and farming men, who are
in danger of being drawn into its vortex. It
assumes the right of seizing and selling lands,
and so cuts the knotty question of the Constitution,
whether the General Government May
direct the transmission of land by descent or
To John Francis Mercer. Washington ed. iii, 495. Ford ed., vi, 148.
(Pa., 1792)

680. BANKRUPTCY, English Law of.—

The British statute excepts expressly farmers,
graziers, drovers,
as such though they
buy to sell again. This bill has no such exception.
The British adjudications exempt
the buyers and sellers of bank stock, government
paper, &c. What feelings guided the
draughtsman [of this bill] in adhering to his
original in this case and then departing from
it in the other? The British courts adjudge
that any artists may be bankrupts if the materials
of their art are bought, such as shoemakers,
blacksmiths, carpenters, &c. Will the
body of our artists desire to be brought within
the vortex of this law? It will follow as a
consequence that the master who has an artist
of this kind in his family, whether hired, indentured,
or a slave, to serve the purposes of
his farm or family, but who may at leisure
time do something for his neighbors also, May
be a bankrupt. The British law makes a departure
from the realm, i.e. out of the mediation
of British law, an act of bankruptcy.
This bill makes a departure from the State
wherein he resides
(though into a neighboring
one where the laws of the United States
run equally), an act of bankruptcy. The
commissioners may enter houses, break open
doors, chests &c. Are we really ripe for
this? Is that spirit of independence and sovereignty,
which a man feels in his own house,
and which Englishmen felt when they denominated
their houses their castles, to be absolutely
subdued, and is it expedient that it
should be subdued? The lands of the bankrupt
are to be taken, sold. Is not this a predominant
question between the General and
State legislatures? Is commerce so much the
basis of the existence of the United States as
to call for a bankrupt law? On the contrary,
are we not almost agricultural? Should not all
laws be made with a view essentially to the
poor husbandman? When laws are wanting
for particular descriptions of other callings,
should not the husbandman be carefully excused
from their operation, and preserved under
that of the general system only, which
general system is fitted to the condition of
the husbandman? [42]
Notes on the Bankrupt Bill. Washington ed. ix, 431. Ford ed., vi, 145.
(Dec. 1792)


Page 73

This paper is without date. Jefferson gave it this
caption: “Extempore thoughts and doubts on very
superficially running over the bankrupt bill.” A
bankrupt bill, introduced in the House in December,
1792, by W. L. Smith, is probably the one referred to.—Editor.

681. BANKS, Abuses of.—

The crisis of
the abuses of banking is arrived. The banks
have pronounced their own sentence of death.
Between two and three hundred millions of
dollars of their promissory notes are in the
hands of the people, for solid produce and
property sold, and they formally declare they
will not pay them. This is an act of bankruptcy,
of course, and will be so pronounced
by any court before which it shall be brought.
But cui bono? The laws can only uncover
their insolvency, by opening to its suitors
their empty vaults. Thus by the dupery of
our citizens, and tame acquiescence of our
legislators, the nation is plundered of two or
three hundred millions of dollars, treble the
amount of debt contracted in the Revolutionary
war, and which, instead of redeeming our
liberty, has been expended on sumptuous
houses, carriages, and dinners. A fearful
tax! if equalized on all; but overwhelming
and convulsive by its partial fall.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 381.
(M. Sep. 1814)

682. BANKS, Abuses of.—[continued].

Everything predicted by
the enemies of banks, in the beginning, is now
coming to pass. We are to be ruined now by
the deluge of bank paper, as we were formerly
by the old Continental paper. It is cruel that
such revolutions in private fortunes should
be at the mercy of avaricious adventurers,
who, instead of employing their capital, if
any they have, in manufactures, commerce,
and other useful pursuits, make it an instrument
to burthen all the interchanges of property
with their swindling profits, profits
which are the price of no useful industry of
theirs. Prudent men must be on their guard
in this game of Robin's alive, and take care
that the spark does not extinguish in their
hands. I am an enemy to all banks discounting
bills or notes for anything but coin. But
our whole country is so fascinated by this
Jack-lantern wealth, that they will not stop
short of its total and fatal explosion. [43]
To Dr. Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 295.
(M. Jan. 1814)


This accordingly took place four years later.—
Note, Washington edition.

683. BANKS, Abuses of.—[further continued].

The enormous abuses of
the banking system are not only prostrating
our commerce, but producing revolution of
property, which without more wisdom than
we possess, will be much greater than were
produced by the Revolutionary paper. That,
too, had the merit of purchasing our liberties,
while the present trash has only furnished
aliment to usurers and swindlers.—
To Richard Rush. Ford ed., x, 133.
(M. June. 1819)

684. BANKS, Aristocracy.—

I hope we
shall * * * crush in its birth the aristocracy
of our moneyed corporations, which dare
already to challenge our government to a trial
of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of
our country.—
To George Logan. Ford ed., x, 69.
Nov. 1816)

685. BANKS, Aristocracy.—[continued].

The bank mania * * * is raising up a moneyed aristocracy in our
country which has already set the government
at defiance, and although forced at
length to yield a little on this first essay
of their strength, their principles are unyielded
and unyielding. These have taken
deep root in the hearts of that class from
which our legislators are drawn, and the sop
to Cerberus from fable has become history.
Their principles lay hold of the good, their
pelf of the bad, and thus those whom the Constitution
had placed as guards to its portals,
are sophisticated or suborned from their duties.—
To Dr. J. B. Stuart. Washington ed. vii, 64.
(M. 1817)

686. BANKS, Capital and.—

At the time
we were funding our national debt, we heard
much about “a public debt being a public
blessing”; that the stock representing it was
a creation of active capital for the aliment of
commerce, manufactures and agriculture.
This paradox was well adapted to the minds of
believers in dreams, and the gulls of that size
entered bonâ fide into it. But the art and mystery
of banks is a wonderful improvement on
that. It is established on the principle that
private debts are a public blessing.” That
the evidences of those private debts, called
bank notes, become active capital, and aliment
the whole commerce, manufactures, and agriculture
of the United States. Here are a set
of people, for instance, who have bestowed on
us the great blessing of running in our debt
about two hundred millions of dollars, without
our knowing who they are, where they
are, or what property they have to pay this
debt when called on; nay, who have made us
so sensible of the blessings of letting them
run in our debt, that we have exempted them
by law from the repayment of these debts beyond
a given proportion (generally estimated
at one-third). And to fill up the measure of
blessing, instead of paying, they receive an
interest on what they owe from those to
whom they owe; for all the notes, or evidences
of what they owe, which we see in
circulation, have been lent to somebody on
an interest which is levied again on us
through the medium of commerce. And they
are so ready still to deal out their liberalities
to us, that they are now willing to let themselves
run in our debt ninety millions more,
on our paying them the same premium of six
or eight per cent. interest, and on the same
legal exemption from the repayment of more
than thirty millions of the debt, when it shall
be called for. But let us look at this principle
in its original form, and its copy will then be
equally understood. “A public debt is a public
blessing.” That our debt was juggled
from forty-three up to eighty millions, and
funded at that amount, according to this opinion
was a great public blessing, because the
evidences of it could be vested in commerce,
and thus converted into active capital, and
then the more the debt was made to be, the
more active capital was created. That is to
say, the creditors could now employ in commerce
the money due them from the public,
and make from it an annual profit of five per
cent., or four millions of dollars. But observe,
that the public were at the same time
paying on it an interest of exactly the same


Page 74
amount of four millions of dollars. Where,
then, is the gain to either party, which makes
it a public blessing? There is no change in
the state of things, but of persons only. A
has a debt due to him from the public, of
which he holds their certificate as evidence,
and on which he is receiving an annual interest.
He wishes, however, to have the money
itself, and to go into business with it. B has
an equal sum of money in business, but wishes
now to retire, and live on the interest. He
therefore gives it to A in exchange for A's
certificates of public stock. Now, then, A has
the money to employ in business, which B so
employed before. B has the money on interest
to live on, which A lived on Before; and
the public pays the interest to B which they
paid to A before. Here is no new creation of
capital, no additional money employed, nor
even a change in the employment of a single
dollar. The only change is of place between
A and B in which we discover no creation of
capital, nor public blessing. Suppose, again,
the public to owe nothing. Then A not having
lent his money to the public, would be in
possession of it himself, and would go into
business without the previous operation of
selling stock. Here again, the same quantity
of capital is employed as in the former case,
though no public debt exists. In neither case
is there any creation of active capital, nor
other difference than that there is a public
debt in the first case, and none in the last;
and we safely ask which of the two situations
is most truly a public blessing? If,
then, a public debt be no public blessing, we
may pronounce, à fortiori, that a private one
cannot be so. If the debt which the banking
companies owe be a blessing to anybody,
it is to themselves alone, who are realizing a
solid interest of eight or ten per cent. on it.
As to the public, these companies have banished
all our gold and silver medium, which,
before their institution, we had without interest,
which never could have perished in
our hands, and would have been our salvation
now in the hour of war; instead of which
they have given us two hundred millions of
froth and bubble, on which we are to pay
them heavy interest, until it shall vanish into
air, as Morris's notes did. We are warranted,
then, in affirming that this parody on the principle
of “a public debt being a public blessing,
” and its mutation into the blessing of
private instead of public debts, is as ridiculous
as the original principle itself.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 239. Ford ed., ix, 411.
(M. Nov. 1813)

687. BANKS, Capital and.—[continued].

Capital may be produced
by industry, and accumulated by economy;
but jugglers only will propose to create it by
legerdemain tricks with paper.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 241. Ford ed., ix, 413.
(M. Nov. 1813)

688. BANKS, Criticism of.—

I am too
desirous of tranquillity to bring such a nest of
hornets on me as the fraternity of banking
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vi, 300.
(M. 1814)

689. BANKS, Dangerous.—

Banking establishments
are more dangerous than standing
To John Taylor. Washington ed. vi, 608. Ford ed., x, 31.
(M. 1816)

690. BANKS, Deposit.—

Banks of deposit,
where cash should be lodged, and a paper
acknowledgment taken out as its representative,
entitled to a return of the cash on
demand, would be convenient for remittances,
traveling persons, &c. But, liable as its cash
would be to be plifered and robbed, and its
paper to be fraudulently reissued, or issued
without deposit, it would require skilful and
strict regulation. This would differ from the
bank of Amsterdam, in the circumstance that
the cash could be redeemed on returning the
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 247. Ford ed., ix, 417.
(M. Nov. 1813)

691. BANKS, Depreciated Paper of.—

Everything predicted by the enemies of banks,
in the beginning, is now coming to pass. We
are to be ruined now by the deluge of bank
paper, as we were formerly by the old Continental
paper. It is cruel that such revolutions
in private fortunes should be at the
mercy of avaricious adventures, who, instead
of employing their capital, if they have any, in
manufactures, commerce, and other useful
pursuits, make it an instrument to burden all
the interchanges of property with their swindling
profits, profits which are the price of no
useful industry of theirs. Prudent men must
be on their guard in this game of Robin's
and take care that the spark does not
extinguish in their hands. I am an enemy
to all banks discounting bills or notes for
anything but coin. But our whole country is
so fascinated by this Jack-lantern wealth, that
they will not stop short of its total and fatal
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 295.
(M. Jan. 1814)

692. BANKS, Depreciated Paper of.—[continued].

Already there is so much
of their trash afloat that the great holders of
it show vast anxiety to get rid of it. They
perceive that now, as in the Revolutionary
war, we are engaged in the old game of Robin's
They are ravenous after lands and
stick at no price. In the neighborhood of
Richmond, the seat of that sort of sensibility,
they offer twice as much now as they would
give a year ago.—
To President Madison. Ford ed., ix, 453.
(M. Feb. 1814)

693. BANKS, Depreciated Paper of.—[further continued].

The depreciation of bank
paper swells nominal prices, without furnishing
any stable index of value. I will endeavor
briefly to give you an idea of this state of
things by an outline of its

In 1781 we had 1 bank, its capital $1,000,000.

In 1791 we had 6 banks, their capital $13,135,000.

In 1794 we had 17 banks, their capital $18,642,000.

In 1796 we had 24 banks, their capital $20,472,000.

In 1803 we had 34 banks, their capital $29,112,000.

In 1804 we had 66 banks, their amount of
capital not known.


Page 75

And at this time we have probably one
hundred banks, with capital amounting to
one hundred millions of dollars, on which
they are authorized by law to issue notes to
three times that amount, so that our circulating
medium may now be estimated at from two
to three hundred millions of dollars, on a
population of eight and a half millions. The
banks were able for awhile, to keep this trash
at par with metallic money, or rather to depreciate
the metals to a par with their paper,
by keeping deposits of cash sufficient to exchange
for such of their notes as they were
called on to pay in cash. But the circumstances
of the war draining away all our
specie, all these banks have stopped payment,
but with a promise to resume specie exchanges
whenever circumstances shall produce
a return of the metals. Some of the most
prudent and honest will possibly do this; but
the mass of them never will nor can. Yet,
having no other medium, we take their paper,
of necessity, for purposes of the instant,
but never to lay by us. The government is
now issuing treasury notes for circulation,
bottomed on solid funds, and bearing interest.
The banking confederacy (and the merchants
bound to them by their debts) will endeavor
to crush the credit of these notes; but the
country is eager for them, as something they
can trust to, and so soon as a convenient
quantity of them can get into circulation, the
bank notes die.—
To Jean Baptiste Say. Washington ed. vi, 434.
(M. March. 1815)

694. BANKS, Difficulties caused by.—

For the emolument of a small proportion of
our society, who prefer those demoralizing
pursuits [banking and commerce] to labors
useful to the whole, the peace of the whole
is endangered, and all our present difficulties
To Abbe Salimankis. Washington ed. v, 516.
(M. 1810)

695. BANKS, Difficulties caused by.—[continued].

The fatal possession of
the whole circulating medium by our banks,
the excess of those institutions, and their
present discredit, cause all our difficulties.—
To W. H. Crawford. Washington ed. vi, 419. Ford ed., ix, 503.
(M. Feb. 1815)

696. BANKS, Dominion of.—

The dominion
of the banks must be broken, or it
will break us.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 409. Ford ed., ix, 498.
(M. Jan. 1815)

697. BANKS, Dropsical.—

I wish I could
see Congress get into a better train of finance.
Their banking projects are like dosing dropsy
with more water. * * * Their new bank,
if not abortive at its birth, will not last
through one campaign; and the taxes proposed
cannot be paid.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vi, 400.
(M. Nov. 1814)

698. BANKS, Evils of.—

The evils they
[the banks] have engendered are now upon
us, and the question is how we are to get out
of them? Shall we build an altar to the old
paper money of the Revolution, which ruined
individuals but saved the republic, and burn
on that all the bank charters, present and future,
and their notes with them? For these
are to ruin both republic and individuals.
This cannot be done. The mania is too
strong. It has seized by its delusions and
corruptions, all the members of our governments,
general, special and individual.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 305.
(M. Jan. 1814)

699. BANKS, Evils of.—[continued].

I think it impossible but
that the whole system must blow up before
the year is out; and thus a tax of three or
four hundred millions will be levied on our
citizens who had found it a work of so much
time and labor to pay off a debt of eighty
millions which had redeemed them from bondage.—
To President Madison. Ford ed., ix, 453.
(M. Feb. 1814)

700. BANKS, Evils of.—[further continued].

I see that this infatuation
of banks must take its course, until actual ruin
shall awaken us from its delusions. Until the
gigantic banking propositions of this winter
had made their appearance in the different
Legislatures. I had hoped that the evil might
still be checked; but I see now that it is desperate,
and that we must fold our arms and
go to the bottom with the ship.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vi, 300.
(M. Jan. 1814)

701. BANKS, Evils of.—[further continued] .

The evils of this deluge
of paper money are not to be removed until
our citizens are generally and radically instructed
in their cause and consequences, and
silence by their authority the interested clamors
and sophistry of speculating, shaving,
and banking institutions. Till then we must
be content to return, quoad hoc, to the savage
state, to recur to barter in the exchange of
our property, for want of a stable, common
measure of value, that now in use being less
fixed than the beads and wampum of the Indian,
and to deliver up our citizens, their
property and their labor, passive victims to
the swindling tricks of bankers and mountebankers.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 115.
(M. 1819)

702. BANKS, Excess of.—

That we are
overdone with banking institutions, which
have banished the precious metals, and substituted
a more fluctuating and unsafe medium,
that these have withdrawn capital from
useful improvements and employments to
nourish idleness * * * are evils more
easily to be deplored than remedied.—
To Abbe Salimankis. Washington ed. v, 516.
(M. 1810)

703. BANKS, Excess of.—[continued].

A parcel of mushroom
banks have set up in every State, have filled
the country with their notes, and have thereby
banished all our specie. A twelvemonth ago
they all declared they could not pay cash for
their own notes, and notwithstanding this act
of bankruptcy, this trash has of necessity been
passing among us, because we have no other
medium of exchange, and is still taken and
passed from hand to hand, as you remember
the old Continental money to have been in
the Revolutionary war; every one getting rid
of it as quickly as he can, by laying it out in
property of any sort at double, treble and
manifold higher prices. * * * A general
crush is daily expected when this trash will
be lost in the hands of the holders. This will
take place the moment some specie returns


Page 76
among us, or so soon as the government will
issue bills of circulation. The little they have
issued is greatly sought after, and a premium
given for them which is rising fast.—
To Phillip Mazzei. Ford ed., ix, 524.
(M. Aug. 1815)

704. BANKS, Failures of.—

The failure
of our banks will occasion embarrassment for
awhile, although it restores to us a fund
which ought never to have been surrendered
by the nation, and which now, prudently used,
will carry us through all the fiscal difficulties
of the war.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. vi, 386.
(M. Sep. 1814)

705. BANKS, Failures of.—[continued].

The banks have discontinued
themselves. We are now without any
medium; and necessity, as well as patriotism,
and confidence, will make us all eager to receive
treasury notes, if founded on specific
taxes. Congress may now borrow of the public,
and without interest, all the money they
may want, to the amount of a competent circulation,
by merely issuing their own promissory
notes, of proper denominations for the
larger purposes of circulation, but not for the
small. Leave that door open for the entrance
of metallic money.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 382.
(M. Sep. 1814)

706. BANKS, Failures of.—[further continued].

Providence seems, indeed,
by a special dispensation, to have put
down for us, without a struggle, that very
paper enemy which the interest of our citizens
long since required ourselves to put
down, at whatever risk. The work is done.
The moment is pregnant with futurity, and
if not seized at once by Congress, I know not
on what shoal our bark is next to be stranded.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 382.
(M. Sep. 1814)

707. BANKS, Failures of.—[further continued] .

The crush will be tremendous;
very different from that brought
on by our paper money. That rose and fell
so gradually that it kept all on their guard,
and affected severely only early or longwinded
contracts. Here the contract of yesterday
crushes in an instant the one or the other
party. The banks stopping payment suddenly,
all their mercantile and city debtors do the
same; and all, in short, except those in the
country, who, possessing property, will be
good in the end. But this resource will not
enable them to pay a cent on the dollar.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 381.
(M. Sep. 1814)

708. BANKS, Failures of.—[further continued].

The paper interest is now defunct. Their gossamer castles are dissolved,
and they can no longer impede and
overawe the salutary measures of the government.
Their paper was received on a belief
that it was cash on demand. Themselves
have declared it was nothing, and such
scenes are now to take place as will open the
eyes of credulity and of insanity itself to the
dangers of a paper medium, abandoned to
the discretion of avarice and of swindlers. It
is impossible not to deplore our past follies,
and their present consequences, but let them
at least be warnings against like follies in
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 382.
(M. Sep. 1814)

709. BANKS, Fictitious Capital.—

banks themselves were doing business on capitals,
three-fourths of which were fictitious;
and to extend their profit they furnished fictitious
capital to every man, who having nothing
and disliking the labors of the plow,
chose rather to call himself a merchant, to
set up a house of $5,000 a year expense, to
dash into every species of mercantile gambling,
and if that ended as gambling generally
does, a fraudulent bankruptcy was an
ultimate resource of retirement and competence.
This fictitious capital, probably of one
hundred millions of dollars, is now to be lost,
and to fall on somebody; it must take on those
who have property to meet it, and probably
on the less cautious part, who, not aware of
the impending catastrophe have suffered
themselves to contract, or to be in debt, and
must now sacrifice their property of a value
many times the amount of their debt. We
have been truly sowing the wind, and are
now reaping the whirlwind. If the present
crisis should end in the annihilation of these
pennyless and ephemeral interlopers only, and
reduce our commerce to the measure of our
own wants and surplus productions, it will
be a benefit in the end. But how to effect this,
and give time to real capital, and the holders
of real property, to back out of their enfanglements
by degrees requires more knowledge
of political economy than we possess. I believe
it might be done, but I despair of its
being done. The eyes of our citizens are not
sufficiently open to the true cause of our distress.
They ascribe them to everything but
their true cause, the banking system; a system,
which, if it could do good in any form,
is yet so certain of leading to abuse, as to be
utterly incompatible with the public safety
and prosperity. At present, all is confusion,
uncertainty and panic.—
To Richard Rush. Ford ed., x, 133.
(M. June. 1819)

710. BANKS, Government Deposits and.—

The application of the Bank of Baltimore
is of great importance. The consideration
is very weighty that it is held by citizens,
while the stock of the United States bank is
held in so great a proportion by foreigners.
Were the Bank of the United States to swallow
up the others and monopolize the whole
banking business of the United States, which
the demands we furnish them with tend
shortly to favor, we might, on a misunderstanding
with a foreign power, be immensely
embarrassed by any disaffection in that bank.
It is certainly for the public good to keep all
the banks competitors for our favors by a judicious
distribution of them, and thus to engage
the individuals who belong to them in
the support of the reformed order of things,
or at least in an acquiescence under it. I
suppose that, on the condition of participating
in the deposits, the banks would be willing to
make such communications of their operations
and the state of their affairs as might
satisfy the Secretary of the Treasury of their
stability. It is recommended to Mr. Gallatin
to leave such an opening in his answer to this
letter, as to leave us free to do hereafter what


Page 77
shall be advisable on a broad view of all the
banks in the different parts of the Union.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 172.
(Oct. 1802)

711. BANKS, Government Deposits and.—[continued].

As to the patronage of
the Republican Bank at Providence, I am decidedly
in favor of making all the banks republican,
by sharing deposits with them in
proportion to the dispositions they show. If
the law now forbids it, we should not permit
another session of Congress to pass without
amending it. It is material to the safety of
republicanism to detach the mercantile interest
from its enemies and incorporate them
into the body of its friends.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 252.
(July. 1803)

712. BANKS, Jefferson's disapprobation of Paper.—

My original disapprobation of banks circulating paper is not unknown,
nor have I since observed any effects either on
the morals or fortunes of our citizens, which
are any counter balance for the public evils
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 203. Ford ed., ix, 402.
Sep. 1813)

713. BANKS, Jefferson's disapprobation of Paper.—[continued].

The toleration of banks
of paper-discount costs the United States one
half their war taxes; or, in other words,
doubles the expense of every war.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 201. Ford ed., ix, 400.
Sep. 1813)

714. BANKS, Jefferson's disapprobation of Paper.—[further continued].

From the establishment
of the United States Bank to this day, I have
preached against this system, and have been
sensible no cure could be hoped, but in the
catastrophe now happening.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 381.
(M. 1814)

715. BANKS, Jefferson's disapprobation of Paper.—[further continued] .

I have ever been the enemy
of banks, not of those discounting for
cash, but of those foisting their own paper
into circulation, and thus banishing our cash.
My zeal against those institutions was so
warm and open at the establishment of the
Bank of the United States, that I was derided
as a maniac by the tribe of bank-mongers,
who were seeking to filch from the public
their swindling and barren gains.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 305.
(M. Jan. 1814)

716. BANKS, Jefferson's disapprobation of Paper.—[further continued].

I am an enemy to all
banks discounting bills or notes for anything
but coin.—
To Dr. Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 295.
(M. Jan. 1814)

717. BANKS, Jefferson's disapprobation of Paper.—[further continued] .

The system of banking
we have both equally and ever reprobated.
I contemplate it as a blot left in all our constitutions,
which, if not covered, will end in
their destruction, which is already hit by the
gamblers in corruption, and is sweeping away
in its progress the fortunes and morals of our
To John Taylor. Washington ed. vi, 605. Ford ed., x, 28.
(M. May. 1816)

718. BANKS, Jefferson's disapprobation of Paper.—[further continued].

I do not know whether
you may recollect how loudly my voice was
raised against the establishment of banks in
the beginning; but like that of Cassandra it
was not listened to. I was set down as a
madman by those who have since been victims
to them. I little thought then how much
I was to suffer by them myself; for I, too, am
taken in by endorsements for a friend to the
amount of $20,000, for the payment of which
I shall have to make sale of that much of my
property. And yet the general revolution of
fortunes, which these instruments have produced,
seems not at all to have cured our
country of this mania.—
To Thomas Leiper. Ford ed., x, 254.
(May. 1823)

719. BANKS, Mania for.—

We are undone
if this banking mania be not suppressed.
Aut Carthago, aut Roma delenda est.
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. vi, 498.
(M. Oct. 1815)

720. BANKS, Mania for.—[continued].

The mania * * * has
seized, by its delusions and corruptions, all
the members of our governments, general,
special, and individual.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 306.
(M. Jan. 1814)

721. BANKS, Mania for.—[further continued].

Knowing well that the
Bank mania still possessed the great body of
our countrymen, it was not expected that any
radical cure of that could be at once effected.
We must go further wrong, probably to a ne
plus ultra
before we shall be forced into what
is right. Something will be obtained however,
if we can excite, in those who think,
doubt first, reflection next, and conviction at
To Joseph C. Cabell. Ford ed., ix, 499.
(M. 1815)

722. BANKS, Mania for.—[further continued] .

Like a dropsical man
calling out for water, water, our deluded citizens
are clamoring for more banks, more
banks. The American mind is now in that
state of fever which the world has so often
seen in the history of other nations. We are
under the bank bubble, as England was under
the South Sea bubble, France under the Mississippi
bubble, and as every nation is liable to
be, under whatever bubble, design or delusion
may puff up in moments when off their guard.—
To Charles Yancey. Washington ed. vi, 515. Ford ed., x, 2.
(M. Jan. 1816)

723. BANKS, Mania for.—[further continued].

This infatuation of banks
is a torrent which it would be a folly for me
to get in the way of. I see that it must take
its course, until actual ruin shall awaken us
from its delusions.—
To Joseph C. Cabell. Washington ed. vi, 300.
(M. Jan. 1814)

724. BANKS, Monopoly.—

The monopoly
of a single bank is certainly an evil. The
multiplication of them was intended to cure
it; but it multiplied an influence of the same
character with the first, and completed the
supplanting of the precious metals by a paper
circulation. Between such parties the less we
meddle the better.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. iv, 446. Ford ed., viii, 158.
(W. 1802)

725. BANKS, Paper.—

Interdict forever,
to both the State and National governments
the power of establishing any paper bank; for
without this interdiction we shall have the
same ebbs and flows of medium, and the same
revolutions of property to go through every
twenty or thirty years.—
To W. C. Rives. Washington ed. vii, 147. Ford ed., x, 151.
(M. 1819)

726. BANKS, Power to establish.—

States should be applied to, to transfer the


Page 78
right of issuing circulating paper to Congress
exclusively, in perpetuum, if possible, but during
the war at least, with a saving of charter
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 140. Ford ed., ix, 393.
(M. June. 1813)

727. BANKS, Power to establish.—[continued].

The States should be
urged to concede to the General Government,
with a saving of chartered rights, the exclusive
power of establishing banks of discount
for paper.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 427. Ford ed., ix, 417.
(M. Nov. 1813)

728. BANKS, Power to establish.—[further continued].

I still believe that on
proper representations of the subject, a great
proportion of the Legislatures would cede to
Congress their power of establishing banks,
saving the charter rights already granted.
And this should be asked, not by way of
amendment to the Constitution, because until
three-fourths should consent, nothing could
be done; but accepted from them one by one,
singly, as their consent might be obtained.
Any single State, even if no other should
come into the measure, would find its interest
in arresting foreign bank paper immediately,
and its own by degrees. Specie would flow
in on them as paper disappeared. Their own
banks would call in and pay off their notes
gradually, and their constituents would thus
be saved from the general wreck. Should the
greater part of the States concede, as is expected,
their power over banks to Congress,
besides insuring their own safety, the paper of
the non-conceding States might be so checked
and circumscribed, by prohibiting its receipt
in any of the conceding States, and even in
the non-conceding as to duties, taxes, judgments,
or other demands of the United
States, or of the citizens of other States, that
it would soon die of itself, and the medium
of gold and silver be universally restored.
This is what ought to be done. But
it will not be done. Carthago non delibitur.
The overbearing clamor of merchants,
speculators, and projectors, will drive us before
them with our eyes open, until, as in
France, under the Mississippi bubble, our citizens
will be overtaken by the crash of this
baseless fabric, without other satisfaction than
that of execrations on the heads of those functionaries,
who, from ignorance, pusillanimity
or corruption, have betrayed the fruits of
their industry into the hands of projectors
and swindlers.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 245. Ford ed., ix, 415.
(M. Nov. 1813)

729. BANKS, Power to establish.—[further continued] .

The State Legislature
should be immediately urged to relinquish the
right of establishing banks of discount. Most
of them will comply, on patriotic principles,
under the convictions of the moment and the
non-complying may be crowded into concurrence
by legitimate devices.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 382.
(M. Sep. 1814)

