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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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5601. NAMES, Authority of great.—

is surely time for men to think for themselves,
and to throw off the authority of names so
artificially magnified.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 165.
(M. 1820)

5602. NAMES, Bestowal of.—

I agree
with you entirely in condemning the mania of
giving names to objects of any kind after persons
still living. Death alone can seal the
title of any man to this honor, by putting it
out of his power to forfeit it.—
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. iv, 335. Ford ed., vii, 459.
(M. 1800)

5603. NAMES, Bestowal of.—[continued].

There is one * * * mode of recording merit, which I have often
thought might be introduced, so as to gratify
the living by praising the dead. In giving, for
instance, a commission of Chief Justice to
Bushrod Washington, it should be in consideration
of his integrity, and science in the laws,
and of the services rendered to our country
by his illustrious relation, &c. A commission
to a descendant of Dr. Franklin, besides being
in consideration of the proper qualifications
of the person, should add that of the great services
rendered by his illustrious ancestor, Benjamin
Franklin, by the advancement of science,
by inventions useful to man, &c.—
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. iv, 335. Ford ed., vii, 459.
(M. 1800)

5604. NAMES, Bestowal of.—[further continued].

I am sensible of the
mark of esteem manifested by the name you
have given to your son. Tell him from me,
that he must consider as essentially belonging
to it, to love his friends and wish no ill to his
To David Campbell. Washington ed. v, 499.
(M. 1810)


Page 601

5605. NAMES, Opinions and.—

If * * * opinions are sound * * * they will prevail
by their own weight without the aid of
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 35. Ford ed., x, 45.
(M. 1816)

5606. NAMES, Political party.—

appellation of aristocrats and democrats is
the true one expressing the essence of all
To H. Lee. Washington ed. vii, 376. Ford ed., x, 318.
(M. 1824)

5607. NAMES, Property in.—

I am not
sure that we ought to change all our names.
During the regal government, sometimes, indeed,
they were given through adulation; but
often also as the reward of the merit of the
times, sometimes for services rendered the colony.
Perhaps, too, a name when given, should
be deemed a sacred property.—
To Dr. Benjamin Rush. Washington ed. iv, 335. Ford ed., vii, 459.
(M. 1800)

5608. NASSAU, Fame of.—

Nassau is a
village the whole rents of which would not
amount to more than a hundred or two guineas.
Yet it gives the title of Prince to the
house of Orange to which it belongs.—
Travels in Holland. Washington ed. ix, 383.

5609. NATION (United States), Building the.—

The interests of the States ought
to be made joint in every possible instance,
in order to cultivate the idea of our being
one nation, and to multiply the instances in
which the people shall look up to Congress
as their head.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 347. Ford ed., iv, 52.
(P. 1785)

5610. NATION (United States), Building the.—[continued].

It is, indeed, an animating
thought that, while we are securing
the rights of ourselves and posterity, we are
pointing out the way to struggling nations
who wish, like us, to emerge from their
tyrannies also.—
Reply to Address. Washington ed. iii, 128. Ford ed., v, 147.

5611. NATION (United States), Conscience of.—

It is true that nations are to be
judges for themselves since no one nation
has a right to sit in judgment over another.
But the tribunal of our consciences remains,
and that also of the opinion of the world.
These will revise the sentence we pass in
our own case, and as we respect these, we
must see that in judging ourselves we have
honestly done the part of impartial and rigorous
Opinion on French Treaties. Washington ed. vii, 614. Ford ed., vi, 221.

5612. NATION (United States), Foreign policy.—

Unmeddling with the affairs of other nations, we presume not to prescribe
or censure their course.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. v, 133.
(W. 1807)

5613. NATION (United States), Foreign policy.—[continued].

We wish the happiness
and prosperity of every nation.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. vi, 482.
(M. 1815)

5614. NATION (United States), Liberality.—

I am in all cases for a liberal conduct
towards other nations, believing that the
practice of the same friendly feelings and
generous dispositions, which attach individuals
in private life, will attach societies on
the larger scale, which are composed of in
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 222.
(M. 1803)

5615. NATION (United States), Objects of.—

Peace with all nations, and the
right which that gives us with respect to all
nations, are our object.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. iii, 535.
(Pa., 1793)

5616. NATION (United States), Objects of.—[continued].

I hope the United States will ever place themselves among [the number
of] peaceable nations.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 411. Ford ed., viii, 91.
(M. Sep. 1801)

5617. NATION (United States), Supremacy.—

Not in our day, but at no distant
one, we may shake a rod over the heads of
all, which may make the stoutest of them
tremble. But I hope our wisdom will grow
with our power, and teach us, that the less
we use our power the greater it will be.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 465. Ford ed., ix, 520.
(M. 1815)

See Policy.

5618. NATION (United States), Supremacy.—[continued].

The day is not distant,
when we may formally require a meridian of
partition through the ocean which separates
the two hemispheres, on the hither side of
which no European gun shall ever be heard,
nor an American on the other; and when,
during the rage of the eternal wars of Europe,
the lion and the lamb, within our regions,
shall lie down together in peace.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 168.
(M. 1820)


See Washington

5619. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Bank paper and.—

The question will be asked
and ought to be looked at, what is to be the
resource if loans cannot be obtained? There
is but one, “Carthago delenda est”. Bank
paper must be suppressed, and the circulating
medium must be restored to the nation to
whom it belongs. It is the only fund on
which they can rely for loans; it is the only
resource which can never fail them and it is
an abundant one for every necessary purpose.
Treasury bills, bottomed on taxes, bearing
or not bearing interest, as may be found
necessary, thrown into circulation will take
the place of so much gold and silver, which
last, when crowded, will find an efflux into
other countries, and thus keep the quantum
of medium at its salutary level. 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, and without injustice, 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)

5620. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Bank paper and.—[continued].

Put down the banks, and
if this country could not be carried through
the longest war against her most powerful


Page 602
enemy, without ever knowing the want of a
dollar, without dependence on the traitorous
classes of her citizens, without bearing hard
on the resources of the people, or loading
the public with an indefinite burthen of debt,
I know nothing of my countrymen. Not by
any novel project, not by any charlatanerie,
but by ordinary and well-experienced means;
by the total prohibition of all private paper
at all times, by reasonable taxes in war aided
by the necessary emissions of public paper of
circulating size, this bottomed on special
taxes, redeemable annually as this special tax
comes in, and finally within a moderate period.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. vi, 498.
(M. Oct. 1815)

5621. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Bank suspensions and.—

The failure of our banks
* * * 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
To President Madison. Washington ed. vi, 386.
(M. Sep. 1814)

5622. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Borrowing fund.—

I am sorry to see our loans
begin at so exorbitant an interest. And yet,
even at that you will soon be at the bottom
of the loan-bag. We are an agricultural nation.
Such an one employs its sparings in
the purchase or improvement of land or
stocks. The lendable money among them is
chiefly that of orphans and wards in the
hands of executors and guardians, and that
which the former lays by till he has enough
for the purchase in view. In such a nation
there is one, and only one, resource for loans,
sufficient to carry them through the expense
of a war; and that will always be sufficient,
and in the power of an honest government,
punctual in the preservation of its faith.
The fund I mean, is the mass of circulating
Every one knows, that although not
literally, it is nearly true, that every paper
dollar emitted banishes a silver one from
the circulation. A nation, therefore, making
its purchases and payments with bills fitted
for circulation, thrusts an equal sum of coin
out of circulation. This is equivalent to
borrowing that sum, and yet the vendor, receiving
in payment a medium as effectual
as coin for his purchases or payments, has
no claim to interest. And so the nation May
continue to issue its bills as far as its wants
require, and the limits of the circulation will
admit. Those limits are understood to extend
with us at present, to two hundred millions
of dollars, a greater sum than would be
necessary for any war. But this, the only resource
which the government could command
with certainty, the States have unfortunately
fooled away, nay corruptly alienated to
swindlers and shavers, under the cover of
private banks. Say, too, as an additional
evil, that the disposal funds of individuals,
to this great amount, have thus been withdrawn
from improvement and useful enterprise,
and employed in the useless, usu
rious and demoralizing practices of bank
directors and their accomplices. In the year
1775, our State [Virginia] availed itself of
this fund by issuing a paper money, bottomed
on a specific tax for its redemption, and, to
insure its credit, bearing an interest of five
per cent. Within a very short time, not a bill
of this emission was to be found in circulation.
It was locked up in the chests of executors,
guardians, widows, farmers, &c. We
then issued bills bottomed on a redeeming tax,
but bearing no interest. These were readily
received, and never depreciated a single
farthing. In the Revolutionary war, the old
Congress and the States issued bills without
interest, and without a tax. They occupied
the channels of circulation very freely, till
those channels were overflowed by an excess
beyond all the calls of circulation. But, although
we have so improvidently suffered the
field of circulating medium to be filched from
us by private individuals, yet I think we May
recover it in part, and even in the whole,
if the States will cooperate with us. If
Treasury bills are emitted on a tax appropriated
for their redemption in fifteen years, and
(to ensure preference in the first moments of
competition) bearing an interest of six per
cent. there is no one who would not take
them in preference to the bank paper now
afloat, on a principle of patriotism as well
as interest; and they would be withdrawn
from circulation into private hoards to a
considerable amount. Their credit once established,
others might be emitted, bottomed
also on a tax, but not bearing interest, and if
even their credit faltered, open public loans,
on which these bills alone should be received
as specie. These, operating as a sinking
fund, would reduce the quantity in circulation,
so as to maintain that in an equilibrium
with specie. It is not easy to estimate the
obstacles which, in the beginning, we should
encounter in ousting the banks from their
possession of the circulation; but a steady
and judicious alternation of emissions and
loans, would reduce them in time. But while
this is going on, another measure should be
pressed, to recover ultimately our right to the
circulation. The States should be applied to,
to transfer the right of issuing circulating
paper to Congress exclusively, in perpetuum, if possible, but during the war at least, with
a saving of charter rights. I believe that
every State west and south of the Connecticut
River, except Delaware, would immediately
do it; and the others would follow in
time. Congress would, of course, begin by
obliging unchartered banks to wind up their
affairs within a short time, and the others as
their charters expired, forbidding the subsequent
circulation of their paper. This, they
would supply with their own, bottomed,
every emission, on an adequate tax, and bearing
or not bearing interest, as the state of the
public pulse should indicate. Even in the
non-complying States, these bills would make
their way, and supplant the unfunded paper
of their banks, by their solidity, by the universality
of their currency, and by their receivability


Page 603
for customs and taxes. It would be in their power, too, to curtail those
banks to the amount of their actual specie,
by gathering up their paper, and running it
constantly on them. The national paper
might thus take place even in the non-complying
States. In this way, I am not without
a hope, that this great, this sole resource
for loans in an agricultural country, might
yet be recovered for the use of the nation
during war; and, if obtained in perpetuum, it would always be sufficient to carry us
through any war; provided, that in the interval
between war and war, all the outstanding
paper should be called in, coin be permitted
to flow in again, and to hold the field
of circulation until another war should require
its yielding place again to the national
To John Wayles Eppes. Washington ed. vi, 139. Ford ed., ix, 391.
(M. June. 1813)

5623. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Borrowing fund.—[continued].

I like well your idea of
issuing treasury notes bearing interest, because
I am persuaded they would soon be
withdrawn from circulation and locked up
in vaults in private hoards. It would put it
in the power of every man to lend his $100
or $1000, though not able to go forward on
the great scale, and be the most advantageous
way of obtaining a loan.—
To Thomas Law. Ford ed., ix, 433.
(M. Nov. 1813)

5624. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Borrowing fund.—[further continued].

The circulating fund is
the only one we can ever command with
certainty. It is sufficient for all our wants;
and the impossibility of even defending the
country without its aid as a borrowing fund,
renders it indispensable that the nation should
take and keep it in their own hands, as their
exclusive resource.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. vi, 393. Ford ed., ix, 491.
(M. Oct. 1814)

5625. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Borrowing fund.—[further continued] .

Although a century of
British experience has proved to what a
wonderful extent the funding on specific redeeming
taxes enables a nation to anticipate
in war the resources of peace, and although
the other nations of Europe have tried and
trodden every path of force or folly in fruitless
quest of the same object, yet we still
expect to find in juggling tricks and banking
dreams, that money can be made out of nothing,
and in sufficient quantities to meet the
expenses of a heavy war by sea and land. It
is said, indeed, that money cannot be borrowed
from our merchants as from those of
England. But it can be borrowed from our
people. They will give you all the necessaries
of war they produce, if, instead of the
bankrupt trash they are now obliged to receive
for want of any other, you will give
them a paper promise funded on a specific
pledge, and of a size for common circulation.
But you say the merchants will not
take this paper. What the people take the
merchants must take, or sell nothing. All
these doubts and fears prove only the extent
of the dominion which the banking institutions
have obtained over the minds of
our citizens, and especially of those inhabiting
cities or other banking places; and this
dominion must be broken, or it will break us.
But * * * we must make up our minds to
suffer yet longer before we can get right.
The misfortune is, that in the meantime, we
shall plunge ourselves in unextinguishable
debt, and entail on our posterity an inheritance
of eternal taxes, which will bring our
government and people into the condition of
those of England, a nation of pikes and
gudgeons, the latter bred merely as food for the
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 409. Ford ed., ix, 497.
(M. Jan. 1815)

5626. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Circulating medium.—

If I have used any expression
restraining the emissions of treasury
notes to a sufficient medium, * * * I
have done it inadvertently, and under the
impression then possessing me, that the war
would be very short. A sufficient medium
would not, on the principles of any writer,
exceed thirty millions of dollars, and of those
of some not ten millions. Our experience has
proved it may be run up to two or three
hundred millions, without more than doubling
what would be the prices of things under
a sufficient medium, or say a metallic one,
which would always keep itself at the sufficient
point; and, if they rise to this term,
and the descent from it be gradual, it would
not produce sensible revolutions in private
fortunes. I shall be able to explain my views
more definitely by the use of numbers. Suppose
we require, to carry on the war, an annual
loan of twenty millions, then I propose
that, in the first year, you shall lay a
tax of two millions, and emit twenty millions
of treasury notes, of a size proper for circulation,
and bearing no interest, to the redemption
of which the proceeds of that tax
shall be inviolably pledged and applied, by recalling
annually their amount of the identical
bills funded on them. The second year, lay
another tax of two millions, and emit twenty
millions more. The third year the same, and
so on, until you have reached the maximum
of taxes which ought to be imposed. Let me
suppose this maximum to be one dollar a
head, or ten millions of dollars, merely as an
exemplification more familiar than would be
the algebraical symbols x or y. You would
reach this in five years. The sixth year, then,
still emit twenty millions of treasury notes,
and continue all the taxes two years longer.
The seventh year, twenty millions more, and
continue the whole taxes another two years;
and so on. Observe, that although you emit
twenty millions of dollars a year, you call in
ten millions, and, consequently, add but ten
millions annually to the circulation. It would
be in thirty years, then, primâ facie, that
you would reach the present circulation of
three hundred millions, or the ultimate term
to which we might venture. But observe,
also, that in that time we shall have become
thirty millions of people, to whom three
hundred millions of dollars would be no more
than one hundred millions to us now; which
sum would probably not have raised prices
more than fifty per cent. on what may be
deemed the standard, or metallic prices. This


Page 604
increased population and consumption, while
it would be increasing the proceeds of the
redemption tax, and lessening the balance annually
thrown into circulation, would also
absorb, without saturation, more of the surplus
medium, and enable us to push the same
process to a much higher term, to one which
we might safely call indefinite, because extending
so far beyond the limits, either in
time or expense, of any supposable war. All
we should have to do would be, when the war
should be ended, to leave the gradual extinction
of these notes to the operation of the
taxes pledged for their redemption; not to
suffer a dollar of paper to be emitted either
by public or private authority, but let the
metallic medium flow back into the channels
of circulation, and occupy them until another
war should oblige us to recur, for its support,
to the same resource, and the same process,
on the circulating medium.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. vi, 392. Ford ed., ix, 489.
(M. Oct. 1814)

5627. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Circulating medium.—[continued].

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 as soon as a convenient
quantity of them can get into circulation the
bank notes die.—
To Jean Baptiste Say. Washington ed. vi, 434.
(M. 1815)

5628. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Circulating medium.—[further continued].

The war, had it proceeded,
would have upset our government;
and a new one, whenever tried, will do it.
And so it must be while our money, the nerve
of war, is much or little, real or imaginary,
as our bitterest enemies choose to make it.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. vi, 498.
(M. Oct. 1815)

5629. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Congressional control.—

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. The remedy
was to let banks drop gradually at the expiration
of their charters, and for the State
governments to relinquish the power of establishing
others. This would not, as it should
not, have given the power of establishing
them to Congress. But Congress could then
have issued treasury notes payable within a
fixed period, and founded on a specific tax,
the proceeds of which, as they came in,
should be exchangeable for the notes of that
particular emission only. This depended, it
is true, on the will of the State Legislatures,
and would have brought on us the phalanx
of paper interest. But that interest is now
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 381.
(M. Sep. 1814)

5630. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Congressional control.—[continued].

To give readier credit
to their bills, without obliging themselves to
give cash for them on demand, let their collectors
be instructed to do so, when they have
cash; thus, in some measure, performing the
functions of a bank, as to their own notes.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. vi, 382.
(M. Sep. 1814)

5631. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Redemption.—

Treasury notes of small as well
as high denomination, bottomed on a tax
which would redeem them in ten years, would
place at our disposal the whole circulating
medium of the United States; a fund of
credit sufficient to carry us through any probable
length of war. A small issue of such
paper is now commencing. It will immediately
supersede the bank paper; nobody receiving
that now but for the purposes of the
day, and never in payments which are to lie
by for any time. In fact, all the banks
having declared they will not give cash in exchange
for their own notes, these circulate
merely because there is no other medium of
exchange. As soon as the treasury notes get
into circulation, the others will cease to hold
any competition with them. I trust that another
year will confirm this experiment, and
restore this fund to the public, who ought
never more to permit its being filched from
them by private speculators and disorganizers
of the circulation.—
To W. H. Crawford. Washington ed. vi, 419. Ford ed., ix, 503.
(M. Feb. 1815)

5632. NATIONAL CURRENCY, Redemption.—[continued].

The third great measure
necessary to ensure us permanent prosperity,
should ensure resources of money by the suppression
of all paper circulation during peace,
and licensing that of the nation alone during
war. The metallic medium of which we
should be possessed at the commencement of
a war, would be a sufficient fund for all the
loans we should need through its continuance;
and if the national bills issued, be
bottomed (as is indispensable) on pledges of
specific taxes for their redemption within certain
and moderate epochs, and be of proper
denominations for circulation, no interest on
them would be necessary or just, because they
would answer to every one the purposes of
the metallic money withdrawn and replaced
by them.—
To William H. Crawford. Washington ed. vii, 8. Ford ed., x, 36.
(M. 1816)

See Banks, Dollar, Money, and Paper Money.


See University.

5633. NATIONS, Constitutions for.—

Such indeed are the different circumstances,
prejudices, and habits of different nations,
that the constitution of no one would be
reconcilable to any other in every point.—
To M. Coray. Washington ed. vii, 320.
(M. 1823)

5634. NATIONS, Dictation to.—

presumption of dictating to an independent
nation the form of its government, is so
arrogant, so arrogant, so atrocious, that indignation, as
well as moral sentiment, enlists all our partialities
and prayers in favor of one, and our
equal execrations against the other.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vii, 287. Ford ed., x, 257.
(M. 1823)

5635. NATIONS, European.—

The European
societies * * * under pretence of


Page 605
governing, have divided their nations into
two classes, wolves and sheep.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 100. Ford ed., iv, 360.
(P. 1787)

5636. NATIONS, European.—[continued].

The European are nations
of eternal war. All their energies are
expended in the destruction of the labor,
property, and lives of their people.—
To President Monroe. Washington ed. vii, 288. Ford ed., x, 257.
(M. 1823)

5637. NATIONS, Extinction of.—

I shall
not wonder to see the scenes of ancient Rome
and Carthage renewed in our day; and if
not pursued to the same issue, it may be because
the republic of modern powers will not
permit the extinction of any one of its members.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. i, 553.
(P. 1786)

5638. NATIONS, Good faith.—

A character
of good faith is of as much value to a
nation as to an individual.—
The Anas. Ford ed., i, 332.

5639. NATIONS, Government of.—

think, with others, that nations are to be governed
according to their own interest, but I
am convinced that it is their interest, in the
long run to be grateful, faithful to their engagements,
even in the worst of circumstances,
and honorable and generous always.—
To M. de Lafayette. Washington ed. iii, 132. Ford ed., v, 152.
(N.Y., 1790)

5640. NATIONS, History and.—

and contentions, indeed, fill the pages of history
with more matter. But more blest is
that nation whose silent course of happiness
furnishes nothing for history to say. This is
what I ambition for my own country.—
To Count Diodati. Washington ed. v, 62.
(W. 1807)

5641. NATIONS, Ignorant.—

If a nation
expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of
civilization, it expects what never was and
never will be.—
To Charles Yancey. Washington ed. vi, 517. Ford ed., x, 4.
(M. 1816)

5642. NATIONS; Interest of.—

The interests
of a nation, when well understood,
will be found to coincide with their moral
Paragraph for President's Message. Ford ed., vi, 119.

5643. NATIONS, Jefferson's prayer for all.—

I wish that all nations may recover and retain their independence; that those which
are overgrown may not advance beyond safe
measures of power, that a salutary balance
may be ever maintained among nations, and
that our peace, commerce and friendship,
may be sought and cultivated by all.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 464. Ford ed., ix, 520.
(M. 1815)

5644. NATIONS, Jefferson's prayer for all.—[continued].

Notwithstanding all the
French and British atrocities, which will forever
disgrace the present era of history,
their shameless prostration of all the laws
of morality which constitute the security,
the peace and comfort of man—notwithstanding
the waste of human life, and measure of
human suffering which they have inflicted on
the world—nations hitherto in slavery have
desired through all this bloody mist a glimmering
of their own rights have dared to
open their eyes, and to see that their own
power will suffice for their emancipation.
Their tyrants must now give them more
moderate forms of government, and they
seem now to be sensible of this themselves.
Instead of the parricide treason of Bonaparte
in employing the means confided to him as a
republican magistrate to the overthrow of
that republic, and establishment of a military
despotism in himself and his descendants, to
the subversion of the neighboring governments,
and erection of thrones for his
brothers, his sisters and sycophants, had he
honestly employed that power in the establishment
and support of the freedom of his
own country, there is not a nation in Europe
which would not at this day have had
a more rational government, one in which the
will of the people should have had a moderating
and salutary influence. The work
will now be longer, will swell more rivers
with blood, produce more sufferings and more
crimes. But it will be consummated; and
that it may be will be the theme of my constant
prayers while I shall remain on the
earth beneath, or in the heavens above.—
To William Bentley. Washington ed. vi, 503.
(M. 1815)

5645. NATIONS, Just and unjust.—

just nation is taken on its word, when recourse
is had to armaments and wars to
bridle others.—
Second Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 40. Ford ed., viii, 343.

5646. NATIONS, Just and unjust.—[continued].

No nation, however powerful,
any more than an individual, can be
unjust with impunity. Sooner or later public
opinion, an instrument merely moral in the
beginning, will find occasion physically to inflict
its sentences on the unjust.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 300.
(M. 1804)

5647. NATIONS, Justice and.—

No nation
can answer for perfect exactitude of proceedings
in all their inferior courts. It suffices
to provide a supreme judicature, where
all error and partiality will be ultimately
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 414. Ford ed., vi, 55.
(Pa., 1792)

5648. NATIONS, Liberal.—

A nation, by
establishing a character of liberality and magnanimity,
gains in the friendship and respect
of others more than the worth of mere
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 56.

5649. NATIONS, Manners of.—

It is difficult to determine on the standard by
which the manners of a nation may be tried,
whether catholic or particular. It is more
difficult for a native to bring to that standard
the manners of his own nation, familiarized
to him by habit.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 403. Ford ed., iii, 266.

5650. NATIONS, Money and rights of.—

Money is the agent by which modern nations
will recover their rights.—
To Comte de Moustier. Washington ed. ii, 389. Ford ed., v, 12.
(P. 1788)


Page 606

5651. NATIONS, Morality.—

A nation,
as a society, forms a moral person, and every
member of it is personally responsible for
his society.—
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 419. Ford ed., vi, 59.
(Pa., 1792)

See Morality (National).

5652. NATIONS, Morality.—[continued].

The moral obligations
constitute a law for nations as well as individuals.—
R. to A. N. Y. Tammany Society. Washington ed. viii, 127.

5653. NATIONS, Natural rights of.—

In no case are the laws of a nation changed, of natural right, by their passage from one
to another domination. The soil, the inhabitants,
their property, and the laws by
which they are protected go together. Their
laws are subject to be changed only in the
ease, and extent which their new legislature
shall will.—
Batture Case. Washington ed. viii, 528.

5654. NATIONS, Neighboring.—

We have seldom seen neighborhood produce affection
among nations. The reverse is almost
the universal truth.—
To John C. Breckenridge. Washington ed. iv, 499. Ford ed., viii, 243.
(M. 1803)

5655. NATIONS, Oppressed.—

That we
should wish to see the people of other countries
free, is as natural, and at least as justifiable,
as that one King should wish to see
the Kings of other countries maintained in
their despotism.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. vii, 78. Ford ed., x, 90.
(M. 1817)

5656. NATIONS, Peculiarities of.—

reading the travels of a Frenchman through
the United States what he remarks as peculiarities
in us, prove to us the contrary peculiarities
of the French. We have the accounts
of Barbary from European and American
travellers. It would be more amusing
if Melli Melli would give us his observations
on the United States. If, with the
fables and follies of the Hindoos, so justly
pointed out to us by yourself and other
travellers, we could compare the contrast of
those which an Hindoo traveller would
imagine he found among us, it might enlarge
our instruction. It would be curious to see
what parallel among us he would select for
his Veeshni.—
To Nathaniel Greene. Washington ed. vi, 72.
(M. 1812)

5657. NATIONS, Political conditions in.—

The condition of different descriptions
of inhabitants in any country is a matter of
municipal arrangement, of which no foreign
country has a right to take notice. All its
inhabitants are as men to them.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 37. Ford ed., x, 46.
(M. 1816)

5658. NATIONS, Representation and.—

The [representative principle] has taken deep
root in the European mind, and will have its
growth; their despots, [351] sensible of this, are
already offering this modification of their
governments, as if of their own accord. In
stead of the parricide treason of Bonaparte,
in perverting the means confided to him as a
republican magistrate, to the subversion of
that republic and erection of a military despotism
for himself and his family, had he
used it honestly for the establishment and
support of a free government in his own
country, France would now have been in
freedom and rest; and her example operating
in a contrary direction, every nation in Europe
would have had a government over
which the will of the people would have had
some control. His atrocious egotism has
checked the salutary progress of principle,
and deluged it with rivers of blood which are
not yet run out. To the vast sum of devastation
and of human misery, of which he
has been the guilty cause, much is still to be
added. But the object is fixed in the eye of
nations, and they will press on to its accomplishment
and to the general amelioration of
the condition of man. What a germ have we
planted, and how faithfully should we cherish
the parent tree at home!—
To Benjamin Austin. Washington ed. vi, 520. Ford ed., x, 8.
(M. 1816)


In consenting to the newspaper publication of this
extract, Jefferson directed that “despots” be changed
to “rulers”.—Editor.

