Abbildungen der Seite

influence of the new Government may extend, that may be one source of alleviation. It may be expected also that the British creditors will feel several motives to indulgence. And I will not suppress a hope that the new Government will be both able and willing to effect something by negotiation. Perhaps it might not be amiss for the Assembly to prepare the way by some act or other, for drawing the attention of the first session of the Congress to this subject. The possession of the posts by Great Britain, after the removal of the grounds of her complaint by the provision in the new Constitution with regard to the Treaty, will justify a renewal of our demands, and an interference in favor of American citizens on whom the performance of the Treaty on our side depends.

Congress have agreed to some resolutions in favor of the Mississippi which are well calculated to appease the discontents of our Western brethren. You shall soon have a copy of them. They are grounded on a remonstrance from North Carolina on that subject. By the way, how has it happened that the last resolutions of Virginia were never forwarded to the Delegation ?


New York, September 26, 1788. Dear Sir,

I subjoin two resolutions lately taken by Congress in relation to the Mississippi, which I hope may have a critical and salutary effect on the temper of our Western brethren.


On report of the Committee, consisting of Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Madison, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Dane, and Mr. Edwards, to whom was referred the Report of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs on a motion of the Delegates of North Carolina stating the uneasiness produced by a report that Congress are disposed to treat with Spain for the surrender of their claim to the navigation of the river Mississippi,' and proposing a Resolution intended to remove such apprehensions,

Resolved, that the said report not being founded in fact, the Delegates be at liberty to communicate all such circumstances as may be necessary to contradict the same, and to remove misconceptions.

Resolved, that the free navigation of the river Mississippi, is a clear and essential right of the United States, and that the same ought to be considered and supported as such.

[ocr errors]

In addition to these resolutions, which are not of a secret nature, another has passed arresting all negotiations with Spain, and handing over the subject, thus freed from bias from any former proceedings, to the ensuing Government. This last resolution is entered on the Secret Journal, but a tacit permission is given to the members to make a confidential use of it.'



New York, October 17, 1788. DEAR SIR,

I have a letter from Mr. Jefferson, but it contains nothing of much consequence. His public letters to which it refers have not yet been communicated from the office of Foreign Affairs. Through other authentic channels I learn that the States General will pretty certainly be convened in May next. The efficacy of that cure for the public maladies will depend materially on the mode in which the deputies may be selected, which appears to be not yet settled. There is good reason also to presume, that, as the spirit which at present agitates the nation has been in a great measure caught from the American Revolution, so the result of the struggle there will be not a little affected by the character which liberty may receive from the experiment now on foot here. The tranquil and successful establishment of a great reform by the reason of the community, must give as much force to the doctrines urged on one side as a contrary event would do to the policy maintained on the other.

As Col. Carrington will be with you before this gets to hand, I leave it with him to detail all matters of a date previous to his departure. Of a subsequent date I recollect nothing worth adding. I requested him also to confer with you in full confidence on the appointments to the Senate and House of Representatives, so far as my friends may consider me in relation to either. He is fully possessed of my real sentiments, and will explain them more conveniently than can be done on paper. I mean not to decline an agency in launching the new Government if such should be assigned me in one of the Houses, and I prefer the House of Representatives, chiefly because, if I can render any service there, it can only be to the public, and, not even in imputation, to myself. At the same time my preference, I own, is somewhat founded on the supposition that the arrangements for the popular elections may secure me against any competition which would require on my part any step that would speak a solicitude which I do not feel, or have the appearance of a spirit of electioneering which I despise.


New York, November 2, 1788. DEAR SIR,

I received yesterday your favor of the twentythird ultimo. The first countenance of the Assembly corresponds with the picture which my imagination had formed of it. The views of the greater part of the opposition to the Federal Government have, ever since the Convention, been regarded by me as permanently hostile, and likely to produce every effort that might endanger or embarrass it.

My last letter, with Colonel Carrington's communications to which it referred, will have sufficiently explained my sentiments with regard to the legislative service under the new Constitution. My first wish is to see the Government put into quiet and successful operation; and to afford any service that may be acceptable from me for that purpose. My second wish, if that were to be consulted, would prefer, for reasons formerly hinted, an opportunity of contributing that service in the House of Representatives, rather than in the Senate; provided the opportunity be attainable from the spontaneous suffrage of the Constituents. Should the real friends of the Constitution think this preference inconsistent with any primary object, as Colonel Carrington tells me is the case with some who are entitled to peculiar respect, and view my renouncing it as of any material consequence, I shall not hesitate to comply. You will not infer from the freedom with which these observations are made, that I am in the

least unaware of the probability that, whatever · my inclinations or those of my friends may be, they

are likely to be of little avail in the present case. I take it for certain that a clear majority of the Assembly are enemies to the Government, and I have no reason to suppose that I can be less obnoxious than others on the opposite side. An election into the Senate, therefore, can hardly come into question. I know also that a good deal will depend on the arrangements for the election of the other branch; and that much may depend, moreover, on the steps to be taken by the candidates, which will not be taken by me. Here again, therefore, there must be great uncertainty, if not improbability, of my election. With these circumstances in view, it is impossible that I can be the dupe of false calculations, even if I were in other cases disposed to in

VOL. I.-43

[ocr errors]


« ZurückWeiter »