730. BANKS, Power to establish.—[further continued].

I do not remember the
conversation between us which you mention
* * * on your proposition to vest in Congress
the exclusive power of establishing
banks. My opposition to it must have been
grounded, not on taking the power from the
States, but on leaving any vestige of it in ex
istence, even in the hands of Congress, because
it would only have been a change of
the organ of abuse.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 305.
(M. Jan. 1814)

731. BANKS, Precautions against.—

order to be able to meet a general combination
of the banks against us, in a critical emergency,
could we not make a beginning towards
an independent use of our own money,
towards holding our own bank in all the deposits
where it is received, and letting the
treasurer give his draft or note, for payment
at any particular place, which, in a well-conducted
government, ought to have as much
credit as any private draft, or bank note, or
bill, and would give us the same facilities
which we derive from the banks.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 520. Ford ed., viii, 285.
(W. Dec. 1803)

732. BANKS, Private Fortunes and.—

Private fortunes, in the present state of our
circulation, are at the mercy of those selfcreated
money-lenders, and are prostrated by
the floods of nominal money with which their
avarice deluges us. He who lent his money
to the public or to an individual, before the
institution of the United States Bank, twenty
years ago, when wheat was well sold at a
dollar the bushel, and receives now his nominal
sum when it sells at two dollars, is
cheated of half his fortune; and by whom?
By the banks, which, since that, have thrown
into circulation ten dollars of their nominal
money where there was one at that time.—
To John W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 142. Ford ed., ix, 394.
(M. June. 1813)

733. BANKS, Private Fortunes and.—[continued].

It is cruel that such revolutions
in private fortunes should be at the
mercy of avaricious adventurers, who instead
of employing their capital, if any they
have, in manufactures, commerce, and other
useful pursuits, make it an instrument to burden
all the interchanges of property with their
swindling profits, profits which are the price
of no useful industry of theirs.—
To Dr. Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 295.
(M. 1814)

734. BANKS, Private Fortunes and.—[further continued].

The flood of paper money
had produced an exaggeration of nominal
prices, and at the same time a facility of obtaining
money, which not only encouraged
speculations on fictitious capital, but seduced
those of real capital, even in private life, to
contract debts too freely. Had things continued
in the same course, these might have
been manageable; but the operations of the
United States bank for the demolition of the
State banks obliged these suddenly to call in
more than half their paper, crushed all fictitious
and doubtful capital, and reduced the
prices of property and produce suddenly to
one-third of what they had been.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., x, 176.
(M. Dec. 1820)

735. BANKS, Scarcity of Medium and.—

Instead of yielding to the cries of scarcity
of medium set up by speculators, projectors
and commercial gamblers, no endeavors
should be spared to begin the work of reducing
it by such gradual means as may give


Page 79
time to private fortunes to preserve their
poise, and settle down with the subsiding
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 246. Ford ed., ix, 417.
(M. Nov. 1813)

736. BANKS, Scarcity of Medium and.—[continued].

We are called on to add
ninety millions more to the circulation. Proceeding
in this career, it is infallible, that we
must end where the Revolutionary paper
ended. Two hundred millions was the whole
amount of all the emissions of the old Congress,
at which point their bills ceased to circulate.
We are now at that sum, but with
treble the population, and of course a longer
tether. Our depreciation is, as yet, but about
two for one. Owing to the support its credit
receives from the small reservoirs of specie in
the vaults of the banks, it is impossible to say
at what point their notes will stop. Nothing
is necessary to effect it but a general alarm;
and that may take place whenever the public
shall begin to reflect on, and perceive the impossibility
that the banks should repay this
sum. At present, caution is inspired no
farther than to keep prudent men from selling
property on long payments. Let us suppose
the panic to arise at three hundred millions, a
point to which every session of the Legislature
hastens us by long strides. Nobody
dreams that they would have three hundred
millions of specie to satisfy the holders of
their notes. Were they even to stop now, no
one supposes they have two hundred millions
in cash, or even the sixty-six and two-third
millions, to which amount alone the law compels
them to repay. One hundred and thirtythree
and one-third millions of loss, then, is
thrown on the public by law; and as to the
sixty-six and two-thirds, which they are legally
bound to pay, and ought to have in their
vaults, every one knows there is no such
amount of cash in the United States, and
what would be the course with what they
really have there? Their notes are refused.
Cash is called for. The inhabitants of the
banking towns will get what is in the vaults,
until a few banks declare their insolvency;
when, the general crush becoming evident,
the others will withdraw even the cash they
have, declare their bankruptcy at once, and
have an empty house and empty coffers for
the holders of their notes. In this scramble
of creditors, the country gets nothing, the
towns but little. What are they to do? Bring
suits? A million of creditors bring a million
of suits against John Nokes and Robert
Styles, wheresoever to be found? All nonsense.
The loss is total. And a sum is thus
swindled from our citizens, of seven times
the amount of the real debt, and four times
that of the fictitious one of the United States,
at the close of the war. All this they will
justly charge on their Legislatures; but this
will be poor satisfaction for the two or three
hundred millions they will have lost. It is
time, then, for the public functionaries to look
to this. Perhaps it may not be too late. Perhaps,
by giving time to the banks, they May
call in and pay off their paper by degrees.
But no remedy is ever to be expected while
it rests with the State Legislatures. Personal
motive can be excited through so many avenues
to their will, that, in their hands, it will
continue to go on from bad to worse, until
the catastrophe overwhelms us.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 243. Ford ed., ix, . 414.
(M. Nov. 1813)

737. BANKS, Scarcity of Medium and.—[further continued].

Our circulating paper of
the last year was estimated at two hundred
millions of dollars. The new banks now
petitioned for, to the several Legislatures, are
for about sixty millions additional capital, and
of course one hundred and eighty millions
of additional circulation, nearly doubling that
of the last year, and raising the whole mass
to near four hundred millions, or forty for
one, of the wholesome amount of circulation
for a population of eight millions circumstanced
as we are, and you remember how
rapidly our money went down after our forty
for one establishment in the Revolution. I
doubt if the present trash can hold as long.
I think the three hundred and eighty millions
must blow all up in the course of the
present year, or certainly it will be consummated
by the reduplication to take place of
course at the legislative meetings of the next
winter. Should not prudent men, who possess
stock in any moneyed institution, either
draw and hoard the cash now while they can,
or exchange it for canal stock, or such other
as being bottomed on immovable property
will remain unhurt by the crush?—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 306.
(M. Jan. 1814)

738. BANKS, Scarcity of Medium and.—[further continued] .

Two hundred millions in
actual circulation and two hundred millions
more likely to be legitimated by the legislative
sessions of this winter, will give us about
forty times the wholesome circulation for
eight millions of people. When the new emissions
get out, our legislatures will see, what
they otherwise cannot believe, that it is possible
to have too much money.—
To President Madison. Ford ed., ix, 453.
(M. Feb. 1814)

739. BANKS, Scarcity of Medium and.—[further continued].

The evils of this deluge
of paper money are not to be removed, until
our citizens are generally and radically instructed
in their course and consequences,
and silence by their authority the interested
clamors and sophistry of speculating, shaving,
and banking institutions. Till then we
must be content to return, quoad hoc, to the
savage state, to recur to barter in the exchange
of our property, for the want of a
stable, common measure of value, that now in
use being less fixed than the beads and
wampum of the Indian, and to deliver up our
citizens, their property and their labor, passive
victims to the swindling tricks of bankers
and mountebankers.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 115.
(M. 1819)

740. BANKS, Sound Money.—

But, it will be asked, are we to have no banks? Are merchants
and others to be deprived of the resource
of short accommodations, found so convenient?
I answer, let us have banks; but
let them be such as are alone to be found in
any country on earth, except Great Britain.
There is not a bank of discount on the continent


Page 80
of Europe (at least there was not one when I was there), which offers anything
but cash in exchange for discounted bills.
No one has a natural right to the trade of a
money lender, but he who has the money to
lend. Let those then among us, who have a
moneyed capital, and who prefer employing
it in loans rather than otherwise, set up
banks, and give cash or national bills for the
notes they discount. Perhaps, to encourage
them, a larger interest than is legal in the
other cases might be allowed them, on the
condition of their lending for short periods
only. It is from Great Britain we copy the
idea of giving paper in exchange for discounted
bills; and while we have derived
from that country some good principles of
government and legislation, we unfortunately
run into the most servile imitations of all her
practices, ruinous as they prove to her, and
with the gulf yawning before us into which
these very practices are precipitating her.—
To John W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 141. Ford ed., ix, 394.
(M. June. 1813)

741. BANKS, Sound Money.—[continued].

Let banks continue if
they please, but let them discount for cash
alone or for treasury notes. They discount
for cash alone in every other country on
earth except Great Britain, and her too often
unfortunate copyist, the United States. If
taken in time they may be rectified by degrees,
but if let alone till the alternative forces itself
on us, of submitting to the enemy for
want of funds, or the suppression of bank
paper, either by law or by convulsion, we cannot
foresee how it will end.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 199. Ford ed., ix, 399.
Sep. 1813)

742. BANKS, Sound Money.—[further continued].

To the existence of banks
of discount for cash, as on the continent of
Europe, there can be no objection, because
there can be no danger of abuse, and they
are a convenience both to merchants and individuals.
I think they should even be encouraged,
by allowing them a larger than
legal interest on short discounts, and tapering
thence in proportion as the term of discount
is lengthened, down to legal interest on those
of a year or more.—
To J. W. Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 247. Ford ed., ix, 417.
(M. Nov. 1813)

743. BANKS, Suspend Specie Payments.—

The paper bubble is burst. This is
what you and I, and every reasoning man,
seduced by no obliquity of mind or interest,
have long foreseen. We were laboring under
a dropsical fulness of circulating medium.
Nearly all of it is now called in by the banks,
who have the regulation of the safety-valves
of our fortunes, and who condense and explode
them at their will. Lands in this State
[Virginia] cannot now be sold for a year's
rent; and unless our Legislature have wisdom
enough to effect a remedy by a gradual
diminution only of the medium, there will
be a general revolution of property in this
State. Over our own paper and that of other
States coming among us, they have competent
powers; over that of the Bank of the United
States there is doubt, not here, but elsewhere.
That bank will probably conform voluntarily
to such regulations as the Legislature May
prescribe for the others. If they do not, we
must shut their doors, and join the other
States which deny the right of Congress to
establish banks, and solicit them to agree to
some mode of settling this constitutional
question. They have themselves twice decided
against their right, and twice for it.
Many of the States have been uniform in
denying it, and between such parties the Constitution
has provided no umpire.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 142. Ford ed., x, 147.
(M. Nov. 1819)

See Money and Paper Money.

744. BANNEKER (Benjamin), Talents of.—

We have now in the United States a
negro, the son of a black man born in Africa,
and a black woman born in the United States,
who is a very respectable mathematician. I
procured him to be employed under one of our
chief directors in laying out the new Federal
city on the Potomac, and in the intervals of
his leisure, while on that work, he made an
almanac for the next year, which he sent me
in his own handwriting, and which I enclose to
you. I have seen very elegant solutions of
geometrical problems by him. Add to this that
he is a very worthy and respectable member of
society. He is a free man. I shall be delighted
to see these instances of moral eminence so
multiplied as to prove that the want of talents,
observed in them, is merely the effect of their
degraded condition, and not proceeding from
any difference in the structure of the parts on
which intellect depends.—
To Marquis de Condorcet. Ford ed., v, 379.
(Pa., 1791)

745. BARBARISM, America and.—

We are destined to be a barrier against the return
of ignorance and barbarism.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 27.
(M. 1816)

746. BARBARISM, End to.—

* * * will in time, I trust, disappear from the
To William Ludlow. Washington ed. vii, 377.
(M. 1824)

— BARBARY STATES, Algerine Captives.—

See Captives.

747. BARBARY STATES, A Confederation against.—

I was very unwilling that
we should acquiesce in the European humiliation
of paying a tribute to those * * * pirates,
and endeavored to form an association
of the powers subject to habitual depredations
from them. I accordingly prepared, and
proposed to their ministers at Paris, for consultation
with their governments, articles of a
special confederation.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 65. Ford ed., i, 91.

748. BARBARY STATES, Confederation Articles.—

Proposals for concerted
operation among the powers at war with the
piratical States of Barbary: 1. It is proposed,
that the several powers at war with the piratical
States of Barbary, or any two or more of
them who shall be willing, shall enter into a
convention to carry on their operations against
those States, in concert, beginning with the
Algerines. 2. This convention shall remain
open to any other power who shall at any future
time wish to accede to it; the parties reserving
the right to prescribe the conditions of
such accession, according to the circumstances
existing at the time it shall be proposed. 3.


Page 81
The object of the convention shall be to compel
the piratical States to perpetual peace, without
price, and to guarantee that peace to each other.
4. The operations for obtaining this peace shall
be constant cruisers on their coast, with a naval
force now to be agreed on. It is not proposed
that this force shall be so considerable as to be
inconvenient to any party. It is believed that
half a dozen frigates, with as many tenders or
Xebecs, one half of which shall be in cruise,
while the other half is at rest, will suffice. 5.
The force agreed to be necessary shall be furnished
by the parties in certain quotas now to
be fixed; it being expected that each will be
willing to contribute in such proportion as circumstances
may render reasonable. 6. The miscarriages
often proceed from the want of harmony
among officers of different nations, the
parties shall now consider and decide whether
it will not be better to contribute their quotas
in money to be employed in fitting out, and
keeping on duty, a single fleet of the force
agreed on. 7. The difficulties and delays too
which will attend the management of these
operations, if conducted by the parties themselves
separately, distant as their Courts May
be from one another, and incapable of meeting
in consultation, suggest a question whether it
will not be better for them to give full powers
for that purpose to their Ambassadors or other
Ministers Resident at some one Court of Europe,
who shall form a Committee or Council
for carrying this convention into effect; wherein
the vote of each member shall be computed in
proportion to the quota of his sovereign, and
the majority so computed shall prevail in all
questions within the view of this convention.
The Court of Versailles is proposed, on account
of its neighborhood to the Mediterranean, and
because all those powers are represented there,
who are likely to become parties to this convention.
8. To save to that council the embarrassment
of personal solicitations for office, and
to assure the parties that their contributions
will be applied solely to the object for which
they are destined, there shall be no establishment
of officers for the said Council, such as
Commissioners, Secretaries, or any other kind,
with either salaries or perquisites, nor any
other lucrative appointments but such whose
functions are to be exercised on board the said
vessels. 9. Should war arise between any two
of the parties to this convention it shall not
extend to this enterprise, nor interrupt it; but
as to this they shall be reputed at peace. 10.
When Algiers shall be reduced to peace, the
other piratical States, if they refuse to discontinue
their piracies, shall become the objects
of this convention, either successively or
together, as shall seem best. 11. Where this
convention would interfere with treaties actually
existing between any two of the parties and
the said States of Barbary, the treaty shall
prevail, and such party shall be allowed to
withdraw from the operations against that
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 65. Ford ed., i, 91.

749. BARBARY STATES, Congress and.—

Nothing was now wanting to bring it
into direct and formal consideration but the
assent of our government, and their authority
to make the formal proposition. I communicated
to them the favorable prospect of
protecting our commerce from the Barbary
depredations, and for such a continuance of
time as, by an exclusion of them from the
sea, to change their habits and characters
from a predatory to an agricultural people:
towards which however it was expected they
would contribute a frigate, and its expenses
to be in constant cruise. But they were in
no condition to make any such engagement.
Their recommendatory powers for obtaining
contributions were so openly neglected by the
several States that they declined an engagement
which they were conscious they could
not fulfil with punctuality; and so it fell
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 67. Ford ed., i, 93.

750. BARBARY STATES, Europe and.—

Spain had just concluded a treaty with Algiers,
at the expense of three millions of dollars,
and did not like to relinquish the benefit
of that until the other party should fail in their
observance of it. Portugal, Naples, the two
Sicilies, Venice, Malta, Denmark and Sweden
were favorably disposed to such an association;
but their representatives at Paris expressed
apprehensions that France would interfere, and,
either openly or secretly support the Barbary
powers; and they required that I should ascertain
the dispositions of the Count de Vergennes
on the subject. I had before taken occasion
to inform him of what we were proposing, and
therefore did not think it proper to insinuate
any doubt of the fair conduct of his government;
but stating our propositions, I mentioned
the apprehensions entertained by us that England
would interfere in behalf of those piratical
governments. “She dares not do it,” said
he. I pressed it no further. The other Agents
were satisfied with this indication of his sentiments.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 67. Ford ed., i, 3.

751. BARBARY STATES, Great Britain and.—

I hinted to the Count de Vergennes
that I thought the English capable of
administering aid to the Algerines. He seemed
to think it impossible on account of the scandal
it would bring on them.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 575. Ford ed., iv, 228.
(P. 1786)

752. BARBARY STATES, Jefferson's Views on.—

Our instructions relative to the
Barbary States having required us to proceed
by way of negotiation to obtain their peace, it
became our duty to do this to the best of our
power. Whatever might be our private opinions,
they were to be suppressed, and the line
marked out to us was to be followed. It has
been so, honestly and zealously. It was, therefore,
never material for us to consult together,
on the best plan of conduct toward these States.
I acknowledge, I very early thought it would be
best to effect a peace through the medium of
war. Though it is a question with which we
have nothing to do, yet as you propose some
discussion of it, I shall trouble you with my
reasons. Of the four positions laid down by
you, I agree to the three first, which are, in
substance, that the good offices of our friends
cannot procure us a peace without paying its
price; that they cannot materially lessen that
price; and that paying it, we can have the
peace in spite of the intrigues of our enemies.
As to the fourth, that the longer the negotiation
is delayed, the larger will be the demand;
this will depend on the intermediate captures:
if they are many and rish, the price may be
raised; if few and poor, it will be lessened.
However, if it is decided that we shall buy a
peace, I know no reason for delaying the operation,
but should rather think it ought to be
hastened; but I should prefer the obtaining it
by war. 1. Justice is in favor of this opinion.
2. Honor favors it. 3. It will procure us respect
in Europe; and respect is a safeguard to


Page 82
interest. 4. It will arm the Federal head with
the safest of all the instruments of coercion
over its delinquent members, and prevent it
from using what would be less safe. I think
that so far, you go with me. But in the next
steps, we shall differ. 5. I think it least expensive.
I ask a fleet of one hundred and fifty
guns, the one-half of which shall be in constant
cruise. This fleet, built, manned and victualled
for six months will cost four hundred and fifty
thousand pounds sterling. Its annual expense
will be three hundred pounds sterling a gun,
including everything; this will be forty-five
thousand pounds sterling a year. I take the
British experience for the basis of my calculation;
though we know, from our own experience,
that we can do it in this way, for pounds
lawful, what costs them pounds sterling. Were
we to charge all this to the Algerine war, it
would amount to little more than we must pay,
if we buy peace. But as it is proper and necessary
that we should establish a small marine
force (even were we to buy a peace from the
Algerines), and as that force, laid up in our
dockyards, would cost us half as much annually,
as if kept in order for service, we have a
right to say that only twenty-two thousand and
five hundred pounds sterling, per annum, should
be charged to the Algerine war. 6. It will be
as effectual. To all the mismanagements of
Spain and Portugal, urged to show that war
against these people is ineffectual, I urge a
single fact to prove the contrary, where there is
any management. About forty years ago, the
Algerines having broken their treaty with
France, that court sent Monsieur de Massiac,
with one large and two small frigates; he blockaded
the harbor of Algiers three months, and
they subscribed to the terms he proposed. If it
be admitted, however, that war, on the fairest
prospects, is still exposed to uncertainties, I
weigh against this the greater uncertainty of
the duration of a peace bought with money,
from such a people, from a Dey eighty years
old, and by a nation who, on the hypothesis of
buying peace, is to have no power on the sea
to enforce an observance of it. So far, I have
gone on the supposition that the whole weight
of this war would rest on us. But, 1. Naples
will join us. The character of their naval
minister (Acton), his known sentiments with
respect to the peace Spain is officiously trying
to make for them, and his dispositions against
the Algerines, give the best grounds to believe
it. 2. Every principle of reason assures us that
Portugal will join us. I state this as taking
for granted, what all seem to believe, that they
will not be at peace with Algiers. I suppose,
then, that a convention might be formed between
Portugal, Naples and the United States,
by which the burthen of the war might be
quotaed on them, according to their respective
wealth; and the term of it should be, when
Algiers should subscribe to a peace with all
three, on equal terms. This might be left open
for other nations to accede to, and many, if
not most, of the powers of Europe (except
France, England, Holland, and Spain, if her
peace be made), would sooner or later enter
into the confederacy, for the sake of having
their peace with the piratical States guaranteed
by the whole. I suppose, that, in this case, our
proportion of force would not be the half of
what I first calculated on.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 591.
(P. July. 1786)

753. BARBARY STATES, Jefferson's Views on.—[continued].

Were the honor and advantage
of establishing such a confederacy [against the piratical powers] out of the question,
yet the necessity that the United States
should have some marine force, and the hap
piness of this, as the ostensible cause for beginning
it, would decide on its propriety. It
will be said, there is no money in the treasury.
There never will be money in the treasury, till
the confederacy shows its teeth. The States
must see the rod; perhaps it must be felt by
some one of them. I am persuaded, all of
them would rejoice to see every one obliged to
furnish its contributions. It is not the difficulty
of furnishing them, which beggars the
treasury, but the fear that others will not furnish
as much. Every rational citizen must wish
to see an effective instrument of coercion, and
should fear to see it on any other element than
the water.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 606. Ford ed., iv, 264.
(P. 1786)

754. BARBARY STATES, The Mediterranean and.—

Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli,
remaining hostile, will shut up the Mediterranean
to us.—
To Governor Henry. Washington ed. i, 601.
(P. 1786)

755. BARBARY STATES, The Mediterranean and.—[continued].

The Algerines form an
obstacle; but the object of our commerce in
the Mediterranean is so immense that we ought
to surmount that obstacle, and I believe it can
be done by means in our power, and which,
instead of fouling us with the dishonorable and
criminal baseness of France and England, will
place us in the road to respect with all the
To E. Rutledge. Washington ed. iii, 110.
(P. 1789)


See Morocco.

756. BARBARY STATES, Purchasing Peace with.—

What will you do with the piratical States? Buy a peace at their enormous
price; force one; or abandon the carriage
into the Mediterranean to other powers?
All these measures are disagreeable.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. i, 557.
(P. 1786)

757. BARBARY STATES, Purchasing Peace with.—[continued].

The States of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli hold their peace at a price
which would be felt by every man in his settlement
with the taxgatherer.—
To Patrick Henry. Washington ed. i, 601.
(P. 1786)

758. BARBARY STATES, Purchasing Peace with.—[further continued].

It is not in the choice of
the States, whether they will pay money to
cover their trade against the Algerines. If they
obtain a peace by negotiation, they must pay
a great sum of money for it; if they do nothing,
they must pay a great sum of money in the
form of insurance; and in either way, as great
a one as in the way of force, and probably less
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 607. Ford ed., iv, 265.
(P. 1786)

759. BARBARY STATES, Purchasing Peace with.—[further continued] .

Congress must begin by
getting money. When they have this, it is a
matter of calculation whether they will buy a
peace, or force one, or do nothing.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 585.
(P. 1786)

760. BARBARY STATES, Purchasing Peace with.—[further continued].

The continuance of [a
purchased] peace with the Barbary States will
depend on their idea of our power to enforce
it, and on the life of the particular Dey, or
other head of the government, with whom it is
contracted. Congress will, no doubt, weigh
these circumstances against the expense and
probable success of compelling a peace by arms.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 565. Ford ed., iv, 221.
(P. 1786)

761. BARBARY STATES, Purchasing Peace with.—[further continued] .

In London Mr. Adams
and I had conferences with a Tripoline ambassador,
named Abdrahaman. He asked us
thirty thousand guineas for a peace with his
court, and as much for Tunis, for which he


Page 83
said he could answer. What we were authorized
to offer, being to this but as a drop to a
bucket, our conferences were repeated only for
the purpose of obtaining information. If the
demands of Algiers and Morocco should be in
proportion to this, according to their superior
power, it is easy to foresee that the United
States will not buy a peace with money.—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. i, 551.
(P. 1786)

762. BARBARY STATES, Purchasing Peace with.—[further continued].

The Tripoline ambassador
offered peace for 30,000 guineas for Tripoli,
and as many for Tunis. Calculating on this
scale, Morocco should ask 60,000, and Algiers
To David Humphreys. Washington ed. i, 559.
(P. 1786)

763. BARBARY STATES, Purchasing Peace with.—[further continued] .

A second plan might be,
to obtain peace by purchasing it. For this we
have the example of rich and powerful nations,
in this instance counting their interest more
than their honor.—
Report on Mediterranean Trade. Washington ed. vii, 522.

764. BARBARY STATES, Purchasing Peace with.—[further continued]..

As the duration of this
peace cannot be counted on with certainty, and
we look forward to the necessity of coercion by
cruises on their coast, to be kept up during the
whole of their cruising season, you will be
pleased to inform yourself * * * of every
circumstance which may influence or guide us
in undertaking and conducting such an operation.—
To John Paul Jones. Washington ed. iii, 438.
(Pa., 17921792)gt;

765. BARBARY STATES, Suppression of.—

The attempts heretofore made to suppress
the [Barbary] powers have been to exterminate
them at one blow. They are too numerous
and powerful by land for that. A small
effort, but long continued, seems to be the only
method. By suppressing their marine and trade
totally, and continuing this till the present race
of seamen should be pretty well out of the way,
and the younger people betake themselves to
husbandry for which their soil and climate are
well fitted, these nests of banditti might be reformed.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 33.
(P. 1785)

766. BARBARY STATES, Tribute to.—

It is impossible I fear to find out what
[tribute] is given by other countries [to the
piratical States]. Either shame or jealousy
makes them wish to keep it secret.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 31.
(P. 1785)

767. BARBARY STATES, Tribute to.—[continued].

The Algerines, I fear,
will ask such a tribute for the forbearance of
their piracies as the United States would be
unwilling to pay. When this idea comes across
my mind my faculties are absolutely suspended
between indignation and impotence. I think
whatever sums we are obliged to pay for freedom
of navigation in the European seas, should
be levied on European commerce with us, by a
separate impost; that these powers may see
that they protect these enormities for their own
To Nathaniel Greene. Ford ed., iv, 25.
(P. 1785)

768. BARBARY STATES, Tribute to.—[further continued].

Such [European] powers
as should refuse [to join a confederation to
suppress the Barbary piracies] would give us a
just right to turn pirates also on their West
India trade, and to require an annual tribute
which might reimburse what we may be obliged
to pay to obtain a safe navigation in their seas.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 33.
(P. 1785)

769. BARBARY STATES, War with.—

From what I learn from the temper of my
countrymen and their tenaciousness of money,
it will be more easy to raise ships to fight these
pirates into reason than money to bribe them.—
To Ezra Stiles. Washington ed. ii, 78.
(P. 1786)

770. BARBARY STATES, War with.—[continued].

The motives pleading for war rather than tribute [to the piratical
States] are numerous and honorable; those opposing
them are mean and short-sighted.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 32.
(P. 1785)

— BARBARY STATES, War with Tripoli.—

See Tripoli.

771. BARBARY STATES, Weakness of.—

These pirates are contemptibly weak.
Morocco, who has just dared to commit an outrage
on us, owns only four or five frigates of
18 or 20 guns. There is not a port in their
country which has more than 13 feet of water.
Tunis is not quite so strong (having three or
four frigates only, small and worthless); is
more mercantile than predatory, and would
easily be led to treat either by money or
fear. Tripoli has one frigate only. Algiers
alone possesses any power, and they are
brave. As far as I have been able to discover,
she possesses about sixteen vessels, from 22 up
to 52 guns; but the vessels of all these powers
are wretched in the last degree, being mostly
built of the discordant pieces of other vessels
which they take and pull asunder; their cordage
and sails are of the same kind, taken from
vessels of different sizes and powers, seldom
any two guns of the same bore and all of them
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 31.
(P. 1785)

See Morocco, Tripoli and Tunis.

772. BARCLAY (Thomas), Missions to Morocco.—

Though we are not authorized to
delegate to Mr. Barclay the power of ultimately
signing the treaty, yet such is our reliance
on his wisdom, his integrity, and his attention
to the instructions with which he is
charged, that we assure his Majesty, the conditions
which he shall arrange and send to
us, shall be returned with our signature. [44]
To the Emperor of Morocco. Washington ed. i, 419.
(P. 1785)


Mr. Barclay was U. S. Consul-General at Paris.
Jefferson and Adams appointed him to negotiate a
treaty with the Emperor of Morocco.—Editor.

773. BARCLAY (Thomas), Missions to Morocco.—[continued].

Mr. Barclay's mission
has been attended with complete success. For
this we are indebted, unquestionably, to the
influence and good offices of the court of Madrid.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 85.
(P. 1786)

774. BARCLAY (Thomas), Missions to Morocco.—[further continued].

You have my full and hearty approbation of the treaty you obtained
from Morocco, which is better and on better
terms than I expected.—
To Thomas Barclay. Washington ed. ii, 125.
(P. 1787)

775. BARCLAY (Thomas), Missions to Morocco.—[further continued] .

You are appointed by the
President * * * to go to the court of Morocco,
for the purpose of obtaining from the new
Emperor, a recognition of our treaty with his
father. As it is thought best that you should
go in some definite character, that of consul
has been adopted.—
To Thomas Barclay. Washington ed. iii, 261.
(P. 1791)

776. BARCLAY (Thomas), Missions to Morocco.—[further continued].

As you have acted since
my arrival in France, in the characters of
Consul General for that country, and Minister
to the Court of Morocco, and also as agent in
some particular transactions for the State of
Virginia, I think it is a duty to yourself, to
truth, and to justice, on your departure for
America, to declare that in all these characters,


Page 84
as far as has come within my notice, you have
acted with judgment, with attention, with integrity
and honor. [45]
To Thomas Barclay. Washington ed. ii, 211.
(P. 1787)


Mr. Barclay, while acting for the United States
in Europe, was engaged in commercial transactions
on his own account. His arrest for debt by creditors
led to some discussion with the French government
which is embodied in Jefferson's Writings.—Editor.