5659. NATIONS, Revolution.—

When subjects are able to maintain themselves in
the field, they are then an independent power
as to all neutral nations, are entitled to their
commerce, and to protection within their limits.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 550. Ford ed., x, 19.
(M. 1816)

5660. NATIONS, Standing of.—

The just
standing of all nations is the health and
security of all.—
To James Maury. Washington ed. vi, 52. Ford ed., ix, 349.
(M. 1812)

5661. NATIONS, Unity of large.—

laws of nature render a large country unconquerable
if they adhere firmly together,
and to their purpose.—
To H. Innes. Ford ed., vi, 266.
(Pa., 1793)

5662. NATIONS, Unity of large.—[continued].

Without union of action
and effort in all its parts, no nation can be
happy or safe.—
To James Sullivan. Washington ed. v, 100. Ford ed., ix, 75.
(W. 1807)

5663. NATIONS, Unity of large.—[further continued].

A nation united can
never be conquered. We have seen what the
ignorant, bigoted and unarmed Spaniards
could do against the disciplined veterans of
their invaders. * * * The oppressors May
cut off heads after heads, but like those of the
Hydra they multiply at every stroke. The recruits
within a nation's own limits are prompt
and without number; while those of their invaders
from a distance are slow, limited, and
must come to an end.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 525.
(M. 1816)

5664. NATIONS, Young.—

The first object
of young societies is bread and covering;
science is but secondary and subsequent.—
To J. Evelyn Denison. Washington ed. vii, 418.
(M. 1825)

5665. NATIONS (American), Coalition of.—

Nothing is so important as that America
shall separate herself from the systems of
Europe, and establish one of her own. Our
circumstances, our pursuits, our interests,
are distinct, the principles of our policy


Page 607
should be so also. All entanglements with
that quarter of the globe should be avoided
if we mean that peace and justice shall be
the polar stars of the American societies.
* * * [This] would be a leading principle
with me, had I longer to live.—
To J. Correa de Serra. Washington ed. vii, 184. Ford ed., x, 162.
(M. Oct. 1820)

5666. NATURAL BRIDGE, Description.—

The Natural Bridge, the most sublime
of Nature's works, * * * is on the ascent
of a hill which seems to have been cloven
through its length by some great convulsion.
The fissure, just at the Bridge, is, by some admeasurements,
270 feet deep, by others only
205. It is about 45 feet wide at the bottom
and 90 feet at the top; this of course determines
the length of the bridge, and its height
from the water. Its breadth in the middle is
about 60 feet, but more at the ends, and the
thickness of the mass, at the summit of the
arch, about forty feet. A part of this thickness
is constituted by a coat of earth, which
gives growth to many large trees. The residue,
with the hill on both sides, is one solid
rock of limestone. The arch approaches the
semi-elliptical form; but the larger axis of the
ellipsis, which would be the chord of the arch,
is many times longer than the semi-axis which
gives its height. Looking down from this
height about a minute, gave me a violent
headache. If the view from the top be painful
and intolerable, that from below is delightful
in an equal extreme. It is impossible
for the emotions arising from the sublime to
be felt beyond what they are here; so beautiful
an arch, so elevated, so light, and springing
as it were up to heaven, the rapture of
the spectator is really indescribable! The fissure
continuing narrow, deep and straight, for
a considerable distance above and below the
Bridge, opens a short but very pleasing view
of the North Mountain on one side and the
Blue Ridge on the other, at the distance each
of them of about five miles.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 269. Ford ed., iii, 109.

5667. NATURAL BRIDGE, Greatest curiosity.—

The greatest of our curiosities, the Natural Bridge.—
To Rev. Chas. Clay. Washington ed. iii, 125. Ford ed., v, 142.
(M. 1790)

5668. NATURAL BRIDGE, Hermitage near.—

I sometimes think of building a little
hermitage at the Natural Bridge (for it is my
property) and of passing there a part of the
year at least.—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. ii, 80. Ford ed., iv, 345.
(P. 1786)

5669. NATURAL HISTORY, American animals.—

I really doubt whether the
flat-horned elk exists in America. * * * I have seen the daim, the cerf, the chevreuil
of Europe. But the animal we call elk, and
which may be distinguished as the round-horned
elk, is very different from them. * * * I suspect that you will find that the moose, the
round-horned elk, and the American deer are
species not existing in Europe. The moose
is perhaps of a new class.—
To Comte de Buffon. Washington ed. ii, 286. Ford ed., iv, 458.
(P. 1787)

5670. NATURAL HISTORY, Anatomy and.—

The systems of Cuvier and Blumenbach,
and especially that of Blumenbach, are
liable to the objection of going too much into
the province of anatomy. It may be said, indeed,
that anatomy is a part of natural his
tory. In the broad sense of the word, it certainly,
is. In that sense, however, it would
comprehend all the natural sciences, every
created thing being a subject of natural history
in extenso. * * *. As soon as the
structure of any natural production is destroyed
by art, it ceases to be a subject of natural history,
and enters into the domain ascribed to
chemistry, to pharmacy, to anatomy, &c.
Linnæus's method was liable to this objection so
far as it required the aid of anatomical dissection,
as of the heart, for instance, to ascertain
the place of any animal, or of a chemical
process for that of a mineral substance. It
would certainly be better to adopt as much as
possible such exterior and visible characteristics
as every traveler is competent to observe,
to ascertain and to relate.—
To Dr. John Manners. Washington ed. vi, 321.
(M. 1814)

See Anatomy.

5671. NATURAL HISTORY, Buffon and.—

You must not presume too strongly that your comb-footed bird is known to M. de
Buffon. He did not know our panther. I gave
him the striped skin of one I bought in Philadelphia,
and it presents him a new species
which will appear in his next volume.—
To Francis Hopkinson. Washington ed. ii, 74.
(P. 1786)

5672. NATURAL HISTORY, Buffon and.—[continued].

I have convinced M. de
Buffon that our deer is not a chevreuil, and
would you believe that many letters to different
acquaintances in Virginia, where this animal
is so common, have never enabled me to present
him with a large pair of their horns, a
blue and a red skin stuffed, to show him their
colors at different seasons. He has never seen
the horns of what we call the elk. This would
decide whether it be an elk or a deer. [352]
To Francis Hopkinson. Washington ed. ii, 74.
(P. 1786)


“The venerable Buffon was indebted to Jefferson
for torrents of information concerning nature in
America, as well as for many valuable specimens.
Buffon wrote to Jefferson, `I should have consulted
you, sir, before publishing my natural history, and
then I should have been sure of my facts'.”—Parton's
Life of Jefferson.

5673. NATURAL HISTORY, Buffon and.—[further continued].

I have made a particular
acquaintance with Monsieur de Buffon, and
have a great desire to give him the best idea
I can of our elk. You could not oblige me more
than by sending me the horns, skeleton and
skin of an elk, were it possible to procure them.
* * * Everything of this kind is precious
here [France].—
To Archibald Stuart. Washington ed. i, 518. Ford ed., iv, 189.
(P. 1786)
See Buffon.

5674. NATURAL HISTORY, Costly specimens.—

You ask if you shall say anything
to Sullivan about the bill. No; only that
it is paid. I have received letters from him explaining
the matter. It was really for the
skin and bones of the moose, as I had conjectured.
It was my fault that I had not given
him a rough idea of the expense I would be
willing to incur for them. He made the acquisition
an object of a regular campaign, and
that, too, of a winter one. The troops he employed
sallied forth, as he writes me, in the
month of March—much snow—a herd attacked—one killed—in the wilderness—a road to cut
twenty miles—to be drawn by hand from the
frontiers to his house—bones to be cleaned,
&c., &c. In fine, he puts himself to an infinitude
of trouble, more than I meant. He did it
cheerfully, and I feel myself really under obligations
to him. That the tragedy might not
want a proper catastrophe, the box, bones, and
all are lost; so that this chapter of natural history
will still remain a blank. But I have


Page 608
written to him not to send me another.—
To W. S. Smith. Washington ed. ii, 284.
(P. 1787)

5675. NATURAL HISTORY, Elk and deer.—

In my conversations with the Count
de Buffon on the subjects of natural history,
I find him absolutely unacquainted with our
elk and our deer. He has hitherto believed
that our deer never had horns more than a
foot long; and has, therefore, classed them
with the roe buck which, I am sure, you know
them to be different from. * * * Will you
take the trouble to procure for me the largest
pair of buck's horns you can, and a large skin
of each color, that is to say, a red and a blue?
If it were possible to take these from a buck
just killed, to leave all the bones of the head
in the skin, with the horns on, to leave the
bones of the legs in the skin also, and the hoofs
to it, so that, having only made an incision
all along the belly and neck, to take the animal
out at, we could, by sewing up that incision,
and stuffing the skin, present the true size and
form of the animal; it would be a most precious
To A. Cary. Washington ed. i, 507.
(P. 1786)

5676. NATURAL HISTORY, Elk and deer.—[continued].

You give me hopes of being able to procure for me some of the big
bones. * * * A specimen of each of the
several species of bones now to be found, is
to me the most desirable object in natural history.
And there is no expense of package or
of safe transportation which I will not gladly
reimburse to procure them safely. Elk horns
of very extraordinary size, or anything else
uncommon, would be very acceptable.—
To James Steptoe. Washington ed. i, 323. Ford ed., iii, 62.

5677. NATURAL HISTORY, Exporting deer.—

Our deer have been often sent to
England and Scotland. Do you know (with
certainty) whether they have ever bred with
the red deer of those countries?—
To A. Cary. Washington ed. i, 508.
(P. 1786)

5678. NATURAL HISTORY, Far West.—

Any observations of your own on
the subject of the big bones or their history,
or anything else in the western country, will
come acceptably to me, because I know you
see the works of nature in the great, and not
merely in detail. Descriptions of animals,
vegetables, minerals or other curious things;
notes as to the Indians' information of the
country between the Mississippi and the waters
of the South Sea, &c., &c., will strike your mind
as worthy being communicated.—
To James Steptoe. Washington ed. i, 323. Ford ed., iii, 63.

5679. NATURAL HISTORY, French deer.—

I have examined some of the red deer
of this country [France] at the distance of
about sixty yards, and I find no other difference
between them and ours than a shade or two in
the color.—
To A. Cary. Washington ed. i, 507.
(P. 1786)

5680. NATURAL HISTORY, Grouse and pheasant.—

In the King's cabinet of Natural History, of which Monsieur de Buffon
has the superintendence, I observed that they
had neither our grouse nor our pheasant.
* * * Pray buy the male and female of
each, employ some apothecary's boy to prepare
them, and send them to me.—
To F. Hopkinson. Washington ed. i, 506.
(P. 1786)

See Birds.

5681. NATURAL HISTORY, Importing Useful Animals.—

A fellow passenger with me from Boston to England, promised to
send to you, in my name, some hares, rabbits,
pheasants, and partridges, by the return of the
ship, which was to go to Virginia, and the
captain promised to take great care of them.
My friend procured the animals, and the ship
changing her destination, he kept them in
hopes of finding some other conveyance, till
they all perished. I do not despair, however,
of finding some opportunity still of sending a
colony of useful animals.—
To A. Cary. Washington ed. i, 508.
(P. 1786)

5682. NATURAL HISTORY, Nomenclature.—

The uniting all nations under one
language in natural history had been happily
effected by Linnæus, and can scarcely be
hoped for a second time. Nothing, indeed,
is so desperate as to make all mankind agree
in giving up a language they possess, for one
which they have to learn. * * * Disciples
of Linnæus, of Blumenbach, and of Cuvier,
exclusively possessing their own nomenclatures,
can no longer communicate intelligibly with one
To Dr. John Manners. Washington ed. vi, 321.
(M. 1814)

5683. NATURAL HISTORY, Nomenclature.—[continued].

To disturb Linnæus's
system was unfortunate. The new system attempted
in botany, by Jussieu, in mineralogy,
by Haüiy, are subjects of the same regret, and
so also the no-system of Buffon, the great advocate
of individualism in opposition to classification.
He would carry us back to the days
and to the confusion of Aristotle and Pliny,
give up the improvements of twenty centuries,
and cooperate with the neologists in rendering
the science of one generation useless to the
next by perpetual changes of its language.—
To Dr. John Manners. Washington ed. vi, 322.
(M. 1814)

5684. NATURAL HISTORY, A passion.—

Natural History is my passion.—
To Harry Innes. Washington ed. iii, 217. Ford ed., v, 294.
(Pa., 1791)

5685. NATURAL HISTORY, Weevil fly.—

I do not think the natural history of the
weevil fly of Virginia has been yet sufficiently
detailed. What do you think of beginning to
turn your attention to this insect, in order to
give its history to the Philosophical Society?
It would require some Summers' observations.
* * * I long to be free for pursuits of this
kind instead of the detestable ones in which I
am now laboring without pleasure to myself,
or profit to others. In short, I long to be with
you at Monticello.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 325.
(Pa., 1791)

5686. NATURAL HISTORY, Wild sheep.—

I have never known to what family
you ascribed the Wild Sheep, or Fleecy Goat,
as Governor Lewis called it, or the Potiotrajos,
if its name must be Greek. He gave
me a skin, but I know he carried a more perfect
one, with the horns on, to Mr. Peale;
and if I recollect well those horns, they, with
the fleece, would induce one to suspect it to
be the Lama, or at least a Lamæ affinis. I
will thank you to inform me what you determine
it to be.—
To Dr. Wistar. Washington ed. v, 218.
(W. 1807)


See Majority.

5687. NATURAL RIGHTS, Abridging.—

All natural rights may be abridged or modified
in their exercise by law.—
Official Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 498. Ford ed., v, 206.

5688. NATURAL RIGHTS, Abridging.—[continued].

Laws abridging the natural
right of the citizen, should be restrained by rigorous constructions within their narrowest
To Isaac McPherson. Washington ed. vi, 176.
(M. 1813)

See Duty (Natural)


Page 609

5689. NATURAL RIGHTS, Authority over.—

Our rulers can have * * * authority
over such natural rights only as we
have submitted to them.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 400. Ford ed., iii, 263.

5690. NATURAL RIGHTS, Choice of vocation.—

Everyone has a natural right to choose that vocation in life which he thinks
most likely to give him comfortable subsistence.—
Thoughts on Lotteries. Washington ed. ix, 505. Ford ed., x, 366.
(M. Feb. 1826)

5691. NATURAL RIGHTS, Equal Rights vs.—

No man has a natural right to
commit aggression on the equal rights of
another; and this is all from which the laws
ought to restrain him.—
To F. W. Gilmer. Washington ed. vii, 3. Ford ed., x, 32.
(M. 1816)

5692. NATURAL RIGHTS, Kings and.—

These are our grievances, which we have
thus laid before his Majesty, with that freedom
of language and sentiment which becomes
a free people, claiming their rights as
derived from the laws of nature, and not
as the gift of their Chief Magistrate.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 141. Ford ed., i, 445.

5693. NATURAL RIGHTS, Moral sense and.—

Questions of natural right are
triable by their conformity with the moral
sense and reason of man.—
Opinion on French Treaties. Washington ed. vii, 618. Ford ed., vi, 225.

See Moral Sense.

5694. NATURAL RIGHTS, Restoring.—

I shall see with sincere satisfaction the
progress of those sentiments which tend to restore
to man all his natural rights.—
R. to A. Danbury Baptists. Washington ed. viii, 113.

5695. NATURAL RIGHTS, Retention of.—

The idea is quite unfounded that on entering
into society we give up any natural
To F. W. Gilmer. Washington ed. vii, 3. Ford ed., x, 32.
(M. 1816)

5696. NATURAL RIGHTS, Self-government and.—

Every man, and every body
of men on earth, possesses the right of self-government.
They receive it with their being
from the hand of nature. Individuals exercise
it by their single will; collections of men
by that of their majority; for the law of the
majority is the natural law of every society
of men. When a certain description of men
are to transact together a particular business,
the times and places of their meeting and
separating, depend on their own will; they
make a part of the natural right of self-government.
This, like all other natural rights,
may be abridged or modified in its exercise
by their own consent, or by the law of those
who depute them, if they meet in the right
of others; but as far as it is not abridged
or modified, they retain it as a natural right,
and may exercise them in what form they
please, either exclusively by themselves, or in
association with others, or by others altogether,
as they shall agree.—
Official Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 496. Ford ed., v, 205.

5797. NATURAL RIGHTS, Social duties and.—

I am convinced man has no natural
right in opposition to his social duties.—R. to A. Danbury Baptists. Washington ed. viii, 113.

See Rights.

— NATURAL SELECTION, Application to mankind.—

See Race.

5698. NATURALIZATION, Eligibility.—

All persons who, by their own oath or affirmation,
or by other testimony, shall give
satisfactory proof to any court of record in
this Colony that they propose to reside in
the same seven years, at the least, and who
shall subscribe the fundamental laws, shall be
considered as residents, and entitled to all
the rights of persons natural born.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 26.
(June. 1776)


cannot omit recommending a revisal of the
laws on the subject of naturalization. Considering
the ordinary chances of human life,
a denial of citizenship under a residence of
fourteen years is a denial to a great proportion
of those who ask it, and controls a policy
pursued from their first settlement by many
of these States, and still believed of consequence
to their prosperity. And shall we refuse
the unhappy fugitives from distress that
hospitality which the savages of the wilderness
extended to our fathers arriving in this
land? Shall oppressed humanity find no
asylum on this globe? The Constitution, indeed,
has wisely provided that, for admission
to certain offices of important trust, a residence
shall be required sufficient to develop
character and design. But might not the
general character and capabilities of a citizen
be safely communicated to every one manifesting
a bonâ fide purpose of embarking his
life and fortunes permanently with us? with
restrictions, perhaps, to guard against the
fraudulent usurpation of our flag; an abuse
which brings so much embarrassment and
loss on the genuine citizen, and so much
danger to the nation of being involved in
war, that no endeavor should be spared to
detect and suppress it.—
First Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 14. Ford ed., viii, 124.
(Dec. 1801)

See Citizens and Expatriation.

5700. NATURALIZATION, Non-recognition of.—

The decrees of the British courts
that British subjects adopted here since the
peace, and carrying on commerce from hence,
are still British subjects, and their cargoes
British property, have shaken these quasicitizens
in their condition. The French adopt
the same principle as to their cargoes when
captured. * * * Is it worth our while to
go to war to support the contrary doctrine?
The British principle is clearly against the
law of nations, but which way our interest
lies is also worthy of consideration.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., vii, 214.
(Pa., March. 1798)

5701. NATURALIZATION, Obstructing.—

He [George III.] has endeavored to
pervert the exercise of the kingly office in


Page 610
Virginia into a detestable and insupportable
tyranny * * * by endeavoring to prevent
the population of our country, and for that
purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization
of foreigners.—
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 10.
(June. 1776)

5702. NATURALIZATION, Power of.—

The Administrator [of Virginia] shall not possess the prerogative * * * of making
Proposed Va. Constitution. Ford ed., ii, 19.
(June. 1776)

5703. NATURE, Classifications.—

formed one classification on such lines of division
as struck him most favorably; Klein
adopted another; Brisson a third, and other
naturalists other designations, till Linnæus appeared.
Fortunately for science, he conceived
in the three kingdoms of nature, modes of
classification which obtained the approbation
of the learned of all nations. This system was
accordingly adopted by all, and united all in a
general language. It offered the three great
desiderata; First, of aiding the memory to retain
a knowledge of the productions of nature.
Secondly, of rallying all to the same names for
the same objects, so that they could communicate
understandingly on them. And, thirdly,
of enabling them, when a subject was first presented,
to trace it by its character up to the
conventional name by which it was agreed to
be called. This classification was indeed liable
to the imperfection of bringing into the same
group individuals which, though resembling in
the characteristics adopted by the author for
his classification, yet have strong marks of dissimilitude
in other respects. But to this objection
every mode of classification must be liable,
because the plan of creation is inscrutable
to our limited faculties. Nature has not arranged
her productions on a single and direct
line. They branch at every step, and in every
direction, and he who attempts to reduce them
into departments, is left to do it by the lines of
his own fancy. The objection of bringing together
what are disparata in nature, lies against
the classifications of Blumenbach and of Cuvier,
as well as that of Linnæus, and must forever
lie against all.—
To Dr. John Manners. Washington ed. vi, 320.
(M. 1814)

5704. NATURE, Love of.—

There is not
a sprig of grass that shoots uninteresting to
To Martha Jefferson Randolph. D. L. J.,192.
(Pa., 1790)

5705. NATURE, Units in.—

Nature has,
in truth, produced units only through all her
works. Classes, orders, genera, species, are
not of her work. Her creation is of individuals.
No two animals are exactly alike; no
two plants, nor even two leaves or blades of
grass; no two crystallizations. And if we May
venture from what is within the cognizance of
such organs as ours, to conclude on that beyond
their powers, we must believe that no two
particles of matter are of exact resemblance.
This infinitude of units or individuals being
far beyond the capacity of our memory, we are
obliged, in aid of that, to distribute them into
masses, throwing into each of these all the
individuals which have a certain degree of resemblance;
to subdivide these again into
smaller groups, according to certain points of
dissimilitude observable in them, and so on
until we have formed what we call a system of
classes, orders, genera, and species. In doing
this, we fix arbitrarily on such characteristic
resemblances and differences as seem to us
most prominent and invariable in the several
subjects, and most likely to take a strong hold
in our memories.—
To Dr. John Manners. Washington ed. vi, 319.
(M. 1814)


Under the law of nature we are all born free.—
Legal Argument. Ford ed., i, 380.

5707. NAVIES, Equalization of.—

I have read with great satisfaction your observations
on the principles for equalizing
the power of the different nations on the sea,
and think them perfectly sound. Certainly
it will be better to produce a balance on that
element, by reducing the means of its great
monopolizer [England], than by endeavoring
to raise our own to an equality with theirs.—
To Tench Coxe. Washington ed. v, 199. Ford ed., ix, 142.
(M. Sep. 1807)

See Navy.

5708. NAVIGATION, Coasting and carrying trade.—

I like your convoy bill, because
although it does not assume the maintenance
of all our maritime rights, it assumes
as much as it is our interest to maintain.
Our coasting trade is the first and most
important branch, never to be yielded but
with our existence. Next to that is the carriage
of our own productions in our own
vessels, and bringing back the returns for our
own consumption; so far I would protect it
and force every part of the Union to join
in the protection at the point of the bayonet.
But though we have a right to the remaining
branch of carrying for other nations, its
advantages do not compensate its risks.
Your bill first rallies us to the ground the
Constitution ought to have taken, and to
which we ought to return without delay;
the moment is the most favorable possible,
because the Eastern States, by declaring
they will not protect that cabotage by war,
and forcing us to abandon it, have released us
from every future claim for its protection on
that part. Your bill is excellent in another
view: It presents still one other ground to
which we can retire before we resort to war;
it says to the belligerents, rather than go to
war, we will retire from the brokerage of
other nations, and will confine ourselves to the
carriage and exchange of our own productions;
but we will vindicate that in all its
rights—if you touch it, it is war.—
To Mr. Burwell. Washington ed. v, 505.
(M. Feb. 1810)

5709. NAVIGATION, Defensive value of.—

Our navigation * * * as a resource
of defence, [is] essential, [and] will admit
neither neglect nor forbearance. The position
and circumstances of the United States
leave them nothing to fear on their landboard,
and nothing to desire beyond their
present rights. But on their seaboard, they
are open to injury, and they have there, too,
a commerce which must be protected. This
can only be done by possessing a respectable
body of citizen-seamen, and of artists and establishments
in readiness for ship-building.
* * * If we lose the seamen and artists
whom [our navigation] now occupies, we lose
the present means of marine defence, and
time will be requisite to raise up others, when


Page 611
disgrace or losses shall bring home to our
feelings the error of having abandoned them.—
Foreign Commerce Report. Washington ed. vii, 647. 8.
Ford ed., vi, 480.
(Dec. 1793)

5710. NAVIGATION, Develop.—

people are decided in the opinion that
it is necessary for us to take a share
in the occupation of the ocean, and their
established habits induce them to require
that the sea be kept open to them, and
that that line of policy be pursued which
will render the use of that element to them
as great as possible. I think it a duty in those
intrusted with the administration of their affairs
to conform themselves to the decided
choice of their constituents; and that therefore,
we should, in every instance, preserve
an equality of right to them in the transportation
of commodities, in the right of fishing
and in the other uses of the sea.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 404. Ford ed., iv, 88.
(P. 1785)

5711. NAVIGATION, Encourage.—

people have a decided taste for navigation
and commerce. They take this from their
mother country; and their servants are in
duty bound to calculate all their measures
on this datum. We wish to do it by throwing
open all the doors of commerce, and knocking
off its shackles. But as this cannot be done
for others, unless they will do it for us, and
there is no great probability that Europe will
do this, I suppose we shall be obliged to adopt
a system which may shackle them in our
ports, as they do us in theirs.—
To Count Van Hogendorp. Washington ed. i, 465. Ford ed., iv, 105.
(P. 1785)

5712. NAVIGATION, English monopoly of.—

The British say they will pocket
our carrying trade as well as their own.—
To John Page. Washington ed. i, 550. Ford ed., iv, 215.
(P. 1786)

5713. NAVIGATION, Freedom of.—

think, whatever sums we are obliged to pay
for freedom of navigation in the European
seas, should be levied on the European commerce
with us by a separate impost, that these
powers may see that they protect these
enormities [Barbary piracies] for their own
To General Greene. Washington ed. i, 509.
(P. 1786)

5714. NAVIGATION, Freedom of.—[continued].

What sentiment is written
in deeper characters on the heart of man than
that the ocean is free to all men, and their
rivers to all their inhabitants? Is there a
man, savage or civilized, unbiased by habit,
who does not feel and attest this truth? Accordingly,
in all tracts of country united under
the same political society, we find this
natural right universally acknowledged and
protected by laying the navigable rivers open
to all their inhabitants. When their rivers
enter the limits of another society, if the right
of the upper inhabitants to descend the
stream is in any case obstructed, it is an act
of force by a stronger society against a
weaker, condemned by the judgment of mankind.
The late case of Antwerp and the
Scheldt was a striking proof of a general
union of sentiment on this point; as it is believed
that Amsterdam had scarcely an advocate
out of Holland, and even there its
pretensions were advocated on the ground of
treaties, and not of natural right.—
Mississippi River Instructions. Washington ed. vii, 577. Ford ed., v, 468.
(March. 1792)

5715. NAVIGATION, French and English hostility.—

The difference of sixty-two
livres ten sols the hogshead established by
the National Assembly [of France] on tobacco
brought in their and our ships, is such
an act of hostility against our navigation,
as was not to have been expected from the
friendship of that nation. It is as new in its
nature as extravagant in its degree; since it
is unexampled that any nation has endeavored
to wrest from another the carriage
of its own produce, except in the case of their
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 274. Ford ed., v, 362.
(Pa., 1791)

5716. NAVIGATION, French and English hostility.—[continued].

I apprehend that these
two great nations [France and England] will think it their interest not to permit
us to be navigators.—
To Horatio Gates. Washington ed. iv, 213. Ford ed., vii, 205.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)

5717. NAVIGATION, French and English hostility.—[further continued].

Every appearance and
consideration render it probable that, on the
restoration of peace, both France and Britain
will consider it their interest to exclude us from
the ocean, by such peaceable means as are in
their power. Should this take place, perhaps
it may be thought just and politic to give to
our native capitalists the monopoly of our internal
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 214. Ford ed., vii, 206.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)

5718. NAVIGATION, French and English hostility.—[further continued] .

The countervailing acts
of Great Britain, now laid before Congress,
threaten, in the opinion of merchants, the
entire loss of our navigation to England. It
makes a difference, from the present state of
things, of five hundred guineas on a vessel of
three hundred and fifty tons.—
To Horatio Gates. Washington ed. iv, 213. Ford ed., vii, 205.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)

5719. NAVIGATION, French and English hostility.—[further continued].

The [British] countervailing
act * * * will, confessedly, put
American bottoms out of employ in our trade
with Great Britain.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 214. Ford ed., vii, 206.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)

5720. NAVIGATION, French and English hostility.—[further continued] .

I hope we shall rub
through the war [between France and England],
without engaging in it ourselves, and
that when in a state of peace our Legislature
and Executive will endeavor to provide
peaceable means of obliging foreign nations to
be just to us, and of making their injustice recoil
on themselves.—
To Peregrine Fitzhugh. Washington ed. iv, 216. Ford ed., vii, 209.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)

5721. NAVIGATION, Industrial value.—

Our navigation * * * as a branch of
industry * * * is valuable * * *. Its
value, as a branch of industry, is enhanced
by the dependence of so many other branches
on it. In times of general peace it multiplies


Page 612
competitors for employment in transportation,
and so keeps that at its proper level;
and in times of war, that is to say, when
those nations who may be our principal
carriers, shall be at war with each other, if
we have not within ourselves the means of
transportation, our produce must be exported
in belligerent vessels, at the increased expense
of war-freight and insurance, and the
articles which will not bear that, must perish
on our hands.—
Foreign Commerce Report. Washington ed. vii, 647. Ford ed., vi, 480.
(Dec. 1793)

5722. NAVIGATION, Jefferson's report on.—

You may recollect that a report
which I gave into Congress in 1793, and Mr.
Madison's propositions of 1794, went directly
to establish a navigation act on the British
principle. On the last vote given on this
(which was in Feb. 1794), from the three
States of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and
Rhode Island there were two votes for it,
and twenty against it; and from the three
States of Virginia, Kentucky, and North
Carolina, wherein not a single top-mast vessel
is, I believe, owned by a native citizen,
there were twenty-five votes for and four
against the measure. I very much suspect
that were the same proposition now brought
forward, the northern vote would be nearly
the same, while the southern one, I am
afraid, would be radically varied. The suggestion
of their disinterested endeavors for
placing our navigation on an independent
footing, and forcing on them the British
treaty, have not had a tendency to invite new
offers of sacrifice, and especially under the
prospect of a new rejection. You observe
that the rejection would change the politics
of New England. But it would afford no
evidence which they have not already in the
records of January and February, 1794. However,
I will * * * sound the dispositions
[of members of Congress] on that subject.
If the proposition should be likely to obtain
a reputable vote, it may do good. As to
myself, I sincerely wish that the whole Union
may accommodate their interests to each other,
and play into their hands mutually as members
of the same family, that the wealth and
strength of any one part should be viewed as
the wealth and strength of the whole.—
To Hugh Williamson. Ford ed., vii, 200.
(Pa., Feb. 1798)

5723. NAVIGATION, Madness for.—

We are running navigation mad.—
To Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 311. Ford ed., vii, 406.
(Pa., Jan. 1800)

5724. NAVIGATION, Maintain.—

maintain commerce and navigation in all
their lawful enterprises * * * [is one of] the landmarks by which we are to guide ourselves
in all our proceedings.—
Second Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 21. Ford ed., viii, 186.
(Dec. 1802)

5725. NAVIGATION, Mediterranean.—

We must consider the Mediterranean as absolutely
shut to us until we can open it with
money. Whether this will be best expended
in buying or forcing a peace is for Congress
to determine.—
To Mr. Hawkins. Washington ed. ii, 4.
(P. 1786)

5726. NAVIGATION, Nurseries of.—

We have three nurseries for forming seamen:
1. Our coasting trade, already on a
safe footing. 2. Our fisheries, which in spite
of natural advantages, give just cause of
anxiety. 3. Our carrying trade, our only resource
of indemnification for what we lose
in the other. The produce of the United
States, which is carried to foreign markets,
is extremely bulky. That part of it which
is now in the hands of foreigners, and which
we may resume into our own, without touching
the rights of those nations who have met
us in fair arrangements by treaty, or the interests
of those who, by their voluntary regulations,
have paid so just and liberal a respect
to our interests, as being measured
back to them again, places both parties on as
good ground, perhaps, as treaties could place
them—the proportion, I say, of our carrying
trade, which may be resumed without affecting
either of these descriptions of nations,
will find constant employment for ten thousand
seamen, be worth two millions of dollars,
annually, will go on augmenting with
the population of the United States, secure
to us a full indemnification for the seamen
we lose, and be taken wholly from those
who force us to this act of self-protection in
navigation. * * * If regulations exactly
the counterpart of those established against
us, would be ineffectual, from a difference of
circumstances, other regulations equivalent can
give no reasonable ground of complaint to any
nation. Admitting their right of keeping their
markets to themselves, ours cannot be denied
of keeping our carrying trade to ourselves.
And if there be anything unfriendly
in this, it was in the first example.—
Report on the Fisheries. Washington ed. vii, 553.

5727. NAVIGATION, Nurseries of.—[continued].

The loss of seamen, unnoticed,
would be followed by other losses in
a long train. If we have no seamen, our
ships will be useless, consequently our shiptimber,
iron and hemp; our shipbuilding will
be at an end, ship carpenters go over to other
nations, our young men have no call to the
sea, our produce, carried in foreign bottoms,
be saddled with war freight and insurance in
times of war; and the history of the last
hundred years shows, that the nation which
is our carrier has three years of war for
every four years of peace. We lose, during
the same periods, the carriage for belligerent
powers, which the neutrality of our flag
would render an incalculable source of profit;
we lose at this moment the carriage of our
own produce to the annual amount of two
millions of dollars, which, in the possible
progress of the encroachment, may extend to
five or six millions, the worth of the whole,
with an increase in the proportion of the increase
of our members. It is easier, as well
as better, to stop this train at its entrance,
than when it shall have ruined or banished
whole classes of useful and industrious citizens.


Page 613
It will doubtless be thought expedient that the resumption suggested should take effect
so gradually, as not to endanger the loss
of produce for the want of transportation;
but that, in order to create transportation,
the whole plan should be developed, and
made known at once, that the individuals
who may be disposed to lay themselves out
for the carrying business, may make their calculations
on a full view of all the circumstances.—
Report on the Fisheries. Washington ed. vii, 554.

5728. NAVIGATION, Protection of.—

The British attempt, without disguise, to
possess themselves of the carriage of our produce,
and to prohibit our own vessels from
participating of it. This has raised a general
indignation in America. The States see,
however, that their constitutions have provided
no means of counteracting it. They
are, therefore, beginning to invest Congress
with the absolute power of regulating their
commerce, only reserving all revenue arising
from it to the State in which it is levied.
This will consolidate our federal building
very much, and for this we shall be indebted
to the British.—
To Count Van Hogendorp. Washington ed. i, 465. Ford ed., iv, 104.
(P. 1785)

5729. NAVIGATION, Protection of.—[continued].

I think it essential to
exclude the British from the carriage of
American produce.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 41.
(P. 1785)

5730. NAVIGATION, Protection of.—[further continued].

The determination of the
British cabinet to make no equal treaty with
us, confirms me in the opinion expressed in
your letter that the United States must pass
a navigation act against Great Britain, and
load her manufactures with duties so as to
give a preference to those of other countries;
and I hope our Assemblies will wait no
longer, but transfer such a power to Congress,
at the sessions of this fall.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 486.
(P. 1785)

5731. NAVIGATION, Protection of.—[further continued] .

I hope we shall show
[the British] we have sense and spirit enough
* * * to exclude them from any share in
the carriage of our commodities.—
To David Humphreys. Washington ed. i, 560.
(P. 1786)

5732. NAVIGATION, Protection of.—[further continued].

A bill which may be
called the true navigation act for the United
States, is before Congress, and will probably
pass. I hope it will lay the foundation of a
due share of navigation for us.—
To John Coffin Jones. Washington ed. iii, 155.
(N.Y., 1790)

5733. NAVIGATION, Protection of.—[further continued] .

I participate fully of
your indignation at the trammels imposed on
our commerce with Great Britain. Some attempts
have been made in Congress, and
others are still making to meet their restrictions
by effectual restrictions on our part.
It was proposed to double the foreign tonnage
for a certain time, and after that to
prohibit the exportation of our commodities
in the vessels of nations not in treaty with
us. This has been rejected. It is now proposed
to prohibit any nation from bringing or
carrying in their vessels what may not be
brought or carried in ours from or to the
same ports; also to prohibit those from
bringing to us anything not of their own produce,
who prohibit us from carrying to them
anything but our own produce. It is thought,
however, that this cannot be carried. The
fear is that it would irritate Great Britain
were we to feel any irritation ourselves.—
To Edward Rutledge. Washington ed. iii, 164. Ford ed., v, 196.
(N.Y., 1790)

5734. NAVIGATION, Protection of.—[further continued].

Were the ocean, which
is the common property of all, open to the
industry of all, so that every person and vessel
should be free to take employment whereever
it could be found, the United States
would certainly not set the example of appropriating
to themselves, exclusively, any
portion of the common stock of occupation.
They would rely on the enterprise and activity
of their citizens for a due participation
of the benefits of the seafaring business,
and for keeping the marine class of citizens
equal to their object. But if particular nations
grasp at undue shares, and, more especially,
if they seize on the means of the
United States, to convert them into aliment
for their own strength, and withdraw them
entirely from the support of those to whom
they belong, defensive and protecting measures
become necessary on the part of the nation
whose marine resources are thus invaded;
or it will be disarmed of its defence;
its productions will lie at the mercy of the
nation which has possessed itself exclusively
of the means of carrying them, and its politics
may be influenced by those who command
its commerce. The carriage of our
own commodities, if once established in another
channel, cannot be resumed in the moment
we may desire. If we lose the seamen
and artists whom it now occupies, we lose the
present means of marine defence, and time will
be requisite to raise up others, when disgrace or
losses shall bring home to our feelings the
error of having abandoned them. The materials
for maintaining our due share of navigation,
are ours in abundance. And, as to the mode
of using them, we have only to adopt the
principles of those who put us on the defensive,
or others equivalent and better fitted
to our circumstances.—
Foreign Commerce Report. Washington ed. vii, 647. Ford ed., vi, 481.
(Dec. 1793)

5735. NAVIGATION, Protection of.—[further continued] .

I have ever wished that
all nations would adopt a navigation law
against those who have one, which perhaps
would be better than against all indiscriminately,
and while in France I proposed it
To Tench Coxe. Washington ed. v, 199. Ford ed., ix, 142.
(M. 1807)

5736. NAVIGATION, Protection of.—[further continued]..

Among the laws of the
late Congress, some were of note; a navigation
act, particularly, applicable to those nations
only who have navigation acts; pinching
one of them especially, not only in the general
way, but in the intercourse with her foreign
possessions. This part may react on us, and
it remains for trial which may bear longest.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. vii, 78. Ford ed., x, 90.
(M. 1817)


Page 614

5737. NAVIGATION, Protuberant.—

trust the good sense of our country will see
that its greatest prosperity depends on a due
balance between agriculture, manufactures and
commerce, and not in this protuberant navigation
which has kept us in hot water from
the commencement of our government, and is
now engaging us in war.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. v, 417. Ford ed., ix, 239.
(W. 1809)

5738. NAVIGATION, Reciprocity and.—

The following principles, being founded in reciprocity, appear perfectly just, and to offer
no cause of complaint to any nation:
Where a nation refuses to receive in our
vessels any productions but our own, we May
refuse to receive, in theirs, any but their own
productions. Where a nation refuses to consider
any vessel as ours which has not been
built within our territories, we should refuse
to consider as theirs, any vessel not built
within their territories. Where a nation refuses
to our vessels the carriage even of our
own productions, to certain countries under
their domination, we might refuse to theirs of
every description, the carriage of the same
productions to the same countries. But as
justice and good neighborhood would dictate
that those who have no part in imposing
the restriction on us, should not be the victims
of measures adopted to defeat its effect,
it may be proper to confine the restriction
to vessels owned or navigated by any
subjects of the same dominant power, other
than the inhabitants of the country to which
the said productions are to be carried. And
to prevent all inconvenience to the said inhabitants,
and to our own, by too sudden a
check on the means of transportation, we
may continue to admit the vessels marked
for future exclusion, on an advanced tonnage,
and for such length of time only, as
may be supposed necessary to provide against
that inconvenience. The establishment of
some of these principles by Great Britain,
alone, has already lost us in our commerce
with that country and its possessions, between
eight and nine hundred vessels of near
40,000 tons burden, according to statements
from official materials, in which they have
confidence. This involves a proportional loss
of seamen, shipwrights, and ship-building,
and is too serious a loss to admit forbearance
of some effectual remedy.—
Report on Commerce and Navigation. Washington ed. vii, 648. Ford ed., vi, 481.
(Dec. 1793)

5739. NAVIGATION, Reduction of British.—

It has been proposed in Congress to pass a navigation act which will deeply
strike at that of Great Britain. * * * Would it not be worth while to have the
bill now enclosed, translated, printed and circulated
among the members of the [French] National Assembly? If you think so, have
it done at the public expense, with any little
comment you may think necessary, concealing
the quarter from whence it is distributed;
or take any other method you think better,
to see whether that Assembly will not pass
a similar act? I shall send copies of it to
Mr. Carmichael, at Madrid, and to Colonel
Humphreys, appointed resident at Lisbon,
with a desire for them to suggest similar acts
there. The measure is just, perfectly innocent
as to all other nations, and will effectually
defeat the navigation act of Great Britain,
and reduce her power on the ocean
within safer limits.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 225.
(Pa., 1791)

5740. NAVIGATION, Reduction of British.—[continued].

The navigation act, if
it can be effected, will form a remarkable
and memorable epoch in the history and freedom
of the ocean. Mr. Short will press it
at Paris, and Colonel Humphreys at Lisbon.—
To William Carmichael. Washington ed. iii, 245.
(Pa., 17911791)gt;

5741. NAVIGATION, Reduction of British.—[further continued].

The Navigation Act proposed
in the late Congress, but which lies
over to the next, * * * is perfectly innocent
as to other nations, is strictly just as to
the English, cannot be parried by them, and
if adopted by other nations would inevitably
defeat their navigation act, and reduce their
power on the sea within safer limits. It is
indeed extremely to be desired that other
nations would adopt it. * * * Could
France, Spain and Portugal agree to concur
in such a measure, it would soon be fatally
felt by the navy of England.—
To David Humphreys. Ford ed., v, 302.
(Pa., March. 1791)

5742. NAVIGATION, Retaliatory duties.—

Where a nation refuses to our vessels
the carriage even of our own productions, to
certain countries under their domination,
we might refuse to theirs of every description,
the carriage of the same productions to
the same countries. But as justice and good
neighborhood would dictate that those who
have no part in imposing the restriction on
us, should not be the victims of measures
adopted to defeat its effect, it may be proper
to confine the restriction to vessels owned
or navigated by any subjects of the same
dominant power, other than the inhabitants
of the country to which the said productions
are to be carried. And to prevent all inconvenience
to the said inhabitants, and to our
own, by too sudden a check on the means of
transportation, we may continue to admit the
vessels marked for future exclusion, on an
advanced tonnage, and for such length of
time only, as may be supposed necessary to
provide against that inconvenience.—
Foreign Commerce Report. Washington ed. vii, 649. Ford ed., vi, 482.
(Dec. 1793)

— NAVIGATION, Subsidies.—

See Bounties.

5743. NAVIGATION, Sufficient.—

It is
essentially interesting to us to have shipping
and seamen enough to carry our surplus produce
to market; but beyond that I do not
think we are bound to give it encouragement
by drawbacks or other premiums.—
To Benjamin Stoddert. Washington ed. v, 426. Ford ed., ix, 245.
(W. 1809)

See Commerce, Duties, Embargo, Free Trade, Protection and Ships.


Page 615

5744. NAVY, Bravery of.—

Our public
ships have done wonders. They have saved
our military reputation sacrificed on the
shores of Canada.—
To General Bailey. Washington ed. vi, 101.
(M. Feb. 1813)

5745. NAVY, Bravery of.—[continued].

No one has been more
gratified than myself by the brilliant achievements
of our little navy. They have deeply
wounded the pride of our enemy, and been
balm to ours, humiliated on the land where
our real strength was felt to lie.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. vi, 112. Ford ed., ix, 383.
(M. May. 1813)

5746. NAVY, Bravery of.—[further continued].

I sincerely congratulate
you on the successes of our little navy; which
must be more gratifying to you than to most
men, as having been the early and constant
advocate of wooden walls. If I have differed
with you on this ground, it was not on the
principle, but the time; supposing that we
cannot build or maintain a navy, which will
not immediately fall into the gulf which has
swallowed not only the minor navies, but
even those of the great second-rate powers
of the sea. Whenever these can be resuscitated,
and brought so near to a balance with
England that we can turn the scale, then is
my epoch for aiming at a navy. In the meantime,
one competent to keep the Barbary
States in order, is necessary; these being the
only smaller powers disposed to quarrel with
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 122.
(M. May. 1813)

5747. NAVY, Bravery of.—[further continued] .

At sea we have rescued
our character; but the chief fruit of our victories
there is to prove to those who have
fleets, that the English are not invincible at
sea, as Alexander has proved that Bonaparte
is not invincible by land.—
To Samuel Brown. Washington ed. vi, 165.
(M. July. 1813)

5748. NAVY, Bravery of.—[further continued].

I congratulate you on
the brilliant affair of the Enterprise and
Boxer. No heart is more rejoiced than mine
at these mortifications of English pride, and
lessons to Europe that the English are not
invincible at sea. If these successes do not
lead us too far into the navy mania, all will
be well.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. vi, 211.
(M. Sep. 1813)

5749. NAVY, Bravery of.—[further continued] .

Strange reverse of expectations
that our land force should be under
the wing of our little navy.—
To William Duane. Washington ed. vi, 212.
(M. Sep. 1813)

5750. NAVY, Bravery of.—[further continued].

On the water we have
proved to the world the error of British invincibility,
and shown that with equal force
and well-trained officers, they can be beaten
by other nations as brave as themselves.—
To Don V. Toronda Coruna. Washington ed. vi, 275.
(M. Dec. 1813)

5751. NAVY, Bravery of.—[further continued] .

I * * * congratulate
you on the destruction of a second hostile
fleet on the Lakes by Macdonough.
While our enemies cannot but feel shame for
their barbarous achievements at Washington
[burning of Capitol], they will be stung to
the soul by these repeated victories over
them on that element on which they wish
the world to think them invincible. We have
dissipated that error. They must now feel a
conviction themselves that we can beat them
gun to gun, ship to ship, and fleet to fleet,
and that their early successes on the land
have been either purchased from traitors, or
obtained from raw men entrusted of necessity
with commands for which no experience had
qualified them, and that every day is adding
that experience to unquestioned bravery.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. vi, 386.
(M. Sep. 1814)

See Capitol.

5752. NAVY, Bravery of.—[further continued]..

Frigates and seventy-fours
are a sacrifice we must make, heavy as
it is, to the prejudices of a part of our citizens.
They have, indeed, rendered a great
moral service, which has delighted me as
much as any one in the United States. But
they have had no physical effect sensible to
the enemy; and now, while we must fortify
them in our harbors, and keep armies to defend
them, our privateers are bearding and
blockading the enemy in their own seaports.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 409. Ford ed., ix, 498.
(M. Jan. 1815)

5753. NAVY, Bravery of.—[further continued] .

Through the whole
period of the war, we have beaten them [the
British] single-handed at sea, and so thoroughly
established our superiority over them
with equal force, that they retire from that
kind of contest, and never suffer their
frigates to cruise singly. The Endymion
would never have engaged the frigate President,
but knowing herself blocked by three
frigates and a razee, who, though somewhat
slower sailers, would get up before she could
be taken.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. vi, 424. Ford ed., ix, 508.
(M. 1815)

5754. NAVY, Build a.—

We ought to begin
a naval power, if we mean to carry on
our own commerce.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 10.
(P. Nov. 1784)

5755. NAVY, Build a.—[continued].

Tribute or war is the
usual alternative of these [Barbary] pirates.
* * * Why not begin a navy then and decide
on war? We cannot begin in a better
cause nor against a weaker foe.—
To Horatio Gates. Ford ed., iv, 24.
(P. Dec. 1784)

5756. NAVY, Build a.—[further continued].

It is proper and necessary
that we should establish a small marine
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 592.
(P. 1786)

— NAVY, Censure of officers.—

See Porter.

— NAVY, Chesapeake.—

See Chesapeake.

5757. NAVY, Coercion by a.—

[A naval force] 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.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 592.
(P. 1786)

5758. NAVY, Coercion by a.—[continued].

Every rational citizen
must wish to see an effective instrument of


Page 616
coercion, and should fear to see it on any
other element than the water.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 606. Ford ed., iv, 265.
(P. 1786)

5759. NAVY, Dockyards for.—

it will be deemed expedient to expend annually
a sum towards providing the naval defence
which our situation may require, I cannot
but recommend that the first appropriations
for that purpose may go to the saving what
we already possess. No cares, no attentions,
can preserve vessels from rapid decay which
lie in water and exposed to the sun. These
decays require great and constant repairs, and
will consume, if continued, a great portion of
the money destined to naval purposes. To
avoid this waste of our resources, it is proposed
to add to our navy yard here [Washington] a dock, within which our vessels may be
laid up dry and under cover from the sun.
Under these circumstances experience proves
that works of wood will remain scarcely at all
affected by time. The great abundance of running
water which this situation possesses, at
heights far above the level of the tide, if employed
as is practiced for lock navigation,
furnishes the means of raising and laying up
our vessels on a dry and sheltered bed.—
Second Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 20. Ford ed., viii, 186.
(Dec. 1802)

5760. NAVY, Dockyards for.—[continued].

The proposition for building
lock-docks for the preservation of our navy,
has local rivalries to contend against. Till
these can be overruled or compromised, the
measure can never be adopted. Yet there
ought never to be another ship built until we
can provide some method of preserving them
through the long intervals of peace which I
hope are to be the lot of our country.—
To Mr. Coxe. Washington ed. v, 58.
(W. 1807)

5761. NAVY, Dockyards for.—[further continued].

While I was at Washington,
in the administration of the government,
Congress was much divided in opinion
on the subject of a navy, a part of them wishing
to go extensively into the preparation of a
fleet, another part opposed to it, on the objection
that the repairs and preservation of a ship,
even idle in harbor, in ten or twelve years,
amount to her original cost. It has been estimated
in England, that if they could be sure
of peace a dozen years it would be cheaper for
them to burn their fleet, and build a new one
when wanting, than to keep the old one in
repair during that term. I learnt that, in
Venice, there were then ships, lying on their
original stocks, ready for launching at any
moment, which had been so for eighty years,
and were still in a state of perfect preservation;
and that this was effected by disposing
of them in docks pumped dry, and kept so by
constant pumping. It occurred to me that
this expense of constant pumping might be
saved by combining a lock with the common
wet dock, wherever there was a running stream
of water, the bed of which, within a reasonable
distance, was of sufficient height above the
high-water level of the harbor. This was the
case at the navy yard, on the Eastern Branch
at Washington, the high-water line of which
was seventy-eight feet lower than the ground
on which the Capitol stands, and to which it
was found that the water of the Tiber Creek
could be brought for watering the city. My
proposition then was as follows: Let a b be
the high-water level of the harbor, and the vessel
to be laid up draw eighteen feet of water.
Make a chamber A twenty feet deep below
high-water and twenty feet high above it as
c d e f, and at the upper end make another
chamber, B,
the bottom of which should be in the high-water
level, and the tops twenty feet above
that. g h is the water of the Tiber. When
the vessel is to be introduced, open the gate at
c b a. The tide water rises in the chamber A
to the level b i, and floats the vessel in with it.
Shut the gate c b d and open that of f i. The
water of the Tiber fills both chambers to the
level c f g, and the vessel floats into the chamber
B; then opening both gates c b d and f i, the water flows out, and the vessel settles down
on the stays previously prepared at the bottom
i h to receive her. The gate at g h must
of course be closed, and the water of the
feeding stream be diverted elsewhere. The
chamber B is to have a roof over it of the construction
of that over the meal market at Paris,
except that that is hemispherical, this semi-cylindrical.
For this construction see Delenne's
Architecture, whose invention it was.
The diameter of the dome of the meal market
is considerably over one hundred feet. It will
be seen at once that instead of making the
chamber B of sufficient width and length for a
single vessel only, it may be widened to whatever
span the semi-circular framing of the
roof can be trusted, and to whatever length
you please, so as to admit two or more vessels
in breadth, and as many in length as the localities
render expedient. I had a model of
this lock-dock made and exhibited in the President's
house during the session of Congress at
which it was proposed. But the advocates for
a navy did not fancy it, and those opposed to
the building of ships altogether, were equally
indisposed to provide protection for them.
Ridicule was also resorted to, the ordinary
substitute for reason, when that fails, and
the proposition was passed over. I then
thought and still think the measure wise, to
have a proper number of vessels always ready
to be launched, with nothing unfinished about
them except the planting their masts, which
must of necessity be omitted, to be brought
under a roof. Having no view in this proposition
but to combine for the public a provision
for defence, with economy in its preservation,
I have thought no more of it since. And if
any of my ideas anticipated yours, you are welcome
to appropriate them to yourself, without
objection on my part.—
To Lewis M. Wiss. Washington ed. vii, 419.
(M. 1825)

5762. NAVY, Early history of.—

I have
racked my memory and ransacked my papers,
to enable myself to answer the inquiries of
your favor of Oct. the 15th; but to little purpose.
My papers furnish me nothing, my
memory, generalities only. I know that while
I was in Europe, and anxious about the fate of
our sea-faring men, for some of whom, then in
captivity in Algiers, we were treating, and all
were in like danger, I formed, undoubtingly,
the opinion that our government, as soon as
practicable, should provide a naval force sufficient
to keep the Barbary States in order; and
on this subject we communicated together, as
you observe. When I returned to the United
States and took part in the administration
under General Washington, I constantly main


Page 617
tained that opinion; and in December, 1790,
took advantage of a reference to me from the
first Congress which met after I was in office,
to report in favor of a force sufficient for the
protection of our Mediterranean commerce;
and I laid before them an accurate statement
of the whole Barbary force, public and private.
I think General Washington approved of building
vessels of war to that extent. General
Knox, I know, did. But what was Colonel
Hamilton's opinion, I do not in the least remember.
Your recollections on that subject
are certainly corroborated by his known anxieties
for a close connection with Great Britain,
to which he might apprehend danger from collisions
between their vessels and ours. Randolph
was then Attorney-General; but his
opinion on the question I also entirely forget.
Some vessels of war were accordingly built and
sent into the Mediterranean. The additions to
these in your time, I need not note to you, who
are well known to have ever been an advocate
for the wooden walls of Themistocles. Some
of those you added, were sold under an act
of Congress passed while you were in office.
I thought, afterwards, that the public safety
might require some additional vessels of
strength, to be prepared and in readiness for the
first moment of a war, provided they could be
preserved against the decay which is unavoidable
if kept in the water, and clear of the expense
of officers and men. With this view I
proposed that they should be built in dry docks,
above the level of the tide waters, and covered
with roofs. I further advised that places for
these docks should be selected where there was
a command of water on a high level, as that
of the Tiber at Washington, by which the vessels
might be floated out, on the principle of a
lock. But the majority of the Legislature was
against any addition to the Navy, and the
minority, although for it in judgment, voted
against it on a principle of opposition. We
are now, I understand, building vessels to remain
on the stocks, under shelter, until wanted,
when they will be launched and finished. On
my plan they could be in service at an hour's
notice. On this, the finishing, after launching,
will be a work of time. This is all I recollect
about the origin and progress of our navy. That
of the late war, certainly raised our rank and
character among nations. Yet a navy is a very
expensive engine. It is admitted, that in ten or
twelve years a vessel goes to entire decay; or,
if kept in repair, costs as much as would build
a new one: and that a nation who could count
on twelve or fifteen years of peace, would gain
by burning its navy and building a new one in
time. Its extent, therefore, must be governed
by circumstances. Since my proposition for a
force adequate to the piracies of the Mediterranean,
a similar necessity has arisen in our own
seas for considerable addition to that force.
Indeed, I wish we could have a convention
with the naval powers of Europe, for them to
keep down the pirates of the Mediterranean,
and the slave ships on the coast of Africa, and
for us to perform the same duties for the society
of nations in our seas. In this way, those
collisions would be avoided between the vessels
of war of different nations, which beget wars
and constitute the weightiest objection to navies.
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 264. Ford ed., x, 238.
(M. 1822)


Mr. Adams in the letter to which the quotation is
a reply said that he “always believed the navy to
be Jefferson's child”.—Editor.

— NAVY, Equalization of sea-power.—

See Navies.