777. BARLOW (Joel), Proposed History by.—

Mr. Madison and myself have cut
out a piece of work for you, which is to write
the history of the United States, from the close
of the war downwards. We are rich ourselves
in materials, and can open all the public
archives to you; but your residence here
[Washington] is essential, because a great deal
of the knowledge of things is not on paper,
but only within ourselves, for verbal communication.
John Marshall is writing the life of
General Washington from his papers. It is intended
to come out just in time to influence
the next Presidential election. It is written,
therefore, principally with a view to electioneering
purposes. But it will consequently be
out in time to aid you with information, as
well as to point out the perversions of truth
necessary to be rectified.—
To Joel Barlow. Washington ed. iv, 438. Ford ed., viii, 151.
(W. May. 1802)

778. BARLOW (Joel), Proposed History by.—[continued].

You owe to republicanism,
and indeed to the future hopes of man, a
faithful record of the march of this government,
which may encourage the oppressed to
go and do likewise. Your talents, your principles,
and your means of access to public and
private sources of information, with the
leisure which is at your command, point you
out as the person who is to do this act of justice
to those who believe in the improvability
of the condition of man, and who have acted
on that behalf, in opposition to those who consider
man as a beast of burthen made to be
ridden by him who has genius enough to get a
bridle into his mouth.—
To Joel Barlow. Washington ed. v, 496. Ford ed., ix, 269.
(M. 1810)

779. BARLOW (Joel), Proposed History by.—[further continued].

I felicitate you on your
destination to Paris [as minister]. * * * Yet
it is not unmixed with regret. What is to become
of our post-revolutionary history? Of
the antidotes of truth to the misrepresentations
of Marshall? This example proves the wisdom
of the maxim, never put off till to-morrow
what can be done to-day.—
To Joel Barlow. Washington ed. v, 587. Ford ed., ix, 322.
(M. April. 1811)

780. BARLOW (Joel), Works of.—

thank you for your “Conspiracy of Kings”
and advice to the privileged orders. Be assured
that your endeavours to bring the transAtlantic
world into the road of reason, are not
without their effect in America. Some here
are disposed to move retrograde, and to take
their stand in the rear of Europe, now advancing
to the high ground of natural right.—
To Joel Barlow. Washington ed. iii, 451. Ford ed., vi, 88.
(P. 1792)

781. BARLOW (Joel), Works of.—[continued].

Thomas Jefferson returns
thanks to Mr. Barlow for the copy of
the “Columbiad” he has been so kind as to
send him; the eye discovers at once the excellence
of the mechanical execution of the work,
and he is persuaded that the mental part will
be found to have merited it. He will not do
it the injustice of giving it such a reading as
his situation here [Washington] would admit,
of a few minutes at a time, and at intervals of
many days. He will reserve it for that retirement
after which he is panting, and not now
very distant, where he may enjoy it in full concert
with its kindred scenes, amidst those rural
delights which join in chorus with the poet,
and give to his song all its magic effect.—
To Joel Barlow. Washington ed. v, 238.
(W. 1808)

— BARRUEL (Abbe), Book by.—

See Illuminati.

— BARRY, Commodore J.—

See Mourning.

782. BASTILE, Fall of the.—

The mob,
now openly joined by the French guards,
forced the prison of St. Lazare, released all the
prisoners, and took a great store of corn,
which they carried to the corn market. Here
they got some arms, and the French guards
began to form and train them. The committee
determined to raise forty-eight thousand Bourgeoise,
or rather to restrain their numbers to
forty-eight thousand. On the 14th [July], they
sent one of their members (Monsieur de
Corny, whom we knew in America) to the
Hotel des Invalides, to ask arms for their
Garde Bourgeoise. He was followed by, or he
found there, a great mob. The Governor of
the Invalides came out, and represented the impossibility
of delivering his arms, without the
orders of those from whom he received them.
De Corny advised the people then to retire,
and retired himself; and the people took possession
of the arms. It was remarkable, that
not only the Invalides themselves made no opposition,
but that a body of five thousand
foreign troops, encamped within four hundred
yards, never stirred. Monsieur de Corny and
five others were then sent to ask arms of
Monsieur de Launey, Governor of the Bastile.
They found a great collection of people already
before the place, and they immediately planted
a flag of truce, which was answered by a like
flag hoisted on the parapet. The deputation
prevailed on the people to fall back a little,
advanced themselves to make their demand of
the Governor, and in that instant a discharge
from the Bastile killed four of those nearest to
the deputies. The deputies retired; the people
rushed against the place, and almost in an instant
were in possession of a fortification, defended
by one hundred men, of infinite strength,
which in other times had stood several regular
sieges, and had never been taken. How they
got in, has, as yet, been impossible to discover.
Those who pretend to have been of the party
tell so many different stories, as to destroy the
credit of them all. They took all the arms,
discharged the prisoners, and such of the garrison
as were not killed in the first moment
of fury: carried the Governor and Lieutenant
Governor to the Gréve (the place of public
execution), cut off their heads, and sent them
through the city in triumph to the Palais
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 76.
(P. July 19 1789)

783. BASTROP'S CASE, Account of.—

I find Bastrop's case less difficult than I had
expected. My view of it is this: The Governor
of Louisiana being desirous of introducing
the culture of wheat into that province,
engages Bastrop as an agent for carrying that
object into effect. He agrees to lay off twelve
leagues square on the Washita and Bayou
liard as a settlement for the culture of wheat,
to which Bastrop is to bring five hundred families,
each of which families is to have four
hundred arpens of the land; the residue of


Page 85
the twelve leagues square, we may understand,
was to be Bastrop's premium. The government
was to bear the expense of bringing these emigrants
from New Madrid, and was to allow
them rations for six months,—Bastrop undertaking
to provide the rations, and the government
paying a seal and a half for each. Bastrop
binds himself to settle the five hundred
families in three years, and the Governor especially
declares that if within that time the
major part of the establishment shall not have
been made good, the twelve leagues square, destined for Bastrop's settlers, shall be occupied
by the families first presenting themselves
for that purpose. Bastrop brings on some settlers,—how many does not appear, and the
intendant, from a want of funds, suspends
further proceeding in the settlement until the
King's decision. (His decision of what?
Doubtless whether the settlement shall proceed
on these terms, and the funds be furnished
by the King? or shall be abandoned?) He
promises Bastrop, at the same time, that the
former limitation of three years shall be extended
to two years, after the course of the
contract shall have again commenced to be
executed, and the determination of the King
shall be made known to Bastrop. Here, then,
is a complete suspension of the undertaking
until the King's decision, and his silence from
that time till, and when, he ceded the province,
must be considered as an abandonment of the
project. There are several circumstances in
this case offering ground for question, whether
Bastrop is entitled to any surplus of the lands.
But this will be an investigation for the Attorney
General. But the uttermost he can
claim is a surplus proportioned to the number
of families to be settled, that is to say, a quota
of land bearing such a proportion to the number
of families he settled (deducting four hundred
arpens for each of them) as one hundred
and forty-four square leagues bear to
the whole number of five hundred families.
The important fact, therefore, to be settled,
is the number of families he established there
before the suspension.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 231.
(Jan. 1808)

784. BATTURE, Authority over.—

Livingston, * * * finding that we considered
the Batture as now resting with Congress, [46] and that it is our duty to keep it clear of all
adversary possession till their decision is obtained
[has written] a letter to the Secretary
of State, which, if we understand it, amounts
to a declaration that he will * * * bring the
authority of the court into array against that of
the Executive, and endeavor to obtain a forcible
possession. But I presume that the court
knows too well that the title of the United
States to land is subject to the jurisdiction
of no court, it having never been deemed safe
to submit the major interests of the nation
to an ordinary tribunal, or to any one but such
as the Legislature establishes for the special
occasion; and the marshal will find his duty
too plainly marked out in the act of March 3,
1807, to be at a loss to determine what authority
he is to obey.—
To Governor Claiborne. Washington ed. v, 319.
(W. July. 1808)


Jefferson in a special message, March 7, 1808, laid
the case before Congress for its action.—Editor.

785. BATTURE, Jefferson's action in.—

The interposition noticed by the Legislature
of Orleans was an act of duty of the office
I then occupied. Charged with the care of
the general interests of the nation, and among
these with the preservation of their lands from
intrusion, I exercised, on their behalf, a right
given by nature to all men, individual or associated,
that of rescuing their own property
wrongfully taken. In cases of forcible entry
on individual possessions, special provisions,
both of the common and civil law, have restrained
the right of rescue by private force,
and substituted the aid of the civil power. But
no law has restrained the right of the nation
itself from removing by its own arm, intruders
on its possessions. On the contrary,
a statute recently passed, had required that
such removals should be diligently made. The
Batture of New Orleans, being a part of the
bed contained between the two banks of the
river, a naked shoal indeed at low water, but
covered through the whole season of its regular
full tides, and then forming the ground of the
port and harbor for the upper navigation, over
which vessels ride of necessity when moored to
the bank, I deemed it public property, in
which all had a common use. The removal,
too, of the force which had possessed itself of
it, was the more urgent from the interruption
it might give to the commerce, and other lawful
uses, of the inhabitants of the city and of
the Western waters generally.—
To Governor Claiborne. Washington ed. v, 518.
(M. 1810)

786. BATTURE, Livingston's suit.—

Livingston has served a writ on me, stating
damages at $100,000.—
To President Madison. Ford ed., ix, 275.
(M. 1810)

787. BATTURE, Marshall's bias and.—

In speaking of Livingston's suit, I omitted
to observe that it is a little doubted that his
knowledge of Marshall's character has induced
him to bring this action. His twistifications
in the case of Marbury, in that of Burr, and the
Yazoo case show how dexterously he can
reconcile law to his own personal biasses; and
nobody seems to doubt that he is ready prepared
to decide that Livingston's right to the
batture is unquestionable, and that I am
bound to pay for it with my private fortune.—
To President Madison. Ford ed., ix, 276.
(M. 1810)

788. BATTURE, Marshall's bias and.—[continued].

What the issue of the
case ought to be, no unbiased man can doubt.
What it will be, no one can tell. The judge's
[Marshall's] inveteracy is profound, and his
mind of that gloomy malignity which will never
let him forego the opportunity of satiating it
on a victim. His decisions, his instructions to
a jury, his allowances and disallowances and
garblings of evidence, must all be subjects of
appeal. I consider that as my only chance of
saving my fortune from entire wreck. And to
whom is my appeal? From the judge in
Burr's case to himself and his associate judges
in the case of Marbury v. Madison. Not exactly,
however. I observe old Cushing is dead.
At length, then, we have a chance of getting a
republican majority in the Supreme judiciary.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., ix, 284.
(M. Sep. 1810)

789. BATTURE, Title to.—

I have no
concern at all in maintaining the title to the
batture. It would be totally unnecessary for
me to employ counsel to go into the question at
all for my own defence. That is solidly built
on the simple fact, that if I were in error, it
was honest, and not imputable to that gross
and palpable corruption or injustice which
makes a public magistrate responsible to a
private party.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 537.
(M. 1810)

790. BATTURE, True course in.—

human reason is not mere illusion, and law a


Page 86
labyrinth without a clew, no error has been
committed [in the Batture case].—
Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 604.

791. BAYBARD (James A.), Aaron Burr and.—

Edward Livingston tells me that Bayard
applied to-day or last night to General
Samuel Smith, and represented to him the expediency
of his coming over to the States who
vote for Burr [for President], that there was
nothing in the way of appointment which he
might not command, and particularly mentioned
the Secretaryship of the Navy. Smith asked
him if he was authorized to make the offer.
He said he was authorized. Smith told this to
Livingston, and to W. C. Nicholas who confirms
it to me. Bayard, in like manner, tempted
Livingston, not by offering any particular office,
but by representing to him his (Livingston's)
intimacy and connection with Burr; that from
him he had everything to expect, if he would
come over to him. To Doctor Linn of New
Jersey, they have offered the government of
New Jersey.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 202. Ford ed., i, 291.
(Feb. 1808)

See Elections, Presidential, 1800.

792. BEAUMARCHAIS (M.), Claim of.—

I hear that Mr. Beaumarchais means to
make himself heard, if the memorial which he
sends by an agent in the present packet is not
attended to as he thinks it ought to be. He
called on me with it and desired me to recommend
his case to a decision, and to note in
my dispatch that it was the first time he had
spoken to me on the subject. This is true, it
being the first time I ever saw him; but my
recommendations would be as displaced as unnecessary.
I assured him Congress would do
in that business what justice should require,
and their means enabled them.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 232.
(P. 1787)

793. BEAUMARCHAIS (M.), Claim of.—[continued].

A final decision of some
sort should be made on Beaumarchais's affairs.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 209. Ford ed., iv, 423.
(P. 1787)

794. BEE, The Honey.—

The honey-bee
is not a native of our continent. Maregrove,
indeed, mentions a species of honey-bee in
Brazil. But this has no sting, and is therefore
different from the one we have, which resembles
perfectly that of Europe. The Indians
concur with us in the tradition that it was
brought from Europe; but when, and by whom,
we know not. The bees have generally extended
themselves into the country, a little in
advance of the white settlers. The Indians,
therefore, call them the white man's fly, and
consider their approach as indicating the approach
of the settlements of the whites.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 319. Ford ed., iii, 175.

795. BEE, The Honey.—[continued].

How far northwardly have these insects been found? That they
are unknown in Lapland, I infer from Scheffer's
information, that the Laplanders eat the
pine bark, prepared in a certain way, instead
of those things sweetened with sugar. * * * Certainly if they had honey, it would be a better
substitute for sugar than any preparation of
the pine bark. Kalm tells us the honey-bee
cannot live through the winter in Canada. They
furnish then an additional remarkable fact, first
observed by the Count de Buffon, and which
has thrown such a blaze of light on the field
of natural history, that no animals are found in
both continents, but those which are able to
bear the cold of those regions where they probably
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 320. Ford ed., iii, 176.

796. BEER vs. WHISKY.—

There is before
the Assembly [of Virginia] a petition of a
Captain Miller, which I have at heart, because
I have great esteem for the petitioner as an
honest and useful man. He is about to settle
in our country, and to establish a brewery, in
which art I think him as skilful a man as has
ever come to America. I wish to see this
beverage become common instead of the whisky
which kills one-third of our citizens, and
ruins their families. He is staying with me
until he can fix himself, and I should be thankful
for information from time to time of the
progress of his petition.—
To Charles Yancey. Washington ed. vi, 515. Ford ed., x, 2.
(M. 1815)

797. BELLIGERENTS, Code of Rules for.—

First, The original arming and equipping
of vessels in the ports of the United
States by any of the belligerent powers for
military service, offensive or defensive, is
deemed unlawful. Second. Equipment of
merchant vessels by either of the belligerent
parties in the ports of the United States,
purely for the accommodation of them as such,
is deemed lawful. Third. Equipments in the
ports of the United States of vessels of war
in the immediate service of the government
of any of the belligerent parties, which, if
done to other vessels, would be of a doubtful
nature, as being applicable either to commerce
or war, are deemed lawful, except those
which shall have made prize of the subjects,
people or property of France, coming with
their prizes into the ports of the United
States, pursuant to the seventeenth article of
our treaty of amity and commerce with
France. Fourth. Equipments in the ports of
the United States by any of the parties at war
with France, of vessels fitted for merchandise
and war, whether with or without commissions,
which are doubtful in their nature, as
being applicable either to commerce or war.
are deemed lawful, except those which shall
have made prize, &c. Fifth. Equipments of
any of the vessels of France in the ports of
the United States, which are doubtful in their
nature, as being applicable to commerce or
war, are deemed lawful. Sixth. Equipments
of every kind in the ports of the United
States of privateers of the powers at war
with France, are deemed unlawful. Seventh.
Equipments of vessels in the ports of the
United States which are of a nature solely
adapted to war, are deemed unlawful; except
those standed or wrecked, as mentioned in
the eighteenth article of our treaty with
France, the sixteenth of our treaty with the
United Netherlands, the ninth of our treaty
with Prussia, and except those mentioned in
the nineteenth article of our treaty with
France, the seventeenth of our treaty with
the United Netherlands, the eighteenth of
our treaty with Prussia. Eighth. Vessels of
either of the parties not armed, or armed previous
to their coming into the ports of the
United States, which shall not have infringed
any of the foregoing rules may lawfully engage
or enlist therein their own subjects, or
aliens not being inhabitants of the United


Page 87
States, except privateers of the powers at
war with France, and except those vessels
which shall have made prize, &c. The foregoing
rules, having been considered by us
[the Cabinet] at several meetings, and being
now unanimously approved, they are submitted
to the President of the United States.—
Cabinet Decision. Washington ed. ix, 440. Ford ed., vi, 358.
(Aug. 3, 1793)

798. BELLIGERENTS, History of Rules.—

At a cabinet meeting on account of
the British letter-of-marque ship Jane, said
to have put up waste boards, to have pierced
two port-holes, and mounted two cannon
(which she brought in) on new carriages
which she did not bring in, and consequently
having sixteen, instead of fourteen, guns
mounted, it was agreed that a letter-of-marque,
or vessel armé en guerre, and en
is not a privateer, and, therefore,
not to be ordered out of our ports. It
was agreed by Hamilton, Knox, and myself,
that the case of such a vessel does not depend
on the treaties, but on the law of nations.
Edmund Randolph thought, as she had a
mixed character of merchant vessel and privateer,
she might be considered under the
treaty; but this being overruled, the following
paper was written: Rules proposed by
Attorney General: 1. That all equipments
purely for the accommodation of vessels, as
merchantmen, be admitted. (Agreed.) 2d.
That all equipments, doubtful in their nature,
and applicable equally to commerce or war,
be admitted, as producing too many minutiæ.
(Agreed.) 3. That all equipments, solely
adapted to military objects, be prohibited.
(Agreed.) Rules proposed by the Secretary
of the Treasury: 1st. That the original arming
and equipping of vessels for military service,
offensive or defensive, in the ports of
the United States, be considered as prohibited
to all. (Agreed.) 2d. That vessels which
were armed before their coming into our
ports, shall not be permitted to augment these
equipments in the ports of the United States,
but may repair or replace any military equipments
which they had when they began their
voyage for the United States; that this, however,
shall be with the exception of privateers
of the parties opposed to France, who shall
not fit or repair (Negatived, the Secretary of
the Treasury only holding this opinion). 3d.
That for convenience, vessels armed and
commissioned before they come into our
ports, may engage their own citizens, not
being inhabitants of the United States.
(Agreed.) I subjoined the following: I concur
in the rules proposed by the AttorneyGeneral,
as far as respects materials or means
of annoyance furnished by us; and I should
be for an additional rule, that as to means
or materials brought into this country, and
belonging to themselves, they are free to use
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 161. Ford ed., i, 250.
(July. 1793)

799. BELLIGERENTS, Policy toward.—

Far from a disposition to avail ourselves
of the peculiar situation of any belligerent
nation to ask concessions incompatible
with their rights, with justice, or reciprocity,
we have never proposed to any the sacrifice
of a single right: and in consideration of existing
circumstances, we have ever been willing,
where our duty to other nations permitted
us, to relax for a time, and in some cases,
that strictness of right which the laws of nature,
the acknowledgments of the civilized
world, and the equality and independence of
nations entitle us to.—
R. To A. Orleans Legislature. Washington ed. viii, 129.
(June. 1808)

800. BELLIGERENTS, Recruiting by.—

May an armed vessel, arriving here, be
prohibited to employ their own citizens found
here, as seamen or mariners? They cannot
be prohibited to recruit their own citizens.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 158. Ford ed., i, 242.

801. BELLIGERENTS, Sale of Arms to.—

Our citizens have been always free to make, vend and export arms. It is the constant
occupation and livelihood of some of
them. To suppress their callings, the only
means perhaps of their subsistence, because
a war exists in foreign and distant countries,
in which we have no concern, would scarcely
be expected. It would be hard in principle,
and impossible in practice. The law of nations,
therefore, respecting the rights of
those at peace, does not require from them
such an internal derangement in their occupations.
It is satisfied with the external penalty
pronounced in the President's proclamation,
that of confiscation of such portion of
these arms as shall fall into the hands of any
of the belligerent powers on their way to the
ports of their enemies. To this penalty our
citizens are warned that they will be abandoned;
and that even private contraventions
may work no inequality between the
parties at war, the benefits of them will be
left equally free and open to all.—
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 558. Ford ed., vi, 253.
(May. 1793)

802. BELLIGERENTS, Sale of Ships to.—

The United States, being a ship-building
nation, may they sell ships, prepared for war,
to both parties? They may sell such ships in
their ports to both parties, or carry them for
sale to the dominions of both parties.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 158. Ford ed., i, 242.

803. BELLIGERENTS, Transit Privileges.—

It is well enough agreed, in the law
of nations, that for a neutral power to give or
refuse permission to the troops of either
belligerent party to pass through their territory,
is no breach of neutrality, provided
the same refusal or permission be extended
to the other party.—
Official Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 500.
(Aug. 1790)

See Neutrality.

804. BENEFICENCE, Humanity and.—

I believe * * * that every human mind feels
pleasure in doing good to another.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 39.
(M. 1816)

805. BERLIN DECREES, Piratical Meaning of.—

These decrees and orders [of
council], taken together, want little of
amounting to a declaration that every neutral


Page 88
vessel found on the high seas, whatsoever be
her cargo, and whatsoever foreign port be
that of her departure or destination, shall be
deemed lawful prize; and they prove, more
and more, the expediency of retaining our
vessels, our seamen, and property, within our
own harbors, until the dangers to which they
are exposed can be removed or lessened.—
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 100. Ford ed., ix, 185.
(March 17, 1808)

See Embargo.

806. BIBLE, Circulation of the.—

I had
not supposed there was a family in this State
[Virginia] not possessing a Bible, and wishing
without having the means to procure one.
When, in earlier life, I was intimate with
every class, I think I never was in a house
where that was the case. However, circumstances
may have changed, and the [Bible] Society, I presume, have evidence of the fact.
I, therefore, enclose you cheerfully, an order
* * * for fifty dollars, for the purposes of
the Society.—
To Samuel Greenhow. Washington ed. vi, 308.
(M. 1814)

807. BIBLE, Morality in the.—

never was a more pure and sublime system
of morality delivered to man than is to be
found in the four Evangelists.—
To Samuel Greenhow. Washington ed. vi, 309.
(M. 1814)

808. BIBLE, Protestants and the.—

to tradition, if we are Protestants we reject
all tradition, and rely on the Scripture alone,
for that is the essence and common principle
of all the Protestant churches.—
Notes on Religion. Ford ed., ii, 96.

809. BIBLE, Translation of the.—

I propose
[after retirement], among my first employments,
to give to the Septuagint an attentive
persual. [47]
To Charles Thomson. Washington ed. v, 403. Ford ed., ii, 234.
(W. 1808)


Thomson's translation of the Septuagint.—Editor.

810. BIGOTRY, A Disease.—

Bigotry is
the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds;
enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education
and free discussion are the antidotes of
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 27.
(M. 1816)

811. BIGOTRY, Political and Religious.—

What an effort of bigotry in politics and religion have we gone through! The barbarians
really flattered themselves they should
be able to bring back the times of Vandalism,
when ignorance put everything into the hands
of power and priestcraft. All advances in
science were proscribed as innovations. They
pretended to praise and encourage education,
but it was to be the education of our ancestors.
We were to look backwards, not forwards
for improvement; the President himself
[John Adams] declaring * * * that we
were never to expect to go beyond them in
real science.—
To Dr. Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 373. Ford ed., viii, 21.
(W. March. 1801)

812. BIGOTRY, Self-government and.—

Ignorance and bigotry, like other insanities,
are incapable of self-government.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 67. Ford ed., x, 84.
(M. 1817)

813. BIGOTRIES, Union of.—

All bigotries
hang to one another.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 305.
(M. 1814)

814. BILL OF RIGHTS, An American Idea.—

The enlightened part of Europe have
given us the greatest credit for inventing this
instrument of security for the rights of the
people, and have been not a little surprised to
see us so soon give it up [not having incorporated
one in the new Constitution].—
To F. Hopkinson. Washington ed. ii, 586. Ford ed., v, 77.
(P. March. 1789)

815. BILL OF RIGHTS, The Constitution and.—

I do not like [in the Federal Constitution] first, the omission of a bill of
rights, providing clearly and without the aid
of sophisms for freedom of religion, freedom
of the press, protection against standing
armies, restriction against monopolies, the
eternal and unremitting force of the habeas
laws, and trials by jury in all matters
of fact triable by the laws of the land, and
not by the law of nations. To say, as Mr.
Wilson does, that a bill of rights was not
necessary, because all is reserved in the case
of the General Government which is not
given, while in the particular ones, all is
given which is not reserved, might do for the
audience to whom it was addressed; but it is
surely a gratis dictum, opposed by strong inferences
from the body of the instrument, as
well as from the omission of the clause of
our present confederation, which had declared
that in express terms. It was a hard conclusion
to say, because there has been no uniformity
among the States as to the cases triable
by jury, because some have been so incautious
as to abandon this mode of trial,
therefore the more prudent States shall be
reduced to the same level of calamity. It
would have been much more just and wise to
have concluded the other way, that as most
of the States had judiciously preserved this
palladium, those who had wandered should
be brought back to it, and to have established
general right instead of general wrong. [48] Let
me add that a bill of rights is what the people
are entitled to against every government on
earth, general or particular; and what no
just government should refuse or rest on inferences.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 329. Ford ed., iv, 476.
(P. Dec. 1787)


The Congress edition contains the following passage:
“For I consider all the ill as established,
which may be established. I have a right to nothing,
which another has a right to take away; and
Congress will have a right to take away trials by
jury in all civil cases.”—Editor.

816. BILL OF RIGHTS, The Constitution and.—[continued].

I am in hopes that the
annexation of a bill of rights to the Constitution
will alone draw over so great a proportion
of the minorities, as to leave little danger
in the opposition of the residue; and that
this annexation may be made by Congress
and the Assemblies, without calling a convention
which might endanger the most valuable
parts of the system.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 533. Ford ed., v, 56.
(P. Dec. 1788)


Page 89

817. BILL OF RIGHTS, Demand for.—

I sincerely rejoice at the acceptance of our
new Constitution by nine States. It is a
good canvas on which some strokes only
want retouching. What these are, I think
are sufficiently manifested by the general
voice from north to south, which calls for a
bill of rights. It seems pretty generally understood
that this should go to juries, habeas
standing armies, printing, religion,
and monopolies. I conceive there may be difficulty
in finding general modifications of
these, suited to the habits of all the States.
But if such cannot be found, then it is better
to establish trials by jury, the right of habeas
freedom of the press, and freedom of
religion, in all cases, and to abolish standing
armies in time of peace, and monopolies in all
cases, than not to do it in any. The few
cases wherein these things may do evil, cannot
be weighed against the multitude wherein
the want of them will do evil. In disputes
between a foreigner and a native, a trial by
jury may be improper. But if this exception
cannot be agreed to, the remedy will be to
model the jury by giving the mediatas linguæ in civil as well as criminal cases. Why suspend
the habeas corpus in insurrections and
rebellions? The parties who may be arrested,
may be changed instantly with a well-defined
crime; of course, the judge will remand them.
If the public safety requires that the government
should have a man imprisoned on less
probable testimony in this than in other emergencies,
let him be taken and tried, and retaken
and retried, while the necessity continues,
only giving them redress against the government,
for damages. Examine the history
of England. See how few of the cases of the
suspension of the habeas corpus law have
been worthy of that suspension. They have
been either real treason, wherein the parties
might as well have been charged at once, or
sham plots, where it was shameful they
should ever have been suspected. Yet for the
few cases wherein the suspension of the
habeas corpus has done real good, that operation
is now become habitual, and the mass of
the nation almost prepared to live under its
constant suspension. A declaration, that the
Federal government will never restrain the
presses from printing anything they please,
will not take away the liability of the printers
for false facts printed. The declaration, that
religious faith shall be unpunished, does not
give impunity to criminal acts, dictated by
religious error. The saying there shall be no
monopolies, lessens the incitements to ingenuity,
which is spurred on by the hope of a
monopoly for a limited time, as of fourteen
years; but the benefit of even limited monopolies
is too doubtful to be opposed to that
of their general suppression. If no check can
be found to keep the number of standing
troops within safe bounds, while they are tolerated
as far as necessary, abandon them altogether;
discipline well the militia, and
guard the magazines with them. More than
magazine guards will be useless if few, and
dangerous if many. No European nation can
ever send against us such a regular army as
we need fear; and it is hard if our militia
are not equal to those of Canada or Florida.
My idea then, is that though proper exceptions
to these general rules are desirable, and
probably practicable, yet if the exceptions
cannot be agreed on, the establishment of the
rules in all cases will do ill in very few. I
hope, therefore, a bill of rights will be formed,
to guard the people against the Federal Government,
as they are already guarded against
their State governments in most instances.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 445. Ford ed., v, 45.
(P. July. 1788)

818. BILL OF RIGHTS, Fetters against Evil.—

By a declaration of rights I
mean one which shall stipulate freedom of
religion, freedom of the press, freedom of
commerce against monopolies, trial by juries
in all cases, no suspensions of the habeas corpus,
no standing armies. These are fetters
against doing evil which no honest government
should decline.—
To A. Donald. Washington ed. ii, 355.
(P. Feb. 1788)

819. BILL OF RIGHTS, A Guard to Liberty.—

I disapproved from the first moment
[in the new Constitution] the want of
a bill of rights, to guard liberty against the
legislative as well as the executive branches
of the government; that is to say, to secure
freedom in religion, freedom of the press,
freedom from monopolies, freedom from unlawful
imprisonment, freedom from a permanent
military, and a trial by jury, in all
cases determinable by the laws of the land.—
To F. Hopkinson. Washington ed. ii, 586. Ford ed., v, 76.
(P. March. 1789)

820. BILL OF RIGHTS, An Insufficient.—

I like the declaration of rights as far
as it goes, but I should have been for going
further. For instance, the following alterations
and additions would have pleased me.
“Article IV. The people shall not be deprived
or abridged of their right to speak, to write,
or otherwise to publish anything but false
facts affecting injuriously the life, liberty, or
reputation of others, or affecting the peace
of the Confederacy with foreign nations.
Article VII. All facts put in issue before any
judicature shall be tried by jury except, 1,
in cases of admiralty jurisdiction wherein a
foreigner shall be interested; 2, in cases cognizable
before a court martial, concerning
only the regular officers and soldiers of the
United States, or members of the militia in
actual service in time of war or insurrection;
and, 3, in impeachments allowed by the Constitution.
Article VIII. No person shall be
held in confinement more than—days after
he shall have demanded and been refused a
writ of habeas corpus by the judge appointed
by law, nor more than—days after such a
writ shall have been served on the person
holding him in confinement, and no order
given on due examination for his remandment
or discharge, nor more than—hours in any
place of a greater distance than—miles
from the usual residence of some judge authorized
to issue the writ of habeas corpus: nor shall that writ be suspended for any term


Page 90
exceeding one year, nor in any place more
than—miles distant from the station or
encampment of enemies, or of insurgents.
Article IX. Monopolies may be allowed to
persons for their own productions in literature,
and their own inventions in the arts,
for a term not exceeding—years, but for
no longer term, and for no other purpose.
Article X. All troops of the United States
shall stand ipso facto disbanded, at the expiration
of the term for which their pay and
subsistence shall have been last voted by
Congress, and all officers and soldiers, not
natives of the United States, shall be incapable
of serving in their armies by land, except
during a foreign war.” These restrictions,
I think, are so guarded as to hinder
evil only. However, if we do not have them
now, I have so much confidence in my countrymen,
as to be satisfied that we shall have
them as soon as the degeneracy of our government
shall render them necessary.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 100. Ford ed., v, 112.
(P. Aug. 1789)

821. BILL OF RIGHTS, The Judiciary and.—

In the arguments in favor of the
declaration of rights, you omit one which
has great weight with me: the legal check
which it puts into the hands of the judiciary.
This is a body which, if rendered independent
and kept strictly to their own department,
merits great confidence for their learning and
integrity. In fact, what degree of confidence
would be too much for a body composed of
such men as Wythe, Blair and Pendleton?
On characters like these, the “civium ardor
prava jubentium”
would make no impression.
I am happy to find that, on the
whole, you are a friend to this amendment.
The declaration of rights is, like all other
human blessings, alloyed with some inconveniences,
and not accomplishing fully its object.
But the good in this instance vastly outweights
the evil.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 3. Ford ed., v, 80.
(P. March. 1789)

822. BILL OF RIGHTS, The People and.—

A bill of rights is what the people are
entitled to against every government on earth,
general or particular; and what no just government
should refuse, or rest on inferences.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 330. Ford ed., iv, 477.
(P. Dec. 1787)

823. BILL OF RIGHTS, Security in.—

A general concurrence of opinion seems to
authorize us to say the Constitution has some
defects. I am one of those who think it a defect
that the important rights, not placed in
security by the frame of the Constitution itself,
were not explicitly secured by a supplementary
declaration. There are rights which
it is useless to surrender to the government,
and which governments have yet always
been found to invade. These are the
rights of thinking, and publishing our
thoughts by speaking or writing; the right of
free commerce; the right of personal freedom.
There are instruments for administering
the government so particularly trustworthy,
that we should never leave the legis
lature at liberty to change them. The new
Constitution has secured these in the Executive
and Legislative departments: but not in
the Judiciary. It should have established
trials by the people themselves, that is to say,
by jury. There are instruments so dangerous
to the rights of the nation, and which place
them so totally at the mercy of their governors,
that those governors, whether legislative
or executive, should be restrained from
keeping such instruments on foot, but in well
defined cases. Such an instrument is a
standing army. We are now allowed to say
such a declaration of rights, as a supplement
to the Constitution where that is silent, is
wanting, to secure us in these points. The
general voice has legitimated this objection.—
To David Humphreys. Washington ed. iii, 12. Ford ed., v, 89.
(P. March. 1789)

824. BILL OF RIGHTS, Security in.—[continued].

I am one of those who
think it a defect [in the new Constitution],
that the important rights, not placed in security
by the frame of the Constitution itself,
were not explicitly secured by a supplementary
declaration [of rights].—
To David Humphreys. Washington ed. iii, 12. Ford ed., v, 89.
(P. March. 1789)

825. BILL OF RIGHTS, Where Necessary.—

I cannot refrain from making short
answers to the objections which your letter
states to have been raised. 1. That the
rights in question are reserved by the manner
in which the Federal powers are granted.
Answer. A constitutive act may, certainly,
be so formed as to need no declaration of
rights. The act itself has the force of a declaration
as far as it goes; and if it goes to
all material points, nothing more is wanting.
In the draft of a Constitution which I had
once a thought of proposing in Virginia, I
endeavored to reach all the great objects of
public liberty, and did not mean to add a
declaration of rights. Probably the object
was imperfectly executed; but the deficiencies
would have been supplied by others, in
the course of discussion. But in a constitutive
act which leaves some precious articles
unnoticed, and raises implications against
others, a declaration of rights becomes necessary
by way of supplement. This is the
case of our new Federal Constitution. This
instrument forms us into one State, as to
certain objects, and gives us a legislative and
executive body for these objects. It should,
therefore, guard against their abuses of power
within the field submitted to them. 2. A
positive declaration of some essential rights
could not be obtained in the requisite latitude.
Answer. Half a loaf is better than
no bread. If we cannot secure all our rights,
let us secure what we can. 3. The limited
powers of the Federal Government and jealousy
of the subordinate governments, afford
a security which exists in no other instance.
Answer. The first member of this
seems resolvable into the first objection before
stated. The jealousy of the subordinate
governments is a precious reliance. But
observe that these governments are only agents. They must have principles furnished


Page 91
them whereon to found their opposition. The
declaration of rights will be the text, whereby
they will try all the acts of the Federal Government.
In this view, it is necessary to the
Federal Government also, as by the same
text, they may try the opposition of the subordinate
governments. 4. Experience proves
the inefficacy of a Bill of Rights. Answer.
True. But though it is not absolutely efficacious
under all circumstances, it is of great
potency always and rarely inefficacious. A
brace the more will often keep up the building
which would have fallen with that brace
the less. There is a remarkable difference
between the characters of the inconveniences
which attend a declaration of rights, and
those which attend the want of it. The inconveniences
of the declaration are that it
may cramp government in its useful exertions.
But the evil of this is short-lived,
moderate and reparable. The inconveniences
of the want of a declaration are permanent,
afflicting and irreparable. They are in constant
progression from bad to worse. The
executive, in our governments, is not the
sole, it is scarcely the principal, object of my
jealousy. The tyranny of the legislatures is
the most formidable dread at present, and
will be for many years. That of the executive
will come in its turn; but it will be at a remote
period. I know there are some among
us who would now establish a monarchy. But
they are inconsiderable in number and weight
of character. The rising race are all republicans.
We were educated in royalism; no
wonder if some of us retain that idolatry
still. Our young people are educated in republicanism;
an apostasy from that to royalism
is unprecedented and impossible. I am much
pleased with the prospect that a declaration
of rights will be added; and I hope it will be
done in that way which will not endanger
the whole frame of government, or any essential
part of it.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 4. Ford ed., v, 81.
(P. March. 1789)

826. BILL OF RIGHTS (French), Draft of.—

1. The States General shall assemble, uncalled,
on the first day of November, annually,
and shall remain together so long as
they shall see cause. They shall regulate
their own elections and proceedings, and until
they shall ordain otherwise, their elections
shall be in the forms observed in the
present year, and shall be triennial. 2. The
States General alone shall levy money on the
nation, and shall appropriate it. 3. Laws
shall be made by the States General only,
with the consent of the King. 4. No person
shall be restrained of his liberty, but by regular
process from a court of justice, authorized
by a general law. (Except that a Noble
may be imprisoned by order of a court of
justice, on the prayer of twelve of his nearest
relations.) On complaint of an unlawful imprisonment,
to any judge whatever, he shall
have the prisoner immediately brought before
him, and shall discharge him, if his imprisonment
be unlawful. The officer in whose custody
the prisoner is, shall obey the orders of
the judge; and both judge and officer shall be
responsible, civilly and criminally, for a failure
of duty herein. 5. The military shall be
subordinate to the civil authority. 6. Printers
shall be liable to legal prosecution for printing
and publishing false facts, injurious to
the party prosecuting; but they shall be under
no other restraint. 7. All pecuniary privileges
and exemptions, enjoyed by any description
of persons, are abolished. 8. All
debts already contracted by the King, are
hereby made the debts of the nation; and
the faith thereof is pledged for their payment
in due time. 9. Eighty million of livres are
now granted to the King, to be raised by
loan, and reimbursed by the nation; and the
taxes heretofore paid, shall continue to be
paid to the end of the present year, and no
longer. 10. The States General shall now
separate, and meet again on the 1st day of
November next. Done, on behalf of the whole
nation, by the King and their representatives
in the States General, at Versailles, this—
day of June, 1789. Signed by the King, and
by every member individually, and in his presence.
French Charter of Rights. Washington ed. iii, 47. Ford ed., v, 101.
(P. June. 1789)


This paper is entitled “A Charter of Rights, Solemnly
established by the King and Nation”.—Editor.

827. BILL OF RIGHTS (French), History of.—

After you [M. de St. Etienne] quitted us yesterday evening, we continued
our conversation (Monsr de Lafayette, Mr.
Short and myself) on the subject of the difficulties
which environ you. The desirable
object being to secure the good which the
King has offered and to avoid the ill which
seems to threaten, an idea was suggested,
which appearing to make an impression on
Mons de Lafayette, I was encouraged to
pursue it on my return to Paris, to put it
into form, and now to send it to you and him.
It is this, that the King, in a seance royale should come forward with a Charter of
Rights in his hand, to be signed by himself,
and by every member of the three orders.
This Charter to contain the five great points
which the Resultat of December offered on
the part of the King, the abolition of pecuniary
privileges offered by the privileged orders,
and the adoption of the national debt,
and a grant of the sum of money asked from
the nation. This last will be a cheap price for
the preceding articles, and let the same act
declare your immediate separation till the
next anniversary meeting. You will carry
back to your constituents more good than
ever was effected before without violence,
and you will stop exactly at the point where
violence would otherwise begin. Time will
be gained, the public mind will continue
to ripen and to be informed, a basis of support
may be prepared with the people themselves,
and expedients occur for gaining still
something further at your next meeting, and
for stopping again at the point of force. I have
ventured to send to yourself and Monsieur
de Lafayette a sketch of my ideas of what this
act might contain without endangering any
dispute. But it is offered merely as a canvas


Page 92
for you to work on, if it be fit to work on at
all. I know too little of the subject, and you
know too much of it to justify me in offering
anything but a hint. I have done it too in a
hurry; insomuch that since committing it to
writing it occurs to me that the 5th article
may give alarm, that it is in a good degree
included in the 4th, and is, therefore, useless.
But, after all, what excuse can I make, Sir,
for this presumption? I have none but an
unmeasurable love for your nation, and a
painful anxiety lest despotism, after an unaccepted
offer to bind its own hands, should seize you again with tenfold fury.—
To M. de St. Etienne. Ford ed., v, 99.
(P. June. 1789)

See Rights.


See Dollar and Money.

828. BINGHAM (William), Character of.—

Though Bingham is not in diplomatic
office, yet as he wishes to be so, I will mention
such circumstances of him, as you might otherwise
be deceived in. He will make you believe
he was on the most intimate footing with the
first characters in Europe, and versed in the
secrets of every cabinet. Not a word of this
is true. He had a rage for being presented
to great men, and had no modesty in the methods
by which he could if he attained acquaintance.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 108. Ford ed., iv, 366.
(P. 1787)

829. BIRDS, Mocking-bird.—

Teach all
the children to venerate the mocking-bird as a
superior being in the form of a bird, or as a
being which will haunt them if any harm is
done to itself or its eggs. I shall hope that the
multiplication of the cedar in the neighborhood,
and of the trees and shrubs round the house
[Monticello] will attract more of them; for
they like to be in the neighborhood of our
habitations if they furnish cover.—
To Martha Jefferson Randolph. D. L. J., 221.
(Pa., 17931793)gt;

830. BIRDS, Nightingale.—

I have heard
the nightingale in all its perfection, and I do
not hesitate to pronounce that in America it
would be deemed a bird of the third rank only,
our mocking-bird, and fox-colored thrush being
unquestionably superior to it.—
To Mrs. John Adams. Ford ed., iv, 63.
(P. 1785)

831. BIRDS, Nightingale.—[continued].

I have been for a week
past sailing on the canal of Languedoc, cloudless
skies above, limpid waters below, and on
each hand a row of nightingales in full chorus.
This delightful bird had given me a rich treat
before, at the fountain of Vaucluse. After visiting
the tomb of Laura at Avignon, I went to
see this fountain—a noble one of itself, and
rendered famous forever by the songs of Petrarch,
who lived near it. I arrived there somewhat
fatigued, and sat down by the fountain
to repose myself. It gushes, of the size of a
river, from a secluded valley of the mountains,
the ruins of Petrarch's chateau being perched
on a rock two hundred feet perpendicular
above. To add to the enchantment of the
scene, every tree and bush was filled with nightingales
in full song. I think you told me that
you had not yet noticed this bird. As you
have trees in the garden of the convent, there
might be nightingales in them, and this is the
season of their song. Endeavor to make yourself
acquainted with the music of this bird,
that when you return to your own country,
you may be able to estimate its merit in comparison
with that of the mocking-bird. The
latter has the advantage of singing through a
great part of the year, whereas the nightingale
sings about five or six weeks in the spring, and
a still shorter term, and with a more feeble
voice, in the fall.—
To Martha Jefferson. Ford ed., iv, 388.

832. BIRDS, Skylark.—

There are two
or three objects which you should endeavor to
enrich our country with,—the skylark, the redlegged
partridge. I despair too much of the
nightingale to add that.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 21.
(M. 1795)

833. BIRDS, Turkey.—

I suppose the
opinion to be universal that the turkey is a
native of America. Nobody, as far as I know,
has ever contradicted it but Daines Barrington;
and the arguments he produces are such as
none but a head, entangled and kinked as his
is, would ever have urged. Before the discovery
of America, no such bird is mentioned
in a single author, all those quoted by Barrington,
by description referring to the crane,
hen, pheasant, or peacock; but the book of
every traveller, who came to America soon
after its discovery, is full of accounts of the
turkey and its abundance; and immediately
after that discovery we find the turkey served
up at the feasts of Europe, as their most extraordinary
To Dr. Hugh Williamson. Washington ed. iv, 346. Ford ed., vii, 480.
(W. Jan. 1801)

834. BIRDS, The Crested Turkey.—

have taken measures to obtain the crested turkey,
and will endeavor to perpetuate that beautiful
and singular characteristic, and shall be
not less earnest in endeavors to raise the Moronnier.—
To M. Correa. Washington ed. vii, 95.

835. BIRDS, The Turkey in Heraldry.—

Mr. William Strickland, the eldest son of St. George Strickland, of York, in England,
told me this anecdote: Some ancestor of his
commanded a vessel in the navigations of Cabot.
Having occasion to consult the Herald's
office concerning his family, he found a petition
from that ancestor to the Crown, stating that
Cabot's circumstances being slender, he had been
rewarded by the bounties, he needed from the
Crown; that as to himself, he asked nothing in
that way, but that as a consideration for his
services in the same way, he might be permitted
to assume for the crest of his family arms, the
turkey, an American bird; and Mr. Strickland
observed that their crest is actually a
To Dr. Hugh Williamson. Washington ed. iv, 346. Ford ed., vii, 480.
(W. Jan. 1801)

836. BIRTH, Public Office and.—

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 * * * birth, or other accidental
condition or circumstance.—
Diffusion of Knowledge Bill. Ford ed., ii, 221.

837. BIRTHDAY, Jefferson's.—

myself of transferring the honors and
veneration for the great birthday of our Republic
to any individual, or of dividing them
with individuals, I have declined letting my
own birthday be known, and have engaged
my family not to communicate it. This has
been the uniform answer to every application
of the kind.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 504. Ford ed., viii, 246.
(M. Aug. 1803)


Page 93

838. BIRTHDAY, Jefferson's.—[continued].

The only birthday which
I recognize is that of my country's liberties. [50]
Rayner's Life of Jefferson. p. 18.


Jefferson thought he discovered in the birthday
celebrations of particular persons, a germ of aristocratical
distinction, which it was incumbent upon all
such persons, by a timely concert of example, to
crush in the bud.—Rayner's Life of Jefferson, p. 17.

839. BIRTHDAY, Celebration of Washington's.—

A great ball is to be given here [Philadelphia] on the 22d, and in other great
towns of the Union. This is, at least, very
indelicate, and probably excites uneasy sensations
in some. I see in it, however, this useful
deduction, that the birthdays, which have
been kept, have been, not those of the President,
but of the General.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 212. Ford ed., vii, 203.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)

840. BIRTHDAY, Celebration of Washington's.—[continued].

The late birth-night has
certainly sown tares among the exclusive
federalists. It has winnowed the grain from
the chaff. The sincerely Adamites did not go.
The Washingtonians went religiously, and took
the secession of the others in high dudgeon.
The one sect threaten to desert the levees, the
other the parties. The whigs went in number,
to encourage the idea that the birth-nights
hitherto kept had been for the General and not
the President, and of course that time would
bring an end to them.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 218. Ford ed., vii, 211.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)

841. BISHOP (Samuel), Appointment as Collector.—

I have received the remonstrance
you were pleased to address to me,
on the appointment of Samuel Bishop to the
office of Collector of New Haven, lately vacated
by the death of Daniel Austin. The
right of our fellow citizens to represent to the
public functionaries their opinion on proceedings
interesting to them, is unquestionably
a constitutional right, often useful, sometimes
necessary, and will always be respectfully
acknowledged by me. Of the various
executive duties, no one excites more anxious
concern than that of placing the interests
of our fellow citizens in the hands of
honest men, with understandings sufficient
for their stations. No duty, at the same time,
is more difficult to fulfil. The knowledge of
characters possessed by a single individual
is, of necessity, limited. To seek out the
best through the whole Union, we must resort
to other information, which, from the
best of men, acting disinterestedly and with
the purest motives, is sometimes incorrect.
In the case of Samuel Bishop, however, the
subject of your remonstrance, time was
taken, information was sought, and such obtained
as could leave no room for doubt of
his fitness. From private sources it was
learned that his understanding was sound,
his integrity pure, his character unstained.
And the offices confided to him within his
own State, are public evidences of the estimation
in which he is held by the State
in general, and the city and township particularly
in which he lives. He is said to
be the town clerk, a justice of the peace,
mayor of the city of New Haven, an office
held at the will of the legislature, chief judge
of the court of common pleas for New
Haven County, a court of high criminal and
civil jurisdiction wherein most causes are decided
without the right of appeal or review,
and sole judge of the court of Probates,
wherein he singly decides all questions of
wills, settlement of estates, testate and intestate,
appoints guardians, settles their accounts,
and in fact has under his jurisdiction
and care all the property, real and personal, of
persons dying. The two last offices, in the
annual gift of the legislature, were given to
him in May last. Is it possible that the man
to whom the legislature of Connecticut has
so recently committed trusts of such difficulty
and magnitude, is “unfit to be the collector
of the district of New Haven,” though
acknowledged in the same writing, to have
obtained all this confidence “by a long life
of usefulness”? It is objected, indeed, in
the remonstrance, that he is seventy-seven
years of age; but at a much more advanced
age, our Franklin was the ornament of human
nature. He may not be able to perform
in person all the details of his office; but if
he gives us the benefit of his understanding,
his integrity, his watchfulness and takes
care that all the details are well performed
by himself or his necessary assistants,
all public purposes will be answered.
The remonstrance, indeed, does not allege
that the office has been illy conducted, but
only apprehends that it will be so. Should
this happen in event, be assured I will do in it
what shall be just and necessary for the
public service. In the meantime, he should
be tried without being prejudged.—
To the New Haven Committee. Washington ed. iv, 402. Ford ed., viii, 67.
(W. July. 1801)

842. BISHOP (Samuel), Goodrich's removal and.—

The removal, as it is called, of
Mr. [Elizur] Goodrich, promises another
subject of complaint. Declarations by myself
in favor of political tolerance, exhortations
to harmony and affection in social intercourse,
and to respect for the equal rights of the minority, have, on certain occasions,
been quoted and misconstrued into assurances
that the tenure of offices was to be undisturbed.
But could candor apply such a
construction? It is not, indeed, in the remonstrance
that we find it; but it leads to
the explanations which that calls for. When
it is considered, that during the late administration,
those who were not of a particular
sect of politics were excluded from all office:
when, by a steady pursuit of this measure,
nearly the whole officers of the United States
were monopolized by that sect; when
the public sentiment at length declared itself,
and burst open the doors of honor and confidence
to those whose opinions they more
approved, was it to be imagined that this
monopoly of office was still to be continued
in the hands of the minority? Does it violate
their equal rights, to assert some rights
in the majority also? Is it political intolerance
to claim a proportionate share in the
direction of the public affairs? Can they
not harmonize in society unless they have
everything in their own hands? If the will
of the nation, manifested by their various


Page 94
elections, calls for an administration of government
according with the opinions of those
elected; if, for the fulfilment of that will,
displacements are necessary, with whom can
they so justly begin as with persons appointed
in the last moments of an administration,
not for its own aid, but to begin a
career at the same time with their successors,
by whom they had never been approved,
and who could scarcely expect from them a
cordial coöperation? Mr. Goodrich was one
of these. Was it proper for him to place
himself in office, without knowing whether
those whose agent he was to be would have
confidence in his agency? Can the preference
of another, as the successor to Mr.
Austin, be candidly called a removal of Mr.
Goodrich? If a due participation of office
is a matter of right, how are vacancies to be
obtained? Those by death are few; by resignation,
none. Can any other mode than
that of removal be proposed? This is a painful
office; but it is made my duty, and I meet
it as such. I proceed in the operation with
deliberation and inquiry, that it may injure
the best men least, and effect the purposes of
justice and public utility with the least private
distress; that it may be thrown, as much
as possible, on delinquency, on oppression,
on intolerance, on incompetence, on anterevolutionary
adherence to our enemies. The
remonstrance laments “that a change in the
administration must produce a change in the
subordinate officers,” in other words, that
it should be deemed necessary for all officers
to think with their principal? But on
whom does this imputation bear? On those
who have excluded from office every shade
of opinion which was not theirs? Or on
those who have been so excluded? I lament
sincerely that unessential differences of political
opinion should ever have been deemed
sufficient to interdict half the society from
the rights and blessings of self-government,
to proscribe them as characters unworthy of
every trust. It would have been to me a
circumstance of great relief, had I found a
moderate participation of office in the hands
of the majority. I would gladly have left
to time and accident to raise them to their
just share. But their total exclusion calls
for prompter correctives. I shall correct the
procedure; but that done, disdain to follow
it, shall return with joy to that state of
things, when the only questions concerning
a candidate shall be: Is he honest? Is he
capable? Is he faithful to the Constitution?—
To the New Haven Committee. Washington ed. iv, 403. Ford ed., viii, 69.
(W. July. 1801)

843. BISHOP (Samuel), New Haven Remonstrance and.—

Mr. Goodrich's removal
has produced a bitter remonstrance, with much personality against the two Bishops.
I am sincerely sorry to see the inflexibility
of the federal spirit there, for I cannot
believe they are all monarchists.
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 399. Ford ed., viii, 67.
(W. July. 1801)

844. BISHOP (Samuel), New Haven Remonstrance and.—[continued].

Some occasion of public
explanation was eagerly desired, when the
New Haven remonstrance offered us that occasion.
The answer was meant as an explanation
to our friends. It has had on
them, everywhere, the most wholesome effect.
Appearances of schismatizing from us have
been entirely done away. I own I expected
it would check the current with which the
republican federalists were returning to their
brethren, the republicans. I extremely lamented
this effect; for the moment which
should convince me that a healing of the nation
into one is impracticable, would be the
last moment of my wishing to remain where
I am.—
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. iv, 406. Ford ed., viii, 84.
(M. Aug. 1801)

See Goodrich.

845. BLACKSTONE (Sir William), Commentaries.—

The exclusion from the
courts of the malign influence of all authorities
after the Georgium Sidus became ascendant,
would uncanonize Blackstone,
whose book, although the most elegant and
best digested of our law catalogue, has been
perverted, more than all others, to the degeneracy
of legal science. A student finds
there a smattering of everything, and his
indolence easily persuades him that if he
understands that book, he is master of the
whole body of the law. The distinction between
these, and those who have drawn their
stores from the deep and rich mines of Coke
on Littleton, seems well understood even by
the unlettered common people, who apply
the appellation of Blackstone lawyers to
these ephemeral insects of the law.—
To Judge Tyler. Washington ed. vi, 66.
(M. 1812)

846. BLACKSTONE (Sir William), Toryism of.—

Blackstone and Hume have
made tories of all England, and are making
tories of those young Americans whose native
feelings of independence do not place them
above the wily sophistries of a Hume or a
Blackstone. These two books, but especially
the former, have done more towards the
suppression of the liberties of man, than all
the million of men in arms of Bonaparte, and
the millions of human lives with the sacrifice
of which he will stand loaded before the
judgment seat of his Maker.—
To Horatio G. Spafford. Washington ed. vi, 335.
(M. 1814)

847. BLAND (Richard), Character of.—

Colonel Richard Bland was the most learned
and logical man of those who took prominent
lead in public affairs, profound in constitutional
lore, a most ungraceful speaker (as were
Peyton Randolph and Robinson, in a remarkable
degree.) He wrote the first pamphlet on
the nature of the connection with Great Britain
which had any pretension to accuracy of
view on that subject, but it was a singular one.
He would set out on sound principles, pursue
them logically till he found them leading to the
precipice which he had to leap, start back
alarmed, then resume his ground, go over it in
another direction, be led again by the correctness
of his reasoning to the same place, and
again back out, and try other processes to
reconcile right and wrong, but finally left his
reader and himself bewildered between the
steady index of the compass in their hand, and
the phantasm to which it seemed to point. Still
there was more sound matter in his pamphlet
than in the celebrated “Farmer's Letters,”


Page 95
which were really but an ignis fatuus, misleading
us from true principles.—
To William Wirt. Washington ed. vi, 485. Ford ed., ix, 474.
(M. 1815)

848. BLOCKADES, Law of.—

When the
fleet of any nation actually beleaguers the
port of its enemy, no other has a right to
enter their line any more than their line of
battle in the open sea, or their lines of circumvallation,
or of encampment, or of battle
array on land. The space included within
their lines in any of those cases, is either the
property of their enemy, or it is common
property, assumed and possessed for a moment,
which cannot be intruded on, even by
a neutral, without committing the very trespass
we are now considering, that of intruding
into the lawful possession of a friend.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 410. Ford ed., viii, 91.
(M. 1801)

849. BLOCKADES, Neutrals and.—

When two nations go to war, it does not
abridge the rights of neutral nations but in
the two articles of blockade and contraband
of war.—
To Benjamin Stoddert. Washington ed. v, 425. Ford ed., ix, 245.
(W. 1809)

850. BLOCKADES, Seizure of Ships.—

The instruction [to commanders of British
war ships] which allows the armed vessels
of Great Britain to seize, for condemnation,
all vessels, on their first attempt to enter a
blockaded port, except those of Denmark and
Sweden, which are to be prevented only, but
not seized, on their first attempt. Of the
nations inhabiting the shores of the Atlantic
ocean, and practising its navigation, Denmark,
Sweden and the United States, alone
are neutral. To declare, then, all neutral vessels (for as to the vessels of the belligerent
powers no order was necessary) to be
legal prize, which shall attempt to enter a
blockaded port, except those of Denmark
and Sweden,
is exactly to declare that the
vessels of the United States
shall be lawful
prize, and those of Drnmark and Sweden
shall not. It is of little consequence that the
article has avoided naming the United
States, since it has used a description applicable
to them, and to them alone, while it
exempts the others from its operation, by
name. You will be pleased to ask an explanation
of this distinction; and you will
be able to say in discussing its justice, that
in every circumstance, we treat Great Britain
on the footing of the most favored nation,
where our treaties do not preclude us,
and that even these are just as favorable to
her as hers are to us. Possibly she may be
bound by treaty to admit this exception in
favor of Denmark and Sweden, but she cannot
be bound by treaty to withhold it from us;
and if it be withheld merely because not
established with us by treaty, what might
not we, on the same ground, have withheld
from Great Britain, during the short
course of the present war, as well as the
peace which has preceded it?—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iv, 62. Ford ed., vi, 416.
(Pa., Sep. 1793)

851. BLOCKADES, Seizure of Ships.—[continued].

You express your apprehension
that some of the belligerent powers
may stop our vessels going with grain to the
ports of their enemies, and ask instructions
which may meet the question in various
points of view, intending, however, in the
meantime to contend for the amplest freedom
of neutral nations. Your intention in this
is perfectly proper, and coincides with the
ideas of our own government in the particular
case you put, as in general cases. Such a
stoppage to an unblockaded port would be
so unequivocal an infringement of the neutral
rights, that we cannot conceive it will be
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 551. Ford ed., vi, 242.
(Pa., May. 1793)

852. BLOUNT (William), Impeachment of.—

It is most evident, that the antirepublicans
wish to get rid of Blount's impeachment.
Many metaphysical niceties are handing
about in conversation, to show that it cannot be
sustained. To show the contrary, it is evident
must be the task of the republicans, or of nobody.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 206. Ford ed., vii, 190.
(Pa., Jan. 1798)

See Impeachment.