5763. NAVY, Europe and.—

A maritime
force is the only one by which we can act
on Europe.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 536. Ford ed., v, 58.
(P. 1788)

5764. NAVY, Expansion and.—

should ever be accepted which would require
a navy to defend it.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 445.
(M. April. 1809)

5765. NAVY, Future of.—

Paul Jones is
young enough to see the day * * * when
we shall be able to fight the British ship to
To E. Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 405. Ford ed., v, 22.
(P. 1788)

5766. NAVY, Gunboats.—

The obstacle
to naval enterprise which vessels of this construction
offer for our seaport towns; their
utility toward supporting within our waters the
authority of the laws; the promptness with
which they will be manned by the seamen and
militia of the place the moment they are wanted;
the facility of their assembling from different
parts of the coast to any point where they
are required in greater force than ordinary;
the economy of their maintenance and preservation
from decay when not in actual service; and
the competence of our finances to this defensive
provision, without any new burden, are considerations
which will have due weight with Congress
in deciding on the expediency of adding
to their number from year to year, as experience
shall test their ability, until all our important
harbors, by these and auxiliary means, shall be
ensured against insult and opposition to the
Fourth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 38. Ford ed., viii, 331.
(Nov. 1804)

5767. NAVY, Gunboats.—[continued].

The efficacy of gunboats
for the defence of harbors, and of other
smooth and enclosed waters, may be estimated
in part from that of galleys, formerly much
used, but less powerful, more costly in their
construction and maintenance, and requiring
more men. But the gunboat itself is believed
to be in use with every modern maritime nation
for the purpose of defence. In the Mediterranean,
on which are several small powers,
whose system like ours is peace and defence,
few harbors are without this article of protection.
Our own experience there of the effect
of gunboats for harbor service is recent. Algiers
is particularly known to have owed to a
great provision of these vessels the safety of its
city, since the epoch of their construction. Before
that it had been repeatedly insulted and injured.
The effect of gunboats at present in the
neighborhood of Gibraltar, is well known, and
how much they were used both in the attack
and defence of that place during a former war.
The extensive resort to them by the two greatest
naval powers in the world, on an enterprise of
invasion not long since in prospect, shows their
confidence in their efficacy for the purpose for
which they are suited. By the northern powers
of Europe, whose seas are particularly adapted
to them, they are still more used. The remarkable
action between the Russian flotilla of gunboats
and galleys, and a Turkish fleet of ships-of-the-line
and frigates in the Liman Sea, 1788,
will be readily recollected. The latter, commanded
by their most celebrated admiral, were
completely defeated, and several of their ships-of-the-line
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 80. Ford ed., ix, 24.
(Feb. 1807)

5768. NAVY, Gunboats.—[further continued].

Of these boats a proper
proportion would be of the larger size, such as
those heretofore built, capable of navigating any
seas, and of reinforcing occasionally the


Page 618
strength of even the most distant port when
menaced with danger. The residue would be
confined to their own or the neighboring harbors,
would be smaller, less furnished for accommodation,
and consequently less costly. Of
the number supposed necessary, seventy-three
are built or building, and the hundred and
twenty-seven still to be provided, would cost
from five to six hundred thousand dollars.
* * * At times when Europe as well as the
United States shall be at peace, it would not be
proposed that more than six or eight of these
vessels should be kept afloat. When Europe is
in war, treble that number might be necessary
to be distributed among those particular harbors
which foreign vessels of war are in the habit of
frequenting, for the purpose of preserving order
therein. But they would be manned, in ordinary,
with only their complement for navigation,
relying on the seamen and militia of the port
if called into action on sudden emergency. It
would be only when the United States should
themselves be at war, that the whole number
would be brought into actual service, and would
be ready in the first moments of the war to cooperate
with other means for covering at once
the line of our seaports. At all times, those
unemployed would be withdrawn into places
not exposed to sudden enterprise, hauled up
under sheds from the sun and weather, and kept
in preservation with little expense for repairs
or maintenance. It must be superfluous to observe,
that this species of naval armament is
proposed merely for defensive operation; that it
can have but little effect toward protecting our
commerce in the open seas even on our coast;
and still less can it become an excitement to
engage in offensive maritime war, toward which
it would furnish no means.—
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 81. Ford ed., ix, 26.
(Feb. 1807)

5769. NAVY, Gunboats.—[further continued] .

I believe that gunboats
are the only water defence which can be useful
to us, and protect us from the ruinous folly
of a navy.—
To Thomas Paine. Washington ed. v, 189. Ford ed., ix, 137.
(M. Sep. 1807)

See Gunboats.

5770. NAVY, Increase of.—

The building
some ships of the line instead of our most indifferent
frigates is not to be lost sight of.
That we should have a squadron properly
composed to prevent the blockading our ports
is indispensable. The Atlantic frontier from
numbers, wealth, and exposure to potent
enemies, have a proportionate right to be defended
with the Western frontier, for whom
we keep up 3,000 men. Bringing forward the
measure, therefore, in a moderate form, placing
it on the ground of comparative right,
our nation which is a just one, will come
into it, notwithstanding the repugnance of
some on the subject being first presented.—
To Jacob Crowninshield. Ford ed., viii, 453.
(M. May. 1806)

5771. NAVY, Liberty and a.—

A naval
force can never endanger our liberties, nor
occasion bloodshed; a land force would do
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 606. Ford ed., iv, 265.
(P. 1786)

5772. NAVY, Liberty and a.—[continued].

A public force on that
element [the ocean] * * * can never be
To Colonel Humphreys. Washington ed. ii, 10.
(P. 1786)

5773. NAVY, Liberty and a.—[further continued].

It is on the sea alone
[that] we should think of ever having a force.—
To E. Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 405. Ford ed., v, 22.
(P. 1788)

5774. NAVY, Madness for.—

We are
running navigation mad, and commerce mad,
and navy mad, which is worst of all.—
To Joseph Priestley. Washington ed. iv, 311. Ford ed., vii, 406.
(Pa., Jan. 1800)

5775. NAVY, Mediterranean pirates and.—

The promptitude and energy of Commodore
Preble, the efficacious cooperation of
Captains Rodgers and Campbell of the returning
squadron, the proper decision of
Captain Bainbridge that a vessel which had
committed an open hostility was of right to
be detained for inquiry and consideration,
and the general zeal of the other officers and
men, are honorable facts which I make
known with pleasure. And to these I add
what was indeed transacted in another quarter—the gallant enterprise of Captain Rodgers
in destroying, on the coast of Tripoli,
a corvette of that power, of twenty-two
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 32.
(Dec. 1803)

5776. NAVY, Mediterranean pirates and.—[continued].

Reflecting with high
satisfaction on the distinguished bravery displayed
whenever occasion permitted in the
late Mediterranean service, I think it would
be an useful encouragement to make an opening
for some present promotion, by enlarging
our peace establishment of captains and
Fifth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 50. Ford ed., viii, 393.

5777. NAVY, Midshipmen.—

The places
of midshipman are so much sought that ( being
limited) there is never a vacancy. Your
son shall be set down for the second which
shall happen; the first being anticipated. We
are not long generally without vacancies
happening. As soon as he can be appointed,
you shall know it.—
To Thomas Cooper. Washington ed. iv, 453. Ford ed., viii, 178.
(W. 1802)

5778. NAVY, Militia and.—

For the purpose
of manning the gunboats in sudden attacks
on our harbors, it is a matter for consideration,
whether the seamen of the United
States may not justly be formed into a
special militia, to be called on for tours of
duty in defence of the harbors where they
shall happen to be; the ordinary militia
furnishing that portion which may consist of
Seventh Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 86. Ford ed., ix, 161.
(Oct. 1807)
See Militia.

5779. NAVY, National respect and.—

Were we possessed even of a small naval
force what a bridle would it be in the mouths
of the West Indian powers, and how respectfully
would they demean themselves towards
us. Be assured that the present disrespect
of the nations of Europe for us will
inevitably bring on insults which must involve
us in war.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 34.
(P. 1785)

5780. NAVY, Navigation and.—

navigation] will require a protecting force
on the sea. Otherwise the smallest power
in Europe, every one which possesses a single
ship of the line, may dictate to us, and enforce
their demands by captures on our com


Page 619
merce. Some naval force then is necessary
if we mean to be commercial. Can we have a
better occasion of beginning one? or find a
foe [354] more certainly within our dimensions?
The motives pleading for war rather than
tribute are numerous and honorable, those
opposing them are mean and short-sighted.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 32.
(P. 1785)


The Barbary powers.—Editor.

5781. NAVY, Navigation and.—[continued].

A naval force alone can
countenance our people as carriers on the
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 405. Ford ed., iv, 90.
(P. 1785)

See Navigation.

5782. NAVY, Necessary.—

A land army
would be useless for offence, and not the best
nor safest instrument of defence. For either
of the sea purposes, the sea is the field on
which we should meet an European enemy.
On that element we should possess some
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 413. Ford ed., iii, 279.

5783. NAVY, Necessary.—[continued].

A small naval force is
sufficient for us, and a small one is necessary.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 414. Ford ed., iii, 280.

5784. NAVY, Necessary.—[further continued].

The justest dispositions
possible in ourselves, will not secure us
against war. It would be necessary that all
other nations were just also. Justice indeed,
on our part, will save us from those wars
which would have been produced by a contrary
disposition. But how can we prevent
those produced by the wrongs of other nations?
By putting ourselves in a condition
to punish them. Weakness provokes insult
and injury, while a condition to punish, often
prevents them. This reasoning leads to the
necessity of some naval force; that being the
only weapon by which we can reach an
enemy. I think it to our interest to punish
the first insult; because an insult unpunished
is the parent of many others. We are not, at
this moment, in a condition to do it, but we
should put ourselves into it, as soon as possible.
If a war with England should take
place, it seems to me that the first thing necessary
would be a resolution to abandon the
carrying trade, because we cannot protect it.
Foreign nations must, in that case, be invited
to bring us what we want, and to take our
productions in their own bottoms. This
alone could prevent the loss of those productions
to us, and the acquisition of them to
our enemy. Our seamen might be employed
in depredations on their trade. But how
dreadfully we shall suffer on our coasts, if
we have no force on the water, former experience
has taught us. Indeed, I look forward
with horror to the very possible case
of war with an European power, and think
there is no protection against them, but from
the possession of some force on the sea.
Our vicinity to their West India possessions,
and to the fisheries, is a bridle which a small
naval force, on our part, would hold in the
mouths of the most powerful of these countries.
I hope our land office will rid us of
our debts, and that our first attention then,
will be to the beginning a naval force of some
sort. This alone can countenance our people
as carriers on the water, and I suppose them
to be determined to continue such.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. i, 404. Ford ed., iv, 89.
(P. 1785)

5785. NAVY, Necessary.—[further continued] .

A little navy [is] the
only kind of force we ought to possess.—
To Richard Henry Lee. Ford ed., iv, 70.
(P. July. 1785)

5786. NAVY, Peace establishment.—

The law providing for a naval peace establishment
fixes the number of frigates which
shall be kept in constant service in time of
peace, and prescribes that they shall be
manned by not more than two-thirds of their
complement of seamen and ordinary seamen.
Whether a frigate may be trusted to two-thirds
only of her proper complement of men
must depend on the nature of the service on
which she is ordered. She may sometimes,
for her safety, so as to ensure her object,
require her fullest complement. * * * Congress will perhaps consider whether the
best limitation on the Executive discretion
* * * would not be by the number of seamen
which may be employed in the whole service,
rather than the number of vessels.—
Fifth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 51. Ford ed., viii, 393.
(Dec. 1805)

5787. NAVY, Reduction.—

The navy will
be reduced to the legal establishment by the
last of this month.—
To Nathaniel Macon. Washington ed. iv, 397.
(W. May. 1801)

5788. NAVY, Reduction.—[continued].

The session of the first
Congress, convened since republicanism has
recovered its ascendency, * * * will pretty
completely fulfil all the desires of the people.
They have reduced the * * * navy
to what is barely necessary.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. iv, 430.
(W. April. 1802)

5789. NAVY, Secretary of.—

I believe I
shall have to advertise for a Secretary of the
Navy. General Smith is performing the duties
gratis, as he refuses both commission and salary,
even his expenses, lest it should affect his
seat in the House of Representatives.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Ford ed., viii, 49.
(W. May. 1801)

See Lear.

5790. NAVY, Size of.—

The actual habits
of our countrymen attach them to commerce.
They will exercise it for themselves. Wars,
then, must sometimes be our lot; and all the
wise can do, will be to avoid that half of
them which would be produced by our own
follies and our own acts of injustice; and to
make for the other half the best preparations
we can. Of what nature should these be?
A land army would be useless for offence,
and not the best nor safest instrument
of defence. For either of these purposes,
the sea is the field on which we should meet
an European enemy. On that element it is
necessary we should possess some power. To
aim at such a navy as the greater nations of
Europe possess, would be a foolish and
wicked waste of the energies of our countrymen.
It would be to pull on our own heads


Page 620
that load of military expense which makes
the European laborer go supperless to bed,
and moistens his bread with the sweat of his
brows. It will be enough if we enable ourselves
to prevent insults from those nations
of Europe which are weak on the sea, because
circumstances exist, which render even the
stronger ones weak as to us. Providence
has placed their richest and most defenceless
possessions at our door; has obliged their
most precious commerce to pass, as it were,
in review before us. To protect this, or to
assail, a small part only of their naval force
will ever be risked across the Atlantic. The
dangers to which the elements expose them
here are too well known, and the greater
dangers to which they would be exposed at
home were any general calamity to involve
their whole fleet. They can attack us by detachment
only; and it will suffice to make
ourselves equal to what they may detach.
Even a smaller force than they may detach
will be rendered equal or superior by the
quickness with which any check may be repaired
with us, while losses with them will be
irreparable till too late. A small naval force,
then, is sufficient for us, and a small one is
necessary. * * * It should by no means
be so great as we are able to make it.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 413. Ford ed., iii, 279.

5791. NAVY, Size of.—[continued].

I am for such a naval
force only as may protect our coasts and
harbors from such depredations as we have
experienced; * * * not for a navy, which
by its own expenses and the eternal wars in
which it will implicate us, will grind us with
public burthens, and sink us under them.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 268. Ford ed., vii, 328.
(Pa., 1799)

5792. NAVY, Size of.—[further continued].

With respect to the extent
to which our naval preparations should
be carried, some difference of opinion may be
expected to appear; but just attention to the
circumstances of every part of the Union will
doubtless reconcile all. A small force will
probably continue to be wanted for actual
service in the Mediterranean. Whatever annual
sum beyond that you may think proper
to apportionate to naval preparations, would
perhaps be better employed in providing those
articles which may be kept without waste or
consumption, and be in readiness when any
exigence calls them into use.—
First Inaugural Message. Washington ed. viii, 12. Ford ed., viii, 122.
(Dec. 1801)

5793. NAVY, Submarine boats.—

I have
ever looked to the submarine boat as most
to be depended on for attaching the torpedoes,
and * * * I am in hopes it is not
abandoned as impracticable. I should wish
to see a corps of young men trained to this
service. It would belong to the engineers if
at hand, but being nautical, I suppose we
must have a corps of naval engineers, to
practice and use them. I do not know
whether we have authority to put any part
of our existing naval establishment in a
course of training, but it shall be the subject
of a consultation with the Secretary of the
To Robert Fulton. Washington ed. v, 165. Ford ed., ix, 125.
(M. Aug. 1807)

5794. NAVY, Submarine boats.—[continued].

I wait [Colonel Fulton's] answer as to the submarine boat, before
I make you the proposition in form.
The very name of a corps of submarine engineers
would be a defence.—
To Robert Smith. Washington ed. v, 172.
(M. Aug. 1807)

5795. NAVY DEPARTMENT, Bill to establish.—

The bill for establishing a Department
of Secretary of the Navy was tried
yesterday [April 25th] on its passage to the
third reading, and prevailed by 47 against
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 237. Ford ed., vii, 244.
(Pa., 1798)

5796. NAVY YARDS, Location of.—

From the federalists [in Virginia] I expect
nothing on any principle of duty or patriotism;
but I did suppose they would pay some attentions
to the interests of Norfolk. Is it the interest
of that place to strengthen the hue and
cry against the policy of making the Eastern
Branch [Washington] our great naval deposit?
Is it their interest that this should be removed
to New York or Boston, to one of which it
must go if it leaves this? Is it their interest to
scout a defence by gunboats in which they would
share amply, in hopes of a navy which will not
be built in our day, and would be no defence
if built, or of forts which will never be built
or maintained, and would be no defence if
built? Yet such are the objects which they
patronize in their papers. This is worthy of
more consideration than they seem to have
given it.—
To Wilson C. Nicholas. Ford ed., viii, 338.
(W. Dec. 1804)

5797. NECESSITY, Law of.—

A strict
observance of the written law is * * * one of the high duties of a good citizen, but
it is not the highest. The laws of necessity,
of self-preservation, of saving our country
when in danger, are of higher obligation.
To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence
to written law, would be to lose the
law itself, with life, liberty, property, and all
those who are enjoying them with us; thus
absurdly sacrificing the end to the means.—
To J. B. Colvin. Washington ed. v, 542. Ford ed., ix, 279.
(M. 1810)

5798. NECKER (Jacques), Ambition of.—

It is a tremendous cloud, indeed, which
hovers over this nation, and he at the helm has
neither the courage nor the skill necessary to
weather it. Eloquence in a high degree, knowledge
in matters of account and order, are distinguishing
traits in his character. Ambition is
his first passion, virtue his second. He has
not discovered that sublime truth, that a bold,
unequivocal virtue is the best handmaid even
to ambition, and would carry him further, in the
end, than the temporizing, wavering policy he
pursues. His judgment is not of the first order,
scarcely even of the second; his resolution
frail; and upon the whole, it is rare to meet
an instance of a person so much below the reputation
he has obtained.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 52.
(P. 1789)

5799. NECKER (Jacques), Friend of liberty.—

Though he has appeared to trim
a little, he is still, in the main, a friend to public
To John Jay. Washington ed. iii, 28.
(P. 1789)


Page 621

5800. NECKER (Jacques), Praise of.—

The grandson of M. Necker cannot fail of a hearty welcome in a country which so much
respected him. To myself, who loved the virtues
and honored the talents of the grandfather,
the attentions I received in his natal house, and
particular esteem for yourself, are additional
titles to whatever service I can render him.—
To Madame de Stael. Washington ed. v, 133.
(W. 1807)

5801. NECKER (Jacques), Unfriendly to America.—

Necker never set any store by us, or the connection with us.—
To John Jay. Washington ed. ii, 342.
(P. 1787)

5802. NEGROES, Amalgamation.—

Their amalgamation with the other color produces
a degradation to which no lover of his
country, no lover of excellence in the human
character can innocently consent.—
To Edward Coles. Ford ed., ix, 478.
(M. 1814)

5803. NEGROES, Bravery.—

They are at
least as brave, and more adventuresome. But
this may proceed from a want of forethought,
which prevents their seeing a danger till it be
present. When present, they do not go through
it with more coolness or steadiness than the
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 381. Ford ed., iii, 245.

5804. NEGROES, Colonization.—

The bill
reported by the revisors [355] of the whole [Virginia] code does not itself contain the proposition
to emancipate all slaves born after the
passing the act; but an amendment containing
it was prepared, to be offered to the Legislature
whenever the bill should be taken up, and
further directing, that they should continue
with their parents to a certain age, then to be
brought up, at the public expense, to tillage,
arts or sciences, according to their geniuses, till
the females should be eighteen, and the males
twenty-one years of age, when they should be
colonized to such place as the circumstances
of the time should render most proper, sending
them out with arms, implements of household
and of the handicraft arts, seeds, pairs of the
useful domestic animals, &c., to declare them
a free and independent people, and extend to
them our alliance and protection, till they shall
have acquired strength; and to send vessels at
the same time to other parts of the world for
an equal number of white inhabitants; to induce
them to migrate hither, proper encouragements
were to be proposed.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 380. Ford ed., iii, 243.


Jefferson prepared the report and bill.—Editor.

5805. NEGROES, Colonization.—[continued].

This unfortunate difference
of color, and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful
obstacle to the emancipation of these people.
Many of their advocates, while they wish
to vindicate the liberty of human nature, are
anxious also to preserve its dignity and beauty.
Some of these, embarrassed by the question,
“What further is to be done with them”? join
themselves in opposition with those who are
actuated by sordid avarice only. Among the
Romans emancipation required but one effort.
The slave, when made free, might mix with,
without straining the blood of his master. But
with us a second is necessary, unknown to history.
When freed, he is to be removed beyond
the reach of mixture.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 386. Ford ed., iii, 250.

5806. NEGROES, Colonization.—[further continued].

You ask my opinion on
the proposition of Mrs. Mifflin, to take measures
for procuring, on the coast of Africa, an establishment
to which the people of color of these
States might, from time to time, be colonized,
under the auspices of different governments.
Having long ago made up my mind on this subject,
I have no hesitation in saying that I have
ever thought it the most desirable measure
which could be adopted, for gradually drawing
off this part of our population, most advantageously
for themselves as well as for us. Going
from a country possessing all the useful arts,
they might be the means of transplanting them
among the inhabitants of Africa, and would thus
carry back to the country of their origin, the
seeds of civilization which might render their
sojournment and sufferings here a blessing in
the end to that country.—
To John Lynch. Washington ed. v, 563. Ford ed., ix, 303.
(M. 1811)

5807. NEGROES, Colonization.—[further continued] .

Nothing is more to be
wished than that the United States would themselves
undertake to make such an establishment
on the coast of Africa. Exclusive of motives of
humanity, the commercial advantages to be derived
from it might repay all its expenses. But
for this, the national mind is not yet prepared.
It may perhaps be doubted whether many of
these people would voluntarily consent to such
an exchange of situation, and very certain that
few of those advanced to a certain age in habits
of slavery, would be capable of self-government.
This should not, however, discourage the experiment,
nor the early trial of it.—
To John Lynch. Washington ed. v, 565. Ford ed., ix, 304.
(M. 1811)

5808. NEGROES, Colonization.—[further continued].

I received in the first
year of my coming into the administration of
the General Government, a letter from the Governor
of Virginia (Colonel Monroe), consulting
me, at the request of the Legislature of the
State, on the means of procuring some such
asylum, to which these people might be occasionally
sent. I proposed to him the establishment
of Sierra Leone, to which a private company
in England had already colonized a number
of negroes and particularly the fugitives
from these States during the Revolutionary
War; and at the same time suggested, if this
could not be obtained, some of the Portuguese
possessions in South America, as next most desirable.
The subsequent Legislature approving
these ideas, I wrote, the ensuing year, 1802, to
Mr. King, our Minister in London, to endeavor
to negotiate with the Sierra Leone company a
reception of such of these people as might be
colonized thither. He opened a correspondence
with Mr. Wedderburne and Mr. Thornton, secretaries
of the company, on the subject, and, in
1803, I received through Mr. King the result,
which was that the colony was going on, but in
a languishing condition; that the funds of the
company were likely to fail, as they received no
returns of profit to keep them up; that they
were, therefore, in treaty with their government
to take the establishment off their hands; but
that in no event should they be willing to receive
more of these people from the United States, as
it was exactly that portion of their settlers
which had gone from hence, which, by their
idleness and turbulence, had kept the settlement
in constant danger of dissolution, which could
not have been prevented but for the aid of the
maroon negroes from the West Indies, who were
more industrious and orderly than the others,
and supported the authority of the government
and its laws. * * * The effort which I
made with Portugal, to obtain an establishment
for them within their claims in South America,
proved also abortive.—
To John Lynch. Washington ed. v, 564. Ford ed., ix, 303.
(M. 1811)

See Colonization.

5809. NEGROES, Elevating.—

wishes more ardently than I do to see a good
system commenced for raising the condition


Page 622
both of their body and mind to what it ought
to be, as fast as the imbecility of their present
existence, and other circumstances which cannot
be neglected, will admit.—
To Benjamin Banneker. Washington ed. iii, 291. Ford ed., v, 377.
(Pa., 17911791)gt;

— NEGROES, Emancipation.—

See Slavery.

5810. NEGROES, Future of.—

I have
supposed the black man, in his present state,
might not be in body and mind equal to the
white man; but it would be hazardous to affirm,
that, equally cultivated for a few generations,
he would not become so.—
To General Chastellux. Washington ed. i, 341. Ford ed., iii, 138.
(P. 1785)

5811. NEGROES, Griefs.—

Their griefs
are transient. Those numberless afflictions,
which render it doubtful whether Heaven has
given life to us in mercy or in wrath, are less
felt, and sooner forgotten with them.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 382. Ford ed., iii, 245.

5812. NEGROES. Improvement.—

improvement of the blacks in body and mind,
in the first instance of their mixture with the
whites, has been observed by every one, and
proves that their inferiority is not the effect
merely of their condition in life.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 384. Ford ed., iii, 247.

5813. NEGROES. Improvement.—[continued].

Bishop Grégoire wrote
to me on the doubts I had expressed five or
six and twenty years ago, in the Notes on Virginia,
as to the grade of understanding of the
negroes, and he sent me his book on the literature
of the negroes. His credulity has made
him gather up every story he could find of men
of color (without distinguishing whether black,
or of what degree of mixture), however slight
the mention, or light the authority on which
they are quoted. The whole do not amount, in
point of evidence, to what we know ourselves
of Banneker. We know he had spherical trigonometry
enough to make almanacs, but not
without the suspicion of aid from Ellicot, who
was his neighbor and friend, and never missed
an opportunity of puffing him. I have a long
letter from Banneker, which shows him to have
had a mind of very common stature indeed.
As to Bishop Grégoire, I wrote him a very soft
answer. It was impossible for doubt to have
been more tenderly or hesitatingly expressed
than that was in the Notes on Virginia, and
nothing was or is farther from my intentions,
than to enlist myself as the champion of a fixed
opinion, where I have only expressed a doubt.
St. Domingo will, in time, throw light on the
To Joel Barlow. Washington ed. v, 475. Ford ed., ix, 261.
(M. 1809)

5814. NEGROES, Indians vs.—

them by their faculties of memory, reason,
and imagination, it appears to me that in
memory they are equal to the whites; in reason
much inferior, as I think one could scarcely
be found capable of tracing and comprehending
the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination
they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.
It would be unfair to follow them to Africa for
this investigation. We will consider them here,
on the same stage with the whites, and where
the facts are not apocryphal on which a judgment
is to be formed. It will be right to
make great allowances for the difference of condition,
of education, of conversation, of the
sphere in which they move. Many millions of
them have been brought to, and born in Amer
ica. Most of them, indeed, have been confined
to tillage, to their own homes, and their own
society; yet many of them have been so situated
that they might have availed themselves
of the conversation of their masters; many of
them have been brought up to the handicraft
arts, and from that circumstance have always
been associated with the whites. Some have
been liberally educated, and all have lived in
countries where the arts and sciences are cultivated
to a considerable degree, and have had
before their eyes samples of the best works
from abroad. The Indians, with no advantages
of this kind, will often carve figures on their
pipes not destitute of design and merit. They
will crayon out an animal, a plant, or a country,
so as to prove the existence of a germ in their
minds which only wants cultivation. They astonish
you with strokes of the most sublime
oratory; such as prove their reason and sentiment
strong, their imagination glowing and
elevated. But never yet could I find that a
black had uttered a thought above the level of
plain narration; never saw even an elementary
trait of painting or sculpture.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 382. Ford ed., iii, 245.

5815. NEGROES, Industry.—

An opinion
is hazarded by some, but proved by none, that moral urgencies are not sufficient to induce
the negro to labor; that nothing can do this but
physical coercion. But this is a problem which
the present age alone is prepared to solve by
experiment. It would be a solecism to suppose
a race of animals created, without sufficient
foresight and energy to preserve their own existence.
It is disproved, too, by the fact that
they exist, and have existed through all the
ages of history. We are not sufficiently acquainted
with all the nations of Africa, to say
that there may not be some in which habits of
industry are established, and the arts practiced
which are necessary to render life comfortable.
The experiment now in progress in St. Domingo,
those of Sierra Leone and Cape Mesurado, are
but beginning. Your proposition has its aspects
of promise also; and should it not fully answer
to calculations in figures, it may yet, in its developments,
lead to happy results.—
To Miss Fanny Wright. Washington ed. vii, 408. Ford ed., x, 344.
(M. 1825)

5816. NEGROES, Integrity.—

these considerations which must
weaken their respect for the laws of property,
we find among them numerous instances of the
most rigid integrity, and as many as among
their better instructed masters, of benevolence,
gratitude, and unshaken fidelity.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 386. Ford ed., iii, 249.