853. BOLINGBROKE, Writings of Lord.—

Lord Bolingbroke and Thomas Paine
were alike in making bitter enemies of the
priests and pharisees of their day. Both
were honest men; both advocates for human
liberty. Paine wrote for a country which permitted
him to push his reasoning to whatever
length it would go. Lord Bolingbroke in one
restrained by a constitution, and by public opinion.
He was called indeed a tory; but his
writings prove him a stronger advocate for liberty
than any of his countrymen, the whigs of
the present day. Irritated by his exile, he committed
one act unworthy of him, in connecting
himself momentarily with a prince rejected by
his country. But he redeemed that single act
by his establishment of the principles which
proved it to be wrong. These two persons differed
remarkably in the style of their writing,
each leaving a model of what is most perfect
in both extremes of the simple and sublime.
No writer has exceeded Paine in ease and familiarity
of style, in perspicuity of expression,
happiness of elucidation, and in simple and unassuming
language. In this he may be compared
with Dr. Franklin; and indeed his Common
Sense was, for awhile, believed to have
been written by Dr. Franklin, and published
under the borrowed name of Paine, who had
come over with him from England. Lord
Bolingbroke's, on the other hand, is a style of
the highest order. The lofty, rythmical, fullflowing
eloquence of Cicero; periods of just
measure their members proportioned, their
close full and round. His conceptions, too, are
bold and strong, his diction copious, polished
and commanding as his subject. His writings
are certainly the finest samples in the English
language of the eloquence proper for the senate.
His political tracts are safe reading for
the most timid religionist, his philosophical, for
those who are not afraid to trust their reason
with discussions of right and wrong.—
To Francis Eppes. Washington ed. vii, 197. Ford ed., x, 183.
(M. 1821)

854. BOLLMAN (Eric), Burr and.—

am sorry to tell you that Bollman was Burr's
right hand man in all his guilty schemes. On
being brought to prison here [Washington], he
communicated to Mr. Madison and myself the
whole of the plans, always, however, apologetically
for Burr, as far as they would bear.
But his subsequent tergiversations have proved


Page 96
him conspicuously base. I gave him a pardon,
however, which covers him from everything but
infamy. I was the more astonished at his engaging
in this business, from the peculiar motives
he should have felt for fidelity. When I
came into the government, I sought him out on
account of the services he had rendered you,
cherished him, offered him two different appointments
of value, which, after keeping them
long under consideration, he declined for commercial
views, and would have given him anything
for which he was fit. Be assured he is
unworthy of ever occupying again the care of
any honest man.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. v, 130. Ford ed., ix, 114.
(W. July. 1807)

855. BOLLMAN (Eric), Pardon of.—

Dr. Bollman, on his arrival in Washington in
custody in January, voluntarily offered to make
communications to me, which he accordingly
did, Mr. Madison also being present. I previously
and subsequently assured him (without,
however, his having requested it), that they
should never be used against himself. Mr.
Madison on the same evening committed to
writing, by memory, what he had said; and
I moreover asked of Bollman to do it himself,
which he did, and I now enclose it to you.
The object is, as he is to be a witness, that
you may know how to examine him, and draw
everything from him. I wish the paper to be
seen and known only to yourself and the gentlemen
who aid you, and to be returned to me.
If he should prevaricate, I should be willing
you should go so far as to ask him whether he
did not say so and so to Mr. Madison and myself,
in order to let him see that his prevarications
will be marked. Mr. Madison will forward
you a pardon for him, which we mean
should be delivered previously. It is suspected
by some he does not intend to appear. If he
does not, I hope you will take effectual measures
to have him immediately taken into custody.
Some other blank pardons are sent on
to be filled up at your discretion, if you should
find a defect of evidence, and believe that this
would supply it, * * * avoiding to give
them to the gross offenders, unless it be visible
that the principal will otherwise escape.—
To George Hay. Ford ed., ix, 52.
(W. May. 1807)

856. BONAPARTE (Jerome), Marriage of.—

A report reaches us from Baltimore,
* * * that Mr. Jerome Bonaparte, brother
of the First Consul, is married to Miss Patterson,
of that city. The effect of this measure
on the mind of the First Consul, is not for me
to suppose; but as it might occur to him,
prima facie, that the Executive of the United
States ought to have prevented it, I have
thought it advisable to mention the subject to
you, that, if necessary, you may by explanation
set that idea to rights. You know that by
our laws, all persons are free to enter into
marriage, if of twenty-one years of age, no one
having a power to restrain it, not even their
parents; and that under that age, no one can
prevent it but the parent or guardian. The
lady is under age, and the parents, placed between
her affections, which were strongly fixed,
and the considerations opposing the measure,
yielded with pain and anxiety to the former.
Mr. Patterson is the President of the Bank
of Baltimore, the wealthiest man in Maryland,
perhaps in the United States, except Mr. Carroll;
a man of great virtue and respectability;
the mother is the sister of the lady of General
Samuel Smith; and, consequently, the station
of the family in society is with the first of
the United States. These circumstances fix
rank in a country where there are no hereditary
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 510. Ford ed., viii, 277.
(W. Nov. 1803)

857. BONAPARTE (N.), Brutuses for.—

If Bonaparte declares for royalty, either in
his own person, or for Louis XVIII., he has
but a few days to live. In a nation of so
much enthusiasm, there must be a million of
Brutuses who will devote themselves to destroy
To Henry Innes. Washington ed. iv, 315. Ford ed., vii, 412.
(Pa., Jan. 1800)

858. BONAPARTE (N.), Brutuses for.—[continued].

Had the consuls been put
to death in the first tumult, and before the
nation had time to take sides, the Directory
and Councils might have reestablished
themselves on the spot. But that not being
done, perhaps it is now to be wished that
Bonaparte may be spared, as, according to
his protestations, he is for liberty, equality
and representative government, and he is
more able to keep the nation together, and
to ride out the storm than any other. Perhaps
it may end in their establishing a single
representative, and that in his person. I
hope it will not be for life, for fear of the influence
of the example on our countrymen.
It is very material for the latter to be made
sensible that their own character and situation
are materially different from the French;
and that whatever may be the fate of republicanism
there, we are able to preserve it inviolate
To John Breckenridge. Ford ed., vii, 418.
(Pa., Jan. 1800)

859. BONAPARTE (N.), Cromwell, Washington and.—

My confidence has been
placed in the head, not in the heart of Bonaparte.
I hoped he would calculate truly the
difference between the fame of a Washington
and a Cromwell.—
To Samuel Adams. Washington ed. iv, 321. Ford ed., vii, 425.
(Pa., Feb. 1800)

860. BONAPARTE (N.), Detested.—

man on earth has stronger detestation than
myself of the unprincipled tyrant who is deluging
the continent of Europe with blood.
No one was more gratified by his disasters of
the last campaign. [51]
To Dr. George Logan. Washington ed. vi, 216. Ford ed., ix, 423.
(M. Oct. 1813)


This extract got into the newspapers contrary to
Jefferson's wishes, and led to a long interruption of
the correspondence between him and Dr. Logan. At
length, in 1816, he wrote to Logan, complaining of
the publication, and said: “this [extract] produced
to me more complaints from my best friends and
called for more explanations than any transaction of
my life had ever done. They inferred from this partial
extract an approbation of the conduct of England,
which yet the same letter censured with equal
rigor. It produced, too, from the minister of Bonaparte
a complaint, not indeed formal, for I was but a
private citizen, but serious, of my volunteering with
England in the abuse of his sovereign.”—Editor.

861. BONAPARTE (N.), Embargo and.—

The explanation of his principles given you
by the French Emperor, in conversation, is
correct as far as it goes. He does not wish
us to go to war with England, knowing we
have no ships to carry on that war. To submit
to pay to England the tribute on our commerce
which she demands by her orders of
council, would be to aid her in the war
against him, and would give him just ground
to declare war with us. He, concludes, therefore,

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Thomas Jefferson
Age about 35 years

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Page 97
as every rational man must, that the
Embargo, the only remaining alternative, was
a wise measure. These are acknowledged
principles, and should circumstances arise
which may offer advantage to our country in
making them public, we shall avail ourselves
of them. But as it is not usual nor agreeable
to governments to bring their conversations
before the public, I think it would be well to
consider this on your part as confidential,
leaving to the government to retain or make
it public, as the general good may require.
Had the Emperor gone further, and said that
he condemned our vessels going voluntarily
into his ports in breach of his municipal laws,
we might have admitted it rigorously legal,
though not friendly. But his condemnation
of vessels taken on high seas, by his privateers
and carried involuntarily into his
ports, is justifiable by no law; is piracy, and
this is the wrong we complain of against
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. v, 370. Ford ed., ix, 209.
(W. Oct. 1808)

862. BONAPARTE (N.), England and.

—To complete and universalize the desolation
of the globe, it has been the will of Providence
to raise up, at the same time, a tyrant
as unprincipled and as overwhelming, for
the ocean. Not in the poor maniac George,
but in his government and nation. Bonaparte
will die, and his tyrannies with him. But a
nation never dies. The English government,
and its piratical principles and practices, have
no fixed term of duration. Europe feels, and
is writhing under the scorpion whips of Bonaparte.
We are assailed by those of England.
The one continent thus placed under the gripe
of England, and the other of Bonaparte, each
has to grapple with the enemy immediately
pressing on itself. We must extinguish the
fire kindled in our own house, and leave to
our friends beyond the water that which is
consuming theirs.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. vi, 115.
(M. May. 1813)

863. BONAPARTE (N.), Execrated.—

know nothing which can so severely try the
heart and spirit of man, and especially of the
man of science, as the necessity of a passive
acquiescence under the abominations of an
unprincipled tyrant who is deluging the earth
with blood to acquire for himself the reputation
of a Cartouche or a Robin Hood. The
petty larcenies of the Blackbeards and Buccaneers
of the ocean, the more immediately
exercised on us, are dirty and grovelling
things addressed to our contempt, while the
horrors excited by the Scelerat of France are
beyond all human execrations.—
To Dr. Morrell. Washington ed. vi, 100.
(M. Feb. 1813)

864. BONAPARTE (N.), A Great Scoundrel.—

Bonaparte was a lion in the field only. In civil life, a cold-blooded, calculating, unprincipled
usurper, without a virtue; no
statesman, knowing nothing of commerce,
political economy, or civil government, and
supplying ignorance by bold presumption. I
had supposed him a great man until his entrance
into the Assembly des cinq cens, eighteen Brumaire (an. 8.) From that date,
however, I set him down as a great scoundrel
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 352. Ford ed., ix, 461.
(M. July. 1814)

865. BONAPARTE (N.), Hatred of United States.—

Bonaparte hates our government
because it is a living libel on his.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. v, 553. Ford ed., ix, 287.
(M. 1810)

866. BONAPARTE (N.), Hatred of United States.—[continued]

Bonaparte's hatred of us
is only a little less than that he bears to England,
and England to us. Our form of government
is odious to him, as a standing contrast
between republican and despotic rule; and as
much from that hatred, as from ignorance in
political economy, he had excluded intercourse
between us and his people, by prohibiting
the only articles they wanted from
us, cotton and tobacco.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 464. Ford ed., ix, 520.
(M. June. 1815)

867. BONAPARTE (N.), Hatred of United States.—[continued]

It is not possible Bonaparte
should love us; and of that our commerce
had sufficient proof during his power. Our military achievements, indeed, which he
is capable of estimating, may in some degree,
moderate the effect of his aversions; and he
may, perhaps, fancy that we are to become the
natural enemies of England, as England herself
has so steadily endeavored to make us,
and as some of our own over-zealous patriots
would be willing to proclaim; and in this
view, he may admit a cold toleration of
some intercourse and commerce between the
two nations. He has certainly had time to see
the folly of turning the industry of France
from the cultures for which nature has so
highly endowed her, to those of sugar, cotton,
tobacco, and others, which the same creative
power has given to other climates; and, on
the whole, if he can conquer the passions of
his tyrannical soul, if he has understanding
enough to pursue from motives of interest,
what no moral motives lead him to, the tranquil
happiness and prosperity of his country,
rather than a ravenous thirst for human
blood, his return may become of more advantage
than injury to us.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 458.
(M. June. 1815)

868. BONAPARTE (N.), Havoc by.—

A conqueror roaming over the earth with havoc and destruction.—
To Dr. Walter Jones. Washington ed. v, 511. Ford ed., ix, 274.
(M. 1810)

869. BONAPARTE (N.), His Ideas on Government.—

Should it be really true that
Bonaparte has usurped the government with
an intention of making it a free one, whatever
his talents may be for war, we have no proofs
that he is skilled in forming governments
friendly to the people. Wherever he has
meddled, we have seen nothing but fragments
of the old Roman government stuck into materials
with which they can form no cohesion.
We see the bigotry of an Italian to the ancient
splendor of his country, but nothing which
bespeaks a luminous view of the organization
of rational government. Perhaps, however,
this may end better than we augur; and it
certainly will, if his head is equal to true and


Page 98
solid calculations of glory.—
To T. M. Randolph. Washington ed. iv, 319. Ford ed., vii, 422.
(Pa., Feb. 1800)

870. BONAPARTE (N.), Human Misery and.—

Bonaparte has been the author of
more misery and suffering to the world, than
any being who ever lived before him. After
destroying the liberties of his country, he has
exhausted all its resources, physical and moral,
to indulge his own maniac ambition, his
own tyrannical and overbearing spirit. His
sufferings cannot be too great.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. vi, 499.
(M. Oct. 1815)

871. BONAPARTE (N.), Ignorance of Commerce.—

Of the principles and advantages
of commerce, Bonaparte appears to be
To Joel Barlow. Washington ed. v, 601.
(M. 1812)

872. BONAPARTE (N.), Imprisonment of.—

The Attila of the age dethroned,
the ruthless destroyer of ten millions of the
human race, whose thirst for blood appeared
unquenchable, the great oppressor of the
rights and liberties of the world, shut up
within the circle of a little island of the Mediterranean,
and dwindled to the condition of
an humble and degraded pensioner on the
bounty of those he had most injured. How
miserable, how meanly, has he closed his
inflated career! What a sample of the bathos
will his history present! He should have perished
on the swords of his enemies, under the
walls of Paris.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 352. Ford ed., ix, 461.
(M. July. 1814)

873. BONAPARTE (N.), Invasion of U. S. by.—

The fear that Bonaparte will
come over and conquer us also, is too chimerical
to be genuine. Supposing him to have
finished Spain and Portugal, he has yet England
and Russia to subdue. The maxim of
war was never sounder than in this case, not
to leave an enemy in the rear; and especially
where an insurrectionary flame is known to
be under the embers, merely smothered, and
ready to burst at every point. These two
subdued (and surely the Anglomen will not
think the conquest of England alone a short
work), ancient Greece and Macedonia, the
cradle of Alexander, his prototype, and Constantinople,
the seat of empire for the world,
would glitter more in his eye than our bleak
mountains and rugged forests. Egypt, too,
and the golden apples of Mauritania, have for
more than half a century fixed the longing
eyes of France; and with Syria, you know,
he has an old affront to wipe out. Then come
“Pontus and Galatia, Cappadocia, Aeolia and
Bithynia,” the fine countries on the Euphrates
and Tigris, the Oxus and Indus, and
all beyond the Hypasis, which bounded the
glories of his Macedonian rival; with the invitations
of his new British subjects on the
banks of the Ganges, whom, after receiving
under his protection the mother country, he
cannot refuse to visit. When all this is done
and settled, and nothing of the old world remains
unsubdued, he may turn to the new
one. But will he attack us first, from whom
he will get but hard knocks and no money?
Or will he first lay hold of the gold and silver
of Mexico and Peru, and the diamonds of
Brazil? A republican emperor, from his affection
to republics, independent of motives
of expediency, must grant to ourselves the
Cyclop's boon of being the last devoured.
While all this is doing, are we to suppose the
chapter of accidents read out, and that nothing
can happen to cut short or disturb his
To John Langdon. Washington ed. v, 512.
(M. March. 1810)

874. BONAPARTE (N.), Louisiana and.—

I assured M. Pichon [French Minister] that I had more confidence in the word
of the First Consul than in all the parchment
we could sign.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 511. Ford ed., viii, 278.
(W. Nov. 1803)

875. BONAPARTE (N.), Louisiana and.—[continued].

Your emperor has done more splendid things, but he has never done
one which will give happiness to so great a
number of human beings as the ceding of
Louisiana to the United States. [52]
To Marquis de Lafayette. Ford ed., ix, 67.
(W. May. 1807)

See Louisiana.


This accession of territory strengthens forever
the power of the United States, and I have just given
to England a maritime rival that will sooner or later
humble her pride.—Napoleon.

876. BONAPARTE (N.), No Moral Sense.—

O'Meara's book proves that nature
had denied Bonaparte the moral sense, the first
excellence of well organized man. If he could
seriously and repeatedly affirm that he had
raised himself to power without ever having
committed a crime, it proves that he wanted
totally the sense of right and wrong. If he
could consider the millions of human lives
which he had destroyed, or caused to be destroyed,
the desolations of countries by plunderings,
burnings and famine, the destitutions
of lawful rulers of the world without the
consent of their constituents, to place his
brothers and sisters on their thrones, the cutting
up of established societies of men and
jumbling them discordantly together again at
his caprice, the demolition of the fairest hopes
of mankind for the recovery of their rights
and amelioration of their condition, and all
the numberless train of his other enormities;
the man I say, who could consider all these
as no crimes, must have been a moral monster,
against whom every hand should have
been lifted to slay him.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 275.
(M. 1823)

877. BONAPARTE (N.), Peace and.—

Bonaparte's restless spirit leaves no hope of
peace to the world.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 464. Ford ed., ix, 520.
(M. 1815)

878. BONAPARTE (N.), Policy toward United States.—

As to Bonaparte, I
should not doubt the revocation of his edicts,
were he governed by reason. But his policy
is so crooked that it eludes conjecture.
I fear his first object now is to dry up
the sources of British prosperity by excluding
her manufactures from the continent.
He may fear that opening the
ports of Europe to our vessels will open them
to an inundation of British wares. He ought


Page 99
to be satisfied with having forced her to revoke
the orders [in council] on which he
pretended to retaliate, and to be particularly
satisfied with us, by whose unyielding adherence
to principle she has been forced into
the revocation. He ought the more to conciliate
our good will, as we can be such an
obstacle to the new career opening on him
in the Spanish Colonies. That he would give
us the Floridas to withhold intercourse with
the residue of those colonies, cannot be
doubted. But that is no price; because they
are ours in the first moment of the first war;
and until a war they are of no particular necessity
to us. But, although with difficulty,
he will consent to our receiving Cuba into
our Union, to prevent our aid to Mexico and
the other provinces. That would be a price,
and I would immediately erect a column on
the southernmost limit of Cuba, and inscribe
on it a ne plus ultra as to us in that direction.
We should then only have to include the
North in our Confederacy, which would be of
course in the first war, and we should have
such an empire for liberty as she has never
surveyed since the creation; and I am persuaded
no Constitution was ever before so
well calculated as ours for extensive empire
and self-government.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 444.
(M. April. 1809)

879. BONAPARTE (N.), Political Wickedness of.—

I view Bonaparte as a political engine only, and a very wicked one; you, I
believe, as both political and religious, and
obeying, as an instrument, an Unseen Hand.
I still deprecate his becoming sole lord of
the continent of Europe, which he would
have been, had he reached in triumph the
gates of St. Petersburg. The establishment
in our day of another. Roman Empire, spreading
vassalage and depravity over the face of
the globe, is not, I hope, within the purposes
of Heaven.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 463. Ford ed., ix, 519.
(M. June. 1815)

880. BONAPARTE (N.), Promises of.—

Promises cost him nothing when they could
serve his purpose. On his return from Elba,
what did he not promise? But those who had
credited them a little, soon saw their total insignificance,
and, satisfied that they could
not fall under worse hands, refused every effort
after the defeat of Waterloo.—
To Benjamin Austin. Washington ed. vi, 554. Ford ed., x, II.
(M. 1816)

881. BONAPARTE (N.), Republicans and.—

Here you will find reioicings on the [restoration] of Bonaparte, and by a strange
quid pro quo, not by the party hostile to liberty,
but by its zealous friends. In this they
see nothing but the scourge reproduced for
the back of England. They do not permit
themselves to see in it the blast of all the
hopes of mankind, and that however it May
jeopardize England, it gives to her self-defence
the lying countenance again of being
the sole champion of the rights of man, to
which in all other nations she is most adverse.

To M. Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. vi, 457.
(M. May. 1815)

882. BONAPARTE (N.), Republicans and.—

I have grieved to see even
good republicans so infatuated as to this man,
as to consider his downfall as calamitous to
the cause of liberty. In their indignation
against England which is just, they seem to
consider all her enemies as our friends, when
it is well known there was not a being on
earth who bore us so deadly a hatred. * * * To whine after this exorcised demon is a
disgrace to republicans, and must have arisen
either from want of reflection, or the indulgence
of passion against principle.—
To Benjamin Austin. Washington ed. vi, 553. Ford ed., x, II.
(M. Feb. 1816)

883. BONAPARTE (N.), Restoration of.

—You despair of your country, and so do
I. A military despotism is now fixed upon it
permanently, especially if the son of the tyrant
should have virtues and talents. What
a treat it would be to me, to be with you, and
to learn from you all the intrigues, apostacies
and treacheries which have produced this last
death's blow to the hopes of France. For, although
not in the will, there was in the imbecility
of the Bourbons a foundation of
hope that the patriots of France might obtain
a moderate representative government.—
To M. Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. vi, 457.
(M. May. 1815)

884. BONAPARTE (N.), Rights of Nations and.—

The new treaty of the allied
powers declares that the French nation shall
not have Bonaparte, and shall have Louis
XVIII. for their ruler. They are all then as
great rascals as Bonaparte himself. While he
was in the wrong, I wished him exactly as
much success as would answer our purposes,
and no more. Now that they are in the
wrong and he in the right, he shall have all
my prayers for success, and that he may dethrone
every man of them.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 467. Ford ed., ix, 522.
(M. June. 1815)

885. BONAPARTE (N.), Rights of Nations and.—[continued].

As far as we can judge
from appearances, Bonaparte, from being a
mere military usurper, seems to have become
the choice of his nation; and the allies in
their turn, the usurpers and spoliators of the
European world. The rights of nations to
self-government being my polar star, my partialities
are steered by it, without asking
whether it is a Bonaparte or an Alexander
towards whom the helm is directed.—
To M. Correa. Washington ed. vi, 480.
(M. June. 1815)

886. BONAPARTE (N.), Rights of Nations and.—[further continued].

No man more severely condemned Bonaparte than myself during his
former career, for his unprincipled enterprises
on the liberty of his own country, and the
independence of others. But the allies having
now taken up his pursuits, and he arrayed
himself on the legitimate side, I also
am changed as to him. He is now fighting
for the independence of nations, of which his
whole life hitherto had been a continued violation,
and he has now my prayers as sincerely
for success as he had before for his overthrow.
He has promised a free government to
his own country, and to respect the rights of
others; and although his former conduct does


Page 100
not inspire entire faith in his promises; yet
we had better take the chance of his word for
doing right than the certainty of the wrong
which his adversaries avow.—
To Phillip Mazzei. Ford ed., ix, 525.
(M. Aug. 1815)

887. BONAPARTE (N.), Rights of Nations and.—[further continued] .

At length Bonaparte has
got on the right side of a question. From
the time of his entering the legislative hall to
his retreat to Elba, no man has execrated him
more than myself. I will not except even the
members of the Essex Junto; although for
very different reasons; I, because he was warring
against the liberty of his own country,
and independence of others; they, because he
was the enemy of England, the Pope and the
Inquisition. But at length, and as far as we
can judge, he seems to have become the choice
of his nation. At least, he is defending the
cause of his nation, and that of all mankind,
the rights of every people to independence
and self-government. He and the allies have
now changed sides. They are parcelling out
among themselves, Poland, Belgium, Saxony,
Italy, dictating a ruler and government to
France, and looking askance at our republic,
the splendid libel on their governments, and
he is fighting for the principles of national
independence of which his whole life hitherto
has been a continued violation. He has
promised a free government to his own country,
and to respect the rights of others; and
although his former conduct inspires little
confidence in his promises, yet we had better
take the chance of his word for doing right,
than the certainty of the wrong which his adversaries
are doing and avowing. If they
succeed ours is only the boon of the Cyclops
to Ulysses, of being the last devoured. [53]
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 490. Ford ed., ix, 529.
(M. Aug. 1815)


To the letter from which this extract is taken Jefferson
appended a postscript as follows: “I had finished
my letter yesterday and this morning (Aug.
11), received the news of Bonaparte's second abdication.
Very well. For him, personally, I have no
feeling but reprobation. The representatives of the
nations have deposed him. They have taken the
allies at their word, that they had no object in the
war but his removal. The nation is now free to give
itself a good government, either with or without a
Bourbon; and France, unsubdued, will still be a bridle
on the enterprises of the combined powers, and a
bulwark to others.”—Editor.

888. BONAPARTE (N.), Robespierre and.—

Robespierre met the fate, and his
memory the execration, he so justly merited.
The rich were his victims, and perished by
thousands. It is by millions that Bonaparte
destroys the poor, and he is eulogized and
deified by the sycophants even of science.
These merit more than the mere oblivion to
which they will be consigned: and the day
will come when a just posterity will give
to their hero the only preeminence he has
earned, that of having been the greatest of
the destroyers of the human race. What year
of his military life has not consigned a million
of human beings to death, to poverty and
wretchedness! What field in Europe may not
raise a monument of the murders, the burnings,
the desolations, the famines, and miseries
it has witnessed from him? And all
this to acquire a reputation, which Cartouche
attained with less injury to mankind, of being
fearless of God or man.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. vi, 114.
(M. May. 1813)

889. BONAPARTE (N.), Self-government and.—

I see in Bonaparte's expulsion
of the Bourbons, a valuable lesson to the
world, as showing that its ancient dynasties
may be changed for their misrule. Should
the allied powers presume to dictate a ruler
and government to France, and follow the
example he had set of parcelling and usurping
to themselves their neighbor nations, I hope
he will give them another lesson in vindication
of the rights of independence and self-government,
which himself had hitherto so
much abused, and that in this contest he will
wear down the maritime power of England
to limitable and safe dimensions. So far,
good. It cannot be denied, on the other hand,
that his successful perversion of the force
(committed to him for vindicating the rights
and liberties of his country) to usurp its government,
and to enchain it under an hereditary
despotism, is of baneful effect in encouraging
future usurpations, and deterring
those under oppression from rising to redress
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 464. Ford ed., ix, 519.
(M. 1815)

890. BONAPARTE (N.), Self-government and.—[continued].

If adversity should have
taught him wisdom, of which I have little
expectation, he may yet render some service
to mankind, by teaching the ancient dynasties
that they can be changed for misrule, and
by wearing down the maritime power of England
to limitable and safe dimensions.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 458.
(M. June. 1815)

891. BONAPARTE (N.), Selfishness of.—

Bonaparte saw nothing in this world but himself, and looked on the people under him
as his cattle, beasts for burthen and slaughter.—
To Benjamin Austin. Washington ed. vi, 553. Ford ed., x, 11.
(M. 1816)

892. BONAPARTE (N.), Statesmanship of.—

I have just finished reading O'Meara's
Bonaparte. It places him in a higher
scale of understanding than I had allotted
him. I had thought him the greatest of all
military captains, but an indifferent statesman,
and misled by unworthy passions. The
flashes, however, which escaped from him in
these conversations with O'Meara, prove a
mind of great expansion, although not of distinct
development and reasoning. He seizes
results with rapidity and penetration, but
never explains logically the processes of
reasoning by which he arrives at them.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 275.
(M. 1823)

893. BONAPARTE (N.), Sufferings of.—

O'Meara's Bonaparte makes us forget his
atrocities for a moment, in commiseration of
his sufferings. I will not say that the authorities
of the world, charged with the care of
their country and people, had not a right to
confine him for life, as a lion or a tiger, on
the principle of self-preservation. There was
no safety to nations while he was permitted
to roam at large. But the putting him to


Page 101
death in cold blood, by lingering tortures of
mind, by vexations, insults, and deprivations,
was a degree of inhumanity to which the
poisonings and assassinations of the school of
Borgia and the den of Marat never attained.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 275.
(M. 1823)

894. BONAPARTE (N.), Temper of.—

Bonaparte's domineering temper deafens him to the dictates of interest, of honor, and of
To Joel Barlow. Washington ed. v, 601.
(M. 1811 )

895. BONAPARTE (N.), Tyranny of.—

A ruthless tyrant, drenching Europe in
blood to obtain through future time the character
of the destroyer of mankind.—
To Henry Middleton. Washington ed. vi, 91.
(M. Jan. 1813)

896. BONAPARTE (N.), Tyranny of.—[continued].

That Bonaparte is an unprincipled
tyrant, who is deluging the continent
of Europe with blood, there is not a
human being, not even the wife of his bosom
who does not see.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 283. Ford ed., ix, 445.
(M. Jan. 1814)

897. BONAPARTE (N.), United States and.—

Considering the character of Bonaparte,
I think it material at once to let him
see that we are not of the powers who will
receive his orders.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 585. Ford ed., viii, 377.
(M. Aug. 1805)

898. BONAPARTE (N.), United States and.—[continued].

I never expected to be
under the necessity of wishing success to
Bonaparte. But the English being equally tyrannical
at sea as he is on land, and that tyranny
bearing on us in every point of either
honor or interest, I say, “down with England,
” and as for what Bonaparte is then to
do to us, let us trust to the chapter of accidents.
I cannot, with the Anglomen, prefer
a certain present evil to a future hypothetical
To Thomas Leiper. Ford ed., ix, 130.
(M. Aug. 1807)

899. BONAPARTE (N.), United States and.—[further continued].

Although we neither expected,
nor wished any act of friendship from
Bonaparte, and always detested him as a
tyrant, yet he gave employment to much of
the force of the nation who was our common
enemy. So far, his downfall was illy timed
for us; it gave to England an opportunity
to turn full-handed on us, when we were unprepared.
No matter, we can beat her on our
own soil, leaving the laws of the ocean to be
settled by the maritime powers of Europe,
who are equally oppressed and insulted by the
usurpations of England on that element.—
To W. H. Crawford. Washington ed. vi, 418. Ford ed., ix, 502.
(M. Feb. 1815)

900. BONAPARTE (N.), United States, Russia and.—

There cannot, I think, be a
doubt as to the line we wish drawn between
Bonaparte's successes and those of Alexander.
Surely none of us wish to see Bonaparte
conquer Russia, and lay thus at his feet the
whole continent of Europe. This done, England
would be but a breakfast: and although
I am free from the visionary fears which the
votaries of England have affected to entertain.
because I believe he cannot effect the conquest
of Europe; yet put all Europe into his hands,
and he might spare such a force, to be sent
in British ships, as I would as lief not have
to encounter, when I see how much trouble a
handful of soldiers in Canada has given us.
No. It cannot be to our interest that all
Europe should be reduced to a single monarchy.
The true line of interest for us, is,
that Bonaparte should be able to effect the
complete exclusion of England from the whole
continent of Europe, in order, by this peaceable
engine of constraint to make her renounce
her views of dominion over the ocean,
of permitting no other nation to navigate it
but with her license, and on tribute to her,
and her aggressions on the persons of our
citizens who may choose to exercise their
right of passing over that element. And this
would be effected by Bonaparte succeeding
so far as to close the Baltic against her. This
success I wished him the last year, this I wish
him this year; but were he again advanced
to Moscow, I should again wish him such
disasters as would prevent his reaching St.
Petersburg. And were the consequences even
to be the longer continuance of our war, I
would rather meet them than see the whole
force of Europe wielded by a single hand.—
To Thomas Lieper. Washington ed. vi, 283. Ford ed., ix, 445.
(M. Jan. 1814)

901. BONAPARTE (N.), United States, Russia and.—[continued].

I have gone into this explanation
* * * because I am willing to
trust to your discretion the explaining me
to our honest fellow laborers, and the bringing
them to pause and reflect, if any of them
have not sufficiently reflected on the extent
of the success we ought to wish to Bonaparte,
with a view to our own interests only;
and even were we not men, to whom nothing
human should be indifferent. But is our particular
interest to make us insensible to all
sentiments of morality? Is it then become
criminal, the moral wish that the torrents
of blood this man is shedding in Europe, the
sufferings of so many human beings, good as
ourselves, on whose necks he is trampling,
the burnings of ancient cities, devastations of
great countries, the destruction of law and
order, and demoralization of the world,
should be arrested, even if it should place our
peace a little further distant? No. You and
I cannot differ in wishing that Russia, and
Sweden, and Denmark, and Germany, and
Spain, and Portugal, and Italy, and even
England, may retain their independence.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 283. Ford ed., ix, 446.
(M. Jan. 1814)

902. BONAPARTE (N.), United States, Russia and.—[further continued].

It is cruel that we should
have been forced to wish any success to such
a destroyer of the human race. Yet while
it was our interest and that of humanity that
he should not subdue Russia, and thus lay
all Europe at his feet, it was desirable to us
that he should so far succeed as to close the
Baltic to our enemy, and force him, by the
pressure of internal distress, into a disposition
to return to the paths of justice towards us.—
To John Clarke. Washington ed. vi, 308.
(M. Jan. 1814)

903. BONAPARTE (N.), Vanquished.—

The unprincipled tyrant of the land is


Page 102
fallen, his power reduced to its original nothingness,
his person only not yet in the madhouse,
where it ought always to have been.—
To Cæsar A. Rodney. Washington ed. vi, 448.
(M. 1815)

904. BONAPARTE (N.), Vanquished.—[continued].

On the general scale of
nations, the greatest wonder is Napoleon at
St. Helena; and yet it would have been well
for the lives and happiness of millions and
millions, had he been deposited there twenty
years ago. France would now have a free
government, unstained by the enormities she
has enabled him to commit on the rest of the
world, and unprostrated by the vindictive
hand, human or divine, now so heavily bearing
upon her.—
To Mrs. Trist. D. L. J.363.
April. 1816)

905. BONAPARTE (N.), Vanquished.—[further continued].

What is infinitely interesting
[in the letters you enclosed to me], is
the scene of the exchange of Louis XVIII. for
Bonaparte. What lessons of wisdom Mr.
[John Quincy] Adams must have read in that
short space of time! More than fall to the
lot of others in the course of a long life. Man,
and the man of Paris, under those circumstances,
must have been a subject of profound
speculation! It would be a singular addition
to that spectacle to see the same beast in the
cage at St. Helena, like a lion in the tower.
That is probably the closing verse of the chapter
of his crimes.—
To Mrs. John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 52. Ford ed., x, 69.
(M. 1817)

906. BONAPARTE (N.), Vanquished.—[further continued] .

Had Bonaparte reflected
that such is the moral construction of the
world, that no national crime passes unpunished
in the long run, he would not now be
in the cage of St. Helena.—
M. De Marbois. Washington ed. vii, 76.
(M. 1817)

See France.


Some few
years ago when the tariff was before Congress,
I engaged some of our members of
Congress to endeavor to get the duty repealed,
and wrote on the subject to some
other acquaintances in Congress, and pressingly
to the Secretary of the Treasury. The
effort * * * failed. * * * There is a consideration
going to the injustice of the tax * * *.
Books constitute capital. A library book lasts
as long as a house, for hundreds of years.
It is not, then, an article of mere consumption
but fairly of capital, and often in the case
of professional men, setting out in life, it is
their only capital. Now there is no other
form of capital which is first taxed 18 per
cent. on the gross, and the proprietor then
left to pay the same taces in detail with
others whose capital has paid no tax on the
gross. Nor is there a description of men less
proper to be singled out for extra taxation.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., x, 194.
(M. Sep. 1821)

908. BOOKS, Censorship of.—

I am mortified
to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book [54] can become a
subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry
too, as an offence against religion; that a
question like this can be carried before the
civil magistrate. Is this then our freedom of
religion? And are we to have a censor
whose imprimatur shall say what books May
be sold, and what we may buy? And who
is thus to dogmatize religious opinions for
our citizens? Whose foot is to be the measure
to which ours are all to be cut or
stretched? Is a priest to be our inquisitor, or
shall a layman, simple as ourselves, set up
his reason as the rule for what we are to read,
and what we must believe? It is an insult to
our citizens to question whether they are
rational beings or not, and blasphemy against
religion to suppose it cannot stand the test
of truth and reason. If M. de Becourt's book
be false in its facts, disprove them; if false
in its reasoning, refute it. But, for God's
sake, let us freely hear both sides, if we
choose. I know little of its contents, having
barely glanced over here and there a passage,
and over the table of contents. From this,
the Newtonian philosophy seemed the chief
object of attack, the issue of which might be
trusted to the strength of the two combatants;
Newton certainly not needing the auxiliary
arm of the government, and still less
the Holy Author of our religion, as to what
in it concerns Him. I thought the work
would be very innocent, and one which might
be confided to the reason of any man; not
likely to be much read if let alone, but, if
persecuted, it will be generally read. Every
man in the United States will think it a duty
to buy a copy, in vindication of his right to
buy, and to read what he pleases.—
To M. Dufief. Washington ed. vi, 340.
(M. 1814)


A work in French by M. De Becourt entitled
“Sur la Création du Monde, un Systême d'Organisation
Primitive”.- Editor.

909. BOOKS, Censorship of.—[continued].

I have been just reading
the new constitution of Spain. One of its
fundamental bases is expressed in these
words: “The Roman Catholic religion, the
only true one, is, and always shall be, that
of the Spanish nation. The government protects
it by wise and just laws, and prohibits
the exercise of any other whatever.” Now I
wish this presented to those who question
what you may sell, [55] or we may buy with a request
to strike out the words, “Roman Catholic,
” and to insert the denomination of
their own religion. This would ascertain the
code of dogmas which each wishes should
domineer over the opinions of all others, and
be taken, like the Spanish religion, under
the “protection of wise and just laws.” It
would show to what they wish to reduce the
liberty for which one generation has sacrificed
life and happiness. It would present
our boasted freedom of religion as a thing of
theory only, and not of practice, as what
would be a poor exchange for the theoretic
thraldom, but practical freedom of Europe.—
To M. Dufief. Washington ed. vi, 340.
(M. 1814)


M. Dufief was a Philadelphia bookseller.- Editor.

910. BOOKS, Duty on.—

To prohibit us
from the benefit of foreign light, is to consign
us to long darkness.—
To——. Washington ed. vii, 221.
(M. 1821)

911. BOOKS, Duty on.—[continued].

I hope a crusade will be
kept up against the duty on books until those


Page 103
in power shall become sensible of this stain
on our legislation, and shall wipe it from their
code, and from the remembrance of man, if
To Jared Sparks. Washington ed. vii, 335. Ford ed., X, 293.
(M. 1824)

912. BOOKS, Duty on.—[further continued].

I hear nothing definitive
of the three thousand dollars duty [on books
for the University of Virginia] of which we
are asking the remission from Congress.
-To James Madison. Washington ed. vii, 433. Ford ed., X, 376.
(M. 1826)

913. BOOKS, Duty on.—[further continued]

The government of the
United States, at a very early period, when
establishing its tariff on foreign importations,
were very much guided in their selection of
objects by a desire to encourage manufactures
within ourselves. Among other articles
then selected were books, on the importation
of which a duty of fifteen per cent.
was imposed, which, by ordinary custom
house charges, amounts to about eighteen per
cent., and adding the importing booksellers'
profit on this, becomes about twenty-seven
per cent. This was useful at first, perhaps,
towards exciting our printers to make a beginning
in that business here. But it is found
in experience that the home demand is not
sufficient to justify the reprinting any but the
most popular English works, and cheap
editions of a few of the classics for schools.
For the editions of value, enriched by notes,
commentaries, &c., and for books in foreign
living languages, the demand here is too small
and sparse to re-imburse the expense of reprinting
them. None of these, therefore, are
printed here, and the duty on them becomes
consequently not a protecting, but really a
prohibitory one. It makes a very serious addition
to the price of the book and falls
chiefly on a description of persons little able
to meet it. Students who are destined for
professional callings, as most of our scholars
are, are barely able for the most part to
meet the expenses of tuition. The addition
of eighteen or twenty-seven per cent. on the books necessary for their instruction, amounts
often to a prohibition as to them. For want
of these aids, which are open to the students
of all other nations but our own, they enter
on their course on a very unqual footing
with those of the same professions in foreign
countries, and our citizens at large, too, who
employ them, do not derive from that employment
all the benefit which higher qualifications
would give them. It is true that no
duty is required on books imported for seminaries
of learning, but these, locked up in libraries,
can be of no avail to the practical
man when he wishes a recurrence to them for
the uses of life. Of many important books of
reference there is not perhaps a single copy
in the United States; of others but a few,
and these too distant often to be accessible
to scholars generally. It is believed, therefore,
that if the attention of Congress could
be drawn to this article, they would, in their
wisdom, see its impolicy. Science is more
important in a republican than in any other
government. And in an infant country like
ours, we must much depend for improvement
on the science of other countries, longer established,
possessing better means, and more
advanced than we are. To prohibit us from
the benefit of foreign light, is to consign us to
long darkness. The northern seminaries following
with parental solicitude the interest of
their elevès in the course for which they have
prepared them, propose to petition Congress
on this subject, and wish for the cooperation
of those of the south and west, and I have
been requested, as more convenient in position
than they are, to solicit that cooperation.
Having no personal acquaintance with those
who are charged with the direction of the
college of——, I do not know how more
effectually to communicate these views to
them, than by availing myself of the knowledge
I have of your zeal for the happiness and
improvement of our country. I take the liberty,
therefore, of requesting you to place the
subject before the proper authorities of that
institution, and if they approve the measure,
to solicit a concurreat proceeding on their
part to carry it into effect. Besides petitioning
Congress, I would propose that they address,
in their corporate capacity, a letter to
their delegates and senators in Congress, soliciting
their best endeavors to obtain the
repeal of the duty on imported books. I
cannot but suppose that such an application
will be respected by them, and will engage
their votes and endeavors to effect an object
so reasonable. A conviction that science is
important to the preservation of our republican
government, and that it is also essential
to its protection against foreign power, induces
me, on this occasion, to step beyond the
limits of that retirement to which age and
inclination equally dispose me.-
To——. Washington ed. vii, 220.
(M. 1821)

914. BOOKS, Lending.—

The losses I
have sustained by lending my books will be
my apology to you for asking your particular
attention to the replacing them in the presses
as fast as you finish them, and not to lend
them to anybody else, nor suffer anybody to
have a book out of the study under cover of
your name.—
To John Garland Jefferson. Ford Ed., v, 182.
(N.Y., 17901790)gt;

915. BOOKS, Love of.—

I cannot live without books.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 460.
(M. 1815)

916. BOOKS, Prices of.—

French books
are to be bought here [Paris] for two-thirds
of what they can in England. English and
Greek and Latin authors cost from twenty-five
to fifty per cent. more here than in England.—
To Edmund Randolph. Washington ed. i, 434.
(P. 1785)

917. BOOKS, Prices of.—[continued]

Greek and Roman authors
are dearer here [France] than I believe
anywhere in the world. Nobody here reads
them, wherefore they are not printed.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. i, 414.
(P. 1785)

918. BOOKS, Recommending.—

It is
with extreme reluctance that I permit myself
to usurp the office of an adviser of the public,
what books they should read, and what not.
I yield, however, on this occasion to your
wish and that of Colonel Taylor, and do


Page 104
what (with a single exception only) I never
did before, on the many similar applications
made to me.—
To Spencer Roane. Washington ed. vii, 212. Ford ed., x, 189.
(M. 1821)

919. BOOKS, Recommending.—[continued].

This book [“ Constructions
Construed”] is the most effectual retraction
of our government to its original principles
which has ever yet been sent by heaven to our aid. Every State in the Union
should give a copy to every member they elect,
as a standing instruction, and ours should set
the example.—
To Archibald Thweat. Washington ed. vii, 199. Ford ed., x, 184.
(M. 1821)

920. BOOKS, Recommending.—[continued].

You ask for my opinion of the work you, send me, and to let it go out
to the public. This I have ever made a point
of declining (one or two instances only excepted ).
Complimentary thanks to writers who
have sent me their works, have betrayed me sometimes
before the public, without my consent having
been asked. But I am far from presuming
to direct the reading of my fellow citizens,
who are good enough judges themselves of
what is worthy their reading.—
To Thoms Ritchie. Washington ed. vii, 192. Ford ed., xvi, 171.
(M. 1820)

921. BOOKS, Time and.—

The [French] literati are half a dozen years before us.
Books, really good, acquire just reputation in
that time, and so become known to us, and
communicate to us all their advances in knowledge.
Is not this delay compensated, by our
being placed out of the reach of that swarm
of nonsensical publications which issues daily
from a thousand presses, and perishes almost
in issuing?—
To Mr. Bellini. Washington ed. i, 445.
(P. 1785)

922. BOOKS, Translations of.—

I make it
a rule never to read translations when I can
read the original.—
To Edmund Randolph. Washington ed. iv, 101.
(M. 1794)

923. BOOKS, Warfare by.—

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 intercrimination,
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. Europe is
doing us full justice; why then detract from
To Charles Jared Ingersoll. Ford ed., x, 325.
(M. 1824)

924. BOSTON PORT BILL, Denounced.—

All such assumptions of unlawful power
[as the Boston Port act] are dangerous to the
right to the British empire in general, and
should be considered as its common cause;
and we will ever be ready to join with our
fellow-subjects in every part of the same, in
executing all those rightful powers which
God has given us, for the reestablishment
and guaranteeing * * * their constitutional
rights, when, where, and by whomsoever invaded.
Resolution of Albemarle County. Ford ed., i, 419.
(July 26, 1774)


Jefferson sown county.—Editor.

925. BOSTON PORT BILL, A Fast Proclaimed.—

The Legislature of Virginia
happened to be in session, in Williamsburg,
when news was received of the passage by
the British Parliament of the Boston Port
Bill, which was to take effect on the first
day of June [1774] then ensuing. The House
of Burgesses thereupon passed a resolution,
recommending to their fellow citizens, that
that day should be set apart for fasting and
prayer to the Supreme Being, imploring Him
to avert the calamities then threatening us,
and to give us one heart and one mind to
oppose every invasion of our liberties. The
next day, May 20, 1774, the Governor dissolved
Jefferson Papers. Washington ed. i, 122.
See Fast Days.

926. BOSTON PORT BILL, Ruin by.—

By an act (7. G. 3) to discontinue in such
manner, and for such time as they are therein
mentioned, the landing and discharging, lading
or shipping of goods, wares and merchandize,
at the town and within the harbor of
Boston, * * * a large and populous town,
whose trade was their sole subsistence, was
deprived of that trade, and involved in utter
ruin. Let us for a while, suppose the question
of right suspended, in order to examine this
act on principles of justice: An act of Parliament
had been passed imposing duties on
teas, to be paid in America, against which
act the Americans had protested as inauthoritative.
The East India Company, who till
that time had never sent a pound of tea to
America on their own account, step forth on
that occasion the asserters of Parliamentary
right, and send hither many ship loads of
that obnoxious commodity. The masters of
their several vessels, however, on their arrival
in America, wisely attended to admonition,
and returned with their cargoes. In
the province of Massachusetts alone, the remonstrances
of the people were disregarded,
and a compliance, after being many days
waited for, was flatly refused. Whether in
this the master of the vessel was governed
by his obstinacy, or his instructions, let those
who know say. There are extraordinary situations
which require extraordinary interposition.
An exasperated people, who feel
that they possess power, are not easily restrained
within limits strictly regular. A
number of them assembled in the town of
Boston, threw the tea into the ocean, and
dispersed without doing any other act of
violence. If in this they did wrong, they
were known and were amenable to the laws
of the land, against which it could not be objected
that they had ever, in any instance, been
obstructed or diverted from their regular
course in favor of popular offenders. They
should, therefore, not have been distrusted on
this occasion. But that ill-fated colony had
formerly been bold in their enmities against
the house of Stuart, and were now devoted
to ruin by that unseen hand which governs
the momentous affairs of this great empire.
On the partial representations of a few worthless
ministerial dependents, whose constant
office it has been to keep that government
embroiled, and who, by their treacheries, hope
to obtain the dignity of British Knighthood, [57] without calling for the party accused, with


Page 105
out asking a proof, without attempting a distinction
between the quilty and the innocent,
the whole of that ancient and wealthy town,
is in a moment reduced from opulence to
beggary. Men who had spent their lives in
extending the British commerce, who had invested
in that place the wealth their honest
endeavors had merited, found themselves and
their families thrown at once on the world
for subsistence by its charities. Not the hundredth
part of the inhabitants of that town
had been concerned in the act complained of;
many of them were in Great Britain and in
other parts beyond the sea; yet all were involved
in one indiscriminate ruin by a new
executive power, unheard of till then, that of
a British Parliament. A property of the
value of many millions of money was sacrificed
to revenge, not repay, the loss of a few
thousands. This is administering justice with
a heavy hand indeed! And when is this tempest
to be arrested in its course? Two
wharves are to be opened again when his
Majesty shall think proper. The residue,
which lined the extensive shores of the Bay
of Boston, are forever interdicted the exercise
of commerce. This little exception seems
to have been thrown in for no other purpose
than that of setting a precedent for investing
his Majesty with legislative powers. If the
pulse of his people shall beat calmly under this
experiment, another and another shall be
tried, till the measure of despotism be filled
up. It would be an insult on common sense
to pretend that this exception was made in
order to restore its commerce to that great
town. The trade which cannot be received at
two wharves alone must of necessity be transferred
to some other place; to which it will
soon be followed by that of the two wharves.
Considered in this light, it would be insolent
and cruel mockery at the annihilation of the
town of Boston.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 131. Ford ed., i, 436.
See Deportation, Tea.


Alluding to the Knighting of Sir Francis Bernard.—Note by Jefferson.

927. BOTANY, Attractivenese of.—

will find botany offering its charms to you, at
every step during summer.—
To T. M. Randolph, Jr. Ford ed., iv, 290.
(P. 1786)

928. BOTANY, New York.—

We were * * * pleased with the botanical objects which
continually presented themselves. Those either
unknown or rare in Virginia were the sugar
maple in vast abundance, the silver fir, white
pine, pitch pine, spruce pine, a shrub with decumbent
stems which they call juniper, an
azalea, very different from the nudiflora, with
very large clusters of flowers, more thickly set
on the branches, of a deeper red, and high
pink-fragrance. It is the richest shrub I have
seen. The honeysuckle of the gardens growing
wild on the banks of Lake George, the
paper birch, an aspen with a velvet leaf, a
shrub willow with downy catkins, a wild gooseberry,
the wild cherry with single fruit (not
the bunch cherry), strawberries in abundance.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 340.
(June. 1791)

929. BOTANY, School of.—

It is time to
think of the introduction of the school of Botany
into our institution. (University of Virginia).
* * * 1. Our first operation must be the se
lection of a piece of ground of proper soil and
site, suppose of about six acres, as M. Correa
proposes. In choosing this we are to regard
the circumstances of soil, water, and distance.
I have diligently examined all our grounds with
this view, and think that on the public road, at
the upper corner of our possessions, where the
stream issues from them, has more of the requisite
qualities than any other spot we possess.
One hundred and seventy yards square, taken
at that angle, would make the six acres we
want. * * * 2. Enclose the ground with a serpentine
brick wall seven feet high. This
would take about 80,000 bricks and cost $800,
and it must depend on our finances whether
they will afford that immediately, or allow us,
for awhile, but enclosure of posts and rails.
3. Form all the hill sides into level terraces of
convenient breadth, curving with the hill, and
the level ground into beds and alleys. 4. Make
out a list of the plants thought necessary and
sufficient for botanical purposes, and of the
trees we propose to introduce, and take measures
in time for procuring them. As to the
seeds of plants, much may be obtained from the
gardeners of our own country. I have, moreover,
a special resource. For three and twenty
years of the last twenty-five, my good old
friend Thonin, superintendent of the Jardin
des Plantes at Paris, has regularly sent me a
box of seeds of such exotics, as to us, as would
suit our climate, and containing nothing indigenous
to our country. These I regularly
sent to the public and private gardens of the
other States, having as yet no employment for
them here. * * * The trees I should propose
would be exotics of distinguished usefulness,
and accommodated to our climate;
such as the Larch, Cedar of Libanus, Cork,
Oak, the Maronnier, Mahogany? the Catachu
or Indian rubber tree of Napul (30°), Teak
tree, or Indian oak of Burmah (23°), the
various woods of Brazil, &c. The seed of
the Larch can be obtained from a tree at
Monticello. Cones of the Cedar of Libanus
are in most of our seed shops, but may be had
fresh from the trees in the English gardens.
The Maronnier and Cork tree I can obtain
from France. There is a Maronnier at Mount
Vernoa, but it is a seedling, and not, therefore,
select. The others may be got through
the means of our ministers and consuls in
the countries where they grow, or from the
seed shops of England, where they May
very possibly be found. Lastly, a gardener of
sufficient skill must be found. [58]
To Dr. Emmett. Washington ed. vii, 438.
(M. 1826)


Dr. Emmett was Professor of Natural History in
the University of Virginia.—Editor.

930. BOTANY, Value of.—

Botany I rank with the most valuable sciences, whether
we consider its subjects as furnishing the
principal subsistence of life to man and beast,
delicious varieties for our tables, refreshments
from our orchards, the adornments of our
flower borders, shade and perfume of our
groves, materials for our buildings, or medicaments
for our bodies. To the gentleman it
is certainly more interesting than mineralogy
(which I by no means, however, undervalue),
and is more at hand for his amusement; and
to a country family it constitutes a great portion
of their social entertainment. No country
gentleman should be without what amuses
every step he takes into his fields.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 390.
(M. 1814)

BOTTA'S (C.), History.—See History.

931. BOTTETOURT (Lord), Character of.—

Lord Bottetourt was an honourable man.


Page 106
His government had authorized him to make
certain assurances to the people here [Virginia],
which he made accordingly. He wrote
to the minister that he had made these assurances,
and that, unless he should be enabled
to fulfil them, he must retire from his situation.
This letter he sent unsealed to Peyton
Randolph for his inspection. Lord Bottetourt's
great respectability, his character for
integrity, and his general popularity, would
have enabled him to embarrass the measures
of the patriots exceedingly. His death was,
therefore, a fortunate event for the cause of
the Revolution. He was the first governor in
chief that had ever come over to Virginia.
Before his time, we had received only deputies,
the governor residing in England, with
a salary of five thousand pounds, and paying
his deputy one thousand pounds.—
Conversation with Daniel Webster. Ford ed., x, 330.

932. BOUNDARIES, Louisiana.—

boundaries of Louisiana, which I deem not admitting
question, are the highlands on the
western side of the Mississippi enclosing all
its waters, the Missouri of course, and terminating
in the line drawn from the northwestern
point of the Lake of the Woods to the nearest
source of the Mississippi, as lately settled
between Great Britain and the United States.
We have some claims, to extend on the seacoast
westwardly to the Rio Norte or Bravo,
and better, to go eastwardly to the Rio Perdido,
between Mobile and Pensacola, the ancient
boundary of Louisiana. Those claims will be a
subject of negotiation with Spain, and if, as
soon as she is at war, we push them strongly
with one hand, holding out a price in the
other, we shall certainly obtain the Floridas,
and, all in good time. In the meanwhile,
without waiting for permission, we shall enter
into the exercise of the natural right we have
always insisted on with Spain, to wit, that of
a nation holding the upper part of streams,
having a right of innocent passage through
them to the ocean. We shall prepare her to
see us practice on this, and she will not oppose
it by force.—
To John C. Breckenridge. Washington ed. iv, 498. Ford ed., viii, 242.
(M. Aug. 1803)

933. BOUNDARIES, Louisiana.—[continued].

We are attached to the
retaining of the Bay of St. Bernard, because
it was the first establishment of the unfortunate
La Salle, was the cradle of Louisiana, and more
incontestibly covered and conveyed to us by
France, under that name, than any other spot
in the country.—
To James Bowdoin. Washington ed. v, 19.