See Slavery.

5817. NEGROES, Literary.—

Misery is
often the parent of the most affecting touches
in poetry. Among the blacks is misery enough,
God knows, but no poetry. Love is the peculiar
cestrum of the poet. Their love is ardent,
but it kindles the senses only, not the imagination.
Religion, indeed, has produced a Phyllis
Wheatley; [356] but it could not produce a poet.
The compositions published under her name are
below the dignity of criticism. The heroes of the
Dunciad are to her, as Hercules to the author
of that poem.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 383. Ford ed., iii, 246.


A collection of poems by Phyllis Wheatley was
printed in London in 1773.—Editor.

5818. NEGROES, Literary.—[continued].

Ignatius Sancho has approached
nearer to merit in composition [than
Phyllis Wheatley]: yet his letters do more honor
to the heart than the head. They breathe the


Page 623
purest effusions of friendship and general philanthropy,
and show how great a degree of the
latter may be compounded with strong religious
zeal. He is often happy in the turn of his compliments,
and his style is easy and familiar, except
when he affects a Shandean fabrication of
words. But his imagination is wild and extravagant,
escapes incessantly from every restraint
of reason and taste, and, in the course
of its vagaries, leaves a tract of thought as incoherent
and eccentric, as is the course of a
meteor through the sky. His subjects should
often have led him to a process of sober reasoning;
yet we find him always substituting
sentiment for demonstration. Upon the whole,
though we admit him to the first place among
those of his own color who have presented themselves
to the public judgment, yet when we
compare him with the writers of the race among
whom he lived and particularly with the epistolary
class in which he has taken his own stand,
we are compelled to enroll him at the bottom of
the column. This criticism supposes the letters
published under his name to be genuine, and
to have received amendment from no other
hand; points which would not be of easy investigation.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 383. Ford ed., iii, 247.

5819. NEGROES, Music.—

In music they
are more generally gifted than the whites, with
accurate ears for tune and time, and they have
been found capable of imagining a small catch. [357] Whether they will be equal to the composition
of a more extensive run of melody, or of complicated
harmony, is yet to be proved.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 383. Ford ed., iii, 246.


The instrument proper to them is the Banjer
[corrupted by the negroes into “banjo”] which
they brought hither from Africa, and which is the
original of the guitar, its chords being precisely the
four lower chords of the guitar.—Note by Jefferson.

5820. NEGROES, Natural History and.—

The opinion that they are inferior in the
faculties of reason and imagination, must be
hazarded with great diffidence. To justify a
general conclusion, requires many observations,
even where the subject may be submitted to
the anatomical knife, to optical glasses, to
analysis by fire or by solvents. How much
more then where it is a faculty, not a substance,
we are examining; where it eludes the research
of all the senses; where the conditions of its
existence are various and variously combined;
where the effects of those which are present
or absent bid defiance to calculation; let me
add, too, as a circumstance of great tenderness,
where our conclusion would degrade a whole
race of men from the rank in the scale of beings
which their Creator may perhaps have given
them. To our reproach it must be said, that
though for a century and a half we have had
under our eyes the races of black and of red
men, they have never yet been viewed by us as
subjects of natural history. I advance it, therefore,
as a suspicion only, that the blacks,
whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct
by time and circumstances, are inferior to
the whites in the endowments both of body and
mind. It is not against experience to suppose
that different species of the same genus, or
varieties of the same species, may possess different
qualifications. Will not a lover of natural
history, then, one who views the gradations
in all the races of animals with the eye of
philosophy, excuse an effort to keep those in
the department of man as distinct as nature
has formed them?—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 386. Ford ed., iii, 249.

5821. NEGROES, Peculiarities.—

these objections, which are political, may be
added others, which are physical and moral.
Whether the black of the negro resides in the
reticular membrane between the skin and scarf-skin,
or in the scarf-skin itself; whether it proceeds
from the color of the blood, the color of
the bile, or from that of some other secretion,
the difference is fixed in nature, and is as real
as if its seat and cause were better known to us.
And is this difference of no importance? Is it
not the foundation of a greater or less share
of beauty in the two races? Are not the fine
mixtures of red and white, the expressions of
every passion by greater or less suffusions of
color in the one, preferable to that eternal monotony,
which reigns in the countenances, that
immovable veil of black which covers all the
emotions of the other race? Add to these, flowing
hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, their
own judgment in favor of the whites, declared
by their preference of them, as uniformly as is
the preference of the Oranootan for the black
woman over those of his own species. The circumstance
of superior beauty, is thought worthy
attention in the propagation of our horses,
dogs, and other domestic animals; why not in
that of man? Besides those of color, figure,
and hair, there are other physical distinctions
proving a difference of race. They have less
hair on the face and body. They secrete less by
the kidneys, and more by the glands of the skin,
which gives them a very strong and disagreeable
odor. This greater degree of transpiration renders
them more tolerant of heat, and less of
cold than the whites. Perhaps, too, a difference
of structure in the pulmonary apparatus, which
a late ingenious experimentalist (Crawford) has
discovered to be the principal regulator of animal
heat, may have disabled them from extricating,
in the act of inspiration, so much of
that fluid from the outer air, or obliged them
in expiration, to part with more of it.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 381. Ford ed., iii, 244.

— NEGROES, Penal Colony for.—

See Colony, Penal.

5822. NEGROES, Racial differences.—

It will probably be asked, why not retain and
incorporate the blacks into the State, and thus
save the expense of supplying by importation of
white settlers, the vacancies they will leave?
Deep-rooted prejudices entertained by the
whites; ten thousand recollections, by the
blacks, of the injuries they have sustained;
new provocations; the real distinctions which
new provocations; the real distinctions which
nature has made; and many other circumstances
will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions,
which will probably never end but in
the extermination of the one or the other race.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 380. Ford ed., iii, 244.

5823. NEGROES, Rights of.—

Be assured
that no person living wishes more sincerely
than I do, to see a complete refutation
of the doubts I have myself entertained and
expressed on the grade of understanding allotted
to the negroes by nature, and to find that in this
respect they are on a par with ourselves. My
doubts were the result of personal observation
on the limited sphere of my own State, where
the opportunities for the development of their
genius were not favorable, and those of exercising
it still less so. I expressed them, therefore,
with great hesitation; but whatever be
their degree of talent it is no measure of their
rights. Because Sir Isaac Newton was superior
to others in understanding, he was not therefore
lord of the person or property of others. On


Page 624
this subject they are gaining daily in the opinions
of nations, and hopeful advances are
making towards their reestablishment on an
equal footing with the other colors of the human
family. I pray you, therefore, to accept my
thanks for the many instances you have enabled
me to observe of respectable intelligence in that
race of men, which cannot fail to have effect
in hastening the day of their relief.—
To Henri Gregoire. Washington ed. v, 429. Ford ed., ix, 246.
(W. 1809)

5824. NEGROES, Sleep and amusements.—

They seem to require less sleep. A
black, after hard labor through the day, will be
induced by the slightest amusements to sit up
till midnight, or later, though knowing he must
be out with the first dawn of the morning.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 381. Ford ed., iii, 245.

5825. NEGROES, Sleep and amusements.—[continued].

In general, their existence
appears to participate more of sensation
than reflection. To this must be ascribed their
disposition to sleep when abstracted from their
diversions, and unemployed in labor. An animal
whose body is at rest, and who does not reflect,
must be disposed to sleep of course.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 382. Ford ed., iii, 245.

5826. NEGROES, Talents.—

wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you
exhibit, that nature has given to our black
brethren talents equal to those of the other
colors of men, and that the appearance of a
want of them is owing merely to the degraded
condition of their existence, both in Africa and
America. * * * I have taken the liberty of
sending your Almanac to Monsieur de Condorcet,
Secretary of the Academy of Sciences
at Paris, and member of the Philanthropic Society,
because I considered it as a document to
which your color had a right for their justification
against the doubts which have been entertained
of them.—
To Benjamin Banneker. Washington ed. iii, 291. Ford ed., v, 377.
(Pa., 1791)

See Banneker.

5827. NELSON (Thomas), Governor of Virginia.—

[Governor Jefferson's] office was
now [June, 1781,] near expiring, the country
[Virginia] under invasion by a powerful army,
no services but military of any avail, unprepared
by his line of life and education for
the command of armies, he believed it right not
to stand in the way of talents better fitted than
his own to the circumstances under which the
country was placed. He, therefore, himself proposed
to his friends in the Legislature that General
Nelson, who commanded the militia of the
State, should be appointed Governor, as he was
sensible that the union of the civil and military
power in the same hands at this time, would
greatly facilitate military measures. This appointment
accordingly took place on the 12th
of June, 1781.—
Invasion of Va. Memorandum. Washington ed. ix, 223.
(M. 1781)

5828. NEOLOGY, American.—

I am no
friend to what is called Purism, but a zealous
one to the Neology which has introduced
these two words without the authority of any
dictionary. I consider the one as destroying
the nerve and beauty of language, while the
other improves both, and adds to its copiousness.
I have been not a little disappointed, and
made suspicious of my own judgment, on seeing
the Edinburgh Reviewers, the ablest critics
of the age, set their faces against the introduction
of new words into the English language;
they are particularly apprehensive that the
writers of the United States will adulterate it.
Certainly so great growing a population, spread
over such an extent of country, with such a
variety of climates, of productions, of arts, must
enlarge their language, to make it answer its
purpose of expressing all ideas, the new as
well as the old. The new circumstances under
which we are placed, call for new words, new
phrases, and for the transfer of old words to
new objects. An American dialect will, therefore,
be formed; so will a West-Indian and
Asiatic, as a Scotch and an Irish are already
formed. But whether will these adulterate, or
enrich the English language? Has the beautiful
poetry of Burns, or his Scottish dialect,
disfigured it? Did the Athenians consider the
Doric, the Ionian, the Aeolic, and other dialects,
as disfiguring or as beautifying their language?
Did they fastidiously disavow Herodotus, Pindar,
Theocritus, Sappho, Alcæus, as Grecian
writers? On the contrary, they were sensible
that the variety of dialects, still infinitely varied
by poetical license, constituted the riches of
their language, and made the Grecian Homer
the first of poets, as he must ever remain, until
a language equally ductile and copious shall
again be spoken.—
To John Waldo. Washington ed. vi, 184.
(M. 1813)

5829. NEUTRALITY, Carrying trade and.—

If war in Europe take place, I hope
the new world will fatten on the follies of the
old. If we can but establish the principles of
the armed neutrality for ourselves, we must become
carriers for all parties as far as we can
raise vessels.—
To E. Rutledge. Washington ed. iii, 165. Ford ed., v, 197.
(N.Y., 1790)

5830. NEUTRALITY, Carrying trade and.—[continued].

A stoppage by some of
the belligerent powers of one of our vessels
going with grain 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, 243.
(Pa., May. 1793)

5831. NEUTRALITY, Carrying trade and.—[further continued].

The rights of a neutral
to carry on a commercial intercourse with every
part of the dominions of a belligerent, permitted
by the laws of the country (with the exception
of blockaded ports and contraband of war), was
believed to have been decided between Great
Britain and the United States by the sentence
of the commissioners mutually appointed to decide
on that and other questions of difference
between the two nations, and by the actual payment
of damages awarded by them against Great
Britain for the infraction of that right. When,
therefore, it was perceived that the same principle
was revived with others more novel, and
extending the injury, instructions were given to
the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United
States at the court of London, and remonstrances
duly made by him on the subject.
These were followed by a partial and temporary
suspension only, without the disavowal of the
principle. He has, therefore, been instructed
to urge this subject anew, to bring it more fully
to the bar of reason, and to insist on the rights
too evident and too important to be surrendered.
Special Message. Washington ed. viii, 57. Ford ed., viii, 417.
(Jan. 1806)

5832. NEUTRALITY, Carrying trade and.—[further continued] .

To former violations of
maritime rights, another is now added of very
extensive effect. The government of that nation
[Great Britain] has issued an order interdicting
all trade by neutrals between ports not in amity
with them; and being now at war with nearly
every nation on the Atlantic and Mediterranean
seas, our vessels are required to sacrifice their
cargoes at the first port they touch, or to return
home without the benefit of going to any other
market. Under this new law of the ocean, our


Page 625
trade on the Mediterranean has been swept away
by seizures and condemnations, and that in
other seas is threatened with the same fate.—
Seventh Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 84. Ford ed., ix, 156.

See Navigation.

5833. NEUTRALITY, Contraband of war.—

In our treaty with Prussia, we have
gone ahead of other nations in doing away
with restraints on the commerce of peaceful
nations, by declaring that nothing shall be contraband.
For, in truth, in the present improved
state of the arts, when every country has such
ample means of procuring arms within and without
itself, the regulations of contraband answer
no other end than to draw other nations into the
war. However, as other nations have not given
sanction to this improvement, we claim it, at
present, with Prussia alone.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 551. Ford ed., vi, 243.
(Pa., May. 1793)

See Belligerents and Contraband of War.

5834. NEUTRALITY, Duties.—

We have
seen with sincere concern the flames of war
lighted up again in Europe, and nations with
which we have the most friendly and useful relations
engaged in mutual destruction. While we
regret the miseries in which we see others involved,
let us bow with gratitude to that kind
Providence which, inspiring with wisdom and
moderation our late legislative councils while
placed under the urgency of the greatest wrongs,
guarded us from hastily entering into the sanguinary
contest, and left us only to look on and
to pity its ravages. These will be heaviest on
those immediately engaged. Yet the nations
pursuing peace will not be exempt from all evil.
In the course of this conflict [France and England],
let it be our endeavor, as it is our interest
and desire, to cultivate the friendship of
the belligerent nations by every act of justice
and of incessant kindness; to receive their
armed vessels with hospitality from distresses
of the sea, but to administer the means of annoyance
to none; to establish in our harbors
such a police as may maintain law and order;
to restrain our citizens from embarking individually
in a war in which their country takes no
part; to punish severely those persons, citizen
or alien, who shall usurp the cover of our flag
for vessels not entitled to it, infecting thereby
with suspicion those of real Americans, and
committing us into controversies for the redress
of wrongs not our own; to exact from
every nation the observance, toward our vessels
and citizens, of those principles and practices
which all civilized people acknowledge; to
merit the character of a just nation, and maintain
that of an independent one, preferring
every consequence to insult and habitual wrong.
Congress will consider whether the existing laws
enable us efficaciously to maintain this course
with our citizens in all places, and with others
while within the limits of our jurisdiction, and
will give them the new modifications necessary
for these objects. Some contraventions of right
have already taken place, both within our
jurisdictional limits and on the high seas. The
friendly disposition of the governments from
whose agents they have proceeded, as well as
their wisdom and regard for justice, leave us in
reasonable expectation that they will be rectified
and prevented in future; and that no act will be
countenanced by them which threatens to disturb
our friendly intercourse. Separated by a
wide ocean from the nations of Europe, and
from the political interests which entangle them
together, with productions and wants which render
our commerce and friendship useful to
them and theirs to us, it cannot be the interest
of any to assail us, nor ours to disturb them.
We should be most unwise, indeed, were we to
cast away the singular blessings of the position
in which nature has placed us, the opportunity
she has endowed us with of pursuing, at a distance
from foreign contentions, the paths of industry,
peace and happiness; of cultivating general
friendship, and of bringing collisions of
interest to the umpirage of reason rather than
of force. How desirable, then, must it be, in a
government like ours, to see its citizens adopt
individually the views, the interests, and the
conduct which their country should pursue, divesting
themselves of those passions and partialities
which tend to lessen useful friendships,
and to embarrass and embroil us in the calamitous
scenes of Europe. Confident that you will
duly estimate the importance of neutral dispositions
toward the observance of neutral conduct,
that you will be sensible how much it is
our duty to look on the bloody arena spread
before us with commiseration indeed, but with
no other wish than to see it closed, I am
persuaded you will cordially cherish these dispositions
in all discussions among yourselves,
and in all communications with your constituents;
and I anticipate with satisfaction the
measures of wisdom which the great interests
now committed to you will give you an opportunity
of providing, and myself that of approving
and carrying into execution with the fidelity
I owe to my country.—
Third Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 27. Ford ed., viii, 272.
(Oct. 1803)

5835. NEUTRALITY, Enemy goods.—

Another source of complaint with Mr. Genet
has been that the English take French goods
out of American vessels, which he says is
against the law of nations and ought to be
prevented by us. On the contrary, we suppose
it to have been long an established principle of
the law of nations, that the goods of a friend
are free in an enemy's vessel, and an enemy's
goods lawful prize in the vessel of a friend.
The inconvenience of this principle which subjects
merchant vessels to be stopped at sea,
searched, ransacked, led out of their course,
has induced several nations latterly to stipulate
against it by treaty, and to substitute another
in its stead, that free bottoms shall make free
goods, and enemy bottoms enemy goods; a rule
equal to the other in point of loss and gain,
but less oppressive to commerce. As far as it
has been introduced, it depends on the treaties
stipulating it, and forms exceptions, in special
cases, to the general operation of the law of nations.
We have introduced it into our treaties
with France, Holland and Prussia; and French
goods found by the two latter nations in American
bottoms are not made prize of. It is our
wish to establish it with other nations. But
this requires their consent also, is a work of
time, and in the meanwhile, they have a right
to act on the general principle, without giving
to us or to France cause of complaint. Nor do
I see that France can lose by it on the whole.
For though she loses her goods when found in
our vessels by the nations with whom we have
no treaties, yet she gains our goods, when found
in the vessels of the same and all other nations;
and we believe the latter mass to be greater than
the former.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iv, 43. Ford ed., vi, 387.
(Pa., Aug. 1793)

5836. NEUTRALITY, Enemy goods.—[continued].

It is to be lamented, indeed,
that the general principle has operated so
cruelly in the dreadful calamity which has lately
happened in St. Domingo. The miserable fugitives,
who, to save their lives, had taken asylum
in our vessels, with such valuable and portable
things as could be gathered in the moment out
of the ashes of their houses and wrecks of their
fortunes, have been plundered of these remains


Page 626
by the licensed sea rovers of their enemies.
This has swelled, on this occasion, the disadvantages
of the general principle, that “an enemy's
goods are free prize in the vessels of a
friend”. But it is one of those deplorable and
unforeseen calamities to which they expose themselves
who enter into a state of war, furnishing
to us an awful lesson to avoid it by justice and
moderation, and not a cause of encouragement
to expose our own towns to the same burning
and butcheries, nor of complaint because we
do not.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iv, 44. Ford ed., vi, 387.
(Pa., Aug. 1793)

See Enemy Goods.

5837. NEUTRALITY, Fraudulent use of flag.—

As there appears * * * a probability
of a very general war in Europe, you
will be pleased to be particularly attentive to
preserve for our vessels all the rights of neutrality,
and to endeavor that our flag be not
usurped by others to procure to themselves the
benefits of our neutrality. This usurpation
tends to commit us with foreign nations, to subject
those vessels truly ours to rigorous scrutinies
and delays, to distinguish them from
counterfeits, and to take the business of transportation
out of our hands.—
To David Humphreys. Washington ed. iii, 533. Ford ed., vi, 205.
(Pa., 1793)

5838. NEUTRALITY, Fraudulent use of flag.—[continued].

It will be necessary for all our public agents to exert themselves with
vigilance for securing to our vessels all the
rights of neutrality.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. iii, 535.
(Pa., 1793)

See Flag.

5839. NEUTRALITY, The Grange capture.—

The capture of the British ship
Grange, by the French frigate L'Embuscade, has
been found to have taken place within the
* * * jurisdiction of the United States,
* * *. The government, is, therefore, taking
measures for the liberation of the crew
and restitution of the ship and cargo.—
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 559. Ford ed., vi, 253.
(Pa., May. 1793)

5840. NEUTRALITY, The Grange capture.—[continued].

The government deems
the capture [of the Grange] to have been unquestionably
within its jurisdiction, and that
according to the rules of neutrality and the
protection it owes to all persons while within its
limits, it is bound to see that the crew be liberated,
and the vessel and cargo restored to their
former owners. * * * I am, in consequence,
charged by the President of the United States
to express to you his expectation, and at the
same time his confidence, that you will be
pleased to take immediate and effectual measures
for having the ship Grange and her cargo
restored to the British owners, and the persons
taken on board her set at liberty.—
To Jean Baptiste Ternant. Washington ed. iii, 561. Ford ed., vi, 256.
(Pa., May 15, 1793)

5841. NEUTRALITY, The Grange capture.—[further continued].

In forming these determinations
[respecting Grange, &c.,] the government
of the United States has listened to
nothing but the dictates of immutable justice;
they consider the rigorous exercise of that
virtue as the surest means of preserving perfect
harmony between the United States and the
powers at war.—
To Jean Baptiste Ternant. Washington ed. iii, 562. Ford ed., vi, 257.
(Pa., May. 1793)

5842. NEUTRALITY, Impartial.—

conduct as a neutral nation is marked out in
our treaties with France and Holland, two of
the belligerent powers; and as the duties of neutrality
require an equal conduct to both parties,
we should, on that ground, act on the same
principles towards Great Britain.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 551. Ford ed., vi, 243.
(Pa., May. 1793)

5843. NEUTRALITY, Impartial.—[continued].

A manly neutrality,
claiming the liberal rights ascribed to that condition
by the very powers at war, was the part
we should have taken, and would, I believe,
have given satisfaction to our allies. If anything
prevents its being a mere English neutrality,
it will be that the penchant of the President
is not that way, and above all, the ardent
spirit of our constituents.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 557. Ford ed., vi, 251.
(May. 1793)

5844. NEUTRALITY, Impartial.—[further continued].

The line is now drawn
so clearly as to show on one side, 1. The fashionable
circles of Philadelphia, New York.
Boston and Charleston (natural aristocrats).
2. Merchants trading on British capital. 3.
Paper men (all the old tories are found in some
one of the three descriptions). On the other
side are, 1. Merchants trading on their own
capital. 2. Irish merchants. 3. Tradesmen,
mechanics, farmers, and every other possible
description of our citizens.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 557. Ford ed., vi, 251.
(May. 1793)

5845. NEUTRALITY, Impartial.—[further continued] .

I trust that in the readiness
with which the United States have attended
to the redress of such wrongs as are committed by their citizens, or within their
jurisdiction, you will see proofs of their justice
and impartiality to all parties, and that it
will ensure to their citizens pursuing their lawful
business by sea or by land, in all parts of
the world, a like efficacious interposition of
the governing powers to protect them from injury,
and redress it, where it has taken place.
With such dispositions on both sides, vigilantly
and faithfully carried into effect, we May
hope that the blessings of peace, on the one
part, will be as little impaired, and the evils
of war on the other, as little aggravated, as the
nature of things will permit; and that this
should be so, is, we trust, the prayer of all.—
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 559. Ford ed., vi, 254.
(Pa., 1793)

5846. NEUTRALITY, Impartial.—[further continued].

The course intended to
be pursued being that of a strict and impartial
neutrality, decisions, rendered by the President
on that principle, dissatisfy both parties, and
draw complaints from both.—
To Gouverneur Morris. Washington ed. iii, 580. Ford ed., vi, 299.
(Pa., June. 1793)

5847. NEUTRALITY, Impartial.—[further continued] .

It will never be easy to
convince me that by a firm yet just conduct in
1793, we might not have obtained such a respect
for our neutral rights from Great Britain, as
that her violations of them and use of our
means to wage her wars, would not have furnished
any pretence to the other party to do the
same. War with both would have been avoided,
commerce and navigation protected and enlarged.
We shall now either be forced into a
war, or have our commerce and navigation at
least totally annihilated, and the produce of
our farms for some years left to rot on our
hands. A little time will unfold these things,
and show which class of opinions would have
been most friendly to the firmness of our government,
and to the interests of those for whom
it was made.—
To Dr. John Edwards. Washington ed. iv, 165. Ford ed., vii, 113.
(M. Jan. 1797)

5848. NEUTRALITY, Impartial.—[further continued].

It is to be deplored that
distant as we are from the storms and convulsions
which agitate the European world, the
pursuit of an honest neutrality, beyond the
reach of reproach, has been insufficient to


Page 627
secure to us the certain enjoyments of peace
with those whose interests as well as ours
would be promoted by it.—
R. to A. New Jersey Legislature. Washington ed. viii, 122.

5849. NEUTRALITY, Impartial.—[further continued] .

I verily believe that it
will ever be in our power to keep so even a
stand between England and France, as to inspire
a wish in neither to throw us into the
scale of his adversary. If we can do this for
a dozen years only, we shall have little to fear
from them.—
To Mr. Coxe. Washington ed. v, 58.
(W. 1807)

5850. NEUTRALITY, Impartial.—[further continued]..

Neither belligerent pretends
to have been injured by us, or can
say that we have in any instance departed from
the most faithful neutrality.—
R. to A. Virginia Assembly. Washington ed. viii, 148.

5851. NEUTRALITY, Impartial.—[further continued] .

A law respecting our conduct as a neutral between Spain and her
contending colonies was passed [by the late
Congress] by a majority of one only, I believe,
and against the very general sentiment of our
country. It is thought to strain our complaisance
to Spain beyond her right or merit, and
almost against the right of the other party,
and certainly against the claims they have to
our good wishes and neighborly relations. That
we should wish to see the people of other
countries free, is as natural, and, at least as
justifiable, as that one king should wish to see
the kings of other countries maintained in their
despotism. Right to both parties, innocent
favor to the juster cause, is our proper sentiment.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. vii, 78. Ford ed., x, 90.
(M. 1817)

5852. NEUTRALITY, Markets and.—

If the new government wears the front which
I hope it will, I see no impossibility in the availing
ourselves of the wars of others to open the
other parts of America [West Indies] to our
commerce, as the price of our neutrality.—
To General Washington. Washington ed. ii, 533. Ford ed., v, 57.
(P. 1788)

5853. NEUTRALITY, Markets and.—[continued].

With England, I think
we shall cut off the resource of impressing our
seamen to fight her battles, and establish the
inviolability of our flag in its commerce with
her enemies. We shall thus become what we
sincerely wish to be, honestly neutral, and truly
useful to both belligerents. To the one, by
keeping open market for the consumption of her
manufactures, while they are excluded from all
the other countries under the power of her
enemy; to the other, by securing for her a safe
carriage of all her productions, metropolitan or
colonial, while her own means are restrained by
her enemy, and may, therefore, be employed in
other useful pursuits. We are certainly more
useful friends to France and Spain as neutrals,
than as allies.—
To James Bowdoin. Washington ed. v, 18.
(W. 1806)

See Commerce, Markets, and Navigation.

5854. NEUTRALITY, Obligations of.—

Where [treaties] are silent, the general
principles of the law of nations must give the
rule [of neutral obligation]. I mean the principles
of that law as they have been liberalized in
latter times by the refinement of manners and
morals, and evidenced by the declarations, stipulations,
and practice of every civilized nation.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 551. Ford ed., vi, 243.
(Pa., May. 1793)

5855. NEUTRALITY, Passage of troops.—

It is well enough agreed in the laws
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.
If we give leave of passage then to the British
troops, Spain will have no just cause of complaint
against us, provided we extend the same
leave to her when demanded. If we refuse (as
indeed we have a right to do), and the troops
should pass notwithstanding, of which there can
be little doubt, we shall stand committed. For
either we must enter immediately into the war,
or pocket an acknowledged insult in the face of
the world; and one insult pocketed soon produces
another. There is, indeed, a middle
course which I should be inclined to prefer;
that is to avoid giving any answer. They will
proceed notwithstanding, but to do this under
our silence, will admit of palliation, and produce
apologies, from military necessity; and
will leave us free to pass it over without dishonor,
or to make it a handle of quarrel hereafter,
if we should have use for it as such. But,
if we are obliged to give an answer, I think the
occasion not such as should induce us to hazard
that answer which might commit us to the war
at so early a stage of it; and, therefore, that the
passage should be permitted. If they should
pass without having asked leave, I should be
for expressing our dissatisfaction to the British
court, and keeping alive an altercation on the
subject, till events should decide whether it is
most expedient to accept their apologies, or to
profit of the aggression as a cause of war.—
Official Opinion. Washington ed. vii, 509. Ford ed., v, 239.