934. BOUNDARIES, Louisiana.—[further continued].

You know the French
considered themselves entitled to the Rio Bravo,
and that Laussat declared his orders to be to
receive possession to that limit, but not to
Perdido; and that France has to us been always
silent as to the western boundary, while
she spoke decisively as to the eastern. You
know Turreau agreed with us that neither
party should strengthen themselves in the disputed
country during negotiation; and [General] Armstrong, who says Monroe concurs
with him, is of opinion, from the character of
the Emperor, that were we to restrict ourselves
to taking posts on the west side of the Mississippi,
and threaten a cessation of intercourse
with Spain, Bonaparte would interpose efficiently
to prevent the quarrel going further.
Add to these things the fact that Spain has
sent five hundred colonists to San Antonio,
and one hundred troops to Nacogdoches, and
probably has fixed or prepared a post at the
Bay of St. Bernard, at Matagordo. Supposing,
then, a previous alliance with England to
guard us in the worst event, I should propose
that Congress should pass acts, 1, authorizing
the Executive to suspend intercourse with
Spain at discretion; 2, to dislodge the new
establishments of Spain between the Mississippi
and Bravo; and, 3, to appoint commissioners
to examine and ascertain all claims
for spoliation that they might be preserved for
future indemnification.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 587. Ford ed., viii, 379.
(M. Sep. 1805)

935. BOUNDARIES, Louisiana.—[further continued] .

By the charter of Louis
XIV. all the country comprehending the
waters which flow into the Mississippi, was
made a part of Louisiana. Consequently its
northern boundary was the summit of the highlands
in which its northern waters rise. But
by the Xth Art. of the Treaty of Utrecht,
France and England agreed to appoint commissioners
to settle the boundary between their
possessions in that quarter, and those commissioners
settled it at the 49th degree of
latitude. (See Hutchinson's Topographical
Description of Louisiana, p. 7.) This it
was which induced the British Commissioners,
in settling the boundary with us, to follow the
northern water line to the Lake of the Woods,
at the latitude of 49°, and then go off on that
parallel. This, then, is the true northern
boundary of Louisiana. The western boundary
of Louisiana is, rightfully, the Rio Bravo (its
main stream), from its mouth to its source,
and thence along the highlands and mountains
dividing the waters of the Mississippi from
those of the Pacific. The usurpations of
Spain on the east side of that river, have induced
geographers to suppose the Puerco or
Salado to be the boundary. The line along
the highlands stands on the charter of Louis
XIV., that of the Rio Bravo on the circumstance
that, when La Salle took possession
of the Bay of St. Bernard, Panuco was the
nearest possession of Spain, and the Rio
Bravo the natural half-way boundary between
them. On the waters of the Pacific, we can
found no claims in right of Louisiana.—
To John Mellish. Washington ed. vii, 51.
(M. 1816)

936. BOUNDARIES, Massachusetts

and New York.—I enclose you a Massachusetts
paper, whereby you will see that some
acts of force have taken place on our eastern
boundary. * * * The want of an accurate
map of the Bay of Passamaquoddy renders
it difficult to form a satisfactory opinion in
the point in contest. * * * There is a report
that some acts of force have taken place
on the northern boundary of New York, and
are now under the consideration of the government
of that State. The impossibility of
bringing the court of London to an adjustment
of any difference whatever, renders our
situation perplexing. Should any applications
from the States or their citizens be so urgent
as to require something to be said before your
return, my opinion would be that they should
be desired to make no new settlements on our
part, nor suffer any to be made on the part of
the British, within the disputed territory; and
if any attempt should be made to remove them
from the settlements already made, that they
are to repel force by force, and ask aid of the
neighboring militia to do this and no more. I
see no other way of forcing the British government
to come forward themselves and demand
an amicable settlement.—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iii, 230.
(Pa., March. 1791)

937. BOUNDARIES, Northwest.—

[In a conversation with George Hammond, the


Page 107
British minister], he observed that the treaty
[of peace] was of itself so vague and inconsistent
in many of its parts as to require an explanatory
convention. He instanced the two
articles, one of which gave them the navigation
of the Mississippi, and the other bounded them
by a due west line from the Lake of the Woods,
which being now understood to pass beyond
the most northern sources of the Mississippi,
intercepted all access to that river; that to
reconcile these articles, that line should be so
run as to give them access to the navigable
waters of the Mississippi, and that it would
even be for our interest to introduce a third
power between us and the Spaniards. He
asked my idea of the line from the Lake of
the Woods, and of now settling it. I told
him I knew of no objection to the settlement
of it; that my idea of it was, that if it was an
impassable line, as proposed in the treaty, it
should be rendered passable by as small and
unimportant an alteration as might be, which
I thought would be to throw in a line running
due north from the northernmost source of the
Mississippi till it should strike the western
line from the Lake of the Woods; that the article
giving them a navigation in the Mississippi
did not relate at all to this northern boundary,
but to the southern one, and to the secret article
respecting that; that he knew that our
Provisional Treaty was made seven weeks before
that with Spain; that at the date of ours,
their ministers had still a hope of retaining
Florida, in which case they were to come up
to the 32d degree, and in which case also the
navigation of the Mississippi would have been
important; but that they had not been able, in
event, to retain the country to which the navigation
was to be an appendage. (It was evident
to me that they had it in view to claim a
slice on our northwestern quarter that they
may get into the Mississippi; indeed, I thought
it presented as a sort of make-weight with the
Posts to compensate the great losses their citizens
had sustained by the infractions charged
on us).—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 428. Ford ed., i, 195.
(June. 1792)

938. BOUNDARIES, Pennsylvania and Virginia.—

The principle on which the boundary
between Pennsylvania and this State is to be run having been fixed, it is now proposed
by President Reed that commissioners proceed
to execute the work from the termination of
Mason and Dixon's line to the completion of
five degrees of longitude, and thence on a
meridian to the Ohio. We propose that the
extent of the five degrees of longitude shall
be determined by celestial observation. Of
course it will require one set of astronomers
to be at Philadelphia, and another at Fort Pitt.
We ask the favor of yourselves to undertake
this business, the one to go to the one place,
the other to the other, meaning to add a coadjutor
to each of you.—
To Rev. James Madison and Robert Andrews. Ford ed., ii, 513.
(R. 1781)

939. BOUNDARIES, Pennsylvania and Virginia.—[continued].

No mode of determining
the extent of the five degrees of longitude of
Delaware river, in the latitude of Mason and
Dixon's Line having been pointed out by your
Excellency [Joseph Reed], I shall venture to
propose that this be determined by astronomical
observations, to be made at or near the
two extremities of the line, as being in our
opinion the most certain and unexceptionable
mode of determining that point which, being
fixed, everything else will be easy.—
To President Reed. Ford ed., iii, 15.
(R. 1781)

940. BOUNDARIES, United States and Great Britain.—

A further knowledge of the ground in the north-eastern and north-western
angles of the United States has evinced that
the boundaries established by the treaty of
Paris, between the British territories and
ours in those parts, were too imperfectly described
to be susceptible of execution. It has,
therefore, been thought worthy of attention, for
preserving and cherishing the harmony and
useful intercourse subsisting between the two
nations, to remove by timely arrangements
what unfavorable incidents might otherwise
render a ground of future misunderstanding.
A convention has, therefore, been entered into
which provides for a practical demarcation of
those limits to the satisfaction of both parties.—
Third Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 26. Ford ed., viii, 270.
(Oct. 1803)

941. BOUNDARIES, United States and Spain.—

The southern limits of Georgia depend
chiefly on, 1. The charter of Carolina to the Lords Proprietors, in 1663, extending
southwardly to the river Matheo, now called St.
John's, supposed in the charter to be in latitude
31°, and 50° west in a direct line as far as the
South Sea. See the charter in 4th Manoires
de l'Amerique, 554. 2. On the proclamation of
the British King, in 1763, establishing the
boundary between Georgia and the two Floridas,
to begin in the Mississippi, in thirty-one
degrees of latitude north of the equator, and
running eastwardly to the Apalachicola; thence,
along the said river to the mouth of the Flint;
thence, in a direct line, to the source of the
St Mary's River, and down the same to the
ocean. 3. On the treaties between the United
States and Great Britain, of November 30, 1782,
and September 3, 1783, repeating and confirming
these ancient boundaries. There was an
intermediate transaction, to wit: a convention
concluded at the Pardo, in 1739, whereby it
was agreed that Ministers Plenipotentiary
should be immediately appointed by Spain and
Great Britain for settling the limits of Florida
and Carolina. The convention is to be found
in the collections of treaties. But the proceedings
of the Plenipotentiaries are unknown
here. * * *—
Mississippi River Instructions. Washington ed. vii, 573. Ford ed., v, 464.

942. BOUNDARIES, United States and Spain.—[continued].

To this demonstration of
our rights may be added the explicit declaration
of the court of Spain, that she would accede
to them. This took place in conversations
and correspondence thereon between
Mr. Jay, Minister Plenipotentiary for the
United States at the court of Madrid, the
Marquis de Lafayette, and the Count de Florida
Blanca. Monsieur de Lafayette, in his letter
of February 19, 1783, to the Count de Florida
Blanca, states the result of their conversations
on limits in these words: “With respect to
limits, his Catholic Majesty has adopted those
that are determined by the preliminaries of
the 30th of November, between the United
States and the court of London.” The Count
de Florida Blanca, in his answer of February
22d, to M. de Lafayette, says, “although it is
his Majesty's intention to abide for the present
by the limits established by the treaty of the
30th of November, 1782, between the English
and the Americans, the King intends to inform
himself particularly whether it can be in any
ways inconvenient or prejudicial to settle that
affair amicably with the United States;” and
M. de Lafayette, in his letter of the same day
to Mr. Jay, wherein he had inserted the preceding.
says, “On receiving the answer of the


Page 108
Count de Florida Blanca (to wit: his answer,
before mentioned, to M. de Lafayette), I desired
an explanation respecting the addition
that relates to the limits. I was answered
that it was a fixed principle to abide by the
limits established by the treaty between the
English and the Americans: that his remark
related only to mere unimportant details, which
he wished to receive from the Spanish commandants,
which would be amicably regulated,
and would by no means oppose the general principle.
I asked him, before the Ambassador of
France (M. de Montmorin), whether he would
give me his word of honor for it; he assured
me he would, and that I might engage it to the
United States.”—
Mississipppi River Instructions. Washington ed. vii, 574. Ford ed., v, 465.

943. BOUNDARIES, United States and Spain.—[further continued].

To conclude the subject of boundary, the following condition is to be
considered by the commissioners as a sine quâ
That our southern boundary remain established
at the completion of thirty-one degrees
of latitude on the Mississippi, and so on
to the ocean, * * * and our western one
along the middle of the channel of the Mississippi,
however that channel may vary, as it is
constantly varying, and that Spain cease to
eccupy, or to exercise jurisdiction in any part
northward or eastward of these boundaries.—
Mississippi River Instructions. Washington ed. vii, 585. Ford ed., v, 475.

944. BOUNDARIES, United States and Spain.—[further continued] .

It is not true that our
ministers, in agreeing to establish the Colorado
as our western boundary, had been obliged to
exceed the authority of their instructions. Although
we considered out title good as far as
the Rio Bravo, yet in proportion to what they
could obtain east of the Mississippi, they were
to relinquish to the westward, and successive
sacrifices were marked out, of which even the
Colorado was not the last. [59] —To W. A. Burwell. Washington ed. v, 20. Ford ed., viii, 469.
(M. Sep. 1806)


This was one of the newspaper charges made by
John Randolph against the administration of Jefferson.—Editor.

945. BOUNDARIES, Virginia and Maryland.—

I suppose you are informed of the proceeding commenced by the Legislature
of Maryland, to claim the south branch of the
Potomac as their boundary, and thus of Albemarle,
now the central county of the State, to
make a frontier. As it is impossible upon any
consistent principles, and after such a length of
undisturbed possession, that they can expect to
establish their claim, it can be ascribed to no
other than intention to irritate and divide; and
there can be no doubt from what bow the shaft
is shot. However, let us cultivate Pennsylvania,
and we need not fear the universe. The
Assembly have named me among those who
are to manage this controversy. But I am so
averse to motion and contest, and the other
members are so fully equal to the business,
that I cannot undertake to act in it. I wish
you were added to them.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 162. Ford ed., vii, 109.
(M. Jan. 1797)

946. BOUNTIES, Policy regarding.—

It is not the policy of the government in
America to give aid to works of any kind.
They let things take their natural course without
help or impediment, which is generally
the best policy.—
To Thomas Digges. Washington ed. ii, 413. Ford ed., v, 29.
(P. 1788)

947. BOUNTIES, Recommended.—

Among the purposes to which the Constitution
permits Congress to apply money, the granting
premiums or bounties is not enumerated,
and there has never been a single instance of
their doing it, although there has been a multiplicity
of applications. The Constitution has
left these encouragements to the separate
States. I have in two or three messages to
Congress recommended an amendment to the
Constitution, which shall extend their power
to these objects. But nothing is yet done in
it. I fear, therefore, that the institution you
propose must rest on the patronage of the
State in which it is to be. I wish I could
have answered you more to my own mind, as
well as yours; but truth is the first object.—
To Dr. Maese. Washington ed. v, 412.
(W. Jan. 1809)

948. BOURBONS, Incompetent.—

A new trial of the Bourbons has proved to the world
their incompetence to the functions of the stations
they have occupied; and the recall of the
usurper has clothed him with the semblance
of a legitimate autocrat.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 458.
(M. June. 1815)

949. BOWLES (W. A.), Incites Creek Indians.—

I * * * enclose you [the British
Minister] an extract of a letter * * * giving
information of a Mr. Bowles, [60] lately come
from England into the Creek country, endeavoring
to excite that nation of Indians to war
against the United States, and pretending to be
employed by the government of England. We
have other testimony of these pretensions, and
that he carries them much farther than there
stated. We have too much confidence in the
justice and wisdom of the British government
to believe they can approve of the proceedings
of this incendiary and impostor, or countenance
for a moment a person who takes the liberty
of using their name for such a purpose.—
To George Hammond. Ford ed., v.
( Pa., 1791)


A Maryland Loyalist, who later styled himself a
chief of the Creek Indians. See Ford's Writings of
xii. 159, and Maryland Loyalist, 33.—
Note in Ford ed.

950. BOWLES (W. A.), Incites Creek Indians.—[continued].

Of this adventurer the
Spanish government rid us.—
To Carmichael and Short. Washington ed. iv, 11. Ford ed., vi, 332.
(Pa., 17931793)gt;

951. BOYS, Sound Principles and.—

boys of the rising generation are to be the
men of the next, and the sole guardians of
the principles we deliver over to them.—
To Rev. Mr. Knox. Washington ed. v, 502.
(M. 1810)
See Children.

952. BRAZIL, Condition of.—

for us all the information possible as to the
strength, riches, resources, lights and dispositions
of Brazil. The jealousy of the court
of Lisbon on this subject will, of course, inspire
you with due caution in making and
communicating these inquiris.—
To David Humphreys. Ford ed., v, 317.
(Pa., 1791)

953. BRAZIL, Empire of.—

learned the safe arrival of your Royal Highness
at the city of Rio Janeiro I perform with
pleasure the duty of offering you my sincere
congratulations * * *. I trust that this
event will be as propitious to the prosperity
of your faithful subjects as to the happiness
of your Royal Highness in which the United


Page 109
States of America have ever taken a lively
interest. Inhabitants now of the same land,
of that great continent which the genius of
Columbus has given to the world, the United
States feel sensibly that they stand in new
and closer relations with your Royal Highness,
and that the motives which heretofore
nourished the friendly relations which have so
happily prevailed, have acquired increased
strength on the transfer of your residence to
their shores. They see in prospect, a system
of intercourse between the different regions
of this hemisphere of which the peace and
happiness of mankind may be the essential
principle. To this principle your long tried
adherence, for the benefit of those you governed,
in the midst of warring powers, is a
pledge to the new world that its peace, its
free and friendly intercourse, will be your
chief concern. On the part of the United
States I assure you, that these which have
hitherto been their ruling objects, will be most
particularly cultivated with your Royal Highness
and your subjects at Brazil, and they
hope that that country so favored by the gifts
of nature, now advanced to a station under
your immediate auspices, will find, in the interchange
of mutual wants and supplies, the
true aliment of an unchanging friendship
with the United States of America.—
To The Emperor of Brazil. Washington ed. v, 285.
(May. 1808)

954. BRAZIL,

Republicanism in.—I
shall not wonder if Brazil should revolt in
mass, and send their royal family back to Portugal.
Brazil is more populous, more wealthy,
more energetic, and as wise as Portugal.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 68. Ford ed., X, 85.
(M. 1817)

955. BRAZIL, [continued].

Although we have no
right to intermeddle with the form of government
of other nations, yet it is lawful to
wish to see no emperors nor kings in our
hemisphere, and that Brazil as well as Mexico
will homologize with us.—
To President Monroe. Ford ed., X, 244.
(M. Dec. 1822)


Electoral.—No person
shall be capable of acting in any office, civil,
military, or ecclesiastical, who shall have
given any bribe to obtain such office.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 28.
(June. 1776)

957. BRIBERY, [continued].

Every person * * * qualified to elect [to the House of Representatives
of Virginia], shall be capable of being
elected [to the House of Representatives];
provided he shall have given no bribe, either
directly or indirectly, to any elector.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 14.
(June. 1776)

958. BRIBERY, [further continued].

The Senators' qualifications
shall be * * * the having given no
bribe, directly or indirectly, to obtain their appointment.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 16.
(June. 1776)

959. BRIBERY, Great Britain and.—

The known practice [of the British Government] is to bribe whom they can, and whom
they cannot to calumniate. They have found
scoundrels in America, and either judging
from that, or their own principles, they would
pretend to believe all are so. If pride of
character be of worth at any time, it is when
it disarms the efforts of malice. What a miserable
refuge is individual slander to so glorious
a nation as Great Britain has been.—
To General Nelson. Ford ed., ii, 464.
(R. 1781)

960. BRIBERY, Jefferson and.—

you, my neighbors, I may ask, in the face of
the world, “whose ox have I taken, or whom
have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed,
or of whose hand have I received a bribe to
blind mine eyes therewith? On your verdict
I rest with conscious security.—
To The Inhabitants Of Albemarle County. Washington ed. v, 439. Ford ed., ix, 251.
(M. April. 1809)


general, I am confident that you will receive
notice of the [trade] regulations of this country
[France] respecting their islands, by the
way of those islands before you will from
hence [Paris]. Nor can this be remedied but
by a system of bribery which would end in the
corruption of your own ministers, and produce
no good adequate to the expense.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 590. Ford ed., iv, 250.
(P. 1786)

See Corruption.


(Isaac), Scientific Attainments
of.—I have appointed Isaac
Briggs, of Maryland, surveyor of the lands
south of Tennessee. He is a Quaker, a sound
republican, and of a pure and unspotted character.
In point of science, in astronomy,
geometry and mathematics, he stands in a line
with Mr. Ellicott, and second to no man in the
United States. I recommend him to your
particular patronage; the candor, modesty and
simplicity of his manners cannot fail to gain
your esteem. For the office of surveyor, men of
the first order of science in astronomy and
mathematics are essentially necessary.—
To Governor Claiborne. Washington ed. iv, 489.
(W. 1803)


(Marshal de), Character
of.—The Marshal de Broglio, is a high flying aristocrat, cool and capable of everything.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 74.
(P. 1789)

964. BROWN

(James), Loyalty of.— That you ever participated in any plan for a
division of the Union, I never for a moment
believed. I knew your Americanism too well.
But as the enterprise against Mexico was of a
very different character, I had supposed what I
heard on that subject to be possible. You disavow
it; that is enough for me, and I forever
dismiss the idea.—
To Dr. James Brown. Washington ed. v, 378. Ford ed., ix, 210.
(W. 1808)


Speculative.—The American
mind is now in that state of fever
which the world has so often seen in the history
of other nations. We are under the bank
bubble, as England was under the South Sea
bubble, France under the Mississippi bubble,
and as every nation is liable to be, under whatever
bubble, design, or delusion may puff up
in moments when off their guard.—
To Charles Yancey. Washington ed. vi, 515. Ford ed., X, 2.
(M. Jan. 1816)

See Speculation.


Page 110

966. BUCHAN (Earl of), Character.—

He is an honorable, patriotic, and virtuous character
[and], was in correspondence with Dr.
Franklin and General Washington.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., viii, 287.
(W. 1804)

967. BUCHANAN (George), Works of.

—The title of the tract of Buchanan which
you propose to translate was familiar to me, and
I possessed the tract; but no circumstance had
ever led me to look into it. Yet I think nothing
more likely than that, in the free spirit of
that age and state of society, principles should
be avowed, which were felt and followed, although
unwritten in the Scottish constitution.
Undefined powers had been intrusted to the
crown, undefined rights retained by the people,
and these depended for their maintenance on
the spirit of the people, which in that day was
dependence sufficient. [61]
To Rev. Mr. Knox. Washington ed. v, 502.
(M. 1810)


Buchanan's works were publicly burned at Oxford.
See Macaulay's History of England, Chap. II.—Editor.

968. BUCHANAN (George), Works of. [continued].

His latinity is so pure as
to claim a place in school reading.—
To Rev. Mr. Knox. Washington ed. v, 502.
(M. 1810)

969. BUFFON (Count de), Animal theories refuted.—

The opinion advanced by
the Count de Buffon, is, 1. That the animals
common both to the old and new world are
smaller in the latter. 2. That those peculiar
to the new are on a smaller scale. 3. That
those which have been domesticated in both
have degenerated in America; and 4. That
on the whole it exhibits fewer species. And
the reason he thinks is, that the heats of
America are less; that more waters are spread
over its surface by nature, and fewer of these
drained off by the hand of man. In other
words, that heat is friendly, and moisture adverse
to the production and development of
large quadrupeds. I will not meet this hypothesis
on its first doubtful ground, whether the
climate of America be comparatively more
humid, because we are not furnished with observations
sufficient to decide this question.
And though, till it be decided, we are as free
to deny as others are to affirm the fact, yet
for a moment let it be supposed. The hypothesis
after this supposition, proceeds to another;
that moisture is unfriendly to animal
growth. The truth of this is inscrutable to
us by reasonings à priori. Nature has hidden
from us her modus agendi. Our only appeal
on such questions is to experience; and I
think that experience is against the supposition.
It is by the assistance of heat and moisture
that vegetables are elaborated from the
elements of earth, air, water, and fire. We
accordingly see the more humid climates produce
the greater quantity of vegetables. Vegetables
are mediately or immediately the food
of every animal; and in proportion to the
quantity of food, we see animals not only multiplied
in their numbers, but improved in
their bulk, as far as the laws of their nature
will admit. Of this opinion is the Count de
Buffon himself in another part of his work:
“En general il paroit que les pays un peu
froids conviennent mieux á nos boeufs que
les pays chauds et qu'ils sont d'autant plus
gros et plus grands que le climat est plus
humide et plus abondans en paturages. Les
boeufs de Danemarck, de la Podolie, de
l'Ukraine et de la Tartarie qu'habitent les Calmouques
sont les plus grands de tous.”
Here then a race of animals, and one of the
largest too, has been increased in its dimensions
by cold and moisture, in direct opposition
to the hypothesis, which supposes that
these two circumstances diminish animal bulk,
and that it is their contraries, heat and dryness
which enlarge it.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 290. Ford ed., iii, 135.

970. BUFFON (Count de), Animal theories refuted.—[continued].

The mammoth should
have sufficed to have rescued the earth
it inhabited, and the atmosphere it breathed,
from the imputation of impotence in the
conception and nourishment of animal life
on a large scrale; to have stifled, in its
birth, the opinion of a writer, the most
learned, too, of all others in the science of
animal history, that in the new world. “La
nature vivante est beaucoup moins agissante,
beaucoup moins forte”; that nature is less
active, less energetic on one side of the globe
than she is on the other. As if both sides
were not warmed by the same genial sun; as
if a soil of the same chemical composition
was less capable of elaboration into animal
nutriment; as if the fruits and grains from
that soil and sun yielded a less rich chyle,
gave less extension to the solids and fluids
of the body, or produced sooner in the cartilages,
membranes, and fibres, that rigidity
which restrains all further extension, and terminates
animal growth. The truth is that a
pigmy and a Patagonian, a mouse and a mammoth,
derive their dimensions from the same
nutritive juices. The difference of increment
depends on circumstances unsearchable to beings
with our capacities. Every race of animals
seems to have received from their Maker
certain laws of extension at the time of their
formation. Their elaborate organs were
formed to produce this, while proper obstacles
were opposed to its further progress. Below
these limits they cannot fall, nor rise
above them: What intermediate station they
shall take may depend on soil, on climate, on
food, on a careful choice of breeders. But
all the manna of heaven would never raise
the mouse to the bulk of the mammoth.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 289. Ford ed., iii, 134.

See Mammoth.

971. BUFFON (Count de), Gifts to.—

I wrote to some of my friends in America desiring
they would send me such of the spoils of
the moose, caribou, elk and deer, as might
throw light on that class of animals. * * * I am happy to be able to present to you * * * the bones and skin of a moose, the horns of the
caribou, the elk, the deer, the spiked horned
buck, and the roebuck of America. They all
come from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.—
To Comte de Buffon. Washington ed. ii, 285. Ford ed., iv, 457.
(P. 1787)

972. BUNKER HILL, Battle of.—

Hill, or rather Breed's Hill, whereon the
action was, is a peninsula joined to the mainland
by a neck of land almost level with the
water, a few paces wide, and about one or two
hundred toises long. On one side of this neck


Page 111
lay a vessel of war, and on the other several
gunboats. The body of our army was on the
mainland; and only a detachment had been
sent into the peninsula. When the enemy determined
to make the attack, they sent the vessel
of war and gunboats to take the position,
before mentioned, to cut off all reinforcements,
which they effectually did. Not so much as a
company could venture to the relief of the men
engaged, who therefore fought through the
whole action, and at length were obliged to retire
across the neck through the cross fire of
the vessels before mentioned. Single persons
passed along the neck during the engagement,
particularly General Putnam.—
To M. Soules. Washington ed. ix, 293. Ford ed., iv, 301.
(P. 1786)

973. BURKE (Edmund), Toryism of.—

The Revolution of France does not astonish me
so much as the revolution of Mr. Burke. I wish
I could believe the latter proceeded from as
pure motives as the former. But what demonstration
could scarcely have established before,
less than the hints of Dr. Priestley and Mr.
Paine establish firmly now. How mortifying
that this evidence of the rottenness of his mind
must oblige us now to ascribe to wicked motives
those actions of his life which wore the
mark of virtue and patriotism.—
To Benjamin Vaughan. Ford ed., v, 333.

974. BUSINESS, Visionary Principles in.—

Men come into business at first with visionary
principles. It is practice alone which
can correct and conform them to the actual current
of affairs. In the meantime, those to
whom their errors were first applied have been
their victims.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., v, 16.
(P. 1788)

975. BURR (Aaron), Characteristics of.

—I never thought him an honest, frank-dealing
man, but considered him as a crooked
gun, or other perverted machine, whose aim
or shot you could never be sure of. Still,
while he possessed the confidence of the nation,
I thought it my duty to respect in him
their confidence, and to treat him as if he deserved
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. v, 68. Ford ed., ix, 46.
(M. April. 1807)

976. BURR (Aaron), Distrust of.—

I had
never seen Colonel Burr till he came here as
a member of the Senate. His conduct very
soon inspired me with distrust. I habitually
cautioned Mr. Madison against trusting him
too much. I saw afterwards that under General
Washington's and Mr. Adams's administrations,
whenever a great military appointment
or a diplomatic one was to be made, he
came post to Philadelphia to show himself and
in fact that he was always at market, if they
had wanted him. He was indeed told by Dayton
in 1800 he might be Secretary of War;
but this bid was too late. His election as
V. P. was then foreseen. With these impressions
of Colonel Burr there never had been
any intimacy between us, and but little association.
When I destined him for a high appointment,
it was out of respect for the favor
he had obtained with the republican party
by his extraordinary exertions and successes
in the New York election in 1800.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 207. Ford ed., i, 304.

977. BURR (Aaron), Felling toward.—

Against Burr, personally, I never had one
hostile sentiment.—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. v, 68. Ford ed., ix, 46.
(M. April. 1807)

978. BURR (Aaron), Honesty and.—

man's history proves better the value of honesty.
With that, what might he not have
To Levi Lincoln. Washington ed. v, 55.
(W. 1807)

979. BURR (Aaron), Overrated Talents.—

Burr has indeed made a most inglorious
exhibition of his much overrated talents.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. v, 55. Ford ed., ix, 38.
(W. 1807)

980. BURR (Aaron), Overrated Talents.—[continued].

A great man in little
things, he is really small in great ones.—
To George Hay. Washington ed. v, 88. Ford ed., ix, 55.
(W. 1807)

981. BURR (Aaron), Political Services.

—He has certainly greatly merited of his
country, and the republicans in particular, to
whose efforts his have given a chance of success.—
To Pierce Butler. Ford ed., vii, 449.
(Aug. 1800)

982. BURR (Aaron), Political Services. [continued].

While I must congratulate
you on the issue of this contest [the Presidential],
because it is more honorable, and,
doubtless, more grateful to you than any station
within the competence of the Chief Magistrate,
yet for myself, and for the substantial service of
the public, I feel most sensibly the loss we sustain
of your aid in our new administration. It
leaves a chasm in my arrangements, which cannot
be adequately filled up. I had endeavored to
compose an administration whose talents, integrity,
names, and dispositions, should at once inspire
unbounded confidence in the public mind,
and insure a perfect harmony in the conduct of
the public business. I lose you from the list,
and am not sure of all the others. Should
the gentlemen, who possess the public confidence,
decline taking a part in their affairs,
and force us to take persons unknown to the
people, the evil genius of this country May
realize his avowal that “he will beat down the
To Aaron Burr. Washington ed. iv, 341. Ford ed., vii, 467.
(W. Dec. 1800)

983. BURR (Aaron), Presidential Contest.—

It was to be expected that the enemy
would endeavor to sow tares between us, that
they might divide us and our friends. Every
consideration satisfies me you will be on your
guard against this, as I assure you I am strongly.
I hear of one stratagem so imposing and so
base that it is proper I should notice it to you.
Mr. Munford says he saw at New York an
original letter of mine to Judge Breckenridge,
in which are sentiments highly injurious to you.
He knows my handwriting, and did not doubt
that to be genuine. I enclose you a copy
taken irom the press copy of the only letter I
ever wrote to Judge Breckenridge in my life.
* * * Of consequence, the letter seen by
Mr. Munford must be a forgery, and if it contains
a sentiment unfriendly or disrespectful to
you, I affirm it solemnly to be a forgery; as
also if it varies from the copy enclosed. With
the common trash of slander I should not think
of troubling you; but the forgery of one's
handwriting is too imposing to be neglected.—
To Aaron Burr. Washington ed. iv, 349. Ford ed., vii, 485.
(W. Feb. 1801)

See Elections—Presidential, 1800.

984. BURR (Aaron), Relations with Jefferson.—

Colonel Burr, the Vice President,


Page 112
called on me in the evening [January 26th, 1804], having previously asked an opportunity
of conversing with me. He began by recapitulating
summarily, that he had come to New
York a stranger, some years ago; that he
found the country in possession of two rich
families (the Livingstons and Clintons); that
his pursuits were not political, and he meddled
not. When the crisis, however, of 1800 came
on, they found their influence worn out, and
solicited his aid with the people. He lent it
without any views of promotion. That his being
named as a candidate for Vice-President
was unexpected by him. He acceded to it with
a view to promote my fame and advancement,
and from a desire to be with me, whose company
and conversation had always been fascinating
to him. That since, those great families
had become hostile to him, and had excited
the calumnies which I had seen published.
That in this Hamilton had joined, and had even
written some of the pieces against him. That
his attachment to me had been sincere, and was
still unchanged, although many little stories had
been carried to him, and he supposed to me also,
which he despised; but that attachment must
be reciprocal or cease to exist, and, therefore,
he asked if any change had taken place in mine
towards him; that he had chosen to have this
conversation with myself directly, and not
through any intermediate agent. He reminded
me of a letter written to him about the time of
counting the votes (say February, 1801),
mentioning that his election had left a chasm in
my arrangements; that I had lost him from my
list in the Administration, &c. He observed,
he believed it would be for the interest of the
republican cause for him to retire; that a disadvantageous
schism would otherwise take
place; but that were he to retire, it would be
said he shrunk from the public sentence, which
he never would do; that his enemies were using
my name to destroy him, and something was
necessary from me to prevent and deprive
them of that weapon, some mark of favor from
me which would declare to the world that he
retired with my confidence.

I answered by recapitulating to him what had
been my conduct previous to the election of
1800. That I had never interfered directly or
indirectly with my friends or any others, to
influence the election either for him or myself;
that I considered it as my duty to be merely
passive, except that in Virginia, I had taken
some measures to procure for him the unanimous
vote of that State, because I thought any
failure there might be imputed to me. That in
the election now coming on, I was observing
the same conduct, held no councils with anybody
respecting it, nor suffered any one to speak to
me on the subject, believing it my duty to leave
myself to the free discussion of the public,
that I do not at this moment know, nor have
ever heard, who were to be proposed as candidates
for the public choice, except so far as
could be gathered from the newspapers. That
as to the attack excited against him in the
newspapers, I had noticed it but as the passing
wind; that I had seen complaints that Cheetham,
employed in publishing the laws, should
be permitted to eat the public bread and
abuse its second officer; that as to this, the
publishers of the laws were appointed by the
Secretary of State, without any reference to
me; that to make the notice general, it was
often given to one republican and one federal
printer of the same place; that these federal
printers did not in the least intermit their
abuse of me, though receiving emoluments from
the government, and that I never thought it
proper to interfere for myself, and consequently
not in the case of the Vice-President. That as
to the letter he referred to, I remembered it,
and believed he had only mistaken the date at
which it was written; that I thought it must
have been on the first notice of the event of
the election of South Carolina; and that I had
taken that occasion to mention to him, that I
had intended to have proposed to him one of
the great offices, if he had not been elected;
but that his election in giving him a higher station
had deprived me of his aid in the Administration.
The letter alluded to was, in fact,
mine to him of December the 15th, 1800. I
now went on to explain to him verbally, what I
meant by saying I had lost him from my list.
That in General Washington's time, it had been
signified to him that Mr. Adams, the Vice-President,
would be glad of a foreign embassy; that
General Washington mentioned it to me, expressed
his doubts whether Mr. Adams was a
fit character for such an office, and his still
greater doubts, indeed his conviction, that it
would not be justifiable to send away the
person who, in case of his death, was provided
by the Constitution to take his place; that it
would moreover appear indecent for him to be
disposing of the public trusts, in apparently
buying off a competitor for the public favor. I
concurred with him in the opinion, and, if I
recollect rightly, Hamilton, Knox, and Randolph
were consulted and gave the same opinions.
That when Mr. Adams came to the Administration,
in his first interview with me, he mentioned
the necessity of a mission to France,
and how desirable it would have been to him if
he could have got me to undertake it; but that
he conceived it would be wrong in him to send
me away, and assigned the same reasons General
Washington had done; and, therefore, he should
appoint Mr. Madison, &c. That I had myself
contemplated his (Colonel Burr's) appointment
to one of the great offices, in case he was not
elected Vice-President; but that as soon as that
election was known, I saw it could not be done,
for the good reasons which had led General
Washington and Mr. Adams to the same conclusion;
and therefore, in my first letter to
Colonel Burr, after the issue was known, I
had mentioned to him that a chasm in my arrangements
had been produced by this event.
I was thus particular in rectifying the date of
this letter, because it gave me an opportunity
of explaining the grounds on which it was
written, which were, indirectly an answer to
his present hints. He left the matter with me
for consideration, and the conversation was
turned to indifferent subjects. I should here
notice, that Colonel Burr must have thought
that I could swallow strong things in my own
favor, when he founded his acquiescence in
the nomination as Vice-President, to his desire
of promoting my honor, the being with me,
whose company and conversation had always
been fascinating with him, &c.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 204. Ford ed., i, 301.
(Jan. 1804)

985. BURR (Aaron), Threatens Jefferson.—

About a month ago [March 1806] Colonel Burr called on me, and entered into a
conversation, in which he mentioned that a
little before my coming into office, I had written
to him a later intimating that I had destined
him for high employ, had he not been placed by
the people in a different one; that he had signified
his willingness to resign as Vice-President,
to give aid to the Administration in any other
place, that he had never asked an office, however;
he asked aid of nobody, but could walk
on his own legs and take care of himself; that


Page 113
I had always used him with politeness, but nothing
more; that he aided in bringing on the
present order of things; that he had supported
the Administration; and that he could do me
much harm; he wished, however, to be on different
ground; he was now disengaged from
all particular business—willing to engage in
something—should be in town some days, if I
should have anything to propose to him. I observed
to him, that I had always been sensible
that he possessed talents which might be employed
greatly to the advantage of the public,
and that as to myself, I had a confidence that if
he were employed, he would use his talents for
the public good; but that he must be sensible
the public had withdrawn their confidence from
him, and that in a government like ours it was
necessary to embrace in its administration as
great a mass of public confidence as possible,
by employing those who had a character with
the public, of their own, and not merely a secondary
one through the Executive. He observed,
that if we believed a few newspapers,
it might be supposed he had lost the public
confidence, but that I knew how easy it was
to engage newspapers in anything. I observed,
that I did not refer to that kind of evidence of
his having lost the public confidence, but to
the late Presidential election, when, though in
possession of the office of Vice-President, there
was not a single voice heard for his retaining
it. That as to any harm he could do me, I
knew no cause why he should desire it, but,
at the same time, I feared no injury which any
man could do me; that I never had done a
single act, or been concerned in any transaction,
which I feared to have fully laid open, or
which could do me any hurt, if truly stated;
that I had never done a single thing with a view
to my personal interest, or that of any friend, or
with any other view than that of the greatest
public good; that, therefore, no threat or fear
on that head would ever be a motive of action
with me. I did not commit these things to
writing at the time, but I do it now, because in
a suit between him and Cheetham, he has had
a deposition of Mr. Bayard taken, which seems
to have no relation to the suit, nor to any other
object than to calumniate me. Bayard pretends
to have addressed to me, during the pending of
the Presidential election in February, 1801,
through General Samuel Smith, certain conditions
on which my election might be obtained,
and that General Smith, after conversing with
me, gave answers from me. This is absolutely
false. No proposition of any kind was ever
made to me on that occasion by General Smith,
nor any answer authorized by me. And this
fact General Smith affirms at this moment.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 208. Ford ed., i, 311.
(April. 1806)

986. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Counteracted.—

During the last session of Congress,
Colonel Burr who was here [Washington], finding
no hope of being employed in any department
of the government, opened himself confidentially
to some persons on whom he thought
he could rely, on a scheme of separating the
Western from the Atlantic States, and erecting
the former into an independent confederacy.
He had before made a tour of those States
which had excited suspicions, as every nation
does of such a Catalinian character. * * * We [the cabinet] are of opinion unanimously,
that confidential letters be written to the
Governors of Ohio, Indiana, Mississippi and
Orleans * * * to have him strictly watched
and on his committing any overt act unequivocally,
to have him arrested and tried for treason,
misdemeanor, or whatever other offence the act
may amount to. And in like manner to arrest
and try any of his followers committing acts
against the laws.—
The Anas. Ford ed., i, 318.
(July. 1806)

987. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Decoys.

—Burr has been able to decoy a great proportion
of his people by making them believe the
government secretly approves of this expedition
against the Spanish territories. We are looking
with anxiety to see what exertions the
Western country will make in the first instance
for their own defence; and I confess that my
confidence in them is entire.—
To Governor Claiborne. Ford ed., viii, 502.
(W. Dec. 1806)

988. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Decoys. [continued].

It is understood that
wherever Burr met with subjects who did not
choose to embark in his projects, unless approved
by their government, he asserted that he
had that approbation. Most of them took his
word for it, but it is said that with those who
would not, the following stratagem was practiced.
A forged letter, purporting to be from
General Dearborn, was made to express his approbation,
and to say that I was absent at
Monticello, but that there was no doubt that,
on my return, my approbation of his enterprises
would be given. This letter was spread open
on his table, so as to invite the eye of whoever
entered his room, and he contrived occasions
of sending up into his room those whom he
wished to become witnesses of his acting under
sanction. By this means he avoided committing
himself to any liability to prosecution for
forgery, and gave another proof of being a great
man in little things, while he is really small in
great ones. I must add General Dearborn's
declaration, that he never wrote a letter to Burr
in his life, except that when here, once in a
winter, he usually wrote him a billet of invitation
to dine.—
To George Hay. Washington ed. v, 87. Ford ed., ix, 54.
(W. June. 1807)

989. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Designs of.—

The designs of our Cataline are as real as
they are romantic, but the parallel he has selected
from history for the model of his own
course corresponds but by halves. It is true in
its principal character, but the materials to be
employed are totally different from the scourings
of Rome. I am confident he will be completely
deserted on the appearance of the proclamation,
because his strength was to consist of
people who had been persuaded that the government
connived at the enterprise.—
To Caesar A. Rodney. Ford ed., viii, 497.
(W. Dec. 1806)

990. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Designs of.—[continued].

Burr's object is to take
possession of New Orleans, as a station whence
to make an expedition against Vera Cruz and
Mexico. His party began their formation at
the mouth of the Beaver, whence they started
the 1st or 2d of his month, and would collect
all the way down the Ohio. We trust that the
opposition we have provided at Marietta, Cincinnati,
Louisville, and Massac will be sufficient
to stop him; but we are not certain because we
do not know his strength. It is, therefore, possible
he may escape, and then his great rendezvous
is to be at Natchez. * * * We
expect you will collect all your force of militia,
act in conjunction with Colonel Freeman, and
take such a stand as shall be concluded best.—
To Governor Claiborne. Ford ed., viii, 501.
(W. Dec. 1806)

991. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Designs of.—[further continued].

His first enterprise was
to have been to seize New Orleans, which he


Page 114
supposed would powerfully bridle the upper
country, and place him at the door of Mexico.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. v, 131. Ford ed., x, 144.
(W. July. 1807)

992. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Designs of.—[further continued] .

Burr's enterprise is the
most extrarodinary since the days of Don Quixote.
It is so extravagant that those who know
his understanding, would not believe it if the
proofs admitted doubt. He has meant to place
himself on the throne of Montezuma, and extend
his empire to the Alleghany, seizing on
New Orleans as the instrument of compulsion
for western States.—
To Rev. Chas. Clay. Washington ed. v, 28. Ford ed., ix, 7.
(W. Jan. 1807)

993. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Fearless of.—

For myself, even in Burr's most flattering
periods of the conspiracy, I never entertained
one moment's fear. My long and intimate
knowledge of my countrymen, satisfied and satisfies
me, that let there ever be occasion to display
the banners of the law, and the world will
see how few and pitiful are those who shall
array themselves in opposition.—
To Dr. James Brown. Washington ed. v, 379. Ford ed., ix, 211.
(W. Oct. 1808)

994. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Flagitious.—

His conspiracy has been one of the
most flagitious of which history will ever furnish
an example. He meant to separate the Western
States from us, to add Mexico to them, place
himself at their head, establish what he would
deem an energetic government, and thus provide
an example and an instrument for the subversion
of our freedom. The man who could expect
to effect this, with American materials,
must be a fit subject for Bedlam.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. v, 129. Ford ed., ix, 113.
(W. July. 1807)

995. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Flagitious.—[continued].

Burr's conspiracy has
been one of the most flagitious of which history
will ever furnish an example. He had combined
the objects of separating the Western States
from us, of adding Mexico to them, and of placing
himself at their head. But he who could
expect to effect such objects by the aid of
American citizens, must be perfectly ripe for
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. v, 128. Ford ed., ix, 111.
(W. July. 1807)

996. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Louisiana and.—

It has given me infinite satisfaction
that not a single native Creole of Louisiana,
and but one American, settled there before the
delivery of the country to us, were in his interest.
His partisans there were made up of fugitives
from justice, or from their debts, who had
flocked there from other parts of the United
States, after the delivery of the country, and
of adventurers and speculators of all descriptions.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. v, 128. Ford ed., ix, 113.
(W. July. 1807)

997. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Louisiana and.—[continued].

The native inhabitants were unshaken in their fidelity. But there was
a small band of American adventurers who had
fled from their debts, and who were longing to
dip their hands into the mines of Mexico, enlisted
in Burr's double project of attacking that
country, and severing our Union. Had Burr
had a little success in the upper country, these
parricides would have joined him.—
To Marquis de Lafayatte. Ford ed., ix, 65.
(W. May. 1807)

998. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, The People and.—

The hand of the people has given
the mortal blow to a conspiracy which, in other
countries, would have called for an appeal to
armies, and has proved that government to be
the strongest of which every man feels himself a
part. It is a happy illustration, too, of the importance
of preserving to the State authorities
all that vigor which the Constitution foresaw
would be necessary, not only for their own
safety, but for that of the whole.—
To Governor H. D. Tiffin. Washington ed. v, 38. Ford ed., ix, 21.
(W. Feb. 1807)

999. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, The People and.—[continued].

The whole business has
shown that neither Burr nor his [associates] knew anything of the people of this country. A
simple proclamation informing the people of
these combinations, and calling on them to suppress
them, produced an instantaneous levee en
of our citizens wherever there appeared
anything to lay hold of, and the whole was
crushed in one instant.—
To Marquis de Lafayatte. Ford ed., ix, 66.
(W. May. 1807)

1000. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Punishment of.—

Their crimes are defeated, and whether they shall be punished or not belongs
to another department, and is not the subject of
even a wish on my part.—
To J. H. Nicholson. Washington ed. v, 45. Ford ed., ix, 31.
(W. Feb. 1807)

1001. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Self-government and.—

The suppression of the
late conspiracy by the hand of the people, uplifted
to destroy it wherever it reared its head,
manifests their fitness for self-government, and
the power of a nation, of which every individual
feels that his own will is part of the public authority.—
R. To A. New Jersey Legislature. Washington ed. viii, 122. (Dec. 1807.)

1002. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Strength of Government and.—

The proof we have lately seen of the innate strength of our government,
is one of the most remarkable which history
has recorded, and shows that we are a
people capable of self-government, and worthy
of it. The moment that a proclamation apprised
our citizens that there were traitors among
them, and what was the object, they rose upon
them wherever they lurked, and crushed by
their own strength what would have produced
the march of armies and civil war in any other
country. The government which can wield the
arm of the people must be the strongest possible.
To Mr. Weaver. Washington ed. v, 89.
(W., June. 1807)

1003. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Strength of Government and. mdash; [continued].

Nothing has ever so
strongly proved the innate force of our form of
government, as this conspiracy. Burr had probably
engaged one thousand men to follow his
fortunes, without letting them know his projects,
otherwise than by assuring them that the government
approved them. The moment a proclamation
was issued, undeceiving them, he
found himself left with about thirty desperadoes
only. The people rose in mass wherever he
was, or was suspected to be, and by their own
energy the thing was crushed in one instant,
without its having been necessary to employ a
man of the military but to take care of their
respective stations.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. v, 130. Ford ed., ix, 114.
(W. July. 1807)

1004. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Strength of Government and. mdash; [further continued].

This affair has been a
great confirmation in my mind of the innate
strength of the form of our government. He
had probably induced near a thousand men to
engage with him, by making them believe the
government connived at it. A proclamation
alone, by undeceiving them, so completely disarmed
him, that he had not above thirty men
left, ready to go all lengths with him.—
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. v, 128. Ford ed., ix, 111.
(W. July. 1807)


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1005. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Suppressed.—

I informed Congress at their last session [62] of the enterprises against the public
peace which were believed to be in preparation
by Aaron Burr and his associates, of the measures
taken to defeat them, and to bring the offenders
to justice. Their enterprises were happily
defeated by the patriotic extertions of the
militia wherever called into action, by the fidelity
of the army, and energy of the commander-in-chief
in promptly arranging the difficulties
presenting themselves on the Sabine, repairing to
meet those arising on the Mississippi, and dissipating,
before their explosion, plots engendering
Seventh Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 87. Ford ed., ix, 162.
(Oct. 1807)


Jefferson sent a message to Congress, January 22,
1807, giving a record of the facts in Burr's conspiracy.—Editor.

1006. BURR'S (A.) TREASON, Western Loyalty.—

The enterprise has done good by
proving that the attachment of the people in the
West is as firm as that in the East to the union
of our country, and by establishing a mutual and
universal confidence.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Ford ed., ix, 66.
(W. May. 1807)

1007. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Arrest.—

Your sending here [Washington] Swartwout and Ballman and adding to them Burr, Blennerhassett
and Tyler, should they fall into your
hands, will be supported by the public opinion.
* * * I hope, however, you will not extend this
deportation to persons against whom there is
only suspicion, or shades of offence not strongly
marked. In that case, I fear the public sentiment
would desert you: because seeing no danger
here, violations of law are felt with strength.—
To General Wilkinson. Washington ed. v, 39. Ford ed., ix, 4.
(W. Feb. 1807)

1008. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Arrest.—[continued].

That the arrest of Colonel
Burr was military has been disproved; but
had it been so, every honest man and good citizen
is bound, by any means in his power, to
arrest the author of projects so daring and dangerous.—
To Edmund Pendleton Gaines. Washington ed. v, 141. Ford ed., ix, 122.
(W. July. 1807)

— BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Bollman's confession.—

See Bollman.

1009. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Charges.—

I do suppose the following overt acts will be
proved. 1. The enlistment of men in a regular
way. 2. The regular mounting of guard round
Blennerhassett's Island * * *. 3. The rendezvous
of Burr with his men at the mouth of
the Cumberland. 4. His letter to the acting
Governor of Mississippi, holding up the prospect
of civil war. 5. His capitulation regularly
signed with the aids of the Governor, as between
two independent and hostile commanders.—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. v, 66. Ford ed., ix, 43.
(M. April. 1807)

1010. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Conviction doubtful.—

That there should be anxiety and
doubt in the public mind, in the present defective
state of the proof, is not wonderful; and
this has been sedulously encouraged by the
tricks of the judges to force trials before it is
possible to collect the evidence, dispersed
through a line of two thousand miles from
Maine to Orleans.—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. v, 65. Ford ed., ix, 42.
(M. April. 1807)

1011. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Conviction doubtful.—[continued].

Although there is not a
man in the United States who doubts his guilt,
such are the jealous provisions of our laws in
favor of the accused against the accuser, that
1 question if he is convicted.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. v, 130. Ford ed., ix, 113.
(W. July. 1807)

1012. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Court rulings.—

Hitherto we have believed our law to
be, that suspicion on probable grounds was sufficient
cause to commit a person for trial, allowing
time to collect witnesses till the trial. But
the judges have decided, that conclusive evidence
of guilt must be ready in the moment of
arrest, or they will discharge the malefactor.
If this is still insisted on, Burr will be discharged;
because his crimes having been sown
from Maine through the whole line of the
western waters to New Orleans, we cannot bring
the witnesses here under four months.—
To James Bowdoin. Washington ed. v, 65. Ford ed., ix, 41.
(W. April. 1807)

1013. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Evidence required.—

A moment's calculation will show
that the evidence cannot be collected under four
months, probably five, from the moment of deciding
when and where the trial shall be. I
desired Mr. Rodney [Attorney General] expressly
to inform the Chief Justice of this, inofficially.
But Mr. Marshall says: “More than
five weeks have elapsed since the opinion of the
Supreme Court has declared the necessity of
proving the overt acts,-if they exist. Why are
they not proved?” In what terms of decency
can we speak of this? As if an express could
go to Natchez, or the mouth of the Cumberland,
and return in five weeks, to do what has
never taken less than twelve. Again: “If, in
November or December last, a body of troops
had been assembled on the Ohio, it is impossible
to suppose the affidavits establishing the fact
could not have been obtained by the last of
March.” But I ask the judge where they should
have been lodged? At Frankfort? at Cincinnati?
at Nashville? St. Louis? Natchez? New
Orleans? These were the probable places of
apprehension and examination. It was not
known at Washington till the 26th of March
that Burr would escape from the Western tribunals,
be retaken and brought to an Eastern
one; and in five days after (neither five months
nor five weeks, as the judge calculated), he says.
“it is impossible to suppose the affidavits could
not have been obtained”. Where? At Richmond
he certainly meant, or meant only to
throw dust in the eyes of his audience. But all
the principles of law are to be perverted which
would bear on the favorite offenders who endeavor
to overturn this odious Republic. “I
understand”, says the judge, “probable cause of
guilt to be a case made out by proof furnishing
good reason to believe”, &c. Speaking as a lawyer,
he must mean legal proof, i. e., proof on
oath, at least. But this is confounding probability
and proof.
We had always before understood
that where there was reasonable ground to believe
guilt, the offender must be put on his trial.
That guilty intentions were probable, the judge
believed. And as to the overt acts, were not
the bundle of letters of information in Mr.
Rodney's hands, the lefters and facts published
in the local newspapers, Burr's flight, and the
universal belief or rumor of his guilt, probable
ground for presuming the facts of enlistment,
military guard, rendezvous, threats of civil war,
or capitulation, so as to put him on trial? Is
there a candid man in the United States who
does not believe some one, if not all, of these
overt acts to have taken place?—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. v, 67. Ford ed., ix, 44.
(M. April. 1807)


Page 116

— BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Executive Papers demanded.—

See Papers (Executive).

1014. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Federalist support.—

The federalists appear to make
Burr's cause their own, and to spare no efforts
to screen his adherents. Their great mortification
is at the failure of his plans. Had a little
success dawned on him, their openly joining him
might have produced some danger.—
To Colonel G. Morgan. Washington ed. v, 57.
(W. March. 1807)

1015. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Federalist support.—[continued].

The federalists, too, give
all their aid, making Burr's cause their own,
mortified only that he did not separate the
Union or overturn the government, and proving,
that had he had a little dawn of success, they
would have joined him to introduce his object,
their favorite monarchy, as they would any
other enemy, foreign or domestic, who could rid
them of this hateful Republic for any other
government in exchange.—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. v, 66. Ford ed., ix, 42.
(M. April. 1807)

1016. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Federalist support.—[further continued].

The fact is that the federalists
make Burr's case their own, and exert
their whole influence to shield him from punishment,
as they did the adherents of Miranda.
And it is unfortunate that federalism is still
predominant in our Judiciary department,
which is in opposition to the Legislative and
Executive branches, and is able to baffle their
measures often.—
To James Bowdoin. Washington ed. v, 65. Ford ed., ix, 41.
(W. April. 1807)

1017. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Federalist support.—[further continued] .

The first ground of complaint [by the federalists] was the supine inattention
of the Administration to a treason
stalking through the land in open day. The
present one, that they have crushed it before it
was ripe for execution, so that no overt acts
can be produced. This last may be true;
though I believe it is not. Our information
having been chiefly by way of letter, we do not
know of a certainty yet what will be proved.
We have set on foot an inquiry through the
whole of the country which has been the scene
of these transactions, to be able to prove to the
courts, if they will give time, or to the public
by way of communication to Congress, what
the real facts have been. For obtaining this,
we are obliged to appeal to the patriotism of
particular persons in different places, of whom
we have requested to make the inquiry in their
neighborhood, and on such information as shall
be voluntarily offered. Aided by no process or
facilities from the federal courts, but frowned
on by their new born zeal for the liberty of
those men whom we would not permit to overthrow
the liberties of their country, we can expect
no revealments from the accomplices of the
chief offender. Of treasonable intentions the
judges have been obliged to confess there is
probable appearance. What loophole they will
find in the case, when it comes to trial, we cannot
foresee. Eaton, Stoddart, Wilkinson, and
two others whom I must not name, will satisfy
the world, if not the judges, of Burr's guilt.—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. v, 66. Ford ed., ix, 42.
(M. April. 1807)

1018. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Grand Jury and.—

The favor of the marshal and the judge
promises Burr all which can depend on them.
A grand jury of two “feds”, four “quids” and
ten republicans, does not seem to be a fair representation
of the State of Virginia. I have
always entertained a high opinion of the marshal's
intergrity and political correctness. But
in a State where there are not more than
eight “quids”, how five of them should have
been summoned to one jury, is difficult to explain
from accident. But all this will show the
original error of establishing a judiciary independent
of the nation, and which, from the
citadel of the law, can turn its guns on those
they were meant to defend, and control and
fashion their proceedings to its own will.—
To John W. Eppes. Ford ed., ix, 68.
(W. May. 1807)

1019. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Guilt clear.—

Before an impartial jury, Burr's conduct
would convict himself, were not one word of
testimony to be offered against him. But to
what a state will our law be reduced by party
feelings in those who administer it? [63]
To George Hay. Washington ed. v, 174. Ford ed., ix, 62.
(M. Aug. 1807)


Hay was the U. S. District Attorney.—Editor.

— BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Jefferson Subpœnaed.—

See President.

1020. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Judiciary Partisanship.—

If there ever had been an instance
in this or the preceding administrations,
of federal judges so applying principles
of law as to condemn a federal or acquit a republican
offender, I should have judged them
in the present case with more charity. All this,
however, will work well. The nation will judge
both the offender and judges for themselves.
If a member of the Executive or Legislature
does wrong, the day is never far distant when
the people will remove him. They will see then
and amend the error in our Constitution, which
makes any branch independent of the nation.
They will see that one of the great coordinate
branches of the government, setting itself in
opposition to the other two, and to the common
sense of the nation, proclaims impunity to that
class of offenders which endeavors to overturn
the Constitution, and are themselves protected
in it by the Constitution itself; for impeachment
is a farce which will not be tried again. If
their protection of Burr produces this amendment,
it will do more good than his condemnation
would have done. * * * If his punishment
can be commuted now for an useful
amendment of the Constitution, I shall rejoice
in it.—
To William B. Giles. Washington ed. v, 68. Ford ed., ix, 45.
(M. April. 1807)

1021. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Judiciary Partisanship.—[continued].

Burr's trial goes on to
the asconishment of all, as to the manner of
conducting it.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 172.
(M. Aug. 1807)

1022. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Judiciary Partisanship.—[further continued].

The scenes which have been acted at Richmond are such as have never
before been exhibited in any country where all
regard to public character has not yet been
thrown off. They are equivalent to a proclamation
of impunity to every traitorous combination
which may be formed to destroy the Union;
and they preserve a head for all such combinations
as may be formed within, and a centre
for all the intrigues and machinations which
foreign governments may nourish to disturb us.
However, they will produce an amendment to
the Constitution which, keeping the judges independent
of the Executive, will not leave them
so, of the nation.—
To General Wilkinson. Washington ed. v, 198. Ford ed., ix, 142.
(M. Sep. 1807)

1023. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Judiciary Partisanship.—[further continued] .

The scenes which have been acting at Richmond are sufficient to fill
us with alarm. We had supposed we possessed
fixed laws to guard us equally against treason
and oppression. But it now appears we have no
law but the will of the judge. Never will chicanery
have a more difficult task than has been


Page 117
now accomplished to warp the text of the law
to the will of him who is to construe it. Our
case, too, is the more desperate, as the attempt
to make the law plainer by amendment is only
throwing out new amendments for sophistry.—
To William Thompson. Ford ed., ix, 143.
(M. Sep. 1807)

— BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Judge Marshall and.—

See Marbury vs. Madison, Marshall.

1024. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Release.—

The event has been—(blank in the original)
not only to clear Burr, but to prevent
the evidence from ever going before the
world. But this latter case must not
take place. It is now, therefore, more than
ever indispensable, that not a single witness be
paid or permitted to depart until his testimony
has been committed to writing, either as delivered
in court, or taken by yourself in the
presence of any of Burr's counsel, who May
choose to attend to cross-examine. These
whole proceedings will be laid before Congress,
that they may decide whether the defect has
been in the evidence of guilt, or in the law, or
in the application of the law, and that they May
provide the proper remedy for the past and the
To George Hay. Washington ed. v, 188.
(M. Sep. 1807)

1025. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Release.—[continued].

The criminal is preserved
to become the rallying point of all the disaffected
and the worthless of the United States,
and to be the pivot on which all the intrigues
and the conspiracies which foreign governments
may wish to disturb us with, are to turn. If
he is convicted of the misdemeanor, the judge
must in decency give us a respite by some short
confinement of him; but we must expect it to
be very short.—
To George Hay. Washington ed. v, 187.
(M. Sep. 1807)

1026. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Relegated to Congress.—

Be * * * the result before the
formal tribunal fair or false, it becomes our
duty to provide that full testimony shall be laid
before the Legislature, and through them the
public. For this purpose, it is necessary that
we be furnished with the testimony of every
person who shall be with you as a witness. *
* * Go into any expense necessary for this
purpose * * *.—
To George Hay. Washington ed. v, 81. Ford ed., ix, 52.
(W. May. 1807)

1027. BURR'S (A.) TRIAL, Relegated to Congress.—[continued].

I shall think it my duty
to lay before you the proceedings and the evidence
publicly exhibited on the arraignment
of the principal offenders before the Circuit
Court of Virginia. You will be enabled to judge
whether the defeat was in the testimony, in
the law, or in the administration of the law;
and wherever it shall be found, the Legislature
alone can apply or originate the remedy. The
framers of our Constitution certainly supposed
they had guarded, as well their government
against destruction by treason, as their citizens
against oppression, under pretence of it; and if
these ends are not attained, it is of importance
to inquire by what means, more effectual, they
may be secured. [64]
Seventh Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 87. Ford ed., viii, 163.
(Oct. 1807)


As a result Congress enacted additional rigorous
legislation respecting treason.—Editor.