5856. NEUTRALITY, Passports for vessels.—

The proposition to permit all our
vessels destined for any port in the French
West India Islands to be stopped, unless furnished
with passports from yourself, is so far
beyond the powers of the Executive, that it
will be unnecessary to enumerate the objections
to which it would be liable.—
To E. C. Genet. Washington ed. iv, 88. Ford ed., vi, 460.
(Pa., Nov. 1793)

5857. NEUTRALITY, Preserving.—

Amidst the confusion of a general war which
seems to be threatening that quarter of the globe
[Europe], we hope to be permitted to preserve
the line of neutrality.—
To C. W. F. Dumas. Washington ed. iii, 535.
(Pa., March. 1793)

5858. NEUTRALITY, Preserving.—[continued].

I wish we may be able
to repress the spirit of the people within the
limits of a fair neutrality.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iii, 548. Ford ed., vi, 238.
(Pa., 1793)

5859. NEUTRALITY, Preserving.—[further continued].

You may, on every occasion,
give assurances [to the British government] which cannot go beyond the real desires
of this country, to preserve a fair neutrality
in the present war, on condition that the rights
of neutral nations are respected in us, as they
have been settled in modern times, either by
the express declarations of the powers of Europe,
or their adoption of them on particular
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iii, 542.
(Pa., April. 1793)

5860. NEUTRALITY, Preserving.—[further continued] .

We shall be a little embarrassed
occasionally till we feel ourselves
firmly seated in the saddle of neutrality.—
To George Wythe. Ford ed., vi, 218.
(Pa., April. 1793)

5861. NEUTRALITY, Preserving.—[further continued].

I fear that a fair neutrality
will prove a disagreeable pill to our
friends [the French], though necessary to keep
out of the calamities of a war.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vi, 232.
(Pa., April. 1793)


Page 628

5862. NEUTRALITY, Preserving.—[further continued] .

No country, perhaps,
was ever so thoroughly against war as ours.
These dispositions pervade every description
of its citizens, whether in or out of office.
They cannot, perhaps, suppress their affections,
nor their wishes. But they will suppress the
effects of them so as to preserve a fair neutrality.
Indeed we shall be more useful as neutrals
than as parties, by the protection which
our flag will give to supplies of provisions. In
this spirit let all your assurances be given to
the government [of France].—
To Gouverneur Morris. Ford ed., vi, 217.
(Pa., April. 1793)

5863. NEUTRALITY, Preserving.—[further continued].

If we preserve even a
sneaking neutrality, we shall be indebted for it
to the President, and not to his counsellors.—
To Colonel Monroe. Washington ed. iii, 548. Ford ed., vi, 239.
(Pa., May. 1793)

5864. NEUTRALITY, Profitable.—

great harvest for [the profits of navigation] is
when other nations are at war and our flag
Opinion on Ship Passports. Washington ed. vii, 625.

5865. NEUTRALITY, Profitable.—[continued].

Let us milk the cow
while the Russian holds her by the horns and
the Turk holds her by the tail.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 245. Ford ed., x, 217.
(M. 1822)

5866. NEUTRALITY, Provisions not contraband.—

This article [358] is so manifestly
contrary to the law of nations, that nothing
more would seem necessary than to observe that
it is so. Reason and usage have established
that when two nations go to war, those who
choose to live in peace retain their natural
right to pursue their agriculture, manufactures,
and other ordinary vocations, to carry the produce
of their industry for exchange to all nations,
belligerent or neutral, as usual, to go and
come freely, without injury or molestation, and,
in short, that the war among others shall be,
for them, as if it did not exist. One restriction
on their natural rights has been submitted to
by nations at peace; that is to say, that of
not furnishing to either party implements
merely of war, for the annoyance of the other,
nor anything whatever to a place blockaded by
its enemy. What these implements of war are,
has been so often agreed and is so well understood,
as to leave little question about them
at this day. There does not exist, perhaps,
a nation in our common hemisphere which has
not made a particular enumeration of them,
in some or all of their treaties, under the name
of contraband. It suffices for the present occasion,
to say, that corn flour and meal, are
not of the class of contraband, and consequently
remain articles of free commerce. A culture,
which, like that of the soil, gives employment
to such a proposition of mankind, could
never be suspended by the whole earth, or interrupted
for them, whenever any two nations
should think proper to go to war.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iv, 59. Ford ed., vi, 413.
(Pa., Sep. 1793)


Instructions to commanders of British war ships
directing them to stop vessels carrying provisions to
French ports, and send them to English ports where
their cargoes may be purchased by that government,
or released on security that they will be taken to
the ports of some country in amity with Great

5867. NEUTRALITY, Provisions not contraband.—[continued].

The state of war existing
between Great Britain and France, furnishes
no legitimate right either to interrupt the agriculture
of the United States, or the peaceable
exchange of its produce with all nations; and
consequently, the assumption of it will be as
lawful hereafter as now, in peace as in war.
No ground, acknowledged by the common reason
of mankind, authorizes this act now, and
unacknowledged ground may be taken at any
time and all times. We see, then, a practice
begun, to which no time, no circumstances prescribe
any limits, and which strikes at the root
of our agriculture, that branch of industry
which gives food, clothing and comfort to the
great mass of the inhabitants of these States.
If any nation whatever has a right to shut up
to our produce all the ports of the earth except
her own, and those of her friends, she may shut
up these also, and so confine us within our own
limits. No nation can subscribe to such pretensions;
no nation can agree, at the mere will
or interest of another, to have its peaceable industry
suspended, and its citizens reduced to
idleness and want. The loss of our produce,
destined for foreign markets, or that loss which
would result from an arbitrary restraint of our
markets, is a tax too serious for us to acquiesce
in. It is not enough for a nation to say,
we and our friends will buy your produce. We
have a right to answer, that it suits us better to
sell to their enemies as well as their friends.
Our ships do not go to France to return empty.
They go to exchange the surplus of our produce,
which we can spare, for surpluses of other
kinds, which they can spare, and we want;
which they can furnish on better terms, and
more to our mind, than Great Britain or her
friends. We have a right to judge for ourselves
what market best suits us, and they have
none to forbid to us the enjoyment of the necessaries
and comforts which we may obtain from
any other independent country.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iv, 60. Ford ed., vi, 413.
(Pa., Sep. 1793)

5868. NEUTRALITY, Provisions not contraband.—[further continued].

This act, too, tends directly
to draw us from that state of peace in
which we are wishing to remain. It is an essential
character of neutrality to furnish no aids (not
stipulated by treaty) to one party, which we are
not equally ready to furnish to the other. If
we permit corn to be sent to Great Britain and
her friends, we are equally bound to permit it
to France. To restrain it, would be a partiality
which might lead to war with France; and, between
restraining it ourselves, and permitting
her enemies to restrain it unrightfully, is no difference.
She would consider this as a mere
pretext, of which she would not be the dupe;
and on what honorable ground could we otherwise
explain it? Thus we should see ourselves
plunged, by this unauthorized act of Great
Britain, into a war with which we meddle not,
and which we wish to avoid, if justice to all
parties, and from all parties, will enable us to
avoid it. In the case where we found ourselves
obliged, by treaty, to withhold from the enemies
of France the right of arming in our ports, we
thought ourselves in justice bound to withhold
the same right from France also, and we did it.
Were we to withhold from her supplies of provisions,
we should, in like manner, be bound
to withhold them from her enemies also; and
thus shut to ourselves all the ports of Europe,
where corn is in demand, or make ourselves
parties in the war. This is a dilemma, which
Great Britain has no right to force upon us,
and for which no pretext can be found in any
part of our conduct. She may, indeed, feel the
desire of starving an enemy nation; but she can
have no right of doing it at our loss, nor of making
us the instruments of it.—
To Thomas Pinckney. Washington ed. iv, 61. Ford ed., vi, 414.
(Pa., Sep. 1793)


Page 629

5869. NEUTRALITY, Public vessels.—

The public ships of war of both nations [France
and England] enjoy a perfect equality in our
ports; first, in cases of urgent necessity; secondly,
in cases of comfort or convenience; and
thirdly, in the time they choose to continue;
and all a friendly power can ask from another
is, to extend to her the same indulgences
which she extends to other friendly powers.—
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iv, 66. Ford ed., vi, 423.
(Pa., 1793)

See Asylum.

5870. NEUTRALITY, Public vessels.—[continued].

The bringing vessels to,
of whatever nation, while within the limits of
the protection of the United States, will be
pointedly forbidden; the government being
firmly determined to enforce a peaceable demeanor
among all the parties within those
limits, and to deal to all the same impartial
To the Governor of Virginia. Washington ed. iii, 564.
(Pa., May. 1793)

5871. NEUTRALITY, Public vessels.—[further continued].

Mr. Thornton's attempt
to justify his nation in using our ports as cruising
stations on our friends and ourselves, renders
the matter so serious as to call, I think, for
answer. That we ought, in courtesy and friendship,
to extend to them all the rights of hospitality
is certain; that they should not use our
hospitality to injure our friends or ourselves is
equally enjoined by morality and honor. After
the rigorous exertions we made in Genet's time
to prevent this abuse on his part, and the indulgences
extended by Mr. Adams to the
British cruisers even after our pacification with
France, by ourselves also from an unwillingness
to change the course of things as the war was
near its close, I did not expect to hear from
that quarter charges of partiality.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 501.
(M. Aug. 1803)

5872. NEUTRALITY, Public vessels.—[further continued] .

I do not think the loan
of our navy yard any more contrary to neutrality
than that of our ports. It is merely
admitting a ship to a proper station in our
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 475.
(M. Sep. 1806)

5873. NEUTRALITY, Public vessels.—[further continued].

Several French vessels
of war, disabled from keeping the sea, * * * put into the harbors of the United States to
avoid the danger of shipwreck. The minister
of their nation states that their crews are without
resources for subsistence, and other necessaries,
for the reimbursement of which he offers
bills on his government, the faith of which he
pledges for their punctual payment. The laws
of humanity make it a duty for nations, as
well as individuals, to succor those whom accident
and distress have thrown upon them. By
doing this in the present case, to the extent of
mere subsistence and necessaries, and so as to
aid no military equipment, we shall keep within
the duties of rigorous neutrality, which never
can be in opposition to those of humanity. We
furnished, on a former occasion, to a distressed
crew of the other belligerent party, similar accommodations,
and we have ourselves received
from both those powers, friendly and free supplies
to the necessities of our vessels of war in
their Mediterranean ports. In fact, the governments
of civilized nations generally are in
the practice of exercising these offices of humanity
towards each other. Our government
having as yet made no regular provision for the
exchange of these offices of courtesy and humanity
between nations, the honor, the interest,
and the duty of our country require that we
should adopt any other mode by which it May
legally be done on the present occasion. It
is expected that we shall want a large sum of
money in Europe, for the purposes of the present
negotiation with Spain, and besides this we
want annually large sums there, for the discharge
of our installments of debt. Under
these circumstances, supported by the unanimous
opinion of the heads of Departments,
* * * and firmly trusting that the government
of France will feel itself peculiarly interested
in the punctual discharge of the bills
drawn by their Minister, * * * I approve
of the Secretary of the treasury's taking the
bills of the Minister of France, to an amount
not exceeding sixty thousand dollars.—
To Albert Gallatin. Washington ed. v, 35.
(W. Jan. 1807)

5874. NEUTRALITY, Public vessels.—[further continued] .

Armed vessels remaining
within our jurisdiction in defiance of the authority of the laws, must be viewed either as
rebels, or public enemies. The latter character'
it is most expedient to ascribe to them; the
laws of intercourse with persons of that description
are fixed and known. If we relinquish
them we shall have a new code to settle with
those individual offenders, with whom self-respect
forbids any intercourse but merely for
purposes of humanity.—
To Governor W. H. Cabell. Washington ed. v, 170.
(M. 1807)

5875. NEUTRALITY, Rights.—

doctrine that the rights of nations remaining
quietly under the exercise of moral and
social duties, are to give way to the convenience
of those who prefer plundering and murdering
one another, is a monstrous doctrine; and ought
to yield to the more rational law, that “the
wrongs which two nations endeavor to inflict
on each other, must not infringe on the rights
or conveniences of those remaining at peace”.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. iv, 410. Ford ed., viii, 90.
(M. 1801)

5876. NEUTRALITY, Rights.—[continued].

It would indeed be advantageous
to us to have neutral rights established
on a broad ground; but no dependence
can be placed in any European coalition for
that. They have so many other bye-interests
of greater weight, that some one or other will
always be bought off. To be entangled with
them would be a much greater evil than a
temporary acquiescence in the false principles
which have prevailed.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iv, 414. Ford ed., viii, 98.
(W. 1801)

5877. NEUTRALITY, Rights.—[further continued].

With respect to the
rights of neutrality, we have certainly a great
interest in their settlement. But this depends
exclusively on the will of two characters, Bonaparte
and Alexander. The dispositions of the
former to have them placed on liberal grounds
are known. The interest of the latter should
insure the same disposition. The only thing
to be done is to bring the two characters together
to treat on the subject. All the minor
maritime powers of Europe will of course concur
with them. We have not failed to use such
means as we possess to induce these two
sovereigns to avail the world of its present situation
to declare and enforce the laws of nature
and convenience on the seas. But the organization
of the treaty-making power by our Constitution
is too particular for us to commit the
nation in so great an operation with all the
European powers. With such a federal phalanx
in the Senate, compact and vigilant for
opportunities to do mischief, the addition of a
very few other votes, misled by accidental or
imperfect views of the subject, would suffice to
commit us most dangerously. All we can do,
therefore, is to encourage others to declare and
guarantee neutral rights, by excluding all intercourse
with any nation which infringes them,
and so leave a niche in their compact for us, if


Page 630
our treaty-making power shall choose to occupy
To Thomas Paine. Ford ed., viii, 437.
(W. March. 1806)

5878. NEUTRALITY, Rights.—[further continued] .

The license to four
British vessels to sail to Lima proves that belligerents
may, either by compact or force, conduct
themselves towards one another as they please;
but not that a neutral may, unless by some express
permission of the belligerent.—
To Albert Gallatin. Ford ed., viii, 466.
(M. Aug. 1806)

5879. NEUTRALITY, Rights.—[further continued].

It is all important that
we should stand in terms of the strictest cordiality
with France. In fact, we are to depend
on her and Russia for the establishment of
neutral rights by the treaty of peace, among
which should be that of taking no persons by a
belligerent out of a neutral ship, unless they
be the soldiers of an enemy.—
To James Bowdoin. Washington ed. v, 64. Ford ed., ix, 40.
(W. April. 1807)

5880. NEUTRALITY, Rights.—[further continued] .

The instructions given to our ministers [to England] were framed in
the sincerest spirit of amity and moderation.
They accordingly proceeded, in conformity
therewith, to propose arrangements which might
embrace and settle all the points in difference
between us, which might bring us to a mutual
understanding on our neutral and national
rights, and provide for a commercial intercourse
on conditions of some equality. After long and
fruitless endeavors to effect the purposes of
their mission, and to obtain arrangements within
the limits of their instructions, they concluded
to sign such as could be obtained, and
to send them for consideration, candidly declaring
to the other negotiators, at the same
time, that they were acting against their instructions,
and that their government, therefore,
could not be pledged for ratification. Some of
the articles proposed might have been admitted
on a principle of compromise, but others were
too highly disadvantageous, and no sufficient
provision was made against the principal source
of the irritations and collisions which were constantly
endangering the peace of the two nations.
The question, therefore, whether a
treaty should be accepted in that form could
have admitted but of one decision, even had no
declarations of the other party impaired our
confidence in it. Still anxious not to close the
door against friendly adjustment, new modifications
were framed, and further concessions
authorized than could before have been supposed
necessary; and our ministers were instructed
to resume their negotiations on these
grounds. On this new reference to amicable
discussion, we were reposing in confidence,
when on the 22nd day of June last, by a formal
order from the British admiral, the frigate
Chesapeake, leaving her port for distant service,
was attacked by one of those vessels
which had been lying in our harbors under the
indulgences of hospitality, was disabled from
proceeding, had several of her crew killed, and
four taken away.—
Seventh Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 83. Ford ed., ix, 150.
(Oct. 27, 1807)
See Chesapeake.

5881. NEUTRALITY, Rights.—[further continued].

The nations of the earth
prostrated at the foot of power, the ocean
submitted to the despotism of a single nation,
the laws of nature and the usages which have
hitherto regulated the intercourse of nations
and interposed some restraint between power
and right, now totally disregarded. Such is the
state of things when the United States are left
single-handed to maintain the rights of neutrals,
and the principles of public right against a warring
R. to A. Niagara Republicans. Washington ed. viii, 155.

5882. NEUTRALITY, Rights.—[further continued].

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)
See Alexander of Russia and Embargo.

5883. NEUTRALITY, Sale of arms.—

The manufacture of arms is the occupation
and livelihood of some of our citizens; and
* * * it ought not to be expected that a
war among other nations should produce such
an internal derangement of the occupations of
a nation at peace, as the suppression of a
manufacture which is the support of some of
its citizens; but * * * if they should export
these arms to nations at war, they would
be abandoned to the seizure and confiscation
which the law of nations authorized to be made
of them on the high seas.—
To E. C. Genet. Washington ed. iv, 87. Ford ed., vi, 460.
(Pa., Nov. 1793)
See Belligerents.

— NEUTRALITY, Sale of ships.—

See Belligerents.

5884. NEUTRALITY, Treasury Department and.—

Hamilton produced [at a
cabinet meeting] the draft of a letter by himself
to the collectors of the customs, giving
them in charge to watch over all proceedings
in their districts, contrary to the laws of neutrality,
or tending to infract our peace with the
belligerent powers, and particularly to observe
if vessels pierced for guns should be built, and
to inform him of it. This was objected to, 1.
As setting up a system of espionage, destructive
of the peace of society. 2. Transferring to the
Treasury Department the conservation of the
laws of neutrality and peace with foreign nations.
3. It was rather proposed to intimate to
the judges that the laws respecting neutrality
being now come into activity, they should
charge the grand juries with the observance of
them; these being constitutional and public
informers, and the persons accused knowing of
what they should do, and having an opportunity
of justifying themselves. E. R. [Edmund Randolph] found a hair to split, which, as always
happens, became the decision. Hamilton is to
write to the collectors of the customs, who are
to convey their information to the attorneys of
the district to whom E. R. is to write to receive
their information and proceed by indictment.
The clause respecting the building vessels
pierced for guns was omitted, for though three
against one thought it would be a breach of
neutrality, yet they thought we might defer
giving a public opinion on it as yet.—
To James Madsion. Washington ed. iii, 556. Ford ed., vi, 250.
(May. 1793)

5885. NEUTRALITY, Treasury Department and.—[continued].

I have been still reflecting
on the draft of the letter from the Secretary
of the Treasury to the custom house officers,
instructing them to be on the watch as
to all infractions or tendencies to infraction
of the laws of neutrality by our citizens, and to
communicate the same to him. When this
paper was first communicated to me, though the
whole of it struck me disagreeably, I did not in
the first moment see clearly the improprieties
but of the last clause. The more I have reflected,
the more objectionable the whole appears.
By this proposal the collectors of the
customs are to be made an established corps
of spies or informers against their fellow
citizens, whose actions they are to watch in
secret, inform against in secret to the Secretary
of the Treasury, who is to communicate it


Page 631
to the President. If the action and evidence appear
to justify a prosecution, a prosecution is
to be set on foot on the secret information of
a collector. If it will not justify it, then the
only consequence is that the mind of government
has been poisoned against a citizen,
neither known nor suspecting it, and perhaps
too distant to bring forward his justification.
This will at least furnish the collector with a
convenient weapon to keep down a rival, draw
a cloud over an inconvenient censor, or satisfy
mere malice and private enmity. The object
of this new institution is to be to prevent infractions
of the laws of neutrality, and preserve
our peace with foreign nations; but I cannot
possibly conceive how the superintendence
of the laws of neutrality, or the preservation
of our peace with foreign nations can be
ascribed to the department of the Treasury,
which I suppose to comprehend merely matters
of revenue. It would be to add a new and a
large field to a department already amply provided
with business, patronage, and influence.
It was urged as a reason that the collectors of
the customs are in convenient positions for
this espionage. They are in convenient positions,
too, for building ships of war; but will
that business be transplanted from its department,
merely because it can be conveniently
done in another? It seemed the desire that if
this means was disapproved, some other equivalent
might be adopted. Though we consider
the acts of a foreigner making a captive within
our limits, as an act of public hostility, and
therefore to be turned over to the military
rather than the civil power; yet the acts of
our citizens infringing the laws of neutrality, or
contemplating that, are offences against the
ordinary laws and cognizable by them. Grand
juries are the constitutional inquisitors and informers
of the country; they are scattered
everywhere, see everything, see it while they
suppose themselves mere private persons, and
not with the prejudiced eye of a permanent and
systematic spy. Their information is on oath, is public, it is in the vicinage of the party
charged, and can be at once refuted. These officers
taken only occasionally from among the
people, are familiar to them, the office respected,
and the experience of centuries has shown
that it is safely entrusted with our character,
property and liberty. A grand juror cannot
carry on systematic persecution against a
neighbor whom he hates, because he is not
permanent in the office. The judges generally,
by a charge, instruct the grand jurors in the
infractions of law which are to be noticed by
them; and our judges are in the habit of
printing their charges in the newspapers. The
judges, having notice of the proclamation, will
perceive that the occurrence of a foreign war
has brought into activity the laws of neutrality,
as a part of the law of the land. This new
branch of the law they will know needs explanation
to the grand juries more than any
other. They will study and define the subjects
to them and to the public. The public mind
will by this be warned against the acts which
may endanger our peace, foreign nations will
see a much more respectable evidence of our
bonâ fide intentions to preserve neutrality, and
society will be relieved from the inquietude
which must forever be excited by the knowledge
of the existence of such a poison in it as
secret accusation. It will be easy to suggest
this matter to the attention of the judges, and
that alone puts the whole machine into motion.
The one is a familiar, impartial and precious
instrument; the other, not popular in its present
functions, will be odious in the new ones, and
the odium will reach the Executive, who will
be considered as having planted a germ of private
inquisition absolutely unknown to our
To Edmund Randolph. Washington ed. iii, 553. Ford ed., vi, 245.
(May. 1793)

5886. NEUTRALITY, Usurpation of jurisdiction.—

The United States being at
peace with both parties, will certainly not see
with indifference its territory or jurisdiction
violated by [France or England] either, and
will proceed immediately to enquire into the
facts and to do what these shall show ought to
be done with exact impartiality.—
To George Hammond. Ford ed., vi, 236.
(Pa., May. 1793)

5887. NEUTRALITY, Usurpation of jurisdiction.—[continued].

It is the right of every
nation to prohibit acts of sovereignty from being
exercised by any other within its limits;
and the duty of a neutral nation to prohibit such
as would injure one of the warring powers.—
To E. C. Genet. Washington ed. iii, 572. Ford ed., vi, 283.
(Pa., June. 1793)

See Consuls, Genet, and Privateers.

5888. NEUTRALITY, Violations of.—

Since our last meeting the aspect of our foreign
relations has considerably changed. Our coasts
have been infested and our harbors watched by
private armed vessels, some of them without
commissions, some with illegal commissions,
others with those of legal form but committing
piratical acts beyond the authority of their
commissions. They have captured in the very
entrance of our harbors, as well as on the high
seas, not only the vessels of our friends coming
to trade with us, but our own also. They have
carried them off under pretence of legal adjudication,
but not daring to approach a court
of justice, they have plundered and sunk them
by the way, or in obscure places where no evidence
could arise against them; maltreated the
crews, and abandoned them in boats in the
open sea, or on desert shores without food or
covering. These enormities appearing to be
unreached by any control of their sovereigns,
I found it necessary to equip a force to cruise
within our own seas, to arrest all vessels of
these descriptions found hovering on our coast
within the limits of the Gulf Stream, and to
bring the offenders in for trial as pirates. The
same system of hovering on our coasts, and
harbors under color of seeking enemies, has
been also carried on by public armed ships,
to the great annoyance and oppression of our
commerce. New principles, too, have been interpolated
into the law of nations, founded
neither in justice, nor the usage, or acknowledgment
of nations. According to these, a
belligerent takes to itself a commerce with its
own enemy, which it denies to a neutral on the
ground of its aiding that enemy in the war.
But reason revolts at such an inconsistency;
and the neutral having equal right with the
belligerent to decide the question, the interest
of our constituents and the duty of maintaining
the authority of reason, the only umpire
between just nations, impose on us the obligation
of providing an effectual and determined
opposition to a doctrine so injurious to the
rights of peaceable nations. Indeed, the confidence
we ought to have in the justice of
others, still countenances the hope that a
sounder view of those rights will of itself induce
from every belligerent a more correct observance
of them.—
Fifth Annual Message. Washington ed. viii, 47. Ford ed., viii, 389.
(Dec. 1805)


The public papers giv


Page 632
ing us reason to believe that the war is becoming
nearly general in Europe, and that it has
already involved nations with which we are in
daily habits of commerce and friendship, the
President has thought it proper to issue the
Proclamation of which I enclose you a copy,
in order to mark out to our citizens the line of
conduct they are to pursue. That this intimation,
however, might not work to their
prejudice, by being produced against them as
conclusive evidence of their knowledge of the
existence of war and of the nations engaged in
it, in any case where they might be drawn into
courts of justice for acts done without that
knowledge, it has been thought necessary to
write to the representatives of the belligerent
powers here, * * * reserving to our citizens
those immunities to which they are entitled, till
authentic information shall be given to our
government by the parties at war, and be thus
communicated, with due certainty, to our citizens.
You will be pleased to present to the
government where you reside this proceeding of
the President, as a proof of the earnest desire
of the United States to preserve peace and
friendship with all the belligerent powers, and
to express his expectation that they will in return
extend a scrupulous and effectual protection
to all our citizens, wheresoever they May
need it, in pursuing their lawful and peaceable
concerns with their subjects, or within their
jurisdiction. You will, at the same time, assure
them that the most exact reciprocation of this
benefit shall be practiced by us towards their
subjects, in the like cases.—
To Messers. Morris, Pinckney and Short. Washington ed. iii, 543.
(Pa., April 26, 1793)

5890. NEUTRALITY PROCLAMATION, History of.—[continued].

I dare say you will have
judged from the pusillanimity of the proclamation,
from whose pen it came. A fear lest any
affection [to France] should be discovered is
distinguishable enough. This base fear will
produce the very evil they wish to avoid. For
our constituents, seeing that the government
does not express their mind, perhaps rather
leans the other way, are coming forward to express
it themselves.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 562. Ford ed., vi, 259.
(Pa., May. 1793)

5891. NEUTRALITY PROCLAMATION, History of.—[further continued].

The proclamation as
first proposed was to have been a declaration
of neutrality. It was opposed on these grounds.
1. That a declaration of neutrality was a
declaration there should be no war, to which
the Executive was not competent. 2. That
it would be better to hold back the declaration
of neutrality, as a thing worth something to the
powers at war; that they would bid for it, and
we might reasonably ask a price, the broadest
of neutral nations. The first objection
was so far respected as to avoid inserting
the term neutrality, and the drawing the instrument
was left to E. R. [Edmund Randolph].—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 591. Ford ed., vi, 315.

5892. NEUTRALITY PROCLAMATION, History of.—[further continued] .

That there should be a
proclamation was passed unanimously with the
approbation or the acquiescence of all parties.
Indeed, it was not expedient to oppose it altogether,
lest it should prejudice what was the
next question, the boldest and greatest that ever
was hazarded, and which would have called for
extremities had it prevailed.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 591. Ford ed., vi, 316.
(June. 1793)

5893. NEUTRALITY PROCLAMATION, History of.—[further continued].

You have most perfectly seized the original idea of the proclamation.
When first proposed as a declaration of neutrality,
it was opposed, first, because the Execu
tive had no power to declare neutrality. Secondly,
as such a declaration would be premature,
and would lose us the benefit for which it
might be bartered. It was urged that there
was a strong impression in the minds of many
that they were free to join in the hostilities on
the side of France. Others were unapprised of
the danger they would be exposed to in carrying
contraband goods. It was, therefore, agreed
that a proclamation should issue, declaring that
we were in a state of peace with all the parties,
admonishing the people to do nothing contravening
it, and putting them on their guard as
to contraband. On this ground it was accepted
or acquiesced in by all [the cabinet], and E. R.
[Edmund Randolph] who drew it, brought to
me the draft, to let me see there was no such
word as neutrality in it. Circumstances forbid
other criticism. The public, however, soon took
it up as a declaration of neutrality, and it came
to be considered at length as such.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. iv, 17. Ford ed., vi, 346.
(Pa., 1793)


“On the declaration of
war between France and England, the United
States being at peace with both, their situation
was so new and unexperienced by themselves,
that their citizens were not, in the first instant,
sensible of the new duties resulting therefrom,
and of the laws it would impose even on their
towards the belligerent powers.
Some of them imagined (and chiefly their
transient sea-faring citizens) that they were
free to indulge those dispositions, to take side
with either party, and enrich themselves by
depredations on the commerce of the other, and
were meditating enterprises of this nature, as
was said. In this state of the public mind, and
before it should take an erroneous direction
difficult to be set right, and dangerous to themselves
and their country, the President thought
it expedient, by way of Proclamation, [359] to remind
our fellow-citizens that we were in a state
of peace with all the belligerent powers; that
in that state it was our duty neither to aid nor
injure any; to exhort and warn them against
acts which might contravene this duty, and particularly
those of positive hostility, for the
punishment of which the laws would be appealed
to, and to put them on their guard also
as to the risks they would run if they should
attempt to carry articles of contraband to any.
Very soon afterwards we learnt that Genet was
undertaking the fitting and arming vessels in
that port [Charleston], enlisting men, foreigners
and citizens, and giving them commissions
to commit hostilities against nations at peace
with us; that these vessels were taking and
bringing prizes into our ports; that the consuls
of France were assuming to hold courts of admiralty
on them, to try, condemn and authorize
their sale as legal prizes, and all this before
Mr. Genet had presented himself or his credentials
to the President, before he was received
by him, without his consent or consultation, and
directly in contravention of the state of peace
existing and declared to exist in the President's
proclamation, and which it was incumbent on
him to preserve till the constitutional authority


Page 633
should otherwise declare. These proceedings
became immediately, as was naturally
to be expected, the subject of complaint by the
representative here of that power against whom
they would chiefly operate.” This was the true
sense of the proclamation in the view of the
draftsman and of the two signers; but H.
[Hamilton] had other views. The instrument
was badly drawn, and made the President go
out of his line to declare things which, though
true, it was not his province to declare. The
instrument was communicated to me after it
was drawn, but I was busy, and only ran an eye
over it to see that it was not made a declaration
of neutrality, and gave it back again, without,
I believe, changing a tittle.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 29. Ford ed., vi, 368.
(Aug. 1793)


In sending this explanation of the intention of
the proclamation to Madison, Jefferson wrote: “ Having
occasion to state it (the intention, &c.) in a
paper which I am preparing, I have done it in the
following [above quoted] terms. Edmund Randolph
called on me just as I had finished so far [within the
quotation marks], and he said it presented fairly his
view of the matter. He recalled to my mind that I
had, at the time, opposed its being made a declaration
of neutrality, on the ground that the Executive
was not the competent authority for that, and, therefore,
that it was agreed the instrument should be
drawn with great care.”—Editor.

5895. NEUTRALITY PROCLAMATION, History of.—[further continued].

You will see a piece signed “Pacificus” [Alexander Hamilton] in
defence of the proclamation. You will readily
know the pen. I know it the more readily because
it is an amplification only of the topics
urged in discussing the question [in cabinet] when first proposed. The right of the Executive to declare that we are not bound to execute
the guarantee
[to France] was then advanced
by him and denied by me. No other opinion
was expressed on it. In this paper he repeats
it, and even considers the proclamation as such
a declaration; but if anybody intended it as
such (except himself) they did not then say
so. The passage beginning with the words,
“the answer to this is,” &c., is precisely the
answer he gave at the time to my objection,
that the Executive had no authority to issue
a declaration of neutrality, nor to do more than
declare the actual state of things to be that of
peace. “For until the new government is
acknowledged the treaties, &c., are, of course,
suspended.” This, also, is the sum of his arguments
the same day on the great question
which followed that of the proclamation, to wit,
whether the Executive might not, and ought
not to declare the [French] treaties suspended.
* * * Upon the whole, my objections to the
competence of the Executive to declare neutrality
(that being understood to respect the
future) were supposed to be got over by avoiding
the use of that term. The declaration of
the disposition of the United States can hardly
be called illegal, though it was certainly officious
and improper. The truth of the fact
lent it some cover. My objections to the
impolicy of a premature declaration were answered
by such arguments as timidity would
reasonably suggest. I now think it extremely
possible that Hammond might have been instructed
to have asked it, and to offer the
broadest neutral privileges, as the price, which
was exactly the price I wanted that we should
contend for. But is it not a miserable thing
that the three heresies I have quoted from
this paper, should pass unnoticed and unanswered,
as these certainly will, for none but
mere bunglers and brawlers have for some
time past taken the trouble to answer anything?—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vi, 327.
(June. 1793)

5896. NEUTRALITY PROCLAMATION, History of.—[further continued] .

The real milk and water
views of the proclamation appeared to me
to have been truly given in a piece published
in the papers soon after [it was issued],
and which I knew to be E. R.'s [Edmund Randolph's] from its exact coincidence with what
he has expressed.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vi, 328.

— NEW ENGLAND, Secession of.—

See Secession.

5897. NEW HAMPSHIRE, Opinion in.—

The public sentiment in New Hampshire
is no longer progressive in any direction;
* * * it is dead water.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., vii, 343.
(Pa., Feb. 1799)

5898. NEW HAMPSHIRE, Republicanism in.—

Although we have not yet got a
majority into the fold of republicanism in your
State, yet one long pull more will effect it,
* * * unless it be true, as is sometimes said,
that New Hampshire is but a satellite of Massachusetts.
In this last State, the public sentiment
seems to be under some influence additional
to that of the clergy and lawyers. I
suspect there must be a leaven of State pride at
seeing itself deserted by the public opinion,
and that their late popular song of “Rule New
England” betrays one principle of their present
variance from the Union. But I am in hopes
they will in time discover that the shortest road
to rule is to join the majority.—
To John Langdon. Ford ed., viii, 161.
(W. June. 1802)

— NEW HAVEN, Remonstrance.—

See Bishop.

5899. NEW JERSEY, Republicanism in.—

Jersey is coming majestically round to the true principles.—
To T. Lomax. Washington ed. iv, 300. Ford ed., vii, 374.
(M. March. 1799)

5900. NEW ORLEANS, Battle of.—

am glad we closed our war with the eclat of
the action at New Orleans.—
To Marquis Lafayette. Washington ed. vi, 427. Ford ed., ix, 510.
(M. 1815)

5901. NEW ORLEANS, Battle of.—[continued].

Peace was indeed desirable;
yet it would not have been as welcome
without the successes of New Orleans. These
last have established truths too important not
to be valued; that the people of Louisiana are
sincerely attached to the Union; that their city
can be defended; that the Western States
make its defence their peculiar concern; that
the militia are brave; that their deadly aim
countervails the manœuvring skill of the
enemy; that we have officers of natural genius
now starting forward from the mass; and that
putting together all our conflicts, we can beat
the British by sea and by land, with equal numbers.—
To General Dearborn. Washington ed. vi, 450.
(M. 1815)

5902. NEW ORLEANS, Battle of.—[further continued].

The affair of New Orleans
was fraught with useful lessons to ourselves,
our enemies, and our friends, and will
powerfully influence our future relations with
the nations of Europe. It will show them we
mean to take no part in their wars, and count
no odds when engaged in our own.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. vi, 453. Ford ed., ix, 512.
(M. 1815)

5903. NEW ORLEANS, Battle of.—[further continued] .

It may be thought that
useless blood was spilt at New Orleans, after
the treaty of peace had been actually signed.
I think it had many valuable uses. It proved
the fidelity of the Orleanese to the United
States. It proved that New Orleans can be defended
both by land and water; that the Western
country will fly to its relief (of which ourselves
had doubted before); that our militia are
heroes when they have heroes to lead them
on; and that, when unembarrassed by field
evolutions, which they do not understand, their
skill in the fire-arm, and deadly aim, give them
advantage over regulars.—
To W. H. Crawford. Washington ed. vi, 420. Ford ed., ix, 504.
(M. 1815)
See Federalists.


Page 634

— NEW ORLEANS, Batture Case.—

See Batture.

5904. NEW ORLEANS, Right of deposit.—

We state in general the necessity, not
only of our having a port near the mouth of the
river (without which we could make no use of
the navigation at all) but of its being so well
separated from the territories of Spain and her
jurisdiction, as not to engender daily disputes
and broils between us. It is certain, that if
Spain were to retain any jurisdiction over our
entrepôt, her officers would abuse that jurisdiction,
and our people would abuse their privileges
in it. Both parties must foresee this,
and that it will end in war. Hence the necessity
of a well-defined separation. Nature has
decided what shall be the geography of that in
the end, whatever it might be in the beginning,
by cutting off from the adjacent countries of
Florida and Louisiana, and enclosing between
two of its channels, a long and narrow strip of
land, called the Island of New Orleans. The
idea of ceding this could not be hazarded to
Spain, in the first step; it would be too disagreeable
at first view; because this island, with
its town, constitutes at present, their principal
settlement in that part of their dominions, containing
about ten thousand white inhabitants of
every age and sex. Reason and events, however,
may by little and little, familiarize them
to it. That we have a right to some spot as an
entrepôt for our commerce, may be at once affirmed.
The expediency, too, may be expressed
of so locating it as to cut off the source of
future quarrels and wars. A disinterested eye,
looking on a map, will remark how conveniently
this tongue of land is formed for the purpose.—
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 178. Ford ed., v, 219.
(N.Y., 1790)

5905. NEW ORLEANS, Right of deposit.—[continued].

Observe always, that to
accept the navigation of the river without an
entrepôt would be perfectly useless, and that an
entrepôt, if trammelled, would be a certain instrument
for bringing on war instead of preventing
To William Short. Washington ed. iii, 228. Ford ed., v, 305.
(Pa., 1791)

5906. NEW ORLEANS, Right of deposit.—[further continued].

To conclude the subject
of navigation, each of the following conditions
is to be considered by the Commissioners [to
Spain] as a sine quâ non. 1. That our right
be acknowledged of navigating the Mississippi
in its whole breadth and length, from its source
to the sea, as established by the treaty of 1763.
2. That neither the vessels, cargoes, or the persons
on board, be stopped, visited, or subjected
to the payment of any duty whatsoever; or, if
a visit must be permitted, that it be under such
restrictions as to produce the least possible inconvenience.
But it should be altogether avoided,
if possible, as the parent of perpetual broils.
3. That such conveniences be allowed us ashore,
as may render our right of navigation practicable
and under such regulations as may bonâ
respect the preservation of peace and
order alone, and may not have in object to embarrass
our navigation, or raise a revenue on
it. [360]
Mississippi River Instructions. Washington ed. vii, 585. Ford ed., v, 475.


“The right of navigation (of the Mississippi) was
conceded by the treaty of 1795, and with it a right to
the free use of the port of New Orleans upon reasonably
satisfactory terms for a period of three years,
and thereafterward until some equally convenient
harbor should be allotted. The credit of this ultimate
achievement was Mr. Jefferson's, none the less
because the treaty was not signed until he had retired
from office. It was really his statesmanship which
had secured it, not only in spite of the natural repugnance
of Spain, but also in spite of the obstacles indirectly
thrown in his way in the earlier stages by
many persons in the United States, who privately
gave the Spanish minister to understand that the
country cared little about the Mississippi, and would
not support the Secretary in his demands.”—
Morse's Life of Jefferson.

5907. NEW ORLEANS, Suspension of right.—

The suspension of the right of deposit
at New Orleans, ceded to us by our treaty
with Spain, threw our whole country into such
a ferment as imminently threatened its peace.
This, however, was believed to be the act of
the Intendant, unauthorized by his government.
But it showed the necessity of making effectual
arrangements to secure the peace of the two
countries against the indiscreet acts of subordinate
To Dupont de Nemours. Washington ed. iv, 456. Ford ed., viii, 204.
(W. Feb. 1803)

5908. NEW ORLEANS, Suspension of right.—[continued].

The government of Spain
has instantly redressed the infraction of treaty
by her Intendant at New Orleans. * * * By a reasonable and peaceable process we have
obtained in four months, what would have cost
us seven years of war, 100,000 human lives, 100
millions of additional debt, besides ten hundred
millions lost by the want of market for our
produce, or depredations on it in seeking markets,
and the general demoralizing of our citizens
which war occasions.—
To John Bacon. Ford ed., viii, 229.
(W. April. 1803)
See Louisiana and Mississippi River Navigation.

5909. NEW YORK, Politics of.—

I have
been much pleased to see a dawn of change in
the spirit of your State [New York]. The late
elections have indicated something, which, at
a distance, we do not understand. However,
what with the English influence in the lower,
and the Patroon influence in the upper part of
your State, I presume little is to be hoped.—
To Aaron Burr. Washington ed. iv, 186. Ford ed., vii, 147.
(Pa., June. 1797)

5910. NEW YORK, Politics of.—[continued].

New York is coming
majestically round to the true principles.—
To T. Lomax. Washington ed. iv, 300. Ford ed., vii, 374.
(M. March. 1799)

5911. NEW YORK CITY, Depravity in.—

New York, like London, seems to be a
cloacina of all the depravities of human nature.—
To William Short. Washington ed. vii, 310.
(M. 1823)

5912. NEW YORK CITY, Washington's defence.—

The maxim laid down by Congress to their generals was that not a foot
of territory was to be ceded to their enemies
where there was a possibility of defending it.
In consequence of these views, and against his
own judgment, General Washington was obliged
to fortify and attempt to defend the city of New
York. But that could not be defended without
occupying the heights on Long Island which
commanded the city of New York. He was,
therefore, obliged to establish a strong detachment
in Long Island to defend those heights.
The moment that detachment was routed, which
he had much expected, his first object was to
withdraw them, and his second to evacuate
New York. He did this, therefore, immediately,
and without waiting any movement of the
enemy. He brought off his whole baggage,
stores, and other implements, without leaving
a single article except the very heaviest of his
cannon, and things of little value. I well remember
his letter to Congress, wherein he expressed
his wonder that the enemy had given
him this leisure, as, from the heights they had
got possession of, they might have compelled
him to a very precipitate retreat. This was one
of the instances where our commanding officers


Page 635
were obliged to conform to popular views,
though they foresaw certain loss from it. Had
he proposed at first to abandon New York, he
might have been abandoned himself. An obedience
to popular will cost us an army in
Charleston in the year 1779.—
Notes on M. Soules's Work. Washington ed. ix, 298. Ford ed., iv, 305.
(P. 1786)

5913. NEWS, Home.—

But why has nobody
else written to me? Is it that one is forgotten
as soon as their back is turned? I have
a better opinion of men. It must be either that
they think that the details known to themselves
are known to everybody, and so come to us
through a thousand channels, or that we should
set no value on them. Nothing can be more
erroneous than both those opinions. We value
those details, little and great, public and private,
in proportion to our distance from our
own country; and so far are they from getting
to us through a thousand channels, that we
hear no more of them or of our country here
[Paris] than if we were among the dead.—
To James Monroe. Ford ed., iv, 45.
(P. 1785)

5914. NEWS, Home.—[continued].

It is unfortunate that
most people think the occurrences passing daily
under their eyes, are either known to all the
world, or not worth being known. * * * I hope you will be so good as to continue your
friendly information. The proceedings of our
public bodies, the progress of the public mind
on interesting questions, the casualities which
happen among our private friends, and whatever
is interesting to yourself and family, will
always be anxiously received by me.—
To John Page. Washington ed. i, 549. Ford ed., iv, 212.
(P. 1786)

5915. NEWS, Home.—[further continued].

I give you thanks for
the details of small news contained in your letter.
You know how precious that kind of
information is to a person absent from his
country, and how difficult it is to be procured.—
To David Humphreys. Washington ed. iii, 13. Ford ed., v, 91.
(P. 1789)

5916. NEWS, Home.—[further continued] .

If there is any news
stirring in town or country, such as deaths,
courtships, or marriages, in the circle of my
acquaintance, let me know it.—
To John Page. Washington ed. i, 183. Ford ed., i, 344.

5917. NEWS, Minor.—

Details, political
and literary, and even of the small history of
our country, are the most pleasing communications
To John Page. Washington ed. i, 402.
(P. 1785)

5918. NEWS, Minor.—[continued].

I pray you to write to
me often. Do not turn politician too; but write
me all the small news—the news about persons
and about States; tell me who dies, that I May
meet these disagreeable events in detail, and
not all at once when I return (from France);
who marry, who hang themselves because they
cannot marry, &c.—
To Mrs. Trist. Washington ed. i, 395.
(P. 1785)

5919. NEWS, Minor.—[further continued].

It is more difficult here
[Paris] to get small than great news, because
most of our correspondents in writing letters
to cross the Atlantic, think they must always
tread in buskins, so that half one's friends
might be dead without its being ever spoken
of here.—
To Dr. James Currie. Ford ed., iv, 131.
(P. 1786)

5920. NEWS, Minor.—[further continued] .

Nothing is so grateful
to me, at this distance [Paris], as details, both
great and small, of what is passing in my own
country. * * * When one has been long
absent from his neighborhood, the small news
of that is the most pleasing, and occupies his
first attention.—
To Archibald Stuart. Washington ed. i, 517. Ford ed., iv, 187.
(P. 1786)

5921. NEWS, Useful.—

The details from
my own country of the proceedings of the legislative,
executive and judiciary bodies, and even
those which respect individuals only, are the
most pleasing treat we can receive at this distance
[Paris], and the most useful, also.—
To Joseph Jones. Washington ed. i, 354.
(P. 1785)

5922. NEWSPAPERS, Abuses by.—

The abuses of the freedom of the press here
have been carried to a length never before
known or borne by any civilized nation.—
To M. Pictet. Washington ed. iv, 463.
(W. 1803)

5923. NEWSPAPERS, Advertisements.—

We have been trying to get another weekly
or half weekly paper set up [in Philadelphia],
excluding advertisements, so that it might go
through the States, and furnish a whig
vehicle of intelligence. We hoped at one
time to have persuaded Freneau to set up
here, but failed. In the meantime, Bache's
paper [The Advertiser] the principles of
which were always republican, improves in its
matter. If we can persuade him to throw all
his advertisements on one leaf, by tearing
that off, the leaf containing intelligence May
be sent without overcharging the post, and be
generally taken instead of Fenno's.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 336.
(Pa., 17911791)gt;

5924. NEWSPAPERS, Agitation by.—

In the first moments of quietude which have
succeeded the [Presidential] election, the
printers seem to have aroused their lying
faculties beyond their ordinary state, to reagitate
the public mind. What appointments
to office have they detailed which had never
been thought of, merely to found a text for
their calumniating commentaries.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 392. Ford ed., viii, 43.
(W. March. 1801)

5925. NEWSPAPERS, Attacks by.—

have been for some time used as the property
of the newspapers, a fair mark for every
man's dirt. Some, too, have indulged themselves
in this exercise who would not have
done it, had they known me otherwise than
through these impure and injurious channels.
It is hard treatment, and for a singular kind
of offence, that of having obtained by the
labors of a life the indulgent opinions of a
part of one's fellow citizens. However, these
moral evils must be submitted to, like the
physical scourges of tempest, fire, &c.—
To Peregrine Fitzhugh. Washington ed. iv, 216. Ford ed., vii, 208.
(Pa., 1798)

5926. NEWSPAPERS, Attacks by.—[continued].

Were I to undertake
to answer the calumnies of the newspapers,
it would be more than all my own time and
that of twenty aids could effect. For while
I should be answering one, twenty new ones
would be invented. * * * But this is an
injury to which duty requires every one to
submit whom the public think proper to call
into its councils.—
To Samuel Smith. Washington ed. iv, 255. Ford ed., vii, 279.
(M. 1798)


Page 636

5927. NEWSPAPERS, Attacks by.—[further continued].

[I said to Colonel Burr] 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
these federal printers did not in the least intermit
their abuse of me, though receiving
emoluments from the government and that
I have never thought it proper to interfere
for myself, and consequently not in the case
of the Vice-President.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 206. Ford ed., i, 302.
(Jan. 1804)

5928. NEWSPAPERS, Attacks by.—[further continued] .

That tory printers should
think it advantageous to identify me with
that paper [The National Intelligencer], the
Aurora, &c., in order to obtain ground for
abusing me, is perhaps fair warfare. But that
anyone who knows me should listen one
moment to such an insinuation, is what I
did not expect. I neither have, nor ever had,
any more connection with those papers than
our antipodes have; nor know what is to be
in them until I see it in them, except proclamations
and other documents sent for publication.—
To Thomas Paine. Washington ed. iv, 582. Ford ed., viii, 361.
(W. June. 1805)

5929. NEWSPAPERS, Attacks by.—[further continued].

I met the scurrilities of
the newswriters without concern, while in
pursuit of the great interests with which I
was charged. But in my present retirement,
no duty forbids my wish for quiet.—
To J. B. Colvin. Washington ed. v, 544. Ford ed., ix, 282.
(M. 1810)

5930. NEWSPAPERS, Banks and.—

Notwithstanding the magnitude of this calamity
[bank failures], every newspaper almost
is silent on it, Frenau's excepted, in which
you will see it mentioned.—
To Thomas Mann Randolph. Ford ed., v, 510.
(April. 1792)

5931. NEWSPAPERS, Caricatures.—

Our newspapers for the most part, present
only the caricatures of disaffected minds.—
To M. Pictet. Washington ed. iv, 463.
(W. 1803)

5932. NEWSPAPERS, Classics vs.—

I read one or two newspapers a week, but with
reluctance give even that time from Tacitus
and Horace, and so much other more agreeable
To David Howell. Washington ed. v, 555.
(M. 1810)

5933. NEWSPAPERS, Classics vs.—[continued].

I have given up newspapers
in exchange for Tacitus, and Thucydides,
for Newton and Euclid, and I find myself
much the happier.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vi, 37. Ford ed., ix, 334.
(M. 1812)

5934. NEWSPAPERS, Classics vs.—[further continued].

I read but a single paper,
and that hastily. I find Horace and
Tacitus so much better writers than the
champions of the gazettes, that I lay those
down to take up these with great reluctance.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vii, 287. Ford ed., x, 256.
(M. 1823)

5935. NEWSPAPERS, Defamation.—

Defamation is becoming a necessary of life;
insomuch, that a dish of tea in morning or
evening cannot be digested without this stimulant.
Even those who do not believe these
abominations, still read them with complacence
to their auditors, and instead of the
abhorrence and indignation which should fill
a virtuous mind, betray a secret pleasure in
the possibility that some may believe them,
though they do not themselves.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 93. Ford ed., ix, 74.
(W. 1807)

See Calumny.

— NEWSPAPERS, Editors of.—

See Editors.

5936. NEWSPAPERS, English.—

English papers are so incessantly repeating
their lies about the tumults, the anarchy, the
bankruptices, and distresses of America, that
these ideas prevail very generally in Europe.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 407. Ford ed., iv, 87.
(P. 1785)

5937. NEWSPAPERS, English.—[continued].

The English papers—
those infamous fountains of falsehood.—
To F. Hopkinson. Washington ed. ii, 204.
(P. 1787)

5938. NEWSPAPERS, Falsehoods.—

The press is impotent when it abandons
itself to falsehood.—
To Thomas Seymour. Washington ed. v, 44. Ford ed., ix, 30.
(W. 1807)

5939. NEWSPAPERS, Falsehoods.—[continued].

Nothing can now be believed
which is seen in a newspaper.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 92. Ford ed., ix, 73.
(W. 1807)

5940. NEWSPAPERS, Falsehoods.—[further continued].

Truth itself becomes suspicious
by being put into that polluted vehicle.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 92. Ford ed., ix, 73.
(W. 1807)

5941. NEWSPAPERS, Falsehoods.—[further continued] .

The real extent of the
misinformation [in the newspapers] is known
only to those who are in situations to confront
facts within their knowledge with the
lies of the day.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 92. Ford ed., ix, 73.
(W. 1807)

5942. NEWSPAPERS, Falsehoods.—[further continued].

The man who never
looks into a newspaper is better informed
than he who reads them; inasmuch as he
who knows nothing is nearer to truth than
he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and
errors. He who reads nothing will still learn
the great facts, and the details are all false.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 92. Ford ed., ix, 73.
(W. 1807)

5943. NEWSPAPERS, Falsehoods.—[further continued] .

These texts of truth relieve
me from the floating falsehoods of the
public papers.—
To President Monroe. Washington ed. vii, 160. Ford ed., x, 158.
(M. 1820)
See Lies.

5944. NEWSPAPERS, Freedom of.—

Considering the great importance to the public
liberty of the freedom of the press, and
the difficulty of submitting it to very precise
rules, the laws have thought it less mischievous
to give greater scope to its freedom than
to the restraint of it. The President has,
therefore, no authority to prevent publications
of the nature of those you complain of. [361]
To the Spanish Commissioners. Washington ed. iv, 21. Ford ed., vi, 350.
(Pa., 1793)


Page 637

Attacks on the King of Spain—Editor.

5945. NEWSPAPERS, Freedom of.—[continued].

No experiment can be
more interesting than that we are now trying,
and which we trust will end in establishing
the fact, that man may be governed by reason
and truth. Our first object should therefore
be, to leave open to him all the avenues to
truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is
the freedom of the press. It is, therefore,
the first shut up by those who fear the investigation
of their actions.—
To Judge Tyler. Washington ed. iv, 548.
(W. 1804)

5946. NEWSPAPERS, Freedom of.—[further continued].

The liberty of speaking and writing guards our other liberties.—
Reply to Address. Washington ed. viii, 129.

5947. NEWSPAPERS, Freedom of.—[further continued] .

Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.—
To Charles Yancey. Washington ed. vi, 517. Ford ed., x, 4.
(M. 1816)

5948. NEWSPAPERS, Freedom of.—[further continued].

The only security of all
is in a free press. The force of public opinion
cannot be resisted, when permitted freely
to be expressed. The agitation it produces
must be submitted to. It is necessary to
keep the waters pure.—
To Marquis de Lafayette. Washington ed. vii, 325. Ford ed., x, 280.
(M. 1823)

See Press, Freedom of.

5949. NEWSPAPERS, Friends of Liberty.—

Within the pale of truth, the press is a
noble institution, equally the friend of
science and of civil liberty.—
To Thomas Seymour. Washington ed. v, 44. Ford ed., ix, 30.
(W. 1807)

5950. NEWSPAPERS, Government and.—

The basis of our governments being
the opinion of the people, the very first
object should be to keep that right; and
were it left to me to decide whether we
should have a government without newspapers
or newspapers without a government,
I should not hesitate a moment to prefer
the latter.—
To Edward Carrington. Washington ed. ii, 100. Ford ed., iv, 359.
(P. 1787)

5951. NEWSPAPERS, And history.—

really look with commiseration over the
great body of my fellow citizens, who, reading
newspapers, live and die in the belief,
that they have known something of what
has been passing in the world in their time;
whereas the accounts they have read in newspapers
are just as true a history of any other
period of the world as of the present, except
that the real names of the day are affixed
to their fables.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 92. Ford ed., ix, 73.
(W. 1807)

5952. NEWSPAPERS, Indifference to.—

A truth now and then projecting into the
ocean of newspaper lies, serves like headlands
to correct our course. Indeed, my
scepticism as to everything I see in a newspaper,
makes me indifferent whether I ever
see one.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. vi, 407. Ford ed., ix, 496.
(M. 1815)

5953. NEWSPAPERS, Indifference to.—[continued].

I have almost ceased to
read newspapers. Mine remain in our post
office a week or ten days, sometimes, unasked
for. I find more amusement in studies
to which I was always attached, and from
which I was dragged by the events of the
times in which I have happened to live.—
To Thomas Leiper. Washington ed. vi, 466. Ford ed., ix, 521.
(M. 1815)

5954. NEWSPAPERS, Licentiousness of.—

During this course of administration
[first term] and in order to disturb it, the
artillery of the press has been levelled against
us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness
could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution
so important to freedom and science,
are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they
tend to lessen its usefulness, and to sap its
safety; they might, indeed, have been corrected
by the wholesome punishments reserved
and provided by the laws of the several
States against falsehood and defamation;
but public duties more urgent press
on the time of public servants, and the offenders
have therefore been left to find their
punishment in the public indignation. Nor
was it uninteresting to the world, that an
experiment should be fairly and fully made,
whether freedom of discussion, unaided by
power, is not sufficient for the propagation
and protection of truth—whether a government,
conducting itself in the true spirit of
its Constitution, with zeal and purity, and
doing no act which it would be unwilling
the world should witness, can be written
down by falsehood and defamation. The experiment
has been tried; you have witnessed
the scene; our fellow-citizens looked on, cool
and collected; they saw the latent source
from which these outrages proceeded; they
gathered around their public functionaries,
and when the Constitution called them to
the decision by suffrage, they pronounced
their verdict, honorable to those who had
served them, and consolatory to the friend of
man, who believes he may be intrusted with
his own affairs. No inference is here intended,
that the laws, provided by the States
against false and defamatory publications,
should not be enforced; he who has time, renders
a service to public morals and public tranquillity,
in reforming these abuses by the salutary
coercions of the law; but the experiment
is noted, to prove that, since truth and
reason have maintained their ground against
false opinions in league with false facts, the
press, confined to truth, needs no other legal
restraint; the public judgment will correct
false reasonings and opinions, on a full hearing
of all parties; and no other definite line
can be drawn between the inestimable liberty
of the press and its demoralizing licentiousness.
If there be still improprieties which
this rule would not restrain, its supplement
must be sought in the censorship of public
opinion. [362]
Second Inaugural Address. Washington ed. viii, 43. Ford ed., viii, 346.


This was Jefferson's reply to the severe attacks
made on his first administration.—Editor.

5955. NEWSPAPERS, And light.—

Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and
have been deceived; but as long as the
presses can be protected, we may trust to
them for light.—
To Archibald Stuart. Ford ed., vii, 378.
(M. 1789)


Page 638

5956. NEWSPAPERS, Mischief-makers.—

The federal papers appear desirous of
making mischief between us and England,
by putting speeches into my mouth which
I never uttered.—
To Robert R. Livingston. Washington ed. v, 54. Ford ed., ix, 37.
(W. 1807)

5957. NEWSPAPERS, Mischief-makers.—[continued].

That first of all human
contrivances for generating war.—
To Mr. Maury. Washington ed. vi, 469.
(M. 1815)

5958. NEWSPAPERS, Monarchical.—

Fenno's [The United States Gazette] is a
paper of pure toryism, disseminating the
doctrines of monarchy, aristocracy, and the
exclusion of the influence of the people.—
To T. M. Randolph. Ford ed., v, 336.
(Pa., 1791)

5959. NEWSPAPERS, Official.—

have seen too much of the conduct of the
press in countries where it is free, to consider
the gazettes as evidence of the sentiments of
any part of the government; you have seen
them bestow on the government itself, in
all its parts, its full share of inculpation.—
To George Hammond. Washington ed. iii, 331. Ford ed., v, 436.
(Pa., 1792)

5960. NEWSPAPERS, Political bulldogs.—

The malignity with which political
enemies torture every sentence from me into
meanings imagined by their own wickedness
only, justify my expressing a solicitude, that
this * * * communication may in nowise
be permitted to find its way into the public
papers. Not fearing these political bulldogs,
I yet avoid putting myself in the way of
being baited by them, and do not wish to
volunteer away that portion of tranquillity,
which a firm execution of my duties will
permit me to enjoy.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 93. Ford ed., ix, 75.
(W. 1807)

5961. NEWSPAPERS, Postoffice and.—

The expense of French postage is so enormous,
that I have been obliged to desire that
my newspapers, from the different States,
may be sent to the office for Foreign Affairs
at New York; and I have requested of Mr.
Jay to have them always packed in a box and
sent as merchandise.—
To R. Izard. Washington ed. i, 443.
(P. 1785)

5962. NEWSPAPERS, Power of.—

Freneau's paper has saved our Constitution,
which was galloping fast into monarchy, and
has been checked by no means so powerfully
as by that paper. It is well and universally
known, that it has been that paper which
has checked the career of the Monocrats.—
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 145. Ford ed., i, 231.

5963. NEWSPAPERS, Power of.—[continued].

These foreign and false
citizens * * * possess our printing presses,
a powerful engine in their government of us.—
To Elbridge Gerry. Washington ed. iv, 173. Ford ed., vii, 122.
(Pa., 1797)

5964. NEWSPAPERS, Power of.—[further continued].

This paper [The Aurora] has unquestionably rendered incalculable
services to republicanism through all
its struggles with the federalists, and has
been the rallying point for the orthodoxy of
the whole Union. It was our comfort in the
gloomiest days, and is still performing the
office of a watchful sentinel.—
To Dabney Carr. Ford ed., ix, 316.
(M. 1811)

5965. NEWSPAPERS, President and.—

The Chief Magistrate cannot enter the
arena of the newspapers.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 601. Ford ed., ix, 326.
(M. July. 1811)

5966. NEWSPAPERS, Principles of.—

A paper which shall be governed by the
spirit of Mr. Madison's celebrated report
[on the Virginia Resolutions] cannot be false
to the rights of all classes.—
To H. Lee. Washington ed. vii, 376. Ford ed., x, 318.
(M. 1824)

5967. NEWSPAPERS, Prosecution of.—

The federalists having failed in destroying
the freedom of the press by their gag-law,
seem to have attacked it in an opposite direction;
that is by pushing its licentiousness and
its lying to such a degree of prostitution as
to deprive it of all credit. And the fact is
that so abandoned are the tory presses in
this particular, that even the least informed
of the people have learned that nothing in
a newspaper is to be believed. This is a
dangerous state of things, and the press
ought to be restored to its credibility if possible.
The restraints provided by the laws
of the States are sufficient for this, if applied.
And I have, therefore, long thought that a
few prosecutions of the most prominent offenders
would have a wholesome effect in
restoring the integrity of the presses. Not a
general prosecution, for that would look like
persecution; but a selected one.—
To Thomas McKean. Ford ed., viii, 218.
(W. Feb. 1803)

5968. NEWSPAPERS, Purifiers.—

Newspapers serve to carry off noxious vapors
and smoke.—
To General Kosciusko. Washington ed. iv, 431.
(W. April. 1802)

5969. NEWSPAPERS, Reading of.—

Reading the newspapers but little and that
little but as the romance of the day, a word
of truth now and then comes like the drop
of water on the tongue of Dives.—
To President Madison. Washington ed. v, 442. Ford ed., ix, 251.
(M. April. 1809)

5970. NEWSPAPERS, Reform by.—

This formidable censor of the public functionaries,
by arraigning them at the tribunal of
public opinion, produces reform peaceably,
which must otherwise be done by revolution.
It is also the best instrument for enlightening
the mind of man, and improving him as a
rational, moral, and social being.—
To M. Coray. Washington ed. vii, 324.
(M. 1823)

5971. NEWSPAPERS, Reformation of.—

Perhaps an editor might begin a reformation
[of his newspaper] in some such way
as this: Divide his paper into four chapters,
heading the first “Truths”; the second,
“Probabilities”; third, “Possibilities”;
fourth, “Lies”. The first chapter would be
very short, as it would contain little more


Page 639
than authentic papers, and information from
such sources, as the editor would be willing
to risk his own reputation for their truth.
The second would contain what, from a mature
consideration of all circumstances, his
judgment should conclude to be probably
true. This, however, should rather contain
too little than too much. The third and
fourth should be professedly for those readers
who would rather have lies for their money
than the blank paper they would occupy.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 92. Ford ed., ix, 74.
(W. 1807)

5972. NEWSPAPERS, Regulation of.—

It is so difficult to draw a clear line of separation
between the abuse and the wholesome
use of the press, that as yet we have found
it better to trust the public judgment, than
the magistrate, with the discrimination between
truth and falsehood.—
To M. Pictet. Washington ed. iv, 463.
(W. 1803)

5973. NEWSPAPERS, Reliability of.—

General facts may indeed be collected from
the newspapers, such as that Europe is now
at war, that Bonaparte has been a successful
warrior, that he has subjugated a great
portion of Europe to his will, &c., but no
details can be relied on.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 92. Ford ed., ix, 73.
(W. 1807)

5974. NEWSPAPERS, Responsibility for.—

It is not he who prints, but he who pays
for printing a slander, who is its real author.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 93. Ford ed., ix, 74.
(W. 1807)

5975. NEWSPAPERS, Restraint on.—

To your request of my opinion of the manner
in which a newspaper should be conducted,
so as to be most useful, I should answer:
“By restraining it to true facts and sound
principles only.” Yet I fear such a paper
would find few subscribers.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 91. Ford ed., ix, 73.
(W. 1807)

5976. NEWSPAPERS, Restraint on.—[continued].

The papers have lately advanced in boldness and flagitiousness beyond
even themselves. Such daring and atrocious
lies as fill the third and fourth
columns of the third page of the United
States Gazette of August 31st were never
before, I believe, published with impunity in
any country. However, I have from the beginning
determined to submit myself as the
subject on whom may be proved the impotency
of a free press in a country like ours,
against those who conduct themselves honestly
and enter into no intrigue. I admit at
the same time that restraining the press to
as the present laws do, is the only way
of making it useful. But I have thought
necessary first to prove it can never be dangerous.—
To William Short. Washington ed. v, 362.
(M. Sep. 1808)

5977. NEWSPAPERS, Rulers and.—

is the office of the rulers on both sides
[United States and England] to rise above
these vulgar vehicles of passion.—
To Mr. Maury. Washington ed. vi, 469.
(M. 1815)

5978. NEWSPAPERS, Slanders in.—

An editor [should] set his face against the
demoralizing practice of feeding the public
mind habitually on slander, and the depravity
of taste which this nauseous aliment induces.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 93. Ford ed., ix, 74.
(W. 1807)

See Libels and Slander.

5979. NEWSPAPERS, Support of.—

Bache's paper and also Carey's totter for
want of subscriptions. We should really
exert ourselves to procure them, for if these
papers fall, republicanism will be entirely
browbeaten. [363]
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 237. Ford ed., vii, 245.
(Pa., 1798)

See Callender and Duane.


Of the two hundred newspapers then (1800) in the
United States all but about twenty were enlisted by
preference or patronage on the Federal side.—Alexander
H. Stephen's History of the United States, p. 386.

5980. NEWSPAPERS, Support of.—[continued].

The engine is the press.
Every man must lay his purse and his pen
under contribution.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 281. Ford ed., vii, 344.
(Pa., 1799)

5981. NEWSPAPERS, Suppression of.—

It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression
of the press could not more completely deprive
the nation of its benefits, than is done
by its abandoned prostitution to falsehood.—
To John Norvell. Washington ed. v, 92. Ford ed., ix, 73.
(W. 1807)

5982. NEWSPAPERS, Torture by.—

confide them [opinions on government] to
your honor, so to use them as to preserve
me from the gridiron of the public papers.—
To Samuel Kerchival. Washington ed. vii, 17. Ford ed., x, 44.
(M. 1816)

5983. NEWSPAPERS, Uncertain.—

Newspaper information is too uncertain
ground for the government to act on.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., viii, 81.
(M. 1801)

5984. NEWSPAPERS, Vulgar.—

I deplore
with you the putrid state into which
our newspapers have passed, and the malignity,
the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit
of those who write for them. * * * These
ordures are rapidly depraving the public
taste, and lessening its relish for sound food.
As vehicles of information, and a curb on
our functionaries, they have rendered themselves
useless, by forfeiting all title to belief.
This has in a great degree been produced
by the violence and malignity of party
To Dr. Walter Jones. Washington ed. vi, 284. Ford ed., ix, 446.
(M. Jan. 1814)

5985. NEWSPAPERS, Weaned from.—

I have never seen a Philadelphia paper since
I left it, till those you enclosed me; and I
feel myself so thoroughly weaned from the
interest I took in the proceedings there,
while there, that I have never had a wish to
see one, and believe that I never shall take
another newspaper of any sort. I find my
mind totally absorbed in my rural occupations.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 103. Ford ed., vi, 503.
(M. April. 1794)

5986. NEWSPAPERS, Writing for.—

have preserved through life a resolution, set


Page 640
in a very early part of it, never to write in a
public paper without subscribing my name.—
To Edmund Randolph. Washington ed. iii, 470. Ford ed., vi, 112.
(M. 1792)

5987. NEWSPAPERS, Writing for.—[continued].

From a very early period
of my life, I had laid it down as a rule of
conduct, never to write a word for the public
papers. From this, I have never departed in
a single instance; and on a late occasion,
when all the world seemed to be writing, besides
a rigid adherence to my own rule, I
can say with truth, that not a line for the
press was ever communicated to me, by any
other, except a single petition referred for
my correction; which I did not correct, however,
though the contrary, as I have heard,
was said in a public place, by one person
through error, through malice by another
[General Henry Lee].—
To President Washington. Washington ed. iv, 142. Ford ed., vii, 82.
(M. June. 1796)

5988. NEWSPAPERS, Writing for.—[further continued].

At a very early period
of my life, I determined never to put a sentence
into any newspaper. I have religiously
adhered to the resolution through my life,
and have great reason to be contented with
To Samuel Smith. Washington ed. iv, 255. Ford ed., vii, 279.
(M. 1798)

5989. NEWSPAPERS, Writing for.—[further continued] .

I pray that my letter
may not go out of your own hands, lest it
should get into the newspapers, a bear-garden
scene into which I have made it a point to
enter on no provocation.—
To Uriah M'Gregory. Washington ed. iv, 334.
(M. 1800)

5990. NEWSPAPERS, Writing for.—[further continued].

I never in my life, directly
or indirectly, wrote one sentence for a
The Anas. Washington ed. ix, 199. Ford ed., i, 285.

5991. NICE, Climate.—

I find the climate
of Nice quite as delightful as it has been represented.
Hieres is the only place in France,
which may be compared with it. The climates
are equal.—
To William Short. Washington ed. ii, 137.
(Ne. 1787)

5992. NICHOLAS (W. C.), Character.—

I have ascertained that on Mr. Nicholas no impression
unfavorable to you was made by * * * [the removal of Secretary Robert Smith], and
that his friendship for you has never felt a
moment's abatement. Indeed we might have
been sure of this from his integrity, his good
sense, and his sound judgment of men and
To President Madison. Ford ed., ix, 378.
(M. Feb. 1813)

5993. NICHOLAS (W. C.), French mission.—

A last effort at friendly settlement
with Spain is proposed to be made at Paris,
and under the auspices of France. For this
purpose, General Armstrong and Mr. Bowdoin
(both now at Paris) have been appointed joint
commissioners; but such a cloud of dissatisfaction
rests on General Armstrong in the
minds of many persons, * * * that we
have in contemplation to add a third commissioner,
in order to give the necessary measure
of public confidence to the commission. Of these
two gentlemen, one being of Massachusetts and
one of New York, it is thought the third should
be a southern man; and the rather, as the interests
to be negotiated are almost entirely
southern and western. * * * My wish is
that you may be willing to undertake it. [364]
To Wilson C. Nicholas. Washington ed. v, 3. Ford ed., viii, 434.
(W. March. 1806)


Mr. Nicholas was prevented from accepting by
business considerations.—Editor.

— NICHOLAS (W. C.), Leadership in Congress.—

See Congress.

— NIGHTINGALES, Jefferson's delight in.—

See Birds.

5994. NON-IMPORTATION, Efficacy of.—

The most eligible means of effecting
* * * the reestablishment of the constitutional
rights of our fellow-subjects, will be to
put an immediate stop to all imports from
Great Britain * * * and to all exports
thereto, * * * and immediately to discontinue
all commercial intercourse with every
part of the British Empire which shall not, in
like manner, break off their commerce with
Great Britain. [365]
Resolution of Albemarle County. Ford ed., i, 419.
(July 26, 1774)


Albermale was Jefferson's native county. The
date of putting the regulations into effect was October
1, 1775.—Editor.

5995. NON-IMPORTATION, Efficacy of.—[continued].

These measures [non-intercourse] should be pursued until a repeal
be obtained of the act for blocking up the harbor
of Boston; of the acts prohibiting or restraining
internal manufactures in America;
of the acts imposing on any commodities duties
to be paid in America; and of the act laying
restrictions on the American trade; and,
on such repeal, it will be reasonable to grant to
our brethren of Great Britain such privileges
in commerce as may amply compensate their
fraternal assistance, past and future.—
Resolution of Albemarle County. Ford ed., i, 419.
(July 26, 1774)

5996. NON-IMPORTATION, Efficacy of.—[further continued].

The idea seems to gain
credit that the naval powers, combined against
France, will prohibit supplies even of provisions
to that country. Should this be formally
notified, I should suppose Congress would be
called, because it is a justifiable cause of war,
and as the Executive cannot decide the question
of war on the affirmative side, neither
ought it to do so on the negative side, by preventing
the competent body from deliberating
on the question. But I should hope that war
would not be their choice. I think it will furnish
us a happy opportunity of setting another
example to the world, by showing that nations
may be brought to justice by appeals to their
interests as well as by appeals to arms. I
should hope that Congress, instead of a denunciation
of war, would instantly exclude from
our ports all the manufactures, produce, vessels,
and subjects of the nations committing this aggression,
during the continuance of the aggression,
and till full satisfaction is made for it.
This would work well in many ways, safely
in all, and introduce between nations another
umpire than arms. It would relieve us, too,
from the risks and the horrors of cutting
To James Madison. Washington ed. iii, 519. Ford ed., vi, 192.
(March. 1793)

5997. NON-IMPORTATION, Popular.—

I have never known a measure more universally
desired by the people than the passage
of the non-importation bill.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. iv, 107. Ford ed., vi, 511.
(M. May. 1794)

5998. NON-IMPORTATION, Popular.—[continued].

I love Mr. Clarke's
proposition of cutting off all communication
with the nation [Great Britain] which has conducted


Page 641
itself so atrociously. This may bring on war. If it does we will meet it like men;
but it may not bring on war, and then the experiment
will have been a happy one.—
To Tench Coxe. Washington ed. iv, 105. Ford ed., vi, 508.
(M. May. 1794)

5999. NON-IMPORTATION, Principle of.—

To yield the principle of the non-importation
act would be yielding the only peaceable
instrument for coercing all our rights.—
The Anas. Ford ed., i, 322.
(Feb. 1807)


If [the British] keep up
impressments, we must adhere to non-intercourse,
manufacturer's and a navigation act.—
To James Madison. Washington ed. v, 362. Ford ed., ix, 208.
(M. Sep. 1808)

6001. NON-INTERCOURSE, Unpopular.—

Our affairs are certainly now at their
ultimate point of crisis. I understand the Eastern
republicans will agree to nothing which
shall render non-intercourse effectual, and that
in any question of that kind, the federalists will
have a majority. There remains, then, only
war or submission, and if we adopt the former,
they will desert us.—
To W. C. Nicholas. Washington ed. v, 488.
(M. Dec. 1809)


See Alexandria.

6002. NORTH CAROLINA, Political conditions in.—

North Carolina is at present
in the most dangerous state. The lawyers all
tories, the people substantially republican, but
uninformed and deceived by the lawyers, who
are elected of necessity because few other candidates.
The medicine for that State must be
very mild and secretly administered. But nothing
should be spared to give them true information.—
To P. N. Nicholas. Washington ed. iv, 328. Ford ed., vii, 440.
(Pa., April. 1800)

— NORTH (Lord), Ability of.—

See George III., Control of.

6003. NORTH (Lord), Hostile to America.—

Lord North's hostility to us is notorious.—
To Benjamin Harrison. Ford ed., iii, 414.
(A. March. 1784)

6004. NORTH (Lord), Proposition of.—

I was under appointment to attend the General
Congress; but knowing the importance of the
answer to be given to the Conciliatory Proposition,
and that our leading whig characters
were then in Congress, I determined to attend
on the Assembly, and, though a young member,
to take on myself the carrying through an
answer to the Proposition. The Assembly met
the 1st of June. I drew and proposed the
answer, and carried it through the House with
very little alteration, against the opposition of
our timid members who wished to speak a different
language. This was finished before the
11th of June, because on that day, I set out
from Williamsburg to Philadelphia, and was the
bearer of an authenticated copy of this instrument
to Congress. The effect it had in fortifying
their minds, and in deciding their measures,
renders its true date important; because
only Pennsylvania had as yet answered the
Proposition. Virginia was the second. It was
known how Massachusetts would answer it;
and the example of these three principal Colonies
would determine the measures of all the
others, and of course the fate of the Proposition.
Congress received it, therefore, with
much satisfaction. The Assembly of Virginia
did not deliver the answer to Lord Dunmore
till late in the session. They supposed it
would bring on a dissolution of their body
whenever they should deliver it to him; and
they wished previously to get some important
acts passed. For this reason they kept it up.
I think Lord Dunmore did not quit the metropolis
till he knew that the answer framed by
the House was a rejection of the Proposition,
though that answer was not yet communicated
to him regularly.—
Notes on M. Soules's Work. Washington ed. ix, 302. Ford ed., iv, 309.
(P. 1786)

6005. NORTH (Lord), Proposition of.—[continued].

On the receipt of Lord
North's Proposition, in May or June, 1775,
Lord Dunmore called the Assembly. Peyton
Randolph, the President of Congress, and
Speaker of the House of Burgesses, left the
former body and came home to hold the Assembly,
leaving in Congress the other delegates
who were the ancient leaders of our
House. He, therefore, asked me to prepare the
answer to Lord North's Proposition, which I
did. Mr. Nicholas, whose mind had as yet
acquired no tone for that contest, combatted
the answer from alpha to omega, and succeeded
in diluting it in one or two small instances.
It was firmly supported, however, in
Committee of the Whole, by Peyton Randolph,
who had brought with him the spirit of the
body over which he had presided, and it was
carried, with very little alteration, by strong
majorities. I was the bearer of it myself to
Congress, by whom, as it was the first answer
given to the Proposition by any Legislature,
it was received with peculiar satisfaction.—
To William Wirt. Washington ed. vi, 487. Ford ed., ix, 475.
(M. 1815)


See Boundaries.

6006. NOTES ON VIRGINIA, History of.—

Before I had left America, that is to say,
in the year 1781, I had received a letter from
M. de Marbois, of the French legation in
Philadelphia, informing me that he had been
instructed by his government to obtain such
statistical accounts of the different States of
our Union, as might be useful for their information;
and addressing to me a number of
queries relative to the State of Virginia. I
had always made it a practice, whenever an
opportunity occurred, of obtaining any information
of our country which might be of use to
me in any station, public or private, to commit
it to writing. These memoranda were on
loose papers, bundled up without order, and difficult
of recurrence, when I had occasion for
a particular one. I thought this a good occasion
to embody their substance, which I did in
the order of M. Marbois's queries, so as to
answer his wish, and to arrange them for my
own use. Some friends, to whom they were
occasionally communicated, wished for copies;
but their volume rendering this too laborious
by hand, I proposed to get a few printed for
their gratification. I was asked such a price,
however, as exceeded the importance of the
object. On my arrival at Paris, I found it
could be done for a fourth of what I had been
asked here. I, therefore, corrected and enlarged
them, and had two hundred copies
printed, under the title of “Notes on Virginia”.
I gave a very few copies to some particular
persons in Europe, and sent the rest to my
friends in America. An European copy, by
the death of the owner, got into the hands of
a bookseller, who engaged its translation, and,
when ready for the press, communicated his
intentions and manuscript to me, suggesting
that I should correct it without asking any
other permission for the publication. I never


Page 642
had seen so wretched an attempt at translation.
Interverted, abridged, mutilated, and often reversing
the sense of the original, I found it a
blotch of errors from beginning to end. I corrected
some of the most material, and, in that
form, it was printed in French. A London
bookseller, on seeing the translation, requested
me to permit him to print the English original.
I thought it best to do so, to let the world see
that it was not really so bad as the French
translation had made it appear. And this is
the true history of that publication.—
Autobiography. Washington ed. i, 61. Ford ed., i, 85.

6007. NOTES ON VIRGINIA, Principles in.—

The experience of nearly forty years additional in the affairs of mankind has not
altered a single principle [in the “Notes on
To John Melish. Washington ed. vi, 404. Ford ed., iii, 79.
(M. 1814)

6008. NOTES ON VIRGINIA, Slavery and.—

I had two hundred copies [of my
“Notes on Virginia”] printed, but do not put
them out of my own hands, except two or three
copies here and two which I shall send to
America, to yourself and Colonel Monroe.
* * * I beg you to peruse it carefully, because
I ask your advice on it, and ask nobody's
else. I wish to put it into the hands of the
young men at the College [William and Mary,] as well on account of the political as the physical
parts. But there are sentiments on some
subjects which I apprehend might be displeasing
to the country, perhaps to the Assembly, or to
some who lead it. I do not wish to be exposed
to their censure; nor do I know how far their
influence, if exerted, might effect a misapplication
of law to such a publication were it
made. Communicate it, then, in confidence to
those whose judgments and information you
would pay respect to; and if you think it will
give no offense, I will send a copy to each of
the students of William and Mary College, and
some others to my friends and to your disposal;
otherwise I shall send over only a very
few copies to particular friends in confidence
and burn the rest. Answer me soon and without
reserve. Do not view me as an author,
and attached to what he has written. I am
neither. they were at first intended only for
Marbois. When I had enlarged them, I thought
first of giving copies to three or four friends.
I have since supposed they might set our young
students into a useful train of thought, and in
no event do I propose to admit them to go to
the public at large.—
To James Madison. Ford ed., iv, 46.
(P. May. 1785)

6009. NOTES ON VIRGINIA, Slavery and.—[continued].

I send you a copy of the
“Notes on Virginia”. * * * I have taken
measures to prevent its publication. My reason
is that I fear the terms in which I speak of
slavery and of our [State] Constitution May
produce an irritation, which will revolt the
minds of our countrymen against reformation
in these two articles, and thus do more harm
than good.—
To James Monroe. Washington ed. i, 347. Ford ed., iv, 53.
(P. 1785)

6010. NOVA SCOTIA, Conciliation of.—

Is it impossible to persuade our countrymen
to make peace with the Nova Scotians? I am
persuaded nothing is wanting but advances on
our part; and that it is in our power to draw
off the greatest proportion of that settlement,
and thus to free ourselves from rivals [in the
fisheries] who may become of consequence.
We are at present cooperating with Great
Britain, whose policy it is to give aliment to
that bitter enmity between her States and ours,
which may secure her against their ever joining
us. But would not the existence of a cordial
friendship between us and them, be the best
bridle we could possibly put into the mouth
of England?—
To John Adams. Washington ed. i, 488.
(P. 1785)

— NOVELS, Good and bad.—

See Fiction.

6011. NULLIFICATION, British statutes.—

We do not point out to his Majesty the
injustice of these acts [of Parliament], with
intent to rest on that principle the cause of
their nullity; but to show that experience confirms
the propriety of those political principles
which exempt us from the jurisdiction of the
British Parliament. The true ground on which
we declare these acts void is, that the British
Parliament has no right to exercise authority
over us.—
Rights of British America. Washington ed. i, 129. Ford ed., i, 434.

6012. NULLIFICATION, States and.—

Every State has a natural right in cases not
within the compact (casus non foederis) to
nullify of their own authority all assumptions
of power by others within their limits. Without
this right they would be under the dominion,
absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might
exercise this right of judgment for them.—
Kentucky Resolutions. Washington ed. ix, 469. Ford ed., vii, 301.

6013. NULLIFICATION, States and.—[continued].

Where powers are assumed
which have not been delegated, a nullification
of the act is the rightful remedy.—
Kentucky Resolutions. Washington ed. ix, 469. Ford ed., vii, 301.